How To

Treat Your Vegetables More Like Meat

Treat Your Vegetables More Like Meat

Jul 25, 2018
Summa time, and grilling’s easy… but what if you just aren’t in the mood to eat meat? CJ Jacobson, veggie connoisseur and Chef of Ema, Rotisserie Ema and Aba is sharing some of his tips on smoking, braising, grilling even whole-roasting vegetables.

Chef CJ Jacobson holding vegetables

Smoking: While the easiest choice is grilling vegetables, Chef CJ finds you’re tasting the grill and not the vegetable. This is when he turns to smoking. The difference between smoking meat and smoking a vegetable is time. “When you smoke a vegetable you don’t have to do it all night like you do with pork,” Chef CJ says, “Vegetables just take a little bit of smoke to transform their taste.”

Try It: Add wood chips or rosemary branches to one side of your charcoal grill to smoke your favorite vegetables. Add green onions to the other side, close the lid, and allow to smoke for a few minutes. Chef CJ takes those smoked green onions (which he smokes with rosemary branches) and turns them into a salsa that he tops bone marrow with.

Braising: Searing something on a high heat and then cooking it slowly isn’t just for meats. This method of cooking works well with heartier vegetables. Chef CJ recommends braising eggplant, artichokes, cauliflower, and onions.

Try It: Braised Artichokes with white wine, garlic, tomatoes, and pancetta. Chef CJ says, “Treat the artichoke just like you would meat. Sear them off on a high heat and then lower to braise them. You could even flour them first before searing. This will allow the sauce to thicken. And always lemon and butter at the end.”

Artichoke

Salt-Baked: You’ve heard of salt-baked fish, but Chef CJ sees no reason you can’t use those same methods with your vegetables. This technique ensures perfectly seasoned and moist vegetables without having to add excessive amounts of fat.

Try It: Salt-Baked Beets have been seen in Chef CJ’s kitchen lately, and for good reason. The beets’ flavor deepens and becomes moister with a beautiful firmness and meatiness.

Raw beets

Grilling: Grilling vegetables are the obvious choice. But Chef CJ takes an unexpected twist with this one. Forget grill marks and go for a serious char to maximize flavor and tenderness.

Try It: Next time you’re grilling out, throw a bunch of unpeeled onions on the grill until they’re thoroughly charred. Peel and pair with your grilled lamb and tzatziki to punch of that grilled flavor. Or grill corn in the husk and slather with butter and top with you favorite herbs like fresno chili, garlic, nutmeg and green onion.

Grilled Corn

Whole-Roasting: Roasting something whole is a method as old as time. Whole chickens. Whole fish. Hell, whole-roasted pigs. The same reasons we want to roast animals whole are the reason roasting vegetables in their entirely has quickly become a trend.

Try It:Whole-Roasted Romanesco Cauliflower is the much hipper version of your everyday cauliflower. Stun your guests with this beautiful and unique presentation, whether it’s your side or main. Chef CJ likes to serve his romanesco cauliflower with his house yogurt and local honey.

Romanesco

DO try this at home. Here is Chef CJ’s recipe for Grilled Kale and Vegetable Kabob with Lemon and Olive Oil, as featured in People Magazine!

Grilled Kale and Vegetable Kabob with Lemon and Olive Oil
Makes 4-5 skewers

INGREDIENTS:
1 bunch Tuscan Kale
1 zucchini
1 red or white onion (cut into 1-2 ” pieces)
4-6 button mushrooms
Lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper|
2-4 skewers (if using wood, soak in water for a few hours)

METHOD:
1. Blanch the kale by cooking them in boiling salted water for three minutes.
2. After three minutes plunge the kale into bowl filled with ice and water.
3. Drain the kale and lightly squeeze off the excess water.
4. Slice the zucchini into 1/4 inch discs.
5. Lay the kale out on cutting board, and stack the leaves on top of each other.
6. Starting at the end of the kale, pierce the kale with the skewer so there is still a few inches of the skewer sticking out.
7. Slide on a mushroom, then a zucchini and then a piece of onion.
8. Repeat with the kale so it “hugs” the vegetables and then with the vegetables.
9. Season the kabobs with olive oil and salt and pepper.
10. Grill on grill for about three minutes each side.
11. Drizzle lemon juice on top.




You May Also Like...

In The Restaurants
Your Guide to Our Favorite Salads
Jan 14, 2019

A salad a day keeps the doctor away. Well, maybe not. But we know it can be tough keeping your New…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Happy Hour
Jan 13, 2019

It's 5 o'clock somewhere! Here are all the happy hour deals at select Lettuce Entertain You…

read more >
How To
Already Fell Off the Healthy New Year’s Resolution Wagon? Let’s Eat.
Jan 13, 2019

"New Year, Same Me" more your speed? Well, we're right there with you. Celebrate one of our favorite…

read more >
In The Restaurants
You Can Now Enjoy Aba’s Patio All Year Long
Jan 12, 2019

Introducing the new rooftop igloos at Aba! Why are we so excited for these? Well, it means you can…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Chicago Restaurant Week 2019
Jan 12, 2019

Have you been dying to try one of our Chicago restaurants but were waiting for a sign? Well, Chicago…

read more >
In The Restaurants
8 Food Trends We’re Looking Forward To In 2019
Jan 8, 2019

Just like fashion, food is always trending and it’s up to the experts to decide what’s “in”…

read more >
In The Restaurants
5 Healthier Menu Alternatives to Help You Keep Your Resolutions
Jan 8, 2019

January is here, which means it's time for New Year's resolutions. It's not our fault that the cold…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat Lunch
Jan 8, 2019

For that one hour escape from your office, you want to make sure to make most of your lunch hour.…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Brunch this Weekend
Jan 3, 2019

If you're anything like us, you plan your weekend around brunch. Here is your guide to all of our…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Kid-Friendly Dining Options and Activities
Jan 2, 2019

You've been to the zoo, the beach, the pool... the kids are starting to get stir crazy. We've got…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Gluten-Free Friendly Restaurants
Nov 18, 2018

Finding gluten-free friendly restaurants has gotten a lot easier than it used to be. At Lettuce…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Ema’s Pumpkin Hummus
Nov 12, 2018

Enjoy your favorite fall ingredient the Mediterranean way and make Ema's Pumpkin Hummus by Chef CJ…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Fall Harvest’s Best Dishes
Nov 1, 2018

The bounty of fall harvest comes at a time in the year when we are craving the comfort of cool…

read more >
In The Restaurants
All Pumpkin, Everything
Oct 20, 2018

'Tis the season for everyone's favorite fall ingredient, pumpkin. Whether you're preparing pumpkin…

read more >
How To
Spend Your Scratch Off Reward $$$
Oct 14, 2018

You’ve worked hard all summer playing and earning points during Scratch Off, and now you’ve got…

read more >
How To
Mix It Up: Life on Freezy Street, A Sauv Blanc Cocktail
Aug 13, 2018

It's August which means heat, humidity, plus some more heat. There's no better way to cool down…

read more >
In The Restaurants
The Best Time of the Year: Patio Season
Aug 10, 2018

Warm weather is here, which means al fresco dining is too! We've rounded up the best patios at…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Dine Like A Star: Where All of the Lollapalooza Celebs Were Spotted
Aug 7, 2018

The Windy City lights up during Lollapalooza weekend, flooded with festival-goers and a flock of…

read more >
How To
All the Ways to Rosé this Summer
Aug 6, 2018

Let’s face it, rosé is welcome all day, every day. We’re here to help you navigate your way…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Lettuce Life: Meet Avril Zayas, Senior Designer
Jul 30, 2018

Welcome to Lettuce Life, a behind the scenes look at what makes Lettuce Entertain You special: our…

read more >
How To
Treat Your Vegetables More Like Meat
Jul 25, 2018

Summa time, and grilling's easy... but what if you just aren't in the mood to eat meat? CJ Jacobson,…

read more >
How To
This Summer, Grill Like A Chef. Here’s How
Jul 19, 2018

Executive Chef Justin Diglia of Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab in Chicago and his…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Your Summer Ice Cream Checklist
Jul 19, 2018

I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM...we all know the drill so let's get to the good stuff. July is National Ice…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Mix Up the Picnic Basket Cocktail from Aba
Jul 19, 2018

Cocktails are best shared with friends and Aba's Lead Mixologist, Liz Pearce has created a list of…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Watermelon & Feta Salad from Ema
Jul 19, 2018

Chef CJ Jacobson's refreshing Watermelon and Feta Salad is exactly what you want to eat this summer.…

read more >
How To
Recipe: How to Make Ema’s Avocado & Sweet Pea Spread with Vegetable Crudite
Jul 17, 2018

Here's a great recipe to add a little green to your summer BBQ spread. Slice up your favorite…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Your Perfect Fried Chicken Sandwich is Served
Jul 2, 2018

You can roast ‘em, you can bake ‘em, and you can grill ‘em, but nothing tantalizes the taste…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Somm Picks: Top Bottles Under $50
Jun 26, 2018

Searching through wine lists can be a daunting task. Thumbing through dozens of pages filled with…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Unconventional Wine Regions of the World
May 24, 2018

Everyone loves a great Napa Cab or Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, but lately, our LEYE Wine…

read more >
In The Restaurants
In Season: Spring Peas
Apr 24, 2018

Spring has sprung and with the change in the season, our chefs have beautiful green veggies on their…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Spring into the season with these dishes
Apr 2, 2018

The temperatures are rising and tulips are being planted, which could only mean one thing: spring is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Dishes and Drinks with the Color of the Year: Ultra Violet
Mar 30, 2018

Every year, Pantone, the creator of colors, announces their choice in what the Color of the Year is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
This One’s For Our Indecisive Diners
Feb 26, 2018

For all of you indecisive order-ers out there - the "I want to order one of everything on the menu"…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Presidents Day 2018
Feb 8, 2018

Enjoy your long weekend on Presidents Day (Monday, February 19) by staying up late, sleeping in and…

read more >
How To
How To Make the Perfect Game Day Dip
Jan 22, 2018

A staple for your Big Game Sunday spread is a delicious dip! In case you need some inspiration, we…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Our Chef’s Predictions and Resolutions for 2018
Jan 2, 2018

Our chefs aren't psychic but they do have a finger on the pulse of what's on the horizon for the New…

read more >
In The Restaurants
These Ingredients are Unexpected Perfect Pairs
Jan 1, 2018

With the New Year comes new menus, and just because it's cold outside doesn't mean that there is a…

read more >
How To
How to Host Friendsgiving
Nov 1, 2017

Friendsgiving (n): the turkey-centric festive feast held by your chosen family - your friends - to…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Now Serving: Brunch at Ēma
Jun 21, 2017

Your weekend plans have been decided for you thanks to Chef CJ Jacobson. Ēma in River North is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
In Bloom: Strawberries
May 21, 2017

Summer is on the horizon, which means strawberries season is back to brighten our palates! From…

read more >

Recent Posts

How To
Recipe: Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba’s! Moroccan Chickpea Stew
Jan 18, 2019

Stews are the perfect way to warm up this winter and Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba's! Moroccan Chickpea Stew is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Now Serving: Di Pescara Thursday Night Lobster Special
Jan 17, 2019

Kick off the weekend early with this amazing deal! Di Pescara, located in Northbrook Court, is now…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Building The Perfect Bowl Of Ramen
Jan 16, 2019

'Tis the season for a hearty bowl of ramen to warm you up during these colder winter months. But…

read more >
In The Restaurants
DC & Bethesda Restaurant Week 2019
Jan 15, 2019

DC Restaurant Week (January 14 - 20) and Bethesda Magazine Restaurant Week (January 11 - 20) are…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Mon Ami Gabi’s Braised Short Ribs
Jan 15, 2019

It's chilly outside and we've got the perfect winter dish to warm you up: Mon Ami Gabi's Braised…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Ozzie’s Pops & Pretzels Abuelita Hot Chocolate
Jan 14, 2019

Chef / Partner Ozzie Ocegueda of Ozzie's Pops and Pretzels is sharing his family hot chocolate…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Your Guide to Our Favorite Salads
Jan 14, 2019

A salad a day keeps the doctor away. Well, maybe not. But we know it can be tough keeping your New…

read more >
How To
8 Ways to Use Your Lettuce Gift Card
Jan 14, 2019

Racking your brain for the perfect gift? Here's an idea, how about a Lettuce Entertain You Gift…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Big Game Day Carry-out + Brunch Specials 2019: Los Angeles
Jan 13, 2019

The Big Game is February 3, 2019 and if you are in Los Angeles, Stella Barra in Santa Monica and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
What to Carry-Out and Where to Watch the Big Game 2019: Las Vegas
Jan 13, 2019

The Big Game is February 3, 2019 and if you are in Las Vegas, here are some of our restaurants that…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Big Game Day 2019: What to Carry-Out + Brunch Specials in D.C.
Jan 13, 2019

We're already looking forward to the Big Game on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Whether you're hosting at…

read more >
In The Restaurants
The Big Game is February 3, 2019: What to Carry-Out in the Twin Cities
Jan 13, 2019

The Big Game is Sunday, February 3, 2019 and this year stock your game day spread with Wildfire or…

read more >
Lettuce Consulting Group

Grow Your Business

Learn More
Career Opportunities

Join Our Team

Search Jobs
Latest Articles

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now

Lettuce on Instagram

Checkout our feed @lettuceentertainyou!