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
You Can Earn $$ By Booking Your Holiday Party Early, Here’s How!
Oct 13, 2018

Are you in charge of booking your company (or friends) annual holiday party this year? If the answer…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Fall Harvest’s Best Dishes
Oct 12, 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 3, 2018

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

read more >
In The Restaurants
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Where to Eat & Drink in October
Sep 26, 2018

Throughout the month of October, Lettuce Entertain You restaurants are donating a portion of…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Happy Hour
Sep 21, 2018

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

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Brunch this Weekend
Sep 20, 2018

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
Sep 12, 2018

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
Sep 12, 2018

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

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat Lunch
Sep 10, 2018

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

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
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
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
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 >
In The Restaurants
Where to go on Valentine’s Day 2018
Feb 4, 2018

Have you made your Valentine's Day plans yet? It's right around the corner and there's lots of…

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 >
How To
Already Fell Off the Healthy New Year’s Resolution Wagon? Let’s Eat.
Jan 12, 2018

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

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat: Martin Luther King Day 2018
Jan 6, 2018

A long weekend calls for long brunches filled with sweet and savory treats. And don't forget about…

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
A Guide to Selecting the Perfect Thanksgiving Wines
Nov 7, 2017

Fact: wine stores are intimidating. More truth: we're here to help! We've tapped the minds of our…

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 >
How To
Recipe: Ema’s Pumpkin Hummus
Oct 30, 2017

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

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 >
In The Restaurants
Mezze Madness
Mar 14, 2017

March is all about epic matchups; be it on the NCAA basketball court or tableside at Ema. In the…

read more >

Recent Posts

How To
National Pasta Day Recipe: il Porcellino’s Gnocchi Bolognese
Oct 17, 2018

Cold weather have you staying at home for dinner? il Porcellino's Gnocchi Bolognese is the perfect…

read more >
In The Restaurants
It’s Apple Season: Where To Eat ‘Em
Oct 16, 2018

Yeah, yeah, pumpkin this and pumpkin that, but let us not forget about our other favorite fall…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Watch Managing Partner, Kiran Pinto a Trailblazer & Teacher at LEYE
Oct 15, 2018

Welcome to Lettuce Life, a behind-the-scenes glimpse at our restaurants and the stories of behind…

read more >
In The Restaurants
One Week of Free Delivery Through Caviar October 15-21
Oct 14, 2018

It's getting cold outside in Chicago and D.C. so we thought hey, let's make it even easier for you…

read more >
In The Restaurants
You Can Earn $$ By Booking Your Holiday Party Early, Here’s How!
Oct 13, 2018

Are you in charge of booking your company (or friends) annual holiday party this year? If the answer…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Fall Harvest’s Best Dishes
Oct 12, 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
Culinary Care Delivers Comfort to Cancer Patients, One Meal at a Time
Oct 11, 2018

Introducing our friends at Culinary Care, a Chicago non-profit organization that helps cancer…

read more >
Openings
Crab Cellar is Now Open With Unlimited Crab & Burgers 5 Nights a Week
Oct 10, 2018

Crab and burgers are just a few of our favorite things so why not open an entire restaurant…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Check It Out: All-New Merch Available from Three Dots and a Dash
Oct 9, 2018

Calling all Tikiphiles! The latest wave of custom Three Dots and a Dash merchandise is here. Check…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Halloween 2018: Treats, Tricks & Specials
Oct 7, 2018

  It's officially October so you know what that means: time to grab your favorite pumpkin-spiced…

read more >
In The Restaurants
All Pumpkin, Everything
Oct 3, 2018

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

read more >
How To
Getting Saucy: 3 Pasta Sauce Recipes for Easy, Intermediate or Expert Chefs
Oct 1, 2018

October marks National Pasta Month which begs the question: what is pasta without the sauce? We're…

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!