Garden Puree Bruschetta

It’s that time of year again, the time when you can finally buy fresh vegetables that weren’t grown in South America.  With all this lush green produce coming your way, you’ve got loads of options for cooking up some healthy dishes.  Luckily, I won’t focus on that here, here we’re more motivated by taste than counting calories.  Let’s face it, even if I am counting calories, one spoon full of something divine like truffled mashed potatoes is worth all the Lean Cuisines in the freezer section. 

That being said, green vegetables, or most of them, are virtually free foods.  Meaning, the calorie count is so low that while indulging on buckets of meaty asparagus, you’re actually doing yourself a huge favor and “indulging” in very few calories.  Having a dinner party with a few of your yoga-pad-toting friends? I have just the starter for you - Tyler Florence’s Garden Puree Bruschetta.  It’s bright green which screams summer and tastes even fresher than it looks, if that’s possible.  You basically blanch a load of fresh green veggies and then puree with ricotta (don’t worry, the full recipe is below).  Top onto crostinis and you have yourself a tasty, and yes, very low calorie, appetizer. 
Have kids running around? They may not be too excited about sitting down to the table with the grown-ups (yuck!), but toss a little of the bright green garden puree with spaghetti, top with fresh grated parmesan and you’ve got yourself a wicked green spaghetti.  This may just do the trick so that the grown-ups can talk about, gasp, grown-up things, a treat rarely afforded to those with youngens.

A few other tips about this tasty starter.  One, the recipe makes an absolute ton of puree.  I cut it in half and still had quite a bit left over after serving it to four people as a starter.  Keep that in mind when buying bag after bag of green goodies at the farmers market.  Also, if you happen to notice that asparagus is missing, or for that matter any one of the four green components (snap peas, garden peas, asparagus, or green beans) don’t fret, just add extra of one of the others.  My only caveat there is that petite pois (baby garden peas) are quite sweet and add a subtle but sugary deliciousness to the dish that you might not want to forego.  Luckily, the baby green peas that you find in the freezer section will do perfectly.  Picked for optimum sweetness, these freezer friends are great to have on hand for throwing into pastas and stir-fry’s, so while you’re there, pick up an extra bag (you’ll thank me later).

Garden Puree Bruschetta
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

1 French baguette
2 cloves garlic
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 pound English peas, shelled, or 1 cup frozen petite peas
1/2 pound asparagus, tips only (about 2 ½ inches)
1/2 pound haricot verts or tender green beans, trimmed
2/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
3 green onions, green parts only, roughly chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 bunch of chives, for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the peas, asparagus tips, and haricot verts and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  (If you’re using frozen peas, you can throw them in during the last couple of minutes, to thaw.)  Drain, transfer to a bowl of salted ice water to stop cooking, and drain again.  Puree in a food processor with the ricotta, green onion greens, a drizzle of oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with chopped chives.

Make the crostini by cutting thin slices of the baguette.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and bake in a hot oven until golden brown on both sides.  Remove from oven and rub with a peeled clove of garlic while still warm.


  1. This recipe is fabulous Girls. I absolutely love the versatility of it, and the ricotta that gets added. Yum!!

  2. Thanks, Valentina- it is surprising that it is so tasty, but it really is!


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