Posted by: Kennedy | June 23, 2010

Weird food combinations = amazing recipes

Have you ever looked at a recipe or read an item on a menu that just sounded wrong? Like, how could anyone possibly think those ingredients would taste good together?

I used to be a devout follower of the ‘foods-on-plate-must-never-touch’ movement. As a toddler and young child, my parents knew only to feed me meals on those awesome food separater plates. The ones that featured Disney characters and farm animals, of course… man, being a kid ruled!

Now, as an adult, I won’t throw a temper tantrum if my asparagus gets a little mixed in with my quinoa. In fact, my favourite dishes combine a whole whack of different foods to create one amazing, saucy fusion of flavour (hello, lamb vindaloo, green curry and grilled veggie burritos!)

But I’ll admit, sometimes I’ll come across a recipe that makes me take pause and say: I don’t think so.

Take Caitlin’s dinner from the other night: a vegetable pasta salad. Sounds pretty straightforward, no? Well, check out the list of ingredients:

2 servings whole wheat pasta

1 sweet potato

1/2 can baby corn

3/4 cup frozen green beans

1 cup arugula

1 portabella mushroom cap

10 Brussels sprouts

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Salt and Pepper

With the exception of the mushroom, I like – nay, ADORE – everything on that list. But come on, sweet potatoes and pasta? With balsamic vinegar?? And Brussels sprouts? It sounds weird.

Then again, there are a lot of quirky food pairings out there that turn out to be scrumptious. Grilled cheese with peanut butter, anyone?

So I decided to give it a shot.

Can't go wrong with roasted veggies...

Adding arugula/veggies to cooked pasta...

Random mix of goodness

It was Fan. Freaking. Tastic. And it made for awesome leftovers. Note a few substitutions/add-ins I made:

–     No mushrooms for me

–     I threw in about ½ a leftover chicken breast that was approaching its throw-away date

–     For more flavour, I added a few sprinkles of parmesan

Here are the directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash sweet potato, stab with fork, wrap in wet paper towel and microwave for 3 minutes.

Rinse Brussels sprouts and trim.  Cut into bite-sized pieces and then cook in glass bowl in microwave for 4 minutes.

Place frozen beans in a bowl with water and cook in microwave for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and cook pasta for approx. 10 minutes.

Slice slightly cooked sweet potato and place on cookie sheet.  Drain Brussels sprouts and add next to the sweet potatoes.  Roast at 400 degrees for approx. 15 minutes.

Slice mushroom (if you’re so inclined). Add to cookie sheet and cook everything for an additional 5 minutes.

Drain pasta, mix with arugula and baby corn. Add beans, roasted vegetables, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Toss and let stand. Plate pasta and drizzle balsamic on top.

Serve and enjoy!

To any skeptics out there, I challenge you to try this one. You might be pleasantly surprised… and if not, at least you can say you tried something different today.

Do you enjoy any ‘strange’ food combinations?



  1. Your food always look soooo appetizing.
    I am going to start trying out some of your recipes this summer!!!

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