Grub Guides

14 Amazingly Delicious, Gloriously Unhealthy Vegetable Dishes

Martha's cheesy cauliflower fritters in a scalding-hot skillet, with a side of spicy aïoli.
Martha’s cheesy cauliflower fritters in a scalding-hot skillet, with a side of spicy aïoli. Photo: Courtesy of Martha

Vegetables are supposed to be healthy, but when the weather turns this miserable, you need something a little heartier than green juice and raw kale. Fortunately, chefs are more than happy to oblige by offering things like beet chips, bacon-topped celery root, and a fantastically rich skillet full of cauliflower fritters. Here are 14 stick-to-your-bones vegetable dishes that most definitely are not for gluten-averse, vegan-leaning dieters.

Twice-Baked Celery Root
Where: Narcissa
Cost: $7
Chef John Fraser is a veggie pro, and his menu includes crispy carrot fries, spinach with potato chips, and a creamy celery-root side dish that tastes like macaroni-and-cheese without the mac — with a final sprinkling of bacon on top.

Creamed Masa With Beer-Braised Collard Greens
Where: Mission Cantina
Cost: $8.50
It’s important to get your daily serving of greens … and beer. Danny Bowien also makes excellent, heavy vegetarian tacos, like a pumpkin one with pumpkin mole, pumpkin seeds, and queso cotija.

Broccoli & Cheese Puffs
Where: The Dutch
Cost: $4
Broccoli always tastes better when it’s mixed with butter, flour, and melted cheese.

Jerusalem Artichokes With Brown Butter
Where: All’onda
Cost: $7
These virtuous sunchokes arrive on the table swimming in brown butter and soy, and rival any hearty roasted potato dish.

Amanida Temperada de Carbassó
Where: El Born
Cost: $7
At this new Greenpoint tapas restaurant, chef Diego Gonzalez pairs warm zucchini with with Ibérico ham, blueberries, and Padrón-pepper vinaigrette.

Creamed Kale
Where: The Clam
Cost: $8
Market Table chef Mike Price knows exactly the kind of vegetables you want to eat with fried clams.

Smoked Broccoli Dogs
Where: Dirt Candy
Cost: $21
Amanda Cohen is the pioneer of kooky, unhealthy vegetable dishes: Her newest creation is smoked and grilled broccoli inside a homemade bun with broccoli sauerkraut, slow-cooked broccoli puree, broccoli-rabe oil, a mustard-based barbecue sauce, baked broccoli-rabe chips, broccoli-rabe coleslaw, and mico-broccoli greens. Impressive.

Roasted Kabocha Squash Toast
Where: ABC Kitchen
Cost: $10
With thick, crusty country bread, a slab of ricotta, and apple-cider vinegar, this sugary, seasonal toast is a (small) meal in itself. Equally sweet: roasted sunchokes with hazelnuts and herbs, which actually taste like candy.

Winter Vegetable Gratin
Where: Dover
Cost: $65
The second course of Dover’s excellent chicken-for-two dish includes a cheesy gratin that’s so good, it almost steals the roast chicken’s thunder.

Cauliflower Fritters
Where: Martha
Cost: $7
At brunchtime only, the chefs at this critically-acclaimed darling deep-fry cauliflower and serve it with spicy aïoli.

Brussels Sprouts With Chili Jam
Where: Empire Diner
Cost: $6
Amanda Freitag’s new Brussels sprouts recipe is sticky-sweet, and she pulls a Jessica Seinfeld move by sneaking broccoli into creamy orzo mac ‘n’ cheese with black-truffle butter.

Beet Chips
Where: The Cleveland
Cost: $5
New chef Max Sussman’s menu includes crunchy beet chips with a dip made of crispy onion and miticrema cheese, roasted carrots with goat butter, and Chinese-style broccoli.

Fried Watercress With Cashews and Chili Oil
Where: Telepan Local
Cost: $9
There are tons of (very) vaguely healthy vegetarian dishes on the menu here: mushrooms in parchment with butter, broccoli rabe with parmesan, egg yolks, and white anchovies, roasted beets with house-made ricotta and honey, and a cauliflower gratin.

Crispy Sprouts
Where: Emily
Cost: $9
This brand new Clinton Hill pizzeria fries Brussels sprouts and then mixes them with apples, Worcestershire sauce, chilies, and black sesame. The perfect accompaniment to an entire pizza pie.

14 Amazingly Delicious, Gloriously Unhealthy Vegetable Dishes