Do you eat a salad with dinner? It’s a good habit to have, as long as it doesn’t get repetitive. If you’re getting bored with your usual green salad, try this easy carrot salad, with tangy tart cherries and a little Moroccan-inspired spice. It’s a make-ahead salad, that actually improves with a few hours in the refrigerator, making it a savvy meal-preppers dream. This is my go-to as a side for a Tagine, or to jazz up any meal.
You can easily enjoy the flavors of your favorite sushi without learning how to make rolls. Onigiri and Inari are the perfect answer to a sushi craving, with no special tools or much investment of your time. I made this with the Shiso leaves I grew in my garden, but you can enjoy this without, it too. Inari and Onigiri are entry-level Japanese rice shapes that anyone can make.
When I go to my favorite Thai restaurant, there are some classic salads, like Green Papaya Salad, or variations on Larb. But when I’m making a Thai-style meal at home, sometimes I want a salad with the sour-salty-sweet-hot flavors of Thai food but made from the seasonal produce from my garden and the Farmer’s Market. That’s when I make a salad like this, one, with roasted tofu strips, and easy lime and chili dressing, and the colorful veggies I have on hand.
Red Beans and Rice and Collard Greens are the iconic combo of New Orleans. Louisiana’s cooks have made an inexpensive, home-style meal into a famous dish, right up there with Cuban Black Beans and Rice, Refried Beans and Yellow Rice, and other great bean and rice dishes of the World. Beans have always been an inexpensive way to get nutrition on the table, and with creative seasoning, legumes transform into comfort food of the highest order. Now, you can make a plant-based version in minutes.
Basil is the soundtrack of summer, the fragrant, slightly spicy herb that grows fast and makes everything taste better-including this Broccolini in Pesto. From pastas to panini, fresh basil is a sure hit. I know it must be, as my most watched video and post is about the Best Way To Freeze Basil, with over 5k views! I love to use my abundant basil to make a simple pesto and toss it with roasted vegetables, for a veggie-rich side. Why save pesto for pasta-when you can use it to make a gorgeous pile of broccolini even more savory and sexy?
Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and this salad came about because I needed a side for Mexican meals. When I’m making menus for clients, It gets repetitive to give them the same guac and green salad on the side of their tacos. So, I took the massaged kale salad and gave it a Mexican flavor makeover. Thanks to the black beans and avocado, this is also hefty enough to have as a main course.
We’ve all been there, standing in the kitchen after a long day, thinking about ordering pizza. This dish can be whipped up in less time than it takes to have pizza delivered, and will deliver the vegetables and plant-based protein you need. I used romanesco and green beans, but you can use what you have on hand- this would be equally good with cabbage and carrots. Keep canned tomatoes and chickpeas on hand, and you are ready to make a meal.
egetables, try this. It’s so savory, balanced and colorful that you will never miss the rice.
The squash is perfect for “currying,” because it is already sweet and nutty. That natural sweetness is a perfect foil for balancing all the spices and a dash of lemon, for a dish that’s a riot of flavor. This is a perfect side for a big pot of Chole (spiced chickpeas) yellow rice or naan, or whatever your fave homemade Indian dish might be. Last week’s Tofu Saag comes to mind. It’s sweet and has just a bit of jalapeno heat, so it’s a good balance for a more chili-hot main course.
If you’ve ever had paneer, you may have noticed that the texture of it is pretty similar to tofu. It’s a fresh, non-melting cheese, made by adding and acid to milk so it will curdle, then draining the whey and pressing the cheese into a dense block. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s almost the same process used to make tofu.
nd your enjoyment of life. You have to heard how whole grains are the best for your health, with antioxidants, nutrients and fiber that refined grains lack. They are also a great way to reduce the old “carbon footprint” and do the environment a favor. But above all, whole grains have hearty, satisfying flavors that are lost when all the bran and germ is scraped away.
Look for the smallest Sweet Dumpling squashes so you can cut them into curved “claw” shapes, then roast to sweet tenderness. Use the black sesame seeds often sold in the sushi section at the store, to get a natural black color.
ow often do you eat a good breakfast? Do you ever run out the door with nothing but a cup of coffee under your belt, or do you resort to boxed cereal very day? Treat yourself to a real breakfast. Once you make this easy prep and put it in the fridge, you are set with 4 breakfasts, all you need to do is scoop it into a bowl, or a tub to take with as you run out the door. The pumpkin spice flavor makes it feel like a dessert, but it is truly a nutritious breakfast.
We start with a mushroom, a plant famed for its umami chemicals. Umami, according to this article in Science Direct.com, is the meatiness caused by the presence of sodium salts of glutamic and aspartic amino acids and 5′-nucleotides. What that means is that mushrooms have an extra chemical punch when you eat them, that makes your brain perceive them as more “meaty” and satisfying. Then, we add another umami star, smoke.
The brilliance of carrot “lox” is that it uses the natural color of the carrot and a few simple ingredients to make a silky, smoky bagel topper that really does make you think of lox. The cashew cream cheese helps to support the allusion, giving you that combination of creamy, rich cheesiness under the lox-flavored carrots. It’s really a stunning combination. The capers, red onions and cucumbers also serve to reinforce the feeling that you are really eating a lox and cream cheese bagel at a deli, in the most delightful way.
Do You Love Sushi?
If you follow my instagram, you have probably noticed that I have been teaching sushi classes for many years. In fact, sushi is one of my great loves, and I respect the traditions. I also can’t stop myself from occasionally making a completely untraditional riff on sushi. So it’s out of love that I took a popular roll, the Spicy Tuna Roll, and made a plant based version. Instead of fish, I made watermelon tuna.
This Minnesota summer has seen a long, hot spell combined with a drought. Every day, we water and cross our fingers that it might rain a little, soon. It’s also way too hot to do any kind of baking. That’s the perfect time to use that grill to your advantage. I embrace the heat, and make grilled vegetables and tofu.
Of course, it is zucchini season, so you might well have an overload of zukes that shouldn’t go to waste. This method is a showy, fun way to put them to use. The first thing you need is a delicious sauce. I stirred up an easy, no-cook peanut-hoisin sauce in a flash. Then The veggies. I did blanch the brussels sprouts for one minute, just to help them cook through on the grill without drying out. The tofu got a sprinkle of tamari and sesame oil for a bit of flavor beneath the sauce. But the fun piece is the weaving of zucchini ribbons onto the skewers. Watch the video, for a quick demo. You’ll need a mandoline or a chop top box to slice the zucchini evenly and thinly.
Mealtess Grilling is the Best! In this recipe, I grill the tomatoes, corn and hot peppers, for a bit of charred flavor in the salsa. The heat sweetens the corn, giving it a bit of caramelization as it cooks. My skewered grape tomatoes become soft and juicy, as their skins blister and blacken. Two hot chilies mellow and become friendly, and it is easy to slip the skin away, if you choose to do so.
The real fun starts when you grill fresh chips and tostada shells. Instead of buying a bag of tortillas, serving tacos once or twice, then watching them languish in the fridge, I now make them into grilled chips and shells. No need to heat a pot of oil to deep fry your tortillas, when the grill will make them into crispy chips in a couple of minutes.
You’ve probably seen purslane, growing out of cracks in the sidewalk, or filling in between the rows in your garden. I know I’ve yanked out bushels of the stuff, over the years. It took me a while to figure out that the vigorous “weed” was actually very valuable. You see, as vegetarians, we should be farming this stuff, and eating more of it than spinach.
No-churn ice cream is greatly improved with the addition of aquafaba. Aquafaba, also known as the liquid you have been draining off of channed chickpeas and pouring down the drain, is the secret to the success of this delicious dessert. By whipping aquafaba to a meringue-like loft, you can incorporate it into a rich mix of coconut cream and almond butter, to give it a texture similar to churned ice creams. Really. Most non-dairy no-churn ice creams are plenty creamy, but when frozen, become a hard block. This one can be scooped straight from the freezer, without having to sit and soften at room temperature.
Nachos! Everybody loves them, whether you get them in a Mexican restaurant, at a ball game, or make them in the microwave after a night of drinking. The combination of crunchy chips and creamy melted cheese, with a liberal embellishment of spice and salsa has all the elements that bring us back again and again. Luckily for the plant-based eaters, I’ve got a vegan nacho sauce that hits all the right notes to satisfy your nacho needs. Then we’ll shake it up a little with tangy Raspberry and Avocado Salsa, for a party in your mouth!
Don’t adjust your set, yes, the rice is blue. If you are bored with the usual rice alongside your Thai meal, here’s a colorful, healthful way to shake it up. Blue Butterfly Pea flowers are a traditional ingredient in South East Asia, and are used to make a beautiful tea, lemonade, cocktails, and yes, blue tinted rice. There’s nothing artificial about it, just brilliant blue flowers that are full of antioxidants.
Craving Creamy?Avocados Hit the Spot!
If you’ve been eating a low-fat diet, or have just gone plant-based, you may find yourself craving high-fat foods. Research shows that we are hard-wired to seek out fat. The best way to stay in balance is to eat the kinds of healthy fats that are in avocados and extra virgin olive oil. Even if you aren’t eating low-fat, we all find creamy foods pleasurable and comforting to eat. Why fight it?
Jamaica is home to I-Tal cuisine, the plant-based cooking of the Rastafarian religion. It’s also a Tropical paradise.
After researching the dish we know as rundown, I learned that it is actually a method borrowed from Indonesian sailors who traveled to the “Spice Islands” on their travels. In Indonesian cuisine, a “Rendang” is a dish simmered in coconut milk. The theory is that Jamaicans learned the method and colloquialized the name. So, it’s not about “running down” the vegetables at all. It’s about using the abundant coconuts of the Tropics to make delectable plant-based food.
I’d like to have a round of applause for the cook, long lost to history, who first combined saucy tofu with a nest of tender noodles. There are few things so simple and yet so sophisticated at the same time. These sticky sweet tofu cubes tossed with whole wheat linguine are crushably delectable, and only take minutes to prepare.
Are you intimidated by sushi? Maybe you pick up veggie sushi at the deli, where it seems like something way too hard to make at home. The plant based sushi options are limited to a few cucumber rolls at most places, and always white rice. Well, I promise you, you can make these pretty, veggie-packed, whole grain-enriched handrolls, and you don’t need any special equipment. Just a pot, a cutting board, and your hands.
For St Patrick’s Day, try my latest rendition of Colcannon, the classic potato dish of Ireland. The original is a simple dish of mashed potatoes, mixed with very buttery sautéed cabbage or kale, served with a big puddle of butter on top. The mythic Irish farmstead was built on potatoes and butter, or at least that’s how we see it, through the haze of nostalgia and imagination. In the Irish farm of my personal imagination, butter is too dear, and a creative cook summons maximum flavor from humble plants she’s got in the root cellar.
Nam Prik (or Phrik) is a dish with many many faces in its country of origin. Eggplant Nam Prik is a version of the Nam Prik Kapi of Central Thailand. It always contains chilies, but beyond that, the heat might be carried on a base of vegetables, fruits, nuts, even seafood. The classic balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet makes the puree into a tasty dip. In this version, I skipped the fermented shrimp and fish sauce, in favor of a simple dash of tamari.
When it’s cold outside, a bowl of leafy greens may not be what you are craving. May I suggest something heartier? My food processor makes it easy to turn some wintry cabbage and root veggies into a crunchy, riotously colorful salad that keeps for a week in the refrigerator. You can get all the benefits of eating raw veggies with your meals, and take a break from the same old mixed greens.
Do you love chips and dips? Perhaps in the covid days, you’ve found solace in mindlessly crushing a bag of potato chips and some onion dip, or chips and salsa? Well, I’m here to offer you a much better option. These Roasted Potato Spears with Chimichurri Dip are just as comforting, and waaaay better than those packaged chips and dips. They even give you an opportunity for mindfulness.