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.
When I’m out in the world, teaching and speaking about food, I meet people who say they are too busy to cook. Life gets crazy, things pile up, and the next thing you know, you’re eating chips out of a bag, or picking up take-out. Either of those options will fill you up, but it’s probably not going to nourish you the way you deserve to be nourished. It is also a waste of money to eat take out, when you can make a meal for just a few bucks at home.That’s where this One-Pan Spaghetti with Chickpeas comes in. Grab a big pot and start sautéing half a chopped onion, and while it softens, chop some garlic, grate some lemon zest, halve grape tomatoes, chop a carrot. Don’t bother to put on a pot of water to cook the spaghetti-it’s going to cook in the pot with the veggies!
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.
I usually steer clear of talking about weight loss. There are plenty of people hyping products and pitching miracle weight loss foods. That’s not my thing at all- I believe in eating a balanced diet of real, whole foods. But yes, sometimes I get out of balance and start adding on a pound or two. That is when I steer toward foods that are filling but lower in calories. This Cantaloupe and Raspberry Kanten is a perfect snack or dessert for those moments.
Lately, I’ve been hearing that faraway chime that quickens my heart, although it’s been years since I bought anything from the ice cream truck. The repetitive tune is Proustian, striking a spot in my brain that connects it to lazy summer afternoons of long ago. Those endless, nowhere-to-be and nothing-important-to-do kinds of days were made extra special by the arrival of the “Jingle Skoot” truck, with icy sweet confections for a few pieces of change. Like Fudgesicles.
Moroccan food is a treasure trove of plant based flavors. Their traditional dishes, like tagine, are usually graced with plenty of vegetables, spices, sweet and tart balance, and fresh herbs. When I visit Moroccan restaurants, though, the vegetarian tagine is usually pretty bland, while the meat based dishes get all the attention. That is why I like to make my own versions of Moroccan food, and borrow the combinations from the meaty recipes and use them to make spectacularly tasty plant based dishes.
Like this Moroccan B’Stilla. Based on a pie usually made with poultry, this one is packed with dried fruit, spices, chickpeas, almonds, and a hit of coconut milk and lemon. Instead of the hard-to-find Brik pastry, I used easy to get filo dough, and basted it with refined coconut oil instead of butter. The result is a gorgeous, bronzed ruffle of crisp filo, encasing an intense, sweet-savory filling.
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.
Everybody loves calzones! These plant based calzones are packed with nutty chickpeas and pecan pesto, and wrapped in whole grain dough. Engineered to be as easy as possible, this recipe gives you a no-knead pizza dough as well as the simple calzones, made with canned chickpeas. Super tasty vegan Italian food!
When you make a true Buddha Bowl, you are making nourishing food, above all. But I like to add an element of mindfulness to the assembly and eating of the bowl, too. Take a moment to center yourself and breathe before you start cooking. Take a moment to look at your gorgeous ingredients and think about all the people who grew them, harvested them, and transported them to you. It may seem like a simple beet or bunch of kale, but it’s the result of many hands and hearts. Let yourself feel gratitude for all the people and all the energy that went into your meal. Be grateful to be here, able to have all this, right now.
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?
For Earth Day, it’s time to take a look at your impact on the Earth. Recycling, driving and flying less, and planting pollinator gardens are all good places to start. But if you want to have a powerful impact on the health of the planet, the lives of animals, and more, you might want to eat more plants. That’s the underlying message of the new book Eat Meat Less, from the Jane Goodall Institute.
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.
Big Fat Burritos Rule. Something about rolling the whole meal into a bundle that you can hold in your hands makes the big burrito an ideal food delivery system. A truly epic burrito layers in complementary flavors and textures, to make each bite exciting. My Big Fat Burrito delivers a riot of flavors in every mouthful.
And you don’t need a fork.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Big burritos are big business, and places like Chipotle crank out millions of them every day. It’s easy to skip the takeout line, and make your own burritos. At home, you can stuff them with tender roasted veggies, quinoa and avocado.
The sexy, stimulating chemistry of chocolate is all well and good, but the truth is, we loooove the taste of chocolate. Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a luscious treat that delivers the cacao. These pretty little cakes are chocolate-y enough to thrill, but light enough to keep you from passing out on the couch.
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.
This Big Greens Soup is a great way to make sure you eat your leafy greens, deliciously. According to the CDC, only 9% of Americans actually eat the recommended amount of vegetables.
This dish is made from plants, from the grains in the noodles, to the beans that were transformed into soy sauce. That’s a given. But whenever I cook, I try to add a few more vegetables. Get that noodle to veggie ratio just right, so it feels like a bowl of slippery noodles, but it’s also a bowl of fresh, crunchy veggies. I love my carbs, and I look at them as the comforting, lovable friends they are. But the veg to noodle ratio should be balanced a little toward the veg side. This dish achieves the right mix, with just enough noodles, and just the right amount of snappy snap peas and crisp carrots.
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.
These Crunchy Avocado Tacos are a fun, deliriously tasty way to eat your fave hand-held, and I promise everyone will love them. The combination of lush avocado and a crispy shell flecked with panko crumbs is just sooo good.
Do you crave some comfort? We are all feeling it. I’m forging ahead with all the healthful piles of plants that I usually serve, and feeling good about it. But a balanced life also affords us a little treat. Like these caramel-drenched, walnut-studded Monkey Biscuits.
Once you have these made, just store them in a jar in the refrigerator. They keep for a couple of months, if they last that long. Whether you sprinkle dukkah on a salad, or a bowl of hummus, you’ll be so glad you have it. Gomasio makes its way onto everything from a bowl of quinoa to a toasted bagel at my house. I know it will make your life more delicious, too!
Winter Squash and Wild Rice for the Season Everybody needs a little comfort right now. It's cold out, and these are challenging times. What better way to warm up than to turn on the oven and bake some tender, fluffy muffins? These are perfect for cozy breakfasts at...