The Real Food Journal

Robin Asbell is your experienced guide to cooking and eating healthfully, sustainably, and deliciously. Her cookbooks, articles and blog are valuable resources for anyone interested in the good life with good food.

Tostadas and Salsa-All On the Grill!

Tostadas and Salsa-All On the Grill!

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.

Purslane and Glazed Tofu Summer Rolls, Eat Your Weeds

Purslane and Glazed Tofu Summer Rolls, Eat Your Weeds

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.

Lighten Up with Cantaloupe Kanten

Lighten Up with Cantaloupe Kanten

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.

No-Churn Almond Ice Cream with Homemade Chocolate Sauce for Summer Fun!

No-Churn Almond Ice Cream with Homemade Chocolate Sauce for Summer Fun!

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.

Creamy Fudgesicles, a Summertime Favorite

Creamy Fudgesicles, a Summertime Favorite

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 Chickpea B’Stilla-Sweet, Savory and Showy

Moroccan Chickpea B’Stilla-Sweet, Savory and Showy

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.

Cheezy Nachos with Raspberry Avocado Salsa

Cheezy Nachos with Raspberry Avocado Salsa

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!

Blue Butterfly Pea Rice with Veggies and Satay Sauce

Blue Butterfly Pea Rice with Veggies and Satay Sauce

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.