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.

Craving Creamy? Avocado Ice Cream and Pasta!

Craving Creamy? Avocado Ice Cream and Pasta!

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?

Jane Goodall Wants You to Eat Meat Less

Jane Goodall Wants You to Eat Meat Less

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.

Make Jamaican Rundown

Make Jamaican Rundown

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.

Yes, You Can Make Sushi Handrolls

Yes, You Can Make Sushi Handrolls

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.

Big.Fat.Burritos.

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.

Celebrate St Pat’s With Colcannon

Celebrate St Pat’s With Colcannon

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.

Learn to Love Eggplant in Nam Prik

Learn to Love Eggplant in Nam Prik

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.

Save Time, Shred Your Salad

Save Time, Shred Your Salad

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.