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.

Sweet Potato and Artichoke Salad

Sweet Potato and Artichoke Salad

Do you want a salad that really says “Fall?” A little more substantial, delicious warm, with some cooked vegetables as well as raw? This Mediterranean-inspired sweet potato salad delivers a riot of colors, flavors, and textures to wake your palate from its slumber. With tender sweet potato cubes, crunchy celery and peppers, tangy olives and capers, and a garlicky lemon dressing, this is sure to be your new Fall favorite.

Roasted Tomato Sauce, Make Pasta, Freeze the Rest

Roasted Tomato Sauce, Make Pasta, Freeze the Rest

I didn’t have a huge harvest this week, but that’s the great thing about this method. 10 tomatoes, 60 tomatoes, it works either way. Just halve them, roast them, puree them. Use them today, in this easy pasta, or freeze the sauce for later. My small pile of tomatoes made about 3 cups of puree, and I used 1 cup for this pasta. The rest went into the freezer, for winter pasta feasts, soups, and other uses.

Moroccan Carrot and Tart Cherry Salad- Meal Prep Salad

Moroccan Carrot and Tart Cherry Salad- Meal Prep Salad

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.

Have You Tried Long Beans?

Have You Tried Long Beans?

If you haven’t tried Long Beans yet, I hope you’ll find your local Asian Market or Farmer’s Market and seek them out. They look like your usual green beans, but when you serve a platter of Long Beans and Mock Duck in Black Bean Sauce, everyone will want to know how you made green beans taste so much better than usual.Long beans are similar to green beans in appearance and use, but are actually from the cowpea family. They are picked while immature, so that the pods are tender and the seeds are small and mild. The flavor of long beans is often compared to asparagus, if you can imagine a green bean-asparagus hybrid. I’m not sure that I get that flavor, but I do find the taste of long beans much more complex and interesting than regular green beans. They stand up to strong flavors, like this black bean and garlic sauce.

Plum and Crystallized Ginger Crisp

Plum and Crystallized Ginger Crisp

It’s one of the great ironies of life that the best fruit for baking is always ripe when it’s too hot to bake. I know, I know, tart cherries and peaches and plums are special summer treats, and I should revel in the chance to stand by my hot oven and bake. Of course, you can always freeze your fruit to bake later, as I often do with my tart cherries, or the Peach harvest. My best solution is the simple crisp. It bakes in about 35 minutes, and requires very little effort. This Plum and Crystallized Ginger Crisp is a sweet and juicy way to celebrate my locally grown plums.

Watch Me Save Basil and Make a Pasta on TCL!

Watch Me Save Basil and Make a Pasta on TCL!

My most popular YouTube video is all about the Best Way To Save Fresh Basil. I went on TCL to show my popular method, and to make a really quick and easy Creamy Ricotta Pasta with Basil. Watch the video and share with your basil-loving friends.

Inari and Onigiri with Fresh Shiso Leaf

Inari and Onigiri with Fresh Shiso Leaf

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.

Thai Tofu and Tomato Salad

Thai Tofu and Tomato Salad

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.

Creamy Cauliflower Curry-Fast and Easy

Creamy Cauliflower Curry-Fast and Easy

I love a meal that I can just throw together and simmer for a bit, and thanks to flavorful ingredients, it tastes like you have labored for hours. In this Creamy Cauliflower Curry with Beans, Coconut milk and canned beans are the time-savers. In stead of soaking and cooking beans, I devoted a little time to chopping cauliflower and carrots. I even had time to mince fresh turmeric and ginger, for an authentic flavor that really brought it to another level.

Red Beans and Collards over Sesame Brown Rice

Red Beans and Collards over Sesame Brown Rice

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.

An Italian Feast of Broccolini with Pesto

An Italian Feast of Broccolini with Pesto

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?