Here is a hearty, simple weekday meal, or turn it into a weekend brunch by topping with an egg or two. You can make the sauce a day ahead and cook the greens in the sauce just before serving. Any leftover tomatoey greens taste great over grains or pasta. Inspired by the grits at Kafe Leopold in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
water and/or unsweetened milk of choice (such as coconut, soy, almond, or rice milk)
white or yellow corn grits, such as Bob’s Red Mill brand, or coarse polenta
olive tapenade or pitted Kalamata olives or green olives, chopped
fresh rosemary leaves
fresh parsley, chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
greens (kale, spinach, Swiss chard, or beet tops), stems discarded and leaves cut into ribbons
fresh basil, shredded
Make the tomato sauce. Stir in the red pepper flakes and half of the garlic, turn the heat to low, and keep warm, stirring occasionally.
In a saucepan, bring water and/or milk (3 parts liquid to 1 part grits) to a simmer. Stir in the grits and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the olive tapenade, the rosemary, and the remaining garlic and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the grits are completely soft. Stir in half of the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low and keep warm, stirring occasionally.
Raise the heat on the tomato sauce, add the greens, and cook to your preferred doneness. Stir in the basil and remaining parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve, ladle the grits into individual bowls and top with the tomatoey greens.
Do you have leftover rice, grains, beans, or lentils in your fridge? These tacos are a perfect way to use them at any meal and are oh so good, even if a bit messy.
extra-virgin olive oil
serrano chile or jalapeño chile, thinly sliced (optional)
Padron, Guindilla, or green bell peppers, cut into small dice
cooked rice, grains, beans, or lentils or a mixture
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
store-bought or homemade salsa (optional)
hot-pepper sauce (optional)
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the serrano, if using, in one layer and cook, undisturbed, until sizzling. Stir in the onion, peppers, and mushrooms. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until completely soft and browned in places. Stir in the cooked rice, grains, beans, and/or lentils. Add the fennel seeds and cook until the mixture is heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
During the last few minutes of cooking, warm the tortillas in a toaster or toaster oven or wrap in a kitchen towel and microwave. Fill the warm tortillas with the vegetable mixture, top with avocado slices, salsa, and hot-pepper sauce, and enjoy.
A tasty main-course salad, this dish’s ingredients are very flexible. Feel free to add or replace with any other chopped raw vegetables that you have on hand—carrots, celery, radishes, daikon, jicama, snow peas or sugar snap peas—it just depends on how much energy you have to prep them. If you have the interest, consider adding chopped grilled vegetables, such as zucchini or roasted potatoes. Blanching the cabbage in boiling water and cooling it in ice water mellows the flavor a bit but retains the crunchiness.
small green cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces
frozen shelled edamame
soba noodles or brown rice spaghetti
green onions, thinly sliced
Asian, Persian, or English cucumber, quartered and sliced
mushrooms, thickly sliced
fresh corn cut from the cob or rinsed canned corn kernels (optional)
sweet peppers, chopped
jalapeño chile, thinly sliced (optional)
rice vinegar or vinegar of choice
toasted sesame oil
Sriracha chili sauce
tamari or soy sauce
fresh cilantro, chopped
slivered toasted almonds
toasted sesame seeds
toasted sunflower seeds
super-firm tofu or seasoned tofu, cubed
medium-boiled egg per person, peeled (optional)
Have ready a bowl of ice water. Blanch the cabbage for 1 or 2 minutes in boiling water and immediately transfer to the ice water to stop the cooking. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, cook the edamame according to the package directions and chill more ice water. Drain the edamame, submerge in the ice water, drain again, and add to the bowl with the cabbage.
Cook the noodles according to the package directions and chill more ice water. Drain the noodles, submerge in the ice water, drain again, and add to the bowl.
Add the green onions, cucumbers, mushrooms, corn, sweet peppers, and jalapeño to the bowl.
Prepare the dressing by drizzling the salad with a little vinegar, sesame oil, Sriracha, and tamari. Sprinkle with cilantro, almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and tofu. Toss, taste, and adjust the seasonings.
If you’ve never tasted homemade tomato sauce, you’re in for a treat. So easy, you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before. Be sure to include cherry tomatoes, but be warned—their tomatoey intensity is addicting!
This sauce works over rice or vegetables, as an enchilada sauce, to enhance a soup, as a salad dressing base, or, obviously, with pasta.
mixed shapes, sizes, and colors of fresh tomatoes, stems removed
kosher salt (optional)
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add whole cherry tomatoes to the pan. Halve medium-sized tomatoes and coarsely chop large tomatoes and add to the pan. Cover and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally to break up the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a bit of salt, if desired. Lower the heat to low, partially cover the pan, and cook until the sauce thickens a bit (the sauce will thicken as it cools). Use right away or let cool, transfer to an airtight glass container, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Lots of options for using these little, savory baked goodies: inside a pita instead of falafel, in a taco or burrito, on a pizza, with spaghetti marinara, inside lettuce cups or fresh spring rolls, on a salad, etc. Feel free to add or omit seasonings—the recipe is very flexible!
split peas, rinsed
granulated garlic or garlic, minced
chipotle chile powder or other chile powder (optional)
fresh lemon juice
Dijon mustard or prepared mustard of choice
tamari or coconut aminos
flour of choice (chickpea, rice, coconut, gluten-free, whole wheat, etc.)
kosher salt and ground black pepper
In a large saucepan, bring water (1½ parts water to 1 part split peas) to a boil, add the split peas, and simmer, covered, until very soft, checking to see if more water is needed. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peas to a large bowl.
Add the potatoes to the same saucepan plus water to cover and simmer until very soft. Drain, add to the split peas, and mash with a fork.
Add the carrot, onion, garlic, cumin, thyme, chile powder, lemon juice, mustard, tomato paste, and tamari. With a rubber or silicone spatula, mix the ingredients together, adding enough flour to make the mixture sticky. Taste and adjust with salt, pepper, or any of the other seasonings.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Form the mixture into small balls and place on the prepared pan. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Pull the pan out of the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking. Bake, turning the pan as needed for even baking. When the balls are browned but slightly soft when squeezed, turn on the broiler and broil until completely crispy, making sure they don’t burn. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Here’s a salute to summer zucchini. For a main dish, add a large quantity of the vegetables to serve over your favorite grain or pasta; for a first-course soup, add more juicy tomatoes. Instead of the mix of spices listed, use any spice mix or grill rub that you enjoy.
extra-virgin olive oil
mushrooms, thickly sliced
red onion, chopped
sweet peppers, chopped
jalapeño chile, sliced
chopped fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes with juices
zucchini, sliced into thick rounds
super-firm tofu, cubed (optional)
mixed ground spices (such as cayenne, caraway, cumin, coriander, and garlic powder)
freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh parsley
Warm the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms in one layer and cook, without stirring, until browned. Lower the heat to medium. Stir in the onion, peppers, and chile, cover, and cook until softened. Stir in the tomatoes and sprinkle with salt, cover, and cook until the tomatoes are cooked through. Add the zucchini and tofu, cover, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is soft. If the mixture becomes dry, add a splash of water.
Stir in the mixed spices and cook a minute longer. Season with salt to taste and a few grinds of pepper, sprinkle with the parsley, drizzle with some olive oil, and serve.
A hearty main course, this loaf isn’t difficult to make, even though the ingredient list looks intimidating. The recipe is forgiving—you can flavor it with whatever seasonings and herbs you enjoy. Instead of the chia seeds, you can crack in an egg to help bind the loaf together. Inspired by posts on Vegan Richa and Naturally Ella.
rolled oats (gluten-free, if desired)
raw sunflower seeds
cooked brown rice
fresh cilantro or parsley, coarsely chopped
granulated or fresh garlic
herbes de Provence or dried herbs (such as thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, and fennel)
nutritional yeast (optional)
Dijon mustard or prepared mustard of choice (optional)
fresh lemon juice (optional)
tamari or soy sauce
chili sauce or paste (optional)
freshly ground pepper
In a small glass measuring pitcher, combine 3 parts water to 1 part chia seeds: to replace 1 egg, combine 2 fluid ounces water with 10 grams chia seeds. Whisk to blend well and place in the refrigerator to gel.
In a dry pan or in the toaster oven, toast the oats, walnuts, pecans, and sunflower seeds until fragrant and lightly browned (watch so they don’t burn). Let cool slightly.
Add the toasted oats and the rice to the bowl of a food processor and process until a coarse texture. Add the walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, onion, cilantro, garlic, dried herbs, nutritional yeast, mustard, lemon juice, tamari, chili sauce, paprika, pepper, and chia mixture. Process, adding a tablespoonful of water at a time and scraping down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Process until the nuts and seeds release their oils and the mixture becomes sticky.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to overhang on the sides to make handles for easy loaf removal after baking.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and level the loaf’s surface. In a small bowl, whisk together some tomato paste with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar until well blended. Pour the glaze on the loaf and spread with a spatula or spoon to completely cover the top.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake until the loaf edges begin to brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the glaze dries and darkens a bit, about 10 minutes longer.
Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Lift out the loaf using the parchment paper handles and cool on the rack until you can lift the loaf off of the parchment and onto a cutting board without it crumbling in the middle. Let sit another 5 minutes, then cut into slices with a large serrated knife. Serve right away or keep the loaf slices warm in a low-temperature toaster oven until serving.
Using store-bought precooked polenta in a log, all you need to do is slice and panfry (or broil oil-tossed slices) until crispy. The fresh tomato sauce comes together in no time and is poured over when ready to serve. This dish is tasty as is, but it is also versatile, taking on a different flavor profile depending on which additional optional topping you choose. (Inspired by a recipe by Naturally Ella)
packaged precooked polenta log
avocado oil, coconut oil, or other high-temperature oil
Thinly slice the polenta, about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the avocado oil. Carefully add the polenta slices (watch out for the oil spattering). Panfry, undisturbed—very important or the polenta slices will turn to mush—until the oil no longer bubbles around the slices (indicating that the liquid in the slices has evaporated) and lifting a crispy slice with a spatula is easy, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side until both sides are crispy. Place the slices on the paper towels to drain.
Meanwhile, coarsely chop the herbs. Cut the regular tomatoes into eighths and halve the grape and cherry tomatoes.
In the same frying pan over medium heat, add the tomatoes with a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. When the tomatoes release their juices, stir in some red pepper flakes, the chopped herbs, and a few grindings of black pepper.
Arrange the polenta slices on a serving platter in a single layer. Pour the tomato-herb sauce evenly over the polenta, top with pine nuts, and serve, allowing each person to choose from the optional additional toppings.