No-fuss seasoned tofu (gluten-free, vegan)

A couple of steps (no marinating!), about a half-hour in the oven, and you have tasty tofu seasoned the way you like it for sandwiches, tacos, rice paper rollups, or any meal. This version uses Asian flavors, but you can globe-trot and use herbs, spices, and flavorings from other cuisines. To make this recipe gluten-free, use tamari instead of soy sauce. If you’re willing to take a chance, try replacing the tofu with tempeh and using the grill instead of the oven.

Ingredients
  • super-firm tofu
  • soy sauce, ponzu sauce, or tamari
  • fresh lemon or lime juice
  • toasted sesame oil
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • fruit vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • Sriracha chili sauce or hot sauce
Method
  1. Preheat a toaster oven or regular oven to 400ºF.
  2. Slice the block of tofu crosswise into ½-inch slabs. Line a glass baking dish with aluminum foil, then set the tofu slabs in a single layer on the foil.
  3. Whisk together the soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, olive oil, vinegar, and chili sauce. Taste and adjust. Pour the sauce over the tofu, tilting the dish to make sure that all of the tofu surfaces are covered with sauce. Pour off any sauce that doesn’t stick to the tofu and save extra sauce for another purpose (to dress a salad or season rice, for example).
  4. Bake the tofu until the edges turn brown and no liquid remains in the bottom of the dish, 25 to 35 minutes. Flip the tofu, turn on the broiler, and broil until the tofu slabs are firm and browned on top, about 5 minutes more.

Creamy broccoli soup with shredded coconut (gluten-free, vegan)

The coconut oil and coconut shreds give this blended broccoli soup a tropical flair, and the potatoes give it creamy heft. You will need an immersion blender or a regular blender to blend the soup.

Ingredients
  • coconut oil
  • onion, coarsely chopped
  • potatoes, coarsely chopped
  • jalapeño chile, chopped (optional)
  • kosher salt
  • broccoli florets and stems, coarsely chopped
  • unsweetened coconut shreds
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh basil leaves, slivered, or homemade or store-bought pesto
  • sliced toasted almonds
Method
  1. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, potatoes, and chile, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown.
  2. Add water to just cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through.
  3. Stir in the broccoli and cook until bright green, 1 to 2 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender, whirl the soup until smooth but still chunky.
  4. Stir in the coconut shreds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the basil, top with almonds, and serve.

Creamed corn with potatoes, peppers + fresh basil (gluten-free, vegan)

Savory and sweet, this recipe makes a tasty side dish, a dip for chips, or a sandwich spread on tortillas or toast.

Ingredients
  • extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • onion, chopped
  • potatoes, chopped
  • green chiles, such as Anaheim or jalapeño, or sweet peppers
  • kosher salt
  • ears of fresh corn, unhusked
  • chile powder
  • turmeric powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh basil leaves, slivered
  • hot sauce or Sriracha chili sauce (optional)
Method
  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook until just softened. Stir in the potatoes, peppers, and a sprinkle of salt and cook until vegetables are cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, microwave the unhusked ears of corn until steaming or steam or boil the husked ear of corn, 2 to 3 minutes for either method. Let cool some, husk if needed, then using a box grater, grate the kernels into a bowl. Use the back of a knife to scrape off all of the kernels and the corn “milk” from the cobs. Compost the cobs and add the corn to the pan with the vegetables. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes.
  3. Using an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender, blend the vegetables to the consistency you prefer, adding water or your favorite kind of unsweetened milk. Stir in the spices, pepper, fresh basil, and hot sauce. Season to taste with salt and serve warm or at room temperature.

Pasta with green beans, potatoes + pesto (gluten-free, vegan)

If you’re a fan of pasta, potatoes, and pesto, you’ll love this combination. Inspired by a recipe from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen.

Ingredients
  • garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • seed/nut butter, such as sunflower seed butter or almond butter
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • green beans or Romano beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • red or yellow potatoes, diced
  • gluten-free pasta, such as brown rice pasta
  • pitted green olives
  • olive brine (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • toasted pine nuts
Method
  1. Toast the unpeeled garlic cloves in a dry pan over medium heat, turning occasionally, until slight char spots appear on all sides of the cloves. Transfer to a cutting board. When cool, peel and chop the garlic. Whirl the garlic, fresh herbs, seed or nut butter, and oil in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt to taste and add water, as needed, to thin the mixture. Set aside.
  2. Steam the green beans until tender. Transfer to a colander, rinse briefly with cold water, drain, and transfer beans to a large bowl. In the same pot, steam or boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and add the potatoes to the large bowl with the beans. Cover to keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and add to the large bowl with the vegetables. Stir in the pesto and the olives. Season to taste with salt or olive brine, if using, and pepper. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

Soft breakfast polenta topped with charred vegetables + eggs (gluten-free, vegetarian)

Here’s a most satisfying summer breakfast that has the smoothness of polenta, the smoky-toasty flavor of charred vegetables and chipotle powder, and the richness of cooked eggs. If you don’t have fresh corn and peppers, use chopped vegetables of your choice and cook them until charred in spots.

Ingredients
  • ears of corn
  • coarsely ground cornmeal
  • avocado oil, coconut oil, or your favorite high-heat oil
  • Padron, shishito, banana, or other thin-walled peppers or chiles, coarsely chopped
  • kosher salt
  • chipotle chile powder
  • eggs
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • hot sauce
Method
  1. Microwave unhusked ears of corn or steam husked ears of corn until barely cooked, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large cutting board, let cool, and cut kernels off the cobs.
  2. Cook cornmeal into soft polenta in the microwave or on the stovetop according to package instructions. Keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, warm oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add peppers and cook, without stirring, for a minute or two. Add corn, sprinkle with salt, and cook, stirring only occasionally, until char spots appear on the vegetables. Stir in chile powder, cover, turn off heat, and let sit.
  4. Cook eggs your favorite way.
  5. Scoop polenta into individual bowls, top with the charred vegetables, and an egg or two. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with hot sauce on the side.

Red and green coleslaw with fresh corn, green olives + pecans (gluten-free, vegan)

This colorful slaw is everything you’d want in a picnic or summer salad: tangy, crunchy, creamy, sweet, and spicy. To make it vegan and gluten-free, use an egg-free, gluten-free mustard and mayonnaise (Vegenaise is a tasty mayo choice).

Ingredients
  • ear of fresh corn, unhusked
  • red cabbage, shredded
  • green cabbage, shredded
  • fresh lemon juice
  • mayonnaise of choice
  • mustard of choice
  • caraway seeds, crushed
  • cumin seeds, crushed
  • pitted green olives, halved or sliced
  • toasted pecans, chopped
  • chile powder (optional)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method
  1. Microwave the unhusked ear of corn until steaming or steam or boil the shucked ear of corn, 2 to 3 minutes for either method. Let cool and slice the kernels from the cob into a large bowl.
  2. Add the cabbage to the bowl and drizzle with lemon juice. Stir in the mayonnaise, mustard, caraway and cumin seeds, olives, pecans, and chile powder, if using. Toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill or serve at room temperature.

Panfried broccoli stems (gluten-free, vegan)

Broccoli stems?  Yes, indeed. Broccoli oftentimes has thick, long stems. Here’s a way to use them, especially broccoli stems from the farmers’ market with their just-picked freshness and their amazing sweetness. Even with chunky stems, no peeling is needed for this recipe!

Ingredients
  • broccoli stems
  • coconut oil or oil of choice
Method
  1. Slice the stems lengthwise into quarters, then in half crosswise.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the stems and cook, covered, turning only occasionally, until the stems are soft and have some char spots on them. Season with salt to taste and serve.

Zucchini soup with sugar snap peas + potatoes (gluten-free, vegan)

This bright green blended soup is downright delicious. With late spring comes the end of sugar snap peas and fresh dill and the beginning of zucchini, peppers, and potatoes. This version (inspired by a recipe in Amy Chaplin’s At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen) combines them into a rich, sweet, and smooth success story. Ladle the soup over brown rice, pasta, or rice noodles or enjoy it on its own.

Ingredients
  • olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee
  • red or yellow onion, chopped
  • yellow potatoes, chopped
  • Padron or Anaheim peppers, chopped
  • zucchini, chopped
  • kosher salt
  • sugar snap peas
  • garlic cloves, chopped
  • fresh dill, chopped
  • black pepper
  • hot-pepper sauce (optional)
  • chopped green olives (optional)
  • green onions, sliced thinly, for garnish
Method
  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Stir in the potatoes, peppers, zucchini, and a sprinkle of salt and cook until vegetables begin to soften and brown a bit.
  2. Meanwhile, pull the strings off the sugar snap peas and thinly slice the pods. Add the peas to the pot along with filtered water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are completely cooked. Stir in the garlic and dill.
  3. Blend the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or transfer in batches to a standard blender. Reheat the soup, if needed, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and more dill. Ladle into bowls, add hot-pepper sauce and olives, if using, and garnish with the green onions.

Breakfast rice bowl topped with avocado, pickled vegetables + fried eggs (gluten-free, vegetarian)

Any main course with eggs can be turned into a savory breakfast, like this vegetarian Korean bibimbap (inspired by a recipe from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook written by the editors at America’s Test Kitchen). The quick-pickled vegetables add a lovely tang and crunch, and the eggs make it rich and satisfying. A great way to use leftover rice, brown-rice pasta, or Vietnamese rice noodles.

Pickled raw vegetables
  • raw vegetables (carrots, cabbage, green onions, red onions, sprouts, cucumber, sweet pepper, chiles, radishes or daikon, or your choice), cut into matchsticks or thinly sliced
  • vinegar (rice vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, or a combination)
Rice bowls
  • coconut oil, ghee, or olive oil
  • mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • garlic, minced
  • eggs
  • cooked brown rice, warmed
  • vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, chard, or your choice), steamed or microwaved and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into chunks
  • toasted sunflower seeds
  • toasted sliced almonds
  • cilantro, chopped
  • toasted sesame oil
  • tamari, soy sauce alternative, or soy sauce
  • hot-pepper sauce
 Method
  1. To pickle the vegetables: Place the vegetables in a single layer, if possible, in a wide bowl or glass container and cover with a mixture of vinegar and a bit of water. Chill for at least 20 minutes to marinate.
  2. To prepare the rice bowls: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their juices and begin to brown. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Fry, poach, or soft boil the eggs just enough to keep the yolks runny.
  4. Layer the rice, mushrooms, cooked vegetables, avocado, sunflower seeds, almonds, pickled vegetables, and cilantro in individual bowls, drizzle with sesame oil, tamari, and hot-pepper sauce to taste, and top with the eggs.

Broccoli with lemon grass + herbs over rice noodles (gluten-free, vegan)

Fresh lemon grass, a springtime offering at the farmers’ market, inspired this dish. Rice noodles are easy to prepare—you just soak them in hot water while you’re doing other cooking tasks; find them at Asian markets and in the international foods aisle at well-stocked grocery stores.

Ingredients
  • flat rice noodles, also called rice stick or bánh pho
  • lemon grass stalk
  • coconut oil, ghee, or olive oil
  • onion, diced
  • mushrooms, chopped
  • green chiles, such as Padron, Anaheim, or serrano, thinly sliced
  • extra-firm tofu, diced
  • broccoli, coarsely chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • fresh cilantro, basil, and mint leaves, chopped
  • green onion, thinly sliced
  • fresh lime juice
  • tamari, soy sauce substitute, or soy sauce
  • toasted sunflower seeds
Method
  1. Put the rice noodles in a large bowl and pour in boiling water until the noodles are submerged. Cover and let stand, stirring occasionally, until noodles are soft, 10–20 minutes. Drain, return to the bowl, and cover to keep warm.
  2. Trim off and discard the hard bottom and the dry green top of the lemon grass, leaving about 4 inches of stalk. Peel off and discard a few layers of the stalk until you find the shiny inner stalk. Smash the stalk with the back of a wooden spoon or the blade of a chef’s knife. Slice thinly and mince. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms, stir, and cook for a minute or two. Stir in chiles and tofu and cook until bits start to brown on the bottom of the pan. Add broccoli, garlic, and reserved lemon grass to the pan, cover, and cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli is bright green and slightly softened. Stir in the herbs and green onion. Season to taste with lime juice and tamari, serve over the rice noodles, and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.