It’s summer here in Northern California, and the farmers’ markets are chock-full of gorgeous, colorful ripe tomatoes. Marinating them is a way to preserve the harvest a bit longer (store them airtight in the refrigerator). Serve them strained or with the marinade. Below are some ideas for using them, but can you think of other ways?
ripe tomatoes, diced, reserving their juices
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
fresh mixed herbs (such as basil, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, and parsley)
jalapeño chile (optional)
In a large bowl, add the tomatoes with their juices. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the garlic, herbs, and jalapeño and toss until combined.
Let marinate at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for at least 2 hours.
Ways to use the marinated tomatoes
For appetizers, place some strained tomato on each cracker.
Toast a slice of bread, spread with avocado, and top with the strained tomatoes.
In a baking dish, add a layer of the tomatoes and their marinade. Top with thinly sliced onion, olives, and raw seeds and nuts of choice or breadcrumbs. Bake until browned.
For lasagne, use the tomatoes and their marinade instead of canned tomatoes.
Make a salad of lettuce, chickpeas, olives, green onions, and parsley and toss with the tomatoes and their marinade, olive oil, and either lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
Stuff a warmed whole-wheat pita with hummus, tahini, the strained tomatoes, sliced cucumber, arugula or lettuce, and hot sauce.
Toss the tomatoes and their marinade with hot pasta and parsley.
Spread a whole-grain pizza dough with pesto, the strained tomatoes, and roasted red peppers and bake.
Top a bowl of lentils and rice or your favorite summer soup with the tomatoes and their marinade and parsley and/or cilantro.
Warm a corn tortilla and fill with the strained tomatoes, avocado slices, beans of choice, cilantro, and lettuce.
Looking for something revolutionary to do with that head of cauliflower in your fridge? Try making hummus, swapping in cauliflower for the usual chickpeas. Really. There’s no way to convince you until you just do it.
Inspired by a recipe from the cookbook Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables.
cauliflower, coarsely chopped
fresh lemon juice
salt or green olives, chopped
chile powder or cayenne
vegetable broth, water, or a few cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
cilantro or parsley leaves
toasted sunflower seeds
green onions, thinly sliced
toasted tortillas broken into chips or store-bought tortilla chips
Steam or microwave the cauliflower until tender. Spread on a kitchen towel to bring to room temperature. Transfer to a food processor and whirl until finely chopped. Add the garlic, tahini, oil, lemon juice, salt or green olives, and chile powder or cayenne and whirl until thick and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. If the hummus is too dry, add vegetable broth, water, or the tomatoes and continue processing until smooth. Add the cilantro or parsley and whirl until chopped.
Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl. Stir in the sunflower seeds and green onions. Serve with chips and crudités or however you serve hummus.
The sweetness of beets pairs nicely with savory toasted sesame oil, tangy rice vinegar and lime juice, and creamy avocado. If you can find multicolored beets, you’ll have a truly eye-catching dish.
beets (such as red, golden, and/or Chioggia)
green onions, thinly sliced
chopped cilantro (optional)
toasted sesame oil
tamari, coconut aminos, or soy sauce
fresh lime juice (optional)
Halve or quarter the beets, depending on their size. Add to a saucepan, cover with water and a lid, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until you can easily pierce the beets with a fork. Pour out the cooking water and cover the beets with cold water. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skins using your fingers.
Dice the beets and add to a serving bowl. Add the green onions, sesame seeds, cilantro, and almonds. In a small bowl or measuring cup with a spout, mix the sesame oil, rice vinegar, tamari, and lime juice or just drizzle each on top of the salad and toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the avocado, toss gently, and serve.
Cut the cucumber in quarters lengthwise then crosswise into quarter-moons and add to the bowl with the tofu. Add the cilantro, green onions, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds and toss together. Drizzle in toasted sesame oil, tamari, rice vinegar, and lime juice. Toss again to combine. Taste, adjust the seasonings, and serve, or let marinate, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
As an appetizer or main course, these filled mushroom caps taste great warm or at room temp, so they can travel to a picnic or potluck. Inspired by a post on cearaskitchen.com.
large cremini or button mushrooms
onion or shallots, finely chopped
fresh or dried thyme
herbes de Provence
fresh tomato, chopped, or tomato paste whisked in water or broth
walnuts, finely chopped
pine nuts, finely chopped
jalapeño chile, minced, or red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Remove the mushroom stems, chop them, and reserve. Place the mushroom caps, gill sides up, on the prepared baking sheet.
In a large pan over medium heat, warm some oil and cook the onion, garlic, thyme, and herbes de Provence until the onion has softened. Add the tomato and reserved chopped mushroom stems. Cook for a couple of minutes until soft. Stir in the walnuts and pine nuts, jalapeño, and nutritional yeast and cook for another couple of minutes. Season the filling with turmeric and pepper and stir.
Mound each mushroom cap with some filling, patting the filling firmly in place. When all are filled, bake for about 15 minutes, then broil as needed so the tops of the filling are slightly crispy and the caps are soft. Serve.
Don’t know what to do with some fresh herbs lurking in the fridge or growing in your kitchen garden? Here’s a no-cook, very versatile topping to perk up a bowl of soup or a pasta or rice dish. Great also as a spread on a taco or pita pocket. For a little more substance, blend in some chickpeas or hummus.
lettuce leaves of choice (such as romaine, green leaf, or red leaf), coarsely chopped
In a blender, place the almonds, pine nuts, and garlic with a splash of broth. Blend until coarsely ground. Add the herbs, jalapeño, capers, and lettuce and blend together, adding more broth to make it creamy. Taste and adjust the flavor, adding more lettuce if too spicy.
Some people might call this a bread stuffing and make it only on holidays. But this casserole is comfort food anytime. For bread choices, consider using both sweet (whole wheat raisin bread?) and savory (rye or olive bread?). For the homemade broth, simmer the fennel tops from the fennel bulb in more than 4 cups of water while you prepare the other ingredients. Inspired by a Jacques Pépin recipe.
assorted breads (1 pound total)
sweet pepper, chopped
jalapeño chile, minced (optional)
fennel bulb, chopped
herbes de Provence spice blend (thyme, oregano, marjoram, savory, rosemary, and lavender)
Slice the bread and toast in a toaster or toaster oven until hard then cut into 1-inch pieces, or cut into 1-inch pieces and toast on a baking sheet in a 400ºF oven until hard. Transfer the bread to a large bowl.
Preheat or lower the oven to 375ºF. In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm some olive oil. Add the onion, mushrooms, pepper, jalapeño, fennel bulb, herbes de Provence, sage, and nutmeg and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Pour in the broth and stir.
Transfer the vegetable-broth mixture to the bowl with the bread. Stir in the almonds, parsley, chard, garlic, shallot, and edamame with a sprinkle of more herbes de Provence. Pour into a baking dish (you might need two baking dishes, depending on volume). Cover with foil and bake, checking to see if more broth is needed, until completely cooked through and much of the broth is taken up by the bread, up to 60 minutes.
Just a few flavor-packed ingredients make this salad toasty, tangy, and sweet. If you have carrots in the fridge, dice them and roast them along with the beets.
beets of choice (red, golden, and Chioggia beets)
kale of choice, tough center ribs removed
toasted sesame oil
fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Trim the beet tops and bottoms and scrub the beets until clean. Cut into bite-size pieces. Toss with olive oil, transfer to the prepared baking sheet, and bake until the beets are soft and the edges are browned. Remove from the oven and let cool. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Meanwhile, cut the kale leaves into ribbons and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with a couple of pinches of salt. With your hands, massage the salt into the kale leaves until the leaves turn darker and begin to soften and release their moisture. Transfer to a salad spinner, wash off the salt, and spin dry.
Add the kale, almonds, and sesame seeds to the bowl with the beets. Drizzle with sesame oil and balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more oil, vinegar, and salt and/or a sprinkle of lemon juice.
Although great to enhance pizza/pasta sauce, to top bowls of soup, rice, and noodles, or on its own as a dip, this spread will likely find other ways to become part of your repertoire. Look for a brand of roasted peppers that are seasoned with salt, garlic, and olive oil, such as Trader Joe’s brand; otherwise, consider adding those seasonings to the ingredients below. Inspired by a post on the Green Kitchen Stories blog.
jarred roasted red and/or yellow peppers, preferably Trader Joe’s brand Fire-Roasted Yellow & Red Peppers (see note)
almond meal or almond flour
jalapeño chile, chopped (optional)
nutritional yeast (optional)
In a blender, add the roasted red peppers, a handful of walnuts, some almond meal, a couple of tablespoons tahini, some ground cumin, jalapeño, tomato, and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
Taste and adjust the seasonings to suit your palate.
A vegan egg-like scramble made with chickpea flour? Sounds unbelievable. But you will be amazed at how delicious this vegetable scramble is. Find chickpea flour at well-stocked grocers (garbanzo bean flour by Bob’s Red Mill) or under the name “besan” or “chana besan flour” at Indian markets, where you will also find the Indian black salt (kala namak), which adds an eggy flavor. A seasoned cast-iron skillet or a nonstick frying pan should help with the chickpea flour’s tendency to stick. Great served with corn tortillas and hot sauce or salsa. Inspired by a post on the Connoisseurus Veg blog.
½ cupchickpea flour
nutritional yeast flakes
smoked paprika or sweet paprika
kala namak (Indian black salt), smoked salt, or kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
¾ cup liquid (such as plant-based milk, fresh tomatoes blended with water, or plain water)
mushrooms, thinly sliced
small onion, diced
small sweet pepper, diced
small jalapeño chile, minced
spinach or other greens, chopped
garlic cloves,minced, or garlic powder
To make the batter: Stir together the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, turmeric, paprika, kala namak (start with ¼ teaspoon; you can add more when serving), and pepper in a small bowl. Add the liquid and whisk until completely blended. Set aside.
To cook the vegetables: In a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat, warm some olive oil. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook until lightly browned. Add the sweet pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the spinach and garlic and cook until the spinach is wilted and the garlic is very fragrant. Transfer to a plate.
Coat the inside of the skillet with the olive oil. Stir the batter, then pour into the skillet. Let it cook, undisturbed, until the batter begins to firm up around the edges, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape it into chunks. Cook until about the firmness of scrambled eggs and lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Return the sautéed vegetables to the skillet, stir and flip a few times to blend, and serve.