Brown rice sauté with asparagus, fresh fava beans + fresh herbs (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

Made all in one pan, this dish is an homage to spring. Although the ingredient list includes spring onions and green garlic, it’s perfectly fine to use regular onion and garlic cloves. One cup of rice will cook up to quite a bit. Fresh green fava beans have an outer pod and an inner shell, and although most recipes ask you to blanch the beans and then peel away the inner shell, you don’t need to do that extra work for this dish.

Ingredients
  • olive oil or oil of choice
  • spring onions, white and light green parts, chopped
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • brown rice
  • fresh fava beans, pods removed but inner shells unpeeled
  • asparagus, bottoms trimmed, spears sliced into 1-in pieces, and 2-in tips reserved separately
  • green garlic, white and light green parts, chopped
  • mixed fresh herbs (such as mint, basil, cilantro, parsley, and dill), minced
  • freshly ground pepper
  • green chile hot sauce or salsa of choice, tamari, or balsamic vinegar for serving
Method
  1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and cook for a minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and leave brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Stir in the rice, cover, and cook for a minute or two. Add enough water to cover the mixture, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, adding more water as needed so the rice doesn’t stick, until the rice is almost done.
  2. Stir in the fava beans, asparagus spears, and garlic. Cover and cook until the fava beans and asparagus are barely soft, then add the asparagus tips. Continue cooking until the vegetables are done to your liking.  Stir in the fresh herbs, pepper, and hot sauce and serve.

Onion soup with white beans + cabbage (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian)

Probably the last wintery soup recipe, as spring ingredients are starting to appear at the farmers’ market. For easier peeling of cipollini onions: trim the tops and bottoms, soak the onions in hot water for a few minutes, slip off the outer skin, and chop.

Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • bay leaves
  • fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced or grated
  • cipollini onions or onions of choice, chopped
  • green garlic, white and light green parts, thinly sliced or garlic cloves, minced
  • leeks, white and light green parts, halved and sliced into half-moons
  • fresh tomato, chopped, or tomato paste (optional)
  • cabbage, cut into 1-inch dice
  • cooked white beans, rinsed if canned
  • super-firm tofu, cubed (optional)
  • fennel seeds
  • caraway seeds
  • dried chipotle flakes or red pepper flakes
  • miso or your vegetable broth mix of choice
  • hot water
  • fresh or dried oregano
  • fresh parsley
  • black pepper
Method
  1. In a soup pot over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the bay leaves and ginger and cook for a minute. Stir in the onions and cook for a minute, then turn down to medium-low, and cook until very soft and starting to brown. Add the garlic and leeks and cook until softened. Raise the heat to medium, add the tomato, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato breaks down and creates a sauce. Add the cabbage, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage wilts. Lower the heat to medium-low, stir in the beans, tofu, fennel, caraway, and chipotle flakes, and cover.
  2. Meanwhile, put the miso in a small heatproof bowl. Add a small amount of hot water and whisk until the miso is well combined into the water. Pour the miso mixture into the soup. Taste the soup broth and, if needed, repeat to add more miso. Remove from the heat (do not let the soup boil after you add the miso).
  3. Remove the bay leaves. Season the soup with oregano, parsley, and black pepper and serve.

Tortilla pie with greens, homemade sauce + pepitas (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

Here’s a simple way to enjoy the taste of enchiladas while using any leftover cooked beans or cooked or raw vegetables hiding in your fridge (almost any bits work). If you have a round casserole dish about the size of the corn tortillas, the finished product resembles a deep-dish pie. For a milder allium flavor, use green onions or leeks, or sauté the onion and garlic before blending with the other sauce ingredients. To add a hot, smoky flavor, use chipotle chiles with or instead of the dried chiles. For crunch when serving, toast some additional tortillas and break into chips or serve with store-bought tortilla chips. Inspired by recipes from Decolonize Your Diet.

Ingredients
  • dried chiles, such as guajillo or ancho
  • onion, chopped
  • garlic, chopped
  • cilantro, chopped
  • tomatoes, fresh or canned, chopped
  • cauliflower florets, chopped
  • firm tofu, chopped
  • jalapeño chile, chopped
  • cooked beans (optional)
  • cumin powder
  • dried oregano
  • chopped pitted briny olives of choice (optional)
  • kosher salt
  • corn tortillas
  • greens (such as beet greens, chard, kale, or collards), stemmed and slivered
  • raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Method
  1. Toast the chiles whole in a dry pan over medium heat for a minute or so. Transfer to a heatproof container and submerge in hot water until soft, about 10 minutes. Stem, seed, and coarsely tear them, then add to a food processor or blender, reserving the soaking liquid if needed to thin the sauce.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375º. Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, tomatoes, cauliflower, tofu, jalapeño, beans, cumin, oregano, and olives to the food processor. Whirl into a coarse sauce, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl and to add some chile soaking liquid if needed to thin the sauce. Season to taste with salt.
  3. In the bottom of a casserole dish, spread a generous layer of sauce, top with a layer of tortillas, then continue layering with greens, sauce, and tortillas to fill the dish, ending with a layer of tortillas. Cover, place on a baking sheet, and bake until the sauce is bubbling, about 50 minutes. Uncover, flip over the top layer of tortillas, sprinkle a solid layer of pepitas over the soft sides of the tortillas, and bake until the pepitas are toasted, watching carefully that they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.

Chickpea salad with tofu, avocado, peppers, nuts, seeds + pesto (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

No cooking is required for this refreshing main-course salad.

Ingredients
  • cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained if canned
  • super-firm tofu or seasoned tofu, cut into cubes
  • mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Asian, English, or Persian cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and thinly cut crosswise
  • red or yellow sweet pepper, chopped
  • jalapeño chile, thinly sliced
  • store-bought or homemade pesto of choice or mayonnaise of choice
  • toasted slivered almonds
  • raw or toasted pumpkin seeds
  • balsamic vinegar or vinegar of choice
  • avocado
  • rice cakes, preferably brown rice
Method
  1. In a large bowl, add the chickpeas, tofu, mushrooms, cucumber, sweet pepper, and jalapeñol. Add a tablespoonful of pesto and the nuts and seeds, season with vinegar and more pesto, and toss well.
  2. Cut the avocado into cubes and place on top of the salad. Break the rice cakes into tiny bits. Gently toss the salad until just combined and serve.

Zucchini stewed with tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers + spices (gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan)

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.

Ingredients
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • red onion, chopped
  • sweet peppers, chopped
  • jalapeño chile, sliced
  • chopped fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes with juices
  • kosher salt
  • 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
Method
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Nut + brown rice loaf with tomato-balsamic glaze (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

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.

Ingredients
  • chia seeds
  • rolled oats (gluten-free, if desired)
  • raw walnuts
  • raw pecans
  • raw sunflower seeds
  • cooked brown rice
  • onion, minced
  • 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)
  • smoked paprika
  • freshly ground pepper
  • tomato paste
  • balsamic vinegar
Method
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Creamy cauliflower-corn chowder with kalamata olives + miso broth (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegetarian)

It might be a little late for fresh peas at the farmers’ market, but frozen work fine, along with fresh or frozen corn. This summer, consider freezing fresh ears of corn to make this chowder anytme—just steam or microwave the frozen ears in the husk for a minute or two, shuck the ears, cut the kernels from the cobs, and add to whatever you’re cooking.

Ingredients
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • cauliflower, coarsely chopped
  • white miso
  • hot water
  • fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • fresh or frozen peas, snow peas, or sugar snap peas
  • pitted kalamata olives (optional)
  • thinly sliced green onions (optional)
  • hot-pepper sauce (optional)
Method
  1. Warm the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown. Stir in the cauliflower and cook until the cauliflower is soft. Add a splash of water, if needed, to deglaze the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the corn and continue cooking, covered.
  2. Meanwhile, in a heatproof glass measuring cup, whisk the miso a teaspoonful at a time into a cup or two of hot water until the miso is fully integrated to make a broth. Pour the broth into the soup pot.
  3. Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender), blend the soup to your desired creaminess. Return the soup to a simmer. Add the peas and cook until heated through.
  4. To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish with olives, green onions, and hot-pepper sauce.

Green garlic, leek, mushroom, asparagus + potato soup with fresh herbs + almonds (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

April and May bring all of the fresh alliums—green garlic, spring onions, and leeks—which meld perfectly with baby shiitake mushrooms, potatoes, and a variety of just-cut fresh herbs. Leftover brown rice adds some heft, and cauliflower offers its cruciferous-vegetable health benefits. To increase the soup’s nutrition even more when serving, consider adding shredded kale leaves to the bottom of each bowl (the hot soup will wilt the leaves so you don’t need to cook the leaves separately).

Ingredients
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • baby shiitake mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, or button mushrooms, chopped
  • spring onions, white and light green parts, chopped
  • leeks, white and light green parts, sliced
  • potatoes, cubed
  • cauliflower, cut across into steaks
  • asparagus, bottom ends trimmed and stalks cut into 1-inch pieces
  • green garlic, white and light green parts, chopped
  • cooked brown rice
  • minced fresh mint, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of turmeric
  • prepared mustard of choice
  • thinly sliced green onions, for garnish (optional)
  • slivered almonds, for garnish (optional)
  • pitted olives of choice, for garnish (optional)
Method
  1. Warm the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned. Stir in the onions and leeks and cook until softened. Stir in the potatoes, cauliflower, and water just to cover. Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the asparagus, garlic, and rice and cook until the asparagus is done the way you like it.  Stir in all of the fresh herbs, a few grinds of pepper, and the turmeric. Season to taste with mustard.
  2. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with green onions, almonds, and olives.

Polenta soup with potatoes, greens + herbs (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

The packaged precooked polenta that comes in a log thickens this healthy, quick, and comforting soup. If you add red beets as part of the chopped seasonal vegetables, the soup will turn pink, unless you use varieties that don’t bleed, like golden or Chioggia beets.

Ingredients
  • avocado oil, coconut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • onion, chopped
  • potatoes, sliced
  • jalapeño or serrano chile, sliced (optional)
  • chopped seasonal vegetables (such as carrots, celery, fennel bulb, cauliflower, and beets)
  • kosher salt
  • chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
  • packaged precooked polenta, sliced and cubed
  • greens (such as chard, kale, collards, or beet greens), stems removed and leaves finely sliced
  • herbes de Provence or fresh or dried rosemary and thyme
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • freshly ground pepper
Method
  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the mushrooms in one layer and cook, undisturbed, until sizzling and browned. Move the mushrooms to the side of the pot, add the onion and potatoes, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened. Stir in the chile and chopped vegetables, season with salt, cover, and cook until the vegetables are softened. Add the tomatoes, cover, and simmer until the tomatoes become saucy.
  2. Add the polenta and water just to cover the contents of the pot. Cover and bring the soup to a simmer. Let the polenta cook for a few minutes so that it softens, then mash the polenta against the side of the pot. Cook until the polenta is well integrated into the soup and the vegetables are cooked through.
  3. Stir in the greens until wilted. Then add the herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Spinach salad with white beans, hard-cooked eggs + spicy dressing (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

Any fresh vegetables work in this main-course spinach salad. In winter, that could be raw carrots, fennel bulb, salad turnips (aka white or pink Tokyo turnips), or kohlrabi. Steamed or roasted cauliflower, broccoli, or beets are a nice addition. For a vegan salad, substitute homemade seasoned tofu or tempeh for the eggs.

Ingredients
  • spinach
  • fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
  • salad turnips, trimmed and chopped
  • cooked white beans, such as cannellini beans
  • pitted green olives or olives of choice
  • hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
  • fruit vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or any tangy-sweet vinegar
  • vegan or regular mayonnaise or garlic aioli
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • prepared mustard of choice
  • fresh cilantro or fresh parsley, chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Method
  1. In a salad spinner, wash and dry the spinach. Tear larger leaves into bite-size pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Add the fennel, turnips, beans, olives, and eggs and toss to combine.
  2. In a small bowl or directly in the salad, mix the vinegar, mayonnaise, Sriracha, and mustard. Toss the salad with the dressing. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.