Once you make this spread, you’ll find a ton of uses for it: on sandwiches, crackers, or rice cakes; in tacos; to flavor a bowl of soup or salad; as a pasta sauce. Use about twice as much basil as mint and oregano, and if you have any leftover mild-flavored cooked vegetables lurking in the fridge, blend them with the other ingredients. Inspired by a recipe from Julie Piatt’s This Cheese Is Nuts!
fresh basil leaves
fresh mint leaves
fresh oregano leaves
cooked vegetables, such as greens, zucchini, or cauliflower, drained (optional)
toasted macadamia nuts
toasted pine nuts
small tomato, chopped, or cherry tomatoes, halved
pitted green olives, olive tapenade, or salt
In a food processor or blender, layer the fresh herbs, cooked vegetables, nuts, and nutritional yeast. Process until coarsely blended, adding tomato pieces or halves until the mixture reaches your desired consistency (if you don’t have tomato, use water). Blend in olives, olive tapenade, or your favorite salt and serve.
If you didn’t know better, you’d think these cauliflower florets were deep-fried because they are crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside—but instead they’re battered and baked until crisp. This recipe makes enough batter and topping for quite a large cauliflower. Fill soft tacos with these cauliflower nuggets, as on the Blissful Basil blog that inspired this recipe, accompanied by Seasoned Crispy Tofu either inside or alongside the tacos.
For the batter:
1¼ cups nondairy milk
¾ cup brown rice flour
1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
For the topping:
1¼ cups mixed grains/seeds (such as gluten-free rolled oats, flax seeds, and quinoa) or only gluten-free rolled oats
chopped fresh cilantro
chopped fresh oregano or dried oregano
green onion, very thinly sliced
freshly ground black pepper
chile powder (such as New Mexico, cayenne, or chipotle)
smoked salt or kosher salt
warmed corn tortillas
salsa and/or hot sauce
lime or lemon wedges
Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the batter: In a large bowl, add the milk, flour, and lime juice and whisk until smooth.
To make the topping: In a food processor, process the grains/seeds until a coarse meal forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large, shallow bowl. Mix in the cilantro, oregano, green onion, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, turmeric, curry powder, black pepper, and chile powder and season with salt.
Place a a handful of cauliflower florets into the batter. Using tongs, toss to coat and shake off any excess. Toss in the topping to coat and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining florets. Bake until crispy and golden, 25 to 30 minutes, turning them over halfway through baking. If not quite crispy enough, turn on the broiler and broil, watching carefully so they don’t burn, until done the way you like. Let cool slightly.
Serve inside warmed tortillas with cabbage, cilantro, salsa and/or hot sauce, avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime.
Seasoned, baked, and then broiled, super-firm tofu turns chewy and flavorful, perfect for sandwiches, tacos, or salads. Here’s a simple way to get there.
ground spices of choice (such as chili powder, cumin powder, turmeric, curry powder, chile powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and/or prepared spice mixes)
smoked salt or kosher salt
Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Slice the tofu as thinly as possible. Lightly brush the slices with olive oil to make it possible for the ground spices to stick.
In a shallow bowl, mix the ground spices and salt until combined. Coat the tofu with the seasoning and place the slices on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the tofu long enough so that the slices dry out and make it possible to flip them (they might stick if you try to flip them too soon), but watch that the seasoning doesn’t burn. Flip the slices, sprinkle with more seasoning if desired, and bake the second side for a few minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until crisped, making sure the seasoning doesn’t burn and flipping the slices again if needed until crisped the way you like.
A one-pot dish made on the stove top using summer’s bounty—what’s not to like?
dried chile, such as chipotle, rinsed
jalapeño chile or serrano chile, sliced
sweet pepper, seeded and chopped
summer squash (such as zucchini, Mediterranean, and patty pan), chopped
cherry tomatoes, halved, and regular tomatoes, chopped, with juices
mixed fresh herbs (such as parsley, cilantro, thyme, mint, basil, and rosemary), chopped
Kalamata or other olives
Slice the dried chile (I use scissors), discarding the seeds, and place in a heatproof bowl. Add hot water to cover and set aside.
In a large pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook, without stirring, until starting to brown. Stir in the chile, sweet pepper, summer squash, tomatoes, and brown rice, lower the heat to medium, and cook until the vegetables just start to soften. Add the hydrated dried chile along with the chile soaking water. Add enough additional water to just cover the vegetable-rice mixture. Cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered and adding more water if the mixture starts to stick, until the rice is cooked the way you like. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and fresh herbs and serve with olives.
For the sauce, this dish uses mushroom broth created by soaking chopped dried mushrooms in hot water plus almond meal or ground almonds to thicken and flavor the sauce. If using dried chickpeas, soak them and cook them separately. Feel free to use any vegetable in place of the cauliflower and any greens for the kale. Consider substituting olives, capers, or hot sauce for the salt.
dried mushrooms, chopped
fresh mushrooms, sliced
cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
almond meal or ground almonds (optional)
kale, center ribs removed and leaves chopped
cooked dried or canned chickpeas (see note above)
minced garlic or garlic powder
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh parsley
whole-wheat pita, cut into triangles and toasted until crisp
Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and add hot water to cover. Set aside.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the fresh mushrooms and the brown rice, stir, and cook for a few minutes until the mushrooms start to brown. Add the soaked dried mushrooms with their soaking liquid plus enough water to cover. Cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until the rice is almost done. Stir in the cauliflower and cook until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a fork and the rice is soft, adding more water as needed. Stir in the almond meal, kale, and chickpeas. When the kale is soft, stir in the garlic, chile powder, and turmeric. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle into individual bowls, top with almonds, parsley, and pita triangles, and serve.
Ground roasted peanuts thicken this stew and, surprisingly, add a layer of flavor complexity more than a peanut taste. For nutty goodness, add more roasted peanuts to individual bowls when serving. No need to purchase specific vegetables and herbs because whatever is in your fridge works in this very forgiving dish.
dried chiles (such as chipotle, guajillo, and/or chile negro), stemmed
roasted unsalted peanuts
olive oil or coconut oil
brown rice, preferably quick-cooking rice or regular rice soaked for a few hours and drained to shorten cooking time
mixed vegetables of choice (such as mushrooms, zucchini, daikon, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, celery, and beets), chopped
fresh herbs of choice (such as parsley, mint, dill, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, and/or thyme), chopped
Cut the chiles into strips using scissors and seed if desired. Place in a heatproof bowl, cover with hot water, and set aside.
Grind the peanuts for a few seconds in a spice grinder or blender (if you grind longer, you’ll get peanut butter!). Set aside.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook until starting to soften. Add the rice, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes. Add the chiles and their soaking water. Add the chopped vegetables and the ground peanuts, cover, and cook until softened, adding additional water as needed. Add the turmeric, garlic, greens, and black pepper, cover, and cook until the greens are cooked the way you like.
To serve, spoon the stew into individual bowls and sprinkle with herbs.
Chewy, tangy, spicy, salty, and sweet—what more could one ask for? Find wheat berries (which are ground to make flour) in the bulk section of well-stocked grocery stores and health food stores. Soaking them in water to cover, like you would dried beans, helps reduce cooking time. This salad is a perfect summer potluck or picnic dish.
fruit vinegar (optional)
prepared mustard of choice (such as Dijon, yellow, whole grain, sweet hot, or a combination)
fresh orange or lemon juice
green onion, thinly sliced
Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
baby arugula leaves
cooked or canned pinto beans (optional)
fresh mixed herbs (such as mint, cilantro, parsley, and basil), chopped
In a saucepan, add the wheat berries and enough water to cover (you can use the soaking water), bring to a boil, covered, and simmer until soft (they will be chewy). Move off the heat and allow the berries to absorb any leftover water. Let cool.
Meanwhile, in a measuring cup with a spout, add the raisins. Add balsamic and fruit vinegars and prepared mustard and whisk until well combined. Let stand for several minutes. Taste and season with vinegar, mustard and/or orange or lemon juice.
Add the radishes, cucumber, green onion, olives, and arugula to a large bowl. Pour in the raisins and dressing. Add the wheat berries, beans, herbs, and almonds. Toss, taste, and adjust the seasonings.
Reminiscent of succotash, this dish uses fresh or frozen corn kernels with white beans instead of lima beans. The recipe calls for snap peas or snow peas, but any peas will do. The tomatoes in the rice add a lovely tang to balance the sweetness of the peas and corn.
brown rice of choice
chopped fresh or canned tomatoes, with juices
sugar snap peas or snow peas, trimmed and thinly sliced
fresh or frozen corn kernels
cooked white beans
garlic, sliced or minced
fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
freshly ground pepper
hot sauce or salsa for serving (optional)
In a saucepan, cook the brown rice with less than the usual water and add the tomatoes about halfway through cooking. Add more water, as needed, until the rice is fully cooked. Keep warm.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and cook until softened or slightly browned, depending on your preference. Add the peas and cook a minute or two. Add the corn, beans, and garlic and cook a minute or two longer. Just before serving, stir in the sage, parsley, and pepper.
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.
olive oil or oil of choice
spring onions, white and light green parts, chopped
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
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.
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.
Definitely comfort food, this tasty dish doesn’t take long to make and can’t help but please all palates. If you don’t have time to roast fresh peppers, use jarred roasted red peppers instead.
Yukon gold potatoes or potatoes of choice
mixed fresh peppers (such as poblano, Anaheim, and bell peppers)
jalapeño chile (optional)
greens (such as chard, kale, beet greens, and/or collards), stemmed and leaves cut into ribbons
garlic cloves, sliced
smoked paprika (optional)
hot sauce, for serving (optional)
Cut the potatoes into large chunks. Add to a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain, reserving some cooking liquid, and keep the potatoes warm.
Meanwhile, roast the fresh peppers and the jalapeño on an outdoor grill, under a broiler, or on a grill pan or over an open flame on the stove top, turning to char all over. Place them in a paper bag, close the bag, and let them steam for about 10 minutes. Peel, seed, and chop the flesh. Set aside.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the greens and toss until just wilted. Add the garlic, stir the garlic into the greens, and cook, covered, for a couple of minutes until the greens are soft but still bright green. Cover to keep warm.
Rice the potatoes (with a ricer) or mash them in a large bowl, adding the reserved cooking liquid a tablespoonful at a time to reach the consistency you like. Add the peppers, jalapeño, and greens. Stir just to combine. Season to taste with paprika and serve with your favorite hot sauce.