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.
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.
Blue potatoes have blue skin and blue flesh, adding unusual color to this dish. If you can’t find them, use gold potatoes or sweet potatoes. An easy way to peel fresh ginger is to use the tip of a small spoon instead of a peeler or knife. The spice list is long, but that’s what creates the flavor of this dish. Serve the curry over basmati rice or your favorite grain. Inspired by a post on Vegan in the Freezer.
red onion, chopped
red bell pepper, chopped
jalapeño chile, sliced
fresh tomatoes, chopped
fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
chile powder (such as New Mexican or cayenne)
blue potatoes, diced
green beans, trimmed and thinly sliced
extra-firm tofu, cubed
fresh or thawed frozen white or yellow corn
chopped fresh basil
fresh lemon juice
pitted Kalamata olives
In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and cook, stirring often, until the seeds are fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onion, red pepper, and jalapeño and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, blend the tomato, garlic, and ginger into a coarse mixture.
Add the tomato mixture, turmeric, chile powder, coriander, ground cumin, and garam masala to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, green beans, tofu, and up to 1 cup water. Cover and cook about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the corn, and simmer until the vegetables are cooked the way you like, about 10 minutes longer. Add more water if the pan gets dry or if you prefer more curry sauce. Right before serving, stir in the cilantro, basil, and a splash of lemon juice and serve with hot sauce and olives alongside.
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.
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.
dried chiles, such as guajillo or ancho
tomatoes, fresh or canned, chopped
cauliflower florets, chopped
firm tofu, chopped
jalapeño chile, chopped
cooked beans (optional)
chopped pitted briny olives of choice (optional)
greens (such as beet greens, chard, kale, or collards), stemmed and slivered
raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
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.
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.
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.
Why not try poaching tofu with garlic and fresh ginger and see what happens? The inspiration for this recipe comes from the Spring 2016 issue of GFF: Gluten-Free Forever magazine, available at newsstands now. To cut down the cooking time of the brown rice, soak the rice in water for an hour or two before proceeding with the recipe.
brown rice or rice of choice, rinsed and drained
garlic cloves (several for the poaching liquid and 1 for the dressing), thinly sliced
large piece of ginger, peeled and grated
super-firm tofu, cut into bite-size pieces
tamari or soy sauce
dried chiles (optional)
greens (kale, Swiss chard, collards, or beet greens), stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
toasted sesame oil
fresh lime juice or lemon juice
fruit vinegar or balsamic vinegar
fresh chile (jalapeño, Fresno, or serrano), thinly sliced (optional)
cucumber (Asian, Persian, or English), thinly sliced
fresh cilantro leaves
fresh mint leaves
Cook the rice the way you usually do or per the package directions. Cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile, add water to a saucepan and add the garlic and ginger. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the tofu, tamari, and dried chiles. Stir and cook, uncovered, at a simmer until the tofu has the degree of flavoring you like. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tofu to a bowl, reserving about ¼ cup of the poaching liquid.
Return the remaining poaching liquid to a boil in the same pan. Blanch the greens in the liquid until tender. Drain and set aside.
In a bowl, add more tamari and whisk together with the sesame oil, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, fresh chile, and the reserved poaching liquid. Adjust the seasonings.
To serve, add warm rice to individual bowls. Top each with chard, tofu, slices of chile and cucumber, and cilantro and mint leaves. Drizzle the dressing on top and serve.
Instead of cheese, these dairy-free enchiladas are stuffed with seasoned mashed potatoes, which can also be used to stuff sweet peppers or cabbage leaves. Dried chiles add an irresistible smoky flavor, and raisins bring a hint of sweetness. Leftover enchiladas are delicious reheated for breakfast or lunch.
dried chiles (such as chipotle, ancho, pasilla, guajillo, or New Mexico), stemmed, seeded, and broken into pieces
Put the raisins and dried chiles in a heatproof bowl. Cover with hot water and set aside to hydrate.
Put the potatoes in a saucepan with water to cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until easily pierced with a fork. Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid, cover, and set the potatoes aside in the pan to keep warm.
Meanwhile, warm the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to brown. Lower the heat to medium, add the mushrooms, peppers, and fresh chiles, and cook, covered, until cooked through.
Add the potatoes to a large bowl. Coarsely mash the potatoes with a large fork or potato masher. Stir in the mushroom-pepper mixture. Add the corn and green onions. Mix in the reserved raisins and dried chiles plus their hydrating liquid. Stir in some of the reserved potato cooking liquid if the mixture is too dry. Stir in the almonds, sunflower seeds, and fresh cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Put a layer of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a large baking dish. Microwave or steam the tortillas in small batches for a few moments to soften. Put a softened tortilla on a work surface, fill with some of the potato mixture (do not overfill), wrap one side of the tortilla over the filling, and roll up. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until the baking dish is full (save any remaining stuffing for another use). Pour the enchilada sauce over the stuffed tortillas, making sure the tortillas are completely covered, including any spaces between them and the sides of the dish. Bake, uncovered, until bubbling and browned on top, about 40 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes. Top with more cilantro and sunflower seeds and serve.
Casseroles make it easy to use the vegetables and cooked grains that are calling your name from the fridge. The trick is to cut all the vegetables about the same size and add some zingy bits (olives and chiles) and richness (nuts and/or seeds).
olive oil, for greasing and drizzling
cooked brown rice
red onion, diced
spinach, finely chopped
fresh tomatoes, chopped
green or black olives, sliced, or olive tapenade
jalapeño chile, minced, or sweet pepper, finely chopped
fresh oregano leaves, chopped
green onions, thinly sliced
Heat the oven to 400ºF. Lightly grease a baking dish with oil.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake uncovered until bubbling and vegetables are cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Turn on the broiler and broil until top starts to brown, about 7 minutes. Scoop out and serve.
Replace the spinach with chopped cauliflower florets, the pine nuts with pumpkin seeds, and the oregano with fresh basil leaves. Bake covered about 45 minutes. Uncover and broil as in the original recipe.
Heat oil in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add chile pieces and cook, stirring, until fragrant and softened.
Add quinoa to pan and toast, stirring, until just golden. Season with salt.
Add broth (use 2 parts broth or water to 1 part quinoa), bring to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and blend with an immersion blender if you like. Stir in coconut, and let stand, covered, for at least 5 minutes.
A typical vegetarian pad Thai noodle dish has a large portion of noodles with few vegetables. What makes this a “California” version is the bounty of vegetables (you could probably use whatever you have on hand); the addition of toasted seeds; and an inventive, easy sauce. If you don’t have ponzu (citrus-infused soy sauce), use soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free mixed with orange, lemon, and/or lime juice.
large dried rice stick or pad Thai flat rice noodles (might be called banh pho)*
extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
onion, sliced into thin half-moons
super-firm tofu or seasoned baked tofu, cut in ½-in. dice
sweet pepper, chopped
jalapeño chile (optional), chopped
kale, center ribs removed and leaves cut into thin strips
Sriracha chili sauce
toasted sesame oil
green onions, thinly sliced
cilantro leaves and tender stems, minced
toasted sunflower seeds and/or sesame seeds
* Find dried rice stick or rice noodles in the Asian foods aisle at well-stocked grocery stores, at gourmet stores, or at Asian markets.
Put noodles in a large heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water to cover and let stand until noodles are soft, at least 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, tofu, sweet pepper, and jalapeño, if using, and cook until starting to brown.
Meanwhile, steam or microwave broccoli until soft but still bright green. When cool, coarsely chop and set aside.
Add kale and garlic to tofu mixture. Cook, stirring, until kale has softened. Stir in broccoli, noodles, Sriracha, ponzu, and sesame oil. Adjust seasonings. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with green onions, cilantro, and toasted seeds; serve immediately.