Saucy chickpeas, mushrooms + veggies with pita crisps (vegan)

For the sauce, this dish uses mushroom broth created by soaking chopped dried mushrooms in hot water and 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.

Ingredients
  • dried mushrooms, chopped
  • hot water
  • olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • brown rice
  • 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
  • chile powder
  • turmeric
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • slivered almonds
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • whole-wheat pita, cut into triangles and toasted until crisp
Method
  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and add hot water to cover. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Ladle into individual bowls, top with almonds, parsley, and pita triangles, and serve.

Mashed potatoes with greens + roasted peppers (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

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.

Ingredients
  • Yukon gold potatoes or potatoes of choice
  • mixed fresh peppers (such as poblano, Anaheim, and bell peppers)
  • jalapeño chile (optional)
  • olive oil
  • 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)
Method
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Brown-rice bowl with garlicky chard, sun-dried tomatoes + walnuts (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian)

Rainbow chard, with its multicolored stems, makes eating your greens very enticing indeed. Consider flavoring the brown rice by cooking it with a knob of coconut oil and stirring in some green onion slices when the rice is done but still steaming. Nutritional yeast sprinkled on top of your bowl adds a nutty, cheesy flavor and is worth a try. Because chard has a natural saltiness, you might not need to add any salt to your bowl, but smoked salt is almost always a good choice.

Ingredients
  • brown rice of choice
  • garlic cloves
  • swiss chard, preferably rainbow chard
  • olive oil
  • super-firm tofu, diced (optional)
  • nutritional yeast (optional)
  • sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • walnuts
  • cilantro, chopped (optional)
Method
  1. Cook the brown rice according to your preferred method (see note above for flavoring ideas). Cover and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, mince the garlic and set aside. Cut the stems from the chard leaves and thinly slice. Separately, stack the leaves and cut into ribbons.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the chard stems, cover, and cook for a minute or two. Stir in the chard leaves and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly wilted. Move the chard to the side of the pan and move the pan so the chard is off the heat. Pour a little bit of oil on the uncovered part of the pan that is over the heat, add the garlic, and cook for a minute or so. Shift the pan back onto the heat, stir the garlic into the chard, and cook until the chard is done to your liking. Cover and remove from the heat.
  4. To serve, add a mound of rice to your bowl. Top with chard, tofu, a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, a few sun-dried tomatoes, a handful of walnuts, and some cilantro, and you’re ready to eat.

Collard “enchiladas” with mashed potato filling (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

Looking at what was in the fridge and pantry, I came up with this take on a traditional Mexican entrée. Dried chipotle chiles add a spicy, smoky flavor, and the raisins add a hint of sweetness. In step 6, you could microwave the rolls in 2-minute intervals, covered with a microwave-safe top or plate, until bubbling and heated all the way through if you like.

Ingredients
  • potatoes, cut into chunks
  • collard greens
  • dried chiles, mild, medium, and/or hot
  • raisins
  • pitted green olives, chopped
  • ground cumin
  • roasted pecan and walnut pieces
  • salt
  • pepper
  • store-bought green or red salsa
Method
  1. Steam potatoes until very soft. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
  2. Steam or microwave intact collard leaves until soft. Remove center rib and cut leaves in half lengthwise. Pile leaves on a work surface.
  3. Meanwhile, cut chiles into small pieces. Put chiles and raisins in a glass measuring cup and pour boiling water over just to cover. Soak until chiles and raisins are completely soft, then use scissors to cut them into tiny pieces while soaking.
  4. Pour the chiles, raisins, and some of the soaking water onto the potatoes and mash with a large fork, spatula, or potato masher. Stir in olives, cumin, nuts, and more soaking water as needed to create a mixture that is integrated, but not mushy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat toaster oven or standard oven to 375º. Put a dollop of potato mixture on the end of a collard leaf, roll up, and put seam side down in a baking dish. Repeat with each collard leaf. Pour salsa over the rolls and cover with foil.
  6. Bake, checking every 20 minutes or so, until bubbling and a fork easily pierces the rolls. Uncover and let cool a minute before serving.

Hunting and gathering in my kitchen

Cooking from my fridge and pantry gets my creativity pumping, especially because foraging helps to make space for my Sunday trip to the farmers’ market. Here’s what I found.

Kale, corn, and tomato sauté

A mélange like this is a great time to use leftover sauces and dips. I added a few remaining marinated artichokes and the last of some roasted red pepper spread to this one when I stirred in the tomatoes. Serve over brown rice or pasta.

  • ears of corn
  • olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • mushrooms, chopped
  • jalapeño or Fresno chiles, chopped
  • large tomatoes, chopped
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • salt
  • kale leaves, stripped from center stem and chopped
  • raw pumpkin seeds
  • fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
  1. Microwave unhusked ears of corn or steam husked ears of corn, about 3 minutes. Cut kernels from cobs.
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, mushrooms, chiles, and corn. Cover and cook until browned bits form on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and sprinkle with salt. Cover and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add kale and stir continuously until kale is cooked the way you like. Add pumpkin seeds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in basil and serve.