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.
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.
brown rice of choice
swiss chard, preferably rainbow chard
super-firm tofu, diced (optional)
nutritional yeast (optional)
sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
cilantro, chopped (optional)
Cook the brown rice according to your preferred method (see note above for flavoring ideas). Cover and keep warm.
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.
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.
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.
Juicy, crunchy, sweet, and tangy—this salad has it all. You can use any salad veggies you like, such as radishes, carrots, and sweet pepper. For bean lovers, add cooked beans, such as pintos or chickpeas. For egg lovers, add a hard-cooked egg. This salad was inspired by a friend (thanks, JS!).
Tuscan kale (also known as lacinato, dinosaur, or black kale)
fruit vinegar or balsamic vinegar
sugar snap peas, strings removed and thinly sliced
cucumber, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
green onions, thinly sliced
super-firm tofu, diced (optional)
chia seeds (optional)
toasted sesame seeds (optional)
toasted unsalted slivered or sliced almonds
toasted sesame oil
freshly ground black pepper
Strip the kale leaves from their stems (compost the stems). Rinse and dry the leaves (using a salad spinner if you have one). Coarsely chop or cut the leaves into strips and transfer to a large bowl. Lightly sprinkle the leaves with salt and massage with your hands until the leaves wilt and darken. Sprinkle vinegar over the leaves and massage some more.
Add the snap peas, cucumber, fennel, green onions, tofu, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and almonds and toss well.
Drizzle sesame oil over the salad, add a few grinds of pepper, and toss again. Season to taste with salt, vinegar, and sesame oil as needed and serve.
Soft green lettuce, a faintly licorice fennel crunch, sweet and tangy citrus, and a sesame dressing create a standout combination. A friend’s garden provided small, seedless mandarins—but seedless tangerine or navel orange sections cut in half work too. Sriracha chili sauce adds a hint of sweet spiciness that balances the tahini’s slightly bitter nuttiness.
butter lettuce leaves, washed and spun dry
fennel bulb, trimmed top and bottom
tahini (sesame paste)
garlic, smashed and minced
extra-virgin olive oil
Sriracha chili sauce
smoked paprika or chile powder (optional)
mild vinegar, such as white balsamic, rice vinegar, or fruit vinegar (optional)
toasted almonds, slivered or sliced
Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces and put in a large bowl. Quarter fennel bulb lengthwise and slice thinly crosswise; add to bowl. Peel mandarins, removing and discarding pith; separate into sections and add to bowl.
Whisk together tahini, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and oil in a glass measuring cup or small bowl until well blended. Add water, if needed, to thin the mixture. Season with Sriracha, paprika and vinegar if using, and salt and pepper.
Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings. Top with almonds and serve.
Broccoli, lemon, garlic, and pasta—what’s not to like? I enjoy brown-rice pasta, but you can use any pasta in this recipe. Shallots, leeks, or whatever onions you have on hand can replace the cipollini onions.
extra-virgin olive oil
lemon zest and juice
sliced toasted almonds
Preheat toaster oven or regular oven to 400º F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Trim and peel large broccoli stems and cut in half lengthwise; divide broccoli crowns into florets. Trim onions and cut in half. Pour vegetables onto baking sheet, toss gently with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are browned and soft. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 to 2 cups of pasta cooking water to use in the sauce. Rinse pasta with warm water so it doesn’t clump and drain again.
Meanwhile, roughly chop roasted vegetables and put in a large serving bowl. Add pasta to the bowl.
Make sauce: Heat more oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add garlic and lemon zest and juice and cook for a minute or two. Add reserved pasta cooking water, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Pour sauce over pasta and vegetables; toss to combine. Adjust seasonings. Mix in parsley and top with almonds.