Vegetable + bean enchiladas with butternut squash sauce + tahini drizzle (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

Let your refrigerator and pantry guide you regarding what should fill your enchiladas: Allow yourself to be creative with your choice of vegetables and beans.  The winter squash for the sauce can be roasted in the oven instead of cooked on the stovetop. To fill and fold the tortillas without cracking them, soften first by wrapping them in a kitchen towel and microwaving for a few seconds or warming them in a toaster oven or regular oven for a minute. Inspired by the 101 Cookbooks blog.

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • small winter squash (such as butternut, honey nut, or kabocha), peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
  • fresh tomato, chopped, or canned tomatoes
  • chopped vegetables (such as onion, potato, sweet pepper, cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, celery, cabbage, zucchini, etc.)
  • jalapeño chile or other chile, thinly sliced (optional)
  • canned or cooked dried beans of choice
  • chopped olives of choice
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • ground turmeric
  • taco seasoning (chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes or ground chile powder, dried oregano, paprika, and ground cumin)
  • lemon zest and juice
  • corn tortillas, softened
  • chopped olives (optional)
  • raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and/or raw sunflower seeds
  • tahini thinned with warm water
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • avocado slices
  • hot sauce or salsa (optional)
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm some olive oil, add the squash and tomato and cook, stirring and mashing, until the mixture becomes a puree. Transfer the puree into a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a frying pan over medium heat, warm some olive oil and cook the chopped vegetables and jalapeño until cooked through. Stir in the beans and olives and set aside.
  3. To the puree in the large bowl, add some olive oil, half of the garlic, the turmeric, taco seasoning, lemon zest, and enough water to make a thin sauce (2 cups or so). Whisk well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400F. Ladle 1 cup sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. Place 1 tortilla in your hand. Spoon some filling in a line down the middle of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla over the filling and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling. (If you have leftover filling, spoon it around the edge of the baking dish.) Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and bake until golden, about 15 minutes longer.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining garlic and several squeezes of lemon juice into the thinned tahini sauce. Drizzle the tahini sauce over the hot enchiladas, top with the cilantro, and serve with avocado slices and hot sauce.

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.

  • 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)
  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.

Indian-spiced potato + golden beet salad with pistachios + kalamata olives (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

An exotic yet homey combination of flavors and textures—no doubt!  And easy prep because the potatoes and beets don’t need cleaning or peeling before cooking. The potatoes and beets take up the yummy seasonings, so shake on more spices than you usually would. If you don’t have sugar snap peas or sweet pepper on hand, improvise with other salad veggies hiding in your crisper drawer, and if you would like a heartier salad, garbanzo beans would make a great addition. Consider serving roasted broccoli alongside as a smoky, green complement.

  • golden beets
  • yellow potatoes (such as Yukon gold or Yellow Finn)
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • sugar snap peas, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • sweet pepper, diced
  • toasted pistachios
  • pitted kalamata olives
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • assorted powdered spices (such as chili, chipotle, coriander, curry, garam masala, cardamom, garlic, ginger, and turmeric)
  • prepared mustard of choice
  • vinegar of choice or fresh lemon juice
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Halve the beets if small or quarter them if large. Put in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil until easily pierced with a fork. Drain and cover with cold water in the same pan. When cool enough to handle, slip off the skins, cut into bite-size chunks and put in a large serving bowl.
  2. Halve the potatoes if small or quarter them if large. Steam them until easily pierced with a fork. Cut into bite-size chunks and add to the bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, toss to combine, and serve.

Enchiladas stuffed with mole-inspired mashed potatoes (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

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.

  • raisins
  • dried chiles (such as chipotle, ancho, pasilla, guajillo, or New Mexico), stemmed, seeded, and broken into pieces
  • hot water
  • potatoes, quartered
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • red onion, diced
  • mushrooms, chopped
  • sweet peppers, diced
  • jalapeño chiles, minced
  • corn kernels, fresh, canned, or frozen
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • slivered almonds
  • toasted sunflower seeds
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • homemade enchilada sauce or store-bought sauce
  • corn tortillas
  1. Put the raisins and dried chiles in a heatproof bowl. Cover with hot water and set aside to hydrate.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Pasta with green beans, potatoes + pesto (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

If you’re a fan of pasta, potatoes, and pesto, you’ll love this combination. Inspired by a recipe from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen.

  • garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • seed or nut butter of choice (such as sunflower seed butter, almond butter or tahini)
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • green beans or Romano beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • red or yellow potatoes, diced
  • gluten-free pasta, such as brown rice pasta
  • pitted green olives
  • olive brine (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • toasted pine nuts
  1. Toast the unpeeled garlic cloves in a dry pan over medium heat, turning occasionally, until slight char spots appear on all sides of the cloves. Transfer to a cutting board. When cool, peel and chop the garlic. Whirl the garlic, fresh herbs, seed or nut butter, and oil in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt to taste and add water, as needed, to thin the mixture. Set aside.
  2. Steam the green beans until tender. Transfer to a colander, rinse briefly with cold water, drain, and transfer beans to a large bowl. In the same pot, steam or boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and add the potatoes to the large bowl with the beans. Cover to keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and add to the large bowl with the vegetables. Stir in the pesto and the olives. Season to taste with salt or olive brine, if using, and pepper. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

Pasta with artichoke hearts, olives + potatoes (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

Sounds like an odd combination for a pasta dish, but the flavors bring to mind a salad Niςoise because of the potatoes, herbes de Provence, and the briny olives and artichoke hearts. My household enjoys spicy tang, so we used pickled jalapeño chiles in place of the vinegar.

  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • onion, sliced into thin half-moons
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • potatoes, cut into ½-in. dice
  • salt
  • brown rice or other gluten-free pasta
  • marinated artichoke hearts
  • greens, such as kale or collards, center ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • pitted green olives, chopped
  • vinegar, such as white wine or white balsamic
  • herbes de Provence
  • pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large pan. Add onion and mushrooms and cook until softened. Add potatoes and a sprinkle of salt and cover and cook until potatoes are just soft.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, reserving a cup or two of the cooking water.
  3. Add artichoke hearts, greens, and olives and cook until greens are wilted. Mix in pasta. Season to taste with vinegar, herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper.

Winter soup of turnips, potatoes + collard greens (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

This combo doesn’t sound like much, but it really works—even the Soup Hater had second helpings and said it was delicious. Instead of oil, I used homemade ghee because it added a caramelized flavor.

  • extra-virgin olive oil, ghee, or butter
  • onion, sliced into thin half-moons
  • turnips, peeled if you like and thinly sliced
  • potatoes, thinly sliced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • homemade vegetable broth or store-bought broth
  • collard greens, center ribs removed and leaves chopped
  • parsley, chopped
  • super-firm tofu, diced (optional)
  • pumpkin seeds (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Turn heat to low and add turnips, potatoes, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  2. Add broth to cover by an inch. Simmer for a few minutes. Add collard greens; cook until greens are soft. If you like, use an immersion blender to coarsely blend the soup, leaving big vegetable pieces.
  3. Serve topped with parsley and tofu and pumpkin seeds if you like.

Oven-browned potato crisp (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

The potato crisp looks like lace, so it adds a festive quality to any meal. A bit of shredding, a few moments in the toaster oven or oven, and voilà!

To avoid injuring yourself on the hand-held grater when shredding your potatoes, poke a fork through the very end of the potato, then hold the fork for more leverage and to keep the grater away from your fingertips.

Variations: Mix in grated onion and spices like chile or chili powder, curry powder, garlic powder, ground coriander, crushed dried rosemary, or seasoning mixes.

  • waxy potatoes, such as yellow, red, or purple varieties, scrubbed
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Preheat toaster oven or oven to 375º F. Dry potatoes with a kitchen towel.
  2. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper with a small amount of oil.
  3. Shred the potatoes onto the parchment paper. Using a fork or a spatula, press the potatoes into one thin layer, about ¼ to ½ inch thick.
  4. Bake until cooked through, checking every 5 minutes, then put under the broiler until browned. Let cool for a few minutes, then peel away from the parchment paper and serve.

Potato “pancakes” from the oven

Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes—can’t get enough of them. This easy method of steaming, smashing, and roasting provides crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside pillowy pancakes. Inspired by Leaf.

Smashed and roasted potato pancakes

We served these potato cakes alongside a large green salad for dinner. If you don’t have fresh rosemary, crumble dried rosemary on the potatoes after they are roasted or top with fresh chopped parsley instead.

  • potatoes, fingerlings or small potatoes
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • hummus
  • sliced almonds
  1. Steam potatoes until soft but not mushy. Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven or toaster oven to 450º. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Transfer potatoes to baking sheet. Smash lightly with a pastry knife or a flat plate.
  4. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with fresh rosemary, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake until outsides are sizzling and crispy, about 15 minutes. Turn over and continue baking until second side is crispy, about 10 minutes.
  5. Serve topped with hummus and almonds.

Potatoes to the rescue

The potato has been my year-round friend, saving me from slumps in cooking energy and ideas. So it didn’t surprise me that potatoes came to mind for stuffing these cabbage rolls. But consider using this versatile mashed-potato mixture to fill peppers, dumplings, rice-paper rollups, and tacos or to accompany your breakfast eggs instead of country potatoes.

Cabbage rolls stuffed with mashed potatoes

To separate individual whole leaves from a cabbage, core the cabbage and microwave or steam the whole head for a few minutes to soften it, testing each minute to see if you can peel off the leaves. Then quickly blanch or microwave the leaves to soften them just enough so they bend instead of break or tear when you fill and roll them. If you don’t have leeks and fruit vinegar, replace with chopped onions and balsamic vinegar. Serve the rolls plain or topped with hummus, hot sauce, or salsa, if you like.

  • yellow potatoes, cut into quarters
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • leeks, sliced into half-rounds
  • sweet peppers, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • fresh tomato, chopped
  • thyme
  • fennel seeds
  • parsley, chopped
  • chopped nuts, such as walnuts or almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • fruit vinegar, such as fig
  • toasted sesame oil
  • tamari or soy sauce
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • salt
  • pepper
  • large leaves from a green cabbage
  • stewed tomatoes, canned tomatoes, or tomato sauce
  1. Put the potatoes in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam, covered, until tender. Drain and pour potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Coarsely mash until no large lumps remain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan and cook leeks, peppers, and mushrooms over medium-high heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until brown bits form on the bottom of the pan and vegetables are soft. Add chopped tomato, thyme, fennel seeds, and parsley and stir, scraping up browned bits. Pour vegetable mixture into large bowl with potatoes and add nuts and seeds. Season to taste with vinegar, sesame oil, tamari, Sriracha, salt, and pepper.
  3. Heat oven to 375º. Spoon a scoop of filling into the bottom third of a cabbage leaf, fold over side edges, and roll up. Place each cabbage roll seam side down in a baking dish. Repeat until you have the number of rolls you want. Pour stewed tomatoes over the cabbage rolls, cover with foil, and bake until cabbage rolls are completely soft, about 1 hour.