Fresh herb + toasted-nut spread (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

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!

Ingredients
  • 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
  • nutritional yeast
  • small tomato, chopped, or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • pitted green olives, olive tapenade, or salt
Method

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.

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Soft tacos filled with battered crisp-baked cauliflower (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

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.

Ingredients

  • large cauliflower

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
  • smoked paprika
  • ground cumin
  • garlic powder
  • ground turmeric
  • curry powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chile powder (such as New Mexico, cayenne, or chipotle)
  • smoked salt or kosher salt

For serving:

  • warmed corn tortillas
  • shredded cabbage
  • cilantro leaves
  • salsa and/or hot sauce
  • avocado slices
  • lime or lemon wedges

Method

  1. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. To make the batter: In a large bowl, add the milk, flour, and lime juice and whisk until smooth.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Serve inside warmed tortillas with cabbage, cilantro, salsa and/or hot sauce, avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime.

Tomato rice with summer squash, peppers, mushrooms + herbs (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

A one-pot dish made on the stove top using summer’s bounty—what’s not to like?

Ingredients
  • dried chile, such as chipotle, rinsed
  • hot water
  • olive oil
  • onion, chopped
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • 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
  • brown rice
  • garlic, minced
  • tomato paste
  • mixed fresh herbs (such as parsley, cilantro, thyme, mint, basil, and rosemary), chopped
  • Kalamata or other olives
Method
  1. Slice the dried chile (I use scissors), discarding the seeds, and place in a heatproof bowl. Add hot water to cover and set aside.
  2. 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.

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.

Peanut-vegetable stew with fresh herbs (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

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.

Ingredients
  • dried chiles (such as chipotle, guajillo, and/or chile negro), stemmed
  • roasted unsalted peanuts
  • olive oil or coconut oil
  • onion, chopped
  • 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
  • turmeric
  • minced garlic or garlic powder
  • greens (such as beet greens, chard, kale, collards, and/or cabbage), chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh herbs of choice (such as parsley, mint, dill, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, and/or thyme), chopped
Method
  1. Cut the chiles into strips using scissors and seed if desired. Place in a heatproof bowl, cover with hot water, and set aside.
  2. Grind the peanuts for a few seconds in a spice grinder or blender (if you grind longer, you’ll get peanut butter!). Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. To serve, spoon the stew into individual bowls and sprinkle with herbs.

 

Brown rice sauté with asparagus, fresh fava beans + fresh herbs (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

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.

Ingredients
  • olive oil or oil of choice
  • spring onions, white and light green parts, chopped
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • brown rice
  • 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
Method
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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.

Yellow split peas with red peppers + greens (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian)

This recipe works with yellow or green split peas, any split legumes (aka dals), lentils, or a mixture. If you live near an Indian market, you have a wonderland of dals from which to choose. Although not required, soaking in hot water, covered, for a couple of hours reduces cooking time. You can stir in the greens as detailed below, or you can steam or sauté them and serve them alongside with hot cooked rice, quinoa, another grain, or pasta.

Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • fresh or jarred red sweet peppers, chopped
  • jalapeño chile or other fresh chile, thinly sliced
  • yellow split peas or legumes of choice, soaked in hot water and drained
  • bay leaves
  • fresh rosemary sprigs
  • fresh tomato, chopped, or canned tomatoes with juices
  • turmeric
  • greens (such as beet tops, kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, turnip tops, or a mixture), stemmed and leaves cut into ribbons
  • balsamic vinegar or vinegar of choice (optional)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • chopped fresh cilantro and/or fresh parsley
Method
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the peppers and chile and cook until softened and fragrant. Add the legumes, water to cover by ½ inch, the bay leaves, and rosemary sprigs. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, until soft, adding water as needed to keep the legumes submerged.
  2. Stir in the tomato and turmeric and simmer until the tomato breaks down into the liquid. Stir in the greens and cook until the greens are done to your liking.
  3. Drizzle with the vinegar, season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with the fresh herbs, and serve.

Baby bok choy with tofu, green garlic + miso over ginger rice (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian)

Here’s a very satisfying one-bowl meal with layers of Asian flavors. If you can’t find green garlic (also known as spring garlic) at your farmers’ market, you can substitute dried garlic cloves. Use your favorite type of miso and the smallest, most tender baby bok choy you can find.

Ingredients
  • brown rice
  • fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • baby bok choy
  • coconut oil
  • super-firm tofu, cut into small cubes
  • green garlic, white and light green parts, thinly sliced and parts kept separate
  • miso
  • hot water
  • hot sauce (optional)
  • green onions, green parts only, thinly sliced
  • toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Method
  1. Soak the rice for as long as possible, then massage it in several changes of cold water. Cook the rice with the ginger in a rice cooker or in a saucepan on the stove top until soft.  Keep warm.
  2. Pull the bottom leaves off of the bok choy and slice the stems diagonally. Swish in cold water to remove any grit. Set aside.
  3. In a large pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the tofu and cook without stirring for a minute or two. Add the green parts of the garlic and stir to mix and scrape up the tofu browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium, add the white parts of the garlic, and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Spoon the miso into a small heatproof measuring cup, add a few tablespoonfuls of hot water, and whisk vigorously until the miso is combined with the water. Pour the miso mixture into the pan with the tofu and garlic and stir. Add the bok choy and toss until well combined. Cover for a minute or two to allow the bok choy to steam, then toss again. When the bok choy is softened but still bright green, remove from the heat .
  5. Spoon the rice into bowls; top with the bok choy mixture; sprinkle with hot sauce, green onions, and sesame seeds; and serve.