The Good Dirt

July 27th, 2015

Onions are slowly caramelized golden and sweet on the stove, while fresh garlic lends its fragrance to slightly wilted spinach and sorrel. This luxurious frittata is dotted with ricotta and finished with a sprinkling of nutmeg. This recipe comes to us from Deirdre of Plan It Healthier.

Serves 4

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound spinach and sorrel, leaves washed & chopped
  • 1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan
  • black pepper, to taste
  • nutmeg, to taste

Beat the eggs together in a medium bowl. Add the milk and salt and mix thoroughly.

Place the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and turn heat down to low. Cook the onions for about 8-10 minutes, or until the onions have caramelized.

Add the garlic, spinach and sorrel to the skillet. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until the greens begin to wilt and the garlic begins to become fragrant.

Pour the egg mixture over the greens and caramelized onions. Add dollops of ricotta, spaced evenly throughout the pan. Sprinkle with parmesan, pepper and nutmeg. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the eggs are just cooked through.

Preheat the broiler.

Slide the nearly done frittata under the broiler for about 1 minute, or until the top has turned golden. Cut into 4 slices and enjoy.

July 27th, 2015

Lemony white beans, red pepper with feta and a parsley pine nut pesto are layered to create this vibrant spread with flavors as bright as its looks. Bring this veggie pâté to your next potluck and serve with baguette rounds or pita bread. This recipe comes to us from Donna of Fab Frugal Food.

Serves 20

For the white bean layer:

  • 2 15 ounce cans cannellini beans*, drained and rinsed
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
  • or
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 garlic cloves, pressed

For the roasted red pepper layer:

  • 1 7 ounce jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
    4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

For the pesto layer:

  • 2 garlic cloves
    1 cup fresh basil leaves
    1 cup Italian parsley leaves
    1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

To complete the dish:

  • 1 3 ounce jar sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

*also referred to as white kidney beans.

Prepare a 10×5 inch loaf pan with a light coating of cooking spray or oil.

To make the white bean layer:

Mash the cannellini beans in large bowl.

Combine the mashed beans, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and garlic together in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the white bean mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared pan.

To make the roasted red pepper layer:

Combine the peppers and feta in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spread the red pepper mixture evenly over white bean layer in the prepared pan.

To make the pesto layer:

Pulse the garlic in the food processor until minced. Add the basil, parsley and pine nuts and pulse until all ingredients are minced and thoroughly combined.

With the food processor running, gradually add the oil to the garlic basil mixture through the processor’s feed tube. Process until smooth.

Mix the ricotta into the pesto. Spread the pesto evenly over the red pepper layer.

To complete the red pepper pesto pâté:

Sprinkle the chopped sun dried tomatoes evenly over the pesto layer.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To unmold, invert the pâté onto a serving platter. Peel off the plastic wrap and enjoy.

July 27th, 2015

Tahini, lemon juice and a little chipotle powder make a sour spicy seasoning for heart-healthy quinoa. Green onions, snow peas and bell peppers make a delightfully crunchy contrast to the cooked beans and grains in this satisfying winter salad.This recipe comes to us from Kristina of

Serves 10

For the salad:

  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups red quinoa*, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups cooked beans of choice, cooled
  • or
  • 2 cups canned beans of choice, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup green onion, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup snow peas, sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced

For the tahini chili dressing:

  • 1/4 cup tahini paste**
  • 4 ounces olive oil
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • salt, to taste

**Quinoa is a heart-healthy grain as well as a complete protein. It can be found in the grain section of most grocery stores. Feel free to substitute brown rice if you can’t find quinoa.

**A sesame seed paste found in health food section or the health food or specialty section of most grocery stores.

To make the salad:

Pour 4 cups of vegetable stock in a large pot over medium high heat heat. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to low and continue cooking for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft. Spread the quinoa on a baking sheet to cool.

Place the oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook 4-6 minutes, or until the mushrooms have browned and all the moisture has evaporated. Set aside to cool.

Combine the quinoa, beans, mushrooms, green onion, celery, snow peas and bell peppers together in a large bowl.

To make the tahini chili dressing:

Whisk together the tahini paste, olive oil and lemon juice. Season with chipotle chili powder and salt to taste.

To complete the Tahini Quinoa Bean Salad:

Toss the salad so that all ingredients are evenly distributed. Season the servings with dressing to taste and enjoy.

July 27th, 2015

“Fried” rice may first call to mind notions of greasy takeout, but this cauliflower version is packed with nutrition! Finely chopped cauliflower takes the place of white rice in this dish, which also features a slew of healthy veggies. This recipe comes to us from Anne of Craving Something Healthy.

Serves 6

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Napa or green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup cashews, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Place the cauliflower into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, and pulse about 20 times or until it resembles rice. Set aside.

Heat oil in a saute pan on high heat, and add scallions, garlic and ginger. Saute for about 2 minutes.

Add eggs if using, and mushrooms. Stir well so egg scrambles quickly.

Add cabbage and carrots and combine all ingredients well.

Reduce heat to low, and add soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sesame oil.

Serve immediately.

July 20th, 2015

Tempeh is a whole soybean product that originated in Indonesia. Similar to tofu, tempeh is often a staple in vegetarian diets because of it’s rich protein and fiber content. It has an earthy flavor and readily absorbs flavors when it is marinated or sautéed. This recipe comes to us from Kayli and James of The Plant Eaters’ Manifesto.

Serves 8

Quick-pickled Cabbage:
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 lb. purple cabbage (about ½ a medium head)
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Tempeh:
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 block of tempeh
  • 1 tsp.  olive oil
Peanut Sauce:
  • 6 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 8 corn tortillas

For quick-pickled cabbage:

Combine all ingredients except cabbage in a saucepan and heat until liquid begins to simmer.

Thinly slice cabbage and place in a bowl.

Pour hot liquid over shredded cabbage and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

For roasted sweet potatoes and tempeh:

Preheat oven to 450F.

Dice sweet potatoes and tempeh into bite-sized pieces.

Toss with a drizzle of oil. salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes or until they begin to brown.

For peanut sauce:

Combine sauce ingredients and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir mixture until a smooth sauce forms, adding water a tablespoon at a time until it reaches a thin, potable consistency.

In a large bowl, toss roasted sweet potatoes and tempeh with the peanut sauce.

Pile tempeh-sweet potato mixture into tortillas and top with Quick-pickled Cabbage and other optional ingredients.

July 20th, 2015

Tender baby spinach is tossed with sweet blackberries and balanced by nutty pistachios. Fresh fennel bulb adds a slight licorice aroma and balsamic vinegar brings its own tang to this satisfying salad. This recipe comes to us from Elizabeth of Sophisticated Pie.

Serves 4

  • 1/2 pound fresh baby spinach
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled
  • Fennel fronds
  • ¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper, to taste

Toss together the spinach, blackberries and sliced fennel. Sprinkle with pistachios and fennel fronds.

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season well with black pepper.

July 20th, 2015

This hearty dinner creates delectable flavors by preparing four distinct foods simply to show off their best qualities and then contrasting them. Acorn squash is steamed, bulgur is soaked and chickpeas are sauteed before it’s tossed with fresh baby spinach and seasoned with lemon juice, cinnamon and paprika. This recipe comes to us from Jennifer of Eat Well Meal Plans.

Serves 4

  • 1 cup bulgur*
  • 2 medium acorn squash, cut in half & seeds removed
  • 1 14.5 ounce can chick peas, drained, rinsed & dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

*found in the grain section of most grocery stores.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bulgur to the pot. Remove from heat, cover and soak for about 30 minutes, or until most of the water has been absorbed.

Place the seeded squash halves on a microwave-safe plate. Pour 1 teaspoon water in each of the 4 squash cavities. Microwave on high for 15 minutes, or until the squash’s flesh softens. Scoop the softened flesh from the outer shell and transfer it to a bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and sauté, stirring often, for about 4 minutes, or until they start to brown. Set aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add squash by the spoonful, about 2 to 3 tablespoons per scoop. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.

Drain any excess water from the bulgur and transfer it to a large serving bowl. Add the chickpeas, squash and baby spinach. Toss lightly to wilt the spinach. Season with the lemon juice, cinnamon, paprika, salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine and enjoy.

July 20th, 2015

Bell peppers, mushrooms and tofu are sautéed and seasoned savory with garlic powder, turmeric, agave syrup and apple cider vinegar. Spinach and pepper jack cheese are folded into the tasty tofu and wrapped in a tortilla. This recipe comes to us from Kathy of Happy, Healthy Life.

Serves 6

  • 1 tablespoon non hydrogenated margarine
  • 3/4 cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 18 ounces firm tofu, drained, pressed and diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons agave syrup*
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke*
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pepper jack cheese
  • or
  • 1/4 cup dairy free pepper jack cheese
  • 6 large flour tortillas

*Found at health food stores or the health food or spice section of some grocery stores.

Preheat an oven to 300 degrees.

Place the margarine in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, mushrooms and tofu. Season with the garlic powder, pepper, turmeric, salt, olive oil, agave syrup, liquid smoke and apple cider vinegar, stirring with a wooden spoon to ensure seasonings are evenly distributed. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the tofu has reached desired consistency.

Run the tortillas under water and place in the oven for about 3 minutes, or until the tortillas are soft and warm.

Fold the spinach and pepper jack into the tofu mushroom bell pepper mixture. Take off the heat.

Plate the warmed tortillas and spoon 6 portions of the tofu mushroom bell pepper mixture into the tortillas. Fold like a burrito and enjoy.

July 13th, 2015

This recipe comes to us from Norma of the Meatless Monday community in Honduras.

It’s an easy, delicious, spicy, creamy and highly addictive jalapeño dip. The perfect appetizer to serve at gatherings. The hardest part of this recipe is not eating it all by yourself!

Serves 4.

  • 1 ½  cup raw (unsalted) cashews, soaked overnight, then drained
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3  cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2  tsp.  sea salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup water (or more as necessary)

Add soaked (and drained) cashews, lemon juice, jalapeños, garlic, nutritional yeast, sea salt, pepper and water  to a food processor.

Puree, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the cashew cheese is a smooth, creamy consistency.

Pour mixture into a microwave safe serving dish, and microwave on High until hot, about 3 minutes.

Serve with sliced sourdough baguettes, tortilla, pita or bagel chips.

Tip: Be careful when cutting hot peppers; avoid touching your face- eyes.

July 13th, 2015

Fresh blueberries are frozen and pureed with pomegranate juice, orange juice and goji berries in this refreshing slushie. This anti-oxidant filled delight is equally delicious whether you drink it to start your day or sip it as a light dessert while you wind down. This recipe comes to us from Cat of The Verdant Life.

Serves 2

  • 2 cup blueberries, frozen*
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup goji berries, soaked in 1 cup water
  • or
  • 1 cup acai berry juice
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 cup ice cubes

*To freeze fresh blueberries, wash and dry them, then spread them out on a plate, to avoid clumping. Place in your freezer until frozen. Try to use the blueberries within a few days of freezing them, as they loose flavor the longer they sit.

Place the blueberries, pomegranate juice, goji berries and juice or acai berry juice, orange juice and ice cubes into a blender. Pulse until frothy.

Divide into 2 glasses and enjoy!

July 13th, 2015

Red bell peppers are roasted sweet and soft before they are tossed with French lentils, carrots, onion and celery. This bright, refreshing salad dresses the medley of lentils and veggies with tart Dijon lemon vinaigrette. This recipe comes to us from Pooja of Pooja’s Way.

Serves 6

For the lemon vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Roasted Pepper Lentil Salad:

  • 1 1/2 large red bell peppers, halved, seeds & pith removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup French green or puy lentils, rinsed & picked over
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 small onion, diced 1/4 inch
  • 2 celery stalks, diced 1/4 inch
  • 2 carrots, diced 1/4 inch
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To make the lemon vinaigrette:

Place the mustard, garlic, salt, lemon juice, white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar together in a food processor or blender. Blend on high for 10 seconds. If using a food processor, slowly pour the olive oil in through the top while the processor is running. If using a blender, remove the top and add the olive oil in parts, while blending in between additions. Taste for seasoning, adjust if desired, transfer to a bowl and refridgerate.

To complete the Roasted Pepper Lentil Lemon Salad:

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.

Place the bell pepper halves in a baking dish. Toss with the olive oil and roast for about 20 minutes, or until the bell pepper is soft and crisp around the edges. Set aside to let cool.

Place the lentils and cold water into a medium sized pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, add salt, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils are al dente. Remove from heat, drain and set aside in a mixing bowl to cool.

When the roasted peppers have cooled, dice 1/4 inch and transfer to a large mixing bowl. When the cooked lentils have cooled add them to the mixing bowl with the lentils.

Add the diced carrots, celery, onion and parsley to the lentil pepper mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss, taking care to ensure all the salad’s ingredients are evenly distributed.

Dress the salad with the reserved lemon vinaigrette to taste, divide into 6 portions and enjoy!

July 13th, 2015

This unique spin on pasta uses thinly sliced zucchini for noodles and switches up the sauce by featuring golden peppers rather than the traditional tomatoes. The result is a burst of summery flavor in a bowl. This recipe comes to us from Maria of Bean a Foodie.

Serves 2

  • 2 yellow peppers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini

Using a spiralizer or julienne peeler, slice/cut your zucchini into spaghetti like strands. Set aside.

Pre heat broiled to high and place oven rack on the top most notch. Place both peppers in the oven underneath the broiled. Cook until skins are just blackened and blistered – about 2-3 minutes per side. This happens quickly, so don’t leave the kitchen while you broil the peppers.

Remove peppers from oven and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel away the blackened skin (though you can eat this if you’d like a charred flavor). Remove stem and seeds and roughly chop.

Place the peppers, garlic, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 30 seconds. Taste and adjust for seasonings. Process a few seconds more or until sauce is completely pureed.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add in the pepper sauce and cook for about 7 minutes or until thickened slightly (water will be release from the zucchini when it’s cooked so sauce should be thick to prevent it from getting to watery).

Add in the zucchini and cook for about 1-2 minutes or until zucchini is just barely tender. Toss with chopped basil and any extra parmesan cheese desired. Serve immediately!

July 6th, 2015

These quick wraps will satisfy your craving for spicy, tangy Buffalo sauce while still packing in a hefty dose of nutrititious fiber and protein from chickpeas and black beans. This recipe comes to us from Tina of Fuel Your Future with Tina Muir.

Makes 8 wraps

For the Buffalo sauce:

  • 1/3 cup hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

To complete the wraps:

  • 1 large head of romaine
  • 3/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled

Add the buffalo sauce ingredients to a small saucepan. Heat over a medium high heat. Once the butter has melted, stir in the chickpeas. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Serve all the ingredients on top of the leaves of romaine, and enjoy immediately.

July 6th, 2015

Polenta is sliced into rounds and browned on the stove. Edamame, bell pepper, zucchini and tomatoes are seasoned with oregano and basil to top these corn discs, for an Italian spin on southern grits. This recipe comes to use from Janet of Mosiac Kitchen.

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 bell pepper, thin sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced into sticks
  • 1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
  • 1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 18 ounce chub polenta

Place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the edamame and tomatoes. Season with the oregano and basil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the edamame is cooked through and hot.

Slice the polenta into 3/4 inch rounds. Place the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Add the polenta rounds to the skillet and cook 7 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.

Place 2-3 slices of browned polenta on 4 plates. Top with equal portions of the edamame zucchini mixture and enjoy!

July 6th, 2015

A grilled avocado is elegant in its simplicity – simply brush with lime juice and place on the grill to infuse the earthy fruit with savory smoke. The grill marks make for a delightful presentation and you can really up the ante in serving the salsa smack dab in the middle, replacing the pit. This recipe comes to us from Patrice of Circle B Kitchen.

Serves 12

For the salsa:

  • 1 15 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
    ¼ cup diced onion
    3 cloves garlic
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
    4 sprigs cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • or
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño*, stemmed and seeded

For the grilled avocados:

  • 3 avocados, halved
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • salt, to taste
  • low-fat sour cream, for garnish*
  • or
  • low-fat Greek yogurt, for garnish*



To make the salsa:

Combine the tomatoes, diced onion, garlic, pepper, salt, cilantro, vinegar or lime juice and jalapeño, if using. Pulse in a food processor or blender until the salsa is chopped and blended to preference.

To complete the grilled avocados with salsa:

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.

Remove the pit of each avocado by cutting into the pit with a large sharp knife and turning the knife counter-clockwise. Once the knife is properly wedged into the avocado pit, it should be easy to remove the pit from the flesh of the avocado, as you twist and remove the knife.

Whisk together the lime juice and olive oil in a small bowl. Brush each avocado half with the lime juice marinade.

Place each prepared avocado half, flesh side down, over the hot grill. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until grill marks appear and the avocado is warm, but not overly mushy.

Remove the avocado halves from the grill and fill the hole, left by the pits, with salsa. You will have salsa left over after all the holes are filled. Reserve the leftover salsa in the fridge for a future snack or entrée topping.

Squeeze the wedge of lime over the avocado halves and sprinkle lightly with salt. Top the salsa with a dollop sour cream or Greek yogurt, if using.

Consume with a fork or use baked pita chips as your utensil.