The Good Dirt
February 27th, 2017
Although gumbo traditionally features a mix of chicken, sausage and shrimp, this vegetarian version is equally hearty with its plethora of veggies and savory spices. This recipe comes to us from Rini of Healing Tomato.
For the Roux
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tsp sunflower oil
- 2 tsp of flax seed meal (optional)
- 1 cup of red onions (finely chopped)
- 3 stalks of celery (cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
- 1 green bell pepper (cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
- 1 yellow squash (cut into 1/4 inch pieces)
- 3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- 2 cups okra (frozen)
- 2 cups French cut green beans (frozen)
- 1/2 cup corn (frozen)
- 1 can of black eyed peas
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 4 cups of water
- 3 tsp of tomato paste
- 4 tsp of your favorite hot sauce (optional)
- 3 tsp of cayenne pepper
- 3 tsp of cumin powder
- 2 tsp of dried basil
- 2 tsp of dried oregano
- 2 tsp of dried parsley
- 2 tsp of dried rosemary
- 2 tsp of black peppers (whole)
- 3 tsp of salt
- 3 cups of cooked brown rice
Prepare the roux first
Take a large and heavy-bottom pan
Heat it for 20 seconds at medium heat and then add the oil
Add the flour
Stir constantly to make sure that it doesn’t burn. When the color of the roux is dark brown, add the flax seed meal
Stir for another 45 seconds
Add the Celery, onions, bell pepper and squash
Turn the heat to high and let the vegetables cook well. Stir constantly.
When the vegetables turn soft, add the remaining ingredients in the order listed above
Add the spices also
Stir well and then cover
Turn the heat to low and let the vegetarian gumbo cook on its own
Stir occasionally to make sure that it is not sticking at the bottom
February 27th, 2017
Crepes are wrapped around vanilla custard then topped with refreshing orange and grapefruit segments. Sprigs of mint make for a lovely herbal finish to this Mardi Gras breakfast. This recipe comes to us from myrecipes.com and CookingLight.com.
For the filling:
- 2 cups nonfat milk
- 1 5 inch vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- dash of salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup low fat sour cream
For the crepes:
- 1/2 cup nonfat milk
- 5 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- nonstick cooking spray
To complete the Louisiana Citrus Crepes:
- 2 naval oranges, peeled and separated into segments
- 2 red grapefruit, peeled and separated into segments
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 8 sprigs mint*
To make the filling:
Pour the milk into a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the seeds and bean to the pan. Place the milk over medium-high heat and warm until it reaches 180°, or until tiny bubbles form around edge, but before the milk boils. Remove from heat and set aside.
Mix the 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, dash of salt and the egg yolks together into a large bowl. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture. Return the milk mixture to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook for 1 minute more and remove the pan from the stove. Spoon the filling into a bowl and discard the vanilla bean.
Stir in sour cream. Place plastic wrap on surface of custard. Chill thoroughly.
To make the crepes:
Pour the milk, water, melted butter, vanilla and egg into a blender. Add the flour, sugar and salt. Process until smooth and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Prepare an 8-inch nonstick crepe pan or skillet with a light layer of nonstick cooking spray. Place the pan over medium heat. Pour about 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan. Quickly tilt the pan in all directions so that the batter covers the pan with a thin film. Cook for 2 minutes. Carefully lift the edge of the crepe with a spatula to test for doneness. Turn crepe when it can be shaken loose from the pan and the underside is lightly browned. Cook 1 minute more on the other side, or until the center is set.
Place the crepe on a towel and cool completely. Repeat until all of batter is used. Stack the crepes between single layers of wax paper to prevent them from sticking.
To complete the Louisiana Citrus Crepes:
Place the orange and grapefruit segments together in a large bowl. Add the sugar and mint and toss gently until combined.
Place 1 crepe on every plate, spread about 1/3 cup chilled filling over each crepe. Fold each into a triangle. Top each serving with 1/4 cup fruit mixture. Sprinkle crepes evenly with powdered sugar, garnish with mint sprigs, if using, and enjoy.
February 27th, 2017
Pack some nutrition into your party fare! These quinoa chili fries skip the meat and cheese in favor of nutrient-packed quinoa and beans, which pack in both fiber and protein. Baking the potatoes leaves them crispy and delicious while using less oil than frying. This recipe comes to us from Gin of Eat Healthy Eat Happy.
- 1 cup dried quinoa, cooked according to package
- 3 Tbs olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil)
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- pinch red pepper flakes
- a few twists fresh black pepper
- 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 bunch (8 or so) green onions, chopped (save tops for garnish)
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 15 oz. can or 1½ c cooked red or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 oz. can or 1½ c cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 Tbs low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 2 15 oz. cans diced no salt added tomatoes
- 1 6 oz. can no salt added tomato paste
- 1 Tbs maple syrup (or your favorite sweetener)
- 2 Tbs red cooking wine
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 c water
- 4 russet potatoes
Cook the quinoa and set aside. Prep the veggies while the quinoa cooks.
In a large, lidded pot combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, paprika, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Raise the heat to low and let the spices bloom for 2-3 minutes.
Add the garlic and onions. Raise the heat to medium low and saute 5 minutes. Add the peppers, raise the heat to medium and saute 5 minutes.
Stir in the cooked quinoa and saute 3-4 minutes. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, cover loosely, turn the heat to low and let the chili simmer while you make the fries.
To make the fries, heat the oven to 465F. Cook 2 small or 1 large potato per serving. To cook 2 servings: cut the potatoes into fries. Combine 1 Tbs oil and sprinklings of chili powder, paprika, onion and garlic powder in a large bowl. Just eyeballing is fine. Toss the potatoes in the oil and spice and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes, flip them over and bake another 10 minutes. Top with chili and serve.
February 20th, 2017
Your grill may closed up for the season, but that’s no reason not to enjoy a delicious meatless burger! These baked burgers combine the sweet and savory flavors of winter produce for a comforting seasonal dish. This recipe comes to us from Sophia of Veggies Don’t Bite.
- 2 cups rice medley (or other favorite rice)
- 3 cups veggie broth
- 3 cups diced butternut squash
- 1 cup chopped shallots
- 2 cups diced granny smith apples
- Himalayan pink salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme (leaves only)
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- Caramelized Onion Sage Aioli
- 6 pieces of lettuce
- 6 burger buns
Cook rice in a rice cooker or on stovetop using broth making sure to measure out the amounts of each.
Preheat oven to 400. Wash and dice/chop squash, shallots and apples making sure to keep squash separate from the others. Place squash on a parchment lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and roast for 15 minutes. At the 15 minute mark, add apples and shallots to the cookie sheet. Roast another 30 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool, put in a food processor with the thyme and pulse until chunky. Do not puree into a mush or paste. Add to a large bowl.
Next add the cooked rice and pumpkin seeds to the food processor and pulse until chopped a bit but still chunky. Add to the bowl.
Mix everything well. Taste and add more salt if needed, but it shouldn’t need much if you cooked the rice with broth.
Shape into 4 inch patties, then cook on stove top in a pan over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until browning (depending on stove). Make sure to keep pan covered to help the burger cook throughout. Check every few minutes to prevent burning, should be slightly browned when ready. Let sit for a few minutes after cooked to help burger get more stable before eating.
Serve burgers with Caramelized Onion Sage Aioli on pretzel rolls or other gluten free or sprouted wheat buns. Top with lettuce.
February 20th, 2017
This flavorful peanut noodle dish is not only packed with plant protein, but veggies and enticing aromatic herbs, too. This recipe comes to us from our friends at Pondicheri and is featured as a Meatless Monday special in the restaurant’s New York and Houston locations.
- 4 cups / 225 g Chinese thin rice noodles
- 3 Tbsp sesame oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 small carrots, julienned
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced on the bias
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 in / 5 cm piece ginger, julienned
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 Tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine or rice wine vinegar
- Zest & juice from 1 orange
- 2 Tbsp ketchup manis [Indonesian soy sauce]
- 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, ground
- 2 Tbsp sambhal olek [Indonesian chili sauce]
- 2 Tbsp peanut butter
- 2 cups / 135 g spinach leaves, sliced
- 1 cup / 340 g purple cabbage, sliced
- 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- 2 Tbsp toasted & chopped peanuts
Pour boiling water over the noodles & let them soak for 3-4 minutes. Drain & set aside.
In a large wok or sauté pan, heat up the sesame oil & add the garlic. Almost immediately, add the julienned carrots & cook for 4-5 minutes, frequently stirring.
Add the red bell peppers & cook for another minute. Turn up the heat & cook, stirring on high for 2-3 minutes.
Add the celery, red onions, ginger, black pepper & salt. Cook for just under another minute & add the cooking wine, orange juice with zest, ketchup manis, peppercorns, sambhal olek & peanut butter. Continue cooking at high heat for 2-3 or until the sauce around the vegetables is bubbly.
Add the noodles, spinach, cabbage, cilantro & peanuts. Toss to mix, turn the heat off & serve immediately.
February 13th, 2017
For a unique spin on lasagna, try skipping the tomato sauce in favor of a béchamel, which allows the flavors of the leafy greens and artichokes to shine. This recipe comes to us from Patricia of Grab A Plate.
For the béchamel
- 3 cups milk
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
For the lasagna
- 9 lasagna noodles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups (tightly packed) fresh spinach leaves
- 2 cups (loosely packed) kale, chopped into 2-inch strips
- 1 (12-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Nonstick cooking spray
For the béchamel
Add the butter to a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until golden, about 3-5 minutes.
Heat the milk in a separate pan. Just before the milk boils, remove it from the heat.
Add the milk to the butter mixture, about 1 cup at a time, whisking as you go, until all the milk is added.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, just so it’s not boiling over. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Remove it from the heat and stir in the salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
For the lasagna
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×12-inch baking dish with the nonstick spray and set it aside.
As you make the béchamel, cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions.
Add the oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until they soften.
Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetable broth and black pepper, and bring the mixture to a boil.
Add the kale to the skillet and cook until it softens, 3-4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the spinach. Mix and allow the spinach to wilt. Add the chopped artichoke to the mixture and toss to combine. There shouldn’t be much liquid left in the skillet, but if there is, just drain it off.
Spread a thin layer of the béchamel mixture over the bottom of the pan (you may need to warm the sauce slightly to keep it spreadable, as it may thicken as it cools).
Add a layer of lasagna noodles (3) over the béchamel. I trimmed the ends of the noodles so they would fit in the pan.
Spread a thin layer of the béchamel over the noodles, followed by 1/2 the vegetable mixture. Evenly dollop 1/2 the ricotta cheese over the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese on the top.
Repeat with 3 lasagna noodles, a thin layer of béchamel, the remaining vegetable mixture, the remaining ricotta, and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Finish by placing 3 lasagna noodles over the top. Spread a thin layer of béchamel evenly over the top of the noodles, not quite to the edges, and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for about 5 minutes or until the top begins to turn golden.
You can finish by placing the lasagna under the broiler for 15-30 seconds to turn the cheese more golden, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn.
Remove from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before cutting and serving.
February 6th, 2017
With the right recipe (hint, hint, this one) tofu goes from drab to fab! A pistachio crust seasoned with lemon juice, dill and basil is just the thing to bring this tofu to entree status and wow your guests with a meatless meal. This recipe comes to us from Kristina DeMuth.
- 2 packages of extra firm tofu (~14 oz each)
- 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)
- 1 cup pistachios (without shells)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp dried dill weed
- 1/4 cup basil (fresh or dried)
- 2 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 350F. Lay tofu out on a clean towel and lightly press out some of the water. Slice each block of tofu into 4 slices. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for ~15-20 minutes in the oven. (Optional to place the tofu on a skillet and lightly cook them over medium heat).
In a bowl combine the ground flax with water. Allow it to sit for several minutes to thicken.
In food processor, lightly pulse the pistachios until desired texture. Avoid overly blending if you don’t want it to be super fine like flour. Pour the pistachios into the bowl with the ground flax.
Blend together the lemon juice, dill, basil, and water. Then pour this picture into the bowl with the pistachios and flax and stir with a spoon.
Remove the tofu from the oven and coat the tops with the pistachio mixture. Be sure to distribute evenly.
Place the tofu back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is desired texture. Avoid burning the crust.
Serve the tofu with a side of leafy green veggies, roasted vegetables, and sweet potatoes or with my lemon quinoa sweet potato salad.
Visit Kristina DeMuth’s website for the pictured Lemon Quinoa Sweet Potato Salad.
February 6th, 2017
These flapjacks are rooted in American history as Laura Ingles Wilder and family used to bite into buckwheat banana pancakes in The Little House on the Prairie series. This version bakes the banana right in the middle for full fruit integration. This recipe comes to us from Jennifer Grayson.
- 1 cup buckwheat flour*
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar**
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup nonfat milk
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 banana, sliced thin
- a little butter, as needed to prepare the pan
*This rich, nutty flour is full of nutrients as well as gluten-free, so it can consumed easily by those with wheat allergies. Buckwheat flour can be found in the dry goods section, near standard flour, in most grocery stores.
In a large bowl, combine buckwheat flour, baking powder, salt and sugar if using. Whisk dry ingredients together to combine.
One at a time, add the egg, milk and oil to the buckwheat mixture, beating the mixture well after each addition.
Heat large skillet or griddle over medium heat.
Prepare the heated skillet with small amount of butter. After the butter melts pour one small ladleful of pancake batter for each pancake onto the hot, greased skillet. Place three slices of banana onto each pancake.
Cook each pancake for 1-2 minutes, or until the edges look brown and bubbles break the surface. Flip each pancake and cook on other side for approximately 1 minute, or until cooked through. Serve immediately.