The Good Dirt

July 17th, 2017

This simple salad, seasoned with a French vinaigrette, is a classic dish in France. It makes a wonderful, protein-rich highlight of any meal. Because the flavors continue to meld, it’s also great the next day. This recipe comes to us from Sharon Palmer, RDN.

Serves 6

  • 1 pound (454 g) dried lentils (or 3 cups cooked; see Note)
  • 4 cups (948 ml) water
  • 2 teaspoons reduced sodium vegetable broth base
  • 4 celery stalks, diced (160 g or about 11⁄2 cups)
  • 11⁄2 cups (224 g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium shallots, finely diced
  • 1⁄4 cup (15 g) packed chopped fresh parsley
  • 11⁄2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • Pinch of sea salt, optional

Place the lentils, water, and broth base in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender but firm.

Remove from the heat, drain any remaining liquid, and transfer the lentils to a large bowl. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Stir in the celery, tomatoes, shallots, and parsley.

In a small dish, make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, herbes de Provence, black pepper, and garlic.

Add the dressing to the lentil mixture and toss. Taste and season with sea salt, if desired. Chill until serving time.

Note: If you’re in a rush, use precooked, refrigerated lentils, available at many stores. Although a classic French lentil salad uses lentils du puys (small, dark green lentils), try other varieties for a colorful twist, such as yellow, beluga (black), or multicolored lentils.

Variation: Substitute cooked beans, such as white, fava, or cranberry beans, for the lentils.

July 17th, 2017

Spaghetti squash is a unique vegetable, to be sure, but it’s the sauce in this recipe that’s likely to raise your eyebrows. Featuring ginger, hot sauce and – gasp – chocolate peanut butter, this dish is a taste experience you won’t forget! This recipe comes to use from Aditi & Nikhil of Confused Bawarchis.

Serves 2

For the spaghetti noodles

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds taken out
  • 1 cup spinach, cut in a chiffonade
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 red onion, sliced lengthwise
  • 5 tablespoons toasted spaghetti squash seeds
  • 5-6 tablespoons mint cut in a chiffonade

For the spicy chocolate peanut sauce

  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1 teaspoons pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chocolate peanut butter (or plain peanut butter)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • tiny splash of toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and place the squash halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet with a little drizzle of olive oil.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until the flesh pulls away in easy strands. In the last 15 minutes of baking, add the spaghetti squash seeds on to the same baking sheet on the side and allow them to toast.

In the meanwhile, place all of the sauce ingredients either in a small jar and with the lid on shake it well. Alternatively you could blend them in a blender. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

When squash is cool enough to handle, scrape the spaghetti strands out with a fork into a large bowl and add the onions, carrots, spinach and mint and mix it very gently.

Pour a big splash of the dressing into the bowl and toss it gently.

Top it off with the toasted squash seeds and enjoy the crunchy salad!

July 17th, 2017

These gluten free muffins contrast sweet strawberries with sour lemon juice and herbal lavender. Try pressing a quartered strawberry on top of the muffins before baking to give this breakfast bread a refreshingly sweet finish. This recipe comes to us from Christy, The Blissful Chef.

Serves 12

  • 1 cup brown rice flour*1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lavender, minced
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, finely chopped
  • 3 strawberries, greens removed & quartered

*Found in health food stores of the flour section of some grocery stores.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with liners or spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the brown rice flour, cornmeal, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, arrowroot and salt together in a large bowl.

Whisk the almond milk and vinegar together in a smaller bowl until they begin to bubble. Add the safflower oil, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon zest and juice and sugar. Whisk together with the almond milk vinegar mixture until well combined.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring, until well combined.

Fold the minced lavender and finely chopped strawberries into the batter. Spoon the batter equal amounts into the muffin tin cups.

Top each muffin liner with one strawberry quarter, pressing down lightly. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry. Enjoy!

July 17th, 2017

Crisp jicama, savory squash and bitter radishes are cut into tiny matchsticks and tossed with sweat peaches, snap peas, cilantro and dill. A spicy lime ginger vinaigrette is the perfect pairing to dress this sophisticated salad. This recipe comes to us from Amy of The Crunchy Carrot.

Serves 4

For the salad:

  • 5 ounces jicama
  • 5 ounces summer squash, preferably zephyr squash
  • 3 radishes
  • 1/2 lime
  • salt, to taste
  • 6 baby carrots, peeled and cut into slices
  • 2 peaches, cut into small cubes
  • 1 pound snap peas
  • 1-2 teaspoons dill
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • sesame seeds, to taste

For the ginger lime dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced and half zested
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 squirt hot sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To make the salad:

Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, slice the jicama and squash into very thin ribbons. Stack the ribbons of each vegetable on top of one another and cut with a knife to create matchsticks. Cut the radish into matchsticks using a knife.

Place the jicama, squash and radish matchsticks together in a large sized bowl. Squirt with the half lime and season with salt to taste. Add the sliced baby carrots, peaches, snap peas, dill and cilantro. Toss to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed.

To make the lime ginger dressing:

Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, ginger and hot sauce together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To complete the Snap Pea Salad:

Toss the salad with half the lime ginger dressing and toss to ensure the salad is evenly coated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Divide into 4 portions, add more dressing if desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!

July 10th, 2017

Tomatoes are marinated in garlic and olive oil, then stuffed with goat cheese lemon quinoa stuffing. The classic Italian flavor profile has never come together in a more elegantly deconstructed fashion, as the quinoa stuffed tomatoes are baked and finished with fresh basil.This recipe comes to us from Namisha of Club Dine In!

Serves 4

  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced half lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon basil, chopped

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper.

Remove the seeds and some of the flesh from the tomatoes with a spoon. Place the tomatoes, cut side down, on paper towels to drain for about 5 minutes.

Whisk 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Gently toss the drained tomatoes in the garlic oil mixture with your hands until the tomatoes are well coated. Set aside to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Place the quinoa, goat cheese, bread crumbs and lemon zest together in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly, taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Place the marinated tomato halves, cut side up, on the parchment paper lined baing sheet. Fill each tomato with the quinoa goat cheese mixture. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon olive oil.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tomatoes are slightly softened and their undersides are brown.

Divide the tomatoes into 4 portions, sprinkle with basil and enjoy!

July 10th, 2017

Strawberries bring summertime’s sweetness to balance refreshing grape tomatoes, carrots and yellow bell peppers. Balsamic vinegar is tempered with maple syrup and lemon juice to create vinaigrette which tastes complex, but is simple to prepare. This recipe comes to us from Christy, The Blissful Chef.

Serves 5

For the balsamic vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
    ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
    2 teaspoons maple syrup
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon black pepper
    1 clove garlic*, diced

To complete the strawberry tomato salad:

  • 1 head butter lettuce, leaves torn or cut chiffonade
    2 avocados, chopped bite size
    1 medium carrot, julienned
    10 grape tomatoes, quartered
    6 strawberries, ends cut off and sliced
    1 cup yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
    salt and pepper, to taste



To make the balsamic vinaigrette:


In a medium bowl combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, pepper and garlic if using. Whisk together until full blended.

To complete the strawberry tomato salad:

In a large bowl combine the lettuce, avocados, carrot, tomatoes, strawberries and yellow bell pepper. Toss salad together, dress with the balsamic vinaigrette and toss again until the salad is fully coated. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Enjoy!

July 10th, 2017

Fresh strawberries are sprinkled with a little brown sugar to release their fruit juice in this grab and go breakfast. Yogurt and ricotta are naturally sweetened with honey then layered between brown sugar strawberries and crunchy granola. This recipe comes to us from Madelyn of Karma Free Cooking.

Serves 3

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 cups granola*
  • 1 cup part skim low fat ricotta
  • 1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
  • squirt of honey

*Many varieties of prepackaged granola are sold in grocery stores, but if time allows we suggest making your own.

Place the berries brown sugar together in a large bowl. Allow to macerate for 10 minutes.

Mix the ricotta, yogurt and honey together in a separate bowl. Mix well.

Pour a few tablespoons of the yogurt ricotta mixture in a glass. Place with brown sugar strawberry slices on the yogurt ricotta and then with the granola. Top with a few more brown sugar strawberry slices. Repeat the layering process in 2 other glasses and enjoy.

July 10th, 2017

This easy-going cobbler puts little tomatoes front and center on the dance floor with a tangle of sweet fresh onions. This recipe comes to us from Kim O’Donnel‘s new book PNW Veg.

KITCHEN NOTES: Like any fruit cobbler (after all, the tomato is botanically a fruit), there will be some residual juice at the bottom of the dish. You could spoon this juice over the biscuits or coat the tomatoes in a tablespoon of flour before adding to the pie plate to slow the juicy flow.

No buttermilk? Substitute 3⁄4 cup milk and 2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar, stirred together.

(c) 2017 by Kim O’Donnel. All rights reserved. Excerpted from PNW Veg by permission of Sasquatch Books.

Serves 6

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, well chilled
  • 2 cups thinly sliced Walla Walla or yellow onion (from about 
1 large onion)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds cherry tomatoes (about 2 pints), stemmed
  • 1 cup all-purpose or white wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped (or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3⁄4 cup buttermilk
  • A few dashes of Tabasco or favorite mild hot sauce

Measure out 2 tablespoons of the butter, then return the rest to the refrigerator until ready to make the topping.

Place the butter in a 9-or10-inch skillet and melt over medium heat, tilting the pan to coat. Add the onion and turn with a wooden spoon or pair of tongs until well coated. Cook until very soft, about 20 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to avoid burning. Season with 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the pepper.

Transfer the onions and any residual butter to a 9-or 9½-inch pie plate and spread around until the bottom of the pan is covered.

Slice the tomatoes as needed (larger cherry tomatoes will cook more evenly if cut in half). Layer the tomatoes on top of the onions.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Meanwhile, make the biscuit topping. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, thyme, and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Cut the remaining 4 tablespoons cold butter into small dice. With your hands, “cut in” the butter with the tips of your fingers until the mixture looks like fluffy sand. You should not be able to see clumps of butter. (You can also use a food processor, pulsing briefly to incorporate.) Stir in the cheese.

Make a well in the center of the flour, then add the buttermilk and hot sauce. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently stir the batter until it just comes together; it will be wet and sticky.

With a tablespoon, drop the batter all over the tomatoes, gently spreading until the fruit is thoroughly covered. (Don’t worry if you miss a spot; the batter spreads during baking.) Place the pie plate on a sheet pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. The topping should be golden brown and firm to the touch, and the filling should be actively bubbling.

Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (if it lasts that long!). Reheats well.

July 3rd, 2017

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 3rd, 2017

Grilling pineapple gives the fruit a lovely hint of smoke, while lime balances the sweet with sour citrus and jalapeño packs a spicy punch. Serve this summertime salsa atop your favorite bean burgers, salads and tacos. This recipe came to us from Donna of Apron Strings.

Serves 32

  • 1/2 of a ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 2-4  jalapeños, depending on spice preference
  • a little olive oil, to grill the pineapples and jalapeños
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, diced
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • A few dashes hot sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Spray pineapple slices and jalapeños with a little oil. Grill on a gas grill or grill pan over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes per side, or until pineapples and jalapeños are charred slightly and set aside to cool slightly. Dice the jalapeños and pineapple slices after they cool and place in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, stir together the diced mango, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, honey and olive oil. Add mango mixture to the charred, diced pineapples and jalapeños. Season with a few dashes of hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

July 3rd, 2017

Artichoke hearts and fresh baby spinach top a whole wheat pita round coated with pesto. These pita pizzas quick to prepare and can be made in your toaster oven. This recipe comes from Jen of Appetite for Conversation.

Serves 1

For the basic basil pesto:

  • 1/2 cup well-packed basil leaves
  • 1/6 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/8 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

To complete the spinach artichoke pita pizza:

  • 1 round piece whole wheat pita bread
  • 1 tablespoon pesto
  • 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach, washed
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup part-skim mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the basic basil pesto:

Place the basil, olive oil, garlic, black pepper and Parmesan together in a food processor. Process until smooth and set aside.

Spread the pesto on the pita bread round. Save the leftover pesto in the refrigerator and use as a spread or dip.

To complete the spinach artichoke pita pizza:

Top the pesto pita with the spinach, artichoke hearts, mozzarella and parmesan. Season with black pepper.

Place the pita pizza into a toaster oven or under a preheated broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the artichoke hearts begin to turn golden brown.

July 3rd, 2017

Thinking about firing up the grill this Monday? Try this simple, snackable recipe featuring some of summer’s most sensational (and grill-able!) produce. It’s perfect for feeding a crowd and easily doubles or triples. This recipe comes to us from Dixya of Food, Pleasure and Health.

Serves 3-6

  • 6 slices sprouted bread
  • 1 ear corn, shucked and cleaned
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • oil for grill
  • cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375F and spray a muffin tin.

Cut the edges of the bread then use a rolling pin to flatten the bread. Once it is flat, press bread slices into muffin tins. Bake it in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until crispy.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat and gently brush it oil. Place tomatoes and corn on the pan. Let it grill for 8-10 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan once corn is grilled evenly and tomatoes are soft. Using a pairing knife, cut the kernels off the cob into a small bowl.

Meanwhile, heat another pan with little oil and saute onion until it is soft.

Combine corn kernels and tomatoes into the pan with sauteed onions. Add in mashed avocado and parmesan cheese if using.

Season it with salt and pepper as needed.

Add fillings evenly into bread cups, sprinkle more parmesan cheese if desired. Let it bake for additional 3-5 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro before serving.


June 26th, 2017

In this refreshing morning treat, Greek yogurt is topped with blueberries and drizzled with maple syrup. Delicate orange zest brings depth to the flavor and texture of the dish, as well as a sprinkling of Vitamin C. This recipe comes to us from Trudy of veggie.num.num.

Serves 2

  • 3 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ orange, zested
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Divide the Greek yogurt between two bowls. Top with equal portions of blueberries, the orange zest and drizzle with maple syrup.

June 26th, 2017

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 Apron Strings.

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.

June 26th, 2017

Spicy radishes bring big flavors to this creamy crunchy sandwich. The sharp radish taste is balanced with briny black olives and mellowed with Neufchatel cheese.

This recipe comes to us from Rebecca of Ezra Poundcake.

Serves 4

  • 1 cup radishes, trimmed
  • 4 ounces Neufchatel cheese
  • or
  • 4 ounces fat-free cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chives or scallions
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 5 black olives, sliced or chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Your choice of bread
  • arugula, to taste
  • 4 black olives*, for garnish


Place the radishes in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped.

In a small bowl, stir the cheese to loosen. Add the radishes, parsley, chives and just enough lemon juice to make the mixture spreadable. Stir to combine.

Gently fold in the capers and black olives. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, spread the radish filling on one slice of bread, top it with arugula, and complete the sandwich with another slice of bread. Spear the garnish olive with a toothpick if using, insert into the sandwich and enjoy.