The Good Dirt

April 24th, 2017

Asparagus spears, bell pepper, zucchini and onion are roasted to perfection then tossed with couscous infused with vegetable broth. Kidney beans pack a protein punch and turn this salad into a hearty lunch. This recipe comes to us from Courtney of Coco Cooks.

Serves 4

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous*
  • 1 veggie bouillon cube
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 half green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans, cooked
  • or
  • 1 cup canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup lemon infused olive oil
  • or
  • ¼ cup olive oil with 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted for garnish**

*Israeli couscous is larger than most traditional North African couscous and can be found in the grain or ethnic food section of most grocery stores. To substitute traditional couscous cook couscous according to package directions, using veggie broth instead of water.


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Bring 1 ¼ cup of water to a boil in a small pot over high heat. Add veggie bouillon cube and stir to dissolve. Turn heat down to medium, add couscous, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until all the liquid has absorbed.

Spread out the asparagus, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, zucchini and onion onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle vegetables with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 min, or until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown. Remove vegetables from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl combine couscous, kidney beans, roasted vegetables and chopped parsley. Mix to combine and drizzle with the remaining ¼ cup lemon olive oil and ¼ cup balsamic vinegar. Toss to ensure even distribution of oil and vinegar.

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds if using and enjoy!

April 24th, 2017

Almond milk, dark brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon give these oats a warm Autumn spiced flavor. This recipe makes loose, milky oats, but for a thicker breakfast simply add more oats or less almond milk in this easily adaptable treat. This recipe comes to us from Madelyn from Karma Free Cooking.

Serves 2

  • 3 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder*
  • a pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 sprinkles cinnamon, for garnish

*Found in the spice section of most grocery stores.

Place the almond milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Season the almond milk with the brown sugar, vanilla powder and salt. Stir.

Add the oatmeal, stir, partially cover and bring to a low boil. Stir, lower temperature to low and continue to cook, partially covered for about 5-6 minutes more, or until the oatmeal begins to thicken, but is not fully cooked.

Cover the saucepan completely, wait 10 seconds and turn heat off. Allow the oatmeal to stand on the stove for about 15 minutes.

Divide into 2 portions, sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

April 24th, 2017

Bun Bo Xao is a Vietnamese noodle salad that can easily be made vegetarian. Served cold, it’s a great alternative to Pho as the weather turns warmer. This version features spring’s freshest produce and savory tofu marinated in liquid aminos. This recipe comes to us from Pragati of Simple Medicine.

Serves 1 (multiply recipe as needed)

  • 2 oz. vermicelli noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, chopped
  • Fresh cilantro and mint
  • 1/2 cup tofu, marinated in liquid aminos and crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. crushed peanuts
  • Soy sauce or Hoisin sauce, for dressing

In a bowl layer your ingredients in the following order: Romaine lettuce, vermicelli noodles.

Next, top with cabbage, cucumber, carrot, mint, cilantro and tofu.

Dress as desired.

Check out Simple Medicine’s video to learn how to build your salad!

April 24th, 2017

These simple meatless tacos are stuffed with protein and flavor! Seasoned chickpeas are accented with crunchy lettuce, sweet peppers and a bold blue cheese avocado dressing. This recipe comes to us from Sherri and Greg of the blog Watch Learn Eat.

Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup diced tri-colored mini sweet peppers (red, yellow and orange)
  • 8 soft corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce

Add blue cheese dressing and avocado to the bowl of a food processor. Process on high speed until creamy. Transfer to a bowl and stir in blue cheese crumbles. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Whisk taco seasoning and water together in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Add chickpeas and peppers to the skillet and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While chickpeas are cooking, begin warming the tortillas. Heat another large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat until hot. Cook tortillas two at a time for 30 seconds per side, stacking onto a plate as each one is done.

After chick peas have cooked for 10 minutes, stir in seasoning/water mixture and cook over medium heat for 3 more minutes. Continue to stir occasionally.

To serve, fill each tortilla with chickpea and pepper mixture, scallions, lettuce and dressing.

April 17th, 2017

This soybean-spin on guacamole adds some extra fiber to that classic dip. Try using cut up bell peppers instead of chips for an even healthier treat. This recipes comes to us from Kinzie of To Cheese or Not to Cheese?

Serves 6


  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1/2 cup broccoli stalks, peeled
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 scallion, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • salt to taste

Bring 2 cups of water to boil.

Add edamame, blanch for 2 minutes, drain and set aside.

Bring water to a boil once more, add broccoli, blanch for 2 minutes and drain.

In food processor, puree edamame and broccoli together.

Using a potato-master or the back of a spoon, mash the edamame-broccoli puree with the avocado, scallion, red onion, garlic, jalapeno, lime, tomato and cilantro.

Salt to taste and serve.

April 17th, 2017

Cremini mushrooms are sautéed until golden, then tossed with spinach, Swiss cheese and whole-wheat bread. This egg white breakfast casserole is perfect for busy group brunches, as the convenient assembly occurs the night before serving, so when morning comes, simply take it out and bake it until browned. This recipe comes to us from Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator.

Serves 6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 8 ounces Swiss cheese
  • 12 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 slices day old whole-wheat bread, cubed

Spray a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with light coating of cooking spray.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for 4-6 minutes, or until golden brown.

Pour the egg whites and milk together in a large bowl. Season with the salt and pepper and mix until blended.

Put the bread cubes, sautéed mushrooms, thawed spinach and Swiss cheese in the dish in even layers. Pour the egg white milk mixture over the layers. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake strata uncovered for 1 hour, or until risen, puffed and browned.

April 17th, 2017

Freekeh is an ancient grain that is newly becoming more popular. It’s made from roasted green durum wheat and is often compared to quinoa due to its high protein content. This pilaf recipe highlights freekeh’s unique flavor and versatility. This recipe comes to us from Tawnie of Kroll’s Korner.

  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, jarred or fresh
  • 3 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup Freekeh
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 handful of fresh mint, parsley and cilantro, chopped.
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain nonfat
  • 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Place oil, onion, and 1 clove garlic into saucepan. Sauté on medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add Freekeh to pot, and then add the cinnamon, allspice, coriander, salt and pepper.
Add vegetable broth or water and bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, covered. Then, remove lid and fluff with fork.
Stir in herbs, mix well, and top with pine nuts! Wonderful alternative for rice pilaf!

Optional: Mix together 3/4 cup Greek yogurt, garlic, and lemon juice and top on pilaf. Very tasty!!

April 17th, 2017

Whole-wheat orzo, spinach and white beans are sure to keep you full in this hearty soup. Tomatoes and chile flakes add some spice while freshly grated parmesan finishes the dish on a salty note. This recipe was created by Jennifer Brody of Domestic Divas.

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat orzo
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • parmigiano reggiano for grating

Place the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the veggies are beginning to soften. Add the garlic and chili flakes and saute one minute more.

Add the tomatoes, stock, and white beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about twenty minutes.

Add the orzo and simmer in the soup for about ten more minutes, or until the orzo becomes tender. Add the spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until the spinach is tender.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle a generous portion of soup into a bowl. Top with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano and fresh cracked pepper and enjoy!

April 10th, 2017

The theme of the 2017 Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) Meatless Monday Recipe Contest was “Oodles of Noodles” and it challenged teen chefs to create innovative, meatless noodle recipes. The grand prize winner is this stuffed squash recipe from Adrián González of the C-CAP program at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies.

Serves 8

  • For the Squash:
  • 4 large acorn squash
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • To Prepare Filling:
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 ounces fideo noodles
  • 1 small brown onion, diced
  • 1 medium Poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 3 cups spicy, canned tomato sauce (I suggest El Pato sauce) 2 Tablespoons lime juice (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained
  • 1 large mango, seeded, peeled and diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • To Garnish:
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

To prepare the squash, cut each acorn squash in half through stem to bottom; discard seeds.

Place squash cut side down in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 10-12 minutes or until tender. This is a good time to make the filling. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.

Add the fideo noodles.

Stir continuously over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion, pepper, carrot, and zucchini.

Cook, stirring frequently until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and lime juice. Cook, stirring frequently until the noodles are al dente. Fold in the corn, beans, and mango. Heat just until everything is warm. Hold warm while you reheat the squash.

Turn squash cut side up. Drizzle olive oil over the flesh of the squash; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes more or until heated through.

Fill each squash half with one eighth of the fideo mixture. Garnish each with crema & cilantro.

Serve immediately.

April 10th, 2017

This recipe from Sara Moulton‘s new book Home Cooking 101 combines a popular South Asian snack called pakoras with the airy texture of Japanese tempura, achieved by using egg whites and seltzer water in the chickpea flour batter. When properly fried (oil temperature in the low to high 300Fs) the fritters absorb minimal oil and become the perfect pairing for the spicy-sweet chutney.

Serves 6

Vegetable Fritters:

  • 170 grams (about 2 cups) chickpea flour (see Sources, page 350)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups plain seltzer
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Vegetable oil, preferably grapeseed, for deep-frying
  • 10 (2-by 1-inch) cauliflower or broccoli florets
  • 10 (1/2- by 1- to 2-inch, 1/2-inch thick) carrot or butternut squash slices
  • 10 (1/2-inch-thick) onion rings
  • Green Chile–Coconut Chutney (see below)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, cumin, coriander, salt, cayenne, and baking powder. Add the seltzer in a stream, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Right before frying, whisk the egg whites in a bowl with electric beaters until they reach soft peaks and fold them into the batter.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a large deep saucepan to 365°F. Working in batches of 5 or so pieces at a time, dip the vegetables in the batter, add carefully to the oil, and fry, turning often, until golden, about 5 minutes for the harder vegetables and 2 minutes for the onion rings.

Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve hot with the chutney on the side.

Green Chile-Coconut Chutney:

  • 2 cups packed fresh cilantro, leaves and stems
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and light green parts
  • 1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 serrano chiles, chopped with seeds (about 2 heaping tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably grapeseed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar, or to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Puree all the ingredients in a blender, adding salt and pepper to taste.

April 10th, 2017

Sweet potato is sautéed with onion until crisp while eggs are seasoned with oregano and thyme. This hearty breakfast boasts both sweet and salty flavors as roasted sunflower seeds finish the dish with a delightful crunch. This recipe comes to us from Karen of Sprouts in the Hood.

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 sweet potato, sliced
  • 5 eggs, well beaten
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup low fat cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 cup sunflower seeds, roasted

Place the olive oil in an 8 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and the sweet potato and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the sweet potato is cooked through and slightly crispy. Set aside.

Pour the beaten eggs into a separate medium bowl. Stir in the milk and grated cheese. Season with the oregano, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Add the egg milk mixture and the sautéed sweet potato mixture to the skillet. Stir until the sautéed sweet potatoes are they evenly distributed in the egg mixture. Turn heat down to low and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the eggs are almost firm. Turn on the broiler.

Place the skillet under the broiler for 1-3 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Set aside and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Loosen the frittata from the skillet by running a knife around the edges. Flip onto a platter and remove the skillet.

Garnish with roasted sunflower seeds, cut into 4 slices and enjoy.

April 10th, 2017

This salad is delicious to eat, beautiful to behold, and very healthful. It combines the crunch of red cabbage, carrots, succulent romaine hearts, crispy apples, and almonds—all complemented by sweet-tart dried cranberries and an agave-Dijon vinaigrette. —Myra Goodman, co-author of Straight from the Earth.

Serves 6

For the Agave -Dijon Vinaigrette:

  • ½ cup/120 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp plus 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad:

  • 1 large romaine heart, cut or torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups/140 g shredded red cabbage
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1 large sweet-tart apple (such as Honey Crisp or Fuji), medium dice
  • ½ cup/75 g raw, unsalted almonds, toasted and chopped
  • ½ cup/60 g dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp finely chopped fresh spearmint (optional)

To make the vinaigrette: Combine the oil, vinegar, agave, mustard, salt, and pepper in a small jar. Seal the lid tightly and shake vigorously to emulsify. Set aside at room temperature.

To make the salad: Combine the romaine, cabbage, and carrots in a large bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Add ½ cup/120 ml of the vinaigrette (or more as desired) to the vegetables, and toss to combine. Divide the salad among six plates or bowls.

Toss the apples with the 2 tbsp reserved vinaigrette and divide it among the individual salads. Top each salad with equal amounts of almonds, cranberries, and spearmint (if using). Serve immediately.

April 3rd, 2017

Yams are cooked until tender and mixed with chickpeas and crunchy pumpkin seeds for a veggie patty which highlights the sweetly spiced flavors of autumn. If served without a bun, this burger is ideal for those who suffer from common food allergies; this recipe contains no soy, no wheat and no animal products. This recipe comes to us from Jen Brody of Domestic Divas.

Serves 8

  • 1 yam
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
  • 1 cup quinoa, prepared according to package instructions
  • 1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, tightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons sesame tahini
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • a little flour, for dusting the burger patties


Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.

Poke several holes in the yam using a fork. Place the yam in a paper towel and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Flip the yam and microwave 5 minutes more, or until tender. Slip off the yam’s skin.

Place 1 of the tablespoons of grapeseed oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Add the carrot and bell pepper to the pan and cook 3-5 minutes more, or until the veggies are just tender.

Transfer the sautéed veggies to a food processor and pulse to chop. Add the spinach and pulse a few more times until combined. Transfer the veggies to a large mixing bowl.

Add the chickpeas and tahini to the food processor and pulse until broken down and combined. Transfer to the mixing bowl with the veggies.

Add the cooked quinoa, yam, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to the mixing bowl. Season the veggie quinoa mixture with the lemon juice, cumin and hot sauce, if using. Stir until well combined, taking care to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Shape the veggie quinoa mixture into 8 patties using your hands. Dust each patty with flour.

Heat the remaining tablespoon grapeseed oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the burger patties and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until browned on both sides. Transfer the patties to a baking sheet and bake about 10-12 minutes more, or until cooked through. Enjoy!

April 3rd, 2017

This recipe is a quick version of the Chinese takeout favorite. Pack in the veggies with cabbage, mushrooms, carrot, celery and snow peas or use whatever seasonal produce you have on hand. This recipe comes to us from Karen of The Tasty Bite.

Serves 4

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce, or more, to taste
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. Sriracha or chili-garlic sauce (optional)

For the lo mein:

  • 8 oz egg noodles
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup snow peas, trimmed

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and ginger. Set aside.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook egg noodles according to package instructions. Drain, toss with a bit of oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in mushrooms, carrot, celery, cabbage, and snow peas. Cook, tossing frequently, until the vegetable are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

Add the cooked egg noodles and sauce to the skillet, then toss gently to combine. Serve immediately.

April 3rd, 2017

Tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and parsley come together in this classic Italian salad. As hearty as it is refreshing, the toasted bread cubes will attract eaters, but the Dijon white balsamic vinaigrette will keep them coming back for more. This recipe comes to us from Cat of The Verdant Life.

Serves 4

For the toasted bread:

  • 4 slices stale bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the veggies:

  • 1 medium tomato, cut into cubes
  • or
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • or
  • 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

To make the toasted bread cubes:

Toss the bread cubes together with the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium low heat. Season with salt and toast, stirring occasionally, for 4-6 minutes, or until the bread cubes are lightly browned. Set aside.

To prepare the veggies:

Place the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and flat leaf parsley together in a large bowl.

To make the vinaigrette:

Whisk together the minced garlic, Dijon mustard, vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

To complete the Panzanella Salad:

Dress the veggies with as much of the vinaigrette as desired and toss until the dressing is evenly distributed to coat all the veggies. Add the toasted bread cubes and let sit for 20-30 minutes, or until the flavors have melded together.

Divide into 4 portions and enjoy!