The Good Dirt

December 11th, 2017

Dress up winter’s favorite miniature cabbage with sweet sun-dried tomatoes and protein-packed cannellini beans. Feta cheese and thyme lend Mediterranean flavors to this simple dish. This recipe comes to us from Sarah of So Hungry I Could Blog.

Serves 2

  • 15 medium-large Brussels sprouts
  • olive oil
  • sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans (about 1 can)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
  • leaves from 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • pepper

Rinse the Brussels sprouts in a colander. Trim the ends of the Brussels and cut in half, length-wise. Remove the outer leaves and discard (these leaves will usually fall right off after cutting the sprouts in half).

In a glass or tin baking dish, toss the Brussels in a few teaspoons of olive oil and a few pinches of salt. Roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Toss the sprouts and roast for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until browned and slightly crisped.

While the sprouts are cooking, combine the beans, feta, tomatoes and thyme — tossing carefully so as not to break up the cheese too much.

Add the warm Brussels sprouts to the bean mixture and gently combine. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh pepper before serving.

Makes about 4 servings as a side dish.

December 11th, 2017

These pancakes have pumpkin baked in the batter for the ultimate autumnal flavor profile. Egg whites are whipped in to make these flapjacks fluffy, which counters their delightful crunchy candied pecan topping. This recipe comes to us from Carolyn, The Health Voyager.

Serves 4

  • 5 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine, divided
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pecan halves
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu, pressed and drained
  • 4 egg whites
  • or
  • 4 tablespoons powdered egg substitute
  • 2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree*
  • confectioners sugar, to taste
  • maple syrup, to taste

*Please note that pumpkin puree is not the same as pumpkin pie mix and should not be substituted. To make your own pumpkin puree, roast a halved pumpkin at 400 degrees for 40-60 minutes, or until soft when poked with a fork. For smoothest consistency, puree the pumpkin’s flesh using a food processor.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the margarine in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar begins to melt. Add the pecans and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer the pecans to a small dish and set aside.

Mix the flour, pumpkin pie spice, sugar and salt together in a small bowl.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons margarine in the skillet and transfer to a large bowl. Add the tofu, buttermilk and vanilla to the bowl. Blend with a hand mixer until well combined.

Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the wet. Carefully stir in the pumpkin puree.

If using egg whites, beat in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. If using powdered eggs, beat in a large mixing bowl with the amount of water listed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the pumpkin tofu batter into the egg whites until well mixed.

Spoon the pumpkin pancake batter into the skillet, place in the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Top the pancake with the reserved pecans and cut the pancake in 4 quarters. Serve one quarter per person, dust with confectioners sugar and syrup to taste and enjoy!

December 11th, 2017

Traditional hummus is given a sweet tang with the addition of a fresh beet, then spiced with aromatic cumin and cinnamon. Try this bright pink dip with any fresh veggies you like or baked pita chips at your next social gathering. This recipe comes to us from Anne and Donna of Apron Strings.

Serves 15

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 medium beet, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons scallions*, chopped for garnish


Pulse the peeled garlic in a food processor until it is the size of a mince. Add the beet, chickpeas, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, tahini, rice vinegar, cumin cinnamon and salt and process until thoroughly mixed.

Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, olive oil or spices if desired. Sprinkle with chopped scallions, if using, and enjoy!

December 11th, 2017

Tamari and toasted sesame oil come together for a salty smokey seasoning that will redefine the way you think about tofu. Green beans and whole grain noodles are cooked crisp with a spicy kick of red pepper and ginger in this satisfying stir fry. This recipe comes to us from Patrice Berry of Circle B Kitchen.

Serves 6

  • 4 cups green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 (16 ounces)box spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided
  • 1 (14 ounce) block extra firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup low sodium tamari soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6 green onions or scallions, sliced, divided
  • 1 bell pepper, cut into strips

Bring 2 large pots of salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. When the first pot of water boils, add the green beans and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the beans turn bright green, but still maintain their crunch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the green beans to the ice water bath to immediately stop the cooking process. Transfer the green beans to a plate after they cool.

Add the pasta to the other pot and cook according to package instructions, or until the pasta is just cooked. Drain, taking care to reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta’s cooking water. Transfer the pasta back to the pot.

Place 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and brown on all sides for about 5-7 minutes. Drizzle the tofu with 2 tablespoons of the tamari and 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil. Stir to ensure that the tofu cubes are evenly seasoned. Taste the tofu and adjust its seasoning if desired. Transfer the tofu to a plate.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan that you cooked the tofu in. Add the ginger, red pepper flakes, garlic and 3/4 of the sliced scallions to the pan. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, or until the ginger and garlic begin to become fragrant. Add the blanched green beans and bell pepper strips to the pan. Stir fry for about 3-4 minutes, or until the veggies are just cooked through.

Pour the remaining soy sauce and toasted sesame oil over the green beans. Add the tofu and cooked pasta to the pan, tossing to ensure all ingredients are evenly seasoned.

Remove the pan from heat. Sprinkle each serving with the remaining sliced scallions.

December 4th, 2017

The cannellini beans give this traditional Italian soup fiber and protein. An easy weeknight dinner that makes great leftovers, this hearty soup is a great way to eat your vegetables on a cold winter night. This recipe comes to us from Kristie Middleton‘s book, MeatLess: Transform the Way You Eat and Live—One Meal at a Time, courtesy of De Capo Press.

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup alphabet, macaroni, or other pasta
  • 1/2 bunch kale, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed, and drained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Chopped fresh basil or a sprig of parsleyfor garnish

In a large stockpot, saute onion in olive oil on medium heat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for another minute.

Add tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil. Add pasta and cook for 7 to 9 minutes until al dente. Stir in kale, beans, tomato paste, thyme, and basil. Simmer for 5 minutes more.

Garnish with more chopped fresh basil or a sprig of parsley.

PRO-TIP: Ladle soup into individual containers, allow to cool, seal containers, and freeze for up to three months for easy work lunches or quick homemade dinners!

December 4th, 2017

Rolled oats are tossed with coconut and honey then baked in the oven until crispy and golden. Sliced kiwi gives this sweet granola a slightly tart fruit topping or try adding puréed banana and concoct this breakfast with the ultimate texture. This recipe comes to us from Trudy of veggie.num.num.

Serves 16

  • 9 ounces rolled oats
  • 3 1/2 ounces sweetened coconut, shredded
  • a pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup*
  • or
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 1/2 ounces dates, chopped
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced

*golden syrup is made by refining cane sugar juice back into sugar. It can be found in the sweetener section of some grocery stores.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking tray with parchment or wax paper.

Combine the oats, coconut and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Pour the oil and syrup or honey over the oat mixture.

Toss and stir well to combine all ingredients, making sure the oats and coconut are well coated.

Spread the oat mixture over the prepared tray evenly. Place in the oven for cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the granola is golden. While the granola bakes, toss it gently every 5-10 minutes, so that the oats cook evenly.

Add the chopped dates and toss to combine. Allow to cool before eating or storing, as the granola becomes crunchier as it cools. Serve topped with sliced kiwi and enjoy.

December 4th, 2017

Wilted bok choy and peanuts fill a flavorful, savory broth alongside chewy noodles for a hearty one-dish meal. Look for fresh rice noodles in the pasta or Asian food section of most grocery stores. This recipe comes to us from Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian.

Serves 4

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons soy ginger dressing
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 (12 ounces) package fresh rice noodles
  • 6 (6-ounce) heads baby bok choy
  • 1/4 cup peanuts

Place the oils in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften and become fragrant.

Add the peanut butter, dressing, soy sauce, orange juice, red pepper flakes and 1-1/2 cups water to the skillet. Stir until bubbly and smooth. Cover and cook while you prepare the noodles.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat and cook the rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with water.

Transfer the cooked noodles to the skillet and stir to combine. Add the bok choy and peanuts to the pan and let cook for 1 minute, or until the bok choy is slightly wilted. Enjoy!

December 4th, 2017

Chunks of potato and cauliflower soak up the rich flavors of toasted cumin, turmeric and dried coriander in this traditional dish. Try serving this curry with basmati rice or the flatbread naan for a quintessential Indian feast. This recipe comes to us from Prerna of Indian Simmer.

Serves 2

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • or
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried coriander
  • 1 teaspoons red pepper powder
  • I teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
  • 1 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Place the oil in a medium wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the cumin or mustard seeds and cook for 1-3 minutes, or until they start popping.

When the seeds pop, add the onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the it turns golden. Season the onion with the dried coriander, red pepper powder, turmeric and curry powder, taking care to stir and ensure all spices are evenly distributed.

Add the cauliflower florets and potato cubes. Stir, cover with a lid and turn heat down to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes and cauliflower are al dente.

Uncover, stir and cook 4-7 minutes more, or until the vegetables are fully cooked. Divide into 2 portions, sprinkle with cilantro and enjoy!

November 27th, 2017

In this affordable dinner recipe, avocado and Asian seasonings provide a refreshing twist to the fall produce staples of carrots, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. This recipe comes to us from the Natural Gourmet Institute and appears in their free e-cookbook, $5 Dinners.

Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon shoyu
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 10 ounces dry soba noodles
  • 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, thinly shaved
  • 1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 head purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, water, sesame oil, shoyu, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Cook soba noodles according to the package directions until al dente, then immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water to chill. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts, carrots, avocado and cabbage with half of dressing. Add cold noodles and remaining dressing and toss salad together.

Serve salad garnished with cilantro and sesame seeds.

November 27th, 2017

Cauliflower is roasted golden in the oven while bell peppers are sautéed sweet and fragrant with zucchini on the stove. Parsley, garlic and red wine vinegar make a vibrant chimichurri sauce to sprinkle over this delectable vegetable medley.

Serves 6

For the chimichurri sauce:

  • 1 bunch parsley, stems removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

For the vegetables:

  • a drizzle olive oil, for preparing the veggies
  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup bell peppers, sliced

To make the chimichurri sauce:

Place the parsley, garlic, red wine vinegar, red pepper flakes, black pepper and olive oil into a blender or food processor. Blend until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

To complete the Chimichurri Roasted Vegetables:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the cauliflower florets with a drizzle of olive oil, until the cauliflower is coated. Place the olive oil coated cauliflower florets onto a baking sheet. Roast the cauliflower in the oven for 1 hour, or until the florets begin to turn golden brown.

15 minutes before the cauliflower florets have completed roasting, prepare a large skillet with a light coating of olive oil. Place the sliced zucchini and bell peppers into the skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the bell peppers become sweet, soft and fragrant.

Divide the cauliflower and sautéed zucchini and peppers into 4 portions. Drizzle with chimichurri sauce to taste, and enjoy!

November 27th, 2017

Both kidney and black beans are seasoned with cumin, chili powder, garlic, cinnamon and cocoa in this deceptively simple chili. Corn brings a slight crunch and fire roasted tomatoes allow for a subtly smoky flavor in this one pot wonder. This recipe comes to us from Jen of Domestic Divas.

Serves 6

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • cilantro*, for garnish
  • scallions*, for garnish
  • radishes*, for garnish


Place the onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and pepper together in a 4-6 quart slow cooker.

Add the tomatoes with their liquid, beans, frozen corn and 1 cup water to the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or cook on high for 4-5 hours, or until the onions are tender and the chili has thickened.

Divide into 6 portions, garnish with cilantro, scallions and radishes

November 27th, 2017

Carrots, sweet potatoes, green onions and mushrooms are seasoned with tamari, hot chili oil and sesame seeds in this everything-but-the-sink breakfast hash. Black beans, red cabbage and broccoli chunks finish this versatile day starter with extra protein and fiber, but feel free to adapt it to fit whatever leftover veggies you have in your fridge. This recipe comes to us from Stephanie of The Recipe Renovator.

Serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced into thin diagonals
  • 1 sweet potato, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 6 ounces firm or extra firm tofu
  • 2-4 tablespoons low sodium tamari
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons hot chili oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 broccoli stalk, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, carrot, sweet potato and green onion to the pan. Cook, stirring intermittently, for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.

Crumble the tofu into the pan, breaking it up with your fingers as you add it to the vegetables. Stir to combine. Season the vegetable mixture with the tamari, sesame oil, chili oil and sesame seeds.

Add the cabbage, garlic, broccoli and black beans to the pan. Stir until well combined and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the flavors have fully melded together. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

November 20th, 2017

Feeding a crowd this week? If you’re looking to keep your meal meatless, this show-stopping paella is sure to be a hit. Spiced with saffron and turmeric, this vegetable-heavy dish boasts both the colors and flavors of Autumn. This recipe comes to us from Alexandra of In My Bowl.

Serves 12

  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • 3 tempeh sausages (or other vegetarian sausage)
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 6 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bulb fennel, fronds and stems removed, bulb cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite sized cubes
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, halved
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups short grain brown rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 pinches saffron threads
  • 6 cups vegetable stock, brought to a boil
  • 1 can (15 oz.) artichoke hearts, thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, sliced into thin rings
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until just hot. Add sausages, coat with oil, then gently sear until golden brown – being sure not to over-rotate them so they don’t fall apart (about 8 minutes). Remove sausages from skillet and carefully slice (on the diagonal) into ½ inch rings. Return rings to skillet and sear for an additional 2 minutes, or until all sides are well browned. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In a large paella pan or shallow skillet (about 15″ diameter), heat olive oil over medium-high heat until just hot. Add onion and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until onion has softened (about 6 minutes). Add the fennel, squash, and brussels, and continue to sauté until all vegetables are soft and browned (about 25 minutes). Stir in bay leaves, paprika, turmeric, and cayenne continue to sauté until spices are just fragrant (about 30 seconds).

Add the brown rice and stir thoroughly for 2 minutes before adding the white wine and saffron. Boil down for a minute, then add the boiling stock. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer paella for 85 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Do not stir the rice.

Remove the paella pan from the heat. Scatter the artichoke and seared sausage (see above) over the rice and cover the pan tightly with foil. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Take off the foil. Scatter the olives on top of the paella and serve sprinkled with parsley. Enjoy!

November 20th, 2017

This simple recipe is easy to adapt, so feel free to toss in some dried fruits or nuts at the end. Please note that pumpkin puree is not the same as pumpkin pie filling. Canned pumpkin puree is available in most supermarkets; stir remaining canned pumpkin into risotto or use in place of pizza sauce for a unique twist. This recipe comes to us from Kristi Arnold of Veggie Converter 365.

Serves 2

  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • Pure maple syrup, to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine water, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg; bring to a boil. Stir in the oats, reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 15 minutes, or until oats are tender.

Drizzle with maple syrup to taste.

November 20th, 2017

No need to cook a whole turkey when a stuffing craving hits. Baking stuffing on its own is easy and delicious. Ice cream scoops make these stuffing servings as adorable as they are flavorful. This recipe comes to us from Donna of Apron Strings.

Serves 12

  • canola oil spray
  • 4 cups dry bread cubes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3 sage leaves, minced
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tablespoons diced parsley
  • 1/2 cup diced dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1/2 cup diced pecans
  • 1 large egg

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Prepare an ice cream scoop with a light layer of the canola oil spray.

Toss the bread cubes with the vegetable broth and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery to the skillet and cook, stirring intermittently, for 4-6 minutes, or until softened. Transfer to the mixing bowl.

Add the sage, thyme, parsley, craisins, pecans and egg to the mixing bowl and mix well, taking care to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed. Use the prepared ice cream scoop to distribute portions of stuffing onto a baking pan.

Transfer the stuffing scoops to the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.