The Good Dirt
April 29th, 2016
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.
- 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 25th, 2016
Bran muffins have always been one of my favorite treats, and I am thrilled that my vegan version can compete with the best muffins I’ve ever tasted. They are moist, not too dense, just sweet enough, and the bites of juicy blackberries make them extra special. —Myra Goodman, co-author of Straight from the Earth
Makes 12 muffins
- 1 cup/240 ml plain, unsweetened soymilk
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups/100 g wheat bran
- ½ cup/60 g old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- ¼ cup/60 ml very hot water (about 180°F/82°C)
- ¾ cup/150 g packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup/120 ml unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup/60 ml canola oil
- 1 ¼ cups/175 g whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup/130 g fresh blackberries
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 350°F/ 180°C/gas 4. Lightly oil 12 muffin cups or line them with paper liners.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the soymilk and lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken into “buttermilk.” Whisk the mixture and stir in the bran and oats.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flaxseed with the hot water. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it thickens (this is our egg substitute). Whisk the sugar, applesauce, and oil into the flaxseed mixture.
Add this mixture to the bowl with the bran, blending until the batter is combined.
In another medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add this mixture to the batter, stirring just until combined. Do not overmix. Carefully fold in the blackberries.
Fill each muffin cup with a heaping ⅓ cup/75 ml of batter. The muffin cups should be full and rounded at the top. Make an effort to divide the blackberries evenly among the muffins.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the muffins are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into a muffin (avoiding the blackberries if you can) comes out clean.
Cool the muffins in the tin for 10 minutes. Turn out the muffins and continue to cool them on a wire rack for another 10 minutes before serving.
April 25th, 2016
Seasoned with only lemon, garlic and a bit of salt and pepper, this simple preparation of fresh artichokes is one of the best ways we know of to enjoy the vegetable’s unique flavor. This recipe comes to us from, Michael DeLone Executive Chef of the premiere Philiadelphia Italian restaurant Le Castagne.
- 12 medium artichokes, fresh
- 2 lemons; juice and rinds
- 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups olive oil
Submerge all the artichokes in a water bath to pry them open easier. Remove one from its bath and pry them open a bit. Place opened artichoke, bottom up, on a board and repeat 11X.
Combine salt and pepper and garlic powder. Take one artichoke at a time and sprinkle all over. Heat the oil in a deep earthenware or similar saucepan.
Cook as many artichokes that will fit in one layer over moderate heat [20 to 25 minutes]. During the cooking period, sprinkle some cold water with a squeeze bottle over the artichokes to produce steam, to ensure the inside will be tender.
When all the artichokes are done, transfer them to a plate, bottom side down. Pick them up at the bottom with a fork and dip them, one by one in the hot oil again, pressing the leaves to the bottom of the pan. The artichokes will open up like roses and the leaves will become golden and crisp. Serve immediately while piping hot
April 25th, 2016
Spring is in the air and pasta is on the table! Show off spring’s seasonal produce like asparagus and peas with this simple pasta primavera, which uses coconut milk and vegan parmesan to keep the dish 100% plant-based. This recipe comes to us from Aimee of The Veg Life.
- 1 tbsp. oil for sauteeing
- 1 medium Vidalia or yellow onion, sliced thinly
- 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
- 16 oz. mushrooms (any variety), cut into quarters (or 1″ pieces)
- 1 bunch of asparagus, steamed and cut into 1″ pieces
- 1/4-1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup corn
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1/2 lb pasta, such as farfalle
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (canned)
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Parsley, parmesan and/or lemon zest for garnish
Prepare pasta to package instructions and drain (do not rinse).
Meanwhile, steam the asparagus spears until tender. Cut into 1″ pieces.
In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and onion slices. Saute for about 3-5 minutes before adding the mushrooms.
Saute the mushrooms for an additional 5 minutes and if using garlic, add now. Saute for 30 seconds and then add the vegetable broth.
Allow to reduce slightly. Add the corn and peas.
When the broth has reduced and the vegetables have cooked through, add the drained pasta (a little residual pasta water will actually help thicken the sauce) and asparagus pieces.
Add the coconut milk, lemon juice and vegan parmesan stirring to combine. If necessary, add a splash more vegetable broth. The pasta will continue to absorb the liquids as it sits.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To serve, divide between four bowls and top with additional vegan parmesan.
Garnish with parsley and/or lemon zest.
April 25th, 2016
This protein-packed salad combines whole grain spelt, edamame, fresh herbs and vegetables, and a light dressing lemon juice and apple cider vinegar dressing. The result is a satisfying meal perfect for lunch or dinner. This recipe comes to us from our friends at M Cafe.
- 1 cup (6 oz) whole spelt berries
- 2 cups frozen edamame
- 1 cup carrot, diced
- 1 cup celery, sliced
- 1 cup green bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup cucumber, diced
- 1/4 cup scallions (green tops only), chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/3 cup dill, chopped
- 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. vegan honey or brown rice syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Soak spelt berries for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain well, and add to a pot of lightly salted boiling water (at least a quart).
Boil for 20 – 30 minutes, or until grains are completely tender. Drain well and rinse under cool water. Drain again and set aside.
Meanwhile, make dressing by combining mayonnaise, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in small bowl. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, combine cooked spelt berries with chopped vegetables and herbs. Fold in dressing, and let sit for a few minutes to allow flavors to blend before serving.
April 18th, 2016
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 11th, 2016
Fresh veggies like kale, tomatoes and cucumber dressed with herbs and a lemony olive oil dressing and topped with earth-friendly meatless chick’n? Yes, please! This recipe comes to us from Chef Phoebe Lapine of Feed Me Phoebe and our friends at Gardein.
- 1 bunch lacinato, tuscan or dinosaur kale, stems removed and thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp sea salt, divided
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1 lb vine tomatoes, roughly chopped)
- 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
- 1 package (7 oz.) meatless chick’n (such as Gardein Chick’n Scallopini)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the kale, lemon juice, and half the olive oil and salt. With clean hands, toss the kale until fully coated in the lemon mixture.
In a second mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, parsley, vinegar, and remaining olive oil and salt. Toss to combine.
Make the chick’n according to packaged instructions. Set aside on a cutting board and thinly slice. Divide the kale between 4 plates and top with the tomato mixture. Arrange sliced chick’n on top of each plate and serve immediately.
April 11th, 2016
Making Thai spring rolls is one of my favorite kitchen activities—it’s especially fun to wrap them with a group of friends when we want to get creative with our food. They look impressive but are surprisingly easy to make. —Marea Goodman, co-author of Straight from the Earth
Serves 6; makes 12 rolls
For the Peanut Sauce:
- 1/4 cup peanut butter, salted or unsalted, creamy or crunchy
- 1/4 cup very hot water (about 180°F)
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tsp. agave nectar
- 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the Tofu:
- 1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 8 oz. extra-firm tofu, cut into twelve sticks
For the Spring Rolls:
- 1 cup cooked rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
- 12 cucumber sticks
- 12 carrot sticks
- 1 cup packed mung bean sprouts
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced lengthwise into 12 even pieces
- 12 pieces heirloom or romaine lettuce
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh spearmint
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 12 6 in. spring roll wrappers
To make the peanut sauce: Stir together the peanut butter and hot water in a small bowl until smooth. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, agave, lime juice, salt, and a pinch of pepper and stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside at room temperature.
To make the tofu: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 375°F/190°C/gas 5. Whisk together the soy sauce, oil, and pepper in a small bowl. Drain the tofu sticks on paper towels to remove excess water. Place the tofu on a small rimmed baking sheet or in a casserole dish and pour the marinade evenly over each piece. Make sure every side is thoroughly coated. Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
Bake the tofu on the middle rack for 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven, flip each stick over, then bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
To make the spring rolls: Place the noodles, cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, avocado, lettuce, mint, cilantro, and tofu on individual plates around your work surface.
Fill a wide, shallow bowl with warm water. Place one spring roll wrapper in the bowl and let it soak until limp, about 5 seconds. Lay the wrapper down flat on your work surface. In the upper center section of the wrapper, place 1 piece of lettuce. You will want to leave at least 1 in/2.5 cm at the bottom of the wrapper uncovered; no need to leave any space at the top. In a compact vertical line, arrange 1 piece each of carrot, cucumber, tofu, and avocado, a generous 1 tbsp each of the bean sprouts and noodles, and 1 tsp each of the mint and cilantro.
Fold the bottom edge of the wrapper on top of the filling. Then tightly (but gently) pull the left edge of the wrapper over the filling and the folded bottom edge. It may be helpful to put pressure on the filling with your fingertips to make it as compact as possible while rolling. Pull and roll the left side over the right side of the wrapper, keeping the filling as compact as possible. Press the edges of the wrapper together to close. You will have the top of the spring roll open, and tightly wrapped bottom and sides. Repeat until all 12 spring rolls are assembled. Serve with the peanut sauce.
April 11th, 2016
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.
- 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 4th, 2016
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
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.