The Good Dirt

September 29th, 2014

This is the perfect note to end late season barbeque on. Figs are grilled soft and topped with savory thyme leaves and sweet honey in this simple dessert which shows off the fruit of fall. This recipe comes to us from Jen of Domestic Divas.

Serves 2

  • 2 cups figs, stems removed and halved
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Preheat the grill to medium-low heat.

When the grill is heated, place the figs on a grill pan in 1 single layer. Grill for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly soft. Flip and grill another 1-2 minutes more on the other side.

Transfer the grilled figs to a serving platter. Carefully place a few leaves thyme on each fig, drizzle with honey and enjoy!

September 29th, 2014

Pumpkin is seasoned with fresh ginger, jalepeno, mustard powder, turmeric, coriander and cinnamon then cooked in coconut milk in this delightfully spiced dish. This Indian lentil classic is delicious served atop brown rice, with dollops of Greek yogurt for a cool contrast. This recipe comes to us from Emily of Well Fed, Flat Broke.

Serves 6

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 pounds sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 14 ounce can coconut water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • cilantro, chopped for garnish

Place the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and peppers and cook for 4-6 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Season with the cumin, chili powder, mustard powder, turmeric, coriander and cinnamon.

Add the cubed pumpkin and lentils to the pot, stirring to coat all the ingredients evenly in the spices. Pour in the coconut water and 3-4 cups water, or enough water to just cover the pumpkin and lentils.

Add the salt to the pot. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to medium-low, cover and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils have swelled and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.

Uncover and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Divide into 6 portions, sprinkle each with chopped cilantro and enjoy!

September 29th, 2014

Bell pepper serves as a beautiful edible egg ring in this flower shaped beauty of a breakfast. This easily breakfast is easily adaptable no matter how you like your eggs, and is delicious served alongside whole wheat toast with your favorite berry jam. This recipe comes to us from Donna of Apron Strings.

Serves 3

  • 1 bell pepper, cored
  • a little cooking oil or nonstick spray, for preparing the pan
  • 6 eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the bell pepper from top to bottom in slices that resemble rings.

Prepare a skillet with a light layer of oil or nonstick cooking spray. Place 6 of the bell pepper rings on the skillet over medium heat. Crack an egg in each ring and allow it to spread out to fill the bell pepper ring. Season the eggs with salt and pepper, to taste.

If you like your eggs soft, cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked to preference.

If you like your eggs hard, break up the yolk with the skillet for even cooking. Cook 6-9 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked to preference.

Serve 2 bell pepper egg rings per person and enjoy!

September 29th, 2014

French onion soup is classically made with beef broth, but in this recipe, shiitake mushrooms give the dish umami. This recipe comes to us from Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN. Explore her book, The With or Without Meat Cookbook, for a non-vegetarian version to cook another day of the week.

Makes 5 one cup servings

  • 2 teaspoons canola or grapeseed oil
  • 3 large red onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons white balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup fresh thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 (32-fluid ounce) carton low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves + 5 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 10 whole-grain pita chips
  • 1/4 cup shredded Gruyère or other aged Swiss cheese (1 ounce)

Heat the oil in a nonstick stockpot or extra-large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, vinegar, and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and cook while stirring occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms, and sauté until the onions are well caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add the broth, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pepper, rosemary, and the chopped thyme and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the flavors are developed, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500°.

Place 5 ovenproof soup bowls or crocks onto a baking sheet. Adjust seasoning and ladle the soup into each bowl. Place two of the pita chips on top of each and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake in the oven on the top oven rack until the cheese is bubbly, about 4 minutes.

Garnish each with a thyme sprig, and serve.

Recipe adapted with permission from The With or Without Meat Cookbook by Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN (American Diabetes Association, 2014)

September 22nd, 2014

Hash may be everyone’s favorite brunch side, but this version using kohlrabi in place of potatoes is produce packed, making it an excellent main course any time of day. Look for kohlrabi, a bulbous cabbage cousin, in your local farmers market. This recipe comes to us from Olga of Mango & Tomato.

Serves 2-4

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 medium kohlrabi bulbs, peeled, diced 1/4″
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • kernels from 1 ear of corn
  • salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 roasted red pepper, diced (jarred or home roasted)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/4-1/3 cups chevre

Heat a cast iron skillet. Add oil and allow the oil to get hot. Add kohlrabi, onions, green pepper and corn. Season with salt and smoked paprika and sauté for 15-20 minutes. You want the kohlrabi to be cooked through and slightly caramelized.

Add roasted red pepper and allow to heat through.

Serve topped with parsley and chevre.

September 22nd, 2014

This hearty soup is the perfect accompaniment for a sandwich or salad any time of the year, but it’s perfect for using up your bounty of late summer vegetables. Packed with fiber and nutrients, it can power up your day. This recipe comes to us from Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian.

Serves 6

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup uncooked wild rice
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced leeks
  • 1 tsp Herbes de Provence (seasoning blend)
  • Dash black pepper

Place all ingredients in a large pot.

Cover with a tight lid and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 1 hour, until wild rice and vegetables are tender.

May need to add additional water to replace water lost in evaporation. Should make a thick, hearty soup.

September 22nd, 2014

Whole wheat peach muffins are seasoned with ginger, cinnamon and cloves, before being topped with a sprinkling of brown sugar. This recipe uses mashed bananas and apple sauce instead of butter and oil, for a moist muffin without as much fat. This recipe comes to us from Kristi of Veggie Converter.

Serves 12

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups banana, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups peaches, skin on, diced

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin tins with a light layer of oil, shortening or nonstick cooking spray.

Place the whole-wheat pastry flour, 3/4 cup of the brown sugar and baking powder together in a large bowl. Season with the salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Stir to combine, taking care to ensure that all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Place the applesauce, soy milk, apple cider, vanilla and mashed banana together in a separate large bowl. Mix until all ingredients are well distributed.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring constantly, until evenly distributed. Fold in the diced peaches.

Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill each muffin cup 2/3rds full with batter. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar on top of all the unbaked muffins. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until the muffins are baked through, and enjoy!

September 22nd, 2014

Button mushrooms soaked in Marsala wine are used as a unique serving dish for these perfect for parties hors d’hoeuvres. Protein packed tempeh is marinated in soy sauce, smoked paprika, red pepper, garlic and thyme for a flavorful filling finished with a crunch of whole wheat panko breadcrumbs. This recipe comes to us from Lindsay of Cook. Vegan. Lover.

Serves 12

For the mushrooms:

  • 12 large button mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Marsala wine*

For the marinated tempeh:

  • 1/2 cup tempeh, small dice
  • 1/2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme

To complete the Tempeh Stuffed Mushrooms:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup onion, small dice
  • 1/4 cup celery, small dice
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs**
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste

*A sweet Sicilian wine found in most wine shops. Another sweet, red wine, like Port, can be substituted if Marsala wine is not available.


**Panko breadcrumbs are lighter and crunchier than traditional breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs can be found in the Japanese or grain sections of most grocery stores.

To prepare the mushrooms:

Preheat an oven to 375F.

Slice off the mushroom stems, chop the stems and set aside. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh out of the mushrooms and discard.

Place the hollowed out mushrooms in a large bowl. Toss with the olive oil, Marsala wine and let the mushrooms marinate while preparing the remaining ingredients.

To marinate the tempeh:

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce and water. Season with the paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and thyme. Place the tempeh in the marinade and set aside.

To complete the Tempeh Stuffed Mushrooms:


Heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil remaining in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the mushroom stems, onion and celery. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion and celery begin to soften.

Stir the tempeh and its marinade into the sauté pan. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

Add the panko breadcrumbs and vegetable broth, stir to combine and cook 3-4 minutes more, or until the broth has reduced a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the marinated mushrooms in a shallot baking dish. Spoon the leftover masala marinade over the mushrooms. Using a spoon, stuff the mushrooms with the tempeh mushroom stem filling until the mushrooms are full.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the mushrooms are browned. Enjoy!

September 15th, 2014

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.

September 15th, 2014

The addition of avocado makes this cold soup creamier than your average gazpacho and with jalapeño included, too, it’s got a serious kick that makes it anything but traditional. This recipe is reprinted with permission from Eat Your Vegetables by Joe Yonan, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Food Photography credit: Matt Armendariz © 2013

  • 1 medium tomato, cored and cut into quarters
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Flesh from 1/2 avocado, cut into large chunks
  • 3 large basil leaves
  • 1/2 jalapeño (optional)
  • 3/4 cup lightly packed watercress or baby spinach leaves
  • 1 small celery stalk (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 ice cubes
  • Filtered water (optional)
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Reserve one-quarter of the tomato, two cucumber chunks, two avocado chunks, and one basil leaf. Combine and finely chop for garnish.

Stem and seed the jalapeño half and reserve the seeds. Cut the jalapeño into several pieces. Combine one or two pieces of the jalapeño with the remaining tomato, cucumber, avocado, and basil and the watercress or spinach, celery, garlic, red wine vinegar, honey, and ice cubes in a blender or the bowl of a food processor; puree until smooth. Add 1/4 cup or more water to thin the mixture, if necessary.

Taste and season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if needed. If you want the soup spicier, add more of the jalapeño, a little at a time, as well as some of the seeds if desired, blending and tasting after each addition. Refrigerate until cold, then pour into a bowl and top with the reserved chopped tomato, cucumber, avocado, and basil and a drizzle of olive oil, and eat.


September 15th, 2014

Eggplant’s complex, savory flavor is infused with smoke in these mouthwatering grilled vegetable sandwiches. Garlic chile mayo gives the aubergine base a kick, topped with fresh tomatoes, grilled onions and fresh basil. This recipe comes to us from Patricia of Grab A Plate.

Serves 4

  • 1 small eggplant, sliced into 4 rounds, 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large white onion, sliced into 4 rounds, 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divded
  • 4 slices crusty bread
  • 4 tablespoons lowfat mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic chile paste*
  • 1 large tomato, sliced into 4 rounds, 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil, chiffonade

*Garlic chile paste can be found in the condiment or Asian food section of most grocery stores. Your favorite hot sauce mixed with a mashed garlic clove can be substituted as a makeshift garlic chile paste.

Heat a grill to medium.

Lay the eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle with 1 of the teaspoons of salt. Let sit for 30 minutes, rinse and pat dry. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with the remaining teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Transfer the eggplant slices to the grill and cook, turning frequently, for about 15 minutes, or until soft.

While the eggplant begins grilling, pierce the large onion slices lengthwise with metal skewers. Drizzle another tablespoon olive oil over the onions. Add the onions to the grill about 7 minutes after you put the eggplant on.  Cook the onions for 4 minutes, flip and cook 4 minutes more, or until they achieve grill marks.

When the eggplant and onion have finished cooking, remove them from the grill flame. Transfer the crusty slices of bread to the grill and cook for about 2 minutes per side, or until the bread has toasted.

Mix the mayonnaise and garlic chile paste together in a small bowl. Spread about 1 tablespoon per burger on each slice of bread and top with a piece of grilled eggplant. Top the eggplant with tomato, followed by grilled onion. Sprinkle with sliced basil and enjoy.

September 15th, 2014

As fall approaches, summer salads give way to hearty cooked dishes. This bean and kale dish, served over a bed of warm polenta, is just the thing to serve for supper as cooler weather moves in. This recipe comes to us from Patrice of Circle B Kitchen.

Serves 4-5

For the Beans and Kale:

  • 1 3/4 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white beans (such as Cannellini or Great Northerns)
  • 4 cups packed kale leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 ¾ cups canned crushed,  peeled tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon each, leaf thyme, leaf oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Bring water to a boil in a large pot, then add beans. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, then add 2 cups of the kale, tomatoes and bay leaf. Continue to simmer, covered, for another half hour.

Meanwhile, heat oil and saute onion, pepper and garlic in it with thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes. After the beans have simmered 30 minutes, stir in sauteed vegetables. Add salt and balsamic vinegar. Cover and cook for another hour, adding water if needed, or if the sauce seems too thin, leave the lid off to thicken the sauce.  Cook until beans are tender and the sauce is the desired consistency.  Adjust seasonings and add the remaining 2 cups of chopped kale.  Simmer another 5 minutes and serve over creamy polenta and topped with grated parmesan cheese.

For the Polenta:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Italian cheese blend (usually a mixture of asiago, provolone, fontina and parmesan)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1  1/2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced chives or finely chopped basil

Heat the olive oil in a 2-qt sauce pan over medium-low heat and add the minced garlic. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, kosher salt and milk, and bring to a boil over medium high heat.   Reduce the heat and slowly pour the cornmeal into the hot liquid, whisking to prevent lumps. 

Lower the heat to cook the mixture at a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cornmeal is creamy, about 20 to 30 minutes. The more you stir, the creamier it will be.  Remove the polenta from the heat and stir the cheese, butter, and the herbs.  Cover and keep warm. 

September 8th, 2014

Spinach is wilted with a hot vinaigrette of Dijon mustard, rice vinegar and honey. Sesame oil brings its smoky flavor to the dressing as crisp red onion and toasted almonds lend their quintessential crunch to round out this satisfying salad.This recipe comes to us from Donna of Fab Frugal Food.

Serves 8

  • 1/2 red onion, outer peel removed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups spinach, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup almonds, sliced and toasted
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 8 hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced*


Cut the onion into paper-thin slices about 2 inches long. Place the onion slices in a bowl of ice water and let them soak while preparing the rest of the dish.

Place the canola oil and the sesame oil in a small saucepan over high heat. Mix the mustard, vinegar, honey and salt together and add the vinegar mixture to the pan. Whisk to combine and bring the sesame vinaigrette to a boil.

Roughly chop the spinach into bite sized pieces. Place in a large serving bowl and pour the hot sesame vinaigrette over the spinach. Immediately toss the spinach to ensure all leaves are coated and slightly wilted.

Serve equal portions of the wilted spinach onto each plate. Drain the onions and place them on top of the spinach. Sprinkle each plate with the almonds, sesame seeds and egg slices if using, and enjoy.

September 8th, 2014

Red and yellow cherry tomatoes are roasted spicy-sweet with garlic, balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes. Fresh oregano, parsley and basil brighten the roasted cherry tomatoes and hearty whole wheat rotini, while toasted pine nuts give this dish a rich finish. This recipe comes to us from Valerie of More Than Burnt Toast.

Serves 8

  • 1 pound red cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, slivered
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup basil, cut into chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 pound whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces low fat ricotta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • pecorino cheese*, to taste


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Place a large pot of salted water on the stove over medium-high heat.

Place the tomatoes inside a large baking dish. Toss the tomatoes with 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Roast, stirring occasionally, for 40-45 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender. Remove from the oven and toss with the basil, parsley and oregano.

When the water boils, cook the rotini according to package directions, or until the pasta is al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Toss the pasta with the olive oil, add the tomatoes with their juices and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until pasta and tomatoes are heated through.

Add the ricotta cheese and cook, stirring for about 1 minute, or until the ricotta melts. Remove from heat, divide into 6 portions, sprinkle with pine nuts and pecorino cheese, if using, and enjoy!

September 8th, 2014

This satisfying dinner comes together quickly, so it’s great for busy weeknights. Soy chorizo lends flavor and heartiness to the dish, while onions and peppers provide a hefty dose of veggies. This recipe comes to us from Monica of the blog Run Eat Repeat.

Serves 2

  • 2/3 cup brown rice
  • 1/3 package of soy chorizo
  • chopped onions and bell peppers, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • cheese, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa*


Make the brown rice and set it aside.

Brown the onions and soften the bell peppers in olive oil.

Once they are tender, add the chorizo.

Add the rice to the chorizo pan and heat through. Finally crack the eggs straight into the pan and cook. Top with cheese. You can stir it in to melt or use it as a garnish.

Served with salad, beans and guacamole. Ole!