The Good Dirt

January 23rd, 2017

Sorghum is an ancient grain enjoying newfound popularity for its nutrient and fiber content. Paired with sweet potatoes, cranberries and pumpkin seeds in this salad, this dish is a nutritional powerhouse! This dish comes to us from Cara of Street Smart Nutrition.

Serves 6

    • 2 1/2 cups sorghum, cooked
    • 2 1/2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
    • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
    • Pinch of salt and pepper
    • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/3 cup pecans, halves or pieces
    • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
    • 1/4 to 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese or feta

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes, then roughly chop into 1/2″ cubes. In a large mixing bowl, combine sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper and gently toss to combine. Spread evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until edges begin to slightly brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, add the cooked sorghum, sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and goat cheese. Gently fold together until combined. Serve warm or at room temperature, or store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

January 23rd, 2017

Tart, crisp green apple is seasoned apple pie style with cinnamon and lemon juice before being covered with hearty oatmeal. A well-balanced trio of salty, sweet and refreshing flavors completes the dish, as roasted almonds, brown sugar and mint are placed atop the oatmeal. This recipe comes to us from Trudy of veggie.num.num.

Serves 1

  • 1 green apple
  • a squeeze lemon juice
  • a dash cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • or
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk alternative
  • 1/4 cup almonds, roasted
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • fresh mint, to taste

Grate the apple and place it in a serving bowl. Squeeze a little lemon juice over it and grate the cinnamon on top.

Place the oats and milk into a small saucepan over medium low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the oatmeal is fully cooked.

Once the porridge is cooked, spoon it over the seasoned apple, top with the dry roasted almonds and the brown sugar. Drizzle a little pour of extra rice milk over the porridge and garnish with a little mint. Enjoy!

January 23rd, 2017

Sweet potatoes, parsnips and carrots are seasoned with cumin, hot paprika and cayenne pepper to fill these Indian fusion treats. Pears are coupled with tart cranberries in a sweet-sour dipping sauce for these savory samosas. This recipe comes to us from Lindsay of Running with Tongs.

For the root vegetable samosas:

  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 package phyllo dough
  • 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, melted

For the pear cranberry sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pear, minced
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 3 thai chiles, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

To make the root vegetable samosas:

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper.

Toss the diced sweet potato, parsnip and carrot with the olive oil in a large bowl. Season with the cumin, granulated garlic, curry powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking dish and spread the veggies out to form a single layer. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the veggies are tender when pierced with a fork. Transfer back to the bowl and set aside.

Carefully place 1 sheet of phyllo dough onto a cutting board. Brush with the melted margarine. Add another layer of phyllo on top of the first and brush with more melted margarine. Place a third larger of phyllo over the second and top with melted margarine.

Slice the layered phyllo sheets into 2 columns. Place a spoonful of the filling on the bottom edge of one column. Fold the phyllo dough in triangles, taking care to tuck in any filling which may spill out. Keep folding the phyllo upwards into triangles until each makes a pocket. Brush the outside of the samosa with a little melted margarine. Transfer to the parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Repeat the phyllo layering process, stuffing and folding the samosa until you are out of filling. Bake the samosas on the parchment lined baking sheet for about 30-35 minutes, or until brown and crispy.

To make the pear cranberry sauce:

Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pear, onion and chiles. Cook for 7-10 minutes, or until the pear and onion begin to caramelize.

Season the pear onion mixture with the sweet soy sauce. Cook for 1 minute and stir in the rice vinegar. Cook 1 minute more.

Add the cranberries, brown sugar and ketchup. Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes more, or until the sauce is thick and bubbling. Transfer the sauce to a blender and puree.

Serve 1 samosa per person with pear cranberry sauce on the side and enjoy!

January 23rd, 2017

This dish is reminiscent of traditional “dirty” rice, usually made with chicken livers. Brown rice has a hearty texture that stands out to the assertive flavors of winter greens and spicy soy chorizo, and its extra fiber will keep you fuller, longer. This recipe was created by Stephanie Weaver, who writes the blog The Recipe Renovator.

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 bunch (about 1 pound) kale or swiss chard, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 package (6 ounces) soy chorizo
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the celery and onions and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, or until the veggies are softened.

Stir in the peppers and kale and season with garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin, oregano and hot sauce. Stir to ensure spices are evenly distributed and cook 5 minutes more. Add the soy chorizo.

Stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a light boil. Stir in the rice, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

January 16th, 2017

Sweet potato wedges are coated with savory smoked paprika and roasted in the oven. Toasted pumpkin seeds add a salty crunch, while creamy Greek yogurt lends a refresher from the smoke spiced sweet potato fries. This recipe comes to us from Karen of Sprouts in the Hood.

Serves 4

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas

Preheat an oven to 400 degres.

Place the sweet potato wedges in a large bowl. Drizzle with canola oil, tossing to ensure the sweet potatoes are well coated. Season the sweet potato wedges with the smoked paprika and salt.

Spread in one layer onto a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet into the oven and roast for about 5 minutes. Turn the pan around and roast another 5 minutes for even cooking. Flip sweet potato wedges over using a spatula. Cook for another 5 minutes, turn pan around and cook 5 minutes more, or until the fries are browned on all sides.

Divide into 4 servings, garnish each serving with dollops of Greek yogurt and pumpkin seeds. Taste for seasoning, adjusting if desired and enjoy!

January 16th, 2017

Rice noodles soak up savory flavors of garlic, peanuts, hoisin and basil in this Thai dish. Carrots and bell pepper are sautéed with ginger then tossed with the flavorful noodles before it’s all finished off with refreshing cucumber strips. This recipe comes to us from Katrika of Republic of Curries.

Serves 4

  • 1 (10 ounces) package wide rice noodles
  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and divided
  • 1 inch stick fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 dried serrano peppers
  • 4 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, julienned
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce*
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro

*Found in Asian markets or the Asian or sauce sections of most grocery stores.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the rice noodles and cook according to package directions, or until tender. Drain the noodles in a colander, rinsing with cold water to remove excess starch. Chop the noodles roughly and set aside.

Crush the peanuts using a mortar and pestle if available and set aside. The backside of a large knife can be used to crush the peanuts if a mortar and pestle is not available. Mash 3 of the garlic cloves with the fresh ginger until they form a paste and set aside in a separate bowl. Smash the remaining garlic clove with the serrano peppers to make a paste and set aside in another separate bowl.

Place 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the noodles, garlic chili paste and basil to the pan. Sauté for about 4-6 minutes, or until the noodles are slightly crispy.

Season the noodle basil mixture with the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, crushed peanuts, sugar and salt to taste, taking care to stir to ensure the seasonings are evenly distributed. Turn heat down to low and cook for 3-5 minutes more, or until the noodles have soaked up the sauces. Transfer to a serving platter.

Place the remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a separate frying pan. Add the carrots, bell peppers and garlic ginger paste to the pan. Mix well and sauté for 4-6 minutes, or until the carrot slices are just cooked, but not yet tender. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes more, or until the mushroom slices are golden.

Add the veggies to the platter with the noodles. Top with the cucumber slices, cilantro and enjoy!

January 16th, 2017

This breakfast proves lentils are delicious any time of day, as they are sautéed here with shallots, paprika, lemon juice and fresh parsley. The versatile legume stands in as a savory alternative to jam, as the spiced lentils top toast in this protein packed morning pick me up. This recipe comes to us from Trudy of veggie.num.num.

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 14 ounce can brown lentils
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • or
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • juice from 1/4 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 4 slices whole wheat or multigrain bread, toasted
  • tahini, to taste

Place the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots or green onions and sauté for 1 minute, or until veggies begin to become fragrant. Add the lentils and season with soy sauce, paprika and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes more, or until the onion becomes translucent.

Add a good squeeze of lemon juice. Add the chopped parsley and stir. Taste for seasoning and add more soy sauce if desired.

Spread the tahini to taste over the whole wheat or multigrain toast. Spoon the spiced sautéed lentils over the tahini and enjoy.

January 16th, 2017

Offering up a meatless version of a familiar dish is a great way to encourage friends and family to give meatless eating a try. And who doesn’t love lasagna? This version spotlights spinach and fresh herbs and uses a mixture of white beans, tofu and nutritional yeast rather than cheese. This recipe comes to us from Kathy Freston‘s The Book of Veganish.

Serves 4-6

  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14 ounces firm tofu, drained
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 (28-ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional)

Place the noodles in a shallow 9 x 13-inch baking dish and pour on enough boiling salted water to cover. Set aside while you make the filling. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine the beans, tofu, nutritional yeast, parsley, basil, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and well combined. Add the spinach and mix well, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if needed.

Drain the noodles and spread them in a single layer on a plate or a piece of plastic wrap. Spread a layer of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and place 3 noodles on top of the sauce, overlapping them slightly. Spread half the filling mixture over the noodles, then top with 3 more noodles. Spread a thin layer of sauce on top and spread the remaining filling mixture over it. Top with the remaining 3 noodles and spread the remaining sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle the top with cheese (if using).

Cover with aluminum foil and bake until hot, 45 to 50 minutes. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Reprinted from The Book of Veganish by arrangement with Pam Krauss Books/Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Kathy Freston and Rachel Cohn. Recipe by Robin Robertson.

January 9th, 2017

You’ll never guess this pasta dish is made without dairy; the ultra-smooth blend of tofu, lemon juice, honey, dill and smoked paprika create a velvety sauce, with only a fraction of the fat in traditional cream sauce. If you can’t find dried porcini mushrooms, substitute any dried mushroom. This recipe comes to us from Lindsay Ingalls of Running with Tongs.

Serves 6

For the tofu “cream” sauce:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

For the porcini pasta:

  • 1 box (16 ounces) parpardelle or large rigatoni pasta
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon ume plum vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast*
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

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

To make the tofu “cream” sauce:

In a blender or food processor, combine the tofu, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, agave or honey, salt, dill and smoked paprika. Process until smooth.

To complete the Creamy Porcini Pasta:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, soak the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl of hot water to cover for 20 minutes. Drain.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onions have softened.

Add the sliced button mushrooms and cook 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the mushrooms are softened.

Stir in the Dijon mustard, vegetable broth and soaked porcini mushrooms. Stir in the tofu “cream” sauce and cook 1 minute, or until heated through.

Season with vinegar, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast, if using. Taste for seasoning and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, stirring to coat well

January 9th, 2017

This light plant-based recipe is a fun twist on zucchini and a perfect recipe for starting out the new year. This Italian-inspired dish is packed with veggies and hearty pine nuts, it can either serve as an appetizer or a main meal. This recipe comes to us from Chef David Burke.

Serves 2-4

  • 4 zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 4 peppadew peppers or 1 small red bell pepper or pimento, chopped
  • 12 black or pitted green olives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut a small portion lengthwise off the top of the zucchini and trim a little off the bottom so it doesn’t roll. Chop those pieces up and reserve.

Scoop out and discard the seedy pulp from the cavity to make hollow boats of zucchini. Season with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Bake on a sheet pan until tender, approximately 10 minutes.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic and pine nuts, and sauté until golden. Add the chopped zucchini and peppadews, season to taste, and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Fold in the olives to warm through.

Spoon the mix into the zucchini shells. Serve with lemon wedges alongside.

Photo credit: The Rachael Ray Show.

January 9th, 2017

Red cabbage is chopped into ribbons and tossed with red wine vinegar, honey, coriander, soy sauce and chili powder for a sweet-sour-spicy flavor. Green apples soak up this delectable sauce, before this fruit veggie medley is topped with freshly grated ginger. Try this dish on the side in place of coleslaw. This recipe comes to us from Jenné of Sweet Potato Soul.

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, washed & cut into ribbons
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice with pulp
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • fresh black pepper
  • orange slices*, for garnish

Place the olive oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 4-6 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften. Add the red cabbage ribbons, sprinkle with a little salt, stir and cover. Cook the cabbage for about 2 minutes, or until the cabbage begins to soften.

Uncover the pot and coat the cabbage with the vinegar, honey, bay leaf, coriander, tamari or soy sauce and chili powder. Stir thoroughly, turn down heat to medium-low and cover again and cook 4-6 minutes.

Uncover and pour in the orange juice, orange pulp and apple cubes. Cook about 10 minutes more, or until the cabbage has reached desired tenderness. Taste for seasoning and adjust to preference.

Serve hot or warm, sprinkled with freshly grated ginger and black pepper. Garnish with sliced oranges, if using, and enjoy!

January 9th, 2017

Featuring sweet apples and sharp cheddar, this is a flavor combination most often seen in pie recipes, but you can have these fruit filled muffins for breakfast! Why not cook up a batch to keep on hand as an exciting way to start the day? This recipe was created by Deirdre Holmes, who writes the blog Plan It Healthier.

Makes 12 muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large apple, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated, divided
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, wheat bran, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Fold in the apples and three-quarters of the cheddar cheese. Reserve the remaining cheddar.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter and yogurt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the milk mixture into the well. Stir until just combined. Fold in the lemon juice, raisins, cranberries and walnuts.

Evenly divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with some of the reserved cheddar. Bake 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.

January 2nd, 2017

Say cheese, because you’ll be smiling after tasting this Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese recipe. This recipes uses sweet potatoes to replace some of the cheese, making it a healthier choice. This recipe comes to us from Tawnie of Kroll’s Korner.

Serves 4

For the mac and cheese:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 13 ounces elbow macaroni noodles (whole wheat or gluten free, if preferred)
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup all- purpose flour
  • 2 cups fat free milk
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
  • 6 ounces of four cheese blend
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


For the Breadcrumb Topping:

  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Bring a medium pot of water to boil and add in the sweet potato that has been peeled and cubed up. Boil sweet potato for 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Drain sweet potatoes and then mash well. You should have ~2-2.5 cups of sweet potato.
Next, cook the elbow noodles according to the package.
While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pan with onion and garlic. Cook for about 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 30 seconds and then slowly pour and whisk in the milk and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and continue to whisk. Mixture should begin to thicken after 3-5 minutes. Bring heat to low and mix in the mustard, salt, pepper, red pepper chili flakes, cheese and sweet potato. Stir well and then remove from heat.
Add in the noodles and mix in well. Taste and adjust any seasonings you may want extra. Pour in a oven safe casserole dish and top with panko crumb/Parmesan cheese mixture. Place in oven, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, or until it gets bubbly.
Serve warm and enjoy!

January 2nd, 2017

Dates, almond milk and bananas come together for a sweet tropical smoothie with unexpectedly sophisticated flavors. Rolled oats are the secret ingredient, used to provide a luscious texture to this delicious breakfast drink. This recipe comes to us from Cat of The Verdant Life.

Serves 2

  • 8 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

Place the dates and almond milk into a blender or food processor. Puree until the dates are the size of specs.

Add the bananas to the blender and puree until smooth.

Add the oats, wait 2-3 minutes for the oats to soak into the date almond milk mixture and puree.

Pour the smoothie into 2 glasses and enjoy!

January 2nd, 2017

Sweet figs, tangy feta and spicy arugula don’t need much help to shine in this salad celebrating winter’s bounty. A simple balsamic vinaigrette seasons the greens, while almonds add an earthy crunch. This recipe comes to us from Jen of Domestic Divas.

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pint figs, quartered
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup Marcona almonds
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Place the balsamic vinegar in a small bowl, Whisk in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Layer 1/4 of the arugula and figs onto a small plate. Top with 1/4 of the almonds and feta. Drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette. Repeat with the remaining ingriedients on 3 other plates and enjoy!