The Good Dirt

November 24th, 2014

Hummus gets a little heat when seasoned with chipotle chilies en adobo, paprika and cumin. The creamy consistency from the chipotle hummus as well as the avocado contrasts with the crunch of radishes, carrots and arugula to make an ideal wrap. This recipe comes to us from Cara and Phoebe of Big Girls, Small Kitchen.

Serves 6

For the chipotle hummus:

  • 3 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, drained
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • paprika or chili powder, for garnish
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo*, minced
  • 2 tablespoon adobo liquids from the chipotle peppers can

To complete the chipotle harvest hummus wraps:

  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup chipotle hummus
  • 6 medium tortillas
  • 2 cups radishes, sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, and cut into 4-inch match sticks
  • 1/4 pound baby arugula

*chilies in adobo can be found in the Mexican section or canned food section of most grocery stores.

To make the chipotle hummus:

In a small food processor, combine the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, paprika and salt. Puree the mixture, adding the water as needed to thin it. Return the hummus to the mixing bowl when it reaches desired consistency.

Mix in the minced chipotle peppers and 1 tablespoon of chipotle liquid. Taste for seasoning and adjust to preference. Add the additional tablespoon of chipotle liquid if you like your hummus spicy.

Garnish the hummus with a couple dashes of paprika or chili powder.

To complete the chipotle harvest hummus wrap:

In a small mixing bowl, combine the avocado with 3/4 of the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

On a work surface, spread a large spoonful of hummus over half of a tortilla. Spread a spoonful of the avocado mixture over the other half. Place a handful of carrot sticks in the center, top with a sprinkle of radish slices and 1/4 cup of arugula leaves.

Fold in the top and bottom sides of the tortilla. Fold in one of the sides length-wise and roll the tortilla, making sure the top and bottom stay tucked. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Serve the extra chipotle hummus on the side with baked pita chips or extra veggie sticks and enjoy.


November 24th, 2014

Tender baby spinach is tossed with sweet blackberries and balanced by nutty pistachios. Fresh fennel bulb adds a slight licorice aroma and balsamic vinegar brings its own tang to this satisfying salad. This recipe comes to us from Elizabeth of Sophisticated Pie.

Serves 4

  • 1/2 pound fresh baby spinach
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled
  • Fennel fronds
  • ¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper, to taste

Toss together the spinach, blackberries and sliced fennel. Sprinkle with pistachios and fennel fronds.

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season well with black pepper.

November 24th, 2014

Greek yogurt is strained to ensure the creamiest consistency then baked solid. Pistachios and apricots are sautèed sweet in honey and drizzled over this luxurious yogurt breakfast. This recipe comes to us from Trudy of veggie.num.num.

Serves 6

  • 2 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups of sweetened condensed nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup of dried apricots, diced
  • 1/4 cup of pistachio nuts, shelled and roughly diced
  • 1-1 1/2 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the Greek yogurt in a sieve and let sit, covered, over a bowl for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Discard the excess liquid that drips into the bowl.

In a separate large bowl combine the thickened yogurt and the condensed milk. Stir until smooth.

Pour yogurt milk mixture into a medium sized baking dish or individual ramekins. Bake in for 20-30 minutes, or until the yogurt is set. Baking time will depend on the size of the dish used.

While the yogurt is baking, combine the honey and a teaspoon or two of water over low heat. Once the honey has melted add the apricots and pistachios.

Cook honey apricot mixture over a low heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the apricots begin to turn golden and become fragrant.

Drizzle the honeyed pistachios and apricots over the baked yogurt. Enjoy warm or chilled in the fridge.

November 24th, 2014

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 17th, 2014

Squash, kale and mushrooms abound in late fall, and these delicata squash boats are the perfect dish to whip up when you need inspiration after a trip to your local farmers market. This recipe comes to us from Caitlin and of So Hungry I Could Blog.

Serves 2 (makes 4)

  • 2 medium delicata squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 2 cups diced mushrooms (any kind)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons panko
  • 2 kale leaves, ribs removed, shredded finely
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub a little bit of olive oil on all sides of each piece of squash. Grind fresh salt and pepper over the cut side of each piece, and set the squash face down on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The squash should be soft yet firm.

Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a pan and add the shallots. Cook for 1 minute, or until the shallot is transparent. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and a dash of salt, and cook on medium heat until the mushrooms reduce, 2-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine, and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the liquid has mostly dissolved. Turn off the heat, and stir in the panko, kale, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. The mixture should be moist. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

When the squash is out of the oven, gently scoop out the center, and coarsely chop it with a knife. Be sure to leave the rind intact. Add the cooked squash to the mushroom mixture, and stir well. Spoon the stuffing back into the squash halves, sprinkle with more cheese, and place the stuffed squash on the baking sheet, cut side up. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the cheese has turned golden brown. Serve hot.


November 17th, 2014

Simmer earthy cremini mushrooms in sherry laced with fresh thyme and shallots for a rich, long-stewed flavor. Goat cheese crumbles balance the tangy mushrooms with its creamy texture and mellow flavor. This recipe comes to us from Jen Hoffmeister who writes the blog Picante Dolce.

Serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 5 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 7 eggs
  • 2/3 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the shallot and cook 1 minute, or until softened. Add the mushrooms.

Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to soften. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the sherry and thyme. Cook 5minutes more, or until the sherry has evaporated. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs; set the mushrooms aside.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, parsley and parmesan.

In a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. Tilt the pan to ensure the butter covers the entire surface of the skillet.

Add the egg mixture to the skillet. Using a flexible spatula, pull the cooked sides away from the pan and tilt the pan to allow some of the uncooked egg mixture to flow into the space; continue doing this around the perimeter of the frittata. Cook 4 minutes, or until the egg mixture begins to set, but the top is still slightly undercooked. Top with the mushrooms and goat cheese.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook 8 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.

November 17th, 2014

In this Middle Eastern classic also known as Mujaddara, onions are caramelized until sweet and brown to season the green lentils and hearty brown rice. Cinnamon and cumin complement the caramelized onion to spice this traditional dish which won’t break the bank. This recipe comes to us from Anne of Apron Strings.

Serves 6

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups green lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • a sprinkle extra virgin olive oil, for serving

Place the rice in a saucepan over medium high heat with 2 cups of water and a dash of salt. Bring the rice to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 45-50 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through. Drain.

While the rice is cooking, cover the lentils with 2 inches of water in another pot over medium high heat. Bring the lentils to a boil and continue boiling for about 20-25 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through, but not yet mushy. Drain.

While the lentils and rice are cooking, place the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, stirring to make sure the slices have separated and are coated in oil. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have caramelized.

When the rice, lentils and onions have completed cooking and caramelizing, toss them together in a large bowl. Season the rice, lentils and onions with the cumin, cinnamon, salt and black pepper to taste.

Divide the lentils and rice into 6 equal servings. Sprinkle each serving with the parsley and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and enjoy!

November 17th, 2014

Bananas, almond milk and cacao powder are pureed together and sweetened with honey. Almond butter and vanilla extract bring complex flavors to this morning smoothie. This recipe comes to us from Lauren of Center Your Health.

Serves 1

  • 1 banana
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 1/2-2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoons raw cacao powder**
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds**
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 drops vanilla extract

**Found in health food stores or the health food or baking section of most grocery stores.

Place the banana, frozen banana, almond milk, almond butter, cacao powder, chia seeds, honey and vanilla extract into a blender. Puree until smooth or until the smoothie reaches desired consistency. Pour in a glass and enjoy!

November 10th, 2014

This hearty dinner creates delectable flavors by preparing four distinct foods simply to show off their best qualities and then contrasting them. Acorn squash is steamed, bulgur is soaked and chickpeas are sauteed before it’s tossed with fresh baby spinach and seasoned with lemon juice, cinnamon and paprika. This recipe comes to us from Jennifer of Eat Well Meal Plans.

Serves 4

  • 1 cup bulgur*
  • 2 medium acorn squash, cut in half & seeds removed
  • 1 14.5 ounce can chick peas, drained, rinsed & dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

*found in the grain section of most grocery stores.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bulgur to the pot. Remove from heat, cover and soak for about 30 minutes, or until most of the water has been absorbed.

Place the seeded squash halves on a microwave-safe plate. Pour 1 teaspoon water in each of the 4 squash cavities. Microwave on high for 15 minutes, or until the squash’s flesh softens. Scoop the softened flesh from the outer shell and transfer it to a bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and sauté, stirring often, for about 4 minutes, or until they start to brown. Set aside.

In the same pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add squash by the spoonful, about 2 to 3 tablespoons per scoop. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.

Drain any excess water from the bulgur and transfer it to a large serving bowl. Add the chickpeas, squash and baby spinach. Toss lightly to wilt the spinach. Season with the lemon juice, cinnamon, paprika, salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine and enjoy.

November 10th, 2014

Carrots are chopped into matchsticks then coupled with chewy raisins and toasted pumpkin seeds.  Sour meets sweet meets savory in a dressing concocted of lemon juice, maple syrup and tahini, seasoned with garlic and curry powder. This recipe comes to us from Kathy of Healthy, Happy Life.

Serves 10

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper*
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast**
  • salt, to taste
  • 10 ounces carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

*optional. Add if you like your salad spicy.


**optional. Found in health food stores.


In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, curry powder, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast, if using. Season with salt to taste and whisk well so all seasonings are equally distributed.

Place the carrots, raisins and pumpkin seeds together into a large bowl.

Pour the tahini dressing over the carrot mixture. Toss well until all the ingredients are well-coated.

Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve chilled.

November 10th, 2014

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.

November 10th, 2014

These unique “crab cakes” use chopped hearts of palm instead of crab, but otherwise feature the same flavors of the classic dish. This recipe comes to us from Ayinde Howell and Zoe Eisenberg, authors of The Lusty Vegan: A Cookbook and Relationship Manifesto for Vegans and Those Who Love Them.

Serves 2

For the Garlicky Dill Aioli

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

For the Crab Cakes

  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or safflower oil, divided, plus more for frying
  • 1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, (not packed in sugar), roughly chopped to the consistency of crab meat
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons seafood seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

For the Breading

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, or more
  • 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

To make the Garlicky Dill Aïoli

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste. Set in the fridge to keep cool.

To make the Crab Cakes:

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the hearts of palm and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Set aside to cool. Add the celery and peppers and mix well.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium-heat heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat, add to the hearts of palm, and mix well. Add the seafood seasoning, cornstarch, and mayo.

Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and mix well. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then shape the mixture into four round patties.

Breading: In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and seafood seasoning, stirring to mix. Coat the patties with the breadcrumb mixture and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Heat about 3 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium- high heat until hot and shimmering. Carefully place the patties in the skillet and cook until golden brown on each side, approximately 2 minutes per side. Watch closely to prevent burning. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. Serve hot, topped with the aïoli, with lemon wedges on the side.

November 3rd, 2014

Kale-haters, this salad is for you! Sturdy kale leaves prepared with a mixture of tangy, yet sweet dressing, loaded with in-season veggies, fruit, and feta. Everything but the kitchen sink is in this fall-inspired Mediterranean kale salad. This recipe comes to us from Chelsey of C it Nutritionally.

Serves 2

For the salad:

  • 1/2 pound kale, veins removed, chopped
  • 1/2 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cucumbers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large pear, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup edamame, shelled
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium sweet potato or yam, roasted with rosemary
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey mustard (or mix 1 teaspoon mustard with 1/2 teaspoon honey)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place kale in a large salad bowl. Be sure to massage the kale and remove tough stems and veins.

Add all other salad ingredients to the bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients. Whisk well until ingredients are completely emulsified and no distinction between oil and vinegar remains.

Dress salad, using only half of the dressing at first, tossing gently. Allow salad to sit, dressed, for at least 10 minutes. Taste and add more dressing if needed.

November 3rd, 2014

Roasted peanuts are ground with sesame seeds then tossed with roasted garlic and seasoned with red pepper flakes. Shredded coconut balances this spicy nut condiment with a touch of sweetness. Try it on sandwiches, in pasta dishes or atop our Curried Butternut Squash Soup. This recipe comes to us from Karen of Sprouts in the Hood.

Serves 16

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, for roasting the garlic
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, shelled
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, finely grated
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

With the garlic skin still in place, cut the pointed end off the garlic bulb, exposing the garlic cloves. Drizzle with the olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the garlic has browned and become soft. Set aside to 8 cloves to cool and save the rest to spread on bread.

While the garlic is roasting, place the peanuts in a flat layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the peanuts turn golden and become fragrant. Set aside to cool.

While the peanuts and garlic are roasting, spread the coconut out on another baking sheet and place in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant and a little crispy.

When the peanuts have cooled, grind the peanuts together with the sesame seeds in a coffee grinder.

Toss the ground peanut sesame seed mixture in a medium sized bowl. Add the 8 cloves roasted garlic and toasted coconut. Stir to combine. Season with the red pepper flakes and salt and enjoy.

November 3rd, 2014

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