The Good Dirt

August 25th, 2014

Frozen corn is a convenient addition to these Southwestern  burritos, but if you have access to a local farmers market, August is prime season to swap in fresh sweet corn instead. Two medium ears of corn will give you the 1 1/4 cups this recipe requires. This recipe comes to us from our friends at The Heart Truth®.

Serves 12

  • 1/4 cup scallions (green onions), rinsed and sliced into ¼-inch wide circles, including green tops
  • 1/4 cup celery, rinsed and finely diced
  • 1 1/4 cup frozen yellow corn
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped (or substitute 2 tsp dried coriander)
  • 1 can (15 1/2 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup salsa or taco sauce (look for lowest sodium version)
  • 12 (9-inch) whole-wheat tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Combine scallions, celery, and corn in a small saucepan. Add just enough water to cover.

Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 5 minutes, until vegetables soften. Drain vegetables. Set aside to cool.

Combine avocado, cilantro, and beans in a large mixing bowl. Add cheese and salsa, and mix.

When corn mixture has cooled slightly, add to avocado mixture.

In a large nonstick pan over medium heat, warm each tortilla about 15 seconds on each side. Place each tortilla on a flat surface. Spoon ⅓ cup of the mixture into the center of the tortilla. Fold the top and bottom of the tortilla over the filling. Fold in the sides to make a closed packet.

Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

When all tortillas are wrapped, continue heating in the oven 5 minutes, until all are warm and cheese is melted.

Source: National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

The Heart Truth is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

August 25th, 2014

Corn is grilled and seasoned with green onions and cayenne sauce in these tasty spiced flapjacks. The grilled corn fritters make an ideal base to this salad stacked with alternating layers of tomato slices and arugula dressed in a red wine vinaigrette. This recipe comes to us from Donna of Apron Strings.

Serves 4

For the corn fritters:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 cobs corn, grilled
  • 1/3 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce
  • a little oil or nonstick cooking spray, for preparing the skillet

For the red wine vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To complete the Corn Fritter Salad Stack:

  • 8 cups arugula
  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick

To make the corn fritters:

Cut the grilled corn kernels off of the cob to make about 1 1/2 cups grilled corn kernels. Set aside.

Place the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the milk, egg, corn kernels and green onion. Season with the hot sauce and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Prepare a large skillet with a light layer of oil or nonstick cooking spray. Drop 1/4 inch mounds of batter into the pan and flatter into 1/2 inch thick cakes. Cook for 2-3 minutes on one side, or until bubbles begin to form. Flip and cook for 1 minute more on the other side, or until the corn fritter has cooked through. Set aside and repeat until you are out of batter.

To make the vinaigrette:


Whisk the red wine vinegar and the olive oil together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


To complete the Corn Fritter Salad Stack:

Place 4 corn fritters on 4 plates. Top with layers of tomato and dressed arugula. Repeat with alternating layers of fritters, tomato slices and arugula. Enjoy!

August 25th, 2014

Pecans are toasted to intensify their earthy flavor which contrasts with sweet summertime peaches. These nutritionally diverse muffins are a great source of fiber and whole grains, and can keep up to a month in the freezer. This recipe comes to us from our friends at

Serves 24

  • a little oil or cooking spray, for preparing the muffin tins
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 ¾ cups regular oats, uncooked
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup peach nectar*
  • 1 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 5 cups wheat bran cereal
  • 1/3 cup dried peaches, chopped

*bottled peach nectar can be found in the specialty juice section of most grocery stores, but if time allows, we suggest making your own.

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with a light layer of oil or cooking spray.

In a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pecans, stirring often, for about 2-4 minutes, or until they are colored and fragrant.

Process the oats in a food processor or blender for about 45 seconds, or until they are finely ground.

In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and oil together with an electric mixer at medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.

In a small bowl, combine the ground oats, flour, baking soda and salt.

In a separate small bowl, stir together the peach nectar and buttermilk.

Alternate adding the oat mixture and the peach mixture to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with oat mixture. After each addition, stir until blended.

Gently fold the bran flakes, dried peaches and toasted pecans into the batter. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tin cups, filling 3/4ths full.

Bake muffins for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

August 25th, 2014

In Spain, adventurous young chefs have been playing with novel fruit combinations: gazpacho made with melon and tomato, salads of melon and tomato or peach and tomato. It is fun to try these new pairings, but be sure to taste the fruit before you dress the salad. You’ll have leftover citrus and black pepper dressing to dress future salads. This recipe comes to us from Joyce Goldstein, author of Mediterranean Fresh.

Serves 6

For the citrus and black pepper dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • Sea salt

For the Peach Tomato Salad:

  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into large dice
  • 2 large peaches, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 1/2 a small red onion, finely minced or cut into thin slivers
  • About 1/3 cup citrus and black pepper dressing (page 295)
  • 3 tablespoons thinly slivered fresh mint or basil, for garnish

To make the Citrus and Black Pepper Dressing:

Whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl.

To complete the Peach Tomato Salad:

Combine all the ingredients in a salad bowl and gently toss with the dressing. Garnish with the mint and serve.

Reprinted from Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings by Joyce Goldstein. Copyright © 2008 by Joyce Goldstein. Photographs copyright © by Andre Baranowski. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

August 18th, 2014

Fresh mangos are puréed with orange juice and then topped with cucumber, bell pepper, jalapeño and lime juice for a spicy crunch. Your choice of fresh basil, parsley or cilantro brings a refreshing herbal finish to this tropical fruit spin on chilled soup. This recipe comes to us from Amber of Howard Payne, Texas.

Serves 6

  • 2 cups fresh mangos, diced
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño*, seeded and minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, basil or cilantro, chopped



Place the mangos, orange juice and olive oil into a blender or food processor. Blend or pulse until pureed.

Transfer the mango orange puree to a medium bowl. Add the diced cucumbers, bell pepper, onion, garlic, lime juice and jalapeño, if using. Mix to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle the parsley, basil or cilantro over the gazpacho just before serving.

August 18th, 2014

In this riff on the tart tomatillo salsa, zucchini, onions and peppers are blackened on the grill, then seasoned with lime juice, cayenne and a touch of honey. This hot sauce is perfect for barbeques and ideal for topping your favorite tacos, bean burgers or sandwiches. This recipe comes to us from Donna of Fab Frugal Food.

Serves 20

  • a little canola oil, to prepare the vegetables
  • 2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 sweet onion, cut into wedges
  • 4 tomatillos, paper skin removed and halved
  • 3 large jalapeños peppers, halved with seeds and pulp removed
  • 2 large poblano peppers, halved with seeds and pulp removed
  • zest and juice from 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce
  • a little honey*, to taste
  • *optional

Lightly spray zucchini, onion, tomatillos, jalapeños and poblanos with canola oil. Place over a hot grill for 5-7 minutes, flip and cook another 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetable skins begin to char and vegetables are cooked through.

Place charred zucchini, onion, tomatillos, jalapeños, poblanos, lime juice and zest, salt and cayenne pepper in a food processor. Process until very smooth.

Taste and add honey if desired. Best served at room temperature.

August 18th, 2014

Spaghetti squash is a unique vegetable, to be sure, but it’s the sauce in this recipe that’s likely to raise your eyebrows. Featuring ginger, hot sauce and – gasp – chocolate peanut butter, this dish is a taste experience you won’t forget! This recipe comes to use from Aditi & Nikhil of Confused Bawarchis.

Serves 2

For the spaghetti noodles

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds taken out
  • 1 cup spinach, cut in a chiffonade
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 red onion, sliced lengthwise
  • 5 tablespoons toasted spaghetti squash seeds
  • 5-6 tablespoons mint cut in a chiffonade

For the spicy chocolate peanut sauce

  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons sriracha
  • 1 teaspoons pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chocolate peanut butter (or plain peanut butter)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • tiny splash of toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and place the squash halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet with a little drizzle of olive oil.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until the flesh pulls away in easy strands. In the last 15 minutes of baking, add the spaghetti squash seeds on to the same baking sheet on the side and allow them to toast.

In the meanwhile, place all of the sauce ingredients either in a small jar and with the lid on shake it well. Alternatively you could blend them in a blender. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

When squash is cool enough to handle, scrape the spaghetti strands out with a fork into a large bowl and add the onions, carrots, spinach and mint and mix it very gently.

Pour a big splash of the dressing into the bowl and toss it gently.

Top it off with the toasted squash seeds and enjoy the crunchy salad!

August 18th, 2014

These gluten free muffins contrast sweet strawberries with sour lemon juice and herbal lavender. Try pressing a quartered strawberry on top of the muffins before baking to give this breakfast bread a refreshingly sweet finish. This recipe comes to us from Christy, The Blissful Chef.

Serves 12

  • 1 cup brown rice flour*1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lavender, minced
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, finely chopped
  • 3 strawberries, greens removed & quartered

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

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with liners or spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the brown rice flour, cornmeal, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, arrowroot and salt together in a large bowl.

Whisk the almond milk and vinegar together in a smaller bowl until they begin to bubble. Add the safflower oil, maple syrup, vanilla, lemon zest and juice and sugar. Whisk together with the almond milk vinegar mixture until well combined.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring, until well combined.

Fold the minced lavender and finely chopped strawberries into the batter. Spoon the batter equal amounts into the muffin tin cups.

Top each muffin liner with one strawberry quarter, pressing down lightly. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry. Enjoy!

August 11th, 2014

Corn is grilled and sautéed with shallots and roasted garlic, then purred with fresh chives and tarragon. Bread is grilled and topped with a delightful contrast of the rustic and the refined as corn tarragon puree is garnished with a few freshly grilled corn kernels and tarragon leaves. This recipe comes to us from Ashley of Sprouts.

Serves 8

  • 5 ears corn, shucked
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 loaf multigrain bread, sliced 1/2 thick
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic, roasted
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon nondairy creamer

Preheat a grill to medium high heat.

Coat the corn in grapeseed oil and season with the salt and pepper. Grill for about 15 minutes, or until the kernels are slightly charred on all sides, turning every 5 minutes to ensure all sides of the corn cobs are evenly cooked. Set aside to cool.

Brush the slices of bread with a light coating of olive oil and season with a sprinkling of salt. Grill or broil the bread for 3-5 minutes, turning to ensure even cooking, or until the bread is golden. Set aside.

Shave the corn kernels off the ears by holding the ears vertically over a large bowl and cutting down with a knife, allowing the bowl to catch the kernels.

Place the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Deglaze the shallots with the white wine and cook for 1-2 minutes more, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Add 2 cups of the corn kernels and roasted garlic to the skillet. Set the remaining grilled corn kernels aside. Sauté the kernels and garlic for another 2-3 minutes or until the corn and garlic is heated through.

Transfer the corn garlic shallot mixture to a food processor. Add the tarragon, chives and creamer. Pulse until the corn mixture reaches desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Top each slice of grilled bread with a heaping tablespoon of corn tarragon garlic spread. Garnish with a teaspoon grilled corn kernels and a few tarragon leaves. Repeat with the remaining bread, divide into 8 portions and enjoy!

August 11th, 2014

Zucchini and carrots are shaped into strips to match linguine in this summer veggie pasta medley. An almond basil pesto sauce perfectly counters the savory zucchini and sweet carrots. This recipe comes to us from Sara of Veggies for Real.

Serves 4

For the almond pesto:

  • 1 1/2 packed cups basil, washed
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast*
  • or
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

To complete the Almond Pesto Pasta with Zucchini:

  • 4 ounces linguine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 large carrot

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

To make the almond pesto:

Place the basil, nutritional yeast or cheese, almonds and garlic together in a food processor. Run the food processor until the basil almond mixture is very finely chopped, stopping the food processor and scraping down the sides with a spatula when necessary.

While the food processor runs, slowly pour the canola oil in through the top window. Process until you have a smooth sauce. Taste and season with the salt and pepper, adjusting amounts if desired.

To complete the Almond Pesto Pasta with Zucchini:

Place a large pot of salted water over medium-high heat. When the water boils, cook the pasta according to package directions, or until the linguine is al dente. Drain and transfer back to the pot.

Using a spiralizer or vegetable peeler, make the zucchini and carrots into thin strips to match the linguine.

Place the pesto in a frying pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the garlic and almonds become fragrant.

Add the al dente pasta, zucchini strips and carrot strips to the pan. Toss to ensure the pesto sauce is evenly distributed on the pasta and veggie “noodles”. Divide into 4 portions and enjoy!

August 11th, 2014

Eggplant abounds this time of year, but there’s only so much eggplant Parmesan a meatless meal lover can take! This eggplant dish is inspired by Mexican cuisine by pairing the produce with black beans, cilantro and salasa. The result is a simple, delicious summertime meal. This recipe comes to us from Elizabeth Borelli, author of Beanalicious Living.

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 pound Italian or Asian eggplant, unpeeled, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (a mini food processor or spice grinder is helpful, if available)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite prepared salsa (choose your preference, from mild to hot)
  • 1 cup black beans, precooked
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

To prepare beans from scratch,  soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.  Drain and rinse beans, then add to a large stockpot and fill with water to cover the beans by at least 6 inches.  Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Drain and rinse.

Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat, then add eggplant, onion, and red pepper.  Sauté until eggplant is cooked through and onion is translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and mix in cilantro.  Let the caponata stand for 10 minutes to blend, then add salsa, beans, and salt.  Serve at warm or at room temperature with tortillas, rice, or your favorite grain.

August 11th, 2014

The burst of blackberries and crunch of walnuts stand out even in these hearty whole-wheat cornmeal muffins. Vanilla and cinnamon gives these breakfast pastries a sweetly spiced flavor to compliment their tasty texture. This recipe comes to us from Jen of Domestic Divas.

Serves 10

  • a little oil or nonstick cooking spray, for preparing the pan
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup whole wheat spelt flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup almond or rice milk
  • or
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with a light layer of oil or nonstick cooking spray.

Place the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, olive oil and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine, taking care not to over beat. Fold the blackberries and chopped walnuts carefully into the batter.

Spoon the matter evenly into 10 of the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the muffins clean and the muffins are golden brown. Serve 1 muffin per person and enjoy!

August 4th, 2014

Sweet corn, bell pepper and tomatoes show off summer in this surprisingly hearty salad of wheat berries and white beans. A mustard lemon sherry vinaigrette adds a sophisticated touch to this chilled entrée which requires almost no stove time. This recipe comes to us from Kimberly of Flavorista.

Serves 4

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 ½ teaspoons sherry vinegar
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

To complete the summer corn wheat berry salad:

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup wheat berries, soaked overnight or quick-soaked
  • 1 cup corn off the cob, freshly cooked
  • or
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
    1 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed
  • or
  • 1 cup dried white beans, cooked
    ½ orange bell pepper, chopped
    ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
    ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon lemon zest
    2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
    ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

To make the dressing:

In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.

To complete the summer corn wheat berry salad:

Bring the water, salt and pre-soaked wheat berries to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Turn heat down to low and simmer, uncovered, for 50-60 minutes, or until the wheat berries puff up a bit and become tender. Drain and rinse with cool water.
In a large bowl combine the cooked wheat berries, corn, white beans, bell pepper, red onion, parsley, lemon zest and tomatoes.

Drizzle the salad with the dressing and toss to combine. Top the salad with the crumbled feta and enjoy.

August 4th, 2014

In this deconstructed oil and vinegar dressing, shallots are infused with balsamic to add a tangy pungency when served whole atop crisp cucumber slices. Tomatoes provide acidity and baby spinach makes a hearty base for this refreshing salad. This recipe comes to us from Lindsay from Cook. Vegan. Lover.

Serves 2

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 large cucumber, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Place the balsamic vinegar and sliced shallot in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring the balsamic to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the vinegar is reduced by half. Set aside to cool slightly.

Spread the spinach out in equal portions on two plates. Alternate laying cucumber and tomato slices onto both beds of spinach.

Place a balsamic infused shallot slices on top of each piece of cucumber and tomato. Drizzle both salads with oil and reduced balsamic. Sprinkle the salads with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.

August 4th, 2014

Blueberries stand in for mangos in this antioxidant spin on the classic Indian yogurt treat. For an even more refreshing twist, try putting the blueberry lassi recipe through an ice cream maker to make blueberry lassi frozen yogurt. This recipe comes to us from Mehak of Measured in Pinches.

Serves 2

  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, frozen*
  • 5 tablespoon low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • or
  • 5 tablespoons low fat soy yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon nonfat milk or skim milk
  • sugar, to taste
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced

*To freeze fresh blueberries, wash and dry them, then spread them out on a plate, to avoid clumping. Place in your freezer until frozen. Try to use the blueberries within a few days of freezing them, as they loose flavor the longer they sit.

Place the blueberries, yogurt, milk, sugar and lemon juice into a blender. Blend until pureed. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar or lemon juice to balance, if desired.

Pour into 2 glasses and enjoy!