The Good Dirt

November 20th, 2017

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 20th, 2017

This simple recipe is easy to adapt, so feel free to toss in some dried fruits or nuts at the end. Please note that pumpkin puree is not the same as pumpkin pie filling. Canned pumpkin puree is available in most supermarkets; stir remaining canned pumpkin into risotto or use in place of pizza sauce for a unique twist. This recipe comes to us from Kristi Arnold of Veggie Converter 365.

Serves 2

  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • Pure maple syrup, to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine water, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg; bring to a boil. Stir in the oats, reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 15 minutes, or until oats are tender.

Drizzle with maple syrup to taste.

November 20th, 2017

No need to cook a whole turkey when a stuffing craving hits. Baking stuffing on its own is easy and delicious. Ice cream scoops make these stuffing servings as adorable as they are flavorful. This recipe comes to us from Donna of Apron Strings.

Serves 12

  • canola oil spray
  • 4 cups dry bread cubes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3 sage leaves, minced
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tablespoons diced parsley
  • 1/2 cup diced dried sweetened cranberries
  • 1/2 cup diced pecans
  • 1 large egg

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Prepare an ice cream scoop with a light layer of the canola oil spray.

Toss the bread cubes with the vegetable broth and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and celery to the skillet and cook, stirring intermittently, for 4-6 minutes, or until softened. Transfer to the mixing bowl.

Add the sage, thyme, parsley, craisins, pecans and egg to the mixing bowl and mix well, taking care to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed. Use the prepared ice cream scoop to distribute portions of stuffing onto a baking pan.

Transfer the stuffing scoops to the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

November 20th, 2017

This simple soup comes together quickly, but dress it up with garnishes of pomegranate seeds (called arils) and fried sage leaves and you’ve got a dish worthy of company! To fry sage leaves, simply heat oil in a pan and cook them for about 5 seconds. This recipe comes to us from Priscilla of She’s Cookin’.

Serves 4

  • 1 small butternut squash, roasted
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons curry
  • ½ teaspoon harissa
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • Garnish: pomegranate arils, fried sage leaves, pistachios
  • 1 pat butter, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and stringy pulp. Put the halves flesh side down in a baking dish, add 1 cup of water. Wrap the sweet potato in aluminum foil. Bake the squash and sweet potato for 30 minutes until you can pierce through the skin easily.

While the squash is roasting, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook leeks until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and spices, stir and cook for another minute. Add wine and cook for another two minutes to meld the flavors. Set aside.

Remove the squash and sweet potato from the oven. When the squash to cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh from the skin. Cut the sweet potato into half, no need to peel – it will be totally pureed and you’ll retain all the nutrients in the skin.

Add the squash, sweet potato, leek-spice mixture, and almond milk to your blender. Process on until smooth. Place in a saucepan to heat, stir in butter to add a touch of richness, if desired.

November 13th, 2017

If you think you’re looking at an ooey gooey cheese sauce, look again! That luscious coating is made from a nutrient-packed fall favorite, butternut squash, with sage and lemon to balance the squash’s sweetness. This recipe comes to us from registered dietitian Maria of Bean A Foodie.

Serves 4.

  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided in half
  • 1 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 lb. spinach, finely chopped
  • 8 oz. short cut pasta, like rigatoni or penne

Preheat your oven to 425F.

Boil water for pasta and cooking according to package directions. Save about 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside.

Toss butternut squash with sage, 2 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast squash for about 30-40 minutes or until fork tender and lightly golden brown.

While squash roasts, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium high heat. Add in diced onions and garlic. Saute for about 3-5 or until onions and garlic are just starting to get translucent.

In a high powered blender or food processor, place the roasted squash and onion mixture in the bowl. Blend on high until the squash is smooth. Add in the parmesan cheese, lemon juice and blend on high for another minute. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

At this point the sauce is probably somewhat thick. Slowly add in some of the vegetable stock, blending at the same time. Check frequently for consistency. You may or may not use all of the stock, depending on how thick or thin your sauce. If you want the sauce thinner (or if it thickens over time on the stove) thin out with the reserved pasta water.

Pour the butternut sauce back into the medium saute pan. Heat over low and add in the chopped spinach, stirring to combine. Cook over medium low until the spinach wilts — about 10 minutes. Again, if the sauce thickens, use some of the reserved pasta water to keep it at the consistency you like.

Toss in the hot cooked pasta with the butternut and spinach sauce. Toss to combine. Add more parmesan cheese if you’d like. Serve hot!

November 13th, 2017

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 13th, 2017

Golden delicious apples, raisins and walnuts provide diverse textures to these harvest muffins, while brown sugar and molasses incorporate a sweetness that is dark, slightly spicy and quintessentially autumn. Health is kicked up a notch as bran adds extra fiber and substituting apple sauce for butter lowers the fat in this delectable breakfast bread. This recipe comes to us from Patrice of Circle B Kitchen.

Serves 12

  • 1/2 cup baked applesauce
  • or
  • 1/2 cup applesauce with 1 apple*, cored, diced and mixed in
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup miller’s bran**

*Golden Delicious apples work best here.

**Found at natural food stores, health food stores and in the grain or cereal section of most supermarkets.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with a layer of butter or non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, mix together the applesauce and brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, yogurt and molasses until all are well incorporated. Stir in the raisins and chopped walnuts.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and bran.  Add the flour mixture to the yogurt apple mixture and stir the batter until it is just combined, but still lumpy.

Spoon the batter evenly into the 12 prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and spring to the touch. Turn the muffins out onto a rack and let cool.

November 13th, 2017

These crusty cannellini bean toasts are easy to prepare in large quantities for a party, but so flavorful your guests will think they took more effort than they did. When you run out of bread, use the bean spread as a dip for sliced veggies and pita chips. This recipe was created by Stephanie Cottrell, who writes the blog Meatless Mouthfuls.

Serves 10

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 loaf crusty bread, sliced

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until it becomes fragrant. Do not let it brown.

Add the beans and vegetable broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Toast the bread slices and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon olive oil. Top each slice of bread with a few tablespoons of the bean topping.

November 6th, 2017

Potatoes are roasted with red apples, crispy chickpeas and sweet raisins then served over a bed of orange infused couscous. The potatoes, apples and chickpeas are seasoned with fennel, paprika and orange zest to balance the sweet with the savory. This recipe comes to us from Trudy of veggie.num.num.

Serves 6

For the roasted potatoes:

  • a little olive oil, for preparing the roasting tray
  • 25 ounces new potatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 2 red apples, de-seeded and cut into wedges
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • a small bunch of fresh thyme sprigs

For the orange couscous:

  • ½ cup almonds
  • 2 cups couscous
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 orange


To make the roasted potatoes:

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil into a large roasting tray and place in the preheating oven to warm the pan.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, return to a boil and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the saucepan over medium heat.

Add the olive oil and crushed garlic cloves to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Toss well and cook 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Remove the pan from heat and set aside.

Remove the roasting tray from the oven. Add the potatoes, garlic, orange zest, apple slices, chickpeas and raisins. Season with the fennel, paprika and thyme sprigs and toss well to combine. Shake well so the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Return the baking dish to the oven and roast for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are crisp and golden.

To make the orange couscous:

Spread the almonds on a separate baking sheet and roast in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the almonds turn crisp. Chop the roasted almonds and set aside.

Bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the couscous and orange juice and stir gently to combine. Cover the saucepan with a lid, remove from heat and set aside for 2-3 minutes.

Fluff the couscous with a fork and toss the chopped almonds in.

To complete the Roasted Potatoes with Orange Couscous:

Serve the roasted potato medley in equal portions on top of the orange couscous and enjoy!

November 6th, 2017

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 6th, 2017

Philly may be famous for their cheesesteaks, but if a craving hits and you want to keep it meatless, this mushroom sandwich can be just as satisfying! Often found proudly parading as a meatless burger, Portabellas are widely considered the “meatiest” mushroom. This recipe comes to us from our friends at The Mushroom Council.

Serves 4.

  • 4 large Portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, core and seeds removed, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grilled steak seasoning
  • 4 Italian rolls, split length wise, toasted
  • 8 slices provolone or American cheese or 4 ounces processed cheese spread

Heat grill to medium, about 365°. Brush both sides of mushrooms, onions and bell peppers with oil and season with steak seasoning. Place on grill and close cover, cook 5 minutes on each side.

Remove onions and peppers from grill, thinly slice as desired. Place on aluminum foil and return to grill to keep warm. Remove mushrooms and thinly slice. Lightly toast bun on grill. Remove peppers, onions and mushrooms and combine.

Place cheese on each split roll, top mushroom mixture. Turn grill off and place sandwiches on grill with lid closed, 5 minutes or until cheese is fully melted. Cut in half and serve immediately.

November 6th, 2017

This breakfast scramble brings together the holy trinity of French cooking as onions, carrots and celery are sautéed on the stove. Tofu is seasoned with turmeric, cumin, balsamic vinegar and tamari then scrambled with the sautéed veggies. This recipe comes to us from Anne of Apron Strings. Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 14 ounces firm tofu, drained and crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon tamari
  • salt and fresh pepper, to taste
  • ketchup*, for garnish


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté onions in the olive oil for about 2 minutes, or until onions are beginning to soften. Add the carrot and celery to the pan and sauté for 3 more minutes. Mix in tofu, turmeric, cumin, vinegar and tamari. Continue to stir for 3 to 4 more minutes, or until tofu and veggies are well well-seasoned and veggies have softened. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with ketchup if desired.

October 30th, 2017

When apples hit their peak season they hardly need any brown sugar to sweeten a rustic applesauce like this one. You needn’t even take off the apple’s skins to enjoy this cinnamon sauce on oatmeal, pancakes or straight from a bowl. This recipe comes to us from Patrice of Circle B Kitchen.

Serves 12

  • a light nonstick cooking spray, for preparing the pan
  • 8-9 baking apples (3 pounds), cut in half and cored¼ cup brown sugar¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons water, if needed

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare 2 shallow baking pans with a light layer of nonstick cooking spray.

Place the apple halves, cut side down, on the baking sheets and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake the apples for about 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool.

When the apples are cool enough to handle, slip the fruits from their skins. Place the baked apples back into the pan, scraping any pulp from the peels. Discard the apple skins.

While the apples are still warm, mash them with a fork, stirring in the brown sugar, cinnamon a pinch of salt and a bit of water (if needed) to help scrape up any brown bits in the pan and to lighten the texture of the applesauce.

Enjoy warm, room temperature or cold.

October 30th, 2017

The hearty taste of cornbread in a flaky biscuit treat, with banana added for an extra boost of nutrition. Dunk these maple breakfast pastries in coffee and start your day off right.

This recipe comes to us from Lindsay of Happy Herbivore.

Serves 6

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 banana, cold
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven 425 F. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

In a food processor, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt and process for about 10 seconds.

Add banana and allow and process until flour is pebble-like.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and combine mixture with milk and maple syrup, stirring until well combined. Use a spoon to drop 6 biscuits evenly spaced on the cookie sheet.

Bake about 7-8 minutes or until edges are just crisp and slightly brown.

October 30th, 2017

Pumpkin is seasoned with fresh ginger, jalapeño, 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!