The Good Dirt

July 25th, 2016

Thai food lends itself well to meatless meals, but who wants to eat a hot dish at the peak of summer? This zoodle salad is the perfect solution – it’s cool, tangy and refreshing and a great way to use up summer’s vegetable bounty! This recipe is part of Meatless Monday’s No-Cook Summer Recipe video series.

Serves 2-4

  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 1 small bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup pre-shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • Chopped peanuts, to garnish

Mix tamari or soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, vinegar, sesame oil and garlic. Add cubed tofu, set aside to marinate for at least 1/2 hour.

Spiralize zuchinni into a large bowl. Add red pepper, carrots and bean sprouts.

Drain tofu from marinade, reserving liquid. Add reserved liquid to bowl containing zoodles and toss to combine. Add tofu and top with green onions and peanuts before serving.

July 18th, 2016

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!

July 18th, 2016

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.

July 18th, 2016

Pancakes are stacked with banana and brown sugar in between. Orange slices, blueberries, dollops of yogurt and fresh mint leaves top these fruit flapjacks. This recipe comes to us from Tracy of veggie.num.num.

Serves 6

For the pancakes:

  • 2 cups self-rising flour*
  • ½ cup wholemeal or stone ground plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ½ cups nonfat milk
  • 3 ounces butter, melted and cooled
  • or
  • 3 ounces non-dairy butter substitute, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • a little extra butter or non-stick cooking spray, for the skillet

To complete the Orange Blueberry Banana Pancakes:

  • 16 ounces Greek yogurt
  • a little lemon juice, for preparing the bananas
  • 3 bananas, sliced diagonally
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar**
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds
  • 1 basket blueberries
  • maple syrup**, for drizzling
  • 12 fresh mint leaves, for garnish

*Self-rising flour can be found in the baking section of most grocery stores, but it’s quick and easy to make your own from all-purpose flour.


To make the pancakes:

In a large bowl sift the self-rising flour together with the stone ground flour. Add the sugar and stir to combine.

Make a well in the center and add the milk, melted butter and whisked egg. Mix until all ingredients are combined and the batter is smooth.

Prepare a skillet very lightly with a little extra butter or cooking spray and put over medium heat.

When skillet is heated, add 2 tablespoons of batter to the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until bubbled begin to appear. Carefully flip pancakes over with spatula and cook for another minute. Transfer finished pancake to a warmed plate and cover with a towel.

Repeat process until you’re out of batter. Makes 10-12 pancakes.

To complete the Orange Blueberry Banana Pancakes:

Spread each pancake with a little Greek yogurt. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the sliced bananas.

Stack the pancakes in 2’s with banana slices and brown sugar in between the pancakes in each stack.

Top each stack with 2 slices of orange and a good dollop of Greek yogurt. Drizzle with maple syrup if using and finish with blueberries and fresh mint leaves.

July 18th, 2016

Ah, panzanella salad. How better to enjoy ripe tomatoes and cukes than alongside crusty bread and a healthy dose of garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar? Pack it all into a jar to enjoy at the beach, park, or wherever you celebrate summer! This recipe is part of Meatless Monday’s No-Cook Summer Recipe video series.

Watch the video!

Serves 1 (multiply as needed for additional jars)

  • 4 1-inch slices baguette
  • 1 small bunch basil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 small tomato, cubed
  • 1/2 cucumber, cubed
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup (about 1/2 can) quartered artichoke hearts

Cube baguette slices. Allow cubed bread to sit unwrapped overnight . Alternatively, toast cubed bread at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Cut basil into a chiffonade, set aside.

Into a quart-sized mason jar, mix extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Gently swirl the jar to mix.

Layer into the jar cubed tomatoes, cubed cucumber, sliced red onion and artichoke hearts. Add chiffonaded basil to create a barrier between the moist ingredients and dry bread. Top jar off with bread cubes and screw on lid.

Keep jar upright until ready to serve. To serve, empty contents of jar into a large bowl and stir to combine.

Alternatively, mix ingredients into a serving bowl and enjoy right away.

July 11th, 2016

Polenta is sliced into rounds and browned on the stove. Edamame, bell pepper, zucchini and tomatoes are seasoned with oregano and basil to top these corn discs, for an Italian spin on southern grits. This recipe comes to use from Janet of Mosiac Kitchen.

Serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 bell pepper, thin sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced into sticks
  • 1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
  • 1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 18 ounce chub polenta

Place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add the edamame and tomatoes. Season with the oregano and basil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the edamame is cooked through and hot.

Slice the polenta into 3/4 inch rounds. Place the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Add the polenta rounds to the skillet and cook 7 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.

Place 2-3 slices of browned polenta on 4 plates. Top with equal portions of the edamame zucchini mixture and enjoy!

July 11th, 2016

Step away from the stove, these summery sandwiches are both meatless and no-cook! Instead of a Niçoise salad’s traditional tuna, this dish features protein-packed chickpeas in a tangy tarragon-shallot dressing. This recipe is part of Meatless Monday’s No-Cook Summer Recipe video series.

Watch the video!

Serves 4-6

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 small bunch tarragon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 round loaf country bread
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 small head Bibb lettuce
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced
  • 1/3 cup jarred olive tapenade
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, add shallot, tarragon, extra-virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine and set aside.

In a large bowl, crush chickpeas with a fork. Add shallot and tarragon mixture and stir to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper as desired. Set aside.

Carefully slice country bread horizontally to create a top and bottom half. Using your fingers, remove desired amount of the bread’s interior from both halves to create room for the filling. Fill the bottom slice with the chickpea mixture. Top with sliced eggs and add salt and pepper to taste. Continue building the sandwich with sliced tomatoes and lettuce leaves. Spread olive tapenade across the top slice of bread.

Place the top slice of bread on top of the sandwich and cut into four slices. Optionally, use a toothpick to hold each piece of the sandwich together.

July 11th, 2016

Tahini, lemon juice and a little chipotle powder make a sour spicy seasoning for heart-healthy quinoa. Green onions, snow peas and bell peppers make a delightfully crunchy contrast to the cooked beans and grains in this satisfying winter salad.This recipe comes to us from Kristina of

Serves 10

For the salad:

  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups red quinoa*, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups cooked beans of choice, cooled
  • or
  • 2 cups canned beans of choice, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup green onion, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup snow peas, sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced

For the tahini chili dressing:

  • 1/4 cup tahini paste**
  • 4 ounces olive oil
  • 2 ounces lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • salt, to taste

**Quinoa is a heart-healthy grain as well as a complete protein. It can be found in the grain section of most grocery stores. Feel free to substitute brown rice if you can’t find quinoa.

**A sesame seed paste found in health food section or the health food or specialty section of most grocery stores.

To make the salad:

Pour 4 cups of vegetable stock in a large pot over medium high heat heat. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to low and continue cooking for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft. Spread the quinoa on a baking sheet to cool.

Place the oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook 4-6 minutes, or until the mushrooms have browned and all the moisture has evaporated. Set aside to cool.

Combine the quinoa, beans, mushrooms, green onion, celery, snow peas and bell peppers together in a large bowl.

To make the tahini chili dressing:

Whisk together the tahini paste, olive oil and lemon juice. Season with chipotle chili powder and salt to taste.

To complete the Tahini Quinoa Bean Salad:

Toss the salad so that all ingredients are evenly distributed. Season the servings with dressing to taste and enjoy.

July 11th, 2016

Crisp jicama, savory squash and bitter radishes are cut into tiny matchsticks and tossed with sweat peaches, snap peas, cilantro and dill. A spicy lime ginger vinaigrette is the perfect pairing to dress this sophisticated salad. This recipe comes to us from Amy of The Crunchy Carrot.

Serves 4

For the salad:

  • 5 ounces jicama
  • 5 ounces summer squash, preferably zephyr squash
  • 3 radishes
  • 1/2 lime
  • salt, to taste
  • 6 baby carrots, peeled and cut into slices
  • 2 peaches, cut into small cubes
  • 1 pound snap peas
  • 1-2 teaspoons dill
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • sesame seeds, to taste

For the ginger lime dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced and half zested
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 squirt hot sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To make the salad:

Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, slice the jicama and squash into very thin ribbons. Stack the ribbons of each vegetable on top of one another and cut with a knife to create matchsticks. Cut the radish into matchsticks using a knife.

Place the jicama, squash and radish matchsticks together in a large sized bowl. Squirt with the half lime and season with salt to taste. Add the sliced baby carrots, peaches, snap peas, dill and cilantro. Toss to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed.

To make the lime ginger dressing:

Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, ginger and hot sauce together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To complete the Snap Pea Salad:

Toss the salad with half the lime ginger dressing and toss to ensure the salad is evenly coated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Divide into 4 portions, add more dressing if desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy!

July 4th, 2016

Dressing your grilled vegetables up in taco form gives you and your BBQ guests that much more reason to eat more of them! Serve these veggies in a large bowl alongside hot tortillas and guacamole and let everyone DIY. This recipe comes to us from Amber of Homemade Nutrition.

Serves 6

  • 4-6 wooden skewers
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 ears fresh corn, husks removed or 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup small mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into chunks
  • 12 corn tortillas or whole grain tortillas
  • 1 cup sliced avocado or guacamole (check out my easy guacamole recipe)

Preheat a grill to medium high heat or oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the oil, spices, salt, and pepper.

Place the sliced zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper chunks, onion, and mushrooms on the skewers, leaving a small amount of space between each slice of vegetable on the skewers.

Use a pastry brush or spoon to lightly coat all of the vegetables with the seasoned oil mixture. Lightly coat the corn with the oil mixture as well.

Place the skewers and ears of corn on the grill and cook for about 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and caramelized and the corn is slightly charred. If using the oven, bake for about 25-30 minutes, turning a few times during the cooking time.

Remove the vegetables from the skewers and cut into smaller pieces if desired. Cut the corn kernels off of the ears of corn. Place all vegetables and corn in a bowl and toss to combine them.

Heat the tortillas and top with the roasted vegetable mixture and avocado. Serve with beans on the side.

July 4th, 2016

Grilling pineapple gives the fruit a lovely hint of smoke, while lime balances the sweet with sour citrus and jalapeño packs a spicy punch. Serve this summertime salsa atop your favorite bean burgers, salads and tacos. This recipe came to us from Donna of Fab Frugal Food.

Serves 32

  • 1/2 of a ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 2-4  jalapeños, depending on spice preference
  • a little olive oil, to grill the pineapples and jalapeños
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, diced
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • A few dashes hot sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Spray pineapple slices and jalapeños with a little oil. Grill on a gas grill or grill pan over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes per side, or until pineapples and jalapeños are charred slightly and set aside to cool slightly. Dice the jalapeños and pineapple slices after they cool and place in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, stir together the diced mango, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, honey and olive oil. Add mango mixture to the charred, diced pineapples and jalapeños. Season with a few dashes of hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

July 4th, 2016

When you’re craving a pizza packed with summer’s most delectable produce but can’t imagine blasting the oven at high temps in summer’s heat, consider grilling up some naan outdoors and topping the bread with your favorite veggies! This recipe comes to us from Anne of Craving Something Healthy. View more meatless pizza recipes in our e-cookbook dedicated to pizza.

  • Any combination of fresh vegetables (peppers, onions, eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, etc) cut into slices
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Leafy green vegetables (spinach, arugula or other greens), cut into thin slices (chiffonade)
  • canned chopped tomatoes or pesto
  • 1-2 slices naan bread
  • shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese, optional

Heat grill to high heat.

Toss sliced vegetables, except for leafy greens, in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill vegetables until lightly charred on both sides.

Brush both sides of naan bread with oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Grill both sides of bread until lightly toasted.

Reduce grill heat to low.

Spread tomatoes or pesto over bread, and top with grilled vegetables and cheese, if using.

Place pizza back on grill and heat for an additional 2-3 minutes, to warm vegetables and melt any cheese.


July 4th, 2016

Succulent soysage is grilled between 2 toasted English muffins and sliced bell pepper. Sweet meets spicy as boysenberry jam contrasts with habanero salsa and roasted pumpkin seeds. This recipe comes to us from Kathy of Healthy. Happy. Life.

Serves 2

  • a little olive oil, for preparing the soy sausage
  • 1 small purple bell pepper*, sliced thin and long
  • 1/2 cup of soy sausage, formed into two round patties
  • 2 spelt English muffins, sliced and toasted
  • 2 teaspoons habanero red salsa
  • 2 tablespoons boysenberry jam
  • 2 teaspoons spicy roasted pumpkin seeds
  • black pepper, to taste

*check your local farmer’s markets for purple bell peppers. Feel free to use red, yellow or orange bell peppers if purple peppers aren’t available.

Rub the soy sausage with a little olive oil. Place the patties on a grill pan or Panini press. If using a Panini press, cook soy sausage according to directions in the Panini press’ guide. If using a grill pan cook for 4-6 minutes per side, or until plump, tender and juicy.

Lightly toast the roasted pumpkin seeds on the grill pan or Panini press for 2-3 minutes, or until toasted and fragrant.

If using a Panini press, place the pepper strips on top of the patties and press down. Cook the sausage with the peppers on top for 2-3 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.

If using a grill pan, place the pepper slices directly on the grill over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, flip and grill on the other side for about another minute, or until tender.

Spread the salsa on one side of the muffin and jam on the other. Sprinkle the toasted, roasted pumpkin seeds to top the salsa and season to taste with black pepper.

Transfer each patty to the muffins and close the breakfast’wich with the other muffin. Slice with care and serve warm. Repeat assembly process with the other breakfast’wich and enjoy.

June 27th, 2016

Simple as it may be, spaghetti pomodoro is a meatless classic. But because of its simplicity, restaurant tycoon Joe Bastianich recommends using the finest ingredients available to you for maximum taste, such as San Marzano tomatoes.

Serves 4-6

For the Pomodoro Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 16-oz can whole Italian tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. oregano (optional)

Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Crush two garlic cloves with the heel of your hand. Add to olive oil and sauté until golden brown. While the garlic browns, pour the tomatoes into a bowl. Squeeze with your hands to break them up. Once the garlic is browned, add tomatoes and their juice to the sauce pan with the garlic. Add salt and pepper (and oregano if using).Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes, adding water to keep the sauce from becoming too thick. Pomodoro sauce should be a rich red color. If it turns brick red, it’s too thick. Additional salt and pepper to taste if necessary.

Cook’s Note: For convenience, make up a large batch and freeze smaller portions in freezer bags.

For the Pasta:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb spaghetti or spaghetti alla chitarra (a specialty square-cut version)
  • A few basil leaves
  • Grana Padano for grating

Prepare pomodoro sauce as directed above. While it simmers, heat water for pasta. Add enough salt to the pasta to make it as salty as seawater. In a sauce pan, heat up olive oil. Add pomodoro sauce (one half cup per serving) and simmer. When the pasta water is at a full boil, add pasta. Two minutes before the pasta is ready, remove from boiling water and add to the pomodoro sauce. Cook pasta until tender in the saucepan, allowing it to absorb the flavor and color of the sauce. Add a little pasta water if needed to keep the sauce liquid. When the pasta is done, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Garnish with shredded basil leaves and Grana Padano.
Cook’s Notes: To turn pomodoro sauce into oreganata sauce, add several sprigs of fresh oregano to the pomodoro while it simmers. Remove before serving. To make arrabbiata sauce, add hot pepper flakes to basic pomodoro sauce and simmer.

June 27th, 2016

Okra is caramelized in the oven and tossed with tart lemon juice. Curry powder adds a kick to this simple side dish that highlights okra’s naturally savory flavor. This recipe comes to us from Jen of Domestic Divas.

Serves 8

  • 4 cups okra, halved diagonally
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees.

Place the okra in a large baking dish and toss with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until tender and beginning to caramelize.

Remove the okra from the oven. Toss with the lemon juice and season with the curry powder.