The Good Dirt

September 19th, 2016

This is the perfect note to end late season barbeque on. Figs are grilled soft and topped with savory thyme leaves and sweet honey in this simple dessert which shows off the fruit of fall. This recipe comes to us from Jen of Domestic Divas.

Serves 2

  • 2 cups figs, stems removed and halved
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Preheat the grill to medium-low heat.

When the grill is heated, place the figs on a grill pan in 1 single layer. Grill for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly soft. Flip and grill another 1-2 minutes more on the other side.

Transfer the grilled figs to a serving platter. Carefully place a few leaves thyme on each fig, drizzle with honey and enjoy!

September 19th, 2016

This hearty soup is the perfect accompaniment for a sandwich or salad any time of the year, but it’s perfect for using up your bounty of late summer vegetables. Packed with fiber and nutrients, it can power up your day. This recipe comes to us from Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Dietitian.

Serves 6

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup uncooked wild rice
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced leeks
  • 1 tsp Herbes de Provence (seasoning blend)
  • Dash black pepper

Place all ingredients in a large pot.

Cover with a tight lid and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 1 hour, until wild rice and vegetables are tender.

May need to add additional water to replace water lost in evaporation. Should make a thick, hearty soup.

September 19th, 2016

Whole wheat pastry flour is seasoned with cinnamon, vanilla extract and sugar before being cooked on the stove. These whole wheat pancakes are punctuated with sweet tart blueberries, but try these flexible flapjacks with any of your favorite fruit baked in. This recipe comes to us from Sadie of Sweet Smart Vegan.

Serves 2

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup nonfat milk
  • or
  • 2/3 cup nondairy milk alternative
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • a little nonstick cooking spray, for preparing the skillet

Place the pastry flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar together in a large bowl. Mix until combined.

Place the milk and vanilla together in a separate medium bowl. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.

Prepare a skillet with a light layer of nonstick cooking spray. Place the skillet over medium heat and add about 1/4 of batter per pancake. Cook 2-3 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form. Flip, cook 1 minute more and set aside on a plate. Repeat until you are out of batter, divide into 2 servings and enjoy!

September 19th, 2016

Eggplant abounds at farmers’ markets this time of year and grilling season isn’t quite over yet, so whip up these flavorful gyros before it’s too late! The garlicky Greek yogurt tzatziki is the perfect compliment to the charred eggplant and the dish is topped off with mint leaves for a fresh kick. This recipe comes to us from Jackie Newgent, RD.

Serves 4

  • 1 large (1 1/4 pound) eggplant, cut into 12 rounds
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 recipe Jackie’s Greek Gyro Seasoning (see below)
  • 1 1/3 cups plain fat-free Greek yogurt or vegan alternative
  • Juice of 1/2 small lemon (1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely diced unpeeled English cucumber
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • 4 whole grain pocketless pitas, lightly grilled
  • 2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Preheat a grill or grill pan. Very lightly brush both sides of the eggplant rounds with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season one side of the eggplant rounds with the gyro seasoning. Grill eggplant (seasoned side up first) over direct medium-high heat until cooked through and rich grill marks form, about 5 to 6 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, make the tzatziki sauce by adding the yogurt, lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper to a medium bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine. (Hint: The thicker the yogurt, the better!) Add the cucumber, garlic, mint, and dill and stir to evenly combine. Adjust seasoning. (Makes 1 2/3 cups tzatziki.)*

Top each pita with about 3 tablespoons each tzatziki. Arrange the grilled eggplant on the pita. Top with tomatoes and onion and fold. Serve with remaining tzatziki on the side. If desired, garnish with fresh mint leaves.

JACKIE’S GREEK GYRO SEASONING: Mix together 3/4 teaspoon each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder, and dried oregano leaves, and 1/4 teaspoon each dried dill, crushed dried rosemary, and cayenne pepper. Makes 1 recipe (4 servings). Hint: Make in advance and store in sealed, labeled jar. To make a milder version of this seasoning, replace the 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper with 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

September 12th, 2016

Salsa is a fresh, healthy snack that you can make at home with seasonal ingredients. This recipe comes to us from our friends Chris and Amy of A Couple in the Kitchen. Corn and black beans add an additional flavor punch to this delicious summer salsa. Serve with chips or even kick it up a notch and use it to make nachos!

Serves

  • 5 ears corn on the cob, grilled or roasted
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced 1/2 inch
  • 1 pepper (red, yellow or orange), diced 1/4 – 1/2 inch
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 8-10 sprigs cilantro, chopped finely
  • 4 stalks chive, chopped
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (the juice of 2-3 limes

Cook off the corn on the cob; cut kernels off and place in bowl. Drain and rinse black beans and add to corn.

Dice to spec the tomatoes, peppers, and red onion and add to bowl. Mince garlic and add to bowl.

Remove cilantro leaves from stem. Discard stems. Chop cilantro leaves and place in bowl.

Add to bowl the white vinegar and lime juice. Mix all ingredients.

Place in presentation bowl and garnish with chopped chives.

September 12th, 2016

This sweet and simple sandwich pairs the last of summer’s heirloom tomatoes with the first crisp apples of fall. It’s a satisfying meal for lunch or dinner during the busy fall season, packed with protein, fiber and taste! This recipe comes to us from Rini of Healing Tomato.

Serves 2

  • Half of a green apple
  • Half of an heirloom tomato
  • Half of a red onion into circular shapes
  • 1 medium sized carrot
  • 4 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 cup of hummus
  • 8 slices of avocado
  • 7-10 leaves of baby spinach

Cut half of a green apple into circular pieces
Cut heirloom tomato into circular pieces
Cut half of a red onion into circular shapes
Shred 1 medium sized carrot. It should make about 1/2 cup worth
Toast 4 slices of whole wheat bread
On a plate, place 1 slice of bread and spread hummus on it. Be generous with your hummus. Personally, I like about a 1/4 inch layer of hummus on the toast. Do the same for 2nd piece of toast and set that aside
Add about 7-10 leaves of baby spinach
Place four slices of green apples on top of the spinach
Place 3-4 slices of the tomato pieces on top of the green apples
Place the onion rounds on top of the tomatoes
If you are using avocado, top the onions with the avocado slices
Close the sandwich with the 2nd toast from step #6. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonally. Cut the halves diagonally.

September 12th, 2016

This satisfying dinner comes together quickly, so it’s great for busy weeknights. Soy chorizo lends flavor and heartiness to the dish, while onions and peppers provide a hefty dose of veggies. This recipe comes to us from Monica of the blog Run Eat Repeat.

Serves 2

  • 2/3 cup brown rice
  • 1/3 package of soy chorizo
  • chopped onions and bell peppers, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • cheese, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa*

*optional

Make the brown rice and set it aside.

Brown the onions and soften the bell peppers in olive oil.

Once they are tender, add the chorizo.

Add the rice to the chorizo pan and heat through. Finally crack the eggs straight into the pan and cook. Top with cheese. You can stir it in to melt or use it as a garnish.

Served with salad, beans and guacamole. Ole!

September 12th, 2016

Whole wheat peach muffins are seasoned with ginger, cinnamon and cloves, before being topped with a sprinkling of brown sugar. This recipe uses mashed bananas and apple sauce instead of butter and oil, for a moist muffin without as much fat. This recipe comes to us from Kristi of Veggie Converter.

Serves 12

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups banana, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups peaches, skin on, diced

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin tins with a light layer of oil, shortening or nonstick cooking spray.

Place the whole-wheat pastry flour, 3/4 cup of the brown sugar and baking powder together in a large bowl. Season with the salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Stir to combine, taking care to ensure that all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Place the applesauce, soy milk, apple cider, vanilla and mashed banana together in a separate large bowl. Mix until all ingredients are well distributed.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring constantly, until evenly distributed. Fold in the diced peaches.

Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill each muffin cup 2/3rds full with batter. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar on top of all the unbaked muffins. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until the muffins are baked through, and enjoy!

September 5th, 2016

These veggie burgers are a great meatless option for barbecues and gatherings, but also refrigerate well once cooked for meatless meals throughout the week. This recipe comes to us from from Plant-Powered for Life by Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian.

Makes 10 servings (1 patty, bun, and lettuce leaf, and 2 tomato and avocado slices each)

  • 3/4 cup (156 g) uncooked farro
  • 3 cups (711 ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon reduced sodium vegetable broth base
  • One 15-ounce (425 g) can cannellini beans, no salt added, rinsed and drained (liquid reserved), or 1 3/4 cups cooked
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup (70 g) finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup (110 g) grated carrots (2 medium)
  • 1/4 cup (29 g) chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup (15 g) chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1/3 cup (52 g) uncooked old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup whole grain bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium herbal seasoning blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of sea salt, optional
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Ten 1 1/2-ounce (43 g) whole grain buns
  • 10 lettuce leaves
  • 3 medium tomatoes, sliced into 20 slices
  • 2 avocados, sliced into 20 slices

Place the farro in a pot with the water and broth base. Stir well, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cook for 35 to 40 minutes, and drain any leftover liquid.

Place the cannellini beans in a mixing bowl and mash slightly with a potato masher, until thick and lumpy. Mix in the cooked farro, onions, mushrooms, carrots, walnuts, oregano, chives, oats, bread crumbs, herbal seasoning, black pepper, turmeric, and sea salt, if desired. Combine the ingredients using clean hands, then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved bean liquid to make a thick yet moistened mixture that sticks together. Chill for about 1 hour.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Form patties out of ½ cup of the bean mixture with your hands, mashing the ingredients together so that they do not crumble. Carefully place 3 to 4 patties at a time into the hot oil and cook for 6 minutes on each side, turning carefully. Repeat, adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet with each batch of patties, until all the patties are done.

Serve each patty with 1 bun, 1 lettuce leaf, 2 tomato slices, and 2 avocado slices.

August 29th, 2016

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 29th, 2016

These crunchy tacos have a mediteranian flair with avocado-feta guacamole and seasoned lentils as their base. Serve them “taco bar style” as this recipe’s creator, EA Stewart of Spicy RD Nutrition puts it, and let the whole family dig in!

Serves 4-6

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ cups pre-cooked lentils
  • 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped, and divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 small avocados or 2 medium to large avocados
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 8-12 crunchy taco shells
  • Optional, for serving: Chopped lettuce, chopped tomato, cilantro, hot sauce

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add oil and ½ of the chopped onion {~ ½ cup} to the pan, stirring until onion is softened, ~ 2 minutes. Add cooked lentils to the pan and stir, then add cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and water to lentil/onion mixture, and stir well to combine. Turn heat down to low to simmer while preparing the avocado feta guacamole.

Remove skin and pit from avocados and place them in a medium sized mixing bowl. Mash avocados with a fork, then add remaining chopped onion and feta cheese, stirring well to combine.

Spoon lentil “meat” mixture in to a serving bowl, and place it on the table along with the taco shells, avocado feta guacamole, and desired taco fixins’ so everyone can serve themselves “Taco Bar Style”.

August 29th, 2016

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!

August 29th, 2016

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 22nd, 2016

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 22nd, 2016

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!