The Good Dirt

July 28th, 2014

Tomatoes are marinated in garlic and olive oil, then stuffed with goat cheese lemon quinoa stuffing. The classic Italian flavor profile has never come together in a more elegantly deconstructed fashion, as the quinoa stuffed tomatoes are baked and finished with fresh basil.This recipe comes to us from Namisha of Club Dine In!

Serves 4

  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, sliced half lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package instructions
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon basil, chopped

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper.

Remove the seeds and some of the flesh from the tomatoes with a spoon. Place the tomatoes, cut side down, on paper towels to drain for about 5 minutes.

Whisk 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Gently toss the drained tomatoes in the garlic oil mixture with your hands until the tomatoes are well coated. Set aside to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Place the quinoa, goat cheese, bread crumbs and lemon zest together in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly, taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Place the marinated tomato halves, cut side up, on the parchment paper lined baing sheet. Fill each tomato with the quinoa goat cheese mixture. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon olive oil.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tomatoes are slightly softened and their undersides are brown.

Divide the tomatoes into 4 portions, sprinkle with basil and enjoy!

July 28th, 2014

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.

July 28th, 2014

Fresh strawberries are sprinkled with a little brown sugar to release their fruit juice in this grab and go breakfast. Yogurt and ricotta are naturally sweetened with honey then layered between brown sugar strawberries and crunchy granola. This recipe comes to us from Madelyn of Karma Free Cooking.

Serves 3

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 cups granola*
  • 1 cup part skim low fat ricotta
  • 1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
  • squirt of honey

*Many varieties of prepackaged granola are sold in grocery stores, but if time allows we suggest making your own.

Place the berries brown sugar together in a large bowl. Allow to macerate for 10 minutes.

Mix the ricotta, yogurt and honey together in a separate bowl. Mix well.

Pour a few tablespoons of the yogurt ricotta mixture in a glass. Place with brown sugar strawberry slices on the yogurt ricotta and then with the granola. Top with a few more brown sugar strawberry slices. Repeat the layering process in 2 other glasses and enjoy.

July 28th, 2014

Zucchini noodles, or “zoodles,” give this meatless dish a unique twist. Zucchini noodles can easily be made with a spiralizer, but cutting them into a julienne works well too. Alternatively, serve these zesty meatballs over your favorite starch, such as pasta or quinoa. This recipe comes to us from Myra of The Happy Health Freak.

Makes 12 meatless balls, serves 3

  • 1 large zucchini, spiralized or julienned
  • 1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. flaxseed plus 6 tbsp. water (or two eggs)
  • Handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • Handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Italian spices
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Your favorite marinara sauce

In a small bowl, add flaxseed and water, mix well and set aside. In a medium bowl, add the black beans and mash with a fork. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Once the flaxseed and water has thickened, stir into mixture (alternatively, substitute two eggs).

Preheat a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick spray or drizzle with olive oil. Form mixture into balls, add to the frying pan and heat for 2-3 minutes a side, flipping frequently.

Meanwhile, spiralize or julienne a medium zucchini and add to another frying pan over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, depending on how soft you like them.

Top your cooked zucchini noodles with meatballs and your favorite marinara sauce.

July 23rd, 2014

In this refreshing morning treat, Greek yogurt is topped with blueberries and drizzled with maple syrup. Delicate orange zest brings depth to the flavor and texture of the dish, as well as a sprinkling of Vitamin C. This recipe comes to us from Trudy of veggie.num.num.

Serves 2

  • 3 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ orange, zested
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Divide the Greek yogurt between two bowls. Top with equal portions of blueberries, the orange zest and drizzle with maple syrup.

July 21st, 2014

Eggplant gives this hummus dip a luxurious texture, while paprika and curry powder spice up the mix. Serve this dip with baked pita chips. This recipe comes to us from Trudy of veggie.num.num.

Serves 6


  • 1 (12 ounce) eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, cooked or canned & drained
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • baked pita chips, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise, and then into half round slices. Toss the eggplant half rounds with the peanut oil in a medium bowl. Season with the curry powder and paprika and spread out in one layer on a roasting tray.

Transfer the tray to the oven and roast, tossing occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until the eggplant is soft and golden. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Combine the roasted eggplant, chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice in a food processor. Process until smooth, adding a little more peanut oil if you prefer a smoother consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy with pita chips.

July 21st, 2014

This rice is not rice at all, it’s cauliflower! Pulsing raw cauliflower in a food processor transforms it into a rice-like dish that’s perfect for packing an extra serving of veggies into your meal. This recipe comes to us from Nancy of Spicie Foodie.

Serves 2

For the Cauliflower Rice:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • boiled water
  • a bit of oil
  • black pepper and sea salt to taste

For the Stir Fry:

  • 2 portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ¼s
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil or vegetable oil of choice
  • soy sauce, to taste

Fir the Cauliflower Rice:

Thoroughly clean the head of cauliflower and pat dry. Cut into florets and discard thick stalks.

In a food processor, pulse until you achieve small granules that resemble rice. Or, using a box grater, grate the florets into rice like granules.

Pour the riced cauliflower into a large bowl, then pour over enough boiled water to cover. Allow to sit for 4 minutes or until softened, then drain. Try to make sure nearly all of the liquid has drained off.

Add a bit of oil to a pan and saute the drained cauliflower for a few minutes. Gently mix in some ground black pepper and sea salt, then set aside.

For the Stir Fry:

Heat the oil, and once warm cook onions until soft and translucent. Add the peppers, mushrooms and garlic, cook until the vegetables begin to soften or to desired tenderness. Add a splash or as much soy sauce as desired, then add the basil leaves. Cook for another few minutes.

To Serve:

Serve the stir fried vegetables over the rice and enjoy!

July 21st, 2014

Quinoa is spiced with shallots and red pepper, then cooked with Portobello mushrooms and shredded zucchini. If zucchini is out of season, try incorporating shredded carrots or bell peppers for a different take on these innovative burgers. This recipe comes to us from Cathy of A Life Less Sweet.

Serves 15

  • 2 portobello mushrooms (8 ounces), stems removed
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup shallot, minced
  • or
  • 1/4 cup mixed onion & garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed & cooked to package directions
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup oats, pulsed in a food processor until ground
  • or
  • an additional 1/2 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 15 hamburger buns or rolls, toasted

Chop the Portobello mushrooms into 1” pieces. Pulse the mushrooms pieces in a food processor until finely diced. Shred the zucchini and squeeze out excess moisture with a paper towel. Place the chopped mushrooms and shredded zucchini into a bowl and set aside.

Place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the shallot or garlic onion mixture and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the shallot begins to soften.

Add the mushrooms and zucchini to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender.  Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, cooked quinoa and salt.  Let cool completely.

Stir the egg, breadcrumbs and oats, if using, into the quinoa zucchini mixture. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until cold and firm.

When quinoa zucchini mixture has chilled, shape into small patties of preferred size, between 1/4’’ and 1/2’’ thick.

Place the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When mixture is hot, place the quinoa patties into the skillet in an even layer. You may have to cook them in batches or use 2 skillets.

Cook the quinoa patties for about 3 minutes on each side, or until they are crispy on the outside and cooked through.

Serve each quinoa zucchini burgers on a toasted bun with a side of blanched green beans. Enjoy!

July 21st, 2014

Fresh peaches, blueberries, bananas and apples are seasoned with lemon juice and the Indian spice mix chaat masala. The spicy sour fruit is topped with refreshing, but sweet honey yogurt and finished with cilantro. This recipe comes to us from Mehak of Measured in Pinches.

Serves 2

  • 1 cup fresh peaches, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 2 apples, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chaat masala, or to taste*
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey

*Chaat masala is a hot-sour spice mix found in Indian stores or the Indian section of some grocery stores. If time allows, we suggest making your own.

Place the chopped peaches, blueberries, banana slices and apple chunks into a large bowl. Squeeze a few squirts of lemon over the fruit and season with the chaat masala. Toss well to ensure the seasonings are evenly distributed over the fruit.

Place the yogurt and honey together in a large bowl. Stir until well combined.

Divide the spiced peach blueberry mixture into two bowls or glasses. Top with a dollop or two of honey yogurt. Garnish with a few cilantro leaves and enjoy!

July 14th, 2014

Blanquette is traditionally a ragout made from lamb, veal, or chicken paired with a white cream sauce, but here, tempeh takes the staring role. This recipe comes to us from Ôna Maiocco of Super Naturelle and France’s version of Meatless Monday, “Jeudi Veggie” (Veggie Thursday).

Serves 4

  • 7 oz. (200 g) gourmet seitan
  • 7 oz. (200 g) mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup (250 mL) water
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) white wine
  • 1/2 cup (100 mL) soy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cashew or almond butter
  • Half a vegetable bouillon cube, or 1 teaspoon bouillon powder
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala or nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the mushrooms and seitan into slices, dice the onion and chop the carrot into rounds. Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron pan (a regular sauté pan or wide saucepan will also do) and sauté the mushrooms, onion and carrot, stirring often.

Once the onions begin to brown, add the spices, white wine, bouillon, soy sauce, water and soy cream. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.

Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Finally, incorporate the cashew or almond butter to make the dish creamy. Serve with rice, pasta, or quinoa.


July 14th, 2014

Petit Salé is  a traditional French dish containing salted pork, vegetables and lentil. Here, smoked tempeh is used as an umami-rich substitute for the pork. This recipe comes to us from Ôna Maiocco of Super Naturelle and France’s version of Meatless Monday, “Jeudi Veggie” (Veggie Thursday).

Serves 4

  • 7 oz. (200 g) smoked tempeh,
  • 2 cups brown lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 thyme branches
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and choped
  • Half a vegetable bouillon cube, or 1 teaspoon bouillon powder
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Soy sauce and black pepper to taste

Cut the tempeh into cubes or rounds.

Heat the olive oil in a wide saucepan and sauté the tempeh, onion and carrots together with the bay leaves, thyme and cloves, for 5 minutes, stirring oftenly.

Add the lentils, the bouillon cube or powder, and 3,5 cups water.

Cook with a tip for 30 minutes on medium heat (small bubbling).

Once lentils are cooked, add soy sauce and black pepper to taste.

Serve with slightly toasted slices of sourdough bread.

July 14th, 2014

Zucchini, eggplant, carrots, cheery tomatoes and garlic are seasoned with red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning, then roasted in the oven. Roasting gives the tomatoes, carrots and garlic a sweet softness, contrasting beautifully with hearty whole wheat pasta, salty parmesan and fresh flat leaf parsley. This recipe comes to us from Johanna of Momma Cuisine.

Serves 6

  • 2 zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 2 yellow squash, halved and sliced
  • 1 Chinese eggplant, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup onions, sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghettini or angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.

Place the sliced zucchini, squash, eggplant, carrots, onion, cherry tomatoes and garlic into a large baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and mix to ensure the olive oil coats all the veggies. Season with the salt, red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning, tossing to ensure the spices are evenly distributed.

Put the baking dish in the oven and roast the vegetables for 25-30 minutes, or until fragrant and tender when poked with a fork.

When the water boils, cook the spaghettini according to package instructions, or until al dente. Drain, set aside in a serving bowl and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta. Season with the parmesan cheese and flat leaf parlsey, tossing to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed. Divide into 6 portions and enjoy!

July 14th, 2014

Summer corn is so naturally delicious, not much preparation is needed to make it shine. Spicy paprika, fresh cilantro and salt and pepper contrast corn’s sweetness to add nuance to the flavor of the classic corn on the cob.This recipe comes to us from Jen Brody, The Domestic Diva.

Serves 4

  • 4 ears of corn, husked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon spicy paprika
  • salt and pepper

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

Lay all the corn cobs out on a big sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with the olive oil. Coat each ear in the chopped cilantro. Season with the spicy paprika, salt and pepper.

Bring the edges of foil up around the outside of the corn to form a packet of aluminum foil which contains all 4 ears of corn. Transfer the packet to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the corn is tender. Remove from the foil and enjoy!

July 14th, 2014

This simple salad, seasoned with a French vinaigrette, is a classic dish in France. It makes a wonderful, protein-rich highlight of any meal. Because the flavors continue to meld, it’s also great the next day. This recipe comes to us from Sharon Palmer, RDN, author of Plant Powered for Life.

Serves 6

  • 1 pound (454 g) dried lentils (or 3 cups cooked; see Note)
  • 4 cups (948 ml) water
  • 2 teaspoons reduced sodium vegetable broth base
  • 4 celery stalks, diced (160 g or about 11⁄2 cups)
  • 11⁄2 cups (224 g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium shallots, finely diced
  • 1⁄4 cup (15 g) packed chopped fresh parsley
  • 11⁄2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • Pinch of sea salt, optional

Place the lentils, water, and broth base in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender but firm.

Remove from the heat, drain any remaining liquid, and transfer the lentils to a large bowl. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Stir in the celery, tomatoes, shallots, and parsley.

In a small dish, make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, herbes de Provence, black pepper, and garlic.

Add the dressing to the lentil mixture and toss. Taste and season with sea salt, if desired. Chill until serving time.

Note: If you’re in a rush, use precooked, refrigerated lentils, available at many stores. Although a classic French lentil salad uses lentils du puys (small, dark green lentils), try other varieties for a colorful twist, such as yellow, beluga (black), or multicolored lentils.

Variation: Substitute cooked beans, such as white, fava, or cranberry beans, for the lentils.

July 14th, 2014

Fresh apples come together with blueberries in this spectacular summer breakfast. Maple syrup plays well off the fruit and sweetens the hearty oats. This recipe comes to us from Trudy of veggie.num.num.

Serves 2

  • 1 large apple, peeled and finely grated
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • or
  • 1 cup rice milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoons white chia seeds*
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries plus a few more as garnish
  • maple syrup, to serve

*Optional. Found at health stores or the health section of most grocery stores.

Place 3/4 of the apple pulp into a small pot over medium heat. Add the oats, milk, water, chia seeds, if using, and salt to the pot.

Let the oats come to a simmer and allow to gently bubble for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the blueberries and stir to combine.

Transfer the cooked oats to 2 bowls. Drizzle with maple syrup and garnish with a few more blueberries and enjoy!