The Good Dirt

December 5th, 2016

Fennel’s unique savory flavor balances the sweet red pepper and blood orange. The salad’s dressing gets its sweetness from maple syrup to contrast the zip of mustard. This recipe comes to us from Christy, The Blissful & Fit Chef.

Serves 6.

For the sweet mustard dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • or
  • 2 tablespoons sherry wine
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To complete the blood orange fennel salad:

  • 1 cup fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red onion*, thinly sliced
  • 1 head of leafy lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
  • 2 blood oranges, peeled and separated into segments
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted


To make the sweet mustard dressing:

In a small bowl combine grapeseed oil, maple syrup, mustard, vinegar or wine and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.

To complete the blood orange fennel salad:

In a medium bowl, soak the fennel, red pepper and onion if using with the sweet mustard dressing for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Place the lettuce, blood orange segments and avocado in a large serving bowl. Pull veggies out of the dressing and toss with lettuce mixture. Drizzle with additional sweet mustard dressing to taste, sprinkle with toasted walnuts and serve immediately.

December 5th, 2016

Sweet potatoes hold their own when paired with whole-wheat flour in this holiday quickbread. The festive flavor combination of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg spice this treat, but it’s the tart dried cranberries that you’ll remember. This recipe comes to us from Andrea Myers of Andrea’s Recipes.

Serves 12

  • a little nonstick cooking spray, to prepare the loaf pan
  • 1 (10 ounce) sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a loaf plan with a light layer of nonstick cooking spray.

Fill a 2-quart pot with 1 inch of water, add the sweet potato cubes and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water boils, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside the sweet potato chunks to cool. When the potatoes have cooled, mash well.

Fill a small bowl with hot water and soak the cranberries in the hotel water for about 10 minutes, or until they are plump and soft.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg together in a medium mixing bowl.

In a separate large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs into the butter sugar mixture, scraping down the sides in between each egg. Beat in the vanilla and mashed sweet potato.

Stir the flour mixture into the sweet potato mixture, taking care to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour the batter to the prepared loaf pan.

Transfer the loaf pan to the oven and cook for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife along he edges to loosen the bread. Turn the bread out onto the wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

December 5th, 2016

This dish pairs two of fall’s best culinary offerings: chili and roasted squash! Acorn squash serves as a bowl for this spicy and smokey red lentil chili, which gets a unique twist with the addition of hominy. This recipe comes to us from Elizabeth Shaw of Shaw’s Simple Swaps.

Serves 4

For the Red Lentil Chili:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 15 ounce can no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounce can no salt added kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 28 ounce can hominy, drained and rinsed

For the Acorn Squash Bowl:

  • 2 acorn squashes, cut in half and seeded
  • 1/4 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 425*F.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the oil and saute onions and bell peppers together for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the jalapeno and garlic, stir.
Add the canned tomatoes, sauce, vegetable broth and red lentils to the pot. Stir in the spices and cover with a lid over low heat for 40 minutes.
On a baking sheet, place 4 halves of acorn squash and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until fork tender. Turn off oven and let squash cool on baking sheet.
Meanwhile, remove lid from pot and stir in the canned beans and hominy. Turn heat to medium and stir for 5 more minutes.
Remove from heat and add 1 cup of chili into each half of squash.
Garnish with celery leaves or cilantro.

December 5th, 2016

Sweet carrots and spring onions are seasoned with savory cumin, coriander and garlic in these tasty fritters. These carrot patties are delicious when served alongside a crunchy veggie salad for contrast. This recipe comes to us from Jennifer of Delicieux.

Serves 4

  • 6 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 6 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Cover a baking sheet with newspaper. Preheat an oven to 200 degrees and place the newspaper covered baking sheet into the oven.

Place the grated carrots, chopped spring onions, ground cumin, ground coriander, cilantro, salt and minced garlic together in a large bowl. Mix to combine, taking care to ensure all ingredients are evenly combined.

Add the beaten eggs and flour to the bowl and mix until just combined.

Place the canola oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add full tablespoons of the carrot spring onion mixture to the pan, flattening them with your spatula to create a disc shape. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes, or until golden. Transfer the cooked carrot fritters to the newspaper lined baking sheet in the oven so they stay warm while you make the remaining carrot fritters.

Divide the carrot fritters into 4 servings and enjoy!

November 28th, 2016

Enjoy the syrupy goodness of a Marsala dish without the meat! Here, chickpeas replace Marsala’s traditional chicken while the dish’s traditional mushrooms remain. This recipe comes to us from the cookbook Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation by Alexandra Caspero Lenz.

Serves 4

  • 8 oz (230g) wide egg noodles
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) butter, divided
  • 10 oz (280 g) white, cremini or baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (165 g) chickpeas, cooked, rinsed and drained if canned
  • 1/8 cup (15 g) flour
  • 2/3 cup (157 ml) Marsala wine, preferably dry
  • 2/3 cup (78 ml) water
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (15 g) fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the egg noodles and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon (15 g) butter in a large skillet over medium heat until melted and starting to sizzle. Add the sliced mushrooms, season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are seared and cooked through, about 6–8 minutes. Add the garlic and drained chickpeas and stir to combine. Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom and chickpea mixture, and stir a few times until flour is toasted and no longer white. Take care not to mush the beans and mushrooms together.

Add the Marsala wine and water to the pan, using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to scrape up any browned butter bits. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 5–6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 g) of butter, balsamic vinegar and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if necessary, and serve over cooked
egg noodles.

VEGAN VERSION: Replace butter with non-dairy butter, same amount. Replace egg noodles with egg-less noodles.

November 28th, 2016

Bursting with the autumnal flavors of cauliflower, sweet potato and curry, this recipe is the perfect thing to cook up for you next cozy Monday night in. This recipe was created by our friend Ellie Krieger for her book Comfort Food Fix. It appears in Food Day‘s free Eat Real Recipe Booklet.

Serves 6

  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 1 1/2-inch length fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, broken into 1½-inch-wide florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 15-ounce can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, for serving, optional

Place the onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, and cayenne pepper in a food processor and
process to combine. Add the oil and process until a smooth puree is formed. Transfer the
curry puree to a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to darken,
about 5 minutes more.

Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, cinnamon stick and ¼ teaspoon black pepper and
bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower, sweet
potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and return to a boil. Reduce
the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 25
minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick. Stir in the lime zest and juice, chickpeas, and spinach
and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with up to ¾ teaspoon salt.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.

November 28th, 2016

A Middle Eastern dip with an Asian flair that’s perfect to bring to potlucks. The hot chili oil adds a subtle spice and lemon juice brings a citrus tang to this zesty hummus.

This recipe comes to us from Lindsay of Running with Tongs.

Serves 8

  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and liquid reserved
  • 1 tablespoon sesame chili oil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Place chickpeas, sesame chili oil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and tahini together and blend until smooth.

Add 1/4-1/3 cup of the reserved chickpea liquid until the hummus has reached its desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with cut up veggies or pita bread.

November 28th, 2016

Greek yogurt is thick to start with, but straining it for an hour leaves a thick, almost cheese-like product that can be baked solid. Pistachios and apricots are then sautèed sweet in honey and drizzled over this luxurious yogurt breakfast. This recipe comes to us from Trudy of veggie.num.num.

Serves 6

  • 2 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups of sweetened condensed nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup of dried apricots, diced
  • 1/4 cup of pistachio nuts, shelled and roughly diced
  • 1-1 1/2 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the Greek yogurt in a sieve and let sit, covered, over a bowl for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Discard the excess liquid that drips into the bowl.

In a separate large bowl combine the thickened yogurt and the condensed milk. Stir until smooth.

Pour yogurt milk mixture into a medium sized baking dish or individual ramekins. Bake in for 20-30 minutes, or until the yogurt is set. Baking time will depend on the size of the dish used.

While the yogurt is baking, combine the honey and a teaspoon or two of water over low heat. Once the honey has melted add the apricots and pistachios.

Cook honey apricot mixture over a low heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the apricots begin to turn golden and become fragrant.

Drizzle the honeyed pistachios and apricots over the baked yogurt. Enjoy warm or chilled in the fridge.

November 21st, 2016

Vibrant quinoa meets tart apples and warm roasted eggplant in this hearty fall salad, which comes together with a honey vinaigrette. Join us on Monday, November 28th at 7 pm EST as we cook this dish along with HelloFresh on their Facebook page. Use the code MEATLESS MONDAY to get $35 off a box containing this meal at

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 tsp. autumn spice blend (1 part cinnamon, 1 part cloves, and 8 parts cumin)
  • 1/2 cup tri-color quinoa
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 oz. dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 honeycrisp apple
  • 2 oz. spring mix
  • 2 oz. walnuts

Wash and dry all produce. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Trim top of eggplant, then dice rest into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss on a baking sheet with 1 tbsp. olive oil and the autumn spice blend. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown and softened, 20-25 minutes.

Bring 1 1/4 cups salted water to a boil in a medium pot. Once boiling, add quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, 12-15 minutes.

Halve, peel, and mince shallot. Place cranberries in a small bowl with enough hot water to cover them. Combine minced shallots and sherry vinegar in another small bowl to marinate.

Whisk together 2 tbsp. olive oil and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar from marinating shallots and as much of the shallots as you like (we recommend 2 tsp).

Core and dice apple into ½-inch cubes. Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork. Drain any excess liquid.

Toss quinoa in a large bowl with roasted eggplant, apple cubes, and spring mix. Add in additional marinated shallots (to taste). Drain cranberries and toss into salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide between plates, and top with walnuts.

November 21st, 2016

Sweet bell peppers are balanced by briny artichoke hearts and robust spinach. This crowd pleaser is quick to prepare and ideal for a potluck or family brunch.

This recipe comes to us from Vicki of The Funny Spoon.

Serves 10

  • 2 1/2 cups nonfat milk
  • 6 eggs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 6.5 ounce jars artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, washed, picked over and chopped
  • or
  • 1 13.5 ounce can chopped spinach, drained
  • 4 slices 7 Grain Bread
  • 4 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded or grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs and milk together in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chopped red pepper, onion, artichoke hearts and spinach.

Tear bread into crouton-sized pieces and layer bottom of baking dish. Pour egg mixture over top. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until eggs fluff up and are fully cooked.

November 21st, 2016

Spinach is cooked with onions, garlic, cayenne sauce and nutmeg to contrast the polenta base with hearty greens. Your guests will be impressed at the beautiful greens spiral in the polenta, jelly roll style. Bonus: the dish can easily be prepared in advance and heated just before service. This recipe comes to us from Donna of Apron Strings.

Serves 6.

  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups coarse grind polenta
  • 3 tablespoons non hydrogenated margarine, divided
  • 1 cup Parmesan, Asiago or Romano cheese, grated & divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 10 ounce boxes frozen spinach, thawed & pressed dry
  • dash of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot over medium high heat. Slowly stir in the polenta. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the polenta thickens significantly. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of the margarine and all of the cheese.

Line an 11 x 17 inch baking pan with plastic wrap and spray lightly with oil.

Pour the polenta onto a baking sheet and spread out evenly in a 1 inch layer using a spatula. Cool to room temperature.

Melt the remaining tablespoon margarine in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the spinach and sauté for 3-5 minutes more, or until the liquid has evaporated. Season with the nutmeg, hot sauce and salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread the greens in an even layer on top of the polenta. Carefully roll up the polenta from the widest side, as you would a jelly roll. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or until set.

Remove the polenta roll from the refrigerator. Slice into 2 inch thick pieces and serve cut side up. Microwave for about 2 minutes, or until heated through and enjoy.

November 21st, 2016

This refreshing orange smoothie is a full meal, packing fiber and protein alongside naturally occurring sugar from vegetables and fruit. This recipe comes to us from Myra Mingo of The Happy Health Freak and appears in The Home Cook Breakfast Book, a collaboration between Meatless Monday and Earthbound Farm.

Serves 1

  • 1 medium orange (or 2 mandarins)
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 1 small carrot, peeled
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Few ice cubes (use more if you’re not using frozen fruit)

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth.

November 14th, 2016

Yogurt stands in for ricotta cheese in these fluffy flapjacks. A sprinkling of pomegranate seeds makes for a slightly tart fruit topping, but for a more traditional take, try them with berries, sautéed apples or banana slices. This recipe comes to us from Cara and Phoebe of Big Girls, Small Kitchen.

Serves 1.

  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup*


In a small bowl, whisk together the 1 egg yolk from the separated egg with the yogurt, flour and vanilla extract.

In a larger bowl, beat the 2 egg whites, sugar and salt together until they are fluffy and hold a soft peak.

Scrape about a third of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk yogurt mixture and stir gently until the mixture is lightened. Very gently, fold in the rest of the egg whites, trying not to deflate them.

Melt the butter in a small nonstick pan over medium-low heat. When the pan is heated, add half of the batter. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until brown, then flip and cook 3-4 minutes on the reverse side. Repeat with the remainder of the batter.

Top the pancakes with pomegranate seeds and syrup, if desired, and enjoy.

November 14th, 2016

Squash, kale and mushrooms abound in late fall, and these delicata squash boats are the perfect dish to whip up when you need inspiration after a trip to your local farmers market. This recipe comes to us from Caitlin and of So Hungry I Could Blog.

Serves 2 (makes 4)

  • 2 medium delicata squash, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 2 cups diced mushrooms (any kind)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons panko
  • 2 kale leaves, ribs removed, shredded finely
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub a little bit of olive oil on all sides of each piece of squash. Grind fresh salt and pepper over the cut side of each piece, and set the squash face down on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes. The squash should be soft yet firm.

Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a pan and add the shallots. Cook for 1 minute, or until the shallot is transparent. Add the mushrooms, thyme, and a dash of salt, and cook on medium heat until the mushrooms reduce, 2-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine, and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the liquid has mostly dissolved. Turn off the heat, and stir in the panko, kale, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. The mixture should be moist. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

When the squash is out of the oven, gently scoop out the center, and coarsely chop it with a knife. Be sure to leave the rind intact. Add the cooked squash to the mushroom mixture, and stir well. Spoon the stuffing back into the squash halves, sprinkle with more cheese, and place the stuffed squash on the baking sheet, cut side up. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the cheese has turned golden brown. Serve hot.


November 14th, 2016

Try this tomato Parmesan soup as a meal or side, easy to prepare in a slow cooker. Tomatoes have nutrients that you can see! The red pigment in these fruits are called carotenoids, more commonly known as Vitamin A. This rich and creamy soup brings you towards your daily dose of Vitamin A and comes to us from Life Currents.

Serves 8

  • 1 (28 oz) can low sodium crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups milk

Add the first nine ingredients (tomatoes through black pepper) to the bowl of a 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, or until vegetables are softened.

About 30 minutes before serving the soup, prepare the roux. To prepare the roux, heat oil and butter over low heat in a sauce pan and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes, until roux is a smooth light brown paste. Slowly stir 1 cup of hot soup into the roux, until fully mixed in. Add another 3 cups soup to the mixture, and continue to stir until smooth. Add thickened soup back into the slow cooker, and mix in the Parmesan and milk.

Cover and cook on low for another 30 minutes. Add seasonings to taste, and enjoy.