Beans, squash and corn are the three sisters, the main agricultural crops of many Native American people. Combined with four different peppers, cumin, sage and oregano, they create a deeply flavored, satisfying dish. While looking for a great plant-based chili recipe, I was inspired by the essays and recipes in Fernando and Marlene Divina’s wonderful book, Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions (Ten Speed Press, 2004). When I first developed this recipe I was still using canned beans but I have since changed my ways and now I use those delicious Rio Zape beans from Rancho Gordo. I also added roasted sweet red peppers. I like this version better. This recipe uses masa harina, which is cornmeal processed with lime juice and it has a distinctive flavor. If masa harina is unavailable plain fine cornmeal can be substituted. This recipe looks long and complicated but it goes together easily.
This dressing for green salads and cooked vegetable salads is better than anything available at the market and it couldn’t be easier to make. When I first adopted a plant-based diet I tried most of the oil-free salad dressings available at the market. I didn’t care for any of them and was stymied until I developed this dressing. I love it. This is my go-to dressing for green salads and cooked vegetable salads. I put it over sauteed chard, kale, broccoli, asparagus, etc., etc. If a dish I am making needs a little zip, I add a little Honey-Mustard Vinegrette.
This vegetable soup with kale, Ribollita, is one of a number of thick soups from Italy served with a slice of bread in the bottom of the bowl. It has no additional pasta or rice. The name Ribollita means reboiled. Traditionally the soup was made by heating leftover vegetable soup in an earthenware pot in the oven. This recipe was inspired by the comprehensive Italian cookbook, The Silver Spoon, Phaidon Press, 2005. As with most plant-based recipes, the method of cooking the vegetables is crucial to obtaining the deepest, richest flavor for the dish. In this recipe, some of the vegetables are sautéed in wine before they go into the stock. These caramelized vegetables provide a contrast with the sharper kale and tomatoes in the stock.
This flavorful combination of red peppers and Roma tomatoes with olives, almond butter, garlic and smoked paprika makes a sauce that can be used in several ways. It can be put over pasta or vegetables. It can be added to a soup or stew when it is served. It can also be used as a pizza topping with some olives. It is also good for dipping cut-up vegetables. We use olives and almond butter instead of the traditional olive oil.
This wonderful tapenade of sweet figs, savory olives and vinegary capers is an outstanding blend of sweet and sour/tart and it is hard to stop eating it. It is always a hit. Tapenade goes back to Roman times and can be made many different ways. This recipe featuring figs mixed with the olives and capers is one of my favorites. There are many recipes for this Provencal dish, with or without the green olives and capers. Jacques Pepin adds the green olives and capers to his, so I did too. In fact, the name tapenade comes from the Provencal word for capers. It is important to crush the rosemary and thyme if using home-dried and cook them with the figs because otherwise the herbs resemble miniature pieces of wood. Also, crushing releases fragrant oils.