Category Archives: Healthy Meals

Quinoa, Mushroom and Kale-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

stuffed squash blog

Okay, I know that my previous post was a zucchini recipe, and here we are with yet another variation on summer squash. It’s kind of everywhere at the moment, and I couldn’t pass up these absolutely adorable little sunburst patty pan squash at the farmer’s market this past weekend.

I mean really, aren’t they the sweetest?

They’re remarkably delicious when stuffed as well. They make an awesome side dish, but could just as easily work as a meatless main course. Just prepare a few handy, fresh veggies in a skillet for a few minutes, add a grain, maybe some cheese, stuff and bake. It’s also a great way to use up bits of veggies that are in need of eating before they make a turn for the worse. That’s how this particular mix of veggies happened, anyway – and it was delicious!

Now typically, I would be showering you with all sorts of summer desserts. I’m sure I’ll manage a few here and there, but I’ve been directing my attention to something else entirely as of late. You see, I’m working on my very first ebook! In this book, I’m sharing some simple-but-delicious gum-free, gluten-free baked goods recipes. So if you’ve wanted an excellent go-to recipe for waffles, bread, muffins, or cake, I’m hoping this book will be your #1 reference!

I hope to have it out to you in August, so stay tuned for more information! I’ll be announcing details in my newsletter, so subscribe today if you haven’t already!

Okay, back to these adorable squash. Truthfully, you can use any vegetables in the stuffing mixture that your heart desires. Peas, green onion, red bell pepper, spinach – all would be great here. The key is to make sure they’re chopped finely and cooked beforehand (a few minutes in a skillet will do the trick). I loved the addition of cotija cheese in mine, but Parmesan or feta would be nice as well. It’s one of those “anything goes” recipes that I’m sure you’ll adore during the summer season.

Print Recipe

Quinoa, Mushroom, and Kale-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

About 6 small patty pan squash

1 T olive oil (plus more for the insides of the squash)

2 T minced onion

2 oz crimini mushrooms, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 c chopped fresh kale (I used lacinato, but any variety will work)

1/3 c crumbled cotija cheese (omit for vegan)

2 T chopped fresh parsley

3/4 c cooked quinoa

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off of the squash to make a hat. Carefully score a circle inside the cut squash, and using a small spoon, scoop out the inside flesh. Leave about a half-inch inside. Rub the insides of the squash with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the squash on a lined baking sheet and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the rest of the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the onion and mushroom and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender. Add the garlic and kale and sauté for another minute or until the kale has wilted some and is bright green. Remove from heat and add the cheese, if using, parsley, and the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in.

Spoon the stuffing into the prepared squash, packing rather tightly. (You’ll likely have leftover stuffing; if so, it’s delicious on its own.) Place the “hat” back on top of each squash, and place them in the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a knife. Serve.

Serves 3-4 as a side dish, 2 as a light meal.

Zucchini, Mint and Lemon Yogurt Dip

zucchini yogurt dip blog

Surely I’m not the only one that has experienced the conundrum of “too much zucchini”. In fact, I can imagine several of you reading this are looking at your gardens right now, wondering what you will possibly do with ALL OF THIS ZUCCHINI. Two loaves of zucchini bread every week couldn’t begin to make a dent in your bounty. So you’re bringing zucchini to your friends, dropping it off at your neighbors, and now, you’re scouring the internet for salvation recipes that aren’t the “same ol’” zucchini recipes, because your family will revolt if they eat it again tonight.

While I seem to not be able to grow zucchini without the squash bugs knowing where I live, my friends certainly can, and I’ve been given a considerable amount of zucchini as well. I already made this zucchini ribbon salad with some, but I still had more on my hands. I wanted something different, and started researching, as many of you have been doing. I came across a dish called Koosa ma Laban – a spread popular in the Middle East and North Africa made from squash, yogurt, tahini, and lemon. Often it also includes mint or parsley. I love the combination of these flavors, and I also happen to have mint growing in abundance in my flower beds, so I opted to make a variation on this dish.

I wanted to make it a really light, refreshing dip, so I opted not to use tahini, instead using a bit of cream cheese to thicken. The result was a cool, creamy dip that was at home with vegetables or bagel chips (gluten-free if you prefer). It was a hit at an Independence Day party, and it would be a perfect appetizer or an excellent alternative to the tired ranch dressing so often served with raw crudités. It can certainly be made in advance, so whip up a batch and bring it along to your next summer party.

Print Recipe

Zucchini, Mint, and Lemon Yogurt Dip (gluten-free)

1 T olive oil

2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise and cut into half-inch slices (about 2 cups once sliced)

1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed slightly with side of knife

1/2 c plain Greek yogurt

2 oz plain cream cheese

Zest of 1 lemon

2 T fresh mint, chopped

1/4 t ground cumin

1/8 t ground paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add olive oil. Swirl to coat and add zucchini and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots and tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Place zucchini and garlic, yogurt, cream cheese, most of the lemon zest, most of the mint, cumin, and paprika in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until pureed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Spoon dip into a wide bowl and drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired, and sprinkle with reserved mint and lemon zest.

Serve with vegetables or bagel chips. Serves 4-6.

Looking for more zucchini recipes? Here are some other ideas:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomato Casserole

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing

Zucchini Red Pepper Egg Muffins

Cheater’s Ratatouille, or Pesto Zucchini, Eggplant and Tomato Bake

 

Quick Pickled Beets with Serrano

pickled blog

Beets have made plenty of appearances here before. I love them. They’re gorgeous, for starters. Most are an unbelievably intense red, but some varieties are golden, or even striped like candy canes. How could it not be love at first sight? But beyond their good looks, they’re deliciously sweet and earthy. I enjoy them raw, steamed, in salads, roasted, in soups, in dips, or even in desserts. But I also love them pickled.

However, sometimes I think about having such things way too late. The other night, when preparing dinner, it occurred to me that I wanted pickled beets. But typically, making any type of pickle takes advance time. But this version doesn’t. Once you steam the beets, you simply pour over a vinaigrette and serve immediately. Of course, you can store the rest in the refrigerator for a week or more, and they stay just as delicious. I’ve enjoyed having a few slices along with all sorts of meals. They bring a happy brightness that just screams of fresh spring/summer produce.

So if you have a bunch of beets and are wondering what to do with them, why not try making some quick pickles? Eat them as a side dish, as a condiment, or on a salad – any of those options sound delicious to me!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy beets?

Print Recipe

Quick Pickled Beets with Serrano (gluten-free, vegan)

About 6 medium beets, stems trimmed to about an inch

1/3 c apple cider vinegar

1/4 c olive oil

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper

1 small Serrano chile, sliced thin

Place beets in a large pot and cover with water by at least an inch. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low boil. Allow to cook until the beets are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool enough to touch. Peel the beets. This ought to be fairly easily and can be done with your hands – the peels should slip right off. (If you don’t wish to dye your hands pink, you can wear plastic gloves for this) Slice the beets into 1/4 inch slices and place in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the Serrano chile to the beets, and then pour over this dressing. Toss the beets to coat completely.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.

 

 

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing

zucchini ribbon salad fg

It’s that time of year around here – time for everyone to unload their massive bounty of zucchini and summer squash upon their friends, family, and neighbors! Everyone except me, that is.

You see, as soon as I plant any squash plant, every squash bug within a 10-mile radius comes to visit. It’s insanity. I’ve tried every organic deterrent that’s been suggested to me, from squishing them on the plant, cayenne pepper, soap and vinegar, diatomaceous earth, sticky traps. They’ve all failed. I even spent last summer with a shop-vac, vacuuming up squash bugs. There were just SO. MANY. BUGS. attacking one plant, and I was afraid if I pulled the plant, they’d go on to attack my melons and cucumbers. So while I’m not proud of being the girl that sucks up bugs in a vacuum, I’m just being honest – I feel like I’ve tried everything. I can’t win the war against squash bugs.

So until I come up with a solution that works, I’ll allow others to grow zucchini and squash, and I’ll gladly take donations. One friend donated a sizeable amount of zucchini and peppers the other day, so I’ve been coming up with ways to consume it all (and not resort to just making zucchini bread, as much as I love it). One night, as I was preparing tacos for dinner, I opted to use some of the same flavors and make a little zucchini salad to go along with them.

The beauty in this salad is that it’s simple and takes just a few minutes to throw together. It’s fresh, and the zucchini ribbons are tender and tasty, especially as they start to absorb the citrusy notes from the lime and the touch of heat from the Serrano chile. It’s easy to eat the entire salad by yourself. (Not that I would know or anything…*cough cough*)

If you have an abundance of zucchini in your garden, or if you were one of the fortunate recipients of zucchini (or even if you avoided all of this insanity and purchased some!), this salad is a great way to use it up and please your palate.

Print Recipe

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing (gluten-free, vegan)

1 large zucchini or several small zucchini

8-10 small cherry tomatoes, halved

Small handful of pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

2 T chopped fresh cilantro

2 T lime juice (from 1 large lime)

1/2 t lime zest

1 t minced fresh Serrano chile, seeds removed (can substitute jalapeno)

2 T olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, peel long “ribbons” from the zucchini, lengthwise, until you hit the seeds. Rotate the zucchini and do this all the way around. Place ribbons in a medium bowl along with the tomatoes, pepitas and cilantro.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, zest, Serrano, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss the salad in the dressing and serve.

Serves 2 (or one hungry person).

Bison Albondigas Soup

albondigas blog

Spring in Texas is fun. One day, we have temps in the mid-90s. The next, it’s in the 60s, with lows in the upper 30s. It’s shorts one day, and the next, you’re dragging out a jacket again to keep off the morning chill. I suppose it could be worse – I know many of you received snow yet again this past week.

For those days when I have fresh vegetables in the garden already, and yet get a cold and rainy spell, this soup does the trick. It’s fresh and light, thanks to the herbs and green onion, but it’s also warming and filling. It’s a perfect bowl of spring, nourishing and healthy, and great for giving me much-needed energy to work in my garden. It’s also pretty kid-friendly. I mean, who doesn’t like meatballs?

Today is another day filled with rain, followed by a couple cooler days. While I’m sure it’ll be overly hot all too soon, I’m going to enjoy the cooler temps with a bowl of soup. Wouldn’t you?

Print Recipe

Bison Albondigas Soup (gluten-free, dairy-free)

1 lb ground bison or lean ground beef

1/3 c raw long-grain rice

1 T chopped fresh mint

1 T chopped green onion

1/4 c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 egg, beaten

1 t kosher salt

1/4 t black pepper

2 T ghee or olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1 1/2 c pureed tomato (can use fresh or canned)

3 c chicken stock (if you follow a gluten-free diet and purchase store-bought, be sure to read labels)

2 c peeled red potatoes, cut into 1-inch dice

1 c carrots, sliced about 1/2-inch thick

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 c fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large bowl, add the bison, rice, mint, green onion, parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Mix well with hands and form small meatballs, no larger than 1 inch. Place on a platter and stick in freezer for 10-15 minutes, just to firm up a bit.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat the ghee or olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 7-8 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and jalapeno and sauté again for another minute. Add the tomato and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Remove the meatballs from the freezer and add them, the potato, and the carrot and bring again to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender and the meatballs are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with cilantro sprinkled over.

Serves 4.

Broccoli, Carrot and Lamb Stir-Fry

broccoli beef blog

Are you a big fan of the Chinese take-out staple Broccoli Beef? That simple, yet delicious mix of tender beef strips and broccoli, soaking up a subtly sweet-salty-umami sauce, served over steamed rice is a delicious and popular choice. Of course, if you must follow a gluten-free diet, Chinese take-out is no longer an option, as most of the recipes are made with regular soy sauce, which is made with wheat.

Did you know that it’s easy to make at home?

This version, as the title suggests, is made with lamb instead of beef, but beef could easily be substituted. (We had an abundance of lamb steaks in the freezer, and I was looking for unique ways to use them.) If you have venison steaks, I imagine they would be divine in a recipe such as this as well. I’m a fan of substitutions, in case you hadn’t guessed.

Anyway, back to Broccoli Beef. Or lamb. Whatever. Typically, Broccoli Beef has soy sauce, and possibly oyster sauce, both of which have wheat in the ingredient list. But what if you could make a sauce without gluten that’s just as simple, and just as delicious? You can! And the beauty of stir-fry is that it takes no time at all. After a quick chop of veggies, the actual cooking time is less than 5 minutes. How’s that for fast and easy?

My husband and I gobbled this up last night for dinner. And I happily took leftovers for lunch. (Although if I’m being honest, it was hard for either of us to leave any leftovers!) This is definitely going on the “keeper” list, not just because I have more lamb steaks to use, but most especially because it was so simple and delicious. In fact, I think I’ll add the other ingredients to the grocery list right now!

Print Recipe

Broccoli, Carrot and Lamb Stir-Fry (gluten-free, dairy-free)

For the marinade:

1 1/2 t gluten-free soy sauce (I use San-J)

2 t tapioca starch

1/2 t sesame oil

1/2 t ground black pepper

1 lb thinly sliced lean lamb steak (or beef steak, such as skirt steak or sirloin)

Whisk together the soy sauce, tapioca starch, sesame oil, and ground black pepper in a medium bowl. Add the lamb steak and toss to coat well. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.

 

For the stir-fry sauce:

2 T gluten-free fish sauce (almost all brands are gluten-free, but check the label. I like Thai Kitchen)

2 t rice wine

2 t balsamic vinegar

1 t gluten-free soy sauce

2 t agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup

Whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
For the dish:

12 oz fresh broccoli, cut into florets

1/2 c thinly sliced carrots

1 T olive or coconut oil

1/2 t grated fresh ginger

2 T minced onion

1 T minced fresh garlic

In a large skillet or wok, add about an inch of water and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and carrots, cover with a lid, and steam until just tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain and set the vegetables aside.

Dry the skillet and return to the stove. Turn to medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the ginger, onion, and garlic and sauté for about 20-30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the marinated lamb and spread out into a single layer and allow to cook, undisturbed, for about 30-45 seconds. Stir and cook another 30-45 seconds to brown well, and then add the stir-fry sauce. Bring the temperature down to low and toss the meat with the sauce, allowing it to simmer and thicken. (This should only take a minute.) Once the sauce is thick, add the carrots and broccoli and stir well to coat and warm the vegetables.

Serves 3.

 

 

Mango and Black Bean Salsa

mango and black bean salsa blog

Need a little something to serve alongside all those margaritas at your Cinco de Mayo celebration? (I mean, you need something to help absorb the tequila, right?) How about something that welcomes the warmth of spring and summer and all things fresh and vibrant?

This fruit salsa is just the thing. It’s perfectly delicious served with tortilla chips, but even better atop grilled chicken or pork. We enjoyed it on top of some broiled tilapia. Truth be told, tilapia isn’t my favorite (I’d forgotten this, but now I am once again reminded), but the salsa is quickly becoming so. I could eat it all by itself, with a spoon. It has all the delicious flavors – sweet mango, spicy jalapeno, fresh cilantro, sour lime, the “meaty” black beans, and enough salt just to make everything really sing. What more could you need?

Oh, that’s right. A margarita. Well, grab a margarita (Hmm, speaking of, maybe I should post some margarita recipes? Let’s see a show of hands – who wants margaritas??) and get to making some of this stuff, and you’re set to celebrate.

Print Recipe

Mango and Black Bean Salsa (gluten-free, vegan)

1 large ripe mango, diced

1 c canned black beans, drained and rinsed

2-3 green onions, sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of 1/2 lime

Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and season to taste with salt. Chill until ready to serve. Keeps for a day or two (if you can stay out of it that long!).

Makes about 3 cups.

 

Black-Eyed Peas with Kale

blackeyed peas with kale blog

Every summer, the farmer’s market is full of fresh, local, Southern favorites – black-eyed peas, cream peas, purple hull peas, and fresh pinto beans. Sure, you can buy some of these varieties dried at the grocery any time of year, but getting them fresh is like no other. They cook more quickly, of course (no soaking needed!), but personally, I think their flavor and texture is divine.

Of course, I tend to overbuy (as I do with many things at the farmer’s market) and so often, I’ll freeze shelled peas. They keep perfectly that way, and I can cook them whenever I choose, and they taste as fresh as if they were just shelled. I’m working to empty any remaining fruits and veggies from last year’s harvest from our freezer, and spotted a bag of black-eyed peas. I was delighted, and so set off to making a pot.

Typically, black-eyed peas are simmered with a bit of onion, garlic, and a ham hock, salt pork, or bacon to give it some flavor. I’ve even shared a more traditional version before, once upon a time, on this blog. This time around, in addition to these staples (well, I actually used a couple frozen pork ribs I’d smoked a while back instead of a ham hock), I threw in some celery, fresh jalapeno, pureed tomato, and at the last few minutes, tossed in some chopped kale. Why kale? Well, the kale in my garden has just taken off in the past few weeks – it’s even flowering! We are in full “use all the kale!” mode.

kale

kale flowers

The result was more than just a simple side dish – instead was a flavorful dish that was filling enough to be worthy of being a meal.

I served them alongside some fried chicken livers (yes, I adore chicken livers!) and fried quail for a Southern-style treat, but you could also serve them with barbecue, or even on top of a bed of steamed rice for an almost-meatless main. They were particularly good with a few dashes of Slap Ya Mama or Tabasco sauce. As much as I loved my chicken, these peas really stole the show at dinner that night, and I looked forward to eating leftovers for lunch the following day. I’m looking forward to making them again!

Print Recipe

Black-Eyed Peas with Kale (gluten-free, dairy-free)

3 T olive oil or coconut oil (or butter, if you prefer)

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb shelled black-eyed peas (fresh or frozen – can also substitute cream or purple hull peas)

4-5 c chicken stock

1 c pureed tomato (I pureed some canned whole tomatoes – you could also use diced tomatoes or tomato sauce)

1 ham hock, or a couple of smoked pork ribs

2 c chopped fresh kale

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, jalapeno, celery and garlic for 3-4 minutes or until it starts to color a bit. Add the peas, broth, tomato, and ham hock/pork ribs. Add a little salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, checking once or twice during the process to see if additional liquid needs to be added. If so, add a little more stock. Also, towards the end of the cooking time, test a pea for tenderness. Once they are as soft as you like (black-eyed peas tend to maintain their shape well when cooked through), check again for seasoning and adjust as needed. Add in the kale and stir, and allow to simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until the kale has wilted.

Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

Serves 4-6.

 

Radish Salad with Dill Buttermilk Dressing

radish salad blog

Sometimes, the simplest of things can be the most delicious. I remind myself of this often-forgotten fact every spring, when fresh vegetables start appearing in my garden and in the farmer’s markets. Just a few super-fresh ingredients thrown together can make for a delicious dish. Case in point – radishes.

I feel that for me personally, radishes have gone underappreciated for many years. They’ve always been present in a salad, but I’ve more often celebrated other components – cool cucumbers, crisp lettuce, spicy or bitter greens, or a perfectly ripe tomato. But in truth, they provide a crisp, cool crunch, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, a bit of spice. I’ve found that a fresh radish is truly a delight in itself.

And since the bounty of spring is beginning to show here – my garden is just now producing lettuces big enough to pick, as well as a good amount of cilantro, a ton of kale, and even the spinach is looking pretty tasty – I figured it was high time to create a simple spring salad. I gathered some fresh radishes, a little lettuce, and a few colorful carrots from the farmer’s market, and tossed it together.

I wanted to really bring those flavors together with an easy, delicious dressing. I am also growing dill and chives, and so I whisked together a quick buttermilk dressing with these herbs that was reminiscent of a ranch dressing, only fresher. It’s also easily made dairy-free by swapping out the buttermilk for a coconut milk & lemon juice mixture (I’ll show you how below) – something I often did in my dairy-free days.

This salad is an easy way to bring some fresh spring flavors to your meal. It only takes a few minutes to throw together, and its simplicity allows you to really enjoy each component.

radish salad blog 2

Print Recipe

Radish Salad with Dill Buttermilk Dressing (gluten-free, dairy-free/vegan adaptable)

1 small bunch green lettuce (such as Bibb, romaine, or green leaf)

1 bunch radishes

3 small carrots

2-3 T crumbled feta (omit for vegan)

Tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and place into a medium bowl. Slice the radishes thin and add to the lettuce. Peel the outside of the carrots, and then peel into ribbons for the salad. Add the feta and toss. Place on plates.

Makes 3-4 side salads.

For the dressing:

1/3 c buttermilk (or 1/4 c coconut milk + 1 T lemon juice, whisked)

3 T mayonnaise (can substitute vegan mayonnaise for vegan)

1 1/2 T chopped fresh dill

1 1/2 T chopped fresh chives

1/2 t kosher salt

1/4 t garlic powder

Whisk together the buttermilk and mayonnaise until smooth. Stir in the dill, chives, salt and garlic powder. Chill until ready to use, up to 4-5 days.

Makes about 1/2 cup dressing.

Asparagus, Kale, and Mushroom Brown Rice “Risotto”

veggie risotto blog

This past weekend was filled with a few more meals eaten out than usual. Meals of the slim-on-vegetables variety. While I enjoyed what I ate, I was ready for lighter fare. I opted to break out my brown rice, and load it up with all the fresh spring vegetables I could find. Which, after my Saturday trip to the farmer’s market, was quite a lot. I’m notorious for buying every pretty thing I see at the market, and then wondering how in the world I will manage to eat it all before it goes bad.

I don’t cook with brown rice all that often. I like it – especially short-grain – but frankly, I often feel like the 40-45 minute cook time is too long. Which is funny, because honestly, making dinner usually takes me at least that long, once you factor in the dishes I am doing beforehand (from our lunches taken to work) and all. If I simply throw the rice on the stove to cook first thing, then tend to the dishes and the rest of the prep for this dish, it honestly doesn’t take any “extra time” at all. Dinner still happened at “normal” time. It was well worth it.

I mean, check out that result. The brown rice is nutty and slightly chewy, and holds up perfectly to this “risotto” style dish. With a ton of vegetables, and just a splash of cream to tie it together, it’s light and flavorful, and fresh, and plenty filling enough to be considered a main dish if you choose. And while it does have some dairy, it’s easily made dairy-free and/or vegan with a few simple swaps.

So go ahead – go gangbusters at the farmer’s market! Throw caution to the wind! Grab all the fresh green veggies that catch your eye. Throw them all together in this risotto, and you’ll be sure they’ll be enjoyed, rather than ending up sad and forgotten in the crisper. You won’t be sorry.

Print Recipe

Asparagus, Kale, and Mushroom Brown Rice “Risotto” (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

2 1/4 c stock (chicken or vegetable)

1 c short-grain brown rice

2 T butter or olive oil

4 oz crimini mushrooms, quartered (or cut into eighths if they are large)

1 green onion, minced

1 small head green garlic, minced (can use 2 cloves of regular garlic if you don’t have green garlic)

1 t fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1/2 c white wine

8 oz asparagus spears, cut into 1/2-inch lengths

8 oz frozen peas, thawed

1 c chopped fresh kale (I used Red Russian, but you can use any variety)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T butter or olive oil

1 T cream (can use almond, soy, or coconut milk for vegan)

2-3 T shaved parmesan (omit for vegan)

1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add rice and reduce to a simmer. Cover and allow to cook for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.

Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add butter/olive and allow to heat for a minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes. Add the green onion, garlic, and thyme leaves and sauté an additional minute or until fragrant. Add the white wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has evaporated. Add the asparagus, peas, and kale and sauté for a minute or until the asparagus is bright green and heated through.

Add the rice and stir in, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Finally, stir in the butter/olive oil and cream. Serve, topped with parmesan and fresh parsley.

Serves 4.