I haven’t posted since 2016 since I’ve been consumed by good work at the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. Given climate change and other critical things we need to be thinking about as individuals, as countries, as a global community – like poverty and food security – I do a lot of reading and discussing about about what we eat and the implications it has on our planet and others around the world. There is one thing that is clear – we have to eat way less meat. I was eating this rice salad inspired by  on Food52 while reading one such article and I thought “this is so delicious, and so easy, and so meat-free, and so full of the kinds of things we need to be eating, I MUST post it on v:gourmet.” So here is my one small step, hoping it will help inspire others in turn.

2 cups dry basmati rice

clove garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup packed stemmed flat leaf parsley or dill or any other green herb on hand

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon maple sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

small red onion, finely chopped and rinsed in cold water

1 cup chopped and pitted kalamata olives

2/3 cup currants

2/3 cup toasted pine nuts

sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds

Prepare rice according to package directions. Transfer to a large bowl.

Blend the garlic, salt, green herb(s), lemon juice, vinegar, curry powder, maple syrup, cumin, pepper, and olive oil.

Pour the dressing over the rice. Stir in onion, olives, currants, and pine nuts. Garnish with more herbs and toasted pumpkin seeds.


This recipe is an adaptation of Sara Forte’s inspired slivered veggie noodle salad from Bowl and Spoon, with adaptation being the operative word. A recipe is ultimately a guide, a pointer, an inspiration to help you find your way. So be inspired by the julienned vegetables, the soy and maple drenched tofu, and the miso, honey, ginger dressing but don’t feel like you have to stay on a strict path … wander off and discover other directions to take it by mixing up the veg, using a different kind of noodle, or playing with your protein. No two versions of this should be the same.


14 ounces extra-firm tofu

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Freshly ground pepper

1 package soba noodles (the photo shows rice noodles but soba are better for this recipe)

1 red bell pepper

3 carrots

1 zucchini

1/2 red onion

1 bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

1 large avocado

1 tablespoon yellow miso paste

1 (3-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 teaspoon honey

Juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce


Drain the tofu and press out the excess liquid between layers of a folded clean dishcloth. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Chop the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and add them to the hot pan. Sauté gently until the edges begin to brown. Add the soy sauce, maple syrup, and pepper. Stir and cook for 6 to 8 minutes longer, until the edges are crisp. Set aside to cool.

Cook the noodles until al dente as per directions on the box, rinse with cold water, and drain. Seed and slice the bell pepper into thin strips. Use a julienne peeler  or mandolin to make long strips from the carrot, zucchini, and red onion. Put the noodles and prepared vegetables into a large mixing bowl.

For the dressing, whisk together the miso, ginger, honey, lime juice, sesame oil, and Sriracha. This much can be done up to 2 days in advance and kept covered in the fridge.

When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the veggies and noodles, add the chopped cilantro and toss to coat. Top the bowl with the green onions, sesame seeds, and tofu. Serve each portion with a quarter of an avocado.

harissa quinoa salad

November 5, 2015

IMG_0589Adapted from Amy Chaplin’s At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, this is a quick and easy recipe with a bit of heat and heartiness, that’s highly adaptable to whatever you happen to have in the fridge. Serve with some feta on top or not, a little gremolata, or extra harissa if you like the hit.

1 cup quinoa

1.5 cups water

Sea salt

2 peppers – red, orange or yellow – seeded, grilled, and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

1/3 cup almonds

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1 red onion, diced

3 tablespoons harissa

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

sea salt and pepper

Goat milk feta

Baby basil, or other, sprouts



1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper, depending on how hot you like it

1 clove garlic, crushed

Juice of half a lemon

Large pinch sea salt

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Place quinoa in a pot and cover with water and pinch of sea salt. Cover, place over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to low and simmer until quinoa is cooked, about 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, and set aside to cool.

For the harissa, warm a skillet over a medium flame and add the cumin, coriander and caraway seeds, toast for 3 minutes, shaking pan occasionally. Transfer into a spice grinder and grind until fine. Place ground spices in a bowl and add the cayenne, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Stir and then drizzle in the olive oil, stir until smooth. Set aside.

Meanwhile, brush peppers with olive oil and grill on a BBQ or roast in the oven. Once done, let cool and cut into bite size pieces.

Toast pine nuts and almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat until toasty brown and fragrant.

Place quinoa, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped onion, almonds and pine nuts, harissa, lemon juice, and cider vinegar in a bowl. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add additional harissa if you want more kick.

Transfer to a serving bowl; crumble feta, additional pine nuts, and sprouts on top if desired.


farro and winter vegetables

Technically it’s spring but given that the earth is still in a deep freeze here and that spring won’t really come to our plates for several months yet, our table is still adorned with winter vegetables. This recipe is a case in point. It’s a warm salad starring winter vegetables – carrots, parsnips, celeriac and cauliflower, with a solid supporting role given to farro – a warming hulled wheat grown in the Garfagnana region of Tuscany  which can receive an IGP designation (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) by law guaranteeing its geographic origin. If you can’t find farro, barley is its identical twin. Topped with a little parsley and some toasted pine nuts, it takes centre stage nicely on its own, or accompanied by a little baked tofu or grilled chicken depending on your preference. It’s from Diana Henry’s new A Change of Appetite which I recommend picking up on your next visit to the library or local book store.

For the salad

6 carrots, trimmed, peeled and halved lengthwise (quartered if very fat)

3 parsnips, trimmed, peeled and halved lengthwise (quartered if very fat)

1/2 head of celeriac, peeled and cut into wedges

1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets

3 tbsps olive oil

sea salt and black pepper

1 cup semi-pearl farro

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsps white balsamic vinegar

2 tsps mixed seeds or nuts

For the dressing

1 tsp whole- grain mustard

1-2 tsps honey

5 tsps cider vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

pinch of dried red pepper flakes

1 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the carrots, parsnips, celeriac, and cauliflower with olive oil and a little sea salt and pepper. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for approximately 40 minutes, or until tender and slightly burnished in patches.

Meanwhile, cook the farro. Put it into a saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 20 – 25 minutes until tender (even when cooked it retains a bite in the centre). Drain and immediately dress with the olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and seasoning.

To make the dressing, put the mustard, honey, and vinegar into a small bowl, season well, and whisk in the oil in a stream. Now mix in all the other dressing ingredients and taste.

Gently toss all the vegetables together with the farro and the dressing, adding any seeds or nuts you prefer.



smoked tomato dressing

March 24, 2015

smoked tomato dressing

This is a fabulous smokey tomato dressing inspired by the relatively new cookbook Prune by celebrated NYC restauranteur Gabrielle Hamilton. Love the book. Love her attitude. And love her smokey dressing. She smokes her tomatoes in a smoker which most of us don’t have. So I’ve modified the recipe using smoked sun-dried tomatoes which I can get at the farmers’ market – and if you soak them in olive oil and then use the olive oil, you get an extra-smokey-bang-for-your-buck. I also substituted tomato juice for homemade tomato passata from last summer’s tomatoes. I don’t know what Prune’s tastes like but if it’s as good as my made-up re-do, your greens will be screaming for more.

smoked tomato dressing
2 shallots, peeled and sliced into very thin rings

8 – 10 smoked sun-dried tomatoes

1 cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably having soaked the smoked sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup tomato juice or passata

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsps aged sherry vinegar

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Toss the shallots with a few pinches of salt in stainless steel bowl. Use your fingers to break up the rings and let the salt briefly tame their bite.

Put sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil and passata in a blender and blend until smooth.

Transfer tomato mixture from the blender to a mixing bowl. With a spoon, stir together tomato mixture, vinegars, and lemon juice.

Season with a good dose of black pepper and a careful bit of sea salt. Serve over tender greens with any toppings that come to mind – toasted pine nuts, green onions, shredded carrot or sliced cucumbers.

celeriac lentil

If you cook seasonally, this is a great winter salad for you. You can still find celeriac at the farmers’ market and, anyway, it stores for a long time. Lentils you should have in your pantry; nuts in your freezer. Some fresh mint is a mid-winter luxury to get at the grocery store but well worth it. With these few ingredients you can whip up a fabulously tasty warm winter salad. And you benefit from celeriac’s medicinal properties to boot. Having been around for about 40o0 years, historians note that the “Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans considered celery a gift from the gods and divided celery’s medicinal properties sexually: the strong stalks that grew upward from the ground were judged to be a cure for all masculine dysfunctions, while the root that swelled beneath the earth’s surface was prescribed for female disorders.” Crazy but true. And why not?

1/3 cup whole hazelnuts (skin on)

1 cup Puy lentils

3 cups water

2 bay leaves

4 thyme sprigs

1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks

4 tbsps olive oil

3 tbsps hazelnut oil

3 tbsps good-quality red wine vinegar

4 tbsps chopped mint

salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Scatter the hazelnuts on a small baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Let them cool down, then chop roughly.

Combine the lentils, water, bay leaves and thyme in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15–20 minutes, or until al dente. Drain in a sieve.

Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, cook the celeriac in plenty of boiling salted water for 8–12 minutes, or until just tender. Drain.

In a large bowl mix the hot lentils (if they have cooled down they won’t soak up all the flavours) with the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the hazelnut oil, the vinegar, some black pepper and plenty of salt. Add the celeriac and stir well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

To serve straight away, stir in half the mint and half the hazelnuts. Pile onto a serving dish or in a bowl and drizzle the remaining hazelnut oil on top. Garnish with the rest of the mint and hazelnuts.

To serve cold, wait for the lentils and celeriac to cool down before finally adjusting the seasoning and possibly adding some more vinegar, if you like. Add hazelnut oil, mint and nuts in the same way as when serving hot.

From Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem

salad and carrots

Ottolenghi has a new cookbook out: Plenty More. Run, don’t walk. It’s full of amazingly creative, fabulous, vegetable-centric dishes. Ottolenghi has, in some people’s opinions, single-handedly given vegetables their rightful place. From a non-vegetarian perspective. He’s not preachy. Or holier-than-thou. Just a lover of plant-friendly cooking. This recipe features his honey-glazed carrots as the main act for a salad with tahini dressing and slow-roasted tomatoes. It’s really that easy.

For the carrots:

Scant 3 tbsp honey or maple syrup

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed

1 1/2 tsps cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed

3 thyme sprigs

12 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4 by 2 1/2-inch/2 by 6-cm batons (3 lb/1.3 kg)

salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the honey, oil, coriander and cumin seeds, and thyme in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon salt and a good grind of black pepper. Add the carrots and mix well until coated, then spread them out on a large baking sheet and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring gently once or twice, until cooked through and glazed. Remove from the oven and set aside.

For the tahini dressing:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tbsps lemon juice

2/3 cup water

1/2 cup tahini

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a whisk.

Toss carrots, salad greens and slow-roasted tomatoes with a good dollop or two of tahini dressing and serve. Alone. With other things. Doesn’t really matter. It’s tasty and healthy. And satisfying.


asian slaw

September 5, 2014

asian slaw

This is a new slaw recipe to add to the others on v:gourmet: traditional slaw and stinging nettle slaw. One can’t have too much slaw in one’s life. This one is from River Cottage Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. If you don’t have this cookbook, it’s well worth a trip to your local bookstore. It’s got fantastic recipes, and his philosophy is bang-on. As Fearnley-Whittingstall says of his new approach to food and cooking, “The object of the exercise is, unambiguously, to persuade you to eat more vegetables. Many more vegetables. Perhaps even to make veg the mainstay of your daily cooking. And therefore, by implication, to eat less meat, maybe a lot less meat, and maybe a bit less fish too. Why? We need to eat more vegtatbles and less flesh because vegetables are the foods that do us the most good and our plaent the least harm. Do I need to spell out in detail the arguments to support that assertion? Is there anyone who seriously doubts it to be true? Just ask yourself if you, or anyone you know, might be in danger of eating too many vegetables. Or if you think the world might be a better, cleaner, greener, place with a few more factory chicken or pig farms or intensive cattle feedlots scattered about the countryside. Surely it’s close to being a no-brainer.” Well said Hugh. Bring on the slaw.

1 bunch of green onions, trimmed and sliced

4 carrots, peeled

1 small green cabbage

For the dressing

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or rice vinegar

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon clear honey

1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

A handful of cilantro, coarsely torn

Lime juice

Put the sliced green onions into a large bowl. Cut the carrots into fine julienne with a mandolne or grate them coarsely and add to the bowl. Remove any blemished outer leaves from the cabbage, then quarter and cut away the core. Shred the leaves as finely as you can and combine with the green onions and carrots

For the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients, making sure the honey is dissolved. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss thoroughly. Leave for 10-20 minutes to soften and “relax.” Serve the coleslaw scattered with cilantro and sprinkled with lime juice.

cobb salad

August 27, 2014

cobb salad

I’m not even sure what a cobb salad is and, in fact, I become a little less certain with each recipe I look up as each one is totally different. Wiki says that it came about in the 1930s at the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant, where it became a signature dish, named for the restaurant’s owner, Robert Howard Cobb. The legend is that Cobb had not eaten until midnight, when he mixed together leftovers he found in the kitchen, along with some bacon cooked by the line cook, and tossed it with their French dressing. Who knows? I figure if the legend is true than a good cobb salad includes any leftovers in the fridge, typically presented side by side, not mixed, with a good dressing to throw on top. At the height of August, when sweet corn is at its peak, we seem to always have leftover cobs not eaten. They were my inspiration behind this non-authentic vegan version. But in my book, what recipe is 100% authentic anyway?


For the salad

1 handful of salad greens

1 fresh summer tomato, diced

1 avocado, diced,

1/2 red onion, finely diced

1/2 cup toasted, salted cashew nuts

2 cobs corn, cooked, niblets removed

For the dressing

1 cup veganaise

1 clove garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

1 tablespoon fresh dill

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh chives

On a platter, spread the fresh cleaned salad greens. Place piles of your veg ingredients on top in nice rows or messy piles.

In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the dressing and stir well until everything is combined. Serve alongside the cobb salad so everyone can add dressing to their liking.

quinoa fava bean

Did you know that fava beans, also known as the broad bean, faba bean, field bean, bell bean, or tic bean, are among the most ancient plants in cultivation? Favas are native to North Africa, southwest and south Asia, and are believed to have become part of the eastern Mediterranean diet around 6000 BC or earlier. That’s a long time ago. They must be doing something right. It’s a shame we don’t see them more often in restaurants, cookbooks, and in the markets and grocery stores. They add a wonderful bright earthiness to this quinoa salad – an adaptation on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s – and a great pop of colour alongside the summer squashes and toasted pine nuts. With a hit of lemon juice, you’ve got a light and lovely lunch salad or side dish.

2 tbsps olive oil

4 or 5 small summer squashes (cousa, pattypan, zucchetta, zucchini), roughly chopped

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

a few sprigs of thyme

1 pound fava beans in pods

1 cup quinoa

a healthy handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

a squeeze of lemon juice

1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Place a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the oil and heat. Add the summer squash, onions, thyme and salt and pepper. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the zucchini and tender and starting to turn golden. Add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.

While the summer squash is cooking, shell the fava beans, bending the tip of the pod and pulling down the seam of the pod to “unzip” the pod and reveal the beans inside. Discard the fuzzy outer pod. Place the shelled beans in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Remove and place into ice water. Peel off the beans’ thick waxy outer covering. Set aside.

Rinse the quinoa in several changes of cold water and then place in a saucepan along with 2 cups of cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the long white kernels are coming away from the seeds. Tip into a sieve and leave to drain and steam.

Combine the quinoa, fava beans, summer squash, and onions and toss to mix well. Add the parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir well. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary. Serve topped with toasted pine nuts.