Happy February! We’re one step closer to spring! One of my greatest pleasures through the year is seeing all the seasonal changes through the lens of what produce is available at the farmer’s market. Right now I’m enjoying earthy blood oranges, bright orange-red tangelos, sweet and juicy navel oranges, crispy fennel, blue-black dino kale, creamy white cauliflower, and vibrant tangy kiwis. Also, the California avocado stand is BACK at the market, which makes me so happy. Their avocados come from southern California and are big, super green, creamy and dense. AND they’re sticker free. What seasonal veggies have you been enjoying?
This week, I’ve been craving chiles, cilantro and limey flavors to brighten up wintery foods. We’ll be eating a caldo tlapeño (mexican chickpea and avocado soup with chipotle), a hearty winter bowl with roasted kabocha squash drizzled with a bright green herby mojo verde (green sauce with cilantro, lime, garlic and cumin), hearty enchiladas vegetarianas, and burgers. Jackfruit tacos to round out the week using up leftovers. The recipes are slightly more involved this week (mostly just the enchiladas) but so worth it for flavor. I’m all for quick easy cooking, but I also LOVE to take more time and enjoy the process by creating gorgeous and delicious meals. It’s all a balance and I find cooking extremely therapeutic- like meditation in action.
Some of you messaged me asking for super fast dinners with minimal ingredients, so next week I’ll be doing meal plan featuring all very quick “recipes” for healthy dinners in no time at all. In the meantime, check out this post: a week of meals: time crunch edition. I’ve included notes for if you’re low on time for what you can prep the night before to make it a little more manageable. What I try to do is make extras (double the recipe) of things like soups, chilis, veggie burgers, curries, curry paste, breads etc and then freeze the extra portion. That way I always have something to pull from- I can grab a jar out of the freezer and pop in the fridge that morning, then by dinner its ready to be heated. Two nights a week I work late, so I rely on 15 minute or less staples those nights. Excited to share with you.
Enjoy your weekend and be sure to stock up on fruits and veggies no matter what you’re making this week!
weekend prep (optional- if you like to/have time to cook as you go thats great too!)
-soak and cook chickpeas, if using dried
-soak and cook black beans, if using dried: I soak overnight and then drain the next am, place in a pot covered with an inch or two of fresh water, 1 chopped onion, 3 whole cloves garlic, smashed a bit + a big fresh sprig epazote or oregano + a decent amount of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, 1-2 hours.
-optional: toast 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds in a hot dry skillet until popping, store in a jar after they’ve cooled.
-optional: make pickled onions
– cook the rice on Sunday night for monday’s soup: 1.5 cups of rice brought to a boil with 2.75 cups of water and salt, reduce to simmer and cook 15-20 mins until ice is tender.
Caldo Tlalpeño is a Mexican soup traditionally made with chicken broth and shredded chicken- I just left this out and it was great. However, definitely use a great tasting broth since this soup is very brothy. I used better than bouillon “no chicken” broth (don’t use this much but I ran out of homemade and didn’t have time to make more).
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion. finely diced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig epazote (If you can’t find, just omit)
1 large sprig oregano
1 pound of yukon gold potatoes, cut into large chunks
8 cups good vegetable broth
4 small carrots or 2 large, cut into thick rounds
1/2 a head of green cabbage, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large roma tomato, diced
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 very large avocado, cut into chunks
1 jalapeño, diced
2 limes, halved (1 half per person)
canned chipotles en adobo (amount will vary depending on how spicy you like it, I used 1 whole chile per bowl but for kids this will be too spicy)
2 cups cooked rice
Saute the onion in the olive oil until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds or so until fragrant. Add in the herb sprigs, potatoes, and broth and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to medium high and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the carrots and cook another 5 minutes, then test the potatoes for done-ness (should be almost fork tender). Add in the remaining ingredients and simmer another 10 minutes or so until the veggies are tender.
To serve, ladle into bowls, add a scoop of rice in each bowl, and 1 chipotle chile (I like to add mine whole and break it up with my spoon while eating but you can chop it up too). Add any remaining toppings like avocado chunks, cilantro, chopped jalapeños and lime- I squeeze the lime in my bowl and then throw the whole thing into the soup too for extra flavor.
“pobrecito” kabocha, rice, black bean bowl with herby mojo verde + coconut slaw
This is a recreation of the pobrecito bowl from Media Noche in San Francisco. You can cut up the kabocha on the weekend or the night before to trim some time here.
Preheat the oven to 400 and cut up a very large kabocha squash into largish chunks (about 1 inch or a little less). Toss with a little coco oil and salt and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes. You’ll use the leftover squash (~1 cup) for the enchiladas on another night.
Meanwhile, start the rice. Chop 1 small onion up finely. Saute it with a little oil in a wide saute pan with a lid (or dutch oven) until softened. Add in 2 chopped garlic cloves and 2 cups rice. Saute for another 2-3 minutes, then pour in 3 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer/low, and let cook 20 minutes.
While you’re waiting on the rice, make the mojo verde. I used this recipe except I added in a tablespoon of fresh oregano, and did 3 whole bunches of cilantro (including stems).
Make the coconut slaw: this is the recipe I used, which is delicious , but DEFINITELY serves like 8 people (recipe states it serves 4). Cut it in half for sure. OR, feel free to simply toss shredded cabbage with a little lime juice and salt and use that instead of making the coco slaw.
Warm up 2 cans or about 3 cups of black beans.
Save about 1 cup of the roasted squash in the fridge. Toss the rest with plenty of spoonfulls of mojo to coat it. If you have leftover mojo, we will use it another night as a burger spread.
To serve: pile everything in a bowl and enjoy!
black bean burgers + fries
If you have leftover mojo verde, mix it with a little vegan mayo to spread on the burgers.
Wash and dry some lettuce leaves to wrap the burgers in (or use buns if that’s your thing). If you have leftover slaw add that too!
To assemble: spread a burger with the mayo, place in lettuce cup or bun, sprinkle over toasted pumpkin seeds, add an avocado wedge or two, and pickled onions (or raw red onions). Pile some fries on the side and enjoy!
Recipe here. These were SO good and totally worth the effort. You can make the sauce on the weekend to make this quicker, sometimes I even do a double batch and freeze the second half for next time. You can also steam the squash the night before- then its really just rolling and baking.
Jackfruit has a texture eerily similar to shredded meat and when cooked in a rich sauce it takes on all those flavors. This is a take of chicken tinga, where chicken is cooked in a tomato chipotle sauce with onions. I used canned from Trader Joe’s and followed this recipe for jackfruit Tinga- except I served in warm tortillas instead of the tostada part. I haven’t tried myself, BUT i bet you could put this in the crockpot in the am on low to save time????
I topped with leftover crema + radishes, cilantro, lime and avocado, and a few pieces of raw onion (use pickled if you made those).
dried chickpeas x 1.5 cups OR 2 cans prepared chickpeas
dried black beans x 3 cups or 4 cans prepared black beans
jackfruit x (2)- 20 ounce cans
long grain rice x 3.5 cups
chipotle en adobo x 2 small cans
limes x 8
cilantro x 5 bunches
fresh epazote (optional)
jalapeño x 1 large
carrot x 3 large
red bell pepper x 1 (only if you’re making the coco slaw)
green bell pepper x 1 (only if you’re making the coco slaw)
radishes x 1 bunch
coconut flakes (unsweetened) x 1 cup
coconut milk x 1 can (only if you’re making the coco slaw)
roma tomato x 5 large
coconut yogurt OR 1 cup cashews (whichever you decide to use for the crema)
kabocha squash x 1 large
yukon gold potatoes x 1 pound
russet potatoes x 2 pounds
green cabbage x 1 head
swiss chard x 1/2 pound or about 1 bunch
cremini mushrooms x 1/2 pound
red cabbage x 1/2 a head or 1 very small (only if you’re making the coco slaw)
onion x 6 yellow and 1 red
garlic x 3 heads
avocado x 4 large
tomato paste x 1 can
raw pumpkin seeds x 1/2 cup (optional)
4 guajillo chiles + 4 ancho chiles OR good quality chili powder
canned tomatoes x 28 ounces
vegetable broth x 10 cups (I used better than bouillon “no chicken” concentrate)
chickpea flour x 1/4 cup
1 head of butter lettuce OR burger buns (depending on what you will use for burgers)
corn tortillas x 24
vegan mayo or ketchup (optional, for burgers)