French ratatouille on Mexican tostadas? You bet! Our Really Easy Roasted Ratatouille may be firmly rooted in Provence, but that tasty melange of end-of-summer eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and peppers plays well with other cuisines. Lia and I went back and forth on the best Mexican dish to showcase the vegetables. Should they be folded into tacos or tucked into quesadillas? Both would work just as well, but we ultimately decided to show the ratatouille off on an open-face tostada. Round out this light, colorful main dish with a salad of romaine lettuce tossed with this dead-easy Lime Caesar Dressing, and dinner is served.
This is the recipe I wrote for the Sunday meal at Rancho La Puerta during my week as visiting chef. Originally, I’d planned on serving the polenta with slender spears of broccolini, but we had a giant box of snow peas and beautiful bok choy fresh from the garden, so Chef Eddy and I changed it up a bit. I love searing squares of this polenta in some hot olive oil—or charring it on the grill as I do here—and serving it with just about anything: An egg and some greens in the morning, a mushroom ragu or tomato sauce at night. It’s super versatile and a great thing to have in the fridge for easy meals throughout the week.
This is one of my favorite basic recipes. I use these white beans in salads with tuna, in pasta, and often as a main dish … they’re almost to good to serve as a side! A couple of notes: 1) use any kind of white bean you want for this–just be aware you may need to adjust the cooking time depending on type of bean; 2) these freeze really well, so bag up whatever you don’t eat right away to have on hand; and 3) you can use all water or any combination of water and whatever kind of broth you might have on hand–vegetable, chicken, mushroom, whatever–adding broth adds flavor.
Quiche always leaves me feeling greasy and bloated. It seems like it’d be light, but so many quiches end up weighed down with cheese with just a smattering of bland veggies and a butter-loaded crust. This one, my friends, is different. The crust is crunchy-chewy (healthy) quinoa (and therefore, it’s gluten-free, too), and the midsection is filled with garlicky chunks of broccoli and the sharp tang of Cheddar. And, as my 7-year-old daughter proved, this is a quiche kids love, too. Thanks to Closet Cooking for guidance on the quiche shell!
Lentils and chickpeas are a match made in heaven, at least in my book. I was picturing this lentil and chickpea salad with a spicy dressing and pickled onions–a riff on a recipe I’d made last fall for Christopher’s birthday–and was inspired by the tahini dressing I found in [this version from Smitten Kitchen. I love this served beside a butter lettuce salad tossed with Go-To Vinaigrette and topped with crumbled goat cheese!
I made this sweet potato side dish for a class I taught in Guatemala to a dozen youth group kids. They were skeptical (to say the least) about the chile powder, at first, but embraced it wholeheartedly after I dubbed them “food adventurers.”
After much agonizing, I’ve come to think of this dish as a naked gratin and close cousin to pommes Anna. I used a mixture of rutabaga, kohlrabi and sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes) in lieu of potatoes, and it was out of this world. The sunchokes, especially, gave it an amazing nutty earthiness. If you can find a pound or so of those, I highly recommend using them. But go with whatever root veggies suit your fancy. One other embellishment I loved … smoked sea salt. Not necessary by any means, but fun if you want to give it a little something extra.
A plate of soft scrambled eggs is one of my hands-down favorite easy dinners, and can also be transformed into an easy appetizer by topping crostini (and if you’re feeling decadent, drizzling with truffle oil). Watch my video down below to see how easy it is to make these luscious scrambled eggs.
This coleslaw is super simple, crazy versatile, and so good I could eat the whole bowl by itself. Serve it on our Spicy Fish Tacos, as a side with poultry or as a kick-ass sandwich condiment.
I used to make this Greek salad at the “Souvlaki Stand” on the island of Corfu. To this day, it remains my favorite summer salad. It’s classic. It’s simple. It can be a meal or a side. It’s the epitome of summer vegetables in their simple glory.