Mixed Bean Summer Salad

You can totes tweak the ingredients to make this salad fit for any season.  Gotta love filling dishes you can throw together with almost anything you have on hand. Serendipity brought the spicy pickled green beans to the table. It adds a fun crunch and kick to the dish.


1 can garbanzo beans (drained)

1 can Cannellini beans (drained)

2 cans quartered artichoke hearts (if you can only find whole cut them yourself)

12-15 spicy pickled green beans

1/2 red onion, diced small

1/2 cucumber, diced (English cucumber = don’t have to peel)

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (chopped a roma if you don’t have cherry toms)

Lemon olive oil (or regular with a squeeze of lemon over your salad)

Champagne vinegar

Kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

*fresh chopped herbs (flat parsley, tarragon, basil. Cut this when you’re ready to use it.)



Large mixing spoon

Chopping knife

Large mixing bowl

Cutting board



Mix all ingredients in your large bowl to thoroughly combine.

Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over the top, sprinkle with S&P to taste. Adjust seasoning as needed.

If you like the option of the fresh herbs, add those in right before serving so they don’t wilt too much and still taste great.

Tempeh,Cucumber, Avocado Wrap

When I first turned to the Dark Side I didn’t like tempeh. Now that I’ve been stewing in all things vegan for a while, I’m come to appreciate this little friend.

In this wrap, I think the spread makes a world of difference in the tastiness level. You be the judge.

Ingredients for Spread:

1/2 cup vegan mayo (I like Just Mayo from Hampton Creek)

1/4 cup dried chopped chives (feel free to chop fresh if you like)

1 tablespoons dried dill (ditto with the dill)

Small squeeze of lemon

Pinch of salt & pepper



Mix all this goodness together in a bowl and let sit while you work on the rest of your shtuff.


Ingredients for Wrap:

Sliced tomato

Sliced avocado

Sliced cucumber (if you use English cucs you don’t have to peel them)

Whole basil leaves, to taste

Sliced onion

Small handful of raw spinach leaves

Hickory flavor tempeh slices (I use 5 slices per wrap)

Huge wraps (I use spinach wraps, get crazy with another flavor if you like). BTW, if you’d prefer to gluten, you can use butter lettuce or romaine leaves instead.

Olive oil



  1. Place a skillet over medium heat and squirt a squiggle of olive oil to lube the pan so your tempeh doesn’t stick.
  2. Once the pan is heated, lay the strips on the pan and let gently sizzle for a couple of minutes until they are golden brown and then flip and repeat on the other side.
  3. Meanwhile, heat your wrap over a high flame (if you have an electric stove, use a flat griddle over medium-high heat) to get it floppy and warm (get your mind out of the gutter).
  4. Schmear your herb mayo over one half of the wrap and then layer with all your tasty toppings (hot tempeh slices, onion, avocado, tomato, cucumber, basil and spinach).
  5. Carefully start rolling and make sure you tuck the sides in as you go to create a nice tight burrito so things don’t squirt out all over the place when you bite in.

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Serves 6-8


  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1 large can of tomato sauce
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of chopped garlic
  • 1 skinny bottle of capers (or two short fat bottles)
  • 1 skinny jar of pitted Kalamata olives (whole or halved, you choose)
  • 1 cup red wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel)
  • 2-4 tablespoons Italian seasoning or Herbs d’Provence (it’s Italian season plus lavender)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • Chili flakes (optional if you want to spice it up)
  • Olive oil


  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Hot pads or cotton kitchen towels (don’t pick up hot things wiht microfiber towels. They will melt)
  • Large stainless steel or enamle cast iron pot
  • Can opener
  • Wooden spoon


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss in whole squash once oven is heated.
  2. In a large pot, over medium heat, ad a generous drizzle of olive oil and saute the onions, garlic and Italian Seasoning/Herb d’Provence.
  3. Once that fills your kitchen with heavenly aromas and the onions are translucent (about 2 minutes), add the capers, olives and wine.
  4. Stir that whole combo together and let it simmer for a few minutes to get the alcohol flavor out of the wine and reduce a tad.
  5. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Add 2 pinches of salt and 6 cracks of pepper. Toss in your chili flakes now if you desire. Stir to combine.
  6. Let that sauce hang out over medium-low heat to let everything marry happily together.
  7. Adjust the seasoning on the sauce as needed and then turn the burner to low, just to keep it warm.
  8. Poke the squash with a sharp knife. If it goes into the flesh easily, it’s done. If there’s firm resistance, let it go longer.
  9. Once the squash is done, take it out (be careful that sucker is hot!) and put it in your cutting board. Use a hot pad, folder towel, or pair of tongs to keep the squash in placed as you cut it in half, through the equator, not the axis (sideways not up and down).
  10. Open the halves and use a large spoon to scrape out the guts and seeds. Toss that in the trash or your compost bin.
  11. Using a large dinner fork, scrape the flesh out onto your cutting board, or into a separate bowl. This is will be your noodles.
  12. After you get all the “noodles” out, add them to your sauce and mix it all up.
  13. Serve hot!

Pro Tips

  • As with any pasta dish, you can sprinkle some “Parmesan” on top. Go Veggie brand is really good and totally reminds me of the Kraft version you can buy in the pasta aisle.
  • Make your sauce a day in advance to really bring out the flavors. Sauces, soups and chilies are usually even better the second day.

Ramen Noodle Bowls

This is the product of a family dinner where the theme was ramen. Competing next to my meat-eating family, I knew the trick would be in the broth.

I think this is an easy recipe that doesn’t require a ton of prep.

Serves 6


  • vegetable broth (2 boxes)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (cut in half)
  • 2 tablespoons crushed/chopped ginger
  • 1 jalapeno (sliced, remove seeds if you want to limit heat level)
  • 2 lime leaves (if you can’t find that, squeeze in lime juice to taste)
  • healthy dash of soy sauce, or salt to taste
  • sesame oil
  • 4 baby bok choy (sliced)
  • 2 boxes shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 bag bean sprouts
  • 2 generous handfuls snow peas (trimmed of the stringy spine)
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced white onion OR chopped scallions/green onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup cubed tofu (you can leave plain or marinate and saute)


  • Large stainless steel or enamel cast iron soup pot
  • Slotted spoon
  • Wooden spoon
  • Pasta spoon/fork
  • Large bowl
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Small bowls for soup toppers


  1. In your pot drizzle the sesame oil to coat the bottom. Put over medium-high heat and saute the bok choy and mushrooms.
  2. Once bok choy and mushrooms are cooked through, turn off heat and remove the veggies with your slotted spoon and set aside in the large bowl.
  3. Drizzle a touch more oil in your pot and return to medium-high heat.
  4. Bash the lemongrass pieces with the back of your knife to break it up a bit. This will help all the yummy smells and flavors some out.
  5. Saute the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and lime leaves until your kitchen smells like heaven.
  6. Crank up the heat to high and add all the liquid (broth plus water) and a few slices of jalapeno. The more you add the spicier your broth will be so feel free to go crazy or be wimpy like me. You can dash in a bit of soy sauce or salt at this point. Don’t go crazy since the flavors will intensify as the broth reduces while simmering.
  7. Bring this puppy to a boil (feel free to cover to expedite this process). Once you hit a boil, turn the heat down to medium low and let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. If you can go longer, please do, it’ll help bring out flavors and make your brother super tasty.
  8. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, get your toppings prepped in little serving bowls to create a toppings buffet. If you didn’t use much, or any, jalapeno, this is a good time to have it available for those who want to “kick it up a notch”. Shout-out Emeril. If you want to fry or saute your tofu, now’s the time.
  9. After the simmer is done, toss back in the bok choy and mushrooms and add your ramen noodles.
  10. Once noodles are done, serve up in bowls and go down your toppings line and add all the yummy crunchy things you want.

Pro Tips

  • Use bottled or tubed garlic and ginger – huge time saver
  • Use the noodles from store-bought ramen packets in the soup aisle. You know, that stuff you lived on in college. Toss the flavor packet in the trash (that sh*t is full of nastiness). Bonus – they are stupid cheap.
  • Use pre-shredded carrots. Seriously, who has time to shred carrots?