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While traditionally pesto is made with basil, this recipe switches it up with vibrant, peppery arugula that goes perfectly over whole wheat pasta. I made arugula pesto in the past, but neglected to understand the value of recording the recipe. Here is my official first attempt at a delicious and deceptively healthy pesto.

5 cups packed arugula
3/4 cup pecorino, broken up into chunks
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 clove garlic
4 T extra-virgin olive oil
Juice 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and whirl until smooth (alternately, if you like pesto with a bit more texture, pulse until desired consistency is reached).

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Use as a dip for vegetables or crusty baguette, sauce for pasta (makes enough for 1 pound), garnish for soups, condiment for sandwiches, etc. (I served it with whole wheat pasta, garnished with grated pecorino and freshly ground black pepper.)

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Lots of the recipes I found for vegan broccoli cheddar soup used milk alternatives, nuts, flour, cornstarch, and/or vegan cheese. I was looking for something simpler.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, medium dice
2 stalks celery, medium dice
1 medium sweet potato, small dice
2 cloves garlic, thin slice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups arugula
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1. Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat.
2. Add the onion, celery, sweet potato, and garlic to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Pour water into the pot and cover the vegetables by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Stir in arugula and cook for another minute. Puree with an immersion blender.
6. Add broccoli florets and nutritional yeast and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or until the broccoli is soft.
7. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

Notes: yum. Love the color the sweet potato lends to the soup, which mimics traditional broccoli cheddar soup. The nutritional yeast is a powerhouse, giving the finished product a rich, cheesy, almost fermented flavor. The arugula simply boosts the nutrition profile, but is not essential; it can be omitted, or substituted with nearly any other type of green leafy vegetable.

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1 1/2 cups brown lentils
kosher salt
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or vegan mayonnaise)
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon
for assembly and garnish: whole wheat hamburger buns, sliced tomato, sliced avocado, sprouts, arugula, etc.

1. Sift through lentils for debris or rocks. Combine in a medium pot with a pinch of salt and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, partially cover the pot and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Cool.
2. Process oats into a powder using a food processor or spice grinder.
3. Combine lentils and oat powder in a large bowl.
4. Add salt, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper.
5. Mix with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.
6. Form patties (this recipe will make about 9-10 large patties) and place on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray.
7. Refrigerate the patties until firm, at least 20 minutes.
8. Combine the mayonnaise with garlic and lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
9. Heat oil over medium high heat. Saute the patties until crispy and golden brown, about 2-3 minutes each side.
10. Place patties on whole wheat hamburger buns. Serve with sliced tomatoes, sliced avocadoes, sprouts, arugula, or whatever your little heart desires.

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Couscous, prepared using package’s directions for 6 servings
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 10-oz bag baby arugula
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups sweet green peas (if fresh: blanch ahead of time; if frozen: thaw)

1. Make the couscous (yeah, yeah, I know–these are very lazy instructions. Womp womp). Add 1 tbsp of the oil, salt and black pepper to the cooking liquid (I used water) before adding the couscous.
2. While the couscous is cooking, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30-60 seconds.
3. Add the arugula to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Stir until just barely wilted and remove from the heat.
4. Once the couscous is finished, fluff with a fork and add the remaining olive oil, lemon zest and juice and peas.

When I want salad but am in no mood to chop CHOP chop CHOP chop a thousand different vegetables, I choose a simple combination of arugula and endive. The two lettuces alone provide flavor, color, and texture contrasts–the three things a salad yearns for.

Halve the endive lengthwise and then slice into little half moons. Toss with arugula and a simple dressing of lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, mustard, and S & P.

That’s it. Stop reading.