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Born from a need to use whatever was in the fridge and to supplement a fabulous sausage hamburger (yup–you heard me), this relish is the perfect side dish for a barbecue.

10-oz bag frozen corn, thawed
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste

Optional additions: blue cheese or avocado or jalapeño or feta, but it’s lovely on its own.

1. In a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, char the corn until dark golden brown in spots.
2. Combine corn with remaining ingredients.

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A rendition on one of my absolute favorites, Vegan Kitchen Sink Salad, which was originally inspired by the Abundant Harvest Salad I gorged on at Dandelion Communitea Cafe in Orlando, Florida. Make this huge salad at the beginning of the week and enjoy for quick lunches and last-minute dinners all week long. Not only is it vegan and chock full of vegetables and fiber, it is a great allergen-free dish. I usually make it with quinoa, but this time I experimented with millet, a gluten-free grain-like seed that is more commonly known as bird feed. Literally. We’re eating bird food. Feel skinny yet?

1 1/2 cups millet, prepared according to package’s directions, cooled
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on a bias
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced in a bias
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
3 oz sprig mix, or other salad green
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Lemon tahini dressing, for drizzling (though I made a bigger batch, 1/2 cup tahini and 1/2 cup water, to accommodate this bigger recipe)
Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, to garnish, toasted or raw

1. Combine cooked millet with carrots, celery, broccoli, chick peas, corn kernels, spring mix, and tomatoes.
2. Drizzle with tahini dressing and garnish with seeds. (Leave the salad undressed and drizzle just before serving.)

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I first time made this chili I served it to two meat-loving men, who both couldn’t believe that it was vegan. The first recipe attempt was spot-on, and I had to be sure it wasn’t a fluke. Attempt number two is very similar to number one, with some minor changes: changed the type of oil and reduced it from 3 to 2 Tbsp, increased beer from 9 to 12 oz (simply because it makes more sense, and I was making it at 11 a.m. on a Monday, which, even for me, is too early for a drink), corrected an error in the preparation method, increased cooking time. My S.S. preferred this attempt over the first.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, medium dice
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
1 green bell pepper, medium dice
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup textured vegetable protein
2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
12 oz beer of your choice (use gluten-free beer to make the recipe gluten-free)
1 28-oz can peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 4-oz can fire-roasted green chiles
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, soak the textured vegetable protein in hot water. Drain, and then add to the pot along with the paprika, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Saute for 2 minutes.
3. Pour in the beer and reduce by half, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen the bits.
4. Crush the tomatoes and add to the pot, along with the beans and green chiles.
5. Cover the ingredients with water (about 1 quart). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thick (chili will continue to thicken as it sits).
6. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with sliced scallions (optional).

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The result? Very tasty, not as spicy as last time. Increase cayenne pepper to 1 tsp, but otherwise this one is getting close to where I want it to be!

This one was based off of a recipe for potato and green bean salad, with slight variations. Made heartier with the addition of chunks of wild salmon.

1 pound wild salmon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes
1 pound green beans
5 scallions, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Season salmon with salt and pepper and place on a sheet pan. Roast for 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness.
3. Place potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife.
4. Bring another pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch for 3-5 minutes, or until tender but still firm and bright green. Drain and rinse the green beans briefly under cold running water.
5. Meanwhile, combine scallions with vinegar, mustard, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil.
6. Drain the potatoes and, while still warm, cut each into bite-size pieces and immediately toss with the vinaigrette.
7. Cut the green beans in half on a diagonal. Add to the potatoes and stir to coat.
8. Add the kalamata olives and mix.
9. Break apart the salmon in large chunks and scatter on top of the salad.

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1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 small head red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 small head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup currants or golden raisins
4 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, curry, cumin, red pepper flakes, and vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper.
2. Add cabbages, currants, and scallions to the bowl and toss to combine.
3. Adjust seasoning as necessary, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.

Great on its own, but works perfectly as a topping for a lean turkey or chicken burger.

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Since I’ve moved from Brooklyn (yes, it’s true), I am happy to have more space, a calmer atmosphere, and a FRONT PORCH! The summer is past us but today was beautiful, sunny, and 82 degrees. (Note: this was written a couple of weeks ago–oops!) Since I had the day off, I spent it jogging, grocery shopping, and guinea grilling on the front porch in my lawn chair with a nice cold Octoberfest beer (hey–it is October).

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Just a guide, no real recipe:

Dice grilled chicken breast and toss with thinly sliced romaine, diced tomatoes, corn, crushed whole-grain tortilla chips, black beans, sliced scallions, diced or sliced avocado, and light ranch dressing (alternately, it would be delicious with a lime vinaigrette).

If you’re planning on having leftovers, don’t mix the dressing or the tortillas in the salad. Instead, garnish each salad with both.

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3 T olive oil
1 onion, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
2 large carrots, peeled and small dice
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or substitute with water or vegetable broth for vegan soup)
1 cup red lentils
Garnish options: freshly squeezed lemon juice, chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, Greek yogurt, extra-virgin olive oil, spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne)…

1. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat and then add onion, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6-8 minutes.
2. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
3. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often.
4. Pour broth into the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any bits.
5. Add the lentils to the pot.
6. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through.
7. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with garnish options of your choice, depending on taste and whether you are making the soup vegan.

Serve with whole wheat naan or pita bread and you’ll feed 3 hungry or 4 normal(ish) people.

red lentil soup

The best part about this recipe? It gets even better as it sits. Make plenty so that you have leftovers throughout the week.