Add a fresh minestrone to your healthy January soup rotation

If you’ve had just one or maybe two minestrones in your life, you might be excused for thinking that they’re always the same — summer vegetables, say, with tomatoes and beans and tiny pasta. But the beauty of this Italian soup is that it is many things to many people, and it varies widely by season and geography. Some versions include rice instead of pasta, peas instead of (or in addition to) beans. In Liguria, they add that region’s beloved pesto. No matter where it’s made, the soup is inspired

Indian spices make these black-eyed peas and mushrooms taste as if they took hours, not minutes

Black-eyed peas are a Southern staple, especially on New Year’s Day, when cooks combine them with rice for Hoppin’ John. Eat them for good luck, if you’re into that sort of thing. These little legumes are staples in plenty of other cultures’ diets, too, all year round. I love Nigerian-style stewed black-eyed peas (often served with fried plantains), the lobia masala of north India and the African-Caribbean black-eyed-pea fritters called accra (also known as akara or accara).

A quick peanut sauce and crunchy bok choy give this tofu sheet-pan dinner tang and texture

Even nowadays, some people think tofu is good for only a few select treatments. I love crispy cubes of roasted tofu as much as the next vegetarian. But that’s not the only way to cook it, nor the only set of qualities I’m going for. I also like crumbling it into a pan, spicing it up and serving it to those who don’t consume eggs, blending it into a salad dressing or even eating it cold with crunchy toppings.

Make your own easy pecan butter at home and go nuts

No nut butter — even the best store-bought — can beat one you make from freshly toasted nuts. Cookbook author Amy Chaplin proves you don’t need special equipment to make it, either: just a food processor and enough time. Chaplin’s original recipe doesn’t include maple syrup, but we like its touch of sweetness. You can also experiment with any other of your favorite nuts, seeds, spices and additional flavorings: hazelnuts with cinnamon and cocoa, almonds and sunflower seeds with coconut, and so m

When you’re short on time, a bowl of ginger turmeric chickpeas is the answer

This week, when Thanksgiving planning might be giving you culinary tunnel vision, it can be easy to lose track of all the other meals you need to be eating. That’s where a dish like this one comes in handy: It’s got just a few ingredients, many of them pantry staples. It’s hearty enough for dinner, light enough for lunch, flexible enough for eaters of various dietary persuasions. (Just turn it into a side for carnivores or add an egg for the non-vegan vegetarians.)

This easy pumpkin tart is spiffy enough for a vegetarian Thanksgiving main

Free-form tarts, such as the Italian crostata and the French galette, are some of the easiest filled-pastry dishes to master, because, well, there’s so little to actually master: No need to be careful not to stretch the dough as you put it in a pie dish or tart pan and risk shrinkage. No need for any decorative edge work. No need, even, to trim the pastry to fit anything. Just roll it out to a rough circle, fill as desired, and lift the pastry up and over, crimping just enough to hold everything

Cashews make this vegan carrot soup creamy. Spices make it wonderful.

Carrots love spice. And they can handle a good dose of it: One of my favorite treatments is to sprinkle them with an assortment of warming, perhaps smoky, sometimes even hot spices before roasting, and then drizzle them with a little honey for sweetness and citrus for balancing tartness. Delicious. Those same carrots take well to blending, too. Just last week, I had an oversupply, so after a few days of eating them in bowls and alongside mains, I remembered just how much I loved the carrot humm

This pasta dish combines the best elements of a fall cheese plate into every bowl

Fruit adds something special to savory dishes: a generous dose of seasonality. We can get so many fruits year-round, but when they’re at their in-season peak, there’s nothing like, say, citrus to spark a winter salad, grilled peaches to make a barbecue sauce sing of summer or pears to turn a bowl of pasta into something positively fall-ish. The sweetness of pears is nuanced and subtle, much more so than any hit of sugar, maple or honey.

Here’s a roasted squash recipe you’ll be proud to serve to company — or keep all to yourself

Every fall, the sight of winter squashes in all their glory — stacked in bins at the supermarket, arranged in piles at the farmers market — brings me a shiver of joy almost as invigorating as the realization that I can finally turn on the oven at any time of day without worrying it’ll overheat the house. Roasting is my preferred way to cook so many vegetables, and these babies are no exception. My favorite varieties are the drier, firmer ones such as kabocha, acorn and red kuri, partly because

You can skip the pastry. These vegetable pot pies use a sweet potato crust.

Two things stop me from making pot pies for other than special occasions: 1) The pastry, which takes time to make, roll, cut and shape. 2) The pastry, whose buttery goodness can make it seem a little too indulgent for any old weeknight. [Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.] It’s a shame, because the nostalgic pull of a pot pie is so strong. My favorite way around the obstacles is to use something else entirely for the top, the way author Laura Wright does in this recip

Here’s a hearty way to get your greens: In a cheesy pan of lasagna

Lasagna is like pizza: Even when it’s bad, it’s good. With pizza, the saying goes, it’s still melted cheese on warm bread. With lasagna, sub in warm noodles for the bread, and you’ve got the same idea. What could be wrong with such bubbly goodness? That doesn’t mean there aren’t better and worse lasagnas, of course. You can make your own pasta dough, labor over the sauce and fillings, and use the best possible cheese for something positively sublime on the one hand, or reach into the freezer fo

The secret to a deeply flavorful vegetarian soup: Dried porcini mushrooms

Dried mushrooms are a cook’s friend. They can hang out in your pantry, undisturbed, for an eternity, and then when you’re ready to bring them out to play, they do so with such power and energy the only downside is you feel guilty for not inviting them to the party earlier. [Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here] For a plant-based cook, their appeal is even stronger, because they add the kind of depth and umami to your cooking that you may have thought was possible only th

With a hint of fall in the air, it’s time to tuck into cheesy stuffed eggplants with tomato and onion

There aren’t too many ways I don’t like eggplant, if it’s cooked right. And that often involves an ungodly amount of olive oil, since eggplant soaks up the stuff as if there were an impending shortage. The reputation of eggplant as an oil hog has even resulted in the name of a classic Turkish dish, imam bayildi, which translates to “the imam fainted.”

Here’s how to turn your grilled cheese sandwich into an umami bomb

Grilled cheese is elemental. All you need is the right cheese (I like Gruyere or sharp cheddar), the right bread (I go for a soft sandwich bread), a little butter and a pan, and you’re on the way to a quick, simple, satisfying meal. Or at least the main thrust of one, rounded out by good old tomato soup and/or a salad. But you don’t need a recipe for a plain grilled cheese sandwich, do you? What you need is a recipe that takes grilled cheese to the next level with just a couple of smart additio

This genius sauce turns your pasta into a seasonal stunner — no matter the season

Some cookbook authors have earned my complete trust, and Amy Chaplin is one of them. I’ve never made a thing I didn’t love from her stunning first book, 2014’s “At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen,” and have recommended it countless times. So I knew that when the Australian teacher, consultant and personal chef came out with another book, history would surely repeat itself. Chaplin’s latest, “Whole Food Cooking Every Day” (Artisan, 2019), starts with the same philosophy as her first — that cookin

Fried rice was made for those containers of leftover takeout in your fridge

If you order Chinese takeout with any regularity, you know the drill: You need to do something with all that leftover rice languishing in your fridge. It dries out and hardens a little, which would be a problem except that when you make fried rice — and you absolutely should make fried rice — that’s just what you want. I’ve made it off the cuff plenty of times, throwing in whatever I have and following the basic rules of stir-frying: cutting the ingredients small, having everything prepped in a

This quick Korean stir-fry serves up a bounty of fresh-cut vegetables

I never met a noodle I didn’t like. Spaghetti, ramen, udon, rice: You name it, I’ll slurp it, happily. A favorite, especially in the summer, is dangmyeon, Korean sweet potato noodles, a.k.a. glass noodles, a.k.a. cellophane noodles. Why especially in summer? Because these noodles, which get their English name because of their translucence, are super-light and springy, and gluten-free. I can eat a lot of them without feeling as weighed down as I do by, say, pasta (as much as I love pasta). When
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