Recipes for Grandmaster

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1 lb Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, each cut in half
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp black mustard seed (optional)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp coarse-grain or whole grain mustard
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1.5 Tbsp oil and sprinkle with salt and mustard seed (if using). Mix together and spread in single layer. Roast for ~35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sprouts are softened and browned.

Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, and remaining 1.5 Tbsp oil in a large bowl. Taste and season with salt.

Transfer the roasted sprouts to the bowl and toss to incorporate the dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

adapted from Tsuji, Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art

The savory-sweetness of miso goes beautifully with grilled food. In this recipe, the eggplant &/or tofu is finished under the broiler to maximize the caramelization of the glaze, but you can also make it entirely on the grill if you prefer.  Using white miso gives a sweeter and more delicate flavor; the red is nuttier and richer-tasting. 

¼ cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine for cooking)
¼ cup sake
½ cup red or white miso paste (or a combination)
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ lbs Chinese or Japanese eggplant
1 lb extra-firm tofu
1 Tb vegetable oil or as needed
2 Tb toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp or so grated lemon zest or fresh ginger (optional)

  1. Combine the mirin, sake, miso paste(s), and sugar in a bowl, whisking until well combined.  Set aside.
  2. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, then score the flesh on the cut side in a cross-hatch pattern (this will help the eggplant cook evenly and give the sauce more surface area to cling to).  Cut the tofu into slabs approximately 2”x2”x½”.  Lightly brush all surfaces of both eggplant and tofu with vegetable oil.
  3. Make a medium-hot fire in the grill and clean and oil the grates.
  4. Grill the eggplant cut side down for about 3 minutes, then turn and grill on the skin side for about 4 minutes, until almost cooked through.  Grill the tofu on both sides until grill marks appear and the tofu releases easily from the grill.  Transfer both to a broiler-proof pan lined with foil. 
  5. Slather the cut side of the eggplant and one side of the tofu liberally with the sauce.
  6.  Broil under high heat about 6” from the heating element until the eggplant is cooked through and the sauce caramelizes, about 4 minutes, or grill until the glazed sides are brown (this may stick a bit, which is why a clean and well oiled grill is important!).
  7. Arrange on a serving dish and garnish with the toasted sesame seeds and lemon zest or ginger.
(adapted from )

This beautiful, summery salad is great just as it is, but if you’d like to add some protein you can substitute 8oz of plain or 5-spice shredded tofu sheets (doufu si/豆腐丝) for 4oz of the soba.

¼ cup corn oil
1 Tb sesame oil
1 Tb soy sauce
3 Tb rice vinegar
1 Tb minced ginger
¼ cup chilled orange juice
¼ cup chilled coconut water
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt, or to taste

8oz soba noodles (dried & uncooked), or 4oz soba & 8 ounces shredded tofu sheets (regular or 5-spice)
¼ red cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 medium carrots, julienned
1 Japanese or English cucumber, de-seeded and julienned
1 yellow tomato, seeded and sliced (or 1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes, halved)
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup chopped basil

  1. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Cook the soba according to the package directions, and rinse immediately and thoroughly in cold water till chilled.
  3. Toss together all the noodles, tofu (if using), vegetables, herbs, and dressing.  If you’re making it significantly in advance, reserve about ¼ of the dressing and toss it with the noodles just before serving.
(adapted from

This savory tofu favorite can also be made with many other seasonal vegetables.

1 Tb cornstarch
1 Tb water
1 block (about a pound) of firm tofu
½ cup dried black or shiitake mushrooms (available at Asian & many other grocery stores)
1 ½ cups hot water
1 Tb vegetarian oyster sauce (check the label to make sure there’s no onion or garlic in it, but there’s usually not)
½ tsp sesame oil
1 Tb light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 Tb rice wine or dry sherry
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1 Tb oil
a handful of snow peas, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally
1 small carrot, thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
¼ cup sliced bamboo shoots (optional)

  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in the hot water till softened; reserve the water and clean any grit from the mushroom gills under running water. 
  2. Mix cornstarch and water into a slurry in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Drain the tofu of excess liquid, cut it half, then cut the halves into ½ inch thick slices.
  4. Make a stock mixture by combining the reserved mushroom soaking water, oyster sauce, sesame oil, soy sauces, wine, sugar, and salt in a bowl.
  5. Heat the wok over high heat and add the oil. Spread the tofu in 1 layer in the wok. Sear each side for about a minute. If you need more time to turn the tofu, reduce the heat to medium and take your time!
  6. After another minute, add the stock mixture and the mushrooms. Return the heat to high if it’s not already there. Give the wok a shake to prevent the tofu from sticking. When the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium, cover and let cook for about 5 minutes. Some of the liquid should evaporate.
  7. Remove the cover, turn the wok back up to high heat and add your vegetables. Gently toss them with the tofu, being careful not to break the tofu pieces. Quickly add the cornstarch slurry a little at a time to thicken the remaining liquid just enough to coat tofu and vegetables. If the sauce is too thick, just add more water or stock. If it’s too thin, add more slurry. Give the dish a final toss, and serve with steamed rice.

This is a lovely, refreshing summer tofu dish that takes only a few minutes to make.  It can be scaled up considerably, but try not to make it more than a few hours in advance as the tofu will shed quite a bit of water.  If you’re making it for yourself, try adding a couple Tb of minced garlic &/or scallion.

1 Tb soy sauce
1 Tb broad bean paste with chili (this is precisely what you want, as there are a Lot of spicy bean pastes out there!  Whatever you get, be sure to check the label for garlic or onion).
1 Tb sesame oil
½ tsp sugar
1 package (1lb) firm silken tofu*
1 Tb sesame seeds, toasted
A few Tb chopped thai or regular basil and chopped cilantro

  1. Whisk the soy sauce, bean paste, sesame oil, and sugar in a small bowl till the sugar dissolves.
  2. Slice the tofu into bite-sized slabs and arrange it in your serving dish.
  3. Drizzle the sauce over and garnish with the sesame, basil and cilantro.

* Unless specifically labeled ‘silken,’ most tofu in the US is ‘cotton’ tofu, which has a spongier, less custardy texture.  You really do want silken tofu for this recipe.

(adapted from Yamuna Devi, Lord Krishna’s Cuisine)

This summery dal can be made with either chana dal or split yellow peas and with any kind of summer squash as long as it is very firm and fresh.  If you can find bottle gourd or trombocino squash, by all means use them- they’ll need to be peeled first. 

1 cup chana dal or yellow split peas, soaked for 5 hours or overnight in salted water to cover by 2 inches, then drained
7 cups GM vegetable stock or water
½ tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
1 Tb grated or very finely chopped ginger
4 Tb vegetable oil
1 ½ lbs very firm summer squash, cut into 1” cubes
1 ½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
½ Tb lemon juice
1 ¼ tsp cumin seeds
1-2 whole small dried red chiles
¼ tsp asafoetida
6-8 fresh or frozen curry leaves

  1. Combine the drained dal, the stock or water, turmeric, coriander, ginger, and 1 Tb of oil in a large pot over high heat, stirring frequently till it reaches a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover tightly and let simmer for about 90 minutes.
  2. Add the squash and garam masala, stir thoroughly, and simmer uncovered, stirring regularly, for another 30 minutes or until the squash is fully cooked.  Stir in the lemon juice and salt.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.  When it’s hot, add the cumin seeds and chiles and fry until the cumin turns brown.  Add the asafoetida and curry leaves, turn off the heat and pour the seasoned oil into the dal.   Cover the dal and let the oil blend in for a couple minutes, then uncover and stir to combine.
(adapted from Swasthi Shreekanth)

This zesty chickpea dish is a perennial favorite- the combination of the tender, buttery chickpeas and the lightly spicy gingered tomato sauce is hard to beat.  It goes well with anything, but especially with whole wheat roti or other Indian bread.  It really will be best if you start with dried chickpeas, but on the upside it can be made well in advance- it only gets better. 

1 ¼ cup dried chickpeas
5 ½ cups water
5 Tb vegetable or avocado oil
1 ½ tsp grated or very finely minced ginger
1 ½ tsp chopped green chile (optional)
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp black mustard seeds
8-12 fresh or frozen curry leaves
5 medium tomatoes- peeled, seeded & diced (you can also use whole canned tomatoes if you must)
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp garam masala
¼ cup roughly chopped parsley and/or cilantro
1 tsp salt

  1. Put the chickpeas in a bowl, add the water, salt generously, and agitate until the salt looks mostly dissolved.  Let sit at least 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Pour the chickpeas and the soaking water into a large pot, add 1 Tb oil, and bring to a full boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover tightly, and simmer until chickpeas are butter-soft but not broken down- this may take up to a couple of hours.  Drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid.
  3. Heat 3 Tb oil over medium heat in a heavy deep skillet with lid.  When it’s hot, add the ginger, green chile (if using), cumin, and black mustard and fry until cumin turns brown.
  4. Drop in the curry leaves, then the tomatoes immediately after.  Add the turmeric, lemon juice, and garam masala and sauté until the texture is fairly uniform and the fat separates from the sauce, adding the chickpea liquid as necessary to keep it from sticking.
  5. Add the chickpeas and ¼ cup of their liquid.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add more of the chickpea liquid if it starts to stick.
  6. Take off the heat and add salt as necessary and the remaining oil.  Add the minced herbs just before serving.
(adapted from Yamuna Devi, Lord Krishna’s Cuisine)

The contrast of textures between the tender rice, buttery-soft eggplant and crispy cashews makes this pilau particularly nice.  To ensure that they’re flavorful all the way through, the eggplant spears are briefly soaked in spiced liquid prior to cooking, which is a good technique for spongy vegetables in general.  If you’re making this in advance, add the cashews just before serving so they maintain their crunch.  You can find fresh curry leaves at Indian groceries.

1 ¼ cup basmati or other long-grain rice
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt
2 - 2 ¼ cup GM veg stock or water
1 small eggplant (about ½ lb), unpeeled, cut into ½”x½”x2” spears
3 Tb sesame seeds
12 black peppercorns
1 ½ Tb coriander seeds
8 whole cloves
¼ tsp cinnamon
5 Tb vegetable oil, or as needed
½ cup raw or roasted cashew pieces
½ Tb grated or very finely minced ginger
2 tsp minced green chile (optional)
½ tsp black mustard seeds
2 black or 4 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
5-6 fresh or frozen curry leaves (optional but highly desirable)
½ Tb lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
3 Tb coarsely chopped cilantro

  1. Combine the turmeric, 1 tsp salt, and 1 Tb water or stock in a shallow bowl.  Add the eggplant pieces and coat well.
  2. Combine the sesame seeds, peppercorns, coriander, and cloves in a heavy skillet and dry-roast over low heat, stirring frequently, until the sesame is pale golden.  Transfer to a spice or coffee grinder or to a mortar and grind to a powder.  Mix in the cinnamon.
  3. Heat 5 Tb oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the cashews and fry until golden brown.  Remove the cashews with a slotted spoon and set aside (if you’re making the pilau in advance, let the cashews cool then store them in an airtight container until just before serving).  Next add the ginger, chile, black mustard seeds, and cardamom to the pan and fry until the mustard turns grey and begins to pop.  Add the curry leaves and immediately drop in the eggplant spears.  Gently sauté for a few minutes until the eggplant begins to brown.
  4. Pour in the rice and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes, or until it’s evenly coated with oil and glistening.  Add the water or stock, remaining 1 tsp salt, the sesame blend, lemon juice, and sugar.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately turn the heat down to the lowest possible, cover tightly, and let simmer undisturbed for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender and fluffy.  Turn off the heat and let the rice rest, still covered, for 5 minutes.
  5. Before serving, transfer a serving dish, add the cashews, and fluff gently with a large fork.  Sprinkle evenly with the cilantro.
(adapted from Swasthi Shreekanth)

Khicharis are great one-dish meals for a number of reasons- most of them are nutritionally complete combinations of grains, dals, and vegetables; they’re filling and satisfying without being too heavy; they hold and reheat well; and they only require one pot.  Plus they’re delicious, so it’s hard to go far wrong!

1 cup basmati or other long-grain rice
1 small cauliflower, washed, dried, and chopped into ½” chunks
¼ tsp asafoetida
4 Tb vegetable or avocado oil
½ tsp grated or very finely minced ginger
1 Tb seeded and finely chopped green chile, or as desired (optional)
1 Tb cumin seeds
⅔ cup split moong (mung) dal- it must be the split kind, or the recipe will not work
¾ cup fresh green peas or frozen baby peas, defrosted
7 cups GM vegetable stock or water
1 ¼ tsp turmeric
salt to taste
1 Tb avocado (preferably) or vegetable oil
large handful chopped coriander or parsley

  1. Have the cauliflower and asafoetida ready next to the stove.  Heat 4 Tb oil in a heavy 4-5 quart saucepan over medium heat.  When it’s hot but not smoking, add the ginger, chile (if using), and cumin seeds.  Fry until the cumin turns brown.
  2. Quickly add the asafoetida and immediately afterwards the cauliflower.  Sauté until the cauliflower is lightly browned and partly cooked, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and dal and sauté for another minute.
  3. Pour in the stock or water and stir in the turmeric and the fresh peas, if using.  Bring to a boil over high heat then turn the heat to low.  Partially cover the pan and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice and dal are soft and the texture is similar to oatmeal, 60-90 minutes.  As it gets closer to being done, stir more frequently to prevent sticking.  If you’re using thawed frozen peas, add them only in the last 5 minutes.  When the khichari is done, add salt to taste and the 1 Tb avocado or vegetable oil, then fluff the mixture gently.  Sprinkle the fresh herb over the khichari before serving.
(adapted from

Cauliflower, when roasted, is very meaty and satisfying; this typically Sicilian preparation combines the rich tenderness of the vegetable with a lively, crunchy topping.

1 head cauliflower, trimmed of leaves
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 1/2 Tb olive oil, or more as needed
3 Tb fresh soft (vegan) bread crumbs (equal to about 3 slices of vegan supermarket bread- check labels for milk solids)
1 Tb plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
4 Tb whole almonds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tb dried currants (golden raisins will also work)
1 Tb white wine vinegar
1 Tb small capers, rinsed and drained
1 Tb coarsely chopped parsley
1 Tb finely chopped fresh oregano or marjoram

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.  Cut cauliflower from top to bottom in 1-inch slices. Place a large ovenproof skillet over low heat and add one tablespoon olive oil. When it has melted, add bread crumbs and toss until toasted and golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a plate and wipe out pan.
  2.  Return pan to medium heat and add one teaspoon olive oil. Add almonds and toss until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer almonds to a plate, let cool, and roughly chop; set aside.
  3. Wipe out pan and return to medium heat. Add remaining one tablespoon olive oil and cauliflower slices. Sauté until lightly browned on both sides; Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer pan to oven and roast until tender, about 12 minutes (this may take a few batches). Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and add the currants or raisins, vinegar and 1 tablespoon water. Simmer until currants are plump and soft, about 5 minutes; drain and set aside. In a small bowl, combine almonds, capers, currants, parsley, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and toss to mix.
  4. Arrange roasted cauliflower on a serving dish. Spoon almond-herb mixture evenly on top and sprinkle with toasted breadcrumbs immediately before serving, so the topping remains fresh and crunchy.
(adapted from the Washington Post)

This hearty grain salad is rich in protein and fiber and can be prepared well in advance, though it should only be garnished and dressed shortly before serving.  Harissa is a spicy North African condiment that’s easy enough to make at home- if you prefer a ready-made variety be sure to check that there’s no garlic or onion in it. 

1 ⅓ cups whole wheatberries
½ tsp salt
5 ⅓ cups water or GM veg stock
1 Tb or so good quality olive oil
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in salted water overnight and drained, or 2 15oz cans
4 carrots, diced

2 Tb lemon juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp smoked paprika (optional)
2 Tb homemade or store-bought harissa*
6 Tb good quality olive oil

½ cup pitted green olives, sliced or roughly chopped
⅓ cup marcona or roasted almonds, roughly chopped
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  1. Rinse and drain the wheatberries, then combine them with the stock or water and ½ tsp salt  in a medium pot with a snugly-fitting lid.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the wheat is tender but chewy.  This can take up to an hour, but you can start checking for doneness after about 30 minutes.  Let the wheat rest for 15 minutes in the covered pot.  If all the water has not been absorbed, drain the wheat in a colander, then toss with a Tb or so of good olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and set aside to cool.
  2. If using dried chickpeas that you’ve soaked overnight, drain them, put them in a large pot with ¼ tsp salt and a bay leaf (you can also add a carrot cut in quarters and a stick of celery if you like), and cover them with cold water by an inch or so.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the beans are tender but not mushy, adding more water as necessary to keep the beans covered.  The time for this can vary greatly, but may be up to 90 minutes if you’re starting with very old, dry beans- again, start checking for doneness after about 30 minutes.  When they’re done to your liking, drain them, toss them with a bit of olive oil, and let them cool.  Or just open a couple of cans and drain the chickpeas.
  3. When the wheatberries and the chickpeas have cooled to no hotter than warm, combine them with the carrots, tossing thoroughly to mix.  At this point they can be refrigerated for up to two days, or you can go ahead to the next step.  If refrigerating, take out the mixture and let it come to room temperature before dressing.
  4. Dissolve the salt in the lemon juice by combining both in an empty jar and shaking vigorously.  Add the optional smoked paprika, the harissa and the olive oil and shake till emulsified.
  5. Toss the wheat and chickpea mixture with about ⅔ of the dressing, wait a few minutes for it to absorb, and toss again.
  6. Sprinkle the olives, almonds, and parsley over the salad, toss thoroughly, and serve.

*Here are two good harissa recipes without alliums:

(adapted from

A galette is simply a free-form pie in which the dough partly encloses the filling.  This is a deeply satisfying combination of summer vegetables and herby white beans that’s equally good hot, warm, or at room temperature.  There are several brands of vegan pie crust fairly readily available- you’ll want the kind that is not already in a tin.

1 storebought or homemade vegan pie crust, thawed if frozen
half a can of cannellini beans, drained (7 ½ oz), liquid reserved
1 tsp lemon juice
4 Tb olive oil
1 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 cups (about 1 lb) cherry or grape tomatoes
1 ear corn, cut from the cob (about 1 cup)
1 small (8 oz) zucchini or summer squash, diced
2 Tb fresh thyme, chopped
1 oz small capers, drained on paper towel

  1. Combine the beans, lemon juice, and 2 Tb olive oil in a food processor and pulse to a very thick, chunky bean-dip texture; if it seems too crumbly add a bit of the bean liquid to loosen it up.  Stir in the rosemary and season with salt & pepper to taste.
  2. Combine 1 Tb olive oil, tomatoes, salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional) to a large sauté pan then cover and heat over medium-high heat. Roll the tomatoes around from time to time so that they’ll cook evenly. In a few minutes, you’ll hear some pops as the tomatoes burst a little. When most have, remove lid, turn heat down to medium and add the zucchini. Saute for two minutes, until it softens. Add corn and cook one minute. Adjust for salt.  Mix in the thyme.
  3. Transfer mixture to a large plate and spread it out, so that it will cool faster. You want it cooled to at least lukewarm before assembling the galette.  When you’re ready to bake the galette, transfer the vegetables to a large colander for a few minutes and let any excess liquid drain out.
  4. Heat oven to 400º F. On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round- it really doesn’t need to be perfectly shaped. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the white bean mixture evenly across the dough, leaving about a 1” margin all round.  Spoon the drained vegetables into the center of the dough, leaving a 2” margin.  Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Bake the galette for 30 to 40 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the last Tb of olive oil in a small skillet.  Add the capers, and fry them until they bloom into little flowers and crisp, just 30 seconds or so. Lift them out and quickly drain them on a paper towel.
  6. When the galette is done, remove it from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes, then slide onto a serving plate. Sprinkle the capers evenly over the surface. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
(adapted from

Sweet potatoes are an excellent substitute for cheese in these vegan quesadillas (the word quesadilla refers to their shape, not their contents, so don’t worry about betraying the concept!), though you could add some vegan “cheese” if you like.  These work with a number of different fillings- just make sure any vegetables are cooked beforehand.

  1. 1 large sweet potato (about 12 ounces; 340g)
  2. Small handful minced fresh cilantro leaves (see note)
  3. Kosher salt
  4. Fillings (use 2-3 of the following): 3 Tb pickled jalapeños; ½ cup roasted jalapeños, frying peppers, or bell peppers; 6 oz sauteed corn and/or zucchini; 5 oz sauteed spinach; ½ cup roasted cherry tomatoes; 6-8 oz canned black or pinto beans; ½ cup shredded vegan “cheese”; sauteed Quorn chunks; whatever else appeals to you.
  6. 4 to 6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  7. Vegetable oil, as needed
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place sweet potato in an oven-safe vessel and roast until a knife or skewer inserted into its center meets no resistance, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Roasted sweet potato can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for several days before you continue with the recipe.
  2. Peel and discard sweet potato skin and mash flesh with a fork in a medium bowl. Add cilantro and fillings of your choice. Stir and fold to combine. Season to taste with salt.
  3. Spread about 1/2 cup of the mixture evenly over half of 1 tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold tortilla over and seal edges by pressing down firmly. Repeat with remaining filling and as many tortillas as needed (about 4 to 6, depending on the exact size of the sweet potato).
  4. Heat 2 Tb (30ml) oil in a large skillet or on a griddle over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully add 2 folded tortillas and cook, swirling and moving tortillas around, until golden brown and puffy on first side, about 2 minutes. Using a flexible spatula, flip quesadillas, season with salt, and continue cooking until golden brown and puffy on second side, about 2 minutes longer.
  5. Transfer quesadillas to a paper towel to drain and repeat step 4 to cook remaining quesadillas.  Cut into wedges to serve.

Simple as it is, this stock is a great savory base for all sorts of dishes- the natural msg in the kelp gives everything an umami quality without heaviness that’s hard to replicate otherwise.

scant 1 ½ oz/40g konbu (kelp; it will be labelled konbu or kombu)
a damp paper towel
1 quart cool water

  1. Wipe the konbu gently with the damp paper towel, but don’t try to scrub off the white powdery surface- it’s not mold.
  2. Combine the konbu and water in a quart-sized container, let sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Remove the konbu and save for other uses, if you like.  For a more intense flavor, bring the konbu almost to a simmer (do NOT let it boil, or it will turn slimy and bitter).  Turn off the heat, remove the konbu, and let the dashi cool slightly before using.

This is a wonderful cooling vegetable dish that tastes a lot more complicated than it is.  It works well year round, and is satisfying as well as refreshing.

1 lb fresh spinach, thoroughly cleaned
4 Tb sesame seeds
3 Tb konbu dashi
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar, as needed

  1. Boil the spinach in a large pot of water for 30 seconds or until it has turned a rich green in color and wilted.
  2. Drain spinach from pot and chill thoroughly in ice water. Drain and lightly squeeze to remove any excess water. Chop roughly and set aside.
  3. Toast the sesame seeds lightly in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, just until pale golden.
  4. Place sesame seeds in a food processor or mortar and grind into a coarse powder. Add the soy sauce and sake to the sesame mixture and process until combined.  Add the sugar gradually and mix well just until a nice savoury-sweet balance is reached.
  5. Dress the spinach with the sesame seed, soy, and sake and then garnish the top of the dish with any leftover whole sesame seeds.
(adapted from Tsuji, Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art)

Briefly frying the eggplant before simmering keeps it from getting mushy; the stock brings out its natural sweetness (and is not all that spicy).  The long, slender Chinese or Japanese eggplant will work better in this recipe than the bulkier European kind, but if you find very small young European eggplants you can quarter them lengthwise instead of halving.

4 Japanese or Chinese eggplants (about 2 lbs)
¼ cup vegetable oil, or as needed
2 dried Japanese chilis (the small ones about the size of a child’s little finger), split and deseeded, or 4 dried Japanese chilis, left whole

1 ⅔ cup konbu dashi
1 Tb mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine for cooking)
4 Tb sugar
2 Tb soy sauce
½ tsp grated ginger

  1. You will need a pan- either a deep skillet or a saucepan- large enough to fit the eggplant more or less in a single layer, and a lightweight lid just slightly smaller, so it can fit just inside the pan.  Alternatively, cut a circle of parchment paper just small enough to fit inside the pan and cut a small hole (about ½”) in the middle for a vent.
  2. Trim the ends off the eggplants and halve them lengthwise, then make fairly deep diagonal cuts on the skin side (a third to half way through) about ½” apart.  Cut the eggplants crosswise into 2-3” lengths.
  3. Mix together the mirin, sugar, and soy sauce; set aside along with the dashi.
  4. Heat a couple Tb of oil until quite hot and add the eggplant, skin side down.  Stir fry until the skins turn a brilliant purple, adding more oil as necessary- eggplant soaks up oil quickly, and you do not want a pool of oil in the pan, so only add what you need to keep the pieces from sticking or scorching.  When the skin color has changed and the eggplant has softened a bit (about 7 minutes), add the dried chilis and stir-fry for another few seconds.
  5. Pour in the dashi, give everything a stir, then add the other sauce ingredients.  Cover with the lid or parchment disk and simmer over low heat until the liquid is somewhat reduced and the eggplant is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  6. Serve the eggplant skin side up warm or at room temperature with some of the stock mixture poured over.

These are a great summer side, very flavorful- searing the peppers like this gives them a stripey color & varied texture.  Hot green peppers are the standard choice, but you can use milder frying peppers (or combine them) if you prefer.

12 long hot or mild  green peppers (about 1 lb), de-seeded and cut in half
3 Tb warm water
½ tsp sugar
3 Tb Chinese black rice vinegar
sea salt, to taste
3 Tb avocado oil (or any oil other than peanut with a high smoking point and light flavor)

  1. If you’re using hot peppers, start by de-seeding them. Be sure not to touch your face or eyes before washing your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Once de-seeded, cut the peppers in half.
  2. Combine the water, sugar, vinegar, and a pinch of salt in a bowl and set aside. Heat a wok over medium heat and spread the oil around the perimeter of the wok. The oil should be hot but not smoking. Add the peppers to the wok and spread them around evenly so they are all in contact with the wok surface.
  3. After about 1 minute, start tossing the peppers with your spatula, making sure the peppers cook evenly. You know the wok is the right temperature if you gently press a pepper to the wok and you feel it searing and trying to bounce back. Turn the temperature down if the peppers look like they are starting to burn. Continue tossing and turning the peppers for another 5 minutes to make sure all sides get a nice "tiger skin" sear- browned deeply in places but not scorched.
  4. Once the peppers have that variegated "tiger skin" look, turn the heat up to medium high and add in the vinegar mixture. Stir fry for about 30 seconds until the sauce is reduced slightly. Serve with a sprinkling of sea salt.

This is a refreshing and interestingly textured salad that works all year round. 

1 heaping cup dried tree ears (aka wood ears)
1-2 fresh red chili peppers, deseeded and chopped
1½ Tb dark vinegar
1 Tb light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
½ medium Japanese or English cucumber, peeled, seeded, & cut into matchsticks (optional)
1 large handful cilantro, chopped

  1. Soak the tree ears in a bowl of water till reconstituted (their volume will about quadruple, so use a big bowl!), then rinse them and cut out any hard or gelatinous bits.  They should have a firm but flexible and springy texture.
  2. In a medium-sized pot, cook the wood ears in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water to cool them completely. Set aside and let any excess water drain off. You can also use a salad spinner to get rid of the excess water.  Cut them into bite-sized pieces if necessary.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the peppers, vinegar, light soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil until the sugar dissolves. Next, add the wood ears and mix well. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Add cucumber (if using).  Make sure to stir mixture again before serving, as the sauce tends to settle to the bottom. Plate and toss with the cilantro (if you add the cilantro too early, the acid may turn it grey & mushy).
(adapted from Yamuna Devi, Lord Krishna’s Cuisine)

Charcharis are characterized by a unique process that boils, steams, and fries the ingredients in a single pan without stirring.  The vegetables become buttery-soft as their liquid evaporates, then the bottom surface forms a deeply savory crust which is then softened slightly by steaming before being mixed throughout the dish.  This particular charchari is distinguished by the use of lemon and sweet spices, which lift the earthy flavors of eggplant and potato.

6 Tb vegetable or avocado oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 Tb grated or very finely chopped ginger
2 green chiles, seeded, deribbed and slivered, or to taste
⅛ tsp asafoetida
6-8 fresh or frozen curry leaves
1 ¼ lb boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
1 lb eggplant, cut into 1” cubes
1 ⅔ cups GM vegetable stock or water
1 packed cup spinach, coarsely chopped
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp lemon zest
1 Tb lemon juice
½” length cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves, crushed
¼ tsp ground fennel
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¾ tsp salt

  1. Heat 4 Tb of the oil in a heavy-bottomed 3-quart nonstick pan over medium heat.  Add the mustard seed, ginger, and chile and fry until the mustard turns grey and starts to pop.  Stir in the asafoetida and curry leaves, & after about 5 seconds add the potatoes.  Sauté for about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pan and let simmer gently for about 30 minutes.  Check occasionally (without stirring!) to make sure the vegetables aren’t drying out, adding a bit of water as necessary.  When the vegetables are fork-tender, all the liquid should be absorbed and the bottom layer should be sizzling gently.
  3. Raise the heat to medium and let the bottom of the vegetables fry, without stirring, until a deeply browned (but not scorched) crust forms on the bottom of the pan.  Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let the vegetables steam themselves for a few minutes.  To serve, fold the crisp bottom layer into the rest of the dish, distributing it evenly without breaking it apart completely.

There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of versions of saag, and most of them are  good.  While many use the spinach as a sauce for other vegetables or protein, it also deserves a dish of its own.  In this version, the spinach is garnished with toasted cashews and currants- if you’d prefer to treat it as a background for other ingredients, you’ll want to leave out the currants and purée the spinach before adding the protein near the end.

2 lbs spinach, thoroughly washed
5 Tb vegetable or avocado oil
1 green chile, seeded, deribbed, and cut in slivers, or to taste
1 ½” piece ginger, finely chopped or julienned
2 whole cloves, crushed
¼ tsp each fennel seeds, black mustard seeds, and cumin seeds, crushed in a mortar or ground coarsely
1 tsp salt
¼ cup cashew bits
⅓ cup dried currants, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and drained
lemon twists (optional)

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Drop in the spinach and and give it a stir.  Leave it in for a minute or two until thoroughly wilted, then drain it into a colander and run cold water over it to stop the cooking.  Chop the spinach coarsely.
  2. Heat 2 ½ Tb of the oil in a wide heavy skillet over medium heat. Add green chiles, ginger, and crushed spices.  Stir in the spinach and salt and heat through.  Cover the pan and move it off the burner.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 ½ Tb oil in a small saucepan over medium low heat.  Add the cashew bits and fry, stirring constantly, until they begin to color.  Stir in the currants and continue to fry until they’re plump and brown. Remove from the heat, stir in the garam masala, and pour the entire contents over the spinach.  Garnish with lemon twists, if you like.
(adapted from Swasthi Shreekanth)

This is a classic Northern Indian vegetable stew that can be adapted to any season by changing the vegetables you use.  The vegetables are simmered in a highly spiced tomato broth that is thickened with almonds or cashews, and it goes equally well with breads or rice dishes.

2 ½ cups coarsely chopped seasonal vegetables (green beans, new potatoes, bell pepper, eggplant, cauliflower, carrots, etc)
vegetable oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 thin 2” long cinnamon stick
2 pods green cardamom
½ tsp whole cumin
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp ground fenugreek seed
1 green chile (serrano or similar), slit up one side
4 very ripe tomatoes, pureed and passed through a strainer to remove the seeds
½-1 tsp paprika or mild ground chile, to taste
1 cup water or GM vegetable stock, or as needed
10 raw cashews
½ tsp garam masala
½ Tb dried fenugreek leaf
¾ tsp sugar
salt to taste
cilantro, for garnish

  1. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil over medium heat and add the chopped vegetables.  Fry, turning frequently, until they are half cooked and lightly colored.  Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, grind cashews in a blender or small food processor with just enough water to form a thick, creamy paste.  Set aside.
  3. Heat another tablespoon or so of oil over medium-low and add the cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, cloves, and bay leaf.  Let sizzle gently until the cumin darkens in color, then add the ginger and sauté until the raw smell disappears.
  4. Add the tomato puree, green chile, ground fenugreek and paprika or chile powder and fry without scorching until it thickens and pulls slightly away from the sides of the pan, stirring frequently.
  5. Add just enough veg stock or water to produce a gravy-like consistency, bring it to a lively simmer, and add the vegetables, fenugreek leaf, garam masala, and salt to taste.  Simmer until the vegetables are fully cooked and quite tender.
  6. Add the sugar, then the cashew paste and simmer until the gravy thickens- if it’s a bit too thick, add a little more water or stock.  Adjust for salt, garnish with cilantro, and serve.
(adapted from Yamuna Devi, Lord Krishna’s Cuisine)

Since this recipe was originally intended for bottle gourd (a harder squash with fewer seeds than zucchini- it’s sometimes available at Chinese or Indian groceries), it’s particularly important to get very fresh, firm summer squash- baby pattypans, zucchini, or yellow squash will work best.  This is a lively but soothing summer dish, good for restoring the appetite.

1-2 green chiles, or to taste, seeded and deribbed
¾” piece of ginger, coarsely chopped
3 Tb cashew or almond bits
1 ½ Tb coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp fennel seeds
¼ cup water
3 Tb vegetable or avocado oil
¾ lb very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 ½ lbs young summer squash- zucchini, pattypan, or yellow squash, cut into ½” cubes
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

  1. Combine the green chile, ginger, nuts, coriander, cumin, fennel, and water in a blender or small food processor and grind until smooth.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the spice puree and fry until it thickens and separates from the oil.  Add the tomatoes and cook, smashing the pieces with the back of your spoon, for a few minutes until they form a chunky sauce. 
  3. Stir the salt and turmeric into the tomatoes, then add the squash and half the cilantro.  Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed to prevent sticking.  Continue cooking until the squash is tender and succulent, another 10-30 minutes depending on the type, stirring and adding water as necessary.  When the squash is soft but not falling apart, remove from heat, adjust for salt, and garnish with the rest of the cilantro.

Though you can always use water, this rich vegetable stock will add a nice depth of flavor.  It freezes well and requires little active cooking time, so you’ll get plenty of use from the effort.  The cumin and cloves give it a slight South Asian/Middle Eastern quality; feel free to leave them out if that’s not what you want.

2 Tb olive or avocado oil
3 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 large celery stalks with leaves, coarsely chopped
1 medium potato, coarsely chopped
1 large turnip, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
12 cups cool water
1 bay leaf
2 Tb coriander seed
1 tsp cumin seed
½ tsp black peppercorns
½” piece fresh ginger, sliced
3 whole cloves
2 tsp salt, plus more to taste if necessary
2 extremely ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped

  1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-low.  Add the carrots, celery, potato and turnip and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.  It’s fine if they color a little, but they shouldn’t brown super deeply.
  2. Add the water and all other ingredients, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down all the way to the lowest setting, partially cover the pot, and let simmer for about 75 minutes. 
  3. Strain the stock and add only as much salt (if any) necessary to bring out the flavor of the stock- not enough to make it actively salty.

This is a lovely summer salad with a nice combination of flavours and textures, and it can be made a couple days in advance.   You can use canned chickpeas if you like, but taking the time to cook them yourself from dried will give much better results, as will adding just a pinch of asafoetida to the water you cook them in.

3 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed if canned (from about 1 cup dried or 2 15-oz cans)
2 large red bell peppers
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 Tb chopped mint
3 Tb capers, rinsed
2 Tb fresh lemon juice or sherry vinegar
¼ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp honey
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp smoked paprika
4 Tb best quality extra virgin olive oil

  1. If you’re starting with dried chickpeas, soak them overnight in salted water, drain them, put them in a pot with a bay leaf, a peeled carrot, a small stick of celery (preferably with leaves attached), and a pinch of asafoetida if you have it (it’s available at Indian groceries and the “Ethnic” section of some supermarkets), and salted cold water to cover by about an inch.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook till chickpeas are tender but not mushy.  Pick out the aromatics and drain.
  2. Roast the peppers.  This can be done in a few different ways: on a grill (ideally), while you’re waiting for the coals to cool enough to grill something else; in the oven under the broiler; or over a gas flame on the stove.  Regardless of method, you want to roast the peppers, turning to expose all the sides to heat, until the skin is evenly black on all sides.  Put them in a sturdy paper bag, roll the top closed, and let them sit for 10 minutes or so until you can easily rub the skin off (it’s easiest to do under running water, but they’ll have better flavor if you peel them dry).  Cut out the stem and seeds, then cut them into ½” strips.
  3. Toss chickpeas and peppers together with the mint, capers, and parsley.  Mix the honey, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, sherry vinegar or lemon juice, and olive oil by shaking in a jar until emulsified.  Pour about ⅔ of the dressing over the chickpea mixture and toss thoroughly. 
  4. If you’re serving the salad soon, keep it at room temperature.  Add the rest of the dressing and toss again shortly before serving.  If you’re making it in advance, refrigerate it to let the flavors combine, take it out in time for it to return to room temperature, and toss it with the remaining dressing before serving.
(adapted from Sam & Sam Clark, Moro East)

3 medium eggplants (1 ½ - 2lbs)
1 Tb tahini
Seeds of ½ medium pomegranate
1 small bunch mint, roughly chopped
Juice of ½ pomegranate (or ¼ bottled pure pomegranate juice)
3 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper

  1. Whisk the pomegranate juice and olive oil; season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  2. Grill the eggplants whole – either over a hot grill, directly on the naked flame of a gas burner or under the broiler – until the skin is charred and crisp all over and the flesh is very soft.
  3. Take off the heat and, when cool enough to handle, discard the tops and peel off the skin, scraping the flesh from the back of the skin if necessary. Chop the flesh roughly with a knife, then put it in a large bowl and mix by hand until almost smooth. Add the tahini and dressing and taste for seasoning.
  4. Add the pomegranate seeds and mint and stir well. Check for seasoning once more and serve.
(adapted from Gourmet)

This simple combination is a great summer side.  If you like, you can substitute practically any whole grain (freekeh, bulgur, etc) for the couscous, though the texture of this version is particularly nice.  You could also increase the amount of vegetables by adding some roasted eggplant or bell peppers, sauteed zucchini, or fresh corn- feel free to improvise!

2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes (1 1/2 lb)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for tomatoes
2 Tb fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 3/4 cups GM vegetable broth
2 1/4 cups (12 ounces) pearl couscous, sometimes sold as Israeli couscous
1/2 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

  1. Heat oven to 300°F. Halve tomatoes through stem ends and arrange, cut sides up, in 1 layer on a large baking sheet. Drizzle tomatoes lightly with oil (about 1 tablespoon). Sprinkle with salt. Roast in middle of oven until slightly shriveled around edges, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on a rack 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the couscous: bring broth to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and stir in couscous, then simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Spread couscous in one layer on a baking sheet or plate and cool 15 minutes.
  3. When tomatoes are done, make dressing: combine 1/4 cup oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes in a blender until dressing is very smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  4. Transfer cooled couscous to a bowl and stir in olives, roasted tomatoes, herbs, and dressing. Season to taste with more salt and pepper as needed.
(freely adapted from Marcella Hazan, Marcella Cucina)

This potato salad is worlds away from the egg- and mayonnaise-based picnic standby.  Counterintuitively, the vinegar actually brings out the potatoes’ sweetness, and the result is satisfying and refreshing.  Two things are necessary for this to be a success: the potatoes must be peeled, sliced, and dressed while they’re still hot; and the olive oil must be the best quality you can come up with.  Other than that, it’s very simple.  This is one dish that cannot be made too far in advance- if you refrigerate it, the lovely texture will be lost.

2 lbs organic gold potatoes (organic potatoes are sweeter than conventional, and that’s important in this dish)
¼ cup red wine vinegar, or more as needed
best-quality olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
large handful of mixed herbs- parsley, tarragon, thyme, etc (no chives!), roughly chopped
optional: 1 oz small capers

  1. Wash the potatoes and put them in a large pot and add cold water to cover by about 2 inches.  Bring to a slow boil and cook them until tender but not at all soggy.  For average-sized gold potatoes, this should take about 35 minutes; small ones will take less time.  Don’t poke them too often, or they could break apart or become soggy.
  2. When they’re done, drain the water from the pot but keep the potatoes in it.  Shake them in the pan for a few seconds over medium-low heat to evaporate the water left on the skins.
  3. As soon as you can stand to handle them, pull the skins off the potatoes with your fingers, then cut them into ½” slices, spread them out on your serving platter, and sprinkle them with about ¼ cup of red wine vinegar.  Turn the potatoes gently- they may break up a little, but they should stay relatively intact.  This must all be done while the potatoes are still hot.
  4. If you like, heat a little olive oil in a small skillet and fry the optional capers until they become lightly crisp, about 30 seconds or so.  Drain them on paper towel.
  5. When you’re about ready to serve, add salt, pepper, and a liberal couple glugs of the olive oil and turn gently again.  Adjust for seasoning, then scatter the herbs and optional capers over the potatoes.  This dish should be served warm or at room temperature, and should NOT be refrigerated.
(adapted from the Washington Post)

The quinoa needs to cool a bit before you assemble this easy and summery salad, so be sure to start it in advance (if you like, you can make it up to two days ahead, then let it come to room temperature before dressing).  The avocado should be added only when serving so it doesn’t get brown.

1 ⅓ cup dried quinoa
2 cups water or GM vegetable stock

2 smallish, unblemished yellow, green, or grey zucchini, washed and diced small
2 poblano peppers (or other non-hot peppers), seeded and diced small

1 tsp salt
¼ cup lemon juice
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup good quality olive oil

½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2 ripe Hass avocados

  1. Rinse and drain the quinoa, then put it in a heavy pot with a snugly-fitting lid.  Add the water, bring it to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low and cover the pan.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the quinoa is fluffy and tender and all the water has been absorbed.  Let cool in the pot, or, if you’re in a hurry, let it rest in the pot for 15 minutes then spread it out on a baking sheet and let it cool to no hotter than warm.
  2. Add the zucchini and peppers to the quinoa and toss thoroughly.
  3. Dissolve the salt in the lemon juice by combining them in an empty jar and shaking vigorously.  Add the black pepper and oil and shake till emulsified. 
  4. Dress the salad with about ¾ of the dressing and toss thoroughly.  Pit and peel the avocados and cut them into ½ inch chunks, then toss them with the remaining dressing.
  5. Just before serving, add the avocado to the salad and toss lightly.

This fresh, crunchy salad requires almost no cooking and takes advantage of summer vegetables at their best.  To maximise crunch, you can skip the step of boiling the corn and keep it raw.  The dressing and the vegetables other than the avocado can be prepared well in advance, but only cut and mix in the avocado shortly before serving to prevent browning.

2 medium ears corn, preferably bicolor
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup diced red or yellow bell pepper
1 lb ripe avocados, peeled and roughly chopped (about 2 quite large)
1 Tb olive oil
½ Tb lime juice
½ Tb lemon juice
½ tsp honey
¾ tsp salt

  • Boil the corn in salted water for 2 minutes, then plunge into cold water to stop it cooking.  When cool, cut the kernels from the ears and put in your serving bowl.
  • Add the tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper and mix thoroughly.  Add the avocado and toss very gently.
  • Whisk the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, pour evenly over the vegetables, and toss gently again.
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini lightly drained of excess moisture
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, oil, and flour until the mixture resembles wet sand. Turn the mixer to low and add cocoa, zucchini, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Mix until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging.
  4. Remove from the oven and let coolon a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.

If after mixing your batter still seems dry and sandy, you've removed too much liquid from your zucchini. You can bake as-is and get a still delicious but kind of weird treat, or you can add water a few table spoons at a time until a thick and creamy batter is achieved.