Mollie Stone's REAL FOOD Spring 2023

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A World of Eggs: Dishes for breakfast and beyond P. 20 Protein Possibilities: More plants, less meat, better budget and health P. 28 Chef Yia Vang: A place for everyone at the table P. 50
Heavenly homemade cake is easier than you think complimentary Spring 2023 Let Mollie Stone’s cater your special occasions. Order online for in-store pickup
Sweet Sprıng
Every business needs to deploy effective marketing campaigns to reach and convert customers. Adding digital tactics to your marketing will increase touch points and combining it with traditional media like print will increase your ROI CONTACT US TODAY! TAMMY GALVIN , Publisher • 612-371-5869 we can help. IS YOUR MARKETING CAMPAIGN GOING SOUR?

Those who love to cook make more than food in the kitchen. They make the most of every moment together—sharing stories, creating delicious flavors and simply enjoying the company of close friends. For more than 80 years, Le Creuset has been a part of these special times, and a colorful companion to all who savor food—and life—to the fullest. To learn more about Le Creuset’s classic French quality, and the joys of cooking with premium enameled cast iron, visit


20 A World of Eggs

Countries around the globe have uniquely delicious egg dishes to keep things interesting for breakfast and beyond.

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50 A Place for Everyone

Chef Yia Vang brings Hmong food to American tables with tradition and innovation.

28 Protein Possibilities

Adding plant-based proteins and using less meat in meals can be a friendly combination for your budget and health.

ON THE COVER Victoria Sponge Cake


Terry Brennan


Lara Miklasevics

4 Bites

Making heavenly homemade cake is easier than you think.

6 Four of a Kind

Healthy avocados top toast in tasty ways— here are four to try.

36 One Pan, Endless Options

Streamline mealtime and cleanup with easy sheet pan dinners. RECIPES BY JENNY


17 Tips and Tools

Fresh ideas spice up your spring.


Healthy Habits

Food choices can help prevent or ght in ammation.

42 Tacos Tonight

With so many di erent types and avorful ways to prepare them, tacos are the perfect dinner. BY LAUREN

56 Pairings

Spring vegetables and more nd a match in Sauvignon Blanc.


Tammy Galvin


Alesha Taylor


Mary Subialka


Samantha Johnson and Katherine Lawless


Tonya Sutfin


Ted Rossiter


Ly Nguyen


Johanna Moriarty


Real Food magazine is published quarterly by Greenspring Media, LLC, 9401 James Ave. S, Suite 152, Bloomington, MN 55431, 612.371.5800, Fax 612.371.5801. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Real Food is exclusively operated and owned by Greenspring Media, LLC. Printed in the USA.

The pages between the covers of this magazine (except for any inserted material) are printed on paper made from wood fiber that was procured from forests that are sustainably managed to remain healthy, productive and biologically diverse.

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“Instead of going out to dinner, buy good food. Cooking at home shows such a ection.”

Fave Fruits

You can personalize your cake and top it with a variety of fruits—or even edible flowers—that make it your own.

Sweet Spring

This Victory (Victoria) Sponge Cake recipe is a slice of pure heaven.

Ihave to admit I hadn’t ever made a Victoria Sponge Cake until British food writer Mary Berry came into my life through “The Great British Baking Show.” You’ll notice that the ratio of ingredients here is very similar to a traditional pound cake. I finally had a proper Victoria sponge while on a trip to Dublin, and it was so light and really nothing like its distant pound-cake relative. When I got back home I had a difficult time replicating that texture, because U.S. flour is different and produces a denser cake. Once I employed “self-raising” flour, a common British ingredient, which contains baking powder and salt in the mix, I had a total victory! The traditional filling is whipped cream and jam with a simple dusting of powdered sugar. I added a bit of fresh fruit for flavor and texture, and it’s just straight up pretty. Try it, you’ll be chuffed! My tip is to crank up your favorite music, any tunes that move you, then tie on your apron and get to baking cake!

4 real food
Reprinted from “Zoe Bakes Cakes.” Copyright © 2021 by Zoë François. Published by Ten Speed
an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.

Perfect Whipped Cream


There is no better complement to a cake than perfectly whipped cream. It should be full of body but light and creamy.

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla and beat on medium speed (you read that right) until just thick—it will start to leave marks from the whisk in the cream.

2. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using the whisk attachment, continue whipping by hand for several seconds until the cream reaches the desired consistency; this way, you can ensure the mixer won’t take it too far. Whipped cream is best used right away.

Berry Quick Jam


This is a simple, super-fast way to make homemade jam. The flavor is pure and the color vibrant, since it is made with nothing more than fruit and a bit of sugar. Because it relies on the natural pectin in the fruit, it will be looser than a store-bought jam. But if cooked as directed, it will be plenty thick enough to use as a filling in the Victory (Victoria) Sponge Cake.

16 ounces fresh or frozen strawberries, raspberries, or other berries

½ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the berries, sugar, and lemon juice and break the berries up with a fork just enough to produce a bit of juice. Set over medium-low heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring often.

2. The jam is ready when it clings to a spoon and you can draw a line through it that doesn’t immediately fill in. Remove from the heat and let cool thoroughly. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Victory (Victoria) Sponge Cake


The “self-raising” flour, also known as “self-rising” flour containing baking powder and salt in the mix, will help you, too, have a victory.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 ¾ cups self-raising flour

12 ounces strawberries, stemmed and quartered, plus whole and halved strawberries with stems left on for decorating

1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease two 8x3-inch round cake pans, then line them with greased parchment paper.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on high speed until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute.

3. Turn the mixer speed to medium-low, add the superfine sugar and vanilla to the butter, and mix until incorporated. Then turn the speed to medium-high and beat until very light and flu y, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl often.

4. Turn the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined. Scrape the bowl after each addition.

5. Add one-third of the flour to the butter mixture and mix on low speed, just until incorporated. Repeat with another one-third flour until just incorporated. Add the final one-third flour. It will be a thick batter.

6. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops using a small o set spatula. Gently tap the pans on the counter several times to release excess air bubbles.

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon lime zest

1 pinch ground pink

peppercorn (optional)

1 ¾ cups strawberry Quick Jam (see recipe below left) or store-bought preserves

1 recipe Perfect Whipped Cream, whipped to sti peaks (see recipe left) Powdered sugar for dusting

7. Bake until the cakes are golden and a tester comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then remove from the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.

8. In a medium bowl, toss together the quartered strawberries, granulated sugar, lime zest, and pink pepper (if using). Allow to macerate until the sugar dissolves, about 15 minutes.

9. Remove the parchment paper and place one cake layer on a serving plate.

10. Spread the jam over the top of the cake, then cover the jam with a 1-inch layer of the whipped cream. Distribute half the macerated strawberries over the whipped cream.

11. Place the second cake on the whipped cream and dust the top generously with powdered sugar and decorate with whole and halved strawberries.

12. This cake is best served right away, with the remaining macerated strawberries and whipped cream, but any leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

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Toast to you!

Delicious and good for you, avocados top toast in many tasty ways—here are four ideas.

Avocados have been showing up atop toast everywhere. What’s not to like? Avocado toast can be made vegan and gluten-free, or a li le decadent (bacon, anyone?). Like many foods, various theories have emerged on where this delight originated. Some people think it originated in Australia. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has been credited with popularizing it through her recipe book, “It’s All Good.” Bloggers have also featured it, and it has appeared on restaurant menus. Whoever rst thought of smashing or slicing bu ery smooth avocados and placing atop toast, we thank you.

Not only recognized as a delicious fruit—yes, it is a fruit, even though many people think of it as a vegetable— avocados are also known for being nutritious. They are


As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. The easiest and safest way to remove the avocado seed is to quarter the avocado, suggests the California Avocado Commission. Carefully cut the avocado in half lengthwise around the seed, with the fruit flat on the cutting board. Rotate the avocado ¼ turn and cut lengthwise around the seed, creating ¼ avocado segments, and put down your knife. By separating the quarters, you can remove the seed seamlessly with your fingertips.

a good source of monounsaturated fat—the kind of fat that helps lower LDL (bad) and helps increase HDL (good) cholesterol. They are also very low in cholesterol and sodium and a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate. The greatest concentration of beneficial phytonutrients is in the dark green part closest to the peel, so try not to remove that portion when peeling. A single serving of avocado (about 1⁄5 of a medium avocado or about 2 tablespoons mashed) has 55 calories.

California, the leading producer of domestic avocados, is home to about 90% of the nation’s crop. The most widely marketed avocado is the pebbly textured, almost black Haas avocado, which accounts for about 95% of California’s crop. Hass avocado’s familiar pebbly skin turns from green to nearly black when it’s ripe. March through September is the height of California avocado season, so now is a great time to top your toast with the following delicious ideas from the California Avocado Commission.

selecting and ripening

When buying any variety of avocado, look for average to large, oval-shaped that’s heavy for its size. Avoid those with dark blemishes on the skin or those that are mushy. The best way to tell if it’s ripe is to gently squeeze it in your palm. Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit will be firm yet yield to gentle pressure. You can’t tell by just the color. Hass avocados turn dark green or black as they ripen, but other varieties might still have light green skin even when ripe. Hard, unripened fruit will ripen on its own, but to speed ripening, you can place several avocados in a paper bag and set aside at room temperature for two to four days. Adding an apple or banana to the bag speeds up the process because these fruits give o a gas that helps in ripening.

preparing and using

Once avocados are cut and exposed to the air their flesh tends to discolor quickly so it’s best to add cubes or slices to a dish at the last minute. Sprinkling lemon or lime juice or vinegar on all cut surfaces can help prevent discoloration. If you’ve heard that burying the avocado pit in guacamole can help prevent browning, that’s just a myth, according to the California Avocado Commission. The best way to prevent guacamole from browning is to add lemon or lime juice. You can apply plastic wrap directly to the guacamole and press it down to prevent air from getting to it and oxidizing it before serving.


Mediterranean Avocado Toast

This is a tasty sample of the Mediterranean diet on an easyto-make avocado toast. California avocado hummus, salmon, and olives make this a delicious lunch, snack, or protein-happy breakfast with an excellent source of protein (40% DV) and vitamin D (60% DV).

California Caprese Sandwich

These open-faced caprese sandwiches could also be called caprese avocado toasts or tartines. With juicy, colorful heirloom tomatoes, red onion rings, fresh mozzarella cheese and, of course, fresh California avocado, they are both beautiful and bursting with flavor.

Waldorf Avocado Toast

Enjoy the taste of a classic Waldorf salad featuring hearthealthy California avocados. This low-sodium, zero cholesterol toast touts an excellent source of vitamin C (50% DV), dietary fiber (32% DV), and a good source of potassium (15% DV).

Avocado Toast With Fried Egg

Mashed or sliced California avocados on toast are easy and delicious for breakfast or for a snack, and can be varied in many di erent ways for a craveable taste sensation. Here is one of our favorite ways to top toast—and variations.

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California Caprese Sandwich


2 medium heirloom tomatoes, or about 1 cup of cherry size

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

4 large slices good quality artisan bread

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons pesto

1 California avocado, seeded, peeled, and cut bite sized Sesame seeds, for garnish

Fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced if leaves are large for garnish

1. Heat oven to 350˚F. Thinly slice tomatoes (if using cherry or grape size, just slice lengthwise into 3 small slices. Place tomatoes on paper towels to drain excess liquid. Thinly slice onion and separate into rings. Reserve the large, outer rings for another use.

2. Place bread slices on a sheet pan. Drizzle each slice with 1 teaspoon olive oil. (If using smaller slices of bread, divide 1 teaspoon between 2 slices.) Brush bread slices with pastry brush to evenly distribute oil.

3. Place pan with bread in oven for 10 minutes to crisp bread. Evenly divide cheese among bread slices. Drizzle half of the pesto oil over the cheese. Return pan to oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until cheese is melted.

4. Cover most of cheese with tomatoes and avocados. Leave a few small open spaces for the cheese to ooze. Scatter onions atop tomato layer. Drizzle with a bit more pesto, to taste. Finish with a light sprinkle of sesame seeds and fresh basil leaves.

Avocado Toast With Fried Egg


1 slice bread (crusty artisan breads wheat, multigrain)

1⁄2 California avocado, peeled, seeded, and mashed

1 egg

1⁄8 teaspoon sea salt, or salt to taste

1⁄8 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper, or to taste

1. Toast 1 slice bread.

2. Spread with 1⁄2 mashed avocado.

3. Spray a small nonstick skillet with cooking spray and fry egg medium (not runny).

4. Place cooked egg onto avocado toast, sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.

Variations: Try with artisan breads, wheat, multigrain, muffins, or bagels. Also try avocado slices layered atop tomato slices and sprinkled with red pepper flakes to spice things up.

Mediterranean Avocado Toast MAKES 2 SERVINGS

1 teaspoon olive oil, plus additional for drizzling (optional)

4 ounces salmon steak, cut in half

1⁄2 California avocado, peeled, seeded, and diced

1⁄2 cup prepared hummus

2 slices rosemary and olive oil bread, or your favorite bread

4 Mediterranean-style olives, pitted and halved

1. In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium.

2. Add salmon and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until done. Remove skin.

3. Meanwhile, mash half of the avocado into the hummus. Stir in remaining avocado.

4. Toast bread, then spread with avocado hummus.

5. Top with salmon, flaking with a fork if desired, then olives. If desired, drizzle with extra olive oil.

Variation: Serve on your favorite bagel in place of the toast.

Waldorf Avocado Toast


2 slices seeded whole grain bread, toasted

1⁄2 California avocado, peeled, seeded, and sliced

1 sweet red apple, small, cored and sliced

4 large strawberries, stemmed and sliced

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted if desired Honey, for drizzling (optional)

1. Top toast slices with alternating slices of avocado and apple.

2. Place strawberries on top, then sprinkle with walnuts. Drizzle with honey, if desired.

Variation: Dice celery into mashed avocado, then spread on toast. Top with fruit and nuts.

avocado selection for all featured recipes

Please note, large avocados are recommended for these recipes. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados, adjust the quantity accordingly.

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Renew and Refresh

Spring is often thought of as a time of rebirth. You can take that theme to heart in many aspects of life. Here, we’ll focus on delicious ways you can refresh your meals with new ideas, and we also share ways to stretch your grocery budget.

Eggs are a classic symbol of rebirth, and we look to refresh your approach to preparing them with recipes from around the globe to keep things interesting for breakfast and beyond (page 20). We show you how to step up your taco game (page 42), and streamline mealtime and cleanup with easy sheet pan dinners (page 36). And adding plant-based proteins and using less meat in dishes can be a friendly combination for your budget and health (page 28).

Our department managers have great ideas for the season. Tamira Franz, Director of Health and Wellness, helps you refresh your shopping list with finds that enhance well-being (page 10). Rotisserie chicken is an easy meal option that you can build upon, and Patricia Jordan, Director of Deli, Bakery, and Cheese, shares five delicious ideas for a busy week (page 12). When you are selecting beef, you can be assured that we work to provide the finest organic, grass-fed beef produced on family ranches in the U.S., Michael Tomasello, Director of Meat, Poultry, and Seafood, highlights a brand that can help you feel good about your choices (page 13).

If it’s springtime, it’s asparagus time in California. Director of Produce, Brian Carter, offers tips and tricks for selecting and preparing it, plus fun facts in his column (page 14). And it’s easier than you think to enjoy beautiful orchids throughout the year. We are proud to partner with a local grower to bring you stunning options. Floral Buyer, Susan Yogi, features these beautiful blooms (page 15). Looking for wine to pair with your meal? Food-friendly rosé is the perfect wine for spring, and we carry a wide assortment of over 100 different rosés. John Bacho, Director of Wine, Beer, and Spirits, highlights some favorites (page 16).

Throughout the season ahead, keep in mind that the talented Chefs at Mollie Stone’s Markets can make life a little bit easier. Whether you need something quick and tasty on the go or would like us to prepare food for a celebration, we have you covered. And with all these spring occasions—from Passover and Easter to Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day—our Chefs can create delicious foods with the highest quality ingredients for any celebration. Our catering options are great for both large quantities or if you’re looking for dinner options throughout the week. You can checkout online for in-store pickup at all nine store locations. Explore all the delicious options under “catering” on our website.

Thank you for choosing to shop at Mollie Stone’s! We appreciate being a part of your everyday meals and celebrations.

CATERING Let the Chefs at Mollie Stone’s make life a little bit easier! Order online for in-store pickup at VISIT US ONLINE FOLLOW US!

Favorite Finds

Renew and refresh your life with items to add zest and enhance well-being.

The cold season can be a challenging time to stay energized, motivated, and healthy. It’s a time when we seek comfort and familiarity, but now is a good time to regroup and refresh the grocery list with options that add a touch of zest, enhance well-being, and prepare the soul for spring.

We have all been told prevention is better than the cure and heard of folk remedies or read self-care blogs about foods revered to boost the immunity, lift the doldrums, or ward off colds. Why not refresh your grocery list and stock up with items to renew and balance your lifestyle? At Mollie Stone’s we offer fresh and seasonal products to make a difference in people’s lives.

Here are items to add to your next grocery list, along with easy recipes.


Turmeric, used in Asia for thousands of years as a culinary and medicinal spice, is referred to as the “spice of life.” A member of the ginger family, turmeric is available fresh as a root in the produce department, as an herbal supplement in the vitamin department, or as a ground spice in the grocery aisle. Due to increasing awareness and consumer appeal, turmeric is included in well-known tea and beverage brands. In addition to reaching for the newest juice or box of tea enhanced with turmeric, try experimenting with the fresh root or ground spice as suggested below. Just be careful to use sparingly: As you become accustomed to the flavor, it can easily overpower the recipe with its pungency.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is made from the fermentation of apple cider. Chances are you have heard about the benefits of vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, for health and medicinal uses. While there are many claims about the tart golden-hued liquid—from warding o colds by gargling to curbing appetite by ingesting a tablespoon before a meal— the fact is, apple cider vinegar will zest up your next meal or snack. Here are some ideas to use it:

Substitute in recipes calling for red or white vinegar. If you love popcorn and want a low-calorie substitute for butter, fill a spray bottle with apple cider vinegar, finely spray popcorn, and top with a little salt or pepper. Drizzle a teaspoon on top of your fresh salad or mix it with your favorite salad dressing. It also pairs nicely with bean or potato salads. Use instead of lemon to give beverages a zing!

For a refreshing beverage, try Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar drinks (note their new look).

Try fresh turmeric as a beverage tonic: Remove the peel and grate a small amount.

When making an omelet, add freshly grated turmeric to the pan before cooking the eggs.

Use turmeric root or powder in pureed soups such as split pea, butternut squash, or cauliflower. Blend the fresh root or a pinch of powder into a smoothie. Use the powder to make Golden Lattes.

Did you know? Navitas sources organic turmeric powder specifically from a source with high curcumin, the revered compound in turmeric that gives it its antiinflammatory properties. Pair with a pinch of black pepper to enjoy the maximum nutritional benefits of turmeric powder.

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Honey is a good source of antioxidants and known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has a long medicinal history from the ancient Greeks to modern home remedies where a spoonful has been used to soothe a sore throat or act as an alternative to cough syrup for generations. Honey is a versatile ingredient that livens up a variety of dishes, from sweet to savory. Try these ideas:

Satisfy your snack cravings by tossing thinly sliced sweet potatoes with honey and ghee (clarified butter), then arrange on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake at 400°F on each side for approximately 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cinnamon, salt, and pepper. (Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board.)

For an added boost, try Wedderspoon Immunity Gummies. O ered in two flavors, the gummies are crafted with authentic Manuka honey and vibrant whole fruits like kiwi and apple, plus 100% RDI from naturally sourced organic Amla. The Berry gummy is made with a probiotic for immune and digestive support. The Citrus gummy is made with zinc and selenium for an immune boost. Both are free of artificial ingredients and contain no cane sugar.

Spring Cleaning

Spring is the time when the body comes out of the dormant yin stage of winter. It goes into the yang stage of new beginnings, represented by sprouting, growing, and movement. It is the time between winter and summer when seeds sprout, flowers bloom, and the dry hills turn green again.

In our hectic lives, the liver and body become overloaded. From the poor food we eat, the unhealthy lifestyle we might lead, and the environmental toxins we come in contact with, we can feel tired, sluggish, and out of sorts. By cleansing the liver, we rejuvenate our body and mind and may slow down the aging process.

From a Chinese medicine perspective, the free flow of liver and gallbladder energy is the number one disease preventative. It is the best way to guarantee health and harmony. Take advantage of spring’s manifestation in your body. For your liver, decide to do some emotional spring cleaning.


Ashwagandha, an evergreen shrub that grows in Asia and Africa, is commonly used for stress. And Rowdy Mermaid, an innovative organic beverage company, o ers a happy twist on soda with its good-mood soda containing 200 milligrams of ashwagandha extract, low sugar (4-5 grams) and only 20-25 calories per can. Feel the good mood in classic flavors: Cola, Lemon Lime, Orange, and Grape. Did you know? Ashwagandha is an important herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda, a natural system of medicine originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and is considered one of the world’s oldest medical systems.

Eating smaller portions greatly reduces the stress put on the liver. Also, incorporate foods that cool and cleanse the liver such as organic fresh greens, apple, cherry, grapefruit, lemon, sprouts, wheat and barley grasses, beets and their greens, kale, parsley, onions, turmeric, mint, apple cider vinegar, quinoa, oats, sunflower seeds, green tea, seaweed, dandelion root, chamomile flowers, asparagus, and all green vegetables. (Juicing green vegetables is highly recommended.)

Urban Remedy Deep Cleaning and Glow juice, all our greens juices, Matcha Mint Tea Latte, and our seasonal salads, are all excellent choices.


A Week of Easy Meals

day 1: chicken and sheet pan roasted vegetables

A plate of rotisserie chicken: 3 pieces of breast, 2 legs, 2 wings, 2 thighs

Sheet pan bake of potatoes, broccoli, and sweet peppers or veggies you have on hand

Salad of your choice: I am a kale/spinach blend fan and like to add nuts and fresh fruit with a light dressing of extra-virgin olive oil and a favorite vinegar or citrus.

day 2: chicken penne pasta

VERSATILE Rotisserie Chicken

Five delicious and easy ideas for a busy week by patricia jordan, director of deli, bakery, and cheese

Rotisserie chicken is one of the simplest, yet most satisfying, choices for a meal option that you can build upon. That’s what this plan is all about: Buy two of our Mollie’s Flame Roasted Organic Rotisserie Chickens and have five meals in the bag! Of course, it depends on how many people you plan to feed, and the number of meals you get is also dependent on appetites and the full-meal offerings.

To serve four, here is a simple set of meals that I am devoted to when I know I am going to have a busy week. I buy two chickens and cut them up. Be sure to save all the bits and any leftover chicken from each day of the week. I put aside all leftovers in a container labeled “For Soup” in my fridge. Any leftovers are usable even if they have a little sauce on them! More flavor, right? Let’s get started!

you will need: 2 rotisserie chickens, pantry staples, fresh veggies, tortillas, and your creativity—the essential ingredient!

two rotisserie chickens yield: 4 breasts cut in ½ = 8 pieces, 4 legs, 4 wings, 4 thighs, plus all the rest of the bits.

You can’t go wrong with Mollie’s Flame Roasted Organic Rotisserie Chickens! Delicious every time and a wonderful way to have great meals all week.

Chicken Penne Pasta with Parmesan, peas, and add some bacon or prosciutto, if you like. A pint of Alfredo sauce from our Delicatessen is a great choice for this, or go with a marinara for a lighter dish. You will need the meat from 1 breast and 1 thigh. Serve with a salad of your choice. For the Chicken Penne (Makes 4 Servings): Cook 1 box (10 ounces) penne pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions. Add 2 carrots (peeled and sliced into coins), and 1 cup broccoli florets for the last 4 minutes of cooking time. Add 1 cup frozen peas during the last minute. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon Mollie O Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large nonstick skillet over mediumhigh heat and heat 1⁄5 cup cut-up rotisserie chicken for 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 cup Alfredo sauce or marinara sauce, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and a pinch nutmeg if using Alfredo sauce, or fresh basil cut into strips, if using marinara sauce to the skillet. Heat through for 1 minute and toss with pasta and vegetables and serve.

day 3: chicken salad wraps and soup

Dice 2 pieces of chicken breast and make your favorite chicken salad. I spread the salad in the large tortilla (or a pita half if you prefer), layer some avocado and thinly sliced onions over the top, and roll.

Serve with your favorite soup and a plate of crudité and dip or tortilla chips and salsa.

day 4: bbq chicken night

2 pieces breast, 2 wings, 2 thighs, and 2 legs: Add barbecue sauce and reheat

Serve with grilled or roasted corn and a slaw. I love cabbage slaw with pepitas!

day 5: soup

Sauté some onions, celery, and other goodies you might like in your soup. Throw all the leftover chicken in—bones and all—add stock, some rice, tomato paste or potatoes—get creative and use what you may have on hand in your veggie drawer. If it sounds like a good idea to you, it probably is. Serve with some nice bread and maybe some cheese and olives.

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deli, bakery, and cheese

A Cut Above

Regenerative agriculture and organic grass-fed beef

When I am firing up the grill, or just looking for a go-to ingredient for a hearty dinner, I often look to Panorama Organic’s products. We are a proud partner of Panorama Organic because they help us provide our customers with the finest organic, grass-fed beef produced on family ranches in the U.S.

Their network of family ranches stretches across about 750,000 acres of land in the western U.S. Their products not only taste great, but you can feel great about using them, since land conservation has always been a cornerstone of the company’s philosophy. In addition to following the USDA Organic standards, each ranch follows a specific habitat management plan developed in consultation with an Audubon rangeland ecologist.

This plan is called the Conservation Ranching program. In their commitment to building and preserving healthy grasslands, there are protocols that Panorama

Organic must follow that are meant to enhance soil quality; increase species diversity in terms of the plant life that benefits pollinators, like bees and butterflies; and to restore habitat for grassland birds and other animals. It’s regenerative agriculture at its best.

The message about their commitment to land conservation is one that you can learn more about when you visit our Meat Department. They provide this information about environmental impact at point of sale because they believe that this can help their consumers better understand the benefits of choosing a beef that comes from farms that prioritize their environmental impact. Of course, environmental benefits are important, but so is quality. Panorama Organic is committed to producing the finest grass-fed beef available. Cattle roam and feed on organic pastures with no GMOs, antibiotics, or hormones and express their

natural herd behaviors. Panorama Organic ranchers raise English breeds like Angus and Hereford, known for their marbling, tenderness, and flavor.

The correct diet, combined with low-stress, humane living conditions, enables Panorama Organic’s ranchers to raise the most flavorful and tender grassfed beef in the country. Panorama Organic beef has a bigger, beefier flavor than conventionally raised, grain-fed beef. The result is a superior cut of beef that is both delicious and nutritious.

We have everything from chuck roast to New York strip steak, rib-eye steak, hanger steak, flank steak, and organic ground beef, all from our friends at Panorama Organic Farms.

Visit our Meat Department today to pick out your favorite cut and experience this one-of-a-kind beef for yourself.

meat, poultry, and

IT’S Asparagus Season

If it is springtime, it is asparagus time in California. by

Springtime is synonymous with asparagus in California. Big and fat or small and skinny, California asparagus is a power vegetable and kind of a big deal. Asparagus has been cultivated for 2,500 years and for almost 150 years in California. Before harvesting, asparagus spends up to three years in the ground, and then it is harvested for a full season once it has fully matured.

California asparagus is grown to be less wasteful than other types of asparagus. Why? Because farmers deliberately produce extra-long asparagus spears so there are more edible parts. You can simply cut off the end and prepare the asparagus. Use the leftover stalk by cooking and pureeing it to put in stock, soups, and sauces. It is also much sweeter than asparagus grown elsewhere, due to California’s climate and the rich soil.

California is the nation’s largest asparagus producer, producing 70% of the annual crop. Other

states that produce bunches of asparagus include Washington and Michigan, while other states may produce very small quantities.

white, purple, and green

White asparagus and green asparagus come from the same plant. Green asparagus gets its color from sunlight. When the plant breaks through the ground, the sun hits it, turning it green. For white asparagus, sunlight is prevented from touching the plant by piling dirt on top of the stalks so the asparagus matures underground. Once the tip breaks through the surface, the stalk is cut with a special knife beneath the ground. Purple asparagus was developed in Italy, and like the white, is considered more of a specialty.

Green asparagus tends to have higher levels of nutrients, such as protein, as well as ascorbic acid, calcium, thiamin, and niacin. White asparagus generally has lower antioxidant content than green spears. Purple asparagus provides 4% of the recommended daily value for iron and 20% of the daily value for vitamin C per serving.

Green asparagus is a bit grassy in flavor, while white asparagus is mild and slightly bitter. Purple asparagus is a bit nuttier and sweeter because it has about 20% more sugar in its stalks.

selecting and storing

The size of the spears vary by the age of the plant. The youngest plants produce the skinny stalks, and the thicker spears from older plants are sweeter and juicier because they contain higher levels of carbohydrates.

Look for bright, solid spears with no blemishes, firm tightly closed tips, and avoid wilted looking stalks. Choose bunches with freshly cut ends and take a quick sniff; asparagus should have a fresh grassy smell with no odor of rot.

Try to eat asparagus as soon as you buy it, but it can be stored up to a week in the refrigerator. Place the spears upright in a dish of water or wrap a damp paper towel around the base and secure with a rubber band before storing in a plastic bag in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator.

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It’s easier than you think to enjoy beautiful orchids throughout the year.

we are proud to partner with McLellan Botanicals/ Taisuco America to bring you stunning Phalaenopsis Orchids year round.

a bay area history

One of the largest orchid growers, and one that traces its roots back to the California Gold Rush in the 1850s, McLellan Botanicals’ original nursery was located on 38 acres in South San Francisco.

The growers were pioneers in breeding orchids that could be enjoyed in everyone’s home, not just in greenhouses or for the specialty collector. The South San Francisco nursery was open to the public for sales and tours of the greenhouses and helped introduce orchids to much of the Bay Area.

why choose these orchids?

From the beginning, McLellan Orchids were known throughout the world. In 1947, the company sent orchids to be used in Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s wedding. Many generations of the McLellan family brought their passion for horticulture to the business.

From the late 1800s they grew roses and carnations, and then in the 1900s they introduced orchids to the world. In the 1940s and 1950s, orchid corsages were all the rage and helped introduce the Cattleya orchids to the U.S. They were also one of the largest growers of gardenia at that time. The nursery remained in South San Francisco until 2000 when it was acquired by parent company, Taiwan Sugar Corporation, Taisuco America, and moved to Aromas, California. The company is one of the leading producers of orchids in the world.

start your own orchid collection

McLellan Botanicals/Taisuco America also has facilities in Canada and Texas, ensuring fresh product for other parts of the country, and is known for their research and breeding programs with varieties that are innovative, superior in quality, and reliable. They use the most advanced floricultural technology to bring to market beautiful orchids that can be enjoyed in everyone’s home. The company is always introducing new flower shapes and colors that are beautiful and long-lasting. With so many colors and shapes to choose from, you can start your very own orchid collection today. You would be surprised to know that it takes over a year to grow an orchid that is ready to be sold in our Mollie Stone’s Floral Departments. We invite you to come by our Floral Department and see our beautiful assortment of orchids, ranging from 3 inches to grand 10-inch orchid gardens.

orchid care tips

We suggest that you place your orchid near a bright window with plenty of natural light—but no direct sun—in a room with a temperature range of 65-80°F. Be careful not to overwater orchids and do not have them sit in water. The orchids can continue to bloom indefinitely. Many of the new varieties will continue to send out new flower buds after the initial buds have dropped.


wine, beer, and spirits


Discover our great selection of food-friendly rosé that’s perfect for spring.

Spring is the season of renewal, warmer and longer days, lighter foods, and lighter wines. Rosé is the perfect wine for your springtime transition, and we carry a wide assortment for you. With over 100 different rosé selections that are either sparkling or still, and slightly sweet to bone dry, we have the perfect accompaniment to your afternoon gathering or your evening meal. Here are some of my picks that offer a real contrast in taste and style.

flowers vineyards & winery

sonoma coast rosé

Elegant and distinct, with aromas of fresh berries, watermelon, and starfruit. A burst of citrus drives the palate and is balanced with flavors of nectarine and stone fruit. The silky mouthfeel and balanced acidity result in a finish that is clean and dry—a versatile wine with most afternoon fare.

bravium wiley vineyard rosé of pinot noir

This is a brilliant pink salmon hue with a touch of rose petals. Its aromas are filled with hibiscus and cherry blossoms. Signature white peach and citrus tones with lemon curd, orange zest, and Cara Cara orange mix with flavors of crisp strawberry, apricot, and melon. It is also perfectly balanced with good acidity that hits the back of your palate, adding a refreshing length to the finish. It’s focused, fresh, and energetic.

domaine de la villaudière sancerre rosé

This 100% Pinot Noir, 60% direct press, and 40% bled juice yields a brilliant, bright pink hue with salmon highlights. It has a powerful bouquet that combines red berry fragrances with spicy nuances. On the palate, the balance of fruit and acidity shows a lovely full character and long-lasting aromas. The finish is light and long. Perfect for all your springtime barbecues.

couly-dutheil chinon rené couly rosé

This wine is the perfect balance of lush fruit characters, terroir-driven accents, and a bright, mouthwatering acidity. Floral tinged red fruit aromas are followed by a taste of strawberries, pomegranates, and raspberries infused with a stony minerality and hints of spring herbs. A versatile wine for most cold and warm springtime dishes.

aix provence rosé

This is our best-selling Provence rosé—and for good reason. It is a pale peach color with aromas of roses, strawberries, melon, and cream. While medium bodied with good acidity and minerality, it is long and persistent in its finish. A classic blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault, it pairs perfectly with grilled salmon, lobster, or chicken.

bieler père et fils bandol rosé

Philippe Bieler began making rosé in Provence almost 30 years ago. This Bandol rosé made from Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Grenache grapes, has enticing aromas of peach, white cherry, and wild raspberry that are balanced by summer flowers, white tea, and Provence herbs. These delicate flavors carry through to the creamy and lifted palate that is interwoven with rose petal and wet stone. Bandol is the smallest and most prestigious region in Provence. The fruit for this wine is sourced from the village of Le Castellet, known for its deep limestone soils, and close to the Mediterranean Sea, there are beads of salinity that give way to savory aromas and flavors of herbs, cherry, blood orange, almond, and black licorice.

nicolas feuillatte brut rosé

A blend of 90% red varieties and a dollop of Chardonnay, this wine is intense and explodes in the glass with vivid aromas and flavors of raspberry, strawberries, and red currants. Crisp and lacy texture with hints of pink grapefruit zest and apple blossom. This has a nice minerality that shows through and has a long, persistent finish. Pair with grilled salmon, sea scallops, prawns, or seafood salad.

roederer estate anderson valley brut rosé

This rosé is a 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay blend that exudes class. It displays a beautiful pink color with apricot and copper hues and tiny persistent bubbles. The aromas are delicate and refined with a combination of fresh berries, toast, wildflowers, and a wonderful yeasty note. It has a creamy soft texture on the palate and the finish is long and uplifting. It pairs perfectly with salmon, scallops, or whitefish sashimi.

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Fresh Ideas for Spring

Here are our favorite tips and tools to spice up your spring.

Cooking for All Seasons

Spring is the perfect time to get into seasonal eating. “A Dish for All Seasons” by Kathryn Pauline (Chronicle Books) walks you through 25 adaptable base recipes, each with four seasonal variations, for a total of more than 100 accessible recipes. It can help turn each season’s fresh ingredients into mouthwatering meals.


Finishing Salt

A pinch of finishing salt can make a world of difference! Adding just a sprinkle to your steamed or grilled vegetables, meat or fish, and even baked treats might just take your dish to the next level. Try Himalayan pink salt; Maldon, a flaky sea salt with extra-large crystals; or fleur de sel, which means “flower of the sea,” a French salt with different grain sizes for extra texture.

Butter Bell


found in many other candy, and more.

This fruit from the açaí palm forms the basis of the popular acai bowls—but what exactly is it? Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) is a deep purple fruit that is full of fiber and antioxidants— believed to rival the antioxidants found in many other berries. Look around the store to find this heart-healthy fruit frozen and in beverages, yogurt, candy, and more.

Must butter go in the fridge or can it stay on the counter? A kitchen debate is settled by the butter bell, patterned after the late 19thcentury French “beurrier” crock. The simple solution to keep your butter soft and spreadable is the bell-shaped top whose rim rests on a water seal, keeping the butter fresh at room temperature on your counter.

To use, let your butter soften, then pack it into the top of the bell firmly before placing it over the cold-water seal on the bottom. Change the water every three days to ensure your butter stays soft, smooth, safe, and odor-free for up to a month.

17 spring 2023 tips and tools

Extinguish Inflammation

Help your body with healthy food choices.

Inflammation is one of the body’s natural responses, but it can turn chronic. Underneath the surface, white blood cells are sent to defend your body against anything harmful. With this, however, comes an increase in blood flow which may cause irritation, swelling, and pain in the joints, as well as contribute to potentially more serious illnesses. While your body is protecting you in every way it can, it may, unfortunately, come with difficulties. That doesn’t mean you have to accept it for what it is, though. Certain healthy foods may help decrease the number of flare-ups and arm your body with good nutrients to fight inflammation. With anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, you may both combat inflammation and incorporate a healthy range of food to benefit your general health. Following are some foods to reach for and avoid—or eat in moderation.

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fight with fish

Omega-3 fatty acids are important when it comes to inflammation.

It targets proteins in your body that promote flare-ups. A great way to increase your omega-3 fatty acids is to eat fish. Salmon, tuna, and other cold-water fish are the best choice. It’s recommended that you add fish to your plate twice a week. With lots of ways to prepare it, fish can be an exciting addition to your meals.

color wheel

When selecting fruits and vegetables, go for as much color and variety as possible. In a nutshell, go for the greens, purples, reds, and blues. Leafy greens, like spinach, kale, and arugula, are full of vitamin K—which helps support the body’s immune system. Antioxidants do the same thing and they’re found in colorful fruit such as blackberries, raspberries, and cherries.

fiber focused

Grains, beans, and nuts are three foods with high levels of fiber. Fiber lowers C-reactive protein (CRP), a protein produced by the liver in response to inflammation. You can take fiber supplements, but the most effective way of lowering CRP levels is by eating fiber-rich foods. Plus, fiber has health benefits aside from lowering CRP levels. Fiber regulates digestion, lowers cholesterol levels, controls blood sugar levels, and may help reduce risk of cancer.

avoid or consume in moderation

Unfortunately, some foods can increase inflammation. Try to avoid greasy, sugary, and highly processed foods. Sweets, pastries, and soda are all high in sugar, and large amounts of sugar tells your body to release cytokines— messengers that tell the body to start inflammation. The more you eat of those sugary goods, the more cytokines are being released. So, try to limit your intake.

Fried foods are not your friend if you deal with inflammation. Omega-6 fatty acids are good in moderation, but the fried foods increase those levels, which will end up causing more inflammation.

Always consult your health care provider if you have health concerns or before making any major dietary changes.

spring 2023


Countries around the globe have uniquely delicious egg dishes to keep things interesting for breakfast and beyond.

The egg is one of the most versatile and loved foods around the globe, with each country having its own delicious take on cooking this staple. Eggs are not only delicious and versatile, they are also packed with healthy nutrients and are a great source of complete protein. Here we feature a variety of recipes to use this good-for-you ingredient from a comforting Greek soup for those cooler days, to Scotch eggs, a classic Spanish tortilla, flavorful dishes from India and Africa, and a Korean rolled omelet to mix things up for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack.

photos by terry brennan food styling by lara miklasevics

White vs. Brown Eggs

Is there any di erence between white and brown eggs? The color of the egg shell or yolk has nothing to do with the egg’s nutritional value, quality, or flavor, according to the American Egg Board. Hens with white feathers and white earlobes lay white eggs; hens with red feathers and red earlobes lay brown eggs.

Scotch Eggs

A favorite among the British, a Scotch egg is a boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs or cracker crumbs, and baked or deep-fried until it’s crispy. Enjoy them anytime of the day—even served cold on a picnic.

8 large hard-boiled eggs (see Cook’s Notes)

1 large egg, beaten

1 pound bulk Italian-style turkey sausage or breakfast sausage (casings removed, if needed)

1 cup baked cheese cracker crumbs (or another cracker)

Greek Avgolemono Egg Soup


The Greek food community has been making an egg-enriched soup for hundreds, if not thousands of years. In this version, the traditional lemon soup is fortified with kale and brown rice to make it a heartier version and a meal on its own. You can add optional roasted kabocha squash, and a final sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds adds some welcome crunchy texture.

64 ounces chicken or vegetable broth

Salt and ground black pepper, as needed

4 cups cooked brown rice, divided

4-6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 large egg yolks

2 large eggs

4-6 cups kale, roughly chopped

1. Heat broth in a large pot. Season generously with salt and pepper, as it will be diluted with all other ingredients.

2. Transfer 2 to 3 cups of hot broth to a blender with 1 cup of cooked rice. Puree until smooth.

3. As blender is running, carefully add lemon juice, then eggs and egg yolks, and puree until incorporated. Slowly whisk this mixture back into hot broth.

4. Add kale and remaining rice. Bring up to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring often until it thickens into a creamy soup, about 2 to 10 minutes. If it gets too thick, thin soup with additional broth. Note: As soup sits hot, it will thicken slightly. Thin and adjust seasoning as needed.

5. Add lemon zest, then taste and adjust seasoning with salt,

2 teaspoons lemon zest

for the toppings (optional)

2 cups roasted kabocha squash, cut in bite-size chunks

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Ground black pepper, as needed

pepper, and lemon juice as needed. Ladle hot soup into bowls.

6. Top each serving of soup with optional garnishes if desired: Squash: add one portion preheated cooked squash to bowl; drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with some extra black pepper; sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Nutrition (Soup only):

Calories: 140, Fat: 4g (Sat: 1 g), Cholesterol: 110mg, Sodium: 430mg, Carb: 21g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: <1g, Protein: 6g

Nutrition (Soup with all optional toppings): Calories: 230, Fat: 12g (Sat: 2.5g), Cholesterol: 110mg, Sodium: 430mg, Carb: 23g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 8g

for the dipping sauce

¼ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1. Heat oven to 425°F. Peel the hardboiled eggs. Divide sausage into 8 equal portions. Flatten each portion on the palm of your hand and wrap around a hard-boiled egg. Press edges to seal. Repeat with remaining eggs.

2. Dip sausage-covered eggs in beaten egg, then roll in cracker crumbs. Place on baking sheet. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

3. For a dipping sauce, mix the reduced-fat mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Notes:

To make the hard-boiled eggs, place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. Heat over high heat just to boiling. Remove from burner. Cover pan. Let eggs stand in hot water 12 minutes. Drain immediately and cool under cold running water or in a bowl of ice water.

Hard-cooked eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell.

Make ahead: Hard-boiled eggs in the shell can be refrigerated safely up to 1 week. Refrigerate in their original carton to prevent odor absorption. Once peeled, eggs should be consumed within 2 days.

Nutrition (per egg): Calories: 290, Fat: 18g (Sat: 4.5 g), Cholesterol: 250mg, Sodium: 580mg, Carb: 12g, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: <1g, Protein: 19g

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real food 23 SCOTCH EGGS
24 real food SHAKSHUKA



Shakshuka is a simple dish made of gently poached eggs in a chunky tomato and bell pepper sauce popular in many parts of North Africa and the Middle East. It’s always been an a ordable, filling, and simple meal that has gained popularity around the world as communities look for easy and satisfying meals that don’t break the bank. It is a great option for breakfast, lunch, or dinner complete in one skillet—or, you can finish it in individual serving dishes.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced ½–1 chili pepper (or to taste), stemmed, sliced in half, and deseeded, finely diced

1½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika, smoked or sweet

1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed, or 3⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon turmeric

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and diced, or 2 (14-ounce) cans diced or crushed tomatoes

1. In a wide skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the chili pepper, salt, pepper, and spices. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, to release their fragrance.

2. Add the fresh or canned tomatoes, tomato paste, honey, and vinegar, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened somewhat but is still loose enough so that when you shake the pan it sloshes around. (Fresh tomatoes may take a little longer to cook than canned.) Stir in the chopped greens.

3. If you want to finish the Shakshuka on the stovetop, turn o the heat and press the cubes of feta into the tomato sauce. With the back of a spoon, make 6 indentations in the sauce. Crack an egg into each indentation, then drag a spatula gently through the egg whites so it mingles a bit with the tomato sauce, being careful not to disturb the yolks.

4. Turn the heat back on so the sauce is at a gentle simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes, taking some of the

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon red wine or cider vinegar

1 cup (about ¾ ounce) loosely packed greens, such as radish greens, watercress, kale, Swiss chard, or spinach, coarsely chopped

4 ounces (about 1 cup) feta cheese, cut in generous, bite-size cubes

4-6 large eggs

Chopped cilantro, for serving (optional)

Anda Bhurji


This dish is a part of south Indian cuisine, and adds other budget-friendly ingredients and spices to traditional scrambled eggs for a protein-filled breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a kick.

1 tablespoon olive oil or butter

1 serrano chili pepper, seeded and chopped finely

1 medium onion, chopped finely

2 tablespoons button mushrooms, chopped finely

tomato sauce and basting the egg whites from time to time. Cover, and cook 3 or 4, or up to 8 minutes, until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

5. To finish them individually, heat the oven to 375°F. Divide the sauce into 6 baking dishes and press the feta cubes into the sauce. Set the baking dishes on a baking sheet, make an indentation in each, and crack an egg into the center. Bake until the eggs are cooked to your liking, basting the whites with some of the sauce midway during baking, which will take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes— but begin checking them sooner to get them just right. If the yolks begin to get a little firm on top before the whites are cooked, drape a sheet of foil over them, but avoid having it touch the yolks.

6. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired, and serve with plenty of crusty bread for scraping up the sauce.


Calories: 220, Fat: 15g (Sat: 5 g), Cholesterol: 190 mg, Sodium: 1090 mg, Carb: 11g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Protein: 11g

1 teaspoon ginger, grated

¼ cup broccoli florets, chopped finely

½ cup Roma tomatoes, chopped

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped, for garnish

½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

¼ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon coriander powder

¼ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

1. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add oil, chili, onions, mushroom, and ginger. Sauté for 3 minutes, until onions soften.

2. Add chopped broccoli, tomato, and all the spices and sauté for 2 minutes.

3. Beat the eggs well and add to the pan. Using a spatula, move the eggs around and over themselves and the other ingredients to scramble. Cook until your desired consistency.

Nutrition: Calories: 230, Fat: 15g (Sat: 3 g), Cholesterol: 340mg, Sodium: 720mg, Carb: 10g, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 14g

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*Braswell Family Farms is the second-largest franchisee for the nationwide egg distributor Eggland’s Best, and a leading producer of private label egg products, Natural Choice, Nature’s Finest, Land O’ Lakes, and Born Free.

Gyeran Mari


The Gyeran Mari, which means “rolled omelet” in Korean, is not only for breakfast, but also great for packed lunches and a midday protein kick. It’s commonly filled with vegetables, as well as deli meat, seafood, or cheese.

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion

1. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them until the yolks and whites are blended well. Stir in salt and pepper, then stir in the scallion and carrot.

2. Add vegetable oil to a medium size non-stick pan and distribute it evenly. Heat over medium-low heat, until it feels hot when you place your hand 2 to 3 inches above the bottom of the pan.

3. Add half of the egg mixture to the pan. Swirl it around to cover the pan. Let it cook until the top begins to set but is still wet. Using a spatula, lift one end of the egg and fold it over to the other side. Reduce the heat or lift the pan o the stovetop if the bottom is browning. Lift the folded part and fold it again. Pull the egg to the rolled side. Add the remaining half of egg mixture and spread to cover the open space, touching the roll you just made. When the egg addition

1 tablespoon finely chopped carrot

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon vegetable oil, for frying

is set, lift the folded part, and fold it again. Pull the egg to the rolled side and repeat the process with the remaining egg to make about a 2-inch-thick egg log. Remove from the pan and let cool for about 5 minutes. Slice the egg into thick, even pieces and serve.

Cook’s Notes:

If you would like to make 5 eggs, you can pour the egg mixture into the pan three or four times for the rolling process. There are no hard rules on ingredients for this; just do not include too many or it will be too thick to roll.

Nutrition (1 serving): Calories: 230, Fat: 17g (Sat: 3.5 g), Cholesterol: 510mg, Sodium: 200mg, Carb: 1g, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: <1g, Protein: 18g

Tortilla De Patatas



Potatoes and eggs star in this simple comfort food dish from the Basque region of northern Spain. It is the perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner—and often seen as a bar snack.

4large Idaho potatoes

1 large onion, diced ½ cup, plus 3 tablespoons canola or extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed, divided

6 large eggs

Salt, to taste

1. Peel potatoes, rinse under cold water, and pat dry. Then, cut lengthwise into quarters. Cut the quarters crosswise into 1⁄8-inch-thick slices.

2. Heat the ½ cup oil in a large 10-inch nonstick skillet. Add sliced potatoes and diced onions. Cook slowly over low heat. Turn occasionally until potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the oil in the pan. Set the potato-onion mixture aside.

3. In a bowl, beat the eggs with salt to taste. Add reserved potato-onion mixture to the beaten eggs and stir gently.

4. Heat the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the skillet over high heat. Add potato-egg mixture, spreading quickly. Lower the heat to medium. Shape the sides of the tortilla by using a spatula to pull the mixture gently from the sides of the pan, shaking the pan to make sure the mixture isn’t stuck. When the egg just begins to set, after about 1 minute, turn down the heat to mediumlow and cook for 2 to 4 more minutes.

5. To flip the tortilla, put a large plate on top of the skillet and flip it onto the plate. While it’s on the plate, add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, if needed, before sliding the tortilla o the plate and back into the skillet to cook the other side. Run a spatula around the edges of the tortilla to keep away from the sides of the pan and round the edges. Cook for about 4 more minutes to lightly brown. Slide onto a serving plate and cut into wedges to serve.

Nutrition (1 serving when 8 slices):

Calories: 270, Fat: 22g (Sat: 3.5 g),

Cholesterol: 130mg, Sodium: 50mg, Carb: 14g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Protein: 6g

Nutrition information for each recipe is per serving unless otherwise noted.

26 real food SPAIN


These days, we are all watching that food budget while still trying to eat healthfully. Though in ation is hi ing us at the meat counter, the good news is that it’s really easy to trim back on the animal proteins in your meals while adding more plant proteins such as beans and nuts. You will even reap the bene ts of a diet with less meat and more plants, which can be associated with a healthy heart and lowered risk of developing some diseases.

Many of us have been trained to anchor our plate with a he y hunk of meat or sh for a

protein-rich meal. You don’t have to skip your favorite proteins, just serve smaller portions and pair them with tasty beans, tofu, nuts, or quinoa to boost the protein on the plate. You might be surprised to nd that foods like leafy greens, whole grains, and even mushrooms contribute some protein to your total grams— and it all counts.

In these dishes, proteins are combined with plenty of vegetables to add color, texture, and, of course, all the nutrients that veggies deliver. You’ll enjoy a lling, delicious meal and get your protein, plus save a li le at the checkout.

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Adding plant-based proteins and using less meat in dishes can be a friendly combination for your budget and health.

Sticky Sriracha Tofu and Shrimp or Pork


In many Asian countries, tofu is often cooked in the same dish with meats or seafood to add inexpensive protein and a di erent texture to the mix, like in this easy stir-fry.

½ block extra firm tofu, drained

½ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, or pork tenderloin, cubed

1 bunch asparagus

4 large scallions, slivered

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced for the sauce

2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons cornstarch

¼ cup honey

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

8 ounces rice vermicelli

2 tablespoons canola oil

1. Prep the tofu by draining and wrapping it in a kitchen towel to remove excess water. Cut in small cubes. Prep the shrimp and place on a double layer of paper towel to absorb extra moisture. Or, if using pork, chop in small pieces. Chop the asparagus and scallions and reserve. Chop the garlic and ginger and reserve.

2. In a medium bowl, stir the water and cornstarch. Add the honey, tomato paste, soy sauce, Sriracha sauce, and rice vinegar and stir to mix.

3. Cook noodles in boiling water according to package directions, about 4 minutes, then drain.

4. Place a large wok or large skillet over high heat and let it get hot for several seconds. Drizzle in the canola oil and then add the reserved tofu. Stir-fry until it starts to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp or pork and reserved garlic and ginger and stir-fry until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and stir for 1 minute, just until crisp-tender.

5. Stir the sauce mixture and pour into the center of the wok or skillet, and stir as it comes to a boil. When boiling, toss to coat the tofu mixture, then add the scallions, and toss to coat. Serve hot over rice noodles.

Nutrition (using shrimp):

Calories: 450, Fat: 8g (Sat: 1 g), Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 1400mg, Carb: 77g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 22g, Protein: 19g

Southwest Chicken and Quinoa


Cooking a little chicken with rice is a time-tested meat-stretching device. In this flavorful one-pan dish, quinoa carries the day, adding twice as much protein as white rice. Black beans also amp up the protein, and veggies give it color and flavor.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium carrot, chopped

8 ounces chicken breast, chopped in bite-size pieces

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon chili powder

1½ teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 (15-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, with juice

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup quinoa

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lime juice

½ cup cilantro

1. Place a large sauté pan over mediumhigh heat, and heat for several seconds before drizzling with olive oil. Add the onion, pepper, and carrot and stir, reducing the heat to medium-low after it starts to sizzle. Stir for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.

2. Increase the heat to medium-high. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan and sprinkle the chicken pieces on the other side. Stir and cook until the chicken browns lightly.

3. Add the garlic and spices, and stir for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and the juice, beans, stock, quinoa, and salt and stir to mix well, then bring to a boil.

4. Cover the pot, lower the heat, and cook for 25 minutes. Uncover and test the quinoa for doneness—it should be tender. If not, stir, cover, and cook for 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with lime juice, flu , sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.


For a twist and an added dose of protein, serve topped with an optional fried egg.


Calories: 340, Fat: 10g (Sat: 1.5 g), Cholesterol: 35mg, Sodium: 870mg, Carb: 43g, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 6g, Protein: 21g

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Crunchy Almond-Crusted Fish on a Bed of French Lentils


In this recipe, you can use tilapia, which is an inexpensive yet tasty fish, cod, halibut, or chicken breast. Instead of the usual bread crumb coating, you’ll make a crunchy crust out of almonds, adding protein. French lentils, sometimes called Beluga or Le Puy lentils, are a small, dark green or black lentil that doesn’t fall apart as easily as the standard green lentil, making them perfect for warm salads like this.

for the lentils

1 cup dried French lentils, uncooked (makes about 3 cups cooked)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 teaspoon fresh (or dried) thyme

4 cups fresh spinach

1. In a medium pot, combine the French lentils and 4 cups water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low and stir occasionally. Cook for about 25 minutes, then test a lentil for doneness. You want the lentils to be tender but not falling apart.

2. When cooked, drain excess liquid in a wire strainer. Rinse the pot you cooked the lentils in, then place on the stove over medium heat and add the olive oil. Let warm for a few seconds, then add the garlic and dried thyme and stir for a few seconds, until fragrant. Add the spinach and salt and stir and turn until just wilted. Add the warm lentils back to the pan and stir gently to mix in the spinach.

3. Heat the oven to 400°F. Spray a large sheet pan with olive oil spray and set aside. Place the almond slices in the food processor bowl and pulse until the almonds are coarsely ground, but still chunky. (If you don’t have a food processor, place the nuts on a cutting

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon canola oil, for pan

1 cup slivered almonds

16 ounces tilapia or boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 large egg whites

½ teaspoon salt

board and chop finely with a chef’s knife.) Transfer to a medium bowl. Optionally, slice the chicken breast or fish fillet across the grain into ½-inch thick strips, and reserve.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt. Dip the fish or chicken into the egg white mixture, then dredge in the almonds, placing each strip on the prepared sheet pan, making sure they are not touching. Bake for about 7 minutes, depending on the thickness, then take out and turn with a spatula, and bake for 7 minutes longer. Cool on a rack.

5. Serve about ½ cup of the lentil mixture on a plate, and top with onesixth of the fish or chicken.

Nutrition (using tilapia):

Calories: 400, Fat: 22g (Sat: 2.5 g),

Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 460mg, Carb: 25g, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 29g

Add a Little Protein with Peanut Sauce

Peanuts are an inexpensive plant-based protein, and a great way to enjoy them is in a peanut sauce. Chinese peanut sauce is a pourable dipping or stir fry sauce. Creamy Thai peanut sauce, sometimes called satay sauce, is delicious right out of the jar. For a quick lunch or dinner, serve brown rice or quinoa, add a few veggies or thawed edamame, and top with a few spoonfuls of peanut sauce, to taste. Top with chopped peanuts for crunch and a protein boost. Or, use it as a dipping sauce for chicken or fish.

To Make Peanut Sauce:

Stir together ¼ cup smooth peanut butter, 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce, ¼ cup water, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce. This makes 12 tablespoons, about 6 servings, and will keep for 1 week in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Nutrition (per 2 tablespoons):

Calories: 90, Fat: 6g (Sat: 1 g), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 200 mg, Carb: 9g, Fiber: <1g, Sugar: 6g, Protein: 3g

Spaghetti with Chicken and Parsley Pesto


In the spirit of adding a little protein throughout a dish, this one has a nutty, cheesy parsley pesto, made with protein-rich almonds and Parmesan. Chickpeas add some protein, and a small portion of cooked chicken makes it feel meatier. You have the option to stir in ricotta cheese to make it a creamy pasta dish and it adds a bit more protein to the mix. Garnish with more almonds for crunch!

½ cup Parsley Pesto (see recipe page 35)

8 ounces cooked chicken (see Cook’s Note)

½ pound spaghetti

½ bunch broccolini, chopped

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained

1. Prepare the pesto (see recipe page 35) and reserve. This can also be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 week).

2. To cook the chicken breast, heat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a small baking pan and place the breast on the oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, until an instant read thermometer registers 160°F. Allow to cool a little, then chop into small pieces, and reserve.

3. Put a large pot of salted water on the stovetop to cook the pasta. Toast the almonds: Place them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan and stir often,

½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese (optional)

1 medium Roma tomato, chopped

½ cup slivered almonds

Salt and pepper, to taste

until the nuts are fragrant and golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes, and reserve.

4. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, adding the broccolini for the last 2 minutes. Drain.

5. In the same pot you cooked the pasta, add the reserved chicken, chickpeas, hot spaghetti, and chopped tomato. Drizzle the pesto and dollop the ricotta (if using) over the contents of the pan and stir and toss over medium heat until heated through. Serve sprinkled with the reserved toasted almonds.

Cook’s Note:

If you would like to make this even easier, you can pick up a rotisserie chicken in the deli and use about 1 cup shredded meat, saving the rest for another meal.

Nutrition (with ricotta):

Calories: 760, Fat: 36g (Sat: 8 g), Cholesterol: 90 mg, Sodium: 910 mg, Carb: 69g, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 7g, Protein: 42g

Nutrition Parsley Pesto (Per 2-tablespoon serving):

Calories: 180, Fat: 18g (Sat: 3 g), Cholesterol: <5mg, Sodium: 380mg, Carb: 2g, Fiber: <1g, Sugar: <1g, Protein: 3g

Robin Asbell spreads the word about delicious whole, real foods through her work as an author, cooking teacher, and private chef. She is the author of “PlantBased Meats,” “Great Bowls of Food,” “Big Vegan,” “Gluten-Free Pasta,” and more.

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White Bean and Ham Soup with Parsley Pesto


Use up any leftover ham you might have, or buy a single ham steak to chop and add to this soup. Canned white beans are a convenient way to make a protein-rich soup, and if you prefer to use dried beans, you can simply precook them. Spooning almond and Parmesan-laced pesto over each bowl contributes even more protein.

½ cup Parsley Pesto (see recipe right)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup chicken stock

3 cups cooked white beans (2 15-ounce cans with juice), or 1 cup dried, cooked

1. Prepare the Parsley Pesto (see recipe right). This can also be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 week. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and add onion and carrot, and when the mixture sizzles, reduce to medium low and sauté for about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic just until fragrant, a few seconds, then stir in the chicken stock, white beans and their juices (if using home-cooked beans, add ½ cup of cooking liquids with the beans), ham, dried thyme, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. When the soup is hot and the

2 cups chopped ham, or an 8-ounce ham steak

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon salt

Cracked black pepper, a few grinds, or to taste

2 cups chopped fresh spinach or kale

vegetables are tender, stir in the spinach, and then remove the pot from heat.

3. Measure ½ cup of the Parsley Pesto and serve each bowl with a heaping tablespoon of pesto on top.


Calories: 400, Fat: 20g (Sat: 3.5 g), Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 1200mg, Carb: 33g, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 24g

Nutrition information for each recipe is per serving unless otherwise noted.

Parsley Pesto MAKES 1 CUP

Make the most of your parsley and time: This is enough to use in both the Spaghetti with Chicken and Parsley Pesto and the White Bean and Ham Soup with Parsley Pesto.

½ cup toasted sliced almonds

2 bunches flat leaf parsley, stems removed

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. To toast the almonds, place them in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan and stir often, until the nuts are fragrant and golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes, and reserve.

2. In a food processor, combine the parsley leaves, garlic, reserved toasted almonds, and Parmesan and process until ground to a paste, scraping down as needed to make it smooth. Drizzle in the oil with the machine running. Scrape the pesto into a storage tub or jar. (To use a blender, place the olive oil in first, then add the remaining ingredients, cover and blend, scrape down and repeat as needed.) This will keep for 1 week, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.

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Streamline mealtime and cleanup with easy sheet pan dinners.

odern kitchens tend to be full of the latest in gadgets and gizmos intended to make mealtime quicker and easier. But the truth is, most of us already have the perfect item to make weeknight meals less stressful and just as healthy—a simple sheet pan. Jenny Tschiesche and Liz Franklin show readers how to make delicious and healthy meals with as few tools as possible in their book, “Sheet Pan Dinners: Over 150 All-In-One Dishes, Including Meat, Fish, Vegetarian, and Vegan Recipes.”

The authors created these dishes to teach readers how to work smarter, not harder. “It’s about making the oven do the work,” the pair writes in the book’s intro. “As you gain con dence with this method of cooking, you’ll nd there are so many possibilities and with each you’ll free up more of your valuable time. There’s now no

need to compromise.”

Fewer pots and pans means less mess and less stress, and sheet pans can be utilized to make meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. To start your tray-bake journey, Tschiesche and Franklin recommend having the following items to help you along: a small dish, such as a loaf pan (1 pound or 2 pounds in capacity), an 8x8-inch sheet

Of course, some implements such as spatulas, including sh spatulas, and wooden spoons are

Tschiesche and Franklin recommend having small dish, such as a loaf pan (1 pound or pan, and a large roasting pan. also essential. A sheet pan supper can be your secret weapon that saves mealtime. So grab your pan and start with these recipes from the book—then experiment to create your next favorite meal.

One Pan, Endless Options


Crushed Butter Beans with Roasted Tomatoes and Avocado (Vegan)


This dish is fabulous with crusty bread or sourdough toast for scooping up, and far better than any beans on toast you’ve ever tasted! It makes a perfect brunch dish, and an easy way to feed friends or family when you fancy something hot and tasty. It’s a favorite of mine for lunch too. –liz franklin

21ounces cherry tomatoes

4 tablespoons olive oil

3-4 leeks, trimmed and sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 (14-ounce) can lima beans, drained and rinsed

Bunch of parsley, coarsely chopped

2 ripe, but firm avocados

Chili oil (optional)

Paprika, to sprinkle

Parsley leaves, to garnish

1. Heat the oven to 350˚F.

2. Scatter the cherry tomatoes over a large sheet pan and drizzle the olive oil over. Add the leeks and garlic and toss everything together. Roast for 20 minutes.

3. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and scatter the lima beans evenly over the tomatoes. Crush the beans lightly using the tines of a fork. Scatter the chopped parsley on top. Return the sheet pan to the oven for a further 5 minutes.

4. Remove from the oven. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, and scoop out the flesh using a teaspoon. Arrange evenly over the beans and tomatoes. Drizzle with chili oil (if using), add a light sprinkling of paprika, and garnish with parsley leaves.


Calories: 410, Fat: 24g (Sat: 3.5 g),

Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 290mg, Carb: 42g, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 8g, Protein: 9g

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(No-Egg) Mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chickpea water (aquafaba)

1 scant tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Pinch sea salt

2⁄3 cup sunflower oil

Put the chickpea water, mustard, and cider vinegar into a jug and add a pinch of salt. Blitz with a stick blender until mixed. Slowly pour in the sunflower oil until the mixture has emulsified and thickened.

Jerk Veggie Skewers with Celeriac, Sultana, and Caper Salad (Vegan)


I’ve teamed the zippy skewers up with a dreamy salad of crisp celery root and apple, peppered with salty capers and sweet plump golden raisins. Simplicity at its delicious best.

–liz franklin

1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 orange (bell) pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

2 red onions, cut into wedges

2 medium zucchini, thickly sliced

7 ounces baby button mushrooms

7 ounces baby plum or cherry tomatoes

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons jerk spice mix

2 teaspoons light muscovado sugar

for the salad

1 small celery root

2 crisp eating apples

1⁄3 cup golden raisins

1 tablespoon capers, drained

A small bunch of freshly chopped parsley (No-Egg) Mayonnaise, to serve (see recipe below)

1. Heat the oven to 400˚F and gather eight long wooden skewers. Push the prepared vegetables, mushrooms, and tomatoes onto the skewers, alternating them as you go. Lay them on a large, flat sheet pan.

2. Mix the oil, jerk spice mix, and sugar together in a bowl and brush this over the vegetables. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are soft, but retaining a little bite.

3. To make the salad, peel the celery root, cut it into slices, and then into fine julienne. Transfer to a large bowl. Core the apples, cut them into similar sized strips, and add to the bowl, together with the raisins and capers.

4. Add the (No-Egg) Mayonnaise to the celery root and apple salad and stir in the chopped parsley. Serve alongside the veggie skewers.

Calories: 760, Fat: 58g (Sat: 7 g),

Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 410mg, Carb: 63g, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 32g, Protein: 8g

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Coq Au Vin

This is a lighter version of the wintry classic dish made with red wine. This dish is made using white wine, keeping it more summery. A family favorite! –jenny tschiesche

9 ounces unsmoked bacon, diced

6 banana shallots, halved

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

8 chicken thighs (skin on), cut in two if large

Sea salt, to taste

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon dry white wine

12 ounces mushrooms, cut into quarters

1 (14-ounce) can white beans, such as cannellini, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

1. Heat the oven to 400˚F.

2. Toss the bacon, shallots, garlic, thyme, and rosemary onto a sheet pan with sides. Arrange the chicken thighs on top.

3. Season the chicken with salt and drizzle with olive oil.

4. Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Add the wine, mushrooms, and white beans and give everything a stir, then roast for another 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

5. Serve, sprinkled with the parsley.

Nutrition (with chicken skin):

Calories: 1050, Fat: 69g (Sat: 19 g), Cholesterol: 250mg, Sodium: 780mg, Carb: 20g, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 74g

Tomato Pesto Halibut with Green Veg


Packed full of flavor, this tomato pesto topping really brings the halibut to life. It’s quick to create the pesto and simple to make the dish. –jenny tschiesche

for the tomato pesto

4 cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup walnuts, toasted

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

1 large garlic clove, peeled

5 tablespoons olive oil

for the halibut

9 ounces asparagus tips

10½ ounces broccolini

1 large zucchini, cut into ¾-inch pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 halibut fillets, skin on, approximately 1-inch thick (each about 7 ounces)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Heat the oven to 400˚F.

2. For the pesto, combine the basil leaves, toasted walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic in a food processor, then add the olive oil and combine again to make a paste.

3. Put the vegetables on a sheet pan, drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, create four foil or baking parchment parcels. Put one halibut fillet into each parcel and cover each fillet with a thick layer of the tomato pesto. Close up the parcels and put them on the sheet pan with the vegetables. Bake both the vegetables and fish for a further 12 minutes. Check the fish is just cooked, then serve immediately.


Calories: 610, Fat: 39g (Sat: 6 g), Cholesterol: 145 mg, Sodium: 330 mg, Carb: 20g, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 4g, Protein: 50g

Nutrition information for each recipe is per serving unless otherwise noted.


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If there’s one type of meal that shows up on constant repeat at our dinner table, it’s tacos! With so many di erent types and avorful ways to prepare them, they’re the perfect dinner for any occasion. The ingredients are a ordable and they’re endlessly customizable and fun to dress up with all your favorite toppings.

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More Toppings

Pico de gallo, Cotija cheese, shredded cabbage, cilantro, avocado, lime wedges, red onion, and hot sauce (such as Siracha or Valentina)

1. Season the fish with a little salt and pepper on both sides.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and cayenne.

3. Add fish to a large zip-top bag and pour the marinade over fish. Seal the bag and allow fish to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush grill grates with oil and grill fish fillets for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side (cook time will vary depending on thickness of fish), flipping only once.

5. Add the corn tortillas to the grill and warm for about 15 seconds on each side.

6. Transfer fish to a plate and allow to rest for a few minutes before gently breaking into pieces.

7. Serve on warm tortillas, topped with cabbage, pico de gallo, sauce, and other desired toppings. Serve with a side of Mexican rice, if desired.

Cook’s Notes:

Tips for perfect fish tacos: There are three important components to making great fish tacos: white fish, shredded cabbage, and crema (a white sauce). Other parts of this recipe are adaptable, but those three things, paired together, are the trinity of basic fish tacos.

Grilled Fish Tacos


You just can’t go wrong with fresh, flavorful, and healthy grilled fish tacos, and these are loaded with all the best toppings, including cabbage, pico de gallo, and a simple homemade white sauce, or “crema”— and they can be ready in less than 30 minutes. Plus, when grilled, the fish maintains its fresh, delicious taste and texture and it’s much healthier than breading and frying.

1 pound lean white fish fillets (tilapia, halibut, mahi mahi, snapper, or cod)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

1 small lime, juiced

1 clove garlic, minced

1½ teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)

8 white corn tortillas (see Cook’s Notes)

for the fish taco sauce

½ cup sour cream

1⁄3 cup mayonnaise

1 small lime, juiced

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce, or to taste

Try to buy fillets that are thinner because they cook faster and taste better with the marinade.

Use corn tortillas. Authentic Mexican tacos always use white corn tortillas. Fish tacos, especially, taste really great with that white corn flavor from the corn tortillas. Please use corn tortillas, not flour tortillas for this recipe.

Try serving these fish tacos on two street taco size white corn tortillas, but the regular size will also work great. Heat the corn tortillas on your grill or in a dry skillet, for just a few seconds on each side, until warmed.


Calories: 327, Carb: 26g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 22g (Sat: 3g), Cholesterol: 9mg, Sodium: 346mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g

Nutrition information for each recipe is per serving unless otherwise noted.

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Pico de Gallo


Everyone loves this easy recipe, made in just 10 minutes with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, red onion, and jalapeño. It’s the best topping for all of your Mexican food favorites or as a dip with tortilla chips.

5 Roma tomatoes, diced

½ cup white or red onion, diced

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 small jalapeño pepper, veins and seeds removed, diced Salt, to taste

1-2 teaspoons lime juice, to taste

Combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and jalapeño in a bowl. Season with salt and add lime juice to taste. If you would like it spicy, keep some or all of the jalapeño seeds in, depending on how spicy you want it. You can also add extra jalapeño peppers.

Cook’s Note:

You can make this an hour or two in advance if needed and keep in the refrigerator. It is best eaten fresh, within 12 hours of making it.


Calories: 19, Carb: 4g, Protein:

1g, Fat: 1g (Sat: 1g), Sodium: 4mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g

Rest Steak

Let meat rest after grilling to allow the juices to settle in, making it juicier and more tender. If you cut into it without waiting, you will lose a lot of the juices.

Carne Asada Tacos


The term “carne asada” refers to grilled steak (typically skirt or flank steak) that has been sliced thinly. Serve this juicy steak in warm corn tortillas with fresh pico de gallo and avocado slices.

1½ pounds flank steak

for the marinade

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup fresh chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1⁄3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1. Season steak on both sides with salt and pepper.

2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the marinade ingredients.

3. Place steak in a bowl or large ziptop bag and pour marinade over steak.

4. Seal/cover and refrigerate, allowing the steak to marinate for 2 to 5 hours. Remove steak from the refrigerator 20 minutes before grilling.

5. Heat grill to high and brush the grill grates lightly with oil. Lift steak from the bag of marinade, allowing excess marinade to drip o .

6. Place steak on the grill and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until desired doneness.

7. Transfer steak to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest 5 minutes. Cut the steak, against the grain, into very, very thin strips.

2 limes, juiced

1⁄2 of an orange, juiced

for serving

10 white corn tortillas warmed Pico de Gallo (see recipe left) or salsa Avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced Valentina hot sauce, for topping (optional) Mexican rice (optional)

8. Warm corn tortillas on a hot dry skillet. Top with steak, pico de gallo, sliced avocado, and hot sauce, if desired.

Cook’s Notes:

Grill the steak on high heat. Flank steak is such a thin cut of meat that you want to be able to sear the outside of the meat without overcooking the inside. So, make sure your grill is hot before placing the meat on it. Cut across the grain. That means, notice the directional lines in the flank steak grain and slice perpendicular to them. If you cut along the grain, then the meat will be tougher and chewier to eat.


Calories: 586, Carb: 34g, Protein: 43g, Fat: 31g (Sat: 6g) Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 141mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 3g

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Taco Seasoning


It’s easy to make your own 100% natural taco seasoning that perfectly balances every smoky, savory, mild, or spicy nuance of flavor. Make just enough to replace one prepackaged pouch of seasoning or make a big batch and use as a dry rub for meats, or to pep up savory dishes such as casseroles or chili.

¼ cup chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons ground cumin

4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Pork Carnitas


It doesn’t get much simpler or more delicious than tender and flavorful pork carnitas, which is Spanish for “little meats.” This popular Mexican dish is made by slow cooking pork shoulder and then shredding it and roasting it in the oven. It’s very similar to pulled pork except that it’s oven roasted after slow cooking—and I like to cook carnitas with a touch of lime and orange juice.

4 pounds pork shoulder

2 tablespoons chili powder

4 teaspoons ground cumin

3 teaspoons dried oregano leaves 2-3 teaspoons salt or more, to taste

1. Trim and discard excess fat from the pork.

2. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Generously season the pork on all sides.

3. Add the seasoned pork to the bottom of the slow cooker. Add garlic, chopped onions, orange juice, and lime juice. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours.

4. Remove pork from the slow cooker, shred the meat, and return it to the pot. Taste and add more seasonings and salt and pepper, if needed. At this point you can eat the pork as is, or (to be truly authentic) you can place the meat on a baking sheet and broil it for 2 to 3 minutes until the edges are crispy.

5. For tacos, serve warm inside corn tortillas, garnished with cilantro. Add salsa or pico de gallo, if desired. Serve with a side of Mexican rice and refried beans.

6. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days or in a freezersafe container or bag for up to 4 months. To rewarm, spread the meat on a baking

1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions, roughly chopped

2 large oranges, juiced 2 limes, juice

sheet with a little of the juice and reheat at 400°F until warm, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Cook’s Notes:

To cook in the oven, preheat the oven to 325°F. Prepare and season the pork the same, but cut it into a few large chunks to fit evenly into a Dutch oven or oven-safe pot. Add an additional cup of water/broth to the pot. Bake for 3 to 3½ hours, until tender.

To cook in the Instant Pot, prepare and season the pork the same, inside the instant pot. Add an additional cup of water or chicken broth to the pot. Cook on Manual/ High pressure for 70 minutes. When timer beeps, allow the pot to naturally release pressure, about 15 minutes longer. Remove lid and shred the meat. Broil if desired.


Calories: 230, Carb: 5g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 10g (Sat: 3g), Cholesterol: 92mg, Sodium: 722mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g

1. Mix all spices together until well combined. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in your spice cupboard and use as needed (for maximum freshness use within 6 months).

2. Use 2 tablespoons in place of a 1-ounce store-bought packet of taco seasoning, or to season 1 pound of meat.

Cook’s Note:

If you only want to make enough taco seasoning to replace 1 packet, use the following amounts: 1 tablespoon chili powder, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, pinch of cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon paprika, 1½ teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.

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Chicken Tinga


This is a popular Mexican dish of shredded chicken in a delicious sauce made from tomatoes, onions, adobo sauce with chilies, and spices. The homemade sauce is quick to make and bursting with bold flavor. In addition to using this chicken in tacos, it’s great for tostadas, enchiladas, burritos, loaded quesadillas, and more.

for the chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

¼ onion

2 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

for the sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 Roma tomatoes

1 onion, cut into chunks

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon adobo sauce, plus 1 chipotle chili

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1. Add chicken, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and bay leaf to a pot. Cover with water, bring to a simmer, and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (165°F). Scoop o foam that may rise to the top while cooking. Remove chicken to a plate to rest, and reserve 1 cup of broth from the pot (discard the rest).

2. Return the emptied pot to the stove over medium-high heat. Add oil and once hot, add whole tomatoes, cooking for 2 minutes. Add onion chunks and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes and onion to a blender, along with ½ cup reserved broth, 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon, 2 garlic cloves, adobo sauce and chipotle chile, oregano, and cumin and blend until smooth. Pour mixture back into the pot over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes. Taste and add salt, additional adobo sauce, more seasonings, or reserved chicken broth, as desired, to taste.

4. Shred chicken and add to sauce, tossing to coat.

5. To serve as tacos, fill warm corn or flour tortilla with chicken tinga and top with shredded lettuce, cheese, crema, cilantro, and avocado as desired.

Cook’s Notes:

Spice Level: The recipe as written is fairly mild, unless you add a very large adobo chile.

More Toppings

Finely shredded lettuce, crumbled Cotija or queso fresco, Mexican crema or sour cream, cilantro, sliced avocado, and lime wedges

Add more chilies, for more heat, if desired.

To Use Rotisserie Chicken: Skip the first steps of cooking the chicken. Make the sauce, adding ½ cup chicken broth. Stir in shredded rotisserie chicken at the end.

The chicken tinga can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in freezer safe container or bag in the freezer for up to 2 months. Heat when you are ready to use.

To make in a slow cooker, make the sauce as instructed in recipe. Place chicken in a slow cooker and pour sauce on top. Cook on low for 5 hours, or on high for 2½ hours.

Shred chicken and toss in sauce, then serve.

To make in an Instant Pot, make the sauce as instructed in recipe. Pour the sauce in the pot, then add fresh chicken breasts. Place lid on Instant Pot and cook on manual for 9 minutes, with a 5-minute natural pressure release. Remove chicken to shred, then place back in Instant Pot and toss with sauce.


Calories: 193, Carb: 7g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 7g (Sat: 1g), Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 646mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g

real food 47

More Toppings

Shredded lettuce, cheese, tomato, onion, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa

48 real food

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos


These easy tacos are a delicious and healthy meal that the whole family will love. Plus, the slow cooker or Instant Pot make this meal perfect for a busy weeknight.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

½ cup low-sodium chicken broth or salsa

1⁄3 cup Italian dressing or salsa

3 teaspoons fresh lime juice

3 teaspoons chili powder

1½ teaspoons onion powder

¾ teaspoon garlic powder

¾ teaspoon paprika

¾ teaspoon cumin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place chicken breasts in your slow cooker.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour them over the chicken in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2½ hours or low for about 5 hours.

3. Shred the chicken. Cook for 30 more minutes.

4. Serve chicken with tacos or use to make enchiladas, quesadillas, tostadas, burritos, or taco salad.

Cook’s Notes:

For the Instant Pot: Using 1 cup salsa instead of chicken broth and Italian dressing helps the flavors hold up better under pressure. But either way will work. Season the chicken with spices and place in the bottom of the Instant pot. Cover with lime juice and salsa (or broth and Italian dressing). Cook on Manual (High Pressure) for 8 minutes. Quick release the pressure and carefully remove the lid. Shred the chicken and serve in tortillas with desired toppings.

The shredded chicken can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator and heat before using. You can freeze the shredded chicken in an airtight freezer safe container or bag for up to 3 months. Remove as much air as you can to prevent freezer burn. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.


Calories: 128, Carb: 3g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Sodium: 240mg, Sugar: 1g

Birria Tacos


Step up your taco game with shredded beef and melty cheese tacos coated in sauce and pan fried until crispy. Serve sauce on the side for dipping, and you’ll see why these are all the rage.

for the meat and sauce

3 pounds beef chuck roast

4 bone-in beef short ribs

8 dried guajillo chili peppers

3 dried pasilla chili peppers

2-3 dried arbol chili peppers

5 Roma tomatoes, quartered (about 1½ pounds)

1 white onion, roughly chopped

1 head garlic (10-12 cloves)

1 tablespoon each whole black peppercorns, whole cumin seed, dried oregano, and dried thyme

½ teaspoon whole coriander seed

4 whole cloves

1. Remove any large pieces of fat from the chuck roast. Cut it into a few large pieces and season with salt. Rinse the chilies, then use scissors to remove the stem and make a slit along the side to open them and remove the seeds. (The arbol chilies are hottest, so for less heat, remove the seeds, or omit these chilies. If you like extra spice, leave them whole).

2. Add tomatoes and onion to a large stock pot (at least a 5½ quart pot) over medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring. Add whole garlic cloves, chile peppers, and all of the spices except the bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add vinegar and 4 cups water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.

3. Add mixture to a blender and blend as smooth as possible. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer, back into the pot. Add 4 cups of water to the blender and swirl it around to clean excess sauce from the blender, then add it to the pot.

4. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Add short ribs, chuck roast, and 3 bay leaves. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook 2½ hours.

5. Check meat to make sure it’s tender. Remove meat to a plate and chop or shred into pieces. Discard bones and bay leaves.

6. To assemble the tacos, heat a large griddle or skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with a small amount of oil. Dip a corn tortilla into the birria sauce and lay tortilla on hot pan.

7. Quickly top half of each tortilla with

1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger

1 1-inch piece Mexican cinnamon stick or 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon kosher salt

for the tacos

15 white or yellow corn tortillas

2½ cups shredded Oaxaca cheese or mozzarella or Monterey jack

½ white onion, diced

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

2 limes, cut into small wedges

a spoonful of shredded meat, a sprinkle of cheese, and a little chopped onion and cilantro. Fold unfilled tortilla half over filled side. Fry several minutes, until crispy and browned on the bottom. Flip and cook until crispy and browned on the other side. Remove to a plate for serving. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

8. Sprinkle remaining chopped onion and cilantro on top of tacos. Serve with a dish of warm birria sauce for dipping.

Cook’s Notes:

Guajillo and passilla peppers have mild heat. Guajillo chilies are required for this recipe, but passila could be substituted with dried mulato (poblano) chilies, or use 1-2 extra guajillo chilies. Arbol chilies are spicy, so for very mild heat you can leave them out, or for medium heat, remove the seeds.

To make in the slow cooker, prepare and blend sauce. Add sauce and meat to slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, until meat is tender.

To make with chicken: Add bonein, skinless chicken thighs to the sauce instead of beef, and cook for about 30 minutes, or just until chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove to a plate and shred. Assemble tacos as instructed and serve with sauce.

Nutrition (per serving):

Calories: 382, Carb: 22g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 22g (Sat: 12g), Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 857mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 5g

Lauren Allen has compiled treasured family recipes and more into an online collection on her site, Tastes Better from Scratch, and in her new cookbook of the same name.

real food 49


50 real food
Yia Vang brings Hmong food to American tables with tradition and innovation.  QUINTON SKINNER •   ELIESA

How would you

differentiate Hmong food from other cuisines, Asian or otherwise? When asked this question, Minneapolis-based chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Yia Vang bristles.

“When I get asked that question, my response is always, ‘Is that question asked of any other kind of food?’” Vang patiently explains. “It’s always ‘well, Hmong food, you don’t have a country of your own. You guys don’t have a flag or an anthem.’ So, a lot of times when I hear that question, there’s always that undertone of, ‘well, how are you guys a legit culture?’”

It’s a response that underscores the in-between position of the Hmong in America. A people who have historically lived in lands including Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and China—they’ve never had a state of their own. Many Hmong people assisted the U.S. during the Vietnam War, and have since settled into American communities such as the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Vang currently operates Union Hmong Kitchen in Minneapolis, a rare Hmong-centered restaurant.

Does Vang consider himself a trailblazer for bringing Hmong dishes to American palates? Like so

much of the way he approaches his cooking and his career, his answer is thoughtful and complicated.

“The first thing I always tell people is that when we started [Union Hmong Kitchen], there was no intention of blazing any trail, or being the ambassador of whatever,” Vang says. “It was literally, for me, feeling like a boy who was trying to make his mom and dad proud of him. It’s like that kid who goes to school and makes his little papiermâché project or his little pottery project that’s half falling apart. But he brings it home and it has this sign, it says ‘for Mom and Dad,’ even though it’s half broken.”

Vang’s accomplishments do not evoke crumbling pottery. After a childhood spent in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, Vang started his culinary career working up through the ranks of some of the Twin Cities’ most acclaimed kitchens. Since branching out on his own, his sparkling cooking has landed him accolades including a Best New Chef Midwest nomination from the James Beard Awards in 2022 (Union Hmong Kitchen also received a nomination nod for Best New Restaurant), and nomination this year for Best Chef, Midwest.

He also spent a good deal of time along the way learning traditional Hmong cooking from his mother. Vang’s signature dishes have a flavor unique to current American palates, and a family feel. Favorites include grilled butterflied chicken with lemongrass sauce, smoked pork belly hash with grilled vegetables and duck eggs, and grilled rainbow trout with herbed salad and fried rice. His popular sticky rice and hot sauce at Union Hmong Kitchen originated with his mom, and his housemade sausage started with his dad’s own.

“We get to educate people about Hmong food and about Hmong people,” Vang says. “If you want to know our people, you have to know our food. Our cultural DNA is woven into the food that we eat as young people.”

That DNA originated for Vang when his parents met in the Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand a er the Vietnam War ended in 1975. Vang is one of six siblings and came to America in 1988 when he was 4 years old. While the Twin Cities are home to the

52 real food

Hmong Cooking From Yia Vang

In Hmong food, we always have our base aromatics: lemongrass, ginger, garlic, Thai chilies, and shallots. Those are the kind of Southeast Asian aromatics that we use, and a lot of Hmong people are farmers and growers—like my parents, who have a little garden where they grow all of this themselves. There’s another aspect of our food that’s very herbaceous. You’ve got your dill, cilantro, green onions, Thai basil, and mint. These are the herbaceous flavors that brighten up the dish. And then I would say that if you come to Mom’s house and she’s making food for you, there’s going to be four elements on that table:

1. Some kind of rice. Jasmine rice, short grain rice, or some kind of sticky rice—that’s your starch.

2. And then some protein. This can be anything from tofu or mushrooms to beef, chicken, or fish.

3. The next thing is vegetables. It could be a stir-fry or part of a soup—but there must be a vegetable there.

4. And the next thing that’s really big: you have your hot sauce. We’re not talking here about aging and fermenting for 30 days or whatever. It’s literally Thai chili, garlic, fish sauce, salt, and shallots. And you mash it down with a mortar. If you want to make it more herbal you can throw in some cilantro. The hot sauce is like a chimichurri salsa or a salsa verde. Every culture has this. It helps bring the flavors of all the foods together.

Those four elements are your base. That’s your canvas. And then, however you want to paint your picture depends on how you want to do it. And that’s what I love about Hmong food. It’s not about a certain type or kind of food. It’s a philosophy of food. It’s about the understanding that, no matter where we go, no matter where we are, these are the elements that we’ll put together.

largest Hmong community outside of Southeast Asia, other pockets in cities such as California’s Fresno and Sacramento represent a growing cultural in uence.

“The point of being Hmong is that for thousands and thousands of years, our ancestors had to integrate into different cultures in Southeast Asia, and our food actually represents all these different areas that we’ve been in,” says Vang. “Now that we’ve been here in America for the last nearly 50 years, our food is starting to reflect what’s grown in America. I think that our culture is so young and that it’s still trying to define itself and just find its own identity.”

Vang points out that the ancestors of the Hmong originated in China and have been on the move for

53 spring 2023 THE BASICS


centuries. Their diaspora to America is the latest chapter of a history of adaptation and learning to carry their culture into other lands.

“While you learn about history, you’re also living at the same time. So, the food we cook isn’t traditional Hmong food. We learn from that tradition, and we expand that tradition,” Vang says. “We keep moving. There’s this whole idea of tradition and authenticity, and we feel like they fight. But they need each other. And if you say ‘traditional Hmong food,’ you’re talking about 25 or 30 years ago, when they didn’t have the ingredients that we’re using today. And then 50 years ago, they were still in the hills and the mountains of Laos.”

Vang is poised to be a leader in what defines Hmong food in America, but he plans not to let the attention and potentially critical spotlight determine how he approaches things. In his heart, he stays close to his parents’ kitchen.

“At the end of the day, I get to bring what I’m doing to Mom and Dad and show it to them,” he says.

54 real food ˝


“And as that little boy, I just get to ask, is this OK? As long as they say, ‘Yes, this is great, we’re with you and we’re behind you,’ I don’t care about any other voices.”

Vang brings a fun, open, and authentic energy to conversation as well as his multifaceted ventures in the food world. He plans to open his larger eatery Vinai in Minneapolis later in 2023, a date that was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In times of turmoil in his industry, Vang focuses on the positive.

“We were out in New York, and I was meeting with a writer from Bon Appetit,” Vang says. “I just said that I feel very blessed. There are some restaurants that didn’t make it out of COVID. We were very blessed to be very small at that time and we were able to maneuver through some of it. And in the last couple years we’ve been able to look at other opportunities and take them to the team and say, ‘Hey, is this something that we wanna roll with?’ We have an incredible team.”

Those opportunities have multiplied. Vang made the prestigious cover of Bon Appetit magazine in 2020. And his ease in front of the camera led to TV appearances in 2022 on Netflix’s “Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend,” as well as the “Stoked” Food Network digital series, and a star turn in the Outdoor Channel’s “Feral,” which premiered in November 2022.

In “Feral,” each episode sees Vang hunting and fishing wild species such as hogs and silver carp, learning from local guides about ecosystems and food chains—and eventually cooking and eating a variety of animals never seen on the traditional American dinner table.

“I told a couple of my Hmong friends about it, and they were like, ‘dude, why don’t we get our dads on that show?’ Because that’s what they all did growing up,” Vang says with a laugh.

Vang talks about “Feral” as part of his larger journey of connecting, learning, and bridging different backgrounds. At one point he recalls connecting with a snake catcher hunting Burmese python in the Everglades of southern Florida and realized that both their people talk about coming from hill country despite growing up thousands of miles and halfway around the world from each other.

Lemongrass Ginger Sauce


This oil sauce is a delicious base for cooking fried rice, or any stir-fry dish. You can make it ahead, so it’s great to have on hand for whenever you want to whip up a tasty meal.

3 cups neutral oil (such as vegetable, canola, peanut, or grapeseed)

1 cup chopped lemongrass

½ cup chopped ginger

¼ cup chopped garlic (see Cook’s Note)

1 cup sliced scallions

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1. In a large pan, heat oil on high heat until it’s steaming hot. Add lemongrass, ginger, and garlic and immediately turn heat down to low. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Turn o heat and add scallions, salt, and fish sauce. Use when making fried rice—use about 1 tablespoon to every cup of rice—or when preparing your favorite stir-fry dish. For 1 pound of chicken, you should use about 2 tablespoons in place of oil, or it can be used as a sauce on the side. This sauce will keep in a sealed container or jar in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Cook’s Note: You’ll need about 10-12 cloves, which is about one bulb of garlic to make ¼ cup chopped.

“That’s the ethos of what we’re trying to do,” Vang says. “My Mom and Dad, their door was always open to whoever wanted to come to the table and eat. And that’s their legacy. The table is open to anybody— come, eat, and be respectful to each other. But come to the table.”

Quinton Skinner is the author of fiction and nonfiction books, as well as work in numerous national publications including Glamour, Experience Life, Huffington Post, Delta Sky, and American Theatre. He was senior editor of Minnesota Monthly and METRO magazine, and is the co-founder of Logosphere Storysmiths.

55 spring 2023

Seasonal Sips

Venerable vegetables find a mate in Sauvignon Blanc.

One of springtime’s favorite veggies, asparagus, is often considered a difficult match for wine. But a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc can stand up to these flavorful spears. The wine also complements foods with relatively high acidity such as tomatoes and vinegar-based dressing, so it’s a good choice to uncork with salads. Its citrus notes work well with the bold flavors of the feta cheese and olives in a Greek salad.

Sauvignon Blanc grapes are usually fermented in stainless steel tanks rather than aged in oak like many Chardonnays, which optimizes its freshness and fruit flavors. The wine can have fruity (think grapefruit) or grassy (freshly mowed lawn) elements depending on where it is grown, but it always has a crisp acidic zip that makes it an especially good, food-friendly selection.

Find Sauvignon Blanc labeled as notable French wines such as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé from the Loire Valley, which can have herbaceous or gooseberry flavors. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc can have passion fruit and grapefruit flavors with just the right amount of that grassy quality. Sauvignon Blanc from warmer areas, such as California—where it might be labeled Fumé Blanc—tend to have more of the lemony or grapefruit flavors.

Since Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor descriptors often include asparagus, rounding out a meal with salmon, chicken, or goat’s cheese can balance the wine’s asparagus notes. Also try it with Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexican, and Southwestern cuisine. Whether you prefer the fruity or grassy style, Sauvignon Blanc offers a welcome partner at the dinner table.

Sip on This

pairings 56 real food
In California in the 1960s, Robert Mondavi coined and popularized the term “Fumé Blanc” for dryfermented high-quality Sauvignon Blanc.
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The perfect blend of tomato,100% Bertolli ® Olive Oil, basil, garlic & onion. No wonder chefs are taking it so hard. Now you don’t have to be an Italian chef to be an Italian chef.

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