Category Archives: Spring Recipes

Recipe for Minestrone Soup With Fresh Fava Beans

Fresh fava beans are in season now and I can’t get enough of them.  Usually I use them in pasta dishes or in my favorite grilled polenta dish but this year I had a craving for minestrone soup so I’ve made it a couple of times already.  No one is complaining and I had to act fast to get pictures of this second batch because it was being eaten so fast.

Yes, fava beans are one of the more labor intensive foods out there.  How can I convince you it’s worth it?  I could promise to send you a reward for giving them a try but I’m too lazy to get down to the post office.  I could list all the reasons why I look forward to shelling and peeling favas every year but that would take too much effort.  I could engage in a guilt campaign that would make my grandma proud but guilt uses up a lot of energy.  Why expend all my energy trying to convince you that processing fresh favas is worth it when I could use that same energy to process the 3 lbs of favas waiting for me in the kitchen?  So if you don’t feel up to the work of preparing fresh favas – you can add a can of cannellini beans instead.   It will still be an awesome spring minestrone soup.  I won’t think less of you, I promise.

This recipe makes a lot of soup.

Recipe for Minestrone Soup With Fresh Shelled Fava Beans

10 bowls of soup

Recipe for Minestrone Soup With Fresh Shelled Fava Beans


  • 3 lbs fava beans, shelled, blanched, and skins removed
  • 1 lb spinach, washed, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, diced
  • 1 quart canned diced tomatoes (or a 28 ounce can if buying from the store)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup finely minced mix of oregano, parsley, thyme, and just a little bit of lovage
  • 2 quarts water or stock, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup of whole wheat rotelli pasta
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper


  1. While removing the favas from the pods put a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Add the beans to the boiling water for one minute. Drain and then put them in a bowl of ice water. When the beans have cooled, remove the skins and set the beans aside for later.
  2. Carefully wash the spinach (even if it's prewashed - it often still has grit in it) and remove the stems as you wash it. Then chop it roughly and set it aside for later.
  3. Heat the oil in a big soup pot. Once it's hot add the onion, carrot, and potatoes. Saute on med/high heat until the vegetables slightly brown. You will need to stir frequently to keep them from sticking.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and two quarts of water. Stir well then add the spinach. Bring it to a boil and then turn down to med/low heat and cook until the carrots and potatoes are just tender. Usually about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the pasta and fava beans and cook for ten more minutes. Add more water if it's getting too thick (this is a matter of personal discretion). The pasta will suck some up.
  6. Lastly add the zucchini, salt and pepper. Cook for five more minutes and then turn the heat off. Let the soup sit for a while to finish cooking the zucchinis.


A really big handful of fresh herbs will result in a half a cup of minced herbs. There's no exact science here. I went out in the garden and picked a lot of oregano, a little parsley, a few sprigs of thyme and a pinch of lovage.

If you haven't used lovage before - it's very strong so a little goes a long way. It adds a wonderful celery flavor to soups. If you don't grow lovage then you might want to add a couple of stalks of chopped celery to this soup (throw it in at the same time as the onion).

As always with soup - how much water or stock you add is a personal matter. I used 3 quarts of water but you could add a little more to make it thinner or less for a thicker soup. So start with the 2 quarts in the recipe and then use your own preferences as a guide.

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Two Egg Herb Omelet Recipe

The herbs in my garden are lush in mid spring and so are the dandelions, ingredients for a simple lunch.  I used to walk my garden every day to see what was happening in it, to see the minute changes that occur from day to day.  The side effect of this routine is that I become relaxed and breath more deeply as I examine the plants for insect life and general health.  The noise in my head and all around me grows more quiet as I cut some herbs or spy a small rogue white violet that made its way into my yard without my help.

I’ve been out of the habit of making my garden rounds for the last year but I was reminded to go out there yesterday when I found myself hungry at lunch time with two eggs and no will to make something fancy or time consuming.  I realized that dandelion greens will be growing tougher and more bitter soon and I hadn’t eaten any yet this year.  So I took a small bowl and some scissors and did my rounds.

I discovered that my currants are covered in tiny green fruits.  I will be taking these two bushes with me to California if they’re allowed in the state (white pine rust is an issue in some places).  If not, I’ll give them to a friend.  This is the first time they’ve really put out a respectable number of fruits and it made me happy to see the promise of currant sauce.   I noticed that my comfrey has gone to flower – comfrey that I’ve finally got to settle in my yard after several failed attempts in previous years.  Little wild daisies are sprouting in the pathways and I enjoy the scattering of their seeds in random clumps though my neighbors will not appreciate this chaos.  My elderberry is budding out and has so many strong new shoots they are ready to be permanently planted out.  I have one to give a friend and one to take with me to California.  It reminded me that I want to take a cutting of the native elderberries.

There’s a rogue potato plant in my herb bed which reminds me of myself living in McMinnville, out of place and thumbing my nose at the natives who try to muscle me out.  The garlic my mom planted is getting strong and tall  and I wonder if they’ll be close to ready by July though I know they won’t and it bothers me to leave them.  I cut a handful of small dandelion greens, some parsley, thyme, and oregano and head back to the kitchen where I made this two egg omelet with cheese and a half an avocado, a simple fresh light lunch.

Two Egg Herb Omelet Recipe

serves one person

Two Egg Herb Omelet Recipe


  • 2 eggs
  • a handful of fresh herbs and dandelion greens, minced
  • a few shakes of salt
  • a few grinds of pepper
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • a handful of grated cheese
  • half an avocado if you have one


  1. In a small bowl whisk the two eggs together with the herbs, salt, and pepper using a fork.
  2. Heat the oil in a small frying pan on high. When the oil is hot turn the heat down to medium.
  3. Pour the eggs into the pan and let the bottom cook for a few minutes.
  4. Flip the eggs over in one piece and cook for a few more minutes.
  5. When the eggs are cooked through add some cheese to one side and fold the other side on top of it. Turn the heat off and put the lid on the pan for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese.
  6. Put it on a plate with sliced avocado and eat it. If you're a philistine like me, add ketchup.


I like my eggs to be well done but if you're more French in your tastes you can leave them much softer by not cooking for as long. It makes me shiver to think about but I believe if you want the insides to be runny like they sometimes served my omelettes to me in Paris, you don't cook both sides of the omelette. Just cook longer on the one side and then fold over with the cheese inside. You're on your own with that.

Any combination of herbs will work. Just walk your garden and cut what you like. A handful of anything will do. If you don't like your omelette to have such a strong herb flavor, use less. If you cut dandelion leaves, choose the newest smallest ones because they'll be less bitter and more tender. By the time June comes, it's too late for those.

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Pan Roasted Mushrooms With Thyme Recipe

I can’t get enough mushrooms right now.  I haven’t been seeing the wild ones at the farmer’s market yet but I’ve been buying a whole lot of cultivated white button and Crimini mushrooms.  I love them almost any way except for raw.  I love to roast them on the grill, sautee them thinly sliced with onion to put in omelets, and of course I love to make tofu stroganoff.  But this is by far my current favorite way to eat mushrooms: pan roasting them with onions and thyme in olive oil and then finishing them off with some red wine vinegar.  I’d use wine but I never happen to have any sitting around.  When they’re still warm but not hot I put them on a bed of lettuce with some feta cheese and dress with vinaigrette.  It’s a simple but satisfying salad.

Pan Roasted Mushrooms With Thyme

Pan Roasted Mushrooms With Thyme


  • 2 lbs button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Heat up the olive oil in a large saute pan and add the mushrooms and onions.
  2. With the heat on high saute the mushrooms and onions until they start to brown, stirring frequently to prevent them from sticking to the pan or burning.
  3. Add the thyme and salt and turn the heat down to medium-high.
  4. Add the vinegar and cook with a lid on for about five minutes to get the mushrooms to release their juices.
  5. Remove the lid and continue cooking until all the juices have cooked down, stirring frequently.
  6. Grind fresh pepper over them and serve.


You can serve these mushrooms as a side dish, add to a salad, or add them to eggs. These are just the ways we've enjoyed them - I'm confident there are many other ways to enjoy this dish. If you have some red wine on hand I suggest using that in place of the red wine vinegar. This recipe can be easily halved. I do a big batch because we can't get enough of them.

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Asparagus and Fresh Fava Couscous Recipe

I am seeing fresh favas show up at more and more markets both in my own area and across food blogs.  This is a happy circumstance and if you haven’t found them at your local farmer’s market start pummeling your local farmers to grow them.  I dislike dried favas a great deal but eaten fresh they are nutty and a little sweet (much like peas) and versatile.

I can’t get enough of them which is why I usually grow at least one bed of them in my own garden.  I missed out this year which is really cramping my style because their season is super short and once you see them at the farmer’s market you may only have two weeks to take advantage of them.  They don’t keep well in storage.  (Take note when buying them and putting them in the fridge:  you have a maximum of two days to get those suckers shucked and blanched before they will go off).

I usually try to get people to try favas in my grilled polenta recipe but right now, I want you to try this recipe and play with it while you have the chance.  There are so many ways you could alter what I offer here to suit your personal tastes and to expand it.  This is simple and pretty fast to make.

Asparagus and Fresh Fava Couscous

serves 8


1 1/2 cups couscous

1 Tbsp olive oil

3 cups water

1/3 cup olive oil

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″-2″ pieces

1 cup fresh shelled favas (a good sized produce bag of unshelled), skin removed

6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

1/2 bunch basil, julienned

8 oz feta, crumbled

2/3 cup mustard vinaigrette to dress it with


Make the couscous according the directions HERE.

In a large saute pan heat 1/3 cup olive oil on med/high heat.  Add the asparagus and the shelled beans.  Do not walk away.  You need to stir this frequently or the beans will stick to the bottom of the pan.  When the asparagus and beans start to brown, add the garlic and saute just until they start to brown.  Turn the heat off and add the basil.

Add the couscous to the vegetables and toss really well.  Add the feta and the dressing and toss really well again.  Eat.

Recipe Notes: About trimming the asparagus- I cut a good 2 to 3 inches off the bottoms and that’s not always enough.  I cut the stems into 1″ pieces and then left the tops a little longer.  About preparing favas- yeah, they’re a little work but they’re worth it.  Be sure to blanch the beans and then remove the outer skin.  I failed to weigh the unshelled bag of favas I bought but did measure the shelled beans.  I don’t think you need to get your knickers in a twist over this one.  Just get a good sized bag of favas and it will be perfect.

I added no salt or pepper to this recipe because I used a vinaigrette to dress it which already has seasonings in it.  If you don’t like vinaigrette I suggest you use plain olive oil instead but use only 1/3 cup of it and then salt and pepper the dish.  Be careful though, because the feta adds quite a bit of salt on its own.

If you are vegan I would ditch the feta and use one cup of green olives very rougly chopped if they’re large, or left whole if they’re small.  You could use kalamatas instead but I really think green here would be the best.  While this dish will still be good without either feta or olives, I think it makes the dish much more exciting.

This makes a lot.  I don’t cook in small amounts.  If you want to halve the recipe it’s not at all difficult.  Halve everything and make only 3/4 cup couscous to 1 1/2 cups water.

I had to give you one more picture.  To convince you to try this dish.

Eggplant Spinach Pasta with Kalamata Olives

This pasta was made mostly from things in my pantry.  I have given directions and ingredients as though you have a fresh eggplant and celery because you can make this dish in the summer when these ingredients are in season.  However, I grill and freeze eggplant and if you do too this is a great recipe to use them in.  I also blanch and freeze celery when I can get it in season locally and I don’t buy it any other time of year.  If you’re using frozen eggplant and celery, as I did here, you skip sauteeing the eggplant and just saute the onions until translucent and lightly browned and add the celery and eggplant at the same time as the tomato sauce.  I defrost the eggplant ahead of time because it’s safer to dice them once thawed, but I don’t defrost the celery, I just add it to the sauce and let it defrost as it cooks.  I used my home canned tomatoes and if you have them use 1 quart of diced tomatoes (and their juice) and 1 pint of tomato sauce.  I like to serve this with Parmesan but feta is very good with it too.  Happily, if you don’t eat cheese, it’s wonderful without!

When I’m impatient for summer produce this is the dish I make.


serves 6

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 large eggplant, diced into 1/2″ cubes

3 stalks celery, chopped

28 oz can diced tomatoes in their juice

15 oz can tomato sauce

8 oz spinach, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely minced (or you can press them)

1/2 cup red wine

6 oz bottle of Kalamata olives, drained

1 lb pasta (rotelli or penne would be good choices)


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on med/high heat and saute the onions and the eggplant until the eggplant is lightly browned.  Add the celery, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce and stir well together.  When the sauce begins to bubble, add the spinach, garlic, and wine.  Turn the heat down to med/low, add the olives and let cook, stirring to keep from sticking, while you cook the pasta.

Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta in it until it’s done.  Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.  Take it off the heat and serve.

This dish is Vegan

This dish is Gluten Free IF you use gluten free pasta

Tomato Bread Soup

bread soup 2.jpgThis is an uncomplicated comforting soup to eat on a cold early spring day.  It’s warm and filling without being heavy.  My mother said the pieces of bread in the soup were like eating clouds.  Seriously, I’m not kidding you, she really said that.  Best thing?  It gets even better by the second day.

If you have a lot of home canned tomatoes this is an excellent recipe to make with them.

Tomato Bread Soup
serves 8


1/2 cup olive oil
1onion, diced
2 quarts diced or stewed tomatoes (use the juice too)
1 quart vegetable broth
1/4 cup red wine
8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
30 grinds of pepper
1 day old baguette, torn into small pieces


Heat the olive oil in a soup pot on med/high heat, then add the onion and saute until it slightly browns.  Add the tomatoes, broth, red wine, salt, oregano, and pepper.  Turn the heat down to med/low.

Cook for twenty minutes.

Remove from the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender OR let it cool down and then blend it in a blender and then return it to the pot.

Put the soup back on the stove, bring to a brief boil, then turn the heat to low and add the bread to it.  Stir it in well and let it cook for ten more minutes.  The bread should be completely saturated and soft but not disintegrated.  If you used particularly hard stale bread you may need to let it cook a little longer.

It is very good just like this but I like to serve it with grated Parmesan.

another bread soup 2.jpg

Recipe notes: You can substitute commercially canned diced or stewed tomatoes – use 2 28 oz cans in place of the quarts.  It’s not precisely  the same number of ounces but it won’t hurt the recipe at all.  If you use fresh oregano then use a tablespoon of minced in place of the tsp of dried.  If you make this in the summer time you can use 4 1/2 pounds of fresh tomatoes with the seeds squeezed out.

If you object to cooking with wine (or don’t have any on hand) you can substitute red wine vinegar for it – don’t leave it out if you’re using home canned.  If you use commercially canned tomatoes you can leave out the wine or vinegar all together, though I don’t think you should.

Don’t cut down on the olive oil amount.  This is such a simple soup and the olive oil adds a very important richness to it.  It’s not so very much per person when divided into 8 portions.

This recipe isn’t gluten free but I’d love it if one of my gluten free friends would try making it with gluten free bread and tell me if it’s good!

This is a vegan recipe.

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Spinach and Nettles Spanakopita (crustless)

spanakopita 2.jpgThe egg rose to the top there making this look more like a quiche.  I believe this happened because my greens were still a little too wet.  It’s not at all like a quiche.  When making it in a pie dish this didn’t happen.

I have eaten a lot of spanakopita in my life.  I’m just saying this right now so you will understand that I know what it tastes like.  I wanted to make a crustless version of spanakopita and shared this ambition with my mother who at once let me know that without the crust it simply can’t be spanakopita.  I argued that what makes a spanakopita spanakopita isn’t the crust but the filling of spinach and feta and onions and dill. 

After some fruitless brangling over this it was revealed that my mom just doesn’t see the point of spanakopita without the crust because she loves the crust.  I got the distinct feeling that if I put a plain wilted spinach leaf on a succulent nest of golden filo she would accept it as the real deal.  I’m not a dab hand at working with filo so I made a spanakopita with a buttery pate brisee for her.  She did agree that the filling was exquisite and tasted exactly like spanakopita.

Next I made it without a crust and she saw the point of it after all. 

Just as I was experimenting with this recipe spring happened.  With early spring in Oregon comes nettles season!  I don’t love the taste of stinging nettles.  Lots of people rave about it but I think it tastes like sea weed, that’s one of the few vegetables I truly can’t tolerate.  I’m motivated to keep trying to find ways to use nettles because of their dense nutritional content.  Nettles have been eaten in early spring by people for hundreds of years (possibly forever, but definitely for hundreds) in soups and teas.  At the end of winter people who didn’t have access to luscious produce from Chile were really in need of a boost to their steady diet of dried/stewed meats and root vegetables. 

At last I have found the recipe to use them in where the taste doesn’t come through but I get the benefit of the the nutrition.  I added two cups of dried nettles to the spinach (and chard when I don’t have enough spinach) and it still tastes exactly like traditional spanakopita.  After I go on my first foraging hunt for fresh nettles I will make this again and report to you how much fresh to add to this recipe if you can get your mitts on it.

If you like your spanakopita with a crust you can just use this recipe as your filling.

My mom couldn’t stop eating it.  Cause it’s that good.  Argument solved. 

pot of spinach 2.jpgTwo pounds of spinach seems like a lot.  Until it’s all cooked.  This big pot full becomes insignificant.

dry nettles 2.jpgIt’s nettle season right now in some places and I ought to have made this recipe with fresh nettles so I could tell you how much to use if you have fresh on hand.  However, I haven’t gotten out to forage yet so I’m using what I dried from last year.  Notice that I haven’t crushed my dried nettles nor have I tamped them down.

squeezed cooked greens 2.jpgSee how little it looks?  Still, divided in six this is one heck of a good serving of greens!

Spinach and Nettles Spanakopita (crustless)

Serves 6 – 8 if made in a pie dish
Serves 4 in 8oz ramekins


2  lbs spinach (or mix of spinach and chard)
2 cups dried nettles
3 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp dried dill
1 tsp salt
30 grinds of pepper
8 oz feta (crumbled)
2 eggs
1 tbsp butter (for greasing the baking dish)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and stem your fresh greens (especially if you use some chard).  Bring the water to boil in a large pot and add all your greens and dried nettle to it.  Boil the greens (be sure to stir them well so the nettles get immersed) until tender (about ten minutes). 

Drain the greens in a colander (and save the boiling water for use as soup stock for later).  When the greens are cool enough to handle squeeze all the water out of them that you can.  Chop and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan.  Add the onions and saute until translucent.

In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs, dill, salt, and pepper with a fork until well mixed.  Add the greens, onion, and feta and stir again until completely mixed.  Spoon into a buttered pie dish or buttered ramekins and bake for 40 minutes. 

spanakopita diff view 2.jpg

Recipe Notes:  (Oh, you thought there were plenty of notes in the beginning?)  I like this best cooked in the pie dish.  Alternatively you could use a square baking dish and cut it in squares.  You could make this with any greens that cook up really tender, so what I’m saying is PLEASE DON’T USE KALE.  Traditional spanakopita is all spinach (hence the name “spinach pie“) but I made this twice with a mix of spinach and chard (because I didn’t have enough spinach) and it was just as good.  You could, if you’re a big fan of kelp flavor, do this dish entirely with nettles. 

This recipe is gluten free.

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Navy Bean and Dandelion Green Salad Recipe

bean salad 2.jpg

I love cold salads made with navy beans (very small white bean) or cannelini beans (a bigger white bean favored in Italian food) because they have a mild bean flavor which pairs perfectly with many summery herbs and vegetables.

This salad is best made in early spring when you can pick very young dandelion greens which are the most tender and least bitter.  If you’re interested in making it now, look for brand new dandelion plants amongst the bigger ones or simply limit yourself to the smallest inner leaves.  You only need a handful.

I cook my beans from dried, rather than canned, but either will do perfectly well.  Because I make my own I always add a chopped onion and some thyme while the beans are cooking (you can see a bit of cooked onion in the picture).

Navy Bean and Dandelion Greens Salad Recipe
serves 6


4 cups cooked navy beans (or 2 16oz cans)
1/4 red onion diced very small
1 handful of minced dandelion greens
1/4 cup prepared mustard vinaigrette*
1 tsp salt


Mix all of the ingredients together well.  That’s it.  It’s more of an assemblage than a method. 

May be served room temperature or cold.

*Use your own favorite home made vinaigrette or use my recipe for mustard vinaigrette.

Variation:  when in season you can add one whole chopped cucumber or a large tomato.  Other herbs can be added as well such as parsley (I’d use a tablespoon of minced fresh parsley) or fresh chopped thyme (I’d use a teaspoon) or basil (I’d use a 1/4 cup julienned).

This recipe is gluten free: provided the vinegar you use in the dressing is gluten free.

This recipe is vegan.

Here are some other articles you might be interested in:

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale): Plant Profile

Mushrooms, Dandelion Greens, and Pasta in a Cheese Sauce

Mustard Vinaigrette Recipe

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Mushrooms, Dandelion Greens, and Pasta in a Cheese Sauce

pasta with chives 2


1 lb finely chopped mushrooms (finely chopped)

1 large fistful of dandelion greens (finely chopped)

1 tbsp of olive oil

3 round tbsp flour

3 tbsp butter

2 tsp salt

20-40 grinds of pepper (to your taste)

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

3 cups milk (I use 2%) (warmed)

2 cups gruyere cheese (grated)

1 lb of Rotelli pasta

 mushrooms 2


In a sauté pan, on med/high heat, warm the olive oil.  Add the finely chopped mushrooms.  Sauté until the juices are released and have cooked off.  Add the chopped dandelion greens.  Cook just until the greens are wilted.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Put a pot of salted water on to boil in a large pot for the pasta.   Keep your eye on it while making the cheese sauce.


Combine the flour, salt, and peppers in a ramekin and mix it together with a spoon (or a tiny whisk if you have one).  Warm the milk either in the microwave or on the stove top so it will be ready when you need it (do not boil it!).  Have the cheese already grated.

(When the salted water boils, add the pasta and cook for the recommended time, usually about 10 minutes for Rotelli, then drain.)

In a medium saucepan, on medium heat, melt the butter.  As soon as the butter begins to bubble whisk the flour into it.  It should have a paste-like consistency.  For two minutes continue to whisk the flour paste in the pan not allowing it to brown.

Now slowly add the warmed milk while continuing to whisk briskly to prevent lumping (be sure to whisk into the corners of the pan too).  Once the milk has been thoroughly combined with the paste, it will begin to thicken.  It is crucial not to let the sauce boil.  Whisk frequently until it has thickened to the consistency you like your cheese sauce to be.

Remove from the heat.  Gently stir the cheese into the sauce until it is all melted.

Using the pot you boiled your pasta in, combine your drained pasta, the cheese sauce, and the sautéed mushrooms and greens.  Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve hot with a garnish of chive flowers.

Recipe Notes: Mushrooms- you can use any kind of mushrooms in this recipe.  Use wild ones if you have them, or a combination of wild and cultivated, such as Crimini or white button mushrooms.  Since I don’t know how to forage for them in my region and can’t afford to buy wild, I usually use Crimins which are my favorite.

Cheese- Gruyere or Emmental are fantastic choices to accompany the mushrooms.  However, I can’t afford to buy those here so I generally use a very sharp aged cheddar.  Don’t use a cheese that is too mild (such as jack or medium cheddar) because the flavor will be lost in the cream sauce.
It doesn’t take long to make the cheese sauce so it’s important to have the pasta cooking at the same time.  The only exception to this is if you are using an angel hair pasta that only takes three minutes to cook.  My best advice with this dish is to have all your ingredients out and ready to go so you waste no time looking for things or measuring.

 mushroom cheese pasta 2

Not sure why you would want to use dandelion greens?  Find out here:
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale): Plant Profile

Cilantro, Bean, And Rice Salad


This is a great spring dish that uses the first fresh cilantro of the season to dress a melange of items from the pantry. You could make it in the summer too when there is fresh corn and tomatoes to be had but I don’t want to think about how much better it will be later when I’m enjoying the spring version now.


Cilantro Pesto Ingredients:

1 large bunch fresh cilantro, washed and stemmed

3 garlic cloves

2-3 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Rice Salad Ingredients:

2 cups cooked black beans (or two cans)

2 cups cooked Basmati rice

1 can corn

1 quart diced tomatoes

2 cups grated jack cheese

1 recipe cilantro pesto


To make the cilantro pesto:

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulverize the hell out of it. You’re done.

(Or if you like to go the traditional route- put all ingredients in a large sized pestle and mortar and using your muscles, grind the hell out of them all.)

To make the rice salad:

Be sure to drain the canned goods first. Then you put all of the ingredients in a bowl together and stir well. You’re finished. Dinner is ready.

Serves 6-8


If you’re one of those people who really likes two dishes on one plate, you could serve this rice salad with roasted potatoes, or grilled asparagus. I like it as a simple one dish meal myself. It’s great at room temperature but it’s also quite good heated. If you don’t have black beans, I think it would be superb with chick peas. I also made this with pasta instead of rice and it was WONDERFUL. If you want to add some heat to it you could add chopped up roasted jalapenos. Or chopped pickled jalapenos. What brings it all together is the cilantro pesto. If you are vegan you can make this without the cheese.


Recipe Notes: this recipe qualifies as quick if you have the black beans in a can. I had to make mine from dried which takes time. But cooking the rice takes twenty minutes and you can make the cilantro pesto and grate the cheese while it’s cooking.