Side Recipe: Roasted acorn squash tossed with spicy vinaigrette

Roasted Acorn Squash with Spicy Vinaigrette

Acorn squash is often a surprise “volunteer” arrival in my spring compost bin, when the scooped out seeds sprout with the warmth of the season. I’m able to grow a couple squashes before the plant realizes that summer heat is upon it and it goes dormant. Normally, acorn squash grows in winter but it’s available year-round. It’s a transplant from South America, where squash is abundant in the cooking and in the culture. Full of vitamins A, C, and B, they’re also rich with potassium, fiber and magnesium. This recipe takes a few more steps but it is well worth the effort. Eat the skin and all… it turns into a delicious, savory/sweet candy. The tart vinaigrette gives it a brightness that is not to be missed.

Read more: Side Recipe: Baked acorn squash tossed with spicy vinaigrette

Vegetarian recipe: The best black bean burgers ever (really)

Black Bean Burgers

This recipe is for those who think they could never, ever actually enjoy a vegetarian “burger”. And, hey, at some point in my life, I would have said the same thing. And so would my meat-loving (obsessed?) husband. But he loves these quick, easy black bean “burgers”. [NB: I use the term burger loosely since these beauties are formed into patties and could be served on buns]. You really don’t miss the meat. At all. I could seriously eat these once per week and not get tired of them, so I share this recipe with full disclosure… addiction could ensue.

Read more: Vegetarian recipe: The best black bean burgers ever (really)

Recipe: Roasted spicy sweet potato fries

Sweet potatoes are some kind of nutritious! Vitamin A, C and plenty of fiber. But I’ve never loved the boring, plain baked sweet potato… I need to have a dash of savory with this meaty, starchy veggie. So I cut ‘em up, throw on some spice and roast them until they become a beautiful side dish with grilled chicken, BBQ rubbed pork chops or pretty much anything. This recipe comes together in 5 minutes and cooks for about 15 minutes. Easy peasy weeknight or weekend recipe. Serves two.

Read more: Recipe: Roasted spicy sweet potato fries

Recipe: Crispy Sea Bass or Mahi Mahi with lemon dill sauce

Crispy Sea Bass

Due to its healthful aspects — high in protein, vitamin B-12 and iron — fish is something I try to eat at least twice a week. It can enliven a boring week of chicken, pork and beef. But it can be challenging to find super fresh fillets that don’t sport the stomach-turning “fishy” taste; frozen is often what I reach for. But you can still find excellent fresh fish at the grocery store and fish counters, however, you must be vigilant — always ask the guy behind the counter to let you smell the fish before it’s wrapped. Even a whiff of fishiness is a good indication it’s been out of the water a while. Your nose will let you know the deal. This recipe calls for either sea bass or Mahi Mahi, but you can use other white fish as well (halibut or cod come to mind). Tilapia isn’t ideal since it’s too thin, and oilier fish like salmon or swordfish won’t work either. You can also half this recipe. To keep the fillets crispy for the next day, store in a plastic container with wax paper on the bottom.

Read more: Recipe: Crispy Sea Bass or Mahi Mahi with lemon dill sauce

Spring vegetable recipes: Three sauces for steamed or roasted asparagus

Fresh Asparagus

Although vegetables have their own fabulous goodness on their own, when you tire of the same ‘ole thing, a simple sauce goes a long way to renewed or increased deliciousness. My favorite spring vegetable is asparagus, a perennial plant related to garlic and onions and native to Asia, Europe and North Africa. It’s super high in fiber and nutrients like vitamins B1 and 2, C, E, K as well as folate, copper and manganese. Enjoy with abandon.

Read more: Spring vegetable recipes: Four sauces for steamed, grilled or roasted asparagus

Hail Kale Caesar Salad Recipe

Kale Caesar Salad

I have become a massive fan of kale… I do feel like I’m in a herd of sheep following the trend, but it is pretty healthy and can be incredibly tasty. Up until recently, I roasted kale as well as tossed it into soups but Kale Caesar Salad was the first raw recipe I embraced. This version originally came from Alton Brown but I’ve altered it generously to make it a bit more healthy and more pungent.

Read more: Hail Kale Caesar Salad Recipe

Awesome recipe: Brown rice salad with chicken, feta and mint

Brown Rice Salad

Adapted from a recipe in a magazine read so long ago I can’t remember, this mega healthy salad will stave off hunger for hours. The whole grains in brown rice, combined with the protein in the chicken, digest slowly so you’ll feel fuller, longer. And it’s unbelievably tasty, I might add. It even gets better overnight, as the dressing spreads its deliciousness throughout the ingredients. It does take about 45 minutes to make so be patient — it’s seriously worth it. Or make it on Sunday and take this for lunch for two days. You can make this vegetarian by eliminating the chicken and adding another can of chickpeas.

Read more: Awesome recipe: Brown rice salad with chicken, feta and mint

Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (mmm, bacon)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Even as a adult, Roasted Brussels SproutsI hated these little cabbages. Until a friend brought a batch of roasted brussels sprouts over to our house. Now I’m addicted. The act of roasting concentrates the flavor and natural sugars in any vegetables so they emerge from the oven crusty and full of goodness. Recipes works well with broccoli and cauliflower too. Leftovers reheat really well too. And, well, bacon makes everything better!

Read more: Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (mmm, bacon)