Celebrate the Bounty of Summer Food with Plant Based Recipes

by Anouk Booneman

It’s definitely summer in Upstate New York. My fridge is overflowing with long awaited greens. In the coming weeks, we will be able to choose from a very wide range of local vegetables. I purchased another cookbook recently. Not that I needed another cookbook, but “Tenderheart: A Cookbook About Vegetables and Unbreakable Family Bonds" by Hetty Lui Mc Kinnon, has quickly become a favorite. Her recipes are approachable, very interesting and most importantly very tasty. A few of the following recipes are inspired by her.

The following salad recipe is inspired by a sheet pan dinner from her book.

Gremolata is an Italian condiment made from finely parsley, garlic and lemon zest. It adds freshness and brightness to dishes. In this recipe carrot top leaves are used instead of parsley.

Carrots and white bean salad with yuzu vinaigrette, inspired by Hetty Lui Mc Kinnon
(picture shown above)

1 pound carrots (substitute: parsnip or sweet potatoes)
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper
1 can of drained white beans (substitute:chickpeas)
1 lemon
handful of cilantro leaves
handful of toasted almonds
For the vinaigrette
4 tsp yuzu juice (substitute: lemon juice )
2.5 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp maple syrup
1 garlic clove grated
sea salt and black pepper

Make sure your carrots are approximately the same size. If you have some larger ones, halve them lengthwise. Place the carrots on a sheet pan, drizzle with oil, season with salt and roast until tender (about 20 minutes). Let cool.

Place the beans, yuzu juice, olive oil, maple syrup, garlic and salt and pepper in a bowl and marinate while the carrots are roasting and cooling.

To assemble, drain the beans if there is too much vinaigrette (you can use it for a salad) layer on a dish, add the carrots on top, sprinkle with gremolata, toasted almonds and cilantro leaves

Carrot top gremolata breadcrumbs

4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (I used the gluten free variation)
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup washed and finely chopped carrot tops
1 tsp salt

Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the oil and breadcrumbs and stir constantly until golden, about two minutes. Add the lemon zest and garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Remove from the heat, add the carrot tops and sea salt and stir to combine. I used gluten free breadcrumbs.


The following recipe is again from the Tenderheart book. She boosts the nutrition content of her soup by blending raw spinach with coconut milk. I have been used this method but soaked raw cashews instead of spinach into the coconut milk. The soup holds well in the fridge for a few days and can be frozen.

Green curry spinach and lentil soup

From the book Tenderheart  by Lui Mc Kinnon
Serves 4

extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion finely diced
1 inch piece of ginger
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 cup Thai green curry paste (or red paste, I used my own curry mix)
32 ounces vegetable stock
1 cup red lentils (substitute: split peas, pigeon peas, brown lentils or cooked chickpeas)
salt and black pepper
14 ounces spinach roughly chopped (include the stems. Substitute: spinach kale or swiss chard)
1/2 cup basil or cilantro leaves plus more to serve if desired
1 13.5 ounce canned coconut milk
juice of one lime
handful of crispy fried shallots (substitute: oven roasted chickpeas*)

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle in about 2 TBSP of olive oil, add the onion and saute, stirring constantly until softened. Next add the ginger and garlic and stir for one minute. Add the vegetable stock, lentils, 1 tsp of sea salt and stir. Cover and cook for 15 minutes until the lentils are just soft.

Meanwhile add three quarters of the spinach, the basil or cilantro and coconut milk to a blender or food processor and puree for 30-60 seconds, until completely smooth and bright green.

Add the spinach-coconut milk puree and lime juice to the soup stir for 2 minutes, until heated through. Taste and season with sea salt and black pepper Turn of the heat and add the remaining spinach leaves. To serve, divide among bowls and top with extra basil or cilantro leaves and crispy fried shallots.

*Oven roasted chickpeas

Heat the oven to 400 Fahrenheit.  Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F.

Rinse and drain the chickpeas.

Dry the chickpeas. Pat the chickpeas very dry with a clean dish towel or paper towels. Remove any chickpea skins that come off while drying.

Toss the chickpeas with olive oil and salt. Spread the chickpeas out in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the salt. Stir with your hands or a spatula to make sure the chickpeas are evenly coated.

Roast the chickpeas for 20 to 30 minutes. Roast, stirring the chickpeas or shaking the pan every 10 minutes. A few chickpeas may pop – that’s normal. The chickpeas are done when golden and slightly darkened, dry and crispy on the outside, and soft in the middle, 20 to 30 minutes total.

While I am not a huge fan of broccoli, I like it oven roasted and preferably in a salad. The following salad is (again) inspired by a recipe from Hetty Lui Mc Kinnon.

She uses the same ingredients in a soup.

Broccoli caper mint salad

2 broccoli heads cut into florets
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄3 cup capers, rinsed, drained and deep fried *
1 cup oven roasted chickpeas
 Juice of 1 lemon
 1 cup mint leaves chopped
 80 grams parmesan, shaved
 1⁄2 cup flaked almonds, toasted
 Sea salt and black pepper


Toss the broccoli in the olive oil and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. When still hot, sprinkle with the lemon juice. Combine the broccoli with the chopped mint leaves, keeping a few leaves intact for garnish. Add the parmesan and top with fried capers, roasted almonds and the roasted chickpeas.

*Deep fried capers

Drain a jar of capers (for a more spectacular effect use the large capers, I remembered too late that I had those as well) in a sieve. Rinse well under water. Dry with paper towels. Heat 1 TBSP vegetable oil in a skillet and heat until hot. Add the capers, move them around gently until light brown and dry. Drain on paper towels until cool enough to handle.


Wishing you a lot of vegetables, great company and lots of sunshine this month. If you are interested in our workshops follow us on facebook or sign up on our webpage  https://springintohealth365.com/

AnoukFinal.jpegAnouk Booneman

Anouk is co-founder of Spring Into Health, was a baker at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies and a language teacher before moving to Clifton Park. She believes that industrialized eating has created major health crises all over of the globe and that food can be the strongest medicine. She is also a yoga instructor. Click on her pictures for her articles.

All pictures in the article are by Anouk Booneman

Ed. Note:  Anouk is a firm believer in a plant-based diet. The National Kidney Foundation describes it below.

What is a plant-based diet?

With a plant-based diet, a person eats mostly whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), unsalted nuts, and healthy oils like olive oil. You also stay away from processed foods (certain canned foods and soups and packaged meats), refined grains (white bread, white rice), snack-foods (potato chips, cookies) and sugar-sweetened beverages. Although meat, fish, poultry, and other animal products are allowed, they are eaten less often and only in small portions. People who choose a plant-based diet usually do it for health reasons rather than religious, cultural, or ethical concerns. Plant-based diets have been shown to have many health benefits, especially for heart health.

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