Butternut and Black Bean Tacos with Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw

Simply and practically – keeping it H-E-A-L-T-H-Y!! These tacos aren’t just any old tacos. The black bean, dried chile and winter squash filling is doused with my adobo sauce, then the crunchy kale and red cabbage topping is over the top with a greek yogurt and lime crema. Prepared and ready to eat in 30 minutes!!

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos

black bean tacos-1-7099-2016

black bean tacos-7094-2016

black bean tacos-7101-2016

black bean tacos-7107-2016

black bean tacos-7115-2016

Butternut and Black Bean Tacos with Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw

Serves 3-4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes


Taco Filling

  • 2 cups Butternut Squash (cubed)
  • 1 can Black Beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 Medium Sweet Onion (diced)
  • 2 Dried Red Chilies (soaked and chopped)
  • 1 clove Garlic (smashed)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2/3 cups Adobo Sauce

Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw

  • 1 cup Red Cabbage (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup Lacinato Kale (thinly sliced)

Lime Crema

  • 1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 Lime (Juiced)

Adobo Sauce

  • 2 - 3 Dried Red Chilies (Grilled)
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 3/4 cups Water
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 Limes (juiced)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Agave Syrup

Taco Shells

  • Corn Tortillas


Taco Filling
Saute onion and squash in warm olive oil until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the black beans and garlic cook over medium-low heat until mixture is bubbly and thickens a bit to combine flavors - about 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper and add the adobo sauce.
Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw
For the topping, simply mix the cabbage and kale and spritz with fresh lime juice and salt.
Lime Crema
Make the lime crema by mixing the plain greek yogurt with fresh lime juice.
Adobo Sauce
Toast the red chilies on a cast iron skillet then soak the chilies in 3/4 cup boiling water. Remove the stems and seeds, reserving the liquid for the blender.
Add the chilies and all other ingredients to a blender and blend until the sauce is silky and smooth.

Thick Rolled Oats with Dried Fruit

Ground Hog’s Day Breakfast

Are mornings for you as they are for me? We begin our days with familiar habits and routines – coffee the same way every morning – probably in the same cup. Check your email. Scan through facebook. Thoughts of gratitude. Checklists and mental notes. I don’t drive kids to school anymore, but other than that, it could seem a bit like the weatherman in the movie Ground Hogs Day (only the good parts)…


I love, love, love the sweetness of the thick, whole rolled oats.


I crave the walnuts and the fruit and the nuttiness of the ground flax seed.


I love the creaminess of the added almond milk.


I look forward to the fresh strawberries and blueberries coming in at the farmer’s market in the spring, but for now I can’t think of anything better than the intense sweetness of dried fruit.


Great news today – it’s going to be an early spring!

Vegan tuscan white bean stew

Butternut Squash and Sage Tuscan White Bean Stew

Tuscan white bean stew


I’ve had a bit of a time getting myself organized to actually share recipes the past few weeks. Sometimes the world gets squarely and firmly planted between me and my camera. So annoying! BUT this does not mean I haven’t been cooking and eating, of course, and I am super focused on eating healthy. I am not in the midst of a cleanse or anything right now, but I know that I feel SO MUCH BETTER when my meals revolve around veggies with lots of colors! I know many of you are the same way and you may be actually committed to a cleanse diet right now.  If you are, this recipe will make you forget you are on a cleanse! It is totally in line with what you should be eating and it is amazing, if I do humbly say so myself!

There is a short list of ingredients here and the whole dish comes together in less than 45 minutes! One of the things I loved about this recipe is that it is truly “one-pot”.


Tuscan white bean stew with sun-dried tomatoes


The veggies – onion, carrot, celery, and sun-dried tomato – are simply chopped and sauteed in olive oil for about 5 minutes. I like to add the seasonings next – sage, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.

Seasonings are added into the saute pan before adding the liquid.

Add the cannellini beans and butternut squash and broth. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

Vegan Tuscan White Bean Stew

Add the chopped swiss chard near the end to retain it’s color.

Add the swiss chard at the very end of cooking.


I adjusted the seasonings and added a sprig of fresh thyme to the stew pot and then it was like magic as the flavors came together and a beautifully complex dish was ready to enjoy. The earthy and smokiness of the sun-dried tomatoes adds an amazing depth to the flavors. It’s scrumptious.



Perfect when it’s cold outside…




Butternut Squash and Sage Tuscan White Bean Stew


  • 2 cups Butternut Squash (cubed)
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Onion (diced)
  • 1/2 cup Celery (diced)
  • 1/2 cup Carrot (diced)
  • 1/2 cup Sun-Dried Tomato (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 can Cannelini Beans (drained)
  • 4 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 2 cups Swiss Chard (coarsely chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons Rubbed Sage
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon White Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Sprig of Fresh Thyme


Saute mirepoix (onion, celery and carrot) and sund-dried tomatoes in olive oil over medium-low heat until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add sage, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes and stir to coat.
Add the cannellini beans, butternut squash and vegetable stock and allow to simmer until squash is tender, about 10 minutes.
Add swiss chard and a small sprig of fresh thyme to the pot and continue to simmer for about 10 -15 more minutes.
Adjust the seasonings and serve.
Asian noodle salad with carrot ginger soup

Carrot Ginger Soup with Soba Noodle Salad

It seems I have a bit of a ying/yang situation going on with my food cravings during this time of year. I really look forward to the season that draws us close in to comfort foods and foods that are a celebration in and of themselves.  Thanksgiving with the roast bird, creamed vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie. We love these foods so much.

But to set them apart, it’s nice to balance the celebration with foods that nourish.

Continue Reading…

Fresh Herbs and Juniper Berries

Apple Cider Turkey Brine


Try brining your turkey this year!!!


Fresh Herbs and Juniper Berries


In as little as 4 hours, you can add amazing flavor and moisture to the outcome of your turkey!


Simmer the herbs, juniper berries and apple cider.


I love including apples in my stuffing, so I decided to brine the turkey in apple cider, too!  I plan to smoke a turkey breast – using “apple wood” chips. I also plan to roast a turkey in the oven. We have 17 guests for Thanksgiving this year, so I think if there is to be leftover turkey for sandwiches, I’d better prepare the smoked turkey breast as well.

Did someone say Turkey Sandwiches??? Well, we have to have home-made bread!!


Clay Bread Cloche


My “new” old bread cloche! I’ll be making bread tomorrow for Turkey Sandwiches!!

Ok – not famous “YET”, but here is my little article from a few years ago in TIME MAGAZINE!! 

Thanksgiving Turkey Brine Recipe in Time Magazine
Check out this link to my full instructions for cooking a heritage turkey in parchment!

Apple Cider Turkey Brine


  • 2 quarts Apple Cider
  • 2 quarts Water
  • 1 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Kosher Salt
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 3-4 sprigs Fresh Parsley
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Large Sprig Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons Juniper Berries (crushed.)
  • 1 tablespoon Black Peppercorns
  • 2-3 sprigs Fresh Sage Leaves


Add 1 Quart water to a deep stockpot. Add the kosher salt and brown sugar and simmer, stirring, until both have dissolved in the water.
Add the remaining ingredients - 1 quart of water, two quarts of apple cider and fresh herbs, peppercorns and juniper berries. Simmer for 15 minutes to
Chill the brine in the refrigerator. This can be done in advance.
The turkey should brine overnight. Add the chilled turkey to the chilled brine and refrigerate. The chill is important to prevent pathogens!!
Remove the turkey from the brine and dry it with a kitchen towel. Rub the turkey skin with olive oil (or butter) and place in the roasting pan - ready for the stuffing and roasting process.

Delicata Squash with Cranberry Bean Cassoulet



This fall has been a beautiful season of appreciation for me – in the kitchen, out in nature and in my personal life. As Thanksgiving approaches, I am almost overwhelmed with gratitude this year. My husband and I were able to move to the mountains of North Carolina, back to my family home, to spend a dedicated time with family through the illness and passing of my father. I owe him a huge debt of thanks for the many profound life lessons he shared with me and for the very heightened appreciation of nature and the outdoors.

My emphasis on seasonal eating is very much wrapped up in how I was raised and the rhythm of life that was instilled in me through the way my family lived in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. Our garden was a focal point of everyday life, and so it is for me still. What is in season is the predominant question I ask myself when thinking of food and nourishment.

This delicata squash and bean cassoulet, another dish from my love affair with the Rhubarb Restaurant of Asheville, NC, highlights the seasonality of the late summer and autumn garden. Having a stock pile of winter squashes in the pantry and jars of dried beans leads to endless possibilities in the kitchen.


Continue Reading…

%d bloggers like this: