Herby Pasta with Asparagus, Ramps, and Peas - The Clean Gourmet

Herby Spring Pasta with Asparagus, Ramps, and Peas

I’m SO EXCITED that spring is here and winter coats are officially put away!  Here’s a light meal that uses an abundance of all the spring veggies we’ve been waiting for (ramps! asparagus! peas!).

I love the little pillows of fresh mozzarella, but goat cheese crumbles, ricotta, or Parmesan would be great substitutes.

Herby Spring Pasta with Asparagus, Ramps, and Peas

Serves 6


1 bundle asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1 12-ounce package penne (or other short shape) pasta

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve

1/4 cup fennel fronds

2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

3 ramps, finely chopped

zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 3-4 tablespoons juice)

6 ounces ciliegine mozzarella, crumbled goat cheese, ricotta, or Parmesan

black or white pepper, to taste

salt, to taste


Bring a medium/large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

Prepare an ice bath or large bowl of very cold tap water and set aside.  Place peas in the bottom of a colander and set aside.

Drop cut asparagus and sugar snap peas in boiling water and let cook 2 minutes.  Drain promptly in colander with peas.  Swiftly move drained vegetables to ice bath.

Refill pot with salted water and bring to a boil.  Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions.

Drain cooled vegetables and return to large bowl.  Add olive oil, herbs, lemon zest and juice, and cooked pasta.  Season with salt and pepper, fold in cheese, and serve immediately.

(Pictured alongside milk poached salt cod with fennel pollen.)

The Best Green Goddess Dressing



Spring is here and it’s time to celebrate all things green! Herbs, lettuces, and green alliums are all to be celebrated for the next few months and Green Goddess salad is the perfect way to enjoy all of those things.

Green Goddess Dressing is Caesar’s herby cousin that makes even salad-phobes LOVE salad.  Creamy, herby, and slightly umami, Green Goddess makes your spring lettuces satisfying and far from austere.

This recipe makes quite a bit of dressing, so if you’re not feeding a crowd, make a batch for the week and use as needed.

The Best Green Goddess Dressing

Makes 1 3/4 cups dressing

For the dressing:

2/3 cup fabanaise or regular high quality mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain grass-fed kefir or yogurt
1/4 cup chopped chives or scallions
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley or chervil
1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
2 anchovy fillets packed in oil
1 small garlic clove (or 1/2 regular clove)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blend all ingredients in blender until uniform and smooth, about 1 minute.  Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

For the salad:

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped or mixed spring greens

1 head endive, sliced

1 greenhouse cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced

1/4 cup packed sun-dried tomatoes, small dice

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toasted sunflower seeds

Croutons (optional)

Toss salad ingredients with as much dressing as you’d like and serve immediately.  Keep any unused dressing in an airtight container and store for up to one week.

Overnight Whole Grain Banana Bread - The Clean Gourmet

Overnight Peanut Butter Banana Bread and a few words about Grains

This banana bread is made with soaked whole grain flour for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption. It’s slightly chewy with a hint of sourdough-like flavor for a surprising, addictive result.

Find out more about the importance of proper grain preparation in my featured write up on Evidence Of, a lifestyle platform seeking to acknowledge creativity and the sharing of diverse perspectives created by artist, Cora Kobischka.  EO’s philosophy is awareness, human connection and reverence for nature, and features artwork, handmade and unique objects and editorial content.

Get the recipe and more info here!

Lentil Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Spicy Tomato, and Pecorino

I think I could have a blog solely dedicated to pasta.  I am half Italian and lived in Italy for several years so, needless to say, pasta is my weakness.  I have it at least once a week and it takes effort to prevent this site from becoming overloaded with pasta recipes.  Pasta is texturally exciting, a perfect vehicle for any kind of vegetable/protein mix, and is quick to prepare.  All of the new varieties of pasta doesn’t hurt its case either.

Dried pasta has come a long way in the last few years.  Aside from durum wheat and gluten-free rice varieties that have been around for years, you can now get pasta made from red or green lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, or local rye, to name some of my favorites.  I always have a variety of pastas stocked in my pantry for lazy and last-minute meals.  This satisfying pasta dish is a result of me fervently throwing together a meal after coming home from work ravenous thus, it only requires a few pantry staples and some cauliflower to make.

My measurements here are approximations, as it’s such a simple recipe that is ideally adjusted to taste.  I don’t think we should always be bound to measurements when cooking, as we all have slightly different preferences, ingredients, and equipment.  In fact, I’m a big fan of Bon Appétit’s new campaign for cooking without a recipe.

Lentil Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Spicy Tomato, and Pecorino

Serves 4


1 box (12 ounces) lentil pasta (Tolerant brand is my favorite)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 head cauliflower

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and black pepper, to taste

For the sauce:

scant tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1/2 cup tomato paste

1 cup broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable are all fine, plain water will do in a pinch)

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

pinch red pepper flakes, plus more to taste

salt and black pepper, to taste

dollop (about 2 tablespoons) mascarpone (optional)

Pecorino Romano, to serve

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut cauliflower in 1/2-inch thick slices, core side down.  (You will end up with a few flat “steaks” in the middle.  Set those aside for later grilling or roasting).  Toss floret slices with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Spread flat onto prepared baking sheet and roast in oven until tender and browned, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a 2-quart pot of water to a boil.

In an equal size or smaller pot, sauté garlic in olive oil over medium heat.  Add tomato paste and let brown for a few minutes, stirring constantly.  Slowly pour in broth, stirring to incorporate into tomato.  Season with dried basil, red pepper, salt, and black pepper.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.  Feel free to add more broth if the sauce gets to thick, or simmer longer if the sauce is too thin.

Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions, and drain.  Return drained pasta to pot and toss with tomato sauce, roasted cauliflower, and mascarpone.  Serve with plenty of freshly grated Pecorino Romano and extra red pepper for the table.

Black Onyx Brownies - The Clean Gourmet

Black Onyx Brownies

Black Onyx Brownies - The Clean Gourmet

These brownies are for grown ups.  They are not chewy and cloyingly sweet but, they are richly flavored of chocolate and their texture is velvety smooth.  If you’re a lover of super dark chocolate, these are the brownies you’ve been waiting for.

Black onyx cocoa powder is ultra Dutch processed (a.k.a. alkalized), which neutralizes the bitterness and acidity in cocoa, while also reducing fat content (not that I’m against fat- it’s important to be aware of fat content though when baking, as it affects texture and how much oil or butter your recipe will require).  Black cocoa’s flavor is very chocolatey, which is why I love it for non sugar laden brownies.  You get tons of flavor without all of the sugar traditionally found in brownies.


Black Onyx Brownies

Note: This about half the amount of a standard batch of brownies.  If you want enough for a 9″x 9″ pan, double the recipe.

Makes 8 brownies


4 ounces unsalted butter (1/4 cup)

50 grams natural cocoa powder

13 grams black onyx cocoa powder

35 grams all purpose flour (ideally sprouted)

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

37 grams cane sugar or maple crystals

43 grams dark brown sugar (light is a fine substitute)

To serve:

whipped coconut cream or raw cashew butter

berry preserves

What to do:

Gently melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a standard loaf pan.

Sift or whisk together natural cocoa, black onyx cocoa, flour, espresso powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs with cane sugar and brown sugar.  Drizzle in melted and cooled butter.  (It’s important the butter not be too hot, or else you’ll end up with scrambled eggs!)

Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until fully incorporated, but being careful not to overmix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 15-18 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool 30 minutes in pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Top with whipped coconut cream or raw cashew butter and berry preserves.

Adapted from: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/salty-deep-dark-chocolate-brownies-brownie-recipe-ovenly-bakery-brooklyn/


Black Onyx Brownies for Valentine’s Day

Smoky Beet and Feta Tart with Whole Wheat Crust - The Clean Gourmet

Smoky Beet and Feta Tart with Whole Wheat Crust


This tart is a showstopper.  For the crust I use leaf lard, which, believe it or not, is lower in saturated fat than butter (not that you should completely avoid saturated fats, as your body needs some, but an overabundance taxes the liver) and makes for the flakiest crust.  Also, the savory flavor of lard contrasts with the sweetness of the balsamic, giving the tart an almost meaty taste, especially combined with the texture of grated beets.  Of course, butter or olive oil will do if you haven’t come around to lard yet or don’t have any.

I think these would be really nice as mini tartlets for a party.  Just press small crust rounds into a mini muffin pan, blind bake with pie weights, and fill.  You’ll want to decrease the baking time by about half if you go this route.

I’m a fan of beets as a circulatory and workout recovery aid, so I think it’s wise to incorporate them into your meals at least once a week.

I streamlined the recipe to be quick enough to do on a weeknight.  Serve it alongside garlicky sautéed greens (such as the greens from the beets you use here) or an endive salad with mustard vinaigrette.

Smoky Beet and Feta Tart with Whole Wheat Crust

Makes 1 pie


For the crust:

150 grams whole wheat flour

50 grams all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

100 grams leaf lard (butter or olive oil will do as substitutes), chilled (remove from fridge just before using)

1/4 cup very cold ice water

For the filling:

400 grams trimmed beets, then peeled and grated over large holes of grater

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium/large yellow or red onion, minced

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

scant cup water

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

2 teaspoons grated fresh horseradish (a 1/4 teaspoon of wasabi paste dissolved in a teaspoon of water is a fine substitute)

pinch salt and black pepper, plus more to taste

150 grams feta, crumbled (double cream smooth is best)

2 eggs, beaten with 1/3 cup creamy almond milk or whole milk

1/4 cup toasted pistachios, roughly chopped, to serve

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 375ºF and make the crust.

Whisk flours and salt in a medium bowl.  Sprinkle chilled fat over flour and cut in with a pastry cutter, fork or the tips of your fingers.  Keep going until flour looks like fine sand.  Incorporate cold water, using your hands, being careful not to overwork.  Form into a ball and flatten.  Wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate 15-30 minutes (or up to overnight).

Roll dough between two pieces of parchment until 1/4-inch thick.  Remove top piece of parchment and place open side of pie dish onto rolled crust and flip, transferring crust onto pie dish.  Remove parchment carefully, pressing crust against pie dish.

Blind bake crust: Get a fresh piece of parchment and place on top of crust, then fill the cavity with pie weights or a pot that fits inside.   Bake 10 minutes, then remove parchment and pie weights/pot.  Bake another 5 minutes and remove from oven.

While the crust is chilling and baking, begin work on the filling:  in a large high-sided sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté a few minutes, until softened and about to brown.  Add grated beets and balsamic and sauté until balsamic has mostly evaporated.  Add thyme, smoked paprika, horseradish, salt, and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until beets are fully cooked, about 15 minutes.

Taste to adjust seasoning, then transfer all but 1 cup of filling to baked pie crust.  Crumble feta over filling, then add remaining filling.  Top with beaten egg and milk mixture and bake 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and, just before serving, top with chopped toasted pistachios.

Adapted from: http://www.sugaretal.com/2014/07/09/beetroot-and-feta-tart/

Roasted Artichoke and Basil Hummus with Harissa - The Clean Gourmet

Roasted Artichoke Hummus with Basil and Harissa


This will satisfy your craving for artichoke dip and hummus all at once.  I especially like it freshly made, while still warm from the roasted artichokes.

Harissa is the North African version of Sriracha.  A thick sauce made of different chiles, it has an earthy spice that I love to put on eggs, dips, pasta, and other Mediterranean dishes.

Roasted Artichoke Hummus with Basil and Harissa


For roasting:

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 14.5 ounce can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained

2 teaspoons harissa

3 whole garlic cloves (with skin)

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

black pepper

To make hummus:

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup packed fresh basil, roughly chopped

zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons tahini


Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss roasting ingredients together and spread out on prepared baking sheet.  Roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place remaining ingredients in a food processor.  Once artichokes are done, remove skins from garlic and add, along with artichokes, to food processor.  Run until mixture is very smooth, pausing once or twice to scrape down sides.

Serve with pita chips or spread on toast.


Warm Kale Salad with Citrus and Spice Roasted Kabocha Squash and Fennel

I crave a salad of this nature-sturdy greens with warm roasted vegetables-at least once a week in the fall and winter.  Here is one of my favorite variations so far.


If you’re making this in advance, instead of blanching the kale, you can just toss the raw kale with all of the other ingredients, then warming the prepared salad in a pan as you need it.

I don’t add extra oil to the salad, as I think the oil from the roasted vegetables provides enough when mixed with the kale.  Of course, this is my preference and you can add more oil if you feel it needs it.

The fresh cranberries add a nice touch of bitterness that offsets the sweetness of the kabocha and orange.  If you don’t like bitter, feel free to omit the fresh cranberries or toss in some dried cranberries (which are usually sweetened) at the end.

I sometimes add rainbow chard stems to the roasting vegetables, as they get nice and tender when roasted and I’ve always got chard stems on hand.

Warm Kale Salad with Citrus and Spice Roasted Kabocha Squash and Fennel

Serves 3-4 as a side dish


For roasting:

1/2 kabocha squash, deseeded and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 head fennel, halved lengthwise and cut into wedges with core in tact

1/2 cup fresh cranberries

heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

heaping 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

pinch salt, preferably flaky sea salt

about 3 tablespoons olive oil (or enough to coat the vegetables well)

For the salad:

1 bunch purple kale, stems removed and leaves cut into chunks

1 cara cara or navel orange

black pepper and salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds or poppy seeds

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar

crumbled feta, to serve

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Combine roasting ingredients and spread on a parchment lined sheet pan.  Roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until vegetables browned and tender.

While the vegetables roast, place kale in a large strainer and pour boiling water over to soften.  Allow to drain fully and place in a large bowl.  (See note above if making in advance.)  Zest the orange over the kale.

Remove remaining peel of the orange with a knife.  Cut orange into segments and add to kale.  Toss with salt, nigella or sesame seeds, and vinegar.

When the kabocha and fennel are roasted, remove from oven promptly and add to kale.

Taste and adjust for salt, vinegar, and oil.  Serve warm.

Venison and Juniper Shepherd's Pie with Juniper and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes - The Clean Gourmet

Venison and Juniper Shepherd’s Pie with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes


This is the time of year in which hunters begin cooking up their reserves.  Enter cozy venison shepherd’s pie with zingy horseradish mashed potatoes.  Juniper is a classic pairing with venison, so I couldn’t help but add it to the meat.  If you can’t find juniper, don’t let that discourage you from making this!  Simply omit it.

Venison Shepherd's Pie with Horseradish - The Clean Gourmet

Since venison is so lean, be sure not to overcook it in the first stage of cooking.  It’s ok to have some rare spots, especially since it will cook further in the later stages of making the pie.  Also, I only partially peel the potatoes, since the peel is full of nutrition and fiber.  However, leaving all the peel on would compromise the texture of the potato mash.


For the potatoes:

2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, partially peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

4 cups light bone broth or chicken broth

1 tablespoon grated fresh horseradish, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

pinch black pepper

5 tablespoons softened butter or olive oil

For the venison:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 pound ground venison (ground bison or grass-fed beef are good substitutes)

3 juniper berries, crushed and chopped (optional)

1 yellow onion, small dice

1 stalk celery, small dice

2 carrots, small dice

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup red wine

3 tablespoons reserved broth from potatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley, plus more to serve

1 tablespoon potato starch (or cornstarch) dissolved in 2 tablespoons broth

3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

about 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste


Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Put potatoes and broth in a medium/large pot over high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook potatoes at a simmer until tender, about 12-15 minutes.  Drain potatoes over large bowl or measuring cup, reserving liquid for venison.  Return potatoes to pot, along with horseradish, salt, pepper, and olive oil/butter. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and fluffy, adding a few tablespoons of reserved potato broth if necessary.  Set aside.

Preheat a large (preferably cast iron) high sided skillet over medium high heat.  Add olive oil, ground venison, and juniper and let brown, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon or metal spatula.  Once the venison is mostly cooked with a few rare spots, about 5 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon into a medium bowl and set aside.

With pan still hot, cook onion, celery, carrot, and bay leaf in venison drippings (add more oil if necessary) over medium high heat.  Once the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes, add garlic and cooked venison.  Cook an additional 1-2 minutes.  Deglaze pan with red wine and allow to evaporate.  Add broth, thyme, parsley, and dissolved potato starch.  Season with salt and pepper and remove bay leaf.  If using a cast iron pan, top meat mixture with mashed potatoes directly in the pan.  Otherwise, scoop meat into into oiled casserole dish and top with mashed potatoes.  Spread the potatoes evenly, allowing for a few peaks and valleys, and brush with olive oil or spray with a Misto oil sprayer.

Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes, or until mashed potato peaks are browned.  If the potatoes need help browning, turn on the broiler for a few minutes before removing from the oven.  Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve immediately with a fresh green salad and bold red wine.

Spiced Lamb and Cauliflower Stew with Yogurt Sauce - The Clean Gourmet

Spiced Lamb and Cauliflower Stew with Yogurt Sauce

This stew is essentially a cross between two Arab dishes, shakriya, a lamb and yogurt stew, and zahra bi leban, a cauliflower side with yogurt sauce. The creamy tang of yogurt, combined with warmly spiced lamb and cauliflower make this dish incredibly satisfying and unique.  Serve atop a bed of saffron rice with toasted almonds and you’ve got the perfect accompaniment.

As always, I used Maple Hill Creamery‘s third party certified 100% grass-fed yogurt.  Not only is the flavor of their yogurt superior to others and the health benefits of a higher omega-3 ratio hard to beat, but Maple Hill’s dedication to paying fair prices for grass-fed milk from small New York state farmers is a cause we should all support!

Spiced Lamb and Cauliflower Stew with Yogurt Sauce

Serves 3-4


For the cauliflower:

2 tablespoons avocado oil or other neutral oil

1 small/medium head cauliflower, cut into florets

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

scant 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

salt and black pepper, to taste

For the stew:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1.5 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks

2 cups bone broth (beef or chicken broth are best alternatives)

2 medium cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

freshly ground black pepper

16 ounces (2 cups) Maple Hill Creamery 100% Grass-Fed Plain Cream on Top Yogurt

2 tablespoons potato starch (or corn starch) dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water or broth

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

pinch coriander


Preheat oven to 375ºF and pull 2 cups yogurt from fridge to allow to come to room temperature.  Toss cauliflower with oil, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and salt and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast until browned and tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat a medium/large pot (I used a clay pot) over high heat.  Add oil and lamb.  Cook until browned on most sides (allow each side to brown before agitating).  Add broth, garlic, bay leaves, and salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes, until lamb is done and tender.  Add roasted cauliflower and simmer another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine slurry and yogurt in a medium heat proof bowl or measuring cup (such as stainless steel, ceramic, or Pyrex glass).

Slowly add about 1/2 cup of hot broth from stew pot to yogurt mixture to temper. (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.)  Add tempered yogurt to stew pot and reheat to just a simmer and continue to cook over low heat for 5 minutes.

Serve immediately atop cooked long grain rice with toasted almonds and a lemony green salad on the side.

**This is a sponsored post, but all content is honest and reflects my true beliefs.