Joe Yonan

Journalist, cookbook author

Washington, DC

Joe Yonan

Food and Dining editor of The Washington Post
Weeknight Vegetarian columnist
Author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook"


Free Range on Food


A mother’s lesson: Rely on the tried, true and remembered

Of all the dishes my mother made for special occasions, the one I remember most fondly was Texas Salad. The ingredients: Notice anything about those amounts? Texas Salad represented a class of recipes that were easily passed around and replicated, and, most important, remembered because they were built on single units.
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Three new reasons to stop buying energy bars

Energy bars, power bars, protein bars, granola bars. Whatever you call them, they’ve taken over entire aisles in supermarkets. When it comes to nutrition, some of them are little better for you than a store-bought cookie, with an ingredient list that would make a Keebler elf blanch. That’s changing, as more brands realize that plenty of consumers interested in grab-and-go snacking also want something more stripped-down; one manufacturer, That’s It, is selling bars made from just two dried fruits, nothing more.
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The secret to dinners that please vegetarians, vegans and omnivores

When Anna Thomas wrote her first cookbook, “The Vegetarian Epicure,” in 1973, the prospects for vegetarian eating seemed anything but epicurean. The book became a classic, Thomas went on to write two sequels (and other books), and the culinary landscape of America drastically changed. These days, especially in urban centers, you may be just as likely to hear cooks talk about grain bowls and almond milk as you are about the perfect roast chicken.
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Here’s proof that vegetarian Mexican food isn’t an oxymoron

Not all that long ago, at least at the restaurants I was going to, the idea of vegetarian Mexican food was more about absence of meat than presence of vegetables. A taqueria that had several choices of meat, poultry and seafood fillings, and accompanied each with beans, cabbage, onions, peppers and the like, would merely serve all the accoutrements when you asked for something vegetarian.
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Make a dessert fit for ‘Top Chef’ — and easy enough for a home cook

H ere’s the dish that helped Marjorie Meek-Bradley get noticed early in the recent season of Bravo’s “Top Chef”: a triflelike combination of sweet, sour and savory flavors inspired by Persian cuisine. The head chef at Ripple and Roofers Union was sent packing in the first part of the show’s finale, but the winning dessert lives on at her restaurants.
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When you’ve run out of things to make with chickpeas, try chickpea flour

Whenever I find myself so fixated on a particular ingredient, recipe after recipe, that it starts to get tiresome (or I start to get embarrassed about it), I try to break free in one of two ways. I’ll widen my focus to include similar things in the same general category. (Enough with all these kale recipes!
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Why you might use a pressure cooker for vegetables — and for tofu

When I was growing up in the 1970s in West Texas, my mother loved her pressure cooker. And the one food I most clearly remember her preparing in it is . . . broccoli. Broccoli, in the pressure cooker? Remember, this was back when Americans didn’t know about cooking green vegetables to crisp-tender, so I didn’t think anything of her super-soft broccoli until much later, when my tastes had evolved.
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Meet the traditional Louisiana gumbo that’s just perfect for vegetarians

It was eight years ago, my first time at a big food conference. The Southern-cooking maven Nathalie Dupree had taken me under her wing and was introducing me to any- and everyone she could see. We were in New Orleans, just a few years after Katrina, and at a big outdoor taste-around she hustled me over to a stand where a diminutive woman and her helpers were ladling out gumbo the likes of which I had never seen.
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Why bibimbap should be part of your kitchen repertoire

Bibimbap seems tailor-made for the way I eat — and cook. Leftover protein, lightly cooked or raw vegetables, kimchi, rice, hot sauce: What’s not to like? This traditional Korean dish (whose name means, simply enough, “mixed rice”) seems at home in any season, and with just about any combination of ingredients.
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How to make baked pasta easy enough for any weeknight

Baked pasta is like an old friend I lost touch with for no good reason. Every time I get reacquainted, I think: “It’s been too long. Why don’t we do this more often?”. There’s really nothing quite as comforting as this combination of starch and cheese, bubbling hot, with a crispy topping. And yet I don’t find myself turning to it all that often — perhaps because it seems like a bit of a production (with multiple pans and lots of cleanup), and perhaps because the serving amounts tend to be in the eight-or-more range, too much for my two-person dinner table.
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Sometimes, a heavy hand with spices is just what a dish needs

When I first started cooking regularly, back in college, I had a simple strategy: If some is good, more is better. That was especially true with garlic and spices: Too many recipes, in my opinion, were too timid, and I used a heavy hand with seasonings. sometimes. Those times, the result was wonderfully bold, just what I was after.
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Joe Yonan

Joe Yonan is the two-time James Beard Award-winning Food and Dining editor of The Washington Post and author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook” (Ten Speed Press, 2013), which was named among the best cookbooks of 2013 by The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, and NPR's "Here and Now.” In 2011, he wrote “Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One,”. which Serious Eats, David Lebovitz, and the San Francisco Chronicle named to their best-of-the-year lists.

Joe was a food writer and Travel section editor at The Boston Globe before moving to Washington in 2006 to edit the Post’s Food section. He writes the Post’s Weeknight Vegetarian column and for five years wrote the Cooking for One column, both of which have won honors from the Association of Food Journalists. He also writes regularly about his efforts to grow food on his 150-square-foot urban front yard. His work from the Globe and Post has appeared in four editions of the “Best Food Writing” anthology.

In addition to his writing and editing, Joe frequently speaks about his work at conferences, book festivals and other events, and has taught many cooking classes through such venues as Central Market, Stonewall Kitchen, Culinaerie, L’Academie de Cuisine and SideTour.

Joe, who grew up in West Texas, spent 2012 in North Berwick, Maine, on leave from the Post to learn about growing and homesteading from his sister and brother-in-law and to work on “Eat Your Vegetables.” He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the Cambridge (Mass.) School of Culinary Arts.