Upcoming appearances -- CANCELED

My book tour has been put on hold because of the coronavirus epidemic, but I hope you'll find me on social media in the meantime!
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A note from the Food editor: We’re in this together. What do you need?

I think I speak for all of us when I say my head is spinning these days, full of more questions than answers. What was certain a few months, a few weeks, even a few days ago is now anything but. People around the world are losing loved ones, livelihoods, their sense of community, security, safety. The fear and anxiety about the short and long term threaten to overwhelm us. And here we are at home, more isolated than ever, just when we need one another the most.

Adapt this simple pasta salad to whatever vegetable is in your fridge or freezer

Adaptability. That’s what the world is requiring of us right now, and that’s certainly what we need in our recipes. Because who knows what we’ll find the next time we check our phones, open a paper, scroll through social media? Will we want to go to the grocery store? Will we be able to? Just in case, I take comfort in knowing I can cook with what I’ve got around, and I want to stock up on things that will last.

This lentil soup is so good one nurse has eaten it for lunch every workday for 17 years

Can you imagine eating the same lentil soup at your desk for lunch virtually every workday for almost two decades? I couldn’t, at least not until I talked to Reid Branson, a Seattle nurse manager who has been doing just that. The soup is from Crescent Dragonwagon’s 1992 book “Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread,” and Branson fell so in love with it that it changed his lunch routine for the rest of his professional life.

Blackened seasoning turns chickpeas into the stars of this spinach salad

Once, many years ago, a fellow food writer sidled up to me and asked: “I don’t really cook with spices, do you?” he said. “I just like everything to taste fresh.” I couldn’t have disagreed more. Not only do I adore cooking with spices, but I find them key to adding layers of flavor to vegetables, to unlocking the secrets of dishes from around the world, to getting out of almost any cooking rut. Spices, I said, can make anything taste more, not less, fresh.

Most Plant-Based Burgers Suck, but This One Is Amazing

You remember the last terrible veggie burger you ate. I know you do. It was either so dry and crumbly that no amount of condiment could save it (or save you), or so wet and mushy that the patty started to squeeze out of the bun when you ate it (yum?). As the food and dining editor of The Washington Post, and a longtime vegetarian, I’ve tasted hundreds of veggie burgers in restaurants. I can count on one hand the number of truly great ones. This includes those high-tech, modern patties by Impo

Beans are good for the planet, for you and for your dinner table. Here’s how to cook them right.

“We’re just here for the beans.” That’s what we told the waiter at Máximo Bistrot in Mexico City, where my husband, Carl, and I were honeymooning. More specifically, the beans we had heard so much about, the ones chef Eduardo Garcia calls his “very, very old fashioned” soup. These beans, which he gets from the state of Hidalgo, are named cacahuate because they resemble peanuts when raw. (As I discovered later, they’re the same variety as cranberry or borlotti.)

Creamy borlotti beans and crunchy bread crumbs make this pasta a carb lover’s delight

The idea for this dish comes from New Jersey chef Michelle Fuerst, who calls the combination of pasta, beans and bread crumbs her “triple carb threat.” Bread crumbs are an essential element of so many great pasta dishes, adding that irresistible crunch that here balances the creamy borlotti (a.k.a. cranberry) beans and the al dente pasta. An unorthodox addition is a little red miso, which provides the salt and umami you’d get from, say, anchovies.

Jamie Oliver brings a little plant power to the mac-and-cheese game

At the risk of sounding, well, obvious, sometimes the only thing I want is mac and cheese (or, with my apostrophes appropriately in place, “mac ’n’ cheese”). You know how those cravings hit: You get a glimpse of a recipe or a dish and you can’t get the idea out of your head until it’s in your stomach. What will it take to get from there to here? That’s how I felt when I saw a recipe for a vivid green version of the dish in Jamie Oliver’s new cookbook.

No flash, all substance: Pasta with mushrooms is a weeknight classic

Pasta with mushrooms: It was the default (and sometimes only!) vegetarian dish in restaurants for probably far too long. We’ve come a long way — now it’s entirely possible to eat out without ever feeling the need to declare a dietary restriction if all you’re doing is avoiding meat and seafood. That’s how many options there are on most modern, urban menus. Exactly none of that progress means that pasta with mushrooms has lost its appeal. If anything, the dish now seems almost nostalgic. At Fel

Load up sweet potatoes with chickpeas and tahini for a new favorite dinner

If there’s one thing better than a baked potato, it’s a twice-baked potato. You know the drill: You scoop out the cooked flesh, mix it with some cheesy-fatty goodness, spoon it back into the shells and bake again until it’s bubbling hot and browned, maybe even crispy on top. Retro, and good. This recipe, from BuzzFeed’s Goodful brand, takes the idea in a different direction, with sweet potatoes treated to ingredients popular in Middle Eastern cooking.

Add a fresh minestrone to your healthy January soup rotation

If you’ve had just one or maybe two minestrones in your life, you might be excused for thinking that they’re always the same — summer vegetables, say, with tomatoes and beans and tiny pasta. But the beauty of this Italian soup is that it is many things to many people, and it varies widely by season and geography. Some versions include rice instead of pasta, peas instead of (or in addition to) beans. In Liguria, they add that region’s beloved pesto. No matter where it’s made, the soup is inspired

Indian spices make these black-eyed peas and mushrooms taste as if they took hours, not minutes

Black-eyed peas are a Southern staple, especially on New Year’s Day, when cooks combine them with rice for Hoppin’ John. Eat them for good luck, if you’re into that sort of thing. These little legumes are staples in plenty of other cultures’ diets, too, all year round. I love Nigerian-style stewed black-eyed peas (often served with fried plantains), the lobia masala of north India and the African-Caribbean black-eyed-pea fritters called accra (also known as akara or accara).

A quick peanut sauce and crunchy bok choy give this tofu sheet-pan dinner tang and texture

Even nowadays, some people think tofu is good for only a few select treatments. I love crispy cubes of roasted tofu as much as the next vegetarian. But that’s not the only way to cook it, nor the only set of qualities I’m going for. I also like crumbling it into a pan, spicing it up and serving it to those who don’t consume eggs, blending it into a salad dressing or even eating it cold with crunchy toppings.

Make your own easy pecan butter at home and go nuts

No nut butter — even the best store-bought — can beat one you make from freshly toasted nuts. Cookbook author Amy Chaplin proves you don’t need special equipment to make it, either: just a food processor and enough time. Chaplin’s original recipe doesn’t include maple syrup, but we like its touch of sweetness. You can also experiment with any other of your favorite nuts, seeds, spices and additional flavorings: hazelnuts with cinnamon and cocoa, almonds and sunflower seeds with coconut, and so m

When you’re short on time, a bowl of ginger turmeric chickpeas is the answer

This week, when Thanksgiving planning might be giving you culinary tunnel vision, it can be easy to lose track of all the other meals you need to be eating. That’s where a dish like this one comes in handy: It’s got just a few ingredients, many of them pantry staples. It’s hearty enough for dinner, light enough for lunch, flexible enough for eaters of various dietary persuasions. (Just turn it into a side for carnivores or add an egg for the non-vegan vegetarians.)

This easy pumpkin tart is spiffy enough for a vegetarian Thanksgiving main

Free-form tarts, such as the Italian crostata and the French galette, are some of the easiest filled-pastry dishes to master, because, well, there’s so little to actually master: No need to be careful not to stretch the dough as you put it in a pie dish or tart pan and risk shrinkage. No need for any decorative edge work. No need, even, to trim the pastry to fit anything. Just roll it out to a rough circle, fill as desired, and lift the pastry up and over, crimping just enough to hold everything
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