Sunday, June 23, 2024

Vegan Tacos and More Feel Good Recipes for June

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Hey there, welcome (back) to the Feel Good Food Plan. We’re so glad you’re here.

Bon Appétit launched this series at the start of 2018, and from the get-go, it became a beloved way for our readers and editors to kick off the year with nourishing recipes. We said goodbye after 2021—and missed it ever since—so we’re reviving it and reinventing it too.

What used to be an annual drop will now happen every month. Because beyond January, we want to feel good in February, March, and, you get it, the rest of the year too. Each installment will come from a BA staffer, who will share what’s feeling good to them right now. It’s personal on purpose. What feels good to me might not feel good to my spouse, or coworker, or you, and that’s okay.

Desiree Nielsen put it better than I can in this poignant op-ed about being a nutritionist and struggling with online nutrition advice: “It’s time we learn to prioritize our actual wellbeing over a strict set of rules that someone else made up about what is healthy,” she writes. “We get to choose what healthy looks like for ourselves.” So let’s be crystal-clear: There will be no strict set of rules in our Feel Good Food Plan.

Think of it as a letter from a pen pal instead. In each edition, you’ll get: a brand-new and joy-inducing recipe from a staffer, plus three of their favorite recipes from the Bon Appétit archive, plus some bonus bits and bobs that are putting a spring in their step these days. Take what you want, leave what you don’t.

June’s Feel Good Food Plan is hosted by—hi, hello, it’s me. I’m Emma, I’m an editor here. I help produce content swings (that’s industry speak for ya) like The Bon Appétit 56 and Make Your Own Noodles. There is always cheese, hopefully Halloumi, in my fridge. I have a beautiful cat named Butter. And I choose not to cook meat at home. It’s for all sorts of reasons: financial, environmental, ethical. (And yes, I get plenty of protein, thank you!) So this month I’m bringing you flavorful, filling vegetarian dishes—headlined by Very Good Vegan Tacos, which hinge on a plant-based wonder-ingredient that my coworkers have dubbed “life-changing.”

Next month you’ll hear from senior test kitchen editor Shilpa Uskokovic, who is determined to use an ungodly amount of summer basil in one recipe (spoiler: she can, she will). And after that, deputy food editor Hana Asbrink will bring you a vegetable stew so soothing, it’ll win over adults and babies (and adults who are acting like babies) alike.

But enough talking. Let’s get into it—I’m hungry.


June’s Feel Good Recipes

This month, spring mulches into summer, which means we’re going from great produce to even greater produce. The world is your strawberry. Four of my forever-saved recipes on our Epicurious app, these dishes show off the best of the season—and just happen to include no meat, which is how I opt to cook at home. (In the test kitchen and when I’m traveling, I’ll eat anything and everything—that’s my version of balance.) Take one recipe for a spin around the block. Or make one a week and pat yourself on the back once you’ve cooked them all.

My favorite vegan tacos

Featuring soy curls—a one-ingredient, budget-friendly, plant-based protein—these tacos were an instant favorite at BA HQ. You don’t need to be vegan to love them. With a juicy salsa (store-bought is fine!), buttery hunks of avocado, and a smattering of radish coins, this recipe is dinner and done, no sides needed. Beyond tacos, I also love to plop these soy curls into a rice bowl, with whatever produce is about to go bad in the fridge. While ingredients like tofu or tempeh are perishable, soy curls are shelf-stable—meaning I have a few bags in my pantry at all times. You will too after trying them.

Vegan Tacos on a red plate with ingredients to  side

All thanks to a cult-favorite plant-based protein our editors buy in bulk.

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Strawberries for dinner

I missed the boat on this fruit salad last year (and okay, the year before that too). Not again. As someone who likes her desserts salty and her dinners saltier, this is my ideal use of peak-season strawberries. Instead of refrigerating them directly in their pint container, I spread out the berries on a plate. That way, they don’t weigh each other down, and they last longer. I bet this salad would be great with nectarines or plums too. For bonus tang, I added a few spoonfuls of Quick-Pickled Rhubarb. And to round out the meal, I grabbed a crusty baguette from the farmers market and served that with a hunk of soft butter.

Two blue bowls of strawberry salad on a yellow tablecloth

Crispy-creamy feta croutons are the salad topper you didn’t know you were missing.

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5-minute breakfast

Mornings are my me time. Ideally, I snooze my 5:35 alarm only once, do yoga (Adriene Mishler has been my free instructor for years), hop in the shower, make tea (this genmaicha is my go-to these days), write in a fluffy robe, unload the dishwasher, and make breakfast, all in time to race down the hill to the train. To say this often falls apart before my eyes would be an understatement. But I try! And this Omelet Roll-Up helps. It is the fastest, most satisfying breakfast I know. And it’s flexible. No milk? Add a splash of water. No chile? Serve with hot sauce.

Straighton shot of a roti omelet rollup with sambal oelek on the side and american cheeze oozing out

Your favorite new breakfast on the run has plenty of melty cheese and spice.

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Mushrooms and green rice

There is never not a wilty bunch of herbs and flaccid jalapeño or three in my fridge, waiting to be appreciated. (Both ingredients come in handy above if you’re cooking through all of our Feel Good picks this month.) This is a lovely destiny for them—a wildly good spin on Peruvian pollo a la brasa. Hana swaps meaty mushrooms in place of chicken, and uses a blender to whip up an Olympics-sprinter-fast green sauce. I’ve made this for just me and my husband, who (lovingly! respectfully!) fought over the leftovers. But it’s special enough to keep it in my back-pocket for hosting friends.

Platter of Arroz Verde With Spiced Mushrooms on light blue surface.

Inspired by irresistible pollo a la brasa (Peruvian rotisserie chicken), this dish uses spiced mushrooms as a vegetarian swap—an ideal topping for herby rice.

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More Feel Good Finds for the Month

My dream kitchen rug, at last

I have a white-cabinet kitchen that needs a splash of color, and a faulty spine that does not appreciate hard-wood floors. The simple solution would be a floor mat or a runner rug. But why would I pick the simple solution? In my opinion (just my opinion!) most floor mats are hideous. And any cute rug stands no chance next to my stove, counters, and sink (I’ve tried). I finally found the best of both words: this washable rug from Ruggable. I got the cushioned mat, so it’s plush on my feet and supportive for my back, and the paprika-red pattern adds lots of warmth. I dripped cherry juice all over it the other day (don’t ask) and, minutes into a meltdown, I remembered: Oh wait, I can just throw it in the wash. Easy.

Dancing by my stove

The most valuable appliance in my kitchen is my speaker. (Staff writer Sam Stone feels the same way.) After a long day, music is the difference between dinner feeling like a chore and an activity. Am I a good singer? No. Am I a good dancer? No. Am I having fun doing both while chopping garlic? Yes. This month, two albums have been on repeat. The first: Kacey Musgraves’s latest drop, Deeper Well. It’s exceptionally soothing. Check out, for example, this verse: “Even something as small as an apple / It’s simple and somehow complex / Sweet and divine, the perfect design / Can I speak to the architect?” The second: Rosalía’s Motomami. Pitchfork named it one of the best albums of 2022, but I was woefully behind until a friend played it on a let’s-go-hiking-and-eat-at-the-Phoenicia-Diner weekend getaway. A lot of songs are high-energy for whenever you need to wake up or shake off a bad mood. Then out of nowhere, there’s a voicemail from her grandmother that makes me burst into tears. It’s fun to not know what’s around the corner. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself these days.

We’ll see you next month! Take care.

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