There’s no better home hub for experimenting with a purely vegetable diet than at Dirt Candy a terrific NYC restaurant with an ace cookbook we can all access wherever we live.   We are really delighted that the team from Dirt Candy are sharing with us a bunch of their yummy make-it-at-home recipes and ideas that you can recreate yourself for the February edit of our Super Star Food Creatives series. We’re inspired #nomnomnom

We’re big fans of good food, like really good food made from really good ingredients, and we know the challenges you all face to get more vegetables into your diet.  We also know that not everyone is vegan or vegetarian but a heck of a lot of you are #vegancurious and #veggiefriendly – the action over on our instagram site attests to that:)

So how about a broccoli dog whilst we’re at it!

Or a taco made with sprouts … the king of vegetables. Served like this so you can get stuck in, making five a day a whole new ball game and a great dish for little helpers.

Or go veggie with your ice-cream maker … re think side salad

BTW…. Dates for the diary…




Spinach soup with smoked corn dumplings

and Lemon Confit

Spinach Soup:

American measures

  1. 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  4. 1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
  5. 1/2 tablespoon grated lime peel
  6. 1/2 tablespoon seeded and diced jalapeno
  7. 1/4 cup peeled and diced potato
  8. 3 cups basic stock
  9. 4 cups tightly packed spinach leaves
  10. 1 cup rough chopped cilantro
  11. 1 1/2 cups rough chopped parsley
  12. Salt to taste

Serves 4 to 6

  • Start a pot on medium heat with olive oil and onions, then add garlic, ginger, lime zest and jalapeno and cook until very soft (about 6 minutes).
  • Add potatoes and stir once or twice, then add the stock, bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft (about 3 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and let cool (15 minutes in an ice bath), then blend.
  • Refrigerate mixture until cold. This is the soup base, which can be refrigerated for later. It will keep for about 3 days in the fridge.
  • Put cold soup base in blender, add spinach, parsley and cilantro and blend until very smooth. Push through a chinois to remove chunks.
  • Heat the soup over medium heat. This is when it should turn bright green. Add salt to taste and serve immediately.


Smoked Corn Dumplings:

  1. 2 cups smoked corn kernels
  2. 3 tablespoons finely diced jicama
  3. 1 ½  teaspoons finely chopped green onion
  4. 1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped mint
  5. ¼  teaspoon salt
  6. 2 teaspoons potato starch
  7. ¾  teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  8. ¼  teaspoon sesame oil
  9. 1 package of store bought eggless wonton wrappers

Makes 32 dumplings

  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl (except for the wrappers) until they are very incorporated.
  • Lay the wrappers on your work surface and punch out the center with a round 2” cookie cutter. The round shape is easier to fold.
  • Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper, wet the edges of the wrapper with water and fold into half-moon.
  • Pinch the ends of the dumpling together. Place the filled dumplings on a plate and cover with a damp cloth to keep from drying out.
  • Bring a deep pot of very lightly salted water to a boil. Drop the dumplings into the pot in batches and let boil for 2 – 3 minutes. The dumplings will float to the surface when they’re done, but there are a million variables that could keep them from doing that, so let them boil for 2 minutes before scooping them out with a slotted spoon.

Lemon Confit:

  1. 2 lemons, zested
  2. 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  3. 3 tablespoons sugar

Makes 1/4 cup

  • In a pot over high heat, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Then add the lemon zest, let it return to a boil and keep boiling for 3 minutes. Remove and strain.
  • Repeat Step 1 with fresh water 2 more times (3 boils, total). This makes the zest less bitter.
  • Bring lemon juice and sugar to a boil over low heat in a very small pot and cook until the sugar is totally dissolved.
  • Add the zest. It should be covered by the liquid. If it’s not covered, add water to cover.
  • Turn heat to low and cook zest until it’s almost translucent and lemon juice is thick and syrupy (about 20 minutes).

Or how about ….

Secret Weapon Stir Fry Sauce

Little blocks of all the greens you can lay your hands on frozen in ice cube trays ready to spruce up a dish. As Chef owner of Dirt Candy, Amanda says  “As long as you maintain the proportions, this recipe can take any vegetable you throw at it,”


  •  cup cilantro 
  •  cup parsley
  •  cup Thai basil
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
    Nutritional Information


  1. Tear all the stems off the herbs and spinach. (No need to be exact, just rip off most of them.)
  2. Blanch the cilantro, parsley, Thai basil and spinach in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds. As soon as they turn bright green, take them out and drop them into a bowl of ice water.
  3. Take the greens out of the ice bath and shake off excess water (but leave the greens wet). Put them into a blender or small food processor with the garlic and ginger. Blend until you have a smooth, dark green purée. If it’s too thick, add a little water to keep it moving, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Pour purée into an ice cube tray and pop it into the freezer. To use in fried rice, add a few cubes to the pan once the vegetables and any other protein are cooked and the rice is translucent; keep stirring as the cubes melt and coat the rice. Season and serve.

Recipes used with permission from “Dirt Candy: A Cookbook: Flavor-Forward Food from the Upstart New York City Vegetarian Restaurant” by Amanda Cohen and Ryan Dunlavey with Grady Hendrix. Images with thanks to Evan Sung. Green veg block image with thanks to Ben Russell 

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