All recipes are from Cooking Up the Good Life by Jenny Breen. Published by University of Minnesota Press,

Note: At the bottom of this page, you can also download a PDF of these recipes.

Garlic Almond Kale (vegan)

Serves 6-8

This salad can be served hot or cold, and it's delicious either way. The well-sautéed onions and wilted kale-or other greens as available in season-are a simple combination enhanced with the subtle flavor of sesame oil.

The Family Kitchen: Children can do the rinsing and draining of the greens, and they'll have fun tearing the greens off of the stems and into bite-sized shapes.

Fresh kale

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

3 large bunches kale, chard, or other leaves, torn to half-dollar-sized pieces

¼ cup tamari

1 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped

¼ cup chopped garlic (about 6 large cloves)

Heat oil and add onion, kale, and tamari and sauté for 1- 2 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic and almonds to greens, and continue to sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve hot or chilled.

Early Greens with Miso Dressing and Toasted Almonds (vegan) 

Serves 8 to 10

Plate of steamed greens

People love this combination of sweet and spicy, savory and sour. The dressing is also delicious on just about any vegetable or proteins like tofu and fish.

The Family Kitchen: Crushing almonds can be fun. You don't need to use a knife or a tool at all. My favorite way to do it is under the bottom of a jar. Kids can also use a rolling pin.

2 lbs. assorted early greens (arugula, mustard, spinach, etc.), washed and dried

2 medium onions OR 2 washed leeks, sliced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch ginger, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 cups sliced or crushed almonds, toasted


Miso Dressing:

1/3 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

2 tablespoons stone ground mustard

½ cup miso paste

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1/3 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons tamari

Heat oils in saucepan, add onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes until soft, then add garlic and ginger. Add the greens by the handful, stirring constantly. Sauté until all the greens are added and they have wilted into a bright green (about 2 minutes). Remove immediately from heat and place in a large bowl. Allow the mixture to cool, and add the toasted almonds. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients, then toss with vegetable mixture.

Brussels Sprouts with Honey Horseradish Sauce (vegan, except honey)

Serves 8 to 10

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are like fun little mini-cabbages-slightly bitter and light and leafy at the same time. This sauce is what makes them work here. The sprouts, combined with the steady flavor of potato, are the perfect vehicle for this beautiful balance of spicy and sweet.

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved

3 medium sweet potatoes, cleaned and sliced thinly

2 leeks, cleaned and sliced thinly

2 tablespoons olive oil


Horseradish sauce:

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup mustard

¼ cup horseradish

2/3 cup honey

¼ cup cider vinegar

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch ginger, minced

½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 385°F. Combine sauce ingredients and set aside. Clean and cut Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and leeks and coat with olive oil. Place in large baking pan, pour sauce over vegetables, and coat well. Bake for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender and brightly colored.

Asparagus with Citrus and Olive Marinade (vegan, except honey)

Serves 8 to 10

asparagus spears

The combination of lemon and orange with Mediterranean enhance the freshness and spring feeling of this marinade. Add the slightly bitter, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of fresh (and fleeting) local asparagus, and it is the perfect taste of the season.

The Family Kitchen: In addition to breaking the asparagus just right, kids can help peel and chop the citrus and squeeze the juice. They will enjoy the sweet and tangy smell and the sticky juice on their hands, especially if they can lick it off.

2 lbs. asparagus

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup water

½ red onion, sliced very thinly



Juice of ½ lemon

2 tablespoons honey

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup champagne vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced

2 very ripe navel oranges or tangerines peeled and seeded, roughly chopped with juice

1 cup olives, pitted and chopped

Gently break off about ¼ the asparagus stems and discard the trimmings (they will naturally break at the appropriate spot). Cut the asparagus into thirds and set aside. Prepare the marinade by combining the lemon juice, honey, ¼ cup olive oil, vinegar, salt, garlic, and thyme. Whisk well. Add oranges and juice, and olives, mix and set aside. In saucepan, heat water and 2 tablespoons olive oil. When almost boiling, place asparagus and red onion in pan, cover and steam until asparagus is bright green and tender--about 2 to 3 minutes. When ready, remove onions and asparagus from pan and cover with marinade. Chill for up to 4 hours.

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