Conchiglie pasta with Tuscan kale

Tuscan… Cavolo Nero… Dinosaur… Lacinato. These all are names for the blackish-green, rough, wrinkly kale. Because it’s tender — and doesn’t taste like grass — it’s a great green to eat raw or cooked. I paired it today with tomatoes for a tasty condiment for my pasta. Like all greens, Tuscan kale should be thoroughly washed and dried. Cut the tough stems out. Roll the leaves into a long cigar shape and slice crosswise into ribbons.

prep time 15 min     cook time 10 min
ingredients for 4
  • 360g conchiglie pasta (seashell) or other short pasta of your choice
  • 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bunch of Tuscan kale
  • 250g cherry or date tomatoes, halved
  • salt and pepper
  • peperoncino seeds or flakes (optional)

 as you can see I don’t really measure my oil…

1.  Boil the pasta according to the indication on the package, but drain it 2 minutes before and save a glass of the cooking water.

2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Sauté onions, garlic and peperoncino (if using) for a few minutes.

3. Add kale ( I should have trimmed mine further and cut into ribbons) and let cook for 4-5 minutes. It shrinks a lot while cooking.

4. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and mixing ofter until tomatoes start to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add oil if needed.

5. Drain the pasta and toss it with the kale thoroughly for 1-2 minutes. Add a little bit of the cooking water. Serve immediately.


Sun-dried tomato pesto (Red pesto)

Hearing “pesto,” most people tend to think of basil pesto (Pesto alla Genovese). Pesto Rosso (literally, “Red Pesto”) is a Sicilian variation that starts with sun-dried tomatoes. It has a rich red hue and a deep, sweet, tangy flavor. Like all pestos, sun-dried tomato pesto recipes also vary by region and cook. The sauce typically calls for almonds instead of the pine nuts used in basil pesto. Some cooks add basil, while others complement the tomatoes with other herbs, like rosemary. Serve this hearty, unique sauce with pasta or as a delicious spread with bread or crackers.

prep time 10 min
  • 200g dry-packed or oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 100g unsalted almonds
  • 120 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 80g grated Parmesan cheese
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • coarse salt to taste

1. Roast the almonds in a pan without oil for a few minutes.

2. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until all ingredients are finely chopped. Stop the food processor and scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice. You can also use a hand blender.

3. Store, covered, in the refrigerator, for 5-7 days.

4. Serve tossed with pasta, spread onto crostini or crusty bread, or with your favorite meats and seafood. If refrigerated and not heating for a recipe, let the pesto rosso return to room temperature before serving. When refrigerating, cover the pesto with oil. Pesto rosso also freezes well.


Turkey chili

This turkey chili is loaded with lean ground turkey making it healthier and lighter than traditional chili with beef, but just as hearty and satisfying.

prep time 10 min     cook time     1hr
ingredients for 6-8
  • 400-500g ground turkey
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 celery stalk, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • crushed chili flakes or peperoncino (the amount depends on how strong you want your chili)
  • sweet or smoked paprika
  • ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 (400g) can cannellini beans
  • 1 (400g) can kidney beans
  • 1 (400g) can red beans
  • 1 (400g) can lentils
  • 2 (400g) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 zucchini, cut into cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • flat leaf parsley

1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pot or a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Sauté onion, carrots, celery, garlic and peperoncino for a few minutes.

2. Add the remaining oil and brown the turkey for good 5 min breaking it up with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper, paprika and cumin if using.

3. Drain partially the beans and add to the pot together with the zucchini and chopped parsley.

4. Add tomato, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

5. Serve hot with brown rice or tortilla chips.


  • sour cream or whole Greek yogurt
  • avocado
  • cilantro sprigs or chopped cilantro
  • chopped red or green onions
  • shredded cheese
  • sliced jalapeños

Tip: you can use any combination of beans, red, kidney, butter beans, black beans, azuki beans, cannellini, lima beans.


Gigantes plaki – Greek baked beans

These large white or cream coloured beans (gigantes means “giant” in Greek) are a classic ingredient in Greek cooking. This recipe combines beans which are of course a great source of protein, antioxidants and fibre, while the addition of tomato not only makes them tastier but the vitamin C in the tomato helps increase the absorption of iron from the beans. Plaki refers to the method of cooking which means basically baking in the oven with a sauce made with tomato, onion, garlic and parsley. Satisfying and super healthy, enjoy this dish as a stew-like main course, as a side dish or even as a part of a meze with good chunky bread.

The recipe is easy and even though the cooking time is somewhat long, active prep time is very short. You basically soak the beans overnight, boil them, prepare the sauce, mix everything and bake.

prep time 10 min + soaking time    cook time 2hrs or more
  • 500g dried gigantes beans
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 800 g ripe tomatoes, skinned, roughly chopped or 2 cans (400g each) of crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • dried oregano
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • chopped flat leaf parsley

1. Soak the beans overnight, drain and rinse and boil in water about 1 hr until tender but not mushy. Make sure you boil them enough, otherwise they will be too hard to eat even after baking.

2. In the meantime prepare the sauce. Sauté the onion and carrot in a bit of olive oil on low heat for a few minutes, then add the minced garlic.

3. Add tomato, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and cinnamon and about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Let simmer until sauce thickens, about 10-15 minutes.

4. Preheat oven at 180 C (350 F).

5. Once the beans have boiled, drain them and stir into the tomato sauce.

6. Tip into a large ovenproof dish, drizzle the remaining 1/4 olive oil on top and bake approximately 1 hr uncovered and without stirring until the beans are tender.

7. Serve with feta cheese if you so choose and good crusty bread.

Tip: you can substitute the gigantes beans with lima beans, Great Northern or even butter beans. Not the same but good enough 😉


Curry flavoured lentil soup

It is soup season. This curry flavoured lentil soup is thick, hearty and perfect for a chilly day. Not only it is full of nourishing vegetables and spices, but it is also packed with plant-based protein thanks to lentils. It will fill you up without weighing you down.

prep time 10 min     cook time 30 min
ingredients for 4
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3-4 potatoes, diced
  • 1-1,5 tbsp curry powder (preferably with no added salt)
  • 1-1,2 l vegetable broth
  • 200 g green lentils, thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • fennel fronds to garnish

1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion and carrots. Cook for 3-5 minutes stirring frequently until onion is softened.

2. Add garlic, ginger  and curry powder, stir to coat and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Next add potatoes, lentils and broth to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check the cooking time for your lentils.

4. Serve warm with crusty bread. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for5 days, frozen up to 2 month.

tip: you can replace the potatoes with small pasta adding that at the end.