Burger king Made by Lukas changes the veggie burger game


Lukas Volger wrote the book on veggie burgers.

Literally: He’s the author of Veggie Burgers Every Which Way.

So there are few people out there as qualified to know just what makes an excellent veggie burger. No wonder Volger’s line of burgers, Made by Lukas are some of the best we’ve ever tasted.

We love that Lukas doesn’t let his product be hemmed in by the “traditional” shape of a burger. Instead of coming in pre-formed frozen pucks, the fresh mixes allow you to make whatever shape you’d like, from a hulking patty to petite bites.

Lukas Volger, aka Mr. veggie burger

Made by Lukas offers three unconventional flavors, all made from easily recognizable whole foods (no mystery ingredients here): Beet, Carrot & Parsnip, and Kale ($9 to $11; see where to buy them here). Says Lukas, “They’re comprised primarily—80 percent—of fresh vegetables, which we source up in the Hudson Valley whenever possible, and are rounded off with quinoa, seeds, millet, and spices. There’s no soy, wheat, dairy, or any weird additives. The primary concept here is that it’s a veggie burger that tastes like delicious vegetables.”

Lukas loves forming little silver-dollar bites from the beet variety and serving them with hummus. In our kitchen, we found the burger mixes to be fun to play around with, easy to form and a snap to cook to a nice caramelized crust in a skillet lightly oiled with olive or coconut oil.

We love them on top of a dark greens salad with a swipe of yogurt and preserved lemon, crumbled into stir frys or flattened into a vegetable pancake topped with a fried egg.

What will you come up with?

Blender Bender The no-excuses smoothie now comes to your door


This December you have zero excuses for not starting your morning off right.

Zip, nada, none.

That’s because these new brands are making sure you have your smoothie daily—delivered straight to your doorstep. Think of them as your smoothie concierge: ready to keep you on-track and feeling good, no matter how holiday crazed you might be.

Daily Harvest: Rachel Drori turned her at-home trick of freezing ready-to-blend smoothie ingredients into a business that would provide the “convenience of being able to blend and run without having to shop, think or create any mess.” We love this service for its total simplicity: All of the ingredients are measured into one pack, meaning there is absolutely no shopping, rinsing or chopping required. The current seasonal blend uses a 100 percent organic mix of pomegranates, cranberries, beets, rooibos tea, pecans, bananas, ginger and dates ($32.50 for 5 smoothies). Holistic health and wellness coach Sarah-Jane Mercer designs all of the blends to make sure everything is both tasty and nutritious.

Ginger cranberry smoothie from Green Blender’s holiday smoothie collection.

Green Blender : Founders Jenna Tanenbaum and Amir Cohen say, “At Green Blender, we believe that in order to live a sustainably healthy lifestyle you have to indulge in your health, and do things that you love. That’s why we started this company. We’re making it easy and fun to start your day with a healthy decision.” This service ($49 for 10 smoothies) is best for someone who is OK with a little prep work, namely chopping pre-portioned ingredients and following a recipe. Plus, if you know someone who isn’t based in NYC, pass on the word: Green Blender will be expanding from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens into the Northeast in 2015.

Cook it now: Kabocha Make this tasty squash part of your fall


If your squash vocabulary starts and ends with butternut, you are missing out big time.

There’s a wide world of gnarly-shaped, diversely-colored and wonderfully-named squashes out there to be had, but our new favorite is a Japanese variety called kabocha .

Ben Towill and Phil Winser of The Fat Radish on the Lower East Side are out with a cookbook just in time to capture fall’s incoming squash storm. The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries ($40) takes the restaurant’s menu of unfussy, vegetable-focused food, all with a charming British accent, and lets you take it home.

Though the restaurant is usually swarmed with the fashion set, thankfully these guys don’t take themselves too seriously. They say, “For us, there is nothing more exciting than the anticipation of the seasons and cooking within them. (What a pretentious thing to say, but we promise it’s true.)” The book is broken down simply into the four seasons and filled with enough handsome photos of vegetables to make you blush.

Phil Winser and Ben Towill of The Fat Radish


That lilting English-ness of the recipes means ideas like a spring sweet pea pot pie that is laden with a trio of snow, snap and English peas and plenty of fresh mint. We’ve already bookmarked their savory beet and Swiss chard crumble for this Thanksgiving.

But for right now we recommend heading out to hunt down the closest deep green-skinned kabocha you can get your hands on (easily found at any Greenmarket). Kabocha is blessed with a dense, sweet flesh that is reminiscent in flavor of chestnuts and it is even sweeter than butternut—with half of the carbs. Then turn your market prize into this creamy, rich soup that is completely vegan and brimming with beta-carotene, iron and vitamins C and A.

 Serves 6

One 3-pound kabocha squash

Coarse salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

3 cups vegetable stock

1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Small handful chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 425 degree F.

1.  Cut the kabocha in half and scoop out and discard the seeds and the stringy flesh inside. Wrap the cleaned squash in aluminum foil and place in the oven. Roast until softened, about an hour. Set the squash aside.

2. Meanwhile, place the olive oil in a large, heavy pot set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring now and then, until beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the stock and coconut milk, bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and simmer while you prepare the squash.

3. Peel off and discard the skin from half of the roasted squash and add the flesh to the soup. Use an immersion blender to puree. Season to taste with salt.

4. Cut the remaining half of roasted squash into wedges and place them in the soup. Serve the soup hot, garnishing each serving with toasted pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of chives.

Buy the book

Cool Cukes Stay cool, calm and collected with this summer recipe


When it comes to the Greenmarket, we are like the Postal Service: Neither snow, nor rain nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays us from making our weekly appointed rounds until we are laden with local goods.

But we love the market most during these hazy summer days, when the market’s tents can barely contain the baskets of ripe and bright produce.

A newly released cookbook, The New Greenmarket Cookbook: Recipes and Tips from Today’s Finest Chefs—and the Stories behind the Farms That Inspire Them ($20) is here just in time to make good use of all of those peak-season fruits and vegetables.

Author Gabrielle Langholtz (who knows a thing or two about all things local as the editor of Edible Manhattan magazine) had notable Greenmarket lovers—including Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert—contribute a bevy of recipes to the collection.

Whip these up for your next summer dinner party

Organized by the four seasons, the recipes follow the natural cycle of a year at the market, making it easy to flip the book open and find a recipe using things that are being stocked at the market right this very minute.

We’re smitten with the ever-growing number of cucumbers available at the market right now: thin-skinned Korean cucumbers, round Lemon cucumbers and runty Kirby cucumbers.

As fun as all the shapes and sizes of cucumbers are to look at, they are even better for you: At around 95 percent water, they are wonderfully hydrating and can help reduce inflammation, while being high in potassium and antioxidants like B-carotene.

Try using a selection of cucumbers in this recipe for a fantastically refreshing cucumber soup from chef Kenneth Wis of Brooklyn’s steadfastly farm-to-table Diner and Marlow & Sons.

Cucumber Soup by Kenneth Wiss, Diner and Marlow & Sons

Serves 4 to 6

6 to 7 cucumbers, about 3 1⁄2 pounds

1⁄3 cup lime juice, from about 3 limes

1⁄2 cup olive oil, divided

1⁄4 cup loosely packed dill leaves

1⁄4 cup loosely packed tarragon leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1⁄2 cup loosely packed basil leaves

1⁄2 cup loosely packed mint leaves

Some Garnishes We’ve Loved:

Toasted almonds

Fresh blackberries


Crème fraîche

Fresh herbs

1. Peel the cucumbers and halve lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape the seeds from half of the cucumbers, so the soup is not too bitter. Slice the cucumbers thinly and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

2. Toss with the lime juice, 1⁄4 cup of olive oil, dill, tarragon, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of black pepper. Dress the cucumbers like a salad that you would eat raw and let sit for one hour. The seasoning will marinate the cucumbers, and they will begin to break down and release liquid.

3. Transfer the mixture and its liquid to a blender (in batches if needed) and add the basil and mint. Blend at high speed, stopping to scrape down as needed. Puree for at least one minute, until perfectly smooth.

4. Reduce the blender speed to medium-low and slowly drizzle in the remaining 1⁄4 cup of olive oil.

5. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and lime juice and serve chilled.

From The New Greenmarket Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014

Spring Cleansing: Rouge Tomate’s Green Tornado


Editor’s Note: If you’re looking for the Granola Bars article click here.

As buds get ready to bloom, are you jonesing for your own fresh start? We’ve got a recipe that’s sure to put some extra spring in your step: the “Green Tornado.” Palatable for even an amateur juicer, this juice from Clean Plates-approved restaurant Rouge Tomate is incredibly refreshing and well-balanced.

“The Boston lettuce is mostly adding water,” notes Cristian Molina, the restaurant’s head bartender, “but the mint adds a ton of fresh flavor, and the tarragon brings that licorice taste, and then the spinach is filled with vitamins.”

Molina tops the drink with a stalk of celery, imbuing the Tornado with a refreshing nose, and a slice of lemon. “For some people, the lemon juice we have in the drink is enough, but for those who prefer a lot of lemon, they can squeeze more in to taste.”

So when should you drink it? Says Clean Plates founder Jared Koch, “You don’t need to think of juicing as a meal replacement. Think of it more like a snack that will give you a great boost of energy throughout the day, thanks to its abundance of nutrients.”

Green Tornado

Note: Rouge Tomate’s head bartender, Cristian Molina, makes his juices using a blender and a fine strainer, but you can use an extraction juicer if you have one. Yields will vary depending on your equipment.

Makes 3 drinks


For Green Juice Blend*:

About 2 oz. water to get blend started (add more if needed)
About 1 1/2 lbs. spinach
About 1 1/2 lbs. Boston (butter) lettuce
2 large bunches of mint (about 12 oz.)
3 small bunches parsley (about 12 oz.)
about 12 oz. tarragon leaves

* Green Juice Blend can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Too many ingredients for one blender? You can blend them separately and then combine.

For each drink:

6 oz. Green Juice Blend
1/2 oz. organic light agave syrup
1 oz. lemon juice
Garnish: celery stick and lemon wedge

For each drink, add 6 ounces Green Juice Blend to a cocktail shaker. Add light agave syrup and lemon juice to shaker and fill with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass, garnish with a celery stick and lemon wedge. Repeat for remaining drinks.

Image courtesy of Mynde Mayfield

Comfort Food Makeover: Casserole by Back Forty


If the casseroles you grew up with involved a can, you’re not alone. Good news: that comforting winter standby can easily be made healthier. We turned to Chef Michael Laarhoven of Clean Plates-approved restaurant Back Forty for a recipe, and he came back with his seasonal Spaghetti Squash and Farro Casserole.

“I think the natural sweetness of winter squash pairs well with the nuttiness of farro,” Chef Laarhoven says. “The texture of spaghetti squash in particular lends itself perfectly to a dish like this.”

Farro is also something to get excited about. Full of health benefits, this ancient super food grain contains more fiber and protein and much less gluten than wheat.

Go ahead and squash those casserole cravings with this delicious update.

Spaghetti Squash and Farro Casserole
Recipe by Back Forty Chef Michael Laarhoven

Serves 6

spaghetti squash casserole2 spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
2 c. root vegetables (e.g. turnip and rutabaga), cut into large dice
½ c. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 c. dry white wine
2 c. farro
8 c. vegetable stock
3 cipollini onions, thinly sliced
6 eggs
½ c. flour (Clean Plates recommends using unbleached white flour, or trying spelt flour)
¼ c. organic heavy cream
1 c. semi-hard sheep’s milk cheese (Back Forty West uses Coomersdale from Bonnit View farms), shredded
2 c. fresh bread crumbs
1 tsp. tarragon
1 tsp. parsley
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350° F. Coat squash and root vegetables with ¼ c. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast squash and root vegetables for approximately 45 minutes.

While squash and root vegetables are roasting, sauté the large onion in remaining ¼ c. olive oil over medium flame until soft and translucent. Stir in farro and cook for 1 minute.

Add white wine and reduce for five minutes, then gradually start adding stock, stirring often, until farro is firm and has absorbed all the liquid. When farro is done, allow to cool.

When squash is cooked, scoop into a large bowl and allow to cool. Add farro to squash pureé then stir in the cipollini onions, flour, and cream and season accordingly.

Place contents in a cast-iron casserole pot and bake covered for 20 minutes.

Top casserole with cheese, bread crumbs, and herbs, bake for five more minutes, then serve.

Photos by Alyx Cullen

Fresh Catch: Eric Ripert’s Cayman-Inspired Grilled Halibut

jose, eric & anthony at the cayman cookout bbq

Sick of the blustery winter? Even if you can’t jet-set to warmer weather, you can take your palate to the tropics with an island-inspired entrée from a seafood master, Chef Eric Ripert.

During the fifth annual Cayman Cookout on Grand Cayman Island, Chef Ripert (pictured center, between José Andrés and Anthony Bourdain) served a tasty seafood dish that captured authentic island flavor, yet would be easy to recreate using stateside ingredients. Though his version was originally made with swordfish (which often contains high mercury levels), his recipe below features nutrient-rich halibut—a sustainable choice—accented with the same herbed fennel and robust tomato vierge that made his entrée an event standout. Try it and let us know what you think.

grilled halibut with fennel & tomato vierge

Grilled Halibut with Fennel & Tomato Vierge (serves 6)
Recipe by Eric Ripert

Grilled Halibut & Fennel

6 halibut fillets*
sea salt and pepper to taste
herbes de Provence, as needed
olive oil
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
¼ c. lemon vinaigrette (or preferred vinaigrette)
*halibut can also be replaced by striped bass, if preferred

Season the halibut fillets with salt, pepper, herbes de Provence, and olive oil. Reserve. Grill to desired temperature.

Place the sliced fennel in a small bowl; dress with lemon vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Top fish with this mixture before serving.

Tomato Vierge

½ c. tomato oil (can be replaced with extra virgin olive oil)
4 Tbsp. sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp. capers
2 Tbsp. basil, diced
2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. shallots, diced
juice of 1 lemon, medium

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let marinate for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over fish of choice.

First photo courtesy of Creations Unlimited, Cayman Islands; second  photo by Megan Murphy

Pomegranate Party: A Twist on the French 75 Cocktail

The Red 75

With its early-20th-century Paris roots in a spot called Harry’s New York Bar, the classic “French 75″ cocktail traditionally includes cognac or gin mixed with champagne. It packs a punch, but not much nutrition.

So for our holiday toast—and a twist on that cocktail—we turned to Rouge Tomate, the Upper East Side’s Michelin-rated, seasonally inspired new-American restaurant. Wine and Beverage Director Pascaline Lepeltier gave us her refreshed version of the old-time celebratory sip: the “Red 75.” Showcasing organic gin and organic prickly pear juice (this recipe uses organic pomegranate juice for a more seasonal approach; feel free to use a juice of your choice), this drink is a festive visual tease. We also love the frothy egg mixed in.

“This is a celebration cocktail, combining the taste and the incredible vibrance of the pomegranate color to the bubbly touch of the champagne,” says Lepeltier. “This Rouge Tomate variation—by using seasonal and rich-in-nutrients ingredients—is a perfect indulgence cocktail for the holiday season.”

We’re red-y, are you?

Red 75
1 oz. organic gin (Rouge Tomate uses Farmer’s)
1½ oz. organic pomegranate juice
½ oz. organic lemon juice
½ oz. organic agave
½ oz. organic egg
¾ oz. Aperol
2 oz. organic champagne

In a mixing glass, add all ingredients but the champagne; shake with ice. Pour the champagne into a champagne coupe, then strain the cocktail and pour over it. No garnish; the drink should have a nice, white foam.

Rouge Tomate
10 E. 60th St.
646 237-8977

Chef Ayinde Howell’s Black & Yellow Breakfast Potatoes


We recently interviewed vegan chef Ayinde Howell, the visionary behind NYC’s WildFlower vegan pop-up restaurant and the online vegan community I Eat Grass. Here, chef Howell shares a simple recipe for breakfast potatoes.


  • 3 cups yellow & black potatoes, large dice
  • 1/4 cup safflower or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup onions, medium dice
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper, powdered
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • Salt to taste


  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Serves 2


  1. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, heat oil until hot and shimmering. Add potatoes and cover. Cook until potatoes are soft, stirring from the bottom with a spatula (7-10 minutes).
  2. Add onions and herbs to potatoes. Continue to cook uncovered. Reduce heat to medium low heat (5-10 minutes).
  3. Potatoes should be crispy outside and soft inside. When done, salt to taste.

You might also like:

Photo by Kate Echle