Tag archives: plant based

Kabocha Squash
By Melissa Petitto   |   February 20, 2024

The kabocha squash is one of my favorite squashes, creamy, nutty, and sweet – this squash has an edible thick green skin, a low glycemic index, is super low calorie, and contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals. I found some gorgeous ones at the market this week at Jimenez Family Farms.  The kabocha squash […]

Garlic
By Melissa Petitto   |   February 6, 2024

Garlic, part of the Allium family and closely related to the onion, chive, leek, shallot, and scallion, has been used in daily cooking in all parts of the world throughout history. It has not only been used as a flavor enhancer, but also to prevent and treat a variety of diseases and conditions. I know […]

Romanesco
By Melissa Petitto   |   January 23, 2024

Is there a more exquisite vegetable than the Romanesco? Its geometric patterns are whimsical and, dare I say, too pretty to eat? Milliken Family Farms has this cauliflower-broccoli hybrid, and it is not only beautiful, but it is tasty and full of vitamins and nutrients. This Roman cauliflower hails from Northern Italy and has a […]

Apples
By Melissa Petitto   |   January 9, 2024

The apple is a food synonymous with health: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” There are so many varietals now that I have truly lost count, but what I do know is that the apple in all its many forms and varieties is delicious. Crisp, tart, sweet, sour, juicy, red, green, yellow, pink, […]

Brussels Sprouts
By Melissa Petitto   |   January 2, 2024

The Brussels sprout, such a unique vegetable that many have a love/hate relationship with, even appearing on the ‘most hated vegetable list’ year after year. Brussels sprouts are a bitter vegetable in the cruciferous family. Named after Brussels, Belgium, where they were first thought to be cultivated in the 16th century. The very thing that […]

Sweet Potatoes
By Melissa Petitto   |   December 19, 2023

The sweet potato is one of my favorite fall finds. I adore all varieties, but right now in the farmers market, there is a particularly sweet one called ‘Bonita Sweet’ and Chavez Family Farms has them! This varietal of the Japanese sweet potato is so sweet – like its name suggests – and oh so […]

Sunchokes
By Melissa Petitto   |   November 28, 2023

This nutty little tuber may be small, but she makes up for it in personality and flavor! I found some gorgeous sunchokes this week at Mt. Olive Farm. The sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke is nothing like the globe artichoke and is in fact a member of the sunflower family. The root is the edible part […]

Pomegranates
By Melissa Petitto   |   November 21, 2023

The holidays are upon us and I for one am all for the sides, give me all the sides! I tend to make plant-based sides that everyone can enjoy and just not tell people that they are in fact eating vegan. It helps to serve incredibly delicious sides that surpass all your guests’ wildest dreams. […]

Wild Mushrooms
By Melissa Petitto   |   November 7, 2023

The mushroom is getting its due time in the spotlight right now and with just cause. This miraculous fungi, which is more of a fruit than a vegetable, is one of the coolest things we consume from nature. Not only is the mushroom incredibly nutritious, but it also plays a vital role in plant health […]

Honeynut Squash
By Melissa Petitto   |   October 24, 2023

Meet the honeynut squash – the newer, cuter, more nutrient and vitamin packed cousin of the butternut squash. This squash was a creation of Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Michael Mazourek, a plant breeder at Cornell University. This honey-colored squash is easier to manage than the larger butternut, has more […]

Beets
By Melissa Petitto   |   October 10, 2023

The beet, such a unique vegetable in both flavor and its vibrant colors. I’ve noticed over the many years that I have been a chef, that you either love or hate beets, and there is not much in between. For the lovers, this week is for you. I originally created this recipe for Rosh Hashanah […]

Tomatoes
By Melissa Petitto   |   August 1, 2023

I will wait all year for the perfect tomato, the not-flawless, stunning, smells-like-summer-and-tastes-like-heaven tomato. Sure you can find them year round in the grocery store, but the ones that look perfectly red and round and taste like water – why waste your time? Tomatoes, in all their summer glory, are in the farmers market as […]

Apricots
By Melissa Petitto   |   July 18, 2023

The apricot tree in my neighbor’s yard is just busting with these beautiful blushing gems and I could not be more excited! My daughter and I went and harvested a bunch the other day and are so excited to take them back into the kitchen. I love using them in both sweet and savory ways […]

The Princess and the English Pea
By Melissa Petitto   |   May 9, 2023

The English pea is popping up at the farmers market and I made the most divine soup out of them… I even tricked some clients by making it vegan and they were amazed! The English or garden pea is a shell pea, meaning the pod is too fibrous to eat. These gorgeous pods are not […]

Spring Asparagus
By Melissa Petitto   |   April 25, 2023

Warm weather is trickling in slowly, Santa Barbara – and I am here for it! Spring in the farmers’ market is such a glorious time, crowded as it is with all the vegetables that begin popping up after our rainy months… artichokes, snap peas, fava beans, arugula, and asparagus… just to name a few. This […]

Strawberry Fields
By Melissa Petitto   |   April 11, 2023

The Central Coast has some of the most amazing strawberries I have ever tasted. They are beginning to make an appearance again and I for one am so thrilled. At one of my favorite Farmers Market vendors, I asked about the crop this year and was told that many of the fields were flooded with […]

Eat the Rainbow
By Melissa Petitto   |   March 28, 2023

Well, it’s raining again, and all I keep thinking about is spring and all the veggies that this amazing rain will bring. I am quite ready for spring salads and color and fresh, vibrant kitchen creations. So, that’s what I am going to do this week! The soggy Farmers Market and I are on the […]

A New Conscious Way of Creating Dips and Salsas
By Amélie Dieux   |   March 21, 2023

It all started a year ago with a spontaneous conversation around food here in the heart of Montecito. Suddenly, Jennifer Markham (owner, founder of Oaks Culinary Group and SkinnyDips & Salsas) and Bryan Goligoski (culinary artist), both residents of Montecito, realized that there wasn’t a variety of healthy seed-based dips and salsas available on the […]

Inconspicuous Beauty
By Melissa Petitto   |   March 14, 2023

What a couple of weeks it has been in our beautiful town – rain, snow, and high winds! With the weather, I am still in the winter mode of craving warming and comforting foods and was drawn to the inconspicuous beauty of the celery root, bulbous on the bottom with bright greens on top. The […]

Winter Whites
By Melissa Petitto   |   February 28, 2023

Well, readers, it’s still cold outside and a nourishing soup is on my mind. This week, I was pondering the white vegetables in the farmers market and their often overlooked brilliance. These vegetables, which are lacking in pigment, have a phytonutrient, or plant chemical, known as anthoxanthin.  Vegetables such as garlic, onion, fennel, potato, turnip, […]