Five weeknight dishes: These dinners make being green quite easy (and fast) The Denver Post

By Emily Weinstein, The New York Times

This is the exact moment every year when spring takes hold on New York Times Cooking, and everyone lunges for green recipes that mirror the season. Green pizzas, pastas and salads abound; green sauces are unstoppable. I stock asparagus in my fridge and eat it with whatever I’m cooking (although really it’s best with runny eggs). So I’ve got five fast, ultra-green recipes for you this week.

1. Baked Salmon and Dill Rice

Fragrant dill rice is a natural accompaniment to salmon, and a complete meal of the two is made easy here by baking them together in one dish. Add fresh or dried dill to basmati rice, which is eventually topped with salmon covered in a tangy, sweet and spicy paste of mayo, lemon zest, honey and dried chile flakes. To ensure the rice is perfectly fluffy without overcooking the fish, the grains are baked until most of the water is absorbed before the salmon is added over the top.

By Naz Deravian

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 40 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • Kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
  • 4 ounces fresh dill, tough stems removed and finely chopped (about 1 cup), or 1/3 cup dried, plus more for serving
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 large lemon, zested (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (1-inch thick at their thickest parts), skin on or off


1. Place an oven rack in the center position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a kettle or a small saucepan, bring 2 3/4 cups water to a boil.

2. To a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, add the olive oil and spread it around the pan. Add the rice, 1 teaspoon salt and the dill, and stir to combine. Spread the rice evenly across the pan. Add the boiling water, stir and cover tightly with foil. Place in the oven and bake until most of the water has been absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the garlic, lemon zest, mayonnaise, honey, turmeric and red-pepper flakes. Season both sides of the salmon fillets well with salt (about 1 1/2 teaspoons total) and pepper. Spread the mayonnaise paste on top (or flesh side) of the salmon fillets.

4. Remove the pan from the oven and very carefully lift the foil. Place the salmon fillets on top of the rice, paste side up, reseal and place back in the oven. Bake until the rice is fluffy and the salmon is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with more fresh dill and red-pepper flakes.

2. One-Pan Pork Chops With Feta, Snap Peas and Mint

Brawny and golden brown, these seared pork chops make a hearty one-pan dinner that’s rounded out by sweet sugar snap peas and loads of fresh mint. The feta, added at the end, melts into the pork and peas, spiking the sauce with its brininess. Be generous with the fresh lemon juice at the end; this rich dish gains a lot from the tang.

By Melissa Clark

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

Total time: 25 minutes


  • 2 (1 1/4-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops (about 1 pound each)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or basil, plus more for serving
  • Large pinch of red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • Lemon juice, for serving


1. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high until shimmering.

2. Add the pork chops to skillet and sear, without moving, until dark golden, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Lower heat, cover pan and cook the pork chops for 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate.

3. Return the skillet to the stove and reduce heat to medium. Add butter to remaining oil in skillet, then add scallions and cook until lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add snap peas, mint, red-pepper flakes and a pinch of salt, stirring everything to coat with pan juices.

4. Making space in the skillet, return pork chops to pan, surrounding them with snap peas. If necessary, you can mound snap peas on top of pork, but make sure the meat sits directly on the bottom of pan. Scatter feta over pork and snap peas. Cover and cook over low heat until pork chops are just cooked through, 3 to 6 minutes longer.

5. Drizzle or squeeze lemon juice over the dish and sprinkle with more mint, scallions and black pepper before serving.

3. Garlic Chicken With Guasacaca Sauce

Simple to make, versatile in use and complex in flavor, guasacaca sauce is one of the wonderful condiments of Venezuelan cuisine. Creamy from the addition of avocado with a bright and tangy herb and lime base, it makes an evocative pairing for any vegetarian, seafood or meat dish. Here, it accompanies a sheet-pan dinner of roasted chicken and carrots but will do just as well with anything from the grill.

By Yewande Komolafe

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 45 minutes


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths (1/2-inch wide)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, drumsticks, breasts or a combination, patted dry
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup chopped parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro leaves with tender stems


1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup oil and grate in 2 garlic cloves using a zester. Add the carrots and toss to coat. Lightly season with salt and black pepper and transfer to a sheet pan, reserving the garlic oil in the bowl. Add the chicken to the bowl and coat with the remaining garlic oil. Arrange in a single layer on the sheet pan skin-side up between the carrots.

2. Roast until carrots are tender, and chicken is cooked through with crispy skin that’s browned in spots, 35 to 40 minutes.

3. While the chicken cooks, in a food processor or blender or using a mortar and pestle, combine the avocado, jalapeño, vinegar, lime zest and juice, remaining garlic clove, half the chopped parsley and cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Purée or pound into a coarse mixture. With the machine running or while mixing with a pestle in a mortar, slowly drizzle in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon room temperature water. Purée or stir until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt if necessary. The sauce can be made a few hours in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.

4. Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup each parsley and cilantro over the chicken and carrots. Transfer to individual plates along with any pan juices. Spoon a few tablespoons of the guasacaca sauce on the side for dipping. Serve warm with additional sauce on the side.

4. Chopped Salad With Chickpeas, Feta and Avocado

Like any good chopped salad, the lettuce here is in equal balance with the other ingredients, making this a great choice for those who are less than enthusiastic about leafy greens. Creamy feta and avocado mingle with briny olives and capers while cucumbers and finely chopped romaine provide crunch. Use this recipe as a template for making the most of ingredients you have on hand; radishes, cherry tomatoes or diced onion would all be welcome here. The same flexibility applies for the croutons: Stale bread works, of course, but even leftover hot dog buns, pita bread or oyster crackers become excellent little croutons when toasted in the oven.

By Lidey Heuck

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 2 cups small (1/2-inch) diced stale bread, buns or pita (about 3 to 4 ounces)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 romaine heart, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 medium (or 1/2 large) English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup pitted Castelvetrano or other green olives, roughly chopped (about 3 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 2 scallions)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 firm-ripe avocado, halved, pitted and diced
  • 3/4 cup diced or crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, basil, mint or parsley, plus more for serving


1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the diced bread on a sheet pan, drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss, then bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until well toasted. Set aside to cool.

2. Meanwhile, place the romaine pieces in a large mixing bowl, along with the chickpeas, cucumber, olives and scallions.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together 6 tablespoons olive oil with the vinegar, capers, shallots, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and whisk well. Pour enough dressing over the salad to moisten; toss well. Add the avocado, feta and herbs and toss gently, adding more dressing to taste. Top with the croutons and a generous sprinkle of herbs and serve.

5. Creamy Asparagus Pasta

In this quick pasta dinner, umami-rich seaweed stars twice: first, in the form of dasima (dried kelp), which seasons the pasta water and sauce with seaside savor; second, as gim (roasted seaweed), which lends deep nuttiness and some salty crunch, too. The pasta finishes cooking in a blush of heavy cream and a splash of the dasima broth, transforming into a dreamy emulsion balanced by rice vinegar. In this recipe’s final moments, a rich glug of sesame oil glosses the chewy rigatoni and echoes the toasted flavor of the gim, which sings.

By Eric Kim

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 20 grams gim, often labeled as roasted seaweed
  • 2 (4-inch) squares dasima or kombu (dried kelp)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, thinly sliced at an angle
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving


1. Fold the gim in half and, with very sharp kitchen shears or a chef’s knife, slice into thin strips. Set aside for serving.

2. In a large pot, combine 1 dasima square with 8 cups cold tap water. Bring the water to a boil and season with the kosher salt. Tumble in the pasta and cook for half the time the package tells you is al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta, then add it back to the pot. (Discard the dasima.)

3. Add the remaining dasima square, cream, red onion, garlic, black pepper and reserved pasta water to the pasta. Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Stirring occasionally, cook the pasta until the onion-infused cream has thickened significantly, thinly coating the noodles, 4 to 5 minutes.

4. Turn off the heat. Add the vinegar and asparagus, and stir to combine for 1 minute. The residual heat from the pasta will gently cook the asparagus to tender-crisp. Stir in the sesame oil and season with more black pepper, if desired. Divide the pasta among serving dishes, discarding the dasima, and shower with the reserved gim and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Serve immediately, before the gim wilts and turns soggy.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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