Skip to main content

Sustainable Kitchen: Recipes and Inspiration for Plant-Based, Planet-Conscious Meals

Nov 24, 2020 04:18PM ● By By Cassie Horner
The concept that what we eat matters continues to grow exponentially in the 21st century as people learn that it not only impacts individual health—physical, mental, and psychological—but also the health of the planet. Locals Heather Wolfe, a dietitian, and Jaynie McCloskey, a graphic designer, bring together their views on healthy eating in a new cookbook, Sustainable Kitchen: Recipes and Inspiration for Plant-Based, Planet-Conscious Meals. It is the kind of cookbook that lends itself to reading for information as well as for the recipes. The authors explore a philosophy of eating developed in connection with nutritional and environmental knowledge.


Winter Wheat Berry Bowl with Agrodolce Sauce

 An agrodolce sauce—aagro (sour), dolce (sweet)—is an Italian sweet and sour sauce, and it dresses up this hearty whole-grain bowl with roasted veggies. Waste not! The thin skin of the butternut squash is edible. Seeds can be roasted for a snack, or they can be used to garnish this recipe. Can’t find wheat berries? Substitute another whole grain such as Kamut, spelt, whole oat groats, barley, or brown rice Cooking times will need to be adjusted for the grain you choose.

Serves 4

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup winter wheat berries or another whole grain, sorted and rinsed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1 butternut squash, cut into ¾-inch cubes (reserve seeds for roasting)
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus additional to taste


  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Optional garnish: Roasted Squash Seeds (recipe on page 210 of Sustainable Kitchen)


1. Put water, wheat berries, and ½ teaspoon salt into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, or until tender. (Alternatively, pressure-cook the wheat berries for 30 minutes followed by a 10-minute natural release.) Drain excess water. Set aside to cool.

2. While wheat berries are cooking, prepare your vegetables. In a large bowl, mix squash, brussels sprouts, onion, oil, pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt until well coated.

3. Spread out vegetables in a single layer on two baking sheets. Place in a cold oven and turn to 450°. Start timing and roast until vegetables are tender and beginning to caramelize for about 30 minutes. If even browning is desired, stir about halfway through the cooking time.

3. If roasting the squash seeds for a garnish, these can go in the oven with the vegetables on a separate baking sheet if you have the room. Remove seeds after 15 minutes of roasting.

4. While the veggies are roasting, prepare the agrodolce sauce. In a small saucepan, simmer red wine vinegar, honey, garlic, and red pepper flakes until reduced and syrupy, about 10 minutes on low heat. Stir often. Turn off heat and whisk in olive oil to complete the sauce.

5. In a large bowl, mix together cooked wheat berries, roasted veggies, and agrodolce sauce. Garnish with roasted seeds if desired.


Energy Balls

There is great ease and satisfaction in making these snack-sized bites, especially if that means less consumption of commercial bars, which generate packaging waste. Most of the ingredients have a long shelf life, so consider buying in bulk to further reduce what enters the landfill.


Makes 24 balls

  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup natural nut butter
  • ½ cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • ⅓‒½ cup honey or maple syrup
  • ⅓‒½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup freshly ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


1. Place all ingredients into a food processor. Process until everything starts to come together. Stop to scrape down the insides of the food processor as needed so all ingredients are evenly processed.

2. Scoop out approximately 2 tablespoons at a time and form into balls. (Alternatively press into an 8x8-inch pan to make bars.)

3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. We guarantee they will be eaten up before then!


Make It Yourself – Natural Nut or Seed Butters (Sustainable Kitchen p. 270)

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Image's free newsletter to catch every headline