Welcome to the reporting thread for I DREAM OF DINNER (SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO) by Ali Slagle


Hopefully Onions find this book helpful as the busy holiday season approaches for many of us.

If you are the first to report on a recipe, post your report as a reply to this topic. The first poster of a recipe typically types the recipe title in all caps and indicates the page number (if using the physical book). If you happen to find a particular recipe online, please include the link. If someone has already reported on a recipe, post your report as a reply to their post.

Pictures are always welcome and encouraged, but by no means mandatory. Our of respect for the author’s intellectual property, please to not post recipes verbatim. A summary of the ingredients and technique is allowed and quite helpful if you are cooking from the book .

To see how we arrived at our selection, visit our nomination
and voting threads. Our archive has a list of all our previous books.


Is there a website associated to this book?
Couldn’t find one so far

You can find a smattering of the recipes online (e.g., Bon Appetit website has a couple), and you can get a good preview on Amazon, but we’re cooking from the book. Have you checked your library?


This recipe, which is in the bean section, was my first recipe from the book, and I made it on a very harried evening when I got home late and tired. It was dead easy and I was thrilled. I had all the ingredients on hand, so that was another plus. I’ll start with the dipping sauce, which is where I made some modifications. It calls for Greek yogurt, a whole two cups worth. I used Kite Hill, the end of a big tub, and a scant cup, because that’s all that was left. I added a little vegan mayo to the yogurt both to stretch it and to give it a richer mouthfeel, but my total volume was still well below the two cups called for in the recipe, and that was fine. It was plenty. You add to this some lemon zest and juice, and salt.

You mix some harissa with olive oil, grated ginger, and salt. I just used supermarket harissa (Mina) and combined mild and hot. My total amount of harissa used was a bit more than called for. In a skillet, you pan-fry some broccoli in oil oil, letting it char a bit on the underside. When it’s tender, transfer to the bowl with the harissa mixture. Then in the same skillet, you pan-fry torn pieces of tofu. That also goes into the harissa bowl, and everything is tossed together. And that’s it. You serve the harissa-coated broccoli and tofu with the yogurt sauce. I had some millet pilaf on the side. This was incredibly easy and simple, and we really loved it. Great way to use up CSA broccoli along with ingredients that I always have on hand. The dish exceeded expectation and I would happily repeat.



I chose this dish because the title reminded me that I have some locally-foraged chanterelles in the freezer. While the recipe calls for humbler shrooms, I figured the chanterelles could only be an improvement. You start by sautéing your mushrooms and some canned chickpeas (drained, but save that chickpea liquid!) in olive oil. Season with S&P. When those are browned, you will add a bunch of butter to the pan, (I used Kite Hill) plus the herbs and spices you want. The author gives a list to choose from. I went with fennel seeds, sage, bay, thyme, and rosemary (I used all the herbs the author listed because I had them all in the garden, while I omitted cinnamon and nutmeg, because the idea of cinnamon in this application was not appealing at all, and I was too lazy to grate any nutmeg). Some lemon peel goes in as well. You cook this some more, then toss in your cooked pasta and finish with the addition of some pasta cooking water. I added some some fresh spinach in when I added the pasta, because I had CSA spinach needing to be used, and because I felt the meal needed a green veg. I also garnished with some CSA cherry tomatoes.

So here’s the thing. There is no way chanterelles are going to taste bad. But I wasn’t thrilled with this recipe. I just feel like the technique wasn’t doing anything much for the ingredients. The herbs are going in whole, by the sprig. The problem with this is that unlike in a stew where they would cook slowly and infuse their flavor into the liquid while the leaves cooked their way off the stalk, these were being cooked in a relatively dry pan, so when the dish is finished and you pull out the herbs, all the leaves come out with the stem. And the flavor just didn’t permeate the dish the way I would have hoped. So while I appreciate that this dish is supposed to be while-the-pasta-cooks quick, it was just underwhelming in flavor. What would have helped would be removing the herbs from their stems, mincing them where appropriate (the rosemary) and letting them stay in the dish. Home-cooked beans would have helped as well, and actually using some bean cooking liquid instead of pasta water would have been more flavorful and had better mouthfeel. This dish reminded me of Melissa Clark (that is not a compliment): If you had just given me a list of ingredients, I could have cooked it better without the recipe.



This recipe uses the same technique as the forager’s pasta I reported on above. Having learned from that one, I changed it up a bit. The recipe has you fry some finely chopped walnuts in olive oil with a rosemary sprig. You then add asparagus, and when it’s done, you pick out the rosemary and toss in some feta. Add the pasta, toss everything together, adding pasta water as needed. So my change here was to mince the rosemary and keep it in the dish. I also added some coarsely ground fennel seed and some red pepper flakes to walnuts, neither of which were called for. Not having asparagus, but having an abundance of broccoli, I also made that substitution, and increased the cooking time a bit to compensate. I also cooked covered part of the time to help the broccoli along. My feta was tofu feta - tofu is heavily salted and sits to absorb the salt, then tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, RPF, herbs (whatever I feel like).

This dish, as modified by me, was better than mushroom pasta from the previous night, while still being just as easy. Not the prettiest, as the walnuts did discolor everything, but quite tasty.



This is found in the bean section. The important part of this recipe is the technique for cooking the tempeh, which is one I approve of. This is how I make my tempeh bacon. You pan-fry the tempeh, then add highly flavorful liquid and simmer until it evaporates and you are left with glazed tempeh. In this case, the liquid is water that has been mixed with brown sugar, black pepper, ground coriander, smoked paprika, Dijon mustard, and salt.

Once you have your glazed, pastrami-spiced tempeh, you assemble a sandwich. The author has you make a salad out of chard leaves tossed with peperoncini and dressed with a peperoncini juice/olive oil dressing. I happened to have some chard, so I used it, but not having peperoncini, I used pickled jalapeños instead. The author gives in the end notes some other options for this salad. I’m going to say that I wasn’t a big fan, mainly because the chard just kind of wilts in the dressing. I would have preferred something with more crunch. In the future, I would just use sauerkraut instead, or just straight pickles.

The salad and tempeh are assembled into a sandwich on rye, or in my case, gluten-free pumpernickel. You can serve these open-faced or closed, and the author gives a griddled option, which is what I did. The author puts mustard on the bread, and no Russian dressing. I have to say that to me, the takeaway from this recipe is the tempeh, and I would just go full tempeh reuben with the sandwich. I feel like someone was craving a reuben and didn’t have any sauerkraut, so made this instead. I always have sauerkraut, so why not use it? YMMV. We did enjoy these sandwiches, I just wouldn’t make them with the chard again.

There is no way to make these look pretty for a picture, but you get one anyway.


You just sold me on the book–back when I was working in a natural foods store, the deli had a tempeh reuben. I still remember that sucker, a helluva good sandwich!



I have noticed that non-vegans who want to reduce their meat consumption will play around with tofu, but rarely tempeh. Even vegan cooks often don’t know how to properly prepare it. I mentioned above that the technique for the pastrami-spiced tempeh was a good one that I use often. This recipe is another example of the same technique, using different flavors. And I would say if you are tempeh-curious, make this recipe. It’s absolutely delicious, easy, and would make a great intro to tempeh.

This time the tempeh is cut into thin triangles. It is pan-fried, same as with the pastrami-spiced recipe, then you add a liquid mixture, which in this case is rice vinegar, maple syrup, turmeric, turmeric, black pepper, and salt. You simmer the fried tempeh in this until it reduces to a glaze. Meanwhile, you prepped some herbs (I used basil and cilantro, but mint would be good here as well), and seasoned them with lime juice, salt, and pepper. You serve the tempeh with the herbs over rice. There is a rice recipe included, but I didn’t make it because I had leftover basmati rice I needed to eat. We served this with the green curry cabbage from the book. We loved this tempeh. The tangy glaze offset the earthiness of the tempeh. Worth the price of the book, especially if you haven’t worked with tempeh and are looking for a solid recipe to get started.



I made the cabbage curry part of this recipe, but not rice/quinoa portion. You cut a cabbage into wedges, and let them sear on one side in an oiled skillet. Do this in two batches, then you flip the cabbage in the skillet and add the already seared wedges back. Over this you pour a mixture of coconut milk, green curry paste, soy sauce, and grated ginger. I’m going to say that I really didn’t want to make this as written. My inclination was to use a more traditional technique and fry the curry paste, then add the coconut milk to it. There is no reason why you can’t do this, after searing the cabbage and removing all of it to a plate. It wouldn’t dirty another pan and would improve the taste. I also didn’t see a reason to add ginger, when I knew my curry paste didn’t need it. It was homemade curry paste that I had stashed in the freezer, and I was loather to mess with it. Same goes for the soy sauce… if you are avoiding fish sauce for reasons of vegetarianism, you can use vegan fish sauce, or just salt in your curry. But I wanted to give the recipe a chance as written, so I did mix the curry paste with the coconut milk without frying it, and I did use the ginger and soy sauce. I made two changes: I didn’t use a lite soy sauce, so I used less than called for, and I didn’t use two full cans of coconut milk. That just seemed like too much, so I used one can, and I did add a little water, just enough to swish around the measuring cup and rinse it out. Reducing the coconut milk was the right choice, but adding some water was not. Even though my coconut milk was very thick, I guess the cabbage released some liquid during the braise and the sauce was thinner than I liked. Once you’ve added the coconut/curry mix to the cabbage, it goes into a hot oven to braise for about 25 minutes.

This dish is going to be highly dependent on the quality of your curry paste. Mine was homemade, and excellent. But I feel that making the changes I wanted to make (frying the paste first, using salt or vegan fish sauce, skipping the ginger) would have resulted in a better dish that making this as written. And wouldn’t have taken significantly more time! Also I’m not sure I got the point of the oven step… the cabbage could have braised just as well on the stove. But whatever. This was a fine way to use up a head of cabbage from the CSA box. Would I make it again? Maybe, but probably not. It’s just as easy to make a Thai curry the regular way, so I really didn’t get the point. Pic is upthread with the turmeric black pepper tempeh.


This is why I buy cookbooks–because I just don’t think of combos like this. I love the simple, substitution-encouraged approach she uses.
For my whole grain, I chose farro. I had no walnuts, so I used pecans. I had spotted this in the table of contents and picked up some Abbot’s Butcher plant-based, a brand I really like (great taste, simple ingredients). While the farro cooks, you saute the nuts and sausage (salami is another rec) in olive oil and chop dates and celery. Everything is tossed together with some sherry vinegar. A perfect fall lunch!
My farmers’ market has fresh celery at this time of year, and it is a revelation. I tossed in extra celery leaves.



I love the simplicity of the ingredients lists for most of these recipes. A feel ingredients, though, are all that is needed for packing a punch of complex flavor.

This recipe calls for five ingredients. Scallions, asparagus, eggs, smoked paprika, and greek yogurt. You also need salt and pepper and olive oil.

Start by thinly slicing the scallions. Set aside. Then trim asparagus and cut of any woody parts and cut in 1-inch diagonals if they are really thick. On a plate, smoosh some greek yogurt into a cloud to hold everything. Salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat up olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Throw in the asparagus and cook until blistered. Salt and pepper. Place on top of greek yogurt. ( I do it directly from skillet to plate because I like the heat loosening the yogurt a bit. If you don’t, set the spears aside until cool and then place on top of the yogurt.)

In the same pan, add more olive oil. Crack eggs into the hot oil. And cook until the edges are crispy and yet the yolk is still runny. Turn off the heat, tilt the pan toward you allowing the oil to pool, add in the scallions and smoked paprika. Stir to combine and let the oil sizzle in the oil. Spoon the oil over the eggs avoiding the yolk. Repeat until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny. Place egg on top of the asparagus spears. Drizzle oil over all the things. Or if you are like me and love scallions oil, drizzle a LOT over everything.

There are lots of egg and yogurt recipes out there. Probably because yogurt and eggs go surprisingly well together. This dish is no different. It’s tangy, smoky, and rich. The asparagus is the perfect bridge between the two rich ingredients and lightening up the whole thing to make sure it doesn’t bog down with heavy on heavy on heavy. Light is in the middle.

I would make this again.


Looks delicious.


I thought this was going to be just another chicken caesar recipe even though it SAID it wasn’t. I dunno, there’s not much to play around with to elevate or single-out any particular chicken caesar salad. I mean, I guess you could change up the greens and the cheese or whatever. But in the end caesar dressings are pretty set. So is the grilled or pan-fried off or left-over chicken.

But then I read that the chicken is coated in the dressing and THEN fried off. Well, hmm, that’s not the normal technique. And maybe, just maybe, this wouldn’t be just another chicken salad. I think the jury is out on that. What I do know is that coating the chicken in caesar dressing and then pan-frying is pure GENIUS.

First, you make the dressing. This is a riff on the Julia one where you use mayo as the base so you don’t mess with a raw yolk. So, garlic and anchovies are smashed together into a paste. Put into a bowl. Throw in some parm into the bowl. Then throw in some zest of lemon. then add in mayo, SOY SAUCE, and dijon into the bowl. Mix well. The soy sauce adds saltiness and umami. It doesn’t make it taste Asian at all. And that’s it.

Take half and coat a pound of chicken and fry it off. While it’s frying, make the salad. Take the other half and toss with lettuce after you have squeezed some lemon and salted it. Romaine is traditional. but mine sucked and needed to be thrown out. So I used butter leaf. I think this salad need a heartier green and I would use something else next. It was a delicious learning point.

She gives you a recipe for making croutons. I didn’t.

I would make this again.


Thank you! It was. And as I said, I would make it again.


As some of you know I love beans, and Lulu loves beans, but LLD does not. When I saw how many appealing bean recipes there are in this book I was sold. LLD happens to be away, so it is Beanapalooza around our house. And for my first COTM recipe in November, I went with this. It is SO easy, and delicious. Smash 8 garlic cloves and then cook in a medium/ovenproof skillet in some olive oil, smashing it with a spoon as it cooks. Once the garlic looks somewhat browned add double-concentrate tomato paste, cumin and harissa. I probably added more than the 1 tsp. of cumin called for, and chucked in some cayenne as well. Let this warm up and combine. Then add 2 cans of chickpeas and their juices and a couple tablespoons of capers. She says to season at this point, but with the cayenne and harissa it didn’t need pepper, and with the capers (and coming feta) it didn’t need salt. YMMV. Once this mix is at a gentle boil, add the sliced, crumbled feta and bake for 15-20 minutes. This is delicious. I served with a salad and a french roll, and it was a wonderful vegetarian meal. I’m not sure I believe it serves 4 though, as Lulu and I could have polished off the whole thing (we didn’t). We will definitely have this during another Beanapalooza.



The author likens this to seven-layer dip. Maybe. Or something like a cross between that, nachos, and taco salad. You cut up some tomatillos (wedges she says, but I diced) and put them on a platter (I used shallow bowls) and season with salt. You toss some sliced red onion with salt and set it aside to weep and wilt. Make a dressing of lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, green hot sauce, salt & pepper. “Green hot sauce” seemed kind of vague to me. I used the green apple jalapeño hot sauce from Smith & Daughters, since I happened to have it already made. You sauté drained and rinsed canned black beans in olive oil with a hefty amount of cumin. Then you assemble the salad. Tomatillos on the bottom, with a little dressing over them. Then layer on the beans, dab some sour cream over, then red onions, more dressing, and finally top with crumbled tortilla chips. Finish with more green hot sauce. OK, I thought this needed a bit more, and the author gives some suggestions in the footnotes for additional layers. I decided to include cilantro, diced avocado, and pickled jalapeño. This is supposed to serve four. Um, no, it serves two, unless maybe your just serving it as a side for a large burrito. In our house, as a one-dish meal, it serves two. We liked this, and I would make it, or a variation on it, again. I’d mess around with the layers, because I like to mess with things, but the concept here is solid.



I am thrilled to be able to tiptoe back into COTM for a sec with this dish/book, which I bought myself after a surprisingly successful month or so with the library version a couple months ago. My department is super short staffed, so work has been very busy and I haven’t been able to cook nearly as much as I would like. Tonight’s dinner, however, took me all of 20 minutes to put together, even after a long day of work!

To make this simple dish, you crisp Salumi of some sort (I used a spicy calabrese salami) in some butter, then stir in some cooked rigatoni, some pasta water + a little lemon juice until it emulsifies, then top it all with chopped parsley, lemon zest, and garlic (I stirred it in - felt simpler). All in all, this turned out great, though it was a touch salty - next time I will use less or no salt in the pasta water if I use a salty salami. But I definitely think there will be a next time - this was dead easy and so much bang for the buck. (The salami doesn’t look super crispy in the picture for some reason, but it was quite crisped and brown - I think that adds to the flavor.)



Page numbers will be happening from here on because I bought a hard copy of the book. This recipe had a strike against it going in, because it calls for canned chickpeas that don’t undergo any further cooking. I really don’t like chickpeas out of a can, just plain. Why anyone would put them on a salad is beyond me. Roasted with spices? I’m all for it. But plain? Please no. But it’s COTM and I decided to roll with it for this recipe. Another thing I noticed in a past recipe with a yogurt dressing is that the author makes way too much. That’s fine if it’s a dip for the side, as it was in that case, but it is not fine when she’s asking you to toss all the ingredients in it. So I made half the dressing and it was still way too much. The dressing is yogurt seasoned with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a grated garlic clove (I used the full amount of garlic). I also added some lemon zest, because if I’m squeezing a lemon, why not zest it first? Another component is chopped walnuts, which you fry in a hefty amount of olive oil with a generous amount of za’atar and some salt and pepper. I used more nuts than called for, because I don’t think there is such a thing as too many nuts on a salad. To assemble this salad, you tossed drained canned chickpeas with the dressing, then add salad greens and soft herbs (I used basil and mint) and toss it all together. And finally you stir in the nuts and their oil, and adjust seasonings.

I could tell as soon as I added the chickpeas to the dressing that it was way too much dressing my taste. I find an overabundance of a dairy-based dressing to be off-putting. I was going to use another word there. So I was pushing the chickpeas off to one side of the bowl and trying to spoon out excess dressing. Keep in mind that I made a half-recipe of the dressing to begin with, for a whole recipe of salad. I probably ended up using about 1/3 of the amount called for, and it was still more than I wanted. The salad was good though. Mr. MM really liked liked, but then he doesn’t see the proverbial sausage being made, so doesn’t come to the table irritated by a recipe that could have been better written. I did like the flavors, but still wasn’t a fan of the chickpeas. The way I would make this dish in the future is to make much less dressing, and just toss the greens and herbs with it. I would roast or pan-fry the chickpeas with za’atar similar to the nuts, and both nuts and chickpeas would go on top, rather than getting mixed into the salad.


I’m making this for dinner tonight, and so glad I read your review. Will cut way back on the dressing.