Get Lucky!

This winners of VT's 2012 Reader Recipe Contest prove that you don’t need a long list of ingredients to make a spectacular dish
get lucky!

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As soon as we started testing and tasting the recipe submissions for our 2012 Reader Recipe Contest, VT staffers declared that seven really is our lucky number. But for this year’s contest winners, luck had nothing to do with it: they aced the challenge of creating delicious recipes using no more than seven ingredients (salt, pepper, cooking spray, and water didn’t count). Skill, ingenuity, practicality, and some seriously inspired flavor combinations made their creations stand out in a record year for contest entries.

1st Place: Butternut Squash Pizza

Candice Garrett
Monterey, Calif. Prize: $500

Yoga teacher and food blogger ( Candice Garrett came up with this recipe thanks to an abundance of butternut squash. “My family and I tried them in a host of recipes; the all-around favorite turned out to be pizza,” Garrett reports. “It seemed an unusual pairing and we were all delighted with the result.” She serves the pizza as an appetizer for company or as a main dish for family dinners.

Butternut Squash Pizza
Serves 6

1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
2 Tbs. Eden Selected Spanish extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 16-oz. pkg. refrigerated pizza dough
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Toss together squash, onion, oil, and rosemary in bowl. Spread in large baking dish, and roast 30 minutes, or until  tender.

3. Increase oven temperature to 450°F. Divide pizza dough into 2 pieces, and shape each piece into 8-inch round. Place dough rounds on baking sheet, and top with squash mixture. Bake 13 to 17 minutes, or until crust is crisp. Drizzle pizzas with oil, scatter 1/4 cup spinach over each, and garnish each with 2 Tbs. shaved Parmesan.

Per 1/3 pizza (2 SLICES) 295 cal; 9 g prot; 8 g total fat (2 g sat fat); 47 g carb; 2 mg chol; 448 mg sod; 3 g fiber; 5 g sugars

2nd Place: Cumin and Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Jennifer Plantenberg
San Mateo, Calif.  Prize: $300

Children’s and youth pastor Jennifer Plantenberg found inspiration from the food she had on hand one evening when she lacked a plan for dinner. “Last winter, I was using sweet potatoes a lot, so we had several sweet potatoes. My family
also really loves cilantro, so we almost always have some in the fridge,” she says. “It’s great to throw this combination into a tortilla with some black beans and avocado for a quick lunch.”

Cumin and Lime Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4

1 large sweet potato or garnet yam (1 1/4 lb.), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
1 tsp. Eden Organic safflower oil
2 tsp. Simply Organic ground cumin
1 tsp. Simply Organic paprika
1 lime, halved
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, or coat with cooking spray. Toss sweet potato and onion with oil on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with cumin and paprika, and season with salt, if desired. Squeeze juice of 1/2 lime over sweet potato and onion. Roast 45 minutes to 1 hour, tossing halfway through cooking time.

2. Remove vegetables from oven; squeeze juice of remaining 1/2 lime over top, and sprinkle with cilantro.

PER 1-CUP SERVING 135 cal; 3 g prot; 2 g total fat (<1 g sat fat); 29 g carb; 0 mg chol; 36 mg sod; 5 g fiber; 10 g sugars

3rd Place: Fabulous Vegan Fudge Cake with Bittersweet Icing

Shelly Platten
Amherst, Wis.  Prize: $200

“I’ve tried vegan cake recipes in the past, but didn’t like the sour taste of the vinegar that is usually used to activate the leavening,” says single mom and café manager Shelly Platten. “I tinkered with some recipes that didn’t use vinegar to come up with a fudgy, satisfying cake.”

Fabulous Vegan Fudge Cake with Bittersweet Icing
Serves 8

1  1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill organic unbleached white flour
1  2/3 cups Florida Crystals organic cane sugar, divided
1 1/3 cups Chatfield’s cocoa powder, divided
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup Silk vanilla soymilk, divided
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup canola oil, divided
1 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch round pan with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray.

2. Whisk together flour, 1 cup sugar, 2/3 cup cocoa, baking soda, and salt in bowl. Whisk together 2/3 cup soymilk, 1/3 cup oil, and 1/2 cup water in separate bowl. Stir soymilk mixture into flour mixture. Spread in prepared pan, and bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes. Unmold onto plate.

3. Warm remaining 2/3 cup cocoa, 2/3 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup oil in saucepan over medium heat. Pour in remaining 1/3 cup soymilk, and cook 1 minute, or until smooth. Spread icing over warm cake, and sprinkle with hazelnuts.

PER SLICE 525 cal; 5 g prot; 25 g total fat (2 g sat fat); 67 g carb; 0 mg chol; 315 mg sod; 7 g fiber; 43 g sugars

Honorable Mentions

Elisabeth Redman, Atlanta

Garlicky Cheezy Kale & Crispy Chick’n Salad

Serves 4

“I didn’t used to like kale, but after learning about its health benefits, I decided to create a way to like it,” says Elisabeth Redman, a Czech expat and food blogger ( “I like to refrigerate the salad before eating it so the flavors can fully develop, but sometimes I cannot wait and eat it freshly made!”

1/4 cup Once Again organic tahini
2 Tbs. Bob’s Red Mill nutritional yeast
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 12-oz. bunch lacinato or red kale, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
1 pkg. Gardein mandarin orange Crispy Chick’n

1. Whisk tahini with 5 Tbs. water in small bowl until smooth. Stir in nutritional yeast and garlic.

2. Place kale in large bowl, and rub in tahini dressing until each leaf is coated. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Chill 1 hour, or overnight.

3. Prepare Crispy Chick’n according to package directions. Serve over kale.

PER 2-CUP SERVING 261 cal; 20 g prot; 15 g total fat (1 g sat fat); 16 g carb; 0 mg chol; 292 mg sod; 4 g fiber; 3 g sugars

Sonnet Lauberth, Seattle

Spicy Roasted Golden Beets

Serves 6

“Beets are one of my favorite root vegetables, and I’m lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest, where they are available locally for most of the year,” says Sonnet Lauberth, a holistic health coach, food educator, and blogger (

“I wanted to create a dish with roasted beets that had a little more pizzazz. I love serving this dish to friends and family—there are usually quite a few beet haters in the mix and it is always fun to see them change their minds about beets after trying these.”

2 bunches golden beets, tops removed, beets peeled and quartered (13/4 lb.)
2 Tbs. coconut oil
1 tsp. Simply Organic ground cumin
1/2 tsp. Simply Organic paprika
1 pinch Simply Organic chili powder

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss together all ingredients on large baking sheet. Roast 30 to 40 minutes, or until beets are tender, turning once. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

PER 1-CUP SERVING 97 cal; 2 g prot; 5 g total fat (4 g sat fat); 13 g carb; 0 mg chol; 99 mg sod; 3 g fiber; 10 g sugars

Mary Jane Wagner, Fredonia, N.Y.

Jack Burgers

Makes 10 patties  |  30 minutes or fewer

“Working with children and youth is my calling, so most of my cooking experiments are kid-friendly,” says Mary Jane Wagner. “My husband and I have five children of our own (three grown, two teenagers), plus two teenage boys from Ghana live with us. I make these for my family, and four teenagers can eat quite a lot! They enjoy them with ketchup or barbecue sauce.”

1 15-oz. can Eden Foods lentils with onion & bay leaf, rinsed and drained
1/2 large onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
2 medium carrots, shredded (1 cup)
3/4 cup prepared marinara sauce
3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free pancake mix
1  Tbs. Bob’s Red Mill nutritional yeast

1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl.

2. Spray large skillet with cooking spray, and heat over medium heat. Scoop batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto hot skillet, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until bottoms of patties have browned. Flip, cover pan, and cook 5 to 7 minutes more, or until browned on both sides and vegetables have softened.

PER PATTY 139 cal; 5 g prot; 6 g total fat (<1 g sat fat);18 g carb; 0 mg chol; 225 mg sod; 5 g fiber; 4 g sugars