First Person

Eat for Good with these recipes from our favorite chefs

Posted by
Rebecca Blackwell / Oxfam America

It’s officially fall, and it seems like everyone has food on their minds.

I know I’m looking forward to spending the season sharing meals with family and friends, picking apples to make a Thanksgiving pie, and maybe even trying out some new recipes.

Autumn is also a great time to take a closer look at where our food comes from and how our choices affect people and the planet. Your decisions as a consumer are powerful, and simple changes in the way we buy, cook, and eat food can make a lasting difference. One in nine people in the world today don’t have enough to eat to be healthy, but ending world hunger can actually start right at your kitchen table.

We’ve collaborated with some of our favorite chefs to create these recipes that focus on fighting hunger and poverty by changing the way we buy and cook food. I hope they inspire you to make something delicious and take action against hunger!

Skillet Chilaquiles

Contributed by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of the Border Grill

With so many people in the world going hungry, and demand for food set to soar, it’s time to take a closer look at the amount of food we throw away. By planning our meals and saving our leftovers, we can reduce waste and conserve resources so that everyone has enough to eat today and tomorrow.

This favorite from the Border Grill fosters creativity in the kitchen while reducing food waste. It’s a great way to use stale tortilla chips, and any leftover vegetables, chicken, or beans you might have in your fridge.


  • 1 cup tomato salsa
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1 cup cooked leftover vegetables, pinto beans, and/or black beans
  •  6–8 cups corn tortilla chips
  • 1 cup cheese (panela, Mexican manchego, or Monterey Jack), shredded
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into ½-inch dice
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • 1–2 jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded if desired, and minced
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped


In wide skillet, bring salsa, broth, and half-and-half or cream to a boil. Add vegetables and/or beans and tortilla chips, mixing gently to coat each chip while simmering. In 1–2 minutes—when some of the chips have moistened and begun to break up, but others are still holding their shape—add cheese. Continue stirring gently for 1 minute to distribute cheese evenly. Add avocado, onion, chilies, and cilantro and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, remove from heat, and divide among 4 warmed plates. Top with a squeeze of lime.

Options: Add 1 cup cooked, shredded, leftover chicken with the vegetables. Serve with ¼-cup dollop of sour cream and/or fried egg.

Yield: 4 servings

Celery Root Soup with Celery and Buttered Croutons


Recipe contributed by chef Alice Waters, Chez Panisse

When you buy fresh food that’s in season today, you reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which helps protect everyone’s food supply for tomorrow. A lot of energy is wasted trying to grow food in the wrong place or at the wrong time of year, but by educating yourself, you can make the smartest choices for your location and budget.

Celery root is in season throughout the fall and winter. This easy-to-prepare and delicious soup is sure to be a crowd pleaser!


  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, washed, sliced, rinsed, and drained in a colander
  • 2 medium celery roots (about 1 pound), peeled, cut into quarters lengthwise, and sliced crosswise
  • Salt
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 3-4 celery stalks, strings removed, finely diced
  • 1 cup bite-size pieces of country-style bread (crusts removed)


Preheat oven to 350 F. Place a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of butter. When melted, add the diced onion, the bay leaf, and the thyme sprigs. Cook until the onion is soft, without browning, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the leek and celery root. When the onions are soft, add salt to taste, stir well, and add the leek and celery root. Cook, stirring now and then, until the celery root begins to soften, about 7 minutes. Then add 5 cups vegetable broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until celery root is quite soft, about 20 minutes. While the soup is cooking, blanch the diced celery stalks in salted water for 1-2 minutes (until translucent green but still crunchy), drain, and spread on a plate to cool. Next, toss the bread pieces with 2 teaspoons of melted butter, spread on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 F until crisp and golden, about 12 minutes. When the soup is ready, remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf and purée in a blender. Taste and add salt as needed. If soup is too thick, thin with chicken stock or water. Serve in warm bowls with the diced celery and croutons.

Yield: about 2 quarts

Squash blossom risotto


Recipe contributed by chef Holly Smith, Café Juanita

if we all ate a vegetarian meal at least once a week, we’d help grow more food for people who need it while taking pressure off of the planet. That’s because growing vegetables or beans uses far less water and land than raising animals, and reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions, too.

Holly Smith’s recipe showcases delightful, mild-flavored squash blossoms. They are fun to prepare and visually stunning, and this risotto makes for a hearty vegetarian meal. Look for squash blossoms at your local farmers’ market or specialty grocer.


  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 11 tablespoons unsweetened butter (3 tablespoons plus 4 ounces, or 8 tablespoons)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1¼ cups raw Carnaroli rice (Italian shortgrain rice available from
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • Citrus juice
  • 4-6 cups chopped fresh squash blossoms, with bottoms separated from tops
  • 2 ounces Pecorino Toscano cheese, grated
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • Kosher salt
  • Cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped


In a heavy saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. In a separate heavy saucepan, on medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of butter and the diced onion and sauté 3-5 minutes until the onion is soft and slightly golden. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon to coat the grains of rice with butter. Deglaze the rice with the white wine and the reserved citrus juice. While stirring, add the stock, one cup at a time, to the rice mixture. (The rice will slowly absorb the liquid.) After 3 cups of stock have been incorporated into the rice mixture, add the blossom bottoms (which are tougher than the blossom tops), stir, and taste the rice for doneness. (Rice should be moist, creamy, and just tender.) If necessary, add more liquid and cook longer. When the rice is done, add the squash blossom tops, remove from the heat, and let the risotto rest for 1-2 minutes. Beat in the remaining 4 ounces of butter. Work quickly until the butter is well incorporated. Add the Pecorino cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano. Add salt to taste. Return the pan to heat to ensure the cheese is well incorporated. Stir well, taste, and reseason as necessary, adding a tiny amount of cayenne pepper at this time. When serving, add a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil or balsamic vinegar, if desired, and sprinkle with chives.

Yield: Serves 4-6

Chickpeas & Rice Pilaf

oxfam-eat-for-good-chickpea-rice-pilafRecipe contributed by Aarti Sequeira

Only a small percentage of what we spend on food actually reaches the people who farm and produce it. Even when prices go up, farmers in poorcountries rarely benefit. To help, look for products and brands that ensure small-scale food producers get a fair deal.

Rice is a staple crop that supports millions of families all over the world. When buying the rice for this recipe, look for a brand that guarantees small-scale farmers a fair price.


  • 1 cup rice (basmati recommended), rinsed until water is clear
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ medium white onion, finely diced
  • 2 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • ½–1 whole Fresno chili, minced (to taste)
  • 1 14½-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Scant 2 cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced


Fill a large bowl with fresh water and soak rice for about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 cups of water. Combine oil and butter in small pot over medium heat. Once butter has melted and foam has subsided, add cumin seeds. After cumin seeds have darkened, add onions, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Add Fresno chili and sauté 30 seconds. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently but gently, until the grains turn translucent and don’t clump together, 2–3 minutes. Add chickpeas, reserved water, and salt. Bring to full boil then simmer, partially covered, until rice is cooked and fluffy, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat, cover, and allow to steam 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Options: After cumin seeds have darkened and before adding onions, add ¼ teaspoon asafetida powder (hing).

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Sweet pear and apple salad with bitter endive and a creamy blue cheese dressing


Recipe contributed by Jamie Oliver

A few small changes to the way you cook can reduce wasted water and energy. That helps grow more food for everyone, while also cutting down on monthly bills. Try covering your pan with a lid, reducing the heat as soon as the water starts to boil, and turning off your kitchen appliances when not in use.

This salad delivers big flavor while keeping energy use low—in fact, you can likely put it together without even turning on your stove.

Chef’s note: This is an adaptation of an old-school French endive salad. Belgian endive is quite a bitter leaf, and to contrast the bitterness I’ve used the sweetness of the fruit, the twang of the vinegar and the creamy silkiness of the cheese. I think it’s important to make this with good-quality apples and blue cheese.


  • 4 heads of endive (a mixture of red and white if possible)
  • 2 good eating apples
  • 2 pears
  • a handful of fresh soft herbs (chervil, tarragon, parsley—use any one, or a mixture), torn or roughly chopped

For the blue cheese dressing:

  • 2 ounces strong blue cheese
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
  • 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons water


Separate the leaves from the endive, then wash and spin them dry. Core your apples and slice them into matchsticks. Core the pears, slice into eighths and if they’re a little underripe, grill them in a screaming hot griddle pan until lightly charred. If they’re perfectly ripe, just place in a large bowl with the chicory, apple and most of the herbs. To make your dressing, place all your dressing ingredients into a blender and blend for just 15 seconds until smooth. Taste to make sure you’ve got a little extra acidity in there to cut through the bitterness of the leaves, and season if necessary. Pour three-quarters of the dressing over the salad and toss—I usually dress the salad lightly using the tips of my fingers. Divide them between four plates, and finish with a little extra dressing, the remaining herbs and a little extra virgin olive oil. Lovely with some walnuts crumbled over.

Want to find out what else you can do to fight hunger and save the planet? Text EAT4GOOD to 97779 to get started! Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Google+