Welcome to the Better Dinner Institute

Prepare to feed your family really good food.

Weeks 25 and 26 – Late-June

Sharpen your chef’s knife and pull out the food processor! The amazing fresh summer veggies are here, and you’ll make the most of them.

Before your download and save your plan, please review the notes.


  • Summer produce is amazing and inexpensive from this point forward. The only downside is that it is more labor intensive than winter produce. It takes a bit more hands-on time to shell a pound of peas than to roast a butternut squash. Sure, there are ready-made alternatives (pre-cut veggies, frozen peas…) but the nutritional value will be reduced… and honestly the taste will suffer. I hope you are able to dedicate a little extra time to enjoy the full benefits of fresh vegetables. If you feel that it’s too much and need even more time-saving shortcuts than those listed in the plan, just hit “reply” and I’ll help.
  • Got kids? Make them shell those peas! (Buy extra because they’ll likely eat half of the pile.)
  • Pizza: Depending on your family’s preferences, you could make two different pizzas (instead of both with pesto and mushrooms). You can use up leftovers, too! Singles and couples may prefer to freeze the extra dough for another day.
  • Fresh carrot tops are amazing to make pesto, but not always easy to come by. Use any other greens and you’ll be fine. (Robust ones will need to be blanched. Baby greens go straight into the blender.)


  • The first prep session appears to have a ton of steps but it’s because I have broken down the preparation of the lasagna components. Other than the vegetables, the other components can all be purchased ready-made if you do not have the time to make them from scratch. See the “time saving” notes on page 1. It’s all totally worth it: the lasagna is DELICIOUS.
  • Two recipes (lasagna, roasted veg and tofu bowls) call for a combination of “market veggies”: basically, buy whatever looks good and fits your budget, chop to bite-size pieces, and roast it all together. It’s pretty hard to go wrong. If you prefer to check your choices with me, don’t hesitate to ask for help (see below).
  • Let’s talk about fava beans. Those are very seasonal and I am praying that you will be able to find some local ones are your grocery store or farmers’ market because they are so, so, so amazing. I was really surprised the first time I tried them. They are so big, I expected them to feel a bit starchy, but, after just 30 seconds in boiling water, they were melting in my mouth. Buttery… without the butter. Anyhow, I hope you can find them. If not, my first choice would be to use frozen edamame beans instead and blanch them for 2-3 minutes. (Did you know that the Japanese call favas “soramame”?) Do not use dry or canned fava beans. They are great for soups and stews, but unfit for the Summertime salad.
  • If you have a squeeze bottle, put your beany cashew cream in it. If you don’t have one, see if there is an old squeeze-style condiment container you can reuse, or grab one from the dollar store. I only use them for cold dressings so I am not concerned about plastic leaking into my food. They make it a lot easier to drizzle the cashew cream into a spiral. Great for salad dressings, too!

Questions? Worries? Get help.