Quick seasonal dishes to come together and enjoy. 

You don’t have to compromise on home cooking or flavor when schedules get busy. These three recipes, created exclusively for 24Life, make the most of seasonal ingredients, for big flavor in little time.


Corn, Tomato and Bean Salad with Chips and Chili-lime Vinaigrette

This light, Mexican-inspired lunch, with chips instead of croutons for crunch, comes together in under half an hour.

Serves 2 (as an entrée salad) or 4 (as a side salad)


  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup fresh, strained lime juice
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ plus teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 cups romaine or curly lettuce leaves, washed and spun dry
  • 2 ears corn, kernels stripped (2 cups)
  • 10 large baby tomatoes, halved (1 cup)
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup whole-grain tortilla chips, broken into large pieces


  • In a large bowl, whisk together onion, juice, oil, agave, mustard, chili powder and ¼ teaspoon of the salt.
  • To the bowl, add the lettuce, corn kernels, tomatoes, beans and remaining teaspoon salt, and toss well.
  • Divide among two or four plates or bowls, and divide chips among them. Serve immediately.


Whole-wheat Penne with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto and Broccoli

If you’re in a hurry, use store-bought roasted red bell peppers.

Serves 2


  • Coarse salt
  • 4 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 2 cups ½-inch broccoli florets
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • ¼ cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


  • Fill a medium-large saucepan two-thirds full of water, salt generously, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, stir in the pasta, and cook for eight minutes. Stir in the broccoli, and cook (along with the pasta) for another four minutes. Pour pasta and broccoli into a colander in the sink, and then transfer to a medium bowl.
  • While the pasta and broccoli cook, place the bell pepper directly on a gas flame heated over high. Roast, turning, until softened and mostly blackened, about 12 minutes. (If you don’t have a gas stove, roast in the oven.) Transfer to a cutting board, cover with an inverted bowl, and let steam for about 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and discard the stem and all of the seeds.
  • To the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic, and process until minced, about five seconds. Add the bell pepper flesh, almonds, olive oil, paprika, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper, and process until relatively smooth, about 30 seconds. Stir in 1-½ tablespoons of the Parmigiano cheese. (You will produce about ¾ cup of pesto.)
  • To the warm pasta and broccoli in the bowl, add the red pepper pesto, and toss with tongs until thoroughly coated, about 15 seconds. Divide between two plates, and sprinkle the remaining ½ tablespoon of cheese evenly on top. Serve immediately.


Carrot and Zucchini Bread with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting

This show-stopping dessert is the perfect way to use up a glut of zucchini (from your CSA box or your own garden). Make sure to cook the beet (by roasting or steaming) until fully softened, so it breaks down into a smooth frosting. For a quick breakfast or snack, you can skip the frosting.

Makes 1 loaf cake (about 8 servings)


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1½ cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1½ tablespoons flax seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ plus teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup shredded carrot (about ½ large)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup cream cheese, dairy-free or traditional
  • ½ cup diced, peeled, fully-cooked beet
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, strained orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios, toasted and finely chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray the interior of a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, flax seeds, baking soda, ¾ teaspoon of the salt, cinnamon, baking powder and cardamom.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, sugar, zucchini, oil, carrot and vanilla until well mixed. Add the dry mixture, and stir just until combined (do not overmix). Pour batter into pan.
  • Bake until a fork inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then, use a knife to cut around the edges, and carefully invert onto a serving platter. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, to a food processor, add cream cheese, cooked beet, agave nectar, orange juice and zest and remaining teaspoon salt. Puree until very smooth, about 3 minutes. (You will make about 1 cup frosting.)
  • Once the loaf cake is at room temperature, use an offset spatula to frost the top. Sprinkle with the nuts, and refrigerate or serve immediately.