No-Bake PB & J Energy Bites

No-Bake PB & J Energy Bites

We’re 7 days into the new year. How’s it going so far?

I don’t know if you made any resolutions, but perhaps these wholesome, easy-to-make energy bites can help you stick with any healthy eating-related goals. They’re packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber, and they taste like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

Yes, all of your dreams can come true. Let me show you how!

These energy bites require just 7 ingredients, 15 minutes, and 1 bowl to make!

Continue to No-Bake PB & J Energy Bites from Minimalist Baker →

Grilled Celeriac with White Bean Puree

Grilled Celeriac with White Bean Puree | @naturallyella

This recipe is in partnership with California Olive Ranch. See below for more details.

One of my marks for a good chef is how they can transform a meat-based dish into a vegetarian meal. When I’m in a group setting and request vegetarian, there are usually two outcomes: the chef used what they were doing anyway or served a completely different meal. While I understand the different meal for some dishes, I’ve had the occasion of longingly looking at my meat dish and thinking that it could have easily been vegetarian. This grilled celeriac was inspired by a chef that simply shifted the meat dish (fish atop celeriac puree) and turned it into a celeriac steak on top of the puree. I wanted to recreate something similar but with a bean puree for a bit of protein boost. Read more and see the recipe.

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Butternut Squash Toast with Pistachios and Sage

Butternut Squash Toast with Pistachios and Sage | @naturallyella

I like a solid, savory breakfast. Eggs, some form of vegetable, and a thick slice of toasted wheat bread. This butternut squash toast is all of that combined. The original recipe, from the Easy Vegetarian Cookbook, is one of my variations for bruschetta. It’s a fairly loose bruschetta but the herbs and squash find a good companion in the crunch of the pistachios. The squash mixture could easily be made ahead of time leaving the toast and egg preparation during breakfast.

Read more and see the recipe.

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Curried Potato & Lentil Soup (1 Pot!)

Curried Potato & Lentil Soup (1 Pot!)

It’s that time of year for soup, hot chocolate, Shepherd’s Pie, and cozy loungewear. And sitting by the fire. Oh, and Netflix. Did I mention I don’t leave my house in the winter?

This soup is perfect for cozy, cold winter nights when you’re craving something hearty and comforting yet healthy.

Bonus? It requires just 1 pot and around 45 minutes to make!

Continue to Curried Potato & Lentil Soup (1 Pot!) from Minimalist Baker →

Halloumi Salad with Spinach and Quinoa

Halloumi Salad with Spinach and Quinoa | @naturallyella

I often receive questions along the lines of, “how do I start to eat healthier/more produce/vegetarian.” I often feel that people expect a step by step process from me but the truth is, it takes finding your own rhythm. Two things I do suggest though: start small and find ways to balance the healthy/treats. This halloumi salad is a balance for me. It’s loaded with good ingredients and balanced with one of my favorite treats: halloumi. You can’t go wrong with fried cheese, even in salads. Read more and see the recipe.

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Mint Chocolate Power Bars

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I just figured out that by placing two pillows under my left elbow, I can hold sleeping baby Gabriel with one arm and type this text on the laptop that is balancing on my right leg with the other hand. It’s brilliant! I can even reach that bowl of soaked oats with raisins, apple and crunchy peanut butter that stands there on the sofa table. Okay, maybe not brilliant. This balancing act is pretty tricky actually. And I suspect that my left arm will starting to go numb soon. I should probably focus on my son and just wait for Luise to get back from the shower. But I did promise 192 people on instagram that I would post this recipe today and I’ve already spent an hour tucking the other two kids to bed so I feel like I really need to do this now or I’ll be starting the year with breaking a promise.

Therefore I am currently writing this post one-handed – sitting in a patchwork plaided sofa in a cute little airbnb apartment in Copenhagen that we’re renting for a few days – chewing on a peanut butter covered apple with a chubby little cherub snoring in my other hand. And Luise thinks I’m bad at multi tasking. Ha!

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Before we left, I prepared a batch of power bars for the car-ride down. When they don’t serve as car snacks, we use them as quick energy fuel at home whenever we or the kids are in need of a treat. A chocolate bar (or two) in my gym bag also makes a pretty compelling argument for dragging my tired daddy-of-three body to the gym. The bars rarely last long in our freezer.

Lately, I have been completely hooked on this chocolate and mint combo. Combining fresh mint flavour with rich chocolate always seemed weird to me, but all of a sudden I have changed my mind. It’s brilliant and for some reason extra perfect as workout fuel. This recipe is based on the Hemp Bars in our first book but a little simpler and fresher in flavour. We top them with cacao nibs which not only make them look great but also adds a nice crunch to their texture.

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I asked Isac to assist me when I made these but he was pretty useless. When asked to pit the dates, he placed the stones in the food processor and the dates in his mouth (which almost ruined the food processor). He also kept insisting that the cacao nibs were bombs that exploded into the bars, leaving giant craters after them. So if you think the bars look uneven, this little hooligan is to blame.

By the way, I’m not writing one-handed anymore. Halfway along this post, I spilled some oats on Gabriel’s head so he woke up. Luise is nursing him now (and most probably also piercing an imaginary voodoo doll with my face on it with a thousand needles).

Yup that was it. First post of the year. Giant craters, crying babies, voodoo dolls and eating chocolate at the gym. And I’m only 44 minutes late for my deadline. Not a bad start.

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Mint Chocolate Power Bars
Makes approx. 18 bars
 

You can add a few tablespoons protein powder of choice (instead of the desiccated coconut) if you are making them as workout bars. Nuts can of course also be used instead of the seeds, if preferred.

150 g / 1 cup mixed pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, toasted if preferred
50 g / 1/2 cup desiccated coconut, unsweetened

4 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp cacao powder
50 g / 1/2 cup rolled oats
2 pinches sea salt
4 tbsp virgin coconut oil
200 g soft fresh dates (roughly 16 dates / 1 packed cup), pitted
5 tbsp nut butter of choice (we love using a combination of tahini and cashew butter but peanut butter also works great)
a few drops peppermint oil (or 2-3 tsp dried mint leaves, crushed)

Topping
60 g / ½ cup raw cacao nibs

Line a 16 x 22 cm baking tin with parchment paper.
Add the seeds, coconut, chia seeds, cacao powder, oats and salt to a food processor and pulse on high speed until coarsely crumbly. Pour into a bowl and add coconut oil, dates, nut butter, mint (oil or dried leaves) to the food processor. Run on high speed until entirely smooth and sticky. Add the seed and cacao crumbles and pulse quickly until mixed together. Help out with a spatula in case the mixture isn’t combined. Taste and add more mint flavour or salt if needed, then pulse a few more times.
Transfer to the baking tin and, using the palm of your hand or the back of a spoon (coated in coconut oil), press the mixture down very firmly to create an even and compact bar (roughly 2 cm high). Scatter the cacao nibs on top and use a spatula to press them down slightly into the mixture.
Let set in the freezer for approx. 15-30 minutes before cutting into approx. 18 bars.
Store the bars in an airtight container in the freezer and they will keep for a few months. You can wrap them in baking paper to make them more portable. Thaw them ever so slightly before serving.

NB: For a nut-free alternative, replace the nut butter with a seed butter of choice.

Collard Green Spring Rolls + Sunbutter Dipping Sauce

Collard Green Spring Rolls + Sunbutter Dipping Sauce

We could all use a little diet reframing this time of year, myself included.

December invites more indulgence than usual, and my body is all, “Hey, lady. Can a sister get some greens or what?”

My body is sassy. I can’t blame her. I’m a lot to deal with.

These are perhaps the prettiest 30-minute spring rolls on the block because the exterior isn’t traditional rice paper – it’s collard greens!

Continue to Collard Green Spring Rolls + Sunbutter Dipping Sauce from Minimalist Baker →

A Guide to Vegetarian Cooking

A Guide to Vegetarian Cooking | Naturally Ella

I receive quite a few emails questioning how one dives into the world of eating vegetarian. It can seem a bit foreign, especially if you grew up like I did in a very meat-for-almost-every-meal lifestyle. This is why Naturally Ella is here. My goal for this past year was to build an arsenal of resources to help you on your way and I’m excited to say they are fairly well done/ready for you to use! On top of those resources, I’ve included below a few of my favorite recipes, four sample ‘week in meals’ plans, and links to the resource section.

Whether you’re trying to add a few more vegetables to your diet or want to dive into the vegetarian lifestyle, I hope that I can inspire and be a source of excitement about learning to cook vegetarian!

The Pantry

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Legumes-Stocking a Pantry
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If you take anything away from reading this, make sure it’s this: find your pantry happiness. I’m obsessed with telling people about how to stock a pantry because it’s the backbone for nearly every recipe I make. Having go-to items in your pantry can make the difference between making dinner and ordering pizza. If you find the items you use most and always keep those on hand- your weekly shopping and planning becomes about the produce.

There are 21 different pantry sections to explore that cover everything from Asian noodles to vinegars. Start on the pantry page or explore a few of my favorite to get you started: legumes, grains, and spices. Each section includes how to buy, store, and use each ingredient- never let anything go to waste again!

The Ingredients

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Avocado - Explore an Ingredient - Naturally Ella
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One of my biggest suggestions when it comes to vegetarian cooking is to lead with the produce. Look for what looks the freshest or what sounds the best in any given week. Find recipes to match then add pantry items to help round out the meal. The ingredient area on the site has over 50 items of produce to explore with information about cooking, storing, buying, and of course lots of recipe inspiration!

 

30-Minute Recipes

There’s a constant struggle between cooking and time. More often than not, we forgo cooking because it’s easier to eat out or heat up something prepackaged. I have a solid base of 20 and 30 minute recipes that I find are perfect for avoiding takeout. Planning ahead and the occasional store-bought item are both time-savers too!

See all the 20-minute recipes >
See all the 30-minute recipes >

Garlicky Kale Pizza
Sesame Soba Noodle Bowl with Edamame
Curried Eggs with Spinach | @naturallyella
Garlicky Halloumi Tacos | @naturallyella
Kale and Chickpea Stew | @naturallyella
Cabbage_ginger_noodles

 

4-week Sample Meal Plans

Every Sunday, I write up a quick meal plan for the week. Most times it’s rough, things like Thursday night pizza or Tuesday night pasta. From there, I use what’s on hand with what looked best at the store. Other times I like to try out a new recipe or throw an old favorite back into the rotation which means things are planned a bit more.

Below are 4 weeks of ideas. Each week contains three breakfast recipes, three lunch, and five dinner. The recipes are all linked to recipes on the site. You can easily swap out for recipes that better fit your diet such as vegan or gluten-free. If you would like meal plans every week, you can also check out my Plan your Meals page!

Vegetarian Meal Plans | Week 1 | Naturally Ella
Vegetarian Meal Plans | Week 2 | Naturally Ella
Vegetarian Meal Plans | Week 3 | Naturally Ella
Vegetarian Meal Plans | Week 4 | Naturally Ella

 

My Favorite Kitchen Tools

Walk into any kitchen store and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the gadgets and cookware lining the walls. I take a fairly minimal approach: A solid cutting board and knife are a must as well as a solid set of cookware. I keep a few small gadgets on hand but I like tools that pull double duty. A few of my favorites:

Kitchen Tools | Naturally Ella

Pictured:

  1. Microplane Zester/Grater: This is my number one tool in the kitchen. It’s small but is perfect for citrus zest, grating cheese, and finely mincing garlic/ginger. I use my microplane with almost every recipe.
  2. Weck Jars: Peak inside my pantry and you will see it lined with weck jars. They are functional, beautiful, and the perfect way to store grains, legumes, spices, and many other pantry items.
  3. Wood Spatulas: These spatulas are my go-to cooking utensil. They are like a wooden spoon but way better!
  4. Cast Iron Pans and Dutch Ovens: My kitchen wouldn’t be complete without solid cast iron pans and a dutch oven. I love Staub, Finex (pictured), and if you’re on a budget, Lodge.
  5. Chef’s Knife If you were to invest in only one nice thing in your kitchen, make it a good knife. Vegetable-heavy recipes take a lot of chopping- just one good knife can make all the difference.
  6. Flour Ginder: A flour grinder, whether a hand grinder or a powered grinder, is such a great addition to your kitchen. Freshly milled flour tastes better and keeps more nutrients in your flour. If you want to get started milling your own flour, be sure to check out The Homemade Flour Cookbook.
  7. High-speed blender: This is one of the more expensive investments but I’m a complete convert. If you love soups, sauces, or smoothies- a high speed blender is for you. Better yet, most of these blenders will also grind flour! Vitamix also sells, grain-milling ready, dry containers.
  8. Baking Dishes: Generic but indispensable. I keep an 8×8, 9×9, and 9×12 pan on hand for casseroles, gratins, and roasting vegetables.

Not pictured but also heavily used in my kitchen:

  1. Timber + Main Cutting Board: These boards are made (locally to me) in Sacramento. The quality is wonderful and I love the look of the live edge.
  2. Kitchen Tongs: Tongs are a cheap, easy kitchen tool to have on hand for turning vegetables, checking noodles, or flipping that fried halloumi you are cooking.
  3. Kitchen Scale From weighing flour for baking to squash for cooking- a scale is a must-have in my kitchen.
  4. Bee’s Wax PaperPerfect as a replacement for plastic wrap- it’s great for covering bowls, wrapping cheese, and storing items in the refrigerator.
    Natural Parchment Paper: I like to use either my silpat or parchment for roasting vegetables or lining bakeware.
  5. Freezer-Safe Ball Jars: The pint-sized freezer-safe jars from Ball® are perfect for freezing cooked legumes and grains in 16oz portions without using plastic.
  6. Vegetable peeler: Also an important tool! I like to make sure I found a solid peeler by peeling a butternut squash. If it does it with ease, you’re good to go.
  7. Stainless Steel Pots and Pans: While I find myself cooking in cast iron more often than not, having a set of pots and pans is also great (especially the pans).

 

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The post A Guide to Vegetarian Cooking appeared first on Naturally Ella.

31 Meals Cookbook: A Month of Healthy, Simple Dinners

31 Meals Cookbook: A Month of Healthy, Simple Dinners

Friends, we have exciting news to share! We are launching a NEW + IMPROVED version of 31 Meals eCookbook!

31 Meals is a digital cookbook with resources to help you make dinner simple, affordable, and delicious.

buy now – $29

 

WHAT’S NEW + IMPROVED?

  • Now 100% plant-based!
  • NEW slick design
  • NEW vibrant photos
  • NEW resources section
  • Updated meal plans + grocery lists
  • Updated nutrition information
  • More value for the price

We released this product in 2013 when we weren’t focusing entirely on plant-based food, so the original version had about 70% vegan-friendly recipes.

Continue to 31 Meals Cookbook: A Month of Healthy, Simple Dinners from Minimalist Baker →

Sweet Potato Barley Stew

Sweet Potato Barley Stew | @naturallyella

Post sponsored by Crock-Pot® Brand/Mirum Shopper. See below for more details.

While I hate the idea of ‘resolutions’, the start of the new year is a good time to start change, no matter how small. This change can come with cooking at least one dinner a week, adding more vegetables to your meals, or experimenting with ingredients you may have never tried. This barley stew can knock out (potentially) all three. It’s easy to prep, just a bit of chopping, then everything goes into the Crock-pot® slow cooker. Start it in the morning on low and by dinner you have a delicious homemade meal that is full of sweet potato goodness. Plus, if you’ve never tried barley- this is about as easy as it gets!

Read more and see the recipe.

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