White Bean Pizza with Arugula Salad

White Bean Pizza with Arugula Salad | Naturally Ella

I love playing with pizza combinations. I’m fairly certain if I had my own cafe, pizza/flatbreads would have to be on the menu because I have endless combinations to share. They are the perfect base for all seasons and with a little creativity, also for specific diets like gluten-free and vegan. This white bean pizza was born out of a love of this hummus dip. I wasn’t a big fan of warm bean dips before but over the years, I turn to them time and again. This pizza takes a similar approach. Instead of using marinara, I use pureed beans. The beans are lovely with the melted cheese and even better with the fresh salad on top. It’s a full meal in one bite! Read more and see the recipe.

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Nut Lentil Bites | Component Cooking

Nut Lentil Bites | Component Cooking

I feel there is no greater go-to recipe for a vegetarian kitchen than a fritter, cake, or bite. Legumes, nuts, and/or grains combined with vegetables in some arrangement that can be baked or fried; it’s easily the star of a recipe.

These lentil bites have been around on the site for a couple years now but I felt it worthwhile to share, in one spot, all the ways I use these. I stopped calling them meatballs some time ago, because for the obvious reason: there’s no meat. But also, these bites are so much more versatile than the term ‘meatball’ lets on. I keep all these ingredients in my pantry and more often than not, I have a batch of uncooked bites in the freezer. These are also toddler friendly (a big plus in my house!)

Read more and see the recipe.

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Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

I want to jump in here to highlight a ringer of a cucumber salad. There were four recipe contenders in the cucumber section of the book I’m going to reference, and if the other three are as good as this, it’s going to be a very cu-centric summer. The salad. It’s crisp and refreshing, beautiful, and surprisingly substantial. The main players: cucumbers, ice-bathed scallions, toasted walnuts, mint, rose, and a vinegar-spiked yogurt dressing. I’ve been adding a scoop of lentils and making a meal out of it all week. The recipe is from the new Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables cookbook by Joshua McFadden, and I knew the whole thing was going to be good when I saw who was working on it. If you know Tusk or Ava Gene’s in Portland you know the author. For the book he worked with Toni Tajima (design / you all know her from both Super Natural books, and Near & Far), Laura Dart did the photography (she took this shot of me & Wayne years ago at one of the early Kinfolk brunches), Martha Holmberg (former editor of Fine Cooking), and Melinda Josie (illustration). A lot of heart on this team. Keep your eyes peeled if you haven’t see it already – 400 pages of inspiration.

Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

Joshua McFadden's Cucumber Salad

Continue reading Joshua McFadden’s Cucumber Salad…

Buttered Fava Bean Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs

Buttered Fava Bean Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs | Naturally Ella

Fava beans always look so enticing at the market. The big pods with fresh beans tucked inside lead to dreaming about future recipes. And yet, it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. Fava beans have a two-shelling process which is a bit labor intensive. But, I’ve found time and again, it’s worth it.

If I could, I would eat this fava bean salad for lunch every day. The delicate, just-cooked bean flavor is a perfect companion for the rich butter, light dill, and hearty rye breadcrumbs. This is everything I could ever want in a salad. One quick note, you can eat fava beans without going through the second shelling process. Young, tender beans don’t have a tough exterior. However, I’ve found more often than not, the beans I pick up are not young. For the full experience of this salad, go through the entire shelling process.

Read more and see the recipe.

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Carrot, Feta, & Pistachio Salad with Orange Blossom Toss

Carrot, Feta, & Pistachio Salad with Orange Blossom Toss | Kale & Caramel

Cooking is a constant push forward in my life. I’m constantly challenging what I know, what ingredients I use, and even how I use common ingredients. It is exciting and overwhelming all at once. One of the areas I’m pushing myself this year is to step out of my rut with herbs. I have my favorites but there comes a time to move past those and explore more. So I planted lovage, tarragon, and savory. On top of this, there’s a few herbs I’ve always grown but rarely use in my cooking. Mint being the prime example.

In perfect timing, my friend Lily just released her blog-titled book, Kale & Caramel. In a time where the release of cookbooks feels overwhelming, it’s always a treat to receive a book that radiates passion and creativity. Each chapter is focused on a specific aromatic herb or flower with recipes that highlight each. This orange blossom toss is from Lily’s book and while it’s in the orange blossom chapter, I chose it because of the mint. It’s a beautiful balance of the floral and herb flavor with one of my favorite vegetables.

Read more and see the recipe.

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Fruit Chutney | Component Cooking

Fruit Chutney/ Rhubarb Chutney | Component Cooking | Naturally Ella

Chutney is one of my favorite condiments. It’s highly adaptable to what might be in season, it can be spiced up or dressed down, and can be the star of a recipe or a nice topping. The term chutney is a pretty loose one that can encompass many different types of condiments that traditionally used in Indian cuisine (called Chatni in Hindi). However, chutney was picked up by the British during colonization. They used the term chutney and here we are.

This fruit chutney is my base for all cooked fruit-based chutneys. There are recipes out there for coconut, herb, and peanut- the possibility of chutneys is quite endless (this is a good start to chutney.) I primarily use chutney to pair with curry but there’s a myriad of ways to use this wonderful condiment. Read more and see the recipe.

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Oat Teff Pancakes

Oat Teff Pancakes with Fresh Berries | Naturally Ella

You may think, based on photos I’ve shared or things I’ve written, that my pantry is perfectly organized. It may be organized for a few days but eventually, it becomes overrun with grains, legumes, and canned items. Usually once it gets out of control, I start cooking my way back to organized.

For a month or so, I’ve had a loose bag of teff waiting to be used. And so, I made these teff pancakes. I ground part of the teff and cooked the other part (a good reason why having a grain mill is awesome). Of course, if you don’t have a grain mill, you can buy flour or use 100% oat flour and mix in the cooked teff. These are gluten-free and can stand up to change.

Read more and see the recipe.

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Rhubarb Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Luise asked me to write something short and quick today. And to stick to the subject. She never specified which subject I should stick to but I’m guessing it’s ice cream. That was 12 hours ago. To be fair, I’ve also been carrying around on a baby (with a new name) and a feverish Isac for a huge chunk of those hours. Excuses aside, I’m not good at quick. I’m not slow. But I’m definitely not quick. I like to let things take time. Reading everything through. Testing it one more time. Seeing if there are other possibilities that I haven’t considered yet. Thorough. I’m thorough. Not slow. Well maybe a little bit slow. But in a good way. Except when facing meaningless everyday decisions (like picking clothes for the kids), then I’m slow in a bad way. I’m apparently not good at sticking to subjects either. Ice cream, here we go.

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Making homemade ice cream sandwiches is a fun little weekend project. It doesn’t take too much active time but they do need a couple of hours to firm up in the freezer. Unlike normal sandwich bars, ours are made with raw wafers and a rhubarb swirled no-churn ice cream. The raw wafer is simple to make and the rich chocolate hazelnut flavor balances the tanginess from the rhubarb nicely. We are showing how to get the wafer thin and even in the video further down.

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We have tried two different versions of the ice cream and are sharing both here. One is made with mascarpone and quark cheese (so it’s technically a frozen cheesecake) and is super simple and delicious. The other version is vegan and made with coconut milk and soaked cashew nuts. You can use an ice cream maker to get it perfectly creamy but we simply skipped that extra step. Unless you’re an ice cream purist, you’ll see that the no-churning method works perfectly for a sandwich bar,  just let them soften a few minutes before digging in. They are super tasty and a real treat to have ready in the freezer. We’ve cut them pretty big here but you could cut them in squares instead and end up with twice as many.

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You can of course use the wafer recipe with any type of ice cream in between, just make sure the bottom wafer layer is slightly frozen before filling up with ice cream. We fantasized about also dipping these in dark, melted chocolate but decided that we had to draw the line somewhere. But I’m throwing it out there in case anyone is up for it …

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We created this little youtube video for a more visual demonstration on how we make these. It takes a little extra time to make these videos but it’s lots of fun and we feel that they really help understanding the cooking process. Please leave a comment letting us know if you like us to continue making more videos.

Rhubarb Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes 10

Note: We use the Rhubarb & Strawberry Jam on everything from sandwiches to breakfast yogurt and porridge. So make a double batch while you are at it. The sweetness depends on the quality of the fruit so taste and adjust accordingly.

Rhubarb & Strawberry Jam
2 cups / 200 g rhubarb, washed and trimmed
1 cup / 150 g strawberries, washed and trimmed
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
a pinch vanilla powder

Raw Hazelnut Wafer
1 1/2 cup / 200 g hazelnuts
1/2 cup / 50 g rolled oats or oat flour
3 tbsp cacao powder
a pinch sea salt
3 tbsp coconut oil
16 soft dates (7 oz / 200 g), pitted

Rhubarb Ice Cream (scroll down for vegan version)
1 cup / 250 g quark cheese (or strained greek yogurt)
1 cup / 250 g mascarpone (or more quark cheese)
2-3 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup / 250 ml Rhubarb & Strawberry Jam (see recipe above)

Start by making the jam. Slice rhubarb and strawberries thinly and add them to a sauce pan together with the rest of the jam ingredients. Cook on low heat for approx. 20 minutes until soft. Use a hand blender to mix it if you prefer it smooth, or leave it chunky. Let cool entirely. Meanwhile, prepare the raw hazelnut wafer.

Add hazelnuts, rolled oats, cacao powder and salt to a food processor and mix thoroughly until the texture resembles sand. Pour into a separate bowl. Add dates and coconut oil to the food processor and mix into a paste. Pour the mixed nuts back and pulse everything until it’s combined into a dough. Roll it into a log and divide into two equal halves. Use a pen to copy the exact size of the baking dish onto a baking paper, then roll out one of the wafer dough halves on the baking sheet until it has the right shape, use a second baking sheet on top to prevent the rolling pin from sticking. Transfer the baking paper with the wafer to the baking dish and place in the freezer while preparing the ice cream (or vegan version further down).

Combine quark cheese, mascarpone and 2-3 tbsp maple syrup (depending on how sweet you prefer it) in a mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup / 125 ml of the cooled rhubarb & strawberry jam. Stir until combined. Take out the baking dish from the freezer and pour the ice cream mixture on top. Spoon more jam on top (roughly 1/2 cup / 100-150 ml) and use a spoon to swirl it evenly. Put back in the freezer for 1-2 hours to firm up.

Roll out the second half of the wafer dough using the same method as the first. Use a fork to make hole patterns and then turn it upside-down on to a second baking sheet. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and carefully transfer the wafer on top of the ice cream. Put it back in the freezer for 3-4 hours until completely firm. Then take it out, cut into 10 rectangles or 20 squares using a sharp knife dipped in hot water, wrap with baking paper and store in the freezer.

***

Vegan Rhubarb Ice Cream 
1 1/2 cup / 200 g cashew nuts (pre-soaked for 4-6 hours)
1 x 14 oz / 400 ml can coconut milk
4 tbsp maple syrup
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup / 250 ml Rhubarb & Strawberry Jam (see recipe above)

Drain the soaked cashew nuts and add them to a high-speed blender together with maple syrup and lemon juice. Mix on high speed until smooth. Add 1/2 cup / 100-150 ml of the cooled rhubarb & strawberry jam and pulse until combined. Take out the baking dish from the freezer and pour the ice cream mixture on top. Spoon more jam on top (roughly 1/2 cup / 100-150 ml) and use a spoon to swirl it evenly. Put back in the freezer for 1-2 hours to firm up. Follow the remaining instructions in the main recipe.

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Here’s another rhubarb treat I did the other day. I didn’t follow an exact recipe but I kind of based it on this recipe from our archive and replaced the grated apple with lots of rhubarb jam and the apple slices on top with rhubarb and strawberry bits. Skip the cinnamon on top and just add a little cardamom to the batter, in case you feel like trying it.