Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Pudding

Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Pudding

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…

I know I do this every year. I make something sweet like cake or cheesecake and I sing myself happy birthday. But hey, can you blame me? Your own birthday is kinda the best, especially when it lands smack dab in the middle of summer.

To celebrate, let’s make pudding – Peanut Butter Banana Pudding to be exact!

This 5-ingredient banana pudding is a direct result of my smashing success in making Vegan Peanut Butter Pudding!

Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Pudding from Minimalist Baker →

Easy Tomato & Pasta Salad

Tomato season is officially on from where I stand. Using a mother lode of assorted cherry, zebra, and heirloom tomatoes, I made this quick, summer-tastic pasta salad for a picnic the other day. Whole-grain pasta, baby kale, basil, and the best tomatoes you can get your hands on get a generous drizzle of strong harissa dressing (garlic, harissa, nutritional yeast, etc.). This is exactly what you want to be making during peak tomato season, and you can whip up the dressing and slice the tomatoes as your pasta cooks.
Easy Tomato & Pasta Salad Recipe
Beyond that, everything comes together in a flash, and good pasta salad is always a crowd pleaser. I’ve added some alternate suggestions below as well, building on the general concept. Enjoy!Easy Tomato & Pasta Salad Recipe

Variations & Add-ins

I’ve suggested some additional toppings in the recipe below:

  • Lentils: I was disappointed that I didn’t have any black lentils cooked and on-hand, because I would have added those for the added substance and nutrition boost. If you have some, add them!
  • Olives: Olives were a great addition, and I enjoyed pasta salad leftovers with a bit of slivered makrut lime leaves tossed in (so good!).
  • Almonds: Whole toasted almonds – yes for the crunch, and everything else that makes almonds delicious.
  • Flowers: Added a bit of pretty with some dried herb flowers.

    You don’t really need any of these, the whole thing is good without (especially if your tomatoes are on point), I guess what I’m encouraging is a bit of latitude when it comes to add-ins and flare. You could even make a nice, clear, garlic broth, and pour it over a bowl of leftovers for a beautiful soup.

Continue reading Easy Tomato & Pasta Salad on 101 Cookbooks

Chickpea Tomato Bread Salad with Arugula Pesto

Overhead Shot of Chickpea Tomato Bread Salad with Arugula Pesto

Heirloom tomatoes are king of the summer. There’s nothing quite like the taste and texture of a perfectly ripe tomato. Take that and add a few of my favorite items for this delicious bread salad. A peppery arugula pesto is the flavor while the toasted bread brings the texture.

I could have stopped there but these types of salads often become my meals (like when I have leftovers of the salad on the night I’m frantically packing for vacation). When the bread is toasted well (dry throughout- crouton style), the bread will keep texture hours after the salad is assembled. It’s a perfect picnic or lunch bread salad.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Chickpea Tomato Bread Salad with Arugula Pesto appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Turmeric Grilled Tofu Spring Rolls

If you’ve never attempted spring rolls, you likely think it’s more challenging than it actually is. It takes a few attempts to get used to handling the rice paper wrappers, but once you get the hang of it, you’re gold. Today’s combination of spring roll fillings has been a favorite this summer. Grilled tofu coated with a golden, turmeric marinade is the base. The marinade is spiked with garlic and ginger and you can thin out any extra (with a bit of hot water) for a perfect dipping sauce. Herbs, asparagus spears, and a kiss of hot sauce fill the rolls out from there.
Turmeric Grilled Tofu Spring Rolls

Spring Roll Pro-tip

The tip I wish someone had told me sooner is this. To soften up the wrappers they are dunked into a bowl of hot water. The mistake most beginners make is leaving them in the hot water too long. Dunk, count to three, remove. The wrappers will continue to absorb water as you’re filling them, and they are much easier to handle when they aren’t oversaturated and super-clingy to start with.

Turmeric Grilled Tofu Spring Rolls

A Quick Dipping Sauce

You’ll likely have a good amount of marinade leftover here. I typically use it to marinate something else immediately. Or(!), I turn it into a quick dipping sauce for the spring rolls. This time around I added a couple of tablespoons of tahini to the leftover marinade, a couple pinches of red chile flakes, a big squeeze of lemon juice, and some salt. You thin it out with some hot water and a good amount of whisking. Taste, and adjust until it is to your liking. Voila!

Turmeric Grilled Tofu Spring Rolls

Pretty Spring Rolls

Because rice paper wrappers are  semi-translucent, you can line them with beautiful ingredients and they will show through. Here I use whisper-thin slices of watermelon radish and you get that pop of pink, but there’s no reason you couldn’t experiment with all sorts of leaves, herbs – basically anything pliable, and complementary to the other ingredients in your spring rolls.

Turmeric Grilled Tofu Spring Rolls

Continue reading Turmeric Grilled Tofu Spring Rolls on 101 Cookbooks

Baked Sweet Corn Farro Risotto

Overhead shot of sweet corn farro risotto topped with parsley

Post sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. See below for more details.

I’m a glutton for heat. I’ll gladly brave my oven being on if it means I can get a comforting meal on occasion, especially one that involves summer produce. It’s hard to go wrong with sweet corn in the summer and this sweet corn farro risotto is about as comforting as it gets

I prefer to use this baked risotto so that I’m not standing at the stove-top. Using Bob’s Red Mill pearled farro helps create a creamy base that only gets better once you add the cheddar cheese. Make sure you’re using a good sharp cheddar. The saltiness from the sharp cheese balances the warmth from the farro.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Baked Sweet Corn Farro Risotto appeared first on Naturally Ella.

5-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Pudding

5-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Pudding

Pudding. How could pudding be so difficult to master? This recipe threw me for a loop. I tested it no less than 10 times! And it only became peanut butter pudding in the eleventh hour. And oh dear, I’m so glad it did. Talk about creamy, dreamy, pillowy deliciousness.

Friends, I can’t wait for you to try this amazing 1-pot, 5-ingredient pudding! Let’s do it.

This recipe starts with coconut milk (full-fat is best!) and arrowroot starch to thicken.

5-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Pudding from Minimalist Baker →

Pineapple Coconut Water

Once or twice a year, I buy a pineapple. It feels like a strange thing to purchase in San Francisco. Pineapples = hot tropics, beaches, bare feet, and endless summers. San Francisco = fog, wind, Victorian architecture, and year-round denim. I remember driving between San Diego and Northern California, along the Pacific coast, when I was in my early twenties, driving home from college, and coming across a small pineapple farm near Oxnard. But, aside from that, this isn’t pineapple country. I never see them at the farmers’ markets here, so I don’t think about them much. That said, the other day I walked past a tiny pineapple display at my local grocery store, and the scent coming off these fruits was like walking into a thick, sweet wall of intoxicating, tropical brightness. It was the sort of perfume that immediately takes you someplace else, and I could imagine just how good that pineapple, the most fragrant of the lot, was going to taste.

Pineapple Coconut Water Recipe
Pineapple Coconut Water Recipe
Pineapple Coconut Water Recipe

If you’ve never had absolutely fresh pineapple juice, you are missing out on one of life’s simple pleasures. I juiced my little pineapple, enjoyed the first glass straight, and proceeded to use the remaining in this quencher – made with coconut water, lime, and straight ginger juice. It is invigorating, fragrant, hydrating, and a pure, intense shade of yellow that somehow tips us off to its strength and vitality before ever picking up the glass. Enjoy!

Continue reading Pineapple Coconut Water on 101 Cookbooks

Roasted Tomato Sauce + 3 Ways to Use it

Roasted Tomato Sauce + 3 Ways to Use it

Every summer, I try and keep a couple cherry tomatoes plants alive. I use cherry tomatoes more often that not (any color/variety will do). They are a great snack, perfect on salads, and as you can see, wonderful in a sauce. This post is all about a super simple roasted tomato sauce that I use in a myriad of recipes. Best of all- there’s very little prep involved. Toss the tomatoes in whole- they roast up great.

1: Pizza/Pasta Sauce

Olive Pizza with Red Onions

The most obvious choice, make the base recipe and toss in your favorite fresh herbs. Use the tomato sauce as a great summer pasta sauce or as a base for grilled pizza. Mix up the herbs for fresh new flavors or add a splash of cream to make a delicious tomato cream sauce.

Try the sauce with:

Ricotta Stuffed Shells with Roasted Tomato Sauce
Einkorn Ricotta Gnocchi with Roasted Tomato Sauce
Olive Pizza with Red Onions


1: Enchiladas

Black Lentil Enchiladas with Zucchini and Homemade Enchilada Sauce | Naturally Ella

Spice up the sauce with cilantro, chili peppers, and/or chipotle peppers and use it in your favorite enchilada dish. The roasted tomatoes are a nice base to play around with a myriad of flavors. Best of all, you can freeze the tomato sauce or make up the entire batch of enchiladas and freeze those (this is one of my go-to meals to take to new families!)

Try the sauce with:

Breakfast Enchiladas with Avocado Cream Sauce
Spinach Enchiladas with Lentils
Roasted Corn and Ricotta Enchiladas with Chipotle Tomato Sauce


1: Stewed Items/Soups

Curried Eggs with Spinach | @naturallyella

If you start anywhere in the journey of making homemade tomato sauce recipes, this is it. I posted on instagram a breakfast I made after I made this particular sauce up top. I mixed in a splash of heavy cream, cracked in a few eggs, and make the best cooked eggs. There’s nothing quite as good as eggs cooked in a roasted tomato sauce.

Try them in:

Curried Eggs with Spinach
White Beans in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup


Roasted Tomato Sauce


Basil: Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of fresh basil leaves for a wonderful pasta sauce.

Herbs: Make an alternative herb sauce and use my favorite combination of tarragon and chives. A bit of fresh thyme is also nice.

Pizza Sauce Add a few leaves of fresh basil, a sprinkle of oregano, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

Mexican: My favorite combination for enchiladas: roasted jalapeños and blend in cilantro/oregano.

Smoky: Add a chipotle pepper or a sprinkle of smoked paprika to get a nice smoky sauce (also delicious for enchiladas).

[tasty-recipe id=”36587″]

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The post Roasted Tomato Sauce + 3 Ways to Use it appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Wafers

Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Wafers

Did you ever eat vanilla wafers as a kid? You know I did. They were a favorite in our house, especially for snacking, dipping in milk, and layering in things like banana cream pie and pudding. Mmm, pudding.

As you might’ve guessed, I’ve recreated this childhood classic with real, whole food ingredients so they’re now vegan and gluten-free! Let’s do this!

This 9-ingredient recipe starts with a mix of organic cane sugar (or coconut sugar), coconut oil, and a hefty pour of vanilla.

Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Wafers from Minimalist Baker →

California Avocado White Bean Dip

Overhead, Close-up shot of a white bean avocado dip topped with charred limes.

Post sponsored by California Avocados. See below for more details.

When someone asks me about my background, I think they assume I’ll say something about photography or cooking. While I’ve done both for over a decade now, I actually started in music. I have two degrees, geared towards music education and I’m a bassoonist by trade. I love everything about music but I found my love was better as a consumer (and occasional performer).

One thing hardly anyone knows about me: I was a HUGE ska fan in high school. Beyond bassoon, I’m a saxophonist. It was my first instrument and it led me to an appreciation of jazz, blues, and ska. I wanted nothing more to be in a ska band but I never made it. Instead, it was the music that got me through my youth.

What does this all have to do with this white bean dip? California Avocado asked me to create a recipe based on a quintessential California music genre. I chose Orange County Ska (No Doubt, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, Sublime, and Save Ferris). This white bean dip uses charred lime flavor to add a bright pop of contrast in honor of my favorite horn sections. This recipe is part of the Summer Soundtrack eBook California Avocado put together so be sure to pop over and download a copy!

Read more and see the recipe.

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