A Really Good Saag Paneer

This is a saag paneer that uses a truckload of spinach, gets tang from buttermilk and a finishing squeeze of fresh lemon, magic from a host of spices, and a bit of heat from ginger and chile flakes. I bring on a bit of crunch and contrasting texture where ever I can – paneer, toasted sesame seeds, and add a touch of decadence with a splash of cream (you can use yogurt, buttermilk, or cashew cream if you like).
A Really Good Saag Paneer

Saag Paneer Inspiration

A bit of context. We make saag paneer at home all the time. I’m talking once a week or every ten days. Wayne started it, years ago, when he cooked Merrill’s saag paneer one night, and from there it became a regular thing. The recipe has evolved and meandered quite a bit, so I thought I’d share the version I’ve settled into with you. I try to make it exactly the way I want to eat it, because, at some point, personal preference trumps everything else. Even when you’re dealing with a classic preparation. I also featured another, different, streamlined version in Near & Far (also great!) a few years after this.

To that end, for this take on saag paneer, I cook the paneer cubes until they aren’t just golden, they need to go well beyond that. I like them crispy cornered, and outright crusty. Beyond that, I chop the mountain of spinach you need here into flecks the size of big confetti. This assures no slurpy, sloppy, un-chewable greens. And I (almost) always use fresh spinach, but you can do a (more traditional) blend of mustard greens, chard, etc. if you like!
A Really Good Saag Paneer

It is the sort of thing that is even better the day after – spread on thin crackers, or inside this sort of quesadilla. You make your own spice blend here, but you can certainly experiment with your own or a good store-bought blend.

Continue reading A Really Good Saag Paneer on 101 Cookbooks

1-Pot BBQ Baked Beans

1-Pot BBQ Baked Beans

When BBQ season comes around, my mind goes straight to the beans.

I’ve loved BBQ baked beans for as long as I can remember. They’re equal parts savory and sweet with a little spice. My version includes instructions for both dry pinto beans and canned, depending on how much time you’ve got on your hands. Let us show you how easy it is!

This 1-pot recipe starts with pinto beans that are soaked overnight (or at least 6 hours).

1-Pot BBQ Baked Beans from Minimalist Baker →

Dragonfruit Bowl with Walnuts and Berries

Have you seen the little packets of dragonfruit puree in your supermarket’s freezer section? I love them, and stock up whenever I can. They seem to be popular in San Francisco, and tend to sell out fast. The packets are great for smoothies (of course), but sometimes, when I can’t be bothered to set up and clean my blender, I’ll make myself a dragonfruit bowl using the thawed packets. It’s a twist on my favorite breakfast chia pudding, and comes together in a flash. 

Dragonfruit Bowl with Walnuts and Berries


You make these bowls with just a wide range of fruit purees. Acai works great, although not a pretty as the dragonfruit. I love raspberry, strawberry, and black berry as well. In general, the berry purees are on point. 

Dragonfruit Bowl with Walnuts and Berries

Dragonfruit Bowl Toppings

The only limit here is your imagination. I tend to use whatever I have around. Crushed berries, and miscellaneous seeds are often contenders. Something extra crunchy is essential, and you see toasted walnuts here. Think seasonal as well – I like to add torn cherries when they’re in season, or sliced figs later in the year. Also! I love puffed quinoa or other cereal on top.

Dragonfruit Bowl with Walnuts and Berries

Other Recipes to Make with Dragonfruit

Keep an eye out for other products made with dragon fruit. It’s such a fun ingredient to experiment with. I’ve seen dried dragonfruit slices (also named pitaya), and more recently discovered a beautiful dragonfruit powder. I use the same puree called for in this recipe, in this refreshing dragonfruit shrub quencher. And use the dried fruit in this dragonfruit tonic. Have fun experimenting!

Dragonfruit Bowl with Walnuts and Berries

Continue reading Dragonfruit Bowl with Walnuts and Berries on 101 Cookbooks

Favorites List (08.17.18)

It has been a while since I’ve done a favorites list. Let’s remedy the situation!

10 years / $430,000 in micro loans! (Nearly 80% to women :)!

This pasta: Been making a version of it on the regular, pictured below with added toasted cashews, broccolini, lemon zest. (recipe)
Toiro Kitchen Shichimi Flavored Cherry Tomato Mint Pasta
This playlist (if you watch my Insta Stories, you’ll recognize)

Mandy Moore’s kitchen (….love, love the whole Harold Zook restoration – Emily Farnham x Sarah Sherman Samuel)

Toiro Kitchen Shichimi Flavored Cherry Tomato Mint Pasta
These scones: Spotted this @pickled_rose photo (below) of the Whole Wheat Blackberry Ricotta Scones from deep in the 101 archives. (recipe)Toiro Kitchen Shichimi Flavored Cherry Tomato Mint Pasta

These sandals all summer
– Watching this: Sharp ObjectsToiro Kitchen Shichimi Flavored Cherry Tomato Mint Pasta
Matcha on the move
– Leaves & Flowers Ajna Tea

Farmers Market Summer Blossoms

Continue reading Favorites List (08.17.18) on 101 Cookbooks

Simple French-Style Potato Salad

Simple French-Style Potato Salad

This simple potato salad is inspired by one we tried while in Austin. The potato salads I’m used to having are typically dressed with a mayo sauce, making them thicker and more indulgent. But I loved the tangy, light quality of a potato salad dressed in an herb-infused vinaigrette instead.

I later discovered that this is more of a French style of preparing potato salad. I hope you enjoy this inspired version that’s perfect for summer BBQs, lazy picnics, road trips, and more.

Simple French-Style Potato Salad from Minimalist Baker →

5 Tips for Vegetarian Lunches

Arugula Salad with Romesco Potatoes | Naturally Ella

(Hey Everyone! I want you to give a warm welcome to Grace Kerfoot. Grace has studied nutrition and most recently was working as a cheesemonger. She’s also been helping me in the studio and I’m so happy to have her contributing a few posts in the coming months. I think it’s always great to have some fresh perspective- helps us get out of ruts! So without further story, here’s Grace!)

When I remember to pack a lunch, I feel so much more on my game. Instead of scavenging for lunch in the city or at work when noon arrives, the ease of just pulling my own lunch from the fridge or my bag is somehow empowering – a reward for a minimal amount of prep and planning.

Packing a lunch does not have to mean a square zip-locked sandwich in a crinkled paper bag. What’s even more rewarding is when the packed lunch is something wholesome and good – it’s worth looking forward too.

The simplest things can elevate lunch from ‘getting the job done’ to great. These are my five staples for lunch hacking that make lunch packing not only more delicious but more enjoyable.

1. Good Salt

I carry around a little container of sel gris with me to work. It adds a salt boost and a hefty crunch for toasts or soft boiled eggs. If the lunch you brought tastes like it could be just a little bit better it probably just needs a little more salt.

2. Cheese

I use cheese like a condiment. A little dab of it here or there can change everything. Not to mention, I so look forward to everything more if there is cheese involved. Fresh chevre sprinkled on a simple salad adds texture and tang, a few ribbons of shaved pecorino or ricotta salata add appealing color and brightness to grain bowls or any massaged kale salad.

3. Good quality olive oil

Few eating experiences are worse than an underdressed salad or a dry bowl of grains. Having olive oil handy, even if it’s a bottle tucked in the back of your desk drawer can be a lunch game changer.

4. Pickled Things

Fermented foods literally breath life into packed lunches. Sauerkraut in a salad, pickled carrots in a sandwich, a spoonful of miso stirred into brown rice – get creative with whatever picked things you may have in your refrigerator and you’ll probably never have a dull lunch.


While this isn’t a condiment, I love using BEES WRAP and mason jars to pack my lunches – I use less plastic and makes for a more visually appealing lunch. Pictured: these metal containers.

Bees Wrap
Made from organic cotton, sustainably sourced beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin – bees wrap is perfect for wrapping just about anything. I use it for packing up a sandwich or half an avocado, or using it as a loose lid on tupperware when all the other lids go missing.

The king of alternative tupperware, mason jars hold everything – and are easy to slid into a bag or the cupholder of your car. Fill a 16oz jar with soup and bring an 8oz jar full of fun toppings. They also work for salads. Just layer your grains, proteins, veggies, add dressing when you’re ready to eat – give it a shake and eat.


Curious where to start with exactly what to pack for lunch? Here are some recipes to get started on that hold up well being jostled to and from wherever your lunch destination may be.

Carrot Rice Noodle Bowl with Tahini-Sriracha Sauce | @naturallyella
Cucumber-Feta Quinoa Salad
Chickpea Shawarma Stuffed Pita
Overhead Shot of Chickpea Tomato Bread Salad with Arugula Pesto

continue reading

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Blue Cheese Peach Pizza with Honey

Overhead shot of Blue Cheese Peach Pizza with Honey

This recipe is in partnership with Nugget Markets. See below for more details.

There are combinations that might feel a bit over-done but I will always (and gladly) eat. One of those combinations: blue cheese and peaches. Fresh, sweet peaches paired with the earthy flavor of blue cheese is everything I could want in one bite. Add it to pizza and drizzle it with honey; I’ll probably eat the whole thing.

For this peach pizza, I was lucky enough to source some amazing local honey, c/o Nugget Markets. Nugget’s Fresh to Market brand sources from many local companies and their honey comes from Pure Honey based in Winters, CA. I took a drive out to visit and left with even more of an appreciation for the honey (and the bees).

The honey Nugget sources is raw honey which means all the good stuff is left in the honey. One note, which came directly from Doneice of Pure honey: Crystallization is a natural part of raw honey and the easiest way to get the honey soft: set it outside on a warm day.

Read more and see the recipe.

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4-Ingredient Golden Milk Mix

4-Ingredient Golden Milk Mix

When golden milk cravings strike, there’s hardly time to fuss with getting out all the spices, which is why I recently made my own “mix.”

Because I enjoy golden milk most afternoons, I’ve been using my mix almost daily! It’s the perfection solution to help speed the golden milk process along to save time and energy. Let me show you how.

This 4-ingredient, 5-minute mix is made of the 4 basic spices added to most golden milk: turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger.

4-Ingredient Golden Milk Mix from Minimalist Baker →

Sesame Sunflower Crunch | Cooking Component

Sesame Sunflower Crunch | Cooking Component

When it comes to textures, I’m all about the crunch. This is why I gravitate towards chips, crackers, and granola. This sunflower crunch is a mix between toasted nuts and granola. It’s simple on ingredients but the end result is a multi-use mix that adds the perfect crunch to soups, salads, and yogurt bowls.

One of the things I love about this mixture: it doesn’t compete with grains. It can help add a boost to your morning oatmeal or lunch grain bowl without competing with the grains (like a traditional granola would). Be sure to check out the variations. There are many different directions you can go with this simple component recipe.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Sesame Sunflower Crunch | Cooking Component appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Sweet Corn Polenta with Fried Egg and Sun-Dried Tomato Relish

Sweet Corn Polenta with Fried Egg and Sun-Dried Tomato Relish

There are a few summer staples that happen every year. Roasted tomato salsa, grilled zucchini, and this fresh polenta. Traditionally, polenta is made from dried/stone-ground corn. This version relies on using fresh summer sweet corn. The texture is different but the flavor of the polenta is all summer warmth.

I usually make the polenta base the same and it’s rare that I add cheese (but that is an option). The toppings, however, are anything goes. I like to pile high the summer vegetables and flavors. This sweet corn polenta version features one of my favorite toppings: fried eggs.

The fried eggs in this recipe are my favorite: Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs. It’s been such a treat to work with them on a few recipes. As I’ve mentioned before, we use eggs so often in our house whether it’s for a simple breakfast scramble or egg salad for lunch. I know these eggs come from a company that works with small, family farms and cares about the environment.

Read more and see the recipe.

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