All posts by Mervin

Romanesco Black Lentil Pilaf

Romanesco Black Lentil Pilaf | @naturallyella

My favorite recipes are rooted in something familiar but include a twist to make it more unique and fun. Pilafs are usually grain-based but this lentil pilaf highlights one of my favorite legumes: black lentils. Paired with roasted romanesco, a spice-laden dressing, and dates, the pilaf is unique, beautiful, and tastes amazing. One word of advice: don’t try to swap red lentils for black! French, green, or brown are all better alternatives!
Read more and see the recipe.

The post Romanesco Black Lentil Pilaf appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Creamy Fall Soup in Acorn Squash Bowls

Creamy Fall Soup in Acorn Squash Bowls

We’re in the final countdown to Thanksgiving festivities and I have yet to provide you with an entrée option. Not to worry! Acorn squash to the rescue.

PLUS, I have an exciting announcement! This is the first recipe in a week-long series I’m calling Thanksgiving Week Extravaganza, wherein I post a recipe every day leading up to my Thanksgiving round-up on November 23!

That’s right: EIGHT recipes that will cover your mains, sides, appetizers, and of course, dessert.

Continue to Creamy Fall Soup in Acorn Squash Bowls from Minimalist Baker →

Hot Blender Chocolate + Vitamix Competition


We’ve had intense snow falls and cold days here in Stockholm for the past week. A weather that calls for furry sweaters, warm soups, spicy stews and large cups of hot chocolate. Our favourite chocolate recipe is thick, rich, creamy, vegan and insanely delicious. And we are sharing it here today, along with a competition to win a Vitamix blender (further down in this post). We actually make our chocolate directly in the blender, which not only saves dishes but also makes it perfectly frothy. This recipe is based on one of the recipes from our smoothie book, but we have adapted it slightly for our current mood. We have also added a few mashed blackberries to each glass/cup before serving, for a bit of complexity and a hint of berry flavour (which work really well with chocolate). This is of course entirely optional in case you are a hot chocolate traditionalist.


We use soaked cashews, soft dates and salt for a plant based creamy sweet milk. Cacao powder, cinnamon, ginger add chocolate flavour and tahini or coconut oil makes it richer. If you can only find dried dates, you can pre-soak them along with the cashew nuts to make them easier to blend.


Win a Vitamix!

As a belated celebration of our Green Kitchen Smoothies book (which now is out in UK, US, Australia, German, Swedish, Danish and Polish), Vitamix has kindly agreed to give away one of their new S30 blenders (the one we have used in this post) to one of our readers. It’s a smaller but strong model which we have been trying at home for the past month. To win it, you simply have to share a smoothie related photo on instagram (it can be either a smoothie you have made from our book, the cover of the book or one of our smoothie photos that you can find online) using the two hashtags #GKSVitamix and #GreenKitchenSmoothies. We will draw a winner on 7 December so it can hopefully arrive before Christmas. The competition is open for everyone in the US and UK. Good luck!




Hot Cashew Chocolate
Serves 2-4

Important: Before you start, make sure your blender is approved for hot liquids. Otherwise, add cold water to the blender instead of hot and heat the chocolate on the stove after it has been blended.

Hot chocolate ingredients
½ cup / 65 g cashew nuts
2-3 cups / 500-750 ml filtered water
4 fresh dates, pitted
3 tbsp cacao powder
2 tsp tahini (preferably
unhulled) or coconut oil
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt 

To serve
Blackberries, fresh or thawed frozen 

Soak the cashew nuts in water for 3-6 hours. If you are in a hurry and have a strong blender, soaking them in hot water for 30 minutes is also possible. Drain and rinse the nuts and add them to the blender. Boil the water in a kettle. Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to the blender. Add 2 cups of the hot water to the blender. Close the lid carefully. Start blending on low speed and then increase to max speed. It should be ready and smooth after about 30 seconds. Taste it and add more water if it’s too thick or more cacao, dates or salt to taste.

Serve immediately. If you like, try mashing a few blackberries in the bottom of the glass before serving. It creates beautiful streaks of colour and adds a delicious berry tone to the the drink.

We have received no compensation for this post. We simply asked Vitamix if they’d be willing to give away a blender to a reader because we think Vitamix is awesome and we think you readers are awesome!

Shaved Parsnip Salad with Parsley

Shaved Parsnip Salad with Parsley | @naturallyella

For me, the key to holiday meals are the dishes I can easily make ahead of time but they still add to the overall meal. This parsnip salad adds crisp, freshness when paired with the rich curry but could also stand on it’s own. In fact, I mixed leftover salad with cooked black lentils from the pilaf and had another complete lunch. I find the flavor of the salad gets better as it sits and the parsnips don’t lose their crunch.
Read more and see the recipe.

The post Shaved Parsnip Salad with Parsley appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Red Kuri Squash Curry with Chard

Red Kuri Squash Curry with Chard | @naturallyella

I like to push the boundaries on traditional holiday foods. At my thanksgiving table, we often have a mix of dishes we grew up with (green bean casserole) and the addition of dishes I like to add in for fun (this squash curry). This curry is part of my vegan thanksgiving series. It’s warm, cozy, and easily makes enough to feed a crowd. Traditional? No. Beautiful and a good conversation starter? Yes. Plus, the addition of the parsnip salad and lentil pilaf takes the whole meal to the next level.
Read more and see the recipe.

The post Red Kuri Squash Curry with Chard appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Saucy Portobello & Butternut Squash Tacos

Saucy Portobello & Butternut Squash Tacos

You guys, there are no words.

These tacos are insane. Spicy, saucy, hearty, and utterly delicious.

This is a must try!

These tacos were inspired by my love for fall and winter squash – especially butternut squash. Plus, they are easy to make, requiring just 30 minutes to prepare. What’s not to love?

The core ingredients are roasted, spiced butternut squash and saucy, sautéed portobello mushrooms.

Continue to Saucy Portobello & Butternut Squash Tacos from Minimalist Baker →

Slow Cooker Rutabaga Gratin with Millet

Slow Cooker Rutabaga Gratin with Millet and Gruyère | @naturallyella

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

When it comes to holiday meals, I’m type-A (plan everything to the minute) cook. I have a schedule for every facet of the meal, to the point of where I have alarms in my phone. (In fact, I still have labels from last Thanksgiving. My morning alarm is called ‘beans and stuffing’ from last year’s Thanksgiving.) For those of you who are a bit more relaxed in your meal planning, this rutabaga gratin is the best kind of holiday meal recipe. Place everything in the slower cooker in the morning and let it cook while the rest of the meal is prepared. It’s rich, creamy, and the perfect addition to any holiday meal! Read more and see the recipe.

The post Slow Cooker Rutabaga Gratin with Millet appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Broiled Saffron Dates

If you’ve been to my house at any point in recent months, you’ve likely had these dates. They take only slightly more effort to make than placing dates unadorned on a plate. And, there must be something unusually captivating about them because people always ask me how to make them. I think the idea stems from a flight I took years ago from San Francisco to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was sitting next to a young man, dressed head to toe in hemp, on his way to a spiritual retreat. 🙂 We started chatting, and he offered me a date from little plastic baggie. He proceeded to tell me the dates were an Ayurvedic staple for him on flights. Massaged with ghee, ginger, and saffron, they weren’t pretty in the plastic baggie, but they were a flavor revelation. In this version I soak saffron in a small amount of almond extract, and toss it with melted ghee (or clarified butter) and dates. I usually opt out of the ginger. Place the dates in an oven-proof baking dish and broil just long enough for the insides of the dates to get unctuous and tacky, just long enough that the skins start caramelizing. Serve warm. They’re good as part of a cheese spread, or as a sweet bite at the end of a meal – simple with a bit of a wink.

Broiled Saffron DatesBroiled Saffron Dates

Also! I’ve started to post event information related to Near & Far on this events page. I hope to see, meet, and chat with many of you at each of them! Event information here. xo -h

Continue reading Broiled Saffron Dates…