All posts by Mervin

Red Lentil Masala with Spinach

Red Lentil Masala with Spinach | @naturallyella

I am always amazed at what inspiration come from the food blog community. There are wise words of wisdom, quirky anecdotes, and most of all, tons of amazing food. Every time I check out my favorite blogs, I find myself making notes on things I want to try or ideas I have for recipes. When I saw Shanna’s Thai Chicken Curry, I knew I wanted to make something spicy and fragrant. I wanted a big dish of comfort and that’s exactly what I lentil masala. I did a bunch of searching and finally settled on adapting this Tikka Masala (without the tikka of course). This recipe has become my favorite lentil dish and the masala paste can be used for other meals, like this masala potatoes and fried egg skillet. Read more and see the recipe.

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20-minute Asian Kale Salad

20-minute Asian Kale Salad

I recently tried doing an elimination diet; emphasis on the “tried.”

I think I lasted about 1 week, but one food I did manage to do was avoid soy. During that time I discovered a way to do Asian food without tamari or soy sauce.

Exciting, right? Allow me to demonstrate.

A local grocery store in Portland has this amazing kale “slaw” with carrots and cabbage, and I’ve basically been living off of it for the past month.

20-minute Asian Kale Salad from Minimalist Baker

Summer Vegetable Frittata

Summer Vegetable Frittata | @naturallyella

There is no secret regarding my love of frittatas. That’s because this easy egg dish comes together quickly, can serve as a base for endless vegetables, grains, and cheese, and can feed anywhere from two people to a crowd. This vegetable frittata recipe is loaded with summer goodness, highlighting what I feel is the best of summer: sweet corn and zucchini. However, if you don’t happen to agree, you can always swap out certain items or add in a few more (like tomatoes)! Read more and see the recipe.

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Savory Oatmeal with Garlicky Kale

Savory Oatmeal with Garlicky Kale | @naturallyella

I always find it fascinating how easy it is to associate certain foods with specific categories (in certain cultures). For example, I grew up having very specific foods for breakfast one of which was always sweet: oatmeal. However, over the years, I’ve come to appreciate oats for their warm, not-too-overpowering flavor and their ability to be a perfect bed for produce. So, I’ve paired my favorite preparation of greens with creamy steel cut oats for a savory oatmeal. This is the perfect breakfast or even dinner and comes together in the time it takes to cook the oats. Read more and see the recipe.

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Harissa Roasted Chickpea Bowl

Harissa Roasted Chickpea Bowl | @naturallyella

Some of my favorite meals are ones that I can throw together in five minutes, toss in the oven, and forget about right until it’s ready. This roasted chickpea dish has a yogurt sauce keeping them a bit softer but also infusing them with a bit of flavor. Also in this recipe, I use a mild homemade harissa sauce that has a nice flavor but doesn’t come with the heat of some of the other harissa pastes. I recommend starting with a smaller amount if you’re unsure about the heat of the harissa. Then add more in after the cooking process if needed. Read more and see the recipe.

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Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos

Vegetarian Breakfast Burritos | @naturallyella

When we don’t know what to do for dinner, breakfast is usually the answer. Eggs are quick to prepare and easily create a meal. I made this burrito after having a bit of the chorizo-spiced crumble leftover from the nachos. As a result, these breakfast burritos were ready in a short time. Additionally, you can make the crumble the night before to quicken burrito assembly in the morning. Homemade tortillas are great for burritos. However, these days I’m usually putting dinner together at the last minute so store-bought are a lifesaver. Also, I’ve been known to skip scrambling the eggs and simply fry an egg over-hard then cut it into strips (similar to this quesadilla). Read more and see the recipe.

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Chickpea Dumplings in Curried Sweet Corn Soup

Cilantro Chickpea Dumplings in Curried Sweet Corn Soup | @naturallyella

Of all the summer produce, sweet corn is my favorite vegetable for soup (which is saying a lot since tomatoes are also in season). Sweet corn has the perfect balance of savory and sweet which makes it a winning partner with curry, as you’ll find out if you make this recipe. This recipe ventures into meal territory with the addition of plump chickpea dumplings. I followed Vegetarian Venture’s recipe which cooks the dumplings in a sauce (or in this case, soup). The result is a flavorful soup with hearty dumplings. Not quite ready to tackle the dumplings? This curried sweet corn soup is great by itself! Read more and see the recipe.

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Millet Sweet Corn Fritters

Millet Sweet Corn Fritters | @naturallyella

While few and far between, I occasionally have happy accidents in the kitchen. Recently, I was cooking a big batch of millet. After the usual amount of cooking time, I tasted the cooked millet only to find it was still on the crunchy side. I added more water and continued cooking. It turned out, the bottom half was already done so the extra water turned the millet in to mush. This was bad for the recipe I was making but a wonderful realization that a little extra water/cook time can create a perfect millet texture to be used in vegetable cakes and fritters, which is where these sweet corn fritters were born. I could eat these every day in the summer with a simple salad- the perfect crispness made from just a few ingredients. Read more and see the recipe.

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Cucumber Peanut Salad

Cucumber Peanut Salad | @naturallyella

As of late, it feels like our evenings only start after the baby finally goes to bed. It’s the time when I pour myself a glass of wine and more frequently, start to think about dinner. Some nights I’ve thought ahead while other nights are a ‘throw something together at 9pm’ kind of night. This salad is for those nights. It’s not heavy, can be ready in 10 minutes, and is flavorful enough that I feel satisfied after eating. I prefer using English Cucumbers in this recipe because of the low amount of seeds and the slightly sweeter flavor but any variety of cucumber will work. Read more and see the recipe.

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Green Bean Stir-Fry

Spicy Green Bean Stir-Fry | @naturallyella

I’m always a fan of a good noodle bowl with spicy vegetables but during the summer months, I get a real treat: fresh green beans. Green beans are one of my favorite stir-fry vegetable because they hold a bit of their crispness even when cooked but still absorb and work well with a variety of sauces. This green bean stir-fry is a slight riff on this vegetable lo mein bowl because the sauce is easy and one of my favorites. I keep a small package of miso in the refrigerator, which I highly recommend. It’s great in sauces and especially lovely as an addition to my favorite veg burger. Read more and see the recipe.

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