Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chickpea Curry Stuffed Pita with Dill Yogurt

Close-up overhead shot of chickpea curry stuffed in pita with a dill yogurt sauce and arugula.

I think one of the hardest things in daily cooking is making and eating a solid lunch. I have no problem with breakfast and feel solid in my dinner game. And yet, when it comes to the mid-day meal, I’m either really on it or eating out.

These chickpea curry stuffed pita are one of the meals I come back to time and again. They are fast and can be made with a myriad of different spice blends. Best of all, these stuffed pita are a solid make-ahead option for packing your lunch.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Chickpea Curry Stuffed Pita with Dill Yogurt appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Black Bean & Plantain Arepa Sandwiches

Black Bean & Plantain Arepa Sandwiches

Behold basically the only thing I want to eat anymore: arepa sandwiches!

Since we just mastered our arepas, it just wasn’t right not to show you how to make my ultimate arepa sandwich. It includes all of my favorite things, like guacamole, sweet roasted plantains, and smoky black beans. And it comes together in 30 minutes with 10 ingredients! Let’s do this.

Once your arepas are made, start by roasting your plantains until golden brown and caramelized.

Black Bean & Plantain Arepa Sandwiches from Minimalist Baker →

Roasted Mole Cauliflower with Chickpeas

Overhead shot of mole cauliflower on a sheet tray, tossed and roasted with mole sauce.

As with most recipes, the most delicious ones come from pure happenstance and whatever I happen to have on hand. This mole cauliflower came about for two reason. An assistant who made a massive amount of mole and a last-minute potluck where I needed to bring a dish. I happen to have a head of cauliflower on hand, so I set to work.

I realize this the mole sauce may be a red flag for some because at it’s root, it’s a complex process with 25+ ingredients. However, you have options here. To start, find local Mexican grocers who might have homemade mole paste for sale. This is best place to start. If you can’t find any there, make a quick version from a recipe like this or this. Or of course, if you’re in it to win it, make an authentic batch.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Roasted Mole Cauliflower with Chickpeas appeared first on Naturally Ella.

How to Make Arepas (3 Ingredients!)

How to Make Arepas (3 Ingredients!)

We have a serious thing for the Portland restaurant Teote. It’s Latin American-inspired and celebrates the arepa in all forms.

I’d never had an arepa before dining there, but since that first bite, I’ve been back almost weekly. (It doesn’t hurt that they have a killer vegan bowl there, which inspired this Vegan Black Bean Plantain Bowl!)

I started testing arepas of my own recently, but all of my attempts fell slightly short of Teote’s glory.

How to Make Arepas (3 Ingredients!) from Minimalist Baker →

Vegan Aubergine Polpette – Three Ways


At first we wanted to do a classic Lady and the Tramp Spaghetti and Meatball dish with this recipe. But it felt too expected. So here is instead another spin on our one makes three-series. We really love this series because it reflect so much how we eat. It’s not always an entirely new meal every day but more of a flow where the same components come back with new pairings. These polpette or vegan meatballs are perfect for this. They are good on their own – tender and very flavorful – just like we prefer. And they are also insanely versatile, rolled into a wrap, tangled into pasta, paired with a spicy tomato sauce and hummus or tossed in a crunchy vegan take on a caesar salad.


Vegan Aubergine Polpette
Makes around 40 balls

2 medium sized aubergines
2 red onions
4 tbsp olive oil
100 g / 1 cup almond flour
120 g / 1 cup cooked lentils
4 tbsp pickled capers, drained and finely chopped
2 tbsp raisins
zest from 1 lemon
15 leaves basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 200°C  / 400°F.
Peel and chop the onion finely and chop the aubergine into small dices. Stir fry both in a large skillet with the oil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very soft. When soft, add to a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse a few times to mix everything together. You want a very chunky sticky texture but don’t pulse too much or you’ll end up with a mushy mixture. Remove the knife blades and shape 30-40 small balls with your hands. Place them on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for 25 minutes. Store in the fridge or freeze them.

Scroll down for three ways to serve them.


Hummus with spicy tomato sauce, polpette and cucumber salad

1 batch vegan aubergine polpette (see recipe above)
1 batch Hummus, see this recipe or store-bought hummus

Spicy tomato sauce
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
1 garlic clove
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp harissa paste (or 1 red chili)
2 x 400 g tins tomatoes
1/2 tsp sea salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic and add them to the sauce pan  together with the spices. Let sauté for a few minutes until soft not browned and then add  the tomatoes and salt. Let cook for at least 20 minutes, until rich and fragrant. It will become sweeter and rounder in flavour the longer you leave it on. Store the sauce you are not using tonight in glass bottles in the fridge.

Cucumber salad
½ cucumber
2 tsp olive oil
½ lemon, juice + zest
1 pinch sea salt
1 small handful fresh dill

Finely dice the cucumber and place in a bowl. Add olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt and dill and toss to combine.

Arrange the hummus in shallow bowls and make a well in the middle. Place a couple of spoonfuls tomato sauce in the well, add a few aubergine polpette and a few spoonfuls cucumber sallad.


Vegan Wrap with Polpette, Ajvar and Krauts
Serves 4

4 wrap breads / tortilla breads, gluten free or whole grain
4 lettuce leaves
4 cavalo nero or kale, stems removed
1 cup cooked white quinoa
4 tbsp ajvar dressing
1/2 cucumber, cut into sticks
4 tbsp sauerkraut (see recipe here)
1 batch aubergine polpette (see recipe above)

Place one lettuce leave and one kale leave on each tortilla bread, then place 2-3 tbsp quinoa in the middle, a dollop ajvar, cucumber slices, sauerkraut and top with a couple of aubergine polpette.
Fold the top and bottom edges over the filling. Roll the whole tortilla from left to right to wrap in the filling. Roll some parchment paper around them and tie with a string to hold them together.


Vegan Ceasar Salad with Polpette
Serves 4

1 head Cosmopolitan lettuce
1 batch aubergine polpette (see recipe above)
2 avocados, stone/peel removed and sliced
2 small apples, cored and sliced
2 tbsp sunflower seeds, toasted

1/2 cup / 125 ml cold pressed neutral oil (organic rapeseed)
1/2 cup / 125 ml soy milk, unsweetened
2-3 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp pickled capers, drained
1 large pinch salt

Add all dressing ingredients to a tall glas or blender cup. Mix with a stick blender on high speed for about 15 seconds or until you have a creamy white dressing. Taste and adjust the flavours to your preference. Add more oil and blend again if you like it thicker.

Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Add 2 tbsp vegan mayo dressing and toss to cover. Then transfer to a serving platter and arrange avocado slices, apple slices and aubergine polpette and last, scatter over toasted sunflower seeds.

Inspiring Hand-painted Cookies

Hand-painted cookies are incredibly special. The care and attention that goes into them, remarkable. I keep a running folder of inspiration for when I have a quiet Sunday for baking. And lately, I tend to love the cookies that have a watercolor vibe. I’m linking to a bunch here. Illustration isn’t my strongest suit, so graphic designs and patterns are typically where I land. Hope some of these inspire you as much as they have me!

1. Calendula Shortbread with Saffron Stripes

I do variations on these quite a lot. Made with shortbread dough (a nut-free version of this) The icing is made by mixing 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 egg whites, and enough water to thin to desired translucency. Divide the icing into separate bowls, and add color from there. The yellow was created using by infusing 1 teaspoon of vodka with a pinch of saffron and allowing it to sit for a couple of minutes. Strain the saffron liquid into the icing base a bit at a time, more or less depending on how saturated you’d like it.

Inspiring Hand-painted Watercolor Cookies

2. Ayako Kurokawa(Burrow)
Ayako Kurokawa of Burrow patisserie in Brooklyn is the master. I love her work on so many fronts. Look at the detailed handwriting, the cat whiskers, and stripes. Ayako’s work is as personal as a signature, and I love seeing her talent expressed in the most beautiful charming treats. Have you seen her paint Julia? Or, look at these if air-brush is more your thing. Follow Ayako on Instagram.

Inspiring Hand-painted Watercolor Cookies

3. Ultimate Sugar Cookies
Dream team at work here – Alison Roman + Nikole Herriott + Michael Graydon. Bold, graphic, fun, & super inspiring. Get the recipe here.

Inspiring Hand-painted Watercolor Cookies

4. Jacquelyn Clark’s Water Color Cookies
Love the soft colors here, and the mix of florals with abstract. Super pretty. Get the recipe here.

Inspiring Hand-painted Watercolor Cookies

5. Albion x Sweet Marie Watercolor Cookie Tutorial(Albion)
So pretty – I’d use natural coloring from ingredients like beets, dragonfruit, berries, and the like, but the general concept is perfect for a treat plate or dessert spread. See the process shots here.

Inspiring Hand-painted Watercolor Cookies

Tools: Some of my cookie tools: A range of brushes, cutters, and ruler. See that little salt cellar on the left? It has a pretty texture on the outside, I sometimes use textures like that as a bit of a template for designs. Simply roll it across the dough, and bake the cookies. It will leave a hint of the design, and you can use that as a guide for your patterns. For example, I rolled some striped pottery across the dough in the lead photo and used that as the template for the irregular stripes! Play around!

Inspiring Hand-painted Watercolor Cookies

Make your own Natural Food Dyes or, I tend to be a bit lazy * last-minute, so I like to keep a collection of powdered fruit/vegetable powders on hand. For example, I have blueberry, hibiscus, raspberry, saffron, cacao, charcoal (good for pencil effect). Play around!

Continue reading Inspiring Hand-painted Cookies on 101 Cookbooks

Easy Vegan Ranch Dressing (Oil-Free!)

Easy Vegan Ranch Dressing (Oil-Free!)

Being from the Midwest originally, we certainly have ra special place in our hearts for ranch dressing. When we were growing up, it was a common dressing for salads and basically the only way we would eat vegetables.

If you take a look at the ingredients of ranch dressing at the store, you’ll notice lots of dairy, processed oils, and other not-so-fresh ingredients. Let’s fix that and make our own!

This 10-ingredient, 1-bowl recipe is made with items you likely already have on hand: cashews, lemon, spices, vinegar, and herbs.

Easy Vegan Ranch Dressing (Oil-Free!) from Minimalist Baker →

Spinach Quinoa Cakes with Garlicky Yogurt

Spinach Quinoa Cakes with Garlicky Yogurt | Naturally Ella

There is a direct connection to having a toddler and uptick in the amount of finger foods we eat in our house. Granted, even some foods I wouldn’t consider finger friendly become so but that’s just life with a small child. However, sandwiches, quesadillas, and fritters are all weekly staples.

These quinoa cakes have been around for a bit but I’ve updated it to be a bit easier and really, just better. You can serve them by themselves but they also work on salads or even tucked in a pita. I like to make a big batch and use them as after school snack with these easy yogurt sauce.

Some quick notes. The yogurt sauce is better after it sits for a bit. I highly recommend making this first and letting it rest while you do everything else. As for the quinoa cakes, they can be a bit delicate. I recommend slightly wetting your hand a bit before shaping. This greatly helps the cakes not stick to your hands.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Spinach Quinoa Cakes with Garlicky Yogurt appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Socca Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Pesto

Socca Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Pesto

Now that we’ve discovered how delicious socca is, let’s make pizza!

This recipe requires just 10 ingredients and 1 bowl to make and comes together in about 1 hour.

The reason I love this recipe so much is it’s like eating pizza but without all the bread and grains. That’s right, it’s grain-free!

It starts with socca batter infused with garlic and nutritional yeast for flavor (oregano is optional!).

Socca Pizza with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Pesto from Minimalist Baker →

Kale Breakfast Salad

Kale Breakfast Salad

Like most recipes, this breakfast salad was a complete accident. I had a couple of eggs and some kale I needed to use. I didn’t feel like scrambled eggs and I believe a disappointing breakfast that was not supposed to be a breakfast salad but strangely was one. At any rate, I dug through the drawers for some potatoes and decided to go all out with breadcrumbs in lieu of toast.

One thing you might notice, it looks strangely like I put bits of ham in this salad. I did not- those are gorgeous purple potatoes from a local farm. They definitely are not required but they do add a certain ‘made you look’ to the dish.

Read more and see the recipe.

The post Kale Breakfast Salad appeared first on Naturally Ella.