This is How You Step up Your Guacamole Game

I’m all for a straight-ahead, no-fuss, guacamole. Nine times out of ten, that’s how I approach it. Let the avocado shine. Don’t distract with tomatoes, or pomegranate seeds, or too much lemon, or too much lime. I wrote some thoughts about guacamole basics here. That tenth occasion? I’ll work in a wildcard, or take a surprise approach. Something along the lines of what you see pictured here, a recurring favorite. It’s a recipe I shared years ago in Super Natural Every Day, loosely inspired by a preparation I came across in Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking. Imagine guacamole topped with fragrant, Indian-spiced onions and garlic, green chiles, and mustard seeds. The creamy, ripe avocado melds beautifully the savory bits, and the vibrant cooking oil works its way into all the little valleys. People love this with chips, toasted pita, or naan bread. If you’re in any sort of a rut, give this a try.

A quick side note – I can also imagine a Thai-spiced version being wonderful (with green curry in place of the Indian curry paste.

Indian-spiced Guacamole

Indian-spiced Guacamole

Continue reading This is How You Step up Your Guacamole Game…

Dried Apricot Soup with Emmer

Dried Apricot Soup with Emmer and Potatoes

Cooking brings us together via recipes passed down through generations and different cultures. The act of cooking and sharing a meal can unite us, even in a virtual sense. That is, essentially, why this site exists. It’s a way to learn and understand through something we do every day. I’ve been struggling to stay connected to this space without bringing in current events because cooking, to me, is a way to bring everyone together, even during a time of division. To ignore politics in the realm of food feels too surface, too insincere.

The United States is a country continually shaped by immigrants and refugees. This is most noticeable in the food we eat and the recipes we make. The recipes I create are a melting pot of flavors and cultures. I find it important to keep this in mind, especially when we, as a nation, are beginning to literally and figuratively wall ourselves off. I urge, in this time, that it is all hands on deck. Educate yourself on the issues that matter to you.

Get involved. Join groups, call your representatives, donate to organizations like the ACLU, and help fight for rights of those whose voice may not be heard. We may not always agree on what we’re fighting for but my hope is that food will continue to bring us all together in a way nothing else can.

This particular recipe is from the Taste of Persia cookbook, a beautiful cookbook highlighting recipes from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan. Cookbooks can be a wonderful start to diving into a culture you might not understand. The stories in this book (along with others like Cooking a Home, Soup for Syria, and Delights from the Garden of Eden) have all helped in my journey. It’s a small start, but one that’s been extremely enlightening.

I’ll leave you with a quote, found in the foreword of Cooking a Home. It hit me fairly hard and one I think applies globally:

“Our challenge as Syrians, but also as fellow inhabitants on this planet is to turn our world into a large kitchen, in which we feed the needy, resolve conflict around tables with words and coffee –and not with grenades and bombs— and fill our pantries with tools and nourishment that would raise our youth— and not with chemical weapons and poison gas.”

– Afra Jalabi

Dried Apricot Soup with Emmer

A hearty wheat berry soup with a base of dried thyme, mint, and tart apricots. The soup comes from southern Georgia and is found in the cookbook, Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 1 cup emmer (farro) (rinsed well)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups unsalted or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups tart dried apricots (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (chopped into 1″ cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint (to taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, basil, and parsley (chopped)
  • Feta, for topping
  1. Heat a large cast iron or regular pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil followed by the onions. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until the onions are fragrant and translucent. 

  2. Add the emmer, stir to coat, and cook for a minute. Add in water and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Add the apricots to the pot, cover, and let cook until the emmer and apricots start to soften, 30 minutes or so (see note). 

  3. Stir in the potatoes along with the dried herbs, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Taste and add more seasoning as desired. 

  4. Serve the soup with fresh herbs and sprinkle of feta. 

Tips & Tricks: As noted above, the recipe is from Taste of Persia but is written exactly as I made it. I recommend checking out the cookbook for all the possible options for herbs and toppings.

Also, I’ve made this with California apricots since they tend to be more on the tart side (and dried tart apricots can be hard to find).

Get the Taste of Persia Cookbook.

Dried Apricot Soup with Emmer, Potatoes, and Fresh Herbs

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The Best Almond Meal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan + GF)

The Best Almond Meal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan + GF)

Say hello to the only cookie you’ll ever need.

No, but seriously.

These really are my new favorite cookie. And, by new, I mean an old favorite (that’s been veganized)!

If you’ve tried these Almond Meal Cookies with Coconut and Chocolate Chips, you already know how amazing they are. However, the recipe does require an egg, and a reader recently suggested/asked if I had tried veganizing them.

The Best Almond Meal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan + GF) from Minimalist Baker →

Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash with Spelt

Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash with Spelt | @naturallyella

I was slow to warm up to spaghetti squash. I had fallen in love with the smooth texture of acorn and butternut squash. Spaghetti squash was different and highly unappealing. However, my thoughts have changed and I now like to use the unique texture to my advantage. This twice baked spaghetti squash is a little on the time consuming side of cooking but it’s a great alternative when you’re not feeling mac and cheese. Cook the spelt and squash ahead of time, this will greatly speed up dinner! Read more and see the recipe.

The post Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash with Spelt appeared first on Naturally Ella.

Quinoa Gado-Gado Bowl (30 Minutes!)

Quinoa Gado-Gado Bowl (30 Minutes!)

We’ve nearly made it through January (!), and I don’t know about you, but my body is still craving vegetable-rich, healthy entrées.

One of my easy, go-to meals is gado-gado – a traditional Indonesian dish we discovered when we went to Bali way back in 2013. The concept is simple: rice topped with raw or lightly steamed veggies and a spicy peanut sauce.

That’s my kind of meal (and you better believe I ate plenty during our trip).

Quinoa Gado-Gado Bowl (30 Minutes!) from Minimalist Baker →

Chili Lentils over Sweet Potatoes

Chili Lentils over Sweet Potatoes | @naturallyella

There’s a small sandwich shop in my hometown that is a staple. The food isn’t anything special but the tradition around the restaurant is there. Half the menu consists of loaded potatoes smothered with meats, nacho cheese, steamed vegetables, and of course, chili. I’ve made chili loaded fries before but these chili lentils are a bit easier and just as delicious. Make sure you find or make a solid chili powder- it’s the foundation for the entire meal. Read more and see the recipe.

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How To Make the Creamy, Toasted Coconut Milk of Your Dreams

Let me start by saying, if you already make your own nut milks at home, you have to try this. I mean – walk to your kitchen, turn the oven dial, and get some coconut in there. You have to trust me here. I started making homemade toasted coconut milk a few months ago, and it has become one of my favorite things. It’s creamy, rich, nutty, and intense. I enjoy it immensely on its own, and as an ingredient in other preparations as well. It’s a real flavor punch. Imagine all the ways you can use it to make some of your favorite preparations even better. It’s great in chai tea, in morning oatmeal, baked oatmeal(!). You can use it in a wild range of sweet preparations, but it’s also good as a way to add a little je ne sais quoi, to broths, soups, and weeknight curries.

You can see how it comes together in a video of the process here, and you can find the recipe down below, as well as a few notes. Let me know if you make it, and if you do, please let me know how you’re using it!

A couple notes. If you want to totally geek out on this, play around with the toastiness of your coconut. If you toast coconut deeply, you’re going to have a different profile than a more lightly toasted coconut. I tend to ride the dark side of the spectrum, but it’s wild the difference between a milk made with lightly toasted versus dark. Both delicious, just different.

Toasted Coconut Milk

Toasted Coconut Milk

Also, like all pure coconut milk, it will separate. And it solidifies in the refrigerator. Use it as you would canned coconut milk, and expect it to behave similarly (i.e. you might need to warm it up a bit, and give it a good stir before using)…

Continue reading How To Make the Creamy, Toasted Coconut Milk of Your Dreams…

Simple Vegan Potato Salad

Simple Vegan Potato Salad

Sometimes, you just need a classic. Today is one of those days.

Say hello to my vegan-ized version of potato salad. Creamy, savory, and hearty, it requires just 10 ingredients. What’s not to love?

This potato salad is made with red potatoes – my favorite – for the ultimate potato salad texture. (Yellow potatoes tend to get too soft + I love the red skin for a pop of color.)

Fresh, chopped vegetables – I went with bell pepper, celery, and onion – add plenty of crunch and plant-based fiber.

Simple Vegan Potato Salad from Minimalist Baker →