Brown Rice Porridge with Cream and Hemp Seeds | Naturally Ella

I’m on a mission to make a porridge from every grain I have in my pantry (not really, but I probably should be). I have my favorites and this brown rice porridge is towards the top. One thing about my porridges that happens to be the case across the board: I like them thick and I like them with texture (this is also the same with my morning bowl of oatmeal).

Also, I like to use short-grain brown rice. The starch from the shorter grains helps thicken the porridge a bit more without having to cook the rice until it completely falls apart (like the method used with long grain rice in making Congee. If this sounds more your speed- I recommend checking out a congee recipe.)

Read more and see the recipe.

Pumpkin Paneer Curry | Naturally Ella

Post sponsored by Frontier Co-op. See below for more details.

One pretty well known fact is that I’m not big on tofu- it’s a texture thing. I’ve tried to get over it for years and while there are some recipes I enjoy, it’s still not a favorite of mine. I’ve managed to adapt most of my favorite recipes that typically call for tofu. Mostly I’ve done this with chickpeas but in quite a few Indian-American restaurants and food trucks, paneer stands in. I love paneer. You can make it at home, it is easy to fry, and, if you’re buying it at the store, it’s a bit cheaper than halloumi.

This generic curry is fast with help from a creamy curry pumpkin sauce and the fried paneer. The sauce features Frontier Co-op curry powder blend that is an all-around good blend to have on hand. I use it across recipes and it always produces a wonderful dinner. One note, if you don’t already have grains made up, I recommend serving this with quinoa. It’s a quick recipe and using quinoa ensures you have dinner to the table in about 20 minutes.

Read more and see the recipe.

Chipotle Lentil Tacos with Lettuce

Of all the pantry inspired meals, these tacos are one of my favorites. Lentils soak up flavors amazingly well. Then toss those spiced lentils in a warm tortilla and add your favorite toppings: it’s a perfect recipe for dinner. Beyond the flavor, these chipotle lentil tacos are fairly fast and most of the time is spent waiting for the lentils to cook. One quick tip: if you’re not into spicy, swap the chipotle peppers for a mix of smoked paprika and smoked salt. That combination adds the perfect depth that works wonderfully with the fresh greens.
Read more and see the recipe.

Sumac Acorn Squash Soup with Parsley Sauce | Naturally Ella

This is one of those recipes that I like to push the flavors just a bit. The sumac lends a slightly brighter taste to the acorn squash while the parsley/tahini sauce brings the balance. It’s a perfect partnership that also happens to be vegan (thanks for creamy white beans). I also find this soup is best served with a hunk of crusty bread and a crisp glass of La Crema Monterey Chardonnay. I’m not normally a Chardonnay lover but this wine is wonderful with all the flavors of this soup. Read more and see the recipe.

Sweet Potato Salad with Butter-Hazelnut Dressing | Naturally Ella

It’s rare that I get stuck on one salad- I like to mix things up every time. However, this salad is different. I’ve been making this butter-hazelnut dressing for a few weeks now. I could honestly do without the sweet potatoes- just a bit of butter lettuce and this dressing (but the sweet potatoes do add a nice color and a bit more nutrition).

This salad dressing was a happy accident. I’d run out of olive oil, had been working with hazelnuts, and was leaving in 10 minutes to take lunch over to a friend’s house. Needless to say, I ran out with this dressing and couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.

Read more and see the recipe.

Grain-Free Granola | Naturally Ella

As much as I love grains, I sometimes like to experiment without. This grain-free granola is actually part of the Pantry Reset series in a little bonus recipe I’m sharing. In the video, I’m sharing 3 different granola versions and this granola is one of those variations. I really love this version because with help from the food processor and brown rice syrup, this clumpy grain-free granola feels just like traditional granola.

This granola is perfect for using with yogurt, on top of soups, and even in salads (it is GREAT in salads). Best of all, there’s numerous ways you can make it, depending on what have on hand. For this particular version, I used pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds with a bit of walnut oil and brown rice syrup (which I recommend having a jar in your pantry- it’s really useful sweetener!)

Read more and see the recipe.

Garlicky Pinto Bean Toast | Naturally Ella

I have no shame in how much toast I eat and it’s rare I meet a toast I don’t like. A crisp slice of toasted bread piled high with vegetarian delights is the perfect way to start (or end) the day. Sure, most popular is the solid avocado toast but I say give me toast piled high with garlicky beans any day. This bean toast recipe is fast and is the perfect meal for any time of day. Play around with the herbs, add your favorite vegetables or serve it with a salad- so many possibilities!

One quick note- I originally made this recipe with pinto beans but the video shows kidney. Either are fine to use! Just make sure your beans are not super old- you want these beans to be tender by the end of cooking.

Read more and see the recipe.

Spiced Lentil Stew with Potatoes | Naturally Ella

If you watch the video for this recipe, my enthusiasm for lentils might not fully show. Trust, however, I have a passion for lentils that sometimes gets a bit much for others. Lentils are one of the perfect ingredients in my pantry.

They require no soaking but still cook within 30 minutes, they adapt to different flavors, and they can make so many different meals. For example, my favorite lentil bites that have made an appearance yearly on the site. This soup is just one of many lentils in my arsenal. However, the beauty in this recipe are within the spice blend. Winter is the perfect time of year for a savory cinnamon dish!

Read more and see the recipe.

Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potatoes | Naturally Ella

I feel like it is only right that I start month of pantry inspiration with a pantry recipe I eat every week. These burrito bowls are a staple in our house because the vegetables and toppings are interchangeable. I’ve also been known to eat the rice and beans be themselves with a bit of hot sauce or a fried egg (an all-seasons meal). This is the epitome of a pantry meal. Also, I typically make a large batch of rice and beans- this becomes my lunch, and occasionally breakfast, throughout the week.
Read more and see the recipe.

Happy New Year! As some of you know, I’m starting the year out on a different path. No resolutions, no ‘feel better’ schemes, no diet plans. Just some good-old-fashion organization and inspiration. I’m spending the month of January helping you reset your pantry and be inspired to cook from all those grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds you might already have on hand. I’ll be doing weekly recap emails you can sign-up for or you can follow along on YouTube or keep up on instagram. Don’t worry though- I still have quite a few delicious recipes I’m sharing on the site.

So, if you’re just looking to cook a few more plant-based meals or you’re looking to overhaul your dinners, I have you covered. Hope you enjoy the series and happy cooking!

And to get started, a bit of inspiration for all those pantry items I’ll be chatting about throughout the month!

Legume inspiration

Bulgur Lentil Ragu with Parsnip-Rutabaga Mash | Naturally Ella
Berbere Chickpeas and Chard with Farro | Naturally Ella
Black Bean Tacos with Avocado | Naturally Ella
Lentil Meatballs with Burst Tomato Pasta | @naturallyella
Chipotle Black Bean Chili
Turmeric Chickpeas with Ginger | N

Grain Inspiration

Quinoa Bowl with Za'atar Avocado and Egg
Ricotta Kale Risotto with Farro
Amaranth Porridge with Roasted Pears, Maple Pecans, and Yogurt
Roasted Carrots with Kale Pepita Pesto | Naturally Ella
Moroccan Carrot Salad with Millet and Pomegranate

Nut/Seed Inspiration

Vegan Roasted Carrot Sandwich with Sunflower Cream | @naturallyella
Ginger-Soy Slaw with Quinoa | Naturally Ella
Roasted Carrot Polenta with Sage and Walnuts | Naturally Ella
Beet Wild Rice Salad with Pistachios | Naturally Ella
Sweet Potato Pasta with Walnut-Sage Sauce | Naturally Ella
Spinach Roasted Asparagus Soup with Lemon Sunflower Cream | Naturally Ella
A Guide to Vegetarian Cooking | Naturally Ella

Even though I don’t do resolutions, I love the first of the year as a time to reset. I clean and organize the kitchen, jot down a few intentions for the new year, and I sketch of rough list of new things I’d like to try. I like to try and kick myself out of ruts the holidays might have created. I have a feeling quite a few of you feel the same way as I do. Around this time of year, I receive quite a few emails around adding more plants to your meal rotation. This guide is a solid arsenal of resources to help you on your way. It’s about using your pantry, soaking up the seasonal produce, planning ahead with components, and potentially a bit of meal prep.

Whether you’re trying to add a few more vegetables to your diet or want to dive into the vegetarian lifestyle, I hope that I can inspire and be a source of excitement about learning to cook vegetarian!

The Pantry

PageLines-pantry.jpg
Legumes-Stocking a Pantry
spices-7

This year is my year of the pantry. I’m kicking off the year with a pantry reset (that you can join/follow along with). I want you to find your pantry happiness and inspiration. The pantry is the backbone for nearly every recipe I make. Having go-to items in your pantry can make the difference between making dinner and ordering pizza. If you find the items you use most and always keep those on hand- your weekly shopping and planning becomes about the produce.

There are 21 different pantry sections to explore that cover everything from Asian noodles to vinegars. Start on the pantry page or explore a few of my favorite to get you started: legumes, grains, and spices. Each section includes how to buy, store, and use each ingredient- never let anything go to waste again!

The Ingredients

market-2
Avocado - Explore an Ingredient - Naturally Ella
cauliflower

One of my biggest suggestions when it comes to vegetarian cooking is to lead with the produce. Look for what looks the freshest or what sounds the best in any given week. Find recipes to match then add pantry items to help round out the meal. The ingredient area on the site has over 50 items of produce to explore with information about cooking, storing, buying, and of course lots of recipe inspiration!

The Components

Romesco | Component Cooking | Naturally Ella
Multi-grain Pilaf with Quinoa, Millet, and Teff | Cooking Component | Naturally Ella
Whole Grain Crepes | Component Cooking | Naturally Ella

New to the site this year is one of my favorite types of cooking. I love creating items that I can piece together into many different types of meals. It’s less about recipes and it’s super freeing. This is just a small portion of the components I use but I’ll continue to add to this page throughout the year.

See all the components >

 

30-Minute Recipes

There’s a constant struggle between cooking and time. More often than not, we forgo cooking because it’s easier to eat out or heat up something prepackaged. I have a solid base of 20 and 30 minute recipes that I find are perfect for avoiding takeout. Planning ahead and the occasional store-bought item are both time-savers too!

See all the 20-minute recipes >
See all the 30-minute recipes >

Curry Broth Noodles with Spinach and Egg | Naturally Ella
Smoky Beans and Polenta | Naturally Ella
Romesco Toast with Fried Egg and Avocado | Naturally Ella
Garlicky Halloumi Tacos | @naturallyella
Kale and Chickpea Stew | @naturallyella
Cabbage_ginger_noodles

 

4-week Sample Meal Plans

Every Sunday, I write up a quick meal plan for the week. Most times it’s rough, things like Thursday night pizza or Tuesday night pasta. From there, I use what’s on hand with what looked best at the store. Other times I like to try out a new recipe or throw an old favorite back into the rotation which means things are planned a bit more.

Below are 4 weeks of ideas. Each week contains three breakfast recipes, three lunch, and five dinner. The recipes are all linked to recipes on the site. You can easily swap out for recipes that better fit your diet such as vegan or gluten-free. If you would like meal plans every week, you can also check out my Plan your Meals page!

Vegetarian Meal Plans | Week 1 | Naturally Ella
Vegetarian Meal Plans | Week 2 | Naturally Ella
Vegetarian Meal Plans | Week 3 | Naturally Ella
Vegetarian Meal Plans | Week 4 | Naturally Ella

 

My Favorite Kitchen Tools

Walk into any kitchen store and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the gadgets and cookware lining the walls. I take a fairly minimal approach: A solid cutting board and knife are a must as well as a solid set of cookware. I keep a few small gadgets on hand but I like tools that pull double duty. A few of my favorites:

Kitchen Tools | Naturally Ella

Pictured:

  1. Microplane Zester/Grater: This is my number one tool in the kitchen. It’s small but is perfect for citrus zest, grating cheese, and finely mincing garlic/ginger. I use my microplane with almost every recipe.
  2. Weck Jars: Peak inside my pantry and you will see it lined with weck jars. They are functional, beautiful, and the perfect way to store grains, legumes, spices, and many other pantry items.
  3. Wood Spatulas: These spatulas are my go-to cooking utensil. They are like a wooden spoon but way better!
  4. Cast Iron Pans and Dutch Ovens: My kitchen wouldn’t be complete without solid cast iron pans and a dutch oven. I love Staub, Finex (pictured), and if you’re on a budget, Lodge.
  5. Chef’s Knife If you were to invest in only one nice thing in your kitchen, make it a good knife. Vegetable-heavy recipes take a lot of chopping- just one good knife can make all the difference.
  6. Flour Ginder: A flour grinder, whether a hand grinder or a powered grinder, is such a great addition to your kitchen. Freshly milled flour tastes better and keeps more nutrients in your flour. If you want to get started milling your own flour, be sure to check out The Homemade Flour Cookbook.
  7. High-speed blender: This is one of the more expensive investments but I’m a complete convert. If you love soups, sauces, or smoothies- a high speed blender is for you. Better yet, most of these blenders will also grind flour! Vitamix also sells, grain-milling ready, dry containers.
  8. Baking Dishes: Generic but indispensable. I keep an 8×8, 9×9, and 9×12 pan on hand for casseroles, gratins, and roasting vegetables.

Not pictured but also heavily used in my kitchen:

  1. Kitchen Tongs: Tongs are a cheap, easy kitchen tool to have on hand for turning vegetables, checking noodles, or flipping that fried halloumi you are cooking.
  2. Kitchen Scale From weighing flour for baking to squash for cooking- a scale is a must-have in my kitchen.
  3. Bee’s Wax PaperPerfect as a replacement for plastic wrap- it’s great for covering bowls, wrapping cheese, and storing items in the refrigerator.
    Natural Parchment Paper: I like to use either my silpat or parchment for roasting vegetables or lining bakeware.
  4. Freezer-Safe Ball Jars: The pint-sized freezer-safe jars from Ball® are perfect for freezing cooked legumes and grains in 16oz portions without using plastic.
  5. Vegetable peeler: Also an important tool! I like to make sure I found a solid peeler by peeling a butternut squash. If it does it with ease, you’re good to go.
  6. Stainless Steel Pots and Pans: While I find myself cooking in cast iron more often than not, having a set of pots and pans is also great (especially the pans).

 

Most Popular on Naturally Ella

Spicy Peanut Sauce with Brown Rice Noodles and Veg | @naturallyella
Black Bean Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Red Lentil Masala with Spinach | @naturallyella
Ginger Bok Choy Soup with Noodles
Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Polenta
Coconut Kale with Turmeric Rice
Vegan Spiced Summer Squash Soup | @naturallyella
Bulgur Vegetarian Chili

Roasted Sunchoke Salad | Naturally Ella

Between all the holidays, I find myself gravitating towards lighter meals. Bring on all the greens and vegetables. This is especially helpful when visiting the Sunday market- everything looks good. It’s around this time of year I grab extra sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes). These cousins of the sunflower have a nice, warm flavor that’s not overpowering.

The raw texture is a bit akin to potato and the roasted sunchoke has an extra lovely nutty flavor (like in this sunchoke salad). I also love this salad because it blatantly plays on the sunflower relationship (with the help toasted sunflower seeds!) Also, if you need a bit more inspiration about what to do with these delightful vegetables, this article has some amazing ideas!

Read more and see the recipe.

13 Vegetarian Holiday Main Dishes | Naturally Ella

As I get older, holiday dinners become a bit of an “oh no, it’s three days away” affair. We keep our dinners small, but still delicious. In honor of my procrastination, I wanted to share 13 vegetarian holiday main dishes that can satisfy all your guests. For many years, I’d always make a quiche as the main but over the years I’ve done everything from stuffed squash to hearty stews. We’re non-traditionalist and I kind of like it that way.

Vegetarian

https://naturallyella.com/butternut-squash-stuffed-shells/

These are some of my favorite, standard holiday recipes. As I mentioned above, quiche is an easy go-to (that reheats well for breakfast the next day). Also, the butternut squash shell recipe is a sure-win. What’s not to love about pasta, cheese, and squash?

 

Vegan

Jerk Roasted Kuri Squash with Bulgur Salad | Naturally Ella

While I tend towards the quiche, I’ve also done my fair-share of vegan main dishes. I find squash, having a hearty flavor and the ability to serve in large pieces, works well as a main. I like the idea of having a fork/knife meal and vegetable ‘steaks’ work well for this (like the celeriac recipe below.)

 

Gluten-free

Whole Roasted Tikka Masala Cauliflower | Naturally Ella

Inevitably you will probably have one gluten-free person at the table. I like to make a dish that is vegetarian by default but also happens to be gluten-free. These are the recipes people love because they are so full of flavor, even the meat eaters will grab a few bites.

 

Ricotta Butternut Squash Pizza with Spinach | Naturally Ella

If you’ve caught on by now, you might have noticed that many of my components I share also happen to work well with pizza. Olive tapenade, garlicky greens, and romesco are a few of my favorites. And obviously this, roasted butternut squash (with this pizza!) This pizza is a version that finds itself in rotation during the cooler months. I typically don’t use ricotta but I’ve been finding I have leftover ricotta stashed in the refrigerator more often than not. Best of all, I give a vegan riff below (and I barely miss the cheese!)

Read more and see the recipe.