Dill Beet Chickpea Salad | Naturally Ella

I have a problem at farmers’ markets: I can never leave without beets. I think that every variety is gorgeous and I’ll always find a use for them (both the greens and roots). This is my seasonal, forward-thinking salad. The dill and lemon brighten the salad to make it feel more like a spring dish. There are many different ways you can switch up the flavors, as I mention below, but one of my favorites is to add greens.

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Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Einkorn and Soy-Mustard Dressing | Naturally Ella

During the later winter months, I start moving away from heavy meals. I crave simple, fresh meals. This einkorn salad has been a favorite of mine for years. I love the warmth of the einkorn paired with the Brussels. You could easily leave the Brussels raw and do more of a slaw- also delicious! I like using pre-cooked Einkorn berries since they take a bit of time to cook. You could also make this salad with quinoa (if you’re in a time pinch!)

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Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges with Chive Cream | Naturally Ella

Imagine if you will, traveling 4 hours to stay the weekend with 2 people (and a dog) you had never met. This is exactly how my first time went meeting Alex and Sonja from A Couple Cooks in early 2012. Back when I lived in Illinois, it was only a four hour drive over to Indy. We had been online friends for a bit but I knew they were something special (and it was SO true). Many years and a couple kids later, I still feel lucky to call them my friends and these awesome friends just published an amazing cookbook dedicated to simple vegetarian recipes: Pretty Simple Cooking.

These spiced sweet potato wedges are part of their side dish section but if you’re me, you eat them for breakfast and possibly lunch. I love the warmth of the allspice and the simplicity of the chives + sour cream makes this dish easy. Best of all, that’s pretty much the entire book (they don’t call it pretty simple just for fun!) If you’re looking for a bit of variation in your vegetarian cooking, I highly recommend picking up a copy of their book!

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By the time February rolls around, I’m pining for spring produce. This has happened a bit less since I moved to California but I remember how it’s like. It’s the final month of full-on winter because come March, signs of life reappear. I also remember being completely over winter squash and sweet potatoes. However, I’m here to hopefully inspire you through this final push to spring. Below are 15 of my favorite vegetarian butternut squash recipes. A few salads, soups, and pastas should do the trick. Finish out winter strong!

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Recipes For Late Winter

Soups/Salads

Miso Butternut Squash Soup with Millet Cream | vegetarian butternut squash recipes | Naturally Ella

I find soups and salads are the best way to whip up easy vegetarian butternut squash recipes. The salads give a nod to spring while the soups help warm you for all that cold weather/snow that is still happening. I like to roast butternut squash ahead of time, either in cubes or whole. The cubed butternut squash is perfect for salads/grain bowls while the squash mash is an easy soup base.

 

Dinner

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

Butternut squash is one of the items of produce that easily morphs to whatever meal you’re craving. It makes great taco or enchilada filling (or sauce!), it’s perfect in hearty grain-based dishes, and it soaks in the flavors of herbs and spices. One quick note: invest in a solid vegetable peeler. I went through a couple before I found one that could peel a squash with ease (and since then- I’ve never had a lick of trouble!)

 

Pasta/Noodles

Butternut Squash Noodle Bowl with Spinach

My favorite category, butternut squash is amazing with noodles. The stovetop mac and cheese is an easy toddler win while the stuffed butternut squash shells are one of the most popular recipes on the site. It’s hard to go wrong with butternut squash and cheese.

 

Garlicky Goat Cheese Toast with Arugula | Naturally Ella

One of my goals is to share more minimal, 1 to 2 person recipes. These are the recipes that I throw together on a whim and usually don’t post because they feel too simple. And yet, I think this is what people need more of in their kitchen. Recipes that are ready in 20, full of flavor, and still feature beautiful produce.

Cheese toast is usually an easy go-to when I’m in this mentality. Fry or poach an egg, combine with a bit of produce, and you have a meal. The extra special part of this is the garlicky goat cheese. I love roasted garlic but don’t always have time to make it. Toasting the garlic in a small bit of oil helps get a flavor similar to the roasted garlic in a fraction of the time.

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Ras El Hanout Farro Skillet | Naturally Ella

Post sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. See below for more details.

I am in love with eggs baked in tomato bases. Give me a solid Shakshuka with some crusty bread any day of the week. This farro skillet is inspired by the traditional Shakshuka but the farro plays a large role in the substance of the dish. Also, I use a Ras El Hanout spice blend (also from a similar origin as Shakshuka).

I love how the warming spices from the blend work with the tomatoes and nutty flavor of the farro. It’s a solid breakfast but it’s also one of my favorite dinner recipes. Best of all, this recipe is perfect if you have leftover farro from the day before. It makes this meal fairly quick and a perfect weekend breakfast or weeknight dinner.

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Wild Rice Soup with Carrots | Naturally Ella

This is the kind of meal that comes together with help from an empty refrigerator. Usually the last two items left are a few carrots and celery. While I typically make stock, I was on a mission to use a small amount of wild rice that I found pushed to the back of my pantry.

It takes certain recipes for me to enjoy wild rice. I’ve had numerous wild rice dishes where the flavor was off. For this wild rice soup, the balance of sweet from the carrots and body from the wild rice makes for one delicious soup.

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Millet Polenta | Millet Recipes | Naturally Ella

As part of the pantry reset, I had intended to share a video about the three ways I make millet. The video didn’t turn out super well so I decided to share the information here with a few millet recipes to use with the cooking methods. Millet is a workhorse in my kitchen. It’s a quick-cooking pseudo-grain that soaks up flavor. It’s perfect for almost any type of meal and depending on how you cook it, can transform itself into something new.

Regular: I make regular millet with a 2:1 ratio of water:millet, toasting the millet in a dry skillet for 60 seconds before adding the water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until most of the water has been mostly absorbed; 18 minutes or so. Remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes to let the millet continue steaming.

Cracked: This is the version for making porridges and polentas. By cracking the millet, it helps thicken the overall dish and I treat cracked millet the same as polenta. For this, I toast then crack. Combine a 3:1 ratio of millet:water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 22 to 25 minutes until the mixture has thickened. If making polenta, I like to stir in a bit of butter and cheese.

Overcooked: Finally, the third way I use millet is to overcook it. This method is perfect if you plan on making grain grains/fritters. I use roughly a 2.5:1 ratio of water to millet and let cook for about 25 minutes. By adding extra water and letting cook a bit longer, the millet becomes a bit more cohesive.

Now that you are armed with my favorite three ways to cook, here are some millet recipes to get you started!

Breakfast

Spiced Carrot Muffins with Millet

Millet for breakfast is the best. It’s wonderful as a creamy porridge, works as a base for breakfast grain bowls, or you can even add it raw into items like muffins and granola (adding millet to the granola mixture before cooking creates a delightful crunch post-cooking!)

 

Lunch

Moroccan Carrot Salad with Millet and Pomegranate

I use millet in many types of salads but one of my favorite items is making millet cream (similar to overcooked millet, just blended after!) A few of my favorite lunch recipes:

 

Dinner

Beyond grain bowls, millet works well in place of rice for many of the dinner recipes I share. It is also lovely when paired with roasted vegetables and cheese.

 

Kale Pasta with Sunflower Cream Sauce | Naturally Ella

My kitchen would not be complete without a stash of nut/seed cream (so much so, in fact, I made a video for the pantry reset series.) It’s a lovely addition to soups, porridge, dressings, or sauces. This kale pasta is the perfect way to use the sunflower cream. The pasta comes together fast and also features garlicky kale (that can be made ahead of time.) Use your favorite pasta and you have an easy weeknight dinner.

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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.)

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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.

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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.
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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.

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