Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Sweet Corn Salad | Naturally Ella

Post sponsored by California Avocado. See below for more details.

I’m squeezing in one last avocado recipe into June since it is still California Avocado month! This works out especially well because with temperatures well over 100˚F for the past week, I’m making more items that are fresh and require little cooking. Enter these tacos with a fresh avocado salad. These tacos use my favorite spiced black bean recipe which is then topped with this simple sweet corn salad. This salad is perfect when you’re able to get your hands on fresh sweet corn because the raw flavor is wonderful- there’s no need to always cook corn! Plus, I think sweet corn and avocados should always go together! Read more and see the recipe.

 Bean Bake with Greens and Turnips | Naturally Ella

My first experience with turnips didn’t come until I joined the CSA. In fact, it was my first day on the farm and I was sent home with gorgeous Hakurei turnips. Of course, these were only one variety of turnips but over the years, I’ve experimented with most. Each turnip has a lovely, fairly mellow flavor that is perfect grilled, roasted, or added to a stir-fry. This bean bake uses the entire turnip (if you’re lucky enough to find a bunch!) The greens are slightly wilted and combined with my favorite large white beans then topped with thinly shaved turnips. This bake is hearty enough for a dinner- especially if you serve it with a slice of crusty bread. Read more and see the recipe.

Halloumi Burrito Bowl with Roasted Potatoes and Guacamole | Naturally Ella

I find that most of the best recipes I create are sheer happenstance, a coming together of odds and ends in my kitchen. A few weeks back, I whipped together some of these halloumi bowls with leftover potatoes from the breakfast enchiladas, the last lonely avocado in the refrigerator, and the halloumi I’d been hoarding for some time. One bite and I couldn’t believe how delicious this halloumi burrito bowl was. I posted to social and turns out, quite a few other people thought so too.

And so, here’s the official recipe, fairly close to how I made it the first time. The combination of roasted potatoes with salty fried cheese and creamy guacamole- it’s close to my perfect meal. If you’re having trouble finding halloumi, look for it at your local co-op or ask your store if they can order it. Last resort- I’ve made my own paneer before then added a sprinkle of salt to the fried cheese. It’s not halloumi but it’s still fried cheese. Read more and see the recipe.

Curry Chickpea Burgers with Coconut Cabbage Slaw | Naturally Ella

This recipe is in partnership with Nugget Markets. See below for more details.

Any time I move or travel some place, grocery stores are usually first on my list to find. I have a pretty high standard and it’s rare that a store has everything I need. I’m the type of person that usually goes to two or three different stores on a weekly basis (which is obviously not feasible for most!) This is why I’m excited to partner with Nugget Markets for this recipe. Not only can this store be my one-stop-shop but it also happens to be a local store in the Sacramento and Bay area.

Nugget is family-owned and operated as well as a proponent of locally grown and produced foods. One of the things I love most about the store is their labeling system. Vegan? They highlight this on their labels to help you find items faster. Plus, they even pass my cheese test: they carry halloumi! Best of all- if they don’t carry something, they will gladly try and find it (super helpful as you can imagine I’m always looking for different ingredients!)

These curry chickpea burgers are part of their exploration of purple ingredients this summer. There are so many beautiful purple produce items and one of my favorite is cabbage. The deep purple color is the perfect burger topping, especially when tossed with coconut milk and paired with curry. These burgers are based on my favorite chickpea burger and come together fairly quickly. These are also easily vegan if you swap the egg for your favorite substitute.

Read more and see the recipe.

Over the years I’ve found some amazing ways to turn vegetables (with the occasional help from other items) into solid main courses. These ideas range from hearty salads tossed with grilled vegetables, skewers paired with polenta or halloumi, or whole grilled vegetables as the main star (like the grilled endives listed or even grilled cabbage).

Below are a few vegetarian grilling recipes to get you started as you fire up your grill this summer. Don’t be afraid to experiment with items that might not even be considered good grilling vegetables (like beets or even lettuce!) I recommend grilling vegetables for meals throughout the week. Leftover grilled vegetables are great salad. pizza, and even taco toppings. Also, picking up a grilling basket or pan can be helpful for some of these meals! Read more and see the ideas.

Roasted Carrots with Kale Pepita Pesto | Naturally Ella

I’m learning that one of the greatest cooking challenges I’ve faced is one that feels like it shouldn’t be that hard: cooking for my family. My husband is not vegetarian and while my toddler will try almost anything, he’s still a toddler. I have this balance of working with everyone’s preferences to create a solid meal. At times it can be a bit overwhelming but books like Sarah Waldman’s beautiful new book help alleviate some of the stress. Feeding a Family is a book full of beautiful recipes that the whole family will enjoy. It’s not a vegetarian cookbook but it’s such a wonderful starting point for recipe and menu inspiration.

I’m sharing a variation on Sarah’s pumpkin seed pesto. I love trying different pesto varieties and I just happened to pick up fresh pepitas recently. I wrote the recipe as written from Sarah’s book but I actually used a variation involving kale (instructions in the notes of the recipe!) This greens pesto is the perfect addition to a vegetable/grain bowl! Plus, this multigrain pilaf base is a favorite of mine as of recent- the teff really brings everything together! Both the multigrain mixture and the pesto make for excellent additions to the component rotation! Read more and see the recipe.

Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Cabbage and Kohlrabi | Naturally Ella

After moving to California, I found myself jumping into summer produce faster than I would have in the midwest. The beginning of June brings zucchini followed shortly by sweet corn and tomatoes. However, there’s so much good spring/early summer produce that I miss because let’s face it- I’d make everything out of fresh summer tomatoes and sweet corn if I could. This soba noodle salad features two ingredients I often miss because of my excitement: kohlrabi and cabbage.

The beautiful color of the cabbage and the crunch from the kohlrabi is a splendid addition to a cold noodle salad. The produce holds a great crisp, even after being dressed. Pack this salad for an easy work lunch or toss it in the cooler for a summer road trip. Don’t have kohlrabi? Just add an extra handful of cabbage.

On a separate note- my newsletter is back up and running! Every other week I’ll be sharing a new subscriber only recipe based on your suggestions! You can check out yesterday’s recipe and call for suggestions– just be sure to subscribe to get the next recipe! Read more and see the recipe.

Broccoli Melt with Fried Eggs | Naturally Ella

This recipe is in partnership with California Olive Ranch. See below for more details.

There are certain combinations I’ve never found appealing. One of which is broccoli on a grilled cheese sandwich. I recently had one of these sandwiches (it was the only vegetarian option on a menu that sounded decent). So I ordered it only to be served a sandwich with giant piece of broccoli. One of my major pet peeves is a sandwich that has tough-to-bite ingredients in too large of pieces. It makes for a rather awkward eating situation.

And so, I set off to make a broccoli sandwich that I would love. This broccoli melt was the result and it’s seriously delicious. The broccoli and garlic provides a good base, especially when you are using good olive oil (like California Olive Ranch!) The taleggio cheese takes this melt to the next level. I find taleggio to be the perfect amount of stinky cheese and it melts beautifully. Read more and see the recipe.

Early on, when I was vegetarian but not cooking for myself, I found frozen veg burgers to be my friend. Were they wonderful? No. Were they easy? Yes- especially for a busy college student. I found that beyond burgers, I could crumble the burgers on a salad or grain bowl with ease. This was a huge meal-saver. When I started cooking, I would do similar things with homemade veg burgers until one day, I realized I should just skip making the burgers. That’s where this chickpea crumble comes into play.

This crumble comes from one of my favorite veg burgers that uses rice and nuts. The stickiness of the short-grain rice holds everything together while the chickpeas bring the protein and pecans add the texture. I like to make a meal that uses the rice and save 1/2 cup to make this crumble. Once I make this crumble, I store it for a week and heat the mixture up as needed. It’s an easy addition to so many different meals! Read more and see the recipe.

Tahini Kale Caesar Salad with Whole-Grain Croutons | Naturally Ella

Of all the cookbooks I’m sharing this summer, Love Real Food is one of the books I am most excited about. I’ve known Kathryne (aka Cookie + Kate) for years- she was one of the first bloggers I connected with, primarily because our styles of cooking were similar. It’s been exciting to watch her grow her site and now I’m beyond excited to hold a collection of her recipes in my hands. Love Real Food is a beautiful compilation of recipes that showcases Kathryne’s approachable plant-based cooking.

I decided to share her kale Caesar salad. Caesar dressing is one of those sneaky items that you might think is vegetarian but thanks to anchovies, it’s not. Kathryne whipped up a smooth and tangy tahini dressing that is the perfect vegetarian adaption. Add to that her trick for the perfect kale salad (salt massage!)) and you have one delicious kale caesar salad. Read more and see the recipe.

Potato Beet Salad with White Beans and Herbs | Naturally Ella
When doing creative work, it’s easy to start to feel in a rut. This was where I was for a good chunk of the last few months. I wasn’t feeling inspired and most recipes felt rather ‘meh’ to me (even though they were good!) I realized I needed to reassess how I was creating recipes which led me back to my original path: what’s at the market. Every week, it’s no longer about what I had planned to make. Rather, what at the market looked good and how can I most creatively use it with the items I have in my house. So you might see some different ingredients and recipes around here.

This beet salad features white beets. Have you had them? I can honestly say I’d not seen them until I hit the farm stand a couple weeks back. They have a similar beet taste but with a slightly bitter note. However, paired them with potatoes, herbs, and beans- you can get a solid side or lunch meal! Read more and see the recipe.

Harissa Roasted Cauliflower Salad Lemon-Avocado Dressing | Naturally Ella

Post sponsored by California Avocado. See below for more details.

I have two different salad styles: light/easy and filling. Light and easy usually tend to be a solid side salad or lunch while the filling salads are meant for dinner. When M isn’t home, I’m usually making a salad that looks like it should feed a crowd but really, it just feeds me. This is definitely a dinner salad in my book. The spicy cauliflower is balanced with freekeh and a creamy lemon avocado dressing. I like to make my own harissa but you can often find pre-made harissas in certain grocery stores. The cauliflower would also be lovely roasted with green harissa (another favorite of mine!) Read more and see the recipe.

Spiced Chickpeas | Naturally Ella

Given I don’t eat a lot of stand-in meat products, I rely heavily on legumes to be the star of my meals (and protein filler!) If you’ve hung around long enough on the site, you probably know that chickpeas are my favorite. These versatile legumes can transform into so many different meals and they soak up flavor to push vegetarian meals over the top. I’ve been making spiced chickpeas in some form or another for as long as I can remember. They are simple, ready in 20 minutes or less, and can be a dinner saver when I have nothing planned. I still remember my first version of these chickpeas contained buffalo sauce (delicious still) but I’ve found the recipe below to be more adaptable to spices and meals. A perfect addition to component cooking!

Read more and see the recipe.

Spelt Spaghetti with Parsley and Garlic Oil from Eat this Poem

I’ve mentioned before on the site, I judge a cookbook by the recipes that appear simple. If a recipe developer cannot nail a recipe light on ingredients, I lose trust in the rest. It’s a fine balance when you have only a few ingredients- each one plays an important roll and too much of one or not enough of another can ruin a dish. This spaghetti with parsley and garlic oil is a wonderful example of a recipe light on ingredients done right. The balance of the garlic oil with plenty of cheese and herbs- it’s such a hearty meal (especially with homemade spelt spaghetti!)

This spaghetti comes from Nicole Gulotta’s book: Eat this Poem. I’ve been lucky to know Nicole for a few years and watch the process she went through with this book. If you’re looking for summer reading, add this book to your list. It’s a book filled with recipes inspired by poetry and Nicole’s writing is beautiful. Her love and attention she gave this book really shines on every page. I don’t see her often but having her book makes me feel like I can have dinner with her.

Read more and see the recipe.