Roasted Butternut Squash | Cooking Component

Of all the things I could share, I realize roasted butternut squash is rather boring. However, it’s such a major component in my cooking this time of year. I use butternut squash is almost every way imaginable. So, I decided to share this roasted butternut squash recipe less for the recipe and more for all the inspiration I can share.

A quick note about peeling: find yourself a good vegetable peeler. I’ve yet to really encounter a squash that my vegetable peeler couldn’t handle. However, if you’re in doubt, a sharp knife will also do the trick.

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Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Poppy Seed Cream Sauce | Naturally Ella

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

There are some items I don’t use terribly often in my kitchen. These are the items that make their way to the back of the cabinet, the items that when you need it you have to pull everything out and hope your memory isn’t faulty about the last time you purchased the ingredient. I don’t have many of these ingredients but Poppy Seeds are definitely one of the few. Sure, there are poppy seed muffins and one of my favorite scones, but I don’t bake as much as I had been. So, what’s a girl to do with a bottle of Frontier Co-op Poppy Seeds? Make a savory dish!

This poppy seed cream sauce is a slight riff on my favorite lemon-cream sauce. I was inspired to try poppy seeds after seeing this recipe. Just reading through the recipe, I knew I had to try a vegetarian version. The faint hint of nuttiness from the poppy seeds is wonderful with the lemon and cauliflower. The overall dish is a hearty fall/winter meal and a lovely way to use up that bottle of poppy seeds you probably have hiding in your spice cabinet.

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5 Pantry Must-Haves + Recipes | Naturally Ella

More often than not, I sound like a broken record. It doesn’t matter if I’m chatting with a friend or doing an interview. If we are talking about food, I’m talking about my pantry. I love produce and going to the Farmers’ market every week but it wouldn’t be near as exciting if I wasn’t prepared to make dishes from that beautiful produce. This is where the pantry comes into play and there’s nothing better than a well-stocked pantry.

This post is two-fold. The first is to share about my top pantry essentials I think you should have on hand. The second is to invite you to my January Pantry Reset. I am SO excited for this little project I’ve been working on and I’m hoping it will really help kick the year off right. The goal is to help you feel comfortable with your pantry and pantry ingredients. That way, when you bring a big bag of produce home, you’re ready to start cooking. I’ll be sharing 31 days of videos with tips and recipes. Click over to the pantry reset page for all the details. Or, if you already know you want to join, you can sign-up for a once-weekly email that will have all the videos, tips, and recipes or follow along on Youtube!

Read more and see the pantry must-haves.

Chocolate Almond Drop Cookies | Naturally Ella

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

I used to be a big cookie baker during the holidays. Sugar cookies, thumbprints, and melt-in-your-mouth cookies were always on hand. And yet, over the years, my passion for baking has faded a bit. Now that I have a son, I’ll teach him a few of my favorite cookie recipes but for now, I’ll stick to the simple cookies that take no time at all.

These almond drop cookies stem from The Homemade Flour Cookbook. I was trying to figure out if I could make baked goods with 100% nut flour. It turns out, if you like light, cloud-like cookies, you can. Best of all, with help from Bob’s Red Mill, you can easily make these cookies with their wonderful almond flour!

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Shaved Brussels Sprouts Potstickers | Naturally Ella

I’ve mentioned before my weakness for fried food. It’s definitely a group of foods I don’t eat often and it’s rare that I make anything fried at home (the oil!) However, over the years, I’ve morphed how I make dumplings to help give me a taste of something salty and crunchy. These Brussels sprout potstickers are quite possibly my favorite. I will always throw cabbage into dumplings and this version is just an extension of that. There’s a few ways you can go about shaving Brussels sprouts: a mandoline, a food processor with a shredding attachment, or a sharp knife. I typically choose the knife but the food processor makes quick work of the small heads.

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Curry Broth Noodles with Spinach and Egg | Naturally Ella

One of the easiest things to make at home is broth. Toss vegetables, herbs, and/or spices in a pot, cover with water, then let cook for an hour or so. The result is a delicious liquid that you could easily drink by itself or use in your favorite soups. Usually every other week or so, I make a big batch of broth to freeze (usually in freezer-safe ball jars.) You can also use scraps instead of whole vegetables. Onion ends/peels, carrot peels/tops, and celery bottoms/tops- all work really well.

Now that I’ve convinced you of the curry broth, this noodle bowl is another 10 minutes. The noodles soak up all the flavor you made in the broth and the greens help bring the oomph. This is about as easy as dinner can be (just waiting for the broth is the hardest part!)

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19 Vegetarian Bowls for Winter

There is something amazingly comforting about a bowl full of cooked vegetables. It’s like you’re getting the best of something nourishing and something comforting. It’s also easy to mix, match, and adapt these recipes, making them accessible for weeknight cooking. Below is a list of my favorite vegetarian bowls for winter. Get ready to curl up with the fire going and one of these delicious bowls.

Grain Bowls

Turmeric Rice with Coconut Kale | 19 Vegetarian Bowls for Winter

I’m not sure what my cooking would look like without grains. They are about the easiest thing to throw into vegetarian bowls and have success. Use as a base for roasted vegetables, add some legumes, and finish with a sauce- it’s an equation that you can use over and over again without eating the same thing twice. It’s hard to choose just four recipes but these are the meals currently on heavy rotation in our house (with some grain swaps for time- like quinoa and millet).

 

Soups

Coriander Sweet Potato Soup with Buckwheat Granola | Naturally Ella

It’s a given that any list that has comforting winter meals should include soup. Whether it’s a soup, stew, or chili- I’m all for them. I always tell people that if you want to try a vegetable you’ve never tried, first make it into a simple soup. I’ve yet to really meet a vegetable that doesn’t do well in a soup.

 

Porridges

Amaranth Porridge with Roasted Pears, Maple Pecans, and Yogurt

Let us not forget breakfast! While these are perfectly acceptable for breakfast, we eat breakfast-for-dinner almost once a week. Porridges are the perfect bridge, especially when they fall on the slightly savory side. These porridges also work well in a big batch and reheated for a quick breakfast win.

 

Polentas

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Polenta

Much to my husband’s chagrin, polenta is MY comfort food. Give me vegetarian bowls of polenta with a bit of butter and cheese; you have one of the keys to being my friend. Add to that greens, vegetables, and sauce- it’s a little bowl of winter comfort. When it comes to polenta, you can use the tube stuff but I highly recommend getting a few scoops of polenta from the bulk bin or making it with fresh (or frozen) corn.

 

Salads

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Pecan Vinaigrette | Naturally Ella

Salads are best in the cooler months. The greens are sweeter and I find have more flavor with the help of a bit of cool weather. Plus, warm salads are a beautiful thing. A bed of fresh greens topped with roasted vegetables and the perfect dressing- what else could you need?

 

Broccoli Pesto Couscous Risotto | Naturally Ella

I have a not-so-secret love affair with pearl couscous. I find the texture to be absolutely delightful and since it’s just pasta, it soaks up every bit of flavor around it. I love it in salads, as a base for roasted vegetables, and as a cheater risotto. The couscous works in a similar way to arborio rice in that the starch from the couscous creates a bit of creaminess. Add to that cheese and an easy broccoli pesto, this dish embodies comfort. Best of all, you can make an extra batch of the broccoli puree and have these melts for breakfast the next morning!

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Sweet Potato Einkorn Porridge | Naturally Ella

During the winter months, we eat porridge and oats at least three times a week. I switch up the grains, change the produce, and use as many toppings as possible. We always have sweet potatoes on hand and usually puree pre-made, making this porridge a delicious breakfast option. If you have never tried einkorn before, breakfast is the perfect time. The wheat is mild but adds the perfect amount of warmth.

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Pumpkin Ricotta Crostini with Arugula | Naturally Ella

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

I don’t get to cook for people as much as I would like. There’s something about the energy that comes from sharing food with others. It’s an easy way to bring people together, especially during the holidays. While I typically focus on the main meal, I have a not-so-secret obsession with small bites and appetizers. Give me a solid cheese tray or a plate full of crostini any day and I’ll be happy!

This year, I’m partnering with Nugget Markets to bring you these lovely pumpkin ricotta crostini. If you’re in the NorCal area and looking for the perfect place to stock up on food for the holiday, Nugget is your go-to place. I personally go for the cheese and wine but there’s so much more (like all the ingredients for the recipe)!

The best part about these crostini is that the ricotta mixture can be made ahead of time, making fast work of assembly of these beautiful crostini. The creamy ricotta and pumpkin plays perfectly with the peppery arugula and crunchy pepitas. You can also make these gluten-free- just use your favorite gluten-free bread!

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Sweet Potato Wedges with Peanut Sauce | Naturally Ella

One of the challenges I love when cooking for others is to help change the narrative a bit around indulgent food. I eat decently 90% of the time but usually once a week, I kick back and eat something completely different. It’s normally something fried and it’s usually always delicious (my favorite is fried cauliflower with a runner up of loaded french fries).

However, sometimes I’ve just have a crap day and want something that tastes indulgent but is actually full of goodness. Enter these sweet potato wedges. This recipe contains three amazing parts that come together for, in my mind, a perfect meal. Roasted sweet potatoes are topped with a delicious peanut granola and luscious peanut sauce. It could be an appetizer but I’ve been known to call these dinner. Also, I think this idea would be amazing with Laura’s perfectly crisp sweet potato fries!

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Peanut Sauce | Cooking Component | Naturally Ella

This sauce is one of those “you could buy it from a bottle but don’t. Just don’t.” recipes. Peanut sauce has roots in many difference cuisines but more often than not, I see it served with generic spring rolls at restaurants. This is a tweaked version I’ve been making for years and it’s out of ingredients I always have on hand. My version is a westernized Thai peanut satay sauce (meaning I start with peanut butter, not whole peanuts as I rarely have peanuts on hand). However, it’s fast, flavorful, and a good companion to grains and produce. Best of all- it’s highly adaptable.
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Jerk Roasted Kuri Squash with Bulgur Salad | Naturally Ella

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

One of my favorite ways to serve squash is a dish that showcases the beauty of the squash. Usually this means the squash is left in a semi-whole state and stuffed. These roasted kuri wedges have a bold flavor matched with an easy bulgur salad topping. Perfect for the holidays or as a dinner for impressing your friends.

These jerk roasted kuri squash quarters are a bit of a mix between a traditional jerk marinade and the jerk seasoning. The marinade typically uses all whole and fresh ingredients (even down to fresh allspice berries if available). However, for ease of the recipe, I used Frontier Co-op’s ground allspice along with a bit of cinnamon to add warmth. Traditional jerk marinade also uses scotch bonnet peppers but I cook for crowds that need a bit lower heat level.

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13 Vegetarian Pasta Recipes for Fall

For along time I distanced myself from pasta. In my earlier life, being a new vegetarian in rural midwest was hard. However, restaurants made a try, usually with a pasta dish. I also made a lot of pasta in my early days because it was easy. I got really burnt out on pasta. However, many years later and a better balance in dishes, I’m happy to add a solid dose of pasta recipes back into my repertoire. Below are the 13 vegetarian pasta recipes I turn to when the weather gets cooler. Some are rich, some are vegan but all are delicious.

The Vegan

My whole goal when making a pasta vegan is to make my husband not question it. Pack it full of flavor (and garlic) and it seems like these dishes are always a win. Nuts and nut-creams are your friend. Play into the nut flavors as well- I love using pecan and walnut milks for a base, especially during the fall.

 

The Baked

Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with Cream Sauce | @naturallyella

There is nothing quite like pulling a cheesy, hot pasta bake from the oven. It’s up their on my cozy comfort food list. Lasagna is always delicious but my preference lies in stuffed shells (like the butternut squash pictured above!)

 

The Vegetable-Heavy

Brussels Sprout Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce and Walnuts

My biggest complaint about restaurant pasta dishes is the pasta to vegetable ratio. Often it’s 90% pasta with a few measly vegetables tossed on top. These dishes are my rebuttal where most reach a 50/50 pasta to vegetable ratio.