Coconut Curry Popcorn | @naturallyella

No game or movie night would be complete without homemade popcorn in our house. It’s an easy treat that takes about 5 minutes to whip up and you can use so many different toppings. Homemade popcorn is one of those things that you really don’t need the store-convenience, microwave popcorn bags. All you need is a stovetop and a good-sized pot with lid. This particular curry popcorn variation is one of the easier recipes we do and it’s all dependent on having a good-flavored curry powder. Read more and see the recipe.

Garlicky Spinach Cornmeal Crepes | Naturally Ella

There is a possibility that I could eat crepes for every meal. They are a light and wonderful substitute for breakfast pancakes. For lunch, I like to tuck vegetables and cheese inside and use in place of grilled cheese. For dinner, crepes can be used in place of tortillas in enchiladas. And of course, my favorite, crepes filled with ice cream.

I make crepes out of any flour I possibly can. Once you get the hang of the consistency of the dough and the pan swirl, the possibilities are endless. These cornmeal crepes have become a favorite version and I’ve had this recipe for breakfast quite often (thanks to crepes that freeze well!) Read more and see the recipe.

Garlicky Greens | Component Cooking | Naturally Ella

I debated on what to share first but over the past year, these garlicky greens have made their way into numerous recipes. These greens are a wonderful all-season addition to recipes. It’s simple: sauté your favorite greens with a little olive oil and garlic. I typically use kale because it has a bit of texture but chard, spinach, collards, or beet greens would work just as well.

Read more and see the recipe.

Raw Asparagus Fennel Salad with Khorsan Wheat | Naturally Ella

I am guilty of feeling compelled to cook everything, minus a few exceptions like lettuce and most fruit. I forget that some raw vegetables are beyond lovely. Take for example this asparagus fennel salad. The vegetables are thinly shaved and tossed with the dressing while the grains cook. This results in crisp vegetables softened just slightly by the dressing. It’s one of the few times I don’t mind waiting for the grains to cook. Plus the warmth from the cooked Khorsan soaks in the remaining dressing. Read more and see the recipe.

Sesame Roasted Carrot Summer Rolls | Naturally Ella

I have meals that I turn to time and again- things I can do without a recipe, without much thought. Summer rolls are one of those items. I always have rice papers on hand and for the most part, have the rice noodles on hand too. I make a lot with raw vegetables (makes it super fast) but these roasted carrot summer rolls are lovely. Roasting carrots adds an extra layer of flavor and I’ve found with the soy sauce baked in, I don’t really need a sauce. This makes these carrot summer rolls perfect for taking on the go.

Read more and see the recipe.

Post sponsored by La Crema. See below for more details.

I’m rather amazed that for as many curry recipes that I post, I’ve never shared a green curry recipe. Most days, I actually prefer this curry to the red. The sauce is packed full of herbs, coconut, and just a pinch of sugar to bring all the flavors together. I look for a green curry paste in a jar then add to reach a flavorful base. It’s the perfect compromise for an easy and fairly quick curry that pairs well with La Crema’s Monterey Chardonnay.

Read more and see the recipe.

Roasted Potatoes and Chickpeas with Green Harissa

I’ve been thinking more about the idea of building blocks in cooking. I wrote an entire book on recipes as building blocks but I also love the idea of key recipes for which you can use for several meals. For example, green harissa. This harissa first made an appearance as a topping for grilled cauliflower. Then I used it for this simple salad. Finally, I tossed the harissa with roasted potatoes and chickpeas. This recipe sits in side dish territory but I also pack it for lunch, with a handful of spinach.

The green harissa is riff on the more traditional red harissa using jalapeños and a heavier hand of herbs. I love using it as a topping for grilled/roasted vegetables and tossed with different types of legumes. Green harissa also works well as a condiment for grain bowls, morning eggs, and even savory oatmeal. Read more and see the recipe.

Marina-Smothered Lentil Bites with Mozzarella | Naturally Ella

My obsession for these lentil bites knows no end. We keep an extra large batch of the bites in the freezer so that we can always have an easy meal, ready to go. This dish relies on my favorite pantry tomato sauce and a bit of cheese. These bites can be eaten by themselves, on top of grains, or smothering pasta. I’ve also been known to make meatball sandwiches with this recipe- perfect for dinner!

Read more and see the recipe.

White Bean Quinoa Risotto from the First Mess Cookbook

One of the things that excites me most about food, besides eating it, is the sharing of ideas and inspiration. One recipe could lead to 100’s of variations which in return, could lead to 100’s of more variations. There’s an element of play, which I always encourage. Today I’m sharing a recipe from a blogger I think is one of the most inspirational plant-based women in the field. Laura from The First Mess is always coming up with new combinations and ways to cook with regular pantry ingredients. Her new blog-titled book, The First Mess, just hit shelves. If you are into plant-based recipes, which if you’re reading this site, I have a sneaking suspicion you are, I cannot recommend her book enough.

This quinoa risotto was one I tested and I knew the moment I tasted it, I wanted to share it once the book launched. Laura uses a white bean puree mixed with a bit of lemon and nutritional yeast to form the creamy risotto base. Best of all, thanks to quick cooking quinoa, this risotto is much faster than the traditional rice-based version!

Read more and see the recipe.

Vegetarian Picnic Recipes | Naturally Ella

When I was in college, at the first sight of spring, we would haul all our books out into the grass and stay there for hours. Coming out of the Chicago winter meant that anything 60 (with sun) felt amazing (even though we probably looked a bit out there in shorts!) And of course, I’d always haul out snacks too. I love a good picnic whether it’s after a long hike, a swim at the beach, or a quick rest area stop on a road trip. Over the years I’ve really upped my picnic food game and below are just a few of my favorite vegetarian picnic recipes.

Sandwiches and Wraps

Curried Cauliflower Wraps | Vegetarian Picnic Recipes

I have to admit that the sandwich feels a bit boring in comparison to the other items on this list. However, there are numerous ways to make a veg sandwich exciting. Layer on the vegetables, make some fun sauces, and if all else fails, egg salad!

 

Salads

Cucumber Peanut Salad | Vegetarian Picnic Recipes

Picnic salads have to be hearty- usually no light greens involved. I love using whole grains, firm greens, and legumes. Don’t be afraid of big spices and lots of herbs.

 

Grain Bowls/Salads

Spelt Grape Salad with Chickpeas | Vegetarian Picnic Recipes

Give me a good grain-based salad any day. There are so many combinations that it is easy to feel inspired. I usually just pick up whatever is fresh at the market and cook up one of my favorite grains. During the warmer months, I love fruit in my salads- so refreshing!

 

Legume Bowls/Salads

Black Bean Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes | Vegetarian Picnic Recipes

Whenever we leave the house for stretches of time, I always make plenty of protein-heavy meals and snacks. These legume bowls and salads are hearty, filling, and hold up to time in a cooler.

Click to see more picnic ideas.

Sunchoke Soup with Fennel | Naturally Ella

When the first signs of spring start to show, I notice it in my cooking first. The flavors I use tend to brighten and recipes have an overall fresh feel. This sunchoke soup is the perfect example. The mild, earthy flavor of the sunchoke blends well with the punch of fennel and high note from the lemon. Pureed together, these three items become a perfectly creamy soup for a just-warm spring day.

Read more and see the recipe.

Lentil Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potatoes | @naturallyella

This recipe is in partnership with Frontier Co-op. See below for more details.

I’m always hesitant to share a recipe that has been done many times before. There are countless recipes for lentil Shepherd’s pie floating around but I’m really in love with my version. The major differences: no mushrooms (sorry to the mushroom lovers) and bulgur. I love bulgur as a meat-swap. Most notably, in this chili. Bulgur, combined with lentils, a mirepoix and Frontier Co-op’s garlic powder, make for a stellar and hearty filling. Perfect for a Shepherd’s pie! Read more and see the recipe.

Harissa Potatoes over Garlicky Kale | Naturally Ella

In my kitchen, I have two pantry drawers devoted to produce storage: one for alliums and one for potatoes. Both are always stocked, ready to make any meal. As such, I have an arsenal of recipes that use these ingredients. I’ve made harissa potatoes before but this meal is a bit more substantial with help from chickpeas and crushed tomatoes. These harissa potatoes are also wonderful reheated the next day. Read more and see the recipe.