Mushroom Lasagna

This freezer-friendly mushroom lasagna is all about homemade mushroom ragù, big dollops of ricotta cheese, and silky tender sheets of pasta finished with a bit of basil and some grated Parmesan cheese.

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This is the mushroom lasagna I make when no-one is looking. The one where I cut a couple of traditional corners, add a few personal touches and, quite honestly, never look back. Sometimes I go long-form and use homemade pasta for the layers, other times it’s all about keeping the process quick — store-bought lasagna sheets and ragù from the freezer it is. Both versions are pictured here.

Consider yourself warned, this lasagna is a big boy, and will fill all of a 13×9 pan with layers of a vibrant, hearty and creamy mushroom ragù. There are generous dollops of ricotta and ribbons of silky pasta. I’ve grated fragrant lemon zest into the bottom of every lasagna for as long as I can remember, and that’s a feature here too.
Mushroom Lasagna in a baking pan

The Vision

There are a number of different styles of mushroom lasagna. Some are white lasagnas, with no tomatoes whatsoever. They rely on creamy béchamel (butter, milk, flour) for some of the binding and creaminess desired in lasagna. My version isn’t that. I generously layer a creamy, tomato-based mushroom ragù as the primary sauce throughout. It’s rich enough that I simply skip the béchamel component you see in many lasagnas. Lemon zest lifts all the flavors up, and you can choose to use store-bought lasagna sheets or make them from homemade pasta depending on how ambitious you’re feeling.
Mushroom Lasagna in a baking pan

Quick version vs. Slow Version

Lasagna is always made with love. They can be all day affairs, but with a bit of planning, one like this can come together reasonably quick. To make the lasagna pictured above I used mushroom ragù thawed from the freezer with store-bought noodles. Had the whole thing in the oven 30 minutes after walking in the kitchen. The other lasagna picture, not so much. I made the ragù the same day, rolled out homemade pasta sheets, and when I say it was an all-day situation, no exaggeration. Either way, a lasagna is never not worth the effort.

Mushroom Lasagna: The Ingredients

The list here is short, so you want to make sure each component is on point, seasoned well and tasting good.

  • Mushroom Ragù: There’s only one sauce in this lasagna recipe and it is this mushroom ragù is it. It’s a hearty, wonderful, slow-cooked tomato and mushroom sauce featuring finely chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, and aromatics. Keep it in your freezer. Use half for pastas, the other half for this lasagna.
  • Pasta: You have options here and both are fantastic! You can use homemade pasta or store-bought lasagna sheets.
  • Cheese: The main cheese in this lasagna is ricotta. Parmesan is used more as a finishing cheese.
  • Lemon zest: Don’t skip it. It is the secret wink of goodness.
  • Basil: Use it when basil is in season – always fresh basil. But don’t let the lack of basil deter you from making this.

Mushroom Lasagna being served on a table

Dial up the Mushrooms

All of the mushrooms in this lasagna are introduced in the ragù. They’re well chopped. That said, if you want a mushroom lasagna with more defined mushrooms you have options! Stem and slice a pound of mushrooms 1/4-inch thick. Cook them in a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a hot skillet with a pinch of salt until golden. Alternately, you can also roast them after tossing with olive oil in the oven as it is pre-heating. Introduce these mushrooms to your lasagna layers.

Mushroom Lasagna: The Process

Here’s a step by step illustration of how to make this lasagna. The first thing to do is butter or oil your baking pan, and then sprinkle with some citrus zest. You see orange here, but I typically use lemon. Or a blend.
Lasagna pan prepared with butter and citrus zest
The next step is pre-cooking the lasagna sheets in boiling, salted water. You’ll dunk them in a big bowl of ice water spiked with a bit of olive oil. Then transfer to a baking sheet. See below.
Cooked Pasta on a Baking Sheet
From there, build the lasagna in layers starting with a thin layer of ragù. Next, a layer of pasta, more mushroom ragù, and then dollops of ricotta.
Mushroom Lasagna being layered in a Baking Pan with ragu, ricotta cheese and pasta noodles
Repeat until you’ve run out of ingredients. Make sure to end with a good amount of sauce. You can add ricotta, a bit of basil, and more lemon zest to the top if you like, or keep it simple with just a bit of sauce and a finishing layer of Parmesan. The lasagna below was made with homemade pasta and Parmesan to finish. Bake until golden and beautiful.
Mushroom Lasagna in pan just after baking on cooling on a counter
Once your lasagna has finished baking, allow it to sit for a few minutes before cutting into it.
Mushroom Lasagna in a baking pan being served with a spatula

Freezing Lasagna

The house rule for this mushroom lasagna is eat half, freeze half. It reheats brilliantly and makes for an easy weeknight meal alongside a quick salad or vegetable side of some sort. To freeze the lasagna, first allow it to cool completely. Slice into desired individual pieces and freeze. Store each slice in an individual container or freezer bag. It makes things easier and slices don’t freeze together. Keep frozen for up to three months.
Mushroom Lasagna in a baking pan

Reheating Lasagna

Arrange frozen slices of lasagna on a parchment-lined baking sheet, an inch or more apart. If you remember, allow it to thaw a bit ahead of time. Not a big deal if you forget, thawing just allows you to reheat it more quickly. Heat the oven to 400F, cover the baking sheet with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the lasagna is hot throughout. You may need to cut into a slice to make sure the center is hot.
Mushroom Lasagna in a baking pan

More Pasta Recipes

Favorite Pasta Sauces

Mushroom Lasagna in a baking pan
Other Favorite Italian Recipes

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Mushroom Ragù

The ragù of your dreams. This hearty and deeply flavorful mushroom ragù moves from the stovetop to the oven, slow-cooking into a hearty, wonderful sauce featuring finely chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, white wine, and aromatics.

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Most of the mushroom ragù I’ve cooked in my life featured sliced mushrooms. I’d brown them and work from there. Eventually, this style of sauce fell out of rotation and I didn’t give it much thought. Other sauces took its place and I never looked back. It wasn’t until I saw an early copy of Andrea Gentl’s Cooking With Mushrooms that mushroom ragù became a regular feature again in our house. Andrea’s ragù features a mixture of very finely chopped fresh mushrooms. It is slow cooked in a low oven for hours, and has all sorts of wonderful wildcard ingredients in it adding layers of depth and flavor – nutritional yeast, fish sauce, mushroom powder, chiles and herbs. You should buy her book, and you should absolutely make her version (vegan fish sauce works great in it if you’re veg). It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a lazy Sunday.
Mushroom ragù served over pasta in a wide bowl
When a lazy Sunday isn’t quite in the cards, I regularly find myself making what I’ve come to think of as my “cheater version” of the ragù. It happens when I know I’m a bit short on time, or out of certain ingredients — that’s the recipe you see here. It’s thick, hearty and the perfect paring for a range of pastas, polenta and the like. I love it enough to always have in my freezer these days. Mushroom ragù served over pasta in a wide bowl

Secrets to Making a Great Ragù

Generally speaking, I feel like there are two primary secrets to making a great mushroom ragù — quality ingredients and patience. On the ingredient front, choose mushrooms that are firm and dry. Avoid mushrooms that are discolored, mushy, or wrinkled. It likely goes without saying, but mushrooms that have an off-smell or have any sort of sliminess should also get a pass. Gross, I know. Patience kicks in on the cooking front. This ragù starts off quick saute on the stovetops and then moves into a low-and-slow couple of hours in the oven.

Cooking Method

By sautéing ragù ingredients on a stovetop and following up with a couple hours in an oven you achieve a thick, wonderful concentrated hearty sauce. I love the combination. Mushroom ragù served over pasta in a wide bowl

Mushroom Ragù: Core Ingredients

There’s quite a lot of flexibility here. Give the recipe a try as written, and then wing it a bit moving forward based on what you have in your kitchen. For example, I’ve used scallions (with the green parts) when I was out of onions, and I really loved that version as well.

  • Tomatoes: I tend to keep crushed tomatoes on hand, so that’s what I use more here often than not. Fire-roasted canned tomatoes are my first choice, but standard crushed tomatoes are a-ok if that is what is available. In Andrea’s version she has you blitz whole canned tomatoes into a puree. Each choice brings something slightly different to the ragù, so feel free to experiment!
  • Mushrooms: I talked about the importance of mushroom quality in the previous section a bit. Here I’ll talk about types of mushrooms that work well. I love to use a mix of flavorful mushrooms in a ragù like this. You can mix up the types of mushrooms depending on what is available in your area. I rarely use them same combination twice. Oyster mushrooms are meaty and firm and hold their texture in the sauce. Because of the sheer amount of mushrooms needed for a ragù, supplementing common (and less expensive varietals) with something more special and unusual is a good approach. Generally speaking, cremini, oyster, Portobello, maitake and button mushrooms are a great place to start.
  • Mushroom Powder: Porcini powder is a powerhouse ingredient and adds depth and an added layer of flavor beyond the fresh mushrooms. You’re doubling down on flavor. I know it can be tricky to track down, but it’s an ingredient I wouldn’t skip here. You can blitz your own dried porcini into a powder with a high-speed blender. Because this has become such a go-to sauce for me,  I tend to stock up on porcini mushroom powder, either homemade, or from a trusted source like Far West Fungi.

Mushroom ragù served over pasta in a wide bowl

How to Clean Mushrooms

It’s important to clean mushrooms that you will be using to cook. Nobody loves a gritty sauce. Use a damp rag or paper towel to gently clean any dirt or foreign material from mushrooms. Trim the stems as bit as well, they often tend to look a bit rough.

Mushroom ragù served over pasta in a wide bowl

Mushroom Ragù: Make it Creamy!

You can make this ragù creamy or not creamy – both versions are incredibly good. In the creamy version stir in one cup of heavy cream (or cashew cream) to the ragù before it goes into the oven. Whether or not to add it depends on how I imagine using the sauce. Keep in mind the cream component cuts into the acidity of the tomatoes in the sauce beautifully. I always use it if I’m going to use the ragù in a lasagna, over polenta, and in most baked pastas. Skip it, or scale back, if you’re going to use the ragù alongside a cheese ravioli or something already creamy. You can also decide just how creamy you like it – using less or more cream to your liking. I actually prefer to use cashew cream in this ragù, in part because I don’t often keep heavy cream on hand. But also because the cashew cream is so luxe and rich, subtly nutty and so good. Also, I alway have cashews on hand, so there’s never a need to make a special trip to the store. You can use either!
Mushroom ragù served over pasta in a wide bowl

Serving Suggestions!

There are countless ways to enjoy a good mushroom ragù. This list includes some of my favorites.

  • Lasagna: Use this mushroom ragù in your next lasagna. I love it between sheets of homemade pasta alternating with dollops of ricotta, baked until bubbling. A few simple components coming together into baked pasta perfection. Something like this lasagna, substitute the mushroom ragù for the other tomato sauce, and use ricotta in place of most of the mozzarella. We freeze slices of this to reheat on stormy nights in the Airstream. It reheats brilliantly.  
  • Polenta: This mushroom ragù served over a creamy, hot bowl of polenta is a match made in heaven. In Andrea’s Cooking With Mushrooms book she showcases her ragù in a beautiful photo of it served over polenta.
  • Stuffed Shells: Swap out the tomato sauce called for in this stuffed shells recipe, replace with mushroom ragù.
  • Pappardelle: This sauce is wonderful with pappardelle. You can make both components a head of time and freeze. Thaw and heat the mushroom ragù to serve and boil the pappardelle straight from the freezer.
  • Pizza: Use this favorite pizza dough recipe to make a few rounds of dough and use this ragù as your sauce – go for it from there with toppings.
  • Homemade Pasta: I call out pappardelle up above, but this sauce is wonderful with a range of pasta shapes. More than anything, I just want to encourage you to try making your own homemade pasta. It’s completely doable, and you might even have the short list of ingredients in your kitchen right now!

Mushroom ragù served over pasta in a wide bowl


These are two variations I’ve enjoyed recently.

  • Vegan Mushroom Ragù: Use cashew cream not heavy cream. To make cashew cream blend 1 cup raw cashews with 1 cup water in a high-speed blender until silky smooth.
  • Mushroom Ragù with Curry Leaves and Lemon: I make an India-inspired version of this ragù using fresh green chiles, lots of fried curry leaves, mustard seeds and lemon zest. It probably warrants a separate dedicated recipe post, but if you’re a confident cook the jist is the following. Heat 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a small saucepan, you’re going to make a tadka of sorts. Add two chopped serrano chiles to the oil and fry for a couple minutes. Add 40-50 fresh curry leaves, stir well and cook until they begin to crisp – a couple minutes. Toward the end, stir in 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds. Cook until they start to pop a bit. Strain the curry leaves and solids on a few paper towels and mix with the zest of one lemon. Use the curry-infused olive oil as a replacement for the olive oil called for in the mushroom ragù recipe below. Stir the curry leaves in at the end, or reserve to top whatever you are serving with the ragù.

Pot of Mushroom ragu with wooden spoon

Mushroom Ragù: Storage

I always have a few “bricks” of ragù at the ready in my freezer. They also work great as substitute ice blocks to keep our cooler cold when we’re out on a road trip and should be added to my list of favorite camping recipes. Freeze into your preferred shape and quantity and then store for up to a few months frozen. Thaw, reheat and use.

Frozen ragu for storage

Related Recipes

If you’re looking for something much quicker, try this five-minute tomato sauce. Other related recipes include: homemade pasta, pappardelle, gnocchi, pesto, and the pizza dough recipe I’ve been fine-tuning forever. Here’s where you can find more pasta recipes, as well as more mushroom recipes. Enjoy!

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Baked Quinoa Patties

Great served hot or room-temperature, these quinoa patties are packed with herbs, kale and creamy feta cheese. Adult and kid-friendly, and perfect for lunches on the go.

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Quinoa patties are portable, packed with protein, and adaptable. Even people who are on the fence about quinoa tend to love them, especially the ones you see here. This version is sesame-crusted and boosted with lots of herbs and kale. That said, you can play around with a wide range of accent ingredients and cooking techniques. I initially featured a skillet-cooked version in my book, Super Natural Cooking (2007), but you can bake them as well with great results, and that’s what you see here.
Baked Quinoa Patties

How to Make Quinoa Patties

Quinoa patties come together quickly, particularly if you have a few cups of leftover quinoa on hand. I always cook extra quinoa, knowing it will come together into a quick lunch if I plan ahead a bit. To make quinoa patties you simply combine cooked quinoa, eggs, herbs, breadcrumbs and seasoning in a bowl. The patties are shaped by hand and then baked or pan-fried. They can be enjoyed hot or room-temperature, and, either way, I love them with a bit of hot sauce.
Quinoa patties on a baking sheet prior to baking
You can see the patties prior to baking above. And then after baking below. I like to sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top for added crunch. Really push them into shape using your hands so that they will hold their shape.
Quinoa patties on a baking sheet after baking

Quinoa Patties: On the Go

I initially highlighted these quinoa patties (below) when a number of you asked about packing meals for flights. I was heading to London – so, a long flight from San Francisco. My strategy for flight meals is an ever-evolving system which (currently) involves a collapsible container, two thick rubber bands, and a plastic fork/spoon thing. All food goes in one container, and I avoid anything liquid to get through security. A good splash of sauce seems to be fine though. For my flight to London, I packed these potstickers. What you didn’t see was the way I buried them under a layer of these baked quinoa patties. Not pretty, but great to have on hand. I use a folded piece of parchment paper to divide the dumplings from the patties.
Quinoa patties packed for lunch in a small box
When I stay closer to home, I tend to go the bento or tiffin route – have a look at this page if you’re interested in more on-the-go, feel-good lunch ideas.
Quinoa patties in a bowl served with a side salad


As long as your base ingredients (quinoa, eggs, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs) hold together into a patty, you can play around with different accents and ingredients. Here are a few ideas I’ve had success with over the years.

  • Za’atar Quinoa Patties: Follow the recipe as follows, adding 1 tablespoon of za’atar to quinoa mixture. This is a favorite, especially along with a sesame crust.
  • Lemon Madras Quinoa Patties: Skip some of the herbs and stir in 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder and the slivered zest of one large lemon.
  • Gluten-free Quinoa Patties: Niki commented, “I substitute ground almonds or walnuts for the bread crumbs – works perfectly.”
  • Brussels Sprout Quinoa Patties: VL noted,”I just want to say I made these for a trip this weekend, but used brussels sprouts instead of the kale. They were great!” I can also imagine finely chopped cabbage working brilliantly as well, along similar lines.

There are a bunch of other great substitution ideas down in the comments as well.
Travel photos in London

A Few Tips!

One thing I’ve learned over the years of making these is that the quinoa mixture is easier to shape if you allow it to sit overnight, refrigerated. It just holds together better.

Linda Marie commented, “I found that wet hands made shaping the patties easier. Did them in the skillet. Turned out great. Will try baking next time.”
Quinoa patties in a bowl served with a side salad

Related Recipes

Here’s a post about how to cook quinoa along with a bunch of related quinoa recipes. And here’s where you can get more inspiration for feel-good lunch ideas. These quinoa patties are great tucked into a bento situation along with edamame, a bit of coleslaw, and bit of spiced avocado.




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Wonton Soup

A hearty wonton soup featuring pillows of wontons stuffed with tofu, cream cheese, shredded kale, scallions, and curry powder floating in a spicy miso broth and topped with a peanut-scallion sprinkle.

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If I look back through my notebook over the past year, one of the things I’ve cooked most is this wonton soup. Like, weekly. Top three recipe. What I find notable about this is: making wonton soup isn’t particularly quick or convenient. Especially if you take as long to shape each wonton as I do. But my enthusiasm for slurping up tender flavor-packed pillows from a spicy miso broth is intense. The wonton soup recipe you see down below has become our “house” wonton with a filling of finely crumbled tofu and a bit of cream cheese to bring it together. I load the base with minced kale, lemon zest, curry powder, black pepper and scallions. The broth is always miso spiked with something spicy, sometimes served simply, other times with with added chopped vegetables and cabbage (as in this version). Little of this is conventional, but oh my god do I love to eat it.
Wonton Soup in a Shallow Bowl


I tend to go through intense periods of dumpling-making or pasta shaping – gyoza, wontons, ravioli, pappardelle, cavatelli – I’m game for all of them. The meditative repetition of the process feels good to me and the payoff is always a series of the kind of meals I love – hand-made, a bit rustic, full of flavor and love. The last year of wonton-making was kicked off after I made the Smoky Tofu-Nori Wontons from a preview of Andrea Nguyen’s new book Ever-Green Vietnamese. Andrea has you make nori and smoked paprika-seasoned wontons that are brushed with oil and baked until sizzling, browned, and crispy. They were so amazing I started making double and triple batches of the filling, eventually swapping in other ingredients depending on what was on hand. There was a lot of free-styling going on. To switch things up, instead of baking, I started boiling a handful of these wontons in a quick spicy broth when I wanted a fast meal. And here we are.
Preparing Wontons and arranging on Parchment-lined Surface

Wonton Soup: Make-ahead Game Plan

I rarely shape my wontons on the same day I make the filling. By making the filling one day, you have a good amount ready for impromptu wonton soup meals. It’ll keep for up to five days, refrigerated. Making the wontons from this point becomes an easy lift and can go fast, especially if you have an extra set of hands (or two). The broth always comes together super quickly, so that’s no big deal. The wontons freeze well, so after shaping, freeze any that you aren’t planning on cooking immediately. I go into more detail on that down below.

So, to clarify the process. I make the filling and refrigerate it until I’m ready to shape wontons. I’ll either shape the wontons ahead of each meal, or, if I have a good chunk of time, shape them all at once. I like to freeze any that aren’t going to be cooked immediately.
Preparing Wontons and arranging on Parchment-lined Surface

Which wonton wrappers should I buy?

When it comes to making dumplings, wontons, gyoza and the like, your success or failure can be at the hands of the wrappers you choose. I’ve worked with a wide range of them over the years, both organic and not, and some are thicker or thinner than others. Some tear more easily than others. Some seem to dry out more quickly, etc. It’s easy to get frustrated if your wrappers are a problem. The wrapper brand I’ve had the most consistent success with lately is Nanka Seiman (pictured above). They are supple and tend to work great whether my wontons are bound for a soup, brushed with oil and baked crisp, or are destined to be pan-fried.

I’m also noticing Andrea wrote this primer on what to look for when buying wonton wrappers. She talks through vegan considerations as well how to check for freshness. Another thing, most of the wrappers have some sort of preservatives and/or additives added, it kind of is what it is, unfortunately. If you have a wrapper brand you love with a more pared-back ingredient list, give a shout in the comments. Or, you can always make your own dumpling wrappers – Andrea has a recipe in her Asian Dumplings book. She made fresh wrappers as part of a dinner at a friend’s house (maybe a decade ago?!?) and I still remember how special they were. And she made it look easy.
Close-up Photo of Wontons Arrange in Multiple Rows

How To Freeze Wontons

The most convenient way to freeze wontons is to arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet (see above) before placing in the freezer. Once frozen you can transfer them to a freezer bag. You can boil or bake oil-brushed wontons direct from the freezer.

Substitutions & Variations

  • Goat cheese vs. cream cheese: I went to make my wonton filling one night, and realized we were out of cream cheese. I did have goat cheese, so decided to try that instead and it worked out nicely – a bit of tang.
  • The spicy component: I like to have a little something spicy in my wonton filling. You’ll notice the minced serrano in the recipe below, it’s my favorite option. That said, I’ve made versions substituting everything from habanero jelly (1 tablespoon) to Kashmiri chile (1 teaspoon) with good results.
  • Something green: I like the idea of getting a mix of “good stuff” all in one bite. It’s part of the reason I started adding minced kale to my wonton filling. When I don’t have kale, I’ll add chopped cabbage, or a handful of mixed herbs. Have fun experimenting!

More Soup Recipes

If you love these types of soups, here’s where you can explore all the soup recipes. This rustic cabbage soup has been quite popular lately, and I love this ribollita, this vegan pozole, and this simple tomato soup.

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Ribollita, a beautifully thick Tuscan stew made with dark greens, lots of beans, vegetables, olive oil, and thickened with day-old bread. One of my favorites.

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Ribollita is a thick Tuscan stew – dark greens, lots of beans, vegetables, olive oil, thickened with day-old bread. It is hearty, filling, infinitely nourishing, and flat-out, the sort of food I crave. The amount of kale you collapse into each pot is impressive, and you’ll be patting yourself on the back before, during, and after you eat. Here are the details – it’s a soup I make constantly this time of year.
Ribollita, a beautifully thick Tuscan stew with dark greens, lots of beans, vegetables, olive oil, and thickened with day-old bread
I should mention, with ribollita, it’s one of those things where there are as many ways to make it as there are cooks. I normally use whole canned tomatoes this time of year – torn up. But had crushed tomatoes on hand, and they worked out nicely. You can use canned beans, beans cooked from dried, or cooked beans you’ve frozen and thawed. As far as guidelines go? Your ribollita should be thick – eventually. A sloppy sounding, bread stew. Use day old bread, preferably a rustic loaf cut (or torn) into big chunks. The bread absorbs the broth and simmers into beautifully plump zones of pillowy dumplings.
Ribollita, a beautifully thick Tuscan stew with dark greens, lots of beans, vegetables, olive oil, and thickened with day-old bread

Ribollita Shortcuts

This isn’t a difficult soup to cook, although it does require some chopping. If you’re looking for a few ways to shave off some prep time. Use canned beans, and buy pre-washed & chopped kale. Also keep in mind, this recipe results in a large pot of soup. Enough for a couple days of leftovers, or more, depending on the size of your family.
Ribollita, a beautifully thick Tuscan stew with dark greens, lots of beans, vegetables, olive oil, and thickened with day-old bread

Ribollita Adaptations

There are a bunch! In addition to the tweaks I mentioned up above, I suspect a number of you will want to know how to make it GF. Yes, you can absolutely make it without the bread. it’s not the same stew, and not really ribollita, but it is still wonderful. Bump up the amount of beans you use (both the whole & mashed). I’ve also taken to substituting a cup of the white beans with 1 cup of uncooked French lentils (added with the tomatoes). Once the lentils are fully cooked proceed with the addition of the kale, beans, etc.


I like to add a bit of lemon zest to each bowl for a bit of brightness, and because I can’t help myself. And I also like the saltiness of a few olives alongside the kale, so that’s a little bonus as well. I’ll also drizzle a little thinned out pesto on top if I have it on hand, or, an herb oil made by pureeing olive oil, a couple garlic cloves, parsley, and marjoram together. This bowl was topped with a shallot and chiles oil.
Ribollita, a beautifully thick Tuscan stew with dark greens, lots of beans, vegetables, olive oil, and thickened with day-old bread

Freezer-friendly Ribollita

This is an excellent freezer friendly stew. I like to make an extra-large pot of it, let it cool, and transfer it to freezer-safe containers. It’s good for a month or so frozen. If I know it’s a pot primarily bound for the freezer, I sometimes hold off on adding the bread. I’ll add it when I reheat later. But really, you can do it either way.

I hope you love this, and I hope you make it. It has all the good stuff in one pot. It’s what I like to make when I feel like I need a bit of a re-boot.

This is the place if you’re looking for more soup recipes, and I included this recipe in my list of best bean recipes, so be sure to check it out if you’re looking for more bean-centric inspiration. Enjoy! -h

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Rustic Cabbage Soup

Hearty, healthy, and satisfying – this cabbage soup recipe is super simple to make. Slice a cabbage into thin ribbons and cook it down in a simple pot of sautéed potatoes, onions, beans, garlic and flavorful broth. Finish each bowl with a generous drizzle of great olive oil, a couple dollops of sour cream and a jolt of something spicy.

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Today’s cabbage soup recipe was inspired by the a mystery box delivery from Mariquita Farm in Watsonville, Ca. I show up to a designated pick-up spot, pay $25 and in turn get what feels like twenty pounds of beautiful produce direct from the farm. This time of year I might see the eyes of impossibly petite potatoes peering back at me, they could be nestled alongside a kaleidoscope of vibrantly colored carrots, or shouldered up against a of pile of parsnips.
Soup and Sourdough Bread on a Table

Cabbage Soup Ingredients

Taking inspiration from a beautiful moon-shaped cabbage and potatoes in the mystery box, I sliced a the cabbage into thin ribbons and cooked it down in a simple pot of sautéed potatoes, beans, onions, garlic and flavorful broth. Each bowl was finished with a generous drizzle of great olive oil, a couple dabs of sour cream and a jolt of something spicy – in this case a bit of Calabrian chile paste. Couldn’t be more simple.
Soup Bowls on a Marble Table Near a Window

But before I get too far ahead of myself on the soup front, let me tell you a bit more about Mariquita Farm and what Andy and Julia are doing. There’s a bit of back story. I used to buy produce from Mariquita at the farmers market on Saturdays. After many years they decided not to do the market anymore. Mariquita sells my favorite rainbow carrots, and I was convinced I was going to have to find a new source. Not the case, Julia emailed some of her regulars last summer mentioning that she would be making the occasional delivery to San Francisco…“would we be interested in doing a pick-up?” She also mentioned the option of buying one of Andy’s specially curated mystery boxes – which have since become very popular.

This isn’t a CSA, it’s more guerilla than that. As it stands now, every other week(ish) Julia and Andy pack a huge delivery truck with many, many mystery boxes. Julia then climbs into the big truck and navigates her way over the Santa Cruz mountains down into Silicon Valley and then north toward San Francisco. She parks the truck in front of a previously designated neighborhood restaurant and people come from all over the city to trade cash for mystery crops. It’s great. I end up trying all manner of ingredients I might not buy otherwise. The crops are beautiful and bright because Andy takes such care in growing and handling them.

With out sounding too mushy, this is just one more reason I love living in San Francisco. On a good night, not only do I go home with the box (er, bag – the boxes get reused), but sometimes I even get to sit down for a drink or slice of pizza and catch up with Julia. It’s a real treat.

A few related links:

Rustic Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup Variations

Back to the soup – there are a bunch of variations I’ve made over the years cooking this. Here are a few stand-outs.

  • Parmesan Cabbage Soup: There are nights when I keep this super simple, finishing things off with a generous dusting of Parmesan cheese and a few chopped herbs.
  • Curried Cabbage Soup: Add a scant tablespoon of curry powder to the pot prior to stirring in the broth.
  • Lemony Cabbage Soup: Make the soup as written but serve each bowl topped with freshly grated lemon zest and a generous drizzle of lemon olive oil.

Rustic Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup Leftovers

This is a great next-day soup. So keep that in mind. Generally speaking, there are a couple ways to deal with leftovers here (like, if you make a double pot). Cabbage soup freezes well, so eat your fill of the soup for a couple days, and freeze the remaining. You’ll want to make sure it is room-temperature or cold prior to freezing. Allow to thaw before reheating.

I suspect many of you have all the ingredients needed on hand – aside from the cabbage. I’m going to encourage you to give this a try! It’s a great staple recipe to have in your back pocket. This recipe was posted in early 2008, and I’ve cooked it many times in the years since. Enjoy! -h
Rustic Cabbage Soup

More Favorite Soup Recipes

Here’s where you can browse all the soup recipes. I love this broccoli cheddar soup, and this coconut red lentil soup is much loved by everyone who tries it. This ribollita is a reliable winter warmer, and if you enjoy making soups as much as I do, you’ll want to start making your own homemade bouillon powder. I also love make-ahead soups like this Tortellini Soup ,these Spicy Coconut Curry Noodles, and this Italian Barley Soup

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Coconut Red Lentil Soup (Esalen Ayurvedic Dal)

A vibrant red lentil soup (or stew) that is always hugely popular. A friend turned me onto this Ayurvedic dal recipe from the Esalen Cookbook years ago. Red lentil based, curry-spiced coconut broth with back notes of ginger and tomato, with slivered green onions, and a finish of cilantro or kale.

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Let’s talk through the story of my favorite red lentil soup. Years ago, two of my neighbors hosted a soup party. It was an inspiring affair – big pots of simmering soups and stews, house full of chatty, friendly people. Part of what I liked was the simple premise. The hosts (David & Holly) made a number of soups, guests were asked to arrive with their drink of choice and one thing to share – salad, appetizer, or something sweet.
Coconut Red Lentil Soup in a Bowl

The Inspiration:

One of the vegetarian soups that night was a beautiful shade of yellow-orange. It was a light-bodied, curry-spiced coconut broth thickened with cooked red lentils and structured with yellow split peas. It appeared to be a beautiful take on lentil soup. When I asked Holly to tell me about it, she mentioned it was based on an Ayurvedic dal recipe in the Esalen Cookbook, a favorite of hers. I suspect that recipe might have been inspired by the Bengali-style cholar dal where you see chana dal punctuated with raisins in many preparations.
Ingredients for Soup on a Marble Counter

Holly happened to have an extra copy of the Esalen book, and sent me home with my belly full, a new cookbook tucked under my arm, and a few suggestions related to the soup. I still make this soup regularly, love it (so much!), and thought it might be fun to revisit it today in video form – enjoy! I’ve also included some notes related to adapting this soup to the Instant Pot.


What Makes this so Special?

The method used to bring this soup together caught my attention. While your lentils are boiling, you saute lots of scallions in butter (or ghee, coconut oil, or olive oil) in another pan. Add to those scallions a fat dollop of thick tomato paste along with plenty of toasted spices and you’re on your way. This flavor bomb is what you stir into the lentil base. Golden raisins plump up with curry broth. There are beautiful back notes of ginger, and depth from that tomato paste. It all comes together in one amazing bowl of restorative, lentil soup goodness. To be honest, I consider the raisins optional and make this often without – or sometimes I swap in some chopped dates.
Red Lentil Soup

Topping Ideas:

I’ve cooked this soup countless times over the years and tend to finish it with what I have on hand. The original recipe has you go big on cilantro. But you can see in these photos I sometimes pile it high with extra scallions and freshly-baked kale chips. Other ideas:

  • finish with a few big handfuls of finely shredded green cabbage
  • stir in a few big handfuls of chopped kale
  • fry 30-40 fresh curry leaves in a few tablespoons of oil adding some chile flakes (or torn chiles), mustard seeds and cumin seeds in the last 15 seconds or so. Pour generously over each bowl
  • finish with deeply roasted tomatoes and omit the raisins

Coconut Red Lentil Soup in a Bowl

A Variation

There was one variation that I noted after cooking this because it stuck out to me as particularly delicious. I was out of scallions and ginger but still wanted to make something along these lines. Instead I used a strong paste made of chopped garlic and serrano peppers – probably a 50/50 blend. I added a few tablespoons of the mixture in place of the scallions in the recipe. The end result was feisty, strong and really wonderful.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we have over the last decade or so! Here’s where you can find all the soup recipes, if you want to explore more. And there are lots of lentil recipes in the archives as well.

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Walnut Miso Noodles

A hearty noodle bowl recipe. Whole grain noodles and asparagus are tossed with a creamy, walnut-miso dressing plus a dollop of chile paste.

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The markets here are full of color right now. Gold, red, and orange beets. Pink-fleshed pomelos. Tiny purple-streaked artichokes. Deep, dark leafy greens. This week I filled my basket with my favorite eggs, a loaf of whole wheat seed bread, fresh tofu, lots of leeks and spring onions, chard with electric-pink stems, and one bunch of pencil-thin asparagus. I bought a small bouquet of sunset-colored flowers with the change in my pocket and made my way home. A few of my finds when straight into my lunch, this hearty noodle bowl.
Walnut Miso Noodles in a Bowl
I made a quick, creamy walnut-miso dressing and used it to coat whole wheat noodles, plenty of sliced asparagus, leftover tofu, and a few other ingredients I had within reach. I was quite hungry or I might have taken the time to top off with a poached egg or two. Something I’ve done many times in the years since I first made this.

Ingredients for Noodle Bowls
The main components here are whole wheat noodles tossed in a walnut-miso dressing. To make this seasonal I added the asparagus, scallions, and a big dollop of warming chile paste. I tossed some leftover tofu on top as well. The noodles and dressing are the foundation here, play around with all the different ways you can finish off the bowl to make a balanced meal of it.

Two Bowls of Noodles on a Table
For example, in the past I’ve used vibrant chard leaves and stems (pictured below), and another version using caramelized onions, roasted squash, greens, and a bit of cheese. If you’re looking for a summer or early fall version try roasted tomatoes, basil, and roasted peppers.
Noodles in a Bowl with Chard

The Ingredients

Noodles: you can use a range of noodles here. My favorite for this recipe is this farro spaghetti but use whatever whole wheat, or whole grain pasta you like. Soba noodles are another good option!

Chard leaves

Toppings: Blanched (grilled or roasted) seasonal vegetables, herbs and scallions, something spicy (Calabrian chile paste, sesame chile paste, or sriracha), a poached egg, sliced avocado

Miso: Feel free to experiment with the type of miso you use in the dressing. I started off using a mild white miso paste, but now tend to use red miso.
Walnut Miso Noodles in a Bowl

Nuts: I nearly always use toasted walnuts here, but toasted cashew or almonds are also fair game if that’s what you have.

The name of the game here is flexibility. Once you have the pasta and dressing dialed in, really focus on making the vegetables and other toppings great. And if you like this recipe, here’s where you can find many more pasta recipes

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Chipotle Cinnamon Slow-Cooked Coconut Beans

Tender, slow-cooked beans in a red broth tempered with coconut milk toward the end. The broth hums with a strong cinnamon, chipotle, and tomato foundation punctuated with cayenne pepper and Thai chiles.

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You’re looking at some really good slow-cooked beans here. They’re simmered until extra tender in a brilliant red broth tempered with coconut milk toward the end. The broth hums with a strong cinnamon, chipotle, and tomato foundation punctuated with cayenne pepper and Thai chiles. The broth thickens as it cooks enveloping the beans over the course of an hour or two. Make a pot and use them throughout the week!

A White Pot of Slow-Cooked Beans made with Chiles and Coconut

How To Serve Slow-Cooked Coconut Beans

I love these beans soupy and straight, just after I make a fresh pot – drizzled with a bit of extra coconut milk. All bets are off after that. The flavors concentrate overnight and the broth thickens. These beans are great on tacos. You can use them in place of chickpeas in a favorite bean or veggie burger. Or make them a foundation component in a lunch bowl.  
A White Pot of Slow-Cooked Beans made with Chiles and Coconut

Other Ideas:

  • Quesadillas: Make a quesadilla with a side of the coconut beans topped with salted yogurt, lots of sliced scallions, toasted cashews and a big squeeze of lemon.
  • Grain Bowl: (pictured below) Serve a cup of your favorite rice and/or grain blend with the coconut beans on the side, drizzle with extra full-fat coconut milk. Top with sesame seeds and a bit of citrus olive oil and/or hot sauce.
  • Make it a Soup: Add more water and coconut milk at the end, re-season and enjoy as a pot of soup.

Slow-Cooked Coconut Beans in a Bowl Served with Basmati Rice and Avocado

Choosing Your Beans

I like to make these coconut beans with Santa Maria Pinquito beans. They deliver a robust broth that stands up beautifully to all the spices here. That said, I think King City Pink beans might work beautifully with their thinner skins and creamy tenderness. I can also imagine Mantequilla and Buckeye beans working nicely if you have either of those on hand.
A White Pot of Slow-Cooked Beans made with Chiles and Coconut


As this recipe evolved over the course if this year, I landed on a spice blend that leans pretty hard into the feistiness of ground cinnamon and of a range of chile peppers. That said, there are a thousand other directions you could take the spice profile here while leaving many of the other ingredients in place. I could imagine a version heavy on caraway, and then you could introduce some chopped celery with the onion at the start. Basically, if you can imagine something being delicious alongside tomato and coconut milk, you shouldn’t be shy about trying it out.
A White Pot of Coconut Beans on a Marble Counter waiting to be Served

More Bean Recipes

I did a post a couple years back with ten of my favorite bean recipes, but wanted to note there are a couple stand-outs that are constantly on repeat in my kitchen. In particular, this is how I like to make refried beans. Look here if you’re looking for a good basics write-up on how to cook beans. And, if you’re a giant bean fan, please(!) give these Giant Chipotle Baked Beans a try. They’re so so so good.

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Vegan Red Pozole (Pozole Rojo / Mexican Hominy Stew)

This favorite meatless red pozole is grounded with cascabel and chipotle chiles and spiked with citrus olive oil.

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For many years our “house pozole” was a bright, vegetarian green pozole (pozole verde). It’s a pozole made with serrano and poblano chiles, one that really goes for it on the cilantro and garlic fronts. It was my go-to pozole, I included the recipe in Near & Far and I would make it often in the summer when tomatillos are in season. Pozole, a Mexican hominy stew, is typically made with meat, but doesn’t have to be.

I’ve had a number of incredible vegetarian and vegan versions of pozole including the version I liked to order at Gracias Madre in San Francisco. There is a much loved vegan pozole served at Alta Baja Market in Santa Ana, but it has eluded me so far. You have to go on the last Sunday of every month (before they run out) and I hold out hope for my next visit.
 A Vegan Pozole topped with Homemade Tortilla Strips, Avocado, Cabbage and Toasted Pepitas
The recipe I’m going to to share today is actually a red pozole. It’s a switch from the green pozole (pozole verde) we’ve made for so long, but it’s how I currently like to make pozole for myself, at home. A number of you have asked for the recipe, so here we go, with a bit of back story. 

Wayne and I took a (very windy) road trip earlier this year, through the Southwest of the United States — from Los Angeles, California to Santa Fe, New Mexico. At the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market I bought a few pounds of beautiful, dried red posole. Along with that I scored some dried chipotle, cascabel chiles and fragrant Mexican oregano. In short, this haul prompted a shift from green to red when I returned home. 
A Cazuela of Pozole on a Table with a Range of Toppings

Pozole / Posole / Prepared Hominy

If you’re new to pozole-making you might be confused. Pozole (Posole) is the name of the stew, but *also* the primary, defining ingredient in that stew – nixtamalized maize or field corn. My understanding is the more traditional Mexican spelling is pozole, but you’re likely to see posole in the context of the Southwest. To add to the confusion you also see it called out as hominy. Ingredient lists (for pozole) often call for hominy, dried hominy, prepared hominy, and/or canned hominy. To succeed here, you need to make sure you’re using nixtamalized corn / posole / hominy. I add links to favorite sources for dried (prepared & nixtamalized) posole down below as well as more links worth reading and exploring for a deeper dive.

Why is There Citrus in Your Pozole?

I suppose the most unusual aspect of this pozole recipe, aside from it being veg., is the high-volume introduction of numerous citrus accents. The first time I switched our “house” green pozole to an early version of this red one I felt like it needed some lift. It needed some sort of bright punctuation in flavor to counter the earthiness of the chile broth and starch of the pozole (hominy). I started reaching for nearby ingredients in my kitchen and garden. 

It turns out adding a foundational citrus component or two was a game changer (beyond a squeeze of lime or lemon as a topping). Now I can’t imagine making veg. red pozole without it. A fatty drizzle of tangerine or lemon olive oil snaps everything into place. I also love to pick a few leaves off my makrut lime tree, sliver-slice whisper thin and add them to the pot in the final few minutes of simmering. I’ve used lemon zest as well on occasion. And *then* I love to serve bowls with wedges of lemon, lime or orange. Bonus points if they’ve been seared on a comal or grill, or in a pan.

A Close-up of a bowl of Vegan Pozole with toppings including Tortilla Chips, Avocado and Cilantro

Canned vs. Dried Pozole (Hominy)

I never use canned hominy in my pozole (posole), I just don’t. By cooking dried pozole (hominy) you get beautiful blossoms of corn kernels plus a flavorful corn broth. You can carry that full-bodied broth over to your pot of pozole later in the process. My recommendation is to cook from dried and set up a great foundation from the start.

Where to Buy Dried Pozole (Posole)

After cooking through the red posole from Santa Fe I’ve been ordering a beautiful organic red posole via Southwest Heritage Mill. And my go-to white corn posole has long been from Rancho Gordo.

Red Feathers Red Corn Posole

Ready-To-Cook Hominy / White Corn Posole

Pozole Toppings //

One of the things to love about a big, celebratory pot of pozole is the way everyone is able to customize a bowl. The recipe I’m including below (pre-toppings) is naturally vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. This is part of what makes it such a great meal to prepare for a crowd. It accommodates a range of dietary preference with no added lift for the cook. Here’s a list of favorite toppings:

  • Homemade Tortilla Strips: This is a topping worth going the extra mile. To make homemade tortilla strips (see photo), slice corn tortillas thinly with a sharp knife. Fry in 1/2-inch of oil *in batches* before transferring to paper towels. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Repeat with remaining tortilla strips.
  • A Bit of Something Creamy: I like a little something creamy to top things off and typically reach for whatever is on hand. To keep things vegan, grab a favorite crumbly vegan cheese (there are a number of nut based ones). Or, if dairy is in your wheelhouse – creme fraiche, sour cream, feta cubes, crumbled cotija or goat cheese all do the job.
  • Citrus wedges: Limes, lemons, oranges – and as I mentioned up above, if you have a grill going, grilled citrus wedges are wonderful.
  • Shredded Cabbage: There’s already a good amount of cabbage in my pozole base, but a little extra as a topping is always welcome.
  • Avocado: A must. The creaminess of a ripe avocado contrasting with the tortilla strips is A-plus.
  • Thinly Sliced Radishes
  • Toasted Pepitas
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • More Citrus Olive Oil (for drizzling)

A bowl of Vegan Pozole topped with Homemade Tortilla Strips, Avocado, Cabbage and Toasted Pepitas

Make-Ahead Pozole

There is something special about the ritual of preparing pozole from start to finish in one go. It requires patience, planning, and some supervision over stretches of time. That said, there are many times when I need to break up the process and prepare components ahead of time. This allows a big pot of restorative pozole to come together in a relatively short period of time. I’ll do this if we’re driving from L.A. to see family in Northern California. The components start to thaw in the cooler on the drive up, and then just a few steps are needed to finish things up at the end of a long drive day. Everyone can help prep the toppings. The stages look something like this:

  • Prep the Posole: Soak and cook the dried posole. Drain, saving the broth. Cool and freeze the kernels & broth separately until ready to use.
  • Make the Chile-Tomato Concentrate: Create the chile, onion, tomato, cilantro component, pulse with a hand blender, and freeze until ready to use.
  • Finish the Pozole: A few hours before you’re ready to cook, thaw the components and proceed with the recipe and toppings.

More Readings on Pozole 


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