Tempeh Taco Salad

All the things you love about a taco, in salad form. Tempeh taco salad – crushed tortilla chips bring the crunch, black beans and crumbled tempeh coated with taco seasoning brings the substance, and a strong, smoked paprika-apple cider dressing pulls everything together.

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Today’s recipe? It’s all the things you love about a taco, in salad form. Tempeh taco salad – crushed tortilla chips bring the crunch, black beans and crumbled tempeh coated with taco seasoning brings the substance, and a strong, smoked paprika-apple cider dressing pulls everything together. It’s a meal in itself, and most of the components can be prepared ahead of time, making this salad a good option for weeknight dinners and potlucks. You can see how it comes together in the taco salad how-to video below. Enjoy!

Tempeh Taco Salad

Taco Salad Variations

As I mention in the video, I like to tweak this salad throughout the seasons. Cherry tomatoes (raw or roasted) or grilled zucchini are great in summer, roasted squash or mushrooms are great in the fall. Basically, if you start with the bean & tempeh base, plus the romaine and dressing, you can build and adjust from there – a big dollop of guacamole is always good.

Tempeh Taco Salad

More Salads!

There are so many great salads in the archives, so be sure to poke around. I love this Genius Kale Salad, this Sriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad, these Garlic Lime Lettuce Wraps, and this Grilled Wedge Salad. Also, here’s where you can find the list of all past salad recipes. Enjoy!

More Tempeh!

I really enjoy tempeh in this taco salad (and so many other ways!). If you’re tempeh-curious and looking to try a couple recipes that are absolutely delicious, here are my picks. Don’t skip this Spicy Tempeh Crumble Bowl inspired by Andrea Nguyen, I make it a few times a month, and it’s incredible. I also love this Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh, and of course, another vote for the Lettuce Wraps.

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Meal In A Jar: Tortellini Soup

A favorite flavor-packed meal in a jar, just add water and a can of crushed tomatoes. It’s a favorite one-pot lentil and tomato-based stew, dotted with plump, tender tortellini, spiked with a range of spices. Perfect for one-pot camping or weeknight meals.

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In nearly twenty years of sharing recipes on this site I don’t think I’ve ever posted a meal in a jar. I’m talking about the “just add water” style jar meals. The kind you can keep in the pantry, gift to friends, or pack with you for a road trip or camping trip. In contrast, I’m not talking about green salads in a jar, or burrito in a jar, or those sorts of meals. Just want to clarify. I like a meal in a jar that can be cooked in one pan and only requires water and perhaps one can of something (tomatoes, or coconut milk, etc.) to be great. 
Meal In A Jar Tortellini Soup in Weck Jars on Countertop
I make a range of these whenever we go camping or take our travel trailer out. We’ve been doing a lot of fall/winter coastal camping and a cozy soup or stew always hits the spot. We were at beautiful Crystal Cove State Park for a few days last week and had to hitch up the trailer in the worst rain and wind storm to hit the California Coast all year. Complete laugh/cry mud fest. Torrential downpour. Sideways rain. This was the perfect hearty bowl of soup to thaw us out.
Meal In A Jar Tortellini Soup in a Big White Pot

Meal In A Jar Tortellini Soup

If you’ve tried this Curried Tomato Tortellini Soup, you’ll immediately recognize the inspiration. This is basically the “meal in a jar” version of that soup. It’s a fortifying lentil and tomato-based stew dotted with plump, tender tortellini, and spiked with a range of spices. It’s so delicious, and simple, and this version you combine the jar ingredients with water and a can of crushed tomatoes. There’s literally no prep required for this version once you’ve built your jar. I talk about bonus ingredients down below, and they’re completely optional but instead of the spinach called for in the non-jar recipe, I like to add finely chopped kale or broccoli florets, or whatever I have on had to work in a green veg component in this version.
 View From Crystal Cove Campground

Meal in A Jar Instructions

This is just a reminder to be nice to your future self. Be sure to include all instructions on the side of your jar or container. You can use a sticker, washi tape, tag, or Sharpie marker. If you’re designing your own meal in a jar (I often rework favorite recipes) try to keep things as simple as possible. This means ingredients and instructions. Take a first stab and then tweak as you go until you have a great master recipe. For this soup, I know I can always track down a can of tomatoes (I keep a couple cans in the trailer), so aside from the jar contents all I need is that and water. The instructions fit on one line. It’s basically as simple as this: simmer contents of jar with 5 1/2 cups water and 14-oz can of tomatoes. 
Airstream Trailer from the Front Parked at the Beach

Bonus Ingredients

With these meal in a jar situations I often look to the refrigerator or cooler box for an extra ingredient or two. They’re not necessary, but can be nice to have. Basically, think of it as bonus points for rounding out whatever goes in the pot with whatever fresh ingredient(s) like kale or broccoli you might have on hand. Half the time for me, it’s broccoli, or some chopped kale. Use what you’ve got, it’s hard to go wrong! Cabbage, asparagus, corn, etc. So many add-ins would work here.
Meal in a Jar Tortellini Soup Recipe Handwritten in Journal

Pro-tip! Good Herbs & Spices

These types of meals in jars rely heavily on dry spices, herbs, and the like for flavor and seasoning. You want to use the best, freshest you’ve got. It’s the difference between using a curry paste and a curry powder. Or, the difference between using something like sriracha sauce and dried chile peppers and garlic.  If you’re going to make a bunch of these jars for future meals go ahead and reboot your most used spices, spice blends and dried ingredients. Source from great sources, store them in a dark, cool place, and be sure they’re beautifully fragrant. I list my favorite suppliers in the back of all of my books.
Meal In A Jar Tortellini Soup in Weck Jars on Countertop

If you like this sort of meal in a jar recipe, let me know. I tend to keep these sorts of recipes to myself, In part because I often throw them together in a hurry. But I always take notes, and make tweaks, and have quite a collection of them in my notebooks. Happy to share more if you like!

If soups are your thing, be sure to browse the archives. No one loves a good one more than me and there are dozens of great soup recipes to be had. Don’t miss this lentil soup, this simple tomato soup, or this ribollita.

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A Rustic Scallion & Chive Panade

The combination of simmering broth, Gruyere cheese, onions, garlic, chives, and sourdough combine into a decadent pot of winter magic.

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The panade recipe in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook came to my attention when a friend baked a beautiful double-version of it in an over-sized AGA dutch oven and served it at a dinner party years ago. It was the show-stopping centerpiece of a meal flanked by a beautiful winter green + chicory salad and gem-shaded glasses of wine. The combination of bubbling cubes of brothy bread and caramelized onions silkily merging with molten threads of cheese is knee-buckling. It’s the perfect example of a short list of the simplest ingredients coming together into something much more than then sum of their parts.My Favorite Panade Recipe
I’ve baked variations of this panade in the years since, and it never disappoints. It’s endlessly adaptable, meaning that you can add seasonal ingredients to suit your fancy. For example, in my case, I do a vegetarian version by switching up the broth, and I like my onions on the caramelized side of the spectrum. I’ll add whatever sautéed greens or roasted vegetables I have around. Judy also listed a range of ideas and variations in the cookbook, so if you have it (and you should!) be sure to have a glance at those for year-round inspiration. Her original had chard. I use lots of scallions in mine. In short, it’s one of those IYKYK recipes. Molly Wizenberg knew what was up way back in 2005 when she wrote about the Judy panade recipe here


I’m going to dive in and answer a number of questions here that might pop up. The ingredient list for this panade couldn’t be simpler, but the devil is in the details and navigating personal preferences.Close-up of Panade in Cast-iron Casserole

What Kind of Bread for this Panade?

The short answer is a good, chewy artisan sourdough loaf. That said, I will also argue that a lot of this is personal preference. If you bake sourdough at home, by all means, use that. Either one of these choice will likely result in a nicely structured panade with nice distinction between some of the components. The bread choice is such a big deal in this recipe, each one will impact your end result immensely. I learned the hard way when I used a more commercial sourdough loaf to make the panade one night – much finer crumb, less/no chewiness, and I’m guessing it was 100% all-purpose flour. The resulting panade broke down too far, into an unstructured slump. You want the bread to put up a fight and hold a bit of tension. Not go to mush altogether.
Panade before baking

Crust or no Crust?

There are arguments for both. The panade here retained the crust on the bread cubes. But I’ve done crustless versions before. If you decide you love a super oozy, silky panade, go crustless. If you like your panade to have more structure, keep your crust. Or go 50/50!Preparing bread in large bowl before assembling panade.

What is the Best Broth for Panade?

We tend to use whatever good-tasting broth we have around or in the freezer (defrost). I love an herby broth for this scallion and chive version, but if you’re in a pinch grab a bouillon cube or two and go from there. Judy uses a chicken broth in her recipe (which doesn’t work for vegetarians), but I’ve had great results with mushroom broth, and corn broth along with roasted cherry tomatoes and goat cheese in the panade. I’ve even used spicy bean broth.Ingredients for panade arranged on countertop.

Can I use a Different Cheeses in this Panade?

You can! I call for Gruyere, but mention in the headnote that one of my favorite versions ended up being a blend of Gruyere, Parmesan, and Pecorino cheeses. I prefer slightly assertive cheeses for the panade, with at least a portion being a cheese that oozes when melted. For example, I wouldn’t reach for a mozzarella – too mild.Sourdough bread for panade recipe.

Can I Make this Ahead of Time?

I often make the caramelized onions ahead of time. And then any other fillings that I might be able to pre-roast. 

Soupy versus Dry-ish Panades

Again, this is personal preference. After you bake panade once or twice you’ll start to get a sense of what style you prefer. You can go the soup-is route by adding more broth. Or lean into more of a stuffing vibe with less broth. The recipe below aims to hit the mark where the panade is transitioning from a stuffing-like texture, into silkier magic, not-yet-in-soup territory.
My Favorite Panade Recipe
This recipe is a warming, hearty, winter warmer. It looks so rustic, but the silkiness down in the depths is what’s incredibly surprising. It’s the ultimate comfort dish that I hope you enjoy as much as I have over the years. Thanks to Jamie & Chanda & Bonni for our SF panade dinners, we miss them (and you) so much!

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Grilled Veggie Kebabs

Spicy grilled veggie kebabs made with a flavor-packed yogurt marinade and mix of vegetables with paneer cheese. A favorite that you can make ahead, and grill or bake year-round.

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A couple of weeks back we drove east from Los Angeles to camp in Joshua Tree. From there we headed south to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – if you’ve never been, it’s magical. That said, the weather was conflicted! It was hot during the days, then big rain one night, and white-knuckle windy while driving. We agreed that the highlight on the cooking front was these spicy yogurt-slathered veggie kebabs. I make them often at home, year-round, but they are extra special when enjoyed under the stars. I love that they can be grilled or baked, all your ingredients marinate in one container until you’re ready to skewer & cook your kebabs, and you can adapt to whatever ingredients you have on hand.
Grilled Veggie Kebabs on Enamelware Plate 

Top of the List Veggie Kebabs

I tend to prep some easy meals whenever we go camping and these spicy yogurt-slathered veggie kebabs are always top of the list. They are pictured here made with paneer cheese, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and onions. I’ll talk more about the marinade down below. The recipe you’ll see below is written incorporating the ingredients pictured, but I just want to make sure you don’t feel limited to this combination. Half the fun in cooking veggie kebabs is playing around with what you put on the skewers. For example…

Favorite Ingredients for Veggie Kebabs

  • mushrooms: I can’t remember the last time I cooked veggie kebabs without mushrooms as a main component – they’re a must. Have fun with different types – the standards (cremini, button, Portobello,etc.) are all great and easy to source. Also keep an eye out for king oyster mushrooms, maitake, matsutake, oyster, lobster mushrooms and the like. Mix it up with more than one type if you can.
  • frozen artichoke hearts: I like to thaw these the day I plan on marinating the veggie kebab ingredients, then incorporate them into the mix. I usually thread the artichokes onto the skewer through both ends, so they’re folded over, although I’m noticing I didn’t do that in these photos. Meant to!
  • paneer: once I figured out just how well paneer freezes, I always have some on hand. Whenever I go to the Indian market I stock up on 4-5 blocks, then freeze most of them for later use. Unlike tofu, which changes texture dramatically after freezing, paneer stays very similar to its pre-frozen state once thawed.
  • peppers: I love adding shishito peppers to my kebabs, but red or green bell peppers are easy to find and popular.
  • corn – cut into rounds or half-moons: When corn is in season this is a great addition.
  • tofu: I don’t typically use tofu for these veggie kebabs, I much prefer the paneer with this marinade and flavor profile. That said, if you’re looking to make a vegan or dairy-free version, you can certainly experiment with tofu and a dairy-free yogurt.
  • broccoli or cauliflower florets: I always regret not adding more broccoli to the kebabs.
  • onion wedges and/or shallots: These add great flavor and structure. The key here is cutting the shallot or onion large enough to easily thread onto the skewer yet small enough that it cooks through. 

Airstream in Joshua Tree California before Grilling Veggie Kebabs

The Marinade 

There are a lot of things I love about this marinade. It’s yogurt based and the sort of marinade you might see used to tenderize meat in many traditional cuisines (Indian tandoor, Turkish, Greek, etc.) before grilling or placing in an oven. Tenderizing meat isn’t a factor here, but using yogurt marinades, I love the way they brown, set and caramelize when heated (especially on direct flame). Yogurt marinades often have a yogurt base paired with a citrus juice (often lemon), and then whatever herbs, spices, salts, and seasonings beyond that. Here you’ll see I like a jolt of mustard, a good amount of spice, relish for dimension, and some turmeric for earthiness and color. 

Veggie Kebabs = Make Ahead

The other great thing about this marinade is the ingredients can marinate for a while if needed. Up to three, maybe four days – depending on what you’re marinating. I do it regularly, where I grill veggie kebabs one night, but don’t use up all the ingredients. Then come back two days later and skewer up the rest of the kebabs. So basically, whip up the marinade, and toss your ingredients. Then whenever you’re ready, skewer and cook.

WB & P in Joshua Tree Campground

How Should I Cook these Veggie Kebabs?

You have options! The short answer is to use whatever you’ve got. I typically go for the grill, but it really depends a lot on the time of year and where I am. These kebabs are equally good baked in a hot oven on a sheet pan, or baked (also on a sheet pan) in a pizza oven. We have one of those propane-powered portable pizza ovens and that’s what you see in the video below. We’ve found keeping them toward the front when using the pizza oven works best, and rotate often.

Veggie Kebab Video

Tips for Making the Best Veggie Kebabs

There are a couple things to keep in mind on this front, but in general keep it simple and embrace a marinade you love. Beyond that:

  • Start with great in-season ingredients.
  • Cut ingredients into similar sizes: This makes for nicely balanced kebabs where ingredients are more likely to cook evenly.
  • Grill or bake using appropriate heat: You want the inside of each ingredient to cook nicely in the same amount of time it takes to develop good color and flavor on the outsides. If you cook too hot the outside could burn while the middle remains raw – not good!

Joshua Tree Campground

What to Serve with Veggie Skewers

So many things work great alongside these veggies kebabs. I love to serve them over a flavor-boosted slather in a shallow bowl. For example, something like this Beet Caviar, or this Mung Bean Hummus, this Seed Pate, or the Peace, Love & Energy Dip. I also love to add a grain component and these kebabs are great alongside a big scoop of quinoa or something along the lines of this Super Orange Citrus Rice, this Sesame Coconut Rice, or Bryant Terry’s Amazing Green Rice.

Veggie Kebabs on a Plate

Do I Need to Soak Wooden Skewers Before Grilling?

The last thing I’l mention before we get to the recipe is that I always forget to soak my wooden skewers before grilling. I intend to soak them for about 30-40 minutes before skewering, but similar to the way I always burn pine nuts, I never remember to soak the skewers. What to do? It’s ok, even ten minutes is better than nothing, do what you can. If you’re short on soaking time another thing you can do is really stack up the ingredients so there is minimal wood exposure. It makes the kebabs a bit more challenging to handle, but the skewers will hold up better.

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Giant Chipotle Baked Beans

A riff on Laurence Jossel’s famous NOPA beans – plump, creamy beans baked in a bright, chunky chipotle tomato sauce, topped with crunchy breadcrumbs, plenty of oozy queso fresco, and an emerald drizzle of cilantro pesto.

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Food & Wine magazine’s Emily Kaiser wrote an article in November of 2008 that highlighted two of my favorite things: Steve Sando’s Rancho Gordo heirloom beans, and a bean recipe from NOPA – a restaurant that was just a short walk from my front door for many years. I’ve enjoyed Laurence Jossel’s beans countless times, both at the restaurant and by making them in my own kitchen. I even brought them to Thanksgiving one year. Imagine plump, creamy beans baked in a bright, chunky tomato sauce, topped with crunchy breadcrumbs, plenty of tangy crumbled feta, and an emerald drizzle of oregano-parsley pesto. I love his original recipe, but the last time I made them I decided to add a few of my own twists. I did a subtly smoky chipotle-version of the tomato sauce, a cilantro drizzle, kale, whole grain bread crumbs, and queso fresco cheese. I’m including the recipe down below.
Chipotle Baked Beans

Make Ahead Magic

One of the great things about this recipe is that you can do many of the components ahead of time. You can boil the dried beans, make the pesto, make the tomato sauce, and toast the breadcrumbs. None of which are exceedingly difficult. You can then assemble the components in a flash, and into the oven it goes. Perfect for when you have friends over.
Chipotle Baked Beans

Can I Use Canned Beans?

I’m sure someone is going to ask, so I’ll answer ahead of time – how about substituting canned beans? Ok – here’s the deal – in my experience canned beans lack the structure that beans cooked from scratch have. The canned guys tend to break and go to mush far more quickly. In this recipe they will likely work, but won’t hold up as well. The flavor will be fine, but the texture will be a different beast. If you go this route, don’t skimp on the bread crumbs.
Chipotle Baked Beans
Give these beans a try (either version!), they are outrageously good. The shot above is the recipe in progress, before baking. And the photo below is the beans prior to soaking. They’re huge. You’re looking for beans the size of your thumb prior to soaking for this recipe. I make some suggestion for different types in the recipe below.
Chipotle Baked Beans

Also! There are no shortage of bean recipes on this site. The ones I make most often are these homemade refried beans, and if you’ve never cooked beans from dried, no problem! This post will show you how to cook beans that are simple and amazing.

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Thousand Layer Lasagna

My favorite and best lasagna recipe. Dozens and dozens of whisper-thin sheets of fresh pasta brushed with the most vibrant red tomato sauce imaginable all intersecting layer after layer of warm, oozy, fresh mozzarella.

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If I told you this was the best lasagna recipe, would you believe me? Let’s give it a try. This is thousand layer lasagna. I first posted the recipe in 2006, and still make it all these years later. Imagine dozens and dozens of whisper-thin sheets of fresh pasta brushed with a simple, vibrant red tomato sauce, threaded with layer after layer of warm, oozy, fresh mozzarella. Where the sauce and cheese and pasta touch the pan, particularly in the corners, everything gets crunchy and caramelized. The corner pieces, omg.
Lasagna on a Table with a Piece on a White Plate
I should say, this isn’t a lasagna path for the faint-hearted. This lasagna takes commitment, patience, and lots of time. Think weekend project. This is in part because you’re using fresh pasta, and, well, there are a thousand layers. That said, I’ve streamlined the process a lot over the years. And will call out those tips in the recipe below.Lasagna in a Glass Baking Dish on a Marble Counter Top

How to Make Lasagna: The Basics

  • Start by making the sauce: the sauce I use for this lasagna is super simple, vibrant, and a wink spicy.
  • Prepare the pasta: You’ll either be using homemade pasta or purchase fresh pasta sheets. No dried pasta noodles for this lasagna. The key will be getting your pasta sheet extra thin before boiling.
  • Assemble the lasagna: You’re on the home stretch.
  • Bake:  Until golden, hot, and bubbly – serve!

Close up of a Baked Lasagna Unsliced with Cheese on Top

Homemade Pasta versus Store Bought

Originally, I would always make this lasagna with homemade pasta sheets. Eventually it dawned on me that I could buy pasta sheets and shave some time off the production. I’d say it cuts your time in half. The main thing, in either case, is that you want to get your pasta sheets super thin. So, even if I buy pre-made pasta sheets, I run them through my pasta machine at home a couple times to make them even thinner.
Thin Sheets of Fresh Pasta Flat on a Table
I’m using homemade pasta here, but the process is basically the same if you’re using store-bought pasta sheets.
Pasta Machine in Process of making Pasta Sheets for Lasagna

Can I Freeze Lasagna?

Yes! Absolutely. You can store it, assembled, either baked or unbaked.

  • To freeze an unbaked lasagna: Line your baking pan with a layer of parchment paper. Assemble the lasagna in the baking dish, allow to cool completely, and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the frozen block of lasagna from the dish, wrap completely with foil and freeze for up to a month or two. 
  • To finish an unbaked frozen lasagna: Remove all layers of foil, you can decide if you want to leave the parchment or not, and transfer to the original baking dish. Allow to thaw completely before baking as directed.
  • To freeze baked lasagna: If you know you’re going to freeze your fully baked lasagna, line your pan with foil, and then a layer of parchment paper. Assemble the lasagna as directed, and then bake. I tend to undertake a shade here, knowing I’ll be reheating later.Let it cool completely after baking, and then freeze solid. Transfer the frozen lasagna out of the baking dish, wrap tightly in foil, and freeze for up to a month or two.
  • Reheating a baked lasagna: remove the lasagna from the freeze and remove the foil. Transfer to the original baking dish, and allow to thaw completely. Cover with foil and bake as directed until golden and bubbly. 

Assembling Lasagna in Glass Baking Dish with Pasta and Tomato Sauce and Cheese
This is a good photo (above) demonstrating the ideal thickness of your pasta for this lasagna. The photo above shows you the amount of sauce you’re aiming for, as well as mozzarella.
Pre-boiled Lasagna Noodles on Countertop
What you are seeing in the photo above is the pasta sheets boiled and ready for assembly. Because of the olive oil in the cooling water you use, overlapping the pasta sheets here isn’t a problem. They separate relatively easily.
Unbaked Lasagna in Glass Baking Dish
Ready for the oven! This is what it looks like fully assembled and ready to bake. Of course you can experiment with different pans and baking dishes. You can make extra pasta and sauce and go extra deep dish. Once you get the hang here, you can take the general idea and run with it.
Close-up Overhead Shot of Baked Lasagna

Thousand Layer Lasagna Variations

Today I’m sharing the tomato-based “starter” version of this lasagna, but feel free to experiment through the seasons. I’ve done roasted butternut squash + brown butter, or pesto and ricotta – play around, but keep the sauces + fillings simple and (key!) not too chunky. Part of the magic comes from the baklava-like layering of the pasta, one on top of the next. There’s just enough going on between each layer to keep it all moist, flavorful, and feathery-light. Well, as feathery-light as lasagna gets.Individual Shot of Lasagna on a White Plate

This is such a fun lasagna to make. Particularly if you’re not in a hurry. Have fun, it’s worth the payoff when it comes out of the oven! 

If you’re looking for more pasta inspiration, here’s where you can learn to make fresh pasta. Homemade cavatelli is a blast, and I love this pesto forever, especially with this gnocchi

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Super Orange Citrus Rice

This incredible citrus rice is flooded with orange juice, flecked with celery and carrots, and boosted with a packet of French onion dip mix. It’s beautiful, delicious, and if you’re in a rice or grain rut, it’s just the thing to get you out of it. This Super Orange Citrus Rice is also the perfect […]

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This incredible citrus rice is flooded with orange juice, flecked with celery and carrots, and boosted with a packet of French onion dip mix. It’s beautiful, delicious, and if you’re in a rice or grain rut, it’s just the thing to get you out of it. This Super Orange Citrus Rice is also the perfect base for a rice bowl, and I love using leftovers the next day for a citrusy-y take on fried rice.

Super Orange Citrus Rice in a Serving Bowl
I cook rice a couple times a week. Half the time I’ll make it straight and simple – water, rice, and a bit of salt. The other times I like to mix it up with different broths, infusions, and favorite flavors, ingredients and textures. A lot of you know how much I love a good rice situation – I included a whole section of ideas in the back of Super Natural Simple. I also constantly revisit Bryant Terry’s Amazing Green Rice, this Congee with Brown Rice and Turmeric, and this herby rice situation. Recently, this super orange citrus rice has been in high-rotation. Here are the details!Super Orange Citrus Rice in a Kitchen on a Counter

Citrus Rice Inspiration

One of the things I love about flea markets, estate and yard sales is finding and browsing old cookbooks. I come across a lot of community cookbooks, and always have my eyes peeled for books that are special, unusually, and/or regionally specific. Today’s recipe was inspired by a cookbook I picked up a few years ago, published by Sunkist in 1968. It is cover-to-cover recipes that are citrus inspired – note the sub-title: lemons, tangerines – citrus treasures of the west – oranges, grapefruits. 

A few of the recipes caught my attention. In particular, there is an orange rice recipe that calls for “instant minced onions.” I imagined that would add a nice seasoning element to a citrus rice. I tend to keep French onion soup mix on hand to make the French Onion Strata in Super Natural Simple, and have dehydrated onions in my pantry as well.  Today’s recipe evolved from there. I love the way the onion helps counter the sweetness of the orange juice, keeping the whole dish squarely in the savory camp.
Super Orange Citrus Rice Surrounded by Plates and Ready to Eat
Super Orange Citrus Rice Surrounded by Plates and Ready to Eat

What Kind of Rice to Use?

I’ve been using brown basmati rice for this recipe. Short grain brown rice should also work, you might need to adjust the cooking time a bit though. I’ve tested a blend of half brown basmati with half white basmati and it wasn’t great. Unsurprisingly, the white grains really blew out and over cooked while the brown rice grains finished cooking.

The general rule of thumb here is yes, you can likely use your favorite rice, whatever it is. You should simply adjust the amount of liquid and cooking time according to whatever you typically use for 2 cups of rice. So, for example, if you’re using 2 cups of white rice, scale back the orange juice and water called for in the recipe from 4 cups to 3 cups (or 3 1/4 cups total liquid). Hope that makes sense. It’s a long way of saying you can likely make this with success with whatever rice you have on hand.

Super Orange Citrus Rice Surrounded by Plates and Ready to Eat

Make Citrus Rice into a Meal

You can easily add another hearty element to this rice and make a one bowl meal. You see the citrus rice pictured here topped with a bit of simply marinated, baked tofu. It’s just slabs of thinly sliced extra-firm tofu tossed in 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon wasabi paste, and 2 teaspoons soy sauce and baked until golden in a 375F oven. Wasabi paste can be tricky to come by, and when I’m out of it I’ll substitute a favorite curry paste or tobanjan paste. Throw some broccoli or cauliflower florets into the oven with the tofu for some added veg.

Alternately, I like to make a thin omelette with an egg or two, slice it thinly, and use that in place of the tofu. And before I forget, if your celery is extra leafy, be sure to make your own celery salt! It’s really wonderful on this rice, but also on all sorts of soups and salads.

Leftover Ideas

This recipe makes a good amount of citrus rice, and we often have leftovers. It’s SO good the next day, perfect for a quick fried rice for lunch, or easy dinner. The citrus element is really fantastic and unexpected if you aren’t in the know. 

If you’re looking for more rice recipes I have so many ideas. Laugh/cry. Be sure to try this green rice, my favorite mushroom casserole,  and this vegetarian take on paellaI also love cooking with quinoa, cooking with lentils, and on the citrus recipe front, don’t miss this citrus salt – it’s so much fun to play around with a range of limes, lemons, grapefruits, and tangerines! Enjoy! -h

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How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

The gnocchi recipe taught to me by Francesca’s mother. A platter of petite, potato pillows coated with glistening flecks of basil pesto.

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This gnocchi recipe was taught to me when a friend came to visit from Genoa, Italy. Her mother came with her, and one night, alongside a small mountain of beautiful, fragrant basil, she taught us her homemade gnocchi recipe. I posted about the pesto we made to go with it in a separate post, and as promised the gnocchi as a followup. You ready!?

How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

Gnocchi takes Patience

Gnocchi recipes aren’t for the faint of heart. Many, many things can go awry. I’m not trying to scare you off or dissuade you, I just want you to know what you are in for. Gnocchi-making takes practice, patience, and persistence. At their best, potato gnocchi can be light and delicate. At their worst, dense, rubbery, and/or soggy. The very worst are the gnocchi that come apart in the boiling water before they even reach your plate.
How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

The Simplest Ingredients

The platter of petite, potato pillows coated with glistening flecks of basil pesto that Francesca’s mother made us that night was beautiful. The gnocchi recipe she taught us had just three ingredients – boiled, starchy russet potatoes combined with a minimal amount of flour (too much flour and your gnocchi are going to be heavy), and a bit of salt – no eggs. I’ve tweaked her version to be a little more user-friendly here, because to be honest, eggless gnocchi are very tricky to get the hang of, very delicate to handle. I’m afraid if I post the eggless version here, there will be a number of you who will try it, get frustrated, and curse me. So, a bit of egg it is.
How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

This Gnocchi Recipe: The Details

In the version here, I incorporate just enough egg to act as a bit of a binder for the gnocchi. We still aren’t using an excessive amount of flour, and the resulting gnocchi are deliciously light. They can also stand up to a toss with your favorite sauce. You can see them pictured at the top of this post, tossed with this favorite pesto.

Gnocchi with Egg, or No?

If you are committed to trying an eggless version, try this version first. After that, perhaps the next time around, use half the egg, and the time after that go for no egg. By that time, you should have all the other steps figured out and you’ll have a better vantage point and level of experience from which to work You’ll also have a better sense of how to handle and work with the dough.

So, here it is – the long awaited gnocchi recipe. Give it a go, and let me know what you think. If you know how to make pesto, this is the time to do it! A simple toss is perfect. And if you haven’t tried making your own homemade pasta, or cavatelli – one of those should be next on your list! You can also find the complete list of pasta recipes here.

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Garlic Lime Lettuce Wraps

Ginger and garlic tempeh rice, folded into lime-spiked lettuce wraps with lots of herbs, cucumber, and carrots. A one-pan meal that comes together in no time!

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Lettuce wraps are a fave around here (and a nice change from taco night). This has become a favorite weeknight meal. Ginger and garlic tempeh rice, folded into lime-spiked lettuce wraps with lots of herbs, cucumber, and carrots. It’s a one-pan meal that comes together in no time!

Garlic Lime Lettuce Wraps

A couple of tips related to this recipe. If you find a tempeh brand you like, buy it in multiples. It freezes really well. Also, I like to make these lettuce wraps with brown rice that I’ve blended with other grains – like a little bit of millet, and quinoa. But, brown jasmine rice on it’s own is also A+! Experiment with toppings – a sprinkling of toasted nuts, or even a dollop of guacamole is always good.

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Sourdough Galette with Delicata Squash

A fully loaded winter sourdough galette topped with delicata squash, green chile yogurt, shallots, and scallions.

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What you see here is a fully loaded winter (or autumn!) galette. I started making it a few months back inspired by a recipe in Sarah Owens’ masterful Sourdough book. Her whole-grain boosted sourdough crust caught my attention. I also didn’t need convincing related to the garlic-spiked labneh slathered beneath summery toppings. I don’t need to tell most of you, as I initially typed this, we were a long way from summer.

Sourdough Galette with Delicata Squash
Sarah’s galette was loaded with beautiful tomatoes, but by the time I spotted her recipe, tomatoes were long gone for the year. My tart needed to be more of a cold weather affair, and the delicata squash and shallots I had on hand seemed a natural evolution. I’ve baked this galette four or five times since, and it’s omg-so-good. If you love savory tarts this is for you. And please don’t sweat it if you don’t maintain a sourdough starter, I’ll note a couple alternative paths you can take down below.
Sourdough Galette with Delicata Squash

Make it Easy!

This galette is a bit of a project if you start from zero at late in the evening with dinner as your intention. Pre-make most of the components when you have a few minutes here or there in the days prior, and it will come together effortlessly when you’re ready to bake the finale.

What Can you Do Ahead of Time?

You can make the dough for the crust and freeze or refrigerate. You can pre-make the yogurt spread in five minutes – total breeze. And if you roast the delicata and shallots the night before (or have them as a component of your meal that day) you can use the leftovers on the galette.

All the Toppings for a Sourdough Galette with Delicata Squash

What If You Don’t Have Sourdough Starter?

Here’a another tart crust I love – you can simply swap in this one. Alternately, you can follow the recipe below omitting the sourdough starter, and adding and extra 25g of ice water and 25g flour in its place. Adjust with a bit of extra water or flour depending on the feel of the dough. If you want to maintain your own sourdough starter, there are endless books, and tutorials on how to do that, or you might ask your local bakery if they could spare a bit of theirs instead of starting from scratch!

Garlic and Green Chile Spiked Yogurt

Kitchen Scales are the Best!

This recipe is written in weights (I meant to convert for volumes, but ran out time trying to pop off photos before it got dark! Apologies). If you bake a lot, I’m sure you’ve heard it before, a kitchen scale is a godsend. I love my Escali Primo, it costs roughly $20, and will last a long, long time. This tart dough has volume measurements if you are scale-less. Both are buttery, rich and crowd-pleasers.
Close-up Photo of Sourdough Galette with Delicata Squash
Extra credit! I love the cute, tiny seeds inside delicata squash, you can see them pictured here. Pre-roast them tossed with a bit of olive oil in a hot oven, and then sprinkle them on everything from tarts and salads, pastas and pizzas. It’s a bit of a pain to clean the gunk off them, but worth the extra effort.
Individual Slice of Sourdough Galette with Delicata Squash
I hope you all like this one, I was so excited to see how many of you made stunning braided breads! Xo to Sarah for the inspiration!

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