Perfect Stovetop Popcorn

If you’ve ever been frustrated by making homemade popcorn, this post is for you! It’s my technique for perfect stovetop popcorn every time.

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I often half-jokingly tell people one of the hardest things to cook consistently is perfect stovetop popcorn. Keyword: consistently. If you’ve ever burned a batch, or ended up with dozens of un-popped kernels, you know what I’m saying. Pull up a seat. This is where I’ve netted out after hundreds of batches of homemade popcorn.
Perfect Stovetop Popcorn

Homemade Popcorn: Why Bother?

It’s a quick, fantastic, inexpensive, healthful snack. Everyone delights in popcorn. And, everyone loves to get involved in experimenting with different flavors. You can make perfect stovetop popcorn in a flash, so ditch those bags of pre-popped kernels. When you make homemade popcorn you also know exactly what ingredients are going in the bowl. Also, microwave popcorn? Just no.

Popcorn Pro-tip: Skip the Oil

Let’s get this out of the way first. Pop your popcorn in a dry pan or skillet, no oil. Controversial, I know, but I find that popping popcorn in hot oil increases the likelihood of burnt popcorn and dead kernels. Dry pan popping results in beautiful light popcorn that provides the perfect blank canvas for all your favorite seasonings.
Yellow Popcorn Kernels

Best Pan for Making Perfect Stovetop Popcorn?

The two pans I use most for making popcorn are a deep pasta pot (big batch), and a wide, deep skillet (small batch). You’re going for wide, with a lot of surface area. In either case a fitted lid is needed, although in a pinch you might try placing a baking sheet over your pot. Careful though, it gets hot. 

A lot of people will recommend using thick bottom pots or Dutch ovens to make popcorn. It’s decent advice, especially if you’re not the most attentive cook. If you can hit the right steady temperature, thick pots are more forgiving. That said, I love using my copper pans to pop popcorn. They’re relatively thin and very responsive. That makes it easy to dial back the heat and adjust quickly of you sense your pan is hot. A long way of saying, keeping an eye on your temps is probably more important than obsessing about the perfect pot to use.
Homemade Popcorn in a Bowl after Popping

Cover but Crack

A good lid is important when making popcorn, but there’s a bit of a strategy here. For the best results, and lowest number of un-popped kernels leave the lid  open just a hairline amount. It allows any steam or moisture to get out as well, resulting in fluffy kernels.
Homemade Popcorn

Popcorn Seasoning Ideas

Once you have a perfect bowl of fluffy, crisp kernels the seasoning game is on. Here are a few ideas. And please, if you have other favorite popcorn seasonings, drop a comment.

Turmeric Popcorn: A long time fave. Kernels tossed with a short list of power ingredients – ghee, clarified butter, or coconut oil plus turmeric, saffron, nutritional yeast, sesame, and toasted coconut.

Use Compound Butters: Gently melt any of these for flavor-packed drizzles. Lemon Miso Butter is great here, as is Scallion Dill Butter.

Bloody Mary Popcorn:  It’s what happens when popcorn meets the flavors of a Bloody Mary cocktail.

Chile Lime Tequila: Fresh popcorn is tossed with melted butter, lime juice, jalapeno peppers, red pepper flakes, cumin and a splash of tequila.

Classic Buttered Popcorn: This is built into the recipe below, but I’ll mention an alternative here. Ghee is a great swap for melted butter on popcorn. It has wonderful brown butter notes from the toasted milk solids, and less water content. This means no soggy kernels.

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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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How To Cook Quinoa

How to cook quinoa perfectly, every time. You can use it in everything from salads and bowls, stews and sourdough, or any of my 20 favorite quinoa recipes highlighted below.

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If you know how to cook quinoa perfectly, you’re on your way to a wide range of amazing meals. It’s a fantastic adventure to cook your way through the world’s wonderful heirloom grains (and grain-like seeds), and quinoa is one of them. The trick to nailing the perfect fluffy pot of quinoa is using the right ratio of water to quinoa and knowing a few little tricks. While I initially purchased quinoa for its nutritional perks (of which there are many) I kept purchasing it for its grassy taste and fluffed up, creamy-while-crunchy texture.
Favorite Quinoa Recipe

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa [Keen-wah] is a fantastic grain to utilize in year-round cooking. It has long been celebrated as a nutritional powerhouse – protein-rich, delicious, and charmingly versatile. Technically not a true grain, it is related botanically to Swiss chard and beets, but it is grain-like in spirit when it comes to cooking.

Which Color Quinoa is Best?

Quinoa grows in a wide range of colors. The most commonly available in the U.S. are red, brown, black, and ivory. You can also buy tri-color blends of quinoas. Most quinoa tastes very similar to me. White often cooks up fluffiest. The colors have very similar nutritional profiles, although I suspect red and black quinoa have increased phytonutrients. Black can also take a few extra minutes to cook. The biggest difference to me is visual impact. I tend to go with the ivory quinoa if making a meal for someone who might not be a very adventurous eater, or picky kids. The light colored quinoa tends to blend or bake right into things seamlessly. That said, I love the visual punch colored quinoa delivers to pizza crusts, muffins, grain bowls, and the like. So that’s usually my choice.

Why Do I Need to Rinse Quinoa?

This is a thing. Always rinse quinoa before using to remove bitter saponin coating (which the plant produces to deter  birds and insects).

Quinoa Cooking Basics

  • What kind of quinoa should I buy? Consider sourcing fair-trade and organic quinoa. This supports local farm communities, and helps preserve the health and integrity of the land and farming communities.
  • Can I use a rice cooker to cook quinoa? Yes, absolutely. Use the following water (or broth) to quinoa ratio and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Can I use a donabe to cook quinoa? Yes! I use my clay pot donabe to cook quinoa often. Use gentle heat, the ratio below, and the same technique you would use to cook rice.
  • How much water to quinoa should I use? This has been an ever-evolving issue for me over the years. And I’ve landed on 1 cup quinoa to 1 2/3 cups liquid. A steady, gentle simmer for about 20 minutes, covered, will result in a beautiful pot of quinoa. Just fluff with a fork and enjoy.

Get Creative! Cook Your Quinoa with Flavor

Nearly every basic quinoa recipe will instruct you to use water to cook your quinoa. I think this is great advice your first few times through. You can get a real sense of the flavor of quinoa by keeping it simple. Just know, there is a world of flavor to explore beyond that! I love to cook my quinoa with strong broths. A dollop of curry paste is always welcome for a jolt of flavor. Or you can experiment with spices like turmeric, powdered chiles, or seaweeds, or mushroom powders. Chopped garlic? Yes! Miso? So good. The realm of possibilities is endless. 

How Can I Add Quinoa to My Baking?

Stir leftover quinoa into all your favorite baked goods for more interesting flavor, texture, and nutritional punch. The key here is experimenting. Stir a cup of cooked, room-temperature quinoa into your favorite muffin mix. Or cut it into your best pie crust, or biscuit dough. This amount is usually a good place to start until you get a feel for things. Make notes! Then, add more or less quinoa the next time through. This is one of my favorite baking pro-tips. Once you start adding things like quinoa or millet to your baking, all-white flour baking gets less and less interesting. 

How to Store Cooked Quinoa

Store leftover quinoa in the refrigerator for up to a few days, beyond that, transfer it to the freezer. It freezes beautifully. When you’re ready to use it, bring to room temperature and then transfer to a bowl. Use a fork to break up clumps and make uniform. My motto here is: Fridge, freeze, fluff.

Twenty Favorite Quinoa Recipes

If you’re looking for great quinoa recipes, you’re in the right place! 

  1. Double Broccoli Quinoa

    Broccoli lovers delight, with a broccoli pesto, quinoa, sliced avocado and a drizzle of feisty chile pepper oil. Double Broccoli Quinoa

  2. Mung Quinoa Power Bowl Recipe

    Simply mung beans and quinoa with deeply sautéed and spiced celery.
    Mung Quinoa Power Bowl Recipe

  3. Spicy Instant Pot Taco Soup Recipe

    A hearty melding of beans, and corn, and taco spices, and quinoa.
    Spicy Instant Pot Taco Soup Recipe

  4. Super Green Vegan Quinoa Burritos

    Vegan burritos packed with all the good stuff – quinoa, mung beans, and lots of kale. Super Green Vegan Quinoa Burritos

  5. Vegan Double Broccoli Buddha Bowl

    Double up on broccoli through a coconut green curry pesto and florets, then toss with a quinoa base. Vegan Double Broccoli Buddha Bowl

  6. Kale Quinoa Bites

    The perfect on-the-go snack or mini meal.
    Kale Quinoa Bites

  7. Life Changing Green Rice Porridge

    A one pot, effortless, green, nutrient-packed twist on one of my favorite things to eat. Life Changing Green Rice Porridge

  8. Super Natural Vegan Sushi

    Vegan sushi made with sweet potato fries, seasoned tofu, avocado, kale chips, and a quinoa-sushi rice blend. Super Natural Vegan Sushi

  9. Rustic Tomato Tart

    The crust of this tart deploys a favorite baking trinity of mine – rye, cooked quinoa, and all-purpose (or bread) flour. Rustic Tomato Tart

  10. Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa

    A berry-studded breakfast quinoa with pecans and blackberries, sweetened with agave nectar or honey. Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa Recipe

  11. Coconut Quinoa Bowl

    The next time you have leftover quinoa (other other favorite grain) give it a try – coconut, garlic, almonds, kale, topped with salted yogurt and avocado. Coconut Quinoa Bowl Recipe

  12. Quinoa Skillet Bread

    A rustic, minimally structured, custard-topped, crusty-edged, herb-scented corn-quinoa skillet bread. Quinoa Skillet Bread Recipe

  13. Heather’s Quinoa

    A one-skillet quinoa recipe – quinoa, corn, chopped kale and pan-toasted tofu tossed with a big dollop of pesto and finished off with a few roasted cherry tomatoes. Heather’s Quinoa Recipe

  14. Quinoa Hemp Snack Balls

    A quick way to get quinoa, hemp seeds, chia, and coconut into one naturally sweetened, no-bake snack. 

  15. Perfect Healthy Granola

    Deeply chocolate-flavored with dark black cocoa and cocoa nibs, this granola is packed with heart-healthy oats, quinoa crispies and seeds. 

  16. Lemon-scented Quinoa Salad

    An impromptu quinoa salad recipe made by tossing a quick tahini dressing with chickpeas, red onion, and cilantro.

  17. Lemon-scented Quinoa Salad

    This quinoa and grilled zucchini recipe is tossed with a pretty, pale green cilantro-flecked avocado dressing.

  18. Quinoa Cloud Cookies

    Cookies made from toasted quinoa and wheat flours, flecked with chocolate shavings, rolled and stamped into cloud shapes. 

  19. Quinoa with Currants, Dill, and Zucchini

    A quinoa salad made from a quirky combination of quinoa, dill, shredded zucchini, and currants. 

  20. Tokyo Five Grain

    A colorful grain blend inspired by a trip to Japan. 

Have fun cooking with quinoa! Use it in soups, on salads, as a base for all sorts of quinoa bowls, and as a nutrient-packed alternative to white rice or pasta. Stir it into your batters and fold it into your bread and pizza doughs. If you find you enjoy recipes featuring whole quinoa, there are also other forms of quinoa available. Keep an eye out for quinoa flakes, popped/puffed quinoa as well as quinoa flour. All are delicious, interesting, and easy to incorporate into your cooking. Have fun!

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Watermelon Raspberry Breakfast Bowl

This chia-centric Watermelon Raspberry Breakfast Bowl is an A-plus make-ahead blender breakfast.

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I spent a good chunk of time this week cooking beautiful Indian food from the recipes in Dishoom. With the air-quality in Los Angeles getting increasingly bad, staying inside to cook through a number of intensive recipes helped me take my mind off the increasingly heart-breaking situation here in California and West Coast. In addition to the bhel puri, multiple chutneys, mattar paneer, black daal, aloo sabzi, and a technicolor-flavored garam masala, I put a wonderfully sweet watermelon to use. It was a gift from a neighbor we’re lucky to have. I used little chunks of it in place of pomegranate seeds in the bhel puri, and then whipped up this chia-centric Watermelon Raspberry Breakfast Bowl in the blender.
Watermelon Raspberry Breakfast Bowl
You can see it pictured here topped with extra watermelon balls, toasted almonds, crushed freeze-dried raspberries, and a sprinkling of chia seeds. I can imagine a kid-friendly version where you serve it in a tall glass, and sink a bunch of whole watermelon balls into it. The whole recipe really takes on the flavor of the watermelon, balanced out by the tartness of the raspberries. The key here is getting your hands on a super-sweet, top notch watermelon.
Watermelon Balls in Weck Jar
I shaped the watermelon into balls with a melon baller tool probably as old as I am. I’ll forever love eating melons in this shape, but if you don’t want to go to the effort, seedless chunks, roughly bite-sized are what you’re aiming for. They go in the blender, but also make an easy topping if you want to double down on the watermelon front.
Watermelon Raspberry Breakfast Bowl Ingredients in a Blender
I like making a big jar of this sort of breakfast using whatever is seasonal because they keep nicely for up to 4-5 days. I mean, the jar is typically empty by day 2 or 3, but it’s a good make-ahead breakfast. It’s also a good way to kick off your morning with some fruit, fiber, and nuts.
Watermelon Raspberry Breakfast Bowl
One last thought, and this is a personal preference. I find that with breakfast bowls of this sort, I really enjoy having lots of crunchy components on top. Here, you can see toasted almonds filling that roll, but I tend to switch it up day to day. If I have a good homemade cereal blend on hand (like this Breakfast Magic, or this Triple Oat Breakfast Cereal) I use that. Basically anything dry with a good-amount of crunch is fair game and encouraged.
Watermelon Raspberry Breakfast Bowl

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50 Vegan Recipes

Great vegan recipes are like gold. Especially when they feature real whole foods, and lots of plants. This type of cooking supports your health and overall well-being in important ways. No meat? No dairy? No eggs? Don’t sweat it. There are many other ingredients to get excited about.

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Great vegan recipes are like gold. Especially when they feature whole foods, and lots of plants. This type of cooking supports your health and overall well-being in important ways. No meat? No dairy? No eggs? Don’t sweat it. There are many other ingredients to get excited about when you’re cooking and eating.

Mains

  1. Caramelized Tofu

    Caramelized strips of tofu served over sautéed shredded brussels sprouts. Caramelized Tofu

  2. Sunshine Pad Thai

    One simple trick makes this a turmeric noodle version of a classic. Vegan Pad Thai

  3. Last Minute Red Lasagna

    This is a true weeknight lasagna. No pre-cooking sauces, no pre-cooking noodles. Last Minute Red Lasagna

  4. Quick Vegan Enchiladas

    In the oven in less that ten minutes, and a healthful alternative to all the heavy cheese versions out there. With black beans, sweet potatoes, and a stealthy turmeric boost. Vegan Enchiladas

  5. Sushi Bowl

    a de-constructed sushi roll – brown rice, tofu, avocado, toasted nori and green onions served with a tangy, sweet citrus-soy dressing. Sushi Bowl

  6. Rice Porridge

    It’s a one pot, effortless, green, nutrient-packed twist on one of my favorite things to eat. Rice Porridge

  7. Chia Breakfast Bowl

    Chia Breakfast Bowl

  8. Vegetarian Paella

    Vegetarian Paella

  9. Steaming Vegetables

    Steaming Vegetables

  10. Green Falafel Bowl

    Green Falafel Bowl

  11. Ottolenghi Red Rice and Quinoa

  12. TLT Sandwich

  13. Pan-glazed Tempeh

  14. Weeknight Ponzu Pasta

  15. Soups

  16. Vegetable Noodle Soup

    Vegetable noodle soup is as simple, direct, and delicious as it gets. If you’re vegetarian or vegan looking for an alternative to chicken noodle soup, try this! Vegetable Noodle Soup

  17. Broccoli Cheddar Soup

    A simple, everyday broccoli soup made special with crusty, mustardy croutons and cheddar cheese. Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  18. Immunity Soup

    White pepper with jolts of ginger, and stabs of garlic – clear and strong topped with tofu, mushrooms, watermelon radish, and lots of green onions. Immunity Soup

  19. Simple Asparagus Soup

    A simple asparagus soup – fresh asparagus, new potatoes, a bit of green curry paste, and coconut milk are pureed to make this spring favorite. Simple Asparagus Soup

  20. Simple Cauliflower Soup

    This is the simplest cauliflower soup. Simple Cauliflower Soup

  21. Ribollita

    Ribollita is a thick Tuscan stew – dark greens, lots of beans, vegetables, olive oil, thickened with day-old bread. Ribollita

  22. Green Pea Soup

  23. Miso Tahini Soup

  24. Posole in Broth

  25. Leek Soup with Dill Oil

  26. Salads

  27. Taco Salad

    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. Taco Salad<

  28. Rainbow Noodle Salad

    A radiant, color-flecked tangle of noodles, cabbage, shredded carrots, pickled sushi ginger, and an abundance of cilantro, basil, and scallions. Rainbow Noodle Salad

  29. Easy Tomato Pasta Salad

    Whole-grain pasta, baby kale, basil, and the best tomatoes you can get your hands on, with a generous drizzle of strong harissa dressing. Easy Tomato Pasta Salad

  30. Grilled Zucchini Bread Salad

  31. Smash-and-Toss Roasted Potato Salad

  32. Lazy Day Peanut Noodle Salad

  33. Summer Corn Salad

  34. Dips, Snacks and Appetizers

  35. Goth Hummus

    Goth Hummus

  36. Golden Beet Hummus

    Billowy and smooth, it’s a boosted hummus for everyday, all-day w/ golden beets, turmeric, and chickpeas. Golden Beet Hummus

  37. Turmeric Cashews

    Turmeric Cashews tossed with cayenne, nori, and sesame.

  38. Asparagus Tartine

    Avocado smeared across toasted day-old slabs of sesame bread, layered with arugula and garlicky caraway asparagus + toasted pepitas. Asparagus Tartine

  39. Roasted Tomato Salsa

    Deep, caramelized flavors of roasted tomatoes and onions alongside the smokiness of the chipotles equals the best salsa. Salsa

  40. Vegan Nachos

    Packed with beneficial spices, cashews, garlic, and grated sweet potatoes, and lasts up to a week refrigerated. Vegan Nachos

  41. Power Bars

    Savory power bars with toasted walnuts, crumbled kale chips, and oil-cured olives. Power Bars

  42. Muhammara

    Traditional red pepper spread originating from Syria made with a fascinating blend of red peppers, walnuts, olive oil, pomegranate molasses. Muhammara

  43. Mung Bean Hummus

    For creamy hummus, without the extra effort, I use mung beans instead. They work beautifully. Top the hummus with shallot oil, fresh chives Mung Bean Hummus

  44. Spicy Boosted Nut Butter

  45. Walnut Olive Miso Magic Sauce

  46. Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter

  47. Roasted Lemon Chutney

  48. Drinks and Desserts

  49. Rhubarb Rosewater Syrup

    Perfect on (or in) everything from yogurt, spritzers, waffles, or oatmeal. Rhubarb Rosewater Syrup

  50. Lime, Grapefruit and Ginger Juice

    Lime, Grapefruit and Ginger Juice

  51. Vitamin C Tea Blend

    Hibiscus and rose hips are both Vitamin C power houses. This is a much appreciated tea blend for when an immunity boost is needed. Vitamin C Tea Blend

  52. Homemade Strawberry Almond Milk

    Once you’ve tasted homemade almond milk it’s quite difficult to return to store-bought. Homemade Strawberry Almond Milk

  53. No Bake Energy Bites

    No-bake energy bites, my favorite alternative to energy bars. No Bake Energy Bites

  54. Two-ingredient Candied Citrus Lolipops

    Plump, juicy, citrus segments coated in thin, crunchy, sugar shells. Two-ingredient Candied Citrus Lolipops

My hope is you’ll find many ideas here to inspire more vegan meals in your home and life. The recipes listed here are vegan, or easily made vegan (with a minor tweak or two). I only list them here if I’ve actually mentioned how to make the recipe vegan in the recipe or in the head notes of the recipe. Here’s a favorite vegan recipe to start!

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Super Natural Vegan Sushi

This is homemade vegan sushi made with sweet potato fries, seasoned tofu, avocado, kale chips, and a whole grain sushi rice blend. A quick kiss of strong wasabi-spiked soy sauce is my preferred dipping sauce.

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I make this vegan sushi constantly. Especially anytime the weather is hot (read:now). It’s a recipe I planned to include in Super Natural Simple, but ended up leaving it out at the last minute. So! They’re making their appearance here where I have more room to talk through rices, rolling technique, and variations. And don’t worry, you don’t need any special tools to make it. This is homemade vegan sushi made with sweet potato fries, seasoned tofu, avocado, kale chips, and a whole grain sushi rice blend. A quick kiss of strong wasabi-spiked soy sauce is my preferred dipping sauce.
Super Natural Vegan Sushi

Let’s Talk About Sushi Rice

The key to your success here is choosing the appropriate rice. One way to be sure your sushi rolls hold together is to use white short-grain sushi rice. For this recipe you’ll combine cooked white sushi rice with other whole grains to “boost” it nutritionally. I’ve found that using a percentage of white rice really helps the rolls come together. More importantly, it helps them hold together, especially important for newbie sushi makers or if you’re having kids help out.

To cook the sushi rice, rinse the rice grains well before cooking. And if you have time to let them soak, even better. I use 2 cups of rice and 3 cups of water, and a bit of salt – scant 1/2 teaspoon. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Allow to sit, covered, for 10 minutes more. You should end up with perfect chubby, sticky grains of rice you can then combine with other quinoa, cooked grains, pearled barley, black rice, or brown rice. I’ll outline the ratio I like below, but you can experiment. This organic sushi rice is an example of the kind of rice you’re after for the white sushi rice component.

Seasoning: Traditional sushi rice also uses a vinegar and sugar mixture as seasoning. Sometimes I add it to my cooked rice, other times I skip it. I know this might be a controversial admission, but I’d encourage you to think through a range of different ways you can season, spice, or boost your rice. The rice in these sushi rolls is plain and simple. That said, once you get the hang of the basics, you can experiment if you like! Use strong broth in place of the water in your rice. You can add spices (turmeric, curry blends, etc.) or ingredients like minced garlic, ginger, or scallions. Play around!
Vegan Sushi Ingredients

No Sushi Mat, No Problem!

You don’t need to have a special sushi mat to make sushi. I tend to use parchment paper. A clean linen or cotton towel can also work. If you want to make reverse roll (where the rice is on the outside, line your parchment paper with a sheet of plastic wrap. Do a layer of rice, next add the sheet of nori followed by more ingredients and/or rice. You can see my set up for getting ready to roll sushi in the photos below. Basically this is a long way of saying, you don’t need a bunch of specialty equipment to make vegetable or vegan sushi.Tofu in Skillet for Vegan Sushi

Vegan Sushi Filling Ideas

As I mention up above, I’m highlighting my favorite “everyday” vegan sushi roll for you today. I’ve made them twice this week! I’ll talk you through the main components:

  • Seasoned Tofu: Marinate slabs of tofu in a simple soy sauce, water, sesame-chile oil mixture. You can grill the tofu or cook it in a skillet (above) until golden. Cool a bit, and use a sharp knife to slice into matchsticks. You can see the sliced tofu pictured below.
  • Sweet Potato “Fries”: Slice sweet potatoes into fry shapes. Skins on or off, your choice. Toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, a bake at 400F until golden, flipping once or twice along the way. I tend to use the sweet potato version of these oven fries, but Wayne sometimes buys pre-cut sweet potato oven fries in a freezer bag, and those work great too.
  • Avocado: Thinly sliced, and perfectly ripe is what you’re after.
  • Kale Chips: I like the crunch you get from adding a few kale chips. Consider adding them a bonus if you have some on hand.
  • Sesame seeds: In your rolls, on your rolls, whatever.
  • Wildcards: If I have them sometimes I add a bit of cucumber, spicy tempeh crumble, or I’ll make the sushi with this tempeh in place of the tofu. I love this all-natural wasabi paste, and mix it with soy sauce, shoyu, or tamari as a dipping sauce.

As I mentioned, on the rice front, I like a rice blend with a good amount of whole grains in it, and have had the best results using half white sushi rice mixed well with half whole grain rice. For the whole grain rice portions, I like to cook short grain brown rice with a good amount of quinoa in it. That said, any whole grain blend should work with the white sushi rice. It’s sticky and helps everything hold together nicely.

How to Assemble Your Sushi

Sushi doesn’t have to be perfect to be delicious. Keep that in mind if you’re new to this. I thought I’d post a play-by-play photo series of how these rolls come together. Before we get into it, one thing that is helpful to know if your sushi rice is sticky and hard to work with is this. Use cold water to wet your hands or spatula. It’s a game changer.

Ready to roll: Once you have all your ingredients prepared it’s time to make sushi. What you see in the photo below is a sheet of parchment paper in place of a sushi mat. On top of that a 8×8-inch sheet of nori is placed. About a cup of rice is spread across the bottom third. Pat it down with a spatula so it holds together. Now add strips of avocado, sweet potato, tofu, and whatever else you’d like in your sushi.

Preparing Vegan Sushi on Sheet of Nori
Working from the bottom, use your sushi mat or parchment paper to start gently (but confidently!) guiding and shaping everything tightly into a roll. You can see how it starts in the photo below. 
Demonstration of How to Start Rolling Sushi
Use your extra fingers to keep ingredients in place and to pull the roll in toward the sushi mat. See photo below. The goal is shaping and keeping things tight. Keep guiding and rolling.
Demonstrating Sushi Tuck-and-Roll Technique
Once the rice and fillings have been encircled by the nori, compress and pull things tight one more time. I basically run my hands along the length of the roll making sure nothing is loose. 
Using Sushi Mat or Parchment Paper to Roll Sushi
Continue rolling to the end of the nori at this point, guiding the sushi mat or parchment paper out of the way as you go. See above and below examples.
Finished Vegan Sushi Roll
At this point you should be able cut the roll into pieces of sushi. Use your sharpest knife, and keep it clean as you go.
Super Natural Vegan Sushi Recipe
It’s a lot of fun to explore the world of vegetarian and vegan sushi. Next up on my list is to make a roll using sushi rice version of Bryant Terry’s Amazing Green Rice. Basically, I imagine it will be very similar to this roll, but using his blender technique to green-ify the rice. Or maybe as we make our way into the fall a mushroom-centric roll. Excited to see your versions!

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Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Apples with Tofu

A Brussels sprout recipe for people who think they might not like them. Shredded Brussels sprout ribbons, apples, garlic, pine nuts, and tofu in a skillet with a hint of maple syrup.

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I bought a three-foot stretch of Brussels sprouts the other morning at the farmers’ market. For those of you who’ve never encountered the spectacle of Brussels sprouts still on the stalk, it is something to behold. A thick, stick-straight center stalk is punctuated by tight, green Brussels sprout pom-poms. It looks fantastically prehistoric. And while it doesn’t fit very nicely in my market basket, once I get it home the sprouts will keep nicely this way – seemingly longer than off the stalk.
Brussels Sprouts on Stalk
I buy sprouts on the stalk whenever I can, and typically get three or four sprout-centric meals out of each, breaking off the buds as needed. In this case I combined shredded Brussels sprout ribbons, apples, garlic, pine nuts, (and tofu if you like) in a skillet with a hint of maple syrup.
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Apples with Tofu
I know not all are Brussels sprout fans, but based on some of the emails you’ve passed along to me, this golden-crusted Brussels sprout recipe seems to be a well-received gateway recipe for people who thought they didn’t like Brussels sprouts, but really do. You could start there, and then make the jump to this recipe if you’re at all apprehensive. Or, I highlight a few other ideas down below….

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Peace, Love & Energy Dip

The best thing in my refrigerator right now. It’s a dip! An updated version of the virtuous hippie spreads found for decades in California grocery co-ops and farmers’ markets.

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I’m going to share the best thing in my refrigerator right now. It’s a dip, and I can’t get enough of it. If you can imagine an updated version of the virtuous hippie spreads found for decades in California grocery co-ops and farmers’ markets — that’s what I was going for. The base is a trifecta of creamy ripe avocado, nuts (cashews or almonds), and chickpeas. Citrus juice kicks in with acidity from orange and lime. And I raided the spice drawer after that – cayenne, curry powder, and ginger all play for keeps here.

Peace, Love & Energy Dip

A Versatile Dip (or Spread!)

This is a hardworking dip. It’s great with baked pita chips, tortilla chips, crackers, etc. It can also play a supporting role in many other ways. It’s a versatile sandwich spread. And I love it slathered across garlic-rubbed grilled flatbreads. It’s A+ inside burritos, or on top of quesadillas. Make a big under swoosh in the bottom your favorite grain bowl and load it up. You can even thin it out with a splash of olive oil, and extra citrus juice for a creamy dressing. 

Peace, Love & Energy Dip

Toppings

I like the idea of using toppings to let people know what they’re eating. So, for example, here you see cashews, chickpeas, and the curry powder. The toppings also add varied texture to the creamy dip. You can use as many or as few as you like, but I do notice the toppings always get scooped up first with this one.

Peace, Love & Energy Dip

Please make this dip, you won’t be sorry ? It’s just so good and so versatile. But if you think it might not be your thing — other dips / spreads I love include this vibrant beet caviar, or, of course, great guacamole. Enjoy! xx, -h

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Spaghetti with No-Cook Sauce

A tangle of spaghetti, olives, nuts, vegetables, and torn mozzarella in a no-cook, lemon-zested tomato sauce. A recipe for a hot night when tomato season is at its peak.

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You can tell by the streak of tomato recipes here lately, I’m in the thick of it. And today is no exception. I made this for dinner last night, and if you have a box of spaghetti and some good tomatoes you’re half way there. What you see is a tangle of spaghetti, olives, nuts, vegetables, and torn mozzarella in a no-cook, lemon-zested tomato sauce. It’s bright, summery, colorful food, easy to adapt based on what you have on hand. The key? Make it on an extra hot night when tomato season is at its maximum. And don’t even mess around if your tomatoes aren’t on point.

Spaghetti with No-Cook Sauce

So Many Variations!

This is a quintessential pantry meal. I added olives, pine nuts, and a bit of cheese to the base ingredients of spaghetti and tomatoes, but you can experiment with endless other directions. I love the pine nut component here, but toasted almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or cashew would all be great. You could do a spicy version by adding a dollop of harissa to the sauce, or some chile flakes, or a tablespoon of toasted sesame chile oil. On the vegetable front, you see string beans pictured (because that’s whats coming out of my garden right now), but load up on anything from broccoli and cauliflower florets, or asparagus – basically, any quick cooking veg that you can throw in the pasta water at the last minute.

Tomatoes from the Garden

The Spaghetti

Use your favorite spaghetti noodle here. I love a traditional spaghetti noodle, don’t get me wrong, but one of the big surprises to me over the past few years is how good some of the whole grain and pulse-based pastas are. There is a wide range of brands around, so you’ll need to experiment. My advice on this front is to “date around” until you find a few brands and shapes you like. For day to day pasta eating when you compare nutritional labels, the noodles made with more whole ingredients can deliver significantly more vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and the like. So it’s worth it to play around.
Spaghetti with No-Cook Sauce
If you’re looking for more tomato-centric recipes — I posted this tomato tart recently. Try a fresh version of this tomato sauce. Make this favorite salsa. Or add them into a summery coleslaw. And you can never go wrong with gnocchi or classic bruschetta. If you’re just looking for summery favorites, try this Grilled Zucchini & Bread Salad, this Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream, or this Zucchini Bread.

And if you’re looking for a real treat, make this with homemade pasta. It’s incredible.Enjoy!

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Roasted Tomato & Sourdough Soup

If you have both tomatoes and sourdough on hand, consider this. A spicy, saffron-smacked take on pappa al pomodoro, the bread-thickened Tuscan classic. A spicy, saffron-smacked take on pappa al pomodoro, the bread-thickened Tuscan classic.

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There are two things we have in spades right now – ripe tomatoes and sourdough bread. Inevitably, this time of year the variations on tomato soups and sauces coming out of the kitchen are many. The other night, I made this. Walking into the kitchen, I imagined building on the idea behind pappa al pomodoro, the tomato-centric, bread-thickened Tuscan classic. We ended up sitting down to a spicy, saffron-smacked stew with a tomato and sourdough foundation dotted with chickpeas. It was a big hit, so I made it again the next day so I could shoot and share it here. If there’s a place where summer eating meets comfort food, this is it.
Roasted Tomato & Sourdough Soup Recipe

The tomatoes!

Let’s talk details. Your choice in tomatoes here is key. It’s the flavor base of this soup. Go for the most flavorful, ripe, in-season tomatoes you can get your hands on. Ugly or not-perfect is fine, they’re going to get roasted and blitzed anyway. I save my cherry tomatoes for other uses – salads, roasting, pastas, etc. and opt for medium-sized varietals like Early Girl or San Marzano instead.  
Roasted Tomato & Sourdough Soup Recipe

Roasting For Flavor

Here’s roughly what your tomatoes, onions, and garlic should look like after roasting (below). I put the onions and garlic on their own baking sheet in case they cook faster. It makes it easier for you to remove them early if needed. You can certainly do a version of this soup without roasting, but the depth of flavor you get from this extra step is worth it.
Roasted Tomato & Sourdough Soup Recipe

The Bread Component

Our “house” sourdough bread is ~60 % whole wheat / rye flour blend, plus a good amount of cooked quinoa. It’s quite hearty and wholesome, and it’s great here. I use heartier whole-grain sourdoughs in soups like this one, or bread-thickened ribollita all the time. I think people worry that they need to use a white loaf (like a ciabatta or “Italian” bread), but you can totally experiment. It might not be typical, but it can be tasty (and more nutritious).  
Roasted Tomato & Sourdough Soup Recipe

Variations

I was craving something invigoratingly spicy when I threw this together the other night. I was after a straight, direct shot of tomato & spice. That’s why you see a good dose of cayenne in the recipe. I added a bit of saffron because tomatoes and saffron are one of my favorite flavor combinations. That said, there are (of course) endless other directions you could explore! For example: 

  • A more classic flavor profile: dial back the spices, turn up the basil.
  • Add a dollop of harissa instead of cayenne.
  • Use yellow tomatoes + lots of black pepper & experiment with a turmeric-chive-garlic drizzle of some sort.
  • Use some of your corn by adding it with the chickpeas. And for the experimenting bread bakers out there – how about a sourdough with a percentage of cornmeal, whole corn, etc in the bread slot? I’d use something other than a quick bread style cornbread (not enough structure when it hits the soup). 

Roasted Tomato & Sourdough Soup Recipe

It’s wild how in my garden there will be a blast of tomatoes for a few weeks and then it’s over in a flash. If you’re looking for other ways to put a dent in your tomato supply right now – some ideas. Try to make the most of them while they’re here. Try a fresh version of this tomato sauce. Use them in a tomato tart. Make this favorite salsa. Or load them into a coleslaw. xx – h

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