The Spicy Coconut Milk Dressing I Love on Everything Lately

This spicy coconut milk dressing is wildly delicious on so many things – tacos, noodles, grilled vegetables, and salads. Make a jar and keep it on hand for quick meals.

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We spent the past week on the west shore of Lake Tahoe not far from where my family would stay each summer when I was young. The cabins along the lake are larger now, the water low. Teens fling themselves from piers into the clear, icy, waist-deep water. When the sky is cloudless, it’s the bluest place imaginable. The first thing I made once we were settled into our camp was a spicy coconut dressing (sauce?) that would go on *everything* throughout the week. It’s a variation on other spicy coconut milk dressings I’ve made in the past, but this version has a lot going on with grilled peppers and minced onions. You can see how I used it here, tossed with rice flake noodles, grilled tofu and whatever needed to be used up in the cooler – roasted tomatoes, cilantro, and lemon.
Spicy Coconut Milk Dressing Over Rice Noodles on a Plate
Here’s a view of the lake. Amazing blue overload. It never gets old.
Picnic Views of Lake Tahoe
The key to this dressing is blistering chiles before chopping and adding them to the rest of the ingredients. It takes the flavor from bright and green to something deeper and less sharp – still spicy though. You can see serrano chiles and Padron peppers below in a wide skillet. I really like to try to get color on all sides if possible.
Spicy Coconut Milk Dressing Over Rice Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes and Herbs
The super-creamy coconut base of this dressing is seasoned with lemon juice and spiked with spicy, blistered chiles. Next, more depth and dimension are added, coming from chopping lots of scallions and onions into juicy oblivion and stirring them in.
Ingredients Arrange in a White Bowl

Spicy Coconut Milk Dressing: What It’s Good On

So, let’s free-style about all the ways to use it. This recipe makes a good amount of dressing. You can use it as a finishing touch on tacos. It’s perfect tossed with just about any noodle or pasta. It’s a game-changer the next time you make potato salad dressing – use the potatoes plus this dressing and build from there. Bonus points if the potatoes are grilled or cooked in a fire. I love the spicy coconut drizzled over corn and grilled vegetables. And it’s great on a structured salad. Last night I put a few dollops in a classic red pasta sauce for a bit of je ne sais quoi and didn’t regret it one bit.

A Jar of Spicy Coconut Milk Dressing

Ingredient: Vegan Fish Sauce

For the salty component in this dressing I call for vegan fish sauce. I’ve been making a homemade version of it lately, using a recipe from Andrea Nguyen’s forthcoming Ever-Green Vietnamese cookbook. I’ve made other versions in the past, but her recipe is the best vegan fish sauce I’ve made. Now 100% my go-to. When the book is out you should absolutely give the recipe a try. In the meantime, there are some good vegan and vegetarian fish sauces available for purchase, including this Ocean’s Halo vegan fish sauce. Or, if you want to make the dressing pronto, swap in soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos for the fish sauce, if that is what you have on hand. Just add it as the last ingredient in the dressing, and add it to taste.
Close up of Platter of Rice Noodles and Tofu
Let me know if you give this dressing a try. Even better, let me know what you use it on! 
If you’re looking for more salad inspiration, here’s where you can browse all the salad recipes. I’m going to use this dressing on this this favorite heirloom apple salad this Fall. Or on this Grilled Wedge Salad as we wind down grilling season.

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Spicy Summer Miso Soup

A show-stopper miso soup made with a spicy broth punched up with garlic, ginger and chile paste. To that you add cubed potatoes, chopped cabbage and summer produce like cherry tomatoes, basil, and corn.

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I was paging through my notebook the other day, and stopped on a show-stopper miso soup I love. It’s something I cook a few times every year. Frankly, I’m surprised it has taken this long to share the recipe, but here we are! The foundation of this soup is the broth. It is a *punch* of flavor built on garlic, ginger, scallions, toasted sesame oil, miso and fermented chile paste. The broth is made creamy with a finishing dollop of good tahini. Building the soup from there, I always add cubes of waxy potatoes and lots of chopped green cabbage. It’s all finished off with cubes of tofu and a blitz of anything summery. Cherry tomatoes are cut into crescents, young yellow beans, sweet fresh corn, and slivered basil are all fair game. Those of you with gardens – raid them. 
Small Jar of Tobanjan Chile Paste

More About the Broth

The broth here is a riff on the Hot Sesame Miso Broth in Naoko Takei Moore and Kyle Connaughton‘s Donabe book. This broth was “inspired by the Japenese ramen dish tan tan men, which is derived from the Chinese dan dan mein, or dan dan noodles.” You see it in the book served hot pot style with chicken meatballs. I jumped off the broth as a starting point and took the whole situation in a veg. direction, introducing the potatoes and cabbage and finishing with all things summery seasonal from there.
Pot of Spicy Summer Miso Soup

Let’s talk Spicy – What is Tobanjan?

Tobanjan is the spicy component here. It’s a feisty, salty, fermented bean paste that has become indispensable in my kitchen for its nuanced, layered heat – the love here is deep. I buy 3-4 little jars (above) at a time when I visit Tokyo Central in Orange County, Ca. You can also find it online – this is the brand Naoko stocks at her shop, Toiro Kitchen. Where I spend all my money on donabe – laugh/cry. Swap in another spicy paste or sauce if you don’t want to go down the tobanjan rabbit hole – the soup will be different, but still delicious.
Pot of Spicy Summer Miso Soup

As the seasons progress you can, of course, adapt with other ingredients. That’s the great thing here, a mushroom version is great later in the year. You can add some winter squash in with the potatoes, radicchio, etc. And in spring asparagus, fava beans, spring onions, and spring peas make an entirely different version. Have fun with it.

Explore more soup recipes here. The tomato recipes are here, and same goes for the corn recipes.

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Grilled Pizza

How to make grilled pizza and everything you need to know to get it right – with topping ideas!

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When you pair a hot grill with great pizza dough plus a handful of seasonal toppings, your meal game is going to be next level. Grilled pizza season is on and this post covers everything you need to know to about how to get it right.
Grilled Pizza topped with Corn, Chiles, and Mozzarella”   border=

How to Grill Pizza: The Basics

To grill great pizza start with a hot grill that has been cleaned well with a brush. Also key, it helps to be organized. Have your pizza dough, pizza sauce and all toppings ready. Like, right next to the grill. Once you slide your pizza dough onto the grill, the next steps come in rapid succession. This means, whether you’re ready or not. Brush one side of the pizza dough with olive oil and cook that side first, flip it, brush the grilled side with sauce and toppings. Then finish cooking. If you’re a bit on the slow side arranging toppings, you’ll want to pull the pizza off the grill for this step. This helps to avoid the potential for burning. Return the topped pizza to the grill for final cooking. Happens in a flash!

Grilled Pizza topped with Kale, Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella” border=

General Grilled Pizza Tips

  • Start with a good pizza dough foundation. This is my go-to homemade pizza dough, and it works well on the grill.
  • Similar to baking pizza in an oven, you want to achieve medium-high to high heat here. Pre-heat the grill as long as possible and check the temperature before starting the pizza. I aim for 450-500F-ish. You can go hotter if you’re baking your pizza on an upper grill rack, but run the risk of scorchy (burnt) grill marks if it’s in a more direct spot. If you’re using a pizza stone, ignore this and get your grill hot hot hot.
  • Pizza on the grill differs from baking pizza in the oven in that with grilled pizza you generally flip the dough once before adding toppings.
  • Consider pre-cooking any veggies or other toppings if needed. They won’t have much time to cook on the grill. Arrange each in an individual bowl along with the rest of your toppings bar.  
  • Use a bit of olive oil on the pizza dough to prevent the first side from sticking to the grill.

Close-up photo of a white pizza topped with corn, chiles, and mozzarella” border=

Grilled Pizza: The Dough

Start with the right dough: As I mentioned up above, you need to start with a pizza dough that is on your team. I love this pizza dough. It’s the one you see in the pictures here. You can read all about why I like it, in short: the flavor is great, it’s easy to work with, you don’t need a mixer, and there is no need to proof the yeast you’re using. Great in an oven or on a grill. It’s super flex and adaptable. Alternately, you can experiment with doughs purchased from local pizza spots or stores.

Grill Temperature

Temperature: This is the second pillar after good dough. Controlling the grill temperature is key to your success – and, I’ll be honest, there can be a bit of a leaning curve. If you’re having trouble with pizza dough sticking to the grill, dial up the heat. And when using a gas grill, the lid is your friend. Use the lid to control the heat, and to get the hot air circulating all the way around the dough. If you need your toppings to cook/melt more quickly – slap the lid on for a bit. Keep in mind, you have to be particularly vigilant with pizzas you’ve pulled parchment thin – they’ll burn through in a flash. If you’re worried about burning pizzas, you can move them to the upper rack if your grill has one.

Broadly speaking, whatever type of outdoor oven/grill I’m using I obsessively check the bottom and top of the dough and let it tell me what it needs – more time, more heat, a flip, etc. If you have a grill with dual burners, or a way to set up a hot zone, and a not-so-hot zone, moving the dough around can also be helpful.

Grilled pizza dough arranged on sheets of parchment paper before baking” border=

The Parchment Technique

When grilling pizzas this is the approach I like. First, pull the dough out and shape it on a sheet of parchment paper that has been spritzed with a bit of olive oil. Unlike oven-baked pizza you skip the flour here. You can then gently flip the dough onto the grill with the parchment providing a nice amount of structure (see below). Peel the parchment paper away and proceed.

Placing dough on hot grill

Do you need a Pizza Stone to Grill Pizza?

If you have and use a pizza stone in your oven, you can use it on the grill. That said, you don’t need a pizza stone to grill pizza.

Pizza toppings arranged on a baking sheet

Best Toppings for Grilled Pizza

This is the fun part. The rule of thumb here is to use toppings that really sing after a just a couple minutes on the grill. This means you might want to pre-cook (or pre-grill) any toppings that would take longer than that. Use flavor-packed, fast cooking ingredients that have a tendency to melt (or cook) quickly for your toppings. Don’t go overboard, thoughtfully curate each pizza so the flavors of each ingredient have room to speak. Some favorites include:

  • Vegetables: corn, thin asparagus, roasted cherry tomatoes, peas, roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, olives, fava beans, citrus zests, grilled artichoke hearts, sautéed thinly sliced potatoes.
  • Cheeses: ricotta, fresh mozzarella, gruyere, feta, freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino
  • Finishing touches: lemon olive oil, tangerine olive oil, makrut lime oil, chives and chive flowers, hot honey
  • Herbs: a sprinkle of fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, fresh basil, minced chives, lemon verbena

Spreading tomato sauce on pizza dough” border=

  • Topping Combinations:
    – tomato sauce, mozzarella, crushed kale chips, lemon oil (pictured)
    – mozzarella, roasted corn, pickled serrano chiles, chive flowers, pine nuts (pictured)
    – caramelized fennel & olives
    – spinach/pea & ricotta pesto, potatoes & smoke chile sauce
    – tomato & roasted red peppers with goat cheese
    – a while back I also compiled this page of A+ grilled pizza topping ideas
    – And, here’s a page where I’ve listed a lot of recent favorite pizza combinations

Pizza dough on grill prior to adding toppings” border=

Thick or Thin Pizzas?

Play around with how thick or thin you pull your pizza dough. You’ll get widely varying results. As far as the thick or thin debate goes, I tend to lean into thin. That being said, leaving the dough a bit thicker yields a pizza with a different personality, still delicious – try both to see what you like.

Make-Ahead Crusts

You can pre-grill pizza crusts up to a few hours ahead of time. For example, if you’re feeding a crowd and want to get a bit of a jump start. Lightly grill both sides and then allow to cool on a rack. The key is to go light, knowing they will be going back on the grill later. When you’re ready for prime time, sauce and top each pizza and do the final grilling.

If you’ve never tried this, give it a go! It’s fun to set up for a small crowd because everyone can take a turn making their own custom pizza. Let me know your favorite topping combos in the comments.

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Summer Corn Salad

A crunchy, sweet no-cook summer corn salad. The salad is a breeze, has a ton of toasted pepitas & sunflower seeds, tossed with a brown sugar lemonade vinaigrette.

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Summer is corn salad season. And this is a good one. I lugged a big sack of corn home from the market the other day thinking I would throw together a picnic salad to take on a hike out to the coast. The plan was to use raw corn kernels along with a vinaigrette I’ve been on hooked lately. If you can imagine a lemonade vinaigrette made with a bit of brown sugar, you’d be in the ballpark. The tart-sweet lemon dressing goes great with corn. Beyond that, the salad gets tossed with a ton of toasted seeds for crunch, and a generous showering of Mexican oregano to bring things back to Earth.
Summer Corn Salad on a Platter

Summer Corn Salad: The Key Ingredients

  • Corn: The key here is buying great corn. The sweeter the better. This corn salad has just a handful of ingredients, and the corn is the all-star. You’re not grilling it (although you could), and you’re not cooking it, so there’s really no where to hide if your corn is starchy. White corn or yellow corn is fine here. 
  • Oregano: I call for dried Mexican oregano, but whatever you have on hand (within reason) is fine. That said, if all you have is dusty, neglected oregano, consider using whatever other fresh herbs you might have.

Close-up of Yellow Corn on the Cob

Variations

Yes! You can absolutely do a grilled version of this salad if you like. It’s equally good, although I do make a couple little tweaks. After grilling your corn allow it to cool enough to handle, then shave the kernels from each ear. I like to add some minced serrano peppers to the grilled version on this salad for a little kick. Like the tiniest flecks. Really chop the chile(s) small and then season the salad to taste with those.

Seed Mixture for Summer Corn Salad

One More Corn Salad – Cooked + Coconut

If one corn salad isn’t enough this summer, or if you’re looking to switch it up a bit. This is another of my all-time favorite corn salad recipes. It uses a skillet approach and five ears of corn shaved in quick fashion, then sautéed in a bit of butter or olive oil. I trick it out with thyme, red onions, toasted almonds and coconut. Simple. Delicious. or if you’re on the the quest for salad inspiration in general, here’s where you can browse all the salad recipes

Summer Corn Salad on a Platter with a Serving Spoon

I hope you enjoy the corn salad if you try it. It’s a breeze to throw together, and it travels well in an over-sized jar. You can toss the corn and shallots ahead of time, just leave enough room to throw the seeds and oregano in just before serving/eating. Enjoy & happy summer! -h

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12+ Camping Recipes to Make Camping Meals No Big Deal

If you’re looking for quick, easy and inspired camping recipes to deploy on your next camping trip, you’re in the right place.

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If you’re looking for camping meal ideas to deploy on your next camping trip, you’re in the right place. Over the years we’ve done plenty of camping in tents, in cars, and in our Airstream. On the food front the goal is always the same – delicious camping meals without a lot of fuss, gear, or clean up. Quick and easy is the name of the game. Bonus points are earned for being able to prep components ahead of time. I went through the archives to select all my favorite camping recipes. Most can be cooked with a single piece of cookware – favorites include a pot, a skillet, or a griddle. Let’s start by talking about your camp cooking gear.

Camp Cooking Equipment on a Picnic Table Next to an Airstream

Essential Camp Cooking Gear

Whether car camping or traveling with the Airstream, the bones of our basic culinary camping kit is generally the same. Camping gear on the cooking front can get out of hand fast, so I’ve tried to wrangle what we bring down to a reasonable amount that still allows a range of deliciousness while we are out enjoying new places! This is ever-evolving, I’m always experimenting with difference camp-friendly combinations, but here’s how it stands now.

  • A good cooler: Great for loading bricks of frozen sauces, marinades, and other ingredients along with perishables.
  • A propane burner: Even when we have the trailer I prefer to cook outdoors. I tend to use a single burner and swap in whatever pot, pan, griddle, tava, or comal on top of that. It’s super flexible and enables a lot of options.
  • A large pot: Crucial for one-pot soups, stews, curries, and chili.
  • Grill: If the weather is nice when you’re camping, you’re going to want to grill. Many campsites have charcoal grills permanently built into each site, but we often bring a small grill with us.
  • A griddle of some sort: This is a highly personal choice. I talk to a lot of campers about their cooking set-up and in the past few years the Blackstone has really taken camp cooking by storm. My sister has one, they camp a lot, and she says they basically cook every meal on it – from pancakes to stir-fries. I still like to use a cast iron skillet for pancakes and an Indian tava for stir-fries, they are items I already use at home and they work with a basic propane burner. Basically, either way, you’re after a large, flat, hot metal expanse that you can cook a range of recipes on. The skottle systems (like this and this) are similar to my current set-up. 
  • A knife & cutting board: I like a good-sized cutting board.
  • Ooni Pizza Oven: This is a real wildcard, and a bit of a pain if I’m being honest. On occasion, we load up the Ooni and bring it camping, especially if the weather is set to be beautiful. We have the Ooni 16, the one powered by propane, so it collapses down flat-ish. It’s great for cooking camp pizzas, roasting veggies, bean dishes, a range of flat breads, and I love it for paneer veggie kebabs (down below). It takes some time to get to know, but it’s pretty amazing once you stop burning things in it. If you bring the pizza oven, you also need to bring a peel, tongs, extra flour/cornmeal, and a plan for dough. Pro-tip: if you bring a large enough cutting board you can use it as a second peel.

Foil-wrapped Baked Potatoes in a Campfire

Best Camping Recipes to Make Camping Meals No Big Deal

I’ve organized these recipes based on the type of cooking you might be doing. One of the things we’ve noticed over the years is the prohibition of campfires allowed at campsites. It might be different in other regions, but on the West Coast of the United States, because of the fire danger, open campfires are becoming increasingly rare. So cooking meals in foil packets (and the like) isn’t an option in many of the places we’ve been recently. I’ll add a bunch of links and resources down below related to campfire cooking and hopefully we’ll be able to revisit open-fire cooking more reliable in future years. I’ll add and photograph a dutch oven section at that point!

Airstream Trailer Parked at Campsite in New Mexico

Grill Camping Recipes

On the grill front, we often prep a few components in advance. For example, I’ll pre-make the mixture for the tofu burgers, or any special sauces. If at all possible I love to hit up local farmers markets to find more grill-friendly ingredients.

Grilled Veggie Kebabs

1. Grilled Veggie Kebabs

You can marinade the ingredients for these kebabs before leaving on a camping trip. Kept cold they can be used up to 4-5 days later. 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. We most often make these on the grill, but they’re great in the pizza oven as well.

Grillable Tofu Burger

2. Grillable Tofu Burgers

Seasoned with a good amount of cumin, cayenne and mustard, these are hearty, filling, easy to make, dump-everything-in-the-food processor grillable tofu burgers. Pre-make the burger mixture and flat-pack in a baggie, then shape at the campsite prior to grilling. Kept cool, the mixture is good for 4-5 days.

Wedge Salad with Ranch Dressing

3. Grilled Wedge Salad

With the best spicy ranch dressing! So easy, especially if you pre-make the dressing. A delicious, crisp grilled wedge salad topped with a spicy ranch dressing, chives, and nuts.

Simple Bruschetta

4. Simple Bruschetta

Bring a loaf of good sourdough and some olive oil on your camping adventures and you’re half way to amazing bruschetta. The ideas for toppings are vast, and can range from beautiful tomatoes to other vegetables you can toss on the grill -mushrooms, spring onions, grilled corn, artichokes hearts, etc. You can cook the toppings, if appropriate, on the grill along with the slabs of bread.

Skillet Camping Recipes

Few items in my camping kitchen get more use than my classic cast iron skillet. It can be used over a fire, over a burner, and in an oven. Camp Breakfast Hash

5. Camp Breakfast Hash

A favorite way to use up leftovers when camping. This Camp Breakfast Hash is peppered with plant-based hot dogs, potatoes, serrano chiles, and finished with salsa and a dusting of grated cheese. It’s a flexible, one-skillet go-to that can be made on a griddle, flat top, or in a skillet. Frittata in a Cast Iron Skillet

6. A Tasty Frittata

The tastiest, super adaptable frittata recipe. Made with potatoes, onions, and eggs drizzled with a cilantro chile sauce. You can flat-freeze the chile sauce and bring it in your cooler.

Stack of Pancakes topped with Butter and Maple Syrup

7. Pancakes

If you’re after classic pancakes, this is your recipe. For camping, I often pre-measure the pancake ingredients into a mason jar for easy packing. Add the liquid ingredients just before you’re ready to put them on the griddle. This is a pancake recipe that delivers a beautiful, classic stack with impossibly tender crumb and golden edges. The pancakes have lightness and lift (especially if you fold in the whipped egg whites), and good color.

Flat-top, griddle, or Blackstone Camping Recipes

Many of the recipes in this category can also be made in a large skillet. A Favorite Stir-fry with Noodles and Lots of Vegetables

8. A Favorite Rice Noodle Stir-fry

I like to do a stir-fry when we’re out camping. Usually, some variation on a stir-fry like this. A favorite noodle-based stir fry with silky rice noodles, bright and crunchy broccoli, toasted cashews, quick-marinated crumbled tofu, and pan-seared onions tossed in a feisty chile-boosted soy sauce. It works on everything from a large skillet to a Blackstone.

Coconut Corn Salad

9. Coconut Corn Salad

Butter a griddle, skillet, or flattop and add corn, fresh thyme, red onions, toasted almonds and coconut. Finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. So simple, so tasty!

Meal in a Jar Tortellini Soup

Meal in a Jar Camping Recipes

Making a few of these “meals in a jar” is the best thing I do when preparing camping meals for a trip. I always make up 2-3 of these and then it’s simply just add water (and perhaps another common pantry item or two), and you’ve got a great meal. Perfect for travel days, or any camping days when you’re short on cooking time.

Meal in a Jar Tortellini Soup

10. Meal in a Jar Tortellini Soup

Just add water and a can of crushed tomatoes. It’s so simple and so good! A 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.

Meal in a Jar Spicy Curry Noodles

11. Meal in a Jar Spicy Coconut Curry Noodles

Just add water and a splash of coconut milk to make this fragrant curry noodle pot. A dynamic and feisty broth is bolstered with cayenne, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric enveloping egg noodles and whatever seasonal vegetables you have on hand.

Meal in a Jar Italian Barley Soup

12. Meal in a Jar Italian Barley Soup

This is a favorite flavor-packed meal in a jar – an herb-flecked, hearty, Italian Barley Soup with a bit of a hippie twist. Just add water and a can of crushed tomatoes and you’re on your way to a really great pot of soup.

Campsite in the Desert

Other Helpful Camping Recipe Links

If you are serious about open-flame cooking, seek out William Rubel’s The Magic of Fire: One Hundred Recipes for the Fireplace or Campfire. Published by Ten Speed Press in 2002, this is a beautiful, large-format, hardback volume I stumbled across years back while browsing the stacks at the San Francisco Library. It immediately sparked fantastic visions of fire-baked breads and ember-roasted Russets. Alternately, you can visit William’s website here. You’ll notice he mentions the Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition as having “the best introduction to hearth cooking of any book that I know of anywhere.” He contributed that section to the book.

– Wikipedia: Campfire Cooking. Check out the photo of the oven made from scraps!

This is Camino: This is another favorite cookbook focused on fire-based cooking by Russ Moore and Allison Hopelain. Camino was a brilliant Oakland-based restaurant centered around a beautiful open hearth and seasonal ingredients – the book will push your imagination in directions related to what’s possible with great ingredients, an open flame, and a bit of know-how.

Ok, that’s it for now. This will be a regularly updated page! Let me know your favorite camping recipes down in the comments!

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Vegan Fish Tacos

The vegan “fish” tacos to make on repeat. Quick-marinated slabs of golden-crusted tofu, avocado slathered tortillas, and a spicy sesame slaw come together in these favorite tacos.

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By request! Vegan fish tacos. Or maybe it needs to be vegan “fish” tacos. Either way, here’s why I’m sharing the details today. A few weeks back I published the coleslaw recipe I’ve been making on repeat all year. In the post I mention one of my favorite ways to enjoy it – piled into these tacos. Specifics were requested, and here we are! The recipe is a bit of a weirdo, and came together one day when I was pulling things from the fridge – slaw, tofu, tortillas. This was a meal without much of a plan, and it has since become one of my favorite ten-minute lunches. Quick-marinated slabs of tofu are coated in a dusting of cornstarch and cooked until you get a golden crust. Tacos are assembled with a good slather of avocado, the tofu, tempeh bacon (if you want to double down), and finished after browning in a pan with a couple generous scoops of this spicy sesame coleslaw.
Vegan Fish Tacos with Spicy Sesame Slaw on a Speckled Plate
Each component can be prepped ahead of time, and will last for days in your refrigerator. When it’s taco time – cook up the tofu and/tempeh, assemble your taco, and finish with the slaw. I’ll also add another photo down below. I sometimes make a bowl-situation with the components of the vegan “fish” tacos swapping out tortillas for soba noodles. Tofu Marinating in Container for Vegan Fish Tacos

Tofu: Puffy vs. Not

Tofu steps in for the fish component in these tacos. I use a strong, simple marinade plus a quick pan-fry. I should mention, on occasion, I’ll sometimes make a more puffy, beer-battered version of these – where you coat the tofu with a much thicker batter and then fry it in more oil than you see in todays recipe. But, the process is messier, a lot more decadent, and for an average weekday lunch or dinner, I prefer this version. I suspect you might too? It’s lighter and you get a lot of interesting flavors from the spicy sesame coleslaw dressing as well as the tofu marinade.

Can I Bake the Tofu?

Yes! If your oven is already going, and you don’t want to cook the tofu in a pan, bake it. Rub the pan with a bit of olive oil, skip the cornstarch step, and bake at 350F until the tofu is golden and bouncy in texture. Flip once along the way. You won’t get as much crispiness, but it’s still all good. Vegan Fish Tacos with Spicy Sesame Slaw on a Speckled Plate

Vegan “Fish” Tacos: Make Ahead Components

The three main components for these tacos are the tofu, the coleslaw, and the tortillas. Tempeh bacon is optional, but I actually really love it in this recipe. It lends a nice smoky depth to the whole taco. Wayne often buys it, and the brand is Lightlife. If you don’t have it, or can’t get it, just leave it out – still so good! I make these often without the tempeh, but love them extra extra much when I have it.

  • Coleslaw: this is the coleslaw I’m talking about. It’s the only one I use for these tacos. The spicy sesame dressing is the magic that pulls everything together. Don’t skimp, pile on the slaw. The spicy sesame creaminess from the slaw dressing, the sweetness of the apple, and crunchiness of the cabbage is what makes these tacos special. Slaw can be used up to 4 or 5 days after making. So, slaw made on Sunday can be used throughout the week.
  • Tofu: You can whip up the marinade and add the tofu up to 3-4 days in advance. Or, start some on Sunday, and use throughout the week.

I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as I do! let me know if you play around with any variations.

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Camp Breakfast Hash

This Camp Breakfast Hash is peppered with plant-based hot dogs, potatoes, serrano chiles, and finished with salsa and a dusting of grated cheese. It’s a flexible, one-skillet go-to that can be made on a griddle, flat top, or in a skillet.

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When I’m feeling like an easy camping breakfast is in the cards, this breakfast hash is it. We make variations of it at least once every time we’re out with the trailer. I always throw a pack of plant-based hot dogs in the cooler, because, you know, it’s camping. We might have them for one meal, and then toss the leftovers into a breakfast hash like this one. It’s not sexy, but it is tasty and fills you up for a good stretch of hiking and exploring. I tend to cook the potatoes the night before – throw them in the fire, or boil them in any leftover water I might have going.
Camp Breakfast Has in a Skillet

Breakfast Hash Variations 

A hash like this is a clean-out-the-cooler (or fridge) thing by nature. There aren’t many hard and fast rules. I like some potatoes (cubes, shredded, or sliced), I like some vegetables, the eggs, and something spicy to kick off the day. I haven’t tried a hash like this with a plant-based egg substitute, but suspect you’d be fine. You’ll find my base recipe down below, and here are a few other combinations to try:

  • Pepper Breakfast Hash: Sauté strips of red and yellow peppers and finish with a bit of goat cheese. Or dice the peppers for more of a confetti hash.
  • Herb-y Breakfast Hash: Make the recipe exactly as written but add a few handfuls of chopped cilantro, basil, and/or parsley to the skillet just before cracking the eggs in. Finish with a little chopped mint.
  • Masala Breakfast Hash: Season your potatoes and onions with a generous dusting of a favorite curry powder before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
  • Frittata-style: You can beat the eggs before adding them to the skillet for more of a frittata situation.

Ingredients for Breakfast Hash on a Tray

One Tricky Thing

I just want to call this out before you dive into the recipe. Once you crack the eggs into the skillet, you want to continue to cook the eggs without burning the bottom of the hash. So, be sure to dial back the heat a bit. That’s it – just once the eggs are involved take it slow and steady.Campsite at Sunset in Arizona Desert
Here are a couple recent shots I took as we made our way through the Arizona and New Mexican deserts. I love cooking in our kitchen at home, but there’s nothing quite like cooking on a picnic table or over a grill as the sun is rising or setting. Best ever. It is, hands down, my favorite part of camping in beautiful places. Definitely have to watch where you step out here though!
Cooking Breakfast Hash in Skillet on Single Burner
I’m trying to get all my camping recipes organized into one place on the site in the coming weeks. Summer is knocking at the door, and I haven’t done a great job in the past on this front. I think it’s because, if I’m honest, camping is amazing, but it can be a lot of work on the packing and preparation front. Writing up recipes and photographing them while camping adds another layer of complexity and I’ve been trying to do a better job of making it happen!  View of New Mexican Mountains from Rockhound State Park
The weather is warming up in Southern California, so I’ll hopefully have some new recipes cooking under the sun and stars. I feel like all my camping recipes over the past year have been cozy soup recipes and stews. Laugh/cry. If a major storm hit California in the past year, I’m pretty sure we were camping in it. I’m ready for grill season.
Wayne and Polly on a Walk with Mountains in Background at Sunset

One thing I love about camping recipes like this breakfast hash is that if they’re do-able for camping, they’re also great to have on hand for “regular” life. Same goes for anything you can do most of the prep-ahead, like the Spicy Coconut Curry Noodles , this version of the Tortellini Soup, and these Grilled Veggie Kebabs.

Poke around here for more breakfast recipes, and (promise) more camping recipes to come!

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Homemade Bouillon Powder

Let’s talk about bouillon and the reasons I’ve started to make my own homemade bouillon powder. I found myself surveying vegetarian bouillon options last year when I started pre-mixing dry ingredients for soups and stews to take on our camping trips – meals in jars. I wanted to have amazing, quick, one pot meals I […]

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Let’s talk about bouillon and the reasons I’ve started to make my own homemade bouillon powder. I found myself surveying vegetarian bouillon options last year when I started pre-mixing dry ingredients for soups and stews to take on our camping trips – meals in jars. I wanted to have amazing, quick, one pot meals I could make by adding water and just one or two other common pantry items like crushed tomatoes or chickpeas. In a couple of the soup mixes I call for a bouillon cube. Bouillon cubes are a super handy way to get a jumpstart on introducing flavors – whatever you’re cooking. That said, many of the commercially available options are very salty, have artificial ingredients and flavor enhancers, and a good number of you wrote to me asking for suggestions. So here we are, let’s make our own!
Homemade Bouillon Powder in a Small Glass Jar

What is Bouillon?

Technically, a bouillon cube is a dehydrated cube or powder used to create an instant stock. You see a range of bouillon in stores, often available as vegetable, meat, or chicken bouillon. It is used to make quick, flavorful broth when cooking soups, stews, grains, risottos, curries, and the like. They’re a great way to introduce depth and flavor to your cooking. Bouillon cubes are quite common in stores, and bouillon pastes seem to be increasingly common.
Close-up Photo of Homemade Bouillon Powder Ingredients

What is store-bought bouillon made of?

I’ve looked at the labels on many packages of bouillon in stores. Some of the ingredients I’ve seen on store-bought bouillon cubes include: maltodextrin, natural and artificial flavors, MSG, wheat flour, disodium inosinuate, and disodium guanylate. There’s usually some sort of fat component (for example: palm oil, soybean oil, canola oil), along with a sweetener. It’s tricky to find a readily-available bouillon option made with natural, minimally processed ingredients. The good news is it is exceptionally easy to make your own homemade bouillon powder.

Canned broth versus bouillon?

For my purpose of making dry soup mixes in a jar (like this or this), pre-made broths weren’t an option, but I’ll weigh in here anyway. I’m a hard-pass on most canned broth or pre-made broth in cartons. I generally don’t like how they taste – often muddied flavors or salty. I actually prefer to start with water and control salt levels myself, and will choose this route over packaged broths nearly always. I do love this homamde bouillon paste from years back, but it doesn’t work if you’re pre-prepping dry ingredients.
Bouillon Powder Ingredients in Individual Bowls prior to Mixing

Homemade Bouillon Powder Ingredients

Ok! Let’s talk though the ingredients in this DIY bouillon, so you’ll have a better understanding of where we landed for the “base” recipe. I’m also going to follow that up with a number of variations. The recipes are all for a general vegetarian bouillon, but there are endless ways for you to adapt the recipe with seaweed, or mushroom powder, or chiles to swing the flavor profile in one direction or another. That said, the key is nailing down your base bouillon recipe first!

  • Nutritional Yeast: My love for nutritional yeast runs deep and it’s a non-negotiable in this bouillon powder. It’s rich in flavor, body, and b-vitamins. It’s the backbone of this recipe and delivers umami-rich, chicken soup broth vibes. I’m not sure if there’s any truth to this, but I swear nutritional yeast is what makes my hair and nails grow extra fast.
  • Salt: I’ve been conflicted about how much salt to put in this base recipe. I was tempted to make it sodium-free or low-sodium, instructing people to salt to taste while cooking. But I think part of the wild popularity of bouillon and pre-made broths is that it helps home cooks season their food more than they might otherwise? In a good way. I landed on a ratio of 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup nutritional yeast, and that would yield the equivalent of 24 bouillon cubes. I like how this tastes as a baseline, while leaving room to add more salt if you like.
  • Herbs & Spices: I like the combination of oregano and thyme here. It works with a lot of recipes and the scent and flavors of the brothy herbs is nostalgia triggering for me. I boost this powder with a bit of turmeric, black pepper, onions and garlic. I’ve used it in brothy soups and spicy curries and it works great.
  • Coconut Milk Powder: This is my wildcard. I noticed a lot of the commercial bouillons have ingredients that seem to be included to thicken broth and give it a bit of fatty mouth feel. I’ve been playing around with a bag of coconut milk powder recently, and though it might work nicely here as an optional add. In the context of the other ingredients in the bouillon it isn’t overly strong on the coconut front, but does bring a nice amount of body. I’ve also been adding the powder to these Spicy Coconut Curry Noodles, and this Tortellini Soup instead of bringing cans of coconut milk out with us and it works great.

Blended Bouillon Powder Ingredients in High-Speed Blender

Homemade Bouillon Powder Variations

  • Nori Bouillon Powder:  If you’re looking for a bouillon powder that is flavored more like the sea, I like to lightly toast a sheet of nori and pulse that into my bouillon powder.
  • Mushroom Bouillon Powder: There are many amazing mushroom powders and dried mushrooms available to cooks now. Adding 2 teaspoons of your favorite powder this recipe or 1/4 cup chopped dried culinary mushrooms before blending is a fun direction to explore.
  • Spicy Bouillon Powder: I tend to keep my spicy components separate from my bouillon. This allows you to control those ingredients independently. That said, adding a couple dried chiles (or blend of dried chiles) to your bouillon mix might be you path to the ultimate spicy broth over time.

Homemade Bouillon Paste in a Vintage Jar

Homemade Bouillon Paste

If having a dry bouillon isn’t important to you, this is another option. Pam Corbin included a homemade bouillon paste in the back of the River Cottage Preserves Handbook, and people love it. It’s a beautiful, pureed, concentrated paste of vegetables and herbs, preserved with salt.
Top Down Photo of Homemade Bouillon Powder in a Small Glass Jar

More Ideas

This bouillon powder isn’t just for broths and soup. I’ve been sprinkling it on buckwheat crepes as they start to set, so good! It’s also really delicious dusted across a bowl of popcorn. Or as a finishing magic touch on a simple bowl of rice.

Have fun with the bouillon and let me know if you take it other directions, I’ve love to hear about it. Here are some links to soup recipes to put it into play. Favorites for this bouillon powder include – Meal in a Jar: Tortellini Soup, Meal in a Jar: Italian Barley Soup, and Meal in a Jar: Spicy Coconut Curry Noodle Soup, Vegetarian Tortilla Soup, Vegetarian Split Pea Soup, or this Vegetable Noodle Soup.

Eight Homemade Spice Blends

If these sorts of seasonings and spices are your thing (I love them!), be sure to check out this post of 8 Homemade Spice Blends. I made a downloadable PDF of a number of my favorite spice blend recipes and on that page you can take a closer look, and you can use this bouillon powder in a number of them! 

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Easter Brunch Recipes Worth Making Year Round

I know many of you are on the hunt for good Easter brunch recipes right now. Here are a few favorites. I’m highlighting them here for Easter, but they’re all a part of my year-round repertoire if I’m being honest. For brunch I love family-style dishes like breakfast casseroles and frittatas equally as much as […]

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I know many of you are on the hunt for good Easter brunch recipes right now. Here are a few favorites. I’m highlighting them here for Easter, but they’re all a part of my year-round repertoire if I’m being honest. For brunch I love family-style dishes like breakfast casseroles and frittatas equally as much as a DIY set-up for things like waffles, omelettes, and pancakes. I mean, who doesn’t love a toppings bar? So you’ll see a mix of all this down below along with some favorite drinks and a handful of menu ideas. Have fun planning!

Easter Brunch Recipe Ideas

I tried to limit this list to long-time favorite recipes. Real go-to options instead of sharing a long list of recipes I like-ish. Be sure to browse the list of menu ideas down below if you need inspiration on that front!

Fregola Sarda
Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole: A top contender for Easter brunch. Breakfast casseroles are a thing for good reason. You can prep them the day before. They’re great for serving a crowd, and they’re endlessly adaptable. This is my take on the popular Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole. It’s a deep-dish merging of grated cheese, bagels, eggs, plant-based sausage along with the crunch and savoriness of everything bagel seasoning. The bagels that break through the top get beautifully crunchy and kissed with oven-toasted cheese. Give it a try!Fregola Sarda
Fregola Sarda: One of my favorite recipes from Near & Far. It’s the perfect lunchy, brunch dish, and it’s made with fregola. Fregola is a beautiful, tasty Sardinian pasta made from hard durum wheat flour – rolled, sun-dried, and toasted to a mix of shades of yellow, gold, and brown. The pasta is rustic and nutty, each grain with a raggy surface adept at catching flavor. So good!
Braided Onion Bread
Braided Onion Bread: Every Easter brunch spread welcomes a statement piece. This is one of my favorites. Made with a rich, buttery, yeast-based dough, each of the four strands in the braid is stuffed with a caramelized onion and grated cheese mixture. If you’ve never baked a braided loaf before, I’ll admit that stuffing the strands adds a layer of complexity, but the whole process is incredibly forgiving if you commit and keep going. Give it a try!
Frittata Recipe
A Tasty Frittata: I love a good frittata as part of a brunch spread. You can pre-bake them a bit ahead of time which opens up the oven for other dishes if needed. This is a tasty, super adaptable frittata recipe made with potatoes, onions, and eggs drizzled with a cilantro chile sauce. Don’t skimp on the sauce!
Waffle Recipe
The Best Waffles: You’re looking at the waffles I make for (literally) every family brunch, and they’re perfect for an Easter brunch gathering. You can set up a toppings bar, and let people make their own, or pre-make them and hold in a warm oven. If you’re a waffle fan, please give these a try. Everyone needs a solid waffle recipe in their back pocket, and I’m quite sure these are the end of the waffle conversation for me. Enjoy!
Red Fruit Salad
Red Fruit Salad: Red fruit salad, and arguably so much better than old-school fruit salad! It’s perfect as spring rounds the bend into summer. A simple, seasonal fruit salad made with plump strawberries, sweet cherries, lemon zest, and coriander brown sugar. Five ingredients. So good. If cherries aren’t quite in season where you are, go with 100% strawberries.
Pancake Recipe
Classic Pancakes: If you’re more of a pancake family, this is a classic pancake recipe that delivers a beautiful, classic stack with impossibly tender crumb and golden edges. It has been a favorite go-to since I first posted it in 2006. The pancakes have lightness and lift, and good color. The recipe is also endlessly adaptable based on what you have on hand.
Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread
Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread: This oatmeal bread wins the award for best toast. It’s a hearty oat-flecked loaf with a buttermilk base studded generously with melty cubes of cheddar cheese and punctuated with thin slices of jalapeño pepper. Where the cheese touches the pan it turns to golden-crispy perfection.
Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Cinnamon Rolls: If making these cinnamon rolls for Easter brunch, I’m going to make a suggestion. Swap out the cinnamon for citrus. Like, use the zest of a lemon or two in the filling and a tablespoon or so of lemon juice in the icing along with the heavy cream called for as the liquids in the icing.
Omelette Recipe
Skinny Omelettes: Setting up an omelette “station” with a range of toppings works great if you have a casual brunch situation. People can make and customize omelettes to their liking with fillings like caramelized onions, pesto, herbs, choice of cheeses, etc. These omelettes are made with eggs cooked crepe-thin and stuffed. A delicious and lighter alternative to heavy, cheese-stuffed omelette recipes – great for lunch and brunch.

What To Make with Extra Eggs

If you find yourself with extra cartons of eggs after Easter, here are some ideas.

Deviled Eggs Recipe
Deviled Eggs: I love these so much – beautiful and delicious deviled eggs made with an herb-flecked filling and topped with toasted almonds.
Egg Salad Sandwich
Egg Salad: My go-to egg salad, and what I turn to when craving an egg salad sandwich. This post talks you through all the little tweaks and tips that go into making the perfect egg salad sandwich. Served on garlic-rubbed toasted bread with chopped celery, onion, and whole-grain mustard.

Shredded Egg Salad
Shredded Egg Salad: A fun alternative to classic egg salad (above). This one is made by shredding hard-boiled eggs on a box grater. The resulting shredded egg salad is light, fluffy, and bright. Pictured here on avocado toast with scallions, pickled red onions, a pinch of curry powder and sesame seeds.

Easter Brunch Menu Ideas

Here are a few sample menus to start with. When I say toppings bar, I just mean putting out a range of different topping options. It’s a great way to let everyone make omelettes or waffles exactly the way they like it.

Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole
Strawberry Salad
Paloma Rosa

Cheddar Jalapeño Oatmeal Bread
A Tasty Frittata or Skinny Omelettes with Toppings Bar
Iced Green Tea

Breakfast Bruschetta + Toppings Bar w/ Herb Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs
Pineapple Coconut Water

Waffles with Toppings Bar
A Tasty Frittata 
Homemade Strawberry Almond Milk

Easter Brunch Drink Ideas

Freshly squeezed juices, or homemade drinks are an easy way to make a brunch menu feel extra special. Here are a few favorites from past brunches.Fregola Sarda
Pineapple Coconut Water: A beautiful shade of Easter yellow, this beauty is always first to go at any brunch spread. Freshly juiced pineapple is at the heart of this quencher – made with coconut water, lime, and straight ginger juice. It’s invigorating, fragrant, hydrating, and that pure, intense shade of yellow that somehow tips us off to its strength and vitality before ever picking up the glass.
Homemade Strawberry Almond Milk
Homemade Strawberry Almond Milk: As good as it sounds. Ripe strawberries plus fresh almond milk were made for each other. And yes, you can use frozen berries!
Iced Green Tea
Iced Green Tea: As good as it sounds. Ripe strawberries plus fresh almond milk were made for each other. And yes, you can use frozen berries!

Paloma Rosa
Paloma Rosa: (recipe below) If a boozy brunch is in the cards, consider the Paloma Rosa. I’ll post the recipe down below. Palomas push all the buttons – bright, refreshing, tart, with a kiss of sweet and salty. So pretty, and they also couldn’t be simpler.

 

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Shredded Egg Salad

Made by shredding hard-boiled eggs on a box grater. This shredded egg salad is light, fluffy, and bright. I must say, a nice alternative to chopped, heavily dressed versions of the classic.

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I thought I’d update my shredded egg salad recipe today, it has been a while! The first time I made a grated egg preparation like this was in 2014 after discovering some exceptional eggs at the Farmers’ Market in San Francisco. I’ve been making variations over the years, and made a version of the grated egg avocado toast (the one that recently took TikTok by storm) for lunch yesterday. You grate eggs over the top of avocado toast. I added some extra flare – curry powder and the like. Such a great, easy lunch.
Close-up photo of open-faced Shredded Egg Salad Sandwich

Why Shred or Grate Eggs?

My shredded egg journey started when I bought some really good eggs. I mean, there are special eggs, and there are special eggs. The kind of eggs some people might feel compelled to roll their eyes at. But I had to buy them. Bring them home with me so I could try them. And I wanted to do something straight-forward yet special with them. So as I drove back from the Saturday market – through North Beach, up the Fillmore hills, and down into Hayes Valley, I settled on egg salad.

Not earth-shattering, I know. That was sort of the point. But the twist? I was going to shred the hard-boiled eggs on a box grater into a fluffy pile. I’d toss it gingerly with my fingertips working in a bit of salt and pepper, add a few herbs and whatnot, and not much beyond that. Well, maybe the tiniest dollop of creme fraiche or thread of olive oil, enough to add a hint of cohesiveness, but not enough to weigh the salad down. I was after an egg salad that was fluffy, light, bright, and vibrant. Nothing wet, damp, or heavy about it. That is why you shred them, to keep things light.
Grated Egg Shredded for Sandwich in a Bowl

More About The Eggs

If you’re curious about the inspiration eggs – here’s what happened. I was at the market when a lovely, petite lady rolled up next to me with her cart. You could tell she knew exactly what she was after, so I stepped back and watched the scene unfold. She pointed straight at a mega-cooler behind the table, and asked if “any” were available. At that point I wasn’t entirely sure what she was asking for, but the way she inquired insinuated she didn’t always succeed. Now I know.
Eggs in a Bowl of Ice to Prevent Grey Ring Around Yolks
That’s where the eggs live — when they’re available. They are eggs from sprout-fed chickens. Think about that – sprout fed chickens. And they’re perhaps the best eggs I’ve had (with the exception of the eggs I’d buy from the grandmotherly figure who would sell in the corner of the old Testaccio market in Rome). So, I wanted to do something special with them, but nothing too complicated. Nothing that was going to get in the way of the eggs themselves. And this is what I came up with. There might be times when a more standard approach to egg salad might be called for – smashing and chopping the eggs + a more enveloping dressing. But for now, I’m on the shredding bandwagon.

Shredded Egg Salad Sandwich Open-faced on a Plate

Shredded Egg Salad Variations

  • Shredded Egg Salad Toast with Gruyere: This has been my long-time favorite version of this sandwich. Grate some gruyere cheese onto a slab of garlic-rubbed toast and put that under the broiler for a bit (until the cheese bubbles and melts). Top with the shredded egg salad (recipe below) and a sprinkling of chives.

Grated Egg Salad in a Bowl

  • Shredded Egg Salad Lettuce Wraps: I love the shredded eggs in a wrap of some sort of tender butter lettuce along with a sprinkling of fried shallots, toasted almond slices, and a kiss of hot sauce.

Grated Egg Salad in a Bowl

  • Grated Turmeric Egg Salad: You know where this is headed right? If you have some of these Pickled Turmeric Eggs on hand you can use them as a component. They aren’t as mild as standard hard-boiled eggs because of the vinegar, but they are a great accent.
  • Shredded Curried Egg Salad: I can imagine a shredded egg version of this curried egg salad would be really amazing. I’d scale back the amount of yogurt called for a bit, but imagine the grated egg with toasted pecans, apple bits, and chives! Would be so good!

Cross-section photo of Grated Egg Salad Sandwich

TikTok Grated Egg Avocado Toast

The version of the internet-famous TikTok Grated Egg Avocado Toast I made for lunch was just that plus some flare. I topped the grated egg with a few quick-pickled red onions, whisper thin slices of scallions, a nice squeeze of lemon, a pinch of curry powder, and a few sesame seeds. Good bread is key!

Cross-section photo of Grated Egg Salad Sandwich

Have fun with this one, but if a more classic version is your speed, here’s where you can find my go-to egg salad sandwich. And you can also browse a bunch of other egg recipes. If you want to put your knife skills to the test and explore the exciting world of shredded ingredients, don’t miss this quick Shredded Tofu Stir-fry, the Shredded Jackfruit Burritos, A Good Shredded Salad, my favorite Spicy Sesame Coleslaw, or this Sriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad.

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