Giant Chipotle Baked Beans

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

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

Make Ahead Magic

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

Can I Use Canned Beans?

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

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

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Thousand Layer Lasagna

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

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

How to Make Lasagna: The Basics

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

Close up of a Baked Lasagna Unsliced with Cheese on Top

Homemade Pasta versus Store Bought

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

Can I Freeze Lasagna?

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

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

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

Thousand Layer Lasagna Variations

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

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

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

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Super Orange Citrus Rice

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

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

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

Citrus Rice Inspiration

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

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

What Kind of Rice to Use?

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

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

Super Orange Citrus Rice Surrounded by Plates and Ready to Eat

Make Citrus Rice into a Meal

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

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

Leftover Ideas

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

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

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How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

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

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

How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

Gnocchi takes Patience

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

The Simplest Ingredients

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

This Gnocchi Recipe: The Details

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

Gnocchi with Egg, or No?

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

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

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Garlic Lime Lettuce Wraps

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

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

Garlic Lime Lettuce Wraps

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

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Sourdough Galette with Delicata Squash

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

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

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

Make it Easy!

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

What Can you Do Ahead of Time?

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

All the Toppings for a Sourdough Galette with Delicata Squash

What If You Don’t Have Sourdough Starter?

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

Garlic and Green Chile Spiked Yogurt

Kitchen Scales are the Best!

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

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Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli Salad

Ravioli salads are the best! Plump raviolis tossed with toasted hazelnuts, lemony chard, and caramelized onions are at the heart of this ravioli salad recipe. The colorful platter is finished off with a dusting of cheese, snipped chives, and lemon zest.

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If you’re invited to a potluck this winter, consider bringing this. I first published the recipe over a decade ago, and still cook it regularly for a whole host of reasons. We’re talking about plump raviolis tossed with toasted hazelnuts, lemony flecks of chard, and deeply caramelized onions. You’ve got crunch from toasted hazelnuts, and brightness from a bit of zest. It’s delicious, flexible, and totally satisfying. Also, appropriately, it makes a great vegetarian main for gatherings like Thanksgiving. I’ve updated and streamlined the instructions and ingredient list here so it reflects how I make it today. For example, I used to cook the chard on the side, but now I don’t bother, and just massage it with lemon juice. Little tricks and improvements, and in this case, one less pan to clean.

Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli Salad

You can prepare most of the components ahead of time, and throw it together in less than five minutes when you’re ready to serve it up family-style. Whenever I have a window in the days prior, I wash and chop the chard (or kale), caramelize the onions, and toast the hazelnuts.

Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli Salad

Keep in mind, this whole idea is super adaptable. You can play around with the type of raviolis you use – vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.

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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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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.

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Wayne calls this the “1996 Veggie Burger.” It’s basically an old-school hippie burger. I love them for a few reasons. First, they’re grill-able. Second, they’re made from ingredients I understand – organic tofu, seeds, nuts, eggs, spices, and breadcrumbs. And third, they’re endlessly adaptable by switching up the spices & your burger toppings.
A Grillable Tofu Burger Recipe

The Recipe

On the cooking front, I’ve been cleaning out some drawers. Primarily going through old magazine clippings (which is part of the reason I’ve been featuring more magazine inspired recipes than usual). I’ve been finding lots of gems, and these tofu burgers jumped out at me. I’ve adapted them from a reader contributed recipe that ran in the October 2004 issue of Sunset Magazine. The recipe was sent to Sunset by Jeremy Wolf of San Francisco, and I enjoyed them so much! They were impossibly easy to make, relying on the “throw everything in the food processor” technique, and called for a quirky mix of ingredients ranging from tofu, seeds, and nuts, to mustard, cumin, and mushrooms. In the years since, I’ve done a lot of variations, and I’ll talk through a few of them below.

I will say, I suspect you’ll be tempted to tweak the seasonings, and you should! But here’s my advice. Don’t skimp on the cumin or mustard, you need some assertive flavors to kick in – keep in mind you’re dealing with ground tofu and eggs as a burger base. Whatever you do think bold!

Ingredients in Food Processor for Tofu Burgers

Tofu Burgers – How To Cook Them

One of the great things about these is you can cook them a number of ways. You can use a skillet, you can grill them, or you can bake them. The main thing you need to do is blend the mixture to a smooth-ish consistency. Then firmly shape and press the mixture into firm patties. I call for the firmest tofu you can find (extra-firm), but each tofu brand has a different quantity of water in it. If your mixture is too wet, simply blend in more breadcrumbs 1/4 cup at a time, and go from there. The mixture also firms up as it sits, so keep that in mind. You can let it rest for 10 minutes or so before shaping if you have the time.
A Grillable Tofu Burger Recipe

Tofu Burger Variations

A number of people have attempted to make these without the egg. I haven’t tested that version yet, but here’s are a few notes from the comments. From Lisa,”For the vegan, I reserved part of the batch before adding eggs, and put in a tablespoon of almond butter as a binder, plus a little extra breadcrumbs.” Jacqui says,”…although I was out of eggs, so I used 2 T of chia seeds mixed with 6 T of water as a replacement. Worked great!”

For a gluten-free option Lisa commented with this brilliance, “I make something similar to these and use masa harina instead of breadcrumbs for a gluten-free option… it definitely gives it a “southwestern” twist, and is SO delicious.”

Cooking Tips

If you’re nervous about the patties falling through grill grates, Judith says,”…my husband was in charge of the grill, started out on aluminum foil, we thought they might fall through the grates, he ended up putting them right on the grates (they firmed up while cooking on the foil for a bit) and they were wonderful!”

Enjoy!!

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