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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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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Chickpea Salad Sandwich

The chickpea salad sandwich filling to make in bulk for easy lunches and snacks all week. A perfect vegetarian or vegan sandwich option.

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If you’re looking for low-lift, substantial, vegetarian or vegan sandwich ideas, you’re going to want to make a deli-sized container of this chickpea salad sandwich filling. It’s not only perfect for really great chickpea salad sandwiches, it’s also a favorite filing in lettuce wraps, and a legit snack spread throughout the week. When you go the sandwich route, it’s like a vegan “tuna salad” sandwich with chickpeas standing in for the tuna. Or chicken salad sandwich with chickpeas instead of chicken. This is not a new concept, but I thought I’d walk you through the version I make around here on many Sunday afternoons.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich on a Plate with Potato Chips

What I Love About This Sandwich

There are so many things I love about this sandwich. I love the garlic-rubbed crunchiness of the bread in contrast to the softer chickpea salad filling. And I love that it keeps me going for hours. Basically, it’s delicious, and it does the job. If you keep a big container of this in your refrigerator, not only can you make excellent chickpea salad sandwiches all week, you can switch it up all sorts of ways I’ll outline below.
Ingredients for Chickpea Salad Sandwich Recipe arranged in a Large Bowl

Chickpea Salad Sandwich Ingredients

To take an average chickpea salad sandwich to the next level, pay attention to the ingredients first. I go strong a number of the ingredients others tend to be a bit shy about, but I find this approach delivers a chickpea sandwich filling that hits all the right buttons, and is even better on days two and three. The flavors really come together. Here are some thoughts on the ingredients in this sandwich, and how I choose (or deal with) each one.

  •  Bread: I’m going to argue that there are two routes to go on the bread front. You’re either going to want to choose slices of good, hearty sourdough bread for this sandwich. Slices you can toast or grill brushed with olive oil and rubbed with the better part of a clove of garlic. Or, take the completely opposite approach by choosing a soft, pillowy squishy loaf of some sort of multi-grain sandwich bread. Maybe you lightly toast this bread, but maybe not. I most often opt for the toasted sourdough (pictured throughout), and tend to enjoy it open-faced this way, but there are times when I like this chickpea salad sandwich with a softer bread as well. I suspect you’ll know which camp you’re in from go.
  • Chickpeas: You smash the chickpeas, and to do so you have a couple options. Because I will do just about anything to avoid unnecessarily having to wash an appliance, I typically hand-smash the chickpeas in a large bowl using a large fork, or (even better!) a potato masher. Some chickpeas are softer than others, it seems to vary from can to can, and I find chickpeas cooked from dry beans generally have more structure. If you end up with harder chickpeas, the fork method can be a bit frustrating. Grab a potato masher or a few quick pulses in a food processor also does the trick. You want to break down the chickpeas, not attempt to turn them to hummus, so go easy on the pulsing.
  • Mustard: I prefer whole-grain mustard here, but if you have a Dijon-style mustard on hand, by all means use that. I also tend to dial up the mustard quite a bit – more assertive, but still balanced I’d argue. 
  • Relish: I usually reach for whatever deli-style relish Wayne has in the refrigerator door. It’s usually on the sweeter side but doesn’t have to be.
  • Walnuts:  I love the texture and substance a few toasted walnuts bring to this sandwich. Give it a go, even if you’re a bit skeptical. I found myself out of walnuts for this round of sandwiches and really enjoyed the pine nut swap!
  • Chile: I always add a finely chopped serrano to this chickpea salad sandwich filling, it adds dimension more that spiciness, and a nice pop of green flavor. Optional, of course, but recommended.

Cross-section View of Chickpea Salad Sandwich on a Plate cut in Half

Variations!

The recipe I’m posting down below is my base “go-to” chickpea salad sandwich recipe. But I love to play around. Here are some variations I’ve enjoyed over there years to encourage you to also experiment with the ingredients you have on hand.

  • Ultra Hippie Chickpea Salad Sandwich: To the chickpea salad, add a couple handfuls of finely chopped kale & toasted sunflower seeds in place of the walnuts, and a tablespoon or so of nutritional yeast. Finish with crushed toasted nori or nori furikake.
  • Spicy Chickpea Salad Sandwich: I love a spicy everything, but with this sandwich like the lead spicy component *on* the sandwich, not mixed in. Tabasco, Cholula, or other hot sauce sprinkled across the top of the chickpea salad component is where it’s at for me. Calabrian Chile paste is also A+ here as the spicy topping.
  • Vegan Chickpea Salad Sandwich: To make this sandwich vegan, use your favorite plant-based, vegan yogurt. You basically want something to pull all the ingredients together, so if you don’t have a vegan yogurt on hand, you can experiment with a vegan mayo, tahini, or a combination of the two as well. Keep in mind, this is basically a vegan “tuna” salad sandwich, with smashed chickpeas standing in for the tuna. And similar to a tuna sandwich, it is very much about personal preference and ingredient ratios. 

Chickpea Salad Sandwich Ingredients Mixed together in a Large Bowl
The recipe included below is my base starting point, but play around a bit with the ingredients you keep on hand and love. Other things I like to mix in (not all at once): shredded basil in summer, a smoked salt, finely shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, a couple teaspoons of miso, a bit of preserved lemon. Have fun, experiment, and let me know any favorite combinations you come up with.
Close-up Photo of Chickpea Salad Sandwich on a Plate cut in Half on a Plate with Potato Chips

I hope you enjoy this sandwich as much as I do, it really is one of my favorite, easy, feel-good lunches. If you love chickpeas as much as I do here’s where you can browse more chickpea recipes – there are tons! There are more sandwich recipes, and some of my favorites include this Vegetarian TLT Sandwich, classic Egg Salad Sandwich, Grillable Tofu Burgers. Or if you’re just looking for easy ways to combine good bread with good toppings, it’s hard to beat bruschetta, and I talk through how to adapt it for the seasons on that page – beyond tomatoes ;). 

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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.

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I’ve been trying to nail down a great curry noodle “in a jar” situation for months. My first attempt was late last year when we took the Airstream out to the desert south of Palm Springs. I’ve worked through five or six revisions in the months since, and learned some important lessons along the way. Once you have the core ingredients in a jar (or bag), all you need is water and a splash of coconut milk. You end up with a dynamic and feisty broth bolstered with cayenne, ginger, cinnamon, dried mushrooms and turmeric. It’s incredibly fragrant and delicious. The broth envelops tangles of egg noodles and whatever seasonal vegetables you have on hand to toss in at the last minute. I tend to use shredded cabbage and some tofu, and broccoli florets if I have them. So easy, so good!
Meal In a Jar: Spicy Coconut Curry Noodles
I think I finally cracked the code on the coconut curry noodles last week while parked at a stunning stretch of California coastline near Santa Barbara, but there have been some real fails in the attempts all winter. Getting the feisty broth to a place I loved was a breeze, it was getting the noodles right that gave me the most trouble. Turned out, the trick is using just the right noodles for a one-pot cooking approach. You need noodles that are happy to simmer along with all the other ingredients without getting overly goopy, or without making the broth too thick and starchy. I’ll get into the specifics down below.Spicy Coconut Curry Noodle Ingredients arranged in a Weck Jar

The “Meals In Jars” Series:

If you’re just stumbling on this I’ll back up a bit. I’ve done a few of these types of meals in jars lately. I love to keep them on hand for fast weeknight meals and take them out on road trips and camping as well. I keep the base recipes pretty strict and my general rule of thumb is to aim for “just add water.” Or, in this case a bit of coconut milk. With the Italian Barley Soup and the Tortellini Soup it’s just water and canned tomatoes.  The idea is that if all you have is the content of the jar, water, and perhaps a pantry-friendly ingredient or two, you have all you need for a really good meal.

Ingredients for Spicy Coconut Curry Noodles on Picnic table

Let’s Talk about The Mushrooms

Let’s get into some detail related to the ingredients in these curry noodles. I call for chopped dried porcini mushrooms in this recipe. They lend a really great earthy counter-balance to the spicy cayenne and ginger notes in the broth. They’re worth sourcing and using, and I’m calling them out here because I know a bunch of you are going to want to skip them (lol). I just want to encourage you not to. If you have another dried mushroom in your pantry, one you love, yes,  you can absolutely substitute, but don’t skip the dried mushrooms altogether. 

Meal In a Jar: Spicy Coconut Curry Noodles

Coconut Milk Alternatives?

Use full-fat coconut milk here and not low-fat. If you want a more creamy curry by all means add more to the broth, and simply re-season to your liking. Also, if you’re looking for a coconut milk alternative, I’ve had a lot of success using homemade cashew milk with these curry noodles. I blend 1 cup soaked cashews with 1 cup of water as the ratio using a high-speed blender until creamy smooth. Any leftover coconut milk or cashew milk freezes nicely, so tend to save any into baggies for later use, and both work nicely here. 

View of Coastline from table cooking Coconut Curry Noodles

What Kind of Noodles to Use?

I ran through a lot of noodles before landing on Italian-style egg pasta nests as the best choice for this recipe. Here’s what makes the noodle choice tricky. This is a one-pot meal. That is the whole point. You’d have a lot more noodle options if you wanted to boil your noodles in a separate pot, and then add them, fully cooked, to your curry pot at the perfect moment. But that isn’t what we’re going for here.

I tried rice noodles of various thickness but they were never happy, and wanted to be cooked separately. Thinking through other quick cooking pastas, I tested angel hair pasta, and that was a hard no. I tried breaking spaghetti into segments, and that wasn’t right either. But these tagliatelle egg nests, the kind you can pick up in an Italian deli, and many other grocery stores were great! Adding them after you’ve let the broth simmer a bit, they cooked into slurpy perfection.

Egg Noodles To Use in Jar Spicy Coconut Curry Noodles

An Outdoor Coconut Curry Noodle Pot 

This is a brothy situation with turmeric involved. I’ve cooked it a number of times in the Airstream, but because the cooking space is cramped, this is definitely a meal I prefer to cook and eat outside. My little Iwatani burner paired with a donabe is a great light-weight, easy to set up combo. I love the donabe because the clay really holds the heat and keeps the curry warm in case you’re up for seconds. For anyone worried about traveling with a clay pot, I keep it in the box it was shipped in to keep it safe while driving. You can see the set-up below.

Heidi at a Table with Ingredients and Pot of Coconut Curry Noodles

Here’s a snapshot of the recipe in my notebook below (the final version is typed up below). I like to write up recipes in pencil, and then erase to make changes and evolve the recipe over time. I always have a line for “next time” and that is where I leave notes to self about what to do when attempting the recipe again.  Leaving little notes about what has worked and what hasn’t so I don’t repeat past fails is also an important part of my template. And if I’m working and testing recipes for a book I take a slightly different approach. If I know a recipe is going to go into a book I type it up and move a printout to a binder, filing versions and changes there, and maintaining digital files. I did a series of posts about my Making a Cookbook process years ago (2015!) related to Near & Far – it might be helpful if you think you might want to write a cookbook someday but are overwhelmed by the process. A bit of a tangent, but that’s how it typically goes down on the recipe front over here.

Spicy Coconut Curry Noodle Recipe Handwritten in a Notebooks

What if I’m Cooking for 2?

One last note related to the recipe, a lot of camping saucepans are small, and this recipe calls for 7 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of coconut milk. So, a good amount of liquid. You’re going to want to use a sizable pot. If your pot is smaller, or maybe you’re cooking for less than 4, here’s the plan. As long as your pot can hold 6 cups of water comfortably (knowing you’ll also be adding pasta and vegetables), you’re fine. Use all the spices, etc. as written, and scale back the pasta nests by one or two, and proceed with recipe. Your broth with be a bit stronger (in a good way). 

Meal In a Jar: Spicy Coconut Curry Noodles

Other favorite Meals in Jars: 

I hope you all enjoy this one as much as I do! I love it as a camping meal, especially if it is cold out. If you’re looking for more ideas along these lines I’ll just highlight this Italian Barley Soup and the Tortellini Soup again as well, or browse all the soup recipes. Keep your pantry stocked with a few of these for quick, low-lift homemade meals.

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Quick Vegan Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Sauce

These vegan enchiladas are knock-out delicious, 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.

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A weeknight-friendly enchilada has to check a lot of boxes for me. You ready for the short list? Here we go. These enchiladas need to be knock-out delicious AND: easy to assemble, free from pre-cooking any components, a healthful alternative to all the heavy cheese versions out there, and, ideally, in the oven in less that ten minutes. That’s the dream scenario. After some experimentation, I offer you these – quick, vegan enchiladas. 
Quick Vegan Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Sauce
What you’re looking at are tender enchiladas made with black beans, sweet potatoes, and a stealthy turmeric boost. I also focused on making a version that was plant-based and vegan, but also easily adaptable. If you want to add a bit of feta to the filling here (if you’re not vegan, of course) then go for it. These are also extra good topped with a bit of good guacamole. It’s a recipe that should be able to accommodate much of what you might dream of rolling into a tortilla and baking until bubbly and golden.
Quick Vegan Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Sauce
This recipe is similar in spirit to the Last Minute Lasagna a bunch of you have been making. In fact, I started working on both of those around the same time, so if you like one of them, give the other a try as well.
Quick Vegan Enchiladas with Sweet Potato Sauce

Variations

A couple of notes, I wrote the recipe calling for canned winter squash – anything like pumpkin, sweet potato, or another winter squash will work. Whatever you and your family tends to like. I stumbled on a canned butternut squash during a spin through Trader Joe’s, a while back, stocked up, and that is what you see pictured here. You can, of course, use squash you’ve roasted at home in place of canned – it just makes the process less quick ;)…

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Homemade Pappardelle

Simple, homemade pappardelle pasta is a deliciously versatile shape to make! Pictured below topped with crispy mushrooms, clouds of Parmesan cheese, and lemon.

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It’s time for another pasta session! Pappardelle is one of the pasta shapes I prepare most often. The easy-to-make wide ribbons sweep up sauces beautifully. Flecks of flavor, like zests and grated cheese, love to cling to the expansive surface area. A bowl of homemade pappardelle is a real treat. Let’s talk though the process of making the pasta, and then I’ll share a simple pairing with oven-crisped mushroom, Parmesan and a lemon accent that I like a lot.
Fresh Homemade Pappardelle Noodles

About this Pappardelle Recipe

When you enjoy pappardelle in a restaurant the ratio of eggs to flour is often much, much higher than what I make at home. With the former, the weight of egg yolks can equal the weight of the flour. That means, you might need nearly two dozen yolks for the amount of flour we’re going to use today. This version is going to use some eggs, but nothing extreme.

For home-style pappardelle, I like to use 4 eggs for 400g of flour. It ends up being more egg-y than this basic homemade pasta recipe, but it works great, I always have the ingredients on hand, and it’s perfect for everyday cooking and eating. And there are eggs leftover for the rest of the week.Homemade Pappardelle on a platter with sliced mushrooms and lemon

Which Flour Should I Use?

The pappardelle you see pictured here was made with “00” flour. “00” is powder-fine and made with low gluten, soft wheat flour. If you don’t have “00” you can certainly use all-purpose flour. Or use equal parts “00” and unbleached all-purpose flour. Once you’re comfortable with this, you can even swap in a bit of whole-grain flour if you like – until you have a blend you love. A bit of rye flour is nice for winter pappardelle, or you could play around with chickpea flour, or even oat flour. I have it on my list to try a bit of mesquite flour at some point.Flour and eggs ready to make pasta dough

How To Make Pappardelle Dough By Hand

This is covered in the recipe below, but I wanted to include some step-by-step information in case you find yourself in the weeds.

Start by making a mound of the flour directly on the countertop. Make a deep crater in the top and add the eggs, olive oil, and salt.

Use a fork to break up the eggs without breaking through the walls of your flour mound. You want to try to keep the eggs contained, but don’t worry if they break through – use a spatula or bench scraper to scoop them back in. Work more and more flour into the eggs a bit at a time. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of cold water across the mixture and keep mixing until you’ve got a dough coming together.

If you’re exclusively using all-purpose flour, you might not need more water. Some of the other flours are a bit thirstier, you can drizzle a bit more at time as you go if you feel like your dough is too dry. It should look like the pictures, you want to avoid having a wet dough. With some of the other flours I typically end up using 4-5 tablespoons of water total.

I’ve found that a spray bottle is my favorite way to add water to pasta dough without adding too much, but drizzling works too. Use your hands to bring the dough together into a bag and knead for 7-10 minutes, until the dough is silky smooth and elastic.
Pappardelle dough resting in a bag

How to Roll and Cut Fresh Pappardelle By Hand

To roll out pappardelle dough by hand, make sure your dough is at room temperature. Cut the dough into four equal pieces. Choose one piece to work with, and immediately wrap the rest so they don’t dry out. You’ll need a floured surface, and you’ll want to keep the pasta floured a bit as well, so it doesn’t stick to itself. If the dough is sticking rub with a bit more flour. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to your desired thickness. I tend to go thinner than I think I’ll want because the pasta swells a bit as it cooks. Once you’ve rolled the dough out flat, cut the dough into strips 1-inch wide and 12 inches long. Transfer the cut pasta to a floured baking sheet, rub with a bit of flour, and swirl into little nests with about 6 pieces of pasta in each nest. Repeat with the remaining dough. At this point you can cook the pasta immediately, dry it, refrigerate it, or freeze it.

How to Roll and Cut Fresh Pappardelle by Machine

If your dough was refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before rolling out. Sprinkle a baking sheet generously with flour and aside. When you’re ready to roll out the pasta, make sure your dough is at room temperature. Cut it into six equal wedges, and squish one of them flat-ish with your fingers. Re-wrap the remaining dough immediately so it doesn’t dry out. Feed your flattened wedge though the pasta machine on its widest setting. Run it though 2 or 3 times. You want to get it into a rectangular shape if possible. Fold the dough in thirds so you have a rectangle. Feed it though the pasta maker 2-3 more times on the widest setting. Continue to feed the pasta dough through the pasta maker, decreasing the width as you go. I run the pasta through a 2-3 times on each width, and dust with a bit of flour on both sides if I’m getting any stickiness. I typically roll pappardelle out to the 5 or 6 setting on my Atlas 150. 
Pappardelle dough next to an Atlas Pasta machine
I love my Altas hand-cranked pasta machine, and I’ve used it forever. They’re relatively inexpensive, and a great investment if you think you might want to make homemade pasta more often. I’ve also had great success using the pasta attachment to the Kitchen-Aid. So, if you already have one of those, consider the attachment. 
Pasta machine making sheets of pasta dough from which you cut pappardelle
Cut the sheets into strips roughly 12-inches long by 1-inch thick. You can get super precise, like the photo below, or just eyeball it, and take a more casual approach. Transfer the cut pasta to a floured baking sheet, dust/rub the pasta with a bit of flour, and swirl into little nests. I usually do 6 pappardelle per nest. At this point you can cook the pasta immediately, dry it, refrigerate it, or freeze it.
Cutting homemade pappardelle on marble countertop using ruler as a guide
The pappardelle are lightly dusted (photo below) and then shaped into nests that you can use immediately, or freeze to use at a later time. 
Fresh Homemade Pappardelle Noodles drying a bit on a floured sheet pan

How To Freeze Pappardelle

Freezing is my preferred method of storing any pappardelle I’m not cooking immediately. Arrange freshly made, uncooked nests of pappardelle across a floured baking sheet. Freeze for a couple of hours, and then transfer to double layer plastic bags. You can freeze for up to a couple of months. And you can cook straight from the freezer. No need to thaw, just dump the pappardelle into boiling salted water, and increase the cooking time a bit.Nest of Pappardelle pasta on a floured sheetpan

Variations

You can see in some of my other pasta recipes how to tweak basic pappardelle pasta dough by adding different seasonings and spices. For example, I added black pepper and turmeric to this sunny-looking cavatelli. And beet juice to electrify this fettuccini. You can also play around with the water component. In place of water you can use vegetable juices, purees, stocks or broths, anything of that sort is fair game.
Top-down view of Homemade Pappardelle on a platter with sliced mushrooms and lemon

More Ideas!

Making fresh pasta is one of my favorite things to do. It’s even better when you have others around to help, taking turns in shifts. I did a basic primer on making homemade pasta a while ago, if you love fettuccine noodles or anything along those lines, start there. You can also try making gnocchi (it’s perfect with this pesto), or a favorite simple tomato sauce. And all my pasta recipes live here. Have a blast and enjoy!

 

 

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Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole

If you’re looking for a great breakfast casserole, this has you covered. It’s a deep-dish merging of grated cheese, bagels, eggs, plant-based sausage and the crunch and savoriness of everything bagel seasoning.

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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.  Like many things in life, the details matter here and I’ve gone into some depth on the things to think about as you make your own brunch-time fave.Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole Close-up

Make Ahead?

Absolutely! The great thing about a breakfast casserole like this one is you can completely prep it the night before. Wake and bake it in the morning. Or, you can bake it right away, after combining all the ingredients in the baking dish. You end up with slightly different textures, depending on your timing, but both are great. An overnight casserole results in a more custard-like texture. Just baked breakfast casserole surrounded by three plates

Stale Bagels vs. Fresh Bagels

My attitude here is to use what you have. Bagels that are a bit stale work brilliantly. Freshly baked bagels work great too. There’s a bit of a calculus if you’re hyper-specific about the texture you like. Bagels that are on the fresh side combined with the egg mixture the day prior to baking will yield a breakfast casserole with a more custard-like texture. Think French toast. On the other hand, if you use stale bagels and toss everything together just before baking you’ll end up with a casserole that has more definition and a slightly drier overall texture to the bread chunks. I love them both, but am a bit partial to the version pictured here – tossed just before baking, made with 3 day-old bagels.
Ingredients to make an Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole arranged on a marble counter

What Kind of Bagels Should I Use?

I’ve baked this casserole with a number of different bagels over the years. As far as supermarket-brand bagels go, the version I liked best was made with Dave’s Bread Epic Everything Bagels. I like to work whole grains in wherever I can, so that’s what I use here, but any good bagels will work.Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole in the oven baking

Can I Substitute ____ Cheese in This Breakfast Casserole?

The short answer here is yes. A wide range of cheeses can work in this sort of thing. Basically you’re dealing with one grated cheese that you work into the egg mixture, and another cheese that functions more as a topping or punctuation. So, on the grated front if you prefer a strong cheddar or Swiss cheese, by all means make the swap. A lot of people use cream cheese for the “punctuation” cheese in this style breakfast casserole, because the theme here is…bagel. But the best version I’ve made was when I took some Boursin garlic and herb cheese from my dad’s refrigerator and used that instead. It ended up being creamy, oozy, herby magic where it hit the golden bagels on top. Feta works great too. Same goes for goat cheese. This is a long way of saying cream cheese is the standard here, but feel free to up your game by using something with a stronger flavor and personality.Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole close-up with one portion gone

Breakfast Casserole Variations & Ideas

  • Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole: Sometimes I skip the plant-based sausage crumbles (processed plant-based meats aren’t typically my thing but they work well here), and throw in a few well-cooked hashed browns instead, Or you could do both. If you keep frozen hash browns, or frozen sweet potato hash browns on hand this is an easy add. Brown them up in a skillet and allow to cool (enough so they won’t cook the eggs instantly). When assembling the casserole I tend to add them to the baking pan and then pour the egg and bagel mixture on top of them. So you get some potato thickness and not just shredded potato bits.
  • Green It Up Version: Add a few handfuls of well-chopped kale or spices to the egg mixture. Or, if you have something like saag paneer left over, add that! Finish with lots of chopped green onions and chives. The onions can go on either before or after baking.
  • Pretzel Version: Whenever I make this I always think to myself that an old-fashioned soft pretzel version would be fun. You’d use a few of those big Bavarian-style soft pretzels in place of the bagels.
  • Buttermilk & Bagel Breakfast Casserole: I mention this down below, but I’ll emphasize here as well. I actually love to make this casserole with some buttermilk if I have it on hand. It works beautifully, especially along with the mustard accent. Just swap out about 1/2 cup of the milk called for and replace with buttermilk.
  • Leftover Breakfast Casserole:  You can smash leftover pieces of this casserole into a medium-hot skillet with a bit of oil to reheat. Parts get nice and toasty cheesy, and it’s super good. Smash casserole.

Top down view of Breakfast Casserole with spoon in baking dish
One last thing I want to call out here is that this recipe was written for a standard 9×13-inch baking pan, but don’t let that limit you. If you have a big enough skillet, that’ll work. What you see here is an enameled cast-iron pan I love. Use whatever big pan you like for this, just don’t fill let the eggs get higher than about 3/4 full. If you’re still a little nervous about over-flow just place a rimmed baking sheet below the casserole.. 
Top down view of Breakfast Casserole on marble table with spoon in baking dish

More Breakfast Ideas

I love a good breakfast, and if you’re in the same boat, take a browse through these breakfast ideas. If I had to call out some all-time favorites: This has been my go-to waffle recipe for years. Or these for classic pancake lovers out there. Fregola sarda is a top choice for brunch. I love a good frittata,  same goes for a good omelette. Lastly, I like to make my own breakfast cereal blend

If you’re just a casserole fan in general, please try this mushroom casserole I’ve loved since I was a kid. 

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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.

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Not all of of my “meal in a jar” recipes are soups, but a lot of them are. We’ll branch out at some point, I promise! In the meantime, this is the second recipe in a series that started recently when I posted a favorite tortellini soup in a jar. You were incredibly receptive to that (♥!!), so here we are with a second meal in a jar. It’s an herb-flecked, hearty, Italian Barley Soup. Italian-ish would probably be a more accurate description as I like to boost the jar contents with mung beans and quinoa from my pantry, and any vegetables tend to be added at the end rather than the start.

Italian Barley Soup in a Bowl with Spoon
I love to keep these jars on hand for fast weeknight meals and take them out on road trips and camping as well. I keep the base recipes pretty strict and my general rule of thumb is to aim for “just add water.” Or, in this case (and the tortellini soup), just add water + a can of tomatoes is fair game. The idea is that if all you have is the content of the jar, water, and perhaps an pantry-friendly ingredient or two, you have all you need for a really good meal.Dry ingredients for Italian Barley Soup in a Jar

Italian Barley Soup Variations & Ideas

  • swap in 1 cup of pearled farro for the barley. Or go halfsies!
  • add a well-drained can of chickpeas
  • put an egg on it, my preference here is poached
  • drizzle with chile oil
  • add some cubes of root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, or sweet potatoes along with the jar contents. This gives them enough time to cook alongside the grains.

Italian Barley Soup in a Jar in a Wood Cabinet with other Ingredients
This soup fits nicely in a pint jar. I always get emails about the jar pictured on the left (below) here, it’s a Weck jar, and they come in a range of sizes and shapes. I also love to reuse all manner of jam and sauce jars in for storage in an effort to keep plastics to a minimum in my kitchen.
Side View of Italian Barley Soup ingredients in Jars
One other thing I’ll mention is don’t store these “forever”. I try to use mine in the coming month or so. The grains will be better (and not rancid), herbs and spices more fragrant, and all the rest.
Soup Pot along with Soup ingredients on Counter
You might not think the contents of this jar will deliver a big pot of soup, but it does! The grains really swell up and absorb the herby-tomato broth. You might even need to add an extra splash of water depending on how long you allow the soup to simmer – to thin things out to your liking. 
A Collection of Meals in Jars on Marble Counter
Here’s a collection of dump & stir meals in jars ready to go (above photo). If you’re interested in any of the baking versions I do, let me know! I take those out with us too when camping – for pancake mixes, breads baked in our portable pizza oven, etc. Or I’m happy to stick with soups, curries, and the like for now.
Pot of Italian Barley Soup Photographed from Above

More Ideas!

I mention this down below, in the recipe, you can add all sorts of fresh vegetables to this soup depending on what you have on hand. I typically add lots of chopped kale. We have a seemingly endless supply of it coming from our garden plot. It cooks way down, so if you’re going to use it go ahead and use more than you might think. Broccoli florets are another good booster vegetable to get some green going in your bowl. Chopped or shredded cabbage is also a super choice here. 

Here’s the Meal in a Jar: Tortellini Soup, and here’s where you can browse the complete archive of soup recipes.

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