Cooking Club: Week Eight


Ok, this is a super roll-over friendly week. The recipes are listed in the order I suggest you make them, as there are a few make once, use it twice pieces in each recipe. The pesto in the pasta, is also the spread or dressing base for the veggie burgers. Some of the flesh from the stuffed sweet potatoes, goes into the veggie burgers. Of course you don’t have to do it this way, but it’ll save you time and ingredients. So, either make these recipes in order, or make sure you read headnotes so you can work back and forth as needed. 


House Keeping:

- We added a page with a few quick tips on how to use Cooking Club (including how to save recipes!).

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I am assuming you have sea salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and a higher heat oil, such as avocado oil or coconut oil. Check your stock on these before you head to the market, and check off any other items you may already have. As you continue to use these recipes, you will see repetition of my favorite ingredients. For example, while real maple and pine nuts are pricey pantry staples, they won’t sit in the pantry, you’ll use them in upcoming weeks. Use bulk bins at your local health food store to buy in smaller quantities if you prefer.

Your List i




recipe 01: roasted butternut penne with pistachio pesto

serves 4

The pesto is forgiving, and works with both pistachios and pepitas. The former is perhaps a bit richer, but either works if you have the latter on hand. The heat of a jalapeño is in the seeds, so leave in a little or a lot according to your taste. You can always add heat, but it’s tough to take it away (a little honey will calm it down) so if you think you have a really spicy jalapeño, start small, taste, add add more to taste. The ones from Trader Joes are super mild while the ones from our local farmstead are so hot, so use your judgement. 

I’m writing a double batch of the pesto, because it’s great to use as a spread, or thin as a dressing for the veggie burgers. Stir it into a frittata, to flavor up any cooked grain, just trust me. You’ll find a way to use it. If you aren’t into cilantro, any mix of basil, parsley, chives will do.


Tips of The Week

make ahead: the pesto may be made up to three days in advance. The squash may be roasted a day in advance, and warmed slightly before stirring it into the pasta.

use it twice: the pesto! We are making more than you need here, so you can use it in this dish, and again for either a sandwich spread or base for a salad dressing for the veggie burgers. The stuff is just amazing, we use it on tacos, with eggs, everywhere. Make lots.

kid friendly: the heat of a jalapeño varies widely. Amongst the pasta and squash, my kids can handle a few seeds in there, we need the mild heat for flavor. If you’re worried, just don’t use any seeds.

gluten free: use a gluten free pasta.

dairy free: skip the parmesan. If you have them, a tsp. of capers into the pesto will help add some salty flavor that you may lack without the cheese.

low carb: Skip the noodles all together and you can serve the pesto and squash with your cooked protein of choice.



for the pasta

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and 1” cubed (about 4 cups cubed)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Fresh ground nutmeg

3/4 lb. short pasta (penne, fussili, shells)
2 giant handfuls of baby spinach, chopped swiss chard or kale

for the cilantro and pistachio pesto

2 cloves garlic
Juice of one lemon
1 jalapeño or serrano, stemmed and partially seeded
1 large bundle of cilantro
1/2 a bundle of parsley (about 1/2 packed cup)
1/2 cup roasted pistachios or pepitas, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Splash of water
1/3 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
1/2-1 tsp. sea salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 425’ and set a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Collect your butternut cubes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil on the squash, along with the paprika, salt and little grate of nutmeg. Toss everything together to coat and spread in an even layer. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the edges begin to brown.

While the squash cooks, make the pesto. In a food processor or blender, pulse the garlic, lemon juice and jalapeño. Pull the fluffy bundle off the herbs, and add them (some stems in there are fine), along with the pistachios. Pulse a few more times. Add the olive oil, splash of water, cheese, salt, sprinkle of pepper and pulse again. Taste and season. If it looks thick, add another splash of water to thin, or citrus juice if you taste it and want it brighter.

Cook the pasta according to instruction. Drain, and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta back to the pot with the greens, a few generous dollops of the pesto and a small splash of pasta water to help it coat. Stir to mix and for the greens to wilt a bit. Stir in the squash.

Garnish each serving with a sprinkle of cheese, fresh pepper and any leftover herbs. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat
    30 g
  • carbs
    88 g
  • protein
    17 g

recipe 02: stuffed sweet potatoes

serves 4

These are great to make ahead, which means they’re an easy meal to deliver to new parents or a sick friend. They’re vegetarian as written, but I highly suggest add ins to your preference: shredded chicken, crumbled tempeh, black beans. You don’t *have* to add one of these things, but it does make a bit more of a meal out of them. Add this in when you stir the bbq sauce to the mushroom mixture. Add a bit more bbq sauce and a splash of broth or water if things look dry.  


Tips of The Week

make ahead: the potatoes can be baked in advance.

use it twice: you can double the filing (before the bbq sauce) and add it into eggs or use it as a taco filling, especially if you add the beans or shredded chicken.

kid friendly: use a less spicy bbq sauce

dairy free: use a dairy free cheese or replace it with more avocado


4 medium sweet potatoes
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
16 ounces button or crimini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
sea salt
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large/2 smaller shallots, chopped
2 packed cups of greens - baby spinach, kale, swiss chard
2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
Splash of broth or apple cider vinegar
1 cup shredded white cheddar, pepper jack, goat cheddar, divided
Chopped cilantro, green onions and/or avocado, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 400’. Prick the potatoes with a fork and bake on the middle rack for 45 minutes. Remove to cool to the touch. 

While the potatoes cook, saute your filling. Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt, and saute for 5ish minutes until they release their moisture and the pan doesn’t have water pooling. Add the butter, shallot, and saute another minute. Stir in the greens, remove the pan from the heat and let everything cool. 

Slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Trying to keep the skins in tact, scoop out about half of the flesh, leaving a good cushion within the potato half, into a mixing bowl and reserve for another use. Arrange the potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Stir the bbq sauce, a splash of broth or cider vinegar, and a small handful of cheese into the mushroom mixture. Stuff the filling back into the potato skins, be generous. Top with another sprinkle of cheese. 

Turn the oven up to 425’. Roast the potatoes for 5-8 minutes until the cheese is melty. Garnish with some fresh cilantro and avocado, if using. Enjoy warm. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat
    16 g
  • carbs
    38 g
  • protein
    13 g

recipe 03: black bean & pumpkin veggie burgers

Serves 4

We are using some of the reserved sweet potato flesh from the stuffed potatoes. If you have not yet, or do not plan to make this recipe, you can use the cooked flesh of any winter squash, or canned pumpkin. The water content may vary given this flexibility. If the mixture looks wet, add another sprinkle of panko.

These very easily go between a bun, or on top of a salad. Adjust your grocery list for serving preference. Add a melty cheese or other condiments as you wish. 


Tips of The Week

make ahead: the veggie burger “dough” can be made a day in advance and kept covered in the fridge. Or, the patties may be made in full a day or two in advance, and rewarmed in a pan when ready to eat.

use it twice: double up the patty recipe - use it for taco or burrito filling, or freeze them after they’ve been cooked. They reheat well.

kid friendly: My kids love anything that looks like a burger, BUT, you can also form them into small balls for a more nugget like look. Place the balls on the baking sheet as noted for the patties, and cook them for about 15 minutes.

low carb: I’m into a veggie burger patty on a salad, or lettuce wrapped. Just make sure you have sauce and condiments to make the salad taste good!


2 cloves garlic
2 green onion, white and light green parts
1/2 cup sweet potato or pumpkin puree
1 large handful of cilantro or parsley
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice
1 1/2 cups black beans (about one 14 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
1/3 cup panko or old-fashioned oats
grated parmesan, for the crust, optional

romaine, avocado, raw or pickled red onions, buns, for serving


Preheat the oven to 400’ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse the garlic and green onions. Add the squash puree, herbs, oil, chili powder, cumin, salt and pulse again. Add the brown rice, black beans, panko and give it a few more pulses, scraping the side as needed. Don’t over work it or it’ll be a mush ball, you want to have the texture of all the ingredients. The mixture should resemble, well, hate to say it, ground beef. Not super wet, but not dried out. If it seems wet, add a sprinkle of panko, but note it will dry up in the oven. This much can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a day. 

Form the dough into 5 patties, and place them on the parchment. Sprinkle grated parm on the top (it will melt and dry out while they bake and leave you with a delicious crunchy, umami topping). Bake for 20 minutes. 

Toast the buns. Swipe the pistachio pesto on one side (or whatever spread you like) and smash avocado on the other side. Top with a patty, lettuce, onion and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat
    10 g
  • carbs
    91 g
  • protein
    21 g

recipe 04: Our Carrot Cake

serves 8

I’m calling this “our” carrot cake, as it very well can be made “yours”. People have opinions about carrot cake. I skip raisins but like nuts, you can make that swap or add. The cake is forgiving. If brown rice flour is not something you stock, and you do not care about it being gluten free, you can use all-purpose in its place. I have not tried it as muffins yet, but I’m guessing you would fill the tins 2/3 full, and cut the baking time in half. Report back to us if you go that route!



Preheat the oven to 350’ and grease an 8” square or round pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, maple, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the pineapple, carrots, walnuts, coconut and stir. If you are a person who likes to do things correctly, stir all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. If you like to live on the edge, add the almond meal, brown rice flour, flaxmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir everything into the wet mixture to combine. Pour it into the prepared pan and bake it on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick test in the middle comes out clean. It will set more as it cools. 

While the cake bakes, make your frosting. In a stand mixer, mix your cream cheese and butter until combined and smooth. Add the orange juice and zest, maple, vanilla and salt and mix until well combined. It will be thinner than a traditional frosting. If you want it thicker, with more structure, reduce the maple and sub in powdered sugar until you get the consistency you’d like. 

When the cake is completely cool, spread the frosting on top. Garnish with toasted walnuts or coconut if you’re feeling fancy. Store, covered, for 3-4 days. 


for the cake

3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed, or other neutral oil
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
A few grates of nutmeg
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained of juices
3/4 cup finely grated carrots
1/3 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup brown rice flour
2 Tbsp. flaxmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt

for the cream cheese glaze

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. orange juice 
2 tsp. orange zest
2/3 cup real maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat
    42 g
  • carbs
    48 g
  • protein
    8 g