Ashley Rodriguez, of Not Without Salt, is a talented chef and friend of mine. I had the pleasure of testing a few of the recipes from her second cookbook, Let’s Stay In, while she was developing the recipes, and I thought it’d be fun to pull a menu for us from the book, which is out next week.
I have made a few swaps to Ashley’s original recipes, to make them align with what we have going with Cooking Club. I simplified in a few places and tinkered just *barely* to fit closer to the ratios you’re used to from me, given the number of people ya’ll seem to be feeding. Notes are included on how to scale up or down. If you happen to be in the Seattle area, check out her site for events!
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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.
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MEAT & DAIRY
recipe 01: spring pea falafel
In Ashley’s original headnote, she suggests a deep fry. I’ll agree that falafel have a superior texture when fried, but it’s just such a mess and I personally have an aversion to the smell, so I am writing in her shallow fry method. You do as you wish. ** I have quite a few people giving me feedback that theirs are falling apart. I have upped the panko below to help solve this. Ash originally wrote in flour, but I think panko will help hold them together better. Another idea is to let the batter chill in the fridge for a couple hours, if you have the time (make the batter in the morning or day before if needed).
This recipe can feed 4-6, but can be easily halved.
They sell harissa paste at Trader Joes and Whole Foods. The latter has a Harissa dry spice blend too, which I love on roasted cauliflower btw. You can make your own via a quick google search, but I am selling saving time here.
Tips of The Week
make ahead: the falafel dough can be made a day in advance. The yogurt sauce can be made up to three days in advance. The veggies and such can be chopped and prepped as well.
use it twice: any leftover falafel are great on a salad or in a wrap. You can thin the yogurt sauce with a bit more lemon if needed, to be used as a salad dressing.
kid friendly: the falafel are great on their own, but are pretty delicate, so I put them in those mini pitas from Trader Joes with a swipe of the sauce and a few vegetables.
gluten free: replace the flour/panko with a gluten free alternative, or rolled oats. Note these alternatives will have a little less structure. While nowhere near traditional, an egg mixed in to the gluten free version will help them stay together.
dairy free: skip the feta and use olives for an alternative to the salty/richness
For the falafel
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
3/4 tsp. sea salt
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup roughly chopped herbs (parsley, mint, chives - any mix of these)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 a small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup panko, more as needed
1/2 cup avocado or other neutral oil, for shallow frying
for the harissa yogurt
1 cup whole-milk yogurt
1 tsp. harissa seasoning or paste
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
feta cheese, pita bread, romaine, shaved red onion, cucumber, baby tomatoes, cilantro, mint
In a food processor, combine the peas, chickpeas, cumin, coriander, sea salt, cayenne, herbs, garlic and onion. Pulse until finely chopped, but not pureed. Taste and adjust seasoning if you’d like. Add the baking powder, flour or panko (I’ve tried both, the latter gets a little crispier), and process until just incorporated. It will be a bit sticky, but when you roll a ball, it should keep its shape. A bit of slumping is fine, add a touch more flour/panko if needed.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat a generous slick of the oil. When you hold your hand over it, you should feel the warmth. Do a rough tablespoon scoop of batter into a small patty and cook them in the oil, about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and continue with remaining batter, adding more oil and heating it between batches.
For the Harissa yogurt, stir together the yogurt, harissa, salt and lemon juice. You can add the feta cheese into the sauce, or sprinkle it on the side.
Serve the falafels with some chopped romaine, onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro, mint, sprinkle of feta and a dollop of Harissa yogurt. Warm pita on the side.
recipe 02: oven baked risotto with butternut squash and candied rosemary walnuts
This makes a lot of risotto. If you are one of the folks feeding 2-ish adults, I would halve this for sure. Otherwise, invite people over! It also reheats beautifully and can also be frozen, and reheated for a later time.
Tips of The Week
make ahead: chop your onions and squash. Make the candied walnuts up to 5 days in advance.
use it twice: reheat any leftovers with a splash of water or broth to loosen. I love some leftover risotto with a fried egg on top.
dairy free: use a dairy-free butter alternative. Olive oil would also be fine. Top with some panko breadcrumbs, that have been just toasted in a drizzle of olive oil and salt to sprinkle on the top to make up for the lack of cheese. Put this on just before that last broil.
for the risotto
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 tsp. finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced (about 4 cups)
1 tsp. sea salt, divided
1 1/4 cups arborio rice
4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup white wine, divided
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
parsley and rosemary, for garnish
for the candied walnuts
1 cup raw walnut pieces
3 Tbsp. cane sugar
1 Tbsp. rosemary leaves
Pinch of salt
Place the walnuts, sugar, and rosemary leaves in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the sugar melts and caramelizes. Don’t leave the pan, as the walnuts and sugar can burn quickly. As the sugar starts to melt, stir continuously until completely melted and the walnuts shift in color. They may smoke a bit. Immediately dump the nuts onto a plate or piece of parchment and sprinkle with salt. Let cool.
Heat 2 Tbsp. of the butter in a large skillet. Stir in the onion and rosemary and saute over medium heat until they just start to color, about 10 minutes. Add the butternut squash, 1/2 tsp. of the salt and cook for another 5 minutes.
In a 13x9” baking dish (or similar size, a 12” cast iron skillet worked great for me), combine the rice, stock, 1/2 cup of the wine, remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir in the butternut squash mixture. Place the dish on the middle rack of a cold oven. Turn the temperature to 400’. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring half-way through. The rice should be slightly chewy. Remove the baking dish from the oven, then stir in the remaining 1/2 cup white wine and parmesan. Turn the heat to broil and give the top a little toast, just for a few minutes.
While the risotto bakes, make your walnuts if you haven’t done so in advance.
Serve the risotto with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, rosemary and the candied walnuts on top!
recipe 03: roasted delicata squash salad
I am not including an anchored protein here, as we have a variety of eaters subscribed and I think this one takes well to swaps. I made a quick roasted salmon, which there is a note on below. You could make a easily make stir-fried or roasted tofu, shred up a roasted chicken or simply follow the directions.
Photo by Ashley Rodriguez
Tips of The Week
make ahead: most of the work here is roasting time, otherwise it comes together quite quick. You can prep the squash a day or two in advance.
use it twice: I feel like this whole situation would save well to pack for lunch the next time. As mentioned above, so many ways to fill it out with other fridge bits.
kid friendly: my kids like all of these things separate - the squash, poms, avocado. Squash is already naturally sweet, but a little drizzle of maple on there with the oil before roasting would be delicious and make them an even easier sell.
carnivore addition: grilled sausages, poached egg, doesn’t chicken go with everything?
dairy free: skip the feta and add some roasted and salted pistachios
2 lbs. delicata squash (about 2 large), halved, seeded and cut into 1/2” half-moons
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus a drizzle to finish
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
Grated zest and juice of one lime
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
Preheat the oven to 425’. Line a sheet with parchment paper.
Arrange the cut delicata on the prepared sheet pan with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and the sea salt on the squash. Toss well to coat. Add a dash of cayenne here if you want some heat. Roast until crisp and charred in parts, 30-40 minutes.
Let the squash cool a bit before adding half to your serving platter. Layer on the onion, feta, avocado, mint, lime zest and juice, and pom seeds. Repeat the layering until all ingredients have been used. Finish with a remaining drizzle of oil and some flay salt.
recipe 04: oat & yogurt pancakes
makes 8-10 small pancakes
I halved Ashley’s original because it made quite a number of pancakes. I did freeze half of them and plan to roll them up as a lunchbox treat. If you are looking for about 8-10 small pancakes, below will do. If you want leftovers to freeze, double the below.
Tips of The Week
make ahead: stir all the dry ingredients together, so when you’re ready to cook, simply add the wet ingredients.
use it twice: double the recipe and pancakes may be frozen.
kid friendly: I added two big handfuls of baby spinach to the mix to add some vegetable content to their breakfast/snack. I’ll swipe some nut butter and fold it over like a cold pancake-nut-butter quesadilla. Genius! I know, this is what you’re paying the monthly subscription for, folks.
gluten free: use a gluten free all-purpose blend, such as Cup for Cup, in place of the all purpose flour.
dairy free: use coconut or avocado oil in place of the butter and a coconut based yogurt in place of the regular yogurt.
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 large eggs
1 cup whole milk yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp. melted butter, plus more for the pan
1 tsp. vanilla extract
chocolate chips, optional
Place the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt in a blender. Blend until well combined. Add the egg, yogurt, melted butter, vanilla and blend until a smooth batter forms.
Heat a greased 12” skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of the batter to the skillet, and cook until bubbles form. Flip, and cook the pancake another minute. Continue this way until all the batter is used up. If the batter gets thick as it sits, loosen with a touch of water or milk. Stir in chocolate chips, if using.
Keep the pancakes warm in a 200’ oven until ready to serve.
Enjoy with maple, butter, jam, yogurt or nut butter, as you wish.