Cooking Club: Week Seven


Hi! Have you bought pumpkins? I did my Trader Joes pumpkin-flavored-everything run…had to do it just once. I don’t even really like pumpkin-flavored things, but I needed to make sure, again, for market research ;) Now I wait for the Christmastime-peppermint-take-over which is a bazillion times better. I digress. Speaking of real pumpkin, these muffins were one of the top posts from the blog last fall. They have lots of fiber and protein, not super sweet, but still feel like a treat with flecks of chocolate. I think you’ll really like this week. I’m still finding a pulse with where the majority of you land with meat, but this turkey bolognese is super easy and kid-friendly, per request. I offered some vegetarian swaps in there for my plant people.
K, have a great weekend! Don’t forget to tag me in your photos! xo


House Keeping:

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

- Per request, we've added a button at the bottom of the weekly grocery lists.

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- Comments, questions or suggestions? Submit your feedback here.


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: turkey mushroom bolognese

serves 4

If you are a Sunday-prep person, this is where you start. As the rumor goes with soups and stewy things, this is even better a day or two later. Alternatively, if you cook in the morning, try to get it started then, and all you’ll need to do come dinner time is make the noodles or spaghetti squash or polenta etc.

This will be richer, if you use the more traditional bolognese protein of ground beef and two links of an Italian pork sausage, in place of the turkey. I’m writing it as I would make it, but adding this note if you prefer a heavier sauce.


Tips of The Week

make ahead: the entire sauce can be made up to three days in advance and re-warmed while you’re preparing your noodle/polenta etc. Otherwise, chop the vegetables in advance.

use it twice: any leftover sauce is also great over grilled vegetables, like eggplant and zucchini. Or make a bolognese toast, with toasted baguette, a scoop of bolognese and a slice of provolone on top under the broiler for a minute or two. Like a meatballs sub sort of feel.

kid friendly: I feel like this is kid-friendly as written. My kids also love pasta shells and they hold the sauce a little better in those little cups.

vegitarian option: I hesitate to give exact swaps here, as lentils and mushrooms don’t work exactly the same as turkey, but it will work if you’re flexible. Double the mushrooms and replace the pound of ground turkey with 1 1/2 cups of cooked brown lentils. Also, double the tomato paste for a bit more depth of flavor.

gluten free: We like banza or jovial brands gluten free noodles. Zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash are also great alternatives.

dairy free: use a dairy-free butter and skip the parmesan on top.

low carb: sub in zucchini noodles for the base.



For the bolognese

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. butter, divided
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, grated
sea salt and pepper, as needed
1 lb. ground turkey (dark meat!)
1 tsp. fennel seeds, roughly crushed
1 tsp. Italian seasonings
Dash of cayenne
Grate of nutmeg, optional
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
3/4 cup white wine
2 cups crushed tomatoes and their juices
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

for serving

Polenta, noodles, spaghetti squash, for serving
Fresh chopped parsley, for serving


Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, garlic and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes until softened and some of the water has cooked off. Add the carrot and ground turkey, fennel seed, Italian seasoning, dash of cayenne and another pinch of salt and pepper. Break up the meat with the back of the spoon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is mostly cooked.

Add the tomato paste and give it another stir. Add the wine and nutmeg, stir frequently until it has reduced by half. About 7 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low. Add the tomato puree, remaining butter and stir. You want to see the gentlest of little bubbles blurbing up. Cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring from time to time, for the sauce to reduce. If it starts to look dry in the pot, stir in a splash of milk or broth, but keep going. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper if needed, some red pepper flakes if you want more heat.

Stir in a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese into the sauce. If you are cooking this in advance, cool it down completely before covering and storing it in the fridge. 

Cook your noodles or polenta according to instructions. Garnish your dish with a sprinkle of cheese and fresh parsley.

Nutrition Information

per serving (of bolognese)

  • calories
  • fat
    25 g
  • carbs
    19 g
  • protein
    32 g

recipe 02: kale slaw with spicy tofu and lemon tahini dressing

serves 4

If you are a Trader Joes shopper, you can swap in one bag of their dark, chopped kale. Put it in a large bowl and de-rib the pieces. Tedious, yes, but necessary.

I know I’ve asked you guys to purchase a lot of nuts, so use what you have. I put almonds on the grocery list, as they’re most affordable, but I list a few other options below.

If you are not a tofu person, marinate chicken in the same ingredients listed for the tofu. More notes in the Tips of the Week section below.

This is the same dressing from the Mediterranean salad from Week One that ya’ll really liked, so we’re using that again here. 


Tips of The Week

make ahead: both the dressing and tofu may be made in advance. You can also prep all the salad ingredients and dress them when ready to serve.

use it twice: the sturdiness of kale and cabbage allows it to sit, dressed, for a day or two and not be too compromised. Take it for lunch the next day!

kid friendly: I give my little people the tofu, avocado and some cooked brown rice. You can skip the sriracha in the marinade if they are very spice sensitive, though I promise the amount listed is very mild.

carnivore addition: sub a generous pound of chicken thighs in for the tofu. Double the marinade, marinate for a few hours, and grill or pan sear until cooked through. Let them cool, then chop well to add to the bowls.


for the tofu

1 14-oz. container extra firm tofu, drained, and wrapped between paper towels to dry
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sriracha
1 tsp. maple
2 tsp. sesame seeds

for the slaw

1 bundle of lacinato/tuscan kale, ribbed and chopped
1 carrot, julienned
1 cup shredded cabbage, red or green
1/2 lb. sugar snap peas, sliced thin on the diagonal
1/2 cup toasted nuts - almond slivers, pepitas,
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 avocados

for the tahini dressing

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup juice)
2 grated garlic clove
dash of cayenne or hot sauce
tiny squeeze of honey or agave nectar
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper


For the tofu, preheat the oven to 425’ and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce, sriracha, maple and sesames in a mixing bowl. Stir to mix. Cut the tofu into one inch cubes, and toss them in the marinade. Let the tofu hang out in there for 5 minutes if you can. Spread the cubes in an even layer on the prepared sheet and bake on the middle rack, for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove to cool. 

Whisk the tahini dressing ingredients together in a bowl, or shake them together in a jar with a lid.

In a salad bowl, combine the kale, carrot, cabbage, snap peas, nuts and onion. Toss with desired amount of dressing and massage it into the slaw (this will help soften the kale a bit).

Assemble your bowls with a serving of slaw, tofu and avocado on top. 

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat
    47 g
  • carbs
    35 g
  • protein
    28 g

recipe 03: everyday lentil soup

Serves 6

I did not use two types of lentils to make it complicated for you, I believe they add a different texture and color. The reds will break down and add some heartiness to the broth, whereas the green will hold their individual shape. Both are lovely, but if you find this to be a hassle, go with just green. Once you blend a bit of the soup, the broth with still get some bulk to it regardless. The color will be a little more murky. If you like a bit of heat, add one chopped jalapeño to the vegetable mixture.


Tips of The Week

make ahead: you can make the entire soup up to three days in advance. It will dry up as it sits, so re-warm over the stove with a splash more broth.

kid friendly: it is not spicy at all. Make crostini from your baguette for easy dipping.

carnivore addition: Hugh says I am suggesting sausage too often, buuuuttttt if the shoe fits. Brown it and crumble it with the first saute of vegetables.

extra credit: make extra and freeze it for another meal!

*Soup texture is a personal preference. It's always easier to add liquid than go back. I found five cups to be about right after blending and letting it cool down a bit (where it thickens slightly), you may adjust to taste. 


for the soup

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion
1 large carrot, peeled
1 medium sweet potato, peeled
2 stalks of celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
Fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. Italian herbs
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 cup green or dePuy Lentils
1/2 cup split red lentils
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth*
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or olive oil
3 cups roughly chopped kale

for serving

squeeze of lemon, optional
1/2 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
1/2-3/4 cup grated parmesan or something similar (dry and sharp)
Fresh baguette, for serving


In a large dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Chop the onion, carrot, sweet potato and celery into roughly 1/4" pieces. Put all of the vegetables, including garlic, into the warm pot with the sea salt and saute until just softened, about 5-6 minutes. 

Stir in a few grinds of pepper, Italian herbs, red pepper and both lentils. Add the broth and stir.

Turn the heat to low and cover. Cook for 30-40 minutes until everything is tender but not mushy. 

Using an immersion or regular blender, blend up about half of the soup just so it gets thicker but nowhere close to pureed. You still want the texture of the vegetables to come through. Turn off the heat. Stir in the turmeric, butter/oil and kale and stir for the greens to just soften and marry into the soup. Taste for seasoning.

Serve each bowl with a squeeze of lemon, parsley and generous sprinkle of parmesan. Best served with crusty baguette on the side.

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
  • fat
    12 g
  • carbs
    40 g
  • protein
    16 g

recipe 04: almond meal pumpkin muffins

makes 12 muffins

My kids love these. The chocolate is optional I suppose, but so much better with. You could replace nuts in equal measure if you prefer. Also note that different brands of canned pumpkin puree vs. homemade have different water content and will affect the outcome slightly. I find homemade to vary, and Libby’s (what is at most conventional grocers) to be thicker than the Trader Joe’s stuff. So if you're using the TJ's brand, scale back to 3/4 cup.

On the blog, there are always questions about subs for eggs. With the gluten free flours I use, the egg is imperative to the finished baked good holding together. There is a science to using certain starches in place of egg, but I don’t know enough to make the suggestion. 



Preheat the oven to 360' and grease a muffin tin with coconut oil or use liners.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, eggs, maple, oil, pumpkin pie spice and salt and whisk really well to combine. You want to get some air up in there. Add the coconut flour and mix. Let that sit a minute to absorb some moisture. Add the almond meal, baking soda and stir again to mix. Add the chocolate chips, one last stir. 

Distribute the batter between your cups. Sprinkle the pepitas on top. Bake on the middle rack for 20ish minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool before removing them from the pan and enjoy. 


1 cup pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil or coconut oil, warmed
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup coconut flour*
1 1/2 cups almond meal (blanched preferably)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips or a 3.5oz. dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped

raw pepitas/pumpkin seeds, for garnish, optional

*If coconut flour is not something you stock (and no, I don't find it tastes like coconut), a gluten-free all purpose or unbleached all purpose can be swapped in at 1/3 cup in its place. Coconut flour is extremely absorbent, so it does not swap in equally for all purpose flour.

Nutrition Information

per muffin

  • calories
  • fat
    15 g
  • carbs
    16 g
  • protein
    5 g