Quick and Easy Tomato Carrot Marinara Sauce

Everybody needs an easy marinara sauce in their kitchen repertoire. Made with ingredients we aim to keep on hand for meals at a moment’s notice, this flavorful tomato carrot marinara sauce comes together as fast you can boil pasta water.

Quick and Easy Tomato Carrot Marinara Sauce | Letty's Kitchen

Marinara sauce originates in the southern Italian port city of Naples. Minutes after her fisherman husband returned, a mariner’s wife could quickly cook up a garden-fresh marinara–thus the name for quick tomato sauces.

I’d wager there are as many interpretations of marinara as there are fisherman’s wives. One sauce might be kept chunky, another blended smooth. You’ll see marinara recipes with and without onions, many with fresh herbs, and some made rich with tons of butter.

Fresh carrots enrich this version, enhanced with garlic, onions and dried herbs. When the carrots are cooked to very soft, you puree everything into a smooth sauce. For an extra velvety feel, add a tablespoon of butter, just at the very end. Continue Reading…

Spicy Cashew Spring Greens Soup {vegan}

A prognosticating groundhog saw his shadow earlier this month–legend has it that means six more weeks of winter. The heck with Punxsutawney Phil—this spicy cashew spring greens soup blows winter away.

Spicy Cashew Spring Greens Soup | Letty's Kitchen

This soul satisfying soup is loaded with fragrant leeks, buttery cashews, Yukon gold potatoes, bright fresh serrano chiles, and spring salad mix. Salad mix, you say? Yes, the greens you normally eat as a salad, baby lettuce and baby greens, now go in soup. Something you’d never suspect, right?
Continue Reading…

Red Velvet Chocolate Beet Cake

Just by the name, you can tell this is not the original red velvet cake. This red velvet chocolate beet cake is real chocolate, sweet with honey and sugar, moist with vitamin beet, and frosted with chocolate glaze.

Red Velvet Chocolate Beet Cake | Letty's Kitchen

I never did feel the love for that other red velvet cake—the one made with a 2-ounce bottle of red food coloring and 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. All that red food coloring grosses me out. We’re talking red–bright red!

Back in my pastry chef days, I tinkered to improve the classic red velvet cake recipe. I bumped the chocolate up to something you could taste, and used beet powder for the red. Those cakes tasted okay, and the color was less garish, though some thought the color wasn’t red enough to be red velvet.

I kept thinking, why couldn’t you start with a chocolate cake and fold in fresh grated beets, like you fold grated carrots into carrot cake batter?
Continue Reading…

Healthy Sun Basket Organic Meals

A couple of years ago a friend turned me onto meal subscription plans—a service with illustrated recipe cards and all the necessary ingredients to turn you into a clever chef. We’re talking easy-to-prepare almost gourmet meals that arrive at your doorstep every week. I wrote about the pros and cons of the Blue Apron plan here. Not long ago, Robbie and I sampled a week of Sun Basket organic meals. Opening the box I felt like the birthday girl all over again. I must say, meal plan services rock for easy and inspired cooking!

Udon noodle bowl from Healthy Sun Basket Organic Meals.

Raise of hands, please. How many people resolved to cook more at home, to eat more plant-based meals, or just eat more consciously this year? How’s it going? Continue Reading…

Turmeric Curry Carrot Soup

Here’s my foodie prediction for 2017! Really, it’s a declaration. Turmeric will be the spice of the year! It’s getting a lot of attention these days for it’s health benefits, and on the horizon, we’re seeing a lot more recipes calling for turmeric. Join me on the bandwagon—put turmeric front and center–with this lightly spiced turmeric curry carrot soup! This post first appeared on Pressure Cooking Today, where I am a contributor.

Turmeric Curry Carrot Soup | Letty's Kitchen

Layer upon layer, this vibrant soup is built for flavor. The onions, garlic, and carrots soften and release their aroma with a brief sauté in olive oil. Curry powder, a blend of turmeric and more than a dozen spices and herbs, of course contributes big time to the pot.

Vegetable broth, the pure essence of veggies and herbs, adds its own flavor depth, and honey-tart apple juice brings in a bit of sweet. A potato provides smooth dairy-free creaminess. With a squeeze of lime to brighten things up, every ingredient in turmeric curry carrot soup hits a corner of your mouth.

Continue Reading…