vegan cornmeal and cranberry waffles


Have you ever seen something and thought something like, "Wow, that's a seriously good idea." That's pretty much how I felt the first time I saw Thug Kitchen. They have kickass vegan recipes for every occasion, nothing is too complicated, no hard-to-find ingredients and it's no-joke laugh-out-loud funny. I've had food blogs made me laugh before (I'm looking at you, Deb Perelman), but never like this.

So of course, like good ideas go, they often get recognized by more than one person which is why the crew behind Thug Kitchen came out with a cookbook this past October. And since cute Colin was recently gifted it for a certain occasion, I have of course thumbed through and already found myself deep in food-planning mode, ear-marking pages and getting ready for dinners and lunches to come.

But of course, first you have to start with breakfast. Right? Aptly named the most important meal of the day, I would also like to give it a vote as also the best. All the right foods are served at breakfast: pancakes, hearty hot cereals, smoothies, scrambles. And of course, waffles. Life changes for the better when there are waffles involved. Everything looks a little brighter and seems a little more possible.

And even though we're no stranger to vegan waffles in this household, something about adding cornmeal to the mix left me instantly intrigued. Cornbread? As a waffle?

For this recipe, you'll need:

1 cup almond milk, or any non-dairy milk of choice
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup organic cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon grape seed oil

Began by plugging in your waffle iron so that it's nice and hot by the time your batter is ready to go.

In a small bowl, whisk together your almond milk and apple cider vinegar until frothy. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together your cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Make a small well in the center of your dry ingredients and add your milk-vinegar mixture as well as your tablespoon of oil (if you don't have grape seed, coconut or a basic vegetable oil will do). Fold together until just combined.

Using your cooking spray of choice, spray your heated waffle plates until well-coated and cook according to your waffle maker's instructions. Ours is a small Belgium waffle iron, so we got 3 waffles from this mix, one significantly larger than the others.

Holy moly, were these good. And if I were going to go in the true Thug Kitchen way, I'd say, this is the best fucking breakfast I've had in a long time. Hearty but not heavy, perfect with a little leftover cranberry-orange jam (2 cups fresh cranberries, juice + zest of one organic orange, 1/4 cup brown sugar, simmer for about thirty minutes or until shiny and sweet).

Next up, these bad boys.


vegan butternut shells & cheese (WAIT DON'T LEAVE)


I think if you're going to eat cheese, you should eat cheese. I think if you're not going to eat cheese, you shouldn't opt for a processed imposter with over ten ingredients. If you want to or if you like it like that, cool, but that stuff just won't cut it for me. I feel the same way about most packaged veggie burgers (possibly biased opinion: these are better!) and meat substitutes. Mostly because, ick, but also, if I decided to not each meat, why am I substituting something that's trying to mimic its taste and texture?

Anyway. I'm not judging, it's to each their own. But I'm not ready to give up cheese just yet. I was, however, willing to try this "cheese"-like pasta dish that relies on puréed butternut squash and coconut milk (not Daiya, etc.) for the creamy factor. Intrigued? Me, too.

Now, I'm going to level with you. Not everyone would tell you what I'm about to tell you: thisdish does not, at all, taste like mac and cheese. It does pretty okay in the appearances department and the texture is close enough, but you cheese-lovers (yes, you), you won't be fooled. You will be better off/able to enjoy this is a baked pasta dish by telling yourself that it's made with a vegan butternut cream sauce. See? Don't you feel better already?

For this recipe, you'll need:

1 medium butternut squash (about 2-ish pounds), cubed
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 pound pasta (shells are the obvious mac & cheese choice, duh)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons arrowroot
1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons grain mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups kale (or other leafy green), chopped
1 cup green peas, optional

Okay, so start by getting your butternut squash cooking. You can really do this the day before or the morning of if you're looking to get a jumpstart on dinner. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. On a large baking sheet, place your squash (peeled and cubed) in a single layer to ensure even roasting. Toss the cubes with 1 tablespoon of your coconut oil and roast for about 30-35 minutes or until tender.

While the squash is softening, get some water boiling and cook your pasta of choice according to the package instructions. Now is also a good time to get started on your "cream" sauce. In a medium saucepan, heat another tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat. Add both your garlic and oregano and sauté until your garlic begins to brown. To this, add 1 1/2 cups of your coconut milk along with your arrowroot powder. Once the arrowroot is added, your mixture should start to quickly thicken so whisk thoroughly to remove any lumps. Next add your nutritional yeast, lemon juice, mustard, pepper and salt.

Okay, hang on: a quick word about nutritional yeast. First off, if you're not sure where to find it, you can find it in most grocery stores that carry Bob's Red Mill. If not there, check the bulk section in your local Whole Foods. If you've never had nutritional yeast, word to the wise is that it's not for just random usage. It can be, if you're feeling bold, but mostly it adds that little extra something to vegan recipes that they would otherwise be missing. It makes weird but damn good vegan French toast. It's got lots of B-vitamins. And it adds a little "cheesy" factor to this particular dish. Got it? Back to the good stuff.

Whisk your sauce together until it becomes a vaguely familiar texture (think bechamel-ish) and then remove from heat, cover and set aside. Remove your squash from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Transfer your squash cubes to a high-power blender with your remaining 1 cup of coconut milk. Blend until smooth. Whisk this mixture into your cooling cheese sauce, giving it more of that creamy factor and a touch of that familiar comes-in-a-box cheese color.

Take your pasta and coat with your "cheese" sauce. Transfer to a large casserole or baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until slightly browned/crisp on the edges. Working quickly, heat your last tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pan. Use this pan to wilt down your kale or greens of choice (collards or mustard greens would also work nicely) and cook your peas. When serving, top (and bottom) your pasta with your greens.

As I already stressed, this dish is not going to replace the cheese in your life. It is, however, going to give you a newfound appreciation for the way vegetables can step up to the plate. It's a butternut squash and not layers of a jack-mozzarella-cheddar combo, yeah, but it's still REALLY good. And way better for you, which goes without saying. It's got the creamy element you crave without being too over-the-top in-your-face vegan. Definitely one to try again - let me know what you think!


vegan mint cookies + creme ice cream


Alright: in this household, we're not really ones to go ga-ga crazy once all the seasonal items start hitting the shelves. I once saw a gentleman in Trader Joe's with an entire cart full of one type of chocolate truffles. I've rolled my eyes at the hordes of crazy-eyes people holding pumpkin-spice nonsense in mid-August.

Oh, please, I'd think to myself. Isn't everyone just going nuts because it (whatever it is) is dressed up in festive packaging with a smiling reindeer and a bow on top?

Maybe. And then we discovered candy cane sandwich creme cookies from Whole Foods. These are not the harsh toothpaste-like Oreos you had when you were a kid. And while there's not a single virtuous thing about them nutritionally, the fact is they taste like the best chocolate-peppermint combo you've ever had in your life, only better. Times a million, forever.

We waited until a respectable time of year to buy four boxes at once (I believe sometime in mid-October) and I have since been scheming for the right way (thought could there be a wrong way?) to incorporate these naturally-vegan treats into a seasonal frozen treat.  So I thought, why not kick up the mint madness another notch and make a mint take on the classic cookies and cream?

Yes, I am a genius. Sure, this flavor's been done before. They all have, right? But vegan? Has it been vegan? Maybe. Probably. But have the cookies themselves also been mint? HAVE THEY?

Okay, yes, probably that, too. Either way, for this recipe you will need:

2 15-ounce cans of coconut milk (1 full fat, 1 light)
1/2 cup of sugar
1 medium-large bunch mint leaves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot
1-2 cups, depending on your preference, of candy cane sandwich cremes (or your cookie of choice), crushed or chopped

Start by adding your coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to a medium stockpot over medium heat. Whisk together until the sugar has melted (or no longer feels gritty). Remove your mint leaves from the stem (any mint variety will do; I went with spearmint) and add to the mixture on the stovetop.

Spoon out a few tablespoons of your warm base into a separate small bowl. Stir in your arrowroot until smooth. Bring your mixture to a gentle, barely-there simmer, whisk in your arrowroot mixture and then remove your stockpot from the heat. Cover and let sit for one hour. During this hour, the mint flavor should get deeply infused in the base. After an hour, taste the base and see if the flavor is present enough for your taste.

After you've achieved the right dose of mint flavor for your palette, transfer your mixture to a medium sized bowl and refrigerate for four hours or up to overnight. I actually ended up leaving my mint in the mixture while it chilled. It will start to steep less as the mixture cools down, but the subtly of the spearmint prompted me to go for a longer steeping time. 

Once completely chilled, strain out the mint leaves and transfer to your ice cream maker of choice and churn until airy and about doubled in size. Which is totally fun to watch happen, by the way.

After your base has churned (it will take about 20-30 minutes to achieve the right texture), transfer to a freezer safe container. Between layers, sprinkle in your crushed cookies and fold together, repeating as you continue to add more of your ice cream or until all of the cookie bits have been added. Put back in the back of your freezer until completely firm, about four hours or up to overnight.

Serve and enjoy for a perfectly cool, refreshing and dairy-free winter-y dessert: brr!


vegan pumpkin + currant scones


I can't stop with the scones these days. Okay, fine: can't or won't, that's the real distinction and to be honest, it's probably a little bit of both. There's just something so right about scones. They're sweet-ish, flakey, a welcome vehicle for jam. I'm into anything that will be friends with jam.

And even though there are scones and then there are scones, this is a morning pastry that responds well to being vegan-ized. Since the traditional recipes typically call for chilled butter and cream, it's a no-brainer to swap out that nonsense for a vegan margarine (I try to find ones that are either soy-free, organic or both) and a non-dairy milk. Easiest thing you've done all day, I promise.

So since I still had a stray can of pumpkin tucked away in our cabinets and a few (okay more than a few) currants left from a rigorous day of holiday baking, I decided to go with a pumpkin-currant combo. A word about currants: they rule. Raisins will do, and while I am the furthest thing from a raisin-hater, I will strongly suggest that you opt for currants in this recipe. Why? They've got a little zip, they intensify as they bake, and they will add a little needed bite of sour to the sweet-spicy pumpkin-ness.

But like I said, raisins will do. Got it? Let's go.

For this recipe you will need:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled vegan margarine, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup currants

Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together your flour, baking powder, brown sugar, spices and salt until evenly combined, about 10 pulses. Add your chilled margarine and pulse another 10 times until you've achieved a coarse dough and there are no visible lumps. Transfer your mixture to a wide bowl. Fold in your currants and then form a well in the center of your ingredients.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together your pumpkin, almond milk and vanilla extract. Pour your liquid into the well in your dry ingredients and quickly fold in until your dough comes together. Transfer your dough onto a well-floured surface and quickly shape into a flattened round about 1 to 1 1/12 inches thick.

Using a pastry cutter or serrated knife, cut into triangles and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes (rotating halfway through) or until lightly browned at the top and on the edges.

We had these on New Year's Day. Because you want to start off the new year right, right? I don't know how you could do it better than with a vegan scone. That's also topped with a little gold sanding sugar, because that's pretty much what a new year is all about, all things gleaming in the light of gold (sugar).


roasted butternut pizza with arugula and walnut-garlic pesto


Oh, pizza. Pizza is a what we all have in common, isn't it? If you need to feed a large gathering of people, chances are pizza is not only a safe but sensible choice. Pizza, for the ways we all know and love it, can't be improved upon.

But enter the butternut squash. Now, I get it. Butternut who? But there's no squash on traditional pizza? You're right, there isn't. But my goal with this flavor combination was to completely stray from traditional. Because it's already so good, why not take it on a completely opposite spin? Ditch the classic tomato sauce for a toasted walnut and garlic pesto, why not skip the cheese (I know) in lieu of some sweet, creamy roasted squash and top with some arugula and lemon juice for a little bite and freshness?

I can't think of one good reason why not. Especially since I also made a traditional pie, just to make sure we celebrated the best of both worlds: I've got time for customary anddd crazy.

For this recipe you'll need:

For the dough (makes 2 medium pies):

1 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup semolina flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 packet active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm (but not hot) water
1 teaspoon olive oil

For the toppings:

2 large cloves of garlic
1 cup of walnuts, toasted
1/2 of a medium butternut squash, thinly sliced
2-3 cups fresh arugula
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper

Begin by getting your squash started. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice as thin as you prefer (thinner slices = faster cook time) and toss with paprika, cumin, olive oil and salt and pepper until evenly coated. Place in a single layer on a large baking sheet (line with foil first for easy clean up) and roast for about 20-30 minutes, rotating halfway through.

On a separate sheet pan, lay your walnuts in a single layer and toast for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from the sheet immediately after taking them out of the oven and set aside.

While you wait for your squash, it's the perfect time to get started on your dough. In a large, wide bowl, add both your flours and salt and make well in the center. In a small bowl, add your yeast to the lukewarm water and gently whisk together. Set this aside for about five minutes (or when the mixture starts to look foamy) then pour into the well along with your olive oil.

Using a fork and a circular movement, slowly bring in the flour from the inner edge of the well and mix into the water. When this gets difficult, transfer the dough to a clean, well-floured countertop and knead for about 10 minutes or until your dough comes together. You don't want to overwork it, but this dough is (taken from Jamie Oliver so): "dead simple" so it would be pretty tough to mess it up too bad.

Once you've got it kneaded to correct consistency (think springy), place is a lightly greased bowl (olive oil works for this, too) and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Place in a warm spot (perhaps even the oven, but only once it's off/cooled down a bit!) and let rise for about 45 minutes, or doubled in size.

When your squash can be easily pierced with a fork, remove from the oven and set aside. You don't have to worry about keeping it warm since it'll just be going back in the oven once your dough is ready to go.

While you're waiting, in a food processor using the S-blade, pulse together your walnuts, garlic, about a teaspoon and a half of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. You want this mixture to be spreadable but not liquified, so pulse about 10-15 times or until it resembles a coarse paste. In another large bowl, toss together your arugula with the lemon juice.

Wow, I'm just now realizing that this is totally not a weeknight recipe. So much prep. So many moving parts. But all coming together for a totally-worth-it moment.

When your dough is just about done rising, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Roll out your dough on a well floured surface then transfer your ready dough onto your pizza peel. (It's best to sprinkle your peel with a bit of cornmeal in order to make the transfer easier; insider trick, a bit of dry quinoa will also work in a pinch.) Spread a generous amount of pesto on your ready dough, but work quickly: the super elastic dough is perfect for pizza but quickly absorbs any liquid making it sticky and harder to work with/transfer into the oven. Top with some squash and quickly transfer to your oven/stone in one swift, professional movement. Or, you know, frantically as you attempt to not lose your dough to unworkable stickiness and/or burn the shit out your hands on the hotass oven.

And now we wait. Not long, thankfully, since said hotass oven will take care of cooking time in about 8-10 minutes. Try to resist the urge to check it too often, as opening the oven door and taking a peek results in losing that precious heat that is making this whole magical process possible.

After 10 minutes, peer in quickly to see if the crust has started to brown around the edges. If so, great. Open the oven further and give the edge of the crust a quick tap. Does it feel firm? Does it bounce back? If so, remove from the oven because this pizza is DONE. If it looks a little too pale or feels a little too soft or doesn't bounce back right away, keep waiting in 1-minute intervals or until the desired consistency is achieved.

Top with your dressed arugula, slice and serve. And never look at pizza the same way again. Just kidding, you probably will, but this is definitely a good fall-back situation for when you are out of tomato sauce or someone ate the last of the cheese (we all know who we can blame that situation on).


almost vegan halvah cookies


It's no secret that we're a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine in this household. We eat a lot of falafel around here. I mean, a lot.

But we haven't made too many Middle Eastern desserts. Why, I have no idea, since they tend to be some of my very favorites. Not too overly sugary, you know? Just the right amount of sweet, usually mixed in with nuts or sesame or spice.

Enter these halvah cookies, which would be very nearly vegan if it weren't for the hidden egg whites in the halvah candy I purchased. (Turns out, you can very easily make your own halvah without egg whites. Next time.) So what is halvah anyway? It's a traditional sesame paste candy that can easily take on other flavors like chocolate or even coffee, or just be served straight up.

For these cookies, you'll need:

2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons tahini paste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup halvah candy, broken into pieces

For rolling the cookies:

About 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together your tahini, vegetable oil, sesame oil, milk, sugar, molasses and vanilla. (I loved this recipe from the start: already so easy!) Sift your flour directly into the combined wet ingredients, then add your baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Fold together to form your dough.

Next, fold in your halvah candy pieces - you can be as exact or as messy about this part as you like. Really, I just crumbled mine by hand into a variety of shapes and pieces, but this candy will respond will to being chopped, so if you're one of those types. Well, the option is there.

In a flat, wide bowl, mix together your sesame seeds and remaining granulated sugar. Form your dough into tablespoon-size balls and roll in this mixture, much like you would a traditional snickerdoodle.

Place on your prepared baking sheets, about two inches between each cookie, and bake for 12 minutes, rotating your trays halfway through.

Cool slightly on wire racks and serve immediately.

What can I say? These reminded me of the long-coveted kourlourakia, a traditional Greek sesame biscuit. I remember having them one time (Could it have been Greek Easter? Mom? Dad, you have a smartphone now, right? Are you reading this?) in the shape of different letters. A pretty distinct memory, I know, but it's funny how certain foods and smells can take you back. With these, I was back at our kitchen table at home, swinging my legs, probably missing a front tooth or two. Now that's a good cookie.

I wish I had a picture of me being small and Greek right now. Or do you wish that and I'm secretly glad that the Internet-world hasn't dug that up yet. Have a cookie and don't think about that too hard.


triple chocolate molasses snaps


Christmas is over. New Year's is over. Well, okay, not exactly. We're just getting started there, but the actually counting-down-to-midnight-wearing-glitter business, we're done with that for about another 360-something-ish days.

It's no revelation that there's a lot of build-up when it comes to "the holiday season." I have to quotation-mark that phrase because I never really know when it means. Or when it officially "begins" for that matter (see what I did there), since I'm pretty positive I spotted Christmas decorations and candy canes sometime around October 1st. It was around the same time I imagined Halloween stomping off into a corner to pout.

So sure, it gets earlier and earlier, and probably by the time I'm 100 it will have inched its way into beginning around mid-April, but one thing is for certain: we know when the holidays end. After all the fanfare and tinsel and party hats, things come to a specific and screeching halt. There are always the lingerers that take their time in the removing of the decorations ritual (ahem), but other than that, the trees are down, the lights unplugged and the last of the Christmas cookies, sitting lonely in their tins, waiting to be scooped up on some dreary January morning.

You still have a few cookies, right? Okay, if you don't (or even if you do), and if you are a fan of chocolate (three different kinds, mind you) meeting sweet spice, make some room in those fading festive tins for these bad boys. Resolutions be damned. Or, if you're feeling determined, add them to your to-bake list for the next holiday season - whenever that is. See you in June, I guess.

For this recipe, you'll need:

1/2 cup unsalted organic butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons natural cocoa powder
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

A few things ...
  1. If you're not a true chocolate-lover, which I guess I can put myself in the category of (I like it, don't be confused, but I have a limit: sorry, mom!), you don't really have to get three different types of chocolate chips. I'll look the other way. Semisweet is the most typical/recommended for cookies, but just add 3/4 cup of whichever type you prefer. 
  2. What the hell's the difference between bittersweet and semisweet? Truthfully, not much besides sugar content. It's certainly subtle, but worth the variety. 
Got it? Good.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together your butter, sugar and molasses until fluffy. Add your egg and vanilla extract and continue to beat together.

In a large separate bowl, whisk together your flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder until evenly combined. Slowly add your dry ingredients into your butter-sugar mixture until they form a soft, sticky dough. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the chocolate chips, whatever variety you decide to go with. No judgement.

Place your dough on parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart, and bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges. Cool on wire racks for about ten minutes but for heaven's sake, not completely, because isn't the whole point of chocolate chip cookies to eat them warm?

  • Can't have gluten? First of all, I'm sorry. Second, I made you these.
  • More of a ginger cookie kind of girl? These will change your life. 
  • Prefer your chocolate chip cookies to be a little fruity? Don't we all


everything bagel pasta primavera


There are certain things in life that you just don't pass up. While this could obviously go in a lot of directions, let's keep it in the food spectrum for now (for relevancy's sake, of course): a donut that's still warm, pizza while you're in New York City or Chicago, your favorite kind of cake on your birthday, the most perfect strawberry you've ever seen, times two. And of course, everything bagel pasta: what?

Created by the minds at Sfoglini (exactly), they're an old-school New York based pasta emporium that focuses on seasonal, unique flavors. Think rye, ramp (in the warmer weather, of course), chili pepper and tons more. Including, yes, everything bagel fusilli, which is speckled with poppy seed, sesame seed, salt, garlic and onion: zing.

Now while everything bagels have a lot of flavor to stand on, and while this pasta could be perfectly perfect with just an added dash of salt and a drizzle of olive oil, I really wanted to take this already over-the-top invention and give it a little added oomph, a little push to the edge.

For this recipe, you will need:

1/2 pound of Sfoglini's Everything Bagel Fusilli
3-4 sun dried tomatoes, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup of olives (a mix is fine), chopped
1 cup of small tomatoes, any variety, halved
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cups of lacinato kale, chopped
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

If you're not in NYC, you can always find Sfoglini's signature flavor online - you could also pull this off with whatever pasta you have on hand. It won't be the same, but it will still be delightful. 

Begin by getting some salted water boiling over high heat. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add your pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan (or, if you're like me and own no such thing, you can introduce your wok to pasta night) over medium heat, add some olive oil and add your sun dried tomatoes to get them softening.

After about one minute, add your garlic and stir together to avoid burning. Add your salt (sparingly) and pepper and continue to stir. After another minute, add your olives and tomatoes. Cook together for about 2-3 minutes or just long enough for the tomatoes to soften but not completely flatten. At the last moment before your pasta has finished cooking, add your kale to quickly wilt but not overcook.

When the pasta still has about a minute left. reserve about 1/2 cup of your pasta water and drain the rest. Quickly transfer your al dente pasta to the sauté pan and finish cooking with the reserved water added. Toss together until the olives, tomatoes and kale are evenly dispersed.

Serve with a sprinkling of scallions and a pinch more salt and pepper, if needed.

I know, I know: everything bagel pasta should totally be served with a cream sauce, right? Something akin to cream cheese, lox, the typical bagel works? Not here, it isn't. And trust me, you won't miss it for a moment. The pasta itself turned out to be very subtle, so the flavors added only enhanced what you expect from a really good bagel shop: just enough salt, a hint of garlicky sweetness, the bite of onion and the toasty-ness from the seeds. Forgetaboutit.