Laura’s Eggplant “Bolognese” Pasta

Eggplant "Bolognese" Pasta | A Sweet Spoonful

I’m sitting here in my bright, sunny 9th floor Los Angeles hotel room staring out at the Hollywood Hills, drinking odd boxed water (Ohhhh, L.A.) with room service iced coffee on the way. I should be checking out one of the many cafes I’ve been wanting to try or exploring Koreatown but instead, I felt like checking in with you (and having a real, uninterrupted moment with this iced coffee). I’m traveling this week for pure pleasure — something I haven’t done since Oliver was born — and while I have a few things on my to-do list before I meet up with friends in Venice for the weekend, the biggie is spending some quiet downtime reading, writing, brainstorming, sunning, drinking overpriced smoothies, and getting a little clarity on work and where to put my best efforts right now. To gain more spaciousness of mind, as one of my former yoga teachers would say.

On the flight here, I kept thinking about writers, bloggers and publications that are inspiring me right now, and what they’re doing that ultimately makes them special. The answer isn’t shocking: authentic voice and niche — carving out a space for yourself and communicating within that space in a genuine-to-you way. So I’d love to talk about keying into that in the places we work, commune, and play. And how to find more spaciousness in all those places. I’m sharing a fitting recipe here from  Laura Wright, one of the queens of plant-based cooking and blogging, and a brilliant photographer. She has a new cookbook out that I’ve become obsessed with as each recipe is interesting and distinct without feeling off-putting, pretentious, or complicated. If you know her blog The First Mess, you know Laura has a casual and approachable voice that makes you feel as if you’re cozied up right next to her in the kitchen. You trust her, you get to know her food and style, and you come back to her site for what she does so well. Eggplant "Bolognese" Pasta | A Sweet Spoonful

Niche and voice aren’t just important in my small world of cookbook writers and food bloggers – they’re also a big consideration in business. With my granola company, Marge, we constantly have to work to continue building our brand and making sure our customers know how we’re distinct from our competitors. You could call it positioning or staying on-brand; you could call it remaining true to yourself and your mission. They’re both getting at the same thing in the long run.
Eggplant "Bolognese" Pasta | A Sweet SpoonfulI bring this up now because I find myself in a unique and fortunate position with Marge Granola where it runs pretty well without me actively overseeing operations. So I’m starting to flirt with the idea of another cookbook and ways in which I can grow and nourish this space here with you. And with that being said,  I have a favor to ask: I’d love to hear about what you most like about this space and why you come back. Is it for the whole grain baking recipes? Are you interested in weeknight dinner ideas? Do you enjoy the writing? Do you actually read the writing or tend to skip on through to the recipe? I’d so appreciate it if you took a moment to let me know in the comments here.
Eggplant "Bolognese" Pasta | A Sweet Spoonful

The few instances over the years when I’ve tried to tailor my blog content to what I thought I should be doing or what might get the most traffic were the precise moments when the blog felt farthest from me. And of course, like most things in life, what’s the point if it doesn’t feel exciting and juicy and … like you?
Eggplant "Bolognese" Pasta | A Sweet SpoonfulWhile a few years ago there were certainly more complex baking recipes, lately I’m much more drawn to healthy, doable weeknight dinners, it seems. Largely because we’ve got a kiddo to feed and get to bed and it’s nice when Sam and I can sit down to eat before 9 pm. Imagine that!  I’d also love to show you around our home more, introduce you to some of Sam’s famous-to-us cocktails, maybe do a few entertaining or travel posts. So as I sit here and brainstorm future creative endeavors, I’d genuinely love to hear what you’re most excited about and interested in — why you keep coming back here. And please know that I’m so honored and humbled that you do.

Quick recipe note: I remained pretty true to Laura’s recipe here with the exception of using a few more olives (I have a Lebanese husband; what can I say?). Laura calls for 1/2 cup olives and I added 2 additional tablespoons.

Eggplant

Eggplant "Bolognese" Pasta

  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Cook time: 40 mins
  • Inactive time: 10 mins
  • Total time: 1 hr 10 mins

I took a small liberty with Laura’s recipe in serving our pasta with grated Parmesan cheese, but obviously leave it out if you’d like the recipe to remain vegan. Any spaghetti or linguine pasta will be great here — I used a brown rice pasta that we’ve been into these days. Leftovers are great for lunch the next day.

Very slightly adapted from The First Mess Cookbook 

Ingredients

1 large eggplant, diced into 1/2 - inch (1cm) cubes
sea salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock or water
3/4 pound (341 g) whole grain or gluten free spaghetti or linguine
6 whole fresh basil leaves, plus extra chopped, for garnish
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
Parmesan cheese, for serving (totally optional; omit to keep recipe vegan)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the diced eggplant with a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Let the eggplant sit for 10 minutes to release some of its water. Pour the salted eggplant into a colandar and rinse with fresh water. Dry the eggplant pieces as thoroughly as you can with a kitchen towel, and then lay them on the prepared baking sheet.

Toss the eggplant with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the salt and pepper. Spread the eggplant out into a single layer. Slide the baking sheet into the oven, and roast until the eggplant is tender and has browned slightly, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

In a large deep skillet or pot, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, stir and saute for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the chili flakes and oregano, and stir. Add the tomatoes and vegetable stock to the skillet, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce for 30 minutes .

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Drop the basil leaves into the tomato sauce and submerge the leaves. Cover the sauce and let it continue to cook for 10 more minutes.

Remove the basil leaves from the sauce, and season it with salt and pepper. Add the roasted eggplant and chopped olives to the sauce, and stir to distribute. Carefully toss the cooked pasta into the sauce. After the noodles are coated in sauce, sprinkle the chopped basil on top. Serve hot.

Comments

  1. CP

    I love your writing, I came across your blog when I was pregnant (and you had recently given birth) and have especially loved the motherhood musings. Plus the awesome recipes of course!

    1. megang

      Thank you, CP. Lots of mamas here, it seems, with similar age kids. So great! Noted on the motherhood musings. Thank you for the encouragement!

  2. Rachele

    Hi Megan,

    I would love to see your recipes for healthy and do able weeknight cooking, and the few Sam cocktails I have made have been fantastic, so it would make my year to see more of those, too! I also love to read about your life and travels.

    1. megang

      Got it, Rachele! Thank you for the feedback. Looks like it's time for a new cocktail post :)

  3. Erin

    Hi Megan!
    I started following you because I liked your healthy, whole grain breakfast recipes (and subsequently bought your book!)...but quickly found that I love almost every recipe you post, especially the vegetarian/vegan ones. I have to say, though, for me it's not just about the recipes. I don't follow very many food bloggers, and I follow yours specifically because I love your voice, your writing style, your honesty and how genuine you are. Thanks for everything you do.

    1. megang

      Thank you so much, Erin! I'm so glad you're enjoying the writing on the site - it's one of my favorite parts and the piece that inspires me, so I'm happy to hear readers are still reading :) Also so great you're enjoying the book! Have a wonderful week, and thanks agin for taking the time to leave such great feedback.

  4. Allison

    Hi Megan,
    I truly enjoy reading your blog and look forward to when I get a "new post" notification in my inbox. I enjoy both your writing and recipes, and read both. I would love to see more easy and healthy weeknight dinner recipes, and also recipes or meals that Oliver likes (trying to get inspiration for feeding little ones, also!) I love to read about your life and travels in addition to the recipes.

    1. megang

      Hi, Allison: I'm really interested / inspired to share more weeknight meals + feeding kiddo posts (I was hesitant about the latter as I was worried it may alienate some readers, but it seems there are a lot of moms of young kiddos here, and I'd love to share some recipes and what works for us). Thank you for the thoughtful feedback!

  5. Allison

    I love your dinner recipes! And I always have an eye out for new cocktails and, speaking of entertaining, for appetizer-y sorts of things to placate a guest or bring with me to dinner parties (your gougeres are a go-to!).

    1. megang

      Yes, love it! I'd love to do a few more easy entertaining posts. Noted! Thanks so much, Allison, for the thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it.

  6. lynne

    I'm going to echo the comments above and say that I've always enjoyed your writing as much as your food! And normally I don't look to food blogs for great writing and wistful kind lessons on balance and life, so I find it a delicious treat that you offer all of that here. Your come-along style keeps me coming back-- I'm pretty much a groupie. I love that you're looking to stay rooted in what makes you feel most you!

    1. megang

      Aww so nice, Lynne. Thank you so much for the great / sweet feedback. I'm glad the site is resonating with you! Have a great week.

  7. Amy

    I come here mostly for your writing. I think the recipes of yours that I use most are from your book, not the blog. Although those Chocolate Salted Rye thumbprints...divine. Oh, and your Cherry Almond Ice Cream is my fave homemade ice cream. (I'm running through my saved recipes in my feedly.) It looks like I usually save recipes that are along the lines from your book. But really, I love hearing about feeding Oliver (mom of young kids here), and delicious meals, and breakfast inspiration.

    1. megang

      A smart woman, Amy. Cookies and ice cream: I like your style! Thank you for the great feedback - all of it noted and appreciated! Have a great week.

  8. Sam

    I love your sweet and thoughtful writing. I had a baby in July and (while not an entrepreneur like you) I work from home and so I like hearing how you and Sam are balancing work/baby/life. I'm pretty sure you'll have no interest in writing about how you feed a baby but if you're up for it, I'm interested! Maybe overall approach to feeding a family.

    1. megang

      Hi, Sam. Thanks so much for this comment and for taking the time to share your feedback. I'm really interested in writing more about feeding a family / feeding a kiddo, but was always afraid it would alienate a lot of folks ... but I'm going to slowly dive in, as I'm noticing a lot of new moms commenting here, and I think it'd be a great place to share ideas, recipes and experiences. So thank you for the nudge :)

  9. Andrea

    I completely echo and share your thoughts! Trying to find the authentic hyper focused way of caring for and sharing with others is a challenge! I love reading your stories most of all and the bonus is the delicious recipes you include with it! I think hearing about Sam's cocktails sounds AMAZING. Your adventures / travels sound great too! I'll be here!

    1. megang

      Thank you, Andrea! So sweet of you to take the time to leave a comment. More cocktails / More travel: I like you! :)

  10. Liz Jones

    Hi Meghan, I've been following your blog since about 2011 - I think I originally landed here via a cookie or bar recipe and I loved the photographs and design so much I've been following you ever since. My favourite recipes are easy weeknight meals as well as simple, whole grain/GF cookies and bars.

    1. megang

      Thanks for the great feedback, Liz! Noted on the easy weeknight meals and simple whole grain cookies and bars. I think you'll be happy with the next few posts :) Thanks again, and have a great week!

  11. Anna

    I have found many good recipes from your site. I think the combination of your thoughtful, down to earth, relatable writing and your appealing recipes makes it one of my favorite blogs to read. Maybe, like me, you thought things would change when you had a baby but I am always happy to see the way that family and life influences the way we cook and approach things (I am probably biased because I have two kids under four right now). I look forward to reading more of your recipes online or in any upcoming book!

    1. megang

      Hi, Anna! Nice to see your name / blog pop up here. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Yes, I never thought I'd be so inspired to talk about easy / healthy weeknight meals, but it's obviously what we think about most these days and what makes me feel like a success in the kitchen (and just in general), so I'll aim to share more of those here! 2 kids under 4! Busy mama! Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me - I really appreciate it.

  12. Marrion

    I have loved your Granola and make it to eat daily with fruit and yogurt for breakfast or anytime. I follow your blog because I like to peruse recipes and enjoy exploring new ideas. I am an everyday kind of cook, we are older (78) and generally only have one main meal per day and I don't want to spend all day cooking anymore. My children always enjoyed my baking but not as excited about daily main course, our supplies were much more limited in the past . Fresh foods are available almost everywhere now as well as year around so I welcome recipes that are easy, healthy and tasty. Best to you as you continue to act upon your inspirations.

    1. megang

      Thank you so much, Marrion. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to leave a comment. I'm so glad you're enjoying the granola! I am an everyday kind of cook, too - I love the way you phrased that. I don't think many people want to spend all day cooking anymore, so I think you're a trendsetter :) No but in all seriousness, I'm really drawn to approachable but delicious meals these days, too, so more of that! Have a great week.

  13. Eve

    There are a jillion cooking blogs and there are a jillion cookbooks (plus huge recipe sites). So I choose the handful of cooking blogs I read regularly for the writing. Basically, I read them. And then, if the post contains a recipe I also think I'd like to cook sometime, I bookmark it. I have a huge bookmarks folder called "Recipes to Try," and at the moment I have a backlog of... let me look... slightly over 2 years.

    If I were to cook a series of your recipes in a row and find that they consistently did not work out, I would probably stop reading. But, honestly, I come back for the writing. At the moment, I pretty much have no idea whether you are a good cook or not, or if you just write and take pretty pictures. :) (Disclosure: I have fallen for that before. Not naming any names!)

    1. megang

      Hi, Eve. Ha, you're funny. I hear you: there are soooo many blogs out there today and really talented recipe writers and cookbook authors. That's good for all of us as it means more choices, but I understand the bookmarking mania - I do it, too. Thank you for the great feedback, and glad that yo'ure still enjoying the site! Have a great week.

  14. Kate

    Hi Megan, I've been reading your blog for a few years. Truthfully, I have only made a handful of your recipes, (which were great), but what keeps me coming back is your writing. Your voice is sincere, thoughtful and authentic. I'm also a new mom, so I really relate to your posts about balancing it all and trying to make time for joy, while keeping everything else humming along. I'd love to hear more about your house, pace of life, Oliver and cocktails are always nice too. Travel posts are great too. Oh and selfishly, I'd like more frequent posts. But I feel bad saying that as I know you're juggling a lot.

    1. megang

      Thank you Kate! And congrats on new mom-hood. I'm really happy to hear you've been a reader for a few years - that's so great + I'm glad the site is resonating enough to keep you around! I'd love to write more about our house and pace of life, so thanks for the nudge :) Have a great week!

  15. Jen

    I love your writing. I always look forward to hearing about your life-about Sam and Oliver, about the books you're reading, and about the questions you're asking. Even if you never posted another recipe, I'd still want to read your reflections on life. That being said, I really appreciate your thoughtful and unpretentious approach to food and I always look forward to trying your recipes.

    1. megang

      So sweet! Thank you, Jen. This makes my day. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Have a great week!

  16. Laurel

    A loyal reader from Vancouver Island, I love the blend of west coast lifestyle, beautiful photos, unique recipes and snippets from your life. Your writing style and voice is not unlike Molly, over at Orangette, and I can't get enough of either of you. Your brainstorms for cocktails, home tours and more personal posts sound great however I hope you don't feel the need to stray too far from the special little space you have already created for us all here.

    1. megang

      Hi, Laurel! I'm really glad to hear you're enjoying the space as is - I'm not planning or feeling like straying much at all, and am glad to hear you're a loyal reader. Just always nice to hear what's resonating with people. Yes, I think it's about time we share another cocktail recipe :) Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment - hope you guys are starting to see some signs of spring. I can hardly wait!

  17. Emily

    Hi! I have quite a few food blogs in my feed but there are only a few that I consistently read when there's a new post- yours is one of them. The reason is simple- it is clear that you truly like food and cooking (though I'm sure there are times when this waxes and wanes, as with anyone), and your blog feels like an extension of your actual cooking life. I love reading about people's authentic experiences with food, even if this means infrequent or irregular posts, whenever inspiration hits. Even if I don't make every recipe, it adds to my mental repertoire of ideas and techniques. And it's just fun to read about! Also, you seem like a lovely person and I enjoy your writing voice and your reflections on life. One more thing- I absolutely love your first book, and have cooked many things from it, always with great success! Best of luck, I would love to see another book from you :)

    1. megang

      Thank you so much, Emily. That's a great way to put it: the blog really is an extension of what we're doing at home, so I'm glad that it's resonating with you. While I'd love to have a more organized editorial calendar, I genuinely love sharing recipes we've been making lately and the stories behind them, so I'm happy to hear that's working for you! And thank you for the second book nudge, too :)

  18. Laurie

    Hi Megan, thanks for the invitation to offer feedback.
    I echo many of the comments above that I very much appreciate your writing. Similar to Kate I too am a new mom that resonates with your trying to find a balance between enjoying life with your little one, work, and still making time to make good food. As such, I would love to see more easy weeknight meals (your butternut squash bean chilli was a big hit with the 1 yr old).
    Food doesn't need to be jazzed up to be appreciated,I am most often interested in the every day. Keep your voice authentic and true to yourself as it's nice to see other people keeping it real and knowing I'm not alone on the struggle.

    1. megang

      Thanks so much, Laurie. I hear you on the weeknight meals - this is what I'm most inspired by at the moment, too. Making delicious food that doesn't feel crazy dumbed down for kiddos but that's also realistic to prepare on an average Tuesday. So I'll start sharing more of those! And I'm really glad to hear that you're enjoying the writing itself -- interesting to learn so many readers have babies that are a similar age. Have a great week, and thank you again!

  19. C.Michol

    I read and enjoy your writing before I get to the recipes. Keep the blog organic with your life -- if you're cooking more dinners now, share more of that -- but as a reader, I'd really appreciate a continued emphasis on whole grains and veggies. Thanks!

    1. megang

      Yes! Always my inclination - to do what feels most like you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  20. Eliza

    Megan , I love your writing and this is why I visit. I've been visiting for years, always because I enjoy the way you write. Of course I get great cooking inspiration but it's for your writing that I return. Funnily my important life moments of love and babies have coincided with yours and certain posts have had me in tears as you are able to articulate so beautifully life's precious moments. Please don't stop xx

    1. megang

      Oh this is so nice, Eliza. Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm so glad you're enjoying the writing itself - it's the part I like the most and it's nice to hear that, in this crazy world of a million blogs, people are still hanging out and reading a longer post. So I'll keep on keepin' on :) Have a great week!

  21. Ya'ara

    Hey!
    Much like many who've already responded, I must admit that I mostly come here for your, should I call them musings? I find your writing beautiful, and while it feels entirely authentic to you, you somehow capture so many of the questions, thoughts, and inner debates I encounter myself (without, I might add, being a mother or a business owner, merely a woman living life). This is what I love about this space, which truly inspires me at times (or otherwise comforts me or makes me think, which are no less important).
    I do also cook from the blog of course, mostly recipes that require less sophisticated ingredients (I'm from Israel, and these tend to be rather expensive here).
    Thank you for this space and for your honesty. I hope your alone-time indeed resulted in some spaciousness of mind :)

    1. megang

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feedback, Ya'ara. I really appreciate you taking the time, and I'm so happy to hear that you enjoy the snippets of life I share through the writing itself. I hope you have a great week!

  22. Joan

    I like your recipes and your easy-going approach to cooking, but mostly, like many others who have commented, I come to your site regularly because of your writing. In the hurly-burly of today's world, your blog is a place of calm, your approach to life affirming and gentle. And though I don't know you and am 30 years your senior, I sense your personality and enjoy reading about the challenges of finding balance in your life. I use your cookbook regularly, and find all your recipes reliable and user-friendly. Brava to you.

    1. megang

      Thank you so much, Joan. It's so nice to hear folks are enjoying the writing just as much (if not more) as the recipes - it's the part I enjoy the most and I feel like there are just so many food blogs out there, so just focusing on a good recipe every now and again doesn't feel nearly as inspiring to me. I'm happy to hear the cookbook is well loved, and thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. Have a great week!

  23. sarah

    I love your writing, and reading about your life/life journey. You're fascinating! And a great writer. I've also had many good experiences with recipes from your blog and your book, so I trust the recipes you post here, and am likely to try them, or at least bookmark them for future reference. I'd love to read more about your home, family life, travel, etc.

    1. megang

      Thank you, Sarah! So happy the writing on the site is resonating with you and really glad to hear you're interested in some non-food related topics, too. Have a great week!

  24. Miranda

    I love your writing. I find something very relatable in the snapshots of life you share with us. Keep that up! But I also like your recipes, and having a healthy easy dinner recipe inspiration is always great. But I so love your whole grain baking too and I very recently found a copy of your book from the library and loved it so much I'm buying it myself. So, I like it all, as is? Thanks for being a healthy inspiration for cooking and a friendly voice to read.

    1. megang

      Thank you so much, Miranda. This is the best. Glad you're enjoying the site + so happy you liked the book enough to buy it ( I ALWAYS do a library check out first as well just to make sure I know what I'm getting into). I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts!

  25. Rosemarie

    I love your writing. When I see you pop up on feedly, I like to make sure I will have a few moments of uninterrupted time to read. You have a calm, soothing voice when you write. I love it. I must admit, I tend to save many of your recipes to make, without getting around to it. I did go out and buy rye flour to make those thumbprint cookies (those look amazing) but again, haven't gotten to it yet. I have 2 boys, age 4 and 1 and a half, so I'm slowly buy surely finding ways to bake/cook again. Mainly on the weekends, during the younger one's nap time I get the 4 year old in the kitchen with me to help bake. He loves it. Your cashew coconut granola bars are also on my list...I have all the ingredients I think...I just need the time!

    1. megang

      Hi, Rosemarie. Well, it sounds like you have a really good excuse for not making those cookies to me - 2 little guys is a lot to juggle! So glad to hear you're enjoying the writing on the site and completely get it re: recipes. I love that you and your 4 year old can bake together. I can't wait until Oliver's old enough to help out in the kitchen. That must be so wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! I really appreciate it!

  26. Kaitlin

    I love this post :) I must echo the comments of everyone above who love to read your writing in addition to your delicious recipes. You have truly been an inspiration to me as far as baking and cooking with whole grains goes, and I would absolutely LOVE seeing another cookbook from you. My copy of Whole Grain Mornings is dog-eared and splattered, very well-loved. However, I also love your fussy and uncomplicated weeknight dinners and salads + any mention of Sam's cocktails is a huge bonus! I love hearing about your cooking plans for Oliver-I have a 5 year old and a newborn so still very much in that stage of life. So basically my comment is not helpful because you are already doing all these things :)

    1. megang

      Aww, thank you so much, Kaitlin. This made my day. I'm so glad you've loved cooking from Whole Grain Mornings and are enjoying the site. And wow, you have your hands full on the kiddo front! I've been interested to share more about cooking for babies /toddlers, but was concerned it may alienate a lot of folks but hey, can't please them all I guess :) I'll look forward to sharing a bit more there. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!

      1. Kaitlin

        Thanks for your comment, Megan! As a follow-up, I was wondering if you might consider a blog post at some point with some recommendations for your favorite cookbooks/cookbook authors. I have discovered so many great bloggers/books through your previous recommendations, and I'd love to be able to bookmark one of your posts to come back to for ideas.

        1. megang

          I'd love to, Kaitlin. Noted! I think that's a great idea, and will plan to do so this spring.

  27. Kaitlin

    I also loved seeing your house design!! Yikes, am I suggesting you start a lifestyle blog, in addition to your business and everything else you have going on?? No!! I am sure the direction you choose to go will be a good one. Thanks, Megan :)

  28. Becki

    Hi Megan,
    I made this eggplant 'bolognese' tonight for dinner and my husband and I really liked it. We made some changes, which I think changed the dish from something that's delicately balanced to more 'in your face' hearty. We added chicken Italian sausage and sliced mushrooms to the sauce and served it over bucatini pasta. Another way to go.

    I look forward to your new posts. Your writing is so conversational and authentic, and I love the range of topics you tie in with cooking. I'm interested in how you're making your house a home, adjusting to your family changes, business changes....all of it. I live in Portland OR, and your West Coast approach to life fits mine really well. I'm always interested in a new recipe and may try it myself, but the story in every post - that's what makes your blog stand out for me! I'd love to see a new cookbook, especially if the topic is weeknight or family cooking.

    1. megang

      Hi, Becki! Your changes sound fantastic. I love the idea of adding mushrooms and bucatini pasta is always great. I'm really happy to hear you're enjoying the writing itself - it's one of my favorite parts of the blog, so it's always nice readers are still hanging out and reading every now and again :) Thank you! And yes, I'm mulling a new cookbook for sure!

  29. Kate

    As so many others have said, I love your writing, and that's always what keeps me coming back to your blog, no matter the topic. I think I found you originally through Molly Wizenberg, who I love for the same reason. I'm a grad student in my early 30s, and right now I am big on exactly the type of weeknight dinners you describe here. I know my way around the kitchen, but don't have major/exceptional skills, or a ton of time, so I tend to cook a lot of the easier recipes from websites like Food52, Molly's blog, and yours. I'm always looking for vegetable-rich dinners that are really easy to make (bonus points if the recipe doubles well or keeps well for a few days as leftovers). Recipes like that would be great. I hope these thoughts are useful!
    Thank you, always, for such thoughtful and interesting writing (and for asking for readers' feedback!).

    1. megang

      This is so great, Kate. Thank you so much for the feedback! I know your days must be busy and I so appreciate you taking the time. Vegetable-rich dinners are a go-to around here and easier recipes are so nice for weekdays, so I'll absolutely keep your suggestions in mind. Thank you!

  30. Laura Cunningham

    Hi! I enjoy your writing, and your wholesome backing recipes (though I confess that while I enjoy reading about the less common grains I'm apparently not inclined to actually stock them). I also like the weeknight meals. I've got a two-year-old, and I bake so that I slip things like flax into her diet, but also I need to put some dinner on the table. You feel me!

    1. megang

      I feel you, Laura! Totally. This is really great feedback and I appreciate it. Thank you. I try to do a balance of those obscure grains with more common ones, as I think there's nothing worse than a bunch of recipes with ingredients you're not familiar with. I always find that's a bummer. Glad you're enjoying the site, and thank you for taking time out of your busy day to share your thoughts!

  31. Lindsay

    I visit for your writing. I sometimes wind up printing and making the recipes, but for me it's much more about your stories and words. I'd love to see more weeknight friendly recipes, cocktails and travel stories. The home / kids / real life stuff is equally good. I'm sure I would like and appreciate whatever you do because it does seem authentically you and that's what keeps me coming back.

    1. megang

      Thanks so much for the comment, Lindsay! I'm interested in blogging about more weeknight-friendly recipes, too, so going to make that a priority. And glad to hear you like the house / kiddo content, too. Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. Have a great week!

  32. English

    Megan-
    I am here for your voice, My child rearing days are far behind me and I really don't cook complicated recipes. However, I love reading your slice of life posts. I am always excited to learn about Seattle through your eyes. I hope to visit the city one day. Many a blogger has neglected the space that launched them but you have continued to nourish it which I very much appreciate.

    1. megang

      Oh thank you so much. I'm so glad you're enjoying the site, English. Have a great day + thank you for the feedback!

  33. M

    More 'coercing your infant into political protests!' ;)
    And other than Small Children with Big Messages... I come for the fact that it seems like you think about things.. you work hard.. you appreciate the beauty of the moments that make life what it is. There's something uplifting, even when it's hard.
    As busy as your life may be.. writing must offer you some kind of sanctuary because I come here when I feel the need for calm and some grounding. I feel this space you've created reminds me that even if I don't have likeminded friends just down the street.. even if I never do get an invite to share a meal or snack and conversation in your kitchen.. there are real people 'out there.'
    It's a comfort.

    Colabs with your other online creative friends somehow could be fun... Share that amazing community!

    1. megang

      Love the idea of collabs -- we work in isolation too often. That's a great idea! And of course: more political protests! Always :) Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  34. Ashley Rodriguez

    Like many have said here I love your words - their realness, beauty and ease. And when that is accompanied with a recipe that feels both wholesome and comforting (such as this one) then it's tops. I hope you were able to find some clarity, hope, vision and excitement for what's ahead for you. I'm so excited to continue to watch your journey. And I'm always happy to tuck in to one of those famous Sam cocktails along the journey.

    1. megang

      Thank you so much, Ashley. So nice of you to say, and such a big compliment coming from you. And gosh, yes, we all need more Sam cocktails in our life, don't we?

  35. Heather

    I love the whole grain recipes and the ice cream enthusiasm. Honestly, I will read you because I trust your instincts. You will only continue to do engaging work if you trust yourself to guide us, so don't compromise anything for what you think the world "wants!" We want you.

    1. megang

      Thank you so much, Heather. I'm so glad you see my ice cream enthusiasm: it's there! I really appreciate the kind words and thoughtful feedback.

  36. Vanessa

    Hi Megan, I'm here for the recipes and the writing. I'm not a writer..but a working mom with two kids and similar thoughts on family dinners. I like being able to relate to bits and pieces of what you write about life (my kids are older than Oliver but not by much) and seeing the places you travel to. To be honest, I don't end up making very many of the recipes. First, I'm Hispanic and my husband is Native Alaskan so our staple foods go back and forth between rice and beans, and salmon. Also, we both work so time is a factor. Finally, some of the ingredients aren't available up here in Alaska! But I still like reading about the process to learn about cooking. I bookmark many recipes to make 1) when I find the ingredient or 2) on a weekend when we have more time. And we do make and love many of the others. The farro salad with the preserved lemons is my husband's favorite and I like to make the pumpkin bread in the fall when the farmer's market has squash. I'll for sure continue to read as long as you are writing!

    1. megang

      Thank you so much for the great feedback, Vanessa. I'm jealous salmon is a staple food in your house - we love it, but I suppose we treat it more as a treat rather than a staple. But it's one of my favorites! And I hear you on time for sure. I'm really glad you all enjoy that farro salad - such a good, solid recipe and really adaptable, too. Hope you guys are seeing some signs of early spring. Have a great week, Vanessa!

  37. sarah

    I enjoy the recipes and also your writing style! Easy dinners and snacks are great but other posts besides recipes would be welcomed.

    1. megang

      Awesome. Thank you, sarah!

  38. Brittney

    I come for your writing. I like your style too. I loved the bedroom makeover post and used it to update our home too. Write more about Oliver, cocktails and travel. You're doing a great job.

    1. megang

      Hi, Brittney. So glad you're enjoying the range of posts - and happy the bedroom post was inspiring! It was a lot of fun to work on - hope to do another home post soon-ish. Have a great week!

  39. Cathryn

    Hi Megan, thanks for the chance to offer feedback. I met your blog through your book. I bought a copy of the book for my mom. Later I bought a copy for myself because I wanted to make nearly everything! Quick, healthy dinner posts are always welcome. I hope you won't forget baking, however! I also love your travel posts. Your suggestions for Marakkesh were great!! And that Scandanavian brunch place in Portland is still on my list to try. I'm not a mom, but Oliver is adorable, so kid-focused posts aren't bad. I think what I'm trying to say is that I hope you continue to post about a little bit of everything because your recipes are always delicious, and I love your writing! Thank you for sharing your life with us!!

    1. megang

      Aww, thank you Cathryn! Thanks so much for taking the time to give me your feedback. Oh, baking will always have my heart so no worries there. But I think as we move into this season or warmer weather and more light, easier dinners are always welcome. Glad you're enjoying the peeks into life / writing as well. Thank you again! Have a great week.

  40. Kerri

    Hey Megan, I've been reading your blog since before you moved up to Seattle and were living in the Bay. I love food blogs and your blog in particular - there are few that I stick with through so many transitions. Once kids are added into the mix, most usually shift their focus in a way that I feel less connected to as a single/dating 29 year old social worker. I really treasure this space you've created with so much thought and intention. I continue to come back again and again because I can feel your heart behind your writing and food.

    Thanks for sharing so much of yourself here over the years. I hardly ever comment, so this is a special opportunity to share my appreciation for everything you do. :)

    1. megang

      Thank you so very much for taking the time to comment, Kerri! I know your days must be busy and it means so much that you'd share your thoughts. I'm so happy you've been enjoying the blog for such a long time, and glad it still feels relevant to you. Thank you again + I hope you have a great rest of the week!

  41. Mary

    I love your writing, Megan! I always hope you write a novel. You have a gift of capturing life. The posts about your family are some of my favorites. I'd really like to see more of Sam's cocktail recipes too. We're both big negroni fans.

    I have sent a lot of my friends who have babies to your site. They love your blog. They hadn't found someone who talks about motherhood and family like you do (and they love to cook). Whatever you do, I'll be following along. XO

    1. megang

      You're so sweet, Mary, and have always been so encouraging! I still have a card you sent me -- gosh, must be four years ago now -- on the bulletin board above my desk. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I'd love to write something bigger, too! Maybe, maybe, maybe ... xoxo

  42. Margo

    I originally came across your blog when I was starting to experiment with more whole grain baking. I think I was looking for a buckwheat recipe. I love all of your recipes on your blog, but I especially enjoy your cookbook. When I flip through the cookbook, the photos, layout and recipes just bring a calming feeling over me- maybe it's that Seattle lifestyle vs. the LA lifestyle- haha!

    Anyways I would very much look forward to another cookbook, but also more recipes. Love all of your photos too.

  43. Carla

    I only follow three food blogs :) your is one. I like the healthy recipes, but I also like to read about your family life. Blogs, to me, are a mix of everyday and fancy. A bit hard to explain. Everyday in that the writer is just a normal person, like me, with a husband, a kid, a job. But fancy because the beautiful pictures make it all seem ideal, like a book.

  44. Pauline

    Hi Megan!
    I feel a sort of kindred spirit with you. I also used to be a high school English teacher (now work in higher ed) and am also a fellow writer and new mother. Like many others, I appreciate your authentic writing and sharing a bit of your life along the beautiful photos. I would love to hear more about how you balance creativity (writing especially), marriage, and your new identity as a mother. It's been such a tough transition! Most days, I'm relearning what the concept "good enough" means - even if it's writing once a month!

    Cheers,
    Pauline

  45. Lara

    Yum! We made this for dinner last night and I just stopped myself from consuming a 3rd bowl for lunch. I haven't had eggplant in a while since it's one of the few veggies my almost 6 yr old disdains , she managed to be distracted enough by the olives (and capers we added) and delicious tomatoes sauce and ate her eggplants and all!

  46. Alison

    Hi Megan!

    I am excited to see where your adventures take you next. I love the windows into your world that we get to enjoy and also the pacific northwest seasonal, veggie driven food.

    Warm regards,

    Alison

  47. Rachel

    I'm a little late to the commenting game, but I really like the combination of sinking into your description of your life and work in Seattle (they're beautifully written and take me out of my head for a bit) and the recipes that you share. I've made a number of your recipes and I find they are delicious and reliable and fit how I like to cook and bake. Your blog is one of my favorites!

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Fall Baking

Dark and Spicy Pumpkin Loaf

Dark and Spicy Pumpkin Loaf

It turns out that returning from a sunny honeymoon to a rather rainy, dark stretch of Seattle fall hasn't been the easiest transition. Sam and I have been struggling a little to find our groove with work projects and even simple routines like cooking meals for one another and getting out of the easy daily ruts that can happen to us all. When we were traveling, we made some new vows to each other -- ways we can keep the fall and winter from feeling a bit gloomy, as tends to happen at a certain point living in the Pacific Northwest (for me, at least): from weekly wine tastings at our neighborhood wine shop to going on more lake walks. And I suppose that's one of the most energizing and invigorating parts about travel, isn't it? The opposite of the daily rut: the constant newness and discovery around every corner. One of my favorite small moments in Italy took place at a cafe in Naples when I accidentally ordered the wrong pastry and, instead, was brought this funny looking cousin of a croissant. We had a wonderfully sunny little table with strong cappuccino, and, disappointed by my lack of ordering prowess, I tried the ugly pastry only to discover my new favorite treat of all time (and the only one I can't pronounce): the sfogliatelle. I couldn't stop talking about this pastry, its thick flaky layers wrapped around a light, citrus-flecked sweet ricotta filling. It was like nothing I'd ever tried -- the perfect marriage of interesting textures and flavors. I became a woman obsessed. I began to see them displayed on every street corner; I researched their origin back at the hotel room, and started to look up recipes for how to recreate them at home. And the reason for the fascination was obviously that they were delicious. But even more: I'm so immersed in the food writing world that I rarely get a chance to discover a dish or a restaurant on my own without hearing tell of it first. And while a long way away from that Italian cafe, I had a similar feeling this week as I scanned the pages of Alice Medrich's new book, Flavor Flours, and baked up a loaf of her beautiful fall pumpkin loaf: Discovery, newness, delight!

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Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie with Kamut Crust

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie with Kamut Crust

I always force myself to wait until after Halloween to start thinking much about holiday pies or, really, future holidays in general. But this year I cheated a bit, tempted heavily by the lure of a warmly-spiced sweet potato pie that I used to make back when I baked pies for a living in the Bay Area (way back when). We seem to always have sweet potatoes around as they're one of Oliver's favorite foods, and when I roast them for his lunch I've been wishing I could turn them into a silky pie instead. So the other day I reserved part of the sweet potatoes for me. For a pie that I've made hundreds of times in the past, this time reimagined with fragrant brown butter, sweetened solely with maple syrup, and baked into a flaky kamut crust. We haven't started talking about the Thanksgiving menu yet this year, but I know one thing for sure: this sweet potato pie will make an appearance.

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For Three Days, A Student Again

For Three Days, A Student Again

This time last week I was up in the Skagit River Valley sitting in the early fall sun eating wood-fired bagels and chatting with farmers, millers and bakers at the Kneading Conference West. I made homemade soba noodles, learned the ins and outs of sourdough starters, and sat in on a session where we tasted crackers baked with single varietal wheats. It was like wine tasting, but with wheat and the whole time I kept pinching myself, thinking: THESE ARE MY PEOPLE! I don't get the opportunity to be a student much these days -- usually on the other side of things teaching cooking classes or educating people at the farmers markets about whole grains and natural sugars. So to just sit and listen with a fresh (red!) notebook and a new pen was surprisingly refreshing. I miss it already. Thankfully, this cookie recipe has come back as a memorable souvenir, and one that is sure to be in high rotation in our house in the coming months.

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Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies (Plus a Treat for You)

Soft and Chewy Ginger Cookies (Plus a Treat for You)

Strolling New York City streets during the height of fall when all the leaves are changing and golden light glints off the brownstone windows. This is what I envisioned when I bought tickets to attend my cousin's September wedding earlier this month: Sam and I would extend the trip for a good day or two so we could experience a little bit of fall in the city. We'd finally eat at Prune and have scones and coffee at Buvette, as we always do. Sam wanted to take me to Russ and Daughters, and we'd try to sneak in a new bakery or ice cream shop for good measure. Well, as some of you likely know, my thinking on the weather was premature. New York City fall had yet to descend and, instead, we ambled around the city in a mix of humidity and rain. When we returned home I found myself excited about the crisp evening air, and the fact that the tree across the street had turned a rusty shade of amber. It was time to do a little baking. 

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Honeyed Spelt Cornbread with Fresh Cranberries

Honeyed Spelt Cornbread with Fresh Cranberries

I am writing this on Saturday afternoon on a day when we had big plans to conquer pre-baby chore lists, but Sam's not feeling great and my energy's a little low so it hasn't been quite what we'd envisioned. My goals for the morning were to repot a house plant and make some soup and I've done neither. I will say that the sweet potato and fennel are still sitting on the counter eagerly awaiting their Big Moment -- it just hasn't come about quite yet. Sam and I were both going to attempt to install the carseat, but it started to look really daunting so we abandoned ship; it's now sitting proudly in the basement, also eagerly awaiting its Big Moment. So it's been one of those weekends -- the kind you look back on and wonder what it is you actually accomplished. At the very least, I get the chance to tell you about this hearty cranberry cornbread. I know maybe it feels premature in the season for cranberry recipes, but hang with me here: slathered with a little soft butter and runny honey, there's nothing I'd rather eat right now on the cool, crisp Seattle mornings we've been having lately.  

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