On Following a Recipe

Post by Paula Jahn, Co-owner and Dietitian at Nourish Northwest

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It has been a while since I have been excited for a cookbook. With plenty of internet inspiration through food blogs and from my own experimentation, I rarely feel that I lack material for creating delicious vegetable-based dishes. My brother in law gave me Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi for Christmas and I have been leafing through it for weeks. I have followed some recipes loosely, using them more for ideas rather than following the recipe. I cannot remember the last time I followed a recipe.

So, I set out to make a recipe from my new cookbook, trying to follow it as intended by its genius author–even measuring out the spices and salt. I wanted to try a new technique while also keeping the ingredients to a minimum. I immediately ran into a couple of roadblocks. He uses sugar, albeit in small quantities, in many recipes. I am on a dietitian mission with many of my nutrition clients to get them to eat less added sugar. Then, here I am, adding it it vegetables! I have to admit, those carrots were the best part of the dish. I am not sure if it had anything to do with the pinch of sugar I added. Another personal critique is that there is cilantro (devil weed) in many dishes. I hate it so much. But, I love parsley so that is an automatic swap. Overall, the salad was delicious. I scooped it over some cooked farro and it made a satisfying and hearty dinner.

Dried mung beans
Dried mung beans

Mung beans are a good source of fiber, protein and iron. They cook fast and are more easily digested than some other legumes.

Carrots, water,oil, salt, and (reluctantly) sugar.
Carrots, oil, salt and (reluctantly) sugar.


This method of pan roasting was new to me. The water was seasoned with oil, salt and sugar then boiled off on high heat until the carrots were crisp-tender and caramelized. It took less than 10 minutes.

Pan roasted carrot battalions.
Pan roasted carrot batons


Mung Bean and Roasted Carrot Salad
Mung Bean and Roasted Carrot Salad

I love salads that have lots of parsley as the main green. Parsley is underrated in my opinion; it is anti-inflammatory and full of minerals. Don’t be afraid to treat it like a green instead of a garnish.

While I did not quite follow the recipe perfectly, I feel that I captured the essence of Ottolenghi’s intent. I cannot wait to try another!


Mung Bean and Roasted Carrot Salad

(Adapted from Plenty More but Yotam Ottolenghi)


1 cup dried mung beans

4 Tbs olive oil, divided

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 clove garlic, finely chopped or grated

2 Tbs white wine or Champagne vinegar

3 large carrots, cut into 1″ x 1/4″ x 1/2 ” batons

1/2 tsp evaporated cane juice

1 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Zest of 1 lemon, grated

3 oz sheep’s milk feta, crumbled



Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil, add the beans and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until they are cooked but still retain a bite. Drain, shake well and transfer to a large bowl. About three minutes before the beans are done, heat two tablespoons of oil in a small frying pan and add the seeds. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until they start to pop – about three minutes – then pour, hot oil and all, over the beans, along with the vinegar, garlic, and half a teaspoon of salt.

While the beans are cooking, lay the carrots in a pan large enough for them to form a shallow layer on the bottom. Pour over about 2/3 cup water – the carrots should be nearly submerged – plus two tablespoons of oil and half a teaspoon each of sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and keep on a high heat for eight minutes, by which time the water should have evaporated and the carrots become slightly caramelized but still crunchy. Drain some liquid, if needed.

Add the carrots to the bean bowl, along with the coriander, and stir gently. Transfer to a shallow serving bowl, sprinkle over lemon zest, dot with feta and drizzle with olive oil.


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