A Summery Snap Pea Salad from the Chef of Loring Place

Blue Apron is teaming up with chefs across the country to support Feeding America®. To participate, head over to our social media channels. Share our Facebook post or tag a friend on Instagram, and Blue Apron will donate an additional $5 to Feeding America, up to $50,000. Thanks to Dan Kluger, the chef and owner of Loring Place, for sharing this fresh summery salad from his upcoming cookbook Chasing Flavor.

Charred, blanched, and covered in cheese

While working for Jean-Georges at ABC Kitchen, chef Dan Kluger grew to love combining raw and cooked versions of the same ingredient in a dish. This method results in a beautiful contrast of textures and flavors. Here, this idea is applied to snap peas—half are quickly blanched, and the rest are charred in a skillet. Both halves are tossed in a cheesy vinaigrette that evokes a more sophisticated version of the peppery bottled salad dressings you may have loved growing up. 

Chef Kluger’s dressing is made creamy by pureeing Manchego cheese in a blender until it completely breaks down and emulsifies. This will take longer than you think, so keep blending until the dressing is completely smooth. 

Charred Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Manchego Vinaigrette 

Makes four servings 

For the Manchego vinaigrette 

Makes about one cup

  • 3 Tbsps buttermilk, well shaken 
  • ¼ cup plus 1 ½ tsps Champagne vinegar 
  • 1 ½ Tbsps fresh lemon juice 
  • ¼ cup plus 1 ½ tsps extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 3 ounces Manchego cheese, coarsely grated (about ¾ cup) 
  • 1 ½ tsps kosher salt 
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper 

1. In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until very smooth, scraping the side of the blender as needed. The dressing can be made up to one day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use. 

For the snap peas

  • 4 cups sugar snap peas (about 1 pound), strings removed 
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tsp kosher salt 

1. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. 

2. Blanch 2 cups of the snap peas in the boiling water until bright green and crisp-tender, 30 to 45 seconds, then transfer to the ice bath. When cool, transfer the peas to paper towels to drain. 

3. Heat a skillet (preferably cast-iron) over high heat. 

4. In a mixing bowl, toss the remaining 2 cups of snap peas with the oil and salt. When the skillet is very hot, add the salted and oiled peas and char them on one side without moving them around, 30 to 45 seconds. Work in batches so that you do not crowd the pan. 

5. Turn the peas over and char the other side, then transfer to a plate and let cool to room temperature before assembling the salad. 

To serve

  • Blanched and charred snap peas 
  • 4 globe radishes, cut into small wedges 
  • ¼ cup finely chopped mixed herbs (such as parsley, tarragon, and chives) 
  • Flaky sea salt 
  • 2 cups baby lettuce (such as arugula or romaine) 
  • Manchego vinaigrette 
  • ½ cup coarsely grated Manchego cheese 
  • ½ red finger chili, thinly sliced 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the blanched and charred snap peas with the radishes, half of the herbs, and a big pinch of flaky salt; toss to combine. 

2. Divide the lettuce among four plates and top with the snap pea mixture. 

3. Drizzle with the dressing (about 2 Tbsps per plate). Garnish with the cheese, sliced chili, and remaining herbs. Grind some pepper over each salad and serve.

Use Farro for an Excellent Crispy Grain Cake

Chef Jessica Goodman is all about eating well. While stuck at home, she’s been thinking about ways to cook creatively, eat deliciously, and stay healthy at the same time. Her recipe for crispy farro manages to tick all of those boxes.

farro crispy grain cake
This could be any meal, really

For the past few months, I’ve been seeing tahdigs all over social media. These crispy rice cakes are made in a skillet and inverted. When they’re done, they end up with a beautiful golden brown crust. Seeing all of those gorgeous grain cakes inspired me to try taking a similar approach with one of my favorite ingredients: farro.

Farro is an ancient grain, and it’s also an excellent source of fiber and protein, popular in Mediterranean diets. It has a subtle nutty flavor that’s deliciously enhanced when toasted. You can use it in place of rice in almost any dish, and it’s especially delicious in cold grain salads or added to soups and stews.

This recipe is the perfect way to use up anything you have in your fridge. I love it with eggs and any vegetables. It would also be delicious as a side dish with any protein. You could even add it to a salad for a nice crunch.

Recipe: Crispy Farro Cake

  • 1 cup cooked farro 
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 3-5 cherry tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon pickled onions
  • 1 tbsp pesto 
  • Calabrian chili oil 

1. In a medium nonstick pan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the grains in an even layer, and press down with a spatula. Let sit without stirring for 8 minutes, and begin the next step. After 8 minutes, cover with a lid and let the grains on top steam for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat. 

2. While the grains cook, in a different small nonstick pan, add a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Crack two eggs into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until your desired degree of doneness. 

3. When the grains are done crisping, place a plate larger than the pan on top of the pan and carefully flip crispy grains onto the plate (you could also slide the crispy grains right onto a plate as well). Top your crispy grains with fried eggs, sliced tomatoes, and pickled onions. Drizzle pesto and Calabrian chili oil over the top. Enjoy!

How to Press Tofu, and Why You Should Try It at Home

pressed tofu on cabbage
Seared tofu topping a quinoa grain bowl

Cooking with tofu can be tricky. When done right, extra firm tofu has a delicate flavor and chewy texture. If things go wrong, you can accidentally end up with a soggy lump. The main challenge is controlling the moisture. If you know how to press tofu, you can remove excess moisture before cooking begins. Vegetarian or not, this plant-based protein is delicious in stir fries, on grain bowls, and dozens of other ways.

The good news? Pressing tofu isn’t very difficult. With a few tricks, you can prepare the delicious, toothsome tofu you crave right in your home kitchen. You don’t even need any special tools.

how to press tofu in a pan
Pressing tofu helps achieve a good sear

When it comes to achieving a crisp crust, part of the challenge is that packaged tofu has a high water content. Water is the enemy of browning. When you toss tofu straight from the package into a hot oven, that water will heat up and turn into steam. If your tofu is wet when it enters the oven, it will come out soft.

Luckily, the solution is simple. To give your tofu the chance to brown, you need to get some of that water out. This can be achieved quickly and easily with a plate and a heavy pot.

how to press tofu
Just a plate, a pot, and a few paper towels

All you need to do is put the block of tofu on a plate lined with paper towels. Take a few paper towels (or a second plate) and place them face straight down on top of the block. Now add some weight on top. A heavy pot or a few cans will work nicely, but anything with a little heft will do the trick. Now it’s time to wait. You’ll want to give the tofu at least 10 minutes under pressure to start giving up some of its water. This is a great time to start prepping the rest of your ingredients, but it’s also perfectly acceptable to use this as a snack or cocktail-making break. 

After 10 minutes, you’ll notice that plenty of liquid has been released. The paper towels on the base of the plate will be wet, and your tofu may even be sitting in a small pool of water. This is a good thing! Not only does getting the water out mean that your bean curd will be able to brown, it also frees up space inside the tofu. That whole block is now ready to absorb the flavors of a marinade, sauce, or topping. 

A spicy stir-fry with plenty of protein

Of course, there’s more than one type of tofu. Whether or not you should press it depends on what you’re preparing. If you’re working with extra firm tofu, and hoping for a crispy end product, pressing is the way to go. If you’re hoping for something silky and smooth at the end, skip this step. A little water won’t hurt if your tofu is simmering in a sauce or a soup. 

Now that you know how to press tofu, explore the possibilities! Silken tofu is the perfect blank canvas for a spicy Mapo Tofu, and firm tofu is excellent topper on this top-rated Blue Apron savory grain bowl. The bottom line is simple: Control the water content, control the tofu.

Smoky Carrot Hummus with Pistachio Dukkah

An autumnal take on classic hummus — with a punchy orange color to boot. This dip gets its smoky flavor from smoked paprika and the roasty bits of carrot, which also add a layer of deep, root vegetable-y sweetness. We like to serve ours topped with a generous sprinkling of dukkah, a savory toasted blend of nuts, seeds, and spices. If you don’t have a spice mill, don’t worry: after toasting your nuts and seeds mixture in a dry pan, place it in a sealable plastic bag before smashing it with the bottom of a pot or heavy cup measure to create small, crumbly pieces, ideal for garnishing your hummus — or serving alongside crusty bread and olive oil for dipping.

Makes about 2 cups


1 lb. carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise, then cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, divided
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
2 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp coriander seed
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 15-.5-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1/2 cup tahini
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flaky salt
Crudite, for serving (we like purple cauliflower, Persian cucumbers, radishes, and endive)

  1. Roast the carrots:
    Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. Place the carrot pieces on a sheet pan; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, the ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon of the smoked paprika. Toss to coat and arrange in an even layer. Roast 18 to 20 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven.

  2. Make the dukkah:
    While the carrots roast, heat a dry pan over medium heat until hot. Add the pistachios, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and sesame seeds. Toast, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl to let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a sealable plastic bag (or spice mill, if you have one). Smash with the bottom of a pot of heavy cup measure (or pulse in the spice mill) to break into small pieces. Return to the bowl. Stir in the ground ginger and crushed red pepper flakes; season with flaky salt and pepper.

  3. Make the hummus:
    In a food processor, combine the roasted carrots, chickpeas, garlic clove, tahini, sherry vinegar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Pulse to blend until smooth.

  4. Assemble & serve your dish:
    Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl; drizzle with olive oil and garnish with the dukkah. Serve the finished hummus with the crudite. Enjoy!

Greenmarket Inspo: Cauliflower Steaks with Chermoula

Every week, our test kitchen team pays an early morning visit to New York City’s biggest farmers market: the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan. Comprised of over 70 stalls bursting with flowers, local products, and beautiful seasonal produce, it’s the perfect place for a hit of mid-week inspiration. Follow us on Instagram to tag along (bring a tote bag, it’s impossible to leave empty handed!) and see what we decide to make with our market haul.

Nearly every global cuisine has its own herb-based sauce, from salsa verde and chimichurri to pesto and zhoug. In North Africa, the green condiment of choice is chermoula, a version spiced with cumin and coriander and often blended with raisins for sweetness. Used as a marinade or topping for meat, seafood, and vegetables alike, the recipe varies region to region and can easily be adapted to include what you have on hand. Ours packs a bright and herby punch from the combination of parsley and mint, but if cilantro looks especially good at a market near you, it makes a welcome addition (as does chili paste or pepper flakes for heat, whole slices of preserved lemon, or even a pinch of saffron — up to you!). 

If you’ve never made a cauliflower steak before — we love them on Blue Apron’s vegetarian menu — consider it on your to-do list. Keeping the core intact allows you to slice the head into 1-inch-thick slabs that stay together, for the most part, which makes them suitable as a side dish or vegetarian main. More flat surface area (as opposed to the curved shape of a floret) means a cauliflower steak has more direct contact with the sheet pan while roasting; the result is a browned and caramelized exterior with crispy edges, but tender and delicate interior. Drizzled with chermoula, it’s simple, flavorful, and likely the star of your table.

Cauliflower Steaks with Chermoula

Serves 4


1 large cauliflower, leaves removed, cut into 1-inch thick steaks (keeping them as intact as possible)
2 cups parsley leaves and tender stems
½ cup mint leaves
2 tbsp golden raisins
2 tsp ground cumin, divided
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp hot paprika 
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, quartered and deseeded
¼ cup almonds
¼ cup castelvetrano olives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil


1. Roast the cauliflower:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. Place the cauliflower on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and 1 ½ teaspoons of cumin. Carefully turn to coat and arrange in an even layer. Roast 26 to 28 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven. 

2. Rehydrate the raisins:

While the cauliflower roasts, in a bowl, combine the raisins and the juice of 2 lemon wedges. Set aside to rehydrate, at least 10 minutes.

3. Toast the almonds:

While the raisins rehydrate, heat a dry pan over medium until hot. Add the almonds. Toast, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl.

4. Make the chermoula & serve your dish:
While the cauliflower continues to roast, in a blender or food processor, combine the rehydrated raisins (and any lemon juice), parsley, mint, coriander, paprika, garlic, ½ cup olive oil, and remaining ½ teaspoon cumin. Season with pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend until mostly smooth (some chunks are ok). Serve the roasted cauliflower topped with the chermoula. Enjoy!

Greenmarket Inspo: Indian Smashed Cucumber Salad

Every week, our test kitchen team pays an early morning visit to New York City’s biggest farmers market: the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan. Comprised of over 70 stalls bursting with flowers, local products, and beautiful seasonal produce, it’s the perfect place for a hit of mid-week inspiration. Follow us on Instagram to tag along (bring a tote bag, it’s impossible to leave empty handed!) and see what we decide to make with our market haul.

Cucumbers don’t get a lot of love, but they’re secretly a summer produce MVP. Crisp and cooling, they require little more than slicing before they’re ready to enjoy, making them a great picnic or beach snack, crudite platter addition, or pairing for dips. When you do feel like dressing them up, however, cucumbers also take well to all manner of flavor combinations, and feature in many global cuisines.

This salad eats like a deconstructed raita, the Indian cucumber and yogurt condiment that’s a favorite dip for naan or cooling topper for curries. We use (garlic-spiked) yogurt as a creamy swoosh on the bottom of the plate, then pile on the spice-and-nut coated cukes. A flurry of herbs and flaky salt add the ideal fresh and crunchy finish.

Indian Smashed Cucumber Salad


Serves 6


10 Persian cucumbers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
¼ cup roasted cashews, finely chopped
⅛ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup full-fat yogurt
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 lime
A few sprigs cilantro, leaves and tender stems roughly chopped
A few sprigs mint, leaves roughly chopped or torn
Olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
Flaky sea salt


1. Smash & drain the cucumbers:

Working one piece at a time, place the cucumber pieces on a cutting board. Using the flat side of your knife, smash to flatten each piece. Transfer the smashed cucumbers to a strainer set over a large bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Set aside to drain at least 10 minutes.

2. Make the coating:

While the cucumbers drain, in a medium pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant and the mustard seeds begin to pop in the pan. Turn off the heat. Stir in the chopped cashews and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Season the yogurt:

In a bowl, combine the yogurt and garlic paste; season with salt and pepper.

4. Dress the cucumbers & serve your dish:

Discard any liquid drained from the smashed cucumbers; place the cucumbers in the bowl. Add the coating and a drizzle of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Swoosh the seasoned yogurt into an even layer on a serving platter. Top with the dressed cucumbers. Garnish with the cilantro, mint, and flaky salt. Enjoy!

Super Seasoning For Your Spuds

Super Seasoning For Your Spuds | Blue ApronEvery month, Lori Yates from Foxes Love Lemons takes a lesson she learned in culinary school, while working with some of the country’s best chefs, and brings it into the home kitchen, where her tips will help make you a faster, better, and more confident cook. Welcome to her column, Home Chef. Today, we’re talking potatoes, the root vegetable that plays a starring role for much of the year, adding heft and comfort to your plate. They’re incredible when mashed–but they need some extra attention to seasoning to be truly delicious.

There’s an infinite number of ways to make mashed potatoes, and that’s one thing I love about them. You can make them really smooth or leave them lumpy. You can mash them with a ricer, masher or mixer. You can stir in melted butter, room temperature butter, milk, cream, sour cream, buttermilk or something else. But I think there’s one thing we can all agree on: a bland scoop of mashed potatoes is the worst scoop of mashed potatoes.

That’s why I’m here today to talk about one specific thing in regards to mashed potatoes: seasoning them properly. Make your potatoes using whatever method is your favorite, and mix in whatever butter and creamy element you’d like. But they’re not finished until they’re well-seasoned. My culinary school used four elements to season mashed potatoes: salt, white pepper, cayenne and nutmeg. Let’s break it down:

Super Seasoning For Your Spuds-2



If you do nothing else, make sure you salt your potatoes. By nature, potatoes are pretty bland, and will end up tasting like cardboard without some salt. While we used kosher salt for just about everything else, my school had us use iodized salt (a.k.a. table salt) to season mashed potatoes. Because the granules of iodized salt are so much smaller than kosher salt, a teaspoon of iodized salt really is more salty than a teaspoon of kosher salt. This means that if you have a big Thanksgiving dinner-sized batch of mashed potatoes, it might be a little bit easier to season them with iodized salt, as you’ll need less to achieve the same effect. However, any type of salt will work here. Just make sure you add enough so that the flavor of the potato no longer seems dull and flat. Watch how to season to taste.

Super Seasoning For Your Spuds-3

White Pepper

A classic French technique, we seasoned with white pepper over black pepper mainly for aesthetic reasons – white pepper disappears into the potatoes and doesn’t leave black flecks running through them. While this aesthetic reason probably won’t matter to most home cooks and their guests, the flavor of white pepper is also really nice in potatoes. White pepper is slightly hotter than black pepper, which works well to liven up the potatoes and give them some bite. White pepper is also common in Asian cooking, so if you invest in a jar of it, you’ll be all set for stir-fries, too.


Not too much, as you don’t want pink mashed potatoes. But try adding just a pinch of cayenne next time. You won’t end up with spicy potatoes as long as you just add a bit. But the little amount of cayenne will add even more depth of flavor to mashed potatoes and make them tasty in their own right, instead of just a vehicle for gravy.


Not just for holiday baking! Nutmeg is another classical French seasoning for mashed potatoes. Again, you want just a small pinch. Many people find that the warm flavor of nutmeg enhances the creamy flavor of the mashed potatoes (or any creamy dish). It’s hard to explain, but it gives the potatoes “a certain something” that will make your guests go back for seconds.

Use this seasoning guide to make a perfect pot of mashed potatoes, every time. You may not even NEED the gravy! Just kidding. I always need the gravy.

Cranberry-Walnut Muffins


Presenting: the muffin you’ll need to get you through fall. Through the Halloween sugar hangover and the family visiting for Thanksgiving weekend. Through the lazy Sundays, and even through Christmas morning. With their jewel tones and sweet cinnamon spicing, these are an unforgettable staple, a simple meal that manages to have pizzazz.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

There’s an actual method to muffins, a formula that’ll help make sense of the recipe you’ll see at the bottom of this post. Essentially, muffins are quick breads, baked goods that use a leavener like baking powder to rise (as opposed to bread, which could be known as “slow bread,” and takes its time when rising). Like zucchini and banana bread before them, cranberry-walnut muffins should be moist and just slightly chewy. At their best, they’ll melt in your mouth.

How do they get this way? Well, first you combine the dry ingredients. That means sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices–here, cinnamon.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

In  a second bowl, we combine the wet ingredients: eggs, oil, and orange juice.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

When we combine the two, we do so with a light touch, pouring the wet ingredients over the dry and then folding together gently. This preserves a light crumb and that melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes people go back for seconds.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron
Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

When the wet and dry ingredients are just barely combined–it’s far better to see a few streaks of flour, which will be absorbed during baking, than to overmix–we throw in the good stuff, cranberries and walnuts. The fall flavors of this pair are what elevate this muffin to its true height.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

Baking is a cinch: scoop the batter into muffin tins and stick in a hot oven for around 20 minutes.

Once they are risen and golden, they’re ready to eat!

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

All muffins are best warm, still hot from the oven. These are instant gratification in muffin form, and fortunately for early birds, there’s not much need to let them cool.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

Smear with butter, if you like.

Cranberry Walnut Muffins | Blue Apron

Get the recipe below.

Continue reading “Cranberry-Walnut Muffins”

The Toast Topping We Can’t Get Enough Of

Avocado toast: a foodie breakfast trend that became a serious classic. Now that the trend is a trend no longer, it’s time to explore the full range of possibilities that the healthful yet delectable breakfast presents to us.

Besides the creamy avocado topping, the best part of avocado toast is its willingness to be customized. Sure, it’s delicious when left simple (mashed avocado, salt), but you can add on to this great start based on your tastes and cravings.

At the simple end of the spectrum: herbs and spices. Freshly torn basil will remind you of summer; minced cilantro leaves will remind you of guacamole. A sprinkle of za’atar nods to the Middle East, while a dose of Aleppo pepper (one of our favorites, as you’ll see below) balances out the avocado’s fattiness.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your ripe avocado and two pieces of good whole grain or sourdough bread. The rest of the ingredients pictured below are some of the other toppings you might want to add.

Read more: How to Choose a Ripe Avocado

Avocado Toast | Blue Apron

Once you have the ingredients, cut your avocado open around the pit. If you’re not sure how to accomplish this move, watch our video.  Scoop out the flesh into a small bowl. Mash the avocado and season it well with salt. A little lemon juice never hurts either.

Avocado Toast | Blue Apron

Toast two slices of bread. Spread the mashed avocado to the edges on each slice. Sprinkle with a bit more salt. If you want, you can stop right there.

Avocado Toast | Blue Apron

If you want to choose your own adventure and continue, here are two things you can do:

  • Use Aleppo pepper or Piment d’Esplette to add a little kick to your toast
  • Fry an egg and slam it on top. When the gooey yolk meets the avocado, great taste happens.
Avocado Toast | Blue Apron
Avocado Toast | Blue Apron

How will you top your avocado toast?

Get the whole recipe below.

Avocado Toast

2 slices of your favorite bread
1 ripe avocado
1 teaspoon piment d’esplette
Optional: 2 eggs

If you’re using them, first start the eggs: heat a small pan over medium-low heat and add oil to cover the bottom. Add the eggs and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny (or until they reach your desired degree of doneness). While the eggs are cooking, season them with salt. Remove the eggs from the heat.

While the eggs are cooking, toast the bread. Prepare the avocado by scooping the flesh out of the skin and mashing in a bowl with some salt.

Spread the avocado on your toast. Top with salt, piment d’esplette if using. If you’ve made the eggs, put one on each piece of toast. Eat!

Prep Yucca for Dinner Tonight

This week, one of our recipes, Orange-Glazed Chicken Drumsticks with Mashed Yucca & Arugula Salad makes use of yucca. Also known as cassava, it’s a long, brown tuber that’s a staple in Latin-American cuisines. Most people liken it to a potato, but it’s really anything but. When mashed, yucca is fluffier than potatoes and has a light, delicate sweetness. Since we’ve established that yucca is not a potato, let’s not assume that you should prep it like a potato.

Instead, here’s how you prep a yucca for cooking.

Take your long brown tuber and set it on a cutting board.


Cut the yucca into 2-inch pieces

Using your knife, cut off the brown peel. (Don’t use the peeler–the skin is just too strong for that.)


Cut each piece into quarters.

Cut out and discard the starchy center.


Prep as you wish, or follow our recipe for mashed yucca here.

How We Developed a Perfect Eggplant Lasagna: Notes on Recipe Testing

Eggplant lasagnaSo simple and classic, right?

Not so fast. There are a lot of potential pitfalls in eggplant lasagna that can turn it from a delicious main to something messy, ugly, insanely time-consuming–or worse. But eggplant lasagna is hardly unique in this. Most dishes that you eat in a restaurant, cook from a cookbook, or make after receiving a Blue Apron box, go through rigorous testing. They may have started as a few notes scrawled on a napkin, but they end in a perfect meal–one that you get to eat.

Still, eggplant lasagna is a good example, so let’s go back to the yummy vegetarian main that some of you may have made last month. Our test kitchen had a big vision: a vegetable lasagna in the Italian-American red sauce tradition, like you’d get in little Italy or on a good eggplant parmesan sandwich. Layers of eggplant, fresh pasta, tomato sauce, ricotta, melted mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. What could go wrong?

Well, not too much in the taste department at least. The first eggplant lasagna, pictured above, featured oven-roasted slices of graffiti eggplant baked up with ricotta and tomato sauce. Ultimately, each bite tasted good, it’s just that the casserole and the slices didn’t look pretty at all. Food should look appetizing–you eat with your eyes as well as your mouth–and that meant that Eggplant Lasagna, version #1, had to go.

In the name of polar opposites, Eggplant Lasagna Version #2, was refined and beautiful. Layers of fried eggplant rounds intermingled with noodle circles and shmears of fresh ricotta cheese. Look above: the resulting dish was gorgeous! Sadly, there were other issues. We had used up way too many bowls: plates for breading the eggplant and pans for frying it, a cooking cutter for shaping the pasta sheets, a lot of bowls and spoons. Our kitchen was a mess, and we didn’t want to make yours messy too. Plus, with the warm parts, the ricotta got really soft and the stack was apt to fall off. Sigh. We’d make this again for a special occasion, but it was just too much for everyday cooking.

And then we hit on the jackpot, the wonderfully creamy and rustic eggplant lasagna we sent out to you.

We prepped more eggplant, plus onions, basil, garlic, and cheese. Then we simmered up our tomato sauce.

The best technique for the eggplant turned out to be pan frying–but without breading. This produced a vegetable that had body and depth but spared us the mess of frying up the slices. We added the bechamel sauce you see below to keep the lasagna both sturdy and pretty. Plus, the combination of bechamel and tomato sauces creates beautiful, complimentary layers: rich and acidic, a great combination.

We kept the fresh spinach pasta sheets whole again this time – as in Version #1. No cookie cutters needed here!

And then, we just layered the ingredients in our casserole pan, making sure to cover the top with plenty of cheese, a move that adds deliciousness and a beautiful golden finish to the victorious Eggplant Lasagna, Version #3.

Are there other recipes you’d like to see how we developed? Check out our cookbook and then let us know in the comments!