How To Cook Mushrooms So Perfectly They Melt in Your Mouth

Box of Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a nutritious and delicious addition to salad, pasta, pizza, and so many other savory dishes. While most mushrooms can be eaten raw, knowing how to cook mushrooms is still a necessity. These simple cooking methods are musts for the mushroom lover.

While many mushrooms may appear vastly different in color or size, they may actually be of the same variety. Button, crimini, and portobello mushrooms are all scientifically known as agaricus bisporus. How they get their different appearance and flavor actually comes from which strain was planted and what age the mushroom was when picked.

Button mushrooms are the youngest of the agaricus bisporus variety, picked early in the growing process. Crimini mushrooms, also known as baby bellas, are more mature and can be distinguished by their browner shade. Portobello mushrooms are allowed to reach full maturity which results in their larger size.

fresh mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of the few foods (fungi, technically) that offer vitamin D. When mushrooms have been exposed to UV light, they can improve vitamin D levels in a healthy body. Another health benefit of mushrooms is their ability to improve the immune system. According to a study by Tufts University, white button mushrooms were proven to enhance the body’s immune response.

But button mushrooms aren’t the only type of mushrooms to offer health benefits. Due to being picked at different stages in growth, the agaricus bisporus may vary in nutritional value. But most often, you can find that mushrooms of this variety are rich in copper, selenium, vitamin B2, and vitamin B3.

Mushrooms Selection and Storage

When selecting mushrooms, look for firm caps that are unblemished. Make sure the mushrooms appear plump and still have the stem attached. If they feel at all slimy, pass them up. Store your mushrooms in the refrigerator for up to seven days.

How To Clean Mushrooms

cleaning mushrooms

Mushrooms absorb moisture when left for too long in water but they won’t be harmed by a quick rinse. To clean mushrooms, simply rinse them and then wipe dry with a paper towel. Alternatively, you could wipe each mushroom down with a damp paper towel. Both methods work but rinsing is better for mushrooms that have dirt coated on them.

How To Prepare Mushrooms

chopping mushrooms

After cleaning your mushrooms, you’ll need to prepare them for cooking. If using portobello mushrooms, you may want to remove the gills. While the gills in portobellos are edible, they do leak a dark liquid when being cooked. To remove them, use a spoon to gently scrape the gills out. Wipe clean with a paper towel after. For shiitake and portobello mushrooms , you’ll want to remove the stems before cooking. Simply slice it off the base of the mushroom cap and discard.

How To Cook Mushrooms

1. Simmer
marinating mushrooms in a jarImage of marinated mushrooms via Shutterstock

A marinated mushroom salad is a refreshing way to enjoy mushrooms. But first, you’ll need to simmer your mushrooms to soften them and prepare them for absorbing your marinade.

To simmer mushrooms, bring a large pot of water with 1 teaspoon of sea salt to a boil. Add 1 pound of cleaned mushrooms and lower heat to medium. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms have softened then drain into a colander. Transfer mushrooms to a large bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons white wine vinegar, one minced garlic clove, ½ teaspoon Italian herbs, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Pour the marinade into the bowl with mushrooms and mix until mushrooms are fully coated. Cover and allow to marinate for at least two hours in the refrigerator.

2. Sauté
sauteing mushrooms in pan

Mushrooms are particularly delicious when sautéed. To sauté mushrooms, heat two tablespoons olive oil in a pan over medium-heat. Add eight ounces sliced mushrooms to the pan and stir. Add ¼  teaspoon sea salt and any additional desired spices. Let cook for about eight to ten minutes, stirring frequently.

In the beginning stages of cooking, the mushrooms will release moisture, and a sizzling sound will occur. Browning will begin after the moisture is released so be sure to stir them frequently during this time. Once mushrooms are lightly crisped and browned around the edges, they are ready to serve.

3. Grill
mushrooms on a grill
Image of grilled portobello mushrooms via Shutterstock

Portobello mushrooms are perfect for grilling due to their “meaty” texture and large size. To grill portobello mushrooms, you’ll need to clean them, remove the stem, and scrape out the gills. Then add 2 large portobellos to a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together two tablespoons olive oil, two minced garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Add the sauce to the portobellos and toss until portobellos are fully coated.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and add portobellos. Let grill on each side for about four to six minutes until grill marks appear.

Pro tip: Kick up the flavor by adding a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and ½ tablespoon of pure maple syrup to the sauce. You can also let the mushrooms marinate in the refrigerator for up to an hour for added flavor.

4. Roast
roasting mushrooms on parchment paper

Mushrooms are deliciously crispy when roasted. To roast crimini mushrooms, line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Add a pound of sliced mushrooms to a large bowl. Toss with one tablespoon coconut oil, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and ½ teaspoon Italian herbs. Add to the baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Mushroom Recipes

mushrooms with bok choyImage of mushroom stir-fry via Shutterstock

Bok Choy Stir-Fry Recipe with Savory Mushrooms and Quinoa 
This vegan savory stir-fry is the perfect way to use mushrooms in an easy yet tasty way. They provide a tender bite in perfect juxtaposition of bok choy’s crunchy texture.

Portobello Mushroom BurgerImage of portobello mushroom burger via Shutterstock

Roasted Portobello Mushroom and Peach Burger
The “meaty” texture of a portobello mushroom works wonders in this sweet and savory vegetarian burger recipe. You wouldn’t expect fruit to be lurking between the bun in your burger but the peaches add an unexpectedly delicious flavor.

Sweet Potato Noodles with Chanterelles and Cashew Sage SauceImage via Kate Gavlick

Sweet Potato Noodles with Chanterelles and Cashew Sage Sauce
This gourmet pasta recipe uses the finest ingredients to create a decadent dish. Chanterelle mushrooms add an earthy and fragrant finesse to the sweet potato noodles.

Garlicky Mushroom Farro RecipeImage of mushrooms in farro via Ashley Melillo

No-Fuss Garlicky Farro with Sautéed Mushrooms
This warming and hearty grain dish features filling farro and melt-in-your-mouth mushrooms. The mushrooms add a buttery bite that adds all the flavor a grain dish could ever need.

Gluten-Free Vegan Quiche Recipe with Mushrooms, Kale, and Sweet Potato: An Animal-Friendly Breakfast to Remember
Image of quiche with mushrooms via Shutterstock

Gluten-Free Vegan Quiche Recipe with Mushrooms, Kale, and Sweet Potato
This gluten-free and vegan quiche will pack a punch of flavor to your morning with its savory ingredients. Mushrooms complement sweet potatoes and kale in this veggie-laden dish.

Related on Organic Authority
The Benefits of Mushrooms: 10 Ways to Use the ‘Super Fungus’
Cultivating or Foraging Mushrooms: Everything You Need to Know about Our Favorite Fun Guy
Truffle Mushrooms: Is the Most Expensive Food in the World Worth It?

Images via Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers is a fashion and food blogger living a compassionate lifestyle. Karissa is the blogger of Vegan À La Mode where she shares her favorite vegan and gluten-free recipes and also her eco-friendly cruelty-free style. Her love for photographing food and her outfits, drove her to develop a passion for photography. After a few years of honing in on her photography skills, Karissa launched her business, Karissa Bowers Photography, where she shoots weddings and portraits. When she’s not taking photos or in the kitchen, you can find Karissa traveling and trying new vegan restaurants.

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These Easy Paleo Egg Muffins are Breakfast Game Changers


paleo egg muffins

Here’s how to make hectic mornings so much more sane — and delicous. Cook up a batch of these super simple (and nutrient-packed) paleo egg muffins to seize the day and stay satiated. Batch cooking has never looked so good.

Here’s a little secret to eating healthy: it’s all about being prepared. Even with the best of intentions, it’s far too easy to reach for a donut in the morning instead of a wholesome breakfast if you lack time or the motivation to cook.

Here’s where batch cooking is a healthy game changer in my book. Batch cooking, or spending a few hours one day per week to whip up a variety of easy dishes (cooked grains, overnight oats, massaged kale salad, roasted vegetables, and more) is the easiest way to ensure that pizza for dinner doesn’t happen because you lack the time or energy to cook during the week.

Simply block out a few hours each week, like two hours on Sunday evening, and prep, prep, prep! It helps to menu plan, make grocery lists, and hit the store or the farmers market this day in order to snag everything you may need.

Once you get the basics of batch cooking, and your favorite recipes (like these paleo egg muffins, of course!) you’ll never go back to scrounging around the fridge looking for breakfast or dinner ever again.

paleo egg muffins

paleo egg muffins

Breakfast Batch Cooked with Paleo Egg Muffins

These paleo egg muffins are one way to win the batch cooking game. With just 15 minutes prep time and under 30 minutes in the oven, these delicious and portable egg muffins are ready to go.

Along with being paleo-friendly, grain-free, and gluten-free, these egg muffins are packed will all the good stuff including vegetables, greens, and organic eggs.

Sautéing a variety of vegetables including bell pepper, zucchini, and red onion ensures plenty of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and flavor, in each and every bite.

These paleo egg muffins also are packed with fresh, lightly sautéed greens. In this recipe I used a combination of spinach and tatsoi greens, but other spring greens like watercress, baby kale, chard, bok choy, mizuna, dandelion, and beet greens work wonderfully as well. If using hardier greens like chard and kale, just make sure to sauté them slightly longer.

The beauty of these paleo egg muffins is their versatility. Swap vegetables as needed and add in as many other vegetables and proteins as you desire.

Other delicious additions include chopped tomatoes and basil, asparagus, feta or goat cheese, cooked chicken sausage, cooked quinoa, and avocado.

Once cooked, these paleo egg muffins will keep in the refrigerator for a week. They are super portable and make a great snack on the go, as a pre- or post-workout snack, after school snack, or quick and easy lunch addition.

paleo egg muffins

Paleo Egg Muffins Recipe


  • 6 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil, divided
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 3 cups greens of choice, roughly chopped
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 12 muffin tins with one tablespoon of avocado oil and set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add one tablespoon avocado oil. Add onion and sauté for three minutes, until slightly translucent.
  3. Add bell pepper and zucchini to the skillet and sauté for four minutes more.
  4. Add in chopped greens and sauté until wilted, about one or two minutes.
  5. Remove vegetable skillet from heat.
  6. Scoop a heaped tablespoon of sautéed vegetables into greased muffin tins, using up all vegetable mixture. The vegetables should fill up about ¾ of the tin.
  7. Whisk eggs in a small bowl. Add in oregano, parsley, and sea salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
  8. Gently pour whisked eggs over vegetables in muffin tins, filling nearly to the top.
  9. Bake egg muffins in oven for 18-23 minutes, or until set and eggs have puffed up.
  10. Carefully remove egg muffins from tins and enjoy immediately.
  11. Store egg muffins in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they will keep for one week.




Related On Organic Authority
Organic Eggs to Finally Come from Free-Roaming Chickens
Perfect Paleo Protein Pancakes with Coconut Flour and Cinnamon
Paleo Coconut-Crusted Salmon Recipe with Honey Mustard

Photos by Kate Gavlick

Kate Gavlick

Kate Gavlick

Kate is a Nutritionist with a Master’s of Nutrition from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon and the blogger and photographer of Vegukate. Kate believes in nourishing the whole body with real, vibrant foods that feed the mind, body, soul, gut, and every single little cell. Her philosophy is simple when it comes to food and nourishment: cut the processed junk, listen to your body, eat by the seasons, eat plates and bowls filled with color, stress less, and enjoy every single bite. When she’s not cooking in her too tiny Portland kitchen, Kate can be found perusing farmer’s markets, doing barre classes, hiking, reading, and exploring.

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7 Easy, Healthy Dinners You Should Cook This Week

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell

The thing about cooking is that sometimes it’s fun, and other times it feels like a chore—either way, though, you need to eat. To help you stay ahead of the weekday cooking game, SELF is putting together weekly lists of seven recipes that will hopefully inspire your meal planning for the week ahead. You can check out past weeks’ recipes here. All of the recipes have a balance of protein, healthy fats, and healthy carbs, and they’re simple enough for beginner cooks. Several ingredients appear in multiple recipes—brown rice, potatoes, mustard greens, eggs, and fennel—which helps keep your grocery list short.

There are two vegetarian recipes, two chicken recipes, two fish recipes, and a pork recipe, so you won’t get bored.
The number of servings per recipe varies, but you can easily halve or double each of them as it suits you (most make for great lunch leftovers!). Also, you might want to choose just a few recipes and repeat meals for a couple of days—that’s what I do, to be honest. If you cook one of the recipes or have questions, post a photo on Instagram and tag @selfmagazine and @xtinebyrne (that’s me!), or DM us—we love a good food pic as much as you do, and we’re always here to help!

Andrew Purcell, Carrie Purcell


Green Chicken Curry With Brown Rice

Jarred green curry paste is one shortcut I’m happy to take on weeknights. Making your own isn’t difficult, per se, but it means tracking down a bunch of ingredients you likely don’t stock regularly. This recipe comes together in about 30 minutes and tastes just like what you’d get from a takeout place. Get the recipe here.

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The 9 Best Wines at Aldi for Under $10

Along with some awesome snacks, Aldi has a lot going for it. The discount supermarket isn’t as notorious as some of the other grocery chains, but it offers products so excellent and affordable, it could easily go toe-to-toe with Trader Joe’s. If you aren’t already a fan, one quick trip to an Aldi near you is probably enough to get you hooked.

Of course, among the amazing offerings are some great budget wine options. Red, white, rosé, bubbly—Aldi has a full selection, and many of the bottles are under $10. SELF asked Lydia Richards, a certified sommelier at Colangelo & Partners, to give us the lowdown on which inexpensive bottles are the best on offer. Here are all her tips and tasting notes about nine under-$10 selections you’re guaranteed to love.

Courtesy of ALDI


Outlander Cabernet Sauvignon, $9

Richards says you can expect notes of dark cherry, vanilla, and caramel with this rich Cabernet. She suggests pairing it with even richer dishes, like stewed meats, pot pies, and creamy au gratin potatoes.

Buy it here: $9,

Courtesy of ALDI


Giretto Pinot Grigio, $6

“This is a very crisp Pinot Grigio,” Richard explains. She says it’s very tart—perfect for any sour candy lovers—and you’ll be able to detect hints of peach puree and mint. For best results, she recommends pairing it with shellfish and roasted white meats.

Buy it here: $6,

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The Ultimate Vegan Appetizer Recipe: Roasted Veggies with Goddess Avocado Dip


Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers is a fashion and food blogger living a compassionate lifestyle. Karissa is the blogger of Vegan À La Mode where she shares her favorite vegan and gluten-free recipes and also her eco-friendly cruelty-free style. Her love for photographing food and her outfits, drove her to develop a passion for photography. After a few years of honing in on her photography skills, Karissa launched her business, Karissa Bowers Photography, where she shoots weddings and portraits. When she’s not taking photos or in the kitchen, you can find Karissa traveling and trying new vegan restaurants.

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15 Amazing Food Storage Containers That Aren’t Plastic Wrap


After you spent the last hour whipping up a healthy dinner, just looking at the leftovers piled in pots and pans leaves you exhausted.

Clean up is the worst. Why can’t those leftovers magically put themselves away? You want to wrap those extra veggies, that half of an avocado, and that leftover pasta in the bowl in plastic wrap and go binge watch Netflix.

But even though the undeniable convenience of plastic wrap pulls at you, you know you won’t use it. (You’d give yourself a guilt complex for days.)

“More people are realizing every day that the plastic they throw away has long-lasting consequences for our oceans, our soil, our drinking water supply, and the health of our bodies and our planet,” says Sarah Kaeck, founder of Bee’s Wrap, which makes reusable organic cotton wrap as an alternative to plastic wrap. “If we don’t make changes to the amount of plastic we’re consuming as a society, we’re on track to see more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.”

One study found that of the 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste we’ve generated, only 9 percent has been recycled, only 12 percent has been incinerated, and the vast majority—79 percent—has built up in landfills or the natural environment.

And one-time use plastic wrap and baggies have much to do with that problem.

“Plastic wrap or sandwich baggies are used for such a short period of time. And they’re difficult (and impossible, in some places) to recycle,” Kaeck says. “Most end up in the trash. And then, despite being used for just a brief period in one’s home, they persist forever in our environment.”

So, What’s That Plastic Wrap Doing to Your Health?

Besides adding unnecessary waste to the world, storing food in single-use plastic means worrying about your health.

“I always knew that plastic was crappy for the environment. There’s no evidence to suggest it ever biodegrades. But until my wife and I had kids, I didn’t really consider what effect it had on our health,” says Steve Reble, Co-Owner of etee (Everything Touches Everything Else), which makes beeswax and essential oil reusable food wraps.

“A little bit of time and digging taught me that it may also leach toxins into our food, which means we’re ingesting it,” he says. “While we wait for 100 percent confirmation from the scientific community, I’d rather keep plastic off my boys’ food.”

Kaeck says she also felt concern about the health effects of plastic. “I was worried about the implications of plastic for both my family’s health and the health of the planet,” she says of why she wanted to eliminate plastic wrap from her kitchen.

Move over plastic wrap. So many better, more sustainable options exist. And many of these already live in your kitchen.

1. Mason jars

Oh, the mason jar. What can’t it do?

Mason jars work great as food storage containers. Whether you’re putting away the leftovers from dinner or storing dry goods, like rice, beans, and flour.

“We use a lot of mason jars and glass jars at home,” Kaeck says.“They last forever, are perfect for transporting beverages or soups, and serve all kinds of purposes in our kitchen.”

Reble also uses mason jars regularly. “My favourite (We’re Canadian. We add extra ‘u’s whenever we can.), plastic-free food storage—aside from etee—hands down is the glass mason jar,” he says. “Every single day I make a giant batch of smoothies and split it up into multiple jars for the fam to share. I’d be lost without my mason jars.”

2. Leftover jars from other food

Guess what? You don’t need to buy anything new to get awesome food storage containers.

Head out to your recycling bin and grab your extra glass jars from pickles, olives, pasta sauce, and salsa.

These glass jars work perfectly to store leftovers, homemade soups, and drinks.

3. Glass food storage containers

Recycle your plastic food storage containers and never look back.

You have a way better option: Glass.

Glass food storage containers last longer than plastic. You don’t have to worry about any potential contamination from your food touching plastic. And you can easily reheat food in the same container. What’s not to love?

4. Stainless steel food storage containers

Keep your food extra cold with reusable stainless steel food storage containers.

They’re great for packing lunches, like sandwiches, salads, and cut fruit. And these handy stainless steel food storage containers from U-Konserve even include dividers.

5. Two plates or bowls

Sandwich your leftovers between two plates or two bowls and stick them in the fridge.

This method is especially useful if you want to make up a plate of food to store for later. Grab it out of the fridge, take off the top plate, heat it up, and enjoy.

6. Wax paper

If you already have wax paper in your kitchen, use it as a better alternative to plastic wrap.

Clean off the wax paper and reuse it multiple times. But when it comes to the end of its life, you have limited options.

Recycling wax paper is a no-no because it’s coated in, well, wax. And wax doesn’t mix well with the water-based recycling process.

And, you can drop wax paper in your compost pile, but only if you have a soy-based, biodegradable wax paper. (You don’t want paraffin wax in your compost. Yuck!)

7. Aluminum foil

While you don’t want to use aluminum foil all the time for food storage (that’s not very sustainable), this shiny kitchen staple works well in a pinch.

Rinse off any food residue and you can reuse a piece of aluminum foil multiple times. And some curbside recycling programs even accept it. (Hint: Clean it off first.)

8. Paper bags

Use paper bags to store fragile produce in the fridge, like berries, dates, and figs. Paper bags also work well to ripen produce. Speed up ripening by placing avocados, tomatoes, and pears in paper bags and set them on the counter.

Paper bags aren’t super reusable but you can compost them.

9. Dish towels

Need to keep a salad cool while you finish making dinner? Covering a plate or a bowl in a dish towel works great for short-term food storage.

10. Cheesecloth

Besides using cheesecloth to make your own ghee butter or cold brew coffee, you can also use it to store foods that need a little ventilation, like certain produce and herbs. And cheese, of course.

11. Cloth napkins

Wrap up sandwiches, fruits and veggies, and pretty much any food that’s not liquid, in a cloth napkin for quick storage.

12. Fabric bowl covers

You already have a bunch of bowls. So, why buy more food storage containers?

Use bowls and fabric bowl covers for simple food storage. Cover berries, pasta, a salad, and whatever else with a fabric bowl cover and you’re good to go.

Tons of fabric bowl cover options are for sale on Etsy. If you’re crafty, you can even sew your own.

13. Silicone suction lids

Silicone suction lids make food storage easy. Besides also being super fun to use. (Who didn’t play with suction cups when they were kids?)

These food covers come in a variety of sizes to fit different containers.

14. Silicone storage bags

Need to store and freeze liquids, like soups and stocks? Reusable silicone storage bags are a good bet. And you can clean them in the dishwasher. Easy peasy.

Look for silicone storage bags made from food grade silicone. So they don’t contain any nasty fillers, coatings, BPA, PVC, or phthalates.

15. Reusable food wrap

Perhaps the ultimate plastic wrap alternative is reusable food wraps.

Made from organic cotton infused with beeswax and tree resin, reusable food wraps are a lovely way to store food. Just rinse and reuse. Over and over.

They come in varying sizes, so you can use them to pack a sandwich, wrap up half of an onion, and cover a casserole.

They also help keep food fresh. And can last up to a year.

The best part? When they’ve seen a little too much love, you can toss them in your compost pile.

The Reusable Food Wrap Brands We Love

Choose sustainable food storage that starts from the earth and returns to it. Artisans today are bringing back a lost tradition of using natural materials to create convenient food storage wrappings. Naturally biodegradable, reusable, and convenient. We want these in our kitchens.

Bee’s Wrap

Bee’s Wrap food storage wraps are handmade in Vermont from organic cotton infused with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin.

“We’ve designed these wraps to be used and reused, and they typically last for about a year with regular use in the kitchen,” Kaeck says. “And unlike plastic wrap, Bee’s Wrap is fully biodegradable. So when a wrap is ready to be retired from regular use, it can be composted (or cut up and used as a natural fire starter for your grill or fireplace.)”

And they not only store food, they help it last longer. “It keeps cheese and bread fresh; it’s perfect for wrapping up veggies and fruit; and it makes it easy to carry snacks and meals on the go in a lightweight, eco-friendly package,” Keyack says.

The pretty squares come in unique, fun designs. Each size has its own distinct pattern, so you can easily grab the size you need.


Reusable food wraps are part of a plastic-free revolution, according to Steve Reble, Co-Owner of etee, which stands for Everything Touches Everything Else. The company handmakes reusable food wraps in Toronto.

“Etee wraps are a great alternative because they keep most food, such as organic produce, snacks, sandwiches, and leftovers, as fresh as plastic without the side effects,” Reble says.

The company’s food wraps use 10 parts beeswax to one part non-GMO soy wax and tree resin to form a tacky but not overly sticky seal. “Etee food wraps use organic and whole ingredients, and have a slightly different formula than other traditional beeswax food wraps,” he says. “This formula makes our wraps more pliable and tacky, which makes for an amazing seal when wrapping produce or topping a bowl.”

Etee crates its colorful food wraps with ribbed edging from organic cotton muslin fabric with non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes.

Besides smelling amazing, added organic jojoba oils and cinnamon and clove essential oils help keep food fresh. The food wraps aren’t recommended for raw meats or for long-term freezer use.

Related on Organic Authority

7 Kitchen Gadgets Every Nutrition Nerd Needs
How To Make Reusable Versions Of The Top 13 Kitchen Staples
3 Tips for Storing Cheese Properly: Unwrap the Flavor

Kirsten Hudson

Contributing Writer

Kirsten Hudson is a writer and journalist living in the Midwest. Her work has been featured in Natural Home magazine, The Herb Companion magazine, VintageKC magazine, The Huffington Post, and, of course, Organic Authority! She loves everything DIY, home, and garden—with a natural twist. You can follow along with her home projects on her home and lifestyle blog, Red Leaf Style, at

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15 Insta-Worthy Kitchen Items That Professional Food Bloggers and Stylists Swear By

Graphic by Cristina Cianci

Hands up if you’ve ever made a point to snap a picture of a particularly beautiful plate of food before you dig in. Yes? Me too. Actually, I’d say I take pictures of my food almost every day—sometimes that means catching a simple oatmeal breakfast in good morning light; other times it means forcing a friend to help stage a pizza cheese pull in public.

The thing is, even after years of amateur food photography, I can’t seem to even come close to recreating the perfect, scroll-stopping professional food photos that I see on my feed, in magazines, and on my favorite food blogs and websites. Specific lighting, strategically prepared food, and expensive camera equipment (all pretty inaccessible for most of us) are greatly responsible for this, but another key factor? Props. And, good news: replacing run-of-the-mill plates, bowls, glasses, and napkins with prettier ones is a realistic way to bring your food pics to the next level.

I asked 11 food bloggers and professional food stylists to share their absolute favorite props for food styling. Below are 16 gorgeous kitchen products, at a variety of price points, that these experts love to use in their food photos. And hey, even if you have no interest in photographing your meals, they all look even better IRL.


Natural 100% Linen Napkins

Neutral napkins are something I use all the time. Since I cook very colorful food (lots of veggies!), I keep my props and styling simple and fresh to really let the food pop. I like to keep my linens basic – neutrals, simple, and naturally textured. I love these linens from World Market, they’re my go-to. Here they are next to my Chicken Zucchini Noodle Soup.

Ali Maffucci, blogger at Inspiralized

Buy them here: $18 for 4,

Ali Maffucci

Rebekah Peppler


Opinel Paring Knife

I love my small yellow Opinel paring knife. Even when I’m not using it as a prop, I bring it to set and use it as a tool. In photos, it adds a clean, beautiful pop of color without taking over. Plus, it looks even better with a little wear (which mine definitely has).

Rebekah Peppler, food stylist

Buy it here: $39 for 4,

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17 Creamy Desserts That Are Actually Dairy-Free

Even though I generally prefer savory to sweet, I have a real soft spot for creamy desserts. A pint of ice cream has no chance of survival around me and a strawberry milkshake is my ultimate weakness. When I say it’s my weakness, I’m not kidding. Since I’m lactose intolerant, those dairy-filled treats I so crave are basically my kryptonite. But even though I know they’ll destroy me, I can’t seem to stop seeking them out.

I used to think the only way to satisfy my creamy cravings was with actual dairy, but after dabbling in vegan desserts I’ve come to find that isn’t true at all. Thanks to a growing vegan population, it’s easier than ever to find creamy substitutes that taste nearly identical to the real stuff. Things like coconut cream and nut milks help the classic desserts you know and love taste just as good if not better than their dairy-filled counterparts.

If you’re not sure how to use these ingredients on your own to make the desserts you desire, let these 17 recipes show you the way. They include all the creamy treats you could want, from cheesecake to banana cream pie to rice pudding, and they’re all completely dairy-free. Even if you’re not interested in cutting out dairy, they’re still worth making.


Mocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream from A Couple Cooks

This ice cream is made with actual ground coffee beans, so it’s a treat that’ll also give you some energy. For the brave, consider doubling down on the caffeine by pouring a shot of espresso over a scoop for an affogato. Get the recipe here.

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How to Make (Vegan) Mexican Rice Better Than Your Favorite Restaurant


How To Make Mexican Rice

Learning how to make Mexican rice will benefit countless dinners to come. This vegan and gluten-free recipe uses wholesome ingredients to make this classic dish guilt-free.

Rice recipes can be tricky for a couple of reasons. The first and most challenging problem most home chefs run into is the liquid ratio. Too much liquid and you will end up with soggy rice. Too little liquid and your rice will be dry and burnt.

The second tricky part of making homemade rice is perfecting the texture. You can ensure perfectly fork tender and fluffy rice though by keeping an eye on it while it cooks. There have been many times where I walked away, assuming the rice would be fine but came back to find it burnt and stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Check your rice about five minutes before it’s supposed to be done. Use a fork to see if a grain of rice can be broken in half when pressing it against the side of the pot. If not, then keep cooking until the timer goes off.

While this Mexican rice recipe is more wholesome than the traditional variety, it’s just as delicious and tastes like it’s straight from your favorite restaurant. Add in frozen peas and carrots if you prefer your rice with a boost of veggies.

Don’t forget to serve this Mexican rice alongside homemade refried beans to complete your meal!

How To Make Mexican Rice

Vegan Mexican Rice Recipe

Vegan Mexican Rice Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 28 ounces jarred whole peeled tomatoes
  • ½ cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup white long grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large stockpot. Add onion and sauté for about four to five minutes, until softened and translucent. Add tomatoes and sauté for three minutes.
  2. Scoop out the whole tomatoes and transfer to a food processor. Pulse until mostly smooth with a bit of texture remaining. Add puréed tomatoes back into the pot.
  3. Add rice, vegetable broth, and sea salt to the pot. Cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove lid and turn off heat.
  4. Let rice sit for about five minutes. Fluff with a fork and then serve immediately. Enjoy!


Related on Organic Authority
Vegan Enchiladas: So Good You’ll Come Back For Seconds (and Thirds)!
4 Vegetarian Mexican Recipes to Make Meatless Monday a Fiesta!
17 Rice Cooker Recipes (That Don’t Include Rice!)

Images via Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers is a fashion and food blogger living a compassionate lifestyle. Karissa is the blogger of Vegan À La Mode where she shares her favorite vegan and gluten-free recipes and also her eco-friendly cruelty-free style. Her love for photographing food and her outfits, drove her to develop a passion for photography. After a few years of honing in on her photography skills, Karissa launched her business, Karissa Bowers Photography, where she shoots weddings and portraits. When she’s not taking photos or in the kitchen, you can find Karissa traveling and trying new vegan restaurants.

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Roasted Veggie Grain Platter

Hi, David here. I’ll get to the recipe soon but first I just wanted to share a little scene from last night. Isac was watching a baking program for kids and as I was tucking him in, he thoroughly explained the whole process of making croissants to me. ”You have so much butter in croissants, dad. Like, a lot. You put it on the dough and fold it over the butter like this. And you hit it with the rolling pin like this, bam bam bam”. When it comes to numbers and letters, he can be a little clueless, but the fact that our three year-old had memorized all the details in croissant baking from just watching it once on tv, made me all happy and proud. I’m not saying that mastering a croissant is more important than math, but teaching our kids how to cook has been one of the things I’ve really looked forward to as a dad. And he is really into it. The little kids stove has long been his favorite toy both at home and in kindergarten an he often serves imaginary pancakes to all his friends. I’ve promised him that we will make croissants together tonight so I’m off to prep a dough right after this (making the rye croissants from Green Kitchen Travels). I’ll report back with how it goes.

Today’s recipe doesn’t have anything to do with croissants but Isac does play a little part as kitchen helper in the video below.


There is one obvious reason why grain bowls have become so popular in the last couple of years. Their looks. If you don’t know what a grain bowl is, it’s basically a mix of roasted and raw vegetables on a bed of grains and herbs arranged in a bowl. The mix of vegetables often make these bowls super colorful and therefore also very popular on instagram. Grain bowls are however more then just pretty. They are hearty and provide a variety of textures and flavors. They are also very easy to adapt to what you have at home and what’s in season. We often make grain bowls for lunch, with any cooked grain, millet or quinoa as the bed, adding leftover vegetables from the fridge on top. In this recipe, we have taken the grain bowl concept and turned it into a platter. It’s topped with roasted and fresh spring vegetables, feta cheese, egg halves and hazelnuts. It’s a beautiful dish and a great one to make for Easter dinner. If you want to take the Easter concept even further, you could add roasted asparagus as well.

We use an organic five-grain mix (emmer wheat, barley, gamut, brown rice and oat groats) from Zeta as the grain base but if you can’t find something similar, go with your favorite grain. Grains thrive with flavor friends, so we have paired these with a quick salsa made from marinated bell peppers, olives, capers, herbs and lemon. And stirred in a bit of feta cheese and toasted hazelnuts as well. It’s all there, flavours, looks and textures.


Roasted Veggie Grain Platter with Bell Pepper Salsa
Serves 4

To make this vegan, you can simply skip the eggs and feta cheese.

1 x 250 g bag Zeta 5-grain mix (or grains of choice)

Roasted vegetables:
1 bunch carrots
3 purple spring onions or 2 red onions
2 small zucchini
1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt

Bell pepper & olive salsa:
100 ml / 1/3 cup grilled marinated bell pepper
100 ml / 1/3 cup Lecchino olives
3 tbsp capers
5-6 stalks fresh parsley and mint
1/2 lemon, juice
4 tbsp olive oil

2-3 medium soft boiled eggs
150 g feta cheese
100 ml / 1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
2 handfuls mache lettuce
6 heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch radishes

Preheat the oven at 200°C / 400°F and cover a baking tray with baking paper.
Peal or clean the carrots and trim off the outer layer of the onion. Cut the onion lengthwise and the zucchini in bite-size pieces. Place the vegetables on the tray. Drizzle with oil and salt and roast for 15-20 minutes.
Cook the grains in a large bowl of salted water according to the instructions on the package and drain in a sieve once they are ready.
Make the salsa by chopping all the ingredients finely. Place in a bowl, squeeze over lemon juice and drizzle with oil. Fold the salsa into the grains, reserving some of it for serving. Crumble 2/3 of the feta cheese into the grains and half of the hazelnuts. Toss so everything is mixed.
Pour the grains onto a platter, top with the roasted vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, egg halves, feta cheese and hazelnuts. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the remaining salsa and some sourdough bread on the side.

Disclosure: We were compensated by Zeta for creating this recipe and video using some of their products. All words are our own. 


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19 Amazing Ways to Cook With Eggplant

I love eggplant now, but it took me a while to warm up to it. As an Italian-American, I grew up eating my fair share of eggplant parm, but I didn’t have much exposure to the veg beyond that. When finally faced with an opportunity to cook with it, I have to say I was stumped. It’s a bit more finicky than its simple appearance might indicate, and if you don’t know what you’re doing the results can be tragic. But if you do, the possibilities are endless.

Eggplant is technically in season during the summer, but you can usually find it at supermarkets all year long. It’s a member of the same family as zucchini, but the similarities between the two end there, and while you might be able to eat zucchini raw, you definitely shouldn’t do the same with eggplant. Its flesh is dense and rubbery, which isn’t great uncooked, but is earthy, smoky, and meaty when cooked. In fact, its meatiness makes a great meat substitute for vegetarians in terms of flavor, though you may want to pair it with a protein source since it has a relatively low amount—about a gram per cup.

These 19 recipes will guide you through some of the best ways to cook with eggplant, from classics like baba ganoush to exciting new ideas like eggplant quesadillas. Before you know it, you’ll be an eggplant master.

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This Easy Vegan Cheesecake will Make Your Dreams Come True

Vegan and Gluten-Free Easy Cheesecake Recipe

This easy vegan cheesecake recipe is made from wholesome ingredients and is ultra-creamy. The light-as-air texture will make the cheesecake melt in your mouth. With a sweet yet crunchy gluten-free crust, this cheesecake is perfection.

Buying The Ingredients

Easy Cheesecake Ingredient

The key ingredient in this recipe is cashews. Once soaked, cashews create a creamy consistency that works wonderfully in cheesecake. You’ll need unsalted and unroasted cashews in this recipe. Cashews can be a pricey ingredient but there are a couple of ways to make them more budget-friendly.

Health food stores sell cashews in the bulk bins which tend to be less expensive. Costco also sells cashews in bulk for a reasonable price. It offers a 40-ounce container of organic unsalted unroasted cashews for under $25. Buying organic cashews is best because conventionally grown cashew trees are often sprayed with endosulfan. The pesticide is so toxic that it has been banned in most countries, but not the U.S.

Cashews are not only rich in protein but also in copper, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. Including cashews in one’s diet on a regular basis is an easy and tasty way to eliminate the concern.

The other key ingredients in this cheesecake recipe are coconut oil, vanilla extract, lemon, and Medjool dates. The coconut oil helps to solidify the cheesecake while vanilla extract provides a delicious flavor. Lemon juice adds the tanginess associated with this classic dessert.

Medjool dates provide not only sweetness but also texture to the gluten-free crust. Once pulsed with nuts in a food processor, they provide the perfect base. As a bonus, dates are rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, iron, and protein.

Kitchen Prep

This easy cheesecake recipe requires a high-speed blender, food processor, and a springform pan, so have those handy. If you don’t have a food processor, you can make the crust in the blender as long as it has a pulse function. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you might be able to make the filling in a high-quality food processor but it may not be as smooth.

Make sure you soak your cashews in water in advance. A minimum of six hours soak time is recommended while soaking overnight is ideal and most convenient. The higher speed your blender, the less soak time required. Once done soaking, drain and rinse them into a blender. If you lack the time to soak them fully, you can boil them for ten minutes to soften them quickly.

If your Medjool dates are firm and don’t break apart easily, you’ll need to soak them. Simply soak them in water for about one hour and they should be softened. This will make them disintegrate easier in the food processor.

How To Make Easy Cheesecake

Vegan Easy Cheesecake Ingredients

Vegan Cheesecake Recipe


  • 1 ½ cups cashews, soaked and drained
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ⅓ cup virgin coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt


  1. Line a springform pan with parchment paper or a baking mat. Add almonds, dates, and sea salt to a food processor. Pulse until fine and crumbly. Press into the pan until well packed and even. Place in the refrigerator.
  2. Add cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, sweetener, and vanilla to a high-speed blender. Blend until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  3. Pour filling onto the crust and smooth out with a rubber spatula. Place in the refrigerator to set for about four hours, or until firm. Slice into triangles and serve immediately. Store any leftover cheesecake in the freezer.




While You Bake

Making Vegan Cheesecake

For the smoothest possible cheesecake filling, scrape the sides of the blender occasionally during the blending process. Use a rubber spatula to make sure you get all cashew bits and pieces. If you are having trouble getting it completely smooth then add a tiny splash of nondairy milk, preferably coconut milk.

Flavor Tips

Once you’ve mastered easy cheesecake, try your hand at one of these fun flavor variations:

  • Berry Swirl: Pour half of the filling mixture into the prepared pan with the crust. Then add one cup blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries to the blender. Blend until completely smooth. Swirl berry filling in with the vanilla.
  • Peanut Butter: Follow recipe instructions for the filling and crust as directed. Then, mix ¼ cup natural peanut butter with one tablespoon melted coconut oil. Swirl peanut butter into filling then place in the refrigerator to set.
  • Chocolate: Add ¼ cup raw cacao powder to the filling mixture in the blender. Blend well and proceed with recipe as directed.
  • Key Lime: Add ¼ cup lime juice to the filling mixture in the blender. Blend well and then pour filling into the prepared pan with the crust. Once the cheesecake has firmed up after refrigeration, garnish with lime zest.

Related on Organic Authority
Homemade Cashew Milk with Cinnamon and Maple Syrup
11 Coconut Oil Recipes That’ll Make You a True Believer
9 Mouthwatering Grain-Free and Dairy-Free Desserts

Images via Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers
Karissa Bowers

Karissa Bowers is a fashion and food blogger living a compassionate lifestyle. Karissa is the blogger of Vegan À La Mode where she shares her favorite vegan and gluten-free recipes and also her eco-friendly cruelty-free style. Her love for photographing food and her outfits, drove her to develop a passion for photography. After a few years of honing in on her photography skills, Karissa launched her business, Karissa Bowers Photography, where she shoots weddings and portraits. When she’s not taking photos or in the kitchen, you can find Karissa traveling and trying new vegan restaurants.

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