Lacto-Fermented Kosher Style Garlic Dill Pickles

It’s no secret I love my fermented vegetables. I have to eat at least a few a day to satisfy my cravings for the gut-friendly foods. Of all of these fermented delights, my all-time favorite would have to be the humble dill pickle. It is an easy ferment to make, however, it might be just as easy to mess up. In the following tutorial, I will share with you my tips on how to create a perfect pickle every time!

The first thing you have to decide is what kind of pickle you want. I prefer “kosher style” pickles, which doesn’t necessarily mean it is prepared in a kosher manner. Rather, it refers to a type of pickle that is made the old fashioned way: with a salt brine that is heavy on the dill and garlic. If you prefer a standard dill pickle, you can leave the garlic out of the mix. You can also add flavorings if you prefer. These taste great with a few slices of onion or punch up the heat with a little red pepper flake. However you decide to flavor them, stick with these basic instructions and you should be on your way to pickle heaven in no time! (Well, technically about a week.. More on that later.) πŸ˜‰


Ingredients are organic, when available.

  • 3-6 lbs of pickling cucumbers*
  • 5% brine (sea salt & water)**
  • Quart and pint sized jars with lids***
  • Optional: Airlocks, glass weights***

Per Quart Jar:

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp dill seed
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 4-5 springs of fresh dill
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • A pinch of black tea****

*The type of cucumber you use matters. It’s best to use pickling cucumbers. (Sometimes called salad cucumbers.) I go for the smaller ones so I don’t have to cut them up as much. Make sure they are firm and have minimal blemishes on the outside for best results. You can use other types of cucumbers to make these pickles, however, they may not be as crunchy & crisp as these turn out to be. For this batch, I used almost 6 lbs of cucumbers, which will yield 4.5 quarts of pickles.

**I use a 5% brine for these pickles. I have experimented with less/more salt and this is by far my favorite. To create a 5% brine: Add 2.5 tbs salt to 1 quart (4 cups) water. Use this ratio to create enough brine to cover all of the veggies.

***I use glass mason jars with a special lid and airlock system. I also use weights on the pickles if they are not staying submerged under the brine on their own. You by no means need this special equipment, but if you plan on making these often it’s definitely worth the investment. I’ve lost much fewer batches due to mold, ect. using this system.

****Black tea? Wha?? This is for the tannins that are needed to keep the pickles crisp. I use whole tea leaves because I always have them on hand. You can also use grape leaves, red raspberry leaves, oak leaves, ect. for your tannin source.



The first thing you want to do is wash your mason jars and lids with hot soapy water. You don’t have to sterilize them or do anything special, soap & water will do the job. Next, rinse your cucumbers and fresh dill with water. Gather your spices and salt.


Now, you want to trim the blossom end of the cucumber. This is another essential step that a lot of people overlook. Supposedly, the blossom end of the cucumber harbors enzymes that will make the pickle go limp. I don’t know the science behind it, I just know it works. So do it! But which is the blossom end you might ask…


There’s that. Now you get to decide how to cut your pickles. I prefer to do halves and quarters, but you could also do slices or leave them whole (given you have a large crock to put them in). I find the halves and quarters fill the jars nicely and are the perfect size for a snack! πŸ™‚


Once your cukes are sliced, you can begin to fill your jars. Starting with quart sized jars, add the spices, garlic, and fresh dill. I like to add them to the bottom of the jar, then fill the jar with the cucumbers – packing them as tightly as I can. This helps keep the spices submerged under the brine and prevent floaters that can cause mold.


After you’ve packed in your cucumbers, repeat with the other jars. Next, create your brine by adding the sea salt to filtered water and stir well to combine. Pour the brine over the cucumbers and fill to almost the top of the jar. You want to leave about 1/2 inch headroom, if possible. If you leave any less, your brine might leak out of the lid.


If your pickles are tight enough in the jar, they shouldn’t float and they should keep the majority of the spices at the bottom. If your cukes are floating, use the weights to keep them submerged (making sure the weight is under the brine as well). If you don’t have weights, there are plenty of alternative methods available. Such methods include using a thick slice of onion, carrot sticks, or a plastic bag filled with brine to keep the veggies beneath the liquid. Research and find one that works for you!

Once the jars are filled with brine, remove any spices that may have floated to the top as these can cause mold later on. Add your lid and airlock device if you are using one, otherwise just loosely screw on a plastic or metal lid. If you are going the plain lid route, I recommend placing the jars in a bowl or on a cookie sheet to catch any brine that may leak out.


Allow the pickles to sit at room temperature 7-10 days. The fermentation time will depend on your kitchen’s temperature and how thick/thin you sliced your cucumbers. I usually check on my pickles every few days to make sure everything is going okay. I taste the brine and remove any spices or seeds that may have floated up to the surface. Taste the pickles after a week and see how they are. If they need to be more sour, leave them a bit longer.


Once the pickles have reached the desired flavor, move to cold storage in your refrigerator. These pickles will last for months in the fridge, but honestly, they will be eaten up WAY before then!! πŸ˜€


~Samantha Sunshine


No Wait Sourdough Waffles

I’ve had my sourdough going for over a year now, and I’m still finding ways to use the discard from when I feed my starters. I loved the idea of sourdough waffles using discarded starter, however, all the recipes I found required the starter to be mixed and left overnight to rise. The recipes also included eggs, which is an ingredient I rarely have in my kitchen. I was determined to create an eggless waffle recipe that could be made right away, that was also crisp outside, cakey inside, and full of flavor.


After failing to adapt several of the popular recipes from various sourdough baking websites, I decided one morning to just wing it and see what would happen. I haphazardly tossed common waffle ingredients into a bowl, gave it a mix, and poured some into my ceramic waffle iron. A few minutes later, I lifted the handle and lo’ and behold – it was the most beautiful waffle I’d ever seen. For real, y’all. I was impressed.

Luckily, I scribbled down most of the ingredients and was later able to recreate those glorious waffles on a whim. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. πŸ™‚


No Wait Sourdough Waffles

Ingredients are all organic, when available.

  • 300 g discard starter (unfed)
  • 400 g all purpose flour
  • 400 g unsweetened coconut milk (carton not canned)*
  • 200 g filtered water
  • 56 g butter, melted (weighed before melting)**
  • 30 g sugar
  • 12 g vanilla extract
  • 7 g apple cider vinegar
  • 6 g baking soda
  • 6 g cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

*I use the So Delicious brand coconut milk in a carton. You could also use almond milk, cashew milk, or dairy milk. Use whatever milk you prefer.

**Butter can be substituted for vegan butter or coconut oil to make this recipe vegan.


Add all ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine. The texture of the batter should be slightly thick but still more liquid in consistency. Some lumps are okay. The mixture will also start to bubble slightly, this is completely normal.


Pour about 1/2 cup or so into the pre-heated waffle iron. Add more or less depending on the size waffles your maker can hold. Mine is a Belgian style machine and holds approximately 1/3-1/2 cup waffle batter. Close and cook as directed.


Depending on your waffle maker, it could take up to five minutes to cook entirely. The waffle will be medium light brown and crisp on the outside when it is ready.


Carefully remove waffle from the maker and allow to cool on a wire rack. You can also keep the cooked waffles in a warm oven while you make the rest. This recipe makes approximately 8 Belgian waffles. You can double the recipe if more are needed.


This recipe is everything I had been hoping for taste and texture wise, without having to wait! I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure it would make great pancakes as well! I’ll follow up on that once I have tested it. Feel free to add fruit, nuts, or even chocolate chips to the batter for an extra-special treat. πŸ™‚

I advise freezing any leftovers for a super quick breakfast. Just pop the waffle in the oven and broil for a few seconds on each side! Perfection!!

Enjoy & happy baking!
~Samantha Sunshine

How to Grow a Kombucha SCOBY From Scratch!

I actually feel a bit silly writing this article, as the process to grow your own SCOBY is ridiculously simple. So easy, anyone can do it. I am always amazed when I see SCOBY prices online as some can carry quite the hefty price tag. Seems strange to me to charge so much for something that was literally a by-product of your own operation.

Of course, you can bypass the SCOBY buying ordeal by picking up a bottle of store-bought kombucha and growing your own! It takes around a week (2-3 maybe if it’s cold in your kitchen) and costs less than $5! I bought a bottle of unflavored GT’s kombucha, but any flavor will produce a healthy SCOBY for you. I do recommend the GT’s brand though, as it’s the only one I’ve tried or heard of others using with absolute success.

But first, what the heck IS a SCOBY?!


SCOBY stands for “Symbiotic Colony (or Culture) Of Bacteria & Yeasts.” It is a cellulose structure, or pellicle, similar to mother of vinegar, kefir grains, and ginger beer plant. A SCOBY is the main component used for brewing kombucha tea. It contains beneficial bacteria and yeasts that are then transferred to your fermented brew.

To start your own SCOBY from scratch, just follow these super simple steps!


  1. Procure a bottle of GT’s kombucha from any health food or grocery store.
  2. Pour the entire bottle into a clean, wide mouthed glass container.
  3. Cover container with finely woven cloth or a paper towel.
  4. Secure tightly with a rubber band.
  5. Wait.

Seriously, that’s all there is to it!! πŸ˜€

Here is my bottle on Day 3, sitting next to my previously neglected SCOBY hotel.


Here it is the next day. SCOBY is starting to thicken up nicely:


After a few more days:


And finally after about a week of fermenting. πŸ™‚


Once your SCOBY has reached this stage, you want to taste the kombucha tea to make sure it is tart and vinegary. You will be using this as your starter tea in your first batch of kombucha! Directions to brew your own kombucha can be found here and here.

I hope you enjoyed this easy tutorial and let me know if you have any questions!

Happy fermenting! πŸ™‚

~Samantha Sunshine






Indian Essentials: Homemade Paneer and Naan Bread (Sourdough & Regular)

I absolutely love Indian food. There’s something about the magical combination of spices and textures that I simply cannot get enough of. As a vegetarian, Indian cuisine provides endless inspiration for meat-free meals that are never lacking in flavor or creativity!

If you’re interested in making impressive Indian fare at home, I recommend adding the following easy recipes to your ethnic arsenal. Homemade paneer cheese is a surprisingly simple addition to your from-scratch Indian feast. It takes just 3 ingredients and about 30 minutes of your time! My basic naan bread – sourdough or regular version – is another delicious accompaniment to your authentic Indian meal.


Ingredients are all organic, when available.

Sourdough (SD) Naan Bread:

  • 1/2 cup (94 g) active starter (fed and doubled)*
  • 1 3/4 cups (240 g) all purpose flour**
  • 1 tsp (4 g) coconut sugar***
  • 1 tsp (6 g) sea salt
  • 2 tbs (28 g) olive oil
  • 2.5 tbs (36 g) yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1/2 cup (118 g) filtered water

Regular (non-SD) Naan Bread:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour**
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar***
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • pinch baking soda
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2.5 tbs yogurt (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 3/4 cup filtered water

*My starter is kept at 100% hydration. You may need to add more/less liquid depending on how yours is hydrated.

**Flour choice is up to you. I have made this naan with spelt, whole wheat, einkorn, ect. It turns out best when you have at least some portion of all purpose along with your whole grain of choice. Try different varieties and see which you like best! Keep in mind that using whole and ancient grains may require adding a bit more water to your dough. πŸ™‚

***I prefer to use coconut sugar in this recipe, but any sugar will do.


Instructions for SD version:

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix to create a shaggy dough. Allow to rise 2-4 hours (until puffy), using the stretch and fold method every 30 minutes or so. The dough should be slightly wet and sticky. If you have a stiff dough, add more water.

The rising time will depend on the temperature of your kitchen and how vigorous your starter is. Once the dough is puffy and full of air bubbles, cover and place in fridge to ferment overnight or up to 48 hours. Remove from fridge and allow to reach room temperature prior to use. Dough should be close to doubled in size.

Instructions for non-SD version:

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix to create a shaggy dough. Knead on a floured surface to until the dough is soft and pliable. The dough will be a little sticky but resist the urge to add extra flour (that will result in tough naan). Allow to rest 30-45 minutes, until doubled.


For both versions:

Cut dough into 6-8 equal sized pieces. Roll dough flat, as thick or thin as desired. (I prefer mine thin, so I can roll it up or use pieces to pick up yummy paneer/gravy.) Naan does not need to be perfectly circular like tortillas or rotis. Most traditional naan comes in oblong, asymmetrical shapes making this flatbread super simple to make!


Cook on a preheated skillet or grill pan for a couple minutes on either side. The naan will puff up, so be extremely careful when handling – those air pockets are dangerous! Place cooked naan on a cooling rack, or in a warm oven, while you cook up the rest!


Quick & Easy Paneer Cheese:

  • 1 quart whole milk*
  • 1 tbs fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Pinch salt
  • Candy thermometer (optional, but if you have one – very helpful)
  • Cheesecloth lined strainer

*The milk you choose is important. Get the best quality you can find/afford. I would prefer to use raw whole milk, but I don’t currently have access to it. Whatever you choose, try to find a milk that isn’t pasteurized using ultra-high temperature (UHT ) as this milk won’t curdle properly. I’ve had great success with Promised Land Dairy as far as grocery store milk goes.



Pour milk into a saucepan and bring to a slight boil over medium heat. Milk doesn’t boil the same as water, so you’ll know it’s boiling when it’s very frothy. This can take about 10-15 minutes. If you have a thermometer, it should read about 180 degrees F. Stir intermittently while it’s cooking to avoid scorching the milk on the bottom of the pan.

Add the lemon juice, remove from heat, and cover. Allow the milk to sit with the acid about 10 minutes for best results. You should immediately start seeing the curds separate from the whey. After 10 minutes, pour the mixture into a cheesecloth lined strainer (if you plan to keep the whey, put the strainer inside a larger bowl to catch the liquid). Let sit for a few minutes to drain. Add the salt and mix well.


Once the mixture is cool enough to touch, pick up the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can (again reserving the whey if you so choose). Twist the ends of the cheesecloth and place the cheese on a rimmed plate. Top with more plates, or a single plate with a weight on top, and press the cheese for several minutes. How long you press is really up to you. It will be ready to eat after about 5 minutes, but you could also press longer for a more solid cheese. I’ve moved the plate-press to the fridge before and allowed it to chill up to an hour with great success.


After your cheese has reached the desired texture, remove from the cheesecloth and cut into cubes. You can either saute the paneer in a little butter or oil (recommended only if you have a more solid cheese), or add the cubes directly to your gravy.


Serve with your delicious, pillowy naan bread and enjoy! πŸ™‚

I hope these Indian essentials elevate your next authentic feast! Also, if you end up with leftover naan, it makes excellent naan pizza!


That’s right.. More pizza. πŸ˜‰

Until next time.. Happy baking/making/eating!

~Samantha Sunshine

Lacto-Fermented Curtido

Lacto-fermented foods are as delicious as they are healthy for you. They are a yummy way to introduce natural bacteria, enzymes, vitamins, acids, and probiotics to your digestive system. Eating fermented foods daily can help increase energy, improve digestion, strengthen your immune system, and even help you lose weight!

Today’s recipe is for an El Salvadorian slaw type condiment called ‘curtido.’ Curtido can be made with vinegar and served immediately, or you can ferment the ingredients with a salt brine for better health benefits! I personally prefer the taste of fermented curtido and find myself craving it daily!! Try it for yourself and see what you think!


Lacto-Fermented Curtido

Ingredients are all organic, when available.

Recipe followed almost exactly from the the original source. (If it ain’t broke..) πŸ˜‰

  • 2 heads of cabbage, cored and sliced
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 2 jalapenos, grated
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 tbs red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbs Mexican oregano
  • Salt (3 tbs per 5 lbs of veggies)
  • 2 clean quart sized jars with lids*

*I use the plastic replacement lids for my jars. These can be found at most grocery stores. You could also use an airlock on this ferment, though I rarely do and it still turns out great.



To prepare your curtido, begin by rinsing and grating your veggies. I like to use my food processor to grate the onion, carrots, and jalapenos, but you could also do this by hand. Make sure to remove the jalapeno seeds unless you like yours EXTRA HOT!

I like my cabbage to be a bit chunkier, so I slice that by hand making sure to remove the core. Place a large bowl on a scale to measure how much the veggies weigh. You want to add 3 tbs salt per 5 lbs of veggies, so you’ll have to do some math to determine the amount needed. Mine ended up being around 3.5 lbs, so I did a little over 2 tbs worth of salt. Add the spices and salt, then massage the veggies to distribute evenly.


Allow the veggies to sit undisturbed for 30 minutes. This will give the salt plenty of time to start it’s magic on the cabbage, which will begin releasing a lot of it’s liquid. Now, grab the two jars and begin filling with your curtido. Fill about 1/3 of the way, then take a blunt ended kitchen utensil (whatever you have that works) and press the curtido down to release more liquid. Continue adding curtido and pressing down until you have nothing left but liquid. Distribute the remaining liquid into each jar.


Press the veggies as far under the brine as you can and loosely fasten the lid. It’s not possible to get all the little pieces underneath the liquid, so don’t fret about that too much. Allow to sit at room temperature to ferment for a week, a month, or more. (I usually do a month minimum, though, it has happened on occasion that one jar gets eaten entirely before that time has elapsed lol.)

I like to press down the veggies in my curtido daily to prevent mold for the first few days. After awhile, the veggies will stay under the brine more easily and you no longer have to do this. Taste the curtido as the time passes and see what your ideal fermentation time is! Store in the fridge once it’s reached your desired taste.


After a month, the curtido will be crunchy and tangy, with a kick of heat and an amazing bite! The unique combination of flavors becomes indescribably delicious!! There are numerous ways to eat this stuff! In fact, I haven’t found a food that I don’t like combining this with yet! The traditional way to eat this delectable condiment is atop delicious pupusas, which, if you haven’t had them before, are pockets of cheesy heaven! (Pictured in the lower lefthand side of the collage below.)


I also like eating curtido on my chili cheese veggie dogs, inside sandwiches, on salads, and my favorite way might be the simplest: with goat cheese on crackers! However you decide to eat it, this fermented slaw is here to stay!! Here’s to your (gut) health! πŸ˜€

~Samantha Sunshine

ο»ΏSpiced Apple Pie with Sourdough Crust

I have a confession.. I don’t love making pie. I’m not even that crazy about eating it. I much prefer other desserts such as cakes, cookies, muffins, and quickbreads. Pie has never really been a top priority for me.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, is pie-obsessed. The very mention of pie makes him salivate. Out of all the desserts I make, pie is his most requested. Thus, I’ve tried to come up with ways to ease the pie process, to make it more enjoyable for the both of us!


One way I’ve improved my pie making experience is to use a food processor to mix the dough. It works flawlessly and leaves me with clean hands to boot! Simply add your dry ingredients and give them a whirl to combine. Pulse in your cold butter, add your liquid, and voilΓ ! Perfect pie dough. πŸ™‚

Another thing that has helped me enjoy making pie (rather than dreading it) is my silicone baking mat. If you don’t have one of these magical things, get one. They make rolling out pie crust (and a variety of other doughs) a BREEZE! Hardly any extra flour needed. Just roll it out and flip it onto your pie plate. Easy peasy.


The last thing that has really upped by pie game is the recipe I’m going to share with you now. You guys know how I love to add sourdough discard to nearly all my baked goods these days? This pie is no different. The sourdough in the pie really amplifies the crust and, especially in this recipe, creates a lovely contrast between sweet and sour. This crust is equally amazing in savory dishes as well!

Spiced Apple Pie with Sourdough Crust


Ingredients are organic, when available.

For the crust:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour*
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 2 sticks of COLD butter (1 cup), cubed
  • 1/4 cup sourdough discard (unfed, straight from fridge)**

*The coconut flour in this recipe makes the crust very tender and flaky. It also adds a hint of sweetness that is really desirable. If you do not have access to this flour, you can use all purpose or substitute another flour in it’s place such as whole wheat or spelt.

**This is an approximate measurement. The amount will depend on the hydration of your starter. I just add my 100% hydration starter to the food processor a little at a time until the dough forms a soft ball and clears the sides of the bowl.

For the apple filling:

  • 5-7 small apples, cored and diced
  • 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3 tbs cornstarch + 3 tbs water, mixed well


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add the dry pie crust ingredients to a food processor and pulse to combine. Add your cold, cubed butter and pulse a few times. (You could alternatively do this by hand if you do not have a food processor. Your hands are always the best tools money can’t buy! πŸ™‚ )


Next, add the sourdough discard while the food processor is running. Add enough starter until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. Remove the dough from the bowl and separate into two pieces. Form into discs, wrap with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer while you make the filling.


To create the filling, heat a pan with butter on medium high. Add the diced apples and cook until they are just beginning to get tender. Add the lemon juice, brown sugar, and spices and stir well. After the juices begin to boil slightly, add the cornstarch/water mixure and turn the heat to low. The sauce should thicken rather quickly. Remove from heat and set aside.


Remove the pie crusts from the freezer. Take one disc and roll it out on your pie mat (or a lightly floured surface) to a size that will fit in your pie pan. If you’re using a mat, simply flip the mat over on top of your pan and press the crust down gently. If you’re not using a mat, carefully fold over the crust and flip it onto your pan. Cut off any excess around the edges and prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Parbake the crust for 15 minutes. I like to lay a piece of parchment on top of the crust and pour in about a pound or so of dried pinto beans. This will prevent the crust from bubbling up while it’s baking.


After the crust is parbaked, carefully remove the parchment paper and pinto beans (I use the paper to carefully create a type of funnel to pour the beans back into the jar I keep them in). Add the filling to the crust and set beside your work station. Roll out the second disc of dough and flip on top of your pie. Add any embellishments you like and make sure there’s at least a few holes on top for the steam to escape while baking.


Bake for another 45 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned and filling is bubbling. You might have to cover the edges with some tin foil (or pie shields) about halfway through baking to prevent them from turning too brown.

Allow to cool sufficiently before slicing so pieces keep their shape. Serve with ice cream, freshly whipped cream, or, if you absolutely must, a slice of American cheese. πŸ˜‰

Enjoy & happy baking!

~Samantha Sunshine



Cheesy Tempeh & Black Bean Sourdough Tamale Pie

It’s a weekly task, figuring out what to do with all that discard sourdough starter. I can’t stand the thought of throwing out something perfectly useful, especially when I’ve put so much time into it. Thus, I prefer to utilize it in creative and interesting ways!

Today’s recipe incorporates sourdough discard (unfed, straight from the fridge starter) in a semi-traditional masa. It’s then baked atop a yummy tempeh & black bean filling, with lots of gooey cheese, to make a delicious vegetarian tamale pie!

I love to cook this meal in my Dutch oven for an easy, one pot dinner! However, if you don’t have a Dutch oven you could always cook the filling in a pan and transfer to an oven-safe dish prior to baking. It’s a filling meal that everyone will enjoy!


Ingredients are all organic, when available.

For the sourdough masa:

  • 1 cup sourdough discard starter
  • 1 cup masa harina*
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil**
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

*Masa harina is a traditional Mexican flour used for tamales, corn tortillas, ect. I highly suggest using this flour and not substituting with cornmeal or any other flours for the best results. Bob’s Red Mill makes a non-GMO variety that works wonderfully!

**You want the coconut oil at room temperature so that it is not too hard and not liquefied. You could also substitute lard or shortening if you prefer.


For the filling:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pkg tempeh (8 ounces)
  • 1 can black beans (15 ounces) with liquid
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounce can)
  • 2 cups cheese* (I used havarti & white cheddar)
  • Splash white wine vinegar
  • Capful of liquid smoke**
  • Spices: Chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and pepper.***

*This recipe is easily veganized, simply omit the cheese or substitute with your favorite vegan version!

**Liquid smoke is optional but highly recommended! I love the Stubb’s brand because it’s made with minimal ingredients, organic soy, and is manufactured in Austin, Texas!

***I didn’t measure the spices, please adjust per your personal taste.



First, you want to make the masa. Add all the ingredients to your mixing bowl and blend well. I like to use my KitchenAid stand mixer with the paddle for this, but you could also use a hand mixer or whisk by hand. You want the dough to be the texture of hummus or cake frosting. Place bowl in the fridge while you prepare the filling and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


To make the filling, begin by sauteing your veggies over medium high heat. I start with the onions, cook for a few minutes, then add the carrots, celery, and lastly the garlic. When the veggies are tender, crumble in the tempeh and cook for another minute or two. Reduce heat to medium. Add the full can of black beans, liquid and all, to your pot along with the can of tomato sauce. Add white wine vinegar, liquid smoke, and seasonings to taste.


Remove masa from fridge and whip it thoroughly one last time. Top the filling with 1 cup of super melty cheese (I used havarti here). Next, pour the masa into the center of the pot and gently spread it outwards with a spatula, trying your best not to mix the filling/cheese with the masa. Bake at 400 degrees with the lid on for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 10 minutes. Add the second layer of cheese on top (cheddar for me) and bake the final 5 minutes. (45 minutes total.)


Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving. I topped mine with sliced avocado and lacto-fermented curtido. It would also be delicious with guacamole, salsa, and/or sour cream! Or nothing at all! πŸ˜›


I hope you enjoy this simple recipe to use up that ‘discard’ starter! Until next time!

Adios amigos πŸ˜‰