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Apricot, Buckwheat & Squash Lentil Loaf


My family’s been begging me for this recipe ever since it’s debut on our Canadian Thanksgiving back in early October – so finally it’s here! The Apricot, Buckwheat and Squash Lentil Loaf recipe is here! It is a beauty in every delicious way! The natural flavours all mingle together so well – and everything is made healthy, naturally gluten-free/ wheat-free, dairy/ vegan and nut free! So basically everyone can enjoy this – it is a delicious recipe that will make all your guests happy. 


Just look at these delicious and healthy ingredients – butternut squash, buckwheat, lentils and all-natural dried apricots (note that they are almost black when they are natural (not orange when you get with sulphites)). My baby girl loved helping me taste test all the ingredients and mix the bowl too! She agrees it’s delicious!



Apricot, Buckwheat and Squash Lentil Loaf

Ingredients :

3/4 cup raw buckwheat, soaked and drained
1 cup butternut squash, cooked or roasted
1 cup green lentils
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
2 medium carrots, peeled & chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine
1/4 – 1/2 cup dried sulphite-free apricots, chopped
2 tablespoons ground flax 
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1-2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1/4 cup water
about 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs (gluten-free)


Directions :

First, pre-soak the raw buckwheat for 6-8 hours in cool water or 1-2 hours hot water.
And mix the ground flaxseed with 1/4 cup of water and set aside.

Cook the lentils as per instructions. Once cooked, strain well by pressing them into a sieve to remove excess water. 

In the meantime, cook or roast about 1/4 of butternut squash or use leftovers.

In a medium skillet, cook the celery, carrots and onion until golden on medium heat, about 10 minutes stirring often. Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool before continuing to the next step.

Preheat the oven at this point to 350F.

In a large bowl or food processor, combine the lentils, squash, drained buckwheat and celery/ carrot/ onions from the skillet, flax, apricots, oregano, salt and pepper and mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

If using a food processor – pulse a few times so that some texture is still in the loaf.

Rub the inside of a baking dish with oil and sprinkle the gluten free bread crumbs on the sides. Then scoop the mixture and press firmly and evenly inside the pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until sides appear golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes before serving. 

OR it’s best to make this one day ahead and storing in the refrigerator covered. Then preheat for 30 minutes in the oven at 350F. The flavours in this Lentil Loaf just get more saturated and really taste amazing the next day. It’s less crumbly too. So I would really recommend to make this one day ahead before serving and also get something out of the way especially for Holidays!



So this was a lovely main dish for our Thanksgiving – I hope you’ll give it a go and make this for Thanksgiving dinner too! :)

All your friends who do have dietary preferences will LOVE you for it – and those that don’t will also appreciate how good simple and healthy ingredients make a meal amazing!!


To our US friends, I wish you all a wonderful, safe and happy Thanksgiving! xo ella



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Monday Motivation : Be Thankful


Happy Monday my friends!

I hope you all had a lovely restful weekend. 

Today is another brand new day, another start to the week. But it can be hard to pull through…. why are Mondays so hard? :)  

These days don’t have to be so dreadful? Just find a moment for a quiet reflection on all the good in your life and be thankful for what you have. And see this week as a new beginning… a fresh new start to get things done and work hard – but to also open your eyes to all the beauty around you, to the people in your life that matter and to all the wonderful things that we often take for granted.

With Thanksgiving in a few days in the US – the theme of giving thanks will be all around us. It’s a great reminder to be thankful. But as you prep for the Holidays and have a million things to do to get it all perfect – just remember to slow down and remember the meaning of the holiday. That true appreciation happens on the inside first and shines on the outside through kindness and giving thanks.

I look around and notice all these amazing things that have fallen into place in my life in the last few years. A few years ago, gratitude was far from my head as I wasn’t even able to get up off my bed. I got stuck in depression with failing health that every day seemed so dreadful and impossible to get through. Luckily I overcame these dark days and started to take care of my body and everything around me. Little by little things started to improve in my health, my outlook on life and my relationships with the people in my life, especially my husband and daughter. Appreciation for everything became such a good healing force. When my strength began to improve and I could walk on my own for a short distance at a time – I admired my legs and my body so much! I now love getting out for walks and each time I do – I recall those days my legs felt like rubber and I hit the floor numerous times. 

So yeah, I appreciate my legs now! I appreciate my inner strength to my outer strength and that extra force of energy to make a difference in this world. And I am so thankful! SO very thankful! For my beautiful family and their health, for my patient loving husband, for my mom who is so giving and loving, for the rest of my family and our friends who are always there for us through thick and thin. For my readers for your continued support and encouragement along this incredible journey we’re all on. Thank YOU!

Remember, there is always something to be thankful for!

I wish you a wonderful day and week ahead.

What are you thankful for right now?

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Potato & Parsnip Healthy Latkes


It’s that time of the year when Latkes are making an appearance on our dinner table… if you’re also craving this comfort-food recipe – you’ll be happy to hear that I have a very delicious and healthier version! These Potato & Parsnip Latkes are naturally gluten free, egg free/ vegan! 
I also half bake them to use less oil when frying. It’s a good trick to get the fried goodness without adding too much oil. (see notes below)


Of course I grew up with them being called “Placki Ziemniaczane” ~ which means Potato Cakes in Polish. My mom whipped up a good number of these throughout the year and they were pretty much amazing every time – a large plate of these in the middle of the table was cleared in minutes. We ate them with sour cream and chopped green onions. A simple, always satisfying meal. 

Now I still want to enjoy them but I also wanted to make them healthier. My husband loves them too and I wanted to keep that flavour right on without sacrificing too much on the authenticity of these yummy potato cakes. 

However, there’s always ways to make the old better. For these Latkes/ Potato Cakes – I reduced the carbs of potatoes and incorporated a few parsnips. I also omitted the egg (due to allergies/ intolerances) and I also found a way to make them half-fried! A little trick that I found worked well. But baking these is also a great option. (see notes below)

IMG_0543-pure ella potato parsnip latke recipe

Potato & Parsnip Latkes : Healthier Potato Cakes

gluten free, egg free, dairy free, vegan

Ingredients : 

3 medium potatoes, peeled, grated & drained
2 medium parsnips, peeled & grated
1/2 large onion, chopped fine
3 tablespoons potato starch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
grape seed oil for cooking

Directions :

Wash, peel and grate the potatoes and parsnips in a food processor or on a grater. Transfer into a large bowl and squeeze as much of the liquid out. Add the onion, starch, baking powder and salt and mix with a wooden spoon or hand to incorporate well. 

NOTE : Cast iron pan is best as you can just add them to the oven in the pan. Or prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. And preheat oven to 325 F.

Heat a large non-stick/ cast iron pan with oil to medium heat. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and add to the pan. Press down the mixture quickly and do the same for as many as fit into the pan (leaving some room around to move). 

NOTE : I do not recommend stainless steel pan for this as they will definitely stick to the bottom.

Keep them on the heat for a few minutes (2-3) until they brown slightly – this will make them move and/ or flip over with ease. Once the bottoms are slightly browned and tops look drier, flip over to cook the other side for 2-3 minutes. Then using a spatula, transfer onto the baking sheet. Continue with baking them in the oven for about 15 more minutes. (no extra oil in needed) 

NOTE : I found this half-baked method to be the best for nice potato cakes that are tender on the inside but crispy on the outside without having to fry them longer. Potato cakes soak up a lot of oil and need to be fried for about 10 minutes to get them cooked through the middle. Having them finish in the oven – you’re cutting down on the frying time and the oil you would need to fry them in. This also makes them stay hot before serving.

You can also bake them from start to finish – about 30 minutes flipping over half way through. 
I also like baking them, but I found that this half-baked method makes the tops nice and crispy and they’re nice and tender on the inside. They’re not too dry and still retain that authentic taste I still remember from childhood.


IMG_0548-pure ella potato parsnip latke recipe

Traditionally they were always served with sour cream as its own meal. But I live to serve them with a nice big lentil salad or chickpea salad like this one

I hope you enjoy this recipe soon! And do let me know how you like them in the comments and by tagging your photos #pureella! xo 

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Easy 10 minute Raw Banana Nut Pie


So here’s the thing. I did not want to share this recipe because I was embarrassed at how simple it was and how quickly and haphazardly it came together. But my friend insisted and persisted until I gave in…

Basically, this is too easy and too simple – which makes me think it’s exactly what you need in your life!

10 minutes man! 10 minutes and you get a super amazing Raw Banana Nut Pie that tastes divine and is made with simple, real food ingredients. It is gluten free, dairy and egg free, vegan, paleo AND no bake and no wasting time to let it set either. Do you have 10 minutes today? Then you should make this healthy pie!

You’re welcome! :)


Raw Banana Nut Pie

raw, no-bake, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, paleo

Ingredients :

1 cup mixed nuts (I used a mix of almonds, walnuts & cashews)
6 Medjool dates, pitted
2 ripe bananas (reserve 1 for topping)
4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or himalayan salt (optional)
about 3 tablespoons (a drizzle) of rice malt syrup or maple syrup or honey
a handful (about 1/4 cup) of cacao nibs for topping

Vanilla Ice Cream to serve (optional)

Directions :

Add the nuts to a food processor and grind until a fine texture. Add in pitted dates, 1 banana, cacao powder and salt into a food processor and mix on high until fully incorporated.

Scoop onto a flat-bottomed & rimmed dish and press firmly and evenly. Drizzle top with rice malt syrup and spread out with a butter knife (if does not have to be perfectly even). Top with slices with banana and cacao nibs.

Serve as is or with Vanilla Ice Cream!

Note : no need to chill to set but storing it in the refrigerator until serving time is recommended. Top with fresh banana slices just before serving. 


This is a very easy unfussy Banana Nut Pie. It’s great for those casual moments with friends. It’s not very fancy but oh does it ever impress on taste! 

You can have a friend over for coffee, then excuse yourself to get something from the kitchen, (maybe hand over a baby with a bottle of bubbles to them), and come back in 10 minutes with dessert!? Just a suggested scenario… It’s not like it happened. Or maybe it did. Moms are busy ok, and some may struggle to get things done before a guest comes over. :)

So even if that were to happen…. no one would know. My friend didn’t even realize I was gone to make it and was rally excited to eat up this pie. She went nuts for it in fact! I served it with So Delicious Vanilla Ice Cream and it was the perfect little treat on an especially gorgeous day. 


We had an Indian Summer sweep through at the beginning of November and it was the perfect way to enjoy the last bit of heat this year. In the fresh outdoors, with a friend, over a delicious dessert celebrating a very special project – can you guess what it is? ;)


Little Mia also loved this dessert! She could not keep her hands out of it when I tried to snap a few photos. haha I have learned to embrace that and treat it as a compliment :) Definitely #kidapproved too :)


I hope you will enjoy this simple AND delicious Banana Nut Pie Soon! If you just have 10 minutes today – you have time to make this dessert! So you can spend more time eating it than making it – isn’t that a very good thing :)

Wishing you a great day! xo ella

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How to Make Perfect Oven-Baked Sweet Potato French Fries


Here’s a new section for the Pure Ella blog with simple How-To’s and techniques for helping you master some amazing kitchen skills. I hope you enjoy this new addition – I have wanted to share about what I’ve learned (and continue learning) in the kitchen for so long (so much of it is from observing my mom in the kitchen – she is a brilliant home cook who happens to have years of experience in the culinary world in catering). Thanks mom! 

If you LOVE french fries – but stay clear because you know they’re not very healthy. This post is for you! These french fries bring all the happiness regular french fries bring but are also :

  • healthier than regular french fries
  • these french fries are baked not fried
  • made with sweet potatoes vs. white potatoes (sweet potatoes are a lot healthier as they are lower on the glycemic index chart so they don’t spike your blood sugar as much as white potatoes and have move nutrition like beta-carotene)
  • real food, no additives, you know what you put in
  • indulgent but healthy ~ a life-changing concept! :)


How to Make Perfect Oven-Baked Sweet Potato French Fries:

Ingredients :
  • 1 sweet potato (count one medium potato per person, 1/2 potato for a child)
  • about 1/4 cup grapeseed oil or EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon of your favourite dried herb, I chose oregano this time
  • salt & pepper to taste AFTER they bake


Directions :
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. and add parchment paper onto a baking sheet.
  2. Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes and dry them with a paper towel or dish towel.
  3. Cut into ‘fry’ strips. Be sure to cut them evenly – if you cut thin fries, continue with all thin so they bake evenly and the small ones don’t burn.
  4. Toss them in a large bowl to mix with the oil and seasoning OR pour out some of the oil onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and toss them with the seasoning right on the pan. (sometimes I cut corners in the kitchen and this helps to save a bit of time on prep work and clean up!)
  5. Bake for about 10-15 minutes on one side, then remove from the oven and flip the fries over with a spatula. Simply slide the spatula under several of the fries and flip right over. You can then go in with a fork to turn over the few that didn’t flip. (Make sure they are all flipped to one of the 3 sides or else they will burn quickly if they remain on the same side).
  6. Bake for another 10-15 minutes (depending on the thickness of your fries and oven settings). Look for a nice carmel colour and that they remain stiff when moving (and not soft and flimsy). 


  • If they don’t bake evenly, it’s essential to remove the fries that have already darkened and are fully baked by picking them up with a fork or spatula, or else they will burn. Then return the pan into the oven and bake the rest.
  • If they don’t crisp up (usually on thicker-cut fries) simply toss a third time and reduce the heat to 350F. and bake for 5-10 minutes.


I hope you like this simple How-To recipe and will enjoy these soon! These will change your life!
When you do make them or any other recipes, please don’t forget to comment and share your  photos and hashtag your Pure Ella creations #pureella so I can see them and possibly feature on my social media. Thank you all!

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