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A Deliciously Unconventional Approach to an Italian Standard

A Deliciously Unconventional Approach to an Italian Standard

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Nestled on Stanton Street, this Lower East Side dining local is upgrading the notion of customizable cuisine with a selection of meatballs and sauces that are anything but traditional. On laminated menus, choose from five different types of meatballs, six sauces, and check off how you’d like them prepared with dry erase markers — atop greenmarket veggies and salad, on focaccia bread, as sliders, in a hero, or smashed on a toasted brioche bun with cheese. While the venue is small — with limited indoor and outdoor seating, and a no-reservations policy, the crammed communal table is where the fun is at, as seatmates chat and comment on their neighbor’s orders.

The Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink salad is a refreshing take on the usually heavy Italian treat; the classic beef with tomato sauce’s flavor was enhanced amongst the arugula, chickpeas, sautéed spinach, and steamed broccoli vegetable mix. But if you’re looking for convention with a twist, the spicy pork hero with mozzarella had just the right amount of bite. Save room for dessert, where the customization continues with a pick and mix ice cream sandwich. Mismatch the bottom and top cookie, and fill it with refreshingly light ice cream — the mint is especially fresh, a welcome surprise from the unnaturally green coloring you’d find in the standard ice cream shop’s tub.

The Meatball Shop’s boisterous environment rounds out the dining experience, with good music and lively chatter, a feature that cancels out the sometimes-frenetic service. Go early to avoid the wait, or hang out and grab a drink by the bar while you wait for your table.

35 Vegan Comfort Food Recipes That Might Be Better Than the Originals

Whether they’re childhood favorites, restaurant staples, or party snacks, so many classic dishes seem inaccessible to those on a plant-based diet.

It’s easy for the herbivore at the table to start feeling left out, unable to partake in what’s supposed to be a bonding experience over everyone’s most beloved foods.

Thanks to the taste buds and kitchen skills of talented bloggers all over the internet, we’ve rounded up meatless and dairy-free versions of some of the most popular, most un-vegan dishes out there.

Not only do these recipes eliminate animal products, but many introduce healthier alternatives and nutrient-dense swaps for flavors that not only resemble, but maybe even surpass the originals.

From breakfast to dinner and everything in between, here are 35 dishes you never thought you could vegan-ize.

1. Basic vegan French toast

Chia seeds aren’t just a thickening agent in this breakfast classic they also provide protein, calcium, fiber, and omega-3’s, packing in a nutritional punch and the same fluffy-yet-chewy texture as the traditional version.

Pro tip: Get creative with how you top your toast, using ingredients like peanut butter, berries, or an airy coconut whipped cream.

2. Outrageously fluffy vegan pancakes

Think you need milk and butter to make pancakes the highlight of your weekend? Think again.

If you’ve got 20 minutes and an eager audience, this is the recipe for you. The secret to all that fluffiness comes from, believe it or not, a splash of apple cider vinegar, which reacts well with the baking powder.

Pro tip: Grab a bag of vegan chocolate chips and toss them in the batter.

3. Chickpea flour omelette with spinach, onion, tomato, bell peppers

It resembles that greasy-spoon staple we all love, but this fresh, veggie-packed meal is actually made of gluten-free chickpea flour instead of beaten eggs.

Just like regular omelets, feel free to customize it with whatever produce you’ve got on hand, from spinach and mushrooms to onions and tomatoes.

Sure, it may not taste exactly like a typical omelet, but with its subtle nuttiness and savory bite, this is a tasty a.m. treat in its own right.

4. Vegan breakfast hash

Nothing screams comfort more than a bowl of breakfast hash, and this recipe proves you don’t need dairy to glue all the ingredients together.

Once the potatoes, veggies, and spices are cooked to perfection, heat up a veggie burger and crumble it over the top for a bit of extra protein. You can also top with avocado, salsa, and a little homemade cashew “cheese.”

5. Vegan tofu benedict with avocado

If you assumed that going vegan meant never being able to enjoy this quintessential brunch favorite again, we’ve got your back.

Tofu replaces the egg, while a vegan take on Hollandaise gives the dish its familiar “Benedict-y” flavor. Take it a step further by topping the whole thing with sliced avocado for a pop of green color and healthy fat.

6. Vegan Caesar salad

The idea of making an anchovy-studded, cheese-and-egg-yolk-infused Caesar salad vegan seems inconceivable, but this whole-foods-filled version suggests otherwise.

Satisfyingly salty Kalamata olives step in for the anchovies and blended cashews provide the creaminess of the missing yolks.

Whisked together with other classic Caesar salad ingredients, it’s now this blogger’s go-to salad dressing. Try it out and it could become yours, too!

7. Vegan Cobb salad

Make lunchtime your most fun meal of the day with this vibrant, produce-packed Cobb salad. Hearts of palm tossed with turmeric make a clever imitation of chopped hard-boiled eggs.

Crisped tempeh also mimics the savory bite of bacon bits, and mandarin oranges add a refreshingly juicy twist. Line them all up on a bed of spinach for a kaleidoscope of colors and nutrients.

8. Vegan “BLT” sandwich

Thinly sliced eggplant masquerades wonderfully as bacon for a meat-free version of this deli classic. The rest is nothing but an assembly job that comes together quickly and easily.

Use whatever bread, lettuce, and tomato varieties you like best for a sandwich that’s forgiving and flexible, but still so, so good.

9. Mashed chickpea salad sandwich

Nothing beats a simple but satisfying sandwich for lunch, and this one, reminiscent of a brown-bag staple, more than fits the bill.

Using chickpeas instead of chicken, the low-glycemic legumes are mashed with hummus or tahini, carrots, and celery for a filling that’s part smooth, part crunchy.

Lather a generous layer between slices of thick whole-wheat bread for a hearty and super-tasty midday meal.

10. Vegan avocado melt with coconut bacon

Another effortless and fairly fast preparation for busy weekdays. Mashed avocado spread onto bread and then browned in a skillet not only gives this sandwich its “melty” factor, but racks up its nutritional profile as well with fiber, potassium, and monounsaturated fats.

The roasted red peppers this recipe calls for can be found in the pickle section of most grocery stores. Add some “coconut bacon” (essentially seasoned and toasted coconut flakes) for some crunch and added satiety.

The result is unique, wholesome, and almost too pretty to eat!

11. Homemade veggie dogs

This blogger forgoes soy substitutes more commonly found in veggie dogs, opting instead for vital wheat gluten and flax (both found in the organic aisle) to serve as binding agents.

Oatmeal, beans, and a variety of spices round out the ingredients for a tender yet substantial filler for your hot dog bun. All you need next is a good sports movie on Netflix.

12. Mushroom ravioli with garlic sun-dried tomato cream sauce

Sautéed mushrooms make a meaty filling for this occasion-worthy ravioli dish, and are a welcome departure from cheese. When the whole shebang is blanketed in a luxurious, coconut-milk-based sauce, there’s no missing the dairy here!

Make an event of it by rolling out the pasta from scratch (the link includes step-by-step directions). Or, if you’re in a pinch, spoon the mushroom mixture into store-bought pasta shells instead.

13. Vegan street tacos

Take street food in a new direction with this vegan version of tacos.

Fiber-filled black beans, cubes of lightly roasted butternut squash, and pico de gallo are folded into soft corn tortillas and topped with a tofu-based cilantro cream for a dollop of protein.

It’s a colorful, nutritionally loaded way to quench a craving, especially when food trucks are out of reach.

14. Eggplant Parmigiana with cashew ricotta

A popular stand-in for cheese, cashews go for a spin in the food processer to form the “ricotta” in this non-dairy eggplant Parmigiana, giving the dish an uncanny resemblance to the look and flavor of the original.

Make it in the summer when fiber-rich eggplant and vitamin-filled tomatoes are in their prime. Or save this recipe for a warming meal in colder months. Either way, your craving for pasta will be satisfied.

15. Vegan lasagna with basil cashew cheeze

Lasagna is a comfort food favorite for many, but with tiers of veggies nestled between the pasta sheets, this one is a winner in the nutrition department, too.

The ever-reliable cashew steps in yet again for the cheese, this time infused with lemon and basil for even deeper flavor. Try crumbling in some pre-cooked veggie burgers (even better if they’re homemade) between the layers for some extra protein.

16. New Age vegan pasta carbonara

From the bacon to the peas to the silky texture, all the bases are covered for a classic carbonara while keeping it vegan.

Gluten-free penne and smoked, pan-fried tempeh (a meat-replacing soy protein) are swathed in a sauce built from cashew butter, tahini, and almond milk instead of Parmesan and eggs. It may even rival the original.

17. Dairy-free stuffed shells

First, blend superfood spinach with calcium-rich tofu for a dose of iron, then gently pack the mix into jumbo conchiglie pasta.

Slather with a tomato sauce that’s brimming with cholesterol-fighting lycopene, Cheng HM, et al. (2017). Tomato and lycopene supplementation and cardiovascular risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis. DOI: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2017.01.009 and these may just be the most nutritious stuffed shells out there. Don’t forget to flavor with plenty of garlic for even more healthful tastiness!

18. Eggplant Bolognese

This version takes advantage of summer’s produce bounty, including eggplants and the “holy culinary trinity” of carrots, onions, and celery.

Not feeling the slow-simmered, swoon-worthy sauce over pasta? Enjoy it atop brown rice, or amp up its protein content by serving it over quinoa. The eggplants and mushrooms replace the meat like nobody’s business.

19. Vegan enchiladas with tofu and black beans

Firm tofu holds up impressively well in these herbivore-friendly enchiladas, which are accompanied by black beans and spinach for a multicolored trifecta of iron and fiber.

Use small corn tortillas and top it all off with whatever you fancy: avocado, sliced radishes, maybe even a splash of fresh lime juice.

Pro tip: If you’re in a pinch for time, swap the homemade sauce for store-bought.

20. Amazing vegan mac and cheese

No comfort food roundup would be complete without vegan mac and cheese. It’s pretty magical what can happen when you warm up nutritional yeast, potatoes, cashews, vinegar, and spices, then pour it all into a blender.

Stumped? We were too. But it becomes creamy, irresistible cheese sauce — without the cheese, obvs — and it’s freakin’ genius. Pour it over your favorite noodles, and you’re in a dairy-free dream.

21. Super easy vegan nachos

No scary meat substitutes here! These plant-based nachos are actually a wholesome option for snack time, stacking tomatoes, black beans, and corn onto baked tortillas.

Drizzle them with a vegan sauce that looks as fluorescently yellow as the regular stuff, but is made with the natural goodness of cashews and nutritional yeast.

Pro tip: We recommend taking the blogger’s suggestion to serve these up with diced avocados for additional creaminess.

22. Cauliflower pizza bites

Is there anything cauliflower can’t do? Low carb rice, crust, gluten-free breadsticks, the list goes on and on. And now: pizza bites!

Made like mini muffins, the ingredients in these snacks are held all together by a chia seed and water mixture, instead of eggs. Chickpeas, herbs, and dairy-free cheese bring home the satisfying pizza taste you love.

Don’t forget to dunk these in warm marinara sauce!

23. Creamy artichoke spinach dip

This blogger surprised even herself with how authentic this bar food favorite tastes, despite ditching the mayo, cheese, and sour cream.

A combination of almond milk and — you guessed it — cashews creates a velvety, almost gratin-like consistency into which the artichokes and the spinach are gently mixed. Creamy without the cream. Who knew?

24. Buffalo cauliflower wings

Yep, you read that right: vegan Buffalo wings. In this recipe, cauliflower florets are tossed with almond meal, breadcrumbs, garlic and, of course, a generous helping of Buffalo sauce.

By the time you’re done figuring out what game to watch, and chopping up celery to share the plate with your “wings,” they’ll will be done baking in the oven. Come game day, the real winners are these bad boys right here.

25. Heart-loving stuffed mushrooms

An old potluck standby, stuffed mushrooms get a nutritional makeover as tofu replaces cream cheese and chopped pecans sub in for the Parmesan topping.

Both swaps increase the whole-foods factor while preserving the dish’s nostalgia-inducing flavor. Bake them up for a batch of miniature pre-dinner morsels that are tasty, not to mention pretty adorable.

26. Baked jalapeño poppers

It’s nutritional improvement enough that these poppers are baked instead of fried. It’s also free of corn and soy, and includes the option for gluten-free breadcrumbs to coat the jalapeños, making it one of the most allergy-aware recipes on this list.

Pair them with the blogger’s dip recipe for a snack that’s as mouth-watering as its non-vegan counterpart.

27. Blueberry swirl cheesecake

Cheesecake: it really can be made vegan!

Unlike some other recipes, which can contain unrecognizable filling ingredients that make us squeamish, this one uses the trusty, no-bake combo of cashews and coconut cream.

Swirl in some blueberries, frozen or fresh, for a gorgeous, purple-tinted “cheese” layer atop a traditional graham cracker crust (double-check that the crackers don’t contain honey). This cake is just waiting to be sliced into.

28. Cookie dough dip

We’ve all eaten cookie dough straight from the mixing bowl, salmonella be darned. But the best thing about vegan cookie dough is that there’s no risk of adverse effects from consuming raw egg.

And while most cookie batters are baked into a final product, this one, as the blogger puts it, “you’re supposed to eat by the spoonful.” Better yet, by using chickpeas (don’t worry, you can’t tell) and nut butter as its base, this sweet treat provides a mid-afternoon protein boost.

29. Cake batter milkshake

Few cravings are as strong as one for an old-fashioned milkshake — even vegans aren’t immune to it. Next time it strikes, go all out with this dairy-free, cake-batter-flavored version.

Frozen bananas, coconut butter, and coconut milk combine to create that thick, spoonable texture and offer healthy fats for staying power.

A splash of vanilla, a spattering of rainbow sprinkles (because let’s be honest, everything’s better with sprinkles on top), and you’re on your way to slurp-tastic satisfaction.

Please make sure that your sprinkles are, in fact, vegan. Sometimes they contain confectioner’s glaze made from shellac, which are beetle secretions.

30. Vegan tiramisu

Fluffy cake. Espresso sauce. Cashew coconut cream. What more can anyone ask for? Well, a fork, maybe.

Traditionally, this dessert is anything but vegan, with ladyfinger cookies, cheese, eggs, and cream. Yet somehow, this blogger did the impossible: a classic European dessert with a vegan twist, all without refined cane sugar.

You may need to put in a little extra effort into this recipe, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. (You heard the part about espresso sauce, right? Glad we’re on the same page.)

31. Four-ingredient chocolate orange mousse

Four little ingredients are all that stand between you and this luscious mousse. Go for 60 percent or darker antioxidant-packed dark chocolate to bring out the best of this recipe.

The chocolate and avocado (you read that right) are whipped with shavings of orange zest and a touch of non-dairy milk into a glossy, citrus-tinged concoction. With this in your repertoire, dessert is always a good idea.

32. Homemade vegan Twinkies

They’ll bring back childhood memories, but these Twinkies are all grown up when it comes to what they’re made of.

Wheat flour is traded in for spelt, a grain dense with iron, fiber, and phosphorous. Pipe the cakes with a banana-macadamia cream and you’ve got yourself a sophisticated upgrade on a snack from the good old days.

33. Homemade Snickers bars

Paying homage to a beloved candy bar, this vegan spin on Snickers looks strikingly like the real deal and contains all-natural ingredients to boot.

Dates are an ideal replacement for the caramel coconut oil and peanuts form the nougat and the sticky, sweet, and chewy layers are encased in a thick coating of flavonoid-filled dark chocolate.

Our mouths are watering just looking at the pictures.

34. Homemade orange creamsicle popsicles

In this blogger’s playful (and pretty!) update on a signature summer drink, coconut milk plays the starring role yet again — and why wouldn’t it?

Its richness is perfect for achieving that fluffy-yet-silky ice cream consistency without the fuss of a machine. A burst of freshly squeezed orange juice and a squirt of maple syrup provide a sunny sweetness without being cloying.

35. Vegan oatmeal cream pies

OMG, remember oatmeal cream pies? We can just hear the recess bell now…

Another retro treat is revisited in this recipe. This time, soaked cashews, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup create a vegan “cream” sandwiched between two chewy oatmeal cookies, sweetened up with coconut sugar.

If you can spare 45 minutes of prep and cook time, you can enjoy these epic childhood treats, vegan-style. Now all we need is a vegan Star Crunch recipe, and adulting is a lot more fun.

Omnivores don’t get to have all the fun. With meat-like substitutes, dairy-free creams, egg-like tofus, and cashews, cashews, cashews, vegan comfort food is not only possible, but totally delectable.

We’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not these comfort foods are better than the originals. In the meantime, we’ll just be over here grabbing another slice of blueberry cheesecake…

Hilary Lebow is a writer, certified yoga instructor, certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist, and certified nutrition coach. When she’s not working, she can be found in nature with her two dogs or planning her next travel adventure.

Agora, Anarchy, Action! A New Approach to Unconventional Warfare

Unconventional warfare is defined as activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow a government or occupying power by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary, and guerrilla force in a denied area.”

Definition from Joint Publication 3-05.1, Unconventional Warfare:

The “New” Unconventional Warfare

The return of Great Power Conflict (GPC) has brought a return of Unconventional Warfare (UW) (see definition above) to the Department of Defense (DoD) lexicon. In lieu of destructive power of a nation state conflict (but still requiring a means to push back adversaries), UW is a requisite environment US soldiers should be training for in the 21 st century. Defense leaders and politicians are right in realizing the utility, effectiveness, importance, and necessity of UW implementation in the GPC struggle (Fowler, 2019). However, a returned emphasis to UW needs to move away from the Hollywood tactic of merely re-booting a previously successful movie or television show with a slight contemporary twist. [1] DoD UW thinking needs to consider radical and novel approaches to engage its adversaries. Merely spending more money and employing the same forces and strategies from a few decades ago is less likely to work than before as most of these adversaries have thriving economies. In addition, as Eisenhower astutely pointed out, “We need an adequate defense, but every arms dollar we spend above adequacy has a long-term weakening effect upon the nation and its security" (Bowie and Immerman, Waging Peace, 622).

One approach that factors in dynamism and affordability is Agorism, the brainchild of libertarian philosopher Samuel Edward Konkin III (hereafter referred to as SEK3). Agorism is “a social philosophy that advocates creating a society in which all relations between people are voluntary exchanges by means of counter-economics, engaging with aspects of nonviolent revolution” (Konkin, 1980, 76). The DoD should consider employing Agorism in UW environments, because an Agorist movement is equipped to operate in a complex system and might be more cost effective than traditional support to resistance. To justify this claim, the following will cover a brief history of Agorism (likely new to many readers), the three Agorism strategies, the role of DoD in supporting Agorism, and the benefits of Agorism in a UW environment

Agorism and its Roots

Note: Counter Economics logo for its Facebook group

“This manifesto calls for action.”

SEK3, The New Libertarian Manifesto

When looking at Agorism it is important to note when and where it developed: the revolutionary American 1960s. Like other revolutionaries of the era, SEK3 desired radical changes for the country. SEK3 was a libertarian who wished for an anarchist system. However, unlike other movements of the era, he took a systemic approach to understanding power and strategy. Other revolutionary actions and demonstration of the 1960s actions produced little in terms of substantive political change. [2] The state increased in size and scope and many inspiring representative figures of political and cultural change were deceased or marginalized. The once peaceful movement devolved into nihilistic, terrorist outbursts. During the early 1970s, bombing in the US were a daily occurrence (Burrough, 3). The movement towards peace and freedom failed.

SEK3 saw the prior movements fail because they failed to look systemically. The problem was engaging in grassroots and traditional politics that the state could subvert, co-opt, or otherwise minimize. This activity failed as it played the game the state wanted you to play and resulted in an asymmetric relationship with the state far superior to any movement. In a Nietzschean sense, SEK3 echoed the premise "that if you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you." Any participation in the system was corrupting and what the state would be prepared to handle (SEK3 2009, pg. 17). SEK3 rejected trying to pack citizens into voting booths or fill Congress with sympathetic ideologues. He looked at how the state generated and sustained power. He proposed a means to challenge the state’s power and legitimacy: Agorism.

Agorism was not a corruptible political party, a movement to be absorbed by the state, a mantra that becomes trite, or even an abstruse philosophy in his mind. His method was offensive in nature. It sought to invert the power structure into an asymmetric relationship where the state is in a constant state of reaction. His philosophy sought to ensure that the nascent libertarian movement was ideologically and practically in concert:

“When libertarianism theory meets counter-economics, what comes

out in strict consistency, both externally and internally is Agorism…and

[in practice] is the consistent integration of libertarian theory with

counter-economic practice an Agorist is one who acts consistently

for freedom and in freedom.”

SEK3 proposed Agorism at a 1972 libertarian conference. SEK3’s The New Libertarian Manifesto codified these beliefs. In it, SEK3’s Agorism proposes the pursuit of the “Agora.” This Greek term is formally “the marketplace” and historically calls to the open spaces in the middle of ancient Greek City-States, which were the site of popular assemblies, debate (e.g., Socrates performed much of teaching and debate in the Athenian Agora), performance, and trade (Britannica).

SEK3’s Agora would focus on trade. It would be society’s marketplace where all transactions and human action are voluntary (Konkin, 1980, p. 6), without any overview or interference of a state. In fact, there would be no state. SEK3’s anarchist Agora would showcase a society where services, problem resolution, and commerce are conducted between individuals and groups and would “as near to untainted by theft, assault, and fraud, as can be humanely attained in a close to a free society can be achieved” (Konkin, 2009, p. 78).

To get from the present to the Agora, SEK3 proposed the approach of Counter-Economics (CE). The “Counter” in CE was a tribute to then fading counterculture (Konkin, 1995). CE was a response to what most standard economics ignored or downplayed, black and gray markets (Konkin, 1995). Both markets are where human action is independent of the state and more importantly constitute much of the world’s economy. The “Black Market” alone makes up close to 27% of the economy (Elgin and Oztunali), and this does not even include the “Gray Market.” The inclusion of the gray could increase this figure substantially. This ignored and open environment was the arena Agorism would use to achieve the Agora.

The first of the markets, the gray market, is the collection of “legal” but unregulated products and services (Kallman). It might be surprising to some that most Americans engage in gray market activities throughout the year. However, when one reads that American commit three felonies a day (Crovitz), this should not be too surprising. If someone hires neighborhood teenagers to mow the lawn or babysit (Bylund), they are engaging in an Agorism gray market. After all, there is no W-2 or like means to register this work with the state and ensure that the state gets their cut. This gray market also extends to using cash (specifically to avoid any transactional record), crypto-currency, or “non-profit” “gifting” strategy, and avoiding regulations/licensing/permit requirements (Kallman). The state tolerates the gray market but does not approve of it.

The “Black Market” is the collection of all voluntary human interactions deemed “illegal” by the state (Kallman). A mistake people might make when imagining the black market is the popular version of it. This understands the black market is solely restricted to prostitution, illicit drug deals, and exotic animal products from the endangered species list, etc. (Kallman) when they hear black market. However, it can also include the example showcased in the film Dallas Buyers Club, which is done for more noble purposes. In the film, the FDA restriction of “illegal”/unapproved medications leads to a network of people nonetheless finding way to distribute them to suffering AIDS patients.

It is important to note that participation in black and gray markets is not the same as the “Free Market” (Kallamn), which is often misinterpreted for a type of lawless anarchism. In the free market, the customer has access to a formal means (e.g., de jure) of protest and protection if wronged by a vendor, and the knowledge that their activity is in concert with state activity. Their economic activity in the free market enriches the state. It does not degrade it.

Agorism’s participation in these markets (essentially civil disobedience) would challenge the American power structure (i.e., nexus between politics and economics) by simultaneously (1) draining the state of legitimacy and (2) revenue through engagement in these markets. Much of the legitimacy [3] of the state comes from its ability to provide services the free market cannot. These services (notably national defense) require revenues to sustain and legitimately execute operations. Even if a state is somewhat liberal in its monetary policy, resources bind them in ways they cannot print their way out of (e.g., time, devoted personnel, corporeal resources, legitimacy). Agorism inverts the power structure into an asymmetric relationship where the state is in a constant state of feckless reaction. In other words, Agorism shifts the playing field from one of familiarity and ease to a novel, disorienting setting. These markets are Agorism’s locus of change.

CE attempts to divert consumers from the open market (i.e., “white” market) to black and gray markets to begin the asymmetry. By participating in these markets, actors implicitly question the state’s authority by engaging outside its rules, deny tax revenue, and (if serious enough) requiring the state to utilize resources to fight the problem. After all, violation of rules in a hierarchical relationship questions the hierarchy. It becomes an existential threat. The following section will look at how the three strategies of Agorism utilize these markets.

Note. Flag of Agorism from Wikipedia Agorism Page

Employment of Agorism

Agorism has three strategies (Bylund, 2006): (1) Vertical/Introvert (VI), (2) Horizontal/Extrovert (HE), and (3) a combination of the two. All three attempt to choke the lifeblood and soul of the state: taxation and validity. However, each strategy is foundationally different.

“Back to the Land”: Vertical/Introvert (VIS)

The anarchist Karl Hess is the father of the Vertical/Introvert Strategy (VIS). This strategy is introverted, because it asks its participants to move away from their current relationship with the state. This strategy is demanding as it calls for and requires the creation of education, security, and utility services for participants to depart towards. VIS requires participants to build the infrastructure and technology to support the community (Bylund, 2006) that is looking to live outside the state. This is a notable obstacle and one creative Agorists need to overcome.

At a competent stage, a strongly formed “vertical” community would circumvent the state by providing a level of basic utilities, access to basic needs, and security. Philosopher Karl Hess, himself a practitioner of sorts, imagined as setting where people would come “together in a free neighborhood, develop and maintain community technology, grow vegetables on rooftops, breed fish in basements all in order to produce what is necessary for survival and a good life” (Bylund, 2006). The developed community would be self-sustaining. Even if the state looked to block or similarly isolate the community, the actions would be feckless. Everything for survival already exists within the insurgent community. In a sense, the VIS would be an autarky.

As seen in the documentary Wild Wild Country, the efforts of the Rajneeshpuram community in Wasco County, Oregon in the 1980’s is a notable example of VIS. The community developed an urban infrastructure, a postal code, and housed over 7000 residents (Way, C. and M. Way). It was its own autarky for a time, but soon fell apart due to increased mania manifesting in terrorist and criminal activity.

“The Original”: Horizontal/Extrovert (HES)

HES is most aligned with SEK3’s original strategy of CE. HES is the practice of human action that evades, avoids, and defies the state (Konkin, 1980, p. 18) via participation in black and gray markets.

Unlike VIS, HES is not as demanding as vertical. There is no call or need to drop out of formal society. This strategy calls for “actively creating networks and structure for black markets” (Bylund, 2006) where individuals are engaging in free economic exchanges. This strategy does not require large community buy-in, infrastructure development, or an inward movement. However, it does require the proper mechanisms and incentives to foster the networks and initiatives required for success.

This concept is not too abstract or a tough sell as many in the United States currently engage in the HES as mentioned earlier with the example of paying neighbor kids for services like babysitting and lawn mowing with record. Many do so without knowing it. SEK3 saw it as possible practical, and even profitable to encourage large collections of humanity from statist society to the emergent Agora (Konkin, 1995). Current digital platforms could dramatically expand the potential for this (though this could quickly change with states looking to use those as means of control, not liberation) along with the rise of Bitcoin.

VIS and HES Combination

Bylund argues (2006) that both approaches have benefits but require a melding to affect change. In the case of HES, participants still need to move beyond personal convictions or reliance on state services (Bylund, 2006). Consider those on the American political right who left social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and migrated to Parler (Newhouse, 2021). While it seems like this was a keen move to avoid backlash and be free, they were not beyond consequence. Everyone could still see the posted messages on these new platforms or cast aspersions onto those sites. In the end their new freedom did not last. Payment processors still could “cancel” those whose opinions they oppose (Kantbot) or be pressured into “cancelling” individuals or business. Following the events at the US Capital Building in early January 2021, Amazon pulled Parler’s hosting and Apple and Google pulled it in their app stores (Fung 2021). This case study shows that infrastructure must complement exit.

For VIS, the initial buy-in and foundational development may be too difficult to launch. After all, VIS is a kind of entrepreneurial enterprise. Its new business is a new society for would be Agorists to depart towards and electing out of a comfortable choice. Like any new business, it is subject to the same forces as any start-up, which fail 80 percent of the time in America (Wagner). When VIS Agorists are selling their new enterprise, they must ensure they have a resource strategy to get them through the early days.

A combination of VIS and HES, the third strategy, would reinforce and shore up deficiencies that each approach presents on its own. A state would be hard-pressed to combat a system of CE (HES) with community technology and independence (VIS) producing foodstuffs and technology exceeding internal demand (Bylund, 2006). In an ideal format, a VIS/HES combo would yield a beneficial for-profit network that replace most or all the state’s functions (Bylund, 2006). When working in concert, the two approaches have the potential to subvert the state in a denied environment.

Case Study of Successful Agorism

The following figure will juxtapose Agorism using the HES strategy with the National Maximum Speed law (NMSL) of 1974. It will show that over from its inception until its repeal the consistent violation of the NMSL made it impractical to enforce.

Steps of Agorism and the NMSL

Note. Image created by author.

Beyond Smokey and the Bandit: Agorism in the Denied Environment

The NMSL case study is useful means to see this approach in practice. How can the DoD execute something beyond violation of a speed limit in a UW environment?

The execution of an Agorism strategy is contingent on the DoD avoiding dictating the contours of the movement and CE. This might be anathema to some as it limits control. However, a proper Feasibility Assessment (FA) with an understanding to vet a resistance group for support would be key (Department of Defense, 2015). To further guard against supporting a possible nefarious group this FA would include identifying the resistance’s political contours (Riggs, 2019) to avoid embarrassment. However, the DoD needs to allow the subsequent movement to evolve [4] after it agrees to support. If assistance is necessary (especially at the outset), that is more than fine. Resistance through Agorism might still be cheaper and more efficiently than previous assistance.

Perhaps this is anathema to DoD circles, but this is a strategy that does not require a substantial campaign plan. Instead of writ large plans, the DoD group should follow certain principles prior to, during, and after execution (or at resolution) of an Agorist movement:

  • Identification of systemic tensions, not just vulnerabilities.
  • Identification of power in the system, how one acquires power, and what institutions and people maintain the most power.
  • Constant re-framing of the environment not just intelligence estimates.
  • Be comfortable with a certain level of risk and uncertainty.

Whoever ends up supporting Agorism resistance needs to re-frame their interaction through different metaphoric reasoning to follow these principles and consider the role of a baseball bench coach.

While the metaphor of football has been a part of military thinking since the early 20 th century (Weeks, 1998), it will not help with Agorism. The NFL coach calls each play, runs the whole coaching staff, makes substitutions, can be the face of the team, and may also make all personnel decisions. While leaders may like to think of themselves as a Bill Belichick coaching the Super Bowl, DoD agorists should think of themselves like an MLB Bench Coach, chief assistant to an MLB Manager. Instead of being bound by a 60-minute game with full control, the DoD“Bench Coaches” (Edes, 2008) would serve an “in-game advisor”, offer situational assistance, and engage in a reflective back and forth on the game to assist the “Manager” come to a prudent decision. The relationship would be a discursive dialogue over the course of seasons that can yield insights otherwise unavailable. These “Bench Coaches,” which will be the term for these figures for the rest of this essay, conceive of the role as long term (the 162-game season instead of a singular game), which is critical as an ill-structure problem will not be solved by a single operation (like one football game).

The central concern for the bench coaches would be to focus not only on protecting the resistance but creating conditions for expansion and inclusion of the average person into black and gray markets. After all, this strategy asks people to engage in either unethical or illegal behavior against the state, the entity that dictates and executes punishment. Bench Coaches needs to understand the operational environment (OE) and come up with imaginative means to increase compliance within the CE by increasing the payoff for participants (e.g. blockchain communication development at the tactical level to increase safety). The Bench Coaches need to constantly be assessing and reassessing how it assist with this. After all the fundamental principle of counter-economics is trade risk for profit (Konkin 1980, p. 23). SEK3 understood risk to be the central issue to overcome. OPSEC (though he would not call it that), and counter-intelligence measures would be requirements for aspiring Agorists: “[take] reasonable steps to conceal your activities from accidental discovery, learning to talk only to trusted friends, spotting poor risks or government all reduce your risk and increase your payoff “ (Konkin 2009, p. 54). So, who would be these Bench Coaches?

Within DOD, possible participants do come to mind. Agorism appears to be something that Special Operations Civil Affairs (CA) would be key contributors for. Their specializations in network development, civil/humanitarian assistance (to including infrastructure), and civil military operations would be beneficial for a nascent movement. Personnel trained in Non-Standard logistics would also be key in developing and providing the occasional “speedball [5] ” of support to the nascent CE and resistance. Psychological Operations (development of narratives at three levels of war) and Special Forces (development of security and underground) might be key contributors as well. Both receive training to negotiate ill-structured problem sets like UW. Both could help develop organic and eventually sustainable (i.e., do not require US assistance) auxiliaries and undergrounds, the necessary lifeblood of any movement. The important consideration is not to be prescriptive, but to choose the necessary military and government personnel that fit the mission requirements for execution of Agorism in a specific environment. The personnel must match the needs and requirements of the operation.

People from the private sector might also fill the ranks of a prospective Agorism Task Force group. Their ability, instincts, and culture of rapid reaction and innovation would be key for the CE and resistance to receive the necessary tools and expertise to combat an adversarial state. Regardless of government affiliation or not, all would require mentally flexible, holistic experiences to complement one another.

Why Agorism Makes Sense

Agorism should be an appealing alternative as it presents unique opportunities and reflects self-interest that make success much easier than traditional aid to resistance. While Agorism may appear to present an unrealistic utopia as the goal, the means to realize it are not utopian. The first of these benefits is its more realistic look at human nature.

As SEK3 wrote, “Agorism wants no ‘true believers’ (Konkin 2009, p. 16). It just needs practitioners. Agorism is asking people to engage in their self-interest to undermine an adversarial state. It does not require a lofty argument or norm/belief style behavior change that may be unrealistic. SEK3’s approach is a practical and accessible means for all people to engage in the development of a free society. There was not a requirement to read heady books. Agorism starts with basic self-interest and the belief that most people (not just Agorists or Libertarians) desire a free society (Konkin-76) or at least one removed from unnecessary coercion a nation state can engage in.

In the case of tribal societies for instance, Agorism would not ask rival tribes to rebel against millennia of tradition, instinct, culture, or history. They can still trade with each other in black and gray

markets and undermine the adversarial state. They may do so through gritted teeth, but the effect is the same.

This self-interest approach towards foreign populations might be better than previous approaches from the last few decades. For instance, the Iraqi population needed to engage in behavior changes orders of magnitude from their Saddam Hussein baseline. Pentagon strategic planers expected the average Iraqi to understand democratic voting, have a conception of and tacit agreement towards a federalist system, agree on a shared Iraqi identity established by large-scale societal consensus, and ignore century long tensions. Many anthropologists or political scientists would identify this unsolvable tension as the Hoover Institute’s Ken Jowitt did in 2004 (UCTV):

“…Over 50% of Iraqis are married to their cousin including Saddam

Hussein. What does that tell you? It tells you about the relative

availability of loyalty to the nation state. And if you don’t have loyal to

the nation state it’s little hard to get democracy. When your loyalties

are reduced and conflated to the family, where the family the concrete

expression of your political and religious loyalties, what you have is

a society that is fragmented. And to go into that society and assume

you’re going to have the free-floating political loyalties and resources

to create an Iraqi civil civic democracy is not only an act of faith

but would depend on a social miracle.”

Agorism’s self-interest helps to sidestep these Civil-Military and cultural landmines.

Agorism would also be more adept at dealing with complex open systems, setting of a UW problem, than a whole of government approach that DoD calls for in doctrine (DoD, 2013). Bureaucracies, the units this whole of government approach, are exacting, hierarchical, have a rigid division of labor, enforce inflexible policies and procedures, centralize power, and value predictability. While a bureaucracy may arrive at the product/action/message, it may be too late and come across as stale (Riggs, 2020). This is not because planners are stupid or ill equipped. It is a function of where they work, and the bureaucratic environment does not work well to address the problems in complex systems.

Defined by Professor Melanie Mitchell (2009, p. 13), a complex system is “a system in which one where large networks of components with no central control and simple rules of operations give rise to complex collective behavior, sophisticated information processing, and adaptation via learning or evolution.” This definition seems appropriate to describe not just societies experiencing political upheaval, but any groupings of humans in general. The problem with current DoD UW efforts is it is unable to engage in a complex system. The learning/evolution in these systems often can outpace the ability of a collective-bureaucratic cooperation.

In a complex system, the amount of data and preferences in the system makes it impossible to capture everything for an effective macro decision. This approach conflicts with what Ludwig Von Mises adroitly identified the “Economic Calculation Problem” (ECP), which SEK3 notes (Konkin, 2009, p. 66) is a major influence on Agorism. The ECP states that bureaucracies (or any central planning agency) often misidentify the subjective values of consumers (or citizens) at the macro level (Mises, 1990) thus creating policies and action that fails to reflect what the nodes (both organizations and individual) in the system require. It creates inefficiencies and reflect biases of central planners, not realities on the ground. To Mises it is backwards. Subjective values at the micro value ought to be translated into the objective information necessary for rational allocation of resources in society (Mises, 1990) absent of a central authority.

Agorism’s focus on subjective value and individual desire identifies why human beings act (though it is not necessarily predictive) due to its praxeological roots from Mises (Konkin 2009, p. 21). All three Agorism strategies (VIS, HES, and Combo.) seek to understand “life at a micro level rather than seeing the world only from above” (Bylund, 2006) which is often where military planning and considerations are conducted. Agorism is dynamic (Konkin 2009, p. 66) and not only adjusts to the system but also can be the force in the system that not only accounts for complex behavior. It can also send the signals for information processing that leads to adaptation in a system. It is radical, not reactive. Agorism can force tensions in a complex system of UW and does not merely attack vulnerabilities one might target from a Center of Gravity analysis. It forces economic reorganization and questions the legitimacy of the state. It overturns how people conceive of and interact with the state.

Another argument for Agorism is it does not sell false hope. People engaging in the CE understand the risk. Soldiers do not have to sell a utopian vision or convince them that resistance should engage in the CE. It helps to avoid turning the shoulder due to changes brought about by election changes or new strategic realities (e.g., Kurds in 2019). Freedom is the solution for Agorism with a substantial buy-in. However, it is honest about it.

Agorism also possesses a certain degree of positive game theory outcome on its side for the participants. Much of a state’s law enforcement depends on a type of stage magic (Yarvin, 2019). The state is not God, as it does not possess omnipotence, omniscience, or omnipresence. A state like any other entity or organization has fixed resources. The state can focus its energies like the lidless eye of Sauron on a fixed area, but it is still blind to a great deal of activity within its borders. The stage magic is there to keep everything in line and everyone in compliance. What keeps everything in line and people compliant is the belief that any moment the state’s hammer can fall on anyone at any time. More often, the threat compels compliance to laws. When authorities arrest a criminal, the hope is that, his/her punishment will serve as an example to the rest. In the United States, the idea of the “Perp Walk” is more psychological by the state than necessary with the thought being this could be you. Even the IRS annually states that income tax depends on voluntary compliance (Konkin 1980, p. 21).

What works in Agorism’s favor is most crimes/transgressions go completely unreported and undetected. The state’s statistics (e.g., rates of apprehension) represent an upper limit of what they can accomplish (Konkin 2009, p. 52). After all, a state has diverse governing requirements/interests and expectations/demands from its citizenry. For instance, imagine the state is trying to stop smuggling into its borders. All ports of entry and border crossing receive more resources. The citizenry receives messages that the state is cracking down on these activities. Legislation/executive activity reflects this in the bureaucratic bodies. All these are true and serve as evidence of the dangers of smuggling and the state’s response to it. However, the state cannot hope to enforce a law once it exceeds a high enough threshold. If it devoted all its energies and resources to stopping smuggling, education, infrastructure, healthcare, etc. will receive what is left of the little.

Possibly what is left is governmental inertia to all other concerns and an angry citizenry. The elites, especially in an oligarchical and autocratic regime, ought to become fearful that “the dog” becomes “a wolf” after a few missed meals. The numbers are simply against the state once a certain number exceeds the capability. While the state is typically the largest entity within society, SEK3 notes that even a large and powerful state has a great deal of trouble coercing a rebellious majority and would have a next to impossible time stopping an enterprising minority of black marketer and Agorists (Konkin 1980, p. 102).

The state can enforce rules through a sort of panopticon logic. The panopticon (see below), developed by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, is a prison design wherein one security guard can watch all prisoners. The theory is all the prisoners can never know if they watched. A type of docility should follow as no prisoner is certain whether his or her actions might incur punishment.

Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon

Note. This popular panopticon image used by Center for the Future Of Museums Blog entry “Futurist Friday: The Digital Panopticon“ on May 28, 2015 at

The panopticon provides little profit for engaging in CE activity. Agorism must convey to would be

Agorists that while danger does exist, but the payoff exceeds the punishment.

More so, even if they are in a type of panopticon, if enough people engage in the activity, the limited resources of the state make it impossible. As Jim Bucher said, “You don’t have to run faster than the bear to get away. You just have faster than the guy next to you.” If enough people become involved, the state becomes overwhelmed.

A final strength is what one might consider a drawback: lack of control. A strategy of Agorism would require a substantial removal of DoD fingerprints and influence towards resistance. With conflict moving beyond the traditional modernist understanding, a heterarchical and laissez-faire approach might be appropriate, especially in a complex system where planners the economic calculation problem. In other words, there might be an art to leaving something alone. In the documentary Poverty Inc., the viewer sees that all the expertly planned and best-intentioned efforts of companies and NGOs are deleterious in preventing poverty in undeveloped countries. Even the company Tom’s Shoes, donating pairs of free shoes into African countries creates greater disparities in the country and destroys local industries (Taub, 2015). However, Agorism is not without drawbacks.

Moving Beyond Utopia: Drawbacks of Agorism

Note. A Flag for Absurdist Postleftism (based on the Philosophy of Albert Camus. From unknown Reddit User at

The libertarian philosopher Murray Rothbard saw Agorism as unrealistic and naïve. He argued that black and gray markets had already existed and failed replace the state or any of its edifices (D’amto, 2018). Rothbard noted that traditional political action and the free market were forces for the growth in human freedom in the 18 th and 19 th century as opposed to Agorism, which did not deal with the “unpleasant features of the real world” (D’Amato, 2018). Traditional politics was needed. However, both Rothbard and SEK3 fail to understand that even beyond economics the state has certain powers that makes Agorism an uphill battle.

Beyond Rothbard’s critiques are two strengths of the state that have little to do with economics: armies and “Stage Magic.” In terms of the latter, theoretically a degrading of the economic strength would lead to a lessened ability of the state to respond. Less money means less weapons, less soldiers, and less overall support. However, even the anarchic example of Ukrainian Nestor Makhno provided by SEK3 shows a largely volunteer and somewhat heterarchical force easily defeated by the USSR’s superior numbers (“the full resources of a continent”) from the large state (Konkin 1980, p. 32). A lot needs to happen to deter this notable strength from immediately crushing a nascent resistance.

The second part, “Stage Magic,” references Italian philosopher Gaetano Mosca’s theory of the Political Formula. Mosca argues (2021) that ruling class needs to continually justify itself by moral or legal principle (i.e., the Political Formula. It must be consistent with the conception of life of the governed community. The status quo must match the elite’s story. There are elements in the political formula that resemble stage magic and elements of rich storytelling that excite and inspire the population to continue to support it.

In these nascent stages of the pursuit of the Agora, the resistance would be required to deal with the full power of the state’s stories and the microphones that inevitably carry more power than an argument of self-interest. Agorism must inspire. It needs to capture and reflect Max Weber’s idea of charismatic authority. The resistance needs a story (not self-interest) and leadership (could even manifest itself like the Bolsheviks did by making the party charismatic), that sets the leaders “apart from ordinary men and [treats] them as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities…with a divine origin” (Weber, 1947).

Freedom and innovation can be as threatening to a state as any military. Agorism can work in the favor of those initiating the subversion, regardless of the size. It forces systemic tensions and the state to use resources and services they otherwise need to administer for other concerns. In a UW environment, Agorism provides another means for resistance groups to displace the State due to its flexibility, focus on self-interest, reflection of local politics, and difficult enforcement mechanisms forced on the state when it hits a critical level.

Agorism is not the new solution, but a new suggestion. DoD planners and designers would do well to consider ideas and strategies outside of the Overton Window in order to compete in this next century.

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[1] The 2016 re-make of Ghostbusters was a failure not due to misogyny or the patriarchy but due to a lack of authenticity. Dan Akroyd grew up in a family deeply involved in the supernatural. As far back as two generations he had family members performing what might be considered occult practices. This film was Akroyd’s personal story as much as an entertainment blockbuster. Merely trying to re-boot this property with a gender switch came across as crass, inauthentic, and ultimately rejected by the movie going public.

[2] While measures such as the Civil Rights Act and end of the Vietnam War did represent change, the structure of the state was unchanged and the power of the status quo was unaffected.

[3] More on what constitutes the other half of legitimacy will be addressed in “Drawbacks of Agorism” section

[4] Consider the role of Gandalf in the original novel The Hobbit (not the live action film) in his assistance to the Bilbo and the Dwarves.

[5] A body bag filled with supplies, usually ammunition and bottled water, dropped from a plane or helicopter to resupply soldiers far afield or in dire need (Brody, 2013).

What a perfect cookbook, filled with recipes for hectic weekdays as well as more complicated recipes for the weekend or whenever you have more time.

This book is loaded with appetizers, sides, salads (including dressings, the best addition to any salad in my opinion). All recipes include hands on time and total time, an important feature when you are trying to find a quick dinner.

The book is loaded with colorful, appetizing, well plated photos. So well done!

Thank you Shadow Martin Publishing a What a perfect cookbook, filled with recipes for hectic weekdays as well as more complicated recipes for the weekend or whenever you have more time.

This book is loaded with appetizers, sides, salads (including dressings, the best addition to any salad in my opinion). All recipes include hands on time and total time, an important feature when you are trying to find a quick dinner.

The book is loaded with colorful, appetizing, well plated photos. So well done!

Thank you Shadow Martin Publishing and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. . more

Tara Teaspoon’s Live Life Deliciously with Tara Teaspoon is a well-designed and well-organized cookbook filled with a variety of delicious recipes and stunning full-colour pictures.

The book features brief and useful chapters on pantry staples (foods like bacon and baking soda to tahini and red curry paste are included) and gathering the right equipment like knives and skillets. There are also chapters on bites, dips, and snacks salads, bowls, and dressings side love weeknight routines flavor Tara Teaspoon’s Live Life Deliciously with Tara Teaspoon is a well-designed and well-organized cookbook filled with a variety of delicious recipes and stunning full-colour pictures.

The book features brief and useful chapters on pantry staples (foods like bacon and baking soda to tahini and red curry paste are included) and gathering the right equipment like knives and skillets. There are also chapters on bites, dips, and snacks salads, bowls, and dressings side love weeknight routines flavor-inspired dinners meals for gathering morning glories and sweets to share.

I love cookbooks and this will be a perfect addition to my collection! The book has your meals covered from breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and even salad dressings! There is a range of recipes for sandwiches, pastas, pies, sauces, salads, pancakes, and more. Learn to make delicious dishes like corn succotash, strawberry cheesecake ice cream with gingersnaps, bakery-style chocolate chunk cookies with a secret ingredient (cream cheese!), and peanut noodle and pork ‘satay’. Entertain a crowd with the ginormous never-ending party sub or have an indulgent brunch with the Spanish tortilla with mushrooms and bacon.

I like that many of the ingredients are familiar, mostly affordable, and fairly accessible. I also like that Teaspoon takes the time to explain specialty ingredients quickly but thoroughly. The recipes are easy-to-follow. Although the stunning dishes may look difficult at first, they are actually very doable.

Teaspoon’s writing is approachable and easy-to-read. I like her little stories and I really appreciate the fact that she keeps everything nicely succinct. I like the helpful “Tara’s Tip” that is included with many of the recipes. They offer great information to make your cooking adventures easier. I also like her “Looks Delicious” suggestions which helps aesthetic-minded cooks to make their dishes Instagram-ready.

I love the beautiful, bright, and clean full-page pictures. The food is so attractively presented that I was tempted to chomp the screen! I appreciate the abundance of pictures of the completed dishes. But, I do wish that the pictures were labelled. However, they are so clear and well-presented that you can easily figure out the dish.

Live Life Deliciously with Tara Teaspoon is a delicious cookbook with gorgeous pictures. It will be a perfect addition to any cook’s collection!

Thank you to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for this book in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, my bias is going to be all over this review. :) First off, this is a woman who used to work for Martha Stewart and also was an editor of Ladies Home Journal -- and boy does she remind you of that. She also has a lot of pictures of herself cooking in the book, which always puts me off a bit. She is very chatty in the book and I usually enjoy that in a cookbook, but she&aposs clearly from another world than I am and I felt a bit as if one of the rich and popular girls in high school was talking Okay, my bias is going to be all over this review. :) First off, this is a woman who used to work for Martha Stewart and also was an editor of Ladies Home Journal -- and boy does she remind you of that. She also has a lot of pictures of herself cooking in the book, which always puts me off a bit. She is very chatty in the book and I usually enjoy that in a cookbook, but she's clearly from another world than I am and I felt a bit as if one of the rich and popular girls in high school was talking to me, but only because she wanted something from me. Another reviewer tagged this "ritzy food" and said it's the sort of thing you make when you want to impress people. I agree, and that's just not my thing.

The recipes are beautiful and I have no doubt they'll taste great. They tend to take a fair amount of time and to use multiple recipes for each dish (make the sauce on this page, the rub on this page, then do this) so the section telling you the time needed for recipes seems a bit deceptive. They also tend towards higher end ingredients. These aren't really things your average mom is going to throw together after getting home from work. These are the sorts of things you cook when you want to impress someone. In some cases, this is really well done. For instance, her take on fried ice cream involves crushing corn flakes and something else that have been mixed with honey and cooked, and then rolling balls of ice cream in them, putting them in small dishes where either bananas or strawberries have been cut on an angle to make petal shapes going all around it, and then topping it with fresh whipped cream and sprinkles, with a cherry on top. It's beautiful and probably tastes great, but I'm not sure most home cooks would do the whole flower and every garnish thing and I'm not sure how great it will be just as crushed corn flakes and honey on a ball of ice cream.

The book is also designed for Standard American Diet folks (but high end ones). There are a few accidentally gluten free or vegetarian dishes, but for the most part it's all heavy on meat, dairy, wheat, animal ingredients, white sugar, etc. and most of the recipes will not be a great fit for people who are gluten free, dairy free, paleo, keto, diabetic, vegan, vegetarian, etc. or who have any family members who are. Recipes are not marked if they meet any of these needs and there's not even the occasional token recipe offered in a nod to the fact that most people these days at least know some vegetarian, gluten free, and/or paleo folks they might want to cook for once or twice.

There are color photos of at least half of the recipes, and they're beautifully done. There is no nutritional information provided.

This will be a great addition to many cooks' libraries, even if it's not a great fit for mine.

I read a digital ARC of this book for review. . more

Live Life Deliciously with Tara Teaspoon is an inspiring and stunning cookbook that is a nice addition to a collection. The instructions are easy to follow and there are many beautiful images to accompany them. It contains some great tips and equipment suggestions, however it might be a bit too detailed for those looking for a quick weeknight recipe.

I am not familiar with the author, but according to her bio, she is quite connected with the cooking community. Ther Full Review on The Candid Cover

Live Life Deliciously with Tara Teaspoon is an inspiring and stunning cookbook that is a nice addition to a collection. The instructions are easy to follow and there are many beautiful images to accompany them. It contains some great tips and equipment suggestions, however it might be a bit too detailed for those looking for a quick weeknight recipe.

I am not familiar with the author, but according to her bio, she is quite connected with the cooking community. There is an air of Martha Stewart in this book, but Tara has a more down-to-earth approach in her descriptions. The recipes definitely seem doable and there are some unique ideas to create.

New Pantry Staples
The Right Equipment
Bites, Dips, and Snacks
Salads, Bowls, and Dressings
Side Love
Weeknight Routines
Flavour Inspired Dinners
Meals for Gathering
Morning Glories
Sweets to Share

What really stands out for me in the cookbook is actually the beginning of the book that provides an extensive list of items for a well-stocked pantry and a great list of essential equipment. These sections don’t call for many hard to find or expensive things, which I found very refreshing. It might not be useful for a seasoned home chef, but there were a couple of things that caught my eye for my own kitchen.


The recipes included here are definitely ones to try if you are making something for a get-together and are wanting to impress your guests. In my opinion, most of these recipes have a lot of steps that involve combining recipes from other pages. On a busy weeknight, quick and nutritious is the aim, and I just didn’t have the energy to create any of these recipes. I do have quite a few bookmarked for when I have some time to set aside, though.

If you enjoy a beautiful cookbook that has lots of detailed and interesting recipes for a crowd, Live Life Deliciously is definitely one to try. There are some fantastic ideas in this book that will impress your guests. . more

A great cookbook if you&aposre someone who likes to entertain and don&apost mind the occasional ingredient that may take some effort to find. Gorgeous pictures and some great sounding recipes that can exercise your culinary skills. I wouldn&apost call this a quick and easy weeknight cookbook but sometimes you want to put in a little more effort and try something new.

I like the idea that some of the recipes she gives multiple ways to use them but I do wish they were grouped together more. Several of the ing A great cookbook if you're someone who likes to entertain and don't mind the occasional ingredient that may take some effort to find. Gorgeous pictures and some great sounding recipes that can exercise your culinary skills. I wouldn't call this a quick and easy weeknight cookbook but sometimes you want to put in a little more effort and try something new.

I like the idea that some of the recipes she gives multiple ways to use them but I do wish they were grouped together more. Several of the ingredient lists sent you to another recipe on another page. Started to feel like a scavenger hunt at times.

I will definitely be giving some of these recipes a try! . more

I enjoy a good cookbook and especially when it is one that does not call for fancy ingredients or long cooking times. I like that some of the recipes are used in other recipes – sauces, dressings, etc. It shows how versatile food can be and what might make another recipe pop.

The book starts off with an intro from Tara and then it jumps into pantry staples and the right equipment. She talks about the different types of pots and pans and even has a section on knives. I agree with her that you need I enjoy a good cookbook and especially when it is one that does not call for fancy ingredients or long cooking times. I like that some of the recipes are used in other recipes – sauces, dressings, etc. It shows how versatile food can be and what might make another recipe pop.

The book starts off with an intro from Tara and then it jumps into pantry staples and the right equipment. She talks about the different types of pots and pans and even has a section on knives. I agree with her that you need to feel a knife in your hand to know if it is the right one for you. I also think that you should spend a little more on a good quality knife set. It will last you forever. Other good basics to have are mixing bowls (multiple sizes), cutting boards, spatulas, tongs, and so much more.

The cookbook is divided into various chapters – appetizers, salads, sides, weeknight meals, flavor inspired dinners, meals for gatherings, breakfast dishes, and desserts. As I perused each section, I found many that looked delicious and will be adding to my rotation of meals.

This is a great cookbook for beginners to intermediate chefs out there. I don’t think anything is too hard and you shouldn’t have to search very hard for most of the ingredients. If you look at her pantry staple list, many of the items are on that list. . more

I always enjoy venturing out and trying new flavors and foods. Some of my family members, not so much. So I have to find a good balance in my home meals. Food my family will eat but also food and flavors that I&aposll enjoy. My rule is that they have to try it. They can&apost declare they don&apost like it without even trying it. And I usually have them give it a couple bites to let the flavors ruminate in their mouth and mind before they decide. Sometimes it takes those couple of bites and sometimes it is I always enjoy venturing out and trying new flavors and foods. Some of my family members, not so much. So I have to find a good balance in my home meals. Food my family will eat but also food and flavors that I'll enjoy. My rule is that they have to try it. They can't declare they don't like it without even trying it. And I usually have them give it a couple bites to let the flavors ruminate in their mouth and mind before they decide. Sometimes it takes those couple of bites and sometimes it is an instant reaction of yes or no. Lol! But regardless they've realized that what they might initially not want to eat because of looks, becomes some of their favorite foods. Score for me! But for those family members who aren't so adventurous I have to not overwhelm them too often and stick with some of their favorites as well.

I enjoyed looking through this cookbook and getting some different ideas. Not just for food but for tools and pantry stocking and some other ideas. I like seeing what different cooks use for tools and what their staple pantry supplies are. Of course this doesn't always apply to everyone else looking at the cookbook. But I like that we can see and garner new ideas. Or take the plunge and buy an item that I've been debating about for a while and having seen several great uses for it, try it, and usually love that I took the plunge (I take a while to decide what I really want and if I'm really going to use it before purchasing).

The pictures in the book are beautiful and made my mouth water A LOT. Lol! So don't read this if you're hungry. Then again. read it when you're hungry because you'll want to try out the recipes. To be honest, I haven't tried any of the recipes. I had a lot of fun reading through the different sections of recipes and marking what ones I would want to try and enjoy. There are a lot of great ones in here that I'm looking forward to trying. Especially with my budding chefs at home. I love that aspect about cooking (not that it always happens but I try to make it happen), having time to cook and talk and teach and try new recipes with my kids. My husband is also great about finding different foods to cook with our kids. So being in the kitchen with kids and family is a constant in our house. I think I'm going to have each of my kids pick a couple of their favorites and make a meal with them trying out these new recipes.

There are several sections in the book. Here they are: Bites, Dips and Snacks. Salads, Bowls and Dressings. Side Love. Weeknight Routines. Flavor-Inspired Dinners. Meals for Gathering. Morning Glories. And the last one is Sweets to Share.

Yum! Just thinking about some of these recipes has me ready to dive in and eat them. Lol!

Content: Definitely clean -) It's a cookbook.

I received a copy from the publisher, Shadow Mountain Publishing, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.

Tara Teaspoon is an experienced chef with a passion for her craft. She has worked with Martha Stewart and was the food director of Ladies Home Journal Magazine.

She credits her mother with her creativity and enthusiasm in the kitchen. Tara worked alongside her mom in the kitchen since she was old enough to reach the counters.

Through her work Tara has access to the best equipment and ingredients, but she understands that home chefs often have to make-do with what they have.

Of course Cookbook Review

Tara Teaspoon is an experienced chef with a passion for her craft. She has worked with Martha Stewart and was the food director of Ladies Home Journal Magazine.

She credits her mother with her creativity and enthusiasm in the kitchen. Tara worked alongside her mom in the kitchen since she was old enough to reach the counters.

Through her work Tara has access to the best equipment and ingredients, but she understands that home chefs often have to make-do with what they have.

Of course, she recommends that you have every variety of pot and pan and every small kitchen appliance. She does however, offer work arounds and often encourages readers to buy inexpensive options.

Her list of pantry staples is realistic. It includes items like garlic, chocolate and soy sauce, with nothing more exotic than red curry paste. You will have most of these items in your pantry already.

What I Cooked

Lemon-Butter Salmon with Herbs

This recipe is as simple as the name suggests. It requires little more than pan frying the salmon in butter and olive oil with garlic. This is now my go-to salmon recipe, it is absolutely the best salmon recipe I have.

French Bistro Mushroom Burger

This is a clever twist on traditional mushroom burgers. Instead of topping the burger with mushrooms, you actually add sautéed mushrooms to the burger patties. This tastes fabulous with the herb seasonings. I will be making this again!

This cookbook is a great option for home chefs. It includes lots of simple yet flavorful recipes. Plenty of interesting side dishes, easy main courses and tempting desserts. Live Life Deliciously is perfect for cooks looking to spice up their traditional American cuisine.

Variations and substiutions

I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:

  • You can use extra-lean ground beef if you'd like, keeping in mind that the meatballs won't be as flavorful.
  • You can also try experimenting with ground chicken, pork, or turkey.
  • Tasty spices you could add include paprika and dried thyme - try 1 teaspoon paprika and ½ teaspoon of thyme.
  • Instead of the parmesan, you can use ¼ cup of almond flour.

Mom's Low Carb Meatballs Recipe - Italian Style (Keto Meatballs)


  • 1/2 pound ground beef chuck, 85 % lean
  • 1/2 pound ground pork (or turkey or veal)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsely
  • 1 tbsp finely grated onion (it will be mush)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated (small - medium in size)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Optional: Sauce


To Pan Fry Meatballs:

To Bake Meatballs in the Oven:

Makes 12 meatballs. 3 meatballs per serving at 1 net carb. With Rao's sauce it's 4 net carbs per serving. (Nutritional info for the meatballs only.)



Kim is a self taught cook with over 30 years experience in the kitchen. She develops and tests low carb and keto recipes in her California home. She began her low carb journey in 2009 and at the urging of friends, started blogging in 2014. Kim shares delicious low carb and keto recipes no one would believe are sugar-free. Her recipes are featured in newsstand publications and on sites all over the internet.

22 Mouth-Watering Goat Recipes to Introduce You to Tasty Goat Meat

Jennifer is a full-time homesteader who started her journey in the foothills of North Carolina in 2010. Currently, she spends her days gardening, caring for her orchard and vineyard, raising chickens, ducks, goats, and bees. Jennifer is an avid canner who provides almost all food for her family needs. She enjoys working on DIY remodeling projects to bring beauty to her homestead in her spare times.

There are a variety of animals, from small to large, you can raise on your homestead to provide enough meat for yourself or your family.

Some of the popular animals to raise for meat are rabbits, chickens, cows, sheep, and goats. Though many people have started raising goats as a meat source, many are still hesitant to take this approach because they aren’t sure how to prepare the meat once it’s been raised.

I’m going to share some popular goat recipes which will give you an idea of how you can feast on your meat goats after they’ve been processed.

Here are goat recipes which will give you a whole new appreciation for your herd:

1. Curried Goat Stew

If you scroll through the internet, you’ll notice goat is highly recommended as stew meat.

This recipe uses an abundance of different flavors to set your taste buds up for a delightful experience. If you love garlic, ginger, onion, curry powder, paprika, and other familiar flavors you’ll love this dish because it brings them all together harmoniously.

2. The Ultimate Cuts Guide for Goat Recipes

If you’re totally new to eating goat, you may feel overwhelmed at the idea. This is where this guide comes into play.

They walk you through each cut of a goat and share how to prepare them. This will give you a hint at the possibilities which could be waiting in this relatively new meat in many parts of the US.

3. Slow-Cooked Goat

I don’t know about you, but if you tell me I can prepare something in a crockpot, I’m more apt to try something new.

This shows you how to prepare slow-cooked goat in a crockpot to make delicious tacos. Tacos are a great way to try new meat because it’s something familiar and can have toppings to make it more palatable.

4. Roasted Leg of Goat

You’ve probably heard of people roasting a leg of lamb. This recipe is similar only it calls for a leg of goat. They walk you through how to tenderize the meat since goat tends to get tough.

Plus, they share how to make a tasty marinade and delicious spice rub to add plenty of flavors. If you’d like to serve this as a Polynesian meal, they even offer side dishes which would go well with this roasted goat.

5. Slow Roasted Goat Shoulder

If you’ve ever cooked a shoulder cut of meat, it’s common to cook it on a low temperature and for a long length of time.

Goat shoulder should be cooked on a lower temperature, but it doesn’t take all day. This shows you how to have a tender cut of meat in only four hours.

6. Grilled Goat Meat

Goat meat has a stronger flavor than other types of meat. This is a good thing because it allows for heavy seasonings without them becoming overpowering.

When grilling goat meat, be sure to marinade the cuts of meat. Cook it low and slow to avoid it becoming tough, and you should have a fabulous meal.

7. Thyme and Garlic Dry Fry Goat Meat

This recipe looks delicious. They instruct you to marinate the goat meat heavily and boil it both to lessen the cooking time and tenderize the meat.

From there, they toss a variety of vegetables in the skillet to cook. When done, the goat meat is added to dry fry. After just a few minutes, your dish is ready for you to dig in.

8. Ground Goat Meatballs

If you’re still turned off to the idea of eating goat, it may help to do a familiar dish. Meatballs could be the gateway recipe for you to enjoy goat.

It consists of ground goat meat, a variety of seasonings, and they’re topped off with a yogurt sauce. This could be a tasty yet slightly familiar way of breaking the ice with goat recipes.

9. Lamb and Goat Mandi Rice

I don’t know about you, but when I butcher an animal, I have a difficult time using their ribs because a person can only eat ribs so often before it gets dull.

If you have goat ribs and aren’t sure how you’re going to use them, consider this recipe. It uses both lamb meat and goat ribs. It could be a delicious way to utilize the rib meat without barbecuing them.

10. Goat Meat Caldereta

I’ve learned over the years, when I’m feeling unsure about a meal, I throw everything in it but the kitchen sink.

This gives it a variety of familiar flavors to help me adjust to the unfamiliar. If you prefer this same approach, this is the recipe for you.

11. Goat Pilau

This recipe looks delicious! It has roasted goat, green chili, tomatoes, and garlic. The mixture is served over rice for a tasty one pot meal.

However, the journey doesn’t stop there. It’s topped with raisins, cashews, and ghee. For a meal which has it all, you must check this goat recipe out.

12. Spicy Roast Goat

You like the idea of roasting goat meat because it seems easy enough and a delicious way to enjoy this new meat.

But you need more flavor than basic spices can offer. If you like a spicy dish, this recipe has you covered. Enjoy the tender meat which will pack a punch to your taste buds.

13. Goat Recipes in Creole Sauce

If you haven’t noticed already, most goat recipes come from countries outside of the United States.

This particular recipe is a common staple in Haiti. Since goat is becoming more common all over the world, people are now borrowing the recipes and putting their own spin on them. It’s a great way to get a taste of different cultures without leaving your kitchen.

14. Instant Pot Goat Stew

We discussed earlier how goat meat is desirable as stew meat. We’ve also discussed how goat should be cooked low and slow or it can become tough.

This recipe makes goat a viable option for everyone, including those with a busy schedule. You can make tender and flavor goat stew in your Instant Pot.

15. Chili Goat Recipes

Chili is a delicious way to stay warm over the winter months. It’s also a great meal for when you’re working on a tight budget.

If you love chili and have goat meat on hand, why not combine the two? This recipe is easy to make and uses only a few basic ingredients. It would be a great way to feed a crowd.

16. Yogurt-Marinated Goat Steaks

When someone says they’re serving you steak for dinner, you may not instantly realize it’s not beef steak, but goat steak.

However, this recipe should give you a whole new appreciation for goat. For an added touch of flavor, they incorporated sheep’s milk yogurt as a nice finishing touch to the dish.

17. Goat Sausage

I wasn’t aware you could make such a variety of sausages until we began harvesting our own meat. We now make pork sausage and deer sausage regularly.

If you’re looking to make sausage from the meat you raise around your homestead, consider using this tutorial to make your own goat sausage.

18. Goat Goulash

I love to make goulash for my family because it’s an easy one-pot meal which is also relatively frugal. It’s great when you’re grocery shopping on a budget.

If you need a simple meal which will incorporate the groceries you have and work for your budget, consider making goat goulash.

19. Ground Goat Tacos with Blackened Tomatoes

This recipe sounds extremely delicious! I have a weakness for Mexican cuisine. The tacos include ground goat meat, tomatillos, chipotle peppers, and many other delicious taco ingredients.

However, what sets this recipe apart is the tomatoes and tomatillos. They’re cooked face down on a cast iron skillet to give them some char before they’re added to the tacos.

20. Ground Goat with Sweet Potatoes

When I first began making my own hash, I used Russet potatoes and pork sausage. It’s an inexpensive but filling meal.

If you’re looking for a different variety to this basic meal, utilize this recipe where goat meat and sweet potatoes are used.

21. Fried Liver Goat Recipes

Over my life span, I’ve learned you’re either an organ type of person or you aren’t. I’m not an organ person.

However, my oldest child is. They’re good for you which is great if you’re someone who loves liver. This recipe fries them and adds a ton of flavor to the meat. Give it a go and see what your opinion is.

22. Whole Smoked Goat Neck

The term, “waste not want not” is what comes to mind with this recipe. If you’re looking to lead a zero-waste life, don’t waste any part of a goat when butchering it.

You can save the neck and enjoy it in a tasty fashion thanks to this recipe. There are a variety of spices used with the meat, dried cherries are added to the dish, along with wine. The rice it’s served with is cooked in coconut milk for added flavor as well.

You now have over 20 different goat recipes to help you become acquainted with goat meat. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the flavor because goats are an easy animal to raise in most environments.

This could open the door for another viable meat source on your homestead and a great way to feed your family homegrown delicious meals.

19 Copycat Italian Recipes That Are Way Healthier Than What You Get at Restaurants

There’s never really a bad time for Italian food. Whether you’re planning a fancy date night, need a crowd-pleasing cuisine for a group dinner, or simply want a casual slice of pizza, you can count on Italian as a pretty safe and satisfying bet.

That said, we’re not going to lie—a lot of the food at American-Italian restaurants these days can leave you feeling like there’s a huge rock in your stomach, thanks to being heavy on the carbs, drenched in rich dairy, and often pretty meaty.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. From eggplant Parmesan to risotto, these recipes take some of the most commonly found menu items in restaurants and give them a healthier spin. Buon appetito!

1. Baked Italian Rice Balls With Creamy Marinara Dipping Sauce

Considering they’re usually fried and packed with cheese, nothing about traditional arancini balls are that healthy (or vegan). They are mouthwatering, though, so re-creating them is a must. This recipe uses nutritional yeast for the cheesiness factor and bakes the balls to keep them practically oil-free. What could make them even better? A marinara dipping sauce, made creamy with the addition of tahini to keep everything dairy-free.

2. Healthy and Easy Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup in restaurants usually contains tubular or shell macaroni, but when it’s your kitchen, it’s your choice—why not switch things up with gluten-free spaghetti torn into shorter strips? Plus, while most versions of this soup contain a ton of ingredients, this one takes the “less-is-more” approach and relies on fewer than 10 main components to create a well-seasoned, super-filling vegetarian soup.

3. Chopped Caprese Salad

The king of all Italian salads is also probably one of the simplest and most satisfying. In restaurants, you’ll find it presented as thick slices of tomato and mozzarella, with basil leaves in-between and balsamic drizzle on top. This version serves it up slightly differently, with cherry tomatoes, balls of the cheese, chopped herbs, and balsamic reduction all mixed up in a bowl. Rest assured, this way tastes just as good, if not better.

4. Gluten-Free Pasta Fagioli Soup

This pasta and bean soup can usually be counted on as a healthy starter at most Italian restaurants, but making it at home guarantees quality control on every single ingredient. This recipe uses fresh veggies and canned beans, while opting for gluten-free pasta and swapping the bacon out for ground beef to make it a heartier dish.

5. Healthier Italian Wedding Soup

Egg whites, oats instead of white bread crumbs, and lean ground chicken instead of beef for the meatballs make this Italian wedding soup a good deal lighter than the regular kind, while pearled couscous instead of pasta simply switches up the textures. Plus, while most wedding soups use spinach or escarole as their green of choice, this one opts for kale for a chewier bite and tons of vitamins.

6. Copycat Olive Garden Salad

Few restaurants are memorable for their salads, but Olive Garden’s bread crumb-studded, cheese-garnished pile of veggies drizzled in creamy dressing can’t be beat. While this recipe is super faithful to the salad ingredients (down to the black olives and the pepperoncini peppers), it takes a somewhat healthier approach to the dressing, with Greek yogurt option instead of mayo and presumably less sugar.

7. Lighter Antipasto Salad

At restaurants, antipasto salads are more like bowls of chopped meat and cheese with a few peppers thrown in. Not this one. With romaine, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, and mushrooms, the veggies are the stars here. Don’t worry, though: Provolone, ham, and salami certainly make their presence felt, but a little of each goes a longer way than you’d think.

8. Penne Rosa

Sure, Noodles and Company isn’t the epitome of authentic Italian food, but there’s no denying that its penne rosa dish is the kind of fantastically creamy and carb-loaded meal you want to face-plant into. Before you do, whip up this copycat version, which uses Greek yogurt instead of cream, whole-wheat pasta, and lots of fresh spinach for added fiber. All right, now you can face-plant.

9. Healthy Bolognese

This veggie-packed Bolognese recipe is notable for thoughtfully offering several ways to enjoy this Italian restaurant staple without compromising on your dietary choices. Need to make it Paleo? Serve it over zucchini noodles. Go for gluten-free pasta if you wish. Not a meat eater? A can of lentils works great in place of the beef or chicken. No matter how you choose to eat it, there’s no way you’ll go wrong.

10. Easy, Healthy Lasagna

Oodles of cheese. A meaty filling. Thick sheets of refined flour pasta. How could you possibly healthify the decadent lasagna? For starters, layer lots of sliced veggies in-between the other ingredients. Then, substitute cottage cheese in place of the ricotta. With just those two simple tweaks, you can turn this restaurant favorite into a meal you don’t have to save for special occasions.

11. Copycat Domino’s Thin Crust Pizza

Leave that take-out menu in the drawer. Instead, you can roll out a pizza dough, layer on the toppings, and bake the entire thing, all in just 20 minutes! Don’t believe it? Try it for yourself and let us know how it worked out in-between bites of thin, crispy crust, juicy tomato sauce, and ooey-gooey cheese.

12. Easy Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge, meaning that deep-frying it—as one does for regular eggplant Parm—essentially amounts to eating glugs of extra fat that may leave you feeling weighed down and queasy (and that’s before the cheese is added!). For results that are equally delicious but come without the food coma, this recipe broils the eggplant slices without breading them, uses thin slices of cheese instead of entire layers, and opts for a light bread crumb topping.

13. Healthy Italian Spaghetti Carbonara

With cheese, eggs, bacon, and pasta—and sometimes, even cream—pasta carbonara is basically the dish that inspired this article. Give it a makeover with turkey bacon, less cheese, and whole-wheat pasta without losing the killer sauce that the egg yolk creates. You’re welcome.

14. Risotto Alla Milanese

You may not think of a luxurious risotto as the type of meal you can cook at home, but not only is it possible, it’s also a quick, 20-minute endeavor! With a pinch of saffron, a splash of white wine, and just enough butter and cheese, this has all the ingredients it needs to achieve restaurant quality without nearly as much richness.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 50 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients US Metric

  • 1 large (about 2 pounds) spaghetti squash
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Turn the squash on its side and carefully cut through the center of the squash to create 2 round halves (you want to cut right through the equator rather than lengthwise from end to end).

Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits and compost them or toss them in the trash. Rub a teaspoon of olive oil in each half and sprinkle with salt.

Place each half, cut-side down, on the baking sheet. Bake until you can easily pierce the skin of the squash with a fork or, if you turn the squash over, you can easily get a fork through the squash all the way to the skin. Figure about 40 minutes.

Use a fork to gently drag, scrape, or pull out the squash in long strands and serve.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Lisa Amtower

This recipe totally lives up to its name. The squash made perfect strands. Spaghetti squash will now be a regular veg for us. Why did I ignore it for so long? Less than 5 minutes prep, 40 minutes in the oven, and no additional seasoning needed for delicious squash.

I made a sheet pan-palooza last night with the squash, Brussels sprouts, and sliced shallots, and Za'atar-Rubbed Chicken with Carrots, Beets, and Labne. With 3 pans in the oven, I compromised on the temp and roasted everything at 425°F convection and it all came out perfectly. All in all, a hearty simple meal with leftovers for me to take to work this week.

Patty Fabian

Roasted spaghetti squash isn’t new, however, this new technique in cutting the squash “crosswise” is a game changer if you want those incredibly long strands that really do look more like spaghetti. The typical approach has always been to cut the spaghetti squash vertically into “boats” to roast them, but the shortish strands it produced didn’t really look like what it was named after. This technique really did produce those long lovely strands allowing this squash to live up to its name! So this new technique is a winner for me!

This simple recipe process was very easy to follow. My 2 lb., 10 oz spaghetti squash was perfectly tender at 40 minutes using the fork test to pierce the skin and the squash easily yielded long strands with the scraping of a fork. A much larger squash would probably take a bit longer.

This truly turned out to be the perfect roasted spaghetti squash.

I also really liked that the cut squash is seasoned with olive oil and sea salt before going into the oven. This gave the squash a really nice sweet flavor.

There are endless uses for spaghetti squash, and I used mine in a shortcut lasagna using the squash as the noodles. Not a vegetarian dish as I also used Italian sausage. So good!

The number of servings will really depend on the size of the squash and its intended purpose. The size of my squash produced 4 cups of squash strands, which would easily serve two people as a main or four people as a side dish.

Barbara S.

I love winter squash. They can be hard to cut. My favorite part of this recipe was that I cut the squash horizontally versus vertically. So easy and made such a big difference.

After scooping out the seeds, I brushed on the olive oil with a pastry brush. Once it was oiled, I sprinkled 1/4 t sea salt on the cut squash. When I serve the squash, I will add a bit more salt and pepper.

I baked the squash for 45 minutes. The cooked squash shredded easily and in total, yielded, approximately 5 cups of squash.

Sarah Gustafson

I never thought to cut the squash horizontally around the middle! It does indeed create longer, spaghetti-like strands. Inverting the squash halves cut side down allows any excess liquid to drain away resulting in great texture. This will become my go-to method. This squash made two perfect servings.

Spaghetti squash is a delicious and healthy alternative to pasta. We like to mix in a small amount of pasta when we eat it with Bolognese, marinara, or meatballs. just to get a little pasta in there but still keeping it light.

K. Fox

This cooking method was a revelation for me! I’ve always found it difficult to cut spaghetti squash vertically down the middle but I was always disappointed with the results when I cooked it whole. Cutting the squash horizontally was so much easier and I loved the addition of salt and olive oil. My husband and I have always enjoyed using spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute when we have spaghetti and meatballs, and this recipe did not disappoint. Now, if only I could have convinced him to share a bowl with me “Lady in the Tramp” style.

The squash easily fell into strands for me, but I think it’s important to make sure the squash is cooked all the way through without it being overcooked. I started testing at 30 minutes and could tell there was still some resistance towards the skin when I pierced the squash with a fork. At 40 minutes, the fork pierced the skin easily but didn’t collapse into the squash. Bingo.

Tracey Awad

I love spaghetti squash as a side dish or a pasta substitute, but have struggled in the past with cooking it well. This recipe provided me with moist and cooked through squash strands.

I served it in a variety of ways throughout the week: topped with fresh tomato basil sauce, mixed into a Thai papaya salad, and on it's own with a little extra olive oil, salt, and pepper. It is a versatile dish that can accompany any type of cuisine.

Elsa M. Jacobson

Here’s a hard squash that doesn’t look, act, or taste just like most of the others—an outlier! And a useful one at that.

I baked my squash for 45 minutes until I thought my fork was easily piercing the skin, but I could maybe have baked it 5 minutes less for a slightly toothier, “spaghetti.” And there you are—now what?!

Just a few ideas! The plain Jane approach: salt, pepper, and a little olive oil, as suggested, perhaps with a few fresh herbs atop, basil or parsley come top of mind. Add feta. Toss with pesto. Toss with butter. Top with Parmesan. Toss with brown butter. Toss with vegetables sauteed in oil, or butter, or oil or butter plus garlic. Or toss with roasted vegetables, or roasted vegetables and garlic. Garlic and chili. Mushrooms would be wonderful or mushrooms and garlic. Cacio e pepe with spaghetti squash! Try them with a marinara. Or red sauce and meatballs. Or arrabiata. One of the best features of this recipe is the pro tip to cut the squash horizontally around the equator for multiple reasons, including the one cited, that it creates longer spaghetti. Additionally, it’s a safer and easier cut for a hard squash.

Paul N.

The end result is excellent. Aside from the cutting advice, I see nothing in the recipe that's unique, but it's still worth documenting. Fortunately, it’s amenable to refrigeration and reheating.

Joan M.

Not only is this the PERFECT roasted spaghetti squash recipe, it's the EASIEST spaghetti squash recipe you'll ever come across. It's now my official go-to, that's for sure!

Years ago, when I first started messing around with spaghetti squash, it was always a challenge to cut it in half because I had learned to cut them longitudinally. Due to the increased risk of cutting myself, I switched to cutting a few small slits in it and steaming it whole in the microwave (don't judge me). I missed the roasted sweetness, but I didn't want to play "wrestle the vegetable with a knife" game.

With this recipe and cutting it sagittally, I was able to cut through it easily and prep the entire dish in less than two minutes!! LESS THAN TWO MINUTES!! Because the cut side was down, all the water steamed the interior without creating a giant puddle of water. The final result was a bounty of tender, but not mushy, strands of delicious roasted sweetness.

This particular squash weighed 4 lb 6 oz and took 50 minutes to roast. I'm glad I added the extra 10 minutes because it created extra roasted browning and sweetness. I used a Spanish olive oil and sea salt.

The result was about 8 cups of strands. As a side dish you could serve 3 to 4. If you were to serve it with a protein as a main course, I'd say it would make 2 to 3 generous servings.

I plan on having it as a main course with some roasted chicken or a fried egg. Or, I might just have it as a snack right out of the container.

Irene Seales

This completely simple treatment may have finally made me a convert to the worthy virtues of spaghetti squash—and now I might owe some folks apologies. My early introduction to it was as a diet-conscious substitute to real pasta was marred by mediocre sauce accompaniment in the 1970s, and more recently I’ve experienced it as a vegetarian dish composed as a too richly indulgent gratin.

It takes less time to wash, cut open and scoop seeds out than it does to warm the oven. Cutting the squash equatorially is brilliant and safe. If getting the oil on the cut rim seems fussy, drizzle it on the parchment or foil and rub the cut sides around in it before you add salt and pepper, then put them back cut side down and pour yourself a glass of wine.

I hereby promise I will never groan at the sight of a spaghetti squash again, now that I know in 30 to 40 minutes I can have the centerpiece for dinner (easier than polenta!) and I can even predict serving a half small one in the shell, securely nested in a deep bowl as the ultimate DIY dinner, with as many possibilities as a baked potato sideboard. But in all honesty, I think it will be a worthy accompaniment to my best stash of Bolognese pulled from the freezer on a busy weeknight (no jarred sauce of my childhood).

At 30 minutes, the squash was a bit too firm, but at 40 it willingly gave way to being progged with a fork and was done. I let it sit for a few minutes and then, holding half in a gloved hand to protect myself from the heat, I easily fork-shredded and scooped the inside of the squash onto the plates.

Here, on its own, simply with olive oil or herbed oil and some salt and pepper, this stood deliciously solo alongside a seared steak finished with mushrooms in a pan sauce. Even as I speared the mushrooms with forkfuls of the stranded squash, I enjoyed the toothsome squash as its own flavor destination. It was deeply satisfying without a carbohydrate coma!

My squash was as small as I could find (under 26 oz) and was perfect for a generous dinner for two. It did take 40 minutes to reach the fork piercing test, and was so simple I felt guilty. I do hereby apologize.

Bonus points—a whole spaghetti sits patiently on your counter or packs perfectly for your staycation or quarantine holiday with even the most primitive oven. It doesn’t even need space in a cooler or fridge til you need it! If you don’t have parchment, use foil!

Ellen Fuss

Giving this a Testers’ Choice is a lot like giving steamed broccoli a Testers’ Choice, but if we consider this a test of technique, then I think it’s a good one. I am a big fan of using spaghetti squash as a substitute for a lot of high-carb pasta dishes. Alone, spaghetti squash is boring, but when enhanced with sauce or seasoning it’s a wonderful vegetable.

This technique was great. I have always microwaved mine but preferred this technique. Mine weighed 2 pounds, 10 ounces and took 50 minutes for the skin to be fork tender. It easily fell into strands and we ate it topped with a vegetarian chili. It could serve 2 to 3 and would work well with any pasta topping. No, it doesn't taste like pasta, but it’s a great alternative.


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