Coconutty Grilled Shrimp and More Recipes We Made This Week

Photo by Alex Lau, food styling by Chris Morocco and Tom Cunanan, prop styling by Elizabeth Jaime

It’s no secret that BA editors cook a lot for work. So it should come as no surprise that we cook a lot during our off hours too. Here are the recipes we’re whipping up this month to get dinner on the table, entertain our friends, satisfy a sweet tooth, use up leftovers, and everything in between. For even more staff favorites, click here.

May 31

Showstopper grilled shrimp

This past weekend I felt stymied over what to serve to a small crowd I was hosting, especially the worldly and well-traveled among them, who in my mind were expecting nothing short of culinary pyrotechnics from Bon Appétit’s test kitchen director. I decided to go with a dish I realized I had sadly gone years without eating: chef Tom Cunanan’s Grilled Shrimp With Palapa. It starts with a base of deeply toasted fresh coconut (although dried unsweetened shredded coconut works fine too). Layered with chiles, garlic, ginger, and a sneaky umami punch of mushroom powder, it is a marinade and condiment in one, clinging to the shrimp as they grill—and ideal for mounding over the top once finished. It also works on anything you might drizzle with a bit of chili oil or hot sauce: a final blast of salty-sweet intensity that will keep for weeks if not months in your fridge. —Chris Morocco, test kitchen director

Grilled Shrimp With Palapa

Tom Cunanan

Plush blueberry lemon loaf

I call this cake my boyfriend and people think I am joking. I have eaten every rendition of senior test kitchen editor Jesse Szewczyk’s Blueberry Lemon Loaf (and there have been many) and this final recipe has me swooning with every bite. Those who are new to reverse-creaming cake batter are in for a surprise; without going into the science of it all, this unorthodox approach yields a tender crumb like no other. The fresh, lemony slices might have you thinking of a certain big-box-coffee chain’s popular loaf—but trust that Jesse’s version is leaps and bounds superior. The smooth, ice-rink-glossy glaze is literally the perfect icing on the cake. —Hana Asbrink, deputy food editor

A spring riff on mujadara

I saved this recipe in our Epicurious app last year and have been waiting until asparagus season rolled around again to make it. Jammy onions become a savory base for lentils and rice, then tiny coins of asparagus and frozen peas remind everyone that it’s spring. As written, it’s vegan, but I messed that up to use what was already in my fridge: Greek yogurt instead of coconut, and ghee instead of olive oil for the tadka on top. The leftovers made a spectacular lunch. —Emma Laperruque, associate director of cooking

Spring-y Rice and Lentils with Coconut Yogurt

Kendra Vaculin

Serendipitous salad

After eating chili mac for lunch several days in a row (I am blessed), a craving for kale salad descended upon me. I take cravings seriously, so I had no choice but to acquiesce. My first thought was a recent favorite, Kendra’s avocado-massaged kale salad (I’ve converted multiple people to its magical powers). But then I stumbled upon this charred kale with citrus and herby tahini from food director Chris Morocco. Enticing! But I had no citrus in my fridge, and no herbs around either. Then—literal minutes later—my coworkers posted about a test kitchen giveaway with both citrus and herbs. I couldn’t believe it. That night I added some sliced avocado to Chris’s recipe and it was the best of both worlds. —E.L.

Sheet-pan dinner party

For the first dinner party I hosted in my new apartment, I made Shilpa’s lemony sheet-pan chicken and potatoes. Because the theme was Italian, I “Italicized” the recipe by swapping the coriander and dill for fresh rosemary and also used Jacobsen Salt Co.’s Italian seasoning. A simple salad got dressed with Emma’s super-easy red wine vinaigrette and dessert was this gorgeous olive oil cake. At the end of the night, I realized it’s the first time I’ve ever cooked a multi-course meal without using any butter! —Emily Farris, senior commerce writer

Sheet-Pan Chicken and Potatoes With Lots of Lemon

Shilpa Uskokovic

May 24

Bookmarked carrot cake

I am not a baker or cake decorator, so when I find a recipe that turns out well, I bookmark it and make it every chance I can—like senior test kitchen editor Shilpa Uskokovic’s Carrot Sheet Cake. I made it for my mother’s birthday. My favorite part is that I don’t have to grate carrots because you blitz everything together in a blender. The dried pineapple and crystallized ginger are a welcome swap for raisins. I double-batched the whipped cream cheese frosting to use later as fruit dip because it is just that good. —Urmila Ramakrishnan, associate director of social media

Carrot Sheet Cake With Cream Cheese Whip

Shilpa Uskokovic

Ramp-stuffed pasta

This week I had a craving for homemade pasta, inspired by some gorgeous spring produce I found in the form of ramps and leeks. I saw them and knew they needed to make their way into delicate agnolotti. While I riffed on the filling, I didn’t dare improvise the pasta dough. For that, I consulted my dog-eared copy of Flour + Water, the cookbook from Thomas McNaughton, the co-executive chef of a restaurant with the same name in San Francisco. Its Rav Dough recipe—meant for any filled pasta—proved reliable yet again. —Carly Westerfield, associate manager, audience strategy

Chili crisp tempeh with rice

I aim to keep at least one block of tempeh in my fridge at all times, but somehow this week, I ended up with three. Oh well! It was just the motivation I needed to make test kitchen editor Kendra Vaculin’s Tempeh Crumbles With Coconut Rice. The tempeh is super-seasoned with chili crisp and bolstered with crunchy peanuts. Then quick-pickled cucumbers and a handful or two of basil make the whole dish feel like summer is right around the corner. Even if I was wearing my wool coat for a walk around the block the other day. —Emma Laperruque, associate director of cooking

Tempeh Crumbles With Coconut Rice

Kendra Vaculin

When life gives you zucchini bread

Earlier this week, I made a humbling (and hilarious) mistake at the grocery store. I bought zucchini instead of cucumbers and didn’t realize it until I was cutting into the wrong produce. So instead of whipping up a cucumber recipe, I pivoted to make James Beard’s Easy Zucchini Bread. The whole process was very simple and straightforward. The hardest part was grating the zucchini. I made a couple tweaks after reading the comments from the Epicurious app, swapping the vegetable oil for butter, and replacing the walnuts for fresh blueberries in one loaf and chocolate morsels in the other. —Julia Duarte, designer

Pantry-staple lentil soup

Yes, it is already hot where I live in Texas. But I believe in year-round soup so nothing will stop me from continuing to make test kitchen editor Kendra Vaculin’s Lentil Soup with Greens and Rice. Most of the ingredients are pantry staples that I already have, and the cooking process is simple too—it mostly involves leaving the soup to gently simmer on the stove. The end result is nourishing but still light, with an added creaminess from the yogurt on top. The leftovers are great the next day. I like to scoop it all up with some crusty bread for extra texture. —Olivia Quintana, associate social media manager

Lentil Soup With Greens and Rice

Kendra Vaculin

May 17

Saucy peanut noodles

I was hot. These Summer Roll Rice Noodles called to me. I answered. But, instead of steak, I swapped in pan-seared tofu with a coarse black pepper crust. And I’m not alone—one reader subbed in grilled chicken thighs, another opted for shrimp. This weeknight template would soar with literally any protein. Imagine a jammy egg! It’s a sheer delight to drag chewy rice noodles through the umami-rich peanut sauce, trying to get as many herbs as possible in each bite. —Emma Laperruque, associate director of cooking

Summer Roll Rice Noodles

Zaynab Issa

Irresistible rhubarb pickles

Just about always, I’d prefer salty—or sour or spicy—over sweet. So when I couldn’t resist rhubarb at the farmers market, my last thought was a dessert like Rhubarb Custard Cake or Rhubarb Brown Butter Bars (though those both sound great, they do!). Instead, I was lured toward this Quick Pickled Rhubarb. I used twice the number of stalks and the same quantity of pickling liquid, and it still worked great. In fact, it might be my favorite rhubarb recipe to date thanks to the low effort and highly versatile reward. After a few minutes of cooking, I have a full jar of pickles in the fridge for sprinkling on salads, tucking into sandwiches, or teaming up with cheese and crackers. —E.L.

Ramp pesto pasta

I have a bad habit of buying ramps then forgetting about them. So when I impulse-bought two bunches from the farmers market over the weekend, I was determined to use them the same day. Using this ramp pesto recipe from Andy Baraghani, I made the silkiest, creamiest sauce that I spooned over agnolotti and sautéed veggies. I’ll be using the very little I have left for toast. It’s a green sauce that feels very spring. —Urmila Ramakrishnan, associate director of social media

Pasta With Ramp Pesto and Guanciale

Andy Baraghani

Homemade-vinegar toast

Even though bread fried in lots of olive oil is arguably the superior toast, I made Andy Baraghani’s vinegar toast with grilled bread, because we were grilling anyway, and I’m determined to use any sunny day to its fullest. That little bit of smoke from the grill added a welcome dimension to the simple combo of good sourdough, fresh herbs, and the vinegar I’ve been making from the dregs of dinner party wine bottles. —Maggie Hoffman, contributing editor

Beloved broccoli salad

With the thermostat swinging from 50–80 degrees every other day, I’ve been craving food that’s hearty and filling but also raw and refreshing. A seemingly impossible proposition until you consider chef Beverly Kim’s Broccoli Spoon Salad With Warm Vinaigrette. It’s a long-standing favorite for our staff, since it’s simple to prep in large batches and stays crunchy for days in the fridge. I like wrapping up the last scoops in toasted tortillas with a generous swipe of hummus for an easy lunch. —Kelsey Youngman, senior service editor

Broccoli Spoon Salad With Warm Vinaigrette

Beverly Kim

May 10

Leftover-friendly gado-gado

When this noodle-based gado-gado was going through recipe cross-testing in the test kitchen, I ate it for lunch for almost two weeks straight. It is peanutty, slightly spicy from the sambal oelek, and easily adaptable with whatever veggies are hiding in your fridge (but don’t skip the broccoli, which sops up the sauce in all the best ways). The dish comes from cookbook author Lara Lee, whose weeknight-dinner-friendly recipes often double as my next-day lunch leftovers. This weekend I made a batch at home with extra sauce—the best gift for my future self to use as a dip for veggies, grilled chicken, or rice. —Kate Kassin, editorial operations manager

Everyone’s Favorite Gado-Gado

Lara Lee

Bribery strawberry muffins

For weeks, the heater in my bedroom was broken. Anyone who has lived even briefly in New York City knows these clanking heaters have only two settings: off or spit-roast hot, nothing in between. I couldn’t turn mine off, which made me wonder if I’d emerge from sleep sizzled to a crisp. It was impossible to get hold of my building’s supers to fix it despite frequent calls. So with diabolical shrewdness (and desperation), I baked a batch of recipe developer Zoe Denenberg’s Strawberry Muffins and ran them down to the supers’ office. The muffins were tender and hefty, and it was hard not to smile when you looked at them, speckled with cheerful bits of red fruit. The supers were besotted with them. That was on Saturday. On Monday, two of them showed up, unprompted, at 9 a.m. on the dot, to fix the heater. Clearly, these strawberry muffins have persuasive powers—deploy them. —Shilpa Uskokovic, senior test kitchen editor

The only pesto in the world

I am a big believer in No Buy Night—using whatever is in the pantry and fridge to pull together dinner. But sometimes a craving gets the better of me and I end up speed-walking to the supermarket to get an ingredient or three that I’m missing. Such was the case with BA’s Best Pesto. Perhaps it’s the warmer weather but out of nowhere—bam!—I felt an undeniable need for bright green sauce on pasta. And who am I to deny an undeniable need? This recipe has been a reader favorite for years for good reason—its just right balance of vegetal, cheesy, and nutty. My only regret was not doubling the recipe and freezing the surplus in ice cube trays. Next time. —Emma Laperruque, senior cooking editor

Basil Pesto

Andy Baraghani

Farmers market clams

My local farmers market is once again open after its winter hiatus, and thank god. It’s my favorite ritual to wander the stalls with a coffee in hand after devouring an egg and cheese from my favorite diner in New Jersey. Of course, I snagged some strawberries, but I also grabbed a bag of clams from the Jersey Shore. At home, I had a jar of aioli that needed to be used up, plus an opened can of tomato paste and a half-drunk bottle of wine. In other words: I was halfway to BA alum Andy Baraghani’s Clams With Spicy Tomato Broth and Garlic Mayo. Served with a sesame-semolina loaf from the market, it was a Very Romantic dinner. —E.L.

Bake sale cookies

I am constantly being volunteered for bake sales and potlucks. Not volunteering but being volunteered by my kids to show up on specific days of the month with baked goods in tow to support their school-related endeavors. My older son asked if I could “bake something with matcha” since their class had written a borderline incomprehensible (yet completely charming) play involving green tea. I thought at once of test kitchen editor Kendra Vaculin’s Matcha Spritz Cookies, undaunted by the fact that I don’t currently own a cookie press or an electric mixer. I delegated creaming the sugar and butter by hand to my son, in the spirit of character development, and splurged on ceremonial-grade matcha augmented with three drops of green food coloring. Instead of using a cookie press, I followed Kendra’s instructions for adapting the cookies to be slice-and-bake, alternating the layers of vanilla and matcha doughs for a dramatic zebra-striped effect. They were awesome: tender, buttery, but with the pleasantly grassy, bitter tannic bite of tea to cut through it all. I am sure that is just what the kids were thinking when they ate them. —Chris Morocco, food director

Matcha Swirl Spritz Cookies

Kendra Vaculin

May 3

Weeknight-fancy ravioli

Rather than a rigid formula, I treated this recipe for Weeknight-Fancy Ravioli With Creamy Peas like a bouncy trampoline. Did I use ravioli? No, I used tortellini. Did I toast the nuts in butter? No, I opened a bag of pre-roasted pistachios. Did I measure...anything? No, I eyeballed! That is what “weeknight-fancy” means to me. And the result was wonderful. The vibrant-hued sauce hugged the store-bought pasta, and I put parm and lemon on the table for grating on top, plus a jar of chile flakes to sprinkle as you please. Luckily, I still have half a bag of peas left over, so I can make these beloved fritters from the Bon Appétit 56. —Emma Laperruque, senior cooking editor

Weeknight-Fancy Ravioli With Creamy Peas

Sarah Jampel

10-minute asparagus stir-fry

It is finally asparagus season, and I have been acting the fool, buying too many bunches and taking dozens of pictures of the lovely, fern-green stalks. On Sunday, I cooked Ali Slagle's 10-Minute Lamb and Asparagus Stir-Fry, and in true Ali fashion, it was wildly easy. I had neither ground lamb nor scallions, so I used what I did have: ground beef and ramps. You don't expect ginger and dill to taste as good together as they do in this dish. The asparagus keeps it from feeling heavy and cutting the stalks into small coins miraculously doubles its volume. Eaten with some rice, it was a great I-don’t-feel-like-cooking cooking that still felt fresh and bright. —Shilpa Uskokovic, senior test kitchen editor

Another asparagus stir-fry!

Like Shilpa, I am basking in asparagus season. I also opted for a swift stir-fry—in my case, Sarah Jampel’s Black Pepper Tofu and Asparagus. Even more than the verdant stalks, it was the full tablespoon of black peppercorns (for two servings!) that lured me in. Though it’s often used as an accent, this humble spice becomes thrilling when it’s pushed to its fiery limits (like in cacio e pepe). I used canola oil instead of olive oil, and inspired by one reader, I lowered the soy sauce slightly and swapped in a boozy splash of mirin. Once asparagus are gone (cry), I’m going to repeat this with bok choy. Maybe broccoli after that! —E.L.

Black Pepper Tofu and Asparagus

Sarah Jampel

Flourless chocolate cake

I needed dessert for two dinner parties in a row, and I definitely didn’t have the energy to bake twice. This very chocolaty Flourless Chocolate Cake more than pulled its weight. I bumped it up with salt (chocolate can take a lot of salt), a splash of vanilla, and a few drops of orange bitters, and served it with vanilla gelato plus sort-of-manhattans from an infinity bottle of batched cocktails I’ve been topping off since November. —Maggie Hoffman, contributing editor

Need-now chicken and rice

Do you ever have a craving so specific you’ll make a grocery store trip just to get its main ingredient? That happened to me on Sunday with this Laotian-Style Chicken and Rice Salad. I had a pint-size container of leftover rice glaring at me from the fridge, but no ground chicken. This sour, sweet, and salty dish is the perfect dinner for when it’s starting to get warm enough to leave a jacket at home. Its big flavor comes from red curry paste, fish sauce, and ginger (I left out the red onion and almost doubled the ginger). For dinner, I followed the recipe’s instructions to serve as lettuce wraps, but the best part was having the chicken and rice filling for lunch the next day. —Kate Kassin, editorial operations manager

Laotian-Style Chicken and Rice Salad

Shilpa Uskokovic

Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit

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