30 Yotam Ottolenghi recipes big on flavor, low on effort

We love Ottolenghi's food for its comforting appeal, which leans on quality ingredients and achievable techniques

Published March 15, 2022 8:30PM (EDT)

Prop stylist: Veronica Olson. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. (Julia Gartland / Food52)
Prop stylist: Veronica Olson. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. (Julia Gartland / Food52)

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We'll happily shout it from the rooftops: We're the hugest fans of chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi. His recipes are bright, fresh, seasonal, and full of flavor — with complex and multilayered combinations of herbs, spices, and umami-filled game-changers (black garlic and pomegranate molasses, you're our new best friends). But we also love Ottolenghi's food for its comforting, homemade appeal, which leans on quality ingredients and achievable techniques to make the recipes sing.

Now, he's entering another new and delicious venture: dinnerware. In an incredible, colorful collaboration with design house Serax, Ottolenghi's new FEAST collection is the latest display of his vibrant vision for hosting joyful (and always delicious) gatherings. The collection, which you can purchase through the Food52 Shop, includes serving plattersserving bowls, and a full set of dinnerware that ranges from salad plates and pasta bowls to dinner and dessert plates. "[Artist Ivo Bisignano] is a good friend as well as a soul mate for the creative process in all Ottolenghi graphics," Yotam Ottolenghi said in a statement. "His art, in whatever medium, is honest, expressive, bold, joyful, and colorful. Attributes we strive to achieve in our food."

Read on for all of the ways Ottolenghi makes cooking a boldly flavored breeze.

Our Best Yotam Ottolenghi Recipes

1. Couscous, Cherry Tomato, and Herb Salad

As the couscous steeps in hot water, burst the cherry tomatoes in olive oil and pan-roast the spices. Mix the cooked couscous together with raisins, almonds, fresh herbs, and lemon juice and zest, and serve with the tomatoes on top. This dish, from the SIMPLE cookbook, is a perfect side for grilled meats or vegetables. Bonus: It's great to make ahead, too.

2. Shakshuka

Thick, spiced, garlicky tomato sauce makes the perfect landing pad for eggs to gently steam and simmer, allowing the whites to firm up but the yolks to stay runny and saucy. The whole dish cooks in just under 30 minutes, making for a perfect easy weeknight meal or a quick, but luxurious, brunch.

3. Burnt Green Onion Dip with Curly Kale

Spicy, lemony sautéed kale meets a smoky, creamy green onion dip. The roasted garlic is really the longest time investment in this recipe — make extra to keep on hand so you can put together this dish even more quickly next time.

4. Honey and Yogurt Set Cheesecake

This tangy, creamy, no-bake cheesecake from SIMPLE requires just 9 ingredients and can be made up to 2 days ahead — impressive and low-stress at the same time.

5. Roasted Onion Salad with Arugula and Walnut Salsa

A few key ingredients play big parts in this salad: Oven-roasted onions — tender, caramelized, and sweet — are tossed with bright parsley, arugula, goat cheese, and a zingy, crunchy walnut salsa to create a bold yet balanced salad.

6. Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake

Requiring just 10 ingredients, most of which you might already have in your fridge and pantry, this cake is fluffy, tender, moist, and extremely hard to mess up. Worth adding to your repertoire, for sure.

7. Sweet Potato Galettes

Galettes, or savory tarts, are the ultimate "fancy but actually really low-key" setup: Just take puff pastry (store-bought, in this case), top it with good stuff, and stick it in the oven for just 20 minutes. Speaking of the good stuff that goes on top, tangy sour cream, funky goat cheese, and crispy-crunchy pumpkin seeds are the perfect foil to the caramelly roasted sweet potatoes that are sliced up and artfully assembled on the pastry. This recipe checks a lot of boxes: Not only is it just 10 ingredients, it's short on time (if you roast the sweet potatoes in advance) and super easy, too.

8. Beet, Caraway, and Goat Cheese Bread

All this earthy, nutty, cheesy quick-bread needs is a slather of salted butter. Per SIMPLE, make it a few days ahead, serve it at your next brunch gathering, and watch how quickly it disappears.

9. Lamb and Pistachio Patties with Sumac Yogurt Sauce

In this recipe — another one from SIMPLE — crunchy pistachios, ground lamb, and zippy arugula come together in just about 30 minutes to make tender meat patties. They're great as a snack on their own, served with a tart, lemony sumac yogurt sauce, or as a protein to put on a bright arugula salad with Parmesan shavings. The ground meat mixture for the patties can be made up to a day in advance and refrigerated before cooking off, and leftovers keep well, too.

10. Apple and Olive Oil Cake with Maple Icing

This cake can attribute its deep, complex flavor to its relatively long ingredients list, but also to being made ahead; the flavors get even more concentrated when they've had a few days to mingle and mature.

11. Portobello Mushrooms with Pearled Barley and Preserved Lemon

The mushroom roasting, barley cooking, and lemon preserving for this dish can all happen in advance — and all you'll have to do to when you're ready to serve is reheat it all and top with some zippy feta cheese and peppery sprouts. This one's a showstopper.

12. Woodland Meringues

This meringue recipe, by Ottolenghi pastry chef Helen Goh, is as easy and low-maintenance as it gets in the world of meringues. And they can be made and decorated — aka dipped in melted chocolate and crushed-up nuts, chocolate, or freeze-dried fruit after they're baked and cooled — up to 10 days in advance. Impress the pants off your guests with 'em, but don't tell anyone how easy they actually are.

13. Pappardelle with Rose Harissa, Black Olives, and Capers

This pasta uses several of Ottolenghi's pantry ingredients listed in SIMPLE — rose harissa, dried pasta, yogurt, capers, olives — and comes together in just about 30 minutes. It's a weeknight dinner hero, and the sauce can be doubled and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days (or much longer than that in the freezer).

14. Neapolitan Pound Cake

A showstopper chocolate-and-vanilla-marbled Bundt cake, made exclusively with pantry ingredients? Yes, you're reading that correctly. It can also be made a couple days ahead and iced when you're ready to serve.

15. Basic Hummus

This recipe is pretty magical, in that you take what essentially resembles a bag of small stones (the dried chickpeas) hanging out in your pantry, along with some other ingredients you almost certainly have on hand, and transform them into the smoothest, creamiest, nuttiest dip imaginable. The beans require overnight soaking, but need no poking or prodding until you're ready to make hummus the next day.

16. Marinated Pepper Salad with Basil, Capers, and Pecorino

The key to this recipe is first roasting and then marinating the peppers, which will need at least an hour and preferably overnight to absorb the flavor of a thyme-garlic-balsamic vinegar marinade. Then, you'll just toss it together with some herbs and cheese, using the same marinade you used for the peppers as the salad's dressing.

17. Burrata with Grilled Grapes and Basil

Grapes take on a whole new flavor profile when they're skewered and put on the grill, giving them a smoky, slightly plummy sweetness and an extra-juicy texture. Combined with creamy, mild burrata, the dish is elevated and dynamic, but pretty darn SIMPLE to put together.

18. Sweet Potatoes with Orange Bitters

The combination of sweet, bitter, and salty — achieved by reducing orange juice, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, and that friend to cocktails everywhere, Angostura bitters — provides an intense, complex, and totally complementary glaze for thickly cut wedges of sweet potato. You have to continually baste the potatoes for them to absorb as much of the liquid, and flavor, as possible.

19. Seafood, Fennel, and Lime Salad

The mixed seafood, bright assorted herbs, and spices collectively elevate this salad beyond its individual components. You'd never guess that it came together in under 30 minutes; it can also be made up to a day ahead and stored in the fridge, for the flavors to marry even more.

20. Squash with Chile Yogurt and Cilantro Sauce

This squash dish is the definition of easy — you don't even have to peel it, for crying out loud! A quickie chile yogurt spiked with cult-favorite sriracha creates a creamy, zingy sauce for the buttery, caramelized squash; cilantro reliably adds brightness and punchy, herby flavor. Last, for added crunch, try pepitas (or even toasted butternut squash seeds!).

21. Asparagus and Gochujang Pancakes from Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage

Make this recipe during spring when the stalks are at their peak! These savory pancakes feature asparagus, plus scallions, gochujang, and red chile peppers, which are all incorporated into a rice flour batter. Serve with an aromatic, slightly spicy soy dipping sauce.

22. World's Best Chocolate Cake

Amanda Hesser says that this is not only the world's best chocolate cake, but also the easiest. But let's start with why it's the best: The cake batter calls for two kinds of chocolate (dark chocolate and cocoa powder), and coffee granules, which enhances the rich cocoa flavor. As for its ease, the batter is made entirely in one bowl and baked for a full hour. You can serve it with an Espresso Cinnamon Mascarpone Cream, which is entirely optional, but I don't see why you'd want to pass on it.

23. Yotam Ottolenghi's Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

There are 30 delicious reasons why we love chef Yotam Ottolenghi (all of which are listed here), but one example is this recipe: polenta made from fresh ears of corn. The process is way simpler than I would ever imagine it to be and the result is, unsurprisingly, sweet as a bright summer day.

24. Burnt Eggplant and Tomato Tahini

This dish was born out of some leftover tomato pasta sauce, as well as a few eggplants that really needed using up. Scoop this up with warm pita bread and eat it alongside other meze, or with soft-boiled eggs for a hearty breakfast.

25. Za'atar Salmon and Tahini

This nearly-one skillet dinner (you have to mix the tahini dressing in a separate bowl, but NBD) pairs hearty salmon with the earthy flavors of za'atar, lemony sumac, and a nutty tahini dressing. You can try this recipe with other types of fish, but stick to varieties that are relatively hearty so that they can hold up to all of the rich Middle Eastern flavors.

26. Upside-Down Lemon, Maple, and Vanilla Pudding

Yotam Ottolenghi literally turned the concept of a pineapple upside-down cake on its head by making a zesty batter and an even zestier lemon-maple butter drizzled over the entire cake while it's still warm.

27. Chicken Shawarma with Vampire-Slaying Toum

Unless you want Edward Cullen hanging around your kitchen (I wouldn't blame you if that's the case), you need to make this extra-garlicky chicken from Yotam Ottolenghi. Toum, which literally translates to "garlic" in Arabic, is a Levantine condiment made by whipping together raw garlic and oil with a good amount of lemon juice.

28. Lime and Poppy Seed Slaw with Curry Leaf Oil

This fragrant slaw, which has a base of sliced cabbage and julienned carrots, is the perfect side dish for the aforementioned chicken shawarma.

29. Middle Eastern Mac and Cheese with Za'atar Pesto

A combination of ground turmeric, toasted cumin seeds, feta cheese, and za'atar pesto gives this kid-friendly favorite Middle Eastern flair.

30. Celebration Rice with Lamb, Chicken, and Garlic Yogurt

The garnishes make this hearty rice dish a party — blanched almonds, pine nuts, chile pepper, parsley leaves, and pomegranate seeds.

By Brinda Ayer

MORE FROM Brinda Ayer

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Food Food52 Lamb Middle Eastern Recipe Yotam Ottolenghi