Carrot Red Lentil SoupAt this time last week, I’d just finished a yoga class in sunny Barbados, held in a studio surrounded by lush tropical plants and open to the gentle breeze on both sides. A few hours later I’d be sitting on the beach below, eating a lunch of locally caught fish (called “dolphin” on the menu, but that’s another story). I say this not so much to evoke your dead-of-winter wrath as to establish my credibility where warmth is concerned. I’ve felt it recently, I know what it is, and I remember what it’s good for.
Barbados Beach

Right now, back in frigid NJ, I’ve got wooly socks on my feet, a purring cat on my lap, and a big bowl of this vibrant, nourishing soup in my belly. I’m taking my warmth where I can get it, and while it ain’t Barbados, I really can’t complain one bit.

We had a carrot-buying miscommunication before we left for our trip and six pounds of carrots in the fridge when we got back. The idea for this soup arose out of an equal need to make a dent in those carrots, keep warm and cozy, and hey, maybe maintain our tans from the inside out. The lentils do double duty adding a nice heft to the soup and conveniently helping you Not Die (more on that another time).

I’ll keep it simple and leave us there for today. Talk to you soon.

Carolyn xx


We Love Quinoa UK CoverYou guys. (You guys!) I’m a little giddy today. I thought about dancing around in private before writing this post and then playing it all cool and collected in front of you. But that approach didn’t seem quite fair to any of us. So. Squee! Here we go.

It’s February, and that means that two fabulous new books are about to be released. In collaboration with a small team of healthy food and lifestyle bloggers, I’ve worked hard this past year to create We Love Kale and We Love Quinoa. Each book is full of delicious, healthy recipes brought to you with love, creativity and expertise. They’re available for pre-order right now and will be released by Apple Press in the UK and Australia on February 4 and by Taunton Press in the US on February 9. 

I’m so grateful to all of you for your support of Umami Girl over the years. Without it, I would never have been part of these beautiful projects. I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

We Love Kale UK Cover

More to come soon. For the moment, if you need me I’ll be searching my own name on Amazon and vehemently denying it. 

Find the books here:

In the United Kingdom

We Love Kale

We Love Quinoa

In the United States

We Love Kale

We Love Quinoa

(or at Barnes & Noble or Powell’s online)

Carolyn xx

  • Ann Gratzer

    We Love Kale and We Love Quinoa. And WE REALLY LOVE UMAMI GIRL!!!

    Carolyn, do you remember a very long time ago when we were talking about what you were going to do when you grew up? Well, I do. I knew then, and you have proven me correct, that you had what it takes to be a writer. Congratulations! I’m so proud of you and can’t wait to get my hands on copies of the books. Love you. MomReplyCancel

  • […] More from the blogging team: Lavender and Lovage Umami Girl […]ReplyCancel

  • […] can read more about the books on my co-author’s websites. Carolyn Cope’s blog Umami Girl features an introduction to We Love Kale. Over at The Kale Project Kristen Beddard is running a […]ReplyCancel

Vegan Bean StewYou’ve gotta love a time of year when bean stew is trending. So sexy, right? Heyyy, baby — is that performance fleece you’re wearing? And what’s in the mug? Oh! Smoky white bean stew with corn and potatoes! And smoked paprika? Is that even safe for work?

Yeah. It’s racy. But I fit in well in this world, nestled among peas and tender chunks of potato.

Here’s a quick and comforting family dinner or week of lunches that relies heavily on pantry and freezer ingredients. I’ve been in a more practical mood recently (can you tell?), so rather than wax on about locally sourced ingredients, let’s just say that winter is full of days when leaving the house to go shopping doesn’t sound overly appealing.

How hot is that? 

It’s as hot as stew. Enjoy it. See you soon.

Carolyn xx


Frittata with Corn, Cheddar and Spinach

A little while ago I promised to keep it real by posting more easy weeknight dinners. Nothing fits that bill more snugly than a frittata. Eggs aside, you could pretty much substitute any ingredient on this list with any other vegetable, meat or cheese in the world and still turn out something edible.  Still, I’m posting this particular combination because we liked it a little extra. Slap some bread in the toaster and call yourselves fed. There’s enough spinach in here that a salad is completely optional.

Have a great weekend. See you soon.
Carolyn xx

Black BeansLess than two weeks ago, on December 24, it reached 70 degrees in New Jersey. Back then my biggest problem was being too neurotic to really enjoy the unseasonable heat. Instead of, “Oh! Nice day!” my brain trends more toward Global Warming Trigger Warning territory. Just don’t ask me to say that five times fast. Or really explain what it means. 

This morning on the way to school drop-off, the car thermostat topped out at 16 degrees. Fahrenheit. Suddenly every interaction is a static shock waiting to happen and there isn’t enough moisturizer in the world. Suddenly the recessed lights in our kitchen have revealed themselves to be nothing more than fronts for tiny, evil wind tunnels from the sky. Suddenly all I can think about is soup.

Black Bean Soup
Of course, it’s also early January. And although I’m a grownup and often quite reasonable, I’m not immune to the January Reset mentality. (More on that soon — I’m so not immune there’s a guide coming your way.) This hearty, warming soup just happens to be naturally vegan and free of added fats, so it’s a perfect way to ease into the new year on your best behavior without having to try too hard or feel deprived.

Black Bean Soup

Ever since we went to Nicaragua last year, I’ve been wanting to post a simple black beans recipe. We were lucky enough to have someone cooking for us there, and the rich, thickly sauced black beans she made us daily were so flavorful that for a while I wondered whether our crappy Spanish had obscured the fact that we don’t eat meat, or that maybe she thought a little bacon fat slipped in with the onions was vegetarian enough. Back home, I’ve realized that black beans boiled from dry with just an onion, a few garlic cloves and some sea salt — and maybe a green pepper if you’re feeling crazy — simply make their own magic. For this soup, I’ve resisted adding any other seasonings save a little pinch of chili flakes for the tiniest touch of heat. The beans really speak for themselves. I hope you’ll have a listen. See you soon.

Carolyn xx