Zuppa Toscana – Olive Garden (Copycat) Recipe

Welcome back to Ankitha Gadag Recipes! One of my favorite soups at Olive Garden was the Zuppa Toscana soup. Zuppa Toscana literally means Tuscan Soup, which is a combination of garden vegetables in a creamy broth with spicy meats. This particular recipe was born out of need… I needed to get rid of a ton of veggies in my fridge! But as they say – Necessity is the mother of invention, and this recipe has been one of my favorite soup recipes EVER!! It is creamy, spicy and has a ton of texture from the crispy bacon to the melt-in-your-mouth potatoes.

What makes this recipe extra special is the fact that it meets a lot of different dietary constraints – whether you are practicing whole 30, keto or paleo diets, I have got you covered. It’s so, so delicious and I hope you make it while it’s still soup SZN.

What you will need:

  • kale (1 bunch)
  • onion (1)
  • celery (1 stalk)
  • spicy italian sausage (casing removed) – 1 lb
  • turkey bacon (2 strips)
  • prosciutto (1/4 lb)
  • 1 jalapeno
  • garlic (2 tbsp)
  • sweet potato (1)
  • coconut milk – 1/2 can
  • chicken bone broth (32 oz)
  • fresh herbs (3 sprigs thyme, 1 sprig rosemary, 2 sprigs oregano)
  • arrow root starch (2 tbsp)
  • paprika (1 tbsp)
  • nutritional yeast (1/4 th cup)
  • juice of 1 lemon


  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, start by browning your chopped prosciutto and bacon. Remove and set aside
  2. Add in some olive oil and saute all your veggies, except the greens ( onion, celery, jalapeno, sweet potato, garlic). Saute for about 5 mins.
  3. Next, add in your sausage. Break apart in the pot till meat is browned.
  4. Mix in the arrowroot starch, until well coated. Slowly add in the broth, while constantly stirring.
  5. Add in the coconut milk along with the herbs, paprika, salt & pepper. Cover and cook for 5-10 mins.
  6. Remove the fresh herbs. Add in greens, nutritional yeast and juice of 1 lemon. Cook for a few mins longer until kale is mixed in.
  7. Serve hot and top with prosciutto/bacon combination. Enjoy!

Garlicky-Chipotle Braised Short-Ribs Recipe

Ankitha Gadag’s delicious, melt in your mouth short-ribs that are slow cooked to perfection.

Welcome back to Ankitha Gadag Recipes! I am so, SO excited to share this recipe with you guys. I wanted to come up with a recipe that would be comforting for the cold weather while putting my new Dutch Oven to good use and ya’ll, I am SO happy with the results!

If you have never cooked with a Dutch oven before, it’s life changing, especially for braising meats. Braising is the process of searing at a high temperature (usually in the meat’s own fat) and then finishing in a covered pot with some juices for an extended period of time. The process makes it so the meat develops a carmelized crust on the outside, while being fall-off-the-bone tender on the inside…. are you drooling yet? 🙂

What makes this recipe fantastic is the prep comes together in minutes. The longest part of the process is waiting patiently while your stew is cooking away in the oven and the kitchen smells like heaven. I highly recommend you serve this dish over mashed potatoes. Just trust me on this one.

Without further adeu, the Recipe. Don’t forget to check out my step by step video below!

Braised ribs with mashed potatoes


4-5 Short Ribs

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 cup cabernet sauvignon

4 cups of bone broth (chicken or beef)

1 tbsp of tomato paste

2 chipotle peppers

2 stalks celery

1 onion

2 carrots

1 head of garlic (roughly 15 cloves)

1 pack of poultry mix fresh herbs (combination of rosemary, thyme, sage)

1 pack of fresh chives

2 tbsp tapioca starch



  1. Pat your meat dry and rub with S&P and tapioca starch. Turn on oven to preheat at 375 degrees.
  2. In a dutch oven, heat oil to medium high heat. Then brown the ribs on all sides until a slight crust forms. (1-2 mins per side)
  3. Store the ribs on a plate. Add in chopped onions, carrots and celery and cook in the rendered fat for 5-7 mins
  4. Add in the garlic cloves (whole), tomato paste, soy sauce, wine, chipotle peppers, broth and reduce for another 5 mins.
  5. Add in the ribs and all the fresh herbs (except chives) and cover with the lid.
  6. Cook in oven for 2.5 hours until liquid has reduced and turned into a gravy consistency. Dispose of the herbs once cooked.
  7. Serve over some delicious creamy mashed potatoes. Sprinkle everything with chopped chives.
Garlicky-Chipotle Braised Short Ribs

If you enjoyed the recipe, please leave me a comment and don’t forget to share the post 🙂


Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla(less) Soup

Looking for the perfect recipe this fall to warm up your soul? Well, you’ve come to the right place at Ankitha Gadag recipes. This chicken tortilla-less soup is healthy, hearty, and complete with all the southwestern flavors that this Texan loves (still feels super weird calling myself a Texan).

I have been making this for ages, and it comes together in one pot. The key for me here was ease – this is something you can serve yourself or family during the week after a long work day. This has been my go to meal prep dish simply because I can dump all the ingredients into a pot and forget about it!

Well let’s get to it, shall we?

You’ll need:

1 lb chicken breasts

1 16 oz box of chicken stock

1 can of black beans

1 tbsp garlic

2 tbsp taco seasoning

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tbsp cumin powder

1 can of green chillies

1 jar of your favorite salsa ( i used kylitos roasted garlic)

1 onion

1 bell pepper

1 bag of frozen corn (small)

frozen veggies (your choice and completely optional)

shredded cabbage (optional)

s&p to taste


  1. Start by chopping your vegetables
  2. Lay all vegetables you are using in the instant pot and add chicken breasts on top
  3. Add in your salsa, green chillies, spices, and broth. Stir
  4. Pressure cook on High for 6 mins
  5. Remove chicken breasts after slow release for roughly 8 -10 mins and add back into pot
  6. Add in can of beans and the corn and turn your instant pot back on in sauté function on low. Cook for roughly 5 mins
  7. Serve with any fun garnishes: lime juice, cilantro, shredded cabbage, pepper jack cheese, sour cream… you’re the boss 😉

Hope you enjoyed this recipe!


Poha by Ankitha Gadag

Poha is a traditional South Indian breakfast made with minimal ingredients. The ayurvedic turmeric gives it a beautiful golden color while the warmed cumin adds a depth of flavor.

While Poha goes by a variety of names in South India (Pohay, Chuda Santula, Kande Pohey, Avalakki, etc), the ingredients and flavor profile tend to be the same across the board. In it’s essence, Poha is a spicy rice dish with peanuts that is best served with a piping hot cup of masala chai (mmmm…).

This dish takes me back to my Aunt’s home in Davengere, Karnataka. She is an incredible cook who loves to feed everyone around her. This was one of my favorite dishes to eat around an evening snack-time (although traditionally eaten during breakfast). Today, this dish is something I serve to my friends during a weekend brunch, just so they can experience some of my favorite foods growing up 🙂

Without further adieu, let’s get started!

You’ll need:

Please note: These items can all be found in your local Asian-Indian grocery store

  1. Poha ( Puffed Rice – this one is my favorite) : about 4 cups
  2. Thai green chillies or serranos ( depending on your spice level, I use 4-5 green TC, use less for serranos) : Roughly chopped
  3. Dry, Unsalted Peanuts: 1/4 cup
  4. Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
  5. Cumin seeds: 1 tsp
  6. Onion: 1/2 fine diced
  7. Hing (asofetida) : 1/2 tsp
  8. Turmeric: 1 tsp
  9. Curry Leaves: ~10 leaves torn
  10. Squirt of lemon juice (optional)
  11. Aloo bujia (optional)

To get started:

  1. Start by soaking the poha in a colander with cold water. This helps the texture of the dish go from crunchy to a chewy consistency.
  2. In a shallow pan, warm up roughly two tablespoons of ghee. (Any form of oil you have on hand can be used, but ghee makes a difference in flavor)
  3. In low heat, start by tempering the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once they start popping, add in your chilies, curry leaves and saute for a couple of mins.
  4. Next, change the heat setting to medium-high, and add in the peanuts. The trick here is to roast the peanuts without burning them, so watch carefully.
  5. Now, add in your onions, turmeric and hing. Reduce heat to medium and let cook for 4 – 5 mins until golden brown.
  6. Salt your drained poha (to taste) and add in to the mixture. Turn off stove. Top of with lemon juice and combine.
  7. Enjoy! I love to serve this dish with aloo bujia. This crispy potato snack makes a huge difference so highly recommend!

Instant Pot Beef Biryani

One pot week night meal, ready in 30 mins that is sure to impress your guests, family and yourself!

If you were trapped on an island with only one dish to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be? For me, that’s easily Biryani. The aromatic basmati rice, mixed with all the earthy spices and cooked to perfection simply cannot be beat. Every region seems to have their own “biryani”, take for example Paella with the Spanish or Jollof Rice from the Nigerians. So it’s fair to say, rice mixed with spices and meats makes for one heck of a delicious meal.


1 ½ cups aged, long grain basmati rice

1/2 cup avocado oil

1 medium red onion thinly sliced

2 small (or 1 large) bay leaves

1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns

1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick

1 small black cardamom optional

5 whole cloves

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp coriander seeds crushed

1.5 cups water

(Optional) 3/4 cup cut vegetables (I used frozen carrots and peas, but highly recommend chopped cauliflower, green beans and/or potatoes as well)

2 lb cubed stew beef (I used extra lean but you can use any, including lamb)
1 cup full fat yogurt
1 tbsp red chili powder (cayenne)
2 tsp turmeric
4 cloves garlic crushed
3/4 inch piece ginger crushed
1 cup of chopped cilantro and mint
2 tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp cumin powder
2 tbsp coriander powder
2 tbsp shan biryani powder (optional but highly recommended, it can be found in any Indian grocery store)
2 green chili peppers whole or split in half (optional) 2 ¼ tsp kosher salt divided (or to taste)

*Key – rinse out the rice a few times and soak in water till ready to cook. This removes the extra starch from the rice and helps get the fluffy texture*


1) Add all ingredients under Marinade except half cilantro/mint and mix thoroughly, refrigerate for atleast 30 mins or more. The longer you refrigerate the more tender and flavorful your meat will turn out.

2) Turn your Instant Pot on to Saute function and add in oil and onions. You will fry these until they caramelize to a brown color. Watch closely, they do burn easily. This should take roughly 20 mins.

3) Remove half of your fried onions. While still on Saute add in the entirety of the marinated beef, the whole spices, along with 1 cup of water.

4) Set to Pressure cook on High for 12 mins

5) Manually release and add in soaked rice + remainder of the water + vegetables ( if using). Do not mix in the rice, flatten it out so it is immersed in the water.

6) Set to Pressure cook on High for 5 mins

7) Let release on it’s on own for about 10 mins. Add in remainder of fried onions and remainder of chopped cilantro/mint. Combine and add extra salt if necessary. Serve over freshly squeezed lemon juice

Bon Appetit! How did this turn out for you? Leave comments below 🙂


Cherryblossom Salmon with Coconut Ginger Rice

Rating: 5 out of 5.

King salmon that is layered with a delicate floral dressing – from Japanese cherryblossom shoyu and fragrant jasmine rice.

Welcome back to Ankitha Gadag Recipes! It has been a minute since I have documented my culinary experiences, nonetheless, I am thrilled to be sharing this recipe. I had the joy of sampling this dish for the first time at our local Central Market and ever since, I could not get it out of my mind! My craving led me back to the store two weeks later, where I inquired for the recipe with several of the wonderful “foodies” at CM. One hour later, I walked away with a note of the recipe along with the ingredients. It would be an absolute injustice to keep this golden nugget to myself and with that I share this delicious recipe. Trust me on this, you will want to try this recipe at home!



  1. 4 (6-8oz) King Salmon
  2. S&P

Coconut Ginger Rice

  1. 1 1/2 c jasmine rice
  2. 1 T coconut oil
  3. 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  4. 1 1″ ginger root, in thirds and bruised
  5. 1 stalk lemongrass
  6. 1 1/2 c water
  7. 1/2 c coconut milk
  8. 1 t kosher salt

Cherryblossom Ginger Shoyu sauce

  1. 1/4 c Haku Cherryblossom Shoyu sauce
  2. 1/4 c rice vinegar
  3. 1/4 c water
  4. 2 1/2 t sugar
  5. 1 scallion, sliced thin
  6. 2 t ginger, minced
  7. 1 1/2 t sesame oil
  8. 1 1/2 t red pepper flakes


For the sauce: Combine all ingredients and stir to dissolve sugar

For Salmon:

  1. Season both sides of salmon fillet with salt and pepper
  2. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add a light coating of oil (~1tbsp)
  3. Pan sear until brown, about 1 min
  4. Flip salmon and sear another 1-2

For Rice

  1. In a large sauce pot, heat oil and gently brown shallots. And ginger and lemongrass. Cook till fragrant
  2. Stir in rice, water, coconut milk and salt. Cover and cook till liquid is absorbed. Discard ginger and lemongrass.
Check out the step by step tutorial!

Organic Pisco Sour

This easy, creamy. organic pisco sour made with minimal ingredients makes the perfect winter beverage!

This creamy drink, made with organic ingredients is perfect for the wintertime !

Choosing a winter beverage that is not too sweet or too heavy was a challenge I invited with open arms. As much as I love the traditional egg nog, kahlua, or rum chata cocktails, I have found that I cannot have more than one. Enter the Pisco Sour!

Pisco is a Peruvian brandy. The sour come from the organic fresh lime juice. The addition of egg white makes this drink creamy and frothy without a zillion empty calories. Best of both worlds? I think so!

I start off making a simple syrup with all organic cane sugar. Don’t be intimidated by this simple step – I PROMISE it’s easy. Not to mention, it can save you a few dollars AND help avoid a high-fructose corn syrup sold as “simple” syrup in stores (eye roll)

What you need:

Organic Pisco Sour – Ingredients
  • 3 oz Pisco
  • 3 dashes of bitters of your choice
  • 1 Organic egg white
  • 1 oz Organic simple syrup
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • *1 cup Organic Cane Sugar & 1 cup water

*used for simple syrup

Organic Simple Syrup:

  1. Over medium-low heat slowly boil 1 cup cane sugar and 1 cup water (be careful to not let it burn
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved and reached a semi-thick consistency, turn of heat and cool

Pisco Sour:

  1. Carefully add egg white into shaker with handful of ice. Shake vigorously. (Dry shaking allows for a thicker foam)
  2. Add in simple syrup, pisco, and lime juice
  3. Add 3 more ice cubes and shake vigorously
  4. With a strainer pour drink into fancy glasses
  5. The foam should naturally rise to the top. Add in your bitters now. You can also create patterns on your foam if you choose.

Ankitha Gadag’s – Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo

A healthy, hearty, Whole30 compliant gumbo sure to nourish the soul!


Hey guys!  Welcome back to Ankitha Gadag Recipes.

This recipe has been (legit) months in the making. The inspo to recreate a gumbo recipe came to me after a visit to New Orleans (or as they say – “Naw-Lins”). Since then I was motivated to create a healthy version of it that just so happens to be whole30 compliant! Yay!

The biggest difference here is that my recipe doesn’t use any  roux. Roux is basically a mix of butter and flour slowlyyyy stirred for great lengths of time to make a base or thickener for soups. Instead, I use an arrowroot starch mixed with chicken stock. Arrowroot starch is a great thickening agent and also has incredible health benefits! The result is incredible – no one can tell the difference and you have the added health benefits. Voila!

Without further ado, let’s get started !


  • 3 cups cut, frozen okra
  • 1/4 cup olive or avocado oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup finely diced onion (~1/2 onion)
  • 3/4 cup finely diced celery (~3 stalks)
  • 1 cup finely diced green/red/yellow bell pepper (~ 2 bell peppers)
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp. Slap Ya Mama Cajun spice (or any other Cajun spices)
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 5-6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. arrowroot
  • 2 cups pre-cooked and shredded chicken
  • 12 oz. fully cooked beef kielbasa (chicken sausage or any other sausage variety is fine)
  • 1 cup shrimp cut into bite size pieces



  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Spread okra on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tbsp. oil and toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes. (this prevents it from getting slimy and ruining your gumbo!)
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven or large pot.
  4. Add in the diced onion, celery, and bell pepper, seasoned with salt and pepper and saute until nice and tender, about 6 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to medium, add in the garlic, cayenne, thyme, paprika, Cajun spice and tomato paste and saute for another 2 minutes.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of broth with 2 tbsp. arrowroot starch. Whisk until arrowroot has dissolved. Pour into the pot and stir constantly so it is well combined with the rest of the ingredients. Once the consistency reaches a thick, gravy-like texture, slowly pour and whisk in the remaining chicken broth.
  7. In separate pans – dice up the kielbasa and sizzle until golden brown. Cook diced shrimp in a separate pan for a few mins
  8. Add in the shredded chicken, sausage and shrimp
  9. When the okra is complete, using a slotted spoon, add it into the gumbo.
  10. Once everything is in the pot, slowly stir in 1-2 cups of broth (depending on how thick you want your gumbo) until it reaches the consistency you like.
  11. Taste and add more S&P if you’d like!


Hope you guys enjoyed this recipe. I served mine over white rice – but feel free to use cauli-rice to keep it whole30!



South-Indian Pancakes – Uthappam Dosa

Welcome back to Ankitha Gadag Recipes! If you have had Indian food before, you might have heard of a South Indian delicacy known as Uttapam. Finding a good Dosa recipe is a kin to that favorite pair of jeans – one that takes you years to find and replaces everything else in your closet.  There’s nothing that reminds me more of a home than an uttapam dosa covered with fresh green chillies and onions, served with mint & coconut chutney and sambar. Check out this awesome recipe!

via How to make Uttapam/Dosa Batter with Mahatma Rice — Cookilicious

Ankitha Gadag’s Spicy Chicken Stirfry

An Ankitha Gadag original recipe – learn how to make a super delish Asian inspired stirfry !

Hey guys, welcome to Ankitha Gadag Recipes!

This recipe gives me life, seriously. It’s the perfect weeknight entree or side and it’s great for getting rid of those veggies in the back of your fridge, going bad. You can throw anything you like in there, I chose to stick with the basics – bell peppers, broccoli and jalapeno peppers.

I am going to let you all in on a little secret. The secret to a great Asian-inspired stir fry lies in 4 basic ingredients – soy sauce (duh), rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, and sesame seed oil. These 4 ingredients paired together can make any stir-fry taste uhhhhmazing.  For more Thai style dishes, I always mix in some fresh Thai basil leaves. You can learn more about my obsession with them from one of my previous posts here.

Without further ado…


  • 1 lb Chicken breasts (cut against the grain, into strips – this is important!!)
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers (thinly sliced)
  • Veggies of your choice (broccoli,  bell peppers)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 inch ginger scraped
  • fish sauce ( few splashes )
  • rice wine vinegar ( few splashes)
  • sesame seed oil (few splashes)
  • soy sauce (1 cup)
  • lightly dusted Arrowroot Starch
  • S & P
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • thai basil leaves (optional)
  • 1 cup chicken broth


  1. Pat chicken breasts dry, cut against grain into strips. Add S&P and dust with arrowroot starch
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame seed oil
  3. Warm a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the chicken and stir–fry for 5 minutes until lightly browned.
  4. Add the veggies and cook an additional 5 mins. 
  5. Whisk the sauce once more and pour it into the pan. Bring liquid to a boil and let simmer until it reduces by half, about 3 more minutes.
  6. Stir in the basil and cook until it is just wilted.
  7. Serve immediately.

For step by step deets, check the video below:

As always, thanks for watching. See y’all next time.


Ankitha Gadag

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