Off-Script With Sohla

28 of Sohla El-Waylly’s Best Recipes—From Halloumi Salad to Black & White Pound Cake

We’re sharing some of our resident’s most inventive contributions. 

August  6, 2021
Photo by Julia Gartland

Sohla El-Waylly has given us some of our all-time favorite recipes, like Ranch Fun Dip, Cheesy Corn Mochi Cake, and Lamb Meatballs. She’s graced us with her presence in her series “Off-Script with Sohla” and has shared remarkable tips for how to prevent a deflated soufflé, how to braise anything and everything, and how to make chicken wings. Take a walk—or go for a run!—through some of the very best recipes Sohla has contributed to Food52.

Sohla El-Wally's Best Recipes

1. Blueberry Cocoa Crumble

There are a few things that make this blueberry crumble stand out from the crowd. For starters, it’s impossible to overlook the intense chocolate topping made with black cocoa powder. The fruit filling isn’t too shabby either. Instead of tossing the berries with sugar, Sohla mixes them with honey, orange blossom water, and lemon juice for a fresh, floral flavor.

2. Nectarine & Pistachio Crumble

This updated fruit crumble features 6 cups of nectarines, which are mixed with sugar, cornstarch, and the zest and juice of fresh lemons. The streusel on top is buttery and crumbly, and gets a delightful addition of chopped, raw pecans.

3. Phyllo Napoleon With Strawberry & Rose

More glamorous than a strawberry shortcake and more summery than a traditional custard napoleon, this stunning berries and cream pastry is made with store-bought phyllo dough sprinkled with sugar and ground cardamom.

4. Turmeric Fish Balls With Peanut Sauce & So Many Herbs

“These bright and herby meatballs are loosely inspired by the Vietnamese classic chả cá lã vọng, a seared or grilled freshwater fish dish seasoned with vibrant turmeric, dill, and fish paste,” writes Sohla. She turns up the volume by adding oyster crackers, cilantro, turmeric, and chile peppers.

5. Lamb Meatballs With Tahini Sauce & Red Onion Salad

Is ground lamb the best meat to use for meatballs? Sohla says yes, so we do, too. She enhances the gamy flavor of the meat with ground coriander, cumin, lots of garlic, turmeric, and red chile powder.

6. One-Skillet Succotash Pot Pie

Craving comfort food in the middle of summer may seem like an oxymoron, but this seasonal spin is totally apt for warm weather. Tucked beneath layers of puff pastry is a vegetable medley of green beans, cherry tomatoes, fresh corn cut from the cob, and zucchini.

7. Weekend Scrambled Eggs

Sohla makes everything better, including sleepy Saturday mornings. Her trick to achieving creamy, silky scrambled eggs is whisking them until the mixture is homogeneous and creates an even ribbon off the whisk or fork. Serve the curds with a drizzle of maple syrup (um, okay!), a dollop of trout roe (yes, please!), and a swirl of crème fraîche.

8. My Big Fat Halloumi Salad

This salad has everything—color, texture, flavor, and a bounty of incredible ingredients. Roasted eggplant, chickpeas, and Halloumi cheese sit on top of a radicchio salad base, along with juicy tangerine slices, toasted almonds, and dates.

9. Italian Combo Salad With Mortadella & Provolone

It wouldn’t be a proper Italian salad without mortadella. And provolone cheese. And sliced pepperoncini and Castelvetrano olives and cherry tomatoes and fennel salami. A quick, vinegary Italian dressing is the finishing touch that this hearty salad needs.

10. Blueberry Pecan Oat Thumbprint Cookies

Sohla nails the sweet just as she does the savory. These bite-size thumbprint cookies are rolled in old-fashioned oats and filled with blueberry preserves. They taste remarkably like blueberry pie, and who could say no to that?

11. Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

“These cookies level up the classic peanut butter blossoms with an entire chocolate-hazelnut candy pressed into each. They bake up crumbly with a slight chew and are endlessly adaptable,” writes Sohla.

12. Joyous Almond Butter

Sohla’s homemade almond butter is so much better than most store-bought jars. It’s made with toasted almonds and shredded coconut, plus milk chocolate, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, too.

13. Banana Bread Walnut Butter

This sweet and nutty spread is made with toasted walnuts, which are puréed in a food processor with melted butter, freeze-dried bananas, cinnamon and nutmeg, and dark brown sugar. Spread it on your morning toast for an instant wake-up call.

14. Cashew Milk–Braised Cabbage With Crunchy Chile Oil

This vegan preparation of cabbage cups calls for braising the greens in homemade cashew milk along with ginger, chile peppers, scallions, and garlic. Top the cabbage cups of fried shallots and serve alongside steamed rice for a healthy, hearty dinner.

15. Garlic-Studded Pork Shoulder With Anchovies & Calabrian Chiles

“I have made this twice so far and it's been incredible both times! It's now my go-to meal for when I need to make a fancy meal for guests,” writes Food52 community member emilywools. That’s well-deserved high praise for this juicy preparation of pork.

16. Edna Lewis' Cheese Soufflé

Edna Lewis was an iconic American writer and chef known for her singular take on classic Southern cuisine. Her version of a cheese soufflé calls for equal parts of sharp white cheddar cheese and Gruyère. And hey, even if it falls when you take it out of the oven, it’s still guaranteed to be salty, savory, and all-around super satisfying.

17. Sticky Pomegranate & Black Pepper Chicken Wings

For Sohla’s best-ever chicken wings, start by dry brining the meat for a minimum of 6 hours and up to 24. Then roast them in the oven, rather than deep-frying them, and toss with a spiced pomegranate glaze. BRB: stocking up on wings and pomegranate molasses right now.

18. Sticky Fish Sauce Chicken Wings With Peanuts & Herbs

These wings have big punchy flavors, says Sohla, thanks to perky lime juice, funky fish sauce, and lots of chopped chiles and garlic.

19. Black & White Pound Cake

You don’t have to choose between vanilla or chocolate pound cake with this perfectly marbleized cake, a nod to classic black and white cookies. Use one of Sohla’s favorite ingredients—black cocoa powder—for an extra-dark chocolatey flavor.

20. Go-To Vanilla Pound Cake

There’s a lot of vanilla pound cake recipes out there. A lot. So you may be wondering what makes this one stand out from the rest. Sohla’s recipe calls for three whole eggs plus an additional egg yolk, which creates an extra-rich cake. A little bit of sour cream, which was definitely not used in the original 18th-century recipe, also contributes extra fat and moistness (so you can cast your fears aside about ending up with a dry, crumbly cake).

21. Spicy Tostada Toffee With Toasty, Chewy Toppings

Here’s something sweet: tostadas topped with a chile-infused caramel sauce and melted chocolate. If you need us, we’ll be on the couch snacking on this year-round.

22. Cornbread Strata With Cheddar & Jalapeños

A strata is the best brunch recipe, and this version, made with cornbread cubes, corn kernels, jalapeños, scallions, and sharp cheddar cheese, is sure to start your morning off with a serious kick.

23. Pizza Party Strata With Garlic Bread & Pepperoni

“Move over Bagel Bites, there's a new way to pizza anytime!” We’re listening, Sohla. Cubes of garlic bread are tossed with custard to form the base for this strata. Top it off with pepperoni, mozzarella, and marinara sauce for your new go-to dinner (or brunch!) recipe.

24. Olive Oil Blondies With Salted Caramel

Leave it to Sohla to develop a dessert that has so many savory undertones, thanks to a caramel sauce made with olive oil rather than butter. A pinch of flaky salt sprinkled on top of the blondies, plus a generous dose of toasted nuts folded into the batter, turns this into a dessert that everyone will love (including those who claim not to have a sweet tooth).

25. Ditalini With Tender Herbs, Chickpeas & Yogurt

Ditalini is an adorable tiny pasta that shares the spotlight with some big-time flavor from ingredients like anchovies, garlic, tender herbs such as dill and parsley, and chickpeas.

26. Orecchiette With Bacony Collards & Cannellini Beans

This dish is just a little bit brothier and saucier than your everyday pasta and frankly, I wonder why I have waited until the year 2021 to eat pasta like this. The orecchiette (or any short, sort of stubby pasta of your choosing) soaks in chicken broth for about an hour while the beans, bacon, and greens cook; that liquid later becomes the magic sauce for serving.

27. One-Skillet Garam Masala Chicken Thighs & Saffron Rice

I could sleep a very comfortable 12 hours in a bed of saffron rice, softly dreaming of flower fields scattered along the Mediterranean Sea. When I wake up from my blissful sleep, I’ll recreate that dream IRL (sort of) with one of Sohla’s best recipes for crispy chicken thighs served over saffron rice.

28. One-Skillet Paprika Chicken Thighs & Pepper Rice

Sohla saves the day once again by eliminating a pile of dirty dishes with this one-skillet chicken recipe. It’s inspired by the flavors and ingredients found in a traditional paella, like long-grain rice, tomatoes, bell peppers, and paprika, but of course, it’s Sohla’s own spin.

Have you made any of Sohla El-Waylly’s recipes before? Which one is your favorite? Sound off in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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jooverton August 10, 2021
pinkhandgrenade August 8, 2021
Honestly, every Solha recipe I've tried has been a win.
MLHE August 8, 2021
The entire internet just shifted towards the light of a talented, creative, playful, gorgeous cook and her food sculptures/paintings/symphonies/poems! Each recipe here (all consumed first via eyes, soon to be replicated to the best of my abilities) is what happens when foods ascend to new levels by asking to be discovered anew, expanded upon, and desire to find tastebuds of the curious.
Dani August 8, 2021
Seriously? The lead photo is not one of the 30? Yes, I found it by guessing what it was and clicking through on a link in the writeup, but are you TRYING to annoy your readership?
George August 8, 2021
They always do this, frustrating, not sure if it's intentional or laziness
Suzycowden August 9, 2021
The recipe for the lead photo is in the first sentence of the article.