Mawa McQueen considers herself an entrepreneur first and chef second, and now she’s added author to her list of titles.
Chef McQueen’s culinary perspective draws influence from classic French fare where she was raised and went to culinary school, traditional West African dishes from Ivory Coast where she was born, as well as fresh, seasonal fan-favorite foods served at her highly-lauded restaurant, Mawa’s Kitchen.
Now, home cooks across the country who don’t live close enough for a lunch break at one of her Aspen, Colorado, hotspots, can get a taste of her award-nominated food with her debut cookbook, “Mawa’s Way: Recipes and Stories from Mawa’s Kitchen in Aspen.”
McQueen shared three delicious recipes with “Good Morning America” below from the book that’s full of vibrant recipes.
“Don’t let the James Beard Nomination and my aura of confidence fool you,” McQueen penned in the forward of her book. “Until very recently, the majority of my ideas and attempts to support myself and build businesses have been failures. In fact, you should know that I was thinking of walking away from cooking just a few short months before the James Beard Award semifinalist honor.”
She continued, “I know that’s a weird way to introduce a cookbook about a restaurant that many would deem a success, after all, it is because of Mawa’s Kitchen that I am writing this book, but I think it’s important to be honest in all aspects of life.”
For this cookbook, McQueen wanted to focus on the life she’s built in Aspen — but you can read more about her journey to this point here.
“Shakshuka can traditionally be found on tables in North Africa, the Middle East, and now has become a popular brunch food in America. It’s a one-skillet comfort food often served with a side of bread or pita to soak up the flavorful sauce that you can serve any time of day. Here is the Mawa’s Kitchen version, made with a French twist.”
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne, can use less or omit if you don’t like spice
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes with juices, coarsely chopped
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt + more as needed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper + more as needed
Chopped cilantro or chives, for garnishToasted rustic bread or toasted baguette for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat. Add sliced onions and bell peppers and cook until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cumin, paprika, Aleppo pepper, and cayenne if using, and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper, carrots, zucchini, and eggplant, and stir briefly. Allow to simmer until the tomatoes have thickened and vegetable are al dente, about 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Gently crack eggs into skillet over tomatoes so they each have their own space. Add more salt and pepper over eggs if desired. Transfer skillet to preheated oven and bake until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with cilantro or chives and serve with a side of rustic bread or baguette.
Arugula & Fonio Salad
“I created this salad because I was sick and tired of seeing quinoa salad everywhere,” McQueen wrote. “This is my version of quinoa salad with arugula. I love arugula because it is deep green, actually has flavor, and it pairs well with fonio. The good thing about this go-to salad is you can switch the ingredients depending on your taste and the season, just like my cobb salad.”
2 handfuls fresh baby arugula
1 cup cooked and cooled fonio (recipe below)
1 whole butternut squash, diced and roasted (roasting instructions below)
1 fennel bulb, shaved
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts (toasting directions below)
1/4 cup chèvre (or goat cheese)
For the fonio (yields 2 cups):
1 cup dried fonio
1 teaspoon oil of your choice such as extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
2 cups water Pinch of salt
For the Lemon Vinaigrette (yields 2 cups):
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced garlic confit
2 tablespoons agave
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
First make the lemon vinaigrette and set aside.
To make Lemon Vinaigrette: Place ingredients (from red wine vinegar through oregano) in a bowl and whisk until combined. Slowly pour olive oil into the bowl while whisking – you might need a friend to help you with this step! Whisk lemon juice into vinaigrette. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
To toast walnuts: Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add an even layer of walnuts to the skillet. Cook, shaking the skillet or stirring the walnuts every so often to keep from burning. Cook walnuts for 5 to 8 minutes. or until they start to smell toasted. Remove walnuts from pan; set aside to cool.
To make fonio: Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add fonio and toast it until it gives off a nutty aroma and a light golden color.
Add water and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
To roast butternut squash: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Use a vegetable peeler to peel the outside skin off the butternut squash. Cut the ends off the squash to provide a stable base for cutting the squash in half. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds and discard. Cube the squash and place on the baking sheet.
Drizzle olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper on the squash and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet.
Roast squash for 30 to 35 minutes until it is slightly brown on the edges and tender (easily pierced by a fork).
To assemble: In a large bowl, mix arugula, fonio, butternut squash, and shaved fennel and toss with the lemon vinaigrette. Top salad with pomegranate seeds, walnuts and chèvre.
Variations: Depending on the season, I also make this recipe with kale, quinoa, and sweet potatoes in place of the fonio, arugula, and butternut squash. You can also add Peruvian peppers for a kick.
Nutty Mango & Burrata Salad
“This amazing salad started out as an idea I had to make a mango carpaccio. I knew I wanted to make a mango salad, but not with lettuce or anything like that, I wanted something different, I wanted the mango to be the star,” McQueen wrote alongside the recipe in her book. “I tried a few ideas and was looking around my kitchen, saw that I had a mango and burrata and there you go, they went together perfectly. Note that this is a highly seasonal dish. It can only be made during mango season (May through September). So, add a reminder to your calendar so that when the mangos are ripe, sweet and juicy, you know it’s time to make this Nutty Mango & Burrata salad.”
1/2 cup hazelnuts
3 ripe mangos, peeled
2 (8-ounce) burrata cheese balls, drained Dried chili flakes, to taste
Micro greens, if desired
Mint pesto (see below)For the mint pesto:
3 handfuls fresh mint leaves, washed
6 tablespoons olive oil
To make mint pesto: In a food processor or blender, add the mint leaves and olive oil. Blend until the mint is finely ground and it is a thick, yet pourable consistency. Set aside until ready to use.
To make Nutty Mango & Burrata: In a small skillet, toast the hazelnuts over medium heat until fragrant and lightly golden brown, stirring constantly to make sure they don’t burn, about 3 minutes. Remove from skillet and chop, removing any hazelnut skins before adding to the salad. Set aside until ready to serve the salad.
Slice peeled mangos into large, flat pieces. To do this, cut the bottom of mango, creating a flat, stable base. Next, slice the sides along the flat part of pit. Then cut the extra mango from the rounded sides of pit. Using a sharp knife, slice the fatter cuts horizontally.
To plate: Place mango slices on a serving plate. Add hunks of burrata cheese to plate, scattering it around and on top of the mango slices.
Sprinkle the mango and burrata with chili flakes, toasted hazelnuts. and micro greens (if using). Drizzle the salad with mint pesto and serve.
Note: You can toast the hazelnuts, make the mint pesto, and cut and plate the mango and burrata ahead of time, but don’t add the chili flakes, hazelnuts, micro greens, or pesto until ready to serve.
Recipes reprinted with permission from “Mawa’s Way: Recipes and Stories from Mawa’s Kitchen in Aspen” published and distributed by McQueen Hospitality.