The Birchwood Cafe Cookbook

Good Real Food


Tracy Singleton and Marshall Paulsen
With Beth Dooley
Photography by Mette Nielsen

Bring the beloved Birchwood Cafe’s kitchen home with recipes, insights, and stories

Here is the Birchwood Cafe’s lighthearted, innovative menu: hearty hand pies and multigrain salads, decadent pastries, and award-winning desserts. Organized by eight seasons, these dishes are inspired by the way weather affects our appetites and determines what comes from our land.

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to have Birchwood Cafe's delectable 'good real food' at home, the answer is here in this book. It will rejuvenate our commitment to healthier cooking with the best of Minnesota!

Lucia Watson

Creating a better world starts at home—in the kitchen—and for twenty years the Birchwood Cafe has guided diners to live and eat sustainably and joyfully. Now you can sample Birchwood’s recipes—adapted for home cooks—and fill your own table with some of the irresistible fare that has made the cafe one of the region’s best-loved restaurants.

In these pages, find Birchwood’s light-hearted, innovative menu: hearty hand pies and multigrain salads, decadent pastries, and award-winning desserts. Organized by eight seasons, these dishes are inspired by the way weather affects our appetites and determines what comes from our land. With Spring, we celebrate beginnings, tossing up fragrant herbs, tender greens, and tart rhubarb. Come Summer, we fire up the grill and get outside; when Scorch hits and those dog days dampen appetites, we whip up cool soups and refreshing salads. Then Autumn, with its collision of apples, pears, pumpkins, and kale; and as Dusk falls, we get cozy with bowls of savory soup. Frost tempts us back to the stove with nourishing roots. Ready for Winter, we gather close with friends near the hearth, ladling up warming stews. Come Thaw, look to the first food of the season as the maple syrup runs and we anticipate a new year. The pantry chapter features Chef Marshall Paulsen’s condiments—chutney, jam, preserves, and vinaigrettes—which can transform the simplest dish into a spectacular plate.

Owner Tracy Singleton and Chef Marshall share Birchwood stories and memories, plus practical tips and insights. Just as Birchwood Cafe is more than a restaurant, this is more than a cookbook. The Birchwood Cafe Cookbook shows you what it takes to make a sustainable kitchen and a joyful table, to prepare “good real food” that really does more than a little good.

Tracy Singleton is the founder and owner of the Birchwood Cafe, where Marshall Paulsen is chef. A longtime writer on local foods, Beth Dooley’s books include The Northern Heartland Kitchen and Minnesota’s Bounty: The Farmers Market Cookbook, a collaboration with photographer Mette Nielsen, whose work includes The Spoonriver Cookbook and The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper.

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to have Birchwood Cafe's delectable 'good real food' at home, the answer is here in this book. It will rejuvenate our commitment to healthier cooking with the best of Minnesota!

Lucia Watson

Birchwood is more than a cafe—it is a community. For close to seventy-five years this little corner has become a vibrant gathering place where neighbors, farmers, families, and friends come together around food. The stories, recipes, and the people who make it all happen are embodied in this beautiful book, bringing the Birchwood experience into our homes and kitchens and onto our tables.

Michael Ableman, farmer and author of From the Good Earth, On Good Land, and Fields of Plenty*

Fresh organic food with purpose and right tribe; the Birchwood Cafe is the Blue Zone of Minneapolis! This gracious and simple cafe has a big presence in our lives—Marshall’s tasty food and Tracy’s social activism have led the way for many healthy and sustainable initiatives and have us all thinking about where our food comes from. Now, you can bring this delicious, conscious, and healthful way of life into your own kitchen.

Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author of Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People

I had no problem slotting the recipes into our lives. These were all foods that we wanted to eat together, as a family, after a busy day. They

Heavy Table

Clear and concise recipes for fresh and healthy foods paired with profiles of the farmers Paulsen and Singleton make this a great gift for the healthy eater or vegetarian.

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Locavores will love The Birchwood Cafe Cookbook. . . The seasonal chapters of this new tome show home cooks how to use the freshest ingredients in their cooking.

Minnesota Monthly

This is truly a cookbook for all seasons, including ones you didn’t even know we had.

City Pages


Introduction: An Invitation to Cook from Birchwood Cafe Owner Tracy Singleton

Chef Marshall Paulsen

What Is Good Real Food?

Using This Cookbook


Herby Radmann, Bullfrog Fish Farm (Menomonie, Wisconsin)

Gail and Maurice Smith, DragSmith Farms (Barron, Wisconsin)

Asparagus, Cheddar, and Quinoa Savory Waffle (GF)

Spring Egg Scramble (GF)

Smoked Trout Quiche

Basic Pastry Crust

Carrot Ginger Soup (V) (GF)

Potato Beet Salad (V) (GF)

Pesto Perfect!

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto (GF)

Arugula Basil Pesto (GF)

Cilantro Cashew Pesto (V) (GF)

Mint Jalapeño Pesto (GF)

Watercress Mint Chermoula (Moroccan Pesto) (V) (GF)

Spring Vegetable Pizza

Turkey Salad with Avocado Puree (GF)

Millet-Crusted Trout (GF)

Red Pepper Chickpea Puree (GF)

Rhubarb Pecan Bars

Rhubarb Brown Sugar Scones


Greg and Mary Reynolds, Riverbend Farm (Delano, Minnesota)

Steven Read and Jodi Ohlsen Read, Shepherd’s Way Farms (Nerstrand, Minnesota)

Egg and Bacon Sandwich

Vive la France French Toast with Macerated Berries and Honey-Roasted Almonds

Chilled Sweet Pea and Mint Soup (V) (GF)

Strawberry Salad with Garlic Chèvre Mousse (GF)

Honey-Roasted Almonds (V) (GF)

Tour de France Turkey Burger

Sesame Green Bean and Quinoa Salad (V) (GF)

Summer Vegetable Flatbread

Grilled Pork Chop with Polenta (GF)

Strawberry and Rhubarb Cornmeal Cobbler

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies


Tim Fischer, Fischer Family Farms Pork (Waseca, Minnesota)

Konstantin Berkovski (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Sweet Corn Chipotle Coulis (GF)

Sweet Corn Wheat Berry Savory Waffle

Stone Fruit Salsa (V) (GF)

Breakfast Black Beans and Rice with Avocado Puree (GF)

Cucumber Basil Gazpacho (V) (GF)

Heirloom Tomato Plate (GF)

Spicy Peanut Penne Salad (V)

Three Bean Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette (V) (GF)

Veggie Baba Ghanoush Pizza (V)

Black Bean Quinoa Burger (V) (GF)

Avocado Chèvre Mousse (GF)

Heirloom Tomato Sweet Corn BLT

Sweet Corn Risotto (GF)

Grilled Corn with Crème Fraîche (GF)

Seed Crackers (V)

Stone Fruit Maple Quinoa Crisp (V) (GF)

Blueberry Muffins (V)


Peterson Limousin Farms (Osceola, Wisconsin)

Jack Hedin, Featherstone Farm (Rushford, Minnesota)

Cinnamon Apple Farro Pancakes

Seasoned Butter (GF)

Apple Cinnamon Butter

Radish Butter

Cilantro Butter

Lemon Pepita Butter

Mint Honey Butter

Autumn Vegetable Quiche

Chicken Spaetzle Soup

Maple Squash Soup (V) (GF)

Apple and Bent River Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette (GF)

Cherry Hazelnut Turkey Salad (GF)

Limousin Beef Brisket with Maple Squash Mash and Aronia Berry Coulis (GF)

Braised Beef Pizza

Limousin Beef Sandwich with Roasted Pear Mayo

Apple Walnut Scones



Jim Riddle, Blue Fruit Farm (Winona, Minnesota)

John Peterson, Ferndale Market (Cannon Falls, Minnesota)

Bacon Blueberry Black Currant Oatmeal (GF)

Squash Parsnip Tofu Scramble (V) (GF)

Chili Bean Chili! (V) (GF)

Spicy Tofu and Quinoa Salad (V) (GF)

Beet Chèvre Terrine (GF)

Chicken Confit (GF)

Chicken Confit Mushroom Pizza

Cranberry Gastrique (V) (GF)

Parsnip Pear Sandwich (V)

Birchwood Burger with Duxelles

Chicken Marsala

Lemon Hazelnut Sea Salt Cookies

Sweet Potato Pie with Oatmeal Walnut Crust (GF)

Tarragon Cornbread (GF)


Castle Rock Organic Farms (Osseo, Wisconsin)

Bruce Bacon, Garden Farme (Ramsey, Minnesota)

Buttermilk Sweet Waffles with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Tofu Breakfast Scramble (V) (GF)

Coconut, Turkey, and Lime Wild Rice Soup (GF)

Chipotle and Sweet Potato Salad (GF)

Birchwood Broccoli Salad (V) (GF)

Maple Ham Pizza

Birchwood Pizza and Flatbread Dough (V)

Turkey Burgers with Creamed Kale (GF)

Sweet Potato Cakes (V) (GF)

Indonesian Chicken Stew (GF)

Pumpkin Hand Pie

Birchwood Hand Pie Dough

Sweet and Spicy Beets (V) (GF)

Grapefruit Bran Muffins

Pumpkin Cheesecake (GF)


Doug Hilgendorf, Whole Grain Milling (Welcome, Minnesota)

Eric and Lisa Klein, Hidden Stream Farm (Elgin, Minnesota)

Maple Oatmeal Crème Brûlée (GF)

Apple Turnip Quiche

Smoked Turkey and Citrus Wild Rice Salad (GF)

Blue Cheese, Walnut, Roasted Pear Puree, and Pickled Onion Pizza

French Fries! (V) (GF)

Winter Vegetable Hand Pie

Sunchoke Puree

Blood Orange Gastrique

Winter Veggie and Tofu Sauté with Gingered Garlic Sauce (V) (GF)

Mushroom Mac and Cheese

Brandied Turkey Stew with Cauliflower Sweet Potato Puree (GF)

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Brownies

Tangelo Thyme Mini Donuts (V) (GF)


Joe and Rebecca Schwen, Heartbeet Farm (Zumbro Falls, Minnesota)

Steven and Dawn Wood, Woods Maple Orchard (Elmwood, Wisconsin)

Surly Maple Braised Pork Belly Benedict

Sweet Potato, Brown Rice, and Kale Savory Waffle

Poached Garlic and Cauliflower Soup (V) (GF)

Sausage Pizza

Tomato Fennel Ragout (V) (GF)

Birchwood Turkey Burger with Rosemary-Lemon Mascarpone

Blue Cheese Ranch Mayo (GF)

Sunny Day Sandwich (V)

Green Curry with Tofu (V) (GF) or Fish (GF)

Glazed Grapefruit Bread

Honey Almond Bars

The Birchwood Pantry


Cranberry Tangelo Jam

Blueberry Black Currant Jam

Rhubarb Strawberry Jam

Rhubarb Jalapeño Marmalade

Kumquat Honey Preserves

Cranberry Quince Chutney

Pear Cranberry Chutney

Meyer Lemon Syrup

Vanilla Extract

Pickles, Condiments, and Oils

Pickled Radishes

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Pickled Peppers

Pickled Red Onions

Preserved Lemons

Basil Oil

Roasted Meyer Lemon Oil

Chili Oil

Horseradish Mustard Oil

Vinaigrettes, Salad Dressings, and Sauces

Roasted Pear Vinaigrette

Horseradish Vinaigrette

Cranberry Vinaigrette

Orange Honey Vinaigrette

Green Tea Vinaigrette

Strawberry White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Sesame Tamari Vinaigrette

Poached Garlic and Honey Vinaigrette

Birchwood Aioli (with variations)

Anaheim Chili Sauce

Birchwood Ketchup



GF = gluten free V = vegan