Category Archives: Appetizers

June 2019 Cooking Class – Taco Salad, Ranch Dressing and Oatmeal Cookies

June 23, 2019

June’s cooking class was all about summer fun. Cooking up something simple, nutritious and delicious in no time at all.  Inspired by Dr. Greger’s video Antioxidants in a Pinch : Dried Herbs and Spices, we focused on adding herbs and spices to our food as a nutritional booster. And as usual, the menu included beans, greens, and berries.

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An exciting addition to this class was the presence of three young folk – 2 who were fifteen years old and a 10 year old, who love to cook. Hopefully they were inspired to think about the nutritional value of foods as well as deliciousness. With the kids in mind, instead of a salad we had raw veggies with a creamy ranch dressing/dip. Our main entree was a build your own taco bar. Dessert was fresh organic strawberries and oatmeal cookies. All whole food plant based, and gluten free. And as a bonus, we whipped up a fantastic Pesto with fresh basil from my greenhouse.

We started our class with a Tropical Green Smoothie. I will have to admit, this one was inspired by a McDonald’s commercial for their Banana, Pineapple and Mango Smoothie. But with added oats, greens, flax and spices, this one packs a big nutritional punch.

Tropical Green Smoothie with Oat Milk

For those new to green smoothies, start with less greens and build up. Some for the ginger and turmeric. Both Ginger and Turmeric are great spices with lots of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

This smoothie is made with plant milk. For a change, we used oat milk. Oats are locally grown and oat milk is easy to make from ordinary rolled oats. For the class, we used spinach, freshly picked from my garden, in the smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pitted date
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen
  • 1 orange
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger (or ¼ to ½ tsp dry)
  • ½ inch piece fresh turmeric (or 1/8 to ¼ tsp dry)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 to 2 cups kale or spinach
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks

Directions


Place water, date and rolled oats in a blender. Blend until smooth. (If you were making oat milk for use in another recipe, you would strain this milk through a nutbag or similar cloth to remove the pulp. For the smoothie, we left the pulp in) Note: you can substitute the oat milk with any plant milk of your choice, or with water.

Add the remaining ingredients to the blender with the oat milk and process until smooth.

Creamy Ranch Dressing

This Creamy Ranch Dressing also works perfect as a dip. Made with a combination of cashews and tofu it is smooth and creamy and lower in fat. The recipe is a slightly modified version of Kim Campbell’s in The PlantPure Kitchen. The dressing/dip adds the herbs parsley and dill to your diet.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup packed firm tofu
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 tbsp fresh)
  • 1 tsp dried dill (or 1 tbsp fresh)

Directions


(If not using a high speed blender, soak cashews for 2 hours. Drain.) Place all ingredients in a blender except for parsley and dill, starting with ¼ cup water. Blend until smooth, added more water if needed. Once creamy, taste and adjust seasonings. Then add parsley and dill and pulse to blend in.

Taco Bar

Tacos make a great weekday meal. Prepare your “taco meat” and sour cream ahead of time (both freeze well) for a fast, delicious, nutritious meal sure to please everyone. Serve it in a taco shell, lettuce wrap, in a burrito shell or as a salad. The taco filling is chock full of herbs and spices for flavor and nutrition.

This recipe was inspired by Angela Liddon’s Ultimate Green Taco Wraps in the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook, the Amazing Cauliflower Tacos from brandnewvegan.com and the Taco Salad at Circle Kitchen, a plantbased restaurant in Winnipeg.

Ingredients

  • Taco Meat:
    • 1 cup cooked green or brown lentils
    • 1 cup walnut pieces
    • ½ small head of cauliflower
    • 1 ½ cup beans, 1 can rinsed and drained (black, pinto, chili, etc)
    • 1 cup cooked brown rice, or more as desired
    • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire Sauce (optional, gluten free if necessary))
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari (gluten free if necessary)
    • 2 tbsp chili powder
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp garlic powder or granules
    • 1 tsp onion powder or granules
    • 2 tsp oregano
    • ¼ tsp black pepper
    • ¼ tsp salt

Directions

In a food processor, place walnuts and lentils and pulse until coarsely chopped (about the consistency of rice). Remove and place in a bowl. Place cauliflower florets in the food processor and pulse until about the consistency of rice. Remove and place about 2 cups of cauliflower rice in the bowl with the lentils and walnuts. Add tamari and Worcestershire, if using, and toss to coat. Mix spices in a small bowl and then add to taco meat bowl. Toss well to coat. Place mixture on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes. Or place in a nonstick frying pan and heat on medium heat until cauliflower is cooked through. Add the beans and rice to the mixture.

Ingredients

  • Veggies:
    • 2 peppers, any color
    • 1 red onion
    • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Slice peppers and onions in long thin strips. Dry saute in a non-stick pan until onions are translucent. Add water or broth, 1 tbsp at a time if necessary to keep from sticking. Season with salt and pepper.

Ingredients

  • Cashew Sour Cream:
    • 1 cup raw cashews
    • ½ cup cooked white beans
    • ½ to ¾ cup water
    • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 to 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
    • ½ tsp onion powder (optional)
    • ½ tsp garlic powder (optional)

Directions

Soak cashews in water for 2 hours. Drain. Place all ingredients in a blender, beginning with ½ cup water. Blend until smooth, adding more water as necessary to keep moving.

Ingredients

  • Toppings:
    • Lettuce or greens
    • Tomatoes, diced
    • Avocado, diced
    • Green onions, sliced
    • Cilantro, chopped
    • Sriracha
    • Salsa
    • Lime wedges

Directions

For a Taco Salad – in a pasta bowl, place a bed of chopped lettuce or greens. Add a layer of the peppers and onions. Sprinkle with the taco meat. Top with tomatoes, avocados, green onion, and cilantro ,as you desire. Add Sour Cream and Sriracha (if desired) and squeeze some lime juice over it all.

The taco meat can also be served in a lettuce cup, taco shell or burrito wrap.

Oatmeal Cookies

This cookie recipe is inspired by Rip’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies in the Engine 2 Cookbook and a date sweetened oatmeal cookie from straightupfood.com  By blending your oats into oat flour in your food processor and then adding the dates, you  can finely chop the dates easily.

The dough should be sticky enough to form into balls.

The first time I made this recipe I used homemade almond butter which was on the dry side. I found I needed a touch of milk to get it to hold together. During the class, we made the cookies using purchased peanut butter and no milk was necessary.

Adding cinnamon to your cookies is a great way to enhance the nutritional value.

Ingredients

  • 12 Medjool Dates, pitted
  • 2 cups rolled oats, divided
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup chocolate chips, raisons, cranberries or walnut pieces

Directions

Pitt the Medjool Dates. In a food processor, place 1 ½ cups of the rolled oats and process until the oats are ground to a fine flour. Add the flax, baking powder and cinnamon and process until incorporated. Add dates one at a time and processes until finely chopped and incorporated into the flour mixture. Add almond butter and process until fully incorporated. Remove from food processor and place in a bowl. Add vanilla and maple syrup. Mix well. (Note: if your nut butter was very dry, you may find the mixture too dry to form a ball. If so, add a tablespoon or tow of plant based milk, one tablespoon at a time, adding just enough to allow the mixture to hold together.)

Add chocolate chips, dried fruit of chopped nuts. Mix well. Form into 1 to 2 inch balls and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake at 350F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet 5 to 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Pesto

When packing up for the cooking class, I found the basil in my greenhouse ready for a good haircut. I took the basil with me and made up a batch of my favorite pesto from foodrevolution.org. Served with Mary’s seed crackers. This recipe freezes really well and is a great way to put away an abundance of fresh summer basil to enjoy of the winter months.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups basil
  • ½ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper
  • About 4 tbsp water ( to thin)

Directions

Place all ingredients, except water, in food processor or blender. Blend, adding water as necessary to thin out.

Use immediately or freeze in ice cube trays for later use.

Don’t forget, summer is a great time to enjoy nature’s bounty of fresh fruit and veggies. Strawberry season is upon us, and nothing beats the taste of fresh organic strawberries.  They make a great dessert, and so easy you don’t need a recipe to prepare them. Eat your berries, every day!

Plant Based Air Travel

May 2, 2019

If you have every tried to eat plant based in an airport, you know that it can be tough finding anything other than french fries. While some airports are better than others, the options are often very limited and your best bet is to come prepared with your own food to tide you over until you reach your destination. (My favorite is Vancouver airport where I always hit Rice Tales which offers rice and veggie stir fries. The veggie stir fry comes with tofu and they will even make it oil free on request. They also have the option of whole grain rice of the day!)

Recently our friend Vicky returned to Germany with a long 24 hour of flights and airport waits. Not knowing what she would find at each airport, she prepared a bunch of tasty tidbits to keep her spirits and energy up during the long exhausting day – seed crackers, chickpea spread, raw veggies, energy balls and fresh fruit.  See below for the recipes for the seed crackers, chickpea spread and energy balls.

Super Seed Crackers

Super Seed Crackers with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Garlic

This recipe is from the Oh She Glows Every Day Cookbook by Angela Liddon. Its super easy to make and they hold their shape really well.  You can find the recipe here. Its simply a mix of several different seeds, rolled oats, chia seeds, spices. You add boiling water,mix, bake and voila, you have a great tasting crispy cracker.

The only change to the recipe I made was to eliminate the salt in the cracker and instead sprinkle the dough with salt after it is rolled out on the cookie sheet,before baking. That way your tongue really registers the salt taste without using too much.

Chickpea Spread

Chickpea spread

This chickpea spread was a favorite of Vicky’s. It is reminiscent of a chicken or egg salad and is great as a sandwich spread or cracker topping and is a nice change from hummus. The ingredients can vary according to your taste preferences but mainly consist of mashed chickpeas, celery, onion, pickle and mayo. You can also add kelp or nori to make it more like a tuna salad.

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 to 2 stalks celery, chopped fine
  • 3 green onions or 3 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle or 1 to 2 tbsp relish
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper (optional)
  • 3 tbsp oil free mayo (I like this tofu cashew mayo from Kim Campbell)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard (yellow or Dijon)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 tsp kelp powder or 1 sheet nori, crumbled very fine (optional for a ‘tuna’ like spread)
  • 1 tsp dried dill (optional)

Mash the chickpeas with a fork, potato masher or pulse in a food processor, until flaky. Add chopped veggies, pickle, mayo and seasonings to taste. Store in the fridge and enjoy.

Energy Balls

Vicky making Cookie Dough Energy Balls

Energy Balls are a great travel food. They give you a great hit of protein from the nuts and sweetness from the dates.  The ones Vicky made for her journey were made even better with the addition of CHICKPEAS! She made the Cookie Dough Energy Balls  with Chickpeas, almonds, dates, and chocolate chips. Yumm. The link also has several other energy ball recipes, including one made with black beans and chocolate.

 

 

 

 

April 2017 Cooking Class – The Versatile Chickpea

April 2, 2017

Lasagne, salad and foccacia

April’s class featured the versatile chickpea. Chickpeas are not just for falafels and hummus. There is a myriad of different ways to cook with them. We enjoyed Roasted Chickpeas as a snack, Cauliflower Bites made with chickpea flour as an appetizer, a Tomato Based Lasagne with a chickpea ricotta, a White Lasagne using chickpeas blended into the white sauce. The meal was served with a green salad dressed with Oil Free Italian Dressing and Roasted Chickpea croutons and a sprouted grain focaccia. The meal was topped off with a frozen Pineapple Whip.

Chickpeas, also called garbonzo beans, re a powerhouse of nutrition. These legumes are a good source of dietary fiber, protein, iron, folate and magnesium (just 1 cup of chickpeas will provide 84% of your dietary requirement of magnesium)

Chickpeas can be purchased already cooked in tins or frozen. Or you can easily cook them from dry beans. Two of my favorite methods are:

  1. OVERNIGHT SOAK – Soak chickpeas overnight in a large pot with plenty of water. In the morning, drain the soaked chickpeas and cover with fresh water to about 1 inch above the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain and they are ready to use in any recipe.
  2. QUICK SOAK – Place the chickpeas in a large pot with plenty of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover. Let stand for 1 hour. Drain and cover with fresh water to about 1 inch over the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain and use.

I like to cook a large batch of the beans and once cooked and cooled, freeze on a rimmed baking sheet. Once frozen store in a freezer bag and you have cooked beans on hand for any time you need them. They can be quick thawed by placing them in a strainer and running hot water over them.

Besides the whole bean, chickpeas can also be used as a flour. It is common in Indian cooking, but I use it mainly for making an eggy batter for breading veggies like cauliflower (recipe below), eggplant and zucchini. I also use the flour for a vegan omelette and French toast.

As usual, our class started with a Green Smoothie. This month the smoothie was pineapple blueberry with parsley. I love parsley smoothies.

Pineapple Blueberry Parsley Smoothie

Pineapple Blueberry Parsley Smoothie

2 cups parsley

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups pineapple (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth.

 

 

Breaded Cauliflower Bites

Cauliflower Bites

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ½ cup unsweetened and unflavoured plant based milk (almond, cashew, soy, etc)
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour (also called besan, chana or gram flour)
  • Salt, onion powder, garlic powder, to taste (about 1/2 tsp each) and pepper (1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix milk, flour and spices in a large bowl until well blended. Add cauliflower florets and toss until well coated. Place bread crumbs in small dish. Dip cauliflower florets in bread crumbs and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Serve as is or with a dipping sauce. Use this same recipe for other veggies like eggplant and zucchini.

Tomato Based Lasagne

NOTE: You may not need all of the noodles, tomato sauce, cheese, or chickpea mixture that you make.

  • 1 pkg lasagne Noodles
    • Prepare according to package directions
  • Approximately 5 cups Tomato Sauce (make your own marinara or use purchased spaghetti sauce)
  • Cashew Cheese:
    • ½  cup cashews
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • ½  tsp garlic powder
    • ½  tsp onion powder
    • Juice of ½ lemon (or up to 1 lemon)
    • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • ½ cup water (plus more as needed)

Soak cashews for 2 hours or overnight. Place all ingredients except the water in a blender.  Add about ½ cup water and blend until smooth. If necessary, add a splash more water to keep it blending. Taste and adjust seasonings – add more salt, nutritional yeast, lemon juice or spices.

  • Chickpea Ricotta

    Chick peas:

    • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, mashed fine
    • ½  cup chopped spinach or kale
    • 1 tbsp miso (or substitute soy sauce)
    • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
    • Juice of ½ lemon
    • pepper

Mash chickpeas with a fork or by pulsing in a food processor till a fine texture. Mix miso with lemon juice and add to chickpeas.  Flavor the chickpeas with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Mix in finely chopped kale or spinach. (if using frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze out excess water)

You can substitute your favourite hummus for the chickpea mixture.

  • Veggie Layer

    Veggies:

    • Mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 or 2  cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 large pepper (your choice of color), diced
    • 2 carrots, grated or chopped in a food processor
    • Salt and pepper
    • Also can use zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, cauli, etc

Dry fry veggies, without oil, until just tender crisp. If necessary, add a couple tablespoons of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan. Use any mixture of vegetables you like. You will need 4 to 6 cups of cooked veggies. Season with salt and pepper

To Assemble:

A standard baking dish will accommodate two layers plus the top layer of noodles and sauce.

  1. Assemble all ingredients, noodles, tomato sauce, cashew cheese, chickpea mixture, and cooked veggies.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. Line a large baking dish or lasagne pan with parchment paper
  4. In your parchment lined dish, spread a layer of your tomato sauce
  5. Spread noodles, 1 layer thick over the sauce. Break noodles if necessary to cover all areas
  6. A thin layer of chickpea mixture
  7. A layer of veggies
  8. A layer of cashew cheese
  9. A layer of tomato sauce
  10. Repeat noodles, chickpeas, veggies, cheese and tomato sauce
  11. Top with noodles and tomato sauce for final layer.

Cover with a lid or foil. (Covering the dish first with parchment then foil will keep the topping from sticking to the foil when you remove it.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbling.  Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

White Lasagne

Note: you may not use all the noodles or white sauce that you make.

  • 1 pgk Noodles (brown rice or whole grain)

Cook noodles according to the package directions

  • White Sauce
    • 3 cups cauliflower florets
    • 2 ½  cups water
    • ¾  cup cashews, soaked
    • ¾  cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    • ½  cup nutritional yeast
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • Juice of 1 ½  lemons
    • 1 ½  tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp salt

Boil cauliflower until tender. Drain and place cooked cauliflower in a blender. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

  • Veggies
    • 4 cups sliced Mushrooms
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 large pepper (yellow, orange or red), diced
    • 2 carrots, grated or chopped in a food processor
    • Finely chopped kale or spinach
    • Salt and pepper
    • Also can use zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, cauli, etc

Dry fry veggies until just tender crisp. If necessary, add a couple tablespoons of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan. Use any mixture of vegetables you like. Add kale or spinach at the end of cooking. You will need 4 to 6 cups of cooked veggies. Season with salt and pepper

To Assemble:

  1. A standard baking dish will accommodate 2 layers plus the top layer of noodles and sauce.
  2. Assemble all ingredients – noodles, white sauce  and cooked veggies.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F
  4. Line a large baking dish or lasagne pan with parchment paper
  5. In your parchment lined dish, spread a layer of white sauce
  6. Spread noodles, 1 layer thick over the sauce. Break noodles if necessary to cover all areas
  7. A layer of white sauce
  8. A layer of veggies
  9. A layer of white sauce
  10. Repeat noodles, white sauce,  veggies, white sauce
  11. Top with noodles and white sauce for final layer.
  12. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake at 350F for 1 hour or until hot and bubbling.  Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

 

Oil Free Italian Dressing

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar, or to taste (or substitute your vinegar of choice)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp agave, honey, brown rice syrup or raw sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings (or to taste)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 10 to 15 seconds on high speed.  From The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell.

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 can (15 oz/425 g)  or 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of ½ lemon or lime
  • Spice option 1: 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp each salt and onion powder, ¼ tsp cayenne
  • Spice option 2: 1 tsp each garlic powder, cumin, curry, paprika, ½ tsp salt
  • Spice option 3: ½  tsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp onion powder; 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, ½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Drain and rinse chickpeas and place on a baking sheet. Bake until almost dry throughout, about 30 minutes, shaking the pan and tasting every 10 minutes. Transfer chickpeas to a large bowl. Add lemon or lime juice and toss until coated. In a small bowl, mix spices. Add spices to chickpeas and toss until coated. Roast for another 10 minutes being sure the spices don’t start to burn. Turn off oven and leave chickpeas in the oven until cool. If chickpeas are still moist inside after they cool, reheat oven to 200F and roast until dry.  Store in sealed glass jar. If they get moist, place in low oven until dry.   Use as a nutritious snack or in place of croutons to top a salad.

Pineapple Whip

Pineapple Whip

  • 1 ripe pineapple (or purchased frozen pineapple)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 heaping tbsp agave or honey
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
  • Toasted coconut for topping

Peel and core the pineapple. Chop and freeze on a cookie sheet overnight. Place can of coconut milk in fridge overnight. Open bottom of coconut milk can and pour off coconut water. (Reserve the coconut water for another use.) Place coconut milk solids, honey and ginger, if using, in a high powered blender. Blend until well combined. With blender running, slowly add frozen pineapple until mixture is thick and creamy, about the consistency of soft ice cream. . Transfer to a shallow container, cover and place in freezer to firm up for 2 to 4 hours.  Serve with toasted coconut on top. (If the whip freezes hard, let it rest in the fridge for ½ to 1 hour before serving.)

If your blender is not powerful enough to handle the frozen pineapple, thaw slightly before using and add a bit of pineapple juice to keep mixture moving.  Can also be made in a food processor.

Adapted from The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

Pineapple Whip topped with Blueberries

 

 

Baked Cauliflower Bites

March 9, 2017

Since discovering that chickpea flour makes a great ‘eggy’ batter I have been making these cauliflower bites often. Ken and I can easily polish off an entire large head of cauliflower in one sitting.  Coating the veggies in breadcrumbs and then baking produces a crisp crust without using any oil. These taste as good as any deep fried appetizer, but without any oil. And the same recipe will also work with other veggies, such as breaded eggplant or zucchini sticks. Use whatever spice mix your heart desires.

Chickpea flour can be found in the ethnic aisle of most grocery stores, with the East Indian staples. It is also referred to as Besan or Gram Flour. I also use it to make egg-less omelettes and French toast.

Baked Cauliflower Bites

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ½ cup unsweetened and unflavoured plant based milk (I use almond or cashew)
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp each salt, onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried whole grain bread crumbs (gluten free, if required)

Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix milk, flour and spices in a large bowl. Add cauliflower florets and toss until well coated.

 

Place breadcrumbs in a small bowl and roll each cauliflower floret in the bread crumbs to coat. 

 

Place florets on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until tender.

These are good just as they are, but try the dipping sauce below for a tasty treat.

 

Honey Garlic Dipping Sauce

  • 4 Tbsp honey (or substitute with Brown Rice Syrup for a vegan option)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 6 tbsp water mixed with 2 tsp corn starch (or arrowroot powder)

In a small saucepan, mix all ingredients until well combined.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat and serve over the baked cauliflower florets or as a dipping sauce.

 

Baked Potato and Hummus

July 23, 2016

Baked potato and hummus

Baked potatoes are one of my favorite foods; unfortunately, they are usually served topped with loads of butter and sour cream. Since a baked potato and salad are our go to supper, I have been experimenting with various whole food plant based toppings. This white bean hummus is hands down my favorite hummus and my favorite baked potato topping as well. Its super creamy and you won’t miss the butter on your potato. Serve with a big green salad and you have a complete meal.

baked potato 2During the summer, I like to bake my potatoes (and sweet potatoes as well) in the slow cooker. No need to heat up the oven. It takes between 3 to 4 hours to cook on high, depending on your slow cooker.

ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet and Spicy White Bean Hummus

  • 1 ½ cups baked sweet potato pulp
  • 2 cups cooked white beans or chickpeas (or one can)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • juice of 1 ½ to 2 lemons
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • ground sea salt, to taste
  • up to 1½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (start with 1/8 tsp and increase to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (or sweet paprika)
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake a large sweet potato, or 2 small ones, until tender. You can bake it whole, or peel and cut in cubes and place in a covered baking dish. It will take 30 to 60 minutes depending on the size. Once done, peel off the skin if you baked them whole. (or you can bake it in a slow cooker on high for 3 to 4 hours)
  2. Places all of the other ingredients into a food processor except cayenne.
  3. Blend well, adding a small amount of water if needed for processing. Taste, add salt and cayenne to your taste (I like it with about 1 tsp cayenne but omit the cayenne entirely for kids or those who don’t like spicy foods)
  4. Serve with crackers, pita wedges or raw veggies or as a topping on a baked potato

Adapted from Cookie and Kate.

 

 

Body, Mind and Spirit Show and Spicy Sweet Potato Humus

April 20, 2015

Over the weekend I helped out at the Body Mind and Spirit Show as a volunteer for our local Sant Mat group, which had a table at the show. Sant Mat is an age-old, spiritual way of life that includes developing respect, trust and love for all and discovering our full potential as true human beings. It is a lifestyle in harmony with higher values that nurtures our soul through meditation – the regular contact with the inner light and sound. Sant Mat promotes a non-violent, ethical lifestyle, which includes a vegetarian diet.

To promote a vegetarian diet, we offered demonstrations and on how to prepare four simple, delicious and nutritious recipes and offered samples for taste testing. We were thrilled with the receptiveness of the participants and the feedback offered. Three of recipes offered, I have previously posted on this blog, Lentil and Kale Soup, Kale and Apple Salad and Granola Bars. The fourth dish, Overnight Oats, I will post in the next few days.

We also offered samples of a Spicy Sweet Potato Humus which was very popular; however, I had not printed out the recipe to hand out. So, as promised, the recipe is below. It is adapted from a favorite recipe blog of mine, Cookie and Kate. It is my current favorite humus and is quickly pulled together in a food processor. It is ideal for those who love the traditional chickpea humus but also for those not so fond of chickpeas.

Sweet Potato Humus

Spicy Sweet Potato Humus

1 ½ cups baked sweet potato pulp
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained)
3 tablespoons tahini
3 cloves garlic, peeled
juice of 1 ½ to 2 lemons
zest of ½ lemon
ground sea salt, to taste
1½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (start with less, season to taste)
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cumin

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake a large sweet potato, or 2 small ones, until tender. You can bake it whole, or peel and cut in cubes and place in a covered baking dish. It will take 30 to 60 minutes depending on the size. Once done, peel off the skin if you baked them whole.
2. Places all of the other ingredients into a food processor (if you’re sensitive to spice, you may want to save the spices for last and add them to taste.) Add water as needed to make it blend well.
3. Blend well, adding a small amount of water if needed for processing. Taste, add salt and adjust spices to your taste.
4. Serve with crackers, pita wedges or raw veggies.

I was asked about substituting peanut butter for the tahini (sesame seed butter). I think that would be an awesome combination – I love the combination of sweet potatoes and peanut butter in South African Peanut Soup (yes, I will post that recipe soon as promised). The next time I mix up a batch I will try it with peanut butter and update this post with the result. If you try it, be sure to let me know how you like it.

April 24 update – Peanut Butter Sweet Potato Hummus – I tried substituting peanut butter for the tahini and it is good, but I still prefer the tahini.

Tip for baking Sweet Potatoes – My sister passed on a neat tip for baking potatoes in a slow cooker. Just wash them and put them in the slow cooker on high for about 3 – 4 hours (depending on the size). They bake up nice and moist. I baked potatoes and sweet potatoes at the same time. This is an excellent tip for the summer when you don’t want the oven heating up the house.