Eggplant with Spicy Chickpeas and Lemon-Dill-Tahini Sauce

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A friend of mine made a similar recipe at a potluck not too long ago but hers used a yogurt sauce. So when recreating it, not only did I want to veganize this recipe but I also wanted to add a little kick to the flavor of the chickpeas by making them spicy to counteract the cooling nature of the dill sauce. Its a simple recipe but the flavors work so well together. I really felt like I was back on the streets of Istanbul…. which is a feeling I am happy to revisit over and over!… 

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Chimichurri Sauce

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Scott is absolutely obsessed with chimichurri sauce so I decided to try to make it at home… and now I might be obsessed! I made it for the first time last week and we put it over roasted veggies and lentils and added it to wraps, sandwiches, and salads. I really do think it is the sauce that can make anything taste delicious… and it is loaded with parsley which has amazing health benefits… and you can say goodbye to bad breath! So whip some up and see what you can find to put it on :)…. 

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Zucchini Hummus

Zucchini Hummus

I have made many different types of hummus but on the cleanse I just did (recap to come later this week), we had to eliminate all night shades so I had to say bye bye to my babaganoush, which is one of my very favorites!

There were also food combining rules I had to abide by so I was excited to find a hummus that did not include beans or eggplant. My daily salads are just not complete without a nice dallop of hummus on top :).

This recipe came from The Conscious Cleanse recipe book and along with my parsnip chips, it really helped me get through the cleanse. The chips are even great to dip in the hummus! For those with a bean aversion, fear no more, this zucchini hummus tastes just like the real stuff. And while calories are not a focus here at FLB, given that you replace the beans that are found in a traditional hummus with a veggie, this is a lot lower in calories so you can feel free to snack away.

For new and improved recipes, please visit my new site The Simple Kitchen!

Zucchini Hummus
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Serves: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 medium zucchini, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup tahini
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (can omit if you don’t like spicy)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Good for up to a week refrigerated.

 

Carrot Ginger Dressing

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After discovering what a difference a fun fresh dressing can make, I have been on a quest to try mix things up from the standard vinaigrette. Thankfully, Eating Well, did a whole spread on dressings that gave me some good ideas. I love the hint of asian taste this dressing has and you automatically get an extra veggie on your salad since it includes carrots! Next time I make this, I want to try it with my roasted carrots to give it a little extra punch of flavor…. 

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Dip In: My Favorite Dips, Sauces and Spreads

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Below I have created a list (and links) to my favorite dips, sauces and spreads. So go ahead, dip in and enhance your meals with these simple recipes. The best news of all… every single one of these recipes is vegan and gluten free for those who have any dietary restrictions!

1. Pesto. My husband and I are obsessed with pesto. It is not an exaggeration when I say that we put it on everything! Bread, eggs, sauteed veggies, pasta, salad dressings, pizza, etc. I usually just whip up some of this homemade pesto once a week and let it sit in the fridge for us to find the lucky item to put it on. It is oh-so good and fresh.

Pesto

2. Hummus. I put pesto on pretty much everything and I put hummus on almost everything. I love to add a heaping spoonful to a salad, use as a spread for a sandwich and of course have with veggies or crackers when I need an afternoon pick me up.

Hummus… 

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Tofu Satay

Tofu Satay

One of my all time favorite Thai starters is Tofu Satay but it is rarely offered at Thai restaurants. Those if you that live in SF should check out Bangkok 900 in Cole Valley. It is kind of a hole in the wall but Scott and I went there on weekly date nights leading up to our Thai trip – our Monday night breakdancing class was just down the street 🙂 – and I have to say, they definitely do it right there! I have always wanted to recreate it and had a reason to do so when I hosted my Thai Supper Club on Wednesday night (I also served my Thai Red Curry). The marinade is the real kicker so of course if tofu is not your thing, you could use a protein of your choice and I am sure it would even be a great marinade for roasted or grilled veggies…. 

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Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

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My favorite recipes are those that come about as a result of using what I have on hand. I tried a casserole recipe last week that had a bit of basil in it. It was a total flop which is why I will not be sharing it with you until I figure out how to make it great… Anyway, I had a ton of extra basil on hand that I did not want to waste. Coincidentally, I had an amazing dinner with friends this weekend and they requested that I do a post on dressings. Hence the birth of this delicious basil vinaigrette…. 

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Hearts of Palm Cakes

Hearts of Palm Crab Cakes

When I received Crazy Sexy Kitchen, this recipe was one of the first I wanted to try. It took me a while to get there but here it is.  In her book, she offers them with a remoulade sauce which I made, but for me the cakes are fine just as they are, with a dollop of greek yogurt or a side of something yummy. I served them alongside a good salad such as her Crazy Sexy Salad or  my Sugar Snap and Garden Pea salad. I’ve included the remoulade sauce recipe at the end of the post for those of you who want to try it out. Enjoy!

Hearts of Palm Cakes
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet of nori, or 2 teaspoons toasted nori flakes
  • Two 14-ounce cans hearts of palm
  • 2-4 Tbsp oil, more as needed
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Vegenaise or other vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Toast nori sheet by holding it with tongs and fanning it over a low gas flame or electric burner. Be careful not to let it burn. Turn the sheet frequently, so that it toasts evenly.
  2. Grind the nori using a spice grinder or a coffee grinder that can be used for spices. Break the nori into pieces, place it in the grinder, and pulse until powdered. Alternatively, crumble it as finely as you can with your hands or pulverize it with a mortar and pestle.
  3. Drain the hearts of palm and press in a towel to dry them. In a food processor, pulse gently until it looks like the consistency of crabmeat.
  4. Place a small sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the hearts of palm, onion, bell pepper, Vegenaise, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, nori flakes, nutritional yeast flakes, arrowroot or cornstarch, and salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Scoop with an ice cream scoop or a large tablespoon to portion into small cakes. Combine breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Coat the small cakes with breadcrumbs. Form and let sit in the refrigerator until firm (30 – 60 min).
  7. Place a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add some oil and heat for 2 minutes. Working in batches, sauté the cakes until browned on both sides and heated through, 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  8. Remove the cakes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in a warm oven until you finish all of the cakes.
  9. Place the cakes on a plate and garnish.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with homemade chimichurri or another one of my dips, sauces and spreads!

Photo courtesy of Kris Carr.

Mostly Veggie Potato Salad

Mostly Veggie Potato SaladFrom the recipes on this site, you guys know I love sweet potatoes but I received some red potatoes in my Full Circle box last week so needed to get creative. Aside from the fact that you get fresh local veggies delivered to your doorstep (which is awesome!), I also love getting these CSA boxes because they present me with challenges. I knew I didn’t just want to roast the potatoes so I searched around and came across this recipe in Super Natural Everyday, Heidi Swanson’s cookbook. It is a very easy dish and a different take on the traditional potato salad. Scott and I have been using the leftovers on top of salad all week for lunch and I imagine this would be a great additional to a summer potluck!

Mostly Veggie Potato Salad
 
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Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4 small pink or red skinned potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
  • 2 cups of green beans, trimmed and sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ cup whole grain mustard
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • Sea salt
  • ¼ cup chopped dill
  • 1 leek, trimmed and chopped
  • 6 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1 small cucumber, unpeeled and cut into tiny cubes
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt generously, add the potatoes and cook until tender but not falling apart (approx 10 minutes). One minute before potatoes are done, add in the green beans. Drain potatoes and beans and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, sautee the dill in a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add a couple of pinches of salt, stir in the leek and saute until golden and slightly crispy (about 4-5 minutes).
  3. In the meantime, make the dressing by whisking together mustard, vinegar, oil and salt. Taste and adjust as needed.
  4. In a large bowl, gently toss the potatoes, green beans, celery, cucumber, chives and leek with the dressing. Salt to taste. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Photo credit: Hello There Home.