Truffle beet hummus

I recently hosted my first plant-based potluck of 2019, an event I’m hoping to do once a month with friends and family, and this truffle beet hummus was a hit.   The surprising trick to this hummus is the beet flavor is actually from organic beet powder (vs. roasted beets) so you can make this really quickly.  I’ve been pairing it with Simple Mills crackers – both w/ the Everything flavor and w/ the classic almond flour crackers.  For some added nutrition and flavor, I top it off with some micro-greens for a healthy and somewhat sophisticated snack.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  1. One can of organic garbanzo beans
  2. One garlic clove
  3. 1/4 cup olive oil
  4. 1/4 cup organic beetroot powder
  5. 2 tbpsn tahini
  6. A few squeezes of lemon
  7. 1 tbspn of truffle oil
  8. Himalayan sea salt

Directions:  

  1. Drain garbanzo beans and place in food processor.  Add ingredients 2-7 and pulse until you get to creamy consistency.  If it’s thicker than you like it, try adding 1/4 cup of water to get to desired creamy thickness.
  2. Top with a drizzle of truffle oil and sea salt.  Optional: top with some micro-greens for a pop of extra color and flavor.

Creamy Basil Cashew Dip / Sauce

My husband has been growing some fresh basil in whisky barrel planters he made, and the abundant basil that was ready to use inspired this recipe.  I have made raw vegan cashew dips before, but almost always made either a classic garlic or red pepper version and this was my first time experimenting with an herb forward flavor profile.  The creamy cashew base + fresh & herbaceous basil complement each other beautifully.  This dip / sauce is very easy to make and can be used in so many ways — as a dip for veggies/ chips / crackers, as a pasta sauce on classic pasta or zoodles or even just eaten by the spoonful.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup of raw cashews
  2. 1 cup of fresh basil
  3. 1-2 garlic cloves (1 if large, 2 if smaller or if you like more garlic flavor in general)
  4. 1/4 cup olive oil
  5. 1/4 cup water
  6. 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast (I used Foods Alive version since it is totally soy free)
  7. Himalayan Sea Salt – adjust amount to your liking.  I add about 5 generous sprinkles to start and then adjust as I taste.

Directions: 

  1. Soak the cashews in a bowl of water for at least 2 hours
  2. Once the cashews are soaked, drain the water and add the cashews to the food processor followed by all the ingredients.  Process until smooth and creamy.  Play around until you get the flavor to your desired liking: If you’d like it to be even more creamy, slowly add a bit more oil and / or water.  If you’d like it to be even more ‘cheesy’ add some more nutritional yeast.
  3. Suggested optional toppings:
    • Sprinkle some hemp seeds
    • Add a swirl of olive oil
    • Add some other chopped fresh herbs on top including basil, cilantro, etc.
      Basil in our garden

      On Zoodles with some sauteed veggies

High Protein Chickpea Pasta & Vegan Pesto

Inspiration can come from anywhere, and the inspiration for this particular simple dish came from a delicious sample I tried yesterday at Costco.  This was my first time trying Banza pasta, and I really liked both the taste and the fact that each serving has 25 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber!  As a brand marketer, I also applaud their bright, simple and clean packaging.  For this dish, I made the pasta w/ a classic vegan pesto w/ some fresh summer basil from our local farmer’s market.  It’s a great easy and healthy summer dish and can also be jazzed up w/ some veggies if you like.

Ingredients:
Pasta:
1. 1 packet of Banza pasta (makes 4 servings)


Pesto:
1. 1 bunch of basil (I used Tomatero Farm’s organic basil)
2. 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3. 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
4. 3/4 cup of walnuts
5. 1 large garlic glove
6.  Squeeze of lemon juice
7. Himalayan sea salt – generous sprinkles, and taste and add more to your liking

Directions:
1. For pasta, just follow the instructions on pack (boil water + add pasta for 7-9 minutes and then strain).
2. For pesto, put all ingredients in a food processor for about 1 minute.  Taste it and adjust to your liking (if it’s thicker than you like, add more olive oil, if it’s not salty enough, add a few more sprinkles).  Note that when you store the pesto in the fridge it can thicken and I like to add a little more olive oil and mix after storing.
3.  For each serving of pasta, add  a couple heaping spoons of pesto and mix well.

Sriracha Hemp Seed Pesto

Just got back after two amazing, jam-packed days at Expo West, and starting to play around with all the 50+ samples I brought back. As a first timer, I admittedly might have gone a bit overboard and brought back half a bulging suitcase of yummy samples & swag.

Will be trying them out over the coming weeks, and one that I tried at the show that I absolutely loved was Manitoba Harvest’s Sriracha Hemp Seeds.  I first tried these classically hempy, nutty, slightly spicy and salty seeds on avocado toast (amazing), and I just tried infusing them in vegan pesto, which also turned out very tasty and with a nutty twist on a traditional vegan pesto w/ a kick of heat. 

Ingredients:
1. 2 cups of fresh basil leaves – de-stemmed
2. 1 garlic clove
3. 1/2 cup walnuts
4. 3/4 cup olive oil (if you prefer less oily, thicker dip consistency, use 1/2 cup)
5. 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
6. 3 tbspn Sriracha hemp seeds
7. Sprinkles of sea salt to you liking

Directions:  Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and dippable / spreadable.

Serving suggestions: Spread on whole wheat toast, mix into Zoodles for vegan pasta, use as a dip w/ veggies or wherever your creativity leads you.

Enjoying this w/ my hubby in our sunny garden now as he is planting our spring flowers in the pretty turquoise planters he made from reclaimed pallets.   The show was chalk full of amazing new companies, entrepreneurs, so many people I knew from all walks of life, but like all trade shows, came back physically exhausted, and happy to be relaxing in our sunny casita and garden.  More Expo inspired recipe to come soon :).

Recharging post Expo in our zen garden

Coco Oil Fried Maitake Mushroom topped Hummus

I recently was reading a book on health benefits of mushrooms, and upon reading about Maitakes, I loved learning that these are considered ‘dancing mushrooms’ due to ancient lore that monks stumbled upon maitakes in a forest and were so overjoyed by these beauties that they starting dancing with abandon.   I get it.  Maitakes can make you dance.  They are these gorgeous, delicate mushrooms that crisp easily when fried and can make so many dishes elegant and more ‘dancy’.  For those local to the Bay Area, Far West Fungi, which has a home in the Ferry Building and is at so many farmer’s markets (w/ steep discounts at the Friday Chinatown Oakland farmer’s market) offers excellent Maitakes.  This time I fried them in coconut oil with a dash of Bragg’s amino acids and topped them on a classic Hummus recipe.  We ate it both as a dip and on toasted whole wheat walnut bread.  Enjoy + happy dancing!

Ingredients for hummus:
1. 1 can (organic) garbanzo beans, drained
2. 1 garlic clove
3. Tahini – 1/4 cup
4. Olive oil – 1/4 cup
5. Sea salt to your liking
6. Optional – dash of cumin

Ingredients – Fried Maitakes:
1. 1/2 cup of Maitake
2. 1 tbspn of coconut oil
3. Dash of Bragg’s amino acid

Directions:
 1.  For the Hummus, place all  hummus ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth (tip: I have tried to make this in my Vitamix too but food processor is much easier).
2. For the fried maitake toppers, heat a skillet with coconut oil and once hot add a dash of Bragg’s amino acids (if you don’t have this, you can replace with a few sprinkles of salt).  Once hot, add the maitakes and fry  on medium heat until crisped (about a few minutes).
3. Top the hummus with the maitakes and enjoy! Serve with crackers, toast, veggies, etc.

 

Love Stack – Sweet potato, rice, avo & crunchy plantain chips

Lately I’ve been playing around with stacking food in cookie cutter molds (will do some heart shaped stuff soon for V day), and today I made a sweet potato, brown & red rice, avocado, hot chili oil and sweet plantain stack that was looks fancy but is really easy to make.  It’s also vegan

Ingredients (for 1 serving – adjust proportionally for more):
1. One medium sweet potato
2. Brown & Red Rice – I used this quick Seeds of Change mix
3. 1/4 avocado mashed
4. Plantain chips

Directions:
1. Roast sweet potato until tender (350 for 40 minutes).  Once sweet potato is cooked, remove from oven and let cool.
2. Rice – If you use Seeds of Change, microwave for 90 seconds.  If you use other rice, cook according to instructions
3. Mash avocado and add sea salt
4. In cookie cutter, mash the entire small/ medium peeled sweet potato, top with 1/4 cup of rice layer, mashed avocado, drizzle with hot chili oil or sriracha and top w/ plantain chips. 
 

Lemony Coconut Fried Brussels Sprouts

Before joining the SF Women’s march yesterday and taking part in a historic outpouring of support in the name of equal rights, inclusivity, kindness, decency, healthcare access and more, I made some vegan comfort food to nourish body & soul both given the somber political environment as well as the continued cold, wet, rainy SF weather.  Specifically, I tried frying brussels sprouts in coconut oil (vs. my usual method of baking in olive oil), and I also made some twice baked sweet potatoes topped w/ Dang coconut chips and walnuts (that recipe coming soon!).  Here I share both the quick & easy recipe for Lemony Coconut Brussels Sprouts, inspired from this NYT recipe that I adapted, and some photos from yesterday’s inspiring and important Women’s march.

Ingredients:
1. Brussels sprouts, sliced in half – 1 cup
2. Organic coconut oil – 1/4 cup
3. Lemon, 1 slice
4. Sea salt

Directions:
1. In a medium to large skillet, heat coconut oil on medium to high heat for a couple of minutes.  Once piping hot, place the brussels sprouts face down on medium heat and allow them to get brown.
2. Skirt lemon slice directly into the skillet if you’d like to impart a lemony flavor (otherwise okay to keep simple with just coco oil and salt). 
3. Once browned and starting to get tender (~4-5 min), flip over and allow to cook through on other side.  Sprinkle w/ sea salt.
4. Taste one and see if it’s got that melt-in-your-mouth tender, deliciously coconut oily texture.  If still too hard, cook longer on lower heat setting to tenderize.

So let’s continue to be extra aware of the need for self care right now and care for others.  Love, tolerance, decency, and fundamental kindness is the answer. And I’ll leave with you one of my favorite Rumi quotes, which I rediscovered this weekend, and prompts us to think about in our individual and collective ‘tailor shops’ what are we sewing / building towards?  

“Spend the spark of iron on the stone. Sit at the head of the table; dip your spoon in the bowl. Seat yourself next to your joy and have your awakened soul pour wine…You’re the tailor, settled among his shop goods, quietly sewing.”- Rumi

Creamy Cauliflower & Kale Soup topped w/ Kale Crunchies

This cold, gusty, rainy weather is perfect for cozying up with good reading, fuzzy blankets and warm, creamy soup.  This soul-warming, cauliflower kale soup is 100% vegan, very flavorful and super easy to make.  It was also my first time using my Vitamix to make soup, which was fun (would have liked it to get just a bit hotter but otherwise worked well).

Serving size: 2 small/medium bowls – for more servings, proportionally increase everything 

Ingredients:
1. Cauliflower – 1 head, chopped into florets
2. Kale – 1 cup
3. Garlic- 1 clove, chopped
4. Olive oil – 2 tbspn
5. Vegetable broth – 2 cups
6. Sea salt
 7. Optional: pumpkin seeds and kale chips for garnish
  

Directions:
1. In a large pot, bring 3 cups of water to boil with a drizzle of olive oil and salt.  Once boiling, throw in the cauliflower florets and boil for 3-4 minutes to soften.  Drain and set aside cauliflower
2. In a skillet (or saucepan if you don’t have a skillet), heat the olive oil and on medium heat sautee the chopped garlic, cauliflower and sea salt until slightly browned.  Add the kale and continue to sautee for a couple minutes.  Once everything is sauteed turn off heat and prepare to transfer to blender.
3. In the blender, transfer the sauteed cauliflower, kale and garlic and add 2 cups of vegetable broth (I used store bought organic veg. broth).  If using a Vitamix, turn to setting 9 or 10 for ~2-3 minutes to puree and heat everything.  In a regular blender, blend until pureed.
4. If needed, heat more to get it piping hot
5. For garnish, I drizzled some Stonehouse lemon olive oil, a couple crushed up kale chips (store bought if you like or some recipes here) and some raw pumpkin seeds

Grilled Artichoke Hummus

So right off the bat I’ll admit that while it may look like I was laboring to grill up the artichokes, the secret is much simpler: Trader Joe’s has delicious marinated artichokes that I blend into a classic hummus base. The result is thick, creamy, delicious and decidedly spring/ summery artichoke infused hummus.

Ingredients:
1. One can garbanzo beans (preferably organic)
2. 1 garlic clove
3. 2-3 grilled artichokes marinated in oil (I use Trader Joe’s version)
4. 1/3 cup tahini  (For those who live in San Francisco, Samiramis in the Mission has the best tahini and they are so friendly)
5. 1/3 cup of olive oil
6. Sea salt- a few sprinkles
7. Cumin – a few sprinkles
8. Optional: Lemon


Directions: Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until you get to desired consistency.  Garnish with diced artichokes on top.

Enjoy with veggies, crackers, toast, etc. I had this on whole wheat toast with avocado and it was delicious!

Cauliflower Picante– AKA Ode to Stonehouse Hot Chili Olive Oil

An uncontested gem in San Francisco is the iconic Ferry
building, a waterfront foodie paradise that houses some of SF’s most inspiring food-trepreneurs.  The Ferry Building is always alive with a special energy – a unique mix that stems from its prized location, its history and the sensuous smells wafting through– and it comes to life in a particularly special way on Saturday mornings at its massive farmers market that wraps around the entire building.  I am lucky to live relatively close by, and frequent this gem almost every Saturday morning.  On these
weekly jaunts, one of my favorite long time staples has always been Stonehouse Olive Oil where you can sample 10+ olive oils in flavors ranging from bold to buttery to grassy to spicy.  Today I was craving spicy, so
I bought their Hot Chili olive oil that inspired this super simple, four
ingredient, 30 minute double spicy cauliflower recipe.

Ingredients:
1.One head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
2.3 tablespoons of Stonehouse Hot Chili Olive Oil
3.Sea salt sprinkles
4.Red Pepper flake sprinklesDirections:
1.Preheat oven to 375.
2.Put the cauliflower in a large plastic bag
3.Add sea salt and red pepper flakes to your taste liking inside the bag and shake it so the cauliflower is well coated.
4.Place cauliflower in a greased or foiled baking dish and bake for approximately 30 minutes (toss at the halfway point) until it gets nice and charred.