Rosemary Sweet Potatoes with Maple Tahini dipping sauce

This has been one of my classics that I’ve been making since college. It’s super simple with sweet potatoes, garlic, onion and rosemary, paired with a sweet and salty, creamy, tahini-based dipping sauce for a healthy snack or a mini meal.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (for about 5 servings:
Sweet Potatoes:
1. 5 sweet potatoes
2. 1-2 rosemary sprigs (If anyone lives in SF and needs some, we have an abundant bush and happy to give some away!)
3. 1 garlic clove
4. 1 small red onion
5. Olive oil
6. Salt


Tahini Sauce:
1.5 tbspn tahini
2. 1 tbspn maple syrup
3. Sea salt to taste

Directions:
1. In a large pot boil water and once boiling, submerge the sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes.  This will cook them through only partially and will make them easier to slice into wedges and you won’t need to bake as long.
2. Once cooked, slice the sweet potatoes into wedges and put these in a baking pan. 
3. Toss all other ingredients — onion, garlic, rosemary — in the baking pan and generously drizzle some olive oil on top, and add some salt sprinkles on top as well.
4. Bake at 375 for ~50 min.  At the midpoint toss around to prevent some pieces from burning.

Sauce:
To make the sauce, in a small mixing bowl combine the tahini and maple syrup.  Add just a touch of salt . Optional: If this is too sweet for you and you want to balance out the sweetness, 1 tbspn of garlic olive oil will mellow out the sweet profile. 

Vegan chimicurri with oven baked pita chips

When I was 25, I was privileged to spend 2+ years living and working in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  I was already a vegetarian by then so all the infamous “parilladas” or steakhouses didn’t excite me, but I certainly went to many throughout my stay, often as part of the requisite hosting tourist friends stopping through and eager to try the famed Argentine steak.  What did excite me, however, were the succulent veggie side dishes, and one that always stood out above the rest was the chimichurri dip, an herby, garlicy, olive oil rich drip that is bright and fresh and a treat for the the senses.  Many years later, I was craving some chimichurri with warm baked pita chips and recreated a vegan version with parsley, cilantro, garlic, walnuts, olive oil and some spices.  It was the perfect fragrant, warming treat on this grey rainy day in SF.  It is delicious simply spread on warm bread, but could also be a great accompaniment to veggies (cooked or raw), pasta and more.  Enjoy!

Chimichurri Ingredients:
1. 1/2 bunch of cilantro
2. 1/2 bunch of parsley
3. 2 garlic cloves
4. 1/2 cup or 1 ramekin of walnuts
5. 1/2 cup of olive oil
6. squeeze of lemon
7. salt and pepper to your taste preferences
8. Optional: add 1 tbspn nutritional yeast if you want to add a slight cheesy flavor (I did and really liked it). 

Directions- Chimichurri:  Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it’s well blended but still has a slight chunky consistency.  Top with extra olive oil and salt if needed.

For warm pita chips, I like to use whole wheat pita, cut into triangle wedges,  brush with olive oil and salt and bake on 400 for a couple minutes per side until they get nice and toasty.  They are so moist and delicious straight out of the oven!

Trio of Hot Peppers and Lime Hummus

I like to give credit where credit is due.  This morning while frequenting our local Alemany Farmer’s market, we tried The Hummus Guy’s Habanero Lime hummus and I liked the spicy kick so did a twist on this complementary combo by making it a trio of hot peppers with lime.  Last weekend while in Paso Robles, we saw a large sign on the side of the road for avocados, lemons and limes, and got the limes from a beautiful honor system stand off the road.  The trio of peppers and garlic were generously gifted to us from our Airbnb host’s garden.  The result is a hummus with a bright spicy kick and you can mellow this out or dial up the heat by adjusting the amount of peppers you add.

Ingredients:
1. 1 can of garbanzo beans, fully drained (I get a case of organic beans at Costco at less than $0.80 per can)
2. 2 tablespoons of tahini (at least, you can add more if you like!)
3. 1/4 cup of regular or garlic olive oil
4. 1 garlic clove, diced
5. 1/2 jalapeno, habanero, and red pepper (not sure what varietal it was), chopped + keep some extra for garnish
6. 1/4 lime, squeezed into food processor
7.  Salt to your preference

Directions: Put all in ingredients in food processor and process to your desired consistency, chunky or smooth.  Once done, transfer to a bowl and top with some extra olive oil and pepper garnish. Serve with veggies, pita chips (The Hummus Guy’s Lemon chips are amazing), or whatever else you love hummus with.

Lemon Sesame Hummus, topped with Olea Lemon Olive Oil

On a recent road trip to Paso Robles where I went with Marcus to run the Harvest half marathon, we had the pleasure of experiencing a decadent, foodie filled weekend.  This started at our home base, my favorite Airbnb to date (check it out here), which I highly recommend this for a unique, rejuvenating farm stay with incredibly cute Alpacas on site., Our sweet hosts Rick and Bridgette opened their incredible farm studio, and generously shared with us four different types of homemade jams from their orchard, fresh eggs from their chickens, freshly canned pickles and more. They epitomized the joy of sharing a sense of place and extending community through food.


While staying in Templeton, a sister town and in my opinion more charming town than downtown Paso Robles, we were on the hunt to try some local olive oils and Yelp led us to Olea, a delightful well kept yellow casita on an olive ranch that did a well curated tasting, which included everything from traditional Arbequinas to infused flavors like Basil, Tarragon, Lemon and even Kumquat! We learned that Olea mostly distributes to restaurants including the famous raw vegan Cafe Gratitude that consumes their oil in drums (loved learning that Cafe Gratitude sources high quality, artisanal ingredients).  To me, their standout oil was the Lemon, which inspired this simple Lemon Sesame Hummus.  It takes me back to feeling free on open roads of California’s rolling hills, and laid back central coast wineries and farms. 
Ingredients:
1. 1 can garbanzo beans, drained 
2. 2 tbsp tahini 
3. 2 tbsp Lemon olive oil 
4. 1 garlic clove
5. Salt to your liking 
6. 1 tbsp sesame seed
Directions: Combine ingredients #1-5 in a food processor until well blended (or you can leave a little chunky if you prefer a chunky consistency like me).  Top with an extra drizzle of lemon olive oil and sesame seeds. 
Enjoy on toast, crackers, veggies or whatever else you love to consume hummus with.

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Heirloom and Sundried Tomato Flax crackers (raw vegan!)

I’ve been a bit intimidated by making raw vegan crackers but this was easier than I thought.  I used already ground up flax seeds as the base and flavored them with beautiful heirloom tomatoes from Fully Belly farms and some Trader Joe’s sundried tomatoes infused in olive oil.  I tend to like things crunchy so I dehydrated them for 12 hours until they became cracker-like (still somewhat on the softer/chewier side), though if you would like it to have more bread-like texture, you can pull them from the dehydrator after 8 hours.  These are best topped with something like avocado or pesto which balances the crackers nicely.

Ingredients:
1. 1 cup of ground flax seeds
2. Optional: 1/4 cup of other seeds of your choice – I used hemp (you can use sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.)
3. 1 small heirloom tomato, chopped
4. 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil
5. a few basil sprigs
6. 1 garlic clove chopped
7. 1 tbsp olive oil
8. Sea salt – as much as you like

Directions:
1. Line dehydrator trays with parchment paper
2. Place all ingredients in food processor and process until it turns into a doughy consistency
3. Evenly spread the dough on parchment (spatula helps!)
4. Dehydrate at 110 degrees for 4 hours.  Remove from tray and cut into sizes you like.  Remove parchment paper, flip over and dehydrate 4-8 more hours until you get the consistency you like.

Serving suggestions: Top with pesto and sundried tomatoes, hummus or avocado 🙂

Truffle roasted beet & rosemary hummus

So it’s been a while since I nurtured this blog, mostly b/c I started a new role at work that has kept me pretty busy, but alas this week I went to Liba Falafel, one of my favorite spots to grab lunch in downtown Oakland due to their inspired seasonal veggie topping bar, and I was particularly inspired by their bright beet hummus.  When I asked the owner for the recipe, she mentioned it was simply beets, tahini, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.  Now I think garbanzo beans are a must for hummus so was surprised theirs didn’t have any, and decided to do a fancy twist on the beet hummus by roasting my Fully Belly farm beets (loving my CSA that delivers right next to my office in Oakland) in truffle oil, rosemary and sea salt and then following a classic hummus recipe of 1 can of organic garbanzo beans, tahini, olive and truffle oil, roasted garlic cloves, and sea salt.  The result is a vibrant, earthy hummus that I especially like with Trader Joe’s rosemary raisin crackers.
Ingredients:
1. 1 can garbanzo beans, preferably organic (I stock up on these at Costco)
2. 1 head of garlic (you will roast entire head but only use a couple cloves)
3. 2 small or 1 medium roasted beet
4. 2 tbsp truffle oil
5. 1 tbsp tahini
6. Rosemary sprigs
7. Sea salt
Directions:
1.Take an aluminum foil wrapper and place beets coated with truffle oil, rosemary sprigs and sea salt and wrap in foil. Roast at400 degrees for 45 min-1 hour or until easy to cut through.
2.Take a separate sheet of aluminum foil and take the head of garlic.  Slice off the top, coat with 1 tbsp olive oil and sea salt) and roast for same time as beets.
3.Once beets and garlic are roasted, use a food processor and put in the following: Entire can of drained garbanzo beans (don’t keep the liquid), 1 tbsp tahini, 2 tbsp of truffle oil (sub w/ olive oil if you don’t have), 2 cloves of the roasted garlic, sea salt to your preferred salt levels
4. Blend until smooth and creamy and you can leave in a few beet chunks if you like some texture. Garnish with some rosemary sprigs, walnut and an extra swirl of truffle oil and sea salt.

Sriracha Hemp Seed Kale Chips

Today I did a spicy, nutty twist on a classic kale chip recipe by adding Sriracha and hemp seeds, and this is one of my favorite kale chip flavors to date (ties with cheesy cashew topping – I’ll post that one soon!). While I prefer my chips made in a dehydrator, if you don’t have one, you can adapt to make them in the oven at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Ingredients:
1. 1 bunch of curly kale 
2. 2 tbsp olive oil
4. 1 tbsp cashew butter
5. 1 tbsp sriracha 
6. 1/4 cup hemp seeds
7. sea salt
Directions:
1. Wash and dry kale
2. Cut into chip sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
3. To make the sauce, in a separate small bowl or ramekin, mix the olive oil, cashew butter, and sriracha.  If the cashew butter is cold, you might want to heat up the mixture in a small saucepan so everything mixes well.
4. Pour the sauce on top the kale and lovingly massage into kale so it is well coated
5. Pour hemp seeds on top – massage in.
6. Top with generous sprinkles of sea salt
7. Before placing in the dehydrator or oven, taste it and see if you want to change anything (add more sriracha to dial up heat, add more salt, etc.)
8. If you are dehydrating, place in dehydrator on 135 degrees for 4 hours and turn over midway at the 2 hour mark.
Enjoy!

Sundried tomato walnut pesto

My boyfriend Marcus is our CGO, chief gardening officer, and has been doing an amazing job as our plant whisperer to grow yummu, healthy plants and herbs.  He recently planted some basil, which was the inspiration for this delicious vegan sundried tomato walnut pesto.  I use walnuts instead of pine nuts, mostly because they are so much cheaper and taste great. I swap in nutritional yeast for Parmesan cheese, which gives this a beautiful cheesy, nutty flavor and keeps the dish all vegan (and a little lower in fat than traditional pestos with cheese).  This is great topped on regular pasta, zucchini pasta, as a dip for veggies or chips, as a spread or really just to eat by the spoonfuls :).  It keeps in the fridge for 1 week so you can save some and enjoy throughout the week.

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of walnut
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp sundried tomatoes in olive oil (I use julienne jar from Trade Joe’s
1 garlic clove chopped
Generous sprinkles of sea salt – taste and add as needed

Directions: Put everything in food processor and blend until creamy.  

Double hemp kale chips

This post is inspired by my awesome friend, Rony Alcaly, who owns a groovy hemp clothing store in Santa Monica called Vital Hemp. Before I entered the corporate world post business school, I briefly worked with Rony selling hemp clothing at farmers markets and festivals.  During that summer, I not only fell in love with hemp clothing for its soft feel and durability, but also got into infusing food with hemp seeds and hemp oil. Hemp seeds and oils infuse dishes with a nutty flavor and deliver a heatlhy punch since they are high in protein and essential fatty acids.  These double hemp kale chips are 2x ‘hempy’ since I use both hemp seed oil and hemp seeds.  To balance the intense flavor of hemp oil, I mix it with cashew butter and Braggs amino acids to make a savory sauce that I massage the kale in before liberally coating the kale with hemp seeds – making them ready for dehydration (or baking if you don’t have a dehydrator).  I have tried tons of kale recipes and this is one of my favorite yet.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1. 1 bunch Lacinto kale
2. 2 tbsp hemp seed oil (I used Nutiva which I found at Costco)
3. 1 tbsp cashew butter
4. 1 tbsp Bragg’s amino acid
5. sea salt
6. 1/4- 1/2 cup hemp seeds


Directions:
1. Rinse kale and after drying, cut into chip-like pieces.  Set aside in a medium bowl.
2. In a small bowl, mix ingredients #2-5 to make the sauce.  You can play around with the ratio of cashew butter to hemp seed oil depending on how much you like Hemp’s naturally nutty flavor.  One mixed, coat the kale in the sauce and pour hemp seeds on top.  Massage the sauce and seeds into the kale.
3. Dehydrate on 120 for ~3-4 hours.  You’ll know they are done when they taste crispy.  If they are still moist from the sauce, leave them to dehydrate longer.

Here’s to a healthy start to 2015!

Vegan pesto stuffed baby bellas

My boyfriend and I decided to host a last minute pre-holiday potluck and these made a really tasty appetizer.  I made the raw vegan pesto the day before. Even though it doesn’t have cheese, the pine nuts and olive oil have a very flavorful richness so you won’t be missing the dairy!

Ingredients:
1. 1 bunch of fresh basil
2. 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic
3. 2 cups of pine nuts
4. 1/4 cup olive oil
5. Sea salt – I don’t measure so start low and add as you like!
6. 12 small portobello (or other) mushrooms with stems removed

Directions:
1. Combine ingredients 1-5 in food processor and pulse until you get desired consistency.  Mine came out somewhat thick so more like a dip than a sauce, which worked well in the warm mushrooms
2. Brush the mushrooms with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake in 350 for about 15-20 minutes.  Add pesto and bake another 5 minutes

Serve hot and enjoy!!!