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.

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. 
 

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

Edamame pasta with spicy almond butter sauce & green veggies

After many failed attempts at making a spicy peanut sauce, I have finally learned how to make a super flavorful one, and have now been making a lot of stirfried noodles with veggies to accompany these sauces.  The trick for me was learning to add the right amount of water and balance the sweet and spicy profile of the sauce.  This time I did a twist on a peanut sauce and made a spicy almond butter sauce and accompanied it with this amazing organic edamame pasta (the only ingedient is edamame so it’s vegan, gluten free and super high in protein); I also topped it w/ some Fully Belly farm broccoli, kale, carrots and almond slivers.   Very filling and nutritous – enjoy!

Ingredients:

Sauce:
1. Almond butter (creamy or crunchy) – 1/2 cup
2. Water – 1/2 cup
3. One garlic clove
4. Braggs amino acid (you can sub soy sauce if you don’t have this ) – 1 tbpsn
5. Rice vinegar – 1 tbspn
6. Agave – 1 drizzle
7. Chile flakes – 1/2 tbspn to start (add more if you want spicier)

Veggies:
1. Brcocoli – 1/2 head
2. 1 carrot – peeled
3. Kale – 1 cup
4. 1 tbspn olive oil

Pasta: Organic edamame spaghetti (I got this at Costco, but it seems to be a rotational item so you can also get on amazon)

Directions:
1. To make the sauce, put all the ingedients for sauce in a blender.  If you have a Vitamix, do this on setting 4 for about 1 minute.  Taste the sauce and adjust as needed – if too thick, add more water.  If too watery add more almond butter and if not spicy enough add more chile flakes!
2. Pasta: Follow instructions on package (cook for 4-5 minutes once boiling); set aside pasta
3. Cut up all veggies.  For just the broccoli which takes longer to cook steam or blanch for just a couple of minutes to slightly soften.
4. Heat a saucepan on medium heat with olive oil.  Once hot pour in all the veggies (including the broccoli that has been blanced) and generously coat with the entire amount of almond butter sauce.  On low to medium heat, stirfy for about 10 minutes or until all veggies cooked
5. Top the edamame pasta with the almond sauce coated veggies and mix.

Optional: Top with sriracha for added heat and/or chopped almond slivers for added crunch!

Sweet and Savory Kumquat, Avocado, Radish, Dried Cherry salad with passionfruit vinaigrette

When I was growing up our neighbors had a kumquat tree that to this day is incredibly generative and has the best tasting kumquats.  Kumquats bring back beautiful childhood memories of running around the neighborhood and freely picking the deliciously sweet and tart abundant kumquats.  So yesterday, towards the end of a long training run, I wanted to put them in a salad and came up with this sweet and savory salad where the sweetness from the dried cherries and passionfruit vinaigrette nicely counterbalanced some of the tart flavors induced by the kumquats and radish.  And then the creamy avocado and slivered almonds add some nice creamy and crunch texture to the mix to create an overall delicious salad!

Ingredients:
Salad:
1. 1 large bag of mixed salad greens
2.  Handful of kumquats diced into quarters
3. 1 medium to large avocado, sliced into small pieces
4. Handful of dried cherries  – I’m loving Costco’s Kirkland dried cherries now
5. 3-4 radishes sliced into small slices
6. Handful of slivered almonds (toasted or not toasted- up to you)
7. Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing:
1. 2 tbsp olive oil
2. 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
3. Passionfruit mustard – This can be admittedly hard to find.  We got some from Aunty Lillikoi brand on a recent trip to Hawaii that we have almost entirely devoured.  If you can’t find this, you can just add regular mustard and sweeten with some honey.

Directions:
1. Add ingredients 1-6 to a large salad bowl
2. Stir vinaigrette until all ingredients mix well and right before serving mix into the salad and coat well/toss.
3. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!!

Hawaiian Farmer’s Market Salad

I was recently blessed to spend five days in Kauai and got
to go to a couple of farmer’s markets, which are a real treat b/c of: 1. the
rare tropical produce we don’t get in CA (passion fruit, mangosteen, longan,
rambutan and so much more), and 2. I forgot how expensive food can be in
Hawaii, and farmer’s market produce and cooking some meals at home are a great
way to make vacation more affordable.  If
you are going to Kauai soon, you can find a great list of farmer’s markets here.  Everything we got was delicious and some
standouts included incredible pea sprouts and pretty much every fruit was really tasty (super juicy citrus, incredible pineapple, lots of litchi varietals, etc.).  I decided to use the local veggies to put
together a salad and the combination came together nicely with some tropical
twists from the coconut meat, macadamia nuts and creamy avocado.
Ingredients:
1.     
Local greens/ lettuce – ¾ of one head
2.     
Tomato – ½ sliced
3.     
Maui onion: Slice up one ring
4.     
Avocado – Dice up ½ large or 1 small
5.     
Macadamia nuts (raw or roasted) – ¼ cup
6.     
Pea Sprouts – 1 bunch chopped
7.     
Optional: If you have or can find coconut meat, add a
few slices as well
Directions: Mix everything together and top with your
favorite dressing.  We used classic
balsamic vinaigrette, which worked well and I could also see how tropical
fruity vinaigrette could also compliment the salad well.  Enjoy- Mahalo!

Curly beet apple medley

Today I was feeling in the mood to make something extra colorful.  Beets never disappoint in the color department so I took my beloved spiralizer (best new kitchen tool of 2014) and made curly beets and apples, chopped up some carrots, and threw some dried sour cherries and freshly crushed walnuts on top. Then I mixed together a quick dressing with olive oil, Meyer lemon, coconut sugar, salt and pepper.

Ingredients:
1. 1-2 medium beets
2. 1 apple (I used granny smith but you can use whatever varietals you have)
3. 1 carrot or a few baby carrots, chopped
4. handful of walnuts
5. handful of raisins or dried cherries

Dressing:
1. 2 tbsp olive oil
2. 1/4 Meyer lemon (or regular works too)
3. 1 tsp coconut sugar or honey
4. salt + pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Peel beet and apple
2. Place beet and apple through spiralizer to create thin spirals. Place in bowl.
3. Top with chopped carrots, walnuts and raisins or dried cherries.
4. Mix together dressing and drizzle on top of salad.

Note: This recipe was inspired by, though significantly adapted from, “Raw Beet Slaw” recipe in Roots cookbook (a really beautiful cookbook for those who want to explore cooking with root veggies).

Zucchini pasta with spicy tomato sauce & tahini turmeric spiced salad

My dear friend Lisa was kind enough to gift me my very first food processor, which has been great for making faux cheese crumbles (from nuts) and lots of different sauces and dips.  Today I made a quick zucchini pasta with spicy tomato sauce and salad with tahini turmeric dressing:

Zucchini Pasta with Spicy Tomato Sauce
Ingredients:
1. 1 medium zucchini
2. 1 tomato
3. 1 garlic glove
4. 1 tbsp of spicy salsa (I had some chipotle salsa on hand, if you don’t have any you can just add cayenne or other hot spice if you want to make it spicy)
5. 1 tbsp olive oil
6. salt + pepper
Optional: Nut cheese topping:
1. 1/2 cup macadamia nut or walnut
2. 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
3. sea salt to taste
Directions:
1. To make the zucchini pasta, put the zucchini through a spiralizer (Here is the one I use that I love).  Set pasta aside in a bowl.
2. To make the sauce, put ingredients 2-5 in a food processor and pulse until you get to the consistency you like.  I like mine a little chunky. 
3. If you want to make the nut cheese, put nut cheese ingredients in food processor and pulse until you get to a crumble consistency.
4. Assembly: Top zucchini with pasta sauce and nut crumble.  I have ring molds now that I like to play around with so I tried stacking mine here. 
Tahini Turmeric Salad
Ingredients:
1. Mixed greens of your choice.  I like organic girls super greens. 
2. Shredded carrots
3. Any other toppings you want 🙂
Dressing:
1. 1 tbsp olive oil
2. 1 tbsp tahini
3. 1 tbsp Bragg’s amino acids (soy sauce like alternative) 
4. 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
Directions:
1. Arrange you salad as you wish and whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.  Top the salad with the dressing and enjoy.

Refreshing watermelon heirloom tomato avo salad

Ingredients:
1. Greens of your choice (I used Organic Girl’s “Super Greens” mix)
2. 1-2 diced heirloom tomatoes
3. Watermelon – I diced up about 2 slices
4. 1/2 avocado sliced
5. 2 diced radishes
6. chopped mint or basil to top

Steps:
1. Lay bed of greens
2. Top with all ingredients
3. For dressing you can make a simple balsamic olive oil mix or add some lime, honey, chipotle (or other hot spice) and of course salt and pepper to balsamic and olive to give it more of a latin kick

Easy Raw zucchini pasta with Italian dressing and hemp seeds!

Ingredients: 
1. 2 zucchinis
2. Olive oil – 2 tbsp
3. Sundried tomatoes in oil
4. 1/4 canned garbanzo beans
5. salt and pepper

Tools needed: Spiralizer (I ordered this $30 one from Amazon that works awesome!)

Directions:
1. Spiralize 2 zucchinis into thin pasta
2. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and toss well
3. Top with optional toppings: sundried or fresh tomatoes, garbanzos beans, hemp seeds.  Basil would be good too!
Enjoy!