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. 1/2 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.  

SF Winter Fancy Food Show -Favorite Honeys

While I know honey is controversial among hard core vegans,
as someone who ascribes to more of a mostly vegan diet and believes in the
healing power of honey, I am all for it.  My love affair with honey started when I was 21 studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, and living with a dear Chilean friend, Silvana, who is an inspiring creative soul, an early adopter of Ayurveda and really influenced my healthy eating.  Most of her family lived in the campo, the Chilean countryside where they mostly ate off the land.  In the campo, one of her cousins was a beekeeper, and lucky for us he would deliver massive jars with kilos of his deliciously grainy, straight-from-the-hive honey that we would eat by the spoonfuls as we sipped yerba mate.  10+ years later I continue to be a honey lover, and at day 2 of the fancy food fair (which admittedly was more like 30 minutes given that whole day job thing), two uniquely flavored honeys really stood out to me:

  •  Mike’s hot honey:  I’ve tried a lot of honey varietals and
    flavors, but have never tried spicy honey and it was a real treat and did pack a punch of heat (in fact for those who only like mild heat, this may be a bit too hot for you).  They had recipes to try it on Brussels sprouts which sounds amazing, and for non-vegans would probably be
    really good with cheese as well
Thanks to both of these really nice honey entrepreneurs for
sharing some of your sweet creations, and I look forward to trying both of these in upcoming recipes!

SF Winter Fancy Food Show – Favorite Vegan Products

Yesterday I splurged to partake in the Winter Fancy Food Show, a biannual tradeshow where both established and emerging food brands come together to showcase their products, learn about emerging trends, hear from industry leaders and more.  Twisting and turning my way through the thousands of food creators, showcasing their creativity incarnated through diverse flavors and products, while sipping so many different varietals of matcha, turmeric teas, too many chais, cold brews and probiotic infused beverages to count – I felt hopped up, yes in part hopped up on the insane amount of caffeine I imbibed (it would be rude to turn down someone’s lovingly brewed new cold brew, right!?), but also hopped up on all the creativity, all the languages buzzing as food purveyors came together from all over the world,  and hopped up from knowing that the thousands of people very intentionally gathered in this room shared my love for bringing their creativity to life through food (and many, though certainly not all, more specifically showcased their passion for healthy food).  In the span of five hours of sampling and hearing the creation stories from vendors, a couple favorite products emerged*:

Vegan Products:

  • Nutraw Pistachio bars – If you are a pistachio and date lover (two of my personal faves), you will love this bar.  Clean ingredients (and just 5 – nuts, coco oil, date & cardamom). for a nut-based bar, surprisingly low in fat (only 6 grams), and 6 grams of protein.  It’s also gluten free. AND upon talking to the founders, 3rd generation pistachio growers from the SoCal region, they are incredibly nice and committed to sustainable sourcing.
  • Cocoburg Chile Lime Coconut Jerky: Yes, I love pretty much EVERYTHING coconut-based and this was no exception.  This coco jerky has a nice sweet/ savory balance with the savory spices balanced nicely by the naturally sweet coconut meat.  All raw vegan, just 5 ingredients (essentially coconut meat and seasoning), gluten free, and pretty addictive :).

*Disclaimer: I don’t get paid in any way to promote any products – these are truly from-the-heart-and-taste-bud reviews for those I believe are creating something great that inspire me to share.