DIY Tahini & Mexican Inspired Hummus

DIY Tahini & Hummus

I came up with this recipe a week ago, to pair with my Smoky Southwest Mixed Bean Soup – I had a huge bunch of organic cilantro on hand, and Southwest/Mexican cuisine on the brain! The sky is the limit, you can easily switch up the herbs and spices you are using and take your hummus recipe on a culinary adventure around the world.

Hummus is a staple snack in our house; it is nutrient dense, can be paired with veggies or crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers are our favourite!) and my kids love it. When I went to put this batch together, I realized that I was out of tahini and checked out a bunch of sites on the internet to see how difficult it would be to make my own. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is not that hard, and is a lot less expensive than buying the organic jars at the supermarket.

I love sesame seeds and include them in a lot of my cooking. Sesame seeds contain oleic acid, which helps to lower LDL (aka bad cholestorol), folic acid, niacin and a variety of health supporting minerals, including copper, magnesium and calcium. Sesame seeds can be included in homemade nut milk recipes, sprinkled over mixed salads, and included as a topper on asian inspired soups, rice dishes and noodle bowls. I make up a sea veg and gomashio blend that I put on rice with a bit of sesame oil and tamari for breakfast for my kids. It is nice to have nutrient dense, savoury breakfast options I can give them to change things up a bit.

DIY Tahini

Ingredients

1 cup raw organic sesame seeds
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan until lightly browned and fragrant. You can skip this step and keep them raw, however the final product is more bitter in taste.
Add sesame seeds to a small blender, and process until ground.
Add olive oil and process until smooth.
Store your tahini in a labeled mason jar (date included!) for up to a month.

* I tried this in my food processor first, but the end result was not as smooth as I would have liked. I transferred the mixture to my NutriBullet and ended up with the smooth consistency I was looking for – next time I will skip a step and follow the directions indicated above!

Mexican Inspired Hummus

Ingredients

1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 14 oz can)
2 Tbsp tahini (home made or store bought)
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp smoked salt (regular also works)
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander & chili powder
Handful cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water

Directions

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
I found using a blender and all of the water listed above led to a smoother consistency. I used hemp seeds in this recipe, to add a nice boost of omega 3 fatty acids. Feel free to leave the hemp seeds out and replace some of the olive oil with hemp or flax oil for a smoother final product that still includes an omega 3 boost.

What is your favourite way to mix up herbs and spices in your hummus?

Advertisements

Smoky Southwest Mixed Bean Soup

IMG_0060

Nothing says warm and hearty quite like a Smoky Southwest Mixed Bean Soup! I have noticed a variety of mixed bean blends at the grocery store, and had experimented with a few different recipes without much success. Then I arrived on a southwest theme, and it fit perfectly with the varied texture of a mixed bean blend. This soup is hearty and satisfying, perfect for the chilly days of winter.

Soaking the bean mixture overnight prior to cooking, and adding seaweed (aka the sea veg blend) to the soup helps to alleviate any, shall we say unwanted noise that might result from the consumption of legumes. I made this recipe using a True Roots sprouted lentil blend I discovered at Costco, and I found that the sprouted lentils also alleviated any post meal trumpeting on our part. Lots of people tend to avoid bean and legume consumption for this very reason; it is nice to have some tricks and tips at your disposal to enjoy these wonderful, nutrient dense and fibre rich foods without the social embarrassment they are know for!

Smoky Southwest Mixed Bean Soup

Ingredients
1 tbsp coconut oil
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed and left to rest for 10 mins
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 carrots, washed and finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced
2 tsp chipotle chilli powder (use ancho chile powder if you prefer less spice)
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
6 cups vegetable broth (homemade, if possible)
2 tsp sea vegetable flakes (nori or dukes flakes or a combination works well)
1.5 cups 13 bean mix (bob’s red mill, soaked overnight)2 lg handfuls leafy greens (kale, spinach, Swiss chard or a combination), finely sliced
1-2 tsp smoked salt, or to taste (regular sea or himilayan works too)
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
Juice of half a lemon

Directions

In a large stock pot or pressure cooker, melt coconut oil over medium heat.
Add onions, carrots, celery and green pepper, stirring until soft (5-8 mins)
Add crushed garlic, stirring until fragrant (1 minute or so)
Add spices, stirring to combine until the blend is fragrant (another minute or so).
Add six cups vegetable broth, sea vegetable flakes and bean mix to the pot.

In a pressure cooker:

Cover and lock the lid, increase heat to high and bring to full pressure. Lower heat, just enough to maintain a steady flow of steam and cook for 14 minutes. Quick release the pressure, and remove the lid.

On the stovetop:

Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat to low and let simmer for an hour and a half (test the beans at the end of this time to ensure they are done cooking).

To finish:

Add leafy greens, fresh cracked pepper and smoked sea salt, cooking for 5 minutes or so to wilt the greens and fully incorporate the flavours. Test the broth before adding the salt and adjust the amount accordingly – depending on the vegetable broth used, more or less salt may be required. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the fresh cilantro and fresh squeezed lemon. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro and fresh cracked pepper, as desired.

Mary’s Organic Crackers would be a great accompaniment to this hearty soup. If you prefer a thicker final product, blend half of the soup in a high speed blender and return it to the pot, stirring to combine prior to serving.

Enjoy!


Cinnamon Spiced Chocolate Tea Latte

IMG_1294

This recipe came about as I was refilling my mason jar of Pau D’Arco last night. Its nutty, earthy and yet sweet scent brought to mind cinnamon, rooibos, chaga and raw cacao. I decided to bring all of those fabulous ingredients together in a spiced chocolate latte, perfect for curling up in front of the fire or with a good book in bed.

In addition to being delicious, this chocolate latte is also fabulous for you. Pau D’arco is a fantastic tonic herb, containing anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and immune boosting properties, among other benefits. I have written about chaga tea many times before, touching on its wonderful immune boosting and cancer fighting properties. I would definitely recommend David Wolfe’s Chaga King of the Medicinal Mushroom book, as he goes into great detail regarding this incredible medicinal mushroom. Rooibos is a lovely herbal tea that I have found most people have a love/hate relationship with, including yours truly. I initially wasn’t a huge fan, and only started drinking it during my third pregnancy. I was looking for something that was non-caffeinated and nourishing, and the guy I spoke to at David’s Tea told me it was a good source of iron. This piqued my interest, as it was my first plant based pregnancy and I was a bit paranoid about having all of my nutritional needs met! While I am not certain that it is a reliable source in and of itself, rooibos tea is anti-inflammatory and high in a variety of minerals, which makes it a good choice for general health and wellness in my books. This recipe is a great way to consume rooibos if you are not a huge fan of the flavour on its own as the raw cacao, and other ingredients balance everything out, and the flavour of the rooibos does not dominate.

My kids are touch and go when it comes to hot chocolate, but they thoroughly enjoyed this one. I elected to use maple syrup as my sweetener; my in-laws gave us a gorgeous can produced by an extended family member in Quebec for Christmas, and I thought it would compliment the rest of the flavours nicely. I kept the sweetness subtle, following a conversation with my friend where we extolled the virtues of a light touch where sweetener is concerned. Neither of us are big fans of overly sweetened beverages! Feel free to adjust the level of sweetness as you see fit.

Cinnamon Spiced Chocolate Tea Latte

Ingredients

1.5 cups Fortifying Tea (recipe below)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
1/4 cup raw cacao
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup cashews

Directions

Assemble all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.

Fortifying Tea

Ingredients

6 cups water
1/4 cup pau d’arco
2 tsp Chaga powder
1 tbsp rooibos

Directions

Steep for 15 mins & strain. This recipe makes enough for four servings of the Cinnamon Spiced Chocolate Latte; extra tea can be kept in a mason jar in the fridge.


Shrek Spaghetti Sauce

image

With kids and food, I find it all comes down to marketing. For an adult audience I would advertise this as a Slow Simmered Marinara Sauce, but where my kids are concerned, it is Shrek Spaghetti Sauce.

My kids have a selective relationship with kale. While they love Kale Chips, they are not a fan of big chunks of greens in dishes. Does this mean I don’t use kale in my cooking? Not at all, I include greens in almost all of my savoury dishes. I just make sure to cut it into fine pieces, purée it, or use positive advertising, catering meal labels around whatever my kids happen to be into at the time.

I also invite them to see something they are not sure about as a version of something they love. My kids weren’t sure about broccoli stems, so I thinly sliced them, and called them broccoli cookies. Now they fight over who gets to eat the “broccoli cookies” whenever I pair this dish with roasted broccoli. As I mentioned above, it is all about the marketing. I prefer this to hiding vegetables in dishes, as I would like my kids to have a positive relationship with the veggies they are eating, especially the green ones. I did mention pureeing greens above, however this is to shift the texture rather than to hide the fact that I am including greens as one of my ingredients.

Shrek Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion
1 red pepper, finely diced
Pinch salt
1.5 tsp each of thyme, oregano & rosemary
28 oz can organic crushed tomatoes (bpa free)
1/3 cup almond flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 lg handful fresh basil, finely chopped
2 lg handfuls kale, finely chopped
Small drizzle lemon juice
Drizzle of truffle oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Warm olive oil in a sauté pan over medium/low heat.
Sweat onions, peppers and garlic with a pinch of sea salt over low heat for 15 mins to a half an hour. The longer you slow cook the veg, the richer the flavour of the sauce will be.
Add spices and sauté for another 5 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add almond flour, nutritional yeast, fresh basil and kale, stir to combine and cook for another 5 minutes.
Purée in a blender for a smooth sauce, or leave as is for a chunkier sauce.
Remove from heat, and add lemon juice & truffle oil.
Check seasoning, and adjust with a bit of salt and pepper, as needed.

I love to pair this with gluten free pasta, either spaghetti, fettuccine or penne.

What is your favourite way to market more challenging foods to your kids?