Fennel Fronds Pesto

I received my Imperfect Produce delivery over the weekend, which is always like Christmas for me. Among other great fruits and vegetables in my delivery box it had fennel. Two of them! I personally love fennel. It can be enjoyed raw, sliced thin and tossed in salads or quartered and oven roasted. I usually only eat the bulb of the fennel and toss the stalks and fronds in my vegetable broth for extra flavor. This week I was feeling the need to try something new. So I added the stalks to my vegetable broth bag like usual, only this time tearing off and setting aside the fronds as I went. I am thinking If I can make a pesto out of carrot tops I can certainly make a pesto out of my fennel fronds, right? So that is what I did! The fennel pesto was so vibrant and flavorful. This was my first time making it and certainly will not be my last. I prepared roasted potatoes for dinner and served them with the pesto right over the top. This recipe will also be awesome used as a spread for wraps and sandwiches or as a marinade for wild salmon.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of fennel fronds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to your food processor or blender (I used a food processor) blend until your desired consistency.
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Roasted Delicata Squash With Maple Tahini Sauce

This dish is just screaming FALL! And who doesn’t love Fall? Boots, scarfs, leaves and squash. Out of all the squash in season at the moment Delicata is one of my favorites (along side spaghetti squash) due to it’s amazing flavor and easy preparation. The skin on this squash is edible so no need for peeling or scraping.  Just rinse, roast and enjoy. This recipe makes the perfect side dish or can be served over quinoa or raw spinach to make a bowl or salad.

Roasted Delicata Squash With Maple Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 delicata squash (I cook for 3 people so I prepared 1 per person)
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut or avocado oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin
  • Pinch of pink salt

Maple tahini sauce

  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 1 fresh garlic clove diced or 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
  • 3 table spoons of warm water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Rinse squash, cut lengthwise, remove seeds cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  3. Toss with oil and spices and lay out on parchment lined baking sheet
  4. Roast in your oven for 30-35 minutes (until fork tender)
  5. While your squash is roasting, combine all ingredients together for your sauce and whisk until pourable
  6. Remove squash and drizzle with tahini sauc

Cilantro Lime Hummus 

I made a batch of tahini just the other day so you know I had to follow up with hummus! It is the perfect dip for crackers, chips, raw vegetables, or spread for your toast in the morning. You can even add it to salads, there are no limits. Cilantro lime is one of my favorite flavors because it pairs so well with Mexican cuisine and who doesn’t like Mexican food?

I love making fresh hummus rather than store bought to avoid the plastic container, preservatives, and price tag. It is so much cheaper to make your own rather than buy, especially if you take advantage of dried beans in your bulk section. I personally prefer to use dried beans over canned to avoid BPA lining and It is said that dried beans are at the very least half to two-thirds the price of canned. Not to mention how easy it is to make hummus all you do is blend the ingredients in your blender or food processor and voila!

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup of dried chickpeas (makes 1 1/2 cups) or 1 can
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Juice from half of a lime
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro

Instructions

  1. Toss all ingredients in blender or food processor and run on high for about 45 seconds.
  2. Scrape side of container and stir mixture, run on high until desired creaminess.
  3. Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 5 days.

Easy Tahini

1 ingredient 2 steps, TAHINI! Simple, cost efficient, fresh, and delicious! I have been obsessed with tahini lately. It can be added to hummus, used it as a base to make sauces and dressings or you can dip your veggies in it for a power snack. This recipe calls for just one ingredient, sesame seeds. These little seeds pack a punch! They are flavorful and full of health benefits. Tahini requires 2 simple steps, Roast and blend. That’s it! I purchase my organic sesame seeds in the bulk section of grocery store at $2.79/Lb. (A pound is a little over 3 cups). After I blended the 3 cups it made just about 14oz of organic tahini. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Spread sesame seeds out on baking sheet.
  3. Roast seeds for 10 minutes.
  4. Let seeds cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Blend until you reach your desired creamy consistency.

Coconutty Chocolate Almond Bites

chocolate, coconutty, almond bites
chocolate, coconutty, almond bites

Today is the last day of summer and I am going out with a bang! I was sitting on my balcony enjoying the warmth from the sun on a cool day and thought, the only way this could get better is if I had a snack. So I made one, I was craving something healthy, yet chocolaty and gluten free so it can second as a school snack for my son. I am so thankful I had all the ingredients on hand to make date bites. Between the coconut, almonds and cocoa powder they taste just like an almond joy and the best part is how simple this recipe is. Just three steps, blend, roll, and enjoy. no baking necessary. They are friendly to any diet imaginable being vegan, gluten free, and paleo. If you don’t like chocolate (but who doesn’t like chocolate?) or almonds, maybe you will like these coconut cashew bites.

 

Ingredients **makes about 10**

  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1/2 cup of almonds
  • 3/4 cup of unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of  sea salt

Instructions

  1. Pulse the almonds to into smaller pieces in a food processor or blender
  2. Add all other ingredients and run on low speed until everything is broken down and your mixture looks more rollable. almost like a thick, sticky paste.
  3. Roll into balls, about  1 to 1 1/2 inches in size or your desired size, this size make 10 bites.
  4. I left half of the batch naked and rolled the other half in shredded coconut. They are good both ways so either mix it up, leave them all naked or if you are a coconut lover roll them all in coconut.

Carrot Top Pesto

Carrots are the most commonly used vegetable in my home. They are tasty, affordable, and palate approved by my eight year old son. Aside from all that, I love that I can use the entire carrot. Skin, leaves, stems…Everything! If you skin your carrot, clean, season, and roast those skins up to make root vegetable chips or toss them in a bag with the stems and other vegetable scraps to make broth. Carrot leaves are also edible, delicious, and contain high amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals. Carrot leaves can be used in place of parsley in recipes or can be added to salads and dishes for extra flavor. I also enjoy making sauces like chimicurri or pesto out of carrot leaves. Making the most of your food is also making the most of your money, all while reducing food waste.

Just last week I made a batch of pesto. The recipe is creamy and flavorful. It’s also vegan, but If you are not and would like to add cheese to your pesto, cut the amount of salt in the recipe in half and cut out the nutritional yeast. This recipe makes enough to fill an 8oz. mason jar which gave me 2 meals. One meal was pesto tossed with zucchini noodles, diced tomatoes, and a side of carrots. The other with pasta, but you can serve this pesto over potatoes, pizza, with spaghetti squash.. the options are endless.

Notes: I like my Pesto a prefer my on the creamy side. If you don’t, cut the pine nut measurements down to 1/4 cup.

Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts
  • Half of a lemon, juiced
  • 2 cups of carrot leaves
  • 1 – 2 springs of basil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes (double if you like a little spice)
  • 1/8 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup of evoo

Instructions

  1. Toss all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until your desired consistency.

Roasted Sesame Cauliflower

I can’t think of another vegetable as versatile as cauliflower, can you? It’s one of my favorites.  One of those veggies I never get sick of because it can be dressed so many different ways and compliments every flavor imaginable. My flavor of the week is sesame!

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.  It’s also a great source for vitamin C and K. Unfortunately, vitamin K deficiency is becoming more and more common these days, so eat up! No, really, you can eat up because cauliflower is known to be low in calories as well. But who is counting anyway?

This recipe is made to be flexible.  It can be served over rice, quinoa, or served by itself. Since cauliflower is high in filling fibers I prepared my cauliflower by itself as a main dish using 1/2 of a cauliflower per person.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  While your oven is heating up, cut the cauliflower into florets.  Dice the garlic and onion and chop up your pepper. Mix the garlic, onion, pepper, and cauliflower together with just a touch of coconut or avocado oil to coat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop in the oven.  My favorite way to roast anything is in a cast iron.  If you don’t own a cast iron, a sheet pan will do. Bake for about 20 minutes. While your cauliflower is roasting, it’s time to whip up our sesame sauce. Whisk all your wet ingredients together and pour over your cauliflower.  Toss lightly and bake for another 7-10 minutes. The timeframe can vary with the size of your florets. The bigger you cut them, the longer they will take to roast. Once your cauliflower is finished roasting, take out of the oven and top with green onions and sesame seeds.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, red, yellow, or orange
  • Green onions
  • Sesame seeds

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of liquid or coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • Dash of salt and pepper

** If you want to make your sauce thick, more like a glaze add 2 teaspoons of arrowroot or non gmo cornstarch  **

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400
  2. Toss your cauliflower, garlic, onion and pepper in a touch of coconut or avocado oil, just enough to coat your veggies
  3. Roast in cast iron or baking sheet for 20 minutes
  4. Drizzle the sauce over your veggies, mix around
  5. Roast for another 7-10 minutes
  6. Remove from the oven and top with green onions and sesame seeds
  7. Serve with quinoa, rice or by itself.

Labor Day Matcha Mocktail

Matcha Mocktail
Matcha Mocktail

I am just going to come out and say it. I don’t like the flavor of matcha green tea very much. I see so many people out there enjoying their cute, green matcha lattes and I tried but, I just don’t. It has such a distinct green flavor to it, almost like wheatgrass. I’ll tell ya what I do like though… Matcha’s teas benefits! But lets talk about what Matcha is really quick before getting into all that. This is the highest quality, concentrated and finely ground green tea that has been traditionally used and produced in Japan for centuries. It is shade grown for the last couple weeks before harvest which makes it chlorophyll rich and really gives it that bright green color. There is a big difference in the way regular green tea and Matcha is ingested. When green tea is prepared the tea leaves get steeped to infuse your warm water and the leaves get tossed out. With matcha you actually end up ingesting the leaves that have been ground up into a fine powder. Now let’s go back to Matcha green tea’s health benefits I mentioned earlier.

  • Antioxidant powerhouse
  • Energy booster and increases endurance
  • Promotes weight loss by boosting metabolism
  • Chlorophyll rich, helps detoxify the body
  • Cancer fighter
  • Aids memory and concentration
  • Immune support with high levels of potassium, vitamin A & C, Iron, protein and calcium

During my matcha journey in trying different drinks and preparations I discovered I might not be a matcha latte kind of chick but I love it cold! It is so refreshing. The weather is going to be very warm this Labor Day weekend in the Bay Area so I cannot wait to make and share this tasty 3 ingredient drink with you. All you need is matcha, pineapple juice, and sparkling water.

Ingredients (makes one high ball on the rocks)

  • 1 tsp Matcha
  • 1 1/2 cup Pineapple juice
  • Sparkling water

Instructions

  1. Prepare your highball glass with ice
  2. Mix together the matcha and pineapple juice. I find when adding the powder the cold pineapple juice it tends to clump up so I always add both to my blender and blend for just a couple of seconds to make sure it is mixed well.
  3. Pour the juice and matcha mixture over your ice and top with sparkling water & enjoy!

Gluten Free Pita Chips

On the never-ending search for healthy, meat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and zero waste school lunches that my 8 year old will eat (this alone is a full time job) I came across a method of making pita chips with minimal ingredients and that are really tasty.  Although my son does not have celiac disease or any allergies to wheat, I try to limit his gluten intake due to it causing inflammation.  He has had a couple of surgeries involving his intestines and tends to still be sensitive to certain foods.  So limiting is what works best for us.  On this journey I have found most gluten free alternatives in our grocery store shelves are not any healthier for you. A lot of these products are not organic and have too many ingredients including corn, soy, & rice. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance if your corn and soy is not organic then it is genetically engineered. Most of these products are also high in sugar and processed vegetable oils. Now, I am not saying I don’t purchase a bag of Gluten free pasta every now and again, but read your labels.  Less ingredients, is better.  And always opt for organic!

Tomorrow’s lunch is nothing fancy.  Just a classic cucumber, red onion, and tomato salad with a red wine vinaigrette and pita chips would be a perfect accompaniment to this dish. For these pita chips you need oat flour, non dairy milk (I prefer almond), salt, and garlic powder. We are making our own flour in this recipe so if you have a high powered blender or even a coffee grinder/mill bust it out because this method is super easier and so much cheaper.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 1/3 cup of non dairy milk (my preference is almond)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • Feel free to add any other herbs or spices of your liking as well.

Instructions

  1. Add 1 cup of oats to your mill, grinder or blender and blend until your owns turn into a find flour consistency and add to a mixing bowl
  2. Toss in your salt and spices to the flour
  3. Add your non dairy milk and mix well
  4. Once mixed well, add a heaping spoonful of your mixture to a hot pan and spread the mixture until it gets as flat as you can get it. When the pita starts to look like it is drying up on the top it is time to flip for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Preheat your oven to 425
  6. When all pitas are done (this recipe will make about 4)
  7. Cut them into triangles or squares, whatever shape makes you happy and place them onto a baking sheet
  8. Bake for 15 minutes

Spinach & Chickpea Tikki Masala With Cauliflower Rice

I had the most satisfying dinner last week and I just have to share it with all of you! Spinach & Chickpea tikki masala with cauliflower rice is all the rage. This dish is thick, creamy, flavorful, and aromatic. I might be a little biased though, I really love anything with coconut milk in it! This recipe is Vegan and gluten free but unfortunately not paleo due to the chickpeas but I am confident that if you wanted to leave the chickpeas out and add some extra veggies this recipe would still be amazing.

First, I would get the masala going that way you give it time to simmer while making your cauliflower rice. Start by sautéing your onions, garlic, and fresh ginger in coconut oil.  Then, toss in your spices and mix around for about a minute.  Mix in diced tomatoes, coconut milk, and chickpeas.  Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  You want to wait until the very last minute to throw in your spinach since greens wilt quickly. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. While that is working, grab your cauliflower and cut into florets.  Pulse in your food processor until it looks like chunks of snow.  Sauté and serve.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch knob of fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (1/2 teaspoon if you like a little kick)
  • 2 1/2 cups of chickpeas (1 cup of dried chickpeas expands to 2/12 cups when cooked)
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz can of full fat coconut milk
  • lime wedge
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • Fresh cilantro and green onions for topping

Directions

**Tikki Masala**

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to your pan
  2. When coconut oil melts add diced onion and sauté for about 4 minutes or until translucent
  3. Toss in your chopped garlic sauté for an additional 2 minutes
  4. Add your grated fresh ginger and all your spices while stirring well
  5. Throw in your chickpeas and mix around until they are all coated with your spices
  6. Mix in can of diced tomatoes, coconut milk and squeeze of lime. Stir, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. This is when you start prepping your cauli rice.
  7. Add spinach and salt & pepper to taste, stir and top on your rice

**Cauliflower RIce**

Hopefully when your Masala was simmering you were getting your cauliflower rice ready.

  1. Cut Cauliflower into florets and place into your food processor and pulse until your cauliflower is broken up into smaller pieces (looks like cauliflower snow)
  2. Add your cauli rice to a warm, oiled pan and sauté for about 7 minutes while continuing to stir. Add a dash of garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. When Cauliflower rice is at your desired texture, plate with Tikki Masala and top with fresh cilantro and green onions.