Easy Banana Ice Cream

This is one of our favorite desserts during the summer. It is crazy simple and always pleases our guests (and you feel good eating it because there is no added anything). Smother it in chocolate, add some berries or peanut butter, or just eat plain. Everything works.

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Easy Banana Ice Cream

  • 4 ripe bananas (1 banana per serving)
  • whatever toppings you desire

1. Peel bananas and break into 3rds (this helps with the blending later on).

2. Place bananas into a freezer safe container and freeze (a few hours will do the trick).

3. Remove and let thaw for about 15 minutes (you can play around with this time to get desired consistency). Blend the frozen bananas.

4. Add whatever toppings you like and eat up!

TOPPING IDEAS:

  • Add in a tbs of peanut butter or almond butter and honey
  • Cover in chocolate sauce or add chocolate chips/shavings
  • Add berries (frozen berries also work)
  • Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg on top
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Chickpea Za’atar Salad

I found this recipe on the Green Kitchen blog and doctored it up a bit. We just had two lovely folks over for dinner to try it and it passed the test with flying colors. I have to admit it is one of my new favorite dishes. Better yet, it is super easy to make. As a vegetarian it is so nice to find new flavors to spice up the old repertoire. Za’atar has definitely done that. The middle eastern spice dates back to Ancient Egypt and is becoming increasingly easy to find in western groceries (especially whole foods type markets). If you come across a jar, pick it up and take it home.

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(image taken from Green Kitchen)

Chickpea Za’atar Salad (inspired by recipe from Green Kitchen)

  • 1 cup garbanzo beans (or one can)
  • 1 cup cooked grain (I use quinoa but you can use whatever you have on hand – rice, millet, couscous, wheat berries ,etc.)
  • 2 eggplants cut into small squares
  • 5 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground sumac
  • 12 grape tomatoes, each one cut in 3 pieces
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut in small squares
  • 1 handful of nuts, chopped (I use almonds but walnuts, cashews, toasted pine nuts all work)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley and/or coriander, mixed (just one is also fine)
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 3 tbs za’atar
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, if using

1. Wash and cube eggplant. Cover with 2 tbs olive oil, ground sumac, cumin seeds, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper and cook at 200 C for about 1/2 an hour, turning occasionally.

2. Cook grain.

3. In a large bowl mix together sliced avocado and tomato, chopped nuts, cooked grain and eggplant cubes (when fully cooked).

4. Mix together 3 tbs of good quality olive oil, lemon juice, za’atar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour over the salad mixture and stir until fully coated.

5. Place into a serving bowl and put chopped herbs and cheese on top. Mix lightly and serve.

Tasty Tomato Sauce

Wow. Corey and I just came back from a luxurious, restful, tasty, sunny, cozy, lazy honeymoon vacation in Greece. Thank you to the amazing Fabrice for letting us stay at his beautiful house for a week. All I can say is OLIVE OIL. YUMMM.

Below is an easy tomato sauce that includes a bit of olive oil. It works well on top of any pasta or roasted veggies or whatever. The key to this recipe is the avocado. Corey discovered that adding an avocado gives the sauce an unbeatable flavor. (It works well as an addition to most blended soups as well). Anyway, give it a go and even without the amazing olive oil, I am sure you will enjoy.

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Tasty Tomato Sauce

Serves 4

  • 4 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, washed (can be different sizes and colors)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 9 basil leaves, chopped (plus a few for garnish)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Turn the oven on to 375 F or 150 C. Place aluminum foil or parchment paper onto a baking tray.

2. Place the washed tomatoes onto the baking tray and drizzle with 1 tbs olive oil and sea salt. Mix in the garlic cloves. Roast for about 40 minutes stirring occasionally. You want to allow the water to come out of the tomatoes but don’t want them to burn.

3. Place all the ingredients into a blender and mix to desired consistency (roasted tomato and garlic, basil, 2 tbs olive oil, peeled and cored ripe avocado). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Ottolenghi Style

Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook is one of my favorite go to recipe books ever since returning from Tel Aviv and discovering tahini paste, za’atar, and sumac (and just generally a world of amazing food). The following recipe is based on his Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Onion, and Tahnini recipe. Basically you can add any root veggie to this and it will do it justice. Most often, I add in cauliflower, but you could do sweet potato or whatever you like. Although, I have to say the squash (with the skin left on) and red onions are a super tasty basic mix. Then again, I love fall foods. (Oh, and his new cookbook should be coming out soon–or so says the Ottolenghi restaurant in London).

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Roasted Butternut Squash Ottolenghi Style (from Jerusalem Cookbook)

Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main with quinoa or some other grain

  • 1 large butternut squash (around 2 1/4 lb or 1.1 kg), cut into small wedges (leave skin on)
  • 3 red onions, cut into small wedges
  • 3 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 1/2 tbs tahini paste
  • 1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs water
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 1/2 tbs / 30 g pine nuts
  • 1 tbs za’atar
  • 2 tbs coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley or coriander
  • Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

NOTE: Pine nuts can be quite expensive. You could try this recipe with another chopped nut or without.

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 F.
  2. Put the squash and onion in a large mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon salt (I used more), and some black pepper and toss well. Spread on a baking sheet with the skin facing down and roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions as they might cook faster than the squash and need to be removed earlier. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  3. To make the sauce, place the tahini in a small bowl along with the lemon juice, water, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk until the sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or tahini if necessary.
  4. Pour the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts along with the 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown. Remove from the heat and transfer the nuts and oil to a small bowl to stop the cooking. (You could also just add the pine nuts to the roasting veggies about half way through their cooking process.)
  5. To serve, spread the vegetables out on a large serving platter and drizzle over the tahini. Sprinkle the pine nuts and their oil on top, followed by the za’atar and parsley/coriander.
NOTE: I always put more tahini on the table for people to add during the meal.
NUTRITION FACT: Butternut squash is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber. Good stuff and tasty.

 

 

Vegan Zucchini Pasta

This recipe goes out to Annie K. for her birthday on the 6th. She introduced me to the “veggetti” spiral vegetable cutter. (You can find various versions of it on Amazon: click here.) It basically makes veggies into spaghetti like noodles with a twist of the hand. I am not totally convinced yet as you are not really able to spiral the veggies onto a fork. But It does open up a whole new way to cut and eat vegetables. This dish I created from a vegan pasta dish I found on The Simple Veganista. Below is an image of her recipe.

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I spiced it up a bit (with Corey’s help) and added in a few extra veggies I needed to use up in the fridge. We are leaving to go on our honeymoon shortly (yes, almost a year after we got married; but hey, at least we are going) so we have to clean out the fresh produce. I am doing my best to use things up but our veggie box from the local London CSA arrived last Thursday and we are only about half way through as of now. Anyway, here is an image of the dish I put together.

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Corey took the photo as I have yet to get my photographic energy up to snuff. Maybe while we are eating tons of fresh food on our honeymoon? Anyway, below is the basic recipe. NOTE: you don’t have to use the cauliflower and tahini, you can substitute other root veggies or whatever you have in your fridge (including snow peas, asparagus, etc).

Vegan Zucchini Pasta (for Annie a day or two before her birthday)

Serves 4

  • 4 zucchini (basically use 1 zucchini per person), spiraled
  • 3-4 tbs coconut oil (or olive oil) for flash frying zucchini noodles
  • 1 carton of grape, cherry or mini heirloom tomatoes, halved or sliced small
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 bunch of rocket/arugula
  • 2 carrots, spiraled
  • 1 head cauliflower, sliced into small florets
  • 1/4 cup tahini (for roasted cauliflower–don’t need if you’re not using)
  • 1/2 ripe avocado for garnish

Dressing

  • 1 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves (or 3/4 tbs dried basil)
  • 1/4 cup roasted cashews or almonds
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • 4 tbs sweet white miso
  • 1 tbs olive oil (or flax oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 pepper

1. Preheat oven to 360 F or about 170 C if using cauliflower.

2. Prepare your zucchini and carrot noodles julienne style or spiraled.

3. Place all the ingredients for the dressing into a food processor/blender and process until creamy. Taste for flavor and add extra to taste.

4. Chop cauliflower head into small florets. Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Bake for about 15 minutes or until toasty brown, turning once or twice. Remove from oven and over with tahini paste and mix.

5. Chop tomatoes in small pieces (or in half if using mini or cherry tomatoes). Chop 1/2 red onion into small pieces. Mix together and cover with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. (If you have sumac, add a pinch but it isn’t necessary).

6. Place 1/2 coconut oil into a frying pan and medium/low heat. Once the oil has melted, place two zucchinis worth of noodles into the pan and stir to cover oil. Heat for 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally. If the noodles start to become mushy remove from heat. You want them to keep their noodle texture. Place the other 2 tbs of coconut oil into the pan and flash heat the rest of the zucchini (if you are making for four people). In a large bowl mix the zucchini with the sauce, toss lightly.

7. Place a handful of arugula onto four bowls or plates (two if only making for two people). Divide and place the zucchini and sauce on each place, add a small handful of spiraled carrots, a spoonful or two of the tomato mixture, a few sliced pieces of avocado, and a spoonful of the tahini cauliflower. Place another dollop of sauce on top of the plate and a piece or two of basil for garnish.

NOTE: you can also skip tossing the zucchini with the dressing and just add it to the top at the end.

Beet Green/Root Salad

Adapted from a recipe I found on Sprouted Kitchen, this version uses the whole veggie–root, greens, stems and all. Unfortunately, you still have to peel the beet root–one of my least favorite things. And yes, you will end up with dyed red hands. But the taste is worth it. Corey recommends leaving the dressing on the side so that you can add as you like and be sure to taste all of the flavors. Probably a good idea, but if you are packing it away for a picnic or something, feel free to pour it on and mix it in before you leave. I coupled this recipe with a kale, brussels sprout, and red cabbage salad. The colors were bright and cheery on our rainy London day.

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Beet Green/Root Salad (adapted from a recipe found on Sprouted Kitchen)

Serves 3-4

Salad

  • 1 bunch of beets, including fresh looking greens (around 4 beets)
  • olive oil for cooking
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 3 scallions, white and light green parts
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp. tahini paste (best is the fresh kind from a lebanese/mediterranean store, but any paste will do)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp. agave nectar, depending on desired sweetness
  • 3 tbsp. water, or as needed
  • hefty pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Za’atar (if you don’t have it, don’t worry about it)

1. Cook 1 cup quinoa (1 cup dry grains with 1 1/2 cup water–bring to a boil and let simmer until fully cooked–about 15 to 20 minutes)

2. Preheat oven to 425. Remove beet roots from stems and set stems aside. Peel beet root and then dice or cube into small pieces. Place cubes into a bowl and cover with 1 tbs olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir until all the cubes are covered. Place beet on a baking pan covered with parchment paper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the beets start to look roasted and have brown on the edges.

3. Clean beet greens and stems. Cut into one inch pieces. Saute greens and stems on a skillet with balsamic vinegar and soy sauce until slightly wilted. Set aside.

4.  Whisk together ingredients for dressing. Taste and season accordingly.

5. Place quinoa in a serving bowl. Layer on the roasted beets and beet greens. Mix gently. Next, layer on the sliced avocado, fresh herbs, scallions and chopped almonds.

6. Serve with dressing on the side or mix everything together. (The beets will make everything red so if you would like to keep the various colors visible, don’t mix too thoroughly and wait to add the dressing at the table).