Carrot Salad with Tahini Dressing and Roasted Chickpeas

I really wanted to try this recipe in order to make the roasted chickpeas. I have heard they are a great protein snack. I made come extra in order to keep them on hand for the next few days. Let’s see if they disappear.

The basis for this dish comes from a Smitten Kitchen recipe. I added a few things to the dressing and the salad itself in order to finish up the veggies in our fridge. I have included the extra veggies as EXTRAS at the bottom of the ingredients list. Of course, you can add, subtract anything you like.

I have talked about tahini before, but I want to reiterate that fresh tahini paste is nothing like what most westerners think of as tahini. After trying tahini I brought back from Israel, Corey says that regular tahini now tastes rancid to him. I don’t think it is quite that bad and it is fine to use in recipes, but the flavor of real tahini paste is infinitely better. You can find it in Middle Eastern stores or order it online–it will be worth the effort (and if you get two containers they will last you for a month or two). If you are in the states, here is a link to a recommended brand. If you are in London, there is a great store called Green Valley near Marble Arch that sells a good brand of tahini paste. (While you are there pick up spices such as Za’atar and Sumac).

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Image taken from Smitten Kitchen

Carrot Salad with Tahini Dressing and Roasted Chickpeas

Serves 4 or 6 as a side

Dressing

  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup well-stirred tahini (see above)
  • 2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 tsp honey or agave
  • If available: 1/2 tsp za’atar and sumac

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained / patted dry on towels
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Salad

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro (or on hand fresh herb)
  • 1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped (or on hand nut)

Salad Extras

  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 cup chopped beet
  • 1/3 cup chopped sundried tomato (in oil)
  • 2 cups pre made brown rice
  1. Turn the oven on to 425 F. Line a baking pan with tinfoil.
  2. Blend the ingredients of the dressing together. Taste and add spice as desired.
  3. Toss the chickpeas with olive oil, sea salt, cumin until covered. Spread out on the baking pan and roast until they are browned and crispy. This will take between 15 and 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them, tossing occasionally to make sure they cook evenly. Set aside.
  4. Grate carrots. Mix with cilantro, chopped pistachios, a large handful of roasted chickpeas and dressing. Stir until well mixed.
  5. IF USING: roast cauliflower and beet at 425 F for about 15 minutes (using same process as chickpeas). Add cauliflower, beet and sundered tomato to salad mixture.

NOTE: Salad will keep in the fridge for a few days but add chickpeas and pistachios just before eating so they stay nice and crunchy.

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Eva’s Lentil Salad

Hello. I am back in London after a month hiatus to perform and visit family. My first recipe this round is based off one a friend made for me just before I left. It is basically a lentil salad with carrot, beet and seasoning but it will make a fabulous addition to any picnic or a great cold meal on a summer night. Corey and I ate the left overs for lunch yesterday with a bag of corn chips so it can pass as a thick dip as well. After trying it, he told me: “I don’t usually like cold salads but this one is great.” He is a brown lentil fan, but still…  taste test passed. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did/do. Thanks Eva!

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Eva’s Lentil Salad

Serves 3-4

  • 2 cups dried brown lentils (soaked in water for a few hours)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 beets
  • 1 bunch cilantro or basil (about one cup)
  • 1/2 block of feta cheese (if using)
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used almonds and cashews but walnuts or a seed mixture will work too)
  • 2 tbs sumac spice (middle eastern spice)
  • 4 tbs good olive oil (plus more to taste and more to cook)
  • salt/pepper

Extras: You can serve this on a bed of greens or over quinoa or plain. I also mixed in our left over quinoa from yesterday and it was a great addition.

  1. Drizzle a small amount of oil in a saucepan on medium/low heat. Add chopped garlic and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is transparent.
  2. Add in drained lentils and cover with water about 1/2 inch above the lentils.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer about 20 minutes or until the water is almost gone (you can add more water while simmering if necessary).
  3. Turn on oven to 360 degrees (about 150 C). Peel and chop beets in small squares. Place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake until slightly brown and beet squares have shrunk in size (about 20-25 minutes).
  4. Peel and chop carrots and place in large serving bowl.
  5. Chop cilantro and add to the carrots.
  6. Add the cooked lentils and beets to the mixture and stir.
  7. Pour 4 tbs of olive oil, sumac, 1-2 tbs salt and 1/2 tbs pepper on the mixture and stir. Add more to taste. Add feta, if using.

Root Veggies and Lentils in a Cilantro Miso Sauce

Miso dressings seem to be a hit in our household these days. Corey keeps asking for more. Miso helps to add enough saltiness and flavor to pretty much any combination of veggies, tofu, grains, etc. I forgot to take a photo of this creation so there is a comparable image below–except I served the mixture over a bed of arugula greens. The green color of the Cilantro Miso sauce coupled with the green arugula makes for a beautiful, funky dish. It was a hit for Corey and our dinner guests so that is enough proof of its fabulousness for me.

I am off to Venice for work for a week and then to the states to visit my family so my posts may be intermittent at best… but this will give you time to catch up on any recipes you may have missed. I am posting from London’s City Airport. I highly recommend flying in and out of this small, business port. It is so civilized: free internet, no lines, comfy seating and only 40 minutes from our apartment. Perfect.

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(image and basic recipe idea from Cookie and Kate blog)

Root Veggies and Lentils in a Cilantro Miso Sauce 

Serves 4

Roasted Root Veggies: (this is what I used but you can use whatever you have available)

  • 3 carrots (chopped)
  • 5 finger potatoes (washed and cut into small pieces)
  • 2 beets (skinned and chopped into small squares)
  • olive oil, salt, pepper to cover
  • 2 spring onions (diced) — add to mixture after veggies are roasted

Lentils:

  • 2 cups dried brown lentils (soak lentils in water for a few hours before cooking to make more easily digestible)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano or herb de provence
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Cilantro Miso Sauce:

  • 3-4 tbs miso
  • 1 1/2 tbs tahini
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • Zest and juice of one lime
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup water

EXTRAS: Serve over a bunch of arugula greens or with some steamed broccoli with sesame oil and salt.

1. Turn often on to 170 C or around 350 F. Chop veggies and combine in a small bowl (leave out the spring onions). Lightly cover veggies in olive oil, salt and pepper — mix to cover. Place on a baking pan covered in parchment paper or tinfoil. Cook for about 1/2 an hour, mixing veggies every now and then so they brown evenly.

2. Place a dollop of oil in a medium sauce pan. Lightly fry the sliced onion and chopped garlic for the lentils over medium heat (about 4-5 minutes). Add lentils and cover with water. Bring mixture to a boil and then lower heat and allow lentils to simmer until ready (adding water if necessary), about 20-30 minutes. Add the oregano or herb de provence after about 15 minutes.

3. Blend the Cilantro Miso sauce ingredients into an even, pourable texture. Taste and add ingredients if desired.

4. Mix cooked lentils with roasted root veggies and stir in the chopped spring onions.

5. Serve over a bed of arugula greens (if using). In each bowl place greens on the bottom, the lentil mixture on the greens and pour a large dollop of the green sauce on the top.

Black Bean Brownies

Yes, you read correctly, black bean brownies. Here is a gluten-free, flour-less, low fat brownie that won’t spike your blood sugar. Corey says he can taste the black beans (in a good way) but most of my testers couldn’t guess the secret ingredient. In fact, I just attended a picnic and these brownies were the first to go–kids were drooling. The initial recipe comes from the blog Skinnytaste. I stayed fairly true to their recipe but added in some coconut yogurt to make the texture a bit more moist. It is nice to have brownies you can feel really good about eating, right?

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Black Bean Brownies

  • 1 14 oz can of low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained (a little less than 2 cups)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened soy milk (or dairy, skim, almond)
  • 1/2 cup coconut yogurt (or regular yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground coffee or instant coffee
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, or a chocolate bar chopped into small pieces

1.Turn oven to 175 C or 375 F. Grease a 9″x 5″ (or 9″ x 9″) baking pan.

2. Place rinsed beans, eggs, cocoa powder, sugar, oil, soy milk, yogurt, balsamic vinegar, baking powder, baking soda and ground coffee into a bowl. Blend until smooth.

3. Fold in 3/4 cup chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate bar).

4. Pour mixture into greased pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top.

5. Bake 25-30 minutes or until just cooked through.

Banana Kate

This recipe has been a staple for me for years. I make it for everyone. My friends love it and I hope you will too!

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Banana Kate

  • 3 ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1 egg (hopefully from happy chickens or local farmers)
  • 1/2 cup oil (olive, sunflower or canola oil)
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar (preferably brown)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbs yogurt (coconut or plain)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 325 f/ 160 c

2. Grease and flower 9″x5″ baking pan

3. Mash peeled bananas and combine with egg. Mix in flour and sugar, then add the oil and yogurt. Stir to combine.

4. Add spices, vanilla and baking soda.

5. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes (check around one hour to see if it is cooked through–different ovens have different timings).

Serve hot with more yogurt, nut butter, applesauce or butter…

Spinach & Kale Soup

This recipe is based off of a spinach and kale soup recipe I found on Green Kitchen Stories (they have a beautiful/inspiring app for your iPhone as well). I doctored it up and turned it into a palak paneer type soup/dish without the cream. It is a simple and quick recipe and packs a lot of iron, vitamins and antioxidants into one tasty and filling soup. The chickpea/almond topping adds more protein to the dish and can act as a nice side for any meal. I know it looks like a lot of ingredients but most of them are tiny additions (like a bouillon cube or spices). I promise it is easier than it looks and works well as a nutritious and filling recipe for a spring evening with a cool breeze.

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(image taken from Green Kitchen Stories blog)

Spinach and Kale Soup

  • 3 tbs coconut oil (or olive oil if you don’t have coconut on hand)
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • 1 package frozen kale
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp chili
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • 1 vegetarian boullion cube
  • 1 tbs table salt, divided
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (or coconut yogurt for vegans)
  • 1 1/2 cups rice, cooked
  • OPTIONAL: Feta cheese or more yogurt for a topping

Chickpea/almond topping (double recipe if you are serving more than two people)

  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 3 tbs tahini
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • Small handful of finely chopped cilantro
  • Small handful of finely chopped almonds
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook rice (2 parts water to 1 part rice)

2. Put 3 tbs of coconut oil into a soup pan and let melt on low heat. Add minced garlic and onion and let fry 2-3 minutes. Add chili, nutmeg, cumin and coriander. Stir and let cook for a another minute or two.

3. Add frozen spinach and kale, boullion cube and 3 cups of water to the soup pan (adding 4th later on if necessary). Bring the water to a boil and then cover and let spinach/kale mixture simmer until completely defrosted and cooked.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine tahini, lemon juice and oil. Whisk till smooth. Stir in chopped cilantro and almonds. Pour the sauce on the cooked chickpeas (canned are already cooked) and mix until covered completely. Set aside.

5. When the spinach and kale have completely melted add the ripe avocado (cut into small pieces), 1/4 cup yogurt and 1 tbs of sea salt (or just a pinch and add to taste later on-I always feel like spinach dishes need salt so I tend to put it all in while cooking).

6. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool slightly. Blend the mixture to desired consistency (either puree or left with lots of little bits). Return to the heat and either add more water if you would like to make more of a soup or let the water boil of too make more of a palak paneer dish. Taste and add seasoning as you see fit.

TO SERVE: Place a cup of rice at the bottom of each dish. Cover with 2 cups of the spinach mixture, a few tbs of the chickpea dish and feta cheese or more yogurt. You could also serve this dish with some Trader Joe’s Naan if you are looking for a heartier dish but I find that it is enough on its own.

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.