Chickpea sauté with Swiss Chard and Celery

A lovely friend of ours gave us two large bunches of swiss chard from her garden (THANK YOU Nataleigh-the amazing chef behind Gumbo Galley) and I jumped at the chance to create something yummy. The inspiration came from an Ottolenghi recipe “Chickpea Saute with Greek Yoghurt,” but of course I had a few other things I wanted to use up in the fridge and so this is what I came up with…


Chickpea sauté with Swiss Chard and Celery

Serves 3-4 as a main course

  • 2 large bunches of swiss chard (about 300 grams or 8 cups)
  • 2 tbs olive oil plus extra to finish
  • 3-4 medium carrots
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cup chickpeas (or one can, drained)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  • Greek or coconut yoghurt to serve
  1. 1. Separate the chard stalks from the leaves and chop into 3/4″ pieces. Chop the leaves separately. Blanch the stalks in boiling water for 3 minutes, add the leaves and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain everything, refresh under cold water, and squeeze to dry.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat up 2 tbs olive oil on medium heat. Add the peeled and diced carrots and caraway seeds and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the diced celery stalks, chopped onion and chickpeas. Cook for about 4-5 more minutes.
  4. Add cumin, sumac, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and blanched chard stalks and leaves. Mix in and let sauté for another minute or two.
  5. Remove from heat, mix in a tablespoon or two more olive oil, add the mint and cilantro and let cool a bit. Taste and adjust seasoning as you prefer. Separate into serving dishes, add a dollop of yoghurt on top of each sauté (and maybe a bit more mint/cilantro) and serve.

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!


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.


(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.

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).


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.



Jenny’s Carrot and Beetroot Salad

This salad was first introduced to us by one of our favorite people: Jenny Pilz, wall paper designer and friend extra-ordinaire. We owe her a lot–from helping to organize our magnificent wedding, to helping me get my European visa (running up and down the halls of the ausländerbehörde), to introducing us to some of our closest European friends, to just being an all around fabulous person. If you are ever in Berlin, I highly recommend meeting her. Watch out Jenny, here they come…

Anyway, back to the salad. It works great on top of a bed of arugula or you can also use it as a spread in a sandwich with hummus, goat cheese, and fresh bread. Either way, it is a winner and great for the summer or winter months. It has a bright, fresh flavor and it adds a lot of color to any dish–although once you mix it up it primarily looks beet red.


(image from Simply Recipes–this one has raisins, which are also an add in option)

Jenny’s Carrot and Beetroot Salad

  • 3 medium to large carrots, shredded (easiest to use a food processor but you can do it by hand as well)
  • 3 peeled beets, shredded (again, if you don’t want to turn purple, I recommend a food processor)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (optional–it is fine if you don’t use it but it adds a nice zing)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (optional)

1. Shred and drain the carrots and beets. You can drink the carrot beet juice for a tasty treat while you are making the salad (fresh carrot, beet, ginger juice is one of my favorites). You don’t have to fully drain the shredded veggies, just slightly so that it doesn’t become mushy–you still want to leave some juice for the flavor.

2. Mix together lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil, ginger, and mint (if using). Pour onto the beet, carrot mix. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

3. Place veggies on top of a bed of arugula (there will be enough juices that you won’t need an extra salad dressing). Or toast some bread, cover with fresh hummus or goat cheese and put the carrot beet mixture on top for a nice appetizer or open faced lunch dish.

NOTE: You could add raisins to the mixture for a sweeter taste. Sometimes we add a bit of cayenne or paprika to add a bit of spice.

Moroccan Chickpea Stew with Red Cabbage

This recipe takes a bit more prep time but once you have everything chopped it is simple, quick and tasty. If you have the time, soak some dried chickpeas overnight but, in all honesty, 2 cans of chickpeas will work just fine. I serve the stew and red cabbage with Tahini sauce (one of my favorite discoveries from my time in Tel Aviv, the base of which you can find in most middle eastern stores) but you could also use a fresh greek yogurt or the cashew lime sour cream mentioned in one of the earlier posts. This recipe will easily feed four people. You may still have left overs.


Moroccan Chickpea Stew with Red Cabbage (based on a recipe from Coconut and Quinoa)

  • 6 cups cubed/sliced root veggies such as squash, sweet potato, beets, etc. (cut into small pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 8 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small bunch flat leaf parsley, stems attached
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon za’atar (a middle eastern spice that you can generally find in a whole foods spice section–if you can’t find it, you can leave this spice out or make your own: click here for recipe)
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced into small piece
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 veggie bouillon cube
  • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (about two drained cans)
  • 5 teaspoons of harissa paste or more to taste (harissa paste is a North African/Tunisian paste that can usually be found in the middle eastern area of your super market–if not, this link will lead you to a harissa paste recipe: click here)
  • 2 cups dried quinoa
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 head red cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar or brown rice vinegar
  1. Finely slice cabbage. Place in a bowl, add 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt and vinegar and use your hands to mix thoroughly for a couple of minutes. If you are planning on eating the cabbage over the next few days, add little extra salt and vinegar to keep the flavor bright as it marinates. Be sure to store it in a closed jar.
  2. Place two cups of quinoa into a small sauce pan with three cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer until the quinoa is cooked through (about 10 to 15 minutes). Once quinoa is finished removed from heat and let cool. When the grains have cooled add the 1/2 cup of raisins and stir just before serving.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking you can start on the main stew. Preheat the oven to about 365 F or 150 C and place a parchment paper onto a baking tray. Combine the 6 cups of root veggies into a small bowl. Drizzle with 2 tbs of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to cover. Place the veggies onto the baking pan and evenly spread. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown, string the veggies every ten or so minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet or pot, warm remaining olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes or until the onions start to become translucent.
  5. Add chopped garlic and let simmer for another minute.
  6. Finely dice the parsley stems and add to the mixture. Keep the parsley leaves aside for later use.
  7. Add cumin, paprika, carrots and 1 cup of water with half of the bouillon cube to the onion mixture and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  8. Add tomatoes and chickpeas and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  9. Stir in harissa paste, parsley leaves, remaining cup of water and the left over bouillon. Continue simmering uncovered for another few minutes until the water has mostly evaporated.
  10. Take off the heat and mix in the roasted root veggies.
  11. To serve, place the stew on top of the quinoa/raisin mix and add a spoonful the pickled cabbage to the side. Drizzle the tahini (or topping of your choice) on top.

Tania’s Spiced Sweet Potatoes

This recipe adds a tasty extra to almost any meal. I make versions of it with whatever spices I have when adding sweet potatoes into dishes. I also have used the line up of spices on other veggies.

The lovely Tania Issac (who was just featured with her darling daughters in Dance Magazine) first introduced me to the recipe when I was in graduate school at Ohio State. It has been a mainstay ever since.


Tania’s Spiced Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 sweet potatoes (diced into cubes–leave on skins if you want)
  • olive oil (enough to lightly coat potatoes)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 tsp corriander
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped/mashed)
  • 1″ ginger (chopped/mashed) or 1/2 tsp dry
  • 1 tsp herb de provence

1. Cover bake pan with aluminum foil and turn on oven to 400-450 degrees F

2. Place potato cubes (or wedges) into a bowl and cover lightly with olive oil. Put in all the spices and mix so that the potatoes are covered (add more if necessary-I sometimes use up to a tablespoon of some of the spices)

3. Bake 25-35 minutes turning occasionally until they start to get crispy or dark. (The time also depends on the size of the sweet potato cubes)

RECIPE IDEAS: I like to put these into just about everything. You can start with rice, black beans, tomato, avocado and feta in a burrito. I also add them to salads, as a side dish, or mixed into quinoa with other chopped veggies and feta.

NOTE: You can add other spices if desired. Also you could cut the potato into french fry like wedges for larger pieces.