With the coming of fall we can't help but get excited about the beautiful fall colors we know are ahead. Viewing bold, multi-color leaves on a drive through a forested country road is a quintessential fall experience we hope to enjoy every year. Though being city dwellers we find ourselves spending more time at the fall farmers markets (still going strong!) and finding a similar beautiful color palette there. Root vegetables are coming into season and are the hearty addition to meals we all start to crave as the weather begins to cool. So let's enjoy their lovely colors this week as we learn more about root vegetables.
Root vegetables are exactly as named, the edible root of a plant. Some common root vegetables are carrot, potato varieties, beet, ginger, onion and garlic though others include radish, parsnip, turnip, rutabaga and kohlrabi. They grow best in cool weather so can be planted in early spring and left to harvest until late fall making their season for fresh produce last into the winter. Understandably, root vegetables can be intimidating in the kitchen and less common varieties don't always get the attention they deserve. Root vegetables are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals as they absorb nutrients from surrounding soil while growing and can provide a lower carbohydrate substitute at meals if used in place of grain products. And oh, the colors! Some of the simpler preparations include roasting, boiling and mashing though we just love a good root vegetable chip. We will forewarn you that these are time consuming and require attention and patience though we swear it pays off! But no judgement if you decide to make this dip and purchase root vegetable chips to go with. Look for brands with minimal ingredients including the root vegetables themselves, a simple vegetable oil (preferably coconut or olive oil but hard to find) , and salt.
Spicy Wasabi Edamame Hummus
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes
Servings: ~2 cups hummus
2 cups organic, shelled & cooked edamame
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup untoasted sesame oil + 1 tsp to drizzle over the top of hummus before serving
1 Tbsp water
1 clove of fresh garlic, diced
2 tsp wasabi powder, or fresh wasabi if available
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp sesame seeds reserved to sprinkle over the top of hummus before serving
In a high speed blender or food processor combine edamame, tahini, lemon juice, sesame oil, water, garlic, wasabi powder, and salt and mix on high until a smooth texture is formed. Pour contents into a bowl and top with 1 tsp of untoasted sesame oil and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Set aside while your chips are cooking.
Roasted Root Vegetable Chips
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 35-45 minutes
1 medium-large* sweet potato
1 medium-large red beet
1 medium-large turnip
1 medium-large kohlrabi
4-5 Tbsp coconut oil (olive oil will also work)
1/2-3/4 tsp sea salt, more if you prefer a salter chip
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Peel each root vegetable and set aside. Using a mandolin set to 1/8" thickness, slice vegetables making sure to cut as evenly as possible - this will help each chip to cook evenly. Brush each side of the vegetable slices with oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until chips are crispy. Make sure to watch closely as the chips can burn very quickly. Note that the thinner the chip, the faster it will cook. Allow chips to come to room temperature before serving. These chips are best eaten the same day, however, can be stored in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
*Choose medium to large root vegetables as vegetable slices will shrink during the cooking process
So...this dip...and those chips - a match made in fall heaven! The spicy and creamy wasabi hummus packs a punch of flavor perfectly mellowed by the warm, rich, and roasty veggie chips. Despite the effort, if you have the time we think these chips are definitely worth it. And such a great use for the abundance of root vegetables you'll find at farmers markets this fall.
Jess and Cecelia
Real talk, being hangry (hungry + angry) is just no fun. We make an effort to always have satiating snacks on hand but watch out if we forget and go a little too long without food, just ask our significant others! If you can relate, or if you just love a satisfying snack, this post is for you. In a bite these bars will eliminate hangry from your vocabulary, if it is even a word to begin with?
Nuts and seeds can be thanked for the satiating quality of these bars. Nuts and seeds not only contain heart healthy fats but are also are a good source of protein and fiber, all of which are necessary to keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal. About 50% of the fat content in cashews comes from monounsaturated fat, a healthy fat that can help lower LDL (or bad cholesterol) in your blood. While we are on the topic of healthy fats, sesame seeds are known to help reduce cholesterol levels given their high content of cholesterol lowering phytosterols. All nuts and seeds contain protein, however, hemp seeds are in a class of their own. Hemp seeds are one of the very few plant proteins containing all the essential amino acids. A 3 tablespoon serving of hemp seeds contains a whopping 10 grams of plant based protein! The fiber found in seeds, specifically chia and flax seeds, is high in soluble fiber which also aids in hunger control. In the recipe listed below, if cut into 12 equal sized bars, each contains ~4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein to keep you full and satisfied. As you can probably tell, we could go on and on about the endless benefits of nuts and seeds but would rather get to the recipe now!
Seeduction Apple Bars
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 55-60 minutes (includes cooking time)
Servings: 10-12 bars
Recipe inspired by Half Baked Harvest Blog
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup dried unsweetened apple slices, diced
4 Tbsp sesame seeds (we used 2 Tbsp white and 2 Tbsp black sesame seeds)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
3 Tbsp flax seeds
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 cup cooked quinoa (could also use cooked steel cut oats)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (could also use honey)
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
White Chocolate Dip
8 oz white chocolate chips (We used Ghirardelli white chocolate chips. Look for white chocolate without any artificial flavorings)
1 vanilla bean (inside scraped out)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees then lightly oil an 8x8" pan with coconut oil and line with pre-fitted parchment paper. Make sure to let the parchment paper hang over on two of the four sides to easily remove bars from pan once cooked and cooled. Using a separate large baking sheet place cashews, coconut flakes, sesame, chia, flax, and hemp seeds in a thin layer making sure to keep them separated. Lightly toast for 10 minutes stirring once for even toasting. Remove from the oven to cool.
Cook quinoa according to package directions and set 1/4 cup aside. Set aside 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, 1 Tbsp chia seeds, 1 Tbsp flax seeds, and 1 Tbsp hemp seeds for later use. In a food processor or a blender, add toasted cashews, coconut flakes, dried apples, remainder of seeds and cooked quinoa. Process until a small pebble sand-like texture is formed. Add in the maple syrup, coconut oil, salt, and cinnamon. Process just until the mixture comes together, making sure to avoid over processing. Press dough into prepared pan, sprinkle reserved seeds over the top of the dough and lightly press down using a piece of wax paper to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. Bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow bars to cool before removing from the pan then carefully cut into 10-12 evenly shaped bars (shape of your choice). Place bars on a wax paper lined baking sheet and set in the fridge to chill.
Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave safe glass bowl in increments of 10 seconds stirring between each to prevent the chocolate from burning. Stir the cinnamon and the inside of vanilla bean into the melted chocolate. Carefully dip the bottom of chilled bars in melted chocolate then place on prepared wax paper lined baking sheet. Repeat until all bars are dipped in chocolate. Place back in the fridge to set. Bars can be eaten at room temperature or chilled right from the fridge. Store in an air thight container for 3-5 days in the fridge.....if they last that long!
So, are we right or what? No more hangry here. These bars keep us satisfied for a good 4 hours as a quick breakfast or yummy snack. Their texture is soft and chewy and the flavor rich and sweet with hints of apple and cinnamon. And such a perfect use for white chocolate with the hearty nuts and seeds balancing white chocolate's almost extreme sweetness. Feel free to pass this recipe along to anyone else you know that may get hangry now and again, they and you will be glad you did!
Jess and Cecelia
Peppers are very in season and SO colorful and delicious right now. Their beautiful, bright colors inspired our post this week influenced by North African cuisine. This stuffed pepper recipe will be a welcomed change to your palate with the variety of exciting flavors and unique uses for different ingredients. Take tea for example - for a twist we used tea in a completely new way. Interested? Read on!
Tea in this recipe was not used as a warming beverage but a flavorful cooking liquid for our starch ingredient, couscous. Using a fresh mint and green tea cooking liquid provided a unique twist and a depth of flavor to the final recipe that only tea can provide. Typically cooked in water or broth, couscous (and other grains) can end up bland and needing a lot of flavor additives after cooking. So if tea as a cooking liquid is interesting to you than try experimenting with different cooked grains and your favorite teas. We find savory teas such as green, mint, chai, and black tea varieties to work well as substitutes for water or vegetable stock when preparing cooked grains. Just remember that if using in place of vegetable stock you'll likely need to add extra salt to the recipe. Has tea in foods sparked your creative side? We sure hope so! If it hasn't than you'll just have to try this recipe to understand.
Moroccan Stuffed Peppers with Tunisian Harissa Yogurt Sauce
PREP TIME: 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 10 minutes (includes cooking time)
Mint & Honey Green Tea
2 Tbsp loose green tea (we used gunpowder green tea)
20 large mint leaves
2 Tbsp honey (we used raw creamed honey)
3 cups hot water
1. 5 cups dried whole wheat couscous
1.5 cups prepared mint & honey green tea
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 cup dried apricots, diced
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp sea salt
5-6 medium-large bell peppers
Harissa Yogurt Sauce
1 medium roasted red bell pepper with skin removed
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1" of a fresh red jalapeno (more if you prefer a spicier sauce)
1.5 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (or 1/4 tsp ground cumin)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a tea pot or glass container with a tea strainer add boiling water and honey and steep green tea and mint leaves for 5 minutes. Remove tea and mint leaves and set warm tea aside. To make the couscous, add 1.5 cups mint & honey green tea, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and 1/4 tsp sea salt to a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add dried couscous to the hot liquid, and cover with a lid. Allow couscous to absorb tea for ~15 minutes then remove lid and fluff with a fork. Combine chick peas with 1 tsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp ground cumin, and 1/4 tsp paprika in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add cooked couscous, dried apricots, slivered almonds, spiced chick peas, parsley, and apple cider vinegar to a large bowl and stir to combine. Set prepared couscous filling to the side.
Wash peppers and carefully cut the top ~1" off of each making sure to cut evenly all the way around the pepper as this will serve as your lid while cooking. Scoop the insides of the peppers clean removing ribs and seeds. Fill each pepper to the top with couscous filling, cover with its "lid", and place snugly in an oven proof pan. Pour the remainder of the mint and honey green tea in the bottom of the pan with the peppers to keep them moist while cooking and cook at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until peppers are soft.
While the peppers are cooking, combine coriander, fennel, cumin, and red pepper flakes in a small pan and lightly toast on the stove top until fragrant, ~2 minutes. Add roasted red pepper, garlic, olive oil, red jalapeno, paprika, toasted spices, sea salt, water, and yogurt to a blender or food processor and mix on high until harissa sauce is a smooth consistency.
Once peppers are done cooking, serve with a side of harissa yogurt sauce. Any leftover peppers will stay fresh in the fridge for ~3-5 days in an air tight container. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or for 1-2 minutes in the microwave. Harissa sauce will stay fresh in an air tight container in the fridge for 7-10 days.
If you're wondering, yes - this recipe does taste just as colorful as it looks! The Moroccan couscous salad is sweet and savory from the honey tea broth and perfectly balanced with spicy chickpeas, crunchy almonds, and chewy apricots. The peppers are tangy and cooked to an ideal texture and the Tunisian harissa yogurt sauce tops everything off with fiery yet rich goodness. And this recipe is just beyond beautiful. We hope you love it just as much as we do and enjoy a new twist with tea in your kitchen.
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.