Kelp noodles are one of my favorite ingredients these days and this Zucchini Pasta & Kelp Noodles with Sunflower Cilantro Pesto dish is a happy new addition to my growing repertoire of both kelp and zucchini noodle recipes..
I LOVE to eat and I don’t count calories. Yet there is no denying that too many of them can be unkind. Enter kelp noodles! Now the words “kelp noodles” do not conjure up visions of an unctuous and mouthwatering morsel….however they have no flavor and are basically a vehicle for amazing sauces.
The only trick however is that while they do not need to be cooked, they do need to be soaked in warm filtered water and baking soda for at least 20 minutes to let them soften. This is not something that you will find instructed on the packaging…it seems to be underground intel that I am happy to have, and happy to share! So whether you are ambitious to make the recipe below or you just want to throw some store-bought pesto or peanut sauce on these puppies you will not be disappointed, I promise!
Sprouts are fun and easy to grow and are delicious, alkaline and packed full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. These fun little projects are also a great source of vitamins E, C, B and A as well as potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and protein. Sprouting unlocks the nutrients & protein inside the plant cells more readily and makes the protein found beans as well as nuts & seeds more bioavailable and more digestible. Sprouting as well as soaking, or fermenting foods also significantly reduces enzyme inhibitors, greatly increasing the digestibility and absorption of all nutrients in food, including amino acids.
Step #1 Select Your Bean & Quantity:
Use organic beans such as adzuki, lentils, mung beans or chickpeas. The beans beans will at least double in size during sprouting, so only prepare as many sprouts as you can eat in about 4 weeks. The fastest to sprout are mung beans and lentils, especially if you live in a humid climate. My favorite beans are adzuki beans (shown here) for their nutty texture, high protein and iron and anti-oxidant content. Most dry beans are good for sprouting but you want to avoid black beans as they can be toxic. Note that “split” beans or peas will not sprout.
Step #2- Soak Your Beans:
Place your beans in a wide-mouthed glass jar and fill with filtered water until the beans are covered by about 4 inches of water (use this rule for any amount for beans). Allow them to soak in the water overnight, or for about 8 to 12 hours and then rinse and drain them very well as they can go off if they are too moist. I do this several times inside the jar. Cover with a piece screen from the hardware store (shown here) or a piece of cheesecloth. Leave the jar in a semi-lit place while the beans sprout (I like my kitchen near the window). (more…)
Austin LOVES tacos…well and who doesn’t quite frankly? I think we love them because they can be filled with just about anything- which is part of the fun. Get creative to celebrate National Taco Day or just follow the this delicious and plant-based and paleo friendly recipe below for Eggplant Banh Mi Tacos and you cannot go wrong. This recipe was developed in collaboration with our incredibly talented chef Heather Valdes for a summer cooking class. The initial recipe was made with shiitake mushrooms, yum! This one was adjusted to use up some of the bountiful eggplant happening in Austin & Miami right now. Whatever your filling choice, this is a great template for all sorts of interesting options.
Eggplant Bánh Mì Tacos with Pickled Veggies & Spicy Aioli
Quick Pickled Veggies~
1 medium carrot, julienne or grated (or butternut squash to be uber seasonal)
1-1/2 cups cucumber, thinly sliced into thin half moons
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup filtered water
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1-1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into ¼ inch x 3 inch strips
3 Tablespoon reduced sodium tamari
2 Tablespoons filtered water
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 Tablespoon Siracha (or to taste)
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1” piece of ginger, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Tacos & Optional Garnish~
8 small corn tortillas, warmed through either in the oven or on a stove top
Lettuce Wraps instead of tortillas
Generous handful of fresh cilantro and/or mint- tough stems removed
Scallions, thinly sliced on bias
Thinly sliced radish
Quick Pickled Veggies: Add all ingredients to a large glass jar, secure the lid, and shake for 10 to 15 seconds to mix. You’ll want to allow the vegetables to soak for at least 30 minutes (at room temp) up to 24 hours- the longer the better. If you plan to do hours in advance, place the jar in the fridge until ready to assemble.
Eggplant Filling: Whisk together the maple syrup, tamari, chili garlic paste, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and black pepper in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat, add the coconut oil and the eggplant and reduce the heat to medium and cover. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent burning.
Add the tamari mixture to the pan and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sauce is absorbed, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.
Fill each corn tortilla with a small spoonful of the eggplant and then the pickled vegetables. Drizzle with the aioli (recipe follows) and top with the fresh, cilantro, mint, scallions and peanuts if using. Serve immediately.
Tip & Notes~
This recipe would also be delicious with a variety of mushrooms or other veggies such as squash, peppers, cauliflower or broccoli.
1/2 cup mayo of your choice (we like brands with very little ingredients- Just Mayo is a good one)
2 Tablespoon sriracha
Juice of one lime
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
Salt to taste
Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Allow to sit overnight for flavor to develop if you have time.
Many of you know by now that I have quite the sweet tooth. I actually don’t do much baking for the particular reason (I would eat it ALL, sigh). This Raw Chocolate Bark has become my favorite go-to along with my Perfect Banana Ice Cream. I love it mostly because it’s easy, uber fast and I can take a few nibbles and be satisfied. It is also packed full of nutrients and minerals and won’t leave you feeling like you were naughty. It is also easy to customize to your liking so don’t be afraid to experiment!
Raw Dark Chocolate Bark
3/4 extra virgin coconut oil*
1/2 cup high quality raw cocao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
4 drops liquid stevia**
A pinch of Himalayan Salt (more…)
Everyone is looking for exciting vegetable side dishes. These tasty little parcels are super fun, fast and a neat crowd pleaser. Many different veggies will work and you can even place a piece of fish inside the parchment for a full and flavorful meal.
Mixed Mushroom Parcels with Sherry & Herbs
6 cups mixed sliced mushrooms, such as shiitakes, oysters or chanterelles or portabellas, cleaned and de-stemmed
1 small head of fennel, tops and core removed and sliced very thin (I use a mandolin)
6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
6 large stems of tarragon or dill, stems removed and chopped
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup dry sherry, marsala or madeira
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices of butter, about 1/8 inch thick (optional)
This Vanilla Cashew Milk recipe is a revelation for me. Some of you know of my “milk conundrum”. That is, my long time battle with what kind of milk to take in my coffee. I used to use fat free organic dairy milk. If you don’t know what that was a bad choice read this post.
I switched to store bought organic almond milk. I follow the rule of not using anything with ingredients that I cannot pronounce…almond milk was my only exception. Why not make my own my own you ask? Because it’s grainy and separates in my coffee and I refuse to be annoyed before 7am. So then I went to grass-fed whole milk. This didn’t quite sit right either, as I try to lessen my environmental impact and eat vegan much of the time.
I went back and fourth for a long time. Then the “ahhhhh ha” moment came. Cashew milk was the answer! Creamy, rich, vegan, easy to make, no straining and it doesn’t separate in my coffee…victory! You can make it plain for universal applications or put vanilla or other fun stuff in it.
Creamy Vanilla Cashew Milk
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for at least 4 hours
1-1/2 cups filtered water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder* or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (more…)