26 February 2012

Balsamic Beet Carpaccio with Rosemary Marinated Mushrooms

Of course, it wouldn't be too long before I put rosemary in something else.1

Because of it's wonderful simplicity, I hesitate to call this a recipe. It's more of a meal idea, which I thought would be nice to share.

It's quick and delicious. The sweetness and ever so slight crunch of the beets paired rather nicely with the buttery chew2 of the mushrooms. I found it to make a lovely lunch on it's own; however, it would also make a lovely appetizer or salad accompaniment to a more substantial dish.

It also looks a bit high end.3 I sat down to my took-5-minutes-to-prepare-lunch4 and was immediately reminded of my New Year's Eve dinner appetizer5 at a local vegan, fine dining establishment.

Except... I liked this better, and it cost only a fraction of what we paid for the other.

Balsamic Beet Carpaccio
(Serves 1-2)
  • 1/2 Red Beet
  • 1 Tbsp Organic Balsamic Vinegar*
  • Sea Salt to taste
Shave the beet into thin slices. I found that a wide Y-shaped peeler works best - unless you happen to have a circular slicer in your kitchen. I tried my mandoline the first time, but the thinnest setting, was still too thick for carpaccio (see the top photo).

Dissolve a pinch or two of sea salt into the vinegar, then layer the beet slices in a shallow dish, and cover with the vinegar. Make sure all the beet slices are coated.
Allow the beets to marinate for 15-20 minutes, or more depending on the desired tenderness.

*If you prefer not to use vinegar, you can make this with a mixture of equal parts fresh orange and lime juices. The flavor will be different, of course, but it will still have similar elements of sweet and tart.

Rosemary Marinated Mushrooms
(serves 1-2)
  • 8oz (224g) White Button or Crimini Mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp Rosemary Leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Aminos
  • 2-3 thin slices of Fresh Garlic
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine the coconut aminos, rosemary and garlic. If you're using the EVOO, add that as well. Allow the aromatics to "steep", while you prepare the mushrooms.

Slice the mushrooms in quarters. If you have large mushrooms, you may want to slice them in 1/6ths.
Toss the mushrooms into coconut amino mixture, making sure they're evenly coated.
Allow the mushrooms to marinate for at least 20 minutes.

When assembling the dish, you want to remove the vegetables from their marinates, leaving the liquids behind. Otherwise, there are no hard and fast rules of assemblage. Simply arrange a few (or several) beet slices on a plate, and top with the marinated mushrooms. Garnish with some extra rosemary, if you like - I do! - and serve.


1. That's not for wont of trying.
2. That might not sound too appealing, but I'm at a loss for a better description.
3. I thought so anyway.
4. I'm not counting the marinating time, since that really classifies more as "waiting" than "preparing"; you could go take a shower or balance your checkbook, or something, with no fear of ruining the dish.
5. It was a raw carpaccio as well, but the similarities end there - different veggie, different preparation, no mushrooms or rosemary (!!).
Read more ...

18 February 2012

Raw, Nut Free Lasagna

Last week, when I made that rather delicious Grain Free Lasagna, I also made an equally delicious Raw Lasagna (grain and nut free).

It was a lasagna free-for-all.

I was really excited about it, and I wanted to share it right away, but I'm sort of glad I didn't. It almost makes it seem as though I'm not fixated on making cooked and raw versions of the same recipe, at the same time.1
Although, I'm not sure enough time has elapsed between lasagna recipes to actually give that impression.2

It looks sorta fancy, but it's really not difficult at all; it simply requires a little bit of prep time. There's no need for a dehydrator. As long as you have a food processor (a mandoline is also really helpful), you're all set.

Again, I wanted to make it nut free. I know I've mentioned before how so many "gourmet" raw foods rely quite heavily3 on nuts. I also didn't want it to taste overwhelmingly of Nama Shoyu/Tamari and garlic. A LOT of gourmet raw food restaurants and recipes go nuts4 with the Nama Shoyu.

Nama Shoyu contains wheat, so it's off-limits for me - and many others. Tamari, instead, is traditionally wheat free. Contrary to once popular opinion that Tamari is not raw, unless it has been pasteurized, it is just as "raw" as Nama Shoyu. Some even say that health-wise, Tamari is superior, since it has been produced in the same tradition for thousands of years. Because Tamari is fermented, I don't go out of my way to avoid it; however, I prefer Coconut Aminos, if I want a tangy, salty addition to foods.

Little side note: Have you noticed how raw food restaurants all have the same smell? It's not just me, right? (It's Nama Shoyu/Tamari and garlic; I'm sure of it.)

So there are no nuts and no Nama. I used a splash of Coconut Aminos in the mushrooms, but it could be omitted, without sacrificing the flavor one bit.

Raw, Nut Free Lasagna
(serves 2-4)
  • 1/2 large Eggplant or 4 medium Zucchini
  • 1 Cup ( 100g) White Button or Crimini Mushrooms
  • 1/2 small Red Pepper
  • 2 tsp Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary (finely chopped)
  • 2 tsp Coconut Aminos (optional)
  • Sea Salt
for the "Ricotta":
  • 2 1/2 Cups (240g) Cauliflower Florets
  • 1/2 large (40g) Avocado
  • 3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional - I know it's not technically raw)
  • Pumpkin Seed Pesto (optional - see recipe below; if you choose to skip the pesto, you might want to add a small handful of parsley or basil)
  • Sea Salt to taste
for the Sauce:
  • 1 1/2 Cups (100g) Sundried Tomatoes
  • 5-6 Green Olives
  • 4-6 large Basil Leaves
  • 1/2 small clove Garlic (optional)

Pre-Prep: Soak the tomatoes in 1/4 to 1/2 cup (depending on how dry they are) of filtered water for at least one hour. They can also be soaked overnight.

Thinly slice the mushrooms and red pepper. Then toss them together with the Coconut Aminos, one teaspoon of olive oil, rosemary, and a pinch of sea salt. If you're not using the Coconut Aminos, use 1/3 to 1/2 tsp of salt instead, and mix it with 2 tsp of filtered water to help the salt distribute over the veggies.
Set the vegetables aside to marinate.

Peel the eggplant (or zucchini, if you're using that instead), and slice it lengthwise, using a mandoline set to the thinnest setting.
Gently rub or toss the eggplant in a mixture of 2 Tbsp of filtered water, 1 tsp olive oil, and 1/2 tsp of sea salt.
Spread the eggplant in a shallow pan, leaving the olive oil/salt mixture with it.
Set it aside to marinate, while you prepare the pesto, the ricotta and the sauce.
Pumpkin Seed Pesto
  • 1/2 Cup (56g) Pumpkin Seeds (soaked 2-4 hours)
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small handful Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/2 large Garlic Clove
  • Sea Salt to taste
Combine pumpkin seeds, basil, and garlic in a food processor or mini blender. Pulse until the everything is evenly chopped. Add the olive oil and a pinch of salt, and continue to blend until the consistency is even, scraping down the sides of the food processor, if necessary.
In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it is chopped into small, crumbly pieces. Add the avocado and a couple pinches of sea salt. Continue to process until the mixture becomes smooth. It could take a few minutes to smooth out as the cauliflower releases its water, so be patient. Even after it begins to become smooth, there will still be a bit of texture - that's good though!

Add the nutritional yeast and process for a couple of seconds to fully incorporate the ingredients.

Your finished "ricotta" should look like the image to the right. It will be greenish. Green is good for you!

Spoon your ricotta into a bowl, and swirl in the Pumpkin Seed Pesto. If you're not using the pesto, feel free to add some fresh basil, rosemary, or parsley5 to the ricotta while blending.
Set the ricotta aside so you can prepare the sauce.

Toss the soaked tomatoes (including the soaking water), olives, basil, and garlic into the food processor, and process until the mixture reaches a smooth, even consistency.

Now it's time to assemble the lasagna. The wonderful thing about the raw lasagna is that you don't need a pan; you can assemble it right on the serving plate.
Before beginning, make sure your eggplant and veggies are tender. If not, allow them to marinate for a bit longer.

1. Arrange approximately three slices of eggplant (or 6-7 slices of zucchini), overlapping slightly, so they form a (more or less) square shape.
2. Spread an even layer of the ricotta mixture over the eggplant.
3. Layer the marinated veggies over the ricotta.
4. Spread an even layer of the tomato sauce over the veggies.
Repeat steps 1-4, until all of the eggplant is used - I ended up with about five layers. Cover the top layer with one more layer of eggplant, and spread a layer of tomato sauce over the eggplant.

The lasagna can be served immediately or set aside for an hour or so, to "rest".  The flavors will have a chance to meld and develop, and the vegetables will continue to release some water. The liquid can be carefully poured off before serving.
I prefer to let the lasagna rest, especially if I'm serving it to guests; this way the lasagna doesn't end up sitting in a puddle, after an hour on the dinner table.

It's also nice to save the vegetable liquid, if you're so inclined. I personally prefer not to throw away lovely, nutrient-rich vegetable juice. It can be added to a raw soup or salad dressing for a nice bit of flavor.


1. Humor me?
2. And I just completely tipped my hand anyway.
3. Resulting in heavier foods.
4. And with nuts! Heh! Oh boy...
5. More green! So lovely.
Read more ...

15 February 2012

Grain Free Maple "Granola"

OK. So it's technically more of a crunchy coconut delight, loaded with Omega 3s and MCFAs.
It looks like granola.
It tastes like granola, without being quite as heavy.
It's not only Gluten Free, but Grain Free as well!

This granola would make a lovely topping for cobbler, streusel, muffins, or coffeecakes. I'd gobble it layered in a parfait, sprinkled over a breakfast pudding or fresh cut fruit.... The possibilities are endless.
Heck, it's even nice to snack on just as it is.

It's so simple to prepare and requires only four ingredients for the basic version. You can, of course, add in dried fruits, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, whatever your little heart desires. That's part of the fun!

Coconut is the base ingredient1, but if you prefer lower fat foods, you don't have to pass this up (but you know those Medium Chain Fatty Acids are so good for you!). In fact, this batch is the lower fat version.
Reduced fat coconut makes for a much lighter granola, which I quite like; I typically find traditional granolas to be rather heavy.2  Feel free to use regular shredded coconut, though; the result will be a slightly more substantial/weightier granola.

With only a couple of modifications (don't worry, I'll include them!), this can be made raw.3
I'm pretty sure, I could make a no sugars version as well. I just haven't tried it yet. When I do I'll update the post :-)

Just a little caveat: When enjoying it as a breakfast cereal,4 it may begin to take on the consistency of a porridge, if left sitting in liquid too long.5 This is due to the flax rehydrating.

Grain Free Maple Granola
(serves 1-2)

  • 1 Cup (60g) Reduced Fat Shredded Coconut (I used Let's Do Organic)
  • 1/3 Cup (30g) Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon (Optional)
  • 2 Tbsp (40g) Maple Syrup (feel free to sub Agave or Coconut Nectar)
  • 4 tsp Filtered Water
  • Coconut Oil - for oiling the baking sheet
Oven 275F/135C

Combine all dry ingredients, and mix well.
Add maple syrup and water, and stir/toss gently to coat the coconut/flax. 

Allow the granola to sit for 5-10 minutes. The flax will absorb the liquid and help create the granola clusters.

Spread the granola, in an even layer, onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Do this mindfully6, to avoid breaking up the clusters.

Bake in a preheated over for 30-40 minutes, or until the granola is dry and crisp.

Use/gobble as desired - perhaps toss in your favorite dried fruit.
It could be made more substantial by adding some sprouted buckwheat groats (prior to baking), and it would still be grain free!

To make this Raw:
  • Use regular dehydrated shredded coconut instead of the reduced fat coconut
  • Use Coconut Nectar instead of Maple syrup
Follow directions as above, except spread the granola onto a teflex dehydrator sheet, and dehydrate at 110F for 4-6 hours, or until thoroughly dehydrated and crisp. You can also gently rotate the mixture half way through, to ensure even dehydrating.
As above, feel free to toss in some dried fruit, cacao nibs, whatever your little heart desires. Soaked and sprouted buckwheat groats7 can also be added to this raw version - do so prior to dehydrating.

Raw version w/Sprouted Buckwheat & Raisins

1. Surprise!!!
2. In case you were wondering.
3. Oh boy. Is this becoming a trend?
4. With your fave non-dairy "milk" obviously :-)
5. Really though, any cereal will get soggy if left too long.

6. Uh... I guess that's my yogini brain talking.
7. I haven't posted a recipe/directions for soaking and sprouting buckwheat, as of the time of this post, but I could :-)
Read more ...

11 February 2012

Chocolate Covered Strawberry... Cookies? - V-Day "Double Header"

I will try to keep the rambling to a minimum, so we can (finally) get to the recipe(s) I keep promising to post.
I so wanted to post this yesterday, but the day got away from me. I then tried to post this morning, but I ran out of time before I had to head out to teach, then yoga, then yoga teacher training...

Uh... better late than never?1

So V-Day is soon approaching, and although, I'm not really one to get swept up in the "festivities", I thought I would step out of my box, and create a V-Day themed treat.

The idea that popped into my head was ridiculously simple - a classic V-Day sweet, but with a little twist. It's even simple enough to make with kiddos... Oh, and also I made TWO versions: a baked version and a raw food version.

Yep. Not only did I make a V-Day recipe, but I took it a (small) step further and made two. How's that for stepping out of my (heart-shaped2) box?
<<<-----Baked                         Raw----->>>

For the baked version, I simply used my basic shortbread recipe, topped with 100% fruit strawberry preserves, and homemade chocolate.

The raw version is a teensy bit more involved, but still surprisingly simple - you will need a dehydrator, though.  I was thinking about ingredients for a raw, nut free shortbread cookie; when it finally struck me, I thought it was so obvious, I could scarcely believe I'd had to stop and think... Coconut (obviously) and FLAX!

I layered the strawberry after the cookies were finished baking/dehydrating. However, feel free to spread the strawberry preserves on the cookies half way through baking/dehydrating to create a more solid strawberry layer.

So which one should go first?  Hmmm.... OK; Baked.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cookies
(makes 12-14)

  • 3/4 Cup (85g) Sorghum Flour
  • 1/4 Cup (30g) Tapioca Flour
  • 3 Tbsp (30g) Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder (or DIY)
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Chia Egg (1T ground chia + 3T filtered water)
  • 3 Tbsp (45g) Earth Balance Coconut Spread(softened)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 100% fruit Strawberry Preserves
  • Easy Chocolate - see recipe below (you can also melt down 3/4 cup of Semisweet Chocolate Chips)
Oven 325F/160C

Prepare your chia egg, and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the first 5 dry ingredients.

Add the chia egg, earth balance and vanilla, and mix well. The dough should be smooth but somewhat stiff. Cover the bowl, and place it in the refrigerator to chill for 20-30 minutes.

While your dough is chilling, you can prepare your chocolate (or melt your chips using a double boiler):
Easy Chocolate*
(enough to top 12 average-sized cookies)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (20g) Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 4 Tbsp (20g) Unsweetened Cocoa or Raw Cacao Powder
  • 2 Tbsp (40g) Raw Coconut Nectar or Agave (OR 20 drops of liquid stevia, and increase coconut oil to 2T)
  • Pinch Sea Salt
Gently warm coconut oil, until it becomes liquid (if it isn't already).
Stir in the sweetener and a pinch of salt. Then add the cocoa powder and stir until the sauce is smooth and even.

Remove half of your chilled dough from the fridge, and place between two sheets of parchment paper. If you prefer, you can also lightly dust a work surface (and rolling pin) with tapioca flour.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to approx. 1/4" thickness.

Remove the top layer of parchment, and cut out the cookies, using a heart-shaped cookie cutter (or any shape you like, really). Peel away the excess dough, and roll it into a ball to re-use.

Repeat the process, until all of the dough has been used. While working, pop the dough in the fridge for a bit, if it gets too soft and sticky.

Carefully transfer the cookies to an ungreased baking sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Don't overbake. The cookies will continue to firm up as they cool.

Once the cookies are cooled, spread an even layer of strawberry preserves over the tops of the cookies, and then drizzle/spoon/pour your chocolate over the preserves.
Chill the cookiesin the fridge for a few minutes, to allow the chocolate to solidify.


*Easy Chocolate can be used right away as a sauce, or spread onto parchment paper and chilled for a solid chocolate treat.
If drizzled over a yummy vegan frozen dessert, it will also solidify into a crisp chocolatey shell.

Aaaaaand.... here we go! Recipe #2:

RAW Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cookies
(makes 12)

For the cookies...
  • 1/2 Cup (40g) Shredded Coconut
  • 1/4 Cup (25g) Golden Flaxseeds (or 1/2 cup golden flax meal)
  • 1 small (100g) Apple (any variety you prefer; peeled) 
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (30g) Coconut Nectar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
For the Raw Strawberry "Preserves"...
  • 2 Cups (200g) Strawberries
  • 1/4 Cup (40g) Dates 
  • 2 Tbsp (10g) Ground Chia
For the Easy Chocolate - prepare as above using Raw Food Options.

Dehydrator 110F/44C

In a mini blender, using the grinder blade, process the coconut and flax seeds together until they reach the consistency of a slightly coarse flour. A coffee mill will also work for this step.
Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl

Peel and chop the apple. Add the apple to food processor along with the coconut nectar, vanilla and salt, and puree until very smooth.

Add the apple puree to the "flour" mixture, and mix well. Let the batter sit for a few minutes to allow the flax to thicken it into more of a dough.

Shape your cookies onto the dehydrating sheet/teflex sheet  using this method:

Place a cookie cutter onto the dehydrator sheet, and spoon a small amount of dough into the cutter. The amount will depend on the size of your cookie cutter. You want enough to form 1/4" thick cookies.

Spread the dough evenly inside the cutter. You'll initially have to guestimate the thickness, but after two or three, it'll be a cinch.

Gently lift the cutter from the cookie, and repeat with the rest of the dough.
No need to be generous with the spacing; the cookies can be placed pretty close together, provided they're not touching.

Dehydrate for 8-12 hours. The cookies should be fairly firm, but still soft in the center and a bit tacky on the bottom.

Gently -  very gently - loosen the cookies from the sheet and turn them over. Transfer the cookies to a mesh dehydrator sheet (still top side down), and dehydrate for 8-12 more hours.
If you don't have a mesh sheet, they can be left on the teflex sheet or placed directly onto the dehydrator tray.

The cookies will be crisp outside and a bit soft inside; I like them that way, but if you prefer a crisper cookie, just dehydrate them for an extra couple of hours.3

Once your cookies are ready,  prepare the Raw Strawberry Preserves by combining strawberries, dates and ground chia in a food processor or high powered blender until smooth. Set the mixture aside to thicken, while you prepare the Easy (Raw) Chocolate.

Just like the baked cookies, spread an even layer of raw strawberry preserves over the top of the cookie, then drizzle/spoon/pour your chocolate over the preserves. Chill the cookies in the fridge for a few minutes, to allow the chocolate to solidify.


I prefer the cookies with the "chocolate covered strawberry" on the top, although I did toy with a sandwich version, which was pretty good.
If that idea strikes your fancy, simply spread the strawberry and chocolate onto the bottom side of a baked cookie, and cover with another cookie - bottom side down - , so that the tops of the cookies are facing the world.
For the raw cookies, do the same thing, but make the sandwiches top side in.


1. Yes; that may be trite, but it sorta makes me feel better.
2. TWO references in one - much like this post.
3. Seriously though, you've already been waiting nearly 24 hours. I guess, at that point, two more hours won't matter, but I'd rather eat some cookies.
Read more ...

06 February 2012

Grain Free Lasagna with White Bean "Ricotta" and Pumpkin Seed Pesto

For awhile now, I've been aware of the existence of a Yoga Instructor Collective Unconscious. It the phenomenon of different instructors in different studios/gyms/spas/what-have-you all working on the same pose/body part/flow/transition within the same week or couple of days.
Now, I'm not talking about everyone doing Warrior II; that's a given. I mean the non-standards; the things instructors don't always do from week to week. Then one week you go to your (different) classes, and everyone is working on the same thing.

Well, it seems that there is a similar phenomenon amongst food bloggers. At least I've noticed it within this sort of specific food niche. You know, Vegan; Gluten Free; Vegan AND Gluten Free; Raw/Whole Foods... you get the picture.

A few weeks ago, I made an amazing Vegan/GF Cornbread. I impressed the crap out of myself.1 The BF and BFF simply raved about it. I was so thoroughly excited to post it, until I noticed several cornbread recipes popping up in my various feeds.2
I decided to put it on hold, so it wouldn't get lost in the cornbread "frenzy".3

Today, I lined up my photos and prepared to post a rather successful lasagna experiment, when what did I see in one of my networking feeds?? - Yep; a recipe post for GF lasagna.

Funny! Well, I decided to post anyway. I defy you, Food Blogger Collective Unconscious!

This lasagna is not only Vegan and Gluten Free but also Grain Free, Soy Free, Nut Free, and Corn Free.
Yes. Those aren't typos. It's SO very allergy-friendly. The Pumpkin Seed Pesto adds a nice flavor profile; however, if you're not into it, or can't tolerate seeds, it can be omitted without sacrificing any deliciousness whatsoever.

Guess what else? I've included some of the recipe steps in photos, which, as you know, is something I never do.4

This lasagna is easiest to prepare, if you own a mandoline. It's not recipe-buster, if not, but I do highly suggest making the small investment. It's truly indispensable, if you prepare a lot of raw foods but also if you don't. I own this one, and I absolutely love it; it even comes with it's own convenient storage case.

Back to lasagna, though... I've made this before (quite successfully) using a tofu ricotta, but I wanted to come up with a soy free recipe. It's a bit different, and I'm so happy to say, it turned out very well. The BFF ate nearly half of the pan. He then took the rest home, ate some as a late night snack, and ate the rest for lunch today.

Grain Free Lasagna w/ White Bean "Ricotta" and Pumpkin Seed Pesto
(Makes one 9"x13" pan)
  • 2 Large Eggplants
  • 8 oz (227g) White Button or Crimini Mushrooms
  • 45 oz (3 - 15 oz cans, or home-cooked) Canellini or White Butter Beans - I used a combination of both.
  • 3-4 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • Small handful of Fresh Parsley
  • 6 Cups your favorite Pasta Sauce (Sorry, everyone; I'm not ready to share the family recipe.)
  • 1 8oz package of Daiya Mozzarella Shreds (optional)
  • Pumpkin Seed Pesto (optional - see below)
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Oven: 350F/180C
Bake Time: 45 mins - 1 hour

Start5 your sugo (sauce), and let it cook, while prepping the other ingredients - don't forget to stir it periodically.

In a food processor, combine (drained) beans, nutritional yeast, parsley, and a few pinches of sea salt. Process until the mixture is relatively smooth. Some texture might be nice, but you don't want whole beans lurking about. Set the mixture aside.

If you're including the Pumpkin Seed Pesto, prepare that as well, and set aside.

Sauté the mushrooms to release liquid
Slice the mushrooms, and add them to a sauté pan or wok, with a pinch of salt and a tiny splash of Extra virgin olive oil. Cook the mushrooms over low heat, in order to release the natural liquid. Adding raw veggies will result in a soupy lasagna.6

Cut the top and bottom off of the eggplants (be frugal) and peel them. I found a sharp knife worked best to peel them, but however is most comfortable for you, go for it.

Slice the eggplants on the thinnest setting of the mandoline - mine says "extra thin slices". It will be easiest to get even slices holding the eggplant in your hand. As the eggplant becomes thinner, please use caution, and use the grip handle. No mandoline? No worries. Using a sharp knife, slice the eggplant into 1/8" slices, as evenly as possible.
If you have a filet of eggplant leftover that you simply cannot slice, save it to make some homemade Baba Ghanoush; I'm all about not wasting food :-)
Overlap the eggplant slightly, to avoid gaps.

Once your eggplant is sliced. Gather your ingredients and a 9"x13" baking dish, and begin to assemble your lasagna.

Ladle just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the dish,

1. Layer the eggplant slices, overlapping slightly to avoid any gaps or holes.

2. Spread an even layer of the white bean "ricotta" over the eggplant. You may need to get creative because the the "ricotta" is thick, but attempting to spread with any pressure, will cause your eggplant to slide out of place.

3. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the Pumpkin Seed Pesto onto the "ricotta", and use the back of a spoon to gently swirl the pesto in, until it's distributed pretty evenly across the pan. Adding this actually helped to make the "ricotta" easier to spread.

4. Add a layer of mushrooms, and approx. 1/4 of the Daiya, if you're using it.

5. Gently spread a thin layer of sauce over the top, making sure to cover all the way to the edges.

Repeat steps 1-5 with the remaining layers. You should end up with three to four layers.

Can you say, "YUM!
Once you've completed the final layer. Cover it with one last layer of eggplant. Spread sauce over the eggplant - you can be more generous here - making sure to cover all the way to the edges. Sprinkle some Daiya over the top OR swirl a bit of Pumpkin Seed Pesto OR sprinkle a bit of nutritional yeast.

Cover with foil, taking care not to let the foil come in contact with the top layer. Bake in a 350F oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the eggplant is tender and the lasagna is bubbling.

Allow the lasagna to cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Seed Pesto
  • 1/2 Cup (56g) Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small handful Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/2 large Garlic Clove
  • Sea Salt to taste
Combine pumpkin seeds, basil, and garlic in a food processor or mini blender. Pulse until the everything is evenly chopped. Add the olive oil and a pinch of salt, and continue to blend until the consistency is even, scraping down the sides of the food processor, if necessary.

I usually add spinach, whenever I make lasagna, but I wasn't sure how the bean "ricotta" would turn out, so I wanted to keep the additional ingredients to a minimum. Since the lasagna was a success, spinach is definitely going in next time. It will also add more "definition" to the layers and make a taller lasagna.
If you're into spinach, feel free to add 8-10 oz of chopped, cooked spinach; make sure to remove any excess water, and layer it with the mushrooms.

Also... as I was typing this, I had another idea. The bean "ricotta" is delicious, but it's closer to the consistency of a bean spread. I was thinking that steamed cauliflower might help. Maybe it seems weird, but go with me on this one. I used cauliflower to make a nut-free "ricotta" in my raw lasagna7, and it worked out really well.
My thought is to add 1-2 cups of steamed cauliflower to the beans after they've been pureed/pulverized, and then gently pulse until the cauliflower is chopped but still retains a little bit texture.

I will be trying it next time, but if anyone wants to try it out before that, and report back, that would be pretty cool too :-)


1. Pardon my francese.
2. I try to stay connected.
3. There were seriously four other recipes on the day I had planned to post.
4. It's just all sorts of crazy here today.
5. Unless, of course, you're using sauce from a jar.
6. The extra liquid would be welcome, if making a lasagna using a regular GF noodle; not so much for the eggplant "noodles".
7. I'll be posting that one as well!
Read more ...

01 February 2012

Ceci CrackerChips (Grain Free!)

A couple weeks ago, I was making some crunchy, oven toasted chickpeas (garbanzo beans), and it got me thinking. If chickpeas toast up so nice and crunchy in their natural state, why couldn't they do the same perhaps flattened into a chip or cracker shape?

I decided to find out.
Gluten Free, Grain Free SUCCESS!!!
It worked! The result was a light, flaky cracker/chip with a delicate flavor that is grain free and only FOUR ingredients. They're not quite sturdy enough for heavy dips. I suppose I could work on that, but I really liked the lighter consistency. I also didn't want to load them up with a lot of extra ingredients and binders.

Despite not being a "dipping chip", they can still handle a nice spread of hummus1, a slice of Rice Vegan cheeze or my soy free, nut free, gluten free Cheeze Dip (I'll be sharing that next!!!).

Of course, you can munch them unadorned as well. They're absolutely delicious as a simple sea salt cracker, but they also lend themselves perfectly to other flavor additions and combinations.

Ceci CrackerChips2
(makes approx. 24)
  • 1 15oz can Organic Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas3 - drained (or 15oz [1 1/2 Cups] of soaked, home-cooked)
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 tsp Sea Salt (or "to taste")
  • 1-2 Tbsp Filtered Water
  • 1 Tbsp Tapioca Starch (optional)

Oven 275F/120C

In a food processor or high-powered blender combine chickpeas, olive oil, 1T of water, and salt. Process into a smooth paste.
This may require a bit of patience. Try to avoid the instinct to add extra liquid, but if you really need a bit of help getting the mixture really smooth, gradually add a bit of extra water, one Tablespoon at a time (don't exceed 4T), until the mixture becomes smooth. The result should be like a very very thick, but smooth, hummus.

I chose to add tapioca starch to help bind the crackers a bit, but you can omit this, if you prefer. However, if you jumped the gun a bit with the water, and it seems like your mixture is too "runny", don't despair! Go ahead, and add the tapioca. It will take care of the extra liquid.

Once your chickpea "batter" is ready, line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spoon a heaping teaspoon (measuring teaspoon!) of  batter onto the parchment. With the back side of the spoon, use a circular motion to gently press/spread the batter into 1/4' thick, silver dollar-sized (2 inch diameter) discs.
Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Bake in a preheated oven for 60-75 minutes, carefully flipping each cracker halfway through baking.
The crackers are ready when they are crisp throughout.

Serve with your favorite toppings, or enjoy as is!

It's also fun to make other flavors. I made this batch using my homemade rosemary-garlic infused olive oil - so so good! You can also just add some rosemary and a bit of garlic to the chickpeas before blending.

Some other combinations I'd like to make include:
Chipotle, Cumin, Curry, Basil & Garlic, Sundried Tomato... mmmmmmmm...

The only recommendation I would make would be to not add too much of a "chunky" ingredient. It could make for a cracker that doesn't hold together as well.

Have fun and enjoy!

1.  If you want to go maximum chickpea. You could also make a nice raw zucchini hummus :-)
2. Ceci  (Ital.) = Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans 
3. I know I'm all over the place here, but I keep wanting to cover all bases for those who prefer one term over the other - Chickpeas...Garbanzo Beans
Read more ...