Baked Chickpeas

bakedchickpeas2I try to have a batch of these around as often as possible.  They are so flavorful and easy to make.  Great to have on hand to grab when you need something quick.  They don’t quite come out crunchy but they are firm, and the sauce hardens somewhat as the chickpeas cool.  If you want them crunchy, I would try cooking them longer, at a higher temp or use a dehydrator.

Low-Fat Cheesy Sauce [vegan + gf + no nuts + no oil]

cheesesauceI think I’ve finally done it and I’m really excited.

I have made a LOT of cheesy sauces over the years.  I mean, it’s crazy how many; recipes I’ve found and tweaked, recipes I’ve created, etc.  After all, mac-n-cheese was my favorite food before I went vegan 10+ years ago.  While I don’t crave the real thing, I still really love comforting foods like noodles with a creamy, cheese-like sauce.  Anyway, all the recipes I tried were similar to each other, all yummy, but all left me feeling like I wasn’t there yet;  that my quest for the perfect sauce wasn’t complete.  Getting the perfect combination of texture, mouth-feel, flavor and nutrient profile was beginning to seem impossible.

Sure, there are rich and amazingly delicious sauces out there but many of them call for a ton of nuts or a bunch of oil.  Any vegan food can taste delectable when adding a bunch of fat – there’s no creativity or skill in that.  The real challenge and test lies in making something that’s healthy, rich and delicious without exceeding your daily fat quota in one meal.

Yep.  I think I’ve finally done it.

Tahini Sauce || vegan | oil-free | gluten-free

Brown rice, sweet potato, kale and baked chickpeas topped with Tahini Sauce.

Brown rice, sweet potato, kale and baked chickpeas topped with Tahini Sauce.

I first created this sauce to use with the kale chips I made in my new dehydrator (still learning and experimenting, but that thing is FUN!).  They turned out great, btw, but I didn’t end up using all the sauce and shortly realized how delicious it was on steamed greens, and as a salad dressing.  It packs a lot of flavor so a little really does go a long way.

Giveaway Time! And Review and Recipe from Dreena Burton’s “Plant-Powered Families” – Saucy BBQ Chickpeas & Green Beans

June 16, 2015

One of my most favorite things about being a recipe blogger is getting review copies of cookbooks from publishers.  I have a thing for cookbooks – it’s actually getting a bit out of hand.  Need more bookshelves.  Anyway, Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton, one of my favorite vegan authors, is one of the books I get to play with this time and it’s a real treat.  I’ve always been a huge fan of Dreena’s but the one thing that bummed me out in the past was that I had to adapt her recipes to not include oil.  I was thrilled to find she doesn’t use any in her latest work.  Yay!  One of the things I like most about Dreena is how considerate and detailed she is with her recipes.  She clearly spends a lot of time tweaking and getting the ingredients and methods just right to make things as easy as she can for her readers, and she shares tips, tricks and alternatives for many situations.  She adds notes to each recipe with her suggestions for kicking it up, mellowing it out, use this instead of that, or simply adjusting flavors for adults’ or kids’ tastes.Plant-PoweredFamilies_FrontCover_WEB

Dreena has 3 young daughters so she understands the challenges involved in getting healthy food into picky kids who are busy and on the go.  Her recipes in this book are appealing to kids and adults alike with dishes like Sunday Morning Pancakes, Apple-Spice Hemp Muffins, Red Lentil Hummus, Zippy Chickpea and White Bean Dip, Cream of Cauliflower Soup, Umami Sun-Dried Tomato and Almond Burgers, Home Fries, Lemon-Kissed Blondie Bites and Banana Butter Ice Cream, just to name a few of many.  The book includes mouth-watering photos, and is laid out really nicely beginning with a section on priming your pantry with plant-based staples, followed by color coded chapters such as Healthy Mornings; Lunch Fixes; Salad Dressings, Sauces and Toppers; Dinnertime; Sweet Treats.  The back of the book has some cool resources like a section on Picky Eaters and how to manage them, School and Lunchbox solutions, Tips for Hosting and Attending Kids’ Parties, Sample Meal Plans and a FAQ’s section.  She didn’t miss a beat with this book – everything is covered, and honestly, you could use this book and none other for your family and be set. My only complaint about this book is that it doesn’t include allergen notations for each recipe, which is pretty lame since it’s easy to do and most books have.

Everything I’ve made from the book has been excellent, and today I’m sharing one of the recipes with you – Saucy BBQ Chickpeas and Green Beans.  I used broccoli because hubby hates green beans but otherwise I stuck to the recipe and it was delicious – and so simple! I will be doing a drawing to give away a free copy of this awesome book.  Tune in to my Facebook page for details on how to win! Enjoy the recipe.BBQSaucyChickpeas








Mesquite-Lime Hummus

Honestly, I don’t know anybody who doesn’t l like  hummus.  I’m sure they exist but I’ve never met them.  Such a simple thing – chickpeas and a handful of ingredients, whirled through a blender.  And so many ways to eat it: with raw veggies, crackers, chips, on a sandwich or wrap, thinned out as gravy to top greens or grains…so many possibilities.  There are also many flavors of hummus, and this one is really delicious.  I love anything with a smoky flavor and the smoked paprika does a great job here, but the lime really makes this hummus come to life.  I used about 2.5 TBS of lime juice and it’s pretty limey….use more or less depending on your tastes.  Same with the cayenne.  1/8 tsp is quite mild.  Now go make some hummus.  🙂

Lemon-Tahini Dressing

It’s been a long time since I posted a recipe! Not that I haven’t been creating in the kitchen – I’m always doing that.  Just life.  You know how it is.  Anyway, I love tahini dressings but they are usually so high in fat.  Tahini, or sesame seed paste, is high in fat of course because seeds are high in fat.  Tahini, and other seeds and seed pates are very healthy but can easily be overeaten.  However, there is a way to use tahini in dressing, still get that flavor, and cut the fat.  The secret is in the BEANS.  Yes, beans.  They not only help cut the fat, they add creaminess, body, nutrients, fiber and protein.

I made this dressing with a salad in mind, but I ended up pouring some over my steamed kale and sweet potato, and it was tasty!  You can use any kind of soft, white bean.  I had made my own flageolet beans the day before because I like to have a batch on hand, but you can use cannellini, great northern, etc.  If you use canned be sure to rinse and drain them.  NOTE: I get a lot of my dried beans from Rancho Gordo. They sell the BEST heirloom beans!  You can purchase from their website at

Creamy Hummus

I realize hummus recipes are a dime a dozen, and store-bought versions are widely available. However, the one thing they all have in common is a lot of fat.  The average prepared hummus contains 4 grams of fat for 2 tablespoons.  I don’t know about you, but I could eat that much in a few bites!  Most varieties contain oil, which as I’ve said before, is not a health-promoting food.  It’s concentrated fat and calories (14 g of fat for just a tablespoon), and truly unnecessary in a dish like this.  Prepared hummus also contains tahini, or sesame seed paste.  My recipe does too, but only 1-2 tablespoons for the whole batch, which is much less than other recipes or store-bought versions. Use 1 if you want a really low-fat version, or 2 for a little more fat.  You’ll see I list truffle oil as an optional addition.  You don’t need it but it adds wonderful flavor.   I like mine on the lemony side so I use 3 tablespoons lemon juice.  Also, the amount of water you add is dependent upon how thick/thin you want the hummus.  I always have a batch made up and ready to go.  Recently, I spread about 2 TBS on a piece of whole grain bread, laid sliced tomatoes and sweet onion on top, drizzled with balsamic, and sprinkled with basil and pepper.  I broiled it for 6-7 minutes.  DELISH!  See photo below.

2/21/13 UPDATE: I’ve always known cooking your own beans, as opposed to using canned, was a nutritionally superior way to go but I didn’t fully grasp how much better a dish would taste!! Oh my.  I recently got a pressure cooker (best. thing. ever.), and after soaking my chickpeas during the day (8 hours), I cooked them with water in the PC for 14 minutes.  Then I made my hummus.  SO creamy and flavorful.  I really had no idea there would be such a marked difference.  You don’t need a PC to make your own beans, but you do need to plan ahead.  The forethought and time is worth it, trust me.  If you use your own beans, use about 2 cups cooked for this hummus.