Jalape√Īo Cilantro Hummus

I love hummus. I literally cannot get enough of the stuff. I eat it in the morning on toast with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes or mashed tofu. I eat it for a snack with carrots or gluten free crackers. I’ll eve use it to top off my salads or add it to quinoa to get a nice creamy texture. It’s divine. My favorite brand is Sabra’s – it’s creamy and delicious and comes in a bunch of yummy flavors, all vegan and gluten free ūüôā

But hummus can get expensive… it’s often at least $3 and can be up to $5! I’ve tried making my own hummus before. In fact, my friend Colleen has an amazing pesto hummus¬†recipe¬†on her blog, The Healthy Appetite. I’d highly recommend checking it out!

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This hummus however, is about jalape√Īos. I can’t really handle super spicy, but this recipe is delicious. The¬†jalape√Īos give it just the right amount of kick and flavor. Easy, tasty, and cheap to make – I may be eating homemade hummus more often! Just don’t stick your knife in your brand new Cuisinart blender… like I did. Sometimes I don’t think things through. Luckily, I did think this¬†recipe¬†through so check it out and enjoy ūüôā

Jalape√Īo Cilantro Hummus
Prep time: 15 – 20 mins max!
Serves one ladies book-club or 6 girls a’ snacking

What you need:

1-2 jalepe√Īos (I used two and took most/all of the seeds out – that’s where the spice lives! – Remember use GLOVES!)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup sesame seed oil (some people use tahini instead)
1 tsp cumin
1 cup fresh cilantro (I chopped mine a little)
pinch cayenne pepper (paprike would work too)
sea salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Chop the jalape√Īos¬†and¬†throw in a skillet with the garlic on medium heat until nice and toasted. Like I mentioned,I used two jalape√Īos but removed most, if not all, of the seeds. More seeds = more heat so¬†feel free to spice it up if you like!
  2. Meanwhile, put the remaining ingredients into a food processor and blend em up!
  3. Add in¬†the jalape√Īos,¬†garlic, sea salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add in more lemon and/or olive oil (or even a little bit of water) to thin it to the consistency you like and enjoy!

Adapted from Big Red Clifford.

Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry

As a veggie lover in the fall/winter months, I make a lotta stews, soups, and the like. This isn’t really a “curry” as much as it’s just damn delicious. The sweet potato, ginger, and¬†jalape√Īo basically dance in your mouth. However, you don’t want any¬†jalape√Īo juice dancing on your fingertips. See unfortunate note below…

It’s also pretty easy to make, the main time consumer is just chopping up the vegetables! Get a helper. It works wonders…. Or a mandolin helps too. I also have an onion chopper. Get equipped! Now get going!

Chick Pea and Sweet Potato Curry - kalelovesquinoa

Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry
Prep Time: about an hour total
Serves 4 – 6

What you need:

2 tbsp canola oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 Thai or jalape√Īo chili, seeded and finely chopped**
1 tbsp curry powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can (14 fl. oz.) coconut milk, well shaken
1 cup water
1 cup frozen peas
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
Steamed rice for serving (optional but my favorite is brown rice, basmati rice or jasmine rice)

**Make sure to use a glove when cutting the jalape√Īo¬†or be VERY VERY careful! I seriously burnt the crap out of my hand when I made this¬†recipe¬†and it was excruciatingly painful for close to 4 hours. No joke. In fact, not even close to being funny. Ow. It hurts just thinking about it. So anyway, put a rubber on it before you start a choppin. Don’t have a glove? Stick a ziploc bag over your hand. Just something to spare your poor fingers!

What you do:

Make the curry base

  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the oil.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, ginger,¬†jalape√Īo¬†and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is nice and translucent, approx 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in the curry powder and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the veggies!

  1. Add the sweet potato, chickpeas, coconut milk and water to the pan. Raise the heat to medium-high, bring just to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sweet potato is tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the peas and tomatoes and cook until heated through.
  3. I served mine over a warm bowl of brown rice. Enjoy!

What’d you think? The great thing about this dish is, it makes ¬†a lot but I freeze it and save it for a rainy day.

Adapted from Williams Sonoma

Twice Baked Rosemary Maple Nut Mix

Snacks are the best aren’t they? It’s one of the reasons I typically spend 40 minutes longer in Trader Joe’s than I’d like to… they have so many snacks!?

So, I like Trader Joe’s. OK. I can also be kinda lazy… especially if it’s raining. In fact, if it’s raining I’m finding a movie on TV I can sit through, making a cup of tea and figuring out what kind of homemade snacks I can eat because I aint leaving the house.

Enter this delicious nut blend. I made these all holiday season long and they were beyond well received. They’re great to bring to a friends house or get together and they’re really great for bringing to work with intentions to share but instead eating all of them in one sitting. They’re great for that.

Best part about these nuts is they’re really easy but pack a ton of flavor. They’re sweet and salty and best warm right out of the oven. Enjoy!

Twice Baked Rosemary Maple Nut Mix
Prep time: about 1 hour
Serves: However many can get their hands on them! But makes a little over 2 cups.

What you need:

2 1/4 cups mixed unsalted raw nuts (I used 1/2 cup peanuts, 1/2 cup cashews, 1/2 cup walnuts, and 3/4 cup almonds)
2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
pinch cayenne pepper
1-2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1.5 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp Earth Balance butter

What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with tin foil for easy cleanup.
  2. Spread nuts evenly onto baking sheet and toast for about 10-12 minutes. Remove nuts and let cool for about 5 mins or so.
  3. While cooling, mix rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, maple syrup, sea salt, and just 1 tbsp of Earth Balance butter in a large bowl. Then, dump nuts into mixture and stir in 1 tbsp of melted Earth Balance butter, mixing well.
  4. Pour nuts back onto baking sheet and bake¬†for another 10-12 minutes until golden. TIP: Keep your eyes on these! I have thrown away multiple versions of these tasty nuts because I let them go for 2 minutes too long and they turned black. As long as you watch them and don’t get distracted by Anderson Cooper’s appalling daytime talk show -Long story… but really Anderson? – you’ll be fine.
  5. Cool for about 20 minutes and serve warm.

I love this recipe. The combination of maple syrup and rosemary blows my mind. These are also easily¬†store-able¬†and will last for a couple weeks… if they’re still around to last that long!

Will you try this recipe? What nut combination do you think would be good?

Salted Caramel Bars

Something I do… when I’m bored at home and decide I want a sweet treat but am too lazy to go out and buy something, I will go through my¬†recipe¬†books until I find something I can make with whatever I have in my kitchen. This is often how I find some of my best¬†recipes¬† sometimes the simpler the better!

So, here’s what I found this time. Vegan salted caramel bars. You’re welcome.

Salted Caramel Bars | kalelovesquinoa.com

These ones I made are not gluten free, mainly because I’d run out of gluten free flour, and like I said the aim of the game was to not leave my cozy apartment... But it’d ¬†be real easy to make these GF. Just sub the flour for 1 cup gluten free flour mix (I recommend Bob’s Red Mill) and 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum. Note that your baking time might change a bit, so just keep an eye on them.

Salted Caramel Bars
Prep Time: Eh
Makes approx 16 bars… depending on how many get eaten in preparation

What you need:

For the crust:
1 cup all purpose flour*
1/2 cup chilled vegan margarine, I use Earth Balance
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the caramel:
1 cup packed brown sugar, I used dark because that’s all I had but light would work too
1/4 cup vegan margarine, I use Earth Balance
4 tsp soy, almond or rice milk, I used almond milk but I bet coconut would be great

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (dairy free)
sea salt for sprinkling, best to use a grinder so you get big chunky flakes of sea salt!

What you do:

Let’s make the shortbread:

Salted Caramel Bars prep - kalelovesqunioa

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line an 8 inch square pan with foil or parchment paper. Make sure it’s enough so that it overhangs on the edges – this will make it easier to remove from the pan.
  3. In a food processor, pulse flour, Earth Balance, powdered sugar and cinnamon until nice and crumbly.
  4. Press into your foil covered pan and bake for 18 – 20 mins or until edges golden.
  5. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 -15 mins  then chill in the fridge for 30 mins or so.

Caramel Time!

  1. Note: Make sure you’re shortbread is cooled and ready for the caramel topping before starting this step.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat brown sugar, Earth Balance and nondairy milk over medium heat until combined, stirring frequently.
  3. Once mixture comes together, bring temperature up to medium high for 1 – 2 mins until mixture begins to boil and the bubbles move into the center.
  4. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 mins.
  5. Once cooled, pour caramel over chilled shortbread crust. Let cool for 10 mins and then pop back in the fridge to cool for 30 mins or so.

Chocolate Layer:

  1. When your caramel shortbread goodness is ready for the chocolate, melt chocolate in a double broiler or just in the microwave. Tip: If you’re doing this in the microwave, microwave in 30 -40 second increments. Keep an eye on the chocolate and pause to stir often. Don’t burn it!
  2. Spread chocolate over top of the caramel layer and use a spoon/spatula to even things out a bit.
  3. Sprinkle with your sea salt and return to the fridge until the chocolate has hardened… and be patient!
  4. Once the chocolate has hardened, remove bar from the pan using the foil and remove foil. Cut into whatever sizes you want and enjoy. Oh how you’ll enjoy!

Who made these? Pretty easy right? The hardest part for me was waiting until everything had cooled down ūüôā It’d be easy to sprinkle some chopped nuts on top of these to make them even tastier.

Adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen¬†recipe.

Cheesy Kitchen Sink Quinoa with Crispy Tofu

I called this “Kitchen Sink Quinoa” because you can really add whatever you want to it. These just happened to be the veggies I had on hand so they all went in. You could add corn, peas, carrots, kale, spinach whatever. Throw it all in there.¬†You can also make this as cheesy as you want. That’s why we taste test in the kitchen, all day, every day.

Not that you can tell from this picture because of all the avocado… but I like mine pretty cheesy.

Cheesy Kitchen Sink Quinoa with Crispy Tofu - kalelovesquinoa

I first experimented with cheesy quinoa as a potential substitute to mac n cheese. I’ve found Follow Your Heart cheeses melt quite well when you shredded and mixed into a steaming hot bowl of quinoa, delish. Although, in all honestly, Daiya cheese is even better. Both brands offer a variety of flavors, I’ve used peperjack Daiya cheese before and it was delish. Quinoa + vegan cheese = hearty mac n cheese flavor without the calorie catastrophe.

Enjoy! What other mac n cheese stand ins can you¬†recommend¬† Anyone tried to make their own cheese sauce? That’s next on my list.

Cheesy Kitchen Sink Quinoa with Crispy Tofu
Prep time: 30 – 40 mins
Serves: 2 (with leftovers for lunch!) or 4

What you need:

2 tbsp Earth Balance butter
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water or vegetable broth (I used water this time)
7 oz (half packet) firm tofu
2 – 3 garlic cloves minced
1 medium sized leek
1 small/medium sized yellow onion
1 cup broccoli (I cut mine intro bite sized pieces)
1 green or red pepper (heck or throw em both in)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese (I used Follow Your Heart, cheddar)
2 heirloom tomatoes
1 avocado
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Get the quinoa started! Add quinoa and water/vegetable broth to a large-ish pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from heat but keep covered.
  2. Next, lets get the tofu going as this takes the longest. Wrap tofu in a paper towel and squeeze to get some of the moisture out. Cut into bite sized cubes, season with a little salt and pepper (or whatever else you like… I use garlic salt, onion powder, paprika, whatever). Heat up a small pan with a little bit of oil or cooking spray. Once nice and hot, drop the tofu cubes in and let em sizzle! Cook until nice and crispy, at least 10 mins usually.
  3. While you’re quinoa’s cooking and your tofu simmering, start chopping some veggies! Mince your garlic. Chop up the peppers, onion, tomatoes, and broccoli if you haven’t already. And now for the leeks.
  4. TIP: How do you clean a leek? First, chop off the top and bottom of the leek. You want the green leafy stuff gone. It’s¬†OK¬†to have a little green/white but we don’t want any of the dark green. Next, make a cut in the leek about halfway deep and slice down the middle from end to end. Be careful not to cut the leek completely in half and make sure you’re doing this longways! From here rinse under cool tap water and make sure you let the water get into the different “leek layers” as that’s where there’s often dirt. Ready?!¬†Now, chop the leek into 1/4 ¬†inch discs.
  5. Put a large pan on medium high heat and add your Earth Balance butter. Once hot and ready, add the garlic Рsimmer for 30 seconds or so Рthen add your leeks and onions. Simmer those up for a couple minutes then add the broccoli and red pepper and cook on medium low heat until peppers and broccoli start to brown a little.
  6. Once your quinoa is all done you can start the cheesy process. Add the nutritional yeast, shredded cheese and mix well until nice and cheesy. Feel free to add more of either, just depends on your desired level of cheesy.
  7. Add your cooked veggies, tofu and mix well.
  8. Serve nice and hot and top with tomatoes, avocado, and any fresh herbs you have on hand like parsley or cilantro plus salt and pepper to taste.

I know it seems like a long list of instructions, but it’s really not.

Here’s the shorthand:¬†Cook your quinoa, add your cheese. Cook veggies and tofu, add those too. YUM.

Carrot Soup with Avocado & Crisped Chickpeas

I love soup. I don’t really love all the extra sodium and “chemically bits” that get added to most store bought soups. So I was on a mission to find a tasty soup¬†recipe¬†that wouldn’t take me 5 hours to make. I also just really wanted to use the new blender I got for Christmas.

Carrot Soup with Avocado and Crisped Chickpeas kalelovesquinoa

The original¬†recipe¬†did not call for avocado… so I added it, of course. In fact, I think most¬†recipes¬†could benefit from the addition of avocado but that’s a¬†separate¬†issue. I eat a lot of avocado. Anyway, here it is, enjoy! Let me know if you make this and what you think.

Carrot Soup with Avocado & Crisped Chickpeas
Total prep & cook time: 1 hour or so
Serves 4 to 6 depending on serving size

What you need:

For the soup:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 pounds  carrots, peeled and diced
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 regular or 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt (I love pink Himalayan sea salt!)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground ginger
4 cups vegetable broth (make sure it’s GF!)
1 Avocado, parsley and pinch of cayenne pepper for topping

For the chickpeas:
1 15-ounce ¬†can chickpeas – also known as garbanzo beans ūüėČ – drained, patted dry
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (or regular)
hearty pinch of cayenne pepper (gives them a kick!)

What you do:

  1. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Then add carrots, onion, coriander, fennel, cumin, sea salt, pepper¬†and ginger. Saut√© until they begin to brown, about 10 – 15 minutes. TIP: Always make sure you have a hot pan and hot oil before¬†saut√©ing¬†your garlic,¬†onions¬†etc. You want the garlic to sizzle when it hits the oil in the pan. That’s how you know it’s ready. Otherwise your are more likely to burn whatever it is you’re cooking if the oil isn’t hot enough!¬†
  2. While your veggies are cooking, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, sea salt, pepper and cayenne pepper until coated. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil for easy clean up and spread chickpeas evenly. Roast in the oven until they’re browned and crisp, which can take anywhere from 10 Р20 minuted or even longer, depending on the size and firmness of chickpeas and how much olive oil is used. For me, it actually took about 25 minutes but I like them really crispy. Just keep an eye on them and make sure to toss them occasionally, making sure they’re toasting evenly.
  3. Back to the soup! Once the veggies have begun to brown, add vegetable broth. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender, stirring occasionally, approx 20 – 30 minutes.
  4. Once carrots are nice and soft, transfer soup (in batches if necessary) to blender and puree until smooth. Note: A hand blender would also work.
  5. Serve immediately! Top with avocado, crisped chickpeas and garnish with chopped parsley and a sprinkle of paprika. Yum!

What’d you think!? Not too difficult and the results are well worth it. What is your favorite winter soup? I think celery or cauliflower might be next on my list.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.