Posts tagged ‘nut/seed butter’

Parsnip-Zucchini Hummus (Bean-free)

I’m notorious for grabbing the quickest, easiest option in the fridge to snack on when I’m hungry. Just like shopping at the grocery store on an empty stomach, my least healthy food choices are made when my blood sugar is low and/or I am unprepared. If I wash and pre-cut veggies, there’s a much better chance of grabbing them than if I had to wash and prep them, and same goes for an accompanying dip.

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As much as I’d like to smother EVERYTHING in traditional hummus, legumes haven’t been sitting too well with me. I’ll indulge on occasion — just because they are SO good… and meaty, velvety beans are an ingredient I really enjoy. Instead, I reserve beans for a rare occasion, and have tried different versions of hummus for an alternative veggie dip.

When I found myself needing to prep veggies and make a dip for the week for lunch,  I knew I had to whip up something to satisfy my hummus craving. I blended some leftover roasted parsnips with some raw zucchini, and I was surprised at how addicting this dip is! I took the traditional flavors of hummus and spiced it up a bit with a chile-infused oil from our lovely Just Tapped oil and vinegar store (love these owners!). You can use plain olive oil or avocado oil if you’d like and sprinkle in some crushed red pepper or omit the pepper altogether and add a bit of lemon zest and extra lemon juice for a nice zing.

parsnip hummus1

If you haven’t experimented much with parsnips, they are the BOMB! A sweeter, yet slightly spicy cousin of the carrot, parsnips have a velvety texture when they are roasted much like a winter squash. Simply roasting parsnips with a little oil and sea salt make some epic “parsnip fries” and a great side at dinner or a hearty snack when you need a starch fix.

This parsnip hummus is slightly sweet yet spicy with a smooth creamy texture, perfect for a filling snack or as part of a meal. Serve with your favorite chopped veggies, use in your favorite wrap, smear over gluten-free crackers, or dip with plantain chips or sweet potato chips!

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Parsnip-Zucchini Hummus (Bean-free)
Nut-free, Paleo-friendly, Nightshade-free option, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Sugar-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Vegetarian, Vegan


2 medium parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 medium zucchini, peeled and cubed (can use yellow squash as well)
2 Tbsp tahini*
2 1/2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil, divided (I used chile-infused)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cumin
juice from one lemon
dash of cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t like spicy)
1/4 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Tear off a large piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper and place cubed parsnips in the center. Drizzle 1/2 Tbsp of oil over the top, then create a foil or parchment packet and roast 25-30 minutes until tender and lightly golden brown. Remove from heat.
  2. In the bowl of  food processor or a high-powered blender (ie. Vitamix), add the following in order: lemon juice, garlic, tahini, 2 Tbsp oil, spices and zucchini. Blend until smooth. If you are using a blender, you may need to use the tamper.
  3. Add the roasted parsnips and process until smooth. If you prefer a chunkier hummus, pulse to desired texture. Season with additional salt, pepper and lemon juice if preferred. Refrigerate to chill for an hour or two, then enjoy!Notes:*The tahini I buy (in bulk) is really runny, if yours is thicker than a creamy salad dressing, you may need to add an extra drizzle of olive oil.

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September 25, 2015 at 7:58 pm Leave a comment

West African Stew

Our local health food store has this luscious West African Peanut Soup that they feature in their hot bar on occasion. There’s something about the soup that screams “comfort” (…and eat me of course!). It combines some of my favorite foods in one dish- sweet potatoes, nut or seed butters, greens and coconut milk.

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After inquiring about the ingredients used in their soup, I knew I could come up with my own version that I could make anytime…without having to wait whether it’s offered on the menu that day. Dare I say that I might even like this version better? Maybe because I added some of my favorite veggies and punched up the creaminess with the coconut milk…I even enjoyed this cold right from the fridge for lunch one day when I didn’t have a way to heat up the soup at work.

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This stew (or hearty soup) is a great way to kick off this Fall season and warm up on chilly evenings :)

If you aren’t familiar with Berbere, it’s a lovely warm Ethiopian spice mixture with a bit of heat made with chile powder, paprika, ginger, coriander and several other spices. It pairs really well with the sweet potatoes, tomato, nut butter and veggies and can be used in a variety of ingredients – . I purchased this spice mix in bulk, but if you are looking to make your own, try this homemade mix.
west african stew 2West African Stew
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-free Option, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free, Paleo-Friendly

1 Tbsp coconut oil or other neutral oil
1-2 medium carrots, small diced
1 large or 2 small stalks of celery, diced
1 small yellow or white onion, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled (if desired and cubed, about 4-5 cups, I used a combo of white and orange flesh)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and minced (omit if you don’t like spicy)
1 14.5oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can full-fat coconut milk
32 oz low-sodium vegetable broth or stock
2 tbsp Berbere spice mix (I like the flavor punch, but you can use 1 tbsp if you like less spicy, mild flavors)
1-2 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos, gluten-free soy sauce tamari or coconut aminos (use coconut aminos for soy-free & paleo)
3/4 cup chunky or creamy peanut butter, sunflower seed butter (for nut-free) OR almond butter* (I’ve tried all 3 versions)
2-3 cups greens, rough chopped (chard, collards, kale, spinach)-optional
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
juice from one small lime

For serving (Optional but oh-so-good)
Cooked rice, quinoa or your favorite grain (omit for grain-free and/or Paleo)
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Chopped green onion
Chopped peanuts, slivered almonds or sunflower seeds
Chopped cilantro


  1. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add garlic, sweet potato chunks, and jalapeño and saute another 3-4 minutes until onions are cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in broth, coconut milk, tomatoes (undrained), Berbere spice mix, and Braggs/aminos and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, roughly 20 minutes.
  4. Remove 1/2 cup of the hot soup broth and place in a small bowl. Stir in the nut/seed butter and whisk until smooth (this helps prevent clumping and even distribution), then add back to the soup and stir again.
  5. Toss in the chopped greens and cook for a few minutes wilted.
  6. Stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Taste and season with additional lime juice, liquid aminos, salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Ladle into bowls, garnish with grains, green onions, chopped nuts/seeds and additional cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top and enjoy!

*I’ve made variations of this soup…feel free to make it your own! I’ll add in sliced mushrooms, swap out orange for purple sweet potatoes, add in greens, throw in some leftover cooked grains if I need to use some up, etc.

west african stew

September 21, 2015 at 6:21 pm Leave a comment

Peanut Butter Crepes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling (Grain-free) SRC

When it comes to food ruts, breakfast is the meal that poses the most difficulty for me. My go-to option is a smoothie but switching things up a bit is always welcome. I am a sucker for pancakes, waffles, crepes, biscuits and bread in general so if I find a good (and easy) way to get my fix, I’m all over it! My quick Quinoa Buckwheat Skillet Bread is a great example, but a girl can’t live off this bread alone :) I’ve had crepes on my mind since a new creperie opened up in town and I can’t seem the shake the craving.

PB crepes c1

I was stoked when I came across these Peanut Butter Crepes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling when browsing through Tara’s Multicultural Table blog after receiving this month’s for our Secret Recipe Club reveal! Tara’s site is full of recipes from around the world, and her recipe index is a breeze for search through, especially if you are looking for specific ethnic cuisine. Tara’s Brazilian Cheese Bread Waffles had me drooling, along with Armenian Tahini Bread and her Samoan Sweet Coconut Buns…can you tell I had carbs on the brain? ;)

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Peanut butter crepes

Though oodles of her recipes were enticing, when Tara mentioned these crepes were naturally gluten-free and flour-less, I was sold. My crepe craving was satisfied! These are definitely best served warm, I had right off the pan and preferred it to the room temperature version I had after snapping photos :) Since these are grain-free, don’t expect the same exact texture from a traditional crepe, but they deliciously filling, sweet and packed with cinnamon-flavor.

I made two different versions, one for me with my limited food list and another batch basically as written with the sugar swapped out for a lower glycemic sweetener. For “my batch”,  I used sunflower seed butter for in lieu of the peanut butter, stevia for the sugar in both the crepe and filling and made a coconut cream cheese (recipe link in the notes section). I received rave reviews for the peanut butter version and I loved my allergen-friendly crepes! I served mine with some chopped cherries and apples and a tiny drizzle of maple syrup…they are sweet enough to be a dessert in my book!

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Peanut butter version on the left, Sunflower seed butter version on the right

Peanut Butter Crepes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling (adapted from Tara’s Multicultural Table)
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Nightshade-free, Soy-free, Paleo-friendly option, Sugar Free & Dairy-free Options, Vegetarian, Nut-free Option


For the Crepes:
1 egg
6 egg whites
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 Tbsp granulated sweetener or a pinch of stevia to taste
2 Tbsp creamy all natural peanut butter (almond butter or sunflower seed butter for Paleo and/or nut-free)
For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese* (see notes below for allergen-friendly alternatives) softened
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sweetener or a pinch of stevia
Options for serving
Drizzle of maple syrup, agave nectar, honey or coconut nectar
sprinkle of ground cinnamon
coconut whipped cream
chopped apples, cherries, sliced bananas or berries
chocolate chips or cacao nibs


1. To make the crepes, whisk the egg and egg whites in a medium to large bowl until foamy. Whisk in the vanilla extract, sweetener, and peanut butter.

2. To make the filling, mix together the filling ingredients in a small/medium bowl and set aside.

3. Grease a large skillet with coconut oil (butter/ghee or your favorite oil can be used) and heat over medium heat. Once thoroughly heated, evenly swirl about 1/4 cup crepe batter in the pan. Cook about 1-2 minutes, until small bubbles appear and crepe sets. Flip with a large spatula and cook another minute, until golden.

4. Remove crepe from pan to add filling while still warm and roll up. Serve immediately with maple syrup and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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Sunflower seed butter crepes

1. *Cream Cheese alternatives: Try this cashew cream cheese for a vegan, soy and dairy-free option or this coconut cream cheese for a vegan, paleo and nut-free version.
2. If you are vegan, I don’t have a good egg-free option for you unfortunately but the filling is delicious if you use a dairy-free option and can be slathered on toast, pancakes etc
3. If you like chocolate and peanut butter, these would be awesome if you reduced the amount of cinnamon and added some chocolate chips and banana added to the filling.

For other recipes from this week’s reveal, click the link below!

July 26, 2015 at 10:00 pm 16 comments

Double Sesame Cookies

I’ve always been a big fan of nut butters but SEED butter is something I’ve really been loving on lately. I can’t get enough sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tahini and hemp seeds being sprinkled or drizzled on all types of sweet and savory dishes.

tahini cookies

Tahini is so versatile…whether it’s used in hummusdrizzled as a sauce, added to bread, used as a base for this ice cream flavor or featured in these cookies. Little bitty sesame seeds add a fun texture and nutty undertones to recipes and these two-bite treats are no exception! These cookies aren’t as sweet as if you used peanut or almond butter; tahini has a stronger flavor that’s both intriguing and addicting in my opinion.

These cookies came about when I was hankering for a treat…I was running low on time and I was craving something baked. No-fuss cookies that can be ready for devouring in less than 20 minutes…sign me up :) 
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Flourless Double Sesame Cookies (slightly adapted from my Chunky Monkey Chip Cookies)
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Nut-Free, Soy-free, Paleo-friendly, Refined Sugar-Free, Easy, Quick


1 cup of tahini* (sesame seed butter – make sure its a thick)
3/4 cup -1 cup of granulated sweetener**
1 egg, well beaten
pinch of sea salt (omit if your tahini is salted)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
1/4 cup sesame seeds (white, black or a combo)


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a medium size bowl, add tahini, sweetener, egg, baking soda, vanilla and stir well to combine until forms a dough.
3. Form dough balls (I use a tablespoon), roll into sesame seeds and place onto lined cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 9-11 minutes until golden brown – ovens vary so keep an eye on them – then let cool completely before moving (they break apart easily when warm) and enjoy!

*Make sure your tahini isn’t really runny or you won’t be able to form balls of dough. This is especially important if you are using a liquid sweetener!
**I used coconut palm sugar, and if yours is really coarse, pulse for a few seconds in a blender to break up slightly (mine was really clumpy). You could also use Sucanat, brown sugar, or could even try xylitol for sugar-free (please report back with those results!) If you prefer using honey or agave, substitute the granulated sweetener for 1/2-2/3 cup of liquid sweetener.

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May 1, 2015 at 3:58 pm Leave a comment

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