Tag: vegan

Pozole Verde: A Green Mexican Corn Soup

Pozole Verde: A Green Mexican Corn Soup

This pozole is such a flavorful soup that will satisfy all. Pozole verde is a green Mexican corn soup made with the plump and meaty white corn, known as hominy. The richly flavored broth is layered with the tang of tomatillos, the spice of cumin […]

Kissir Turkish Bulgur Salad

Kissir Turkish Bulgur Salad

This delicious salad is filling, full of aromatic green herbs and SO easy to make! Kissir is a Turkish bulgur salad that has spread from the Anatolian region and is very popular all over Turkey. This basic recipe can be modified with your favorite add-ins. […]

Date Truffles

Date Truffles

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These are the perfect excuse to indulge in a rich fudgy treat; packed with nutritional carbohydrates, minimal fat, no added sugars, and 7 natural whole ingredients this is the perfect snack to pop in for an energy boost! Try these before starting your Ramadan fast to have some lasting energy:) Or if you are like me and about to start an exhausting day running errands with two screaming kids with no time to eat; then these are perfect for that too!

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I love it when dessert can also be good for you. This recipe offers one delectably sweet treat, but it is oh so full of goodness and nutrition. These are also naturally vegan and gluten free so can be enjoyed by a variety of diets. These cute little truffles are delicious, fudgy, energy bites consisting of pureed dates, a dash of almond butter, vanilla extract, crushed nuts, coconut, or dried cherries (your choice!) and dark chocolate. I add some oats and flax meal for extra nutrition. Flax seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber and have been shown to decrease inflammation, reduce risks for cancer, and modestly decrease blood sugar levels in diabetics. Whole flax seeds however, usually pass through your body undigested, so it is necessary to consume it ground.

For the month of Ramadan, when Muslims traditionally and ritually consume dates before starting and after breaking the fast, these make an excellent variation to just plain dates. Muslims start the day before fasting with a date or two in suhoor , so these come in handy with the added fiber and flavor. The sustained energy release, numerous nutrients, and outstanding health benefits of dates are all a reason to pop one (or a few!) of these into your mouth when you are running low on fuel! Check out my post on the date smoothie to try another energy boosting and natural treat and to read more about the health benefits of dates. But just to give you an idea, dates are a superfood rich in B vitamins which help you metabolize food and develop new blood cells. They are also rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. Dates are packed with fiber, mostly insoluble fiber, which sticks to that nasty cholesterol and fat in your body and escorts it OUT of your body (by obvious means). Of course, as you may tell from its ultra sweet flavor, dates are also high in natural sugars, making them the perfect natural sweetener in desserts and smoothies and an excellent source of natural carbohydrates because they have a low glycemic index.

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I made some of these topped with crushed peanuts and no almond butter because my husband is allergic to all tree nuts and we have a tree-nut free household. BORING, I know. He is really missing out, I often tell him. Oh, and in case you are wondering, NO, peanuts are NOT a nut. They are a legume, or little seeds that grow in the ground. So although peanuts are a common allergy, they are not the same as a tree-nut allergy. (We often have to explain this to waiters who are very hesitant to give us desserts or foods with peanut ingredients when we warn them about the severe nut allergy). Anyway, I would LOVE to make these with crushed walnuts or pecans! Try it out, you will love it!

My favorite flavor is the coconut. Just add some coconut to the mixture and then roll the truffles in some shredded coconut.

To get the dates into a workable paste, you will need to remove the pit, slice in half, then soak the dates in warm water to soften them up. This is as technical as this recipe will get! Easy, right? Then you are ready to blend! Blend the dates with liquid vanilla extract and a spoon of almond butter to break up the dates into a paste.  Then add the cocoa, cinnamon, and other ingredients until incorporated. When cocoa is one of your main ingredients, it really needs to be the good stuff. Buy a fresh batch of high quality cocoa like Valrhona or Ghirardhelli. I use my Vitamix, which works great, but a powerful food processor should do the trick as well. I added oats and flax meal to the batch, and dried cherries, crushed nuts, or shredded coconut to divided parts of the mixture to make some different flavors. Then, after rolling into a ball, roll the truffle into some shredded coconut, crushed nuts, or some cocoa powder! The possibilities are endless!

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Date Truffles

5 from 5 votes

Ingredients
  

  • 10 Medjool dates pit removed, sliced in half, about 1 cup
  • 1/4 c oats
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon optional
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 c cocoa powder I use Valrhona or Ghirardhelli
  • 1 tsp flax meal whole seeds do not get absorbed by the body as readily
  • 1/4 c shredded coconut (plus some extra to roll the truffles in)
  • 1/4 c crushed nuts, or chopped dried cherries optional

Instructions
 

  • Soak the chopped dates in hot water for about 5 minutes until softened. Drain and place slices into a blender or food processor.
  • Add the vanilla and almond butter, and cinnamon, if using. Pulse until the dates are pureed into a thick paste.
  • Add the cocoa powder and flax meal and pulse until you achieve a rich, fudgy mixture.
  • Add the oats, chopped nuts, coconut, or cherries you want to mix in. If you choose to have a variety of flavors, divide the chocolate puree into portions and add different ingredients to each batch.
  • Roll the mixture into balls, then roll the truffles in coconut, cocoa powder, or crushed nuts.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Notes

You can substitute the almond butter with peanut butter, but the peanut butter will tend to dominate the chocolate flavor. You may also completely omit the nut butter for a really thick and fudgy mixture (but you really need a powerful processor to break up the dates into a paste!)
Stuffed Grape leaves – mahshy

Stuffed Grape leaves – mahshy

This recipe is so dear to my heart. Hands down, my favorite dish, the one thing I can relish at any given time, and never grow tired of, is a plate of hot, juicy, lemony vine leaves filled with a flavorful, herbed, rice mixture. This […]

Cinnamon Spice Banana Date Muffins

Cinnamon Spice Banana Date Muffins

These muffins are perfection when it comes to banana bread! Wonderfully moist and delicious, with ooey-gooey chocolate and dates throughout, this is a most delicious comfort treat for the cold season! The cinnamon and spice paired with the sweetness of dates and bananas is a […]

Strawberry Preserves

Strawberry Preserves

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If your family loves to go berry picking like mine does, you are likely going to end up with baskets full of of luscious red strawberries, raspberries, or juicy blueberries. This recipe for strawberry preserves will work for any type of berry. It is easy, can be made with basic pantry items, it is much lower in sugar than store-bought brands, and this small batch recipe is so flavorful and naturally sweet! I make this recipe with floral accents using dried rose petals and lavender extract. The floral accents are completely optional, but we love the delicate fragrant hint with the strawberries. For this recipe, you don’t need pectin or any special tools. You need a good pot, a lemon, only half a cup of sugar, and a very attentive eye!

I love all things summer, and one of my favorite things is strawberry picking! They are so much juicier, redder, and sweeter than anything you can get in store. The best perk, is that the strawberries last for over a week without any molding. I bet your grocery store berries can’t do that. As I always say, eat local, buy local whenever you can!

Ingredients

Fresh berries are best!

After picking your berries, keep them refrigerated. Do not wash them until you will use them. I soak them in water and some apple cider vinegar to disinfect, lift them out of the water to leave the dirt behind, and then lay them out on a towel. I use 2 pounds of fresh strawberries for this recipe, which is roughly 4 cups of quartered berries. My basket of berries from the farm has about 4-5 pounds of strawberries so you have plenty if you also went picking! I put the kids to work hulling the stem and leaves with a little metal teaspoon. The small round shape is perfect for scooping out the hull!

Floral infusions

I use dried rose petals and buds in a tea filter. I find these have a much more fragrant and delicate rose essence than using rose water. It also allows me to control the amount of liquid added to the recipe. I pour 1/4 c water over the tea filter to help draw out the rose essence, and this liquid all evaporates as the preserves reduce over the heat. I use lavender extract or grind my lavender tea and sprinkle this into the tea filter as well.

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Lemon juice and sugar

Many recipes call for 1-3 cups of sugar for 2 pounds of berries. I only use 1/2 a cup. Sugar is important as it preserves the fruit and draws out the juices. Towards the end of my reduction, I taste the preserves and add 2-3 tablespoons of honey as needed.

The lemon juice is essential as it allows the pectin in the fruit to become thick and gel like. I do not add in any additional pectin powder because you do not need it for this recipe!

If you happen to have pure salep powder which is the ground powder from the tubers of the orchid flower, you can sprinkle in half of a teaspoon to help thicken the jam, and a bonus is more floral infusion into the flavor! Salep powder is hard to come by, as I get mine from Turkey or Egypt, but it really is a lovely addition if you have it!

While you do not need any special thermometer or tools for this recipe, you will need a very attentive eye. If you do not constantly stir the pot, or if you let it boil over, the preserves will burn and the berries will turn to char. I continuously stirred my small batch pot for 45 minutes or so, while I was preparing something else in the kitchen. So plan to make this while you will be hanging out in the kitchen so that you can keep a close eye on it.

Storing the Preserves

I used 3 jars that I saved to reuse. I simply rinsed the jars with boiling water, and boiled the lids to sterilize. I did not officially can the jars with a seal, as I know we will go through this in about a month. If you wish to properly preserve the jam in jars, you will need sterilized jars and lids to seal them. This is a surprisingly easy method which you can watch on YouTube here. I love these jars. These preserves sealed in jar would make for a perfect gift for friends and family! This recipe will yield 3-4 jars of jam.

Strawberry Preserves

Noha
This delicious, floral small-batch strawberry preserve recipe is so easy and delicious, and uses pantry basics to create a beautiful, juicy, sweet jam perfect for bread, biscuits, pancakes, and more!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Side Dish
Servings 3 10 0z jars

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • juice of half a lemon 1/4 c
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c rose petals (optional)
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2-3 tbsp honey (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Combine the strawberries and sugar in a large, heavy bottom pot, with enough room for liquid and foam to bubble up (see video).
  • Place the rosebuds in a tea filter, make an open pit in the pot in the midst of the berries, and set the filter in the pot, in the middle of the strawberries.
  • Pour the water directly over the tea filter. Set the pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  • After about 10 minutes, the pot will begin to boil with a lot of foam and liquid coming up. Continuously stir with a silicone spoon. Set the spoon on top of the pot so that it does not spill over. Do not leave the pot unattended at any time because the preserves will easily burn.
  • Once the foam has settled a bit, reduce the heat to low, add the lemon juice and continue to stir. Allow the pot to simmer while stirring every so often. The berries will break down and the liquid will evaporate eventually, leaving a thick jam behind. Every 10 minutes, check the pot and stir so that nothing sticks to the bottom.
  • Once the jam looks thickened, taste it. If you prefer it sweeter, you may add 2-4 tablespoons of honey according to your preference. Stir well and simmer for 3 more minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Scoop the jam into jam jars and allow them to come to room temperature before enjoying or refrigerating.
Keyword berry, jam, preserves, strawberry
Egyptian Massak’a (Moussaka)

Egyptian Massak’a (Moussaka)

Egyptian massak’a is easily one the tastiest dishes out there. In this version, sliced eggplants and peppers are lightly fried and then cooked in an irresistible tomato sauce simmering with garlic, onions, cumin, and vinegar. It’s really a quite simple dish to prepare with complex […]

Mushroom Bolognese Pasta (vegan)

Mushroom Bolognese Pasta (vegan)

This is a wonderful dish I have started making for my family to substitute a hearty and delicious beef sauce. We want to eat less meat, and more veggies, so if you are in the same boat- you will LOVE this dish! This pasta is […]

Loubiya (Egyptian Black Eyed Pea Stew)

Loubiya (Egyptian Black Eyed Pea Stew)

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Loubiya has been one of my favorite meals of all time. These beans are so creamy and full of flavor, they really stand out from any other bean I have tried. This Egyptian black eyed pea stew is such a healthy and flavorful comfort dish. Loubiya is a lovely medley of onions, garlic, and luscious black-eye peas that have simmered away in a rich tomato broth. Egyptian loubiya is traditionally cooked with tender stew beef and its broth, but in our plant focused kitchen, I always make it vegan. This easy plant-based dinner is flavorful and satisfying, and best of all it is conveniently made with inexpensive pantry basics.

black eyed peas

Ingredients

As with all of my beans and legumes, I use dried beans. Black eyed peas are available almost anywhere; and believe me when I say it is worth cooking them fresh from scratch! For one thing, you do not want them too soft for this stew. The taste is always better when cooked fresh, and not out of a can.

First, I spread the beans in a large shallow dish and let the kids pick through them for any bad pieces; they love this “game” ! I wash and rinse the beans and cook them directly without soaking because I use a pressure cooker. The Instant Pot has been my reliable choice for easy pressure cooking for over 10 years now. The beans are cooked in 15 minutes in the Instant Pot! (Click the link to purchase directly from Amazon).

black eyed peas

Like any bean, black eyed peas are a superb source of fiber. What sets these apart though, is their creamy texture and super quick cook time. They are also particularly rich in Vitamin B, folate, potassium and iron. These beans are high in protein and a low fat and low calorie food, making them ideal for weight loss.

The tomato broth is a flavorful mix of onions, shallots, garlic, and carrots infused with fresh ground coriander and cardamom.

I love using blended tomatoes, but if I don’t have enough tomatoes, crushed tomatoes in a jar work very well. I simmer the tomato broth until it thickens and incorporates all the delicious flavors.

Loubiya stew pairs perfectly with a bowl of fluffy white rice. I serve it alongside a green salad, which makes for a filling and hearty meal you can feel good about. I hope you all enjoy! Bil Hana, wal shifaa ( Arabic for with health and healing)!

loubiya with rice

Loubiya (Egyptian Black Eyed Peas Stew)

This Egyptian black eyed pea stew is such a healthy and flavorful comfort dish made from a sofrito of sautéed onions, shallots, garlic and carrots with coriander that has simmered away in a rich tomato broth.
5 from 3 votes
Course Main Course
Cuisine egyptian, Middle Eastern

Equipment

  • Instant Pot (to cook the dry beans)

Ingredients
  

  • 2 c dried beans
  • 4 c water (to cook beans)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander seed (kuzbarra)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 large carrot, minced or diced small
  • 2.5 c blended or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 c water or broth
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Pick the black eyed peas over for any bad beans, wash, and place into pressure cooker with 4 cups of water. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes and natural pressure release.
    Alternatively, you may soak the beans in water for one hour, drain, rinse and then cook them covered in water in a conventional pot on the stovetop for 1.5-2 hours, until beans become fork tender.
    black eyed peas
  • In a separate stock pot, saute onions in olive oil over high heat until golden.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and toss in coriander and cardamom spices. Move around the spices so that they become fragrant over the heat, being careful not to scorch them.
  • Add minced shallots, garlic, and carrots.
  • Pour in the tomatoes, followed by the water or broth. Turn heat back up to medium-high.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, starting with 1 teaspoon of salt as you can add more once you add the black eyed peas.
  • Simmer the tomato broth for 10 minutes.
  • Add the cooked black eyed peas and simmer for 5 minutes more.
  • Serve with white rice and enjoy!
Keyword beans, blackeyedpeas, stew, vegan

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Chocolate Chai Spice Banana Muffins (grain-free!)

Chocolate Chai Spice Banana Muffins (grain-free!)

While most of my recipes are clean and wholesome, I wanted to make sure I have a few solid desserts that I can count on that are both sugar-free (refined cane sugar, not the carbohydrate) and grain-free. I am preparing for a Whole 30 type […]