roasted carrot and tahini soup with spicy chickpeas

The carrot, one of the most underestimated vegetables out there!  Don’t let this ordinary, often boring veggie fool you…in just two carrots there is four times the RDA of vitamin A!  They are bursting with vitamin C and antioxidants as well.  Studies show that a high carotene intake has been linked to a decrease of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

They are also great for promoting eye health…I guess Mom was right!

Like I said before, carrots can be a bit boring.  Try this recipe and turn the plain, old carrot into a savory soup!  Adding tahini gives this soup a “creamy” texture without the cream, it’s totally dairy-free!  The spicy chickpeas add spice and crunch while the toasted sesame oil and a pinch of sea salt help bring out the flavors.

This recipe is a keeper :)

roasted carrot soup with tahini and spicy chickpeas ~vegan, gluten free, dairy free~

Roasted Carrot and Tahini Soup with Spicy Chickpeas

(makes 4 servings)

1 pound carrots, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 yellow onion, diced

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 cup tahini

3 cups vegetable broth

a few gluggs extra virgin olive oil

sea salt and pepper

toasted sesame oil for garnish

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss carrots in a few tablespoons of olive oil, add a pinch of sea salt and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cook for 20 minutes or until carrots are tender.

-Meanwhile, add a few gluggs of olive oil to a small sauce pan.  Over medium-low heat, sauté onion and garlic until onions start to caramelize.  Add lime juice, paprika, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and saute until fragrant.

-In a food processor, add roasted carrots, onion/garlic mixture, vegetable broth and tahini.  Blend until well pureed.  I used a vitamix and blended on the “hot soup” setting.

-Return to a  soup pot to warm.

roasted carrot soup with tahini and spicy chickpeas ~vegan, gluten free, dairy free~

For Spicy Chickpeas:

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

a few gluggs of olive oil

1 tablespoon paprika

pinch sea salt

-Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

-Add chickpeas, paprika and sea salt.

-Cook until chickpeas start to become crispy, about 5 minutes.

roasted carrot soup with tahini and spicy chickpeas ~vegan, gluten free, dairy free~

-Garnish soup with a generous helping of spicy chickpeas, pinch of sea salt and a drizzle of toasted sesame seed oil.


pasta with beet greens, garlic and raisins

pasta with beet greens, garlic and raisins

Poor beet greens, overshadowed by its beautiful and sweet root they are often cut off and cast aside.  Many of us usually eat the beets while the greens wilt in the back of the refrigerator.  Don’t be guilty of this crime the next time you buy beets!  The greens are jam packed with nutrients that shouldn’t be wasted!

Beet greens contain high levels of vitamin K, which is essential for our blood to clot and works with calcium to build strong bones.  Vitamin K is said to alleviate morning sickness for all you pregnant women out there!  The greens also contain high levels of beta-carotene.  The body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A, which is essential for growth, development, immune function and vision to name a few!  Beta-carotene is also an antioxidant that prevents oxidative damage warding off cancer and premature aging.

I made a beet salad in yesterday’s Spring Renewal Nutrition & Yoga Workshop.  I knew I could not let the beet greens go to waste again, so I came up with this recipe for dinner tonight.  I have to say, it was pretty tasty!  The heat from the red pepper flakes is balanced by the sweetness of the raisins creating a savory dish.  I used Tinkyaka brown rice pasta for a gluten-free pasta alternative.

Pasta with Beet Greens, Garlic and Raisins

1 bunch of beet greens washed and chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ red onion, chopped

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more depending on your taste

2 cups low-sodium organic vegetable broth

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

½ cup raisins

½ cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

-Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

-Add red onion and sauté until caramelized.

-Add garlic and sauté until garlic is slightly golden but not burnt!

-Carefully add beet greens to skillet and cook until wilted.

-Stir in broth, red pepper flakes, raisins, salt and pepper.

-Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

-Serve over pasta and garnish with toasted pine nuts.


pasta with beet greens, garlic and raisins

kale…it’s what’s for dinner

meet kale

Dubbed the “new beef” secondary to its high iron level.  Weighing in at only 40 calories, zero fat and a whopping 5 grams of fiber for a 1 cup serving, kale is hailed as a champion in the nutrition world.  It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food warding off disease and contains abundant amounts of vitamins K, A and C all important for immunity, skin, vision and bodily functions.  For all you non-dairy drinkers out there, per calorie kale contains more calcium than milk!

I found this recipe in the April, 2013 edition of Women’s Health Magazine and as usual I modified using the ingredients I had in the house.  I like keeping kale recipes on hand because in a few weeks our garden will be overflowing with kale and I will run out of different ways to prepare it!

kale skillet with egg, onion, and tomato ~vegetarian, gluten free~

Kale Skillet with Egg, Onion, and Tomato

1 1/4 cup quartered cherry tomatoes

1/2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 large bunches of kale

1 1/2 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

5 large eggs

a few large glugs of olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

kale skillet with egg, onion and tomato ~vegetarian, gluten free~


-In a small bowl, toss cherry tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and set aside.

-Remove kale from stems and chop leaves, place in a large bowl of cool water, and swirl to rinse.  Transfer to a colander allowing a bit of water to remain on leaves.

-In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, saute onion in olive oil until softened and browned.  Reduce heat to low and add garlic, saute for 3 minutes.

-Add kale leaves to skillet, turn heat to high and toss with tongs until leaves wilt.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

-Make five indents, or “nests” in kale.  Crack 1 egg into each nest.

-Cover skillet and reduce heat.  Cook until yolks are set, about 5 minutes.

-Add cherry tomatoes and vinegar to skillet, then enjoy!

kale skillet with egg, onion, and tomato ~vegetarian, gluten free~

To round out the meal we had roasted fingerling potatoes.  First, in a bowl drizzle potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste.  If you want to get fancy, add freshly chopped parsley, rosemary or thyme.  Transfer onto a pan and roast in a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes or until soft on the inside and golden on the outside.

kale skillet with egg, onion and tomato ~vegetarian, gluten free~

This is such a quick, easy, affordable and hearty meal that is loaded with health benefits.  For a vegan version you can substitute eggs with cannellini beans…hope you like it too!

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