Spicy Beet Hummus (Vegan, Gluten-Free and Soy-Free)

I’ve made beet tahini before (for my wedding); it was an unforgettable colour and very delicious. A beet hummus was always in the works. I had a handful of leftover chickpeas and those new fangled pre-cooked beets you can get in the produce section of big grocery stores these days. The rich, earthy flavour of beets really lends itself to hummus. This might also be a great place to start acquiring the taste for beets, if you’re not best friends with them. I grew up hating beets and learned to love them through fresh juice (still my order: orange, apple, carrot and beet).

Everyone loves hummus, right? Especially ones with a lovely pink hue? I did mine a little spicy, but feel free to leave out the hot peppers.


Beet Hummus

1/2 cup tahini
Juice of 3 lemons
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup cooked chickpeas
3 medium sized cooked red beets
1 small hot pepper, chopped (whatever amount you like)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
Water, to thin to desired consistency

In a blender or food processor, add the tahini and whiz for a minute or so. The air helps for a lighter texture hummus. Next, add the lemon juice and garlic cloves and whiz again for 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas, beets and hot pepper and pulse to break down the chickpeas and beets. Turn on and slowly add the olive oil. Add seasonings and whiz in any water you’d like. Serve with anything you like: crudite, crackers on your sandwiches…


I Had a Picnic (And Got Married): The Three Prepared Salads Edition

OK, last wedding post.¬† There’s probably more I could write, but I was sick of talking about the wedding the moment I started to plan one, so I’m just about tapped now. In addition, I’d really rather start coming up with new and exciting and NEW YEAR AND I GOT A BUNCH OF KITCHEN STUFF FOR CHRISTMAS posts for this blog, so the story of that time I had a really stressful picnic needs to wrap itself up. Listen, I’m so freaking-fantastically-over-the-top happy to be married to the best person in the entire world but weddings just aren’t my thing – even my own.

Three prepared salads: Rainbow Quinoa, Roasted Garlic and Sage Potato & Coleslaw with Spicy Avocado Dressing.

full spread

Rainbow Quinoa Salad

Serves 8 as a side

4 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature
1 cup edamame beans
1 cup diced sweet bell peppers (I used red)
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 bunches green onions, finely chopped
One large handful, each, fresh basil, cilantro and Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons high quality mustard (I used a dijon seasoned with herbs de Provence – highly recommended)
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Taste for seasonings and adjust to where you’d like it. Bring to room temperature before serving. Cold quinoa is no one’s friend.

prepared salads

Roasted Garlic and Sage Potato Salad

Serves 8 as a side

16 medium red-skinned potatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons canola oil (or whatever your high-temperature roasting oil of choice is)
2 heads of garlic, roasted and cooled
One bunch sage, leaves removed, divided in half


1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup pesto veganaise
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small red onion, diced very small
A large handful fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C). Scrub and chop potatoes. Slather potatoes with  2 tablespoons of olive oil and season generously with salt. Toss half of the sage leaves with your potatoes. Cut the tops off of the garlic, so the cloves are just barely exposed. Wrap each in tin foil with half a tablespoon of oil in the packet and some salt over the tops. Seal the packets. Spread potatoes and sage out onto a large baking sheet (or two). If there is room, put the garlic on. If not, find another baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the potatoes are crispy. Let garlic cool until it can be handled. Let potatoes cool slightly.

Roughly chop the remaining half of the fresh sage. Finely chop the roasted garlic. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Toss the chopped sage and garlic in with the cooled potatoes. Mix dressing into potatoes and taste for seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature.

full spread 2

Coleslaw with Spicy Avocado Dressing

Serves 8 as a side

1 medium head green cabbage, shredded (Oh, I used the most spectacular cabbage I have ever seen.)
1 red pepper, cut into long matchsticks
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into long matchsticks
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1 sweet white onion, such as Vidalia, sliced thin


3 avocados, peeled and pitted (obviously)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 inch jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Once all vegetables are prepped, toss together in a large bowl. Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour over vegetables and toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least an hour, taste for seasoning, and serve cold.