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Veggie Apps & Sides

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Ain’t no party like a sweet potato party. Or a crostini party. Or a tahini party. Or a Friendsgiving party. Or a Thanksgiving soiree with all your family members you see but once or twice per year and still don’t really know what to talk about besides sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

I can’t say I’m a fan of the word ain’t. (In fact, I had to look up its spelling just for this blog post.) But, I’m a huge fan of parties, even those semi-strange family ones, and I’m  equally a fan of all the ingredients listed above.

Tahini. Sweet potatoes. Honey. Toasted walnuts and baguette. Now that’s a party in a single, not-entirely-too-awkward bite to eat.

I.e., you’re going to want to put this guy on your Thanksgiving party plate list.

Sweet Potato Crostini with Toasted Walnuts and Tahini

Aside from crostini packages that offer a ton of flavor in one fork-and-spoon-free bite, I’m a huge fan of healthy appetizers. Let’s face it, parties aren’t always the most health-friendly activities, Thanksgiving included. In fact, recent research for my day job informed me that the average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day, or the equivalent of the calories you’d use to jog 10 hours straight. Yowza. That’s a party in which I’m not too interested.

Luckily, this recipe packs in the nutrition, sneaking in a little protein while it’s at it. That bean-powered protein and creamy sweet potato fiber will keep you satisfied till the main meal arrives, and keep you feeling good, too.

If that sounds great to you, I invite you to kick off your next party FFFreshAir style, and let this crostini start your taste bud tango. I promise, it’s got way better dance moves than I do.

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Roasted Eggplant Hummus with Toasted Cumin

Roasted Eggplant Hummus with Toasted Cumin

Real talk here – emojis are one of the best attributes to ever appear in the smartphone world. It’s not infrequent that I’m texting half in emoji-speak, and dying in my bed from my own emoji-induced laughter.

Emojis are great, and so are the other goofs who can appreciate them as much as I do. Hopefully that’s you, otherwise you’re probably praying for my sanity right now.

Roasted Eggplant Hummus with Toasted Cumin

While I am forever anticipating the creation of a carrot emoji, I can say I frequently get down with the eggplant icon while I wait. Its purple radiance, with its bright green top, does wonders to add life to my muted text messages.

Eggplant emojis, for the win.

Japanese eggplant

You know what else is an eggplant win? When you add its roasted form to your hummus. You’ll find a recipe for that below, which is essentially a babaganoush meets hummus situation that can only be described as yum-o.

Roasted Eggplant Hummus with Toasted Cumin

By adding roasted eggplant into the chickpea mix, you create a slightly creamier spread to smear across your toasted bread or pita. I wanted to throw a little texture back in, so I toasted up some cumin seeds and added them, too. Like poppy seeds on a cracker, their small pop works well here, and really takes the spice infusion to another level. The toasty aromatics and nuttiness you derive from the whole form of cumin seed is worth the extra step.

Spread on pita with thinly sliced cabbage, spinach, and maybe some feta, too, or serve simply as is with warm, toasted bread and a drizzle of EVOO.

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Healthy Pumpkin Recipe Roundup

‘Tis the season for pumpkin-everything. I much prefer mine in its whole form as opposed to its pseudo form, and so I give an annual “no thank you” to the kind that’s making appearances in places it shouldn’t be. No thank you “pumpkin” cream cheese. No thank you high fat “pumpkin” lattes. Yes please, pumpkin curry, pumpkin soup, pumpkin dessert, and everything else you’ll find down below.

Pumpkin does have its place, and I can certainly jump on the October pumpkin bandwagon, as long as it’s showing up on the right spoon. Are you with me?

If so, great. Let’s be friends. Let’s also dive into this pumpkin recipe roundup together containing some of my all-time favorite pumpkin creations. Here, you’ll find a little something for everyone (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan), all meals, and occasions. You’ll also find a few pumpkin-y desserts, which are for sure worth the annual indulgence. That vegan pumpkin custard might be one of my favorite recipes of my repertoire, and it takes just 20 minutes and one pan to make! So come on already, pass over the pumpkin, please.

Pumpkin Coconut Overnight Oats

Pumpkin Coconut Overnight Oats

Breakfast made easy-peasy, creamy and delicious.

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

 Pumpkin Pie Muffins

Breakfast, lunch, snack-time, dessert…you name it. These half-whole-wheat, part-pumpkin-filled muffins, will make you feel good about the pastry in your hands.

Sage Pumpkin Hummus

Sage Pumpkin Hummus

 I love flavor variations of hummus. This one speaks of a harvest fall. Throw some toasted pita by its side and you have a wonderful appetizer for any gathering of the season.

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Moroccan Roasted Carrot Soup

Moroccan Carrot Soup

Another soup, already? Yep. Sorry about it, but…

I’ve been hit by, I’ve been hit by, a smooth (soupy) criminal.

Soup has now robbed my kitchen and all my recipe idea brain space. After that first bowl last week, on one of the first fully chilly fall nights, my mind was stolen. More soup, please.

Moroccan Carrot Soup

I hope you can get on board with that. And if you’re skeptical, let me tell you why it’s a good idea.

The best of fall’s harvest is in. Soup is gladly here to take it all in, and to fill you up and warm you up without weighing you down before the holidays.

For a hearty, yet light meal to welcome in autumn, I can’t think of anything better than soup.

Which means, I’m serving up two of those spoon-ready recipes in a row. Hope you can handle it. High five to you if you’re more than ready.

Carrots

This is one of my more favorite carrot soups I’ve had in awhile. It’s layered with flavor stemming from two main components: the caramelization from the roasted veggies and the toasted hints from the cumin.

Roasted Carrots
Buying the whole cumin seed and grinding it yourself is well worth the extra step. After toasting up those seeds in your skillet, you’ll see why. The fragrance they give off needs no explanation written out here on this blog.

Bottle that up and place it in a spray bottle, and you bet I’d spritz that all around my house. Likely on my clothes, too.

Moroccan Roasted Carrot Soup

If you don’t have a spice grinder, a coffee grinder will just as well do the trick to quickly grind up your toasted cumin seeds.

Their slight smokiness goes so well with the natural sweetness that radiates from earthy roasted carrots. Add a tangy dollop of yogurt to the mix, and it’s like heaven in a bowl.

Or a smooth criminal, that’ll try to steal your bowl, or mind, for the next few days.

Toasted Cumin

Healthful yet so tastefully satisfying, it’s likely I’ll be making this again soon. Don’t worry, it won’t show up on the blog again. Although, I can’t say the same for another soup soon.


High five again if you’re okay with that.

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Fall Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

Fall Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

Septemblur.

That’s all I have to say about this last month of summer. A good month for certain, but even more certainly, a fast one.

With just one (single!) day left of summer and one day till autumn, I have two words to say right now — s w e e t    p o t a t o.

Sweet Potatoes

I don’t know about you, but it feels like I woke up one morning, and poof, out of thin, (brisk, leaves-falling-through-it) air, autumn suddenly appeared. Sundress weather turned to sweater weather practically overnight, and sundown hours setup fort before I even had time to tell them I’d prefer they wait a bit longer.

That is life. You turn into this thing called an “adult” — generally the same meaning, but just a shorter form of the word adolescent — and life begins to blur.

Summer, don’t leave me. Please.

Fall Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

On the bright side, fall brings with it an array of awesome qualities outside of just the dreaded onset of winter. Fall foliage, apple picking, apple pie, apple oatmeal, apple everything.

Like Bubba on shrimp, I could talk endlessly about the things you can do with apples. But instead, let’s talk sweet potatoes. After all, they define the warm color of this season, exemplifying its deepest shade at their best.

What am I looking forward to most this fall? Orange.

Fall Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

I’m not ready to jump ship from summer. Don’t let this recipe deceive you. However, I admit, I am ready for sweet potatoes. When the weather crisps up, their soft heat brings more warmth to the table than my favorite winter sweater. And you know I am always ready for kale on that table, too.

So, here it is, my first autumn recipe of the year. Even if you’re a weeping-for-summer-to-stay kind of person like me, one thing’s for sure, this meal won’t disappoint. I say that even if the first cool, can’t-eat-outside evening you consume it during does. (Okay, okay. I know. Chilly evenings aren’t as bad as I’m making them out to be.)

Garlicky Kale

Here, garlicky kale and simply steamed sweet potatoes make for a classic pairing, yet an innovative, fall-feeling sushi. The ingredient combo also elevates an already healthy cuisine to a whole other level, which is exactly how I like to embrace the changing of seasons — on the right foot for my body.

Fall Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

You’ll find sweet potato sushi as an option on many vegetarian sections of sushi restaurants. Yet, it’s rarely an item I reach for, given it’s often just sweet potato rolled up in rice. Make it yourself, however, and add some sautéed kale to that equation, and you get an incredibly flavorful roll, with sweet-bitter and soft-chewy contrasts. Creamy avocado, a mainstay in all my sushi dreams, makes the whole thing complete, along with wasabi to offset the sweet potato.

Still a simple roll, no part of this is really complicated. Yet together, it all works so well.

Fall Sweet Potato and Kale Sushi

Grab a sushi mat and get ready to roll. Even if you’re mat-less, a clean flat surface, and press from your hands can do the trick. Just don’t tell the sushi chef masters I ever suggested that. Continue Reading…

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