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pita

Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

Do you have a favorite veggie? One you love so much that you’ve considered getting it inked somewhere on your body? If so, we should probably be friends.

Carrot Top Spread

For me, that veggie is carrots. Particularly those that come in multi-colored bunches, beautiful green tops kept attached and in tact.

Carrots are simply a delightful sight, and I happen to absolutely adore their earthy, slightly sweet flavor, too.

Multi-colored carrots

However, it wasn’t until, perhaps just last year, that I would do much with a bunch’s tops. Despite this, it had always pained me to dump all of those elegant, lacy greens into the trash. I’m not one to waste food, especially when it’s the kind that comes straight from the ground and still appears rather fresh.

So, I finally decided to do some research. The result? Without too much surprise, I discovered that carrots were edible from head-to-toe, and that I no longer should be trashing their tops.

Since, I remain determined to find new ways to use them. I’d invite you to do the same. (And share your findings with me!)

Carrot Tops

What do carrot tops taste like? To me, the little leaves resemble the qualities of an herb – very unique in flavor and fairly pungent. I’d liken it to parsley, with a fresh flavor that can cut other rich foods, yet with a slightly bitter touch.

Like herbs, I love to loosely chop the leaves, and use them for topping salads and sandwiches. I also love them for a flavorful pesto-like spread, such as this one.

Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

Given the flavor of carrot tops, this spread is a bit more bitter than a traditional basil pesto, which is why it pairs so nicely with the sweetness of roasted carrots. The beans add a boost of protein to it and also mellow out the flavor. Together with crunchy cabbage and sunflower seeds, all sandwiched into a pita, this creamy spread feels almost decadent. Yet, it doesn’t require much more effort than it takes to pull out the food processor and place it on your kitchen counter. Thank you to whoever invented this wonderful appliance.

Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

 

I chose to keep this dish vegan, but feel free to add some goat cheese or feta on top. You could also swap the pita for a whole wheat tortilla wrap if pita is not available. Enjoy!

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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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Swiss Chard Falafel

Swiss Chard

I should probably admit upfront, these err a tad more on the side of fritters than falafel. But I hate a dry, dense ball of falafel, so in my mind, the characteristics of these are what the word “falafel” should always mean.

Falafel should be as moist as the fresh chickpeas you put into it. It should mean a circular or ovular sphere flavorful enough to snack on as it is, even if a little bit of yogurt sauce or hummus elevates it to a whole other level. I.e., a truly good falafel should be the shining star in the pita you pack it in, radiating brighter than all else that lays beside it.

Swiss Chard Falafel

It’s simply impossible to deny how beautiful of a veggie swiss chard is. I’ve expressed before my love of pinks when it comes to produce, and the photographing of it. Beets and radishes, while not necessarily my favorite flavors of the veggie kingdom, stand among my all-time most beloved subjects to photograph. (Apologies in advance to my friend Laura. And my 90-year-old grandpa. And the random boys in my life. All of which are other favorite photo subjects in my life – but I’m telling you, beets and radishes make for some steadfast competition.)

Swiss Chard

The magenta lines that stream down a leaf of swiss chard, the veins not unlike our own that bring this veggie to life, make it a mesmerizing sight. Its yellow veins, too. Although if I had to choose, I’d of course go for the pink. There’s just something about those pinks when you get them in front of a camera. Born to be (still life) models, I tell you.

Swiss Chard Falafel

I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut lately. Breakfast for dinner has been popping up more often than I’d like, as is thrown together bowls of beans, rice, herbs, and avocado. (Although – if that avocado is a magically flawless and ripe specimen, forget the hesitancy and tone of complaint emanating from that last sentence. Hand me a ripe avocado, and I’ll be a happy kid forever.)

I never thought I’d be one to say this, but busyness has led me to allow cooking to fall by the side of the road for a few. Plus, it’s summer, and I enjoy nothing more than eating outside. And if this means scoping out all the restaurants with outdoor seating, then so be it. Cooking can be put on pause for a few.

However, you know as well as I do, I do love cooking. And so I return, by the sight of a healthy looking bunch of swiss chard.

Swiss Chard Falafel

I picked this bunch of from the store and immediately had ideas start to come to me from left and right. There’s nothing like a little ingredient inspiration to draw you out of a slight cooking hiatus.

It’d been forever since I made falafel, so that’s the idea I went with. Don’t ask me how swiss chard led my brain to falafel – but it worked out well. I mean, why not add some green power to falafel? Tastes great, looks decent, and kills it on the “you should really make this meal more nutritious” level.

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard’s back in style. Every farmers’ market table will be wearing it pretty soon. Get some while you can. Admire it’s beauty for a day. Or 15 minutes on your cutting board. Then chop it all and throw it into this falafel recipe.

These are definitely snackable on their own, but I love the pairing with the yogurt/herb sauce. You choose whether to pack them in a pita, or throw them with some brown rice. Either one you go with, drizzle a little tahini on top, and voila. A truly golden, slightly green meal.

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Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs

So my other fellow Philadelphia food blogger friend Emily and I finally got together for an evening of true food blogging. Naturally, there were six eggplants involved, two cameras, and a table full of hungry people. After listing some possible eggplant ideas, we finally settled on these Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs I had seen from Dash of East over on Foodgawker.

If you’ve never checked out Foodgawker, oh my, you must. It’s basically a photo heaven for foodies, and if you’re not inspired to cook afterwards, you’ll at least be hungry for dinner. So many talented food bloggers out there, Dash of East included.

Emily also has an awesome blog called On Food and Baking. If her clever “About” section doesn’t hook you, then her recipes, always full of top-notch ingredients like pistachios, blackberries, and sweet potatoes, certainly will. Oh, and did I mention she recently made Lime and Avocado Popsicles? Yeah, she’s pretty much amazing, just like those popsicles she let me test out.

Anyways, after popping three batches of this recipe out of the oven, we topped off the eggplant-filled meatballs with hummus and Tzatziki sauce. And really, how can you go wrong with those toppings? The end result reminded me of a lighter version of falafel. It’s almost as if we combined baba ganoush and falafel into one ball. Delish.

Emily in action.


Click here for recipe…

Cilantro Hummus Pita Sandwiches

I’ve been whipping up quite a few batches of hummus since my last Classic Hummus post. My high school jam might just be moving on its way to becoming my college regular. When I stop in to pick up my lunch every Tuesday morning at Grace’s Kitchen, the cashiers (moi) don’t even have to take my order. They already know it’s going to be hummus on wheat. And the chef (moi as well) knows that she can make some small, creative changes to the order and I’ll still be happy.

This time, I decided to throw in some cilantro, adding a bit more of a pungent boost of freshness to the spread than traditional parsley would. I went with a classic whole wheat pita rather than my standard Ezekiel bread, and added roasted red peppers for a slightly sweet and smoky touch. I swapped lettuce with nutrient-rich spinach to finish off a colorful pallete of flavor bound for my paper-bag lunch. Yum.

Cilantro Hummus Pita Sandwiches

(Serves 6)

-2 cloves garlic
-1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
-2 Tbsp. sesame tahini
-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
-1/2 tsp. paprika
-1/2 tsp. cumin
-1/2 tsp. salt
-2 Tbsp. water
-1/4 cup cilantro leaves, packed
-4 jarred roasted red peppers, sliced
-Pita bread
-Spinach

Process garlic in a food processor. Add chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, water, and spices, and puree until smooth. Toss in cilantro, and pulse until combined.

Spread a generous layer of hummus on pita. Top with sliced peppers and spinach. Serve.