Building A Better Snack Board

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

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Today we’re giving you tips on building an impressive health-forward snack board that is packed with flavour and will please all of the palates at your dinner table. The board we’ve created features an assortment of gluten free crackers, vegetables and fruits and four recipes: earthy beet hummus, thyme and roasted garlic cashew cheese, radish green hemp pesto, and maple citrus candied nuts.

Our recipes would be at home on any snack board, or are great as a stand alone option. Feel free to use them on your board, or keep these three tips in mind to build your own version. View the snack board as a canvas on which you can flex your creative muscles.

Choose a Variety of Options:

Variety is the spice of life, or so the old saying goes, and it is essential when assembling a snack board. Choose not only a variety of items to place on your board - fresh produce, cheeses (or non-dairy options), meats, crackers, nuts, seeds, and spreads - but a variety of textures and flavours as well. Appeal to the 5 tastes by featuring a combination of savoury, salty, sweet, bitter, and sour items. You can add the crunch of raw vegetable crudités while featuring soft pickled ones, or a bevy of fresh fruits with a tangy fruit chutney.

Choose a Theme:

Build your board around items for a holiday, event, season, or a regional cuisine. Is it spring time? Load up your snack board with in-season items like fresh radishes, radish green pesto, and shaved asparagus. Is it summer? Break out the grill and feature loads of grilled in-season veggies like corn and bell peppers. Do you love Mediterranean food? Try beet hummus, marinated artichoke hearts, or harissa roasted chickpeas.

Choose Colour:

When in doubt loading up your board with an assortment of brightly coloured fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits is sure to appeal to our tendency toward eating with the eyes. They are not only packed with flavour, but fibre and phytochemicals that are beneficial for disease prevention. It’s a win-win situation.

Better Snack Board Recipes:

radish green pesto, hemp pesto, vegan pesto, radish greens, radish pesto, root to stem

Beet Hummus:

Beet hummus is a nice break from traditional hummus and lends a rich, earthy taste and a pop of colour to your board. We even experimented and used a bit of smoked tahini from Parallel Brothers in our hummus (local for you Toronto folks).

1 medium cooked beet
3 cloves roasted garlic
1 15 oz can chickpeas
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra to garnish
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp cumin
sea salt, to taste
¼ cup ice water, as needed to thin

1. Combine all ingredients except the ice water in a high-speed blender or food processor, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula if needed. While still running, drizzle in ice water until the hummus has a smooth, creamy consistency.
2. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped herbs.

Radish Green Hemp Pesto:

If you buy radishes with the greens still attached, this hemp pesto is an incredible way to utilize them and avoid the compost bin. Yes, radish greens are edible! They tend to be incredibly sandy, so make sure to rinse thoroughly to clean off any grit.

1 bunch radish leaves, thoroughly washed and dried
2 cloves roasted garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup hemp seeds
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
½ lemon, juiced
sea salt, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula if needed.

Tip: If desired, you can add a ½ cup of basil to this recipe to get more of a traditional pesto taste.

Roasted Garlic and Thyme Cashew Cheese:

This is an excellent option to add to your board if you’re vegan or have lactose intolerance and are looking for something to fill the void of a traditional cheese. It is creamy, bright ,and herbaceous. The thyme can be swapped for other herbs if you’re looking for a different flavour profile for your board. Dill, chives, basil, or tarragon are all fantastic choices.

1 ¼ cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ lemon, juiced
1 tsp lemon zest
3 cloves roasted garlic
3 tsp fresh thyme, divided
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
water, as needed to thin

1. Soak cashews overnight in warm water, draining and rinsing thoroughly. If you’re in a time crunch, you can soak in hot water for an hour.
2. Combine soaked cashews and remaining ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth and spreadable, scraping as necessary with a spatula.
3. Using wet hands, you can optionally roll your cheese into a log or ball, placing on a small piece of parchment or wax paper. Otherwise, place in a bowl.
4. Sprinkle with remaining thyme and cracked black pepper.

Maple Citrus Candied Nuts

These crunchy clusters are the perfect balance of sweet with a bright hint of orange. Feel free to use pecans in this recipe or substitute for walnuts, almonds, or pistachios.

½ cup pecans
1 tsp coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp orange zest
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat combine coconut oil, maple syrup, and orange zest. Add in pecans (or nuts of choice) and stir to coat.
3. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes, checking on and stirring them periodically.
4. Allow to cool and serve.

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If you’re racking your brain for something to make for a dinner party or a potluck, this snack board is sure to be a show stopper!

These four recipes are some of the things that we like to include, but we’d love to hear what your must-have snack board items are. Give us a shout in our comments section, or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages. 

Cauliflower Power Sushi Rolls

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

sushi, paleo sushi, cauliflower sushi, vegetarian, vegan, vegetarian sushi

Have you ever had a plate full of sushi and feel ravenously hungry a few hours later? We love sushi, but are always looking for a way to make it more nutritious. Most rolls contain deep fried tempura and starchy white rice – not the best choices to make for blood sugar balance or disease prevention.

We were inspired to create these vibrant sushi rolls packed with cauliflower rice, raw veggies, and a drizzle of tangy tahini lime sauce. Cauliflower is a fibre-packed cruciferous vegetable that is a powerhouse for disease prevention. It’s not only delicious, but is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C – which can protect your cells from free radicals and inflammation.  It also contains the phytochemical glucosinolate, which has been studied for its role in cancer prevention. A study completed by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed significantly lower lung cancer risk in women who consumed cruciferous vegetables (Feskanich, D., 2000). 

These are easy to customize with your favourite fillings and are a great option for those following a grain-free diet. Make this a full meal by serving with a heap of leafy greens dressed with our Carrot Miso Ginger Dressing.

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Cauliflower Power Sushi Rolls:

Sushi Rolls:
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets and riced in a food processor
2 tsp coconut oil
¼ cup water
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp sesame oil
Salt, to taste
1 medium beet, peeled and grated
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 English cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
3 green onions, sliced
6 sheets nori
Toasted black sesame seeds (optional)

Tahini Lime Ginger Sauce:
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp tamari
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tsp fresh ginger
½ tsp maple syrup
¼ tsp sesame oil
Water, as needed to thin


  1. Add chopped cauliflower florets to a food processor (see tip). Pulse until it resembles a coarse meal.
  2. Melt 2 tsp of coconut oil in a pot over medium heat. Add riced cauliflower and sauté for 1 minute. Add water and cover pot with a lid, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes until completely cooked. This will allow the cauliflower to steam and become tender.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool enough to handle (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare remaining vegetables for sushi roll.
  4. Combine all ingredients for dipping sauce in a small bowl, adding water 1 tsp at a time to create a thinner texture if desired.
  5. Using a clean tea towel or a cheese cloth, drain out excess liquid from the cauliflower rice. Mix in rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and salt into the cooled rice.
  6. Lay a bamboo sushi mat flat on your counter or cutting board. Place the nori with the shiny side down on top of the mat. Spoon about 1/3 cup of rice onto the nori, spreading out evenly and leaving the bottom third of the sheet (farthest from you) bare.
  7. Place rows of your veggies in the middle of the rice. Carefully roll the top of the nori over the veggies with firm pressure. Continue to roll away from you, dabbing the farthest edge of nori with water to seal it up.
  8.  Using a sharp knife, slice each roll into 6-8 pieces. Serve with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and a drizzle of tahini lime ginger sauce if desired.
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  1. If you do not have a food processor, feel free to use a grater to grate the cauliflower into small pieces. You can also finely chop using a knife. Prepare as usual.
  2. You can roll on top of a clean tea towel, or just use your hands if you don’t have a sushi mat on hand.


Feskanich, D., Ziegler, R. G., Michaud, D. S., Giovannucci, E. L., Speizer, F. E., Willett, W. C., & Colditz, G. A. (2000). Prospective Study of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Lung Cancer Among Men and Women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, (22).

Higdon, J. V., Delage, B., Williams, D. E., & Dashwood, R. H. (2007). Cruciferous Vegetables and Human Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Mechanistic Basis. Pharmacological Research : The Official Journal of the Italian Pharmacological Society, 55(3), 224–236.

The Lowdown on Lectins

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

lectins, lectin, legume, paleo, nuts, seeds, grains, grain free, lectin free, plant paradox

Dr. Steven Gundry generated quite a buzz when he released his 2017 book The Plant Paradox. Dr. Gundry hypothesizes that traditionally healthy plant foods high in what are known as lectins can have negative health consequences, hence the paradox. He cites lectins as the root cause of autoimmune disease, inflammation, and leaky gut syndrome and recommends limiting or removing them completely from your diet.

Conversely, Dr. Joel Furhman recommends that lectins should only be avoided in specific cases – by those with specific allergies or conditions that affect intestinal health – not by the population at large. Dr. Furhman notes that the documented benefits of the nutrients, phytochemicals, and fibre in lectin containing foods outweigh any purported negative effects (Furhman, J., 2017).

It’s difficult to know where to stand in the sea of contradictory and controversial information out there. Let’s give you the lowdown on lectins so you can decide for yourself.

What are Lectins?

Lectins are a type of protein that can bind to carbohydrates in the body and interact with human cells. It is believed that lectins serve as a form of natural insecticide for plants to dissuade fungi, insects, and diseases from ravaging them, promoting the plant’s survival (Berg, J.M., 2002).

Approximately 30% of our food contains a significant amounts of lectins (Vojdani, A., 2015). They are often found in foods such as:

  • Grains: wheat, barley, quinoa, and rice;
  • Legumes: red kidney beans, soy beans, and peanuts;
  • Nightshade vegetables: tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.

What do Lectins do?

Our digestive enzymes are unable to adequately process lectins, so they travel through the digestive tract largely unchanged. Lectins have been studied for their susceptibility to bind to intestinal cells, which can increase the permeability and porousness of the small intestine – also known as having a leaky gut. Due to this increased porousness, this may allow lectins to enter the bloodstream through the intestinal wall where they can cause an inflammatory response in the body (Vasconcelos, I. M., 2004).

With that said, the majority of studies completed on the effects of lectins have used isolated lectins, and have been completed on animals or in vitro (Kelsall, A., 2002). Further study is needed on the interaction of lectin containing foods in the human body.

Should We Avoid Lectins?

Not necessarily. Avoiding large amounts of lectins may be beneficial for those with with gastrointestinal and inflammatory conditions such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases (S., Damgaard, 2014). Yet many lectin containing foods have been studied for their potential disease preventing properties (De Mejía, E. G., 2005). Legumes, nuts, and whole grains are excellent sources of soluble fibre, which is beneficial for digestion, weight management, and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels (Kotalik, S.A., 2005). Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes contain carotenoids and phytonutrients that have also shown beneficial effects for our health (Story, E.N., 2015).  

However, consuming a high amount of lectins – often present in improperly cooked or raw beans – can be toxic to humans and cause gastrointestinal effects like flatulence, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The lectin phytohaemaglutinin, which is present in high amounts in raw red kidney beans has even caused multiple cases of food poisoning (Freed, D. L. J.,1999).

The good news is that these effects can be eliminated through utilizing proper cooking temperatures and methods. Health Canada recommends boiling kidney beans for at least 10 minutes, or soaking them for an extended period of time before cooking (Government of Canada, 2011). Below are some cooking methods you can incorporate to minimize and reduce lectins in foods you love, and avoid potential digestive distress.

Cooking Methods:


One of the ways to reduce lectins and other irritating compounds from legumes, nuts, and grains is through soaking. This not only improves digestibility, but decreases their cooking time. Soak beans and grains with 2-3 times their volume in warm water incorporating an acidic medium like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Allow to soak for 12-24 hours at room temperature. Discard the soaking water and rinse thoroughly before cooking.

Utilizing a method from Nourishing Traditions, nuts can be placed into a medium sized bowl with warm filtered water and a bit of salt (1 tsp per 1 cup of nuts). Leave them to soak overnight (7 to 12 hours depending on their size), and thoroughly rinse with water. If you are adding nuts to a smoothie, you can use them right away. However, it is recommended to dehydrate them in a low temperature oven or a food dehydrator until they are completely dry and crisp.

Tip: You can alternatively add baking soda to your soaking water for beans. A 1985 study found that by doing so can reduce some compounds in beans that cause an upset stomach and flatulence (Jood, S., 1985).


Cooking beans from scratch can dramatically reduce their lectin content and improve their flavour. Using an electric pressure cooker is a definite time saver. If you have one on hand it can even eliminate the need to soak your beans beforehand. Refer to Instant Pot’s cooking time and temperature chart as a resource to determine an appropriate pressure cooking time per variety of bean.

Alternatively, you can cook your beans on the stovetop. Following soaking and rinsing, bring your water and beans (generally a 3:1 ratio) to a rapid boil in a large pot. Reduce water to a simmer and cook until tender; anywhere from 1 – 3 hours depending on the variety of bean. Be sure to skim any foam that rises to the surface of the cooking water and discard.

Tip: Adding kombu - a sea vegetable that is rich in minerals like magnesium -  to beans while they’re cooking not only imparts a rich, umami flavour and a nice texture. It may aide in breaking down the fibers of beans, increasing their digestibility.

kombu, seaweed, minerals, lectins, beans


A 2002 study discovered that fermenting lentil flour for 72 hours in water that was 42 °C showed a 98% reduction in its lectin activity (Cuadrado, C., 2002). Fermentation is one of our oldest methods of processing food. By definition, fermentation happens when the carbohydrates (starch and sugars) in a food item are broken down by microscopic bacteria, molds, or yeasts and transformed into acids, gases, and alcohol. This makes fermented foods easier to digest, and high in beneficial bacteria to contribute to our gut microbiome.

Sourdough bread has seen a huge resurgence in popularity and is often touted as a way to increase the digestibility of bread for those who are sensitive to traditionally refined supermarket loaves. Using wild yeast or a sourdough culture to leaven bread may seem intimidating to the novice cook, but is a very traditional method of preparation that fell by the wayside in the age of industrial food preparation.

Sourdough starters are equal parts flour and water mixed together in a large container and left to ferment at room temperature for approximately 7 days (with subsequent daily additions of flour and water called “feeding”). Once your starter is complete, you can add it into bread recipes.

Tip: Nourishing Traditions has excellent recipes for a starter culture and bread, and The Perfect Loaf has an excellent post on all things sourdough for beginners; it’s definitely a labour of love!

What are your thoughts on lectins? Drop us a line to let us know.


Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L. Biochemistry. 5th edition. New York: W H Freeman; 2002. Section 11.4, Lectins Are Specific Carbohydrate-Binding Proteins.Available from:

Cuadrado, C., Hajos, G., Burbano, C., Pedrosa, M. M., Ayet, G., Muzquiz, M., & ... Gelencser, E. (2002). Effect of Natural Fermentation on the Lectin of Lentils Measured by Immunological Methods. Food & Agricultural Immunology, 14(1), 41-49. doi:10.1080/09540100220137655

 Damgaard, S. (2014). Lectin pathway of the complement system is downregulated in Crohn's disease patients who respond to anti-TNF-α therapy | Journal of Crohn's and Colitis | Oxford Academic. Retrieved from

De Mejía, E. G., & Prisecaru, V. I. (2005). Lectins as bioactive plant proteins: a potential in cancer treatment. Critical Reviews In Food Science And Nutrition, 45(6), 425-445.

Freed, D. L. J. (1999). Do dietary lectins cause disease? : The evidence is suggestive—and raises interesting possibilities for treatment . BMJ : British Medical Journal, 318(7190), 1023–1024.

Furhman, J. (2017). The Real Story on Lectins. Retrieved from

Government of Canada. (2011). Lectins in Dry Legumes. Retrieved from

Jood, S., Mehta, U. Singh, R., Cheranjit, M.B. (1985). Effect of processing on flatus-producing factors in legumes. J. Agric. Food Chem., 1985, 33 (2), pp 268–271

Kelsall, A., FitzGerald, A., Howard, C., Evans, R., Singh, R., Rhodes, J., & Goodlad, R. (2002). Dietary lectins can stimulate pancreatic growth in the rat. International Journal of Experimental Pathology, 83(4), 203–208.

Kotalik, S. A. (2005). Fiber: the broom that sweeps your digestive system clean,balances blood sugar. Sioux City Journal. Retrieved from

Kumar, S., Verma, A. K., Das, M., Jain, S. K., & Dwivedi, P. D. (2013). Clinical complications of kidney bean (phaseolus vulgaris L.) consumption. Nutrition, 29(6), 821-7. Retrieved from

Lagarda-Diaz, I., Guzman-Partida, A., & Vazquez-Moreno, L. (2017). Legume Lectins: Proteins with Diverse Applications. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 18(6), 1242. MDPI AG. Retrieved from

Rodhouse, J. C., Haugh, C. A., Roberts, D., & Gilbert, R. J. (1990). Red kidney bean poisoning in the UK: an analysis of 50 suspected incidents between 1976 and 1989. Epidemiology and Infection, 105(3), 485–491.

Story, E. N., Kopec, R. E., Schwartz, S. J., & Harris, G. K. (2010). An Update on the Health Effects of Tomato Lycopene. Annual Review of Food Science and Technology, 1, 10.1146/

Vojdani, A. (2015). Lectins, agglutinins, and their roles in autoimmune reactivities. Alternative Therapies In Health And Medicine, 21 Suppl 146-51.

Vasconcelos, I. M., & Oliveira, J. A. (2004). Review: Antinutritional properties of plant lectins. Toxicon, 44(Highlights in plant toxins), 385-403. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2004.05.005

Gluten or Grain-Free “Think Pink” Donuts

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

paleo donuts, vegan donuts, grain free donuts, healthy donuts, sugar free donuts

We’ve created a baked donut recipe with gluten-free and grain-free variations that we hope you will go nuts for. Forgive the pun; we are really excited to share these! We think these are the perfect sweet treat to bring along with you to Easter dinner. Our grain-free recipe is also Passover friendly.

These donuts are packed with fibre rich oat flour – almond flour in our grain-free version – sweetened with maple syrup and topped with a decadent coconut butter glaze coloured with beet juice. Beetroot's beautiful pink hue comes from a plant pigment called betalains, which is also present in prickly pears and red pitaya. In addition to betalains being studied for their antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory effects, they are a fantastic option for natural food colouring in lieu of artificial dyes (Gengatharan, A, 2015).

If you don’t have a donut pan, no problem! Feel free to bake these in a well-greased muffin tin and proceed as usual.

paleo donuts, vegan donuts, grain free donuts, healthy donuts, sugar free donuts


Gluten or Grain-Free “Think Pink” Donuts

Gluten-Free Donut base:
1 1/4 cups oat flour
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted (plus extra for greasing pan)
½ cup organic apple sauce (or 2 eggs if you are non-vegan)
½ tsp vanilla extract

Grain-Free Donut base:
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup coconut milk
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (plus extra for greasing pan)
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract

Unbeetable Pink Icing:
1/4 cup coconut butter
1 ½ tbsp maple syrup
Water or non-dairy milk (as needed)
1 peeled beet, chopped into medium pieces (or 1 tsp beetroot powder)
1/4 tsp vanilla

Optional Toppings:
Cacao nibs
Toasted coconut flakes

paleo donuts, vegan donuts, grain free donuts, healthy donuts, sugar free donuts


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F / 176 C. Generously grease a 6 mold donut pan with coconut oil.

  2. Combine the dry ingredients – flour, chia, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, whisking to combine. Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients and add all of the remaining wet ingredients. Stir together until it is a smooth, uniform texture.

  3. Equally distribute the batter between the 6 donut molds using a spoon, making sure the top of each doughnut is smooth. Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes until cooked through. Allow to cool completely and gently remove from the pan using a knife.

  4. Place peeled, chopped beet into a small sauce pan over low heat with ¼ cup of water. Allow to cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Strain beets from the liquid, and set aside.

  5. Combine all ingredients for the glaze except for the vanilla extract and beet liquid in a small pot over medium-low heat until melted. Turn off heat and slowly incorporate beet liquid until desired colour is reached. Stir in vanilla extract. Adjust texture with water or non-dairy milk (if required).

  6. To assemble dip the donut in a generous amount of glaze. Top with a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes or cacao nibs if desired. Enjoy!


  1. You can use 1 tsp of beetroot powder to colour your icing if you have it on hand. Repurpose the cooked beet in a salad or smoothie recipe.

  2. You can make your own coconut butter by blending 2-3 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes in a high-powered blender or food processor until it resembles a smooth paste.

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We hope this recipe has you thinking pink. Drop us a line at @livingkitchenco if you try it out!


Gengatharan, A., Dykes, G. A., & Choo, W. S. (2015). Betalains: Natural plant pigments with potential application in functional foods. LWT - Food Science And Technology, 64645-649. doi:10.1016/j.lwt.2015.06.052

Chopped Mediterranean Salad

Chopped Mediterranean Salad recipe

Spring is on the way (we hope)!  This chopped salad is bright, light and full of fresh flavours that are invigorating for this time of year.  We came up with this recipe to serve with our Eggplant Meatball recipe, served together makes a delicious Mediterranean style meal.   This recipe is free of nightshade vegetables, since many of our clients limit or avoid these in their diet to reduce inflammation.  But, if that's not an issue for you, feel free to switch up the recipe and add in roasted red peppers, tomatoes or even roasted eggplant.  If you're keeping your sugar intake low, then this vinaigrette is perfect!  It's so tasty just the way it is.

Chopped Mediterranean Salad

1 bunch of romaine, rinsed off and dried well, chopped (or you can use 1 box of romaine hearts)
1 English cucumber, chopped in cubes

3 carrots, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp garlic powder
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper

3 beets, peeled
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
sea salt and pepper

1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olive, sliced (pits removed)

1 lemon, juiced (about ¼ cup)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ a small garlic, minced
½ tsp dried oregano
Sea salt and pepper

Chopped Mediterranean Salad recipe


1. Peel the beets and slice into small cubes.
2. Rinse off the carrots well.  If they are organic, we like to leave the skins on (but you can peel them if you prefer).  Slice the carrots into approximately 1/2 inch pieces.
3. Place the beets in a small pot and add about 1/4 cup of water.  Steam for around 10 minutes, until the beets are tender.  Then submerge in cold water to cool down.
4. Spread the carrots out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toss with sumac, garlic powder, sea salt, pepper and olive oil.  Roast at 375 for 25-30 minutes, until cooked.
5. Meanwhile, rinse and dry the romaine well.  Chop the romaine and the cucumber.
6. Chop the cilantro and parsley.
7. Make the vinaigrette.
8. Once the beets are cool, season with apple cider vinegar, sea salt and pepper.
9. Let the carrots cool down a bit once taking them out of the oven.
10. Toss together all of the veggies with the vinaigrette.

Eggplant "Meatballs" w/ Hemp Pesto and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

vegan eggplant meatballs

We are always looking for and developing new, creative, dairy-free recipes that we can prepare for our private chef clients.  While not everyone that we work with is vegetarian, most of our clients are dairy free and enjoy plant based meals, with veggies being the main affair.  Even if you are an omnivore and eat animal based protein, we recommend enjoying a meat-free meal every once in a while to give your digestive system a break from breaking down heavier foods.  This recipe is inspired by and based on the original recipe by The First Mess.  We've made a bunch of changes, the main ones beings that our version is grain free and contains more almond flour, increasing the protein content.  You'll also find our hempseed based pesto recipe here, instead of using pinenuts.  If you want to make a complete meal, serve with a large, vibrant salad.

Vegan Eggplant "Meatballs" with Hemp Pesto and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small eggplant, diced in small pieces (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
2/3 cup blanched almond meal flour
1 tsp za’atar
1 tsp sumac
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 tsp lemon zest
sea salt + pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes

Dairy-Free Pesto:
1 cup of loosely packed basil, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, chopped roughly
2 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp hempseeds
sea salt and pepper

eggplant meatballs, vegan



1. First chop the eggplant and saute in a pan with olive oil, until starting to get golden on the edges and soft.

2. In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas, almond meal, za’atar, garlic, parsley, lemon zest so everything is chopped up. Then add the sautéed eggplant to the food processor and pulse to integrate together (don’t blend completely, should have some pieces of eggplant still).

3. Form mixture into small balls (about 1 Tbsp each).  It will make around 15 balls.

4. Place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

5. Spread the cherry tomatoes out on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Toss with a dash of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven at the same time as the meatballs, until they are cooked inside and starting to pucker on the outside.

6. While everything is baking, make the pesto by pulsing all ingredients together in the food processor.

7. Serve the eggplant meatballs with roasted cherry tomatoes and drizzle the pesto over top.

eggplant meatballs vegan