This savory, spicy, hearty soup is native to Morocco. Though eaten throughout the year, Harira is the most commonly eaten food during the fasting month of Ramadan. An estimated ninety-nine percent of Moroccans eat Harira every day during the 29 or 30 days of Ramadan. No wonder it’s Morocco’s national soup!
There are a couple of unusual ingredients that are traditional to this soup, but if you can’t find them, don’t worry; it’s just as yummy without them! BUT, if you go the extra measure and hunt down these uncommon additions you will be rewarded with the most authentic and unique flavor imaginable! The spices I am referring to are sumac and black lemon.
Sumac is pretty easy to come by. Most Asian stores carry it. I found it on Amazon (see link above). Sumac has a lovely, dark red to purple color and a tart flavor that is reminiscent of vinegar or lemon. It is an essential ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking.
Black lemon, on the other hand, is quite rare but I was able to find it online (again, see link above). Its name is a misnomer, as it’s actually a lime that has been dried. It’s such a funny ingredient as it’s pitch black and quite hard. I use mine by breaking one of them apart and pulverizing it in my spice blender. Black lemons have an extraordinary sweet-tart property and lend a very complex, deep flavor to any dish. NOTE: Keep your black lemons in an airtight jar with a couple of desiccant packets to keep them from taking on too much moisture from any ambient humidity.
Okay, let’s get to this tasty recipe! You can use any kinds of veggies you prefer in this soup. I usually use red bell peppers, celery, carrots, onions and mushrooms. Sometimes I add cauliflower. The base is made of lentils and tomato. Think of it as a Middle Eastern kicked-up lentil soup. Give it a try and don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you off… it’s worth every effort. 🙂
A flavorful, spicy Middle Eastern treat in a bowl!
- 1 cup green lentils
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped parsley, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 3 cloves smashed garlic
- 1 can (1½ cups) cooked chickpeas
- 2 TBS ground cinnamon
- 2 TBS freshly grated ginger
- 1 TBS tomato paste
- 1 TBS smoked paprika
- 1 TBS coriander seed powder
- 1 TBS sumac powder
- 1 tsp ground black lemon
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- salt to taste (I don't use much salt, I added about 1/2 tsp)
- Place all ingredients in a soup pot EXCEPT the tomatoes, tomato paste, turmeric and parsley (see note).
- Simmer until all veggies are tender (about 20 minutes).
- Add the remaining ingredients, EXCEPT the fresh parsley and simmer for another 20 minutes. You can let it simmer for hours and the flavors will just get better!
- Just before you are ready to serve it, add the parsley. This keeps the parsley fresh, green and full of flavor.
- Garnish with some extra parsley and a sprinkle of sumac if desired.
TIP!! When cooking soups, especially beans, it's always best to add any tomato ingredients LAST, after the beans and veggies have cooked. This is because the acidity in tomatoes can tighten up the structure of beans and veggies and slow (or in some cases, even prevent) complete softening of of the other ingredients. Turmeric can do the same thing, though I am not sure why.
Yep, we love banana bread in our house… and we love pancakes, too! So I thought, why not combine the two? Yes! These babies are so yummy, I promise you won’t have any leftovers. 🙂 I know I will get asked so no, I have not tried them with gluten-free flours. I used organic spelt flour for these. For some reason spelt does not affect me in the same way as regular wheat. I’m not gluten-intolerant but I find that if I eat too much wheat, especially more processed wheat like pasta, I do get bloated and feel uncomfortable. But not so with spelt, so there you go. You could also use whole wheat flour for this recipe.
These wonders are so soft and packed with flavor! The natural sweetness from the banana is a plus. And the little crunches of walnut add a dose of omega-3 goodness.
You will need a blender for this recipe and it really makes things so easy. Enjoy!
A deliciously health breakfast treat!
- 3 ripe (not over ripe) medium sized bananas
- 1 cup plant-based milk (I used soy)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts plus a little extra for garnishing later
- 1¼ cups flour
- 1 flax egg (1 TBS ground flax + 3 TBS water)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- Combine the ground flax with the water and set aside for about 5 minutes.
- Place all ingredients into a blender (EXCEPT for two of the bananas, the flax egg and the walnuts) and blend until smooth.
- Chop the second banana and add to the blender with the walnuts and the flax egg. Pulse just a few times until combined.
- Drop by ¼ cupfuls onto a non-stick skillet (see note).
- Flip when the edges are firm and you see some bubbles and cook until golden brown.
- Garnish with some extra chopped walnuts and the remaining banana, sliced.
I used a non-stick skillet for these, which really is best since there is no oil. If you need to, you could use a little spray oil, sparingly, so they don't stick.
Feta cheese! This recipe really comes close to the real deal. It was a big hit at a gathering that I attended and it’s so easy to put together. You must try it! Okay, so feta cheese doesn’t normally come with added spices, but you know what they say about TOFU, right? Totally Out of Flavor Undeniably! 😀 The spices really make this tofu dish shine, making it a perfect addition to a Greek Salad! Yummy. The best part about this recipe is that the longer the tofu marinates in the juices, the more flavor it takes on and the better it gets. I have had some in the fridge for up to two weeks with no problem in spoiling, probably because of the fair amount of vinegar that I use in the recipe.
I used Eden’s ume plum vinegar as part of my ingredients as well as red wine vinegar. The ume vinegar is a bit salty, so you can omit it if you are on a low-sodium regime since there is already miso in the recipe as well.
A delicious alternative to dairy feta!
- 1 block firm tofu
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 TBS olive brine (optional but really adds a depth of flavor)
- 2 TBS nutritional yeast
- 1 TBS white miso
- 1 TBS Italian spices of your choice
- 1 TBS dried oregano
- 1 TBS ume plum vinegar
- 1 tsp coconut sugar or other minimally processed sweetener
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Squeeze most of the water out of your tofu using paper towels or use a tofu press for about half an hour.
- Cut tofu into cubes. I made mine about 1"
- Place tofu cubes into a 1-quart mason jar. It should fit pretty well without a lot of space between the cubes.
- Mix all remaining ingredients together until well blended. I used a whisk.
- Pour the mixture over the tofu cubes.
- Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, turning the jar occasionally to distribute the liquid evenly onto the cubes.
Looking for an easy, creamy soup on a cool day. Here it is! The ultimate in comfort… tomato bisque. Click on the photo above to view the video.
Plant-based Tomato Bisque
A comforting tomato soup made plant-based!
- 2 packages 750g Pomi tomato (1 strained, 1 chopped)
- 1 cup cashew hemp milk
- 2 cups water
- 2 TBS Spike salt-free seasoning
- 2 tsp onion powder or granules
- 1 tsp garlic powder or granules
- 1 tsp coconut sugar or other minimally processed sweetener
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ cup cooking sherry or white wine
- salt to taste (optional)
- Add all ingredients except the cashew hemp milk and the cooking sherry to a soup pot.
- Simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Add the milk and the sherry and cook for about 5 minutes longer.
- Top with some extra cashew milk and a little fresh dill if you like.
Another cookie recipe! Yay!!! I’ve been wanting to make these for the longest time. I tried one batch that I wasn’t happy with so this was my second attempt and boy, are they good. Chocolate and tahini? You bet! Possibly better than peanut butter and jelly. They seem to really complement each other, resulting in a deep, rich, complex flavor. These gems are not too sweet, and so pillowy soft, it’s like eating a cloud. Heaven in every bite. 🙂
Tahini (sesame seeds) should be labeled a superfood in my humble opinion. Why? There’s tons of info out there about its health benefits. Here are just some:
- Rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron.
- Good source of Methionine, which aids in liver detoxification.
- One of the best sources of calcium out there.
- High in vitamin E and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15.
- Helps to promote healthy cell growth.
- Prevents anemia.
- Can help balance hormones.
- Helps to maintain healthy skin and muscle tone.
- Can help to regulate blood pressure.
- Easy for to digest because of its high alkaline mineral content.
- High in healthy fats and amino acids.
Ideally a food processor should be used to combine the ingredients for these cookies, but I’m sure if you did it by hand, the result would still be fine. I do hope you will try these nutritious bundles of goodness!
Light as a cloud and filled with flavor, these cookies will satisfy!
- 1 cup tightly packed, blanched almond flour
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1 TBS tapioca starch
- 1 tsp vanilla powder (or sub vanilla extract in the wet ingredients)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 flax egg (1 TBS ground flax + 3 TBS water)
- 1 TBS sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the flax meal and water together and set aside.
- Mix all dry ingredients together in a food processor.
- Gently all wet ingredients together, including the flax egg.
- With the food processor running on low, add the wet ingredients to the dry in a steady stream.
- The mixture should come together quite quickly, resulting in a sticky dough. Let it rest a few minutes to give the cocoa powder time to absorb some of the liquid.
- Scoop out about 2 TBS of dough for each cookie. I used a small ice cream scoop, which makes things very easy and results in even sizes!
- Press each dough ball down slightly and then top with a bit of sesame seeds, patting them down slightly into the dough.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Let cool COMPLETELY before handling. They are fragile when hot.
Old habits die hard. So I’m sitting looking out my window at the falling snow… there’s a fire in the wood stove, the cats are curled up in their favorite spot, and I just can’t help myself. I have to bake some cookies!!! It’s coming up on Christmas anyway, so that’s a good excuse, too, right? 😉 These cookies are really easy to make, come together in a snap, and they smell divine while baking.
I could hardly wait for them to cool! Finally… my patience pays off—the orange essence wafts up into my senses with a hint of cinnamon as I take my first, crunchy bite. Then the little pops of juicy cranberry mingle with earthy pecan bits and the experience all comes together with a sense of being nourished and loved. ❤️
We’re expecting up to 24″ of the white powdery stuff this weekend. Hoping for the best, hunkered down with my oven, my man and my kitties… life is good.
Happy, healthy holidays!
Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies
A heavenly holiday cookie to warm you heart and home.
- 3/4 cup oat flour (I just blended rolled oats in my blender)
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 TBS ground flax seeds
- 1 tsp potato starch
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries *see notes
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch salt (optional)
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp orange extract
- 1/4 cup raw almond butter
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix all dry ingredients together.
- Mix the wet ingredients together and add to the dry.
- Mix well to incorporate all.
- Form into balls about 1½ inches in diameter (I used a mini ice cream scooper which works great). Roll the balls in your hands and place on the cookie sheet, then press down lightly and shape into discs.
- Bake for about 15 minutes until just barely golden.
- Cool and serve!
Try to find cranberries that are fruit juice sweetened. I got some at Trader Joe's.
Hello and Happy Holidays, dear reader! I am excited to share something festive and yummy with you today.
I just had to do it… I had to create this recipe because all of the vegan meat-substitute holiday products contain ingredients that have no business being in my body—such as isolated soy proteins, canola oil, thickeners, high sodium and vital wheat gluten. No thanks! So I created an amazing plant-based roll for Thanksgiving and it was a hit! Actually, I made cutlets with this recipe and later made the roll and guess what? They both turned out great! So it’s a versatile mix that you can tweak as you like.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I’m no stranger to Butler Soy Curls. Their versatility and meaty texture make them a perfect substitute for some animal-based dishes that perhaps you used to enjoy but would like to make plant-based. This one is no exception.
Making individual cutlets from the mixture was a bit messy and quite time consuming (I had doubled the recipe so there was a lot!) but the result was well worth the effort and my guests were extra thankful. I should note that the prep for the roll is also a little time consuming as half of the soy curls need to be shredded. Have someone help you shred. Mountain Man helped me. I honor his patience. 🙂 If you have children, this would be a great way to get them involved! This isn’t a recipe that I would make often but it’s perfect for a holiday dish or special gathering.
Oh and, by the way, the best part of this recipe is, you can make it ahead of time! Just wrap it up and keep it in the fridge until it’s time to put in the oven (extend the baking time by 10 minutes if you do this). You can even bake it ahead of time and reheat it if necessary. Anything that I can make ahead of time to give me more time to enjoy my guests is all right with me.
P.S. My Savory Bean Gravy may have even been more of a hit than the actual dish! It was the perfect complement and, of course, wonderful on the mashed potatoes. I used navy beans instead of red beans in the gravy and added a little sage and thyme for that traditional holiday flavor. Yum!
I hope you’ll try it and let me know your result!
Plant-based Holiday Turkey Roll
A wonderfully flavorful holiday loaf for you and your loved ones!
- 8 oz. dry soy curls
- 1 block firm tofu
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 TBS veggie boullion *see note
- 2 TBS organic corn starch
- 2 tsp agar agar powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried/rubbed sage
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Soak the soy curls in pure water for about 30 minutes. Then squeeze out most of the water.
- Shred half of the curls. If you've not shredded soy curls before, you'll find out that some of them pull apart easily and some just crumble. That's okay. You just want the particle size to be consistent. When you've shredded half of the curls, set them aside.
- Squeeze out most of the water from the tofu block. Don't worry if it's not really dry; you don't have to press it. As long as most of the water is out, that's fine.
- Place the tofu and the remaining ingredients (except the shredded soy curls) in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Don't be tempted to add water. It will be a VERY thick mixture. This is what you want.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl (or pot) and add the shredded curls, mixing well. I used my hands to mush it all together.
- Lay out a sheet of parchment paper about 20" long and place the mixture in the center.
- Shape into a log about 4" thick x 10" long with your hands and smooth it out the best you can.
- Next, roll it up into the parchment paper, twisting the ends to secure it.
- Have a piece of aluminum foil ready and place the wrapped log onto the foil and roll that up as well, securing the ends.
- Place onto a baking sheet and bake at 350° for 1 hour.
- When finished baking, gently and carefully unroll the foil and paper and let cool for about 30 minutes before serving. It gets firmer as it cools, so this step is important, otherwise it will be hard to slice.
Finding a good quality vegetable base can be challenging. I don't use "better than boullion" brand because it is ridiculously high in sodium. I've found other brands that are good, one is by Edward & Sons, another is Vogue instant Veggie Base. Check your local health food stores and read your labels.
Oh, man. These. These are… I can’t even… If I cursed, I would be using expletives about how good these are!
So here’s a little back story. Mountain Man and I are at our favorite little restaurant (one of the very few where we can actually eat off the menu, called Dobra Tea West in Asheville). We finished our meal and my honey wanted a sweet treat. I sighed and said, “I’ll look but most of them have a lot of oil.” So I meandered over to the dessert fridge and took a peek. Nope, not really anything. Well, my man has a sweet tooth and was not giving up so easily. He decided to look for himself. A few moments later he came over to the table with this huge BALL of something, a big smile on his face. I said, “Really? Doesn’t it have oodles of coconut oil?” I got up to look at the ingredients… nope! No oil. And wow, was it incredible. Okay, so this recipe isn’t really mine but I just had to make these the next day, based on the ingredients given, and share them with you!
They turned out great! Possibly better… Mine are about half the size of the ones at Dobra because, really, they were ginormous and I can’t eat that much sweet in one sitting. I’m bringing these to an event this weekend and working on creating a little pistachio filling, just like a real truffle… shouldn’t be too hard. So, stay tuned for a possible upgrade! 🙂
For the relatively small amount of ingredients, the flavor profile of these little treats is very deep and rich. If you love pistachios, like we do, and are a fan of matcha tea, like we are… you will love these. They are also sweetened with dates only, so yeah. These will be on my dessert rotation plan.
Pistachio Matcha Truffles
A delectable treat for the sweet tooth in all of us!
- 1/2 pound raw, shelled pistachios (see notes)
- 1½ cups pitted dates (I used medjool dates which are perfect for this as they are nice and soft)
- 3 TBS tahini
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 2 tsp matcha tea powder
- 1 tsp powdered vanilla bean
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut + ½ tsp matcha
- Place the pistachios and the dates in a food processor and pulse until well incorporated.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture holds together well when pinched.
- Form into balls, about the size of golfballs.
- Mix the coconut shreds and the matcha tea until the coconut is coated. (see notes)
- Roll the balls in the coconut mixture and store in the fridge until ready to eat.
**It's sometimes not easy to find shelled pistachios. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, they usually carry them.
**Instead of rolling the balls in coconut shreds, you could also pulverize some pistachios in a nut grinder and roll them in that.
Wow! I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that I finally, finally, FINALLY nailed this recipe. I feel like calling this “Carrot Cake: Take 3,455” … because that’s how many trials and errors I seem to have endured. I have posted a raw carrot cake recipe, and that one was wonderful in its own right, but it’s simply not the same as a genuine, classic carrot cake.
I’m all about texture when creating baked goods, and it just wasn’t happening. Carrot cakes usually call for TONS of oil. That’s probably why I had such a hard time. But I finally did it. A prefect crumb, not too dense, not too sticky, not heavy at all and NO OIL. Yay! And the timing couldn’t have been better since I was asked to bake this wonderful dessert for a dear friend’s birthday.
One of the most important factors in getting that rise and texture just right is the particle size of the dry ingredients, so make sure to chop the walnuts pretty small and use the finest grater setting for your carrots. In keeping with that particle size, I also opted for currants instead of raisins, but raisins would be fine, too.
So here it is! What may arguably be the perfect, plant-based, oil-free carrot cake.
A decorative and scrumptious tradition, made oil-free and plant based!
- 1½ cups light buckwheat flour (see notes)
- 1 cup tightly packed almond flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups finely grated carrots
- 1/2 cup raisins or currants (I used currants)
- 1 cup chopped raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or other minimally processed, granulated sweetener)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup unsweetened, plant based milk (I used soy)
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 2 TBS ground flaxseed + 1/4 of the orange juice listed above
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked at least 5 hours
- 1- 1½ cups water
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla bean powder or extract or a couple of drops of orange oil flavoring
- 3 TBS maple syrup or sweetener of your choice
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Combine the 2 tablespoons of flax meal with 1/4 cup of the orange juice and set aside.
- Line 2 round 8-inch cake pans with wax paper or parchment (I use wax paper, cut to match the size of the bottoms of the pans and also use just a touch of cooking spray oil both beneath and above the paper for ease of unmolding after baking)
- Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine. NOTE: it's important to separate all of the carrot shreds so they aren't sticking together.
- Combine all of the remaining wet ingredients except the flax mixture and stir well, adding the flax mixture last and stirring gently.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans as best you can and smooth the tops with a spatula.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool for about 20 minutes, then turn the pans upside down onto wire racks to unmold. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting, simply blend all ingredients in a high powered blender. Add bits of water at a time, as you don't want the mixture to become too thin. You may need more water than is mentioned above, it really depends on how long your cashews have soaked.
- Blend until smooth.
- REFRIGERATE, covered, for several hours before using as it will firm up as it cools and be easier to use.
- Decorate as you like! I used candied pineapple, chopped pistachios, dried rose petals/buds and fresh marigold flowers (yes they are edible, just make sure they are organic if purchasing)
I prefer to use LIGHT buckwheat flour in this cake, though you could certainly use regular buckwheat, but it would change the color considerably. I find mine on Amazon, available from one or two sellers. Alternately, you could certainly use wheat or spelt flour. I just prefer to keep mine gluten-free. But don't use the GF mixes, they won't work. Trust me, I've tried so many kinds of flours. Enjoy!
Greetings, lovely ones! If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I am no stranger to Chia Pudding! To me, it is the the ideal plant-based dessert (besides just fruit of course). The nutritional profile of chia seeds is just off the chart. And it’s so easy to make, which is a huge bonus for most of us! 🙂
I recently attended a Dr. Fuhrman conference right here in our own mountain backyard! It was wonderful to see him and it’s always good to get “reminded” of why we eat the way we do. I made a few awesome new friends and gleaned some new and important nutritional information, too. There’s always more to learn in the field of nutrition, right?
I’ve been super busy getting my art business off the ground. I’m almost there! I have a couple of local retail establishments that want to carry my prints and greeting cards so this is very exciting and a long time coming. Wish me luck! If you want to visit my website to view my gallery you may do so here–>> New Consciousness Art by Harmony Grace. It’s still a work in progress, but I do have about a dozen products uploaded now for sale. Any support you can send my way is much appreciated!!! I’ve mostly been doing digital art. Here is a sample of one of my paintings:
Well, back to the matter at hand; this recipe is as simple as all of my other chia pudding recipes with the addition of in-season berries which have been outstanding this year! So without further ado, here it is in all its simple amazingness. Enjoy!
A simple and highly nutritious dessert that is both beautiful and tasty!
- 2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk (I used soy milk)
- 1/2 cup chia seeds
- 1 pint fresh blackberries
- 2 TBS sweetener of your choice (I used maple syrup)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean powder (or vanilla extract)
- Combine the milk, chia, sweetener and vanilla. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients.
- Let stand for about 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally until the seeds are well incorporated and not sinking to the bottom. I use a whisk for this process.
- In the mean time, crush half of the berries so they resemble a thick jam. You can sweeten them if you like but mine were so sweet I didn't have to.
- When the pudding is set up, layer in the crushed berries into 2 serving vessels, like parfaits.
- Top with fresh berries.
- Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.