Appetizers

Lemon Kale Pesto

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Deep in the summer swing, with armloads of both kale and basil, this pesto came together simply (& deliciously) and has been made several times since (the kids even made it at my Kids Cooking Camp and it was an absolute success)! With the summer days sailing by as fast as they do, I haven’t had much time to post this recipe. Here it is now and, don’t worry, the basil and kale should still be in abundance for a while yet.

So far, we’ve served this up straight with tortilla chips, alongside some lovely barbeque’d salmon, on top of lentil veggie burgers with roasted yams, and in a crusty bread sandwich with roasted peppers. We’ve decided that it will pretty much get along with anyone (just my kind of spread)!

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Lemon Kale Pesto

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Category: Dips, Snacks, Main Meals

Cuisine: Vegan, Plant-Based, Nutrient-Dense

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups kale, stemmed, chopped & loosely packed

  • Juice 1 lemon

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2 cups basil, loosely packed

  • 3 Large cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • Fresh black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine kale, lemon juice and salt. Massage with hands until wilted and softened. Set aside.

  2. In a medium frying pan, toast pine nuts over medium heat until just lightly browned.

  3. In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth or desired consistency is reached (I like mine quite smooth - 5-7 minutes scraping sides in between).

  4. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers, along side some roasted yams or on top of baked portabellos, with veggie burgers or bbq salmon. Anyway you shake it: yum!


Try this pesto! Feed it to your kids! Tell me how it goes!

Almond Kale Crackers

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If the idea of making your own crackers sounds intimidating, you’re not alone. However, it needn’t be! Particularly if you are currently harvesting a lot of kale from your garden, or if you grabbed a bunch at the Farmer’s Market that you don’t have a clue what to do with, these crackers are easy, they work seasonally, and are completely NON-intimidating!! I promise.

Warning: they will look brilliantly green before you pop them in the oven…

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The flavours are strong in this cracker, which I love, but you can easily dial down the flavour by omitting the garlic and onion powder or cutting the quantities in half. I served these up with some herbed cashew cream cheese and sliced cucumber, which was unreal! But they would do really well with some traditional hummus, olives, and a few chunks of candied salmon. However you like to serve them, enjoy and let me know how you like them!

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Almond Kale Crackers


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Category: Snacks, Appetizers
Cuisine: Plant-Based, Nutrient-Dense

Yield: 20 - 28 Crackers

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup kale, packed

  • 1/3 cup almond meal/ground Brazil nuts

  • ½ cup sunflower seeds

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 large white or yellow onion, grated

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, solid

  • 1 tsp onion powder

  • ½ tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 °F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

  2. Put the kale leaves into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process again to a smooth paste.

  3. Using a spatula, spread the mixture onto the lined tray as thinly as possible.

  4. Bake for 25 minutes, take the crackers out and score into desired sized crackers with a large knife. Bake another 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Break apart into pieces by hand. Store on counter exposed to open air (they will soften in a sealed container).

Curried Sunflower Seed Spread

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Here’s a pretty simple, easy to bang-off, “dinner party impresser” of a spread.  The only real pre-emptive here is that the sunflower seeds need to soak for a few hours before hand.  I love to use seeds as a base for sauces, dressings, and spreads, because they are nutritional powerhouses, high in protein, and super satisfying.  I’ve got big respect for the sunflower seed; they make great seed butter, are high in magnesium, vitamin E, selenium, support the cardiovascular system, help regulate mood, and are an excellent source of good quality fat.

Note: always keep your seeds refrigerated to preserve the integrity of the oils and to keep them fresh and tasting scrumptious.

Curried Sunflower Seed Spread

Ingredients

1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 2 hour minimum
1 cup carrots, roughly chopped
1 inch fresh turmeric, minced
1.5 inch fresh ginger, minced
1/3 cup cashew butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp tamari
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Drain and rinse sunflower seeds and place them in the bowl of your food processor along with all other ingredients. Process until smooth (this will take about 5 minutes), scraping sides frequently with spatula.

  • Serve with chopped veggies and homemade crackers or use as a filling in a tortilla or nori wrap.

  • Will keep refrigerated for up to 7 days.

Easiest (Make It Anywhere) Guacamole

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When we are travelling to warmer climates during the winter, chasing the sun and yearning to stand by the ocean’s side, feeding my family well can sometimes be a challenge. I often find myself leaning back on my basic knowledge and training, being creative without being too bold, as my kitchen tools and ingredients are much more limited than at home.

The biggest part of eating well on a vacation, is to source out good local food. I will generally begin this process before we travel, searching for farmer’s markets or local farms, Health food stores or best traveller store reviews. My husband is a lot more bold than I am with new people, so he’s great to have on holiday (for many many reasons  ), as he’s pretty breezy about chatting up the locals to find out where we can get our hands on some organic fruits & veggies and if there’s anywhere to find fresh fish.

When putting meals together, I tend to rely on a few staples, although it will depend what’s in season wherever we are. Avocados tend to be easy to find in the warmer climates, limes, garlic & tomatoes, too. Once I know I can put together some easy guac, than the doors open up for lots of meals & snacks.

I’ve been making guacamole for as long as I can remember being capable in the kitchen. It has gotten better over the years, I must admit. For me, guacamole tends to be a little of this and a little of that, mash it all up and give it a taste, kinda thing, but I thought I’d write a recipe out for those of you that don’t like to wing it  or are still building your kitchen confidence. This one’s for you!

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Easiest (Make it Anywhere) Guacamole

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Category: Dip, Snacks, Appetizer, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free

Cuisine: Vegan, Real food, Nutrient-dense

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Ingredients

  • 1 large, ripe avocado

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 Tbsp minced red onion

  • 1 medium tomato, diced

  • ½ tsp cumin

  • ½ tsp salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. In a small-medium sized bowl, mash avocado and lime juice with a fork.

  2. Add garlic, onion, tomato and spices and mash further with a fork.

  3. Serve immediately.


Our favourite dishes with Guac? Fish tacos, veggie burritos, guac & chips, baked yams with guac, morning eggs’n guac, and layered guac’n bean dip. Be creative. Or don’t. But do try this Guac recipe, it’s a hit every time!