Bean-Free Zucchini Hummus

The idea of zucchini hummus is nothing new to me, yet this is my first go at it. I’ve had cauliflower hummus before, which I remember liking, but I definitely like the zucchini-based version better. Zucchini has a neutral flavor and doesn’t need to be steamed beforehand, so it works extremely well and simplifies things. And, if you’re wondering about the no beans thing, keep in mind that it isn’t the beans (garbanzo beans, usually) that make hummus, hummus — it’s the tahini. This version has all the flavor of traditional hummus, minus the bloat. It’s less starchy too.

I have to laugh and reflect a little on the mention of the bloat thing because in my days as a vegetarian, there were numerous summers when my sister and I ate loads of homemade hummus. She was the skilled, creative hummus-maker and I always enjoyed the fruits of her labor. But, I consistently was left with a stomach ache afterward, yet I would continue to eat it day-in and day-out. Live and learn, right?

Meanwhile, I enjoyed this hummus with fresh veggies, sautéed greens, plantain chips, and even dolloped on top of eggs. There’s lots of ways to eat it!

Keep in mind, this hummus is a bit thinner than bean-based hummus because of the lack of starch. It will thicken a little after being in the refrigerator, but if you want your hummus to be thicker, feel free to experiment with ingredient ratios. But, know that even then, the texture will still be different.

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On a completely different note, please imagine rain drenching down on the massive Eagle Creek fire engulfing our beloved Columbia River Gorge here in Oregon (started by firecrackers during a no burn season). The fire has now covered 32,000 acres and is zero percent contained. It’s so smoky here in Portland and the city has been blanketed by ash “snow.” Really, there is just so much chaos going on in our country right now. Send the love and positive vibes, please!

Ingredients:

  • 3.5-4 cups zucchini, diced (peel if you like, but I left mine unpeeled)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Black pepper, to taste

*Note: you can peel and add the garlic whole, but watch out for any pieces that miss the blade in the food processor. I had this happen before and ate a huge chunk of garlic!

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender, and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides, if needed, and blend again. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired. If you like, garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkling of smoked paprika before serving.

Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Spinach Artichoke Dip

spinach-artichoke-dipSo, I am totally not a sports person, but I know many people are and therefore, many people may be looking for Super Bowl recipes (to be honest, I didn’t even know what teams were playing until I asked my husband this week). This recipe fits the bill and is a great appetizer any other time too. But, for all you folks going to Super Bowl parties or hosting one yourself, make this dip recipe to share! It is incredible and a healthified version of the classic.

You’ll first need to make a batch of almond “cream cheese,” which is super easy, but does involve soaking the almonds overnight (unless you buy sprouted almonds, then you can just skip to soaking them in boiling water to remove the skins). I have made this almond cream cheese other times too and it is so good, even on its own.

Even though this dip is a healthy twist on the original, it’s still hard to stop going back for more! It’s pretty much been my lunch (along with some added protein) everyday since making it. That’s okay, right?

Cheers and enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 batch homemade almond cream cheese (visit HERE for recipe)
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 13.5 oz can quartered artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk (I like and used this brand)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 5 oz clamshell fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • Optional: 3 Tbsp fresh raw Parmesan, if tolerated (can also replace with nutritional yeast to yield a cheesy flavor)

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté a few minutes, until softened. Then, add the chopped artichoke hearts and sauté about five minutes more.
  2. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the fresh lemon juice, coconut milk, almond cream cheese, paprika, cayenne, nutmeg, sea salt and black pepper. Stir well and let cook down a few minutes.
  3. Then, add in the chopped spinach and stir well. Let cook down a couple minutes or until softened and wilted a bit. Lastly, turn heat to low and mix in Parmesan, if using (or nutritional yeast, if using). Taste and add more sea salt and black pepper, if desired.
  4. Serve warm with vegetable slices, plantain chips, or good-quality sweet potato chips (this brand is my favorite). You can even find good-quality regular potato chips made with avocado, olive or coconut oil, which are also good options if you eat and tolerate white potatoes.

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Butternut Squash Dip

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This recipe is a variation of a delicious veggie dip that I ate on a yoga retreat at Haramara in Sayulita, Mexico a few years ago. We never ate any sort of winter squash dip, but did eat flavors such as beet, carrot and sweet potato/yam (I ate sweet potatoes then, but don’t now). All the varieties are fabulous! Anyway, I got to thinking about these veggie dips recently — probably because I made the beet version a couple weeks ago — and realized it would be awesome to make with squash. No major surprise on my end, but I was right.

This dip is a great pre-Thanksgiving dinner appetizer  and can be served with whatever you like: celery sticks, jicama slices, cucumbers, plantain chips, cauliflower florets, homemade grain-free crackers, etc. It’s even wonderful right off the spoon! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 1.5 to 2 lb sized squash)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (make sure it’s pure olive oil)
  • 2 lemons or limes, juiced (I used limes)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Veggies of choice for serving (cucumber, jicama, celery, etc.)

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Directions:

  1. Cook butternut squash cubes in a steamer basket for about 10-12 minutes or until soft.
  2. Meanwhile, add the garlic, lemon or lime juice, olive oil, sea salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to a high speed blender container (I use this blender). Then, once the squash is done cooking, add it to the blender as well.
  3. Process on high for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Scrap down sides with a spatula as needed and blend again, if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired.
  4. Serve with cut-up, raw vegetables of choice. Dip can be eaten warm or cold.