Category: Recipe

Fantastic Falafel Waffles



Falafels. These definitely sit at the top of my list for most attempts at a healthy makeover and at the bottom of the list of success. How to get them crisp without deep frying? How to get them to hold together without eggs? What is the right balance of herbs and spices? Why are they so darn delicious at a restaurant and so darn underwhelming at home?!

First, it involves NOT cooking your chickpeas. Nope. Not even for a second. Of course I know that this is the traditional way to do it,  but I was skeptical for some reason. Skeptical that I wouldn’t turn into a giant, human gas factory. Any of you have had the misfortune of eating poorly cooked legumes will understand what I’m talking about. It’s pretty uncomfortable. And not just for you. BUT! Miracle of miracles, this did not happen, and on top of a happy tummy, my falafels came out crisp, deliciously spiced, and they didn’t fall apart at all.


The chickpeas must start out raw and they must be soaked for 24 hours. Make sure to add an acidic medium to the water ( I use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar), give them a good rinse after draining, and you should be okay. I used chickpea flour as a binder, instead of all-purpose flour (duh) and this worked great to hold it all those tasty ingredients together. If you can’t find chickpea flour, try another gluten-free flour, which I’m pretty certain will work just as well. Fresh herbs are also a must for flavour – I chose both flat-leaf parsley and cilantro – so that the “dough” will look rather verdant once blended up.

The second trick is contact with high heat. Deep frying gives us the most crisp and delicious falafels, but it also gives us a whole host of un-want-ables, like oxidized fats and free radicals. Boo. You can cook falafels in the oven, but the dough is never going to get super crisp because the heat is surrounding the falafel instead of connecting directly with it. Again, boo. Enter: the waffle iron. A waffle iron uses high heat that can come into direct contact with the dough, and with minimal fat. Plus it’s fun to say. Falafel Waffle. Obviously, this was meant to be.


Chickpea Party Tricks
We all know that chickpeas are fiber all-stars, providing 50% of your RDI in just one cup, (whoa!) but they have another party trick up their sleeve that I bet you didn’t know about. Two-thirds of the fiber in chickpeas is insoluble, meaning that it doesn’t break down during digestion, but instead moves through our digestive tract unchanged until it hits the large intestine. The fun starts here, where friendly bacteria (think probiotics!) go to town on said insoluble fiber and actually break it down to create short-chain fatty acids, including acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid. These short-chain fatty acids can then be absorbed by the cells that line the wall of our large intestine and used for energy! How rad is that?! Butyric acid is in fact the preferred source of energy for the cells lining our colon, and with this bonus fuel comes greater potential for optimally active and healthy cells. This translates into a reduced risk of colon problems including colon cancer. So friends, invite chickpeas to your next dinner party – they’ll feed you and your colon cells. Can your pot roast do that?


I cooked several (ahem) of these waffles over the course of my day, you know, for research purposes.  The ones I made first were the lightest and the crispiest. I still liked the ones that I cooked later on, but I found their consistency was a little dense and chewy, so I recommend using up the dough right away instead of making it ahead of time.

I made a couple little extras to accompany the Falafel Waffles, but these are merely (really delicious) suggestions. The Bright Cabbage Slaw take about 2 minutes to whip up, and lends a welcome, acidic top note to the dish as a whole. Try the Harissa Tahini Sauce as well – it’s savoury, creamy, and a little bit spicy. I was inspired by the one Jessie made over at Faring Well – thanks for the spark! Serve the falafels with whatever else you have on hand; avocado is really tasty, sprouts, fresh chilies, pickles, roasted veggies etc. You can also toss a falafel waffle into a pita or wrap if you want to take it to go, or serve them on top of a bed of whole grains for an even more substantial meal.


Show me your falafels on Instagram! #MNRfalafelwaffles

Beet, Raspberry and Vanilla Smoothie Bowl


Hey buddy, how’s your blood doing these days? Is it healthy and flowing? Full of oxygen and freshly-made red blood cells? Have you ever even thought about this?! The answer is, not likely. And that is nothing to be ashamed about. We are never really taught to think about our blood, how to nourish and take care of it, how to tell if something is missing.

When I studied Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) I learned about “blood building”, a term to describe nourishing the body with the nutrients required for ample and healthy blood. For some reason, I took a particular interest in this field, and have been a passionate blood builder of my own ever since. If this sounds dorky (it is) and a little confusing, think of your blood almost like a muscle. We are more familiar with the idea of muscle building, in that our muscles require specific macro and micro nutrients to grow and thrive. Same as blood. Pretty simple, except you can’t do it at the gym – you gotta get in the kitchen. 

The role of blood in our body is to transport nutrients, oxygen, immune cells, and hormones, along with removing toxins and waste, and disperse heat. The components that make up our blood are used and disposed of extremely quickly, so there is a high cell turnover, which also means high nutritional requirements.

Iron, folic acid, vitamin B-12, and protein are the major building blocks of blood. All of these things work synergistically to make your blood as potent and healthy as possible. Besides folic acid, you can see from the list that most of these nutrients are found abundantly in animal foods, but not so abundantly in the wonderful plant kingdom. So how do vegetarians build blood anyway?


First and foremost eating a wide variety of fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and superfoods is a good place to start. Hey wait! That sounds like a balanced diet. So if you’re already there, great. If you’re just starting out, your blood is about to get real strong.

More specifically, the best blood building foods are the darkest of dark leafy greens and their powders, such as spinach, kale, beet greens, wheatgrass, barley grass, spirulina and chlorella, and deeply pigmented red foods such as beets, cherries, raspberries, goji berries, raisins, kidney beans, adzuki beans, and blackstrap molasses. I also find that drinking a cup of nettle tea every day, which contains high amounts of iron, is really effective in helping to tone the blood.

This smoothie bowl is a one tasty blood builder. It’s got a solid dose of greens (think iron, folic acid, and protein) from the spinach and wheatgrass, with beet, raspberry and prunes (lots of deep, dark, iron-rich goody goodies!) plus lemon for a vitamin C boost – since we can’t absorb iron from plants unless we have a little help from vitamin C. 

Although you may think that putting raw beetroot in a smoothie is a little odd, I was shocked at how utterly DELICIOUS the combination was with the raspberry. It’s altogether earthy, sweet and tart, with a divine vanilla kiss that makes me swoon. Plus can we talk about the colour?! I can practically feel it feeding my blood with all of those juicy pigments and nutrients. Gosh. Isn’t life grand?

Smoothie bowls are a divine invention because you can eat them with a spoon, and you can top the heck out of them for a real meal situation. Although I’m sure it’s just a psychological thing, I sometimes feel a bit under-fed after a smoothie in a glass. Plus I like chewing a lot, and chewing a beverage can sometimes be boring without some chunks involved. Don’t you agree? I’ve topped mine here with raspberries, pomegranate, sea buckthorn, bee pollen and almond butter, but get creative with this on your own! I’ve listed some other topping ideas in the recipe. And I will also say that taking just one extra minute to decorate your bowl delivers major self-love points and satisfies the creative genius in us all. There are no wrong answers or unattractive smoothie bowls! Go wild, you strong-blooded creature, you!



I hope you guys are fired up to build your blood now. Happily, it involves eating and not donning spandex and running on a treadmill. Although, that is important too. The running part. The spandex I’ll pass on, thank you.

Cheers to your blood,
Sarah B.

Show me your smoothies on Instagram! #MNRbeetsmoothie


White Lentil Risotto with Mushrooms



Eating out is a grand seduction. From the moment I step into a restaurant, I am totally open and utterly surrendered to the experience. The first thing I notice when I enter is the smell – I actually like it to hit me with an assertive thwack – like someone proudly shouting a rainbow of aromas to my face that something amazing is happening in the kitchen. I love sitting down at the table, gently touching the cutlery, unfolding the napkin and placing it in my lap, the first exchange with the server, opening the menu. It’s all very weighty, very important, very ritualistic for me.

While I was on my cookbook tour, you can imagine that I ate out a lot. Mostly out of the necessity of not having a kitchen, but also because going to restaurants is a rare privilege for me and I’ll take any excuse. During my few harried days in New York City I went to dine at a new, hip joint in the west village that came highly recommended (although I’ll refrain from naming names). The place was packed with an intimidating blend of gorgeous locals and well-dressed, in-the-know tourists. The menu looked incredibly promising with Sarah B. favourites and buzz ingredients like chia seeds, cashew cheese, baby kale, and turmeric oil. I was explosive with anticipation. I immediately committed myself to the ivory lentil risotto with peas. I’d seen ivory lentils at the market before but never bought them, and had never had the revelation to try making “risotto” with them. I could feel my expectations soar and the desire pulsing between us. Hold me back!

The dish arrived, its scent wafting up from the pristine white bowl and pools of amber oil intermingling with green globes of seasonal spring perfection. I looked at my friends with great eagerness, dipped my spoon in and took the first bite.

The lentils were raw.

No, not al dente. Raw. Crunchy. Hard. Uncooked.

I rarely, rarely send something back to the kitchen, but because I was so seduced by the idea of this dish and it completely fell flat, I just had to. The lentils had obviously been cooked, but so far from properly cooked that it baffled me – what kind of chef would send a dish out like this unless by mistake? It must have been a mistake. I could feel myself losing trust in this impeccably designed, obviously happening restaurant, but how could all of these hipsters be wrong?

The waiter returned and said that there was nothing wrong with the dish. The chef meant it to be that way. He placed the plate of cold food back on the table in front of me, smiled, turned, and left. I was crushed. After all we’d been through.

Although it has been months since this experience, I can’t shake it – the lunch bag letdown of a genius concept failing to meet its true potential, the fact that I was served undercooked legumes, and that I paid $30 for them. In order to right all of these wrongs, I headed to my local Indian grocer, bought some white lentils and made a date with my stove. What manifested was not just a better meal, but a new favourite one.


It’s pretty clear that I’m into making “risotto” out of anything besides rice, such as the Miraculous Riceless Risotto and the Inspirational Sunflower Seed Risotto, but I’m digging this new recipe for a lot of reasons. First, it’s grain-free and in my rice-loving life it’s nice to have an alternative. It’s very high in protein, something that I’m always mindful of as it is so important to balanced health. It cooks quickly so it’s perfect for a weeknight, and it’s endlessly customizable to the season simply by changing up the veggies on top. It’s divinely creamy, rich and velvety and so much like risotto (by far the closest I’ve come so far!). If you are looking for me this fall, you can find me tucked into a big bowl of this stuff. It’s like eating hugs.


Yum, Yum, Molybdenum
Chances are you haven’t heard of molybdenum, but I will wager that you had to sound it out a couple times (let me help you: “muh-LIB-duh-num”). Moylbdenum is an essential trace mineral and happens to be wildly abundant in our pal, the lentil. It is found first in the soil where we grow our food and water, so healthy soil and groundwater is essential for healthy plants that contain good amounts of this stuff. In our bodies it is stored in the liver, kidneys, adrenal glands bones, and skin, but it is present in some amount in all of our tissues.

Molybdenum is important because it is part of several enzyme systems, the most notable being that of xanthine oxidase. Xanthine oxidase (XO) helps the liver mobilize iron for use in the body and aid uric acid metabolism. Molybdenum also helps us digest and assimilate carbohydrates and detoxify the body from exposure to sulfites.

Besides lentils, other sources of molybdenum include dried peas and beans, oats, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cucumber, celery and eggs.


A few notes on the recipe.
First, white lentils are available at Indian grocery stores, but I’ve also seen them at Middle Eastern markets and online. If you can’t find white lentils, it’s good to know that they are also called urad daal or urid daal. To confuse you a little, the unhulled lentils themselves are called black lentils or black gram since their skins are completely black. It should be obvious, but I’ll advise against buying the unhulled kind or you will have a very different result – a black one to be precise. Because someone will inevitably ask if they can make this with any other colour of lentil, I will say a half-hearted yes, but I wouldn’t recommend anything other than red lentils due to their properties.

Second, you can definitely make this a vegan recipe by leaving out the cheese rind, but good golly, it really makes for some delicious eating. I also like a grate a bunch of pecorino over the top right before serving, but I’m pretty wild like that. Oh baby.

Third, I got pretty fancy and bought (not foraged – the shame!) wild mushrooms for this because I just love them so, but when I originally tested the recipe I used good ol’ brown button mushrooms and portobellos. Whatever mushrooms you choose the biggest secret to cooking them is not moving them too much. Like pancakes, grilled cheese, and I would imagine, a steak, don’t stir them for crying out loud. Get the pan pretty screeching hot, melt some ghee (or coconut oil), throw in the mushrooms, toss to coat, then just back away. Sure, you can watch them sizzle, talk to them, Instagram them, but do not touch them. The secret to really great mushrooms is a caramelized crust and that only happens with high heat and no mucking about. You are allowed to check the bottom of one (one!) after 3-4 minutes, but if there is no colour yet, flip it back until you have some serious golden going on. Also, don’t crowd the pan too much – this causes the mushrooms to steam instead of fry – an important distinction.



Show me your risotto on Instagram! #MNRwhitelentilrisotto

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Hey Danes!
I’m doing three events this month and I would love to see you there.

First, I will be the guest chef at the organic and hyper-local food restaurant Mad Mad Mad Bodega cooking and serving a total pumpkin orgy, giving a talk and signing books as well. Click the flyer for a link to learn more.

Secondly, I am giving two lectures on Nutrition Fundamentals (way more rad than it sounds!) with a Q&A at Books & Company. You can come to one of the talks or both. Click the flyer for a link to learn more.