Category: Vegan

Chickpea & Sweet Potato Noodle Soup

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It’s pretty clear how I’m handling winter this year: lots of big, bold, spicy food. Chili, saffron, ginger, and paprika are on heavy rotation these days, and I’m surviving cold days with hot meals infused with far-away flavours.

The inspiration for this dish came from harira, a spicy Moroccan and Algerian soup that is traditionally eaten during Ramadan. I made it a lot when I first went vegetarian, about 16 years ago, but after adding several more recipes to my repertoire, kind of forgot about it. In the interest of internally thawing out my bod, I thought I would dust off this old favourite and give it a couple updates.

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You’ll often see a lot of harira recipes calling for rice or pasta, but I wanted to go the grain-free route on this one, so I pulled out my trusty spiralizer and make noodles out of sweet potatoes! As much as I love “raw noodles” like spiralized zucchini and beet and carrot, let’s face it: beyond their appearance, they aren’t fooling anyone into believing they are pasta. But something really amazing happens when you cook vegetable noodles just a little bit – they actually become rather tender, yielding, and able to absorb other flavours. Sweet potato noodles are definitely a favourite of mine, especially in cooked dishes like this one. They add great texture, and of course, noodle-free oodles of nutrients (try saying that five times).

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You don’t have to soak the lentils for this dish, but it will cook faster it you do, plus the lentils themselves will be far more digestible. And of course you can use canned chickpeas instead of cooking them from dried, but because you won’t be blending them up (into hummus, for instance) I promise it’s worth the effort for not-totally-mushy results. If you’ve never tried cooking your own chickpeas from scratch, maybe now is the time to take the plunge! You’ll never go back, I promise. 

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In other news, I’ve added two new recipes to the My New Roots App! If you’re craving a little more in the way of raw, juicy sunshine, here are two brand-new and exclusive smoothie bowls for your pleasure: the Zippy Zucchini Smoothie Bowl and the Plum Dandy Smoothie Bowl. If you have the app already simply update it, and if you don’t, you can download it here.

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And this week I’m in Sri Lanka, all thanks to Cinnamon Hotels for kidnapping me from the icy cold and transporting to me to a tropical paradise full of exotic fruits, cerulean 29° ocean water, and annoyingly perfect palm-tree-sunset-white-sand-beach situations. If you don’t want to be jealous, you should probably avoid my Instagram, okay?

Stay cozy out there!
xo, Sarah B

Gingersnap Eggnog Ice Cream Sandwiches

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Dear friends, I’ve been hit with the Christmas spirit! Perhaps a little slow on the uptake, this recipe was the absolute magic that knocked me sideways, and it’s better late than never. Especially in this case. To keep this level of deliciousness to myself would be decidedly Scrooge-like indeed.

Two treats come to my mind when I think about Christmas: gingersnaps and eggnog. I thought about just posting a raw vegan egg nog ice cream or just gingersnap cookies, but then I realized that combining these two things would be utterly insane in the best way possible. So I did just that, and the first bite I took actually caused me to laugh out loud. These ice cream sandwiches are so delectable that I beg you to make them.

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This ice cream is everything. It’s super rich, creamy, decadent with plenty of warming nutmeg spiciness to conjure up egg nog memories without any egg to speak of. Or cream. Or milk. It’s vegan and raw believe it or not, but you tastebuds won’t know that – they will only thank the dear heavens for being born in a body that gets to eat this gorgeous stuff.

The Gingersnap cookies are also vegan, gluten-free, and delicious on their own, or embracing a giant scoop of egg nog ice cream (obviously). They cleverly employ rolled oats that are turned into flour right in your food processor, creating a satisfyingly-textured treat that I’m sure you will make over and over again. The brown rice syrup is worth finding if you’re into a super crisp cookie, where the barley malt syrup can be used in its place but the results will be chewier. 

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Because the flavours in this recipe rely heavily on spices, I thought the following reminder would be helpful. Most people assume that spices are just inanimate powders that they can keep forever, but they are actually very delicate creatures that change both flavour-wise and nutritionally over time. Buying spices whole will ensure that they will keep their taste and nutritional potency for up to twelve months, while ground spices will last for only six months. If you’re like my mom and have had the same dusty jar of chile powder kicking around since 1992, do yourself a favour and discard it, buy some fresh, and enjoy. Life is too short for stale spices! 

There are times when ground spices are appropriate, especially for convenience sake. Cinnamon, ginger, paprika, cayenne, turmeric, cumin and cardamom are the ones I usually have ground since I go through quite a lot of each of these over the course of half a year. Spices that I always keep whole include nutmeg, clove, allspice, coriander, fenugreek, star anise and peppercorns. 

Although it is commonplace for people to store spices next to the stove for easy access, this is not the best place. Spices should be kept away from heat and light and be tightly sealed in a glass or ceramic container. Metal canisters may contain compounds that can interfere with the spices chemically, while plastic containers encourage condensation, which leads to spoilage. Keep spices in a cool, dark place, and put a date label on the jar to remind yourself when to toss any remaining product after it has expired.

The Eggnog Ice Cream recipe calls for nutmeg, which I will implore you to grate fresh, because it is a revelation! Ground nutmeg loses its flavour very quickly that the results of this recipe will be completely different. If pre-ground nutmeg is all you have then you may need to increase the amounts I’ve called for. And in that case, ask for a couple whole nutmegs for Christmas. 

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I wish all of you out there a delicious, magical, safe, healthy, and abundant holiday. And I want to thank each and every one of you for your love and support this year in making my dreams a reality. From the blog, to my cookbook and the My New Roots app, your ongoing enthusiasm for what I’m doing really motivates me to keep going. Big love to you all.

Peace, blessings, and happy holidays!
Sarah B.

Show me your ice cream sandwiches on Instagram: #MNRicecreamsandwiches

Fantastic Falafel Waffles

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Show me your falafels on Instagram! #MNRfalafelwaffles