Category: Appetizer

Caramelized Onion White Lentil Hummus

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If there is one trick I’ve learned in all of my years cooking, both at home and in restaurants, it is this: caramelized onions can make almost anything taste amazing. They’re the ridiculously simple, yet magical ingredient that turns an ordinary dish into something so rich-tasting and satisfying that people go …oh hi excuse me, this is incredible.

I think the simple reason that caramelized onions taste so good, is because they are a labour of love. Not like an all-day stirring the pot kinda deal, but most definitely a food that you can’t just leave on the stove and dive into an Instagram vortex. No. Caramelized onions take care and attention, at least for the better part of half an hour, and the results are so worth it I bet you’ll catch yourself multi-tasking at the stove tonight just to have some on hand to gussy up your omelet this weekend (boss move there, by the way).

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The more accurate reason that caramelized onions taste so good however, isn’t technically caramelization – it’s called the Maillard reaction. The Maillard reaction is a browning reaction similar to caramelization, but with one distinct difference: caramelization is a chemical reaction between reducing sugars, while Maillard is a chemical reaction between reducing sugars and amino acids (proteins). And yes, there is enough protein in an onion to elicit this response – how thrilling for us! Although the Maillard reaction is very complex and complicated, what we do know is that it requires heat to transform and rearrange sugars and amino acids to create new and fantastic flavour molecules in and on your food, making it even more delicious. If you’ve ever eaten a golden slice of toast, enjoyed a rich cup of coffee, or nibbled on a grilled vegetable, you’ve experienced the pure pleasure that all of this this chemical commotion is responsible for. Science!

Harnessing the power of the Maillard reaction can make you a better cook, because things that are browned properly taste more intensely, more complex, and well, better. Without even being aware of it, it’s the reason you’ll reach for the roasted veggies with the crispiest edges, or the reason that you prefer a fried egg over a boiled one (no judgement!). There are a couple ways of making this spectacular series of chemical reactions work for you, and the first is high heat. Maillard will not occur at very low temperatures, especially in situations where the food is not in direct contact with the heat, like it is on a skillet or grill for instance. When you’re roasting veggies, make sure the oven is at least 400°F / 200°C. When you’re making pizza, you can crank it up even higher, to get those beautifully blistered crust edges that make your mouth water.

The second way is to keep the food you’re cooking on the dry side. For instance, have you ever noticed how if you wash mushrooms (which you should actually never do), they’ll never really get brown and crusty? Too much moisture! Instead, brush those fungi gently to remove any dirt or debris, then put them in a screeching hot pan with some ghee and don’t stir them. I talk more about this technique here. This is the same reason you need a large pan for these caramelized onions, since they’ll need the space to allow the water to evaporate around them. If the onions are too close together, they’ll only steam each other. Eew. If you’re oven roasting vegetables for dinner, cut them in the morning and leave them out all day uncovered so that the surface water will evaporate, and the veggies will brown more easily. Yes, this seems like a bit of a hassle, but the culinary nerd in me admits that it’s cool because it works.

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So, where does the hummus come into this story? Well, hummus is pretty much a food group in my world. I’ve made so many variations with so many kinds of legumes, spices, alt seed butters, toppings, and stir-ins, that I could hardly believe I had never tried it with the ingredient that could single-handedly save humanity: caramelized onions. I knew that deep richness of the onions would meld perfectly with the creamy dip, and make the flavour even better. I wasn’t wrong! The only thing that I wanted to improve upon, was the protein content – not because I’m obsessed with protein, but simply because I thought it could be higher. To do that I simply swapped out the traditional chickpeas for white lentils, or urad dal. We not only get more protein from this change-up, but almost double the fiber, with less sodium, less fat, and less sugar. Sweet.

This dip is the perfect, rich compliment to all the crisp and light, early summer veggies popping up. I went to my friend’s farm and picked some seriously beautiful radishes and young carrots, which paired so well with the caramelized onion flavour. I also had some Life-Changing Crackers on hand, which always make dipping more delicious. One thing I changed from the first version to the third, was the onions on top. Instead of blending all of them into the dip, I used about a third of them on top, which allows you to scoop a few tender morsels up with each bite. This delivers even more caramelized onion flavour and texture, which, let us be reminded, is the whole point of this exercise.

Even though this hummus keeps well for at least five days in the fridge (you can even freeze it!), it is best eaten freshly made at room temperature, since the flavour is at its peak then.

And because you’re wondering, you can find white or ivory lentils at Indian grocers, Middle Eastern markets, or some natural food stores. They are the skinned and split version of urad dal, which is black, so make sure you buy the huskless version! If you can’t find them at all, simply use chickpeas – it will be just as delicious.

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If it’s your first time caramelizing onions and you’re feeling intimidated, here is a stellar step-by-step tutorial from Bon Appétit. It varies ever so slightly from my method, but you’ll get the picture!

Big love and happy hummus,
Sarah B.

Show me your hummus on Instagram: #mnrcaramelizedonionhummus

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Hello dear friends!

There are only a few spots left for our January 2019 Wild Heart High Spirit retreat and we’d love to see you in Bali! 

Join us along with 15 other women to unwind, reconnect, and find the inspiration to ignite you on your health journey. Our thoughtfully-designed program will awaken and nourish your entire being – body, mind, and spirit! This is a true celebration of life, and we get to do it together in paradise! Come see what all the magic is about. 

Much love,
Sarah B, Mikkala and the Golden Circle Retreats team

It’s Alive! Sprouted Chickpea Hummus

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The first job I landed after moving to Copenhagen, was working as a chef in a little cafe. After a few weeks of consistently not burning lasagna and under seasoning everything, I was asked if I was interested in cooking on a few episodes on a local, public TV station. The producers suggested I choose a few dishes that I love, and filmed me in a friend’s kitchen, since mine was too small. My husband gently warned me beforehand that Danes don’t respond well to overly-enthusiastic, hyperbolic Americans, so I faked it and was awkwardly not myself as I spoke lukewarmly about whole grains and beans, fermented things and dark leafy greens. The first recipe I made on the show was sprouted hummus, and although the recipe turned out well, I felt like a fraud. Because above all things, sprouts were, and still are, my true love.

The show was on at 2 or 3 in the morning, and because I didn’t have a television, I never actually saw it on air. Instead, I watched it on my computer on a borrowed CD, long after it had been on TV. Much to my dismay, the producers titled the show “Cooking with Sareh”, which still baffles me considering the fact that my name is spelled the exact same way in Danish. The program was poorly edited, badly lit, awkward in every sense, and in my attempts to come off as cool and nonchalant, I seemed utterly bored as I fondled chickpea sprouts – something that otherwise would get me pretty riled up. On the whole, this experience was totally mortifying, except for one small, redeeming factor. I was suddenly being recognized at work in the café, and on the bike paths of Christiania: “hey sprout girl!” they’d call at me. “It’s you! I didn’t make your hummus, but your show is great, sprout girl”, they’d say. If there was any consolation, this was it. I was Sprout Girl.

So in case you missed my break out performance on Cooking with Sareh, and my reined-in, lackluster pitch about sprouts, here it is again. Because I am Sprout Girl forever and always.

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Sprouting is like any other kitchen endeavour: it seems pretty daunting until you actually do it, then you’re left wondering what took you so long to try – a real facepalm moment. With simple equipment that you most likely have in your cupboard, and seeds that you already have in your pantry, it’s a fun and empowering practice that brings you one step closer to your food.

Sprouts are so nutritious because they are life potential, ignited. When we soak a seed, we end its dormancy, and awaken the nutrition inside it needed to grow a plant which will in turn make more seeds and more plants. When we eat a sprout, we eat this potential! Pound for pound, sprouts have the largest amount of nutrients of any food. Did you get that? This is a big deal! And it’s all because sprouting increases vitamin content significantly, especially vitamin A, B’s, C and E, along with boosting calcium, iron, selenium, and zinc. The quality of protein and carbohydrates improves, as the sprouting process begins to break down the complex proteins and starches into amino acids, peptides, and simple carbohydrates needed by the seed to grow. At the same time, anti-nutrients such as phytic acid, protease and amylase inhibitors are neutralized. This makes a sprout very easy to digest with highly absorbable nutrients.

Who is responsible for this influx of awesomeness? It’s enzymes! Enzymes are compounds found in raw plants that are needed for nearly every biochemical process that takes place in our body, and something many of our modern diets are lacking. Sprouts are virtually loaded with them. There are up to 100 times more enzymes in sprouts than uncooked fruits and veggies! Enzymes are also what sets living food apart from raw food. Yes, raw foods still offer us enzymes, but eating a food that is alive guantees more enzymes, and in fact more nutrients altogether. As soon as a food is picked, it begins losing its nutrients. Imagine how much vitamin C is left in that orange, which has traveled hundreds, if not thousands of kilometers to get to your plate, and spent weeks, if not months in a storage facility before being dropped off at your local grocer. Sprouts are the remedy to this, pulsating with life and life-giving nutrients, and pretty much the freshest food you can eat outside of a garden.

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Sprouts are also incredibly low in calories, yet deliciously filling due to their high fiber and water content. A fantastic food to binge on, especially if you’re trying to elbow out some of the other stuff from your diet. I love the versatility of sprouts, not only are there so many varieties, but they can be used in so many ways. Like this hummus for example! You can also go classic and top your sandwiches with sprouts, or fold them into grain salads, puree them into soups and even smoothies. I also love freshening up cooked dishes, like stir-fries, curries and pizzas with sprouts. Their crunch and earthy brightness are a welcoming balance to heavier, richer meals.

If you’re on a budget, sprouts are a sweet deal. Because the amount of food you sprout triples or quadruples in size, you’ll end up with way more to eat than you started with for the same price. It’s kind of magical. What’s more, is that properly stored sprouts can last over a month, and some varieties up to 70 days. If you’re prone to tossing away spoiled produce, sprouts will save you money, big time.

Sprouting can take place anywhere you have access to fresh, clean water twice a day. I’ve sprouted on road trips, beach holidays, visiting the in-laws…all over the place! And the groovy thing about taking your show on the road is that you can convince other people to get sprouting too.

And sprouts are not just great for our health, but also the planet. Consider the fact that you’re growing a garden right in your kitchen, using your own energy to make the magic happen. It’s hyper-local food at its best! No chemicals or pesticides during the growing process, or fossil fuels for transportation. Could sprouts be the perfect food?! The answer is yes. But I may be a little biased. I am the Sprout Girl, after all.

If you are concerned about mold or bacteria contamination, please understand that commercially-grown sprouts are propagated in an ideal environment for pathogens to proliferate. Just one more reason to grow your own sprouts at home where you can be sure of proper hygiene and care. Make sure that your jar or sprouting container is thoroughly clean, that you’re rinsing your sprouts with cool water twice daily, and that your sprouts have plenty of airflow. After I drain my sprouts, I make sure that the seeds / sprouts aren’t blocking the entire opening of the jar (see photo). If you follow these tips, you shouldn’t have any problems.

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Scoring Seeds
You can sprout just about anything, but the cheapest and easiest things are found in the bulk bin of your health food store! Lentils, beans, chickpeas, rice, buckwheat, wheat are all widely available and inexpensive. It’s imperative that you choose organically-grown ingredients, as conventionally grown seeds are often irradiated, making them difficult, or even impossible to germinate. You can also purchase seeds online, especially the more specialty ones, like alfalfa, radish, onion, broccoli etc.

Finding Equipment
There are plenty of sprouting apparatuses that you can buy, but if you’re just starting out, use a jar! I bet you already have one.

– 1 sterilized, large-mouth, quart-sized glass jar with an airtight lid
– small piece of cheesecloth
– rubber band
– a bowl or dish rack

How to Sprout
There are countless resources on this topic online, and even whole books written about sprouting, so I am presenting you with a very simple, yet rather foolproof technique. If you want to learn more (which I encourage you to do!) here’s a great place to learn about different methods, applications, as well as help and advice: Sprout People


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I hope that this process seems simple enough for you to try. I promise that once you start sprouting, you won’t be able to stop! It’s so easy, fun, and connecting – not to mention delicious. Good luck and happy sprouting, dear friends!

xo, Sarah B

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Hey Copenhagen! I am thrilled to announce my first two cookbook events in CPH this Spring. The first will be an intimate talk and demonstration at SLOW Copenhagen, and the second will be a magical, celebratory dinner in collaboration with the local, organic grocer and kitchen, Kost. Click on the images for more info and tickets! Can’t wait to see you there. 

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Sarah B’s Balinese Gado Gado

   82 Comments

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First of all, hello you. It’s been a while. I can hardly believe that the holidays are behind us and even the whole of January. What happened?!

Well, before I launch into the recipe, I just wanted to update you all on a couple things.

I need to start by saying that the Wild Heart High Spirit Bali Retreat was, without a doubt, one of the coolest projects I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on. Mikkala Marilyn Kissi and I welcomed and held space for 16 women to totally transform, and come out on the other side of seven days, new humans. We all landed back into our physical bodies, rediscovering the euphoria of movement and breath, the taste of real food, the feeling of laughter in our cells, sun on our skin, smiles in our hearts. I could go on forever about how deeply moved I feel about the whole thing, but I will just say thank you to everyone who came, and that we are going to do another one very, very soon. There are a few photos from the retreat at the bottom of this post – I hope you enjoy, and join us next time.

Also. Cookbook tour. It’s happening. Naturally Nourished officially lands in North America February 14th and I am close behind. I’ll be visiting New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. There are more details at the bottom of this post and on my Events page, so please have a look. For all other countries, please stay tuned!

Now, it’s recipe time.

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If you’re a vegetarian traveling through Indonesia, gado gado will save your life. It’s the dish that is on every single menu, a veggie-loaded, protein-rich salad drenched in the most flavourful, luscious peanut sauce that you’ve ever tasted. Combining raw and slightly steamed or blanched vegetables and bean sprouts, it is typically served with fried tofu or boiled eggs and prawn crackers, but so easily made vegan. The first time I traveled to this part of the world, I ate gado gado so often, that I almost grew tired of it. Almost.

What was my initial meal to celebrate the return to the magical island of Bali this time? Naturally, gado gado, and it did not disappoint. There is something incredibly satisfying about the dish, something that grabs a hold and makes you coming back for more – I believe it is the exquisite balancing act of flavours and textures. The veggies are light and tender (never mushy!), the sprouts are crunchy and fresh, but the true magic lies da sauce. It hits all the notes with its creamy, rich, salty, sweet, acidic, toasty and spiciness. While eating it you’re coming up with ways to justify pouring it on everything (Rice? Yes! Spring rolls? Obviously! Roasted veggies? Of course! Bean salad? Why not?!). Of all the dishes I taught during my retreat cooking classes in Bali, this is the one that the ladies really went wild for. Because sauce.

I will mention that I am taking major liberties with the traditional recipe, keeping my version vegan and soy-free, and switching out the peanuts for more health-supportive almonds. I realize that this is akin to making pasta out of vegetables (i.e. not at all pasta), but we often and readily make allowances for the promise of something healthier, so just roll with me on this one, okay? Thanks.

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But Sarah, what’s wrong with peanuts?
You may recall me tackling this subject before, but for those of you who are hearing just learning that peanuts and the things made with it are less-than-awesome, let’s recap! Although there are a lot worse things you could be eating, there are also plenty of healthier choices than peanuts, and here’s why.

First of all, peanuts are a bit of an odd duck plant. Not a true nut, but a bean in fact, peanuts grow underground in their thin-skinned pods, which come into direct contact with the surrounding soil. Because this soil is often moist and warm, it presents the ideal environment for fungus to proliferate. Now, it’s not the fungus that is the issue in this case, but the poison it releases, called alflatoxin, which is a cancer-causing agent that attacks the liver. What is the most shocking news, is that the highest levels of alflatoxin aren’t found in big brand peanut butters, but in the peanut butter ground fresh in health food stores.

Second of all, conventionally-grown peanuts are sprayed with very high levels of pesticides and are one of the most contaminated crops in the North America. They are also often genetically modified.

Thirdly, peanuts contain very high levels of Omega-6 fatty acids, an essential fat that we consume too much of in general. Ideally, Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats should be consumed in a 3:1 ratio (like the ratio found in hemp seeds!), otherwise inflammation erupts in the body.

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If you’re a serious peanut and peanut butter lover, there are a few things you can do. For starters, find a brand of peanuts that have been grown organically in a dry environment (New Mexico for instance). Dry environments mean drier soils, which means less fungus. Make sure the nuts you are buying are very fresh and raw, since the word “roasted” cruelly translates to “deep fried”. Dry-roasted are okay since they don’t use oil in the cooking process, but these nuts are typically old.

But the best alternative of all? Other nuts! Like almonds. Almonds are high in vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that makes our skin look radiant, and helps protect again heart disease. Almonds have been proven to help lower cholesterol, the risk of weight gain and diabetes. They have about half the amount of Omega-6 fats that peanuts do, along with fewer calories. I snack on almonds and almond butter whenever I can, and have successfully replaced peanuts with this healthier option. I hope you’re inspired to do the same!

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The cool thing about this dish is that you can make it any time of year with seasonal veggies and prepare them the way that suits you and the outdoor temperature, while keeping the sauce exactly the same. I like to eat veggies almost entirely raw in the summer, and include things like cucumber, green beans, radish, and lettuces. In the winter however, gado gado is truly the prefect cold-weather salad since everything can be slightly cooked and enjoyed warm. For this version, I chose two kinds of cabbage, kale, carrots, sweet potato, and freshly sprouted mung beans. An improvement I’ve made since teaching this recipe at the retreat was tossing the still-warm vegetables in virgin coconut oil – best decision. This adds a whole other layer of flavour and creaminess, plus adds even more richness, which need this time of year. Did I mention there’s also sauce?!

There are a couple ways of making my version of gado gado sauce. The best method, for sure, is roasting your own almonds and making your own fresh nut butter. The flavour will truly blow your mind if you go in this direction. But! If you are pressed for time and / or don’t feel like going through the rigmarole, you can totally use store-bought almond butter. Just make sure that it is unsweetened and made from roasted almonds, not raw. We want the full depth of flavour here – raw almond butter is too mild and will be overwhelmed by the other sauce ingredients.

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Here are some shots I took during the retreat in Bali. It was beyond magical.
If you’d like to stay updated about the next one, please sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know once we announce!

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And now for the book tour! I am so insanely excited to get on the road with my latest cookbook, Naturally Nourished, which you can preorder here. I’ll be in New York City and Toronto first, and tickets for the events in those cities are now available. Check the Events page, Instagram and Facebook for the remaining cities, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. See you soon!

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February 20th
My New Roots x The Aerie Collective: WisdomShare
“Turning Your Creativity Into a Career”
Spend an evening with Sarah for an inspiring presentation about how she has grown her food blogging passion into a thriving career.
Her book is available for purchase & signing.

Click here for tickets and more details


February 21st
My New Roots + Food52 Livestream

Tune in to Food52’s Facebook at 3pm EST, for a live broadcast of Sarah Britton demonstrating two of her favourite recipes from her new cookbook Naturally Nourished.

Live event link: www.facebook.com/food52


February 21st
My New Roots + Jessica Murnane + Julia Turshen
A very special night of inspiring conversation + a celebration + great women in food! Join us for the launch party of two beautiful & brilliant new cookbooks: Sarah Britton’s Naturally Nourished and Jessica Murnane’s One Part Plant With the conversation led by the highly acclaimed author & chef, Julia Turshen. Come for the bites, drinks, and book signings by all three women – stay for the good times & (selfies)!

Click here for tickets and more details


February 22nd
My New Roots + Amy Chaplin + The Finch: Plant-based Dinner Celebration
We’re thrilled to invite you to a very special dinner collaboration at Michelin-starred restaurant The Finch, celebrating two fantastic women in food. Join us for this inspired & intimate gathering.

Click here for tickets and more details


TORONTO


February 24th
My New Roots x The Aerie Collective: WisdomShare
“Turning Your Creativity Into a Career”
Spend an evening with Sarah for an inspiring presentation about how she has grown her food blogging passion into a thriving career.
Her book is available for purchase & signing.

Click here for tickets and more details


February 25th
Naturally Nourished Book Launch at Appetito!
We’re very happy to welcome you to join us for an excting interview with Sarah, Q&A, recipe tasting from the cookbook, book purchasing & signing.

Click here for tickets and more details


February 26th
My New Roots + The First Mess: Cookbook Celebration Gathering
Together with Sarah, Laura and an incredible community we would love to invite you to meet, feast & celebrate in their cookbook launch!

Click here for tickets and more details