Curried onion and cauliflower hummus

Cooking the dried garbanzo beans (chick peas) in baking soda, softens them and makes this hummus extra silky. The curried onion-cauliflower topping adds tons of wonderful flavor.

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1lb (2 1/2 cups) dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight and drained
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Canola oil, for frying
1/2lb cauliflower, cut into 1/2 inch florets
2 tsp curry powder
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp finely crushed pink peppercorns
Chopped parsley, for garnish

In a saucepan, cover the garbanzo beans, garlic and baking soda with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring every 15 minutes, until the garbanzo beans are tender, 50 mins, if necessary, add water to them to keep them covered.

Drain the garbanzo beans and garlic and transfer to a food processor. Puree until very smooth.
With the machine on, gradually add the tahini, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil and the cumin. Season the hummus with salt.

In a skillet, heat 1/4 inch of canola oil. Add the cauliflower florets and fry over moderately high heat, stirring, until tender and deeply browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined bowl to drain. Add 1 tsp of the curry powder and toss well. Season with salt and toss again.

Pour off all but 1/4 cup oil from the skillet. Add the onion and a big pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until just starting to soften and brown in spots, about 5 minutes.
Add the pink peppercorns and the remaining 1 tsp of curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Season with salt.

Spoon the hummus into a bowl and top with the onion and cauliflower. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with parsley and serve
Serve with warm pita bread.

Lentil and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Feta and Tahini

Another lovely tasty and healthy meatless salad. Enjoy!

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Scant 1 cup dried green lentils (Puy or Casteluccio, if you can find them) picked and rinsed over. (or buy the vacuum packed cooked lentils in the supermarket and skip this whole cooking stage)
2 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
2 fresh sage sprigs
2 tbsp olive oil

For the dressing and salad
2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 large garlic clove
Salt (Maldon or another flaky sea salt if you’ve got it)
2 tbsp well-stirred tahini paste
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
2 tbsp plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

1 and 3/4 cups drained garbanzo beans (chickpeas,from a 15-ounce can)
1/2 small preserved lemon, pith and flesh discarded, rind finely diced (optional)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
A handful of cilantro or flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1/4 cup Greek feta cheese
1 1/2 tbsp raw sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan until a shade or two darker

Make the lentils: Put the lentils, garlic, sage, and olive oil in a small pot, along with 2 cups cold water, and set it over medium heat. Let the water come to a simmer (not boiling), then turn the heat to low and cook the lentils in a very gentle simmer just until they are tender (about 25 to 30 mins and you might need some extra liquid near the end) Take the pan off the heat and let the lentils cool a bit before draining them. Pick out and discard the sage and garlic. You’ll have about 2 cups cooked lentils.

Make the dressing: Mix together the ground coriander and cumin in a small bowl. Mash the garlic clove to a paste with 1 tsp salt (use half as much Kosher salt, even less table salt) on a cutting board or in a mortar. In a small bowl for your dressing, combined the mashed garlic, tahini, 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 2 tbsp of the olive oil, 1 tsp of the ground coriander-and-cumin mixture and 2 tbsp water. Stir well, then taste. Add more lemon if desired.

Assemble the salad: Place onion slices in a medium bowl and break them up with your fingers. Sprinkle in two good pinches of salt, then two teaspoons of lemon juice, two remaining teaspoons of olive oil and the cilantro or parsley. Toss well, then crumble in the cheese and gently toss again.

Toss the lentils with the drained chickpeas, preserved lemon rind (if using), and 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (use half as much Kosher salt, even less table salt) in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the tahini dressing and toss it all together really well, then stir in the onion-feta mixture.

Arrange the salad in bowl or platter. Sprinkle the mixture with the sesame seeds and some of the remaining spices. Serve

Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crispy Garbanzo Beans and Salted pistachios

I just love non-meat dishes these days especially with the temperature so warm. Although I’m not a vegetarian, I do fantasize about being one.
This is another beauty of a recipe and simple to make.

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Garbanzo beans
1 3/4 cups cooked Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 lb carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp well-stirred tahini
2 tbsp water, plus more if needed
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Roast chickpeas: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the chickpeas with one tbsp olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated.
Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside until needed.

Make dressing: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning; don’t worry if it tastes a little sharp on the lemon, it will marry perfectly with the sweet grated carrots.

Assemble salad: Place the grated carrots in a large bowl and toss with the parsley. Mix in 2/3 of the dressing, adding more if desired. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a large handful of chickpeas (you’ll have extra and if you’re like us, won’t regret it) and the pistachios and dig in.

Do ahead: Salad keeps well in the fridge for two days, however, I’d add the chickpeas and pistachios right before serving, so they don’t get soft

Warm pan of garbanzo beans, chorizo, spinach and goat cheese

I just love healthy and flavorsome food that is easy to prepare.


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Serves 4 to 6
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups baby spinach
Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 medium onion, thinly sliced into half moons
3 roasted red peppers, preferably packed in oil, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 chorizo sausages, chopped
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
One 14oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/4 cup goat cheese (chèvre) crumbled

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a wide saucepan. Add the spinach and toss to coat. Heat the spinach until it begins to wilt, about 4 minutes, then add the red wine vinegar and a pinch of kosher salt. Remove the spinach into a bowl.

Add the onion, the roasted red pepper, and the garlic to the pan. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the chorizo. (If the chorizo is not cured, make sure to cook it through, about 5 to 7 minutes.) Add the paprika and the cayenne. Add the chickpeas, then stir everything together. Taste and correct the salt, as needed.

Stir in the reserved spinach, then the chives and the parsley, and finally top with the chèvre. Lightly stir through. Serve warm with crusty bread

Indian-style kale with chick peas and coconut

This is the best way to eat kale (other than deep-fried!) that is full of intense flavors, is luxuriously creamy and absolutely divine!

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1 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
thumb-sized piece ginger, grated
2 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp tomato purée
7 oz kale, large stalks removed, leaves finely shredded
14 oz can chickpeas, drained
1 cup vegetable (or chicken) stock
2 oz unsweetened grated coconut (or fresh coconut, grated)
4 heaped tbsp Greek-style yogurt
1 tbsp mango chutney

To serve
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp freeze-dried curry leaves (optional)

Heat the butter in a deep frying pan, add the onion, then soften gently for 5 mins. Turn up the heat and add the ginger and spices; fry for 2 mins until fragrant. Stir in the tomato purée.
Add the kale, chickpeas, stock and two-thirds of the coconut, stir well, then cover the pan. Bring to a simmer and let the kale steam for 10 mins until very well wilted. Mix in the yogurt and chutney, then season to taste – don’t boil once the yogurt has gone in. Remove the pan from the heat, and leave it covered to stay warm.
Heat the oil in a small saucepan. When it’s hot, add the garlic (and curry leaves, if using) and sizzle for 30 secs-1 min until the garlic begins to turn golden. Spoon the oil, garlic and curry leaves over the chickpeas and kale, then finish with the remaining coconut.

Lemony lentils and chickpea salad with radishes and herbs

I love those main course salads you can serve for lunch or dinner on a hot summers day. This is a fresh and filling salad flavored with lemon, fresh mint and dill. Use the ready-cooked vacuum packed lentils you can buy and canned chickpeas for a meal ready in under 20 minutes. This salad keeps well for a few days in the fridge too.


1 x 17 oz vacuum pack steamed Puy lentils
2 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil

Lemon dressing
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons’ worth)
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
3 cloves garlic,minced
¼ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 (14 ounce) can cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1/2 small-ish red onion, finely chopped
1 big bunch of radishes, sliced thin and roughly chopped
¼ cup packed fresh, leafy herbs, chopped (combination of mint and dill recommended)
Optional garnishes: sliced avocado, crumbled feta or goat cheese, handful of fresh leafy greens, like baby arugula

To make the dressing: Whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl.
In a microwaveable container, heat the lentils in a microwave for 3 to 4 minutes. When heated through, throw them into a large serving  bowl along with the garbanzo beans (chickpeas), chopped radishes, red onion and herbs. Drizzle in the dressing and toss to combine. Serve with avocado, crumbled cheese or fresh greens if you’d like.

Butternut squash curry with garbanzo beans (chickpeas)


I am a curry freak, but don’t always want a meat curry. This is such a fabulous vegetarian alternative that you will cook many times.

Serves 4
1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
2 tbsp Thai yellow curry paste     (I buy this brand on and it lasts for months in the fridge. Actually, I have a red, green and yellow curry from the same brand.)  You can also use 3 tbsp of the curry paste if you like really spicy. It’s worth playing around with it.


2 onions, finely chopped
3 large stalks lemongrass, bashed with the back of a knife
6 green cardamon pods
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 piece of butternut squash,peeled and cubed in 3/4″ inch pieces, weighing about 2lbs
8 fluid ounces vegetable or chicken stock
15 fl oz can coconut milk
15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 large limes
A large handful fresh mint
naan bread or steamed rice , to serve

Heat the oil in a saute pan, then gently fry the curry paste with the onions, lemongrass, cardamon pods and mustard seeds for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant.
Stir in the butternut squash and coat in the paste, then pour in the stock and coconut milk.
Bring everything to a simmer, add the chick peas, then cook for about 10 minutes or until the squash is tender.
The curry can now be cooled and frozen for up to 1 month.
Squeeze the juice of one lime into the curry, then cut the other lime into wedges to serve alongside.
Just before serving, tear the mint leaves up, then bring to the table with the lime wedges and rice or warmed naan breads.


Middle Eastern Hummus

Middle Eastern Hummus

Everyone needs a good recipe for hummus and as soon as you make it, you’ll wonder why you spent so much money buying it!

1 cup of good quality chickpeas (soaked overnight in twice the water volume and a pinch of baking soda)
or, if time doesn’t allow to soak, use a good quality tin of cooked chickpeas
1 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
2 tsp roasted cumin seeds (roast in a frying pan until fragrant)
1 clove garlic, crushed to a paste with a little salt
4 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
About 6 fl oz of good olive oil
** You can also add some fresh chopped chili for more flavor

Place the soaked chickpeas in a large pot and fill with fresh water, cook for about 45 to 60 mins until they are tender. Strain and reserve the cooking liquid.
Place the chickpeas, cumin seeds, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of reserved cooking liquid in a food processor. Add about 3 fl oz of the olive oil and process, for a minute. Then add extra olive oil and cooking liquid to this mixture to get a smooth consistency.
Salt and pepper to taste

Warm Squash & Chickpea Salad with tahini sauce and cilantro.

This is a warm, filling, vegan salad. Lovely flavors and earthy.

Serves 4
2lbs butternut squash or other winter squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp olive oil
seal salt and black pepper
14 oz canned or home-cooked chickpeas, drained
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped (soaked in cold water for 15 mins if you want to soften the bite)
4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt
3 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp tahini paste
2 tbsp water, to taste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Heat the oven to 425 F

Toss the squash with the garlic, allspice, olive oil, some salt and pepper.
Place on a baking tray, optionally lined with parchment, in the oven for 25 minutes or until soft.
Remove and allow to cool slightly.

While the squash is cooking, make the tahini sauce. Mix the crushed garlic with lemon juice and add the tahini.
Now thin with the water and olive oil and check for seasoning.
You should taste a balance between the nutty tahini and the sharp lemon.

To assemble  the salad;  Place the squash, chickpeas, red onion and cilantro in a mixing bowl.

Pour in the tahini sauce and remaining oil and toss carefully.
Season with salt and pepper


Carrot harissa hummus

Delicious and very different. Well worth making. Thank you to Aida Mollenkamp for this recipe.

2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 lb carrots, roughly chopped and ends discarded
2 medium cloves garlic cloves, peeled
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained (chick peas)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp tahini or almond butter
3 to 4 tbsp harissa paste
4 to 5 large ice cubes
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp runny honey
Kosher salt and pepper

Heat the broth in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil.
Add the carrots and garlic, reduce to medium and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the stove and cool slightly.

Combine the carrots and 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid with the chick peas and garlic in a food processor fitted with a blade.
Process until the mixture is very smooth.

Add olive oil, tahini or almond butter and ice cubes and pulse until the mixture is very smooth.
* Regarding the Harissa paste, this amount makes a fairly spicy hummus, so you might want to start with 1 tbsp and taste it to make sure you can handle the heat.

Pulse in 3 tbsp of the Harissa, (or 1 tbsp to start with if you’re not sure of the spiciness) lemon juice and honey and season well with salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, honey or Harissa as desired.

Place in the refrigerator to let the hummus cool off before using, at least 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

* The hummus can be made up to 4 days ahead of time – store it refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.