Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tuscan No Bean Hummus With Checca

No Bean Hummus with Checca, Baby Carrots and Pita Bread Triangles

Hummus is a staple in the raw food world, because it's just a great way to get your raw veggies in as a snack, lunch or use in wraps etc.  but I have a confession....

I have never liked hummus. Yea, I know-Crazy right?

Don't know why either but for years now I haven't even bothered to try making raw hummus, even though it rarely involves the main ingredient of regular hummus-cooked chickpeas. I've been looking for a nice snack idea or light lunch that doesn't require a big salad, and it lead me back to hummus again.

I remembered that there have been many things that I did not like cooked that now I really enjoy raw. With raw food, all previous food bets and tastes are off. It's a whole new ball game with mostly good results.

In researching raw hummus recipes there are many ideas of how to make it raw. Some use sprouted raw chickpeas, while others say they don't like that taste. Some use nuts but then again many have nut allergies, plus that can use a lot of nuts and add a lot of fat. Then there is another school of thought using zucchini and tahini that seems to be a winner.

Since nothing is more upsetting than trying a new raw recipe and having it fall flat, I decided to go for a combo that is a tried and true favorite for many...

The Tuscan Hummus and Checca from California Pizza Kitchen. Now here is the silly part, I have never tried it but I hear people rave about it and CPK is one of my favorite places for fresh veggie combo ideas.

So I decided to base my recipe on theirs, minus the beans. Beans are the heavy part that can leave you feeling bloated afterward. They can be hard to digest for many people even sprouted so the seeds and zucchini base is much more agreeable.

The result? I can honestly say I really like this!  I'm surprised!

Even Rich who is not a hummus fan, really likes this. He's also not a fan of carrots, so I warmed up some pita bread for him. But in the scheme of things, there is a lot of fresh veggies in this dish even with the pita bread so it's all good!

Another winner! What a relief!

No Bean Hummus with Paprika and Chopped Parsley & Baby Carrots

Tuscan No Bean Hummus Recipe

Yes that's 10 cloves of garlic! But I did not use them all.

Hummus Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchini, peeled and chopped 
  • 1/2 cup raw Tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds (soaked in water about 2 hrs and then drain) or use 1 cup Tahini instead
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed if possible
  • 1Tbsp + 1tsp Nama Shoyu  (or tamari or even Braggs Aminos)
  • 1 1/2 Tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp coriander
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 5-10 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 6 large cloves to start and it was very garlicky so add them in last and taste as you go.)
Zucchini lightly peeled

You can choose to leave the peel on your zucchini if you like because there are more nutrients in the skin but know the hummus will be more green. Chop the zucchini and place into food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Add the lemon juice, seasonings, Nama Shoyu, Olive oil. Then when well combined add in the seeds and/or tahini.  Then add in the garlic. CPK's recipe calls for 10 cloves of garlic and while we really do love garlic, 6 was our limit.  If it's too watery add in more tahini to desired consistency. Chill and let sit a bit before serving ( if you can wait.) Sprinkle with paprika and top with chopped parsley. Drizzle with olive oil if desired.

Will keep refrigerated 5 days.
No Bean Hummus Plain

This is really tasty as is- plain. I could have eaten the whole bag of carrots just like this. But for added taste and color and because I had some lovely ripe tomatoes, I made the...


Fresh Checca

Checca is an Italian salad/garnish made with ripe tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil- delicious!

Checca Ingredients:
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive Oil- cold pressed if possible
  • Sea Salt to taste
Chop the tomato and set aside in a bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients and lightly toss to coat the tomatoes. Chill or serve right away.

Top off the hummus to serve or eat with anything you desire- including a fork. So good!

No Bean Hummus with Checca

Ready for a Bite?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Johnny Apple Salsa

Green Apple Salsa

Most likely, you've had Tomato Salsa. Maybe even Corn or Mango Salsa. How about Pineapple Salsa? Yep that's good too. But here's a new one for you.

Chances are you haven't had it yet but before you turn up your nose, I'm here to tell you...

It's really really good!

It's light, refreshing with a little tang and a little heat.

I actually found this in an old Costco recipe/cookbook flyer. You just never know where a great fresh produce recipe will pop up.

Serve it with chips, raw or otherwise or even just scoop into a lettuce leaf for a refreshing salsa taco, complete with crunch. No chips required.

But even with chips, you are at least getting lots of raw fresh goodness in the salsa so enjoy!

Another benefit of the apples is that if you serve this with less raw accoutrements, the apple is a built in heartburn helper! But that won't happen if you stay raw.  ;-)

Green Apple Salsa

Green Apple Salsa Ingredients
1 large or two small tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 large jalapeno, cored seeded and finely chopped
2 granny smith apples, cored and diced
2 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp honey
 fresh ground pepper
sea salt 

In a medium bowl, stir together tomato onion, lime juice and jalapeno. Quarter and core apples and cut into fine dice. Stir apples into the tomato mixture with cilantro, honey, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Refrigerate for up to 6 hrs before serving.
Because of the apple it does not keep longer than a day.

I ended up going to a neighbor's door to share. His words ...."sweet!"

This went over really well! I highly recommend sharing!

Try it, I promise you won't be disappointed.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Quintessential Desert Resort and Salad

One of my favorite places to visit here in the California desert is around the corner from us, a place called The La Quinta Resort. It was built in 1926 in the Spanish hacienda ranch style, which is a favorite of mine with cozy terracotta floored casitas surrounded by mature foliage and citrus trees all tucked back into the base of the mountains.

Back in the day, it was a popular hideaway for the Hollywood elite looking to escape to pools, tennis and golf and still a draw for those in the know today. The Christmas classic movie, It's a Wonderful Life was actually written by Frank Capra in one of the casitas and every Christmas they make this place magical with lights and decoration.

It became such a landmark that the town of La Quinta was named after it. It is still a charming resort and since it is now run by a large hotel chain, we keep our fingers crossed that they won't modernize it too much and ruin it.

I like to visit because it always has a spectacular show of flowers any time of year. It's like a giant garden, something we don't see all that much here. One of my favorite places there is a restaurant that has a large sunny patio with umbrellas, which surprisingly is a rarity around here as well.

There is a fountain providing the cooling sound of water as a backdrop and lots of color in the plants that surround the patio.  It's a nice place to go and enjoy our sunny weather. My dish of choice is their Mandarin Orange Salad, minus the chicken.

Since our desert is full of citrus this just seems like the perfect California Desert Salad.

Just the other day I was feeling like I needed a vacation, a change of scenery to just get outside and soak up some sunshine.  Visiting the resort always feels like a vacation to me. So we went. The grounds were beautiful and the flowers put up a good show, as always. I ordered my salad but perhaps memory is better than reality or they changed it. Sadly, my taste buds were disappointed.

I thought... I can make this better.  So that's what I did!

A blend of California classics, mandarin oranges and almonds with the addition of sunflower sprouts, a mix of romaine, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, green onion and mung bean sprouts, with an asian inspired ginger soy dressing sweetened with honey and lime. This time I was not disappointed!

Mandarin Orange Salad
with a Sweet Soy Ginger Dressing

Mandarin Orange Salad with Sweet Soy Ginger Dressing


Salad Mix
green cabbage
carrots shredded
broccoli slaw
bean sprouts
romaine lettuce, chopped finely (optional)
8 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
 3 green onions, chopped finely
1/3 cup slivered almonds
sunflower sprouts

I actually buy the first 4 ingredients in bags and mix together in a large ziplock to have ready for salad anytime. It keeps for about a week in the fridge as long as I toss only the amount I need with dressing when ready to eat. 

For the salad, take the first four items plus the romaine if using and toss with dressing.  Figure about 2-3 cups salad per person for main entree and just enough dressing to coat lightly. The dressing is strong so a little goes a long way. Add the green onions, mandarins, and slivered almonds and toss again before serving. Sprinkle the sunflower sprouts over the top with a few more almonds as well.

Sweet Soy Ginger Dressing
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 Tbsp grated fresh peeled ginger
3 Tbsp honey or agave
 juice of one lime
1/2 cup olive or sesame oil
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
1/3 cup Nama Shoyu or Tamari (soy sauce)
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
1/4 cup water

Blend all in a blender until well emulsified. Chill to let flavors marry.
Makes about 2 cups

I hope you give it a try and enjoy!

Ps: all the pictures of the resort are from the La Quinta resort's website. 
Sometimes it's best to let the professionals do things. 


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