Pav Bhaji

[editor’s note. I like Pav Bhaji a lot, I love it with melted cheese on top, and I’ve even had pretty good pizza where they use Pav Bhaji instead of tomato sauce. It’s also 100% plant-based, if you use vegan butter. So of course I’ve been wanting to run a recipe for the newsletter. Turns out our senior cashier Rakhi makes Pav Bhaji just about weekly. This is her recipe.

Pav Bhaji was originally provided as a cheap lunch for textile workers in Mumbai. It was, in the words of one writer, made from “all the leftovers.” You can use a similar philosophy here. Don’t feel constrained by precise quantities. Just make a mash from whatever you’ve got, and enjoy -Adam].   

Pav Bhaji is popular Indian street food.  Pav means “bread” or “dinner roll” and bhaji means “vegetable dish.” So Pav Bhaji is a mashed vegetable dish served with buttered Western-style rolls. Normally Pav Bhaji is about half potatoes, but when I make it for my son, I replace most of them with even more nutrient dense vegetables. -Rakhi 

Serves 4 

  • 1½ C chopped carrots 
  • 3 C cauliflower florets 
  • 1 medium yellow potato, peeled & cubed 
  • 1 C chopped red bell pepper 
  • 1 C frozen peas 
  • 5 Tbsp butter, divided + more for the rolls 
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds 
  • 1 C finely chopped onion 
  • 5 Tbsp butter 
  • 2 Tbsp chopped garlic 
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger 
  • 1 C chopped fresh or store-bought tomatoes 
  • 1-2 Tbsp Pav Bhaji masala spice mix 
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika (optional for color) 
  • for garnishing ¼ C chopped cilantro 
  • for garnishing, lemon juice or lemon wedges 
  • soft dinner rolls for serving 
  • salt to taste 

Cooking method

  1. In a pot, set cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, red bell pepper and frozen peas with 3 cups of water. Add 1tsp salt and cover the pot. Boil the vegetables together on medium heat till tender (around 10 to 15 mins). Using a potato masher, mash all the vegetable. 
  2. In another shallow pan melt 2 tbs butter on medium heat, then add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Add chopped onions and sauté for two mins. Then add grated ginger and garlic. I use cheese grater to grate. Continue to cook for 1 more mins. Now add chopped tomatoes and mix well. Let the tomatoes cook for 3 mins until softened. Add the Pav Bhaji masala and paprika powder. I like to add paprika powder to give it more color. Now add the remaining butter, smashed vegetables and 1/4 cup water. Cook for another 10 minutes. 
  3. Give a good squeeze of lemon and chopped cilantro. Top with the rest of the butter. 
  4. Gently toast the dinner rolls, and serve well buttered. 

Black Cherry + Marmalade No-Bake Galette with a Hazelnut-Maple-Cacao Crust

I first published a version of this recipe about a year-and-a-half ago, and I’m still quite proud of it! The original version was made in a pie tin. This version is rolled out on a baking sheet. Either way, you don’t bake it but actually freeze it.

Few desserts are as intensely flavorful. Consider ingredients like flour, butter, cream, sugar… all very nice, but lacking in flavor — and nutrition. Meanwhile, practically everything we use here tastes like something — and is packed with nutrition. I mean, cacao and cherries — talk about an antioxidant powerhouse! All these flavors together — cherries and orange peel; hazelnut and chocolate; maple and vanilla — together, they’re a symphony. And of course since there are no raw eggs, you can totally lick the spoon.

This recipe is vegan, virtuous, almost entirely raw, and without refined sugars (except for the little bit in the marmalade). Serve it frozen, slice and eat like a pizza. (Once it starts to thaw, it gets floppy and harder to eat out of hand).

For the Crust

  • 2 C hazelnut meal
  • 1/2 C dark maple syrup
  • 1/2 C pecan butter
  • 2/3 C raw cacao powder
  • 1 fat pinch pink salt

For the Filling

  • 1 10-oz bag frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed (see notes)
  • 1/2 C coconut cream
  • 1/2 C thick orange marmalade
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Ingredients notes:

  • I use the Cadia brand of frozen cherries, as they’re consistently dark and sweet. And organic. And reasonably priced.
  • I’m serious about you needing to thaw them. Frozen cherries will solidify the coconut cream, and the resulting mix may be too thick for your blender.
  • Do make sure to use dark maple syrup vs. “golden amber.” It has a stronger flavor.
  • you can of course substitute another nut meal for hazelnut, and another nut butter for pecan.

Directions

  1. in a mixing bowl, combine crust ingredients.
  2. Roll the crust out on a piece of parchment paper. It can be round, oval, I don’t care. Galettes are supposed to be rustic, a little rough around the edges. Roll it as thin as a thin-crust pizza. Again, this doesn’t need to be too precise.
  3. Roll up the edges of the crust just a little bit
  4. Blenderize the filling ingredients.
  5. Spread the filling on the crust. Freeze. Serve frozen. Cut with a pizza roller if you want to be interesting about it. Top with something if you want, too. Thin-cut

This keeps for at least a few weeks in the freezer.

Pomegranate, Pistachios, Saffron & Honey in a Cloud of Yogurt

delectable | breakfast or dessert | antioxidant-rich

I’ve been making some version of this Persian-inflected dish forever, but I’ve never had a good name for it.  (“Silk Road Raita?”) A symphony of flavors and textures and colors.  The creamy yogurt, the heft of the pistachios, the little pomegranate arils bursting with each bite. It’s a deeply satisfying breakfast, a light lunch, or snack. Add a little extra honey, and it’s an eccentric but deeply satisfying (and guilt-free!) dessert.  Or place it on the Thanksgiving table in place of cranberry sauce. Why not?

Pistachios are quite healthy, even by nut standards.  Like most nuts, they’re rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats, trace minerals and magnesium. Pistachios are also especially rich in plant lignans that may lower cholesterol.  Meanwhile, pomegranate’s heart health benefits have been very well documented.  Yogurt, with its probiotics and protein.  And then saffron.  Yes, it’s the most expensive spice on Earth!  But, as Dr. Bill Mitchell used to say, two servings of saffron tea still costs less than a single latte1.

6 servings | all quantities are approximate

2 medium-large pomegranates, about 3 cups1 C raw unsalted shelled pistachios
1-2 C unsweetened yoghurtoptional: a big fat pinch saffron
optional: honey to tasteOptional: splash of orange blossom water
  1. Get the arils out of the pomegranate.  This takes a while.  Sit down, put on some music, enjoy a conversation while you do it. There’s a nice video tutorial here.
  2. Very coarsely chop the pistachios. 
  3. Mix the pistachios together with the yogurt and pomegranate. 
  4. Either in the bowl or in individual serving dishes, drizzle on the honey, sprinkle the saffron, splash the orange blossom water

This dish keep 4-5 days in the fridge, although you’ll lose some of the nice crunch of the pistachios the longer it sits.

  1. In Plant Medicine in Clinical Practice, Dr. Mitchell talks about saffron tea. Add ten strands of saffron to a mug, pour over boiling water. Let set a few minutes. Drink — including the threads. 2 cups a day is a solid dose, and the mood-elevating effects are often noticeable within a week. Saffron also contains water- and fat-soluble carotenoids that can protect the eyes. Dr. Mitchell describes using it for cerebral edema, although that is beyond the scope of this recipe — and my own personal experience. Much of the recent research on saffron has focused on weight control — and it appears to work — although it works primarily if not entirely by modulating mood (and thus appetite), and this how we approach food ↩︎

.

Zuchinni Noodles Aglio e Olio e Gamberi 

We shred summer squash – using a spiralizer, a julienne peeler, or by hand. That’s our “pasta.” And then we do it up aglio e olio style. That’s Italian for “garlic and oil.” E gamberi means “and shrimp,” and it’s the shrimp that transform what’s basically a glorified salad into a full-out meal.    

Now let’s talk cheese: there’s generic romano, and there’s pecorino romano. The pecorino version comes from sheep’s milk. It’s a million times better than a generic cow romano, and that’s a mathematical fact. If you use feta instead of romano, again, seek the sheep. Trust me.  

And salad shrimp… I love these! Baby shrimp, already cooked, super-easy, versatile, reasonably priced, and wild.  (Wild is important, because farm-raised shrimp can be pretty gross).  I add them to salads and slaws, omelettes, pastas, even savory waffles. And of course salads, for a punch of protein. Corn salad with shrimp and dill might be my next recipe… 

Serves 4 | 10 minutes prep | 10 minutes cook 

  • 2.5 – 3 pounds yellow zucchini 
  • ½ C good extra virgin olive oil 
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely sliced or crushed
  • ¼ C dried thyme, or mixed Italian dried herbs. (Yes, that much!)
  • 1 16-oz bag frozen salad shrimp, thawed 
  • at least 1 C grated pecorino romano, or feta 
  • ground black pepper and cayenne to taste 

Instructions

  1. Defrost the salad shrimp in the fridge in the morning. 
  2. Spiralize or otherwise finely shred the summer squash into “noodles.” Set aside. 
  3. In a pan large enough to eventually hold all the noodles, gently heat the oil with the garlic and herbs until the garlic just slightly softens.   
  4. Add the zucchini, and continue to stir gently. Remember, you can eat zucchini raw, so how much you cook – nice and soft, or still a little crunchy – is entirely a matter of taste.   
  5. Add the shrimp until they’re warmed through. (Remember, they’re already cooked!).  
  6. Add some cheese, stir it in, serve with even more cheese

Riceberry Pudding / Porridge

I love this recipe!  First, it’s easy.  Second, it lasts 5 days in the fridge.  Third, it’s versatile, and in so many ways: you can serve it hot or cold, for breakfast or dessert, smoothly blended or chunky.  You can top it with coconut milk, golden raisins, coconut chips, or freshly diced sweet mango.   

This recipe uses Riceberry, a whole grain purple rice from Thailand.  It has all the nutrition of a brown rice (healthy protein and fiber, plus additional antioxidants), but cooks in about half the time.   It’s soft, chewy, and little sticky.  [editor’s note:    

Adzuki beans make this dish hearty and filling.  Native to East Asia, adzukis pack 17 g protein and 17 g fiber per cup (cooked).  Their somewhat sweet and nutty flavor makes them a great option for both sweet and savory dishes.  All that extra nutrition makes this dish a great breakfast because it keeps me fuller for longer, and it’s chock full of goodness.   

Serves 6-8.  10 minutes prep.  30 minutes simmering 

12.2-oz can sweetened evaporated coconut milk (I use the Nature’s Charm brand) 2 C cooked adzuki beans (1 15-oz can, or made from scratch as per directions below) 
½ C raw riceberry rice 3 Tbsp coconut sugar 
Salt to taste, water as needed Some fun toppings! 

1. Make the rice.  Rinse and place in a heavy-bottom pot with 1 C water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to lowest setting, cover and cook 25 min.  Let sit covered another 10.  Fluff with a fork.  NOTE: this makes slightly more than 1 C, so save the rest for topping, or add to make a thicker pudding. 

2. If cooking the adzuki beans, put beans in a pot with plenty of water. The general rule is 1 part beans to 4 parts water. Cook until the beans are VERY tender. 45 – 60min.  Drain and set aside. 

3. Using a blender or food processor, blend adzuki beans, 1 cup cooked riceberry rice, coconut milk and coconut sugar together till smooth. Add salt to taste. (I added a heaping ¼ tsp). 

4. Serve with chopped mango or whatever other toppings you’re inspired by.  You’ll find that you have some leftover rice and beans, so if you want to add texture to your pudding, add some and give it a stir. Too thick for your taste? Add more coconut milk! Enjoy. 

Extra Silky & Rich Hummous 

oppings, toppings, toppings are… unecessary. But lovely! Here we use some chickpeas reserved from the original blending, plus pine nuts and za’atar, plus a healthy rizzle of olive oil. In a perfect world, you’ll use a good olive oil to make the hummus, and a GREAT olive oil to top it. Other topping options: some crumbled mrguez sausage, chopped fresh cilantro, tangy dried sumac… or a whole chopped Middle Easter salad, with tomatoes, cukes, feta, olives. Be creative!

Forget potato salad.  This is my #1 fave backyard/cookout/guests-on-the-deck accompaniment.  I may say “accompaniment,” but surround it with enough breads and veggies, and it’s a meal in itself.     

Three tricks make this hummus as silky as possible.  First, we process the raw garlic in the lemon juice; the acid from the lemon mellows the raw garlic.  Second, we simmer the chickpeas with a little baking soda, which softens them almost to the point of disintegration, and makes for an incredible level of creaminess. Eventually, the residual baking soda will also neutralize some of the acidity of the lemon.  Third, we’re very generous with the tahini and olive oil, and drizzle more olive oil on top.   

Shelf-life is a problem with store-bought hummus — a problem that is solved either with chemical preservatives, or an excess of lemon juice. We don’t use either. So, use this up within 3 days is my suggestion. Or freeze it for later.

Serves about 10-12 as a side, 6-8 as a light lunch with pita & veggies 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 C cooked chickpeas, from…
    •        2 x 15-oz cans, or… 
    •        1 x 29-oz can, or… 
    •        made from scratch s
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 1 C good organic tahini (we especially endorse the Tohum brand)
  • ½ Tbsp cumin powder 
  • ¼ – ½ C ice water 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • ½ C high-quality lemon juice 
  • 2 Tbsp virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle 
  • some fun toppings (see #5 below)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Reserve 2 Tbsp chickpeas for garnish. 
  2. In a medium sauce pot, cover the remaining chickpeas with 2-3 inches water.  Add baking soda and bring to a simmer.  Continue simmering 20 minutes until they’re mushy.  Rinse 30 seconds.   
  3. In a food processor equipped with a standard cutting blade, spin the garlic, lemon juice, and salt at high speed until pureed.  Let sit a few minutes.   
  4. Add everything else, and run food processor 5 minutes.  Adjust water, salt & lemon to taste. 
  5. Spread over a shallow serving dish.  Mound the reserved chickpeas in the center.  Drizzle generously with high quality olive oil – either by itself, or after sprinkling with za’atar, sumac, cumin, pine nuts, cooked crumbled merguez (spicy North African lamb sausage), pine nuts, or all of the above.  

If you don’t have za’atar in your spice cabinet, you should! A Middle Eastern (non-spicy) spice blend of sumac and thyme, sesame and cumin, it’s awesome here, on eggs or yogurt, to finish avocado toast, etc.

Easy Thai Curry with Western Veggies

This isn’t authentic, and it probably lacks artistry.  But it’s yummy, a foolproof weeknight staple that’s good for you.  In the winter, I use chopped carrots, and frozen peas and corn.  In summer, why not throw in some snow peas?  Whatever veggies you choose, make sure they’re firm and crunchy with a little vegetabal-y sweetness.    

Ever since the Epicurious website ranked Mekhala the #1 brand for Thai green curry paste, it’s been my go-to.  Doesn’t hurt that it’s organic, either.  But green curry is spicy, and you can absolutely use a milder yellow or red paste.  If anyone in your home is entirely spice-averse (i.e. we have a kindergartener), you can omit the curry paste while cooking.  You finish, ladle out a spices-free portion, then add the curry paste to what’s afterwards.   For her, and even for us, we’ll add splash a Big Tree Farms original coconut aminos: the sweetness from the coconut, partially transformed into a soy sauce-like liquid. It’s salty-savory-sweet, and really adds something. 

feeds 6

2 cans full-fat coconut milk2-3 Tbsp curry paste of your choice
5 cups combined chopped carrot; corn & peas2 crisp red bell peppers, diced
1 lb firm tofu, cubedcoconut aminos and/or fish sauce to taste

Directions

  1. Put the coconut milk in a pot with the 5 cups veggies and the curry paste.  Simmer until veggies are al dente.  You can add a little extra water if you like.
  2. Add the tofu and stir gently till it warms through.
  3. Serve with plenty of chopped bell pepper on top.
  4. I really like using the purple Riceberry rice with this.  It’s a hybrid Thai long-grain sticky rice that works perfectly here.  See here for more. 

How to Cook and Why to Eat: Riceberry Rice

This is my favorite rice! The Riceberry cultivar was developed in Thailand 20 years ago, as a cross between a purple sticky rice and a long-grain jasmine. No GMOs here, they just crossed the two strains the old fashioned way.

Riceberry is soft, sticky, nutty & fragrant; and like most deep-dark-purple-almost-black foods, it’s packed with health anthocyanin antioxidants. Riceberry even outshines blueberry!

It has all the health advantages of a brown rice — and then some — but cooks (almost) as fast as a white rice. 

Add 1 cup rice to 1½ cold water. Bring to a boil, covered, then simmer 10 minutes. Fluff, let sit another 10 minutes, fluff again. Or don’t fluff, and mold it in a cup or bowl like in the picture above. Eat.

We sell organic Riceberry in the bulk Refillery. Our kitchen will also be making it with our green curry hot meal in March.

Purple Sweet Potato Porridge

Purple sweet potatoes are just what they sound like: sweet potatoes, that are purple.  You can bake them, boil them…  For this dish, you cook them in the same pot as the oatmeal.  So it’s no muss, no fuss.  It looks pretty, and now you’re having vegetables for breakfast.   

And the dried fruit…  goji berries taste like raisins, but milder.  An antioxidant powerhouse, they contain the same immune-strengthening compounds found in maitake mushrooms.  Longan berries (not to be confused with lingonberries!) don’t have a lot of health properties.  But they are DELICIOUS.  Like caramel.   

1 C rolled oats or other porridge grains 1/3 C dried goji berries and/or longan fruit 
2 C purple sweet potatoes, chopped into grape-size piecespinch salt 
3 C water, milk, or nut milk Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger etc. to taste** 
  1. Put everything in a pot, simmer covered for about 25 minutes.  Or longer, depending on your porridge grains.  Until everything is soft.   
  1. Top.  Since this porridge is somewhat mild, toppings are important.  I love a drizzle of honey or maple.  And a big spoonful of nut butter.  In the picture, I’m using Pecan Shop wild native pecan butter.  You might enjoy something flavored and creative from Big Spoon Roasters… 

** If you have it handy, try replacing/supplementing your warming spices with Blue Lotus brand Roobois Chai spice mix.  I really like using a spoonful of crunchy, textured nut butter on top as well.  In the picture, it’s Pecan Shop wild-harvested sprouted pecan butter.  Yyou might also try something flavored and creative from Big Spoon Roasters.   

Kırmızı Mercimek Çorbası

(a traditional Turkish red lentil soup)

When I was 19, I spent seven weeks traveling around Turkey on $10 a day. On that budget, we ate a lot of soup! The ubiquitous red lentil soup was a staple, and I never grew tired of it.

I’m revisiting that memory now, first of all because it’s January. Time for something warm. Time for a dietary reset, after all the excesses (caloric and budgetary) of the holiday season.

Also, the store finally got Turkish urfa chili flakes in the bulk spice section, and they’re a revelation. Sun-dried and aged. Dark purple, verging on black. Malty, umami, like a deep red wine. A pleasant medium heat. We add a little to the pot, but the real flavor comes through in the chili-oil swirl.

1 yellow onion, chopped1 heaping tsp cumin powder
2 medium carrots, chopped½ tsp coriander powder
2 cloves garlic, chopped3 Tbsp urfa chili flakes, divided
1 white potato, cubed1 C red lentils
6 Tbsp EVOO, divided7 C water or broth
2 Tbsp tomato paste1 Tbsp lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve

In a Dutch oven or similar heavy-bottom pot, soften the onion, carrots, and garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil for a few minutes.

Add the tomato paste, potato, cumin, coriander, 1 Tbsp urfa flakes, lentils, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until everything is soft, about 25 minutes.

Remove from heat, and blenderize until it’s smooth but not quite silky. Taste for salt and lemon.

Meanwhile, make the chili oil. In your smallest pot or saucepan, heat the urfa chili flakes in the remaining 4 Tbsp olive oil. Let it bubble around without burning for 2-3 minutes. Spoon over the soup, and give a quick swirl before serving.

Serve with lemon wedges. Some bread, salty white cheese, and olives on the table would also be nice. Cube some cucumbers and dress with olive oil. You have a meal.

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