March 30, 2012

What I Ate in Singapore

I'm finally back home in Canada after a busy two weeks of travelling.  I absolutely loved both Singapore and Chiang Mai, including all of the unique and delicious food options there, but it's also nice to be back home and be able to cook for myself again!

I knew that I would want to share some of the food that I ate during my trip on my blog, so I tried to take pictures whenever I could (which wasn't always possible)!  I probably have more to share from the Thailand portion of my trip, but I'll start with a selection of some of my meals in Singapore.  

Breakfast each day was the buffet provided by our hotel (which had lots of options from Western to Asian and Indian food) and lunches during the conference I attended were boxed lunches (I got the Indian vegetarian option each day).  Dinner was our free time to choose our own restaurant to eat at, and I was able to try a mix of Indian, Japanese, and Thai food. The Japanese restaurants we went to were probably my least favourite because it was the hardest to find vegetarian food, and there were a couple meals throughout the week that I didn't particularly enjoy, but overall I loved being able to try new things that I can't usually get at home!

I'll start with breakfast - I tried different items each morning, but my plate usually consisted of an Indian flatbread with dal, a bit of veggie noodles, toast, yogurt, muesli and fruit. One thing that I was afraid to try at first but that I learned to love was the green pandan spread pictured below - it was pretty sweet on its own, but I liked to mix it with peanut butter on my toast.  I also tried congee for the first time (in the bowl below), but I was not a fan of it!

Another local breakfast specialty that I saw on every coffee shop menu was kaya toast, which is just plain toast spread with a mixture of eggs, sugar, coconut and pandan.  I didn't get a chance to try any until I was at the airport on my way home, and I loved it - it tasted similar to jam but the pandan gave it a unique flavour. 

Because Singapore was so hot, I appreciated all of the fresh fruit juices that were available. Most places had so many different combinations of fruit to choose from that it was too hard to decide!  Here is one that I tried on my last day there - fresh pineapple and banana blended with a bit of milk.

I also splurged on a couple of fancy drinks while I was there...Singapore is famous for the Singapore Sling cocktail which was invented at the Raffles Hotel, so of course we had to go there to get one, and it was delicious!

As I mentioned, I ate a lot of Indian food while I was there, and here are a few stand-outs...

I already shared this picture earlier, but it was still one of my favourite meals from Singapore - a fresh dosa with potato filling, served with sambar and two kinds of chutney (I loved the coconut chutney!)

One of our free days, we visited Chinatown and Little India.  We were pretty hungry by the time we got to Little India, so we stopped to eat at a place called the Banana Leaf. I love Indian chaats, so I ordered this aloo chaat (potatoes with onion, tomatoes, cilantro, green chilis and spices), which was really spicy but also had hints of sweet and sour that I liked.

I also had a business lunch one day at the Indian restaurant at our hotel, which offered an amazing buffet. I didn't get a picture of my food, but here are the desserts I tried (clockwise from bottom left): burfi (Indian fudge), shrikand (a type of Indian yogurt pudding), carrot halwa (very rich so I could only eat a little!), and a snack that I think was called kachori served with yogurt and chutney (this wasn't part of the desserts, but I liked it so much that I had another one with my desserts!)

I also loved the Thai food that I tried...

This was one of my favourites - a spicy green curry with mixed vegetables that we ate with fried rice and spring rolls on the side.

I really wanted to try some mango sticky rice on my trip, and this version that I ordered at an IndoChine restaurant was amazing - the mango was so tender and sweet, and the rice had a coconut sauce on top that I could have eaten a whole bowl of on its own!

The Japanese food that I ate there probably wasn't that different than what you would find in North America, but here are a couple of my dishes anyway...

At the first Japanese restaurant we went to for dinner, pretty much all I could find on the menu that was vegetarian were soba noodles with tempura on the side. The soba noodles were were served in a huge bowl with some broth, and they were a bit plain but still good. The tempura was also good but half of it ended up being shrimp, so I ate a pretty light meal that night!

We also ate lunch at a Japanese place on our last day, and I shared a few dishes with another vegetarian friend (who also doesn't eat eggs, so that eliminated tempura as an option this time!) We had some really good garlic rice (not pictured), mixed vegetables and avocado sushi.

Here a a couple of final dishes that didn't really fit into any particular category...

One night when we didn't have much time for dinner, I went to a food court and got some hot and sour veg noodles to take back to my room. They were really good, but definitely very hot (in both senses of the word)!

Besides our lunches at the conference, they also provided some local dishes as morning and afternoon snacks. Here was one that I had never seen before and tasted pretty good too - vegetarian jade dumplings

Another snack that I surprised me with how good it was was this pan-fried radish cake. White radish is used in a lot of dishes in Singapore, and it has a very soft texture and taste similar to a potato. This is one dish that I might have to try to recreate at home!

Finally, there was one fruit that I wanted to try on this trip because we can't get it at home - durian. If you haven't heard of it, it's known as the "king of fruits", but it's also known for having an overpowering odor.  I never actually came across any durian until I was at the airport on my way home and saw a pastry shop devoted entirely to it.  

I chose a package of puff pastries filled with a durian cream and I was excited to try them until I opened the package and released the stench...I fought the urge to get rid of them immediately and tried one anyway, but the taste was just as unpleasant! If any of you have ever tried durian and enjoyed it, I would love to hear about it because I don't think I'll be giving it another chance after that experience!

Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of my Singapore trip, and I'll share my Thailand food experiences soon!

March 23, 2012

Coffee, Coconut & Cherry Energy Bites

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week - I've been keeping pretty busy here in Singapore so this is my first chance to sit down and try to catch up on things!

The day before I left for this trip, I wanted to make some kind of snack that I could bring with me for "emergency snacks" to keep on hand.  I've seen lots of versions of energy bites on other blogs, and I've made a couple of different types myself before, so I decided to make a small batch for my trip.

As long as you have a food processor, energy bites a great option for a quick and easy snack that can be made using pantry ingredients. And there are endless combinations of ingredients you can use to customize them!

For this version, I wanted to incorporate coffee so that I could have a snack with an extra caffeine kick. I happened to have some chocolate covered coffee beans that I hadn't eaten yet, so I thought they would be the perfect ingredient to add both chocolate and coffee flavour.

For the base of the energy bites, I used almonds and oats combined with dates to help them stick together.  I also added some shredded coconut and coconut nectar for a bit of extra sweetness, plus dried cherries, chia seeds and cacao nibs. The cherries added a nice tartness to balance the bitterness of the coffee, and the chia seeds and cacao nibs provided some crunch for texture.

Altogether, my 6-C (chocolate, coffee, coconut, cherry, chia, cacao) energy bites were the perfect little snack to tide me over whenever I got hungry in the first few days of my trip, and gave me a bit of an energy boost too!

Coffee, Coconut &Cherry Energy Bites
Adapted from Running to the Kitchen

1/4 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
~2 tbsp (about 20) chocolate covered coffee beans
1/4 cup chopped dates, finely chopped
2 tbsp dried cherries, finely chopped
1 tsp chia seeds
2 tsp cacao nibs
2 tsp coconut nectar (or other sticky sweetener)

Place almonds and oats in a food processor and process until they are broken down into fine crumbs. Add the coconut and coffee beans and process again until the coffee beans are finely chopped.  Add the dates, cherries, chia seeds and cacao nibs and process until the mixture starts to stick together. Add the coconut nectar and process until it is incorporated. 

Taste and add more coconut nectar or sweetener if desired.

Form the mixture into balls using your hands, pressing firmly to make compact balls. 

Makes about 12 balls.

March 17, 2012

Update & 12 Random Facts About Me

Hi everyone!  Well, I made it to Singapore and I've been enjoying the sights and food here for the last two days.  So far, I love how clean, modern and well-run the city is.  I also love how Singapore is a mix of so many different Asian cultures all together, and that is definitely reflected in the food too. Here's a shot of the first meal I had here - a huge masala dosa with sambar and two kinds of chutney (for less than $4 from a food court!)

Since I'm out of the country right now without access to a kitchen, I thought I would take this chance to do a different kind of post instead of a recipe (before I get too busy with the conference starting tomorrow).

I think its fun to get to know the people behind some of my favourite blogs, so when Heather of Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes tagged me in a "12 things you didn't know about me" post, I decided to play along by listing some random facts about myself and then answering the questions that Heather posed.

Here are the Rules:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself in the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

12 Random Facts About Myself:
1. I've been in school nonstop ever since I first started - after my undergrad I did a Masters, and now I'm working on my PhD.  I still don't know what I'm going to do with my degree when I'm done!
2. I'm always getting comments from people about how young I look - it can get on my nerves a bit, but I know I'll appreciate it later on once I'm older.
3. I lived in India for four months in 2010, and I love the culture and food there. I've learned to make a few of the dishes that I like myself at home, but it still doesn't compare to the authentic versions!
4. Two of my favourite books out of the ones I’ve read recently take place (partly) in India – Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya and The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais (which also has a cooking element)
5. Even though I’m right-handed, I eat with my fork in my right hand and knife in my left, which I’m told is unusual (it also takes a conscious effort to set the table for others!)
6. I'm not much of a tea drinker, but my Dad recently introduced me to a new kind of tea that has now become my standard of comparison for all other teas - Uncle Lee's Snappy Ginger.  I always add some sweetener (and sometimes milk) to tea, but I think this is the first kind that I don't need to add anything to because it tastes so delicious on its own!
7. I've had some pretty cool animal experiences - including swimming with dolphins, hugging a koala, and very soon I'll have the chance to ride an elephant!  Still on my list is hugging a panda.
8. I watch far too much reality tv - including every season of Survivor.
9. I'm not a fan of chocolate and I don't like when ad campaigns assume that chocolate is every woman's desire - I would take vanilla or fruit flavours over chocolate any day!
10. I'm pretty much obsesssed with anything related to mango, coconut and beets.
11. I have a few little irrational quirks, like preferring even numbers over odd, and I don't like stepping on sidewalk cracks.
12.  I've never had a favourite band or music genre - I listen to a variety of songs. If you look at my ipod, you'll find everything from Oldies to Indie music; Christmas carols to Hindi songs. 

Q&A's from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes:
(I chose a selection of her questions to answer)

2. What is your ultimate food weakness? - Fresh bread - but not the hard crusty kinds - I prefer soft, doughy bread. 
3. What is your favorite book of all time? - I can't think of one all-time favourite, but see above for two of my recent favourites...also Room by Emma Donoghue
4. What is the most exotic place you have travelled to or through? - I’ve been lucky to have travelled to a lot of countries…some of the more exotic ones are India, Bangladesh, Australia, Uruguay, and now Singapore and Thailand
5. What is your favorite aspect of blogging? - Blogging has really expanded my cooking horizons and I like how it continually challenges me in the kitchen! I also love being able to share the recipes I make with such a supportive group of other bloggers and readers
6. Would you describe yourself as a control freak, perfectionist or laid back & why? -  I don’t see myself as a control freak (although my family might disagree!) I’ll admit that I am a perfectionist – especially when it comes to baking and schoolwork
7. Favorite Cocktail or Mocktail- please share! - I’d probably have to go with my favourite summertime drink – pina colada...although banana daiquiris are also really good!
8. How do you celebrate your birthday  - My birthday is usually a small celebration with my family – I share my birthday with my twin sister so the two of us choose what we want for our birthday dinner and what kind of cake – although now I like to make my own cake (last year, we each made our own and had two birthday cakes – hers was lemon raspberry and mine was a raw carrot-coconut cake)
11. Who are the bloggers that most inspire you to be a better blogger, writer, photographer or all around person? - Too many to name and I don’t want to leave anyone out!  But I'm definitely more inspired these days by bloggers who focus on healthy food, including vegetarian, vegan and raw food blogs. 

So there you have it - now you know a little bit more about me! 

I decided not to tag anyone new in this game because Heather already tagged the same people that I would have! But feel free to play along by leaving me a comment so I can get to know all of you better too!

Have a great weekend!

March 13, 2012

Red Lentil & Butternut Squash Soup

Before I get to today's recipe, I have a bit of news to share...tomorrow morning I'll be off to the airport for what I hope will be an exciting trip!  I'm going to Singapore for an international research conference, followed by a brief trip over to Thailand for some much-needed vacation time.  I'll be gone for about two weeks in total, and while the majority of my time in Singapore will be devoted to work, I hope to have some adventures and see some sights while I'm there too!  And of course I'm looking forward to the food - I've heard some good things about the variety of cuisines available in Singapore, and there should be plenty of vegetarian options for me!

But don't worry, I won't forget about you guys while I'm away!  I apologize in advance if I fall behind on visiting all of my favourite blogs and leaving comments, but I still hope to find some time to post a recipe or two during my trip....and maybe I could share a glimpse of some of the food I'm eating over there if you're interested too.

So to kick off my little adventure, I thought I would share this recipe for a soup I made recently that incorporates a few of the flavours from Thai cuisine.  To make the soup, red lentils are simmered with butternut squash until tender, then pureed until they are nice and creamy.  Next, a mixture of coconut milk and Thai red curry paste are stirred into the soup to make it even richer and spicier, and a final squeeze of lime juice adds one more dimension of flavour!

This was the type of soup that warms your whole body and actually left me feeling really full as a meal on its own. The spice level was just high enough to provide a kick of heat without being too strong (I actually would have liked it just a touch spicier).  I also loved the roasted squash seeds that I added as a garnish for an extra layer of crunch, but feel free to leave those out.

Red Lentil & Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma and Marcus Samuelsson

1 butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
1 tsp coconut oil (or other oil)
1/2 a large red onion, peeled and diced
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup dried red lentils
1.5 tsp thai red curry paste
1 cup light coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
Fresh cilantro for garnish

First, prepare the squash: Prick holes in the skin with a fork and microwave for about 1 and half minutes to soften. Cut off the skin with a knife. Scoop out the seeds and set them aside (they will make a nice garnish for the soup). Cut the squash into 1” pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, until softened. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 more minute, stirring frequently.

Add the diced squash, vegetable broth, salt and red lentils to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the squash is tender and the soup has thickened.

Meanwhile, prepare the squash seeds by rinsing them and patting them dry, then spread onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with your favourite spices (I used salt, cumin and paprika). Place in the preheated oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until you can hear them popping. Remove from oven and set aside.

Puree the soup using an immersion blender, or by transferring it to a blender in batches. Return soup to the pot and keep warm over low heat.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the curry paste with the coconut milk, stirring until the paste has dissolved. Add this mixture to the pot, stirring until it is completely mixed in and heated through.

When ready to serve, stir in the lime juice.  Season with more salt and pepper if desired and garnish servings with fresh chopped cilantro and a handful of the roasted squash seeds.

Makes 4-5 servings. 

March 11, 2012

Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Chickpeas

During the summertime when fresh herbs are so abundant, one way that I like to use them up is by making a pesto sauce.  Pesto pasta seems to be one of those things that people can either love or hate, but I've always loved it!

Up until now, I haven't expanded much beyond the traditional basil pesto, but I'm intrigued by other types of pesto I've seen on food blogs, like arugula, cilantro, kale, roasted pepper, and most recently - broccoli pesto.  So the last time I picked up some broccoli with no specific plans for it, I decided to try making broccoli pesto.

The pesto itself was pretty easy to make - the broccoli is blanched in boiling water, then blended with the traditional pesto ingredients of olive oil, garlic and lemon. I also added some fresh parsley and tahini because I I like the combination of tahini and lemon in sauces. Finally, instead of using parmesan cheese, I added some nutritional yeast to give the sauce a bit of cheesy flavour.

For the pasta, I tossed some cavatappi with the pesto sauce and added chickpeas to make it more of a complete meal (the original recipe that I used for inspiration suggested using white beans, so you could try that too, although I prefer chickpeas).

I liked how the taste of the broccoli came through in the pesto without being overpowering - if you have picky eaters in your family, this could be a good way to get them to eat their veggies!  Topped with a big squeeze of lemon juice, this was a nice bright and flavourful meal that made me even more excited for summer!

Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Chickpeas
Adapted from Mrs. Regueiro's Plate

Half a head of broccoli, chopped (about 2.5 cups)
About 7 oz short dried pasta (I used cavatappi)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 tsp lemon zest
Juice of half a lemon,
Pinch of salt
1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Additional lemon wedges for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli pieces and boil until they are tender and bright green, about 4 minutes. Remove immediately using a slotted spoon and place in a food processor.

Bring the water back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions, then drain, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Return pasta to the pot and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare the pesto by adding the olive oil, tahini, nutritional yeast, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt to the food processor with the broccoli. Process until completely smooth. If the pesto looks thick, add some of the reserved pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, to thin it out (I added 2 tbsp of water).

Transfer the pesto to the pot with the pasta and stir until all the pasta is coated (you can add more of the pasta water here if needed). Stir in the chickpeas.  If you want the dish to be served hot, turn the stove on medium-low and heat until the pasta and chickpeas are warmed through.

Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired. Serve with additional lemon wedges.

Makes 3 servings.

March 08, 2012

Indian-Spiced Red Lentil & Mango Bites

If you follow my sister's blog Once Upon a Cutting Board, you would have learned yesterday that Canadian Lentils is holding a recipe contest for Canadian food bloggers. When my sister first told me about the contest, I didn't think too much about it...I figured that every idea for lentil recipes has already been created, and that I wouldn't be able to come up with anything new or creative for the contest.

But the more I thought about it, the more determined I became to develop a recipe, and now I'm excited to share what I came up with: these red lentil bites with dried mango and Indian spices.

I decided to go with red lentils because I knew they would pair well with some of the flavours and ingredients that I like to cook with. Instead of making a soup or stew, which I would normally do with red lentils, I decided to use them in an appetizer.

I also knew that you could make tasty and healthy little oven-baked balls using chickpeas, fava beans, or sweet potatoes, so I figured why not use pureed red lentils instead?

I started by cooking the red lentils on the stove until they had softened and dried up.  Then they went into the food processor along with cilantro, lemon juice, spices, coconut and chopped dried mango. All the ingredients were pureed into a creamy mixture like a hummus, then rolled into balls and baked in the oven.

It took a few tries to get the recipe just right, but after some tweaking, they turned out just how I had envisioned - soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside, with a nice balance of spices and sweetness from the mango.  These are the perfect little snack to pop in your mouth on their own, or you could pair them with a dipping sauce - I think they would taste great with mango chutney!

And if you like the sounds of this recipe, I would really appreciate your support in the contest!  Besides taste, appeal, use of lentils, and simplicity, one of the judging criteria is social media popularity.  So if you have a minute, I would love to receive any comments from you on this post, or you can head over to the Canadian Lentils Facebook page and click "like" on my entry that is posted on their wall.  You might find some other entries in the contest that you like there too - like these lentil peanut butter granola bars!

Indian-Spiced Red Lentil & Mango Bites

1/2 cup dried red lentils, picked over to remove debris and rinsed
1 cup water
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
pinch of cayenne
pinch of salt
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp dried mango, finely chopped

Place the lentils and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until liquid has dried up, stirring occasionally to prevent lentils from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Remove lentils from heat and transfer to a food processor. Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a glass baking pan (or baking sheet) with cooking spray.

Add the remaining ingredients except for coconut and dried mango to the food processor with the lentils and process until everything is fully mixed together. Add the coconut and mango and process again until the mixture has started to form a thick dough (Note: unless you have a really strong food processor, the mango probably won’t fully break down).

Scoop out the mixture using a tablespoon measure and form into small balls using your hands.  Place balls in the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the balls are slightly firm to the touch and the bottoms are lightly browned (don't worry if they still feel a bit soft, they will firm up more after cooling).

Remove from oven and let cool completely before eating.  Store in the refrigerator. 

Makes 12 balls (recipe can easily be doubled for a larger batch).

March 05, 2012

Quinoa Granola Bars

I've mentioned before that I like to make healthy baked goods to take with me to school in the morning as a portable breakfast. When I think about it, I actually can't remember the last time I've eaten a storebought granola bar -  I've learned that making your own homemade granola bars doesn't take much time or effort, and they are almost guaranteed to be healthier and tastier!

I've bookmarked a ton of different variations of granola bars that I want to try, but the most recent version that caught my eye was these quinoa breakfast bars from Eighty Twenty.  I love the idea of incorporating grains and seeds like quinoa into baked goods, because they provide extra fiber and protein to help keep me full for longer.

I modified the original recipe by replacing the egg with mashed banana to keep them vegan.  I also eliminated all of the extra sugar because I prefer my granola bars to be less sweet for breakfast.  For the add-ins, I used dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds, but feel free to use your own favourite combination of dried fruit and nuts.

These turned out dense and chewy, kind of like a cross between a muffin and a flatbread.  The quinoa wasn't detectable once they were baked, but helped to bulk up the granola bar.  They had just enough sweetness for me from the banana and cranberries, but if you're not a fan of reduced sugar baked goods, you might want to add a couple tablespoons of brown sugar.

These make a super healthy breakfast or snack, and they're a great way to use up leftover quinoa!

Sugar-Free Quinoa Granola Bars
Adapted from Eighty Twenty

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 a banana, mashed (about 3 tbsp)
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Preheat oven to 375° and prepare an 8x8 square baking pan by spraying with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, mix the mashed banana, applesauce, molasses, and vanilla.  Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the cooked quinoa, oats, cranberries and pumpkin seeds.

Spread mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-14 minutes, until the top feels firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (I cooked mine for 12 minutes).

Remove from oven and let cool before cutting into bars.

Makes 6 bars.

March 02, 2012

Beet Crust Pizza

One of my favourite traditions on Friday nights is to have pizza for dinner, whether its homemade or delivery.  This week, I have a different type of pizza to share with you - a beet and sunflower seed crust pizza, topped with hummus, beet greens and parsley.

It may sound and look a bit unusual for a pizza, but it actually turned out really good!  I would have been skeptical of the idea myself, but my sister was the one who found the recipe and tried it out first, so I knew from her recommendation that I would like it!

The recipe for the crust comes from Brendan Brazier, author of The Thrive Diet. There is no flour in the crust, making this a good option for people on a gluten-free diet.  Instead, it's made up of a mixture of ground sunflower seeds and raw beets, with some garlic and parsley thrown in for extra flavour. All the ingredients are combined in a food processor to form a sticky dough, then baked in the oven. The result was a slightly sweet pizza crust with a nice texture - crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.

For the rest of the pizza, I went with a simple hummus as the sauce, topped with some reduced balsamic vinegar, cooked beet greens and more parsley. I loved the combination of hummus with the beet-flavoured crust, but feel free to use your own favourite pizza toppings!

Beet Crust Pizza with Hummus and Beet Greens
Crust recipe adapted from Brendan Brazier, as seen here

1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup grated raw beet
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp coconut oil
Pinch of kosher salt

About 2 cups chopped beet greens
3-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup hummus
Fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 300°.

Place the sunflower seeds in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the remaining ingredients for the crust and process until the mixture forms a sticky ball.

Spread the mixture onto a well-greased baking sheet. Use a spatula to form a circle about ¼” thick. Pinch the edges to form a crust.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.

While the crust is baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the chopped beet greens and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and immediately dunk in a large bowl filled with ice water.  Once cool, drain the beet greens and dry with towels.

Next, make a balsamic reduction by simmering the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, until it has reduced to about one-third of the original amount.

When the crust is done, remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.

Spread the hummus on top of the crust, then drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Top with beet greens.

Place pizza back in the oven for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove and let cool before eating. Top with fresh parsley if desired. (Note: The crust is fairly delicate - mine still held together well enough to pick up the pieces by hand, but you might find it easier to eat with a knife and fork!)

Makes 1 small pizza (4 slices).

This was submitted to Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert & Dogs.


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