Category Archives: Vegan

A Wheat Allergy + Celebrating Passover

Growing up, Passover was a big deal.  It felt like my mom and dad prepared for weeks.  All the chametz (products containing wheat, grains, etc.) were taken out of the house, and new plates and utensils were brought in, along with Kosher for Passover foods and ingredients.  For 8 days, every holiday meal felt fancy and special because our Passover dishes were fine china from my Grandma Dora, complete with gold silverware (though they’ve now all changed).  However, now that we keep our house friendly for a wheat allergy (dairy and soy too), the preparations for Passover can feel different.  We still clean the kitchen and change dishes and silverware, but what I think about now is how will our son experience Passover.  What does the holiday mean for him when he doesn’t have a choice to be wheat free?  to be soy free?  For 8 days, those who celebrate Passover, and keep Kosher for it, they make a choice to go without wheat, soy, and other items, all to remember the story of the holiday.  But for us, the foods we eat at Passover are no different than during the rest of the year.  Last year, we didn’t eat anything that seemed like bread, and I think that helped convey the “difference” of the holiday.  Of course, there are special foods we eat on Passover like matza balls and gefilte fish, and that will certainly seem different; but as I am preparing for another year of the holiday, I’m still wondering if our son will grow up enjoying the holiday like I did. On the way to school this morning, he told me his Big News in circle time was that we started to get ready for Passover, and that he gets to see all his cousins later this week for a Seder (he is VERY excited about this latter part).  For a holiday that revolves SO much around food, it’s also a holiday with so many rituals & traditions, and it’s our family’s challenge to embrace those, so we can pass on a love of the holiday — when going without wheat and soy, right now, is not a choice.  It’s also a nice reminder how far I’ve come in my cooking for our allergies, because the only Passover items I bought this year are gluten-free matza,  Gefilte Fish (both cheapest at Whole Foods, by the way), and GF matza ball soup mix!  With that win, here are some of my favorite Passover friendly recipes.  Have a great holiday.  xo, Carolyn

Morrocan Style Quinoa

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Mushroom and Leek Fritatta

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Salmon Burgers

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Slow Cooker Sweet & Sour Chicken

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Skinnytaste Quick Teriyaki Chicken

(use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and it’s K for P) 

Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

Raw Vegan Cheesecake

(Thank you to Alexis for sharing this delicious dessert recipe with me. It is SO good and a family favorite.  Also great for a make-ahead dessert.  I’m going to try it nut-free and make with sunflower seeds instead of almonds.)Raw Chocolate Cheesecake | The Herb Diaries

Yiddish Kitchen – Cassava Flour Matza (Gluten-free + Vegan)

Several years ago, my mom discovered Yehuda Gluten Free Toasted Onion matza – and keeping Passover suddenly became SO much easier, I mean, this matza is delicious.  Little did we know, my mom was an early adopter in the Gluten Free Passover world, and that we’d need to rely on it keeping Passover at our house.  This year, I’m also currently not eating anything with eggs – which presents a bit of a problem-o when it comes to eating GF matza – everything has egg!  So in my typical fashion, I came across a simple Gluten Free + Vegan Matza recipe, and made it.  While the instructions are easy, the process is time-intensive.  Two pieces of matza in, I decided I will just be making this for myself, since everyone else at our seder tables can eat eggs.  It is quite good, but needs to be crispy to truly taste like matza, and that takes about 10 minutes per matza.  I added dehydrated onion flakes + garlic granules, to give it more flavor – which I definitely suggest.  The infamous Everything But the Bagel Seasoning would be great too, if you can have sesame. Lastly, Cassava Flour isn’t cheap, but it’s a good kitchen staple, if you’re cooking gluten free.  I haven’t found it to be a 1:1 flour swap, but the recipes intended for it, turn out great and on the more satisfying end than other foods made with other GF flours.  The tortilla recipe on the back of the bag is easy and tastes great – just use more olive oil than it calls for to make it less crumbly – same for the matza.  Chag Sameach!IMG_1567

Cassava Flour Matza

Makes 5-6 Matza pieces

adapted from The Yiddish Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

1 cup cassava flour

1 cup potato starch

3/4 water plus 1 tbsp

1 tbsp honey

3 tbsp avocado oil (plus more for rolling)

Sea salt to taste

Dehydrated onions and garlic, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Preheat oven to 475.  Combine all ingredients (including dehydrated onions and garlic) in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  Stir the ingredients to combine, then mix by hand to form a ball of dough.  I find I need to add little bits more oil when I’m kneading it, to get it to a wet, but not sticky, dough.  I do little bits of oil at a time, and then will add a little more to my hands for the next step.
  2. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces.  Roll out each piece of dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper (using potato starch to dust).  NOTE:  When I take the parts of dough out I make sure my hand has a little avo oil on it, and knead it a bit more.  I also use a second piece of parchment paper on top of the dough ball – I find that helps roll it out better.  You want the rolled out dough to be thin, so it can become crispy.  If it breaks, just take a little bit from the edges and push it in, so that you have approximately a 6×8 inch rectangle.
  3. Once a rectangle, poke holes vertically in the mazta, and transfer matza on parchment to a baking sheet, and bake for 3 minutes.  Remove baking sheet and turn matza over carefully and bake for 3 minutes on opposite side.
  4. You will want to watch the matza very carefully so that it does not burn or brown too much – I liked some brown marks on it, and found I needed to put it back in flipped over once more, for another 3-5 minutes.
  5. Repeat for all of the dough.

NOTE:  Kosher laws require that matza be made out of 1 of 5 grains in order to be acceptable for Passover.  Technically, this version is not K for P, but it is still a great alternative if you can’t have grains or eggs!

TIP – If your matza is on the thicker side, it will take longer to cook.  If it’s brown but not yet crisp, turn down the heat to 350 to finish baking.

 

Banquet Bowls with Cauliflower Pilaf, Dhal, + Scallion Cucumber Raita

In college, I was lucky enough to be exposed to so many wonderful cuisines and new ways of cooking.  It is much of what inspires me to cook and adapt recipes today.  The way I eat now can sometimes be isolating, but I am so grateful eating isn’t a physically painful experience for me anymore.  We all had colds over New Years, and I found this really delicious sounding bowl recipe, that I just had to make – bonus, I could eat Indian food and not get sick!  The recipe is a little complicated, only because there are three components, but in total it took about an hour to prepare, and we have enough leftovers for 2 more meals.  Also, the flavors are amazing!

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Banquet Bowls with Cauliflower Pilaf, Dhal, and Scallion Cucumber Raita

serves 6

adapted from Whole Bowls – Complete Gluten-free and Vegetarian Meals to Power Your Day

INGREDIENTS

For the Cauliflower Pilaf

1 tbsp avocado oil

1 medium sized sweet onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (I used jarred minced ginger from Ginger People)

1 tbsp curry powder (mild)

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp sea salt

ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed and drained well

1 3/4 cup water

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 small head cauliflower, cut into very small pieces (the bigger the pieces, the longer it will take to cook)

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

For the Dhal

3 1/2 cups water

2 cups red lentils, rinsed well and drained

1/2 cup coconut milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened)

2 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp maple syrup

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp sea salt

For the Scallion Cucumber Raita

1 cup diced English cucumber

1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt* (I used So Delicious brand – 1/2 cup is one small container’s worth)

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

4 scallions, sliced

1 tsp lemon juice


MAKE AHEAD TIP

Cauliflower Pilaf – 2 days

Scallion Cucumber Raita – 3 days

Dhal – 1 week


DIRECTIONS

For the Cauliflower Pilaf  – In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium. Add onion, garlic, ginger, spices, salt, and pepper. Cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes.  Add rice, stirring constantly to toast, about 2 minutes.  Add water and lemon juice, continuing to stir.  Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer, about 45 -60 minutes.  [TIP – Set the timer to 30 minutes, and check on rice to see if you need to add more water, cover and simmer for another 7 minutes.  Keep doing this until the rice looks puffed up.]  When rice is cooked, add caulilflower, and cover another 10-15 minutes, until cauliflower is tender. You may need to add more water to achieve this.  OPTIONAL – Turn off heat, and fold in cilantro.

For the Dhal – Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for about 20-25 minutes, stirring often.  It will look like a little soupy, and you can cook down further if you want it a little thicker.  It will have a beautiful golden color.

For the Scallion Cucumber Raita – Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Transfer to a covered container and keep refrigerated until serving. *You can sub 3/4 cup greek yogurt for 1/2 cup coconut yogurt, if dairy isn’t an issue for you.

TO ASSEMBLE

In a shallow bowl, place about 1 cup of the Dhal, with about 1 cup of the Cauliflower Pilaf next to it.  Spoon about 1/4 cup of the Scallion Cucumber Raita next to these.  Sprinkle a little cilantro over all of it and enjoy.  The flavors taste great eaten together in one bite or separately.

TO REHEAT

Place the portions listed above of the Dhal and Cauliflower Pilaf in a bowl and heat up in the microwave.  Garnish with the Scallion Cucumber Raita.

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Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookies made Vegan + Gluten Free

Tate’s Chocolate Chip cookies are quite possibly the best cookies ever.  It’s been almost 5 years since I’ve had one, but I can still remember how buttery and crisp they tasted.  Many allergy friendly desserts leave much to be desired, and I’m constantly trying new recipes whenever I have a sweets craving.  This one from the Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook is the best recipe I’ve made yet.  Even with my adaptations it’s excellent.  I think because I used golden brown sugar instead of dark brown, they came out like more traditional cookies; but evenso they are SO good.  They taste buttery, albeit not crispy like original Tate’s cookies, and hit the spot!  The texture is good and it got the B seal of approval, who wanted to eat just cookies for dinner after I made them.  Feel free to swap out your traditional flour, eggs, and butter – I know they’ll still taste wonderful.

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Best Vegan + GF Chocolate Chip Cookies

yields about 34 cookies

adapted from Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook

INGREDIENTS

2 cups King Arthur all-purpose baking mix

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup vegan butter (2 sticks; I used the MELT buttery sticks)

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar (golden)

1 tsp water

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs via egg replacer, like Follow Your Heart

2 cups vegan chocolate chips (I used Equal Exchange allergy friendly brand)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugars.  Add the water and vanilla.  Mix the ingredients until they are just combined. Add the “eggs” and mix them lightly.  Stir in the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips, don’t overmix the dough.
  4. Drop the cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets using two tablespoons or an ice cream scoop.  Use 1 tablespoon if you want to make smaller cookies.  [I got about 9 cookies on each baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for them to spread].
  5. Bake them for 12-18 minutes until the edges and centers are browned.  15-18 minutes was the best timing for me, erring on the latter time helped them spread more to the size of traditional Tate’s cookies.  They won’t be thin and crisp like Tate’s cookies, but more fluffy like a Chip’s Ahoy or traditional chocolate chip cookie.
  6. Remove the cookies and cool on a wire rack.
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Visiting Tate’s Bake Shop in 2012

Awesome Mushroom Lo Mein

Chinese food is one of my husband’s favorite cuisines. Come the days leading up to Christmas Eve, it’s all he talks about.  It’s been challenging finding great Chinese food recipes to make at home…until now.  This Lo-Mein recipe is awesome.  The flavors are so good, it was really hard for me to stop noshing on it between finishing making it and serving it.  The recipe called for steak seasoning, but since we don’t cook red meat at home, I splurged on this seasoning by Nom Nom Paleo instead, and it’s definitely worth it.  I opted to use sweet chili sauce instead of chili paste, because all the options at the store had wheat and/or soy in them.  I read that Avocado oil can be subbed for sesame oil because it’s also nutty in flavor – that worked great here!  If you’re craving Chinese food, these noodles are worth a try.  Happy holidays!

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Mushroom Lo Mein

serves 8

adapted from Whitney Bond

INGREDIENTS

Mushrooms

2 8oz. packs mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and quartered

2 tbsp coconut aminos

2 tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned)

1 tsp minced ginger (fresh or from jar)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp avocado oil

1 tsp Magic Mushroom Powder (recipe here or sold at Whole Foods)

Noodles

10 oz. brown rice spaghetti noodles (I like Tinkeyada)

1/4 cup coconut aminos

1/2 tbsp Sriacha

1 tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned)

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp sweet chili sauce (I like Thai Kitchen brand)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp grated ginger (I use jarred by Ginger People)

1 tsp avocado oil

TOPPING – Scallions, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare mushrooms first.  Mix all ingredients for the sauce together in a large bowl.  When well combined, toss quartered mushrooms in sauce.  In a large cast iron or nonstick skillet, add mushrooms and extra sauce to pre-heated pan.  Cook until mushrooms have cooked down in size and majority of the sauce is evaporated.  Remove mushrooms from heat and set aside in a separate bowl.
  2. Prepare noodles according to package.  Cook and drain immediately, rinsing with cold water/according to package instructions.  Return cooked, drained, and rinsed noodles back to the pan.
  3. While noodles are cooking, mix all sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. After noodles are returned to the pan, add in the sauce and toss well.  Add mushrooms, and stir until well combined.  Cook over low heat until warmed throughout.
  5. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Taco Chili

Another favorite chili in our house is this Taco Chili.  The recipe is meant for a chicken chili, but I attempted to make it vegetarian by adding extra beans instead.  It’s very easy to make (even without a slow cooker).  At least once a week, swapping out a meat meal for a vegetarian one, is one way I’ve found to cut down our weekly food budget. It can be challenging getting a dairy-free child to have enough protein with a vegetarian meal, but this recipe is a winner! B loved this chili mainly because it was topped with avocado and served with our favorite lime tortilla chips*  In his words, “Chili?! With avocado and lime chips?!  [jumping up and down] I love Taco Chili!  [hugging me] Mama, you make the best food.”

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Slow Cooker Taco Chili

serves 4-6

adapted from Skinnytaste Fast and Slow

INGREDIENTS

Taco Seasoning

1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tbsp chili powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Chili

1 (8oz) can tomato sauce

2 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 yellow pepper, diced small (or you can use 1-10 oz. package frozen corn kernels)

2 (10oz) can chopped green chiles (mild)

1 small onion, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Taco Seasoning – In a small bowl, combine the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.

Chili – In a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker (or a large stockpot if not using a slow cooker), combine the tomato sauce, beans, tomatoes, green chiles, onion, yellow pepper, and taco seasoning. Stir well.

SLOW COOKER – Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.

STOVETOP – Bring mixture to a boil and the simmer for 30-45 minutes, until chili reduces to desired thickness.

To serve, scoop the chili into individual serving bowls and top with avocado, cilantro, and your favorite tortilla chips.

*These chips are found MUCH cheaper at Whole Foods.  Link in post for reference.

 

Pumpkin Chili (Meatless Monday)

Making easy and nutritious meals everyone will actually eat is an ongoing experiment in our house.  As much as I’d like us all to eat the same thing for dinner, several nights a week I’ve resigned to being a short order cook.  There are few exceptions, chili being one of them. This week, I’m going to post three chili recipes we like the most.  First up, Pumpkin Chili, from the Thug Kitchen cookbook.  Don’t let the name fool you, this meatless chili is full of flavor, and made heartier with the addition of pumpkin puree, without tasting like pumpkin.  It’s super easy to make and topped with avocado and some good chips, it’s a great meal for everyone in the family.

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Thug Kitchen Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili

serves 4-6 (double the recipe if you want extra to freeze)

adapted from Thug Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

1 yellow onion

1 carrot

1 red, orange or yellow pepper

1 tsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp coconut aminos (soy sauce or tamari also works)

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp cumin

1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes

1 can pureed pumpkin

2 cups vegetable broth or water

2 cans beans, any kind you like – kidney and black beans work well

1 tbsp lime juice

TOPPINGS – avocado, cilantro, red onion, vegan cheese (we like to make shreds from the Daiya Cheddar block), vegan sour cream (plain unsweetened non-dairy yogurt works well)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop up carrot, onion, and pepper to the size of a bean or smaller
  2. In a big pot, heat the oil, and cook vegetables until they begin to soften and brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, coconut aminos, and spices – cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes, broth, pumpkin, and beans – stir well so everything is nicely combined and all the flavors are getting to know each other.  Turn down the heat and keep covered for about 15-30 minutes, until it reaches your desired thickness.  The longer it cooks, the better it’ll taste.  (We like it thicker, so I simmer it longer than 15 minutes.)
  3. When done cooking, stir in the lime juice and serve right away. Top with your favorites and enjoy!

NOTE – This makes great leftovers.  After reheating the next day, add some more fresh lime juice and cilantro to make it taste just as good as the first day.

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No-Bake Tahini Cherry Bars

These no-bake bars are the perfect treat to hit the spot, when it’s hot outside, you want something sweet,  but also something wholesome.  Prep was really easy, and a child could easily help with the stirring parts.  I added mini chocolate chips on half, to make it more appealing to little ones, because I think it’s going to be hard to convince a toddler to eat a dessert with tahini, if they’ve never tried it before.  These are perfectly sweet, and the hit of salt, is just what they need to make them really good.  Now to think what else I can add in other than dried cherries…

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Ready for the freezer

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No-bake Tahini Cherry Bars

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A great summer sweet & wholesome treat

No-Bake Tahini Cherry Bars

adapted from One Part Plant

makes 8-24 bars depending on how you cut them

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/3 cup tahini, stirred well

1 1/4 cups gluten-free rolled oats (not the instant/quick cooking kind)

pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup dried cherries

handful of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Line a 4×8 loaf pan with parchment paper.

On low heat, melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan.  Once melted, remove from heat immediately and stir in vanilla and syrup.  Stir in the tahini.  Once combined, add oats and salt.  Stir until all the oats are coated.  Stir in the cherries.

Pour mixture into loaf pan and spread evenly.  If desired, sprinkle on chocolate chips, lightly pressing them in with your fingers.

Put in freezer for at least 45 minutes.  Cut and serve immediately. Store any leftovers, covered, in the freezer.

Creamy Butternut Squash and Lentil Tacos

As we’ve been trying new recipes, this Creamy Butternut Squash and Lentil Taco recipe is one I’ve been meaning to try for awhile.  I’ve made something similar but this recipe is definitely a turned up version – here, the roasted squash gets mixed in with some lime juice and a little vegan mayo (or canned coconut milk) to make it creamy and extra flavorful.  The interesting thing about cooking the lentils with some vegetable broth, cumin, and coconut aminos (or tamari), is the aroma smelled almost identical to taco meat.  This was a great dinner, and also makes a great lunch from the leftovers.IMG_4491.JPG

Creamy Butternut Squash and Lentil Tacos

makes about 10-12 tacos

adapted from One Part Plant

INGREDIENTS

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes (about 4 cups)

2 1/2 tsp cumin (more or less to taste)

Sea salt and pepper

Olive or coconut oil

3/4 cup brown or green lentils, rinsed

Veggie broth

3 tsp tamari or coconut aminos

10-12 corn tortillas

2 tbsp vegan mayo (I like Just Mayo Light)* OR canned full-fat coconut milk

1 tbsp lime juice

Toppings – avocado, sunflower seeds, hot sauce, lettuce (something crunchy since the squash and lentils are soft)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss the squash with 1/2 tsp of the cumin and about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, some salt and pepper.  Spread the cubes out on the baking sheet and roast them for 30-35 minutes, until they’re soft.  (Don’t worry if some get extra toasty, it’ll just make the color of the mixture a little darker).

Meanwhile, in a small pot, combine the lentils with enough broth to cover them and stir in the coconut aminos and remaining 2 tsp of cumin.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are soft, but still a little firm, 20-25 minutes.  Make sure to watch the pot and add more broth or water if needed to cover the lentils.  Taste them as you go to make sure they’re not overcooked and mushy.  When they’re done, drain any excess liquid that hasn’t been absorbed.

Transfer the cooked squash to a food processor and add the mayo or coconut milk with the lime juice, and process until smooth.  Taste and add more salt or lime juice if needed.

When you’re almost ready to serve, warm the tortillas, however you usually do.

Assemble the tacos: spread a layer of the creamy squash on a warm tortilla and top it with a scoop of lentils (about 2-3 tbsp).  Add your favorite toppings and serve.

*I usually find Just Mayo Light at Whole Foods.  I also wouldn’t sub an egg-based mayo here, because I think it’ll change the texture.  If not using vegan mayo, use full-fat canned coconut milk to get the right creamy texture needed.

Broccimole (aka Broccoli Guacamole)

Who doesn’t like a good guacamole adaptation?!  True, why mess with a good thing, but I was still curious about what adding broccoli would do, and I’m very glad I did.  This is a much lighter alternative to guacamole, and it makes you feel good because there’s broccoli in it.  I thought this would be a kid-friendly recipe, which it’s not completely, but if yours are willing to taste it, they may just love it (or take three bites and realize they don’t yet).  It is definitely husband approved, and he thought the jalapeno would add a nice kick.

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Broccimole

makes about 1 1/2 cups

adapted from Malibu Farm Cookbook

INGREDIENTS

1 cup broccoli florets

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

Jalapeno pepper, chopped and to taste (optional)

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 limes juiced OR 2 tbsp lime juice

1/2 avocado – or more (up to 2), if you want it creamier

DIRECTIONS

Cook broccoli florets in boiling, salted water for 1 minute.  Remove and place in food processor with the rest of the ingredients (except the avocado).  Pulse until all chopped up.  Taste, and if desired, add 1/2 avocado, up to 2 avocados total.  Add salt to taste if needed.  Enjoy with chips.