Farro, Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

serving dish with farro, kale and roasted sweet potato salad

As we move towards the holiday season, it can be challenging trying to cook for a “mixed-eater household” or, if you are a vegetarian/vegan, visiting family and friends when “traditional” holiday meals are being served. In a household with a mix of meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans, the Farro, Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad can make either a hearty lunch or a tasty and satisfying side dish that everyone can enjoy.

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Plant-Based Ice Cream (“Nice Cream”) with Caramel Sauce

bowl of nice cream with frozen berries

Who doesn’t love ice-cream? It seems that ice cream is probably one of the most popular desserts consumed today and, as a result of refrigeration, it can now be a household staple. Enjoyed globally, each country has its own version of the frozen treat such as gelato in Italy, kulfi In India, and mochi in Japan.

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Chia Jams

row of jars of kiwi, peach, strawberry, blueberry chia jam

When I moved into my first house, in the garden there were a couple of vines bursting with green and red grapes.  Wanting to make use of these abundant crops, I entered the world of jam and jelly making. One of my first creations was a grape and sherry jelly and I remember it as a wonderful way to preserve summer fruits and enjoy them through the year.

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Lemon Tahini Based Sauces and Dressings

two bowls one with lemon tahini sauce and one with golden lion tahini sauce and one small jar with basic tahini sauce
Tahini Sauces: Basic Tahini, Lemon Tahini and Golden Lion

In plant-based cooking, I have come to believe that it is all about the sauce!  Previously, the idea of preparing a meal with a sauce would not have been entertained.  For one thing, I was haunted with flashbacks from school days and the intricacies involved in making items like a lump-free roux sauce! The whole idea of cooking a sauce from scratch seemed too time consuming and required more energy than I had.  However, store bought sauces and dressings can be expensive and, more importantly, there is no control over the ingredients.

When making your own sauces, you decide exactly what goes into it and this was a big motivation when I moved to whole-foods, plant-based eating. Sauces have quickly become a big part of my food preparation and it turns out it does not have to be an ordeal.  There are many quick and easy recipes that can be made ahead of time and I now keep a few batches on hand. A sauce can transform any dish from ordinary to extraordinary and with the great variety of seasonings available, the possibilities are endless for preparing new and different creations.

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Tahini as a Plant-Based Staple

two brighly coloured bowls one with homemade tahini in and the other with store bought tahini
Home-made Tahini (Top Left) and store-bought Tahini (Bottom Right)

Since moving to plant-based cooking, Tahini has become one of my staple ingredients. Previously, my only experience of Tahini had been many years ago when I tried it as a spread on toast. At the time, I found the taste extremely unappealing and did not go near it again until recently.  Little did I know back then, but it turns out that Tahini is highly nutritious and highly versatile in cooking adding a nutty flavour and creamy texture. Although I still don’t care for the taste as a spread, I now use it regularly for hummus, as a base for dressings and sauces and have even found it a tasty addition in granola.  

Not only has Tahini proved extremely useful today, I was surprised to learn of its rich history and the fact that references can be found as far back as the 13th century regarding its uses as a food dish, medicine, and currency. Although it has been a staple in many cuisines, especially in North Africa, Turkey, Greece and the Middle East for thousand of years, it did not make its first appearance in the USA until around 1940 and then only in health food stores. Now it is widely available in most supermarkets.

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