Falafel lettuce wraps with homemade hummus and guacamole

When I was recently in New York I stumbled across an amazing falafel cafe in Greenwich Village. Actually, I wouldn’t even call it a cafe, more like a hole in the wall! They specialised in falafels, cooking them as they were ordered to ensure they weren’t soggy. Having them again reignited my love for falafels, so I decided to make some of my own (this time baked, not fried).

Pistachio and herb falafel mixture

The falafel mixture itself is quite wet, this ensures they are moist and fluffy once cooked instead of dry.

Falafels ready to be baked

This mixture makes 22 falafel balls, however it could be more/less depending on the size you roll them.

Mint and lime coconut yoghurt

Before making this, I never thought of mixing coconut yoghurt with lime and mint. To my surprise, they complement each another really well and give the wraps a slight burst of tanginess.

Ingredients for the guacamole

I kept the guacamole very simple as there are A LOT of flavours going on in this dish.

All the individual dishes ready

Falafel lettuce wraps with homemade hummus and guacamole

(Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Falafels
  • 8 sprigs of fresh mint, wash the leaves
  • 8 sprigs of fresh parsley, wash the leaves
  • 100g pistachio nuts
  • 1 can chickpeas, drain and rinse
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 brown onion
  • 3 TBSP macadamia oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 TBSP buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Mint Yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
  • 4 sprigs of fresh mint, wash the leaves and finely chop
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Hummus
  • 1 can chickpeas, drain and rinse
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 TBSP cumin, extra for sprinkling on top
  • 2 TBSP olive oil, extra for drizzling on top
  • Salt
  • Pine nuts for decoration
Guacamole
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Other ingredients
  • 1 romaine lettuce, wash
  • 1 green capsicum, wash and cut into strips
  • 1 red capsicum, wash and cut into strips
  • 1 carrot, peel and cut into sticks
  • 1 cucumber, wash and cut into strips

I used the same Cashew nut ‘cheeze’ recipe as the Raw tacos.

Method:

Falafels
  1. Preheat oven at 200 degrees. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Blend the herbs in a food processor for 30 seconds. Add pistachio nuts and process until combined.
  3. Add the chickpeas, garlic, onion, macadamia oil, cumin, flour and baking powder and process for about a minute. You might have to use a spatula to move it around.
  4. Roll the mixture into small falafel balls. Place on prepared baking paper and bake for 18 minutes, turning every 6 minutes.
Mint Yoghurt
  1. Add yoghurt, mint and lime in a bowl and stir around until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Hummus
  1. Process chickpeas, lemon, garlic and cumin until well combined.
  2. Add olive oil slowly until it all becomes a smooth paste. You might have to use a spatula to move it around. Season with salt. 
  3. Place in a bowl and decorate with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of cumin and some pine nuts.
Guacamole
  1. In a bowl, mash the avocado with the lime. Season with salt and pepper. 

Ready to be devoured!

Even though there are many condiments they all complement one another – each mouthful is bursting with fresh flavours! These wraps certainly didn’t last long on my plate!

Happy cooking!

Have you ever made falafels before?

Indian spiced chicken quinoa pilaf

This is one of my all-time favourite dishes. I like to call it my one-pot-wonder as that’s what it essentially is. Everything is cooked in the one pot meaning cleaning up is (usually) minimal. This dish has the perfect combination of flavours, especially if you enjoy indian food.

Cook the chicken separately

Cook the chicken separately to ensure it is cooked through and slightly brown. I prefer to buy organic, free range chicken as they are free from antibiotics, hormones and pesticides. I understand that it is more expensive to purchase organic proteins but I have the mentality that ‘if you’re willing to invest in expensive clothes and accessories to make you look good on the outside, you should be willing to invest in expensive proteins to make you feel good on the inside’.

In goes the quinoa to be cooked

Many of my recipes include quinoa as I find it so easy to cook with due to its versatile nature and I feel so good after eating it. There have definitely been days where I have had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Ready to be served!

Indian spiced chicken quinoa pilaf

Adapted from Taste

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • I TBSP coconut oil
  • 4 organic free range chicken breasts, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek, add more to make it spicier + extra for serving
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 2 cups green beans, finely chopped
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Coconut yogurt to serve

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes or until brown all over. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add onion to pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add garlic, ginger, sambal oelek, cumin, coriander, fennel seeds and turmeric and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic.
  3. Add quinoa, stock and chicken, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.
  4. Add mushrooms and beans, stir through until well combined. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Scatter peas over quinoa. Set aside, covered, for 5 minutes. Add cashews and gently toss until just combined.
  6. Serve immediately with coconut yogurt, salt, pepper and sambal oelek, if desired.

Serving of quinoa pilaf

Such a tasty and simple meal that is always a winner with my guests!

Happy cooking!!

What is your favourite quinoa dish?

Polenta and quinoa porridge with baked fruit

It’s been very rainy weather on the Gold Coast this past week so I’ve been enjoying porridge for breakfast (which is something I usually only favour during winter). Although, this isn’t your typical porridge made with oats. As I like to experiment with different ingredients, I decided to give polenta and quinoa a try. Turns out, this really is the ideal way to start the day!

Polenta and quinoa ready to be cooked

Polenta is usually used in Italian savoury dishes where it is enjoyed fried, baked, grilled or soft. However, it is the perfect addition to any breakfast due to its creamy texture and by adding different toppings it can instantly be turned into a ‘sweet’ dish.

Nectarine and pear covered with cinnamon

Baked fruits are one of the easiest ways to enhance your breakfast, as they don’t require much effort and are naturally sweet. I chose nectarines and pears as this is what we had in our fruit bowl, however they can be easily substituted for apples, apricots, pineapple, plums and any other stone fruit.

Final result of the porridge

Polenta and quinoa porridge with baked fruit

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon, extra for fruit
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 nectarines, remove seed and cut into half
  • 4 pears, cut into quarters and remove seeds
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 TBSP desiccated coconut
  • 2 TBSP goji berries
  • Honey

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Mix polenta, quinoa, water, cinnamon and salt together in a medium saucepan. Soak for 10 minutes. Bring to the boil over medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes covered, until all water is absorbed.
  3. Place cut fruits on baking paper, coat in cinnamon. Place in the over for 15 minutes.
  4. Serve porridge with fruits, slivered almonds, desiccated coconut, goji berries and a drizzle of honey. Enjoy!

This dish is gluten free and so simple to make! If you have any leftovers, just reheat with a little water over the stove!

Have you ever cooked with polenta?

Raw tacos and corn chips

By the time dinner comes around, all I often feel like is a light but tasty meal. I first made raw tacos in January when I was detoxing as I was sick of eating virtually the same salad day in, day out. Much to my surprise, it was full of flavours that complemented one another and was really easy to make.

I realise there are many individual parts that make up this recipe but it is definitely worth the effort!

Nutritional yeast flakes used to give a the ‘cheeze’ a cheesy flavour

Nutritional yeast is packed with protein and is ideal for vegans and vegetarians. It is rich in vitamin B 12 and other minerals including iron, magnesium and zinc. You can buy nutritional yeast from most health food stores.

What the raw cashew nut ‘cheeze’ should look like

By soaking the cashews in water for at least two hours (I like to soak them for 8), it ensures the ‘cheeze’ is creamy and processes together easily.

Raw nut ‘meat’ mixed with spices

The raw nut ‘meat’ should resemble ground meat once processed and mixed with all the spices. It really is full of flavour and the consistency of the nuts work well with the ‘cheeze’.

Trying to convince even the biggest meat eaters is easy with this meal. My Dad, who loves his meat, was a huge fan! That is definitely saying a lot!! 

A healthy, light dinner is served

The raw nut ‘meat’ and cashew nut ‘cheeze’ will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 days. The salad and guacamole should be eaten by the following day.

Raw tacos and corn chips

Serves 4 (generously)

Ingredients:

Raw cashew nut ‘cheeze’

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours
  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Spring onion finely sliced for decoration

Raw nut ‘meat’

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Guacamole

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • salt
  • pepper

Salad

  • 1 green capsicum, cut into cubes
  • 1 red or orange capsicum, cut into cubes
  • 1 cucumber, cut into cubes
  • 1 TBSP parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt
  • pepper

Other

  • 12 medium romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 bag corn chips

Method:

To make ‘cheeze’

  1. Place garlic and salt in a food processor; process into small pieces. Add cashews and process into a paste. Add lemon juice and water and process to mix well. Set aside in a bowl and decorate with spring onion.

To make ‘meat’

  1. Place walnuts and almonds in a food processor. Process into small pieces until the mixture looks like ground meat. Be careful not to over-process as it will turn into butter.
  2. In a bowl combine ground nuts, cumin, paprika, coriander and salt. When combined add olive oil and mix well. Set aside in a bowl.

To make guacamole

  1. Scoop out avocado flesh and place in bowl.
  2. Add spring onion and lime juice. Mash until at a smooth consistency.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside in a bowl.

To make salad

  1. Mix capsicums, cucumber, parsley and spring onion in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Dress the salad with the lemon juice mix and toss until it is all coated.

To eat tacos

  1. Scoop 1 TBSP salad down the inside spine of each romaine leaf. Sprinkle with 1 TBSP ‘cheeze’ and 1 TBSP ‘meat’. Add guacamole. Enjoy!

Raw taco all ready to be eaten

Just look at all the bright colours of the ingredients! You can’t help but feel healthy after eating this meal!

Have you ever had raw tacos before?

Raw chocolate berry pie

When it comes to celebrating birthdays and special occasions, it can often be difficult to find a recipe that everyone will be pleased with. Let alone trying to find one that is wheat, dairy and sugar free! Oh and tasty!

This pie definitely fills that criteria and is the perfect way to enjoy celebrations without feeling guilty by subjecting your body to those not-so-healthy ingredients. As I believe everyday is a special occasion, I decided to make it today!

Cacao powder used

Cacao (pronounced ka-cow) is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate that has been hailed a superfood. This is due to the antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals it contains including magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron. It is available from most health food stores.

Springform pan greased and lined

Even though this pie is not cooked, I still greased and lined the pan to ensure it didn’t stick to the bottom and ruin all my hard work.

Nut crust mixed together

This is what the nut crust should look like once processed together. Crumbly enough that bits of almond can be seen, yet soft enough to be pressed into the springform pan.

Pie crust base pressed into springform pan

Press the nut base all the way up the sides of the pan and make sure it is not too thick on the bottom as it is quite decadent.

Chocolate pie filling

Have a little taste test before you remove the pie filling from the food processor to ensure it is very light and melts in your mouth (a hard task but someone has to do it!)

Final product! Decadent chocolate berry pie with desiccated coconut.

The pie can be stored in a sealed container in the freeze for up to 2 weeks (cut into slices before freezing). It can also be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

Raw Chocolate Berry Pie

(ADAPTED FROM THE EARTH DIET)

Serves 16

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 cup cacao powder
  • 2 cups of almonds
  • 1/2 cup of raw honey*
  • 3 TBSP of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste*

Filling

  • 3 TBSP cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TBSP cup of raw honey*
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste*
  • 1 cup mixed berries
  • Desiccated coconut for sprinkling on top

*See notes below

Method:

  1. Mix all crust ingredients in a food processor. Process until just combined.
  2. Press into a greased and lined springform pan.
  3. Mix all filling ingredients in a food processor. Process until a mousse-like consistency.
  4. Place into the springform pan on top of the crust and smooth out with the back of a wet spoon.
  5. Place mixed berries and desiccated coconut on top.
  6. Set in the fridge for an hour, slice and serve!
  • Note: You can substitute the raw honey for the same quantity of 100% pure maple syrup (it won’t be raw though) or fresh dates
  • Note: You can substitute the vanilla bean paste for vanilla extract. Try to stay away from vanilla essence as it’s commercially manufactured by chemicals whilst vanilla extract is made from real vanilla pods.

Partially eaten! It won’t last long though!

As this pie is quite rich and decadent you won’t need large slices to satisfy your chocolate craving.

I hope you all enjoy making (and eating) this pie. I would love to know how yours turns out and what occasion you made it for!