Mediterranean Broccoli and Chickpea Salad with Roasted Pepper and Feta

This Mediterranean-inspired broccoli salad is bursting with flavour, texture, and colour! Broccoli is steamed until just tender and combined with roasted bell peppers and almonds, salty goat feta, sweet currants, and chickpeas! Then, everything is tossed in a tangy lemon-Dijon vinaigrette. This dish is great as a side or as a main dish when paired with a roasted sweet potato or quinoa. 

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Hey, friends! I’m baaaaack with a summery Mediterranean vegetable salad that covers all of the nutritional bases, and is super delicious to boot. I apologize for the prolonged absence, but hopefully now that I can feel the season turning ever so slightly, I will get back onto a more regular posting schedule. Thanks for your patience as I figure out this whole blogging routine. 😉

I’ll confess that I haven’t really been enthused about cooking this summer- a bit worrisome for somebody whose passion is food, but normal, I suppose, in the context of the extreme heat and ecosystem devastation that the planet is experiencing. It’s enough for even the most diehard foodie to lose their appetite. From raging wildfires in California to a grieving killer whale mother carrying her dead calf through the ocean off the coast of British Columbia for what is going on weeks, it’s hard to be an aware human being at this point in time. At the risk of sounding overly political, I am going to come right out and say that I am keenly aware of the reality of global warming/climate change, and the trends are incredibly worrisome. My response to stressors of any kind has always been to turn inward, and while I feel guilty at times for not being a more vocal activist, it has never been my style. I have always felt more comfortable with leading by example. I have deep respect for anyone who is a vocal activist, don’t get me wrong. But it has never been my style and I wouldn’t be my authentic self if I pretended that it was. So I return to my kitchen, again and again, because it has always been my happy place and, increasingly, because it is through my food choices that I feel I am able to vote for a more just and sustainable future.

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Now, I am not saying that salad will save the world. What I am suggesting is that the more of us who prepare meals in our own kitchens, using locally and sustainably-sourced ingredients, the better off our world will be. And at a time when more and more of us feel powerless in the face of rising seas, droughts, wildfires, and unprecedented pollution levels, being connected to our food is a pretty necessary thing indeed.

Hopefully I don’t come off as preachy; that is never my intention. I just can’t pretend that everything is just fine when the world is a mess. Sure, it’s fun to scroll through Instagram and admire all the pretty food photos, but there are so many important and pressing issues that we all need to be devoting time and energy to. Hopefully I can use this platform as a force for good by providing ideas for how to restore our connection to the earth, starting with the food that we purchase and eat. And that brings me to this salad. I put seasonal, farmers’ market-fresh ingredients to good use here, with broccoli, roasted bell peppers, and red onion playing starring roles. I added some local goat feta for a salty contrast, but feel free to omit it if you are vegan or dairy-free. Roasted almonds or seeds provide some toothsome crunch, while dried fruit adds sweetness. The tangy lemon-Dijon dressing is light and coats the ingredients nicely without overpowering them. Overall, this salad is filling and hearty while remaining light enough to eat in the heat of summer. I enjoy serving it with a baked sweet potato to complete the meal!

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Thanks for sticking with me through this post, and I hope that you enjoy this salad as much as I do! If you make it, let me know! Leave a comment below, and tag me on Instagram @holisticallie and #holisticallie. 🙂

Mediterranean Broccoli and Chickpea Salad with Roasted Peppers and Feta 

Servings: 4-6
Time: 30 minutes
Cuisine: Plant-based, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Vegan

Ingredients: 

  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup roasted red or orange pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds (I roasted organic raw almonds at 325 F for 10 minutes)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup finely diced goat or sheep feta cheese (optional, omit for vegan option)

Lemon-Dijon Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp chickpea miso or mellow white miso (if you are unable to find this miso, substitute 1 tbsp tamari or 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Steam the broccoli until tender-crisp, about five minutes. Remove from heat and empty into a large bowl.
  2. Add remaining salad ingredients to the bowl with the broccoli.
  3. Make the dressing by adding all ingredients into a medium Mason jar. Screw on lid and shake to combine.
  4. Pour the dressing on top of the salad and toss until incorporated.
  5. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. This salad will keep in the fridge for a few days, although the broccoli will begin to lose its bright green hue!

 

Double Chocolate Protein Bars

Why buy protein bars when it takes ten minutes to whip up a batch in your own kitchen? These protein bars are packed with protein (obviously), healthy fat, complex carbs, and are lightly sweetened with pure maple syrup! The icing on the cake, so to speak, is the raw chocolate glaze. Made with just four ingredients (cacao butter, raw cacao, maple syrup, and almond milk), it propels these protein bars into “I can’t ever go back to store-bought” territory. 

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Well, we made it to Friday. If you have a Monday to Friday job, happy weekend! If, like me, you still find yourself working retail on weekends, I feel ya! Hopefully you can make the most of whatever time you have off over the next couple of days.

I don’t know anyone who actually craves store-bought protein bars. Sure, I will eat one in a pinch (and given that I work in a health food store, there is never any shortage of options for when one is feeling rather peckish). However, I have never been able to find one that suits my taste and quality preferences. Most of them contain at least a handful of ingredients that I am not keen on putting into my body, and I would rather keep things as healthy and natural as possible. Add to that the fact that I am trying to reduce my plastic footprint, and it’s easy to see why homemade is the way to go.

This protein bar recipe is the product of a desperate attempt to use up some protein powder that had almost reached its best before date. It’s entirely a first world problem, true, but I hate to waste food, and I couldn’t possibly stomach more protein smoothie bowls.

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These bars make the PERFECT afternoon snack when you’re low on energy and need a pick-me-up to get you through the afternoon. They are also phenomenal as a post-workout snack to kickstart muscle recovery. However and whenever you choose to enjoy them, I hope that they become your new favourite snack!

If you make this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment below, and tag me on Instagram with @holisticallie and #holisticallie!

Double Chocolate Protein Bars 

Servings: 10
Cuisine: Vegan
Time: 15 minutes + 30 minutes chill time

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate protein powder of choice (I used Botanica brand)
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup nut or seed butter of choice (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower, tahini all work)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk

Raw Chocolate Topping

  • 1/4 cup cacao butter
  • 2.5 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp non-dairy milk

Instructions:

  1. Combine protein powder, oat flour, salt, maple syrup, and nut butter in a large mixing bowl. Stir until dough begins to form. Gradually add non-dairy milk until mixture reaches a cookie dough consistency.
  2. Line a 8×8 square baking pan with parchment paper. Press dough evenly into pan and flatten as much as possible. You want the dough to be packed as tightly as possible so that the bars do not fall apart.
  3. Prepare the raw chocolate. Place cacao butter in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of almost boiling water. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in remaining raw chocolate ingredients. Pour over protein bar dough.
  4. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until chocolate has hardened.
  5. Slice into 10 even rectangles and store in the refrigerator until ready to consume.

 

 

Raw Vegan Green Goddess Pesto + Pesto Power Bowls

This raw vegan Green Goddess Pesto is bursting with good-for-you ingredients and fresh summer flavours! Avocado, cashews, basil, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil combine into one delicious spread that you won’t soon forget. While it is phenomenal on pasta, I offer a less traditional application for it: as a component of a Mediterranean-inspired power bowl! 

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Basil and summer are synonymous with one another. While I am not a fan of summer heat in the least, I am thankful for the luscious crops that it produces: basil, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, berries, corn, cucumber, eggplant. These are a few of my favourite things, and I spend months of the year dreaming about these fleeting weeks when seasonal produce bursts forth in abundance. I know that in just a few months, I will be shivering/wondering why I didn’t enjoy summer more/Googling cheap flights to Miami. That’s the way I roll.

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This pesto recipe came to fruition when we somehow found ourselves carrying three huge bunches of basil, courtesy of the lovely folks at Roots Down Organic Farm, home from the market one Sunday morning earlier in July. I was positively ecstatic! I have been known to go a little bit overboard at farmers’ markets, but then again, it’s so rare to have SO MUCH BASIL so close at hand. I knew that I would be able to put it to good use.

I didn’t understand the buzz around pesto until I started to make vegan versions. I always found the dairy-containing versions too rich while simultaneously lacking in flavour. In my version, raw cashews, avocado, and a small amount of extra virgin olive oil replace the richness that copious amounts of olive oil, pine nuts, and cheese typically provide. Lemon juice adds tang, while nutritional yeast and sea salt impart a cheesy flavour.

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While I now make pesto year-round with a variety of herbs and greens, summer is my favourite season for it because the flavour of basil is simply irresistible. In other seasons, I would make this pesto with fresh parsley. I can also imagine that a southwestern twist with cilantro and pumpkin seeds would be stunning!

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The first two times that we made this recipe, we enjoyed it on buckwheat crepes and tossed with pasta. While both applications were divine, I was craving something fresh and healthy this time around. I dreamed up a quick and easy Mediterranean-inspired power bowl packed with greens, raw vegetables, lemon and olive oil-marinated white beans, and quinoa as a canvas for the pesto, and it turned out great! Pesto is phenomenally versatile, so play around with it. This recipe creates enough for several servings, so depending on the number of people you are serving it to, you will have enough to experiment with a few different meals!

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If you make this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment below, and tag your creations on Instagram with @holisticallie and #holisticallie!

Green Goddess Pesto

Servings: 1+3/4 cups, enough for 4+ servings
Cuisine: Vegan, Plant-based
Time: 15 minutes or less

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups fresh basil, preferably local and organic
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4-1 tsp fine sea salt or pink Himalayan salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and flesh scooped out
  • 1/4 cup filtered water

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients, except water, into the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Turn on food processor. Once ingredients are finely chopped/blended, add water through the tube on the top of the food processor with motor running.
  3. Process until very smooth and creamy.
  4. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Green Goddess Pesto Power Bowls 

Servings: 4
Cuisine: Vegan, Plant-based
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Green Goddess Pesto (recipe above)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced radishes
  • 1 cup sliced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 4 cups arugula or mixed greens
  • 1.5 cups cooked white beans or chickpeas
  • 1/4+1/8 tsp fine sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

Instructions:

  1. To cook the quinoa, add 2 cups (500 mL) filtered water into a medium saucepan. Rinse and drain the quinoa, add it to the pot along with a pinch of salt, and turn up heat to high. Once boiling, turn down heat to low, cover, and cook quinoa for 15-20 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, while quinoa is cooking, prepare the marinated white beans. Combine beans, oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Add basil, toss, and set aside until ready to serve.
  3. To assemble bowls, divide vegetables, greens, olives, beans, quinoa, and pesto between four bowls.
  4. Pass fresh bread and a cruet of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar at the table. A bottle of chilled white wine makes a fine addition to this meal. 😉

Peanut Butter Cup Muffins

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Hi, friends! I feel as though it’s been a minute since I’ve posted here. When I started this blog, I thought that I would have time to post every. single. day. I have since been humbled by the amount of time and energy that goes into creating, testing, and photographing recipes while also working a full time job and marathon training! I’m not complaining or making excuses, just saying that I have a newfound appreciation for all those who juggle many life things at once!

Continue reading “Peanut Butter Cup Muffins”

Mediterranean Sun-Dried Tomato Chickpea Burgers with Cashew Tzatziki (Vegan)

Get ready for your taste buds to EXPLODE! These Mediterranean-inspired veggie burgers are bursting with flavour from umami-rich sun-dried tomatoes and fresh herbs, and are packed with complete protein from chickpeas, quinoa, tahini, and sunflower seeds. The cashew tzatziki sauce takes them over the top into OMG territory. They are delicious on artisan burger buns, ciabatta buns, or even lettuce leaves! 

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Whenever I set out to create a veggie burger recipe, I have a strict set of criteria that said burgers must meet:

  1. They must be packed with protein.
  2. They must be ultra-flavourful.
  3. They must satisfy both vegans and omnivores.

Continue reading “Mediterranean Sun-Dried Tomato Chickpea Burgers with Cashew Tzatziki (Vegan)”

Vegan Essentials: Cashew Tzatziki

Here is my second “vegan essentials” installment! Everybody loves tzatziki, but vegan and dairy-free folks often go without. Not anymore, with my vegan tzatziki sauce that tastes as good as, if not better than, the “real” thing! Cashews provide the dreamy, creamy base for this tangy, salty, and fresh-tasting tzatziki sauce that plays well with veggie burgers, kebabs, and all Mediterranean dishes!

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Cashew Tzatziki

Servings: 1 1/2 cups
Time: 5 minutes + 4 hours soaking time for cashews
Cuisine: Vegan, Plant-based

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for a minimum of 4 hours and drained
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated cucumber, liquid squeezed out
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Place cashews, water, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper into a blender (preferably a high speed blender) and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a mixing bowl and add cucumber and mint.
  3. Store in a glass jar in the fridge until ready to use.