Fig Zucchini Pasta with Hemp Seed Crumble

Happy summer everyone, it’s official! Summer is all about keeping meals fresh, light, and making healthier alternatives to classic dishes often shared at potlucks, BBQ’s, or holidays. It’s also one of the best seasons in my opinion to use fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs in dishes where their flavors can shine through in a simple way. Fig Zucchini Pasta with Hemp Seed Crumble does just that, it’s fun and simple to make, loaded with fresh zucchini, sweet figs, creamy avocado, and a special topping that you’re all going to start putting on everything– I promise it’s that good. Fig Zucchini Pasta with Hemp Seed Crumble

The topping is similar to a grated parmesan in texture, but far from it– it’s dairy free and loaded with healthy fats, fiber, protein, and tastes spot on! I’ve talked about figs and why I love them here for digestion, but let me just say it again, figs are awesome. Figs are loaded with fiber and you can tell just by looking at the inside where they house tiny seeds; they’re also rich in potassium, calcium, copper and manganese. Zucchini is just as great, it’s both fiber and water rich giving you a fuller feeling without the calories adding up as it would from traditional pasta, it truly is a pasta you can eat large amounts of guilt free. Added bonus, it’s an easy way to sneak in another serving of vegetables in your day and it’s naturally gluten free.

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Apricot Quinoa Summer Salad

Normally when I think of summer salads images of dark leafy greens, crisp romaine, and crunchy cool vegetables come to mind; this salad is a slight departure of my “normal” summer salad. Apricot Quinoa Summer Salad is a gluten-free grain based salad dense with vegetables and fruits of the summer season, specifically sweet apricots and cool cucumbers. Bursts of citrus, fresh herbs, and earthiness from nutty almonds create a great balance of flavors that turns this side dish into a complete entrée if wanted.

Apricot Quinoa Summer Salad main

Apricots are incredibly sweet, so to balance the flavors I add citrus from oranges, a tang from raw apple cider vinegar, and earthy saffron. Saffron has become one of my favorite “new” spices in the past year or so using it in a lot of my cooked dishes, but have recently started to experiment with it in salads. Saffron is a beautiful red, small threaded spice which turns whatever you’re cooking using saffron a deep golden yellow, it’s a gorgeous tint of color. The presentation of this recipe is beautiful with flecks of fresh green parsley, orange apricots, brown almonds, green cucumbers, on the background of white or red quinoa.

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Garden Vegetable Tagine

Garden Vegetable Tagine is sure to be a weekly staple in my kitchen, I say that with all seriousness. It’s incredibly easy to make (I love simple) delicious, and can feed a large group of people… or a couple of hungry foodies all week long. No vegetable is left out in this dish from root veggies like sweet potatoes, to eggplants, peppers, and cauliflower. All of these vegetables stand out on their own in this dish, but a special moroccan condiment harissa, melts together with vegetables and warming spices after this slow and low cooking process in the tagine.

Garden Vegetable Tagine plated with lid

What I love most about this dish is the flexibility. Even though I live a plant-based diet, meaning the bulk of my diet is from plant sources, I still enjoy farm fresh eggs and wild caught fish, and this veggie based tagine makes it suitable for everyone. This dish is perfect for those of you living a vegan lifestyle, vegetarian, plant-based (like moi), paleo, etc.; it surpasses all “diets” and is universally delicious for everyone. You can easily add in proteins of your choice to make this meal “complete” and more hearty. Below I’ll share some variations to add per serving to make this more of a hearty meal. It’s also great for making on your batch cooking day for reheating later or sharing with the family.

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Sticky Fig BBQ Tempeh

Sticky Fig BBQ Tempeh may be the best BBQ recipe for vegetarians/vegans alike this summer season, it’s that good. With all this warm weather and endless amounts of sunshine we’ve been having here in Nashville, it’s inspiring me to play with summer recipes in the kitchen. Mainly, I’ve been inspired to dish out (ha pun intended) healthy takes on classic summery dishes and what’s more summery than barbeque? I’m not talking about any ole’ southern style BBQ, which I have to be honest, I’ve never been able to try because who serves BBQ with tempeh around these parts- no one. Hence, my obligation to create an utterly delicious BBQ entree for all my fellow veg heads, southerners, and BBQ lovers everywhere.

Sticky Fig BBQ Tempeh Sandwich and plate with cabbage

This Sticky Fig BBQ sauce can easily be used on any protein you enjoy, but I’m making this special for the vegetarian crowd as we have the slimmest of pickin’s this time of year- I’m shelling out a lot of Southern drawal here, can you tell? I adore BBQ sauce, it’s a great condiment to use throughout the year, but what I love most about BBQ is the flavor complexities. I’ve never had a BBQ sauce without incredible depth of flavors which happens naturally with the slow and low cooking method. It’s often bold, spicy, sweet, honeyed, or even fruity. Being inspired by all the flavor combinations I love most in BBQ sauces, I developed Sticky Fig BBQ sauce with it’s rich, sticky, slightly sweet, and spicy characteristics- let’s just be frank, I nailed it and it’s by far my favorite BBQ sauce I’ve tasted!

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Mediterranean Millet Salad Wraps

Get ready for a party in your mouth, seriously, a party in the Greek Isles. I’m sharing with you all today a recipe I’ve been making for years as a quick lunch or dinner, these Mediterranean Millet Salad Wraps are loaded with Mediterranean flavors, opposing textures, and are incredibly simple to make. I love using rainbow chard as an alternative to standard wraps; having something light, refreshing, and lower in carbohydrate as a wrap is a great combination for the already carbohydrate-rich millet salad here. I promise even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy this recipe, it’s great as an entree, side dish, or even dolloped on top of your favorite dark leafy green salad for a boost of protein, healthy fats, and minerals.

mediterranean millet salad wraps in rainbow chard Marvelous milletMillet is one of the staple grains I always have in my pantry, it’s a gluten free grain similar to quinoa and is perfect to use for both sweet and savory dishes. I use millet in this recipe as a hearty grain rich in plant-based protein and fiber, alongside some amazing mediterranean seasonings and flavors. Millet also contains good amounts of magnesium, which are incredibly important for our muscle and nerve function- many people eating the SAD (standard american diet) actually don’t get enough of magnesium through our foods.

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