radiant recipes: balela

hello readers!

well today was rainy and gloomy here in northern california so we spent the day inside, working and cooking hearty food. i wanted to highlight a recipe that i often turn to when a) i don’t have much in terms of groceries b) i don’t want to waste tons of money on creating an expensive dish and/or c) i am too tired to make anything difficult. here comes…balela to save the day!

balela is a middle-eastern bean salad (palestine respresent!) which is easy, quick and super yummy. it takes only minutes to put together and you then wait half an hour for the flavor to deepen. it has tons of protein due to the garbanzos and black beans, lycopene from the tomatoes and healing qualities from the herbs. i sometimes add garam masala or curry to the dish to infuse a little indian flavor but you could add other spice combinations and i am sure it would taste great. also, if you don’t have access to the fresh herbs, omitting them from the recipe is totally fine.

BALELA:  (vegan and gluten-free)

* 1 can of chickpeas/garbanzos

* 1 can of black beans

* 1 can of diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

* extra-virgin olive oil

*  1 lemon

* a few sprigs of parsely

* a few sprigs of mint

* salt and pepper to taste

* other spices such as garam masala, curry, turmeric and/or ginger (optional)

1. drain and rinse the chickpeas and beans thouroughly and pour into large mixing bowl

2. drain tomatoes and add to bowl

3. pour a few tablespoons of olive oil and a few tablespoons of lemon juice into the bowl, adjusting amounts to taste

4. tear the leaves from the herb sprigs, break apart with fingers and add to dish

5 if using, add amounts of other spices to taste

6. toss and mix well and let stand for 30 minutes

and that is it! so simple and so tasty. you can also serve it on a bed of brown rice or quinoa, wrap it up in tortillas or stuff it into a pita. so many options, although it tastes great enough to just enjoy with a spoon!


radiant recipes: raw vegan mixie

hello there!

i wanted to start my new series called “radiant recipes” where we will talk about meals, snacks and drinks that taste good and make you feel great!

yesterday was our 8 month wedding anniversary (we are dorks so we celebrate our anniversary every month because…why not?) so we celebrated with some amazing pizza. as great as it was, when we got home i was feeling really lethargic from all that cheese and fat so i wanted to make something fast and healthy for dinner.

one of my favorite new go-to meals when i am wanting something that is yummy and totally customizable is what i call the RAW VEGAN MIXIE.

this creation first saw the light of day when one day i was terribly hungry and had only a few ingredients to use for dinner. i started looking through the refrigerator and pantry and decided that i would put my food processor to the test. i used some greens (since they are healthy), some nuts (they are always great for making vegan dishes more “meaty”), carrots (to add some moisture and beta carotene), olive oil (to bind everything together), spices and some salt and pepper. it was so yummy and i had enough for two meals! the best part about this recipe is that you can make it with so many things and eat it in so many different ways!

THE VEGAN RAW MIXIE:  (vegan and gluten-free)

* 1 cup of greens (you can use spinach, kale, lettuce, arugula or whatever green you fancy)

* 1 cup of nuts (i usually use walnuts but you can use almonds, cashews, peanuts or sunflower/pumpkin seeds if nuts are too pricey)

* 1 cup of carrots (i put these in since they have a lot of moisture and crunch but if you don’t like carrots you could add celery instead or bell peppers)

* a few sundried tomatoes (these add oil and general tastiness)

* a pinch of whatever spices you choose (i like to add garam masala, curry and turmeric but you can mix and match your favorite spices and herbs!)

* a splash of olive oil (or sunflower/safflower oil) to get things moving in the machine

* salt and pepper to taste

1. toss all of the ingredients into a food processor (or strong blender) and pulse until mixed. depending on the strength of your machine, your mixie will be between the consistency of a cole slaw and a pate. don’t worry, either way it will be tasty!

2. at this point, you can either eat it as is (with some chips or baked pita triangles) or you can wrap it up. i usually wrap it in these amazing local chipotle tortillas but you can also wrap this in lettuce, collard greens, nori or stuff it in a pita) so many options!

as you can see, this recipe is very versatile and can be made just about anyway you want. it is easy and quick to make, tastes good and is good for you!

(just a note: ayurveda traditionally discourages a raw food lifestyle since it is believed that the healing properties of foods are enhanced through cooking but i have no problem promoting some vibrant, live food from time to time!)