Air fryer spicy peanuts

Looking for a quick snack, air fryer roasted peanuts come to the rescue. These roasted peanuts typically accompanied a drinking session, a nice accompaniment to a cold glass of beer or a glass of scotch or lemonade! Often made for parties, you will find yourself mindlessly grabbing a handful while you are busy catching up with someone.

Time:20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw peanuts
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • Smoked paprika or Red chilli powder to taste
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • Preheat air fryer to 350 degree Fahrenheit on air crisp setting
  • In an air fryer safe dish, add oil and chili/paprika and salt
  • Toss the peanuts in and shake to coat it well
  • Put the container in the air fryer and air crisp for 15 mins, shaking the container intermittently
  • After 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 340 degrees and roast for another 5 minutes
  • Remove from air fryer and let cool for a bit before serving
  • Enjoy!

Mango Chia Seed Pudding

If you love mango and tropical flavors, this chia pudding is for you. A combination of coconut milk, combined with chia seeds and mango pulp, makes for a delicious pudding that will energize you and fill you up. A great way to start the day or a pick-me-up during the day.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk (alternatively, almond or any other milk, or 1/2 cup coconut cream with 1/2 cup milk)
  • 1 cup unsweetened mango pulp
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Toppings: Mango cubes, pineapple, berries, almonds, granola

Method

  • In a large, lidded bowl, mix the mango pulp and almond milk. Stir
  • Add in the chia seeds and maple syrup. Stir with a spoon. Ensure no clumps of chia seeds remain
  • Close with lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • Top with mango chunks, pineapple, berries, granola, or nuts

Try these other chia seed pudding flavors:


Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

This deliciously sinful, chocolate chia seed pudding is for when those chocolate cravings hit or if you want dessert for breakfast without feeling guilty. This calls for only 5 ingredients and you likely have them already.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk (alternatively, any other milk)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Toppings: Berries, almonds, granola

Method

  • In a large, lidded bowl, whisk in the cocoa powder into the almond milk, removing any clumps
  • Add in the chia seeds, vanilla essence and maple syrup. Stir with a spoon. Ensure no clumps of chia seeds remain
  • Close with lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • Top with berries, granola, or nuts

Try these other chia seed pudding flavors:


Matcha Chia Seed Pudding

Sophie loves her matcha boba tea and was very happy when we made a matcha Chia seed pudding. Not only did the matcha powder give it it’s beautiful green color, the matcha flavor was elevated with the use of coconut cream. If you love matcha, this pudding is for you! It will energize you while filling you up.

Why Matcha? Did you know it’s full of antioxidants, can speed up metabolism, and lower bad cholesterol? And of course, chia seeds contain protein, fiber and the good-for-you kind of fat

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Toppings: Berries, almonds, granola

Method

  • In a large, lidded bowl, whisk the matcha powder, coconut cream and almond milk, making sure no clumps remain
  • Add in the chia seeds and maple syrup. Stir with a spoon. Ensure no clumps of chia seeds remain
  • Close with lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • Top with granola, fruit or nuts

Try these other chia seed pudding flavors:


Chia seeds pudding

Something I always struggle with is what to eat as a snack or have ready for breakfast for the kids to grab quickly before school. This chia seed pudding fits the bill – it is a make-ahead, easy and yet healthy breakfast or snack option that is energizing and filling. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. And best of all, it is so good for you.

Chia seeds contain protein, fiber and the good-for-you kind of fat. Soak them in a liquid and you get this smooth, gelatinous pudding texture. Add a little sweetener, a topping of your choice like fruit or granola, and who can resist dessert, and a healthy one at that??!

I make this Chia seed pudding with simple ingredients. And then top it with granola (at time of eating) or layer it with fruit for a grab-when-you-need option. I have found that 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to 1/4 cup of milk is the ideal ratio.

Once you have this, it may soon be a go-to, so check out the links below to other chia-seed pudding options.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups light coconut milk or almond milk (or cow’s milk)
  • 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1.5 tablespoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)

Toppings

  • Berries
  • Granola or chopped nuts
  • Chopped fresh mango or pineapple
  • Coconut flakes

Method

  • In a lidded container, pour in the milk. Stir in the chia seeds. Cover the container and shake well to combine. Wait for 2-3 minutes and then stir well with a spoon making sure to break any clumps
  • Add in the vanilla essence and maple syrup, and stir
  • Cover with a tight light and let set in fridge overnight or at least 2 hours
  • When serving, top with your favorite fruit, nuts or granola, and enjoy!

Other Chia Seed Pudding recipes:


Mushroom, Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas

When you want a healthy and yet quick meal or a snack on-the-go, these quesadillas are a great option. A mix of spinach, corn, mushrooms, black beans, onions, and creamy avocado makes for a filling, delicious vegetarian meal. And if you’re craving meat, just add some shredded chicken to the mix.

Servings: 4 quesadillas Cook and prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 large Red Onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • 8 oz Baby Bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups fresh Spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen Corn
  • 1/2 cup cooked Black Beans
  • 2 large Avocados, removed from shell and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • 4 medium Tortillas (I use whole wheat although flour tortillas are usually tastier but less healthy)
  • Salt to taste
  • Salsa, for serving
  • 2 cups shredded chicken, optional (for when you want a non-vegetarian option)

Method:

  • In a pan, heat the Olive oil
  • When oil is hot and shimmering, add in the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir and add in the onions, stir occasionally while the onions turn translucent.
  • Add in the sliced mushrooms. Fry the mix, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and caramelized, and the water from the mushrooms in the pan has dissipated – approximately 3-4 minutes
  • Add in the spinach, black beans and corn. Cook till spinach has wilted. Sprinkle salt, stir and keep aside
  • Lay out the four tortillas on plates
  • Cover a half of each tortilla by distributing the 1 cup of cheese across the tortillas
  • Distribute equally the spinach, corn, black beans, and mushroom mix over the cheese
  • Layer the mix with equal amounts of avocado slices and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese evenly over it, as well
  • Fold tortilla into half by pressing the empty half of the tortilla over the toppings
  • Heat a medium/large size skillet. When skillet is hot, place the folded tortilla in the skillet. Cook on both sides for a total of 4 mins, flipping half-way through
  • Before serving, cut the quesadillas into 3 equal sizes
  • Serve hot with a side of salsa
  • Enjoy!

Mango Pineapple Salsa

Sweet, tangy, healthy, fresh mango, pineapple salsa will have you dreaming of the tropics with a single bite. This salsa is the perfect make-ahead appetizer or a topping for fish, tacos, grilled chicken or pork. Best of all, it comes together in minutes.

We often make salsa for fish tacos or as a quick snack for when the kids come home from school. This mango and pineapple salsa brings vision of glorious summer days. I sometimes add a dash of Tagin, a Mexican seasoning available in ethnic grocery stores, and just dig in with a spoon – why waste calories on chips?!!

Prep: 10 minutes Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups diced Pineapple
  • 2 cups diced Mangoes (see notes on chopping a mango easily)
  • 1 small Red Pepper
  • 1/2 small Red Onion, diced fine
  • 1 Jalapeno, diced fine (deseed if you don’t like it too spicy)
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh Lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt

Method:

  • In a bowl, mix all ingredients well
  • Serve with tortilla chips or over tacos, chicken, fish…. or just grab a spoon and dig in
  • Refrigerate to keep fresh up to two days

How to chop a mango easily:

  1. Wash and dry the mango
  2. Place the mango upright on a cutting board, supporting it with your non-dominant hand
  3. Hold a sharp knife in your other hands
  4. Cut the thickest (widest) side of the mango, cutting from top to bottom as close to the pit as you can
  5. Repeat on the other side
  6. These sides are called “cheeks” – so you end up with two cheeks and a pit that still has a bit of flesh around it
  7. Use a knife to make lengthwise and crosswise cuts in each cheek, being careful to avoid cutting through the skin. Now, press the skin side of the mango cheek to turn it inside out, to resemble a porcupine. Scoop out the cubes off the skin using a knife or skin
  8. Peel the skin of the remaining middle piece and using a paring knife, cut as close to the pit as possible. Cut the remaining fruit flesh into cubes
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Healthy Almond, Peanut-butter Chocolate Bars

A no-bake, vegan and gluten-free snack that is full of protein, and healthy fat. Have one of these as a snack, for breakfast, after a workout , or when you are on the run.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup plant-based vanilla protein powder (I use Orgain)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or Agave or honey)
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips ( or regular chocolate, if you don’t need a vegan recipe)

Method

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the peanut butter, almond flour, protein powder, and maple syrup, until well blended
  2. Line a 8×8 glass bowl with parchment paper
  3. Pour the mix into a glass container, spreading it evenly
  4. In a microwaveable bowl, mix in the chocolate chips and coconut oil, and melt in 10 second increments, till fully melted – about 30 seconds
  5. Pour the melted chocolate over the mix spreading evenly
  6. Refrigerate for 2 hours to set before cutting into cubes / bars to serve

Energy Protein bars

I can’t say enough good things about these bars. No syrups, artificial ingredients, or colors. Minimal, clean and good-for-you ingredients, and takes less than 10 minutes to pull together.

We have always been a physically active family and need snacks that are clean and healthy. This bar takes barely any time to make, is no-bake and is easy to take with you. They hold well in lunch-boxes, sports bags and school bags and easy for breakfast on the go.

I have 2 flavors of these and have included both. Less than 20 minutes for both and store them in the fridge for up to a week (that’s if they are not all eaten up before that!)

Ingredients for ChocoNut Bar

  • 1.5 cups Medjool pitted dates
  • 0.5 cup walnuts
  • 0.5 cup almonds
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips (use vegan chips, if needed)
  • 1 tbsp.chocolate powder (use vegan, if needed)

Ingredients for Cashew Bars

  • 1.5 cups Medjool pitted dates
  • 1 cup cashews

Method for both bars

  • If the dates are dry, soak in warm water for 5 minutes and then drain the water
  • Make sure dates are pitted i.e. no seeds, prior to use
  • Add the nuts to a chopper or food processor. Chop fine.
  • Add dates and if making the ChocoNut bar, add the chocolate chips and chocolate powder
  • Grind all the ingredients together
  • It blends together within a minute or two.
  • Take out the mixture and lay it on a sheet of wax paper
  • Form into a rectangle shape using your hands or a knife to straighten the edges
  • Slice into squares
  • Store in the fridge or can also be eaten at room temperature


Pigs-in-a-blanket (Ninja Foodi / Air-fryer)

What to do when the kids come home starving? This is an easy, quick snack especially when made in the air-fryer. Be ready for it to be devoured within minutes

Prep time: 5 minutes Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Smoked sausages (can use beef or pork and also use hot dogs cut into smaller pieces)
  • I package puff pastry or pie crust dough (I prefer puff pastry but have also used pie crust depending on what I had on hand)
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour

Method:

  1. Set the pastry sheet to thaw
  2. Pre-heat Ninja Foodi (on Air Crisp setting) to 375F
  3. Sprinkle flour on work surface. Unfold 1 pastry sheet on work surgace
  4. Roll pastry sheet into 12x14inch rectangle. Cut the pastry into 3×3 inch long sections
  5. Place 1 (3×3 inch) piece of pastry on the work surface and place 1 sausage crosswise across the center of the pastry. Roll the pastry around the sausage and press to seal
  6. Repeat with remaining sausages and pastry
  7. Place the wrapped sausages onto a tray in the Ninja Foodi
  8. Let it air crisp for 5 minutes. Open the cover of the air fryer, and flip over the wrapped sausages with a pair of tongs (it will be hot) and air crisp for another 5 minutes
  9. Serve with a side of mustard sauce

Wonton pork tacos

I made these Wonton Pork Taco recipes for a party and the guests loved it! Great appetizer for a party or even an option for dinner Give it a shot and tell me what you think. The steps are quick and will be worth it!

Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings :4

Ingredients

For the pork

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp Soya sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 scallion finely chopped

For the pickled vegetables

  • 1/2 cup red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup fine cut carrot sticks
  • 1/4 cup radishes cut fine (optional)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 jalapeno diced, deserved if you don’t like it spicy
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Remaining ingredients:

  • 12 Wonton wrappers or taco shells
  • Sweet chili sauce, to serve
  • 3 tbsp Chopped cilantro, to serve
  • Sesame seeds, to serve

Method

  1. Make the pickled vegetables:
    • In a medium glass bowl, mix well the 1 tbsp of sesame oil, as well as the rice vinegar, granulated sugar and salt. Stir well until the sugar is dissolved completely
    • Place the red and green cabbage, carrot sticks, radishes, and jalapeno in the above mixture and stir well. While you can eat this right away, it tastes best if you let it chill for atleast an hour
  2. Make the pork:
    1. Place a shallow pan on the stove and heat the 1 tbsp of sesame oil over medium-high heat
    2. Add the green onion and the ginger, garlic. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a fork, until no longer pink, 8-10 minutes.
    3. Stir in the Hoisin sauce, soya sauce, and Sriracha sauce. Fry another 2 minutes
    4. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes
  3. For the taco shells:
    1. Pre- heat oven to 375F
    2. Spray wonton wrappers with cooking spray, then drape over two of the metal slats of a steamer rack trivet. This creates a flat bottom and they stay open better to fill
      • Alternatively, use a cupcake tine and make wonton cups
    3. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Watch closely so they don’t burn

Assembly:

Add pork mixture to the wonton shells, top with pickled vegetables, drizzle with sweet chili sauce, sprinkle with cilantro and sesame seeds. Enjoy!


Char Siu (Chinese Barbequed Pork)

Nail Chinese BBQ pork with this recipe! My kids love going to a local Chinese dive because of the barbeque pork fried rice. They could eat that for lunch and then again for dinner! The restaurant isn’t close by and during Covid, we missed it much too much and had to try and replicate the recipe at home. The fried rice was easy, the bbq pork, not as much. A couple of recipe improvisations later, and we no longer need to step out for this bbq pork. Best of all, I know the cut and quality of the meat used and I don’t need to add red color.

Prep time: 10 minutes (not including overnight marinating time) Cook time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder (the more fat, the tastier it will be)
  • 2 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 1 cube red fermented bean curd
  • 2 tsp five spice powder
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 5 tsp water
     

Method:

  • Cut the pork into long strips or chunks about 2 inches thick. Aim for uniform slices so they cook uniformly. Don’t trim any excess fat, as it will add flavor
  • Sprinkle the salt over the slices. Then poke each side of the long strips with a fork to help it absorb the marinade, when applied
  • In a bowl, make the marinade – combine the garlic, oyster sauce, soya sauce, hoisin sauce, red wine, Shaoxing wine, garlic, five spice powder and the bean curd. Mix well till smooth
  • Reserve about 2 tablespoons of the marinade. Cover and set aside in fridge
  • In a large ziploc bag, pour in the remaining marinade. Add the pork to the bag and massage the pork allowing the marinade to cover the pork well. Close the bag and refrigerate overnight, or 8-10 hours
  • When ready to cook, remove the pork from the fridge and let it rest on countertop while pre-heating the oven to the bake setting at 425F, with a rack positioned in the upper third of the oven.
  • Line an oven-proof bowl with an aluminum foil. Place 3 tablespoons of water between the foil and the bottom of the bowl to create some steam. Place the pork slices in a single row on the foil.
  • Place the bowl in the oven and set timer for 15 minutes
  • While pork is in oven, combine the honey with 2 tbsp of water
  • Cook for 15 minutes and then lather both sides with the pork marinade
  • Cook for another 15 minutes and lather both sides with pork marinade again
  • Cook for 10 minutes and lather both sides with the honey-water mix
  • Now turn up the over to 450F, and cook for another 5 minutes
  • Remove from oven and baste with the 2 tablespoons of marinade that had been set aside
  • Let it rest for 5 minutes – then cut and enjoy
  • Note: By now, the pork has cooked for 50 minutes total. It should be cooked through and caramelized on top. If it’s not caramelized to your liking, an option is to turn on the broiler for a couple minutes to crisp the outside and add some color. Please don’t walk away during this as it can sear quickly. You can also use a meat thermometer to check if the internal temperature of the pork has ready 160F

Serving suggestions:

This big batch of pork can be used right away or frozen. Use it for barbeque pork fried rice, as an appetizer by itself, or in Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches which my high-schooler LOVED enough to take to school two days in a row!


Chocolate Oatmeal energy balls

Clean, healthy and simple! Set aside a bag of chips and keep this handy in your fridge for a snack. I usually struggle to stock healthy snacks because the kids are always hungry. This is a quick to prepare, grab & go snack with ingredients that are good for you.

Servings: 20 balls

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned)
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 20 soft dates (pitted) – see note below, if hard (alternatively, 1/2 cup honey)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • In a food processor fitted with an s-blade, process half the oatmeal and half of the chocolate chips into a powder
  • Add the dates and grind until a paste starts to form (If using honey instead of dates, add the honey here)
  • Add in the nut butter to continue to form a thick paste
  • Remove the paste from processor into a bowl and mix with remaining oats and chocolate chips
  • Roll into 1-2 inch balls
  • Serve cold or at room temperature
  • The balls can be stored covered in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for much longer

Notes

  • Place dates into a small heat-safe bowl. Pour hot water over the dates and allow to soak for 10-15 minutes to soften the dates. Once dates have softened, drain the liquid off the dates. The dates are now ready to be added to the food processor
  • Once the dates have soaked, drain the liquid off the dates, reserving the liquid to use if needed.
  • If your oatmeal balls are not sticking together well, add something sticky. If they are too dry, add more nut butter , one teaspoon at a time
  • If the mixture is too sticky, add in a little more oatmeal, one tablespoon at a time
  • If the mixture is sticking too much too much to your hands, wet your hands lightly with water! The water helps to be able to work the dough into a ball without sticking

Mango Pineapple chia seed pudding

This easy make-ahead recipe is a clean, dairy-free, filling breakfast. Chia seeds are considered a superfood because they pack a nutritional punch with very few calories. So, go-ahead and make this for breakfast, or a mid-morning snack, or even a dessert for after dinner!

Ingredients

  • 14 oz coconut milk one can
  • ½ cup Oat milk (or almond milk)
  • 3 tsp maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice. If your fruit is sweet, the sweetener is optional)
  • 2 tbsp vanilla protein (optional)
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 1.5 cups cubed mango fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks fresh or frozen

Method:

  • Using a mixer, blend all ingredients except the fresh fruit (Alternatively, whisk with fork or hand mixer gently to blend ingredients and avoid chia seeds from clumping)
  • Pour the mixture into two large serving bowls or 3-4 smaller bowls
  • Top with mango, pineapple dividing equally across the bowls
  • Keep in refrigerator to thicken for atleast 2-3 hours
  • Can be served straight out of the fridge

Cinnamon Cake Bites

A quick and easy dessert for a weekday or a nice breakfast option with coffee!

While nothing beats baking a cake from scratch, unfortunately, lack of time on a week day calls for improvisation. It’s always nice to have the aroma of cinnamon wafting from the kitchen when the kids get home. This quick dessert, or after-school snack, is easy to put together while on a lunch break from work!

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow cake mix box – 15.25oz (I typically use Duncan Hines)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (also known as icing sugar)
  • 1.5 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees farenheit
  2. Coat a 9×13 pan with butter and then set aside.
  3. In a bowl combine cake mix, eggs, oil, vanilla and sour cream. Using an electric mixer, beat on low for 30 seconds then raise speed to medium and and mix for 2 minutes
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon
  6. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mix and the walnuts evenly onto the cake batter
  7. Taking a butter knife, gently swirl the sugar cinnamon mix and walnuts into the cake batter. DO NOT over swirl
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Put a tooth-pick into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean, the cake is ready
  9. Cool for 20 minutes
  10. While cake is backing, gently whisk together the powdered sugar and milk. Pour this over the slightly cooled cake
  11. Allow icing to set – 5-10 mins
  12. Cut cake into mini squares and it’s ready to eat
  13. Cake can stay refrigerated for a couple of days – mine doesn’t last more than 2 days!

Almond Date Bars

Healthy, nutritious, simple, clean ingredients! With the kids always on the run with school and sports, it’s good to have healthy snack options on hand. I love Larabars and this make-at-home, no-cook option tastes just as good!

Grab it before getting on the bus for school, enjoy it as a before-sport snack or just when those hunger pangs strike.

Servings: 6 bars or smaller, 18 bite-sized squares

Ingredients

  • I cup almonds
  • 1.5 cups pitted dates
  • Dash of salt

Utensils

  1. Food processor
  2.  7×7 baking tray/pan
  3. Parchment paper to line the baking tray/pan

Instructions:

  • If dates are very dry: Place dates into a heat-safe bowl. Pour a cup of hot water, allowing the dates to soak for 10-15 minutes to soften. Drain the liquid and reserve dates
  • Use a food processor with an s-blade
  • Add the nuts and pulse until the nuts break into very small pieces
  • Add the dates and the salt
  • Pulse until a thick paste forms, scraping the sides, if required
  • Remove the mixture from the processor
  • To shape the bars, press mixture into the baking tray
  • Place the tray in the refrigerator for 30 minutes
  • Remove from refrigerator, cut into 6 bars, cover and store for when those hunger pangs hit!

Hummus

When Nilesh thinks of Hummus, it takes him back to his childhood in Dahran where his dad whipped up bowls of hummus that were wiped clean at parties. Even when his parents visit, we leave it to his dad to make the tastiest, most garlicky, finger-licking hummus around.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup roasted red bell pepper (Use only if you want red pepper hummus)
  • 2.5 cups soaked and cooked chick peas / garbanzo beans
  • 0.25 cup tahini paste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 0.25 cup lemon juice (usually 1 lemon)
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder

Instructions:

  1. For Roasted Red Peppers:
    1. Move the over rack closer to the broiler, about 6 inches away. Turn broiler over
    2. Remove core of the red peppers and cut into large, flat pieces
    3. Lay flat on an oven tray with skin side up. Broil 5-10 mins until charred
    4. Remove from oven, when cool enough to handle, gently peel away the charred skin and discard
  2. For Hummus:
    1. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor
    2. Process of 2-3 minutes
    3. If the hummus is too thick, add a tablespoon of water at a time, until you reach the desired consistency
    4. To serve, put hummus into a bowl, make a little well and add a 1/2 tsp of olive oil, with a sprinkle of red chili power. Serve with pita chips, or vegetables like carrots and cucumbers.

Serving Suggestions

  1. Pita pockets – layer hummus, cooked and diced chicken, tahini, and greens in a pita for healthy pita pocket for school lunches
  2. Serve with cucumbers and carrots
  3. Wraps – layer hummus, long, thin carrot and cucumber slices, greens and deli meat for a school lunch or an on-the-go wrap


Beetroot cutlets (Tikkis)

When my dad mentioned he tried to eat beets daily, I googled the health benefits and found there is an impressive amount of goodness packed into that little vegetable. They are low in calories and a great source of fiber, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium and potassium. According to health.com, your risk of heart disease can drop and you can also lower your blood pressure.

While I typically served beets just boiled with a dash of lime juice, my friend Chaavi made some delicious beet cutlets that I had to make at home. Try it out – it’s as simple as aloo tikkis but with a chockful of nutrients!

Servings: 10 cutlets

Ingredients

  • 2 medium beetroots (grated – about 2 cups)
  • 2 large potatoes – boiled in pressure cooker for 7 whistles, and mashed
  • 1/4 onion – finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin power
  • 1 tbsp dhania powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 1 tsp aamchur/dry mango powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger/garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs or 2 slices of bread (white/brown) – soaked in water, squeeze the water out
  • 1/4 cup semolina also know as rava or cream of wheat
  • Oil to fry or optional – bake in air-fryer

Method:

  • Squeeze out the water from the beetroot and then add to a large mixing bowl
  • Mix in the potatoes
  • Add in the remaining ingredients
  • Mix everything well
  • Now shape them into round cutlets or tikkis
  • In a large mixing bowl, first squeeze out pan or pressure cooker, boil both the beetroot and potatoes together with some salt and enough water for 7 to 8 whistles on medium flame. 
  • Drain all the water. Then peel and grate the beetroot in a bowl. 
  • Grate the potato in the same bowl. This is done to get a even smooth mashed potato mix.
  • Add all the spice powders, green chili, salt and corn starch. Instead of corn starch you can also add rice flour or soaked bread slices.
  • Mix everything well with your hands. Now shape them into round cutlets or tikkis.
  • Now, add the semolina to a plate
  • Place each cutlet on the semolina to coat evenly on all sides by the semolina. Dust off any extra semolina

Shallow-fry option

  • In a pan, add in 2 tbsp of oil, and when heated, fry the cutlets in it, flipping over, till it is crisp and golden on all sides
  • To shallow fry on a stove, heat a nonstick pan on medium heat
  • When hot, spray oil and arrange patties in single layer on the pan
  • Continue cooking on medium heat until golden brown at the bottom
  • Spray a little oil on the top of the cutlets and use a spatula, to flip them over
  • Cook until the bottom layer is golden brown
  • Turn off the heat and remove from the pan
  • Serve hot, with a side of mint chutney

Air-fryer option

  • Arrange cutlets on a sheet in a single layer. Spray some oil on the patties. Bake at preheated 350°F for 12 minutes. Flip them upside down halfway for even baking.
  • Serve hot, with a side of mint chutney

Notes

  • Do check the salt in the mixture before coating and frying the tikkis or cutlets.
  • If the beetroot culet does not hold it’s shape or is too soft, add another slice of bread (mashed up) to the mashed beetroot mix