Sunflower Seed Butter Summer Spring Rolls

Now that’s a mouthful. And these little guys are too—of the best kind.

With a nice ratio of protein, fat, and carbs all wrapped up in a bundle of veggies, these easy spring rolls make a great blood sugar-balancing snack or appetizer. If sandwiches are handy serving vehicles for entrees, then spring rolls are an excellent way to roll up your favorite salad. And you know my favorite salad. Unfortunately avocados in this part of the world are pretty scarce, so I’ve improvised with my fat source—but hey, we all know most of the best things in life happen by accident anyways.

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Simplicity and sunflower seed butter. Any kind of nut butter will do, really. Gee, my iHerb account is really getting a good workout these days…

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Sunflower Seed Butter Summer Spring Rolls (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, sugar-free)

Makes 10-15 rolls

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale, stemmed, deveined, chopped roughly

1/4 head purple cabbage, sliced thinly

2 large carrots, peeled into ribbons

1 cucumber, sliced into thin strips

1/2 cup sunflower seed butter

1/4 cup hemp seeds

juice of 1/2 a lemon

rice paper rolls

Directions:

Toss kale, cabbage, and carrots together with lemon juice. Sprinkle in the hemp seeds. Immerse one rice paper sheet, in hot water for a few seconds until it becomes soft. Pat dry with a clean dish towel if necessary layer the salad ingredients, one slice of cucumber, and a 1 tbsp drizzle of sunflower seed butter. Fold in one side and roll up. Eat immediately, or store between layers of damp paper towel or clean, damp dish towel. Best if eaten within 24 hours.

IMG_5553The nice thing about having the nut butter on the inside is that it negates the need to dip—which, when you’re packing a lunch and   don’t feel like spilling all over your purse/backpack/nice dress shirt, is really kinda nice. Feel free to experiment… and enjoy!

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Spring Greening

When the weather turns to spring, it seems like I crave all things green—green juices in the morning, salads for lunch, and green smoothies post-workouts, or just whenever… or maybe it’s just because after moving this past week I need to detox from the kitchen’s-in-boxes-so-let’s-eat-take-out and all-you-can-eat-buffets diet.

I guess that makes me sound kinda superhuman – trust me, I’m not. Most of the time I want sweet potatoes and bread and almond butter and chocolate.. duh.

Anyways.

Since I’ve disappeared a little longer than I’d like with the move and the craziness of catching up on my income post-studenthood, I’ll try and make it up to you today with two recipes. One tried-and-true, another with a little zing. For those days when you want to get WILD—with salad dressing.

This is the salad I craved yesterday.. Massaged kale, parsley, and pea shoots with pumpkin and hemp seeds, and a side of flax bread spread with a sclop of pumpkin seed butter

Tried and True Go-To: Tangy Apple Cider Dressing

(vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp tahini or sesame butter

1 tsp dry mustard power

one clove garlic, minced

juice of one lemon

pinch or two of sea salt

a bit of ground black pepper

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (if you have flax oil, vega oil, or another healthy oil.. go for it!)

Emulsify in blender, adding oils last in a steady stream while other ingredients are blending. You can pretty much put this fail-safe dressing on anything!

Wild Side: Raw Fig Balsamic Dressing

(mostly raw—the balsamic isn’t, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free)

1/2 cup cashews, soaked at least 2 hours

5 dried figs, soaked at least 2 hours together with cashews

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

pinch of sea salt

Blend together in food processor. Its a bit thicker of a dressing, so if you have a squeeze-y tube it would make the best dispenser. This would go great on baby spinach with some currants, toasted almonds, and hemp seeds!

 

Crackers, Curry, and Crackin’ Open the Books

My biggest, er, beef when it comes to raw foods?

When they try and be something they’re not.

I remember my first experience back at Live Food Bar, where the menu was full of a plethora of raw options, but most memorable were a few off-putting dishes like the raw, vegan “TV Dinner,” the Liver ‘n’ Onions, the “Neat”loaf. C’mon, raw foods, you don’t have to front with me! I like you for who you are on the inside.

My most recent trip back there was great, and while pretty much everything on the new menu did appeal to me, it was some raw crackers that I’ve seen Live sell in grocery stores before that really kicked my salivary glands into gear.

The Spicy Nori crackers have appealed to me on a few occasions, but every time I want to buy them I’m turned off by the price tag—at about a dollar a cracker, you begin to see the significance of their gold hue…

I never really thought about making them at home. Thankfully, others out there are a little more innovative than I, like Ricki of Diet, Dessert, and Dogs. She gets me. Not to mention she dedicates a great chunk of her blog to healthy, low-glycemic desserts. She really gets me.

And so she posted her take on Live’s Nori Crackers… and thus now, I shall post mine. A noble cracker, which has no desire to pretend to be anything it’s not. Enjoy!

Curry Spice Nori Crackers (Adapted from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs)

Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, raw option

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1.5 cups pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp ground flax

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp tumeric

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander (these were the three I had on hand—if you have others, or a pre-mixed curry spice, get wild!)

1/4 cup water

1 tsp tamari or soy sauce

3 sheets of nori (the seaweed paper used for sushi)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200 F. (For raw, use a dehydrator or set your oven to the lowest setting and prop the door open a bit with a spoon—technically, raw foods must never be heated over 104F to keep all enzymes intact)

In a food processor, pulse the onion a few times until it is finely chopped. Add in all other ingredients except the nori, and process on low until you get a chunky paste. On a parchment sheet, lay out 3 sheets of nori and gently spread the paste onto the nori sheets with a spatula. Put crackers into the oven. The heat helps caramelize the onions and turns them brown and sweet.

About 1 hour into baking and you can cut your nori sheets into cracker shapes using a pizza cutter, then bake or dehydrate them further to your liking. Some like them crispy, I like them on the softer side, so bake another 2-4 hours depending on the temperature of your oven and desired crispiness.

Spread with edamame hummus, serve with an asian-inspired salad, or pack a bag and take ’em to to the library for study snacks. That’s what I’ll be doing! Happy studies! xx