Tag Archives: garlic

Cheesy Sun Dried Tomato White Bean Spread


As you well know, we’re big fans of beans in this household. Whether roasted into crunchy snacks, mashed into burgers, baked into brownies, or blended into dips and spreads, beans are one of the most versatile kitchen staples I can think of. As such, they make a rather large appearance in my diet.

I am a condiment fanatic, and as such, I am always in search of something new to put on my condiment plate (yes, I have a dinner plate, and a condiment plate – it’s important). Hummus makes an appearance on quite a frequent basis, recently with a hefty dose of roasted garlic and carrots. I wanted something a bit creamier this time, though, and great northern beans were the perfect fit.

The sun dried tomatoes lend a slightly sweet element, while the garlic adds just enough heat.  A bit of nutritional yeast rounds out the flavor, making this spread not only cheesy, but quite savory.

I’ve only eaten it as a vegetable topper so far, but I can imagine this spread doing quite well as the base for a pizza, or even stirred into pasta and other grain dishes for an extra kick of flavor and creaminess.

IMG_6676Cheesy Sun Dried Tomato White Bean Spread

Makes 2 cups


•1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes and drained*
•1/4 cup unsweetened, unsalted sunflower seed butter*
•2 tablespoons warm water
•1/2 teaspoon sea salt
•1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
•1 1/2 cups great northern beans (rinsed and drained, if canned)
•3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

In the bowl of a food processor combine the sunflower seed butter and warm water. Process until a creamy mixture forms.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until a homogenous mixture forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Notes: Save the tomato soaking water to use as a base for soups, to cook grains in, etc. If you only have salted sunflower seed butter on hand, begin by adding just 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and adjust as necessary.  An equal amount of cashew butter or tahini may be substituted for the sunflower seed butter.


Looking for other cheesy ideas? If you haven’t had Gena’s “Pizza Cheese” yet, I highly recommend giving it a try.

In more of a saucy mood? Angela’s “Quick and Dirty 5 Ingredient Vegan Cheeze Sauce” is just what you’re looking for.

What are your favorite ways to add a cheesy flavor to your meals? Any other favorite “cheese” recipes out there?

Roasted Garlic and Carrot Hummus

IMG_6520Everybody has staples in their diet – there are certain things that we just cannot seem to survive without. One of my most important staple items is hummus, or some other bean-based spread. Really, if dinner time is looming and I’ve somehow overlooked a lack of hummus in my refrigerator, then I’ll have to search the depths of my kitchen for a can of beans sitting lonely on a shelf, or some lentils ready to be cooked. In a moment of complete despair, I once mashed together with a fork (because my food processor was broken) lentils, sunflower seed butter (because I’d run out of tahini), cumin, and some lemon juice. It actually turned out quite well, and the evening was saved.

This hummus is a different story. I had about a day’s worth of hummus left, and needed to add something new to my rotation. The market I usually shop at sells a roasted garlic hummus, which tastes unlike any hummus I’ve ever eaten, but at $5.99 for a small tub, I can’t seem to justify the purchase. Which led me to make my own. With the added bonus of roasted carrots.

Two head of garlic may seem like a lot, but the flavor becomes sweet and subtle when roasted. The carrots caramelize slightly, and maintain a nice, earthy flavor when combined with nutty tahini and warming cumin. Other roasted root vegetables would work here as well (imagine a roasted beet hummus)!

I’m known for eating hummus by the spoonful, but this is a wonderful appetizer served with raw or blanched vegetables, toasted pita bread, etc. It also makes a great protein-rich alternative to salad dressing.

IMG_6466Roasted Garlic and Carrot Hummus


•2 medium heads garlic
•6 medium carrots, roughly chopped
•3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

•2 tablespoons tahini*
•2 tablespoons water
•1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
•1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
•1 teaspoon sea salt
•1/2 teaspoon paprika
•3 cups cooked chickpeas*
•Water to thin, as needed

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line with parchment paper or lightly grease a baking sheet.

1. Peel away the loose outer layers of skin on each head of garlic, then cut off the top 1/4 inch to expose the tops of each clove of garlic. drizzle one teaspoon of olive oil over each head of garlic, being sure to coat the top of each clove. Wrap each head of garlic in aluminum foil and place of baking sheet.

2. On the same baking sheet, toss the chopped carrots with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and spread in an even layer. Bake the carrots and garlic for 35-40 minutes, until the garlic and carrots can be pierced easily with the tip of a knife.

3. Remove baking sheet from oven, unwrap the garlic, and allow to cool at least fifteen minutes.

4. Once the carrots and garlic have cooled, squeeze the cloves of garlic into the bowl of a food processor along with the carrots, tahini, water, cumin, pepper, salt, and paprika. Process until a homogenous mixture forms.

5. Pour in chickpeas and process again until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. You may need to add up to three tablespoons more of water to reach your desired consistency.

6. Taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary.

Notes: Be sure to stir the tahini before adding it to the food processor, as it tends to separate. For a chunkier hummus, reserve 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the chickpeas and pulse in at the end until just incorporated.


Are you a fan of hummus, and do you make it yourself? Have you made any interesting variations?

Here are a few of my other favorite hummus variations:

•Angela of Oh She Glows made hummus soup that you can really eat by the spoonful!

•Ashley of Edible Perspective made pumpkin spice hummus, perfect for fall.

•Kristy of The WIcked Noodle put a spicy twist on hummus with this cilantro jalapeño variation.

Garlic and Mustard Seed Gomasio

_MG_7989Condiments are extremely important. It’s a fact that can’t be denied. Mustard (which I adore) and ketchup (which I cannot stand – anyone else?) have their places, but sometimes you need a bit of a change. It’s not that food tastes bad without condiments, it just tastes better with them. Now, most condiments are of the saucy variety – aside from mustard and ketchup, the American classics, there is barbecue sauce (which we’ll get to another day), salsa, and countless varieties of hot sauce. These served me perfectly well, that is, until I discovered gomasio.

If you aren’t familiar with gomasio, it is  a traditional Japanese condiment comprised of toasted sesame seeds and salt. It doesn’t sound like much, but let me assure you, you need to try this recipe because once you do, you’ll never want to be without it. It helps that you probably have all of the ingredients in your cupboard right now, just waiting to be put to good use.

I’ve seen several varieties of gomasio in stores – from garlic to seaweed, but I decided to come up with my own variation. The homemade version is much more cost effective, and you can customize it however you like.

Lately, I’ve been sprinkling gomasio over just about everything. It goes wonderfully with grains and steamed or roasted vegetables, which are a part of my dinner every night. Sometimes I can’t wait for dinner though, and I do admit, I’m guilty of taking a few pinches straight from the jar. It’s that good! I’ve made several versions of gomasio, and here I decided to include mustard seeds and garlic powder. If you aren’t a fan of either, you could leave them out completely, or substitute with your own favorite herbs and spices.


Garlic and Mustard Seed Gomasio


•1/3 cup sesame seeds (you can use any variety; I used a combination of black and white)
•2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
•1 tbsp sea salt
•1 tbsp garlic powder

1. Combine the sesame seeds and mustard seeds in a skillet and toast over low heat, stirring often, until the seeds become golden and fragrant.  You will hear some popping; don’t worry, this is normal.

2. Remove the seeds from heat, allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then pour into the bowl of a mortar and pestle (my choice) or spice grinder along with the sea salt and garlic powder.  Grind until most of the seeds are broken apart.  Do not grind the seeds to a powder; you are looking for a bit of variety in texture.

3. Store in an airtight container and sprinkle over anything and everything.


Have you tried gomasio yet, or even made it yourself? If not, what are your favorite condiments?