Snacks

BAKED VEGGIE CHIPS

Serves 2

A healthier take on a favorite snack:  chips!  Control the fat and sodium content by slicing, seasoning, and baking your favorite vegetable yourself for a snack that you can feel good about.

  • 1 lb root vegetables (or a hearty vegetable like zucchini)
  • 1 tbsp oil, plus another teaspoon for greasing your cookie sheet
  • Spices, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Peel (if necessary) and thinly slice your vegetables. In a large bowl, with tongs, combine the chips with oil and seasoning. Arrange them in a single layer on your greased cookie sheet. Total bake time will vary based on the vegetable chosen and the thinness of the chips. I would set the initial timer for 10 minutes, check, flip, and repeat until the chips are crispy and slightly browned on the edges.

Be prepared to babysit, but take comfort in the minimal oil used – you could always deep fry the chips instead, but at the cost of higher fat content and the need to season each batch as they come out. Your call! 🙂

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

BAKED VEGGIE FRIES

Serves 3-4

These are one of my son, Nolan’s, favorite snacks. These fries aren’t fried and the perfect finger food. I really spice ‘em up and don’t miss salt as a result, but you could add a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt, if anything.

  • 2-3 lbs root vegetables
  • 1 tbsp oil, plus another teaspoon for greasing your cookie sheet
  • Spices, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut your veggies into ¼ inch fries. In a large bowl, with tongs, combine the fries with oil and seasoning. Arrange them in a single layer on your greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. After baking, broil on high for another 2-3 minutes to finish crisping the fries. While Nolan doesn’t mind the fries cold and limp as leftovers, I prefer to eat them immediately.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

COPYCAT LARABAR

Makes 16-18 bars

Larabars are genius:  simple ingredients, whole, foods, no chemical additives.  Making your own is as easy as a 2-to-1 ratio of dried fruit to nuts/seeds in a food processor.  You’re welcome, for your new favorite snack.  🙂

  • 2 cups unsweetened dried fruit
  • 1 cup raw nuts and/or seeds

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until a thick, pliable dough forms.

Press into an 8 x 8 pan lined with wax paper.  Flatten with your hands.  Cover the dough with an additional piece of wax paper and smooth out the dough (it need not be perfect).

Let chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before cutting.  Store in the fridge for a firmer consistency.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

GUACAMOLE

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer*

Avocados are a source of healthy fat and are creamy and satisfying.  While I used to “need” cheese and sour cream in my burrito bowl, guacamole now does the trick all on its own.  This simple, fresh, filling snack can serve as an appetizer, snack, or condiment in a number of dishes.

  • 2 lbs ripe avocados
  • ½ lb tomatoes, diced
  • ½ of a small onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh herbs
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed citrus juice
  • Minced garlic to taste
  • Spices to taste (optional)

*Halve the recipe to snack alone or with a friend.

Halve your avocados, remove the pits, and mash. Mine are incredibly ripe, so they have a few brown edges – this is nothing to worry about!

Stir in all remaining ingredients and dig in. It will keep in the fridge for several days, but it will brown in the process. If you can’t get past the changed in color, I would eat the whole batch right away. 🙂

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

HUMMUS

Serves 6-8

Who said hummus was just for chickpeas?!  My hummus formula works with any beans or lentils and can even include vegetables for a unique twist.  I find that cooked vegetables are best suited to an application like this one that involves pureeing, but fresh herbs could be left raw.  Hummus serves as a delicious, nutritious, and filling dip with raw veggies, pita bread, chips, or pretzels, or can be used as a spread for wraps and sandwiches.  Enjoy!

  • 2 cups cooked beans or lentils
  • 2 cups cooked vegetables and/or raw herbs (or more beans and lentils, if you want to keep it simple)
  • Approximately 1 tbsp oil, if including roasted vegetables
  • 2-4 cloves raw or roasted garlic
  • ¼-½ cup citrus juice
  • 1 tbsp tahini (optional)
  • Spices, salt, and pepper to taste
  • Liquid (water, oil, vegetable stock, vinegar, or more citrus juice) as needed until desired consistency is achieved

If using, peel if necessary and coarsely chop your vegetables. Decide on a cooking method that works best for the particular vegetable(s) you’re using and have at it. (Steaming will maintain the most nutrients of any cooking method.)  When the veggies are finished, put all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Chill for an hour and serve as a dip or use as a spread (just like my pesto formula).  Store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Hummus has a tendency to dry out and/or thicken the longer it sits. Enjoy!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

PICKLES

Makes one 12-ounce jar

This formula is inspired by what one blogger called the “refrigerator pickle,” as it is ready to eat from the fridge in just 24 hours!  My formula lends itself to both sweet and savory pickles, leaving it up to you how you season them.  I personally like dill, garlic, and a little bit of pink Himalayan sea salt, but you could easily use a sweetener in your brine as well.  Enjoy!

  • Pickling cucumbers (enough to nearly fill one mason jar when sliced)
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 2-3 tsps seasoning of choice

Slice your cucumbers in disks or long strips.  Place in mason jar, add all ingredients, and shake well to combine.  Store in the fridge for at least 24 hours before snacking.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

POWER BALLS

Makes 12-14 small balls

I’m a huge fan of DIY protein bars, balls, and bites.  The problem with a lot of the recipes that I come across is that they are packed with sugar or animal products.  These precious no-bake balls will satisfy your craving for protein, a light snack, and even, something naturally sweet.  They are so cute and easy to eat, you could even serve them at a party.  Protein lollipops anyone?!  🙂

For the dough:

  • 1 cup nut or seed butter (nuts/seeds only)
  • 1 cup uncooked whole grains
  • ½ cup unsweetened dried fruit (without added oil)
  • 2 tbsps natural liquid sweetener
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Garnish ideas (approximately 4 tbsps):

  • Raw seeds
  • Raw finely chopped nuts
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Finely chopped unsweetened dried fruit bits (without added oil)
  • Melted dark chocolate (which will re-solidify after dipping)

Turn your whole grains into flour using your food processor or blender. You could also use rolled oats as is. The texture of the balls will be different, but rolled oats are one of few grains soft enough to be palatable without becoming flour.

Combine the flour and your remaining ingredients in a food processor. Run until a thick, pliable dough forms. You will probably have to scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula at least once. Shape the dough into 1-1 ½ inch balls and roll in garnish. Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

POWER BARS

Yields 9 square bars*

For the dough:

  • 1 cup uncooked whole grains
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried fruit (without added oil)s.
  • ½ cup nut or seed butter (nuts/seeds only)
  • 2 tbsps natural liquid sweetener
  • Extract and/or spices to taste (optional)

Garnish ideas (up to ½ cup):

  • Raw seeds
  • Raw finely chopped nuts
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Melted dark chocolate to pour over the top (which will re-solidify after chilling)

*Double the recipe to make double the bars, or, to achieve thicker bars.

Turn your whole grains into flour using your food processor or blender (my Vitamix has a dry blade pitcher).

Then, combine the flour and your remaining ingredients, except the garnish. Run until a thick, pliable dough forms. You will probably have to scrape down the sides of the processor with a spatula at least once.  Don’t panic if the dough is a little crumbly; it will firm up when you press it into your pan.

Turn the dough out into a mixing bowl. Use your hands to combine half of your garnish (unless it’s melted chocolate) and to break up any clumps of dried fruit and/or butter. Firmly press the dough into an 8 x 8 pan lined with wax paper.

Evenly distribute the remaining garnish, pressing into/pouring onto the top of the bars.

Chill the bars for at least 2 hours before cutting into the desired size and shape. Store in the refrigerator.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

RAW SALSA

Salsa should be a guilt-free snack.  With all of the salt-laden premade varieties on the market, it often isn’t.  My salt-free salsa formula is a prime opportunity to eat a whole slue of raw fruits and vegetables without the salt-induced bloating.  Serve with chips, crostini, or as part of a dish like my layered burrito bowl.  Enjoy!

  • 4 cups diced raw fruit and/or vegetables
  • ½ of a medium onion
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh herbs
  • ¼ cup acid (vinegar or citrus juice*)
  • Seasoning to taste

*Whenever possible, juice whole citrus fruits yourself. 🙂

Chop your onion and garlic and get them soaking in your acid. The acidity will help to break them down so that their flavors are less abrasive and don’t monopolize the salsa.

Dice/chop all remaining ingredients, season, and stir. When it comes to salsa, I don’t typically measure seasonings. Once I have all of my produce in the bowl, I lightly sprinkle it with each of my preferred seasonings (if any) from one end of the bowl to another and that seems to work out nicely.

Serve immediately or store in the fridge for a few days.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

SALSA VERDE

My salsa verde (also free of salt…woo!) utilizes nearly the same formula as my raw salsa above.  The main difference is that salsa verde is composed of tomatillos, a hard, somewhat bitter, green vegetable that is more palatable when cooked.  Salsa verde is also a pulsed or completely pureed salsa and thus, is quite different in texture.  Where salsa verde is more work from a cooking perspective, it is less work in prep:  no dicing or mincing necessary!

  • 1 1/2-2* pounds whole husked tomatillos
  • ½ of a medium onion
  • 1 large whole clove of garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup fresh herbs
  • ¼ cup acid (vinegar or citrus juice**)
  • Seasoning to taste

*Use fewer tomatillos if you would like to add extras like jalapeños or other peppers, or even fruit.

**Whenever possible, juice whole citrus fruits yourself. 🙂

Place your whole tomatillos in a deep sauté pan and cover with water to the best of your ability.  The tomatillos will bob and float a bit.  Bring the water to a boil and then turn down to medium high heat.  Simmer the tomatillos for 10 minutes, flipping over halfway through.

Coarsely chunk your onion and any other vegetables (optional) that you’re adding to your salsa.  Place all ingredients–including the soft, whole, cooked tomatillos–into a food processor and pulse or puree until desired consistency is achieved.  Chill before serving and store in the fridge for a few days.

_______________________________________________________________

WONTONS

Yields approximately 10-12 large wontons or 16-18 small

Struggling to find an application for a seemingly random assortment of vegetables?  Consider chopping them up, marinating them, and tucking them into a wonton wrapper.  Although a bit laborious to prepare, wontons are well worth the effort, either as a traditional appetizer or square vegan meal.  Steaming is your healthiest cooking method, but I love a crunchy bottom on my wontons.  Enjoy!

  • 10-12 large vegan wonton wrappers or 16-18 small*
  • 3 cups of finely chopped raw vegetables
  • 1 ½ cups sauce or marinade of choice
  • Oil as needed for frying/sautéing

*Read the ingredient label on your wonton wrappers. Some doughs are made with egg.

Prepare your sauce/marinade. Finely chop your vegetables. Mix together and sauté lightly (if you wish) or leave raw. Pour approximately half of your sauce/marinade over the veggies and stir to coat. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for roughly 30 minutes.

While you’re waiting for the flavors of your filling to develop, decide on a cooking method. If you are steaming, prepare a double boiler. If you are deep-frying, assemble your deep fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions. I will be executing a sauté-then-steam method, with directions provided below.

Have a skillet with a lid ready on the stovetop with your oil of choice sitting beside it. Lay out your wonton wrappers, open, ready to receive filling. Have a small dish with water (for sealing the wrappers) nearby. After the 30-minute marinade period as passed, begin spooning filling into each wonton wrapper. I am using large wrappers, which can hold roughly two heaping tablespoons worth of filling apiece. Make sure there is a large enough border around the filling that the wonton can eventually be closed.

Closing the wonton wrapper can be as fancy—or not—as you’d like. I often see them in a sack/purse shape like this.

Simply grab the corners of the wonton wrapper, bring them into the middle, and twist them shut. You may or may not need to lightly glaze different sections with water in order for the wrapper to remain sealed. No matter the closure technique or style, the wonton should be completely sealed so that filling does not leak out.

Put approximately 2 tbsps of oil in your skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is nice and hot, place your wontons in for 2-3 minutes, or until the bottoms are browned. Then, turn the heat down to medium low and add a few tablespoons of water. Cover the skillet with a lid and allow the wontons to steam for 2-3 minutes. Most—if not all—of the water should be absorbed. **BE CAREFUL OF ANY SPUTTERING THAT MIGHT OCCUR WHEN ADDING THE WATER INTO THE HOT OIL.**

Remove the cooked wontons and continue the cooking process for as many batches as you need or want. Serve with remaining sauce/marinade as a dip, or simply with soy sauce. Travis said that the wontons were actually tastier the next day, which I did not at all expect! 🙂

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Snacks

Thoughts or questions welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s