Brown rice fusilli with asparagus tips, English peas and pesto (gf + v)

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I hope you are well and that your week is off to a good start. Here’s a quick n’ easy pasta dish that is sure to be a hit even with pickier eaters! Simple enough for a weeknight dinner but elegant enough for a festive meal, It features my homemade vegan pesto which is super-versatile and can easily be made up to about a week in advance (keep in fridge), or longer if you freeze it. Fully of bright green, springy veggies and the wonderful herbal scent of basil, it won’t weigh you down the way that some greasy pesto dishes do. I use brown rice pasta but there’s no reason you couldn’t use regular or whole wheat if you prefer. Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 if it’s a side.

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Honey orange cake (gf + dairy free)

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Honey cake is a traditional dessert served on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), along with other sweet foods, served to symbolize our hopes and wishes for a sweet new year. My version is loosely adapted from the Joy of Cooking’s wonderful vegan ultra-orange cake recipe. The cake batter rises due to the chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar, just like that science fair volcano experiment you did ages ago in elementary school! And, here’s the best part: because there are no eggs in this recipe, you can taste the delicious batter to your heart’s content without worrying about salmonella! This recipe will give you get a nice moist cake with a rich and complex honey-orange-vanilla flavor, not too sweet but very satisfying. Using fresh oranges for their zest and juice is an absolute must for this recipe. I like topping these cakes with sliced almonds but feel free to get creative 🙂 Makes two 8-inch round cakes (or one thicker cake in a 9 x 13″ pan). Best served still warm from the oven.

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Cinnamon-peach chia seed pudding (gf + v)

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I remember, as a young Girl Scout, being taught how to collect wild chia seeds that grow in the chaparral of southern California. I remember learning way back then, that chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans and that they are incredibly nutritionally rich…But I forgot about all that until, in the last few years, chia seeds became a super-trendy health craze. Now I can’t browse the blogosphere without being inundated with chia seed recipes. But I must say, this is one trend that I think deserves all its hype. Chia seeds really are a superfood – packed with protein, fiber, omega-3s, calcium, and antioxidants, filling yet low in calories, they make a perfect nutritional boost to many favorite foods. They also tend to absorb water, becoming somewhat puffy and gelatinous, making them a perfect vehicle for making puddings!

My version of chia seed pudding is super duper easy and involves combining a few basic ingredients, a quick zap in the micro, and resting overnight in the fridge – it’s a perfect thing to throw together at night so you can look forward to a delicious (think creamy coconutty pudding meets a cinnamony peach cobbler!) and fortifying breakfast all ready for you in the morning. Also makes a super yummy and healthy dessert. Serves 1, but can be easily scaled up.

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