Healthy plant-based spiced chocolate tart with figs

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Something really strange has been going on with my Instagram lately — it seems the algorithms have changed (again) and smaller pages such as mine are lagging behind (again) unless they pay to have their posts boosted — sucks for me and my numbers, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop posting my recipes and photos; even if it’s only little ol’ me looking at them.

Ladies and gents, I give to you this beautiful plant-based chocolate tart with fresh figs on top. With no added processed sugar, this decadent beauty is the perfect chocolate fix and the best thing is…you could even have it breakfast if you felt like it.

It takes about 30 minutes to put together and about 2 hours to set in the fridge/freezer.

Here’s how I made it:

Ingredients:

For crust:

  • 1 cup of date paste (alternatively, you could soak about 20 dates in warm water, pit them and make into a paste in your food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon of organic coconut oil
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of salted pecans (you use any kind of nut you like)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla pods
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter

For filling:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/3 cup of tahini paste
  • 1/4 cup of date syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
  • 1/3 cup of organic cacao powder
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

For topping:

  • Any fresh fruit you’d like.
  • Cashew cream (optional)**

The method to my madness:

  • First things, first. In your food processor, process the oats, cinnamon, ginger, and pecans into a fine flour.
  • Then, add the dates, honey, almond butter and vanilla and process all together until it forms a dough-like ball.
  • Take out the crust dough and with your hands knead it until it becomes nice and sticks together.
  • In a serving plate lined with wax paper, form the ball into a circular crust (or whatever shape you’d like) using your fingers and pressing down firmly. I created a little pool-like dough so the chocolate doesn’t pour out.
  • Place the dough in the freezer to firm up as you make the filling.
  • In a food processor (sorry, you’re going to have to clean it:)), throw together all the filling ingredients and blitz until it’s nice and creamy — taste it and see if you need to add anything (more honey, more cinnamon…)
  • Pour the filling mixture into the dough and put back in freezer to set (for two hours), or overnight in the fridge.
  • To top, you could make a simple cashew cream by placing 1 cup of raw cashews into a bowl with boiling hot water on top and let sit for two hours. Then blitz all together with a hand blender. I like to add two tablespoons of honey, vanilla paste and a little squirt of lime.

 

That’s it. Super simple. Super healthy. Super beautiful. No nasty processed additives that’ll have you feeling terrible after, this plant-based chocolate tart is just what I needed this hectic Sunday!

Since you’re here, why not follow Straight-upBananas on Instagram, too!

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The easiest soba noodle salad in just 15 minutes!

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So I’m frantically packing for my last-minute trip to Jordan courtesy of Movenpick Dead Sea and Petra, but I need to fuel my body..I need to have lunch or else I won’t remember all the important things I need to pack, right?

With an almost empty fridge, I was left to rummage the cupboard to see what I could make to nourish my body and here’s what I came up with, an easy, quick and healthy soba noodle salad that I could even save in the fridge for lunch the next day!

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Ingredients:

Noodles:

  • 1 pack of soba noodles
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • Chopped coriander
  • 1 cup of toasted cashews (in a pan with no oil)
  • 1/2 cup of toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 red chilis (depending on how hot you like it)
  • Almost 2 cups of chopped mushrooms (whatever kind you have), cooked in a pan with no oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic cooked in sesame oil till nice and golden and crispy

Dressing:

  • 1 large tablespoon of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 thumb of ginger, grated
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • Rice vinegar to taste
  • About 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • About 1/2 cup of warm water from the soba noodles (adding a little bit at a time)

 

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. First, you need to toast the cashews, sesame seeds, garlic and garlic in pans individually (do not put them together in one pan because you’re lazy, they can and will burn)
  2. Then boil a pan of water and when the water comes to a boil, cook the soba noodles for 5 minutes (or read pack) and then drain and wash with cold water
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients. Add some of the hot water from the noodles a little bit at a time and keep mixing till the dressing is nice and creamy
  4. Add all the ingredients into the bowl and toss till the noodles are mixed with the dressing
  5. ENJOY!

 

Please give this recipe a shot, it’s even easier than it sounds, I promise. Plus it’s perfect for lunch the next day!

It’s healthy, quick and easy! Go Straight-up Bananas with me and give this recipe a shot. Also, please follow me on Instagram by clicking this link 🙂

 

 

Vegan, healthy and quick pasta primavera

Primavera means spring in Latin. And a pasta primavera is quintessential for any Italian spread during the spring–filled with everything green and plenty of cream, it makes for the ultimate comfort food.

Fortunately for me, my newly-started vegan diet to atone for the food that I ate during the weekend, forced me to come up with my new plantbased spin on the famous Italian dish.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you a foolproof, quick and easy vegan pasta primavera.

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Ingredients:

Sauce:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 chopped garlic
  • 1 grated zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 2 sprigs of spring onions
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • Sea salt and pepper

Pasta:

  • Buckwheat pasta
  • 3 cloves of garlic, fried till golden in a pan
  • 1 handful of spinach roughly chopped
  • 1 handful of baby asparagus, grilled
  • Zucchini ribbons (you can make these by peeling off the skin of the large zucchini with a peeler)
  • Red chili flakes
  • Sea salt and black pepper

 

How to make it:

  • Make the sauce by mixing all it’s ingredients together and blending with a handmixer till smooth and creamy
  • Cook the buckwheat pasta according to the instructions
  • In a pan, sautee the asparagus first (because it needs more cooking time), then cook down the spinach for a minute.
  • Turn off the heat, and add the zucchini ribbons
  • Remove the veggies and cook the garlic until nice and golden brown
  • Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the pan along with the fried garlic and veggies
  • Turn off the heat, and add the pasta to a plate with the avocado sauce and mix well
  • If you allow the avocado sauce to touch the heat, it’s vibrant green color will fade
  • Enjoy!

Super simple and super good for you, this plant-based vegan avocado pasta primavera is packed with vitamins and is crazy easy to make. Also, it tastes AMAZEBALLS!

It’s really versatile as well . The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever green ingredients you have in your fridge on that day: peas, green string beans…

Go Straight-up Bananas with me and give this recipe a shot! And also, since you’re here, maybe check out my Instagram by clicking this link here? Thank you!

Delicious Palestinian Fatteh in a Jar

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So there was recently a pretty decent dinner/iftar party at the Straight-up Bananas HQ and I accidentally cooked up a storm enough for 10 when in reality we were only 5….Never cook when you’re hungry, I guess. Lesson learnt.

I made a Middle Eastern feast fit for kings and queens, and along with the Moroccan stuffed leg of lamb I recently got from an event with Spinney’s, I also made my rendition of their popular recipe for fettit khobiz, or bread fatteh.

It was actually my first time making fatteh, and probably only my second time eating it (I had only had it with soggy bread and that never felt appealing to me). I decided to make it in a jar, partly because I had ran out of plates and partly because I felt it looked so pretty with all the layers showing.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 slices of day-old Arabic pita bread cut into squares
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Yogurt
  • Tahini
  • 1 can of drained chickpeas
  • 1 minced garlic (very fine)
  • The juice of a lime
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil

Here’s how it’s done, son:

  1. First, toast the bread in a hot pan until nice and golden brown–a little oil goes a long way, there’s absolutely no possible reason you’d have to deep-fry the bread.
  2. Then, dry toast the pine nuts–dry toasting means that you place them on a skillet without any oil, eventually the natural oils of the pine nut with help toast them up.
  3. In a bowl, mix the yogurt, garlic, lime, olive oil and tahini together to form the yogurt sauce.
  4. In the jar, place the chickpeas on the bottom, layer with pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and yogurt sauce then garlic with some more pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and maybe even a swig of pomegranate molasses.
  5. When you scoop out the layers from the jar and place in your plate, top with the toasted bread–this means each bite is as crispy as it should be!
  6. Go Straight-up Bananas and enjoy!

It’s super simple to make and as long as you don’t add the bread, the jar could last a few days–so you’d be able to make it in advance for any dinner parties you may have.

Go Straight-up Bananas with me and give this a shot, and since you’re here, follow me on Instagram as well, please! 🙂

 

Rainbow coucous salad

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There’s something about cooking up a storm in Ramadan that I find oddly satisfying and I can’t quite pinpoint why–is the anticipation of having something delicious for iftar? Is it the sense of mystery whether or not the food is going to be taste..good? I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I love that feeling of spending time cooking a dish and unveiling the flavors only at that first call of “Allahu Akbar”.

Two days ago, I decided that I wanted to cook some chicken and couscous, but was left uninspired on how I wanted to go about it. I pranced into the kitchen and started to ransack the cupboard, looking for anything that I thought might fit the Moroccan flavors I was looking for. Many ingredients and spices later, and I came up with this salad and it was a smashing success 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the couscous:

  • 1 cup of fine couscous
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1 sliced spring onion
  • Coriander
  • A pinch of seasalt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of red chili flakes

For the toppings:

  • Toasted almonds
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • More coriander
  • Mint leaves
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Grilled chicken breasts (seasoned with sea salt, cinnamon, chili flakes, sumac and zaatar)
  • Grilled halloumi cheese
  • Sliced olives
  • Baby spinach
  • Grilled sweet potatoes

For the sauce:

  • Yogurt
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • Coriander
  • The juice of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini

 

How to prepare:

  1. In a glass bowl, place the couscous along with all the couscous ingredients and fill with 2 cups of boiling hot water. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and let set for 10-15 minutes.
  2. After the couscous has set, remove the  plate or plastic wrap and with a fork lightly fluff the couscous.
  3. In a large flat plate, place the warm couscous and layer on the toppings. To ensure that each bite is tasty, mix half of the topping ingredients together with the couscous and leave the rest for the top.
  4. Pour yourself a few spoonfuls and layer on the yogurt sauce.
  5. ENJOY!

 

I know it feels like it may be a lot of ingredients, but I can’t tell you how delicious this dish is. You could eat it warm on the spot, or enjoy leftovers the next day–it’s absolutely delicious!

Go Straight-up Bananas with me and give this recipe a shot! And since you’re here, why not follow me on Instagram and SnapChat (ahlam.al1)?

 

Tropic Fruit Rolls with a Yogurt-Turmeric Sauce

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I’ve got a real issue when it comes to fruit–I love ’em, but sometimes that sad little old orange could sit in the fruit bowl for days on end without me touching it only because I can sometimes, sorta be a lazy bum. If it’s washed, cut and ready in front of my face, I’ll have at it, if it’s not, I procrastinate until the poor little old orange whithers away and dies. Morbid…I know.

With Ramadan right around the corner, and plenty of Ramadan menu tastings happening, I’m trying my best to eat clean (especially the days I work from my home office).

Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you these beautifully satisfying healthy Tropic Fruit Spring Rolls–TADAAAA!

Here’s what you’ll need:

For fruit rolls:

  • Any fruit you’ve got on hand, sliced very thinly. I used bananas, kiwis, orange and strawberries
  • Rice paper

For sauce:

  • 1/3 a cup of cultured yogurt
  • Organic maple syrup (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of organic turmeric powder

 

How to make ’em:

  1. Fill up a big ol’ bowl of hot water and leave to cool down just enough for you to be able to put your hands in it and not boil your fingertips
  2. Grab your rice papers and submerge in the water for about 30 seconds or until the edges start to curl up a bit
  3. Carefully take the rice paper out of the water and place it on a plate
  4. Layer your fruits on to the rice paper
  5. Start rolling by bring in the sides and roll
  6. For the sauce, dump all the sauce ingredients into a little bowl and mix
  7. Serve, grab and dunk in sauce–good times..

Easy raw strawberry fig cashew bars

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So I’ve made quite a few cashew bar posts over the years, but it’s only because I love them and they’re so utterly versatile you can make with whatever fruit you have in season–now, why wouldn’t I keep posting them, hmmm?

These easy, raw vegan strawberry and fig cashew bars could be in and around your mouth sooner than you’d think.

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

  • ½ dates
  • ½ almonds
  • pinch of sea salt

Filling:

  • Âľ cup of raw soaked cashews
  • ÂĽ cup of agave nectar, maple syrup or honey if not vegan.
  • ½ the juice of a lemon
  • ÂĽ + 1 tbspn of full fat coconut milk
  • ÂĽ cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1 tspn of vanilla extract
  • Frozen strawberries
  • Fresh figs or strawberries for topping

Top with any fresh fruit you’ve got on hand. I topped some with figs.


HERE’S HOW IT’S DONE, SON:

1) Line you loaf tin with cling film so that you can easily remove the cashew bars from the mold without it crumbling into  pieces.

2) In your food processor, process the dates, almonds, and salt until it forms a crumbly crust.

3) Throw crust into the loaf tin and press down until very firm.

4) In a blender, blend all the filling ingredients for 2-3 minutes until silky smooth and poor over the crust. If you’d like to make two layers like the picture above, just blend everything except for the strawberries together and pour half of the mixture into the loaf tin, then add the strawberries to the remainder of the cashew mixture (now it should be nice and pink) and pour on top of the white cashew mixture.

5) Bang the tin on your counter top a few times to get any air bubbles (and aggression) out.

6) Top with the fresh figs or strawberries and cover with cling film.

7) Place in the freezer to set for 4-5 hours.

8) When you’re ready to have a piece, take it out at least 15 minutes before eating so that it doesn’t freeze your teeth off.


There! Easy, peasy! Please, please give it a go and let me know how you liked it.

Oh, and follow me on Instagram since you’re here @straightupbananas