Miso Ginger Broth w/ Pan Seared Sweet Potato Noodles & Broccoli Florets

It's 8pm and as I write this, the sky is darkening to its deepest blue. I can still see the luminance of the sky, adding depth and the perception of twilight before it finally settles into its midnight black. 

I spent the evening drinking dandelion tea and sitting on a park bench as golden rays stretched across the almost green grass of early spring. It is rare that this fantasy actually plays out. More often than not I get home from work and sit at my computer, scroll through instagram, and place myself into moments out of other people's lives. I don't know how I feel about this fracture of space and the idea that experiences viewed through social media might be less valid. Seeing someone's gorgeous photograph of a mountain range, a cozy pot of soup, them curled up on the couch with their cat, is validating in a different way than my own lived experience. It lends inspiration and a relatability that I feel invites me into that person's world. 

Strolling through the park this evening I gave myself permission to be romantic; to examine the way the light fell differently across patches of mud and grass, to take a photograph of the green door on the white stucco park house, to actually be in the moment and let myself feel uncomfortable with the self-reflexive nature of it all. 

Sometimes it's hard to just totally let go when you are too aware of trying to let go. It feels like posing for a photograph in which you are both subject and author. Or like writing that first journal entry after months or years of empty pages. 

I am trying to get better at sitting with discomfort. I don't know if this is true but I like to think that if I can feel at ease with my own way of over analyzing the world maybe some of that beauty will shine through even clearer. 

This soup is another exercise in discomfort. Don't get me wrong, it is super delicious. I just feel a bit weird about posting it because it is SO simple. The broth is really a spin on miso soup and ginger tea. I think I've made it sound even stranger now, but I promise it is really a spicy, umami type broth. I had the idea of boiling ginger with the water because that's usually how I make my teas, and it worked so well. You get that spicy kick combined with the salty miso.

I was listening to the latest episode of Jessica Murnane's podcast One Part Podcast with guest Sarah Britton from the amazing blog My New Roots. Sarah was talking about her love of searing foods and how that act can bring out the flavours and caramelize the sugars in certain vegetables. I was so inspired and immediately knew I wanted to incorporate it into this recipe. 

The sweet potato noodles sear so nicely! The sugars are really brought out and they cook to an almost al dente like texture. The coolest part is how the noodles begin to flavour the broth when they are added to each bowl, and add a faint hint of sweetness. 

This is a super simple recipe, but I think it is ultimately worth sharing. I hope you enjoy it, and if you make any of my recipes be sure to tag me @spiceandsprout so I can see :) 

Miso Ginger Broth w/ pan seared sweet potato noodles & broccoli florets 

Serves 4

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Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 6 cups water
  • apprx. 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 3 tbsp miso paste
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 tsp honey

 

Notes

Using a spiralizer, spiralize the sweet potatoes into noodles.

In a large soup pot, combine the 6 cups of water and the grated ginger and bring to a boil. Mix the miso paste in a small bowl with a couple tablespoons of hot water (you can take it form the boiling pot) and whisk together into a thin paste. Add the miso into the boiling water along with the turmeric, black pepper, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Lower to a simmer and cover. 

Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Once it is hot, add the sweet potato noodles. They should sizzle right away, keep stirring them (like you're sautéing onions) until they get cooked through and darker in colour. Once they are cooked (about 5 - 7 minutes) remove from heat. 

Add the broccoli florets to the soup stock and cook for about 2 minutes before serving, until they are soft but still a bit crisp. Add soup to a bowl and top with sweet potato noodles and sesame seeds. Serve hot. 

Chickpea & Pomegranate Salad

Hello dear friends! I am going to keep this brief because I am in Toronto spending time with my family (and learning how to drive) and it is just too nice to spend much time on my computer :)

Last night my mom and I held our annual seder at her house with some of our closest friends. It's a night I look forward to all year, not just for the amazing food and good laughs, but also for the opportunity to spend time with some of my favourite and closest humans. We reflect on spring, on the years past, on almost 20 years of friendship (which is saying a lot since I am only 22), sing songs out of key, and fill our glasses over and over (to the fourth cup!). 

Every year brings new faces, stories, and ideas, but it is always a time that feels comforting and familiar. Each place and new face at the table is fully welcomed and incorporated into our traditions. It is a truly beautiful night. 

This chickpea and pomegrante salad is another tradition. It's been passed down in the family from my mom's cousin Rosalie, to my mom, and finally to me, and has long been a staple at potlucks, large dinners, and family gatherings. The simple combination of creamy chickpeas, tart and juicy pomegranates, and fresh cilantro is one of my favourites. I look forward to it every time I come home. It almost feels strange to post it here because it is such a staple in our family, but one of my favourite things is sharing those simple, homey recipes that actually get made over and over again. I hope that this dish shows up at your next family gathering or potluck, and that your friends and family enjoy it as much as we do ♥ ♥ ♥

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chickpea & pomegranate salad

Serves 6 - 8

I used cooked from scratch chickpeas in this recipe, which is definitely the best way to go. However, you can totally use canned chickpeas and it will still be delicious. 

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups chickpeas, cooked
  • Seeds from 1 1/2 pomegranates
  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

 

Notes

In a large mixing bowl toss together the chickpeas, pomegranate seeds, and chopped cilantro. 

In a jar or glass measuring cup whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. You might not need all of the dressing, so taste as you go. This salad keeps well in the friedge for up to three days. 

Vegan Pesto Pasta w/ Roasted Peppers & Asparagus

A few years ago I took my first restorative yoga class. It isn't something I would usually be drawn to as a class (even though I am all about putting my body in relaxing and restorative poses) but my mum was going and I decided to tag along. I can't say I remember many specifics of the class - dim lighting, bolsters, blankets, legs on the wall - but what I do remember is the feeling of being intimately connected to my own body in a way I had never experienced before. 

It is a rare moment that I hold myself, hug my own body, just for the sake of that experience. It felt super vulnerable which I wasn't expecting at all. I don't remember exactly when it hit me, but I think we were doing a restorative pose that involved holding the legs to the chest and lowering the head - almost a seated, upright child's pose. A deep well of emotion rolled over me, and I remember holding tightly to my own legs, almost afraid to let go and look up to the rest of the room. Something personal, heartfelt, new, and at the same time so intrinsic, was taking place. I don't really know if I can articulate it here, but I think you know. If you've felt it, and it would feel differently to each of us, I think you know what I am talking about. 

I've been thinking about this experience lately as an exploration of subjectivity. It can be a way to relate to another human being without trying to put yourself in their position. Even though empathy is a strong and great force, it can also diminish someone's experience. None of us really know what it feels like to have lived someone else's life, but we do know what it feels like to have a body, a mind, and for those parts of us to be so completely intertwined. I've been thinking lately that if you can fully realize that every person around you has an equivalent amount of subjectivity and sense of self, maybe it can become an exercise in kindness and compassion. If you can picture that person holding their own body and feeling those deep, emotional waves running through them, maybe it can help our own understanding of the people who live around us. 

Just some thoughts. Sometimes this space feels like a workshop for my ideas, and I always love to hear how you respond. 

On to the food. 

This is a super simple bowl, but entirely delicious and comforting. I think it is safe to say that this pesto pasta is both fresh and cozy! You have the carbs, creamy pesto, and then the springy roasted veggies. Roasted peppers have always been a favourite in pasta for me, and they pair so well with pesto. I added asparagus as a last minute inspiration, but the small bites of salty, roasted goodness almost make the whole dish. I can see this becoming a staple around here, so I really hope you try it out ♥ 

vegan pesto pasta w/ roasted peppers & asparagus

Serves 4 - 6

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Ingredients

Vegan Pesto

  • 2 cups packed basil, washed
  • 2 cups packed spinach
  • 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pasta

  • 500g of pasta (your fave type - GF if needed)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed (plus oil, salt and pepper)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • optional: nutritional yeast and sunflower seeds to serve

 

Notes

Preheat the oven to 400.

Chop the asparagus into approx. 2 inch pieces (each stem into thirds). Place on a baking sheet and toss with about 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place the baking sheet with the asparagus on the bottom rack of the oven, and place the bell peppers (whole) directly onto the oven rack above. Roast the asparagus for 15 minutes, until crispy. Roast the peppers for 25 - 30 minutes, until the outsides are slightly charred. Place the peppers either into a paper bag for 10 minutes, or lay them on a cutting board and cover with a kitchen towel to sweat. Once the peppers have finished sweating, peel off the outer layer of skin, slice them open, remove the seeds, and cut into thin strips. 

While the veggies are cooking, boil a large pot of water for the pasta and cook it as per instructions on the package. Make the pesto by combining all of the ingredients into a food processor and blending until smooth. 

Drain the pasta in a colander and then return it to the cooking pot off the heat. Toss with the pesto until fully coated and evenly distributed. Add in the roasted veggies and toss to combine. Serve topped with extra nutritional yeast and sunflower seeds. This also works well as a cold dish, so you can easily have leftovers straight from the fridge!

Salted Caramel Bourbon Rose Truffles

When I was little I used to think that I was a robot and that I couldn't feel any emotion. I wished I was able to cry more easily or just feel more on a day to day basis. Adults would complement me on being so "balanced" and "calm" all the time. It didn't bother me exactly, but I think I bought into that façade a little more than I expected to. You know when people tell you something about yourself enough that you start to believe it? I began to feel a responsibility to uphold those external views. I thought of myself in the way that other people were telling me how I was, and it took a while to unlearn that performance. 

Somehow, throughout my early twenties (I am 22 now) I have become more emotional than I know how to deal with. It feels like a complete shift. I can cry at almost anything - happy or sad. A few weeks ago, I was walking home from work. I always take the same path, and the mid point of my walk is climbing the short distance to the top of the street beside the mountain and park. I arrived at the top, slightly out of breath, and drank in the view. The sun was low in the sky, not quite setting, but casting a golden blue sheen across the frozen landscape. The trees were doused in a sparkling layer of ice and everything was so still. I've never thought I was one to cry at something beautiful, but there I was, tears pouring down my cheeks, heart aching, all for the simple natural beauty of the scene laid out in front of me. And really... It's not even that nice of a view. It is so mediocre.

I sob when I read books, cried at every episode of Parenthood, tear up when I listen to a sentimental song, and generally feel confused about where this abundance of feeling came from!

Sometimes I don't know if I am being interesting here or just super self indulgent... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyways, these truffles are a thing of beauty, and while I didn't cry about them I sure did admire the different colours, shades of light, and textures of the scene I was playing with. I've been reading articles about design and trying to draw everyday, and I really think it is helping me see everything with fresh eyes. I took drawing and other visual art classes besides photography in university, but keeping up that side of my practice feels extra important right now. 

These dreamy little treats are so easy to throw together. They are super indulgent while not being entirely terrible for you. The salted caramel is made from gooey dates with a splash of bourbon, and each truffle is topped with a generous sprinkle of salt and a small pink rose petal. I am really into the idea of creating beauty with food, and adding the dried flowers into this recipe made me so happy. I really hope you try out this recipe, babes! ♥ ♥ ♥

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ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Camino by Oliver Shroer. This album is gorgeous. I used to listen to it a lot in high school but have been re-visiting it lately. I don't have many words, but I think the music speaks for itself. 

CURRENTLY READING: NW By Zadie Smith. Loving it so far. 

salted caramel bourbon rose truffles

Makes approx. 16 truffles

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups (approx. 40) gooey dates (medjool or khadrawy work well), pitted
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 4 tsp bourbon or whiskey 
  • 2 tsp rose petals (plus more for topping)
  • 150g dark chocolate (1.5 bars), chopped

 

Notes

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the pitted dates into a food processor and pulse until thick and gooey. This may take a few minutes and you might have to stop and scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add in the salt, bourbon, and rose petals and process into a smooth filling/ paste.

Take 2 tsp sized balls of the date filling and place them onto the prepared baking sheet. Don't worry if they aren't perfectly round - at this stage the filling is super gooey and hard to work with, you will form them into balls after they have spent some time chilling. Chill the balls of filling in the freezer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the tray and roll each ball between the palms of your hands to form a smoother, round ball. Return to the freezer. 

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler situation. Heat a small pot over high heat. Place a heat proof bowl over top of the pot and add the chocolate to the bowl. Stir until melted and then remove from heat. Remove the date balls from the freezer. Taking one ball at a time, dip it into the chocolate and then using two forks (as pictured in this post) drain the excess chocolate before returning it to the baking sheet. Repeat for all truffles until they are fully coated. Sprinkle each one with sea salt and top with rose petals (you might want to do this as you work to ensure the chocoalte doesn't harden before you're finsihed). Return to the freezer for 20 more minutes and then enjoy! These keep best in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container. 

Sesame Roasted Cabbage & Grapefruit Salad w/ Tempeh & Baby Spinach

I don't necessarily have a goal to keep this space upbeat and positive, but I am a generally happy person and so that's what is reflected here. I also do hesitate to write too much about personal struggles etc. because I always worry I'll come off as whiny or complaining, and in general the things I have to complain about are fairly easily remedied. However, being honest and transparent is really important to me, and so if I'm just not feeling it, I don't want to pretend that I am. I'm sure I could write a post about the coming spring weather and the exciting outdoor adventures to come (and I probably WILL write about that in the near future), but to be honest I'm feeling a little glum lately. I guess you could pin it all on SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and maybe that is part of it, but if I am being really truly honest, I am finding it so hard to work a full time job. I feel like I've lost so much freedom and it's really getting me down. 

I want to talk about this because I am just so sure a lot of you out there can relate. When I spoke about finishing school I got so many lovely messages from all of you - some were notes of encouragement and others were from folks in the same position as me who related to my words and experience. It is hard. It is also hard to realize and accept that it is hard. I always have trouble accepting when I don't feel my best, especially if it is because of something I feel I should be grateful for. I am in such a privileged position - I have an undergrad degree, a full time job that pays well, the best boyfriend I could ask for, a loving family, endlessly supportive friends - and yet this new part of my life isn't making me happy. I feel so much loss for the days where I would have one or two classes and get to plan my own day accordingly. I decided when I studied, read, ate meals, met up with friends, even made recipes for this blog. Now my whole life is scheduled around being at work, and the few blissful hours of daylight before evening sets in and the routine of sleep, wake, work starts all over again. I get that this is life for a lot of people, but I am realizing I need to think ahead to find a path that works better for me. 

Anyways, I am actually very okay. I want to stress that. I just feel a bit boring and a bit bored. And I think that it's important to admit that sometimes. 

Moving on. This recipe is hearty, filling, and fresh all at once! I am a big fan of meal salads and the sesame/citrus theme is one of my faves. The cabbage gets salty and crispy in the oven, while the roasted grapefruit is warm and bursting with sweet juice. Quinoa adds a more substantial element here, and the nutty tempeh is a good dose of protein for all those vegans out there. Let me know if you try out this recipe, I love seeing your comments and pics!

Have a great week babes and hang in there with me. If you're feeling a little down feel free to send me a message! I am always here to talk <3 

sesame roasted cabbage & grapefruit salad w/ tempeh & baby spinach

Serves four

This recipe call for cooked quinoa so make sure you start that at the beginning if you don't already have it on hand. If you're not a fan of tempeh, tofu would work well in this recipe too, although I personally like the soft and nutty flavour of the tempeh here. 

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Ingredients

Salad:

  • half a head of purple cabbage
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil 
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • half a pink grapefruit, thinly sliced
  • 1 pkg tempeh (I like this brand) + 2 tsp sesame oil + 2 tsp tamari
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa 

Sauce:

  • juice from half a grapefruit
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tsp tamari
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup

 

Notes

Preheat the oven to 400. Slice the already halved cabbage in half again so you have two quarters. Slice the cabbage lengthwise into thin strips (see photo #3). Lay it out onto a large baking sheet and toss with the sesame oil and tamari. Lay the grapefruit slices on a separate baking sheet (or pan - I used an 8x8 baking pan because I only have one sheet). Bake the cabbage and the grapefruit in the oven, removing the grapefruit after 15 minutes and the cabbage after 25. 

While the cabbage is roasting slice the tempeh into small 1x1 inch cubes. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat and add 2 tsp sesame oil. Once hot, add the tempeh and fry, stirring, until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and drizzle the tamari over the tempeh (it will sizzle in the hot pan, don't worry). To make the sauce whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl or shake together in a glass jar.  

To assemble the salad place the cooked quinoa in a large serving bowl. Top with the baby spinach, then the roasted cabbage, and finally the tempeh and roasted grapefruit. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with sauce. You can either eat this right away as a warm salad, or keep in the fridge for a couple of hours for a colder salad. 

Blood Orange Nutmeg & Matcha Swirled Loaf Cake

This post was created in partnership with Aiya

I had a vision for this post. It was going to be all about spring, new beginnings, fresh air and growth. I was going to share this light, airy, colourful cake with you as a celebration to welcome spring into our midst. Well, I don't know exactly where you are in the world while you're reading this, but I am currently huddled away in my apartment in Montreal enduring one of the worst snowstorms of the winter so far! Not exactly what I had planned when I created this recipe, but I think it can still serve as a little glimmer of what is to come and how excited we can get for that fresh, green grass. 

I was so stoked when the kind folks over at Aiya asked me to create a recipe for their blog. The bright green, earthy, and flavourful matcha they sent me inspired a burst of recipe creations. I honestly couldn't decide what to make because I had so many ideas. I finally settled on this cake because I couldn't get the image of it out of my head. It had to come to fruition. 

I am embarrassed to admit this but before Aiya sent me their beautiful matcha, I had only ever had matcha that I bought at the bulk barn... Yeah, I know. I think I knew all along that it wasn't the real deal, but when I received Aiya's Cooking Grade Matcha I knew for certain that I had been missing out all along. The flavours are so intense and vibrant! You can really taste the notes of sweetness and grassy green tea. The matcha itself is a fine powder that blends beautifully into the cake batter as well as into matcha lattes and other delicious hot drinks (coconut milk matcha latte is to die for). 

As for this turbulent weather, I guess there are worse things than sitting indoors avoiding the snowstorm while eating springy slices of matcha loaf cake! 

I am so happy with the way this turned out. I used coconut yogurt to add moistness to the cake and it pairs amazingly with the matcha and blood orange. I thought of all the different parts of spring - soil, grass, flowering fruits - and swirled them together into this delicious cake. I love the balance of sweet and earthy here, neither flavour is overpowering but they work off each other to bring out their unique flavours. 

Let's welcome warmer weather and new growth with this springy little cake! I hope you stay warm through these last days (weeks?) of snow and bake away your little hearts until the buds start to pop up through the earth <3 

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Telefone by Noname. So good. Just SO good. 

AUDIOBOOK OF THE WEEK: I've been listening to the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials on audiobook this past week and I am loving it. I really believe that there is no such thing as a book only for kids. Just because the central characters are children, it doesn't mean adults can't love and appreciate the story too! 

blood orange nutmeg & matcha swirled loaf cake

Makes one 9x5 loaf cake

This post is sponsored by Aiya. All opinions are my own and I think their products are great! Thank you for supporting the brands that make Spice & Sprout possible. 

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Ingredients

Wet:

  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegan coconut yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Dry:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Add-Ins:

  • 1 tbsp Aiya Matcha + 1 tbsp almond milk
  • zest and juice of 1 blood orange
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • juice of 1 blood orange

 

Notes

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. Set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the wet ingredients until smooth. Sift in the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fully incorporate, stirring until the batter is smooth and pourable. Remove 1 cup of the batter and place in a smaller mixing bowl. Add the matcha and 1 tbsp of almond milk to the removed cup of batter and mix together (if the mixture seems too thick you can add an additional tbsp of almond milk). Add the orange zest, orange juice, and nutmeg to the larger mixing bowl and mix until smooth. 

Pour the blood orange and nutmeg flavoured batter into the prepared loaf pan. Using a spoon, pour small amounts of the matcha batter over the blood orange batter in a swirling pattern (you can think of it like a zigzag pattern across the pan). Continue to add to this swirly pattern until all the matcha batter is used up, but don't cover up all of the blood orange batter. Using the spoon, slowly swirl the two batters together by zigzagging your spoon across the pan following the lines you already made with the batter. It is up to you how much you choose to swirl it together, but don't fully mix it otherwise you will loose the marbled effect. Top with sliced blood oranges.

Bake in the oven for 50 - 55 minutes, until a knife comes out cleanly from the middle. To make the glaze whisk together the icing sugar and orange juice until silky. Let cool completely before slicing and glazing. Should last in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days or in the fridge for just under a week.