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Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin seeds’

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When I spotted nopales in a produce market that I visited last week I decided to purchase one. I’ve been making an effort to incorporate new foods into my cooking and I figured that cactus would be an interesting addition. Nopales originated in Mesoamerica (what is now Mexico) and continue to be a popular ingredient in their regional cuisine.

I almost forgot about the nopale sitting in my refrigerator until today when I was looking for lunchtime salad ingredients. That’s when I also spotted some ripe avocados, softening sugar plum tomatoes and a lonesome lime that had seen better days.

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Needless to say, I became inspired by what could be created by combining everything. What transpired was this delicious dip that complements a variety of foods. If you are wondering about the flavor of the cactus, it’s sort of tangy and tastes like the spawn of a big green bell pepper that got lucky one night with a little okra. It definitely adds zip to the overall flavor! It works well paired with the creaminess of the avocado and the spiciness of the cayenne pepper. You can read more about nopales in this article and here.

Cactus Avocado Dip

Makes about 1 1/3 cups. Double ingredients as needed for larger servings.

Ingredients:

One nopale (cactus) pad
Handful each of pumpkin (pepita) and sunflower seeds
Juice of 1 lime
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup cherry or sugar plum tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Bring a small pot of water to boil with steamer basket. Prepare the nopale by scrubbing any spines with the hard side of a clean kitchen sponge. Cut around the sides of the pad and the bottom stem. Chop lengthwise, then into smaller pieces. Add the nopale chunks to steamer basket, reduce heat and lightly steam for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain liquid.

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The cactus will be slightly gooey in texture. Transfer the nopale pieces to food processor, add lime juice and seeds and pulse to smooth consistency. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides.

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Add in the remaining ingredients and pulse until well blended.

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Transfer to a bowl and serve with fresh vegetables or crackers. This dip would also make a great addition to burritos or tacos. If you prefer a richer texture, add more avocado(s) to the recipe.

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This muesli combines plenty of healthy ingredients without any of the processed sugar or additives that you would normally find in most store-bought brands. Serve on its own as an on-the-go snack or at breakfast with fresh berries, milk or yogurt. Enjoy!

Fruit & Nut Muesli

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots (or other dried fruit of your choice), chopped into smaller pieces

1/2 banana, mashed (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a square, approx. 8″ x 8″ baking dish – I used a bit of coconut oil. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, set aside. Add remaining wet ingredients (banana, olive oil, apple sauce) in a separate bowl, whisk together, then mix in with dry ingredients until well combined.

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Spread the mixture evenly into your prepared baking dish. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until top is lightly browned. Remove and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Keep unused portions stored in airtight bag/container and refrigerate.

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