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25 July 2014

Tomato & White Bean Salad Provençal

Tomato + White Bean Salad Provençal | happy hearted kitchen

Hi y'all, today I am sharing a recipe for a simple salad spotlighting this summer's glorious tomatoes over at Fruitive, Live Your Health blog. I wait all year for these beauties to show up at the market, and this year did not dissapoint. While they don't need much more than a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked black pepper, my love of all things sunkissed sort of took over here. Fresh, juicy tomatoes, olives, sundried tomatoes, capers and lots of basil, with some hearty white beans to make it meal worthy. It's a great recipe for a summer picnic under the sun!

Head over to Fruitive for the recipe, and check out some of the other awesome plant based recipes while you're there! Cheers!

Tomato + White Bean Salad Provençal| happy hearted kitchen

21 July 2014

A Simple Summer Apéro

A Simple Summer Apéro | happy hearted kitchen
A Simple Summer Apéro | happy hearted kitchen
A Simple Summer Apéro: Lemon + Thyme Marinated Olives | happy hearted kitchen

The french have definetly mastered the art of l'apéritif; some salty nibbly bits and a glass of wine in the sun before dinner, taking time to relax and chat before rushing to the table and diving into the main meal. 

When I first arrived in France, I was always stumped on what to serve. I knew there would most likely be a cheese board after the meal, and bread would be served both during and after, so I wanted to keep things light and fresh to start things off. Plus, if you're having people over, you've already spent enough time prepping a meal and probably some dessert, so you've done your time in the kitchen and you deserve to kick back and relax with your guests.

Today I'm sharing with you my recipes for some of my favorite summertime nibblies that will be sure to please your guests. They are minimun effort, most can be kept in the fridge for a few days and need no fussing around before serving. Just dump or spread into bowls and bring to the table. Santé!

A Simple Summer Apéro: Herby Artichoke Dip + Sundried Tomato Crackers | happy hearted kitchen
A Simple Summer Apéro | happy hearted kitchen
A Simple Summer Apéro | happy hearted kitchen

A Simple Summer Apéro
Fresh and simple is the way to go. Keep the flavors similar, lots of lemon, garlic and fresh herbs. One or two of these together is probably enough, but I wanted to share with you all of my favorites. Never underestimate the power of fresh vegetables, cherry tomatoes, radishes and carrot sticks add color and crunch. Come summer time a little melon fits in quite nicely as well. Serves a small gathering. Vegan & Gluten Free.

Roasted Marinated Peppers
  • 2 large bell peppers, color of choice
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
Turn your broiler on high and rub the peppers with a little olive oil. Place the peppers on a baking sheet with the rack positioned high so that the peppers are close to the broiler. As the peppers begin to blacken and blister, rotate so that each side gets a broil. When the whole pepper is charred and blistered, remove from oven and place in a bowl and cover (a large plate works well). Let the peppers cool down so that they are easier to handle. Gently peel off the skin, remove the seeds and cut into thin slices. Place in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and a sprinkle of sea salt. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before serving.

Lemon + Thyme Marinated Olives
I recently started marinating my own olives, it's easier on the budget and you have more control over the quality of ingredients. Get creative with herbs and flavors here. Rosemary, orange, balsamic, chili, the combinations are endless!
  • 1 cup olives, mixed black and green, not pitted
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3-4 small sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence
Place the olives in a bowl, juice over the lemon and add the olive oil. Chop the lemon into quarter slices and add to the olives. Add the garlic, fresh thyme and herbes de provence. Mix everything together and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 12 hours. Olives will keep in a sealed jar for a few weeks. Because of the nature of olive oil it will solidify when chilled, so remove olives from fridge 15-20 minutes before serving, and fish out garlic clove as well.

Artichoke and Herb Dip
I can hardly call this a recipe, it's embarrasingly easy but its been such a crowd pleaser and I've been asked for the recipe so many times,  I had to share it here!
  • 1 jar storebought artichoke hearts (in water)
  • 1 handful mixed fresh herbs, basil and parsley are nice
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • Lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Strain the artichoke hearts and add to a small blender with the rest of the ingredients, blend until combined but so that the dip still has a bit of texture. Season to taste and keep in fridge until ready to serve.

Sundried Tomato & Caraway Crackers
These are definetly the most labor intensive of the bunch, but the dough can be kept in the freezer and the baked crackers keep there crunch for a few days. Again, so many flavor options here, so go with something you like. Black olives work well in places of the sundried tomatoes too! Recipe tweaked from over here.

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds ( or dried oregano)
  • 1/3 cup sundried toms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C . Combine flour, salt, baking powder, psyllium and caraway in a large bowl. Pulse sundried tomatoes and olive oil in small blender to make a paste and add to the flour along with 1/2 cup water. Bring the dough together with a fork or your fingers, it should form a ball quite easily. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Each half will make approx 15 crackers depending on the size and shape. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out the dough, the thinner the dough, the crispier your crackers will be. Cut or slice into whatever shapes you like, and place on a baking sheet. Brush each side with a little olive oil, and bake for 7-10 minutes or until crisp and brown, then flip and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and let cool completely. Store in an air tight container for a few days.

Extras (last but definetly not least!)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Raw whole almonds
  • Sliced melon
  • Wine of choice

Bring everything to the table in bowls, poor some wine, kick back and relax! Hope you're all having a fun and healthy summer!

10 July 2014

Za'atar Grilled Eggplant + Herby Lentil Salad

Za'atar Grilled Eggplant + Herby Lentil Salad | happy hearted kitchen
Za'atar Grilled Eggplant + Herby Lentil Salad | happy hearted kitchen
Za'atar Grilled Eggplant + Herby Lentil Salad | happy hearted kitchen

Matt asked me the other day what my favorite vegetable is. Uh, PANIC! And are we counting tomatoes and avocados here? I seriously couldn't answer, there are far too many magnificent vegetables out there to choose from. Nothing can beat a vine ripened tomato during the summer time, or some sweet roasted squash in the fall, what about the gorgeous deep purple of beetroot during winter months, or the simple beauty of a pink and white radish come spring? How can anyone pick a favorite? Poor guy, I bet he thought that was an easy question, and didn't need a 20 minute rant on how amazing vegetables are. So, I don't know what my #1 would be, but I definetly know that eggplant is high up on the list.

I am a big fan of za'atar, I love the zesty taste of sumac with the nutty crunch of sesame seeds. It is great sprinkled of pretty much anything; hummus, pita, roasted carrots, yogurt. Eggplant and za'atar is one of my favorite combinations, and even better when cooked outside on the grill! Piled high on top of lentil salad loaded with fresh green herbs, here is a simple dish giving vegetables the glory they deserve! Can you pick a favorite?

Za'atar Grilled Eggplant + Herby Lentil Salad | happy hearted kitchen
Za'atar Grilled Eggplant + Herby Lentil Salad | happy hearted kitchen
Za'atar Grilled Eggplant + Herby Lentil Salad | happy hearted kitchen

Za'tar Grilled Eggplant + Herby Lentil Salad
A fresh, summery salad that combines soft grilled eggplants and lots of fresh herbs. Cold leftovers make great pita fillings with hummus and extra greens. Serves 4, or more as a side. Vegan + Gluten Free.

You can buy za'atar spice blend in specialty or middle eastern grocery stores, but I prefer to make my own. The recipe below is one that I make here at home, but feel free to play around with the quantities to create a home blend that you love. 


  • 4 small eggplants
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 + tablespoon za'atar (recipe below)
  • 1 cup beluga lentils, preferably soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup sultanas, golden raisins or currants
  • 1 cup packed fresh herbs; mint, parsley, and dill
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Black pepper and salt to taste

What to do
  1. Slice the eggplant into rounds, place in a colander and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Set aside for 30 minutes, or up to an hour, flipping over every now and then.
  2. Rinse and drain the lentils, and place in a large pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are cooked al dente. Don't over cook, or you will have a mushy salad. Drain any excess water and rinse the lentils clean. Set aside. (If you are using a different type of lentil, cooking times will vary so just read the instructions).
  3. Preheat your bbq or grill pan to medium high heat, and lightly press the eggplant with kitchen towel to remove any excess water. Brush the sides generously with olive oil and sprinkle with za'atar. Place on a grill and flip after 5-7 minutes, then cook for another 5-7 minutes. Brush with extra olive oil if looking dry. Eggplant is done when the meaty center is soft and tender.
  4. Toss the cooked, cooled lentils with all the herbs, sultanas and toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper and dress with a little olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
  5. Top with grilled eggplant, sprinkle with extra za'atar and lemon zest!

Za'atar Home Blend

  • 1/4 cup sumac
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon corse sea salt

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Keep in an airtight jar in your pantry. Some people prefer to combine in a food processor or crush in a mortar and pestle, but I prefer to keep things as in, I love the look of it sprinkled over the grilled vegetables. Oregano can also be added to the mix. So there are some options, up to you!

1 July 2014

Ginger Oat Cookie + Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream Sammies

Ginger Oat Cookie & Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream Sammies | happy hearted kitchen
Ginger Oat Cookie & Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream Sammies | happy hearted kitchen

I noticed the dessert section of this blog was looking a little bland the other day. To be honest, I am not a big dessert person, a couple squares of dark chocolate or some fresh summer fruit usually does the trick. But after eating dinner outside on the deck a few nights ago, Matt and I both looked at each other and asked, 'where's the ice cream?' Which then led to about a week of dreaming about magnun bars and frozen treats the like, why they sell those fancy ice cream bars in packs of 3 will forever remain a mystery to me. Alas, I set out to make some frozen treats of my own.

I have a attempted a few times to make homemade ice cream, but have never been very sucessful, I had sworn it off for good and committed to lifetime of haagen daz and ben & jerry's, that is until I saw this post and was completely re-motivated to give it another go. Hello simplicity, hello happy hearted version, hello delicious! When I saw a thick, creamy ice cream base forming in my ice cream maker, I had only one thought 'we're gonna need some cookies.' And here we are today, with the best kind of sammies. Enjoy!

Ginger Oat Cookie & Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream Sammies | happy hearted kitchen
Ginger Oat Cookie & Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream Sammies | happy hearted kitchen

Ginger Oat Cookie & Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream Sandwhiches
The texture of this ice cream is more like that of a sorbet or granita, but that could be due to my sub par ice cream maker or the fact that is the uncontrollable ice age in my freezer. I find it ultra refreshing and light! I added a lot of fresh, juicy strawberries, the better your strawberries taste to more delicious this ice cream will be. Vegan & Gluten Free. Makes a little more than 1 pint. Serves 6 or more. Ice cream recipe adapted from the kitchn.

Strawberry Swirl Coconut Milk Ice Cream

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder*
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered

What to do
  1. The night before, place the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer. (I am now keeping mine in the freezer so I can make ice cream whenever I want, not having to wait another 24 hours!)
  2. Shake to coconut milk cans so that they are well combined, and set aside 1/2 cup of milk.
  3. Add the remaining milk, maple syrup, salt in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat to combine and warm  all the ingredients, about 2 minutes. Mix the 1/2 cup coconut milk and 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder in small bowl and whisk to combine, then add to the saucepan along with the vanilla. Cook everything over medium heat until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 6-8 minutes, being very, very careful not letting the mixture come to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat, and transfer to a clean bowl, let cool, then cover with and set in the fridge to cool completely, 4-5 hours. You really need the base to be cold before pooring into the ice cream maker, so don't skip this step.
  5. While the base is cooling, make the strawberry sauce, place strawberries in a saucepan over low heat and simmer until juicy, about 5 minutes. (My strawberries were really ripe and sweet, so they got really juicy, if you want you can add a touch or maple syrup, honey or nautral cane sugar here). Remove from heat and let cool for about half an hour, then mash with a fork or blend slighlty with a submmersion blender to make a thick sauce.
  6. Churn the coconut base in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions, once thickened to a soft serve consistency, poor in the strawberry sauce and churn for another few minutes.
  7. Spread the ice cream into a loaf pan and freeze for an hour or over night until it has firmed up.
  8. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving.
*Arrowroot is a natural starch and can be found in most health foor stores. It is an inexpensive, handy pantry item to have as is helps to thicken sauces or can be used in baked goods.

Soft Baked Ginger Oat Cookies
These cookies and soft and only slightly crumbly, perfect for sandwhiching some ice cream in between! I place mine in the freezer for a few minutes before making the sandwhich, so that they hold up well with a big scoop! Makes 6-8 cookies. Adpated from over here.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground flax
  • 1 1/2 rolled oats, certified gluten free if intolerant
  • Pinch flaky sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syurp

What to do
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C
  2. Place oats and flaxmeal in the bowl of a food processor and blend until you have a coarse flour.
  3. Add salt, ginger, and baking powder and pulse to combine
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until the dough comes together, it should be pretty wet but that's ok.
  5. Place in the fridge to set for at least 10 minutes, it should harden to make it easier to work with, yielding a softer cookie!
  6. Scoop into balls about the size of two tablespoons, or whatever size you choose, and place on a baking sheet, flatten and spread the dough out with the tips of your fingers
  7. Bake in the oven until slightly brown around the edges, about 15 minutes. Let cool before transfering to a cool rack and cool completely. 
  8. Enjoy on there own or with a big scoop of strawberry swirl ice cream in between as the perfect summer afternoon treat!

26 June 2014

Avocado & Apricot Salad Wraps with Pistachio Dukkah

Avocado & Apricot Salad Wraps with Pistachio Dukkah | happy hearted kitchen
Avocado & Apricot Salad Wraps with Pistachio Dukkah | happy hearted kitchen

Hellooo, dukkah. Have you heard of it? It's a delicious blend of toasted nuts and seeds, ground up, in which you dip some bread pre-dipped in olive oil. Bread, in olive oil, in dukkah. Let's all just  take a deep breath. It is probably the easiest way for me to finish of an entire baguette for dinner. True story.

So, to kick my one baguette a day keeps the doctor away habit, I came up with some other funky ways to use this warm and nutty spice blend. Ripe, local apricots add sweetness and juiciness, salad leaves bring the crunch, and well, everything is better with some smashed avocado and basil. Fresh, healthy, light - happy summer, y'all!

Avocado & Apricot Salad Wraps with Pistachio Dukkah | happy hearted kitchen
Avocado & Apricot Salad Wraps with Pistachio Dukkah | happy hearted kitchen

Avocado & Apricot Salad Wraps with Pistachio Dukkah
For some more information on dukkah, and some tips on toasting seeds, check out the kitchn. There are many different recipes for dukkah out there, have a browse to find which one will suit you the most. Peaches would work great here instead of apricots too! Serves 6 or more as an appetizer. Vegan & Gluten Free.


  • 3 ripe avocados
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 8 ripe small apricots
  • 1/4 fresh basil leaves
  • 12 small butter lettuce leaves
  • Good quality olive oil
  • Fresh black pepper

Pistachio Dukkah

  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoosn coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • A few dried mint leaves, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt

What to do

  1. Make the dukkah: Toast the pistachios in a large frying pan over high heat for about 5 minutes, or until they are toasty and crisp, watch closely so they don't burn. Remove from pan and set aside to cool. Add the sesame seeds to pan and toast until brown and crisp, they might pop a little. Remove from pan and set aside. Toast the remaining seeds for a few minutes, again being careful not to burn. Place the pistachios, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mint and salt in a blender and pulse until roughly chopped, I like to leave some big pieces of pistachios. Stir in the sesame seeds. Dukkah will keep for a few weeks in an air tight jar.
  2. To make the wraps. half and pit the avocados and remove the skin. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and mash with the back of a fork. Scoop into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Pit the apricots and slice each one into 6 or 8 pieces. 
  4. Bring everything to the table, take a lettuce leaf, spoon on some avocado, top with sliced apricots, sprinkle with dukkah, basil and a little extra olive oil. Enjoy. Repeat.
Got extra dukkah on your hands? Sprinkle over some roasted vegetables, stir into a salad dressing, just get creative!