BUTTERNUT SQUASH, DATE AND TAHINI DIP

1/3 cup butternut squash purée (substitute pumpkin)

4 large ripe Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

2 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon water, or more if needed


Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process them until smooth and creamy. Serve cold or at room temperature with fruits or vegetables.

Makes about 1/2 cup

SPICY CHICKPEAS IN TOMATO SAUCE

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large tomato, peeled and diced

1 medium yellow onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon harissa, Sriracha or other hot pepper sauce

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup water

Finely chopped cilantro, for garnish


Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the tomato, onion and garlic. Saute until withered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste, salt, pepper, cumin, mustard powder, chili and harissa. Cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the chickpeas and water and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook on low heat for 10 to 20 minutes.

Serve hot.

Serves 4 as a side and 2 as a main dish.

FALAFELS WITH CUCUMBER YOGURT SAUCE

For the falafels

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

30 sprigs fresh cilantro

1 small onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

5 tablespoons cornstarch (or wheat flour)

½ cup cornmeal

1 cup vegetable or canola oil, for frying

For the cucumber yogurt sauce

½ cup peeled and chopped cucumbers

5 ounces plain yogurt

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Place the chickpeas, cilantro, onion, and garlic in a food processor and process until reduced to a paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne and flour until well blended.

Heat the oil until very hot. Place the cornmeal in a shallow dish. Shape the mixture into patties and dredge them into the cornmeal. Fry the patties until golden brown and crispy, 2 to 4 minutes per side.

Process the cucumbers, yogurt, salt and pepper in a food processor until puréed. If you prefer a more unctuous sauce, mix in a teaspoon of olive oil or mayonnaise.

Serve the falafels hot alongside the cucumber yogurt sauce, some pita bread and tomato slices.

Makes about 8 falafels

VEGETABLE COUSCOUS

For the vegetables
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
3 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 3- to 4-inch pieces
6 sprigs parsley
1 ¾ cups water or vegetable broth
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and halved crosswise
½ cup raisins
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas

For the couscous:
1 cup instant couscous
1 cup boiling water
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon butter


In a medium pot, sauté the onion and garlic in olive until translucent, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, coriander, ginger and turmeric. Cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the water or broth, carrots and parsley. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat 10 minutes. Add the zucchini, raisins and chickpeas; cover and cook another 10 minutes. Discard the parsley.

Prepare the couscous by pouring the boiling water over couscous in a large bowl. Stir in the salt and butter. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Arrange the couscous in a dome on the serving plate. Place the vegetables on the couscous. Top with the raisins and sauce.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4

MUSHROOM SKEWERS

1/2 tablespoon harissa (or other hot sauce)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, halved lengthwise


Place 4 bamboo skewers in a pan filled with water. Allow to soak 20 minutes.

Whisk the harissa, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and oregano together in a medium bowl.

Add the halved mushrooms and toss well to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 or preheat the grill, if grilling.

Thread the mushrooms onto pre-soaked bamboo skewers. Roast them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or grill them, 5 minutes per side.

Serves 4

NAVY BEAN STEW

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, white part only, minced
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
3 cups precooked navy or cannellini beans, drained *


Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium pot. Add the leek, garlic, salt, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Saute until the leeks are wilted, 5 minutes. Add the stock and bay leaves and bring to a gentle boil.

Add the cooked beans. Cover and simmer over low heat 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the liquid is reduced and the beans are soft and buttery.

Serve warm with a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs.

*To cook the beans, first pre-soak them for several hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. Place them in a pot with enough water to cover them by two to three inches. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for one to hours until cooked.

Serves 4 to 6

RASPBERRY ALMOND GRATIN

3 large eggs
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup turbinado sugar
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon rose water (optional)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond meal
2 tablespoons brown rice or whole wheat flour
Pinch salt
6 ounces raspberries
Sliced almonds, to decorate
1 tablespoon white sugar


Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the baking rack in the middle of the oven. Butter an 8-inch baking pan or 6 (4-ounce) ramekins. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, turbinado sugar, almond extract and rosewater (if using) together until well combined. Add the almond meal, flour and salt, and stir until you obtain a homogenous batter. Pour the batter in the prepared pan(s).

Arrange the raspberries on top of the batter, pressing them lightly in. Scatter the almond slices all over. Sprinkle with white sugar.

Place the gratin on the oven rack and bake until set and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.

Serve lukewarm or at room temperature.

Serves 6