No oil Hummus!

Hummus without Tahini?

No way!  I know my hummus!  I have been taught by the best hummus maker in Ann Arbor . . . and she uses tahini!  

When did I become so rigid in my thoughts and cooking that I absolutely need one ingredient to create a dip made out of chickpeas?  Had I lost my mind?  Sadly, I did.  I never really thought about hummus very much except for a dip for pita bread, naan or pita chips.  Maybe a veggie, but probably not.  When I eat hummus I’m going for the creamy, salty, with the crunch of the chip/bread.   

So much more!

Each day I become more and more enlightened in one way or another and a week or so ago–hummus was my light.  

I was in the car line (on the bored side) and started looking at Instagram photos and happened upon the @CZECH_HIPPIE.  Her photos are great and one caught my eye.  Can you guess?  Yup!  Her hummus.  We exchanged comments about her recipe and I decided to give it a try.  Of course in true Renee fashion–I did NOT follow her exact instructions but instead switched out what I had.  

Homemade vs. Store bought 

 Why make your own when the store bought hummus is so readily available?  

Well, for me, I like the convince and the variety.  I have 3 big hummus eaters and we all like a different variety, so buying three different kinds made sense–until I really thought about it!  Why not make up a big batch of plain hummus and we can add our own favorite things?  Bing, Bing!  So glad when that bell goes off in my head telling me that Captain Obvious just stopped by and left me a message!

These are the flavors we have made so far:

  • plain
  • lemon
  • roasted pepper
  • roasted pine nut 
  • caramelized onion and garlic (because by now you know how I LOVE my onions.)

The Recipe

In the photo below I have the ingredients that I used.  

  • 1/2 onion
  • cucumber
  • 2 slices of lemon
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas
  • garlic salt (because I ran out of garlic)

 I zoomed that up using my immersion blender but you could use a food processor.  

#veganRenee cooking tip

Don’t over Zoom!

I call the immersion blender my “zoomer”.  The key to getting the best consistency is to pay attention and not allow the hummus to get to the paste stage–once the chickpeas go to that stage . . . it is hard to get them back to being friendly.  Yes!  beans can be friendly or mean!  If your hummus doesn’t taste very good–you have made your beans mean.

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Be Blessed as you cook with compassion and L.O.V.E.!


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Easy Peasy Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

Recipe of the Week! 

Vegan Butternut Squash Soup! 

  • Frozen organic butternut squash (from my CSA)
  • Vegan veggie stock
  • caramelized onions
  • Roasted Walnuts
  • Mission Figs

VeganRenee Cooking tip:  

I caramelize my onions in my favorite pan Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven, Cherry.  What I love about the enameled cast iron are a few things.  1.  so easy to clean 2. it retains heat well–great for heating/cooking soup and then letting the flavors slowly meld while it cools 3.  soup will stay warm longer on those nights where I’m feeding my family over several hours.  4. I can sauté onions or other veggies AND use it for soup–kind of like a cast iron stock pot.  Less dishes to clean!

I love making simple soups.  When I cook with seasonal food, at it’s peak–I simply can’t go wrong.  

Butternut squash is my absolute favorite kind of squash to grow and eat.  My CSA’s both offer several weeks of butternut squash during the late summer/fall season–so much so I end up roasting or steaming the squash and then freezing it in bags for soup (or I also make a KILLER pasta sauce with it).  

Tomato Mountain Farms is my CSA that delivers YEAR ROUND!  

Who wouldn’t like organic produce delivered to their house in the dead of winter?  Tomato Mountain also adds tremendous value to the “box” by adding in frozen butternut squash!  Totally grooving on that!  This soup is the result.   

How-To Make It!

  1. Caramelize onions (and garlic–but I ran out of garlic)
  2. add thawed Butternut Squash.  Heat to a gently boil–gets all the flavors dancing together.
  3. Let cool.  Put it in the fridge until you are ready to eat it.  (sometimes I make this ahead a few days to make the week nights or lunch easier.)
  4. Use an immersion blender to blend the onions and the squash.
  5. THEN add your veggie stock to get your perfect consistency.  I like mine soup on the thicker side.  
  6. Garnish with roasted walnuts and figs.
  7. Enjoy your lunch knowing that you have eaten a meal that honors the earth and your local farmer!


Be Blessed as you cook with L.O.V.E.!

This post contains an affiliate link.

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Salad 101 Vegan Style

 Salad 101

Creating a vegan style salad is super easy!  Here are my go-to ingredients to a new and exciting salad each night. (Please feel free to add your rave fave salads in the comments! If you are a food blogger please, please, please add a link so we can all have some groovy green love.)

Greens: (in order of my own personal preference)

  • spinach
  • baby kale
  • lacinato kale or dinosaur kale (for my video on kale click here.)
  • romaine
  • swiss chard
  • beet greens (did you know you can grow your own?  micro, micro farm!  –> click here.)
  • Zen Blend 


  • cucumbers
  • tomatoes
  • carrots slice 500 different ways
  • peppers–red, yellow, green, hot peppers!, roasted peppers (the ones out of a jar)
  • my kids like corn on their Taco Salads


  • strawberries
  • olives
  • kiwi
  • apple
  • pineapple

Nuts and Seeds:

  • WALNUTS (my biggest most favorite!)
  • almonds
  • peanuts (especially on my Asian salads)
  • black beans (on my Taco Salad)
  • garbanzo beans
  • pumpkin seeds (roasted–I eat them raw on my oatmeal but not salad.  I know–weird.)


Because I’m all about just eating a ding dang salad–it’s just not that hard.  It’s good for you.  Your heart will thank you and so will your kids . . . or your Mom!  or whoever loves you more than anything in the whole world.   






Don’t recreate the wheel (or salad)

This was the salad kit I used as a base, then added strawberries.  No, it isn’t organic.  No, it’s not local.  I went for easy, fast, a different flavor blend to try out on my kids.  

Salad kits are a great way to:

  • introduce new combinations
  • try a new green blend 
  • try a new salad dressing without make the commitment to a jar–I have a graveyard of salad dressings in my fridge!  Bums me out.
  • perfect size for lunch–put the lettuce in your own container and then add the dressing and toppings at lunch!  Brilliant idea.

Go get your salad on!

Be blessed as you honor your body with healthy greens! 

PS.  if you need a salad dressing –> click here for my amaze walnut fig dressing, or here for my lemon dressing!  

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