How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Are you like, “wtf is onigiri?" or “that triangle looks complicated". If so, I'm here to tell you it's easier than it looks and everything will be okay. The best part about onigiri is that they are a humble food and a minimalist's dream. The result is a stomach full of rice and happiness. Those food emojis that once eluded you ( 🍙+ 🍘) are finally making sense now.

Onigiri are rice balls (or shapes) wrapped in nori and often stuffed with a filling. A comfort food made up of fun shapes and endless fillings– onigiri have the potential to steal your heart. Like all the fancy toasts nowadays, a blank canvas of rice invites almost any creation you can dream up. Maybe this is your first attempt making onigiri. If it is, I'm excited for you. I love first times because you never know what to expect and every step is an adventure and a learning process. Remember your first kiss? I do. Mine was wet and weird and his first kiss too. We were twelve and had just become official via awkward phone call on the kitchen landline. We met up with friends and were wandering the streets; we never had real destinations back then, we went anywhere and nowhere. We stopped beside a large subdivision mailbox and with our friends standing ten feet away “not watching us", we kissed. I had to crank my neck up facing the sky because he was tall and I could smell his breath, which wasn't bad but weird because I was rarely that close to someone. He didn't have a clue what to do, (I had practiced on a pillow so I knew a thing or two). My first kiss felt like something between CPR and a gaping fish mouth sucking up food from the top of the tank. It was methodical with tense tongue action and the entire time I attempted to adjust his robot-like motions with no success. He burped after, (not in a hot way), which didn't surprise me from the way he was sucking the air from lungs moments before. It was not at all what I expected and although I thought I was going to love it, I didn't. At first. I had to keep trying, maybe three or four times before kissing was fun, albeit not as good as my pillow boyfriend. Kissing is weird when you think about it. We put our germy wet mouths together and move them around. Sometimes it feels like I can almost inhale the other person's soul. Like I could pull it into mine through kiss and desire. I've always wanted to be inside someone else's soul and mine at once. Like a double soul! Would I feel twice as alive?!

My first time eating sushi wasn't great either. Yes, kissing and sushi can parallel each other. My mouth wasn't used to the textures and flavours and I had to get my mind around eating raw fish after growing up with a white North American diet. I kept trying sushi though, because there was something that appealed to me even though I couldn't eat more than a few bites. It took me five sushi outings before I began to crave it. Then I was hooked. And I loved knowing that you really can't judge a book by it's cover, or even it's first chapter. Life is funny and cliche that way. We are always changing and evolving into someone new but yet we are still the same, or appear to be. Your first onigiri may not be the prettiest but they'll get easier and better each time. Like kisses and raw fish.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Guide To Onigiri

 

Rice

To make onigiri you must use white Japanese sushi rice. Not brown, not jasmine, not wild rice. Sushi rice is the only way because of it's sticky consistency. Onigiri will fall apart with any other type. I use the brand in the above photo and you can purchase it at most Asian grocery stores. It is also very important to rinse the rise in cold water until the water run completely clear or your cooked rice consistency will be off. 

Seasoning The Rice

When the rice is still warm, add to a bowl, season with whatever you like and mix with a large spoon/ rice paddle or chopsticks until evenly combined.. Here are some ideas for seasonings. 

  • Furikake – Japanese seasoning usually made with bonito flakes (fish flakes), seaweed, sesame seeds. Can be found in Asian grocery stores. 
  • Sesame seeds – white or black, I prefer black to give colour contrast.
  • Herbs, fresh + finely chopped – cilantro, basil, mint, parsely, chives, green onions. Just remember to match your filling with your herb. (eg. mint would go well with a cucumber filling but probably not with salmon). 
  • Seaweed– soaked and finely chopped.
  • Kelp or dulse flakes
  • Yukari – Japanese seasoning made with shiso. 
  • Sakebushi – dried, fermented and smoked salmon flakes.
  • Sriracha + Tamari/ Bragg's aminos/ Soy sauce
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Nuoc cham – A Vietnamese sauce that's sweet, fishy and tart. 
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Fillings

Each onigiri only needs about one tablespoon of filling or it will seep out of the middle when you mold it. Be as creative as you like, onigiri are very versatile. Just consider your seasoning, filling and dipping flavours when you dream up your onigiri. You can use almost anything for a filling, especially if you want to use up little bits of leftovers in your fridge (eg. chicken, roasted vegetables etc). Here are some ideas for fillings.

  • Tuna or salmon, canned – w/ mayo (or Kewpie mayo from Japan), a dijon little mustard/ wasabi, salt + pepper.
  • Umeboshi – pickled salted plums, a traditional onigiri filling. Remember to remove the pit. 
  • Avocado – mashed or finely chopped w/ a pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon/lime
  • Radish – fresh or pickled. You can use this recipe for quick pickled onions to do an easy and fast pickle of any vegetable you prefer. 
  • Black garlic – It tastes like something between a sweet beet and roasted garlic. It's my new obsession (nice on fried rice as well) and can be found at most Asian grocery stores.
  • Cucumber – finely chopped. Add a little sesame oil, chili flakes and rice vinegar if you like. 
  • Mushrooms – sauted or pickled, finely chopped. 
  • Cooked fish/meat – finely chopped
  • Kimchi
  • Pickled ginger
  • Shrimp – finely chopped 
  • Egg – scrambled or boiled + chopped
  • Bacon – finely chopped

Flavour Combinations + Pairings

Here are some ideas for matching flavours within your seasoning, filling and dip (if desired).

  • Vietnamese –         seasoning: cilantro/basil/mint (or combine any together)                                                                                     filling: cucumber or cooked shrimp                                                                                                                             dip: nuoc cham sauce or peanut sauce
  • Japanese –                seasoning: furikake                                                                                                                                                       filling: tuna w/ mayo, rice vinegar + salt                                                                                                                  dip: tamari w/ a bit of wasabi.
  • Korean –                  seasoning: black sesame seeds                                                                                                                                    filling: kimchi                                                                                                                                                                   dip: Bibimbap/ Gochujang sauce.
  • Breakfast –              seasoning: bacon (finely chopped)                                                                                                                             filling: scrambled egg or mashed sweet potato                                                                                                         dip: smashed avocado/ guacamole or sriracha mayo.
  • Mediterranean –   seasoning: sundried tomatoes + fresh basil (finely chopped)                                                                                 filling: goat cheese                                                                                                                                                           dip: lemon tahini sauce
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Wet hands.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Rub with kosher salt + rub.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Take a palmful of rice + make into a ball.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Press a hole with thumb.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Add a tablespoon of filling.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Fold over like a book.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Form into desired shape.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Triangle, sphere or cylinder.

onigiri-17.jpgHow To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

For more guidance, click here for triangle shaping video.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Cut nori sheets into shapes.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Fold around onigiri.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Wet edges of nori to seal on to each other.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Cut strips for smaller nori.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Fold on to onigiri.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Dip in sauce.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Bite.                                                                                    Chew.                                                                                 Enjoy.


HOW TO MAKE ONIGIRI (JAPANESE RICE BALLS)

the magic

inspiration:            Asian snack food    

the feels:                warm, soft, comforting

eat with:                 green tea, tamari, sriracha, seaweed salad, green                                leaf salad, sake,homemade dipping sauce                                            (below)

might like if you're into:      Japanese cuisine, rice bowls, sushi,                                                   healthy snacks, comfort food, vessels                                                 for dipping sauces, geometric shapes,                                                 Hi-Chew candy (grape is my                                                             favourite), Pocky sticks.

 

the science

makes 6 to 10 onigiri, depending on size || time: 30 to 45 minutes

ingredients:

onigiri

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 1 + 1/4 cup water
  • nori sheets for wrapping rice balls
  • bowl of water for hands (or run hands under water at the sink after each onigiri)
  • kosher salt for hand after the water
  • filling for rice balls (cucumber, avocado, pickled radish, tuna, umeboshi). Approximately one tablespoon per onigiri shape.
  • optional: few tablespoons of seasoning for the rice balls (sesame seeds, furikake, kelp flakes etc)

dipping sauce

  • 1.5 tablespoons tamari/ Bragg's liquid aminos (soy free)/ soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon sambal olek chili paste or sriracha
  • 3 tablespoons water (or less if desired)
  • optional: 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

method:

  1. Rinse the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. 
  2. Cook rice based on your favourite method (mine is always via rice cooker). One cup of sushi rice yields about three cups of rice. Make sure not to cook the rice too far in advance because it is best molded and served when warm.
  3. While rice is cooking, prepare you filling(s). Chop fillings like cucumber or radish finely. Anything that's not already a paste like consistency like tuna or mashed avocado. 
  4. Once rice is cooked, season it with whatever you like since onigiri is predominantly rice so it's important to add some extra flavour to the base of rice unless you're feeling classic plain rice. My favourites to add are furikake, black sesame seeds, or fresh herbs. Scroll up for the section on more seasoning options. Add seasoning to rice and mix with chopsticks or large wooden spoon. Add more if desired and mix again. 
  5. Wet hands with water. Add a sprinkle of kosher salt to hands and rub together for a second to distribute evenly. Grab a palmful of rice and shape into a round ball. Press thumb into the middle to create an indent about a tablespoon in size. Fill with whatever filling you desire, be careful not to overfill the hole or it will be hard to shape the onigiri and the filling will squeeze out. Fold the sides in on each other like you're closing a book. The easiest way to learn the shaping technique is to look at the hand shapes I use in the photos above or use this video to get the hang of it. It's pretty simple once you get the feel of it. Repeat with the rest of the rice.
  6. Once all onigiri are shaped, cut or rip your nori into desired shapes. You can use a whole sheet to wrap your shapes or cut thin strips. When sticking to onigiri, wet the spots you want to stick together and they will adhere to each other. Serve on their own or with sriracha or whisk up the dipping sauce ingredients for my favourite addition.

KALE POLENTA WITH MUSHROOMS + ACORN SQUASH

Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || A healthy comfort food bowl! A Fall or Winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based, dairy free, and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca
Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || A healthy comfort food bowl! A Fall or Winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based, dairy free, and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca
Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || A healthy comfort food bowl! A Fall or Winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based, dairy free, and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca

Last week we had an especially beautiful October day with sunshine and temperatures of 25°C . I decided to go to Hanlan's Point on Toronto island, one of the nicest beaches in the city. A horizon perfect for admiring sunsets, a sandy beach to bury your toes in, and naked bodies (it's a clothing optional beach). I like to think about how liberating and powerful I'll feel stepping on to the beach bare breasted! I'll channel Beyonce– do my best head toss with an air kick, then an overhead fist pump (the ultimate girl power move). I'll sing out Run The World and finish with a shimmy shake  booty roll like The. Queen. That. I. Am. But as soon as I arrive I reconsider. The reality of the high penis ratio hits me like a salty ball slap to the face. Twenty dicks, no vaginas, and one pair of breasts belonging to a sixty year old Eastern European lady named Olga. She has a dog that looks like a elegant muffin and she does not give a f*ck. I strive to someday be as bold as Olga. But at that moment, the thought of being naked goes from feeling empowering to alarmingly uncomfortable. I like to think I welcome vulnerability, but not the kind that might attract lingering gazes from strange naked men. No way. I watch way too many murdery shows (and the news) to have a progressive view of middle age white men.

It never fails, every single time I go to this beach a naked man strikes up a conversation. It's always harmless but strange that this is the place everyone is dying to make small talk with me.

Naked Man 1: “The water is great today! Nice and warm."                                                                                             Me: “Oh yeah?" I say trying to be polite, staring straight into the sun purposely blinding myself. I catch a glance of his lower half because the more I tell myself not to look at something, the more I have to look. “It looks pretty cold to me.

Naked Man 2: “Hey, do you have a beer you could sell me?"                                                                                             Me: “Uhhhhhhh..... where do you keep your money? You know what, never mind, just take it.

Naked Man 3: “Wow we've got quite a wind today! Perfect for watching the windsurfers." as he stretches backward, hands on his hips, penis is flapping in the wind, ball hair awry. 

Any nude beach isn't complete without lone men casually strolling the shoreline. One man begins marching into the freezing cold water. He holds his arms at his sides palms facing forwards. He puffs out his chest and wades deeper into the water with determination, about to execute a self baptism. He submerges his head fully and is reborn! He will now go to heaven. Amen. He starts swimming further out, he gets close to a small yacht with some people having a party. He's swimming around the boat eagerly awaiting an invite. They ignore him. “Awww he just wants a friend.", I think to myself. I create the story of his life– Angus was born on Christmas morning, his birthday inevitably overshadowed by holiday celebrations. His cake forever a pumpkin pie. His birthday and Christmas presents always unified as one. Kids were too busy with family to attend his parties. He hates turkey so his birthday dinner was always a large plate of boxed mashed potatoes (his mother had a fear of real potatoes, she wouldn't allow them in the house). Are you crying yet?! He had a medical issue as a child that caused uncontrollable flatulence. He would break wind loudly without warning and kids made fun of him for it. Even his parents laughed sometimes because farts. are. funny. people. Now he comes here to bare it all because he's unashamed! Good for you man! I look around wondering which one of these people is the biggest creep on the beach. I realize it's me, making up stories about them and their bodily functions. I slide on my sunglasses to give the illusion I'm a discrete person.

The accessories on nude beaches are fun– mostly hats, sandals, sometimes a t-shirt with some lumpy junk protruding out the bottom. One man is adorned with a large glass bottle of milk and a backpack fastened up with clips around his naked body. I decide he is definitely the murderer if there is one. His serial killer name would be The Milkman and he would leave milk bottle caps upon his victims as a token. On that note, I turn on my best Beyonce pivot, dancing my way off the beach in the pump walk from Single Ladies. Peace out my nude friends!

One day later, genitals could not be more covered. The temperature dropped ten degrees and it is time for warm cozy food and layers of clothing. To nurture ourselves in the colder weather we must make many bowls of of roasted vegetables and grains. Squash season is peaking and I am into it. 

Market Squash || Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || A healthy comfort food bowl! A Fall or Winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based, dairy free, and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca
Porcini, Shiitake + Cremini Mushrooms || Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || A healthy comfort food bowl! A Fall or Winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based, dairy free, and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca
Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || A healthy comfort food bowl! A Fall or Winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based, dairy free, and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca

Notes:

Acorn squash is one of my favourites because the skin is delicious once it's roasted (and they look like cute clouds when sliced). 

The recipe below is plant based based but feel free to adapt it to your preferences. Parmesan cheese is typical for polenta giving it an even creamier and cheesy consistency. I chose nutritional yeast to keep it versatile for all food lifestyles. 

I used dried porcini and shiitake mushrooms because fresh wasn't accessible but I still wanted the richer flavours these mushrooms bring. I rehydrated the dried mushrooms in some water, dried them off thoroughly and sauteed them with the fresh creminis. 

Bowls of polenta can be topped with many things so let your imagination run wild with roasted or sautéed vegetables, shrimp, poached eggs, tofu steaks, or bolognese sauce. It's an easy meal to make, you just must be attentive when it is on the stove, stirring often.

Feel free to substitute spinach for the kale in the polenta. In this case, you could blend it in fresh instead of cooking it.

Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || A healthy comfort food bowl! A Fall or Winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based, dairy free, and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca
Market Squash || Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || A healthy comfort food bowl! A Fall or Winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based, dairy free, and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca
Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || A healthy comfort food bowl! A Fall or Winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based, dairy free, and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca

Let me know what version of polenta bowl you end up with!

xx


KALE POLENTA W/ MUSHROOMS + ACORN SQUASH

the magic

inspiration:                   cozy Autumn bowls

the feels:                       creamy, cozy, comforting, savoury

eat with:                        pinot noir, arugula salad, sparkling water                                          w/ lemon, hot tea, toasted nuts or seeds,                                            fresh herbs

might like if you're into:    movie nights at home, granny quilts, other                                          meals in a bowl like this one or this one,                                            fuzzy slippers, hoodies, oversized knit                                                sweaters  

the science

makes 4 servings || time: 1 hour

ingredients:

                                                                                                                                                                                           polenta

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1.5 cups nut milk + extra while cooking the polenta, as needed (you can also use water)
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan cheese)
  • parsley, for garnish
  • kale puree (below)

kale puree 

  • 1 small head of tuscan kale or half a large head (curly kale is also okay), stems removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled + kept whole
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

mushrooms + squash

  • 1 acorn squash, seeded and sliced into half circles (leave skin on, it is edible after baking)
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, sliced (I used porcini, shiitake + cremini to create a richer flavour)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme (of half a teaspoon dried)
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt + pepper

method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet and toss squash in a large bowl with 1 - 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from oven, flip squash and bake for another 10 minutes or until soft and slightly caramelized.
  2. While squash is baking, add milk and broth to a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil. Lower temperature to medium and slowly whisk in polenta. Keep whisking until the polenta starts to thicken (usually a couple minutes). Reduce to a low simmer (rarely bubbling) and cook for 20 minutes, whisking often, until the polenta is nice and creamy. Make the kale puree + mushrooms while polenta is cooking (see below). You may need to add a bit more milk or water throughout this process or if you want to keep it cooking longer for extra creaminess. Add a tablespoon or two at a time. Keep warm until serving. If prepared in advance, reheat on the stove with a bit of extra liquid and a good whisk.
  3. Kale puree– Boil a pot of salted water (should taste like slightly salty ocean sea water). Add kale and 2 cloves of whole garlic and boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Add to food processor or blender with olive oil and salt and blend until a smooth puree. 
  4. Mushrooms– In a pan (cast iron works well but any will do) over medium add olive oil and diced shallots. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add thyme, garlic + mushrooms to pan with a dash of salt and pepper. For the mushrooms to brown, don't touch them for a few minutes then turn to other side and repeat. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until mushrooms and shallots have cooked down and caramelized. 
  5. While polenta is on the stove, add kale puree, 2 tablespoons of olive oil (if desired), nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese), salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in until combined. Ladle into bowls, top with roasted squash, mushrooms, parsley and s + p to taste. 

Recipe adapted from April Bloomfield on Food Republic.

 

MACA ALMOND GRANOLA

Maca Almond Granola || This healthy plant based granola made with almonds, pepitas, and maca powder is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack! Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugars and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Adaptogens like maca help balance hormones and gives a malted caramel flavour. || creamandhoney.ca
Maca Almond Granola || This healthy plant based granola made with almonds, pepitas, and maca powder is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack! Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugars and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Adaptogens like maca help balance hormones and gives a malted caramel flavour. || creamandhoney.ca
Maca Almond Granola || This healthy plant based granola made with almonds, pepitas, and maca powder is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack! Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugars and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Adaptogens like maca help balance hormones and gives a malted caramel flavour. || creamandhoney.ca

Oh hai!

I've been gone for a while enjoying the last month of summer before hibernating for the long Northern winter. I've missed you and I hope you've missed me too. I've also had a hard time getting myself to sit down and write. But here I am, writing. Not necessarily well, but writing no less. I was thinking I could claim writer's block and drink dry martinis alone in a bar while staring at people and penning doodles in my empty notebook. I could try and channel Hemingway, except he wrote real life- changing books opposed to a food blog. But who says a good slice of cake or bowl of soup can't change a life? Although he did love to drink, apparently he never drank while working, he knew this wouldn't produce his best works. Hemingway was a world traveller, a man after my own heart and frequented bars all over the globe. He said, “Don't bother with churches, government buildings or city squares, if you want to know about a culture, spend a night in its bars”. I've been very “nighttime" Hemingway lately and I feel this statement deeply. Bars have a rawness you can't get everywhere and night carries mystery that dissipates with sunrise. People engage with each other uninhibited, they let down their guards and speak more freely which allows for easier connection. Like Hemingway I cannot write in them, but they are a perfect place for conversation, fun and distraction. 

For now, I will cultivate my inner “day" Hemingway and recommit myself to putting words on paper (or computer), whether they're bad or good. I will go on walks and let ideas flow, I will lay on my couch and gaze into space instead of my phone and let my mind wander. I will leave scraps of paper around scribbled with sparks of ideas or reminders to myself of an inspiration I couldn't bare to forget. I believe that sometimes you must create bad art simply to move past it and towards better art. It's easy to get stuck on criticizing the bad work because you want it to be better so badly. But maybe it simply needs to release itself so you can move forward. 

To get back into the swing of things I've made this granola for you (and me, because I'm forever hungry and love this recipe). Granola has always been one of my favourite foods because of it's versatility, crunchiness and slightly sweet taste. If you want more time to focus on projects, work or relaxing– granola is there for you. Satiating yet so easy to pour into a bowl with some yogurt, milk and fresh fruit. I am known to eat granola at any time of day and indulge in multiple bowls if I'm too busy (or lazy) to cook. This granola uses quality ingredients with the addition of maca powder which adds a malty flavour (perfect for anything vanilla, strawberry or chocolate– think malted milkshakes). Maca is a superfood and adaptogen. It is reported to help balance hormones, energy, mood and increase your sexiness. It technically increases your sex drive, but that means sexiness because you are always sexier if you feel sexy, yes? Yes. 

Maca Almond Granola || This healthy plant based granola made with almonds, pepitas, and maca powder is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack! Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugars and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Adaptogens like maca help balance hormones and gives a malted caramel flavour. || creamandhoney.ca
Maca Almond Granola || This healthy plant based granola made with almonds, pepitas, and maca powder is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack! Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugars and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Adaptogens like maca help balance hormones and gives a malted caramel flavour. || creamandhoney.ca
Maca Almond Granola || This healthy plant based granola made with almonds, pepitas, and maca powder is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack! Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugars and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Adaptogens like maca help balance hormones and gives a malted caramel flavour. || creamandhoney.ca
Maca Almond Granola || This healthy plant based granola made with almonds, pepitas, and maca powder is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack! Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugars and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Adaptogens like maca help balance hormones and gives a malted caramel flavour. || creamandhoney.ca
Maca Almond Granola || This healthy plant based granola made with almonds, pepitas, and maca powder is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack! Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugars and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Adaptogens like maca help balance hormones and gives a malted caramel flavour. || creamandhoney.ca

Notes:

You can buy maca powder at health food stores or online. If you can't find it simply remove it from the recipe, it's still lovely without it. You can always substitute out one thing for another in this recipe, it is very versatile. Hazelnuts for the almonds, sunflower seeds for the pepitas, raisins or dried cherries for the currants; these are all good options. 

Baking the oats first without the nuts and seeds is important so that we don't over bake them which is easy to do. This recipe takes less than thirty minutes to make and yields you a ton of granola, 8.5 cups to be exact. This amount is great for a family or if you eat a ridiculous amount of granola like moi, but you can always half the recipe if you're a more reasonable person. 

I made strawberry cashew milk this week and have been pouring it onto this granola and it's sooooooo good guys. I will be posting the milk next week because you need it in your life and I need more of it in mine.

Maca Almond Granola || This healthy plant based granola made with almonds, pepitas, and maca powder is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack! Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugars and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Adaptogens like maca help balance hormones and gives a malted caramel flavour. || creamandhoney.ca
Maca Almond Granola || This healthy plant based granola made with almonds, pepitas, and maca powder is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack! Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugars and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Adaptogens like maca help balance hormones and gives a malted caramel flavour. || creamandhoney.ca
Maca Almond Granola || This healthy plant based granola made with almonds, pepitas, and maca powder is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack! Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugars and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Adaptogens like maca help balance hormones and gives a malted caramel flavour. || creamandhoney.ca
Maca Almond Granola || This healthy plant based granola made with almonds, pepitas, and maca powder is perfect for breakfast or a quick snack! Gluten free, vegan, no refined sugars and takes less than 30 minutes to make. Adaptogens like maca help balance hormones and gives a malted caramel flavour. || creamandhoney.ca

MACA ALMOND GRANOLA 

the magic

inspiration:           healthy snack food

the feels:               crunchy, nutty, chewy, sweet, salty

eat with:                milk of choice! I like it with strawberry cashew                               milk (recipe coming soon!), smoothie bowls, yogurt,                              fresh berries, bananas, carob nibs, chocolate                                      chips, apples, pears, cottage cheese, honey, maple                                syrup, ice cream, frozen yogurt.

might like if you're into:     after school (or work) snacks, malted                                                 milkshakes, The Old Man And The                                                   Sea, bulk food stores, camping,                                                         quick breakfasts.

the science

makes 8.5 cups granola (half this recipe if this family portion of granola is too much) || time: 30 minutes

ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats (gluten free)
  • 2 cups raw almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup raw pepitas
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 3 tablespoons maca powder (I used white)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • fresh berries to top with (optional)

method:

  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the oats, salt, maca powder, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir until combined. 
  2. In another bowl combine melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk well until thickened homogeneously, it will become an thin paste-like consistency. Set aside two tablespoons of the maple-coconut mixture. Add the rest to the bowl of oats and mix together until evenly combined. Pour out on to baking sheet and spread evenly. Place into oven and bake for about 12 minutes, stirring half way through until light golden in colour.
  3. While oats are baking add chopped almonds, pepitas and coconut to the bowl you just used for the oats. Add the remaining maple-coconut oil mixture and combine evenly. Add to golden baked oats and mix together. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool. The granola will become crispy once fully cooled. Add dried currants and mix to combine. Store in airtight containers and keep for up to one month in cool dry place. You can also freeze granola in an airtight container if you like, but dried fruits can become hard so consider removing them from the recipe.