Sugar Free Vegan

ABOUT ME:  I have been many things in this life. Among the highlights are: Mother, Daughter, Wife, Sister, Friend, Lover, Soul Mate, Graphic Designer, Artist, Animal Lover, Movie Buff, Bibliophile, Traveler, Homebody, Collector, and Food Aficionado. In my journey to become me, I have experienced a great deal of life lessons. I HAVE: lived, laughed, loved, lost, learned, lied, told the truth, danced and sang out loud (when no one was looking), traveled, been recluse, acted outgoing, been shy, become a wife, known hatred and resentment, been scared,  been divorced, been careless and selfish, found myself, existed, shown selflessness and compassion, been content, found my soul mate, learned true love, lived my life, mourned, found and kept true friends (let the others go bye bye), felt beautiful, felt truly and self-consciously fat, doubted and believed in myself, learned to be content again, felt proud of myself, been ambitious and lazy, and become a mother of the daughter I've dreamed of since I was young. I'm always on the look out for new life lessons, in hopes that I can take them on gracefully.

Throughout my life, food has been a constant companion — whether delicious and memorable, or bland and forgetful. The Sugar Free Vegan developed from a passion for good cuisine, a desire to be healthy and the necessity to cut out sugar. While I was at it, I thought, "why not cut out all animal products and gluten?" Follow my journey to great-tasting Sugar Free Gluten Free Vegan food. Cheers!

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Jul 24 2012

Tuscan Hummus with Checca Sauce

A few years ago my husband, daughter and I traveled to Dallas, Texas for a business trip. It was our first time to the lone star state, but since it was in the middle of winter in Washington, we were happy to get out of town and head south where it was warm.  Even though it was January and all the local Texans thought it was freezing, we were happily sauntering around town in our short-sleeves and sandals — constantly getting odd looks and people stopping to ask us if we were chilled to the bone.

During a free evening, we walked from our hotel to explore the surrounding area and to hunt for dinner. Although it was a much warmer walk than had we been at home, ankle deep in snow, it was still January after dark and we became a bit chilled.  When we finally found a good looking restaurant, we were happy to sit, enjoy some hot tea and enjoy the warm and hopping surroundings, while the hostess offered us a complimentary appetizer to commemorate our first visit. They served us a lovely, creamy hummus dish that had a slight kick that helped liven our bones. It was a perfect starter to a wonderful meal.

After that trip, I kept craving that wonderfully velvety white bean dish and experimented to re-create it. No matter what time of year it is, whenever I make this it takes us all back to that brisk but fun evening. I hope you enjoy!

Tuscan Hummus Ingredients

  • 1 30-oz can of white Cannellini beans
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (or more to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce, wheat free
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Checca Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • 3 tbsp basil, chiffonnade
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more to drizzle

Dipping Ingredients

  • Prepare and cut vegetables such as celery, carrots and sugar snap peas; plus flax or brown rice crackers for dipping.

Directions

Step 1: Using a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the cannellini beans, garlic and pulse a few times until the beans are coarse.

Step 2: With the food processor running, slowly add the tahini to the mixture.  Then, while the motor is still running, add the olive oil, lemon juice and soy sauce. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a couple times.

Step 3: While stopped, add the salt, cumin, coriander and cayenne then process until blended. Transfer to a platter, cover and chill in the refrigerator while you prepare your Checca Sauce.

Step 4:  Using a medium bowl, mix all the checca ingredients together. Cover and chill until serving.

Step 5: To serve, spread the Tuscan Hummus on a platter and top with the Checca Sauce.  Drizzle olive oil over the platter and enjoy!

NOTE: If I'm going to eat this right away, I sometimes skip the chilling part of both the hummus and checca. It is delicious at room temperature as well.

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