gut friendly lemon garlic hummus

greens and hummus
gut friendly lemon garlic hummus
hummus and tomato

Hummus - oh hummus. I’ve had a turbulent relationship with hummus over the years. I love it, but it most definitely does not love me back. Or if it does, that love lasts but only a few short hours before feeling its wrath.

Like all legumes, chickpeas tend to be a source of struggle for those suffering with food sensitivity and gut issues. But I find myself time and again coming back to them, especially to chickpeas in an attempt to make them gut friendly and easy on digestion.

Considering the proximity of Romania to Turkey and Greece (which are renowned for hummus) I never had it growing up. Romanians borrowed and made versions of nearly every other food, but that one seems to have slipped through, either due to lack of resources or otherwise.

Regardless, the first time I tried hummus was one of those mini divine experiences. I had no idea what it actually was, I just remember thinking, there was life BH (before hummus) and PH (post hummus). And no, it was never about the stuff you dip into it, as I freely use my fingers to do the work (you know you do it too).

However, once the post eating bliss wore off, came the pain, discomfort and agony. And if you’re reading this blog, chances are I don’t have to go into the detail of what hummus does to you - you’re all too familiar with the symptoms. But what if I told you there is a way to make chickpeas and hummus easier on digestion? So much so that you will experience no negative symptoms. I set out to test my theory of giving chickpeas and hummus a makeover.

What makes chickpeas difficult to digest?

Chickpeas and most legumes contain phytic acid and certain sugars that are difficult for the body to break down, causing the unwanted side effects. They also contain lectins, which inhibit proper absorption of key nutrients. I found two factors that can make all the difference and those are soaking and peeling.

Peeling and soaking chickpeas

Yes, it takes a bit more time, but I’ve come to view peeling chickpeas as a rather ritualistic act, meditative even. It forces me to slow down and be present in the moment. And in our mad rushing world, a little slowing down is good, even essential for the soul.

So what I’ve done is taken uncooked chickpeas, soaked them for 12 hours, popped them in my Instant pot (or you can do it on the stove top), cooked them until soft, tossed them in a bowl of cold water and peeled them.

Silky smooth lemon garlic hummus

Not only does peeling them make them significantly easier on digestion but it creates a smooth, velvety hummus that tastes far better than anything store bought.

I like using only the basics - soaked and peeled chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, good extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt and water. Everything gets tossed into a food processor and the end result is a creamy, mouthwatering hummus. if you’re anything like me, you’re going to be eating quite a bit of it right out of the food processor so get some veggies or a big spoon ready and dig in.

hummus and tomatoes
hand and tomatoes
hummus, vegetables and greens
hummus and vegetables
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gut friendly lemon garlic hummus

  • soaking time: 12 hours

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 14 minutes in the Instant pot or 1.5 hours on the stove top

  • makes: 4 cups hummus


  • 1 lb uncooked chickpeas (we will be using 3 cups cooked)

  • 5 tbsp runny tahini

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tsp cumin plus extra

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus extra

  • 3 tbsp lukewarm water

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1 small clove garlic

  • 1 tsp dried oregano


  • large soup pot

  • food processor

  • instant pot (optional)

  • large bowl


In a large soup pot, add dry chickpeas and cover with 8 cups water (chickpeas will expand while soaking) and let soak for 12 hours or overnight.

Once soaked, discard water and rinse chickpeas. Add chickpeas back to soup pot along with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. then reduce to a simmer for 1.5 hours

If using the Instant pot, add chickpeas along with 6 cups water. Set the timer to 14 minutes on manual. Once finished turn off Instant Pot and let it naturally depressurize.

Very carefully remove the chickpeas from either stove top or IP, give them a rinse and add them to a large bowl of cold water. Toss the chickpeas around with your hands to start loosening some of the skins.

*If you’re suffering with food sensitivity, I highly recommend peeling enough chickpeas for 3 cups. If not, you can skip the peeling part.

Next, add 3 cups peeled (or unpeeled) chickpeas, garlic, salt, lemon juice, tahini and cumin to food processor and turn it on. Add water and 1/4 cup olive oil slowly while the food processor is running. This will give the hummus and extra creamy consistency.

When finished, transfer hummus to a shallow bowl and drizzle with as much olive oil as you’d like, sprinkle with oregano a little extra cumin and a sprinkle of salt.

If you love hummus but struggle with food sensitivity, don’t worry, this hummus is made with soaked and peeled chickpeas and it’s much easier on digestion than your traditional version. #humms #vegan #gutfriendly #easydugestion #easydigestion #calmeats #chickpeas #guthealthy #vegetarian #glutenfree #dairyfree #hommos #garlichummus #lemonhummus

roasted carrots with orange tahini sauce and pomegranate

carrot bunch
carrots on parchment paper
roasted carrots, orange tahini sauce and pomegranate

The coffee was lukewarm, making my stomach feel slightly oceanic. It was comfortable inside, the smell of books filling the air. I looked out the window - fog hanging low, branches bare; the field in the distance stripped of its vibrant green. December always makes my heart ache a little. 

The cafe was busy, so I opted for a big, comfortable chair. I turned back to the reason I was there in the first place and opened to the winter section. It was the book I was desperately trying to at least partly devour during my short visit to the book store. 

When I first laid eyes on it, my heart skipped a beat. Photograph upon photograph of beautiful food, landscapes, quiet and slow living. Then I read her writing. She spoke like I felt. Her appreciation for food, wine and life gave me pause. A much needed pause in my generally harried days. 

Coffee long abandoned, I read, I imagined, I filled myself up with as much as I could. It was a sweet hour. For only a short while, I was teleported to the sleepy town of Medoc, where people spoke of mussels, wine and weather. 

Mimi Thorrison is my favorite blogger, turned author. Her love and appreciation for cooking seasonal food from scratch has provided much influence over the years. And granted that she cooks French food with lots of cream, butter and flour, her approach has nonetheless inspired me to look to the seasons when I cook and use what’s available. Her cooking philosophy and approach much match mine by keeping things simple and letting ingredients shine through in all their glory.

So this is exactly how I approached this roasted carrot recipe. I just took what I had recently purchased at the market and made it work. Carrots, pomegranate and citrus are all in season right now and a quick tahini sauce, marries all the flavors beautifully. Since winter is cold and grey, these bright orange carrots and shiny red pomegranate seeds provide some much needed warmth and color.

roasted carrots with orange tahini dressing and pomegranate
roasted carrots (9 of 15).jpg
roasted carrots with orange tahini dressing and pomegranate

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roasted carrots with orange tahini sauce and pomegranate

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • roasting time: 20 minutes

  • yields: 4 servings


  • 2 bunches thin carrots, greens trimmed and cut in half

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

  • 2 tbsp runny tahini

  • 1/4 cup orange juice

  • 4 tbsp olive oil divided

  • 1/4 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro


  • 2 baking sheets

  • medium mixing bowl

  • optional: use blender

  • whisk

  • parchment paper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide carrots between 2 sheets and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Line them up face down.

Roast for 10 minutes, flip carrots to face up, and switch oven racks so both sheets of carrots cook roast evenly. Roast for another 10-15 minutes until desired softness. (I like mine to still have a bit of a bite)

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl or blender, combine remaining ingredients aside from pomegranate seeds and cilantro to create tahini sauce.

Once carrots are finished roasting, lay carrots on serving platter, pour over tahini sauce, chopped cilantro and pomegranate seeds.

Take roasted carrots to a new level with this flavorful, creamy tahini sauce, topped with finely chopped cilantro and pomegranate seeds. They’re a feast for the eyes and the taste buds! Bonus, they’re vegan, paleo and whole 30 approved! #calmeats #paleo #whole30 #vegansides #paleosides #vegansides #whole30sides #roastedcarrots #carrots #realfood #glutenfreesides #dairyfreesides #tahini #pomegranate

sweet potato fries with chipotle lime mayo

sweet potato fries, mayo and herbs
sweet potato fries in parchment paper
sweet potato fries (10 of 20).jpg

I shared on Instagram last week that I was making some changes to the blog. Not drastic but just scaling back a bit on my wellness posts to every other week. Since the blog's inception, I've done my very best to put out a wellness post every week along with 2 recipes but I realized it became a bit intense. While rewarding in every way, I found myself stretched thin with my face perpetually in my laptop. 

But admitting that I couldn't cotninue doing the thing I set out to felt shameful in a way and very disappointing. I felt uncomfortable until I realized that who really cares and why does it matter? Those who are interested in the content I put out will stick with me and those who aren't won't and that's just fine. Being okay with things just as they are felt liberating. 

So once I moved past the unease, I decided to carry on with the day. A trip to the museum and a simple recipe were going to be enough for a little reset. 

Art museums have always been special as art has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. Perhaps it was my father's artistic inclination or my touching a single brush stroke of Van Gogh's Sunflowers that sparked it but museums allow me a strange returning to myself. It doesn't matter what kind of chaos is happening on the outside, once I step foot inside a museum, things shift. The beating of my heart rhythmic and even...walking, admiring, appreciating.

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Recharged, inspired and also very hungry, I decided to whip up a favorite of mine. Sweet potato fries with a chipotle lime mayo. I won't lie, I have a weakness for chocolate but nothing makes me lose my self control like sweet potatoes dipped in this addicting mayo.

While I've had the jarred chipotle mayo, I decided to just make my own and see what happens. Let's just say that I'm likely going to be sticking with my version. It's absurdly easy to make with only a few ingredients. 

While I can appreciate a good home made mayo, I do like shortcuts and since Primal Kitchen makes a fantastic mayo, I thought this may save me a lot of time. All I use is mayo, chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, garlic powder, lime zest and lime juice. And oh my god, I can eat it by the spoonful. 

sweet potato fries (14 of 20).jpg

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sweet potato fries with chipotle lime mayo

  • prep time: 5-10 minutes

  • cooking time: 25-30 minutes

  • makes: 4-6 servings


For sweet potato fries

  • 2 large sweet potatoes or 3-4 medium

  • 1-2 tbsp avocado oil

  • 1/2 tsp salt

For mayo

  • 1/2 cup mayo of your choice (I use this. For vegan option try this)

  • zest of one lime

  • 2 tsp lime juice

  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder

  • 2 tsp adobo sauce (these can be found in most grocery stores)

  • 1-2 chipotle peppers (reserve the rest for another time)

Whole 30 mayo chipotle lime mayo option: check out this recipe


  • food processor

  • baking sheet

  • parchment paper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and scrub sweet potatoes well. No need to peel. Cut into thin strips and lay on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Toss with oil and salt and bake for 25-30 minutes stirring them half way through. For crispier potatoes bake an additional 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for sauce in food processor and puree until fully incorporated. 

When sweet potatoes are finished sprinkle with additional salt if you wish and serve with mayo. 

Sweet potato fries with home made chipotle lime mayo is a favorite of mine. With only a few ingredients needed, you can whip this up in no time! #sweetpotatofries, #chipoltlelimemayo, #sides, #lunch, #dinner, #fries #paleo, #whole30, #vegan, #grainfree, #glutenfree, #dairyfree

roasted root vegetables

roasted root vegetables

Not long ago, it dawned on me that some of my favorite holidays happen to be in the fall. Maybe it's that growing up, we didn't have as many holidays as we do here or maybe it's the whole getting two days off work for Turkey day thing or maybe it's the beautiful season itself. Either way, fall holidays, yeah!

Thanksgiving was the second holiday I celebrated upon moving to the US (after Halloween). I was clueless what it actually represented and only knew that there was a whole lot of eating involved. Big feasts were not uncommon, since my family gathered nearly every Sunday for a big meal. But unclear of the details, since I spoke little to no english, I distinctly recall eating a funny looking round vegetable that looked like a shrunken cabbage.

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how to meal prep veggies

how to meal prep veggies

When people ask me how I've changed my diet and am able to consistently stick to eating fresh, whole food, the answer is always the same: "by planning". It's the deciding factor between making it long term and giving up after one or two weeks. I've made my decision to change my lifestyle and diet well over 6 months ago and never looked back. 

The reality is, you have to be organized and think about your next meal and plan accordingly. It doesn't have to be overwhelming or extensive but it does have to be consistent. The trap many people fall into is simply saying that it's too hard and they don't know where to start or what to do. 

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