Recipe: Smashed Herbed Potatoes

I am a runner.  Carbs are my friend.  And I just happen to be a huge, huge fan of potatoes.  I love potatoes.  Any way you can serve them up, I will devour them.

Recently in my CSA bin, I received a huge bag full of fingerling potatoes.  Instead of roasting them up as I normally would, I wanted to do something different.  I wanted to think outside of the normal box I hem myself in when potatoes are in my kitchen.

So…that’s exactly what I set out to do.  I decided to finally get to smashing potatoes.  I’m not talking mashed potatoes.  I really mean…smashed potatoes.  I served mine with a dipping sauce of Spinach & Artichoke Hummus.

For real.  And yeah…it was super delicious.

Recipe: Smashed Herbed Potatoes

Smashed Herbed Potatoes (with Spinach and Artichoke Hummus)
Smashed Herbed Potatoes (with Spinach and Artichoke Hummus)

Servings: 4-6
Time: Prep 30 minutes; Cook 25 minutes


12 fingerling potatoes (or other small potatoes, like new potatoes, etc.)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Rosemary (or other herbs of choice), to taste


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the potatoes to the water and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generally drizzle olive oil.  Place the tender potatoes on the cookie sheet, leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again.  Do this to all the potatoes.  Then, brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle the potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and freshly chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available).

Bake in a 450°F oven for 20-25 minutes until they are golden brown.




This is my new favorite way to eat potatoes.  For real.  I mean…packed with flavor.  The fresh herbs really draw out amazing flavors.  And dipping it into hummus was sheer genius.  Trust me.  This is one dish that is totally worth making.  It takes some time, but…you will be as addicted to these as I am.

I’m already wanting to make it again.  And thankfully, this week’s CSA bin is coming with fingerling potatoes.  Hmmm…

Get smashing and enjoy!

Restaurant Review: The Village Anchor, Anchorage, Kentucky

The Village Anchor, Anchorage, Kentucky
The Village Anchor, Anchorage, Kentucky

Restaurant: The Village Anchor, Anchorage, Kentucky

Twas the weekend before Christmas and my roommate and I were set to have our official Christmas dinner out at a local restaurant.  We started this tradition of a holiday meal a couple years back.  It gives me a break from the kitchen, which, no matter how much I love to cook, is always welcome, and gives us a great excuse to try out a restaurant we might not have picked otherwise.  It’s usually a little more upscale…a little pricier…but this only happens once a year.  The splurge is worth it.

This year, the roomie chose the restaurant.  It was one we had visited before, but never had the luxury of eating there.  I ran a short mile run there during the summer.  In fact, I never had set foot in the restaurant part, only the bar – The Sea Hag – prior to this visit.  We chose the earliest dinner seating available, as we knew this was going to be a crazy-busy weekend for dinners out.

The Village Anchor opened at 5 p.m.  We were actually there way ahead of schedule, so we took the opportunity to walk up and down the streets of Anchorage.  If you’ve never been to Anchorage, Kentucky…it’s gorgeous.  Go there and be awed.  It was even more beautiful as a lot of the homes and businesses were lit up and decorated for the holidays.  I love this time of year for that reason.

At 5 p.m. though, we were both starving and ready to get our meal on.  We stepped into the restaurant itself and were immediately greeted by a very friendly hostess.  I gave her my name, which the reservation was under, and she picked up a couple of menus and took us through the dining room, sitting us down at a quiet table not too far from the hearth.  And that fireplace had a nice fire going in it too.  It felt like the perfect winter’s night.

Our server, Alan, came over to introduce himself.  Our water glasses were filled and we were asked if we’d like anything else to drink.  We both decided to stick with water.  He said, “I noticed that we have a vegetarian with a gluten allergy…”  I raised my hand.  “That would be me!”  He gave me a very relaxing smile and said that the chef could do up a great roasted veggie plate for me as an entree.  He mentioned Brussels sprouts, asparagus…yeah…he won me over right there.

What this also indicated to me was that The Village Anchor pays attention to the reservations that are made through Open Table.  I have made reservations before for so many other places, but this was the first time my food allergies were ever addressed right away without me having to bring them up.  I raise a glass and give high kudos to The Village Anchor for this.  As always, I get a bit nervous when I try out somewhere new…but this really put my mind at ease and relaxed me for the rest of the meal.

The Village Anchor's Hummus Trio (top to bottom: Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño-Cilantro, Caramelized Onion-Chipotle) served with fresh veggies for dipping to make it gluten-free
The Village Anchor’s Hummus Trio (top to bottom: Roasted Garlic, Jalapeño-Cilantro, Caramelized Onion-Chipotle) served with fresh veggies for dipping to make it gluten-free

But…we weren’t just here for the entrées.  Like I said…this was our holiday meal.  And after just taking in a very light breakfast, followed by a movie…we were pretty much famished.  So, Cathy already knew she was going to try out a cup of the award-winning Elk Chili ($6.00) as her starter.  We inquired what might be a good option for me.  Alan said he would recommend the risotto, but it has soy sauce in it so it’s not safe for me.  I told him I’d be good with the fresh fruit…but he had other ideas.  He sure did.  And what I ended up getting for my starter was their Hummus Trio ($11.00), which came with fresh sliced vegetables instead of the pita and the grilled crostini.

The Hummus Trio is a plate that contains three different house-made blends of hummus: the roasted garlic, jalapeño-cilantro, and caramelized onion-chipotle.  As I said, my version came with sliced carrots, cucumbers, and red bell peppers.  SO good.  I thought the roasted garlic hummus was really rich.  I love roasted garlic…and blending it into the hummus gave it this nice flavor that went so well with the vegetables.  This one turned out to be Cathy’s favorite.  The jalapeño-cilantro was the next one I sampled.  I actually expected this one to be spicy…but it was actually rather mild.  Even Cathy thought so when she tried it…and we’re talking about a heat wimp here.  The flavors were great and I loved the freshness that came with each dip.  This one went really well on the carrots.  My personal favorite was the caramelized onion-chipotle hummus.  OH MY HUMMUS GODS!  I sampled this one ahead of Cathy and knew she’d be fanning her mouth.  While not super-hot…it did have a kick to it and a slow burn.  The caramelized onion was a brilliant addition, lending a little hint of sweetness to the hummus itself.  Needless to say…this met a very messy death.  If you love hummus, get this.  Just trust me!

It was now time for the entrée round.  As this was a pub, Cathy already knew what she was getting…Fish and Chips ($15.00).  Her meal also came with house-made tartar sauce and coleslaw.  She’s not a coleslaw person normally…but she ate the hell out of that coleslaw.  I might need to see if the kitchen will give me the recipe.  Red cabbage, raisins, and carrots…but it was the vinaigrette-like dressing that made it.  Yes…we asked if it was safe for me to try and after checking with the chef, Alan assured me it was.  It was really good.

The Village Anchor's Chef Creation - Roasted Veggie Plate
The Village Anchor’s Chef Creation – Roasted Veggie Plate

The chef got to play around with my dish and what I got was a vegetable plate masterpiece.  Perfectly seasoned, perfectly roasted, perfectly perfect vegetables.  And what a variety as well.  My Roasted Veggie Plate ($16.00) came complete with roasted potatoes, roasted asparagus, roasted Brussels sprouts, and some sauteed spinach that was cooked with garlic and red onion, topped off with tomatoes.  It was AMAZING!!  I love that the chef included potatoes as well for something more filling.  They were cooked to perfection and seasoned with some fresh herbs.  Carby goodness.  Yum!  The asparagus was really done well.  It still had a bit of crunch to it, without being raw.  I loved the depth of flavor that were drawn from these.  The spinach and the Brussels sprouts were my two favorite things on that plate though.  The spinach was wilted and cooked to absolute perfection.  I loved the hint of garlic, the bite the red onion gave it, and the sweetness of the red tomatoes.  I was in heaven.  And the Brussels sprouts were roasted to perfection.  No burned edges…just flavor and lots of it.  I was beyond impressed with this meal.  Here I was expecting to get stuck, once again, with a salad.  But The Village Anchor totally made my night!!  They definitely went above and beyond for me.

With this being a holiday celebration…we managed to save a little room for dessert.  The special that night, in honor of the holidays, was a Cranberry Crème Brûlée.  Now, more often than not, the crème brûlée is a safe choice for the gluten-free…but I wanted to be certain.  Alan was prepared for this and said that he would check with the chef.  He returned a few moments later with the word – the Cranberry Crème Brûlée was gluten-free…the only other things on their menu that are gluten-free is the ice cream, which is provided by The Comfy Cow.  I get Comfy Cow ice cream a lot…so I decided to give the Cranberry Crème Brûlée ($11.00) a try.  It even came with a cinnamon whipped cream.  It sounded delicious.  Cathy opted for the Granny Smith Apple Crisp, à la mode ($8.00).

When our desserts arrived I was just so happy to be able to enjoy a dessert while eating out at a restaurant.  Thrilled.  And my Cranberry Crème Brûlée looked beyond amazing.  I was ready to dig in…and had to do the thing where I crack the caramelized sugar on top.  It shattered and through the custard, I spotted the red cranberries at the bottom.  One bite…I was in dessert heaven.  SO good.  And that spiced cream that was served with it definitely complimented the holiday flavors and added this little hint of spice and warmth to the dish.  I polished it off…and was definitely full.  But pleasantly so.

Holiday meals are supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable.  The Village Anchor not only had a fantastic, cozy dining area, but the food was amazing.  The staff was more than prepared to work around my food allergies.  And they didn’t act like I was an inconvenience either.  I love that the chef prepared a dish specifically for me…taking care to make it beautiful to look at and delicious to eat.  Both Cathy and I were beyond impressed with The Village Anchor.

You better believe we’ll be coming back for more in the very near future.  My hat is off to the staff, the kitchen, and the owners of this fine restaurant just outside of Louisville, Kentucky.  I was immediately made to feel at ease about my food and knew that I was in good hands.  They didn’t disappoint.  And now…I’m spreading the word as much as I can.  Local places are always worth checking out – but this one is something special.  This one is a keeper!

The Village Anchor's Cranberry Creme Brule
The Village Anchor’s Cranberry Crème Brûlée


Gluten-free sandwich making a work of at in Erie, Pennsylvania at Picasso’s

Picasso's, Erie, Pennsylvania
Picasso’s, Erie, Pennsylvania

Restaurant: Picasso’s, Erie, Pennsylvania

I can only survive so long on protein bars, bananas, Greek yogurt, and ice cream.  Although if I could live forever on ice cream, I’d probably do that.  But, alas…it is not possible.

And when hitting the road, it’s not easy for me to just grab fast food.  I mean…I’m a gluten-free vegetarian.  That more than limits the field of places I truly can eat.  And eat safely for that matter.  After visiting my home town, as brief as it was, and driving back toward Columbus, Ohio…my partners in crime and I figured we best find somewhere to grab some actual food for dinner.  We were all basically living off the snacks and ice cream we consumed earlier in the day.  I consulted my Find Me Gluten Free app for the cities we would be passing through, and the one with the most options was also the furthest one away.

Erie, Pennsylvania.

After listing off what the app directed us toward, the three of us decided that sandwiches sounded really, really good.  And the app was having us head toward Picasso’s.  Picasso’s is Erie, Pennsylvania’s first and only truly gourmet sandwich shop.  Their sandwiches range from one that has Twinkies on it with cheese and ham, to vegetarian offerings.  The kicker, however, was that they offered gluten-free bread.  YES!!  We attempted to find the place on our own, but soon enlisted the help of the GPS on my phone.  And Jenn and I spotted it just outside the ring road that circled the mall there in Erie.  We directed Cathy up that way and eagerly got out of the car.  Because, yes…we were hungry and ready to eat!

Upon stepping inside the place, I already liked the vibe.  The lady behind the counter was very friendly and very nice.  She greeted us immediately and we said we were traveling from out of town…and that I was a Celiac.  She assured me that they change gloves and take special precautions to prevent cross-contamination.  THEY KNEW WHAT CROSS CONTAMINATION WAS!!  I felt better about this already.  The difficult part now was deciding on what sandwiches to order.  After all, these would see us from Erie all the way back to Columbus, Ohio.

After some menu perusal, we all came to our decisions.

Cathy went with Raphael, which consisted of cheese ravioli, baby spinach and mozzarella cheese on sourdough bread ($6.99).  Jenn went with The Thinker, which basically has the customer choose three cheeses.  I can’t remember exactly what she went with, but I believe it was provolone, mozzarella, and the cheese ravioli ($5.49).  Yes…cheese ravioli is considered cheese there at Picasso’s.  You gotta love that.  And, honestly, where else have you ever seen ravioli on a sandwich?  It was an interesting concept and one that intrigued both of them.

My table art at Picasso's
My table art at Picasso’s

As for me…I went with the Gluten-Free Venus De Milo ($8.49 – $6.49 sandwich with a $2.00 up-charge for gluten-free).  My sandwich consisted of hummus, onion, shredded carrots, baby spinach, muffalata, tomato, avocado and roasted red pepper mayo on Schär gluten-free bread.  Instead of going into a panini press like Cathy and Jenn’s sandwiches, mine was toasted and cooked to perfection in an oven…definitely eliminating the possibility of cross-contamination.  They changed gloves and made my sandwich first, before working on my friends.  I appreciated everything they were doing to ensure I would not get sick from eating there.

We took a seat with our drinks to wait for our food.  What is really awesome is that the tables are painted black and on each one is a little metal bucket that contained sidewalk chalk.  See where this is headed?  While waiting on food, customers can make some art on these tables, draw, write, play games…whatever.  It’s a fun little concept and the three of us put our artistic (or lack thereof) skills to work.  Cathy drew what we call a “anorexic Thor” which got us laughing for a good long while.

But soon, food was arriving.  Jenn’s sandwich first.  Then Cathy’s.  As mine was being toasted in an oven, it was taking a little longer.  I told Cathy and Jenn to go ahead and eat their sandwiches while they were still warm.  Both of them unwrapped their food and began to nosh.  And just after their initial bites, my sandwich arrived, wrapped and ready for me to eat.

I can’t speak for them, but both Cathy and Jenn were quite impressed with how well ravioli on a sandwich worked.  Why we never thought of this before…is way beyond me!  These sandwiches must have been good because all three of us have been lamenting not having a Picasso’s near us.  Sadness.

My Gluten-Free Venus De Milo Sandwich (wrapped)
My Gluten-Free Venus De Milo Sandwich (wrapped)

As for my sandwich…well, to start…this was my first time having Schär’s sandwich bread.  And it was awesome.  Seriously.  With gluten-free bread, you either get the ones that hold up or the ones that fall apart.  This sandwich was loaded down with veggies as well as hummus and red pepper mayo.  So…this had the potential to be very, very messy.  But…it was a light golden color and held together, even with all the fillings and toppings and general awesomesauce stuffed in between.  The muffalata was a bit scary…because I dislike olives.  But…I went with it.  I braved it.  I figured it all had to come together somehow.  And just like any work of art…it all did.  The onions, the tomato, the carrots, the baby spinach, the avocado, the hummus, the olives, the red pepper mayo…it made for the perfect bite…every time.  In fact, when I’d drip mayo out with some of the filling, I’d scoop it up and devour that too.  That is how much I was enjoying this sandwich.  It was savory, and sweet, and just A-MAZ-ING!!  Seriously, I keep wanting to attempt to recreate it…along with what Jenn and Cathy had.  I just know it wouldn’t live up to what we were served there at Picasso’s.  Sandwich perfection.  Truly.  A masterpiece between two pieces of (gluten-free) bread.

I only wish there were more of these throughout the country…like in Louisville or Columbus.  You know…where we live and all.  We still crave another sandwich from there, which means they are doing something completely right.  I loved the off-beat combinations that made up their sandwiches.  And every sandwich was named after either an artist or a work of art.  Like I said…the concept of this gourmet sandwich shop was fantastic.  The fact that the food lived up to the concept was even better.

I encourage you, if you happen to be traveling through Erie, Pennsylvania, to stop in for a bite to eat at Picasso’s.  The art of food, specifically sandwich crafting, is alive and well…and done to perfection.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.  Choose something you’d never dream of finding anywhere else.  I promise, you’ll want to go back for more.

Picasso's Gluten-Free Venus De Milo Sandwich
Picasso’s Gluten-Free Venus De Milo Sandwich

Recipe: Quin-y (Quinoa) Bean-y Lettuce Wraps

So, my CSA bin this week contained a beautiful bunch of very large, amazing romaine lettuce leaves.  Immediately, the first thing I thought of to do with it was make lettuce wraps.  They are simple, tasty, and low carb.  And, you can literally put anything you want to inside of them.  Pack them with your favorite foods, roll them up, enjoy.

As I’m attempting to use up the fresh produce in my fridge before my upcoming trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania for the Hershey Half Marathon, I had plenty of options to choose from.  What I ended up doing was cooking up some quinoa (a pantry staple in my kitchen), tossing it with some beans, green chilies, and roasted red peppers, giving it a dusting with vegan cheese, and viola…lettuce wrap perfection.  My actual recipe follows…

Recipe: Quin-y (Quinoa) Bean-y Lettuce Wraps

Quin-y Bean-y Lettuce Wraps
Quin-y Bean-y Lettuce Wraps

Servings: 2
Time: Prep 5 minutes; Cook 15 minutes


  • 6 large romaine lettuce leaves
  • 2 Wild Garden Traditional Hummus On-The-Go pack (1.76 ounces each) (…or your favorite hummus)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, dry (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/4 cup organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green chiles (I used Ortega Fire Roasted Diced Green Chiles)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup cheddar cheese (I used Cheddar Flavor Rice Shreds)


Cook quinoa according to package directions.

While the quinoa is cooking, rinse and dry romaine lettuce leaves.  Spread hummus over each leaf and sprinkle with red onion.

When quinoa is cooked, remove lid from pot and add black beans, roasted red pepper, and the green chilies.  Stir.  Cover and allow to steam to heat through.  Remove from heat.

Spoon quinoa mixture into each leaf.  Top off with cheese.  Fold romaine lettuce around the filling.



These were really delicious.  My roommate even asked if we could have them again tonight.  And that is definitely the plan.  Not only are they easy to make and assemble, but they are full of flavor, low carb, high in protein, and just delicious.  As I like a little zing to mine, I added a splash of Cholula Hot Sauce to mine.

Looking for an easy meal to prepare without a lot of hassle and that’s not high in carbs or calories…give these a try.  Fill them with whatever you have on hand…or give my own recipe a try.  I’m totally looking forward to dinner tonight!

Recipe: Gluten-Free and Vegan Mediterranean Pizza

Okay…I’ve become addicted to using hummus as the “saucy” part of a pizza.  I admit it.  Why?  Because it challenges me to come up with flavors that will pair well with it.  After my use of it yesterday on my version of a Tostada Pizza…I was ready to take on a new challenge.  And that’s exactly what I did.

Tonight, I created a version of a Mediterranean Pizza…once again utilizing hummus as the base and building the flavors on that.  Tonight’s result turned out to be one of my favorite pizzas that I have created to date.  I only wish I had a much more clever name for it.  But…that can always change.

There is some prep involved in this, but I promise…all the roasting, toasting, and caramelizing is worth it in the end!

Recipe: Gluten-Free and Vegan Mediterranean Pizza

Gluten-Free & Vegan Mediterranean Pizza
Gluten-Free & Vegan Mediterranean Pizza

Servings: 4 – 12 (depending on the size crust you use)
Time: Prep 40 minutes; Cook 15


  • 1 Pizza crust (either homemade or store-bought) (I used Rustic Crust Gluten-Free Napoli Herb Crust)
  • Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted
  • 6 organic plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 ounces (more if you are doing a larger pizza) goat cheese
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese (I used mozzarella flavor rice shreds)
  • 1 cup chopped spring mix lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons (more if your pizza is larger) toasted pine nuts



Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Wash the red bell pepper and place on a cookie sheet.  Roast in the oven, turning every 15 minutes, until done (about 30 minutes).  Place roasted peppers in a covered bowl or brown paper bag to make the skin easier to peel.  Once the peppers have cooled, carefully peel off the blackened skin and discard.  Pull or cut off the top of the pepper and squeeze gently to remove the seeds.  You can do this ahead of time, slice the peppers, and then keep in the refrigerator until you need to use them.

Once your peppers are out of the oven and chopped, dust your pizza stone with cornmeal and place in the oven to preheat.  If you are using a pizza pan, you do not need to do this.

Caramelize your red onion.  Slice your onions into half-rounds and place in a hot pan with olive oil.  Cook the onions over medium low heat, stirring every couple of minutes.  Adjust the heat so that they merely sizzle and continue to cook on medium-low to low heat, stirring, until the onions are soft and anywhere from honey-colored to deep brown, depending on how caramelized you like them.

While the onions are caramelizing, get out a small skillet and place over medium-low heat.  Pour in your pine nuts and shake the pan until the nuts are a golden brown.  Take off the heat and set aside.

Remove your pizza stone from the oven (or prep your pizza pan).  If you made your own pizza dough, cook it as you normally would, then remove to add the toppings.  If you are using a store-bought crust, simply place the crust in the center of the stone or pan.

Spread a layer of Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus across the crust.  Next, sprinkle the pizza with the caramelized onions.  Add the slices of plum tomato.  Then scatter your chopped roasted red pepper over the pizza.

Using your fingers, break apart the goat cheese and carefully drop small pieces of it around the pizza surface over the vegetables.  Add as much as you like.  Then, give a light dusting of mozzarella cheese to the pizza.

Place in the oven and cook the pizza for 8 – 10 minutes, allowing the crust to turn golden and the cheese to melt.  Remove from the oven and scatter chopped mixed lettuce greens over the top.

Next, drop toasted pine nuts over the top of the pizza and place back in the oven for 1 minute more, allowing the greens to just wilt.

Remove from oven, slice, enjoy.


Whew.  Like I said…the prep work that goes into this particular pizza can be quite daunting, but honestly, so much of it can be done ahead of time, or while something else is going on the stove or heating in the oven.  Chopping the vegetables is easy

The result, however, is a bold, delicious pizza with an amazing crisp crust.  The hummus creates a rich base that pairs beautifully with the roasted, toasted, and caramelized flavors of the toppings to this pizza.  I added the pine nuts for a bit of texture and they were a fantastic addition in the end.  It was my first time ever using pine nuts and now I can’t wait to try something else with them in it.

Looking for a different sort of pizza to serve on pizza night?  Try a blend of Mediterranean flavors that is sure to impress your taste buds and your dinner companions.

Wildly enthusiastic over Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Product: Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus – $3.49+

Mmmmm…one of life’s greatest treats is the healthy, delicious, creamy treat of really good hummus.  Honestly.  What’s better to top off a cracker or dip fresh vegetables in?  It’s a far healthier choice than fat-laden creamy dips.  And what’s even better is when you find one that really has a great flavor to it and a creamy texture to match.

That’s what Wild Garden does best when it comes to their hummus.  While I’ve often had the Traditional variety (in those handy Go Picnic meals), this was the first time I’ve ever had the Sun-Dried Tomato variety of hummus.  Needless to say…I wasn’t disappointed at all.

The Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus has an orange-red hue to it…not the standard tan that you normally associate with hummus.  Its ingredients are all-natural with no preservatives  and no trans-fats.  The varieties (they have six of them) are all vegan and gluten-free.  This particular variety is made simply with a blend of chickpeas, sesame paste, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, sea salt, natural spices, and citric acid.  Anything on there you don’t recognize?  I know what each and every one of those ingredients are.  Love that.

The Sun-Dried Tomato hummus has a nice, rich tomato flavor to it.  It doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a hummus, but the change in the flavor is a welcome one.

A tetra deli pack of Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
A tetra deli pack of Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

I actually used a pack of the Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato as a base for my gluten-free pizza tonight.  With the other flavors I was adding, I felt it would work better than a tomato sauce.  While I could have done a white pizza, I totally thought hummus would provide not only a good base for the ingredients, but also a nice protein hit.

I absolutely love how it worked with my caramelized onion, roasted red peppers, slices of tomato, and goat cheese.  The flavors just blended perfectly together.  That was another great thing about Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus – it didn’t detract from the other parts of the pizza.  It complimented without overpowering.  And that…is a great thing.

This dip is crazy-good.  Very creamy and rich.  And Wild Garden makes this specific flavor in little on-the-go pouches that means you can take them with you anywhere.  I happened to pick up a box of these while out at my natural food store awhile back and I’m finally finding some ways to use them.  Of course…my gluten-free crackers and veggies are always available as well.

I’m quite happy with Wild Garden and the products that it puts out.  Their hummus is killer.  Seriously.  I could eat it all and not feel bad about it.  The little on-the-go pouches have only 63 calories and 3 grams of fat.  The best part…the whopping 6 grams of protein that each pouch provides.  As an athlete who is a vegetarian…protein is very, very important to my diet and I seek out ways to get the amount I need.  This is a fantastic, not to mention, tasty option!

If you love hummus, I encourage you to try the varieties offered by Wild Garden.  Check your local grocery store or natural foods store.  Even my non-hummus-loving roommate can’t get enough.  I’d definitely call that a win!

My take on a Mediterranean Pizza  (using Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus as a base)
My take on a Mediterranean Pizza (using Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus as a base)

Wild about Wild Garden Traditional Hummus

Wild Garden Traditional Hummus
Wild Garden Traditional Hummus

Product: Wild Garden Traditional Hummus – $3.49+

This is one of the best inventions I have ever come across when it comes to simple, on-the-go food stuffs.  Hummus-To-Go squeeze packs from Wild Garden.  I spotted these at my local natural food store on a shelf and knew I had to try them.  So, I bought them.  And, then despite the plethora of gluten-free crackers in my pantry and closet…they have just sat there.

Rest assured though…I know this is a good product.  You know those amazing Go Picnic meals?  Well, the hummus and cracker variety of Go Picnic includes a Hummus-To-Go pack by Wild Garden.  And I devour my Go Picnic meals on a regular basis as I am usually on the go and this is far cheaper and less of a hassle for me to eat on the road than trying to find somewhere that can cater to my dietary needs.

So, while I have used the Wild Garden Hummus packs before…this was the first time I have used it in a way that is not the traditional way to eat hummus.

You see…I have gluten-free pizza crusts.  Are you following me yet?  Well…these gluten-free pizza crusts were sitting in my pantry and nearing their expiration date.  So, tonight after a morning of hard cardio at the gym, a day at the office, and then an evening 5 mile run, I was starving.  I also had received a beautiful pizza stone for my birthday last month from my dearest friend Judi, and I was ready to test it out.  So, after sprinkling it with some corn meal and setting it in the oven to heat up…I got busy on the pizza.

Not just any pizza though.  A take on my mom’s famous Tostada Pizza that I grew up eating.  Of course, in the years that have passed since I lived at home, I have not only become a vegetarian, but I also had to begin eating gluten-free.  So…this meant a few changes had to be made to the original recipe.  Instead of ground meat and taco seasoning, I opted for Trader Joe’s vegan and gluten-free soy chorizo.  This eliminated the meat portion of the dish and I didn’t need to invest in taco seasoning either.  The other change I made was that instead of refried beans (not all are gluten-free!), I used Wild Garden Traditional Hummus instead.  The rest of the recipe remained the same as how my mom made it.

So…while the pizza stone heated and seasoned in the oven, I took a gluten-free pizza crust (Rustic Crust, if you are curious) and spread one packet of the Wild Garden Traditional Hummus across the top of it.  Then, I topped it with some of the Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo and some green chilies.  Once the stone was warm, the pizza crust was place don top of it and cooked for about 8 minutes.  The edges were turning a beautiful golden color when I removed it.  The next thing I did was add some chopped onion, some tomato, and my vegan cheddar shreds to the top.  The stone went back into the oven for 2 minutes.  Once more out of the oven to finish it off with some organic spring mix lettuce that I chopped up.  One more minute in the oven and…viola!  A fantastic Tostada Pizza…vegan and gluten-free style!

Of course…the entire point of this blog was not to give a recipe, but share my thoughts on the Wild Garden Traditional Hummus.  Well…what can I say?  It worked beautifully in place of the refried beans.  Honestly.  It was the right creamy texture…but definitely a lot healthier and a lot tastier, in my opinion.  It served as the perfect base for the pizza (the sauce, if you will).  Paired with the rest of the ingredients, it all just meshed really well.  I was quite pleased with it as I wasn’t sure how baking it on a pizza crust was going to work out.

A tetra deli pack of Wild Garden Traditional Hummus
A tetra deli pack of Wild Garden Traditional Hummus

Wild Garden Traditional Hummus is simply made from chickpeas, sesame paste, water, sea salt, natural spices, and citric acid.   It is naturally gluten-free, vegan, kosher, and low carb.  This brand of hummus has no GMO’s, no preservatives, no hydrogenated oils, and no trans fatty acids.  In addition, they are shelf-stable until opened and so good for you.  Rich and creamy with a mild flavor, these hummus varieties won’t take away from the food you are pairing with them.

I found the texture and taste to be preferable to the refried beans in the original recipe.  It paired well with the spicy hit from the soy chorizo and green chilies.  And the vegetables were a shoe-in for paring with hummus.  Not only are Wild Garden Hummus varieties great for dipping foods or topping off crackers…but it looks like they make a fantastic base for a pizza as well.

If you are wild about hummus and want to taste one that is packed with flavor and loaded without all the preservatives and additives, Wild Garden Hummus is for you.  I found the Traditional to be a fantastic, mild, creamy flavor that left me feeling satisfied and raving over the taste.  Wild Garden offers six flavors of their hummus, although not are all available in the to-go packs.

Whether eating at home, needing a snack, or on-the-go…pack some Wild Garden Traditional Hummus.  Pack in the protein, the nutrients, and the goodness of hummus done right.

And eat it in whatever way you can dream up…imagine…or crave.

Gluten-Free and Vegan Tostada Pizza (using Wild Garden Traditional Hummus as a base)
Gluten-Free and Vegan Tostada Pizza (using Wild Garden Traditional Hummus as a base)