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Natural: Back to School Lunch and Snack Ideas

by evh on August 20, 2014

chickpeasThis week I am talking a lot about back to school because well, it’s that time of year again folks. Parents across the land are singing in the aisles of school supplies at their local stores and rejoicing in the thought of back to a routine for their kids. Recently, I was invited to the Natural Epicurean Academy to take a class on healthy and natural back to school eating taught by the lovely Chef Rachel Zierzow. The majority of the class was made up of parents looking to expand their lunch box packing repertoire but there were also a few wanting to learn just how to pack a good, healthy, not sad or boring lunch for themselves. Chef Rachel talked about ways to add more flavor into dishes but not over power them, so they can be crowd-pleasing aka kid-friendly in this case. We were exposed to using things like; Wakame Flakes, Nori, Kanten, Agar Flakes, Dulse, and Kombu –– all varieties of sea vegetables with healthy properties. We also got the chance to taste and use coconut palm sugar and brown rice syrup for sweetening up a few dishes, yum.

Together the class, along with Chef Rachel and her wonderful crew, made a wide variety of dishes from main course items to snacks to even a dessert. I loved the thought of adding in natural sea vegetables to most of these dish ideas for more flavor and health benefits.

Our menu  consisted of:

carrot_hummus

Roasted Carrot & White Bean Hummus with Vegetables –– Carrots IN the hummus –– Yes!

kale_chips

Dulse Flake Kale Chips –– I have never used Dulse Flakes before, have you? They added a lot of flavor, are high in iodine and B12.

spring_rollsSpring Rolls with Almond Butter Dipping Sauce –– we learned a great tip: instead of soaking the rice papers, simply run them under warm water for a few seconds. They will continue to soften as you piece the roll together. This Almond Butter Dipping Sauce was addicting-ly good.

sweet_potatoes

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries –– always a winner in our house.

Sesame_Wakame_Crunch_bars

Sesame Wakame Crunch Bars –– sweet, gooey and crunchy.

chickpeas

These are so delicious and I think I could eat this whole bowl by myself.

berry_jello

Mixed Berry Kanten –– this was one of my favorite things to learn about. The fruits can change seasonally and the Kanten is a natural sea vegetable (aka agar flakes) that works like gelatin only quicker and healthier. My kids LOVED this one!

Tamari Roasted Chickpeas by Chef Rachel Zierzow
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Servings Prep Time
2 cups 5 minutes
Cook Time
25-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 cups 5 minutes
Cook Time
25-40 minutes
Tamari Roasted Chickpeas by Chef Rachel Zierzow
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 cups 5 minutes
Cook Time
25-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 cups 5 minutes
Cook Time
25-40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or brown rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1 pinch sea salt (Rachel uses Solar Dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon agave or maple syrup
  • 1 pinch cayenne powder
Servings: cups
Units:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On the baking sheet add all of the ingredients and toss together to combine.
  2. Bake for 25 minutes, tossing the chickpeas once or twice during the process. Bake until the lemon juice and the tamari are absorbed. Chickpeas will be tender, not crunchy. For crunchy bake for another 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool and serve.
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Mixed Berry Kanten by Chef Rachel Zierzow
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Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Mixed Berry Kanten by Chef Rachel Zierzow
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
15-20 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 quart organic apple juice or 1/2 juice and 1/2 water
  • 1 pinch sea salt Rachel uses solar dried
  • 4 Tablespoons kanten or agar flakes
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh grapes sliced
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Place apple juice, salt and agar flakes into a pot. Give a gentle stir and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently for 5-10 minutes. Reduce flame and let simmer until all of the agar flakes are dissolved.
  2. Place berries and grapes into a mold. Pour liquid over berries. Refrigerate until jellied -- about 1 hour. When Kanten is firm, serve.
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Chef Rachel also recommend simply blanching a bunch of vegetables to have on hand during the week. Sprinkle them with some brown rice vinegar and pack them into everyone’s lunch sack.

The Natural Epicurean offers classes to the general public as well as a full professional culinary academy experience.

Natural Epicurean

1700 South Lamar

Austin, TX 78704

512-476-2276

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