From the CCL Kitchen

Our chef, Katie Nichols, does a lovely job of including plant based entrees and snacks as part of dining experience at the Center for Creative Leadership. Participants often ask for the recipes.  Here are some of the stapel offerings. Note these receipes have been scaled down from larger ones so they might need to be tweaked a bit.

Nut Hummus Cake

2 cups of nuts (your choice, almonds, walnut, pistachios, or cashew)

2 TBL dried parsley

2-3 cloves of garlic (more is always better, i think)

1 tsp Sriracha

3 cups of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (save the garbanzo water)

1 lemon, zested and jiced

1/4 cup olive oil (or some of the garbanzo juice if you ready to give up oil)

salt and pepper to taste


In a food processor place nuts and pluse until meal is achieved, then place in bowl with dried parsley. In a food processor place garlic, beans, lemon zest and juice. Let processor run while slowly adding the oil (or garbanzo water) scraping down the side as needed. You are looking for a thick paste consistency. Add salt and pepper and let processor run until incorporated. Add hummus mixture to the nut mixture in the bowl. If mixture is too dry add a small amount of oil or water until it stays well together. If too wet add more nut meal. Form into cakes and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Sweet Potato Cous Cous Cake with Balsamic Caramelized Onions

3 whole sweet potatoes, peeled, diced

½ cup Israeli cous cous, cooked

½ cup candied or regular walnuts, ground

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ginger

¼ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

2-4 tbsp parsley flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or broth instead of oil)

3 whole sweet onion, peeled, sliced

2 tbsp brown sugar

¼- ½ cup balsamic vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water until done. Place in a bowl and mash with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, garlic, onion, and parsley. Add cooked cous cous and ground walnuts. On parchment paper using a biscuit cutter, pat mixture into the cutter and lift cutter up creating a cake. Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until cakes are a golden brown.

For Onions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add half of onions, cook down slightly then add the other half. (You can add them all at once but it might be difficult to stir until they cook down some, depending on the size of your skillet). Season with salt & pepper. If you have a cover for your skillet you can cover it for a little while and it will cause the onions to sweat cooking them faster.

Once onions are cooked down slightly (enough that you can stir them all in the skillet without any going overboard) add sugar and stir gently. Add balsamic and stir again. Reduce heat to low and slowly cook onions, stirring occasionally, for an hour or so. Vinegar will reduce and coat onions.

Chipotle Potato Kale Soup

Wednesday lunch is my favorite lunch at CCL. Why? Because we always get this soup.

1 medium to large Onion, diced

2 tsp. Garlic

1 tsp Thyme, dried

1-2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or soup stock, you won't miss the oil, I promise)

1 Chipotle Pepper, diced (we use the kind that is canned in adobe sauce)

1 – 28oz can diced Tomatoes

2-3 cups Potatoes, diced

2-3 quarts Vegetable Stock

2 bunches Kale, deveined, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Sauté onions, garlic, and thyme in soup stock or water until translucent. Add tomatoes and stock, bring to a boil, add potatoes, reduce heat to simmer until potatoes are cooked. You can do the kale two different ways. The first is to add it to the soup and let it cook or you can add it right before you serve the soup and it will wilt.

Overnight Oats

This is great for a grab and go breakfast if you have 5 minutes the night before to put it together.  Heck you could probably do a few of jars at a time.

1/2 cup rolled, steelcut or quick oats

1/2 cup plant-based milk (soy, almond or whatever floats your boat)

1/4 cup water

1/2 Tsp chia seed

1/2 Tsp ground flax seed

1/4 Tsp cinnamon

dash of vanilla extract

1 Tbl ground dates (date sugar) or chopped dates. (1/4 cup raisons would also do the trick)

Place all the ingredients in a sealable jar (a 12 or 16 oz mason or canning jar works well, but any container that seals well will work) and shake or stir well.  Place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning you can add fresh fruit or nuts. You can also add frozen fruit the night before (you can also add the nuts as well) if you truly want to just grab and go. For other ideas google, overnight oats.

Sweet Potato and Kale Chick Pea Frittata

This is another Katie Nichols creation and client favorite. Perfect for that Sunday brunch and pretty healthy to boot.

1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 tsp garlic, minced

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 cup water

1 bunch kale, deveined and shredded

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 ½ cups chickpea flour

3 cups water

2 TBL lemon jice

2 tsp honey

3/4 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2-3 tablespoons sriracha (less if you want it less spicy)

salsa (optional)

In a 10-inch cast iron pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté onion and garlic (or sauté with soup stock if you don't want to use the oil). Add sweet potatoes and sauté for 5-8 minutes. If the pan starts to get to dry add water as needed as this will help steam the sweet potatoes. While the sweet potatoes are cooking in a separate bowl combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil with chickpea flour, water and all the spices. Whisk until all ingredients are combine. Once the sweet potatoes are fork tender add the kale to wilt it. Once the kale is wilted, take off the heat and pour the chickpea flour mixture into the cast iron skillet. Place in a 350⁰ for 30-45 minutes until the middle is set up and the top is golden brown. Top with salsa if desired.

Gluten Free Muffins

These are served as part of our morning snack offerings.

3 c. Oats

1 c. Granola

2 Tbsp. Baking Powder

1 Tbsp. Baking soda

1 Tbsp. Cinnamon

1 c. Applesauce

1 c. non-dairy Yogurt

1/4 c. dark brown sugar or date sugar (healthiest one out there)

1/3 c. Honey or less if you like it less sweet

1/2 c. Fresh Blueberries or raspberries

Add all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Place in muffin tin, (can be big or small muffin pan). Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Serves 10-12 for big muffin pan/24 small 1 ounce.