Friendly Food Snobs

summer chimichurri

Summer weather is in full swing here in Toronto. Trips to the island, the beach and long, gorgeous days. My herb garden is blooming and chimichurri this is the perfect dip to make with fresh basil and cilantro.

Okay truth, I am terrible at growing cilantro, so that is store bought! But my basil growing skills are on point.

Bright green, aromatic and delicious, my family loves this chimichurri drizzled over roasted potatoes, oven fries, grilled steak or chicken as well as eggs. It’s also delicious blended with a bit of mayonnaise and used as a sandwich spread.

The chimichurri is simple to make. Just toss everything in the blender, let is sit in the fridge for an hour or so to left the flavours blend and enjoy. Be sure to use both the stems and leaves from the herbs, as it all get blended up.


  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey/maple syrup
  • pinch chili flakes
  • 1 tsp dried mint/dried oregano

Pour the oil and vinegar in your blender. Add remaining ingredients, and blitz until almost smooth. Freezes well too. Can be kept in the fridge for up to five days.

Spanish inspired chicken thighs

Summer is beginning to peak through here in Toronto. Birds chirping in the morning and longer sunny days. These chicken thighs are easy to throw together for a weeknight supper that feels special. My husband and kids devour these, even my youngest son Dashel who can be picky!

The spices are simple – paprika, thyme and oregano, and one red onion and one red pepper that caramelize in a hot oven with the juicy boneless chicken thighs.

I serve this for dinner with rice or a simple salad. The next day, I chop up the leftovers and scoop them into warm corn tortillas with avocado and lime for lunch.

Don’t skip the addition of the red wine vinegar (balsamic would work too) in the last bit of cooking, it really adds a lot of flavour and helps you flip the chicken.


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 red pepper chopped into large chunks
  • 1 red onion peeled and quartered
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Use a paper towel to pat the chicken thighs dry. Mix the salt and pepper and spices in small bowl. Pour the olive oil into an oven safe dish – I love to use a cast iron pan. Layer the chicken thighs in the pan and sprinkle half of the seasoning. Flip the chicken over and sprinkle the remaining seasoning. Tuck the red onion and pepper around the chicken. Bake for 40 minutes, remove from oven and drizzle the red wine vinegar over the chicken. Flip the chicken thighs over and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes until brown and crispy. Enjoy!

Buckwheat Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

The perfect November cookie to see you through until holiday baking. Crispy on the outside, with enough dark chocolate to satisfy. I love the nutty flavour tahini brings (1/3 cup so not overpowering).

I began baking with buckwheat flour since being gluten intolerant after having my second son, Dash. I often substitute a 1/4 cup of buckwheat flour in place of regular flour in pancakes or muffins. As with most gluten free flours, once open, store in the fridge. Bob’s Red Mill GF buckwheat flour is my favourite as it’s ground quite fine. Hope you love these as much as we do. Recipe makes 12 large cookies (or 24 small).

Tahini Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1/2 cup salted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup gluten free baking flour or all purpose white flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) 70% dark chocolate bar coarsely chopped or 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • Additions: extra chocolate to top each cookie before baking and flaky salt for sprinkling

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl combine the room temperature butter, tahini and maple syrup using a spatula until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Sprinkle the remaining dry ingredients, adding the dark chocolate last.

Using a teaspoon scoop small balls onto the baking sheet. They will flatten and spread as they bake. Top with an extra chunk of chocolate – I love the way this looks!

Bake for 15-17 minutes until bottoms are lightly brown. Cookies will firm up as they cool. Sprinkle with salt if using. (I like the salty addition, my husband and kids prefer without.)

Cookies freeze well too. Pop me a comment or tag me @rachelbarbaro if you make these. Happy holiday baking!

blueberry lemon zest baked oatmeal

It’s July and summer is in full swing. After a so many months of having the kids home, I find we are now rushing to get out the door! What a shift. I started making this blueberry lemon zest baked oatmeal once a week for a quick weekday breakfast, or an afternoon snack (for me with a hot cup of tea) and it’s delicious, filling and gluten free. I also love that this is one bowl, because who needs another bowl to clean?

The blueberry lemon zest combination is a classic for a reason. This baked oatmeal leaves me feeling full and the ingredients are good – I use gluten free large oats and only sweeten with a little maple syrup.

You can have fun with the combinations. I did fresh raspberries (instead of blueberries) with sliced almonds on top. Later this summer I want to try zucchini with walnuts (if I can get any zucchinis from my garden before the squirrels!) and maybe peanut butter, mashed banana with chocolate chips for upcoming road trips.

Recipe makes 9 large squares or 12 small ones. Be sure to let the baked oatmeal cool completely before you cut it.


  • 2 cups large oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup almond milk (dairy works too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (1/3 cup if you want sweeter)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • zest of one large lemon (equal to 1 tsp)
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8×8 or 9×9 pan with non stick spray, butter or coconut oil. Combine eggs, milk, vanilla, syrup, oil and apples sauce. Sprinkled over the dry ingredients, adding the zest and blueberries last. Pour into the greased pan and bake for 35 minutes, checking to make sure the center is set and not wobbly. Let cool for one hour and dive in. Stores well in the fridge for up to one week. Hope you love it!

gluten free sweet potato muffins

Hi friends. Toronto is in our third lockdown as I type and baking healthy treats is bringing me a lot of joy at the moment.

Enter these gluten free muffins made with sweet potato. Perfect for chilly spring mornings with a mug of something hot.  The texture is fluffy and you can’t even tell they’re gluten free.

I make these two ways by varying the add ins. The first version is stirring in pepita seeds and dark chocolate chips which my kids love. And the other version is with just chopped walnuts – my fave.

Recipe makes 12 muffins.

1 cup baked sweet potato (or baked squash)
1 cup all purpose flour or gluten-free flour (I love Bob’s Red Mill cup for cup)
3/4 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup (1/3 cup if you prefer sweeter)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg

Optional Add ins:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pepita seeds

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Wash the sweet potato and poke a few holes in it with a fork. Wrap in foil and bake for 45-50 minutes until soft. Let cool and slice in half and scoop out one cup. [Note: I often bake the sweet potato the day before I plan the make the muffins.]

Combine the oil, egg, milk and vanilla with the syrup. Combine remaining dry ingredients in a separate large bowl. Pour wet mixture over dry and stir until just combined. Spoon into lined or greased muffin tins. (I grease mine with coconut oil or non-stick spray.) Bake at 375 degrees for 20-24 minutes until golden brown.

Delicious with butter or nut butter for breakfast. Or drizzled with honey for dessert. 

If you like baking these healthy muffins you may like these no-sugar banana muffins or this protein-packed super seedy banana bread.

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