Friendly Food Snobs

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!

salsa verde

Summer weather is arriving here in Toronto, thank goodness,.

Bright green, aromatic and delicious, this salsa verde uses fresh flat leaf parsley and cilantro, which I grab from my herb garden. We’re growing tomatoes, zucchinis and cantaloupes all in pots this year too. I am not sure if camps will be open because of COVID, so I am hoping watering the growing fruit and veg in the backyard will keep my kids busy.

Warmer weather means cooking has shifted gears too. Lemons and limes are always on my grocery list, for salad dressings, guacamole or to squeeze into water. I am also loving crispy sweet romaine lettuce salads. And I have been using the leftover brine in pickle or sauerkraut jars to quick pickle my own red onions. Just thinly slice and add to the jar.

Dreaming of travelling again someday and my cravings have been Mexican and South American food. Enter this salsa verde. So simple to make. Just toss everything in the blender, let is sit in the fridge for an hour to two and enjoy.

I serve this salsa verde over sliced skirt steak, grilled chicken, shrimp, roasted potatoes or even with eggs.


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

Pour the oil and vinegar in your blender. Add remaining ingredients, and blitz until almost smooth.

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
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 or brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg

Optional Add ins:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 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 45-55 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 or brown sugar. 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 18 minutes.

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.

lentil soup with greens

I love a good vegetable lentil soup in the winter. Serve with bread or crackers and cheese to make supper. Or freeze it for meal prep. This soup is simple to make but totally delicious. The trick is to saute the veggies until they are starting to brown and smell fragrant, then stir in the tomato paste and let it cook for a few minutes to build a big base of flavour.

I recommend using dry yellow split peas for this recipe. They hold their shape and are packed with protein and have a lovely bite. They take about 20-30 minutes to cook. If you are using dry red lentils they cook much quicker, just 5 minutes. Look for yellow split peas in the bulk section of the grocery store or your local health food store. Or make it quick and use a can of lentils!


  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cooking onion chopped
  • 1 head thinly sliced swiss chard or baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dry yellow split peas (see notes above for lentil substitutions)
  • 1 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 tbsp thyme

Coat the bottom of a large soup pot with the 5 tbsp olive oil. Saute the onion, celery and carrot with a generous shake of salt and pepper over medium heat for ten minutes. Add the chopped garlic and tomato paste and stir as the paste browns and starts to caramelize for another few minutes.

Add the 6 cups of water and bouillon cube and bring to a boil. Toss in the split peas and bay leaf and simmer for 30 minutes until split peas are tender. If using red lentil the cooking time is less, just 5-7 minutes.

Once the lentils are done turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and stir in the swiss chard. The residual heat from the soup will wilt it perfectly. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed. This soups taste even better after a day in the fridge and freezes well too. Highly recommend serving it with some fresh bread with butter and a hard cheese.

Need inspiration for more soups and stews for winter? Check out this easy chickpea curry, coconut milk butternut squash soup, slow cooker beef tostadas and butter chicken.

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