Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

The Joy of Beautiful Food

Hummus 3 Ways: Beet, Turmeric, Classic.

Three Simple, Beautiful Plant-Based Summer Recipes

by Melanie Albert

This season, let’s bring joy to our lives with beautiful food by creating simple plant-based recipes and adding an extra touch of beauty to them.

Top Four Ways to Add Beauty to Your Meals:

1.     Buy Veggies from Our Local Farmers. Food is still growing abundantly in Arizona, and we are so fortunate that our local farmers continue to work so passionately and hard to grow such beautiful, fresh, local food for our community. To shop with our local farmers, visit their farm stores, farmers’ markets, or preorder a CSA (community-supported agriculture) share from a farmer and pick it up at a farmers’ market.

2.     Add Color and Texture to Your Dishes. This is a great time to experiment with the produce, herbs and flowers our local Arizona farmers are growing. Buy a variety of veggies, such as tomatoes, peppers, radishes, carrots, beets and onions. Chop the vegetables in unique shapes and sizes for your meals. Garnish your dishes with fresh herbs and even edible flowers.

3.     Add Natural Aromatherapy to Your Culinary Creations. Use fresh summer herbs, such as basil and mint, to add flavor to your meals and side dishes. Mindfully chop the herbs and pause to enjoy their natural aromatherapy. Experiment with freshly squeezed citrus juice and zest to add aromatherapy and fresh taste to your meals. Enjoy the natural aromatherapy and mindfulness of hand-grating cumin and coriander seeds for hummus, along with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom for raw desserts.

4.     Plate Mindfully. Remember we eat with our eyes first, so after you have taken the time to prepare your dishes, take a few mindful moments to choose one of your favorite plates or bowls for your meal and take time to mindfully place the veggies, herbs and edible flowers onto the plate to create your own version of appetizing food art.

Three Simple, Beautiful Plant-Based Recipes

Enjoy mindfully and intuitively creating these simple dishes. Take time to appreciate the beauty of the food, the mindfulness of the cooking process, and the final food art of your culinary creations.
  • Classic Hummus, Turmeric, Beet.
  • Simple Avocado Salsa. Intuitively create with the veggies, aromatics and herbs in your kitchen.
  • Raw Carrot Cake. A simple, beautiful, tasty, aromatic dessert.

Classic Hummus. Turmeric. Beet.

I’m excited to share with you the same recipe we made for the Super Bowl XLIV VIP Tailgate Party for the Super Bowl in Miami. Now you can make it, too. In addition to the Classic Hummus, traditionally made with tahini (ground sesame seeds), we can create different versions of hummus with turmeric or beet powder. Enjoy!

Yields: 4 servings

Simple Ingredients

2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

⅓ cup chickpea water

3 Tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

⅛ tsp cumin seeds, hand-ground

⅛ tsp coriander seeds, hand-ground (seeds from cilantro)

Pinch sea salt

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Turmeric Hummus: ½ tsp turmeric powder, pinch black pepper

Beet Hummus: 2 tsp beet powder

Simple Steps

  • Place all ingredients, except olive oil, into a food processor.
  • Blend a few minutes, until smooth.
  • Stream in the olive oil and blend until creamy.
  • After the hummus has been blended, taste and add more of any of the ingredients to suit your taste.
  • Turmeric or Beet Hummus: After creating the Classic Hummus, add either the turmeric or beet powder to the food processor. Process until well combined.

 Simple Plating

  • Mindfully plate the three versions of hummus with fresh edible flowers, fresh herbs, or chopped veggies.


Simple Avocado Salsa.

Yields: 1 serving

Have fun intuitively creating your own avocado salsa with the veggies grown by our local farmers and available right in your own refrigerator. With the avocado as a base, add in your choice of aromatics (onion or garlic); citrus (lemon or lime); favorite veggies (carrots, green or red peppers, radishes, cauliflower, tomatoes); and a fresh herb (basil, cilantro or marjoram).

Simple Ingredients

1 soft, ripe avocado

4-5 mini-carrots, chopped

1 green onion, chopped

3-4 cloves raw garlic, minced

4-5 cauliflower florets, chopped

½ lemon, juiced and zested

4-5 basil leaves, chiffonade

Pinch sea salt

Garnish: basil leaves, flowers, mini-tomatoes

Pinch sea salt


Simple Steps

  • Chop all ingredients.
  • Place avocado in a bowl and mix with a fork.
  • Add all other ingredients to the bowl and gently mix all ingredients.


Simple Plating

  • Place ring mold onto plate or bowl.
  • Scoop avocado salsa into the ring mold.
  • Option: If you do not have a ring mold, place a mound of the avocado salsa onto the plate.
  • Garnish with basil leaves and mini-tomatoes.
  • Enjoy!


Raw Carrot Cake. Edible Flowers.

Raw Carrot Cake.

Create a fresh raw carrot cake that is so simple to prepare, beautiful and delicious. Enjoy creating this simple dish with mindfulness—hand-grating the fresh spices and attractively plating with berries, mint and edible flowers.

Simple Ingredients

1 cup dates, pitted and soaked for 1 hour in water, then rough chopped

1½ cups apple, minced

2 cups carrots, grated

1½ cups raw cashews or pecans, ground into a fine meal

½ tsp cinnamon, freshly ground

½ tsp nutmeg, freshly ground

½ tsp cardamom, freshly ground

Pinch sea salt

Garnish: berries, edible flowers

 Simple Steps

  • Gather mise en place.
  • Soak dates.
  • Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  • With hands combine gently until the mixture forms a ball.
  • Press dough into a springform pan.
  • Refrigerate for an hour.
  • Garnish with berries, mint and edible flowers.

 Simple Plating

  • Mindfully plate a slice of the carrot cake with berries and edible flowers.


Take time to really enjoy the beauty of food to bring joy to your life!


Melanie Albert, founder and CEO of Experience Nutrition Group, LLC, in Phoenix, is author of the award-winning cookbook A New View of Healthy Eating and plant-based recipe blog at and YouTube channel Experience Nutrition. Albert offers plant-based farm-to-table culinary experiences, corporate wellness programs, team-building events, retreats and catering. Albert has step-by-step cooking photos of these recipes on her blog and videos for those who are interested. Recipes and photos courtesy of Albert. For more information, visit


Upcoming Events Near You