Chickpea Dill Salad

IMG_5519Chickpeas are a fabulous legume used in all sorts of recipes. Used in vegetarian burgers, soups, dips, and salads, chickpeas could win an award for their versatility and nutrients. Chickpeas are high in fiber and a great source of plant-based protein. Incorporating fiber and protein-rich foods like chickpeas into your diet is a great way to give your body the nutrients it needs. Your body will feel the difference.

This chickpea-dill salad recipe is awesome because it is a more affordable and nutritious version of chicken salad. Substituting plant-based proteins like beans for animal proteins like chicken, is a great way to lower the cost without altering the nutrition. Fresh cucumber, onion, and dill give a cool refreshment to every bite.

The combination of lemon-dill dressing with cucumber and chickpeas mixes for a really special salad recipe.


1 can chickpeas (15oz.)
1 large cucumber, diced
¼ c. fresh dill, chopped
½ small red onion, diced

Lemon-Dill Dressing
¼ c. tahini
¼ c. water
1 tsp. black pepper
¼ c. fresh dill
2 tbsps. parsley
½ lemon, squeezed & zested (OR about 2.5 tbsps. of lemon juice)
2 large garlic cloves, minced (OR about 1.5 tbsp. garlic powder)
Pinch of salt and crushed red pepper

Combine chickpeas, diced cucumber, diced onion, and fresh dill in a large bowl. In a large food processor blend the dressing ingredients until smooth and saucy. Taste as you add ingredients, and add more of what you think the dressing needs. I liked the flavors of extra lemon and dill in this dressing. Add the lemon-dill dressing from the food processor to the chickpea mixture, and stir to combine with a large spoon.

I found that this chickpea salad is amazing stuffed in pita pockets with freshly diced tomatoes. It tastes great served in lettuce wraps too.

Happy Cooking!


Madeleine Wirth

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg

Chocolate Smoothie Bowl (Vegan)

Chocolate Smoothie BowlBy Tiffany Wu– Makes 1 Serving
On a hot summer day, this rich and creamy chocolate smoothie bowl is the perfect treat to cool down with. With only three wholesome ingredients, you can enjoy this smoothie for a healthy breakfast, snack, or dessert. I have found that using frozen bananas is the key to achieving a smooth and creamy ice cream like consistency. Cacao powder transforms this smoothie into a chocolate lover’s dream and unlike cocoa powder; cacao powder has been treated with low heat so most of its nutrients remain intact. One quarter cup of Cacao powder is loaded with magnesium, iron, antioxidants, 4 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.


3 frozen Bananas
¼ cup Cacao Powder
½ cup Almond Milk

Toppings (Optional):

Sliced Bananas
Sliced Strawberries


  1. Place cacao powder, frozen bananas, and almond milk in a blender and blend until you get a thick smoothie consistency. Depending on how strong your blender is, you may need to add more almond milk to achieve the desired consistency.
  2. Transfer chocolate smoothie mixture into a bowl and place your favorite toppings on top.


By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

Veggie Pasta

IMG_5437.croppedWith garden surpluses and beautiful vegetable picks at the Food Co-op, produce is abundant in late summer. Veggie Pasta is a resourceful way to make a highly nutritious meal using some of the sweetest vegetables out there.

I picked up a few vegetables of different colors for this recipe: green zucchini, purple onion, and red, orange, and dark crimson tomatoes. Depending on what you have available in your refrigerator, this recipe can incorporate a combination of different veggies like yellow squash, green zucchini, green peas, or sweet peppers! With a few simple herbs and rich creamy cheese, this meal is high in vitamins, fiber, and protein.

1 cup parmesan, grated
5.3 oz. Basil & Olive Oil Asiago cheese, grated (available at the coop)
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 small purple onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 handful fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 T. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 T. red pepper flakes, crushed
2 T. olive oil
1 lb. whole wheat pasta (farfalle, penne or rotini)

Boil pasta for approx. 11 minutes or until al dente. In a large sauté pan, sauté zucchini for about 3 minutes before adding onion, basil, pepper, salt, and parsley. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Turn heat to low, and add diced tomatoes. Allow tomatoes to absorb flavor for about 2 minutes, then turn stove off. Avoid simmering the tomatoes too long (tomatoes will turn soupy if cooked too long). Add the vegetables to the pot of pasta, but avoid adding much tomato juice to the pasta. Toss pasta with grated cheese and red pepper flakes.

I love this recipe. I prepare a big bowl of it, and pack up for lunch during the week! This dish is also great for potluck parties.

Happy cooking!


Madeleine Wirth

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg!

Asian Peanut Noodles (vegan and gluten-free)

Asian Peanut NoodlesBy Tiffany Wu–  Makes 4-6 Servings
Growing up, my mom always used to make her delicious peanut butter noodles when the weather got warmer. The creamy peanut sauce combined with crisp veggies always made for a satisfying meal. This dish reminds me of my childhood and is so simple and easy to make.

Bragg’s liquid aminos are a natural alternative to soy sauce and is gluten free with no added preservatives. If you’ve never tried liquid aminos before, I recommend trying them in this recipe. To give the noodles an additional protein boost, I added in some shelled edamame from Friendly City that is non-gmo and grown in the US.


Sauce Ingredients:

3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
2 tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tsp. salt
1 cup Water

Other Ingredients:

16 oz Brown Rice Spaghetti
1 ½ cups shredded Cucumber
¾ cup shredded Carrots
1 cup Fresh Spinach
¾ cup frozen, shelled Edamame, thawed



  1. Place all sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a spoon until combined. The sauce consistency should be slightly thick. Set aside
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add in your brown rice spaghetti
  3. While the pasta is boiling, shred your cucumber and carrots
  4. When the pasta is done, combine all ingredients and make sure to coat the pasta and veggies evenly with sauce



By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

Blueberry Coconut Muffins

By Tiffany Wu – Makes 12 muffins

Friendly City Muffins Post-Oven 3These blueberry coconut muffins take full advantage of blueberry season and are bursting with flavor. The shredded coconut complements the blueberries nicely and adds a tropical twist to the muffins. In place of eggs, I used ground flax seed dissolved in hot water. The flax seed and water mixture is commonly used in vegan baking and binds the muffin batter nicely. I also made my own flour by blending oats on high speed for 30 seconds. You could easily make this recipe gluten free by using gluten free oats.



2 tbsp. ground flax seed dissolved in 5 tbsp. hot water

½ cup almond milk

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

1 cup applesauce

2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 ½ cups oat flour

½ cup shredded coconut, plus more for topping

1 ¼ cup blueberries (can use fresh or frozen)

Coconut Oil Spray

Friendly City Muffin Batter









  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place ground flax seed into a small bowl and mix with 5 tbsp. hot water.

Mixture should thicken after 5-10 minutes and have a gel like consistency.

  1. Blend oats in a blender until they turn into flour.
  2. Add melted coconut oil to a large bowl. Next, add in applesauce, brown sugar, and flax seed mixture. Mix thoroughly to combine all ingredients. Next, add oat flour, baking soda, shredded coconut, and almond milk and mix all ingredients together.
  3. Gently fold blueberries into the muffin batter.
  4. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners and spray each liner with a touch of coconut oil. Divide batter between the twelve muffin liners. Top each muffin with a bit more shredded coconut. Bake for 20-24 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  5. Once muffins are done baking, let them cool for 15 minutes before enjoying!



By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

Wheat Bran Cranberry Bread

IMG_4430Whether you eat vegan, gluten-free, or simply want to eat nutritiously, there are many varieties of high-quality flours and grains available at Friendly City Food Co-op. The co-op carries an assortment of “Bob’s Mill” products which are a brand famous for pure, unprocessed flours, cereals, grains, and meals. You can find garbanzo bean, almond, and coconut flours as well as xanthum gum (used as a binder in many baking recipes). All of these highly nutritious ingredients are longing for someone to pick them up and explore new recipes!

I baked a delicious cranberry bread using whole wheat flour and wheat bran. Baking with whole grains is an easy way to add fiber and protein to your recipes. Swapping high-quality grains for processed, refined grains nourishes your body and is always a good idea!

Ingredients (Yield 1 loaf)

1 c. wheat bran
1 c. whole wheat flour
½ c. unbleached white flour
½ tsp. salt
1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
1 c. dried cranberries
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ c. dark brown sugar
1 egg
½ c. milk
1 c. orange juice
Preheat oven to 375°. Mix egg, milk, and orange juice in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients including flours, bran, salt, baking powder, baking soda, pecans, and cranberries. Add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and combine thoroughly. Grease a loaf pan, and pour mixture into pan. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes. Check doneness by wiggling the pan and sticking the loaf with a toothpick.

This recipe yields a dense and grainy bread that is best enjoyed topped with a pad of salted butter and a cold glass of orange juice. The bread is perfectly sweet, with the cranberries contributing just the right amount of sweetness to balance the dense grain texture.

Serve this cranberry-bran bread as a dessert or a sweet treat. With nutritious ingredients that are high in fiber and low in sugar, this is exactly the kind of baking a health-conscious eater should explore.

Good luck, and happy baking!


By Madeleine Wirth / Guest Blogger 

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg.


Ayurveda for Summer Balance

VF01Ayurveda, the art of living daily in harmony with nature, is the mother to all of the world’s healing systems. It is also referred to as the “Twin Healing Science of Yoga” and the roots from which Greek, Persian, and Chinese Medicine originate. Working with the laws of nature by applying even a few Ayurvedic principles in your life can make a profound difference in the quality of your health and restore imbalance to balance through natural, effective, and time-tested methods. For example, the revered Nasal Rinsing or Neti Pot is a traditional Ayurvedic therapy thousands of years old. It safely cleanses the nasal and sinus passages with warm salt water and is now commonly practiced throughout North America.

The main eight branches of Ayurveda include pediatrics, gynecology and obstetrics, ophthalmology, toxicology, geriatrics, general medicine, otolaryngology, and surgery. Today we recognize these as the central branches of modern medicine. Further, massage, diet and nutritional counseling, herbal remedies, psychiatry, polarity therapy, shiatsu, acupressure and acupuncture, plastic surgery, color and gem therapy, kinesiology, and meditation have roots in Ayurvedic practice and philosophy. Traditionally, Ayurveda was first taught before learning specific Yoga practices and is considered essential to living a Yogic lifestyle.

Ayurveda recognizes that our health is significantly influenced by our unique, individual constitution, as well as external factors such as the changing of the seasons throughout the year. Understanding how to best make decisions in balance with the rhythms of nature through the ideas of Ayurveda can greatly improve our ability to heal, quality of life, productivity, and longevity.


By Whitney Erwin, M.Ed., CMT / Guest Blogger

Whitney is the owner of Four Seasons Harmony- and will be conducting a class on Ayurveda at the co-op on Saturday, June 18 at 2pm.

Please visit our events page on Facebook for more information-


Alternatives to Milk

MilkAlternativesAlthough milk alternatives make up just 8% of overall milk sales in the U.S., the market for these dairy free products are on the rise. For vegans, individuals with food allergies, the lactose intolerant, or simply those who want low-calorie, low-sugar, lactose-free alternatives for their coffee in the morning, plant-based milks are the product for them. Below are some of the most well-known milk alternatives, with information including health benefits and recommendations for use. Enjoy!



Soy milk has a creamy, rich flavor and a nutritional profile that is the most similar to dairy milks. In addition, compared to other non-dairy drinks, soy milk contains a higher amount of protein and calcium. Due to its thick and creamy consistency, soy milk is ideal in smoothies, cooking and baking.



Rice milk is typically made of 14% rice with the rest oil, salt, and water. Although it is a bit watery compared to other non-dairy products, rice milk provides a naturally sweet taste with only 1% fat. In addition, rice milk is very good for those with nut, soy, or seed allergies as it is incredibly easy on the digestive system. However, since its main source is rice, this alternative contains a much higher amount of carbohydrates and does not contain as much protein as other non-dairy milks. Because of its thin consistency, rice milk is best used in cereal or smoothies.



Hemp milk is non-dairy product that comes from hemp seeds that are soaked and ground in water. This results in a nutty-creamy flavored milk that contains a high amount of calcium and protein. In addition, hemp milk has essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 that can reduce the risk of heart disease and help to build healthy cells. This type of milk is recommended to be used in cappuccinos or lattes as it froths much better than other plant-based varieties.



Almond milk has a light texture and a subtle nutty taste. In comparison to other non-dairy products, almond milk is naturally packed with vitamin E, vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, healthy fats, iron, and zinc (to just name a few). Due to its milder flavor and thinner texture, this type of alternative is ideally used in coffee, tea, and smoothies.


By Emma Patrone / Student Blogger

Emma is a junior at James Madison University, pursuing a degree in communications with a concentration in public relations. She has a double minor in writing as well as British communications and media. She is also a member of the PRSSA club at JMU, as well as a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha fraternity.





Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

IMG_3953May is my favorite month, not only because it marks the beginning of summer, but also because I have many fond memories of strawberry picking in mid-May. Buying local Virginia-grown strawberries here at the Food Co-op is a great alternative to picking your own fruit, especially if you do not have the time to visit a strawberry farm. The strawberries I bought at the Food Co-op were delicious and perfectly ripe.
Strawberries are my favorite fruit. Finding a perfectly sweet, juicy and bite-sized strawberry will just warm your heart in contentment! These fruits are great in smoothies, yogurt, and salads. It is important to eat plenty of raw fruits to allow your body to absorb the maximum nutrients. High in antioxidants like Vitamin C and manganese as well as potassium and vitamin K, strawberries are sweet sources of necessary vitamins that are best available to your body when eaten raw. Pack a cup of strawberries with your lunch, or nibble on them as a sweet snack or dessert!
The season for strawberries peaks in late May, so now is the perfect time to plan out all your favorite fresh strawberry recipes. This pie is oh-so-yummy as a dessert on summer evenings and certainly easy enough to prepare for the next cook-out or dinner with friends. The recipe takes no time at all; in total, I prepared this strawberry pie within 30 minutes. Aside from baking the crust a bit, this pie does not require baking in the oven. I love that this recipe is “no-bake” because this makes it even easier to prepare! The ingredient list calls for a lot of strawberries (about 2 pints of strawberries from the Co-op), packing the pie with lots of the awesome and natural fruit sugars. Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients (Makes 1 pie)
2 pints strawberries, sliced (approximately 4 c.)
2 cups sugar
16 oz. or 1 block of cream cheese (best used at room temperature)
1 pie crust, purchased or homemade


Bake the pie crust at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and place cream cheese in the crust. As the cream cheese melts, it will become easily spreadable. Spread the cream cheese to create a base a layer on the crust. Layer the cream cheese with half the sliced strawberries (approximately 2 cups). Create the strawberry sauce by combining the remaining sliced strawberries and 2 cups of sugar in a nonstick pot. Simmer the mixture on the stove to release the natural fruit sugars, and a syrup-like liquid will form. Boil the strawberry syrup sauce for about 15 minutes until the syrup thickens to a sauce. Stir frequently to avoid burning the sugar. Next, pour the hot strawberry sauce over the sliced strawberry layer. Allow the pie to cool for several hours before serving. Store in the refrigerator.
The cream cheese base layer contributes a great contrasting texture and creaminess to the pie. If your diet does not include dairy ingredients, vegan cream cheese can be made within 48 hours using raw cashews, apple cider vinegar, water, and lemon juice. You can also purchase vegan cream cheese (Tofutti) at the Food Co-Op, which will supply an equally creamy texture.
I bought my own pie crust, but if you are more adventurous than I was feeling, try making your own crust! Recipes for pie crust are not complicated; simply mix several ingredients and bake. However, this process will tack on quite a bit of time to baking. I found my strawberry pie was delicious inside a store-bought crust!
I hope fresh strawberries make it home with you after your next trip to the Co-Op. You will be delighted with the natural sweetness of the little fruits especially in this simple Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie!
Happy cooking!

Kermit was Wrong…It’s Really Easy Being Green These Days!

You’ve hopefully read some of our updates on the green business practices of our co-op, and how we’re saving money on energy cost