Holiday Hummus

Introducing the perfect holiday appetizer!  It is quick and easy, yet elegant and a definite crowd pleaser.  Slice up some whole wheat pita bread to go with it and you are set to go!  I learned this recipe from our good friend, and amazing martial arts instructor, Hezi Sheli.  To learn more about his classes in Southern California, visit


1 to 1 1/2 cups hummus (store-bought, or check out the oil-free hummus recipe at

6 – 8 oz. white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil (optional)


1.  Heat a medium saute pan over med. high heat with 1 Tablespoon olive oil or 2-3 Tablespoons water.

2. Add mushrooms and cook until golden and most of the moisture has evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. While mushrooms are cooking, plop the hummus in the middle of a large plate.  Using the back of a large spoon, spread the hummus in a large circle. About 1-2 inches from the outer edge, create a shallow circle using the back of your spoon again.  This will make the center and outer edge appear higher.

4.  Spread the mushrooms over the top of the hummus.  Garnish with fresh parsley and a light drizzle of olive oil, if preferred.

5.  Serve with whole wheat pita wedges.  (Try warming them up in a 375 degree oven for about 5-10 min.).  Dig in!

Green “Sushi” Rolls

Looking for a great appetizer to make for your next holiday get-together?  These are a crowd pleaser!  Light and refreshing, they will disappear before you know it.  The secret…LOTS of lemon!  These Collard “Sushi” rolls have no raw fish, only raw veggies (and a little hummus!).  They are sure to be a hit!   They are fun to make too!  Make it something fun to do with other family members or friends.  I cannot take credit for this recipe though.  This is based very closely on a demonstration by Ann Esselstyn (wife of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn), at the Healthy Lifestyle Expo that I attended last month.

Collard greens are so cool!  For someone who didn’t grow up with them, they have been such a welcome discovery.  When they are blanched (boiled a few min., then plunged into icy water), they take on a beautiful bright green color.  Blanching also makes them more pliable for rolling into rolls or wraps.  In fact, you can find a great recipe for green wraps at

TIP: The filling ingredients are pretty flexible.  Look in your fridge and see what you have.  Try to avoid mushy veggies like tomatoes (yes, I know it’s a fruit).   You also want to try to cut them into long thin strips so that they create the “bones” that keep the rolls together.  If you decide to include a grain, I’d stick with short grain brown rice, because it is pretty sticky.  Other grains may cause your rolls to fall apart a little more readily.


1 bunch collard green leaves, washed, tough stems and spines removed

1 large container (1-2 cups) Hummus (homemade hummus recipe at

Assorted vegetables, cut into long, thin strips when possible:  green onions, cilantro or parsley, basil, steamed asparagus, carrots, celery, cucumber, bell pepper, bok choy

1-2 lemons, zested and juiced


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, fill a large bowl or the sink with very cold water (you may want to add a few ice cubes).
  2. Add the collard leaves to the boiling water.  Boil for 2 minutes, then plunge into the cold water to cool them down and stop the cooking process.
  3. Pat leaves dry.  Lay flat, smooth side up.
  4. Spread a thin layer of hummus over the leaf
  5. Lay the veggies across the middle of leaf, lengthwise.  Be careful not to overfill, or else you may have a blowout!
  6. Sprinkle with lemon zest and  a good squeeze of lemon
  7. Carefully, roll the leaf up in the same direction as the veggies.  Roll snugly enough so that it stays together, but not so tight that it will rip the leaf.  You’ll get a feel for it.  🙂
  8. Cut the rolls cross-wise into 2 inch pieces.  Stand them up on a plate, cut-side up.