We partnered with four specialty chefs who created simple recipes inspired by JUST Infused. We’re happy to share their creations and their reflections on their culinary roots and how they integrated Infused into their creations.
Here’s a glimpse into Chef Ayindé Howell’s plant-based culinary world.
JUST: Where do you currently live?
Ayindé: Los Angeles, California
JUST: How did you get into the culinary space?
Ayindé: I was born into it. I grew up vegan in a community of many home cooks. In our small town, my grandfather was known as the fried chicken man because he had the best fried chicken around. What I adopted though were his famous seasoning blends, passed to my father then me.
JUST: What is your favorite food memory?
Ayindé: My parents owned the corner store in our neighborhood, so the food they ordered there basically laid the groundwork for how I cook and live now: lots of fruits and vegetables, all organic, fresh and seasonal.
JUST: When you think of the word JUST what does it mean to you?
Ayindé: The word JUST makes me think of justice or what is fair.
Part of my evolution as a chef and growing up vegan has been to find solutions to the lack of food diversity in the plant-based sector, and one of those solutions was the creation of my business, iEatGrass, LLC. I’m passionate about bringing more ethically produced food to the plant-based market
JUST: Tell us about your recipe and how it pairs back with JUST Infused?
Ayindé: When I saw the flavors of the water the first thing I thought of was Morocco, especially the mint infusion. Their use of mint is not only refreshing, but connects as a palate cleanser as well. My recipe for JUST Mint Moroccan Couscous Pilaf is an appetizer meant to stimulate the palate for what’s to come.
JUST: What do you like about this infused flavor?
Ayindé: I love the boldness of the flavors. The first thing I thought when I tasted the infused water was, “Wow, they really went for it!” Most waters that are supposed to be infused usually just have a whisper of the flavor but the JUST water infusions really go there and I really love that.
1 Tbsp vegan butter or EVOO
1 cup (140g) couscous
1 1/2 cup (320g) Mint JUST Water
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup (88g) red onion, diced 88g
1/2 cup (80g ) celery, diced
1/3 cup (33g) fresh fennel, diced
1 heaping Tbsp (4g) mint, minced
3 cloves (14g) garlic, minced
1 cup (75g) oyster mushrooms, rough chop
1 cup (120g) cherry tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
-Add mint JUST water to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add butter or EVOO and melt. Add couscous and toast, mixing constantly for about 1 minute.
-Add toasted couscous to the boiling water and add about 1 tsp salt, cover couscous and lower heat to medium low, cook for about 15 minutes.
-Using the same large skillet heat butter or EVOO on medium high and add onion, fennel and celery. Sauté for 2-3 minutes then add mushrooms, half the tomatoes, mint and garlic. Continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
-When couscous is done, add to the sauté and mix until combined. Continue to cook for 3-5 minutes on medium low. Add salt and pepper to taste.
-Add remaining tomatoes, toasted almonds, and garnish with lemon zest and mint (optional).