For this California Girl vegetarian cooking is a way of creating flavours that dance on your taste buds. Through her business, Giggle Gourmet, Ariana creates products that are vegetarian, healthy, natural and only made with premium produce. The beautiful vegetarian mexican food of Southern California is one of her greatest inspirations.

I had the pleasure of catching up with Ariana at Pyrmont Growers Market on Saturday where even the cold and rain couldn’t dampen her trade mark giggle. Giggle Gourmet is currently producing a range of “good for you” salsas and a supper yummy black bean dip. The range is available at the Market on the first saturday of each month and at a few select gourmet sellers around Sydney.

Ariana is a really inspirational woman. Not only does she bring so much joy with her warm personality and infectious laugh but she is a wonderful role model for those of us out there with a dream. After growing up in a vegetarian house, with a mother who involved her in cooking from a very young age, she quickly developed a great ability to create memorable dishes. Her friends had always requested her cooking and after arriving in Australia she couldn’t find any authentic fresh mexican style dips. The idea of the food line was then born and she took the very brave leap from the corporate world to that of a Gourmet Food Producer.

I am always on the look out for new flavours and new recipe ideas. Over the weekend I used three of Ariana’s tasty little pots of yum to create two mexican inspired dishes.

Giggle Burrito
(makes 2)
235g jalapeno salsa
350g firm tofu
2 flat breads (I used rice Mountain Bread)
aluminium foil
235g smoky black bean dip
1/2 avocado
12 coriander leaves

Crumble the tofu with your fingers and combine with the salsa in a fry pan.
Stir gently over a medium heat until warmed through.
Lay the mountain breads out on top of sheets of aluminum foil.
Place 1/2 of the salsa tofu in the centre of each bread.
Spoon on the bean dip add sliced of avocado and top with the coriander leaves.
Roll up by first folding in the ends and then either side and wrap tightly with the foil.
Eat by peeling the foil away from one end and enjoy with Arian’s food additive free corn chips.

Giggle Burger
(makes 2)
350g firm tofu
1/4 cup polenta
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 wholemeal bread rolls
1 cup mixed salad leaves
1 sliced tomato
1/2 sliced avocado
235g pineapple salsa

Using a large, sharp knife cut the square of tofu in half.
(I used a circle cutter to make a round shape)
Roll the tofu halves in the polenta so they are evenly covered.
Heat the tofu polenta burgers in a frypan with the coconut oil until the polenta turns crispy.
Construct the burger by layering the bread rolls with the salad, the tofu and then topping it with the pineapple salsa.