Category Archives: Salad

May 2017 Cooking Class – The Basics of Plant Based Eating

May 28, 2017

What a great class. We had 14 participants and 3 volunteers. Everyone had so much to share. Since we had a lot of new people this class, the focus was on the very basics of what to eat. We started the class in our usual way – with a green smoothie, one of my favorites – Kale Mango Banana. We also had a taste testing of one of my go to breakfasts – Overnight Oats. For dinner we made a Red Lentil, Carrot and Coconut Soup, a Kale and Apple Salad and Chia Pudding. I hope you enjoy the recipes as much as we all did.

Thanks Katherine for taking pictures. I will add them to this post as soon as I can.

Green Smoothie

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups greens (we used Kale)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (we used 1 fresh banana and 1 1/2 cups frozen mango cubes)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Place ingredients in a blender in the order above. Blend until smooth.

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats is the perfect breakfast dish, especially for the summer or for those days when you need to eat breakfast on the run. You mix everything up the night before  and in the morning, grab and go.

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

  • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 2 ½ cups plant based milk (almond, coconut, rice, cashew or soy)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • maple syrup (or other sweetener), to taste

In a small bowl, mash the banana and add oats, milk (we used cashew), chia seeds, cinnamon and dried fruit. Whisk together well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir the mixture and add a bit of maple syrup if desired.  Serve with a topping of fresh fruit, granola or hemp seed.

Need breakfast on the go? Spoon the overnight oats into a jar; add your toppings and seal. Throw it in your bag with a spoon.

Makes 3 servings

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Coconut

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 large carrots, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt (less if your bullion is salted)
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 Thai chillies, fresh or dried (optional)
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large handful finely chopped kale or spinach (optional)
  • 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar

 

Rinse lentils under cold water. Place lentils and all ingredients except kale,  coconut milk and lemon juice in a slow cooker or large pot. If using, leave chilli pepper whole for a slightly spicy soup, crush for more spice.  If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. If doing on the stove top, bring to a boil and simmer slowly until lentils are very well done and partially dissolved in the broth, about 1 hour. If using whole chilli peppers, remove from the soup. If using, add the kale or spinach and remove from heat.

Add coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) and adjust seasonings to taste.

Red Lentil and Carrot Soup with Coconut

This is one of my all time favorite soups. Its fast and easy to make and contains basic ingredients I almost always have on hand. Serve with hearty whole grain bread and its a filling meal. (We had it with Ezekiel bread). We used 2 dried Thai chillies and the soup was very mild. If you like it spicier, crush your chillies or serve with some Sriracha or Garlic Chili sauce like Sambol Olek.

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 large carrots, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt (less if your bullion is salted)
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 Thai chillies, fresh or dried (optional)
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 large handful finely chopped kale or spinach (optional)
  • 1 can (14 oz/398 ml) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar

Rinse lentils under cold water. Place lentils and all ingredients except kale,  coconut milk and lemon juice in a slow cooker or large pot. If using, leave chilli pepper whole for a slightly spicy soup, crush for more spice.  If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. If doing on the stove top, bring to a boil and simmer slowly until lentils are very well done and partially dissolved in the broth, about 1 hour. If using whole chilli peppers, remove from the soup. If using, add the kale or spinach and remove from heat.

Add coconut milk and lemon juice (or vinegar) and adjust seasonings to taste.

Kale and Apple Salad

This is a hearty salad that can easily be an entire meal. It makes a great supper paired with a baked potato.  The dressing is rich and creamy and bold enough to hold its own with kale. (if you are looking to reduce your nut intake, I have also done this dressing using 1/2 cup cashews and 1/2 cup cooked white beans.) If you are not a avid kale fan, be sure to cut your kale fine, don’t leave big pieces, and massage it well.

Dressing:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice from
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Pumpkin Parmesan

  •  ½ cup pumpkin seeds (or cashew, pecan or sesame seeds)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

In mini food processor or coffee grinder, combine pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast and salt. Process until crumbly. (or chop by hand) Sprinkle on top of your salad.

Salad:

  • 1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and shredded fine
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced thinly and separated into rings
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Place kale in large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Massage the lemon juice and salt into the kale for a few minutes.  Add chopped apples, dried cranberries, sliced red onion, julienned carrots. Toss. Add a small amount of dressing and toss well.  Just before serving, add the romaine and toss with pumpkin seeds. Serve with a sprinkling of pecan parmesan.

Adapted from http://www.rawmazing.com/apple-and-kale-salad-with-oil-free-maple-dijon-dressing/

Chia Pudding

This is a recipe for a basic chia pudding. Add your choice of toppings or change it up by adding cocoa powder for a chocolate pudding, canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice for a pumpkin pie pudding.

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed; 1 tbsp maple syrup; or sweetener of choice
  • Optional add-ins – ¼ tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp cocoa, ¼ cup pumpkin puree & pumpkin pie spice
  • Optional toppings – coconut, fresh, frozen or dried fruit or berries, granola, nuts, hemp seeds

In a 2 cup jar, place milk, chia seeds and mashed banana or sweetener. (Optional, add vanilla, cocoa or pumpkin puree for a different flavour) Cover and shake well until combined. Let sit about 5 minutes and shake well again. Let sit another 5 minutes and shake well again. Let sit in the fridge for at least one hour before eating.  (For an instant pudding, blend pudding in a blender or use ground chia seeds.) Top with fruit, nuts, seeds or granola. Create a parfait by layering pudding with fruit and top with granola or nuts.

You can also replace 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 3 tbsp of rolled oats, and let sit overnight before eating. (oats take longer to soak)

 

 

 

 

 

Raw Food Weekend

April 25, 2017

I recently hosted a raw food and meditation retreat for a couple of friends. What a great experience. I have eaten raw for short periods of time before, but it has been a while. It was amazing how little we ate and yet always seemed to be content and full.

 

We did 3 full days raw. It was so much fun to try new recipes.  We experimented with a spiralizer making both zucchini and sweet potato noodles.

 

 

 

We started our mornings with a wheat grass shot after meditation and before the morning dog walk. A great way to get you energized for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After our morning walk with the dog, breakfasts were Overnight Oats, Raw Granola and Fresh Cashew Milk, and Green Smoothies. Lunches were a Kale and Apple Salad with Pecans, a Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup and a Cauliflower Salad, and a Gazpacho with raw crudities. Suppers included Spiralized Zucchini Noodles with Raw Tomato Marinera, Spiralized Sweet Potatoes with a couple of different sauces (Cashew Curry, Wasabi Aoili, Herbed Ranch Style Dressing) and Cauliflower Rice. For snacks we had soaked raw almonds, fruit salad, figs, dates and dried apricots, and fresh fruit. So much good food.

The recipes from the weekend are below. I hope you will try some of them, even if you don’t do an entire day raw. They would be great alongside a cooked dish and are all super delicious.

Since my raw weekend, I have been continuing to eat raw for breakfast and raw or mostly raw for dinner. Lunches I have been eating cooked food. I find the raw suppers to be lighter and easier to digest and I sleep better.

Overnight Oats

Note: for this dish to be fully raw, you will need to make our own fresh plant milk. We made a cashew milk as cashew milk is rich and creamy and does not require straining out the pulp as almond milk does. To make your own cashew milk, blend 1/2 cup soaked raw cashews and 2 cups water until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate and use within 3 days. If you want a sweeter milk, add a couple of pitted dates to the mixture before blending.

  • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 2 ½ cups plant based milk (almond, coconut, rice, cashew or soy)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • maple syrup (or other sweetener), to taste

In a small bowl, mash the banana and add oats, milk, chia seeds, cinnamon and dried fruit. Whisk together well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir the mixture and add a bit of maple syrup if desired.  Serve with a topping of fresh fruit, granola or hemp seed.

Adapted from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

Raw Granola

This raw granola is similar to overnight oats in that is also soaked before eating. However, it doesn’t contain chia seeds and so has a different texture. The recipe says to soak for 2 to 3 hours, but it can be soaked overnight as well, which is easier if you want to eat it when you get up. We found the original recipe way too heavy on the nuts, and adding lots more oats and quinoa flakes to be a delicious and much lighter breakfast. Feel free to use your favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruit. I like this for breakfast with the addition of a chopped fresh apple. For a fully raw version, make your own fresh nut milk.

  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sunflower seed
  • 1 cup pecan, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups raw oat flakes or quinoa flakes, or a mixture of the two
  • ½ cup goji berry
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • ½ cup hemp seed
  • 6-8 dates, chopped
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • big handful JOY ♥

Place everything in a jar. Each time you are hungry you take about ½  c of Granola, soak in just enough water to cover for 2-3 hrs and enjoy with cashew or almond milk.

Modified from Raw Solla’s recipe ebook.

Citrus Green Smoothie

We enjoyed quite a few smoothies over the weekend. My basic recipe is equal parts water, greens and fruit; however, we opted for an extra handful of greens in every smoothie, making them less sweet and more green.

  • two oranges, peeled
  • 2 bananas, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Kale and Apple Salad

This kale and apple salad is one of my favorites and I have made it many times, either as a meal on its own, or as a side. The recipe makes a lot of Oil Free Maple Mustard dressing, enough for several salads, but it is delicious an many other salads and even on a baked potato instead of the traditional butter and sour cream. It will keep well in the fridge for at least one week.

The original recipe called for roasting the pecans in maple syrup but in the interest of remaining raw, we used raw pecans.

Dressing

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice from
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Salad

  • 3 medium bunches of kale, de-stemmed and shredded fine
  • 1 lemon, juice from
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 4 apples, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Julienned carrots
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Diced red pepper
  • pecans
  1. Place kale in large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Massage the lemon juice and salt into the kale for about 4 minutes.
  2. Add chopped apples, dried cranberries, carrots, onion, and red pepper. Toss.
  3. Add dressing (start with half and then add to your taste) and toss well.
  4. Top with pecans and serve.

Adapted from Raw Amazing.

Creamy Carrot Ginger Soup

This is a fast and easy raw soup that is very satisfying. If you have a good high performance blender, like a Vitamix, you don’t need to grate the carrots or ginger just throw in the blender in chunks.

After blending the soup it is warm, from the blending action, and it is delicious this way. If you have to store it in the fridge, you may want to warm it up carefully on the stove before eating.

 

  • 3 large carrots, grated
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Sea salt
  • Cilantro, to garnish

Place all ingredients except cilantro and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and add salt as needed. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

From The Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier

Cauliflower Salad with Herb Cashew Dressing

This is another favorite salad of mine. Adding fresh parsley to the dressing makes a lovely green sauce. However, if you prefer your dressing to be whiter, use dried parsley (1 or 2 tbsp) and stir it into the finished dressing instead.

My original recipe used thawed frozen peas, but to keep it raw, we used chopped broccoli instead.  Try the pea version by adding 2 cups of green peas, thawed under hot water.

Herb Cashew Dressing

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 – 3 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp whte miso
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to your taste

Adapted from The  PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli or asparagus
  • ½ cup green onions, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced fine
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, soaked for ½ hour

Chop cauliflower and broccoli into small florets. Place chopped veggies in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix well. Add sunflower seeds.

Gazpacho

Finding a good gazpacho recipe can be tough, but we struck it lucky with this one from the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook.  We made a few changes to the original recipe. We eliminated the oil. We didn’t have a cucumber, so we used a zucchini in its place. To keep it raw we substituted sun dried tomatoes for the tomato juice. The recipe calls for chopped avocado as a topping but we found adding an avocado to the soup adding a creaminess without refined oil. And the avocado did not change the color of the soup substantially, it stayed a beautiful red. For a vibrant colored soup, be sure to use bright red tomatoes and red pepper and peel your cucumber (or zucchini in our case).

  • 675 g ripe tomatoes (1 ½ pounds)
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled (or zucchini)
  • ¼ cup sweet onion
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 cups tomato juice or cocktail (or ½ cup sun dried tomatoes and 2 cups water)
  • 1 avocado (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 tsp to 3 tbsp red wine vinegar (or balsamic)
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
  • Topping:
  • Diced avocado, cucumber, red pepper
  • Chopped fresh basil, parsley, cilantro

Roughly chop the veggies for the soup and add all ingredients to the blender. Blend until smooth, adjust seasonings to your taste.

For a chunkier soup texture, add only half the tomatoes and pepper to the blender. Blend until smooth, then add the remaining tomatoes and pepper and pulse until desired texture is reached.

Top with toppings of your choice.

Adapted from Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon

 

Spiralized Zucchini and Marinara Sauce

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiralized zucchini is now a favorite of mine. It is delicious cold and I don’t find any need to heat up the dish at all if you keep your marinara sauce at room temperature. What a quick and easy way to make a spaghetti dinner!

The original marinara recipe called for 3/4 cup olive oil – holy cow, that’s a lot of oil. We eliminated the oil totally, using my homemade vegetable broth instead. It tasted great. When I made this the next time, I added an avocado, which gave it a smoother richer taste.

Finely shred or spiralize 2 zucchini so that it is angel-hair in appearance.

Marinara Sauce

  • 2 cups tomatoes
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried basil (or sub fresh)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano (or sub fresh)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 5 pitted olives (we used green)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 avocado, pitted (optional)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. Serve over the zucchini pasta.

Adapted from Rawganique

 

Sweet Potato Noodles

The sweet potato noodles were a surprise for me. I didn’t even know you could eat sweet potatoes raw. I expected them to be starchy but they are crunchy and delicious. I have made this recipe a couple of times now and my favorite sauces are the curry and the wasabi. We also used the same Herbed Cashew Dressing as we used for the cauliflower salad. It is also great with the raw marinara sauce we used on the zucchini noodles.

Clockwise from 9 oclock – Curried Almond, Wasabi Aioli, Herbed Cashew

Spiralize your noodles and top with sauce of your choice. We tried a Curry Cashew Sauce, Wasabi  and Herb Cashew Dressing.

Curry Almond Sauce

  • ½ cup almond butter or cashew butter (we used cashew butter)
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 4 to 5  tsp curry powder
  • 1 to 2  tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp tamari

Place sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.  Garnish with  currents and walnuts.

Adapted from Jesse Lane Wellness.

Wasabi Aioli

The original recipe calls for less cashews and adds silken tofu. To keep this raw, we eliminated the tofu and added more cashews. (I also like this aioli as a topping on burgers.)

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 to 3 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp wasabi paste
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp salt

Drain soaked cashews.  Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Adapted from The  PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell.

Herb Cashew Dressing

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 – 3 hours
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp whte miso
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to your taste

Adapted from The  PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell.

Cauliflower Rice

I have seen recipes for cauliflower rice pop up on Facebook more and more often lately. However, this was my first time trying it. Most of the recipes cook the cauliflower and veggies, but this one is fabulous raw. I love the sauce!

  • 1/2  head of cauliflower
  • 3 green onion tops
  • red bell pepper, chopped
  • diced celery
  • diced carrots
  • 2 tbsp parsley, fresh or dried
  • or substitute your favorite veggies

Sauce

  • 3 Green onion bulbs (the white part, use green tops for rice)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • juice of 1 lime (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp ginger (or 1 inch piece fresh ginger)
  • 1 tbsp broth (unsalted) or water
  1. Break cauliflower into florets and rinse well.
  2. Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until rice like in consistency.
  3. Place cauliflower rice in a bowl and stir in remaining rice ingredients.
  4. Blend all sauce ingredients, except parsley, pour over rice and mix thoroughly.
  5. Let rice sit for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Adapted from Raw Amanda

Jicima Fries

  • 1 jicima,
  • Lime juice
  • Chilli powder
  • salt

Peel the jicama and cut into French fry shape.  Toss with lime juice and sprinkle with chilli powder and salt. You could also add some garlic and onion powder if you like.

Raw Curly Salad

Since our retreat I have found this recipe which is absolutely delicious and can be modified in many ways. The dressing is orange based and so good on any salad including spring greens. The original recipe from the PlantPure Kitchen by Kim Campbell called for 1/2 cup of orange juice. I used one whole peeled orange instead. Using the whole orange gives you the benefit of the fibre in the orange but I also find it makes the dressing thicker.

This recipe makes a big salad. Feel free to use whatever veggies you have and make it to the size you need.

Orange Dressing

  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Salad

  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 cups, kale thinly sliced
  • 2 cups edamame beans or peas, thawed
  • 2 zucchini, made into noodle using a julienne peeler or spiralizer
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded or cut into thin noodles using a julienne peeler
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (or 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, for garnish

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and garnish with sesame seeds.

I encourage you to add more raw food to your diet. And if you have the opportunity to go totally raw for a longer period, go for it. It was a wonderful experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2017 Cooking Class – The Versatile Chickpea

April 2, 2017

Lasagne, salad and foccacia

April’s class featured the versatile chickpea. Chickpeas are not just for falafels and hummus. There is a myriad of different ways to cook with them. We enjoyed Roasted Chickpeas as a snack, Cauliflower Bites made with chickpea flour as an appetizer, a Tomato Based Lasagne with a chickpea ricotta, a White Lasagne using chickpeas blended into the white sauce. The meal was served with a green salad dressed with Oil Free Italian Dressing and Roasted Chickpea croutons and a sprouted grain focaccia. The meal was topped off with a frozen Pineapple Whip.

Chickpeas, also called garbonzo beans, re a powerhouse of nutrition. These legumes are a good source of dietary fiber, protein, iron, folate and magnesium (just 1 cup of chickpeas will provide 84% of your dietary requirement of magnesium)

Chickpeas can be purchased already cooked in tins or frozen. Or you can easily cook them from dry beans. Two of my favorite methods are:

  1. OVERNIGHT SOAK – Soak chickpeas overnight in a large pot with plenty of water. In the morning, drain the soaked chickpeas and cover with fresh water to about 1 inch above the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain and they are ready to use in any recipe.
  2. QUICK SOAK – Place the chickpeas in a large pot with plenty of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover. Let stand for 1 hour. Drain and cover with fresh water to about 1 inch over the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Drain and use.

I like to cook a large batch of the beans and once cooked and cooled, freeze on a rimmed baking sheet. Once frozen store in a freezer bag and you have cooked beans on hand for any time you need them. They can be quick thawed by placing them in a strainer and running hot water over them.

Besides the whole bean, chickpeas can also be used as a flour. It is common in Indian cooking, but I use it mainly for making an eggy batter for breading veggies like cauliflower (recipe below), eggplant and zucchini. I also use the flour for a vegan omelette and French toast.

As usual, our class started with a Green Smoothie. This month the smoothie was pineapple blueberry with parsley. I love parsley smoothies.

Pineapple Blueberry Parsley Smoothie

Pineapple Blueberry Parsley Smoothie

2 cups parsley

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups pineapple (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth.

 

 

Breaded Cauliflower Bites

Cauliflower Bites

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ½ cup unsweetened and unflavoured plant based milk (almond, cashew, soy, etc)
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour (also called besan, chana or gram flour)
  • Salt, onion powder, garlic powder, to taste (about 1/2 tsp each) and pepper (1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix milk, flour and spices in a large bowl until well blended. Add cauliflower florets and toss until well coated. Place bread crumbs in small dish. Dip cauliflower florets in bread crumbs and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Serve as is or with a dipping sauce. Use this same recipe for other veggies like eggplant and zucchini.

Tomato Based Lasagne

NOTE: You may not need all of the noodles, tomato sauce, cheese, or chickpea mixture that you make.

  • 1 pkg lasagne Noodles
    • Prepare according to package directions
  • Approximately 5 cups Tomato Sauce (make your own marinara or use purchased spaghetti sauce)
  • Cashew Cheese:
    • ½  cup cashews
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • ½  tsp garlic powder
    • ½  tsp onion powder
    • Juice of ½ lemon (or up to 1 lemon)
    • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • ½ cup water (plus more as needed)

Soak cashews for 2 hours or overnight. Place all ingredients except the water in a blender.  Add about ½ cup water and blend until smooth. If necessary, add a splash more water to keep it blending. Taste and adjust seasonings – add more salt, nutritional yeast, lemon juice or spices.

  • Chickpea Ricotta

    Chick peas:

    • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, mashed fine
    • ½  cup chopped spinach or kale
    • 1 tbsp miso (or substitute soy sauce)
    • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
    • Juice of ½ lemon
    • pepper

Mash chickpeas with a fork or by pulsing in a food processor till a fine texture. Mix miso with lemon juice and add to chickpeas.  Flavor the chickpeas with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Mix in finely chopped kale or spinach. (if using frozen spinach, thaw and squeeze out excess water)

You can substitute your favourite hummus for the chickpea mixture.

  • Veggie Layer

    Veggies:

    • Mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 or 2  cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 large pepper (your choice of color), diced
    • 2 carrots, grated or chopped in a food processor
    • Salt and pepper
    • Also can use zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, cauli, etc

Dry fry veggies, without oil, until just tender crisp. If necessary, add a couple tablespoons of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan. Use any mixture of vegetables you like. You will need 4 to 6 cups of cooked veggies. Season with salt and pepper

To Assemble:

A standard baking dish will accommodate two layers plus the top layer of noodles and sauce.

  1. Assemble all ingredients, noodles, tomato sauce, cashew cheese, chickpea mixture, and cooked veggies.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. Line a large baking dish or lasagne pan with parchment paper
  4. In your parchment lined dish, spread a layer of your tomato sauce
  5. Spread noodles, 1 layer thick over the sauce. Break noodles if necessary to cover all areas
  6. A thin layer of chickpea mixture
  7. A layer of veggies
  8. A layer of cashew cheese
  9. A layer of tomato sauce
  10. Repeat noodles, chickpeas, veggies, cheese and tomato sauce
  11. Top with noodles and tomato sauce for final layer.

Cover with a lid or foil. (Covering the dish first with parchment then foil will keep the topping from sticking to the foil when you remove it.

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbling.  Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

White Lasagne

Note: you may not use all the noodles or white sauce that you make.

  • 1 pgk Noodles (brown rice or whole grain)

Cook noodles according to the package directions

  • White Sauce
    • 3 cups cauliflower florets
    • 2 ½  cups water
    • ¾  cup cashews, soaked
    • ¾  cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    • ½  cup nutritional yeast
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • Juice of 1 ½  lemons
    • 1 ½  tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp salt

Boil cauliflower until tender. Drain and place cooked cauliflower in a blender. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

  • Veggies
    • 4 cups sliced Mushrooms
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 1 large pepper (yellow, orange or red), diced
    • 2 carrots, grated or chopped in a food processor
    • Finely chopped kale or spinach
    • Salt and pepper
    • Also can use zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, cauli, etc

Dry fry veggies until just tender crisp. If necessary, add a couple tablespoons of water or broth to keep it from sticking to the pan. Use any mixture of vegetables you like. Add kale or spinach at the end of cooking. You will need 4 to 6 cups of cooked veggies. Season with salt and pepper

To Assemble:

  1. A standard baking dish will accommodate 2 layers plus the top layer of noodles and sauce.
  2. Assemble all ingredients – noodles, white sauce  and cooked veggies.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F
  4. Line a large baking dish or lasagne pan with parchment paper
  5. In your parchment lined dish, spread a layer of white sauce
  6. Spread noodles, 1 layer thick over the sauce. Break noodles if necessary to cover all areas
  7. A layer of white sauce
  8. A layer of veggies
  9. A layer of white sauce
  10. Repeat noodles, white sauce,  veggies, white sauce
  11. Top with noodles and white sauce for final layer.
  12. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake at 350F for 1 hour or until hot and bubbling.  Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

 

Oil Free Italian Dressing

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar, or to taste (or substitute your vinegar of choice)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp agave, honey, brown rice syrup or raw sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings (or to taste)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 10 to 15 seconds on high speed.  From The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell.

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 can (15 oz/425 g)  or 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice of ½ lemon or lime
  • Spice option 1: 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp each salt and onion powder, ¼ tsp cayenne
  • Spice option 2: 1 tsp each garlic powder, cumin, curry, paprika, ½ tsp salt
  • Spice option 3: ½  tsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp onion powder; 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, ½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Drain and rinse chickpeas and place on a baking sheet. Bake until almost dry throughout, about 30 minutes, shaking the pan and tasting every 10 minutes. Transfer chickpeas to a large bowl. Add lemon or lime juice and toss until coated. In a small bowl, mix spices. Add spices to chickpeas and toss until coated. Roast for another 10 minutes being sure the spices don’t start to burn. Turn off oven and leave chickpeas in the oven until cool. If chickpeas are still moist inside after they cool, reheat oven to 200F and roast until dry.  Store in sealed glass jar. If they get moist, place in low oven until dry.   Use as a nutritious snack or in place of croutons to top a salad.

Pineapple Whip

Pineapple Whip

  • 1 ripe pineapple (or purchased frozen pineapple)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 heaping tbsp agave or honey
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
  • Toasted coconut for topping

Peel and core the pineapple. Chop and freeze on a cookie sheet overnight. Place can of coconut milk in fridge overnight. Open bottom of coconut milk can and pour off coconut water. (Reserve the coconut water for another use.) Place coconut milk solids, honey and ginger, if using, in a high powered blender. Blend until well combined. With blender running, slowly add frozen pineapple until mixture is thick and creamy, about the consistency of soft ice cream. . Transfer to a shallow container, cover and place in freezer to firm up for 2 to 4 hours.  Serve with toasted coconut on top. (If the whip freezes hard, let it rest in the fridge for ½ to 1 hour before serving.)

If your blender is not powerful enough to handle the frozen pineapple, thaw slightly before using and add a bit of pineapple juice to keep mixture moving.  Can also be made in a food processor.

Adapted from The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell

Pineapple Whip topped with Blueberries

 

 

Black Eyed Pea Salad

November 30, 2016

Black Eyed Pea Salad
Black Eyed Pea Salad

At our last cooking class, Maureen offered to share a great main dish salad recipe that she loves and here it is. It is a hearty, delicious salad with black eyed peas, chickpeas, corn, green peas and peppers. Add a whole grain bread and you have a meal.

It is always handy to have a main dish ready  in the fridge for a quick lunch or meal when you don’t have time to cook.  If you live in a household with others who are not totally plant based, this salad can also be used to replace a meat main dish to round out your meal.

I have been tinkering with the original recipe to eliminate the oil. Substituting a vegetable broth thickened with chia seeds, the same as we used in class for the Oil Free Italian Dressing, works great.

Original Dressing Recipe:                                                  Oil Free Version:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil                                                          – 1/2 cup broth
  • 2 tbsp lime juice                                                         – 1   1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup honey                                                             – 3 to 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 to 1   1/2 tsp cumin                                               – 1/4 cup honey (or sweetener of choice)
  •                                                                                           – 1   1/2 tsp ground cumin
  •                                                                                           – 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

When making the oil free version, add the broth and chia seeds to a blender container and let sit at least 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and blend well.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 red pepper, diced (I used an orange one)
  • 1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 1 can corn niblets, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 onion, diced (optional) (red, white or green onions)

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl and add the dressing. Toss well to combine and let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

This salad would also be great with diced avocado added just before serving.

If you are looking for another main dish salad, try this Black Bean Salad, Chick Pea Salad, or this quinoa salad below.

Quinoa Salad

  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • ¼ cup currants
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp honey, agave or maple syrup
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups)
  • ½ cup red pepper, diced
  • ½ cup carrots, grated
  • ½ cup green onion, chopped
  • ½ cup celery, diced

Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Rinse quinoa well. In saucepan, combine broth, quinoa, currents, curry, cumin, coriander, honey and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and fluff with a fork. Cool. Combine dressing ingredients. Combine cooked quinoa, with remaining ingredients and dressing. Mix well and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

November 2016 Cooking Class – Comfort Food

November 13, 2016

It’s been a busy summer and fall, but we managed to squeeze in one more cooking class for the year. The weather is still nice out, but you just know that any day the bubble will burst and the cold and snow will arrive. It is a great time to enjoy hearty soups, stews, chowders and good old comfort food.

7_dinnerNovember’s cooking class featured a Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Gravy, a flavorful Italian Salad Dressing that uses vegetable broth thickened with chia seeds instead of oil, and a new take on an old fashioned Apple Crisp without the refined sugar and butter.

Thanks James for the great photos.

 

 

Green Smoothie

1_green-smoothies

You can’t have a cooking class without a green smoothie. I strongly believe that the most important change you can make to your diet is to consume more leafy green vegetables. For this class we enjoyed my favorite Classic Mango Kale Smoothie which follows The Raw Family’s basic recipe of 2 cups water, 2 cups greens and 2 cups fruit.

  • 1_green-smoothiw-ingredients2 cups water
  • 2 cups kale
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 2 cups frozen mango cubes

Place ingredients in a blender in the order given. Blend until smooth and creamy.

 

 

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

2_shepherds-pie-ingredThis recipe is an adaptation of Angela Liddon’s recipe in her new cookbook Oh She Glows Every Day. Like all the recipes in her new cookbook, this one is simple to make. It does have quite a few steps but don’t be intimidated, it comes together quickly. While this is a great every day comfort meal, it also makes a great company meal and left overs are great for lunch the next day.

This great for company because you can make it ahead of time and then pop it into the oven to heat while you visit. Just remember to add a bit extra cooking time if the dish is put into the oven cold.

While the original recipe contains both vegan butter and oil, it was easy to modify and omit these ingredients without compromising on the taste. I also substituted extra broth and a splash of red wine vinegar instead of the red wine in the recipe, and added a dollop of ketchup to the sauce.

Topping:

  • 2 ½ pounds potatoes, red, Yukon Gold, Sweet Potato or a mixture (about 6 medium potatoes), diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ to ½ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant based milk  (I used cashew)

Filling:

  • 2 medium leeks or 1 large onion, diced (about 2 ½ cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces (450 grams) cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced or diced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 pound (450 grams) frozen mixed veggies or your choice of 4 cups diced veggies
  • 2 tbsp potato starch (or substitute 1 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 ½ cups cooked lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 and lightly oil a 4 quart casserole dish.

Put potatoes in large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until fork tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add garlic, garlic powder and salt. Mash until smooth adding milk as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Set aside.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the filling. In a large saucepan or wok, add leeks and garlic and sauté until soft. Add mushrooms and peppers and sauté until soft. Add vegetables and sauté until heated through.

In a small jar, mix broth, potato starch, red pepper flakes, rosemary, thyme and ketchup until smooth. Add to the veggies along with the lentils and cook until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon filling into prepared casserole and spread it out evenly. Top with potato topping in an even layer. Sprinkle with paprika and bake for 25 minutes or until heated through. Broil for a few minutes to toast the topping slightly if desired.

2_shepherds-pie-and-gravyServe with gravy.

Gravy

Since the filling of the Shepherd’s Pie is not very saucy, it is best served with gravy on the side. I used an oil free adaptation of Angela Liddon’s Cozy Gravy from her new cookbook Oh She Glows Every Day.  The oil can be easily omitted in almost all recipes that call for sautéing veggies in oil. You can add a splash of broth or water if you find the veggies sticking to the pan; however, I seldom find that any liquid is necessary if you cook on a medium heat.

I love Angela’s method of making the gravy and then blending it smooth in a blender. It makes a really smooth and flavorful gravy.

The original recipe uses flour as a thickening agent. I substituted arrowroot powder, but cornstarch would also work, as a gluten free option.

  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • ¼ cup low sodium tamari or soy sauce (or 2 tbsp of regular)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt, to taste

In a medium saucepan, add onion and garlic and sauté until soft adding a tablespoon or two of broth if needed to prevent sticking. In a jar, combine broth, cornstarch, tamari, nutritional yeast and pepper. Cover jar and shake well. Add broth mixture to the onion mixture and simmer until mixture boils and thickens. (if not thick enough, mix a bit more cornstarch or arrowroot with water, add and cook. If too thick, add a bit more water or broth) Remove from heat and transfer to a blender.  Blend until smooth. ( or use an immersion blender to blend the gravy in the saucepan)

Italian Salad Dressing

3_salad-ingredWe served the Shepherd’s Pie along with a simple green salad to complete the meal. This Italian Salad Dressing recipe is from The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell. Instead of using oil, which adds few nutrients and a ton of calories, this recipe uses vegetable broth and chia seeds. The chia seeds produce a dressing that has a similar consistency to store bought oil based Italian dressings.

  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ tsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tsp sweetener (agave, brown rice syrup, honey, raw sugar)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika

3_salad-dressing-doneMix broth and chia seeds in a blender container and let stand at least 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to the blender container and blend 10 to 15 seconds. Store in the fridge in a glass jar. (note, the original recipe does not call for soaking the chia seeds prior to blending but I find they blend better if soaked)

 

 

 

Apple Crisp

4_apple-crisp-ingredApple Crisp is a classic autumn recipe and is a great way to use apples from your tree.  Even though this recipe easily serves 8 to 10 people, I often make it for Ken and myself and consume it over the week. And when it is as healthy as this one, you can even enjoy leftovers for breakfast.

 

4_apple-crispThis recipe is a combination of a delicious apple crisp in Angela Liddon’s first cookbook The Oh She Glows Cookbook, and one found in Kim Campbell’s The PlantPure Nation Cookbook. I omitted the coconut oil in Angela’s recipe and replaced it with nut butter and apple sauce as used in the PlantPure cookbook.

Filling:

  • 8 heaping cups apples, chopped (we used a mixture of granny smith and gala)
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Topping:

  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup almond or cashew butter
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce

Preheat oven to 375֩ F and line a 11×9 inch pan with parchment paper.

Make the apple filling – (Note: You can peel the apples if you like, but I don’t find it is necessary.) Place chopped apples in a large bowl and sprinkle with arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Toss until combined. Add remaining filling ingredients and mix until well combined. Pour apple mixture into the prepared dish and smooth out evenly.

Make the topping – Stir together the oats, almond meal, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Mix maple syrup, nut butter and apple sauce together in a small bowl until smooth. Add nut butter mixture to oat mixture and combine until the oats are evenly coated with the nut butter.  Sprinkle oat mixture over apples in an even layer.

Cover the dish with foil and poke a couple of air holes in the foil. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the apples are just fork tender. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the topping is golden.  Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. The crisp is good served hot, warm or cold.

Making Coconut Whipped Topping
Making Coconut Whipped Topping

For the class we served it with coconut whipped topping, but it is great alone without any topping.

7_dinner-plate

Recommended Cookbooks

As you can tell from my recipe sources, I am a big fan of Angela Liddon as well as Kim Campbell.  I love every single dish I have ever made of theirs.  Below is a list of my most frequently used cookbooks.

  • The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon
  • Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon
  • The PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell
  • Forks Over Knives
  • Forks Over Knives The Cookbook by Del Sroufe
  • 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson

Recommended Documentaries

Recently there has been an explosion of great documentaries outlining the benefits of plant based eating on health, environment and compassion for animals. They are a great way to educate yourself on the issues. Below is a list of my favorites.

  • Live and Let Live
  • Before the Flood
  • PlantPure Nation
  • Forks Over Knives
  • Vegucated
  • Cowspiracy
  • Food Matters
  • Hungry for Change
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead Part II

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 2016 Cooking Class – Cooking with Cashews

July 17, 2016

Today’s cooking class focused on quick, easy and delicious company meals sure to please every palette. Summer in Manitoba is short, so you want to enjoy every minute of it. When company arrives, you want to be able to whip up a delicious plant based meal without spending all day in the kitchen. Try out this delicious plant based menu –  Beet Green Smoothie, Fettucine Alfredo, Greek Salad and Cherry Cha Cha dessert.

(Pictures to be added later)

Beet Green Smoothie

Manitoba gardens are bursting with fresh greens. This blueberry beet green smoothie is so delicious they won’t even realize there are greens in it. And it has a lovely purple color.

  • 2 cups beet leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 orange, pealed
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 banana, peeled and frozen
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Greek Salad

  • Red pepper, cored and diced
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Cucumber, diced
  • Red onion, diced
  • Add greens, if desired

Creamy Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons lemon juice (I used 4)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Soak cashews for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Drain cashews and place in a blender with the remaining ingredients, except salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust as desired, add salt, pepper, more lemon. Refrigerate. Will last for several days in the fridge and is great on all kinds of salads. (Note: add a teaspoon or two of vegan Worcestershire sauce and some nutritional yeast to turn it into a Caesar Dressing. Adding ketchup and relish will give you a great Thousand Island)

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

  • 2 1/2 cups chunked cauliflower
  • 1 1/2 cups plain unsweetened cashew milk
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 2 clove garlic – chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Soak cashews in water for at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain.

Steam cauliflower until tender.

Transfer cauliflower to a blender.  Add drained cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, mustard. Blend until the sauce is totally creamy. Taste and adjust as necessary –salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, etc.

The sauce will thicken as it sits. Thin with water if necessary.

Serve over fettucine pasta and sauted veggies (ewe used red pepper, carrots, mushrooms, onions and peas) for a delicious Fettuccine Alfredo

Cherry Cha Cha or Blueberry Buckle or Peach Perfection

for the filling:

  • 6 cups fresh or frozen fruit (pitted cherries, blueberries, peaches, etc)
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • sweetener (agave, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, honey, sugar), to taste
  • 3 tbsp corn starch (or arrowroot powder)

for the crust:

  • 1 ½ cups almonds
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup packed, pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the topping

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • sweetener (maple syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, honey or sugar), to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Place coconut milk cans in the fridge, right side up, for at least 24 hours.

To make filling: place berries in a large saucepan with lemon. Heat over medium heat. Fruit should form its own juice, but add a tablespoon or 2 of water, if necessary at the start to keep it from sticking to the pot. Bring mixtures to a boil. Simmer gently until fruit is tender. Taste the syrup and add sweetener until just sweet enough. Mix corn starch with ¼ cup water in a small bowl until smooth. (Note: need about 1 tbsp corn starch for each 1 cup of liquid. Increase if the fruit is very juicy) Add cornstarch/water mixture to the simmering fruit and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and cool.

To make crust: In a food processor, process almonds with salt until a fine flour forms. Add shredded coconut, dates and vanilla and process until mixture starts to stick together. Press evenly into the bottom of a cake pan or spring form pan. Refrigerate while making the filling.

To make the topping: Open the bottom of the chilled coconut milk with a can opener. Pour off coconut water and save for another use (drink or use in a smoothie in place of water). Open the top of the can with a can opener and scoop out the chilled coconut cream and place in a mixing bowl. Whip coconut cream until smooth. Add vanilla and just enough sweetener.  Keep in fridge until ready to use.

To assemble dessert: Spoon chilled filling over crust. Cover filling with coconut cream topping. Sprinkle toast coconut on top. Chill until ready to serve.

July Challenge

Your July cooking challenge – try cooking with cashews.  How about a Cream of Mushroom Soup, Macaroni and Cheez, Creamy Mushroom Gravy or even Cashew CheeseCake?

Your July education challenge – watch Cowspiracy, PlantPure Nation or Forks Over Knives.

 

Rice and Beans and an Oil Free Chopped Thai Salad

March 17, 2016

Cajun rice and bean and Thai chop salad

I was cleaning out my kitchen yesterday when I found a gift jar I got from my nephew, Alexander, this Christmas. It was a jar of mix for making Cajun Dirty Rice. I gave it a try and it made a quick tasty supper for tonight.  I found the recipe below on Veggie Belly.

Cajun Dirty Rice Mix in a Jar

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large vegetable stock cube with its wrapping

Bring 2 cups of water plus the stock cube to a boil in a large sauce pan. Stir so the stock cube dissolves. When the water boils, add remaining contents of the jar. Stir. Reduce heat to low. Cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for 30 minutes or till the rice is cooked, but not mushy.

I found it took 45 minutes for the rice to cook, not 30 as the recipe suggests.

To complete the meal I added some cooked black beans to the rice and a whole bunch of veggies.

Saute:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 carrots, chopped fine
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large handful kale, chopped fine

Once the veggies are tender, add:

  • 1 cup cooked black beans (small red beans would also be great)
  • Cooked Cajun rice

Taste the dish and adjust the flavors to your taste. Since I thought the dish could use a bit of tomato flavor and a bit more zing, I added some salsa, ketchup and cayenne. Delish.

  • ¼ cup salsa
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
Left-Over Cajun Dirty Rice and Beans in a Burrito
Left-Over Cajun Dirty Rice and Beans in a Burrito

Update: The recipe makes enough for 4 people, so we had the left overs for lunch the next day. I added a few more beans and a bit more salsa and warmed up in a non-stick pan. Then I put the filling into 3 large burrito shells. To add a bit of cheezy flavor, I topped it with a bit of the dressing from the Chopped Thai salad (below) mixed with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. An excellent burrito and a good way to use up left overs.

 

 

 

For the last week I have been loving my salads with Oil Free Maple Mustard Dressing. Since I finished the jar yesterday, I tried a new one today. The Chopped Thai salad recipe below is an adaptation from Pinch of Yum. I removed the oil from the dressing and used tahini (like peanut butter but made with sesame seed) instead. Ken’s verdict – “Outstanding!” So glad I doubled the recipe, we can enjoy this all week. The recipe below made enough for 4 large side salads so if you won’t be eating it all at one meal, add dressing only to the portion you are eating and store the veggies without the dressing in the fridge for the next day. Use within 2 days or the cilantro will get yucky.

Oil Free Chopped Thai Salad

For the dressing:

  • ⅓ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (or 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce and 1 tablespoon water)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey, agave, maple syrup or sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice

For the salad:

  • 1 large handful kale
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • ½ head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame (optional)
  • 2 large carrots, grated or julienned
  • 2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow), sliced thinly
  • ½ to 1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 green onions or ¼ cup chopped red or yellow onion
  • ½ cup cashews or peanuts

Puree all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust to fit your preferences.  (I doubled the recipe and saved the leftover to use in other salads later this week))

Wash the kale and chop fine. Masage kale with a squeeze of lemon juice for a few minutes.

Cook the edamame by boiling it for 3-5 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Drain and allow it to cool.

In a large bowl, mix massaged kale, romaine, cooked edamame (if using), carrots, peppers, chopped cilantro and onion. Toss with just enough dressing to nicely coat all the veggies.  Top with cashews or peanuts (the chilli lime flavoured ones are great)

Update: after the dressing sits in the fridge for a day or more, it will get quite thick in texture, mayonnaise like. Just give it a good stir and use as a creamy dressing on any salad. Or if you prefer a thin pourable dressing, add a tablespoon or two of water and re-blend.

Thanks Alexander for the inspiration for a great meal.