Lemon Basil Cashew Cream Pasta

Behold the power of the cashew.  When soaked and pureed, it morphs into a cream that is vegan’s blank canvas to work from.  In this dish you really wouldn’t know there wasn’t any actual cream.  Refreshing lemony, basil sauce smothered all over pasta and topped with pine nuts.  Yes, pine nuts are expensive but they are well worth it here as they complement the other flavors very nicely.

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Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

Olive oil

1/4 cup diced onion

3 garlic cloves, chopped garlic

1/3 cup cashews soaked overnight

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 – 1/3 cup vegetable broth, water from cashews or plain water

1 handful of basil leaves (or more to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Toasted pine nuts for garnish

Cooked pasta, cooking water reserved

Method

Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onion and garlic with a pinch of salt over medium heat for about 3 minutes.  Add to blender with cashews, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of broth and basil.  Blend until pureed, adding additional broth as needed.

Heat skillet over low-medium heat and add enough pasta water to just cover the bottom.  Add in sauce and pasta and stir for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.  Add a tablespoon of pasta water at a time if needed to thin out. Add salt and pepper to tasted and drizzle with olive oil if desired.  Serve topped with pine nuts.

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Mango Coconut Rice

Yummy, creamy coconuty rice studded with chunks of sweet mango makes an easy tropical treat for breakfast or even dessert.  I prefer champagne mangoes but you can use regular ones as well and frozen mango is also an option.   Opt for unsweetened shredded coconut but if you can’t find it, just omit or lessen the agave.  Another possible add-on for this, garnish chopped macadamia nuts and enjoy this tropical island vacation in a bowl!

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Serves 2

Ingredients

1 cup cooked brown rice

1/3 cup light coconut milk

Pinch of salt

1-2 tsp agave nectar

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 champagne mango, diced (just shy of a cup)

Method

Place rice and coconut milk in a small pot over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, begin stirring and it will thicken quickly.  Once desired consistency is reached, remove from heat and stir in agave, coconut, and mango.  Spoon into a bowl and serve.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

This is my way of duplicating my favorite Lara Bar.  I figured they’re so simple with just a couple ingredients that I could just make my own.  There’s no sugar in these either, well except for the chocolate chips.  I like to keep them in the freezer and eat them cold.   Warning: these are addictive!

Makes about 20 squares or tablespoon size ball

Ingredients

20 dried dates, soaked in hot water 15-20 minutes

1/2 cup natural peanut butter, divided (no other ingredients except peanuts and salt!)

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Method

After soaking your dates they should be soft and pliable.  Add them to a food processor with half the peanut butter, and the cocoa.  Process until it’s all combined and smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining peanut butter, chopped peanuts, and chocolate chips.

You can either scoop tablespoon size amount of the mixture and roll into balls or take the mixture and press into a 1/4 inch thick disc on parchment paper.  Lay another piece of parchment and press on top so it is flat. Try a large cast iron skillet or just use your hands.  Chill in the freezer an hour or so.

Remove from freezer, with a knife trim edges so they’re straight (optional) and then cut into squares.  With the extra you’ve trimmed, you can roll into balls or just eat right then!

Store in the freezer.

Summer Vegetable & Lentil Taco Filling

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On my quest to create some awesome vegan recipes with ingredients you can buy at Trader Joes,
I stumbled upon an easy taco filling.  Substitute any other of your favorite vegetables!  Just take note that their taco seasoning is bit spicy so go easy with it and if you want to use less you can add in some cumin or other spices for flavor without the heat.

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Makes enough for 6-8 tacos

Ingredients

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 small onion, peeled and diced

1 small zuchinni, ends removed and diced

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

1 Tbsp taco seasoning

1 Tbsp flour

1 cup vegetable broth or water

1 small tomato, diced

1 bag Trader Joes frozen Melodious Blend Lentils and Green Garbanzo

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Method

Heat oil in a skillet over medium low heat.  Once hot, add onion and zuchinni.  Saute for 5 minutes giving a couple stirs.

Add in garlic and taco seasoning and cook 2 minutes.

Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Stir in broth, then add frozen lentil and green garbanzo mix, tomatoes, and corn.  Stir, then raise the heat to medium and bring to a simmer.  Cook 5-6 minutes until cooked through and sauce thickens.

Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.  Serve in tortillas, over rice, nachos.

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