Vegan Almond Cheese Spread

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I’ll just start with sharing that this recipe is adapted from this Vegetarian Times Almond Feta and basically has the same ingredients.  I had made the Almond Feta recipe once and it was just too time consuming.  I had to go to different stores to find cheesecloth, then I had soak almonds for a day?? Come one.  Do the blending and then drain for hours which I had trouble getting the cheesecloth layered and tied right.  And THEN I had to bake it.  No no no, not for this girl. I discovered I could get just as good of flavors but slightly different texture by skipping a lot of that nonsense.  This is more of a spread, a delicious one. The big difference is by not draining it there is still more water in it, so I bake it at bit higher temperature and find that more of the water evaporates and leaves you with a nice dip or spread.And would make a good base for adding in other flavors so stayed tuned…I expect more versions of this.

Oh and I made this with Trader Joe’s ingredients too!

More photos below!

 

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Ingredients

1 cup raw slivered almonds

Juice of one lemon (about 3-4 Tbsp)

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled

Salt & pepper to taste

2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, optional

Method

Add almonds to a dish or container with 1 cup hot water and let soak 2-4 hours (if you don’t have a high powered blender like a Vita Mix, then soak for 8 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.  Transfer almonds and water to blender with everything except the parsley – you don’t want it to be green unless it’s St. Patty’s Day ;). Puree until smooth.  Adding a little extra water if needed.

Transfer to a bowl and stir in parsley (you can reserve some for a garnish). Transfer to a lightly oiled small baking dish.

Baked for 30-40 minutes. Drizzle with olive and serve. I think this is best served warm right out of the oven.

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Eggplant Zucchini Dip

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This is a super easy, healthy and tasty dip made with few ingredients.   It kicks off my series on vegan recipes made with ingredients from Trader Joes!  Using some frozen and already prepared items they have, makes this a breeze and quick to whip up.  Just note the tahini sauce is not your basic tahini paste, their’s is in the refrigerated section by the hummus and is made with the paste but already has the other ingredients in it. See photo below.  You’ll also use the frozen Misto alla Griglia (aka grilled eggplant and zucchini)

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Makes approx. 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients

1 package frozen Trader Joes Misto all Griglia eggplant & zucchini

1/4 cup Trader Joes Tahini Sauce

Juice of half a lemon

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 fresh parsley leaves

Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Defrost eggplant and zucchini according to package directions.

Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse or puree to desired consistency.  That’s it.

Serve with pita chips, crostini, as a spread on sandwiches…

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Photo credit: Trader Joes

Summer Tomato Bruschetta

Serve this on crostini, pasta, salad, pizza or just eat with a spoon.  It’s always delicious!

 Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil (preferably a higher quality)

1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered (remove some seeds if desired)

1 small handful basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Method

In a large bowl whisk olive oil, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Add tomatoes and basil, give a quick stir and voila.  Fresh tomato bruschetta!