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

Potato & White Bean Soup with Kale

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This is a hearty soup complete with a protein and starch, and it is also really comforting on a cold day.  Mushrooms add a little extra savory flavor, as does the nutritional yeast if you choose to use it.  It also adds nutritional benefits such as vitamin B12 (learn more).

Serves 4

Ingredients

Olive oil

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

1 heaping cup of chopped mushrooms (i like shiitakes)

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)

1/3 cup dry white wine

3 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes

6 cups good vegetable broth (recommended – Not Chick’n Broth bullion cubes)

1 can navy or great northern beans, drained and rinsed

1 sprig rosemary

3 large kale leaves, thick stem removed and chopped (i prefer lacinato kale over the curly kale)

Method

Add enough olive oil to cover bottom of a stock pot and heat over medium low heat for a couple minutes.  Then add onion and mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt.  Saute 5 minutes or until softened.

Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes.

Stir in nutritional yeast to thoroughly mix.  Then add wine stirring and scraping bottom to get any bits on the pan (that’s all the good flavor).  Simmer about 5 minutes until reduced by half.

Add potatoes, broth, beans, and rosemary.  Increase to high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered 20 minutes.

Remove rosemary sprig.  Transfer 1-2 cups of bean and potato mixture with a little of the broth to a blender.  Puree then add back to pot.

Stir in kale and simmer 5 minutes longer.  Transfer to bowls and serve with a yummy crusty baguette!

 

 

10 Vegetable Soup

A hearty, veggie packed with soup with carrot, celery, onion, tomato, potato, cauliflower, zucchini, kale, peas and lima beans (I guess these are technically a legume but I’ll just count them as a vegetable too).  This soup will freeze well too! I created a batch with 6 servings and for some of the vegetables I only used smaller amounts so here are some tips to getting the most out of some of the fresh vegetables:

Carrots:  With a bunch of whole carrots cut up the extra for snacking or use baby carrots.

Celery: I get it off the salad bar because I never end up using a whole bunch.

Zucchini: I also got this off the salad bar but if you don’t use a whole zucchini, saute extra with olive oil and add to pasta and sauce.

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Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 small onion, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 cup diced zucchini

1 small yukon gold or red potato, cubed (about 1/2inch)

1 can diced tomato w/ juice

4-5 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 cup small cauliflower florets

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen lima beans

1 large kale leaf, rib removed, chopped into small pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Add oil to a large soup pot and warm over medium heat for a minute.  Add onion, celery and carrot with a pinch of salt.  Cook 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and basil and cook another 2 minutes.

Add zucchini, potato, cauliflower and toss to coat; cook for a minute.  Add tomatoes and 4 cups of broth.  Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add peas and lima beans, cook 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in kale. Season with salt and pepper.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

 

Thank you, thank you frozen banana for creating a faux ice cream that’s heavenly.  It’s guilt-free and so easy to make!  First and foremost, your banana is the sweet in this recipe is so make sure it’s ripe to the point of being slightly spotted.  The more ripe the more sweet it will be.  The peanut butter and cocoa amounts can be adjusted to suit your tastes but be careful not to add too much almond milk or you’ll end with a smoothie.  If that happens, simply add some more frozen banana slices or pop it in the freezer until it firms up.  I like to top mine with chopped peanuts and chocolate chips.

 

 

You can watch me make it in this video or see recipe below.

 

 

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Ingredients

1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen

1 tbsp peanut butter

2 tsp cocoa powder

1-2 tbsp almond milk

Method

Add banana, peanut butter, and cocoa to a food processor.  Turn on and then add 1 tablespoon of almond milk through the feed tube.  The mixture should start to come together.  Stop and check it, scraping down the sides if necessary.  Add additional tablespoon of milk if needed.  End product should be like soft serve ice cream.

 

Spicy, Saucey Kale Chips

Kick off that 2013 diet with a new healthy snack, amazing kale chips!  I went through a time where I was obsessed to Brad’s Raw kale chips which turned out to be quite a pricey addiction at $8/package.  When I made these I just couldn’t believe how much they tasted like them!

Ingredients

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in salted water overnight (or at least 4 hours), water reserved

2 Tbsp chopped pimentos (or roasted red pepper)

1 tsp red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 bunch kale, thick stems removed, torn into pieces

Method

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.  Place all the ingredients except kale in a blender or food processor and puree.  It should be a thick sauce (see pic below).  If needed, add some of of the reserved water from the cashews. How much liquid you need will depend on how long the cashews were soaked.  It will need more liquid if you only soaked them for a few hours.

Add kale to a large bowl, pour sauce over and toss to thoroughly coat the kale.  Spread kale in one single layer onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Or you can used aluminum foil lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake 30-40 minutes until crisp.