Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lemon Garlic Cashew Cream Sauce

Yep, I'm pretty obsessed with making creamy sauces out of soaked cashews.  It's just so amazingly rich you forget you're eating something vegan.  This is one of my simplest sauces that you can definitely build upon.  It's great on pasta as pictured but also good poured on veggies or salad or as a dip too.  You can even use a little less liquid to make it thicker as a spread which is really great on sandwiches or on pizza in lieu of cheese. Oh so many things you can do with this!
Makes 1 cup
1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight, water reserved
1/4-1/2 cup reserved soaking water or unsweetened almond milk
2-3 tsp lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Place ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until smooth and desired consistency is reached. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hoe Cakes (aka Cornmeal Pancakes)

Hoe cakes, also known as cornmeal pancakes, are basically a pancake that is typically made with a equal parts flour and cornmeal.  They get their name from way back in the day when they were cooked on hoe over a fire.  These little treats were George Washington's breakfast of choice and he enjoyed them with honey.  I like mine with raw agave or maple syrup and vegan Earth Balance (note: the Whipped one tastes like butter and is much better than the Original).
Makes 3-4 small hoe cakes
1/4 cup almond milk
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour (I use half whole wheat and oat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
Canola oil
Recommended: use a cast iron skillet and set on burner over medium heat to allow it to heat while you mix ingredients. 
Measure your almond milk in a measuring cup and then add the lemon juice.  Give it a stir and set aside.
Add cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt to a bowl and whisk or stir.  Add applesauce, agave, and almond milk mixture and stir.
For each cake add about 2 tablespoons of batter to lightly oiled, heated skillet. Spread out to form a small circle.  Let cook about 4 minutes (will depend on how hot your skillet is) or until the edges start to dry and crust.  Flip and cook about 3-4 more minutes. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mushroom, Kale, Potato Tacos

I've probably said it a hundred times but I really love handheld foods.  If I can stuff it in a tortilla or bread, I will.  If you want to make this easier, skip the potato and use frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes.  That will save you the step of having to boil a potato.
Makes 4 tacos
1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1" cubes (or 1 cup frozen shredded potatoes)
2 cups diced mushrooms
1/3 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1/5 block of drained and pressed extra-firm tofu (optional)
2 kale leaves, large rib removed, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Broth, cooking spray or oil for sauteing
4 corn tortillas
Fill a small pot with cold water, add potato.  Bring to a boil and cook 7-8 minutes. 
In a skillet add either a little broth or cooking spray/oil and heat over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and onion and pinch of salt, cook about 5 minutes. 
Add garlic, nutritional yeast and if using tofu, crumble into the skillet. Stir and cook and when potato is done drain from water and add to mushroom tofu mixture along with kale. Stir and cook just a few minutes until kale is just wilted. 
Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and serve in tortillas with desired toppings. My faves are avocado and salsa or hot sauce.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

White Bean Barley Soup with Kale

Spring may be just around the corner but soup season isn't over just yet.  I've made this simple, hearty soup with few ingredients that make for a very satisfying, healthy meal.  I especially love the barley in this because of the great texture it adds, not too mention it's a whole grain with abundant health benefits.  Lower cholesterol, anyone?  It's packed with fiber and phytonutrients like all our other little plant friends so yea, it's good for us.  Let's not forget kale, the super green I've added here.  I go with the lactino kale (also called dinasour kale for its bumpy texture) and cut it up in small pieces because who wants to eat a giant leaf in their soup.  No thanks.  Throw it in at the end, just long enough to let it wilt.  You don't want to cook away all it's precious disease-fighting nutrients.

Printer Friendly

Serves 6


Olive oil or broth for sauteeing
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 cup diced carrots
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-32oz. container low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup pearled barley (of gluten-free grain)
1-15oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
2 cups chopped kale
Salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, pinch of salt and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in broth and barley, increase to heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer about 20 minutes or until barley is tender.

Two choices for the next step:
Option 1: Stir in beans, rosemary and kale and cook a few minutes long until kale is wilts.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Option 2 (for thicker consistency): Transfer half soup to a blender with half the beans.  Puree and then pour back into the pot.  Stir in rosemary and kale, cook a few minutes long until kale is wilts. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Breakfast Carrot Cakes

This started as an attempt at a healthier, vegan carrot cake and evolved into a breakfast treat.  Lots of healthy, yummy goodness like carrots, pineapple, coconut, oats, walnuts baked into cookie shaped cakes.  Sure you can bake these in muffin tins but I prefer the way they bake when you just drop them on a baking sheet. 
Printer Friendly

Makes 6 large or 12 smaller snack size

1/3 cup. maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup quick oats (or rolled oats lightly ground in a blender)

1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped pineapple (fresh or frozen/thawed) or sub raisins
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl add maple syrup thorugh vanilla, set aside. 

In another bowl, add flour through oats and whisk.  Add these dry ingrededients to the wet ingredients and stir but don't overmix.

Fold in carrot, pineapple, nuts, and coconut.

On a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet dollop the the mixture into somewhat round shapes and then lightly press the top to flatten a bit.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hummus Avocado Salad

Hummus as a dressing?  Why not!?  Not only does it make your salad super creamy but it adds protein and substance unlike most dressings which are just empty calories.  The addition of avocado just adds to the deliciousness.  Throw in whatever veggies you want.  I happen to like keeping a Mediterranean theme going with this salad. So this isn't really a recipe but I've listed some of my favorite ingredients.  This is also really good wrapped up in lavash bread, pita, or a tortilla.
The base:
Grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
Red onion, diced
Avocado (ripe!), cubed
Splash of lemon juice
Pita chips
Extra Add-ins:
Kalamata olives
Fresh cilantro
Pepperoncini or peppadew peppers
Roasted red pepper
Sunflower seed
Any other veggies
If you have a large salad bowl and tongs that will help get this all mixed.  Just add the ingredients plus a little fresh lemon juice which will give it some zing and help thin it out your dressing.  Then add your hummus and just toss and a stir until the hummus gets all mixed in.  Add crumbled pita chips, give it a stir and serve. Viola.  It's that simple.