Saturday, February 28, 2015

creamy cilantro + lime salad dressing

Out of vegan dinner ideas? Make this creamy cilantro + lime dressing and the possibilities are endless!
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews (drained) 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt to taste
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy smooth. Can be used right away or chilled to set. I poured mine over a southwestern style salad and it was amazing!

Cumin + chili roasted sweet potatoes and corn on top of a kale + lettuce mixture makes the perfect candidate for topping with creamy cilantro + lime dressing. 

Some other dinner ideas that involve this mouthwatering condiment: 

Drizzle on some zucchini + corn fritters
Or top some sprouted lentil tacos, by tasty-yummies (click here for sprouting tips)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

coconut + cacao nib cookie balls

Cookie balls? I know. Well, I didn't know what to call them! They are little no bake, raw, vegan, cookie dough morsels! They won't last very long in my fridge, I can tell you that! And they are sooo easy to make! It does take some persistence to get them rolled, but trust me, it's worth it.

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup coconut (shredded or flaked, preferably not sweetened)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (no, they are not "raw", but they can be GF :))
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs

Add almonds and coconut to food processor...

Process into a fine meal, fine enough that it starts climbing up the sides and won't process anymore without scraping it back down to the blade. Add the oats and a pinch of salt. A pinch of salt is essential to all things raw and sweet, it brings out all of the flavors. When the oats are fully processed, slowly pour maple syrup and vanilla in while processing. It doesn't take long to combine at this point. Transfer mixture to a bowl and fold in cacao nibs. 

Now for the fun part... roll into little balls of heavenly cookie dough goodness. This is the sticky part, your hands will be coated in the stuff, and you will probably be licking them clean before washing them, at least thats what happened in my kitchen! 

These are great for a sweet treat, an afternoon pick-me-up, or pretty much whenever you open the fridge.

P.S. I just joined Instagram! Now you can follow whats going on in my kitchen straight from your phone! Tons of inspiration for healthy cooking and a healthy lifestyle, follow me iamalmostvegan!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

cinnamon + tahini granola

And here we are again, at my favorite meal of the day: breakfast. It comes around every morning and sets the tone for the whole day. It should be packed with nutrients and whole grains that get you going and keep you going. My go-to morning meal involves a smoothie with some sort of greens (kale, spinach, spirulina, or other greens powders) and topped with granola. Store bought granolas can be loaded with sugar and they're expensive! I love making my own granola; hand picking which seeds and grains I want and controlling the sugar content.

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups buckwheat groats
  • 1 cup millet (optional)
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter 
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and measuring out all dry ingredients (from oats to hemp seeds). I have noted that the millet is optional, this is because it may be too crunchy for some people. I love the extra crunch, but if you aren't into it, just do extra buckwheat or oats.

In a small saucepan, melt pb, tahini, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Once melted into a saucy substance, drizzle over dry ingredients and toss. Make sure everything gets a good coating. Spread half of granola onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If you have two sheets you can do them both at the same time, its just good to spread it in a thin layer rather than piling it all onto one sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing once to avoid burning the edges. 

Allow to cool and store in airtight container (if possible). This makes a huge batch so you can enjoy healthy hearty breakfasts for weeks!

pumpkin + turmeric miso

Another storm this weekend! That means staying in and making soup :) Adding pumpkin puree to miso gives this salty broth a little creamy sweetness that is hard to resist. And with fresh turmeric, ginger, and loads of bok choy, it doesn't get any healthier than this! 

This soup is super easy, great for a stormy night, or to boost your immune system through the winter! 

  • 1 Tbsp grated turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/3 cup miso
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (maybe less if using canned pumpkin puree)
  • 1/2 package brown rice noodles (4 oz)
  • 2-3 heads bok choy

I made a pumpkin puree by baking a little pumpkin from the market, but if you are using canned pumpkin there are a few things to remember: don't buy pumpkin pie mix, and canned pumpkin usually has a stronger flavor because there is much less water content. So start with a little bit, maybe a half cup, and then make it as pumpkin-y as you want! 

First, get everything ready, because this recipe throws together faster than you think. Grate turmeric and ginger, add to a large soup pot along with water, miso and pumpkin. Keep the heat on about medium, no need to boil the nutrients out. Continue stirring until all miso and pumpkin are incorporated. When the soup is hot, add the noodles...

These are my favorites but any rice noodle or bean threads will work! Cooking them right in the broth keeps all of starch in the soup, making it thicker and even creamier. Noodles cook in just a few minutes so get your greens ready! Rinse and chop in 1/4 - 1/2 inch strips. I added three heads of bok choy, but I like a lot of greens. Kale, chard or spinach would also be nice! As soon as the noodles are cooked I turn off the heat and add the greens, they will wilt enough after the heat is off, and this gives the soup a chance to cool down a bit before you start chowing down. To serve, use tongs to divide noodle evenly, cover with broth. Enjoy and be healthy!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

vegan "meat" balls

I don't know if I can call them "meat" balls if they don't have anything to do with meat. If I call them protein balls they sound like something sweet, and if I call them bean balls, well, I just don't think anyone would make them. So vegan "meat" balls it will be, until I think of a better name.

This recipe is adapted from the minimalist baker, who uses tempeh instead of beans, and a few more ingredients. My version of vegan "meat" balls are as simple as it gets, and if you make the sauce ahead of time, or have a jar of marinara sauce on hand, dinner can be ready in less than 20 min.

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flax meal mixed with 3 Tbsp water) 
  • 1 15 oz can of white beans
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp italian seasoning
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Prepare the flax egg and set aside. Chop onion and garlic. Heat 1-2 tsp olive oil in frying pan, add garlic and onion and cook until soft. Add onion and garlic to a food processor along with beans, parsley, seasonings, and flax egg.   Process into a thick chunky paste and transfer mixture into a bowl.

Add bread crumbs and fold together, mixing the last bit by hand if necessary. Heat 1-2 more Tbsp olive oil in frying pan, roll mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and arrange in pan. Cook on low, flipping/rotating when necessary. Cover the frying pan in between flipping them so they get heated up all the way through, cook for about 10 minutes. You might have to have a sneaky little taste test to see if they are hot inside. I wasn't too concerned with how crispy and golden they got on the outside because I was trying to use as little oil as possible, but if you are into frying them crispy, do a little more oil and rotate until all sides are golden.

Serve with whole wheat pasta or zucchini noodles and your favorite pasta sauce. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

super (papaya) bowl sunday

It's Super Bowl Sunday! Which has absolutely nothing to do with football, and everything to do with this kick ass breakfast, at least in my world.

My friend Lisa has been temporarily addicted to a similar dish found at Kuau Store: half a papaya filled with cashew cream and topped with goji berries and cacao nibs. Yum. Thank you Kuau Store for your delicious breakfast inspiration.

My version of cashew cream that tastes like a dream:

  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • dash of salt
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Soak cashews for at least 15 minutes, drain and rinse before using. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender, chill to set (the longer you chill, the thicker the cream will get).

Scoop cream into halved papaya, seeds removed. Top with magic sprinkles: goji berries, cacao nibs, and chia seeds. Grab a spoon. Dig in. 

Alternative toppings include hemp seeds, coconut, or crunchy granola. This batch of cream fills 4 papaya halves.