Tag Archives: Almonds

Meatless Monday: Vegan Mac & Cheese

We’ve been doing the Meatless Monday thing pretty much for the entirety of our marriage so far. It’s been fun trying new recipes and realizing that you don’t need an animal protein to make a meal. Some of our favorite veg recipes are things like black bean burgers, tofu curry, eggplant parmesan, and this recipe for vegan mac & cheese. Admittedly, when I first made it I added a can of tuna and called it tuna casserole. Brett asked for seconds and couldn’t stop telling me how good it was. Even when I told him what was in it he didn’t change his mind. The flavors are great and really adaptable to any taste. It makes a great side dish with plenty of leftovers, or a main dish that will definitely fill you up.

Vegan Mac & Cheese
(adapted from the edible perspective)

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped (or about 1 cup of any mild vegetable such as carrots, cauliflower, etc.)
½ small onion, peeled and chopped (about ¼-1/3 cup)
1 1/2 cups raw cashews and/or almonds (in any ratio)
1 1/3 cup unsweetened, unflavored milk substitute
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
black pepper
1 teaspoon mustard
12-16 ounces pasta (any type you would use for mac & cheese)
1 slice bread (or fresh breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon Earth Balance (vegan margarine)
Paprika

Boil sweet potatoes and onion in a medium pot until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain and set aside. Add nuts and milk to blender. Process until smooth. Add the garlic, lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast, pepper, and mustard and process until smooth. Add boiled and drained vegetables and process until all combined. Cook pasta in boiling water for 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Mix together cheese sauce and pasta. Pour into a greased casserole dish and sprinkle paprika over top. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, process slice of bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs. Melt butter and combine with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over baked casserole and place under the broiler for 3 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Serves approximately 4-6 as a main course

Nutritional yeast is probably the only ingredient that would be hard to find. I get it out of the bulk bins at Whole Foods, but I’ve also seen it in the natural section at grocery stores (Bob’s Red Mill is a national brand that might be easiest to find). You don’t want to leave it out because it’s what gives the casserole its cheesy flavor (Read more about it here).

Also, if the strict vegan thing doesn’t matter to you, regular cow’s milk and butter work just fine in this (probably better, especially the butter). Once you blend the sauce, give it a taste. You might want to add some fresh herbs, or some cayenne for a little heat. And it does make a great tuna casserole with just the addition of one can of tuna. Like Ashley says on her blog, I can’t imagine someone not liking this. Try it!

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Filed under Meatless Monday, Recipes, Vegan

Holiday Spiced Almond Butter

This Christmas, I wanted to make something for my friends and family that would be interesting and delicious. I did just that.

The first two jars are recipes I found on the edible perspective, the last (Honey Vanilla and Flax Almond Butter) was something I developed from a few of her recipes. I don’t think I could pick a favorite recipe of the three, they’re all so unique and delicious. We don’t use a lot of nut butters around here (Brett’s allergic to peanuts and addicted to Biscoff spread) but this was gone in days. We added it to oatmeal, spread it on English muffins and toast, ate it with a spoon… etc. And it’s so much cheaper than buying almond butter in the store (I may have payed $16 for a jar once) and you can control your ingredients and sugar levels. It also makes a great gift!

Holiday Spiced Almond Butter
(from the edible perspective)

2 cups raw almonds
3 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons molasses, divided
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, or more according to desired consistency

Spread almonds on parchment on a baking sheet. Pour on 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1 tablespoon molasses. Stir with hands so that all nuts are covered. Roast for 30 minutes at 300 degrees, stirring once every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes. Pour into food processor and turn on. Process and scrape down bowl as needed, until it butterizes (10-15 minutes, past the stage where it turns into a ball of “dough”). Stop food processor and add remaining 1/2 tablespoon of molasses and 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and all of oil, spices, and salt. Process again until smooth consistency is met (another 5-8 minutes, past the second dough ball stage). You can add more oil if you want a smoother, more “drippy” almond butter. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

 

Almonds coated with goodness. I use Grade B maple syrup because it has more flavor and less sugar. Win-win.

All of the in-process additions.

Hot out of the oven. There may have been a few of these that didn’t make it to the food processor…

Warning about processing: the first 30 seconds is very LOUD! Hold your ears. About 8 minutes into processing, the mixture will turn into this ball of “dough” that just circles around and around the outside of the food processor. This means your close to your goal!

Final product: about 1 1/2 cups of yumminess. This lasted about a week.

Mmmmm

One word of advice: don’t double or half the recipe. This amount works great in a normal-sized food processor. I tried to double it and my (admittedly old. but great-working) food processor started smoking. If you cut in in half (which you would regret as soon as you immediately hit the bottom of the jar), I’m not sure there would be enough mass for the food processor to work with.

Happy butterizing!

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Filed under Recipes, Sauces & Spreads, Vegan

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

Do you like to eat raw cookie dough? We do. Very much. Proof: when I make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, I cook about 8 for us to eat warm, then scoop the rest and put them in the freezer, meant to be cooked “à la minute.” This is a really good idea, especially if there are only two of you in a house and one of you likes to make cookies faster than they can eat them. But usually the thought of waiting for the oven to preheat and the cookies to bake is too much at the end of the day, and we just enjoy the frozen cookie dough balls as dessert.

Yes, raw eggs can be scary. I’ve taken plenty of microbiology and food safety classes and know all about the dangers of Salmonella. But. It’s never made me sick (that I know of. Knock on wood). My love of raw eggs and runny yolks outweighs any fears of food-borne illness. (it also helps my confidence to purchase local farm fresh eggs). But if the idea of eating raw eggs isn’t your thing, or you’re pregnant, a young child, or an older adult (the most susceptible groups to food-borne illnesses), this is the recipe for you. It’s also the recipe for you if you want to satisfy your cookie dough craving but with something you’ll feel better about eating. It’s also the recipe for you if you’ve always wanted to eat cookie dough for breakfast without shame. Pretty much its a recipe for anyone.

(This is my first recipe I’ve made from MamaPea, and I can’t wait to make more! Her post are hilarious and heart-warming, and her food always sounds soo good that it makes being a vegan sound easy and delicious!)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars

1 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup dried pitted dates (~14 whole dates)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 cup chocolate chips

Add almonds to a food processor. Process until they are the consistency of wet sand. Set the almonds aside, and add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor. Process until a paste forms, then add the almonds back in. Pulse until it all comes together and forms a dough. Empty food processor bowl onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a rectangle. refrigerate for at least one hour and cut into bars. Enjoy without hesitation!

The only thing I changed from MamaPea’s recipe was using dried dates instead of fresh. Since the dried have less moisture, I upped the amount to make sure the “dough” would come together. I probably could have used up to 1 cup of dates, but I only got 14 from the bulk bin so I made do.

The processed almonds in the bowl, with all of the ingredients minus the chocolate chips. I haven’t had to buy vanilla extract for a year thanks to gifts from flavor vendors. This big of a bottle would have cost $10+, easy.

Everything chopped up before combining.

The dough poured out on plastic wrap.

And formed into a block!

After 1 unbearable hour I took them out of the fridge to cut into squares and taste.

Yum yum yummm! Seriously, these are so good you won’t even think about the stuff made with loads of butter and sugar and raw eggs. Really. Save that stuff for baking. I think its the vanilla extract that makes it. And the salt. As you can see, my 14 dates didn’t hold the bars together completely, but I rolled all of those little crumbs into a ball and it was still delicious.

MamaPea made these before she tried the new Cookie Dough Larabars, and once she compared the two she claimed she ended up making a better version. I 100% agree. Her bars just have the essence of cookie dough that Lara’s are missing.

And Larabars are good, but they’re expensive! I’ve seen them range from $1.29-$1.79 for one 45 gram bar. I made the equivalent of 8 bars with mostly organic ingredients (organic dates and almonds from the bulk bin at Whole Foods, organic chocolate chips) for approximately $5 total – less than half the price! I don’t think I’ll ever buy one again!

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Filed under Raw, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan