I love getting Harry David pears at Christmas, and this year I was the lucky recipient of two from someone’s overly bountiful basket. I also happened to have had too much basil that I desperately needed to use. Pear and basil are actually delicious together and can be found co-starring in many recipes, gourmet ice cream or sorbet, cocktails, salads, pizza — even pie! So why not a vegan cheese log?
You can make the quick, easy version of this which will be more like a schmear, or follow the steps to “cure” it so you have a sturdier consistency.
Here is the recipe:
- 2 cups cashews, soaked and drained
- 1 pear, cored and roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 lemon, juice of
- 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan, or sea salt (or to taste)
- 1 capsule probiotic, power of
- 1/4 - 3/4 cup water, as needed for consistency
- 1/2 cup basil, chopped
- 3 teaspoons hemp seeds
- Put the cashews, pear, garlic, lemon juice, salt and probiotic in a high speed blender (i.e., VitaMix) and process, using tamper to push mixture down into the blades. Add just enough water-- a little at a time-- to help mixture blend. Process until you have a smooth, thick consistency. Spoon mixture into nut mylk bag or cheese cloth and squeeze out excess moisture. Put bag into a strainer that is set in a bowl and put a weight, like a mason jar of rice, on top to help press out moisture. Leave on the counter for 24 to 36 hours (depending on your humidity level longer for dryer climates). Remove cheese from nut mylk bag and transfer to a bowl. Stir in basil, place on parchment paper, form into a log, and wrap. Allow to set in refrigerator for another 24 hours. Remove from wrapping. Spread out a layer of help seeds and roll the log onto seeds to coat. Slice and serve.
- Serve with your favorite crackers, chips or crudites, or use on pizzas, pastas or salads!
I absolutely LOVE tofu and I always have. Is tofu the best thing for you? Probably not, but it is not as bad as some media would have you believe. In fact if has some definite health benefits. But I am more interested in a tasty meat-free meal – so if you want to read all the scientific research out there, knock yourself out. And let me know what the verdict is. In the meantime, I will enjoy my tofu a few times a week in salads, stir-frys, soups and desserts.
I especially like to bake it this way.
- 1 - 8 ounce package of extra firm tofu*
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar or plain rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon agave
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- Put all the ingredients into a mason jar and shake.
- Drain your tofu well. Slice the block of tofu lengthwise into 4 planks. Dry the slices as well by placing them between paper towels or tea towels. Lay each in a baking dish and pour the marinade over the slices. Put in the refrigerator for an hour or more.
- Preheat your oven to 400 F. Bake tofu for 20 - 25 minutes, turning the slices over half way.
- * I like Wildwood brand tofu. Trader Joe's makes a nice firm tofu.
Did someone say picnic? I am in! Picnics are my absolute favorite. Dining outside, eating a smorgasbord of foods, sipping rosé, soaking up Vitamin D, stopping in between platefuls to throw Max the ball. What’s not to love? And picnics can be as fancy or as causal as the event dictates. This mock tuna salad, adapted from a Rouxbe recipe (called Tuna-less Tuna Salad) is easy and delicious and people love it! I elevated it a bit by using a beautiful green dill cashew “mayo” that mixes into the recipe and can be used on the side to spread on the sandwich bread.
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (1-28oz can)
- 1/2 cup red onion, minced
- 1/2 cup celery, minced (I included the delicate celery leaves for more flavor and texture)
- 1/2 cup pickles, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon kelp powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup Dill Cashew Mayo
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 - 4 hours
- 1/2 cup fresh dill
- 1 large clove of garlic, smashed
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/8 teaspoon agave
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or salt to taste)
- just enough water to blend and reach desired consistency
- If using canned chickpeas, drain them well. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and smash them with a fork or potato masher. You can also pulse them in a food processor. Add in the onion, celery, pickles, dill lemon juice, salt pepper and dill mayo. Stir to combine well.
- Put all the ingredients into a high speed blender and process until smooth.
- Note that when adding in the water, start with a small amount and add more as needed to achieve desired consistency. If you want some of the mayo thicker for spreading on bread, take some of the mixture out before adding more water.
- For people who don't like dill, you can use parsley instead. For a more "fishy" flavor, mix in some flax oil in place of some of the mayo or add dulse, wakame or nori flakes.
This simple juice is sweet, spicy, yummy and healthy — and even beet haters will like it. I like to drink one of these every day to keep things moving (if you get my drift).
- slice of ginger (about the size of thumb nail or 3/4 inch)
- 2 – 3 small beets
- 1 orange
- 1 pear
- Slice pear.
- Remove thin layer of orange peel to preserve white pulp.
- Wash and slice beets needed.
- Juice ingredients in the order listed.
- Leave out pear or orange if you don't want to mix fruits. You can also sub the pear with an apple.
Cashew “cheese” is a staple in my refrigerator. It is so easy to make and it gives you a quick fix when you are hungry and looking for something satisfying. Just spread it on some toast or use it as a dip for crudites. Stri in some herbs for Italian dishes or use some in soups in place of sour cream.
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- pink himalayan salt or sea salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 & 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Sweetener to taste (agave, maple syrup, soaked dates or other sweetener), about a smidge
- Soak cashews in filtered water (covering nuts totally with water) overnight or at least 2 hours.
- Add garlic to food processor or blender and pulse to mince. Add cashews and process/blend again. Add lemon juice, nutritional yeast and about half of the olive oil and process/blend, frequently stopping to scrape sides and blend again.
- Add salt to taste. Add sweetener to taste.
- Slowly blend in leftover oil as needed for desired creamy consistency.
- You can substitute the oil with water or a combination of water and oil. Optional ingredients include fresh herbs. Also, experiment with this recipe using other nuts. Enjoy this on a vegan slice of bread with fresh tomatoes, avocado slices and baby lettuce, serve with crackers or toast points for a delicious spread, or dollop on soups, salads and pastas in place of cheese.
Sushi is such a great vegan option because it is filling and healthy and you can create endless varieties. Some combo I like in addition to rice are basil, corn and cashew ricotta; sweet potato, tofu and garlicky kale, or simply avocado, sliced carrots, red pepper and cucumber.
- 4 nori sheets
- 1 cup sushi rice
- 1 large, ripe avocado
- 1 handful de-stemmed and torn cilantro
- 4 ounces firm tofu
- for tofu marinade
- 3 tablespoons shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon white or yellow miso paste
- 3 tablespoons hot water to dissolve miso
- 1 inch ginger, grated
- 1/2 tsp agave (optional)
- Prepare tofu marinade. First, dissolve miso in hot water. In a small bowl whisk together marinade ingredients. Slice tofu into 1/2 inch slices lengthwise and marinate in a shallow pan so liquid is covering. Marinate in refrigerator for an hour or more.
- Rinse sushi rice well and drain. Prepare rice per instructions on package. Let rice stand for 10 minutes on stove, transfer to a bowl and cool.
- To cook the tofu, preheat the oven to 350. Coat the pan lightly with oil and place tofu slices on pan. Bake for 15 minutes, turn and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and let cool. Then slice into 1/4 inch strips lengthwise.
- Now you are ready to roll. Lay out a bamboo roller, parchment paper or just use a clean clear surface and place a nori sheet on top. Add a handful of rice to the bottom of the sheet (covering about 1/3 of the sheet) and spread thin.
- Next, scoop out a spoonful of avocado and spread a layer over the rice. Place two tofu strips side by side on the avocado, then add a generous amount of cilantro. Roll tightly by flipping the bottom of the nori sheet over the filling and pulling it all back toward the bottom for a tight wrap. Continue rolling and pulling until you have a roll. Use some water or tamari on the loose end to seal it.
- Slice along perforated markings into bite-sized pieces, or about 1 and 1/4 inch rounds.
- Serve with wasabi and "soy sauce". I like gluten free tamari.
- You can add a bit of agave, salt, ginger, and/or rice vinegar in small amounts to the uncooked rice to flavor. Once rice is done, put all or some of the rice in the freezer for a few minutes to expedite cooling. When rolling the sushi, fill a bowl with water and dip your hands in it periodically to keep sticky rice off your hands and help you "pack" the rice down.
The original Caesar salad dressing contained Worcestershire sauce which gave it that slight anchovy flavor and eggs, which along with the olive oil makes it rich and creamy. The dressing evolved to actually include anchovies, heightening that “fishy, salty” taste. The key to making a vegan Caesar salad taste classic is the substituting the anchovies with seaweed– like dulse– and miso, and substituting the eggs with soaked cashews. The flax oil also adds the flavor of the sea and has Omega 3s. Top it off with a nut Parmesan and you have classic flavors in a vegan dish.
- cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours and drained – 1 cup
- shoyu, tamari or soy sauce – 1 T
- white or chickpea miso – 2 T
- 1/4 cup filtered water, heated
- juice of a lemon
- white wine vinegar – 2 T
- dijon mustard – 2 tsp
- garlic – 2 large clove, peeled and minced
- dulse seaweed, granules or power – 2 T
- olive oil – 1/4 cup (or to desired consistency)
- flax oil – 2 T
- agave, stevia or sweetner – to taste
- black pepper, finely ground – 1/2 tsp
- salt – to tase
Stir briskly to dissolve the miso in heated water. Put cashews, tamari, dissolved miso paste, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and dulse into blender and process until nuts are broken down. Add olive and flax oils, salt and pepper and continue to process until creamy.
Serve over whole romaine leaves with a Parmesan nut cheese (1 T ground pine nuts and 1 T almonds, ground with 1 T nutritional yeast and a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper).