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Psst, Pass the Pignoli-Free Vegan Pesto Pasta Please!

17 Sep

No pine nuts here. My son says he doesn’t feel well after eating them. So, why not substitute with our go-to sub for anything nutty: sunflower seeds? Also, no olive oil here. I’m using avocados instead.

pass-the-pignoli-free-pesto

Pignoli-Free Pesto

Put all the ingredients in a food processor:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c sunflower seeds, soaked a couple of hours to soften
  • 2 c mix of basil and spinach leaves, packed in
  • 2 medium small avocados

Blend well until smooth. Add the following to taste:

  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast

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The Pasta

Cook 16oz of your choice of pasta. Save some pasta water before draining. Add the pesto to the pasta and mix well. Add pasta water to thin the sauce, only if needed.

Note: Raw Vegans, you can use zucchini or kelp noodles instead.

To Serve

At the table, serve with extra:

  • nutritional yeast or your choice of cheese
  • coarse sea salt

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My husband happily eats this Pesto Pasta as is. My son needs more of a cheesy taste. I prefer to sprinkle some coarse sea salt over my pasta and mix it in. The extra salt deepens and enriches the flavors of the Pesto. Enjoy!

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Vegan Family Meals Blog Tour: My Niçoise

27 Jun

Last week on the Vegan Family Meals Blog Tour, I  re-created Ann Gentry’s Garlic-Sesame Kale Chips RAW with great success.  This week, I am attempting to re-create her Niçoise salad – mostly RAW.  This is DELICIOUS!!!

Ann Gentry's My Niçoise

Ann Gentry’s My Niçoise

Serves 4

8 ounces slender green beans (such as haricots verts), trimmed

4 medium red-skinned potatoes (about 1 pound total), cut into ½-inch-thick wedges

Vinaigrette:

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

 Salad:

1 large head butter lettuce, leaves separated and larger leaves torn in half

3 ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges, or 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes, halved

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 log Peppercorn-Crusted Tofu Chèvre (recipe follows), sliced into rounds

¹⁄3 cup

olives or kalamata olives

2 tablespoons capers, drained

1½ tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cook the green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and submerge the green beans in a bowl of ice water just until they are cold. Drain the green beans again and pat dry. Set aside.

Place the potatoes in a steamer basket set in a saucepan filled with 1 inch of simmering water. Cover and steam until they are just tender and still hold their shape, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Vinaigrette: While the vegetables are cooling, whisk the lemon juice, shallot, mustard, thyme, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil to blend well.

Salad: Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter or in a large shallow salad bowl. Place the green beans, potatoes, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Toss with enough of the vinaigrette to coat, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the beans, potatoes, and tomatoes atop the lettuce. Arrange the tofu cheese slices amid the vegetables. Sprinkle the olives, capers, and parsley over the salad. Spoon more vinaigrette over the salad and serve immediately.

Tofu Chèvre:

Makes 1 (13-ounce) log

1 (12-ounce) container waterpacked extra-firm tofu, drained and halved
1 large clove garlic
2 tablespoons yellow miso
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

Pat the tofu dry with paper towels. Set the tofu in a colander and set the colander over a bowl to collect all the liquid that drains from the tofu. Cover the tofu with plastic wrap, then place 3 heavy cans, each at least 14 ounces, on the tofu to weigh it down. This weight will help extract all the excess liquid from the tofu. Refrigerate the tofu for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Mince the garlic in a food processor. Pat the tofu halves with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture, then add the tofu to the food processor. Add the miso, 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, and the salt, and blend until the mixture is very smooth, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Lay a sheet of plastic wrap flat on the work surface. Scrape the tofu cheese onto the center of the plastic wrap, then wrap the cheese, forming a log. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Unwrap the cheese log and place it on a baking sheet. Brush the log lightly with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Bake just until the cheese is warmed through, but the center is still creamy, about 25 minutes.

Serve warm or cold.

Peppercorn-Crusted Variation: Coarsely grind whole black or multicolored peppercorns, then sprinkle them over the cheese, patting them gently to adhere.

Sunflower Niçoise

Sunflower Niçoise – a Mostly Raw Niçoise

I follow everything on the recipe, except for:

1. I steam the potatoes and the green beans in the same pot.  The potatoes are first steamed for 4 minutes, then I simply add the green beans to the steamer for an additional 4 minutes.  If you want your salad completely raw, simply omit the potatoes and add raw jicama and raw green beans.  (Note, I never did well with raw green beans…)

2. I make a Raw Sunflower Chèvre instead.  I simply substitute the tofu with soaked sunflower seeds.  Soak 1 cup of sunflower seeds overnight.  Rinse and drain.  Mix in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients: garlic, miso (I used unpasteurized white miso), oil and sea salt.  Use a small ice cream scoop to place tablespoons of the soft cheese onto a texflex sheet, flatten if you wish.  Place in a dehydrator for 1 hour on 150F, then decrease to 105F for the next hour.  The cheese will be a little crusty on the top, but still soft inside and at the base – perfect for this salad.

Spring Salad with Sesame Dressing

14 May

Spring Salad with Sesame Dressing

It’s easier to add more ‘raw’ foods into our daily diets than a lot of people think.

How?  Substitute unprocessed ingredients for the processed ones and voilá! you’ve got something RAW.

Here’s a quick and simple example of how I re-created a favorite Japanese Sesame Dressing.

Puree together:

2 tbspns Nama Shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce instead of regular)

2 tbspns raw apple cider vinegar (instead of rice vinegar)

2 tbspons raw local honey (instead of white granulated sugar)

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds (instead of toasted)

1/4 cup raw tahini (instead of peanut butter or roasted tahini)

1/4 cup water (instead of stock)

Enjoy your truly raw and unprocessed Spring salad greens and/or microgreens (the latter from City Roots)!

That’s easy, isn’t it?

Top 12 Kid-Friendly Year-Round Raw Superfoods

7 Mar

After discussing the top 5 reasons to feed our children more raw vegan foods, I thought it would be good to list the most kid-friendly raw foods that are in-season all year round and/or available all year round.  It is best to find organic, local and in-season foods, but sometimes it is just not possible for many reasons (one being I have a monkey who loves bananas and we don’t grow bananas where we live).

So, here is a list of 12 superfoods that are full of, as my son says, “En-zines! En-zines!”

Hope your kids enjoy these living and enzyme rich foods!

FRESH FRUITS

1. bananas – all kids love bananas.  They are rich in enzymes, best eaten just ripe when there are brown spots on the skin.  Many kids are monkey bananas for them in

  • breakfast – cereals, granola, porridge, pudding
  • green smoothies – a must in any
  • ice cream – with the texture of real ice cream, you can add different ingredients to change its flavor
  • lollipops – name me a kid who doesn’t like them!

2. apples – sweet and crunchy!  Full of phyto-nutrients and anti-oxidants, what’s there not to love in

  • breakfast – in our favorite Raw Muesli and a yummy accompaniment to Almond Yogurt.
  • easy snacks – simply slice one up and serve with or without a dip, or create Apple Sandwiches
  • raw Applesauce
  • immune booster ‘tea’: mix together equal parts of apple cider vinegar and honey, add water to taste
  • veggie juices – to make it more palatable for kids. I know my son prefers apple green juices over carrot ones.

3. lemons – rich in raw vitamin C and bioflavanoids.  Enjoy in

  • salad dressings: 1 tbspn lemon juice, 2-4 tbspns extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp sea salt, spices and herbs
  • raw lemonade

4. avocado – rich in protein, enzymes, fiber, potassium, vitamin E and healthy fats.  Avocados add a richness and creaminess in

  • dips – Guacamole
  • soups
  • a simple side – sliced with a little sea salt and extra virgin olive oil
  • desserts – creamy chocolate Sundae

5. papaya – loaded with living enzymes, papaya contains papain, a digestive enzyme which helps break down protein and soothes the stomach.  Enjoy in

FRESH VEGGIES

6. romaine lettuce – rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, manganese, and chromium, it is also a very good source of dietary fiber.  It is the mildest of all leafy greens and the easiest for kids to learn to love.  Enjoy in

  • easy salads – Kid’s Only Salad and South Asian Salad
  • smoothies – in any smoothie, this is the easiest way to get kids to eat them
  • as wraps – simply place a banana in a leaf, topped with almond butter and honey or dates or nama shoyu, or other filling

SPROUTED GRAINS

7. sprouted oat groats: a good source of dietary fiber, significant amount of vitamin B1, potassium, iron, phosphorous, selenium, zinc, manganese and magnesium.  Enjoy in

RAW NUTS and SEEDS

8. almonds – higher in fiber than other nuts, contains healthy omega-9 oleic fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Enjoy in

  • Almond Butter – use it instead of peanut butter on bananas with honey, or in lettuce wraps
  • Almond Orange Salad Dressing
  • Raw Almond Milk – soak 1 cup of almonds overnight, rinse and drain the next day, process in a high speed blender with 4 cups of water and your choices of sweetener (honey, dates, to taste) and flavor (cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom)
  • Raw Almond Yogurt

9. coconut – besides being anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal (Coconut Research Center), coconuts are highly nutritious, rich in fiber (4x as much as oat bran and 2x as much as wheat bran or flaxseed meal), vitamins and minerals.  We have a tub of coconut oil in my son’s bathroom and he enjoys eating the butter as I lather moisturize his skin with it. Enjoy in

  • breakfast – granola
  • coconut oil – in desserts, pit a date and place a little coconut oil inside, close and enjoy
  • creamy milk – simply blend together fresh raw coconut water and meat from one coconut.
  • Pina Colada smoothie – blend together water and meat from 1 coconut, 1 banana, 1 cup pineapple, 1 tbspn honey.
  • soups – we love my Coconut Gazpacho, but you can make a simple Avocado Coconut Soup by blending 1 avocado and water and meat from 1 coconut and your choice of flavours (curry, vanilla, sea salt or honey)

10. sunflower seeds – excellent source of vitamin E, as well as vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B5 and folate.  We enjoy this is our son’s fave salad

11. flax seeds – great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, good source of dietary fiber, manganese, folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and lignan phytonutrients.  Enjoy as

SWEETENER

12. raw local honey – not only will this help with seasonal allergies, but this is an unprocessed sweetener that kids just love.  Since finding out more about the negatives of agave syrup, honey is now our favorite liquid sweetener.  Enjoy in

  • breakfast
  • chocolate syrup with raw cacao or carob powder
  • desserts
  • toppings or dips for cut fruit