Homemade Cashew Yogurt

Yogurt was one of my go-to foods before I became vegan. I can remember swirling brown rice syrup into cream-top yogurt for a snack when I was little; when I was in college, I always had a tub of yogurt in the fridge to top with berries and nuts for breakfast or a substantial snack.

Finding non-dairy yogurts that do not have creepy additives, gums and stabilizers can be a challenge. Those that I have found tend to be coconut based (and thus taste of coconut) and cost a fortune.

So I decided to make my own out of soaked cashews and it’s totally amazing! Rich and creamy and tangy, it would be perfect with a swirl of sweetness from jam or maple. It does take 24 hours to culture, but takes only minutes of effort.

There are a few important things to keep in mind when making this yogurt. First, you absolutely must soak raw cashews. Soaking softens the cashews and allows them to blend up into a seamless cream. Soaking also gets rid of phytic acid and makes the nuts easier to digest, so that’s a bonus! Second, you must use non-chlorinated water, since chlorine can kill the probiotics that will culture your yogurt. Third, if you want a thicker, Greek style yogurt, you should reduce the water, add a tablespoon of melted coconut oil, or add a thickener like agar agar. Lastly, if you want to use your yogurt for savory applications, leave out the date and swap in a teaspoon of agave nectar (the sugar will help it culture, but should have a minimal impact on flavor).

This recipe will be a hit with your friends who are gluten-free or following a raw foods OR whole food plant-based OR paleo diet!

Love and yogurt,

 

 

Homemade Cashew Yogurt

Yield: 1 cup yogurt

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 date, pitted
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • 2 probiotic capsules, OR 100 Billion Probiotic Cultures OR 1 tablespoon live, active non-dairy yogurt
  1. In a blender, combine cashews, lemon, date, salt and water until totally smooth.
  2. Transfer the blend to a clean, glass jar. Using a non-metal spoon, stir in your probiotics or live, active yogurt.
  3. Cover the jar with cheesecloth, a clean towel, or a paper towel and secure with a rubber band. Allow to culture in a warm spot for 24 hours.
  4. After the yogurt has cultured, transfer to the refrigerator. Keeps for 3 days.
http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/homemade-cashew-yogurt/

Spiced Carrot Juice

After every orthodontist appointment I had growing up, I would get a gift certificate to the McDonalds two doors down for a McFlurry. But what was my preferred post-dental treat of choice?  Carrot juice.  Yep, carrot juice from the crunchy, kitschy vegetarian restaurant next door.

I absolutely love carrot juice and it still feels like a special treat to me.  But juice can be expensive to buy, and I don’t really want to invest in a DIY juicer (I have neither the patience to clean it, nor the space to store it).

Then the other day, when my carrot juice craving struck, Eric suggested I just make it in the blender.   Brilliant!  This juice uses a nut-milk style method and is totally genius. Not only does it allow me to have fresh juice whenever I want, but I can customize the flavors.  To this batch I added a hunk of ginger and a dash of cardamom.  Holy of holies was this delicious.  Smooth and creamy and sweet and spicy.  And it only cost $0.89 to make.

Carrot juice for the win!

Love and Weird Hippy Treats,

 

 

P.S. Wondering what to do with the leftover pulp?  Stay tuned!

Cardamom Carrot Juice
  • 1 lb. carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 cups water
  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients on high until smooth (about 90 seconds in a high speed blender).
  2. Using a nut milk bag (or similar device), pour the juice through the bag over a large bowl to catch the pulp. Squeeze the bag to extract every last bit of juice.
  3. Transfer the juice to a bottle. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/spiced-carrot-juice/

Cardamom and Cacao Nib Chocolate

You know that intoxicating aroma of chocolate that wafts through your house when you make a batch of chocolate chip cookies?  Ever noticed that you don’t get that same heady perfume when you open a jar of cocoa powder?  That’s because the wonderful chocolate aroma we all know and love comes from cocoa butter, the fat from the cocoa bean.  It is a special ingredient that is great for homemade foot creams and even better for homemade chocolate.

But if you’re going to go through the trouble of making your own chocolate, why would you punctuate that gorgeous scent with cardamom? First of all,  it is super easy to make your own chocolate.  No special equipment is required and I guarantee you can whip it up in less time than it would take to go the store and buy a bar.

Although this is not a classical combination, the results of combining these two flavors are incredible.  Cardamom is a gorgeous, cooling spice that has an almost citrusy flavor.  It adds lightness and surprise to the chocolate.  It adds that special extra layer that makes people ask “what is in these?”

It also has some incredible health benefits.  Cardamom is not only delicious, but acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound in the body.  And the other ingredients contribute essential nutrients, too.  Cacoa is one of the best food based sources of magnesium, and contains some zinc and selenium.  Cacao nibs have all that plus crunch.  Coconut oil is a heat stable fat that reduces oxidative stress in the body.  And maple syrup is a vegan-friendly sweetener with a yummy smoky flavor and manganese, an enzyme activator that helps your body synthesize cholesterol.

So is chocolate a health food?  No.  It’s a special treat.  But it’s definitely healthier (and more fun) to make it at home.   Not only can you switch up the flavors (in case cardamom is totally not your thing) but you also avoid unnecessary refined sugars and emulsifiers like soy lecithin.  So don’t hesitate to order some cocoa butter from Amazon and get cooking!

Love and Chocolate,

 

 

Cardamom and Cacao Nib Chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, virgin or refined
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
  1. In a double boiler, melt coconut oil and cocoa butter until liquid. This can also be done in a microwave. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Whisk in maple syrup, vanilla, cacao powder, sea salt and ground cardamom until completely smooth.
  3. The chocolate can now be molded into any form you prefer. I like filling mini muffin cups nearly full, but you could use any candy mold. Sprinkle cacao nibs over for crunch.
http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/cardamom-cacao-nib-chocolate/

 

Nutella Truffles

I have a confession:  I don’t really like Nutella.  I love the combination of chocolate and hazelnut, but Nutella itself is just too sugary.   Plus it’s not vegan (it contains milk powder). Luckily, these truffles make a perfect dessert to unite the 98% of the world who does cartwheels over Nutella with weirdos like me who can’t stomach it’s saccharine sweetness.

They require just a few simple whole food ingredients:  toasted hazelnuts, dates, cocoa powder and sea salt.  If you’re feeling fancy, you could throw in a little vanilla extract and a handful of cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips for good measure.  The nuts, dates, and cocoa are high in antioxidants and fiber, making them a healthy treat to share at any time of day.  These are so healthy you could eat them for breakfast.

And these are perfect to share with friends of every dietary persuasion.   If you or a loved one has a nut allergy, feel free to use shredded coconut (unsweetened).  It will taste more tropical, and less like a French crepe, but it will still be delicious.

Love and Treats,

 

 

Nutella Truffles
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs or chocolate chips, optional
  1. In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts until a coarse flour is formed.
  2. Add in cocoa powder and sea salt. Pulse until combined.
  3. Add dates, vanilla, and cacao nibs or chocolate chips, if using. Pulse until a stick dough is formed. It should hold together when pressed.
  4. Form the dough into 1 inch balls by taking approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and rolling it between your palms. Repeat until all the dough has been used.
  5. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to one month.

Notes

For a nut-free truffle, replace the hazelnuts with unsweetened, toasted coconut.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/nutella-truffles/

 

Avocado Shake

avocado-milkshake

Happy New Year!  

I love the clean slate feeling of a fresh year.  I love the opportunity to reflect on all the wonderful things that happened the year before and wonder, with anticipation, what new friends and new adventures the new year will bring.

And I love new years resolutions.  I first became vegan because of a new years resolution.  I was doing a different challenge every month for a year, and my friend Julie asked if I’d like to go vegan with her for a month.  It sounded fun, so I figured I’d give it a try.  And that was the starting point of this beautiful adventure.

Many people use new years resolutions to set unrealistic goals and then self flagellate when they don’t achieve them.  I really see no point in this.  You have this blank page of a year- why muddy it with your own self loathing?  If you want to set a new years resolution at all, think about something you are curious about.  What would it look like to start exploring it?  What would be the first step?  Start there and see where the journey takes you.

This Avocado Shake is something I’d forgotten about until recently.  I was flipping through images from early drafts of my cookbook (another new years resolution project).  This shake didn’t end up making the final cut, but it’s the perfect type of new years recipe:  healthy, fast, easy.

It may sound strange, but I promise you it isn’t.  It’s actually a very common Brazilian recipe.  Brazilians blend avocados with milk and sugar;  I blend them with coconut milk and a little agave or coconut nectar.  This is a great recipe to make the morning after a long, indulgent night.  Avocados make the shake thick and creamy, while adding lots of fiber, vitamin k and vitamin e.  Coconut adds lots of medium chain triglycerides and a tropical flavor.

It’s a perfect recipe, no matter what diet you’re on.  Though it is an especially great recipe for my loved ones who are managing their neurological diseases through diets rich in veggies and coconut!

Love and Happy New Year,

Amanda Signature

 

 

Avocado Shake

Yield: 1-2 servings

This makes quite a thick shake. But the beauty of the recipe is that you can adjust any ingredient to suit your preferences. If you like it thinner, add more coconut milk. If you like it sweeter, add some ripe banana, one medjool date, or a little extra coconut nectar. If you want to add some extra veggies, through in a handful of spinach- it will yield a bright green color. Enjoy!

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • handful of ice
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave, coconut nectar, or maple syrup (optional)
  • pinch salt
  1. Blend all ingredients until totally smooth.

Notes

For a paleo diet: use coconut nectar.

For a whole foods plant based diet: replace the liquid sweetener with a medjool date or 1/2 ripe banana.

For a raw foods diet: use the meat and water from one young coconut.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/crispmas/

 

All Vegetable Sushi

IMG_5171

I just don’t understand how people survived without air conditioning.  I really don’t.  Our little window unit struggles to keep our tiny NYC apartment cool enough to be tolerable.  And it is definitely not strong enough to combat the added heat of the stove.

My mission this summer has been to create meals that require absolutely no added heat.  No stove, no oven, not even a toaster oven.  I want food that is cool and hydrating.  That means we’ve been eating lots of smoothies, hummus, tapenades, and ice cream.

Raw food cuisine is also perfect for this kind of weather.  Personally, raw food as a dogma is not my thing.  It’s simply not true that raw fruits and vegetables are better than cooked fruits and vegetables.  We need both.  But I really appreciate raw foods innovative and creative approach to ingredients, and I am grateful for the source of inspiration!

This sushi recipe is totally raw.  The rice isn’t rice- it’s a mixture of white vegetables, almonds, ume vinegar, agave nectar, and fresh ginger.  It’s surprisingly delicious!   Of course, the fillings can be whatever you like.  I love avocado and cucumber.  You could throw in some smoked tofu, sundried tomatoes, julienned beets.  Really, anything you want or anything you have on hand.

This recipe is super flexible, allergy friendly, whole foods based, and gluten-free!  I hope it helps keep you cool during these sweltering summer days.

Love and sushi,

Amanda Signature

 

 

All Vegetable Sushi
  • 6 cups white vegetables (daikon, cauliflower, jicama, white carrot)
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon ume vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons agave of other liquid sweetener
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 10 sheets toasted nori
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 carrot, jullienned
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • Warm water
  1. In a food processor, pulse white vegetables until they break down into pieces the size or rice.
  2. Pulse the almond flour, vinegar, agave, and ginger into the white vegetable rice until eventy distributed.
  3. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a clean dish towel or fine mesh cheese cloth. Squeeze some of the liquid out of the rice. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Lay a piece of toasted nori with the shiny side facing down on a sushi mat or piece of cling film.
  5. Press 1/2-3/4 cup vegetable rice onto the sheet of nori. The vegetables should be pressed firmly into the nori, so that they stick together. It should be an even layer, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick, which covers about 3/4 of the sheet of nori. Leave 1/4 of the nori untouched.
  6. Lay slices of your vegetables parallel to the edge of the nori in a single line. Be sure not to overstuff!
  7. You are ready to wrap the sushi. Brush a bit of warm water on the exposed 1/4 of the nori sheet. This will allow it to adhere to the roll.
  8. Using your sushi mat or cling film, begin to roll the sushi in a tight, even log. Be sure to press along the way. Once you reach the end of the nori, press the damp edge into the log to seal it. Give the whole sushi a firm squeeze to compress the vegetables together.
  9. Using a serated knife, cut the sushi into bite sized pieces. Serve with soy sauce.

Notes

For a nut allergy, replace the almonds with ground sunflower seeds.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/all-vegetable-sushi/

The Breads and Basics Chapter


rosemary bread

We have arrived at the final chapter!  This one features all the staples that will assist you throughout the other chapters.  Of course you can buy pizza dough from a store, and commercially made vegan sour creams and nut milks, but it’s so easy and fun to make them yourself.  You’ll receive no judgement on my end, whatever you decide to do.  But this chapter is for the DIY crowd who wants to experiment fully in the kitchen.  This chapter features:

No Knead Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

Multigrain Toasting Bread

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Spelt Flour pizza crust

Olive Oil Challah

Cashew Cream Cheese

Nutmeg Pie Crust

Beans

Pickle Brine

Nut Milk

Cashew Cream

Sour Cream

Miso Tahini Vinaigrette

Simple Syrup

Date Dulce de Leche

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Here’s the final chapter: Breads and Basics Chapter

Thank you so very much for reading through these pages.  I have poured my heart and soul into these recipes, and it means the world to me that you’re looking at them!  If you have any feedback, questions, comments, or concerns, always feel free to reach out to me at amanda@inclusivevegan.com.  I’d love to hear what you think!

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks, so The Inclusive Vegan is taking a 2 week summer break.  See you back here soon, with a whole new batch of plant based recipes that everyone can enjoy, together.

Love and Gratitude,

Amanda Signature

The Pantry Delicacies Chapter

Quick Cranberry Sauce Prep

The first time I was in Alaska, I discovered the art of keeping a well stocked pantry.  I was visiting my dear friend Carolyn whose pantry was brimming over with wild blueberry jam, rosehip jelly, and pickled everything.

In Alaska, food that is shipped from the mainland is expensive, so you learn to make do with what you can grow or forage.  It all starts with the edibles you can get your hands on.  And Carolyn very graciously took it upon herself to teach me all her pantry magic tricks.

We went on incredible hikes through Alaskan rain forest, and collected rosehips and other goodies.  We plundered her garden for beets, carrots, and cucumbers.  And when the raw materials had been collected, we got to canning.

This chapter is dedicated to Carolyn and includes five of my favorite pickle recipes, along with quick and easy jams, nut butters, and sauces.  It features:

Single Nut Butter

Spiced Almond Pumpkin Seed Butter

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Roasted Peach and Bourbon Jam

Fig and Balsamic Jam

Quick Cranberry Sauce

Wild Blueberry Jam

Chai Spiced Pickled Parsnips

Rosemary and Cinnamon Pickled Red Beets

Ginger Pickled Golden Beets

Juniper Pickled Fennel

Spicy Pickled Carrots

Here it is: The Pantry Delacacies Chapter

Love and Canning,

Amanda Signature

The Sweets and Aperitifs Chapter

cardamom and rosepetal cheesecake enhanced

I have to be honest, I’m not usually the biggest fan of sweets.  I tend to be more interested in savory spreads, creamy soups, and colorful salads.  But I genuinely, unequivocally love every recipe in this chapter.  Each dish incorporates a variety of familiar and  unexpected spices that elevate the final product lightyears beyond mere saccharin sweetness. The recipes in this chapter include:

Pompelmocello

Candied Ginger Cordial

Dukkah Truffles

Pecan Jammies

Green Chili Chocolate Truffles

Mexican Chocolate Truffles

Salt and Pepper Chocoalte Truffles

Ice Cream Sandwiches  

Cardamom and Rose Petal Cheesecake

Saffron Rice Pudding

Apple Crostata

Spiced Sweet Potato Pie

Truffle Brownies

Here it is: the Sweets and Aperitifs Chapter

Love and Spicy Sweets,

Amanda Signature

The Center of the Plate Chapter

Cauliflower steak 2 (1)

Happy Father’s Day to my amazingly wonderful, smoothie making, yogi Popsicle!

My dad is the best.  He is second to none in humor, optimism and support.  He has been my constant champion, even when my ambitions and ethics were decidedly against the current.

I think it’s fair to say my dad tends more towards a meat and potatoes diet. When I think of the food my dad raves about, it’s usually something like veal parmasean or an Omaha steak. Lately he has started making green smoothies (so proud!).  But I think there is room for even more vegetables on his plate.  And I’m not just talking about side dishes.

So many of us are accustomed to having an animal product as the center of our plate.  But that’t not the way it has to be.  As someone who is always happy to pile my up with vegetables and side dishes, it’s taken me awhile to understand why someone would feel they were lacking an animal based main dish.

But food is more than food.  Satisfaction and satiation are as much about the psychology of the plate as what’s on it.  Create a focal point on the plate that is protein rich, textured, and hearty and no one, not even my dad, will miss the animal-based meat!

The Center of the Plate Chapter is dedicated to you, Poppy.  I want to keep you around for a while, so try out some of these hearty, chewy, creamy, and all around yummy recipes:

Artichoke Salad Wraps

Zucchini noodles with arugula pistachio pesto

Roasted Butternut Squash and Eggplant Steaks with Spiced Cashew Cream

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Pizza

Megadarra with Spiced Tahini Sauce

Cajun Red Beans and Sorghum

French Onion Risotto

Eggplant and Cauliflower Curry

Chickpea Crepes with Mushroom Ragu

Spanish Tortilla

Portobello Picatta

Cauliflower Cream Fettuccine with Crispy Brussel Sprouts and Hazelnuts

Cauliflower Steaks with Truffle Chickpea Cauliflower Mash and White Wine Mushrooms

 

Love and Centerpieces,

Amanda Signature