Smothered Burrito with Cashew Cream Sauce


One of my new recipe faves is Cashew Cream Sauce. The process starts out similar to making cashew cheese - by simply soaking some raw cashews.

I recently made Cilantro-lime Cashew Cream Sauce to smother my vegan burritos in. Totally cravable! But the best part about cashew-cream sauce is that you can flavor it with a wide variety of ingredients - for use in a wide variety of recipes. Try sun-dried tomato cashew cream sauce over pasta - or perhaps a lemon-basil sauce over a crisp green salad, or wasabi-infused sauce over tofu and rice noodles. The possibilities are endless. So check out my "how-to make Cashew Cream Sauce" and get started!.. It's super easy.



Cashew Cream Sauce - Inside a veggie burrito


How-to Make Cashew Cream Sauce

Ingredients
raw cashews
water for soaking
sea salt for soaking

flavoring ingredients

How-to:

1. First you'll need some soaked raw cashews - I usually use about 2 cups per batch. I soak mine overnight, but at least 4-6 hours is standard. For soaking your cashews you'll want to add a pinch of salt and enough water to cover the cashews by at least an inch - since the water will absorb into the nuts.

2. When you are ready to make your sauce simply add your cashews, soaking water (a little at a time until the desired consistency is reached) and add-in flavors. I always like to add in at least one spice and at least one acid like lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

Need a recipe?..

Smother Sauce and more. This dairy-free (ultra-creamy) Cashew-Cream Sauce is not only fabulous for smothering burritos – you can easily use it as a raw salad dressing, toss pasta in it and you can even fill your burritos or enchiladas with this sauce. You can also flavor it however you’d like! I used cilantro and lime to stay with the “fiesta” flavor profile. But here are a few other yummy ideas..

basil and lemon
dill and onion
scallion
orange and parsley
sun-dried tomato and garlic
olive
caper
artichoke
roasted pepper and chiles

..and on and on..

But for right now, lets stick to the smothered burrito sauce..

Cilantro Cashew-Cream Smother Sauce
vegan, makes 4-5 cups sauce

soaked cashews (soak for at elate 4+ hours)
2 cups raw cashews
1 tsp sea salt
water – enough to cover the cashews by at least an inch
*reserve the soaking water

flavors:
2 cups fresh cilantro (leaves and stems – about a half a big bunch)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 limes, juiced (add some zest too – optional)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
salt and pepper sauce to taste
optional: a few tablespoons of agave syrup if you’d like a sweet accent

burrito garnish: fresh cilantro, pumpkin seeds, olives and chipotle powder – lime slices

Burritos with your choice of fillings (I did whole wheat veggie-stuffed burritos)

Directions:

1. Soak your raw cashews in the salted water for at least four hours. Overnight is best – you want the cashews to become velvety and soft to puree perfectly in your high speed blender or food processor.

2. Add your cashews and the soaking water to your high speed blender or food processor. I add in about 1- 1 1/2 cups of the soaking water. Adjust the liquid to however thick you want your sauce to be. Obviously, the more water you add, the “wetter” your sauce will be. But just be sure to add enough water to properly blend the cashews.

3. Add in your flavors – here I used cilantro, lime and cider vinegar – and a few spices.

4. You can either serve your sauce raw and as-in (aka, room temperature) – or you can heat it and add it over top your burrito as a warm sauce. Either way is delicious. I think i prefer this sauce warmed over burritos – however, on salads – I love this sauce raw and chilled.

-add smother sauce to your favorite burrito recipe – I used veggie burritos stuffed with plantains, spicy tofu, portobello mushrooms, cabbage slaw, spinach, soy cheese and green chiles..

..I used this recipe which added lime and fresh cilantro to make my smothered burritos...

Vegan toppings to make burritos - tacos - or enchiladas! Spicy tofu, portobello mushrooms, plantains, cabbage slaw and cashew cream sauce..


plantains, my fave..


Fill the burrito, then wrap it, then smother it!..


Cashew-Cream Sauce smothered burrito..


I stuffed my whole wheat burritos with sauteed plantains, spicy tofu, spicy portobellos, cabbage slaw, avocado, vegan cheese, green chiles and more..

Get inspired and try your own Cashew Cream Sauce recipe.


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Top Chef Masters: Suvir's Red Meat Controversy

Chef Suvir Saran caused quite a bit of red meat vs. veggie burger controversy on Bravo's Top Chef Masters reality show last night. There's nothing like a robust debate on "healthy eating" to get the flames of controversy roaring..

Read my full Top Chef Masters discussion post HERE - on Family Kitchen

I am often frustrated by the lack of representation of veg*n views on Top Chef and Top Chef Masters. But last night, Chef Suvir Saran stood his vegetarian-minded ground during "The Biggest Loser" elimination challenge.

Why I didn't post here..
I knew I wanted to do a blog post on this episode in order to continue the conversation that Suvir started. (Especially after I tweeted back and forth with Suvir last night!) But if I simply did my post here on HHL, most of the views would be just like mine - I'm guessing most veg*n readers will agree with Suvir's stance on the red meat/heart disease/obesity connection.

However, I wanted to get mainstream folks in on this chat. So I published my discussion here - on Babble's Family Kitchen website. I would love if you guys would click on over, read it and comment! Lets start a discussion from both ends of this meaty issue...

Read my Top Chef Masters "Biggest Loser" Challenge post here




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Black Bean Fiesta Veggie Burgers! Slaw on top..



This Black Bean Fiesta Burger has a savory spicy black bean patty topped with zippy Cilantro Jicama Fiesta Slaw - a few swipes of my "special spicy sauce" on the whole wheat toasted buns - and some tomato, onion and avocado. Slice. Serve. Smile to find yourself in veggie burger bliss. Sweet potato fries optional.

Ever since I had my quickie interview with Bobby Flay I've got veggie burger recipes on my mind. Bobby's right. A really good veggie burger is not an easy thing! It takes the perfect texture, combo of spices and flavors, something to make it stick together - for vegans, no eggs allowed - and to me, a veggie burger still has to be healthy. Deep frying a bean patty might be yummy, but it's missing the point.

A good veggie burger is a powerful thing. Am I sounding dramatic? But it's true! A good veggie burger can make anyone - even real-hamburger addicts - say "Wow, I really could crave this veggie burger once in a while!" - or maybe, just maybe one good veggie burger, and you might crave a veggie burger all the time..

First, let us gawk at the beauty of a Veggie. Burger. shall we?..



Fiesta Slaw - zippy burger topping..




burgers for two?..


I'm not saying I'm a veggie burger expert. I still have a long way to go in crafting "the perfect burger" - or maybe Bobby will do it first for me. But I'm certainly proud of the recipes I have created thus far. And today's black bean burger gets a thumbs up from my taste buds.

My other veggie burgers: my white bean burger, my green edamame burger and even my sweet potato burger. And my latest burger is black bean - in honor of Bobby's preference for southwestern flair. I even took Bobby's advice and included some crunchy jicama in my burger-topping slaw.

Don't forget the avocado!! I did. As you can tell from the photos. I had some lime-juice spritzed, sliced avocado all ready to go for the burgers, but I forgot it! I later added it for a taste test and I definitely recommend it.

Black Bean Fiesta Burgers
vegan, makes 5 burgers

5 whole wheat burger buns

Cilantro Jicama Fiesta Slaw (recipe here)

Burgers:
1 1/2 cups black beans, drained/canned (unsalted)
3 Tbsp fine bread crumbs
3/4 cup baked/mashed sweet potato
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro - including stems
1/3 cup diced white onion
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chopped garlic
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 jalapeno, diced/de-seeded
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast - or use more bread crumbs
a few dashes of chipotle powder or cayenne for extra heat

Special Spicy Sauce:
1/2 cup vegan mayo
2 tsp garlic hot sauce

5 round onion slices and 5 round tomato slices

optional: lime-juice spritzed avocado slices (not shown in burger photos - but recommended!)

Directions:

1. First off prepare the Fiesta Slaw according to the directions. (recipe) - Chill in fridge until ready to add to burgers.

2. Whip up your "special spicy sauce" - set aside in fridge as well.

3. Next up, prepare the burgers. Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor. You can also mash well by hand - but a fp is a tad faster. Next, hand-form burger patties with the mixture and place them on a lightly greased baking sheet. I like to roll my burgers in a touch of bread crumbs so that they have nice crisp edges.

baked burgers..


4. Bake your burgers at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before assembling burgers. The last 5 minutes of cooking - add your burger buns to the oven to warm/toast them.

burgers - this batch actually had no sweet potato in it - I later added the sweet potato and liked the moisture it added.


5. Assemble those burgers! Warm bun, spread of special sauce, tomato, onion, optional avocado, burger, fiesta slaw and finally another slather of the special spicy sauce on the top bun.

Serve! Enjoy the fiesta in your mouth!














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Vegan Easter Brunch - Thirty Recipe Ideas!



Happy Easter weekend everyone! Pastel colors, spring flowers, yellow sunshine, green grass, bright eyes, twirling dresses, fluffy clouds, sweet-scented breezes, church choirs, wide-brimmed hats, white lilies and laughter. These things remind me of the Easter season. And my perfect Easter Sunday includes a cheery vegan Easter Brunch with the ones I love. I want to wish all of you a happy healthy Easter or Passover season - and if you want to celebrate with your own Sunday afternoon brunch - here are thirty recipe ideas to inspire you! Happy Easter. Happy eating...

Here are a few more photo highlights of the recipes which follow..





Vegan Easter Brunch Recipes - from my sunny table to your..

1. dessert - Veganized Easter Swirl Lamb Cake

2. entree - Tofu Spring Quiche

3. beverage - Fizzy Ginger Blood Orangeade

4. entree - Purple Pepper Eater Breakfast Sandwich

5. side dish - Mint Lime Spring Green Fruit Salad

6. beverage - AM Sunrise Juice

7. side dish - fluffy spiced quinoa

8. side dish - Curried Tahini Carrot Slaw version one - version two (bolder) - aka Bunny Slaws

9. entree - Sunny Spicy Veggie Wraps

10. entree - Fire/Ice Panini - harissa and cucumber with vegan cheddar

11. beverage - Frosted Lemon Pear-ade

12. entree - Lemon Leek Pesto Penne

13. dessert - Mini Pina Colada Upside-down Cakes

14. entree - Mint Cucumber Wasabi Tea Sandwiches

15. side dish - Marinated Chili Cucumber Salad

16. side/treat - Bunny Bars, fruit/nut granola bars

17. side dish - Sunny Asparagus Tapenade

18. Dips, Dips and more Dips

19. side dish - Red Hot Bruschetta

20. entree/side - Corn Cake Bean Balls

21. side dish - Cheesy Jalapeno Poppers

22. side dish - Spinach Dips

23. side dish - Two Bean Lemon-y Salad

24. side dish - Light and Sassy Cole Slaw

25. beverage - Spicy Carrot Mimosa - aka, the Fizzy Bunny

26. dessert - Tofu-chino Parfaits

27. dessert - Blueberry & Bosc Pear Pie

28. dessert - Vanilla Fruit Tart

29. side dish - lemon poppyseed muffins with lemon curd

30. beverage - Half-frozen Lemon-Mint Water

HAPPY EASTER!!!




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Meet the Piña-Vocado. Avocado Smoothies!


You already love avocado in your salads, sandwiches, dips and maybe even raw puddings - well how about in your smoothies? No? Yes? Oh yes..

I was hungry. I looked on the counter to see a beautiful, ripe, plump avocado staring back at me. But I was all set to make a smoothie. Hmm.. why not combine the two? I had seen this done before on random blogs - especially raw blogs - those crazy-fabulous raw foodies are always adding avocados to the most genius of recipes! So I plopped half my avocado into my - what was going to be a Piña-Colada style smoothie - and drum roll please... the Piña-Vocado was born. Sip. Taste. Swoon. Check out the Piña-Vocado ahead!..

the Berry-cado..




Healthy avocados are rich in omega fatty acids and a perfect addition to a healthy vegan diet. I add avocado to some part of my daily meal line-up, probably every other day. But I wasn't always this way..

Actually, when I first because vegetarian/veganish in early college I was quite shocked when I received the results of a blood test. It tuned out that while my total cholesterol was low - my bad AND good cholesterol numbers were low. Not good. I needed to raise those HDL numbers! So being a vigilant nutrition-interested young woman, I hopped on board the healthy fats train. My food of choice? I added plentiful avocados to my diet.

A few months later when I took the test again my HDL had raised significantly! I reasoned that to mean those avocados were doing the trick.

Read more about my Healthy Fats/Fat-Phobia - personal story here.

So if you love guac, avocado salads and sandwiches - now try avocado smoothies!

A berry-infused variation of this recipe (shown at top) is the Berry-Cado Smoothie. Instead of pineapple/coconut milk - I added in frozen berries and more. Recipe here.

And here is the Piña-Vocado recipe..

Piña-Vocado
vegan, serves two

1 1/3 cups orange juice
1 1/4 cups frozen pineapple
1/2 avocado
1 small frozen banana (or fresh)
1/2 cup ice (I like coconut water ice cubes for this recipe)

Optional Add-in's..
1/2 lime, squeezed over top smoothie, or blended right into it
1 Tbsp coconut milk or 2 tsp unsweetened coconut flakes
dash of cayenne

garnish: avocado slices

Blend. Serve. Sip. Smile.








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Corn Cake Bean Balls! Easy 'Amazeballs' Recipe.


These easy Corn Cake Bean Balls I made today are fantastic! I hope you take a minute to read (and try!) this crowd-pleasing vegan recipe.

Today's word of the day: "balls". Why, you ask? Find out, and get my recipe...



Word 'o the Day: Balls. Yeah, really.

Why? Three reasons:

1) Well I managed to whip up this absolutely delicious *simple* recipe for Corn Cake Bean Balls. I'll just call them 'Fiesta Balls'. No flour added, mind you.

Yumminess factor: amazeballs.

2) I'm headed to the US Open Tennis Tournament tonight so I've got tennis balls on the brain. Read my US Open review from last year here.

3) well this has been a week of ups and downs. Bravery and let downs. I've taken a few chances, put myself out there and while a few exciting good things have happened (you'll see all the 'good things' unfold on my blog) - a few brave moves have left me feeling unsettled still. Alas, being brave sometimes has unsatisfying consequences.

...I'll let you figure out how to connect the word 'balls' to the whole bravery/chance-taking thing. :)

And now onto this awesome ball recipe!...

Corn Cake Balls. These soft, tender balls are sweet and seasoned to perfection. They remind me of a soft cornbread corn cake - only these are free of flour. The main ingredients are very simple and healthy.

UPDATE: Version Two - Mushroom Bean Balls. So my husband hates corn. But I wanted him to try these amazing balls. So here's what I did. It worked fabulously!!

Substitute the corn with 1 cup of processed mixed raw mushrooms. This was about 1 3/4 cups of loose raw mushrooms. When you blend them in a food processor they become soft, minced and almost like a ground up, chunky mushroom paste. Works and tastes mushroom-tastic! Still amazeballs. :)

...note I also folded in 1 Tbsp of harissa for an extra spicy flavor.

Bad photo :) of the mushroom version:


Balls, Patties or 'hash browns' - I took this mix and tried making balls, patties and even sort of hash brown-esque creation. You can basically serve this mix in a variety of ways - just stick it in the pan, lightly saute/fry and serve! Yummy as a ball, cake or flat pan-fried creation. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or appetizer approved!

Lightly fried as a pan-cake/hash brown:


Served as 'balls' on halved tomato slices:




Corn Cake Bean Balls, aka Fiesta Balls
vegan, makes 10 balls

1 15 oz. can of organic cannellini beans
10 oz. fresh sweet corn kernels - scraped off of steamed fresh corn
spices: 2-3 tsp coriander, 1 tsp cumin (add other spices if you'd like)
1 tsp maple or agave syrup
1-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tsp EVOO
1 1/2 cups finely crushed/ground lentil or rice crackers
1/2 tsp salt dashes of pepper

EVOO for 'frying'

Serving/Garnish/Plating: cayenne, halved tomato slices, lime wedges, salsa verde
Directions:

1. Steam fresh corn. Cool. Scrape corn kernels. Pour beans, corn and all ingredients except the rushed lentil or rice crackers into a large bowl.

NOTE: You can leave corn 'whole' or process/mince it in a food processor for a finer texture to your fiesta balls.

2. With a fork, mash the beans and corn until a pasty substance forms.

Mash with Fork:


3. In a blender, process your lentil or rice crackers into finely ground bits. About 1-2 cups. Fold the bits into the mixture.

Added Lentil Crackers:


4. Turn heat on stove to med-high. Add a thin layer of EVOO to saute pan. Wait until hot.

5. Form bean/corn mix into tiny balls or patties or a large pancake. Place on hot oil and let 'fry for just a minute on all sides Remove from pan when edges are browned.

6. Transfer to paper towel to cool.



7. Serve with a side of salsa verde, lime wedges, a dash of cayenne and even some lemon juice squirted directly on top. Serve warm.








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Verde Potato Alfredo


My new favorite creamy pasta has gone green (perhaps in honor of Earth Day this Friday..) - the result: Basil Verde Potato Alfredo.

Have you tried "Potato Alfredo" yet? You must! I'm obsessed. It's creamy and cravable - yet packed with good stuff like white beans, nutritional yeast, garlic, soy milk and now lots of good green stuff. I've been making Potato Alfredo a lot this past week - and here's my green re-vamp of it. I may even like the green version better than the white classic (which makes me swoon as is!) - anything green and I'm in. For classic White Alfredo go with my original recipe. But for a spunky twist, go green with it. Get my vegan recipe and whip it up tonight!!..

Original White Alfredo:


Gone Green (here made with spinach noodles and parsley accent):


Gone Green. The base Potato Alfredo Sauce recipe stays the same - however I'm simply added in a few green ingredients and gone a tad lighter on the soy cream since I'm adding in rich, creamy avocado. And as the "green" part..

Basil.
Parsley.
Mache.
Spinach.
Arugula.


..these are your options for the leafy green part of this recipe - my favorite was a mixture of flat parsley, spinach and heaping amounts of fresh basil.

Add in a whole jalapeno if you like your pasta with a spicy kick. Remove the seeds first - unless you are a serious spice-dare-devil.

Basil Verde Potato Alfredo
vegan, serves four with leftovers

1 box fettuccine pasta (white, spinach or whole wheat)

Verde Alfredo Sauce
1 1/2 cups cannellini beans, canned/drained
6 cloves of garlic – or equivalent garlic paste or roasted garlic
2 Tbsp vegan mayo, Vegenaise
1/2 cup sweet onion
2/3 cup dehydrated potato flakes (plain instant mashed potatoes)
3/4 cup soy milk, plain
1/2 cup soy creamer, plain (or sub with soy milk for a lighter sauce)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-6 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes – optional but recommended
3 dashes of cayenne powder
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
salt to taste if desired (I did not add any additional salt)
Verde Add-ins:
2-3 cups of raw leafy greens (see above for options - choose one or a selection)
1/2 avocado
jalapeno, de-seeded (optional)
3 Tbsp lemon juice - helps keep green color and adds zest.

Directions:

1. Drop the pasta and cook according to package.

2. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. For a thicker sauce add in more instant mashed potatoes - 1 Tbsp at a time until you reach the consistency you like. Same goes for a thinner sauce - adjust with soy milk or soy creamer.

3. Drain pasta and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Pour about 3 cups of the sauce right over the hot pasta. This will adequately warm the sauce.

4. Plate pasta – add a pinch of leafy greens and a sliver of avocado – and top with extra sauce.

Get my original White Vegan Alfredo Recipe here.






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Bobby Flay Doing a Veggie Burger at BBP!

You heard it here first folks - Bobby Flay is finally giving in - or as he said - "I'm finally gonna break down" - to develop a veggie burger for his popular Bobby's Burger Palace chain of restaurants. My exclusive video-interview with the talented Bobby Flay..

First off, I hope we can all have positive words to Bobby! I mean this is huge for him - and exciting for veggie burger fans!! And I'm so appreciative that he has listened to the requests for a veggie burger! Really, I have nothing but love for Bobby. Lets hope more chefs will follow his lead.

This is fabulous news since many families love BBP - and kids and their parents will have the option to choose veg if they crave it! And this is just another sign of the cultural diet shift going on in America. I love that Bobby has caved! I mean just a few years back he was quoted by Vegetarian Star as saying "I'm just not interested." when asked about the possibility of a BBP veggie burger.

BBP. I reviewed BBP a while back and was sad that the sweet potato fries were amazing - the salad lovely - but no veggie burger! Read my full review with pics here.

And be sure to check out my exclusive interview I did with Bobby for Babble's Family Kitchen. Video Here. Bobby discusses 'sandwiches' and sandwich tips - he drops a few fabulous ideas - and yes, I had to frown when he was making non-veg sandwiches - but at least I squeezed my own vegan question into the interview! Bobby is such an inspiring and talented chef - I really can't wait to see the veggie burger that appears on the BBP menu!! Gold star for you Bobby!

Watch my video interview with Bobby Flay here.

UPDATE: 2014 -- still no veggie burger from Bobby! This makes me so sad I hope he does one eventually. Bobby we want a veggie burger! :)


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Vegan Family Recipes - Slideshow on Babble!


As you may know I've been writing for Babble's Family Kitchen blog for the past few months - sharing my fave vegan recipes with a spectacular audience of moms and their families. And since many of Babble's more mainstream readers are not vegan, the positive feedback I've received has been inspiring.

That's why I was thrilled when I found out that Family Kitchen decided to do a vegan recipes slideshow of recipe links! 19 Vegan Recipes for the Family. Awesome! I hope you will check it out and share it with anyone and everyone who has a family that they cook for. So glad Babble is onto the plant-based diet movement in America.

See the 19 Vegan Recipes for the Family Slideshow here on Babble.

*image is screenshot of the slideshow on Babble - click on it to link!




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