Lemon Pepper Summer Bagels

Summer has gotten sticky. And lighter, no-cook meals are welcome in my vegan kitchen.

These Lemon Pepper Summer Bagels make a perfect no-cook meal. Sunny flavors and cheery colors. Toasted bagels (or whatever bread-like vessel you'd prefer) are slathered in my homemade lemon-pepper creamy "nut cheese" spread. Then topped with farmer's market delights like juicy tomatoes and edible flower petals..

Hot August. To combat the heat (besides my fan-infused, wind tunnel office) I've put my oven in a time out. Even my stove is getting a break. But my Vitamix is getting a workout. Smoothies, cool dips, spreads and homemade salad dressings.

Smoothies are a lifesaver. I even have a new wellness habit built around my morning smoothie routine. I put myself in a time out. A technology time out..

Tech Time Out. My new morning ritual. With an icy smoothie in hand, I retreat to my corner chair - awash in morning light - and plop into the fluffy cushions. It sits right alongside a pale golden sunbeam that sinks into the glossy blonde hardwood floors.

Where did I get this idea? My cat of course. She always finds that sunbeam and rolls in it for a few minutes before starting her (very busy) day. Well, she naps mostly. But her napping schedule is jam-packed. What a life.

The tech part: I sit and sip my morning smoothie - without a gadget in front of me Take a break Mr. camera. You too laptop, iPad and even my ever-flashing cell phone. The point is to start my day by using the most important gadget I have - my brain. Free of social media - email - news story stimulation - pics of the day - tweets and fodder I just think. Meditate if you will. On the day ahead. I try to put myself in a Zen mood. And yes, the matcha in my smoothie helps too.

Summer Bagels. Ideas seem to flourish in my head when I just stop and be still for a few minutes. One idea that popped into my head - a dinner spread of toasted farmer's market bagels - pumpernickel, cranberry flax and poppy seed - slathered in homemade cashew + walnut lemon pepper "creamy cheese" spread and topped with all the fixins'. Including freshly sliced summer tomatoes, a flower-infused herb salad and sweet circles of onion - all farmer's market goodies. Summer bagels! I was so excited about these..

And with the last sip of my smoothie - I head into the kitchen to create the vision...

Summer Bagels

Lemon Pepper Cashew Walnut Spread
makes about 2 cups - you will have leftovers!

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw walnuts
3/4 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla - see below)
1/2 juicy lemon + pinch of zest
4-7 generous dashes of fine black pepper + 2-3 pinches of salt

Also grab:
slices of tomato and onion, herb salad mix, bagels (of course), fine black pepper - garnish: slices of lemon (from the other half)

optional but lovely:
sliced avocado, sprouts, sliced white peaches, sliced apple, chopped garden herbs


1. Soak your raw cashews in salted water until tender.

2. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Add them to a Vitamix or food processor. Also add: lemon, soy milk and half the walnuts. Note: feeling adventurous? try vanilla soy milk. Tastes like peppery-ish lemon cream pie spread.

3. Blend from low to high for a few minutes until the mixture becomes smooth. Salt + pepper to taste. Add in more walnuts as needed to achieve a hummus-like consistency. Blend until nice and smooth.

4. Do a taste test and add more spices + salt as desired. If you are serving the spread within a few minutes - place it in the freezer to chill and thicken up a bit. If serving later - just place in the fridge - covered - until needed.

5. Bagels! Toast them. Add the spread. Then tomato, onion, greens and pepper on top. Garnish with lemon zest or lemon slices.

I served my bagels alongside a light herb salad and a small bowl of pea soup for some added protein. I heated it in the microwave to avoid stove-top cooking :)

Got photo happy on this pretty spread..

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