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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cashew Cheese - Cheddar Style (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Most people when confronted with the change from vegetarian to vegan claim they could never give up cheese. This is not really where I want to get into that statement so much as to offer alternatives to cheese that are not only soy-free, but tasty and will also melt. The below recipe is kid approved - we had a taco bar party and there were at least 10 kids ages 18 months to 6 years. All the kids and the parents loved the cheese, and at long last, here is the recipe to share as requested.

Cheddar Style Vegan Cheese (adapted from The Uncheese Cookbook)
1 1/2 cups water
2 T agar powder (get this from the Asian market or you will pay way too much for it)

4 oz jar of pimiento pieces, drained (this lends flavor and color - if you do not like the taste, you can subsititute 2 T tomato paste
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
juice of 1 large lemon
2 T tahini
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried dill
1/8 tsp mustard powder

  1. Place the water and agar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often and making sure to stir down the sides of the saucepan
  3. Place in high-powered blender with the remaining ingredients and process until completely smooth
  4. Pour immediately into a lightly oiled 3 cup loaf pan
  5. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to overnight
  6. To serve, take a slim knife around the edges of the loaf pan, and turn out of the mold. You can now slice, grate or cube this cheese as you would any other cheese.
Yields One 3-cup brick

As an alternative, for a liquid sauce (great for mac & cheese or topped on baked potatoes) skip steps 1 and 2 and just blend the mixture with approximately 1 cup of water until the cheese sauce is the consistency you want.

Cauliflower Au Gratin (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

1 medium to large head of cauliflower
1 cup water
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
juice of 1 large lemon
2 T tahini
1 T onion powder
2 T Dijon mustard (like Grey Poupon)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp dried dill
1/4 - 1/2 GF breadcrumbs, or other crusty topping - I used crushed blue corn chips
1/4 cup chopped parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Oil a 9x13 baking dish
  3. Wash and chop cauliflower to bite size pieces
  4. Place cauliflower in baking dish - try to keep it to one layer
  5. Mix next 11 ingredients in a high powered blender until creamy
  6. Pour sauce over cauliflower
  7. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top
  8. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes
  9. Top with parsley
This is great as a side dish, or can be served as the main course. I served this as a main course over a bed of millet with a large salad.

Serves 8 as a side dish
Serves 4 as a main course

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Vegan GF Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I was craving Peanut Butter, Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Cookies but could not find a recipe in any cookbook or on the internet that was vegan and GF or could easily be adapted, so I just modified a traditional Oatmeal Choc Chip Cookie Recipe and came up with this. They are pretty rich and really tasty! This recipe is also soy free - as long as you check your chocolate chips to make sure they do not contain soy lecithin.

3/4 cup vegetable oil (I prefer Grapeseed for this recipe)
1/2 cup peanut butter
Egg replacer for three eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups GF All Purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 - 3/4 cup chocolate chips (depending on how chocolatey you want the cookies)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oil, peanut butter, egg replacer and vanilla. Add sugar and brown sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, xantham gum, baking soda and salt.
  4. Combine with oil mixture.
  5. Stir in the oatmeal and chocolate chips until well combined.
  6. Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms Casserole

This is from Veganomicon - so many great recipes and this one is really simple and really great on a cold fall/winter day. This is really good as a main dish with a side salad or some braised greens (like bok choy or kale)

2 cups dried white beans, soaked for at least 8 hours
1 small onion, peeled & sliced in half
1 stalk celery, cut into 2 pieces
1 small carrot, sliced in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large leek, sliced thinly
1/2 lb mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
fresh ground black pepper

  1. Drain and rinse beans. Add to stockpot with 4 c cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Skim off any white foam from the top. Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium. Add the onion, celery, carrot, thyme and tarragon. Simmer for about 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the carrot, onion and celery (either discard or use in a stock). Lower the heat to low and continue to simmer. The beans should resemble a thick stew, if there's too much liquid, leave the pot uncovered and stir occasionally.
  3. About 10 minutes before the beans are done, place the garlic and 2 T oil in a cold skillet. Heat the skillet over medium heat, allowing the garlic to sizzle for about 30 seconds. Add the chopped leeks and saute 1-2 minutes. Scrape the leeks into the beans.
  4. Add the remaining 2 T oil, allow to warm, and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms lightly with 1/2 t salt and saute until most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated, anywhere from 8-12 minutes depending on the types of mushrooms. Add the mushrooms to the beans.
  5. Turn off the heat and season the beans with the remaining salt and pepper.
  6. OPTIONAL - Preheat oven to 350.
  7. Top with bread crumbs (or other crumb topping) and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

No Mother Left Behind