Monthly Archives: May 2013

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Nutty Creamy Chocolate Cake – vegan and gluten-free chocolate cake

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These days, my favorite dessert is my raw cashew “cheesecake.”  Ever since I have been making them, I have been receiving rave reviews from my vegan and non-vegan pals.

Last week, my husband, Peyman, and I went out and feasted on a dessert called “Nutty Chocolate Cake.”  Oooh, was it heavenly!  Right away, I knew I was going to attempt to make it at home and tried to get as much information from the waiter about it as possible.  I asked if there were cashews in it, and/or tofu, and if there were dates and nuts in the crust and which kind.  After gathering all the vital information, I started working and testing my recipe. I realized that it is basically a chocolate version of the delicious raw vegan “cheese” cake that I posted previously.  My instincts were spot on and I think it came out as good as or even better than the restaurant’s version!

I hope you trust me when I say that this Nutty Creamy Chocolate Cake is delicious and decadent, and you won’t be sorry when you eat a slice or three.  If you only keep to one slice a day, you won’t get mad at yourself for indulging!  There obviously are no eggs, milk, cream, or butter in this recipe, so there is no cholesterol! Let loose a little and enjoy your cake!

Please keep in mind that it is helpful to have a really good blender to make this super creamy.  A Vitamix, Blendtec, or Ninja work well for this.  I have also made this with a friend’s $30 blender and it worked out successfully.  If you don’t have a high-powered blender, just blend the mixture for a very long time until it is super smooth. Also, a 6-inch cake pan will work best.  The cake can be cut into eighths and although slices may look small, each slice sure is quite filling!

I hope you enjoy this masterpiece and share it with your friends and family!  Bon Appetit!

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Nutty Creamy Chocolate Cake (aka Chocolate Truffle Cake)

Servings 8

Time: 1 day

Ingredients

Crust:

1/2 cup raw pecans (almonds or walnuts will also work)

1/2 cup soft Medjool dates

¼ tsp sea salt

Filling:

1 ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours in filtered water, refrigerated overnight is best.

Seed of 1 whole vanilla bean, or 1 ½ tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract

1/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup raw coconut nectar (or maple syrup, if you don’t have this)

1/3 cup filtered water

½ cup raw cacao powder

Topping:

Handful of chopped walnuts or pecans

 

Directions

1. Make the crust. Place the nuts, dates and sea salt in the food processor and pulse to chop until they are to your desired texture (you will want a finer crust than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount and rolling it in your hands. If the crust mixture holds together, your crust is perfect. If you don’t feel it’s holding together, try to mix the mixture with your hands until it comes together.  Pour the crust mixture into a 6-7” spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a cake pan lined with plastic wrap) and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout.

2. If the coconut oil is solid, gently heat the oil in a small saucepan on low heat until it comes to a liquid state.

3. Place all of the filling ingredients into the blender and blend on high until very smooth (this may take a couple minutes).

4. Taste the mixture. If you feel the filling needs a little more sweetness, add about 1 – 2 more tablespoons of coconut nectar, and blend.

5. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth it out evenly with a spatula.

6. Place the cake in the freezer until solid, about 4 hours.

7. To serve, remove from the freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. Serve when fully defrosted. You should get 8 slices. Serve on its own, or the way I like it, topped with raw chopped walnuts or pecans! Enjoy and store leftovers in the freezer!

 

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Spicy Lentil Dahl

 

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Indian food has been on my weekly meal plan ever since my college years when I was first introduced to it.  With the existence of many vegan Indian spice stores and fast food establishments in Los Angeles, my transition to veganism while still maintaining my weekly Indian food fix wasn’t all too difficult.

Indian dishes contain a lot of warming spices.  They also contain spices and herbs that are health-promoting and contain disease preventing properties.  For instance, many Indian dishes contain turmeric.  Ingesting turmeric helps make the skin glowing and beautiful.  Not only that, the primary active ingredient in turmeric is Curcumin, which is currently being studied and evaluated in clinical trials for treating cancer.  It is also believed that turmeric may have benefits to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.  There are much more health benefits of turmeric.  For more information, check out this link–http://www.spreadhealthfoods.com/.

Quick tip for buying spices—buy your spices at an Indian spice store.  They have an abundance of spices and are typically cheaper than the supermarket chains or health food stores. I have found that some of them even claim to be “organic”.

 

Spicy Red Lentil Dahl

Servings: 2-4

Time: 1 hour

Brief: This red lentil dahl is a staple and favorite in the Ardestani household.  It is healthy, easy to make, warming, and oh-so delicious!

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, SRF, CFNF, NF

 

Ingredients

1 cup white onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 inch ginger, finely minced or grated

4 cup vegetable stock

1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and picked over

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)

3/4 tsp sea salt (to taste)

2 Tbsp tomato paste or, alternatively, 4 Tbsp marinara sauce

 

Directions

1. Add onion, garlic, and ginger into a medium-sized saucepan, and place over medium heat.  Oil isn’t necessary since the liquid in the vegetables will help cook them.  If the vegetables start to stick to the pan, add a splash or 2 of vegetable stock.  Cook and stir often until the onions are translucent for about 6 minutes.

2. Stirring constantly, add vegetable stock, lentils, spices, and salt. Bring to a low boil.  Then turn down the heat to low, cover, and let the stew simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are very tender.

3. Stir in the tomato paste or marinara until well combined.  Cook several minutes more or until the soup is desired temperature and consistency, adding more stock or water to the dahl if needed.

4. Serve hot with quinoa, rice, naan, chapati, or enjoy it as a soup.

 

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