Zoodle Brains with Pumpkin Kale Pesto

ZoodleBrain1

Zoodles are noodles made out of zucchini, nothing more.  Using a julienne peeler or spiralizer, the zucchini is cut into noodles.  Whenever I make zoodles, I usually dress them in a pesto or top them with marinara. This pesto has a lovely mix of basil, kale, and spinach, and because this recipe was is Fall- and Halloween-inspired, pumpkin seeds were thrown into the mix.   The end result is really delicious.

After tossing the zoodles with pumpkin kale pesto, throw in some sliced grape tomatoes for more texture and sweetness. When served with my Pink Peppercorn vegan “Goat Cheese,” it is even more satiating and scrumptious.

For a quick, raw, and satisfying meal, try this dish. You will be happy you did!

 

Zoodle Brains with Pumpkin Kale Pesto

Servings:  4

Time:  20 minutes

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

 

Ingredients

Zoodles:

4 medium zucchini

 

Pumpkin Kale Pesto:

1 cup basil leaves

¼ cup kale, stems removed

2 Tbsp spinach

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

4 Tbsp filtered water

¼ tsp sea salt

½ tsp fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

1 shake or pinch of cayenne pepper

 

Other Ingredients:

16 grape tomatoes, sliced in half

4 orange bell peppers, optional for Halloween

 

Directions

Zoodles:

1. Make zoodles using a julienne peeler or a spiralizer. When using a julienne peeler, carefully peel the zucchini as you would a carrot, making long “noodles”. When using a spiralizer to make zoodles, follow the manufacturer’s directions.

 

Pistachio Kale Pesto:

1. Place all of the Pumpkin Kale Pesto ingredients into a food processor or blender, and pulse until fully pureed and sauce-like in consistency.

 

Bell Pepper Jack-o’-lanterns: (optional)

1. Carve faces in your peppers. To do this, cut a round section on the top of the pepper. Discard the seeds and scrape away the insides. Being very careful, begin to carve the jack-o’-lantern face. When complete, set aside.

 

Assemble:

1. Toss the zoodles with enough pesto to coat, and

a)    place onto a plate. Add about 8 grape tomato halves to the zoodles, and if you have it, a slice of Pink Peppercorn Vegan “Goat Cheese”. Serve immediately.

b)    Toss in the sliced tomatoes and stuff each bell pepper with zoodles and tomatoes, replacing the top of the pepper once filled.

 

ZoodleBrain1

 

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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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Gazpacho

gaspacho

This recipe is my adaptation of a former bosses, Chef Julie Robles, at Tavern.  She created this when she worked at Lucques.  It’s a fool proof recipe that tastes so much more complex than it is to make.  I changed it up by making it oil-free, you can use whatever ripe tomatoes (not just ripe yellow tomatoes) you fancy for the base of the soup, I no longer use red wine vinegar to make it, and I don’t peel the cucumbers or strain the soup to retain the insoluble fiber content.  It’s a rustic cold soup, rich in the vital anti-oxidant lycopene, vitamins A and C.

What I love most about gazpacho is that it is raw and not cooked so this soup retains so much of its beneficial enzymes, making it easier to digest.  Another reason I love making gazpacho is that it is oh-so easy to make!  In the past, I made gazpacho for my clients using red wine vinegar but for this recipe I swapped it out with raw coconut vinegar because it is alkaline and has more health benefits.  I personally feel that coconut vinegar tastes much better than apple cider vinegar, plus coconut vinegar has more nutrients—17 amino acids, minerals, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH.   It is also an excellent source of a prebiotic,  Fructooligosaccharide (FOS), that promotes digestive health.

I hope you enjoy this refreshing and delicious, cold soup along with all of its benefits!

Enjoy and cheers to good health!

 

Gazpacho

Servings: 2 to 4

Time: 10 minutes

V, GF, DF, GFV, NF, SF, SRF, R

 

Ingredients

Garnish:

1 1/2 Tbsp of red bell pepper, chopped

1 1/2 Tbsp of red onion, diced

1 1/2 Tbsp cucumber, seeded and diced

9 small cherry tomatoes, cut in half

6 cilantro leaves

big pinch sea salt
a pinch freshly ground black pepper
Soup:

1 1/4 pounds ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 Persian cucumbers, coarsely chopped

1/4 jalapeno, seeded, and cut in half

2 sprigs of cilantro

1 clove of garlic, chopped

3 Tbsp vegetable stock or filtered water

1 Tbsp of coconut vinegar (can substitute with raw apple cider vinegar)

3/4 tsp sea salt

cayenne pepper, as needed

 

Directions

1. In a small bowl, toss together 3 Tbsp of diced cucumber, 3 Tbsp diced red bell pepper, and 1 1/2 Tbsp diced red onion.  Season with a couple pinches of salt and pepper.  Toss again.  Set aside

2.  Place all of the soup ingredients into a high-powered blender.  Blend well.  If the soup is too thick, adjust the consistency with the vegetable stock or filtered water.  Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

3.  Pour the mixture into 2-3 soup bowls and scatter the garnish over the soup equally.

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