Tag Archives: nooch

Cheesy Kale Chips

I contemplated calling them “Cheezy” Kale Chips, but I’m so sick of putting names of vegan things into quotations! Anyone else? It’s still REAL food! Yes, cheese generally refers to a substance made from cow’s milk, but it can also be made out of nut milk, or – in this case – blended cashews. So there! “Cheeze” and “mylk” are two words you’ll never hear come out of this vegan’s mouth. Let’s reclaim the language! :)

I had a nice, big bag of raw cashews generously sent to me by Oh! Nuts and I thought a batch (or two) of my favorite raw snack would be the perfect way to make my way through them. I was right, as usual.

There are various renditions of this recipe floating around the internet, but here’s my super cheesy (a.k.a. super noochy) take on it!

Cheesy Kale Chips
(Makes: It doesn’t matter because you’ll eat them all in one day anyways)

1 bunch curly kale
1 cup cashews (soaked for a couple hours)
1 red bell pepper, deseeded
Juice of half a lemon (2 tablespoons)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)

Remove the toughest parts of the kale stems (save them for a green smoothie, green juice, or add them to a stir-fry!), and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces.

Whenever I’m working with leafy greens – especially for this recipe, where I want the pieces of kale to be as dry as possible so that the coating will stick as well as possible – I find it easier to cut or rip up the leaves first, and wash them afterward by submerging them in a bowl of water. Then I swish them around with my hands a little so any debris can float to the top, drain them, and dry them in a salad spinner!

Place kale pieces in a large bowl (you want enough room so that you can mix the coating in later without having to deal with leaves falling out of the bowl!)

To make the cheesy coating: combine soaked cashews, bell pepper, lemon juice, nutritional yeast (nooch), and sea salt in a blender or food processor (a high-speed blender like the Vitamix is best), and run for a minute or two until smooth.

Add the cheesy coating to your bowl of kale and massage it in with your hands. Don’t worry too much about uneven distribution, as the big globs taste delicious in the final product!

For raw kale chips (my method of choice, as they will retain the nutrients and enzymes of all the healthful ingredients!): place on dehydrator screens and dehydrate at 115 degrees until crispy. The time will vary, but make sure ALL the moisture is gone and they are genuinely crunchy.

Alternatively (if you don’t have a dehydrator), spread kale pieces on parchment paper on baking trays, and bake at 200 degrees until crispy, about 45 minutes (but again, all that matters is that they MUST be crunchy).

Once you’ve tried the basic recipe, feel free to spice things up – literally! Sprinkle some cayenne into the coating mixture for a nice kick, or add some garlic or onion powder, cumin, or dill!

The Best Mashed Cauliflower

Yes, I know I’m not the inventress of cauliflower “mashed potatoes,” or even one of the first people to reinvent this nearly calorie-less comfort food, for that matter. However, I can safely say that my rendition of this totally legit dish might just be the best one.

I have dramatically improved upon the mashed cauliflower I made for Thanksgiving, and will now proceed to impart said miracle to you all.

Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”
Serves 4

2 medium-sized heads of cauliflower, washed and chopped into florets
1-2 tablespoons melted coconut oil*
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh black pepper to taste
Herbs to taste (I like rosemary and thyme)

*Note: I say go for two tablespoons of coconut oil – it’s practically the only calories in the whole dish, and coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain fatty acids that your body metabolizes instead of storing as fat. Of course,  you can also use another fat like Earth Balance or olive oil if you prefer, but I’ve found that coconut oil gives these “potatoes” the buttery, crave-worthy flavor that sets my recipe apart from all other iterations.

Steam the cauliflower florets until very tender (I’m talking almost-dissolve-at-your-touch tender…). Puree cauliflower in a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides. Add in coconut oil, nutritional yeast, sea salt, pepper, and optional herbs. Continue pureeing until desired consistency is achieved (a couple minutes). Add any additional salt and pepper to taste.

A food processor is probably the best option for this recipe, as most blenders will have trouble pureeing the cauliflower without additional water (not the end of the world – I sometimes add a couple tablespoons of water to assist in blending anyway – but you shouldn’t have to do so). If you have a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix, which I used for the batch pictured, it works great, and results in an almost unreal silky-smooth texture. I like it both ways, so experiment!

Post-pureeing, you can also pour the cauliflower  into a casserole dish and stick it in a 350° oven for 20 minutes, or until golden-brown on top. Not only does the cauliflower develop a nice, crispy top to play off the velvety texture, but it looks pretty to boot! If you’re not serving it immediately after preparing, you’re going to have to reheat it anyways, so what have you got to lose?

Let it be known: I have nothing against the humble potato. Potatoes are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and copper among other things, and, prepared healthfully, they’re relatively low in calories. Sometimes though, you just want to eat a giant bowl of “mashed potatoes,” or a similar comfort food, without feeling like a bloated toad, and this recipe is perfect for that. :)

As good as cauliflower “mashed potatoes” are, everything in moderation! I made them a little too often while perfecting my recipe, and now need a break. I suppose you guys will just have to eat extra on my behalf for a while!

Dorm Room Dinners: Raw Avocado Veggie Wrap

Hi, guys! Sorry I’ve been absent so long. I’ve just been eating boring dining hall food (thank God I’m graduating in…nine weeks!), and I didn’t want to bore you. But I think my lunch/dinner today were interesting enough that there shouldn’t be an upheaval of the blogging masses when I publish this post. :)

I’ve been eating a lot of raw food the past few days, which basically equates to green smoothies in my Magic Bullet blender and giant salads for lunch and dinner. Today, however, I felt like having something a little more interesting. To this end, I grabbed some veggies from the dining hall, and combined with a few ingredients from my own stores and a little creativity, I had me some delicious raw wraps!

Basically, I mashed half an avocado with some chopped up cherry tomatoes, a clove of minced garlic, some sea salt, and a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Then I just julienned some jicama, carrots, and cucumbers–and lightly steamed some broccoli in my microwave–and laid them all on some gorgeous collard leaves. I topped ‘em with the “guacanoochy” and called it a burrito!

I ended up with two of these wraps, but only had time to eat one before my 1:15 class, so I had the other one for dinner (and I added some cubed TJ’s baked tofu to that one).

I’m not gonna lie; I’m pretty proud of myself for making this in my dorm room using all dining hall ingredients except collard greens, avocado, and nooch. Still…get me out of here, into my own kitchen, and off of this godforsaken meal plan!!!

Cheese and Chocolate

No, not together. And not real cheese either. Obviously.

So the chocolate fest began on Monday night when my mom commissioned me to make dessert for an early birthday bash for my dad (his actual birthday’s tomorrow, but my sister Livie left for college on Tuesday, so we had to push it up a couple days…). I only recently acquired My Sweet Vegan, and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to take it for a spin. I wish I could say that I chose to make the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pie because it’s my dad’s favorite, or something adorably sentimental like that, but really, it was the first decent recipe I found for which we had all the ingredients. :) It was dayummm good though! Here’s my pops blowing out his candles:

Okay, you got me. He’s not 23. Just like my recipe choice, the pie toppers were dictated by what was available.

Mmm. This is definitely a special occasion pie, as it’s LOADED with Earth Balance and sugar, but it was so delicious. I think next time I made it, I would just use the concept of this recipe, but use a super healthy cookie dough recipe like Dreena’s. But it was fun to make this once!

Something else I made recently – okay, so it’s not chocolate, but carob is close enough – Oatmeal Muffins from Eat’n Veg’n. Look at these cuties:

They’re super dense and healthy (mine were especially dense because I only made 10 muffins instead of 18), but in a good way! And they’re wheat/flour-free and sugar-free (besides the carob chips I added). They’re literally just bananas, peanut butter, oats, carob chips, cinnamon, raisins, and a little baking powder! And those, my friends, are a lot of my favorite things. :) They also make a fun template – you can switch up the nut butter, spices, and mix-ins easily.

Okay, another real chocolate recipe. Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Cookies from Simple Treats. This was my first time using this cookbook as well, though I can’t for the life of me imagine why! It’s right up my alley – delicious and healthy baked goods free of refined sugar and flour (they use barley flour instead of wheat flour in all the recipes).

I followed the recipe, but just swirled in a little peanut butter at the end to make them pretty. Did I do a good job? ;) That is not a rhetorical question.

It’s been a long time since I’ve made a cookie where I didn’t replace half the oil with applesauce or something, so this recipe was a welcome change because, with a cup of peanut butter and a bit of canola oil, these cookies achieved a “buttery,” flaky texture that my baking often lacks. I think I generally prefer “hippier,” chewier baked goods, but these were amazing and reminded me of these chocolate almond cookies my mom used to always make for me when I was pulling all-nighters writing papers in high school before I was vegan. :)

Enough chocolate! You want “cheese,” right? Thought so.

Macaroni and “Cheese” Casserole from The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook. Look at that cute little curious noodle poking it’s noochy head up into the wide world from it’s cozy bed of bread crumbs:

I didn’t actually have any of this because I was helping my mom out by making it for one of her sick friends. Her friend loves Mac ‘n Cheese apparently, and my mom was going to make her some until I stepped in and set things right. :) It sure smelled good though. If I ever make this for myself however, I will probably quarter the fat or something. Lots and lots of Earth Balance and oil. I was too afraid to alter it for my mom’s omnivore friend because I didn’t want to lower the fat too much and give vegan food a bad rap since I have no experience with this recipe.

Naturally, I wanted something cheesy after making that dish for someone else, so I made the Zucchini Chedda Soup from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook with the optional brown rice added for extra comfort food power.

I’m not really sure I can accurately recall the taste of real cheese, but this tasted pretty freaking cheesy to me. Seriously, if someone else served this soup to me, I would’ve been like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, what are you trying to pull?” The cheddar-cheese color comes from roasted red bell peppers blended up with a lot of nooch and other delicious things. I added a little turmeric and mustard for extra color, too. Look, it even stretches like cheese!

That’s it, except for some bonus smoothies! Here’s a blueberry-banana-cinnamon:

And here’s a yummy green monster, with mango, banana, kale, spinach, spirulina, hemp and flax.

Green smoothies really are the perfect breakfast. I need to have them more like every other day than once a week, which is what I do now. It’s insane how much nutrition you can pack into one Magic Bullet cup.

Did this post acquit me of my laziness in the past few days? I hope so! Oh, and Ruby Red Vegan, I sent your Weil bars out today!

Golden Oats

I know most vegans have oats all the time, but they’re usually sweet, am I right? Maple syrup, nut butters, fruit. Yeah, all delicious, and I love sweet oatmeal, but you’re definitely missing out if you never try savory oats. I’ve made them before, using nooch and some of Celine’s sliced Pumpkin Fauxsage, so I knew they were good, but I’d prepared them just like I would sweet oats. Today, however, I made the Golden Oats Pilaf from Bryanna Clark Grogan’s The Fiber for Life Cookbook, which are prepared differently, dry toasting the oats before adding the liquid at the end. I changed the recipe up a bit, so I’m gonna post it!

Golden Oats Pilaf

1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 tablespoon Earth Balance
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or other herb of your choice)
1 small onion, sautéed
1 small zucchini, thinly slice and steamed (or other veggie of your choice)
garlic (optional)

In a blender, combine flaxseeds and water and blend several minutes (I used my handy Magic Bullet). Place the oatmeal in a medium bowl and add the flaxseed mixture; stir to coat thoroughly. Heat the Earth Balance in a large heavy skillet (the same one you sautéed the onions in!) over medium heat. Add the oats mixture and stir constantly for 3 minutes or until the oats are dry, separated, and lightly browned (this is essential for keeping the texture and integrity of the oats before the next step).

Add the broth, salt, nutritional yeast, rosemary, and garlic if using (I didn’t and it was still packed with flavor). Cook, covered until the liquid evaporates, stirring frequently enough to prevent sticking (mine stuck a lot, so seriously, STIR!). Mix in zucchini and onions, and serve immediately.

Obviously, this recipe is super flexible–this is just the route I chose to go. You can leave out the nooch, add different veggies and herbs, or be crazy and add some toasted nuts or dried fruit! I just love how simple and easy it was, while still being surprisingly flavorful and healthy. Plus, I love the chewy texture the oats retain through the cooking process. Definitely a keeper. I served mine with half a baked sweet potato because, not only are oats and sweet taters two of my favorite foods, but they’re both loaded with soluble fiber for my tummy (as are flaxseeds). I still need medical help, but this meal at least didn’t make me feel worse, like some of my raw meals did.