Tag: forks over knives

Cheezy Cauliflower Nachos {Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free}

We’re in the FINAL stages of our kitchen renovation, and I can’t wait to show you all the before and after pics! I’m waiting for some frames to arrive to hang up artwork, and then I’ll reveal the final look. It’s been very exciting! ūüôā

On¬†Thursday night, we¬†decided that we’d had enough of eating dinner¬†in our basement. We brought most of our kitchen stuff upstairs and started putting food, cups, plates, bowls and other accessories in their new homes. For the first time in my life, I have a pantry and soft close drawers and doors! It’s the little things.

We decided to break in the kitchen by making our first dinner in the new space that night. And we shared some pretty nasty champagne to celebrate! Me and Bill Cheers

Inspired by a recent visit to the AWESOME MOMs Organic Market and cafe in Hamdpen, I decided to take a stab at making vegan cauliflower nachos, a dish they had on their menu at the Naked Lunch cafe. My friend Katie and I split it the other day when we met up for lunch, and it was delicious!

As a kid I never ate beans, brown rice, avocados or scallions, so everything in this dish represents quite¬†a few¬†transformations along my food journey. Our taste buds are highly adaptable, so give foods you’ve previously sworn off a second chance!

Since removing dairy products from my diet (here’s why I¬†did), I’ve missed some of the creamy goodness dairy-based foods provide. But, because¬†my body feels and functions so much better without them, I don’t consider it a struggle to be without them. And that’s what motivates me to find alternatives like the cheese-y sauce used in this recipe.

The “cheese” sauce has a bit of a kick to it (back off the cayenne if you want less).

Cheese Sauce CloseupIt’s creaminess comes from the cashews and tahini, two ingredients I use in a lot of my recipes that you can find at just about any grocery store (find tahini in the natural food aisle or international aisle in the Mediterranean section).

We haven’t made this cheese sauce in over two years, and Bill liked it so much that he¬†said, “We need to make a batch of this stuff¬†every week!”

From start to finish, this recipe comes together pretty quickly, as the cauliflower takes very little time to roast and the cheese sauce can be whipped up in a matter of minutes in the blender.

Vegan nachos pic

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2¬†cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 15-ounce can no sodium added black beans,¬†drained and rinsed¬†(Eden Organic or Field Day Organic are our go-tos)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 batch noocho cheese sauce

To learn more about the ingredients in the noocho cheese sauce, check out this blog post I wrote about it previously.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Toss cauliflower with olive oil and a few pinches of sea salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and a fork pierces through easily. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Add rice and beans to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Top with roasted cauliflower, avocado, scallions, and noocho cheese sauce.

 

The Ultimate “Noocho” Cheese Sauce!

It'll be worth the read to get to this dairy-free noocho cheese recipe at the end!

It’ll be worth the read to get to this dairy-free noocho cheese recipe at the end!

One of the reasons a lot of us don’t take the time to cook or try out new recipes is because we are afraid of failing, fearful that we will “mess it up” and that it will have been a waste of money on food.

We’ve all been there, right?

I often¬†experiment with recipes I’ve never made before and ingredients I’ve never used. I learn what I like through trial and error and take the “will this really taste good?” guesswork out of it for you ūüôā

As I continue to focus on a dairy-free lifestyle because of how much better I feel eating this way, I’m sometimes challenged to find¬†comparable alternatives to dairy-based favorites.

In my last post, I shared one of the key ingredients I now use in my cooking to impart some “cheesy” flavor. I promised that one of the recipes I would share with you would be a dairy-free nacho cheese sauce¬†(AKA “noocho” cheese, since nutritional yeast¬†or “nooch” is what gives it its “cheesy” taste).

Most of the time when I prepare new recipes, they¬†turn out great and taste delicious, and I can’t wait to share them with friends and family.

Other times…they don’t.¬†That’s what happened with noocho cheese attempt #1.

Not-so-nacho cheese...first recipe attempted - won't be making this one again!

Not-so-nacho cheese…first recipe attempted – won’t be making this one again!

It lacked flavor, and no matter what I added or even if I heated it up on the stove, I couldn’t get it to taste right…and it definitely¬†didn’t resemble nacho cheese.

Fortunately, using a recipe from this cookbook, noocho cheese attempt #2 was a HIT!

Bill and I made it on Friday night and brought it to a friend’s house as an appetizer, and they liked it, too. Check out the recipe below. You will not regret making this stuff! ūüôā

The Ultimate “Noocho” Cheese Sauce

Yum Yum Cheesy Goodness!

Yum Yum Cheesy Goodness!

Ingredients*

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes and then rinsed (Trader Joe’s has the cheapest)
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 roasted red pepper (rinsed from a jar or prepared from fresh)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (tamari is gluten-free soy sauce and is in the Asian food aisle…or low-sodium soy sauce)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup water

Click here for the full recipe!

We served it with our favorite healthier chips, which I will share more about in my next post! I enjoyed some leftover sauce the next day with baby carrots.  You have to try this!

*There’s a good chance that a couple of things in this recipe aren’t¬†already in your pantry…don’t let that stop you! Ordering online at Amazon or Vitacost is super easy, or you can pick them up the next time you’re at the store.

If you don’t know where to find something, ask.¬†I’ve found that people are happy to help!

  • Tahini (find in the international section¬†of most grocery stores, in any natural food store, or online.)
  • Roasted red peppers (sold in glass jars in the non-refrigerated section of the grocery store)
  • Nutritional yeast (you can buy this¬†online at Amazon, Vitacost or other retailers, or at any natural food store, Wegmans, Whole Foods, MOMs, or Roots)

5 of My Favorite Sweet Treat Recipes!

One of my favorite books that really simplifies how to eat real food¬†is Michael Pollan’s¬†Food Rules. I love what he has to say about junk food.food-rules-cover-484

Rule #45: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

Let’s be honest. If every time we wanted fries, baked goods or ice cream we had to cook them ourselves, we would eat a lot less of those foods. It would truly be a treat when we ate them instead of something we can easily do every day thanks to modern food manufacturing.

In college, I was given the nickname “Betty Crocker” by a group of my husband’s fraternity brothers and roommates because of all of the baked goods I made for them, including my specialties of cookies and cream brownies and half-inch thick chocolate chip cookies.

Now that I’m focused on nourishing my body (and my friends and family) with wholesome, minimally processed or refined foods, I take a different approach to baking.

As I’ve learned more about how to cook and bake in a healthier way, I’ve discovered that a variety of foods found in nature are sweet, minimally (if at all) processed AND delicious, including fruit, dates, raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, applesauce, and blackstrap molasses, to name a few. They are great substitutes to use in recipes that call for highly refined white sugar.

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Like any sweet treat, these are meant to be enjoyed occasionally, not every day, because the more sugar we consume, the more our bodies will crave. In fact, many of us are literally addicted to it.  Two of the keys to curbing a sugar addiction are to minimize our sugar intake and make sure we are eating enough nutrient-rich whole food at regular intervals, so our bodies feel nutritionally satisfied.

Many of the sweet treat recipes I prepare will often include fiber, which helps the sugar in the food release more slowly into the bloodstream, giving your liver more time to metabolize the food.

I like to think of food choices on a continuum of “Good, Better, Best.”¬†All of these options are¬†better¬†choices than grabbing a box or bag of sweets with long lists of ingredients we can’t pronounce.¬†

Here are links to 5 of my favorite tried and true sweet treat recipes!

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  1. Homemade Rolos¬†(oh she glows)¬†I LOVED Rolos growing up. I made these last night for dessert, and they were gone by the time we finished playing Catchphrase! I used¬†Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips because they only have 3 ingredients and are gluten, dairy, and soy free (you find them at Target, Wegmans, Whole Foods, and MOMs).¬†oh she glows is one of my absolute¬†favorite¬†blogs. Angela posts so many amazing and delicious recipes – from baked goods to side dishes and salads – and I’ve tried about a half dozen of them and will feature them in future posts.
  2. Chocolate Mint Truffles¬†(Mind Body Green) – I made these for multiple holiday parties this year, and they were full of minty goodness. They’re vegan and don’t contain any processed sugar, but no one will know!
  3. Peanut Butter Granola Bars¬†(The Family Vegan) – This recipe is from the¬†Forks Over Knives Cookbook, which my hubby gave me as a gift for Christmas. We have already made 10 delicious recipes from the book this year,¬†so¬†I can’t recommend it enough!
  4. Almond Butter Dark Chocolate Cookies (Fast Paleo) РThese are a great gluten and dairy-free alternative to chocolate chip cookies, and they are delicious! An alternative option is to use half raw honey and half maple syrup instead of using only honey. Sometimes I also do half peanut butter and half almond butter instead of only almond butter.  I use Enjoy Life chocolate chips in these as well, but you can skip the chips altogether, if you prefer, and add cranberries instead!
  5. Banana Bread Muffin Tops (oh she glows) – I just made these for the first time last week, and I really enjoyed them with walnuts and raisins!

Unfamiliar with some of the ingredients? Just do what we do, and buy them off of Amazon. They are usually cheaper there than anywhere else, and we get free 2-day shipping with our Amazon Prime Membership!

I would love to hear if you end up trying any of these recipes. Feel free to share them, and stay tuned for more!

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