Homemade Macadamia Nut Cheese {Ricotta Style}

Homemade fermented cheese? That sounds really labor intensive and super complicated, right? Well not exactly. Think of it as an art and the result is well worth the time spent making it. 

7J5A1437.jpg

You can use any nut you prefer. I personally love this recipe made with macadamia nuts. It's a perfect basic recipe that can be played around with. Try adding herbs or spices or garlic. You can use this homemade vegan cheese for pizza nights or in lasagna (like I did). You can stuff raviolis or use it in my baked butternut squash pasta recipe. with it or even eat it as a dip with crackers or veggies. Did you see my crumbled tempeh salad a few weeks ago? To die for! 

ricottacheeserecipe.jpg

As far as equipment goes - all you need is a high speed blender, a strainer and cheese cloth plus a little bit of patience and love

If you signed up for my newsletter in the past 3 months you would have gotten this recipe in your inbox. It went out early to those that signed up. 

If you did in fact make it, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it and all your variations. 

How to make Vegan Ricotta Cheese at home! #plantbasedcheese #purekitchenblog
Homemade Macadamia Nut Ricotta style Cheese. #plantbasednutrition #purekitchenblog

This Ricotta Style Vegan cheese is both fluffy and creamy at the same time. Rich in nutrients and flavor, it's a must try recipe. Adding the probiotics helps the cheese to ferment and also makes the cheese rich in good bacteria - like the other store-bought yogurt or cheese. 

I prefer this recipe to any of the cheeses I can buy on the shelves. No strange additives or binding agents or rennet (enzymes added to cheese) or casein. 

Herbed Macadamia Nut Ricotta Cheese #plantbasedcheese #purekitchenblog

Macadamia Nut Ricotta Cheese Recipe

yields approx 2 cups cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups raw macadamia nuts (soaked overnight & drained)
  • 3/4 cup fresh water
  • 1 Tbsp (half a lemon) lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 capsules probiotic powder supplement

Directions

  1. In a high speed blender, blend just the nuts and the water.
  2. Blend until super creamy with no chunks. 
  3. Transfer mixture from blender to a strainer lined with cheese cloth over a bowl. (see photos)
  4. Add the probiotics, salt salt and lemon. Fold the mixture a few times to combine. 
  5. Place the bowl with strainer and nut mixture someplace in the house at room temperature away from kids and dust and open windows. The mixture will sort of ferment or culture during this time. 
  6. You will want it to sit for at least 8 hours or overnight. 
  7. Refrigerate mixture when it's done fermenting.  
  8. Use this cheese as you wish. 
How To Make Homemade Ricotta Style Vegan Cheese #plantbased #purekitchenblog

Don't forget to share your thoughts or question in the comments below. Feel free to share on Instagram if you do in fact make a recipe. Please hashtag #purekitchenblog or tag @purekitchenblog and follow me for so many recipes and photos that I don't share on my blog - for whatever reason.  

Delicious Mushroom Spinach Potstickers

These vegetable potstickers has become one of my all time favorite recipes. I have been missing potstickers lately and the frozen ones just don't quite do the trick for me. Fresh homemade potstickers are to-die-for. Kids love them. Meat eaters love them. They are a total win. No dairy or meat in my version but they are not gluten-free, sadly. I had a hard time finding wrappers without eggs. And I finally did but they are made with wheat flour. If anybody knows where I can get ahold of gluten-free egg-free wrappers, please let me know ;)

Homemade Vegetable (mushroom spinach) Potstickers. #vegan #plantbased

Sautéed mushrooms, mini bell peppers and spinach make up the inside of these little vegetable potstickers. They are delicate and light but do not fall apart when you eat them. I love playing around with all different types of sauces. Some spicy, some creamy others salty and vinegary. Or a combination of all of the above. 

Try my almond butter sauce with them as well to mix things up a bit, too. 

Or try adding herbs, scallions and toasted sesame seeds for a change. 

Vegetable Pot Stickers with Tamari Chili Sauce #vegan #plantbased

The delicate textures and flavors along with the translucent wraps make these potstickers hard to resist. 

Anytime I go to asian style restaurants there are potstickers on the menu but rarely if ever are there vegetables ones. So making them at home my way makes them so special. 

Vegetable Potstickers (mushrooms and spinach stuffed wrappers) #vegan #plant-based
Delicious Mushroom Spinach filled Potstickers #vegan #plantbased

Vegetable Stuffed Potstickers Recipe

Yields 12 individual potstickers

vegetable potstickers that are to die for. #vegan

Ingredients

  • 3.5 oz mushrooms chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4-5 sweet mini bell peppers
  • 3 small cloves garlic or 1 large one, pressed or chopped
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil or butter (separate)
  • 1 Tbsp shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach 
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 package of potsticker or gyoza wrappers
  • glass of water to dip your fingers in

Directions

  1. In a large frying pan add 1 Tbsp oil (save the other Tbsp for later) or butter, mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic and sea salt. Cook this mixture for about 5 minutes. You'll want to keep the veggies from burning by tossing or flipping every minute or so. Veggies should be well cooked but not browned.  If the mixture looks like it's drying up too much add a touch more oil or water. 
  2. In the meantime grab your wrappers, 2 plates, a spoon, a paper towel or rag, and your cup full of water (for you hands). This will be your potsticker station. 
  3. Once veggies are done, stir in the spinach so that it wilts a tad but doesn't get over cooked. Toss and mix well. Remove from heat and scrap veggie mixture (the filling) onto one of the plates at your station. Set the frying pan back onto the stove top and use it to cook up the finished potstickers. 
  4. To fill the potstickers you'll want to place one round potsticker wrapper/sheet onto the other clean plate at your station. Using the spoon scoop about 1 tsp or so of mixture onto the center of the wrapper. 
  5. Gently fold the round wrapper over, making it a half circle. Wet your fingers well and press the open edges of the half circle together well so that there isn't any part of it open or filling exposed/falling out. 
  6. Set each potsticker aside - back onto the pan you'll be frying them in. 
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 until all of your filling vegetable mushroom mixture is gone. 
  8. Using the rest of the butter or oil, heat the pan on medium and cook the potstickers in the oil/butter until they start to lightly brown. Flipping over a few times. About 4 total minutes.
  9. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. My recipes below.  

Note: for further more visual directions please see my little videos attached below. 

Veggie Pot Stickers with mushroom and spinach filling. #plantbased #vegan

Potsticker Dipping Sauces

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp red chili paste
  • 2 Tbsp cup tamari 
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar 

Directions

Sauce #1

Combine red chili paste with 1 Tbsp rice vinegar. Stir. 

Sauce #2

Combine tamari with the rest of the rice vinegar. Stir. 

veggie stuffed potstickers! #plantbased #vegan
 

Cleansing Fennel Asparagus Soup

I've been eating so clean lately in addition to working out hard. It feels so good. I eat less when I workout hard and I make better food choices as well. It's funny how that works. When I was pregnant I was the same way; I ate better than on a normal not-pregnant day. Often times I hear pregnant women say that they can eat whatever they want because they are pregnant and going to gain weight either way so what the heck! But I just couldn't get on board with that. I was growing a baby inside me and I wanted to give my body what it needed in order to work hard and do it right. 

Cleansing Fennel Asparagus Soup

Soups like this Cleansing Fennel Asparagus Soup nourish and feed the body and soul.

Fennel has a celery like texture but looks more like a bulb. It's known for its licorice-like flavor. This often under utilized plant food has wonderful health benefits. In fact, it has been used in natural remedies since ancient times. It grows wild and can be grown anywhere Fennel has a pale bulb and long green stalks. It can be grown almost anywhere. All parts of the fennel plant, including the bulb, stalk, leaves, and seeds, are edible.

Personally I feel like fennel isn't often used in recipes because people don't really know what to do with it. I love fennel added to my pressed juices. It goes well with celery as well. Because it contains ample amounts of phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, choline, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, vitamin E, and vitamin K, it's been said to help with everything from hearth health to inflammation to blood pressure and bone health.

In addition to all these nutrients, it provides high levels of dietary nitrates. 

Cleansing Fennel Asparagus Soup / Gazpacho
Cleansing Fennel Asparagus Soup

My cleansing raw fennel asparagus soup combines the health benefits of asparagus, avocado and fennel together to create a very flavorful healing dish. 

And although it's technically a raw soup (meaning, no cooked) I did like the idea of blanching the asparagus to soften it. You can also add warm veggie broth (instead of cold) to make this more of a warm soup. Personally I prefer gazpacho style fennel soup. 

Garnish it with pretty plants or crunchy raw nuts. I added some salty popcorn to mine one time. It was a fun addition. 

Cleansing Fennel Asparagus Gazpacho Soup

Cleansing Fennel Asparagus Soup Recipe

Yields 1 large bowl or 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 avocado, skin and seeds removed
  • 1 medium sized fennel bulb, chopped in large chunks (approx 2 cups)
  • 5 large asparagus stalks or 9 skinny ones, steamed or blanched
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup broth (warm or cold)

Garnish ideas: shallots, cilantro, asparagus, avocado, olive oil, lemon juice or even a vegan sour cream. 

Directions

  1. Prep all your ingredients by chopping, removing tough stems, seeds and skins. 
  2. In a large skillet, fill the bottom with about 1/4 in water. Add asparagus and heat them until they are soft and bright green. Remove from water and put into a high speed blender. 
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients into the blender. 
  4. Blend up the ingredients until smooth. 
  5. Add garnish. Serve immediately at room temp or warmer. 
Cleansing Asparagus Fennel Soup

Vegan Lentil Meatballs (grain-free, meat-free)

Hooray for meatballs without the meat. No soy, no gluten, no seitan; simply made from lentils and almonds. These lentil meatballs are a new favorite around here; perfect to add to our Magical no-cook tomato sauce

lentil meatballs. vegan. high protein. simple to make. delicious. kids approved. grain-free.

In addition to being high in protein these meatballs are full of fiber. Each meatball has about 5 grams of protein. That's 20 grams in the bowl shown above. Add that to a bowl of pasta and you got all kinds of healthy "good" carbs, vitamin C, micronutrients, fiber, essential enzymes and protein. No dairy or meat needed. 

meatless lentil meatballs. 5g protein per ball. vegan. dairy-free. grain free. soy free.

These meatballs are so easy, no need to sauté any onions or garlic and the only fat I used was vegan butter. I'm obsessed with Miyoco's European style cultured vegan butter. Have you tried it yet? Holy moly. And it's Free of cholesterol, lactose, egg, gluten and palm oil and made without GMOs. 

I just threw all the meatless meatball ingredients into a food processor and once it turned into a dough paste type of thing it was ready to cook up. So simple. And you can play around with your own spices and herbs.  

vegan meatless meatballs. lentil protein. 5 grams protein in each meatball. grain-free.
Meatless meatballs. Homemade lentil meatballs made with fresh ingredients. 5 grams of protein in each ball. Dairy-free. Grain-free. Soy free.

These meatballs taste light and airy but also hearty and spicy. They are drop-the-mic delicious. Simple, fresh and easy to whip up. Tip: try using the Trader Joes already cooked lentils to save you time! If you do that, you just made your life a whole lot easier and dinner prep time so much more tolerable. 

Vegan meatless lentil meatballs. Dairy-free. Grain-free. High protein. Soy-free.

Your kids will love them, too. Store them in an airtight container and throw them in your kids' lunch boxes along with some tomato dipping sauce or leftover pasta. Eat them on top of salads or inside a big collard green like a taco. They are versatile little meatballs. 

dairy-free, soy-free, grain-free meatless lentil meatballs. high protein. simple fresh ingredients.

Lentil Meatballs Recipe

Yields approx 12-14 balls

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. In a food processor bowl add all of the ingredients. 
  3. Pulse and scrape the ingredients over and over until you have a smooth dough. Not too wet and pasty but more like a clumpy dough. I know when my dough is ready because the dough starts to ball up and roll around in the food processor as one large blob. 
  4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  5. Remove dough by forming small balls using your hands. If it seems too wet (it shouldn't stick to your fingers) then add a touch more almond flour. Place balls onto the lined cookie sheet. 
  6. Before you bake them you'll first want to sauté / cook them in a large skillet using butter or olive oil. You will want to toss them to be sure they roll around and cook evenly. About 5 minutes or until they start to brown. 
  7. Place the balls back onto the parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake the meatballs for about 30 minutes. Keep checking on them. You want them cooked all the way through. 
  8. In the meantime prep your noodles and marinara or your salad. 
  9. Once thoroughly cooked, let them cook before serving. 
  10. Store leftovers in the freezer until ready to use. Bake them at 375 degrees F until they are warmed all the way through. 

note: recipe adapted from http://minimalistbaker.com/easy-lentil-meatballs/. 

Creamy Coconut Almond Butter Spread

As most of us plant-eaters would agree, toast is the on the weekly breakfast line up. Whether it's almond butter toast, avocado toast or unicorn toast (😛) we are always looking for something new to slather on it. This time it's homemade coconut almond butter spread and it's divine. Not only is this coconut butter rich, creamy and divine, it's also super healthy and super easy to whip up at home in your food processor.  

I had a fun conversation recently with the folks over at a local health food brand here in town. We were discussing whether using the term "vegan" hurts or helps a brand. It was a super interesting topic and of course I was a tad biased because I would for sure vote for HELPS! But I'm curious what you guys think, too. Vegan has a bad wrap because of the "hate" and judgement that is often associated with the people that follow it. But on the flip side I think anybody who is super passionate (myself included sometimes) about something can get lost in the frustration and/or excitement about it. The tendency to wonder why others don't see it the way you see it can be torture at times.  

I AM part of the vegan crowd because I follow such a diet for the most part but at the same time, I get it, I get that it's often not a "healthy" atmosphere and if you eat honey every so often you're like shamed for using the word vegan when talking about yourself. Or your carseats are leather, etc. It's all pretty confusing to me because as seriously as I take my diet (which is pretty seriously), I can't take anything that seriously only because there are so many things I care about and I have to find balance and also find sanity and peace. 

Vegan to me is a descriptive word I use to explain my daily diet which is plant-healthy and void of animal products. 

However, Plant-based is the new term people are using to disassociate with the "dogmatic vegan lifestyle". BTW - this is all just an explanation for those who don't understand it all or get confused sometimes at the difference - I'm not actually saying that I feel this way about the word vegan or vegans themselves; I'm merely trying to explain the culture and the politics around it.  

Anyways...although it's basically the same diet people usually affiliate with one or the other and not both. Vegans are more into the ideas that no animal is harmed in the process of making the food or product they are consuming. Meaning, jellybeans are vegan. Oreos are vegan! You get my drift. But whole foods plant-based diets are more about eating foods that come from the ground, do not come from packages and contain no dairy or meat.   

But aside from the stigma that comes with that word vegan, whether you know and like it or not, vegan diets are saving lives (literally) and being prescribed to many patients to not only lose weight but to reverse disease. A whole foods plant-based diet free of processed, overly cooked foods helped me rid my life of all kinds of health problems. I can't say enough about how great and healthy I feel daily. It's crazy how quickly you can change the inside of your body by making just a few (but very big) changes in your diet.  

Back to my original conversation here - often people who are new to the vegan diet want to easily grab products from shelves...right? They don't want to read a million labels. So the little V (stands for certified vegan) on the package helps a consumer know that there is no meat or dairy in the foods they are purchasing. Easy. Quick. Not complicated. No label reading necessary.

The complications arise when a product is super clean and uses plant-based ingredients that are free of dairy and meat but might use honey for example (which to me is so healthy) but can't use the famous V on their labels. Or when companies are afraid to hop on the V train because they think it will hurt their brand? This is where I'm curious what you guys all think. Do you think it hurts or helps?

I have a solution - maybe we need to create a plant-based certification. Is anybody even listening because this is a great idea here. 😜 

As a food manufacturer who packaged and sold my own goods to consumers, I do feel like the Vegan label was helpful because when it comes to cookies, for example, I believed they should be vegan. No need for eggs to sit on a shelf for six months and no need for white processed sugar either (when there are some great healthy alternatives out there). 

Now it's recipe time! Coconut butter is really simple to make. All you need is coconut chips, a food processor and some patience. Then voila - you have creamy coconut butter. Use it in smoothies, on toast, in recipes, for vegan frosting, etc. The possibilities are endless. 

Add some almond or cashew or even walnut butter to your coconut oil with a touch of raw honey or maple syrup and you have an amazing spread. Store is in an airtight container so it's easily accessible to your kids and husband or wife (partner). 

Creamy Coconut Almond Butter Spread Recipe

yields approx 12 ounces

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz organic coconut chips 
  • 1 1/2 cup raw almond butter
  • 1 heaping Tbsp raw honey
  • pinch sea salt (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a food processor add coconut chips. Let the food processor run for a good 3 minutes.
  2. Then using a spatula you'll want to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  3. Process again for another 3-5 minutes. Check the coconut and repeat first two steps if necessary. 
  4. Once your coconut chips become oil/butter, you'll want to add raw almond butter to the coconut oil. 
  5. Add the honey. 
  6. Mix the ingredients up until totally smooth and well combined. 
  7. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 weeks. Refrigerate for a longer shelf life. 

Note: The texture of the coconut almond butter spread mixture will become pretty hard after you refrigerate it for a day or so. That's ok. I suggest using it right away on your warm toast, that will melt it back to room temp and make it super easy to spread. 

Check out my quick tutorial video below - on how to make your own coconut butter at home (super simple recipe!). 

 

Enjoy!