Sprout New Roots


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Vegan Walnut Pesto

I’ve always loved pesto. Pesto on my pasta, pesto spread on toasty bread, pesto on a sandwich or wrap, etc. After going from vegetarian to vegan, I learned that a lot of pesto’s usually have parmesan cheese in them. I also learned that making vegan pesto is crazy easy and whatever that parmesan cheese added to the flavor, nuts could add an even cleaner taste to it-while maintaining the “cheezy” notes. For the last few years, however, I’ve not really fooled around with pesto. Then we started an herb garden and I found what I’d been missing out on-fresh basil. I’d searched the web, collected and saved recipes and when my basil was ready-I was more than ready. My mouth watered just looking at the basil leaves! So here’s what I did. I used NeverHomeMaker’s Pesto recipe as my base, slightly altered it, and added a little nutritional yeast. (Check out her blog if you have not already-I have a crush on her food pictures!)

Once we made this and served it over pasta, we literally looked at each other constantly saying “Oh my god, now this is delicious!”, “Oh my god, I can’t even believe how good this is!”, “Wow.” haha!

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Walnut Basil Pesto

(slightly altered from NeverHomeMaker’s version)

Makes about 8-12 oz of sauce

  • 3/4 cup walnuts (or pine nuts-but I used walnuts because they’re cheaper)
  • 2.5 cups fresh basil leaves (loosely packed)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped up a bit
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast flakes

How-To

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a rimmed baking sheet, spread your walnuts and then roast for 5 minutes. Stir. Roast another couple minutes, until you can smell them. Set aside to cool completely. I put mine in the freezer while I did the other steps to speed up the cooling process.
  2. Boil a cup and a half of water and then “shock” the basil (helps keep the green color longer) by placing it in water for 10 seconds. Then immediately pour into colander and rinse with cold water and pat dry with a tea towel. You’ll be shocked at how much the leaves shrivel down to nothing!
  3. In a food processor, combine all ingredients. Then pulse until well combined.
  4. Store in an air-tight container for 2-4 days in the refrigerator for use or freeze in ice cube tray for the future.

Thank you NeverHomeMaker!!

photo(9)Reaping my harvest! Ha!

photo(11)We cooked some quinoa pasta and steamed and sauteed veggies, then topped it with the pesto!

This made for such an incredible meal!

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Do you have any pesto tips or recipes? I’d love to hear them!

 

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The Mac-n-Vegan-Cheesiest!

Everyone loves comfort food. Including us! Who doesn’t appreciate food that’s tastes like home? We grew up in New Orleans and pretty much all of the cuisine here makes people feel happy when they eat it. They may not feel so good afterwards-but it’s worth it to them. Not so much to us. However, we love that warming, comfortable feeling of tasting a slice of home-which brings me to this post! What we consider comfort food. Mac –Cheese! But not just any old mac n cheese- Spaghetti Squash Mac-n-Cashew “Cheese”! There are many recipes that you can find online for different nut and cashew cheese sauces, but I wanted to show you guys exactly what I did with what I had in my pantry because I believe it’s a simpler recipe than a lot that I found online. I chose spaghetti squash for the “noodles” because I have noticed, over time, that I’ve tended to “crowd out” pastas with whole grains and other “whole foods”. The last few times I have eaten pasta (even whole wheat or multi-grain) I feel heavier than I like to afterwards. I think my body is just used to lighter fair these days. And by “lighter” I certainly do not mean only salads-just food that takes less processing by my body. I still love pasta though and of course I still eat it occasionally. It’s just a small change I’ve experienced gradually over this past year and a half. Also, I like to eat a lot-so if I eat pasta-I can’t eat as much and that’s just no fun for me!
So here’s what I did!

cashews

Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash, or 2 small spaghetti squashes

You can bake your spaghetti squash whole or in 2 halves (cut lengthwise) in the oven.

If you choose to bake it whole, pierce the skin with a sharp knife several times around the squash. Bake it for an hour if it’s a medium-large size at 375 degrees. Bake for about 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees if it’s a small one. You’ll need to be careful that the skin doesn’t burn.  Check it occasionally and reposition it if you notice it beginning to brown in one spot. Once it is finished (you should be able to pierce the skin with a knife without much resistance) , remove from the oven, cut in half, and carefully scrape out the seeds and pulp in the center, then scrape the inside “meat” of the squash out with a fork and you’ll notice it comes out in “noodles” just like spaghetti!

If you choose to bake it in half, cut it in half, scrape out the seeds and pulp from the center and place it in the oven on a baking pan rind side up for 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees. Again, once it is finished, scrape the inside of the squash out with a fork.

Cashew Cheese Sauce

  • 1 cup of cashews
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ cups of non-dairy milk (I used soy milk, but almond milk would work fine as well. Avoid coconut milk for this)
  • 1 heaping tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Put cashews in your blender or processor. Blend until they’re crumbly but be sure not to blend to a paste. Add the nutritional yeast flakes along with the garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt. Pulse the blender 3 or 4 more times to mix it up. On the stove, heat the nondairy milk, olive oil, and the cornstarch. Heat and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Turn your blender/processor back on and slowly add the hot milkiness and blend for 2 minutes until smooth. Mix it into your spaghetti squash noodles! Add steamed/sautéed veggies into it or on the side. I have added in fresh spinach (picture below) and also steamed broccoli and carrots! Viola! Guilt-free comfort food!

Little Tip! Use this cashew “cheese” sauce to pour over your veggies or rice! Slather it on a sandwich! Dip chips or veggies into it!

spaghetti-squash-1

What do you consider comfort food ?

Please let us know in the comments below!


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Easy Homemade Peanut Butter!

Ok y’all, I love peanut butter. Like, love it. I dip my apples in it, I make pb banana sandwiches, I add it to my smoothies, the list goes on. I used to buy JIF peanut butter until I noticed the ingredients having lots of oil and other things in there that I didn’t find necessary. The same goes for other brands-most have added oils. So for the last year or so I have been buying Whole Foods 365 brand-which is great. Ingredients read: Peanuts, Salt. That’s it and I’m cool with that. But then I saw a link on Pinterest (haha that’s how most girl’s conversations go these days, right?!) about making your own peanut butter and how easy it is. I know that you can make your own at Whole Foods and other groceries but the DIY-er in me had to try this on my own at home because it just seemed too easy.  And it is! This is my first go at it so I literally only used peanuts-which is all you need.  I took a bag of roasted peanuts that I had in my pantry and shelled some until I had enough of that (this is the only work that’s really involved here), threw them in the mini processor, blended until it was the right consistency-done! It’s crazy how at first it starts to look like sand-but you have to keep blending because eventually it breaks down the natural oils and becomes a buttery consistency.

I can’t wait to get experimental with this and add things like cocoa powder or coconut flakes or chocolate chips! I wonder if pumpkin would work in there? I’ll have to try my own almond butter as well-and cashew butter/cream. Now I’ll be dreaming about nut butters the rest of the day! Ooh these could make great Christmas gifts too!

Ok cough it up-do you have a great home-made nut-butter recipe that we should know about? Please share!


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Cilantro Hummus and Mexican Dip!

Hey guys and gals! We hope y’all had a good Easter weekend! For ours, my mom and step-dad threw together a last minute family gathering at their house. It was really fun and full of flavorful food! Since my mom and step-dad decided to go plant-based over 2 months ago, most of the food we served was vegan-and scrumptious :). My mom made her famous red beans and brown rice, a veggie pad thai, vegan spinach “cream cheese” dip, vegan potato salad, and a vegan seven-layer dip, among other things like veggie dogs with veggie chili. I added to the mix by making Cilantro Hummus and a Mexican Corn and Bean Dip. Everything was so good! A few other members of our family even brought over a veggie dish or 2! While not everyone may understand or is very keen on this lifestyle and way of eating, most people really enjoyed all the dishes.

I got the idea for cilantro hummus from the New Orleans Farmer’s Market on Saturday. My mom and I went early that morning to get some fresh produce and one vendor, a Lebanese woman who we always see there, made a cilantro hummus dip that she was selling. We tasted it and thought it had such a fun, flavorful kick! So I decided I’d try to replicate the idea. This makes a yummy dip for chips or carrots and veggies. Also, I think it would be a great addition to a veggie sandwich! Nix the mayo-add the hummus! Here’s what I sorta did!

Cilantro Hummus Dip (serves 6-10)

I am approximating a bit here, as I added and tasted as I blended-which I recommend you do as well.

3 cans garbonzo beans
half an avocado
1 tsp ground cumin
2 lemons squeezed
3 large garlic cloves
fresh cilantro leaves torn off the stems-I’d add this as you go to see how much you want. I added then blended then tasted a lot so I don’t know how much I really used.
olive oil-as needed but I wouldn’t use a lot since it’s fatty…
water as needed for whatever consistency you want

Blend all together!

Also, below I am giving you the recipe for an easy, tasty, affordable dip that you can bring to any party and people will love you for it!

Mexican Bean & Corn Dip (serves 6-10)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can rotel (I used lime & cilantro-but any should work fine)

1 can shoepeg corn, drained

1 avocado, chopped up

1/3 purple onion

2-3 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Mix all together! Ole!


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Yummus Hummus!

Who here loves hummus? Everyone does, right? How can you not?! It’s healthy and tasty and making it at home from scratch couldn’t be easier! Seriously-once you make it at home you won’t want to spend $4-$8 on the pre-packaged ones at the grocery store! Plus almost any brand that you buy at the grocery is filled with oil which adds so much saturated fat! I’m not anti-oil, but I do try to avoid it when I can.

Hummus is always great to have in your fridge to use as a mayo-substitute. It’s great on sandwiches or with veggies for a quick lunch or snack! This would also be a great addition to your SuperBowl spread this weekend! But beware, garlic breath is possible here so take the garlic down a notch if you’re concerned about that. Anyways, last night I was craving hummus so I decided to whip some up with ingredients I had on hand. The recipe that I’m posting below was sort of thrown together and unmeasured-but I can approximate! (Is that a verb?)

Yummus Hummus! (makes a decent bowl-size for 2-4 people to pick on)

1 can garbonzo beans-drained and rinsed.

2-3 T fresh lemon juice (start small and add as you taste)

1-2 tsp. cumin (start small and add as you taste)

1 tsp minced garlic (if you’re serving this in a social setting, consider using less garlic due to lovely garlic breath!)

a little water or vegetable broth or olive oil (most recipes use tahini-but I didn’t have any on-hand)

a small handful of sunflower seeds (my secret ingredient that adds a little extra umph!)

kalamata olives (a few to thrown in to process with the dip, and however many you want to garish on top)

Whole wheat pita bread and/or fresh veggies to dip!

Directions

Add the garbonzo beans to your food processor. Add the lemon juice, garlic, sunflower seeds, olives, and a little of whichever liquid ingredient you choose and blend. Start small with all the ingredients and blend and taste as you go.  Add the water/veg. broth/oil as you need it to get it to the consistency you want.  After your dip is made, throw a few kalamata olives in the processor and throw on top of your dip! Toast/warm your pita bread and eat up! Enjoy!

Hummus is one of those things that you can totally make your own! Try throwing in some sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, fresh basil, fresh parsley, coriander, pepper, you name it! Let me know how you guys make your hummus!

 

Love & chick-peas, Kelli 🙂