Posts tagged recipe staples
Vegan Nutella for Hopeless Romantics

When we were thinking about what recipe to post for Valentine's Day this year, I was lying in bed really late at night, and suddenly it came to me. The recipe Carlos has been begging me to make for ages and I never got around to. I mean what's more romantic than finally listening to your very patient husband?

The next day, at midnight, I got in my little bunker (aka. the kitchen), put on an episode of Friends (more like 4!) and started testing.

The kitchen looked like The Hulk had been cooking there because I think I went kind of nutty (no pun intended although there were plenty of nuts around!). I was trying a recipe with the hazelnuts toasted, another with them un-toasted, one with just cocoa and two more with cocoa and chocolate, one with melted chocolate alone, one with a little maple syrup, another with a lot of maple syrup. You name it, I had a station filled with little samples and varieties. Yes, I said this happened at midnight so by the time I was done I was "drunk" with the smell of toasted nuts, and experiencing a very fun sugar-y high. I used up all the dark chocolate I had in the house, had Carlos testing spoonfuls every 5 minutes (there were no complaints!), and finally I got to this recipe. 

As if it weren't enough, and I blame batches 3 and 4 for this idea, Carlos came out and said "I bet this would be great in a crepe!".

Oh boy... bet you can guess what happened...

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Creamy Cashew and Chive Cheese for a Festive Vegan Cheese Platter

Carlos's grandmother always got her holiday parties started by serving a HUGE cheese ball and having everybody dig in. There's something about that timeless combination of cheese and crackers and cheese and bread that is so simple yet festive, not to mention the fact that it's the easiest party appetizer because you can make it ahead of time, serve it and forget it!

Yes... I said make it. 

We're going to make vegan cheese at home!

One of my favorite cheeses in my pre-vegan days used to be goat cheese, mostly because I loved the texture of it. It held its shape, but it was also creamy and stuck to the roof of your mouth giving you that blissful decadent feeling. The cashew cheese I'm teaching you how to make today is very similar. It holds its shape since we're using agar-agar (a vegetarian gelatin you can find at any supermarket), but it's marvelously creamy and perfect on a cracker. We're also decorating it so it looks super festive, and turning the whole thing into a yummy vegan holiday cheese platter!

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Homemade Eggless Mayonnaise (plus Tartar Sauce & Garlic Aioli!)

Confession time: I grew up thinking that mayonnaise was the weirdest thing on this planet. I didn't like the taste, I hated it in my burgers and hotdogs, the only time I would even consider trying it was when it was part of a potato salad, a devilled egg or mixed in with ketchup to make a Venezuelan classic "salsa rosada" which was a dream when eaten with French fries. Mayonnaise on its own though... not so much. Then I moved to Spain, and everything changed.

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Herby Cilantro Miso Dressing

One of the reasons I always find people give when they start skipping the salad, is the dressing. On the one hand, most of us make the same salad and dressing every single day. They're uninspired, very basic in flavor, and they get boring... fast! Another reason people start skipping salads is the fact that although a salad is possibly the easiest meal to assemble, the making of a good flavorful dressing always makes us skip it. 

This is one of the reasons I always recommend including a salad dressing in your batch cooking session (if you don't know what that is check out our FREE video series here!), and this recipe I'm sharing with you today is one of my favorites. You add everything to a blender, and the result is bright, bold, beautiful and so tasty. Perfect for almost any kind of salad. 

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Smoky Tempeh Bacon

Let me start this recipe off by saying that yes, you can be vegan and eat your bacon too! By bacon I mean the smoky, crispy delicious varieties we can make at home, are minimally processed, don't contribute to animal suffering, heart disease and are non-carcinogenic! It's a win win win right?! 

We can be so attached to some animal based foods, and the only reasons are habit, and the fact that they taste good. Bacon in particular is all about that crispy and chewy texture, the saltiness and of course the fat and smokiness. We can recreate all of these tastes and textures in a much healthier way that also protects our fellow beings and keeps our doctor wondering what on Earth happened to us that we never went back.

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Cashew Sour Cream

I could write a whole post on why I have a love affair with sour cream. You can blame my Russian heritage for that since it immediately makes me think of topping borscht (a very pink and hearty Russian beet stew), our crispy potato latkes, or potatoes of any kind for that matter, not to mention braised cabbage dishes. Oh boy, blast from the past here.

Vegan sour cream is so easy to find nowadays and I must say that the commercial varieties out there are incredibly delicious, but you know me and whole foods, if I can make it at home I'm going to make it!

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Homemade Vegetable Broth

Although I'm all for the convenience of buying an all-natural brand of veggie broth at the store, there's something really special about making it yourself. It's so easy, you can use a ton of veggie scraps, and it's very inexpensive. That's why today's video is all about making really flavorful vegetable broth at home.

Veggie broth is so important in the vegan kitchen, it's the base for gravies and pan sauces, risottos, soups, stews, and you can even cook your whole grains in it to add lots of flavor. The best part? You just chop some veggies, add water and seasonings and then you can forget about it. All the magic happens while you're watching The Walking Dead (or insert your latest TV obsession here).

We're making a very basic veggie broth today since it can go with practically anything you're making, but here are a couple of variations that are also delicious, and you simply need to add these ingredients to the pot with the rest of the vegetables:

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Spinach and Basil Oil Free Pesto

What is better than a big bowl of -anything really!- topped with a heaping dollop of fresh homemade pesto? If you read last week's post on how toppings helped me go vegan (with a super cute topping idea printable for your fridge!), you know I'm a fan of adding some fun into all my dishes. Pesto is definitely one of my go to sides or toppings for everything from pasta, pizza, baked sweet potatoes, veggie bowls, burgers, sandwiches and wraps, even salads! Pesto is one of those sauces that is bursting with flavor. The store-bought kind however is choc-full of oil, and even these large queantities of healthier oils like olive oil are not good for the body. I make my pesto by using natural whole food fats, which not only add creaminess and richness, but they have all the fiber and nutrients that are lost when you extract oils from their original sources. 

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