Archive for Oil Free

Mandarin Coconut Dressing Over Spring Salad

Mandarin Coconut Dressing

Let me tell you about a fabulous little discovery, which is totally not news to some of you. I discovered coconut flour!!! Yes!!!

Coconut flour is something that I heard about long time ago. The seed was planted and then I just had to buy some. And there it sat…. waiting in my pantry… waiting… and waiting. I didn’t really know what to do with it. I figured I would get around to it. Well. Let me tell you. Now that I have, this stuff is amazing!

There are not many things I eat these days that don’t make me stop and think… “what is this doing for me?” “What are the benefits?”. With coconut flour, you get a low carb, gluten free, fiber packed, low glycemic protein boost… along with lauric acid – an immune booster. Coconut flour is simply coconut meat, dried and ground into flour form! A little goes a long way, as it soaks up moisture quickly and expands. There is a texture that is notable. You can’t ignore it, but I like it! You’ll adjust. Just be careful. Sometimes it can be a bit dry. There are ways to get around that.

Check out this fantastic page over at Nuts.com because there you can find out more information about coconut flour and have it delivered right to your front door!

There are many ways to try coconut flour, you can bake with it, thicken sauces, bind foods and so on.  Do the research upon baking as it does act different than other flours.

Oh! Let me share something that will rock your vegan gluten free coconut flour baking world! Forget the eggs! So many coconut flour recipes call for lots and lots of eggs (just stab me in the heart… that’s easier to handle) due the dry nature of the flour. Two words – AQUAFABA BABY! If you don’t know what aquafaba is, I suggest you Google it. It’s the vegan miracle of 2015! Egg replacer extraordinaire. Ah the creativity of the vegan kitchen. Love it!

Right now, there are a few things I like to do with coconut flour. I add a small amount to my green smoothie to thicken and add bulk. The extra fiber keeps me fuller longer. I bind protein bites and bars with coconut flour and I also made an amazing two ingredient coconut pudding that my family went crazy for the other night. It took all of 3 minutes to make. I decided that it should be my next post since I’m on a coconut kick. It’s so simple that it almost feels silly to post about it, but just wait. It changed my life last week ;) It could change yours too.

Let’s talk about salads and how I incorporated coconut flour for a healthy boost. Being that Spring is here, my salads are changing with the season. I like my salads lighter, fruitier and sweeter this time of year. I always prefer no oil dressing and I usually, most often times, make my own. It’s too EASY with a Vitamix!

Right now, we have Mandarin oranges coming out the Wazoo! Don’t you? Take advantage of these while you can. I am pretty happy that my son loves these mandarins because I couldn’t get a steady flow of vitamin C into this kid to save my life. He is quite picky. Or, he just likes to give me a hard time.

mandarin orange

Mandarin orange slices

I decided to make myself a quick dressing using a few of these mandarins along with white balsamic, that like the coconut flour, has also been sitting in my pantry… just waiting.

This turned out fantastic! Use more or less coconut flour depending on your consistency preference. Creamy is relative, because I wouldn’t call this smooooth creamy… I would call this a textured creamy. But I know what it’s doing for me and it tastes great to boot!

This is a recipe for about one to three servings. For every 2 tablespoons of coconut flour you get 5 grams of fiber, 8 carbs and 2 grams of protein, 2 grams fat. Coconut flour is also high in Iron. For 2 tablespoons it’s 10% of the daily value. I see why athletes are going crazy for coconut flour.

Mandarin Coconut Dressing

 Mandarin Coconut Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 Mandarin Oranges
  • 1/4 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Coconut Flour (start with 1 Tbs. I used 2, but think most people would prefer 1 to 1 + 1/2)
  • 1 Tablespoon Agave or  1/2 Tablespoon of Agave 5
  • Dash of Sea Salt

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Blend on high until smooth. Adjust salt and consistency.

Spring Salad

Ingredients

  • A few handfuls of Power Greens such as a blend of Baby Spinach, Baby Kale, Red and Green Chard
  • Chickpeas
  • Pistachios
  • Fresh Raspberries
  • Cooked and Cooled Red Quinoa
  • Favorite type of Sprouts

Directions

Toss the above ingredients in the desired quantity and top with fresh made Mandarin Coconut Dressing!

Enjoy!

Please share your Spring salad and dressing ideas with me. I’d love to hear them!

Christa

~The Karmatarian

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Forever Friend Inspired, Sweet Garlic Basil Pasta Sauce – Oil Free, Sugar Free

Sweet garlic basil pasta sauce, oil free, sugar free

Back then, we were just two fun girls with VERY big hair who rode the same yellow bus. The universe knew what it was doing that fateful day we crossed paths… our friendship story continues on to this day – oh some 25 years later. We are forever friends… as Cathy would say.

I admire her for her generous heart and justice oriented way of thinking about the world and the people in it.  I agree with her, we need to pull up our big girl or big boy pants and step it up and do the right thing. It seems, like minded friends tend to find each other in life, even years before they become who they are destined to be. Cathy and I have things in common now, that weren’t even obvious on the radar back then.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Cathy’s house. Her family is Italian, welcoming, generous and very entertaining. They became my second family. I ate dinner there a time or two! Their family’s homemade pasta sauce was always out of this world! Funny how many fond memories can be centered around a big bowl of noodles and some sauce.

Tomatoes from the garden!

So I’m over here thinking about what I might do with all these tomatoes I picked from my Dad’s garden and I found myself dreaming about the old days and that sauce. I can’t believe that I don’t know how to make that sauce or that I have never taken notes. But I guess it doesn’t matter, because now I’m doing things different. So I reached out and asked Cathy if I could veganize her family’s secret sauce recipe and she surprised me with the fact that she had already veganized it. Cool or what?  But who are we kidding? Even she admits… it’s totally not the same family recipe, because the original just can’t be veganized to taste exactly the same.

You know what? That’s OK. We will create new memories with new sauce with its new flavors… Why?  Because change is the only thing we can count on in an ever changing universe. We know that vegan sauce is much better for everyone involved anyway, it also focuses on the future… and there is so much exciting possibility in the future!

I had my hands on the basic recipe, but when I got into the kitchen, of course I made changes and made it my own.  That’s what cooking is all about. I’m sure Cathy won’t mind. She inspired me! Not only with her sauce recipe, but her friendship and the fact that she is happy to share.

Cathy and I - veggie fest

Cathy and I with our families now – Veggie Fest 2013

Let’s break this sauce down and talk about it for a minute…

Being vegan and picky, it’s hard to find a sauce that is organic, oil free, sugar free and low sodium. I think I might have one or sometimes two to choose from at the store. So why not make my own? Just like my hummus recipe, this is just inspiration to do it!

I know that you probably already have ideas of what pasta sauce should taste like. God forbid you are also Italian and judging the hell out of this. That’s cool. Spice and adjust, and do as you must, but hear me out on a few ideas here. I am just going to say, I am quite fond of my sauce and it could be that it’s homemade with care and love or maybe because it’s a little different. Either way. When I can’t help myself but to keep dipping my spoon to taste it over and over while it’s cooking, I know it’s a good recipe. And it’s still… just my opinion.

A couple things

First, most of us have been conditioned to think we NEED to cook with oil. It’s just not true. I have found jarred, oil free sauce before and most recipes I make these days cook up just fine without oil, so I know it can be done. You may have to man the stove just a little bit more, and maybe not keep the flame ridiculously high… but it can be done, and without burning.

Second, did you know that most pasta sauce calls for sugar to neutralize acidity of the tomatoes? In this sauce, I wanted more focus on whole foods so a grated carrot did the trick. This is where the sweet comes in without sending a diabetic into shock. We are blending this sauce at the end so it’s all good.

Third, sodium is another story. This is up to you. This sauce does contain sea salt. It needs it for flavor, just sayin’. You can add it or not add it… you are your own cook and the gatekeeper of your good health. Just know that jarred sauce is usually very high in sodium. The good rule of thumb for packaged products is not to go over calories per serving with sodium per serving. So if it’s 100 calories per serving, sodium should be 100 milligrams or less per serving. This is very tough to do, unless you avoid packaged products. I do enjoy sea salt, and if I am going to break this rule and get some sodium in, I might as well get the added benefits of extra trace minerals in sea salt vs regular table salt! I don’t have high blood pressure. If you do, proceed with caution regarding sodium in your diet. I have been trying to do the math and 1 tablespoon of sea salt divided into two quarts and then down to individual servings can’t be all that bad, can it? Oh never mind.

Fourth, I am thickening this sauce with arrowroot powder because it doesn’t dilute the spices and flavors and also because I don’t want to add canned, already made pasta sauce to thicken this. The reason is, most cans leach the aluminum into the sauce due to the high acidity of the tomatoes. Then there is the worry about the BPA lined cans. Who needs it? I have gone out of my way to avoid aluminum, even changed my deodorant as some of you might know. I am not innocent, I use a few canned goods here and there, but I am becoming more and more mindful.

Fifth, the secret ingredient to this particular sauce is… Cinnamon. Just a dash. After making 4 batches of sauce, and trying some without, I couldn’t resist adding it to all. Cinnamon gives quite a unique twist. You can however, omit it.

So here it is….. Taaaa Daaaaa

Sweet garlic basil pasta sauce, oil free, sugar free

Sweet Garlic Basil Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • About 15 Medium Ripe Tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Large Carrot, grated
  • 3 Large Pressed Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbs Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
  • 6 Tbs Arrowroot Powder + 5 Tbs Water

Directions

sweet garlic basil pasta sauce - oil free, sugar freePlace chopped tomatoes, (with skin and seeds), into a large stock pot with 1/2 cup water and heat on medium/high for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mash with a potato masher and lower heat a bit if necessary. Keep an eye on this and stir often, adding more water only if needed.

Add grated carrot, garlic, salt and spices except for the cinnamon. Be sure to roll and crush the basil between your fingers to release more flavor. Cook on low/medium heat, simmering for another 20 minutes. Stirring often. Taste and adjust seasonings and add cinnamon here.

Raise heat and bring sauce back to a low boil. While that is happening, in a small bowl, use a fork to mix 6 Tbs Arrowroot powder with 5 Tbs water to create a thick paste and pour this into the middle of the sauce while stirring constantly. The sauce will thicken. Cook 1 – 2 minutes. Do not over boil or the arrowroot will lose its thickening ability. Remove from the heat and ladle sauce into your Vitamix or other blender, blend on high to smooth out remaining tomato skins, seeds and grated carrot (I left a little un-blended for texture, just because). Return sauce to the pot, glass jars, containers, etc… use, freeze or give some away. The bubbles created from blending will dissipate in about 10 minutes or so.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Dad’s Zucchini Apple Bread – Vegan, Oil-Free

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I feel lucky to have such a talented Dad. He’s project oriented and not afraid of hard work. He also has a big heart for animals. He’s the one that instilled in me care and concern for our fellow creatures. Over the years, he’s nursed many sick or injured animals back to health and as a little girl, I witnessed this and took it to heart. You know those crazy kids, they emulate what they see. Anyway, I’m grateful for that!

Two (of among many) of my dad’s talents are baking and gardening. When you add those two things together, what do you get? Zucchini bread, of course… and a lot of it.

Every year, marking the end of Summer, it has been zucchini bread for everyone! Meaning my dad generously bakes and gives to many friends. However, my dad has since adopted a plant-based diet and I’m proud to say it’s been well over a year and a half! Go dad, go!! Nothing but good results in return!

Switching to a vegan or plant-based lifestyle does not mean giving up tradition. You may have to change things up a bit but it’s really the act of doing something meaningful over and over, not the actual end product necessarily. Change is easy to adapt to if you go with the flow. There are vegan versions of everything and anything! I believe, if there is a will, there is a way.

I told my dad that I would take his recipe and play with it because I love the challenge. He has played with it too. We both came up with applesauce in place of oil which works fabulously, although it changes the bread to a more zucchini – apple flavor since it called for so much oil – now applesauce. Luckily, these flavors are wonderful together.

The recipe calls for 4 eggs! That would scare any new vegan away. Not me. I chose a blend of Chia and flax eggs which add nutrition and depth. Whenever I replace eggs in baked goods with these ingredients, I always bump up the baking powder. It usually does the trick.

Next is the sugar. The original recipe calls for three cups of sugar. I cut it down to two cups of organic sugar, just because. Three cups seems excessive! My dad used liquid Stevia in place of sugar with success. I am not a huge fan, so I probably won’t try that. Mind you, this bread is a sweet bread, it’s a treat, and it’s not every day that I eat it, so I don’t mind the sugar, sugar ;) I suppose we could sub maple syrup or what about Succanut? Maybe for my next attempt? It turned out so perfect my way, I hate to mess with it.

Let’s talk zucchini. My dad gave me a bag of frozen shredded zucchini that he previously prepared. He grated six cups zucchini. The original recipe calls for three cups. When I thawed the six cups, I ended up with two cups of concentrated zucchini, so I used it all, even though the recipe called for three. When I make this again and use fresh zucchini, I will use three to four cups fresh. Probably four. The more the better!

I baked two loaves using standard loaf pans. My dad usually makes three mini loaves out of one batch of batter. Do whatever you prefer.

My review of this bread… OH MY! Divine. It has flavors of apple, hints of cinnamon the crunch of walnuts and of course zucchini. It’s not dripping in oil like the days of old, but who cares. It’s low fat! And to use my least favorite word…. it’s still Moist. Absolutely still a keeper – now just veganized! Bam!

I am grateful my dad started this tradition. After all, it’s the small things in life that can be very meaningful. I will definitely take this on now that I know it’s just as amazing, vegan and oil free.

I hope you enjoy this zucchini bread… our “new” family tradition.

Dad's Zucchini Apple Bread Dad's Zucchini Apple Bread

Dad’s Zucchini Apple Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs Chia Seeds + 6 Tbs Water
  • 2 Tbs Ground Flax Seeds + 6 Tbs Water
  • 3 – 4 Cups Freshly Grated Zucchini or 6 Cups Frozen (2 cups concentrated/thawed – see written notes above)
  • 2 Cups Organic Sugar
  • 1 + 1/2 Cups Apple Sauce
  • 1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I used 365 Whole Foods Brand)
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray two standard loaf pans with oil (I used a spray grapeseed oil) and dust with organic cornstarch.

Combine 2 Tbs chia seeds with 6 Tbs water in a small bowl, stir and set aside to gel (about 10 – 15 minutes). In a separate bowl, combine 2 Tbs ground flax seeds with 6 Tbs water and set aside to gel (also about 10 – 15 minutes).

In a large bowl, stir together the applesauce, sugar and vanilla. Stir in the chia and flax “eggs”. Stir in the shredded zucchini.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Pour batter into the two loaf pans, dividing evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown or until inserted knife comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!

NOTES* I had better luck making this in metal bread pans rather than glass. Also BE CAREFUL not to over-mix the batter. Use a wooden spoon.

~the Karmatarian

 

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Carrot Miso Dressing

Carrot Miso Dressing

What is going on in Facebook land lately? Have you noticed your friends sharing random recipes on the news feed in order to save them? I’m seeing this from at least a dozen friends. This wouldn’t disappoint me so much if they were healthy and appealing… but they are so called ‘comfort’ foods. Sure… so comforting that you can lay yourself to rest in a cozy casket much sooner than later. I know not everyone eats the way I do, but what happened to the healthier middle of the road recipes? It seems that everything is extreme lately and it’s either Kale or Bacon. I’m going with Kale.

Hale to the Kale!

Btw… Saving recipes… isn’t this what Pinterest is for?

Being that I don’t want to hide my friends (I happen to like them), the good news is that this may finally break me of my personal Facebook habit (fingers crossed). It’s been sucking the life right out of me for too long, and now, it’s gotten down right depressing. Why dear God, is the world moving backwards?

For the rest of us moving forward, I want to share a delicious, whole food, healthy and oil free dressing to enjoy with your kale.

This came about because I am ADDICTED to kale right now. I finally found a fun way to eat it. Sure, I add it to recipes and smoothies and make kale chips but salads usually don’t appeal to me because of the bitterness. Even when it’s rubbed with lemon juice and salt, it still doesn’t work for me (at least right now, but who knows?). All I do know is that because of this new found process, I am drawn more to kale. Kale, kale, kale!

Here is what I do… I take a skillet and fill it with purified water, just to cover the bottom of the pan. No more. Set it on the stove and turn the burner on high. I rip the kale into bite size pieces and wash it while the water starts to boil. I add the kale, cover it, turn the burner down a bit and set the timer for 2 minutes. I check it before the time is up because most of the time it is done. I drain the little water out and VOILA… Steam-boiled kale with no bitter taste! And fast!

I got the idea from the Forks Over Knives handbook. Oh, let me tell you, the recipe for kale with miraculous walnut sauce is MIRACULOUS indeed!  I can eat it Every. Single. Day. I don’t want to abuse a good thing, so I came up with a similar dressing that packs in carrots and miso… two things which I try to incorporate more of into my diet. Walnuts are not to over-do if you are overcoming heart disease or cancer, so keep that in mind. In that case you would want as low fat of a diet as possible. But walnuts are definitely a super-food that you want to eat. You will also need a powerful blender in order to make this happen for you. Sorry, it’s just the way it is.

Health benefits of this dressing FAR outweigh that cute sour cream, butter, milk, cheese and ham filled muffin cup on your Facebook news feed. There’s no comparison really.

Carrots when sliced, interestingly look like eyes.. and they just so happen to benefit the eyes but also the skin too. They protect us from disease and boost immunity. Carrots are also anti-aging whereas that bacon cup will age you just looking at it!

Miso is a fermented food which helps to establish good digestive bacteria and boost immunity. It is a complete protein and has high quality B12. It aids in digestion and protects us against radiation. It’s also anti-aging.

Sounds good so far, huh?

Walnuts are shaped like little brains for a reason – they contain high levels of DHA to help improve brain health. A super antioxidant rich food that is a high quality protein. Walnuts are considered the king of nuts and we really benefit by adding a small handful into our diet daily.

My healthy carrot miso dressing is fast and easy and depending on the amount of water you add, you could keep it on the thicker side and use it as a veggie dip. It’s not overpowering in flavor perhaps a little on the milder side. Add more miso if you prefer.

Update 6/13~ I just made this again with extra miso aaaand a little champagne vinegar which was a nice addition.

Carrot Miso Dressing

Carrot Miso Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 large Carrot, washed but not peeled
  • 1 large handful of Walnuts
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 teaspoons of Mellow White Miso
  • 1/4 Cup Water

Directions

Place all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth. Add more or less water depending on your preference.

Enjoy,

~The Karmatarian

Question – What are some fun ways that you add more kale, carrots, walnuts or miso into your life? 

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Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

There are a million vegan egg salad recipes out there! I have tried a few, and I thought I had it figured out. Then one day, I combined a few different recipes along with a twist of my own and came up with what I think is the perfect vegan egg salad. I really enjoy this and I know you will, too.

I don’t fear a little tofu

If you don’t already know… Organic tofu is alright with me.  Ever since going plant-based and focusing on whole foods versus processed foods, I don’t fear soy. I am in control of how much soy comes into my life. I make my own meals and rarely eat out. If I were still consuming mostly a standard American Diet and still eating soy and tofu along with all of that soy lecithin and soy oil and soy fed animals, etc… I would be worried about it.

Soy is a highly genetically modified food, I believe somewhere around 90% of the crops are GMO. You have to be very careful. Only choose organic tofu from a good responsible brand you recognize or research.

Another reason that I don’t fear tofu or fermented soy is knowing that Dr. T. Colin Campbell can turn his cancer patients around on a plant-based diet that has some tofu and whole food/fermented soy involved. So why be so afraid? It certainly helps add fun to the vegan diet. Btw, I am not talking soy protein isolate here.

I remember a great interview I watched with Dr. Christine Horner talking with Dr. Mercola, and she really explained breast cancer and estrogen and the difference between plant estrogen and the evil estrogen that actually contributes to breast cancer. It is eye opening and nice to relieve the fear. You can watch the video or read the article here.

Here she talks about flax and soy falls into the phytoestrogen category as well:

“I hear from patients, “Oh! My oncologist told me not to take flaxseeds, because they’re estrogenic,”” Dr. Horner says.”They don’t understand how plant estrogens or “phytoestrogens” work.

There are all sorts of different strengths to estrogens. Let’s say estradiol, which is the strongest, most abundant form– if it hooks on to the estrogen receptor, it may cause a thousand cell divisions. But if a plant estrogen hooks on, it may cause one. When you flood your system with these plant estrogens, I’d say it’s kind of like a game of musical chairs. There are only certain numbers of receptors, and whoever gets their first, gets it. They’re blocking the strong estrogens from getting on, so that’s why it has an inhibitory effect.”

~ Dr. Christine Horner

If you read that article – Just for the record – I don’t agree with Dr. Mercola about eating grass fed beef. Grass fed, organic or pampered like a family member before slaughter… Meat has No fiber, No disease fighting phytochemicals and is still too high in calories and fat and lowest in nutrients compared to other foods, so why bother? Not to mention, all cows headed for consumption have to stand in this line.  Why tap into fear and anxiety energy? By consuming it, we become it.

Fiber

It’s one of those things I always thought only old people had to worry about. Little did I know fiber is SO damn important for all of us at any and every age. It helps to rid the body of toxins and excess hormones as well as help with weight management.  I choose not to get excess hormones from dairy. Yes, even organic and raw milk has natural growth hormones. A lot of them!  Being that I have less hormones to remove from my system, I don’t see soy as a big threat.

I have realized that beef and meat Agri-giants have something to do with a lot if not most of the negative studies that come out against soy. They have the money to fund ’em and push the ones that have miniscule findings against their end goal. They make money when you eat more beef, not more soy. If you eat all the soy, what in the world will they feed their cows and chickens? Oh my!

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Let’s get back to the recipe!

A few things to note… I tried fresh lemon juice and zest in this and it’s OK… I don’t like lemony egg salad. If you love lemon and have to add it,  just add a touch to bring out flavor, but I think you will find this is flavorful enough on it’s own.

I also ran out of regular Dijon this last time and used whole grain Dijon. Wow! It really added quite a spicy kick. It was good though!! If you like that sort of thing, great.. if not pay attention to your Dijon and maybe add less to start, even with the regular Dijon. This is where the dash of agave came to play… it cuts the spice and rounds things out. I prefer it in the recipe.

Instead of using vegan mayo to mix things up… my special twist that makes this so creamy and hearty is cashew cream. When I have it on hand, I remember to make this salad. I love cashew cream for topping so many things, from baked sweet potatoes, to burritos, to chili… I used to use Tofutti but I rarely ever do now that I make cashew cream. I even use this as a sandwich/wrap spread from time to time. I love it more than vegan mayo that I usually make, as I can cut back on the soy/ tofu and enjoy it other places… such as in this egg salad!

Black Sea Salt – You have to have this on hand to make “egg” dishes taste egg like. I use The Spice Lab brand.

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 – 12 oz Package of Organic Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 Cup Carrot, grated
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, diced very small
  • 3 Stalks of Celery, diced very small
  • 2 Tbs Sliced Almonds (2 heaping Tbs)
  • 2 Tbs Chives or Green Onion, chopped small
  • 2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Agave
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp or more of Black Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Cup, (plus 1 or 2  if needed) Tbs Cashew Cream (See Below)

Directions

Drain the Tofu while preparing the other ingredients. Line a plate with paper towels, place tofu on top and cover with the paper towels. I like to put a clean kitchen towel on top at this point. Place something heavy on top of everything so that the weight pushes the liquid out of the tofu. I like to use a stack of  large heavy plates. You can also buy a tofu press. I really need to order one!

Place all of the ingredients in to a medium sized bowl and crumble in the drained tofu while squeezing out any excess liquid that remains. Mix and fold all ingredients with a spatula until well blended and evenly colored (turmeric).

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Refrigerate to chill and incorporate the flavors.

Cashew Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/4 Cup Cashews
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp Curry Powder ( I don’t always add this, but lately I have. More flavor!)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan Sea Salt (Pink Salt)
  •  Favorite Non Dairy Milk or Filtered Water

Directions

Soak the Cashews in purified water for 2 hours + or overnight. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and place them in your high speed blender or Vitamix along with the other ingredients except for the milk or water. Blend until creamy. Use the non dairy milk or filtered water a little at a time to adjust the dressing to your preferred consistency. Adjust the seasonings and it’s ready. Also note that it will thicken a bit when refrigerated.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – Oil Free, Gluten Free, Vegan

I just want to try to convince you here, to make your own Hummus. It’s fresher, lighter and you control what goes in it. Not to mention you get more of it, for the money. There’s no “natural flavors”, whatever those could be, and it’s not dripping with oil, because we really don’t neeeeed those empty fat calories.

I am addicted to Hummus! The problem is, trying to find a store bought hummus that is not filled with those things I mentioned above. This recipe won’t be that exciting for many of you and I totally understand, but for my friends who might not have stopped to think about how easy it is to whip up your own fat free hummus, this one is for you!

There are so many possibilities and all different kinds of flavors. Just leave out the roasted peppers and play with it. And depending on what you are going to dip… chips, veggies, pita bread, gluten free pretzels (which we love, along with sliced cucumber) or crackers, you can adjust the seasoning to compliment it best. For instance, you probably don’t want to over salt the Hummus if you are going to eat it with something salted. But you might want to add some extra spice and sea salt if you are going to eat it with plain veggies.

Without the oil, there is a lighter feel to the Hummus, you may have to spice it more to compensate until you get used to it. But did you see my post about the dangers of oils? We certainly don’t need the extra oil. I am now making my own Hummus and it tastes so good! It might take some getting used to if you are only familiar with store brands. Our taste buds can get so manipulated that we have to stop and reset them back to “natural”. It takes a little time.

Although everyone who tries my Hummus, likes it a lot. I am a picky person, a tough critic of my own creations.  I was right up until the other day, looking for that unique ingredient that will really push this dip above and beyond.  I was thinking that it may be I want to try adding another roasted pepper to really go bold? Or add some of my dad’s canned peppers from the garden? But what I stumbled upon was the addition of Vinegar. Yep. Vinegar. It gives it that zesty zing that makes this dip awesome.

When you make your own Hummus, just know that the flavors really come out as it sets, chills and thickens up (in case you added too much liquid) in the fridge. Just have fun and adjust the seasonings to suit you. Try adding different herbs and spices. Add lemon zest and cayenne pepper. Just don’t be afraid to make your own… your way! It’s so much healthier, especially when you soak and cook your own chickpeas. I haven’t gone that far yet. But I imagine I will one of these days. The canned chickpeas I found at my local Meijer store, are organic and contain only 100 mg of sodium per serving. Not great, but certainly better than most canned beans out there. These just make the cut off being 110 calories per serving. It is wise to make sure that any packaged products in a healthy diet contain no more sodium than it’s calories. Tough to do! So being in a hurry most days with our schedule, canned chickpeas it ends up to be.

I like the idea of adding roasted red pepper because red peppers have such a good dose of Vitamin C. Higher than an orange… 3 times more, actually. I understand that by lightly roasting the pepper, some Vitamin C may get destroyed. It’s still good. And I’m still gonna roast ’em!!

 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 large Red Bell Pepper
  • 2  15 oz cans Chickpeas, one drained and one with liquid reserved
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1 or 2 Tablespoons Tahini
  • 1/4 or Cup or more Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2  Garlic Cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons  White Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Lemon Zest
  • Optional*  Herbs of your choice

Directions

Note* The ingredients above can be adjusted to your liking.  First clean the pepper and remove seeds. Cut in half and place on a baking sheet and roast lightly. Do not brush the pepper with oil. I like to put mine in the toaster oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes while I do a quick workout in my living room. Why not?

Next place all the ingredients except the spices and about half of the liquid from one can of the chickpeas into your Vitamix blender or high speed blender. If you don’t have a Vitamix, but you think your blender can handle it, go for it. I am pretty sure that this can be made in a food processor as well. Save the other half of the liquid from the chickpeas and use it to thin out the Hummus as you blend only if needed. Blend for 1 minute and use the tamper (with a Vitamix) to press the ingredients into the blades. Blend until creamy consistency.

Season the Hummus with the spices and lemon zest and plenty of sea salt. Place the dip into the refrigerator to chill and set for at least an hour.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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