Posts tagged 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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