Cultured Creamy Cashew Spread

Cashews are one of my favorite fats to use during a fast. Of course they’re great to use any day of the year, but I’m especially happy to have cashew-based dairy substitutes on oil free days since most store bought products contain added oil. This Creamy Cashew Spread is currently in heavy rotation on my breakfast menu, it’s perfect to use instead of cream cheese on bagels or toast. It also makes a great dip for veggies, and I used it to dot vegan mac n cheese for extra cheesiness, with great results!

Cultured Creamy Cashew Spread | Orthodox and Vegan
I used homemade coconut yogurt for extra flavor. You don’t *have* to use it, but I highly recommend it. If you skip this ingredient you will just need to add a little extra water, but it won’t have quite the same flavor, and may not thicken up as well (although you could leave it to drip in a nut milk bag while it ferments to help it firm up better).

Cultured Creamy Cashew Spread | Orthodox and Vegan
Cultured Creamy Cashew Spread
2 C raw cashews*
1 C water
1/4 C Cultured Coconut Yogurt
1-2 tsp sea salt, to taste**
2 probiotic capsules, contents of

Add first four ingredients to blender (salt starting at 1 tsp, and adding another 1/4 tsp at a time as needed), and blend until smooth. Open probiotic capsules and empty contents into the cream, blending again to incorporate. Place the cashew cream in a sterile glass jar, and fasten cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar with string or a rubber band. Let it sit at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, then replace cheesecloth with a tight fitting lid and store in the fridge for 1 – 2 weeks. The spread will get a little thicker after a day or two in the fridge.

It is normal for a skin to form on top during fermentation – and it is totally edible! However, if you do happen to see mold appear or if the spread gets an “off” smell, dump it and start over.

Note: 2 teaspoons of salt is quite salty, but I love it this way on my German fitness bread. It’s probably best not to put in 2 tsp all at once, though.

*Soaking the cashews will make them softer for blending, and also help make certain nutrients more easily absorbed. You can soak them for 30 minutes to overnight in the fridge, then drain & rinse before using. I have been known to skip this step completely when I didn’t bother to plan ahead.

**Iodized salts and salts containing anti-caking agents should be avoided when fermenting foods.

Chia Pudding Breakfast Bowl

As promised, here’s a follow up to the Basic Chia Pudding recipe I shared yesterday. Plain chia pudding is extremely versatile, this is just to give you a little inspiration for your own Chia Pudding Breakfast Bowl. Of course you can always divide your pudding into handy little jars, but if you have some time to relax over breakfast at home, I recommend starting your day with a little extra beauty.

Chia Pudding Breakfast Bowl | Orthodox and Vegan
Pomegranate Blueberry Breakfast Bowl
1 C Basic Chia Pudding
2-3 tsp maple syrup (or to taste)
-sliced almonds
-finely shredded coconut
-blueberries
-pomegranate molasses*

In your serving bowl, stir the maple syrup into the chia pudding. Add toppings in a lovely way that is pleasing to the eye. Look at the beautiful work of art you created and, if the lighting is right, take a picture for Instagram (remember not to use the flash!). Now that you’ve made a record of this masterpiece, you will need to destroy it. I recommend stirring everything together – it won’t look pretty, but it will taste delicious!

*You can normally find pomegranate molasses for a reasonable price at Middle Eastern markets. If it isn’t sold in a store near you, there are multiple brands sold on Amazon.

You may also enjoy this recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Pudding Parfait by Real Food Whole Life.

How will you top your chia pudding bowl?

Cultured Coconut Yogurt

Friends, I have been experimenting with fermented foods lately, and I’m having a great time. I’ve been using inexpensive probiotic capsules to get things started – seriously, the cheapest vegan capsules I could find, with the lowest count – and also using the resulting fermented products as starters for other projects. I had one really big failure (turns out almond milk + pea protein smells like death when fermented), and some awesome successes. I count this simple Cultured Coconut Yogurt a success.

Honestly, I’m not so sure this DIY is any cheaper than what you can buy at the store, but the taste is totally different. You can experiment with the texture/thickness by combining coconut cream and coconut milk (or even just using all coconut milk), but I prefer the extra thick, creamy coconut cream. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s full fat as that’s what will work best.

The yogurt starts out a little on the thin side, but will thicken up nicely after it chills in the fridge. I found the taste also matured slightly in the fridge, and I prefer it after it sits a couple days…although I will still start to eat it right after it chills.

Easy Cultured Coconut Yogurt | Orthodox and Vegan
Cultured Coconut Yogurt
1-2 14oz cans coconut cream*
2 vegan probiotic capsules, contents of

Scoop coconut cream into a sterile glass jar, liquid included (the number of cans you use simply depends on the size of the batch you’d like to make). Open probiotic capsules and empty contents into coconut cream, whisk to combine. Cover the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth fastened with string or a rubber band. Leave at room temperature for two to three days, until desired taste is achieved.
*The cans of coconut cream will probably not be exactly 14oz, and that’s okay.

The coconut yogurt should smell like traditional yogurt. If it smells off or looks discolored, DO NOT EAT IT! I haven’t had this happen yet, other than the pea protein incident, but just be aware.

When you’re ready to stop fermenting the yogurt, replace the cheesecloth with a lid and store the jar in the fridge. It should keep for at least week, mine has lasted much longer – just keep an eye on it for mold, and a nose on it for smells 🙂

Enjoy your yogurt on its own, or with fruit, or in a parfait. You may wish to sweeten it with maple syrup or agave nectar, or flavor it with vanilla or lemon. Or leave it plain and use it to make tzatziki or other yogurt sauces. Or, you know, just use it wherever you might use yogurt.

What will you do with yours?

Basic Chia Pudding

Ch-ch-ch-chia! Ch-ch-ch… Chia Pudding?! YES, these are the very same seeds you may have used to sprout “fur” on your Chia Ram, or a beard on Chia Abe Lincoln, and believe it or not chia seeds are an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. The gelatinous coating that makes them stick to our Chia Pets is what helps them turn milks into pudding – they also make a great substitutes for eggs in many baked goods!

The best part is you can let the chia seeds do their thing in the fridge overnight, and wake up to pudding in the morning 😀 It’s easy to make a big batch of chia pudding and have your breakfast for the week. I like to do a plain unsweetened version that I can modify, so I can have something a little different each day.

Easy Vegan Chia Pudding | Orthodox and Vegan
Basic Chia Pudding
For One Serving
3 Tbsp chia seeds
1 C unsweetened vanilla non-dairy milk (almond is my favorite)

Whisk ingredients to combine, add milk first and then the seeds. Seal your container of choice (I prefer a glass jar) and, if possible, place in the fridge overnight – the seeds will start to gel after about 20 minutes, though, if you’re in a hurry.
Once the pudding has set, give it a stir and add more milk a little at a time as/if needed.

If you want to prep for the week, simply multiply the ingredients using 3 Tbsp of seeds for every one cup of milk.

Suggestions

Sweeten to Taste With…
-Maple Syrup
-Date Paste
-Fruit Puree
-Agave Nectar

Flavor With…
-Cinnamon
-Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend
-Chai Spice Blend
-Fruit Syrups
-Fruit Butters (such as apple or pumpkin)

Bulk it Up With…
-Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
-Nuts & Seeds
-Granola
-Fruit or Berries

I’ll be sharing one of my favorite chia pudding breakfast bowls soon! What’s your favorite way to enjoy chia pudding?

Sweet Potato Flatbread Gluten Free, Grain Free

For various reasons, I’ve been experimenting with gluten free recipes lately. In this case, I needed something to go with my Ethiopian food since the injera (a kind made with a blend of flours, not just teff) hasn’t been sitting well with my tummy. I ended up with a Gluten Free Sweet Potato Flatbread that comes out looking somewhat like an orange pancake, although you can make it any shape you want. It went perfectly with my Ethiopian veggie combo, and would also taste great with curry.

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Flatbread | Orthodox and VeganThe batter is thin enough to scoop, but not as thin as pancake batter

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Flatbread | Orthodox and VeganUsing the back of a spoon, you can spread the flatbread batter into whatever shape your little heart desires.

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Flatbread | Orthodox and Vegan
Gluten Free Sweet Potato Flatbread
1 med Sweet Potato, that has been baked/nuked, peeled, and mashed
2/3 C chickpea flour*
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic
3/4 C water

In a medium bowl, combine first four ingredients. Mix in the water 1/4 cup at a time. Once combined, scoop batter into a non-stick skillet over medium heat and quickly spread into whatever shape you want using the back of a spoon – you’ll need a light touch. I used a 1/4 C to scoop, but you can use however much you want as long as you have room in the pan to spread the batter to 1/8″.
Cook the flatbread for about 3 minutes, or until it is firm enough to flip. You’ll need to start by gently slipping the spatula under the bread and loosening it around the edges. Once flipped, cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove flatbread to a plate, and allow to cool completely.
Makes 6 flatbreads when using a 1/4 C scoop.

*Chickpea flour may also be labeled gram, besan, or garbanzo bean flour. You can normally find it at a reasonable price in Indian or Middle Eastern markets, although it is available for slightly more on Amazon. It has a bitter taste until it has been cooked through, so you’ll not want to sample the batter uncooked.

I tried the sweet potato flatbread at various times to see when it had the best flavor. I preferred it after it had cooled completely and sat covered at room temp for a few hours (I made them before work, and ate some when I got home). They were also good right away after cooling, just not quite as good.

What will you do with your Sweet Potato Flatbread?

Dairy Free Pumpkin Spice Cream

The nights are getting cooler and the days shorter. Fall is in the air, and It’s Time to Get BASIC! Pumpkin Spice season is officially here, as evidenced by all the pumpkin spice-related posts that began clogging my Facebook feed last week. I was planning to save this recipe for later since I already had something in mind for today; however, after sharing the picture below in my What Vegans Eat album, some of my friends felt they couldn’t live another week without Pumpkin Spice Cream 🙂 I’d hate to spend the rest of my life being haunted by Pumpkin Spice Latte-obsessed spirits, so here is the recipe by popular demand!

4 Ingredient 5 Minute Pumpkin Spice Cream | Orthodox and Vegan
Pumpkin Spice Cream
1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree or 1.5 C homemade pumpkin puree
1 (14oz) can coconut cream (use only the white cream)
3/4 – 1 C date paste, to taste
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice blend* (or see DIY pumpkin spice below)

Place all ingredients in a large bowl in the order in which I have specified, being sure to scoop out just the white cream from the can of coconut cream – the clear liquid can be used to replace oil in another recipe. Then WHIP IT GOOD, and that’s it! Rejoice, you have Pumpkin Spice Cream! It should keep nicely in the fridge for approximately 7 days. I do like to chill mine before eating it so it thickens up and gets extra creamy. You can eat it on its own for a healthy sweet treat (just try not to eat it all at once), add it to smoothies (recipe coming soon), or add a couple tablespoons to your coffee – seriously, I added it to coffee yesterday, and it was wonderful.

*If you don’t have a spice blend, no worries – you can make your own for this recipe by combining:
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmet
1/4 tsp ground cloves

How will you use your Pumpkin Spice Cream? Comment below with your awesome ideas, I’d love to hear from you!

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough – Vegan, GF, No Refined Sugar!

Who doesn’t love cookie dough?! As kids we ate it raw all the time, but then suddenly there were all these scary stories about salmonella. Luckily vegan cookie dough means you don’t have to worry about eggs – but what about all the other less-than-healthy stuff?

Date Paste Natural Sweetener for Chickpea Peanut Butter Cookie Dough | Orthodox and Vegan
Don’t worry, we’ll keep this nice and simple! First, let me introduce you to Date Paste. You can make your own date paste to use as a natural sweetener, or simply buy it. I get mine from the bulk section of the local Middle Eastern market. It is sliceable but too thick to blend well in a food processor, so I soften it by mixing it with hot water (3/4 C water to 1 C paste). Then I pop it into a jar and store it in the fridge, where I can easily grab it to spoon into my protein shakes or other treats. At least at the Middle Eastern market, I’ve found it’s actually cheaper to buy the paste already made.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough | Orthodox and Vegan
And we don’t need flour, either. Chickpeas are the foundation of this cookie dough. That’s right, the little legume who brought us hummus and veggie burgers has now made its way into your relatively healthy dessert. And if you want to avoid refined sugars altogether, you can replace the chocolate chips with raisins*. I did not bother to add vanilla, although you certainly can, but I did choose to bulk it up with the optional pea protein. Here’s how it’s done.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Treat: Flourless, No Refined Sugar | Orthodox and Vegan
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
1 1/2 C cooked chickpeas (or 1 15oz can, drained & rinsed)
1/2 C date paste
1/2 C natural peanut butter
1/2 C chocolate chips or raisins
Optional:
1 scoop (1/4 C) pea protein
2 tsp vanilla

Pulse chickpeas in food processor until it forms a coarse meal. Add date paste and process until blended. If using pea protein, add it now and the dough will become powdery once combined. Add peanut butter (and optional vanilla) and process again until incorporated. The dough will become very thick and may clump together on one side of the bowl. Smooth it out and add either chocolate chips or raisins, pulsing to distribute evenly.
Can be stored in the fridge for several days if you can keep yourself from eating it all at once.

*If you’re leaving the refined sugar out of your cookie dough but miss the chocolatey taste, you can also add cocoa powder and a little extra date paste!

Peanut Butter Vanilla Protein Shake

I promised more recipes using pea protein, and here’s another: A Peanut Butter Vanilla Protein Shake that’s great post workout. My experimenting took a little longer than I thought, but I’ll have a couple more recipes to share this coming week. Pea protein is my new favorite thing, I’m putting it in everything. I tried this recipe two different ways so I can give you a few tips about the flavor.

Peanut Butter Vanilla Protein Shake | Orthodox and Vegan
Peanut Butter Vanilla Protein Shake
1 1/4 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk*
1/4 C orange juice
1/4 C raw cashews
1 Scoop pea protein
2 Tbsp peanut butter powder**

Blend all ingredients together in a high-powered blender. Drink! It makes about 16oz total, with approximately 38 grams of protein, half your iron for the day, and nearly 2/3 of your calcium. The orange juice adds Vitamin C to help you absorb the iron. It’s very filling, it was enough to hold me over until lunch!

Sometimes I do 1/4 C peanut butter powder (adds another 8g protein), and occasionally substitute the orange juice with a little fresh fruit. I also made a nice pudding by accident by blending in a whole banana and leaving it to chill in the fridge. I ended up having to eat it with a spoon, but it was really tasty 😀

*You can use sweetened almond milk, but it adds a LOT of sugar!

**In the picture it looks like I’m using PB2. I’m actually just reusing a container, it’s filled with Protein Plus Peanut Flour. I like it better because there are no additives, so it has slightly more protein. It’s also cheaper! Unfortunately the bag is not resealable, hence the old PB2 container.

Have you tried pea protein? If you have, let us know your favorite way to use it in the comments below!

Vegan Pea Protein Porridge

Is there anything more Lenten than porridge? I can’t think of anything. I’ve been working on ways to incorporate pea protein into my diet other than just sticking it in a smoothie (pea protein has a mild flavor that is easy to mask, but when unmasked…it’s rather unpleasant) and this is my first of many recipes for Lent. In this pea porridge, we have plenty of spice and one surprise ingredient.

Okay, it’s a pickle. And there’s peanut butter. It’s like a peanut butter and pickle sandwich, but less weird to eat in front of other people ’cause they won’t know what’s in it.

Lenten Pea Protein Porridge | Orthodox and Vegan
The recipe can also be modified to make a soup for two by adding an extra cup of liquid and adjusting the seasonings, however I made it a single-serving porridge so it would be easy to get a ton of protein all in one meal. Using a fortified almond milk instead of water is another great way to add nutrients.

This is meant to be a main meal on fasting days when we are eating less. So, while it packs 44 grams of protein in one single serving, it also has about half a day’s worth of sodium – just something to keep in mind if you’re watching that.

Single-Serve Pea Protein Porridge
1 scoop pea protein
3 Tbsp green pea flour
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
optional:
1 tsp dried dill
1/8 tsp celery seed

1 1/4 C plain unsweetened almond milk, or water
1 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1/2 – 1 kosher dill pickle, finely chopped

In a small saucepan, add dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Whisk together almond milk (or water), soy sauce, and peanut butter, then slowly pour into dry ingredients while whisking to prevent lumps. Over medium heat, bring to a low boil and then immediately lower to a simmer. Continue whisking as porridge thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in chopped pickle and remove from heat. Let sit for one minute before serving.*

*If the pickle cooks in the porridge for more than a minute or two, it will become flavorless.

This recipe is oil free and perfect for a strict fasting day.

Have you ever tried the PB&Pickle sandwich combo?

Nativity Fast 2016 Begins Tuesday, November 15 (Tomorrow!)

Orthodox Icon of the Nativity of Christ | Orthodox and Vegan
Hey guys! In case you missed it earlier, my Nativity Fast page is active again with fasting guidelines and meal ideas. I’ll have it up all throughout the fast in case you need to reference it. I also wanted to share a few links for Lenten staples, some are my own recipes and others I found for you on other vegan websites. Check these out:

Oat Milk Use on cold cereals for breakfast
Coconut Milk Cheese Use for sandwiches, quesadillas, or melt it down for a cheesy sauce (I’ve found great prices on coconut milk and agar powder at Asian markets)
Veggie Lunch Meat For school lunches, or a great addition to hummus wraps
Crusty Bread Great with soup – or for a special treat, spread with peanut butter when the bread is fresh from the oven
Banana Chocolate Ice Cream

There’s always my guide to Ordering Vegan at Taco Bell if you’re in a pinch 🙂

Potatoes!
I also recommend buying a giant bag of potatoes and baking a dozen or so at a time. Keep the potatoes in the fridge so they’re ready when you need something quick. You can nuke them in the microwave, and they’ll be great topped with a tahini sauce (or margarine/olive oil on an oil day).

Chia Pudding!
You can also make an interesting treat with chia seeds. If you make the sweetened version of the oat milk with vanilla, combine 1 1/4 C oat milk with 1/4 chia seeds and let it set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Stir again and let sit another 1 1/2 hours and you will have a delicious pudding. Make it banana flavored simply by adding some mashed banana.

Of course I’ll be sharing recipes with you during the next few weeks, and doing my regular What I Ate Wednesday posts. If you want to take a look at past WIAW posts, be sure to check out What Vegans Eat.

And as always, post any comments or questions and I’ll do my best to help!

Happy Fasting!!!!