How to Make Vegan Parmesan with Only 2 Ingredients

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This vegan parmesan recipe is one of the most simple recipes ever. It only requires two ingredients: raw cashews and nutritional yeast. 

When I first started experimenting with creating my own vegan parmesan at home, I followed a few slightly more complex recipes with more ingredients, and while the end result was delicious, I found that the parmesan wasn't as versatile as I would like it to be. 

I would cook a meal that was already salted and flavored the way I wanted it, then I'd add in my salty garlic-y homemade parm and it would totally overpower the taste. So I stopped adding salt, onion powder, garlic, etc. and before I knew it everytime I made it I was making it the same exact way with only cashews and nutritional yeast and this recipe has worked for me time and time again. 

While the flavor is subtle and not super salty like actual parmesan, you get a lot more control over how much salt you choose to add so you can get away with using more of this parmesan without things getting too salty or overpowering. 

I have tried using nutritional yeast on it's own as vegan parmesan substitute, and while this will work in a pinch, nutritional yeast has a slightly sweet flavor so it's not quite ideal on it's own. When it's balanced with the raw cashews, it lends a nice cheesy flavor without becoming overly sweet. 

I put this stuff on everything; pizza, pasta, potato patties, sauces, breading, soups, etc. so since I use it all the time I like to always have some in a jar in my fridge where it will stay nice and fresh for several weeks. 


Tofu Benedict with Pumpkin Biscuits, Broccolini & Hollandaise Sauce [Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan]

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The first time I ever had a vegan tofu benedict was at Champs Diner in Brooklyn a few months after first going vegan. This was a time when I knew nothing about cooking and had no idea how amazing vegan food could potentially be. When I tried their tofu benedict I was amazed by how much it tasted just like the eggy vegetarian versions I remembered having before going vegan. It was the ultimate filling, comforting brunch food. Back then, I remember thinking that gourmet restaurant-style vegan food was something I'd only ever be able to enjoy at restaurants because it would be way too complicated to make from scratch. Over the years I've since learned just how easy it can be to recreate some of my old favorites and began experimenting with my own version of this classic brunch recipe. 

Traditional eggs benedict includes ham and this was also true of the vegan version at Champs, but I've always found faux meats unappealing and also not very healthy, so I chose to leave that out of the equation. I also decided to go with a less traditional almond flour and pumpkin biscuit instead of using regular white flour, which adds a nice autumnal twist and makes these biscuits much healthier- and they're also gluten-free! On top of the biscuits, I stacked smoky baked tofu, followed by a creamy, buttery cashew hollandaise sauce.

This recipe is a little nut-heavy with the almond biscuits and the cashew sauce, so it's not going to be the healthiest everyday kind of meal, but it's perfect for serving brunch guests or having a fancy sunday breakfast. While it is higher in fat than most of my recipes, it's still oil-free and contains plenty of fiber to keep your gut flora happy and thriving. 

My favorite topping for this recipe is usually pan-seared broccolini and fresh chives. The broccolini adds a great crunch and texture to the dish, but I have also had some success with using sauteed spinach and layering it underneath the tofu rather than on top. I'd still recommend trying this with broccolini if you can find it though! Regular broccoli won't work for this recipe as it's too thick, so if you can't find broccolini (the long skinny version of broccoli), spinach is the way to go. 

This is my favorite recipe to serve guests, not only because it looks so beautiful, it's also shows how delicious and filling vegan food can be. While there are many parts to the recipe, it's a lot easier to make than it seems at first. Make the biscuits, bake the tofu, blend the sauce, sear the broccolini, and then assemble & serve. I promise the time spent is well worth the effort! 


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Butternut Squash Ravioli with Alfredo Sauce

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Ravioli is one of those foods that can be difficult to find vegan versions of. Since it seems like the idea of ravioli without a ricotta cheese stuffing is unthinkable to food manufacturers, I set out to make my own healthy vegan version using butternut squash.

Don't let the pasta dough making step intimidate you, I promise it's way easier than it seems and after you do it once you'll want to try stuffing just about everything you make inside pasta dough. Sure it's quite a bit more time intensive than some of my other recipes, but the time your spending is well worth it and the process of making these is actually really fun.

This past weekend I tried Hot For Food's pierogi recipe which was just amazing! It was my first time ever making a pasta dough and it was way easier than I expected. I replaced the oil in her dough recipe with more water and everything worked out just fine without it. So this week, when I remembered that I had a butternut squash waiting to be used up, I knew that I wanted to utilize that pasta dough recipe to make butternut squash ravioli.

I decided to go with a rich and creamy alfredo sauce which complements the squash perfectly. Though I'm sure these would be great with a marinara or pesto sauce as well! I used a microplane grater to grate one macadamia nut for some "parmesan" on top, but this was more just for the aesthetic as the sauce is creamy and indulgent enough as is. 


Mash steamed squash with the rest of the filling ingredients.

Before:

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After:

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Prepare the dough and allow to rest in the fridge. Then roll it out really thin and make evenly sized little circles or squares. I like to use a cup with a sharp edge. My cup was about 3 inches in diameter which made 30 whole ravioli, but the number you get will depend on the size you make them and how thin you roll the dough. 

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Place each dough circle on a parchment paper lined tray to keep them from sticking to the surface. 

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Take 1 or 2 teaspoons of filling and plop right in the center of half of your dough circles. 

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Use a small cup of water to wet your finger, then run your finger around the outside of the whole circle, then sandwich your dough circles together and press gently to seal together. You can decorate the edges with a fork, but only if you want to. They will stay sealed just from the gentle pressing alone. 

Heat a pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt on the stovetop. Once boiling, add in a few ravioli and wait a minute or two for them to float to the top. Then scoop them out using a slotted spoon and place on a plate. 

Garnish with vegan alfredo sauce or any sauce of your choosing and then enjoy right away. 

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Vegan Pasta Primavera {Low-Fat Alfredo Sauce}

This creamy pasta dish is so satisfying and makes a great meal for those day when you're craving comfort food. With chopped carrots and kale, you can be sure to be getting the optimum health benefits from this as well, and the best part- you can't even tell you're eating vegetables. This rich garlic sauce can make any whole food taste delicious. 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 4-5  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (or boiled for 10 minutes)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, saute onion in 2 tbsps vegetable broth for 6-8 minutes, then add garlic. Add a little bit more vegetable broth as needed to prevent burning, and cook garlic and onions for an additional 5 minutes. 
  2. Let cool for a minute, then add onion-garlic mixture to blender along with 1 cup vegetable broth, soaked cashews, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Blend until creamy and smooth. Add more broth as needed to thin out the sauce to desired consistency. 
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat (maybe you can use the same one you just used for the onions, less dishes yay!) add 2 tbsps vegetable broth, then add carrots and kale and saute for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
  4. In a pot, boil water for desired amount of pasta. Once finished drain pasta and toss in saucepan with carrots and kale, then pour the sauce on top and stir to combine. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper for extra heat.