Cashew Cheese Sauce, Sage & Butternut Squash Linguine

linguine with cashew cheese sauce, sage, butternut squash and peas

This month my kid got married, and we got our first real feeling of autumn outside. My son’s wedding plays a part in today’s post. I decided to prepare the food for the wedding, and give it a personalized touch for the special occasion. The bride and groom wanted a vegan menu, with vegan macaroni and cheese being their favorite. The cashew cheese sauce for the mac and cheese came out so yummy I have been thinking about it all week.

Then, it dawned on me that this sauce with a couple modifications could make a great autumn pasta with butternut squash, sage and peas. And, that’s how my first post of autumn came about! This sauce is easy to make, packed with plant based protein and healthy fats. The crispy sage garnish makes a nice garnish and crunchy finish to this comforting, cool weather dish.

linguine with cashew cheese sauce, sage, butternut squash & peas

For the cashew cheese sauce:
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 clove garlic Read More

Maca Cacao Sprouted Brown Rice Pudding

sprouted brown rice pudding

Yesterday I attended a seminar given by Australian herbalist Lee Carroll on the subject of integrative herbal and whole food nutrition. If you are thinking that I walked away with a recipe for sprouted brown rice pudding, you are oddly correct. At one point, while discussing Dysbiosis  and how to support healthy microbiota, he shared cacao’s benefits, then proceeded to rattle off a rice pudding recipe that he sometimes shares with his patients in Australia. It sounded so intriguing I jotted down the rough concept, and decided to give it or something similar a try. The key ingredients that caught my attention were brown rice, tahini, cacao, and Manuka honey.

This recipe uses a cacao-maca powder blend, but you can use all cacao powder if you want. Manuka honey is considered to have all sorts of nutritional benefits. But getting pure, unadulterated Manuka honey can be a bit pricey. Having said that, a little bit goes a long way. So if you want this pudding to be packed with more nutrition, try to keep it pure. The tahini provides the fat component that gives this pudding a creamier consistency, along with the way the rice is cooked. Altogether, this pudding packs some substantial nutrition for a sweet treat. I can see this as a dessert, evening chocolate craving fix (that is gradiently healthier than many alternatives), or even a quick breakfast.

maca cacao sprouted brown rice pudding

1 cup hot sprouted brown rice, just out of the rice cooker
2 tbsp. cacao-maca powder
1-2 tbsp. Manuka honey (or other organic raw honey)
2 tbsp. 100% sesame tahini paste Read More

Carrot, Ginger & Turmeric, Yes!

Have you ever picked up some fresh turmeric root at the market, just to have it sort of sit in your kitchen and shrivel up? Well, here is an easy, season-appropriate way to put that turmeric root to really good use. This soup will make you want to curl up under a blanket and turn the phone off.

healing carrot, ginger & turmeric soup

1 tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
½ onion, chopped
3 tbsp. chopped, peeled fresh turmeric root
2 tbsp. chopped, peeled ginger root
1 tsp. curry powder
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 pound roughly chopped carrots Read More

Sweet Nutrition for Rosh Hashanah

Shana TovahIn the midst of all the Rosh Hashanah greetings this weekend, I decided to whip up something that touches on the Jewish New Year tradition of consuming sweet foods, like apples, honey and dates. Here is a nutrient rich, yet sweet and delicious salad that you can definitely celebrate if you are celebrating the Jewish New Year, or even throughout your year-end holidays. This is a delicious stand-alone salad, or an accompaniment for your Thanksgiving turkey or other holiday feast. And, the Omega-3 punch you get from the walnuts and walnut oil helps you keep your body in balance during the indulgent holidays. Enjoy! 

Spaghetti Squash, Beet & Apple Salad

3 cups cooked and cooled spaghetti squash strands
2 medium beets, grated
2 apples, grated
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. minced dates, or more if you like it extra sweet
1 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. walnut oil
1 tbsp. fresh tarragon or parsley Read More

Black Bean Rotini Salad

I thought I would squeeze in a 4th of July recipe this morning! Here is a gluten free pasta salad that is packed with summertime garden goodness, contains all the comfort and zesty flavors of the holiday, but won’t leave your body starving for awesome nutrition. I named it “L.A. Summer” because it contains all the stuff that you might find growing in one of L.A.’s back yards or urban farms, like nopales, cucumber, tomatoes, and peppers, and it has some hints of Mexico and the Southwest in it’s flavor profile, two prominent cuisines in the area. Enjoy, and happy Independence Day!

L.A. summer black bean rotini salad

1/ 12-oz. bag of black bean rotini pasta
2 average sized vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1 Japanese or equivalent cucumber, scored and diced
2 cups Prepared Nopalitos
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 ears of corn, not yet shucked
1/c cup loosely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup hulled hempseed Read More

Spaghetti Squash for Dinner

So, I though I would get one more winter-like dish in before completely emerging into Springtime. This one has been sitting in my drafts for a while, and I think it’s time to bring it out and get it onto your dinner table! This dish may remind you a bit of pasta with ratatouille, but with a personality of its own.

spaghetti squash with dutch oven vegetables

1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds cleaned from middle
1 eggplant, cut into ratatouille sized cubes
2 medium zucchini, cut the same way as the eggplant
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 shallot, sliced or chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 – 2 cups tomato concasse (or 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes with the juice)
2 tsp. herbes de provence
1 tbsp. liquid aminos Read More

“Chicken” Fried Tofu Comfort

We are having a rainy weekend here in Los Angeles. With rain comes that urge to cook and enjoy traditional comfort food. Typically that would lead to chicken and dumplings, pot pie, or something along those lines. All I had to make this happen was a block of organic sprouted tofu, so I gave this a whirl. The secret to making tofu taste great lies in two simple steps: 1) You need to press the tofu, and 2) you need to marinate it. The marinade should always have an acidic base with flavors that compliment whatever theme you are going for. You should never use oil in your tofu marinade. Since tofu contains a lot of water, and is packed in water, it will naturally repel anything that has oil mixed into it. My experience has been that oil free marinades absorb into tofu the best, resulting in a variety of uses. In this case, I used vegan chicken flavoring to conjure up the experience of eating a chicken fried steak. It came out delicious, tender on the inside, crispy on the outside. This is easy to make, but you need to allow for about 90 minutes to press and marinate the tofu.

“chicken” fried tofu steak

1 block (about 8 oz.) organic sprouted tofu (any tofu will work with this recipe), cut into slices as pictured
1/4 cup “Not Chicken” vegan chicken flavored broth
2 tbsp. tamari or liquid aminos
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp.garlic powder
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1 tbsp. Italian seasonings or herbes de provence, or mix up thyme, oregano & parsley
1 tsp. smoked paprika Read More

Heirloom Potato & Kale Latkes

I just whipped these up for brunch and decided they were share-worthy. The red, purple, and fingerling potatoes are a little healthier than the traditional russet potatoes. This is totally vegan but you can use real eggs instead of chia eggs, or even serve a couple poached eggs on top. To be honest, I was longing for a coupe duck eggs that I sometimes get from a local urban farmer. Having said that, I love the gooey texture in the middle that can only be a result of the chia seeds and the consistency of the heirloom potatoes doing a little happy dance. Enjoy these with some homemade ketchup or smoked trout. Yum!

Heirloom Potato & Kale Latkes

6 medium red, purple, fingerling, and-or other medium sized potato, grated- I mixed some up
2 cups chopped kale leaves
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 small onion, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, mashed or grated
2 chia eggs (1 tbsp. chia seed to 3 tbsp. water, blended and set to egg consistency)
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast Read More

Steak & Potatoes Revisited

When I was a caterer and more into the conventional way of cooking, I used to love serving sliced filet mignon on top of cylindrical shaped mashed potatoes. I would call it a mashed potato “timbale,” at the time. Now, I have come up with a completely vegan and far more nutritious version of the same. This could be the vegan entrée that finally conquers over the “roast beast” at your Christmas dinner table. The kale is put in at the end so it retains its raw, live nutritional value. Although it isn’t in the recipe, you can finish this off with a ladle full of some vegetable stock reduction or mushroom ragout featured earlier this month.

rustic mashed & kale timbale with portobello mushroom “steak”

2 medium or 1 large portobello mushroom cap
olive oil for brushing
about 8 new potatoes, various colors and types are fine, unpeeled and cut into uniform sized pieces (about a pound)
1/2 cup basic unseasoned cashew cream (see recipe below)
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
2 handfulls chopped kale (de-stemmed)
salt & pepper to taste Read More

Simple Pumpkin Architecture

When I go to the market and see all the different types of gourds and winter squash, all I want to do is bring them home and play with them in the kitchen. There is something architecturally fulfilling about taking a big edible thing like a pumpkin and bringing out it’s simple pleasures, and presenting it in its minimally fragmented glory. Here is an extremely easy dish you can make as a vegan entree or an interesting side dish on your next holiday dinner table.

whole roasted pumpkin with mushroom ragout

1 average sized sugar pumpkin
Splash of olive oil
6 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced thick
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced thick
2 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth, warmed to just under boiling
1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. arrow root powder Read More