Vegan Food Nerd


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Cilantro-lime cashew cream

20141002_173044I used this as a topping together with a salsa roja on enchiladas but I’m only providing a recipe for the cashew cream sauce here, because I didn’t do any measuring for the rest of the dish. Sorry! However, if you’re new to cashew cream recipes, this will be a great one to add to your repertoire. It’s really flavourful and added a great dimension to the enchiladas, and I imagine it would be great for any Mexican inspired cooking in your household. I plan to use the leftovers with tacos since I got soooo many corn tortillas in the pack I picked up at the market today.

It would also be great to use as a topping for risotto or quinoa cakes, vegan chilli, or for your next buddha bowl. It tastes great uncooked, but it also worked out well baked with the enchiladas. Let me know where you end up using it!

Notes:

  • If you’re unprepared, like I often am, you can boil the cashews. Simply add to a pot with plenty of water and boil for 30 minutes. Just watch the water level as the cashews soak up the water. Allow to cool before blending.
  • Feel free to experiment! Add some roasted red peppers, or some different spices.
  • If you’re not sure how spicy your jalapeno will be, add less and taste your sauce. You can always add more spice.
  • The enchiladas I made had a sweet potato, black bean, red pepper and mushroom filling spiced with cumin, chilli powder, ground coriander, smoked paprika and salt and pepper. We also added some of this sauce to the inside of each tortilla before adding the filling and rolling. Feel free to make something similar because it was a great combination.

Ingredients

1 cup cashews soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight, then drained
1/2 a large avocado, or 1 whole small/medium avocado
2 limes, juiced
2 cloves garlic
1 cup of fresh cilantro
1/2 cup to 3/4 cups water
1/4 to 1/2 jalapeno sliced
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of cumin

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my poor tortillas broke as I rolled them..next time I’ll remember to heat them slightly!

1) Add all ingredients to a food processor or powerful blender and process until smooth. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally and give your motor a rest every once in awhile. It will likely take 4-5 minutes to get it to a really smooth consistency. Add more water if the sauce is too thick.

2) Taste for salt and seasonings and spice. Add as you please and process again until smooth. If your limes aren’t particularly juicy you will likely need to add more lime (mine were big and juicy!).

3) Use as a topping for enchiladas, tacos, tostadas or any other recipe calling for a delicious sauce!

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Lentil and cashew stuffed peppers

20140911_172625Stuffed peppers are the go to dish served at weddings here when I ask for the vegan option (well, that or a stir fry). One time I even got served a pepper stuffed with rice that came with a side of rice. Despite all of the mediocre stuffed peppers I’ve had over the years, I still think of this dish fondly. My mom made a mean stuffed pepper growing up and I wanted to create something that had a slightly different flavour profile. These stuffed peppers are protein packed and super yummy and would make a great main entree on their own or served with a salad or some roasted veggies on the side.

Notes:

  • You will have some leftover filling depending on the size of your peppers – it’s great just eaten with a spoon!
  • I used two small baking dishes and so I fit half the peppers in each dish – feel free to use one large baking dish of course.
  • I had cooked extra white rice the day before but feel free to use brown rice for the added health factor
  • My family gets together to make big batches of tomato sauce every year so I used that which makes this a bit faster to put together. I would either make some sauce ahead of time, or quickly cook up some pureed tomatoes with seasonings of your choice to use for this.
  • I also cooked the lentils ahead of time. With the rice, lentils and sauce ready to go, these are a snap to get into the oven!

Ingredients

2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
3 green bell peppers
1 small onion diced
3/4 cup of raw cashews
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 kale leaves, stems removed and ripped into small pieces
1 small fennel bulb
1 cup grated veg mozzarella plus more for topping (optional)
2 tsp capers
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp of olive oil, divided
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cup tomato sauce for filling
approx 2 cups tomato sauce for baking dish and to top peppers

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1) Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut peppers in half and remove seeds and any white membrane. Drizzle both sides with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and sprinkle some salt on both sides of each pepper half. Bake peppers, cut side up on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish for 15-20 minutes. The idea is to get them partially cooked.

20140911_1646412) Cut fennel into bite size pieces and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and add salt and pepper to season. Roast for 10 minutes, flip, then roast for an additional 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

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3) Preheat a large pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Add onion and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring to coat. Add cashews and continue cooking with the onion until they are slightly browned (5 mins or so).

4) Reduce heat and add spices, herbs, salt and pepper and stir. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Add kale and garlic and cook until wilted. Add lentils and roasted fennel and stir to heat through.

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5) Put cooked rice in a bowl and cover with hot lentils and vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Add 1 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce, capers, and veggie cheese if using and mix together. Taste the mixture for salt and seasonings.

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6) Place a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce in the bottom of your baking dish and add partially cooked peppers (cut side up).

7) Divide your stuffing amongst the peppers, making sure to push the filling into the corners. They should be heaping!

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8) Top each pepper with a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce.

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9) Cover your baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and check to see that the sauce is bubbling and the peppers are steaming – if not recover and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. Once your peppers are just about done, top with a bit of the veggie cheese and return to the oven uncovered for 10 minutes.

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10) Serve immediately but be careful because they will be quite hot!

Serves 3-6 depending on your appetites.