Category Archives: cheese

Delectable Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos With Vegan Cream Cheese/Jalapeno/Avocado Topping

Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how to cook butternut squash. Sure, you can bake it, but what else can a person do? We recently discovered a butternut squash-based taco recipe that is so delicious we’re still salivating over our meal, hours later. The addition of whipped vegan cream cheese with avocado and fresh jalapeno makes this dish a total winner. And it’s so easy to make! The hardest part is cutting the skins off the squash. But persevere with the task, because the end result will be worth it.

INGREDIENTS

1 medium-sized butternut squash, de-skinned and cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon powdered garlic
8 ounces vegan cream cheese (we’re wild about Kite Hill, due to its smooth, creamy texture. But you can use any kind).
1 small avocado, chopped into small chunks
1/2 small jalapeno pepper, chopped into bits
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
soft, gluten-free corn tortillas (check package to make sure there’s no wheat)
1 can or 2 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed
sliced scallions
chopped lettuce or arugula

INSTRUCTIONS

Chop the butternut squash into small chunks and cut off the skins. Place the chunks into a medium-sized-bowl with the spices and avocado oil, and toss until all pieces are completely coated with the mixture. Spread the chunks on a cookie sheet and bake in a 425 degree oven for approximately 25 minutes. The pieces should be soft, but not mushy.

Meanwhile, prepare your topping. Pour the vegan cream cheese, lime juice, jalapeno bits, and avocado into a blender or food processor and combine until your mixture achieves a frothy, whipped texture. Add a little extra lime juice if it’s too stiff.

Heat your tortillas in the oven and your beans on the stovetop. When both are warm, pile the tortillas on plates. Ladle on the beans first, and then follow with the spicy butternut squash chunks, the cream cheese/jalapeno/avocado mixture, and finally the chopped scallions and lettuce bits. Have a seat at the table and dig in!

This incredible meal serves about four people. If you use a larger squash, maybe 6. But be careful — no one will be able to stop eating these tacos! They pair well with gluten-free beer or wine, or any other beverage of your choice. Leftovers keep in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. We’re already fantasizing about the lunch we’re going to have tomorrow. You’ll never look at butternut squash in the same way again.

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Gluten-Free, Apple Cupcakes Taste Divine With Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

You’re going to flip your lid when you bite into one of these moist, tasty apple cupcakes. They contain both applesauce and grated apples, so they’re ultra-dense and rich. Grocery stores carry a variety of different vegan cream cheese products, but our go-to favorite is Kite Hill. It’s a bit spendy compared to other brands, but worth every penny. These muffins are perfect for the holidays, since they contain cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Heavenly!

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS
2 cups gluten-free pastry flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup avocado oil
1 cup grated apple, lightly packed

FROSTING INGREDIENTS

8 ounces vegan cream cheese (such as Kite Hill)
3/4 cup organic powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger (try it fresh for a flavor kick!)
1/3 teaspoon powdered nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Stir them together thoroughly and set the bowl aside. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate, smaller bowl. Slowly pour them into the larger bowl with the dry ingredients, stirring until you’ve formed a nice batter. The texture should be smooth but not runny. Add the grated apple and stir for a little while longer.

Pour batter into cupcake tins. You can either place paper liners in the tin, or grease them with vegan butter or extra avocado oil. If you choose the latter option, don’t use too much oil, because these cupcakes will be dense and moist. Place the tin in the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a fork inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and allow them to cool for approximately 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whip up the frosting by combining all ingredients and whisking them until they’re smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting along the top of each cupcake, swirling until the surface is smooth. If you can restrain yourself, allow the frosting to set for a few more minutes before you dig in.

Makes twelve cupcakes. Try to avoid eating them all at once. The cupcakes won’t rise much while baking, so they’ll be small. Yet they pack a wallop, so be careful! Needless to say, the addition of so much sugar means that these cupcakes are not a great diet food. But it’s the holiday season, so who cares? You can make your resolutions next year.

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The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake You’ve Had in Your Life Just Happens to be Vegan and Gluten-Free!

There’s no dessert quite like cheesecake. Smooth, creamy, sweet, decadent — what’s not to love? However, most of the cheesecakes you encounter in restaurants and coffee shops are made with tons of dairy and gluten. Since we love this delectable confection so much, we decided to make our own, using plant-based ingredients. The filling utilizes cashews and coconut milk, blended to perfection. Stunned by our stellar results, we decided to share the secret with you. You can thank us later.

CRUST INGREDIENTS

1 cup packed medjool dates, chopped
1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
pinch of sea salt

FILLING INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1 small lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (about 1/3 small can)
pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

vegan whipping cream
additional chopped walnuts and/or pecans

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour cashews into a container filled with boiling water and let them soak, uncovered for one hour. Meanwhile, chop the dates and place them into a blender or food processor. Blend them until they turn into a thick paste. You may need to add a bit of water for smoothness.

Remove dates from blender or food processor and set aside. Wash and dry the interior, then pour in walnuts. Blend until they achieve a fine consistency. Add dates to the walnut mixture and blend together for a couple of minutes. They will be sticky, so add a little more water if necessary. Be careful — you don’t want your crust to be runny!

Press your mixture into a round cake pan or deep pie pan and spread thoroughly. Use a large spoon to tamp down the surface. Set the pan aside and prepare filling ingredients.

Wash and dry blender or food processor one more time. Drain the cashews, then place them into blender/food processor. Add the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla extract and spices and blend for 2-3 minutes. The mixture should be creamy and frothy. Pour it over the pie crust, making sure it is evenly distributed.

Place the pan in your freezer for 3-4 hours. Remove, thaw slightly, and dig in! You can top your creation with additional chopped walnuts and/or vegan whipping cream if you desire. But this cheesecake tastes heavenly all on its own!

Serves 4-6 people. Guests will be your friends for life. This is the best cheesecake you’ve ever tasted, guaranteed. You’ll want to make it again and again. It’s an excellent Thanksgiving dessert, and we’ve been known to have it for breakfast (but don’t tell anyone). Leftovers can be frozen for several weeks, and keep well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Don’t expect them to last that long.

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Vegan, Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread is Like Heaven on a Plate

Do you still have a few leftover zucchinis from your summer garden? You may be wondering what to do with them. Most likely, you’ve given several of them away to friends, and they’ve made it clear they don’t want or need any more. Try as you might, you can’t get rid of all of them! Never fear — our sweet bread recipe will give a whole new purpose to those succulent, green vegetables. The addition of unsweetened cocoa and walnuts will send you into orbit. Good thing this recipe makes two loaves, because you won’t have any trouble devouring the first one.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons boiling water
3 cups gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose is our favorite)
2 cups coconut sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cups coconut or olive oil
3/4 cups plant-based milk (we used unsweetened coconut milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium-sized zucchinis)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Boil 3 tablespoons of water and whisk in the cocoa. Continue to whisk until it forms a thick paste and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, sea salt, and baking soda. Stir until thoroughly combined, then fold in the oil, plant milk, and vanilla extract. Keep stirring, then add the cocoa mixture, grated zucchini, and walnuts. Your batter should be creamy but not too thick. The zucchini will add a lot of moisture. Don’t fret!

Grease two small (8 x 4 x 2 1/2) bread pans with coconut oil or vegan butter or margarine such as Earth Balance. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans. Bake in 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. Your kitchen will smell divine. You can insert a toothpick or fork into the center of the loaves to make sure they are done. The surface should be slightly cracked but not burned.

Remove both loaves from your oven, and do your best to allow them to cool before digging in. This bread is great either hot or cold. You can serve it as is, or with a dab of vegan butter, margarine, jam, or cream cheese. Feel free to experiment! Serves 6 guests with ease, but your bread will probably disappear fast. If you have any left in the morning, it’s great as a quick breakfast with coffee. Since this bread contains two cups of coconut sugar,it is decidedly not a diet food. But, when it’s this delicious, who cares? Not us! Dig in and enjoy!

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Celebrate Warm Spring Nights With Grilled Millet/Buffalo Sauce/Ranch Sandwiches!

Usually, when we think of millet, we envision birdseed. However, this crunchy, high-protein grain is delicious as a sandwich spread when it’s combined with spicy buffalo sauce and creamy vegan ranch dressing. The consistency is slightly cheese-like, and the flavor is out of this world! You can make the buffalo sauce as mild or spicy as your heart desires. It takes only about 20 minutes to whip up this dish. A perfect choice if you’re in a hurry! The ingredients are inexpensive, if you’re on a budget, your meal won’t break the bank.

BUFFALO MILLET INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup uncooked millet
1 cup water
1 tablespoon hot sauce (we used Aardvark Sauce, our favorite)
2 teaspoons Sriracha
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vegan butter (we used Earth Balance) or olive oil
pinch or two of sea salt and garlic powder

BUFFALO SAUCE
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1-2 teaspoons melted vegan butter or olive oil

RANCH SAUCE
1 1/2 cups vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (we used almond, but coconut is great as well)
1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

ADDITIONAL SANDWICH INGREDIENTS
Red pepper strips
chopped cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine millet ingredients in medium-sized saucepan and cook for 15-20 minutes until all water is absorbed. Meanwhile, prepare your sauces in separate bowls. Mix together buffalo sauce ingredients, adjusting spice levels to your taste. Prepare ranch dressing by mixing together all ingredients, adding extra milk if mixture is too thick. You’ll most likely have some left over after you’ve made your sandwiches, so it will double as an excellent salad dressing.

Take a piece of gluten-free bread and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Pack cooked millet mixture on top, and then sprinkle with a liberal helping of buffalo sauce. Layer on red pepper slices, and cover with a generous amount of ranch dressing. Press another piece of bread on top to make a sandwich.

Fry sandwich in olive oil on stovetop on medium heat setting until golden brown on both sides. Remove from burner and serve hot. Cut sandwich in half if it’s too messy to grasp. You’ll love the creamy texture and surprising heartiness of this delicious meal.

Serves 2-3 hungry people. This dish pairs well with a small salad (use some more of that ranch dressing!) and, of course, gluten-free, vegan beer or wine. You’ll be surprised and delighted to discover how much you like eating millet. Bon appetit!

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Review of Kite Hill’s Vegan and Gluten Free White Alder Artisanal Cheese

Vegan and gluten-free cheese has come a long way. Gone are the days of unpalatable soy cheeses with crumbly or rubbery textures. Not only are delicious every day vegan cheeses available, but so are artisan vegan cheeses such as those made by vegan cheese company Kite Hill.

Kite Hill artisan non-dairy cheeses are the first vegan cheeses to ever be featured in Whole Foods Market’s cheese department. Kite Hill makes their vegan artisanal cheeses in the same way that traditional dairy cheese is made. All of their cheeses are made from a proprietary nut milk blend, after which it is pasteurized and blended with lactose-free culture and naturally occurring enzymes. As the mixture curds, the curd is distributed into cheese molds and aged.

The Kite Hill cheese we sampled is their White Alder cheese, a soft ripened cheese, similar to brie. The cheese came in a round wooden box, and was carefully wrapped to preserve it. It has a soft rind, in which there is very creamy cheese. The taste of the cheese is soft, which is perfect for those who don’t like a strung cheese. Because it is such a soft taste, it pairs really well with seasoned, gluten free crackers, taking on any flavor that it may have. It would also be delicious spread on tortilla chips and carrot chips. While Kite Hill recommends pairing it with white grapes, we paired it with strawberry, apple slices, dried cherries and dark chocolate, and it was an absolutely delicious offering. We can also see this tasting delicious as grilled cheese, with some gluten-free bread and perhaps some tomato or pesto.

Kite Hill recommends pairing this vegan cheese with a dry white wine or champagne, but if you’re a non-drinker, it would taste delicious with sparkling cider.

Kite Hill vegan artisanal cheeses are available at Whole Foods markets everywhere, or check their store locator for the store nearest you.

kite hill vegan white alder cheese

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Parmela’s Creamery Vegan and Gluten Free Cheese

We love our vegan and gluten-free cheese, especially when it’s non-GMO. Parmela’s Creamery, which started out with their signature product, parmesan-style cheese, will not disappoint. Their vegan cheeses are fermented like regular dairy cheese, offering a whole new vegan cheese experience.

Parmela’s nut-based cheeses are fermented and aged to offer a rich, tangy flavor, just like dairy cheese. The almond and cashew-based cheeses include soy, which is in a more digestiable form due to breaking down during the fermentation process.

Parmela’s also just released their creamy vegan cream cheese. Also nut based, these spreads include rich coconut oil to bring a full flavor to the cream cheese. Parmela Creamery vegan cream cheese comes in 3 flavors: original, black pepper and kalamata olive. Like the parmesan-style vegan cheese, the cream cheese is fermented and aged.

There’s more exciting news: Parmela’s will be expanding their line even further, to include sauces. The sauce flavors are Tomato Vodka, Alfredo and Artichoke. All are vegan, gluten-free and nut-based, and perfect on gluten free pasta, gluten free lasagna, or over veggies.

You can order all existing Parmela products, and get on a waiting list to be notified when the sauces are available, at Vegan Essentials.

Parmela's vegan cheese

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Vegan and Gluten-Free Low-Fat Chipotle Cheese Sauce From Miyoko Schinner’s Artisan Vegan Cheese Cookbook

We’ve been having fun with Miyoko Schinner’s cookbook, Artisan Vegan Cheese. So far we’ve made vegan and gluten-free sour cream, from a base of vegan and gluten-free rejuvelac. One of the things we love so much about this next recipe is how quick and easy it is. This is the perfect option for when you’re running late starting dinner, or just want something quick and easy so that you can relax the rest of the evening.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Low-Fat Chipotle Cheese Sauce

1 cup butternut squash, cooked and mashed
3/4 cup plain, unsweetened vegan yogurt
3/4 cup water
1/2 onion, quartered
5 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup raw cashews
3 tbsp tapioca flour
1/2 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
1 tsp salt

Put all of the ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth. Pour into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently for 2 to 5 minutes, until thick. If you’d like it a little spicier, you can add more minced chipotle chili.

This chipotle cheese sauce would be a delicious addition to broccoli, nachos, or over rice noodles for a delicious and easy macaroni and cheese.

 

 

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Vegan and Gluten Free Sour Cream From Miyoko Schinner

Last week we brought you a recipe for vegan and gluten free rejuvelac from the recipe book Artisan Vegan Cheese Cookbook by Miyoko Schinner. Rejuvelac is the base of many of the recipes in Schinner’s book, which cultures the dishes.

Anyone who eats vegan knows that it is hard to find a good vegan sour cream. The “sour” in sour cream comes from the way it is cultured, and many commercially available sour creams aim for texture, seeming to ignore taste. Schinner’s recipe cultures the sour cream, just like real sour cream and, unlike most commercially available vegan sour cream, doesn’t contain soy, which many vegans like to avoid.

Vegan and Gluten Free Sour Cream

1 cup raw, soaked cashews (soaked 3 to 8 hours)
1 cup gluten free rejuvelac
Pinch of salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a clean glass bowl, cover, and let sit at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours, until a bit thicker and sour to your liking. Line a colander or sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth. Rest the colander over a bowl and pour in the sour cream. Allow the sour cream to drain for at least 3 hours, until thick. Transfer to a container with an airtight lid, discarding the liquid, and place in the fridge. The longer it sits, the thicker it will get. It will keep for 2 weeks.

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Miyoko Schinner’s Vegan and Gluten Free Rejuvelac from the Artisan Vegan Cheese Cookbook

Miyoko Schinner, author of the book Artisan Vegan Cheese, is being hailed as the queen of vegan cheese. In addition to being vegan, her recipes can easily be made gluten-free, and are delicious. These recipes are for vegan food-lovers who are looking to take their vegan culinary experiences to the next level. Schinner’s mouth-watering recipes make a slew of cheeses, including gouda, cheddar, parmesan, monterey jack, mozzarella and smoked provolone.

The foundation of the majority of Schinner’s recipes is rejuvelac. Rejuvelac is a fermented beverage that is full of probiotics, and is the perfect culturing agent to make vegan cheeses. Rejuvelac is made from a variety of grains such as oat groat, wheat berries, kamut berries, millet and, for gluten-free options, rice and quinoa. Here we will post Schinner’s recipe using rice, but the same recipe can be made using any of the other grains.

Vegan and Gluten Free Rejuvelac

1 cup brown rice
6 cups of filtered water

Place the rice in a glass jar and add enough water to cover the rice. Put a double-layer of cheesecloth over the jar, and secure it by winding a rubber band around the mouth of the jar. Let the mixture sit for 1 to 3 days in a warm place (but out of direct sunlight), draining the water twice a day, and replacing it with fresh water. Each time you replace the water, add just enough so that the rice is moist, but not so much that the rice grains are immersed. You will repeat this process until you see the rice sprout, which will look like very tiny little tails coming out of the end of the rice. Once this happens, divide the rice into two equal portions and place each portion into a 1-quart jar. Pour 3 cups of filtered water into each jar, and put a new piece of cheesecloth over the jars, securing with rubber bands. Place the jars back in a warm spot and let them sit until the water turns a milky white, and has a tart flavor, similar to lemon. This can take anywhere from 1-3 days. Once it is finished, strain the water into a clean jar, and throw away the rice. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

You can drink the rejuvelac, as it has many health properties. You can also use it to make some of Schinner’s delicious recipes, which will be featured on the Happy Gluten Free Vegan next.

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