In the deli at our store, I get asked a lot about how to prepare kale. Although you can saute it or toss it into soups, it is wonderful in salads. It is a common misconception that it needs to be cooked before eating. But in reality, it is delicious marinated in a raw salad, thus retaining much of its nutrients. I have many recipes for raw kale salads, but one of my favorite lately is a Sweet and Tangy Kale Salad. It has a light citrusy orange dressing, fresh pineapple, sweet golden raisins, savory onions and crunchy macadamias. It is perfect for spring and summer because it is so light, and it keeps well, so it is a good thing to make ahead and keep on hand for lunches during the week.
I love ice cream. When I discovered a healthier option, I thought I needed to share the recipe with you all, because it is so simple and so delicious. This banana soft serve has only 5 ingredients that you can enjoy within 5 minutes! Yes, that is right, in the time it takes to blend it up in the blender, you can be enjoying sweet ice cream goodness! All you need is frozen bananas, some coconut butter, coconut water, vanilla extract and the liquid sweetener of your choice. I have kept this recipe sugar free, using stevia, but if you like another liquid sweetener better you can feel free to use it. Don’t have coconut butter? Don’t fret, you can make banana almond soft serve swapping out almond butter for the coconut, or even peanut butter banana if you chose to use peanut butter instead. It is your blank palate that will be tailored to your dessert cravings. Also, you can even make it chocolate by adding a few tablespoons cacao powder if you wish or feel free to stir in nuts and other goodies. Ice cream season will be here soon, enjoy!
Sometimes it is nice to have a sweet fruit salad to accompany a meal or even have for dessert. It is the time of year that we all start craving fresh fruit again, and sometimes it is nice to make something a little more special with it than just taking a bite out of it. I came up with a creamy fruit salad which uses creamy coconut milk laced with lemon for the dressing in place of the usual dairy in traditional fruit salads. It is a delicious vegan variation on a classic and is wonderful served for company or as a light dessert even.
I am so excited for spring, and all the produce that comes with it, especially the asparagus. I saw some fresh asparagus at the store last week, and I just had to buy some. I envisioned it with pasta in a fresh mint pesto sauce. I ditched the noodles. I wanted something lighter, so I made raw zucchini noodles. I eat raw vegan most of the time, and this is one of my favorite things to make lately. You do not need fancy equiptment to make it, if you are skilled with a knife, you can cut the “noodles” yourself, or use a vegetable peeler for papardelle style thick noodles. The zucchini noodles are a blank palate for flavor, and they were wonderful with the asparagus and a fresh mint pesto I made. I topped them off with some crunchy green pistachios and it was a perfect meal for spring!
Often times we can get stuck in a rut when it comes to dinner. Making the same flavors and foods all the time can get old. I know I am guilty of it; I tend to use the same herbs a lot. However, I recently was given large bunches of parsley and cilantro, herbs I tend to forget about. I decided to step outside the flavor realm I normally live in. My creativity started to take over, thinking about what I can use them with. Then I was watching a cooking show, and the woman made some Chimichurri sauce. It had both herbs in it! Bingo…I created my own version of it and served it over a simple main dish of white beans with roasted asparagus and peppers. It was a delicious and flavorful sauce, sort of like a pesto but without the nuts and cheese. It would be wonderful over grilled meat or fish as well for those of you that are not vegetarians.
For people who are trying to stay away from grains, eating a wrap sandwich can sometimes seem like it is impossible. However, it is not when you have collard greens. I encourage those who want something low carb or grain free, but still enjoy eating wraps to try them. Since I eat raw most of the time, collard greens are a life saver when I want burritos or wraps, but do not want to go through the prep of making my own dehydrated tortillas. You can fill them with whatever you like, but one of my favorites is made with Mediterranean ingredients. I make a raw vegan falafel “meat” from nuts that is delicious in the wraps or even on salads, and combine it here with lots of veggies and a tahini lemon sauce for dipping. These are especially good when the weather starts to get warm, which I know we are all hoping happens soon!
I used to have a favorite Spring salad that had chevre and strawberries on it. I thought that I would never be able to enjoy the chevre part of it again, but I have been making a raw chevre with macadamia nuts that is just as delicious. It has a bed of spinach, fresh strawberries and avocadoes with the luscious chevre, as well as a sweet strawberry dressing which I have also revamped from my previous salad. I added nutrient packed chia seeds which are wonderful in the dressing! Everyone I have shared this salad with loved it, and they did not miss the dairy cheese. Try it when strawberries come into season and you will love it!
I have always loved strawberries and cream. There is something about the fresh sweet berries and rich silky cream that is heavenly. I used to make myself this simple dessert quite often when I ate dairy, buying the best quality cream and vanilla with fresh berries. I thought that when I became vegan, I would be missing out on whipped cream, but when I discovered coconut cream I was overjoyed to find out that I still could enjoy it. It is made in the same way that whipped cream is, chilling the cream and whipping air into it with beaters. Let me tell you, it is even better than the dairy stuff because it is sweet from the coconut. All you need is a chilled full fat can of coconut milk. It is a black palate, but folding lavender into it and serving it with berries is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it. You get the aroma of the lavender and vanilla and it is so delicious with the sweet berries and cream.
One of my favorite simple desserts is coconut macaroons. I love that they can be a black palate for different flavors during different times of the year. One of the most delicious is coconut lemon. The tart lemon is lovely with the sweet coconut. Great for year-round, I especially like it in the winter and spring. I decided to make some recently, and pair them with pistachios and dark chocolate. They are just the right amount of sweet. These bites are perfect for after dinner when you want dessert but do not want to over do it. I have instructions here for both baked and raw, so you can make them either in the oven or the dehydrator, with the option of making raw chocolate or melting chocolate to suit your needs. These would be perfect for an Easter celebration!
We are on a Paleo kick in our house. For lent, we gave up sugar including honey and syrup. Needless to say, we found this to be so hard. I think it was a case of the “heart grows fonder when your apart” scenario. The craving for sweets slowly set in, and the need to create something within the perimeter of our fast was necessary to maintain. Thus, this brownie recipe emerged. This is great for the person who can’t seem to break the vicious cycle of sugar withdrawals. The brownie is high in fiber from the coconut flour as well as nutritionally dense leaving you more satisfied. It is made with coconut oil that is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, and the minimal sugar substitutes used make it low glycemic. I should add that they are slightly sweet. These brownies freeze great, so cut them out and enjoy them as needed.