This vegan cheese sauce is similar to the ‘Creamy Cashew Sauce’ I posted before, but is a better choice for imitating a ‘cheese’ sauce, especially for pastas. You will be surprised at how much it tastes like cheese. I made this dish and let a few people try it (who are not vegetarian) and all said they could barely notice a difference between this sauce and a normal cheese sauce.
For the featured photo above, I made pasta with broccoli. However, I also used the same cheese sauce to mix with potatoes with sautéd onions and garlic.
What You Need:
1 to 1 and 1/2 cup raw cashews
1 to 1 and 1/2 cup coconut milk
Half of a large carrot
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (for the cheese flavor)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup onion or shallot
Water (to thin out the sauce)
Coconut Oil for frying
Optional: 1/2 cup of potato (sweet potato for a sweet sauce)
Note: This order was perfect for an entire package of spaghetti with two medium heads of broccoli
1. Boil raw cashews in a pot for roughly 15-20 minutes. You want them to be very soft. At the same time, cut your carrot into small chunks and boil until soft (roughly 15 minutes). Optional: If you’re also adding a sweet potato or regular potato, cut into small chunks as well and boil until soft (roughly 10 minutes). Drain all.
2. Pour the boiled cashews, carrots, and potatoes (optional) into a blender. Add the coconut milk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
3. Chop garlic and shallots (or onion). Pour a tbsp of coconut oil into a small frying pan and fry the garlic and shallots over medium heat. Do not burn. Drain off the oil. Place the ingredients into the blender.
4. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Add water as necessary to make the sauce the consistency you want. Taste frequently and add more spices to taste.
Cream sauces match perfectly with a lot of different dishes. However, cream sauces are not usually a healthy option. Typically they contain a lot of heavy cream, unhealthy oils, and cheese.
This recipe is for a cashew cream sauce, which offers a healthy alternative packed full of flavor. Cashews contain a lot of healthy fat, mostly monounsaturated fats, and surprisingly quite a bit of protein. They are also high in fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B6.
Cashew sauce is good on top of stir-fried veggies, pasta, chicken, fish, potatoes, raw veggies, base for a casserole, or even in place of a gravy.
This recipe makes about 1 cup of cashew sauce. Simply double or triple the recipe to make more.
What You Need:
1/2 cup of raw cashews
1/2 cup of coconut milk
3 cloves of garlic
1-2 Tbsp’s of diced shallots
1-2 Tbsp’s flour for thickening (flour of your choice: regular, almond, coconut, etc.)
Sea Salt and Cracked Fresh Black Pepper
Coconut oil for sautéing Optional: 1 Tbsp of Nutritional Yeast (for a cheese flavor)
1. Boil the cashews until soft (15-20 minutes)
2. Chop the garlic and shallots and sauté in coconut oil until soft
3. Place the cashews, garlic, shallots, coconut milk, salt and pepper into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
4. Pour mixture into small pot and cook again over medium heat. Add flour to thicken sauce. Taste , add more salt or pepper if necessary.
5. Add nutritional yeast (optional) for a cheesy flavor. Serve.
Featured Photo: Grilled Asparagus with Thai Wild Ginger and Creamy Cashew Sauce
I’ve made a few dishes lately using cauliflower and red pepper. It’s nice to be able to buy a few ingredients, and have many dishes you can make from them. I made the roasted red pepper sauce and the roasted cauliflower and mushroom lentil burger. Notice they all involved roasting the vegetables! It’s so easy to cut up the vegetables, cover them with a little coconut oil, salt, and pepper, and stick them in the oven to roast! Then when they’re finished, you can make a variety of different dishes, and the roasting process leaves behind great flavor.
This recipe makes roughly 5-6 bowls of soup.
What You Need:
1/2 head of cauliflower
2 red peppers
1 cup of vegetable broth
5-6 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of sliced shallots
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Directions: 1. Wash your vegetables and herbs (cauliflower, red pepper, and rosemary)
2. Take the half head of cauliflower and cut it into normal cauliflower sized pieces. Take each of the red peppers and cut them into four equal pieces (8 total).
3. Rub coconut oil lightly over each piece of cauliflower and each section of red pepper. Crack black pepper and sea salt over each piece to taste.
4. Roast both the cauliflower and red pepper. You can do this by putting each into a roasting pan or wrapping them in tin foil and placing into the oven. 400 degrees for roughly 15-20 minutes. Do not burn. If the skin of the red pepper burns, simply peel it off. A little char on the outside is good though!
5. While the vegetables are roasting, chop garlic and shallots. Pour a few tablespoons of coconut oil into a pan over medium to high heat and fry the garlic and shallots until transparent. Do not burn. When the garlic and shallots are close to being finished, throw in a tablespoon of fresh rosemary without the stems.
6. Remove the garlic, shallots, and rosemary from heat. Take 1/4 of the amount you have and set it aside (I like to add a little whole pieces to my soup), put the other 3/4 into a blender or food processor.
7. When the vegetables are done roasting, take them out of the oven. Take 1/4 of the amount of cauliflower you have and set it aside with the garlic and shallots (to leave whole for the soup) and throw the other 3/4 into the same blender or food processor.
8. Put all your roasted red pepper into the blender or food processor with the other ingredients.
9. Add 1 cup of vegetable broth to the blender, and blend until smooth.
10. In a soup pot over medium heat, pour the blended ingredients from the blender into the pot, and add the garlic, shallots, and cauliflower that you put aside. Taste. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Add a stick of rosemary if necessary. If the soup is too thick, add either a little more vegetable broth or a little water (be careful not to water it down too much). Serve!
This sauce is great for a number of different dishes. I included it in my recipe for vegetarian burgers but it could also be used as a dipping sauce or a sauce for on top of roasted vegetables. You could even modify it a bit (or not) to make a pasta sauce. If you mixed it with mayonnaise you could even create a new sauce for potato salad. This recipe takes about 20 minutes to prepare. Most of the preparation time is just waiting for the red peppers to roast.
What You Need
2 red peppers
4-5 cloves of garlic
5-6 red shallots
1/4 cup of vegetable stock
1/4 cup olive or coconutoil Fresh sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp of flour
1. Wash your peppers and cut into 4 large pieces (8 total)
2. Rub with coconut oil and salt and pepper
3. Roast until soft but not burnt. If the skin burns, just peel that part off. You can do this by using a roasting pan or wrap it up completely in tin foil and stick in in the oven with 400 degree temperature.
4. While the peppers are roasting, dice garlic and shallots. In a small pan, put garlic, shallots, coconut oil, and lightly saute. Slowly add a little bit of flour, pausing to stir frequently, so that you create a slightly thicker paste. Adding flour will make the sauce thicker and not runny.
5. When the peppers are finished roasting, put the peppers, garlic, onion, and vegetable stock into a blender and blend until smooth.
6. Pour mixture back into a pot over light heat to keep warm. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Being a vegetarian I’m always on the search for the next greatest vegetarian burger. Sometimes I’m successful, but most of the time I feel they fall short. They lack flavor, or texture, or are made with additional fillers that I don’t want such as corn. Store-bought vegetarian burgers usually contain a lot of preservatives or are made out of hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
You can be sure your vegetarian burgers are a success by following this simple recipe. There are 4 separate components to complete this dish, but you can choose to just make the burgers if you have other plans for them! (although you will be missing out on delicious sauces!)
For this dish I made a Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Lentil Burger. I topped it with a Cucumber Mint Cream Cheese Sauce, followed by Zucchini and Carrot Zoodles, and finally finished it with a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce.
You can eat this burger with or without a bun, crumble it up to put on salads, make meatballs for a spaghetti or a sandwich, the possibilities are endless. Make a side of homemade sweet potato chips that would go perfectly with these burgers.
What You Need – For the Burger (makes 10 small patties)
Half a head of cauliflower Baby portabello mushrooms – between 8-10 Lentils – 2 cups of cooked lentils. You can choose to use dried lentils, soak them overnight, then cook them the next day, or you can buy a can of pre-cooked lentils that is additive and preservative free, and limited in sodium. You can even experiment with the type of lentils, I used a small brownish-black variety.
1/2 of a medium sized onion (I also added 4 small red shallots)
4 gloves of garlic
Roughly 1 cup of flour (up to you on the type) Fresh Rosemary – roughly 2 large tablespoons – make sure to remove the stems Fresh sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper Coconut Oil for roasting vegetables
1. Wash cauliflower and mushrooms thoroughly. If you’re using a can of lentils make sure to rinse and drain well.
2. Take a half a head of cauliflower and lightly rub it with coconut oil, fresh sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
3. Roast the cauliflower until soft but not burnt. You can do this by using a roasting pan or wrap it up completely in tin foil and stick in in the oven with 400 degree temperature.
4. Follow the same (2-3) for the mushrooms
5. While your vegetables are roasting, put your rinsed lentils into a pan with a little water, salt, and pepper and cook it over medium heat for a few minutes. Drain completely when finished
6. Dice up garlic, onions, and shallots and gently saute them all together with fresh rosemary and coconut oil in a pan until soft but not burnt.
7. In a large bowl, mix together your drained lentils, garlic, onion, shallot, and rosemary mixture. Taste – add salt and pepper if necessary.
8. When your cauliflower and mushrooms are finished, take them out from roasting and dice them into small pieces. If you want more texture – make larger pieces. If you want less texture – dice finely, or even puree in a blender. I like texture so I left mine in small chunks.
9. Add the cauliflower and mushrooms to the large bowl with your other ingredients. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl together well. You can even use a fork or your hands to mush them together. You want the lentils to mash slightly.
10. Add 1 egg (whisk the egg in a separate bowl before adding) and mix thoroughly
11. Add flour – I add only a few tablespoons at a time, mixing thoroughly. You don’t need a lot of flour, roughly 1 cup total.
12. On a separate plate or sheet of tin foil, put a few tablespoons of flour down that you can use as you make the patties.
13. Your now ready to make your burgers. The way I made them was by using a flat pan on top of the stove with a little bit of coconut oil (not much because they will be too wet). But I would also recommend grilling them or even rolling them into balls and deep frying them to make fritters.
14. Scoop a small handful of your mixture into your hands and form a small patty. I use a little extra flour from the plate by taking a few pinches of it and rubbing it on the outside of the patty.
15. Put your burgers into the pan over medium-high heat. Cover the pan to trap heat inside. Flip the burgers after 1 minute. Continue to flip the burgers until you’ve reached the desire texture you are looking for.
Note: If your burgers don’t stay together perfectly, then add a little more flour to your mixture until they are very sticky.
What You Need – For the Cucumber Mint Cream Cheese Sauce
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 cup of cream cheese
1/2 cup of plain yogurt Fresh sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Directions 1. Dice cucumber and fresh mint
2. In a bowl, whisk together cream cheese and yogurt until smooth. 3. Add cucumber and fresh mint. Mix thoroughly. 4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
What You Need – For the Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
2 red peppers
4-5 cloves of garlic
5-6 red shallots
1/4 cup of vegetable stock
1/4 cup olive or coconut oil Fresh sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp of flour
Directions: 1. Wash your peppers and cut into 4 large pieces (8 total) 2. Rub with coconut oil and salt and pepper (same as for cauliflower and mushrooms in the burger recipe) 3. Roast until soft but not burnt. If the skin burns, just peel that part off. 4. While the peppers are roasting, dice garlic and shallots. In a small pan, put garlic, shallots, coconut oil, and lightly saute. Slowly add a little bit of flour, pausing to stir frequently, so that you create a slightly thicker paste. Adding flour will make the sauce thicker and not runny. 5. When the peppers are finished roasting, put the peppers, garlic, onion, and vegetable stock into a blender and blend until smooth. 6. Pour mixture back into a pot over light heat to keep warm. Add salt and pepper to taste.
What You Need – For Zoodle Topping 1. 1 medium zucchini
2. 1 mediumcarrot 3.Veggetti – a miracle tool for making zoodles
4. Coconut oil
5. Fresh sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1. Wash your vegetables and skin your carrot only.
2. Use the Veggetti tool to make zucchini and carrot zoodles
3. In a pan, very quickly saute the zoodles with coconut oil, salt, and pepper. Do not overcook. They will get too mushy very quickly.
The wild betel leaf was given it’s name due to its similar appearance to the popular stimulant used all over South East Asia. Both are members of the Piperacae family which also includes black pepper. If you’ve traveled at all through SE Asia you may have come across people, typically those from the hill tribes, with red gums and teeth. This is due to chewing betel nut, which has been done for thousands of years in these parts of the world – (although not recommended).
The wild betel leaf is not a stimulant at all, but used in a lot of SE Asian cuisine. In Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam it is typically used as a wrap or in a salad, although in some places in Thailand you may also find it inside of a curry.
My favorite way to use the wild betel leaf is to wrap up Yum Takrai, or the fresh lemongrass salad, but you could totally be creative in its usage. It is a beautiful heart-shaped leaf, and is often used in food decorating as well.
Why eat this at all? The leaves are high in antioxidants, particularly naringenin, which is also the antioxidant found in grapefruits. Antioxidants work to reduce oxidative stress, brought on by too many free radicals (unstable, cell damaging molecules), which can lead to neurodegenerative disorders, cancers, atherosclerosis, and other heart and inflammatory conditions. Free radicals are part of the normal processes of your body, but can be intensified by toxic chemicals in foods, smoking, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), drugs, alcohol, and the list goes on and on.
Foods we typically associate with antioxidants are dark fruits and berries, such as grapes, blueberries, and raspberries. However, dark leafy greens, nuts, and dark chocolate also contain high levels of antioxidants. Wild betel leaf, being a dark leafy green, falls into a category many people don’t usually associate with antioxidants.
Next time your backpacking around SE Asia and you see one of these heart-shaped leaves on your plate, don’t be afraid to try it!
This is the perfect “meat-free” dish for both non-meat and meat lovers alike! Tofu has an incredible ability to take on any flavor that you want. Yes, plain tofu out of a package is not very appetizing, that’s why you have to be creative and make unique dishes!
In Vietnamese cooking, lemongrass crusted tofu is a popular dish. Perfect for an appetizer or main course, it can be served on it’s own with just a dipping sauce, on salads, or even the famous Vietnamese sandwich, Bánh mì .
This dish has takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare.
What You Need:
1. One Package of Extra Firm Silken Tofu – Usually between 14-19 ounces. More if you are serving more than 1-2 people.
2. Three-Four Lemongrass Stalks – the white part only! Enough for at least 1/2 cup minced
3. One Thai Chili (if you like spice!) – diced
4. One-Two Tbsp’s of finely diced Garlic (the amount depending on your garlic preference)
5. One tsp of sea salt (preferably Pink Himalayan)
6. One tsp sugar
7. One tsp fresh ground black pepper
8. Coconut oil (or a similar cooking oil) for frying
9. Coriander Leaves – for garnish
1. Drain the tofu. Cut tofu into the size of your choice. If you want larger pieces like the photo above then you want about 1 inch by 2 inch pieces. If you want the pieces much more crispy, you could cut them in smaller pieces.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the minced lemongrass, minced garlic, salt, sugar, pepper, and chilies into a bowl.
3. Heat your fryer or get a deep dish pan with hot coconut oil for frying. Make sure the oil is hot!
4. Take your tofu chunks and role them into your spice mixture. Make sure to completely cover the tofu. You could even use a knife to make a cross into the side of the tofu and stuff the spices inside. If you run out of spices, just mince more!
Optional Alternative: Roll your tofu in an egg wash and add a little flour to your spice blend, then roll the tofu into it. This may make a better coating for frying, but it not the traditional Vietnamese style.
5. Place the tofu flat down into the oil until golden brown (or preference). Flip to the other side. Continue to flip until you’ve reached the texture of your choice. Make sure the oil is hot or you will loose most of your spice blend.
6. Remove and set on a paper towel to drain the oil off.
7. Serve with a coriander garnish.
+ Dipping sauces are optional but could include a soy sauce, a flavored cream sauce, or a peanut sauce.
I’m sure you haven’t thought about making an omelette with basil and ginger before! I have never seen this omelette outside of Thailand. With 3 simple ingredients (only 2 if you don’t like it spicy!), it’s sure to be a hit.
Now although you could certainly use regular ginger (you would want to cut it in long thin slices), the optimal ingredient for this omelette is Thai wild ginger, also known as lesser galangal, chinese ginger, or even Thai fingerroot (the long, skinny gingers look like fingers).
The other ingredient is Thai basil, not to be confused with sweet basil, or even another type of Thai basil known as holy basil, or horapha . Holy basil is typically found in “phat kaphrao” dishes. Thai basil is considered to be spicier, with an anise-licorice flavor.
The third ingredient is Thai chili peppers, which is optional if you don’t prefer spicy food.
This omelette could be for breakfast of course, but in Thailand omelettes are served throughout the day, often being a substitute for rice. I like to make stir-fry vegetable dishes and use this omelette as a base.
What You Need: Amounts depend on the number of omelettes (see directions) 1. Organic free-range eggs 2. Thai Basil 3. Thai or Chinese Ginger 3. Thai Chili Peppers 4. Coconut Oil for cooking 5. Sea Salt and White Pepper Powder (or regular black pepper)
Directions: 1. Make this omelette the same as any other! For a better result, very briefly stir-fry the Thai ginger, Thai chilies, and Thai basil to release their aromas and enhance their flavors. The ginger should be cut into long, thin strips. I would suggest 1/4 cup per omelette. You can add as much basil as you would like. I suggest a half cup leaves per omelette. 2. Beat eggs (as many as you prefer in your omelette – I suggest 3) and add sea salt and white pepper powder. 3. Use coconut oil as a healthy oil option to cook your eggs, add your other ingredients, keep mixing together until finished!
I have a love/hate relationship with coffee. I love the smell of coffee, the taste of coffee, and of course the energy you get from coffee (try to cut down the caffeine!). The problem is I don’t always want to drink a plain black coffee, and if you drink anything other than that, you’re most likely consuming a lot of sugar and dairy.
Cappuccino’s and Latte’s can contain 4 or MORE teaspoons of added sugar in just one small cup! And what about when you start adding french vanilla, the syrups, or ordering the Christmas latte’s? And that’s only your morning coffee! It doesn’t even include the sugar you eat throughout the day (often without even realizing it!).
The average American consumes roughly 32 teaspoons of sugar a day. Always check the food labels for the products you buy. A teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4 grams. A product with 16 grams of sugar often doesn’t seem like that much, but equate that to 4 teaspoons. All that extra sugar is being converted directly into fat!
So re-think your usual sugary morning coffee! But you don’t have to rule out delicious coffees forever. I have a recipe for a fabulous Thai island-inspired iced coffee without all the extra sugar. And it’s dairy free too!
This coffee is GOOD for you too! Coconut milk replaces the dairy in this recipe. Coconuts are loaded with nutrients, including vitamins B1, B3, B5, and B6, as well as Vitamin E and C. For minerals you’ll get calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, zinc, and selenium. It’s a good source of fiber as well!
Sure, there is saturated fat in coconut milk ( in the form of medium-chain triglycerides- which is different from most products with saturated fat, but I’ll discuss that another time) but saturated fats are NOT the devil they’ve been made out to be. Your body NEEDS saturated fat in order to function, it’s in every cell in your body!
Adding cinnamon to this recipe is good for you as well. Cinnamon is high in antioxidants which protect you from free radicals. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. Cinnamon has been found to help lower your blood sugar levels and help reduce insulin resistance (leading to diabetes!) These are just a FEW of the many health benefits of cinnamon.
Next is raw honey. Sure, it is high in fructose, but we’re only going to use a small amount here (moderation is key!) Raw honey is very different from over-processed honey at the grocery store. Try to find a local brand sold at a farmers market. It will not cause a sugar rush or increased insulin release like if you were consuming regular sugar. Like cinnamon, honey also has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant properties. It is full of vitamins and minerals. Buying local may even help reduce your allergysymptoms! Local raw honey will contain the pollen from your area, and if you have a little honey each day before allergy season, your body can begin to build up resistance and significantly reduce your allergy response!
What You Need:
1. Coffee Beans – preferably organic, free of preservatives, fertilizers, and other chemicals
2. Coconut Milk– Always check the labels. Get preservative and chemical-free coconut milk.
4. 100% Raw and Natural Honey – Not the typical honey from the grocery store!
5. Dried Coconut Flakes – A no sugar added kind
1. Brew your coffee. Either set it aside to cool, or put it in the fridge. If you add ice-cubes right away their going to melt quickly and just turn your hot coffee into a watery luke warm coffee.
2. Grab a mug and pour roughly 3-4 teaspoons of coconut milk into it. More or less is completely up to you.
3. Add a half teaspoon of cinnamon (Up to you how much) and stir well.
4. Add a half teaspoon of raw honey (Again, up to you how much) and stir very well.
5. Add a teaspoon of dried coconut flakes. I love the texture these add to the coffee. But if you don’t like it – simply don’t add it!
In Indonesia, “Gado-Gado” means “Potpourri”. This unique salad won me over countless times while traveling throughout the country. Every version I had was slightly different, but all following the same rules of having boiled potatoes with steamed vegetables, tempeh, and a peanut sauce dressing. The vegetables were slightly different with each dish, and some places opted for crispy tofu instead of tempeh.
Every dish was served with a side of prawn crackers. However, being a vegetarian, I left those aside! If you enjoy them, you can easily find them to add to your dish!
The peanut dressing varied from place to place as well. Below I provided a link to make a slightly different variety of peanut sauce, the ginger peanut vinaigrette which I feel would match this salad perfectly.
What You Need: 1. Cabbage 2. Potatoes 3. Organic free-range eggs 4. Carrots 5. Green Beans 6. Bean Sprouts – Click here to learn how to grow your own sprouts! 7. Fresh Coriander 8. Cucumber 9. Fresh spinach or a similar dark green 10. Tempeh – a soy product originating from Indonesia (this could be substituted with firm tofu thrown in hot oil to gently fry). You can find pre-made tempeh at any grocery store. You can buy either plain and season it yourself, or pre-spiced such as a peanut or soy sauce variation. 11. Peanut Dressing – Click here to make Nutrition Abroad’s Ginger Peanut Vinaigrette
Directions: 1. Hard-boil your eggs . One egg per person should be plenty.
2. Chop your potatoes and boil until soft but not falling apart (slightly under-cooked). The potatoes will continue to cook after draining the water as well. Run them under cold water or put into an ice bath if necessary.
3. Steam all the other vegetables – green beans, carrots, cabbage, spinach, and bean sprouts. If you don’t have a steamer, simply put a 1/4 cup – 1/3 cup of water into a pot, bring to a boil, put vegetables in, and cover with a lid for 3-7 minutes depending on your vegetable texture preference. Allow to cool or place in an ice bath.
– Steaming is a great way to retain nutrients. If you boil these vegetables, most nutrients will be lost down the drain when you pour off the water.
4. Fry your pre-made tempeh for a few minutes to a crispy texture (or deep fry your firm tofu). If it’s an unseasoned variety, add a little soy sauce, salt, pepper, or any other seasoning combination of your choice.
6. Place your steamed spinach (or similar green) on the plate, lay the steamed veggies on top as well as the chunks of boiled potatoes. Cut your tempeh and add, as well as the hard boiled eggs. Cut your cucumber and place on the dish. Chop fresh coriander and place on top. Serve your peanut sauce on the side or drizzle on top. Want prawn crackers? Add those too! Salt, pepper, or chili pepper if necessary!