Vegan Tapioca Pudding

Here’s a simple recipe for a comfort food we all remember from childhood.  This recipe makes a lot, so if you don’t really love tapioca pudding you may want to cut it in half.  I do love this stuff, so if I’m going to spend the time then I want to make a BIG batch!

First of all, soak 1 cup of large pearl tapioca overnight (or at least 8 hours).  This step is crucial.  (If you’ve tried making tapioca pudding before and couldn’t figure out why your pearls never cooked all the way through, this is the reason why). The next day drain pearls in a colander.

In a large heavy pot mix:

2 qt. vegan milk (I used a mixture of almond, soy, and canned coconut)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

3/4 c. raw sugar

Heat this mixture until it just comes to a boil. Add drained tapioca to pot; cook and stir constantly over med./low heat at least 30 minutes or until tapioca is clear and mixture thickens somewhat. (It will get thicker as it cools).

Remove pot from heat and add:

2 tsp. vanilla extract

pure stevia powder (if desired) — just a sprinkle to taste

  Stir well.  Chill and serve.

Note: If pudding seems too thick after chilling, simply add a little vanilla almond or soy milk, OR if you’re lucky enough to have “So Delicious Coconut Nog” or “Silk Nog” on hand you may use that to thin the pudding.

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Raw Cranberry/Almond Cookies

It’s almost Christmas, and you still want to make some cookies — but they have to be vegan…and healthy…but still taste great.  Hmm, this recipe can meet all those requirements and your friends will ask for the recipe.  You can feel good about serving these raw cookies, and you won’t spend all day in the kitchen either; quick, easy, and delicious!

Ingredients:

1 cup almond meal

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups dried cranberries*

5 pitted dates

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp. almond flavoring (or 1/4 tsp amaretto oil candy flavoring)

Method:

Soak dates and cranberries in distilled water (just enough to cover) for 2 hrs. Grind oats in food processor until fine. Drain dates and cranberries. Add remaining ingredients and process thoroughly to form a dough.

Roll into small balls and roll each ball into more almond meal. Refrigerate until serving. Keeps up to two weeks in the frig.

* This is a very versatile recipe. I have substituted dried cherries for half the cranberries, and you could probably use half light raisins, too.

“Vegetarian Times Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook” by the editors of “Vegetarian Times” magazine. MacMillan, 1998.

As Thanksgiving approaches we all (even vegans) yearn for the familiar tastes and aromas of the comfort foods we associate with the traditional American Thanksgiving dinner.  Trying to follow a vegan lifestyle during this season of feasting can be a challenge, but the editors of Vegetarian Times have compiled a cookbook to please any non-turkey eater’s appetite.  No longer do we have to be content with dry mashed potatoes, salad, and a roll while everyone else gorges on turkey flesh and gravy!  This cookbook is full of holiday favorites and treats.  The accompanying photos are mouthwatering in themselves, and the recipes I have tried live up to the excellent standards “Vegetarian Times” always maintains.

One recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Pie (page 193)  is, in my opinion, the very best pumpkin pie I have ever had.  That it is made without any eggs or dairy puts it way above conventional pumpkin pie recipes that are high in fat, calories, and cholesterol. You can use your own favorite pie crust recipe or the one included in the book.  This is the simple filling recipe, smooth creamy, and out of this world!

Ingredients:

2 cups canned pumpkin

1 cup low-fat soymilk or rice milk

1/2 cup honey or 3/4 c. granulated sugar cane syrup (I used 1/4 c. honey and 1/4 c. agave syrup)

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 Tbsp. dark molasses, or to taste

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt (I used Celtic sea salt)

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. To prepare filling, in a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth and blended.  Pour into prepared crust and smooth top.  Bake 10 minutes — THEN:

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; bake until filling is set, about 50 minutes.  Set on a wire rack to cool, then refrigerate overnight to set. Top with your choice of dessert topping if desired.  I’m sure you will love it!

For more recipes like this, the cookbook “Vegetarian Times Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook” sells for $21.00 (or less if you shop around).  For even more recipes for everyday cooking go to this great resource: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes.

 

Raw Carrot Apple Cookies

This is another great way to use carrot pulp leftover from juicing.  If you don’t have a dehydrator you can bake them in a  low temperature oven.  I did this for years before I had a dehydrator, but you must keep an eye on them.  If they do actually bake, they will still be yummy, full of fiber and nutrition,  just not raw.  Still a healthy cookie you can feel good about snacking on or giving to the kids.

Raw Carrot Apple Cookies

carrot/apple pulp (leftover from juicing)

soaked ground buckwheat groats OR soaked rolled oats

ground flaxseed

sprinkle of stevia powder (very potent, a little goes a long way!) or a little honey

dash sea salt

ground almond meal

raw sesame seeds

raw sunflower seeds

chopped almonds

chopped dried fruit, your choice ( I used papaya and cherries)

about ¼ c. water with 1 ½ Tbsp, lemon juice

Soak grains in water (not too much) about 20 mins.. Add remaining ingredients; use your own judgment to make a moist dough.  Mix thoroughly using a wooden spoon. Shape and press dough into cookie shapes on teflex or parchment paper sheets.  Dehydrate until they resemble a moist cookie (4 – 6 hours) – not too long or they will be very tough.  If necessary flip and dehydrate on the other side until done.

You can vary this recipe by substituting whatever ingredients you have on hand for the nuts and seeds (poppy seeds, pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seed, coconut, etc.) and chopped dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, currants, dates, etc.). Be creative – these cookies never come out the same twice!

Watermelon Sorbet

The inspiration for this recipe came from “The Vegan Scoop,” a dairy-free ice cream cookbook by Wheeler Del Torro.  Eating vegan is always my goal, but I realize that simply because something is vegan doesn’t make it healthy.  In fact many vegan recipes, especially those for desserts, contain so much fat and sugar that you might as well eat the real thing;  if health is your concern there’s not much difference.  So, I just had to tweek this recipe to make it a bit more acceptable.

This is a refreshing summer cooler.  With all the added artificial ingredients found in most frozen treats it’s  nice to find one that contains no added sugar, and has all the healthy lycopene found in watermelon naturally.  (Lycopene is thought to reduce the risk of cancer).  The sweet crisp taste will please both young and old alike, and of course, it’s low in calories.  This one won’t weigh you down on a hot summer day 🙂

Ingredients:

6 – 8 cups diced seedless watermelon

1/4 cup Xylitol crystals

Zest of 1 lime, finely chopped or 1 – 2 tsp lime juice

pinch salt

1/4 tsp. Stevia powder

Method:

Using a food processor, puree watermelon into 4 cups.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring 1 cup watermelon puree, Xylitol, and lime to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Season with salt.  Pour in remaining 3 cups watermelon puree, then add Stevia — whisk until evenly blended.

Pour entire mixture into a metal cake pan and freeze overnight.

The next day, allow frozen watermelon to thaw at room temperature for 5 – 15 minutes.  Using a knife (if it’s too hard let it thaw a little longer), carefully break up puree into 2-inch pieces.  Transfer to food processor in batches and pulse until smooth.

Store in plastic container in freezer for up to one week.

Yield: App. 1 quart

Zucchini “Applesauce”*

The inspiration for this recipe came from http://www.allrecipes.com where you can find several variations of zucchini “applesauce.” I wasn’t quite satisfied with the one I tried, so I added some spices and a few real apples for texture.  (I just didn’t think the texture was authentic without the apples).  I also think you could use stevia as a sweetener if you wanted to avoid the sugar.  (1/2 tsp. stevia equals 1 cup sugar, so add gradually and adjust according to your taste).  This recipe is a surprising way to use up those last few zucchini now that apple season is upon us.

IMG_0219

Ingredients:

2 large zucchini, peeled and chopped.  (If the seeds are large and starting to get hard discard them and use only the fleshy parts)

3 lg. peeled apples (I used Granny Smith), cut into chunks

1/3  c. apple cider vinegar

1 – 2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. sugar

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. allspice

Method:

Put all ingredients into a large pot. There is no need to add water because there is a lot of water in the zucchini already.  Heat to boiling, and then reduce heat to simmer.  Cover and cook for 30 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (Cooking time depends on the zucchini.)

When the mixture has cooled then you want to blend it until mushy like applesauce.  I used a Foley Mill to do this (the old fashioned way).  You could also puree the cooled mixture in a blender or food processor.

*One of our favorite ways to eat any kind of applesauce is to pair it with a peanut butter sandwich for a very kid-friendly lunch 🙂

Raw Banana “Ice Cream”

When it’s hot outside most people look for a cold treat like ice cream.  When I stopped eating dairy this created a problem because I really LOVE ice cream.   I have learned that frozen bananas make the best ice cream substitute ever.

It’s simple to make:  All you need are a Champion Juicer* and a couple of frozen ripe bananas. ( I like to wrap each banana in plastic wrap before freezing so they don’t stick together in the freezer.)  When you want a naturally sweet frozen treat simply run the frozen bananas through the Champion Juicer using the blank (not the screen).  What you will have is something that looks and tastes like soft-serve banana ice cream, but without all the negatives of dairy.  For variety you can add any frozen berries you desire.  This is also an inexpensive alternative to any sorbet on the market.

*If you don’t have a Champion Juicer you can use a food processor.  It doesn’t produce the same creamy consistency as the Champion so you may have to add a little rice or soy milk and some sweetener (the rice or soy milk will dilute the natural sweetness of the fruit).

Very Berry Pie

This recipe comes from “Country Life Vegetarian Cookbook.”  It is easy and so healthy. If you pick your own blackberries as I did, it’s also very economical. The taste is sweet/tart and the berries stay whole and fresh because you never cook them. YUM!

Ingredients:

1 1/4 c. pineapple juice or apple juice concentrate (I used the apple juice concentrate)

1/2 c. honey

1 tsp. vanilla

6 1/2 Tbs. organic cornstarch

4 c. frozen raspberries, blackberries, or boysenberries (I used blackberries)

Method:

Blend the first four ingredients on high for 10 seconds or until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat and gently fold in frozen berries with a rubber spatula.

Pour the berry mixture into a 9 inch baked pie shell and chill.

That’s it — Enjoy!

RECIPES: AVOCADO PUDDINGS

   Here are two very simple raw puddings that are rich and creamy without any milk or butterfat. Don’t let the word “avocado” scare you — no one will guess your secret ingredient in these yummy desserts.

   I use medium size Haas avocados. They are best when they are very dark green, almost black, but still kind of firm. If the skin feels too squishy it is too old. If the skin is still hard and green it isn’t ripe enough yet.

NO CHOCOLATE PUDDING

2 medium, ripe avocados (peeled and pitted)

1/2 cup carob powder (or to taste)

3/4 cup maple syrup (or to taste)

1/2 Tsp. vanilla

  Puree all ingredients in food processor until smooth and creamy. Chill, serve.

KEY LIME PUDDING

1 medium, ripe avocado (peeled and pitted)

1 ripe banana (peeled and sliced)

juice of 1/2 lemon

juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 – 1/3 cup honey (to taste)

   Blend all ingredients in a food processor until creamy. Chill, serve.

Recipe: Baked Rice Pudding (vegan)

   This time of year, when the weather traps us inside, I always like to fill the kitchen with the wonderful smells I remember from childhood. Something sweet and creamy, like this vegan rice pudding, is the perfect comfort food for dessert or even breakfast on a cold day. There are only a few ingredients, and it goes together quickly. It does take a long time to bake, but the way the house smells as it bakes makes it worth the time. Everyone who comes in will say, “Yum, what smells so good?”

BAKED RICE PUDDING (vegan)

1/2 cup white or brown rice (brown rice takes a little longer to cook)

4 c. soy milk

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

1/4 c. honey

   Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and then transfer to a lightly sprayed, ovenproof, 1 1/2 qt. casserole.

   Bake uncovered for 2 – 3 hours, stirring every half hour, until done. Remove from oven just before rice is completely done because it will continue to cook a little as the rice cools. If you cook until you think it’s completely done the rice may get mushy as it cools, and I think rice pudding is best when each grain of rice is separate and distinct — not one congealed mass.

   Serve warm or cold — it’s delicious either way!

Baked Rice Pudding (vegan)