Kick Ace Extra Sharp Raw Vegan Cheddar Cheese Ball

I am always on the look out for great vegan cheese recipes for my vegetarian friends who just can’t seem to take the plunge to veganism because of their love affair with the almighty powerful drug called “Cheese.” I am on a mission to find the best alternatives that will recreate that warm fuzzy feeling people get from consuming it. So a few weeks ago, low and behold, the “Kick ace extra sharp raw vegan cheddar cheese ball” appeared on my personal Facebook feed… not once, not twice, but three times (a lady). I considered this a sign that I must try this recipe and share it with my lalaraw community! Things as good as this are meant to be shared far and wide!

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Note:  I cannot take credit for this awesome recipe because it came from another awesome vegan blogger Somer McCowan from vedgedout. I will share my experience with preparing it and serving it to friends and family over the holidays. To get the recipe, simply click here.

The first time I attempted to make this recipe I tried to make it in my Vitamix (not such a great idea). It sounded like I was going to blow up the motor so I transferred it to my food processor with great results. Secondly, I did not have Sherry on hand so I skipped it. Not sure if this would make much of a difference in the flavor but I still plan on trying it down the road. Also, I only had organic unrefined coconut oil and it did leave a definite coconut aftertaste. All in all, we loved the flavor of the cheese ball, except for the strong aftertaste of coconut.

On my second attempt, the real test was serving it to family (die hard cheese lovers) at a family gathering on Christmas Eve. On this attempt, I knew what I was doing and went straight to the food processor and mixed it with ease. I chilled the mixture overnight and then, the next morning, rolled the mixture into the form of a ball and rolled the ball in almond shavings. I also used refined coconut oil and viola – no coconut aftertaste. Perfect. I wrapped the ball with aluminum foil and packed in ice in a travel cooler and off we went (for a 5 hour drive). The entire drive I had a visions of unwrapping my aluminum foil to find a blob of melted cheese. To my surprise, when we arrived, it was perfectly intact and ready to serve. So, I put out my cheese tray… without saying a word and watched!Cheese

They came, they ate, they raved. I told them, of course later, it was vegan and everyone wanted the recipe. I don’t think my father-in-law ever realized it was vegan cheese when he whispered, “Make sure to bring any of the leftover home with us tonight!” This, of course, was one of the best Christmas gifts a vegan girl trying to spread the word about vegansism could get!

My take away… loved it! I will be making it for many gatherings for years to come. Thank you, Somer McCowan for such a brilliant recipe! For more great recipes by Somer, check out her website www.vedgedout.com.

Next attempt, I’ll be adding a 20-year-old Sherry to the recipe. It was a gift from my father-in-law. Thank Pops! I think he wants another cheese ball. Enjoy!

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Thyme Multi Seed Crackers

Time for a snack attack? How about a healthy cracker recipe packed with protein and Omega 3 fatty acids. I often just want something small and quick to grab when the munchies hit. Whether it’s between meals or sometimes as a main course, a few of these crackers stacked with avocado, tomato and micro greens really hits the spot.

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Ingredients:
1 cup raw flax seeds
3 cups raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon Bragg’s liquid amino’s

Directions:
Combine flax seeds with one cup of filtered water and let sit for an hour. It will become a gooey mixture that will help bind your crackers together.

Combine remaining ingredients in a food processer and pulse until chopped and blended.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well until it becomes a wet, crumbly mixture.

Spread into a thin layer on dehydrator trays lined with parchment paper. Score crackers before dehydrating so they will snap apart easily.

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Dehydrate for 7-8 hours on a low setting.

*If you don’t have a dehydrator you can still make these crackers in your oven.

Set your oven at its lowest heat and leave your oven door cracked open. Spread a thin mixture on parchment paper, place on a baking sheet and put in the oven. The crackers will dry in about 3-4 hours. If still chewy, flip the crackers over and dry up to 45 minutes.

I like to serve with mashed avocado as a spread with some cherry tomatoes and micro greens. Yum!
Also great with hummus.

Store crackers in an air-tight container for up to a week (although they never last that long in our house).

Yeilds about 26 medium-sized crackers or 52 small, bite-size cracker

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*Note: I made this batch of crackers on the thicker side. To make a thinner cracker just spread the ingredients out more on the dehydrator sheet. I have also made a sweet version of this with cinnamon and maple syrup and some dates. Play with the recipe, there are countless ways to make this recipe.

Enjoy!

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Raw Vegan Manicotti

rawmani2I really love this recipe and it is my go-to dish when I have company that is new to raw food or might even be considering going vegan. They are usually quite impressed and get excited about the possibilities of a vegan raw food lifestyle.

My fiancé, who is not a raw foodist or even vegan (not yet anyway), really enjoys this recipe.

So if you love the flavors of Italian food, I think you will love this dish. The marinara sauce itself is amazing, and I make it often with raw noodle dishes and even use it to top a cooked vegan pizza that I prepare for my fiancé.

Ingredients:
Noodles
4 medium organic zucchini

For the Sunflower cheese filling
2-cups raw sunflower seeds (soaked 2-4 hours)
4 cups spinach
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup filtered water
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1/2 cup parsley
sea salt to taste

Easy raw Marinara
1 cup sundried tomatoes (soaked 2 hours)
1-cup tomato chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried oregeno
1 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon Tamari (Gluten free soy sauce)

Directions
To prepare noodles cut off ends of each zucchini leaving the skin intact. Then carefully using a mandoline, slice the zucchini the long way so you have long wide noodles. Set aside.

To prepare cheese filling:
In a food processor, combine all ingredients and process, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides. Process until smooth.

To prepare easy raw marinara sauce:
In a high speed blender combine all ingredients and blend until you get a bit of a chunky consistency.

To assemble:
Take 3 strips of zucchini noodles and lay side by side length wise overlapping the noodles a bit. Put 2 tablespoons of cheese filling at one end and roll.

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Top with marinara sauce and garnish with parsley, serve right away…

*You can also stack the noodles, cheese filling, and sauce to make a lasagna.

See video below for how to make the marinara sauce…

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Sun Dried Tomato-Basil Seed Pate


I like to make a batch of seed or nut pate on Sundays in preparation for a busy week. Like most people, I have a full-time job outside of making raw food. So preparing recipes ahead of time for the week helps me stay on track with eating nutrient dense raw living foods.

I like to use nut pates as a dip for veggies, a spread inside a collard wrap or as a great vegan appetizer for guests. For today’s recipe, I chose to do cucumber cups filled with Sun Dried Tomato-Basil Seed Pate.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (shelled)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon juiced
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 teaspoon date syrup or agave
1 teaspoon tamari
Sea salt to taste

*If making for cucumber cups you will need two medium-sized organic cucumbers.

Directions:
Soak sunflower seeds for up to 4 hours, drain and rinse. Soak sun dried tomatoes for up to 4 hours or until they have softened and reserve soaking water for adding to recipe later. Chop sun dried tomatoes and set side.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until you reach desired consistency. For a creamier texture add reserved soaking water from sun dried tomatoes 1 tablespoon at a time.
To make cucumber cups, take two washed organic cucumbers and cut the ends off. Then take a peeler and peel the outer skin in stripes leaving the skin in between sections. Chop into one inch cups then take a spoon and remove half the seeds to make the cup.


Spoon pate into cups and garnish and serve.

Seed pate will store up to 7 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

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Raw Red Velvet Cake Bites

It’s Valentine’s Day this week so it’s time to make a dessert to celebrate. I used to love red velvet cake and thought there must be a way to make a vegan, raw version; so, after tinkering around for a few weeks in the kitchen, viola… this recipe was born! They taste like a decadent, raw chocolate truffle.


Ingredients:
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup dried shredded unsweetened coconut (This is raw food – dried at below 108F degrees)
3 tablespoons date syrup (see video at bottom of this recipe on how to make date syrup)
2 tablespoon unsweetened Cacao powder
1/3 cup diced or juiced beet
1 tablespoon coconut oil
dash of salt
* You can also add 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:
Start by blending the cashews first in a food processor using the S blade, until fine. Then add the rest of the ingredients and process until it becomes a dough-like consistency.
Spoon out the dough and roll in your hands to make small round bites. Then (optional) roll them in shredded coconut, cacao powder, shredded almonds, or cacao nibs.

Put on a plate and place in freezer for 20 minutes or refrigerator for an hour to let them set-up. Then serve. You can also drizzle some date syrup on them for a little extra sweetness.

This recipe yields approximately 15 small bites. Double up ingredients for a larger batch.

Happy Valentines Day!

See date syrup recipe video below.

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Kale Cabbage Salad with Sweet Tahini Dressing

This is a quick and easy salad recipe that has become a favorite in our household. I absolutely love tahini and could eat it everyday. And, what’s not to love about the nutritional powerhouse, kale.

Kale, also known as borecole, is one of healthiest vegetables on the planet. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. This leafy green is available in curly, ornamental, and dinosaur varieties. I use the curly most often in my recipes.

What makes kale so awesome, you ask?
One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It’s also a good source of minerals such as copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

So, I highly recommend adding this nutrient-dense, rock star leafy green to your diet on a regular basis.

Now let’s jump into the recipe:

Salad Ingredients:
1 head of organic kale washed, de-stemmed, and torn into bite size pieces.
1/3 head of red cabbage
2 carrots grated
1 small sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
avocado for garnish (optional)


Dressing:
2 tablespoons raw tahini
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon juiced
2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup (maple syrup is not a raw food) you can substitute raw agave, date paste or sweetener of choice.
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt to taste

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss. Add avocado for garnish.
Makes 2 large servings
or 4 small side salads

Enjoy!

m

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Raw Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

I remember, as a kid, lovin’ me some good old-fashioned Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup from the can. It was my favorite. Fast forward many years and I still love it, but now I’m a raw vegan and try not to eat anything from a can… if I can help it.

This recipe satisfies my craving and is perfect for one of those cold nights when you just want to put on your sweatpants, get cozy, and enjoy some comfort food.

It can also be dressed up for guests and served with a beautiful vegetable salad and a glass of organic Pinot Grigio.

So, whatever the occasion, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Ingredients:

2-3 cups water
2 cups mushrooms (I used portobello and shitake)
1/2 cup yellow onion
1/2 cup cashews (soaked)
1/2 avocado
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
Garnish with fresh ground black pepper, parsley, and any left over mushrooms

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Pour into a bowl, garnish and enjoy! Note: If you have a Vitamix, you can blend the soup for 2 minutes and it will slightly warm it. Yum!

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The many health benefits of sweet potatoes

It is a cold, rainy day in Los Angeles, so I am going to share a little bit of information about one of my favorite comfort foods… the sweet potato. The sweet potato is a large, starchy, sweet-tasting tuberous vegetable, and considered one of the most nutritious root vegetables we can eat.

The sweet potato has many varieties of colors, including purple, orange, yellow, white and orange. The orange sweet potato is the most common variety seen in grocery stores and my personal favorite. They are also the highest in beta-carotene and what’s not to love about beta-carotene.

Some of the amazing benefits of sweet potatoes are:

1) They are a great source of vitamin C. Most people know that vitamin C is important to build the immune system and to ward of colds and the flu virus, but did you know know it also plays a crucial role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It also produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity.

2) Sweet potatoes contain iron. If you have been feeling fatigued and weak, your body may be calling for more iron. Iron plays many important roles in our bodies, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune system functioning, and the metabolizing of protein.

3) Sweet potatoes are a great source of Magnesium, the relaxation and anti-stress mineral.

4) Their rich orange color makes them packed with beta-carotene and other carotenoids, which are precursors to vitamin A in your body. Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, in addition to warding off cancer and protecting against the effects of aging.

These are just a few of the many health benefits of eating this versatile vegetable. So run, don’t walk to the market and get yourself some of these healthy vegetables today.

Much love,
Patty

I like to use sweet potatoes as a noodle or gnocchi in many of my raw Italian dishes. Here is my recipe for raw, sweet potato pasta with marinara. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bCLMCPwrgI

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Raw Energy Bars

I am always on the run (like most people), juggling work, shopping for organic food, testing recipes, keeping up with my fitness routine, and trying to have a bit of a social life. Sometimes it can get tricky to take the time to prepare a meal, so I like to make some easy raw recipes to keep in the refrigerator for a quick grab-and-go option. On Sundays, I make a couple salad dressings, tabouli, hummus, kale chips, and energy bars.

These raw energy bars are packed full of dense nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, so they keep me fueled for hours (and you don’t need a dehydrator).

Ingredients:
2 cups chopped pitted dates
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp raw maca powder
2-3 tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds
dash of cinnamon
pinch of sea-salt

Directions:
1. In a food processor, fitted with a metal blade, process dates, cacao powder, maca powder maple syrup, cinnamon, and water until smooth. Add almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and salt. Process until all ingrediants come together to form a sticky mass, stopping the motor once or twice to scrape down the sides. Your food processor will jump around a lot, this is normal.

2. Transfer to a cutting board and, using your hands, press out the mixture until it’s about an inch thick, then shape into a square. Cut into bars, making about 9 bars 3 inches long and 1 inch wide. Then, I like to cut them into bite size pieces (making about 27 pieces). Place on a platter lined with parchment and refrigerate for about an hour to set. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Variations:
There are so many variations to this recipe. Sometimes I use walnuts or macadamian nuts in place of the almonds. You can also add goji berries, hemp seeds, spirulini powder, raw almond butter. Play around with this recipe and find a combination that is perfect for you!

Enjoy!!!!

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Raw Gluten-Free Tabouli

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