Jackfruit-Stuffed Cucumber Timbales Recipe

Cucumbers are great and I don’t eat enough of them — they’re very refreshing and cooling. They are special in Ayurvedic medicine for reasons I don’t really understand, maybe because they have a soothing-cooling effect. They go really well with jackfruit, which isn’t sweet even though it’s a fruit. Lots of people use jackfruit as a vegan “pork” but I think it’s better used in cold salads like this one.

I came up with this recipe based on a similar one from Jazzy Vegetarian and combined it with a recipe I saw on Pinterest.

Everyone thought these were delicious and could not get enough of them — hollowed out fresh cucumbers stuffed with flaky, savory jackfruit, roasted walnuts, and delicate caper puree. A fun way to eat your salad and (savory) fruit in a little drum shape.

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INGREDIENTS:

2 large cucumbers, peeled
1 can jackfruit in brine, drained OR 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
3 green onions, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning or seasoning of your choice
1 tablespoon capers (rinsed), green olives, or pickle relish
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
2/3 cup vegan mayo such as Vegenaise or Just Mayo

DIRECTIONS:

Peel the cucumbers and cut them into 3/4 inch slices, set aside.

Toast the chopped walnuts in a dry pan on medium heat for about five minutes, keeping an eye on them. Once they begin to release a nice fragrance, toss them and roast for a minute more. Turn off heat and then them sit.

Drain the jackfruit and combine jackfruit, roasted walnuts, green onions, Old Bay or other seasoning, capers, and mayo in a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times until everything is minced and blended but not all the way into paste.

Hollow out the seeds cucumber rounds on one side with a small spoon so the filling can sit in there. Stuff with the jackfruit blend and serve as an appetizer or in the place of a salad.

Fresh Homemade Mango Salsa Recipe

Mangos!!!!  Salsa!!!!  What could be more delightful?

I had some mangos on the verge of being overripe so I improvised this salsa.  It’s a little spicy, a little sweet, a little smoky, and very fresh.  You’ll never want to eat store-bought salsa again!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

2 regular mangos or 4 champagne mangos
One 14 ounce can of organic chopped tomatoes, in their juice, or approximately 1 and 1/4 cups roughly chopped fresh tomatoes
1/3 cup regular or red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cilantro (optional)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons sugar, maple syrup or other sweetener
5 drops liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (not red pepper)
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or hot sauce, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Peel mangos with a paring knife and cut out their pits.  Chop the mango flesh roughly and dump it into a blender or food processor.  Add all other ingredients to the blender.

Pulse a few times, depending on how smooth or chunky you like your salsa.

Makes about 4 – 5 cups salsa.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 17 September, 2013: Black Bean Guacamole Pita Pizza

black bean vegan guacamole pizza

INGREDIENTS:

1 pita round

1 tablespoon onion, chopped

3/4 cup black beans, mashed with a fork
1 teaspoon taco seasoning (generic blend of cumin, chili powder, and onion powder)

OR

1/2 cup refried black beans mixed with 1/4 cup salsa

1/2 recipe of homemade guacamole (about 1/2 avocado’s worth or 3/4 cup)

3/4 cup corn kernels (I used organic frozen ones defrosted in the microwave)

Homemade blender salsa, for serving

DIRECTIONS:

Mash taco seasoning into black beans until they are a paste.  Mix in onions.  Spread the black bean paste on the pita round.  Top with corn.

On an oven proof pan or cookie sheet, broil the pita round with the black beans and corn on it for 5 – 7 minutes.

Take out of oven and spread with guacamole.  Serve with salsa.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 5 September, 2013: Smoky Cream Cheese, Avocado, & Cucumber Sandwich

vegan smoky cream cheese and cucumber sandwich
This cream cheese is so realistic, if I had not made it myself, I would swear it was made with cow’s milk.  I learned the secret from Miyoko Schinner and her Artisan Vegan Life recipes and Artisan Vegan Cheese cookbook.  Just blending soaked cashews with a little water, lemon juice, and salt makes a very convincing cream cheese to begin with, however, if you add Miyoko’s stroke of genius a.k.a. almond milk yogurt and allow the cream cheese to culture/ferment over the course of a day, the results are a dead ringer for dairy cream cheese.

This is a godsend for the lactose intolerant as well as vegans.  I recently wrote Panera Bread about carrying more vegan options — imagine if Panera provided vegan cream cheese!

Which begs the question, why does anyone ever need to torture a cow and take away her babies for cream cheese when you can just make an exact replica cholesterol-free out of cashews and vegan yogurt?

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CREAM CHEESE INGREDIENTS:

1 cup cashews soaked in water 9 – 24 hours
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 drops liquid smoke
1/2 cup almond or other non-dairy yogurt, plain flavor
1/4 cup water
Salt, to taste

1 green onion, minced

SANDWICH INGREDIENTS (FOR ONE):

1-2 tablespoons vegan smoky onion cream cheese
2 slices whole grain bread, toasted
1/2 a small avocado, sliced thinly or smashed
4 slices of cucumber, peeled and seeded

DIRECTIONS:

Soak cashews and drain.  I have noticed that with my Vitamix blender, it is far easier to blend cashews in large batches of 2 cups or more.   A good strategy is to make this cream cheese in bulk by doubling the recipe and then freezing the excess.  I used the cream cheese without onions as a base for Mozzarella Basil Caprese Salad from Artisan Vegan Life.

Combine cashews, lemon juice, liquid smoke, water,salt, and yogurt in a blender and blend until very, very smooth.  Alternately, save the blending altogether by replacing the cashews with cashew butter.  Blending soaked cashews into a smooth paste will take longer in a non-high speed blender, however, it can be done.  No matter what kind of blender you have, the sides will have to be repeatedly scraped down.  I use a rubber spatula.    Add water by the tablespoon to get the consistency you want, keeping in mind it will thicken dramatically once it sits out for a day.  Add the minced green onions to the blender and pulse a couple of times until they are incorporated.

Transfer the cream cheese to a container and allow it to sit on the counter for anywhere from 12 – 36 hours.  The yogurt will help the mixture to ferment/culture.  The mixture will thicken as it sits.  The longer you leave it to sit, the more tangy your cream cheese will be.

Chill the cream cheese.  Toast the bread and assemble the sandwich!

Daily Vegan Lunch for 29 July, 2013: Artichoke Tortilla Pizzas

These are very, very good. The tortillas become crunchy like a thin crust restaurant pizza. If I ever own a vegan restaurant or deli in the future, I will definitely feature these pizzas on the menu.

vegan crunchy tortilla pizzas

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INGREDIENTS FOR 2 PIZZAS:

SAUCE:

1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped (I used grape tomatoes)
1 tablespoon vegan mayonnaise or olive oil (I used vegan mayo)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 cup onion, minced

EVERYTHING ELSE:

2 regular sized tortillas, any kind

1 cup artichoke hearts
1/4 cup roasted peppers
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup pitted olives
(or any pizza toppings you can think of, I really liked the artichoke hearts)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix sauce ingredients in a small bowl until it makes a thick, chunky paste. Spread the paste evenly on 2 tortillas. Top with artichokes, olives, and whatever you are putting on there. Put tortillas on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 10 minutes.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 23 July, 2013: Bacon Cheese Fries

July 23 was my birthday. Yes, I was a french fry vegan for one day. This was really tasty.

My awesome vegan cheese recipe is very low calorie and almost zero fat. The bacon cheese fries you see here contain zero cholesterol and the whole thing clocks in at only 350 calories and 7 grams of fat! Yay!

The same plateful of bacon cheese fries from Steak & Shake is 950 calories and 54 sad grams of fat.

This non-dairy cheese sauce is also excellent on nachos. I originally invented a version of it to go on Best Ever Vegan Mac & Cheese.

vegan bacon cheese fries

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INGREDIENTS:

3 cups of frozen steak fries
2 teaspoons oil

1 cup Oat Cheese from Best Ever Vegan Nachos

1 tablespoon veggie baco bits

1 green onion, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put the fries in a casserole dish or on a cookie sheet. Hand toss frozen fries in oil until they are lightly coated on all sides. Alternately, coat fries with less or no oil at all if you want even less fat.

Bake fries 10 minutes, then toss them with a spatula and cook for 10 minutes more.

Coat fries with slightly warm cheese sauce and top with baco bits and green onion. DELICIOUS! Happy Birthday to me!!

Daily Vegan Lunch for 12 July, 2013: Eggplant Caponata

vegan eggplant caponata

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INGREDIENTS:

5 cups eggplant, chopped
3 cups tomatoes, chopped (I used grape tomatoes)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)
1 teaspoon salt

Angel hair pasta

DIRECTIONS: In a large covered fry pan or skillet, cook eggplant on medium-high heat with no oil or water. Roast the eggplant, stirring it to flip the pieces every two minutes until sides are sufficiently browned. In a food processor or blender, combine tomatoes and garlic and pulse until they are the texture of chunky salsa. Alternately, chop the tomatoes into a near mince and mince the garlic, set aside. Rinse capers in water, drain. Add tomatoes and garlic to the eggplant pan along with capers, herbs, and salt. Lastly add olive oil, if using. Stir frequently. Cook for 2 minutes or until tomatoes turn bright vibrant red and give off some of their juice.

Serve over angel hair pasta.