Cilantro Pesto Shredded Jackfruit

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If you've never cooked jackfruit it can seem intimidating, weird and just confusing. Don't fret. It's really easy. Jackfruit absorbs the flavors of whatever you cook with with so you can do this with any sauce, really. If you hate cilantro just use a regular basil pesto for a more Italian feel... or use whatever herbs you like! 

If you've never tasted it before it has the texture of a shredded meat (like chicken or pork) but without the greasy animal yuckiness. It doesn't have much flavor on its own but when cooked in a flavorful broth and then mixed with a good sauce it takes on the flavors like a champion. It's a wonderful vegan meat substitute and worth finding! (You can find it in Asian markets or buy it online here!) 

Cilantro Pesto Shredded Jackfruit 

(makes 2-4 servings. Double it and freeze any leftovers!) 

  • 1 can young green jackfruit in brine, drained
  • 2 cups vegan broth (preferably "chicken" flavored but whatever you have works.)
  • 1 batch of cilantro pesto, recipe below

Prepare the jackfruit - Drain the jackfruit and rinse well. Chop up the pieces of jackfruit into smaller chunks. 

Bring the broth to a boil and add in the jackfruit. Turn it down to a simmer and cook until most of the broth has been evaporated - about 15 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid. Mash all of the jackfruit up with a fork until it has a shredded texture. You could also pull it apart with your hands once it's cool enough if you like. 

I like to "fry" it in a dry hot nonstick pan for several minutes to brown it a bit but it is not necessary. Mix in the pesto once it is cooked to your liking and take off the heat. Use in whatever you like! It's a natural in any Mexican dishes like burritos, tacos, enchiladas, etc but also good in a pasta salad, on top of baked potatoes, or on top of your favorite salads. 

 

Cilantro Pesto

  • 1 cup cilantro, packed
  • 1/2 cup pepitas, toasted (you can also use almonds)
  • juice 1/2 lime
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeds removed (optional)
  • salt to taste 

Blend everything until smooth. Add additional water as necessary and make sure you add salt to taste at the end. 

*To toast the pepitas or almonds spread them out in a single layer on a baking pan. Bake at 350 until toasted - no time posted here because you need to just watch them because they can go from lovely toasted to burnt very easily. 

 

 

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Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Smoothie

Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Smoothie

With cherry season in full swing here we have been eating out fair share and now I've figured out how to drink them for breakfast too! This no-sugar-added drink is super filling what with the oats and chia seeds. 

Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 cup pitted frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1-2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • a few ice cube - optional but recommended

Blend it all up until smooth! I just use the "smoothie" button my Blendtec which I just love! If you don't have a high speed blender you may want to blend up your oats and chia seeds first so they get incorporated in better.



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Vegan Cheeseburger Mac

Vegan Cheeseburger Mac

I saw a box of some ultra trashy cheeseburger mac at the grocery store and I got a mega childhood driven craving for something like it- but ya know, vegan and healthier! Still fresh off my inspiration from the Lentil-a-roni from Isa Does It, I figured I could just sub in some lentils for the burger part and make a nutritional yeast cheesy sauce. Done! Junk food craving full satisfied and my body was beyond happy with me for making it so healthy. You could add in some chopped greens at the end to make it even healthier (or serve it with some on the side!)

Alright, less talk and more food!  

Vegan Cheeseburger Mac

makes 4-6 servings

  • 1 cup dry brown/green lentils 
  • 2 & 1/4 cup water
  • 1 large sweet onion, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 2 cups unsweetened soy or almond milk 
  • 2/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch (or you can use cornstarch or arrowroot)  
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons miso 
  • 16oz whole wheat pasta (or whatever kind you like)
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomato
  • black pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil in a small pot and add in the lentils. Turn the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer until fully cooked (about 35-40 minutes.) Once fully cooked smash up the lentils with a potato masher or a fork until mostly broken up but not pureed. You want it to still have texture.

Bring a bot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Once cooked drained and set aside. 

While the pasta is cooking sauté the minced onion in a large nonstick pan over medium heat until translucent (add water if necessary to prevent sticking.) Add in the garlic and thyme. Cook for another minute or so. Stir in the smashed lentils. 

Now add in all of the remaining ingredients (except the pasta) and whisk to combine. Turn the heat up and bring to a simmer to thicken the sauce. Once the sauce it thickened stir in the pasta. This would be a good time to stir in a few handfuls of chopped spinach or other greens if you desire. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving. (Oh and its good with some hot sauce on top too if that's your thing!) 

 

 

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Dilled Cucumber Tomato Salad

Any salad without lettuce is my on the top of my salad lists because I can make it ahead of time without worrying it about it wilting on me. This tastes great (maybe even better) the next day so its also great for making ahead for packed lunches. 

Anyone else pack lunches for work? I pack the Mr.'s lunch every day and I have to be honest, it must be a super boring lunch most of the time. I put some of this in it today so hopefully it is just a tad more interesting. 

Dilled Cucumber Tomato Salad

This is the perfect summer salad. It goes with everything (I even ate it with hot and sour soup but maybe that's just because I'm a bit nutty!) It's the perfect way to use up beautiful summer tomatoes. 

Dilled Cucumber Tomato Salad

Dilled Cucumber Tomato Salad 

  • 3-5 medium small heirloom tomatoes (or whatever kind you can find), cut into small wedges 
  • 1/2 english cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1/4 large sweet onion sliced thin (walla-walla or hawaiian sweet are great)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh minced dill
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced fine or grated with microplane grater
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • a big pinch of salt
  • black pepper to taste

Mix everything together and refrigerate for an hour or so for the flavors to meld together. Eat with everything!!!

Note: You can use finely minced basil instead of the dill if you like but then it won't be Dilled Cucumber Tomato Salad... it would be Basiled Cucumber Tomato Salad (and that sounds a bit funny) 

 

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Cauliflower Cream

In case you didn't know: I'm allergic to cashews. I know, its a bummer, right? Especially if you ever want to go out for vegan food. Whatever though. I can make something else at home for creamy dishes. Instead, I usually use silken tofu OR this super easy yummy cauliflower cream. 

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It's about the easiest thing you can make. I use it instead of nuts but also instead of coconut milk in recipes (you can just add coconut extract if you want some of the flavor without all of the fat or without having to go to the store just for a can of the stuff...) 

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I used it in this recipe for Lentil-a-Roni from Isa Does It instead of the cashews. It was absolutely FABULOUS!!!! Like 10/10 for our family. I want to make it all of the time now because it is SO easy, so delicious and made with pantry items!

If you don't have this book, let me tell you something: YOU NEED IT!! http://amzn.to/1mCJd3E

Cauliflower Cream 

If a recipe calls for say 1/2 cup cashews and 1 cup water then I would use 1 & 1/2 cup of this cauliflower cream. You can freeze it too!! I wouldn't use this in any sweet dish though. Only savory. 

  • 3 cups finely chopped cauliflower (about 1/2 head)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 clove garlic (optional) 
  • salt to taste

Bring your water to a boil and add the cauliflower (and garlic if you want.) Turn it down to a simmer and cook until very tender. 

Blend up until very very smooth (my Blendtec makes this incredibly silky smooth!) Add salt to taste.

Note: If you want a thicker sauce you can pour off some of the cooking water before blending. 


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