It’s vegan nacho cheese! Pour it over a pile of tortilla chips or make it into a thick dip. Mmmm.
Creamy Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup raw cashews (note: if you don't have a high-powered blender such as a NutriBullet or Vitamix, soak the cashews in water for several hours then drain them before using; this step will make the sauce much creamier)
- 1 cup water (plus more to reach desired consistency)
- 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika (plus more to shake on top, if desired)
- ½ teaspoon onion powder (heaping)
- 1 large clove garlic
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- Sriracha (optional, and to taste)
- In a high-powered blender, blend the cashews, 1 cup of water, and all of the other ingredients (except for the Sriracha) until smooth and creamy.
- Transfer the mixture to a sauce pan. Over a low heat, use a whisk to stir constantly so mixture won't burn, adding water in ¼-cup increments until desired consistency is reached (about 5 to 10 minutes). Add Sriracha to taste, if using.
- Pour over nachos (or into a bowl if using as a dip). Shake a little more smoked paprika on top, if desired. Serve immediately.
A melt-in-your-mouth crust that you can make ahead of time means empanadas any time you want them.
Flaky Banana and Black Bean Empanadas
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening, cold, not room temperature (I use Earth Balance) and cut into cubes
- ½ cup plant-based milk (I use almond milk)
- 2 tablespoons white wine or cooking wine (this adds flavor and keeps ingredients from sticking while avoiding excessive oil; if you don't have wine, you can use water)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (or avoid oil altogether by adding more water or white wine to keep ingredients from sticking)
- 1½ cups yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups banana, diced
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ to 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour and salt.
- Add the shortening cubes to the flour mixture, cutting it in until the dough is crumbly. You can do this with two knives or with your fingertips.
- Add the plant-based milk, and with a wooden spoon, gently mix everything together. If necessary, you may add another tablespoon or so of flour -- just enough so that you can form the dough into a ball that's not overly sticky and wet.
- With your hands, gather the dough into a ball and knead gently several times so that it holds together.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (see Notes). While the dough is chilling, you can make the empanada filling.
- Heat white wine or cooking wine and oil (if using) in a large skillet, then add onions. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent.
- Add beans and garlic, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Gently stir in bananas, cayenne pepper, coriander, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook 2 to 3 more minutes. You want the bananas to soften and the spices to become fragrant. Taste mixture and add the additional ½ teaspoon salt (or add to taste) if needed.
- Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Re-wrap one half with plastic wrap and return it to the refrigerator.
- With a knife, divide the half of the dough ball you're working with into 8 equal pieces.
- Quickly roll one of the dough pieces into a ball with your hands. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the ball to a 4½ to 5-inch round. (Be sure your surface and your rolling pin stay lightly floured so the dough doesn't stick; I keep the flour next to me to add a small pinch as I need it.)
- Fill the dough round with approximately 2 tablespoons of filling, and brush edges of dough round with water.
- Fold dough round in half, press to close, and crimp edges with a floured fork to seal (if your fork gets sticky, dip in flour after each crimp you make). If you're a perfectionist (I'm a perfectionist), use a fluted pastry wheel or sharp knife to cut excess dough from the crimped edge to create a more streamlined curve.
- Transfer to the parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining 7 dough balls and filling. Transfer baking sheet of 8 empanadas to the refrigerator and repeat the whole process with the other half of the dough you have wrapped in the refrigerator.
- Chill both trays of empanadas on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes before baking (they can be chilled overnight if you are making ahead of time, just be sure to cover them). Bake empanadas for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet before serving with sriracha, tabasco, or hot sauce of choice, and other favorites (think non-dairy sour cream, avocado slices, quinoa, brown rice, a green salad, etc.).
This dough will make 16 empanadas, and can be made ahead of time! If you're not using the dough immediately, divide in half, wrap each ball in plastic wrap, place in refrigerator, and use the following day. Alternatively, place dough in freezer bags and store in freezer until ready to use.
Serve these fellows piled on top of spaghetti, or smother them in homemade marinara and make a classic ‘meatball’ sub.
Tip: Do a little extra prep work for a really special dinner: Make a quick batch of cashew Parmesan cheese (super easy, and needed for this recipe anyway!), prepare a classic marinara, and/or bake a loaf of rustic bread.
Great Aunt Mary's Eggplant Meatballs
- 2 pounds eggplant, cubed (skin left on)
- Olive oil (a few spritzes to lightly coat eggplant)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup panko (plus ½ cup more if needed)
- 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh basil)
- 2 tablespoons cashew Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl, spritz eggplant cubes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to fully coat.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spread eggplant cubes on baking sheets. Roast for 20-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through to ensure even cooking. When the eggplant are tender, remove from oven, transfer to a large bowl (do not discard parchment paper), and allow to cool for five minutes or so. Mash the eggplant with a potato masher or pulse a few times in a food processor.
- Add diced onion and minced garlic to the eggplant mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon. Stir in 1 cup of panko, Italian seasoning, basil, and cashew Parmesan cheese. Taste mixture and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Mixture should be moist enough to roll into a ball but not overly wet -- if it's too wet, add some or all of the remaining ½ cup panko.
- Scoop out 2 tablespoons or so of the mixture into your hand and shape into ball (slightly smaller than a golf ball). Place on the same parchment-paper-lined baking sheet you used for the eggplant cubes. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
- Bake for 30 minutes, turning at the halfway point so that sides are evenly browned.
- Remove eggplant meatballs from oven and let set for 5 minutes before serving over pasta with marinara or in an eggplant meatball sandwich.
Once baked, your eggplant meatballs will get firmer as they cool. I recommend making ahead of time and reheating them in marinara in a saucepan over the stove when you're ready to serve. Makes around 24.
Foregoing the tahini called for in many hummus recipes means dropping lots of fat without sacrificing the creamy texture or rich flavor.
Easy Tahini-Free Rosemary Hummus
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained (liquid reserved) and peeled (see Notes below!)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
- Paprika or smoked paprika for serving (optional)
- Add chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and rosemary to a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as many times as necessary until everything is well blended. If needed, add some of the reserved chickpea water one tablespoon at a time and/or the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and continue blending until hummus reaches your desired consistency.
- Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and sprinkle with paprika or smoked paprika before serving (if desired).
Using peeled chickpeas means pinching the skins off each bean by hand, and it takes some time! Don't bother if you want the extra fiber from the skins (or don't mind a more rustic hummus), but know that removing them will make the hummus much creamier. Personally, I put on some music and just get in the peeling zone...
Potato pancakes, versatile is thy name. Try these for breakfast or lunch, or as a dinner appetizer, a side dish, a snack…
Tip: Be sure to make a batch of cashew Parmesan cheese first — it takes just a minute to put together and this recipe includes it!
Oven-Baked Potato Pancakes
- 4 large red potatoes, shredded and drained well (tip: use cheesecloth or a nut milk bag to squeeze out as much liquid as possible)
- ¼ cup diced shallots
- ¼ cup thinly sliced green onion
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus extra for garnish
- 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax seed + 6 tablespoons of water)
- ¼ cup white whole-wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons panko
- heaping ¼ cup cashew Parmesan cheese (get the recipe at APB: Eats)
- natural sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (start with about ¼ teaspoon of each, but you'll probably need to add more)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- non-dairy sour cream (optional for serving)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combined shredded potatoes, olive oil, shallots, green onions, garlic, parsley, and flax eggs in a large bowl.
- Add in flour, breadcrumbs, non-dairy Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and mix to combine. (Taste mixture and add additional salt and pepper as necessary. Make sure they are sufficiently salted so they're not bland.)
- With slightly oiled hands, make 8 thin potato pancakes and place them on a prepared baking sheet (you can spritz olive oil directly onto baking sheet, or place a sheet of parchment paper down first).
- Bake for 30 minutes, flipping pancakes at the halfway point. They should be golden brown in color.
- Serve immediately with a dollop of non-dairy sour cream and and fresh parsley -- applesauce goes great with them, too!
Admit it — without the recipe title, you didn’t know what they were, right?
Tip: Baby eggplant make a great appetizer or side dish when served with fresh-baked bread, or try serving them over spaghetti with classic marinara for a simple and delicious main course.
Garlic-Stuffed Baby Eggplant
- Baby eggplants (as many as you want to use)
- Several garlic cloves (amount depends on how many baby eggplants you're making)
- Fresh oregano or basil
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Thinly slice a clove or two of garlic (more if necessary).
- Slice an "X" on the bottom of each eggplant, about a ½-inch deep. (Leave the stem intact.)
- Press a slice or two of garlic with a bit of oregano or basil into each "X" at the bottom of the eggplants.
- Arrange eggplants in a glass baking dish, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle them with olive oil (and a bit of lemon juice, if desired).
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, making sure not to touch the eggplants with the foil. Roast, basting frequently with the oil in the dish, until the eggplants are very soft, 30-40 minutes.
- Remove foil and roast for 5-7 more minutes.
“Darbster Bistro put its own creative twist on the crab cake and introduced what is now its signature dish: the Palm Cake. Wonderfully seasoned, crispy on the outside, and moist on the inside, it’s an appetizer, entrée, or a sandwich.” — Gene Baur, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life
Photo by: APB: Eats
Hearts of Palm Cakes with Dill Mayo
Author: Darbster Bistro / "Living the Farm Sanctuary Life" via APB: Eats
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 dates
- ½ cup water
- 1 ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried dill or 1 teaspoon fresh
- Pinch of salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ teaspoon mild chili powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup Bragg Liquid Aminos
- 1 28-ounce can sliced hearts of palm, rinsed
- 2 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup vegan mayonnaise (such as Hampton Creek's Just Mayo)
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 1 to 2 teaspoon vegan butter, preferably Earth Balance spread
- In a blender, combine the cashews, dates, water, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic powder, dill, salt, pepper, and oil. Purée, adding more water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
- Coat a medium skillet with oil and heat over medium heat. Add the red onions and bell peppers and cook until soft, 6 to 7 minutes.
- Add the chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper to the skillet and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the Liquid Aminos to the pan and quickly stir for about 15 seconds. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover the bowl and transfer it to a refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
- In a food processor, add the hearts of palm. Pulse to a coarse, even consistency, but do not purée them. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the chilled veggies, 1 ½ cups of the panko, the vegan mayonnaise, and green onions and mix well. Form into 8 cakes and roll them in the remaining 1 cup panko.
- In a wide skillet, melt the vegan butter over medium-high heat. Add as many cakes as will comfortably fit in the pan and fry them for 4 minutes per side. Repeat this process until you have cooked all the cakes.
- Serve each cake with a dollop of the dill mayo.