Vegan Ranch Dressing

During the month of January, perhaps a hair beyond that, I am embarking on a dairy-free diet.

Granted, I’m not one of those people that’s, “DIET! DIET! DIET!” I’m sure you’ve seen that on both my Instagram and this blog. I believe in eating healthy. I believe in eating balanced. I believe in eating two Tres Leches cake doughnuts followed by a hot chocolate from Doughnut Plant every so often. The old adage “moderation is key” is SO true, y’all.

My dairy-free diet does have a basis in my own health and not in vanity – regular dairy intake might be contributing to an increase in my body’s production of testosterone. FUN! Not that I’m becoming manly, but it’d rather have my hormones in balance, thankyouveryMUCH. Dairy can affect IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor-1) into our bodies; too much can lead to an imbalance as, in some females, it causes higher testosterone production. I might be one of those females. 💁

[Mind you, I am not a doctor! I’ve worked at a hospital for almost 9 years, but my background is strictly liberal studies and communications. Ha! Speak with your own medical professional if you think this may be a concern for you.]

Removing dairy is not a huge issue; sure, I miss cheese like WHOA, I’ve had to consciously meal-prep breakfasts more as I can’t easily grab a Siggi’s and fruit on my way out the door, and I damn near keeled over when my department’s Director of Nursing bought our office pizza yesterday, BUT…I’ve got this. I’ve just got to be creative and mindful.

I wanted to see if I could use the creamy power of pulverized cashews to make something insanely tasty. I’ve mixed in lots of things with cashew cream in the past, but as I had to sadly turn down ranch dressing for my salad at dinner the other night – damn near torture for me – I wanted to see if I could take those wonderful ranch flavors and make them into something not mixed into a cow’s utter secretions.

(I know, I made milk sound so lovely, right?)

The result was pretty damn good! I immediately texted my friend Liana – one of my best vegan friends to bounce my food ideas off of – as soon as I tasted it; I figured she’d be the only person immediately as excited as I was. Ha! I miss that quintessential buttermilk tang, but I was very shocked and pleased by what I created. In this case, the dill really saved the day when bringing that good ranch flavor to this dressing.

I can definitely survive any ranch cravings as long as I’ve got this in my back pocket…figuratively, of course. I’m sure it’d last a lot longer in my fridge. 😏

Vegan Ranch Dressing

Vegan Ranch Dressing
(Makes roughly 1 & 1/2 cups)

Ingredients:
– 1 cup raw cashews, left whole
– 3 cups of hot water, for soaking cashews
– 3/4 cup water, for inclusion in dressing
– 1/2 tablespoon avocado oil
– 1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely minced or 1 teaspoon dried chives
– 3 teaspoons fresh dill, finely minced or 1 teaspoon dried dill
– 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, finely minced or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– Juice of 1/2 lemon
– 1/2 teaspoon salt

Before We Get Started…

– Oil of choice can be substituted for avocado oil here. Olive oil works just fine.

Directions:

1.) Add cashews to a large bowl and cover with 3 cups hot water. Allow to stand for at least one hour or up to 8 hours. (NOTE: I always do an hour of soaking with fine results.) Drain cashews and place into food processor or high-speed blender.

2.) Pulse cashews until a fine meal forms. Slowly add in 1/4 cup water and blend until mixture begins to thin out slightly; do this twice more in 1/4 cup water increments. With the final 1/4 cup of water, add in avocado oil. Blend until smooth.

3.) Remove cashew cream and add to large bowl. Gently fold in chives, dill, parsley, garlic powder, and lemon juice until combined. Add salt; add more to taste, if desired.

4.) Refrigerate dressing; will keep in fridge for up to a week.

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Walnut Lentil Pâté

Another month, another recipe for Yoga By Candace! Truthfully, as much as I get joy from creating recipes for this blog, I always jump at the chance to share my passion for developing cool recipes with other websites and publications. I’m so grateful Candace decided to take a chance on lil’ ol’ me a year ago and allow me to share my hard work with a different audience.

This recipe for Walnut Lentil Pâté is rather fantastic. I was in my hometown a few weeks ago and had breakfast at Plantin’ Seeds. They host events throughout the year, provide education on how to procure and use locally-sourced plant-based foods year round, and serve amazing pay – as – you – wish donation – based meals on Thursdays through Saturdays. One Saturday, they served a salad with Walnut Lentil Pâté, and, despite my initial apprehension of trying this odd brown schmear on my plate, I ended up falling head over heels for it. I knew I had to try my hand at creating my replication, and I think I did a pretty good job!

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This recipe does take some time. Between caramelizing onions, simmering lentils, and roasting walnuts, it’s not as simple as throwing a few ingredients into a food processor and giving them a a few pulses. The elbow grease you put into it will be worth it.

Be sure to head over to Yoga By Candace for the full recipe!

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classic gazpacho avocado mango

Classic Gazpacho with Avocado & Mango

Oh. HELLO.

What’ s up, my bebes?

If you’ve been following my Instagram ( @seeksatiation ), you know that I’m not dead. Conversely, I’m quite alive and kickin’! I’ve been taking a blogging break, and it’s been quite lovely. Since I work that typical Monday through Friday 9 to 5 grind, my recipe development takes place on the weekends; some weekends, though, I’d love to relax. I’ve been allowing myself to do that, and it’s been lovely! I’ve been reading THIS book and THAT book. I’ve been going to the gym. (Hell, I’ve lost 10 pounds and can now lift 30 pounds, which is a damn lot for my little chicken arms. Ha!) I’ve watched “Glow“. (I LOVE Marc Maron & Alison Brie!) I’ve been doing my usual food writing for Candace’s site. I’ve been attending fun events by Palate Connect. I’ve gone to a few Yankees games, which…they’ve all lost. Am I bad luck? Perhaps…perhaps…

So, yes! I’ve been having a nice few weekends to myself!

Coming in August, I’m hoping to launch back into the blog; this fall, I’m hoping to give it a sexy little makeover as well!

In the meantime, check out the newest recipe I did for Yoga By Candace: Classic Gazpacho with Avocados & Mango. I’m tellin’ ya, avocado in gazpacho is wonderful, but it’s the mango that truly brings this recipe to the next level. Its sweetness counters the acidity of the tomatoes beautifully.

classic gazpacho avocado mango

CLICK THIS LINK to be transported to what may surely be a summer staple in your kitchen!

Catch y’all in August with some new original recipes for Seek Satiation! 🙂

classic gazpacho avocado mango

 

sauteed broccoli rabe

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic & Pepper

Eat your flowers!

Okay, that’s not something I’ve heard too often in my life, nor something I’ve really participated in doing. Decorative edible flowers on dessert is a concept I’m ambivalent about, and I really am not a fan of rosewater. Floral is not my taste of choice. My brain starts firing off, “Why are you drinking this bottle of perfume, Allison?!?!”

However, the taste of broccoli rabe’s little yellow flowers do not fill my mouth with the scent of a strong bouquet of flowers, but rather a slight nutty flavor that’s quite enjoyable!

sauteed broccoli rabe

At my local farmers’ market, one vendor has been selling rabe of all sorts – broccoli, kale, and mustard – with yellow and red flowers speckling all of the bunches. They’re so beautiful! I bought the flowery broccoli rabe on a whim, researching whether the flowers were edible. I learned that flowering broccoli rabe should be eaten sooner than later, but a nice blanch followed by a sauté should get rid of any bitter flavor some people may experience with broccoli rabe.

sauteed broccoli rabe

Luckily, I bought a lot of broccoli rabe for $3, which allowed me to experiment with a little less guilt if I screwed up the first few times.

I experienced trial but little error. Lucky me!

sauteed broccoli rabe

The blanching helps bring out the vibrant green, and the leaving the flowers on simply gave it a pop of color. I’m not sure if it added any discernible taste notes, since the garlic – of course – was the predominant flavor, but hey, I see no reason to take ’em off. Leaving them on is up to you!

So go ahead. Eat your greens…and eat your flowers!

sauteed broccoli rabe

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic & Pepper
(Serves 2 – 3 as a side dish)

Ingredients:

– 1 large bunch broccoli rabe (roughly 1 lb.)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– If you purchase broccoli rabe with flowers, of course, it is up to you whether you want to remove them!

Directions:

1.) Trim the woodier / harder ends of your broccoli rabe and discard / save for composting.

2.) Fill a large bowl with cold water – add ice cubes, if preferred – and place in refrigerator to chill while water is brought to a boil and broccoli rabe blanches. (see #3).

3.) Bring a large pot of water to a slow boil. Add broccoli rabe and boil for 3 – 5 minutes or until are tender. Remove chilled bowl of water from fridge; use tongs to gently remove from boiling water to the chilled water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, drain water, and lay broccoli rabe on clean cloth or paper towels. Pat dry to remove as much moisture as possible.

4.) In a large sauté pan (a 12″ pan works well here!), add olive oil and turn heat to medium. Once oil shimmers, add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds; do not allow garlic to brown! Add broccoli rabe and sauté for five minutes. Add pepper and, toss in pan, and cook for one additional minute. Salt to taste, and remove from heat. Serve immediately!

baba ganoush eggplant dip

Baba Ganoush (Eggplant Dip)

I have never made Baba Ganoush in my life prior to the day I made it for this recipe. It’s a dip, admittedly, I don’t have to often – I am a roasted garlic hummus lover, through and through – but a sale on Italian eggplants at my local CTown sparked a desire within me to give it a try. Plus, I got a new bottle of tahini that I was itching to break into.

baba ganoush eggplant dip

I do have to laugh: On the day I made it, I commented to someone I know that I was diving in deep for my first attempt at making it, my enthusiasm cautiously shining. They give me a response, complete with a bit of an eye roll, that threw me off: “Baba Ganoush? That…that is so hard to make right. It always turns out wrong. Good luck with that…” Dumbfounded, with a crestfallen face, I peeled the skin from the meat of my freshly roasted eggplant slices, put it into my food processor with a fresh squeeze of lemon, some tahini, and a lot of raw garlic, and pulsed away. For a moment, I may have lost my confidence.

Boy oh boy, I found that confidence again once I took a bite of it! It was some of the best baba ganoush I’ve had, and I’m not just trying to toot my own horn here. The eggplant was perfectly roasted – not too much and not too little, with just the slightest hint of a char – which I believe resulted in that perfect flavor.

baba ganoush eggplant dip

Still not quite sure why that person decided to be less than encouraging, but maybe I should text her and tell her to have some faith. It’s so easy to make, and it’s easy to make correctly while bursting with flavor. 😉

Baba Ganoush
(Adapted from the Epicurious recipe for Eggplant Dip [Baba Ganoush])
(Makes roughly 2 cups)

– 2 medium eggplants, sliced to roughly 1/8″ slices (you can purple or Italian)
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/3 cup tahini (I used Brad’s Organic Sesame Tahini)
– 2 – 3 cloves garlic, peeled
– Juice of one lemon
– Salt and pepper, to taste.

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2.) Place eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil then toss to coat slices evenly. Lay slices flat on sheet; some may slightly overlap, and that is okay. Roast the eggplant for 15 to 20 minutes; the skins should be crisp and interiors should be tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

3.) Peel and seed the cooled eggplant, roughly chop the flesh, and then transfer it to the bowl of a food processor.

4.) Into the processor bowl add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, some salt and pepper to taste, and a few teaspoons of cold water. Process the mixture to a coarse paste, adding a bit more water as needed to allow the mixture to blend.

5.) Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and serve.