The Kinder Kitchen

Tofu Eggless Salad and Jackfruit Chicken Salad- A Tale Of Two Sandwiches!

One of the greatest pleasures of being vegan (aside from, ya know… not being part of the senseless killing of animals for no reason) is discovering meal after meal after meal that you can STILL have without animal products!

I’ve been vegan going on four years now, and while it no longer is such a novelty to me to discover a vegan version of something I loved eating before (because I know now that pretty much EVERYTHING can be veganized) , it’s really exciting to see newer vegans overjoyed when they realize they can keep right on eating things like tacos, chili, or ice cream.  There are endless varieties of plant foods and seasonings out there that can very easily parallel the same textures and flavor profiles of animal-based dishes, and you may just find that you eat a far more varied and exciting diet as a vegan than you ever did consuming animal products!

These two simple salads are a perfect example of dishes that can still easily have those flavor profiles and textures without meat, dairy, or eggs, and are very easy to customize.  I’ve had numerous requests on social media to share my recipes for Tofu Eggless Salad and Jackfruit Chick’n Salad, and when you ask, I listen!  Both are great as a sandwich served on a lovely soft roll, toast, or with crackers and veggies.  I especially like the jackfruit salad in an avocado or tomato half, and I love both spooned onto dainty crackers.

The “secret” ingredient that puts the tofu eggless salad over the top is of course the Kala Namak black salt.  If you’ve never worked with this salt before, prepare to be blown away!  Grayish-pink rather than black, it exhibits a sulfurous smell and taste very reminiscent of eggs, and has quickly become the vegan community’s go-to ingredient when preparing most anything that was previously egg-based, like tofu scrambles, omelettes, or vegan mayonnaise.  Do yourself a favor and DON’T skip it in favor of regular salt- there’s simply no comparison.  Kala Namak can often be difficult to find locally (don’t be fooled by a packaged labeled simply “black salt”- if it doesn’t specifically say Kala Namak it won’t have that eggy smell and taste) but is readily and affordably available on Amazon.  I bought this one-pound bag over a year ago and have barely made a dent in it since a little goes such a long way.

For the jackfruit chick’n salad, what sets my recipe apart is the technique I use in treating the jackfruit before adding a thing to it. 

First, if you’re working with canned jackfruit (what I use), be sure you’re looking for young green jackfruit in WATER, never syrup, and preferrable not brine.   If you’re doing a BBQ jackfruit, brine may be acceptable since the strong seasonings of most BBQ sauces can mask the bitter taste, but in this more delicate chick’n salad, I strongly advise against using brined jackfruit.  Canned jackfruit is most commonly found in Asian or Indian markets, but if you cannot find any locally, it’s available on Amazon.  As for fresh whole jackfruit, I personally have never gotten my hands on one, so I can’t offer any advice about the treatment of it, but if you happen to get one, You Tube has many tutorial videos about how to cut them up.  They range from football-sized to almost man-sized!

In my recipe, you’ll note that I do NOT cut off and discard the hard pointed tips nor the little oval pods from the pieces of jackfruit.  This amounts to a lot of unnecessary waste, and with my technique, these parts blend nicely into the rest of the shredded jackfruit.  This involves the use of a nylon-mesh nut milk bag (I like this brand) to squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the jackfruit, and in the process, I use my fingers to shred apart the pieces.  I finish off the shredding with blitz through the food processor to take care of any hard chunks or pods left intact from the squeezing, then a quick baking at a low temperature in either my air fryer or the oven.  This brief baking dries out the shredded jackfruit somewhat and greatly improves the texture.  Yes, it’s a bit of a fussy procedure, but since the major complaint about jackfruit seems to concern its “slimy” texture, well worth the extra few minutes!

I hope you enjoy both of these new “classic” recipes.  Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you snap a photo, tag me on instagram @the-kinder-kitchen!

Tofu Eggless Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
All of the savory, eggy flavor you remember with no eggs, this creamy salad is great on sandwiches or crackers and is a crowd-pleasing potluck favorite! This recipe makes a large batch but is easily halved to feed just a few.
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch, Salad, Sandwich, Potluck
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 5 cups
What You'll Need
  • 2 14 oz packages extra firm tofu, drained and pressed well
  • Scant ½ cup thinly sliced scallions (even mix of green and white parts)
  • 2 large ribs celery, diced fine (I run them through a food processor)
  • For mayo mixture:
  • 1 cup vegan mayo of your choice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Kala Namak salt
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric (for color)
  • few twists fresh ground black pepper
  • OPTIONAL: 1 tsp smoked paprika for a light, smoky flavor
  • OPTIONAL: 2 TBS sweet or dill pickle relish if desired (I like a little sweet pickle relish)
Make It Happen!
  1. Coarsely crumble the pressed tofu into a large bowl. Don't crumble too fine- in the process of adding in the mayo mixture it'll crumble further.
  2. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine all of the mayo mixture ingredients. Kala Namak salt can tend to clump, so be especially careful not to leave any nuggets, or someone will be in for a salty bite!
  3. Spoon the mayo mixture into the bowl containing the tofu and gently fold in with a rubber spatula, breaking up the larger chunks of tofu. Continue until thoroughly combined.
  4. Chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours for flavors to absorb into the tofu, but chilling overnight is optimal.

Jackfruit Chicken Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Jackfruit, a newly popularized ingredient famous for its ability to mimic the texture of shredded meat, is the star of this new version of classic chicken salad
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch/Salad/Sandwich/Potluck
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4 cups[url:1][img:1][/url]
What You'll Need
  • 3 20 oz cans young green jackfruit in water (not brine or syrup)
  • ⅔ cup vegan mayo
  • 3 TBS finely diced red onion
  • 2 TBS dried parsley flakes
  • 2 TBS seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of sugar
  • fresh ground black pepper (optional)
Make It Happen!
  1. Preheat the oven to 200. If you are using an air fryer, no need to preheat.
  2. Drain the jackfruit and rinse well.
  3. Place the whole jackfruit wedges (no need to cut off the tips or discard the seed pods) in a mesh nut milk bag and squeeze out as much moisture as you can, shifting the pieces around and breaking them up with your fingers as you go. Repeat until you cannot squeeze any more water out.
  4. If there are still hard tips or seed pods left that did not get broken up, you may choose to run the jackfruit briefly through a food processor to refine the texture.
  5. If using the oven: Spread the jackfruit in a thin layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake, stirring around, for approximately 20 minutes or until some of the edges start to get a little dried.
  6. If using an air fryer: line the bottom with parchment paper or use a baking dish to fit your machine and place the jackfruit in an even layer. Air fry at 200 degrees, stirring often, until the edges of the jackfruit start to get a bit dry.
  7. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine all other ingredients, adjusting any seasonings to your taste if necessary.
  8. Add the cooled jackfruit to the mayo mixture and chill for 2 hours for flavors to meld.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetarian, Vegan, and Plant-Based…What’s The Difference?

So…you’ve decided to make a positive change in your lifestyle that’s compassionate toward animals, the planet, and your health.  Congratulations!  Maybe you’ve resolved to start with Meatless Mondays, or give up meat altogether.  Maybe you’ve decided to ditch meat but still eat dairy and eggs.  Or maybe you want to leave anything that came from an animal out of not just your diet but all other aspects of your life.  Whatever the scope of your transformation, and whatever your motivation, you can be proud that you’re among the growing number of people in this world who are effecting real, compassionate change for the future of this planet.

Like most people, you probably followed up the desire for change with the search for information and support, and you probably looked to social media for those things.  And if you found yourself totally confused by all the terminology, rules, and social groupings that come along with living a compassionate lifestyle, you’re definitely not alone!

confused woman

 

My goal in this post is to de-mystify and make easy to understand the differences between being vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based, including all the various off-shoots of each, with some basic facts and definitions.  So let’s get right to it!

WHAT IS A VEGETARIAN?

According to the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian is “Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

Of course, it’s not ever that simple, is it?  There seem to be SIX distinct off-shoots of vegetarianism these days, and whichever label one chooses to own can depend on factors such as allergies, tastes, or religious and ethical considerations.  In addition, many vegetarians who choose to consume various animal products may strive to consume those products which are sourced as ethically and humanely as possible.

*Lacto-ovo vegetarian: The most common.  Does not eat meat of any kind including fish, but does eat eggs and dairy.

*Ovo-vegetarian:  No to meat and dairy but yes to eggs. 

*Lacto-vegetarian: No to meat and eggs but yes to dairy.

*Pescatarian: No to all meat except for fish/seafood.  May or may not consume eggs and dairy.

*Pollotarian: No to red meat, pork, and seafood, but will consume poultry.

*Flexitarian: A fairly new term and generally not considered true vegetarian.  This is someone who will only eat animal products occasionally.

breakfast

 

A “strict” vegetarian is commonly known as a vegan.

WHAT IS A VEGAN?

The term “vegan” was born in 1944 when a group of vegetarians, led by Donald Watson, came together to discuss the need for a name that would describe the group’s desire to not only abstain from meat, but all other animal products as well, including dairy, eggs, and honey.  After many names were suggested that didn’t quite hit the mark, they took the first three letters and the last two letters of the word VEGetariAN to form the new word “vegan.”  This group of people lived by various ideals and tenets, but it wasn’t until 1979, when the society became a registered charity, that the definition of “veganism” was refined and solidified.

“Veganism is a philosophy of living which seeks to exclude- as far as is possible and practicable- all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of  humans, animals, and the environment.  In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

For more about the history of veganism, click here.

So in a nutshell, vegans do everything in their power to avoid eating animals (including fish) or eating/wearing anything that came from an animal or using products that were tested on animals.  This includes dairy milks, yogurts, and cheeses, as well as eggs, gelatin (made from bones/tendon/cartilage) and honey.  Leather and wool is avoided, and beauty and household products that either contain animal-derived ingredients or have been tested on animals are avoided.

Seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it?  Welllll…

You might have learned by now that there’s a broad spectrum of types of veganism, as well as a whole host of reasons people list for wanting to become vegan.  Many groups adhere to strict dietary principles, while others are more lax, drifting back and forth between eating styles or piecing together what works for them through trial and error.  If you decide that you want to become vegan, be assured that you DON’T have to pick one camp or the other.  Each vegan gets there in their own way and in their own time, and I’m a firm believer that when it comes to eating vegan, taking time to figure out what style makes sense for you in your present circumstances and makes you feel best gives you the best chance of staying vegan and finding out what a fulfilling, fun, and tasty journey it can be!

So, what are all the colors in the vegan rainbow? It’s a little more complicated than listing the types of vegetarians, who will usually adhere pretty firmly to allowing or excluding various animal products in their diet, while the basic foundation of veganism is black and white- NO animal products whatsoever.  What I’ll try to do here is lay out some popular terms when it comes to veganism and explain what I interpret them to mean.

*The Ethical Vegan: These folks cite ethics as their main, or sometimes sole motivation for becoming vegan. Emphasis is placed on living a lifestyle where all aspects are carried out as cruelty-free as possible, and animal-rights activism is usually a prominent activity in their day-to-day lives.  The ethical vegan may or may not be interested in eating a nutritious diet; they may subsist on a diet of soda, french fries, and cookies, (often referred to as a junk-food vegan) or they may adhere to a raw-foods only diet or anything in between. 

*The Dietary Vegan: This term is commonly used to refer to people who become vegan to improve their health, whether it be to prevent disease and weight gain or to reverse it.  It’s a common complaint among many ethical vegans that people who call themselves vegan but don’t have ethics as their number one (or even ONLY) focus really shouldn’t be calling themselves vegan, but should use the term “plant based” (I’ll talk more about that in a minute).  As with ethical vegans, there may be a wide range of eating styles that the dietary vegan may practice. 

*Plant-based:  A person who eats a plant based diet (also called a whole-foods, plant-based diet, or WFPB) strives to eat a diet that is made up entirely, or as much as possible, from foods that are as close to their whole and natural state as can be achieved, with little to no processed foods, added salt and sugar, or refined oils.  On social media, I see a lot of confusion over why oils are avoided.  In short, this is because oil is pure fat that has been separated from most or all of the fiber and vitamins present in the plant that it came from.  Instead, whole-food sources of fats are encouraged in limited quantities, such as avocado, coconut, nuts and seeds.  It has also been proven that refined oils are damaging to the cells that line the blood vessels that carry blood to all parts of the body (more on this in another blog post).  One of my favorite resources for all things plant-based is Dr. Michael Greger, author of the wildly popular new book How Not To Die, and his website www.nutritionfacts.org, a non-profit website known for its evidence-based material grounded in solid science.

Feeling a little more enlightened?

enlightenment

Well, we’re not quite done yet!  Many vegans and plant-based eaters follow these popular plans or a combination of them most with the goal of losing weight, and preventing or reversing disease:

*High-Carb: This diet is very high in starchy plant foods such as potatoes of all kinds, rice, corn, beans, and whole grains, with fruits and veggies as complementing elements.  Fat is very limited and from whole-food sources only, and unlimited quantities (to fullness) are encouraged.  Emphasis is placed on recognizing the difference between these good carbohydrates that serve as the human body’s main and most important fuel, and bad ones- refined, white flour products filled with empty calories and stripped of much of their nutrition.  A proponent of this lifestyle is Dr. John McDougall, who you can learn more about here.

*Raw:  Pretty much what it sounds like.  All foods eaten are done so in their raw, uncooked state, or very lightly cooked at no more than 118 degrees Fahrenheit (this number varies from resource to resource but not by more than a degree or two).  This usually involves dehydrating or very lightly steaming food.  Many raw foodists believe that cooking food destroys important enzymes and denatures food to the point of being useless to the body.  There is much heated debate about this, and it’s my recommendation that if you choose to explore a 100% raw foods diet, you need to thoroughly research both the risks and benefits, as well as carefully plan to get enough calories. Learn more about raw food fact and fiction here.

*Raw Til 4:  4 P.M., that is.  Though this is an arbitrary time of day (you could easily be raw til 3 or 5 or 7), the idea behind this diet is to eat all raw foods for much of the day, then allow yourself a cooked meal as lightly cooked as possible.  This was popularized by You Tuber Freelee the Banana Girl, a controversial figure whose favorite saying is to “carb the f*** up” and has brought much heat upon herself by stating that meat eaters should not be allowed to live and other unpopular sentiments.  Polarizing though she may be, Freelee has amassed a huge following, and isn’t shy about sharing photos of her physical transformation.

 

Hopefully this has made things a little clearer.  What lifestyle do I personally practice?  I initially began researching the benefits of plant-based eating to lose weight and reverse some health problems, but somewhere along the way I became educated about the horrific cruelty and injustices done to animals in the name of human benefit, whether it be food, clothing, or entertainment, and eventually came to identify as vegan.  You could say that I came for the health but stayed for the animals. I believe that to be vegan and live a life of compassion should mean not just compassion toward animals but toward the planet, other people, and my own body, and I heartily disapprove of tactics of shaming, denigrating, and otherwise demonstrating hatred or a superior attitude toward those who are not vegan.  I prefer instead to think of them as simply not in possession of the facts yet, and I strive to educate others with patience and an understanding that each individual needs to be met where they are to help them plan the best way forward into this joyful and exciting lifestyle.  As for dietary practices, I would call myself a plant-based vegan, because though I am vegan, I believe in and adhere to (for the most part) a plant-based diet, and as a nutritionist, it’s what I teach as the optimal way to good health.  I do, however, have my indulgences such as artisinal vegan cheeses and the occasional vegan peanut butter cup or a decadent piece of cheesecake (vegan of course).

If you enjoy what you’ve read and have found it useful, please drop me a comment and tell me what you think.  Or, if you have any disagreement with what I’ve said, leave a comment also!  And please be sure to subscribe to my blog to get every new vegan recipe and article delivered right to your email so you don’t miss a thing!

vegan-1114998_960_720

 

 

 

The Veganized Famous Bowl

 

Fast food?  Fuggedaboudit!

 

bowl 2

Far back into my pre-vegan days, when I was pregnant with my oldest son Dominic, I had what you might call a love-hate relationship with food.  I loved it, all of it, in large quantities, and hated when I couldn’t satisfy a craving!  I don’t recall every having any of those outlandish, cliched cravings like pickles and ice cream, but it’s no exaggeration to say that I had a passionate love affair with junk-food.  I look back on those nine months now and cringe, knowing that I could have been kinder to my body and my growing baby.

One of the things I HAD to have, at least  two or three times a week, was KFC’s Famous Bowl.  Actually, it’s funny that they call it that, because hardly anyone I know has ever heard of it.  If you’ve never had one, here’s the gist: layers of mashed potatoes, corn, chicken, gravy, and shredded cheddar cheese.  It’s a bowl of stick-to-your-ribs, comforting bliss.  I would hit the drive-thru, pull into the parking lot with my bag, and inhale it, the bowl resting half on the steering wheel and half on my giant pregnant belly.

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Easy Vegan Cream of Potato Soup

potato soup

Is there anything better than a piping hot bowl of creamy, chunky, savory potato soup on a chilly winter day?  (psssst- the answer is NO)

When I first became vegan, I had this idea that my days of enjoying rich, creamy soups and bisques were over.  I hadn’t cooked much with non-dairy plant and nut milks, and had yet to discover the wonder of the mighty CASHEW in whipping up all manner of rich creaminess.  As far as I knew, things like cream of potato soup required CREAM, and since I had sworn off all dairy products, I turned my attention toward brothier soups and bade creamy potato, broccoli, and tomato soups farewell.

It wasn’t until I’d been vegan for almost a year that I was introduced to the wonders of cooking with cashews– which are partly responsible for the rich and creamy texture of this potato soup– and began experimenting with using them to replace things like cream and butter in sauces and soups.  And don’t even get me started on cashew cheeses!  SWOON.  That’s a post for another day.  Replacing the traditional milk and butter in this soup with a scant 1/2 cup of cashews lets you keep the creamy richness at just a fraction of the fat.  WIN!

So without further ado, let’s get cooking, shall we?

***Just a quick note about blenders (okay I snuck in a little more “ado” there, sorry):  Optimal blending and incorporation of the cashews in this recipe really requires a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, which I use, or a Blendtec, which is of similar calibur.  For years I swore I didn’t need one, that my regular blender was just FINE.  And it was, for some things, but in many areas it just fell short, like getting sauces or cheese bases with cashews silky smooth, or blending a kale smoothie to perfection with no chewy bits.  I won’t lie, I hated spending the money for my Vitamix, even after I found the best deal possible on a reconditioned model from The Blender Lady, but when I used it for the first time, I was HOOKED.   But, if you don’t yet have a high-powered blender, don’t worry–you can STILL make this soup!  Just follow the alternate instructions at the end of the recipe, and it’ll still be just as tasty.

 

 

Easy Vegan Cream of Potato Soup
Serves 8
You're sure to love a bowl of this velvety, comforting soup, and I promise you will not miss the dairy in my version.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups cubed Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes
  2. 1 small or 1/2 large yellow or white onion, cut into chunks
  3. 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  4. 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  5. 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  6. 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond, cashew, or other plant-based milk
  7. 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  8. salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add potatoes, and cook until soft but not mushy.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, add all other ingredients to your blender, and process until the cashews are blended smooth. Add additional salt or pepper if needed.
  3. When the potatoes are done, drain and return to pot, then coarsely mash, leaving it as chunky as you'd like it. I personally like to mash the potatoes so that about half of them are left in nice bite-sized chunks.
  4. Pour the blender sauce into the potato pot and stir to combine. If it's too thick, more broth or almond milk can be added to thin a bit, then adjust seasoning accordingly if needed.
  5. Garnish with sliced scallions and vegan bacon bits, or if desired, vegan cheese shreds. I've even added sliced sundried tomatoes to this soup--super tasty!
For those without a high-powered blender: A little extra prep here
  1. Soak your cashews in water overnight, then just before blending, boil them for about 5 minutes to soften them up. This helps a lot, but you may find that your sauce is still just a tad grainy. In this case, I'd leave your potatoes a little chunkier to mask any residual graininess.
The Kinder Kitchen http://thekinderkitchen.com/

Vegan Potato Cheese Sauce

Golden, gooey cheesiness!
Golden, gooey cheesiness!

 

 

 

“I’d go vegan but I could never give up cheese!”

 
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this, I’d probably be set for life.

 
It’s a sentiment I understand. In my first months of being vegan, I worried that I would never experience the joy of cheese again. Tangy, salty, savory, melty, gooey cheese. Over the years in my pre-vegan days, I’d tried a few non-dairy cheeses, and was not impressed. I vividly remember making hamburgers for my boys and slapping a slice of soy cheese on each, hoping it would melt. It didn’t. My son Charlie, who was about 3 at the time, poked at it skeptically and said, “Mom do I have to eat this toy cheese?”

 

Experiences like this did not make me enthusiastic about the giving up of cheese when I decided to be vegan, but once I found out that dairy cheese is far from a cruelty-free product, I knew I could never eat it again in good conscience, and as I learned more about the non-dairy cheese products available nowadays and tested them out for myself, I breathed a sigh of relief. These newer products had more complex flavor profiles, a more satisfying mouthfeel, and more importantly, MELTED! Today’s vegan doesn’t even need to rely solely on store-bought non-dairy cheeses with the abundance of DIY recipes available online. I sometimes come across a product or recipe that doesn’t please my palate, but at least now, when someone says, “I’d go vegan but I could never give up cheese,” I can say to them with confidence, “Don’t worry, you don’t have to!”

 
I thought I’d make this blog’s inaugural recipe my own rendition of one that is quite popular among the vegan/plant-based crowd at the moment (though I was working on this recipe long before similar ones started popping up!), and popular for good reason! This cheesy sauce is thick and velvety and sure to please (and fool!) everyone, and doesn’t rely on gobs of oil to achieve a rich, smooth texture and taste…in fact, it’s oil-free! When I gave my mom a jar of it to sample, I asked her if she could identify its main ingredients, and she couldn’t! Its versatility can take it anywhere from mac and cheese to nachos to chili queso dip and beyond, and the star ingredients may surprise you, but they work together to create a truly satisfying cheesiness.   Be sure to check out my recipe for Lentil Nachos Supreme at the end of this post using this very sauce!

This recipe makes enough to fill about 1 3/4 quart Mason jars.
This recipe makes enough to fill about 1 3/4 quart Mason jars.

 

Vegan Potato Cheese Sauce
Yields 1
A rich and tangy vegan cheese sauce that is sure to satisfy your cravings! Suitable for mac n' cheese, nachos, baked potatoes, or any dish you'd like.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced to equal about 4 cups (russets will work, too)
  2. 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into thin rounds to equal about 1 heaping cup.
  3. ½ large yellow or white onion, diced
  4. ½ cup cashews (see note below)
  5. 2 teaspoons each garlic powder and onion powder
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  7. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  8. ½ cup nutritional yeast
  9. 1 tablespoon tapioca starch or cornstarch
  10. 2 teaspoons each mellow white miso paste and tomato paste
Instructions
  1. Cover the potatoes, carrots, and onion in a large saucepan with about 4 cups of water, and boil until soft.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the veggies and transfer to your blender, then add all remaining ingredients. DO NOT throw out your veggie water! You'll need it for blending.
  3. Add to the ingredients in the blender 2 cups of the veggie water, and blend on high until fully incorporated. If you have a blender with a tamper, you may need to use it to get things going. If you have a regular blender, you may need to stop and shove things down a bit with a spatula. Add a bit more of the water, blend, and repeat, until you get a free-flowing cheesy vortex happening. If you find that you've added too much water and your cheese sauce is too thin, you can blend in more tapioca or cornstarch a teaspoon at a time to thicken it back up.
  4. This cheese sauce is ready to rock and roll! Try it on this Lentil Nacho Supreme recipe below, then pour the rest into jars and refrigerate for up to a week.
Notes
  1. Cashews: if you have a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, cashews can be added dry without soaking. If you are using a standard blender, I recommend soaking the cashews overnight for a minimum of 8 hours, OR boiling them until very soft before blending.
The Kinder Kitchen http://thekinderkitchen.com/

 

LENTIL NACHOS SUPREME (serves 4)

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cheese1

 

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup (plus a bit more) vegetable broth or stock

2 cups cooked green lentils (not green split peas!)

1 cup each diced white or yellow onion and diced bell pepper of any color

1  14oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained but not rinsed

1  4 oz can diced green chiles

1 TBS taco seasoning  OR 1 tsp each ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder

2 tsp Mexican (or regular) oregano

About 1 cup of That Potato Cheese Sauce

Any additional nacho toppings desired, such as black olives, salsa, guacamole, etc

 

DIRECTIONS

Heat broth til bubbling in a large skillet.  Sautee peppers and onion in the broth til soft, adding additional splashes of broth to the skillet if needed to keep from sticking.

Add all other ingredients and another splash of broth and heat til bubbly.

Spoon the lentil mixture onto tortilla chips, drizzle with the cheese sauce, and add desired toppings.

 

Enjoy!

 

Hello and welcome to my new readers!

I’m Shannon, and it’s my pleasure and honor to be here, bringing you easy-to-make vegan recipes and tips for navigating the brave world of veganism!  Some are my original creations, some have been inspired by the work of other fellow vegan home-cooks, and some are “veganized” versions of those favorites we have all loved through the years but now want healthier, compassionate versions of.
If you’re new to the vegan lifestyle and feel a bit mystified by this new way of cooking, have no fear. I will also feature guidance and tips for newbies, from easy vegan substitutes for meat, dairy, and eggs, to commonly asked questions about living vegan in a non-vegan world, to great new vegan-friendly products for health/beauty and home use. And if you have questions that you don’t find the answers to here, let me know! It’s likely that others are wondering too.
A little about me, personally: I live with my husband and four sons in beautiful Western Colorado. My husband Chris is a meteorologist, and in addition to being a blog writer and working on my first cookbook, I am also a nurse, working in an addiction recovery center. I hold a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University and will be offering personalized, one-on-one vegan lifestyle coaching in the very near future.
I became vegan for reasons of animal welfare and health and wellness, both in equal measure. Veganism is about leading a life of compassion, and I firmly believe that to have a heart open to showing the most compassion to our fellow earthlings, the animals, you must first cultivate a sense of compassion for your own mind, body, and spirit. I try always to love myself and honor the one body and life I have on this planet, so I strive to make healthy choices in what I eat, in exercising my body, in reducing and handling stress, and in my interactions with others, though I am human and just as prone to mistakes as anyone!
So, thank you for being here, and please subscribe to my blog so you can have access to the latest posts.
Happy cooking and much love,
Shannon

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