These tasty delights are easy, healthy and SO dee-lish. To me they represent an alternative to my favorite decadent treat of dense carrot cake with gooey cream cheese frosting. These Raw Carrot Cake Truffles get ya pretty close- but in a much less moment on the lips lifetime on the hips sort of way. If you did want to up the anti however and dip in some melted white chocolate or even some vanilla scented organic cream cheese, I would never tell.
Raw Carrot Cake Truffles
2 large carrots
1-1/4 cups dried shredded coconut, divided
3/4 cup pecans or walnuts
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, washed and roughly chopped (peeled if the skin is very thick)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
A pinch of salt
1/2 packed cup pitted dates
2 Tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup raisins
Makes about 20 medium size balls (more…)
This nourishing and hearty soup was inspired for my mother who just underwent major surgery. She needs easily digestible, protein rich and comforting foods. This soup fits the bill. Feel free to get creative with some spices and truly any other veggies that appeal, cauliflower, broccoli or zucchini would be divine. Whether you do it by the book or add your own twist, your and your loved ones are sure to feel it’s healing nature…be sure to cook it with a lot of love…always.
Healing Creamy Vegetable Miso Soup
3-4 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium red onion, medium dice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 inch piece of ginger, tough ends removed and chopped
2 large parsnips, unpeeled and roughly chopped
3 medium carrots, rough chopped
2-1/2 pound acorn squash, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (leave skin on)
1 cup lentils, brown green or red
8 cups vegetable or chicken broth*
1 can coconut milk, full fat
1/2 pound of firm tofu
1/2 cup miso paste, white, yellow or brown**
1 small bunch of cilantro
Makes about 8 servings
I just love myself some miso! Especially the white or the yellow flavors as they are sweeter and have less salt than the brown or red varieties, in fact I could almost drink the dressing for this Kale & Sweet Potato Salad with miso ginger dressing. Miso not only has a lovely umami flavor that adds depth to soups, births, salads, desserts and main dishes, it also helps to protect the body from radiation, cancer, air pollution, and environmental toxins. And it is wonderful digestive aid and protein source, bonus!
I also particularly like kale salads not only for their nutrient value but almost more so because it doesn’t get soggy as it sits like other greens and almost gets better when it is leftover. You can use this recipe as a template and add pretty much anything you want, but pay attention to the mixing technique- you don’t want to add somethings soft before you have incorporated the dressing (read on, you will see what I mean). Double up the batch and take some to work with you the next day for lunch. For a hearty, vegan or paleo meal you can even make it a meal by adding some beans, quinoa, brown rice, nuts, seeds or other protein, the sky’s the limit!
Kale & Sweet Potato Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing
1 large bunch Tuscan or curly kale
1 small sweet potato or yam, skin removed and peeled into ribbons with a potato peeler
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 medium red bell pepper, julienne
1/2 bunch of green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup sweet white or yellow miso, at room temperature*
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon maple syrup or raw honey
3 Tablespoons fresh ginger, finely minced (about 2 inch piece)
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Makes 4-6 servings
Remove the dark green leafy parts of the kale from the stems and set aside. Gather the stems into a pile with one hand and- thinly slice the stems into 1/8 inch rounds and add to a large salad bowl. Cut the leafy parts into strips to about 1 inch. If the leaves are very large and wide then cut them in half the long way and then proceed, adding the leaves to the bowl as you go. Add the remaining ingredients for the salad to the bowl and set aside.
Place all of the ingredients for the dressing into a bowl and whisk well to combine. If you coconut oil is very solid you will want to warm gently on the stove before adding to the dressing. If you want to make a double or triple batch of the dressing you can put all the ingredients in a blender and been on high until smooth- no warming necessary.
Pour the dressing over the kale salad and toss very well with clean hands, massaging the leaves to help the marinating process. Don’t be gentle here, your really want to crush the leaves to soften and help the marinating process. Taste and adjust salt and lemon if necessary. You can serve immediately but also great leftover!
Tips & Notes~
Add some shaved carrots, yellow beets, avocado or some chopped up nuts. If using avocado, add after you massage the dressing into the kale.
Miso: Found in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores. The white and yellow kinds are more mellow in flavor. If you can only find the red or brow you can decrease the amount to 2 tablespoons. Miso helps to protect the body from radiation, cancer, air pollution, and environmental toxins. Also a wonderful digestive aid and protein source.
Definite S.F.O Update (Seriously Freakin’ Outstanding)
My most favorite all time amazing snack. They are spicy, crunchy, decadent and healthy all at the same time. Oh and they are easy too! Beware however…they are Seriously Freakin’ Addicting…
Spicy Nacho Kale Chips
1 large bunch curly or Tuscan kale, washed and very dry**
1 cup cashews (soaked in water for at least 6 hours, drained)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
Juice of 1 medium lemon (2-3 Tablespoons.)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup water
1 large clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
A good dash of cayenne pepper if you like it spicy
Servings depend on how much self control you have 🙂
Trim the toughest part of the kale stems, and cut or tear leaves into bite-size pieces. Fill a large bowl with water and place kale pieces in water. Swish the kale around so that any debris floats to the top. Drain, and dry completely in a salad spinner or with towels. Once dry, place kale pieces in a large bowl with enough room for mixing the kale with the cheese sauce.
To make cheese sauce~ combine all ingredients for the sauce in a high-powered blender or food processor and blend on high until smooth.
Combine cheese sauce and kale pieces, and use your hands to massage kale with sauce. (It’s fine if coating is uneven or if there are big globs of cashew cheese. In my opinion, the cheesy parts are the best part of the final product!)
Preheat oven to 200°F. Spread kale pieces on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for about 1 hour. Remove form oven and flip and bake for another 1 1/2 hours or until crunchy. The curly kale will take a bit longer.
Tips & Notes~
**Completely drying washed kale pieces is an important prerequisite for yielding kale chips with maximum crunch factor. You can even washed the kale a day before and leave the pieces to dry overnight to ensure they are perfectly dry.
You can add any dry spices or even fresh herbs that you would like such as curry powder, chili powder, parsley, basil or rosemary.
This was my first true kale salad triumph in the makeshift kitchen of our temporary housing when we first moved to Miami (4-1/4 years ago!). In the past years kale has swept the nation’s restaurants and food magazines (yes we realize it was around way before this). I was a devout fan but I had not yet taken the leap into the sheer awesomeness that can arise from this hearty nutritious green and some fun additions. I have since created several kale recipes but this one remains close to my heart. It is tangy and crunchy with earthy undertones from the toasted almonds and a nice but not too strong lemony zip from the zest. This has by far grown into one of my most requested recipes, versatile and only gets better as it sits!
Kale Salad with Lemon and Toasted Almonds
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon (3-4 Tablespoons juice) or red wine vinegar
1 large bunch of any kind of kale, washed*
1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, or more if desired
1 whole medium ripe avocado, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted or raw**
Serves about 4
Using a fork; mix ingredients for the dressing in the bottom of a large salad bowl until well combined.
Remove the dark green leafy parts from the kale leaves and set aside. Gather the stems into a pile with one hand and- thinly slice the stems into 1/8 inch rounds and add to the bowl.
Cut the leafy parts into strips to about 1 inch. If the leaves are very large and wide then cut them in half the long way and then proceed, adding the leaves to the bowl as you go.
Add the onion, and salt and pepper to the bowl and toss well with clean hands, massaging the dressing into the kale by “crushing” the kale firmly until the dressing is well incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the cheese, avocado and the almonds and toss again. Adjust seasoning and lemon if needed.
Tips & Notes~
*To save time: use any type of bagged greens but mix gently the dressing instead of crushing with your hands.
**To toast the almonds; spread on a baking sheet and place in a 325 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until fragrant and beginning to brown, stirring once. I like to use my toaster oven. These will store in a jar at room temp for up to a month or in the fridge for 2 months.
Currants, raisins, sun dried tomatoes, olives
Fresh apple or pear, thinly sliced
Garbanzo beans, lentils or cherry tomatoes
Substitute any nut for the almonds but toasted is a MUST
Substitute goat cheese, manchego or feta for the parmesan
The original execution do not include tomatoes but alas I am a pretty firm believer that tomatoes should only be eaten if the are straight out of the garden, anything less is uncivilized! I have also added local radish, chickpeas and some cooked quinoa for a full and nourishing meal!
Ricotta cheese is UNBELIEVABLY easy to make…seriously you will be shocked. It has sweet and savory applications and is amazing just with some toasted whole grain bread and great olive oil. It is also an amazing crow pleaser and is sure to impress…give it a go!
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
3 cups organic whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 Tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice
Makes about 2 cups
Combine all milk, cream in a medium non-aluminum sauce pan and bring to a slight simmer over medium heat, the milk will get foamy and start to steam; remove it from heat if it starts to boil.
Stir in the vinegar or lemon juice and salt and remove from heat. Allow the mixture to sit- undisturbed for 10 minutes until curds begin to form. Meanwhile line a mesh strainer with several layers of cheesecloth. Place the strainer into a medium pot and gently pour the curds into the cheesecloth lined strainer and let drain for at least 15 minutes. Open up the cloth and guide the cheese into a container (preferably glass) for storing if you are not using immediately. The cheese will dry out as you let it drain. If you want it a bit more moist, do not drain as long.
Tips & Notes~
Add some chopped herbs or for a savory flavor or stir in a bit of cinnamon and honey after it drains for a sweet treat.
For another fun trick see below…
- This is SO good you can just eat with a spoon!
Take the remaining whey and place the pot on the stove on medium heat. Reduce the liquid until there is only a little bit of caramely liquid at the bottom of the pan. This will be a deeelicious sweet and salty sauce that is amazing with bread or on top of ice cream, or frankly just on it’s own. It will harden as it cools however so you can either add a little water, olive oil or some extra cream. I also turn it into pesto in a food processor with some garlic and herbs…divine. When my mom and I discovered this little treasure we added it to macaroni and cheese (with other cheeses of course) and it was a HIT!