sauce/dressing

Colorful Cauliflower Stuffed Bell Peppers

Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable and so delicious! So much can be done with it besides roasting, such as cauliflower mash and cauliflower rice. This stuffed bell pepper magic I'm sharing with you today is made with 'rice' made out of Romanesco (green cauliflower) and purple cauliflower.

The natural colors of vegetables blow me away sometimes. Every color pigment has it's own purpose and function in the body. The colors literally give our body specific codes as to what to do. 

Can you guess what green and purple color pigments do?

Here's a quick download of each: 

  • Green foods are liver cleansing and detoxifying. Hence why when we think 'detox' or 'cleanse' we think greens. 
  • Purple foods protect the central nervous system, the gut nervous system, and nourish the brain. 

Interesting, right? Nature is smarter than we think at times. Nothing is coincidence. 

This recipe is a variation of my first ever blog post over 3 years ago. What a trip it's been. My meals (and life!) are so much more colorful these days. Transformation is real. 

That's a whole other story. For now, I present to you these very pretty stuffed bell peppers that will color your world.

Ingredients

Cauliflower Stuffing

½ head purple cauliflower, coarsely chopped
½ head green/Romanesque cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 zucchini or summer squash, diced
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Splash of lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Bell Peppers

• 3 bell peppers, halved longwise, seeds and core removed (type of bell pepper doesn’t matter, but we used 3 types to make it more colorful!)

Tahini Dressing

• ½ cup tahini
• ½ cup spring or filtered water
• 1 clove garlic
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Pinch of sea salt & black pepper

Procedure

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. To make stuffing: Place chopped cauliflower in food processor and process until it resembles rice. Transfer to a bowl and combine with remaining ingredients. Toss, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

3. To stuff bell peppers: Place prepared bell pepper halves in an oven safe baking dish. Stuff each pepper with cauliflower stuffing. Bake in oven for 25-35 minutes, until bell peppers are tender.

4. To make tahini dressing: Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. If too thick, add more water until you reach desired consistency.

5. Serve stuffed bell peppers warm and drizzle with tahini dressing.

I created this recipe for Oh My Drifter. Photos by Micaela. 

Mole Sauce

Growing up, chicken mole was one of my favorite dishes. Sometimes my mom would buy the sauce that came in the jar - ready to serve. 

When I embarked on my health journey, I got curious about everything I was putting into my body. Reading labels and ingredient list was key for me when buying packaged products. Now, 95% of my food is fresh and does not come in a package, but there's the exception of products like raw honey, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, etc. 

I was amazed by the not-so-healthy ingredient list of the mole sauce in a jar. It was something along the lines of processed sugar, hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fat), cornstarch, cocoa (processed, not the same as raw cacao), and natural flavors (GMOs). 

Mole became a special occasion dish for me (I believe in balance), until I went to holistic nutrition culinary school and learned how to make mole sauce from scratch with delicious whole ingredients. 

There are many versions of mole sauce. It originated in Mexico and was traditionally made with chili peppers, nuts, spices, and chocolate. I've made a few different recipes out there, but this one from Bauman College always seems to leave everyone wanting more. 

I'm sharing this recipe with you with hopes that you'll be as excited as I was to make and enjoy the full nourishment from homemade mole sauce. It's quite the therapeutic process and can be made in large batches and frozen for later use.

Ingredients

8 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded 

2 dried chipotle chilies, stemmed and seeded

2 Tablespoons raisins

2 Tablespoons raw almonds

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

2 Tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn

1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1 Tablespoon coconut oil or ghee

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cumin

3 fresh plum tomatoes, chopped

A few pinches of sea salt

1-3 ounces dark chocolate, 70-80% cacao (I used my Superfood Chocolate bars), to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the seeded dry chilies on a baking sheet and toast in the over for 5-10 minutes, checking frequently. When the chilies begin to release their aroma, take them out of the oven. Make sure to not let them burn. Add the toaster chilies to a bowl with the raisins and cover with warm water. Allow to soften for 30 minutes then drain out liquid, reserving liquid for later use.
  3. Place almonds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds on a baking sheet and place in over (350 F) for 3-5 minutes to toast. Watch closely to make sure seeds don't burn. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  4. In a medium pot or pan over medium heat, warm the coconut oil/ghee, add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, cinnamon, and cumin and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, until softened. Transfer vegetables to a high-speed blender along with soaked chilies, raisins, nuts and seeds. 
  5. Puree the mixture, adding a little water or vegetable stock as needed, to make a smooth sauce. 
  6. Return the sauce to the pot on low heat. When the sauce begins to simmer, stir in the chocolate and allow to melt. Taste the sauce and season with salt as needed. If you want it spicier, add some of the chili soaking liquid. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out with a little water or vegetable stock. 

Makes about 4 cups of sauce. Recipe adapted from Bauman College Staff.

Dairy Alternatives + Cashew Cream Recipe

Cashew cream feature image

Like most foods, dairy has it's controversies. Is it good or bad? If you Google 'dairy and health' you will find thousands of articles supporting why it's good, and thousands supporting why it's bad. We grew up believing that milk is essential for bone health. Truth is, you don't need milk to be healthy nor to get these important nutrients that you would get from milk - calcium, potassium, and vitamin D. There are various reasons why one might omit dairy from their diet: being vegan, lactose-intolerant, paleo, casein sensitivity. Everyone has their own opinion on dairy, but my advice is: If you're going to have it, make sure it's good quality. Dairy isn't how it used to be anymore. It now comes packed with hormones and antibiotics. Reading the label is crucial when selecting dairy products. Learn what's in it and where it's coming from. Whatever it contains will be ingested into your body.

I personally don't include dairy in my diet because I am lactose intolerant. I may have it every now and then (about once a month), and when I do, I choose organic and local goat or sheep as they are easier to digest.

Aside from being a discomfort for those with lactose intolerance, dairy is acidic and can cause inflammation for anyone. This is why I suggest to consume in moderation, about 1-2 times per week, and get calcium from other nourishing and anti-inflammatory foods.

Non-dairy foods rich in calcium:

  • Sesame seeds (more than milk)
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Sardines
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Beet greens
  • Turnip greens

Here are some healthy alternatives to dairy products:

  • Milk: coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, oat milk, flax milk - homemade milk is best to avoid preservatives and additives. Recipe for almond milk here.
  • Yogurt: coconut yogurt, chia pudding
  • Butter: coconut oil, ghee (clarified butter - free of dairy)
  • Ice cream: coconut ice cream, rice milk ice cream, blended frozen banana, thick smoothie. Try my vegan chocolate-coconut ice cream, it's delicious.
  • Cheese: cashew cream/cheese, nutritional yeast (sprinkle it on food for a cheesy taste)

One of my favorite dairy alternatives is cashew cream. It's simple to make and so delicious. Cashew cream can be used as a dip, spread, dressing, pasta sauce, pizza sauce/cheese, burger topping, and anything else you can think of.

Cashew cream

Ingredients

1 cup cashews, soaked in filtered water for at least 2 hours

1 clove garlic

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup water or vegetable broth (or less for thicker 'cheese')*

juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon

pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Optional flavorings: fresh rosemary, red chili flakes, fresh thyme leaves, dried herbs, nutritional yeast

Procedure

  1. Soak cashews anywhere from 2-4 hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. Place in blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

*The amount of water or broth you use will determine the consistency. Only use about 1/2 cup of water to get a more cheese-like consistency. Play around with liquid measurements and see what you like best.

What's your favorite dairy alternative? Please share in the comment section below. 

 

 

3 Minute Green Curry Sauce + Vegetable Curry Dish

curry sauce feature image

There are many many types of curry sauces out there. I like to keep mine simple, but flavorful. This sauce took me 3 minutes to make and goes great on vegetables, meats, whole grain, and on salads as dressing. I like to make a batch and use it different ways throughout the week. It keeps for about 5 days in the refrigerator. Below is a recipe for my curry sauce and a very simple and delicious vegetable curry side dish (or main dish with the addition of a good quality protein: raw nuts or seeds, grass-fed chicken, pasture-raised eggs, goat cheese).

Curry Sauce

Ingredients

1/2 white or yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 can coconut milk

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 garlic clove

2 T organic curry powder

handful spinach or basil

sea salt and black pepper

Procedure

  1. Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. The more greens you add, the greener the sauce will turn out and the flavor might change a bit. Play around with it and season to your liking.

vegetable curry dish

Vegetable Curry Dish

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces

1/2 pound green beans, ends trimmed and halved

1 yellow squash, sliced and halved

sea salt

1/2 cup curry sauce, or more to coat all vegetables

Note: you can use any vegetables you'd like for this dish (carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, mushrooms)

Procedure

  1. Heat coconut oil in a medium-size pan. Add vegetables and a pinch of sea salt and sauté until tender, stirring occasionally. Add curry sauce to pan and continue cooking for a few extra minutes until vegetables are cooked through and sauce heats up.

Serves 4-6 

 

 

Homemade Tomato Sauce

IMG_7706

Have you ever read the ingredient list of your store-bought tomato sauce? You'd be surprised to find that it's most likely loaded with added sugar, preservatives, and excess sodium. I got in the habit of reading labels years ago. It's amazing to find what is in products that are even labeled "all-natural," "organic," "sugar-free," etc. Point is, why spend money on these products that are not good for our health when they're so easy and more flavorful to make at home? Preparing your own sauces, dressings, and dips is fun and provides lots of health benefits.

There are many types of tomato sauces out there. This is my go-to base recipe. It's so simple, yet full of flavor. You can add different herbs and spices to make it your desired flavor (i.e. roasted garlic, chiles, etc.). Use sauce on vegetables, grains, chicken, or fish.

 

IMG_7702Ingredients

8 Roma tomatoes

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon red chili flakes (less or more to taste, I like mine spicy)

1/4 red onion (optional, gives it more spice)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

small handful of fresh basil

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Place tomatoes on a glass baking dish or parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, until tender and skin has cracked.
  3. Let tomatoes cool for a bit and once manageable, take skin off and discard.
  4. Place tomatoes and remaining ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust if needed.

Makes ~2 cups