Sweet Potato-Pesto Hash Stuffed Peppers with Cashew Cream

Sweet Potato-Pesto Hash Stuffed Peppers with Cashew Cream

When food catches me off guard by being extremely delicious, I find it much more gratifying than if I had been prepared for it to be that good.  That’s what makes seeking out new restaurants and constantly creating new recipes so appealing to me.  And it is what made my trip to Prasad an eye-opening and revitalizing experience, reminding me of how completely satisfying a well-prepared vegan meal can be.

Spoiler alert: the food I ate there inspired this recipe!

Last week, I took my first solo vacation.  It was to somewhere I’d never been, but had always wanted to go – Portland, Oregon.  

I think my expectations of the city had just been accumulating over time, from friends who had visited some of the many epic breweries there, or whose aunts cultivated massive personal gardens in the area, from magazine articles touting the burgeoning culinary scene, and even quirky TV shows that poked fun at the laid-back hippy/hipster vibe Portland is reported to exude.

All of it made me want to go.  

Read More

Pumpkin-Kale Lasagna with Cashew Ricotta

Pumpkin-Kale Lasagna with Cashew Ricotta

I realize I’m reaching here.  I’m stretching the definition of lasagna, and I may as well admit it.  There are no actual lasagna noodles as we recognize them, the traditional tomato sauce is replaced with a pumpkin ragout, and kale and cashews have apparated on the ingredient list.  I’m not the first to push the boundaries of what lasagna is - if you’ve ever seen a raw lasagna or a zucchini-noodle lasagna, you know what edge of the foodie-spectrum I’m coming from.  You’re probably a very hip and with it person in your social circle, as well, am I right?

Read More

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Cashew Sour Cream (v + gf)

This is a story about a girl and her sweet potato.

IMG_3356a.jpg

Actually, this is really a story about a girl and how she wanted to impress her family with her newfound vegan cooking techniques.

Vegan cooking?

I have been thoroughly pondering answers to the same question lately, and though there are many good answers, I will choose two to share with you.

1. I love a good challenge in the kitchen, as I love my Iron Chef America

2.

You will notice that the inverse of this graph would show that overall health goes up as animal products begin to go down.  And yes, I learned these things from other places than this graph.

But I digress.

So in dreaming up a vegan meal to satisfy and impress, I decided to take the creamy deliciousness of the sweet potato casserole and marry it with edgy southwestern flavors thus creating their gastronomically gorgeous baby.

Meet the southwestern stuffed sweet potato. 

(Is it weird that I keep wanting to say "pertater?" Oh, wait, yes, that is weird!)

IMG_3355a.jpg

This sweet little potato is a God-given gift to all of us sweet and savory mixers, being at once the perfect vehicle for either brown sugar with marshmallows or spicy chipotle and lime.

Hence the new holiday tradition – {at least in my house!}

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

This was inspired by the mouthwatering photo from Pinch of Yum! 

For the pertater fillin:

  • 4 small, round-as-possible sweet potatoes
  • 1 small or 1/2 a large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Salt, pepper, cumin, chipotle seasoning OR ½ tsp chipotle adobo sauce with 2 tsp. lime juice (more or less to taste) 
  • 1/3 of a peeled avocado  
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • About ¾ cup frozen sweet corn (thawed or frozen is fine)
  • 2-5 T. unsweetened plain almond milk (start with 2 and add more as needed) 
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. hot sauce  
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 stalk chopped green onion
IMG_3327a.jpg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Thoroughly wash sweet potatoes, since the skin is delightful to eat as well, but needs to be cleaned.

Poke a few holes in each sweet potato, microwave in a casserole dish with 1/2 inch of water on the bottom for 4-5 minutes.  Flip the potatoes over and microwave another 4-6 minutes, checking with a toothpick or fork until they are soft inside but not mushy.

Let cool a few minutes. During this time, I like to prep the onions, garlic and cilantro.

Cut potatoes in half, then scoop out the insides with a spoon, leaving about a ¼” of potato on each skin.  I found that using a small knife to cut around the edges of the potatoes first helps to get the insides out without breaking the potato skins.

IMG_3324a.jpg
IMG_3332a.jpg

Place 1/3 avocado, potato insides, lime juice, 2 T. almond milk, a handful cilantro, seasonings, and hot sauce in a food processor.

Process for a minute or two until the potatoes reach a creamy mashed potato consistency.  If it looks like it needs more liquid, add more almond milk and process again.

Add onion and garlic to the food processor, and process until there are no more large chunks.  (Small chunks of onion are fine to leave.) 

Taste-test, and add spices as needed.

When the potato mixture is ready, scoop out with a rubber spatula and transfer to a medium bowl.  Add the corn and beans and mix in. 

IMG_3339a.jpg

Place potato skins in a large glass casserole dish or on a baking pan.

Fill the potato skins until they are heaping with filling, and bake in the oven about 10-15 minutes, until heated all the way through.

*Note: if you want to make these ahead of time, just place them in a covered casserole dish in the refrigerator 1-2 days before you want to bake them.  You can also bake them one at a time if you don't need all at once. 

While these are baking (or can be done ahead), we can make the creamy cashew sour cream. 

Trust me, this is a necessary accompaniment, even if you don't like real sour cream!

IMG_3343a.jpg

Cashew Sour Cream

2/3 cups raw cashews, soaked in water 4 hours to overnight (okay, that's the best way, but if you can't wait another second, just use raw cashews and expect a little chunkiness).

  • 3-5 T. unsweetened plain almond milk (more if needed)
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • Handful cilantro leaves
  • Dash or two hot sauce
  • salt to taste

Blend all ingredients thoroughly in a food processor until very smooth.  You may need to keep adding almond milk slowly until it reaches roughly the consistency of sour cream.  Taste test + add more lime juice and hot sauce if needed.

Finally, when your sweet potatoes are hot, plate them immediately, add cashew sour cream, and garnish with green onions and cilantro! 

IMG_3348a.jpg
IMG_3353a.jpg