Spinach Artichoke Vegan Cashew Cheese Dip

I am officially in love with this cashew cheese spinach artichoke dip! It's the perfect appetizer/addition to a wine and "cheese" night! Plus, you can enjoy it hot or cold! I brought it to work, and it was a big hit, even with my "non vegan" friends... haha! You can even try using it to top off power bowls and buddha bowls! 

Keep in mind, this recipe calls for marinated artichoke hearts. If you're planning on using regular hearts, try adding 1 Teaspoon of salt and 1 Teaspoon of pepper for added flavour! This recipe also calls for unsalted roasted cashews, that DON'T need to be soaked, as some cashew cheese recipes require. However, you can use soaked cashews for a creamier consistency. Frugality note: I buy cashew "pieces" which are much cheaper than buying full cashews (and we're blending them anyways)!

Prep Time: 5 min  Cooking Time: 30 min  Total Time:  35 min Servings: ~ 3 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Unsalted Roasted Cashews
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Rice Milk (any non dairy milk will do)
  • 1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon Basil 
  • 4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic 
  • 2 Cups Artichoke Hearts (preferably marinated hearts)
  • 2 Cups Spinach 
  • 1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs (optional)

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor, blend cashews, rice milk, and nutritional yeast until smooth. Add basil, lemon juice, and minced garlic and fully blend. 

Step 2: Add artichoke hearts and spinach, and pulse until well mixed for approximately 5 minutes. 

Step 3: Bake for 25 minutes. Top with bread crumbs (optional), and bake for an additional 5 minutes. 

Kale & Cashew Zucchini Pesto Pasta

Pesto is one of my absolute favourite flavours! Unfortunately not many grocery stores carry already made "cheese-less" pesto... so I've created a deliciously simple recipe that uses common kitchen food items, and maximizes nutritional health benefits! One of which, is the concept of food synergy. Researchers found that pairing tomato with a healthy fat such as avocado, increases the absorption of the tomato's antioxidants! Not to mention the added benefit of the prolonged full feeling you get from this healthy green fruit! If you prefer a raw vegan diet, this dish can easily be modified to meet your needs; just skip step 3 and keep those tomatoes off the burner!

        Prep Time: ~ 10 min             Cook Time: ~5 min             Total Time: ~ 15 min

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Ingredients: 

  • 2 Zucchinis (use 3 zucchinis if serving 2 people)
  • 1/2 Cup Avocado (~ 1 medium-large avocado)
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Cashews 
  • 1/4 Cup Grape seed Oil (Olive oil works well as a substitute) 
  • 1 Cup Kale (I used baby kale because it comes without thick stems)
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Table Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Lime Squeezed
  • ~10 Halved Cherry Tomatoes

Directions:

Step 1: Spiralize zucchinis into noodles, breaking strands into about 20-30 cm long.

Step 2: Combine avocado, cashews, oil, and kale, in food processor and pulse until mixed. Add basil, salt, pepper, garlic, and lime juice, and blend on high until smooth. Try saving your avocado pits for a high nutrient addition to smoothies (just dehydrate, slice, and grind up into a powder)!

Step 3: Lightly grease your pan, and set on medium heat. Add zucchini noodles, and let cook for 5 minutes. These noodles will hold quite a bit of moisture, so it's important not to add too much oil when greasing the pan. Also be careful not to overcook your noodles, or they will become too soft/mushy.

Step 4: Strain any excess water from your pan, and empty noodles into a mixing bowl. Set tomatoes in your pan on medium to low heat while saucing the noodles. If using 3 zucchinis, add in all your pesto. If using 2 zucchinis, add in ~ 1/2 a cup of pesto (you should have ~1/3 cup leftover). Mix pesto in to fully coat noodles. Empty your hot cherry tomatoes into your pasta and enjoy!

Note: Leftover pesto can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days (the avocado may cause the pesto to brown but it is still safe to eat). Try using your excess pesto to stuff mushrooms or spread on wraps or sandwiches!

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