Vegan Nut-Free Cheddar

This is a solid non-dairy cheddar-like cheese that doesn’t use nuts. Cashew cheese is great, but can be really expensive – and really calorie-dense. Not exactly a weeknight food.

This version tastes pretty cheesy, makes a decent Mac & cheese (better, strangely, with sauerkraut mixed in), and would make a good dip base.

Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Vegan Nut-Free Cheddar

1 medium russet potato
1 medium carrot
2 cups non-dairy milk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice 1 lemon
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. mustard powder
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

Roughly chop the potatoes and carrot and boil until soft, approximately 10 minutes. Drain and let cool a bit. Add to the bowl of a blender or food processor.

Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and add a little more lemon juice, spices or salt. I find if I’m missing some punch, extra mustard powder works well.

If you need an even thicker cheese sauce, heat in a pan slowly, stirring often, until desired thickness is reached.

Serves quite a few

Fall Harvest Soup

This soup feels like a hearty, warm hug but gives a nice light dinner that doesn’t weigh one down.

Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, halal, Whole30

Fall Harvest Soup

1 medium carrot, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
2 Tbsp. stock powder (I used a vegan chicken stock)
48 ounces water
1/2 can coconut milk
Generous sprinkle oregano
Generous sprinkle cumin
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Liberal sprinkle black pepper
Liberal salt
1.5 Tbsp. butter or vegan equivalent
Big hand full pepitas toasted in 1/2 tsp. coconut aminos
Optional: 4 ounces turkey bresaola, crisped until browned in a dry pan

Prep all veggies and add to a slow or multi cooker with spices and liquids (everything but the butter, pepitas and bresaola).

Press the stew/soup setting.

When complete, open the lid and add the butter/butter substitute. Let cool a bit and blend all but 1/4 until smooth. Add the reserved 1/4 back in for texture.

Serve topped with the pepitas and bresaola if desired.

Serves 6

Roasted Carrot Strings with Meyer Lemon Cream & Basil

Zoodles (carroodles?) are fun. I’m still loving the spiralizer I finally broke down and purchased and although the waste ratio is a little high on thin carrots, I’m still behind whipping a pound of carrots into strings for dinner. Kind of exhausting after an intense arm workout, but worth it.

Gluten-free, paleo, Whole30, vegan, vegetarian

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Roasted Carrot Strings with Meyer Lemon Cream & Basil

Adapted from Meyer Lemon Roasted Carrot Strings with Lemon Garlic Sauce from Running to the Kitchen

1 pound carrots
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon (or 1 lemon + a squirt orange)
Kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 cup basil leaves

Meyer Lemon Cream

1/4 cup coconut cream (you can either buy a can of coconut cream or put a full-fat can of coconut milk into the fridge for a few hours so the cream rises and solidifies a bit)
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon (or 1 lemon + a squirt orange)
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. chipotle powder
Kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While your oven is heating, spiralize your carrots into strings (or use a julienne peeler or cut into very thin strips).

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil with the juice of 1 lemon, a big sprinkle salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Whisk to combine. When the carrot strings are done, add to the bowl and toss to combine.

Cover a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease with ghee or coconut oil. Spread the carrots evenly on the baking sheet and pop into the oven. Roast for 20 minutes, tossing every so often to promote crispness.

While the carrots are working, make your cream. Mince the garlic and chiffonade the basil. In a small bowl, mix the coconut cream, juice of 1 lemon, apple cider vinegar, a big pinch salt, few cracks black pepper and chipotle powder. Taste for zinginess and salt. Add more acid or salt if needed.

When the carrots are finished, remove from the oven and serve with the lemon cream. Sprinkle basil over to garnish.

Serves 2 for dinner.

Thai-Style Peanut Chicken Noodles

This Thai-inspired peanut stir-fry comes together in a jiffy for a healthy, satisfying weeknight meal.

Thai-Style Peanut Chicken Noodles

3 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 carrot, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 onion, sliced thin
1/2 lb. chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. whole wheat spaghetti, cooked until barely al dente

For the sauce

1/4 c. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. pomegranate molasses
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. chili garlic paste
4 Tbsp. rice wine
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. +1 tsp. lime juice
Water to thin

Whisk all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Add water, a Tablespoon full at a time, until thin enough to pour as a sauce (I ended up using 4 Tbsp.).

Heat 1 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil in a large wok over high. Add chicken and stir-fry until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside.

Add the rest of the oil, onion, celery and carrot. Stir-fry until beginning to brown.

Add garlic, stir-fry until softened. Add spaghetti and sauce. Remove from heat and toss to combine.

Serves 2 for dinner.

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