This summer when the market was full of beautiful fruit and berries, I bought lots and made them into a series of beautiful pies. These pies take about 20 minutes to make, need no baking, look gorgeous, and taste delicious. Yum!!!
I fell in love with this recipe this summer, so I made it again and again, all summer long.
The chocolate brownie crust is adapted from a recipe in Chocolate Covered Katie’s cookbook. And the cardamom cashew cream filling is adapted from a recipe in an older edition of the cookbook Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet. I love cardamom and think that the hint of it in the cashew cream really makes this pie recipe over-the-top amazing.
Two more pictures and then the recipe!
Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust - gluten-free, raw, vegan, beautiful and yummy!
Author: Valerie Mates
Recipe type: Dessert
- 1 cup dates, with pits and any bits of stem removed
- 1 1/3 cups nuts (for example 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans, and 1/3 cup of almonds)
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 dates, with pits and any bits of stem removed
- strawberries, perfectly ripe mangoes, blackberries -- or whatever fruit you have handy, cut into chunks
- Place all of the crust ingredients in a food processor. Blend until you have tiny bits, much smaller than the head of a pin. The mixture should have tiny bits of nuts visible in it but be soft and mashable. Don't blend it for so long that you turn it into nut butter!
- Empty the food processor into a pie plate. Use your hands to press down on the mixture, to flatten it. Push some of it against the sides, too, so that there is an even coating of crust pushed down all over the bottom and sides of the pie plate. I usually don't put the crust on top of the edges of the pie plate, because on a raw foods crust that tends to fall off during serving. Take the time to make sure that the crust is pushed down into the corners of the pie plate and that the edges are finished off neatly. I usually make the edges a tiny bit taller than the pie plate, so that the pie can be deep. If you press down on the pie crust on the insides of the pie plate, the crust will get taller and do exactly this.
- Place all the ingredients for the cardamom cashew cream in the food processor. (You don't need to wash it out after making the crust.) Blend until you have a very smooth cream. It should look and taste smooth. I usually let cashew cream sit in the food processor while I work on other parts of a recipe and then come back to it to re-blend it once the blended bits of cashews have had a chance to soften.
- Wash the fruit and cut it into chunks. If you are using strawberries, cut out the stem from each strawberry and then cut it in half. You can leave blackberries whole. For a mango, imagine a mango pit with a piece of paper on top and another piece on the bottom, lying down flat. Now imagine that pit inside a whole mango, and use a knife to cut where each piece of paper is, so that you end up with two mango hemispheres, and an oval of mango left behind that includes the pit. Now on each hemisphere, cut 2-3 lines through the flesh in one direction, cutting down to the skin but don't cut through the skin. Now cut 2-3 lines across in the other direction, across the first cuts, making a grid. So you should have a mango hemisphere with its skin still intact and the mango flesh scored into about 12 squares. Then use a dinnertable tablespoon to separate the mango flesh from the skin, so that you end up with about 12 cubes of mango. Repeat on the other mango hemisphere.
- Re-blend the cashew cream (which is still in the food processor) until it is super smooth, then put it into the pie crust and spread it evenly over the bottom.
- Arrange the fruit prettily on top of the cashew cream, to fill up the pie crust. Tip: A ring of cut strawberries interlocks really nicely, like Lego. :)
- Voila! One quick and yummy fruit pie!
This recipe is entered in Gluten-Free Fridays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, and Meat-Free Mondays!
Once upon a time, I perfected my macaroni and cheese recipe. It was a specialty of mine — fancy macaroni and cheese mixed with a creamy white sauce, using a small amount of fancy cheese to make it healthier and yummy. Then we had to stop eating dairy and gluten, and so, sadly, for a long time that was the end of macaroni and cheese at our house.
After that, I experimented with creamy vegan cheese-like sauces. I came up with some that I liked quite a bit. But nothing was quite right for macaroni and cheese.
Then in March I ran across Vegan Richa‘s recipe for vegan Mozarella Sticks, made with homemade cashew mozzarella. The cheese sticks came out tasting really cheesy, even though they are totally vegan. I am convinced that Richa is a genius at creative food chemistry. Her blog is a wonderful mix of creative vegan versions of American food and Indian cuisine.
Richa’s recipe made a great starting point for experimenting with my own vegan macaroni and cheese recipe. The very first time I tried making it, it came out tasting surprisingly similar to my old macaroni and cheese recipe, with the white sauce and fancy cheeses. I was very pleased!!!!!
So here is my version of vegan macaroni and cheese.
Nut-free option: I have not tried this, but I think you could replace the nuts and 1 cup of the water with a pound of firm tofu.
In the third picture, that’s my oldest son cooking. :)
Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
Author: Valerie Mates
Recipe type: main dish
- 2 cups cashews
- 2 1/2 cups cold water, divided
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 2 teaspoons potato starch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 pound pasta -- gluten-free if you eat that way (which I do!)
- optional: goes well with broccoli as a side dish (see my broccoli recipe)
- Start cooking the pasta.
- Place the cashews and one cup of the water in a high speed blender. Blend until smooth. Let it sit for a couple of minutes (to soften the tiny cashew pieces) while you juice the lemon and add the rest of the sauce ingredients EXCEPT not the rest of the water, to the blender. Blend again until very smooth.
- Place the sauce mixture in a large nonstick pan. (Nonstick is essential for this recipe!)
- Start heating the sauce and stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Use the rest of the water to rinse out the blender, then add it to the sauce.
- Heat and stir the sauce until it thickens and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Mix with the cooked macaroni.
- Serve with broccoli on the side.
p.s. You should try Vegan Richa’s mozzarella sticks recipe!
This quick vegan recipe has creamy cashew sauce (or choose the nut-free variation that replaces the cashews with tofu), with spinach and red bell peppers. It uses an unusual ingredient called umeboshi paste, which adds a delicious salty sweetness to the recipe.
Umeboshi paste is made of pickled umeboshi plums — though it does not taste at all like pickles. It is salty and sweet and creamy, making the recipe’s sauce a little addictive.
If you can’t find umeboshi paste, you can replace it with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. That works okay and comes out tasting lovely, but if you can possibly use umeboshi paste, this recipe is much yummier for it.
I originally made this recipe with the kind of pasta that looks a little bit like a telephone cord. That’s how the recipe got the name Umeboshi Calling.
Nut-free version: Replace the cashews with 10 ounces of tofu, and reduce the water to 1/2 cup.
Variation: You can add 1-2 cups of your favorite protein source, such as Butler soy curls (rehydrated before adding!), seitan (note that seitan is not gluten-free), baked tofu, etc.
Tip: If you anticipate leftovers, you may wish to keep the sauce and the pasta separate, so that you can store them separately, so that the pasta doesn’t absorb all the liquid from the sauce in the refrigerator.
Umeboshi Calling - a quick pasta dinner with creamy cashew sauce
Author: Valerie Mates
Recipe type: main dish
- 1 pound pasta, preferably something curly such as Field Day Organic Brown Rice Fusilli
- 1 package frozen spinach (anything from 10 to 16 ounces is OK)
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup water
- 2 1/2 tablespoons umeboshi paste
- 1-2 bell peppers (any color is OK; red is especially good in this)
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Defrost spinach, but don’t drain it.
- Blend cashews, water, and umeboshi paste in a blender or food processor for several minutes, until it thickens and starts to look about the consistency of sour cream. Make sure you blend the mixture for long enough that it is really smooth.
- Chop the bell pepper.
- Mix everything together.
- Stir, but don't worry if the spinach stays somewhat clumpy.
- Serve. Yum!