Cheese Toast

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What is life without a cheese  toast?
Hopeless and boring

Per 100gms of regular dairy cheese contains 21 gms or more of saturated fat, zero fiber, hormones and pus cells from cows, and concentrated animal protein along with a cocktail of emulsifiers and preservatives to keep them on the shelf for long…

Thankfully there is hope in life because there is – VEGAN CHEESE!…

This cheese made with cashew nuts contains less than 6gm saturated fat, live probiotics to keep your gut happy, fiber and a host of minerals and vitamins ready for absorption! It is also so so simple to make.

Here goes the recipe :- Ingredients
1 cup cashews soaked for 4 hours
1/3 tsp rock salt 

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Method
1) Drain the water and wash thoroughly (with drinking water).
2) Blend the cashews into a smooth paste adding little water (as required).
3) Place in a glass jar. Make sure the jar is only half full as the cheese will need that much space when in the making.
4) Close the lid lightly and leave it in a place where it will not be disturbed to ferment.
5) In summer it takes approximately 12-14 hours.In winter it could take 24 hours or more. You could keep it in an oven or cupboard and that will speeden up the process.(Once done, refrigerate. It will last 4-5 days).

You will know the cheese is ready when you see some air bubbles trapped inside.Add rock salt to this and refrigerate.(swipe to see the picture of cheese). Also feel free to flavour it with pepper, paprika, red chilli, fresh or dried herbs as you like.

Now just like regular cream cheese, mix in some chopped veggies like corn, onion, peppers etc., spread it on bread and bake till crisp and dig in!

Vegan Thandai

This Holi, I tried this delicious and healthy vegan version of thandai by a friend and former retreat participant Priyanka Jain, and absolutely loved it! Full of varied flavours and so rich, it just made my day! Go ahead, try it!

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Ingredients

  • 8 almonds, soaked and peeled.
  • 2 walnuts , soaked and peeled.
  • 1 tsp watermelon seeds, soaked.
  • 6-8 pistachios
  • 3-4 dates, soaked.
  • 3-4 cardamom seeds
  • 2 black pepper
  • Few strands of saffron, soaked in warm water

Method

  1. Blend everything together with with very little water to make a thick paste. Then add more water to reach desired consistency and blend again.
  2. Garnish with Kesar strands, rose petals and watermelon seeds.

Dairy Free Yogurt

Health-Nut-Peanut-and-Rice-Milk-YogurtYogurt of Dahi, is the one thing we Indians cant seem to do without. Many people give up milk, but hang on to their bowl of dahi for its probiotic benefits.

But dahi made using dairy milk is equally harmful as the milk itself as it contains the hormones, pus cells, antibiotics, urea, and everything else contained in the milk.

Its so simple to make dairy free yogurt, and it is great for your GUT too (as it contains the probiotics.

We have gone with using peanuts for the basic version, assuming you might be coming some every day. Peanuts being a legume, are ok to have in slightly bigger quantities than nut.

Rice is used as a thickener, and can be avoided if you so choose.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp whole brown rice, soaked in water for 8 hours
  • 1 cup raw peanuts, soaked in water for 8 hours
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6-8 green chilli tops

Method

  1. Discard the water used for soaking. Using fresh water, grind the raw rice and peanuts. Use only 2 cups of water initially. Strain.
  2. Add another 2 cups of water to the remaining pulp and grind again. If you like the milk to be thinner, you can repeat the process once more.
  3. Transfer the milk to a pan. Bring to boil on a low flame, continuously stirring. Now boil the peanut milk on a low flame. Once it comes to a boil, keep stirring and allow it to boil for 10 min or so till it thickens (this means the rice is cooked).
  4. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm temperature. Now it is ready to add the culture. Add the lemon juice and the green chilli tops to this. Mix well. Leave it covered, at room temperature, for about 8 hours (about 12-15 hours in colder climes).

Yoghurt is ready. For the next batch, use the culture from this batch of yoghurt. This can be stored in refrigerator for a week.

Note :- This yogurt will not taste the same as dairy yogurt. It needs to be flavoured to mask the peanut/rice taste.

Hence this is great for Raitas, Chaas, Dahi bada,  Kadhi, biryani and other such uses!

Making Yogurt with other nuts:- 

Use the same method as given above, using almonds or cashew nuts. You can omit using rice. There is also no need to strain the milk or boil it. Instead just heat it to lukewarm and add the chilli stems and lemon juice.

Scroll down for a delicious Mint Raita recipe 🙂 

Vegan Mint Raita

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups non dairy yogurt
  • Fresh mint leaves chopped
  • Salt, pepper and lemon to taste

Method

Take the yogurt. Whip it till smooth. Add the mint leaves, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve chilled.

Iron man Chocolate Milk Shake

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This smoothie is a perfect example of a recipe that could contain potentially hazardous ingredients :- 

  • highly processed and chemical laden, sugary drinking chocolate 
  • zero nutrient, empty calorie sugar
  • Hormone, antibiotic, pus laden and acidic milk 

We’ve literally traded the above for natural, unprocessed nutrient dense ingredients and the result is that you get a power packed milk shake. Thats why I call it the IRON MAN CHOCOLATE MILK SHAKE. 

The smoothie is a delicious cocktail of :-  

  • magnesium rich cacao (we use @masonandco or @urbanplatter)
  • iron rich dates 
  • protein rich almonds 
  • Calcium rich sesame 
  • Banana (not naming the nutrients here, as it just contains way too many to be fair) .

Plus the smoothie a full fibre, and lower in calories than its original counterpart. 

Ready to give this deliciousness a try ? 

Ingredients

1 tbsp. of sesame seeds- raw, organic, unpolished

 6 almonds

2-4 dates (de-seeded)

1 banana (optional)

1-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (try Mason and Co or Urban Platter)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate smoothie bucket

Method

Soak the almonds (with skin) and sesame separately for upto 4 hours. Drain the water. Wash with fresh water.

Grind the almonds and sesame together adding minimal water till smooth. Now add the remaining ingredients along with ice/water and blend till smooth.

Pour this deliciousness into a tall glass and serve. Garnish with chopped almonds or cacao nibs. 

Optional Flavours –  Add 1.5 tbsp peanut butter or 1 cardamom /a pinch of cinnamon /a pinch of saffron instead of cocoa powder.

Serves 2

Nut/ Seed Milk (GF/Raw)

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If you’re serious about going off dairy, then making a nut milk is perhaps the one life skill you should consider learning immediately. Honestly, it is sooo simple, and takes barely 10 minutes. 

You can choose practically any nut or seed you fancy – almond, cashew nut, walnut, peanut, sunflower seed, cucumber seeds, sesame or fresh coconut. 

If you’re trying a non-dairy milk for the first time, a good place to begin is almond milk. If you like it creamy, go for cashew milk. Seeds contain less fat than nuts, so if you’re looking to limit your nut intake, go for sunflower seeds milk instead. Personally my favorite is coconut milk, cuz I love the coconut flavor. Go ahead try all the different options and figure your own favorite! 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw nuts/seeds
  • 4 cups of water

Method

Wash and soak the nuts/seeds for 8 hours. Drain that water and wash with fresh water. Blend them with enough water to submerge the nuts/seeds till you have a smooth paste. Add half the remaining water and blend again.

If you are new to this you strain this and remove the fiber. Add the remaining water to the fiber, grind again and strain. 

Makes 4 cups

Don’t throw away the remaining fiber. Try adding a little bit to a vegetable, dal, chillas or cookies. 

Try these delicious recipes using nut milk

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Want to make your nut milk wholesome? 

Try using it whole without straining the fiber (except for the coconut). Believe me you can’t even tell the fiber is in there in most uses such as using it for cereal, smoothies and certain desserts. 

Here’s a disclaimer. Your nut/seed milk will not taste the same as the dairy milk when had plain. So if you’re looking for that, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. 

I’ve had so many clients say that they are so used to dairy milk that they cant get used to a nut milk. To that I say, have the nut milk for a week and then try going back to your dairy milk. You will be surprised that the taste of dairy milk may not go down well with you any more! Why is that? Because your taste buds are constantly adapting based on what you serve them. So once they start getting non dairy milk, that is what they will soon start liking ☺ 

Trying your hand at a nut milk for the first time? I’d love to know how it went. Comment below.

Also try other dairy alternatives. They are so easy :-

 

Cucumber Chaas/Buttermilk

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When I first went vegan, this was one of the first beverage I learnt to make. Its so easy to make (especially if you’re using coconut milk) and so damn impressive, because it is simply delicious and people just cant tell that it is free of dairy. 

If you are watching you fat intake, then avoid coconut milk and use the non dairy yogurt for your buttermilk instead. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup non dairy yogurt or 2 cups of fresh coconut milk 
  • 1/2 medium cucumber 
  • 1/2 inch grated ginger
  • 1/2 inch green chilli 
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder 
  • salt and lemon juice to taste. 
  • Fresh coriander to garnish 
  • Ice cubes 

(If using yogurt, use 1-1.5 cups of water depending on how thin or thick you want the chaas). 

Method

Grate the cucumber.  Grind the ginger and green chilli along with 2 tbsp of yogurt/coconut milk. Add the rest of the yogurt/coconut milk till well blended. Add the grated cucumber water/ice, cumin powder, salt and lemon juice to taste. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve chilled.  

Dairy Free Chaas

Also check out other cooling beverages :-

Try these tell me which one you liked best 🙂

Healthy Ram Seed Mix

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Craving some crunchy munchy stuff? 

I know, we all are these days. 

Here is my Healthy Ram Seed Mix 

Unlike regular namkeen, it is not fried and does not contain any nasty chemicals you can’t pronounce. Yes it contains healthy fat, fiber and loads of minerals, hence just a little is really satisfying. 

Here goes (No exact measurements really, just how I like it) :- 

I took 1 cup of seeds which I had at home (sunflower, pumpkin, melon, flax, cucumber) and peanuts and pan roasted them. 

You could use whichever seeds you have at hand, also add a bit of chopped nuts or makhana (foxnut) if you like. 

Each of these needs to be roasted separately depending on their size, as they take different time to get roasted. 

Once done, mix them all and while still warm, pour a tbsp of tamari or soy sauce on them.  Mix well so that the seeds are covered. Leave them aside to dry. 

Store in an airtight box to retain their crunch. 

Have a couple of tbsp every day (believe me that is enough to make you feel satiated) or use this to sprinkle on soups or salads.

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Peanut Butter Ice cream

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Because I am sure everyone is missing ice cream.  This yummy creamy ghar ka bana ice cream is so much healthier for you than commercial ice creams. 

Regular ice creams are a cocktail of cream, sugar, artificial flavours and preservatives all of which are hazardous for your immune system. 

Dairy cream is nothing but concentrated fat, hormones, antibiotics, pus cells and animal protein. 

In this recipe, we use thick coconut milk/bananas instead.

Refined Sugar has been replaced with dates (rich in fibre, iron and other minerals). 

No artificial flavours or nasty preservatives (well, you will not need to preserve this, it is so yummy, it will be polished off as soon as it is made!) 

Add to this wholesome quality protein from peanuts, and you have a winner (a dessert cum health food?).  

Here goes the recipe :- 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2 cups coconut milk (if not available, sub with 2 ripe bananas)
  • 1/2 cup date paste (use less if adding bananas)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

METHOD

In a medium bowl, combine the coconut milk, date paste, vanilla, peanut butter, and salt.

Freeze mixture for 4-6 hours. 

Remove from the freezer, let it thaw a little and then grind to de-crystalise. Add the roasted peanuts in and pulse once. Do not forget to sprinkle some on top as well. 

Freeze again for 4 hours. Ice cream is ready. Enjoy! 

Healthy Patod

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What are the Indian monsoons without pakodas?

But here’s the thing with pakodas. No one can stop at one. The damage with a handful could be anything between 200-600 calories. Oil when heated to high temperatures (for frying) turns carcinogenic.
Here is an alternative. The fried version made my mom famous, but here I am stripping the oil off it to make it guilt free for you, although I guarantee it tastes as delectable in its Health Nut avatar. 

Go ahead try patod (arbi patta also known as patra in Gujrat) on one of those rainy evenings! 

Read more about other greens you can try this monsoon, here. 

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Cocolassia leaves or Arbi Patta

Ingredients

Cocolasia Leaves – large, medium and small size
2 cup Chickpea flour (Besan)
2 tbsp Almond Butter
½ tsp Red chilly powder
½ tsp Cumin
¼ tsp Carrom seeds
¼ tsp Coriander powder
¼ tsp Pomegranate seeds
½ tsp Kasuri methi
¼ tsp Garam masala
¼ tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste
Water to make it into a thick batter

Method
Take all the ingredients (except the leaves) and make a thick smooth batter.
Wash the leaves. Keep the largest leaf on a plate with its back facing the top. Spread the batter on the leaves with your hands. Place the medium size leaf on top and spread the batter on it evenly. Now place the smallest leaf on top and spread the batter on it.
Fold the leaves from left and right side. Now fold the bottom end and start rolling into a (not too tight) roll.
Place this roll on a steamer and steam for 20 -30 min.
Let the roll cool down. Slice the roll.

Scroll down to see the pictures of the rolling process.

Now, these steamed rolls taste out of this world, and if you love steamed foods, they could be your go to. Serve them with chutney.
But if you are looking for something crispier, you can either sauté them on a pan or air fry them.
You could also sprinkle some dry tadka on top.
– Dry roast some cumin powder and coriander powder
– Mustard seeds, curry leaves and grated coconut.

Makes 10 pieces

The steamed roll can be refrigerated and stored for up to a week.

 

No Bake Mango Cheese Cake

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Lets celebrate summer with mangoes and how!

A typical mango cheese cake slice will cost you the following :
300-400 calories with 60% or more coming from fat (butter, cheese). It will contain sugar and not more than 5% dietary fibre.
A typical case of a moment on the lips, forever on the hips 

Now lets look at our no bake mango cheese cake.
A slice will be 200 calories, so your fat intake is already down by 50%.. And this fat is the good kinds (coming from soaked nuts and seeds), with all its fiber and nutrients intact.
The cake is also sweetened with fruit and dry fruit, again the best kind of sugar for your body.
Its light on the body, guilt free on the mind and delightful to the lips!
Go ahead, indulge, and enjoy till the mango season lasts!

NO BAKE MANGO CHEESECAKE

Filling:

1/5 cups cashew nuts (soaked for 4 hours)
1 cup Coconut Meat
4 tbsp dates paste
1 cup chopped mango
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Base:
1 cup dates
¼ cup raisins + cranberries (optional)
1.25 cups walnuts, almonds, pumpkin, sunflower seeds (soaked for 4 hours)
1tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt

Top layer
Chopped mangoes, mint springs, edible flowers
Method :
Base : Grind the dates, raisins and cranberries into a paste. Once done, add the soaked nuts, seeds, salt and vanilla and grind till a a corse gooey mixture is formed.
Spread this layer evenly on a cheesecake tin. Freeze for 4 hours.
Filling : Grind all ingredients together into a smooth creamy paste. Spread this on top of the base layer. Freeze for 2 hours.
Top layer : Garnish the cake with chopped mangoes, mint sprigs and edible flowers. Release the cheesecake side mould. Cut into pieces and serve quickly as it tends to melt.
Store leftovers in the fridge. And finish them within a day or 2.
SERVES 8 -10

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The same recipe can be used to make strawberry, lemon, blueberry or any other no bake cheese cake. Just replace the mango. You may need to adjust the quantities of sweetener based on the sweetness of the fruit!

Go ahead, indulge! Enjoy!