Tag Archives: condiments

Cheesy Sun Dried Tomato White Bean Spread

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As you well know, we’re big fans of beans in this household. Whether roasted into crunchy snacks, mashed into burgers, baked into brownies, or blended into dips and spreads, beans are one of the most versatile kitchen staples I can think of. As such, they make a rather large appearance in my diet.

I am a condiment fanatic, and as such, I am always in search of something new to put on my condiment plate (yes, I have a dinner plate, and a condiment plate – it’s important). Hummus makes an appearance on quite a frequent basis, recently with a hefty dose of roasted garlic and carrots. I wanted something a bit creamier this time, though, and great northern beans were the perfect fit.

The sun dried tomatoes lend a slightly sweet element, while the garlic adds just enough heat.  A bit of nutritional yeast rounds out the flavor, making this spread not only cheesy, but quite savory.

I’ve only eaten it as a vegetable topper so far, but I can imagine this spread doing quite well as the base for a pizza, or even stirred into pasta and other grain dishes for an extra kick of flavor and creaminess.

IMG_6676Cheesy Sun Dried Tomato White Bean Spread

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

•1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes and drained*
•1/4 cup unsweetened, unsalted sunflower seed butter*
•2 tablespoons warm water
•1/2 teaspoon sea salt
•1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
•1 1/2 cups great northern beans (rinsed and drained, if canned)
•3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

In the bowl of a food processor combine the sunflower seed butter and warm water. Process until a creamy mixture forms.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until a homogenous mixture forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Notes: Save the tomato soaking water to use as a base for soups, to cook grains in, etc. If you only have salted sunflower seed butter on hand, begin by adding just 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and adjust as necessary.  An equal amount of cashew butter or tahini may be substituted for the sunflower seed butter.

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Looking for other cheesy ideas? If you haven’t had Gena’s “Pizza Cheese” yet, I highly recommend giving it a try.

In more of a saucy mood? Angela’s “Quick and Dirty 5 Ingredient Vegan Cheeze Sauce” is just what you’re looking for.

What are your favorite ways to add a cheesy flavor to your meals? Any other favorite “cheese” recipes out there?

Salted Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter

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Growing up, I was never the greatest fan of nut butters. While all of my friends gladly ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, ants on a log for snacks (one of Justin’s favorites), and spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the spoon, I preferred other things. Things like hummus, olives, and mustard, usually with pretzels or pita, for every meal and snack (besides breakfast). I just didn’t get peanut butter. Things have changed over the years, and I slowly began to realize the greatness not just of peanut butter, but of all nut butters. In fact, it wasn’t until I became vegan that nut butters became a regular part of my diet (not out of necessity, but because I truly began to enjoy them).

The real epiphany came when I discovered Peanut Butter and Co., which produces many wonderful varieties of peanut butter such as Mighty Maple (my personal favorite), Dark Chocolate Dreams, and Cinnamon Raisin Swirl. Around the same time, I also found Justin’s Nut Butter, which helped me develop an obsession with maple almond butter (do we see a theme here)?

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These nut butters, while quite irresistible, are also quite pricy. Which is why I began to make my own. There are endless flavor combinations, and they can be made at the fraction of the cost of store-bought brands. I now only buy the above-mentioned nut butters as a special treat, but make my own on a regular basis. I’ve tried countless variations, and at this point it’s hard to choose one absolute favorite. But, I think I can safely say that this is my favorite sunflower seed butter.

If you’ve never tried sunflower seed butter, you’re in for a real treat. Roasted sunflower seeds transform into a very creamy and satisfying butter by themselves, but the addition of chocolate, sea salt, and just a touch of coconut sugar here make this feel decadent and dessert-like. I have been known to enjoy a spoonful or two straight from the jar before it ever hits my intended delivery vehicle. Why waste a perfectly good apple when what you really want is the dreamy chocolate sunflower seed butter on top? Another plus? If you’re allergic to tree nuts, or know someone else who is, this sunflower seed butter is perfect for you (or to share, but you probably won’t want to).

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Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter

Ingredients

•1 1/2 cups roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
•2/3 cup chopped dark chocolate (I used 82% cacao content)
•1/2 teaspoon sea salt
•1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
•2 teaspoons coconut sugar, plus more if desired*

1. Place sunflower seeds in the bowl of a food processor and process until a smooth paste forms, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

2. Add chocolate, sea salt, vanilla, and coconut sugar, and process until the chocolate is completely incorporated.

3. Taste, and adjust sweetener according to your preference.

Notes: Any granulated sugar can be substituted for the coconut sugar, but I do not recommend using any liquid sweetener, as it affects the texture of the finished product.

chocolate sunflower seed butter knifeHave your snack preferences changed over the years, or have your tastebuds remained unchanged? Any other favorite homemade or store-bought nut butters? What is your favorite way to enjoy nut/seed butters?

Garlic and Mustard Seed Gomasio

_MG_7989Condiments are extremely important. It’s a fact that can’t be denied. Mustard (which I adore) and ketchup (which I cannot stand – anyone else?) have their places, but sometimes you need a bit of a change. It’s not that food tastes bad without condiments, it just tastes better with them. Now, most condiments are of the saucy variety – aside from mustard and ketchup, the American classics, there is barbecue sauce (which we’ll get to another day), salsa, and countless varieties of hot sauce. These served me perfectly well, that is, until I discovered gomasio.

If you aren’t familiar with gomasio, it is  a traditional Japanese condiment comprised of toasted sesame seeds and salt. It doesn’t sound like much, but let me assure you, you need to try this recipe because once you do, you’ll never want to be without it. It helps that you probably have all of the ingredients in your cupboard right now, just waiting to be put to good use.

I’ve seen several varieties of gomasio in stores – from garlic to seaweed, but I decided to come up with my own variation. The homemade version is much more cost effective, and you can customize it however you like.

Lately, I’ve been sprinkling gomasio over just about everything. It goes wonderfully with grains and steamed or roasted vegetables, which are a part of my dinner every night. Sometimes I can’t wait for dinner though, and I do admit, I’m guilty of taking a few pinches straight from the jar. It’s that good! I’ve made several versions of gomasio, and here I decided to include mustard seeds and garlic powder. If you aren’t a fan of either, you could leave them out completely, or substitute with your own favorite herbs and spices.

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Garlic and Mustard Seed Gomasio

Ingredients

•1/3 cup sesame seeds (you can use any variety; I used a combination of black and white)
•2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
•1 tbsp sea salt
•1 tbsp garlic powder

1. Combine the sesame seeds and mustard seeds in a skillet and toast over low heat, stirring often, until the seeds become golden and fragrant.  You will hear some popping; don’t worry, this is normal.

2. Remove the seeds from heat, allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then pour into the bowl of a mortar and pestle (my choice) or spice grinder along with the sea salt and garlic powder.  Grind until most of the seeds are broken apart.  Do not grind the seeds to a powder; you are looking for a bit of variety in texture.

3. Store in an airtight container and sprinkle over anything and everything.

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Have you tried gomasio yet, or even made it yourself? If not, what are your favorite condiments?