vegan

Raw Vegan Creamy Macnut Tomato Sauce

Raw Vegan Creamy Macnut Tomato SauceRaw Tomato Sauce IngredientsRaw Tomato Sauce step 1Raw Tomato Sauce

Admittedly, when I’m feeling lazy and too busy to spend an hour on food prep, one of my go-to meals is pasta. Since I try to be gluten-free, this means some form of brown rice or mung bean pasta. If I’m feeling even lazier and don’t feel like going through all the motions of chopping up lots of vegetables and cooking a warm sauce to go with my pasta, I make this super simple and uber-quick to make raw tomato sauce. The best part about it, though, is that all I have to do is throw all of the ingredients into a Vitamix and blend. And it’s super delicious, so that’s a win-win for everyone. One batch of this sauce, which makes a lot and will take you all of 5 minutes to make, can last me several days. Another major plus is that it’s not only good with pasta, but I can eat it with tons of other things– as a sauce for a raw pizza, raw zucchini noodles, a spread on top of baked or raw crackers, or as a dressing with some rice or quinoa and raw vegetables. Now that I’m letting you in on one of my lazy secrets, feel free to blame me for being lazy too. But your tastebuds won’t know the difference.

This recipe will make approximately 2.5 to 3 cups of sauce, and a little goes a long way.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole raw tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of whole sundried tomatoes (pre-soaked in water)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts (or substitute 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds)
  • Small handful of fresh parsley and basil leaves
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Water (a few tablespoons)
  • Nutritional yeast (optional)
  • A few dehydrated botija olives (optional)

Kitchen Tools:

  • Vitamix
  • Small knife
  • Spatula
  • Mason jar

Directions:

First blend the macnuts and olive oil together in the Vitamix until it makes a creamy paste. If macnuts are not available to you, you can substitute sunflower seeds in this step. Then, chop up the raw tomato into large slices. Put the raw tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, olive oil, coconut aminos, garlic, parsley and basil all together in the Vitamix and blend until it’s a creamy sauce. If the sauce seems very thick, you can add a little water (two or 3 tablespoons) to lighten it up. Add salt and pepper to taste, and then blend once more. Once you’ve gotten your desired taste and texture, you can opt to add a little nutritional yeast for a bit of a “cheesy” flavor or a few dehydrated olives if you like. Spoon it out with a spatula and mix in with your favorite cooked or raw pasta.

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Vegan Macadamia Nut Milk

Vegan Macnut Milk

Cup of Macnuts

Macnut Milk Paste

On our farm, we have hundreds of macadamia nut trees (or macnuts, as we call them, for short). It’s a full-time job in itself to harvest (all by hand, mind you) and keep the trees maintained, but it’s well worth it to have a steady supply of these super nutritious nuts– rich in protein, antioxidants, fiber, Vitamin A, iron, omega 7/palmitoleic acids, and monosaturated fats (the healthy kind that actually helps you build up your metabolism and burn off bad fat). Not to mention, macnuts help lower cholesterol and boost your skin, bone, brain, and heart health. Adding just a small handful of macnuts to your daily diet will do wonders for your body. And they’re so creamy and tasty, I’ve found that even kids in Hawaii will gobble them up like candy and reach their hands out for one more before you’ve even had time to crack another.

So of course it makes sense that one of the first, and most valuable things I learned when I arrived at the farm was how to make a delicious milk out of macnuts. It’s quick and easy, compared to other nut milks, because there is no straining necessary. Macnut milk is great all on its own, but it’s also delicious in coffee, tea, cereal, and anything else that you might normally add a vegan milk to. And depending on what is available to you, you have the option to use raw macnuts right out of the shell, dehydrated, or even roasted macnuts– which all offer a different flavor sensation, from milder to richer. My personal favorite is to use the most freshly harvested nuts, when the nut meat is rich and oily almost like a coconut. I can even say that I’ve nearly converted dairy-drinking visitors to the farm, who admitted that they could give up cow milk were they to have fresh, delicious macnut milk to drink everyday. Now, if only I could keep the whole world supplied… So, if you want to see what all the fuss is about, here you go!

The recipe will make approximately 4 cups of milk.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of macnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup sweetener (honey, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, etc)
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups of water (1 cup for initial blend step, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups for secondary blend step)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)

Kitchen Tools:

  • Vitamix (or a strong blender)
  • Large mason jar (4-6 cups)

Directions:

Place all the macnuts into the Vitamix with just enough water to slightly cover the nuts (approximately 3/4 cup to 1 cup water). Blend the nuts for about one minute, adding a little more water as needed in order to allow the nuts to blend into a fine paste. Another option to help blend the macnuts is to add a tablespoon of coconut oil, which will also give the milk a richer flavor. Once the macnuts are completely blended, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, as well as your favorite sweetener to taste and re-blend. Once the paste is complete, add in the remaining water (start with 1 1/2 cup) and blend until the paste is evenly distributed into a milk. Add extra water (anywhere from 2 to 2 1/2 cups) depending on your chosen thickness. Then taste and add any extra sweetener to your liking, or you may choose to use no sweetener at all. The milk may be slightly gritty depending on how finely the nuts were blended when initially making the paste, which is why it is important to focus on blending the nuts well first before adding the extra water– but it does not need to be strained. If the grittiness bothers you at all, you can let the milk sit for a minute before pouring it out of the blender, as some of the grit will settle to the bottom. You will also notice that the milk will be very foamy at the top.

Green Papaya Salad

DSC_0733Green papayas Slicing green papaya Slice papaya until you reach the center before exposing the seeds Sliced green papaya Sliced carrot DSC_0727 DSC_0729

I love a good ripe, sweet and juicy papaya, but I actually eat most of my papaya in its unripened state. In fact, a lot of countries where papaya is prevolent, particularly in the Southeast Asia and Pacific regions, consume it largely in its green state as well, more as a vegetable, whether cooked or raw. Orange papayas have a lot of nutritious properties like Vitamins A, B, and C, carotenes, potassium, magnesium, and fiber– but green papaya actually contains other health benefits that are lessened once the fruit ripens. One of these includes a milky enzyme called papain, which you will notice dripping from the stem when you harvest papayas or see it oozing out when you begin to peel the skin off. This enzyme aids in healthy digestion, particularly to help break down proteins and make nutrients more readily available and absorbable to the body– and it is found in particularly high concentrations in green papayas.

Aside from the health aspect, I just love papaya salads for their light, crisp, and fresh flavor, which make it a perfect summer dish. Since it’s practically summer year-round in Hawaii, it makes it a perfect everyday dish. As we have a wide variety of papayas on our farm available, I like to make this salad at least once a week. So, if you also have access to good, organic, GMO-free papayas, I highly recommend incorporating this healthy salad into your weekly diet too!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large green papayas
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped finely)
  • 1 green onion (chopped finely)
  • Nub of ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small cayenne
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup coconut aminos (or shoyu)
  • 2 tbsp coconut palm sugar (or sub sucanat or regular sugar)
  • Himalayan pink salt to taste
  • Small handful of chopped macadamia nuts or peanuts (optional)
  • Bundle of kale or mizuna (optional)

Kitchen Tools:

  • Blender
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Papaya slicer
  • Ginger grater/zester
  • Garlic press
  • Knife
  • Citrus juicer
  • Glass bowl

Directions:

Begin by peeling off the green skins of the papayas with a vegetable peeler. You may need a small knife to get around certain curves or dents in the papaya, depending on the shape. Next, slice the papayas into thin, long strips with the papaya slicer. You can slice it directly into a bowl, but if the papaya is somewhat slippery, an easy way I’ve discovered to do this step is to place the papaya flat on a cutting board and to slice it on the top (always in the direction away from whichever hand that is gripping the papaya), rotating it around. Slice around the whole papaya until you have reached the center, trying not to break it open down to the seeds. Then, you will want to peel the carrots with the vegetable peeler and then repeat the same process of slicing the carrots into thin strips with the papaya slicer. Again, the method of placing the carrot on the cutting board makes the process a lot easier. Next, cut a red onion in half, placing the flat side of the onion down on the cutting board and cut it vertically so that you create thin, long strips of the onion as well. Afterwards, juice half a lemon and place the sliced onion in a glass bowl with the juice and a little bit of salt. Stir it up, and allow the onion to marinate in the lemon juice for 5 minutes or more– or until you have everything else for the salad prepared.

Now you can start to prepare the dressing. Measure out one cup of olive oil, 1/8 cup of coconut aminos, 2 tablespoons of coconut palm sugar and place into the blender. Juice the other half of the lemon, remove seeds, and place into the blender as well. Then take your nub of ginger, remove the skins, and with a ginger grater or citrus zester, grate the ginger into the blender. Next, with a garlic press, squeeze one clove into the blender. Finally, add one cayenne pepper and a little salt to taste and then pulse everything in the blender until it is mixed well.

Once your dressing is prepared, chop a bundle of fresh cilantro until you have approximately 1/4 cup. Similarly chop one green onion finely. Add on top of your sliced papaya and carrot. Then add in the onion that has been marinating. Finally, add your dressing and mix everything up well. Add any extra salt to taste. Finally, plate and serve. If you want to add a little green to this salad, an optional way to also enjoy the salad is on top of a bed of kale or mizuna or top it with some chopped macnuts or peanuts for a little crunch.

Raw “Sweet Guacamole” Avocado Pudding

Avocado Pudding with Toppings

avo pudding1

It has been avocado season on our farm for the past few months, and we have reached a point where we are actually drowning in them. They’re ripening so fast that we can’t even keep up! This means that I sometimes have to resort to eating one at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m not complaining though. This is a pretty nice predicament to be in.

Being blessed with a bounty of one of Mother Nature’s most perfect foods just means that I have a lot of room to experiment with this delicious fruit. One of my favorite recipes I’ve played around with is a breakfast dish that may start off like a guacamole (hence the name “sweet guacamole”), but ends up as a tasty whipped pudding that you can enjoy with a plethora of toppings. As you can see pictured above is my actual breakfast this morning– topped with chia seeds, dry buckwheat groats, coconut flakes, dried goldenberries, and chopped macadamia nuts. But you can also use a variety of other seeds and nuts, fresh or dry fruits, raw or toasted oats, granola, etc. Pick your own favorites! I’ve found that it’s pretty much tasty with anything.

This recipe should make approximately 5-7 small servings.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large avocados (the Sharwil variety work great)
  • Juice of 2 large lemons
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • 2 bananas
  • Water (optional)

Kitchen Tools:

  • Food processor
  • Citrus juicer
  • Spatula
  • Spoon
  • Glass Bowl

Directions:

Slice up the avocados in half and spoon them into a food processor. Then, juice the lemons and add into the food processor with the avocados. Pulse together until the avocados are creamy and no longer chunky. In the meantime, melt down the coconut oil into liquid form, if necessary. Once the oil is completely liquid, add into the avocado mixture and blend together. Once the blend is nice and creamy, cut 2 bananas into small slices and add to the food processor. This will give the pudding a mild sweetness to start as well as a creamier texture. Pulse again until the bananas are well blended in with the avocado mix. Then, add the maple syrup or raw honey little by little (one tablespoon at a time) until you reach the desired sweetness. For this particular recipe, I suggest to stick with a liquid sweetener instead of a granulated one like coconut palm sugar or date sugar, as a liquid will distribute better throughout the mix. Oftentimes I have discovered that to overcome the avocado-y flavor, and to actually have the pudding tasting like a sweet dish instead of an odd version of the normally savory dip, you will have to add a bit more sweetness than you might normally. For that reason, a range of 3 to 5 tablespoons full of your sweetener should do, depending on the size of the avocados you are using.

As an option, if you need to add a tablespoon or two of water to help the mix blend better, you can add it in at any time. In terms of getting the pudding to your desired consistency, the denser the mixture, and the less water you add, the more it will set closer to a mousse. The more water you choose to add, the fluffier the mixture will become and the more it will set like a lighter, whipped pudding. Once everything is blended well together, spoon the pudding into a glass bowl. You can eat it immediately, or allow it to set in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours for a thicker texture.

 

Hawaiian ‘Ulu (Breadfruit) Chips

Breadfruit chips

Breadfruit

Breadfruit, although it is not indigenous to Hawaii, has been a staple of the Hawaiian diet since the Polynesians arrived on the islands, having originally brought it from their native lands. The fruit itself proved useful for keeping their bellies full and for its nutritional properties (calorie-dense with fiber, Vitamin C, B, and potassium) but the islanders also utilized the rest of the plant for many other things: housewares, furniture, decor, and medicine. The ancient Hawaiians also had a special reverence for this fruit, as its original appearance on the islands was described in many different legends thanks to the divine intervention of the gods, and thus stood as an important symbol of their survival.

While the plant had versatile uses, breadfruit itself is very versatile because it can be eaten in different stages of ripeness in so many ways. More often used in its unripened state, ‘ulu as it is named in Hawaiian, is prepared and eaten as a starch. It can be steamed, baked, mashed, fried, and is essentially a viable substitute for a root vegetable, as its flavor and texture is similar to that of a potato. In its ripened state, it is a sweet, creamy and gooey texture that I can only liken to that of a less pungent durian with hints of jackfruit, which you can just spoon out and eat directly.

One of my personal favorites ways of enjoying ‘ulu is fried into chips, because to me, it’s like a tastier version of french fries or home fries. You can basically eat them in the same way with a little salt, pepper, and ketchup– or as a side dish to soups, salads, sandwiches, etc. Here, I’ll show you how super easy it is to make too.

Ingredients:

  • Breadfruit
  • Coconut oil
  • Water

Kitchen Tools:

  • Large and small knives
  • Fork
  • Vegetable steamer
  • Large pot
  • Cast iron frying pan

Directions:

Wash the breadfruit skin well, then cut the breadfruit vertically down the center into wedges. The smaller you cut the wedges, the faster the breadfruit will cook. Place some water into a large pot with the vegetable steamer on top and heat. Put the wedges of breadfruit into the steamer and cover with a lid. Steam the breadfruit until they are soft enough to be pierced through easily by a fork. Be sure to check that the breadfruit is soft all the way through, in the center as well as along the edges. You can also flip them halfway through the steaming process to make sure all pieces cook evenly. This should take about 15-20 minutes total. Turn off the heat and allow the breadfruit to cool. Then, remove the breadfruit from the steamer and use a small knife to remove the seed (the dark area in the middle of the wedges) and to slice the skins off the outside. Some people actually enjoy eating the skins too, so you can even fry those up later as well.

Then slice up the breadfruit into thin pieces, and begin to heat up the cast iron pan with coconut oil. Once the oil is hot enough, place the breadfruit pieces individually onto the pan until the entire surface area is covered. After 3-5 minutes, check to see if the first side of the breadfruit pieces are beginning to brown or crisp, then flip them all to the other side. Repeat this several times until the breadfruit are all nice and crispy. If the pieces are sliced very thin, they will be very crispy. You can also cut them thicker for more of a “french fry” texture– crispy on the outside and soft and starchy on the inside. Garnish with a little salt and pepper, and you’re done!

Cool and Refreshing Citrus Ginger Icee

Citrus ginger icee

It’s zingy and tangy. It’s cold and refreshing. It’s a boost of Vitamin C, and it’s got a kick, thanks to the ginger. It’s a throat soother and a tastebud pleaser. Basically, it’s the perfect cure for a case of the It’s-So-Stinking-Hot-Outside virus!

We are kind of addicted to these at the farm. It’s a favorite drink for breaktimes after many hours out in the hot sun. Sometimes we don’t even have enough ice cubes to keep up with our thirst.

It’s great because we can just use whatever harvested citrus we have handy. One day we might make it with just sour mandarins, or other days we might just do a whole citrus mix-up and use lemons, limes, and sour mandarins together. We would probably gulp them down even faster if it weren’t for the issue of brain freeze.

Please, allow me to introduce you to this simple and tasty beverage.

Ingredients:

  • Juice of 2-3 lemons, limes, and/or sour mandarins
  • Small nub of ginger
  • Sweetener (stevia, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar)
  • Tray of ice cubes
  • 1-2 cups of water

Kitchen Tools:

  • Blender
  • Citrus juicer
  • Zester/grater

Directions:

Juice 2 or 3 citrus of your choice. Grate a small nub of ginger. Pour the juice and the ginger into the blender with your chosen sweetener and blend. Then add water and a whole tray of ice cubes and blend again. My suggestion would be to add only a little sweetener at first, then add more little by little after the ice and water have been blended in until you reach your desired flavor. The best thing about this icee is that you can make it as sour, sweet, gingery, or icy as you want, because everyone has a different preference, so the measurements don’t have to be precise. Play around with it until you reach your desired taste.

Lilikoi Concentrate (Passion Fruit Juice)

Lilikoi juice concentrate

It’s a constant mission on our farm of abundance to find a way to preserve all of the fruit that we can’t consume on a daily basis.  So, in an effort to make sure nothing goes to waste, much of the time, this means making big batches of fruit concentrates for juice, dehydrated fruit leathers, raw cakes, frozen treats, and much more. Passion fruit (or as it is called in Hawaii, lilikoi), is one of the best concentrates to have on hand because just a little bit goes a very long way. With its very tart, unique, and potent flavor, it adds a lot of dimension to anything it is added to. You can also just have some handy to add small amounts with water and sweetener to create a simple juice just for drinking.

In order to make the concentrate, the seeds will be separated from the juice itself. Once processed, you will have one jar of each– one of pure juice, and the other of the seeds, which can be used for different purposes. While the directions are pretty simple and self-explanatory, for anyone who is not accustomed to preserving or working with this fruit will hopefully find it helpful.

The juice concentrate can remain refrigerated for a couple days if unused, but after that, I would highly recommend it be kept in the freezer until needed to preserve freshness and to avoid it fermenting.

Ingredients:

  • Lilikoi
  • Sweetener (optional)

Kitchen Tools:

  • Small cerrated knife
  • Spoon
  • Wire mesh strainer
  • Bowl
  • 2 glass jars

Directions:

Have a mesh wire strainer placed over a bowl prepared and on hand, along with two open glass jars. Cut open each lilikoi down the middle and use a spoon to scoop the contents out into the mesh wire strainer. It’s often easier to do it in batches (about a dozen lilikoi at a time) than to try to tackle all the lilikoi in one go. Use the spoon to stir the lilikoi around in the strainer to begin extracting the juice. Keep stirring until it seems most of the juice has been separated. Pour the processed seeds into one jar and the juice at the bottom of the bowl into the other. Cut open the remaining lilikoi and repeat these steps until all the juice has been processed.

Fresh Coconut Milk

Coconut MilkCoconut candyCoconuts for milkCoconuts in VitamixDSC_0692

Let’s face it. Fresh coconut milk right from the source cannot be beat. The rich creaminess, the sweetness, and natural oils all serve to make this delicious nutrient-dense vegan milk one of the most flavorful ingredients to add to beverages and dishes and can serve as the base for so many things such as smoothies, soups, desserts, curries, dressings, and so much more– not to mention that it is a highly-enjoyable and filling drink to be enjoyed purely on its own. Once you have learned how to make this simple coconut milk and tasted what real coconut milk is like, it will put the canned version to shame.

This recipe will make approximately 6 to 7 cups, or one large half-gallon mason jar full of coconut milk.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe, hard, oily coconuts (or substitute young coconut meat)
  • Your favorite sweetener (honey, agave, coconut palm sugar, cane sugar, etc)

Kitchen Tools:

  • Vitamix
  • Wire mesh strainer
  • Large bowl
  • Glass jar(s)

Directions:

Crack open 3 very ripe coconuts* and break the meat up into smaller pieces. Clean these pieces in a bowl of fresh water to wash off any dust or particles from the shell. Place the cleaned pieces into the Vitamix and add water until the pieces are just covered slightly by water at the top. Blend together for approximately one minute until all the coconut pieces are broken up into a fine pulp. Add a bit of extra water if necessary to blend completely. Once blended well, pour the pulp into a mesh wire strainer over a large bowl and begin to strain the milk out by stirring the pulp and pressing it down with a spoon through the strainer. Once all the milk has been extracted from the pulp, place the pulp back in the Vitamix and repeat the process of adding enough water to just cover the top of the pulp. Blend again for one minute and repeat the process of straining the pulp until all the milk is extracted. Perform both of the previous steps once more. The general rule of thumb I have discovered is that you can strain the pulp as many times as is equal to the amount of coconuts used. So for this recipe in particular, you will blend and strain a total of 3 times to get the most flavorful, creamy milk possible. You may still strain the milk more times, however, it will become much more watery and have a diminished coconut flavor. 

Once you have completed these steps, you can add your favorite sweetener to taste. You will be surprised by how much natural sweetness comes out of the coconuts themselves, so you may choose to add no sweetener at all, particularly if you plan on using the milk for a savory dish. Once you have the taste to your liking, pour your finished coconut milk into a jar and there you have it– fresh milk to enjoy or to use in whatever other recipes your heart desires.

*You can also substitute young coconut meat for a thicker, creamier alternative, as the pulp will not strain out as much and make for a denser version of the milk above.