Almond Ricotta

Here’s is a dairy free ricotta recipe I use. Once I learned I could do this and how simple it was, I started using it to make things creamy in a lot of recipes. I added it to pasta sauces, veggie pizza, spread on toast, etc. Classic ricotta is already low fat and so is this recipe. So if you are looking to replace the classic version with a dairy-free version, you will be able to replace it almost equally. It is a little higher in carbohydrates because of it being from almonds, but it also has fiber when classic ricotta does not. There is a little more fat, but almost all the fat is unsaturated, which is the healthy omega 3 and omega 6. The classic ricotta is more saturated fat, which isn’t awful, but harder for your body to break down.

A pasta recipe coming next month will use this almond ricotta! YUM!

Almond Ricotta

  • Servings: 12 2-Tbsp servings, about 1 1/2 cups
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw, blanched, skinless almonds (slivered almonds is what I use)
  • up to 1/2 cup water, depending on thickness
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper if desired

Directions

  1. Soak almonds in enough water to cover them for 20 minutes if you have a high powered blender. If not, soak them 4 hours or overnight. If using sliced almonds, you won’t have to soak them as long.
  2. Add the drained almonds, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to blender. Add a small amount of water to start and add more if needed. Blend until smooth.

Nutritional Information

2 Tablespoon Serving

62 calories | 4.5 g total fat | 0.3 g saturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 3.2 mg sodium | 2.6 g carbohydrates | 1.4 g fiber | 0.6 g total sugar | 3 g protein

Macro Breakdown

17% Carbohydrates | 64% Fat | 19% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion

0.2 Meat Alternative

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Chloe Coscarelli’s Golden Gravy

I had to share with you one of my favorite gravy recipes from Chloe Coscarelli. She is a vegan chef and I have used her first recipe book, Chloe’s Kitchen, front to back. This is her Golden Gravy recipe and I wanted to share it with you for a few reasons. Yes, this is a plant-based recipe for gravy but that’s not why I’m sharing it. Compared to your average beef/turkey broth version with flour and butter, this version gives some nutritional value without sacrificing any flavor.

Benefits
  • Less sodium
  • Less fat
  • High in B Vitamins
  • High in Fiber
  • Gives us 30% of the daily Omega 3s

Something I’ve learned – taking pictures of gravy is not as easy as it looks!

Chloe Coscarelli's Golden Gravy

  • Servings: 1/2 cup, about 6 servings
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat and sauté onion until soft. Add nutritional yeast and flour, and stir for about 1 minute. Add water, soy sauce, thyme and garlic powder. Continue to cook, whisking continuously, until mixture is very thick. Transfer gravy to a blender and purée until smooth. Adjust seasonings, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Nutritional Information

117 calories | 5 g fat | 1.3 g polyunsaturated fat | 3 g monounsaturated fat | <0.5 g saturated fat | 0 trans fats | 0 mg cholesterol | 614 mg sodium | 13.5 g carbohydrates | 1.6 g fiber | 1.3 g sugar | 5 g protein | >100% folate, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), and niacin (B3)

Soy Free Version

Because of my allergy to soy, instead of soy sauce I’ve substituted Worcestershire sauce instead. Chef Chloe also has a Soy-Free Soy Sauce that I’ve made before to use in this recipe.

Chloe Coscarelli's Soy-Free Soy Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • Pinch ground ginger

Directions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and allow to lightly boil for 5 minutes. Allow to cool then store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Chipotle Black Bean Chili

The chipotle chili in adobo sauce is something you don’t want to miss out on. It adds a smokey flavor and the smell while it’s cooking is one of those things you want to permeate the house. It’s something I keep in mind for busy days or weeks. Freezer and slow-cooker options are below as well as some of the health benefits.

 

Black Beans
  • High in Fiber
  • Good Source of Magnesium
  • Good Source of Iron
  • High in Flavonoids – which has antioxidant abilities
  • Helps Lower Cholesterol
  • Aids Digestion
  • Controls Blood Sugar
My Favorite Bean:

Like other beans, black beans have a sugar that our body has a hard time breaking down. Hence the bloating and musical notes which are the unpleasant side effects beans are known for. However, black beans have less of this sugar than other beans. It shouldn’t put you in as much discomfort (or embarrassment) as other beans will. It’s a win win for everyone at the table.

Quinoa
  • High in Fiber
  • Low in Fat
  • High in Minerals
  • Complete Plant Based Protein

Although you do not need to consume complete proteins to get the amount of protein you need throughout the day, it is good to know the sources of them. Being plant-based and soy-free, quinoa is something I regularly have in my kitchen.

Lean Ground Meat Option

You can add a lean meat like ground turkey or a lean ground beef if you feel that you need it. By using lean meats it has less unhealthy fats, less cholesterol and overall better for your heart health when compared to average ground meats. Whatever option you decide, just make sure it’s lean. The only advantage that ground turkey has is that it does have a fat-free version you can find and beef does not.

However, my family members eat this without meat and is completely full and satisfied. This would be a great “Meatless Monday” meal if you are just starting to dive into vegetarian meals and plant proteins. It won’t disappoint.

Meal Prep & Slow Cooker Options
  • Meal Prep | Freeze all uncooked ingredients before putting it in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours.
  • Slow Cooker | Set on low for 6-8 hours. Add an extra cup of water or broth.
  • For families of 2-4 people, this will make more than one dinner. You can freeze 1/2 of it or when prepping, make 2 separate meals. 1 to have one week and another for the next week.

Chipotle Black Bean Chili

  • Servings: 10 Servings, 1 1/2 cup per serving
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked black quinoa, rinsed OR 2 lbs. ground turkey, uncooked
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, if using quinoa
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes with juice
  • 2 (19 oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 large chipotle chili in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • salt and pepper, if desired
  • cilantro & limes for serving

Directions

  1. Bring vegetable broth to boil and add quinoa. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Once cooked, turn off heat and set aside. If using turkey, cook the turkey and crumble it. Once it’s cooked, turn off heat and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add in the garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with juice, drained black beans, green and red bell pepper, zucchini, chipotle chili, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer and cover for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the quinoa and corn and cook for about 5 minutes more.
  4. You can let it simmer on low for a few hours. Adding water or broth if needed. Or you can serve with cilantro and limes.

Crock Pot Directions Add all ingredients to the crock pot, stir and set on low for 6-8 hours. If you can, you might want to stir the chili about 1/2 way and add vegetable broth if needed. I usually will add an extra cup of broth or water to the recipe when it’s going to be in the crock pot, especially for 8 hours.

Nutritional Information

Chipotle Black Bean Chili with Quinoa: 

205 calories | 3.4 g total fat | 1 g saturated fat | 2.0 g polyunsaturated fat | 3.6 g monounsaturated fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 363 mg sodium | 35 g carbohydrates | 8.4 g fiber | 3.2 g sugar | 8.6 g protein

Macro Sources

68% Carbohydrates | 15% Fat | 17% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.8 Grain
  • 0.3 Meat Alternative
  • 2.5 Vegetables

 

Creamy Hidden Veggie Macaroni

I had finally broke down and tried it. A creamy sauce for pasta made from vegetables and seasoning. I can’t say it taste like macaroni and cheese, but it’s a great way to stay on track with your goals and still have a high-fiber, low-fat creamy pasta side dish that can be made dairy-free. I’ve tried a few different versions and then I needed to add my own flavor to it. I like my “cheese” to be tangy, so by adding the miso and yellow mustard it adds that tangy/fermented cheese flavor that I look for. Also the nutritional yeast. I’m sure I’ll have a post about it soon enough, but the benefits it adds when you use it as a topping or a seasoning are pretty impressive.

Check out the benefits!

I looked up a few different “Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipes” and put them into my nutrient calculator that I use. Here are some staggering numbers.

 

Classic Macaroni & Cheese (1 cup Serving): 

  • 350 to 750 calories
  • 23 g fat (35% DV) to 39 g fat (60% DV)

Hidden Veggie Macaroni & Cheese (1 cup Serving):

  • 297 calories
  • 3.9 g fat

 

Not that I don’t enjoy an occasional cheesy side dish, but I think this recipe is definitely something to be tried. I don’t think of this as “macaroni and cheese” but a “creamy macaroni side”. For me, it fills the craving for something that looks and feels like it should be a lot worse than it is. Let me say this too – low-fat is good for some things. There is a definite need for fat in your diet, but you don’t need 30-80% of your average daily intake to be in 1 cup of food on a regular basis. I like to take my fat and spread it around like butter throughout my day. So to keep things balanced, and to keep on track with my goals without going too overboard with creamy fattening cravings, I like using this version.

Creamy Hidden Veggie Macaroni

  • Servings: 12 servings or 1 casserole dish if baking, 1 cup per serving
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. whole wheat macaroni (or less *see leftover sauce freezing note)
  • OR use a gluten free variety
  • 2 cups yellow potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 sun dried tomatoes, dry, not in oil
  • 1 1/2 cup water (from boiling vegetables)
  • 1 can butter beans
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream *see note
  • OR 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 6 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt, optional
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp miso, optional *see note
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard

Directions

  1. Cook pasta to package directions and set aside.
  2. Put the potatoes, carrots, onion, and sun dried tomatoes in a pot and fill with just enough water to cover the vegetables. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Once they are done, take out 1 1/2 cups of the vegetable water and put into a blender. Add in the cooked vegetables and the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
  4. Top your cooked pasta with the sauce, add salt if needed, and enjoy a creamy pasta without any guilt!

Coconut Cream | Use canned coconut milk, or now I’ve seen canned coconut cream. Do not shake. Open the can and the cream will have separated from the water. The cream will not be sweet or have much of a coconut taste. There should be about 1/2 or more coconut cream in one can.

Miso | Regular miso is made from fermented soy beans and is used in Japanese cooking. They are now making chickpea miso, which is what I use, as a soy-free alternative. It adds a tangy taste to the sauce like cheddar would do, so I recommend using it, but it is optional. Since miso is fermented, it’s very good for balancing gut bacteria and in effect, healthy for digestion.


Nutritional Information

297 calories | 3.9 g total fat | 0.2 g saturated fat | 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat | 0.4 g monounsaturated fat | 0 g trans fat | 0 mg cholesterol | 198 mg sodium | 53 g carbohydrates | 7.8 g fiber | 1.5 g sugar | 12.8 g protein

Macro Sources

71% Carbohydrates | 12% Fat | 17% Protein

Dietary Servings per Portion
  • 0.9 Grain
  • 0.2 Meat Alternative
  • 0.6 Vegetables
Freeze Leftover Sauce

I will freeze the rest of the sauce that I don’t use if I am not using 2 pounds of pasta at once. Freeze in a gallon bag and lay it flat. Freeze up to two weeks at the most. When ready to use, take it out the morning you will be using it and let it defrost in the fridge. You may need to add a little more flavoring with added nutritional yeast and salt, but it should be good to go!