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Editor's note: Angela Liddon is the writer, photographer, and recipe developer for Oh She Glows, the web’s destination for healthy vegan recipes. Her first cookbook, The "Oh She Glows Cookbook" was released this month. She also has an M.S. in Social-Personality Psychology and enjoys helping others find happiness and health through a plant-based diet.
When I first shifted to a vegan diet, I bought all of those packaged and highly processed mock meat and dairy products that I thought I was supposed to buy. "Isn’t this what vegans do?" I thought as I stuffed my mock turkey slices into the cart.
The problem? My energy wasn’t as supercharged as I hoped it would be on a vegan diet. Surprise, surprise, once I rid my diet of all of these imitation products filled with a million unpronounceable ingredients the only other option was to embrace a whole foods diet and get busy in my kitchen. Yes, I had to suck it up and teach myself how to cook real food. Or bust.
If you’ve ever wished for a real food sour cream made without dairy or a delectable one-ingredient soft serve, I’m here to tell you there is hope. These recipes below are the ones I make time and time again and I promise they taste much better than store-bought versions.
If you are looking for a healthy alternative to dairy products like sour cream or a homemade jam that’s low in sugar and bursting with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, I hope you’ll enjoy these recipes below. Be warned: Once you get hooked it’s hard to go back.
5 easy vegan staple recipes to get you started: Angela Liddon
A nut milk bag is my preferred method of straining out the pulp, but you may also have success using a fine-mesh strainer and cheesecloth. The result is a creamy, healthful non-dairy milk that can be enjoyed alone, in smoothies or cereal, and in baking.
2. Homemade Sour Cream
3. Coconut Whipped Cream
You can use this whipped cream just like regular dairy whipped cream. I like to use it as a garnish for desserts, and it’s also amazing with a bowl of fruit, on top of a fruit crisp, or stirred into Banana Soft Serve. The options are really endless!
4. Magical Chia Seed Jam
Many of my blog readers say it’s even better than traditional jam. Thanks to the chia seeds, we’re also pumping up the jam with all kinds of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, iron, fiber, protein, magnesium, and calcium. Who knew jam could be so healthy? Try it on oatmeal, parfaits, toast with almond butter, or even as the filling for thumbprint cookies.
Recipe: Magical Chia Seed Jam
3 cups (750 mL) fresh or frozen raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the berries and 3 Tablespoons (45 mL) of the maple syrup and bring to a simmer over medium to high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Lightly mash the berries with a potato masher or fork, leaving some whole for texture.
2. Stir in the chia seeds until thoroughly combined and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens to your desired consistency, or about 15 minutes.
3. Once the jam is thick, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Add more sweetener to taste, if desired. Enjoy on toast, English muffins, oatmeal, oat bars, tarts, cookies, Banana Soft Serve, and more. The jam should keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks and it will thicken up even more as it cools.
Tip: If making strawberry chia seed jam, process the hulled strawberries in a food processor until almost smooth. The strawberries don’t break down as quickly as other berries do, so this helps them along. After processing, simply transfer the strawberry mixture to a saucepan and proceed with cooking as usual.
5. Banana Soft Serve
The sky is the limit when it comes to what you can add into this treat. Frozen berries, nut butter, cacao nibs, and cocoa or carob powder are all very tasty additions. In the summer, I try to always have some frozen bananas on hand, just for this very recipe. Try it and you’ll soon find yourself passing by the ice cream aisle.
Recipe: Banana Soft Serve
4 ripe bananas, peeled, chopped, and frozen
1. In food processor, process the frozen bananas and almond butter (if using) until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. This process can take several minutes, depending on your food processor.
2. When the banana mixture is smooth and has the consistency of soft-serve ice cream, remove it from the processor and enjoy immediately.
Tip: I recommend using yellow bananas with only a few spots. If the bananas are too ripe and spotted, they do not get as creamy and also have a very strong banana flavor (unless, of course, you prefer that!).
Recipes are reprinted by arrangement with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.
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