Sundried Tomato & Basil Cheese Ball

Tonight is a good night. I’m so ready for the holidays this year. Thanksgiving (a.k.a. pre-Christmas) is just around the corner and I’m getting excited for holiday cheer and of course, food. Lots of it. I pulled out my Christmas decorations tonight and I’ve been wrestling with my kitty, Icarus, whose current goal in life is to tear all of the ornaments off of our tiny, artificial Christmas tree. But the struggle seems to have subsided for the time being, so I’m taking the time to finally post a recipe I’ve wanted to share for a while.

I’ve been up to a lot since the last time I posted. I started a yoga teacher training program at a nearby yoga studio, which has been fantastically fulfilling and rewarding. It’s been great to learn more about yoga history, philosophy, and practice and start to share it with students and community members through the yoga club at the university where I work.

However, I’m ashamed to admit that I have definitely not been keeping up with my goal to post once a week on the blog. I’m hoping to make a fresh start with this fantastic Sundried Tomato and Basil Cheese Ball recipe! After reading Miyoko Schinner’s “Artisan Vegan Cheese,” I’ve been tinkering around with making cheeses, and this is one that I’ve created using the techniques from her book as inspiration. It’s perfect for holiday gatherings and tastes absolutely fantastic on baguette slices or crackers. But seriously, go with the baguette if you can. Nothing beats creamy, flavorful cheese spread over slices of a delicious baguette. Whatever you do, be sure to eat this cheese!

One note for this recipe is that you will need a good food processor or high-power blender to make this cheese. I have an 11-cup Cuisinart food processor.

Sundried Tomato & Basil Cheese BallOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup rejuvelac (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (oil-packed or dried)
  • 4 cubes Dorot frozen basil, equivalent to 4 teaspoons densely-packed chopped basil (I cannot recommend these fresh frozen basil cubes enough, they have transformed my life. If you don’t have these handy, I would recommend acquiring some fresh or concentrated basil and adding it to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 teaspoons + 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil (optional)

If you have purchased rejuvelac from the store, please skip this step. To make rejuvelac, soak 1/2 cup of whole grains, such as wheat or quinoa overnight. Next, sprout the grains in a sprouter or mason jar (I use this sprouter), rinsing multiple times a day until the grains begin to grow little shoots. At this point, place the sprouted grains in a 1 quart mason jar filled with purified water. Leave the grains soaking for approximately 24 hours, or until the water looks cloudy and smells and tastes tangy. That’s rejuvelac, folks! Put it in the fridge and it will keep for several weeks.

Now, on to the cheese. Begin by soaking the cashews for several hours or overnight. Then, process the cashews with the rejuvelac and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. At this step, you don’t need to worry about processing the cheese until it’s completely creamy, you’ll be processing it again later, so it’s fine if the texture is slightly grainy. Next, leave the cashew mixture in a covered glass dish in a cupboard or other cool, dry place to culture for 24 to 36 hours, depending on desired sharpness.

After it has finished culturing, proces the cashew cheese with the sundried tomatoes, basil, nutritional yeast, salt and (optional) coconut oil. Be sure to only use refined coconut oil, as virgin coconut oil will impart a coconut flavor to your food. The purpose of the coconut oil is to make the cheese slightly firmer, as coconut oil solidifies nicely, but the cheese is still great without it.

Also, at this step I used the full 2 teaspoons of salt, but you may wish to start with less salt and only add as much as needed to suit your personal preferences.

From here, blend until smooth and creamy, and then form into a ball and place in a glass dish in the refrigerator for several hours, until chilled and slightly firm. If desired, top with fresh or dried basil.

Sundried Tomato and Basil CheeseFinally, spread and eat!

Sundried Tomato Basil Cheese

The Vegan Reuben

Hi all! Welcome to the new blog! I’ve been busy working on transitioning my blog from Blogger to this fancy new WordPress site. I hope you like it! I’ve also been busy in the kitchen lately and plan to update the blog regularly — at least once a week, preferably on Fridays — throughout the coming months. This week I’ve got a vegan reuben recipe for ya! I got the idea for a vegan reuben from this delightful little cafe inside a health food co-op where I occasionally get lunch.

For a faster and easier version of this sandwich that doesn’t involve cooking your own tofu, you can also make this using Tofurky deli slices (preferably the Roast Beef style) and a little vegan cheese (my favorite brand is Daiya).

The Vegan Reuben

Makes 6 sandwiches


1 14-ounce package firm or extra-firm tofu
12 pieces of bread (traditionally rye, though in these photos I use sprouted-grain bread)
Russian Dressing (see below)

Russian Dressing Ingredients:

1/2 cup Just Mayo
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons dill relish
2 tablespoons horseradish mustard

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If possible, press your tofu for 10-15 minutes. If you don’t have a tofu press
or you’re short on time, you can also just give the tofu a firm squeeze over the sink to expel as much water as you can without crumbling the tofu. Cut the tofu into slices and line out on a baking sheet.


Next, top the slices of tofu with salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary.


Bake the tofu for 15-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Finished tofu will be golden on both sides.

While the tofu is cooking, heat up a nonstick or lightly-oiled pan to medium or medium low. Spread a hearty amount of dressing on each piece of bread. Place a spoonful or two of sauerkraut on one side of bread. You may want to drain the sauerkraut either in a strainer or just using a fork so that the sandwich doesn’t become mushy. Put both pieces of bread on the pan and cook until each piece is golden brown on the bottom.

Assemble the sandwich by placing two slices of baked tofu on one side and tomato on the other.


Finally, enjoy!

Vegan Coconut Cookie Dough Ice Cream!


I had a great Fourth of July last weekend! We got to see a fantastic local firework show and launched some small fireworks off at our place. And we ate our own veg versions of the traditional Independence Day fare: hotdogs and ice cream. We had Yves veggie dogs with chili and pasta salad, and followed it up with some delicious homemade coconut cookie dough ice cream.

This stuff is good. And I mean never-buy-an-overpriced-dairy-free-ice-cream-again good. The coconut ice cream is rich and creamy on its own and with cookie dough chunks, it tastes just like one of the exciting flavors you would buy at the store. When Drew and I got married in May, we received an ice cream maker as a wedding gift. Let me tell you, that thing is worth its weight in gold. In case you’re interested, I have the Cuisinart 2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream Maker and it’s worked fabulously for me. I love the fact that I can make ice cream with an ingredients list exactly as long as I want it to be — no unpronounceable ingredients allowed. Not to mention how fun it is to get creative with different ice cream flavors!


Vegan Coconut Ice Cream

2 13-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup raw sugar and stevia blend
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Dash of salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Whisk over a low to medium heat until the mixture is cooked–the sugar and oil are melted and well combined– but do not bring to a boil. Be sure to taste it to make sure it is as sweet as you would like it to be. Next, take it off of the heat, transfer to a blender and blend thoroughly. This step may seem unnecessary, since you just whisked it and it seemed so well combined, but trust me, you need to blend it. If you don’t, then little lumps of coconut fat will harden in the fridge and you’ll end up with lumpy ice cream. Which is just not ideal.

After blending your creamy coconut liquid, you’ll need to chill it in the fridge for a few hours.
When it is chilled, just follow the instructions on your ice cream maker and add in your cookie dough chunks when your ice cream is still somewhat creamy and soft!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup white whole wheat flour
Semisweet chocolate chips to taste

Whisk together the wet ingredients. Then, add in the flour, cinnamon and salt and mix well. After that, just add in as many chocolate chips as you want. And if you don’t have maple syrup, don’t sweat it. I really like the flavor maple syrup adds, but the cookie dough will still taste great with a different sweetener as well. Next, just roll the cookie dough into little balls and place in the fridge. As I mentioned above, when the ice cream is out of the ice cream maker and about the consistency of soft serve, stir in the cookie dough chunks and then either serve right away, or place in the freezer to make a firmer ice cream. Enjoy!

Vegan Chocolate Coconut Pie

When I was a kid, my mom would always make us a frozen chocolate pie for the holidays. This is my own remake of a childhood favorite. I have tried this pie with several different types of crust. If I’m feeling lazy, I’ll just pour some granola and chopped nuts on the bottom of a pie pan. I’ve also tried lining the bottom of the pie pan with a layer or two of banana slices, which works great. If I’m particularly ambitious, I’ll make a flaky pie crust (I use the recipe from the cookbook “Vegan Vittles”). One that works particularly well with this pie is a homemade granola crumble crust that I make, which I will post the recipe for below. But know that pretty much anything will taste amazing with this chocolate coconut pie filling. So, without further ado, here is the recipe!

Chocolate Coconut Pie


Pie Filling

2/3 cup Silk French Vanilla Creamer (or coconut milk or soymilk)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 12-ounce package of silken tofu
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
Stevia to taste (optional)

Whisk together the non-dairy creamer and cornstarch and boil until thick. Add the coconut oil and stir together, with the heat turned down to low. Blend the mixture on the stove with the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pour the chocolate filling into a prepared pie pan on top of a crust and freeze. For more of a mousse consistency, take it out after a couple of hours and transfer to the refrigerator. I prefer to eat the pie when it is frozen all the way, which will generally take 8 hours or more.

Granola Crumble Crust

1 cup oats
1 1/2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup agave nectar

Stir together the dry ingredients. Melt the coconut oil and pour it along with the sweetener into the dry ingredients and mix them all together. Spoon the mixture onto the bottom of your pie pan and bake at 325 until it reaches a light golden brown color.