Low-Fat Cheesy Sauce [vegan + gf + no nuts + no oil]

cheesesauceI think I’ve finally done it and I’m really excited.

I have made a LOT of cheesy sauces over the years.  I mean, it’s crazy how many; recipes I’ve found and tweaked, recipes I’ve created, etc.  After all, mac-n-cheese was my favorite food before I went vegan 10+ years ago.  While I don’t crave the real thing, I still really love comforting foods like noodles with a creamy, cheese-like sauce.  Anyway, all the recipes I tried were similar to each other, all yummy, but all left me feeling like I wasn’t there yet;  that my quest for the perfect sauce wasn’t complete.  Getting the perfect combination of texture, mouth-feel, flavor and nutrient profile was beginning to seem impossible.

Sure, there are rich and amazingly delicious sauces out there but many of them call for a ton of nuts or a bunch of oil.  Any vegan food can taste delectable when adding a bunch of fat – there’s no creativity or skill in that.  The real challenge and test lies in making something that’s healthy, rich and delicious without exceeding your daily fat quota in one meal.

Yep.  I think I’ve finally done it.

Tahini Sauce || vegan | oil-free | gluten-free

Brown rice, sweet potato, kale and baked chickpeas topped with Tahini Sauce.

Brown rice, sweet potato, kale and baked chickpeas topped with Tahini Sauce.

I first created this sauce to use with the kale chips I made in my new dehydrator (still learning and experimenting, but that thing is FUN!).  They turned out great, btw, but I didn’t end up using all the sauce and shortly realized how delicious it was on steamed greens, and as a salad dressing.  It packs a lot of flavor so a little really does go a long way.

My Recipe Chosen as the Grand Prize Winner!! Stuffed Portobellos w/Hummus Gravy

A few weeks ago Engine 2 (Rip Esselstyn’s baby) announced they would be conducting a recipe contest.  The entries had to include at least one ingredient from the Engine 2 line of foods (available at Whole Foods – try them if you haven’t!), be plant-based (duh), oil-free, low-fat and low-sodium.  I was familiar with the line of foods they offered and immediately got the idea for a recipe to enter into the contest.  It was announced today that my recipe was chosen as the Grand Prize Winner!!  http://engine2diet.com/the-daily-beet/  So fun and exciting!

The folks at E2 will be sharing this recipe with their readers, and I am sharing it now with you.  It’s very easy, and delicious! Enjoy!

 

Zesty Potato-Corn Chowder

Fresh corn would have made this thick, chunky chowder even better but I was unable to find organic.  Corn is one of those items I always buy organic due to the possibility of GMO’s.  A very small portion of domestic sweet corn in the produce section is actually GMO, but since it’s not the law for it to be labeled (lame), it’s better to err on the side of caution.  Most of the GMO corn is used in processed foods (aka JUNK) and animal feed – just another reason to stay away from that crap and eat WHOLE plant foods!

Anyway, I digress.  This soup is delicious….and even better the next day.  For more intense and “zesty” flavor, add more cumin and chili powder, and use medium or hot green chiles – I used mild.  Jalapeños would be good here too, but as I’ve said before, I’m a spice wimp.  I used 2 teaspoons of chili powder and found it to be a bit too spicy, though the fam disagreed (told ya…wimp).  One of the two teaspoons was chipotle chili powder since I love that smoky flavor.  In one of the pictures below you will see something green in the chowder.  I stirred in some steamed kale and it was super yummy.

Update 9/26/13: I made this without the cashews (accidentally) and it was every bit as creamy and delicious.  So, I’ve changed the ingredient above to OPTIONAL.  

Tofu Scramble and Potato Quesadilla (vegan, oil-free, can be gluten-free)

I got the idea for this recipe last weekend when we got food from the Seabirds truck, a vegan food truck in OC.  Very tasty!  We had it for dinner but it would be great for any meal.

Traditional quesdillas call for ooey, gooey sticky cheese but this one does not.  You can use some Daiya vegan cheese if you like (it would be delicious, not gonna lie), but just keep in mind its a processed food with a lot of fat.  Maybe you can use a tiny bit.  🙂  In this recipe I used a cashew cheese concoction made with cashews and green chiles.  I didn’t use much since cashews are very high in fat as well.  I took my “Cheesy Sauce” recipe (see in Recipes), and tweaked it a little bit to make a thicker, spreadable mixture.  See below for details. You can use all sorts of different veggies in this dish; I used what I had on hand which happened to be mushrooms and spinach, along with the potatoes.

You can use brown rice tortillas to make these babies gluten free.

Cheesy Sprinkle (vegan, gluten-free)

This sprinkle is a great way to add a cheesy/salty flavor to any food.  The main ingredient is nutritional yeast which is a deactivated yeast, unlike the type used in breads.  It is a source of protein and vitamins, especially the B-complex vitamins, and is a complete protein. It is also naturally low in fat and sodium, and is free of sugar,dairy, and gluten.

I sprinkle this delicious mixture on steamed greens, broccoli, salads, baked white and sweet potatoes, popcorn…basically everything savory.

Umami Sauce Recipe (vegan, low-fat, gluten-free, oil-free)

If any of you are familiar with the restaurant True Food Kitchen, you may know they make a sauce for their Brussels sprouts called umami sauce.  Umami is one of the 5 flavors identified by our tastebuds; salty, bitter, sweet, sour, and savory or umami.  Their sauce is AMAZING!  Unfortunately, as is the case with most restaurant food, it’s loaded with fattening oil.  I found the recipe online but tweaked it to significantly reduce the fat and cut the oil.  If you can find oil-free hummus, this would be considered an oil-free dish.  The hummus I had on hand did contain a small amount of oil.

I roasted a mixture of Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, onions and white beans (pictured) to serve with the sauce, but you could use this sauce with any vegetable, bean, grain or even as a salad dressing.  Enjoy!

Lentil Patties (vegan, low-fat, gluten-free, oil-free)

Nothin’ fancy about these veggie patties, but they are easy, tasty and satisfying.  I ate mine plain, with catsup, but I would love to try one on a whole grain bun with caramelized onions and all the fixins.  Yum.  Make sure to use certified gluten-free oats and soy sauce (tamari) if you need these to be bona fide gluten-free.