Friday, April 7, 2017

Strawberry Parfaits with Cashew Crème

“Strawberry Parfaits with Cashew Crème” (page 478) is the perfect recipe for those times you want to indulge, but without all the guilt. While this isn’t a fat free dessert, with ½ cup cashews in the mix, it is split between four servings (if you can be that disciplined!),which comes out to just two tablespoons per serving. The Cashew Crème is made by blending cashews, sugar, soy milk, and tofu into a rich and creamy mixture that is refrigerated for at least 30 minutes. I would recommend even longer, though, as I think the flavor improves both by letting the ingredients blend for a longer period of time, and by being thoroughly chilled. Once the crème is ready, it is just a matter of layering the strawberries and crème in parfait glasses. An easy, yet elegant dessert and wonderful this time of year when strawberries are coming into season.

Hint: I recommend soaking the cashews in 2 cups of water for a couple of hours (or longer) before making this for improved blending and increased smoothness. Drain and discard soaking water before proceeding

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” checklist:
No changes necessary! J

Monday, April 3, 2017

Macaroni Salad

One of the really great things about switching to a plant based diet has been exploring the plethora of new recipes, foods, approaches, flavors, tastes, and textures. I’ve always been very experimental when it comes to food and my vegan adventure has been one of great joy and discovery. But, there are some dishes so dear to me that the thought of altering them too far from my concept of the original recipe just doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve been able to veganize just about all my favorites over the years, but sometimes just making that tiny change is as much as I want to do, because I want to keep the dish as intact as possible. Such is the case with macaroni salad. I am rather attached to my veganized version of this childhood favorite, and when I looked at the recipe for this “Macaroni Salad” (page 92), I wasn’t sure how I would react to it. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, and I finally took the plunge.

This is really a very simple recipe, and I must admit, I was more than pleased with the outcome. Since I had penne pasta available, I used that instead of elbow macaroni, which I think was probably equally as good. However, if you are a purist, you will likely want to keep with the elbow variety. Cooked pasta is combined with celery, red bell pepper, pickle relish, and red onion. The dressing consists of vegan mayonnaise (homemade or store bought), Dijon mustard, soy milk, cider vinegar (which might be the secret ingredient, it really gave the salad a nice little tang), and a bit of sugar and salt. The fat content in this recipe can add up fast if using a commercial mayonnaise, even of a vegan variety, so this is the area that needed to be addressed. Making vegan mayonnaise from silken tofu (see my review of this book's recipe here) drastically reduces the calories, and there are oil free brands on the market as well, though not nearly as tasty. 

I had no trouble bonding with this new version of Macaroni Salad and will definitely make it again!

Fast facts
¾ cup commercial vegan mayonnaise = 504 calories, 48 grams of fat (12 of which are saturated fat)
¾ cup commercial brand silken tofu (which can be used to make homemade vegan mayonnaise) = 168 calories, 7 grams of fat (0 gram of saturated fat)

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” checklist:
  • Use a whole grain pasta of your choice.
  • Use an oil free mayonnaise, either purchased or homemade