Raspberry & Lemon Mini Vegan Cheesecakes

Ingredients for the base:

  • 3/4 cups almonds
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/8 cup organic, naturally sweetened dried cranberries* (optional)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1-3 tablespoons of water

Ingredients for the cheesecake filling:

  • 2 cups raw cashews, previously soaked
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • juice of 1 organic lemon + zest**
  • 1/2 cup pure light maple syrup
  • + fresh organic raspberries and extra lemon zest for plating

 

Method:

 

  1. Make the crust first: In a food processor, pulse all the almonds until a fine grind forms. (While it’s mixing you can pick the dates or prepare the other ingredients). Add in the dates and cranberries (if using), and pinch of salt. Continue mixing and check with your fingers if the mixture sticks in your fingers. (Be sure to turn off the mixer each time you check, and always form a habit of scooping with a spoon first!) If it’s too dry, add in water one tablespoon at a time. Mix again, check again. Once it sticks together and still falls off your fingers – it’s perfect.
  1. Using a cupcake pan preferable a silicone one, press the mixture into the bottom evenly and set aside.
  1. To make the filling: Soak the cashews for 1 hour in hot water at room temperature or overnight (6-8 hrs) in the fridge, strain well. Add all the ingredients into a clean food processor again: cashews, warm but not hot coconut oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, maple syrup, water. Mix on high for about 5 minutes until a very smooth mixture forms.
  1. Pour over the bases in the cupcake pan. Tap the pan gently to let it settle. Place straight into the freezer for about 1-2 hours before serving. These defrost in just about 5-10 minutes in the refrigerator, and much faster at room temperature so give them enough time to defrost slightly before serving. Top with fresh raspberries, lemon zest and mint leaves to serve. Enjoy!
  1. (If you want to keep them frozen for longer and just have them ready whenever the occasion calls for a great impromptu dessert. Simply freeze for 1-2 hours, then be sure to wrap the pan with plastic wrap as tight as possible and return to the freezer for up to 1 month.)
  1. If using cranberries, keep an eye on the ingredients as they could be artificially sweetened and coloured and have lots of sulphites. I used organic cranberries that are sweetened with grape juice. I find they compliment the taste of the lemon and raspberries really well. Don’t have them on hand? Simply add 3 extra dates to the base recipe.

 

Chocolate Coconut Energy Balls

Ingredients (serves 16)

  • ½ cup pecans (or other nut)
  • 15 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup shredded unsweetened coconut (plus ¼ cup for rolling)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1½ tbsp cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp water

Method

  1. Put pecans in food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, turn food processor on until well mixed.
  3. Using a tablespoon measure, spoon out mixture and roll in balls.
  4. Coat each ball in the remaining ¼ cup shredded coconut.
  5. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes, until they harden.
  6. Store in the fridge in a container or plastic bag for up to two weeks.
  7. Pour yourself a mug of tea, eat an energy ball, and enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up!

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 to 4 tsps. spices or finely chopped fresh herbs, like chili powder, curry powder, garam masala, cumin, smoked paprika, rosemary, thyme, or other favourite spices and herbs

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180’C: Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Rinse and drain the chickpeas: Open two cans of chickpeas and pour the chickpeas into a strainer in the sink. Rinse thoroughly under running water.
  3. Dry the chickpeas: Pat the chickpeas very dry with a clean dishtowel or paper towels. They should look matte and feel dry to the touch; if you have time, leave them to air-dry for a few minutes. Remove any chickpea skins that come off while drying, but otherwise don’t worry about them.
  4. Toss the chickpeas with olive oil and salt: Spread the chickpeas out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Stir with your hands or a spatula to make sure the chickpeas are evenly coated.
  5. Roast the chickpeas in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes: Stir the chickpeas or shake the pan every 10 minutes. A few chickpeas may pop – that’s normal. The chickpeas are done when golden and slightly darkened, dry and crispy on the outside, and soft in the middle.
  6. Toss the chickpeas with the spices: Sprinkle the spices over the chickpeas and stir to coat evenly. Serve while the chickpeas are still warm and crispy. They will gradually lose their crispiness as they cool, becoming addictively chewy.

Baked Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 3 medium zucchini
  • 1/3 cup freshly ground Parmesan cheese
  • 4-5 springs fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stem
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt and freshly ground black peppers
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180’C.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking sheet.
  3. Trim the ends of the zucchini and then slice into rounds about 1/4 inch thick.
  4. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, salt, peppers and cayenne.
  5. Brush olive oil mixture over tops of zucchini then place on the baking sheet and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden and crisp.

Enjoy! 🙂