Vegan Creamed Kale

A few months ago, John and I drove up north to visit his lovely grandparents.  They asked us to help with dinner and requested that I make creamed spinach- a family favorite.  I’d never made it before but Grandma Joy had a recipe and all the fixins ready to go.  She assured me that it wasn’t difficult and came together pretty easily- and she was right!  Plenty of cream cheese, whipped egg whites, frozen spinach, and love went into the dish which got baked in the oven until it was a light golden brown and smelled divine.  I was pleased that the dish came out delicious and everyone liked it but if you know me at all, you know I’m always one to try things my own way.  In light of my recent decision to start limiting dairy and eggs, I thought it would be fun to experiment with a vegan version of this classic.  Let me tell you what, this Vegan Creamed Kale is SO. GOOD.  I won’t say that it’s better than grandma’s recipe- duh- but I will say that I’ve made this five or six times and #cantstopwontstop.

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John gobbles it up what makes it to the plates since I tend to devour most of it straight from the pan…  It even makes a regular appearance in both our lunch boxes and was a hit at Thanksgiving!  This is a great twist on a classic American comfort food dish that will satisfy even those who aren’t wild about “healthy” options.

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Let’s talk about the base of this recipe real quick.  How do you make creamed kale without cream?!  Well… You make cashew cream.  And then you eat it all with a spoon. I mean, keep it in the fridge and stare at it longingly. Cashews are sooo fantastic because they are soft and creamy and blend up so smooth (*ahem* cashew butter. holy yum. coming soon).  Soaked in water overnight, they plump up and are even easier to pulverize into creamy submission.  How many times can I say creamy in one post? Creamy. Ok I’m done… Cashew cream isn’t necessarily a lower fat option than regular cream but because it is plant-based and homemade from ONE ingredient, I’m way more ok with the indulgence.

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Give this dish a shot!  I promise you will not miss the dairy heavy cream at all.  In fact, you might like it better than the original!  (Just don’t tell Grandma, ok?)

Vegan Creamed Kale

Prep Time: 8 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

A vegan twist on an American classic, this vegan creamed kale was inspired by a grandmother's recipe. You won't miss the heavy cream but you will miss this dish when it's gone!

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of kale (about 2 lbs.), stems and ribs removed, washed, torn/chopped
  • 2 large shallots, diced very fine
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs white miso (optional but recommended, or sub nutritional yeast)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Cashew Cream:
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1-2 cups of water

Instructions

  1. To make cashew cream, add cashews (soaked at least 4 hours, overnight is best) and 1 cup of water to blender or food processor. Blend for three minutes until very smooth, adding more water tablespoon at a time as needed. If small pieces remain, blend for one or two minutes more- the consistency should resemble that of regular cream.
  2. Heat a pot of salted water over high heat until boiling and add kale. Return to boil and cook for 3 minutes until wilted.
  3. Pour contents of pot over a colander and drain. Let cool a few minutes and squeeze kale until little liquid remains. Move kale to cutting board and chop. Set aside.
  4. To a large skillet, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add shallots and gently sauté for 8-12 minutes.
  5. When shallots are soft and translucent (but not browned) add in kale, lemon juice, nutmeg, miso, and cashew cream. Stir well and sauté for one or two minutes, adding pepper and salt (as needed- careful, miso is very salty!).
  6. Transfer to a large bowl or baking dish to serve. This dish does well covered in a low-heat oven to keep warm. Enjoy!
https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/vegan-creamed-kale/

Dilly Cucumber Tomato Salad

Yeah I know, Tim Hortons is advertising the sugar-coma pumpkin frenzy lattes and drinks of my nightmares.  Yeah I know, school has started and the days are shrinking.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.  But I’M NOT READY for fall! I love football and sweaters and pretty leaves as much as the next guy but I really really love summer.  So, in an attempt to cling to the shreds of summer we have left, I present to you the most refreshing, crunchy, and easy salad ever!  Even better… It requires no lettuce (obvi the best kind of salad) and it a great way to use up that last of your garden’s harvest.  In fact, I made this dish as a way to use up the huge bag of tomatoes from my neighbors! Dilly Cucumber Tomato Salad is da bomb.  Trust.

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I would have used these presh little nuggets in mom and my hands… But I ate them.  All of them. So. Darn. Good.

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Quite a haul!  Thanks neighbors!

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With 6 huge, juicy beefsteak tomatoes from the neighbors and the most ridiculously huge cucumber from mom’s weekly farmer’s market haul, what’s a girl to do?  Add some herbs and call it a salad, duh!  Now, I initially wanted to go Greek with this and make that wonderful little side you get at every Greek restaurant.  Then I remembered that raw onions are a big no-no with this little tummy.  That said, I didn’t include them but feel free to!  They would be so fab!

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Don’t give up on summer yet!! Enjoy!

Dilly Cucumber Tomato Salad

Ingredients

  • 2-3 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, lightly packed (about half a bunch)
  • 1 Tbp chopped fresh oregano or basil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Healthy amount of pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop vegetables into 1/2" to 1" pieces.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until emulsified.
  3. Add veggies and toss well to combine, marinate for a few hours.
  4. Stores well in the fridge for 2-3 days.
https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/dilly-cucumber-tomato-salad/

Mexican Corn

Ok.  You guys know I love to eat. Duh, I write a blog all about food.  BUT it’s not often that I eat something so good it changes my life.  Yeah.  I’m claiming I’ve eaten a life-changing food.  Here’s the story…

My wonderful boyfriend and I love trying new foods.  We have been to just about every international grocery store in our area, and even travel to other parts of town to find new ones!  While venturing to our (new) favorite multi-ethnic superstore, we stopped to explore a Mexican market we found.  And it was awesome!  Gorgeous unique produce, all the seasonings and spices your inner Latino heart desires, a huge meat counter, a homemade bakery, a full-size restaurant, and more!  We were tempted by the restaurant but really only needed a snack, so we shyly approached the cute little Mexican lady working a little stand at the front of the store.  And let me tell you what, she was doing some pretty amazing things.

The first thing we saw her do was take a to-go cup of chopped mango, squeeze a whole lime over it, sprinkle in some salt and chili powder, and shake the crap out of it.  Woah.  Wooahhh that looked good.  We only had 3 dollars in cash so we pointed to her board at an item called “Elotas”.  She pulled out an ear of corn and we were sold.  We love corn. Corn. Corn corn corn.  We love it.  But listen to what she was doing with it.  She took the boiled corn and cut it off the cob into a paper tray.  Then she squeezed a lime over it, seasoned it with salt and pepper, tried to slather it in mayo (I said “No no gracias”.  I’m not about that mayo life.), sprinkled a healthy amount of chili powder and grated cotija cheese (like Mexican parmesan), and handed it over.  We didn’t even make it to the car before we absolutely devoured it.  I’ve never been a happier girl than that moment, sitting on the curb next to my sweetie eating some of the most fabulous corn I’ve ever had.

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This lasted about oh…. 10 seconds.

Sentimental story aside, we had to recreate this amazing dish.  I have to be honest and give all of the credit to John for this recipe.  He has become our resident grill master this summer and turned this classic Mexican dish into something we eat as often as possible.  The addition of using the grill and smoker box was his brilliant idea and brings a depth of flavor that is so divine.  If you don’t have a grill (or smoker box), you can boil the corn or prepare it your favorite way.

Thank you my dear for feeding my strange cravings and looking oh so adorable in the process. 🙂

This is our smoker box. It sits perfectly inside the propane grill.

This is our smoker box. It sits perfectly inside the propane grill.

First, be sure to soak the wood chips at least 30 minutes.  We like to add hot sauce to the soaking water for even more flavor but you could also add bourbon or other flavors. (Yeah right- Like we are gonna waste spend precious booze on wood chips. All for the drinking, please.)

You have to soak the corn too, so it doesn’t dry out. Then it’s as easy as grilling!  We like to do it husk-off for maximum char/ grill flavor but it works really well with the husks on, too.

Pop a plate over the ears to weigh them down and get an even soak.

Pop a plate over the ears to weigh them down and get an even soak.

Gosh, he’s a cute grill master! 🙂

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Next, take the corn inside, cut one end off to make a flat end, and cut all of kernels off.

Now it’s seasoning and consuming time! Nom nom!

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Good luck getting this dish to the dinner table! I tend to devour it standing at the counter like a paranoid hyena guarding my biggest prey.  No one will touch my elotas.

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Mexican Corn

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 Servings

Calories per serving: 160

An excellent addition to a summer cookout or a great way to use up all that local corn, this dish is simple and inspired by authentic Mexican cuisine!

Ingredients

  • 4 ears corn
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 tsp hot sauce (more or less depending on preference)
  • 1 tsp arbol chili powder (more or less depending on preference)
  • 2 limes
  • 1 T butter (or spray butter)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Non-stick spray

Instructions

  1. Soak corn (and wood chips if using) for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Spray corn with non-stick spray and grill over indirect heat for 15-25 minutes, rotating frequently.
  3. Remove corn from grill and cut off one end of ears to make a flat surface.
  4. Place ear on it's end and use a sharp knife to scrape off all kernels.
  5. Place corn, cheese, hot sauce, chili powder, butter, and juice of limes in a bowl and toss.
  6. Divide between four bowls and enjoy!
https://www.areyoukitchenme.com/mexican-corn/