Herbaceous Babe is going to be a little less regular in the days to come as the author gets launched in her professional career. Keep checking back, because there's no telling when a new post will appear!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Mashed sweet potatoes, black beans, onion, and cumin cuddled into a corn tortilla and smothered in a spicy tomatillo sauce - gets me every time.

The original recipe calls for three sweet potatoes, but two has proved more than enough for me to fill 14 stuffed tortillas. I also needed to double the sauce, and substituted a can of green chiles for the jalapeƱo. The smell was nose-grabbing to say the least, but my spice-loving palate thought it was just right. (When I make this for mother, I use a bell pepper and cut the other spices in half.)

This is my favourite vegan recipe of all time, but I could not seem to get a good picture to save my life... Maybe I'm too much of a perfectionist, but here's another just in case:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms (or Tomatoes)

I admit that fungus is not on the Herbaceous Faves list. However, these little guys weren't too bad. Inspired by a recipe on Foods for Long Life, my dear mother used a different pesto recipe when I wasn't looking.

Pesto comes from the Italian word pestato, which means 'to pound or crush' (pestle comes from the same word). Pesto Genovese is typically a blend of garlic, basil, pine (pignoli) nuts, olive oil, and a hard cheese such as parmesan. For vegan pesto, substitute ground nuts and nutritional yeast.

These guys are really easy and make a great side or a simple lunch. Just pack your pesto into fresh button or cremini mushrooms (or some small variety of tomato) and enjoy!

Raw Almond Flax Pizza Crust

No food blog is complete without a pizza recipe, right? Well, here's one everyone can enjoy... unless you're allergic to nuts (in which case, check out the recipe link at the bottom).

The Rawtarian and RawGuru apparently agree that this is a pizza crust worth trying, since the excessively wordy recipe appears verbatim on both websites. Allow me to guide you through the gab:

In a food processor, combine 2c almond meal, 1c ground flax, 1-1/2T olive oil, 1T each of basil, thyme, and rosemary, 3/4tsp salt, and 1/2c water*. Flatten on a dehydrator sheet and set the blowers to 115 degrees. Seven hours (or so) later, your pizza crust is ready for you to rain down lavish affection in the form of sauce, veggies, and or course, nut cheese.

A glorious balance of heartiness and delicacy, this 1/4" crust would also make great crackers or sandwich bread.

If you prefer a thinner, more flavourful crust, try this tomato-flax crust by Big Raw Blog. Unfortunately I have no picture right now, but this is one of our favourites.

*Why add a full cup of water to something you're going to dehydrate? I'll never understand it...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Nut Cheese and Milk

When it comes to staples, I tend to compare a few recipes and improvise. Taking cues from We Like It Raw, Rawmazing, and Rawxy, I killed two birds with one stone by making milk and cheese at the same time! Our featured varieties, largest to smallest, are Original, Basil-Oregano, Garlic-Paprika, and Cilantro-Mustard.

Soak nuts overnight (skip if you must, but it helps produce a smoother cheese). Drain, then throw in a blender with a bit of fresh water until smooth. Strain through a cheesecloth or BYO bag into a 2-qt jar and fill with water. Add vanilla and agave to taste.

Place nut meal into a bowl. Add liquid until cheese can hold its form. Throw in a probiotic, nutritional yeast, and/or lemon juice to create that tangy cheese flavour. (Ours are made with just the probiotic.) Set in a cool, dark place for 24 hours.

So which nuts are best? Cashews are the most common choice, with macadamia and brazil nuts close behind. We used hazelnuts. I don't think it matters... It amazes me, though, how basically the same recipe can produce different results. From the firmer cheeses linked above, to the ricotta-like spread we made, to cream cheese and cashew cream.

Nuts are easy to over-do on a raw GF vegan diet. They are a versatile alternative, replacing dairy, meat, and flour in many recipes. Remember, everything in moderation.

Food Pyramid poster available from

Monday, September 10, 2012

Banana Bread: Love At Third Bite

*Due to being late again (FYI: timed posts don't work), Herbaceous Babe presents a double-feature for your culinary pleasure.

The problem with "transition foods" is that we often expect the alternative to taste like the original. Such was the case with this raw banana bread.

The taste was surprisingly subtle, even slightly bitter. Nevertheless, I found myself coming back for more. Dense though it is, I thought I'd eat the entire sheet...

This is not a very labour-intensive recipe, assuming you have the almond meal and carrot pulp on-hand. Who does that? Bear with me for a moment.

Making nut milk is easy-peasy. Click here.

If you don't make your own juice (or simply don't save the pulp), just grate a few carrots and squeeze out excess liquid. More liquid won't hurt; it'll just take a bit longer in the dehydrator.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Blueberry Cardamom "Cheese"cake

Raw. Vegan. Blueberry. Cardamom. Cheesecake.
Seriously, what more could you ask for?

The original recipe is my kind of easy. Walnuts and dates in the food processor for crust, blueberries, cashews, cacao butter, lemon juice, agave, vanilla, and cardamom in the blender. Assemble (they used muffin cups) and freeze. Simply delicious.

Cardamom flavour is just right. Any more would overpower the blueberry; any less would be indistinguishable. Consistency was a bit grainier than I'd prefer, but there are several remedies for that:
1) Soak the cashews to soften them.
2) Put the cashews in the blender before the blueberries.
3) Pulse longer than your impatient palate suggests.
Had I done even one of these, my cheesecake would have been perfect in every way... although it seemed smoother the second day...

The recipe says to set the cheesecake in the fridge or freezer. Right before lunch, I transferred my beauty from the freezer to the fridge (to avoid broken teeth and frozen tongues)... Yeah, bad idea.

True, it was the first raw soup I actually liked, but it wasn't cheesecake. Freeze, then let it defrost a few minutes before serving. Of course it isn't rock-hard, so waiting is optional. Skip the crust, and call it ice cream. No matter what its name, this dish is de-lish :)