Vegan

Ballin' on a Budget: Lemon Asparagus Risotto by audrey gebhardt

I moved away from the home I lived in my whole life a bit less than a year ago. Some things have felt like a huge adjustment (not having a beach, not having a dozen houses nearby I can walk into unannounced, not eating pizza four times a week).

One of the things that I didn’t think about when I moved was the crocuses. The tiny white flowers that would pop up through the frost right outside my front door! The little flowers that could! Like clockwork, they’d show up within the first few days of March every year, snow or sunshine.

They were like the lighthouse bringing us to shore. The microwave minute nearing an end. The last hour of a red eye flight. And I miss them! I miss their cute lil faces popping up to remind us that one day we’ll be barefoot again.

So today, in Colorado, I’m calling in the crocuses of home with this Lemon Asparagus Risotto. This creamy, bright, flavorful dish comes together in about 30 minutes and pops in your mouth with a zing. All of the flavors of spring with the comfort of a still needed warm bowl of food.

In this recipe you can absolutely swap out the asparagus for whatever dark leafy green you have on hand, or even broccoli if that’s what you have! Risotto is extremely forgiving so this is a very loose recipe.

Lemon Asparagus Risotto

Lemon Asparagus Risotto (vegan optional)
Makes enough for 4 as a side dish

1/3 c diced onion
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 3/4-1” chunks
1 lemon
1 c arborio rice
4 c vegetable stock (room temperature or warmed up-not cold!)
1 c water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese (optional)
2 Tbsp butter (optional)

Toast the rice. In a large saucepan over a medium low flame, place the dry cup of arborio rice. Allow the rice to toast, moving around every so often so it doesn’t burn on one side. It will turn light brown and smell super nutty- remove from pan and place aside for now.

In the pan you just used, add the olive oil and onions over a medium flame. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the toasted rice and two cups of the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.

When almost all of the liquid is absorbed, add another cup of stock and repeat the simmering process.

Repeat with the final cup of stock. At the end of this simmering point, the rice should be nearly finished cooking.

Add the cup of water and the chopped asparagus, cook for another five minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed and the asparagus is bright bright green.

Stir in the lemon zest, salt and pepper (and at this point you can add the parm + butter if you’re using them! It’s still creamy and delicious without it but that definitely adds an extra layer of flavor!).

Serve immediately.

xo,
Audrey

Ballin' on a Budget: Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup by audrey gebhardt

HOMIES. DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW CHEAP CARROTS ARE?!

Omg. I got an enormous bag that I can make 4x this soup with for $4. ORGANIC!

I’m gonna have the best eyesight in town.

For real though this soup is fool proof and so budget friendly. The one tip I want to leave you with is the note that carrots will dye your white counter orange if you leave them on there too long- so make sure to wipe that up ASAP!

Let’s get it.

(Also also, this recipe may look like it has lots of ingredients but most of them are water and salt and pepper. You shouldn’t have to buy more than 6 things to make this!)

Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup

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Carrot Ginger Soup
(makes 1 quart)

1.5 lbs carrots (about 7 large)
1/2 vidalia onion (or one whole medium onion, about 1 C diced)
1 TBSP grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 c vegetable stock
1 c water
2 TBSP olive oil

1/2 c raw cashews
1/2 c boiling water

1/4 c pumpkin seeds (raw)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBSP olive oil

First, dice the onions and the carrots. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium low flame and sauté the onions in the oil for about a minute before adding the diced carrots. Add the carrots and sauté for another 5-7 minutes or so, until the onions are translucent and soft. Keep an eye on the mixture and move it around every so often so nothing browns on the bottom. Add the ginger, salt and pepper and sauté for another minute or so before covering the vegetables in the stock and 1 c water. Bring to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer, covered for about 30 minutes or so.

While the soup is simmering, toast the pumpkin seeds. Mix the pumpkin seeds with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper and 1 TBSP olive oil and spread out onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 (I did mine in the toaster oven) for 12-15 minutes until golden and they are making popping sounds in the oven.

Make the cashew cream while the soup is still simmering. This will serve as a way to make the soup creamy as well as a garnish for the top of the soup! Put the cashews into the container of a blender and boil enough water to just cover the top of the cashews, cover cashews with boiling water. Screw the lid on tight or hold a towel over the top of the blender and blend for at least one minute, until the mixture is silky and smooth.

After about a half an hour the carrots should be fork tender and should’ve absorbed some of the liquid. Transfer the entire mixture to a blender with 1/4 c of the cashew cream and blend until smooth. Top with remaining cashew cream, toasted pumpkin seeds and a crank of fresh black pepper to serve.

This can be frozen!

xo,
Audrey

Sweet Potato Waffles (V + GF) by audrey gebhardt

Two of my Christmas gifts from the year 2000 have proven to be timeless so far.

Vegan + Gluten Free Sweet Potato Waffles

My bike (I'm still riding a kid-sized 21 speed Raleigh and I LOVE it), and my Grinch Waffle Iron.

This waffle iron made our house the sleepover house. That, and my mom was the sleepover queen. We could stay up as late as we wanted as long as we were dancing with her. She would let us use air mattresses as slides, she would have a craft ready for us to do, she made the comfiest beds on couches to sleep on and in the morning- she always made grinch waffles. 

Much more exciting than your standard belgian waffle, grinch waffles were a topic of discussion. The swirls that the syrup could swim through- the perfect circle in the middle for a pool of butter or whipped cream.

Vegan + Gluten Free Sweet Potato Waffles

My mom was also the cool aunt. The one who let my little cousins and I eat whipped cream straight from the can at 8am. 

My mom didn't have lots of rules, she mostly just did whatever she could to make sure everyone around her was having the most fun at all times. 

Vegan + Gluten Free Waffles

Sweet Potato Waffles (Vegan + Gluten Free)
makes 4

1 c cooked sweet potato
1 c oats
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground Flax seed + 3 Tbsp water, let sit for five minutes)
1/2 c almond milk
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

cooking spray, for waffle iron.

coconut cream (the top part of refrigerated coconut milk), for serving

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Add more almond milk a tablespoon at a time if it doesn't seem like it will pour smoothly until it's pourable.

Heat the waffle iron and spray with cooking spray.

Pour about 1/3 cup of batter  into the iron and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve with a dollop of coconut cream (which you make by refrigerating a can of coconut milk and scooping off the thick creamy white part from the top) and maple syrup. I serve it like this for the nostalgia of when you get a waffle at a diner served with an ice cream scoop full of butter. 

This batter can be refrigerated for up to 2 days! Add a bit more milk to thin out before using.

xo
Audrey

Penne Ala Vodka (V) by audrey gebhardt

Penne Ala Vodka is the first dish I mastered. 

Vegan Penne Ala Vodka

I've been whipping up pots of orange pasta for crowds for over a decade now. I remember one of the first times I made this for more than just my immediately family, we were out in Montauk having a beach vacation with a bunch of friends. 

It was late September and grey and chilly and foggy and rainy, much like it's been in Denver these past couple of days. I had the windows open when I made the sauce because I'm neurotic about the house smelling like onion and people staying at the condo a few doors down knocked on the door because they could smell how good this sauce was. If that's not a testament to how bomb this sauce is, I don't know what is! That version of it had a good bit of butter and heavy cream, but I've swapped those out for homemade cashew cream and olive oil and can't even tell the difference.

This recipe is a triple whammy, not only are you learning how to make my favorite sauce- you're also getting recipes for the simplest and most versatile cashew cream and vegan parmesan!

vegan cashew cream

Vegan Penne Ala Vodka
makes enough sauce to 1 pound of pasta

cashew cream:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (alternately, you can cover them with boiling water for about an hour until they plump up)
1/2 c water

vegan parmesan:
1/4 c raw cashews
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
pinch salt

vodka sauce:
4 TBSP olive oil
5-7 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
15 oz tomato sauce
1/4 c vodka
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
pinch red pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil or a few fresh basil leaves
1/3 c cashew cream 

Prep the cashew cream: Drain the cashews and blend them with the new fresh water for about 3-5 minutes until silky and creamy. For this recipe, I like this a little bit on the thicker side (you can always add more water to thin it out later). Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, sauté the green onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until the onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, vodka, oregano, salt, red pepper and basil. Bring to a simmer then lower the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes until thickened and fragrant. Add 1/3 c of the cashew cream and simmer for another ten minutes before tossing with your favorite pasta (I use Barilla Gluten Free).

While the sauce is simmering, make the vegan parm. In a coffee grinder or a food processor, blitz the cashews, nutritional yeast and salt for about a minute until the cashews have been broken down to grated parmesan sized pieces (don't blend too long or you'll have cashew butter!)

Sauce will keep in the fridge for up to a week and it freezes beautifully as well!

xo
Audrey

Mini Blueberry Pies (V) by audrey gebhardt

When I was a kid my family would spend a week on a lake in New Hampshire every August and it was the BEST. 

We would paint rocks and jump off docks and make up songs to sing and play cards all night and sneak onto private islands to collect dozens of solo cups full of wild blueberries. 

vegan blueberry pie

There was one year that we showed up at our house and there was a family of bats living inside so we spent the better part of the afternoon ushering the bats outside with our beach towels and bags of potato chips.

There was the year that we stood on the side of the road staring at a field for a good hour waiting for a moose to show up, until a sheriff came along to ask us what we were doing.

One of the early years, I thought that "Here Comes the Sun" was the only song that existed because Uncle Frank played it on repeat for the whole week. Literally, I thought it was the only song ever and that it was all of music.

There was the last year that we went to blueberry island and the water police came kicked us off the island that did not belong to us. The place with the secret cabin and giant boulder that we would climb and feel like we were on top of the world. I was probably 10, and I cried a lot holding that cup full of my final Blueberry Island blueberries. 

Back in those days we would just eat the blueberries by the handful, but now when I have a surplus I would turn them into something a bit sweeter.

These blueberry pies are charming and adorable and come together so quickly. You can make them into a regular size pie and I would probably still want an invite to your house.

Vegan Blueberry Pie

Mini Blueberry Pies (Vegan)
makes 24

1 olive oil pie crust (I know I link back to this one all the time, I truly just don't see a reason to ever make another kind've pie crust again. It's the easiest and the flakiest and so versatile)

3 cups blueberries, washed & picked through for stems
2/3 c sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375. 

Roll out the pie crust to 1/8-1/4" thick. Cut into 24 circles using a 3" round cookie cutter.

In a medium bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. 

Gently press the circles of pie dough into mini muffin tins, and spoon enough of the blueberry mixture into the crust so it's heaping over the top. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the blueberries cook down and the crust just begins to turn golden.

Allow to cool completely in the tray before running a knife around the edge to loosen and pop out.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days!

xo
Audrey

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (V/GF) by audrey gebhardt

It wouldn't be fair to this dessert to call it a brownie. 

Vegan/Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cake

There are hundreds of health food junkies out there running around calling recipes similar to this 'Sweet Potato Brownies' but that's just not okay. 

Because a brownie- a brownie needs to be dense. A brownie feels like dead weight in your hands. It sticks to the roof of your mouth it's so fudgy. It has a crackly shiny top and just a 1" square is enough to satisfy.

That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with what this is- it's just simply not a brownie. It's a light, fluffy chocolate cake with a depth of flavor and ZERO DAIRY, GLUTEN or REFINED SUGAR! 

Are you kidding me? I wouldn't have believed it either. This cake is unbelievably decadent and moist and you won't even miss the sugar- I promise.

vegan gluten free peanut butter chocolate cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (vegan/gluten free)

1/2 c almond butter
1/2 c cooked sweet potato (from an actual baked sweet potato, not canned puree)
1 flax egg (1 TBSP flaxseed meal + 2.5 TBSP water)
6 TBSP maple syrup
1/4 c cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 c coconut manna
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1 can full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP maple syrup

Start by making the flax egg- in a small bowl combine the flaxseed meal and water and set aside for five minutes until it firms up.

Preheat the oven to 350 and line an 8x8" pan with parchment.

In a medium bowl, combine the almond butter and sweet potato with a fork or whisk until smooth and creamy. Whip in the flax egg and maple syrup until combined. Whisk in the cocoa powder, vanilla and baking soda. 

Pour the batter into the parchment lined baking pan, bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Once the brownies have cooled completely in the pan, prepare the peanut butter frosting.

DO NOT SHAKE the can of coconut milk. Open the can and scrape the top into a small bowl, saving the transparent liquid in the fridge for smoothies at another time. Beat the coconut cream until it's light and fluffy like whipped cream. Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, beat the coconut manna with the peanut butter and maple syrup until completely combined. Fold in the whipped coconut cream until smooth and spread over cooled cake. 

Store cake in fridge until you're ready to serve. Prepare for people to propose to you when they take a bite. And then tell them it's made with all wholesome ingredients!

xo
Audrey

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Sunflower Pesto (V) by audrey gebhardt

Do you know how many grown adult men in this country don't eat raw tomatoes? 

Heirloom Tomato Tart

They will eat all of the pizza, endless bolognese, put raw eggs in their smoothies, drink the broth of another animal's bones, spit their phlegm across three lanes of traffic and still push the tomatoes from their salad off to the side. 

I don't entirely blame them though, you know why? 

Vegan Tomato Tart

They're being served something entirely unlike what a tomato should taste like. 

A tomato should taste like the sun, exploding in your mouth. Warm and soft and delicate and bursting with bright flavor. 

Vegan Heirloom Tomato Tart

The tomatoes we see in our grocery stores are often much closer to their plastic play kitchen friends than they are like the real deal juice-dripping-down-your-chin sweet-as-candy still have a bit of dirt on them tomatoes we should be eating. 

If there's a man in your life that you've been trying to get to eat tomatoes for years, now is the time. Mid August-early September is when they are prime and ripe and perfect. Run-don't walk to the farmers market because in a blink they'll be gone. Heirlooms are best, give them a gentle squeeze and if it gives a little you're in business. If The Man needs further coaxing than just a slab of tomato with salt and pepper, wrap the tomato in flaky pie crust over a bed of pesto and you will change a life. 

***I made this pesto with sunflower seeds because they're so much cheaper than pine nuts and less flavorful so the basil can be the real star of the show. Also, it's nice to think that if you're eating the seeds of your favorite flower you are that much closer to becoming just like a sunflower. 

Vegan Heirloom Tomato Tart

Heirloom Tomato Tart with Sunflower Pesto (vegan)

1 olive oil pie crust

1 c basil leaves, washed and stemmed
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

2 large or 3 medium heirloom tomatoes
2 TBSP olive oil
pinch salt
pinch pepper

Prepare the pie crust (this can be done up to three days in advance and left to chill wrapped in saran wrap in the fridge).

In a medium saucepan, toast the sunflower seeds over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until they get toasty and smell nutty, shaking them around occasionally. 

In a blender, combine the basil, sunflower seeds, olive oil, salt and peppers. Blend until combined, adding more olive oil if it's too thick to blend but not too much because you want this to be a pasty olive oil- just to the point that you can spread it. 

Preheat the oven to 425. Roll out the crust so it's about 18" in diameter and 1/4" thick. Transfer the rolled out dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the pesto out on the dough, leaving a 3" border around it. 

Slice the tomatoes into 1/4-1/2" slices, cover the pesto-ed part of the crust with tomatoes. Fold the edges of the dough over the tomato, pressing to seal any cracks along the bottom seam.

Drizzle the whole tart with the remaining 2 TBSP of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 425 for 35-45 minutes, until the edges turn golden and the tomatoes are roasted and wrinkly. 

Cool and serve at room temperature. 

xo
Audrey

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (V/GF) by audrey gebhardt

I have been obsessed with a podcast lately. 

gluten free banana bread

It's called Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, and half of my favorite duo (Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard) created it. I'm totally not a Hollywood person at all. I don't really pay attention to that world and until recently it felt so distant from my own. 

He tends to interview many of his famous friends who grew up similarly to him, in a lower middle class middle America family with a single mom working two jobs. And all I keep thinking about is that everything ever created came from inside of somebody's mind. The personality that sent him into fame and fortune came from inside of him. 

The Apple computer started with something Steve Jobs imagined. 

The first recipe ever created was something a human made up.

The roads that pave the way to the Palace of Versailles were designed by a human. And another human dreamt up the hall of mirrors and then another human reigned a country for 72 years and resided there. 

Vegan Banana Bread

What I'm getting to is that all of this stuff happened because someone at some point in time had a brain that made it happen. 

If you could use your brain to turn your dreams into the real life that you walk through every day, what would you dream? What is the wildest thing you can't imagine possible that you want? 

WOULD YOU DREAM ABOUT FLUFFY BANANA BREAD STUDDED WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS TOPPED WITH CRUNCHY SUGARY CRUST? 

Because omg would you look at that you just used your brain to manifest your dreams into reality.

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
2 c gluten free flour blend (I like Trader Joe's)
1/4 c sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 medium super ripe bananas (like, so ripe that your houseguest looks at your counter and says you should probably throw those out)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 c refined coconut oil, melted
1/4 c applesauce
1 c bittersweet chocolate chips
2 TBSP raw sugar

I used a 6" round cake pan for this because I made it for the full moon and I only eat round foods on the full moon because I'm a LUNATIC. You can totally make it in a standard loaf pan!

Preheat the oven to 375. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour, 1/4 c sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork leaving some chunky bits. The chunky bits will caramelize in the oven and create sugar pockets that you definitely want. Add the coconut oil, applesauce and lemon to the bananas and mix until combined. 

Stir in 90% of the flour mixture. Toss the chocolate chips in the remaining flour mixture before folding in.

Spoon the batter into your greased and floured pan, sprinkle the top with the raw sugar. 

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until it doesn't jiggle when you move the pan and a toothpick comes out clean. 

Serve immediately. Or not. You can also slice into the size slices that your future self wants to eat and freeze! I made the mistake of slicing this into quarters and now every time me (future self) wants this, I have to eat a quarter loaf of banana bread.

xo
Audrey