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Ωμοφαγικό τσιζκέικ λευκής σοκολάτας και βανίλιας - Raw vegan white chocolate vanilla cheesecake - Vegan in Athens

Raw vegan white chocolate, vanilla cheesecake

…or maybe the most delicious and healthy vegan recipe for an unforgettable white chocolate experience without sugar, gluten or baking. The truth is that raw vegan desserts are our favorites, especially when we are talking about cheesecakes with a creamy stuffing and a base of crunchy nuts and dried fruits. What I like the most is the unlimited variety of ingredients one can use in the creamy stuffing – nuts, fruits, nut-butters, zests etc – making each time a totally different dessert. The only thing we need is a relatively good blender!

This time, the basic concept of my recipe was to make a dessert with a rich white chocolate taste and the amazing aroma of vanilla. These two ingredients may have a prominent position in our olfactory and tasty memory, but on the other hand, we don’t meer them that often in the plant-based kitchen. However their combination is something I always considered magical and that’s why I planned to use it this time in order to make a white chocolate vanilla raw vegan cheesecake. You may ask yourselves how can we make a raw vegan dessert with the taste of white chocolate and the scent of vanilla? Simply by using raw cocoa butter and the small black seeds of a natural vanilla bean in its preparation! Relatively small amounts of these two are enough!

Ωμοφαγικό τσιζκέικ λευκής σοκολάτας και βανίλιας - Raw vegan white chocolate vanilla cheesecake - Vegan in Athens
Indeed, the result was even better than what I could imagine! The cream is just mouthwatering with a sweet taste thanks to the agave syrup, a beautiful vanilla aroma, a silky, creamy texture and an intense chocolaty flavor thanks to the cocoa butter whick makes this cake unbeatable! Raw nuts , ground together with sweet dates make the crispy, sweet, dense base that holds the cake and adds taste and texture to the recipe.

Ωμοφαγικό τσιζκέικ λευκής σοκολάτας και βανίλιας - Raw vegan white chocolate vanilla cheesecake - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

for the base

  • 1 cup dates (medjool or other varieties, without sugar or glucose)
  • 1 cup walnuts or almonds, shelled

for the white chocolate cream

  • 2 cups cashews, soaked for 6-8 hours and drained
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 100 g (about 1/2 cup) cocoa butter melted
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, the seeds or 1 tbsp homemade vanilla extract

for the decor

  • mixed nuts and seeds
  • mixed dried fruit

Method

1. For the crust: Wash the dates, drain and pit them and put them in the food processor along with the nuts. Process for a few minutes until a soft dough is formed. If you do not like the small pieces of nuts in the base, process the nuts until they become powdered and add the dates afterwards.
2. For the white chocolate cream: Put in the blender half of the cashews, lemon juice, agave nectar, water, vanilla and the melted cocoa butter and blend for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is creamy and uniform. Add the rest of the cashews and blend for few more minutes until they are incorporated in the mixture and the texture of the cream is smooth and homogeneous.
3. Assembly: Line a cheesecake pan of 20-22 cm diameter with greaseproof paper and spread the crust mixture over the bottom. Press with your hands to distribute equally and form the crust. Pour the white chocolate cream on top of the crust and refrigerate for 8-12 hours to set.
4. Before serving garnish with chopped nuts, seeds and dried berries. Keep in the fridge.

Ωμοφαγικό τσιζκέικ λευκής σοκολάτας και βανίλιας - Raw vegan white chocolate vanilla cheesecake - Vegan in Athens

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Vegan avocado and chickpea salad - Σαλάτα με αβοκάντο και ρεβίθια (ρεβιθοσαλάτα) - Vegan in Athens

Chickpea salad with a creamy avocado sauce

Among the things that are almost always on our shopping list and of course in our kitchen are avocados. The reason? They are just amazing! Their dense, buttery flavor and their great nutritional value combined with their creamy texture makes them the most suitable and at the same time nutritious and healthy ingredients in countless vegan recipes.

Our favorite vegan, avocado dish is vegan tzatziki made with the flesh of ripe avocados, a recipe we enjoy quite often especially during summer, as well as the Greek salad with avocado. And since we love desserts, if we have plenty ripe avocados we use them in the most delicious way, making a delicate vegan chocolate avocado mousse that melts in the mouth and is 100% raw or a delectable chocolate vegan ice cream but also the raw vegan chocolate tart with avocado and coconut.

I am sure that each of you, at least those who love this particular fruit, will have at least one favorite vegan recipe based on avocados and I am sure that if we’ d put them together they would be hundreds! Such amazing fruit it is and I feel so grateful that it grows in our country as well!

Today, we combined a few ripe avocados with chickpeas and herbs to make a delicious, cool, rich, creamy salad, perfect for sandwiches or to accompany our meal. Here the avocados act as a “buttery” sauce that binds the materials together, extracts their aromas, highlights their flavors. The recipe is simple and fast. Just do not forget to mash the avocado with lemon and apple-cider vinegar to retain its fresh color.

Vegan avocado and chickpea salad - Σαλάτα με αβοκάντο και ρεβίθια (ρεβιθοσαλάτα) - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients
(for 2-4 persons)

for the salad

  • 1 + 1/4 cup boiled and drained chickpeas
  • 1 celery sprig cleaned and chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1 fresh onion finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp pickled cucumber finely chopped

for the sauce

  • 1 ripe medium sized avocado, peeled
  • juice of 1/2 juicy lemon
  • 1 tbsp apple-cider vinegar
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • optionally you can add a garlic clove finely chopped and 2-3 drops of tabasco sauce

to serve

  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread, toasted
  • 1 tbsp parsley finely chopped

Method

1. Add the avocado flesh, lemon juice, apple-cider vinegar, salt and pepper in the blender and blend on medium speed until creamy.
2. With a fork mash the 1 cup of the chickpeas just a little bit, until all the chickpeas are crushed but not pureed. It’s nice to have some bigger pieces in the end. Keep the rest (1/4 cup) to garnish your salad.
3. In a bowl, mix all ingredients and taste in lemon and salt. Leave the salad in the refrigerator covered for at least one hour to cool, so that the aromas and tastes compine. Before you put it on the table garnish with the rest of the chickpeas and parsley.
4. Bake thin slices of bread and serve with the salad as an appetizer or make delicious sandwiches!

Vegan avocado and chickpea salad - Σαλάτα με αβοκάντο και ρεβίθια (ρεβιθοσαλάτα) - Vegan in Athens

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Greek vegan Easter tsoureki with coconut milk - Πασχαλινό vegan - νηστίσιμο τσουρέκι με γάλα καρύδας - Vegan in Athens

Vegan Greek Easter Tsoureki with coconut milk – fluffy and fragrant

For most people -religious or not- Easter means the celebration of Spring and life and with my mind I think that this should mean a celebration without sacrifices and violence but with colors, flowers and joy for human and non-human animals. So today I am very excited to share with you my vegan recipe for my favorite traditional Greek tsoureki, made only with plant-based ingredients! Easter tsoureki – a traditional brioche-like bread loaded with butter and eggs- is exactly what I was looking forward to eat during Easter as a child and I imagine I was not the only one. In my family, as in most Greek homes, we usually prepared several loaves a couple of days before Easter. After letting them cool overnight, we would wrap them with a transparent film and we waited anxiously to enjoy thick slices of our favorite sweet bread during the Easter day.

Greek vegan Easter tsoureki with coconut milk - Πασχαλινό vegan - νηστίσιμο τσουρέκι με γάλα καρύδας - Vegan in Athens

After I became a vegan, I was very much involved in making different types of homemade breads and bread-rolls and among other things, I experimented several times, using different recipes and ingredients, in order to get a vegan tsoureki just the way I wanted it – fluffy, fragrant, chewy, with a nice texture and a freshness that could be retained for several days after baking. Finally I came to the recipe I wanted to and so in the last few years, the days before Easter our house is filled with the smell of the baked sweet bread, with the aromas of mastiha and cardamon and for several days we enjoy this delicious bread every morning. My joy is indescribable every time I take a slice of tsoureki and I pull it apart just to see how it separates into strands, every time I push its surface a little bit just to feel the fluffiness, in every bite when it melts in my mouth and its amazing taste takes me back to my childhood. Actually making the perfect vegan tsoureki is not that difficult but there are some secrets that I’m going to share with you. First of all we have to choose the right flour. In Greece you can find packaged flour special for tsoureki and I guess that in other countries there must be a flour special for brioche (but even if you cannot find it I have the solution, just keep on reading!). Second we have to knead the dough like a lot, in order to make gluten develop and get that nice strands – one main characteristic of this sweet bread , third it’s extremely important to use the right amount of yeast and last but not least, we have to add the coconut oil or the vegan butter in the right time and with the right way (see the instructions).

Greek vegan Easter tsoureki with coconut milk - Πασχαλινό vegan - νηστίσιμο τσουρέκι με γάλα καρύδας - Vegan in Athens

Sometimes I like to add stuffing inside my tsoureki. Usually we prefer chestnut jam or sliced fresh apples and cinnamon (apple-pie stuffing), as I did in one of the two loaves I made this time. You can also stuff with chocolate or a vegan nutella – all these things are going to add to the recipe and it’s not too complicated to try!

One more thing I really appreciate about vegan tsoureki as with vegan brioche and especially in this particular recipe is the absence of animal-derived ingredients that allows the aromas of spices to emanate and combine perfectly with the distinctive essence of coconut. Moreover the yeast and gluten work much better to give volume to the baked product and most importantly all the natural flavors explode beautifully in your palate!

Enjoy baking!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups (180 ml) lukewarm full-fat coconut milk, homemade or from tin
  • 3/4 cups (180 ml) lukewarm water (or additional plant-based milk)
  • 1 cup (150-160 g) raw cane brown sugar
  • 1 level tsp dry yeast
  • 8 drops of natural mastic oil
  • 1 tsp ground mahlepi
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) melted coconut oil + 1 tablespoon extra coconut oil or sunflower oil for greasing the bowl (we can also use vegan margarine)
  • 4 1/4 cups (625 g) flour for tsoureki or brioche *

for brushing & sprinkling

  • 2-3 tbsp coconut milk or soy milk
  • almond flakes or coconut flakes

Greek vegan Easter tsoureki with coconut milk - Πασχαλινό vegan - νηστίσιμο τσουρέκι με γάλα καρύδας - Vegan in Athens

Method

1. In a cup stir the yeast with the lukewarm water (or plant-based milk) and one tablespoon of flour and allow for about fifteen minutes in a warm place. If the yeast is active, you will see tiny, dense bubbles appearing on the surface of the cup. Because we put a small amount of yeast we do not expect too many to form, but these few are the indication that the yeast works!
2. In a bowl or (preferably) in a strong mixer add the lukewarm coconut milk, the yeast mixture, the salt and the sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the spices, the mastic oil and the flour in 4-5 doses by kneading very well each time to activate gluten. This way you’ll get an elastic, soft dough that does not stick to hands, without adding more flour than what is really needed.
3. Form a ball with the dough, grease a bowl with a little coconut oil and put it in. Press the dough with your hands to expand, melt the coconut oil (it should not be too hot) and pour spoonfuls of oil over the dough, pulling and folding each time until all the oil is absorbed. At this point, do not knead but only pull and fold in order to create “layers” of oil and dough that will give an amazing consistency to your final baked good. Alternatively, put the dough on an oiled surface, dip our hands in the melted coconut oil and press over the dough to spread it. Fold the four sides like an envelope, re-dip the hands into the oil and press the dough again. Repeat the process until all of the coconut oil is used. Cover it with a humid towel or clear film and let it rise and double in volume for 2-3 hours in a warm place (eg in the oven at 40 ° C together with a bowl of water that will provide the essential moisture).
4. When the dough is ready, press it to deflate and form a ball. Divide it into two equal parts (or four depending on how many cords you want in your breads). Roll the pieces of dough gently into cords. I made two large cords, folded each one in the middle and made two “plaits” with two cords each. Place the breads carefully on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper. You can put each tsoureki on its own non-stick paper so it’s easier to move it if necessary. Brush them with plenty of milk.
5. Put the breads in a lightly warm oven at 40 ° C along with a bowl of water and allow them to double in volume. It will take about 45 minutes. If you want you can carefully and softly brush them with milk one more time to get a more shiny result (I forgot to do it this time!).
6. Bake at 200 oC degrees for about 40-45 minutes or until they get a nice golden brown color.
7. Let cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Greek vegan Easter tsoureki with coconut milk - Πασχαλινό vegan - νηστίσιμο τσουρέκι με γάλα καρύδας - Vegan in Athens

 

Stuffed tsoureki

Follow the whole procedure but when you make your cords use a rolling pin to roll each cord out vertically until about 10 cm wide and spread uniformly on the one side of the strip the filling of your choice, leaving 2 cm from each end to seal it. Then fold in a roll, seal the edges well and form your tsoureki. For my stuffing I used one peeled red apple cut into slices mixed with 1 tbsp of brown sugar and a pinch of ground cinnamon.

* Note: If you cannot find a special flour for brioche or tsoureki, you can use all-purpose flour but you will substitute half a cup of it with an equal amount of gluten flour (the same flour that we use to make seitan).

Greek vegan Easter tsoureki with coconut milk - Πασχαλινό vegan - νηστίσιμο τσουρέκι με γάλα καρύδας - Vegan in Athens

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