almonds

Tyrokafteri -hot cheesy spread- vegan & raw with nuts -Βέγκαν τυροκαυτερή με κάσιους και αμύγδαλα - Veganinathens.com

Vegan & raw tyrokafteri -raw vegan, hot and cheesy spread

The appetizers -or “mezedes” as they are called here- are a characteristic and basic element of the Greek table. I can’t imagine of a Greek person who would say “no” to a meal with friends, composed of many -hot or cold- small appetizers accompanied with ouzo or raki, instead of a main course.

However, eating a variety of appetizers as a meal, apart from being a Greek custom, is more or less a common way of spending time with friends as well as eating out, in other Mediterranean countries too. For example the Spanish “tapas” are correspondingly small appetizers and in Spain people often order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal. I guess there must be a reason for that. Maybe it’s that the appetizers we share with our fellow diners may bring us a little closer: firstly we learn how to share our food, we approach each other to take a few bites from each saucer, we experience the same tastes and we eat, drink, talk and relax together with our friends or our family.

One of the most famous delicacies of northern Greece is tyrokafteri (spicy and creamy white cheese spread). As my partner is a huge fan of anything “cheesy”, we often make the raw vegan version of the original recipe. The basic ingredients that we use are various soaked raw nuts blended with olive oil, salt and fresh spicy and sweet peppers for a delicious raw vegan snack.

Tyrokafteri -hot cheesy spread- vegan & raw with nuts -Βέγκαν τυροκαυτερή με κάσιους και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

 Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups raw mixed nuts, soaked for 4-6 hours and drained (I usually use: ½ cup cashew nuts, ½ cup blanched almonds and ½ cup Brazil nuts)
  • 1 fresh red hot chilli pepper
  • 1 red sweet pepper
  • 1 garlic clove (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp water (only if necessary for blending)

Tyrokafteri -hot cheesy spread- vegan & raw with nuts -Βέγκαν τυροκαυτερή με κάσιους και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

Method

  1. Wash the chilli and the sweet pepper and half them lengthways. Remove the seeds and the stalks and discard them. Chop them coarsely.
  2. In a blender put all the ingredients and blend at medium speed for several minutes until a relatively smooth and creamy mixture is formed.
  3. Keep in a glass container in the refrigerator for several days.

Note: This vegan spicy cheese dip can be also made with soaked blanched almonds only, in case no other nuts are available.
If your skin is sensitive you’d better prepare the chilli wearing rubber gloves, as chillies contain a substance that burns sensitive skin. Of course, never rub your eyes or lips after handling chillies and wash the knife, board and your hands with hot soapy water.

 

 

 

 

 

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Vegan lahmacun with lentil, cauliflower and almond “mince” sauce - Λαχματζούν βέγκαν με κιμά από κουνουπίδι, φακές και αμύγδαλα - Veganinathens.com

Vegan lahmacun with lentil, cauliflower and almond “mince” sauce

Our “travels” in the world of taste, fortunately, unlike others, never stop, since we only need to implement the mood for experimentation and be open to new recipes to enjoy a unique traveler’s experience. “Travelling” in taste takes us from one place to another, leaving us pleasantly impressed and of course full.

So today we decided to go to the East, in order to enjoy a 100% vegan yet delicious lahmacun. I like to share this recipe as it comprises one of our favorite dinner and picnic dishes. Vegan lahmacun is very easy to prepare but in the same time it’s healthy and filling. Actually, one basic reason that make it so appealing is the fact that although it is a fast food dish, it is also packed with nutrients and beneficial substances found only in plants, making it ideal for a quick, healthy and tasty meal at home. After all, this recipe is the perfect way to get your kids to eat more vegetables!

Vegan lahmacun with lentil, cauliflower and almond “mince” sauce - Λαχματζούν βέγκαν με κιμά από κουνουπίδι και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

6 large Lebanese pita breads or 10-12 smaller

For the vegan “mince” sauce 

  • 2 ½ cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 carrot peeled
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup raw almonds finely chopped
  • ½ cup red lentils soaked for 4-6 hours and drained
  • ½ cup parsley chopped
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 400 g (1 package) slightly concentrated tomato juice
  • ¾ tsp red hot chili pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

Vegan lahmacun with lentil, cauliflower and almond “mince” sauce - Λαχματζούν βέγκαν με κιμά από κουνουπίδι, φακές και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

Method

1. Put the cauliflower in the food processor bowl and beat lightly until it shatters into mince-sized pieces. Grate the carrot on the coarse side of the grater.

2. In a saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat and fry the onion for 1-2 minutes. Add the almonds, the cauliflower, the lentils and the carrot and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the wine and the remaining ingredients, reduce heat and let cook for half an hour or until the sauce thickens.

3. Assembly: In a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, place 1-2 pita breads. Above each, spread a layer of mince sauce and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes at 200 oC. The lahmacun is better when served hot, drizzled with lemon juice or topped with 1-2 tablespoons of vegan yogurt.

Note: In Athens, you can find fresh and cheap Lebanese pita breads, whole-wheat or white, in the central market, located in Athinas street. Alternatively, search in some bakeries or supermarkets, or try to make your own!

 

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Raw vegan strawberry cheesecake - Ωμοφαγικό, vegan τσιζκέικ φράουλας - Vegan in Athens

Strawberry fields raw mini uncheesecakes

“…Let me take you down
‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever…”

Ατομικά, ωμοφαγικά τσιζκέικ φράουλας - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients
(4 mini cheesecakes)

For the base

  •     3 tbsp dry grated coconut
  •     3 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  •     3 tbsp raw almonds
  •     3 Medjoul dates, pitted
  •     1-2 tbsp orange juice or water

For the filling

  •     1 cup raw cashews soaked for 4-6 hours and drained
  •     ½ cup coconut oil melted
  •     150 gr strawberries, washed, stems removed
  •     ½ tbsp raw, finely grated beetroot
  •     2 tbsp lemon juice
  •     ¼ cup raw agave syrup or other liquid sweetener

For the décor

  • 4 strawberries halved
  • extra grated coconut

Ατομικά, ωμοφαγικά τσιζκέικ φράουλας - Vegan in Athens

Method

  1. Lay a tray with greaseproof paper and place over 4 small metal rings for mini cheesecakes. Alternatively you can use 6-8 cup muffin pans lined with paper cups.
  2. Prepare the base: In the food processor, process the almonds until powdered. Add the grated coconut, the flaxseed and the dates and process for one minute until the “dough” forms into a ball.” Divide it into 4 parts, place one on each metal ring and press with our fingers to cover the bottom of the pan.
  3. Prepare the filling: Blend the drained cashews with the strawberries and the lemon juice. Stop blending every few seconds and clean the walls with your spatula until all the solid parts are blended and a smooth cream has been formed.
  4. Add the agave syrup, melted coconut oil and beetroot and continue blending until homogenized.
  5. Pour the cream mixture into each metal ring or muffin cup and with a spatula flatten their surface.
  6. Decorate with strawberries, dried coconut or other topping of choice and leave in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours until set.
  7. Serving: Using a knife, remove the metal rings. Transfer them in a serving plate and enjoy.

Raw vegan strawberry cheesecake - Ωμοφαγικό, vegan τσιζκέικ φράουλας - Vegan in Athens

Note: In order to make their texture even more interesting, you can add in the base mixture 2-3 tbsp dried buckwheat sprouts. Dried buckwheat sprouts are crispy with an almost neutral flavor and thus they give a sense of crisp wafer in the base without altering its taste. We can find them in some organic or vegan food shops and if we have a dehydrator, we can also prepare them by ourselves.

 

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