Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper & Almond Hummus & August Challenge: Go Dairy Free

We're back!

Our trip to Oregon was great. I feel refreshed and ready to start a new school year in a couple of weeks. On our trip we made these cookies, this casserole, and used the cheddar cheese sauce repeatedly for nachos and dip, Mac n' Cheese, and we ate a lot of veggies with our new favorite hummus (recipe follows).

My Mom somehow managed to make a faster and very delicious version of the Cheesy Mexican Casserole, incorporating quinoa instead of corn tortillas, and using refried beans as the base. It was kind of like an uber-healthy seven layer dip. Ah, someday I hope to have Mom skills like hers!

And because I have so horribly neglected you for so long, I am here to bring you a recipe that we love.

When I first transitioned to whole foods I didn't really think that dips were very important. Dreena Burton's cookbooks are now teaching me otherwise.

Dips and sauces are essential to a whole foods diet because they replace the cheese and dairy-based creams we used to enjoy. They are much lower in fat, contain no animal proteins and fats, and can be used in a number of ways. (As a base for pizza, a great addition to a sandwich to make it creamy, sometimes in pasta, and always as a dip!)

Which brings me to announcing a new mini-series on how to GO DAIRY FREE.

One of my sisters, Catherine, (I have four of them!) just found out that her newborn baby girl is fiercely allergic to milk. Even the slightest amount of dairy consumed by Catherine will adversely affect her baby, Alana.

So our challenge together is to help her (as painlessly as possible!) Go Dairy Free. Will you join us on this venture?

Let's make it an August challenge!

We could all use a challenge like this to support each other in our efforts to live healthier, happier, and lighter! If you take part in this challenge it would really support Catherine in her efforts. She will know that she is not alone.

If you are already dairy free, or have ideas, favorite books, recipes, or internet links, please comment and share that knowledge that you have worked so hard to acquire. After all, that's why we're here, right?

I thought I could post pictures of great tried-and-true dairy replacement foods, both homemade and store-bought as a part of the series, too. If you run on to great products, could you share them with us? And, if you experience benefits from going dairy free, could you share those, too?

I am so excited! It will feel great to know that we are all in this together. I am confident that, together, we can organize a great collection of replacement recipes that are filling and taste fantastic.

Can you go Dairy Free for a month? I know you can. We are going to make it easy. And then, maybe that one month can turn into three, etc.

My mantra, as I have stated a few times, is "Don't expect someone to get rid of a food they love without giving them something better to replace it with." This rule of replacements is absolutely essential. In no way should eliminating animal foods be about self-discipline, deprivation, or just plain going without. Hence a series on how to do it as painlessly as possible.

I have also heard the replacement theory be called, "Crowding Out." Basically you are enjoying so many plant-based foods that you don't have room for that dairy that makes you sick, tired, and fat. Instead you enjoy the lighter, tasty dairy-free versions so much that it crowds out all that harmful stuff from a cow. You have no room for it anymore. Your body is so much happier without it, and so are your taste buds!

Because Catherine's husband, Ryan, is allergic to tree nuts (this excludes peanut butter! Wahoo!), I will also be posting nut-free versions of each recipe so that her whole family can enjoy the dairy free foods. If you are trying to lose weight the nut free versions may be a better option for you as they will probably be lower in calories and contain less fat.

This hummus has a bit of a cheesy flavor and works tastefully as a replacement for cheese on pizza (spread it where you used to spread the marinara sauce). I am delving into the idea of using hummus to replace both the marinara sauce and the cheese on pizza, and I am LOVING it! I hope to post a bit about dairy free pizzas and pastas as a part of this series.

Shall we begin?

This recipe will be our kick-off!

This is also a part of our PROJECT VEGAN KIDS series, because, YES, my kids love it and call it orange cream!

Roasted Red Pepper and Almond Hummus
From Dreena Burton's "Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan."

Makes 6-7 servings, about 2 and 1/2 cups

The raw almonds add texture to this hummus, making it all the more enjoyable. It tastes a bit cheesy and my kids love it!!!


1/2 cup raw almonds (with skins on)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2-2 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (For Oil Free, use Tahini. It works great!)
2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) if canned, drain and rinse
1/2 cup roasted red peppers (from jar), excess liquid drained or patted off
1 medium clove garlic (or to taste), sliced
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2-4 tbsp water (to thin dip as desired)
1/4-1/3 cup fresh parsely, chopped (for garnish)(optional, leave out for kid-friendly version)
1-2 tbsp almonds, chopped (for garnish)


In a food processor, add 1/2 cup almonds and pulse until very fine. Add vinegar, oil (or Tahini), chickpeas, roasted red peppers, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper.

Puree until smooth, gradually adding water as desired to thin dip and scraping down sides of bowl several times. Once smooth, add parsley and puree briefly to lightly incorporate ingredients.

Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve in a large bowl, garnish with parsley and 1-2 tbsp sliced almonds. Drizzle with additional oil to finish, or omit for oil free version (I think it tastes better without oil).

Notes from Dreena Burton:

This hummus makes a dynamite sandwich spread, and if you make it quite thick, it will help to hold the veggies between the slices of bread.

Try this hummus as a base on pizza to replace the marinara sauce and cheese, using a regular pizza crust or a tortilla lightly baked for an ultra thin crust.

Nut-Free Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
From (Angela Liddon)

2 garlic cloves
1.5-2 cups cooked chickpeas (15oz can), 2 tbsp liquid reserved and set aside
3/4 cup roasted red peppers
1/4 cup tahini
5 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
2 Tbsp reserved chickpea liquid (or water)
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste (or use crushed red pepper flakes)
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
Olive oil, for drizzling + Paprika, for garnish

1. With the processor running, drop in 2 peeled garlic cloves. Process until chopped.

2. Place the rest of the ingredients (except salt and cayenne) into food processor and process until the hummus is silky smooth. Scrape down as necessary.

3. Now add in salt and cayenne gradually, stopping to taste as you go. Scoop into a bowl and drizzle with a good quality olive oil and garnish with paprika. Makes about 2 cups and lasts for about 4-5 days in the fridge in a sealed container.

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