Tag Archives: vegetarian

Vegan Pesto Butter

18 Jul

Disclosure: I received products from Sweese in exchange for a review. Opinions are 100% my own.

I have a confession. In early March, I stopped eating dairy entirely. I determined that something was causing distress in my stomach and through some minor experimentation, deduced that dairy was to blame. My love affair with Wisconsin cheeses, Greek yogurt, salted Amish butter, and cream cheese had to come to an end. No more whipped cream, no more cheese platters, no more cheesy pizza!

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

At first, it was nearly impossible. Cheese and all manner of dairy products had been engrained in my life since the beginning. I’m a Wisconsinite, so naturally, dairy is one of the biggest food groups here, following beer and preceded by bratwurst (of which I now only eat the meatless varieties). Buttered toast, yogurt parfaits, and creamy frostings quickly became a thing of the past. I had to learn how to navigate ingredient lists to ensure no dairy resided in the products I was used to buying. And more importantly, I had to learn how to be around others who still enjoy all the dairy goodness that my state has to offer (looking at you, boyfriend).

Yes, at first, it was hard. It took about two months for my incessant cravings to subside. I played around with dairy-free alternatives to cream cheese (YUM), block cheeses (gross), shredded cheese (passable), and coffee creamer (took a while to find one I like). I have been using Westsoy Soy Milk for a few years now, so at least that wasn’t difficult. And I know how to substitute coconut products for dairy rather well (thanks to canned coconut milk and coconut oil!!).

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

But the one thing that never left my cravings: buttered toast. It’s simple, comforting, quick, and cheap. Carbs + fat = super satisfying for a pre-run breakfast or even a snack. Sprinkle on some cinnamon, and you’ve got a sweet tooth fix. However, the dairy-free butter alternatives are LOADED with gross chemicals and coloring agents and who knows what else. Yes, I bought a small container of the stuff, and yes, I used it all up, but I swore that once it was gone, I’d develop a homemade alternative that I could feel good about eating, and that would TASTE good.

And, serendipitously, I was contacted by Sweese around the same time. This company makes home and kitchen essentials that are functional AND stylish. Designs are simple and sleek, and pair form with function. Sweese kindly sent me a butter keeper and mortar & pestle set for testing, review, and GIVEAWAY.

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So, of course, I developed a recipe to put them both to use! Adorably, the porcelain butter keeper’s cork lid states “Alles in Butter,” which translates from German to mean “everything is ok” or “smooth sailing.” With my German heritage, this greatly appealed to me! The porcelain mortar is beautiful in its pristine whiteness, and the wooden pestle fits perfectly in my hand.

What better way to put both of these items to the test than to make VEGAN pesto butter?! Yes, non-dairy butter that’s blended with a vegan version of pesto! I cannot tell you how ABSOLUTELY SCRUMPTIOUS this is. It’s salty, savory, creamy, and fatty. Everything you want in a spread to make your toast extra delicious.

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

It’s also crazy-easy. The vegan butter is made up of three ingredients, which I know you have on-hand already. And the pesto simply requires a bit of elbow grease and some fresh ingredients. In no time, you can have a healthy, dairy-free, melt-in-your-mouth spread that’ll keep well in this porcelain butter keeper (or really, any airtight container).

If you want YOUR OWN butter keeper, be sure to enter the giveaway! Just a few steps and you can be in the running to win. But don’t wait to make this recipe – your toast, bagels, and all manner of foods need this vegan pesto butter!

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

This giveaway is open to everyone in the US, ages 18 and up. Giveaway closes at midnight on July 25, 2017. Complete all three steps to be entered to win:

  1. Comment on this blog post telling me what you’d like to keep in this porcelain dish.
  2. Pin this post and follow me on Pinterest.
  3. Tweet this post and follow me on Twitter.


Vegan Butter,
from Bare Root Girl

Makes about 1 cup of vegan butter

  • 1/2 C unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Measure ingredients into a glass measuring cup and heat in the microwave until the coconut oil has melted completely. Stir to combine. Pour into the bowl of your stand mixer, and refrigerate for about an hour. You want it to turn opaque, instead of looking transparent.

Once this has set in the fridge, use the balloon whisk on your stand mixer. Turn it on low speed and whisk for 30 seconds. Then turn it up to high speed and mix for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture doubles in volume.

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Vegan Pesto, recipe adapted from Food52 and method from Italyum

Makes about 1/2 C pesto

  • 1/2 C tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp walnut halves or another nut of choice (pine nuts and almonds both work)
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (I like Kal brand)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Layer the basil, nuts, garlic, and salt in the mortar. Use the pestle to press and grind the ingredients together until a paste begins to form. This will take some elbow grease! Be sure to thoroughly grind down the nuts and garlic – you won’t want large chunks of these in the final product.

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Add the lemon juice and nutritional yeast and continue using the pestle to grind the mixture completely. Pour in the olive oil and use a spoon to stir and combine well. Taste the pesto (on bread or a pita is the best way) to make sure the ingredients are balanced to your liking. Adjust as necessary.

Vegan Pesto Butter

Stir the pesto into the whipped vegan butter until completely incorporated. Transfer to your favorite butter dish or any container that has an airtight lid. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours. Keep the vegan pesto butter stored in the refrigerator and enjoy!

This butter tastes great simply slathered on bread or a pita, used on sandwiches, or mixed into pasta for a twist on “butter noodles.” Use it on savory pancakes or even roast potatoes with it! The possibilities are endless.

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Spent Grain Curry Burgers

11 Jul

A few months ago, Chris and I bought a kegerator. Yep, that thing that college frat boys pass onto each other from one year to the next, the fridge that’s bigger than a dorm fridge but smaller than your typical kitchen appliance, and that gadget which allows you to have beer on tap at home, 24/7.

And it is AWESOME. As homebrewers, we had been bottle our beers up until recently, which was a major pain to do. The biggest selling point of the kegerator was that we no longer needed to bottle – simply transfer the fermented beer to a keg, set up the CO2 lines, and enjoy fresh draft beer whenever we want!

Spent Grain Curry Burgers | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

All the ingredients for our latest homebrew.

If you’ve ever considered homebrewing, just know that there’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s so much fun! The satisfaction of having beer that YOU made, always at the ready, is pretty darn cool. Brew day makes the house smell amazing. The anticipation of waiting during fermentation is fun. And obviously the end result – 5 gallons of your own beer – is just wonderful.

 Spent Grain Curry Burgers | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The first step of brewing involves steeping crushed grains in a big pot of water. These grains are then discarded. Unless you’re crafty and savvy! Large breweries are coming up with sustainable ways to recycle their spent grain, such as using it for animal feed, cooking with it, or turning it into an energy source. Homebrewers have much less spent grain, which makes it perfect to cook with, like in my spent grain pancakes or waffles.

Last weekend’s spent grain took a more savory turn. I was first introduced to spent grain burgers at The Lucky Monk, outside of Chicago. My recipe is slightly different, making use of curry flavors to balance out the sweet, wheat taste of the spent grain. It’s simple, vegetarian, and can be made into frozen patties, perfect for a quick meal in the future!

If you DON’T homebrew, don’t despair! You could replace the spent grain with a variety of other wet, cooked grains, such as rice, millet, farro, and/or steel cut oats.

Spent Grain Curry Burgers | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

I weaved romaine lettuce leaves to use in lieu of buns!

Spent Grain Curry Burgers, adapted from Brooklyn Brew Shop

Makes 10 burgers

  • 2 C spent grain (freshly spent, so they’re still soaking wet and warm)
  • 1 C cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 C ground old-fashioned oats (use your food processor, or use bread crumbs or cornmeal)
  • 3 eggs (or 3 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 8 tbsp water and set to gel)
  • 1/2 C curry ketchup
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1-1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Avocado or coconut oil, to cook
  • Burger accoutrement: buns or woven romaine lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, sliced pickles, mustard, curry ketchup, dairy-free cheese, and whatever else you prefer!

Mix all the ingredients together very well. It’ll be a slightly wet mixture when combined. Let set for a few minutes for the oat flour to soak it up.

Heat avocado oil in a skillet or griddle over medium-high. Use a spoon and your hands to form patties from the mixture. Cook 5 minutes before flipping and cooking another 5 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

OR: you could cook as many as you want now, and freeze the rest for later! Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form patties with the remaining mixture and place on the baking sheet. Freeze until solid. Then, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and package into a freezer bags. Let thaw before cooking, as described above.

Serve hot with all the toppings you desire!

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches

9 Jun

I received free samples of Breton Crackers mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Breton Crackers and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

I’ve become somewhat of a weather-app-checking freak every time I set out to train for a race. Will the weather be good enough for my long runs? Will I get caught in the rain? Do I need to wait or go sooner to avoid high temps or bad storms? My weather app is probably the most-used app on my phone as a result!

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Which is why, when planning this weekend’s running, I was disheartened to see 90 degree highs for Saturday through Tuesday. Wisconsin seriously has something against spring time, because I swear we jumped from winter to summer overnight. It’s ridiculous.

I don’t like running super early in the morning, but it looks like it’s either that or I suffer through the heat! Luckily, as I think about the half marathon that is just two weeks away, I know that it’s an early start time, so in most cases, we should be fine.

Speaking of hot weekends, it’s just about time to start whipping up allllll the nice cream for easy scooping to beat the heat. If you haven’t jumped on board the nice cream train, let me give you the low-down.

Rather than sugar- and fat-filled ice cream or frozen custard or froyo, nice cream is simply made by pureeing frozen bananas with a splash of milk and flavoring agents of your choice. In the mood for a protein boost? Chocolate protein powder tastes great as an addition. Want something fruity? Throw in a handful of berries. Going for a classic ice cream flavor? Toss in the toppings of your choice and drizzle with homemade date caramel or magic shell (melt coconut oil with cocoa powder, stir, and cover your nice cream- the oil will solidify on contact with the cold nice cream!). It’s a wonderful dessert that you will always feel good about.

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So when I was eating some of these Breton Artisanal Sweet Potato and Ancient Grains crackers on their own, I was totally inspired! Why not use these as the “sandwich” part to a nice cream sandwich? These crackers are pretty magical. They’re made of ancient grains, like rye and quinoa, have sweet potato baked right in, and are still somehow light and flaky. Sure, plain vanilla nice cream could suffice, but I wanted to kick up the flavor party with the addition of strawberry and chocolate layers. The resulting Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches are a hearty, healthy dessert that perfectly join together the slightly salty, crispy crackers with a guilt-free filling. A wonderfully satisfying snack or appetizer on a hot day!

I’m super excited about these. Make them now – you’ll thank me when it’s 90 degrees in your neighborhood!

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches

Makes 15 sandwiches

Line a 9×13″ baking dish with plastic wrap. Lay half of the crackers bottom side up on the sheet, making sure they touch each other but do not overlap.

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In a food processor, puree all the bananas with the nondairy milk and vanilla. Remove 1/3 of the banana mixture from the food processor bowl and spread this on top of the layer of crackers, being careful not to break the crackers. Place in the freezer to firm up.

From the remaining banana mixture, remove half to another bowl; set aside (this would be another 1/3 of the original mixture). Into the food processor, add the quartered strawberries and puree again until completely smooth. Spread this on top of the frozen vanilla layer. Place in the freezer again.

Wipe out your food processor bowl and blade with a clean cloth and then place the final 1/3 of the banana mixture back in, along with the sea salt and cocoa powder. Puree together until incorporated. Spread this mixture onto the vanilla and strawberry layers. Place the other half of the crackers on top, following the same pattern you did for the bottom layer. Make sure these crackers face up.

Freeze the nice cream sandwiches for at least an hour, or until firm.

Remove the pan from the freezer, and let sit out a few minutes to allow the nice cream to soften a bit. Use a sharp knife to cut out the sandwiches from the layer of nice cream, again being careful not to break the crackers.

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Transfer sandwiches to a plate and place them back in the freezer to harden again.

Serve cold and enjoy! Leftovers can be transferred to a freezer-safe container and eaten one at a time.

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

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