Raw Creamy Cucumber Dressing

Let’s be honest- we all know it can be difficult sometimes to get our vegetables in. A few vegetables at diner each evening for our entire life just isn’t enough some times. The beneficial thing about plant-based foods is majority of the time you can use vegetables in their raw nature to produce an amazing product. In this case, a dressing filled with great nourishing vitamins and hydrating properties that will leave your appetite quenched. With this easy recipe, you can take locally bought produce and make an oil free dressing. Bringing to you and your family an explosion in your mouth of fresh cucumber with a hint of lemon and a slight creamy texture from the avocado. 

Yields 4 cups 

Ingredients 

1 medium cucumber

1 large lemon, squeezed

I large avocado 

3 stalks celery

1 tsp Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt- Fine 

1 tsp Spicely Organics Black Peppercorns Tin 

2 cloves garlic 

 

 Directions

  1. In blender, combine all ingredients until mixture is thick and creamy. Pour into desired container and allow to chill for 1 hour minimum.
  2. Dressing will last refrigerated for 7 days in an air-tight mason jar or bottle.

 

Chef’s tip: For added freshness, add 1 Tbsp. fresh dill.

 

Vegetable Teriyaki Lo Mein

We all know how easy and delicious it is to order Chinese Delivery, however, the next time you feel inclined to place an order for take-out, give this a try instead. One of the main benefits from cooking at home is in controlling what ingredients you use. Some times it may be hard to find vegan dishes at a Chinese restaurant due to fish oil or other ingredients being used. This stir-fry is flavorful with fresh and local ingredients from Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market- you can get these ingredients at your local farm as well. Grab your wok and chop sticks and get cooking with this recipe.

Yields 3 servings 

Ingredients 

Stir fry:

1 red bell pepper 

1 yellow bell pepper 

1 green bell pepper 

4-5 baby Bella mushrooms

1 small baby boy choy

2 garlic cloves

Tofu:

8 oz extra firm tofu

1 Tbsp. Vitacost Maple Syrup

1 tsp Frontier Co-Op Organic Garlic Powder

1 Tbsp. Tamari 

Pinch of Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt- Fine

Pinch of Spicely Organics Black Peppercorns Tin, freshly ground 

Teriyaki Sauce:

1/4 cup Kikkoman Organic Soy Sauce

1 garlic clove

1/4 tsp ginger, freshly grated

1 Tbsp. Spicely Organics Black Sesame Seeds Jar

2 Tbsp. saki 

3 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Light Brown Sugar – Non-GMO 

2 tsp rice wine vinegar 

1/2 tsp Spicely Organics Black Peppercorns Tin, freshly ground

1 tsp corn starch

 

Directions 

  1. To begin, you will need to drain your tofu between pieces of paper towel. Lightly press and allow to drain as much water as possible. Boil noodles you are using according to package instructions. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place tofu into a bowl and add maple syrup, tamari, and garlic powder- mix till coated. Pour onto a baking sheet that has been lightly oiled and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  3. In a sauce pan, mix together all sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Once brown sugar has melted, add sesame seeds and corn starch and stir until slightly thickened. Pour sauce on top of your cooked noodles, stir until combined. 
  4. In a frying pan, add your sesame oil and turn on high heat. Then toss in bell peppers, garlic, and onions, cooking until slightly browned. Salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Turn heat to medium and add in the mushrooms- cook 5 more minutes. Once baby bok choy has wilted, take off heat and serve. 

 

Chef’s tip: You can add either black or white sesame seeds to this dish. I used white sesame seeds in the teriyaki sauce and I topped the vegetables with black sesame seeds. 

Peach Jam

Photo Cred: Ivy Becker

Are you getting tired of using butter on your toast each and every morning for breakfast? Taking some fresh peaches and mashing them up to create a fresh jam is super easy. Store bought food just is not cutting it anymore and this is a much better alternative to those varieties. Spread this peach jam on your toast and artisan sandwiches or wherever you’d like.

Photo Cred: Ivy Becker

Yields 8 oz 

Ingredients 

8 medium peaches 

1 cup Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar

1 small lemon, squeezed 

 

Directions 

  1. Remove skin and mash peaches 
  2. In a saucepan, add sugar and lemon juice to mashed peaches. 
  3. Boil for 10 minutes- stirring frequently. 
  4. Cool and pour into mason jar.  

Plain Almond Milk

Almond Milk - The Vegan Rhino

Almonds are a great source for an abundance of different nutritional benefits. To highlight a couple, almonds are filled with antioxidants, magnesium and it is non-dairy! Making your own almond milk is really easy and only needs a few ingredients. The best thing is that you can make this in big batches to last you for your week of smoothies, oats, sauces, and more!

Yields 32 oz

Ingredients

1 cup Vitacost Organic Raw Almonds, soaked overnight

4 cups filtered water

1/8 tsp Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt- Fine

2 medjool dates, pitted

1 tsp Frontier Co-Op Organic Vanilla Extract, optional

 

Directions

  1. Combine almonds, water, salt, dates, and vanilla extract. Blend for 1 minute, or until thoroughly emulsified.
  2. In a fine strainer, pour almond milk to catch the pulp. Press as much liquid from pulp as you can. You can place this on a greased baking sheet to dry- bake at 175 degrees or lowest oven temperature until dry, place into food processor to make flour or meal.

 

Chef’s tip: For Chocolate Almond Milk- add 2 Tbsp cocoa powder. For Strawberry Almond Milk- add 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, blend till smooth.

Deli-inspired Dill Pickles

Photo Cred: Ivy Becker

Recreating your favorite sour pickles at home is easier than you think. Use the power of fermentation (like the pros do!) to turn regular cucumbers into crispy, flavorful pickles. Before you get started, gather a few mason jars (you’ll want to prep a big batch) with air-tight lids. The best part about pickling is that you can pickle pretty much anything. Feel free to toss a few bell pepper slices, onions, cauliflower florets or even cabbage into the jars. Serve these succulent dill pickles at your next picnic or barbecue—your guests will be thoroughly impressed! With these delicious dills sitting on your counter—or in your fridge—you’ll be saying good bye to store-bought varieties for good. Nothing beats the fresh flavors you get to create yourself!

Photo Cred: Ivy Becker

Yields 16 pickles

Ingredients

2 large cucumbers

1 bunch fresh dill

4-6 cloves garlic, smashed

2 tsp. Spicely Organics Mustard Seed Whole Yellow Jar

2 tsp. Spicely Organics Black Peppercorns Tin

2 tsp. Spicely Organics Coriander Seeds Whole Jar

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1-1/2 cup water

Brine

1 1/2 cup Spectrum Organic White Distilled Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Sea Salt- Coarse
1 cup water

 

Directions

  1. Wash cucumber and slice in half lengthwise. Take each half and cut into quarter slices.
  2. Fill two 16-oz. mason jars with 1 tsp. mustard seed, black peppercorn, coriander and 2-4 garlic cloves each.
  3. In each jar, add 5 sprigs dill and 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes. Place cucumber slices into jars so they fit evenly.
  4. Fill jars with brine mixture. Seal lids tightly and set on counter for 3 days, or until desired pickle preference is met.
  5. When ready, place jars in refrigerator (this stops the fermentation process). Store up to 3 months in refrigerator.

 

Chef’s tip: If you are looking to spice this up a bit, feel free to grab some small hot peppers of your choosing. Add 1 to each mason jar to reach desired heat.

Fresh Strawberry Jam

Hot diggity jam! Who would of thought mashed up fruit would taste this good? But what makes this particular recipe taste even better is that it’s made with fresh, local strawberries! Made with three simple ingredients, you’ll never look at store-bought jam the same way again. Once and for all, it’s time to ditch the sugar-laden fruit spreads for this mouthwatering jam. Spread it on toast, biscuits, bagels, pancakes and more!

 

Yields 12 oz

Ingredients

1 lb. fresh organic strawberries, tops cut off

2 cups Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar

1/2 medium lemon, squeezed

Directions 

 

1. Cut strawberries into fourths and mash. Pour into medium saucepan. 

 

2. Add sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat until sugar fully dissolves. 

 

3. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir mixture frequently for 10 minutes. Once mixture thickens, remove from heat and dispense equally into sterilized mason jars. Seal to cool.

 

To learn how to can your jam for a prolonged shelf life, click here

 

 

Chef’s tip: Strawberry tops contain a lot of beneficial nutrients. Instead of tossing them, save the leafy green tops of your strawberries for your compost bin or freeze them for your next smoothie.

Supreme Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo Credit: Ivy Becker

Crunchy, delectable, dunk-able—now that’s the triple threat for cookie connoisseurs (like me!). If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling guilty, try these vegan-friendly chocolate chip cookies. And when you’re craving a little more, use your creativity to enhance the already-delicious flavor and texture profile of these nutritious treats. Simply add your favorite fix-ins, such as nuts, seeds or dried fruits, to the cookie dough and bake

Photo Cred: Ivy Becker

Yields 44 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, room temperature

1 cup Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar

2 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer + 4 Tbsp. Water, mixed

2 1/2 cups King Arthur Organic Flour

2 tsp Plain Almond Milk

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp Simply Organic Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt

2 cups Vitacost Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini-Chips

Optional: 1 cup peanuts or walnuts, chopped

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine your butter and sugar together. Cream the mixture until smooth consistency. Add the almond milk, vanilla extract, egg replacer mixture and set aside.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry mixture to your wet mixture, stirring until all of the flour mixture is thoroughly combined.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips and the optional nuts of your choice, do not over mix or break chocolate chips.
  5. Roll the dough into 1/2 in diameter balls, and place onto a baking sheet. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Chef’s tip: Melt some additional chocolate. Once your cookies are cool to the touch, dunk one side and place on parchment paper to harden in fridge.

Chef’s tip: Substitutions** If you do chose to use a gluten free flour, you may have to press the cookie down with a fork to flatten. You may also switch out the organic cane sugar for coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, or any sugar of your choice.

Cashew Tofu with Teriyaki-Peanut Sauce

What’s a hungry veghead to do when you have a fridge full of fresh local veggies? You slice, dice and sauté! Stir fry dishes are easy go-to meals. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and you’ve got a delicious bowl of goodness for dinner (and for lunch he next day if you prepare enough!) This one-pan recipe (or one-wok, if you will), calls for crunchy cashews and protein-packed tofu. What’s even better is that you can prepare this meal without producing any waste (opt for farmers market produce and bulk nuts when available!).

The best part about this recipe is that in can be easily modified to please your palate. Swap the veggies in this recipe for your favorites. You can even use peanuts instead of cashews. That possibilities are endless! Pair this Asian-inspired veggie medley with a mound of fluffy white rice and a savory, nut-based sauce. Oh, and I can’t forget about my top-secret ingredient: organic Japanese cola. Pour some into the wok for a tasty finish you won’t believe you prepared yourself!

 

Yields 3 Servings 

Ingredients 

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 cup basmati white rice

1 1/2 cup water

1 celery stalk

8 oz. Nasoya Organic Cubed Super Firm Tofu

3 cloves of garlic

1 tsp. of finely chopped fresh ginger 

I medium green bell pepper, chopped

1/4 lb. baby bok choy, coarsely chopped

1 handful of Vitacost Organic Whole Raw Cashews Unsalted Large

1 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt- Fine

1 Tbsp. La Tourangelle Delicate Avocado Oil

Teryaki-Peanut Sauce:

3 Tbsp. Kikkoman Organic Soy Sauce 

3 Tbsp. Edward & Sons Organic Teriyaki Sauce Gluten Free

3 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Light Brown Sugar – Non-GMO 

1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar 

2 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Crunchy & Unsalted Peanut Butter – Gluten Free and Non-GMO

 

Directions

  1. Get rid of any leaves that are discolored and place the baby bok choy in a colinder. Rinse until clean and pat dry. Repeat this process with the celery stalk, red onion, and green bell pepper. To prep your tofu, cut a small slit in the package to release the liquid. Pour tofu onto paper towels and allow to drain.
  2. In a small pot, combine rice and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover with lid; simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove rice from heat and fluff with fork. Set aside.
  3. On medium heat, add the oil to a saucepan along with your onion, celery, bell pepper and cashews. Sauté for 6 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger and allow to cook for 2 minutes. 
  4. In a seperate bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, and peanut butter together; stirring until combined. 
  5. Pour sauce mixture into pan and allow to bubble and thicken. 
  6. Lastly, add the tofu and baby bok choy. Remove from the heat and mix together to combine. The baby bok choy will wilt as it is mixed into the sauce and vegetable mixture. 

 

Chef’s tip: You can put black sesame seeds and fresh green onions on top of your white rice. 

Bedner’s Fresh Farm Market

Farmers Market

Looking for somewhere worthy of your time this weekend? Visit a farmers market! There’s nothing better than strolling a market lane by lane to browse the bounty of fresh fruits, veggies and unique homemade and locally made creations.

Farmers Market
Photo Cred: Danielle Trodesco

Every Saturday, my roommate, friend and I head to the notorious Bedner’s Farm Fresh  Market in Boynton Beach, FL. The best part about this market is the ever-exciting U-pick; meaning you get to pick your own produce right from the vine, bush or tree!

Upon entering, I’m immediately overloaded with amazing fruit, breads, vegetables, herbs, wines, freshly squeezed orange juice and more. It’s tempting not to toss one of everything in my reusable grocery bags.

When I’m finally ready to check out, I often find myself pausing after I unload the cart because I have no idea what the grand total is going to be. It’s like a game! But when you purchase organic, local produce you don’t have to worry about the bill! When you shop at a farmers market, you’re essentially cutting out the middleman. You pay for your food at cost rather than marked up prices (think big-box retailers). Plus, nothing beats the level of freshness you get when you buy local—especially when you know the level of care being sowed in.

Farmers Market
Photo Cred: Danielle Trodesco

It’s also smart to always ask your local farmers if their produce is organic, what pesticides are used and if it’s Non-GMO. Like I always say, once you go farm, you’ll never go back!

If you would like to plan a visit to Bender’s Fresh Farm Market- click here. 

Farmers Market
Photo Cred: Danielle Trodesco

Nut-Free Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Seeing spots? Nope, your speckled bananas aren’t spoiled! It’s just a result of the fruit’s ripening process. The more brown spots a banana has, the more sugar it contains—thus, the sweeter it becomes! It’s incredible, it’s edible and it’s perfect for making sweet, nut-free and eggless banana bread. So next time you think about tossing a bushel of mushy bananas, opt to reduce food waste with this simple, vegan-friendly recipe. If you’re craving some extra flair, add chocolate chips, raisins or seeds into the mix before baking!

Photo Cred: Ivy Becker

Yields 8-10 slices

Ingredients

6 ripe bananas, mashed

1-1/2 cup Organic King Arthur All-Purpose Flour

1 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 cup dairy-free butter

2 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer + 4 Tbsp. water

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt

1/2 tsp. Simply Organic Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In small bowl, prepare egg replacers according to package directions.

2. In mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar until creamy. Slowly add egg replacers, one at a time, and mix well. Add bananas and stir to combine.

3. In separate mixing bowl, sift flour, baking soda and salt.

4. Slowly combine dry and wet ingredients until fully incorporated. Add vanilla and stir until just combined—do not overmix.

5. Pour batter into greased and/or floured loaf pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown. When ready, remove from oven and let cool completely.

Chef’s tip: If you prefer your bread on the fancier side, slice a banana in half lengthwise. Then, take one half and slice it again. Lay two slices on top of batter in loaf pan before placing in oven. Bake according to directions above.

As seen on Vitacost’s Blog- click here. You may also find the above listed ingredients and more by visiting Vitacost.com