Vegan Bolognese

Vegan Bolognese
(Makes one large pot) ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

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There are times when quick and easy recipes are the only feasible option. There are also times when a labor of love is much needed and super easy. Last Sunday, we were just lazing around, the perfect day to make this Bolognese. This recipe cooks for a long time but requires little attention – except when you have to keep stirring (think Goodfellas ). The time is needed to develop the delicious flavors. Plus an added bonus – it fills your home with a wonderful smell. It’s little a bowl of warm soup. Versatile. Warm. Appetizing.
Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 medium Sweet Onion, chopped
3 Celery Ribs, chopped
2 large Carrots, chopped
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
12 Fresh Basil leave, chiffonade/chopped, divided
1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 (28oz can) Diced Tomatoes
1 (28oz can) Crushed Tomatoes
5 Fresh Vine Tomatoes
1 Red Pepper, diced
10oz (2 ½ Cups) Walnuts
2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
1 (25oz can) Dark Red Kidney Beans
1 Tsp to ½ Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 Tbsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Sugar (or to Taste)
1 Tsp Course Ground Pepper
½ Tbsp Salt
(Add Sugar, Salt, Pepper to taste)

Directions:

-Heat Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium/high heat.
-Add Red Pepper Flakes and Garlic, sauté for 1 minute.

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-Add Onion, Celery, Carrots and heat for about 3 to 5 minutes.

20181028_170936-Add half of the chopped Basil and stir to incorporate, then place the Vine Ripe Tomatoes on top of the mixture. Do Not Stir – We are only placing the tomatoes on top to steam them. Cover, reduce heat to low and steam for about 10 minutes.

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-After 10 minutes, uncover mixture remove tomatoes and set aside until they are cool to the touch.

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-Add canned Tomatoes (Crushed/Diced). Keep the pot over low heat while preparing whole tomatoes. Peel whole tomatoes when they are cool.

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-In a small bowl add Whole (peeled) Tomatoes along with Kidney Beans. Mash together – you can crush together with your hands or a potato masher will do. Add this tomato/bean mixture to pot.

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-Stir in Liquid Smoke, Salt, Pepper, and Sugar. (At this point, I am roughly 45 minutes into cook time).

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-Add Walnuts and stir all together. Cover with lid partially and continue cooking over low heat. (I break down the walnuts with my fingers so the pieces are not too large).

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-Keep stirring and keep simmering about 45 minutes.
-During the last 10 minutes, I add the remaining Basil, Paprika, Cumin and adjust Salt, Pepper, Sugar to taste also.

Vegan Bolognese

  • Servings: Makes 1 Large Pot
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Credit: veganrescue.com

Ingredients:

1 medium Sweet Onion, chopped
3 Celery Ribs, chopped
2 large Carrots, chopped
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
12 Fresh Basil leave, chiffonade/chopped, divided
1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 (28oz can) Diced Tomatoes
1 (28oz can) Crushed Tomatoes
5 Fresh Vine Tomatoes
1 Red Pepper, diced
10oz (2 ½ Cups) Walnuts
2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
1 (25oz can) Dark Red Kidney Beans
1 Tsp to ½ Tbsp Ground Cumin
1 Tbsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Sugar (or to Taste)
1 Tsp Course Ground Pepper
½ Tbsp Salt
(Add Sugar, Salt, Pepper to taste)

Directions:

-Heat Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium/high heat.
-Add Red Pepper Flakes and Garlic, sauté for 1 minute.
-Add Onion, Celery, Carrots and heat for about 3 to 5 minutes.
-Add half of the chopped Basil and stir to incorporate, then place the Vine Ripe Tomatoes on top of the mixture. Do Not Stir – We are only placing the tomatoes on top to steam them. Cover, reduce heat to low and steam for about 10 minutes.
-After 10 minutes, uncover mixture remove tomatoes and set aside until they are cool to the touch.
-Add canned Tomatoes (Crushed/Diced). Keep the pot over low heat while preparing whole tomatoes. Peel whole tomatoes when they are cool.
-In a small bowl add Whole (peeled) Tomatoes along with Kidney Beans. Mash together – you can crush together with your hands or a potato masher will do. Add this tomato/bean mixture to pot.
-Stir in Liquid Smoke, Salt, Pepper, and Sugar. (At this point, I am roughly 45 minutes into cook time).
-Add Walnuts and stir all together. Cover with lid partially and continue cooking over low heat. (I break down the walnuts with my fingers so the pieces are not too large).
-Keep stirring and keep simmering about 45 minutes.
-During the last 10 minutes, I add the remaining Basil, Paprika, Cumin and adjust Salt, Pepper, Sugar to taste also.

 

Here are some ideas for your Bolognese Sauce!

You can add to Pasta, Spaghetti Squash or make Quesadillas – check these out!

The pastabilities are endless! Try it on Gnocchi too.

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I used vegan sour cream and salsa for the quesadillas.

Stuffed Tomatoes ~ Vegan

Sundried tomato and Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes
(Serves 4) ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

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You may find this hard to believe, but in all my years of cooking it never occurred to me before to stuff tomatoes, lol. I’m sure I’ve had to at least see them before at some point in my life, right? Not until a few months ago when I was perusing through blog posts and saw that one of my fellow bloggers stuffed tomatoes. This was literally the moment when the light bulb went off in my head. Why? My husband does not like stuffed peppers, maybe it’s the way the flavor of the cooked peppers permeate throughout the filling. He loves raw peppers just not cooked/baked. I’ve made them in the past for myself and really do like them, guess I never just thought to stuff tomatoes. Stuffed squash is pretty good too. This recipe is very flavorful, filling and heart healthy. The sundried tomatoes, sunflower seeds and quinoa offer a great texture.

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Ingredients:
4 Large Tomatoes
3 White Button Mushrooms, wiped clean/chopped
3 large Cauliflower Florets (about 1 cup), raw
7 Basil leaves, chiffonade
1 handful fresh Parsley (about 1/3 Cup), chopped
7 Pieces Sundried Tomatoes, chopped
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Cup Cooked Quinoa
½ Cup Sunflower Seeds (I soaked the seeds for about 30 minutes)
1 Garlic clove, minced
½ Tsp Salt
¼ Tsp fresh Ground Pepper
¼ Tsp Chili Powder

Directions:
-Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
-In a large bowl combine all ingredients. [except for the large tomatoes of course J ]

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-Carefully cut around the top of each tomato to core. Scoop the inside of your tomatoes with a spoon to core. (I used my ice cream scoop to core out the insides. Only because my scoop comes to a slight point. I don’t have the traditional disher style scoop with the mechanical lever which I suppose could be bulky and get in the way.)

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-Fill each tomato with stuffing mix – I used my measuring cup so I can give you all a pretty accurate measurement. I was able to fill each tomato with about 2/3 Cup of the mixture. (I used my 1/3 measuring cup – make sure to pack it down with each scoop).

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-Place tomatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle again with a dash of salt/pepper and chili powder.
-Bake for 25 minutes @ 375. Enjoy!

Tip: In this recipe I used jarred sundried tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil. Instead of using EVOO from my pantry – I used 3 Tbsp of the olive oil that the sundried tomatoes were packed in! Extra flavorful. J -I also used curly parsley in this recipe you flat leaf should work well too.

Sundried tomato and Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit: veganrescue.com

Ingredients:
4 Large Tomatoes
3 White Button Mushrooms, wiped clean/chopped
3 large Cauliflower Florets (about 1 cup), raw
7 Basil leaves, chiffonade
1 handful fresh Parsley (about 1/3 Cup), chopped
7 Pieces Sundried Tomatoes, chopped
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Cup Cooked Quinoa
½ Cup Sunflower Seeds (I soaked the seeds for about 30 minutes)
1 Garlic clove, minced
½ Tsp Salt
¼ Tsp fresh Ground Pepper
¼ Tsp Chili Powder

Directions:
-Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
-In a large bowl combine all ingredients. [except for the large tomatoes of course J ]
-Carefully cut around the top of each tomato to core. Scoop the inside of your tomatoes with a spoon to core. (I used my ice cream scoop to core out the insides. Only because my scoop comes to a slight point. I don’t have the traditional disher style scoop with the mechanical lever which I suppose could be bulky and get in the way.)
-Fill each tomato with stuffing mix – I used my measuring cup so I can give you all a pretty accurate measurement. I was able to fill each tomato with about 2/3 Cup of the mixture. (I used my 1/3 measuring cup – make sure to pack it down with each scoop).
-Place tomatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle again with a dash of salt/pepper and chili powder.
-Bake for 25 minutes @ 375. Enjoy!

Raw Energy Bites!

Raw Energy Bites
(Makes 60+ Bites) ~ Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free

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These creamy and decadent bites are a Superfood must try! The ideal fuel for pre/post workout and an excellent snack on the go. This is a kid-friendly super treat; it was hard to eat just one. 🙂 They can be chopped into bite-size pieces or cut into larger pieces for a great breakfast bar. These Energy bites will hopefully satiate your hunger; personally they were very satisfying and filling. Let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 Cup Whole Raw Cashews, soaked
1 Cup Whole Walnuts, soaked
½ Cup Pumpkin Seeds, soaked
¼ Cup Sunflower Seeds, soaked
¼ Cup Raw Coconut Butter
¼ Cup Raisins (1 oz)
12-15 Pitted Dates, chopped
2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 Tbsp Goji Berries
1/3 Cup finely Shredded Coconut
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
½ Tsp Himalayan Pink Salt, fine
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil

Directions:
-Soak Nuts/Seeds listed above (soaked) overnight – drain/rinse.
-Pulse together to combine the first five ingredients – nuts/seeds and coconut butter in a food processor.
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-Add remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.

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(I chop the Dates before tossing in the food processor (a) to be sure they are pitted (b) so they get better incorporated)
Exhibit A below – I found a pit!
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-Add parchment/wax paper to an 11×7 brownie pan. Turn out mixture and press evenly.
-Refrigerate for a few hours to overnight.
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-Remove from brownie pan and cut into bite-size pieces. Today I made 66 pieces.
Enjoy!
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For the Raw Coconut Butter in this recipe – I used two of these little packs that equal 1/4 Cup if you’ve seen these in stores.
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Raw Energy Bites

  • Servings: 66 Bites ~ Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Credit: https://veganrescue.com/
Ingredients:
1 Cup Whole Raw Cashews, soaked
1 Cup Whole Walnuts, soaked
½ Cup Pumpkin Seeds, soaked
¼ Cup Sunflower Seeds, soaked
¼ Cup Raw Coconut Butter
¼ Cup Raisins (1 oz)
12-15 Pitted Dates, chopped
2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 Tbsp Goji Berries
1/3 Cup finely Shredded Coconut
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
½ Tsp Himalayan Pink Salt, fine
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil

Directions:
-Soak Nuts/Seeds listed above (soaked) overnight – drain/rinse.
-Pulse together to combine the first five ingredients – nuts/seeds and coconut butter in a food processor. -Add remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.
(I chop the Dates before tossing in the food processor (a) to be sure they are pitted (b) so they get better incorporated)
-Add parchment/wax paper to an 11×7 brownie pan. Turn out mixture and press evenly.
-Refrigerate for a few hours to overnight.
-Remove from brownie pan and cut into bite-size pieces. Today I made 66 pieces.

Quinoa Kiwi Breakfast Bowl!

Quinoa Kiwi Breakfast Bowl
(Serves 2-4) ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free
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When I created this recipe I had my Raw Energy Balls in mind. Sometimes you need a boost and a boost for breakfast would be even better I thought. As I’ve mentioned in a prior blog post about Quinoa it is indeed a Super Food. It contains all 9 essential amino acids and has been deemed a complete protein. It’s iron rich and is packed with Fiber, Zinc, Magnesium, Manganese and Vitamins B2 (Riboflavin), E and B6. I like to think of it as oatmeal/porridge when eating Quinoa for breakfast. The best thing about this recipe is with having the simple quinoa base, you can add-in countless other ingredients to the mix. This day I added Chia Seeds, Dates, Almonds, Kiwi, Maca Powder and applesauce. The kids enjoyed theirs with Chia seeds, dates, almonds, kiwi and a drizzle of Raw Agave Nectar. You can add pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, bananas, etc. Get creative and enjoy!

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Ingredients:
1 Cup Red Quinoa (rinsed)
1 ½ Cup Almond/Coconut Milk (or water)
½ Tsp ground Cinnamon

Directions:
Place rinsed quinoa, cinnamon and almond milk (or water) in pot and bring to boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat – keeping lid on. Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with fork.
Note: When using the almond/coconut milk I had to keep stirring occasionally to prevent milk from bubbling over.

Add-Ins:
My bowl included:
2 Dates, Chopped
¼ Cup Raw Almonds, soaked overnight
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Tsp Maca Powder
¼ Cup Applesauce
1 Kiwi, sliced Raw Agave Nectar, optional
Here’s a pic of my raw energy balls – click the pic for the recipe!
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Joker’s Bean Burgers

Joker’s Burger
(Makes 9 Burgers) ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Egg-Free

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Big thanks to my husband for making dinner tonight. It was delicious! It’s that time of year again – rushing around at practices and school will be starting soon too. I had to dash out after work to take Jasmine to practice today and to my surprise while I was still at work I received a text from Seth (aka Joker) that dinner was on him. Fantastic! His text read…
[“JOKER’S BURGER…no meat, jokes on you. Black beans, Red Kidney beans, Sweet Onion, Shiitake Mushrooms, Sun-Dried Tomatoes…with Joker’s special herbs and seasonings.”]
It’s funny because very humbly he added, “I know it’s not as appetizing as your menu items but…” Well I guess the joke was on him because they were amazing!! – It was cute because he was actually nervous for me to try them. 🙂 The flavors were great! Seth is always thinking up ideas and sometimes helps me brainstorm some of my creations. I don’t know specifically what he added (herbs/spices) but the burgers had some great heat which was tamed nicely by the sundried tomatoes. The mushrooms really stood out and were prominent with the beans adding a nice creaminess. They were baked up and served with no buns – check them out above. 🙂

Check out the formed burgers – yum!
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Here’s a pic of Mister and I at a wedding we went to last Friday. 🙂
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[Revised Added]
I included this picture in the post because it was just taken last week and I wanted to share a picture of the chef of the burgers and all, although I have included him (his pic) in other posts, this pic above was fresh in my mind. So about the wedding!…
I never talked about the wedding we went to last week. I know the bride was specific about sharing pics of them on social media but I think I can at least share a detail of something that has been on my mind.
I don’t typically cry at weddings, although they are always beautiful. I love going to them, it’s a joy to reflect on our love and marriage too. So I don’t typically cry, right? Not this wedding last Friday, the tears were flowing! Maybe I’m sharing wedding secrets here or something but I have to share this moment because it was beautiful and something I have never seen before.
[The moment I cried]…
This wedding was for a co-worker of my husband so I can’t say that I really knew them personally. I know of stories that he has shared with me of her but I didn’t know her well. One story that was shared was how she had been living with and caring for her elderly grandmother for many years. As I’m sitting there watching the bridal party coming down the aisle I see a little girl, (of course she’s the flower girl, right…), the kid coming down with her poofy white dress and fluffy socks holding a sign but no flowers? Then to my surprise I see an elderly woman coming down the aisle with her rolling walker (rollator), the flower basket… throwing the flowers. I lost it! I could not hold back my tears, knowing the back story of how she had been caring for her. As I didn’t really know her, seeing that was such and intimate moment for me, it showed me how much love, respect and care she had for her grandmother. It was such an engaging moment.
The elderly often get lost and shuffled, sometimes sadly even ignored. My mother has worked in a nursing home for 30+ years, she has such a big heart. Although I’m sure the job itself can be difficult and maybe even the patients sometimes…but I’ve seen that woman take such good care of them as if they were her own parents/family. I’ve seen it first hand as I volunteered there back when I was in High School. She has such strength, love, humbleness, loyalty and respect – she is a good woman and taught me is still teaching me to this day. I love my mommy so much, she jokes and says, ‘when I’m old just throw me in a nursing home’ sorry mom… we’ll see about that. In 20 years I’ll be cleaning your butt just like you did mine 🙂 She has such a good nature.
Even though I didn’t really know the bride I came to know her in that moment. I learned about her nature. Maybe I amplified that moment in the wedding, I don’t know, it did have an impact on me however.
One thing that is certain, we need to take better care of our elderly folks. We can learn so much from them. They are wise and live such simple lives. We tend to overcomplicate things especially at different stages in our life. Some of them have the best stories…

Raw Fennel & Grapefruit Almond Salad

Fennel & Grapefruit Almond Salad
(Serves 2) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Raw, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free
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Need a Quick Salad for Two?… This salad is very refreshing and crisp. It can be eaten as a side salad for dinner or perfect for lunch too. Crazy this little salad filled me up last night, but I did leave room for a piece of strawberry/peach cheesecake. 🙂 The fennel [fennel may be an acquired taste for some, you’ve been warned, lol] is crunchy and the licorice flavor of the fennel goes well with the slightly sweet slightly bitter grapefruit. The parsley adds a nice freshness and I love the almonds in this salad which add another layer of texture and sweetness…Mmm, creamy raw almonds. Enjoy!
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Yummy in my tummy!
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Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp Raw Agave Nectar
1 Fennel Bulb, sliced thin (abt 1/8 if using a mandolin)
1/4 of a Red Onion, sliced thin
¼ Tsp Celery Seed, optional
1 Serving of Raw Almonds (abt 25 almonds), chopped
1 Grapefruit, peeled/segmented – cut slices in thirds or half
1 Handful Fresh Parsley, chopped

Directions:
-In a large bowl whisk together Olive Oil, Vinegar and Agave. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. I just let the salad sit for 10 mins. or so for the flavors to combine. That’s all to it.. oh and be sure to rinse your fennel after slicing. I rinse them in my colander similar to leeks.  🙂 Enjoy!

Slicing Grapefruit:
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Toss together to combine:
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Fennel 🙂
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Raw Peaches & Strawberry Cheesecake

Raw Strawberry & Peach Cheesecake
(Serves 12-16) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Raw, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free
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I promised you more cheesecake, here’s another recipe for you to try. Even more amazing than the last – the peaches and strawberries pair very well in this recipe. This recipe is very simple, please be sure to add the pinch of sea salt in the crust layer, trust me it truly makes a difference. Please try this one and enjoy!
Are you smiling yet?
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Ingredients
Cheesecake:
1 Cup Raw Cashews, soaked overnight
1 Young Coconut (Meat Only)
1 ½ Cup Finely Raw Shredded Coconut
½ Cup Coconut Oil, slightly melted/room temp. if it’s warm (plus addt’l)
3 Tbsp Raw Agave Nectar
1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract (or Vanilla Bean equivalent)
2 Peaches, peeled/pitted
Strawberry Layer:
2 Cups Strawberries, hulled (about 12)
1 Tbsp Raw Agave Nectar
Crust:
2 Cup Walnuts
1 Cup Pitted Dates (about 20)
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1-2 Tbsp Raw Agave Nectar
A pinch of Course Sea Salt or reg. sea salt

Directions:
-In a food processor pulse peaches, coconut meat and cashews until blended. Add remaining ingredients and continue to blend until smooth.
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(Notes: If you have a high speed blender with a large capacity, just blend all the cheesecake ingredients in the blender until smooth). However, I used the food processor in combination with my nutribullet. I blended the mixture in my nutribullet in batches until smooth, adding additional melted coconut oil to smooth as needed.
-For the Crust: Pulse together in a food processor until combined. The mixture should stick together.
-Press crust in bottom of springform pan.
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-Add cheesecake mixture on top and smooth
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-Blend strawberry & agave mixture together, smooth over the cheesecake mixture. I just used my spatula to work it in the top layer.
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-Freeze for an hour and enjoy! You can transfer to the refrigerator overnight also.
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Raw Strawberry & Peach Cheesecake

  • Servings: 12-16 ~ Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients
Cheesecake:
1 Cup Raw Cashews, soaked overnight
1 Young Coconut (Meat Only)
1 ½ Cup Finely Raw Shredded Coconut
½ Cup Coconut Oil, slightly melted/room temp. if it’s warm (plus addt’l)
3 Tbsp Raw Agave Nectar
1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract (or Vanilla Bean equivalent)
2 Peaches, peeled/pitted
Strawberry Layer:
2 Cups Strawberries, hulled (about 12)
1 Tbsp Raw Agave Nectar
Crust:
2 Cup Walnuts
1 Cup Pitted Dates (about 20)
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1-2 Tbsp Raw Agave Nectar
A pinch of Course Sea Salt or reg. sea salt

Directions:
-In a food processor pulse peaches, coconut meat and cashews until blended. Add remaining ingredients and continue to blend until smooth. (Notes: If you have a high speed blender with a large capacity, just blend all the cheesecake ingredients in the blender until smooth). However, I used the food processor in combination with my nutribullet. I blended the mixture in my nutribullet in batches until smooth, adding additional melted coconut oil to smooth as needed.
-For the Crust: Pulse together in a food processor until combined. The mixture should stick together.
-Press crust in bottom of springform pan.
-Add cheesecake mixture on top and smooth
-Blend strawberry & agave mixture together, smooth over the cheesecake mixture. I just used my spatula to work it in the top layer.
-Freeze for an hour and enjoy! You can transfer to the refrigerator overnight also.