Almond Ricotta “Cheese”- Project Healthy in Italy (Vegan)

Oh, my goodness, I am almost afraid to post this recipe as I might get banned from the country (Italy)and not be let in when I arrive on Saturday! The Italians take their food traditions very seriously! (Read all about Project Healthy in Italy here and follow my quest.)

Ricotta cheese is a sweet, fresh cheese made from milk and is a typical Italian cheese used for both savoury and sweet dishes. My favorite being ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and ricotta, baked cheese cake. They are both to die for!

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You can make a delicious dairy- free ricotta in your own kitchen!

My personal recommendation is to limit dairy as much as possible as it is a typical allergen, causes inflammation in the body and is acidic in the way it digests. Eating and drinking a lot of acidic forming foods is linked to diseases such as auto-immune illnesses. There is also more and more evidence that dairy may raise our risk of both prostate and breast cancer.

We also see a greater focus on eating vegan and plant based no matter what your dietary preferances are. I am personally not vegan, so the chances of me being able to stay away from all the temptation 100 % of the time when I am in Italy are slim! Ha, ha. So I would like to share this option with you just in case I post a dish using ricotta and you would like an alternativ.

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Nuts make the most delicious “cheeses” when done right.

It is really amazing how many nut cheeses are out there and the complexity of them are simply amazing! After experimenting a lot in the kitchen this is my almond “ricotta cheese” recipe from my lastest book: Carina’s Healthy Kitchen.

Almond Ricotta “Cheese”

  • 2, 5 dl (about 2 cups + 1/3 cup) almonds without the skin
  • 1, 25 dl (about 1/2 cup) water
  • 1/2 ts. Himalaya salt
  • 1 tbs. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsb agave syrup (or honey if your not vegan)
  • 1 ts lemon juice

How to:

  1. Blanch the almonds by boiling them in water for 1 minute. The skin will peel right off.
  2. Place the almonds in a food prossesor or blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Add a small amount of water if needed.
  3. Using a cheese cloth, place the colth over a bowl and add the mixture. Tie the cloth together to form a “bag”.
  4. Keep refrigerted over night placing a bowl underneath to catch the liquid being released.
  5. The next day, squeeze out any excess liquid and place the ricotta (without the cloth) on a baking sheet and tray.
  6. Form the cheese into a circle shape and a thickness of about 3 cm. (1 inch).
  7. Bake the cheese in the oven at 80 degreess celcius (176 F.) for 40 min. (Or in a dehydrator over night)There is to be no color.  The baking is to soften it and bring out the flavours and sweetness.
  8. Let cool and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Tip! Spread on crakers, eat with fruit, fill pasta, use in pasta dishes for added creaminess.

 

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Day fresh ricotta with balsamico jam in Modena, Italy.

 


Creamy, Vegan Cauliflower Soup

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I love cauliflower as it is so comforting and easy to use as a replacement for a low carb alternative to rice, potatoes and pasta.

One of my favorite ways to use this super-healthy cruciferous vegetable is in a soup. I love to make my vegan (dairy free) cauliflower soup with soaked cashew nuts. Trust me; you will not miss the heavy cream! I love to top mine with crunchy home-made popcorn and dill oil.

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You will need:

  • One large head of cauliflower
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 liter vegetable stock
  • 100 grams soaked cashew nuts
  • 1 tbs. nutritional yeast
  • 1 ts. lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  • Chop the onion and garlic and add to a pot. Simmer in olive oil until tender
  • Divide the caulifower into florets and add to the pot with the vegetable stock. Cook until tender.
  • When tender place the mixture in a blender, add the soaked cashews and blend VERY CAREFULLY until smooth.
  • Add back to the pot and season with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.

Recipe from my Norwegian book “Carinas sunne kjøkken” (Carina’s Healthy Kitchen”. Buy book here


Carina’s Guilt- Free “Low Gluten” Chocolate Cupcakes!

Are you like me; you like to have your cake and eat it too? That is why I had to develop a guilt-free chocolate cupcake using healthy and clean ingredients!

These cupcakes are “low gluten” meaning there is only a smaller amount of gluten in them and a different kind of gluten as I only use spelt flour. The gluten in spelt is different from the gluten found in wheat. Therefore if you are gluten sensitive, like me, your body can handle spelt much better.

I have also used almond flour to get a rich and moist texture and I only use coconut sugar or an organic maple syrup when making sweets as they are not refined, have more nutrients, are more blood sugar friendly and taste great as well.

The frosting is made from soaked cashews so they are dairy free as well and when combined with fresh orange juice and zest the taste is amazing. 🙂 I hope you enjoy!

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Carina’s Guilt- Free “Low Gluten” Chocolate Cupcakes (serves 8-10)

You will need for the cupcakes:

  • 100 grams almond flour
  • 70 grams whole grain spelt flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 ts. Himalaya salt
  • 2 tbs. chia seeds
  • 25 grams chopped walnuts
  • 4 tbs. raw cacao powder
  • 60 grams coconut sugar
  • 4 tbs. meltet coconut oil
  • 2/3 (1 dl) almond, cashew or coconut milk
  • 2 ts. baking powder

How to:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients before adding all the wet ingredients. Mix well and add the chopped walnuts.
  2. Add the mixture to cupcake molds and bake at 200 degrees celsius for 12- 15 minutes depending on the size.
  3. Let cool before frosting.

 

 

For the frosting:

  • 260 grams about 2 cups of soaked cashews.
  • 4 tbs. maple syrup
  • 7 tbs. fresh orange juice
  • Zest from one orange
  • 2 tbs. melted coconut oil
  • 5 tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup ( 5 tbs) almond, cashew or coconut milk
  • Pinch of Himalaya salt

How to:

  • Soak the cashews in water for 6- 8 hours. Rinse well.
  • Add to a high speed blender and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until completely smooth.
  • Let set in the fridge before adding to a piping bag.
  • Garnish with orange zest, chocolate, cacao nibs or walnuts.
  • Enjoy! 🙂

 

 


Dairy-free (vegan) chocolate ice cream

I love ice cream, but my body and health does not love diary… Therefore I had to develop a dairy- free, healthy and delicious alternative because who wants to live a life without ice cream?!

The store bought kind is also full of additives, colouring and things I really don’t want to put into my body, and especially when I know how easy and fun it is to make my own at home.

This recipe i vegan, easy to make as well as loaded with antioxidants when you use a high quality, raw cacao powder and add cacao nibs and walnuts.

Best results are achieved when using an ice cream machine, but of course you can make it using a freezer, a bowl and a fork to whip air into it about every 30 min.

 

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Dairy free, antioxidant-rich chocolate ice cream!

You will need:

  • 500 ml full fat coconut milk
  • 4 tbs. raw cacao powder
  • 6 tbs.maple sirup
  • 1 ts. vanilla extract
  • A pinch of Himalaya salt
  • 2tbs. Maizena corn starch
  • Cacao nibs
  • Walnuts

How to:

  1. Mix all the ingredients, except for the corn starch, in a pot and bring to boil, taking care to stir all the time so it doesn’t burn.
  2. When the mixture is boiling add the corn starch and let simmer for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add to a bowl and let cool before refrigerating for at least 3 hours to chill and let set before adding to an ice cream machine or the freezer.
  4. Add the cacao nibs and chopped walnuts following the instructions for the ice cream machine or when the mixture has started to freeze if making manually.

 

Watch how I make my chocolate ice cream in my video. I speak Norwegian but it is subtitled in english:)