Easy Homemade Tahini

I love tahini and like any other nuts or seed butter, it's super easy to make at home. But I know, trust me, it's even easier to buy it already made (sigh!). 

Not only is homemade way cheaper but it's fresher (the oils haven't yet gone rancid) which means it's also healthier. In addition, knowing how to whip up your own at home can make life a lot easier when your recipe calls for it and you are all out! Just keep raw sesame seeds on hand at home in the pantry or freezer. 

Homemade Tahini Recipe | unhulled Sesame Seeds | nut-free sauce #vegan #purekitchenblog

The photos make the tahini look like almond butter, right? Well that's partially because I used unhulled sesame seeds. You can use hulled, which most store bought tahini is made from, but unhulled is easier to find and the taste/flavor is almost the same. 

homemade tahini recipe | nut free gluten-free dairy-free

The photos above demonstrate just how simple and easy it is to make a batch of it at home. And really all you need is one or two ingredients. And the most difficult part is literally toasting the seeds! And we all know at this point in our cooking careers that toasting nuts and seeds really isn't hard at all. Just alway remember: 350 Degrees F | 8 minutes. That's my usual nut-toasting quick go-to instructions. But these seeds took a tad longer. I cooked them for about 15 minutes instead of the usual 8-10. 

Sesame Seed Tahini | Homemade | Nut-free | Vegan | Simple & easy recipe

From there, just throw them into your good old food processor. If you don't already have one of these, please get one. I use this and my Vitamix every single day. At least one if not both of them. To lead a healthy plant-based (or whole foods) diet, you need good equipment. 

These items are so easy to clean, too, as long as you rinse them off or soak them directly after using them. It's when the sauce or ingredients sit in the bowl for a long time that makes them hard to clean. You don't even need a dishwasher. Much easier to clean than a frying pan. 

Now go ahead and bookmark this recipe - it will come in hand when you're in a pinch at home and need some tahini for a divine salad dressing or dipping sauce. 

Simple Homemade Tahini Recipe | Unhulled Sesame Seeds | Simple Easy | Basic Healthy | plant-based living

Easy Homemade Tahini Recipe

Yields approx 8oz or 1 cup

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups raw unhulled or hulled sesame seeds
  • 1-2 Tbsp sesame oil (toasted or not)
  • sea salt, pinch

DIRECTIONS

  1. Spread the raw seeds onto a cookie sheet. Bake them in the oven (aka toast) for 15 minutes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2.  While they are cooling get out your food processor and the S blade. Add cooled, toasted seeds to the food processor mixing bowl. Add the sesame oil 1 Tbsp at a time. 
  3. Blend on high for about 1 minute. Scrape sides. Blend again until smooth, about one more minute. Add sea salt. Pulse a few times to mix up. 
  4. Store in a jar or other air tight container. This should last you a few months in the refrigerator. 
Sesame Seed Tahini Recipe | Homemade | Super healthy, easy & delicious #purekitchenblog #plantbaseddiet

Mint & Ginger Pesto Over Kelp Noodles

Oh my goodness, today is my second day back from Cabo, Mexico. It's raining here in San Diego and kind of cold. I am happy to be home safe and sound with kiddos. I did miss them. But I have to be honest I am kind of missing the sunshine, pool time, warm air, ocean views and the no kid vibe. I had four nights away. That's four more than I have had in almost 3 years. Whoa!

Mint & Ginger Pesto Over Kelp Noodles | #glutenfree #vegan #rawvegan @julinovotny

But as promised to you all on instagram, I spent my first work day back perfecting my pesto for the kelp noodle dish. It's a little sweet, kind of tangy, definitely garlicy, toasty from the almonds but also super duper fresh thanks to the mint.

Usually pesto is super savory and oily but this recipe is more asian in style. I prefer this style sauce when working with kelp noodles. 

Mint Ginger Pesto over Kelp Noodles | @julinovotny #purektichen
Mint Ginger Pesto over Kelp Noodles | raw vegan gluten free
Kelp Noodles with Mint Pesto | Pure Kitchen Blog | @julinovotny

I have been making kelp noodle recipes for years now. But just the other day, the brilliant Meredith Baird shared a really handy dandy trick: soak the kelp noodles first in baking soda. WHAAAA? Why didn't I know this? It helps the noodles to soften. Kind of the same way marinating kale in lemon and a dash of olive oil helps them soften and become more palatable. I love all these vegan (raw) cooking tricks. Thanks Meredith!

Kelp Noodle Recipe with Mint Pesto. Delicious. Super healthy. Detox Food. Raw Vegan. Gluten-free.
mint pesto with ginger and toasted almonds.

Mint Pesto is so good. Like completely different than basil or kale pesto. But so freakin' good. It's unique in it's flavor. You really have to try it at least once to see what I'm talking about. 

I made my pesto with garlic and ginger and a bit of raw honey too. I like it a touch sweet. 

7J5A1727.jpg

MINT GINGER PESTO OVER KELP NOODLES

serves 2-3

cook time 10-15 minutes max

INGREDIENTS

For the pesto:

  • 3/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 3 Tbsp avocado oil (I used lime flavored but you don't have to)
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced or chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped & toasted
  • 3-4 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp fresh jalapeño, chopped (or less if you don't like spice, but use a little for flavor)
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

For the Noodle Salad (or other crunchy veggies):

  • 1/2 cup raw carrots, chopped or shaved or julienned
  • 1/2 cup raw corn kernels, cut straight from the cob
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1, 12 oz package, kelp noodles
  • 1 tsp baking soda 

DIRECTIONS

For the pesto:

  1. In a food processor add all of the ingredients. Note: You can use raw almonds or toasted. I like the toasty flavor so I toast my almonds first in the oven or toaster oven for about 8 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  2. Process the ingredients by pulsing for about 1 minute. 
  3. Scrape sides of the bowl. Set aside pesto. 

For the noodles + veggies:

  1. In a medium sized bowl mix the kelp noodles with juice of just half a lemon and the baking soda. This will soften the noodles. Using your hands you'll want to mix the noodles well until coated in lemon and baking soda. Set them aside while you prep the rest of the dish. Keep checking on them and mixing by hand so they continue to soften. When ready, you'll want to rinse them first. 
  2. After you are finished prepping the carrots and corn, add the avocado oil, sea salt, and juice of half a lemon. Toss until well coated. 
  3. Add this mixture to the noodles (don't forget to rinse them first and dry them). Top with the mint pesto. 
  4. Serve. Garnish with more mint and toasted almonds. 

The One Pancakes

I know the name of this recipe is a little weird sounding but I love calling these pancakes, One. Not because there is only one ingredient but because there is just one of every ingredient. 

My kids love these pancakes. We make them all the time. My eight year old is getting really good at cooking lately. He makes his siblings all kinds of cool breakfasts. 

The name of this recipe also cracks me up each time I see it because it reminds me of this silly song my son always sings: "I am the one the one the one" or something weird like that. It's actually annoying and he knows it. So now it makes me laugh. You might find no humor in that little side story but now you won't forget the name of this recipe, just watch. 

My mom used to make me similar pancakes growing up. We called them cottage cheese pancakes. You make them with cottage cheese and yogurt. They were so creamy and rich. My sister and I would crave them. 

Good news for you health foodies - this recipe is a super healthy version of the old one but not lack any flavor or creaminess. I couldn't believe it when I first tested this recipe. I felt like a kid again; it had been so long since I had them.

One Pancakes Recipe

yields 10 - 12 pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 super ripe banana
  • 1 egg (egg substitute) 
  • 1 cup vegan (or regular) yogurt (I used Kite Hill pain)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup gluten-free pancake mix
  • 1 pinch sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a blender combine the yogurt, egg, banana and milk. Blend until creamy and no chunks.
  2. Add the wet mixture to the dry pancake mix and whisk together by hand. 
  3. Cook on a griddle the same way you would cook any other pancakes. Grease pan with some oil or butter and press down the pancake mixture each time you flip. The batter will be thick. 
  4. Serve when the pancakes are cooked all the way through but not dry. 
  5. Top with fresh fruit and fresh maple syrup. 

Note: If you're making these for a family of 5 you will want to double the recipe. If you are only making them for a few kids, this recipe will do. My entire family eats 4-5 of these so we make a big batch. 

Enjoy! Have a lovely rest of the week. I am currently in Cabo. Visit me on Instagram to see the beautiful photos and videos of this really awesome place! 

Cauliflower Sauce Risotto with Herbs + Kale

Going dairy free or even just eating less dairy requires getting comfortable with getting creative in the kitchen and thinking outside the box. Making things creamy isn't easy when you don't eat half and half, milk or cheese. What then? Do you have to give up creamy comfort foods for good? No, not exactly. 

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

My 5 top favorite plants to cream things up:

  1. Cashews
  2. Potatoes
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Tofu
  5. Dairy-free Yogurt and/or Milks combined with nutritional yeast
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

Today I'm going to introduce you to a creamy cauliflower sauce that works well for risotto or as a soup base or even a vegan fettuccini. This recipe is adapted from the wonderful Pinch Of Yum blog. I had yet to make one of their recipes before but seriously drool at every photo of their plant-based creations. This recipe is originally not vegan, it's made with chicken stock and real butter. So I adapted it to fit my diet. And it worked very well. The sauce gets an A in my book. 

This risotto is really simple and basic but is garlic-y and really really creamy! The color of the sauce also gives the illusion of dairy, which is nice because comfort foods are all about past memories. Physiology studies show that comfort foods we crave are actually artifacts from our past. Crazy right?

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

What are your comfort foods? I'd love to try and recreate them without dairy or meat. Let me know if you have any suggestions or foods you just can't live without that you'd like to give a makeover. Do you have any other memories associated with food?

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

I personally crave bagels! All throughout high school I was obsessed with bagels. I ate them daily topped with honey, cream cheese, butter with salt, berry jam or even almond butter. I mostly crave cream cheese. I shared a photo on Instagram the other day of my everything bagel (gluten-free) topped with Kite Hill cream cheese (dairy free). It did the trick. Craving cured. 

Back to this recipe (wink) - it was also approved by my kids. That's a big deal. When my kids like something I know it's a winner because it's hard to find something that both kids and parents will eat that is healthy. They truly loved it. Also, If you are still new to being dairy free then add some regular parmesan to this dish after making it. Just fold in the parmesan shreds. You will think the entire dish was made from cheese. Just a little goes a long way. Trust me. My mom tested this out and she loved it. She said she didn't need to add the parmesan at all but even just a little bit did add that cheese flavor she was craving.  

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto Recipe

Yields 4 dinners

INGREDIENTS

Risotto

  • 1 1/2 cup dry uncooked risotto rice
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 cubes or tsp bouillon 
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 7 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter (I used Myconos)
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of lightly dried or fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley and basil  

Garnishes (optional)

Kale Chips:

  • 1/2 head kale, chopped into 1-2 inch strips
  • 1 tsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • sea salt + pepper

Vegan Cashew Parmesan Cheese

DIRECTIONS

Prep:

  1. Cook the risotto rice in the same way you would cook normal white or brown rice. I used a rice cooker. 
  2. Set the cashews in a bowl covered with water and let them soak. 
  3. Preheat oven to 400 for the kale chips. 
  4. Get out the following: food processor to blend the sauce, blender for the cashew cream, a cookie sheet to make the kale chips, a saucepan for the onion and garlic and large pot for boiling the cauliflower. 

Now Get Cooking:

Cauliflower:

  1. Cut the large stem off the cauliflower. Chop the rest into big pieces. Set the cauliflower in a large pot on the stove. Cover it with the 6 cups of water and the bouillon cubes/paste. 
  2. Boil the broth. And then turn the head down to medium/low and cook covered with the lid until cauliflower is soft and fully cooked. About 8 or so minutes. Do not discard the water.
  3. Using a slotted spoon you'll want to remove the cauliflower from the hot broth and put it into a food processor for blending. 

Onion, Butter & Garlic: 

  1. Add the butter and onion only to a saucepan on medium heat. Let the onions cook for about 5 minutes until they are translucent and start to caramelize a little on the edges.
  2. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Remove from heat. 
  3. Add this mixture to the cauliflower in the food processor bowl. 

Cashew Cream:

  1. Add the soaked cashews to a blender with 1 cup water. Blend this up until creamy. 
  2. Add 1/2 cup this cream to the food processor bowl with the cauliflower and butter mixture. 
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

The Cauliflower Sauce:

  1. Now that everything is in the food processor you'll want to add the salt and pepper. 
  2. Blend away. And keep adding the cauliflower broth for more liquid if needed. You don't want this sauce to be super duper creamy and thick. But you don't want it to be a soup either. So play around and keep adding broth by a spoonful until you have the perfect texture. No chunks. 

Risotto:

  1. Add the cauliflower sauce to the warm risotto rice. Blend gently with a large slotted spoon or wooden spoon. Gently fold the sauce into the rice. Add all the fresh or lightly dried herbs. 

Mini Kale Chips (optional):

  1. Chop the kale. Large stems removed. Add the pieces to a cookie sheet. 
  2. Gently massage the olive oil, salt and pepper into the kale. 
  3. Lay the pieces evenly across the cookie sheet. Do not overlap. 
  4. Cook about 6 minutes in the oven. You'll know when they are done. They are very flat and the color changes to a darker brown. They should not be burnt
  5. Garnish the risotto with these little kale chips. 
Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Risotto | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas @julinovotny

If you're in the mood to really play around with innovative ways to make creamy foods without dairy, sign up for my newsletter because I am sharing a homemade ricotta recipe that uses macadamia nuts and is to die for. You can use it in so many recipes to add serious creaminess. The texture is similar to goat cheese. 

Magical No-Cook Creamy Marinara

I have shared a variation of this magical tomato sauce a few times on the blog already. But never have I given up my original secret recipe...until now!

No Cook Marinara Ready in Minutes | Weekly Must Make Recipe | Vegan #puremamas Recipe

I have many exciting, delicious and healthy recipes accumulated here on the blog, but some of them I have made only twice ever; which is crazy to think because so many are so good. But I am constantly coming up with new ideas that old ones rarely make a comeback.

However, this recipe is different. I have made it over 200 times - not kidding by the way (!!) We make it every week; sometimes twice a week. I use it on pasta, over zucchini noodles, as a pizza sauce or lasagna sauce. It is a great go-to when I have unexpected guests because I usually always have the ingredients in my pantry and fridge.

Tip: I often make a batch of this for babysitters because then all they have to do is boil up some pasta for the kids and then add this sauce. Super easy. Super healthy. I love to pair it with a green smoothie (try my easy green drinks or try my green milk recipe) that way the kids get loads of veggies, protein and fruit in one meal. Smoothie plus this pasta recipe takes less than 20 minutes to whip up. 

Super Easy, Quick, Healthy, No Cook (raw vegan) Marinara Recipe that the entire family will love! | #vegan #puremamas
Raw Vegan Marinara Pasta Recipe | Easy, Healthy, No Cook Sauce | #puremamas Recipe

But usually, this marinara is made weekly for my kids. There is something about the no-chucks that makes it a win for the whole family. And the fact that it takes such little time to whip up. I will never forget the first time they saw what I put into the blender before making it and they were shocked: "you put all that into the sauce?" 

When baby sitters and friends and family taste this pasta they almost instantly ask for the recipe. Or I get a text the next day "where can I find the marinara recipe from last night?" It’s got a really clean and "magical" feeling because it’s flavorful and it’s raw (meaning, made with fresh raw ingredients, not cooked). 

Fresh Homemade Marinara Recipe - A No Cook Sauce - Raw Vegan - Healthy, Simple and Kid APPROVED! #puremamas

I know people argue that cooking tomatoes is a healthier way of eating them. But I’m still having a hard time accepting these findings - I feel like fresh tomatoes are so amazing and why cook those fresh flavors away? I find the taste of raw tomatoes to be much more desirable and there is something about cooked/stewed/canned tomatoes that is much more acidic tasting.

Fact: my son doesn’t do well with cooked tomatoes and when he was a baby he threw up his spaghetti almost instantaneously - until I created this sauce. Now he eats it all the time and loves spaghetti again. Thank goodness. Is there a connection? Not sure. But I like to think so. 

Kid Friendly Marinara that The Whole Family Will Love! Magical Marinara Recipe #puremamas #vegan #plant-based

Additionally, cooking (roasting, stewing or even using canned tomatoes) tomato sauce takes so much longer. First you heat the oil and soften the garlic and other veggies. Then add the canned tomatoes, blah blah. When you’re in a hurry, you want homemade (as opposed to popping open a jar), but don't have time to cook, this recipe is your savior. 

Raw Vegan Family Friendly Marinara Recipe | Plant-based | Healthy #dairyfree #glutenfree #puremamas

The list of ingredients might seem like a laundry list but in fact once you make this a few times you won’t need to measure anymore. Guessing works well and playing around with your own measurements is fun, too. But stick with the recipe until you have a good grasp on proportions. And then you'll be able to whip it up any night in just minutes. 

Magical Tomato Sauce

Yields approx 18oz sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups chopped raw tomatoes or cherry/baby tomatoes (not chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup miso paste
  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar or 2 heaping Tbsp cane sugar or honey
  • 2 large cloves raw garlic (or preferably a heaping tsp of Majestic Garlic spread)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 squirt (1 Tbsp) sriracha (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a high speed blender jar add all of the ingredients. Blend on medium and then high until everything is creamy and no chunks remain.
  2. Top your favorite noodles with the wonderful sauce and garnish with cashew parmesan cheese and tons of fresh basil.

  3. Enjoy!

Variations: You can add fresh basil and/or oregano to the sauce before blending for added flavors and nutrients. If you do not have issues with dairy, feel free to add parmesan cheese. Trying to eat less dairy but can't give up parmesan cheese - I recommend starting with this Go Veggie parm, it's AMAZING! 

Also, try this sauce in your next lasagna. It's a game changer. 

no cook marinara sauce #vegan #gluten-free #familyfriendly | ready in minutes | recipe via #puremamas

Thanks in advance for trying any of my recipes. I would love to see what your final dishes look like - please tag me on social or leave me a comment. I so appreciate all the feedback. Good or bad. Questions or thoughts! Everything is welcome. @julinovotny on Instagram or tag #puremamas