• Coconut Oil Versus Coconut Paste

    What’s the difference between coconut oil, coconut paste, and coconut butter? With all things equal, coconut oil is not the same as coconut paste. 

    While all these products are made from coconuts they have different properties and serve different culinary purposes.

    Coconut Oil

    Coconut Oil is the oil from the coconut. When it is cold it sets into what looks like a butter (hence the confusion). When coconut oil is warmed to above 24 degrees Celsius (76 Fahrenheit) it melts to form a liquid. It’s great for a range of cooking purposes, bug repellent, massage, beauty products, tooth or gum pain, a metabolism booster and so on. I love the stuff it is truly a panacea.

    Coconut Paste

    Coconut Paste is the whole coconut (flesh and oil) ground down into a smooth fudge like paste. It is sweet and delicious and fabulous in desserts. Try a spoonful with some orange segments and juice and you have a simple heavenly dessert. Coconut paste is not available everywhere and is somewhat of a specialty that you may need to ask for specifically, or you will be palmed off with some regular coconut oil. Coconut Butter is the same thing as coconut paste but is what Americans call it.

    Sometimes downing a spoonful of coconut oil is a chore. Not so with coconut paste. The one on the left is like dessert in a jar. Coconut paste has the fiber of the coconut meat and remains in a solid state at warmer temperature. It won’t really ever turn into a liquid, but when warm, can become a very viscous batter/paste. I love to use this in desserts because it lends itself to a fudge texture and supplies a boost of sweetness. I wouldn’t be trying to gargle with this to alleviate a sore throat like I would with coconut oil and I also wouldn’t rub this on my skin. The oil is perfect for that and cheaper.

    On the left is the fudge paste, on the right is the ubiquitous oil. Moral of the story? They are different and it is worth getting your hands on some so you can taste the difference. If you were in a pinch and unable to locate coconut paste, you could use coconut oil in lieu, but it won’t supply the taste or texture that the recipe maker was aiming to give you.

    Learn to Make Coconut Youghurt with Natalie on Omstars

    By Natalie Prigoone

    Natalie Prigoone is the author of The Great Uncooking a raw food detox book and A Piece of Cake: Easy Raw Desserts. She is a yoga teacher, high school teacher and raw food chef. Natalie discovered raw foods and their healing magic in 2011. She is passionate about healthy life hacks, and creating recipes that lead to greater health and healing. Follow her on Instagram @thegreatuncooking or Facebook.

  • How to Make Your Own Dukkah

    Dukkah is a roasted Middle Eastern spice and nut mix.
    Use it to coat foods or just dip fresh bread
    into it with some olive oil.

    This also makes a beautiful gift. Package it in a recycled jar and take it to your host the next time you are invited for dinner. You can also use this to make some fabulous vegan beetroot burgers.

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbs coriander seeds
    • 2 tbs cumin seeds
    • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
    • 3/4 cup almonds
    • Freshly ground salt and black pepper to your taste (I make mine quite salty).

    Method 

    • Dry fry (no oil) spices on on a medium heat for 2 minutes. Keep stirring to prevent burning.
    • Grind these toasted spices in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle.
    • You may be tempted to skip the spice grinding and throw it all into the food processor. Don’t do this as it won’t grind up the spices and release their lovely aroma and flavour. Alternatively, you could use pre-ground cumin and coriander seeds, but it’s not as nice.
    • I fished out the unground seeds, and ground them in the spice grinder. Better to do it properly the first time.
    • Toast almonds and sesame seeds the same way, by dry frying and stirring at regular intervals to prevent burning. Add all spices, seasoning and nuts to food processor and blend until resembles fine bread crumbs. It is now ready to serve.

    Try More of Natalie’s Recipes on Omstars

    By Natalie Prigoone

    Natalie Prigoone is the author of ‘The Great Uncooking’ a raw food detox book and A Piece of Cake: Easy Raw Desserts. She is a yoga teacher, high school teacher and raw food chef. Natalie discovered raw foods and their healing magic in 2011. She is passionate about healthy life hacks, and creating recipes that lead to greater health and healing. Follow her on Instagram @thegreatuncooking or Facebook.

  • All Squashed Up

     

    Here are some simple ways to make two types of squash, two ways.  The varieties of squash for this dish include Acorn and Butternut.

    Ingredients

    • Butternut Squash
    • Acorn Squash
    • Coconut Oil
    • Rosemary Leaf
    • Sprouted Quinoa
    • Avocado
    • Alfalfa Sprouts
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • Basil
    • Garlic
    • Pink Himalayan Salt
    • Black Pepper

    Directions

    Sprouted Quinoa

    The first part of the recipe began the night before – you may also buy sprouted quinoa.  I like to soak quinoa the night before I cook it. This allows the quinoa to sprout and also deactivate the enzyme inhibitors. Sprouting quinoa can be achieved very easily by placing raw quinoa in a bowl of clean, non-chlorinated water at room temperature, overnight. Once done, the grains will be noticeably softer and make an excellent addition to salads or other cold meals. You can put it in a cheese cloth or a nut milk bag to drain the water and leave it in the sunlight for a day to allow the quinoa to sprout even more.  If you wish to let the sprouts go wild, this process can be repeated for several days.  Just remember to rinse the quinoa twice per day and leave in the cheesecloth or nut milk bag.

    The science behind the sprouting process and its effect on the seed and the human digestive system is fascinating.  Humans do not have the digestive enzymes necessary to break down the fibers contained in grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. Through the sprouting process, gases are released which activate the natural enzymes and release the nutrients, making them available and easier for human digestion. Germinated seeds are easier to digest and the large intestine does not need to produce bacteria to break down the fiber, avoiding the fermentation process which turns the large intestine acid, when it should be alkaline.

    All grains and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors that interfere with the absorption of proteins, cause gastric distress, and deficiencies in amino acids. They also contain phytates (phytic acid) which block the intestinal absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc which are necessary for strong bones, teeth and for overall health.

    The sprouting process allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms neutralize phytic acid, remove enzyme inhibitors and break down complex starches.

    The quinoa will cook quickly since it has been sprouted overnight.  Add a little bit of coconut oil to a pan with rosemary.  Let the rosemary slowly cook in the oil.  Once it appears to be lightly browning, add in chopped garlic and let cook for 3 mins in the coconut oil. Add the sprouted quinoa and just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, the quinoa should not be covered. Heat is still medium. Keep stirring throughout and add in chopped basil, pink Himalayan salt and black pepper.  Fluff to finish.

    Butternut Squash

    Next step in the recipe is to cut the tips off the butternut squash, chop in half the long way, then remove seeds. Take the skin off, easiest with a peeler. Chop into small cubes and place into a large pan.   Add a small amount of Coconut oil to the pan.  Next, add in rosemary leaf and cook on medium for 10 mins, stirring every couple of minutes.  Once the squash is close to being done, or soft,  toss in chopped garlic.  The garlic will cook in 5 mins or less at medium heat, which will allow the flavor to be released into the squash without overcooking it.

    Acorn Squash

    While the butternut squash is cooking, preheat the oven to 350.  Chop the tips off the acorn squash, just enough so that it sits flat on a baking tray.  Halve the acorn squash and clean out the seeds.  Add a small amount of coconut oil to each half.   Put the Squash in the oven for approx. 20 – 30 mins.  If you like, finish them off in the broiler to brown the tops.

    Wilted Kale

    Add chopped purple kale to another pan and put on light heat to wilt. Lightly salt and pepper.

    Plating

    Butternut Squash

    To plate the butternut squash dish, you can achieve a simple and beautiful layering effect by using a small bowl.  Start with the butternut squash on the bottom.  Next put the kale, followed by the quinoa.  Press the quinoa down so that all the ingredients are pressed tightly into the bowl.  Cover the bowl with a plate and flip upside down, give it a few taps on the bottom of the bowl to release and remove.  Garnish with avocado and sprouts.  Finish off with light salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil.

    Acorn Squash

    Once the acorn squash is done, remove from oven and fill with the cooked quinoa.  Top with sliced avocado and add light salt and pepper.  Finish with a light drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

    Vallaha, there you have it, all squashed up.  Buen Provecho.

    Health Benefits

    Butternut Squash

    When shopping for butternut squash (technically a fruit), look for a matte color on the skin.  A squash with a shiny skin indicates that it was picked to early.  No need to refrigerate the squash, just place in a well-ventilated area and it will keep for up to 3 months.  Up to a week if cut up and covered in the fridge

    The most notable befits of butternut squash are in it’s color. The color signals an abundance of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. In particular, the gourd boasts very high levels of beta-carotene (which your body converts to vitamin A) and one cup of butternut squash contains 50% of the recommended daily dose of antioxidant rich vitamin C.

    And in case you aren’t already sold, butternut squash has been shown to be a very powerful anti-inflammatory, making this fruit great for athletes as well as people suffering from disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

    Acorn Squash

    Acorn squash contains vitamin A, niacin, folate, thiamine and vitamin B-6, but it is an especially good source of vitamin C. One half cup of cooked acorn squash provides about 20 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Adequate vitamin C promotes the health of the immune and skeletal systems and may help prevent hypertension, heart disease, cancer and osteoarthritis. The vitamin C content of foods is degraded by exposure to air, light, heat and water. To maximize the amount of vitamin C you receive from acorn squash, use the fruit three to four days after purchase and cut immediately before cooking. Steam or bake the squash instead of boiling it to keep vitamin C from being lost in the cooking water.

    Each half-cup serving of acorn squash contains 13 percent of the recommended daily intake of potassium and 11 percent of that for magnesium. As both a mineral and an electrolyte, potassium plays a vital role in muscle contraction and in maintaining the body’s water balance. Magnesium regulates potassium levels, strengthens bones and teeth, and aids in proper energy metabolism. Regularly eating potassium- and magnesium-rich foods like acorn squash, can lessen your chance of stroke, osteoporosis, depression and diabetes. Acorn squash also contains small amounts of iron, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.

    By Adam Kenworthy

    Adam’s passion and appreciation for cooking arose from his love for extreme sports. Having participated in many tests of physical and mental endurance he quickly realized the impact a healthy and well balanced diet played on his overall performance. Adam began to study various aspects of plant based diets, holistic remedies, and culinary techniques from around the world. Through the use of organic, farm-to-table ingredients, Adam hopes to inspire many to reconsider their current eating habits and direct them toward a more sustainable lifestyle.  He believes that conscious eating is the key to living a more healthy and vibrant co-existence with Mother Nature.

     

    Learn More from Adam on Omstars

     

  • Yogi Super Soup

    A meal that will keep you warm on those chilly spring days, boost your immunity with a hearty dose of super greens, and free up time in your beautiful life.

    This delicious soup is designed for those of us who enjoy healthy food, but don’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Enjoy a helping of this soup with a spoonful of sunflower seed butter for extra taste and nutrition.  Yoga teaches us to embrace the time we’re given, making this soup the perfect match for the dedicated yogi.

    Ingredients

    • 8 Cups Greens Mixture (Baby Kale, Chard, and Spinach)
    • ½ Sweet Onion – Diced
    • 2 Tomatoes – Diced
    • 1 Leek
    • 32-Oz. Vegetable Broth
    • 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
    • Salt to taste
    • Pepper to taste
    • 1 tsp Rosemary
    • 1 tsp Thyme

    Method

    • Process greens, onions, and tomatoes in food processor making them easier to digest.
    • Cut leek into coins.
    • Place soup pot on medium heat, adding in vegetable broth.
    • Add in all ingredients.
    • Bring soup to boil for 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly.
    • Reduce heat, and allow soup to simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
    • Allow soup 5 minutes to cool before consuming.
    • This recipe yields approximately 5-8 servings.

    Enjoy the comfort good food can bring. Namaste.

    By Jodi Lane

     

    Try More Vegan Recipes on Omstars

  • Blackberry, Ginger & Shiso Sorbet

    Summer is winding down, but there’s still plenty of heat to go around. Lot’s of water and the occasional cool treat are great for beating the heat. That’s why we love this Blackberry Sorbet by Adam Kenworthy. It’s light, it’s sweet, plus it’s nice and cool. Perfect for a hot summer after noon, or an evening treat. For the best results, we recommend using an ice cream maker, but it’s definitely not necessary. Give this one a try and let us know what you think! Plus, stay tuned for Adam’s new plant-based cooking series, coming soon to OMstars – The Yoga Network!

    RECIPE

    1 cup water
    4 cups fresh blackberries
    1/3 cup of sugar
    1 lemon juiced
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 slice of ginger
    1 shiso leaf

    Directions
    – Bring water to boil, add sugar and dissolve. Add one piece of sliced ginger. Remove from heat, set aside to let cool.
    – Add blackberries to a pot or pan. Add a little salt. Heat on medium. Mash to help release the juice and continue to cook to a concentrate.
    – Pour blackberries into a strainer to separate the seeds and the juice. The longer you cook the less juice you will have. But works great with a thicker concentrate as well.
    – Remove ginger piece from the simple syrup. Pour into a blender. Mix on low. Incorporate the blackberry juice/concentrate. Add lemon juice and shiso leaf.
    – To freeze. You can use an ice cream maker. Or you can also pour into an airtight container and place in the freezer. Both work great. Ice cream maker will make it extra soft & creamy. Let thaw lightly before serving.

    By Adam Kenworthy

    Chef Adam Kenworthy vegan recipes on OMstars

    Adam is a private chef & healthy living coach who divides his time between working in New York City and Nicaragua, where he has founded a non-profit organic fruit farm (Finca Santa Marta.) In his spare time, he can be found trail running in Central park and finding serenity in the waves of Long Island.

  • Supercharged Snickers Bars

    As yogis, we all work hard to live as consciously as possible. That includes properly fueling our bodies with nutritious, cruelty-free, foods that are still delicious and satisfying. We’re here to help make that part easy, and we think it’s time to treat yourself! WE found this recipe for Raw vegan Snickers bars with Lee Holmes from Superchargedfood.com, and we can’t wait to try them. Check out her full recipe and give them a try yourself!

    Supercharged Snickers Bars

    Makes: 12 bars

    Ingredients

    Nougat base:

    Caramel:

    Chocolate Topping:

    Method:

    1. Line a 10cm x 20cm tin or tray with baking paper.
    2. In a food processor, pulse the macadamias until they resemble fine crumbs. Add in the coconut cream, coconut oil, rice malt syrup and vanilla and pulse until smooth. Add in the almond meal and Love Your Gut Powder and pulse until just combined.
    3. Spread this mixture into the lined tray and sprinkle over peanuts and sea salt. Place in the freezer for two hours to set.
    4. To make the caramel, stir all ingredients in a bowl until combined. Spread mixture over the peanuts and place back into the freezer for another two hours.
    5. Prepare the chocolate coating by melting ingredients together in a small pot over a low heat. Transfer to a bowl, place in the fridge for 15 minutes to let it thicken slightly.
    6. Remove the bars from the freezer and using large knife, cut into 12 bars.
    7. To cover in chocolate coating, first prepare a rack over a tray to catch any dripping chocolate. Carefully dip bars in the chocolate coating mixture and place on the rack. You want to work quickly here to prevent the bars from melting. This is why it’s important your chocolate mixture isn’t too hot but is still melted and has a liquid consistency. You may wish to work in batches.
    8. Place back into the freezer as soon as possible to set the chocolate. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

    By Lee Holmes

     

  • Homemade Shakshuka [VEGAN] [EGG-FREE] [SOY-FREE]

    When I first heard about shakshukas, I so intrigued by the dish. It’s stewed tomatoes and spices topped with baked eggs, and is commonly eaten for breakfast in Israel, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. I’m a huge fan of tomato-based dishes and always wanted to try a vegan version of it. No vegan restaurant ever served it, though, so I resorted to daydreaming about spoonfuls of tomatoey shakshuka.

    Because I want this blog to highlight how easy it is to eat culturally significant foods from around the world without straying from a plant-based diet, I figured it was time I stop waiting for someone else to make me a shakshuka, and just make one on my own. I researched authentic recipes and then came up with one on my own that catered to my tastes and needs. I’m excited to show people how easy it is to travel the world, tasting authentic cuisine, all while maintaining a vegan diet.

     

    Shakshukas are meant to be highly aromatic dishes with a spicy kick. I’m not in love with spicy foods (I can handle moderate spiciness but anything more than that makes my food unenjoyable) so I toyed around with some traditional recipes to suit my more mild taste. That being said, if you’re a spice fiend then feel free to add in one or two extra peppers or a bit more cayenne pepper to bring the kick up a notch. Additionally, traditional shakshuka recipes call for a sprinkling of fresh parsley on top (which I did) but I actually feel like fresh torn basil would taste better. If you’re not a fan of fresh parsley, feel free to sub for basil or simply omit the herbs altogether. 

    Shakshuka

    -1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes, with juices

    -1 yellow onion, halved and sliced thinly

    -2 jalapeno peppers, cored, deseeded, de-stemmed and chopped

    -1 red bell pepper, chopped

    -4 garlic cloves, sliced thin

    -7 or 8 slices of soft tofu about 3/4 of an inch thick

    -2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    -1 tbs paprika

    -1 tbs cumin

    -1/8 tbs cayenne pepper

    -salt and pepper to taste

    -fresh parsley or fresh basil for garnish (optional)

    -sliced bread or pita for dipping

    In a cast iron skillet, combine the olive oil, thinly sliced onions, and red bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the red bell pepper is tender. Next, add chopped jalapenos and garlic. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the garlic is tender and the jalapenos are fragrant. Slowly pour in the can of chopped tomatoes, including the juices. Then, mix in the cayenne pepper, cumin, and paprika. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. When the mixture has thickened into a saucy consistency, place the tofu on top of the mixture. Spoon some of the sauce on top of the tofu pieces and let cook for 7-10 more minutes. Once the tofu is soft and has absorbed a bit of the shakshuka sauce, remove from heat. Sprinkle fresh parsley or basil on top of the shakshuka. Serve with fresh bread or pita bread. Enjoy!

    By Devyn Howard

    Devyn Howard, Vegan Food Blogger

  • Kale, Strawberry and Avocado Salad

    What do you get when you combine sweetness, bitterness and bright colors? A delicious new recipe from Lee Holmes, founder of SuperChargedFood.com. This Kale, Strawberry and Avocado Salad, is is filled with veggies, berries and healthy fats which make a nutrient-dense meal suitable for anyone. Plus, it’s vegan, gluten-free, light, and delicious – a perfect addition to your spring meal lineup.

     

    Who knew healthy could taste so good?

    Kale, Strawberry and Avocado Salad with Speedy Jam Jar Dressing

    Serves 2-3

    Ingredients:

    Speedy Jam Jar Dressing

    Method

    • In a large bowl place lemon juice and olive oil and stir then massage it into kale leaves adding a pinch or two of sea salt. Keep massaging until leaves are soft and dark green
    • Add remaining ingredients and toss
    • To make the dressing whisk all ingredients together

    By Lee Holmes

    Lee Holmes, Gut Friendly Food Expert, Super charged foods, recipes, OMstars

  • Vegan Caesar Salad

    If you haven’t seen Natalie Prigoone’s series, The Great Uncooking, on OMstars – The Yoga Network, you are missing out. Luckily, Natalie shares a few amazing recipes on her own blog from time to time so that we can get a taste of the many new things she’s been cooking up. Give this Vegan Caesar salad a try, plus check out more amazing recipes by Natalie on OMstars.com, or check out her cookbook in the OMstars shop!

    This clever adaptation of a traditional Caesar dressing is actually quite close in flavour.
    Cashews replace the egg yolk and olive oil used in the traditional Caesar mayonnaise. Miso paste replaces the salty anchovies, and I’ve kept the flavours of lemon, garlic, and Dijon mustard.

    Ingredients
    1 cup of soaked cashews (5hours)
    1 tbs miso paste
    2 tsp Dijon mustard
    1/2 lemon juiced
    2 cloves garlic
    Splash of Tabasco
    Splash of Worcestershire sauce
    3/4 cup water

    Method
    Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth. Add the water last.

    Natalie Prigoone, Vegan Caesar Salad, Salad Dressing, OMstars

    This makes quite a lot of dressing so you can store the leftovers in the fridge and it use over the next feed days.

    Salad ingredients
    1 baby cos lettuce
    1/2 loaf of Turkish bread
    1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
    1 small clove garlic
    Salt and pepper

    Method.
    Slice Turkish bread (cross ways) thinly. About 0.5cm or thinner. Brush with olive oil and rub with garlic clove. Alternatively you can finely chop the garlic and place into the oil to flavour it.
    Bake or grill the bread until golden and crunchy. About 15 minutes. If you’re short on time you can pan fry the bread for a similar result.

    Tear up lettuce leaves by hand and scatter in a bowl. Do not cut the lettuce as it makes it go brown. Drizzle on the dressing and sprinkle lightly crushed croutons. Serve chilled.

    Tip: You could also try adding coconut bacon or vegan cheese, but I think this is pretty good as is.

    By Natalie Prigoone

    Watch Natalie’s Course On OMstars

    See More Recipes From Natalie

  • Mocha + Banana Smoothie Bowl

    Valentines Day was a little over a week ago, but we’re still craving sweets over here at OMstars.com, so for today, we’d love to share a super simple smoothie bowl that you’ll be able to whip up and serve in minutes! We got this super tasty Mocha Banana Smoothie Bowl recipe from Lee Holmes, founder of Superchargedfood.com. Check it out, then give it a try and let us know what you think!

    Ingredients:

    • 30 ml (1 fl oz) shot of espresso coffee or dandelion tea
    • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
    • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
    • 1 tablespoon Love Your Gut Powder (optional)
    • 1 frozen banana, sliced
    • 40 g (11F2 oz/1F4 cup) hazelnuts (or any nuts of your choice), soaked and roasted
    • 125 ml (4 fl oz/1F2 cup) Coconut Milk
    • 125 ml (4 fl oz/1F2 cup) Almond Milk, or other non-dairy milk of your choice
    • toppings of your choice, to serve

    Method;

    Pour the coffee or dandelion tea into a small bowl, add the chia seeds and let them sit for a few minutes. Transfer to a high-speed blender.

    Add the cacao powder, diatomaceous earth (if using), banana and hazelnuts.

    Pour in the coconut milk and almond milk and whiz until there are no lumps; the mixture can be quite thick. If your blender is struggling, add extra almond milk or water in small amounts to help it along.

    Pour the smoothie into a bowl or serving vessel; we’ve used half a coconut shell. Garnish with your choice of toppings — fresh banana slices, a sprinkling of mixed nuts and seeds, shaved fresh coconut, micro herbs — and dig in!

    By Lee Holmes

    See More Recipes By Lee Holmes

    Explore More Plant-Based Recipes on OMstars