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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Vegan Grilled "Cheese" with olive tapenade and sunflower cheese



Cheese is one of my favorite things on the planet.  But after lots of reading about nutrition, I've come to realize that dairy is not so great for you.  So dairy milk was swapped for almond or coconut milk, Greek yogurt for coconut yogurt, and cheese for.....nothing.  Sad face.  Unfortunately I'm not a fan of the vegan cheese in stores, to me they taste nothing like cheese.  Most of the time I add other healthier ingredients to make up for the missing cheese taste.  On my favorite lunch-black bean and cheese tostadas, I found salsa verde mixed with guacamole gave me that same sour and fatty taste.  Parmesan free pesto with a squeeze of lemon is good on pizza.  And yes I do cheat sometimes and eat dairy (restaurants, when we have company, etc.), but I try really hard to avoid it at home.  But you can't make a grilled cheese without cheese.  So I've been making this sunflower seed cheese, which is much better for you than dairy.  The seeds contain calcium, magnesium, and copper.   The vitamin E in them makes your skin glow, and they're a good source of selenium and antioxidants.  Paired with the sharp taste of the olives, I trick myself into thinking I'm eating a grilled cheese for lunch.  Just a little less gooey one that is.


Ingredients

3 Tbsp. sunflower seed cheese (recipe below)
1/4 cup marinated mixed olives, chopped (or save yourself some time and buy pre-made tapenade from the deli)
2 slices of Gluten Free or whole grain bread
Melt spread (or butter)
*Melt is a spread made up of coconut and other healthy oils and has nothing to do with margarine!



Sunflower Seed Cheese:
2 cups  raw sunflower seeds (ideally soaked for 2 hours, then drained)
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup water
 
Add all ingredients to food processor and mix until smooth.  The consistency should be a little thicker than cream cheese.

 
Spread the 2 slices of bread with Melt or butter.  Lay 1 slice on the pan with the olive tapenade on top.  Put 3 Tbsp.'s of the sunflower cheese on and top with the other slice.  Cook over medium until browned on both sides and warmed throughout.










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