Berrylicious Non-Alcoholic Sangria

I love fruity, refreshing drinks! I can drink them any time, regardless of whether it’s hot or cold and rainy. This time, I decided to fancy up my soda game with berries. Btw: I drink only natural soda, so I decided to mix my favorite Bai Bubbles Bogotá Blackberry Lime with berries and lime juice. Et voilà - my super “Berrylicious Non-Alcoholic Sangria” was born! 

Ingredients:

½ cup blackberries
½ cup blueberries
½ cup raspberries
½ cup strawberries
3 tbsp agave nectar
¼ cup lime juice
3 cans Bai Bubbles Bogotá Blackberry Lime, chilled
Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Directions: 

Stir together lime juice with agave nectar, add berries and chilled Bai Bubbles Bogotá Blackberry Lime. Serve over ice. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Golden Millet Porridge with Fruits and Nuts

For many centuries, millet porridge has been a traditional favorite morning dish of Russians. It’s a gluten-free grain that’s high in antioxidant activity and is especially high in magnesium. Millet is incredibly versatile, as it’s great in breakfast bars, salads, sides and many other recipes.

The peculiarity of this grain is that it isn’t stored for as long as other, more common grains. Over time, the grain develops a bitter taste which does not allow for making tasty dishes from it.

Before you buy, make sure to check the expiration date! Purchase it in small quantities and preferably from a natural food store. Check its scent before you use it, as it shouldn’t smell rancid. Millet with an acrid and/or harsh aftertaste shouldn’t be used. Store millet in a cool pantry or refrigerate it.

Millet should always be washed before cooking. It usually requires rinsing up to six times or until the water runs transparent after washing. The water used for cleaning millet should be warm.

To cook 1 cup of millet, you’ll need 2-2½ cups of water. If you want to make creamier porridge, increase the amount of water (or vegan milk) to 3 cups.

Ingredients:

1½ cups millet; rinse well in warm water
3½ cups of almond milk or water
1 large pear cut into cubes
½ small honey melon with its seeds removed and cut into cubes
½ cup of fresh (or dried) cranberries
¼ cup of pistachios
¼ tsp. of salt
2 tbsp. of maple syrup
1 tbsp. of vegan butter

Directions:

Wash millet, add hot water and cook over a high heat. Remove the foam when it rises and add salt. Bring it to a boil.

After the water has evaporated from the porridge, add vegan milk. Reduce the heat, simmer over medium-low heat while stirring frequently for about 15-20 minutes, until it thickens.

Millet grains should be soft. Add more almond milk if the grains aren’t soft and continue to cook.

Add vegan butter, maple syrup, pear, honey melon, cranberries and pistachios. Serve hot or cold.

Vegan Russian Chilled Beet Soup "Svekolnik"

The second week in September comes to an end, but it's scorching hot in NYC, just like in mid summer. I thought my favorite chilled beet soup would be the best idea for lunch or dinner. It's nourishing, hydrating and super delicious! 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds (5-6 medium sized fresh beets, with stalks and leaves)

2-liters (1.75 quart) of cold water

2 tbsp raw sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

Freshly squeezed juice from one medium lemon

Sea salt and black pepper

To serve:

Finely chopped:

1 medium sweet potato

1 small cauliflower

2 medium carrots

1 medium cucumber

Fresh dill, parsley, scallion

4 medium radishes thinly sliced

Vegan sour cream 

Directions:

1.    Wash the beetroots (including the stalks and leaves) very thoroughly.

2.    Peel and chop the beetroots. Chop stalks and leaves into small pieces and cover with 2-liters of cold water. Add lemon juice and raw sugar.

3.    Bring to a boil slowly, then turn down the heat and very gently simmer for 15 minutes. It’s important that the soup doesn’t boil too rapidly.

4.    Season with sea salt and a little black pepper. Leave to cool until completely cold, refrigerate if necessary.

5.    Preheat the oven to 375 ℉ / 190 ℃. Toss the finely chopped sweet potatoes, carrots and cauliflower with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and toss again. Roast until golden about 15 minutes. Leave to cool.

6.    Add all vegetables to the cold soup. Serve with herbs and vegan sour cream.

Fluffy and Moist Vegan Red Currant Muffins

I always wanted to make vegan muffins that taste like real muffins, without any compromise. I've tried many recipes, but the result wasn't really satisfying. They were either too dense and moist or too dry.
 It took me a while to tweak this recipe. 
I have to admit, it's not the healthiest dessert I've done (although I used only organic ingredients), but I'd rather eat 90% healthy wholesome meals, make 10% exceptions and enjoy my life ;)
So here is my favorite red currant muffin recipe, you can substitute red currants with any other berries. I'm sure it will taste good as well. Hope you'll enjoy!

Serves: 10 muffins

Ingredients:

1½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
¾ cup cane sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
⅓ cup softened vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
1 mashed banana
½ cup non-dairy milk  
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh red currants

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Grease 10 muffin cups with coconut oil.

Mix vegan milk, sugar, mashed banana, vegan butter and vanilla extract.

Sift flour and baking powder over the moist mixture and stir until well incorporated.

Fold in red currants.

Divide the batter between the 10 muffin cups, they should be about ¾ full.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Vegan Vanilla Chia Pudding Topped with Fruits and Berries

It’s been so hot this summer in NYC, and my appetite decreased. I've been craving fresh cooling foods. 

Almond chia pudding is one of my favorite foods in summer. I can have it for breakfast, lunch or even for dinner. It's very nutritious and easy to make. 

I used to top it with all kinds of fruits and didn't seem to have any digestive problems. However after reading about Ayurvedic cooking I started reducing it just to berries. Also I stopped eating food directly from the fridge and started eating it just slightly chilled and it was refreshing enough.

Ingredients:

1 cup vanilla-flavored unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup vanilla-flavored (or plain) vegan yogurt
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup chia seeds
a handful various berries
½ peach or any other fruit (thin sliced)
¼ cup crushed roasted pistachios 

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, gently whisk the coconut milk, vegan yogurt, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, vanilla extract until just blended.
  2. Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes. Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled. 
  3. Let rest covered in the fridge overnight or at least 3-5 hours until it's achieved a pudding-like consistency.
  4. Serve with berries, fruits and pistachios.

Mostly Raw Vegan Coconut Cheese Cake with Red Currants

I love raw creamy vegan “cheese” cake filling, but since the raw nut/date crust is just too heavy and too sweet for my taste, I decided to substitute nuts and dates with oats, and it turned out super delicious! I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

Ingredients:
 
Filling:

2 cups pre-soaked cashews
1 ½ cups coconut cream (my favorite one is from Trader’s Joe)
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup lemon juice
½ cup light agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt

Crust:

1½ cup quick oats
½ cup almonds
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp light agave syrup
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Instructions:

  • Soak cashews for at least 4 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375℉ /190 ℃
  • Add oats, almonds, sea salt and coconut sugar in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. 
  • Line a 6-8 inch spring form pan with parchment paper.
  • Transfer to a mixing bowl, add agave syrup and melted coconut oil. Mix it with a spoon to combine until a loose dough is formed and not crumbling. If too dry, add a bit more melted coconut oil.
  • Transfer mixture to parchment-lined baking sheet. Press crust evenly down into your spring form pan.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  • Let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature, then transfer to refrigerator to let cool completely.
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  • Drain cashews and transfer into a food processor. Add lime juice and pulse until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add vanilla extract, coconut oil, agave and salt and blend very well, scraping sides often, until very smooth. Transfer to a high speed blender, add coconut cream and blend for extra smooth batter.
  • Pour filling over the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer. Tap on counter to remove air bubbles over your crust in your pan.
  • Place in the freezer for at least four hours. Remove from the freezer for 15 minutes before serving to allow it to thaw. Top with red currants and serve.