Vegan Tapenade

According Wikipedia, tapenade is a dish consisting of puréed or finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil. There are many flavors and styles. Here is my simple, easy vegan version:

  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1 cup olives (any variety, I usually use 1 jar of Mediterranean Organic kalamata olives)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dry parsley
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until desired consistency. I prefer it a little  chunky. Serve on whole grain crackers or bread. Voila! Very quick, tasty appetizer.



I am very excited about this recipe! I wanted to make an appetizer type thing that would be enjoyable to non-vegans. I love my cashew cheese so I thought that maybe I could make a cashew cheese ball. It worked! This is officially approved of by cheese eating friends.

  • scant 1/4 cup dry roasted almonds (to roll in when finished)
  • 1 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh chives (cut into bits)
  1. Soak cashews in water for about an hour prior to beginning recipe.
  2. Use a food processor to pulverize the almonds. Spread almonds on a dinner plate.
  3. Drain and rinse cashews. After rinsing, drain well. You don’t want extra moisture on them.
  4. Add cashews to food processor. Process until smooth.
  5. Add salt and process.
  6. Add lemon juice slowly. Watch the consistency. It needs to be moldable, not too thin. Use less juice to keep it dryer. It will solidify in the fridge.
  7. Lastly add fresh chives, and process lightly (too much and it will be a green spread, still tasty, but odd).
  8. Scoop out “cheese” with your hands and roll into a ball. It will be oily and soft. Roll the ball in the almonds.
  9. Place on a plate and cover with a bowl. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, over night is best.
  10. Spread on crackers or crusty bread.
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This cheesy sauce is so good, I think nonvegans could be fooled. Before going vegan, I used to love mixing salsa with Velveeta cheese (talk about heart attack on a plate), and this recipe is reminiscent of that unhealthy treat. Nutritional yeast is full of healthy vitamins, minerals, and protein so this cheese sauce is like a health food (don’t tell your guests).

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (not bread yeast)
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (or water)
  • 1/4 cup of salsa
  • 1 teaspoon of Earth Balance buttery spread (optional)

Mix dry ingredients in a small sauce pan. Add milk, whisk well. Heat over medium low (4 out of 10 on my stove), stirring constantly. Heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add salsa and Earth Balance. Stir and heat for another minute. Serve as close to immediately as possible. If you need to put it on hold and keep it hot, turn to the lowest setting and stir often, add more soy milk if it thickens. We love it on tortilla chips, rice, veggies; really it is good on EVERYTHING!

This recipe makes about one cup of sauce. One half of this recipe contains 103 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein.

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Easy Chickpea Purée Pitas

This chickpea purée/mash/spread (not sure what to call it) packed into a pita makes a scrumptious high protein, low-fat lunch. My mom used to make egg salad with celery seed so according to my taste buds this recipe has a vague resemblance to egg salad in a pita (of course it has been years and years since I actually ate egg salad so it might just be me).

  • 2 cups of cooked chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Place all ingredients into a food processor. Process until smooth. If too thick add about a tablespoon of water and continue to process. This recipe makes about 1 3/4 cups of purée. One half cup of the creamy spread has 154 calories, 2.3 grams of fat, 0 sat fat, 0 cholesterol, and 8.6 grams of protein. I like Ezekiel Pocket Bread because they are yummy, oil free, and one whole pita has only 100 calories, .5 grams of fat, 0 sat fat, 0 cholesterol, and 7 grams of protein.

Note about Chickpeas: After using canned chickpeas a few times to make hummus, I decided to save money and packaging and buy organic dry chickpeas. I made them in my pressure cooked (see my pressure cooker directions). Once pressurized, I cooked them on low for 20 minutes. Home cooked chickpeas are soooo much better than canned!!! I couldn’t believe the difference. I once thought chickpeas were okay, but now I love them. Also, in using home cooked beans, I found I can completely eliminate the oil in hummus.


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1 cup of raw organic cashews
1 tablespoon of fresh organic lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt


  1. Add cashews and salt to food processor. Process until almost a fine powder.
  2. Slowly add lemon juice until you reach the desired consistency. Do not over process.

If you want dry and crumbly cheese, like Parmesan, don’t add all the juice. If you want creamy, spready cheese, add all the juice and maybe more. You can also adjust the consistency by how much your process the cashews.

(Chet has a special technique. First he processes the cashews and salt. Then as the processor is spinning, he simultaneously adds the lemon juice as he turns off the processor. The processor whirs to a stop, barely mixing the cheese. This makes the cheese very close the the consistency of Parmesan cheese.)

I like this cheese on EVERYTHING!! It is great on pizza and rice and vegetables, but use with caution. A cup of cashews has 680 calories!

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