Today, we have a guest post from Lisa Pitman over at Vegan Culinary Crusade! We will be launching a Blog Event for the month of March about Self Love. Let us know if you want to contribute a guest post- we are looking for submissions now.
I have always had an independent streak. As a child I was a petite powerhouse, leading the neighbourhood in great adventures and theatrical products. I learned early on that listening to my body and celebrating my intuition could have significant benefits for my health and wellbeing.
It is easy to hear your body when it is screaming loudly!
I was a very sick little girl. For the first six years of my life I struggled with digestive problems and stomach pain. In my baby book my Mom documented my reactions to eggs and dairy. She visited many doctors, who all believed that I would grow out of my "allergy" and should continue to consume milk, eggs and meat.
My Mom tried to adhere to their advice but she knew there was something wrong. She took me for tests and finally discovered that I don't have the enzymes that digest animal protein. The doctor prescribed an enzyme supplement that would aide my digestion. At six years old I thought about a lifelong diet of pills and decided instead to listen to my body and stop eating foods that were making me sick.
Eliminating animal foods from my diet changed my life overnight. I was free of pain and had more energy that I could have imagined (and my mother could handle). Until I started to consume the foods I craved - platefuls of fruit and huge salads (yes, even at six I was begging for salads), I didn't know what it felt like to be healthy. Today, after almost three decades of eating a plant-based diet I feel so much gratitude to the fuel that makes me feel fabulous everyday.
As a child it was easy for me to be satisfied with simple meals. I had no appreciation for artisanal cheeses or sweet souffles. But today, many of my friends struggle with symptoms of sensitivities and intolerance to the foods they crave. I love to tantalize their tastebuds with delicious delights I've discovered over a lifetime of eating well. There is nothing more satisfying than sharing food with friends that you know will nourish them.
These rolls are perfect for a special dinner party. The presentation is elegant and the flavours are vibrant.
Zucchini Rolls with Cashew Cheese and Marinara Sauce
2 zucchini sliced thin, lengthwise
2 cups cashews, soaked 2-4 hours, rinsed and drained 1/2-1 cup water 2 TBSP fresh basil, minced 1 tsp garlic, minced ½-1 tsp sea salt 2 tsp nutritional yeast
a pinch crushed red pepper flakes 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
1. In a blender, pulse the cashews into a fine meal. Add the water, a little at a time, to achieve a smooth texture. Place in a jar or bowl, covered in a clean towel and let sit in a warm place overnight or up to 24 hours. The cashews should take on a fermented smell and a slightly sour taste when ready. 2. Transfer the the cashew cheese to a mixing bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients.
Red Pepper Marinara
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 1 hour in warm water, drained
1 roma tomato, seeded and chopped ½ shallot, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice 2 tsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt ½ red pepper, seeded and chopped
½ tsp Italian seasoning (or dried oregano)
1. Process the ingredients in a food processor until well incorporated. The texture should be like a chunky tomato sauce.
1. On each plate lay out three strips of zucchini - slightly overlapping each one.
2. Add 2 TBSP of cashew cheese across the bottom edge of the zucchini.
3. Roll the edge of the zucchini up and over the cashew cheese (like rolling sushi) and continue to roll the length of the zucchini strips.
4. Drizzle with marinara sauce.