Berry Cashew Pudding

cashew pudding with berries
Strawberry Cashew Pudding


  • 1 cup strawberries or blueberries (or try some other berries or fruit)
  • 1 cup raw cashews or macadamia nuts
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey (or to taste)

Soak the nuts for about 4 hours and drain. Blend all ingredients using food processor or blender until creamy and smooth. Serve immediately or chill. The original recipe suggests adding a little water, soymilk, or almond milk to facilitate blending if needed (I didn’t do this).

I’ve made this twice with blueberries (original recipe called for blueberries) and once last week with strawberries, as pictured.

Source: via Klara

Update in 2015: I made this again – it was delicious. This time I used frozen strawberries. Because they were frozen, my food processor took a long time to get them pureed. I then added some oat milk – that helped a lot with the pureeing process. I forgot the sea salt – I have no idea why they are in original recipe. I will ask Klara. And this time even my daughter liked this dessert – she has plans to serve it in beautiful wine glass topped with real fruit and bits of cereal (I will definitely skip that last one for me). Update on wine glasses: too tall. Next time we will try yahrzeit glasses (small little glasses of which we own an abundance). Note: the little glasses (we used yahrzeit glasses worked). Tip on using frozen fruit: let it defrost for about twenty minutes or more … that will help making the blending easier.

Mushroom Paté

Mushroom Paté with onions and walnuts
Mushroom Paté with onions and walnuts


  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms
  • 1 large onion
  • Olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • Sea salt
  • Spices or dried herbs (I used dried thyme once, fresh thyme another time – time for a thyme joke?)

Suitable for Passover or any time of the year one wants a tasty, easy to make spread, this mushroom paté (or mushroom dip or mushroom spread) can be made in a short time. Chop then sauté the onion in olive oil (add salt at the cooking point so it will absorbed well and not be so salty if added later). Add the mushrooms, chopped into pieces. Put the onions and mushrooms in the food processor, then add the salt and dried herbs. Turn on the food processor until the mixture is smooth. Add the walnuts – you can chop the nuts finely or in bigger chucks, as you prefer. Klara Levine, who gave me this recipe, suggested it should be the consistency of haroset.

Update in 2015: Klara says add the salt when sautéing the onions or mushrooms – cook salt into the food, never add at the end.

This was originally published on April 4, 2010. As an experiment, I am republishing it on April 9, 2015. Enjoy the rest of Pesach to all those who celebrate – and to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy spring.

Shepherd Pie – Vegan Version

mushroom shepherd pie
mushrooms on top of sheperd pie - bottom is turnips, middle is kasha and vegetables

It seems that a traditional shepherd’s pie is chopped meat, potatoes and vegetables piled in layers in a casserole dish. I re-found a delightful vegan version of this recipe in my Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. I served this vegan version to my company on Chanukah; it was well-received. However, I didn’t care much for all the potatoes in the dish. So I re-wrote the recipe using mashed turnips instead of mashed potatoes, and here is the result. You can try it on your own with either turnips or potatoes, whichever you think you may prefer. My friend Klara suggested you could also substitute sweet potatoes.

Ingredients for Potatoes/Turnips Layer (bottom layer)

  • 4 large turnips, cooked and mashed with the garlic cloves (or 3 cups mashed potatoes)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp. salt

Ingredients for Vegetables Layer (middle layer)

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. olive oil (or other vegetable oil or coconut oil)
  • 1 cup cooked cauliflower (or cooked broccoli or cooked brussel sprouts, chopped into pieces)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced red or green peppers (optional)
  • 1/2 cup kasha, cooked
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine or sherry
  • 2 tsp. oregano or marjoram or thyme (and/or fresh parsley)
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Mushrooms Layer (top layer)

  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. corn starch or potato starch (original recipe said corn; I always have potato starch available from Pesach, so I used that)
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. cold water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock (or stock from potatoes, if you used those instead of turnips)
  • ground black pepper to taste

Cooking and Assembling the Shepherd Pie

Bottom Layer: Cook the turnips covered in water. Add garlic cloves. Add salt toward the end. Mash the turnips at the end.

Middle Layer: While turnips are cooking, sauté the onions in the oil for about 5 minutes. Cook the kasha until tender. If vegetables (cauliflower, brussel sprouts and/or broccoli) are not yet cooked (I used leftover vegetables), steam until tender. Mix the onions with the kasha, cauliflower, carrots, and other ingredients for the middle layer.

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread the turnips in a lightly oiled baking dish. Layer the vegetables with kasha on top. Bake uncovered for about 15 minutes.

Top Layer: combine mushrooms, wine, soy sauce, herbs and stock in a saucepan and cook until mushrooms soften and release their juices, about ten minutes. Add the corn or potato starch and let it continue to cook, stirring until it thickens. Add pepper to taste.

Put mushroom layer on top of the baked bottom two layers. Garnish with scallions or parsley if desired. You can also cut the pie into pieces and put the mushroom “gravy” on top of each one, but I generally like my guests to take if they want, so it works better to have the whole dish in the middle of the table as a choice.

This shepherd pie can be a nice accompaniment to a meat or fish meal, or it can be a main dish alone if you have a guest who is vegan. Or maybe you just found out you are lactose intolerant and crave a casserole. As Ilana-Davita remarked that my last recipe on hummus might be more suitable to a summer post, here’s a tasty dish befitting a cold January evening.

shepherd pie layer - carrots, broccoli, onions, kasha
shepherd pie before the mushrooms are added on top: carrots, broccoli, onions, kasha

How to Sprout Brown Lentils

lentils sprouting
lentils in a jar turned upside-down so the water drains

I’ve been enjoying learning how to sprout brown lentils. I’m thinking of sprouting broccoli seeds next.


  • 1 mason jar
  • 1 screen lid (I bought this green Sprouting Strainer Lid from Amazon)


  • 1/2 cup brown lentils
  • 1 cup water

Place the lentils in the jar and screw on the screen lid. Let the lentils soak for about 12 hours. After that, drain and rinse out the lentils every 6-8 hours (I confess, I sometimes waited 24 though not on purpose and the lentils were fine). You drain the lentils into the sink and then rinse the lentils. You turn the jar upside down unto a plate and let it drain again. Repeat in about 8 hours. The lentils are ready when they sprout little tails (in about 3 days). You can then store them in the refrigerator. They will last for at least one week.

Why sprout?

  • It’s fun.
  • The lentils are tasty and add crunch to a salad
  • Of course, there seem to be numerous health reasons to sprout.

I covered the lentils with a sock to keep them out of the light. Most of the recipes seemed to suggest this is not necessary, so I left the sock out of the post. Here was one simple post I found that talked about sprouting in general.

Mock Chopped Liver with Lentils

mock chopped liver with lentils, onions, walnuts - vegan recipe
On Friday I made this version of a lentil paté that really does look like chopped liver, so I am calling this recipe “mock chopped liver.” I previously posted a recipe that I called vegetarian chopped liver – that one suggests eggs, and this one needs no egg, so it is suitable for vegans.

Ingredients for Mock Chopped Liver

  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • salt to taste
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • optional: ginger

Cook lentils until soft (add a bit of salt while cooking). Soak walnuts for about one half hour. Sauté onions for about one half hour – the lengthy sautéing helps to caramelize the onions, bringing more flavor to the recipe (if you stop after 15 minutes, it will still taste good). Blend lentils, walnuts and onions in the food processor with spices.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from Mary’s Lentil-Walnut Spread, Lentil Walnut Pate and my friend Klara.

I added this post to Ruth’s Real Food 101.

Warm Quinoa Pilaf

quinoa pilaf
The inspiration for this quinoa pilaf recipe was a quinoa recipe in the New Jersey Jewish News called Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate Seeds. I was planning to make it on Rosh Hashana; however, the pomegranates I bought were sadly under-ripe and the seeds bitter instead of sweet, so I chose to simplify the pilaf and use only sauteed onion and celery for flavoring. The recipe also called for walnuts, and we don’t eat nuts on Rosh Hashana (not everyone follows this custom). So I will post a list of optional ingredients for your quinoa pilaf at the end of this recipe post. My pilaf recipe follows what was on the Roland box more closely than the newspaper quinoa salad recipe.

Why Quinoa?

If you find yourself making rice for many meals, why not substitute quinoa at times? Quinoa has a delicious, mild flavor and cooks in 15 minutes flat–more quickly than rice. It supposedly richer than rice in protein, fiber, magnesium and calcium, and it is gluten free. I felt fortunate to find a box that was pre-washed (for Central Jersey locals, it was Roland brand in Stop and Shop with an O-U certification). Otherwise, one has to rinse off the naturally occurring bitter coating known as saponin. An advantage to quinoa is Ashkenazim may eat this grain on Pesach, so you will find me linking to this post in the month before Passover.

Quinoa Pilaf: The Main Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tsp. olive oil (or use coconut oil)
  • 1 stick chopped celery
  • 1 chopped onion

Optional Ingredients

  • chopped carrots – add with onions
  • chopped zucchini – add with onions
  • chopped or crushed garlic – add with onions
  • salt and/or pepper to taste – add with onions
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • fresh herb (dill, oregano, basil) – add toward the end
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds – add at the very end
  • 1/4 cup craisins (dried cranberries) – add at the very end
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 chopped scallion

Quinoa Pilaf: The Recipe

Assuming you have already rinsed the quinoa, boil 2 cups of water with or without a bit of salt, then add the quinoa. Saute the onions and celery (or not – you can just add chopped celery without the sauteing, if you prefer – the newspaper version just had you mixing in the celery with walnuts and olive oil). Mix with the quinoa and with any other optional ingredients (the newspaper version used craisins, pomegranate seeds and lemon juice). May be served with scallions on top.

I like the recipe warm, but I found it tasted OK cold as well. Also, I was able to reheat the dish easily.

More quinoa recipes:

Or maybe you want to try millet: Millet with Carrots and Zucchini

Creamy Chickpea Soup

chickpea soup
This chickpea soup can warm your soul, whether it’s summer and served cold or fall and served warm. I got the recipe from the Macrobiotic Recipes page on Facebook. The original author is Montse Bradford, and I added amounts and tweaked the recipe a bit.


  • chickpeas – 8 oz.
  • kombu (or a little bit of any kind of seaweed)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • garlic – 1 clove
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. miso

Garnish (optional): cucumber, bread croutons, parsley, spring onions.

How to Make the Chickpea Soup

Soak chickpeas overnight with plenty of cold water. Discard soaking water. Place chickpeas in a pressure cooker or a crock pot with the kombu and water completely covering the beans. Bring to a boil, discard any loose skins or foam that arises to the surface. Cook until till soft.

Saute separately some finely diced onion and minced garlic with some olive oil for 10 minutes. Add diced carrots and celery to the onion. Let it cook for 5 minutes, then add it to the chickpeas. Simmer for 15 minutes. Put the soup in the food processor (or use a stick blender) and blend for a short time, so it’s a bit chunky. Season to taste with some miso. Make sure to add the miso when it’s still warm – the miso will blend better with the soup. You can serve this chickpea soup cold or warm.

I garnished my soup with scallions.

Fermenting Experimenting

ferments in my kitchen
I’ve been experimenting with pickling and fermenting vegetables. I tried a macrobiotic recipe that just called for sea salt, water and kombu (seaweed) with vegetables, but I didn’t care for the result. Then I found a video that shows Sandor Katz teaching how he makes fermented cabbage. I tried it. We will eat the results on Friday night or Shabbat (I don’t care to wait a whole month). Sandor Katz wrote a book called Wild Fermentation. I ordered the book, and maybe after I read it, I will be able to explain why fermenting vegetables is good for you.

Notes: you do most of the work one day, and then a week or a month later you enjoy the results. That works well for those who like to plan ahead. Also, you will note both these videos talk about mold growing in the fermenting process (and Steve’s shows him throwing it away). Hmm, guess one has to get used to such things! My vegetables didn’t produce as much liquid as Sandor’s. But his recipe with cabbage, carrots, garlic and onion already tasted much yummier than the cucumbers in seaweed I tried last week. I hope to update you next week with photos of my finished product.

Sweet Vegetarian Stew

Adapted from Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World by Gil Marks
vegetarian stew
Gil Marks calls this “Moroccan Vegetable Stew for Couscous.” I used white beans and brown rice, and I left out the cabbage. I also changed the amounts and cooked it all in a crockpot. Still delicious!


  • 6 cups vegetable stock (I used water – I’m not one to make stock for a stew)
  • 12-16 baby carrots (or 6 big carrots, cut up)
  • 1 large onion, sauteed (the original recipe says 3 onions and doesn’t say sautee)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 stick of cinnamon (original recipe said 3)
  • 1 Tbsp. turmeric (the original recipe said only 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut up into pieces (or use butternut squash)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2 turnips, peeled and quartered (they look like potatoes in the finished dish)
  • 3 zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups cooked beans (original recipe said chickpeas – I used white Northern beans)

If you use dried beans, soak the beans overnight the night before you prepare the recipe. If you use a can of beans, add the can towards the end of the recipe. Cook the beans in your crockpot for a few hours until soft. Add carrots, sauteed onions, sweet potatoes and turnips and cook for another hour in the crockpot. Add spices, the zucchini and cooked beans (if you used canned beans – if you started with dried beans, they should already be in their cooking). Cook until zucchini is tender, about twenty minutes. Sprinkle the parsley on top at the end.

The original recipe says serve on couscous, but I served it on brown rice. Drizzle the liquid on top like it’s gravy.

Gil Marks suggests this stew as a dish to serve on Rosh Hashana (yes, the Jewish New Year is the next holiday on the Jewish calendar, unless you count Tu B’Av). I think of it as a summer stew, because you can get delightful fresh garden vegetables to include in the stew at this time of year.

Thursday Challenge: Fresh Slaw

cole slaw - fresh tekka - cabbage with carrots, ginger, orange, miso
The recipe for this dish of cabbage with carrots, ginger, orange, miso is here as Winter Slaw and here as Fresh Tekka. It is adapted from a macrobiotic recipe, and if I have the time, I make it once a week.

Thursday’s Challenge is “FOOD” (Meals, Restaurants, Eating, Vegetables, Unusual Foods, Cooking, BBQs,…).

If you really like food shots, see the apple pie in the previous post.