Friday, June 25, 2010

Lettuce Wraps filled with Lemon Marinated Veggies and Topped with Flavored Nut Cheese

Today has been a busy one for me. I had a few errands and need to check on the parents. By the time I got everything finished there wasn’t much time for cooking. When this happens I turn to salad, like I often do. I got some nuts soaking for nut cheese since two hours is enough soak time to make them easy to turn into cheese. At the same time I cut up veggies to marinate in lemon juice. Instead of making salad I decided to go with lettuce wraps tonight. However this works just as well as a salad if you prefer. Dan thinks it is easier to eat as a salad. ;-) Here is what I made tonight:

Parsley and Sun-Dried Tomato Macadamia, Cashew and Sunflower Seed Cheese
Makes 16 servings (approximately 1 ounce each depending on how much water is absorbed by the nuts)


1 cup macadamia nuts, soaked in water for at least 2 hours, and well drained
½ cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked in water for at least 2 hours, and well drained
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours, and well drained
1 lemon zested and juiced (less if you aren’t a fan of lemon)
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons white miso
6 sun-dried tomatoes, finely minced
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely minced


Drain the nuts and seeds well and place them in your food processor. Add the juice and zest from one lemon, garlic and white miso. If you aren’t a huge fan of lemon don’t use the zest and start with half the lemon juice but I think it needs the lemon flavor. Puree until the mixture is smooth. If you want it thinner add water a tablespoon at the time until you get the texture you desire. Stir the sun-dried tomato and parsley into the cheese. If you use the food processor you may get the parsley and tomato too finely ground resulting in a muddy appearance. This will keep in the refrigerator for at least 5 days.

Nutritional Information for 1/16th of the recipe:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 126.45
Calories From Fat (75%) - 95.1

Total Fat - 11.36g
Saturated Fat - 1.7g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 97.92mg
Potassium - 139.57mg
Total Carbohydrates - 5.31g
Fiber - 1.59g
Sugar - 1.38g
Protein - 3.07g


This is another variation of a mild nut cheese. I posted it to show that you can use many different nuts and seeds to make vegan cheese. I added sun-dried tomatoes and fresh parsley to this one to add a little flavor to an otherwise mild cheese. This recipe makes a lot of nut cheese. If you are single start with ½ or maybe even ¼ of the recipe.

Next Recipe: Lemon Marinated Veggies

One thing I have learned about food without added oil is that it needs flavor. Acid like lemon juice and vinegar works well. Adding a little garlic, ginger, sriracha also makes a big difference. Here is the remainder of the recipe:

Lemon Marinated Veggies for Lettuce Wraps
Serves 2


2 cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced into half moons
1 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded and cut into thin strips
2 carrots, thinly julienned
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 head romaine lettuce for wrapper
2 servings Parsley and Sun-Dried Tomato Macadamia, Cashew and Sunflower Seed Cheese from above


Combine all the ingredients except the romaine and nut cheese in your refrigerator. Stir periodically to make certain all the veggies get coated with the lemon juice. They need to marinate at least 2 hours so they absorb lemon and garlic flavor. Overnight would not be too long to marinate the veggies. I think they are just as good 24 hours later so you may want to make double which is what I do sometimes. To serve eliminate the excess juice so that your salad isn’t soggy.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 262.84
Calories From Fat (41%) - 107.99

Total Fat - 12.91g
Saturated Fat - 1.91g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 219.68mg
Potassium - 1565.5mg
Total Carbohydrates - 34.83g
Fiber - 13.5g
Sugar - 14.53g
Protein-  9.34g


This is a good hot weather dish. The components can be made the night before of in the morning so that all you have to do is put it together when you get home from work. If you are like my hubby you will prefer this as a salad. I like it as lettuce wraps. Either way it tastes great to us.

Fun Facts Friday:

Since I bailed on your guys last week on Fun Facts Friday I knew I shouldn’t overlook it this week. I have some interesting questions for you all today.

1. What is the most unusual food you have ever eaten, not limited to vegan food? I have eaten some pretty crazy stuff so this one is actually a tough question for me. I guess the strangest thing was cotton candy wrapped eel at the MiniBar in DC. Oddly it was excellent and not at all what you would have expected. The couple we were there with was also hesitant to try this but we all agreed it was strangely good. For those of you that can get seats at the MiniBar they can accommodate vegetarians but not vegans or at least that was the case the last time we were there. Just to be clear my husband and I spent the vast majority of our life as omnivores. I suspect many of the things we have consumed in the past would make most of you cringe that is not my intention, just answering the question honestly.

2. If money were no object where would you retire? For me it is Italy hands down. My heart belongs to Dan first and Italy second. Both Dan and I love our trips to Italy. The only problem is where in Italy and that is a very tough question. We love Tuscany, but the Veneto is gorgeous and the Amalfi Coast is so welcoming. I don’t know that we could ever actually narrow it down to one place. ;-)

3. How many fruit and vegetable servings do you eat on average per day? I have been chatting with some friends about this one a lot lately. I have read that most Americans only consume 3 servings of fruits and veggies per day (total not each) and most of those are in the food of potatoes which I don’t even count as a veggie that is a starch. *rolls eye* For years I have thought the minimum fruit and veggie servings per day should be 10 and many of my friends thought I was nuts. So I tracked our servings for a while to get an average. Excluding our fresh pressed juiced which adds many servings we are averaging about 20 servings a day. How about you? And, if you don’t eat a many vegetables and fruits why not? This is a question that has stumped me for a while so I would love to hear the reasons why not.

Vegan Friendly Restaurants in Indianapolis:

Dan will be in Indianapolis next week for a day and a half for work. Does anyone have any restaurant suggestions that would be good for one vegan and one omnivore? I found a few places on line that may work but was hoping one or two or you have personal experience with a restaurant or two in town.

Unrelated note:

As I mentioned today as a little hectic at our place which is why this is my first post of the day. Like all Fridays I needed to take care of the few things and check on my parents.

After I finished with my errands I got a chance to try out a small handheld vacuum I purchased to clean the carpet on our stairs of cat hair. Much to my surprise this little machine has great suction. It performed much better than I expected for the price. As you all know I have three long hair cat hair makers so our stairs tend to get a little fuzzy. This machine cleaned beautifully. If you own animals and need a hand held vacuum I can vouch for the suction on this machine.

The 2010 Dr. Greger DVD arrived today. If time permits the new DVD will be on my viewing schedule this weekend. I will let you know if I learn anything new and exciting.

For now I need to go clean my kitchen and do a little meditation with Dan. Talk to you all tomorrow.


  1. Mmm, love the marinated veggies with lemon and garlic. I like to use a variation for a quinoa cold salad that I make for work too and it keeps well.
    Fun fact Friday!
    1. Most unusual food is hard for me because I have not eaten that many unusual things in my life. I do have the reverse though - I have a list of things that I have never eaten and people find that unusual (I was an extremely picky eater!). I have never had bacon, scrambled, hard-boiled, omelets or any time of egg "on its own". I have never had a steak of any variety, pork chops, lamb or any red meat other than in hamburgers. Finally, I have never eaten any type of fish or sea creature. I was basically a vegetarian since birth lol.
    2. Somewhere near where I just moved on the west coast. There's an island for sale near us that's forested and beautiful and I would love to retire right now :) Off-grid and have a massive garden. Horses and all my animal friends and of course with my lover possum hubs!
    3. 10-20 depending on the day and the laziness/tiredness level (when I was at my worst I would barely manage 3 and I had so many health issues), but I tend to eat larger servings of the same veggies. For instance, I'll eat 5 different veggies or fruit in a day, but eat them in large quantities that constitute multiple servings per meal. I like to incorporate more always and I am working on expanding the variety because that is very important as well. Have a good weekend!

  2. 20 servings of fruit and vegetables a day!Wow! I don't think I could fit that many inside me!I probably get around 10 and I thought that was good:) I base my meals around fruit and veg but in order to get enough calories for me I find I have to make sure I get enough in the form of grains and fats probably to the detriment of my f+v intake. Emma

  3. Possum,

    I have been loving the lemon marinated vegggies recently and agree with you they are good with quinoa.

    Twenty years ago I was also a picky eater. Though I did eat meat. Your diet life long sounds much healthier than most. ;-)

    Your own island off-grid sounds perfect. I could definitely love that too. :-)

    I had times in my life when I didn't manage many veggies either and my health suffered as well. I believe eating veggies and fruit is the key to health. My reasons for not eating them were different than yours. I never liked veggies because growing up my mom was a horrible cook. She cooked veggies to mush, not appealing let me tell you. ;-) Though now I love veggies. We try to eat a variety of produce too, great plan!

    I hope you have a great weekend too,

  4. Emma,

    Twenty serving isn't as much as it sounds because a serving is so small (at least I think it is). We have a big salad for for lunch and dinner and typically a fruit smoothie or oatmeal with a lot of fruit for breakfast. I also snack on veggies and fruit and have fruit sorbet for dessert. The servings add up quickly. Though I agree that you are right that grains and nuts are necessary to get enough total calories. ;-)

    I hope you are enjoying your weekend,

  5. Those wraps look so good. We have some red leaf lettuce fresh from our garden that would be perfect for this actually. Hmmm, lunch ideas!

    I can't say I've eaten anything exotic, unusual, unique. Well, when I was a child I did try frog legs (makes my stomach churn now).

    I would retire to a beach somewhere - perhaps an Italian beach ;-)

    Oh, I think I get enough fruits and veggies for at least 2 people LOL.

    Hope you're having a great weekend so far.

  6. Heather,

    Of all the crazy things I have had I missed frog legs. Do you remember what they tasted like? I am just curious.

    I am in for the Italian beach. That works for me! Amalfi Coast here I come. We always try to end our Italian vacations there just before returning to Rome for the trip home.

    I knew you were a big veggie and fruit eater. ;-)

    hope you have a great weekend,

  7. I would say they tasted like chicken LOL b/c that is what everyone says. I don't even remember what chicken tasted like so I'm really no help!!

  8. Heather,

    LOL, that is what everyone says when they don't have an answer. *scratches head* I was just curious if you remembered since it was something I missed during my omni days.


  9. hey i really like this set of fri questions,

    id retire in calif, as of right now because i love it there, but i havent been to all the plces that i want to go to yet, so i cant say for sure

    the strangest food? huh,freeze dried ice cream? i know pretty

    and i eat a ton of sevings of veggies and fruits,lol! a whole bunch. i have no idea how many actual i have already had a small smoothie with blueberries strawberries and peaches, half a bag of cherries and half a small cantaloupe...i eat veggies later on in the day.


  10. Michelle,

    Freeze dried ice cream is new to me. I can't even imagine what that was like, LOL.

    California is beautiful, particularly on the coast. I am pretty fond of the San Francisco Bay area myself.

    Wow that is a lot of fruit so far. Good for you!

    talk to you later,

  11. Although I don't normally care for unusual food, I don't mind giving most things a try. Such as ostrich (yuk), buffalo (not bad), duck (depends how it's cooked), rabbit (nope), conch (good), frog legs (okay), and alligator (nope). I've probably eaten many more strange things that I didn't know about (and would rather keep a mystery) during my travels.

    We were semi-retired a few years ago with almost no limitations as to where to live. The financial aspect wasn't a big issue for us, since we were limiting ourselves to the mainland USA (but not the CA coast!). Choosing a location was harder than anticipated. Most people want to live near family, friends or a job. We didn't care to retire to the locations where our family and friends live, so we searched various areas within our preferred "climate zone" and other general preferences. We never did find that "perfect spot", so my husband took another job and we found a home near it, which is working out well for now.

    Gosh I sure wish we ate as many fruits/veggies as you guys! I can't imagine getting anywhere near 20, unless I'm way off on my idea of a serving size. Maybe we have 10-12 on a good day. Why not more? Cleaning/chopping/cooking, for one thing. Room in my tummy, for another! Granted I could make room by not eating some other stuff...

    I'm almost finished with the new Greger DVD and it has a few surprises, like brewing tea in cold water! I'll be interested in seeing your highlights.

  12. Laura,

    I love trying most new things but there are a few things I could never try, rabbit and horse to be specific. When I see something as a pet there is no way I could eat it. One other odd thing I had in France was chocolate covered grass hoppers (hated it doesn't even begin to describe it gross). Once was enough on the insects for this girl. *shivers*

    I think finding the right place to retire is hard. Dan and I had no problem choosing Italy but the question is where exactly. I don't know that we will ever figure that out. Each time we think we have it figured out we change our minds.

    We haven't always eaten this many fruits and veggies. This is something fairly recent. It helps to make frozen fruit sorbet (Dan loves banana and strawberry recently). We also eat big salads with lunch and dinner (sometimes breakfast). Then there are the veggie snacks with hummus or nut cheese. I did find that using the juicer almost doubled our intake on top of the 20 we chew. That is a great way to increase your intake if you are looking for suggestions. :-)

    I have watched the 2010 Dr. Greger DVD twice now, LOL. Guess who started cold brewing her green this morning? I will get my hands on that study so I can read the details.

    I also want to read the study about the comparison of those eating the western diet, whole food diet and raw diet in regard to blood beta carotene. That definitely caught my eye.

    The meat contaimination studies made me cringe. The more I read and hear the less likely anything remotely related to meat will ever touch my lips.

    talk to you later,

  13. I've managed to turn Fun Friday into Fun Tuesday... It doesn't sound as cool without the alliteration.

    1. The most unusual food category would depend on where in the country you're from. I've eaten everything from alligator to buffalo to moose to caribou to reindeer to ostrich. Even though I've tried all those, the dish I thought was most exotic (at the time I first tried it) was a pizza with tuna and corn as toppings. I don't even know where to start with cotton-candy-covered eel, though. I think that one takes the cake.

    2. I would retire in Colorado. I love it there and hope to get back there some day... Ah, sweet dreams of mountain landscapes. (P.S. I would choose Island of Capri in Italy.) :)

    3. You're a veggie rock star! I know I eat somewhere around the 10-serving mark, but I don't really count the number of servings because I think the definition of "serving" as per USDA standards are a bit skewed (on the small side). According to the government, I probably eat well over 10 servings a day, but I see what I eat as 2 or 3 really well-rounded servings.

    Hope you're having a great week!

  14. Jessie,

    Cotton candy wrapped smoked eel is a odd one. The chocolate covered grass hoppers were a close second. The bugs were gross, but the eel was actually good. Go figure. ;-)

    I do love the Isle of Capri. It is so beautiful and restful. I can smell the lemon blossoms, and lemon cello now, LOL.

    Our veggie consumption is a bit out of control. I sometimes worry that we may be eating too many veggies. I hope not. ;-)



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