easy vegan sour cream (nut free, sugar free, gluten free)

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Today it’s easier than ever to eat a plant-based diet. There are so many products on the market and new ways of approaching food (think aquafaba) that it’s possible to eat your way through life without really missing the animal-based version.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy plant-based diet.

Take sour cream, for instance. A quick glance at the common store-bought brands and you’ll find ingredients like: maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, oils, gums and added sugar (whyyyyyy???). It’s this last one that has me turning to my own kitchen for a solution because even the “better” vegan sour cream brands contain added sugars – something that I avoid as much as possible ever since I detoxed from it several years ago. So while these store-bought products might taste closer to the real thing, they aren’t something I want to put in my body.

Which is why I decided to try a homemade version instead.

 

 

Instead of using tofu or cashews which many vegan sour cream recipes include as the main ingredients, I choose sunflower seeds since they are less allergenic and is budget friendly. As an added bonus, sunflower seeds are high in selenium which is an antioxidant and beneficial for thyroid health. I was excited by how well they worked for this easy vegan sour cream!

While it doesn’t taste like the “real” sour cream (I’d be lying if I claimed that), this easy vegan sour cream does add that same tangy creaminess to a meal without the side effects that come with eating dairy or sketchy ingredients from a lab. The key to a smooth sour cream is soaking the sunflower seeds overnight and using a high speed blender. I find it also is better when eaten within a week.

As a side note: Isn’t that jar the cutest? It’s a Weck Tulip Jar and I found it while thrifting for food props at my favorite thrift store in our area. Since I’m chalking that up as a rare find, you can find a set of them here. Also, if you want to see what I’m up to on more of a daily basis, I love sharing to Instagram stories (you can find me on Instagram here). And I’m also on Pinterest where I love pinning vegan recipes that catch my eye along with other healthy living and blogging-related topics. Click here to connect with me on Pinterest.

 

Ready to make this easy vegan sour cream? Here’s the recipe:

 

Sunny Sour Cream
Prep Time
5 mins
soaking time
12 hrs
 

An easy to prepare vegan sour cream that is nut-, added sugar- and gluten free and gives you a creamy tanginess to your favorite plant-based dishes.

Course: Condiment, Topping
Servings: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened organic soy milk*
  • 1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp, scant salt
  • 1/8 tsp apple cider vinegar (unfiltered is best)
Instructions
  1. Add the sunflower seeds to a glass bowl and cover completely with water (about 1.5-2 cups. Cover the bowl and let them soak overnight at room temperature.

  2. Drain and rinse and add to a high speed blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy, scrapping down the sides a few times.

  3. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge for up to one week.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: *If you prefer not to use or are allergic to soy milk, you can replace it with an unsweetened nondairy milk of your choice but you might need to adjust the other ingredients since other nondairy milks tend to be naturally sweeter than soy.

 

 

 

basic vegetable stock (vegan, sodium free, soy free)

Besides creating healthy yummy recipes, there are two things I love to do that go along with creating healthy yummy recipes: finding ways to save money and reducing waste.

This basic vegetable stock manages all three.

How? Glad you asked.

The genius of this vegetable stock is it’s simplicity…just save your scraps of onion, garlic, carrot, celery and wilted bits of fresh herbs, freeze them, then turn them into a flavorful stock. No hard and fast recipe needed, but here are a few helpful tips:

  • A higher ratio of onions and garlic will produce a more savory stock; carrots and celery one with a sweeter overtone.
  • It’s possible to include members from the brassica family (e.g. kale stems, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc.) but I personally don’t recommend it since they carry strong, and sometimes, bitter, flavors.
  • To keep your sodium levels in check, I prefer leaving out the salt in the stock. However, I would add freshly ground pepper or a up to a teaspoon of whole peppercorns. A few pinches of turmeric also works.
  • When you’re first getting in the habit of doing this, leave a designated veggie scrap container on your counter or even write yourself a reminder…there have been countless times when I meant to save my scraps only to toss them in the garbage out of forgetfulness.
  • I store my scraps in a designated bag (I reuse cereal box liners for this!) in our freezer and pull them out when I have enough for a large pot.
  • I usually freeze my stock in mason jars, but if you like sauteing with veggie stock (a much better option than oil…although I just use plain water), use an ice cube tray to produce convenient small portions.

 

There you have it…in one large stock pot, you have a flavorful base for soups and stews, get a bigger bang for your buck by using food parts normally pitched directly in the garbage, save money on buying pre-made stock and spare the landfill more container garbage. It kind of feels like being a superhero. But with an apron instead of a cape.

Last thing…in case you’re wondering if I do this all the time? No. Right now I try for once a month because sometimes life is just too busy or I don’t have enough scraps saved to make the stock needed in a recipe. For me, it’s about doing the best that I can…and keeping an emergency container of store bought sodium-free stock in my pantry for all those other times,

Penny-saving Basic Vegetable Stock
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

A simple stock to flavor your recipes and get extra mileage out of your vegetable scraps.

Ingredients
  • onion scraps
  • garlic scraps
  • celery scraps
  • carrot scraps
  • wilted herbs
  • peppercorns or freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 pinches turmeric (optional)
Instructions
  1. Collect enough vegetable scraps to fill at least one half of a large stock pot. Fill the pot with water up to about 2-3 inches below the pot rim. Add pepper corns and turmeric, if using. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 35-45 minutes or until all the vegetables are very tender.

  2. Place a vegetable colander over a second large pot or stock pot and carefully pour the cooked vegetable stock into the colander, making sure the stock is collecting in the pot below (and not running down the sides - it happens!).

  3. Either use immediately in a recipe or let cool completely before transferring into mason jars, ice cube trays or other storage containers.

  4. Freeze and use within 2-3 months.

 

 

 

date caramel (vegan, gluten free, no added sugar)

One of the hardest things I ever did was take on a three-month sugar detox several years ago. It took me more than a year to work up the courage to see it through, but once I finished it, I knew I never wanted to go back to my sugar-seeking ways.

Except the thought of not enjoying desserts again, especially for special occasions, was a bit of downer. Thankfully, I’ve learned that kicking the added sugar habit does not mean you can never treat yo’self.

In fact, it’s the opposite with recipes like this date caramel!

This no-added sugar alternative to traditional caramel sauce has the extra benefit of plant-protein (from the almonds) and copper, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin found in the dates. So rich and creamy but without the empty calories and energy rush…or crash. I could happily eat an entire jar in one sitting.

The key to this recipe is buying Medjool dates with the pits still in them (you’ll remove the pits before blending, of course). You may need to adjust the salt content depending on whether you’re using salted or unsalted almond butter and your personal preference (I used salted).

 

(contains affiliate links)

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • I usually buy my almond butter from Trader Joe’s, but click here for another option.
  • Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.

 

 

Date Caramel
Prep Time
10 mins
 

Rich and creamy and loaded with nutrients and plant-protein, this date caramel easily comes together to satisfy your sweet tooth, but without giving you a sugar crash.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 6-8 Medjool dates
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp (scant) salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Instructions
  1. Pit the dates and then add all ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender. Blend until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy, adjusting salt to taste. For a thinner sauce, add more almond milk.

Recipe Notes

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge.