Hey everyone! I am so excited for today’s post! I joined a fun blogging game of sorts, hosted by Andrew Olson of the One Ingredient Chef and Sam Turnbull of It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken! Aptly named the Vegan Mystery Box challenge, participants are presented with 3 mystery ingredients and then we have to make recipes that incorporate them into it. We can use other ingredients as well, it just has to have our 3 mystery ingredients. For this round, the ingredients were pistachios, cranberries, and coconut milk.
Let me just say, this was SO MUCH FUN. I asked all of my friends and family on their thoughts on what I should make, and of course ended up going with something entirely different. Their ideas inspired me though, and that is the whole point, to get those cogs in my head turning!
What did I create, you ask? Well, I ended up making a coconut pistachio cashew cheese, then piled it on seeded bread with a cranberry and orange juice sauce, added some fresh spinach and a coconut aioli, then pressed it all together to get nice and melty on a panini press. The result? A sweet and savory holiday sandwich that you will never forget. The title is a mouthful, as are all of the flavors you get in every bite. Some bites are more sweet from the cranberry jam, while others are more savory and crunchy from the hot cashew cheese. Mhmm, I’m excited to make another sandwich later on today! Which reminds me, that is the best part! You can make the sandwich ingredients ahead of time, then just heat up your panini press when you are ready to eat! Perfect for dinners after work or if you are hosting a holiday party, make a sandwich and cut it into 4’s. The colors are even red and green!
Did my excitement for this sandwich coming through in my words? I hope so! After you are done creating this delectable dish, try some of these other amazing concoctions below! With amazing ingredients like pistachio, cranberry, and coconut, the options are limitless! I know I am definitely trying a few of these out!
Vegan Cranberry Pistachio Loaf by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken
Magic Fruit Cake Bars with White Chocolate Drizzle by One Ingredient Chef
Cranberry Cheesecake & Pistachio Stuffed Vegan French Toast by Connoisseurus Veg
Pistachio Crusted Cranberry Cashew Coconut Cheese by Lemon and Coconut
Cranberry Pistachio and Mango Salad by Veggies Save the Day
Cranberry Cointreau Coconut Ice Cream with Candied Pistachios by Vegan Yak Attack
Cranberry Pistachio Donuts by Two City Vegans (Casey)
Cranberry Pistachio Gingersnap Truffles by Two City Vegans (Alix)
Warm Barley Bowl with Roasted Brussels, Sweet Potatoes and a Coconut Curry Dressing by Taste Space
Whole Wheat Cranberry Pistachio Vegan Biscotti by Veggie Inspired Journey
Toasted Pistachio Rice Pudding with Candied Cranberries by The Lazy Vegan Baker
Pistachio and Cranberry Cream Sandwich Cookies by Love Me Feed Me
Vegan Meringue Nests with Cranberry Coconut Whip and Crushed Pistachios by The Viet Vegan
Vegan Coconut Quinoa Salad by Beets Not Meats
Cranberry Orange & Pistachio Muffins With Vanilla Cream by A Virtual Vegan
Gourmet Lazy Cabbage Rolls by Choose to Cook
Sweet Potato Coconut Curry with Cranberries and Pistachios by The Tofu Diaries
Lebanese Semolina Pudding (Layali Lubnan) by Lands and Flavors
Vegan Chocolate Cranberry Cake by The Seasonal Diet
Jolly Bollywood Holiday Curry by Sexie Veggies
- For Cashew Cheese:
- 2 cups of cashews
- 1 cup coconut milk (from can)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbs nutritional yeast
- 1 cloves of garlic
- ⅓ cup coarsely chopped pistachios
- 2 tbs unsweetened coconut flakes
- For cranberry sauce:
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup orange juice (fresh or from carton)
- For Coconut Aioli:
- 3 tbs vegan mayonnaise
- 1-2 tbs coconut milk (can use leftover from can)
- For Rest of Sandwich:
- 4 Bread slices-I recommend using your favorite, seeded bread
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- Start by adding your 2 cups cashews to a small-medium bowl and covering them with 1 cup of coconut milk (or enough to just cover the cashews). Allow to sit for 8 hours or overnight.
- Once cashews are soaked, drain any excess milk (mine did not have any).
- Blend cashews along with garlic, salt and nutritional yeast in a vitamix, you will need to scrape the sides down to keep the process going. Add just enough water so that the cashews will mix, but use as little as possible.
- Scrape cashew mixture onto several layers of cheese cloth. Wrap cheesecloth around cashew mixture so that it forms a ball. Place ball in fridge suspended over a bowl, or in my case, I place a paper towel in a bowl and place the balled cheese cloth on top. I checked the cheese ball often to make sure the paper towel did not need changed out. The point of this step is to remove as much moisture as possible. Allow cheese ball to sit for 8 hours.
- After cheese ball has sat, remove ball from fridge. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove cheesecloth. If process is correct, cheese cloth should come off fairly easily. If too much moisture, this will not be the case. Do not despair. If so, you can still use it and even follow the rest of this recipe the same way, you will just have to scrape cheese mixture off of the cloth.
- Regardless of your texture, place cheese ball/mixture in an oven safe dish. If you have a firm cheese ball, coat the ball with the chopped pistachios and coconut flakes. If your mixture turned out too creamy, just swirl the pistachios and coconut flakes into the cheese.
- Place dish in oven for 30 minutes.
- While cheese is cooking, place a small sauce pan on stove on medium heat.
- Add cranberries and orange juice, bring to a simmer. Cook on simmer for 5-8 minutes, or until cranberries are reconstituted and orange juice is fully absorbed.
- Place ¾ of your reconstituted cranberries in blender, mix until smooth.
- Add pureed cranberries to remaining, whole cranberries. Put in a dish and set aside.
- Combine ingredients for coconut aioli in a small dish, stir and set aside.
- Once cashew cheese and cranberry sauce is complete, it is time to make your sandwich.
- Turn your panini press or grill on (your can also do this step on a stove top in a standard grilled cheese style.
- Create sandwich in this manner: bread< 1 tbs coconut aioli, ½ c spinach<1/4 cup cashew cheese<1-2 tbs cranberry sauce
- Place sandwich on panini press and toast for about 4 minutes or until bread is desired texture. Slice in half and serve immediately.
- you can use leftovers to make a few more sandwiches later too!