A few weeks ago, my son and I went into New York City for the day. We grabbed brunch, went to a museum and walked a mini marathon’s worth of miles (as we always seem to) and then decided to stop for a late lunch.
We opted to try a restaurant called Peacefood Café that he had heard about and wanted to check out. It’s a vegan restaurant, but I hate to even label it because if half the dishes were served to you without you ever having read the menu, you would just think it was good food, period, and not give a second thought to it being vegan or otherwise. It’s easy to hear vegan and think soy milk and tofu and not quite as tasty as the “real” version, but today’s vegan recipes definitely avoid that stereotype. They are delicious recipes that just happen to be made using a different list of ingredients.
I said I wasn’t hungry (and I really wasn’t) but ended up getting a plate of roasted vegetables so I wouldn’t be sitting there watching my son eat his sandwich. But of course as long as I was looking at the menu anyhow, why not order a side of chick pea fries for the “table” as well? That of course translates into putting them in between the two of us and me eating the lion’s share. I think it was the dipping sauce that did it for me, but whatever the hook, I could have eaten the entire plate.
When we finished eating, I insisted I wasn’t getting dessert, but that I would happily take a bite (or three) of whatever he ordered. He opted for the key lime pie, which I happen to love so that was a win-win. If you’ve made key lime pie before you know that the only thing vegan about it is the limes so I looked at the menu to see what the ingredients were (as each menu item has them listed below it) and was intrigued to see that the magic ingredient in making the pie creamy and green was, of all things, avocado.
I was a little skeptical when the pie came to the table even though it looked like key lime pie, but I took a bite and honestly, it was delicious. While it was sweet, it was not overly so which I prefer and the lime flavor was amazing. And other than adding creaminess to the texture, there is nothing “avocado-y” about it at all (in case you were wondering).
Because I love to bake and cook I am forever going home and trying to recreate foods that I have had at restaurants and the internet makes this very easy. I found three other versions of this pie and after tweaking it a bit I ended up with my own version that I really love.
One of my favorite “tweaks”, hacks, cheats… whatever you want to call it, was to boil the cashews required for the filling in lieu of soaking them overnight. I think I am a really good cook, but I don’t often remember to prep things the night before. Am I the only one who sees a recipe and wants to make it NOW? I went with the assumption that soaking them was supposed to soften them and decided that boiling them would do the same thing. If that was the wrong assumption please don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. The pie tasted great and the cashews became smooth. That’s all that matters to me!
This is one of those recipes that takes a little longer the first time, but then is a snap after that. Luckily for you, I did all the trial and error, so you can just whip it up and enjoy, because it really is worth making. The best part? Aside from those cashews I boiled, there is no cooking involved, just a lot of blending so get your favorite mixer out and a few spatulas at the ready and you’re good to go.
In the end, I “unveganed” the pie (I’m pretty sure that’s a word) by putting some whipped cream on the side. How you eat it is up to you!
- 1-1/2 cups almonds
- 1 cup of hazelnuts
- 11 tablespoons of coconut oil, divided
- 1/3 cup pitted dates, sliced
- 1 cup cashews, slow boiled for 15 minutes
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 2 avocados, ripe and sliced
- 6 limes, zested and juiced
- Place almonds and hazelnuts in blender and pulse until finely ground (a bit coarser than graham cracker crust texture). You will need to scrape sides and bottom in between pulsing.
- Add 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and pitted dates and pulse until blended and sticking together.
- Empty blender contents into a 9″ pie plate and, pressing firmly on base and sides, evenly distribute the crust. Place crust in refrigerator when done to chill.
- Blend cashews, agave nectar and remaining coconut oil until smooth and then add the avocados, lime juice and zest until fully mixed and creamy.
- Pour filling into pie crust and place back into the fridge to chill for at least a few hours.