Activated Nutty Paleo Porridge (Gluten Free Vegan)

Activated Nutty Paleo Porridge (Gluten Free Vegan)

Nutty Paleo Porridge

 

This nutty paleo porridge is hands down my favourite breakfast at the moment. I love traditional oat porridge but in keeping with a paleo/grain-free diet, it’s not been an option. As winter’s set in, warmer breakfasts are so much more appealing, yet after a while, eggs and the usual accompaniments started to lose their appeal. After seeing yet another delicious picture of porridge on Instagram I decided there must be a way to create a grain free style porridge too…

And guess what?! Turns out I wasn’t the first person to have that thought.

After a quick look at the encyclopaedia of google, I discovered a couple of paleo porridge recipes and they were all pretty simple. Just blend dry nuts and seeds together, add some liquid and cook until porridge consistency. What immediately occurred to me was none of the recipes included activating the nuts and seeds. Knowing that a simple bit of soaking time can make nuts and seeds much easier to digest, and their nutritents more readily available, it seemed crazy not to try and incorporate this into a porridge.

Nuts and seeds contain naturally occurring substances such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that stop them from spontaneously sprouting and becoming plants. By soaking nuts and seeds in water, the phytic acid is removed and the enzyme inhibitors neutralised. Phytic acid prevents our bodies from absorbing minerals in the digestive tract, and enzyme inhibitors stop our body’s own enzymes from working properly and breaking down food. By removing these inhibitor substances, you enable your body to absorb and assimilate the nutrients from nuts and seeds much more easily.

Soaking nuts and seeds for my paleo porridge therefore seemed like a no brainer!

There were a few catches, however. Nuts and seeds require different soaking times which seem to differ according to the information source. After researching my favourite health guru’s soaking time guides, I realised that soaking times are just that, a guide. The general rule seems to be that soaking overnight is fine for most nuts and seeds. If you’re in a hurry, there are minimum times you can soak various nuts and seeds for to ensure you’re removing the unwanted substances and unlocking the nutrition inside. For example almonds need the longest time of 10-12 hours and cashews the shortest of 2-4 hours.

So for the ease of this recipe (and because no one wants to stand around the kitchen soaking nuts and seeds all day) I suggest you simply soak them all overnight. To save even more time, you can soak up to 3 days worth of nuts and seeds ahead of time and keep them in the fridge to be used as needed.

If the idea of soaking your porridge ingredients every few days sounds like something you just wont do, or if you’re not too fussed about whether your porridge is more digestible and nutritious, simply skip the soaking step and go straight to the blending and cooking. Your porridge will taste equally delicious!

 

Nutty Paleo Porridge

 

When you’ve gone to the effort of soaking nuts and seeds for this porridge, it’s worth considering the effect heat can have on all the unlocked live enzymes and nutrients. To keep them all intact, ideally the ingredients shouldn’t be heated over 46ºC, which is still a deliciously warm temperature for a porridge. As not everyone has the time to stand over their porridge with a thermometer every morning, my recommendation is to place the porridge in a pan over low heat and stir continuously until it’s just warm to touch. By keeping the porridge temperature below 46°C it’ll also be the perfect temperature to eat straight away, which is especially helpful when serving little ones.

One more ingredient I need to mention in this nutty paleo porridge are flaxseeds. When soaked in water they take on a gel-like quality which creates the amazing porridge consistency in this recipe. But beware, if you soak flaxseed ahead of time with the other nuts and seeds and store them in the fridge until needed, the gel-like quality disappears and your porridge won’t be nearly as thick and creamy. For this reason, I recommended keeping the flaxseed separate and soaking them for 15 minutes just before you make the porridge. Too much heat will also destroy the flaxseed gel quality which is another reason not to overheat this porridge.

If you choose not to soak your porridge ingredients, simply combine the flaxseeds with the rest of the nuts, seeds and liquid let the porridge sit for a few minutes before blending and heating.

My last tip for this porridge is to blend the ingredients in a food processor. A food processor will grind the ingredients into crumbs whereas a blender will turn them into a fine powder which doesn’t create a good porridge texture. If you consider how traditional oat porridge is made, i.e. with oats that are a little chunky, this will make sense.

To flavour this nutty paleo porridge I love spices such as ground cinnamon and cardamon, a chai spice mix or fresh ginger and turmeric. If spices aren’t your thing, vanilla is another great option or you could go the chocolate route with raw cacao powder and a little natural sweetener. I usually cook this nutty paleo porridge with water, but nut or coconut milk also work well and create an even creamier result.

As with any porridge, toppings are only limited by your imagination. Most days I’m in a hurry so my toppings aren’t that exciting (if present at all). For a completely sugar free porridge I sprinkle it with coconut flakes, cinnamon, chopped nuts and some greens superfoods powder.

If fruit and natural sweeteners are on the menu then the possibilities are endless! Roasted tamarillo or stone fruit, fresh fruit such a berries or kiwi fruit, coconut, chopped nuts, bee pollen, freeze dried fruits, a drizzle of honey or pure maple syrup are all amazing options. 

 

Now, I’d love to hear from you!

What are your favourite porridge flavourings and toppings?

Leave me a comment down below, I can’t wait to hear!

 

Nutty Paleo Porridge

 

Nutty Paleo Porridge (grain free)

Serves: 2
Prep time: 20 minutes Soak time: overnight Cook time: 5 minutes

1/4 cup raw almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup brazil nuts
1 Tbsp sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp whole flaxseeds (linseeds)
1 cup filtered water or milk of choice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamon

To soak the nuts and seeds overnight, place all except for the flaxseed into a bowl and cover with filtered water. Leave the bowl covered at room temperature overnight (approximately 8 hours). The next day, drain and rinse well and they are now ready for use. If you want to get ahead and batch soak, combine enough nuts and seeds for up to 3 days worth of porridge, soak, drain and rinse, then store in the fridge for a maximum of 3 days, rinsing well before using.

To make the porridge, place the soaked nut and seed mix in the bowl of a food processor and add the flaxseeds, liquid and spices. Leave to stand for 10-15 minutes to allow the flaxseed to gel up, then blend until the nuts and seeds resemble coarse crumbs within the thickened liquid. At this point the porridge should be the ideal consistency, so its just a matter of warming it up.

Place the porridge into a pan set over low heat and stir continuously until the porridge is warm (take care not to boil or you’ll destroy the activated enzymes and nutrients and alter the consistency). If the porridge is looking a little thick adjust it by adding a little more liquid.

Pour the porridge into a serving bowl, sprinkle with your choice of toppings and serve immediately, while warm.

Topping Suggestions

Coconut flakes
Raw cacao powder
Super greens powder
Chopped nuts
Cinnamon
Pure maple syrup
Raw honey
Date syrup
Chopped medjool dates
Bee pollen
Edible flowers
Fresh fruit
Freeze dried fruit
Roasted tamarillos or stone fruit: place whole fruit in a roasting dish into a preheated 160ºC fan oven for approximately 30 minutes until soft. Allow to cool then cut in half and remove any stones.

 

Nutty Paleo Porridge

 

 

Raw Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Cake

Raw Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Cake

Raw Strawberries & Ice Cream Cake

 

Even though Strawberry season is supposed to run until the end of February in New Zealand, there don’t seem to be many strawberries in the stores now so I thought I’d better hurry up and post this raw strawberries & cream ice cream cake recipe! That said, you could easily use frozen strawberries for this recipe or if you’re not a strawberry fan, raspberries would work really well too.

This recipe started out as a raw cheesecake, but as it’s been so hot over the past few weeks we kept eating it while still frozen, and I realised it was actually a pretty amazing strawberry ice cream cake! Of course, minus all the dairy, eggs and refined sugar. So it’s entirely up to you how you eat this raw dessert cake and what you choose to call it.

It has a base of cashew nuts which need to be soaked for a minimum of 2 hours beforehand (see notes at the bottom for more about soaking nuts), but that’s about the hardest part to this recipe. You’ll need a food processor to blend the ingredients for the “biscuit” base, which is made largely from almonds, coconut and dates. Ideally you’ll also need a high speed blender for the strawberries & cream filling, however, if you have a really good food processor I think you would get a good result with that too. The main thing is ensuring the filling ingredients are blended finely enough so that you don’t have chunks of cashews and strawberries throughout.

 

Raw Strawberries & Ice Cream Cake

 

To decorate this strawberry ice cream cake I made a raw strawberry sauce by simply blending fresh raw strawberries with a little pure maple syrup (see the note at bottom on how to choose a good maple syrup). If you have lovely sweet strawberries by all means leave out the maple syrup! Be generous as you pour this raw strawberry sauce over the cake and let it drizzle down the sides, then top with more freshly sliced strawberries. If it isn’t strawberry season when you’re making this then you could easily decorate it with freeze dried strawberries and edible flowers instead.

If you decide to eat this as a frozen dessert, keep in mind once you decorate it you can’t easily freeze it again as the fresh strawberries on top will turn very icy and the freeze dried ones will go soggy. That said, you’re probably not going to need to re-freeze it as it’s likely to be eaten well before then!

I hope you give this saucy little ice cream cake a try, and if you post any of your creations to Instagram or Facebook I would love to see them, tag me @swoon.food #swoonfood. Enjoy!

 

Any questions or comments about this raw strawberries & cream cheesecake?

Ask me in the comments below, I love to hear from you!

 

Raw Strawberries & Ice Cream Cake

 

Raw Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Cake

Makes:  1 x 8″ cake (or 12 mini cheesecakes)
Prep time: 40 minutes  Soaking time: 2-4 hours  Chill time: 1 hour

Base

1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup raw almonds
pinch pink himalayan salt
6 medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp coconut oil, gently melted (see note below)

Vanilla Cream Filling

1 cup cashews, soaked
1/2 cup nut milk or coconut milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 vanilla pod, scraped (or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder)
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, gently melted (see note below)

Strawberry Filling

1 cup cashews, soaked
2 Tbsp coconut milk
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, washed & hulled
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (see note below)

Start by soaking the cashew nuts. Place 2 cups of raw cashew nuts in a bowl, cover with filtered water and leave to stand for 2-4 hours. Drain off the water and rinse the cashews well.

Line an 8 inch springform tin with either non-stick paper or cling film (or for mini’s a 12 hole standard muffin pan).

To make the base, first gently melt the coconut oil by placing it in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of steaming water with the heat turned off (see note below). You might like to melt all the quantities of coconut oil together at this point and measure them out as required.  Place the desiccated coconut, almonds and salt into a food processor and blend until the mixture resembles chunky crumbs. Add the medjool dates (ensuring you have removed the pitts!) and blend until they are well combined. Test the mixture by pressing between your fingers, if it doesn’t stick together add another date. Lastly add the melted coconut oil while the motor is running. Press the mixture into the lined 8″ tin (or if making mini’s, a spoonful of mixture into the bottom of each muffin hole). Place the tin in the fridge to chill.

To make the vanilla cream layer first gently melt your coconut oil if you haven’t already. Place the 1 cup measure of soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the nut or coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. Blend until smooth, you may need to use your blender stirring stick to ensure it’s evenly blended. This should blend really easily but if you do find it taking a little longer make sure you don’t over heat (i.e.cook!) the mixture as the blender blades can create a lot of heat. If it starts to feel warm place the jug in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. When the mixture is smooth add the melted coconut oil gradually through the top while the blender is running. Pour the vanilla mixture into the 8″ tin (or divide between the muffin holes) and smooth the top. Place back in the fridge to chill while you make the strawberry layer.

To make the strawberry layer, gently melt your coconut oil if you haven’t already. Place the 1 cup measure of soaked and drained cashews into a high speed blender (e.g. Vitamix/Blendtec) along with the strawberries, milk, maple syrup and salt and blend until smooth. You may need to use your blender stirring stick to ensure it’s evenly blended. This should blend really easily but as above, if you do find it taking a little longer make sure you don’t over heat (i.e.cook!) the mixture as the blender blades can create a lot of heat. If it starts to feel warm place the jug in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. When the mixture is smooth add the melted coconut oil gradually through the top while the blender is running. Gently pour the strawberry mixture on top of the vanilla layer and use a spoon to swirl the two together. Cover the top with cling film and place the strawberry ice cream cake in the freezer to set, approximately 1 hour.

To make the fresh strawberry sauce, place the strawberries and pure maple syrup into the blender and blend until smooth.

To serve, remove the cheesecake from the tin and peel off the paper or cling film. Place on a serving plate, drizzle with strawberry sauce and decorate with freshly slice strawberries. This ice cream cake will keep 1 month in the freezer if well sealed, and once defrosted it will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days in a sealed container.

 

Raw Strawberries & Ice Cream Cake

 

Note on activating nuts: activating is the process of soaking nuts (or seeds) in water to remove the natural inhibitor enzymes on their skins to make them more digestible. The cashews in the cheesecake filling of this recipe are therefore activated. If you also wanted to activate the cashews and almonds in the base for this recipe they would need to be soaked and then dried. Ideally this would be in a dehydrator at 41ºC for 1 1/2 – 2 days, or in an oven on the lowest fan bake setting with the door ajar for about a day. The aim is to keep the nuts below 41ºC so the nutrients remain unaffected by heat and the food still deemed raw.

Note on melting raw ingredients: to ensure ingredients remain in their raw form and their nutrients fully intact, they must not be heated above 41º. When melting raw coconut oil or raw cacao butter, do so by placing the bowl of ingredients over a pot of steaming water with the heat turned off. This should ensure the ingredients do not heat above 41ºC.

Note on choosing coconut oil: it is important which type of coconut oil you choose. A lot of the cheaper coconut oils are heat or chemical processed which destroys the inherent nutrients that have made coconut oil so popular recently. Look for ‘cold pressed, extra virgin, organic’ or ‘unrefined raw’ coconut oil. Even though it may cost a little more, it is WAY better for you. Coconut oil contains high quantities of lauric acid which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It boosts your immune system and metabolism, lowers blood pressure and helps with the absorption of minerals. Even though coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is considered a ‘heathier’ fat because lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid. This means it’s easily digestible and processed by your body in the same way as carbohydrates, as a direct source of energy.

Note on choosing maple syrup: make sure you get the real deal! There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. Pure maple syrup lists only “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is made by a natural process of extracting the sap from maple trees, evaporating off excess water and filtering to remove impurities. Pure maple syrup is an unrefined sugar and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. It contains minerals and antioxidants such as calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc, unlike refined sugar which contains none. Maple syrup is still a form of sugar however, so while it is better choice than refined sugar it is still best used in moderation. Feel free to use less in this recipe if it suits your tastes and if you do decrease the amount of maple syrup, replace the quantity you leave out with an equal amount of coconut milk.

 

Raw Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream Cake