Crunchy Broccoli Cheese Puffs (Dairy-Free)
I adore kale chips, whether making my own versions or buying different varieties in the store. But let’s face it – less than half of the bag consists of “chips” and the rest is crumbly flakes. TASTY crumbly flakes, to be sure, but still. While making a dairy-free cheese sauce form some broccoli recently, it occurred to me that they might make a more hardy nutrient-dense snack food, if given essentially the same treatment I give my kale. Well, I have another new addiction. Yay? My housemate tasted them and approved, noting that they were like extra-healthy Veggie Booty, only more substantial. I think that’s pretty apt – they’re more crunchy than crispy, and you do need to give it a good long dehydrating (a few of my larger pieces still had a touch of softness to them, which could have been fixed with another hour or two, but most of the puffs were totally done and darn it, I was hungry. Test drive these with your kiddos! Qualifying as vegan, raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo, a healthier crunchy munch will be hard to find. CRUNCHY BROCCOLI CHEESE PUFFS 1 cup raw cashews 1/2 red bell pepper, roughly chopped 1/2 carrot, roughly chopped 1/2 cup nutritional yeast Juice and zest of one lemon 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) 4 cups broccoli florets Soak the cashews overnight, then drain and rinse. Prep the broccoli florets: you want to make sure there’s as little stem as possible, and depending on the size of your dehydrator’s trays, you may want to cut some of the larger florets in half so they can lay flat and take up less space. From there, simplicity: Pulse all ingredients but the broccoli together in a food processor and then blend until smooth, adding just a tablespoon or two of water if needed. You don’t want a thick paste, but you also don’t want it to be runny. The consistency of a nice thick sauce will do it. Pour into a bowl. Add the broccoli florets that you’ve washed and prepped and toss it all together until they are well-coated. Spread the coated florets out on the trays of your dehydrator. For my model, this one recipe filled it about halfway. And now run that baby, following your model’s instructions, until they’re totally dry and crunchy – depending on your brand, this will be at least overnight; mine took just shy of 24 hours. Keep at room temperature to store. Note on storage (if you have any left, that is): As I discovered with my homemade kale chips, they do tend to lose their crispness after a little while; one thing I’ve taken to doing is saving up those little dessicant packets you find in some foods (i.e. kale chips) and storing them in my pantry. Put one or two of those in the container of your choice and it totally extends their shelf life.
– posted by Anne