A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of visiting the NOW Foods head quarters in Chicago. It was a short trip – less then two days – but packed to the gills. I have always been a customer of NOW so I was excited to get a look behind the scenes and see what goes into the products that I pick up at the store daily. My first stop was at the offices where the head chef was. She is the person that creates recipes and helps formulate new product ideas for NOW. We did an oil tasting (my personal favorite was the sesame oil) and a quick overview of the products.I always appreciated that everything at NOW is organic but while I was there I also learned that the company is family owned! So although it is a huge company it also has that “mom and pop” feel to it. You can see the passion that goes into each product and how proud the family is about their company. The rest of the bloggers and I had a dinner with the CEO and son of the founder of the company. We learned a little bit more about the history of the company and what its mission is – organic, high-quality products at an affordable rate. Since they are family owned and operated, they can eliminate the middlemen, which cuts their costs. And all their testing is done in-house, which also cuts the costs, giving you high quality products at a much lower rate. Win win!Next we did a full tour of the facility where everything is made. There were thousands of workers and so many products being made that it was hard to wrap my head around how many products were actually coming out of this one facility. And yet, I was still so inspired by the passion of the staff and the quality of their products.Another exciting part of this visit to NOW was that I got to meet bloggers and recipe developers that I have been following forever! Most notably, I met Vevion from @fitalicious.life . As soon as I got home I texted her and asked what she thought would be a great recipe with NOW products. Almost instantly she responded with a photo of strawberry cream pie. And that’s how this recipe was born. I got inspiration from her recipe and created my own version. Eager to use NOW products, I came up with this organic rich and creamy Strawberry Cream Pie.Made with a cashew base, strawberries, dates, agar powder and coconut oilr, this recipe is deceivingly simple. I decided to use agar powder, which is a vegan version of gelatin and the perfect thing to add to homemade ice creams or pies to get them thick and creamy. You can buy it on Amazon if you can’t find it in the store. You can also omit it but it won’t be as creamy. A pie would not be complete without some chocolate – am I right? As you probably know by now I love Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Chocolate. It’s vegan and is absolutely the cleanest chocolate on the market. Whether you are baking with it or you just need your daily dose of chocolate Lily’s is always my number one pick. It strikes the perfect bitter-sweet balance. I always have some Lily’s stocked in the pantry in case I get the urge to make banana bread, protein bars, hazelnut truffles….Endless opportunities!This pie may seem daunting but, fear not! I would never post a recipe I didn’t think you could make. Think about it in segments – crust, filling, topping – and you will see it’s actually pretty simple. You will definitely impress your guests with this one, especially when you tell them it’s vegan and has no added sugar.Crust:
- 2 cups almond flour
- 2 cups oats
- 2 cups dates (soaked in warm water to soften for around 5-10 minutes)
- dash cinnamon
- dash vanilla extract
- dash sea salt
- In a food processor combine almond flour and oats. Then add in dates, cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt.
- Once a dough like substance forms press evenly into a 9 inch spring form pan
- *optional set aside 1/2 cup of the crust and form little balls for the topping
- 2 cups cashews (soaked overnight or in hot water for 1 hour at least)
- 1 pound of strawberries (I used frozen)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup dates
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon agar powder (vegan gelatin) if you are not using this it will take a little longer for the pie to set
- In a high speed blender combine all your ingredients. You may need to start and stop the machine to get everything well combined
- *optional: slice strawberries and line the edges of the spring form with thinly sliced strawberries
- Once your batter is smooth, pour filling into prepared crust
- Place pie in fridge or freezer while making the chocolate topping
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 2 baking bars of Lily’s Chocolate 4 oz total of 8 oz of chocolate.
- In a small pot over medium heat, heat coconut milk. Once hot, add chocolate and stir until it is smooth the chocolate is melted. It should be medium thickness and easy to pour.
- Depending on if you used Agar Powder or not the pie should be pretty firm. If not, freeze it for a couple of hours before pouring the chocolate over it.
- Pour chocolate over the pie evenly covering all the edges – it should spread over it smoothly.
- Top with berries, little truffles, coconut whatever you like!