Almond Butter Granola (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Almond Butter Granola

During my last Trader Joe’s run I discovered an almond butter granola and couldn’t resist picking it up. In all honesty, I may have liked it a little too much because it didn’t last more than two days in my house! Oops. There are certain things that I have a hard time eating in moderation (like chips) and apparently granola is one of them. Rather than buy it again, I decided to try my hand at making my own, healthier version, which I won’t be as tempted to inhale in a few sittings (or at least if I do, I won’t feel so bad about it!). The batch I whipped up uses a short list of very basic ingredients and is super tasty, but it’s free of the excess sugar and fat that’s common in traditional granolas. Continue reading “Almond Butter Granola (Vegan & Gluten Free)”

Quinoa, Chickpea & Veggie Bowl (Gluten Free & Vegan)

Quinoa, Chickpea & Veggie Bowl

When it’s freezing out and I’m not in the mood for soup, I often turn to a warm and filling bowl of some sort for nourishment. With grain or Buddha Bowls or whatever you want to call them, there are so many options you can throw together, and pretty much anything goes. They’re the perfect combo of easy, healthy, and delicious. You really can’t go wrong!

This version I threw together includes quinoa as the base, topped with chickpeas, garlic-seasoned cruciferous veggies, and a little bit of almond parsley pesto. I mainly chose this combination because I had the ingredients on hand and needed to use them, but I also think they go very nicely together, not to mention that they pack a serious nutritional punch!

The key to this bowl is to roast the veggies to ensure the best flavor and crunch. Roasting vegetables is almost always my preferred way to cook them; it really does make such a difference in how they taste. There’s nothing I love more than a crispy batch of Brussels sprouts fresh out of the oven! Anyone else with me? Growing up I never really ate them but now I am obsessed and I’m making up for lost time! Brussels sprouts, where have you been all my life?!

As for the pesto, it was a total impulse decision at the end and I definitely don’t think it’s necessary for the dish (I had parsley that I needed to use up), but I think it takes the flavor up a notch. Since I hadn’t planned on making any kind of pesto in advance, I had to use what I had available, and that’s why the ingredients may seem a bit random. Although it was a total shot in the dark, I think the parsley-garlic-lemon combo works. If that’s not your cup of tea though, you can skip the pesto and still enjoy a delicious and satisfying bowl.

I plan on experimenting with many more plant-based bowl combinations this winter, and I’ll be sure to post whatever I love. I’m always looking for inspiration, so if you have any favorite bowl-based meals, do share!   

Quinoa, Chickpea & Veggie Bowl

Quinoa, Chickpea & Veggie Bowl

Quinoa, Chickpea & Veggie Bowl

Quinoa, Chickpea & Veggie Bowl


Ingredients

For the bowls

  • 2 cups dry quinoa
  • 8 cups broccoli florets
  • 6 cups Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the almond parsley pesto

  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup parsley
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp water
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

Directions

For the bowls

  • Preheat the oven to 415 degrees and line two baking sheets with tin foil.
  • Chop the stems off the broccoli so that you’re left with florets. Make sure that the florets are about equal in size so that they cook evenly. Put the broccoli florets in a mixing bowl and add 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp of garlic powder, and ¼ tsp onion powder. Mix with your hands until all the florets are coated.
  • Spread the broccoli florets out in a single layer on one of the baking sheets and set aside.
  • Chop the Brussels sprouts into halves or even thirds or quarters if they are very large. As with the broccoli, you want the sprouts to be relatively equal in size.
    Add the sprouts to a mixing bowl and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Mix with your hands until all the sprouts are coated.
  • Spread the Brussels sprouts out in a single layer on the second baking sheet.
  • Place both baking sheets in the oven and roast for about 25-30 minutes, until the veggies are tender but crisp. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • While the veggies are roasting, cook the quinoa. Add 4 cups of water to a pot along with 2 cups of dry quinoa (check the package to see if it needs to be rinsed first). Bring water to a boil and then cover the pot and reduce the temperature to low, letting the quinoa cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the water is fully absorbed.

For the almond parsley pesto

  • Add almonds to a food processor and pulse until ground
  • Add the lemon juice, water and olive oil, and pulse again until mixed.
  • Add the parsley, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt, and pulse until evenly combined.

 

Quinoa, Chickpea & Veggie Bowl

Simple Vegan Cornbread

Vegan Cornbread

Hi there! I hope my fellow East Coasters are staying warm and safe in the big snowstorm. What a winter we’ve had already and it’s only the beginning of January! Yikes. Anyway, I wanted to follow up yesterday’s chili post with a recipe for cornbread since the two so often go hand in hand. I was planning to include the cornbread recipe along with the chili, but the first version I made was just not up to snuff and I wanted to tweak it before sharing. In my first attempt, I tried going the no oil route and used apple sauce in its place. While this swap works in many recipes, like brownies, it did not work for this cornbread. It turned out waaay too dry and crumbly. I also used too large of a pan (13×9), which resulted in slices that were a bit too thin for my liking. For my second attempt, I used coconut oil and a smaller 9×9 pan, and the result was just what I was going for–moist, hearty, and delicious!

Vegan CornbreadVegan Cornbread

Most cornbread recipes, like the original recipe I used as inspiration, call for cornmeal and regular wheat flour, but I opted for oat flour instead of the wheat to keep the cornbread gluten free. You could go either way.  I topped it with a pat of Earth Balance (admittedly not as large as in these photos) but a vegan maple butter would be even better! Like the majority of things I make, this is super easy to whip up and won’t leave you with a stack of dishes to wash at the end. I hope you try it and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix the almond milk and apple cider vinegar together in a bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the cornmeal, oat flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  4. Warm the coconut oil in the microwave (or on the stove) until it’s melted. Add the coconut oil and maple syrup to almond milk/vinegar mix and stir well.
  5. Add the oil mixture to the dry mixture and stir until well mixed. Pour the batter into a greased (I used coconut oil) 9×9 pan and bake for about 45-55 minutes, until bread is firm. 
    *Adapted from Isa Chandra’s Vegan Cornbread

Note: To store this, make sure to use an airtight container or wrap it extremely well. I simply put a piece of tinfoil over the leftovers kind of haphazardly and it dried out pretty quickly. Don’t be lazy like I was!

 

Simple Vegan Cornbread

Three Bean & Veggie Chili

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable holiday, however you chose to spend it. We party animals over here ordered in Thai and were in bed by 10pm, ha. I’ve never been a huge New Year’s Eve person to begin with and now that I have a little one, it’s all the more reason to lay low and have a relaxing night at home. The freezing cold weather was another motivator for staying in close to the fireplace. Feels like 1 degree? No thank you!

Speaking of the weather, given how frigid it has been the past week, I wanted to make something warming and hearty for dinner New Year’s day. What better than a big pot of chili? This version is packed with fiber-rich beans (three different kinds, in fact!) and veggies to fill you up and keep you satisfied for hours.

Veggie Chili

It’s also low in sodium and fat. Tomato products tend to be loaded with sodium so I always try to buy versions that are low sodium or no salt added, like I used in this recipe. Personally, I find the other seasonings to add enough flavor that I don’t even add any salt to my bowl, but it’s easy enough to salt it to taste. Best of all, this is beyond easy to throw together and can last for several meals. The next time you’re on the hunt for a wholesome and delicious veggie chili recipe, I hope you give this one a try! If you do, let me know how you like it.

Veggie Chili

Veggie Chili

 

Ingredients

  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 3 cups of carrots (about 3 large)
  • 3 peppers (I used 2 green and 1 red but any combo will work)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 cans kidney beans, no salt added
  • 2 cans black beans, no salt added
  • 1 can white beans, no salt added
  • 3 tbsp chili powder, or to taste
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 16 oz bag of frozen corn (I like the fire roasted kind from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s)

Directions

  1. Spray the bottom of a large soup or stock pot with oil (you can also use veggie broth if you’d prefer not to use oil).
  2. Chop onions, carrots, peppers, and garlic and add them to the pot. Set on medium/low and let the veggies cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure they don’t stick.
  3. Add in the diced tomatoes and tomato paste.
  4. Drain and rinse the beans and then add them to the pot and stir well.
  5. Stir in all the spices and let the chili cook on low for about an hour to 90 minutes, until all the veggies are tender.
  6. Add in the frozen corn and stir again. Leave it for a few minutes to warm.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: This recipe makes a LARGE pot of chili. I always like to make a big batch so that it can provide multiple meals. Sometimes I even freeze some of the leftovers to have later.  If you’d rather make a smaller amount, I suggest just halving the recipe.

Three Bean Veggie Chili

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

For some reason I never think to make stuffed peppers, even though they’re one of the easiest and most versatile things to make on the planet. But inspiration struck on Sunday. I had two cored out peppers left over from a crudités platter I bought on Saturday and it was pretty obvious what I should do with them. Based on the ingredients I had lying around, I decided to do a Mexican version with quinoa as the base. A little corn and onion, some black beans, tomatoes, and fresh cilantro, and voila! A delicious and spontaneous meal that was on the table in about 90 minutes. 

You can stuff peppers with just about anything you want. Rice is popular, as is ground meat, but I personally love the texture of quinoa and think it works great in this recipe. And you can’t get any easier or healthier than canned beans (just make sure you get beans without salt or any other junk). I chose to use black beans in keeping with the Mexican food theme but you could use any kind of bean you like or even a mixture of beans. Anything goes! If you’re looking for a simple and quick recipe that’s big on flavor, give these stuffed peppers a try. 

 

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

  • 4-5 large bell peppers
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 1  14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup chopped red onion
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • A few bunches of fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Wash peppers, cut their tops off, and discard the seeds. Place peppers on a 13×9 baking dish and set aside.
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Add quinoa to two cups of water in a pot and bring water to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to low and cover. Let cook for about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Add frozen corn to hot quinoa and stir.
  3. Transfer quinoa and corn mixture to a mixing bowl.
  4. Rinse and drain black beans and add to quinoa and corn mixture.
  5. Add the stewed tomatoes with juices. Slice large tomato chunks into smaller pieces.
  6. Add red onion, lime juice, and all the spices and cilantro. Mix well.
  7. Lightly brush outsides of peppers with olive oil and spoon quinoa mixture into each pepper shell until mostly full.
  8. Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour, until peppers are tender.

Note: I’d add avocado to these as a topper but didn’t have any on hand when I made this batch. Although definitely not a necessity, I think avocado would take these peppers to the next level!

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Healthy Homemade Chocolate Truffles (Gluten & Dairy Free)

Homemade Chocolate Truffles

Truthfully I’ve never been much of a Valentine’s Day person, single or not. I think it makes single people feel bad and puts pressure on people in relationships to come up with some grand gesture of love on an arbitrary day. That said, I am a chocolate person and can get behind any excuse to eat more of it! With that in mind, I wanted to share a quick, healthy and delicious recipe for homemade chocolate truffles.

My sister discovered this recipe years ago and she makes the truffles every year over the holidays. They’re a big hit! But I think they’re a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day as well. On top of being super easy, the recipe is also healthy and free of junk! It uses just a few wholesome ingredients and is dairy and gluten free–if you’re someone who cares about that. Best of all, they’re seriously tasty. Whip up a batch and give them to a loved one or simply treat yourself!

Healthy Homemade Chocolate Truffles
Makes 12-14 large-sized truffles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour or almond meal
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients except for coconut to a large bowl and mix well until you have a very firm “dough” (You don’t need an electric mixer. A wooden spoon and good old elbow grease will do!). If mixture isn’t holding together well, add a little more coconut oil.
  2. Form truffles by rolling small amounts of the mixture in your hands.
  3. If using coconut, put coconut in a separate bowl and dip each truffle in the flakes to coat the outside. You could also use crushed peanuts or pistachios, or really anything you like!
  4. Put truffles in the refrigerator to harden. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. You can also freeze them for longer-term use.

*Adapted from Kimberly Snyder’s Raw Cacao Truffles recipe

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If you make these, let me know how you like them!

oatmeal cookies