Matzo Ball Soup – gluten-free and dairy-free for Passover or anytime!

Matzo Ball Soup - gluten-free!

Matzo Ball Soup - gluten-free!When my family went gluten-free, I thought that for sure we would never have matzo ball soup again. But I found a dumpling soup recipe that reminded me of matzo ball soup and from there I invented this recipe. Yum!!!

If you are cooking for Passover, you may want to also see my recipe for a gluten-free, vegan Matzo Mina — my favorite main dish for Passover. It is a bit like a spinach artichoke lasagna, but with the noodles replaced with gluten-free matzo. Yum!!!

Happy Passover!

matzo ball dough

Matzo ball dough, so you can see the consistency. When it’s perfect, it should be like toothpaste or cookie dough.

 

 

 

 

matzo ball soup

 

Matzo Ball Soup - gluten-free and dairy-free for Passover or anytime!
 
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Gluten-free dairy-free matzo ball soup! Yum! Lightning-quick and made from scratch! Happy Passover!!!
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: serves 4-6
Ingredients
Soup:
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • optional but good: 2 cans white beans (navy beans, cannellini beans, or great northern beans, etc.), rinsed (15-ounce cans)
  • 1 cup sliced carrot circles
  • 2-3 stalks celery, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, rubbed between your fingers and broken into bits
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
Dumplings:
  • 7 tablespoons flour or gluten-free flour (I use 2 tablespoons of brown rice flour, 2 tablespoons of potato starch, and 3 tablespoons of garbanzo bean flour)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (or 1/6 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/6 teaspoon cream of tartar; I don't have a measuring spoon for 1/6 teaspoon, but this recipe works fine if you estimate the amount)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients listed under "Soup" into a big pot that is at least ten inches wide, so that there is enough space for the matzo balls to cook. You don't need to measure any of the soup ingredients -- just estimating is fine. Heat to boiling, then lower to a simmer.
  2. Mix all of the dumpling ingredients in a small bowl, such as a cereal bowl. The consistency of the dumpling dough matters a lot to the success of the recipe; the mixture should be the consistency of toothpaste, or wet-ish cookie dough. If it is too wet, add more flour -- I usually add garbanzo flour. If it is too dry, add some water. Keep adjusting the consistency until it is perfectly like toothpaste.
  3. When you are satisfied with the dough, drop marble-sized blobs of it into the soup. They will expand as they cook. The matzo balls will cook on one side, then stir to flip them to the other side so that both sides get a chance to cook.
  4. Serve hot.

 

Zucchini Brownies “Zeebies” – gluten-free, dairy-free, and healthy!

Zucchini Brownies


tower of zucchini browniesHappy Zucchini Season!!!

I have been making this recipe for years: Brownies that are full of zucchini!!! My kids clamor for more! All four of us love them, zucchini and all!

I love zucchini. All three of my kids hate zucchini, but all three kids love these brownies!

If you use the version of the recipe that is sweetened with dates instead of refined sugar, then this is one healthy recipe. I even ate it for breakfast this morning. Yum!

The initials for Zucchini Brownies are ZB, so my family calls these “Zeebies.”

The original recipe that this is based on is Cassie’s Zucchini Brownies from allrecipes.com, though my version is fairly different. I big pan of zucchini browniesmade it gluten-free, added lots more zucchini, replaced the walnuts with chocolate chips, removed the salt, and added an option to sweeten it with dates instead of refined sugar.

Tip: These brownies look much better if you use a classic green-colored zucchini in them. Yellow summer squash tastes fine too, but looks a little alarming.

Here is the recipe!

Zucchini Brownies "Zeebies" - gluten-free, dairy-free, healthy, and can be vegan!
 
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My zucchini-hating kids adore these brownies. They are healthy and delicious, gluten-free, and can be vegan. YUM!!!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24 brownies
Ingredients
  • EITHER 2 cups of all-purpose flour, or 2 cups of gluten-free flour mix (I use 1/2 cup each of: teff flour, quinoa flour, potato starch, and garbanzo bean flour -- but any flour mix should work)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • EITHER 1 cup of white sugar OR 1 cup of dates, pits removed
  • EITHER 2 eggs OR 2 flax eggs
  • 2 to 6 cups grated zucchini -- don't salt it or drain it or anything, just grate it. A food processor is perfect for speedy grating.
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If you are using flax eggs, mix those up first, and let them sit for a couple of minutes.
  3. Oil the bottom and the bottom inch of the sides of a 9x13 inch baking pan -- a "lasagna pan".
  4. If you are using dates as the sweetener, put them into a food processor together with the eggs or flax eggs. Blend for several minutes, until it looks like a creamy and smooth mixture with some bits of date-skin in it. Then add the oil and blend just until mixed.
  5. Now put all of the ingredients, including the dates (if you are using them) and eggs or flax eggs, into a large mixing bowl. Stir until everything is mixed thoroughly. Check for pockets of unmixed flour, and stir those in too.
  6. The wetness of the mixture should be someplace between a dough and a batter. If it seems too stiff, stir in some water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, until it has the wetness of a dough.
  7. Put the mixture in the greased pan. Smooth it out with a spatula, so that the surface is flat and the mixture evenly covers the whole bottom of the pan.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes.
  9. Let cool, or serve hot -- just beware that when it comes out of the oven it is really molten hot, so I suggest letting it cool for at least a few minutes to stay safe.
  10. Cut into squares or bars.
  11. Tastes great either warm or at refrigerator temperature.

 

Pasta, Beans and Greens – a lightning-fast, yummy, healthy, vegan dinner

Pasta, Beans, and Greens

My family is finishing two very busy weeks. My eighth grader, Kendra, was in a national Quiz Bowl tournament in Atlanta, and then she played the role of Audrey in the Shakespeare play “As You Like It” — so the last two weeks have had long, daily rehearsals, followed by a weekend of performances. But the final performance was this afternoon, and now Kendra is free! — Well, free except for assorted daily homework, two term papers, an amazing week-long field trip, and graduation — followed immediately by a week of gluten-free summer camp. Whew!!!

So, in celebration of our crazy-busy two weeks, I am posting a recipe for a dinner that takes about fifteen minutes to cook — depending on how fast your stove can boil a pot of water — and is nutritious and delicious: Pasta, Beans and Greens. This is my go-to recipe for anytime I need a healthy dinner to be on the table quickly.

This recipe is adapted from the cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals — a family favorite cookbook of ours.

My kids range from “somewhat picky” to “world-class picky.” This recipe is unique because it is one of only two dinners that all of my kids will eat. (The other one is Potato Pancakes — yum!)

A variation: Consumer Reports found that there is arsenic in rice, so I am always looking for ways to reduce the amount of rice-based pasta in our diet. My kids won’t eat this variation, but I have found that I can replace the pasta in this recipe with tofu cut into long thin rectangles that are about 1/4 inch wide, 1/4 inch tall, and 3/4 inch long. Prepared this way, it is an even faster and healthier version of this recipe.

Pasta, Beans and Greens - a lightning-fast yummy healthy vegan dinner
 
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This dinner recipe is quick, fast, yummy, gluten-free, and vegan! And, all of my kids will eat it!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: serves 5
Ingredients
  • 1 pound short chunky pasta, such as elbows, tubes, or fusilli - gluten-free if you like
  • 2 15-ounce cans of cooked beans, such as kidney and pinto beans
  • either 1 bunch of fresh kale or other greens -- or 2-3 cups of frozen, chopped kale, defrosted
  • 1 lemon
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
  • salt and/or gluten-free soy sauce to taste
Instructions
  1. Start boiling water for the pasta. When the water boils, cook the pasta in it.
  2. Get out a big mixing bowl for serving the food in.
  3. While the pasta cooks, if you are using fresh greens, shred the greens into small pieces (a bread-slicing knife works well for this), then add them to the pot where the pasta is cooking for the last couple of minutes of cooking. Or, if you are using frozen greens, defrost them by microwaving them in the big mixing bowl. This takes 5 minutes in my microwave, but microwaves vary so be alert.
  4. Rinse the beans (I like to put them in a strainer and run cold water through), then add them to the big mixing bowl.
  5. Juice the lemon, and add the lemon juice to the bowl.
  6. Add the oil and basil to the bowl.
  7. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl.
  8. Stir everything together thoroughly.
  9. Serve, with salt and soy sauce available for each person to stir in to their food. If you are using soy sauce, about 2 teaspoons per serving is a good amount to start with.
  10. Yum! Warm and quick!

 

Salad Dressing – gluten-free, vegan, made from tofu, rather addictive!

Creamy White Salad Dressing

Creamy White Salad DressingThis recipe is very loosely based on the Moosewood Restaurant house salad dressing — though I have changed it so much that the people at Moosewood might not recognize it.

It is creamy and high in protein and all-around delicious!

The texture is very thick, more like a pudding than like a salad dressing — though it tastes like a salad dressing or like sour cream. It is not sweet like a pudding. I think that pudding-thick salad dressing works really well — it sticks well to salad, even if the leaves are damp. But if pudding-y salad dressing is not your thing, you can add water or oil to thin it to a consistency that works for you.

Creamy White Salad DressingI like this dressing on salad, as a topping on on Golden Crispy Tofu, as an ingredient in Southwestern Twice Baked Potato casserole, as a topping mixed with roasted winter veggies, tossed with roasted eggplant from Riz Bi Har, and as a much healthier replacer for sour cream in other recipes. I find it so addictive that every time I make a batch, once it is out of the blender, I find myself going after every last dab that I can get out of the blender to eat it straight. It is that good!

The high protein content of this dressing means that you can put some on some fresh leafy greens and have a complete meal in minutes, especially if you buy prewashed salad that doesn’t need any rinsing or washing. Or you can dress up a salad by adding any of the following: beans, cubed cooked Creamy White Salad Dressingeggplant, protein items, other veggies, artichoke hearts, nuts, seeds, dried cherries — or whatever else you have handy that could be tossed into a salad.

Yum!

Salad Dressing - gluten-free, vegan, made from tofu, rather addictive!
 
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A creamy, thick, white, vegan, protein-rich, highly addictive salad dressing that goes well with practically everything! Tossed with some leafy greens it makes an awesomely quick meal. Also great in recipes, or as a replacer for sour cream.
Author:
Recipe type: salad dressing
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 block (14.3 ounces) silken tofu (I like Mori-Nu organic)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons canola and/or olive oil
  • optional: a handful of fresh spinach or lettuce or other greens (makes dressing a gorgeous green!)
Instructions
  1. No need to measure ingredients -- guessing at quantities is fine. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. As written, the recipe makes a thick, creamy, pudding-like dressing. If you prefer a thinner dressing, add some water or oil and blend again.
  3. Serve over anything.
  4. Yum!


This recipe has been shared at Gluten-Free Fridays.

Golden Crispy Tofu – gluten-free, vegan, and yummy!

Golden Crispy Tofu

 

tofu, sliced for this recipe

tofu, sliced for this recipe

I love this recipe! It’s a delicious way to serve tofu.

My favorite way to serve this is with some broccoli on the side. It makes a complete meal that way. Alternatively, it is also good with a salad on the side and a creamy white dressing on top of the tofu. I’ve posted my favorite recipe for a creamy white dressing — it goes great on this recipe!

tofu, frying

tofu, frying

This is based on a recipe posted by Vegan Dad. I have adapted it to be gluten-free, and a little simpler than the way he does it.

Yum!

tofu, frying

tofu, frying

Golden Crispy Tofu - gluten-free, vegan, and yummy!
 
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This gluten-free, vegan breaded tofu dish is delicious!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
Tofu
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu
  • canola or olive oil for frying
Bread Crumbs
  • 2 1/2 cups of gluten-free cereal, such as Erewhon's Crispy Brown Rice cereal -- check that the package says it is gluten-free
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 teaspoon sage
  • 1/3 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 to 1 1/3 teaspoons smoked paprika
Dry Mix
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour or quinoa flour (or use regular flour if you are not gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour (ditto)
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (ditto)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Wet Mix
  • EITHER 1 1/4 cups dairy-free milk OR 1/8 cup cashews blenderized with 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard (I use Annie's Organic Dijon mustard)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Cut the tofu crosswise into 12 slices, each one about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Put a frying pan -- or two frying pans, so you can cook all the tofu at one time -- on the stove with some oil on low heat to preheat. There should be enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, but it does not need to be deep.
  3. Put the gluten-free cereal and other ingredients listed under bread crumbs into the blender and blend until you have a powder.
  4. Put the ground cereal mix into a soup bowl.
  5. Next, put the ingredients for the Dry Mix into another soup bowl, and stir until mixed.
  6. Next, put all ingredients for the Wet Mix into the blender (no need to clean it after the cereal), and blend until smooth.
  7. Put the Wet Mix ingredients into a third soup bowl.
  8. Add an ordinary dinnertable fork to each soup bowl.
  9. Using the fork in each bowl to touch the tofu (this keeps your fingers clean and dry), one at a time dip each piece of tofu into (1) the Wet Mix, (2) the Dry Mix, (3) the Wet Mix again, (4) the ground-up cereal. Use the fork to pat each coating all over all sides of each piece of tofu. After each time you dip it into the Wet Mix, use the fork to hold it above the cereal bowl for a few moments, to let the extra liquid drip back into the bowl.
  10. Each time you finish dipping a piece of tofu, put it into a frying pan. If the frying pan has a puddle of oil on one side, I like to put each piece of tofu into the oil and then slide it to the side.
  11. When all of the tofu is coated and in the frying pans, turn up the heat to medium-high.
  12. Fry for a few minutes on each side, adding more oil if needed, until the coating is turning golden brown and crispy.
  13. The tofu tastes great served with my super-quick creamy white dressing on top, so this is a good time to make a batch.
  14. While the tofu cooks, consider cooking broccoli as a side dish. I have linked to the instructions for my favorite way of cooking broccoli.
  15. Serve!

This recipe has been shared at Gluten-Free Fridays.

Hamentaschen – gluten-free and can be vegan!

Hamentashen

Hamentashen are a traditional Jewish cookie, served at the holiday Purim. They are shaped like the three-cornered hat of Hamen, the villain in the Purim story.

Oh today we’ll merry, merry be.
Oh today we’ll merry, merry be.
Oh today we’ll merry, merry be.
And nosh some Hamentaschen.  :)

How to shape the dough

How to shape the dough

Years ago, I wanted to try making gluten-free Hamentaschen. So I searched the web and found a recipe by someone named Ellen Switkes. It works great! I have been making this recipe for years. The Hamentashen come out tasting a bit more like cookies and a bit less like bread dough than traditional Hamentashen — they are very yummy.

This year my daughter and I tried making this recipe vegan. The Hamentashen came out great that way too!

Hamentashen

Hamentashen after baking

The one thing that I will do differently next year is that this year I used some teff flour in my flour mix, and teff makes dough look brown and whole-wheat-y. So next year I plan to use a flour mix next year that doesn’t have any teff in it, so that the Hamentashen come out looking more of the color of traditional Hamentashen.

 

 

Twice I have made Rainbow Hamentashen. Someday I will post the recipe! The batch in the picture below was particularly neat because all of the coloring was done with food: beets, cocoa powder, and spinach. Yum!

 

 

Ellen Switkes says: Don’t wait until Purim.

rainbow hamentashen

Hamentaschen - gluten-free and can be vegan!
 
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Hamentashen are a yummy traditional dessert food for the Jewish holiday Purim. These are gluten-free, and optionally vegan. Happy Purim!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 29 Hamentaschens
Ingredients
Dough
  • 2 eggs or 2 flax eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups flour mixture (for example 3/4 cup each quinoa flour, garbanzo flour & potato starch - or whatever flour mix you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum (only if you used gluten-free flour, and only if it doesn't already contain this)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (or 2/3 teaspoon baking soda + 2/3 teaspoon cream of tartar)
  • 1/2 cup oil (eg. organic canola oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
Filling
  • chocolate chips, or other traditional Hamentashen filling such as jelly or stewed dried apricots
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If you are using flax eggs, mix them up and let them sit while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients, to prevent lumps.
  4. Add the wet ingredients, including the eggs or flax eggs. Stir well.
  5. The dough should have the consistency of fabulous fresh playdough, straight from the can. If it is wetter or dryer than that, add some flour mix or a tablespoon of water and stir again, and repeat until you have a dough with the perfect consistency.
  6. Break off a blob of dough that is about 1 inch in diameter. Roll it into a ball, then pat it into a flat circle on a fabulously non-stick cookie sheet. The circle should be about 2 1/2 inches wide. Carefully pat any raggedy edges together, so that you end up with edges that are perfectly smooth and round.
  7. Put 1-2 teaspoonfuls of filling in the middle of the circle. Less filling works better than more -- you can always add another dab of filling after the cookie is shaped if you want to. Then carefully fold each of the three sides upward, forming a triangle. Pinch the corners together, so that it will hold its shape. If it cracks, just pat it back into shape, seal the crack, and it should be fine.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Yum!
  10. Ellen Switkes says: Don't wait until Purim.

 

Chocolate Mousse – gluten-free, vegan, raw, awesomely healthy, quick, and my kids love it!

Chocolate Mousse

When I first tried this recipe, I wrote in the cookbook, “Drop-dead FABULOUS mousse!!!!!

Because it is!!!!!

It is also easy to make, healthy, vegan, and my kids and I love it. What more could you ask of a recipe? :)

The pictures show the mousse with fruit. I like to use the mousse as a topping for fruit. My kids like plain mousse without fruit added. That’s perfectly fine — the mousse itself is made of fruit, so it is healthy even if you don’t add more fruit to it.

In addition to fruit, my favorite way to serve it is with a pinch of cardamom on top. I love cardamom — it is a magical addition to this mousse.

The original version of this recipe came from the cookbook “Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People” by Jennifer Cornbleet. (I have linked to a newer edition of the book than the one that I have — an edition that I have never seen.) I changed the recipe by replacing maple syrup with more dates, and by increasing the quantities in the recipe so that it uses two avocados instead oChocolate Moussef one and a half.

A food processor works much better than a blender for this recipe. And you need a good sturdy food processor for this. I have a Braun Multiquick food processor that I really adore. I am convinced that Braun makes the best food processors, much better than any other brand, because theirs are sturdy and have a lot of attention to important details. Like for example, I used to have a KitchenAid food processor where the edges of the lid fit onto the outside of the bowl, which meant that splatters all ran down the outside of the bowl. The Braun has a lid that fits inside the bowl — which means that any splatters run down inside the bowl, which is where I want them. Best of all, the bowl on the Braun has no hole where the blade connects to it, so you can put easily twice as much food into the Braun compared to the KitchenAid. Anyway, I can go on and on about why I like Braun food processors, but I won’t ask you to wade through any more about it. The link from this blog to Amazon will send me a tiny percentage of the purchase price if you buy what I linked to, but other than that I have no relationship with Braun except as a satisfied customer. But so far my total income from Amazon for this blog has been exactly zero, so this is not exactly a get-rich-quick undertaking. :-P

This recipe uses dates. Dates vary a lot, from tougher dry ones to wetter soft ones, but any dates should work fine in this recipe. Make sure to remove the pits, if yours have pits, and check every date for bits of stem to remove, because sometimes a date will still have a collar of hard stem attached to it. Also, even pitted dates sometimes still have a pit, so it’s helpful to check for that, too.

Too much chocolate can keep me awake at night, so I often replace half of the cocoa powder in this recipe with carob.  I like Foods Alive organic carob powder. This recipe tastes almost exactly the same when it is made with half carob and half cocoa powder — and it is much less likely to keep me awake at night.

The most important ingredient in this mousse is perfectly ripe avocados. If you have never tried a recipe like this, using avocados in this way may sound very strange to you. But it works really well in this recipe. There is no green color or avocado-y flavor. The finished mousse tastes like a rich, chocolate dessert.

To check the ripeness of an avocado, do not poke it with your finger. That will leave black spots inside the avocado. Instead, hold it in your hand and see what the avocado’s skin feels like. If it feels hard, the avocado is not ripe. If it feels soft and smooth, like touching human skin, then the avocado is ripe. Also the skin of most avocados turns black when it is ripe, so that is another way to recognize one.

Avocados go quickly from ripe to overripe, so once you have ripe avocados it’s necessary to use them within about a day, or you will lose them to overripeness. You can put ripe avocados in the refrigerator to delay this process — they can last for up to a week there.

Variation: To make this recipe chocolate-free, I have replaced the cocoa powder with a little ground cardamom — maybe 1/4 or 3/8 teaspoon. This makes a bright green mousse that my kids won’t touch, because of the color. But I love it that way. And if the kids won’t touch it, there is more for me!  :)

Chocolate Mousse - gluten-free, vegan, raw, awesomely healthy, and my kids love it!
 
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A rich, fabulous chocolate mousse, made from entirely healthy, raw, vegan ingredients -- mostly fruit! And only four ingredients! Even my picky eater kids adore this recipe.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: French
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup dates, with pits removed -- also check each date for any hard stem pieces and remove them
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 perfectly ripe avocadoes -- remove pits, skin, and any black spots
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder -- or 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 cup carob powder
  • optional: fruit or berries, such as cherries, blueberries, or strawberries
  • optional: a pinch of ground cardamom for each serving
Instructions
  1. Put the dates and water into a sturdy food processor. Blend for several minutes, until they form a smooth syrup. You will still be able to see bits of the skins from the dates, but the syrup itself should be smooth. Depending on your food processor and your dates, you may need to add a little extra water to get this to blend. Tip: I start blending this at slow speed, then raise the speed to high, to cut down on splashing and noise inside the food processor. The most important step to getting the mousse to come out really smooth is to blend this mixture until it is really smooth, even if it takes several minutes.
  2. Add all other ingredients to the food processor -- except for the optional ones.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Serve plain, or with fruit, and/or with a pinch of ground cardamom on top.

 

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust – gluten-free, raw, vegan, beautiful and yummy!

Fresh Fruit Pie With Chocolate Brownie Crust

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust This summer when the market was full of beautiful fruit and berries, I bought lots and made them into a series of beautiful pies. These pies take about 20 minutes to make, need no baking, look gorgeous, and taste delicious. Yum!!!

I fell in love with this recipe this summer, so I made it again and again, all summer long.

The chocolate brownie crust is adapted from a recipe in Chocolate Covered Katie’s cookbook.  And the cardamom cashew cream filling is adapted from a recipe in an older edition of the cookbook Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet. I love cardamom and think that the hint of it in the cashew cream really makes this pie recipe over-the-top amazing.

Two more pictures and then the recipe!

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust

Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust - gluten-free, raw, vegan, beautiful and yummy!
 
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This beautiful pie is raw, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, free of refined sugar, quick to make, totally delicious, and full of fruit!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 pie
Ingredients
Crust ingredients:
  • 1 cup dates, with pits and any bits of stem removed
  • 1 1/3 cups nuts (for example 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans, and 1/3 cup of almonds)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
Cardamom Cashew Cream Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 dates, with pits and any bits of stem removed
Fruit Ingredients:
  • strawberries, perfectly ripe mangoes, blackberries -- or whatever fruit you have handy, cut into chunks
Instructions
  1. Place all of the crust ingredients in a food processor. Blend until you have tiny bits, much smaller than the head of a pin. The mixture should have tiny bits of nuts visible in it but be soft and mashable. Don't blend it for so long that you turn it into nut butter!
  2. Empty the food processor into a pie plate. Use your hands to press down on the mixture, to flatten it. Push some of it against the sides, too, so that there is an even coating of crust pushed down all over the bottom and sides of the pie plate. I usually don't put the crust on top of the edges of the pie plate, because on a raw foods crust that tends to fall off during serving. Take the time to make sure that the crust is pushed down into the corners of the pie plate and that the edges are finished off neatly. I usually make the edges a tiny bit taller than the pie plate, so that the pie can be deep. If you press down on the pie crust on the insides of the pie plate, the crust will get taller and do exactly this.
  3. Place all the ingredients for the cardamom cashew cream in the food processor. (You don't need to wash it out after making the crust.) Blend until you have a very smooth cream. It should look and taste smooth. I usually let cashew cream sit in the food processor while I work on other parts of a recipe and then come back to it to re-blend it once the blended bits of cashews have had a chance to soften.
  4. Wash the fruit and cut it into chunks. If you are using strawberries, cut out the stem from each strawberry and then cut it in half. You can leave blackberries whole. For a mango, imagine a mango pit with a piece of paper on top and another piece on the bottom, lying down flat. Now imagine that pit inside a whole mango, and use a knife to cut where each piece of paper is, so that you end up with two mango hemispheres, and an oval of mango left behind that includes the pit. Now on each hemisphere, cut 2-3 lines through the flesh in one direction, cutting down to the skin but don't cut through the skin. Now cut 2-3 lines across in the other direction, across the first cuts, making a grid. So you should have a mango hemisphere with its skin still intact and the mango flesh scored into about 12 squares. Then use a dinnertable tablespoon to separate the mango flesh from the skin, so that you end up with about 12 cubes of mango. Repeat on the other mango hemisphere.
  5. Re-blend the cashew cream (which is still in the food processor) until it is super smooth, then put it into the pie crust and spread it evenly over the bottom.
  6. Arrange the fruit prettily on top of the cashew cream, to fill up the pie crust. Tip: A ring of cut strawberries interlocks really nicely, like Lego. :)
  7. Voila! One quick and yummy fruit pie!

 


This recipe is entered in Gluten-Free Fridays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, and Meat-Free Mondays!

Macaroni and Cheese – healthy, vegan, soy-free, and gluten-free!

vegan macaroni and cheese

cheese sauce after blendingOnce upon a time, I perfected my macaroni and cheese recipe. It was a specialty of mine — fancy macaroni and cheese mixed with a creamy white sauce, using a small amount of fancy cheese to make it healthier and yummy. Then we had to stop eating dairy and gluten, and so, my oldest son, stirring the cheese saucesadly, for a long time that was the end of macaroni and cheese at our house.

After that, I experimented with creamy vegan cheese-like sauces. I came up with some that I liked quite a bit. But nothing was quite right for macaroni and cheese.

thickened vegan cheese sauce on the stoveThen in March I ran across Vegan Richa‘s recipe for vegan Mozarella Sticks, made with homemade cashew mozzarella. The cheese sticks came out tasting really cheesy, even though they are totally vegan. I am convinced that Richa is a genius at creative food chemistry. Her blog is a wonderful mix of creative vegan versions of American food and Indian cuisine.

Richa’s recipe made a great starting point for experimenting with my own vegan macaroni and cheese recipe. The very first time I tried making it, it came out tasting surprisingly similar to my old macaroni and cheese recipe, with the white sauce and fancy cheeses.  I was very pleased!!!!!

So here is my version of vegan macaroni and cheese.

Nut-free option: I have not tried this, but I think you could replace the nuts and 1 cup of the water with a pound of firm tofu.

In the third picture, that’s my oldest son cooking.  :)

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese
 
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A creamy cheesy VEGAN macaroni and cheese that cooks very quickly. Yum!
Author:
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: serves 5
Ingredients
Sauce ingredients:
  • 2 cups cashews
  • 2 1/2 cups cold water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons potato starch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Other ingredients:
  • 1 pound pasta -- gluten-free if you eat that way (which I do!)
  • optional: goes well with broccoli as a side dish (see my broccoli recipe)
Instructions
  1. Start cooking the pasta.
  2. Place the cashews and one cup of the water in a high speed blender. Blend until smooth. Let it sit for a couple of minutes (to soften the tiny cashew pieces) while you juice the lemon and add the rest of the sauce ingredients EXCEPT not the rest of the water, to the blender. Blend again until very smooth.
  3. Place the sauce mixture in a large nonstick pan. (Nonstick is essential for this recipe!)
  4. Start heating the sauce and stirring with a wooden spoon.
  5. Use the rest of the water to rinse out the blender, then add it to the sauce.
  6. Heat and stir the sauce until it thickens and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  7. Mix with the cooked macaroni.
  8. Serve with broccoli on the side.

p.s.  You should try Vegan Richa’s mozzarella sticks recipe!

15-Minute Chili – quick, gluten-free, vegan, and really good!

chili

Once upon a time, dry soy curlsI was talking with a mom from my kids’ school, Sue Barker, who has an awesome talent for organizing big, fun school events, often where chili is served as a fundraiser. While we talked, someone asked Sue for her chili recipe. Sue said that it was “just a recipe from allrecipes.com” and that the important ingredient was salsa.

The idea of putting salsa in chili rang all sorts of happy bells in my mind. Salsa transforms chili into something really amazing. Salsa is like yummy “pourable nutrients” — it adds magic to this awesomely easy and quick chili recipe.

rinsing beansSince this is a vegetarian chili, it (optionally) uses Butler Soy Curls. Soy curls are dried pieces of soy that you can reconstitute by soaking for ten minutes in warm water. Then they look a bit like cooked chicken. As they soak, they absorb the flavor of whatever liquid you use to reconstitute them, so by soaking them in chili while it cooks, they become chili-flavored. I haven’t seen soy curls available in the local stores, but you can order them from Amazon or from Butler’s website.

Note that this recipe makes about three bowls of chili, so you will need to pot of chilimultiply it if you are feeding a crowd. (Most recipes on this website make enough food to serve dinner to four to six people.)

There is no need to measure the quantities for this recipe — it’s fine to estimate.

The photos for this recipe show: 1) A bowl of chili ready for eating, with beannaise on top. 2) Dry soy curls, broken into shorter pieces and ready for cooking. 3) Rinsing beans in a strainer at the sink. I love how my camera caught individual droplets of water coming from the faucet. 4) A pot of chili being cooked.

15-Minute Chili - gluten-free, vegan, quick, and really good!
 
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This quick, yummy, super-healthy chili makes a great homecooked weekday lunch in minutes.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican-ish
Serves: 3 servings
Ingredients
  • optional: 1 cup (dry) Butler Soy Curls or other protein (such as seitan, if you are not gluten-free)
  • 1 1/4 cups spaghetti sauce (from a jar) (preferably a variety with veggies such as Muir Glen Garden Vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup salsa, or more (Amy's mild salsa is perfect here)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (check that it's gluten-free - most varieties are not!)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 15-ounce cans of beans in contrasting colors, such as cannellinis and pintos, or kidney beans
  • vegan sour cream or Beannaise to serve it with
Instructions
  1. Put the dry soy curls into a pot, if you are using them. If there are any pieces that are more than one inch long, break them into pieces that are less than an inch long. Add enough cold water to just barely cover the soy curls. Turn the heat to medium-high.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients except for the sour cream or Beannaise.
  3. Heat to boiling. Turn down the heat and simmer for ten minutes.
  4. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Beannaise on top.