Blondies – easy, healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and very yummy!

Blondies!

My kids and I love the blondies from Simple Pleasures bakery which is inside a gluten-free Indian buffet restaurant that we love, Earthen Jar, here in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Out of love of their blondies, I started experimenting with making my own blondies at home.

These are very easy to make, healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and delicious! And they mix up really, really quickly!

They are very gooey and dough-like when they first come out of the oven. Later on in the refrigerator they firm up a bit.

I haven’t tried making a nut-free version, but you should be able to replace the nuts with soybutter or Wowbutter. If you do that, please post here about how it worked! Sometimes nut-free nut-butters turn baked goods green (!!) , so you would want to try baking this first for people who don’t mind unexpectedly green food. Or bake it for Halloween or Saint Patrick’s Day.  :)

You can use other beans in this recipe instead of the white beans. Darker beans taste fine, but they visually look chocolatey, and if your eaters think that these look like chocolate but actually they aren’t, that sets them up to be disappointed. Chickpeas in this recipe taste a bit like hummus, and, while I love hummus, it is decidedly strange in blondies, so I don’t recommend using them here. So my suggestion is to use white beans, but it’s definitely okay to experiment.

This recipe is loosely based on Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies with Sea Salt from Ambitious Kitchen. I’ve changed which type of beans to use, removed salt, added ground flaxseed to make the blondies more cohesive, and removed baking soda and baking powder. Whew!

Yum!!!

On another topic: If you do a web search for “Valerie’s Recipes,” Google can’t find it. I think the problem is that too many websites have similar names. So I am thinking about renaming this blog to have a more unique name that Google might find. Maybe “The Painted Lentil” — or “The Lentil Rainbow” — or “The Rainbow Lentil”? What do you think?

Blondies - easy, healthy, vegan, and gluten-free!
 
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Oooey gooey Blondies! Healthy, flourless, gluten-free, vegan, quick to make -- and totally delicious!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16 blondies
Ingredients
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, such as cannellini, great northern, or navy beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked and cooled white beans -- cooled because you don't want the batter to melt the chocolate chips) (don't use chickpeas unless you want your blondies to taste like hummus)
  • 1/2 cup of pecans, or other nuts, or nut butter such as almond butter or peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds (optional - helps keep the blondies from falling apart)
  • a few drops of oil, or some gluten-free cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips such as Equal Exchange (which are fair trade and organic)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread a few drops of oil around in an 8x8 inch pan (I like to use a silicone pastry brush for this) or spray on some gluten-free oil.
  3. In a food processor or blender, mix all ingredients except for the chocolate chips.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Variation: Make mini-muffins by putting pieces of dough the size of ping-pong balls into an oiled mini-muffin tin, and bake for 14 minutes.
  8. Serve warm (which is super yummy, but they will fall apart) or after refrigeration (also good, and much more cohesive).

 

Cobblestone Farm Market Dinner – gluten-free, vegan, and makes my body oh so happy!

Cobblestone Farm Market Dinner

A few years ago, local folks started a small farmers’ market that is walkable from my house. It is at a place called Cobblestone Farm. They have a newsletter each week, with a recipe.

I call this recipe “Cobblestone Farm Market Dinner” because it is loosely based on a recipe that was in their newsletter.

Its alternate name is “Happy Three,” because it contains lentils, kale, and potatoes — three foods that each make my body very happy, so combining all three into one meal makes a food that I really enjoy.

The newsletter’s original name for this recipe was “Sauteed Greens & Things.”  :)

Whatever name it goes by — yum! This recipe is delightful, and it leaves my body feeling great!

All of the quantities in this recipe are very flexible. Feel free to add more of the things you like! You can make this at any time of year, and it is a glorious celebration of foods that are in season right now.

Cobblestone Farm Market Dinner
 
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This recipe contains three foods that make my body very happy: lentils, kale, and potatoes. Yum!
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: serves 4, depending on which optional ingredients you used
Ingredients
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
  • 1 pint of potatoes, chopped into small dice
  • 1 handful chard, chopped
  • 1 handful kale, chopped
  • 1 handful fennel fronds, chopped (optional)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use San-J gluten-free reduced sodium tamari) (for soy-free, replace with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 chopped fresh tomatoes (optional, but good!)
Instructions
  1. Check through your dry lentils and remove anything that shouldn't be there (small stones, other grains, etc.). Place them in a pot with the water. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are tender, 15 to 30 minutes depending on your lentils.
  2. Either boil the chopped potatoes in just enough water to cover them, until the potatoes are cooked but not yet mushy, which takes about 10-12 minutes, then drain them. OR put the diced potatoes on a cookie sheet, toss with some salt and oil, and bake in a 400 degree oven, turning them occasionally until the potatoes are turning golden brown. (I prefer the oven version, but if the weather is very hot I'll choose the boiled version to avoid heating up the kitchen.)
  3. Meanwhile, if you are using onions, in a big pot such as a Dutch oven, saute the onions in some olive oil. Then add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the greens, and cook until they decrease in volume and are heated through.
  4. Add everything to the big pot or put it in a big mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly.
  5. Taste, and add more salt and/or tamari if needed.
  6. Serve!

 

Pi Pie – gluten-free, vegan, delicious, and covered in Pi

Pi Pie

 

To use a plastic bag to decorate the pie, first tape the edges

To use a plastic bag to decorate the pie, first tape the edges

 

Happy Pi Day! March 14th can be written as 3.14, which is the first three digits of pi. We are geeks at my house, so we always celebrate Pi Day with Pi Pie — that is, a pie with lots of digits of pi written on it.

This pie recipe is creamy and chocolatey and delicious. Yum!

For writing with frosting, I like to use a ziplock bag. I add pieces of scotch tape to reinforce the seams and edges, then cut off a corner and (optionally!) add a frosting tip. Put the frosting in the bag, try writing

Then put tape diagonally, near the corner.

Then put tape diagonally, near the corner.

a letter on a plate to make sure that everything is working okay, and then start writing on your pie!

This pie tastes amazingly yummy at any time of the year, whether or not you draw any digits on it. Don’t wait for Pi Day!

 

 

 

Fold down the ends of the tape. Put another piece of tape in the same place but on the bottom, and fold down its ends too. Cut off the corner of the bag.

Fold down the ends of the tape. Put another piece of tape in the same place but on the bottom, and fold down its ends too. Cut off the corner of the bag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put in a frosting tip. If you don't have a frosting tip, tape and cut closer to the end of the bag, so the opening is smaller.

Put in a frosting tip. If you don’t have a frosting tip, tape and cut closer to the end of the bag, so the opening is smaller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add frosting to the bag, and you are ready to decorate! Draw a test letter on a plate first, before writing on the pie.

Add frosting to the bag, and you are ready to decorate! Draw a test letter on a plate first, before writing on the pie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My son James, wearing a Pumpkin Pi shirt and eating Pi Pie. :)

My son James, wearing a Pumpkin Pi shirt and eating Pi Pie. :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a Pi Pie from last year, decorated with cashew cream digits instead of frosting digits.

Here is a Pi Pie from last year, decorated with cashew cream digits instead of frosting digits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pi Pie

 

Pi Pie - gluten-free, vegan, delicious, and covered in Pi
 
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This healthy vegan Pi Pie recipe is as delicious as it is cute!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 pie
Ingredients
  • 1 chocolate brownie crust from the recipe for Fresh Fruit Pie with Chocolate Brownie Crust
  • 1 batch of chocolate mousse
  • something to write digits with, such as a batch of cashew cream (6 tablespoons cashews and 3 tablespoons of water) blended extra-smooth and maybe even sifted through a strainer so that it won't clog the decorating tip. (For the pie in the picture, I used homemade frosting, but in the refrigerator the mousse dissolved it, so I recommend decorating with cashew cream, not frosting)
Instructions
  1. Make the chocolate brownie crust according to its directions.
  2. Make the chocolate mousse according to its directions.
  3. Place the mousse in the pie crust and carefully smooth it out flat with a spatula.
  4. Use your favorite approach to writing with frosting to write digits of pi on the pie.
  5. Refrigerate for a few hours to let the filling firm up. (It is hard to wait!)
  6. Possibly helpful: Here is a website that has a million digits of pi .

 

Cookie Dough Dip – healthy, gluten-free, vegan, safe to eat, and awesomely yummy!

chocolate chip cookie dough dip

cookie dough dipThe original person to think up the idea of making edible healthy cookie dough is Chocolate Covered Katie — a blogger who specializes in healthy vegan desserts and who makes amazing recipes!

I have simplified her recipe and made it even healthier. This recipe takes five minutes to mix up. You need a good food processor or blender. And then you can eat (safe) raw cookie dough! Yum!!!!!

The dough that this makes does not taste exactly the same as cookie dough. But the color is right, it’s sweet, and it has chocolate chips, so as far as I’m concerned it’s good! My kids and I really love this recipe.

chocolate chip cookie dough dipThis afternoon, after I took the photos for this recipe, I asked my kids, “Who wants to eat the photo models?” They knew I was making cookie dough dip, so they came running.  :)

Cookie Dough Dip - healthy, gluten-free, vegan, safe to eat, and awesomely yummy!
 
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Healthy, vegan, gluten-free cookie dough that you can eat raw -- in five minutes! Awesomely delicious!!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup dates (about six), no pits, and check for (and remove) any dried bits of stem on them
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, such as cannellini beans, great northern beans, or navy beans
  • 1/3 cup of chocolate chips (I like Equal Exchange organic semi-sweet chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients except for the chocolate chips into a food processor or blender. Blend until a smooth dough forms, which will take several minutes. Depending on your blender, you may need to add extra water to get everything to blend evenly.
  2. Stir in the chocolate chips, and serve!
  3. For serving, you can eat it with a spoon like a pudding, or dip in graham crackers to eat it with.

 

Dessert Nachos – healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and awesomely yummy!

Dessert Nachos

Dessert NachosHappy Birthday to this blog! Today it is three years old!

Recently I was flipping through cookbooks and I spotted a recipe for “dessert nachos” — where you thinly slice up an apple as the chips, then add caramel as the sauce and sprinkle on toppings.

That got me to thinking about trying it with the healthy vegan caramel sauce from the recipe for Banana Claw ice cream.

I tried making some, and my daughter and I liked it so much that I have been making it again every morning lately. It is a little addictive.

The best part is that it is so healthy that you can eat it for breakfast.

YUM!

I thought about saving this recipe to post in the autumn, since apples are not in season right now. But it is too good to wait.

For recipes that are in season now, I long all year for Chocolate Chip Fresh Cherry Bread. There’s also Zucchini Brownies. Also, Fresh Fruit Pie With Chocolate Brownie Crust is in season now and totally awesome!!! Yum!!!!!

Dessert Nachos - healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and awesomely yummy!
 
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Great as a dessert -- and healthy enough to be breakfast! Thinly slice up an apple as the chips, then add healthy vegan caramel as the sauce and sprinkle on toppings. YUM!!!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert or Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 small servings or 2 medium ones
Ingredients
  • 1 apple
  • 5-6 dates (with no pits or hard bits of stem)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons almond butter (for a nut-free version, try sunflower seed butter or soybutter instead)
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt (optional but really good!)
  • Toppings such as 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, coconut bits, pomegranate seeds, etc.
Instructions
  1. In the smallest jar of a reliable blender, using a nut-butter blade if you have one, put the dates, almond butter, oil, water, and salt. Blend until very smooth. If the mixture isn't getting smooth easily, add a couple of teaspoons of water and blend again.
  2. Slice the apple into many thin slices.
  3. Divide the apple among four plates (for small servings) or two plates (for bigger servings). Add the caramel sauce on top, then sprinkle on the toppings.

 

Tiramisu in 14 minutes – healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free, and can be vegan

Tiramisu
cake slices

Chocolate chip pumpkin bread, cut into twelve “ladyfinger” sticks for this recipe.

Last August my kids and I visited Toronto.

Usually when we travel, I am fanatical about planning ahead so that we will always have gluten-free food available. But this one time my teens talked me into winging it. We had the impression that every street corner in Toronto had one of those restaurants where you order a bowl of plain rice and then pick three toppings from one column and four toppings from the next column, and many of this type of restaurant can make safe gluten-free food. So in the morning we went to the Royal Ontario

cake after dipping

Cake after dipping

Museum. In the afternoon we planned to go see Castle Loma. Our map made it look like these places were about three blocks apart, so we decided to walk from the museum to the castle, eating lunch at a bowl-type restaurant along the way. Alas, our map was not to scale. It was far more than three blocks from one place to the other. We walked for a really long time through an endless residential neighborhood that had no stores or restaurants of any kind. Finally we found a tiny grocery store. Hungry and tired, we bought mainstream GMO-filled potato chips and ate those for lunch sitting on the sidewalk outside the store, occasionally interrupted by people

Cake with cashew cream added

Cake with cashew cream added

who needed us to move out of the way so that they could get in or out of the building. Definitely not our best meal ever!

When we started walking again, we almost immediately found an organic gluten-free mostly-raw restaurant called Live Organic Food Bar. It looked intriguing, so my kids and I went in. Having just gorged on potato chips, we weren’t very hungry, but I really wanted to try the food there, so we ordered desserts. I ordered an expensive little tiramisu that was AMAZING!!!! It had been maybe fifteen years since I last ate tiramisu, and

Finished tiramisu

Finished tiramisu

getting to have it again was a real treat.

Weeks later, at home again, I kept thinking about that amazing tiramisu. It wouldn’t be easy to go back to Toronto for more, so I decided to create my own. I had a tiramisu recipe that I had loved many years ago, so I used that as a starting point.

To my surprise, the tiramisu that I invented is very fast to make, over-the-top healthy, and over-the-top delicious!!!

Tiramisu in refrigerator

Tiramisu in refrigerator – these glass containers are great for making tiramisu. You can pop on the lid and store it easily in the refrigerator.

Traditional tiramisu is made with ladyfingers — long, thin cakelike cookies that are shaped like very large fingers. In this recipe you can use a wide variety of baked desserts cut into finger shapes, as the ladyfingers. I think cookies would work well too. I suggest using something that is not all-chocolate — though actually that too might be interesting. I have done this with Corbin’s muffin bread, and with chocolate chip pumpkin bread, but you could also use storebought cookies or cake or banana bread. Also I have seen gluten-free ladyfingers available at the store, though they don’t look at all healthy. The finished tiramisu will taste like whatever baked good you choose, so you should choose a baked item that you think would taste good inside tiramisu.

TiramisuIn the pictures, I used the super-healthy version of chocolate chip pumpkin bread — the second recipe on that page. That version has no refined sugar, and I add a lot of veggies, so in the pictures you may notice that the cake part looks a little green. That’s kale. It made an awesomely healthy tiramisu that tasted fantastic to me, but if you or your eaters are at all skeptical about kale in tiramisu, you can totally make this with some other baked item. Not everybody is as crazy about kale as me, and I completely respect that. You can make a very excellent tiramisu with this recipe without any kale, if that’s what you prefer.

Anyway, I hope you will try this recipe.  It makes an amazing tiramisu!

Tiramisu in 14 minutes - healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free, and can be vegan
 
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This tiramisu takes only 14 minutes to make. It is delicious, and can be healthy, vegan, and gluten-free. Yum!!! Warning: Addictive!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: gluten-free
Serves: 3 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 slices of baked goods, such as cookies, banana bread, Corbin's muffin bread, or chocolate chip pumpkin bread, or about 3 cups of cookies
  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 5 dates, pits and any bits of stem removed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 mug of coffee or espresso (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or cognac (optional - I leave it out)
  • 1 tablespoon baking cocoa powder
Instructions
  1. Brew a mug of coffee. (I have an ancient one-cup-at-a-time coffeemaker that makes it easy to brew just the right amount.)
  2. In a good blender, mix the cashews, water, dates, vanilla extract, and optional brandy or cognac. Blend until creamy-smooth. When the coffee is ready, add 1/2 tablespoon of coffee and blend until mixed.
  3. If you are using baked goods from a loaf, cut each of the four slices crosswise into three sticks, so that you end up with twelve finger-shaped sticks of baked goods. If you are using cookies you can skip this step.
  4. Pour the coffee into a small bowl, such as a cereal bowl. Have a fork and a loaf pan handy.
  5. A few at a time, put half of the baked goods into the coffee (that would be six "ladyfingers" or half of the cookies), then immediately use the fork to scoop them out again and put them crosswise into the loaf pan.
  6. Evenly pour half of the cashew mixture on top.
  7. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of baking cocoa evenly everywhere on top.
  8. Make a second layer: Dip the other half of the baked goods in the coffee, put them into the loaf pan, spread on the rest of the cashew cream and sprinkle on the rest of the baking cocoa powder.
  9. In theory you should refrigerate this for a few hours at this point, but it is really hard not to just dive in and start eating. It firms up a bit in the refrigerator, but even when it is liquidy from being freshly made it is still good.

 

Matzo Mina – a great Passover dish – gluten-free, vegan, and healthy

Matzo Mina

Happy Passover!!

I grew up Jewish, but the first time I heard of a Matzo Mina was as an adult, surfing the Internet. This is a lot like a lasagna, but made with dampened matzo instead of the lasagna noodles. With the overlapping squares of matzo on the top, this comes out looking really pretty. It tastes great, too, so it is my favorite Passover food. To make it gluten-free, I use gluten-free matzo.

Matzo Mina

Assembled Matzo Mina before baking

My pick for gluten-free matzo is Yehuda brand. I find it at my local Whole Foods store, though it is also available on Amazon. Lately gluten-free matzo is the most popular food in my house — my kids gobble it down! Go figure!

To make a soy-free version of this recipe, replace the tofu with 2/3 cup of cashews, 2/3 cup of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, and 2/3 cup of water.

This recipe is originally based on Tori Avey’s Spinach, Feta and Artichoke Matzo Mina — though I have changed my version a lot.

If you are cooking for Passover, you may also want to check out my recipe for gluten-free matzo ball soup. Yum!

Sorry to have gone so long between postings — I can’t believe I last posted in July! I don’t have a good reason for having gone so long between postings — just juggling kids, work, and the paperwork from Jan’s estate. Anyway, I do have lots more recipes that I want to post, so I will continue posting recipes!!

our seder table

Here is my son Corbin, who is nine, at our Seder table.
The weather is so warm that this year we had our Seder outdoors on the back porch.

Matzo Mina - a great Passover dish - gluten-free, vegan, and healthy
 
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This matzo mina is a delicious and healthy vegan main dish to serve at Passover. It is a bit like a lasagna, but with dampened matzo instead of the noodles. I really love this recipe! You can make it gluten-free if you use gluten-free matzo.
Author:
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3-4 sheets of matzo; for gluten-free use a gluten-free matzo such as Yehuda brand
  • 1-2 jars of artichoke hearts (plain or marinated; about 8 ounces per jar)
  • 1 pound firm tofu (not silken)
  • 4+ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried herbs, such as basil or oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 5 ounces spinach or kale (frozen and defrosted is fine)
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, blend everything except the matzo and artichoke hearts. Add the artichoke hearts and pulse until mixed in.
  3. Oil a 9x9 inch square baking pan.
  4. Dampen a sheet of matzo in cold running water from the faucet. Place in baking pan.
  5. Add half of the tofu mixture, and spread it smooth with a spatula.
  6. Repeat with another piece of matzo and the rest of the tofu mixture.
  7. For the top, dampen a piece of matzo, then break it into squares that are 1 1/2 or 2 inches wide. Overlap the pieces of matzo on top of the casserole, like roof shingles, covering the entire surface. You will need about 1 1/2 sheets of matzo, broken up, to cover the top of the casserole.
  8. Gently brush the top of the matzo with olive oil.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top layer is browning. Serve warm.

 

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!

 

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!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
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.