chocolate peanut butter mousse (vegan, dairy free, gluten free, no added sugar)

(this post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you)

“We go together like birds of a feather…”

If chocolate and peanut butter ever had a theme song, that would be it. They were simply made for each other. #Godsagenius

And if you were playing Family Feud and had to name a food that went with peanut butter, I’m pretty sure “chocolate” would be a top answer. (“Jelly” might have the edge, numbers-wise, but taste-wise chocolate has “j” beat hands down IMO). You too?

So it was only a matter of time before I gave my go to chocolate mousse recipe a slight makeover to transform it into a chocolate peanut butter mousse.

 

 

There are three things I especially love about this chocolate peanut butter mousse recipe:

  1. It’s easy to make. With so many things on the go…four kids, two business, plus life and laundry, I want as many easy recipes in my life as possible.
  2. It’s a crowd pleaser. Whenever I hit on a recipe that satisfies many palettes, it quickly becomes a go-to and I love that this chocolate peanut butter mousse works as a snack or can be dressed up for company.
  3. It’s healthy but decadent. It’s my mission in life to prove that you can have a healthy dessert and eat it too without the sugar rush and crash and regretting that last bite, piece or helping. Dates and stevia stand in for added sugars but without fueling a sugar addiction and the fats from the avocado, peanut butter and coconut milk give a richness to the dessert that we often crave but with more substance and nutrients than we receive from butters and oils.

 

I’m giving you an option for a peanut butter mousse layer if you want to get all fancy pants and dress it up for guests. I’m perfectly content either way, but definitely run with the second option when I want to add a little wow factor. Mixing it up in food processor (this one’s my favorite), is my preferred way to make it because I find it easier to scrape than a blender. If you do go with the blender option, make sure it’s one with a motor powerful enough to handle blending the ingredients, especially the dates.

If you’re opting to add the peanut butter mousse layer, then you definitely want to serve this in a clear glass container. I used a Weck canning jar in this picture, which you can find here. For a slightly smaller size, these Weck tulip jars are my favorite. Yep, I totally crush over beautiful containers. And for parties, these jars make great portable, classy and environmentally friendly individual portion sizes. They’re my favorite party trick. For a party, though, you’ll want to double or triple the recipe depending on the number of guests.

 

P.S. Typically, I prefer using full fat coconut milk in my recipes, but because of the fat content in the peanut butter, I opted to use low fat coconut milk for this chocolate peanut butter mousse.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse
Prep Time
10 mins
Chilling
1 hr
 

Easy but decadent, this chocolate peanut butter mousse whips up in a jiffy and satisfies all the cravings.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Keyword: chocolate, chocolate peanut butter, easy vegan dessert recipe, no added sugar dessert recipe, vegan chocolate mousse
Servings: 6 people
Ingredients
  • 1 just ripe avocado
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup date paste
  • 1 15-oz can low fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 scoops 100% pure stevia
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened natural peanut butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. If making without the peanut butter swirl, add all ingredients to the food processor or blender and mix until smooth and creamy and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.


  2. If making the mousse with the peanut butter swirl, add all ingredients EXCEPT the avocado and cocoa powder to the food processor and blender. Blend thoroughly, then remove 1/4-1/2 cup and set aside. Then add the cocoa powder and avocado to the remaining mixture and blend until smooth and creamy.

  3. In clear glass containers, fill each 2/3 full of chocolate mousse, add enough peanut butter mousse to create a layered effect and then top with more chocolate mousse. Chill for at least one hour in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES:

If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers (see this post). I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterStevia™ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping

serving up sides: smashed potatoes and roasted broccoli (vegan, gluten free, dairy free)

(this post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you)

 

I was working on this post two weeks ago and then life happened. Or rather, bed bugs. Let’s just say “don’t let the bed bugs bite” is so not funny or cute to me anymore. Thankfully, we have the little buggers taken care of, but it was a lot of work. Good, but tiring at the same time. And now back to our regularly scheduled program…

It’s the night before the Royal Wedding and this feels like a very fitting recipe to share – so British, but with an nontraditional twist. I am most definitely an Anglophile since one of my grandmothers was British and we lived in England for a few years. I still miss it.

Something I don’t miss is meat. Which really surprised me at first. Before switching to a plant-based diet, I never gave veggies much thought other than I knew I was “supposed” to eat them and mostly as a side dish.

But now, I would (and have!) eat these smashed potatoes and roasted broccoli as a main dish because I love making a meal of sides! I mean, why not? They’re usually easy to pull together, give you variety and allow other family members to load up on their favorites and nibble on the rest.

 

Let’s serve up those sides, shall we?

 

 

Smashed Potatoes: If my meal doesn’t contain lentils or beans as the main feature, then it will have potatoes! Gold, russett or sweet. For these smashed potatoes, I went with organic gold potatoes which are creamy, have a lovely thin skin and are the perfect size for a side dish. Organic because potatoes are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list and I like my veggies with out an extra dose of pesticides thankyouverymuch. To make them, you simply scrub them up, pierce them with a knife or fork and roast them in a 375 degree oven for 40-55 minutes are until very tender when pierced with a fork. After you smash them (with your hand or a potato masher, I highly recommend serving them with this easy vegan sour cream recipe and sprinkle of rosemary, salt and pepper.

 

Roasted Broccoli: I feel like roasted veggies is a millennial thing. And I couldn’t be happier. Growing up, we mostly ate raw or boiled veggies (a kickback to my grandmothers’ generation) which were good, but it meant we hadn’t discovered how amazing roasted veggies are. This is the first time I tried roasting broccoli and was thrilled with the results! As with the potatoes, I prefer mine simply dressed with salt, pepper a teeny bit of avocado oil. Why avocado oil? Because it’s better for high heat cooking and I love it’s slightly buttery flavor! Other oils (like olive) become unstable and hydrogenated at much lower temperatures. If you can’t find it locally, try this one by Chosen Foods.

 

Roasted/pan-seard Leeks: I’ve always love potato and leek soup (get my simple recipe for it here), but it never occurred to me to serve them with baked potatoes until now. I did these in our cast iron skillet (like this one) with only a little avocado oil, but you could try roasting them with the potatoes and/or broccoli too.

 

And here’s the printable version of the smashed potatoes and sides for those of you who are old school like me (give me paper over digital anytime!)

 

Smashed Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 

Simple, yet satisfying sides that also can eat as a meal.

Course: Side Dish
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • yukon gold potatoes
  • broccoli
  • leeks
  • salt
  • pepper
  • rosemary
  • avocado oil
  • vegan sour cream (optional)
Instructions
Smashed Potatoes
  1. Scrub the, pierce them with a knife or fork, place on a pan and roast them in a 400 degree oven for 40-45 minutes are until very tender when pierced with a fork. After you smash them (with your hand or a potato masher, I highly recommend serving them with vegan sour cream recipe and sprinkle of rosemary, salt and pepper.

Roasted Broccoli
  1. Rinse the broccoli well then cut the broccoli "trees" from the stalk. Peel the stalk and cut into bite-sized rounds and spread out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a small amount of avocado oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until the broccoli turns a little crispy on the edges and becomes tender. You can add the broccoli to the oven during the last 15 minutes that the potatoes are cooking.

Roasted/pan-seard Leeks:
  1. Rinse the leeks and slice into rounds (use the white and light green parts). If you don't like waste, save the dark leafier part for soup stock or stews. To pan-sear the leeks, heat a pan (cast iron is best for this!), add a little avocado oil and then the leeks. Sear over medium-high heat until lightly browned, then flip and do the same with the other side.

    To roast, lightly dress them in avocado oil and add them to the baking sheet along with the broccoli. Flip once during cooking time to ensure even browning.

easy vegan sour cream (nut free, sugar free, gluten free)

(this post contains affiliate links which help fund this blog but at no cost to you)

Today it’s easier than ever to eat a plant-based diet. There are so many products on the market and new ways of approaching food (think aquafaba) that it’s possible to eat your way through life without really missing the animal-based version.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy plant-based diet.

Take sour cream, for instance. A quick glance at the common store-bought brands and you’ll find ingredients like: maltodextrin, mono- and diglycerides, oils, gums and added sugar (whyyyyyy???). It’s this last one that has me turning to my own kitchen for a solution because even the “better” vegan sour cream brands contain added sugars – something that I avoid as much as possible ever since I detoxed from it several years ago. So while these store-bought products might taste closer to the real thing, they aren’t something I want to put in my body.

Which is why I decided to try a homemade version instead.

 

 

Instead of using tofu or cashews which many vegan sour cream recipes include as the main ingredients, I choose sunflower seeds since they are less allergenic and is budget friendly. As an added bonus, sunflower seeds are high in selenium which is an antioxidant and beneficial for thyroid health. I was excited by how well they worked for this easy vegan sour cream!

While it doesn’t taste like the “real” sour cream (I’d be lying if I claimed that), this easy vegan sour cream does add that same tangy creaminess to a meal without the side effects that come with eating dairy or sketchy ingredients from a lab. The key to a smooth sour cream is soaking the sunflower seeds overnight and using a high speed blender. I find it also is better when eaten within a week.

As a side note: Isn’t that jar the cutest? It’s a Weck Tulip Jar and I found it while thrifting for food props at my favorite thrift store in our area. Since I’m chalking that up as a rare find, you can find a set of them here. Also, if you want to see what I’m up to on more of a daily basis, I love sharing to Instagram stories (you can find me on Instagram here). And I’m also on Pinterest where I love pinning vegan recipes that catch my eye along with other healthy living and blogging-related topics. Click here to connect with me on Pinterest.

 

Ready to make this easy vegan sour cream? Here’s the recipe:

 

Sunny Sour Cream
Prep Time
5 mins
soaking time
12 hrs
 

An easy to prepare vegan sour cream that is nut-, added sugar- and gluten free and gives you a creamy tanginess to your favorite plant-based dishes.

Course: Condiment, Topping
Servings: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened organic soy milk*
  • 1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp, scant salt
  • 1/8 tsp apple cider vinegar (unfiltered is best)
Instructions
  1. Add the sunflower seeds to a glass bowl and cover completely with water (about 1.5-2 cups. Cover the bowl and let them soak overnight at room temperature.

  2. Drain and rinse and add to a high speed blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy, scrapping down the sides a few times.

  3. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge for up to one week.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: *If you prefer not to use or are allergic to soy milk, you can replace it with an unsweetened nondairy milk of your choice but you might need to adjust the other ingredients since other nondairy milks tend to be naturally sweeter than soy.

 

 

 

no bake chocolate mint squares (vegan, no added sugar, paleo, gluten free)

 

There are three things I have to do before I start writing a blog post: get my pictures purdied up, make sure my nails are clipped short and fix my hair in a ponytail. The pictures are essential. The other two? Just a couple quirks that minimize distractions for me. LOL

Now that those are out of the way, let’s chat about these no bake chocolate mint squares.

They are a minty take on a couple of recipes I frequently use for desserts and are fast and simple to whip up. The only downside, perhaps, is waiting a couple of hours for them to set in the fridge. Which is why it’s always a good idea to leave a little bit of the mousse filling in the food processor bowl.

Here are the stats on these no bake chocolate mint squares:

  • chocolatey
  • minty
  • vegan
  • gluten free
  • paleo option
  • raw option
  • no added sugar
  • plant protein
  • higher in fat (thanks to the avocado, coconut milk and nuts)

 

I’m giving you two options for the finished look: naked…

 

 

 

…and fancy.

 

Truthfully, I often go the low-key route and let the taste of these squares do all the talking (especially if I’m in a hurry), but occasionally it’s fun to dress things up a little, especially if you’re bringing these along to a friend’s house or potluck.

To make the fancy version, be sure to follow the steps in the instructions carefully which will save you time and ingredients. Trust me on this one.

If you use peppermint essential oil (like I did), make sure it is a high quality one and approved for internal consumption. My favorite brand is by Young Living with the extra bonus of being able to support my friend in her business. If you use peppermint extract, you’ll need more than the EO since it isn’t as strong.

Now for the recipe, shall we?

 

No bake chocolate mint squares
Prep Time
10 mins
Chil Time
2 hrs
 

These vegan chocolately minty squares are easy to make, free of added sugars and can be suited to a gluten free and paleo diet.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Servings: 16 squares
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the base:
  • 1 cup almonds (raw if preferred)
  • 3/4 cup date paste*
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 scoops 100% pure powdered stevia
For the filling:
  • 1 just ripe avocado
  • 1 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup date paste*
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 scoops 100% pure powdered stevia
  • 2 T peanut butter (or almond butter for paleo)
For the green drizzle:
  • 1/4 cup reserved avocado/coconut mixture (see instructions)
  • 2-3 pinches 100% pure powdered stevia
  • 1-2 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1/8-1/16 tsp matcha
For the chocolate drizzle:
  • 1/4 cup reserved chocolate mixture (see instructions)
  • 3 tsp unsweetened almond milk
  • cacoa nibs (optional)
Instructions
For the base:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until the nuts are chopped fine and the ingredients just hold together when pinched between your fingers. Be careful not to over mix as the nuts will release their oils.

  2. Pour into an 8x8 glass baking dish and press down firmly and evenly to form the base. Set aside.

For the filling:
  1. Add the coconut milk and avocado to a clean food processor bowl and mix until smooth. If making the fancy version of the squares remove 1/4 of the mixture, add to a clean jar and set aside.

  2. Add remaining filling ingredients to the processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the bowl a couple of times. If making the fancy version, remove 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixture, add to a clean jar and set aside.

  3. Pour filling over the base, cover with foil and chill in the fridge for at least two hours to set. Cut into 16 squares and serve. Store in the fridge for up to two days (if they last that long 😉 )

For the fancy version of the squares:
  1. Combine all green drizzle ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover the jar with the lid and chill until ready to decorate the squares.

  2. Thin the reserved 1/4 cup of chocolate mixture with almond milk. Cover the jar with the lid and chill until ready to decorate the squares.

  3. Once the squares are chilled and set, pour the green drizzle into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Alternatively, you can use a plastic sandwich bag by spooning in the mixture, sealing and cutting off a tiny corner of the bag. Drizzle over the squares in a loose zigzag pattern.

  4. Repeat for the chocolate drizzle using a clean bag. If desired, sprinkle cacao nibs over the squares.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES:

If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.

 

 

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers (see this post). I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterStevia™ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping

sunshine bliss balls (vegan, dairy free, gluten free, no added sugar)

 

It’s funny, but often I get my recipe inspiration when I have an event or theme to work with. Probably because the possibilities are endless when it comes to dreaming up recipes and it’s one way of narrowing things down. LOL

I created these Sunshine Bliss Balls as I was preparing to head to Cincinnati a few weeks ago for a Bible Study Fellowhship leaders retreat. If you’re not familiar with BSF, it’s an international Bible study program and one that has been an ah-mazing resource for me and thousands of others around the world.

Anyway…

Whenever I travel away from home, I always prepare myself by packing “survival” foods because I’ve learned that most places are at a loss of how to accommodate a vegan diet in a way the stretches beyond a salad. Now, I never mind eating salads (see my last post), but when I’m paying for it, I want something more than I can easily make at home…and for much cheaper.

So I’ve learned that if I want to balance my diet, I need to supplement what is available with what I can bring.

One of the ways I do that is with snacks. Especially energy balls. Like these Sunshine Bliss Balls.

 

 

The beauty of an energy ball is they are extremely portable, typically contain a good mix of carbs, fats and protein and can satisfy a sweet tooth, snackish craving without any added sugar or empty calories.

This recipe took it’s inspiration from a date-orange slice recipe that my mom found years ago when we lived in England. I wanted to replicate the tanginess but take it in a different direction as well. Like adding fresh turmeric which is inflammatory and an antioxidant.

In these Sunshine Bliss Balls you will find:

  • dates
  • dried mango
  • dried apricots
  • unsweetened shredded coconut
  • almond butter
  • sesame seeds
  • fresh turmeric
  • orange juice

They are a little on the stickier side, so you definitely want to coat them in the unsweetened shredded coconut and keeping them in the fridge is a plus (although they can hold up at room temp). If you make them to travel, packing them in a sturdy container is essential.

Okay, ready for the recipe? Here you go!

Sunshine Bliss Balls
Total Time
10 mins
 

When you need a bright boost of macro- and micro-nutrients on the go, these Sunshine Bliss Balls are just the things.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried mango
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup medjool dates*
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated turmeric
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 1/16 tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. If the mango, apricots or dates are on the dry side, briefly soak them in warm water to soften them. Drain, then add them to a food processor or strong blender along with the remaining ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined. You will scrape the bowl a few times to ensure easy mixing.

  2. Spoon out enough mixture to form 1" balls. Since the "batter" is sticky, have a bowl of water next to you to lightly dampen your hands as you roll each ball.

  3. Roll each bliss ball into unsweetened shredded coconut and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES

I highly recommend buying only dried fruit that is free from sulfur, additives and sugar.

It's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them as they are more moist than the pre-pitted kind. Obviously, you'll need to remove those pits before soaking/blending. 😉

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.

 

 

 

 

easy weeknight meal: sweet potatoes with cheesy pistachio dust (vegan, gluten free)

 

As a food blogger, it can be tempting for me to post oodles of complicated, fancy recipes that have a big wow factor. Because those are the things that get a lot of splash and attention.

But, that’s not reality.

As a mom of four and business owner two times over, I don’t have time most days for complicated and fancy. I’m guessing you don’t either.

Which is why I’m sharing more of a meal idea than a “recipe” with you today. It’s an easy weeknight meal that is uncomplicated, but tasty. Simple, but satisfying. Light on ingredients but packed with the nutrients your body needs to fuel itself for all the things you do.

That’s the beauty of an easy weeknight meal, isn’t it?

First we start with a sweet potato. Packed with vitamins, fiber, potassium, sweet potatoes are one of my favorite comfort foods. I like to prepare them either by baking them whole or cutting them in half and placing cut side down on a baking sheet to get a be-you-ti-ful carmelization, like you see with the sweet potatoes in the picture above.

Next comes a side of salad. Here’s where you can find the dressing and basic to a chop salad that frequently makes an appearance on our table. It’s one the kids like, especially since I let them customize their toppings. Just ignore the picture…clearly, I’ve been working on my photography skills.

To amp up the protein and keep this meal from being ho-hum, I whipped up and added some cheesy pistachio dust (dairy free, of course) to both the potato and the salad. You’ll find the recipe for that below.

 

 

If you’re pressed for time during the week, you can prep much of this meal ahead of time over the weekend by pre-baking the sweet potatoes and mixing up the pistachio dust and salad dressing. I don’t recommend prepping the veggies ahead (unless you’re having them the next day) since they start to lose some of their nutrients after being cut. Instead, chop them up while you’re warming the sweet potatoes (I always do this in the oven, as I ixnayed the microwave for food years ago).

So there you have it! An easy weeknight meal that can be partially prepped ahead of time or simple enough to come together even in a pinch.

 

vegan nut Parmesan

A trio of nut Parmesans to get your cheese fix even without the dairy.

Course: Topping
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
Pecan Parmesan
  • 1 c. pecans, toasted
  • 4 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 3 tsp. avocado or olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
Cashew Parmesan
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 8 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp avocado or olive oil
Pistachio Parmesan
  • 1 c shelled pistachios
  • 9 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp avocado or olive oil
Instructions
  1. For each Parmesan (separately)...add the ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse or mix until the nuts are finely chopped. Do not over mix or the nuts will begin to release their oils and stick together.

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor for the cheesy pistachio dust

rainbow brownie pizza (vegan, no added sugar, gluten free)

 

Rainbows and bright colors have been on my mind lately because here in Ohio, this time of year can be really hard. Those of you living in northern and cloudy climates who struggle with winter blues will know what I mean. #wink

Which is why the more color I see on my plate the better, like this recipe I shared last week. And this rainbow brownie pizza? It’s like a sweet reminder of the promise that summer is coming.

 

So let’s dig in, shall we?

 

To make the rainbow brownie pizza, I started with a base made from my favorite brownie recipe and spread on a generous helping of date caramel. Both recipes are free of added sugar and gluten free.

If you’re wondering why date caramel instead of the cream cheese often used on fruit pizzas, it’s because I try to avoid processed vegan products which often contain ingredients that are just as unhealthy as animal-based products. And I have yet to find a homemade cream cheese recipe that I’m happy with.

 

 

We could stop right there and I would be perfectly happy, but since this is a pizza, we need some toppings, right?

For this rainbow, I chose strawberries, mandarin oranges, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries and blackberries. Of course, if these aren’t your favorites, simply swap them out with a fruit of the same color. Easy peasy.

Regardless of the fruit you choose, I highly recommend going organic for the berries because of the high pesticide content conventional berries contain. The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list is my favorite resource for verifying which foods I want to prioritize buying organic. And since this recipe requires only a small amount of each fruit, it won’t break the bank to make this switch.

Since we don’t have a traditional round pizza pan, I chose to make the brownie base in a 9″ cake pan, filling it only half way. If you do the same thing, either make only half the brownie batter or fill two 9″ cake pans. I personally recommend the second.

To keep things simple and added sugar free, I thinned a little of the date caramel with more unsweetened almond milk for the drizzle and sprinkled cacao nibs on top. I’m working on a chocolate sauce recipe and once it’s ready, you can bet I’ll be updating this recipe to include chocolate drizzle too!

 

Rainbow Brownie Pizza
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Cooling Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

Chocolate, fruit and date caramel come together in this easy to assemble dessert, snack or even breakfast recipe that gets rave reviews and pleases a crowd.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 Rockier Road Brownie recipe (without the topping)
  • 1 Date Caramel recipe
  • 1 package organic strawberries
  • 6-7 mandarin oranges, peeled
  • 1/2 pineapple, peeled and cored
  • 5-6 kiwi, peeled
  • 1 package blueberries
  • 1 package blackberries
Instructions
  1. Make the brownie recipe and either press onto a well-greased round pizza pan or spread batter into two 9" round cake pans well greased and lined with a circle of parchment paper on the bottom. Baking time 5-7 minutes less if spreading batter onto a pizza pan.

  2. While the base is baking, make the date caramel and prepare the fruit. Rinse the strawberries and slice in half, peel the oranges and pull apart each section. For the pineapple, cut into bite-sized wedges. Peel the kiwi and slice into rounds. Rinse the blueberries and blackberries and gently pat dry.

  3. When the base is done cooking, let it cool before spreading on the date caramel. To speed up the cooling, you can place it in the fridge.

  4. Arrange the fruit in a rainbow pattern starting with the strawberries around the outside and working your way inward with each color of fruit. Let the orange, pineapple and kiwi slices overlap slightly.

  5. For the caramel drizzle, take 1-2 tablespoons of date caramel and thin slightly with unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice. It should be just runny enough to pour easily off a spoon and over the fruit. If desired, sprinkle with cacao nibs.

 

 

 

rainbow plate with roasted chickpeas and citrus garlic tahini sauce (vegan, gluten free)

 

As a food blogger, I want to believe that everyone will absolutely love what I create and share. One hundred percent. All the time.

This, of course, is not realistic…as my family frequently reminds me.

Take this rainbow plate, for example. Yum, right?!

Except if you don’t like red peppers, sweet potato, chickpeas, kale and/or eggplant, roasted, seasoned or dressed but not disguised in a soup or sauce. Since I happen to love all these veggies, this is a plate I want to dive into on repeat. I was hoping my family would want to do the same.

My youngest, however, “didn’t like that dinner” and it was like pulling teeth to get my other three to finish (they ate their favorite veggies first, but that is different for each of them)). Even my husband didn’t give it glowing reviews, because, well, right now I’m the only die-hard veggie lover in my family.

But despite the ho-hum, yuck reviews from my dearest ones, I’m still sharing this rainbow plate because I loved it and I know there are other veggie-lovers out there that will love it too.

It’s simple to make and balanced with protein from the chickpeas plus it gives you all the vitamins and antioxidants your body is really craving. It’s simply dressed with a citrus garlic tahini sauce (more protein +tang) and the veggies could be roasted up on the weekend to prep for a busy week ahead.

If you absolutely dislike one or more of the veggies I’ve included on this plate, just switch it up for a different vegetable of the same color. Because that’s the beauty of cooking and recipe sharing.

 

rainbow plate with roasted chickpeas
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

An easy, delicious way to "eat all the colors," this rainbow plate combines roasted veggies with raw kale to give you all the nutrients and is dressed with a tangy garlic tahini sauce.

Course: Entree, Main Course
Servings: 2 people
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the Rainbow Plate
  • 1-2 red pepper, cut in strips
  • 2 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 15-oz can chickpeas
  • kale, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
For the Citrus Garlic-Tahini Dressing
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
Instructions
For the veggies:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 as you prepare the veggies. Add sweet potato and eggplant cubes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chickpeas by combining them in a bowl with the seasonings and toss to coat well. Spread on a baking sheet.

  3. When the sweet potatoes have cooked for 15 minutes, remove from oven and rotate for even cooking. Add the eggplant and red peppers to the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired and return to the oven for another 25-30 minutes or until all the veggies are tender and roasted.

  4. At the same time, add the pan of chickpeas to a different rack in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until they are slightly crispy. It's helpful to stir them a couple times during baking for even crisping.

For the dressing:
  1. While the veggies are roasting, mix all the dressing ingredients in a blender or small food processor, blending until thoroughly combined. Dressing can be stored in an air tight jar in the fridge for one week.

To assemble the rainbow plate:
  1. Add veggies and chickpeas in rainbow order to each plate, using as much kale as desired. Drizzle dressing over each serving.

 

chia cherry goji berry energy bites (vegan, gluten free, paleo)

 

Whether you need a quick pick-me-up as you’re on the go or a little something to hold those sugar cravings at bay, these chia cherry goji berry energy bites are just the thing. Fortunately, they are much easier to whip up than they are to say (LOL) with just seven ingredients.

Since the name is kinds of a mouthful, I decided to shorten it to “Bing-Go Bites” for the bing cherries and goji berries. So much easier – and fun! – to say.

I created this recipe while I was packing for our mission trip to the Dominican Republic last month. I wanted something that would travel well, include both healthy servings of plant protein and fruit and provide extra nutritional benefits like antioxidants (cacao nibs, goji berries and cherries) and omega-3 fatty acids (chia seeds). Oh, and free of added sugars of course.

That sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it?

I had been dreaming up energy bites like this for awhile but hadn’t pinned myself to actually pull something together and what better time than the day you have to leave the country? Let me tell you, I was praying these would turn out the way I had imagined since I left myself zero time to test multiple batches. So grateful God answered that prayer with a speedy “yes.”

 

 

 

Let me tell you, I’m extra grateful I had these chia cherry goji berry energy bites (a.k.a. Bing-Go bites) on hand as we encountered a two hour wait to get through the airport in Santo Domingo and the virus I ended up coming down with was starting to kick into gear. They got the stamp of approval from other team members too.

If you try these, or the other recipes on my site, I would love to hear your feedback too! Good and not-so-good. Your comments are extremely helpful as I continue to both develop and improve on the recipes I share with you.

chia cherry goji berry (Bing-Go) bites
Total Time
15 mins
 

Whether you need a quick pick-me-up as you're on the go or a little something to hold those sugar cravings at bay, these chia cherry goji berry energy bites are just the thing.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 cup date paste*
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 T chia
  • 1 T goji berries
  • 1 t cacoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup dried bing cherries
Instructions
  1. Add first four ingredients to a food processor and mix until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add the goji berries, cacao nibs and dried cherries and pulse until just combined.

  2. Scoop out mixture with a spoon and roll in your hands to form 1" balls. Place in an airtight container. Should be eaten within 1-2 days if stored in the cupboard or 5-7 days in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • I used the Navitas brand of cacao nibs which I bought online at vitacost.com. But you also can find them here.
  • I found the dried Bing cherries at Trader Joe’s. You can get them online here if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you. Make sure they are free of added sugar and sulfur!
  • The goji berries were from the bulk section at Whole Foods, but you can get them online here.

herbed spelt pizza crust (vegan, whole grain)

Pizza night around our home is a weekly event. Usually I plan it for Friday nights, but have been known to mix things up occasionally.

For awhile, this recipe was my go to for the crust (clearly I’ve been working on my food photography) since I wanted to cut the carbs and boost the nutrition, but truth be told, it takes a little more work than the traditional dough. I still love it, but with everything I have going on…keeping up with this food blog, starting a new business and life…I needed an “in a pinch” pizza crust solution that was easier to whip up, but still packed a solid good-for-you punch.

I hit on this herbed spelt pizza crust as the solution.

 

While it’s not gluten-free (sorry, GFers), it is whole grain and flavored with plenty of herbs and garlic to get your anti-oxidant fix in.

 

Why whole grain spelt flour?

While it’s related to wheat, it’s an ancient grain which is considered to be healthier and more nutrition than modern varieties. It contains more protein and zinc than wheat, and overall, I find it to be lighter in texture and prefer the flavor over whole wheat.

(I’m still working on my family to convert them from white flour to whole grains, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and changing your families flavor preferences can take time and patience. But they absolutely love when I add all these herbs and garlic to their crust!)

 

For the pizza itself, here’s how I put it together:

  • crust
  • hummus (cheese replacer)
  • sauce (here’s my recipe that I make monthly)
  • sliced onion rounds
  • red pepper, sometimes green and sometimes mushrooms
  • greens (extra nutritional booster and yummy too!)
  • cashew parm (recipe here) or nutritional yeast for extra cheesy flavor

 

And here’s the herbed spelt crust recipe…

herbed spelt pizza crust

Bursting with flavor, antioxidants and whole grains, this herbed spelt pizza crust transforms pizza night!

Course: Entree, Main Course
Servings: 4
Author: Andrea Anderson @wildberrypress
Ingredients
  • 1 7g package quick-rise yeast
  • drizzle sweetener of choice
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/8 cup avocado oil
  • 1 3/4 cups whole grain spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1/2 tsp parsley, dried
Instructions
  1. Add very warm (but not hot!) water to a glass bowl along with the sweetener and yeast. Stir to combine and let the yeast proof (about 5 minutes). Water that is too hot will kill the yeast, so this proofing is important! You know the yeast is active when bubbles form and a foam develops on top of the water.

  2. Pour in oil, then the flour and remaining ingredients. Stir to loosely combine, then work the flour in by hand. Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed and a little at a time if the dough is sticky.

  3. Cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place to rise until doubled (about 45-60 minutes with quick rise yeast)

  4. To form the crust, lightly flour the counter and rolling pin with flour. Gather the dough into a ball and place on the counter, flattening the dough with your palm. Roll the dough into a circle or rectangle (or whatever shape you desire!), making sure it will fit your pan.

  5. Place on a pan lightly greased with avocado oil and add your toppings (with the exception of greens). If you choose NOT to use hummus, lightly coat the top of the pizza crust with oil to prevent it from sogging up.

  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 400 F oven or until the crust and toppings are lightly browned. If topping with greens, add them after removing the pizza from the oven.

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • I used Bob’s Red Mill whole grain spelt flour in this crust which you should be able to find where ever Bob’s Red Mill products are sold. Or you can get it online here.
  • I get my avocado oil at BJ’s (a wholesale club), but if you don’t have a club near you, many stores are now carrying avocado oil which is better for high heat cooking. Or you can get it online here. If you aren’t a member of BJs and want to check it out, use this link to sign up for a BJs membership and we’ll both get $25!