essential ingredient: the scoop on stevia

If you’ve been here for more than a few posts, you’ll notice that the majority of my recipes are free from any form of added sugars. Instead, I love using whole fruits (mostly dates) and stevia to do the heavy lifting of adding the required sweetness because they don’t give you the spike and crash and are more immune system-friendly.

Stevia has continued to gain traction in the food marketplace, but with it, packaging that I believe is deceptive and misleading. You might think you’re getting stevia, when you’re actually getting stevia + other sweeteners and fillers.

That’s why I decided to go live over on the wildberry press Facebook page today.

Check out the video over there or view it below – let’s just ignore the weird close-eyed video still. #goodgrief If you want the online ordering info for 100% pure stevia, don’t forget to scroll past the video.

 

Here’s the order information I referenced for easy access:  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. (contains affiliate links @ no cost to you, but helps fund this blog)

If you plan on ordering from Vitacost and want to save on shipping then you’ll also want to download my top Vitacost buys tip sheet. In it, I share the products I most often buy from Vitacost to bulk up my order. As an added bonus, the products in the tip sheet are usually cheaper on Vitacost than other online or brick-and-mortar store options! Click here to get it delivered to your inbox.

P.S. If you wanted the Spicy Sweet Pumpkin Seed recipe I referenced in the video, you can get that here.

apple pumpkin granola fall parfait (vegan, no added sugar, gluten free option)

Last week, I shared one apple-based recipe and one with pumpkin – both bonus recipes in my Perk Up Your Pantry – Fall edition erecipebook. It’s free for a limited time, and you can get yours here.

Today, I’m ending the debate and bringing both flavors together with one snack-tastic recipe…the apple pumpkin granola fall parfait.

When I created the Perk Up Your Pantry erecipebook, my thought was to include recipes that could be enjoyed by themselves, but also easily combined in new ways so your meal plans feel fresh and fun. Which is exactly what I love about this pumpkin harvest granola which is one of the erecipebooks bonus recipes!

 

 

 

You could make this for breakfast or as a snack – even one on the go. To re-create your parfait as I did, you’ll need your favorite variety of fresh apple, my date caramel recipe and the pumpkin harvest granola which can only be found in the Perk Up Your Pantry erecipebook.

The other thing I love is that it shows how easily you can create an indulgent-looking snack (or breakfast!) without any added sugars or dairy products. It’s food that loves you back!

I will add, however, that it’s still wise to eat a well balanced diet – one filled with leafy greens especially. If you go crazy on the carbs – especially added sugars, plant-based fats, processed vegan foods and fruits and veggies with a high naturally-occurring sugar profile, you might not experience the health benefits you’re looking for.

 

That’s also what you’ll find in the Perk Up Your Pantry erecipebook – a good balance of recipes with sensible, but fun, vegan eating in mind. If you haven’t checked it out yet, the erecipebook includes:

  • 5 essential sauce recipes
  • 5 essential snack recipes
  • 5 easy main dish recipes
  • 3 fall-inspired bonus recipes
  • A shopping list of all ingredients

PLUS you’ll receive encouragement and tips for perking up your pantry, meal planning and prepping tips (including a suggested 5-day meal plan), my favorite ways of saving money at the grocery store and a behind the scenes peek at my own pantry with my top organization tips. Download your copy here.

pumpkin harvest granola (no added sugar, gluten free option)

Pumpkin lovers, this one’s for you!

If this big orange fall fruit-that-we-think-of-as-a-vegetable is your thang, than you’ll want to scoop up this recipe pronto.

The pumpkin harvest granola is seasonal twist on my simply saturday version and ushers the spicy scent of fall right into your kitchen. Eat it at breakfast if you want to stick with tradition, but I’ve found a few ways to work it into my snack-happy habits and I’ll be sharing one of those with you next week.

It’s recipes like these that are slowing winning me over to the ways of pumpkin…I don’t think it will ever edge out my love of apples, but it just might come close. If you want to share where you fall in the pumpkin vs. apple debate, enter your vote here on my FB page.

The pumpkin harvest granola recipe is one of the three bonus recipes included in the the Perk Up Your Pantry – Fall edition recipe book. If you haven’t claimed your copy yet, you can get it FREE (for now), here.

Not only does it include this recipe, but you’ll get these as well:

  • 5 essential sauce recipes
  • 5 essential snack recipes
  • 5 easy main dish recipes
  • 3 fall-inspired bonus recipes
  • A shopping list of all ingredients

PLUS you’ll receive encouragement and tips for perking up your pantry, meal planning and prepping tips (including a suggested 5-day meal plan), my favorite ways of saving money at the grocery store and a behind the scenes peek at my own pantry with my top organization tips. Download your copy here.

apple cabbage slaw with apple cinnamon dressing (vegan, raw, paleo, gluten free, no added sugar)

In the apple vs. pumpkin debate, I fall in with the apple crowd.

What about you?

It’s been a great year for apples here in Northeast Ohio…especially the organic red apples we’ve been enjoying from my parent’s neighbors. Which got me brainstorming ideas for a fresh fall apple-based salad…

Voila! Apple cabbage slaw with apple cinnamon dressing.

I can eat it like candy.

My favorite thing? I can’t decide. It’s a toss up its crunchy sweetness (but without any added sugar!) or being the perfect balance to the heavier comfort food dishes because the apple cinnamon dressing is free of heavier oils found in traditional coleslaw.

The apple cabbage slaw recipe is one of the three bonus recipes included in the the Perk Up Your Pantry – Fall edition recipe book. If you haven’t claimed your copy yet, you can get it FREE (for now), here.

Not only does it include the apple cabbage slaw recipe, but it includes these as well:

  • 5 essential sauce recipes
  • 5 essential snack recipes
  • 5 easy main dish recipes
  • 3 fall-inspired bonus recipes
  • A shopping list of all ingredients

PLUS you’ll receive encouragement and tips for perking up your pantry, meal planning and prepping tips (including a suggested 5-day meal plan), my favorite ways of saving money at the grocery store and a behind the scenes peek at my own pantry with my top organization tips. Download your copy here.

 

And in case you fall on the pumpkin-side of things, I’ll have a pumpkin-inspired recipe for you later this week.

roasted carrot coconut ginger soup (vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free)

This roasted carrot coconut ginger soup absolutely hollers “fall” doesn’t it?

The bright orange color. The roasted root vegetables. The richness of the coconut milk and comforting heat of the ginger. Then add a sprinkle of spicy sweet pumpkin seeds and this is a meal and the sings. The inspiration for this soup came from similar versions I’ve seen in stores. But my version comes without the added oils that most store-bought varieties include and cutting back on added oils = a healthier you.

There are two extremely important lessons I learned when making the soup: 1) peel the carrots before roasting them. I merely scrubbed them to leave the nutrient-rich skin in tact, but found it gave a bitter overtone to the soup.

 

 

2) Be extremely careful if you puree hot soup in a blender. I overfilled mine to “speed up” the blending step which resulted in a big mess and a couple burns on my skin. Yep. Big time blender fail.

 

 

Also, when I made this soup, I pureed the roasted carrots, onions and ginger with the coconut milk and then put in my stock pot along with the water, seasonings and lentils.

 

However, you could try adding everything to the stock pot, bringing it to a boil, then simmering for at least 30 minutes before blending it. Doing it this way would save you an extra step.

If you want to serve your soup with the spicy sweet pumpkin seeds – something I highly recommend! – you can get that recipe when you sign up for a free (for now) copy of my brand new, Perk Up Your Pantry – Fall edition, recipe book. Not only does it included the spicy sweet pumpkin seeds, but you’ll get:

  • 5 essential sauce recipes
  • 5 essential snack recipes
  • 5 easy main dish recipes
  • 3 fall-inspired bonus recipes
  • A shopping list of all ingredients

PLUS you’ll receive encouragement and tips for perking up your pantry, meal planning and prepping tips (including a suggested 5-day meal plan), my favorite ways of saving money at the grocery store and a behind the scenes peek at my own pantry with my top organization tips. Download your copy here.

 

Print
roasted carrot coconut ginger soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 30 mins
 

A soup that absolutely hollers, "fall." From it's bright orange color, warming heat and rich creaminess, it a perfect recipe to celebrate the season.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 8-10 medium carrots, peeled, cut in half
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 14-oz can full fall coconut milk
  • 1/5-2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup red lentils, well rinsed
  • 4 cups water
Instructions
  1. Place carrots cut side down on a lightly greased baking sheet (avocado oil recommended) or one lined with parchment paper along with onions and garlic. Roast in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until carrots get a slight char on their cut sides.

  2. Remove from oven and add all ingredients to a stock pot, bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are cooked and carrots are very soft.

  3. Using a blender stick or traditional blender, carefully puree soup until very thick and smooth. Serve immediately or store in fridge for a day or two to let flavors further develop.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES:  Serve with spicy sweet pumpkin seeds for a fun twist and added crunch (in place of crackers)

 

 

 

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

  • You should be able to find canned full-fat coconut milk in most grocery stores. I buy either the Thai Kitchen brand or Whole Foods 365 coconut milk (which is better since their cans are BPA free!). However, if you can’t find it, try here.
  • I get my red lentils in bulk from Whole Foods, but you also can find them here.

german chocolate cake (vegan, no added sugar, soy free)

 

Happy Birthday…to me!

Yep, it’s my birthday today and I’m celebrating by sharing this german chocolate cake recipe with you.

But first…if you’ve been checking regularly with me, you might have noticed it was awfully silent here last week. It’s for a good reason, I promise you, and I’ll be revealing more later this week (eek! excited!). My newsletter tribe already got a bit of sneak peek. If you also want to be among the first to hear exciting news and never miss a recipe, sign up for the newsletter here. I also share a little more content and personal stories there too!

Right. Back to the cake.

Before I made the switch to a vegan, low/no added sugar diet, german chocolate cake topped my list as a favorite birthday cake. It was one I thought was crossed off my list forever since the traditional frosting uses evaporated milk and eggs and is packed with sugar.

Then I discovered that if I combined dates with three basic ingredients. it produced a frosting that closely approximates the original but far surpasses it nutritionally. Insert celebration with confetti here.

photo @pixabay.com

 

The german chocolate cake itself is a modification of my chocolate zucchini muffin recipe…which means these also work perfectly as cupcakes!

And here’s an interesting bit of trivia…when I first heard of this cake, I thought “german” meant it was a cake that originated in Germany by some inspired baker. However, it actually refers to the last name of an English-American chocolatier, Samuel German, who invented a certain kind of dark baking chocolate. So, really, the cake should be German’s chocolate cake.

Print
German Chocolate Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 10 mins
 

This classic cake gets a healthy makeover by eliminating both the added sugar and dairy. Instead, dates, pecans and coconut form the decadent frosting and the cake itself gets a nutritional boost from shredded zucchini.

Course: Dessert
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 scoops 100% pure stevia*
Wet Ingredients
  • 2 small ripe/slightly underripe banana
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond coconut milk
  • 2 flax eggs 2 T ground flax seed + 4 T water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup date paste*
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Frosting
  • 15-20 Medjool dates with pits (remove pits before mixing)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
Instructions
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9" cake pans well (coconut oil is recommended). On a piece of parchment paper, use one of the cake pans to trace two circles in pencil. Cut out the circles and place one (pencil-mark down) in each cake pan. 

  2. Mix up your flax egg and set aside. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine.

  3. In a food processor or high speed blender, add all wet ingredients EXCEPT the zucchini and apple cider vinegar. Blend until well-combined and very smooth then add to the dry ingredients. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until combined.
  4. Gently stir the batter as you sprinkle in the zucchini a little at a time and then add the apple cider vinegar and gently mix again. Spoon into prepared batter into the pans and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  5. When finished baking, leave in the cake pans for 10-15 minutes, then loosen with a knife and remove from the pans and place on a cooling rack. Store cake in a covered container for 1-2 days or refrigerated for 3-4 days.

Recipe Notes

*Recipe Notes Be sure to use 100% pure stevia 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. I recommend using spelt flour and unsweetened almond coconut milk as it's why I used and results may vary with other flours or dairy-free milks although feel free to experiment Unless you don't mind a slight banana flavor to the cake, I recommend using a small perfectly ripe or just under-ripe banana.

 

 

 

  •  Click here for my favorite food processor
  • I got my organic spelt flour (GMO free!) from the bulk section at Whole Foods, or you can find it here.
  • Target and many other grocery stores carry the unsweetened almond coconut milk, but you also can get it here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers. 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
  • I usually buy my almond butter from Trader Joe’s, but click here for another option.
  • 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.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut: If you have a Whole Foods or natural foods store near by, check the bulk section! Or get it here.
  • Pecans: I buy mine at BJs (a wholesale club) or you can find them 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!

 

 

the best basic burrito recipe (vegan, dairy free, oil free option, gluten free option)

I could easily eat Mexican food most days of the week. That and my favorite Indian curry. I love how effortless it feels, how easily it adapts to a plant-based diet and that leftovers go a long way.

This basic burrito recipe is one of my go-to’s and is inspired by a recipe I found on Whole Foods years ago. One of the things I hope you will love about it is that once you have the basic flavor profile down, you can easily tweak it to your preferences…a little more garlic here, less tomato there, more spice, more lime).

 

Once the basic burrito mix is assembled, here’s how I put it together…

1) Grab your favorite tortillas (gluten free if needed) and spread on a generous layer of hummus – red pepper is best. The hummus is what makes vegan burritos “survive” without the cheese. If you need to keep things oil-free, use oil-free tortillas and oil-free hummus.

 

2) Add a few slices of avocado and mash well. This also helps round out the creaminess and moisture usually provided by dairy cheese. If you can’t stand avocado, you can use just a little and mix it in well with the hummus and your taste buds won’t be any wiser. Trust me. I’ve tested this on my avocado-averse family members.

 

3) Scoop on the rice.

 

4) Then add the bean mixture.

 

5) Accessorize with jalapeno peppers and chili flakes if you like a lot of heat. #bringiton, I say!

 

6) Now you’re ready to roll it up and put it in the oven. Usually, I just secure it with a toothpick, but you can wrap it in parchment paper if you are planning this for a take-it-with-you meal.

 

Print
best basic burritos

Easy to prepare, customizable and leftovers that go a long way are why this is my basic burrito recipe. Fresh flavors, oven toasted tortillas and creamy plant-based sub-ins for dairy cheese come together to make this weeknight favorite.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
Basic Burrito Filling
  • 3 cups black beans, canned or cooked according to package directions
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 limes, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • dashes pepper
  • 1/4 cup veggie stock
Other ingredients
  • 1.5 cups brown rice
  • tortillas
  • red pepper hummus
  • avocado
  • jalapeno peppers (optional)
  • red chili flakes (optional)
Instructions
  1. If you don't have a rice cooker and need the rice ready in a hurry because you forgot to make it earlier (like I often do!), bring a pot of water to a boil, add the rice and cook it as you would pasta - over high heat and with the lid off. Set the timer for 23 minutes. In the meantime, you can prep your burrito filling...

  2. Add all the basic burrito filling ingredients to a mixing bowl, stir until thoroughly combined and adjust seasonings to your taste.

  3. To assemble the burritos, spread a generous helping of hummus on the tortilla and add a few pieces of avocado - give the avocado a mash. Spoon on the rice, then the bean mixture and "accessorize" with the jalapeno peppers and chili flakes if desired.

  4. Secure burritos with a toothpick or wrap in parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes or until the tortillas are lightly browned on the edges.

Recipe Notes

These burritos keep well as leftovers and can be reheated by wrapping in tin foil and placing in a 350 degree F for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Oven re-heating may not top the microwave in speed, but it keeps your tortilla crisp like it was meant to be.

 

 

If you have family members who promise you they can’t survive without meat and will launch a revolt if you serve them only veggies, I give you permission to cook up some meat and add it to the burritos for the sake of keeping the peace.

 

 

 

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

  • Though I prefer homemade tortillas, life is just too busy. So I save my sanity and buy my tortillas from Trader Joes – the chile ones are my favorite. If you need gluten-free tortillas, you can try these. For oil-free tortillas, try the Food for Life brand which can be found in most health food stores.
  • My favorite brand of store-bought hummus is Sabra. Roasted red pepper is my preferred flavor, especially for Mexican recipes (and even looks a little like cheese).
  • I prefer the unsalted veggie stock by Kitchen Basics if I don’t have my own on hand. If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can get it here.
  • My daughter and I have a mild obsession with Jeff’s Natural’s jalapeno peppers which you can find here. Jeff uses purer ingredients than the canned kind.

 

tuscan roasted tomatoes with sesame parmesan (vegan, dairy free, nut free, gluten free)

As much as I love sharing the fun, creative recipes (like these matcha coconut lime energy bites or these weeknight tacos), I also love giving equal play to recipes that are meant for the every day or moments when you’re not sure what to throw together. Like these tuscan roasted tomatoes.

I came up with these lovelies one Sunday evening when we were going to have a mishmash of leftovers and family coming over at the last minute. Throwing together a medley of vegetables prepared in a number of ways is still one of my favorite things to do…it speaks of abundance and simplicity and letting my pickier (ahem) eaters load up on the veggies they prefer over the ones they don’t.

This is a great way to use up an abundance of tomatoes from your hardworking garden and takes only minutes to prep before sliding in the oven. With a hearty slice of toasted bread, you also could serve these as an appetizer and leftovers could easily be cooked down into a pasta sauce. The extra sesame parmesan can be saved for pasta or even soup recipes, like this one.

 

Print
Tuscan Roasted Tomatoes with Sesame Seed Parmesan
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Pulling together simple, fresh flavors with the transition of summer to fall in mind, these Tuscan Roasted Tomatoes come together easily as a casual side dish or hearty appetizer.

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • fresh tomatoes
  • roasted red pepper hummus
  • fresh basil, diced
  • salt & pepper
  • sesame seed parmesan
  • whole grain, hearty bread (optional)
For the sesame seed parmesan
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 4 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Rinse tomatoes and slice into rounds that are between 1/4" and 1/2" thick. Generally, plan around 1 tomato per person. Place tomato rounds onto a baking sheet. Add a generous spoonful of hummus to each tomato slice and spread. Place in a 350 degree F oven for about 15-20 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, add all sesame Parmesan ingredients to a food process or high speed blender and blend until the sesame seeds are crumbly and resemble Parmesan cheese.

  3. When the tomatoes are done, remove from oven and top with basil and a few sprinkles of sesame parmesan. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES

  • If serving as an appetizer, cut bread into thick slices (about 1" thick), place on a baking sheet and lightly toast in the same oven as the tomatoes. Keep an eye on it though so it doesn't burn! Remove from oven when toasted and then top with a roasted tomato, the basil, sesame parmesan and salt and pepper if desired.

 

 

 

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

  •  My go-to brand of hummus (both original and roasted red pepper) is Sabra.
  • Click here for my favorite mini food processor
  • I get both my nutritional yeast and sesame seeds in bulk at Whole Foods, but you also can find them here and here.

 

game, set, matcha coconut lime energy bites (vegan, no added sugar, gluten free, paleo)

As we’re learning, life in high school is busy…especially when you throw in sports. It usually makes for a long day and a late arrival home.

To brighten up my daughter’s long day and making snacking on the run easier, I whipped up these matcha coconut lime energy bites – a nod to her chosen sport this season and because matcha naturally boosts energy. It also helps with mental alertness, has antioxidant powers (hello bright green powder!), boosts the immune system and cardiovascular health and can fight infections – which gives it an A+ in my books.

 

 

This was my first time trying matcha after hearing of it several years ago on Kathy Patalsky’s blog, Healthy Happy Life. Yep, even thought I’m a tea drinker, it took me this long to try it since it’s more expensive than the tea I normally buy, but happily, I found that a little goes a looong way. And I’m excited to experiment and see what this does for my own energy.

If you’ve never tried matcha, it tastes like green tea because it is, um, green tea, but carries greater health benefits. If you want to learn more about its history, how it’s grown and it’s properties, click here.

Making these game, set, matcha energy bites is as easy as 1-2-3. Just thoroughly mix the ingredients in a food processor, form into bite-sized balls and coat in unsweetened shredded coconut since the batter is very sticky. You could coat them in matcha powder as I did here, but that amount of undiluted matcha powder carries a bitter overtone. So unless you don’t mind a little bitter with you no-added-sugar sweet, I’d stick with the unsweetened coconut.

Speaking of sweet…as with most of my recipes, these energy bites do not have any energy-sapping, immune suppressing added sugar! They also work for gluten-free and paleo diets since they are free from grains.

 

Print
Game, Set, Matcha Coconut Lime Energy Bites
Prep Time
15 mins
 

These coconut lime energy bites carry the subtle flavor of green tea and are perfect for hectic days when you're on the go and need a natural boost of energy.

Course: Snack
Servings: 9 energy bites
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 6 medjool dates
  • 3 T fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 tsp matcha powder
  • 1 scoop 100% pure stevia powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (plus more for coating)
  • 2 pinches salt
Instructions
  1. Pit the dates, then put all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and mix until thoroughly combined and the cashews have mostly been chopped into very fine pieces. Since the mixture is very sticky, keep your hands slightly wet with water to form the bite-size balls. Place additional coconut in a plastic bag, drop in each energy bite one at a time and shake to coat. For best results, refrigerate for at least one hour before eating.

    Can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for several days.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES

It's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them as they tend to stay juicer than when the pits are removed. Make sure you are using 100% PURE stevia - read the ingredients closely! - as most stevia powders have added sweeteners and/or artificial ingredients.

 

 

 

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

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Since this was my first time trying matcha, I purchased a small amount from Whole Foods. But you can find it cheaper here and in a larger quantity
  • 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. 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

minestrone soup with sesame parmesan (vegan, dairy free, soy free)

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

With fall officially peeking around the corner and an early chill in the air – at least around here – I’m starting to crave  warm, comforting foods. Especially big pots of them for plenty of leftovers which matches with our busier back-to-school schedule. Like this minestrone soup.

I first came across this minestrone soup recipe in this cook book while I was trying to find more veggie-based recipes but before I went all in with a plant-based diet. It’s been a favorite of mine ever since.

One of the things I love about it is the subtle addition of zucchini. This is key when your garden produces monster-sized ones because you forgot to pick it (ahem). And when you are more of a zucchini liker than zucchini lovers. And in case you didn’t catch it, here’s a zucchini recipe I shared last week. The other thing I love is the use of rosemary – an herb I thought was a strange addition at first, but it definitely makes this soup sing.

 

I’ll warn you that although this minestrone soup is more labor intensive than many of my other soup recipes (like this one and this one), it’s completely worth it because of the quantity it makes and how well it freezes. If you have children who are able to handle a knife, have them help you with the chopping. Even a young child could help break the frozen green beans or help with the lettuce spinner for the spinach.

The original recipe called for using parmesan cheese. Since this wouldn’t fly for a vegan recipe, I whipped up some sesame seed parmesan which can be sprinkled on or stirred in (which also happens to boost the calcium and protein as well!). For those of you watching your fat intake (especially due to heart disease), you’ll be happy to know the soup is made without any oil and you can skip adding the parmesan altogether.

 

 

 

This soup tastes even better the second day because the flavors are able to develop. If it works, plan ahead and make it the day before you actually plan to eat it!

 

Print
Minestrone Soup with Sesame Seed Parmesan
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs
Total Time
1 hrs 30 mins
 

This soup is chock full of vegetables and herbs and tastes even better the second day after it's been made. The sesame seed parm is a nod to the traditional recipe and boosts the calcium and plant-protein and is just plain fun to sprinkle on.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the soup
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped carrots
  • 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups finely diced tomatoes (or 1-14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4.5 cups water
  • 2 small zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup green beans in 1" lengths
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped spinach
  • 2 cups beans (white or kidney)
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly chopped basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp crumbled rosemary
  • freshly ground pepper
For the sesame parm
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 4 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
Instructions
For the soup:
  1. Add the onion and garlic along with 1" water to a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Cook until the onion is translucent, then add in the carrots, celery and tomatoes. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Add all remaining soup ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45-minutes to 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender. Adjust seasonings as needed.

For the sesame parm:
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender and mix until thoroughly combined and the sesame seeds are crumbly and look like parmesan cheese. Can be stored in an air-tight jar in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

Recipe Notes:

I prefer this soup with the vegetables (especially the tomatoes and zucchini) finely chopped - or in the case of the zucchini, shredded. This especially helps when serving it to children who tend to be suspicious of large chunks of vegetables - or adults who feel the same way. 😉

 

 

 

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  •  Click here for my favorite mini food processor
  • I get both my nutritional yeast and sesame seeds in bulk at Whole Foods, but you also can find them here and here.