rockier road vegan brownies (no added sugar)

 

Sometimes getting a recipe just right takes awhile. Sometimes the results are only good for the garbage (yeah, that bad). And sometimes they are an unexpected blessing. This last result is exactly what happened here.

I can’t remember exactly what I was going for when I first mixed this rockier road vegan brownies recipe up. I think it might have been chocolate cookies. Anyway, whatever it was, it just didn’t happen.

Except the results were exactly what I was going for in an chocolately fudgey vegan brownie recipe. Whooop, whooop! Then inspired by another recipe I saw in a vegan cookbook, I tossed on some chopped almonds and cacao nibs. Voila! Rockier road vegan brownies.

Why rockier road?

Because in the name of all things no-added-sugar, I left out the marshmallows. See? The road just got rockier. I honestly don’t think you’ll miss that pop of sugar, though, and I’ve shared this with enough people to know you won’t hear any complaining.

The recipe for these rockier road vegan brownies is a VIP recipe which you can snag when you sign up for my newsletter here (or click the image below). I’m also including the photos for how I packaged these to give as a gift along with gift tag labels.

Let’s spread a little no-added-sugar plant-based food joy, shall we?

 

 

carrot muffins (vegan, dairy free, no added sugar)

 

Since we’re in the season of getting together and gift-giving, I want to give you a better-for-you, better-for-them muffin recipe. A carrot muffin recipe and one that is free of any added sugar and full of vitamins and make-you-feel good ingredients.

This time of year, it feels like we’re inundated with foods that are high in fats and sugars, doesn’t it? And even though muffins appear innocent, many muffin recipes have plenty of both. Especially if you add the pat of butter – vegan or no.

 

 

Why am I so passionate about this? It’s because I’ve seen how much better I feel and how much better my body functions when I keep the added sugars and even fats on the lower side. I also know how impossible it feels eat healthier when it seems like everyone else is digging into those holiday treats. I’ll be sharing much more on sugar, it’s effects and what you can do about it in the coming weeks and am excited about something I have in the works for you!

So what’s the secret to keeping these carrot muffins on the healthy side? Dates, carrots and a bit of zucchini, plus using whole grain flour. They were a big hit with my children who can be picky, so I think it’s safe to say these will be a crowd-pleaser.

Make these for breakfast, for a snack for a brunch or for someone else whom you want to love with food that loves you back. XOXO

 

(Oh, and if you want a second no-added-sugar muffin recipe, you can grab my chocolate zucchini muffin recipe here.)

Print
carrot muffins
Prep Time
20 mins
 

Carrot muffins free from added sugar and filled only plant-based ingredients. Perfect for breakfast, brunch or a snack.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Servings: 12
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups whole grain spelt or ivory wheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 scooop 100% pure stevia
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp all spice
  • 1/8 tsp powdered ginger
Wet Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 small just ripe or slightly underripe banana
  • 1.5 cups almond coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup date paste
  • 1 flax egg (1 T ground flax + 2 T water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease a muffin very well (coconut oil is recommended).

  2. Add the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and stir to thoroughly combine.

  3. Add walnuts to a food processor and blend until the walnuts begin to release their oils (will start to become like a paste). Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT carrots, zucchini and apple cider vinegar and blend until well combined.

  4. Pour into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and gently fold to mix.

  5. Gently stir in the carrots and zucchini until thoroughly combined and then gently stir in the apple cider vinegar. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin - adding the batter almost to the top.

  6. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool for 5-10 minutes in the tin, then loosen and move muffins to a cookie rack to finish cooling. Store in an air tight container.

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.          *           I highly recommend storing these muffins in the fridge if they aren't eaten after the first day. Without the added sugar plus high moisture content, they can turn moldy more quickly than you might expect. Experience is talking here.

 

 

 

(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 got my organic spelt flour (GMO free!) from the bulk section at Whole Foods, or you can find it 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
  • I use Silk almond coconut milk. If you can’t find it, you could always mix half unsweetened almond milk and half full fat coconut milk.

 

 

his ‘n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili

 

Before I adopted a plant-based diet, there were some dishes that I never made with meat. Like pasta sauce (here’s my go to recipe). And chili.

Not sure why, but for some reason, I never liked the addition of meat in these dishes. However, once I went all in on the vegan eating, I knew I had to pay more attention to my protein sources.

 

Let’s pause a minute on this while I clear up the myth that you can’t get “enough” protein on a plant-based diet…

  • First, all plants have protein, though some have more than others (think nuts, legumes, beans, lentils).
  • Secondly, our bodies don’t store protein and will eliminate the excess or turn it into fat.
  • Therefore, there’s absolutely no point in consuming more than your body will use for that day. For example, 1 cup of cooked, chopped chicken has about 43 grams of protein. That’s only 3 grams shy of the recommended daily requirement for the average woman. So unless our lady eats almost nothing else the rest of the day, she’ll be consuming way more protein than is needed.
  • By comparison, I reach a third of my daily requirements with a thoughtful, 100% plant-based breakfast. Combine that with lunch, dinner and snacks, I rarely have an issue meeting my daily requirements unless I’ve skimped on the nuts and beans.

 

Which brings me to this secret-ingredient vegan black bean chili.

 

 

Beans are excellent sources of plant-based protein, but I wanted to dot my protein “i’s” and “t’s” in this dish and add a little more. Plus I wanted to give the appearance that meat was present to appeal to meat eaters. Like my husband.

So what’s the secret ingredient in this secret-ingredient vegan black bean chili? Walnuts! Finely chopping the walnuts with some garlic and onion powders and sage in a food processor or blender makes it look like I’ve added ground meat into my chili. Genius, right?!

But wait, there’s a second secret ingredient too…chocolate!

It may sound weird, but trust me on this. The chocolate tangos with the chili powder to deepen the flavor, plus it’s a superfood that has won many a woman’s heart so of course it needs to go there.

And there you have it. The his ‘n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili.

Let’s get cooking!

 

Print
his 'n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
 

This protein-packed chili has two secret ingredients to appeal both to him and to her.

Course: Entree
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 3 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup veggie stock
  • 4.5-6 cups black beans
  • 2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 7-8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp oregano
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3-4 dashes onion powder
  • 3-4 dashes garlic powder
  • 1-2 dashes ground sage
Instructions
  1. If you're cooking your own black beans, do so according to package directions. I usually soak mine in cold water overnight, rinse then add to a fresh pot of boiling water and boil for about 115-20 minutes. Then I turn off the heat and soak for several more hours.

  2. If you want the walnuts more tender, soak them for 30 minutes in water that been just boiled.

  3. Add the onion, garlic and peppers to a large stock pot along with the veggie stock over high heat. Saute about 5 minutes or until the veggies start to become tender.

  4. Add tomatoes and spices. (Hint: I like using the 1 cup of water to rinse out the cans and add it into the chili pot - it helps prevent waste that way!)

  5. Add cooked beans.

  6. For the walnuts, add to a food processor or blender along with garlic and onion powders and sage and pulse until the walnuts are finely chopped. Then add to the chili.

  7. Bring the chili to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about one hour to let the flavors develop.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: This chili tastes even better on the second and third day as the spices work themselves through. It also freezes well!

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

stretching your grocery budget: money saving apps

photo credit: corrine kutz @unsplash.com

(this post contains affiliate links which carry no cost to you but help support this blog)

 

I’m serving up something a little different for you today and talking about money. Specifically, how you can save it.

While paper and printable coupons are still around, there are newer kids in town who are here to save you money: apps. They function similarly to paper coupons, but (I think) carry higher payouts and are much safer than printable coupons which can invite viruses into your computer.

While money saving apps involve a little extra step than simply clipping coupons and handing them to the cashier, they are completely worth it. If you aren’t doing this, you’re leaving money on the table. In fact, just today, I was able to put $20 back into my grocery budget and another $20 is on its way in the mail.

 

In case you were missing a recipe, here’s a budget-friendly meal: best basic burritos. Click the pic for the recipe.

 

Here’s why I love these money saving apps:

  • No paper coupons to organize, lose and forget – all the offers are easily found within the app
  • You can earn money back on fresh produce!
  • With one of the apps, I can earn money back just for submitting a picture of a receipt.
  • Sometimes there are offers for the same product in more than one app which = even bigger savings!
  • It’s easier to let others in on the savings – with coupons, I just keep them for myself; with the apps, I can alert others of savings plus get a bonus for referrals.

All you need is a tablet, ipad or smartphone to download the apps plus your receipts and you’re ready to go. Since I’ve started using these money saving apps, I’ve earned back more than $140!

 

photo credit: alexander mils @unsplash.com

 

Below is a list of my favorite money saving apps plus how to use them. If you don’t have an account with these apps already, you’ll want to use the codes I give you for extra savings! (For transparency’s sake, I get a bonus too).

 

Ibotta:  This is my favorite app and that one that’s netted me the most money. As an added bonus, you can use it for mobile shopping and for more than just groceries. And there are bonuses available to increase your earnings. Here’s how it works:

  • Download it to your phone.
  • Sign up for an account (use this link to create it online https://ibotta.com/r/nuqylud or enter this code into the app itself: nuqylud) You get a $10 bonus for signing up and when you join my team, we get extra earning opportunities.
  • If you don’t have Ibotta already, you’ll definitely want to get it this month because you could earn back more an additional $100!
  • To use it, look for rebates in the app to match with the stores where you shop. Unlock the rebate and then redeem the offer by submitting your receipt (with a photo) once your purchase the item.
  • Once you bank at least $20, you can request a payout to PayPal, Venmo or in the form of a gift card.

 

Fetch Reward: A newer app which is even easier to use – all you need to do is submit a photo of your receipts and the app does the rest. At minimum, you get 25 points per submitted receipts and can earn additional points for product-specific purchases. Plus when you enter this code into the app: X3MCY, you will get a bonus 1,500 points when you complete one receipt (equal to $1.50). You can redeem your points for gift cards when you reach a minimum of 5,000 points (equal to $5)

 

Checkout 51: Similiar to Ibotta where you identify offers to redeem and take a photo of your receipt and submit it. Also has fresh produce offers and an added benefit of submitting receipts from any store. You can request a payout when you accumulate $20 in savings.

 

 

 

Saving Star: Similar to Ibotta and Checkout 51, but you can request a payout after only $5 of accumulated savings. Like Ibotta, Savings Star is only good with certain stores, so be sure to double check these before you shop.

 

 

 

Makeena: A newer app which works similar to the other apps and is geared to the organic/natural foods market and offers rebates on organic produce. You’ll want to enter this code: OJVUQZ in the app when you create your account to earn a bonus 1000 points (equal to $1). Like Saving Star, you can get a payout after $5 in savings.

 

 

 

Berry Cart: Also caters to the organic/natural foods market and works similarly to the other apps. Use this link: https://www.berrycart.com/rf/vT2VwMeSwX to create an account online and then download the app. Also allows you to get a payout after $5 in savings.

 

 

 

BONUS MONEY SAVING APPS

These are a little different than the ones mentioned above, but worth mentioning for their money saving power.

Target: If you haven’t started using Cartwheel yet, you need to as it saves you a percentage of selected products! The easiest way to find deals under cartwheel is to scan the barcodes for the products you’re purchasing in the app (and it’s fun too!). When you check out, have the cashier scan your barcode (in the app) and saving will automatically be applied as you checkout. Additional way to save: get a Target debit or credit card and save 5% every time you shop.

 

 

 

Whole Foods: Includes coupons in the app. Scan the barcode at checkout to have the savings applied when you checkout.

 

 

 

 

 

Ebates*: So this isn’t exactly for grocery shopping but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Ebates is mostly for online purchases, but there are some in-store options too! You get a certain percentage back for your purchases and they send you a check every quarter when you’ve accumulated savings over $5. Use this referral link https://go.ebat.es/imsk/yyy9XGYsVC for that so you can save $10 off your first purchase of $25 or more.

 

 

 

 

 

green kiwi smoothie and holiday talk (vegan, dairy free, no added sugar, nut free)

 

 

One of the things I love about eating a low added sugar, plant-based diet is how much lighter it makes me feel on the inside.

I can’t remember the last time I walked away from a meal feeling sluggish and…blah. About the only time that happens is if I step outside my nutrition plan. While I do make occasional exceptions for this, after several years of eating a plant-based, diet I’m naturally motivated to stay on track because my body lets me know it is not. happy. when I don’t. (If you haven’t reached that sweet spot yet and want to, contact me here and we can talk about how, as a coach, I can help you with that).

Cue the holidays.

It’s a hard time of year, right? Especially if you’ve made a commitment to change your diet or stick to the one you’ve been on. Suddenly you’re faced with several weeks of get togethers, parties and dinners filled with decadent, indulgent foods which typically don’t exactly fit in the “good for you” category, plus an onslaught of desserts that pop up everywhere. Even eating a 100% plant-based diet doesn’t automatically mean you’re immune.

So, what to do?

While I can’t answer that for you specifically, I can tell you what’s worked for me for almost five years now. Happy dance. I’m sharing my secrets here in my “Holiday Survival Hacks for Healthy Eating” guide.

And for one of those tips, you’ll want this recipe for my green kiwi smoothie. It’s refreshing, quick and easy to make with only three ingredients. Now, that’s a cause for celebration!

 

Print
green kiwi smoothie

Simple to make and so refreshing with only three whole foods ingredients.

Course: Beverage
Servings: 1
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 4 kiwis, per person
  • 1/4 just-ripe banana
  • small handful organic spinach, destemmed
Instructions
  1. Peel two of the kiwis, slice and place in the freezer. Do the same for the banana. Let freeze for 30 minutes to one hour.

  2. Remove kiwis and banana from the freezer and add to a blender along with the remaining kiwis and spinach. Blend until smooth and all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Consume immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mini pumpkin pie-lets …updated (vegan, dairy free)

As I was cooking for Thanksgiving last week, I discovered a bit of an oops in this recipe for mini pumpkin pie-lets. Originally, I posted that the recipe made 12 pie-lets, when really, it makes about 36. I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote up the original. Total face palm.

Hint: if you want more than a little pastry leftover to make these, then make two dozen mini pumpkin pie-lets and eat the leftover filling like pumpkin mousse.

I updated the recipe in the original post plus made a slight tweak to the spices because I can’t help it…I’m always experimenting! I found that I liked a little more of each spice compared to the portions I initially wrote down. I’m re-sharing the updated recipe here too.

If you want a little more behind-the-scenes details on how my Thanksgiving prep went (including why I felt like a total failure), I’m sharing that with my newsletter insider crew. If you want to get on that list so you never miss a recipe and have direct access to tips and stories I only share there, you can do that by signing up here.

Now for that updates mini pumpkin pies recipe…

 

Print
pumpkin pie-lets with maple coconut whip
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
42 mins
 

Made mostly added-sugar free, these mini pumpkin pies are a vegan twist on a traditional holiday recipe.

Course: Dessert
Servings: 36 mini pumpkin pies
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 2.5 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegan buttery spread, chilled
  • 1/2-2/3 cup ice water
For the filling:
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup date paste
  • 1/2 small just ripe banana
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • scant 1/2 tsp ginger
  • scant 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 4 scoops 100% pure stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla
For the maple coconut whip:
  • 1 15-oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup or 1/2 scoop stevia
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Instructions
For the crust:
  1. For best results, chill the bowl, pastry blender, utensils and all ingredients for at least 30 minutes.

  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour and salt, then use the pastry blender to cut in the butter until tiny pea-sized balls begin to form. Gradually stir in a 1/2 cup of the ice water using a metal spoon. Add more water as needed until the pastry begins to form the shape of a ball.

  3. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Before rolling out, divide the dough in half.

  4. Remove half of the dough from the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8"-1"4 thickness. Use the lid of a wide-mouth mason jar to trace out circles for the individual pie crusts. It's best to start around the edges of the crust and then trace out the circles on the inside to maximize the use of your crust. Put scraps aside in the fridge and roll out the other half of the dough, then use remaining scraps and re-roll.

  5. Place each crust into a mini cupcake/tart pan and gently form the crust to the inside of each cup. Prick the bottom of each pie crust several times with a fork, then line top of pan with a double thickness of foil before placing in a 450 degree F oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 4-6 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

  6. Remove from oven and remove each shell to cool on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container or freeze in a sturdy freezer-friendly container until ready to use.

For the filling:
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender and mix until thoroughly combined. I find it helps to blend for several minutes, let it rest for a few minutes and then give it a final blending for an additional 1-2 minutes.

  2. If not filling the mini pie shells immediately, store filling in an air tight container in the fridge.

For the maple coconut whip:
  1. Chill the can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight to have the cream set. Open the can and carefully drain off the liquid/remove the cream from the can.

  2. Place the cream in mixing bowl and add the maple syrup or stevia and the vanilla. Use a set of beaters or hand whisk to whip up the cream. The coconut whip can be made one day ahead of time, but you'll need to repeat the whipping process before serving.

To assemble the pie-lets:
  1. Spoon the pumpkin pie filling into each pie shell. Top with a dollop of maple coconut whip and a dash of nutmeg.

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 got my organic spelt flour (GMO free!) from the bulk section at Whole Foods, or you can find it 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
  • I’ve found the full-fat coconut milk at Whole Foods doesn’t set well and not all brands do. Thai Kitchen is one brand, however, that has pretty reliably set for me. You can get it here if you can’t find it in the Asian section of your local grocery store.

jam roll (vegan, added sugar free, nut free)

 

Growing up, I always knew pie meant one thing…jam roll.

I’m not sure where the tradition started, but I remember my English grandmother and my mom making them  – often using strawberry or raspberry jam as the filling. It’s a completely genius way to use up scraps of pastry left over from pastry making and there’s something so right about warm jam between a crispy layer of pastry.

Here’s how it’s done.

 

 

1. Reform your pastry scraps into a ball and roll out to 1/8″-1/4″ thick.

2. Spread a thin layer of jam over the pastry bringing it almost to the edges. To keep it added sugar free, use only jam made with 100% fruit. I used Crofter’s wild blueberry jam here.

3. Fold one of the long side over to the middle.

4. Repeat with the other long side.

5. Then fold both short ends over and press to seal.

6. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is a light golden brown.

7. Let the jam roll cool slightly before slicing and serving…preferably with a cup of tea.

 

I would love to hear back from you on this…have you made jam rolls from left over pastry scraps before? Or do you have another brilliant method that’s become a tradition in your family? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

mini pumpkin pies with maple coconut whip (vegan, dairy free, nut free, added sugar free option)

 

Aren’t these the cutest? Teeny pumpkin pies just waiting to be popped into your mouth. Pumpkin pie made without any added sugars and allowing only a hint of it in the coconut whip.

Funny thing, though, until I came up with this recipe, I wasn’t a pumpkin pie fan. Never baked one. Never wanted to. It’s a texture thing.

With this recipe, the texture (thankfully) changes by pulling out the milk, eggs and sugar and replacing it with whole fruits. It also keeps the filling added sugar free which means you’re never going to regret that “one last piece.” So, yay, for a healthy makeover too!

 

 

Besides those two pumpkin pie victories, I think my biggest cause for celebration was the pastry crust. As I shared here, I’m normally a crisp person because of my pie crust struggles. But this crust came together beautifully with the combination of whole grain spelt flour and Earth Balance vegan buttery spread, plus keeping everything chilled. (BTW you’ll definitely want to come back here early Wednesday for a recipe idea using leftover pie crust dough.)

You could easily bake the pumpkin pie shells ahead of time – even freeze them a few weeks in advance – and the filling is perfect for making a day or two ahead of time to let the flavors of the spices fully develop. My personal preference is to let each person add their own dollop of coconut whip along with a dash of nutmeg, or leave it off completely.

 

Print
pumpkin pie-lets with maple coconut whip
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
42 mins
 

Made mostly added-sugar free, these mini pumpkin pies are a vegan twist on a traditional holiday recipe.

Course: Dessert
Servings: 36 mini pumpkin pies
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 2.5 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegan buttery spread, chilled
  • 1/2-2/3 cup ice water
For the filling:
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup date paste
  • 1/2 small just ripe banana
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • scant 1/2 tsp ginger
  • scant 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 4 scoops 100% pure stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla
For the maple coconut whip:
  • 1 15-oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup or 1/2 scoop stevia
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Instructions
For the crust:
  1. For best results, chill the bowl, pastry blender, utensils and all ingredients for at least 30 minutes.

  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour and salt, then use the pastry blender to cut in the butter until tiny pea-sized balls begin to form. Gradually stir in a 1/2 cup of the ice water using a metal spoon. Add more water as needed until the pastry begins to form the shape of a ball.

  3. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Before rolling out, divide the dough in half.

  4. Remove half of the dough from the fridge and on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8"-1"4 thickness. Use the lid of a wide-mouth mason jar to trace out circles for the individual pie crusts. It's best to start around the edges of the crust and then trace out the circles on the inside to maximize the use of your crust. Put scraps aside in the fridge and roll out the other half of the dough, then use remaining scraps and re-roll.

  5. Place each crust into a mini cupcake/tart pan and gently form the crust to the inside of each cup. Prick the bottom of each pie crust several times with a fork, then line top of pan with a double thickness of foil before placing in a 450 degree F oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 4-6 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

  6. Remove from oven and remove each shell to cool on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container or freeze in a sturdy freezer-friendly container until ready to use.

For the filling:
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or high speed blender and mix until thoroughly combined. I find it helps to blend for several minutes, let it rest for a few minutes and then give it a final blending for an additional 1-2 minutes.

  2. If not filling the mini pie shells immediately, store filling in an air tight container in the fridge.

For the maple coconut whip:
  1. Chill the can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight to have the cream set. Open the can and carefully drain off the liquid/remove the cream from the can.

  2. Place the cream in mixing bowl and add the maple syrup or stevia and the vanilla. Use a set of beaters or hand whisk to whip up the cream. The coconut whip can be made one day ahead of time, but you'll need to repeat the whipping process before serving.

To assemble the pie-lets:
  1. Spoon the pumpkin pie filling into each pie shell. Top with a dollop of maple coconut whip and a dash of nutmeg.

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.

 

 

 

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  • 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 got my organic spelt flour (GMO free!) from the bulk section at Whole Foods, or you can find it 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
  • I’ve found the full-fat coconut milk at Whole Foods doesn’t set well and not all brands do. Thai Kitchen is one brand, however, that has pretty reliably set for me. You can get it here if you can’t find it in the Asian section of your local grocery store.

 

 

thanksgiving recipe roundup (vegan, plant-based)

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is one week away!! How did that happen?!

If you’re new(ish) to a plant-based/vegan diet, I’m guessing Thanksgiving can feel rather…intimidating. After all, the main feature of this holiday meal is the turkey. (Can you even hear “Thanksgiving” without picturing the turkey? I can’t!) And holidays usually mean eating with people who probably aren’t eating the way you at best or make you feel looney tunes for choosing a different diet altogether.

But I’m here to encourage you that Thanksgiving – and all other holiday meals – can still be looked forward to and even give you chance to share how amazing a vegan diet can be! After all the turkey is only one part of the meal…the rest is a delightful array of sides which let the veggies we love shine.

So let’s get on with the roundup, shall we? #inspirationloading

 

Lentil Walnut Mushroom Balls by Oh She Glows

Hands down this is my favorite dish that I look forward to every year. I use it as my “main” dish and love it because it reminds me of stuffing. I usually make a batch for Canadian Thanksgiving in October and have enough to last me until Christmas (since I’m the only one who isn’t eating the turkey).

photo credit: oh she glows

 

 

Classic Vegan Stuffing by Raepublic

Confession: the stuffing is the one part of this meal I do eat even though it’s been cooked in the turkey. Shocking, I know. But I eat a vegan diet for health reasons, not strictly for animal rights, and it’s a rare indulgence. If you’re eating strictly vegan, however, give this stuffing recipe a try.

photo credit: raepublic

 

 

Vegan Porchini Mushroom Gravy by Veganosity

I’m still working on a vegan gravy recipe that hits the spot. This one looks divine.

photo credit: veganosity

 

 

Easy Biscuit Recipe by Whole New Mom

Anytime you can squeeze “easy” into a labor-intensive meal is a win! Plus this one is made from whole grains and can easily be made 100% plant-based by using dairy free milk.

photo credit: whole new mom

 

 

Fresh Cranberry Apple Relish by Veggies Save the Day

I love this twist on traditional cranberry sauce which usually is loaded with added sugars – it wins be over by relying on the natural sweetness found in the apples and dates.

photo credit: veggies save the day

 

Jeweled Sweet Potatoes

These are my favorite side dish that I’ve added as a “must have” to my holiday menu. They even eat like dessert!

 

 

Savory Stuffed Butternut Squash by Emilie Eats

Usually, I prepare my squash simply with just a little Earth Balance butter and cinnamon, but if you’re up for a twist on the traditional, give this recipe a try. It could stand in for a main dish as well!

photo credit: emilie eats

 

 

Apple Cabbage Slaw with Apple Cinnamon Dressing

This is my new favorite salad because it’s so refreshing! A perfect contrast to the heavier dishes and spotlights how tasty clean eating can be. It’s one of the bonus recipes included in the Fall edition of my Perk Up Your Pantry recipe ebook, which you can get here.

 

 

 

Fall Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad by Emilie Eats

I love the looks of this “meatier” salad and all of the fall colors in one dish!

photo credit: emilie eats

 

 

Easier-than-pie Apple Crisp

With all the work you put into the main meal, having an easy dessert recipe in your hip pocket is a must. Bonus: you can make the filling and topping separately up to several days ahead of time!

 

 

Vegan Pumpkin Caramels by Minimalist Baker

Here’s one way to spin dessert if you want to break away from the traditional pie. No added sugar, of course!

photo credit: minimalist baker

 

 

Pumpkin Pie-lets with Maple Coconut Whip

Although I was never a pumpkin pie fan (it’s a texture thing), I do love this vegan spin on a Thanksgiving staple. The pie-lets are free of added sugar and the coconut whip has only a teensy amount. These are coming at you Monday here on the blog…stay tuned!

 

loaded sweet potatoes with spicy guacamole and black bean sofrito (vegan, dairy free, soy free, gluten free)

 

It always amazes me how hard it is to find a recipe that my entire family likes. I often get close with a 5 out of 6 thumbs up, but hitting a perfect score of 6 for 6 is maddeningly elusive. So imagine my surprise when this loaded sweet potato with spicy guacamole and black bean sofrito was a clear winner.

Even with my daughter who doesn’t usually like bean dishes. Or my boys who prefer mild to spicy. Let’s pause while I celebrate with a hearty “ole.”

 

 

I love the contrasting flavors, textures and color of this dish…the sweetness with the spicy, the creaminess punctuated with a light crunchiness, the deep orange flesh of the sweet potato with the brilliant green of the avocado.

This recipe is extremely easy to pull together and is simply packed plant-powdered nutrition. Let me break it down:

  • The sweet potatoes are high in fiber and vitamins like A, B6 and C and carry a low glycemic index. And did you know you can eat their skins? You can! Just scrub them well before baking. I thought it would be weird to eat sweet potato skin at first, but I really like it!
  • The black bean sofrito boosts the protein along with the fiber in this dish. I learned the secret of yummy black bean sofrito when I was on a mission trip to Panama earlier this year…at each lunch and dinner while we were in the mountains, beans would be served (along with rice and some meat). I couldn’t get over how good the beans tasted and had to know what made them so flavorful. When I tried it after I got back home, I was extremely pleased with the results.
  • For the spicy gucamole, I wanted to do more than simply give it some heat – I wanted to sneak in some extra nutrients too which I accomplished by adding spinach. Were my kids any wiser? Nope!

 

 

If you want to make this for a weeknight but anticipate being tight on time, bake your sweet potatoes ahead of time. Although the sofrito cooks up quickly, to make things speedier, you also could make it ahead of time. You’ll want to make the spicy guacamole fresh, though, but it will take less than 10 minutes. While you’re making the guac, you can be re-heating the potatoes and sofrito.

 

Print
loaded sweet potatoes with spicy guac and black bean sofrito
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

A nutrient-dense meal that's easy to pull together and a beautiful contrast in flavors, texture and color.

Course: Appetizer, Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6 people
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 per person sweet potato, scrubbed
For the black bean sofrito
  • 3 cups black beans, cooked
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dashes pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
For the spicy guacamole
  • 3 avocadoes, peeled and pitted
  • 4.5-6 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp, scant salt
  • 1/2 cup spinach, chopped fine
  • 1/3-1/2 cup jalapeno peppers, minced
  • dashes freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • dashes dried chili flakes, to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a knife then in a 375 degree F oven for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is very tender.

For the black bean sofrito:
  1. Add the onion, garlic and tomato to a pot with a little water and cook over high heat until the onion is translucent. Add more water if needed to prevent the vegetables from sticking.

  2. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and then simmer until the water is absorbed, using a potato masher to break up the beans slightly. For a creamier sofrito, add a little more water and adjust seasonings to taste.

For the spicy guac:
  1. Cut the avocado into a bowl and mash. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Make sure you save the avocado pit which can be added to any leftovers to prevent browning.

 

 

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  • 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 and I love them in this spicy guacamole.