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!

vegan nut Parmesan (vegan, dairy free, gluten free)

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

 

I think one of the hardest things about going “all in” with a plant-based diet is giving up the dairy…especially cheese. It’s one of the foods I thought I could never live without and believed it would be easier for me to be a vegetarian than a vegan.

Thankfully, we’ve entered an era where it’s easier than ever to give up our “could never live without” foods, especially when our health is at stake.

So today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite “cheese hacks” for salads, soups, stews or where ever you might like a sprinkle of savory cheesy flavor (but without the dairy): vegan nut Parmesan. Three kinds to be exact.

 

 

I was first introduced to the idea of a vegan nut Parmesan in Angela Liddon’s first cookbook…her recipes were a life-saver to this vegan newbie! Besides the cheezy flavor they add to a dish, I also love that they add a pop of plant-based protein, especially to leafy green salads which have a lower protein content than other dishes.

Since trying that first vegan nut Parmesan, I’ve experimented with other nuts and seeds and found the three that I’m sharing with you today to be my favorites…

Pecan Parmesan: This is the one directly inspired by The Oh She Glows Cookbook. I love it on salads and roasted vegetables or even snacking on it right from the jar when I’m craving something salty.

Cashew Parmesan: I love this best with almost everything…pasta, pizza, soups, salads and stews and believe it most closely resembles the real thing in both texture and flavor.

Pistachio Parmesan: Sprinkling it over sweet potatoes is my favorite way to enjoy it, but it’s lovely on salads too.

 

And here are the recipes for each:

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.

ode to chocolate: a valentine’s day recipe roundup

Ahhhh, chocolate!

Food in general may win men over, but you, chocolate, are definitely the way to a woman’s heart. God knew what He was doing when He made you a super-fruit and then gave us things like coffee and chili and peanut butter and dates to mix with you and make our taste buds swoon.

The only thing, chocolate, is that you’re often paired with sugar and dairy milk and other sketchy ingredients which totally drags your healthy vibe down. So not cool.

But I’m here for you, chocolate, and created this Valentine’s Day recipe round up which gives you the starring role supported by a cast of ingredients that plays to your superfood talents and lets your antioxidant superpowers shine.

Ready? Roll recipes!

 

Chocolate, you make a surprising appearance in this comfort food staple…

 

His ‘n Hers Black Bean Chili

 

 

 

And with the main meal out of the way, here are all the desserts and snacks you were made for..

 

Mocha Hazelnut Torte

 

Nanaimo Bars

 

Rockier Road Brownies

 

 

 

Chocolate Doughnuts with Milk Chocolate Glaze + Pink Sprinkles

 

German Chocolate Cake

 

 

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

 

 

Pistachio Wrapped Chocolate Truffles

 

Dark Chocolate Pudding Mousse

 

 

So there you have it, chocolate! Your Valentine’s Day recipe round up in a nutshell.

So many recipes you were simply made for. I can’t to see what other combinations we come up with this year. Looking back, I see we haven’t made nearly enough of pairing you with peanut butter or fresh fruit or even finding ways to sneak you in where people least expect to see you. We’ll have to remedy that, you and I.

XOXO

 

P.S. In the comments, tell me which recipe you absolutely have to try and/or what kinds of flavor combinations you might like to see me team up with chocolate in future recipes. I have a few ideas up my sleeve, but I always love to hear from you!

mocha hazelnut torte (vegan, added sugar free, no bake, gluten free, paleo)

I can’t decide which I like better: chocolate + coffee or chocolate + hazelnuts. Hmmmm….

If you had to pick one, what would you choose? (Tell me in the comments.)

Fortunately, we don’t have to choose one over the other because I’ve brought both together is this mocha hazelnut torte! It’s a dessert that looks decadent, but contains only whole food, added sugar free ingredients, so it’s a recipe that loves your body back.

Ever since I detoxed from sugar a few years ago, I’ve been on a mission to have my cake and eat it too…just without the added sugars which keep you hooked on the very thing that brings your energy levels down and anxiety up. Thanks to dates, stevia and few other tricks, it’s made this mission much easier and I’m excited to share the results with you in my recipes.

This mocha hazelnut torte is incredibly easy to whip up and I even have a pro tip for you for easily removing those pesky hazelnut skins which would make the crust bitter. Check out the tip here over at Will Cook for Friends. It’s seriously so ridiculously easy that you’ll probably do a happy dance in your kitchen. Or at least in your head.

Because my husband and I aren’t dedicated coffee drinkers, I’ve never learned to make a good pot of coffee and don’t keep coffee in the house (shocking, I know), so I relied on Trader Joe’s Coconut Cold Brewed Coffee Concentrate for the body of the torte. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you and can’t find an equivalent, here’s a cold brew coffee recipe by Wellness Mama or see the “Shop the Recipe” section at the end of the post for a link on where you can buy it online.

But let’s dig in to the recipe, shall we?

 

Mocha Hazelnut Torte

Chocolate, coffee and hazelnuts come together in this easy, no bake dessert recipe that is free of added sugars so it loves your body back whether you have one slice...or two

Course: Dessert
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, skins removed
  • 1/4 + 2T cup cocoa powder (fair trade is best)
  • 2 scoop 100% pure stevia powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup date paste*
For the filling:
  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1.5 cups cocoa powder (fair trade is best)
  • 1.5 cups date paste*
  • 2 15 oz. cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup cold brew coffee concentrate
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 6 scoops 100% pure stevia powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Instructions
For the crust:
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and mix until thoroughly combined and the mixture easily holds together when pinched between your fingers. Pour into a 9" spring form pan and press firmly to form the crust.

For the filling:
  1. For one of the cans of coconut milk, make sure the fat has separated from the liquid by chilling it in the fridge overnight.

  2. Depending on the size of the bowl of your food processor or blender size, you may need to do the filling in two equal batches  to ensure everything mixes thoroughly.

  3. First combine the avocado, cocoa powder, date paste, vanilla, stevia, salt and one can of coconut milk.

  4. With the other can, remove the fat and then add it to the other filling ingredients along with the coffee concentrate. Mix until thoroughly combined, scraping the bowl a couple times to make sure everything is well blended and very smooth.

  5. Pour the filling onto the crust, cover with foil and chill for at least four hours before serving. It's best if kept refrigerated. Decorate with hazelnuts or fresh fruit if desired.

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 to make about 1/2 cup of date paste. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. Multiply quantities of dates as needed to make enough date paste for your recipe.

 

 

 

(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.
  • Cocoa powder: for fair trade cocoa powder which helps support farmers at fair wages, Equal Exchange is an excellent brand with a very rich cocoa flavor. I got mine at Whole Foods, but you can also find it online here.
  • Trader Joe’s coconut cold-brew coffee concentrate can also be found online 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