Gluten-free and Oil-free Pumpkin Cookies

Gluten-free Pumpkin Cookies
Gluten-free Pumpkin Cookies, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Looking for something easy and healthy to make for the holidays? Look no further than these super simple and super healthy cookies. They are full of pumpkin – and we all know that this is the pumpkin season – and are completely and naturally gluten-free. The combination of oats, coconut flour and almond flour does not really need backing and you could mix them all together, let the mix stand, and form the cookies as is. So, if you are into raw food, or minimally processed food this could be a path you take.

Baking the cookies does enhance the flavors, and that’s worth keeping this in mind. Baking also makes all the spices develop and merge. A combination of cinnamon, ginger and cardamom really blooms when heated up! At the end, baking the cookies will give you a more aromatic kitchen and platter.

What will also enhance the flavors is roasting your own pumpkin. (So, I guess not everything will be as a raw as possible since I am not sure you can use raw pumpkin – I have never tried and I am not even sure that it can be done!). Roasting the pumpkin is super easy – you don’t even need to peel it, just slice it in half, scoop out the seeds and place the pumpkin halves on a baking sheet, cut side down and roast at 425 F (220 C) for 45 minutes or so. It also helps to line the baking sheet with some foil or parchment paper – this helps the roasting and the clean up!

After the pumpkin is roasted, all you need to do is scoop the flash and purée, either in a food processor or using a masher. Food processor will make everything much smoother, but if you prefer your a more rustic pumpkin hands or a masher will do.

Enjoy!

 

Gluten-free and Oil-free Pumpkin Cookies

What you’ll need:

  • 1 15 oz (425 g) can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) or 15 oz (425 g) roasted sugar pumpkin, puréed
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or solid sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • Optional: 1/4 cup maple syrup, for brushing

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a large food processor. If you don’t have a food processor that’s large enough, you can either process in batches or process pumpkin and oats well and then just mix in the rest of the ingredients (except the optional maple syrup) by hand.
  3. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Use an ice cream scoop to measure out the amount for each cookie, than form a round and flat shape and place on the parchment paper. This amount of batter should yield about 12-14 cookies.
  5. Cross-hatch the surface of each cookie.
  6. Bake for 18-23 minutes. Cookies will be lightly browned but stay soft.
  7. Let the cookies cool for 15-20 minutes before brushing with maple syrup. You could skip this step, but why would you want to do that? Enjoy!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

Banana Toast – Just for Fun

Banana Toast via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Banana Toast, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Perhaps you can’t get enough of Avocado Toast, or perhaps you are just fed up with all the hype! Perhaps you view it as a generational thing, given how much grief millennials have been getting about it.

I happen to think Avocado Toast is delicious, especially when topped with some tomatoes and basil (see here for some great variation on this theme). but avocados don’t come cheap. They are one of the pricier produce out there, and it seems that they are not the best choice environmentally speaking either.

So, to offer an alternative to the Avocado Toast craze, I offer you Banana Toast! Cheaper than chips and easy to make. Plus, unlike Avocado Toast that may not work with things like chocolate chips, Banana Toast is friends with chocolate, cinnamon, raisins, craisins, coconut flakes, different protein powders (if you like to mix them in with the banana) and all that good stuff!

All you need is a good piece of bread – I love sprouted kinds – and a fork to mush that banana. Spread the love and accessorize!

Banana Toast

1 SERVING

What you’ll need:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 pieces of bread (whole grain and/or sprouted recommended)
  • Optional: any topping of your choosing (raisins, craisins, chocolate chips, cinnamon, coconut flakes, brown sugar,…)

 

What you’ll do:

  1. Toast the bread.
  2. While bread is toasting, mash the banana with the fork until well mashed.
  3. Spread the mashed banana over the toast, and top with any topping of your choice and enjoy!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

 

 

Homemade Nut and Seed Granola

Homemade Nut and Seed Granola
Homemade Nut and Seed Granola, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

There are so many granolas out there. And there are ready made ones that you can get from the store. So, why should you ever bother making granola at home?

Well, I bet it is sometimes hard to find the perfect granola – some may be too sweet, some may include things you don’t like, some may have flavoring agents (spices) that you can’t stand or that overpower your palate. So, what I am getting at here is that knowing how to make granola comes in handy – you can use the same technique and just switch ingredients in and out as you please.

For example, I am not a huge lover of dried fruit in my granola so I made this batch with nuts and seeds. If you are allergic, you can make granola entirely out of nuts and still get a great snack/breakfast item.

Also: you are in complete control of the sugar levels. In many cases, store bought granola mixes are just to sweet. Making your own allows you to dial sugar up or down – recommend using a syrup: agave or maple or even stevia or molasses. You do need something sticky that will serve as a glue to bind all the ingredients together. Here, I used agave syrup, and 1/3 of a cup, although it does not sound like much, is plenty.

Now, when it comes to preparation, you will need a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (or two). The first step is getting the granola spread out as much as possible. It is nice to have clusters, so don’t break every cluster apart, but you do want to make sure that you are leaving plenty of space between clusters so that they get a chance to brown and crisp up on all sides. If you discover that a single baking sheet can’t hold the entire amount you get using the measures below, use two sheets. The main trick here is to start low and slow, and “dehydrate” the granola at 200 F (which is just about 100 C) for an hour or two.

However, in order to get the final, toasted crunchiness you do need to increase the heat to 425 F (220 C) or higher. This second step takes only 5-10 minutes, and you do need to stay put and check how things are going every minute or two. It’s important to keep stirring the granola, move pieces around, and flip them over. This will prevent the burning, yet let the toasty flavors develop.

You can keep the granola in the air tight container for a week, and it will keep. You can bring it along to hikes, or have on hand as a quick snack. You can certainly enjoy it for breakfast. Putting a bit of yogurt (preferably unsweetened because granola does contain added sugar) in a small jar, and topping it with fresh fruit or a fruit compote, and some granola is all you need to get going in the morning. Closed with a tight lid, these jars can go right into your bag and come along as you rush out of house. They can also be a great mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

I admit that I sometimes go a bit crazy and add granola into my oatmeal – it is indulgent but once in a while I think it’s OK. Enjoy!

 

Homemade Nut and Seed Granola

What you’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat
  • 1/3 cup flax seed
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seed
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seed
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds (hulled)
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup (maple syrup or other liquid sweetener of your choice)
SERVING SUGGESTIONS
  • 1/2 cup plain plant-based yogurt
  • 1/2 cup fresh fruit (like blackberries pictured above)

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 – 210 F (about 100 C).
  2. Place the almonds into the food processor and process 4-5 times, until roughly chopped.
  3. Add the next 6 ingredients (all except hemp seeds and agave syrup) and process for another 4-5 times. You want everything to be chopped finely but not turned into a meal or flour.
  4. Pour everything into a large mixing bowl, add hemp seed and the syrup and mix well to combine. Make sure that the syrup covers everything evenly.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the granola evenly in a single layer of well separated clusters. Place into the oven on low heat for an hour.
  6. After an hour at low heat, increase the heat to 425 F (220 C) and toast the granola for another 5-8 minutes. Make sure you check on your granola every minute and mix each time to allow every nook and cranny to get toasted. CAUTION: you do need to baby sit this part because your granola will easily burn!!!
  7. Once nicely toasted, take the granola out and let it cool completely before using. You can use it as a dry snack, or with some milk for breakfast. My favorite is topping a bit of yogurt with a homemade berry syrup and granola – yummy!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

Breakfast Tacos with Tex-Mex Scrambled Tofu

Breakfast Tacos with Tex-Mex Scrambled Tofu
Breakfast Tacos with Tex-Mex Scrambled Tofu, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Quite frankly, I go back and forth on breakfast. Sometimes I am 100% behind the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And sometimes I get into skipping meals until lunch or later.

At the moment, I am eating mostly raw, and mostly fruit until dinner time (around 5PM) and then have a cooked meal during the work week. But on the weekend, I still enjoy a spot of brunch.

These breakfast tacos are an example of great brunch (weekend breakfast) recipe, when you have a bit more time to put something awesome on your plate. Actually, these tacos could work as lunch or dinner as well – they are rich, with tofu, beans, and corn, and they can be customized with a range of toppings like salsa, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole. Actually, chopped tomatoes, cilantro and a squeeze of lime would work just as well!

Note that if you are looking for something that will taste like an egg, this is not it. Thus scramble is yummy but it is not meant to be egg-like. It stands on its own! For a more egg-like scramble you can try Just Egg – it’s good but it’s not cheap – or my recipe for a vegan scramble.

And to make your brunch a real feast, you can add a side of waffles or pancakes – here I have couple of different recipes such as snickerdoodle pancakes (gluten-free and full of cinnamon) and sweet potato pancakes (gluten-free)!!!

Enjoy!

Breakfast Tacos with Tex-Mex Scrambled Tofu

What you’ll need:

  • 14 oz (400 g) extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
  • 4-6 scallions, finely chopped, white and green pieces
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen but fully thawed, fresh or canned)
  • 1 15.5 oz (440 g) can, pinto beans (or black beans)
  • Cooking spray or 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8-10 corn tortillas or 4 large burrito wraps, for serving
  • Optional: fresh cilantro, chopped 
  • Optional: salsa, chopped avocado, chopped tomato, sour cream

What you’ll do:

  1. Drain the block of tofu and place it into a colander to continue draining while you prepare the scallions.
  2. Place a large skillet over the medium high hear, add cooking spray or oil, and add the scallions. Sauté scallions for 3-5 minutes.
  3. While scallions are browning, move the block of tofu into a larger mixing bowl and, using a fork, crumble the tofu into smaller pieces about  the size of scrabbled milk pieces.
  4. Add the tofu to scallions. Mix well, add the spices (chili powder and cumin), and scramble everything together.
  5. Add the corn and the beans. If you are using frozen corn and you don’t have time to thaw it, add the corn first, mix well, sauté for 5 minutes then add the beans and sauté for another 3-5 minutes. I do recommend that you thaw your corn first, as it will save you some cooking time.
  6. Warm tortillas in a microwave for 30 seconds, then top with the scramble and any other toppings you enjoy. I like chopped cilantro and finely diced tomatoes!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

 

 

Berry Bliss Breakfast Balls on a Roll

IMG_6481 (1)
Berry Bliss Breakfast Balls, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Never skip your breakfast – at least that’s what everyone keeps telling you! But: breakfast can be hard to fit in, and quite honestly sometimes I just need to get going. For those mornings when you want to be out the door as quickly as you can, it’s good to have something to grab on your way out. And these delicious breakfast balls pack all you need!

These breakfast treats are definitely make ahead – you will not be able to just whip them together if you are in a real hurry. That said, they are not that hard to make. All you need is a food processor and nothing more. The recipe below lists frozen berry mix, but you could use fresh berries or your choice. In that case, you may need to scale up the amount of dry ingredients to keep everything well glued together.

When working with frozen berries in this recipe, it is important to let them thaw completely, and drain the excess liquid out. You don’t need to squeeze them dry but I recommend using a strainer or a slotted spoon to get just the berries. For defrosting, you could use the microwave or you can leave the berries in your fridge for a day or so and they should be ready to go.

To make these breakfast calls sweeter, I recommend that you use same dried medjool dates. These are ultra-sweet dates that can be used instead of sugar. If you don’t have them on hand, you could go with raisins, or skip altogether, depending on how sweet is your fruit.

What makes these balls real breakfast items is the combination of ground hemp seeds, wheat germ, almond meal, and coconut flour. All these add the body to these and will keep you full and going for hours.

The final touch here is just a pinch of ground cardamom in the almond meal that I recommend that you roll your balls in after you form them. You can, of course, customize the spice (cinnamon, nutmeg or even clover come to mind as things that would work), but cardamom just adds something a bit unusual that you may enjoy. If you are looking for additional make-ahead or raw breakfast ideas, here are two versions of muffins for you – a baked one (gluten-free carrot cake muffin), and a raw one. Enjoy!

 

Berry Bliss Breakfast Balls

What you’ll need (4-6 servings):

  • 2 cups frozen berry mix, defrosted and access liquid decanted
  • 6 medjool dates, pits removed
  • 1/2 cup hulled hemp seed hearts
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 + 1/4 cup almond meal, divided
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

 

What you’ll do:

  1. Defrost the berry mix in the microwave or overnight in the fridge, then decant the access liquid and reserve for a smoothie or something else.
  2. Place the defrosted berries, dates, and the rest of the ingredients except 1/4 cup almond meal and cardamom, into a food processor and process for 3-5 minutes, until the mix is smooth and combined.
  3. Using a quarter cup measure or an ice cream scoop, scoop out part of the mix, roll it into a ball using your hands, and eat as is, or roll it into the 1/4 cup almond meal mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom powder. Enjoy for breakfast, or as a dessert. You can also drizzle some melter chocolate for real dessert flavor. The balls keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge, in an air tight container. They are raw, so best to consume them as quickly as you can!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

Raw Energy Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

Raw Energy Oatmeal Raisin Muffins
Raw Energy Oatmeal Raisin Muffins, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Few Sundays ago, I shared with you my impressions of a new cookbook on the vegan block – “Modern Raw: Healthy Raw Vegan Meals for a Balanced Life” by Rachel Carr. I’ve been wanting to cut down on cooking for some time, and especially during the summer, so this cookbook came to me in just the right moment. You can read more about my views and check out a recipe kindly provided by the publisher here.

Needless to say, inspired by the raw vegan strategy Rachel outlined, I jumped at the opportunity to start making my own raw experiments. I started with a breakfast item, and a pasta recipe, mostly because many people trying to follow plant-based eating find breakfast to be the most challenging meal, and because I couldn’t imagine that you can have pasta without cooking!

The muffins below are great – sweet without any added sugar, and ready without baking. If you told me that this is possible, I would have rejected your suggestion. Now, of course, I know better, and these muffins – although not having a texture of any muffin you ever tried before – are packed with good-for-you energy and will carry you through your morning.

They are made of carrots, apples, raisins and rolled oats – four ingredients only! And need a bit of help from cinnamon and nutmeg! You need a food processor to make them, since there’s lot of grating and I don’t recommend you undertake this process by hand. And there is also a bit of waiting for these muffins to firm up and come together, so it’s best to make them an evening ahead and them enjoy them for breakfast the next day!

 

Raw Energy Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

What you’ll need:

  • 2 apples, cored (Granny Smith, MacIntosh, Pink Lady work best)
  • 3 extra-large carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups rolled oats, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 12 walnut halves, optional

What you’ll do:

  1. Using a fine shredding attachment on your food processor or hand-held grater, grate the apples and carrots. Transfer them into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Change the food processor’s attachment to S-blade, then combine 1 cup of rolled oats and raisins. Pulse until finely ground.
  3. Combine with the grated carrots and apples, add the rest of the ingredients (all except walnut halves), and mix well using your hands to help the juices release and combine. Don’t worry if the mix feels wet – oats will absorb some of the excess moisture later. Depending on the exact variety of apples you use, you may end up with a bit too wet of a dough. In that case add 1/4 – 1/2 cup more oats.
  4. Line the muffin pan with the same baking liners you would use for your muffins or cupcakes. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the mix into each muffin holder. Pack in the dough by pressing with your fingers. Top each muffin with a walnut half, or top with rolled oats, or couple of raisin. You can also skip the topping or mix-and-match.
  5. Leave the muffins in the fridge for couple of hours to form up. Before serving take them out and let them come to room temperature – this will take 15 minutes or so. The muffins should slide out of the wrappers with easy and hold well together. If they don’t, you may want to add a bit more ground rolled oats into your dough next time. However, if they do, you will have a delicious, no-bake muffin on your hands – a great way to start your day. Enjoy!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

 

Mushroom Pâté

Nut-free Mushroom Pâté, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Mushroom Pâté, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

I grew up eating pâté and loving it. Some pâté, on a piece of freshly baked bread with a glass of yogurt (yes, the liquid kind you drink like they do in Middle East!) was one of my go to breakfasts. And the pâté I ate was not a fancy French kind made with duck fat. At some point I learned that it was actually made of who know what, random bits and pieces of an animal all ground up. Whether you eat meat or not, I hope we can all agree that that’s pretty unappetizing when you think about it!

But: if you don’t think about it and just go with your taste buds, pâtés are really tasty. They are full of umami, savory flavors that we all crave, they are silky and smooth, they are nicely spreadable, and they are an excellent add-on to a nice piece of bread. So, how can we re-create the perfect savoriness with just a small number of ingredients, and make a healthy and satisfying pâté that will keep you coming back for more?

Well, we start with mushrooms, the well-known source of umami. You can use white button mushrooms here or baby bella (cremini) mushrooms as well. I do not recommend some of the mushrooms that have distinct flavors, like shiitakes; however, other mild mushrooms may work. Still, white button mushrooms are readily available, affordable and work!

Another important umami component is tomato paste. Here, you can use any tomato paste you have on hand and you can adjust the amount – anywhere between a tablespoon or two will do the trick.

To make the dip smooth and rich in protein, I recommend adding canned beans. White beans work best (cannellini, great Northern or navy), but any other variety will probably be OK. If you cook your own beans, I recommend that you keep them slightly undercooked for this application, or at least squeeze some of the excesses liquid out before blending to avoid ending with a pâté that’s more of a soup than a rich and dense spread.

The main flavoring agent here is Herbes de Provence, a mixture of dried herbs that usually includes thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram and lavender. I use Trader Joe’s version, and they carry it only as a seasonal item in the fall, but any other mix with the same name will do. Alternatively, you can add a pinch of thyme, rosemary, oregano, and other herbs (including basil) that you may have on hand.

Finally, what also adds a lot to this pâté is sautéing and caramelizing onions, garlic and mushrooms before blending everything together. This will help the flavor deepen and develop!

Looking for serving suggestions? You can use it as a spread or a dip, as a pizza “sauce” and topping (why not?), in your quesadillas (let’s be adventurous!), for your baked potatoes, or for any other dish where you feel the need to add rich, yet smooth flavors. Enjoy!

Mushroom Pâté

What you’ll need:

8 oz white button mushrooms (or cremini mushrooms if you like stronger mushroom flavor), sliced

1/2 large, white onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence

1 15 oz (425 g) can white beans

Salt to taste

 

What you’ll do:

  1. Place a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Heat up than add the oil and onions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic. Let garlic start to release its aroma – this usually takes a minute.
  2. Add the mushrooms and , increase the heat to high, mix well and sauté until mushrooms are browned. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
  3. While the mushrooms are cooking, drain and rinse the can of beans. Shake access water off and place into a food processor or a large mixing bowl if you rather use a stick blender (this is an incredibly useful kitchen gadget and it’s what I used here).
  4. Pour the sautéed mushrooms over the beans and blend until smooth and combined. Leave in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  5. Serve cold as a spread for sandwiches or as a dip for chips or crackers. This pâté is excellent addition to your menu and it offers a healthy and humane alternative.

 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

Basic Vegan Waffles

Basic Vegan Waffles via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Basic Vegan Waffles, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

If you are looking to add some sunshine to your plate, look no further! The waffles are here, and they are egg-free and dairy-free, and they can very easily be made gluten-free and nut-free as well. So, these waffles are allergy friendly, yet satisfying – they will please absolutely everyone because they use only simple ingredients and don’t require fussing with egg replacements or similar.

The key to these waffles (as well as any other type of waffles) is a really good waffle iron, that you want to keep at medium high heat. And: you also want to keep it well oiled to help the waffles crisp up and reach that beautiful golden-brown stage without sticking!

Another crucial ingredient here is lemon juice – since you are not using eggs, lemon juice is essential to get the baking soda working. Remember that baking soda and vinegar volcano experiment you did in elementary school? Yes, the principle here is the same – you need some acid to give baking soda a bit of a nudge and release all that gas (carbon-dioxide) that will make your waffles puff up. I you don’t have lemons handy, a bit of apple cider vinegar or plain vinegar will also do the trick.

One tricky step here is adding the right amount of liquid. The amount will vary depending how you measure your flour and what type of four you use. Not all gluten-free flours are the same – the ingredients vary and how those ingredients mix with liquids vary. And gluten-free flours will behave differently from plain all-purpose wheat flour – so, I’m afraid, this is not one-size-fits-all type of recipe and you will need to pay attention!

After you’ve mixed (or whisked) the first cup of liquid in (milk or water), make sure all the liquid is incorporated well before adding more. And, add the rest in 1/4 cup increments, making sure all is incorporated before adding more. You want the waffle batter to be pourable but dense – so just slightly thicker than a pancake batter, a a shade thiner than cake batter. If you have not given up by now – and I hope you haven’t – once you’ve mixed the batter to the right consistency let it sit for 5-10 minutes before using.

These waffles freeze well, and can be reheated in the microwave, or a toaster oven. My favorite thick here is to get them defrosted in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and then transfer to the toaster oven to crisp up!

Happy breakfast time!!!

 

 

Basic Vegan Waffles (with gluten-free and nut-free options)

Serves 4 (2-3 waffles depending on the size of your waffle iron)

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, I like King Arthur Flour (or all-purpose white flour)
  • ¼ cup raw sugar (vegan)
  • ¼ cup vegetable (or canola) oil
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter powder (skip if concerned about allergies)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or dial down the amount if you prefer less vanilla)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or oat milk, soy milk, or water for nut-free version), divided
  • Cooking spray or some extra vegetable oil for brushing the waffle iron

What you’ll do:

  1. Place all the ingredients except milk into a large mixing bowl, in the order they were mentioned in. Mix well.
  2. Add 1 ½ cup of milk and mix, check for consistency than add ¼ cup of milk more, mix, check the consistency and add more milk if needed. The best waffle batter should pour out without resistance, but still be dense. Let the batter stand while you prepare the waffle iron.
  3. Heat the waffle iron, spray with the cooking spray if needed (my waffle iron is old and sticky so cooking spray helps a lot), then pour ¾ of a cup of the batter in (please note that this amount will depend on the size of the waffle iron you are using). The waffles should be done in 2-3 minutes – my waffle iron comes with a handy light that turns green when a waffle is done!
  4. Serve your waffles hot with butter, maple syrup, chopped nuts, strawberries, blueberries, and/or whipped cream, or if you are looking for something new: chopped pineapple and coconut for a piña colada waffles!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

Reboot Smoothie with Blueberries, Bananas, Oatmeal and Peanut Butter

Reboot smoothie with blueberries, peanut butter powder, and oatmeal
Reboot Smoothie with Blueberries, Peanut Butter Powder, and Oatmeal, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Some of you may know that I am not a real food blogger – and by real I mean a person who does food blogging, recipe development, food photography and cookbook writing full time. I started blogging about two years ago as a way to share some of the recipes I’ve been enjoying. For me, this was a way to combine my love for cooking and my love for writing. But: I do have another huge love in my life, one that overshadow all else, and it is love of science, especially the kind of science done at the interface of chemistry and biology. So, my real job is guiding one of the best chemical biology programs on the planet.

This job comes with an opportunity to travel to meet other scientists in the field, so we can share and learn from each other. Recently, I went on a trip which scientifically I enjoyed very much! However, the plane rides were bumpy, and they were delays, and stress, and long flights, and really limited food options at the airports. Which means that for couple of days my diet was OK, but not great. Plus: I tend to eat too much when I travel. Snacking helps pass the time, and although I know it is not healthy, it is what I do.

By the time I get back home, I am usually beyond exhausted sometimes due to the trip itself, but oftentimes because the amounts of salt, fat and sugar I consumed. That’s why I developed this wonderful smoothie to help me reboot and rebalance myself.

The smoothie comes together in a snap, like they all do, and uses blueberries, bananas, oatmeal and peanut butter powder. The peanut butter powder is something that you can now find in your local grocery store. It is made from roasted peanuts after all the oil haas been removed, which means that it has less calories and less fat, but more protein per serving than peanut butter. This powder retains all of the peanut aroma, and you can use it for smoothies, baking and even cooking things like Pad Thai. I like using it in this smoothie because it adds a nice punch of protein to it.

Bananas are an essential smoothie ingredient, no matter what. They add sweetness and creaminess to it, and make the smoothies rich, so much so that you will think you are getting spoiled. If you do not like bananas, this smoothie can be made with roasted sweet potatoes (yummy!), and even canned pumpkin purée. Bananas are full of vitamin B6, which is the essential cofactor of many enzymes that regulate our metabolism, and when it comes to vitamin B6 one banana goes a long way (more than 30% of your daily value)!

Blueberries are also key to the final flavor, and I recommend that, if you can, get frozen wild blueberries, preferably from Maine. This, of course may not be possible where you live so you can use any blueberries you have on hand, or strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or sweet cherries for that matter. The fruit you use can certainly be bought frozen, and I do this all the time as it ensures I have perfect fruit ready to go for whenever I need a smoothie. You can also use fresh in which case you may want to add a couple of ice cubes into your smoothie mix before blending if you prefer your smoothies icy cold.

Finally, just a bit of oatmeal will enhance the creaminess, and add more sustaining power to the smoothie. One serving will fuel you for a while!

One note on the blenders and the order in which you add the ingredients. Some of you may have industrial strength blenders that can handle anything. The one I have is good, but not fantastic and for my blender to work well I have to add liquids first, then things that are softer, then things that are harder. The order below is based on this principle, and you don’t need to follow it unless you have the kind of finicky blender I have.

Reboot Smoothie with Blueberries, Bananas, Oatmeal and Peanut Butter

What you’ll need for one very generous single serving or two smaller ones

1 cup almond milk (unsweetened, vanilla flavor or plain)

1 banana

1 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 cup oatmeal

2 tablespoons peanut butter powder

 

What you’ll do:

  1. Place the almond milk, chopped banana, blueberries, oatmeal and peanut butter powder into a blender. Close the lid and blend until smooth. Let the blended mix sit for about 10 minutes to allow the oatmeal to soak and soften. Then pour it out and enjoy!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

Gluten-free Cinnamon Raisin Monkey Bread

Gluten-free Cinnamon Raisin Monkey Bread, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Have you ever heard of monkey bread? Well, neither have I until recently when I started thinking about an easy breakfast type of a bread that can be made quickly and without much fuss. Monkey bread, a pull apart sticky bread full of cinnamon and drenched in a sticky syrup, is one such option.

Most recipes for monkey bread out there start with a pre-made biscuit dough of some sort – this is fine, especially when you are in a rush, but most of these doughs are not gluten-free. Also: if you are paying attention to what you eat and how much salt and fat you consume, these products are probably not for you although most of them are actually vegan.

The recipe below is my attempt at making monkey bread that is gluten-free, relatively low on oil (and you can skip oil if you want an oil-free version), and full of lovely fruit and vegetable. To boost the flavors and sweetness, I am using pumpkin purée and raisins, and too boost healthy fats and provide a binder for the bread dough I am using chia seeds. Lastly, I am not using a great deal of sticky syrup – but just enough agave syrup to make this slightly over the top. This means that unlike monkey breads you may have had in the past this one is not dripping with gooey syrup, although it is sticky (and finger licking’ good!).

You can play with arrangements of the small dough pieces when you start to lay them out, and create any pattern you like. Traditional monkey bread is made in the Bundt pan. If you would like to experiment with that you will need to make several adjustments to the recipe below. First of all, you will need to prepare a different sticky sauce that is made from brown sugar and butter, and if you don’t want to use butter (vegan or otherwise), you may want to use a bit of corn or tapioca starch as a thickener. The sticky sauce would go to the bottom of your pan and dough chunks are layered one on top of each other. In that case, you will need to double the amount of dough from the recipe below and follow the instructions on how to assemble the bread here.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Raisin Monkey Bread

What you’ll need:

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup chia seeds

1 cup hot water

1 cup rice flour

1/2 cup arrowroot flour

1/4 cup glutinous rice flour (or corn/tapioca starch)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon cinnamon 

3/4 cup  pumpkin purée

3 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable; you can skip if oil-free)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 

1/3 cup agave nectar (or maple syrup), divided

Butter or oil for greasing the baking dish (optional)

 

What you’ll do:

  1. Cover the raisin with some water and leave them to soak overnight. If you are in a pinch and need them sooner, you can soak them in hot water and they should be ready to use within 15-30 minutes.
  2. When ready to make the monkey bread, turn the oven on to 350 F (175 C).
  3. Soak chia seeds in a cup of boiling water until gel-like substance forms. This usually takes 10-20 minutes.
  4. While chia seeds are soaking, mix together all the dry ingredients (flours and spices).
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: pumpkin puree, soaked chia seeds, oil, and vinegar. Mix well.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, mix well, then add the raisins and mix again.
  7. Grease the bottom and the sides of a baking dish (8 x 8 in (20 x 20 cm)). You can skip this step if you are using a high quality non-stick pan. Pinch smaller chunks of the dough (roughly 1/4 cup), form into a ball by gently rolling (don’t pack too tightly, the dough should feel loose but not falling apart), and start arranging the monkey bread by placing the balls next to each other. Let them touch but don’t press the balls together. If you can’t squeeze them all in, start another layer and continue until all the dough is used up.
  8. When all the dough balls are all arranged, brush one half of the agave nectar over the top, and bake for 20-30 minutes. The monkey bread is done when the surface is completely brown.
  9. Take the monkey bread out of the oven, brush the rest of the agave nectar over, and leave to soak and cool for 15 minutes or so before digging in!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

 

Gluten-free and Vegan Protein-Packed No-Bake English Muffins

Gluten-free Protein-Packed Mug English Muffins, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

“Where do you get your protein from?” is probably the most detested question that those enjoying plant-based (vegan) diet get asked all the time. Of course, we know that this is an easy question to answer because plants are full of protein.

But just in case you feel that you need an extra protein boost, especially when it comes to breakfast, I have a perfect solution for you. How about some protein packed English muffins? Actually, these are not oven-baked; rather they are done within a few minutes using a microwave.

Perhaps you’ve seen recipes for mug cakes? Or you may have seen new “mug cake” product lines in your local supermarket? The idea is that you whip up your ingredients in a mug, mix them together and after 3-5 minutes in a microwave you have your single-serve cake or a muffin ready to enjoy.

I use the same basic idea here except that instead of eggs and flour I use pea protein powder, peanut butter powder (which is really peanut protein powder), some flax meal, baking soda, a dash of vinegar (or lemon juice) and water or plant milk of choice. Believe it or not, after 3 minutes in the microwave on high power you get a nice little muffin. I recommend slicing the muffin across horizontally, then toasting it for some extra crunch. Yummy!

So, how does this work? I don’t know for sure but I do have a working theory that the carbon-dioxide released when baking soda meets a splash of vinegar or lemon juice is enough to lift the “dough”, and once up the protein molecules have sufficient strength to support the structure.

The main trick here is not to make the mix too wet. When you mix your ingredients together, you will have something that looks more like a paste than a muffin batter. Don’t worry, this is as it should be. The best dish to microwave the muffin in is a 3-4 inch (8-10 cm) ramekin, and I recommend that you grease it with either a bit of butter or some cooking spray. A little will go a long way to help your muffin slide out.

Lastly: a note about microwaves. They are all different and have moods of their own. I recommend you start on high power, and check how things are doing after about 2 minutes. You should look for a dry looking top and sides that are coming away from the ramekin. At the end, the muffin should slide out of the ramekin without much resistance, usually after you run a butter knife around the edges to release the muffin.

Gluten-free and Vegan Protein-Packed No-Bake English Muffins

What you’ll need:

2 tablespoons pea protein powder

2 tablespoons peanut protein powder

1 tablespoon ground flax meal (golden is preferred)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon almond milk or water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Vegan butter (optional)

What you’ll do:

  1. Place all the ingredients into a small bowl, and mix to combine. I recommend adding a splash of acid (vinegar or lemon juice) last. The batter will be dense and sticky, just FYI.
  2. Pour the batter into a microwave safe ramekin or a mug that’s about 3-4 in (8-10 cm) in diameter and that has been greased with butter or sprayed gently with some cooking spray.
  3. Microwave on high for 3 minutes or so. The top should be dry and look baked, and the sides should be coming of. If all is well, the muffin will slide out of the ramekin without much resistance after you run a knife around the edges. If not, it means that the bottom is still moist, and the mix needs to go back for another 30-60 seconds.
  4. Enjoy the muffin as is, or toast if you prefer things a bit crunchier. You can top the muffin with butter, jam, hummus, avocado, fruit, or anything else you like. The muffin itself is neither sweet nor salty so lends itself to utmost customization!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

Basic gluten-free vegan crêpes

Oui, oui… we all love crêpes! Savory or sweet these flat wraps are easy to make and delightful. Of course, those in the business of crêpes making may lead you to believe that crêpes are beyond your capabilities. And even if you are brave to venture into the crêpes land, you may hesitate to accept the vegan crêpes challenge. Yet, there’s nothing to worry about as crêpes can be not only vegan but gluten-free as well.

Choosing the right crêpes pan

The pan you use makes a huge amount of difference when making crêpes. You need a good, preferably non-stick, shallow frying pan with large surface area. The pan should also not be too heavy because there is a fair bit of pan handling (lifting, tilting, swirling) that will need to take place. I use IKEA but you can use any pan the fits this description – roughly.

Preparing the pan

I recommend getting the pan nice and hot before adding a batch of batter. Also, remember to oil the pan before each crêpes. I place my oil in a small bowl which I keep on the stove for easy access and use a silicone brush to brush the oil over the pan’s bottom just before pouring in a batch of batter. And keep doing this each time!

The first crêpe is always the worst!

One dirty little secret of crêpe making is that the first crêpe is always the worst!!! So, although this first crêpe will be nerve wracking and make you feel like a total crêpe disaster, please do persevere and things will get better. This phenomenon seems to be all down to improperly oiled and insufficiently heated pan – and following the instructions here or in this very helpful post will ensure that your second, third, fourth, and so on crêpe all come out perfect. What helps is keeping the heat up, oiling the surface and using a really long and thin spatula to gently peel the crêpe off and flip over. What also help is being stingy with a batter. You are going for a very, very thin pancake here and the pictures below show you what my crêpes looked like.

Finishing crêpe touches

There are many different ways to enjoy the crêpes. You can use light spreads, like jams, chocolate syrup or nut butters, or simply sprinkle with some sugar and cinnamon, or go for the classic combination of butter and maple syrup. Chopped up fruit and/or nuts, as well as walnut and almond meal also work. If you are want to totally impress your guests you may want to make a crêpe cake, and if you made a batch of savory crêpes you can definitely use them in the same way as tortillas or other thin, unleavened breads. If you are wondering what savory crêpes are all about, I previously shared an easy to make scallion crêpe recipe with a sesame dipping sauce.

All in all, this recipe is perfect for a Sunday brunch, or a nice family breakfast around the Holidays. It is something that you could make ahead and bring to a pot luck, but the best way to enjoy crêpes is straight out of the pan, while they are still hot and soft. Incredible – oh là là!!!

Basic Gluten-free Vegan Crêpes

What you’ll need:

2 cups chickpea flour

1 cup corn starch

2 tablespoon agave syrup (omit if you plan on savory toppings)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla paste

1 teaspoon maple flavor

2 cups almond milk

1 cup water

2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

 

What you’ll do:

  1. Combine all the ingredients as listed in a large mixing bowl, and whisk them all together. Let the batter rest for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Place a large pan with a flat surface over high heat. Let the pan heat up then using a silicon brush spread some oil uniformly over the entire surface. Pour just enough batter to cover the surface with a thin layer – for my 9 in (23 cm) pan I use about 3/4 cup. Pour the batter gradually towards the middle and keep pouring as you twirl the pan around.
  3. Place the crêpe over high heat for 2 minutes or so, then lower the heat just a tad and let the crêpe finish cooking on the first side. The way you can tell the crêpe is ready to be flipped is by looking at the surface – once the surface starts looking dry you are ready to flip.
  4. If you have a very good pan and have done everything right your crêpe will not be tightly attached to the bottom and you may even be able to flip it through the air. But if your crêpe is not loose then use your spatula to gently loosen the crêpe and flip it over. The flipping needs some practice, so be patient.
  5. The crêpe needs to cook on the other side for just 1-2 extra minutes. Slide the crêpe out, then increase the heat, leave the pan on for a minute to get it back to being really hot, spread some oil and repeat. Your friends and family may want to start eating the crêpes are they come out of the pan, and I say let them! Crêpes are the best when fresh, so it makes total sense to jump right in!!!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018