Vegan Mother’s Day Recipes: Cinnamon French Toast & Potato Shallot Frittata


How do we do it, moms? Day in, day out, we are master jugglers, keeping things running (relatively) smoothly. Can you imagine if we took a few days off? I mean completely off? Result: sheer mayhem.

We can at least take time off for Mother’s. I sure plan to do so. Other years, I’ve continued to carry on with most of the things I need to do in a day. This past year I’ve learned to treat myself better. Some self-care. Whether that means spending a little money on myself, or spending a little time with myself. It also includes being aware when I jump in to fix or take care of something, or checking in when I’m feeling unnecessary guilt.  I’m not entirely zen with, but I’ve definitely grown.

So, this Sunday, I may do a little shopping and then just hang out with the family. We have our wee girl’s  birthday party on Saturday, followed by her actual birthday on Monday (I labored all Monther’s Day with her 6 years ago!), and then my book officially launches on Wednesday! Indeed, I shall enjoy some me time on Sunday.

I don’t expect the kiddos and hubby to make a breakfast or brunch for me. Actually, I’d prefer if they didn’t. Not sure I want to look at the mess or how long it takes them to tidy it up. 😉 But, if you have cooks in your family, here’s hoping they cook up something special for you this Mother’s Day! Or, perhaps you might like to plan a brunch for your own mum. If so, I have two incredibly delicious vegan recipes for you!

For those that enjoy a sweeter breakfast, I’m sharing my Cinnamon French Toast recipe from Plant-Powered Families. If you prefer a savory breakfast, you’ll enjoy this Potato Shallot Frittata from Let Them Eat Vegan.

If you like a bit of sweet and savory… get your order into the kitchen. I say you deserve both.

Cinnamon French Toast by Dreena Burton #soyfree #vegan with #nutfree option

Cinnamon French Toast (recipe from Plant-Powered Families)

recipage link to print/share

I remember French toast fondly from childhood. It was the “treat” breakfast we had as kids, probably far easier for our parents to make than pancakes, and a great way to use up odds and ends of bread. This version is much healthier than what I ate as a kid, and I tell you our girls love it just the same.

1 cup plus 1–2 tablespoons plain or vanilla unsweetened nondairy milk

1 tablespoon white chia seeds 1/3 cup soaked and drained cashews (see note for nut-free option)

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4–1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Sliced bread of choice (see note)

In a blender or using a handheld blender, puree the milk (starting with 1 cup; see note), chia, cashews, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and sea salt until very smooth and thick (it will get thicker as it sits a little while and the chia swells). Prepare a nonstick skillet by wiping over with a touch of oil (you need a nonstick skillet, or this will be a sticky event!). Turn heat to high for a few minutes to heat up the pan, then reduce to medium/medium-high. Dip a slice of bread into the batter. Turn over and let it sit in the chia mixture for a few moments to soak, then remove and place in the skillet. Repeat with other slices, frying 2–3 pieces or more at a time, depending on the size of your skillet. Fry for 3–5 minutes on each side, until light brown. Keep the heat high enough to get a good sear/crust on the bread, but reduce if it’s scorching. Note that the slices will be sticky until they are ready to be flipped, so be patient. Repeat until all bread is used. Serve with fresh fruit and pure maple syrup.

Serving Idea: Another fun serving idea is to make sandwiches out of the French toast, slathering some nut butter between two slices, then serving with maple syrup. Serves 3-4.

Nut-Free Option: Replace 1/3 cup of cashews with 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds.

Bread Note: You may use 6–10 slices of bread, depending on the size of the slices.

Milk Note: After the batter sits for a few minutes it can become quite thick. You can stir through another 1–2 tablespoons of milk if it has gotten too thick with standing (if you have less than half the batter left, use just 1 tablespoon).

Potato Shallot Frittata by Dreena Burton #vegan

Potato, Shallot, and Pepper Frittata (recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan)

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This might better be named ‘Frit-not-ta’, since this quiche-like dish contains no eggs, yet has a great texture from the cashews and tofu. The oat bran topping lends a slight crunchy texture.

For sauté:

1-2 tbsp water

¾ cup shallots, chopped

2 cups red or Yukon gold potato, cut in small cubes (peeling optional)

¼ tsp sea salt Pinch black pepper

1 – 1 ¼ cups combination of red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, chopped

Base mix:

½ cup raw cashews ¾ cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond or soy preferred) (+ another 1-2 tbsp to reserve)

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 large clove garlic 2 tsp brown rice miso (or other light miso)

½ tsp ground mustard 1/2 tsp (touch scant) sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pkg (12 oz/350g) extra-firm tofu

1/4 tsp dill seeds

½ tsp agar powder

2 tsp fresh thyme or oregano, chopped


¼ cup oat bran (use gf certified for gluten-free option, or substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

Couple pinches sea salt

Preheat oven to 375. In a skillet over medium heat, add the water shallots, potatoes, sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are cooked through and golden, about 15-20 minutes (add a teaspoon or two of water if potatoes are sticking, to deglaze the pan). Add the bell pepper and cook through for another couple of minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender (see note), add the cashews, milk, lemon juice, garlic, miso, ground mustard, salt and pepper, tofu, dill seeds, and agar. Blend until smooth and creamy. Once vegetables are cooked, transfer to a bowl and stir in the tofu mixture (scrape out as much of the tofu batter as possible, and use another 1-2 tbsp of milk if needed to help loosen the mixture), as well as the fresh thyme/oregano. Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled glass pie plate (or other baking dish), and smooth out.  In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over top of fritatta.  Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, then set oven to broil and cook for another couple of minutes to crisp up the topping slightly. Remove from oven and let cool about 10-15 minutes, then cut in wedges or scoop portions to serve. Serves 4-6.

Note: I use a Blendtec for the pureeing, and so it easily and quickly smooths out the tofu along with the cashews and other ingredients. If you don’t have a Blendtec, you will need to first blend the cashews with the milk and lemon juice until smooth, using an immersion blender or standard blender. Then, add the tofu and remaining ingredients to the blender (or food processor, if having trouble smoothing with the blender) and blend until very smooth.

Do you have a favorite Mother’s Day recipe or food tradition? Please share!

p.s. I have a VERY special Mother’s Day giveaway coming up next week. Hint: Both these recipes use a blender! A new fancy appliance for mom’s day would be awesome, huh? 

If you need ideas for mom’s day gifts, maybe consider a little plant-powered love, or cookbook.

Happy Mother’s Day!

x Dreena

photo credit thanks to: Nicole Axworthy

Gingerbread Granola (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

This weekend I began the very first of my holiday baking! I’m packing up boxes of Christmas gifts for our parents in Newfoundland and my best friend in Ottawa, and decided to sneak in some homemade granola!

I’ve had this Gingerbread Granola recipe in my pocket for a couple of years. My recipe testers have already tried it, as I was going to include the recipe in my newest cookbook. i opted to include a different recipe, and instead post this granola in time for you to enjoy for the holidays.

This vegan granola was a hit with my testers. It’s crunchy, flavorful, and yields some good clusters. It’s also made without added oil, and sweetened only with maple syrup and brown rice syrup. It’s perfect for Christmas and the holidays, and especially wonderful for gifting! Normally I use mason jars to gift granola, but for shipping back to family I packed in small ziploc bags and then into festive gift boxes. How do you package granola for gifts? Have any ideas to share?

I’m keeping this short and sweet today as I have a “Jingle Bell walk” to join at school and have to get these boxes in the mail! So, let’s wrap it up! (I’m fully of the puns today.)

I hope you enjoy the granola, and for more gingerbread love, check out my Chocolate Gem Gingerbread, Gingerbread Folks, and Gingery Cookies!

x Dreena

Gingerbread Granola - #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree by Dreena Burton

Gingerbread Granola

link to print/share recipe

Bring the beauty and aroma of freshly baked gingerbread into a granola that is perfect for breakfast, snacking – or for gifting during the holidays! Makes about 4 1/2 cups, depending on how ‘clustery’ you keep it!

3 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for that option)
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped pecans OR 1/4 cup hemp seeds (see note)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp cashew butter or almond butter
3 – 4 tbsp pure maple syrup (adjust to desired sweetness)
1/2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit (optional, can omit, see note)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the oats, pecans or hemp seeds, spices and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, first combine the nut butter with the maple syrup and molasses, stirring to fully blend. Then, add the brown rice syrup, and vanilla to the maple/molasses mixture and stir through. Add wet mixture to dry mixture, and stir through until well combined. Transfer mixture to your lined baking sheet and spread out to evenly distribute. Bake for 27 – 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times throughout baking to ensure the mixture browns evenly. Remove from oven, stir in dried fruit if using, and bake for just another 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven again. At this point the granola may not look completely dry. Do not overbake it, as it will dry more as it cools. Let cool completely, and then break up into clusters. Once cool, store in an airtight container. Eat straight, or with non-dairy milk or to top fresh fruit or non-dairy yogurt.

Nuts Note: Feel free to substitute 3-4 tbsp of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds in place of the nuts or hemp seeds.

Spice Note: For a more ‘everyday’ version of this granola, simply reduce/cut some of the spices. Omit the ginger, allspice, and cloves. Reduce the cinnamon to about 1 tsp, and you can also add a few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg if you like. Also reduce the blackstrap molasses to about 1-2 teaspoons.

Dried fruit Note: I don’t always add dried fruit to granola, as I sometimes like the sweetness as is. So, you can choose to add some or not – and you can also try adding a few tablespoons of finely chopped crystallized ginger instead of cranberries or raisins! It will add a definite flavor kick!

photo credit: thanks to Nicole Axworthy

Berry “Scuffins”

With the kids going back-to-school, I bake healthy snacks at least a few times a week. Usually a variety of nut-free muffins, or my pumpkin seed oat bars, or snackles. Whatever the choice, most days it’s got to be fuss-free. I want to get those ingredients into a bowl, mixed and into the oven. I try to find ways to be inventive with new flavors and textures without adding extra steps.

Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

Enter Scuffins. I love the idea of scones, but they are a little more fussy to make. I have a recipe in ed&bv for Raspberry Chocolate Chip Scones. They’re delicious – not difficult to make – but they take just a little more time than I have right now. (It seems I’m always talking about how busy it is… maybe when our girls are all in full-time school this year that will change. I feel a post brewing on that one!)

I wanted to make something like those scones and started experimenting. I was pretty chuffed with the results. These Berry Scuffins aren’t exactly like a scone – they aren’t quite as hefty and rich – bubluet they are darn close. Plus, they are incredibly quick and simple to make – and darn tasty!

Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

I first made them with frozen blueberries. I prefer the small wild blueberries as they produce more even baking than the larger berries, but use what you have (you can always bake another minute). Fresh blueberries can also be used.

Without blueberries one day, I use fresh (chopped) strawberries. Delightful! The smell while baking is intoxicating, and the scuffins are so tender and fresh-tasting. Our girls devour them. Well, two of our girls. 😉 (I sometimes bake a couple without berries, I’ve accepted it.)

Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

I think these Scuffins are best fresh out of the oven or enjoyed the same day, so I’ve created the recipe yielding a modest batch. Enjoy on their own, with a slather of nut butter or berry jam, paired with a hot tea or cool glass of almond milk! Although, since these are nut-free, they make another terrific snack to pack for back-to-school (you may want to make extra if you have a couple of kiddos because they disappear fast)!


Wishing you a sweet close to August, and sure hope you love the scuffins. Please share your feedback, let me know which berry version you prefer and how YOU best enjoy them!



Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

Berry ‘Scuffins’

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What do you get when you cross a scone with a muffin… a scuffin, of course! These are easy to make, and just delightful during berry season – but you can make them with frozen berries through the winter.

1 1/2 cups oat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp lemon zest (use organic)
1/2 cup plain non-dairy yogurt (see note)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3-5 tbsp non-dairy milk (see note)
1/2 cup blueberries, strawberries (cut in pieces), or raspberries (see note)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (including zest). In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, maple syrup, and milk until well combined. Add wet mixture to the dry, folding through until just nicely combined. Add blueberries, and gently/quickly fold in so they don’t bleed too much color. Using a scoop, place mounds of the batter (about 3-4 tbsp each) on your baking sheet. You should have about 9-10 ‘scuffins’. Bake for 15-16 minutes, or until set (gently touch one in the centre, it shouldn’t sink to the touch). Remove, let cool for a minute or two on the pan, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Makes 9-10.

Milk note: How much milk you use will depend on the consistency of your brand of non-dairy yogurt. Some brands are quite dense and thick, so I find I may need another 1-2 tbsp of milk. Other vegan yogurts are much looser, and you may need just 3 tbsp of milk. Start with 3 when whisking the wet ingredients, and then with folding through, if the mixture is very stiff, add the 1-2 tbsp of extra milk.

Berry Note: If using frozen berries, baking time may be a little longer. Test, and give another minute or two if needed to set. With raspberries, the color will bleed a little more, but flavor is delicious!

Yogurt Note: If you only have vanilla yogurt, you can use it, but reduce the maple syrup so the scuffins aren’t too sweet. Use 1/3 maple syrup, and use the extra couple tablespoons of milk.

Vanilla Cashew Yogurt – vegan, soy-free, gluten-free

Hi kids!

It feels like forever since I last posted. If you could see a glimpse of my life, well, I’m not going to pretend I’m keeping it all together in fine fashion. With the girls having summer break, puppy training, doing the photo shoot for the cover of “Plant-Powered Families” (and twice!), a couple of family health incidents (everything’s ok now), and editing my book… it’s been crazytown!

And the editing, oh the editing. So. Sloooooow.

Vanilla Cashew Yogurt - from Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen - #vegan #soyfree #glutenfree #dairyfree

But I won’t drone on about all that. Wait. I have. 😉 Well then! I’ll now stop and get too the yummy goods. Because I’ve had these pretty photos and recipe ready to share for far too long.

We’ve been in a breakfast rut lately interchanging whole-grain waffles with oatmeal, always paired with green smoothies. I haven’t been testing a lot of breakfast recipes, and we are in this summer haze of changing schedules and seemingly endless disorganization. But, when I do break out of the waffle/oatmeal breakfast rut, the girls are especially giddy.

Vanilla Cashew Yogurt - from Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen - #vegan #dairyfree #soyfree #glutenfree

These Vanilla Cashew Yogurt parfaits are an especially easy and fast breakfast treat. They look so elegant but really quite simple to make. You can prepare the yogurt the day before, and then layer your favorite fruits into parfaits the next morning. Put them in special cups or parfait glasses and the kiddos think it’s very fancy. (My wee girl said “this is the best day ever“!) :)

The parfaits start with Vanilla Cashew Yogurt. When I wrote LTEV I used storebought vegan yogurts in several of the recipes – the Creamed Cheese Brownies, the Gluten-Free Chocolate Yogurt Cake, and the Banana Butter Pie (I have GOT to get that recipe and photos up for you)! I went a little overboard offering allergy-friendly and storebought substitutions with LTEV, so I decided to include a homemade yogurt recipe.

This Vanilla Yogurt is not exactly like storebought brands. It’s not cultured with probiotics. What it does offer is the characteristic tang and texture of a plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt. While it doesn’t include the priobiotics, you can easily add your own probiotics when eating. (I add probiotics to storebought vegan yogurts all the time!). Just open a capsule of whatever probiotic you are using, and stir it into the yogurt.

Enjoy this yogurt straight up or as a topping for granola, baked goods, or to layer in breakfast parfaits. Here, they are layered with fresh kiwi, nectarines, and blueberries. Many other fruits could be used, and in the fall an apple/pear/orange combination would be tremendous! You could also layer in homemade granola for an even heartier breakfast (or snack).

The recipe follows. If you’ve already tried it, please share you how you’ve enjoy it.

Vanilla Cashew Yogurt - from Dreena Burton, plant-poweredkitchen -#vegan #dairyfree #glutenfree #soyfree

Vanilla Cashew Yogurt from Let Them Eat Vegan

ReciPage to link/print recipe

This cashew-based yogurt is an excellent substitute for commercially prepared soy, coconut, and other non-dairy yogurts in recipes.  Plus, it’s tasty straight off a spoon!

1 cup presoaked raw cashews

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (preferably organic)

1 1/2 – 2 tbsp lemon juice (see note)

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/3 cup non-dairy milk (or more to thin if desired; but keep to 1/3 cup for use in recipes)

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract OR 1/4 – 1 /2 tsp vanilla bean powder

pinch salt

In a high-powered blender, puree all ingredients until very smooth.  If using a standard blender, this may take a few minutes, and scraping down the sides a few times throughout.  Serve, or store in an airtight container.  Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Kid-Friendly Notes:

  • I created this yogurt primarily as a substitute for premade yogurts in my recipes (ex: BF Blueberry Muffins,  Fresh Orange Cake). As such, it isn’t overly sweet. Feel free to make it a little more fun for your little ones, by stirring in extra maple syrup, or try a few spoonfuls of a berry, peach, or other fruit jam.
  • Also note that this yogurt is nutritious for little ones that might not otherwise eat nuts or nut butters because of textural issues – nuts being too hard, and nut butters too sticky. This recipe brings cashews into a pudding-like form that can you can customize with extra flavor and sweetness!

If This Apron Could Talk:

  • Use 1 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice for use in recipes, and if you’d like it tangier for eating straight, add the extra lemon juice to taste.
  • Probiotics Note: Feel free to add probiotics (by breaking open acapsule), and stir into this yogurt.

Shout-out again to Emma Potts for these exceptionally delicious photographs! I’ll be back soon (fingers crossed) with a Summer Chickpea Salad!



Healthy Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes: From Brunch to Dinner to Dessert


To help you make this Thanksgiving a Plantsgiving, I’ve gathered my favorite festive vegan menu items for brunch, dinner, and dessert to complete your holiday weekend.

Vegan Thanksgiving Menu: from brunch to dinner to dessert!


Our girls love French Toast, it’s a real treat for them. So, if you want to serve a breakfast that feels very special during your Thanksgiving weekend, try this Cinnamon French Toast recipe from Plant-Powered Families. Pair with maple syrup, fresh fruit, or try with a dollop of my Creamy Cashew Dip.

Cinnamon French Toast by Dreena Burton #soyfree #vegan with #nutfree option

Hempanola and Acai Antioxidant Smoothie This smoothie has a chocolate-berry flavor, and isn’t overly sweet. It is a great energy boost, and really can be a breakfast on its own. But, you can always make my ever-popular Hempanola and nibble on that while preparing your other Thanksgiving recipes! For those looking for an oil-free granola, try my Gingerbread version!



Creamy Breakfast Rice Pudding If you’re looking for an easy, comforting, plant-strong breakfast, this is it. Using some leftover brown rice (that you may already have on hand for other Thanksgiving recipes), you can have a cozy, creamy, pudding-like warm cereal in minutes. If you have PPF, this recipe is also in there!

Creamy Breakfast Rice Pudding by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree


Sweet Balls. If you haven’t tried the Sweet Balls from Plant-Powered Families yet, they make a great finger food with a dipping sauce!

Sweet Balls

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus. Because no holiday is complete without hummus! #hummusisafoodgroup 😀


Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

Rawesome Nut Dip While amazing on its own with veggies or crackers for dipping, also try as a filling for lettuce wraps, to fill in endive leaves or rice paper rolls. Or, use in small phyllo pastry rolls and bake for a warm appetizer.

Rawesome Nut Dip from Plant-Powered Kitchen

Dinner – Sides/Salads/Soup

Kale-Slaw with Curried Almond Dressing With the combination of apples and cranberries, this is such a festive salad, and is also another reader fave!

Kale-Slaw with Curried Almond Dressing

Citrus-Tahini Salad Dressing To me, the flavors in this dressing can complement just about any Thanksgiving or holiday dinner. Serve with a bright, crisp romaine salad with pomegranate seeds and you’re set!

Citrus Tahini Dressing from Let Them Eat Vegan

Roasted Sweet Potato Puree This simple but flavorful side dish is always on our holiday menu.

Roasted Rutabega Puree So is this one! (It’s my very favorite way to eat rutabega, the addition of cinnamon changes everything.)

Almond Roasted Cauliflower This dish is unbelievably addictive and has turned cauli-naysayers into cauli-lovers. You have to try it to believe it!

Almond Roasted Cauliflower from Plant-Powered Kitchen

Other vegetable sides I love include Smashing Sweet Spuds (pictured above with the No-Fu Loaf), White Bean Mashed Potatoes, Lemon Dijon Green Beans, Oven-Sweetened Beets with Sage, Gingered Broccolini, and Duo of Roasted Fennel. These recipes are all from LTEV, so if you have the book, look them up!

Traditional Cranberry Sauce This is so easy you’ll wonder why you haven’t always made cranberry sauce from scratch! (p.s. I freeze any leftovers, works a charm!)

Thick ‘n Rich Gravy It’s as it sounds – thick and rich! You might be happy with just this and some spuds!

Sweet Potato Peanut Stew with Chickpeas This soup is very seasonal, and the infusion of peanut is not heavy or cloying. This would be a beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving menu, or to have another day during your weekend.

Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Maple-Spiced Pepitas A new addition this year, this soup makes a great starter, and is so wonderfully easy to make!

Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Maple Spiced Pepitas, by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree #oilfree


Dinner – Main Dishes

Festive Chickpea Tart.  This recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan was featured in VegNews many years ago and has become a reader favorite since. It isn’t difficult to make, and you can even bake it without a crust if you prefer. Definitely a table “centrepiece”.

No-fu Love Loaf I had no idea this recipe from LTEV would be such a hit with readers. I’m pretty sure the sensation started after Susan posted the recipe in her review of my book. (Thank you Susan!) Since then, I’ve heard from so many of you that love it. It’s definitely holiday fare, especially when paired with gravy and side veggies. This recipe also has notes to modify for a gluten-free option.

No-Fu Love Loaf from Let Them Eat Vegan

Moroccan Phylllo Rolls If you’d like to have something with a different flavor flair, these rolls are an outstanding centrepiece. They have flavor, texture, and an elegant presentation with the Balsamic Maple Sauce.

Moroccan Chickpea Vegetable Phyllo Rolls with Balsamic Maple Sauce (from "eat, drink & be vegan")


Chocolate Pumpkin Pie What do you get when chocolate meets pumpkin meets pie? This! It’s easy to make, and the flavor combination is outstanding.

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie from eat, drink & be vegan

Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping This is the dessert I always make for Thanksgiving. The whole family loves it, and it’s a little lighter after a big meal than other desserts.

Pumpkin Pie Custards with Brulee Topping #vegan #glutenfree #wfpb #oilfree

Pumpkin Cake Because we need more pumpkin! 😀

Pumpkin Cake with Cooked Vanilla Frosting

Gluten-Free Pie Crust with “Apple of My Eye” Pie Filling This is a recipe that takes a little more time, a little more effort – but is most definitely worth it! Those of you that have made it have reported back with rave reviews. You will love the crust (even if you aren’t gluten-free), and the filling is apple-cinnamon perfection.

Gluten-Free Apple Pie from Let Them Eat Vegan

Pumpkin Chia and Raw Chocolate Pudding Parfaits This is a fun dessert or even snack to make for the kids. You can make the full parfaits, or just the pumpkin pudding and then garnish with chocolate. Either way, delicious!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree

Hello Vegan” Bars If you are looking for a cookie bar recipe, these hit the holiday mark! They are festive and oh-so-irresistible.

Hello Vegan Bars from Let Them Eat Vegan

Cocoa Cookie Dough Balls Maybe you’ve had enough decadent sweets, and just want a simple, healthy treat for you – or the kids! Now affectionately dubbed “CCDBs”, these are the perfect easy, healthy treat! Hint: They are especially yummy paired with a homemade spiced latte! Bonus: They freeze fabulously, if you can get them there. 😉

Cocoa Cookie Dough Balls by Dreena Burton #vegan


Please share what recipes YOU are having for Thanksgiving. I’m a food geek, I love to hear this stuff! I’m not alone in that, right? 😉 What plant-powered dishes always make it to your Thanksgiving menu? You trying anything new this year?

Green Smoothies 101: How To Make a Green Smoothie (and how to make it taste GREAT!)

Are you a green smoothie-er? Have you tried them but didn’t like them? There are some tricks to make green smoothies (a) smooth! (b) taste good (c) extra nutritious, and we are going to cover all those today.

I started making green smoothies about 6 or 7 years ago, as I was writing eat, drink & be vegan. I remember it well. I went to a local raw foods class with my sister, and we sample a green smoothie that night. At first I was hesitant. “Drinking” greens seemed so odd! But, once I tasted it, I realized I could do this! They taste pretty good – and I’ve made them taste even better over the years as I’ve understood how to combine components.

Why bother with green smoothies? Why not just eat salads or saute greens?

1- Convenient. When hustling through the day – maybe commuting, eating lunch out of the house, running with the kids or to meetings – a green smoothie is a guaranteed quick and easy way to get the plant-powered goodness of green leafies in your diet! While I make them in the mornings, they can be made any time of day – for a light lunch, afternoon snack, or evening treat. Yes, they can be a treat. Promise.

2- Nutritious. In short, you can get plenty of fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and abundant minerals and vitamins in a hydrating green smoothie, with ingredients that are also alkalizing for the body. Many of us may not eat a lot of raw kale or collards – or dandelion greens or parsley. Or, maybe not in the amounts that we put in a green smoothie. Before drinking green smoothies, I ate leafy greens, but not much kale or collards. Plus, every day I add a good amount of fresh parsley in my green smoothie. You now know that parsley is an nutrient-packed green, right? Add some to your smoothie, and it’s bright and energizing! Trust me, I add it every day and hubby has no clue he’s drinking parsley. Or dandelion greens. One day I’ll tell him.

3- Kiddos. My girls aren’t green smoothie drinkers, but I think that’s because I make them in the morning, and they have heartier breakfasts before school like oatmeal or waffles with almond butter. Our eldest likes them, and when she is training for hockey, she drinks them knowing they are giving her extra nutritional perks and helping boost her immunity. Our younger girls have a “greens” connection with them, and so while they will eat lettuce and asparagus, and green beans and zukes, they do have that mental block about drinking the greens. But, I hear from parents all the time that make green smoothies for their kiddos. So, give them a try, your wee ones just may become lean-keen-green-drinking-machines!

4- Digestible. For some people, having a liquid meal can be easier on their digestion. Just try not to drink your smoothie too fast. Take sips and allow it to meet the saliva in your mouth and swallow – rather than chug. I don’t think many of us actually chug smoothies, but when they taste very good we can drink them a little quickly!

5 – Allergen and Dietary Specific-Friendly. For those of you that are gluten-free or soy-free, plant-strong, oil-free, or nut-free, green smoothies are a beautiful way to incorporate many healthful ingredients with flexibility to YOUR dietary needs and preferences.

So, let’s get our green on! Here are some tips to get you drinking your greens:

Choose your greens. First, get to know your greens. If you are intimidated by dark leafy greens, that post will help you immensely. My favorite leafies to use are kale and collard greens, with a hit of parsley! They are robust, store well in the fridge for a few days, and are very nutritious with more absorbable calcium and iron than greens such as spinach and Swiss chard. But, spinach and Swiss chard still offer many nutritional benefits, so don’t rule them out. And, if the swiss chard is gloriously fresh from the market at your store and on special, while the collards look homely – the choice is simple. Also, milder tasting greens like spinach and chard – or even romaine – are great “starter” greens for making smoothies. If you are new to the green smoothie business, start with something like spinach or romaine, and work your way into stronger-flavored greens such as kale. Try blending spinach with kale; once you get the knack of fruit-to-greens proportions, this will also help you determine how much sweet fruit (e.g., banana, mango, and pineapple) to combine with the greens for the best flavor. Recently I’ve been using dandelion greens in my smoothies. I never thought I would. I grew up seeing them as weeds that my parents would curse for covering our lawn. So, they didn’t appeal to me. But, I tried them recently in my smoothies and now they are in regular rotation! They don’t store as well as kale/collards, so if you buy them, use them within a day or two. You can also experiment with other greens (ex: beet greens) and lettuces (ex: escarole, red leaf lettuce), though I wouldn’t recommend spicy greens such as arugula or mustard greens in a smoothie— they are just too strong and peppery. Save those for your sautés and salads!

Wash and stem greens. Some greens can hold more grit, so fully submerge the greens in a sinkful of water, then rinse and shake off the excess water. Be sure to dry your extra greens before refrigerating. Use a salad spinner or shake to dry well. Once they are mostly dry, I store in the fridge by loosely wrapping in a dish towel, and placing inside a large resealable plastic bag (leave unzipped). I find the greens keep well for a couple of days, don’t get soggy and rot, and stay nicely crisp. With such greens as collards, chard, and kale, you’ll want to separate the leaves from the thick stems. Holding the leaf in one hand, run your fingers of your other hand down the length of the stalk to strip the stalk (separating the leafy portion from the tough stem). The more tender parts of the stem (at the tops) will usually tear away with the leaves, and this is okay—they are tender enough.

Fruits – Which to Use, Proportions, and Frozen

  • Frozen bananas and mangoes: Adding these sweet fruits will (1) balance the bitterness and grassiness of the greens an (2) create a creamy consistency. Bananas are an obvious choice because most of us have them on hand. Greenish bananas, stay on the counter—you’re not welcome to this smoothie party! Let your bananas overripen, and then peel, slice, and store them (in large resealable bags or in other airtight containers) in your freezer. If you aren’t overly fond of bananas, try frozen mangoes or peaches! My friend Melissa West had to modify her diet and eliminate bananas. We talked about how to make smoothies without them, and frozen mangoes were my first suggestion. Check out Melissa’s video where she talks about bananas and migraines, and also gives great tips for a breakfast protein smoothie. Mangoes are very sweet, and also lend a subtly creamy texture. I keep bananas in my freezer, and regularly buy bags of frozen mangoes. Either or both combine well with other fruits—and those not frozen—for a delicious smoothie. Frozen pineapple also works very well, but it is VERY sweet, so use less, or add in combination with more veggies. If using bananas or mangoes that are fresh and not frozen, you may want to add ice cubes in place of water for your blending, to chill your drink, as using all room-temperature fruits will give you a warmish smoothie (not the greatest).
  • Seasonal Fruits: Also include seasonal fruits for your smoothies. In the winter, along with my frozen bananas/mangoes, I add either apples, oranges, pink grapefruit, or pears. In the spring and summer, you can use melons, peaches and nectarines, grapes and berries (red and purple berries will change the color of your smoothie, more on that soon). All these fruits will help counter any harsher notes in the greens.
  • Lemons/Limes: Citrus are very alkalizing for the body, and lately I’ve enjoyed adding some sourness to my smoothies with the addition of one small lemon. Simply peel and add (including any seeds). You may particularly enjoy lemons/limes if, in general, you don’t like a lot of sweet foods.
  • Berry Interesting: Fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are, of course, delicious in a green smoothie—and very nutritious. Even when not in season, most of have a frozen stash. The only thing you need to know about using red or purple berries is that the color of the smoothie changes. No longer will it be a vibrant inviting green color; rather, a more swampy brownish color. But if you can ignore the color aesthetic, by all means, include some berries! On the other hand, if you want to mask the green color (for children OR adults!), then blue or purple berries such as blueberries, blackberries, or açai pulp work magic.
  • Avocado: Green suprise! Technically avocado is a fruit, though not often thought of as a fruit because it isn’t juicy or particularly sweet. While it won’t lend much sweetness to your smoothie, it will add a luscious creaminess to your smoothie (as well as nutritional benefits), so try adding half an avocado to your mixture and see how you like it.

Other Veggies

Even though my focus is on getting the leafy greens into your smoothies, let’s not forget that there are other veggies worthy of joining the smoothie club. And green smoothie veterans might appreciate lessening the fruit proportions to favor more vegetables. I posted this chart on facebook recently, showing how cucumber is in the melon family.


I often add cucumber to our smoothies, it adds a light melon flavor without added sweetness. Also try adding carrot with mangoes/oranges/peaches! Start with smallish measures (perhaps 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup), as some vegetables impart strong and bitter flavor tones. Cucumber is rather mild, with a melonlike flavor, so you might try adding more. I have even added a small amount of beet to a berry-green smoothie. Yes I did.


Smoothies are the perfect place to get in nutritious bits and bobs that you might otherwise find tricky to include in your diet. Try:

  • Hemp, flax, or chia seeds
  • Nuts (or nut butters, such as like almond)
  • Goji berries, cocoa nibs
  • Blackstrap Molasses (will turn your smoothie dark, but good hit of iron, plus calcium)
  • Spirulina (confession: I have a hard time with spirulina, but I know others quite like it (and can eat it off a spoon – really?!). It is an extremely nutritious food source, so go for it if you can!)
  • Ginger – fresh ginger is a great immunity booster!
  • Nutrient-Dense Powders. I hesitate to call them ‘protein powders‘, because it conveys the message that we need to add protein to our smoothies. Still, many of these powders are very nutrient-rich, not just in protein but also fatty acids and vitamins and minerals. My favorite is the Vega Energizing Smoothie powders. vegaNote: I tried the Vega powders years back and the flavors just didn’t work for me. But, these shake ‘n go smoothie infusions taste TERRIFIC! I especially love the Tropical Twist and the Vanilla Almondilla. If you like making creamy smoothies, the chocolate is amazing too. I typically add 1- 1 1/2 scoops to our smoothie batch, which makes 2 smoothies. Melissa also talks about the Sun Warrior protein powders. I haven’t tried those yet (have you?). Side note: Melissa also has some juicing videos if you are keen to learn more about juicing.


You have all the elements, now you need to make your green drink deliciously smooth. Trust me when I tell you that you need to blend the heck out of your smoothie! A high-powered blender like a Blendtec makes this an easy job. But, before I had my rambo blender, I used a standard blender and also an immersion blender. They just required a little more time – and also the frozen fruit needed to be cut in smaller pieces prior to freezing. With a Blendtec, you can pretty much throw whole frozen bananas and big ol’ chunks of frozen mango in there – in can take it. Point is, you want to make it smooth, not still grainy or chunky or with bits of leaves floating about.

So, you truly need to blend it until beautifully smooth! It can be thick, as you can always thin with water, but definitely smooth. Ergo smooth-ie. Blend until the greens are so pulverized that they are no longer visible, other than infusing your smoothie with a beautiful green color. If using a high-powered blender such as a Blendtec, simply run the whole juice cycle, and if needed, pulse again afterward if any chunks of frozen fruit remain. Kale leaves can take longer to fully blend than spinach or chard (especially depending on your blender). I find that frozen fruits, such as banana and mango, also help the blender cut through the greens. Add 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup of water to get everything moving (you can often use less with a high-powered blender). Add more later to thin, if desired; the amount of water needed varies depending on the proportion of thick fruits, such as bananas, and the amount of very juicy fruit, such as melon or orange. Start with less, then add more if you need to. Better to have a thick smoothie that can be thinned rather than a watery smoothie.

Taste Test!

After blending, dip in a spoon to taste before serving up. If you need more fruit to balance the sweetness – or water to thin, add it now. You can also opt for coconut water to replace part or all of the water, or even non-dairy milk (though I don’t care for milk in green smoothies, but it can make them creamier). Once you’ve made a dozen or so green smoothies, you probably won’t need to taste-test, as you’ll have a sense of proportions needed.

I have a couple of greens smoothie recipes in my cookbooks, including this “Apple-A-Day Smoothie” (recipe here).


But, once you start making smoothies you’ll realize that you don’t need to measure ingredients. At first it’s helpful to understand proportions, but soon you’ll be a green smoothie pro and blend with creative abandon! Until you’re there, here are a few more examples of smoothie combinations. But, know that this list is by no means exhaustive. There are so many combinations, you just need to experiment to find your favorites. I’m including kale and collards here as the base green, just because they are the ones I use most and they offer the most absorbable calcium and iron. Certainly chard or spinach can be substituted for kale and collards. I’ve also started with 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of greens, but by all means increase the ratio of greens to 2 cups or more as you become accustomed to the flavor. These suggestions should yield two pretty large smoothies, but measurements are quite approximate, so modify as you need.

Orange Juicius: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of collard greens leaves, about 1 1⁄2 cups of frozen banana chunks, one apple (core removed, skins intact), one orange (peeled), 1 to 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds, plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.

Tropical Twist: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of kale leaves, about 1 cup of frozen banana chunks, 1⁄2 to 1 cup of frozen mango chunks, 1⁄2 cup of fresh pineapple (cubed), 1⁄2 cup of cucumber chunks (optional), 1 to 2 tablespoons of Vega Tropical Tango, 1-2 tbsp hemp seeds, plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.

Immunity Zinger: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of kale leaves, 1 to 1 1⁄4 cups of frozen bananas chunks, one large or two small apples (core removed, skins intact), 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup of frozen mango chunks, about 1⁄2 tablespoon of peeled ginger, 1⁄2 peeled lemon, plus enough water to get it all moving.

Berry Blaster: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups collard greens leaves, about 1 1⁄2 cups of frozen banana chunks, about 1 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries, one apple, 1 to 2 tablespoons of Vega Vanilla Almondilla, 2 tablespoons of goji berries, plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.

Purple People Feeder: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of collard greens leaves, about 1 1⁄2 cups of frozen banana chunks, about 1⁄2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries or blackberries, 1⁄2 cup of purple or red grapes or one red apple or pear, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.

Smooth Talker: 1 to 11⁄2 cups of kale leaves, 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of frozen banana chunks, about 1⁄2 cup of honeydew melon (cubed), 1⁄2 cup of cucumber, one orange or 1⁄2 cup of fresh pineapple (cubed), 1⁄2 avocado, plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.

Orange Blaster: 1 to 1 1⁄2 cups of kale leaves; 1 cup of peach, nectarine, or mango chunks; two oranges (peeled); 1⁄3 cup of chopped carrot; 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 cup of frozen banana; 1⁄2 cup of vanilla nondairy yogurt (optional); plus enough water to get it moving and thin out, if you like.

If you have Let Them Eat Vegan, you can find some of this smoothie information starting on page 26. I’ve edited/added/updated some things for this post, but if you have LTEV, you can quickly flip to reference when ready to blend!

So, do you green smoothie? What are your favorite combinations? Share some of your own tips and favorite ideas!

Now Available!: Plant-Powered 15 ebook (vegan, oil-free, gluten-free)

So, the last few months you may have been wondering what I’ve been up to. I’ve been posting plenty of recipes, but haven’t been talking much about personal things or our family. Truth is, I have been swamped since September with both work and mama responsibilities, and it’s been challenging to keep up. (My next post I’m going to talk about just that, the mothering ‘balance’, so I hope you’ll be with me and share your insights too.)

On the work front, I’ve been very busy for a few reasons. First, I had plans to start another cookbook. That plan still exists, and I’m in the final stages of a contract. So, I will have news for you soon about my next big book project!

Then, I got this crazy idea in my head back in December, that I could do an ebook. I love it when I get these crazy notions thinking I can “do it all”. Yeah. Crazy lady. It started like this…

Do any of you remember my holiday cookbook promotion? Well, once people started trying these recipes and I was posting details about the promo on facebook, I received a lot of requests to turn those recipes into an ebook.  HUH! I never even thought of that! Until someone planted the seed, and off I go running.  So, I procrastinated on the idea for a month or so, because I knew it would be a lot of work – with a new learning curve. I just wasn’t sure if I could pull it off (without pulling out my hair)!


Until one day, I get an email from one of my readers, Lynn McLellan. The email subject line reads: Recipe “Feed”back. I open the email nervously, thinking I’ve messed up something in a recipe or two (because that’s what us neurotic cookbook authors think). Was I ever surprised to open the email and see that Lynn had taken photos of EVERY recipe in the Plant-Powered 15 package and shared her feedback on EACH recipe!  I was humbled and teary, that she took the time to put all that together for me to read.  And, it was a sign to get off my behind already and put this ebook together! If you are with me on facebook, you have seen some of this ‘feed’back, as I’ve been posting examples. For instance, Lynn said this about my “Coconutty Cookies”:

Wow! I couldn’t get enough of these. They taste like little coconut pillows! So light and satisfying. In fact, they were so good I made a second batch right away while I still had the ingredients handy. That’s how fast they disappeared! 

Coconut Pillows, eh? Yep, that name stuck!

I asked people on facebook again… should I do this? Do you still want it? Would you buy it? Then THEY told me to get off my behind.  So I did. And here it is!

While I’d love to go on about how clueless I was in the beginning working on this project, I will spare you that dull reading. What I will tell you is that I got lucky. Sometimes people come into your life at certain times, and you have a feeling it’s for a reason. That happened when Nicole Axworthy emailed and said she’d like to help me with the photography for this book. I already knew of Nicole’s talents, because she is the co-author of the Tiny Treats ebook with Lisa Pitman (I sang its praises on FB and mentioned it in this post). I LOVE that ebook. The recipes are insanely creative, and the photos are simply stunning. When I bought that book and opened it on my computer, my jaw dropped. So, needless to say I was pretty stoked that Nicole wanted to work with me on the Plant-Powered 15!

Nicole captured every recipe in the Plant-Powered 15, in a full-size photo. One thing I hear from readers most often is “we want more photos of recipes”. I couldn’t agree more. (And, as a side note, my next book will also have photos of every recipe).

So, what types of recipes are in the Plant-Powered 15? To start, all the recipes are whole-foods vegan recipes. And, all the recipes are made without any added oils. That’s what you have been asking for, with emails and facebook comments and tweets and more… that’s what I’m delivering. You can be sure you aren’t losing flavor, though. Many of us know from a culinary perspective that fat is a flavor carrier. You are NOT losing flavor in these recipes. The flavor stays, and some whole-foods fats are included in certain recipes to ensure texture and taste are not sacrificed! These recipes are all also gluten-free if you are able to eat certified gf oats. Not all recipes use oats, of course, but that is the only ingredient that requires mention for gluten-free readers.

Here are all the recipes included in your Plant-Powered 15! (along with a few sample photos)

  1. Almond Zen Granola
  2. Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars  Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Chip Oat Bars from the Plant-Powered 15 ebook
  3. Creamy House Dressing
  4. Green Goddess Dressing
  5. Orange-Miso Dressing
  6. Wonder Spread  Wonder Spread from the Plant-Powered 15 ebook
  7. Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes
  8. Presto Pistachio Pasta  prestopistachiopesto
  9. “SweetBalls” (yes, I said it!)
  10. Umami Sun-Dried Tomato and Almond Burgers
  11. Sneaky Chickpea Burgers
  12. Mac-nificent  Mac-nificent - from the Plant-Powered 15 ebook
  13. Coconut Pillows
  14. Sticky Almond Blondies  Sticky Almond Blondies from the Plant-Powered 15 ebook
  15. Peanut Butter Munchy Squares

The Plant-Powered 15 is now officially available! You can pick up a copy here:
Add to Cart

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And you can also link through to purchase on my “Books” page at anytime.

Please come back and tell me your recipe experiences from this ebook. I’d love to know which recipe caught your eye first, what you tried straight away, and which recipes are your favorites!

Apple Hemp Muffins (vegan, wheat-free, and oil-free)

If you eat vegan or raw, you know that hemp is hot!  I’ve been using hemp seeds in my recipes for years (before it was um, ‘hip to eat hemp’).  When I started using hemp seeds and talking about them in my recipes, I got that “ohhhh, you are hippity dippity!” sort of reaction. People didn’t know that hemp seeds were a highly nutritious food – a ‘superfood’ if you will. No, instead they thought they’d get high from my brownies. Of course they wouldn’t! Because I saved it all for muffins. 😉

Jokes aside, it took a few years for the worth of hemp – high in protein, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants – to be recognized in the world of healthy eating.  Thank goodness it has, because it has made these virtuous bitty seeds widely available (and accepted)!

These Apple-Hemp Muffins I first created for my second cookbook, Vive le Vegan!.  That book came out in ’04… told you I’ve been a hempster for a while!  They are tender, moist, just-sweet-enough, and fragrant.

Recently I switched up the recipe to make them wheat-free and also oil-free.  These are recipe requests I am receiving so frequently that I want to oblige.  Wheat-free modifications are usually pretty easy, adjusting with spelt and oat flour (and usually needing slightly more).  Oil-free can be a little more challenging, because we want to keep those muffins MOIST and tender.  These muffins are still beautifully moist and tender – not to worry!  The other tricky thing with oil-free muffins is not having them stick to the muffin liners.  You can do a couple of things.  First, you can use silicone muffin pans.  I do not use them myself, but know they are particularly useful for oil-free baking.  If, like me, you don’t have silicone bakeware, the best thing to do is to let the muffin cool.  Completely.  If it is still somewhat warm, the liner is harder to peel away from the muffin.  And, if you are okay with using just a smidgen of oil – I mean just a little – you can add say 2 teaspoons to this batter.  That amount is pretty insignificant overall for 12 large muffins, and will help with that ‘sticky’ situation!

I make these muffins often for school lunches, because they are substantial, healthy, and of course nut-free.  If you want to perk them up for the kiddos, try adding… what else?… sprinkle of mini chocolate chips.  (Do I add this to every recipe?  Well, not to hummus – yet.)  😀

Enough of my rambling, right?  Here are the muffins!

Apple Hemp Muffins wheat-free, oil-free, soy-free

RECIpage link to print/share

Moist, lightly spiced muffins with the added nutrition of hemp seed nuts. These are easy and quick, and sure to please both kids and adults!

1 1⁄2 cups whole-grain spelt flour

1 cup oat flour

2/3 – 3/4 cup hemp seeds

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1⁄4 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 – 1 3/4 tsp cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp ground cardamom (can substitute freshly grated nutmeg)

1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce

1⁄2 cup pure maple syrup

3⁄4 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy milk

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup raisins or chopped raw banana spears (use kitchen shears or knife to cut in small pieces about size of raisins)

Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda. Stir through until well combined. In another bowl, combine applesauce, maple syrup, non-dairy milk, and vanilla, and mix together. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and gently fold and mix through, until just combined (do not overmix). Spoon the mixture into a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners (this will fill 12 muffins quite full).  Bake for 21-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   (See notes above about cooling to help remove from liner.) Makes 12 large muffins.  Hemp, Hemp, Hooray!  Enjoy, friends! 😀

Are hemp seeds new to you, or do you use them often?  What is your favorite way to eat them?

Creamy Breakfast Rice Pudding (vegan and gluten-free)

I am delighted that we are in January, because though seasonally it is cold and dark, for me it is uplifting with less fall ‘overwhelm’ and the start to a new year!  January usually brings many intentions to start eating healthier.  I support these resolutions and intentions, in the framework of a healthier eating lifestyle, not a diet.  A whole foods plant-powered diet is just that – a healthier dietary lifestyle that has longevity… not a temporary quick-fix diet.

I want to offer a new recipe to you today that supports your healthier eating in the new year, and that will also bring you nourishment and warming comfort food in these cold winter days.

This is my Creamy Breakfast Rice Pudding.  “Dreena and Daughters” is back!  After many months, I have another cooking video for you (forewarning: one kiddo is eating cereal in the background and clinking her spoon on the bowl… and the videographer got a LITTLE adjustment-happy with the tripod).  Real-life videos, folks! 😉

The key to this recipe is cooking rice in batches so you have leftovers to quickly prep this pudding.  You can make the version with the pureed banana for natural sweetness, or add some other healthier sweetener options to taste.  And, you can indulge your chocolate-loving soul with the cocoa-infused version.

Creamy Breakfast Rice Pudding by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #oilfree

photo credit: Nicole Axworthy

Creamy Breakfast Rice Pudding

RECIpage link to print/share

2 cups precooked brown rice, loosely packed (reserve 1/2 cup)

3/4 – 1 cup non-dairy milk (your choice, see note)

1 ripe banana (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup, sliced) (optional, see note) OR 1-2 tbsp pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, or chopped dried fruits

1/4 – 1/2  tsp cinnamon

few pinches nutmeg

1/8 tsp sea salt

grated orange or lemon zest (optional)

optional: 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder (see note)

In a small saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups of the cooked rice (rough measure), and the remaining ingredients starting with 3/4 cup of milk (omit banana if you prefer, see note – and except the zest).  Puree the mixture using a handblender (alternatively, you can puree in a blender before adding to the saucepan, but I find the handblender is quicker and easier for clean-up)!  Add the remaining 1/2 cup of rice, and turn heat to medium-low.  Let the mixture thicken and warm for several minutes.  Add the remaining milk if desired to thin.  Taste, and adjust with sweetener and orange/lemon zest if desired, and stirring through add-in’s if you like!   Serve.

Banana and Sweetener Note:  The banana adds natural sweetness, and so if using it, you may not need the maple syrup or coconut sugar- it’s up to you.  However, also note that if adding the banana, the mixture will turn a darker color with the banana oxidizing and being cooked – so it’s best to eat straight away rather than save leftovers.  If you don’t use the banana, try adding a touch of pure maple syrup or coconut sugar.  Or, you can add chopped dates or other dried fruits to sweeten.

Milk note: If using a vanilla non-dairy milk, you may not need any additional sweetener.  If using an unsweetened variety, you will probably want to bump up the sweetness with the pureed banana or other options.


Chocolate version:  Make this pudding chocolate-y with the addition of 1-2 tbsp of cocoa powder.  You will need extra sweetener to balance the bitterness of the cocoa, so adjust to taste.

Add-in’s:  To add some variety and extra nutrition to this pudding, try adding in a few tablespoons of hemp seeds, a tablespoon of ground chia, 1-2 tablespoons of nut or seed butter (ex: cashew, almond, pistachio, sunflower), 2-3 tablespoons almond meal, a sprinkle of dried fruit (ex: chopped dates, goji berries, raisins, dried blueberries, etc), or some fresh fruit (ex: chopped apples/pears in the winter, fresh berries in spring/summer).

Before I sign off, I thank you for your support and kindness through the last year.  It is meaningful to receive your lovely comments through my posts, email, facebook, and twitter.  Thank you all, I feel blessed to be able to share my work and creativity with you. I hope to bring you much healthy deliciousness in 2013, and I wish you all a year filled with abundant health, love and joy!  

Do you make rice pudding?  Have you made it for breakfast before?

Vegan Holiday Prizes!: Reader Appreciation Giveaway on Facebook

UPDATE:  I’ve added NEW prizes to launch our new year:

TODAY (Dec 30th): A spot in Christy Morgan’s new Wellness Reboot program, valued at $350!  Enter here: (Mobile users:

Also sign up for to the Wellness Reboot Mailing list, here:

Plus, there are still some of the 10 digital subscriptions to a Zinio magazine of your choice (including Vegetarian Times) available! Get on over to my FB page!


Time for some holiday fun!  I’m sure most of you are as busy (or more!) as I am preparing for the holidays.  So, how about a little break from the stress?… how about some prizes?!  😀

To show my appreciation for YOU, my loyal, cheery, and kind readers, I have TEN days of giveaways set up in this cool prize app on my facebook page.  It is really easy to enter – you simply go to my page, and click the daily GIFT BOX to instantly see if you are the lucky winner!  Prizes include:

Copies of ALL of my books

a copy of Julieanna Hever‘s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition!


Sample pack of The Vegg:

A fabulous sample pack of Stash Tea’s new line of Guayusa Teas!


A fantastic prize pack from Coconut Bliss!


and… MORE!  Check in EVERY day to see the prizes and for your chance to win!  You will know if you are a winner instantly!

Plus, one special day EVERYONE will win the recipe to this new Gingergbread Granola, perfect for holiday brunches or gift-giving!:


So, get cozy on my facebook page, I will update daily with more details on each prize!  Good luck everyone – and you will LOVE the granola!  Happy Holidays!