Vegan Pecan Pie

In my last post I announced I’ll be judging the pies category for the Earth Balance Holiday Bake-Off. So, it’s only appropriate that I share a pie recipe with you all, yes?

Before I do, I want to clarify my role with this bake-off. I am not being compensated by Earth Balance to judge or promote this bake-off. I did receive some sample products (peanut butters, snacks), but I’m not receiving any financial compensation. I didn’t disclose this in my last post, and want you all to know that I’m supporting this bake-off to (1) help encourage people to move into vegan baking, and (2) also to encourage you all to enter the contest. Please do!

Dreena's Pecan Pie (from "Let Them Eat Vegan") #vegan #dairyfree #holidays #pies #plantbased #glutenfree

With that, I’ll share my recipe for Dreena’s Pecan Pie. This is a recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan. I loved pecan pie in my pre-vegan days. Did you?

Dreena's Pecan Pie (from "Let Them Eat Vegan") #vegan #dairyfree #holidays #pies #plantbased #glutenfree

With this version, I keep the pecan topping more distinct from the custardy filling. I like having that contrast with the creamy filling and the pecans maintaining crunch (rather than plumping through baking). This is delicious on its own, but oh-my-heavens, pair it with a vegan vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for dessert bliss!

Dreena's Pecan Pie (from "Let Them Eat Vegan") #vegan #dairyfree #holidays #pies #plantbased #glutenfree

Dreena’s Pecan Pie

link to print/share

1½ tbsp arrowroot powder
½ + 1/8 tsp agar powder
1 can (400ml) full-fat coconut milk (not light), using only thick cream and discarding watery portion (this is about 1 cup + 2 – 4 tbsp of cream)
¼ cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond or soy preferred)
½ cup brown rice syrup
1/3 cup agave nectar (can substitute maple syrup but filling will be darker in color)
1 ½ tbsp flax meal
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp (rounded) sea salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 ¼ – 1 3/4 cups pecans (whole or pieces, see note)
1 ½ – 2 tbsp unrefined sugar (for topping)
2 tsp coconut butter (warmed through to melt; can sub 1-2 tsp coconut oil)
couple pinches sea salt

1 prepared pastry pie crust (I use Wholly Wholesome brand), or can use “Rustic Pie Crust” or “Gluten-Free Pie Crust”, both in Let Them Eat Vegan.

In a saucepan, first whisk together the arrowroot and agar with a small amount of the coconut milk or non-dairy milk (about ¼ cup). Once incorporated, whisk in the remainder of the milks, as well as the brown rice syrup, agave nectar, flax meal, nutmeg, and salt. Bring mixture to a low boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently. Once at a boil, remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool in refrigerator to a cooler temperature (can still be fairly warm), stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, mix together the topping ingredients. Set aside and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once filling is cooled somewhat, pour mixture into the pie shell (scraping out all you can!) Bake (without pecan topping) for 15 minutes. After that time, reduce heat to 350, sprinkle on pecan mixture, ever so gently patting into surface of filling. Bake for another 15 minutes, then carefully remove and let cool on a cooling rack. Once pie is fully cooled, it will set (refrigerate if desired). Slice and serve. Serves 6-8.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with “Lemon-Scented Whipped Cream” from LTEV, or a scoop on vanilla non-dairy ice cream.

Pecan Note: If using whole pecans, it’s helpful to roughly chop them before using in the recipe. It’s easier to cut the pie with the pecan pieces broken up rather than kept whole. I prefer this pie with just 1¼ cups of pecans, but if you really love plenty of pecans in your pecan pie, use the full 1 3/4 cups. If using the greater amount of pecans, then also use the greater amount of sugar and oil to toss through the pecans.

Dreena's Pecan Pie (from "Let Them Eat Vegan") #vegan #dairyfree #holidays #pies #plantbased #glutenfree

All photos done by Marika Collins,

So guys, what do you think? Is this a recipe you might make for the holidays? Or, have you already made it? Share your thoughts! I love hearing from you. :)

Enjoy… x Dreena

Apple Nachos Supreme! + Earth Balance Bake-Off 2015

Happy November, and Happy World Vegan Month! <3

The holiday season will soon be here. Holy hannah the baking begins, aprons on!


This year, I’m honored to be one of the judges for Earth Balance’s 5th Annual Holiday Bake-Off!  I have the privilege of judging the competition this year alongside Chloe Coscarelli and Emily von Euw.

If you’re unfamiliar with the bake-off, it gives vegan bakers everywhere the opportunity to compete virtually for a chance to win incredible prizes. This year there are 4 categories: pies, savory baked goods, cakes/cupcakes, and cookies and bars.

I’ll be judging the pies category, and I’m also participating in an an Instagram “takoever” this week! So, if you’re on IG, follow me for more!


Some of you may be wondering… “Dreena, your recipes don’t use Earth Balance butter or coconut spread… what gives?” True. My current recipes utilize whole foods ingredients. However, I have used some of these products in my earlier cooking days. Plus, Earth Balance has a line of peanut butter products that I do use. Plus-plus… have you tried their popcorn? 😉

Seriously, my philosophy about eating vegan is that as a family we eat about 90% whole foods. I talk about this in Plant-Powered Families and Let Them Eat Vegan. So, while I cook and bake with whole foods ingredients, we also enjoy some convenience foods as a family. For instance, we use some store-bought vegan cheeses for school lunches and parties (as nut cheeses aren’t possible with nut allergies), and our girls love taking the Earth Balance popcorn to movies with friends! As a mom, I love that they can have these treats with their friends rather than feel they miss out at parties and events. In short, I’m delighted to be a part of this event. I always encourage a vegan choice, as diet is a journey.

Speaking of the popcorn, I’ll now share a timely (and fun!) recipe from Plant-Powered Families. These APPLE NACHOSE SUPREME will be a hit at holiday parties!


x Dreena

Apple Nachos Supreme! #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree #wfpb #plantbased #oilfree #dairyfree #healthy #snacks


link to print/share

Your kids will LOVE this treat. It feels so festive and special, yet is pretty easy to pull
together and is quite healthy! You can customize with toppings you like best. (Don’t be intimated by the length of the recipe, it’s just to give details, and I offer short-cuts!)

Spiced Caramel (see note for quick-fix option):
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 scant teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
1/3 cup plus 2–3 teaspoons water

Apple Base:
3 apples, cored and sliced into thin rounds
2 teaspoons lemon juice

3–4 tablespoons nut butter of choice or peanut butter (see note)
1 1/2–2 cups popped popcorn (can pop yourself or use storebought)
3–4 tablespoons nondairy chocolate chips
2–3 tablespoons chopped nuts (optional)
2 tablespoons cranberries or raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 recipe prepared Spiced Caramel (or brown rice syrup, as in note)

To make the spiced caramel: Puree the dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, allspice, vanilla bean powder, and 1/3 cup of the water in a blender or small food processor (I use the Blendtec twister jar, which is the perfect size for this small batch—you can also use a mini food processor but it may not get as smooth). If it’s difficult to get the mixture moving, add another teaspoon of water, and more if needed. (Try not to add too much at once, or the mixture could become too thin.) Puree until completely smooth. Once smooth, transfer to a small zip-top bag (to later pipe onto the nachos). To make the apple base: Toss the apples in the lemon juice. Arrange on a large plate. To assemble with toppings: Add the nut butter to a small zip-top bag. Seal the bag, and push/twist all the nut butter to one end. Snip the smallest piece off a corner and you can then pipe the nut butter over the apples. Alternatively, you can gently warm the nut butter and drizzle with a spoon. Distribute the popcorn, chocolate chips, nuts, cranberries, and shredded coconut on top of the apples, as desired. Finally, take the prepared caramel in the zip-top bag, seal the bag, and twist/snip off a small corner. Drizzle over the apple nachos. Serves 3-4.

Caramel Note: For a quick fix, substitute brown rice syrup for the caramel. Use 1/4–1/3 cup, and you can choose to stir in some of the spices, or leave as is.

Serving Suggestion: I like to drizzle one layer of nut butter on top of the apples, to help the toppings stick, and then a drizzle of the caramel last—it looks so lovely! You can switch it up, using the caramel first and then the nut butter last if you like. Also,
another option is to make a nut caramel, blending the nut butter straight into the date caramel. You may need to add a touch more water to get it moving in the blender (depending on your blender).

Kitchen Tip: These are best served soon after making. The lemon juice will help preserve the color of the apples, but not for long. You can prepare the date caramel in advance, and get the ingredients prepped in advance, then simply assemble before serving.

Apple Nachos Supreme! #vegan #dairyfree #healthy #snacks #dessert #wfpb #glutenfree #oilfree

So… do you have an original recipe that you think is a contender for the bake-off? I encourage you to submit it

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Mango-Hemp Dressing (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free)

I’m loving big lunch salads now. It’s been especially hot through June and July in BC, excepting the last couple of days. Far more heat and sun than usual this time of year. So, I’m digging lots of fresh salads, along with more fresh fruit (in and out of salads)!

I’m guessing many of you are in the same dietary mode, as I get a lot of feedback on my salad dressings. Especially my oil-free sauces and dressings. I’ve learned a few tricks over the last few years for making tasty, healthy salad dressings – and with many flavor variations.

I still plan to bring you that salad dressings ebook. For sure! Things have been busy with book promotion that I’m not quite organized enough to pull together the ebook – just yet. So, I wanted to share a recipe that some of you already have. It was one of the 15 recipes that was a gift for preorders of PPF. I do plan to honor that “gift” and not blog all of the recipes – but this one is particularly special and seasonal. Hopefully those of you that did preorder won’t be upset that I share some salad luv right now.

Couple of notes: Do not overdo the shallots or green onions. Just a hint of flavor is best. Also, I use frozen mango, which can be tricky to measure. Don’t sweat an *exact* measure. You can always adjust to taste after. Finally… enjoy!

x Dreena

Mango-Hemp Dressing by Dreena Burton #vegan #wholefoods #plantbased #glutenfree #oilfree #dairyfree

Mango-Hemp Dressing

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I keep frozen mango on hand for morning smoothies. One day I wanted a fruity, fresh dressing so pulled out the frozen mango. This dressing came to life and will bring new life to your daily salads! Makes about 1 cup.

3/4 cup mango chunks (ok to measure roughly, I use frozen)
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice or red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water (+ 2–3 tsp or more if desired to thin out)
1/2 tbsp chopped shallots or 1 tbsp of the whitish portion of green onions
1–2 tbsp pure maple syrup or agave nectar (or more to taste, as needed)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a blender, puree all ingredients (starting with 1/4 cup water and 1 tbsp maple syrup) until very smooth. Taste, and add additional water to thin as desired, and extra maple syrup to sweeten if needed.

Note: I like the flavor of this dressing just as it is. But, if you’d like to pair this with some spicy foods or add a punch of flavor, try adding in 1–2 tbsp chopped cilantro or basil while pureeing.

Kid note: Our girls enjoy this dressing. You can opt to omit the green onions/shallots, but it’s such a small amount that kiddos usually are okay with it.

photo credit: Nicole Axworthy

Bananascotch Pudding


It feels like I haven’t posted in weeks! I thought things would settle down after my signing, but it continues to be very busy. End-of-year is always busy at school (right mamas?) and I’m still pretty active with the book release.

"Bananascotch" Pudding by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #wholefoods #plantbased

Plus, last weekend I was away for Ottawa VegFest! It was incredible, I’ll share some pics and details in my next post. For now, I want to share a new vegan recipe with you.

This one is very easy. It was another recipe I had intended for PPF, but the puddings section was amply filled. My testers loved this plant-based pudding. The ingredients are ones we usually have right on hand, and with a quick blender blitz: a pudding that is a cross between… banana pudding and butterscotch pudding!

"Bananascotch" Pudding by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #wholefoods #plantbased

Bananascotch Pudding 

link to print/share recipe

This pudding tastes like a cross between butterscotch and banana! It’s incredibly quick and easy to make, and kids love it for dipping fruit, slathering on waffles or pancakes, or eating straight up as pudding.

2/3 cup soaked and drained cashews (soak for 3-4 hours, drain fully)
1/2 cup overripe banana, sliced
3-4 tbsp coconut sugar (adjust to taste)
1/8 scant tsp sea salt
3/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean

Blend cashews, banana, 3 tbsp of coconut sugar, sea salt, yogurt, and vanilla in a blender. If using a high-speed blender, this will take just a minute or two. With a standard blender, you will need to scrape down the blender a few times and work the mixture. Taste, and add more coconut sugar if desired. Serve immediately. Serves 2-3

Serving Suggestions: Serve with fresh fruit, or top portions with shredded coconut or chopped nuts. Also, try layering with plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt and granola in parfait cups!

Enjoy, guys! Before I sign off, below are some recent reviews, giveaways, and features of Plant-Powered Families. If you are loving the book, would you take a minute to add a review on amazon? Thanks!

x Dreena

Bits and Bites
The Blender Girl review and recipe for Creamy Fettucine
Ricki Heller review and recipe for Baconut
Kathy Patalsky of Healthy, Happy Life review, giveaway, and recipe for Cinnamon French Toast
Love Fed review, giveaway, and recipe for Savory Chickpea Omelets
Kiwi Magazine recipe for Baconut
Veg Kitchen recipe for Polenta Pizza Crust
Pure Thyme review, giveaway, and recipe for Artichoke Sunflower Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce and No-Bake Granola Bars
Taste Space review and recipe for Chickpea Nibbles
Vegan Mainstream review and Q&A
Heartwise Ministries Radio Interview

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)

recipage link to print/share

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

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

I know I’m really bending the definition of hummus. Technically, this probably should be called a bean dip. But pretty much any chickpea or bean combination pureed into dippy goodness – is hummus in my book. I just can’t help myself… #hummusisafoodgroup :)

Even if we can’t agree on whether it should be called a dip or hummus – I have a feeling we can agree that this combination tastes delicious!

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

This was another recipe intended for my Plant-Powered Families cookbook. I got a little excited with recipe development! When needing to round out the recipes by chapter in PPF, I decided to scale back with a hummus recipe – and share it here. Once again, I thank Nicole Axworthy for bringing her exceptional talent to these food photos.

This hummus is a little unique, combining a mix of kidney beans with chickpeas, along with cooked sweet potato. Yes, sweet spuds! I love sweet potato in bean dips hummus. They lighten up the bean texture, while adding a touch of creaminess and also some sweetness – which is incredibly tasty in contrast to the spices and lime juice. So, whenever I bake sweet spuds, I’ll cook a few extra to have on hand for recipes like this (see recipe note below). I talk about this type of batch-cooking and repurposing ingredients in PPF as well. Just prepping a few extra portions of staples can really come in handy for other meals during the week.

Lime most hummus, this dip is wonderful with veg and snack chips. But, also try ‘repurposing’ this dip. Use it as a spread to hold other fillings in green wraps, or for baked burritos. Or, try a lunch or dinner bowl, gently warming the hummus and topping over cooked quinoa along with some veggies and chopped avocado, with a drizzle of dressing. Think outside the hummus bowl. Do you have any suggestions for turning hummus into a meal? If so, please share!

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

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus link for Recipage to print/share

Cooked sweet potato lends a little creaminess and sweetness to this hummus-like dip. The lime juice lends a fresh tang, and there’s just enough chili powder and cinnamon to give it flavor without too much kiddo-offending spice!

1 can kidney beans, rinsed (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 cup precooked (and peeled) orange sweet potato (see note)
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 – 1 tsp chili powder (adjust to taste; see note)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 medium or large clove garlic, sliced or quartered
4–4½ tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1–3 tbsp water (as needed to thin)
fresh cilantro or parsley (optional)

In a food processor, combine the kidney beans, chickpeas, sweet potato, tahini, sea salt, ½ tsp of the chili powder, cinnamon, garlic, lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of water. Purée until smooth, gradually adding remaining water as desired to thin dip, and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add fresh cilantro or parsley if desired, and purée briefly to incorporate. Season with additional salt and spices to taste, if desired. Serves 4-5.

Sweet Potato Note: Prebake your spuds! Keep whole and unpeeled, just give a quick wash. Then, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 425/450 for 40-60 minutes (baking time varies based on size of spuds). Bake more than you need at a time, keep extras refrigerated for 4-5 days to use in other dishes – like salads, soups, pasta sauces, and more.

Spice Note: Use a good quality chili powder that isn’t too hot. If you aren’t sure of the heat intensity, start with a lesser amount, and then add more if desired. Our kids like this with 1/2 tsp of chili powder, but you may want to add more. You can also substitute a chipotle powder or chipotle hot sauce, to taste.

Enjoy the hummus, guys! And, quick reminder… if you already ordered Plant-Powered Families, be sure to email us to get that bonus 15 recipe ebook. Those 15 recipes are not included in the printed book, and I know you’ll find some favorites in there! I’m already hearing back from many of you on some of the recipes. So be sure to get your copy. :) For details, see this post

NEW! Plant-Powered Families cookbook by Dreena Burton

x Dreena


Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl (feature recipe from Plant-Powered Families!)

Our girls are on spring break this week and next, so I’m busy keeping them busy at home! They are spread out in ages (almost 14, 10, and almost 6), so I find they rarely want to do the same things. Sometimes the older two hang out, other times the younger two play together or do projects – today they are painting birdhouses. But, the girls are at a stage where they often don’t enjoy the same activities. Anyone else have this experience with their kiddos? Have any ideas or advice to share?

One thing we did enjoy this week was a walk through Redwood Park. This park is peaceful and beautiful in its own right, with majestic trees and serene paths…


Recently, I heard about a “fairy kingdom” that has developed in the woods of the park. At some point, one or more children had the idea to put a couple of little wooden doors and wooden birdhouses on trees, where the fairies come to visit! Well, the idea caught on and now we have a wee enchanted forest with doors at the base of trees and painted birdhouses with charming personal touches. Here are a few examples, though the pictures don’t do justice to the entire scene:


We strolled through the kingdom, and all three girls were engaged with the fun. I was too! Of course, afterwards the younger girls were keen to paint their own contributions to the fairy forest. So, they started painting and decorating their little houses today. If you live in the South Surrey/White Rock area, go for a stroll in Redwood Park – the fairy fun is just beyond the treehouse.


Now, when activities fail me, there’s one thing our girls always enjoy together… homemade treats! They all love this Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl. Ok, our middle daughter opts for the pudding without the berry swirl, no surprise there. :)

This is a new recipe from my Plant-Powered Families cookbook. This pudding is very easy to whip together, and tastes like a PB&J sandwich – without the bread! It’s all whole-foods based, from the pudding to the swirl!

NEW! Plant-Powered Families cookbook by Dreena Burton

Oh, and for those of you possibly wondering… “uh-oh, is there a lot of peanut butter in this book? I’ve already preordered!”… No, there isn’t. In fact, I believe this is the only dedicated peanut butter recipe in the book. And, you can substitute a nut butter like cashew or almond if you have peanut allergies in your household.

And, if you missed my last post and don’t know about the preorder offer of a bonus ebook and special giveaway, check out my last post for details!

Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl! from "Plant-Powered Families" cookbook by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree

Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl (link to print/share)

This idea came to me one day after school. I wanted to give the girls a treat, but something nutritious—and quick! This pudding came together in a flash, and their eyes sure lit up!
Peanut Butter Pudding:
3/4 cup pitted dates
1/3 cup unsalted peanut butter or other nut butter (see notes)
1 tablespoon white chia seeds
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon nondairy milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2–4 teaspoons pure maple syrup for extra sweetening (optional)

Berrylicious Swirl:
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries or raspberries (see note)
2–3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave nectar
Pinch sea salt

In a blender, puree the dates, peanut butter, chia seeds, sea salt, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth (if using a high-speed blender, this will be quick; with a standard blender, you may need to scrape down the sides of the blender a few times). If you’d like additional sweetener, add the maple syrup, a teaspoon or two at a time, to taste. For the swirl: Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the berries, maple syrup, and sea salt until semi-smooth. If using frozen berries, it will take a little longer. Dollop the berry mixture on the peanut-butter pudding, or “swirl” it through!

Peanut Butter Note: Peanut butters often have salt added, even the natural varieties. Check the ingredients—if it does, reduce or omit salt.

Nut Butter Note: If substituting a nut butter like almond, try adding a touch of orange zest. It pairs beautifully with almond

Berries Note: If using seasonal fresh berries, they may be sweeter than frozen. Puree with just 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, and add extra to taste. With frozen berries, I usually use 2 tablespoons syrup.

Pudding photo credit: Nicole Axworthy

Enjoy the pudding, friends!

x Dreena

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew

Often times, you guys remind me of my own recipes. When I get an email or tweet from you about a recipe you are loving, I’m reminded to share more about those dishes, right here.

And I appreciate those notes, especially right now! Between preparing for my book launch in May, reviewing final book edits, preparing for Christmas, and managing endless momma to-do’s… my mind is scattered. Terribly scattered. (Moms, please reassure me that you are feeling the same out there with holiday prep!)

When I feel scattered like that, there is something grounding about posting a “tried and true” recipe.

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree by Dreena Burton

Last week I heard from a few of you about this Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan. It’s a great one-pot plant-based dish that is very nourishing. Though the ingredient list is long, it doesn’t mean the recipe is difficult. Once you assemble the spices, the rest of the prep is rather easy.

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree

This stew is also the kind of dish that hits the spot when we are eating more processed foods and sweets during the holidays. The warm, earthy spices and nutrient-dense ingredients help us feel more balanced when our diet doesn’t feel so balanced. Healthy comfort food, I guess! Adult comfort food, for sure. (I should mention that this is not one of my kids’ favourite recipes, they aren’t very fond of the notes of fennel and curry. Just a heads up if you have little ones – you might need to top with guac.) :)

This is good straight up, hot out of the pot with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios (shown), or chopped almonds or some pine nuts. It’s also delicious with a little drizzle of Maple-Balsamic Sauce…. just a touch, a little goes a long way.

Enjoy the recipe, guys… and hang in there with the holiday prep. I’ll try to. 😉

x Dreena

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree

Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew

(vegan, gluten-free, soy-free) link to print/share

This dish is a cross between a casserole and a stew. It is cooked stove-top, much like a stew, but is much more like a casserole in texture. The quinoa and chickpeas are simmered with warm, earthy spices, and balanced with the sweetness of dried figs and sautéed fennel. Serves 4-5 or more depending on accompaniments.

1-2 tbsp water
1 cup onion, chopped
¾ – 1 cup red pepper, chopped (see note)
1- 1 ½ cups fennel bulb, chopped (first remove core and stalks from bulb) (see note)
3 large cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp fennel seed
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp dried basil
3/4 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed (see note)
2 cups chickpeas (rinsed and drained if using canned)
2 – 2 ¼ cups water (+ another 2-4 tbsp if needed, see directions)
1 dried or fresh bay leaf
1/3 cup dried black mission figs, chopped (or dried apricots, chopped or can use raisins, whole)
½ cup pine nuts or pistachios (optional)

In a large pot over medium heat, add the water, onion, red pepper, fennel, garlic, salt, pepper, curry powder, fennel seed, paprika, dried basil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Stir through, cover, and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine, bring to a boil and let boil for a couple of minutes. Then add quinoa, chickpeas, water (start with 2 cups) and bay leaf and stir through. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium/medium-low, cover and let cook for 18-22 minutes. Once quinoa is cooked, and most of the liquid is absorbed, stir in dried figs, remove from heat and let sit for 3-4 minutes. If the liquid is absorbed but quinoa isn’t tender, add the extra ¼ cup of water and cook another few minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve, with a sprinkling of nuts if desired.

Red Pepper Note: If you don’t have red pepper, you can substitute chopped carrot or winter squash like butternut, though the red pepper adds a nice color contrast with the other ingredients.

Quinoa/Water Note: If the liquid is absorbed but quinoa isn’t tender, add the extra ¼ cup of water and cook another few minutes.

Cooking Tip: After this dish is cooked, keep it covered before and after serving portions. It will get a little dry if left uncovered. Also, as it stands, the heat from the pot will continue to cook the quinoa and so it will absorb more water and get drier. If needed, have some water boiled in your kettle, so you can stir a couple of tablespoons before getting a second helping!

Photo credit: Gratitude to my buddy Emma for these beautiful food photos.

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

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread

Chocolate and gingerbread. Delicious on their own, but when paired together – a quintessential holiday treat. For many years I made chocolate-ginger-almond-cranberry bark for Christmas gifts, and later I began a new tradition making Chocolate Gingery Cookies (from LTEV). With those goodies in mind, I created this new whole-foods Chocolate Gem Gingerbread!

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread #vegan by Dreena Burton


This gingerbread is delicious without the addition of the chocolate. So, if you are a gingerbread purist, the chocolate can certainly be omitted. I sometimes make it without the chocolate myself. Shocking, yes… but true! Or, try substituting currants or raisins for the chocolate chips. If you do use the dried fruit in the loaf, I’d recommend not adding the crystallized ginger topping. The crystallized ginger is balanced with dark chocolate chips, with the raisins it’s too much.

This whole-foods vegan gingerbread is moist and flavorful thanks to the addition of almond meal. It’s also not too ‘spicy’ for young palates. My girls don’t enjoy crystallized ginger, so I often omit it or add to just a portion of the loaf. If you enjoy more ginger kick, use the full 1 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger in the loaf, along with the crystallized ginger for the topping.

With the holidays almost here, you can add this to your menu as a brunch/tea treat. Or, if you pair with a vanilla non-dairy ice cream, it can be transformed into dessert!

Enjoy, guys. Do share any feedback in the comments, as well as sharing any of your favorite chocolate-ginger combinations.

(p.s. I announced my new book on facebook this week, if you missed it, link through. You can count on a more detailed post about the book right here, in the new year.)

x Dreena

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread by Dreena Burton #vegan #holidays

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread

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1 cups whole-grain spelt flour
1 cup + 1 tbsp oat flour (or 1 cup more spelt flour; but I prefer spelt/oat combo)
1/3 cup almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 – 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1⁄2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup plain non-dairy milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
options: 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or currants/raisins
optional toppings: 2 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger (omit if using raisins) OR 1-2 tbsp coconut sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon OR 2 tbsp chocolate chips

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, first combine the molasses with the apple applesauce and then whisk/stir in the maple syrup, non-dairy milk, and vanilla, and mix together. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture (as well as raisins or chocolate chips, if using). Gently fold and mix through, until just combined (do not overmix). Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled loaf pan (lined with a strip of parchment also useful). If using any optional toppings, sprinkle those on. Bake for 37-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove, and transfer (keeping in pan) to cooling rack. Let cool completely, then remove from pan and slice. Makes one quickbread.

Ginger Note: I typically use 1 tsp ginger, that keeps it mild enough for the kiddos. If you love ginger, feel free to bump it up!

Chocolate Gem Gingerbread by Dreena Burton #vegan #wholefoods #plantbased

Photo credit: Shout-out to Emma Potts for assisting with all these food photos! Thanks Emma. x