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

 

Review & Giveaway: Gourmet Creations spreads (vegan and gluten-free)

Usually when I post about a new dip or spread, it’s a variation on hummus. And, when grocery shopping I rarely find vegan spreads that aren’t hummus. You guys know I love my hummus, but sometimes we want a dip or spread that uses vegetables, or with different flavor combinations not typically found in hummus.

Gourmet Creations Spreads and Dips #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree

Enter Gourmet Creations! This is a local company (based in Langley, BC), that produces a line of plant-based, gluten free spreads and dips. When they reached out to ask if I’d review their line, I was most interested.

Gourmet Creations has six varieties of vegetable- and bean-based spreads that are all plant-based, gluten-free, and nut-free. The flavors are:

  1. Carrot-Ginger
  2. Black Bean Salsa
  3. Red Pepper
  4. Butternut Curry
  5. Mexican Chili
  6. Sundried Tomato

Review Summary

Taste: Overall, the collection of dips are flavorful without being too salty. Most have a tangy flavor, and several have spicy notes.

Ingredients:  Their flavor and ingredient combinations are quite unique. While red pepper and black bean dips are not uncommon, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “Carrot-Ginger” or “Butternut Curry” spread in a store. Also, Gourmet Creations includes some unexpected ingredients within each flavor. The Red Pepper spread has quinoa as one of its ingredients. The Carrot-Ginger spread includes sunflower seeds – so unique! I also liked how the Mexican Chili has chickpeas that had been crushed or chopped to add body to the spread, a nice textural touch.

Favorites: My favorite spreads were the Butternut Curry, Sundried Tomato, and the Mexican Chili. The sundried tomato spread works particularly well spread on sandwiches and wraps for lunches. I gently heated the Butternut Curry spread, as it reminded me a little of a butternut squash soup, but obviously thicker and with more tang. The Mexican Chili was good straight up with tortilla chips.

Family-Friend Factor: As a mom, I’d say that these dips are best suited to more mature palates, as most have some spicy tones. However, diet is learned. I remember being so surprised to witness my friend’s toddler scooping salsa straight from a jar! So, I guess it depends on how much spice you generally eat in meals. The spiciest dips (to me) were the Carrot-Ginger and Butternut Curry. I think the Red Pepper dip had the mildest flavor. (I used the red pepper dip in a quinoa bowl with avocado and served it to our 13-year old – she really enjoyed it.)

Gourmet Creations dips and spreads #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree

Serving Suggestions: Often when we buy dips and spreads, we simply think to pair them with tortilla chips, rice crackers, or pita breads. There are so many other ways to enjoy these dips. Here are some of my ideas…

  • Red Pepper Dip – As mentioned, I used it in a quinoa bowl, but you could also work it into hot pasta or use as a base for pizza.
  • Sundried Tomato – This was my favorite spread for sandwiches, but I also tried it in these cucumber bites, hollowing out about 3/4 of the centre (not all the way through) and filling with the spread. Do something similar with mini-peppers, makes a great snack or party appetizer.

Gourmet Creations Sundried Tomato Spread #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree

  • Butternut Curry – Put an autumnal, ethnic spin on pizza, spreading as a base and topping with roasted vegetables and cashew cheese. Or, thin it out with coconut milk and mix it through steamed veggies like cauliflower, parsnip, and winter squash.
  • Mexican Chili – I liked this one straight up with tortilla chips, but it would be terrific mixed with quinoa and stuffed in taco shells,
  • Black Bean Salsa – Try this in stuffed baked potatoes. I’d use a combination of sweet potatoes and white potatoes, add a little of the salsa, some green onions, chopped red pepper, top with vegan cheese if you like and bake.
  • Carrot Ginger – This spread was lovely on this toasted gluten-free bread (below), and even better with a layer of cashew cheese. Gourmet Creations Carrot Ginger Dip #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree

I’m sure you could come up with other serving ideas. And… you have the chance, since Gourmet Creations is offering 2 boxes (12 dips) as a giveaway! To enter, leave a comment telling us which dip you’d like to try, or one of your serving ideas.

Since these dips need to be refrigerated, contest is open to resident of BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. For more details about Gourmet Creations spreads and their tasting events in your area, visit their site.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Gourmet Creation send samples of their spreads for me to try, and I was compensated for my time to review and host this giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

Green Chickpea Hummus

A couple of months ago, Paul returned from Costco with a big bag of frozen green chickpeas. I had heard about them, but never tried them, so I was pretty excited about his food find.

Green chickpeas are the raw, fresh form of chickpeas we know and love. They aren’t a fresh legume you find often in markets, but it is becoming easier to find them frozen. The taste, to me, is somewhat a cross between edamame and green peas. So, I think they would substitute well in many dishes where you might use either green peas or edamame. I first tried them in a cooked dish (briefly cooking through), and really enjoyed them. Then, I turned my thoughts to…

Green Chickpea Hummus by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Hummus. Glorious hummus! I’ve only ever made hummus with cooked legumes, so I wasn’t sure the fam would dig this more ‘raw’ version. Plus it was green. That’s usually tricky with kids. Well, to my surprise and delight, it was a hit! With Paul and the older girls, anyhow. Our 5-year old is in the stage where everything green (other than green smoothies) is “ewwww”, so her vote doesn’t count right now. 😉

Personally, I would choose this over classic hummus… at least most days! The combination of flavors is a little addictive, and it is just so fresh and vibrant. We noshed on it straight up, but you could also use it in sandwiches and wraps, or for topping sweet spuds (that combination would be tasty)!

If you can get your hands on some frozen green chickpeas, they are worth experimenting with. If you can’t find them, try substituting frozen edamame here, or a half-and-half combo of frozen edamame and frozen green peas.

Green Chickpea Hummus by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Green Chickpea Hummus

link to print/share

3 cups (frozen) green chickpeas, blanched and drained (see note)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 medium clove garlic (can use larger if you love garlic)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (don’t omit!)
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 1/2 – 3 tbsp tahini
3/4 – 1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2-3 tbsp water (or more if desired to thin)
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

In a food processor (see note), combine all ingredients, starting with 3/4 tsp of salt and 2 tbsp of water. Puree until smoothed out, scraping down the processor bowl as needed. Taste, and add additional salt to taste, and extra water to thin out as desired. Serve!

Chickpeas Note: Add chickpeas to a pot of boiling water, and let cook about 3 minutes. Remove, and run under cold water. I cook them very briefly just to bring out their vibrant green color. Be sure to run them through cold water to stop the cooking process. If you cannot find green chickpeas, use a combination of green peas and edamame (half of each preferably), or the full amount of edamame.

Food processor Note: If you have a high-speed blender, you can puree it in the blender for a smoother consistency. I quite liked the more textured consistency with the food processor.

Green Chickpea Hummus by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Please share your ideas for using green chickpeas, and of course your feedback on this recipe! 

Enjoy… 

Dreena

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“Cinnabon” Muffins!

Before I get to the food today, I want to start with a note of gratitude. Thank you for all of your heartfelt comments here, and on FB, about Sarabi. It helped to read your beautiful experiences and kind comments. My sincere thanks.

"Cinnabon" Muffins by Dreena Burton #vegan #nutfree #wholefoods

Now… not too long ago, I hinted about these Cinnabon Muffins. Ok, more like teasing. Here and on instagram. Today, they are yours!

This recipe came almost effortlessly. Apart from the retesting, the idea just manifested! Literally standing in the kitchen with an itch to bake (please tell me I’m not the only one that is drawn to baking for no particular reason), and wanting an intense hit of cinnamony goodness. Next thing, these mini-muffins are baking up and diffusing the most irresistible aroma through the house!

 

"Cinnabon" Muffins by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #nutfree #wholefoods #plantbased

They remind me of Cinnabon… which is rather peculiar because I’ve never had Cinnabon. But they are what I imagine Cinnabon to taste like, made vegan and more wholesome! Given I’ve never tasted Cinnabon, I’ll count on your votes whether this recipe is close.

My family LOVES these muffins. They disappear fast, but when I can squirrel a few away, I tuck them into packed lunches. They make a special treat for lunch, and great for school as they are nut-free.

I like to make the mini-muffin version best, but I’ve offered both size options for you in the recipe. Bake up, and let me know what you think!

Enjoy,

x

Dreena

"Cinnabon Muffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #wholefoods

Cinnabon Muffins

link to print/share recipe

Batter:
1 1/2 cups whole-grain spelt flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 scant tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 TB raisins or chopped dates

Topping:
1/3 cup chopped dates
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a mini-muffin pan. Using a paper towel, wipe a smidgen of oil around the inside of each muffin cup. (Alternatively, you can prepare a regular size pan (see size note) with non-stick liners.)

To make the batter: In a large bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon, salt, then sift in the baking powder and soda.  Mix well.  In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, maple syrup, vanilla and raisins or dates. Add wet mixture to dry, stirring through until just well combined (without overmixing).

To make the cinnabon topping: In a bowl, mix together all topping ingredients. Use your fingers to work the mixture together until sticky/crumbly.

Transfer batter into muffin cups. I like to use a mini-muffin pan (see size note), filling 22-24. Dollop about a teaspoon or two of the topping on each. When finished, sprinkle any remaining topping/cinnamon over the muffins. Bake for about 13 minutes, until set to the touch. Remove from oven, transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes, then remove muffins and let cool fully on cooling rack.

Size Note: If you’d like to make regular size muffins, you can fill 11-12 cups. Baking time will be longer, about 20 minutes.

"Cinnabon" Muffins by Dreena Burton #vegan #nutfree #wholefoods

POWER Cookies for Back-To-School

My wee girl starts full day kindergarten this year. It’s her first time in full-day school. And my first time with ALL my girls in full-day school! For the last 13+ years I’ve been with kiddos. So, it’s a big change for her, an even bigger change for me.

Once school starts, that is… our teachers are on strike here. But, eventually school will start again. Maybe I’m feeling the stress of the change, because I’ve been baking a lot. Ok, I bake a lot most days! But, it seems I’m baking more than usual – Berry Scuffins, Raisinet Cookies (from LTEV, I’ll try and post soon), and these new delicious Power Cookies.

Power Cookies by Dreena Burton - #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

 

These are the kind of cookie that satisfies a sweet tooth but also offers some nutritional punch. For a cookie, it’s pretty darn healthy, made with whole-grain oat flour, coconut, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and tahini. I use tahini so the cookies can be nut-free for school lunches. Most schools are nut-free zones, and that can be tricky planning school snacks. Many commercially-prepared snacks that happen to be nut-free tend to have dairy, eggs, or made with overly processed ingredients. So, it’s always useful to have a few nut-free goodies in your repertoire!

If you don’t have to make them nut-free, you can substitute another nut butter. I don’t always enjoy tahini in plant-based cookies, but here it works! I do prefer a very mellow, good-quality tahini (suggestions in recipe). If you can find a good brand, it’s worth it. But, you will forever be tahini-spoiled! Once you taste the good stuff, you don’t want to go back. (Just a heads up!) 😉

If you follow my Instagram posts, you may have seen this pic of Go Raw watermelon seeds. When I did my final test of these cookies, I was out of sunflower seeds. I thought “why not try the watermelon seeds“? They worked fabulously! They certainly aren’t essential, however. If you don’t have them, sunflower and pumpkin seeds work just fine. (As a side note, the watermelon seeds taste lovely on their own. They have a mellow seeds flavor, somewhat like sunflower but milder-tasting – and the sea salt used is minimal.)

Think you need a cookie close up. Zoom in on the chips!

Power Cookies, by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Got it?

Nope, that’s a raisin on the left, There… to the right!

Power Cookies, by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Yeahhhhh, that’s it.

Now bake… :) Enjoy, enjoy my friends!

x

Dreena
Power Cookies, by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Power Cookies

ReciPage to print/share recipe
My wee girl is a bundle of high energy! I created these vegan cookies to give her bite-sized nutrition to fuel her non-stop pace!

2 cups oat flour (use certified gf for gluten-free; see note)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 – 1/3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips (I like mini-chips; can substitute raisins or currants)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or sprouted watermelon seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt (lightly rounded)
2 1/2 tbsp tahini (or raw almond butter if not needing nut-free, see note)
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (see note)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, coconut, chocolate chips, seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the tahini (or almond butter) with the maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir through until well combined. Place scoops (about 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp in size) on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until just set to the touch, then remove from oven and let cool for a minute on sheet, and then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes about 15-18 cookies.

Oat Flour note: Don’t substitute an equal amount of another flour (like spelt)_ here – it has a different volume and requires more liquid to come together. If you want to sub another flour, use less to start, about 1 2/3 cups, and add in any extra as needed after bringing together the wet and dry ingredients. If it’s too wet/sticky, add a touch more flour.

Tahini note: Tahini brands vary in taste and textures. If possible, use a mellow-flavored tahini (ex: Baron’s, Achva, Alwadi)

Maple syrup note: The mixture should come together nicely, but if it’s quite thick and not combining, add another 1/2 – 1 tbsp of maple syrup mixed with another 1 tsp of nut butter or tahini.

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!

x

Dreena

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!

xx’s

Dreena

Choosing Raw: The Cookbook (& Recipe for Blueberry Ginger Ice Cream)

At last, the brilliant and creative soul behind the Choosing Raw blog has published her first cookbook. Many of us have been a fan of Gena Hamshaw‘s work for years. It’s hard not to be. Gena delivers posts that educate and inspire us, not with recipes alone, but also with her life observations and food knowledge. She is a bright light in our plant-based world, always offering a balanced approach to raw and vegan food.

Choosing Raw cookbook

When I think of Gena, a few words come to mind: integrity, compassion, and knowledge. You feel it in every post she writes, and in Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat, these qualities shine through in print. Gena shares so much within this book, from her wisdom of food nutrition to her passion of recipe creation, to her commitment to animal rights.

I received a copy of Choosing Raw last week, and know you will love its content. Not only visually appetizing with food photos, it is a lifestyle book, answering the why, what, and how of eating a raw and vegan diet. The book is broken down as follows:

  • Preface: Kris Carr
  • Introduction: My Story
  • Part I: The Why
    • Your Health
    • Beyond The Plate
  • Part II: The What
    • Vegan Nutrition
    • All About Raw Foods
    • Frequently Asked Questions About Raw and Vegan Foods
    • Myths and Misconceptions
  • Part III: The How
    • Setting Up
    • Getting Started
    • 21 Days in The Life
  • Part IV: The Food
    • The Recipes: 15 essentials, 5 Juices, 10 Snacks, 20 Dips, Dressings, Sauces, and Spreads, 5 Meal-Size Salads
    • Level 1: Tried and True: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • Level 2: Something New: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • Level 3: Brave New World: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    • 13 Desserts for Everyone

Gena has cleverly partitioned the recipes into food preparation/cooking “levels”. This is one very special feature of her book, graduating home cooks from easier to more complex raw recipes. I also think her meal plans (21 Days in the Life) will be extremely useful for people new to raw and/or plant-based foods.

Of course, apart from the brilliant recipe planning Gena offers, her heart truly shines through in the introductory sections. This is especially true in her personal story, but also even evident in the FAQs and myths and misconceptions. Gena connects with us from a very personal level through every chapter.

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Raw Cobb Salad, photo credit: Hannah Kaminsky

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Coconutty for Chocolate Chip Cookies, photo credit: Hannah Kaminsky

Let’s talk about the recipes for a moment, though, because they are not to be underestimated. Gena is exceptionally creative, and  the recipes range from fully raw to high raw and cooked dishes. There is spectacular food photography (by Hannah Kaminksy) for many of the recipes, capturing the vibrance of raw foods. I have highlighted many recipes that I want to try out, including: Raw Vegan Bircher Muesli, Green Lemonade, Creamy Maple Chipotle Dressing, Zucchini Pasta with Quinoa Meatless Balls, Chickpea Tofu Tahini Scramble, Raw Pad Thai, Coconut Curry Kelp Noodles, Raw Peach Cobbler, and (last but not least!) Sweet Pea Hummus Tartines. Because #hummusisafoodgroup. 😉

So many enticing recipes! This week I tried Gena’s Raw Blueberry Ginger Ice Cream and Nut or Seed Pate. These were both fully raw dishes, both incredibly easy to make. One of the myths of raw foods dishes is that they involve tedious or complicated food preparation. Not always true. These recipes were quick for me to make (I need that right now with 3 girls on summer vacay and a very active puppy), and were instantly gratifying!

Nut or Seed Pate (from Choosing Raw cookbook)

First up, the Nut or Seed PateI enjoyed snacking on it straight up with crudite, but it looked super lovely as I was assembling a sandwich, so I pulled out my iPhone to snap some pics! This particular recipe is very flexible, you can use a combination of nuts or seeds. I chose to use a combo of raw almonds and raw pumpkin seeds, and it was delightful.

choosingrawnutpate

The same day I made Gena’s Blueberry Ginger Ice Cream. I mean, who am I to resist ice cream? :) My all time fave dessert, sweet, treat. Period. This particular recipe is one of the GORGEOUS featured food photos on the cover. It’s a cinch to make, does not require an ice cream maker, and is wonderfully refreshing and tasty. I reduced the fresh ginger a little so the girls would spoon in too, as they aren’t super fond of ginger. The flavor is bright, fresh, and still creamier and more luscious than a fruit sorbet.

Gena allowed me to share the recipe with you today. We had some fresh cherries and blueberries on hand the day I took a photo. After taking these photos, I thought this would be a very beautiful (and easy) Fourth of July dessert!

Raw Blueberry Ginger Ice Cream (from Choosing Raw cookbook)

Raw, Vegan Blueberry Ginger Ice Cream (link to print/share)

This ice cream tastes entirely too delicious to be dairy free and made without an ice cream maker! Ginger and blueberries are a surprisingly harmonious combination, and the color of the finished ice cream is phenomenal. Garnish with fresh mint or a few extra blueberries before wowing your friends. Makes 4 Servings

1⁄2 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours or more and drained
4 frozen bananas
2 heaping cups frozen blueberries
1 1⁄2 tablespoo

ns fresh, grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon ginger powder if you’re using a food processor)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons almond or hemp milk (may not be needed for the food processor version)

If you’re using a high-speed blender:
Blend all the ingredients together in a highspeed blender. Use the tamper attachment to facilitate blending. Add a little more almond milk, if necessary, to facilitate blending.

If you’re using a food processor:Place the cashews in a food processor and process until they’re broken down. Add the bananas and let the motor run until they’ve turned into soft. When you have soft serve consistency, add the blueberries, powdered ginger, and lemon, and blend until totally smooth. Add the almond milk only if you need a thinner consistency; you may not. Serve.

Leftover ice cream can be transferred to a sealed storage container and frozen for up to a week, then reprocessed in the food processor just prior to serving.

From Choosing Raw by Gena Hamshaw. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2014.

Raw Blueberry Ginger Ice Cream from Choosing Raw

I encourage you to add this genius work to your cookbook collection. Gena will welcome you into the world of raw foods, demonstrating that it can be very simple to include raw meals and snacks in your daily meal plans. It’s not about attaching to a label or being rigid with a dietary regimen. With her heartfelt approach to eating healthy, this is far more than a cookbook. It offers guides, meal plans, scientific support, and a lot of heart. No matter where you are with plant-based eating, we can all enjoy – and benefit from – Gena’s talent and insights in Choosing Raw.

Do you have a copy of Choosing Raw? If so, what recipes have caught your eye, or have already become favorites? 

Artichoke and White Bean Dip

 

Ever taste something, love it, and later discover that it contained an ingredient that you were pretty darn sure you didn’t like?

If you’re a parent, you may have intentionally done this to ‘sneak’ in a particular food with your kiddos. But, ever have the experience where it happens naturally? Just serving the food and forgetting… if even for a rare but blissful moment… that one of your kiddos might reject it because it contains ____ or ____ or (go ahead, fill in the blanks)!

Artichoke and White Bean Dip, from Let Them Eat Vegan, by Dreena Burton

Yes, us mommas are well acquainted with picky eaters food preferences. With our own three girls, there are dozens of foods that one likes and the other does not. Our list includes berries (my long-time readers already know this one!), olives, asparagus, mangoes, red peppers, and mushrooms for starters. Sometimes the food preferences shift one year to the next. Unfortunately, artichokes have been on this list for some time.

I love artichokes. So does hubby, and our eldest daughter. Our youngest is in a particularly picky stage (oh joy) and our 9 year old has never taken a liking to artichokes. I don’t use them as often as I’d like in weekly meals for this reason, and yet every time I do use them I think “why am I not using artichokes more often, I love them?“! But I know why, I don’t want to pick them out of servings or see them go to waste.

Well, when I created this Artichoke and White Bean Dip for LTEV, a food miracle occurred. I first simply called it “hummus”, and put it on the table. It’s busy enough with recipe testing and keeping up with this family’s appetite, that the details of food aren’t always important. Just need to get – it – on – the – table. And fast! This was one of those days. As we were eating, our middle girl soon announced how much she looooved this new hummus. Once I realized she was eating artichokes (!!!), I decided not to say anything immediately, but just make the dip again another day.

So I did. So she ate it again, and asked for it again. In fact, the whole family asked for it again, devouring it in a sitting (sigh, must remember to double-batch). Afterwards I casually mentioned to her “oh, I forgot to tell you, that hummus had some artichokes in it… hey, you liked it anyway!” She shrugged her shoulders and said “I guess so”. That was that. No fuss, just a brief puzzled look on her face (and probably some suspicions that mommy pulled a fast one). But, all was fine – and she continues to eat the dip!

She still won’t eat artichokes whole or in noticeable pieces, but I guess the moral of this post is sometimes we just need to serve the food. Not have expectations for what they might like or not like. Not try to explain that they might like it because… or they will like it if we add this to it… or take that out… etc etc. If it tastes great, it tastes great! They may not even notice the artichokes, olives, or berries. Scratch berries. One girl I know will always notice those! :)

I often say the same about vegan food in general. If it tastes fabulous and is satisfying, do we really care about what’s not in there? No, it just tastes wonderful! So enjoy the good food for what it is… deeeelicious!

Now, if you do love artichokes, you’ll really, really love this dip. Somewhat like hummus but with quite a twist. Plus, some of you that asked about a nut-free alternative to my Creamy Artichoke Spinach Dip –  this White Bean Artichoke Dip is a great one to try. It’s not baked, but you could bake it, in fact I enjoy it a little warm. Maybe even top it off with a few olives for the fam! I kid.

Artichoke and White Bean Dip, from Let Them Eat Vegan, by Dreena Burton


Artichoke and White Bean Dip

ReciPage to print/share recipe

Artichoke dip is always one of those more-ish kinds of dips, and I’ve made several recipes over the years. This one borrows creaminess from white beans, and a cheesy flavor from nutritional yeast. It is especially delicious gently warmed, and then slathered on pitas or other breads. Makes about 2 ½ cups.

2 cups artichoke hearts (I use frozen, blanched in boiling water for about 8-10 minutes, then drained, see note)

1 can (14 oz) white beans (navy or cannellini), rinsed and drained (about 1 ¾ cups)

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 ½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 small-medium clove garlic

1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil  (optional, OMIT for oil-free option and use 1-2 tbsp of water to thin if desired; OR can also sub 1/2 – 1 tbsp tahini and 1 tbsp water — but don’t overdo tahini, flavor will be too pronounced in this dip)

2 tbsp freshly flat-leaf parsley, chopped

½ tsp fresh rosemary, minced (try not to omit, it adds a lovely subtle flavor)

¾ tsp sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

After blanching/draining artichokes, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Taste, and season to taste with extra lemon juice/salt, etc, as desired. Serve straight away, or transfer to an oven-proof dish and heat until just warm and a little golden on top!

Ingredients 411: Frozen artichokes have a much better flavor than canned, so opt for frozen if possible. Don’t use the artichokes that are jarred and marinated in an oil/vinegar liquid – their flavor is too strong, even if rinsed.

Serving Suggestions: Try using this dip as a layer in lasagna, or to stuff pasta shells.

Shout-out to Emma Potts of coconutandberries for assisting with the beautiful dip photos!

Have you had a food experience like this yourself, or with your kiddos? Have you tried this dip? Share your stories! 

Enjoy, and I’ll be back soon!

plant-powered xx’s… Dreena

Momo Granola Bars: Matt Frazier’s No Meat Athlete

Momo Granola Bars from No Meat Athlete

In the last few years, there has been quite a spotlight on plant-based fitness. When I first became vegan, there was little talk of vegan athletes. Now, it’s very different. A plant-based diet is finally getting the recognition it deserves in the arena of fitness and athletic pursuits – as being the optimal diet to achieve optimal performance.

Matt Frazier is one of the people making great strides (literally!) to help educate people about plant-based nutrition as an athlete. I first discovered Matt’s very popular blog, No Meat Athlete, through Gena Hamshaw. Matt brings well-researched and referenced posts to his readers, with a balanced and approachable voice. His posts are educational and inspiring, often dispelling myths about the plant-based diet and also how it relates to athletic performance. Plus, Matt manages to sneak in the occasional entertaining post (that one’s a personal favorite).

No Meat Athlete

Matt has just published his first book, No Meat Athlete. As an ultramarathoner that “runs on plants”, Matt shares tips, recipes, motivational stories, and insights from his years of training and also transitioning to eating plant-based. This perspective will benefit vegetarians and vegans working towards fitness goals, and also athletes looking to clean their diets with a plant-based foundation.

No Meat Athlete is divided into two main sections:

Plant-Based Nutrition For Athletes – this section covers food and nutrition philosophy, how to get started on a plant-based diet, plant-based nutrition for sports, some tips for getting started in the kitchen, and recipes to fuel athletes and their families.

Running On Plants – this section focuses in on the aspect of running and training, how to begin to run, how to make it a habit, then moving into more advanced training tips, and finally Matt’s insights for training for racing.

While I’ve always valued exercising, I’ve never been a runner. You may not be either. But, you can reference this book for more than just how to train for races. If you are at all interested in maintaining a fitness routine on a plant-based diet, then I think you will find Matt’s wisdom and tips helpful – as well as motivational. I’ve always maintained a personal exercise routine and fitness (my fitness post is coming), and we have very active girls. Our two older daughters play rep hockey, so they are on the ice or training or most days of the week. This resource will be helpful for me not just in my own athletic commitments, but also for our girls.

Matt is also a parent, and notes in this book that his recipes are family-friendly and “workable in the real world”. I appreciate this, because most of us are not endurance athletes, and most of us are living busy lives with families and work commitments. Still, we can benefit from some of the knowledge gained by athletes like Matt, to improve our own levels of personal fitness, and to fuel ourselves – and our children. (This topic is particularly important to me, one day I will write about child athletics – how as a society we are merely ‘feeding’ our kids rather than ‘fueling’ them, and yet our nutrient-rich plant diet is often challenged.) Right now, time for a recipe!

When our girls are on those long jaunts for hockey games, I love to pack them a really nutrient-dense snack. When I saw these Momo Granola Bars, I knew I’d be trying them. Matt was kind enough to allow me to reprint this recipe for you to enjoy as well!

Momo Granola Bars from No Meat Athlete

MOMO GRANOLA BARS Link to RECIpage to print/share

This is a DIY energy bar with whole ingredients at its base. It has enough carbs for a pre-workout pick-me-up, enough protein for a post-workout recovery, and enough great flavors for a dessert or snack anytime. —Mo Ferris, Johnson & Wales–trained chef and vegetarian marathoner

2 cups (160 g) rolled oats

*1⁄2 cup (50 g) rough chopped roasted and salted almonds

1⁄4 cup (55 g) rough chopped pecans

*1⁄2 cup (84 g) flaxseed

1⁄4 cup (16 g) raw pumpkin seeds

3 tablespoons (23 g) hemp seeds

*1⁄2 cup (80 g) chopped dried cherries

2 small pinches kosher salt

1⁄3 cup (89 g) peanut butter

1⁄2 cup (172 g) brown rice syrup

Preheat oven to 350 ̊F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Spread oats, almonds, pecans, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds onto an ungreased baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Gently shake and stir the oat mixture after 5 minutes to avoid burning the top layer and allowing both sides of the nuts and oats to brown. Remove the mixture from oven and add to a large bowl, along with the cher- ries and salt. decrease oven temperature to 300 ̊F (150°C, or gas mark 2). In a small saucepan, melt the peanut butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. once the peanut butter is melted and slightly thinner, remove from heat and pour over oat mixture. mix thoroughly. In a separate small saucepan, add the brown rice syrup. over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. When the bubbles that form get big and meet in the middle, immediately remove from heat, pour over the oat mixture, and thoroughly mix. While still warm, pour the mixture out into the corner of a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. using wax paper, firmly press and spread mixture into the shape of a rectangle 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) thick (no gaps!). note: The mixture will most likely not fill the entire sheet. bake for 15 minutes or just until the edges begin to brown. Cool completely. Flip the rectangle out onto a cutting board and cut into 3 x 5 inch (7.5 x 13 cm) bars. Wrap bars individually in plastic wrap and store in a large plastic bag. Yield: About 12 bars.

*My personal notes: I used raw almonds, and as I was out of flax seed, I replaced it with 1/3 cup of flax meal, and substituted a combination of raisins and dried cranberries for the dried cherries (though I think the dried cherries would be amazing)! Also, I cut some of these bars while cool and others after refrigerating. I got a much cleaner cut after refrigerating, just fyi.

These bars are really tasty. Not overly sweet, and very satisfying with a crunchy, chewy texture. Our whole family loved them!

Our eldest helped me with this photo, and while we were taking the pictures, a ladybug stopped by for a visit. We love ladybugs. They know a good thing in these bars. 😉

momogranolabarsladybug

Thanks Matt for sharing this recipe with us, and for writing this book. I wish you much success with it!

Are you a runner or involved in other athletic pursuits? Has a whole-food plant-powered diet helped your athleticism? 

p.s. I’ve just added a new feature to my site. On the sidebar there is a spot for you to sign-up for my (NEW!) newsletter. I will be delivering special promotions and goodies in this newsletter. Go ahead and sign up already! Also be sure to join my plant-powered community on facebook – I share all kinds of wonderful there! 😀