Gluten-free and Vegan Scones with Chia and Coconut

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Gluten-free and Vegan Scone with Chia and Coconut, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

I recently had a pleasure of teaching an evening plant-based cooking class at our local technical and vocational school. I enjoyed the experience immensely and in addition to having a really very pleasant evening  I have also learned about some of the things that people who are relatively new to plant-based cooking wonder and care about.

For example, I had several conversations about vegan breakfast items and whether it is possible to make vegan pancakes (yes!) and vegan crêpes (also yes!). And based on many conversations online, people are just having hard time figuring out what their plant-based breakfast options are.

What’s for vegan breakfast?

Breakfast is not as limited as people usually think. After all oatmeal, cereal with nut milk, fruits, vegetables, toast (including with avocado), smoothies, muffins, cauliflower tofu burritos, vegan “scrambled eggs”, and many, many more options are currently available. Some require a bit more hands on preparation but the offerings are as diverse as for people that eat meat, eggs and cheese. For me, a roasted sweet potato is a great breakfast that keeps me going well into the afternoon!

How about vegan baked breakfast treats?

Of course the number of options increases vastly on those days when you find yourself with extra time to do some baking. Vegan baking is actually not all that difficult. There are quite a few vegan options when it comes to replacing eggs, and nut milks usually work just as well as dairy. Plus: there are now a couple of vegan butters on the market so if the recipe asks for butter there are now alternatives to be used (including the dreaded margarine, but I don’t recommend you go there!)

Are gluten-free vegan treats possible?

Having said all that, if you are trying to be vegan and gluten-free you may be out of luck. In gluten-free baking, gluten, a protein that makes some people unhappy yet provides baked goods with their lovely structure, is usually replaced by extra eggs to keep the levels of protein high. Unfortunately, finding a plant-based replacement for eggs in this context is not easy because most options, like flax meal, bananas, apple sauce, and various starches are not protein rich; they are mostly carb heavy.

Chia seeds as an egg replacer for gluten-free vegan baking

Enter chia seeds! These little seeds are one of my current favorites. Chia seeds can be made into a pudding and they are an excellent binding agent for making seed crackers – and in this category nothing compares to Oh She Glows Endurance Crackers, so give them a try! Amazingly, they also work in these super easy and quick scones. A critical step in this recipe is soaking chia seeds for 15-30 minutes in some warm water. This will transform them into a gel like substance that will keep your scone batter together. And that’s more than half a battle won! The rest is all about mixing things together, adding the right leavening agents to helps things rise high, and some flavors in.

Vegan buttermilk trick

A common way to help a leavening agent like baking powder and baking soda is to add some buttermilk. Acidity is what makes buttermilk so special, and what provides an extra push for the baking powder and baking soda. The easiest way to make a vegan buttermilk is to add some lemon juice or lime juice to your plant-based milk, mix it together and let it stand for 5 minutes or so. And, if you don’t have any sour citrus on hand, you can also use some apple cider vinegar as well. If you are using milk with lots of protein, like soy or pea protein milk, you may see quite a bit of curdling – that’s normal.

These delicious scone will please your entire household – so you may want to make a double batch. So, next time when someone asks you what’s for breakfast you can tell them: freshly baked scones. Enjoy!

 

 

Gluten-free and Vegan Scones with Chia and Coconut

What you’ll need:

3 tablespoon chia seeds
6 tablespoon warm water

1/3 cup almond milk, unsweetened (vanilla flavor or plain)
1 teaspoon lime juice

1 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup corn starch
1/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup shredded coconut unsweetened
1/6 cup tapioca starch
1 teaspoon psyllium powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup agave syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
Unsweetened coconut flakes and raw sugar, for sprinkling on top

ChiaSeedsCoconutScones_2018

 

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. Mix chia seeds and warm water together and set it aside for 15-30 minutes until a sticky gel-like substance forms.
  3. Measure out the almond milk and add the lime juice to it. Let that stand for 5 minutes before using.
  4. In a large mixing bowl measure out and mix all your dry ingredients.
  5. Mix your wet ingredients (almond buttermilk, agave syrup, soaked chia seeds, and melted coconut oil), then add to your dry ingredients. Combine everything together. The batter will be sticky but not falling apart.
  6. Line a large baking sheet with some parchment paper. Place your batter in the middle of the sheet, and form a round, domed structure. Using a thin and sharp knife, cut your dough into six even pieces. Use your knife to separate the cur pieces out just a bit, but you don’t need to pull them apart. The scones will bake well and break of easily when they are done.
  7. Top the scones with some extra coconut flakes and sugar, then place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Let the scones cool for 15 minutes or so before serving, then enjoy with some butter and/or jam, like his 10 minute, no sugar added blueberry jam I shared some time ago.

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

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Easy, Soy-free Vegan Scramled “Eggs”

Soy-free Vegan Scrambled Eggs, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Most of us grew up eating eggs for breakfast, and some of us (me included) have also used eggs as a quick lunch or dinner. Going vegan did not come with simple instructions on how to replace eggs. Although there are some great online resources on how to replace eggs in baked goods, it is less clear how to make a simple egg-based breakfast without eggs. There are couple of products on the market and Follow Your Heart‘s VeganEgg is pretty decent, but could do with some optimization.

I have also been seeing people commenting that tofu scramble just does not do it for them, or that they really miss their breakfast eggs or burritos, and that they are getting bored with all the oatmeal or smoothies, which all of us with plant-based diets seem to be converging on as go-to breakfast items. So, I embarked on a bit of experimentation and I think I struck gold!

Or to be more specific struck a chickpea flour-based scrambled egg substitute that works relatively well. My special “egg” mix also includes flax meal, as well as tapioca starch as two ingredients that add a bit of stretchiness to the final scramble. I also added just a pinch of turmeric because it gives these eggs a nice, bright yellow color that is very close to the original – however you can skip it if you dislike the taste.

Many egg replacers include some Himalayan black salt, which owes its color to the presence of iron sulfide, and sulfides have that well-known rotten egg smell. So, adding them to egg replacers sends a strong “egg” signal to our receptors. However, it is the smell of rotten eggs, and I prefer my eggs not in state of any decay so I recommend against it. But if you liked your nostrils being tickled by the sulfide aroma, feel free to replace the plain salt below with the black one.

Although the “egg” mix will look a bit weird and have a thick, sort of custard-like consistency that’s OK. You will need to keep stirring the scramble as it cooks to get that nice scrambled egg look and feel. One down side of this recipe is that the “egg” mix needs some help since it is pretty bland tasting on its own. Here, I add some scallions and sun dried tomatoes, which really add a lot of flavor to the scramble. The add-ons are fully customizable and you can use onions, mushrooms, pesto, asparagus, peppers, hot sauce, vegan cheese, nutritional yeast, or any combination of these.

Hopefully, this recipe will bring the scrambled eggs back to your breakfast menu!

 

Soy-free Vegan Scrambled “Eggs”

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1 tablespoon flax meal

1 tablespoon tapioca starch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon turmeric (optional, for color only)

1 1/2 cup hot water

6 scallions (green onions), trimmed

1/2 cup (50 g) sun dried tomatoes, finely sliced

2 teaspoons olive oil

What you’ll do:

  1. Combine the first five ingredients (chickpea flour, tapioca starch, flax meal, salt and optionally turmeric) in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Add hot water in 1/2 cup increments and gradually, whisking as you add to avoid clumping. You may need to adjust the amount of liquid so do add the last 1/2 cup slowly. The mixture should have pudding-like consistency.
  2. Let the “scrambled egg” mix sit for 5 minutes or so.
  3. While the mix is resting, chop the scallions, both green and white bits, and the sun dried tomatoes.
  4. Place a large frying pan over the medium high heat, add the oil, and the chopped scallions and tomatoes. Brown the vegetables for few minutes.
  5. Pour the egg mix in, and stir occasionally allowing the mix to slightly brown.
  6. Serve with a slice of freshly toasted bread, an English muffin, a bagel, or wrap in a tortilla for a breakfast burrito. If you are serving with toast, use your fork to fluff the scramble up and give it a more of a scrambled egg look!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

Towards a Gluten-free Vegan Bread Loaf

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Kamut and Chickpea Fluor Vegan Loaf, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Imagine the smell of freshly baked bread spreading throughout your kitchen, and beyond… Cozy, sweet, homey, friendly and welcoming – the smell of freshly baked bread sends all those signals to our senses and more.

But, bread making and baking has always seemed too complicated and too impractical to me, especially since you can get an almost-freshly-baked loaf at any large supermarket these days. And if you live in Europe, small, local bakeries are likely on every street corner, offering really delightful breads made in small batches and very often available right out the oven.

Now, freshly baked gluten-free breads are far less widely available. And if you are looking for gluten-free and vegan breads, freshly baked or otherwise, you may be completely out of store-bought options because almost all gluten-free breads use either eggs or egg whites to give the bread structure in absence of gluten.

I’ve been tinkering with gluten-free baking a bit, and it’s generally forgiving if you are going for cookies, muffins, brownies, or pizza. But, making anything that needs to rise, and stay up, has been a challenge.

Enter bread machine! I recently purchased a basic bread machine model that offers couple of bread settings and loaf size and crust options, and have now used it to get very close to achieving the impossible, a loaf of 100% gluten-free vegan bread.

I’m not there yet but I think I’m getting closer. My most recent experiment used sprouted kamut (khorasan) flour, which is a wheat variety and therefore not gluten-free. But, khorasan flour seems to be easier to digest, especially when sprouted, and therefore better for people who are trying to avoid and/or minimize gluten for reasons other than allergy, celiac or intolerance. I’ve combined khorasan flour with chickpea flour, which is a gluten-free option, a mix of starches (corn and tapioca), and some flax meal. I also added some xantham gum into my dry ingredients as well as some baking powder. This baking powder is in addition to yeast and it helps the bread rise – gluten-free and low-gluten breads need all the help they can get! I meant mixed all the dry ingredients together before adding them to the bread machine.

Regarding the order of the ingredients, you must follow your bread machine instructions. Mine start with the liquids and end with instant rise yeast that is not supposed to touch the liquids directly, so it always added last into the dry ingredients.

If you have an option to select gluten-free setting, I recommend you use it. If not, you may want to play around with the timing a bit. Gluten-free breads tend to work best when they are allowed to rise only once, so you may want pick an express cycle or do a more manual prep if your machine does not have a gluten-free program. Here, I used French bread setting, 2 lbs (1 kg) loaf size, and medium crust on the basic Oster model.

The result is a very hearty loaf, with a good amount of chew, and a very nice nutty earthiness to it. You can enjoy it as is, with a salad, or with a quick jam, or homemade Nutella. The crunch and the aroma of freshly baked bread can’t be beat!!!

Vegan Kamut and Chickpea Flour Bread Loaf

What you’ll need:

1/4 cup oil, canola

1 3/8 cup (300 ml) water

2 cups khorasan flour, sprouted

3/4 cup chickpea flour

1/2 cup corn starch

1/2 cup tapioca starch

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons flax meal

1 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons quick-rise active yeast

What you’ll do:

  1. Add water and oil into your bread machine pan.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl mix all dry ingredients except the yeast. Add the dry ingredients to the wet.
  3. Using your finger make a small hole in your dry ingredients and add yeast to it.
  4. Close your bread machine, pick the appropriate cycle keeping in mind that this amount of ingredients is supposed to yield a 2 lbs (1 kg) loaf, and that you should preferably go with a gluten-free bread setting. If unavailable, you can use Express setting if the baking step is at least 40-50 minutes long. If none of this is what your bread machine offers in terms of options, go with the most basic program. You may need to re-adjust so approach this with an open and experimental mind. Remember: your perfect loaf is within your reach!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

Best 10-Minute No-Sugar Added Blueberry Jam

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10-Minute No-Sugar Added Blueberry Jam, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Let me try to make this post as short as the recipe itself. It’s probably already too long because, amazingly, you will need less than ten minutes to go from frozen blueberries to this instant blueberry jam!

The jam is sweet, spreadable and full of pure blueberry flavor. You can use it on anything you would normally put the jam on, and you can store it in the fridge for a week or so, although it will probably not last that long.

What’s the secret? Not much really. It all comes down to mixing frozen blueberries with tapioca starch in a large, microwave safe bowl and letting you microwave oven take care of the rest. You can have some warm jam on you pancakes but I recommend patience and letting the jam cool completely before enjoying!

10-Minute No-Sugar Added Blueberry Jam

What you’ll need:

3 cups blueberries, frozen

2 tablespoons tapioca starch

What you’ll do:

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, mix together blueberries and tapioca starch. Mix well until the blueberries are well covered with starch.
  2. Place in the microwave and microwave on full power for 5 minutes.
  3. Take the bowl out, mix well again and put back into the microwave oven for another 5 minutes.
  4. When the second 5 minutes are up, mix again and check that jam is starting to become dense.
  5. You can use both the warm and the cold blueberry jam on pancakes, toast, oatmeal…

You see… I told you it was short and it is absolutely sweet!!!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

 

10 Recipes I Could Enjoy Over and Over Again

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My favorite recipes of 2017, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

As 2017 was wrapping up, I took a look at the most popular posts on this blog, and the results were not really all that surprising. People liked Carrot Dogs, which continue to be popular, as well as jackfruit “crab” cakes, chicken-less tikka masala, a meaty veggie burger, and homemade ground beef substitute.

But, believe it or not, although I loved all of them, I loved some other recipes more. So, here is the list of 10 recipes I developed last year which I simply adore. I could make and enjoy each one of them over and over again, and I do make them every chance I have. The list below is organized from breakfast to dessert, and as you will see shows that I prefer things like soups and sandwiches, grilling and roasting, and really like the simplicity of a no-bake desserts. Simple, affordable, and delicious – these recipes really capture these three guiding principles of my cooking and eating style.

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  1. Gluten-free Sweet Potato Pancakes – these pancakes are an easy weekend breakfast or brunch that get all their sweetness from the roasted sweet potatoes. No eggs, no butter, no milk required! Making pancakes is a fun activity for the entire family and one of the best ways to fill your kitchen with inviting aromas and signal to the whole household that weekend is off to a great start. You can make these with all purpose flour as well, and use any topping you like – for me it’s usually sliced bananas and a drizzle of nut butter softened in the microwave for 30 seconds or so.
  2. New England Clam-less Chowder – this chowder is simply amazing and with the flavor and texture that matches the original extremely well. I discovered that jackfruit works really well is some of the dishes that traditionally use seafood, and I used it for the Chowder, together with potatoes and a dash of potato starch to give it that chowder texture. My secret ingredient here? Some seaweed wraps which I soaked to create a seafood tasting broth! With a squeeze of lemon and a dash of Old Bay Seasoning, there’s nothing better to put in your bowl except maybe…
  3. Creamy Cauliflower Winter Soup. If the chowder is complex, this soup is simple yet incredibly creamy. It is my favorite soup I’ve made thus far! The soup is nothing more than fresh cauliflower, boiled and creamed using a blender until smooth and silky. What completes the soup is some peas and corn, which I always have on hand in the freezer. The entire pot of soup is inexpensive and filling, cozy and perfect for the winter month, thus the name.
  4. DIY Sushi – I’d never felt brave enough to make my own sushi before, but I finally gave it a go about 6 months ago, and I loved it. My favorite sushi fillers are carrots, avocado and cucumber with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds, so veggie rolls for the win! But you can as reactive as you like. For example, I made a batch with mushy peas and pickled red cabbage, as well as with Seaweed Pearls -aka vegan caviar -from IKEA (!), and tomato “tuna”, which I still need to work on to make it come out perfect
  5. Faux-lobster Rolls – My love of seafood and fish alternatives does not stop at sushi and chowder, as these faux-lobster rolls prove. Some of you who tried were sold on this idea, some though they don’t even come close to the real deal. They work for me with heart of palms or artichoke hearts, both are yummy. What gives these rolls their lobster-y flavor is the seasoning, and to me nothing says “seafood” as much as the already mentioned Old Bay Seasoning, but you can adjust to match your flavor expectations and make them truly your own.
  6. Grilled Tofu Sandwich – I love sandwiches, which explains my selection of both the faux-lobster rolls and the grilled tofu sandwich where a spicy coleslaw completes the ensemble. Plus both of these are light and summer-field recipes that can bring sunshine to your plate even in the dead of winter! For best results you do need to drain and press the tofu – you don’t need to go wild here but
  7. Grilled Portobello Steaks – Grilling is one of the most powerful ways to maximize the umami flavors, and these portobello steaks are a great example of what grilling can do! Although you could grill most of the heartier vegetables and mushrooms as is, I think that marinating in a rich marinade that hits all the main tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, umami (savory), and salty) is a great strategy to get the most of your grilling. It definitely makes these hefty portobellos a stand out!
  8. Simple Summer Pasta Salad – this is absolutely the favorite pasta salad I’ve ever tried. There’s really nothing special about the ingredients – pasta, toasted almonds, olive oil, onion powder and fresh basil get tossed together and that’s that. But I could eat this one by the bucketful. Unlike many pasta salads that can be overwhelming, this one is light yet elegant, and you can serve it warm or cold. It also makes a great contribution to any pot luck!
  9. Shepherd’s Pie – this is the only more serious meal on this list, which is telling. The food I enjoy most is the one that comes together quickly without much fuss, but once in a while there’s an occasion to go wild and elaborate. This Shepherd’s Pie is a fantastic meal to make for a large family gathering. It will be a hit with both herbivores and omnivores in your lives, and it makes a lovely looking centerpiece. The meat replacement strategy here is to combine brown lentils with mushrooms and cook them with lots of rosemary and thyme for that amazing flavor.
  10. Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups – no round-up of favorite dishes is complete without some chocolate, and these dark chocolate cups full of creamy almond butter are a perfect treat. They are no-bake, and hassle-free, yet look and taste amazing. If you are looking for a way to impress your guests, these will do the trick. The almond butter filling is super-complementary to the dark chocolate exterior and balances the crunchy chocolate shell out well. If you are trying to avoid nuts, you could try using a nut butter alternatives. Those will work as well.

I hope you enjoy this list, and give these recipes a try. As I said, they were my very favorite!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

Vegan Zucchini Fruitcake

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Vegan Fruitcake with Zucchini, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Fruitcake has a bad reputation. Nobody loves it, yet puts up with it because of the tradition and whatnot. And although some of you may find it hard to believe, fruitcake can be really delicious!

In this veganized version of the milenia-old (oh, yes – fruitcake dates back to Ancient Rome) tradition, I skip the butter, extra sugar, and eggs and go really wild with dried fruits. I combined everything I could get my hands on – figs, dates, cranberries, apricots, prunes, and pineapple – with a nice selection of spices featuring orange and lime zest, as well as almond extract, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. I also used some finely grated, almost sauced, zucchini as a binder, and roughly chopped walnuts and red maraschino cherries for some added texture.

The key to this cake is soaking the fruit and although you could soak the fruit in rum, as is the custom, I soaked mine in water to avoid being too over the top with the flavors and the kick to the system this cake delivers. Although most of the alcohol would evaporate as the cake bakes, I wanted to keep this one rated G so that both kids and adults can enjoy as much of it as they like and decided to skip the rum altogether. At the end, the most important thing is to let the fruit soak in liquid (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) because that will help keep the cake moist and soft.

This fruitcake is pretty rich and filling. It makes for a lovely treat, as well as an excellent breakfast choice. It is definitely one more thing to add to your list of vegan Holiday treats and traditions, like the Peppermint Bark and the Gluten-free Sweet Potato Pancakes. If you are wondering whether this cake can be made gluten-free, the answer is yes, absolutely! Just use your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour and go for it.

 

 

Vegan Fruitcake with Zucchini

What you’ll need:

1 zucchini, small (1 1/2 cup grated)

5 medjool dates

15 dried apricots

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup dried pineapple

5 dried figs

1/3 cup prunes

1 cup maraschino cherries, drained and roughly chopped

1 cup flour

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1 tablespoon almond extract

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lime

 

What you’ll do:

  1. Combine all the dried fruits in a large bowl, cover with warm to hot water, and let soak for 30-60 minutes. Drain the fruit, pat dry to remove excess water, and chop to bits and pieces of different size. Place into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
  3. Grate the zucchini using a fine grater or a food processor. The finer the grating the better!
  4. Add the zucchini and the rest of the ingredients to the chopped fruit and mix well until everything is combined.
  5. Line the bread pan, or any other baking pan (I used a spring form pan because it makes getting the cake out a breeze), with some parchment paper. Pour in the fruitcake batter and spread around to form a 1.5 in (3-4 cm) thick layer. The cake will not rise much, and it will be quite moist, so don’t make it too thick as your surface will burn while you wait for your center to bake.
  6. Bake for 35 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake stand for at least 15 minutes, ideally an hour, before cutting and serving. Serve with some vegan whip cream, ice cream, or with a glass of eggnog, and enjoy the season!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Gluten-free Sweet Potato Pancakes

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Gluten-free Sweet Potato Pancakes, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

One thing that sweet potatoes have going for them is their amazing natural sweetness. Another thing they have going for them  is their price – they are super affordable. And, for those of you keeping a nutritional score, sweet potatoes are an amazing source of vitamins, fiber and even protein.

Speaking from a recipe developer’s perspective, sweet potatoes are a versatile ingredient that lends itself to a range of recipes, from main dishes to desserts. The very first recipe I shared on this blog was the Sweet Potato Butter. More recently, I used sweet potatoes as a key ingredient in a red curry. And now it’s time to introduce Gluten-free Sweet Potato Pancakes.

The key ingredient for the Gluten-free Sweet Potato Pancakes are the roasted sweet potatoes. Roasting sweet potatoes brings out their sweetness and adds nice caramelized overtones. Plus it makes the otherwise hard potatoes easy to mash. You could boil the sweet potatoes as well, or put them in the microwave for ten minutes to soften them up, but none of these methods will help the sweetness fully develop. So, unless you are in a super huge rush do take the time to roast your spuds. What I do is roast the whole pile of sweet potatoes at the same time and stash them into the refrigerator. Then I have a roasted sweet potato on hand to use for all sort of different applications, like these pancakes.

The pancake recipe asks for two large sweet potatoes, and I mean large. They should yield anywhere between cup and a half to two cups of sweet potato purée, so find some good, big specimens for this one. Roasting sweet potatoes could not be easier. You will need to wash the potatoes, pat them dry and place them on a baking sheet – I like to line mine with either parchment paper or aluminum foil to easy cleanup more than anything else. Put the baking sheet into a hot oven – I recommend 425 F (220 C) and roast the potatoes for about thirty to forty five minutes. Take them out and let them cool completely before handling. And thats’ why is handy to have a stockpile of roasted sweet potatoes in your fridge!

One note on the flour. This recipe is gluten-free and uses a combination of white rice flour and corn starch, but if you are not looking to restrict your gluten intake feel free to use all-purpose flour. In that case you can skip corn starch and you don’t need to replace it with anything else. Two cups of all-purpose flour should work well enough.

Gluten-free Sweet Potato Pancakes

What you’ll need:

2 large sweet potatoes, roasted and peeled

2 cups rice flour

3 tablespoons corn starch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons imitation maple syrup flavor (or vanilla extract)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3 cups vanilla almond milk, unsweetened

Cooking spray (optional)

Topping suggestions: fresh fruit, powdered sugar, jam, maple syrup, vegan butter or cream cheese, nut butter, melted vegan chocolate…

What you’ll do:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a large blender or a food processor. Blend untill a smooth, lump-free batter forms. Pour the batter into a large bowl – this will make it easier fo you to ladle out the pancakes. If you don’t a blender or a food processor, all this can be done by hand in an old fashioned, whisk-based sort of way. If you are doing everything by hand, do spend some time on mashing the sweet potatoes – the smoother you get them the better the pancakes. Let the batter rest for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place a large frying pan over high heat. You can also use a griddle if you have one. In both cases make sure your surface is nice and hot before using. You could spray with some cooking spray if needed – some pans have a lovely non-stick surface and you can definitely skip the oil.
  3. Pour out half a cup worth of the pancake batter per pancake. This should make 5 inch (12 cm) pancakes, and the amount of batter will be enough to serve 4 to 6 people. After the first 1-2 minutes lower the heat to medium-high and let the pancakes brown. You will know that it is time to flip them when the top surface becomes nice and bubbly and almost dry. Flip the pancakes, let them brown on the other side, which will take just a minute or two, them slide them to a serving plate. To keep the pancakes warm as you work you can keep the done batch in a warm oven or under some foil or a kitchen towel. To get the pan ready for a new batch increase the heat to high, let the pan come up to temperature again and repeat…
  4. Serve warm with any topping you like, fruit, maple syrup, powdered sugar, chocolate syrup… I used sliced banana and a drizzle of softened almond butter. Yummy!!!

Note: These pancakes freeze well, so if you do end up with leftovers, let them cool than place them into a freezer safe bag or container, and you’ll have great pancakes to enjoy on another day. One trick to prevent frozen pancakes for sticking to each other is to use wax paper to separate the pancakes. You can separate them one by one, two by two, three by three, whatever is you preferred serving size. Then, when you are in a need for a quick breakfast, snack or even dessert you can take the batch out with ease. I usually zap mine in a microwave for a minute or so and they are ready. You can also use a toaster oven to heat them up, just remember that the toaster oven will dry them out a bit, so they will come out a bit less soft.

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Baked Sunflower Seed Cheese – Deluxe Edition

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Baked Sunflower Seed Cheese – Deluxe Edition, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Hooray – a plant-based cheese success story!!! Believe me, the three exclamation points are not for nothing as I’ve had my fair share of plant-based cheese disasters. But, let us not dwell on failure and talk about this latest, greatest treasure I discovered. Like my vegan fresh mozzarella experiment that was out of this world delicious, this Baked Sunflower Cheese is fully based on a lovely recipe created by another person. Credit for today’s recipe goes to Sweet Potato Soul, a lovely and so bright and cheerful vegan food blog by Jenné (you can also follow her on Twitter @SweetPotatoSoul).

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Baked Sunflower Seed Cheese topped with slivered almond, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

I was looking for something to do with sunflower seeds and this recipe popped up. The recipe is simple and follows the same logic of plant-based cheese making – you soak in this case the seeds but more often the nuts overnight, and then you process them with flavor and umami agents of your choice. Jenné’s recipe uses a nice combination of ingredients that all play well together with the raw sunflower seeds, so other than adjusting the amount of lemon juice and miso paste, I increased both, and dialing down the nutritional yeast, I followed all the rest.

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Baked Sunflower Seed Cheese on a cutting board, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

My main point of departure was at the end. Once I’ve chopped and blended everything in the food processor I used my muffin tin to form small individual cheeses. I sprayed the muffin tins with some olive oil cooking spray, and packed the cheese mix into the molds tightly. I let it firm up in the fridge overnight and the next day I inverted the individual cheeses out, topped them with couple of different toppings (capers, slivered almonds, sun dried tomatoes, and hot sauce), placed them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and baked them at 350 F (175 C) for 10-15 minutes, just enough for the individual cheeses to warm up and the topping to caramelize.

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Slivered Almonds topped Baked Sunflower Seed Cheese, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

I served the cheeses at a party, with some crackers (and couple of other goodies), and it was amazing!!! Pictures here tell only half a story, so make thus cheese and see for yourself how the story ends.

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Baked Sunflower Seed Cheese topped with capers, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Note: I stored the leftover cheese in the fridge and used it the next day to make wonderful sandwiches with roasted red pepper hummus and the cold Baked Sunflower Seed Cheese. Yummy!

 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Coconut Bread Pudding: So Yummy, Good for the Tummy

Easy Coconut Bread Pudding
Easy (and Vegan) Coconut Bread Pudding, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

A lovely dessert is always a welcome ending for a great meal. I have a major sweet tooth, but I am not a great baker and cake maker. So, my desserts are usually no-bake, like the Chocolate Bon Bons and the Blueberry Cheesecake, or simple cookies, muffins and crumbles that are full of fruit and really forgiving when it comes to exact measurements.

Still, none of those come even close to the simplicity and versility of my Coconut Bread Pudding. This bread pudding requires no prior knowledge of baking techniques, and uses plant-based ingredients. The final product is deliciously sweet, comforting and satisfying, so you can eat it as a dessert, as well as breakfast or brunch.

In terms of the skills required to make this wonder bread pudding happen, you only need how to mix and soak. The recipe starts with a super easy wet mix which you can whisk in a flash. Then comes bread which you can cut up or break into chunks by hand. The best type of bread to use here is a spongy one, because the main thing the bread needs to do is soak up the wet ingredients. One trick people sometimes use is to leave a loaf of bread on the kitchen counter for a day or so, and use this, slightly stale bread, to make the bread pudding. In my opinion there’s no reason to do this on purpose, but if you have stale bread on your hands then transforming it into a bread pudding is the way to go! Regardless whether you use fresh or stale bread, you should give your bread chunks time to soak up all the juices before taking the next step, so leave them in the wet mix for at least fifteen minutes.

Once the bread is ready, add raisins and shredded coconut, mix gently, pour into a baking dish and about half an hour later you will have a kitchen that smells like heaven and a bread pudding that tastes like paradise!

Coconut Bread Pudding

What you’ll need:

6 slices of bread, cubed (or about 1/2 of a large bread loaf)

1 cup almond milk

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened

1/4 cup raisins

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Cooking spray


What you’ll do:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 400 F (205 C).
  2. Chop the bread into 1 x 1 in (2.5 x 2.5 cm). Note that these are approximate measures and you don’t have to go crazy here. The point is to have bread chunks that can hold their shape yet have enough surface area to soak up all the liquid. If you are using stale bread you can go smaller. If you like your bread pudding to maintain more of your bread dough texture go bigger! Place the bread chunks into a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl (or a large soup plate, which is my preferred way) mix the wet ingredients, everything except raisins and coconut flakes.
  4. Pour over the bread chunks and gently fold everything together. Be gentle here if your bread is very soft because you don’t want to end up with a mushy mess. Larger bread chunks and more rustic bread can take a bit more beating but do proceed with caution. Let the mix rest for at least 15 minutes.
  5. When the bread has soaked up (almost all) the liquid, add raisins and coconut flakes and mix gently. At this point your bread chunks will be fragile and mushy so you want to preserve their structural integrity as much as possible so give your pudding a more interesting texture.
  6. Spray a bottom of a deep 8 x 8 in (20 x 20 cm) baking dish with cooking spray and pour the bread mix in.
  7. Put in the oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Keep an eye on your oven, as you want the top of your bread pudding to be nice and brown. Let it cool for a moment or two and dig in. You can sprinkle powdered sugar on top of you like, or add some fresh fruit if you are feeling adventurous!

Enjoy for breakfast, brunch, snack, dessert… Sky is the limit!

Copyright ©Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Good Morning, Sunshine! Smoothie

Good Morning, Sunshine! Smoothie, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

It’s a bit ridiculous to share a smoothie recipe like it is a thing. After all, smoothie is nothing more than throwing couple of things in a blender and pressing a button. But, I’ve now made this version a few times, never straying from the original recipe and it is a keeper. Even people who usually refuse to drink almond milk were able to get behind this one, so I decided to share it with the world.

The recipe is super fast, super easy, super cheap, super convenient – all in a real superlative fest! All you need is a banana, five frozen strawberries, some almond milk, preferably unsweetened and vanilla flavored, a dash of unsweetened coconut flakes and a sprinkle of vegan mini chocolate chips. These last two ingredients are completely optional but they do elevate this smoothie to the seventh heaven.

I do recommend using frozen whole strawberries. First of all, they have great flavor all year round as most brands use the best looking whole strawberries for freezing. Note that you should stay away from chopped frozen strawberries because I am not so sure that you can tell what those looked likes before they were chopped, and you should definitely check that strawberries are the only ingredient in the bag, just to be on the safe side. Frozen whole strawberries are usually cheaper than fresh, and they are really handy to have on hand in your freezer to use for smoothies, or other recipes. For the purpose of this recipe you can definitely use fresh strawberries if you have some. In that case you may want to add an ice cube or two, if you like your smoothie cold. The benefit of using frozen strawberries is that no extra ice is needed – they give this smoothie a nice, subtle chill that is just fabulous for summer breakfast at home or on the go.

Final note for those who like a sturdier breakfast. This smoothie is light, has no added sugar and a minimal amount of fat that comes from the almond milk, coconut flakes and the mini chocolate chips. If you want to make this smoothie thicker and more filling, you can simply add two to three spoonfuls of rolled oats. If you are adding oats, I recommend you letting the smoothie rest for five minutes or so before enjoying to let the oats soften just a smidge.

Good Morning, Sunshine! Smoothie

What you’ll need:

1 banana

5 frozen whole strawberries (fresh will work too!)

1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened, vanilla flavor

1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips, vegan (like Enjoy Life) (optional)

2-3 tablespoons rolled oats (optional)

What you’ll do:

  1. Place chopped banana, strawberries and almond milk into a blender. If you are using oats add them now. Blend until smooth and to consistency you like.
  2. Pour into a glass or a travel jug if you are taking it on the road.
  3. Sprinkle coconut flakes and chocolate chips and walk into the sunlight, figuratively and/or literally!

Copyright ©Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Quick and Easy French Toast

Vegan French Toast
Vegan French Toast, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
There’s nothing easier than French toast – and nothing that brings as much smiles and sunshine to the breakfast table. The secret to a great French toast is the bread, and my preferred kind is of a spongy variety. After all, the point is to get as much as that rich, delicious egg mixture absorbed. Except that for vegans, French toast may seem unattainable given all the eggs, milk, cream and butter that go into it.

Well in the same way I shattered your misconception that you have to kiss your popovers goodbye if you decide to go 100% plant-based, I will now share the amazingly easy and wonderful way to make vegan French toast.

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Vegan French Toast with Strawberries and Powdered Sugar, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Quick and Easy French Toast

(4 servings, with 3 slices per serving)

What you’ll need:

12 slices bread, soft and spongy

6-8 oz (170-225 g) silken tofu

1 1/2 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 cups strawberries

1-2 tablespoon powdered sugar

Cooking cooking spray


What you’ll do
:

  1. Place all the ingredients, except bread, strawberries and powdered sugar into a blender and blend until well aerated and smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into a flat bottom dish big enough for two pieces of bread to soak at the same time side by side. Common pie dish works really well for this.
  3. Soak the bread for couple of minutes, flipping once.
  4. Spray the bottom of a frying pan or a griddle with some cooking spray and bring the heat to high. Place the soaked bread on hot surface and cook for 1-2 minutes on high than 1-2 minutes on medium heat. Flip over and repeat the same process to finish off the second side.
  5. Serve with fresh cut strawberries and a dusting of powdered sugar. You can also go for vegan butter, coconut flakes, chopped nut topping, maple syrup, jam, or a drizzle of melted super-dark chocolate. Regardless of what you choose to top this French toast with, it will bring joy to your breakfast!

 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Easy Spanakopita Rolls

 

Easy Spanakopita
Easy Spanakopita Rolls, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Let me describe Greek and Middle Eastern pies. They are made using very thin sheets of dough, called phyllo dough, and than build by either interleaving layers of phyllo dough with a filling or by rolling/holding the filling in phyllo pockets or rolls. As you can imagine, these pies are diverse and varied, as many different ingredients can be made into an amazing pie filling. If you still have trouble picturing what one of these pies may look like just think of baklava, probably the most famous of phyllo based pies.

Some of my favorite phyllo pies are cheese pie, mushroom pie and spinach pie. This last one has been brought to the frozen sections of most grocery store chain in US and known as spanakopita.

Traditionally, spanakopita recipe uses spinach as a central ingredient and combines it with cheese, eggs and onions to create either a rolled or layered pie that is served both warm and cold, usually accompanied by a yogurt drink.

Now I offer you a vegan version of this pastry that uses almonds and nutritional yeast as a substitute for cheese and eggs. Here I used store bought phyllo dough sheets precut into triangles that I picked up in an Indian store. You can use any phyllo dough you like, or make your own.

The spanakopita rolls come together quickly and bake to a lovely, crispy appetizers that are easy to pass around. They are also a great breakfast item, a quick snack or a dinner add-on. As I mentioned, you can eat them hot or cold, but they are really the best served fresh from the oven as while their phyllo dough exterior is crunchy. They will get soft as they sit for few hours or overnight so if you plan to serve them the next day you’ll need to reheat them in a toaster oven.

 

Spanakopita Rolls

(Makes 24 rolls)

What you’ll need:

24 triangle-shaped thick phyllo dough sheets (or thinner phyllo dough sheets stacked 2-3 together and cut to triangle pieces)

4 cups frozen spinach

1 cup almonds, dry roasted

1/4 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Olive oil, or olive oil cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the 400 F (200 C).
  2. Soak the almonds in cold water for 1-2 hours at room temperature or in the fridge overnight. Drain to remove excess water, add nutritional yeast and lemon juice, and start grinding to a fine paste, adding the almond milk slowly. You may not need the whole 1/4 cup or you may need a bit more – you be the judge because what you are looking for is a nice smooth  consistency of a paste, not a sauce.
  3. Place frozen spinach in a large mixing bowl and purée using a hand held immersion (stick) blender. You can also purée the spinach in a food processor.
  4. Combine spinach with the almond paste and mix well. Add the spices and mix again.
  5. Lay out the piece of phyllo on a flat surface, spray with cooking spray, or drizzle a drop or two off olive oil, and spoon 2-3 tablespoons of spinach pie filling onto the long end of the pastry then roll towards the tip. Tuck the ends in and place on a baking sheet. I like to line my baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up, but that’s not really needed.
  6. Once all your rolls are ready, spray the tops with cooking spray or drizzle oil, and put in the oven for 25-30 minutes. You want the tops golden brown.
  7. Let the spanakopita rolls cool for 10-15 minutes and serve.

 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017