Summary: When we think of sweet potatoes, we usually envision Thanksgiving dinner. However, this vitamin-packed, naturally sweet vegetable is great during any season. Did you realize that sweet potatoes are high in fiber, and filled with vitamin C, potassium, vitamins B3, B5 and B6, copper and magnesium? They're one of the most nutritious foods you could ever place inside your mouth. And so good! If you have leftover applesauce, this recipe is a great way to utilize it.

When we think of sweet potatoes, we usually envision Thanksgiving dinner. However, this vitamin-packed, naturally sweet vegetable is great during any season. Did you realize that sweet potatoes are high in fiber, and filled with vitamin C, potassium, vitamins B3, B5 and B6, copper and magnesium? They’re one of the most nutritious foods you could ever place inside your mouth. And so good! If you have leftover applesauce, this recipe is a great way to utilize it. You can take this casserole to a Fourth of July potluck as a side dish, or serve it at home with a salad and/or loaf of gluten-free bread. The possibilities are endless! For a festive touch, we used purple sweet potatoes for our recipe, but you can use the more common orange ones, as well.

INGREDIENTS

4 cups sweet potatoes (approximately 4 small or 2 large)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt (NOT the iodized variety)
pinch of ground nutmeg or cloves
1 cup chopped pecans
extra pinch of cinnamon for topping

INSTRUCTIONS

Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and roast in your oven at 450 degrees for 1 hour until thoroughly soft. Remove from oven and cut in half. Allow the pieces to cool. Scoop the softened portion from the skin and discard or eat the skin. Place sweet potato pulp in blender or food processor with the applesauce and combine thoroughly. Melt the coconut oil in a pan on your stovetop and pour into mixture. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg (or cloves), and salt and continue blending. Your mixture should be smooth and creamy, but not runny.

Ladle the mixture into a square baking pan and sprinkle chopped pecans across the top. Be sure to spread them evenly. Add a sprinkle of extra cinnamon if you desire. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes until the casserole bubbles slightly around the edges, and the pecans are a dark brown color (but not burned).

Remove from oven and allow to cool on your counter. Serves 4-6 people as a generous side dish. This casserole is so sweet, you can even enjoy it as a dessert! Pairs well with a side of vegetables, salad, brown rice, quinoa, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. If you have leftovers, cover tightly and keep them in the refrigerator. Delicious whether hot or cold! And don’t forget the gluten-free beer or wine. Every day is a reason for celebration! Bon Appetit.

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Summary: Morning glory muffins have been a favorite of ours for many years. However, when we started pursuing a vegan, gluten-free diet, we discovered that many of our favorite coffee shops had left us out in the cold when it came to these delectable muffins. Almost all of the recipes use butter, eggs and/or milk. This makes them decidedly off-limits. If you love morning glory muffins as much as we do, you may have experienced this depressing scenario, yourself. Have no fear! We've discovered a recipe that utilizes your favorite ingredients -- raisins, walnuts, apples, etc. However, it substitutes flax seeds for eggs, and coconut oil for butter.

Morning glory muffins have been a favorite of ours for many years. However, when we started pursuing a vegan, gluten-free diet, we discovered that many of our favorite coffee shops had left us out in the cold when it came to these delectable muffins. Almost all of the recipes use butter, eggs and/or milk. This makes them decidedly off-limits. If you love morning glory muffins as much as we do, you may have experienced this depressing scenario, yourself. Have no fear! We’ve discovered a recipe that utilizes your favorite ingredients — raisins, walnuts, apples, etc. However, it substitutes flax seeds for eggs, and coconut oil for butter. The result is a melt-in-your-mouth concoction that will leave you wanting more!

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons flax seeds plus 6 tablespoons water
1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (lighter is better)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cloves
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (almond is great!)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 apple, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins (use golden variety for a special treat)
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix the flax seeds with water and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg or cloves. Melt coconut oil on stove and combine in a second, larger bowl with flax mixture, coconut oil, vanilla, applesauce, coconut sugar, and non-dairy milk. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Your batter should be moist but not runny. Add carrots, walnuts, raisins, apple chunks, and coconut and make sure they’re evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Grease a 12-muffin pan with additional coconut oil, or use paper liners. Pour the batter into each receptacle. Bake in a pre-heated, 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Your kitchen will smell good enough to eat! The muffins are done when you stick a fork or toothpick in the middle, and it comes out clean.

If you play your cards right, you’ll have twelve muffins that are more or less the same size. They’re great for breakfast, lunch, or as a mid-afternoon snack. Though small, they’re surprisingly hearty and really pack a wallop! You can eat them as is (scrumptious!) or with a dab of vegan butter. If you invite folks over to your house for muffins, they’ll be your friends for life. Enjoy!

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Summary: Nothing is more festive than cranberries, yet we often don’t use these tart little fruits for anything except sauce. (We’re going to assume that you eschew canned cranberries entirely. If not, we don’t want to know about it). When you finish making your own sauce from scratch, you often have a lot of berries left over. What to do? After Thanksgiving ended, we found ourselves in such a predicament. Fortunately, we discovered this recipe, and it saved the day. The addition of applesauce adds sweetness, moisture and density.

cranberry bread

Nothing is more festive than cranberries, yet we often don’t use these tart little fruits for anything except sauce. (We’re going to assume that you eschew canned cranberries entirely. If not, we don’t want to know about it). When you finish making your own sauce from scratch, you often have a lot of berries left over. What to do?

After Thanksgiving ended, we found ourselves in such a predicament. Fortunately, we discovered this recipe, and it saved the day. The addition of applesauce adds sweetness, moisture and density. You’ll love it!

INGREDIENTS
2 ½ cups gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill has several varieties. We used white rice flour for this recipe).
1 cup turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons xanthum gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon sea salt (not the commercial, iodized kind)
1 ½ cup applesauce (organic, please!)
½ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup coconut milk
1 cup fresh cranberries

OPTIONAL ADD-IN INGREDIENTS
½ cup chopped walnuts and/or pecans
¼ cup poppy seeds

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl. When combined, add in the wet ingredients and stir thoroughly by hand or with a mixer. We used a large spoon and it worked fine. Stir in cranberries. The applesauce will bind the mixture together and give it a creamy yet solid texture. It should neither be stiff nor runny.

Grease one large or two small bread pans with coconut oil. Pour batter into pan (s) until about ¾ full. Because of the density of the applesauce, the bread will not rise much, so you needn’t worry about overflow. Bake for 45 minutes-1 hour. You can employ the time-tested fork or toothpick method in the center of the bread to see whether its done. Your kitchen will smell so wonderful, you might not ever want the baking to end. Be careful not to burn this bread!

Serve as is (scrumptious!) or with Earth Balance, organic preserves, vegan cream cheese (we love Kite Hill the most), etc. Be creative! Serves 8-10 hungry people. This bread won’t last! If you make two mini-loaves, you can always wrap one of them in festive paper, tie a ribbon around it, and give it as a gift to someone you love. Enjoy the bounty of the season, and happy holidays, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Solstice, or something else.

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