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You Won’t Be Able to Stop Eating This Vegan, Gluten-Free Rhubarb/Pear/Almond Crumble!

It already feels like autumn where we live, and we’re craving warmer, heartier foods. Of course, sweet desserts are delicious any time of the year. We recently modified a traditional rhubarb/pear/almond crumble recipe by substituting Earth Balance for butter, and gluten-free flour for the whole wheat kind. Our results were stellar. You’ll keep going back to the pan for this dessert — again, and again and again. Try your hardest not to devour the entire thing!

FILLING INGREDIENTS

2-3 Bartlett pears, depending on size (red is great, but yellow will do)
2 long stalks fresh rhubarb
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup lightly packed turbinado or coconut sugar
1/2 cup light gluten-free flour (We like Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose)
fresh grated zest of one lemon
pinch of sea salt

CRUMBLE INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
1/4 cup lightly packed turbinado sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 teaspoons vegan butter or margarine such as Earth Balance

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and toast the almonds for 5-10 minutes until slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside. Cut pears into thin slices and cut rhubarb into small chunks. The rhubarb’s texture may seem much harder than the pear’s, but both will soften nicely while baking and achieve the same consistency. Using a large bowl, mix the pears and rhubarb together with the other filling ingredients. Set on counter to marinate for 10-15 minutes.

Grab another bowl and combine the crumble ingredients, except for the butter or margarine. Cut the butter or margarine into small pieces and stir into the mixture. It’s okay if it comes out a bit lumpy, since the butter/margarine will melt in the oven, anyway! No point in worrying when you’re so close to your goal!

Pour the filling into a square pan and spread evenly. Spread the crumble mixture across the top and sprinkle with additional cinnamon, if desired. A little bit of cinnamon goes a long way! Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool, but not too much! Your crumble is best served hot.

Call 3-4 of your best friends and tell them to come over immediately, so the dessert won’t be gone before they arrive. The crumble serves 4-5 people with ease. We love it as is, but you can get fancy with added vegan ice cream and/or whipped cream. With so much sugar, this dessert is not a diet food, but it IS 100% vegan, gluten-free, and scrumptious. Welcome, autumn!

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All-American Apple Pie That Just Happens to be Gluten-Free and Vegan!

Fourth of July is almost here, and for many folks, this day means barbeques and picnics. Quite a few of us have fond memories of chowing down slice after slice of apple pie. Even if you’re following a vegan, gluten-free diet, you don’t have to miss out on this aspect of the celebration! Our version is beyond delicious. The crust’s rich, buttery flavor comes from coconut oil. We made a lattice-style crust, because we like its visual appeal. You’ll be delighted by this scrumptious delicacy!

PIE INGREDIENTS
5-6 apples, sliced, peeled, and cut into chunks (try a variety of different apples for a flavor kick)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2/3 cup coconut sugar
4 tablespoons plant-based milk (coconut or almond is best)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon tapioca flour

CRUST INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/4 cup almond meal (also known as almond flour)
1 1/4 cup gluten-free pastry flour (plus more for rolling)
2/3 cups water

INSTRUCTIONS

Place coconut sugar in 1 tablespoon coconut oil and fry on stovetop until slightly bubbly. Do not burn! Add milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and apples, and continue heating for about 10 minutes. The apples should be a bit soft, but they don’t need to be cooked through. Add tapioca flour and cook for another 1-2 minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from stovetop and set aside.

Prepare crust by combining flours and coconut oil with water. The dough should be pliable but not sticky. Add more flour if the dough adheres to your fingers. Separate dough in half. Grease a pie pan with coconut oil or Earth Balance. Take the first dough section and press it across the entire bottom of the pan, creating a thin and level surface. Press dough around the edges of the pie pan with your fingers. You can tamp down the edges with a fork.

Pour apples into the pie pan, spreading them evenly. Depending on the size of your other dough half, you can either roll out a circle and place it over the top of the pie, or create a lattice crust with long, narrow dough strips. Either way, your pie will look lovely and taste delicious!

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Cool on countertop, but don’t let it get cold. Apple pie tastes best hot and fresh from the oven! Serve as is, or with some vegan ice cream or whipping cream. Serves 4-6, and if you have leftovers, they’ll keep in your refrigerator for several days. Happy Independence Day!

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Our Yummy, Vegan and Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Will Fill You With Summer Nostalgia

Many of us have fond summer memories of sitting outside in the warm sun, digging into generous helpings of pineapple upside-down cake. Of course, the traditional recipe utilizes eggs and milk, but these ingredients aren’t necessary for our delicious version. Our recipe uses fresh pineapple instead of canned. Colorful pomegranate seeds replace the usual Maraschino cherries. We recently baked this dessert for a Memorial Day barbeque, and were delighted by the stellar results. Try it for yourself, and we think you’ll agree.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped into small chunks
1/4 cup coconut oil
scant cup plant-based milk (coconut or almond works best)
juice of 1/2 lemon
8 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/4 cups almond meal
1 1/4 cups all purpose, gluten-free flour
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder (make sure it’s aluminum-free)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pomegranate seeds for topping (optional)
Vegan whipping cream (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Grease a square baking pan with vegan butter, coconut oil, or other oil of your choosing. Line the bottom of the pan with the pineapple chunks, making sure they are evenly distributed and not too lumpy. Melt the coconut oil, keeping a watchful eye so it won’t burn. Pour oil in a large bowl and add the milk, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and almond meal. Stir thoroughly, then add flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well until the mixture is moist but not runny. Add additional flour if mixture is too moist, or milk if it’s too stiff. It should have a slightly fluffy texture.

Ladle the batter into the baking pan, making sure it is evenly spread across the pineapple chunks. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. You can employ the toothpick or fork-in-the-middle method to see whether it’s done. Remove your cake from the oven and set on your counter to cool. Once it’s cooled, you can flip the cake over onto a large plate. If you like, decorate your creation with a pomegranate seed garnish (or fresh, de-pitted cherries, if you prefer). Serve as is, or get fancy with some vegan whipped cream.

Serves 4-6 happy people with ease. This cake keeps well in your refrigerator, securely covered, for several days. We sincerely doubt that it will be around that long. It works well as a dessert, but certain individuals have been known to enjoy it as a breakfast food. We won’t reveal their names. Enjoy your cake, and welcome to summer. At last!

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Red Beans and Cauliflower “Rice”– Vegan, Gluten-Free, and So Easy to Make!

Sometimes, you want to whip up a delicious, filling vegan meal without a lot of fuss and expense. Maybe you have less than an hour to prepare a dish that your whole family — or table of friends — will love. Never fear! This stellar red bean-based dish utilizes cauliflower “rice.” In other words, the finely shredded cauliflower looks like rice, and its texture is quite similar. You and your guests will be amazed! The whole process is much easier than you might think. Here’s how:

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green, red, or yellow bell pepper
1 large head cauliflower, chopped
3 15-ounce cans of red beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Optional garnishes: chopped cilantro, avocado, sliced jalapenos, chopped arugula, chopped tomatoes, salsa, diced scallions, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add chopped onions. Fry onions on medium heat for about five minutes until they become translucent. Add chopped pepper and celery and continue frying for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are cooked through. The aroma will be heavenly! Meanwhile, place cauliflower chunks in food processor and grind them until they attain a granulated, slightly powdery consistency. You won’t believe they aren’t actually rice! Add the cauliflower “rice” to vegetables, along with the red beans and spices. Fry for another 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. You can adjust the seasoning level according to your individual tastes. We like ours spicy, but you may feel differently. Experiment and enjoy!

This delightful dish pairs well with gluten-free corn tortillas and an almost endless variety of toppings. We garnished ours with sliced avocados, chopped cilantro, and thin slices of jalapenos and were delighted with the results. Other topping choices include chopped tomato, scallions, salsa (homemade is best) and chopped arugula. Use your imagination! You can also enjoy this dish with gluten-free, vegan beer or wine (check www.barnivore.com to see if your beverage is vegan).

Your simple, but scrumptious meal will serve 4-6 hungry people. You can store it in your refrigerator, reheat the leftovers, and enjoy them for a couple of days. They will taste just as delicious as before! The dish is amazingly filling and satisfying, and your guests will be delighted by its robust flavor. You’ll want to make it again and again! Be sure to save room for dessert.

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Three Delicious Vegan Wine and Beer Varieties For Your Winter Celebrations

The beginning of winter is often a time of celebration, as we chase away the gloom with eating, drinking, and socializing. Some of us opt for a more “hygge” approach and like to cuddle up by the fire alone, or with someone we love, wrapped in a cozy blanket. A good vegan beer or wine is perfect for either scenario.

two heartedMany people assume that all beer and wine is vegan, if they even give it a thought. They’re made from fermented grains or grapes, right? We were dismayed to discover that many companies utilize animal products in the manufacturing process. When drinks are filtered before bottling, they often use such substances as isinglass (made from fish bladders), gelatin, egg whites, and sea shells. Unfortunately, vegan beer and wine companies don’t label their products to show they’re safe for consumption by folks who eschew animal products. However, a quick perusal of the internet can help. If you need a few suggestions to help you get started, here’s a handy list.

Deschutes Brewery, www.deschutesbrewery.com. This Bend, Oregon-based brewery is almost completely vegan, with the exception of a few specialty brews. Its beer is available in 28 different states, so you should have an easy time finding it, especially if you live on the west coast. According to their FAQ section: “We do not use animal products in the cellaring or brewing process. The clarifying agent we use in our brewhouse is made from Irish Moss, a red algae. However, experimental beers brewed at our pubs sometimes use lactose, isinglass, honey or other specialty ingredients, but we call it out in the description listed on the menu.” Their popular Jubelale is great for your holiday festivities. Available from October through December, this robust, vegan brew boasts notes of cocoa, dried fruit, and toffee. You and your guests will love it!

Frey Winery, www.freywine.com. Mendocino-based Frey makes the claim of being “America’s first biodynamic winery.” They hold 90 percent of their land as a natural habitat for plants and animals. Since 1980, they have produced vegan, gluten-free wines with no added sulfites. Their 2015 Biodynamic Syrah utilizes the flavors of layered fig, anise, briar and bay leaf. It’s a delicious, elegant accompaniment to any holiday meal.

Bell’s Brewery, www.bellsbeer.com. The Kalamazoo-based brewery is constantly rolling out new varieties of beer, and almost all of them are vegan. Their popular Two-Hearted Ale is a smooth, vegan IPA, dark and not too hoppy. It’s available all year but is perfect for winter consumption. Brewed with 100 percent Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest and named after a river in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this brew never disappoints. You can enjoy it with almost every meal. Unfortunately, if you live west of the Mississippi, you’ll have a hard time locating it, and Michigan state law forbids shipping beer to other states. But it’s ubiquitous in the Midwest and East Coast, so check your favorite store or pub.

All of these offerings are available at stores. If you’re at your local supermarket and can’t find any of them, www.barnivore.com is a great resource for determining which alcoholic beverages are vegan. Just tap a product name into Barnivore’s handy search bar, and the site will let you know if it’s vegan-friendly. There are nearly 43,000 companies in their database. Enjoy responsibly!

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