Summary: This meal is vegan, gluten-free, and amazing. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins. They are the perfect autumnal dish. The addition of homemade peanut sauce creates an additional, zesty flavor that will have your friends and family members coming back for more.

sweet potatoMost of the time, we have no idea what to do with sweet potatoes. When we were growing up, our parents treated them as a holiday side dish. Often, they were served from a can and doused with marshmallows. We endured this travesty because we didn’t know any better. Later, we discovered the fresh variety, but remained clueless about how to prepare these hardy, delicious vegetables. They were relegated to the background, and we rarely consumed them, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So, when we discovered this recipe for roasted sweet potatoes with red peppers and spicy peanut sauce, we became excited. This meal is vegan, gluten-free, and amazing. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins. They are the perfect autumnal dish. The addition of homemade peanut sauce creates an additional, zesty flavor that will have your friends and family members coming back for more.

SAUCE INGREDIENTS
½ cup creamy peanut butter (organic and sugar-free, please)
¼ cup tamari (not commercial soy sauce, which contains wheat)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
I teaspoon grated, fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons water

ROASTED VEGETABLES
2 sweet potatoes, cubed and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
¼ teaspoon cumin powder
Dash of sea salt

GARNISHES
2-3 green onions, chopped
Crushed peanuts
Chopped fresh cilantro
Sriracha sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes with 1 ½ tablespoon of oil and add cumin and a pinch of salt. Place in large pan or cookie sheet, spreading pieces so they don’t overlap. Roast on center rack of oven for a total of 40 minutes. While the potatoes are roasting, toss chopped red pepper with salt and ½ tablespoon oil and arrange in smaller pan. About 15 minutes after you put the potatoes in the oven, place the pan with the peppers on the top rack of oven. Take this opportunity to turn the sweet potatoes over. Continue roasting the potatoes and the peppers for 25 minutes (total time for potatoes 40 minutes, total time for peppers 25 minutes), turning the peppers over after 10-15 minutes. Vegetables should be slightly browned and caramelized around the edges.

Meanwhile, cook 1 ¼ cups brown or white jasmine rice on stovetop or rice cooker until water is absorbed. Prepare the sauce in a large bowl and set aside. When rice and vegetables are done, scoop rice into dish, top with roasted vegetables, and then pour a generous dollop of peanut sauce on top. Add liberal amounts of your favorite garnishes and dig in!

This meal serves 3-4 people and can be served alone or with your favorite beverage. It’s hearty and delicious, and we doubt that you’ll have any left over. Perhaps you should make some more tomorrow.

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Summary: The chilly autumnal temperatures may have you longing for a warmer climate. However, if you lack the time and/or money for an impromptu tropical vacation, this zesty dish is the next best thing. It’s exotic, inexpensive, and incredibly easy to prepare. Our sweet-and-sour ...

tempeh
The chilly autumnal temperatures may have you longing for a warmer climate. However, if you lack the time and/or money for an impromptu tropical vacation, this zesty dish is the next best thing. It’s exotic, inexpensive, and incredibly easy to prepare. Our sweet-and-sour recipe calls for diced tempeh, rather than meat. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and filling! Tempeh is packed with protein, calcium, and vitamins and has a subtly nutty flavor that will please your taste buds. The addition of coconut oil enhances the tropical flair. Here’s how to get the feel of the islands without leaving your kitchen:

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons tamari (not commercial soy sauce, which contains wheat)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup rice vinegar
¼ cup ketchup (get a good organic variety, and check label to make sure there’s no soy sauce)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
½ cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 8-ounce packages of tempeh
1 large green, red, or yellow pepper
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks (not canned!)
5 cloves fresh garlic
½ red onion
Cooked basmati or jasmine rice

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine tamari, cornstarch, rice vinegar, ketchup, turbinado sugar, and water in large bowl and stir briskly until thoroughly combined. If you like your dish sweet, add a little extra sugar. If you like it sour, add some extra rice vinegar. Set mixture aside.

Slice tempeh into thin strips, then quarter each one. Cut onion into thick strips and dice pepper and pineapple into chunks. Chop garlic cloves into small pieces. Place tempeh, onion, pepper, pineapple and garlic into large frying pan and fry in coconut oil on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Tempeh and vegetables should be slightly browned, but not burned. Add more coconut oil to pan if necessary.

Pour liquid mixture into the pan and combine with the other ingredients. Sautee for another 3-5 minutes, stirring thoroughly. Be careful not to overcook. Al dente is better than mushy. Your kitchen will be awash with the sweet aroma of the coconut oil. When tempeh, vegetables and pineapple are done, remove pan from stovetop. Serve your fragrant mixture over heated jasmine or basmati rice. Some gluten-free wine or beer goes great as an accompaniment.

This incredible dish serves 4-6 people, depending upon everyone’s appetites. It’s a crowd favorite. Your friends and family will clamor for more. If you have leftovers, they keep well in the refrigerator and can be served either cold or reheated. Enjoy!

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Summary: We love our vegan and gluten-free cheese, especially when it's non-GMO. Parmela's Creamery, which started out with their signature product, parmesan-style cheese, will not disappoint. Their vegan cheeses are fermented like regular dairy cheese, offering a whole new vegan cheese experience.
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We love our vegan and gluten-free cheese, especially when it’s non-GMO. Parmela’s Creamery, which started out with their signature product, parmesan-style cheese, will not disappoint. Their vegan cheeses are fermented like regular dairy cheese, offering a whole new vegan cheese experience.

Parmela’s nut-based cheeses are fermented and aged to offer a rich, tangy flavor, just like dairy cheese. The almond and cashew-based cheeses include soy, which is in a more digestiable form due to breaking down during the fermentation process.

Parmela’s also just released their creamy vegan cream cheese. Also nut based, these spreads include rich coconut oil to bring a full flavor to the cream cheese. Parmela Creamery vegan cream cheese comes in 3 flavors: original, black pepper and kalamata olive. Like the parmesan-style vegan cheese, the cream cheese is fermented and aged.

There’s more exciting news: Parmela’s will be expanding their line even further, to include sauces. The sauce flavors are Tomato Vodka, Alfredo and Artichoke. All are vegan, gluten-free and nut-based, and perfect on gluten free pasta, gluten free lasagna, or over veggies.

You can order all existing Parmela products, and get on a waiting list to be notified when the sauces are available, at Vegan Essentials.

Parmela's vegan cheese

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Summary: It's that time of year to get in your last minute holiday shopping. As both vegan and gluten free lifestyles are growing in popularity, and necessity, so are new products that appeal to both worlds. Vegan and gluten free sweets and treats are now increasing in popularity and make an excellent stocking stuffer.
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It’s that time of year to get in your last minute holiday shopping. As both vegan and gluten free lifestyles are growing in popularity, and necessity, so are new products that appeal to both worlds. Vegan and gluten free sweets and treats are now increasing in popularity and make an excellent stocking stuffer. Here are our five favorite vegan and gluten free stocking stuffers:

1. Gluten Free Chocolate Covered Pretzels – these delicious treats are the perfect marrying of sweet and salty. Gluten free pretzels are covered by vegan chocolate, to make a perfect holiday snack.

2. Organic Nectars Organic Raw Cacao, Chocagave, Organic Chocolate Dessert Syrup – this decadent chocolate dessert sauce is the winner of the 2008 Sofi™ silver for Outstanding Dessert Topping. This delicious topping is a mix of raw cacao powder, raw organic agave syrup, and organic nectars. Because it is low-glycemic, it is suitable for that diabetic gift recipient on your list!

3. Lazy Day Chocolate Orange Slice Truffle – treat your gift recipients to a crunchy cookie that is smothered in creamy belgian chocolate.

4. Sweet Pete’s All Natural, Gluten Free, Vegan Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels – the combination of caramel and salt is widely popular these days, and there is no need for those who are vegan and gluten free to be left out. The caramels are made with vegan coconut milk, covered in dark chocolate, and then sprinkled with sea salt. These are sure to be a hit!

5. Yummy Earth Organic Candy Drops Wild Peppermint – it doesn’t quite feel like the holidays without some minty treats! These peppermint candies are free of dyes, chemicals, pesticides, gluten, and animal ingredients.

Most of these products are available in bulk, which means you have the option of buying a bigger shipment, and dividing them up amongst friends and family to give you more bang for your buck. We’d love to hear from you – what are your favorite vegan, gluten free stocking stuffers?

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