Summary: If you’ve been following this page, you’re probably aware that vegan, gluten-free desserts are much tastier than the poor rep they so often receive. They are way more delicious and complex than the nut and seed bars you probably ate when you were first exploring vegan cuisine. This incredible carrot cake contains no gluten or animal products whatsoever, and you’ll be in heaven at the first bite. Granted, the recipe calls for two different kinds of sugar. But sometimes, you just have to live on the wild side.

If you’ve been following this page, you’re probably aware that vegan, gluten-free desserts are much tastier than the poor rep they so often receive. They are way more delicious and complex than the nut and seed bars you probably ate when you were first exploring vegan cuisine. This incredible carrot cake contains no gluten or animal products whatsoever, and you’ll be in heaven at the first bite. Granted, the recipe calls for two different kinds of sugar. But sometimes, you just have to live on the wild side.

CAKE INGREDIENTS
I cup unsweetened applesauce (organic is best, as always)
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup plant-based milk (we used a mix of coconut and almond, sensational!)
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2 ½ cups oat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda (aluminum-free, please!)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger powder
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cups grated carrots
½ cups crushed walnuts and/or pecans

FROSTING INGREDIENTS
¼ cup vegan butter or margarine (the good kind, like Earth Balance)
4 ounces (approximately ½ store-sized plastic container) vegan cream cheese
2 ½ cups organic powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, stir together applesauce, coconut sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and milk. Combine thoroughly, then add tapioca starch, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Continue stirring everything together until your batter is thick and creamy. Add carrots and walnuts.

Grease 8X8 pan with vegan butter or coconut oil. Pour in batter and slide pan into your oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Be sure to employ the fork or toothpick method to make sure your cake isn’t runny in the middle. The aroma will make you drool with anticipation! Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, prepare your frosting. Mix vegan butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar together in medium-sized bowl and beat until creamy. Remove cake from pan and place on large plate. Swirl the frosting evenly across the surface of the cake. For an extra bit of dazzle, sprinkle crushed walnuts on top of the frosting.

Serves 6 guests. Please refrain from consuming this entire cake by yourself at one sitting. Obviously, this is not a diet dessert, so please utilize caution. You’ll be astonished by how good a vegan, gluten-free carrot cake can taste, and your friends will be, as well. Enjoy!

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Summary: This winter has been an especially long one, and we find ourselves longing for sweet treats that won’t make us feel too guilty. Nothing is more satisfying on a cold winter’s day than a piping hot bowl of apple crisp. If you’re following a vegan, gluten-free diet, you might wonder how you can enjoy this succulent treat without butter and dairy-based ice cream. Have no fear, the dessert can be made to your specific dietary needs. We think it tastes even better than the milk-infused version.

This winter has been an especially long one, and we find ourselves longing for sweet treats that won’t make us feel too guilty. Nothing is more satisfying on a cold winter’s day than a piping hot bowl of apple crisp. If you’re following a vegan, gluten-free diet, you might wonder how you can enjoy this succulent treat without butter and dairy-based ice cream. Have no fear, the dessert can be made to your specific dietary needs. We think it tastes even better than the milk-infused version.

CRISP INGREDIENTS
6-8 medium-sized apples (enough to make 6 cups. You can use several different types at once, from tart to sweet).
Dash of fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt

TOPPING INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup organic brown sugar
¼ cup gluten-free flour (We used Bob’s Red Mill rice flour, it works great)
½ cup gluten-free oats (old-fashioned, not quick)
¼ cup almond meal
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup melted vegan butter or margarine (We used Earth Balance, with stellar results)

INSTRUCTIONS
Hearty and Delicious Vegan, Gluten-Free Apple Crisp Chop apples into chunks. You can remove peels if you like, but it’s not really necessary. Peels are full of vitamins. Pour apple chunks into a large bowl and sprinkle them with lemon juice. Add turbinado sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. Toss mixture until thoroughly combined and spread into greased 9X9 pan. We used coconut oil for the coating. It has a sweet, subtle flavor that is great for this dessert.

Meanwhile, wash and dry bowl so you can re-use it. Combine brown sugar, flour, oats, melted butter, almond meal, cinnamon and salt until the consistency is similar to wet sand. Spread evenly across the top of the apple mixture and pop into a pre-heated, 375 degree oven.

The mouth-watering scent of apple crisp will fill you with anticipation and nostalgia as the dessert heats up in your oven. Let it bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and slightly bubbly. The apples should be soft but not mushy.

Place the pan on your counter and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes. Serve toasty warm! This dessert is great by itself or with a scoop of vegan ice cream. It’s big enough for 6-8 people, so be sure to invite everyone you know. You won’t have any shortage of friends. Cheer up – spring isn’t so far away after all.

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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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