Category Archives: easy

Pepper, Peanut, and Potato Sabzi: A Simple But Elegant Meal With an Indian Flair

You’re faced with a dilemma: you want to eat an elegant international meal, but you don’t have much time and/or cash on hand. What’s a hungry gourmet to do? The answer is simple — whip up a platter of our vegan, gluten-free Pepper, Peanut, and Potato Sabzi! Though it looks deceptively like a simple, stir-fried dish of potatoes and peppers, once you experienced your first bite, you’ll know there is something special going on. The exotic flavor comes from the addition of cumin and fennel seeds, spices that are popular staples in Indian cuisine. The peanuts add protein, and the potatoes are hearty and filling. Just perfect for these chilly autumn nights!

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 large russet potato, chopped
2 medium-sized bell peppers, chopped (red is best, but you can also use yellow, orange, or a combination)
1 teaspoon sea salt (NOT iodized!)
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (about half a lime)

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS

chopped cilantro
hot sauce
extra lime juice
tortillas
cooked basmati rice

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat setting (cast iron is best). Add the cumin seeds and cook for a minute or so until they start to turn brown. Stir in the fennel seeds and onion and continue cooking for about 4-6 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently!

Stir in potato and distribute evenly across the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan and cook for about 10 minutes until the potatoes begin to soften. It’s okay if they’re a bit browned in spots. Stir in the sea salt and bell pepper. Cover the pot again and cook until peppers are cooked through (about 5-7 minutes). Ideally, the peppers should be lightly charred on the bottom, but not burned. You can peek occasionally to make sure.

Stir in the peanuts and lime juice and cook, uncovered, for another couple of minutes. Remove the pan from the burner, and ladle the contents onto several plates. That’s all there is to it! You can garnish with hot sauce, cilantro, extra lime juice, or whatever your heart desires. Also, this mixture can be served over basmati rice or corn tortillas if you want to get really fancy. But it’s perfect all on its own!

Serves 3-4 guests. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and taste great reheated. We guarantee that you’ll love this inexpensive but exotic and delicious meal.

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The Best Pumpkin Cheesecake You’ve Had in Your Life Just Happens to be Vegan and Gluten-Free!

There’s no dessert quite like cheesecake. Smooth, creamy, sweet, decadent — what’s not to love? However, most of the cheesecakes you encounter in restaurants and coffee shops are made with tons of dairy and gluten. Since we love this delectable confection so much, we decided to make our own, using plant-based ingredients. The filling utilizes cashews and coconut milk, blended to perfection. Stunned by our stellar results, we decided to share the secret with you. You can thank us later.

CRUST INGREDIENTS

1 cup packed medjool dates, chopped
1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
pinch of sea salt

FILLING INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1 small lemon, juiced (about 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (about 1/3 small can)
pinch of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

vegan whipping cream
additional chopped walnuts and/or pecans

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour cashews into a container filled with boiling water and let them soak, uncovered for one hour. Meanwhile, chop the dates and place them into a blender or food processor. Blend them until they turn into a thick paste. You may need to add a bit of water for smoothness.

Remove dates from blender or food processor and set aside. Wash and dry the interior, then pour in walnuts. Blend until they achieve a fine consistency. Add dates to the walnut mixture and blend together for a couple of minutes. They will be sticky, so add a little more water if necessary. Be careful — you don’t want your crust to be runny!

Press your mixture into a round cake pan or deep pie pan and spread thoroughly. Use a large spoon to tamp down the surface. Set the pan aside and prepare filling ingredients.

Wash and dry blender or food processor one more time. Drain the cashews, then place them into blender/food processor. Add the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla extract and spices and blend for 2-3 minutes. The mixture should be creamy and frothy. Pour it over the pie crust, making sure it is evenly distributed.

Place the pan in your freezer for 3-4 hours. Remove, thaw slightly, and dig in! You can top your creation with additional chopped walnuts and/or vegan whipping cream if you desire. But this cheesecake tastes heavenly all on its own!

Serves 4-6 people. Guests will be your friends for life. This is the best cheesecake you’ve ever tasted, guaranteed. You’ll want to make it again and again. It’s an excellent Thanksgiving dessert, and we’ve been known to have it for breakfast (but don’t tell anyone). Leftovers can be frozen for several weeks, and keep well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Don’t expect them to last that long.

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Herb Tofu Scallion Spread is Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Delicious on Crackers or Bread

You’ve undoubtedly had the disheartening experience of going to a potluck and encountering a slew of dairy-based dips and spreads. This can be frustrating if you’re doing your best to follow a vegan, gluten-free diet. Don’t despair! Here is a delicious, creamy spread you can make from tofu that tastes just as good as the dairy-based variety! Even your non-vegan friends will love it. They may even beg you for the recipe. The spread is healthy, since it utilizes basil and Italian parsley, herbs that are rich in vitamin C. The tofu adds protein and calcium. Much healthier than your average spread, and so easy to make!

INGREDIENTS

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 14-ounce package of firm tofu, drained
2 teaspoons white miso (make sure it doesn’t have soy sauce, which contains wheat)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup water

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS

black olives
capers
sliced zucchini
salad mix
carrot sticks
gluten-free crackers or bread

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan on medium setting. When oil is hot, add chopped garlic and fry for about one minute. Pour in scallions and red pepper and continue frying for about 2-3 more minutes, until the scallions are bright green. Remove from the burner and set aside.

Crumble tofu into a blender or food processor. Add the basil, parsley, sea salt, lemon juice, miso, and water (try less than 1/4 cup of water at first, then add more if mixture is too thick). Pour in the scallion/red pepper/garlic mixture and continue blending until your mixture is creamy and frothy. Scoop mixture out of the blender or food processor and transfer to a medium-sized bowl.

Serve with crackers, wedges of gluten-free bread, and condiments like black olives, capers, salad mix, carrot sticks, zucchini slices, etc. Really, the possibilities are endless. You can make an entire meal out of this tofu spread if you so desire. It’s much heartier than you might imagine.

Serves about 4 people, depending upon whether you transform this spread into a main dish or serve it as an appetizer. You can cover leftovers and store them in your refrigerator for up to three days. You don’t need to tell anyone that it’s made from tofu — unless you feel like it, of course. Your friends will be astonished! You’ll want to make this simple but elegant spread again and again.

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Vegan, Gluten-Free Pasta Puttanesca is Spicy, Hearty, and Delicious

Autumn is well underway, and our desire to devour pasta dishes continues in earnest. Pasta puttanesca is a traditional Italian dish that tastes great, even without the addition of anchovies. It’s hearty, filling, delicious, and so easy to make. Though most pasta puttanesca recipes utilize thin spaghetti noodles, we had some dried, gluten-free fettucine noodles in our kitchen and decided to use those instead. We were delighted by the results. You don’t need many ingredients to make this wonderful meal. It’s super inexpensive! In fact, you probably have most of the ingredients in your cabinet or refrigerator already.

INGREDIENTS

1 large jar of spaghetti sauce (approximately 26 ounces) or equivalent amount of diced tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1/3 cup capers
1 tablespoon Kalamata olive brine (from your container of olives)
1 tablespoon caper brine (from your container of capers)
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
fresh ground black pepper
sea salt to taste
8 ounces gluten-free noodles of your choice

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large saucepan, combine spaghetti sauce, olives, capers, caper juice, olive juice, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Simmer at low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes until ingredients are thoroughly blended. An incredible aroma will fill your kitchen! Make sure to stir your sauce frequently so it won’t stick or burn.

As the sauce simmers, boil your pasta noodles in a separate, large pan. Drain in a colander and set aside. Toss with a bit of olive oil so they won’t stick as they cool.

Turn off the heat and remove sauce pan from burner. Stir in the chopped parsley leaves and a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with a bit of ground pepper and sprinkle with sea salt if desired. The sauce will already taste salty, so you might not need any more. Use your best judgement! Pour sauce into the pan with the noodles. Stir until combined, making sure the noodles are well-coated with sauce.

Serve with a sprinkle (or two, or three) of additional chopped parsley for extra zest and visual excitement. This dish serves four hungry people. We like to serve our pasta puttanesca with a nice green salad and a chewy loaf of gluten-free French bread (with vegan butter, of course!) You can store leftovers in your refrigerator for a couple of days. You know what they say about tomato-based sauce dishes — they taste even better the next day. Bon Appetit!

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Vegan, Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread is Like Heaven on a Plate

Do you still have a few leftover zucchinis from your summer garden? You may be wondering what to do with them. Most likely, you’ve given several of them away to friends, and they’ve made it clear they don’t want or need any more. Try as you might, you can’t get rid of all of them! Never fear — our sweet bread recipe will give a whole new purpose to those succulent, green vegetables. The addition of unsweetened cocoa and walnuts will send you into orbit. Good thing this recipe makes two loaves, because you won’t have any trouble devouring the first one.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons boiling water
3 cups gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose is our favorite)
2 cups coconut sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cups coconut or olive oil
3/4 cups plant-based milk (we used unsweetened coconut milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium-sized zucchinis)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Boil 3 tablespoons of water and whisk in the cocoa. Continue to whisk until it forms a thick paste and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, sea salt, and baking soda. Stir until thoroughly combined, then fold in the oil, plant milk, and vanilla extract. Keep stirring, then add the cocoa mixture, grated zucchini, and walnuts. Your batter should be creamy but not too thick. The zucchini will add a lot of moisture. Don’t fret!

Grease two small (8 x 4 x 2 1/2) bread pans with coconut oil or vegan butter or margarine such as Earth Balance. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans. Bake in 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. Your kitchen will smell divine. You can insert a toothpick or fork into the center of the loaves to make sure they are done. The surface should be slightly cracked but not burned.

Remove both loaves from your oven, and do your best to allow them to cool before digging in. This bread is great either hot or cold. You can serve it as is, or with a dab of vegan butter, margarine, jam, or cream cheese. Feel free to experiment! Serves 6 guests with ease, but your bread will probably disappear fast. If you have any left in the morning, it’s great as a quick breakfast with coffee. Since this bread contains two cups of coconut sugar,it is decidedly not a diet food. But, when it’s this delicious, who cares? Not us! Dig in and enjoy!

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Instant Pot Gluten-free Vegan Pizza Noodles

This super easy Instant Pot gluten-free vegan pizza noodle recipe is a great substitute for greasy delivery. Don’t skip the seasonings – they give the dish the traditional pizza flavor. This recipe makes it easy for everyone to customize their own bowl with their favorite toppings! Noodle substitutes can be made, but the timing might need to be adjusted – the spaghetti in this recipe is made with corn and quinoa so it’s rather sturdy and doesn’t get mushy in the Instant Pot easily.

Ingredients:

1 box Barilla gluten-free spaghetti noodles

1 ½ cups pizza sauce

1 cup water

½ tsp oregano

¼ tsp rosemary

Fresh basil

½ cup chopped black olives

Himalayan salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Break spaghetti noodles in half, and place in Instant Pot with pizza sauce, water, oregano, and rosemary. If your sauce already includes these herbs, omit them in this step.

Using a fork, toss the noodles to cover them in sauce. Close and seal the Instant Pot lid.

Set the Instant Pot on High Manual pressure for four minutes. After the Pot beeps, release the pressure with a quick release. Top with fresh basil and chopped black olives. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm! These noodles do get mushy when left too long, so eat immediately. Add in additional toppings like dairy-free mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, red pepper flakes, and red onions for an even more authentic pizza experience.

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Eat Hearty With Our Vegan, Gluten-Free German Potato Salad (Stovetop and Instant Pot Recipe Included!)

Fall is coming on strong! We don’t know about you, but we’re craving some carbs! It’s best to stick to the healthy kind, like organic potatoes. Recently, we found ourselves with a small sack of red potatoes — don’t ask how THAT happened — and wanted to do something fancier than just boiling them and slathering some Earth Balance over the top. So we modified a German potato salad recipe, substituting tempeh bacon for the animal variety, and were wowed by the results! We purchased smoky bacon tempeh from the supermarket, and discovered that it imparted the delicious flavor that is so essential to German potato salad. Try this dish, we think you’ll be impressed by its authenticity.

INGREDIENTS

6 cups sliced red potatoes (you can use small white ones, as well, or a mixture)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
1/2 chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 cup stock water (from boiling potatoes)
1 package tempeh bacon strips

INSTRUCTIONS

Slice potatoes into 1/2 inch disks, cover with water, and boil on stovetop, or place in steamer basket over water in Instant Pot and cook on manual for 3 minutes and natural pressure release. The potatoes should be tender, but not too soft. Meanwhile, fry the tempeh strips in a bit of olive oil until they are crispy but not burned. Remove from pan and set on a paper (or cloth) towel to drain off excess oil. Combine vinegar, mustard, onion, liquid smoke, and black pepper in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Crumble in bits of tempeh bacon. Scoop 1/4 cup of water from the top of the boiling potato pan, or take 1/4 cup water out of the bottom of the Instant Pot once potatoes are cooked, and add to mixture. Stir some more until everything comes together.

Remove potatoes from stovetop or Instant Pot and drain excess water by placing them into a colander. Shake off any remaining water and pour the potatoes into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir with a large spoon. The mixture will smell divine! You’ll be able to tell when it’s done, because it’ll look delicious and you’ll want to dig right in.

German potato salad is best enjoyed hot! You can serve it all by itself, or with a side of gluten-free bread. It’s a great addition to potlucks! This dish is super-hearty, due to the winning combination of potatoes and protein-rich tempeh. Serves 4-5 hungry people. It keeps well in the refrigerator, securely covered, for 2-3 days. Warning — you may find yourself sneaking into the kitchen for late-night snacks! We feel confident that you’ll enjoy this autumnal favorite as much as we do.

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Celebrate Cooler Temperatures With Vegan, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

It’s already fall where we live, and our thoughts naturally turn to pumpkin treats. And what is more autumnal than pumpkin pie? Normally, this cool weather delicacy is made with eggs and condensed milk, but our vegan, gluten-free version calls for unsweetened almond milk and cornstarch (or arrowroot powder). The texture is more jiggly than a traditional pumpkin pie, but our version still tastes great and goes down smooth!

CRUST INGREDIENTS

6 tablespoons cold vegan butter or margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour (we used Bob’s Red Mill Pastry Flour for a light, flakey crust)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6-8 teaspoons cold water

FILLING INGREDIENTS

3 cups pumpkin puree (2 15-ounce cans)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup turbinado or coconut sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
1 3/4 teaspoon combination of powdered cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg (or allspice)
dash of sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour flour into large mixing bowl, add a pinch of salt, and cut in the butter or margarine. Gradually splash in the water and form your mixture into a pliable ball. Make sure it’s neither too moist or too dry. Cover and place in refrigerator for 1/2 hour.

Meanwhile, combine the filling ingredients in another bowl and stir vigorously until they’re thoroughly combined. For additional smoothness, place the contents into a blender and whip for a couple of extra minutes. The texture should be light and frothy.

Remove dough from refrigerator and allow it to warm on your counter for a few minutes. Roll into a thin disk and press inside lightly greased pie pan. (Use coconut oil, olive oil, or vegan butter/margarine). Pull any excess dough up over the sides of the pan and tamp with the tines of a fork to create a crust. Carefully pour in batter, making sure it is spread evenly. Sprinkle the top with a bit of additional cinnamon and/or nutmeg and place in preheated 350 degree oven.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, until crust is lightly browned and separating slightly from the pan. You’ll know your pie is done by the delicious aroma! Remove pie from oven, set it on your counter, and allow it to cool. Seriously, try not to eat all of it while it’s still hot! Pumpkin pie tastes best at room temperature. Serve as is or with a dollop of vegan whipping cream (or two, or three, or…) Serves 4-6 guests, unless they’re very hungry. Everyone will rave about this delicious autumnal treat. Welcome to fall!

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Instant Pot Gluten Free Vegan Awesome Baked Sweet Potatoes

These Instant Pot Gluten Free Vegan Perfectly Baked Sweet Potatoes are easy to make and don’t take an hour to bake. Enjoy the health benefits of sweet potatoes, as they are rich in fiber and antioxidants, without even having to cut them up. If you want mashed sweet potatoes, cook them a bit longer in the Instant Pot instead of the last few minutes in the oven – the skins peel off easily and allow for an easy mash. Make a bunch of baked potatoes and serve as a side or use for a potato bar. On busy nights, pop these in the Instant Pot and your vegetables are deliciously and healthfully steamed!

Ingredients

1 sweet potato per person, up to 6 depending on size

1 cup water, boiling

Instructions

Wash the sweet potatoes well. Poke each with a fork or knife a few times.

Put about 1 cup of hot water in the Instant Pot, or at least cover the bottom up to the rack.

Place a steaming rack or basket in the pot. Make sure the water is beneath the level of the rack, and place the potatoes on the rack, out of the water.

The length of time depends on the size of the sweet potatoes. For small potatoes, start with 15 minutes, medium potatoes 17 minutes, and large potatoes for 18 minutes.

Lock the lid in place and put on Manual High Pressure. How many potatoes you’re making doesn’t matter, just set the timer according to the size of the biggest potato. Even if your potatoes turn out slightly underdone, they have some time in the oven at the end.

Cook at High pressure for the time listed for the size of sweet potatoes. Allow for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes. Quick release the pressure if necessary after 10 minutes.

Check the potatoes by poking them with a fork, they should be soft all the way through. While the pressure is coming down, preheat your oven to 400°F. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, coat in a little olive oil, sprinkle some salt and bake for 10-15 minutes. This gives it a little crunchy skin with the soft insides.

Serve warm, and top with your favorite baked potato toppings!

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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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