Summary: 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!

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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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: 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.

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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Summary: Usually, when we think of millet, we envision birdseed. However, this crunchy, high-protein grain is delicious as a sandwich spread when it's combined with spicy buffalo sauce and creamy vegan ranch dressing. The consistency is slightly cheese-like, and the flavor is out of this world! You can make the buffalo sauce as mild or spicy as your heart desires.

Usually, when we think of millet, we envision birdseed. However, this crunchy, high-protein grain is delicious as a sandwich spread when it’s combined with spicy buffalo sauce and creamy vegan ranch dressing. The consistency is slightly cheese-like, and the flavor is out of this world! You can make the buffalo sauce as mild or spicy as your heart desires. It takes only about 20 minutes to whip up this dish. A perfect choice if you’re in a hurry! The ingredients are inexpensive, if you’re on a budget, your meal won’t break the bank.

BUFFALO MILLET INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup uncooked millet
1 cup water
1 tablespoon hot sauce (we used Aardvark Sauce, our favorite)
2 teaspoons Sriracha
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vegan butter (we used Earth Balance) or olive oil
pinch or two of sea salt and garlic powder

BUFFALO SAUCE
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1-2 teaspoons melted vegan butter or olive oil

RANCH SAUCE
1 1/2 cups vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (we used almond, but coconut is great as well)
1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

ADDITIONAL SANDWICH INGREDIENTS
Red pepper strips
chopped cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine millet ingredients in medium-sized saucepan and cook for 15-20 minutes until all water is absorbed. Meanwhile, prepare your sauces in separate bowls. Mix together buffalo sauce ingredients, adjusting spice levels to your taste. Prepare ranch dressing by mixing together all ingredients, adding extra milk if mixture is too thick. You’ll most likely have some left over after you’ve made your sandwiches, so it will double as an excellent salad dressing.

Take a piece of gluten-free bread and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Pack cooked millet mixture on top, and then sprinkle with a liberal helping of buffalo sauce. Layer on red pepper slices, and cover with a generous amount of ranch dressing. Press another piece of bread on top to make a sandwich.

Fry sandwich in olive oil on stovetop on medium heat setting until golden brown on both sides. Remove from burner and serve hot. Cut sandwich in half if it’s too messy to grasp. You’ll love the creamy texture and surprising heartiness of this delicious meal.

Serves 2-3 hungry people. This dish pairs well with a small salad (use some more of that ranch dressing!) and, of course, gluten-free, vegan beer or wine. You’ll be surprised and delighted to discover how much you like eating millet. Bon appetit!

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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: Sometimes vegans get a craving for a hearty meal. Many of us grew up eating meat and dairy products, but later ditched them due to health, philosophical and/or humanitarian reasons. Still, we often miss familiar comfort foods, and long for the taste of….well, not meat, exactly, but something equally filling. Reubens are one of those comfort foods that went by the wayside when we gave up a carnivorous diet—until now.

Sometimes vegans get a craving for a hearty meal. Many of us grew up eating meat and dairy products, but later ditched them due to health, philosophical and/or humanitarian reasons. Still, we often miss familiar comfort foods, and long for the taste of….well, not meat, exactly, but something equally filling. Reubens are one of those comfort foods that went by the wayside when we gave up a carnivorous diet — until now. When you bite into one of these vegan, gluten-free tempeh reubens, you will be astonished. Robust flavor without the greasy aftertaste or the guilt! Tempeh is protein-rich and packed with vitamins, and sauerkraut is great for digestion. This dish is healthy, simple to make, inexpensive, and delicious.

INGREDIENTS FOR MARINADE
½ cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce (check label, make sure there’s no wheat)
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder

RUSSIAN DRESSING INGREDIENTS
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon pickle relish
2 tablespoons ketchup (make sure no wheat is added)

OTHER INGREDIENTS
1 8-ounce package tempeh
4 slices gluten-free rye bread (we used Canyon Bakehouse, very flavorful!)
4 slices vegan cheese (we recommend Chao, it melts easily)
½ cup sauerkraut

Combine marinade ingredients in a deep dish and cut tempeh in half, then slice lengthwise to make four pieces. Soak tempeh for 20-30 minutes until well-seasoned. Fry slices in olive oil on stovetop until brown on both sides. Pour leftover marinade over the top while cooking and allow it to simmer until absorbed. Remove tempeh from pan and set aside.

Combine ingredients in small bowl for Russian dressing. Fry rye bread in pan on both sides until lightly browned. Remove from pan and spread all four slices with a generous layer of Russian dressing. Pile on tempeh, cheese slices, and a dollop or two of sauerkraut. Put slices together to create two sandwiches and return them to the frying pan. Adjust stovetop to medium heat seating. Fry sandwiches on both sides until bread is dark brown and cheese is melted. This should take no more than five minutes. Remove sandwiches from pan, pile them on a plate, and dig in!

Serves 2 hungry people, but you can increase the amount of ingredients for a larger party. This meal pairs well with gluten-free, dark beer or red wine (check www.barnivore.com to make sure your alcoholic beverages are vegan). You’ll want to make this tasty dish again and again! Enjoy!

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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.
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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: Fall is a nostalgic time, when we long for familiar comfort food. Nothing is more filling and heartier than meatloaf. However, if you’re following a vegan, gluten-free diet, like we are, you’ll want to forgo meat in favor of this savory lentil loaf. ...

vegan-lentil-loaf-recipe-3377145-10_preview-5b292ae01d64040037decd0a

Fall is a nostalgic time, when we long for familiar comfort food. Nothing is more filling and heartier than meatloaf. However, if you’re following a vegan, gluten-free diet, like we are, you’ll want to forgo meat in favor of this savory lentil loaf. It’s moist, satisfying, and, frankly, much tastier than the carnivorous version. Try it, we think you’ll agree.

INGREDIENTS
1 ½ cups brown lentils, washed
3 ½ cups water (or vegetable broth)
2 small onions (try red for an additional kick)
2-4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt (NOT the iodized version)
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
2 cups cooked short-grain, brown rice
¼ cup ketchup or barbeque sauce (check labels to make sure there is no soy sauce, which contains wheat)
¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning (try fresh oregano and basil)
Additional ¼ cup ketchup or barbeque sauce

INSTRUCTIONS
Boil lentils in water or vegetable broth for half hour until they are soft enough to mash with a fork. Drain them and pour into large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, fry onions and garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Your kitchen will smell wonderful, and you’re just getting started!

Mash lentils thoroughly with fork or spatula, then pour the onion/garlic mixture into the bowl with them. Add the spices, rice, ¼ cup ketchup or barbeque sauce, and the additional olive oil, and stir until ingredients become a savory mash. Grease a large baking pan with more olive oil and spread mixture inside. Spoon a layer of ketchup or barbeque sauce across the top of the lentil loaf, making sure it is distributed evenly.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Every 20 minutes, briefly remove pan from oven, and spoon or baste an additional thin layer of ketchup or barbeque sauce across the top of the loaf. Serve with your favorite steamed vegetables, a salad, and/or a loaf of gluten-free bread. This amazing dish serves at least 6 people, unless everyone is very hungry. Once you start eating it, you’ll find it quite hard to stop.

The loaf keeps well in the refrigerator and makes a nice lunch or reheated snack at home or in the office. It stays moist and fresh for several days. You’ll be glad you took the time to prepare this amazingly inexpensive, delicious meal. Welcome to autumn!

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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: We clearly can't get enough of pumpkin recipes! This recipe is so easy and delicious, that it makes it a prime candidate for a holiday party or potluck.

We clearly can’t get enough of pumpkin recipes! This recipe is so easy and delicious, that it makes it a prime candidate for a holiday party or potluck.

Delicious Vegan and Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spread

1 cup organic canned pumpkin
16 oz of your favorite cream cheese
1/3 cup cup vegan sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
2 tsp vanilla

In a mixer, or with a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar and mix thoroughly, until it is fluffy again, and the grains of sugar have disintegrated. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well until the spread is creamy and smooth. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until time to serve.

It’s that easy! This dip tastes delicious on apple slices, your favorite gluten-free and vegan muffins, or our favorite, Pamela’s vegan, gluten-free ginger almond cookies.

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