Category Archives: walnuts

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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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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Start Your Day With These Delectable Vegan, Gluten-Free Morning Glory Muffins

Morning glory muffins have been a favorite of ours for many years. However, when we started pursuing a vegan, gluten-free diet, we discovered that many of our favorite coffee shops had left us out in the cold when it came to these delectable muffins. Almost all of the recipes use butter, eggs and/or milk. This makes them decidedly off-limits. If you love morning glory muffins as much as we do, you may have experienced this depressing scenario, yourself. Have no fear! We’ve discovered a recipe that utilizes your favorite ingredients — raisins, walnuts, apples, etc. However, it substitutes flax seeds for eggs, and coconut oil for butter. The result is a melt-in-your-mouth concoction that will leave you wanting more!

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons flax seeds plus 6 tablespoons water
1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (lighter is better)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cloves
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (almond is great!)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 apple, peeled and cut into small chunks
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins (use golden variety for a special treat)
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix the flax seeds with water and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg or cloves. Melt coconut oil on stove and combine in a second, larger bowl with flax mixture, coconut oil, vanilla, applesauce, coconut sugar, and non-dairy milk. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. Your batter should be moist but not runny. Add carrots, walnuts, raisins, apple chunks, and coconut and make sure they’re evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Grease a 12-muffin pan with additional coconut oil, or use paper liners. Pour the batter into each receptacle. Bake in a pre-heated, 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Your kitchen will smell good enough to eat! The muffins are done when you stick a fork or toothpick in the middle, and it comes out clean.

If you play your cards right, you’ll have twelve muffins that are more or less the same size. They’re great for breakfast, lunch, or as a mid-afternoon snack. Though small, they’re surprisingly hearty and really pack a wallop! You can eat them as is (scrumptious!) or with a dab of vegan butter. If you invite folks over to your house for muffins, they’ll be your friends for life. Enjoy!

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Absolutely Delectable Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

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 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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Treat Yourself to Some Sweetness With Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

Contrary to what Anthony Bourdain once stated, vegans are foodies. We don’t subsist on a diet of nuts and berries, and many of us love sweet treats. If you’ve given up dairy products, you might occasionally long for a creamy dessert. Cheesecake was one of the things we missed the most, until we discovered that silken tofu, whipped in a blender, makes a concoction similar to cream cheese. The walnut/maple syrup crust is gluten-free and delicious. This recipe is inexpensive, easy to make, and well worth a try.

INGREDIENTS
4 cups ground walnuts (if you own a grinder, this part should go quickly. If you do the grinding by hand, like we did, the process will take longer, and your walnuts will be coarser)
¼ cup maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup!)
2 lbs silken tofu
1 cup turbinado sugar (not commercial white sugar, it’s usually NOT vegan)
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt (not the iodized commercial variety)
2 tablespoons lemon zest (approximately 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS
Crush walnuts to the best of your ability and combine with maple syrup. Mixture will be slightly sticky, but not gooey. Press the mixture inside a greased cake pan (we love coconut oil, but olive is good, as well) and place into refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Make lemon zest by rubbing a lemon against a fine grater until the peel is completely grated. Then combine the tofu, lemon zest, sugar, almond butter, vanilla extract, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon in a blender or food processor and whip until smooth and frothy.

Remove pan from refrigerator and pour mixture directly into crust. Be sure to fill completely to the top. Your cheesecake will not rise while cooking, so you needn’t worry about overfilling. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. The edges will be slightly browned, but the center should be slightly wobbly. Remove from oven, set on counter to cool for 1 hour, then transfer to refrigerator and chill for 2-3 hours.

cheesecake

This cheesecake will be somewhat heartier than the conventional variety, with a thicker texture. Serve as is, or with fresh berries or a drizzle of vegan chocolate sauce. Serves 6, but everyone had better be hungry. Your dessert keeps well in the refrigerator and will taste even better the next day. Yum! Enjoy.

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Incredibly Simple Vegan, Gluten-Free Banana Bread

bread

Some folks persist in thinking that folks who follow a vegan, gluten-free diet eat nothing but nuts and seeds. If you have a friend or relative who harbors this belief, slice a couple of pieces of banana bread from this rich, moist loaf and place them in front of her/him. Then sit back and smile. S/he will be singing a different tune after the first bite and might even beg you for the recipe. You’ll be amazed by how easy it is to make this bread, and how delicious it tastes. Here’s how:

INGREDIENTS
1 3/4 cups gluten free flour blend (Bob’s 1/1 is still our absolute favorite for baking).
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder (check label to make sure it’s aluminum-free)
½ teaspoon sea salt
7/8 cup organic turbinado sugar or coconut sugar (these sugars are always vegan, unlike
commercial sugar, and they taste much better, as well)
1/3 cup coconut oil or organic canola oil (coconut oil is our favorite—naturally sweet).
2 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup water

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
¼ cup vegan, gluten-free chocolate chips (be sure to check ingredients on package)
¼ cup poppyseeds

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
If you choose coconut oil, heat in pan on stove top or for 15-20 seconds in microwave until
liquefied. In large bowl, mash bananas with fork until all lumps are gone. Pour coconut or canola
oil into bowl and combine with banana mixture. Add apple cider vinegar, water, and vanilla
extract and beat to a nice froth. A large spoon will do well for this task. Blend in the dry ingredients, starting with baking soda, baking powder, and salt, then add the sugar and flour. When all ingredients are thoroughly combined, grease a small bread pan with coconut oil and pour mixture inside. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a fork or toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. Meanwhile, your entire kitchen will be filled with the most delectable aroma!

Serve as is, or with maple syrup, Earth Balance, vegan butter, almond butter, or any other topping of your choice. It’s great for breakfast, dessert, or a late night snack. Serves 4-6, but two people can gobble down this bread in a matter of hours, if not sooner. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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