Tag Archives: gluten-free

Ooey gooey vegan double-chocolate hazelnut brownie cookies

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Is it wrong to crave cookies after yoga? I always feel so blissfully cleansed after class, like all the crud has been wrung out of my body and soul. So you’d think I’d reach for something simple and healthy, like a celery stalk. But no, within an hour, I go from serene yogi to Cookie Monster. But hey, what if cookies can be (almost) as good for you as celery? Mmm, Cookie Monster like!

There’s nothing that satisfies my cravings like these amazing, quick-to-make, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth, double-chocolate hazelnut cookies. They have the delectable consistency of brownies and they taste so rich an sinful…but they’re deceivingly healthy. This delicious recipe from my friend Bonnie will bring out the Cookie Monster in you, too, and since these bites-of-heaven are high in protein and there’s no flour or oil, there’s no harm in eating a few (or 10) in one sitting.

I just made a batch for a vegan potluck that’s happening after my friend Toni Cupal’s Jivamukti yoga class tonight, and after everyone has a taste, I have a feeling that I’ll get to see a few other yogis turn into Cookie Monsters. And I hope you do, too.

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Double-Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie Cookies (Vegan and Gluten-Free!)

From fridge to table: 15 minutes
Makes 3 dozen irresistible cookies

2 tbsp ground flax
6 tbsp warm water
1/3 cup Dutch process cacao powder
1 cup almond butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar (or you can substitute raw coconut crystals for a healthier alternative, but the cookies won’t be as ooey gooey…but they’re still yummy!)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (Safeway carries “Chocolate Dream” now – hurray!)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a little bowl, mix the flax and water and let it sit for a couple of minutes. (This mixture is an egg replacement, and it’s awesome).

In a large bowl, combine the cacao powder, almond butter, baking soda, salt and flax/water mixture. Mix until well combined, then toss in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips and mix until thoroughly blended.

Drop little spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. No need to shape or flatten them – they melt into pretty little disks while baking. Bake for 11 minutes. Try your best not to eat them right when they come out of the oven since they will be the approximate temperature of molten lava. But feel free to devour them once they cool a little bit. Enjoy!

 

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Grilled Corn, Sweet Potato, Black-Bean Salad with Cilantro Dressing

 

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Man, Mondays blow. Especially after epic summer weekends! If you could use something yummy to pick you up, this dish will do the trick.

So you guys know that I usually only publish my original concoctions, but this recipe that my friend gave me (thank you, Bonnie!) is so delicious and awesome that I have to share it. This gorgeous, healthy, nutrient-packed, summery vegan “potato salad” is oil-free, refreshing yet filling, yummy-beyond-words and totally unique.  The sweet potato provides a silky, flavorful foundation, while the grilled corn and chipotle give it a slightly smoky and caramelized flavor, which is perfectly balanced with the black beans and the sunny, herbaceous cilantro dressing. Not only is it tasty, but it’s also really good for you – the sweet potatoes are the best source of beta-carotene around (which strengths your immune system, gives you healthy skin and keeps your eyes happy), the beans are loaded with protein, and the corn has oodles of antioxidants. This makes a great meal or side dish.  And it’s super convenient since it can be made ahead and served cold, at room temp, or packed up for a picnic or potluck. Oh yeah, and it’s also gluten-free. I am IN LOVE with this salad. I bet you’ll like it as much as I do!

Grilled Corn, Sweet Potato, Black-Bean Salad with Cilantro Dressing

From fridge to table: about 20 minutes
Serves: about 10-12 as a side dish

roasted corn

1 clove garlic
2 tsp blended chipotle sauce*
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup seasoned rice vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks (if you want a colorful salad, use garnet yams)
4 ears corn, husked
1 can whole black beans, rinsed and drained
4 scallions (white and green parts) thinly sliced

* The original recipe (by Associated Press) called for a lot more chipotle – like enough for my tongue to spontaneously combust, detach from my mouth and dive into a pool for relief – so I adjusted it down. Oh, and to make the chipotle “sauce,” get a can of “chipotle in adobo sauce,” which you can find in the Hispanic food aisle at the grocery store, and whirl the contents in a blender. I like to freeze the blended sauce in ice cube trays for easy future use.

First, make the dressing. Use a blender to whirl together the garlic, chipotle sauce, shallot, cilantro and rice vinegar and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium pot with steamer basket, boil a little bit of water, add the sweet potatoes, cover and steam until tender, which takes about 8 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl and immediately toss them with half of the salad dressing (to soak up the goodness of all that lovely herbal flavor), then set aside to cool.

Heat your grill to medium and lightly mist the corn with a cooking oil spray. Grill the corn evenly until the kernels are golden and tender. Remove from grill and cool until you can handle the corn without lighting your fingers on fire. Placing the fat end of the corn on your cutting board, slice the kernels from the cob. Then add the corn to the potatoes, along with the black beans and scallions. Pour the remaining dressing on top (to taste) and blend well. Then stuff your face with this yummy dish, and don’t feel guilty for a second since it’s so incredibly healthy for you!

 

Healthy sweet potato salad

5-Minute Masterpiece: Thai Sweet Chili and Lime Edamame

It’s a rare dish that hits the culinary trifecta of being savory, spicy and sweet all at the same time. It’s even rarer when such a treat is also good for you. And rarer still  for it to be a 5-minute masterpiece! My friends, today is a day for rejoicing since we’ve hit the foodie mother load! Behold the awesomeness that is Thai Sweet Chili and Lime Edamame:
Thai sweet chili and lime edamame
What could be tastier than the slightly sweet and spicy flavor of Thai sweet chili sauce combined with fragrant garlic, tangy lime juice and the salty goodness of edamame? It’s the perfect appetizer or snack for those who want big flavors but have little time to cook. This unique edamame dish is literally finger-licking good and packed with protein.  It’s especially great when you’re starving and need something fast (like I was when I created this appetizer), or when friends pop by and you want to watch them turn into human vacuums.
As for the carnivore approval rating for this vegan, gluten-free, low-calorie delicacy, John gives it two chili-sauce-coated thumbs up. He loves this appetizer so much that whenever I serve it, he acts like he’s going for the gold medal in a speed-eating contest. The bowl empties so fast that I’m convinced that an edamame-eating monster is stealing it. Make some today and see if the edamame-munching monster will show up at your house, too!
Edamame monster
Thai Sweet Chili and Lime Edamame
From fridge to table: 5 minutes
Serves: 4
1 pound of frozen edamame (in pods)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tsp lime juice
salt, to taste
Boil salted water in a large saucepan and cook the edamame until tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and stir for 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add the Thai sweet chili sauce, remove from heat and stir in the lime juice. Drain the edamame, then toss it with the sauce mixture and add salt to taste. Serve immediately and enjoy!
But beware the edamame-eating monster…

Tasty Tropical Breakfast Bars (vegan and gluten-free)

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m obsessed with making breakfast bars. They’re just so dang simple and quick to make, they’re delicious, and they’re a fabulously healthy treat to have hanging around for those times when you need to a meal-on-the-go, be it around breakfast time or anytime, really. And they save you a lot of money too since they’re way less expensive than store-bought breakfast bars. Thanks to the addition of almond butter (which is one of the greatest super foods around – almonds lower bad cholesterol and they’re packed with protein and calcium), dried fruits, nuts, and crunchy granola, these bars really do deliver a nice boost of energy and nutrition, so they’re fantastic as sports bars, too. If ‘almond butter’ sounds bizarre to you, don’t worry – it’s just super finely ground toasted almonds; it has about the same smoothness and texture as peanut butter.

I decided to chef up a breakfast bar with a totally different consistency and flavor than the last energy bar recipe I posted – this one is denser, not-so-sticky, has a nice crunch, travels really well and features the delicious flavors of the tropics: pineapple, mango, ginger, coconut and cashews. Yum! In honor of my neighbor friend Jamie who is experiencing her first week of college (and her first taste of homesickness), I created this gluten-free, vegan Tasty Tropical Breakfast/Energy Bar recipe.  I know she’ll love them, especially in contrast to nasty dorm food, and I bet you will, too. According to Jamie’s mom, who taste-tested these bars for me: “Wow, these could be sold in stores!” Pretty nice endorsement! 🙂 John also loves, loves, loves these bars, so much so that he has requested that they become his breakfast staple every day of the week.

Special thanks to Rhonda for convincing me to try brown rice syrup as the sweetener and binding agent for these bars – it works like a charm and it’s really healthy, too! Hurray! Brown rice syrup is a far better sweetener than table sugar, and even honey, since it’s a complex carbohydrate and has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. It also tastes delicious, especially in these bars, since they add a caramely hint. Give them a try – I know you’ll like them!

Tasty Tropical Breakfast/Sports Bars

Servings: 25 bars
Prep time: 25 minutes
Chill/set time: at least 3 hours

1.5 cups dried tropical fruits, finely chopped (I recommend a combination of pineapple, mango and a little bit of unsweetened coconut)
1  cup roasted unsalted cashews, chopped
4 cups granola clusters cereal (I used Trader Joe’s “Just the Clusters with ginger, almond and cashew granola”)
a handful of crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)
3/4 cup almond butter
1/3 maple syrup
1/3 cup brown rice syrup

Heat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9″ square baking pan with olive oil.

Blend together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then, in a saucepan over medium high heat, stir together the almond butter, maple syrup and brown rice syrup, stirring constantly. When it begins to bubble, stir it as fast as you can and when it thickens, remove from heat and dump it in the bowl with the dry ingredients. Immediately mix it thoroughly. Scoop into your prepared pan. Press it down firmly with the back of a spatula – really put your weight into it to squish it down.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges become golden. Remove from oven and once again, press it down firmly with the back of a spatula.  Refrigerate it for at least 3 hours to allow it to fully firm up before you cut it. Once ready, turn it over onto a cutting board and with a sharp knife, chop into 24 bars. Enjoy!

This is what it looks like when you pop your breakfast bar concoction out of the pan. If you press it really well, yours will come out perfectly!