Category Archives: Vegan

Peachy Keen Granola

Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Hello from Swan’s Island, my favorite place in Maine, if not the whole world.Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I am only doing things that I want to do this week, which have thus far included thrifting, reading an actual book, re-seasoning our cottage’s abused cast iron, going to another island to see whale bones, and eating waffles twice because my friend/co-traveler/fellow Swan’s Island enthusiast, VJ, thought to bring her waffle iron and has been kind enough to let me mess with it.

I have now made my first batch of scratch waffles, and while they were edible, they still need some work. VJ remains the undisputed Waffle Queen of our cottage.Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I, however, am the Granola Queen. In an effort over the last few years to create a breakfast item that we could both enjoy, I’ve created three granola recipes in anticipation of our trips to Maine. They’re all vegan and gluten-free (aka VJ-friendly) and include Tropical Cashew Granola, Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola, and now, Peachy Keen Granola.Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I will not apologize for the cutesy name, or this granola for that matter. It’s my first new variation in a year and a half, but I think you’ll agree it’s worth the wait.Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Made with dried peaches, almond extract and pie spices in addition to the usual oats, nuts, maple syrup and olive oil, this is the stuff my summer breakfast dreams are made of.Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}That goes double when eaten in my own personal paradise. Peachy keen, indeed.Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Peachy Keen Granola
makes about six cups

2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 cups old fashioned oats
8 ounces (~2 cups) sliced almonds
4 ounces dried peaches (about 5 halves), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 300F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together maple syrup, olive oil, almond extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in oats and sliced almonds. Spread mixture to cover the sheet pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to prevent burning. Let granola cool completely on the pan. Stir in dried peaches.

Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Peachy Keen Granola {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust

Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}If you’re searching for a plant-based summer recipe that is as visually striking as it is delicious, look no further. This Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust combines two of my favorite things—simply-prepared vegetables and soft corn polenta—and elevates them into one magnificent main. Did I mention that it’s naturally gluten-free and vegetarian?*

*I wrote vegan swaps in the recipe, too.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}While this recipe takes some time to prepare, none of the steps are difficult and the results are more than worth the effort! You can make things easier for yourself by preparing the polenta and forming the crust a day ahead.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}When you’re ready to bake, spread on some tomato sauce and slice up a bunch of summer produce. If you’re a little fancier than I am and have a mandoline, this would be a great time to use it.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Assemble the tart by arranging the sliced vegetables in concentric circles and finishing them off with olive oil and fresh thyme. Cover the whole thing with a parchment round to ensure that everything cooks evenly. And then…Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}…well, let’s just say I’ll pray for you during the thirty minutes between baking and slicing. I promise it’ll be worth the wait. I mean, when are polenta and ratatouille not worth the wait?!Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}I love this tart when it’s fresh, but you should know that it slices particularly well at room temperature and cold, meaning this is a great make-ahead option. The tart pictured here was made on a Monday and reheated by the slice for lunches all week long.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}It was exactly as wonderful as it looks.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}

Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust
ratatouille adapted from Deb Perelman
makes 1 9-inch round tart, 4-6 servings

Polenta Crust:
2 cups water
1 cup whole milk (or unflavored, unsweetened plant milk)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon prepared dijon mustard
few grinds freshly ground black pepper

Ratatouille:
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2-1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt (based on your taste), divided
~1/2 small, thin eggplant, 1/8 inch slices
~1/2 medium zucchini, 1/8 inch slices
~1/2 medium yellow squash, 1/8 inch slices
~1/2 long, thin red bell pepper, seeded, 1/8 inch slices
~1 1/2 roma tomatoes, 1/8 inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
few grinds freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

For assembly:
9-inch round piece of parchment paper

For serving (optional):
fresh parsley or other herbs
feta or goat cheese

Grease a 9-inch round springform pan or tart pan with removable bottom. Set aside.

Make polenta. Bring water and milk to a simmer. Keep an eye on it, as milk can boil over dramatically without much notice. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Whisking constantly, add polenta in a thin stream. Reduce heat to medium-low, whisking very frequently for 25-30 minutes, until thick. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter, dijon, and black pepper. Transfer to prepared pan and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to spread it to the edges. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Using the back of a wet spoon, press the polenta from the center toward the edges of the pan to create a rustic crust. Set aside. At this point, the crust may be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare the ratatouille filling. Spread tomato sauce on the bottom of the tart. Scatter minced garlic and shallot over the top, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Starting from the outer edge and working in a concentric circle to the center, arrange sliced eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper and tomato in an overlapping pattern. Drizzle with olive oil and top with 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper and fresh thyme.

Cut a piece of parchment to fit over the pan, covering all exposed tart. Gently lay it in the pan. Bake tart 45-55 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove and discard parchment. Let tart cool at least 30 minutes before slicing. Serve with fresh herbs or cheese, if desired.

Slices will be neatest at room temperature, but tart may be served at any temperature. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}

Ratatouille Tart with Polenta Crust {Gluten-Free, Plant-Based}

Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies

Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}Cashew butter cookies began as a last-minute recipe a couple of years ago, but now they’re one of my favorite things. Every time I finish testing and posting one version, I start formulating another.Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}I started dreaming of these Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies when I posted their classic chocolate chip sisters last spring. As with many of my recipes, they were in the back of my mind for months before I ever cracked open a jar of creamy cashew butter and started playing around. But once I did…whoa.Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}These thick, puffy, chewy chocolate cookies are so, so good. And vegan. And grain-free. And dead-easy. Just…what?! Give me alllllll the cashew butter cookies!Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}This is a one-bowl, no-mixer, no-chill, cookies-within-30-minutes-of-a-craving recipe. Oh, and should you have some modicum of self-control, these two-bite treats keep incredibly well at room temperature for upwards of a week. In fact, I think they get better as time goes on. The buttery cashew flavor mellows and melds with the cocoa and chocolate chips, and the results are brownie-like and wonderful ❤Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}I find good quality, reasonably-priced cashew butter at Trader Joe’s, but if you don’t happen to live in a spot smack in between two TJ’s, never fear. I haven’t tried it, but I am 96% sure you could make these with well-stirred natural peanut butter. And honestly, I think the only way to improve this recipe would be to add peanut butter.Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}

Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan & Grain-Free}
makes about 2 dozen small cookies

1 cup creamy-style cashew butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons aquafaba (chickpea canning liquid) or 1 flax egg*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips + more for topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cashew butter, cocoa powder, light brown sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Mix in aquafaba (or flax egg) and vanilla. Fold in dairy-free chocolate chips.

Scoop dough by the tablespoon and form into balls. Place dough balls 2 inches apart on prepared pans and press down to flatten. Bake 10-11 minutes, until puffy and no longer wet looking. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Top warm cookies with more chocolate chips, if desired. Repeat baking process with any remaining dough.

Let cookies cool completely before storing in an airtight container. They’ll keep well at room temperature for at least a week.

Note:

To make a flax egg, use a fork to whisk together 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 2 tablespoons warm water. Let sit for five minutes, until thickened. Continue with recipe as written.Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}Double Chocolate Cashew Butter Cookies {Vegan, Grain-Free}

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsI love January on this blog. It’s not that I’m not into making desserts all the time—and you know I can’t quit baking completely—but it’s really fun to share recipes that are part of my everyday life. The sorts of things that I make on the weekends and then delegate as lunch or dinner for the next four days. #singlelady Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsI’ve been making this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup for the last few months and I can’t get enough. It’s super simple to put together and very wholesome and comforting.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsDid I mention that it’s made almost entirely of vegetables and contains zero dairy? This soup’s creamy, velvety texture comes from one unsuspecting secret ingredient: a turnip.* It’s diced up and roasted with the butternut squash until everything is golden and sweet. Yum.

*Yes, the turnip pictured is comically large. That’s what I get for shopping ten minutes before close on a Friday night.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsThe roasted vegetables are then combined with some softened aromatics and stock (chicken or vegetable, whatever you have on hand), simmered for a few minutes, and puréed into a thick, rich, nutritious soup.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup provides a great blank slate for any number of garnishes. I was tempted to go with crispy bacon or even a wintry pesto, but decided instead to make something out of the seeds from my butternut squash!Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsWhile the vegetables were roasting, I rinsed the seeds to remove the fibrous squash innards. Then I toasted them in a dry pan just until they started to pop. After that, I added some olive oil, maple syrup, ancho powder, cayenne and salt, and stirred until they were brown and crispy.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsThe results are spicy, salty, sweet Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds, perfect for garnishing soup. Or eating by the tiny handful while you wait for your subpar Chinese takeout to arrive, which is exactly what happened to these. Ah, well.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
makes 4-6 servings

1 2 lb butternut squash
1 large or 2 medium white turnips
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large or 2 small Spanish onions, 1/2-inch diced
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425F.

Peel butternut squash and use a large, sharp chef’s knife to cut it into 1-inch chunks. Reserve seeds for Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds (recipe below).

Peel turnip(s) and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place turnip and butternut squash pieces on 2 dry rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle each pan with 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) olive oil and toss to coat vegetables. Roast 50-60 minutes, tossing every 25 minutes. They should be soft and caramelized in places. (The roasting time is a good time to make Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds.)

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 6-quart soup pot over medium heat. Add diced onion and crushed garlic cloves and cook, stirring frequently, until onion has softened. Stir in roasted vegetables. Add stock, water, and bay leaves. Turn heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove pot from heat. Discard bay leaves. Use a stick-blender to purée soup. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

Serve soup with butternut seed garnish. Leftovers will kee in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds
makes about 1/3 cup

~1/3 cup butternut squash seeds (from 1 butternut squash)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ancho, chipotle or other chile powder
pinch of ground cayenne pepper
pinch of fine sea salt
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

Place squash seeds in a small mixing bowl and cover with water. Use your fingertips to remove pithy squash innards from seeds, discarding them as you go. Pour seeds through a colander and remove any remaining pith.

Place seeds in an even layer on a clean, dry kitchen towel (or double layer of paper towels). Blot dry with another kitchen towel (or paper towel).

Heat a medium heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat. Add squash seeds and toast, stirring every minute or two, until they start to pop. Do not burn.

Reduce heat to low. Stir in olive oil. Return heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to darken and pop again. Do not burn.

Mix in chile powder, cayenne, salt, and maple syrup. Stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, until the seeds clump. Remove from heat.

Transfer seeds to a plate and let cool completely. Serve with Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut SeedsRoasted Butternut Squash Soup with Maple-Chile Butternut Seeds

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce

Apple Cider Cranberry SauceMy mother makes the best cranberry sauce in the world, but that’s not the recipe I’m sharing today.* Sorry to disappoint.

*Just kidding! I wrote her original recipe in the notes at the end. It’s a Thanksgiving two-fer 🙂 Apple Cider Cranberry SauceI have a good reason for holding out on you. My mom’s cranberry sauce is made with a large amount of brandy, which gets cooked off over the course of an hour in the oven. As I have mentioned previously though, I cannot safely consume alcohol, and therefore do not keep it around, even for cooking.

Since I quit drinking five and a half years ago, cranberry sauce is one of the only dishes that I have really missed. I’ve found work-arounds or substitutes for all sorts of other recipes, but I just couldn’t find one that hit all the same buttons as my mom’s.Apple Cider Cranberry SauceIn case you’re wondering, those buttons include:

  • It’s gotta be whole berry. No weird can-shaped cranberry jello here.
  • It can’t have more than three ingredients. I’ve had cranberry sauces with nuts and spices and other fruits and all sorts of other silliness, and all of it was completely unnecessary.
  • It shouldn’t have any citrus. Orange and cranberry are complementary flavors, but I can’t stand them together in cranberry sauce. This is more of a personal preference than anything, but I mean, this is my personal food blog.
  • It can’t be too sweet. I hate when cranberries are so over-sweetened that their natural tartness is completely masked.
  • It has to be easy. Like ridiculously easy. So low-maintenance, it’s silly. And if it can be made more than a day ahead, that’s ideal.
  • If nothing else, it must be so delicious that I want to eat it every time I spot the jar in the fridge.

Apple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry SauceIt’s taken a few years and many sauces with unrecognizable berries, too much sugar, flavors I didn’t care for, and a lot of feeling sorry for myself, but I’ve finally made a cranberry sauce that hits all those buttons. And the missing ingredient was looking at me the whole time in the form of a seasonal fridge staple: apple cider. It has flavor, but not enough to overwhelm the cranberries, and it’s sweet without being saccharine. Perfection.Apple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry SauceThis sauce comes together over the course of an hour in the oven. It gets stirred twice, but needs no help otherwise.Apple Cider Cranberry SauceThe result is soft, bursting berries that slump into a sweet, sticky sauce. It’s just divine. As is the fact that it can be made today and nuked in the microwave just before you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, it’s probably even better that way. Love that.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers.Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce

Want more cranberries? See here and here. For more apple cider, see here and here.

Apple Cider Cranberry Sauce*
makes about 3 cups

2 12-ounce bags whole cranberries
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine all ingredients in a 9×13-inch casserole dish and stir together. Bake 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.

Remove sauce from oven. Cool for a few minutes before transferring to a serving dish. Serve.

Cranberry sauce may be made up to two days in advance; it reheats well in the microwave.

Note:

If you want to try my mom’s cranberry sauce, swap the cider for brandy and double the sugar. Everything else is the same.
Apple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry SauceApple Cider Cranberry Sauce