Tag Archives: Vegan

Creamy Avocado Salsa

Creamy Avocado SalsaI posted three salsa recipes in this blog’s first year and haven’t published one since. It’s not that I have stopped making salsa or fallen out of love with it. Ohhh no. I want to make it clear that I love salsa more now than ever. Men and friendships have come and gone, but salsa and me? We’re in it for the long haul.Creamy Avocado SalsaCreamy Avocado Salsa is a relatively new addition to my repertoire. I began tinkering with it a couple of years ago in an effort to match one of the offerings at a local taqueria, and it’s been a favorite ever since. Creamy Avocado Salsa is creamy, refreshing and delicious–we’re talking all the flavors of guacamole with a smooth, dippable consistency. Yum! If you’re going to try one new salsa recipe this summer, let this be the one.Creamy Avocado SalsaThis recipe is a snap to make. Simply pile an avocado, a tiny bit of onion, some garlic, half a jalapeño, fresh cilantro and lime juice into a blender with some salt and cold water, and let it rip. After about a minute, you’ll have a super smooth, bright green salsa. It’s pairs well with tortilla chips, of course, but may I also recommend trying it with cheesy scrambled eggs or sautéed shrimp or with zucchini noodles? Because it’s good with all those things.Creamy Avocado Salsa As with all my salsas, guacamole and other dips, this one is made with my own flavor preferences in mind. I love it the way it is, but I recommend that you taste and adjust as you go, adding more salt, jalapeño or lime until it’s exactly how you like it. You’ll notice that there’s a lot of wiggle room in the amount of water you can use in the recipe. The pictured batch was made with a large avocado and seven tablespoons of water to achieve the texture of a thick, creamy dressing, but you may like yours thinner or thicker. Start with a little water and adjust as needed until it’s to your preference.Creamy Avocado SalsaCreamy Avocado Salsa keeps shockingly well considering the usual trajectory of avocado-based treats. It’ll stay good in the fridge for a couple of days, but if you’re anything like me, it won’t last that long.Creamy Avocado Salsa

Creamy Avocado Salsa
makes about 1 1/4 cups

1 medium-large ripe avocado
2 tablespoons finely diced onion
1/2 clove garlic
1/2 jalapeño (with or without ribs and seeds)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4-8 tablespoons cold tap water

For serving:
tortilla chips
cheesy scrambled eggs
sautéed or grilled shrimp
zucchini noodles
literally whatever you can imagine

Combine avocado, onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 4 tablespoons of cold tap water in a high-powered blender. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Continue to blend in more water by the tablespoon, until the texture is like a thick, creamy dressing (or to your specific liking). Taste for salt, acid (lime) and heat (jalapeño) and adjust as desired.

Serve with tortilla chips or whatever you like. Creamy Avocado Salsa will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Stir before serving.Creamy Avocado SalsaCreamy Avocado SalsaCreamy Avocado Salsa

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate SyrupMy dad is the kind of person who just *needs* something sweet at the end of each day, probably because he was raised by someone who always had a chocolate cake on her kitchen counter. Aside from brownies though, he’s not much of a baker and neither is my mother, so homemade desserts weren’t a huge part of my family life growing up. Still, we were a small-dessert-every-night sort of family. We always had something sweet in our weekly grocery haul–Oreos, pecan sandies, popsicles–but I think, if asked, we’d all agree that the best dessert was always vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. Homemade Chocolate SyrupFast forward fifteen-ish years to me living the professional home baker life in New York in the middle of a pandemic. I can pretty much make whatever dessert I want, and maybe it’s because the weather is warming up or I’m feeling nostalgic or a little homesick, but all I really want right now is vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.Homemade Chocolate SyrupNow, I do not have much desire to begin making my own vanilla ice cream, but Homemade Chocolate Syrup? That, I need. Like many of us, I grew up with Hershey’s Syrup in the fridge, but now that I’ve started making my own chocolate syrup, I’m ruined for storebought forever. Deeply chocolaty, a little tangy, just thick enough, pourable even when it’s fridge-cold—this is the stuff my ice cream dreams are made of.Homemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupAlso, my chocolate milk dreams. I generally cannot abide liquid dairy, but put some chocolate syrup in a glass of whole milk and I. am. interested.Homemade Chocolate Syrup beats the pants off of every storebought version I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn up my nose if someone offered me a scoop of ice cream with a drizzle of Hershey’s Syrup on top—I’m not a monster!—but it simply can’t compete with this stuff. Where the syrups you’ll find on shelves are cloyingly sweet, lacking in chocolate flavor and full of ingredients none of us can pronounce, this one is super chocolaty from cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, has a little depth from brown sugar, and requires six ingredients that you very well may have in your pantry right now. Oh, and it’s vegan.

If you’re wondering if it’s worth the effort to make Homemade Chocolate Syrup, the answer is a resounding “yes.” This is essentially a souped-up simple syrup with a little chopped chocolate and vanilla extract stirred in at the end. We’re talking twelve minutes start-to-finish for a pint (that’s two cups!) of chocolate syrup. I haven’t done the math, but I’m fairly certain this is less expensive than storebought, too.Homemade Chocolate SyrupWith that, I rest my case…and also tiptoe into my kitchen at 2am for some ice cream and Homemade Chocolate Syrup. Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Homemade Chocolate Syrup
makes about 2 cups

1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups water
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small pot or saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, cocoa and salt to remove any large lumps. Add water and whisk to combine.

Place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until it comes to a simmer, then constantly for 5 minutes while it simmers. Mixture will expand dramatically. Remove from heat.

Whisk in chopped chocolate, followed by vanilla. Let cool a bit in the pot before transferring to a jar (or other container) for storage.

Chocolate syrup will keep covered in the refrigerator. Stir before using.Homemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate SyrupHomemade Chocolate Syrup

Small Batch Banana Muffins

Small Batch Banana MuffinsJust in case you were wondering, if you decide to take my One-Banana Banana Bread recipe and make it into Small Batch Banana Muffins, it will work. It will work well.Small Batch Banana MuffinsSmall Batch Banana MuffinsIt will work if you use non-dairy milk or whole milk. It will work if you use lemon juice or white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.Small Batch Banana MuffinsIt will work if you use dark brown sugar instead of light brown. It will work if all you have is granulated sugar.Small Batch Banana MuffinsIt will work if you use canola oil or coconut oil or melted butter.Small Batch Banana MuffinsIt will work even when you get distracted by a Zoom call with friends and forget the (flax or regular) egg. In fact, your muffins will actually be better *because* you skipped the egg. I swear.

That never happens. It’s a quarantine miracle.Small Batch Banana MuffinsEr, *six* quarantine miracles.Small Batch Banana Muffins

Small Batch Banana Muffins
makes 6 standard muffins

1/3 cup milk of choice (non-dairy for vegan muffins)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large very ripe banana, mashed

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease or use muffin liners in 6 cups of a standard muffin tin. Fill the remaining cups 1/3-1/2 of the way with water (to keep the pan from warping in the oven). Set aside.

In a measuring cup or small bowl, use a fork to whisk together milk and apple cider vinegar.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

Whisk oil into milk mixture, followed by mashed banana. Add dry ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold ingredients together (20 strokes maximum). Batter will be thick.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F and bake another 14-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let muffins cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Serve. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for a couple of days, but may be refrigerated for up to 5.Small Batch Banana MuffinsSmall Batch Banana MuffinsSmall Batch Banana Muffins

Butternut Squash Chili

Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}I am psyched for today’s recipe, y’all! This vegan Butternut Squash Chili is so good and good for you—perfect for the Super Bowl this weekend or any wintry night.Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}It’s made with loads of good stuff. We’re talking the standard onion, garlic and red bell pepper, of course, but also a whole butternut squash (duh), meaty mushrooms, and pinto beans. YUM!Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}I know that being Texan means I “shouldn’t” like beans in chili, but here I am, putting them in there. No regrets. I almost always go for pinto beans in chili because that’s what I like, but if black beans or red kidney beans are more your style, by all means, switch it up!Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}Small amounts of cinnamon and cocoa powder set this chili apart from the rest. They add a little nuance to the standard seasoning combination of chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, and cayenne. Minced chipotles in adobo are stirred in before serving for a touch of smoky heat.Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}Butternut Squash Chili requires a couple of long browning steps—you want maximum flavor from those onions and mushrooms—and a simmer, but comes together surprisingly quickly overall. The batch pictured clocked in at just under two hours, which gives you just enough time to whip up some Cornmeal Biscuits to go alongside!Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}As with most soupy, stewy things, this is a meal that will get better with time. It’s delicious the day it’s made, but is particularly spectacular after a day or two in the refrigerator. Basically, if you want to eat this while you watch the Super Bowl, make if Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Love a make-ahead main!

As stated many times over the years, I’m not a fan of football, but this chili? That’s a “super bowl” I can get behind.Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}

Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}
makes about 6 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, diced small
2 red bell peppers, diced small
1-1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt, or to taste
5-7 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces white button mushrooms, 1/2-inch diced
1 3 lb. butternut squash, 1/2-inch pieces (8-ish cups)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
4 cups vegetable stock (I use seasoned vegetable Better than Bouillon)
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained & rinsed
2 chipotles in adobo, minced

Garnish:
avocado
chopped cilantro
sliced scallions
grated cheese (vegan or dairy)
crispy tortilla strips
crushed tortilla chips

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl to coat. Add onion, red bell pepper and a pinch of salt, and sauté until very soft and gaining color (about 15-20 minutes). Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Remove from pot and set aside.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add mushrooms and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned (about 15-20 minutes). Don’t rush it!

Return onion mixture to the pan, along with butternut squash. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, cayenne, cocoa and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, just until it begins to caramelize (it will ever-so-slightly darken).

Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook 20-25 minutes, or until squash is cooked through and tender. Add pinto beans and minced chipotles in adobo and let simmer another 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Taste for salt and adjust to your preferences.

Divide chili among bowls and serve with desired garnishes.

Leftovers will keep very well for up to 4 days. Flavors will intensify over time.Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}Butternut Squash Chili {Vegan}

Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I can hardly believe that Christmas is one week away. Thanksgiving was so late this year that I don’t feel like I’ve stopped to bask in the glow of Christmas lights at all, and I won’t have time to until I’m in Texas.Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Don’t get me wrong, my apartment is decorated within an inch of fire code and I’ve been to see all the festive things. I’m just not quite in the spirit yet…except when I’m making cookies. Or showing up to places with cookies. Luckily for me, I do a lot of both of those things. Ain’t life grand?Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Today’s cookies, these Oat-Pecan Linzer beauts, are a crisp, nutty, whole grain take on a classic. They’re as delicious as they are visually stunning, and they have the added benefits of being both gluten-free and vegan, so you know the batch will disappear in no time.Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookie dough is a variation on the Toasted Oat Graham Crackers I made last year, but with more spice and brown sugar, a touch of cornstarch for tenderness, and toasty pecans in place of some of the oats. The dough comes together in the food processor before being rolled out on parchment, chilled briefly, cut and baked.Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The cut-out cookies are set over a rack and dusted with confectioner’s sugar, while the whole ones are spread with jam. You can glue your linzers together with any jam or spread you like. I used raspberry jam in the cookies with the tree cut-outs and apricot for the stars. Feel free to get creative with key lime or grapefruit curd or even a swipe of pineapple cake filling (but keep in mind that none of those are vegan).Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}These linzers are everything I love in a holiday cookie: sweet, spiced, stunning and shareable. You *know* how much I love a cookie that accommodates multiple dietary needs! And guess what? I’ve got another coming at you Friday. ‘Tis the season.Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies
makes about 1.5 dozen sandwich cookies

Oat-Pecan Cookies:
2 cups old fashioned oats* (use certified gluten-free for gluten-free cookies)
3/4 cup raw pecan halves
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons water

For Assembly:
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup jam (I used 1/4 cup each apricot & raspberry)

Special Equipment:
2 1/2 inch cookie cutter
smaller 1-1 1/2 inch cookie cutter(s)

Place oven racks in the top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 325F.

Spread oats and pecans on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Place in oven and toast for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Line two sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

Transfer oats and pecans into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1-1.5 minutes, or until there are no recognizable oats. Pulse in cornstarch, light brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add oil and water, and process until large clumps form.

Turn dough onto a large piece of parchment and lightly knead to form a ball. Lightly dust a rolling pin with cornstarch. Roll dough (still on parchment) to 1/8-inch thickness. Freeze sheets of dough (still on parchment) for 10 minutes, or refrigerate for 30.

Dip cookie cutters in cornstarch and shake off excess. Working with one sheet of dough at a time, use large cutter to cut circles. Carefully peel half of them from parchment and place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use smaller cutter(s) to cut centers out of remaining circles. Place cut out cookies on prepared pans. Re-roll scraps to use remaining dough.

Bake 10 minutes before rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Cookies will initially be slightly soft, but will harden as they cool. Repeat rolling and baking with any remaining dough.

Set a cooling rack over a piece of parchment. Once all cookies are baked and cooled, set the cookies with the centers cut out on a prepared rack. Sift confectioners sugar over the tops.

Spread each whole cookie with ~1 teaspoon of jam (amount is based on your preference). Carefully sandwich cookies together. Serve.

Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Place wax paper between layers for best storage.Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oat-Pecan Linzer Cookies {Vegan & Gluten-Free}