PB + J Energy Bites
These PB + J Energy Balls are the bee's knees my friends! I made them by accident the other day while trying to make a healthy, satisfying, sweetish treat while cleaning out my cabinets. I didn't want to get the blender or food processor involved because they're a pain to clean, so these little cuties are stuck together using my favorite sticky ingredient: peanut butter! And because they're packed with PB, chia and flax they're packed with protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids, too. Which makes these perfect for bringing along on a hike, picnic at the beach, or on your next road trip. Because we used freeze-dried strawberries here instead of fresh strawberries they last longer out of the fridge and are a little less messy that they would be normally. I passed some along to my sports trainer friend who LOVED them and said he'd love them as an after workout boost. Best of all? They're a 1-bowl recipe and take just minutes to make, so you'll be snacking in no time. So let's eat!
1 cup oats
2/3 cup freeze dried strawberries, roughly chopped
1/3 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl combine the oats, strawberries, flax and chia. Add in the peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract and stir until thoroughly mixed. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to roll the mixture into 1" balls. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week. Enjoy!
Makes 16-20 1" balls.
Strawberry Phyllo Strudels
I'm officially dubbing these 'lazy girl pop tarts'. They are SO simple to make, don't require you to whip up any dough, are ready in less than half an hour, and are made of just 6 simple ingredients. Plus, they're actually pretty healthy! We didn't add any sugar, just fruit to the filling, and brushed the stacked layers of phyllo with melted coconut oil. The cream cheese glaze, while optional, is rich, perfectly sweet, and really takes these to the next level. These flaky strudels are portable too, making them perfect for on-the-go munching. They're perfect for summer stuffed with fresh strawberries, but you can sub in whatever fruit you have on hand. I think a mixed berry version would be delicious! And if the cream cheese glaze isn't really your thing, I bet a dollop of homemade coconut whip would be great, too. These are better-for-you toaster strudels without the toasting necessary, and made much healthier. So let's eat!
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
12 large phyllo sheets, (mine were 13" x 18") divided and folded in half
2 cups fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped
1/2 cup plain vegan cream cheese
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Layer the folded phyllo sheets on the prepared baking sheet, brushing each sheet with the melted coconut oil before adding the next. Brush the 6th sheet with coconut oil and spread the strawberries, leaving about a 1-inch border around the edges.
Layer the remaining 6 phyllo sheets, continuing to brush with coconut oil. Once the top layer has been brushed, use a large sharp knife or pizza cutter to slice the pastry into 8 equal rectangles. (You do this because once the pastry has baked, the phyllo will become slightly crisp and brittle and if cut after baking, will crumble quite a bit. )
Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 12-16 minutes, or until golden brown.
While the pastries bake, prepare the cream cheese glaze by whisking together the cream cheese, maple syrup and vanilla until smooth. When the pastries are finished, let them cool at least 10 minutes before drizzling with the cream cheese glaze. Enjoy!
Leftovers last without glaze, on the counter for up to 3 days. With glaze, in the fridge they'll be good for 1-2. So go ahead and have a second or third...☺️
The easiest way to get that drizzle evenly over the whole thing (IMO) is to scoop the cream cheese glaze into a small zip top sandwich baggie, cup the corner off with scissors and - voila! - you have yourself a DIY icing bag.
Cranberry Orange Clafoutis
Clafoutis, pronounced KLA-FOO-TEE, is a French dessert that is custard-y in texture and studded with fruit. Cherries seem to be the traditionally paired flavor, but since cranberries are in season and have such a great tart flavor, we used them instead. They work nicely to balance out the sweet, eggy flavor and texture of the cake, and they taste all kinds of seasonal with a bit of added orange zest. It works as a breakfast dish or dessert, and is an impressive looking one, at that! This recipe is deceptively simple and makes you seem like a real chef, especially when you start throwing around words like 'clafoutis' and 'aquafaba'. If you haven't jumped on the aquafaba train, you can check out some more info on other recipes we've used it in, like our Easy Chickpeasy Breakfast Burritos + our Homemade Marshmallow Fluff. We used aquafaba in this dish because it so closely mimics the protein structure in baked goods that eggs do, and helped to almost perfectly mimic the texture of a traditional clafoutis. We considered using flax or chia eggs, but I just don't think it would've given the same texture, and like we said before, texture is key in this dish. Anyway, enough chatting. You get it. Fancy dessert, very little work. So what're you waiting for? Let's eat!
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon aquafaba
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons melted vegan butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup fresh cranberries
powdered sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine almond milk, aquafaba, sugar, melted butter, vanilla and orange zest. Add in the flour, whisking until smooth. Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch cast iron pan or baking dish. Scatter the cranberries over the top and place the whole pan into the oven.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until dough is puffed and golden along the edges. Remove from the oven and let it sit at least 2 hours to set. The result should be very custard-like, a thick 'pancake' similar to flan.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar + serve!
Aquafaba is the magical liquid drained from a can of beans. Garbanzo or white beans work best. You can read more about that here.
Texture is key in this dish. Don't dig in too early or the base won't set properly. It might seem undercooked or a little jiggly when you first pull it out of the oven, but I promise, that's what you want. However, if the sides haven't browned up, you'll want to keep it in a few extra minutes.
Cranberries not your jam? Use your favorite berries or stone fruit here instead!
***We've gotten a LOT of questions about this recipe. I swear it is as easy as it looks BUT PLEASE read through the entire recipe completely before beginning. And yes, your pan should be greased...like its says. :) ***
Goji Cranberry Sauce
I'm a little embarrassed telling you this, but I used to LOVE canned cranberry sauce. I haven't eaten it in a few years, since I started making my own, but growing up that was my jam. I looked forward to Thanksgiving just for the ribbed, cylindrical maroon-colored jelly that would PLOP onto a plate and get passed around. It had no chunks, no texture, was just smooth as jello and sweet as could be. It was probably made with corn syrup. I'd probably think it tastes a little gross now. So instead of trying it again and ruining my beautiful memories of smearing it on yeast rolls and eating it alongside my mashed potato and gravy pile, I have decided to remember it as it was: perfect, and delicious. And make a better version! Something much more adult-friendly and gut-friendly. This cranberry sauce is super easy and whip up and is packed with goji berries, a superfood similar in flavor and color to cranberries, but packing a whopping 100% of your daily value of Vitamin's C + B2. Plus they contain all 11 essential amino acids, making them a complete protein. Its the wayyyyy healthier, just as tasty, much more enjoyable version of the crap I used to eat, and I think you're gonna love it too. Did we mention there are just 4 ingredients in this sauce? 5 if you count water! Easy peasy. Let's eat!
Looking for more Thanksgiving side dishes? Check out our Cranberry Apple Walnut Stuffing, Garam Masala Roasted Acorn Squash, Celeriac Mashed Potatoes, and Easy Vegan Gravy!
1 cup water
3/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons lemon juice
12 oz. of fresh cranberries (we bought a bag at Trader Joe's)
3/4 cup goji berries
Rinse and drain cranberries.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together water, maple syrup and lemon juice. Add cranberries and goji berries, bring to a boil, and cover.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until about 3/4 of the cranberries have popped open and the juices are beginning to thicken. Turn heat to low and cook for 5 more minutes, whisking several more times.
Remove from heat, let cool, and refrigerate at least two hours to set before serving. Enjoy!
Makes about 3 cups.
This sauce can easily be made the night before and refrigerated until ready to be enjoyed.
Sauce saves well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Cranberry Apple Walnut Stuffing
For years, the only stuffing I'd ever eaten was the weird, kinda mushy, from-a-box version that only came out at our place on Thanksgiving and Easter. And it was okay, but I had no idea what I was missing. I don't remember the first time I had a crusty, moist homemade stuffing, but it changed my mind forever. Once you've had the real thing, you just can't go back. This year I'm tackling stuffing and officially making it my favorite side dish. It tastes great smothered in mashed potatoes and sopping up gravy, and packs much more flavor than you'd imagine for such a quick + easy recipe. It's sweet and savory and looks lovely with all the color from the vegetables peeking out. The walnuts add just a touch of texture and earthy flavor, and the apples and cranberries balance everything out. Missing an ingredient? Sub in something else you love! This recipe is easy to make your own and tastes great just about anyway you serve it. Let's eat!
8 cups stale sourdough bread, cut into 1-in. cubes
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium red apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon each salt + pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cube up your stale bread and set it aside in a large mixing bowl.
In a large cast iron skillet, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic, celery and onions until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add apples and cranberries and continue to cook until apples soften, about 3-4 more minutes. Sprinkle in walnuts, sage, salt and pepper and toss to incorporate.
Pour the vegetable mixture into the bowl with the cubed bread, and stir. Pour vegetable broth over the mixture, stirring to evenly coat all the bread with liquid. The bread will absorb most of the liquid, but there should be some left.
Pour the entire stuffing mixture into a greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, until stuffing is becoming golden brown and making the kitchen smell delicious. Pull it from the oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!
To reheat, you can place the entire baking dish back into the oven covered in foil, removing the foil about halfway through cooking. Or if you have a microwave, feel free to use that.
If you don't want to use sourdough bread you can substitute your stale bread of choice.
The first Lassi, a traditional Indian-style drink made with yogurt, fruit, and spices is said to have been whipped up as early as 1000 B.C. Lassi's are a cooling drink, so people would drink them to beat the scorching heat and help cool down their mouths after a spicy dish. Mango Lassi's tend to be the most common flavor, but they can be made many different ways. Since we're still suffering from a heat wave over here in Southern California while everyone else enjoys crisp fall mornings and changing leaves, I decided to whip up one last Summer-worthy, beat-the-heat treat. We veganized the traditional Lassi recipe and kept it sugar-free, since the mango really adds plenty of sweetness itself. It's a guilt-free drink that tastes great and actually does help cool you down in the heat! I was sippin' glasses full all day yesterday. Also, instead of using water to mix with our yogurt, which is traditionally how a Lassi is made, we used sugar-free homemade almond milk which added a bit more creaminess while still keeping the drink healthy and delicious. Even if you're not suffering a heat wave, this drink becomes the perfect way to use up all the end-of-season mangoes on sale at the market right now in a fun, new way. And the leftovers of your drink can be left in the fridge and enjoyed for up to three days after, though it may need a good stir. Drink up!
3 cups fresh mango
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened vegan yogurt (we used a cashew based yogurt, but soy, almond or coconut should work just fine here)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup ice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
In a high speed blender combine manage, yogurt, coconut milk, ice and ground cardamom. Split between two tall glasses, or half the recipe for a single serving. Leftovers can be refrigerated up to three days, but it is best served fresh and cool. Enjoy!
Strawberry Cheesecake Squares
It's the hottest time of the year just about everywhere right now, and Southern California is no exception. In fact, most Angelinos will tell you that the past month has included some weird very june-gloom-esque weather. Lots of cloudy, humid mornings leading to sunny, hot afternoons. Basically, every afternoon becomes an excuse for me to run to the grocery store and pick up a pint of DF Mavens Mint Chip (my latest obsession) Ice Cream and then come home and eat it all, justifying that without it, I would be a puddle! The problem? I still kind of puddle out around 3 pm when the heat reaches its peak, but I've also eaten 600 calories worth of ice cream and my daily allotment of sugar. Whoops! This week I'm giving up the ice cream and packed the freezer with these sweet, low sugar Strawberry Cheesecake Squares. They're just the right amount of sweet on top of a chewy date-oat-nut crust, and make the perfect afternoon cool-down treat or late-night snack. They're packed full of good fats from the nuts and coconut milk, and are a nice break from a traditional round cheesecake. Easier to serve + share! Plus, when it's as hot as it has been here lately, you only want to have to pull out a piece at a time because, you know, MELTING. As you can see as proof above (well, and below), things got a bit melty under photography lights in the hot hot afternoon, but it still tastes amazing. If its that hot, keep them in the freezer until ready to serve. Otherwise, you can soften them a bit in the fridge, but since coconut milk/cream is so melty, the cooler the better for these babies. Let's eat!
1½ cups cashews
1½ cups oats
1 cup pitted dates
6 tablespoons melted coconut oil
4 heaping cups strawberries, green tops removed
1 - 14 oz. can coconut cream OR 2 cans coconut milk, refrigerated overnight + liquid drained
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup melted coconut oil
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup OR agave nectar
Soak cashews in warm water for at least one hour. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or high speed blender. Grease or line a 9x9 inch glass baking dish. Press date & nut mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Refrigerate or freeze to set coconut oil, about one hour.
Blend strawberries, coconut cream, vanilla, coconut oil and maple syrup in a high speed blender until completely combined. Remove crust-filled baking dish from the fridge and fill evenly with the cheesecake mixture. Cover + place in the freezer or fridge to set for at least 3 hours or overnight. When ready, remove from the fridge, cut with a large knife into 12 even squares, and plate. Sprinkle with crushed cashews, fresh strawberries, and a bit of coconut whipped cream, if you like. Since coconut cream can get melty in the heat (like in some of the photos above!), this dessert is best left in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to eat it. It lasts indefinitely covered in the freezer, and makes 12 medium-sized or 15 small cheesecake squares. Enjoy!
Sweet Cherry Coffee Cake
'Tis the season for bright, juicy, super overpriced cherries! But I love 'em, so I don't even mind paying like $6/lb. Especially since I started baking with them. I love them fresh, but they just have such a great, sweet flavor for baked goods! And in this recipe, they compliment the crumby brown sugar + cinnamon topping so perfectly. This cake comes out moist, lightly sweet, and stuffed full of the sweetest summer cherries. Its my favorite cake, of any kind, that I've had in a while. We tried to keep the sugar low in the cake mixture because of the super sweet crumb topping, but its still a splurgy breakfast for sure. I've been super dedicated in my workouts lately (and am even considering trying to get my yoga teaching certification) so I felt no guilt indulging in more than one slice - and you shouldn't either! And even though coffee cake sounds like a morning thing, to definitely tasted just as good at ten o'clock at night. You could probably sub in any summer berries here for a tasty seasonal treat, and we will definitely be making versions of this recipe year-round. Let's get bak(ed)ing!
1½ cup all-purpose flour*
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
½ cup coconut oil or vegan butter, softened
6 tablespoons vegan butter or coconut oil
6 tablespoons coconut butter
½ cup sugar
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon ground flax meal
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1½ cups all-purpose flour *(GF may work too, but we haven't tried it!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 heaping cup sweet cherries, pitted and halved
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 inch glass baking dish and set aside.
Wash, pit, and halve 1 heaping cup of sweet cherries.
To make the crumble, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, & salt a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour in softened coconut oil or butter and use a fork to combine the mixture until small crumbs form.
In a separate mixing bowl, cream together the butter or oil, coconut butter and sugar. Add the milk, ground flax, corn starch and apple cider vinegar and stir until completely combined.
In a third mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Don't overmix! Fold in the sweet cherries.
Pour the prepared batter into your greased baking dish and spread the crumble mixture evenly over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes clean of cake and the crumble mixture has turned a nice golden brown. Let cool at least 20 mins before serving. Enjoy!
Leftovers can be saved in an airtight container on the counter for 3 days and in the fridge for about a week.
Stone Fruit Crumble Squares
Summer is here and so are the stone fruits! We've been seeing gorgeous plums, peaches, nectarines and apricots (and all their sub-varieties) popping up at grocery stores and farmers markets and we couldn't resist making something sweet to showcase just how yummy they are. I love eating them raw or mixed into my oatmeal and smoothies, but baked into these low-sugar crumble bars is a great way to mix it up! Plus, they're shareable and perfect party food- easy to eat and packed with a little extra chia seed goodness. We served ours with a sprig of fresh mint, but a dollop of soy or coconut whip would be perfect here too. The colors of the mixed stone fruit oozing out the sides is gorgeous and drool-worthy. This is a great desert for impressing your friends - and since it whips up fast, it'll look like you work a lot harder on this one than you actually had to. And that is always a good thing. More time for summer cocktail sipping! Go grab a bag of the juiciest, plumpest summer stone fruits you can find and let's eat!
2 cups (GF certified) oats
2 cups gluten-free flour (whole wheat works here, too!)
3 tablespoons organic sugar
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of xantham gum, optional (for use with GF flours)
2/3 cup coconut oil, softened
4 cups stone fruit, pitted + chopped (we used plums, peaches + nectarines)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon corn starch
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine oats, flour, sugar, chia seeds & salt. Add in softened coconut oil and stir until crumbs begin to form. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, toss your cut stone fruit in the lemon juice and corn starch until evenly coated. Grease an 8x8 (or 9x13, for slightly thinner bars) glass baking dish, then pour a a little over 1/2 of the oat crumble mixture into the bottom of the dish. Press gently into the sides. Top with the stone fruit mixture, spreading evenly. Finally, pour the rest of the crumble mixture on top, distributing that evenly as well. Put crumble into the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, until the crumble topping becomes golden and fruit mixture bubbles. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into squares. To help squares stay firm, refrigerate until ready to cut. If you like it warm and fresh out of the oven, say to heck with the squares and have a pile of crumble goodness. We're not here to judge. Makes 9-12 squares depending on size, saves well in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!
Fig + Almond Chia Oat Pudding
I love a good chia pudding. When I first went vegan the idea sort of repulsed me, but after 6 years chia seeds and the strangely gelatinous pudding they can create has become a favorite. I don't make it as often as I should, but when I do I tend to get a little binge-y on it. Its so good! And chia seeds are so good for you and packed with omegas- there's no guilt in this pudding. Plus its vegan, gluten-free, AND raw! This time around, we added oats to both thicken it up and add a little texture and fiber to the pudding. Since figs have just made their spring arrival in grocery stores around here we decided to incorporate some of those, too. The sweet, earthy flavor of ripe figs just contrasts so nicely with the flavor of almond and the crunch of fresh almonds sprinkled on top. And this sweet little recipe whips up in just 5 minutes! Make it the night before and enjoy it as an on-the-go breakfast or take the time to make a small batch for a hike. Its the perfect workout fuel...or late-night snack. Let's eat!
3 tablespoons chia seeds
3 tablespoons rolled oats
1 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup or agave (optional)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-6 figs, roughly chopped
sliced almonds, for garnish
In a medium sized bowl mix chia seeds, rolled oats, milk, sweetener, and extracts. Set aside to coagulate for 15-20 mins. Top with figs and sliced almonds and enjoy! Leftovers last in the fridge up to a week.