Whole grain banana bread with almond pulp recipe

whole grain banana bread with almond pulp | pamela salzman

Something I really hate to do is to waste food.  One of the reasons I plan out a week of meals is that I can shop accordingly and only buy what I know I will use.  But what about that leftover almond pulp?  Despite my best efforts to use up the almond byproduct that results every time I make almond milk, it just doesn’t always happen.  And raw almonds are so expensive that it actually pains me to throw the pulp in the trash.  It’s perfectly good food, especially since the almonds were previously soaked, making them much more digestible and nutritious!

leftover almond pulp

So what do I do with it?  Of course, there’s the obvious — add it to anyone’s smoothie or stir it into a warm porridge or muesli.  And almond pulp freezes well, so I can save it for another time.  But I am just way too lazy to get out my dehydrator and dry out the pulp to use as almond meal.  And then I thought to myself, what if I just tried the almond pulp in a quick bread in place of some of the wheat flour?  Well, guess what?  It worked!  Although apparently, a million other people already knew this and I am extremely late to the almond pulp party!

wet ingredients

I decided to take one of my banana bread recipes and tweak it a bit with almond pulp that was leftover from 1 cup of whole, soaked raw almonds.  Remember, almonds have a lot more fat than grain flours, so we can cut back on some of the added fat.  But almonds have no gluten, so I was reluctant to make an all-almond pulp bread this first time.  I know this will be neither Paleo nor gluten-free (although I am confident you can swap the gluten flour for a good GF all purpose mix + a little xanthan gum), but I think we can fix that with a few more tweaks.  Using half whole wheat flour and half almond pulp, this bread came out to be ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!  Moist but hearty, not crumbly, and not too sweet.  It’s perfect banana bread, in my book.  My life changed instantly!!  Let’s all imagine the possibilities of subbing some almond pulp for flour in different recipes!  Is this exciting or what??

batter

ready for the oven

Most of the recipes on my site have been made in my cooking classes and at home about 20 times, but this one I just did once so I haven’t tested all the permutations, e.g. all almond pulp, no bananas, butter for coconut oil, and so on.  But you can bet I will!  I am planning on making my Millet Blondies today with almond pulp.  Check my Instagram for updates!  And please share your experiences with subbing in almond pulp in any recipes — I’ll try anything!

One last favor — I love Saveur Magazine and they’re conducting their annual food blog awards right now. If you like my blog, would you kindly take 15 seconds out of your busy day and nominate me for a Saveur Food Blog Award?  I think the category of Best Special Interest Blog (healthy cooking) would be great.  Thank you so much!  Here’s the link (and I promise it takes 15 seconds!) http://www.saveur.com/article/contests/blog-awards-2015-nominate

whole grain banana bread with almond pulp | pamela salzman

whole grain banana bread with almond pulp | pamela salzman

banana bread with almond pulp

5.0 from 17 reviews
Whole Grain Banana Bread with Almond Pulp
Author: 
Serves: makes one 8½ x 4½ -inch loaf
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour, whole spelt or sprouted spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup packed almond pulp (leftover from 1 cup of almonds to make almond milk)
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter or unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 very ripe bananas, mashed (2 large or 3 small-medium)
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 8 ½ x 4 ½ loaf pan with butter or coconut oil and line with unbleached parchment paper, if desired.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Place the almond pulp, maple syrup, melted butter or coconut oil, eggs and vanilla in a blender and process until combined. Or whisk well in a medium bowl.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine until just blended. Fold in the mashed bananas and nuts.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes and then remove the bread and transfer to a rack.

Roasted Cabbage Wedges Recipe

Roasted Cabbage Wedges | pamela salzman

I teach five recipes in a typical cooking class and there’s usually a dark horse in there — a dish that no one is expected to be wowed by, but ends up being the surprise hit of the menu.  Case in point is this recipe for roasted cabbage wedges, which everyone went crazy over and I heard multiple times, “I wasn’t thinking this was going to be anything special, but I love it!”

lemon-mustard sauce

First of all, no one is ever wowed by cabbage, sadly.  I am a huge fan of the whole cabbage fam, and wrote about it in one of my recent Friday Favorites posts.  It’s such a nutritious, VERSATILE, inexpensive, and delicious veg which is grown domestically all year round.  Most people think cabbage and think cole slaw, which is fine but there are many, many more delicious (and healthful) ways to enjoy cabbage.

cut the cabbage lengthwise into rounds

Roasting cabbage will change your mind about this under-appreciated vegetable.  It has become my favorite, and my family’s favorite, way to eat cabbage.  Even Mr. Picky, my now 11-year-old son, likes it!  That is cause for celebration here because there are very few cooked vegetables he likes.  And even more reason for me to share this recipe plus this could not be easier to make.

Cabbage rounds ready to be roasted

Even though I call these “wedges,” I know they’re more like slabs.  But the word “slab” is really unsexy and possibly a turn-off, so I had to do a little creative marketing here.  When cabbage is roasted, it becomes very mild and sweet, almost buttery.  If you’re lucky, the edges will get a little crispy and kind of smoky.  For my family, I just serve the cabbage roasted as is, but I did teach this in my class with a lemony-mustard drizzle just for fun.  I’ve also seen images on Pinterest and elsewhere where people take the roasted cabbage and separate the layers and make it feel like noodles.  So clever!

roasted cabbage wedges | pamela salzman

I prefer to use a saturated fat like coconut oil when I cook at higher temps (like 400 degrees) because it doesn’t oxidize and create free radicals like an unsaturated fat does, like olive oil.  I don’t think the cabbage tastes like coconut AT ALL, but coconut oil just makes the cabbage taste sweeter.  I am in love with coconut oil-roasted veggies like sweet potato, winter squashes, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli.  Give it a try sometime.  If you are allergic to coconut oil or you just detest it, feel free to use olive oil in an equal amount.  Roast these babies up and serve them with basically anything — poultry, fish, rice pilaf, cauliflower mashed potatoes and so on.  It’s the perfect comfort food that won’t weigh you down and likely to fit into your January resolutions!

roasted cabbage wedges | pamela salzman

roasted cabbage wedges | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Roasted Cabbage Wedges
Author: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 head of green cabbage, cut through the core into 1-inch thick rounds
  • 2-3 Tablespoons melted unrefined virgin coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Dressing: (cabbage is perfectly delicious without the dressing)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons of finely chopped fresh chives
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Brush the cut side of each cabbage round with oil and place in one layer on the prepared sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Roast cabbage, about 40-45 minutes, flipping over after 20 minutes.  Cabbage should be tender and lightly golden around the edges.
  4. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Drizzle cabbage with dressing if desired.

Grain-free White Bean Coffee Cake Recipe

grain-free white bean coffee cake | pamela salzman

Trust me that this cake is so good!  It does NOT look like it has white beans in it, nor does it taste like white beans (which may I remind you taste like nothing.)  And lest you think I am a genius coming up with blending white beans to make a high-protein, downright delicious cake, I will come clean and tell you this is nothing that hasn’t already been done about 16,7000,000 times, according to google.  Even my idol, Martha Stewart, has made cupcakes with white beans!  If it’s good enough for Martha, it’s definitely good enough for moi.

some of the ingredients

I thought this would be such a different, delicious and healthful cake for your Mother’s Day brunch, and what a conversation-starter!  It’s always fun to quiz your family and friends — “Can you guess what the secret ingredient is?”  I would never suggest making this for Father’s Day because most dads I know would rather have doughnuts than a cake with nutritional benefits.  Moms are different.  We’re always looking to have our treats without the guilt!

making the topping

This cake was a huge hit in my classes last year.  I first told everyone to open their minds because this would not resemble a classic coffeecake. Most people that come to my classes are pretty open-minded anyway.  In fact a few ladies said, “Ah, of course.  Black beans in brownies, white beans in coffeecake.”   I agree, it makes perfect sense.  But I would never make any dessert or any recipe for that matter just because it’s kind of healthful.  Of all things, dessert should be enjoyed, and you will love this cake!  It’s very moist, just sweet enough and light.  I ate quite a bit of this cake last  year and I never felt uncomfortable or sick after eating it.  That’s an indication of a pretty clean dessert.

making the cake batter

I normally encourage you to make your beans from scratch, but for this recipe it is very important that your beans be nice and creamy soft.  So if you want to be on the safe side, just used canned.  I love Eden which doesn’t use BPA in its can liners.  The one ingredient which might throw you for a loop is the coconut flour, although I do have a great muffin recipe on my site that uses almond flour and coconut flour.  At my Whole Foods, you can buy coconut flour from the bulk bins, which is nice if you just need a little bit.  Most recipes which use coconut flour only call for small amounts of it because it is so absorbent.  Don’t go thinking you can substitute regular grain flours for coconut flour!  They are completely different!

grain-free white bean coffee cake

If you decide you don’t want to make this coffee cake with the faux streusel topping, just make the cake with your favorite frosting or serve it with fresh fruit and whipped cream or whipped coconut cream.  Either way, moms deserve a treat on Mother’s Day, so indulge or do something generous for all the special moms in your life!  Happy Mother’s Day!

grain-free white bean coffeecake | pamela salzman

 

grain-free white bean coffee cake

4.9 from 7 reviews
Grain-free White Bean Coffee Cake
Author: 
Serves: makes one 12X9 or 13x9-inch cake
 
Ingredients
  • Crumble Topping:
  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked white beans (make sure they’re soft and not crunchy), such as cannellini or Great Northern, drained and rinsed if canned (cold or at room temperature)
  • 6 eggs
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla liquid stevia or plain stevia and add an extra ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil, plus extra for greasing pan
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 12 x 9 or 13 x 9 baking dish with coconut oil or butter.
  2. To make the topping, place the walnuts, coconut oil or butter, sugar and cinnamon in the food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until combined and the texture resembles a crumb topping. Remove from food processor and set aside.
  3. In the same food processor (no need to clean it) place the beans, eggs, stevia, vanilla coconut oil and honey and puree until smooth.
  4. Then add the coconut flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder to the white bean mixture and process until smooth. Pour into the greased pan.
  5. Spread the topping over the top of the batter and use a fork to swirl into the batter, then pat down to set.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator where it will stay good for up to a week.

Dairy-free Cashew Cheesecake Recipe

dairy-free cashew cheesecake! | pamela salzman

I taught this luscious dessert in my classes two years ago, but I had seen cashew “cheesecakes” all over the place for many years. But of course I didn’t get it.  I didn’t understand how blended cashews could be turned into something that resembled cheesecake, a cheesecake that I would actually want to eat.  So I put off trying all these recipes that I saw on Pinterest and Foodily.  I caught glimpses of vegan cheesecakes made with chocolate, key limes, pumpkin, lemon and lavender, blueberries and so on.  I just wasn’t convinced.

making the crust

crust mixture ready to be pressed

My mother-in-law and I have an arrangement for Passover — I make all the desserts for both seders and she does everything else.  I clearly got the easier, more fun job.  However baking for Passover, a holiday which revolves around NOT eating anything with grains or flour made from grains, isn’t as straightforward as baking for any other holiday.  But I still have lots of fun coming up with delicious treats that don’t involve a box of Manischewitz cake mix.  Every year I make the very traditional coconut macaroons, as well as a lemon ice torte that I have been making since I graduated from college.  And no holiday would be complete without something chocolate, so I bake a few mini-flourless chocolate cakes.  So delicious.

soak cashews

drain the soaked cashews

But I can never leave well enough alone, so one year I decided to give this cashew cheesecake thing a go. OMG.  Get out of here. I was blown away!  And then super bummed I had let so many opportunities to go by when I could have been enjoying this deliciousness.  The texture is so much like cheesecake.  Very rich and creamy, and slightly sweet.  I really couldn’t get over it.  Of course the crust is raw and vegan, consistent with the rest of the cake.  But I think you could go with a graham cracker crust and fool everyone into thinking this is cheesecake.

scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean

spread the first mixture onto the crust

then the strawberry mixture

What amazed me about this cake is how digestible it is and how clean the ingredients are.  We use soaked raw cashews (read my post about why soaking nuts and seeds is beneficial to your health,) coconut oil (such a good, healthful fat), honey or maple syrup (not going to save your life, but less acid-forming than refined sugar), lemon juice and vanilla.  Amazing.  Although, I did a little rough math and this isn’t the kind of dessert you can eat very often because it’s really high in (good) fat and calories.  Just saying, in case you were tempted to eat half a cake.  Not a good idea.  In fact, I put on a few pounds in the months I was testing this recipe.  True story.  But this is a fantastic idea for Passover or Easter and no one will ever in a million years guess what’s in it.  Another fun Passover dessert coming soon!

vegan cashew cheesecake | pamela salzman raw vegan cashew cheesecake | pamela salzman raw vegan cashew cheesecake | pamela salzman cashew cheesecake | pamela salzman cashew cheesecake | pamela salzman

cashew cheesecake | pamela salzman

 

Dairy-free Cashew Cheesecake
Author: 
Serves: 10-12 (because it's rich, you want to cut small slices)
 
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 1 cup raw almonds (or pecans or walnuts)
  • 1 cup soft Medjool dates, pitted (about 10)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Filling:
  • 3 cups (1 pound) raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours or overnight, and drained
  • ⅔ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ⅔ cup unrefined coconut oil, melted (if you have a Vitamix, no need to melt)
  • ⅔ cup raw honey (not vegan) or Grade A maple syrup (vegan, but not raw)
  • Seeds from 2 whole vanilla beans (or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries (my preference) or raspberries (thaw completely if frozen)
Instructions
  1. Place almonds, dates, coconut and salt in a food processor and process until the mixture holds together (it should be sticky). Transfer the mixture onto the bottom of a 9” spring-form pan and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout.
  2. In a Vita-Mix or food processor, place all filling ingredients (except strawberries) and process on high until very smooth. This may take a minute or two.
  3. Pour about 3 cups of the mixture onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Add the strawberries to the Vita-Mix/food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the strawberry mixture onto the first layer of filling. Place in the freezer until solid. Cover with foil to protect from freezer burn.
  4. To serve, remove from the freezer at least 60 minutes prior to eating. After it has defrosted, store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Run a thin knife between the cake and the pan and then release the springform ring. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit. Store leftovers in the refrigerator if you plan to eat within a few days. Otherwise, store leftovers in the freezer.
Notes
Unfortunately, there is no substitute for the cashews which become very creamy when blended, nor the coconut oil, which solidifies when refrigerated and gives the cake its firmness, otherwise it would be a gloopy mess.

Gingerbread biscotti recipe (gluten-free version, too!)

Gingerbread Biscotti | Pamela Salzman

Gingerbread Biscotti | Pamela Salzman

I have been offered A LOT of biscotti in my life.  When everyone you are related to is Italian, biscotti appear more often than Oreos.  They’re called “biscotti” because they literally translate to “twice baked.”  You bake them in logs first, then you slice up the logs and bake them again. They have this tell-tale shape you see here and they are a bit dry and crunchy and not overly sweet.  There are infinite flavor combinations ranging from lemon to almond to chocolate chip to raisin to you name it.  I remember my parents and all the other grown-ups dunking them in espresso or, if they were really feeling festive, dipping the cookies in a sweet Italian liqueur called Vin Santo.

dry ingredients

chopping crystallized ginger

Now that sounds dreamy to me for sure, but when I was a kid, all I wanted was a normal chocolate chip cookie for goodness sake!  Or one with M&M’s or some other junk.  I’m all grown-up now and I much prefer homemade cookies, especially ones that don’t contain M&M’s and lots of sugar.  Even though I try not to indulge in sweets very often, I do like to bake cookies for the holidays.  My favorite holiday “flavor” is gingerbread.  Every year in my December classes I teach some sort of gingerbread dessert, two of which have been posted on my site.  These gingerbread biscotti might very well be my favorite so far!  One of my complaints about the biscotti of my youth is that they were B-O-R-I-N-G.  What kid gets excited about orange zest in a cookie or fennel seed?  Yaaaaawwwwnnnn.  That’s not a dessert.  But gingerbread biscotti are something else.  These pack a spicy punch from both crystallized ginger and powered ginger and a double crunch from the whole almonds.  Even Mr. Picky loves these.  He just walked by the computer and said, “isn’t it about time we make those gingerbread biscotti again?”  I absolutely swear he just said that!

bake the logs first

slice the baked logs

Biscotti are fantastic to make for the holidays because they last a good long time (a week or more?) without getting stale, so they’re perfect for gift-giving!  If you need to accommodate gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan folks, read through both recipes because there are options.  If you’re not sure how to do this, please leave me a comment below and I will help you out.  I’ll tell you the truth — I like the gluten-free biscotti better than the wheat flour ones.  I think they’re lighter and crispier, although both have that great gingerbread flavor.  I love the extra boost from crystallized ginger, but if you can’t find it, don’t worry about it.  And if you’re feeling extra naughty, you can go right ahead and dip these cuties in some melted white chocolate and let them harden before you store them or wrap them up.  Are you feeling the holiday spirit now??

gingerbread biscotti | pamela salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Gingerbread Biscotti
Author: 
Serves: makes about 24
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil or room temperature unsalted butter
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • ½ cup muscovado or firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs or ½ cup unsweetened smooth applesauce
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup whole raw almonds or chopped, if desired
  • ½ cup crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Beat coconut oil and sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and creamy.  Beat in eggs, combine well.
  2. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended.  Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.
  3. Divide dough in half.  Using floured hands, shape each portion into a log 3-inches wide and 1-inch high.  Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 25 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet; remove to a wire rack, and set aside until cool to the touch.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  5. Cut each log crosswise into ½-inch slices with a serrated knife. Place slices on the same parchment-lined cookie sheet.  If you want long cookies, cut on the diagonal.
  6. Bake 7-8 minutes; turn cookies over, and bake 7-8 more minutes.  If you cut them thick, you will probably have to bake them a little longer.  Cool completely on wire racks.

gluten-free gingerbread biscotti

makes about 24

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup cane sugar

½ cup muscovado or firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs or ½ cup unsweetened smooth applesauce

½ cup almond flour

¼ cup sorghum flour

¼ cup tapioca flour

¼ cup potato starch

¼ cup sweet rice flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 cup whole raw almonds or chopped, if desired

½ cup crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and creamy.  Beat in eggs, combine well.
  2. Sift all dry ingredients together and add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended.  Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.
  3. Dough will be very sticky so you can refrigerate it for 15-20 minutes and/or flour your hands while you split the dough into two logs, about 1 inch high and 2 inches wide.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on the edges and just slightly soft in the middle.  Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet and remove to a wire rack.  Set aside until cool to the touch, about 30 minutes.
  5. Cut each log crosswise into half-inch slices with a serrated knife.  Place slices on the same parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes until golden.  Cool completely on wire racks.

Beet Green Crisps Recipe

Beet Green Crisps by Pamela Salzman

Daughter #1 is lucky enough to be attending a great high school summer program at an East Coast university for the next 6 weeks.  My daughter, Mr. Picky, and I are currently en route to get her there and settled before he and I spend a week on Long Island with my family.  Because Daughter #1 had finals up until yesterday afternoon, there was no packing done until…last night.  So not my style to do things at the last minute, but I needed to supervise what went into that bag.  I love the idea of letting the kids take responsibility for themselves, but there is a certain amount of guidance that I needed to impose offer in this situation.  Clothing that looks like something I use to mop the floor should stay home.  Outfits can most definitely be repeated during a 6-week time period.    Not every single pair of underwear that one owns needs to be packed.  Repeat after me, “I can do laundry.”

fresh beet greens

It’s a huge contrast to when I will prepare Mr. Picky for 2 weeks at sleepaway camp next month.  Most of the clothes we pack him will come back unworn.  And even though he showers every day at home, I doubt he will shower at camp more than twice.  “The lake gets me clean, Mom.”  Whereas my daughter brought a separate carry-on bag just for toiletries, including her straightening iron, hair dryer and several brushes, Mr. Picky packs a toothbrush and toothpaste and a body wash that doubles as shampoo, which, like I said, he probably won’t use.

unrefined coconut oil in a heat-proof bowl which I stick in the oven while it's preheating

Both scenarios make me chuckle and say something about each of them.  I was thinking about that late last night when I finally got around to packing for myself.  It seriously took me 15 minutes to pull my personal items together for my week at my parents’ house.  I need very little as I keep some basics there and I do laundry regularly.  But I do spend A LOT of time packing food.

 

First there’s the food I bring to my parents’ house, like homemade granola, dried persimmons from the farmers market for my dad, truly raw almonds and my nut milk bag so I can make almond milk, and a few ginormous lemons from my tree just to show off a little, among other things.  And then there’s food to eat on the airplane because I just cannot deal with boxed “snack packs.”  Cannot deal.

melted coconut oil

I always pack a lot for long flights because I am a total crankypants if I get hungry.  So I swear I spent more time yesterday prepping for a hot breakfast at home, as well as lunch and snacks on the plane than I did packing for all three of us combined.  No joke!  I made pancake batter and fresh blueberry sauce for breakfast.  Then I put together containers of raw veggies and cut fruit, sushi rice and edamame for Mr. Picky, quinoa, roasted vegetables and salad dressing for my daughter and myself, as well as trail mix and these awesome beet green crisps.

beet greens before cooking

Can you believe it took me all this time to get to the fact that this post is about beet green crisps?  Anywaaaaaay, I was having lunch at my friend Marta’s last week after I had a Panchakarma treatment which I promise to tell you about soon.  Lunch was dal, basmati rice, roasted beets, green beans and these crispy greens which I thought were Swiss chard.   You’ve heard of kale chips, so think that but with Swiss chard leaves instead of kale.  SO AWESOME!!!!!  Light and crispy with a little sea salt and not quite as strongly flavored as kale.  Addictive.  I couldn’t stop thinking about them.  Then it hit me that the leaves were much smaller than Swiss chard and she had made beets for lunch, so they were obviously beet greens.  By the way, beets and Swiss chard are related and the leaves from both taste very similar.  I use them interchangeably, but normally if I buy a bunch of beets, the greens aren’t enough to make a side dish for all of us for dinner.  I just found my new favorite way to use them!

Beet Green Crisps by Pamela Salzman

You know you should be eating more dark green leafy vegetables, as they are among the most healing foods on the planet.  This is a great way to enjoy your greens and these crisps would have made the perfect snack for traveling if I literally had not eaten the entire platter after I photographed them.  Literally the entire platter.

Beet Green Crisps by Pamela Salzman

Beet Green Crisps
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch fresh beet greens, washed and dried well
  • unrefined coconut oil, melted or olive oil for coating the greens
  • fine sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. You can trim the stems off the leaves and just roast the leaves if you want.  I did a mix of both.  The stems become very tender, but not crispy.  Place the greens in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with a little coconut oil.  You only need enough to lightly coat the leaves.  Rub a little coconut oil on both sides of the leaves and arrange the greens in one layer on the prepared baking sheets.  Sprinkle with a little salt.  Be conservative with the salt since beet greens are high in natural sodium.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes and then turn the leaves over and bake for another 5 minutes or until dry and crispy.  Oven temperatures vary wildly, so if your oven runs hot, you may want to check the greens after 3 minutes.  They won’t taste good if they’re burned!

 

Chocolate Banana Almond Flour Muffins with Chia Seeds Recipe (Gluten-free & Passover Friendly)

Chocolate Banana Chia Seed Muffins with Almond Flour | Pamela Salzman

There’s a new (but not really new) diet in town which everyone is talking about called the Paleolithic Diet or Paleo, for short.  Sometimes it’s referred to as the Caveman or Hunter-Gatherer Diet and it focuses on the foods humans ate pre-industrial agriculture.  The idea is that our bodies recognize certain foods and haven’t evolved to recognize other newer foods so we should stick to what was eaten during the Paleolithic time to be healthy and fit.  The diet allows lean grass-fed and pastured meats, eggs, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables, coconut, avocado and healthy fats.  Easy, right?  But the diet does not allow anything processed or refined (like sugar, flour, packaged food), or any grains (wheat, rice, barley, etc.), legumes (beans, lentils), dairy, potatoes or processed oils.  I am not encouraging or discouraging this diet, which I think has its pros and cons, but merely giving a quick explanation since I’ve received a few questions about it recently.

all the dry ingredients

As I have noticed more and more people limiting gluten and grains, I have also noticed the increased popularity and use of almond flour, which is finely milled blanched almonds.  Almonds, like all nuts and seeds, are gluten-free, low in carbohydrates and high in protein.  Whereas nuts and seeds, generally speaking, can be slightly acid-forming, almonds are alkalizing.

I love Medjool dates!  Dice them when they're cold -- much easier.

A few years ago I found Elana Amsterdam’s great gluten-free website, www.elanaspantry.com, which I think started the almond flour revolution.  Elana has since turned paleo, and all her newer recipes follow those guidelines.  It’s really because of her website that I was inspired to experiment with almond flour and although I have had mixed results, overall I think it’s awesome once I figured out how to work with it.  I think it’s great to add some variety to our diet and I love getting some extra protein into Mr. Picky.  Almond flour also comes in handy around Passover, 8 days of no grains or legumes, except Matzoh which can start to get a tad boring after a few days.

Add dates to combined dry ingredients

I had a really delicious Chocolate Banana Chia Seed muffin at Le Pain Quotidian last year or the year before and I was intent on duplicating it.   The muffin was moist with the perfect amount of sweetness and I loved the crunch from the chia seeds.  They were kind enough to tell me the ingredients (although not the exact recipe) and I made a tasty version at home with whole wheat pastry flour and maple syrup.  The kids thought they were great!  When I tried using almond flour in place of the wheat flour, we all went crazy for them.  The almond flour version of the muffin was the best — super moist, chocolaty and a little denser, but in a good way.  Now when I make these muffins, I always use almond flour!

it's good to break up the date pieces

pour in the wet mixture

Before you start substituting almond flour one-for-one for wheat flour, stop right there.  It isn’t a perfect substitution.  Almond flour has no gluten, but does contain way more fat than wheat flour so there are a few adjustments to be made.  I would stop by Elana’s Pantry for a quick lesson on how almond flour works.  I also have found that specifically labeled “almond flour” is better than “almond meal” (like Bob’s Red Mill.)  Per Elana, I started buying almond flour from Honeyville Grain, which has a very good, fresh product and a very reasonable shipping fee ($4.50 flat rate.

fold in the mashed banana

batter with the mashed bananas

These muffins are not technically Paleo due to the yogurt, although if you can find an unsweetened almond milk yogurt, that would work here.  Or you can try making these without the yogurt and just add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, although I have never done it and can’t guarantee the results.  I’m really posting these as a great gluten-free, Happy Passover muffin, although I make these all year.  In fact I made these recently and Daughter #2 had a few friends over and they inhaled half the batch in 2 minutes.  (I’m telling you, if you want the kids to hang out at your house, you need FOOD.)  To make this more of a dessert, you can certainly substitute chocolate chips for the diced dates.  The chia seeds are fun and obviously nutritious, but there’s less than 1 teaspoon per muffin so it’s not a dealbreaker if you want to omit them.

using an ice cream scoop makes this easy

ready for the oven

As always, I love hearing about your experiments in the kitchen and would especially be interested to know about your experience with almond flour or your favorite Passover treats.  Once again, I’m on dessert duty for Passover and I’m getting busy right now.  This weekend I will be making loads of Macaroons, both plain and dipped in chocolate, the Lemon Ice Torte which I have been making since 1991, and a raw cashew “cheesecake” which I will have to share another time.  There is also a recipe on my site for a (vegan) Coconut Tart with Strawberries which is perfect for Passover and Easter.  Lots of delicious options!

also delicious warm out of the oven!

Chocolate Banana Almond Flour Muffins with Chia Seeds
Author: 
Serves: makes 12 muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ¾ cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal – I use Honeyville)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of chia seeds + 1 Tablespoon for muffin tops
  • ½ cup diced pitted dates, about 7 dates (easier to dice when they’re cold) (optional, or ½ cup chocolate chips)
  • 4 Tablespoons melted unrefined coconut oil
  • 4 Tablespoons whole unsweetened yogurt
  • ⅓ cup 100% pure maple syrup or honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with unbleached parchment liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and 2 Tablespoons chia seeds.  Add dates and break up pieces so they don’t stick together.
  3. In a blender, combine coconut oil, yogurt, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Pour wet mixture into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Fold in mashed bananas.
  5. Divide the batter into the prepared pan.  (An ice cream scoop makes this job easy.)  Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out  clean.

 

Sweet potato casserole recipe

baked sweet potato casserole | pamela salzman

There are a few recipes I make on Thanksgiving that I call “one-hit wonders.”  That is to say I don’t make them on any of the other 364 days in the year.   I’m no fan of stuffing, for example, so I keep the masses happy by making it on the holiday and then we forget about it until next year.  My Maple-Glazed Sweet Potato Gratin was in the same category for no other reason than it just seemed a little decadent to serve on a day that isn’t considered the biggest meal of the year.

about to roast

roasted and peeled sweet potatoes

baked, covered for 40 minutes

Just for fun, I recently tried a new sweet potato recipe which my kids absolutely flipped for.  Not only has this Sweet Potato Casserole bumped the former gratin out of the coveted spot, but my kids have begged me to make it multiple times since then.  My girls have even eaten it for breakfast and as an after-school snack.  I am crazy for sweet potatoes any which way and I am perfectly content with a nice big juicy one plain and simple.  So when recipes start adding cups of brown sugar with marshmallows or oatmeal cookie dough on top, I can’t take them seriously.  We’re going to try and keep things classy over here, ok?

simple, no-sugar, organic corn flakes

topping

bake covered for 40 minutes, then add the topping

But there was something intriguing about this recipe from Food & Wine that I had to try.   Despite the pureed sweet potato base mixed with eggs, milk, butter and an obscene amount of sugar, I saw potential.  The topping is what really had me since I just love a contrast in textures.  I could already taste the silky puree with the light and crispy cinnamon-nutmeg flakes and nuts.  Even after I cleaned up this recipe by cutting the sugar by almost two-thirds, the casserole was still absolutely divine and a perfect complement to your Thanksgiving buffet.  It’s also super easy to  make if you have a food processor and can be done in advance (Thanksgiving magic words!)  By the way, I have also made this recipe dairy-free with success by using coconut oil instead of butter and unsweetened hemp milk instead of regular.  Since it’s already gluten-free, everyone’s happy!

bite of casserole out of the oven

What?  Did you just call me “trashy” behind my back for using cereal in a Thanksgiving recipe?  Guilty.  Maybe I deserve it.  You know what I say?  Worth it!

Ah, Thanksgiving!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Sweet Potato Casserole
Author: 
Serves: 8-10 (on a normal day, but probably serves more like 14 on Thanksgiving if you have a lot of other side dishes)
 
Ingredients
  • 5 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, such as garnet or jewel, scrubbed (these are often labeled "yams" at the market)
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter or ¾ cup unrefined coconut oil, melted, divided
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt + a pinch
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup whole milk or plain, unsweetened hemp milk
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup pecan halves or pieces, about 4 ounces
  • 1 cup cornflakes, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup maple sugar or brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender, about an hour, but could be more depending on size. Or you can also boil peeled, cubed sweet potatoes in water for 15 minutes or until tender and drain, but I think roasting the sweet potatoes makes then sweeter.
  2. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
  3. When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin and place potatoes in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Do this in batches if necessary.
  4. Transfer the puree to a large bowl. Add half the butter (6 Tbs.), salt, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, maple syrup, and milk. Stir to combine and then stir in the eggs. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Recipe can be made up to this point one day in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator. Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes.
  5. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Transfer the pecans to a cutting board and coarsely chop. In a bowl, toss the pecans with the cornflakes, cinnamon and remaining 6 tablespoons of melted butter, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, maple or brown sugar and a pinch of salt.
  6. Remove foil from casserole. Distribute small clumps of topping all over sweet potatoes. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes longer, until topping is golden and sizzling. Let casserole stand for 20 minutes before serving. ( I have also baked it covered for 30 minutes, uncovered for 30 and it still turned out great!)
Notes
You can bake this up to 4 hours in advance and serve it warm or at room temperature.