I’m squeezing in a recipe before Easter and even Passover (if you make some modifications.) These mini strawberry cheesecakes are a twist on a classic cheesecake recipe because I use cream cheese and Greek yogurt plus I am making MINIS! I love an individual dessert. The strawberry swirl is easier than it looks and divine. Let’s do it!Continue reading
Just when I think I can’t come up with another awesome pumpkin dessert recipe, I do! This is a pumpkin pie meets a crumble meets a gingersnap cookie! What’s not to love? And it’s so easy, has make-ahead written all over it and can be adaptable. There are many twists on this recipe including a graham cracker crust or a chocolate cookie crust and you can omit the crumble topping if you want to keep this simple.Continue reading
I forgot how much I love a NO BAKE recipe! No heating up the kitchen and practically instant gratification! The only problem with these chocolate-peanut butter-oat bars is that they are so tasty and satisfying, I kind of can’t resist them. So after I made this batch, I gave them all to my sister-in-law and she and her family flipped for them!!Continue reading
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!
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!
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??
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/
- 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
- 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.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- 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.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine until just blended. Fold in the mashed bananas and nuts.
- 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.
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!”
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.
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.
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!
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!
- 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
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- 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.
- Roast cabbage, about 40-45 minutes, flipping over after 20 minutes. Cabbage should be tender and lightly golden around the edges.
- Whisk dressing ingredients together in a medium bowl. Drizzle cabbage with dressing if desired.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
- 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
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 12 x 9 or 13 x 9 baking dish with coconut oil or butter.
- 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.
- In the same food processor (no need to clean it) place the beans, eggs, stevia, vanilla coconut oil and honey and puree until smooth.
- 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.
- Spread the topping over the top of the batter and use a fork to swirl into the batter, then pat down to set.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
- 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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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!
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??
- 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)
- 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.
- Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- Sift all dry ingredients together and add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in almonds and crystallized ginger.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.