chickpea burgers with yogurt tahini sauce

So there isn’t much of a story behind this recipe, besides the fact that I have a whole lot of tahini in my fridge right now and a desire to use it, and I have a new love for this blog – Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. The recipes are not fat free by the way; they’re just made without extra added fats such as butter & oils.

I made chickpea burgers with yogurt tahini sauce from this recipe last night, although the sauce I made wasn’t vegan, as I chose to use Fage greek yogurt instead of nondairy yogurt. I’ve tried a few nondairy yogurts and haven’t been a huge fan so far. We ate them with lettuce & tomato on multigrain Kaiser rolls with a side of baked sweet potato “fries” with cayenne pepper.


Chickpea burgers with yogurt tahini sauce

sweet potato & beet hash

Sweet potatoes and beets happen to be two of my favorite foods on this planet, so incorporating them both into one meal is pretty much perfection for me. No offense to the regular potato, but my philosophy is why have a potato when you can have a sweet potato? You don’t get as much Vitamin C with a sweet potato, but you can make up for that elsewhere, and you do get about 7,000 times the Vitamin A! Yay for good eyesight.

I wanted to make a sort of hash-browns-esque side dish to go with our scrambled eggs for brunch this morning (thank you, presidents, for the day off!). There are a lot of recipes out there for sweet potato beet hash, but I went with this one since it was simple and didn’t require a whole lot of extra ingredients. I used organic turkey bacon instead of bacon, but you could go with some kind of veggie-bacon or skip the bacon entirely if you wanted to make this vegetarian. I also used two different kinds of beets. There was a stand at the farmer’s market that had huge bins of all different shaped wild beets, so I got one long skinny one that was the usual deep purple on the inside, and another that was round and had knobs and tails coming off of it, and was swirled magenta and white on the inside (looked like marbled beef when you cut it open).

The result: a little charred as a result of my non-precise timing with the oven, but tasty!


Sweet potato beet hash

sweet sassy molassey whoopie pies

I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. From the moment Christmas ends till the moment Valentine’s Day is over, you can’t walk into a Duane Reade to buy some Advil without being assaulted by aisles full of ugly teddy bears. It’s just tacky. Whether I was single or coupled, I’ve always been in sort of moral opposition to a holiday concocted to make people buy lots of pink and red junk and feel bad if you’re not going out to dinner. But on the other hand, really, if you just look at it as an excuse to eat chocolate, it’s kind of acceptable.

ImageI have to admit, this year was an exceptionally fun Valentine’s Day. Homemade dinner of linguini with littleneck clams and spicy tomato sauce, fancy French wine, a box of Jacques Torres chocolates, and homemade whoopie pies! For non-New Englanders, whoopie pies are traditional Maine desserts that are basically two mounds of chocolate cake/cookie with creamy filling in the middle. They look a little like giant Oreos. So Chris’s mom had gotten me a whoopie pie cookbook for a Christmas stocking stuffer, with a card that said “If you’re going to date a Mainer, you have to cook like one!” The book has not only the traditional chocolate cake with buttercream filling recipe, but more than 20 cake and 30 filling variations and 4 pages of combination suggestions. They even have a jalapeno cornbread whoopie pie, a maple bacon filling, and two completely vegan recipes.

Deciding which whoopie pie to make was probably the hardest part. I was intrigued by the Happy Pilgrim (pumpkin whoopie, maple filling) and the Chip n’ Dale (chocolate chip whoopie, salty peanut butter filling), and Chris liked the Hansel & Gretel (gingerbread whoopie, buttercream filling) and the Crazy Mo-Fo (chocolate on chocolate).
The compromise: we invented our own combo. Gingerbread molasses whoopie pies with dark chocolate ganache filling, which Chris named “The Sweet Sassy Molassey.”


Sweet Sassy Molassey

Recipe is as follows:
For the gingerbread whoopies: Sift together 4 cups flour, 1.5 tsp each ground ginger & cinnamon, 1 tsp each salt & baking soda, 1/2 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat together 1 stick unsalted room temp butter, 4 tbs vegetable shortening (I actually used all butter for this which is why they came out kinda flat), and 3/4 brown sugar until fluffy & smooth. Beat in 1 egg & 3/4 cups molasses. Add 1/2 the flour mixture & 3/4 cup buttermilk, then the other half of the flour mixture when blended. Drop about 2 tbs batter about 2 inches apart onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes (you’ll need to do more than 1 batch). Cool on a wire rack.
For the chocolate ganache: Heat 1/2 cup heavy cream in a pot or microwave & pour over 8 oz chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate. Stir till melted. Cool.
Then assemble your whoopie pies!

Warning: these are so good, you might develop a Maine accent and start saying “wicked.”

cauliflower crust pizza

I came across this recipe last October, and I just now got around to actually making it. And boy I’m glad I did, because it’s not only super simple to make but also very tasty – and gluten-free! (It is a total accident by the way, that I’ve been posting so many gluten-free recipes lately).

Cauliflower crust pizza

So yes, the crust of the pizza is made out of cauliflower. I’m sure some of you are wrinkling your noses in disgust, but while it doesn’t taste exactly like pizza crust, I would dare anyone to be able to taste the cauliflower. In addition to the nutritional benefit of avoiding a heap of starchy white flour dough underneath your pizza toppings, you also get the benefit of all that cauliflower has to offer – folate (for cell division and growth & blood cell production), Vitamin C (antioxidant, antihistamine, immune booster, and scurvy-preventer), and fiber (do you really not know what that’s for?). Cauliflower is even believed to have anti-cancer properties.

My pizza was topped with organic tomato sauce, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, red bell peppers, red pepper flakes, and a sprinkling of part-skim mozzarella (there’s plenty of cheese in the crust so it doesn’t need much more). Your topping choices are of course endless, so play away! (Word of advice: the cauliflower lends itself to a less stiff and structured crust than regular pizza crust, so this is best eaten with a fork. Not very American, sorry, but it’s better than having tomato sauce all over your lap).

healthy chocolate oat banana coconut almond cookies

ImageMy favorite food blog, 101 Cookbooks, does it again. These little dollops of cookie heaven are moderately guilt-free, delicious, and if you made a few adjustments, they could easily be made gluten free and vegan.

To make them gluten-free, just look for a gluten-free variety of rolled oats such as Bob’s Red Mill or substitute quinoa flakes (I’ve never tried them so I can’t vouch for taste). To make the cookies vegan, just substitute the dark chocolate chunks for carob chips or any chocolate without added milk fat, milk solids, whey, or casein, such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s chocolate chips, Organic Equal Exchange chocolate, or Green and Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate.

You can also try adding a number of other ingredients to play with the recipe: peanut butter, chopped nuts, dried cranberries, blueberries… the possibilities are virtually endless and I will definitely make this again and try some variations!

The original recipe is in the link above – I followed it exactly and used olive oil instead of coconut oil.