Mediterranean Couscous Salad

This cold couscous salad is a great make-ahead side for a cook out or week night dinner because it keeps well for up to a week in the fridge.  The textures of the chewy couscous and crunchy carrot mixed with the creamy chickpeas and sweet raisins are a beautifully tasty combination.  I add the salty feta cheese because it is a sheep’s milk cheese and much easier to digest but you can certainly omit it.  This side dish is also packed with healthy ingredients from the raw carrots to the protein packed chick peas and verdant parsley.  Parsley is a high source of flavonoid antioxidants and is also a diuretic, which relieves bloating.  The Mediterranean Couscous Salad comes together in a snap and is dressed to impress.

Prep Time:  20 minutes      Cook Time:  10-15 minutes to cook the couscous       Serves: 6-8

1 cup of dry Israeli or Pearl Couscous cooked according to package instructions

1/3 cup white raisins

1 carrot finely chopped

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1 16 oz can of canned chickpeas drained

1/3 cup feta cheese crumbled (optional)

1/3 cup chopped red roasted peppers

1/4 -to 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinaigrette  (click on this link for the dressing recipe)

Add all of the ingredients to the bowl and stir.  Add in 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the dressing depending on taste.  Serve cold or at room temperature.  Store in the fridge for up to a week.

 

 

 

 

Eggplant Caponata

This recipe is an adaptation of my grandmother’s Sicilian dish of chopped eggplant and vegetables in a tomato sauce.  It’s a great hearty meatless meal for a hot summer day.  It can also double as a fancy appetizer when it is piled atop toast points smeared with goat cheese.  You can also use it as a sauce served over pasta.  This recipe is not only versatile but it’s extremely easy.  If you can chop and stir you have this one in the bag!

Prep Time:  15 minutes                Cook Time:  35 minutes                 Serves 4

2 tbsp avocado oil

 

1 large carrot finely diced

2 celery stalks finely diced

1 shallot finely diced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 large eggplant medium diced

1 cubanelle pepper medium diced

1 large zucchini medium diced

1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes or chopped tomatoes

1 8 oz container of sliced mushrooms cut into small diced squares.

5-6 fresh chopped basil leaves

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Toasted bread:

1 loaf of hearty bread sliced

2 tbsp avocado oil

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

Start by heating 2 tbsp avocado oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the finely diced shallot, carrot and celery.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp each of salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.  Add the eggplant, pepper and mushrooms along with the canned tomato and stir.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally.  Add the basil and zucchini and continue to simmer covered for an additional 20 minutes.  Add apple cider vinegar, stir and serve.

Lay the slices of bread on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until crispy and browned.  Top the bread with the caponata and serve.

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Peanut Butter and Oreo Lasagna

This no-bake dessert is dairy-free and can be assembled in under 15 minutes. This sweet lasagna can be made ahead and keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.  The rich chocolate center reminds me of a chocolate cheesecake, but it’s actually a mixture of chocolate hummus and dairy-free whipped topping.  The peanut butter compliments the oreo cookies nicely and the whipped topping cuts through some of the richness.  This dessert can easily be made gluten free by substituting gluten free cookies. It’s a great simple recipe for a hot summer day.  You will not be dissapointed!

Prep Time:  15 minutes                                                                   Serves  12

Ingredients:

1/2 cup room temperature peanut butter (almond or cashew butter can be substituted)

16 oz dairy-free chocolate hummus

3 containers of 9 oz dairy-free whipped topping

3 packages of reduced fat oreo cookies

Blend together the peanut butter and chocolate hummus until completely combined.  Fold in one container of whipped topping until incorporated.  Place a single layer of oreo cookies on the bottom of a 9X13″ pan.  Spread the chocolate mixture evenly on top of the cookies.  Place another layer of oreo cookies on the chocolate mixture.  Finally, spread 2 containers of whipped topping on the last layer of oreos.  Crumble 10 oreo cookies over the whipped topping and refrigerate overnight before serving.

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Dairy-Free Chocolate Banana Cream Pie

You won’t believe how easy this pie is to make!  No oven, mixer or prep required.  This no-bake dessert can be made the day before.  Simply keep it in your fridge or cooler until ready to serve.  This recipe is a great dairy-free alternative to an icebox cake that can be made in far less time.  Be sure to tell your guests and kids that there is hummus in this pie only after they’ve licked their plates clean.

Prep time:  10 minutes                                                  Serves: 8-10

1 Extra Large dairy-free graham cracker pie crust

1 cup dairy-free chocolate hummus

2 tubs non-dairy whipped topping (I like coco whip)

2 yellow bananas

1 square of dairy-free chocolate (optional)

Stir 1/2 container (4.5 oz) of whipped topping and 1 cup chocolate hummus dip until fully incorporated.  Place the mixture into the bottom of the pie shell in an even layer.  Slice 2 bananas and place them on top of the chocolate mixture.  Top the bananas with the remaining tub and a half of whipped topping.  Shave or grate a piece of dairy-free chocolate on top of the whipped cream as a garnish.  Refrigerate for up to a day before serving.

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Dairy-Free Sinful Cinnamon Rolls

Ok, so there are a few things I truly miss about eating dairy and one of those things are glazed cinnamon rolls.  Nothing quite says “comfort” like warm cinnamon and sugar oozing from delicate pastry.  Scratch made cinnamon rolls typically involve yeast and rising dough but, to be honest, I just despise recipes that are time consuming and tedious.  This recipe requires simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.  The hardest part is rolling out the dough, but if you have a clean counter and a rolling pin you will have these gooey pieces of heaven on your plate in no time!

Prep Time:   25 minutes                    Bake Time:  15 minutes                  Makes 16 rolls

Ingredients:

Filling

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

Dough:

2 1/2 cups al purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup almond milk

4 tbsp melted coconut oil

Icing:

2 tbsp almond milk

1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine filling ingredients in a small bowl and mix until well blended.  In a medium bowl combine sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk to combine.  Add the almond milk and melted coconut oil.  stir until the dough forms a ball.  Don’t over mix the dough or it will become tough.  Slice the dough in half and roll out the first half on a floured surface.  Be sure to flour the rolling pin as well as the top of the dough to prevent sticking and tearing.

Roll the dough out to the shape of a rectangle roughly the size of a sheet of paper.  Pour half of the filling mixture in the center and press it down to pack it onto the dough.  Leave a 1/4″ border on the dough.  Roll the dough lengthwise using a thin spatula to separate it from the surface as you roll. Trim any uneven edges and pinch the seams closed.  Cut the log into 8 slices and place the rolls onto a greased 8×8 pan or 8″ round pan.  Repeat with the second piece of dough and then bake in the oven at 425 for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden.

Whisk together the powdered sugar and almond milk until smooth.  Allow the rolls to cool in the pan for a few minutes before pouring the glaze over the top.

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Golden Raisin Oatmeal Spice Cookies

These dairy-free oatmeal cookies aren’t your grandmother’s recipe.  The hint of orange combined with the clove and allspice are a delightful kick to your taste buds.  The chewy texture of the oats combined with the sweet raisins are satisfyingly wholesome.  They are great with a cup of tea on a cold day but also a sweet addition to a summer picnic.

Prep Time:  15 minutes                        Cook Time 12-15 minutes                   Makes:  2 Dozen

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups rolled oats

2 tbsp of water

2 tbsp grated orange peel (approximately 1 medium orange zested)

2/3 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2/3 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, cream together the coconut oil and sugar.  Beat in the egg whites, water, orange zest and vanilla.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, oats, spices, salt and baking soda.  Sir until combined.  Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir in the raisins.  Stir until the mixture is combined.  Drop a rounded tablespoon of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet two inches apart.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are browned.  Remove and cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy!

 

Holiday Re-Mix

This quick and easy trail mix is dairy-free, requires no oven and is fairly healthy when compared to most desserts that will be calling your name this holiday season.  This trail mix combines my favorite flavor combination – oreos and peanut butter.  It will keep well in an air tight container for about a week.  If you omit the mini oreos in this recipe it can also be gluten free.  The red sprinkles add some festive color but you can change out the colors to match the occasion. This snack is prefect for a party or pack it for the long car ride to the festivities.

Prep Time:     20 minutes                          Makes one large bowl

Ingredients:

1 12 oz box rice chex cereal

3/4 cup fluff

3/4 cup natural peanut butter

3 tbsp of coconut butter or coconut oil

2 cups mini oreos

1/2 cup mini dairy free chocolate chips

1/2 cup salted cashews

1/4 cup red and green sprinkles

Place the fluff, peanut butter and coconut oil/butter into a heat proof bowl and melt the ingredients on a stovetop or in a microwave.  Stir the ingredients together until they are completely combined and smooth.

In a large bowl combine the cereal, oreos, chocolate chips, cashews and sprinkles.  Pour the melted mixture onto the cereal mixture and stir until all ingredients are coated.  Allow the mixture to cool and place in an air tight container for snacking all week.

 

Insane Apple Cake

When you are mixing up this batter you will think you’ve made a mistake because there are more chopped apples than cake mix.  You will have to trust me on this one because it will bake up to be delicious, moist and healthy.  It’s also an easy recipe that will allow you to use up the abundance of apples we all tend to have in the fall.

Prep Time:  10 minutes          Bake Time:  35minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup almond flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)

3/4 cup liquid egg whites (the equivalent of 4 large eggs)

8 apples (peeled, cored and chopped into cubes)

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  In a separate bowl whisk sugar, melted coconut oil and egg whites.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined.  Fold in the chopped apples and optional chopped nuts to the batter.  Pour the batter into a greased 13X9″ baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cut into squares once the cake has cooled and serve warm or at room temperature.  This cake will keep best in the fridge for up to a week.