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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Gluten-free and Dairy-free Blondies

Blondies are basically a vanilla version of brownies.  These blondies are chewy and delicious with a bit of chocolate dotted throughout.  You won’t believe your taste buds but these are completely free of dairy and gluten with the help of coconut oil and almond flour.  What better way to get some healthy almonds into your kids?  The best part is that they can be made in a few easy steps.  Yum!

Prep Time:  15 minutes        Bake Time:  20-25 minutes     Makes 12-18 blondie squares

Ingredients:

3/4 cup melted coconut oil

5 cups (16 oz) almond flour (super fine)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cups egg whites

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup gluten-free and dairy-free chocolate chips or chunks

Melt the coconut oil in a bowl and put it aside to cool.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the almond flour, salt and baking soda.  Add the sugar, egg whites and vanilla to the coconut oil and whisk to combine.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Fold the chocolate chips into the batter.  Place the batter into a 13×9 baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool and cut into squares.  Store in an air tight container in the fridge.  Serve warm with a scoop of non-dairy ice cream for a delicious dessert.

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Cinnamon Donut Muffins

These muffins are made with a dairy-free donut batter and just might be mistaken for a cinnamon and sugar donut hole.  I like to make them in tiny muffin tins so that they are a delicious small bite, but you can certainly make full-sized muffins.  I like to use hemp milk for the health benefits, but feel free to use any milk substitute you have at home.  When the vinegar and dairy-free milk are combined for 15 minutes they mimic the same properties that buttermilk has in creating an airy and tender dough.  I’m fairly certain these will be enjoyed by even the pickiest eater!

Prep Time:  15 minutes     Cook time:  13 minutes/20-25 minutes

Makes:  24 mini muffins or 9 full-sized muffins

Ingredients:

7 tbsp softened coconut oil

2/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup dairy-free milk (hemp, almond, coconut, soy, cashew milk, etc)

1/2 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping:

2/3 cup sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

5 tbsp melted coconut oil

Place the dairy-free milk substitute and white vinegar in a small bowl and stir.  Let sit for 15 minutes while you assemble the batter.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine and remove any lumps. In a separate bowl cream the softened coconut oil and sugar with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Slowly add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients alternating with the milk mixture until completely combined.

Spray the muffin tin with a non-stick cooking spray or use a muffin liner.  Use a 1 or 1 1/12 tablespoon ice cream scoop for uniformed mini muffins.  If you are making full-sized muffins, fill the tins 3/4 of the way.  Bake mini muffins for 13 minutes and full-sized muffins for 20-25 minutes.  Muffins are done when they are golden, dry and springy to the touch.  Remove them from the oven and allow to cool.  They may be frozen at this point or placed in an air tight container.

Before serving, melt the remaining coconut oil in a small bowl and mix the cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl.  Holding the muffins from the bottom dip the top of the muffins in the oil and allow the excess to drip back into the bowl.  Then roll the top of the muffin into the cinnamon and sugar.  Serve and enjoy!

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!