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Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

17 Aug

Poppy seeds, which come from the opium poppy plant, are widely used in European, Indian and Jewish cuisines (source). A very good source of calcium and manganese, and a good source of copper, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and thiamin, these tiny seeds help provide healthy bones, heart and nervous system (source).

Fun fact: though opium is harvested from seed pods and not the seeds themselves, poppy seeds do contain small amounts of opium alkaloids, therefore can sometimes cause a false positive reading for opiates in drug tests (source).

Lemon and poppy seed are two foods commonly combined. Not only do they compliment each other flavor-wise, the vitamin C in lemons assists poppy seeds with iron absorption (source).

As you may have noticed, I’ve been dabbling in gluten-free baking and seem to have found my ideal ratio of gluten-free flours and starches. The addition of xanthan gum provides a slightly chewy feel, which mimics that of gluten. Check out this recipe for moist, Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins:

Gluten-Free Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Yields 12 muffins

zest and juice from 1/2 organic lemon (approximately 1-1/2 tablespoons juice)
1 cup regular unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup sweet white sorghum flour
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup potato starch (NOT flour)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1-1/2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Preheat oven to 375º F. Lightly grease a muffin pan or line with paper/silicone baking cups. Set aside.

Place lemon juice in a 1-cup measuring glass and add coconut milk until level reaches the 1 cup mark. Stir and set aside.

Combine all dry ingredients (including lemon zest) in the bowl of a stand mixture and mix until combined. Add oil, lemon extract and coconut milk mixture and stir until combined. Beat for approximately 1 minute to incorporate air into the mixture.

Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick when inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few crumbs.



Pesto Pasta Salad

30 Jun

Pasta salad is an excellent way to incorporate various vitamins and minerals into your diet. You can include whatever vegetables you want and then smother it all in your dressing of choice. Having been raised with Italian dressing on my pasta salad, I grew tired of it and wanted to try something new. Enter pesto. The result is a burst of flavor that accents the various vegetables included within and makes for an excellent, refreshing salad you can enjoy on any spring or summer day.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad
Yields approximately 8-10 cups

1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained
1 (12-ounce) box farfalle pasta (or pasta of choice)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper or seasoning of choice
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts marinated in water, drained and chopped
1 (10.5-ounce) container cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
1 (8-ounce) bag fresh broccoli, separated into small florets
3/4 cup extra-large black olives, halved

3 ounces fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 medium cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 rounded teaspoon salt (adding more to taste)

Begin with tofu by pressing out excess liquid. You may either use a tofu press or wrap the tofu in cloth or paper towels and place a heavy item, such as a plate or two, on top and allow to sit for 15-30 minutes.

While tofu is being pressed, prepare pasta according to manufacturer’s directions. Drain, set aside and allow to cool completely.

Prepare pesto by first processing basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add olive oil and salt, and continue processing another 10-15 seconds, or until oil is incorporated. Set aside.

Slice pressed tofu into small cubes. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add tofu in a single layer and fry until golden brown on all sides. Season with salt and pepper, or the seasoning of your choice (I use a chicken-style seasoning). Set aside on a paper towel-covered plate in order to remove excess oil. Allow to cool.

Once pasta and tofu have cooled, combine with prepared pesto and remaining ingredients.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Ethiopian Chickpea Salad

9 May

In Ethiopian culture, fasting is common on various days of the week and during certain times of the year. During their fasts, Ethiopians refrain from consuming animal fats, which is one of the reasons why their cuisine is so veg-friendly. Utilizing legumes and vegetables seasoned with various spices, many these dishes are referred to as wat, a curry or stew-like dish. Because silverware isn’t common in Ethiopian culture, wat is scooped up with a type of sourdough flatbread called injera (source).

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are often used in Ethiopian cuisine and are one of the earliest cultivated legumes. Ethiopia is currently the sixth largest producer of these legumes and most commonly uses them in wat and salads (source). One cup cooked chickpeas provides 13% DV Potassium, 48% Fiber, 30% Protein, 26% Iron, 10% Vitamin B6 and 19% Magnesium (source).

This simple Ethiopian Chickpea Salad is light and refreshing, and makes for an excellent side dish to any meal.

Ethiopian Chickpea Salad

Ethiopian Chickpea Salad

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 shallots, peeled and minced
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Heat 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until caramelized, approximately 1 minute. Remove shallots from pan.

Heat remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil in pan and add chickpeas, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Place remaining ingredients in a bowl and add shallots and cooled chickpeas. Stir to combine.

Product Review and Recipe: UB Super

10 Apr

UBSuper-LogoLiving proof that “you are what you eat,” Scott Kanyok nursed himself back to health after suffering from a chronic upper thoracic injury in addition to being involved in a life-threatening bicycle accident. By nourishing his body with a mix of superfoods, protein, vitamins, minerals, prebiotics and probiotics, the first UB Super Protein Superfood Nutritional Shake was born and Kanyok is now thriving (source).

Given that I am a runner, I find nutritional protein shakes very beneficial after a workout. Each packet of UB Super provides at least 15g protein in addition to 10 superfoods and a complete amino acid profile, and is free from gluten, soy and GMOs (source). All you need to do to enjoy one of these tasty shakes is to place one (1.2-ounce) packet UB Super in a drinking glass or shaker bottle and add 10 ounces of water or non-dairy milk of choice.

Today I am reviewing two UB Super flavors: Chocolate and Vanilla.

UB Super Chocolate UB Super Chocolate
Choosing to mix mine with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, I found the chocolate flavor and amount of sweetness to be very pleasant as if you are drinking chocolate milk. I could also taste slight earthy undertones which is a testament to all the beneficial nutrients contained within. One minor thing I wasn’t a fan of are the small flecks of solids in the smoothie. An easy and likely remedy for this though would be to put it in a high-speed blender and puree until smooth. Very tasty nonetheless!

UB Super Vanilla UB Super Vanilla
I enjoyed the pleasant vanilla flavor of this product and the amount of sweetness was just right. Feeling adventurous, I decided to create a muffin recipe that utilizes UB Super Vanilla. In addition, I made it gluten-free to continue the theme. As you likely already know, baking is a science, and for me, gluten-free baking even more so. The result of my baking experiment is sweet little tasty muffins. While a little dense, these guys are not only full of beneficial superfoods, prebiotics, probiotics and various nutrients, they also have a nice touch of chocolate goodness.

UB Super Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Vanilla Muffins and UB Super Chocolate Shake

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Vanilla Protein Muffins
Yields approximately 16 muffins

1-1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 cups regular unsweetened almond milk
1 (1.2-ounce) package UB Super Vanilla protein powder
1 cup sweet white sorghum flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1-1/2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1 teaspoon xantham gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup gluten-free chocolate chips

Place apple cider vinegar in a 2-cup measuring glass and add almond milk until level reaches the 1-1/2 cups mark. Stir and set aside.

Combine all dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add oil and almond milk mixture and stir until combined. Beat for 1-2 minutes to incorporate air into the batter.

Stir in chocolate chips by hand, just until mixed and set aside, allowing to rest.

Preheat oven to 375º F. Lightly grease a muffin pan or line with paper/silicone baking cups. Set aside.

Once oven has preheated, divide mixture evenly among muffin cups and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick when inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Allow to cool slightly before consuming.


NOTE: The products noted above were free samples provided by UB Real, which has no affiliation with Vegan Food Addict. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely that of Vegan Food Addict and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

White Bean and Sage Crostini

4 Feb

Crostini, sometimes called crostino, which means “little toast” in Italian, is a small slice of grilled or toasted bread capped with a flavorful topping (source).

This recipe, featuring beans and fresh sage, provides a variety of nutrients. 1 cup canned white beans provides 50% DV Dietary Fiber, 19% Calcium, 44% Iron, and 19g Protein (source). An excellent source of Manganese, white beans assist with healthy bones, metabolism, sex hormones and thyroid gland function, regulation of blood sugar, prevention of epileptic seizures, as well as assisting with calcium absorption (source).

These refreshing White Bean and Sage Crostini are excellent hors d’oeuvres or can be used as a fancy potluck contribution.

White Bean and Sage Crostini

White Bean and Sage Crostini

1 (8-ounce) baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices
olive oil
fresh cracked pepper

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or great northern beans
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Begin with the crostini by placing baguette slices in a single layer on a large cookie sheet. Brush both sides of bread with oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, for the topping, drain beans and rinse with water, allowing to drain thoroughly. Mash beans in a small bowl and add remaining ingredients, mixing until combined.

Spoon bean mixture evenly atop baguette slices and serve.

Cinnamon Banana Muffins with Candied Pistachios

30 Dec

Pistachios are becoming an increasingly popular snack. Not only are they delicious, they provide many vitamins and minerals. One cup dry-roasted pistachios provides approximately 35% DV Potassium, 48% Dietary Fiber, 52% Protein, 13% Calcium, 27% Iron, 70% Vitamin B6 and 33% Magnesium (source).

A member of the cashew family, the pistachio, or Pistacia vera, is grown in various countries around the world and is said to have been first cultivated in Western Asia. Consumed as far back as 6750 BC, the pistachio is a desert plant that can thrive in a wide range of temperatures, though it does not respond well in humid climates or those which provide too much water. Each tree produces approximately 50,000 nuts every two years (source).

Try these green-colored beauties atop some Cinnamon Banana Muffins. If you prefer, pistachios can be replaced with the nut of your choice.

Cinnamon Banana Muffins with Candied Pistachios

Cinnamon-Banana Muffins with Candied Pistachios
Yields 12 muffins

3/4 cup roasted and shelled pistachios (or different nut of choice)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

4 teaspoons flax meal
8 teaspoons warm water
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 ripe mashed bananas
1/4 cup regular almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350º F. Lightly grease a muffin pan or line with paper/silicone baking cups; set aside.

For the topping, combine the pistachios, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add maple syrup and stir until pistachios are evenly coated; set aside.

For the muffins, combine flax meal and warm water in a small bowl, mix, and set aside, allowing to thicken.

Next, in a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together shortening and sugar. Add the bananas, almond milk and flax mixture, and mix until combined. Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture and stir just until combined. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin pan, topping with pistachio mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Microwave Twice-Baked Potatoes

13 Oct

The potato, derived from the Spanish word patata, is said to have originated in Bolivia and present-day Peru, and is the world’s fourth-largest food crop (source). A good source of Manganese, Potassium, and Vitamins B6 and C (source), baked potatoes have the potential to lower blood pressure, build cells, assist with and protect the nervous and cardiovascular systems, and even help improve athletic performance (source).

Twice-baked potatoes get their name from, you guessed it, being baked twice. Whether using the microwave or conventional oven, raw potatoes are first baked thoroughly in order to scoop out the inner flesh, mix it with various ingredients and then place the mixture back into the potato shells, baking a second time until the entire mixture is heated through. The result is a handy bowl-like potato that can simply be picked up and eaten without silverware.

Twice-Baked Potato

Microwave Twice-Baked Potatoes

2 large russet potatoes
1/2 cup regular unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese
1/4 cup vegan sour cream
2 tablespoons vegan butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
ground paprika
chopped fresh chives

Scrub potatoes and pierce each with a fork 6-8 times.

Place potatoes on a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 10 minutes, or until tender.

Remove from microwave and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.

Cut each potato in half and scoop out flesh, leaving a shell that is approximately 1/4-inch thick.

Place flesh of potatoes in a large bowl with deep sides along with almond milk, cheese, sour cream, butter, salt and pepper, and blend with a hand mixer until smooth.

Spoon blended mixture into potato shells, and place in microwave, cooking an additional 60-90 seconds on high, or until heated through.

Sprinkle with paprika and chives and serve.

Miso Mustard Glazed Brussels Sprouts

20 Aug

A member of the cabbage family, the brussels sprout resembles a small cabbage and is said to have originated in Brussels, Belgium where it is commonly consumed (source). This vegetable often receives a bad reputation thanks, in part, to its slight sulfur aroma. When I was younger, I wasn’t a fan of brussels sprouts, but now I find myself craving them; especially now that I can appreciate their many health benefits.

Cooked brussels sprouts are a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Folate, Manganese, Potassium and Vitamins A, B6, C and K, and a good source of Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Riboflavin and Thiamin (source). Because one cup of brussels sprouts provides more than double the recommended daily value of Vitamin K, they are particularly beneficial for preventing inflammation. These green leafy vegetables also provide a variety of antioxidants, in addition to cardiovascular and digestive support, and the compounds contained within assist with detoxifying cancer-causing substances (source).

As if brussels sprouts aren’t healthy enough, when served with miso, they are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. Miso is a very good source of Manganese, but also a good source of Copper, Dietary Fiber and Vitamin K (source). Made by fermenting barley, rice, and/or soybeans, and combined with salt and a special type of fungus called kōjikin, miso paste is a Japanese staple that is perhaps most commonly consumed in miso soup. Miso, similar to brussels sprouts, boasts numerous antioxidants and also provides anti-cancer, cardiovascular and digestive benefits (source).

Miso Mustard Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Miso Mustard Glazed Brussels Sprouts

1 (10-ounce) bag shaved brussels sprouts*
1/2 cup hot water
2 tablespoons mellow red miso
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons arrowroot
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400º F. Place brussels sprouts in a 9-inch baking dish and set aside.

Dissolve miso in hot water and add remaining ingredients, mixing until combined. Pour mixture over brussels sprouts and stir to coat thoroughly.

Cover dish with foil and bake brussels sprouts in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until tender.

*Trader Joe’s sells shaved brussels sprouts, but should you not be able to find them, you may use regular brussels sprouts. First remove and discard the root ends, wash the brussels sprouts thoroughly, then either shred with a food processor, or thinly slice with a knife.

Oil-Free Pesto-Grilled Potatoes

8 Aug

Oh, how I love pesto! And potatoes. And a hot grill. Grab some aluminum foil and you’ve got a great dish.

Living in a climate with a rather ugly winter, we make the most out of summer in our home. Fresh basil, just the scent of it, is the spirit of summer in herb form. I’ve always loved pesto but I don’t want all the oil found in all the recipes. The beauty of this recipe is that you get the bright, verdant flavor of pesto without the oil because we will be using an aluminum packet over a grill, locking in the flavors and the moisture of the sauce.

NOTE: For those without a grill, you can achieve the same results with a parchment packet in the oven at 425 degrees, cooking the same length of time as on the grill recipe below.

Pesto-Grilled Potatoes

Oil-Free Pesto-Grilled Potatoes
Yields 4-6 Servings

2 cups fresh basil
1 cup spinach
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup low sodium vegetable stock
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons organic lemon rind, grated
1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds Yukon Gold or baby potatoes

First, make your pesto by placing all of the above ingredients, except for potatoes, into a food processor and process until it is a paste. Add stock by the tablespoon if it is too dry and not coming together.

Wash potatoes and slice into halves or quarters. Very small potatoes can be left whole.

In a large bowl, add the potatoes and 1/3 – 1/2 cup of pesto.

Lay a large sheet of foil, add the potatoes and fold over the edges to make one sealed package. Cook over a hot grill for 20 minutes, turn with tongs and cook for 15 more minutes. Enjoy!

Marla RoseMarla Rose is a writer, mother and activist.
She recently relaunched and is co-founder of Chicago VeganMania.

Beet Tartare with Cashew Cheese

20 Jun

Beetroots, or beets as most of us like to call them, have a slightly sweet flavor and range in color from red to yellow. These root vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked; boiled, grilled, roasted or steamed; and in sweet and savory dishes. Beets are commonly consumed pickled and in borscht, a European beet soup (source). Thanks to their beautiful red-violet color, beets provide Betanin, a red glycosidic food dye derived from beet juice extract. This food dye is used in various frozen and dry products, and those with a short shelf life (source).

Providing antioxidants, detoxification assistance, and anti-cancer and inflammatory benefits, beets boast a variety of vitamins and nutrients (source). Raw beets are a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Folate, Manganese and Potassium, and a good source of Iron, Magnesium and Vitamin C (source). Raw beet greens, similar in taste to spinach, are also very nutritious, being hailed as a very good source of Calcium, Copper, Dietary Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Riboflavin, Thiamin and Vitamins A, B6, C, E and K, as well as a good source of Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Protein and Zinc (source).

The following recipe is fashioned after that of a popular vegan restaurant in the northwest. Combining fresh, seasoned beets over a bed of cashew cheese, topped with nutritious beet greens and served with baguette slices, this Beet Tartar will have you coming back for more. It certainly has me! Should you choose to do so, cashew cheese can be prepared ahead of time and frozen until ready to use; simply thaw and you are ready to go. Enjoy!

Beet Tartare

Beet Tartare with Cashew Cheese

Cashew Cheese:
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked in water for 8-12 hours
1 large clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons regular unsweetened almond milk

Beet Mixture:
3-4 fresh red beets, approximately 2-inches in diameter
2 tablespoons minced fresh shallots
1 tablespoon non-pareil (small) capers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

1 small whole wheat baguette, sliced

Begin with the cashew cheese by draining soaked cashews and placing into the bowl of a food processor along with garlic and salt. Pulse until combined. Slowly add almond milk and continue processing for another 1-2 minutes or until mixture is smooth. Set aside.

For the beet mixture, remove greens and root ends from beets. Dispose of root ends, set greens aside and place beets in a medium-size pot of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and rinse beets with cold water; set aside.

Meanwhile, rinse beet greens thoroughly and chop coarsely. Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat and add greens, boiling for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and rinse with cold water. Press out as much liquid as possible; set aside.

Remove peels from boiled beets and discard. Chop beets and add to a large bowl along with remaining beet mixture ingredients. Mix to combine.

Spread cashew cheese in the bottom of a wide, shallow dish. Top with beet mixture and beet greens, and serve with baguette slices.

Beet Tartare

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