Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Caramel Smoothie Bowl

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Caramel Smoothie Bowl

IMG_7677

Since I already wrote a bit about why I made this bowl in the first place on Instagram, all I will say here is that I made this smoothie bowl (or nice cream, depending on how you define it!), because I was tired, had a rough night the day before and really needed something comforting and delicious.

Enter this bowl. I can’t decide if it’s a smoothie bowl or nice cream — I put just enough almond milk in the base to make it slightly more than nice cream texture, but not quite smoothie bowl texture. I could debate this in my head for hours.

Anyway, one of my favorite combinations for smoothies and nice cream is to combine dates with mama powder. It creates such a delicious flavor that is very similar to caramel. Then when you add in old favorites like chocolate and peanut butter, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a winner whether it’s a soupy smoothie bowl or a firm scoop of nice cream.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • Smoothie Base:
    • 4 frozen bananas
    • 2 pitted medjool dates (or use about 5 regular pitted dates, but the medjool ones are worth springing for on this recipe)
    • 1/2 cup of almond milk, optional. You can use as much or as little as you want depending on how thick you want your smoothie bowl.
    • 1 scoop of chocolate plant-based protein (I use ALOHA chocolate), OR 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
    • 1 tbsp of raw maca powder
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Sauce:
    • 1/4 cup of vegan chocolate chips
    • 2 tbsp almond milk
    • 1 tbsp peanut butter (I used a coconut oil & peanut butter blend because I love the coconut flavor)
  • Toppings:
    • 1/4 cup of vegan granola (use as much as you want)
    • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
    • Small handful of hazelnuts (or other nut)
    • 1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

Method:

  1. Place frozen bananas in high-speed blender (I use a Vitamix) or food processor. Blend until it starts to get creamy, adding almond milk if you desire (I personally like to add some so it’s more of a very thick smoothie consistency, but if you add none, you will have more of a thick ice cream texture).
  2. Add in pitted dates, maca, protein powder (or cacao), and blend until smooth and well combined.
  3. Pour into a bowl and place in the freezer while you make the sauce.
  4. To make the chocolate peanut butter sauce, place all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir, and microwave more if needed. You can add more almond milk if you want the sauce to be runnier. Stir it well until you get the consistency you want.
  5. Remove smoothie bowl from freezer and drizzle chocolate sauce all over, then add your toppings.
  6. Enjoy!
Savory Stuffed Japanese Sweet Potatoes

Savory Stuffed Japanese Sweet Potatoes

IMG_7582

If you are looking for a super satisfying, nutritious and comforting meal, then might I suggest a Japanese sweet potato stuffed with all the beans? Sure, you can use a regular sweet potato, but there is something about a Japanese sweet potato with these exact fillings that is just so incredible.

If you have never had a Japanese sweet potato, then I highly recommend you try them. They are, by far, my very favorite food (yes, even more than figs!). I love them because when you bake them whole, the texture of the inside is just so smooth and creamy and has a mild, yet slightly sweet taste to it. Yet when you cut them up and bake them, they come out nice and firm, which is just perfect for making sweet potato fries. They honestly can’t be beat in my book. And no, these are not the same as white sweet potatoes or purple sweet potatoes — Japanese sweet potatoes are their own special variety.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large Japanese sweet potatoes
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 can or 6 oz. container of vegan baked beans (I used Pacific brand)
  • 2 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • handful of arugula
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tsps hemp seeds, optional

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. Wash sweet potatoes, keeping the skin on. Pat dry and pierce with a fork around the sides. Place on a baking tray and bake for about 45 minutes, or more if needed, until insides are soft.
  3. While potatoes are baking, drain chickpeas and place in a bowl. Coat the chickpeas with the sriracha, maple syrup and garlic powder. Add to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and set aside to cool.
  5. Lower oven temperature to 375°F and place chickpeas in the oven. Roast chickpeas for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice throughout. Feel free to add more sriracha and/or maple syrup if you would like.
  6. Heat vegan baked beans either on the stove or in the microwave and set aside.
  7. Once the chickpeas are done roasting, remove them from the oven. Slice open the sweet potatoes and fill one with the roasted chickpeas (feel free to add more sriracha as I did in the photo) and the other with baked beans. Top with freshly-ground black pepper, salt and hemp seeds if desired.
  8. Enjoy!
Lentil & Mushroom “Meat”balls

Lentil & Mushroom “Meat”balls

img_7230.jpg

Who says a vegan can’t have homemade spaghetti and meatballs? These no-meat balls are definitely being added to my list of staple dishes because they were so delicious, but also because my husband said he hoped they would be making an appearance often.  That’s the kind of feedback I love to hear.

They were also super easy to make, which is definitely my style. I can’t wait to experiment more with different seasoning options. I’m also picturing a delicious “meat”ball sub in my near future.

IMG_7266

Just looking at the closeup shot, I personally can’t tell them apart from a typical meatball. Sure, it’s been many years since I’ve eaten a real meatball, but I still remember what they  look like. Of course, the taste of my “meat”balls isn’t the same, but I think they are actually better. They are vegan, gluten-free, oil-free and completely delicious.

IMG_7280

I served my “meat”balls very simply over Banza chickpea pasta with marinara sauce and some oregano and pepper to top it off. If you give these a try, let me know how they go. I am definitely hooked! Just remember to make them somewhat small, about the size of a golf ball, per the notes below. I made a couple of them larger and the texture wasn’t as good on the large ones.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz / 1 standard package of sliced mushrooms (I used baby bella)
  • 1 cup cooked brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup of gluten-free bread crumbs (can substitute rolled oats)
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp avocado oil (or olive oil if you prefer), OR a 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable broth for sauteing if you prefer an oil-free option
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp milled flax mixed with 3 tbsp water)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp Tamari
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley (feel free to add more or use dried)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Heat your oil or vegetable broth in a pan over medium heat, and add the onions. Saute for two minutes then add the garlic and cook for another minute or two, until onions are translucent and start to caramelize a bit. Take care not to burn the garlic, and if you are using vegetable broth instead of oil, feel free to add more as needed.
  2. Add mushrooms and Tamari to the pan with the onions and cook everything together for about 5-8 minutes, or until the mushrooms are softened.
  3. Turn off heat and transfer the contents of the pan to a large bowl to cool down for a few minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F / 200 °C and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  5. In a food processor, add in the lentils, spices, flax egg, bread crumbs (or oats) and mushroom/onion mix once it has cooled a bit. Blend all ingredients together until you reach your desired consistency. I liked mine to be mostly smooth but still with some texture.
  6. Spoon out the mixture and roll them into little balls, placing them on the parchment. I would recommend creating about 15 little balls that are about the size of a golf ball. If you make fewer balls, they will likely be a bit too large and will lose some of their shape and be too soft in the middle. These definitely work out nicely when they are a tad smaller.
  7. Place the balls in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, turning once throughout.
  8. Remove from oven and toss them on your pasta, or make yourself a delicious “meat”ball sub! I made a simple dish using Banza spaghetti and marinara sauce.
  9. Enjoy!