Baba Ghanoush

Yes, another eggplant recipe! And a very simple dip to prepare; the hardest part is roasting the eggplant and that’s not especially difficult, just time consuming. I can’t tell you exactly what size eggplant to buy – you’ll want about 2 cups of eggplant pulp. The 3 oriental eggplant I used only gave me about 1 cup of pulp so I would recommend a medium to large Italian eggplant for this recipe or else adjust the other ingredients to the amount of eggplant pulp you roasted.

First, roast the eggplant by slicing it into 1″ slices. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray or brush the eggplant slices with olive oil then turn them over and repeat. Roast in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

While the eggplant is roasting, in a small skillet heat:

2 tablespoons avocado oil

1 teaspoon cumin

Heat only until you can smell the cumin, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Remove the eggplant and let cool slightly before peeling the skin from around the outside of each slice. Place in a food processor and add:

2 tablespoons tahini

1 teaspoon minced garlic

salt and pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

the cumin and avocado oil mixture

Pulse until smooth, spoon into a serving bowl and sprinkle with dried or fresh parsley. If desired, sprinkle with olive or avocado oil as well. Serve with gluten-free pita or quinoa buns (see recipe below).

Quinoa Buns

I thought these sounded interesting – avocado and quinoa with lime juice? Who puts lime juice in a bread? But I thought it sounded like it might be a good vehicle for the baba ghanoush. And it sounded very easy to make so I gave it a try and it actually is delicious but just be miserly with the lime zest or it overpowers the other flavors in the buns.

In a medium to large bowl combine:

1 1/2 cup quinoa flour (if you don’t have any but you have quinoa, simply pulse in a food processor to make flour from the raw quinoa)

1/4 cup gluten-free oat flour

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

In a smaller bowl mash:

1 whole large ripe avocado being sure to take out any brown bruise spots which won’t mix into the batter

Add to the avocado:

1-2 tablespoons lime juice (juice from 1 lime)

1/2 teaspoon lime zest

1 tablespoon honey

3/4 cup water

Using a whisk or hand mixer, combine the wet ingredients until fairly smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. It’s a sticky dough so using wet hands shape into 6-7 balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten to about 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle with more sesame seeds and let sit while the oven heats to 425 degrees. Bake about 25 minutes total, turning the buns over at 15 minutes to brown both sides. Test with a toothpick for doneness. REMEMEBER GLUTEN FREE BREADS CAN BE GUMMY SO EVEN IF THE TOOTHPICK COMES OUT CLEAN, THEY STILL MAY NOT BE COOKED THROUGH. Cool completely before cutting.

Chickpea Blondies

Easy and quick to make and delicious, nutritious snacks. I’ve been making chickpea carob chip cookies and chickpea brownies for years. I made sweet potato blondies a few weeks ago and those turned out almost fudge-like. These are thicker but every bit as “fudgy”. Feel free to substitute the sweetener as well as the quinoa flakes for quinoa flour. And of course, sunflower butter (or any nut butter if possible) would substitute quite well for the pumpkin seed butter.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor combine:

2, 15 ounce cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed (save the aquafaba for another recipe; it’ll store in the refrigerator for a week)

1 cup quinoa flakes (find it in the cereal aisle)

3/4 cup pumpkin seed butter

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup date syrup (or honey, agave or coconut nectar, or maple syrup)

1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pulse until the garbanzo beans are creamed and incorporated into the batter. The batter will look mottled because of the quinoa flakes. While it’s pulsing, line an 8″ square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Scoop the batter into the pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool before serving.

Chicken Marengo

Here’s another great recipe adapted from the Chicken Bible. Because of salt restrictions, I left out the chopped olives and brandy also isn’t allowed in my diet so that’s gone as well but I’ll list them as optional if you want to add them to your dish. It was quite tasty and fairly easy to make. Be sure to use an oven safe pan or after making the sauce, transfer the sauce and then the chicken to an oven proof dish.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop:

1 medium onion, diced fairly small

Using paper towels, dry:

4 medium size bone-in chicken breasts or 2 breasts and 4 thighs

After drying sprinkle with:

1/2 teaspoon salt (I used herbamare)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat over medium high, in a skillet large enough to cook the chicken without cramping:

1 tablespoon oil

Add the seasoned chicken pieces, skin side down and leave them alone for at least 5 minutes to brown the skin and get it crispy. Then turn and cooked for 2-3 minutes on the other side. Remove from the pan, drain all but 1 tablespoon oil from the skillet and add:

the diced onion

Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until softened before adding:

2 teaspoons minced garlic

10 ounces sliced shitake mushrooms

Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms start to soften and give off their liquid before stirring in:

28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dry thyme)

Combine and then add a sauce made with:

3/4 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons tomato puree

1/3 cup brandy (Optional)

2 teaspoon hot sauce (or more if your family likes it spicier OR 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)

6 Kalamata olives, chopped fine (Optional)

Stir to incorporate before placing the chicken pieces on top of the sauce mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the breasts reach 160 degrees and the thighs register 170 degrees. Remove from oven and move the chicken to a serving platter. Add to the sauce:

2 tablespoons avocado oil

Whisk to combine and then spoon the sauce around the chicken and serve. Serves 4.

Sweet Potato Sheet Pancakes

If you’re like me, the only bad thing about making pancakes is standing at the stove cooking 3 or 4 at a time when there’s at least a dozen to cook. Well, this recipe takes that away! These are the lightest, fluffiest pancakes I’ve had since I went gluten-free and oh so mouth-wateringly delicious. Of course, pumpkin or butternut squash can be substituted for the sweet potato puree, just make sure that they aren’t too wet so a drier squash would work best. I used Trader Joe’s frozen sweet potato mash in this recipe thinking canned sweet potato puree might be too wet. And it worked just fine. Also be sure to let the mixture sit in the baking pan for 10-15 minutes after you spread it. Gluten free flours take longer to absorb moisture than regular flour and letting it sit on the counter before cooking gives the flours time to absorb some of the liquid and the end product won’t be gummy.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together:

2 tablespoons ground flax

1/3 cup aquafaba (or 1/3 cup water with 1/2 teaspoon aquafaba powder)

While the flax gel is working, about 5 minutes, prepare an 15×9″ baking sheet by covering with parchment paper and spraying generously with a non-stick spray (I use Chosen Foods Avocado spray because it’s 100% avocado oil).

When the flax gel is set, add:

1/2 cup sweet potato puree

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup date syrup (or coconut or agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup)

1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3/4 cup protein powder (I used Probase organic pumpkin seed protein, unflavored)

Whisk to combine before adding:

1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten-free flour

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional)

1/4 cup carob (or chocolate) chips (optional)

Stir to combine making sure to moisten all the flour but not overmix, batter will be thick. Spread in the prepared baking sheet and let sit 10-15 minutes while the oven heats to 400 degrees. Bake 18-20 minutes until spongy in the middle and golden brown. Cut into 12 pieces and serve with a drizzle of maple syrup. I found 2 pieces were enough for me so 4-6 servings depending on your appetite.

Pumpkin Sticky Cinnamon Buns

Who doesn’t love a sticky bun? All gooey, finger licking delicious. But many of us find working with yeast not an easy chore. I had to start this recipe 3 times because the yeast didn’t bubble up the way it should, first had the water too hot, then too cool but the third time I got it right. The water should have the same temperature as your inner wrist so that it doesn’t feel hot or cold on your wrist, just warmth. These take some time but they are so definitely worth it.

First, preheat oven to 200. While it’s heating up in a small bowl mix together:

2 teaspoons yeast

3 tablespoons warm water (around 110 degrees, see above)

3 tablespoons agave nectar (or coconut, or honey) [I actually used date sugar at the end instead of the nectar so if it doesn’t work with the nectar try date sugar; mixture will of course be much thicker so add a little more water.]

Whisk to combine and set aside for 5-10 minutes. Yeast should start bubbling fairly quickly. If it doesn’t, throw it out and start over again. While the yeast is working, in a large bowl combine:

1 1/4 cups all purpose, gluten-free flour such as 1to1 or cup4cup

1/2 cup oat flour

1/3 cup brown rice flour

6 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 3/4 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

Stir to mix well. If the yeast is now activated and bubbly, stir into it:

3 tablespoons avocado oil

2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (or non-dairy yogurt)

Whisk and then mix into the dry ingredients until just combined. Turn dough out onto a flat surface covered with plastic wrap and knead just until it comes together. Spray the bowl with non-stick spray and return the dough to the bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rest about 15-20 minutes.

Turn off the preheated oven. Turn the dough back out onto the plastic wrap surface sprinkled with some of the flour and roll out to approximately 14″x10″ rectangle. Spread with a filling of:

4 tablespoons vegan margarine or avocado oil

6 tablespoons date sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Leave about 1/2″ unfilled along one of the 10″ sides to help seal the buns. Roll the dough beginning on the edge you didn’t leave unfilled and be sure to rub the last edge into the roll to seal it. Cut into 10-11 rolls* using a knife or pizza cutter (or even dental floss). Spray with non-stick cooking spray a baking dish large enough to hold the buns loosely. Or grease the dish generously with vegan margarine and sprinkle with chopped nuts or seeds if desired. Place the buns in the dish, leaving space for them to rise. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the oven to rise for approximately 2 hours until they’re about doubled in size. Remove and heat the oven to 375 degrees. While the oven heats, prepare the glaze by mixing:

1/2 cup agave nectar (or coconut nectar)

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup honey

*I actually cut my buns much smaller so I got 15-16 rather than the 10-11. Pour the glaze over the buns before baking.* Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on the size of the buns. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the dough part of a bun (in the middle of the pan) coming out clean means they are cooked. Remove and serve immediately. The sticky part will be on the bottom of the buns. Easily reheat in the microwave for about 30 seconds per bun.

*If preferred, use a glaze after baking instead of the honey bee glaze. Whisk together:

6 tablespoons vegan margarine

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sugar-free confectioners sugar (there’s a monk fruit based one available)

1-2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

Pour the glaze over the buns before serving.