Simple Vegan French Toast

I’ve blogged a French toast recipe before now but I think this one is even easier and tastier than the previous one. This recipe is so easy a child can do it for themselves or parents. Just a couple of ingredients, which can be changed depending on the taste you’re looking for (i.e., nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, etc.) on a particular day. I found, using hot oil, that the outside gets very crunchy while the inside stays soft and tender.

Whisk together in a 3-cup bowl (wide enough to put a slice of bread into):

3/4 cup non-dairy milk, your choice

1/2 teaspoon spice, again your choice (I prefer allspice but use whichever spice you like)

dash of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon arrowroot

Set aside and heat over medium high heat in a 12″ or larger skillet:

2 tablespoons oil

Dip into the milk mixture, one at a time:

6 gluten-free slices of bread, again your choice as to what kind*

The milk mixture may take more than six slices depending on the density of your bread. You may want to do this before heating the oil and let the slices of bread sit for a minute in the milk mixture since gluten-free bread can be denser than other breads and may need to soak a little longer; remove each slice after soaking to a baking sheet if doing prior to heating the oil. The oil will splatter because of the liquid in the bread so use a splatter guard if possible. Once the bread begins to brown, reduce heat to medium after flipping the slices over. Brown on the second side; the hot oil will get them nice and crispy. It takes about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with jam or maple, agave, or date syrup.

I know, more brown food!

*FYI, I made a batch of old-fashioned donut muffins, didn’t add the topping, sliced them in half crosswise and used them instead of bread and they were scrumptious! BTW, not the photo above.

Asian Style Lemon Chicken with Vegetables

One of my favorite Italian dishes is Lemon Chicken. I also love Asian chicken and looked on-line for a recipe but of course, with all my allergies, I didn’t find one that would work. So here’s my own recipe. I added a bunch of vegetables so that it’s a balanced meal. It can be served with either rice or noodles. Serves 4 generously.

Cut into chunks:

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Put the pieces into a large food storage bag and add:

1/4 cup arrowroot

Shake to cover the chicken completely with the arrowroot, adding a little more if necessary. You may need to separate the pieces during this process to be sure they are completely covered with the arrowroot. Let sit in the refrigerator for about a half hour. In a large skillet, heat over medium heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

When hot but not smoking, saute:

1 medium onion, diced

6-8 stalks celery, sliced on the diagonal (I use celery hearts so if using a whole celery, you might use less stalks)

8 ounces of sliced mushrooms

3/4 cup grated carrot (or 2 carrots thinly sliced on the diagonal)*

Reduce heat to low medium and continue to saute until the onion is translucent. While the vegetables cook, combine in a 3-4 cup bowl:

grated lemon rind from 2 lemons

1/2-2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 1/2 lemons)

1 cup chicken stock

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

1 tablespoon garlic puree (or 2 teaspoons minced garlic)

2 tablespoons arrowroot

Whisk until well combined and set aside. Heat in a deep skillet over medium high heat:

2-3 inches oil (I use a combination of olive and avocado oil)

Add to the vegetables:

1 cup bean sprouts (I used canned and drained the liquid before adding them)

1 can chopped or sliced water chestnuts

1 can sliced bamboo shoots

Stir to combine and add the sauce mixture, after whisking again. Stir as the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to simmer or remove from heat. In 2 batches, fry the chicken pieces being sure to separate them into individual chunks before frying. Fry until browned on each side, about 4-5 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. You will probably need to reduce the heat to medium as the frying continues or the oil will get too hot to completely cook the chicken before it’s too brown on the outside. Drain each batch on paper towels and salt before adding to the vegetable mixture. After stirring in the second fried batch of chicken, the dish is ready to serve and should still be hot but if it’s cooled, reheat for 1-2 minutes over medium. Serve over rice or noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or sliced scallions.

*Of course, other vegetables can be used such as bok choy, pea pods, string beans, etc.

Quick Pumpkin Bread

Quick breads are so easy to make and so delicious to eat. Flavorful with warm spices, they take minutes to mix together and, when gluten-free, can take almost an hour to bake. But definitely worth it. Here’s a pumpkin quick bread recipe that will delight your whole family. I used allspice and ground cloves but feel free to use cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or ginger (pumpkin pie spices) instead. Various flours can also be used including all-purpose (I use the 1 to 1) but whatever one you choose will work. For a lighter bread, eliminate the protein powder and use an additional half cup of one of the other flours.

First make some flax gel by combining in a small dish:

2 tablespoons ground flax meal

1/4 cup warm water

Whisk to combine and set aside to gel. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bread pan (9×5″) with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Into your mixer’s bowl or a medium bowl (if using a hand mixer), add:

1 cup pumpkin puree

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

1/4 cup avocado oil

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Mix until combined before adding:

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup millet flour

1/2 cup quinoa flour

1/2 cup pumpkin protein powder (or another 1/2 cup of any of the flours)

2 teaspoons allspice

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/4 to 1/2 cup date sugar (depending on your taste)

the flax gel

1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional, you could use chocolate or carob chips instead)

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional to sprinkle on top in the pan)

Mix until all ingredients are well combined. This is a thick dough. Spoon into the prepared bread pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds if desired. Bake for 50-60 minutes. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean cook for another 5 minutes. Cool on a rack. Great warm or toasted the next day. Will keep for several days in an airtight container.

Spice Cookies (with pumpkin)

This is a revision of my Gingerbread Cookies that I posted a couple of years ago. Gingerbread cookies and ginger snaps are my favorite kinds of cookies but this past year, I’ve found that ginger, as well as cinnamon, bother me. But one of my favorite things about Christmas is that I allow myself to indulge in a batch of gingerbread cookies. How am I supposed to do that this year? Well, I revised the recipe taking out the cinnamon and ginger and replacing it with allspice (my favorite spice) along with some ground cloves and coriander. I’ve found in the past that these cookies don’t affect my blood sugar unless I eat too many which is easy to do, they’re so delicious!

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a table-top mixer), beat until combined:

1 cup shortening (such as Spectrum)

1/2 cup date sugar

1 teaspoon monk fruit powder

Beat on medium speed until well mixed. Add:

1/2 cup agave nectar (date syrup, honey or coconut nectar would also work)

1/4 cup unsulfured molasses

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (or sweet potato puree)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix on medium speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients a cup at a time (combine them in a large bowl first):

1 cup millet flour

1 cup tapioca (or cassaba) flour/starch

1/2 cup arrowroot

1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour

1 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

Mix until well combined. If using a hand mixer, best to add half the dry ingredients and then use a large spoon because the dough too thick for a hand-mixer. Form into a round disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the dough spreading out the plastic wrap to cover the countertop. Put a sheet of parchment paper over the top and roll out to 1/8 to 1/2 inch depending on your taste. Cut using a cookie cutter or a knife and place on the baking sheets. These cookies don’t spread so they can be baked close together. Repeat until all dough is used. Bake 10-20 minutes depending on thickness and your taste (soft or crunchy). When the cookies are still soft to the touch but browned (which is hard to tell with the molasses in them!), they’re cooked. Cool on cooling racks.

For a simple frosting combine (for every 4 cookies):

2 tablespoons monk fruit confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon milk/vanilla/extract (I used some of my coffee)

Whisk to combine. Use immediately, it will harden fairly quickly.

Pumpkin Pie Squares

Here’s another take on those Sweet Potato pie squares I blogged a couple years ago. This one is lower in sugar and is fat-free as well. But, just as tasty! Makes 9 servings and will keep in the frig for about 5 days (if it lasts that long!).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9″ square baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. In a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

5 tablespoons warm water

Set aside for a few minutes to form a flax gel. In a food processor bowl, combine:

1 cup pumpkin seeds (or any seed your family likes, even walnuts or pecans if you can have them)

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, etc., whichever you prefer

1 teaspoon date sugar

Process until the mixture forms a fine crumb. Add the flax gel and blend until the mixture forms a dough, about 30 seconds. Pour into the prepared baking dish and using your fingers, a spatula, or the bottom of a measuring cup, press firmly into the pan and up the sides. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

4 cups pureed pumpkin (2 15-ounce cans of pumpkin puree)

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

3 tablespoons arrowroot

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

dash of salt

Whisk until combined. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan for at least one hour before cutting. I like mine really cold so I cool on the counter for an hour and then in the refrigerator for several hours before I cut into squares. But as you see in the photo, I couldn’t wait that long this time and cut it before it was fully cooled. Once cooled it does stand up like it should! Can be topped with any non-dairy topping or frozen “nice” cream.

Eggplant Schnitzel

I just searched the site and can’t believe I haven’t posted a recipe for fried eggplant! It’s my grandson’s favorite so I make it quite often this time of year. It’s slightly different since it’s only floured or battered. Schnitzel has a bread crumb crust instead. It’s pretty easy to make, just be sure to salt the eggplant and let them sit awhile before proceeding. (This actually keeps the eggplant from absorbing oil when fried or sauteed as well as removing any bitterness. So this isn’t necessary when using the thinner eggplants such as Japanese or graffiti.)

Step 1 is to peel and slice the eggplant into about 1/2″ slices. Then salt them generously on both sides (I usually do this on my cooling rack over the sink), place some weight on top of them (usually use a cookie sheet with some cans on top of it) and let sit for at least a half hour.

So peel and slice:

1 large eggplant or 4-5 small graffiti eggplants

Prepare the breading station by placing in 3 separate low-sided (1-2″ high) bowls large enough to accommodate the slices of eggplant):

Bowl 1:

1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

Stir to combine.

Bowl 2:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Bowl 3:

1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Again stir to combine. Breading stations are now ready for the eggplant.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper and then spraying it with non-stick cooking spray. Remove the weights and cookie sheet and rinse off the eggplant. Dry with a paper towel. Then dip each slice of eggplant into Bowl 1 being sure to coat both sides with flour. Then dip each slice into the milk mixture in Bowl 2, letting excess milk drip off before dipping each slice into Bowl 3. Place on a cookie sheet and then sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately. Number of servings will depend on the size of the eggplant and slices. Approximately 4-6 servings.

Korean Vegetable Pancakes

I’m constantly looking for new ways to serve vegetables so when I came across this recipe for Yachae Jeon (Korean vegetable pancakes), I had to try it and see if it would work gluten-free. I used to eat something like these at a local Vietnamese restaurant except they called them scallion pancakes. Quite easy and quick to make with a food processor and oh so tasty especially with the dipping sauce.

First, into the bowl of food processor:

1 small to medium zucchini (about 6-7 inches long), cut into chunks

6 ounces of sliced mushrooms

1 small sweet potato (I used 2 very small purple sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into chunks

1 medium carrot, chunked (I used about 3/4 of a cup of shredded carrot)

1 jalapeno pepper (Optional), seeded and chunked

1 bunch scallions (roots removed), cleaned and cut into chunks

It may require several batches in the food processor. Process the vegetables until they are small pieces so they’ll cook quickly in the pancake.* You should have about 4-5 cups.** Next, in a large mixing bowl combine:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/4 cup arrowroot

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Stir to combine before adding:

1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)

Whisk to combine before stirring in the finely chopped vegetables. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking. In a 10-12″ skillet, heat over medium heat:

1 teaspoon olive oil (or spray with cooking spray)

Using a 1/2 cup measure, scoop out pancake mixture and place in skillet, using a spoon (or the back of the measuring cup), to flatten into a round disk about 6″ in diameter. Cook over medium low heat until bubbles appear, just like a regular pancake (in my case, it was really bubble holes in the pancake that I saw). Flip and cook 3-4 minutes on the other side before increasing the heat to medium high to brown the pancake on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Place on a cooling rack in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remainder of the pancakes. Serve hot with the following dipping sauce. Makes 6-8 pancakes.

DIPPING SAUCE

Combine in a small bowl:

2 tablespoons soy sauce substitute

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon date syrup (or agave syrup or honey)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1/8 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (or your hot sauce of choice) (Optional)

*If you don’t want to use a food processor simply cut all the vegetables into thin strips like shredded carrots you buy in the supermarket or grate them on a box grater.

**These are just my suggested vegetables. Feel free to use whatever vegetables your family might like but the scallions really are the only ones required. I thought about adding a few garlic cloves as well as a crunchy vegetable like jicama or water chestnuts as well.

Asian Coleslaw

I do love a good coleslaw. I’ve put several recipes for it on my blog over the years and here’s another one that I think is up there near the top. Quick and easy to make, it tastes delicious. Of course, if you can use real soy sauce, feel free but use only half as much as the soy sauce substitute. And I know, more brown food! Can’t seem to stop making brown things.

To make the sauce whisk together:

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup avocado oil

5 tablespoons seed or nut butter (I used pumpkin seed butter but tahini would also work well)

1/3 cup soy sauce substitute (or 3 tablespoons soy sauce) (SEE recipe under SAUCES)

3 tablespoons date sugar (or honey, agave or coconut nectar, or date syrup)

1 teaspoon garlic puree

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (Optional)

1 teaspoon sesame oil (toasted preferably)

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Whisk until thoroughly blended and then pour over:

5 cups shaved green cabbage (or Napa cabbage, even some bok choy would work)

2 cups shaved red cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup diced water chestnuts

1 cup diced Asian pear*

6 scallions, chopped (reserve a few of the chopped greens for garnish)

Mix thoroughly (I used a serving fork) to combine the sauce with all the ingredients. Makes 8-10 servings.

*Asian pears aren’t very sweet and are very firm. If you can’t find Asian pears, feel free to add another chopped fruit such as pineapple. Regular apple or pear won’t work very well here. Jicama would also work but not add any sweetness but you could substitute some apple juice for some of (or all of) the oil. You may want to omit the date sugar if you add pineapple or apple juice.

Zucchini and Turnip Fritters

I love finding easy side dishes to replace the starch of potatoes, rice, or pasta. Here’s one that’s healthy as well as delicious that your family will love because it’s fried! The golden brown goodness of these fritters will get even your children to eat them. Feel free to change up the vegetables – I used zucchini, purple top turnip and carrots but one made with yellow squash, kohlrabi, and butternut squash would also work, or maybe you’d prefer zucchini, celery root, and parsnips. The seasonings can also be switched up – instead of garlic powder and coriander, how about dill, marjoram, basil, thyme, cumin or even some curry. Have fun with this one.

In the bowl of a food processor, place:

1 medium zucchini, cut into sections lengthwise and then quartered

1 medium purple top turnip, ends removed, peeled, and quartered*

8-10 baby carrots, rainbows make a pretty patty

Pulse until well grated. While the vegetables are grating heat over medium heat in a 12″ high-sided skillet:

about 1/4 inch of oil (I used a mixture of olive and avocado oil)

Pour the grated vegetables into a medium-sized bowl and add:

1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not salt)

1/4 teaspoon coriander

2-4 green onions, chopped, both green and white sections

Stir to combine thoroughly. Scoop out portions using a 1/4 cup measure. Form into patties. Place in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, flip and do the same on the other side. Remove and drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil, season with a little more salt. Serve immediately. Makes 2-4 servings depending on what else you’re serving with them and your family’s appetites!

*The purple top turnip has a very mild flavor while the yellow turnip (or rutabaga) is much stronger.

Thai Chicken Tenders

My husband loved chicken tenders. I think more because they’re usually deep fried than for their texture which I find generally to be stringy because they’re often overcooked. I found an adaptable recipe online so I decided to give them a try. It’s quite an easy recipe to make but I’d suggest you make the sauce first so the tenders don’t sit around after frying waiting for the sauce. Like most things that are fried, once dipped in the sauce, they will quickly lose their crunch so serve immediately after you finish preparation. Makes 2 servings.

First, put the oil on to heat. In a deep 12″ skillet heat over medium high heat:

approximately 3/4″ of oil (I used a mix of olive and avocado oil)

Next prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together:

1/3 cup soy sauce substitute

1 tablespoon date sugar

1/2 tablespoon sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon pumpkin seed butter (or any butter you like – sunflower, peanut, tahini, etc.)

1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)

2 tablespoons water (more may be added if the sauce gets too thick)

1-2 teaspoons arrowroot (I used 2 and the sauce got much too thick)

1 teaspoon minced garlic or garlic puree

Cook over medium heat until thickened. I had to add about 1/4 cup of water to thin mine out and I think now that I probably should have made it even thinner so that the sauce wasn’t as thick on the tenders but I didn’t mind it since the sauce is so delicious!

Next coat ONE POUND of chicken tenders. Mix together in a shallow dish:

1 cup gluten-free panko bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika (or if you want them really spicy, use red pepper flakes instead)

In a separate shallow dish add:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Dip each tender into the milk to coat and then into the crumb mixture. Gently place in the oil that should now be at 350 degrees (after you add the tenders if the oil is still at temperature, reduce heat from medium high to medium). Cook on the first side for approximately 3-4 minutes before turning and browning on the other side for another 2-3 minutes or until firm. Remove from fat. Be sure not to crowd the tenders in the skillet. Drain on paper towels. When all the tenders are fried, dip each one into the sauce making sure to coat evenly. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh cilantro or green scallions.

I know, I know, more brown food. But as Anne Burrell says “Brown foot GOOD!”