Easy No-Bake Carob Quinoa Bites

If you’re looking for a delicious, easy to make snack, this just might work for you. It’s very easy to put together and has a wide variety of possible flavors. I made carob bites but mocha, coffee, vanilla, pumpkin, etc., etc., etc., would work. It’s very easy to do.

First, line a small baking sheet with waxed paper. In a medium bowl combine:

1 cup cooked quinoa (I packed my 1 cup measure like one would brown sugar)*

1/4 cup carob powder (or other powder of choice, see variations below)

1/4 cup date syrup (agave, coconut, maple or honey all would work depending on the flavor desired)

1/4 cup seed or nut butter (again can vary depending on flavor)

1 tablespoon whole chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all the above together until well combined. Using a small cookie scoop (mine was 1 tablespoon), scoop out the mixture and drop on the prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 1-3 hours depending on size. My 1 tablespoon scoop produced 24 bites and they froze within 1 hour.

*Quinoa is very quick and easy to cook. For this recipe combine 1/2 cup quinoa, a pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until water is gone and quinoa is translucent.

VARIATIONS:

COFFEE: Use 1/4 cup instant coffee and delete the vanilla extract, add coffee extract or a little water if mixture is too tight

MOCHA: Use 2 tablespoons instant coffee and 2 tablespoons carob powder (or cocoa if possible)

PUMPKIN: Use 1/4 cup pumpkin flavored protein powder (not pumpkin seed protein powder which has no taste)

VANILLA: Use 1/4 cup plain or vanilla protein powder; I would suggest using white quinoa and white chia seeds for vanilla as well as agave nectar

ALMOND: Use 1/4 cup almond butter, a 1/4 teaspoon almond extract and plain protein powder

MAPLE: Would probably work best with 1/4 cup maple syrup, maple extract instead of vanilla and the mildest of butters, perhaps tahini or cashew with plain or maple flavored protein powder

Use your imagination! As many combinations as we can think of would be possible for these bites.

Pear Donuts (or fritters)

Here’s a quick and easy recipe for either a fried fritter or baked donut with fruit. I used pears but apples, peaches, plums, or any berry would work just as well. Simply substitute the other fruit in place of the diced pear and use a coulee of the same fruit in place of the pear sauce. For most people that would be apple since applesauce is readily available although it’s fairly simple to make fruit sauces, or coulees, from other fruits. Simply wash, core, and slice the stone fruits (no need to peel), place in a pot with a couple of tablespoons of water and cook until the fruit is soft, then puree. With the berries, it’s even easier because all you have to do is wash the fruit like blackberries or strawberries, and then cook them down (with a little water) before pureeing. Brown food again!

In a medium-size bowl add:

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

1 teaspoon guar gum

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger (or grated fresh ginger)*

Stir to combine. Add:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk, such as oat or soy

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 cup pear sauce (or other fruit coulee)

Stir just until the dry ingredients are combined with the wet. Don’t overmix. In a 4-quart sauce pan or heavy, high-sided fry-pan, add:

2″ of oil (I used a combination of olive and avocado)

Heat to 375 degrees (use a cooking thermometer). For fritters, scoop out about 1/3 cup of the dough, form into a ball and flatten (use wet hands for this) before dropping into the hot fat. Cook 3-4 minutes per side (for a dough circle about 1/2″ thick). Should be golden brown. Only cook one or two circles at a time in the pot, more in the frypan.

For baked donuts, grease two 6-donut baking pans and spoon in dough. Bake at 425 degrees about 12-15 minutes or until the donut bounces back when touched. Cool slightly before unmolding.

Serve plain or with a glaze.

Glazes

I made some pear donuts this morning, fried a couple of fritters from the dough as well. While I found them sweet enough without a glaze, I know my daughter-in-law and grandson will prefer them with one. Took me several tries to find the glaze I wanted on my blog so I thought putting the several I’ve used in my blogs in one place might be a good idea. So here they are – ones used cold after baking and the Honey Bee Glaze that’s baked on the dough.

Maple Glaze

In a small bowl whisk together:

1/4 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance soy free)

1/2 cup powdered monkfruit sweetener (Lakanto makes one that Whole Foods or Amazon carries)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon non-dairy milk

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

2-3 shakes of salt (or a dash!)

When the donuts are still warm, dip one side into the glaze. 

Standard Confectioner’s Sugar Glaze

Whisk together for a thin glaze:

1/3 cup sugar free confectioners’ sugar (Lakanto has a monkfruit based powdered sugar)

2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

OR for a thicker glaze:

6 tablespoons vegan margarine

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sugar-free confectioners’ sugar

1-2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

If you don’t care for the taste of monkfruit sweetener, mix together 1/2 cup agave or coconut nectar with 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk and 1 tablespoon of ground chia seed (white). Pour over or dip donuts in glaze.

Honey Bee Glaze

In a small bowl whisk:

1/2 cup agave nectar (or date syrup or coconut nectar)

1/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup avocado oil

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup crushed nuts, sesame seeds, or hemp hulls (Optional)

Pour over unbaked dough and bake per recipe directions.

Squash Parmesan, Lasagna Style

This dish is a lot like lasagna but with parmesan cheese between the layers instead of ricotta. I know it’s a little early for summer squashes but they are so tasty and now available year-round so I wanted to make something different, something fairly quick and easy which this dish definitely turned out to be. And so delicious with my favorite pasta sauce and parmesan. The only hard part of the dish is slicing the squash!

First, preheat oven to 450 degrees and line two LARGE baking sheets with parchment paper. Next, trim and slice lengthwise in about 1/4″ slices:

4-5 medium zucchini

4-5 medium yellow squash

About 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of squash. Place in a 9×12-13″ baking pan, and sprinkle with:

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

Using your hands or tongs, mix to coat the squash slices with the oil. Lay the slices of squash out on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the slices with:

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until they are tender. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. In the 9×12″ baking pan (the same one you already used, it’s okay if there’s olive oil in the bottom), spread:

1/2 cup of your favorite pasta sauce

Line the pan with squash slices. Top with more pasta sauce and:

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Repeat once or twice depending on how many squash slices are left. I only had a few so filled some gaps and only had two layers. If possible, end with sauce and cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until cheese in browning and the casserole is bubbling. Let sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before serving so it sets. Serves 6.

TIP: Want a main dish instead of a side? Add 1-pound cooked ground meat, Italian sausage, or vegan protein to the pasta sauce.

As you can see, I ran out of sauce so ended with cheese only on top of the layer of squash.

Sweet and Sour Cole Slaw

Quick and easy, especially with pre-mixed cole slaw mix, this is a delicious, fat-free side dish that won’t spoil if left out because it has no mayonnaise.

I find it hard to believe that this is my 300th blog! How time flies and how the recipes just keep adding up. Hope you’re enjoying this adventure in cooking as much as I.

In a medium size bowl, whisk:

1/4 cup date sugar

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

1/4 cup white vinegar

Whisk until the date sugar dissolves. Stir into the dressing:

1 1/2 cups pre-mixed cole slaw mix (green and red cabbage and carrot)

1/4 cup sliced scallion greens

Serve immediately or chill for 30 minutes before serving. Serves 2-3.

Plum Cottage Pudding

Cottage pudding is a basic fruit pudding that’s often used to make fruit puddings. It’s a lot like my recipe for blackberry pudding. Very easy to make, the consistency of a muffin batter, it can be used to top a variety of fruits or can be baked on its own and served with sauce such as my mother’s hard vanilla sauce, or a fruit coulee. If you’re looking for a fairly quick and easy to make dessert, a fruit cottage pudding is a good answer. Delicious with any kind of whipped topping, sauce, or frozen vanilla dessert. Serves 8.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bottom of an 8″ cake pan, pour:

1/4 cup avocado oil or spread 1/4 cup vegan butter or margarine

Spring the fat with:

1/4 cup date sugar

Line the pan with fruit slices. I used plums cut in half and then eighths to fit between the halves but all slices works just as well. Cut and place cut side down:

5 plums (be sure to remove the pits first!)

Sprinkle with:

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Set the pan aside and make the pudding. In a small bowl make the flax gel by combining:

1 tablespoon ground flax

3 tablespoons hot water or aquafaba

Set aside for about 3-5 minutes. In a medium size bowl combine:

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

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (feel free to use more to your taste)

1 teaspoon sea salt

Once dry ingredients are combined, add:

1/2 cup avocado oil (or melted vegan butter or margarine)

2/3 cup non-dairy milk

1 flax gel from above

Stir to combine until incorporated, batter should be the consistency of muffin batter. Spread over the fruit and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve hot or cold.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

Want a quick and easy side dish? Here’s one that even those who don’t care much for cabbage may enjoy. Use either red or green cabbage, or be lazy and buy a bag of cole slaw mix, doesn’t matter if there’s a few shredded carrots in there as well. Goes very well with any meat but for some reason cabbage especially likes pork or beef – steaks, chops, or roasts doesn’t matter. And feel free to change out the ground cloves for whatever spice your family prefers – cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, etc.

Heat a 10-12″ high-sided skillet over medium high heat and add:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat until shimmering and add:

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 large onion, sliced

Cook over medium heat until beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add to the skillet:

2 cups shredded cabbage

Salt and ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons water

Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook until the cabbage is softened, about 5 minutes. While it cooks, in a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons vinegar (whatever kind your family prefers, I used white)

1 tablespoon date syrup (agave or maple would also work)

1/4 teaspoon celery seed or caraway

Whisk to combine and set aside. When cabbage is ready, pour the vinegar mixture into the skillet, stir to combine and let heat for about 30 seconds. Serve. Makes 2-4 servings.

TIP: Like braised cabbage, adding a diced apple or pear when the cabbage is added to the skillet and topping with some bacon bits would be great in this dish.

Spicy Curried Carrot Soup

Quick, easy, and delicious, this soup with warm your stomach. It has that comfort food vibe with great flavor. Using pre-shredded carrots is what makes it so easy. Either regular orange carrots or rainbow carrot shreds will work. Add some lemon zest on top and a lemon wedge on the plate to add some freshness and lighten the spiciness of the soup. Serves 2 but easily doubled.

Put a 4-quart pot on over medium heat and add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat until shimmering before adding:

1 small onion, finely diced

Cook the onion until translucent and then add:

1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder (depending on how spicy you want the soup)

Stir the curry powder into the onion and heat until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add:

2 cups shredded carrot

Stir to coat the carrots in the onion and curry mixture before adding to the pot:

1 to 1 1/2 cups stock (I used chicken bone broth but a mild vegetable broth would also work and keep this soup vegan; want to cover the carrots completely but not drown them)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)

Cook over medium low heat until carrot is softened, about 20-25 minutes, covered. Put the carrot mixture into a blender and add:

1/2 to 1 cup oat milk

Start with the 1/2 cup and add more if the mixture needs to be thinned to your taste. If the carrot mixture is really hot, cover the top of the blender with a kitchen towel and don’t fill it more than 1/2 full or you’ll have an explosion of hot soup all over your counter! Start blending on the lowest speed and as it purees, increase slightly. Should only take 30-45 seconds to blend. Serve with lemon zest and a wedge of lemon on the side. Serving it on the side allows the person eating that bowl to add as little or much of the lemon as they like. [I learned this trick from a Vietnamese chef and it really does mellow out the curry.]

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding

It’s called a pudding but it’s more like a cake in consistency. Easy to make but takes a while to bake. The only suggestion I have is to be sure you have enough people to eat it before you make it or else you’ll end up eating the whole thing yourself, it’s that delicious! Sweet, moist, and very satisfying. If you can use coconut milk, do so for a more authentic flavor. And it calls for batata, purple skinned and white meat sweet potatoes. The original recipe notes that orange sweet potatoes (the ones we’re mostly use here in the U.S.) can also be used but double the flour (and I would decrease the sugar as well).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9-10″ cake pan (I used my 7″ casserole dish which also worked fine, just harder to slice). Peel and cut into chunks:

2 pounds batata sweet potatoes (about 3 medium sized ones)

Place the chunks in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are finely grated. Put into a medium bowl and add:

1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (coconut milk if possible, I used my oat milk)

2 tablespoons avocado oil (omit if using coconut milk, just add 2 tablespoons more of the coconut milk)

1 cup date sugar (or coconut if you can use it)

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (I used 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) – or cardamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice (optional) – or coriander

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix together to combine and then add:

1 cup brown rice flour

Stir in the flour and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered. While it bakes in a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

2 tablespoons avocado oil (omit if using coconut milk)

1 tablespoon date sugar (or coconut sugar)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

dash of cinnamon (optional)

After 45 minutes, pour the above mixture over the pudding and continue to bake for another 35-45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve hot for a softer pudding or cool for about 15-20 minutes for a firmer texture. Serve with a non-dairy whipped topping if desired.

Pear Muffins

I’m allergic to apples so I often substitute pears for recipes that call for apples. This recipe also calls for apple sauce so I diced up a pear and stewed it for 5 minutes and voila! had pear sauce. Feel free to use apples instead, peaches would also work. Feel free to also vary the spices – if you prefer nutmeg to allspice, use it or ginger instead of cloves, etc. It’s a quick, easy dough to make and takes only 15-18 minutes in the oven depending on the size. If you make mini muffins, they’ll only take 10-12 minutes.

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease either a 12 or 24 (mini) muffin pan. The recipe should make exactly 12 or 24 muffins. In a small bowl (2 cup) combine:

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon avocado oil

3/4 cup non-dairy milk (unsweetened)

3/4 cup pear (or apple) sauce [I used chunky, I didn’t bother to blend it]

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a larger bowl (medium size 8 cups), combine:

1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour

1/4 cup quinoa flour

1/4 cup oat flour

1/2 teaspoon guar gum

1/3 cup date sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Mix until just combined, makes a thick dough. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon date sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

After mixing, sprinkle on the top of the muffins. Then let the muffins sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes before baking. Bake muffins 14-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Cool on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan.