Fudgy Bean Brownies

I know, I know, black bean brownies are so 2011. To be honest, it took me 6 years to overcome my skepticism of the health trend. The first recipe I followed required cocoa powder and chocolate chips. Cocoa powder with some added chocolate chips seemed to be the common recipe across many food blogs, but to my dismay, came out a tad rubbery for my liking. I decided to come up with a better recipe that didn’t require the help from chocolate chips, which for the most part contain refined sugar.

My recipe for black bean brownies are made with unsweetened chocolate,  that uses pure maple syrup as its sweetener. This resulted in a soft, rich, fudgy brownie that happens to be good for you as well. This is a great recipe to have on hand to tame your chocolate brownie cravings, an addiction which I am very familiar with.

 

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Fudgy Bean Brownies
Servings: 36 small brownies or 25 medium brownies
Ingredients
  • 4 oz unsweetened dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained. (19 oz can)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup maple syurp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line both sides of a 8” x 8” square cake pan with enough parchment paper to provide handles for easy removal. 

  2. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Stir until all of the chocolate is melted. 

  3. Place all of the ingredients but the baking powder in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the baking powder process until mixed. 

  4. Pour brownie mixture into cake pan and smooth top. Bake for 25- 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting. 

Recipe Notes

Brownies will firm up in the fridge. They can be stored in the fridge for a week.

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Vegan Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream with Cashew Milk

During a recent trip to New York, a good friend of mine introduced me to Van Leeuwen, an artisan ice cream shop that is known for their wildly delicious vegan ice cream. I showed no restrain and ordered their vegan sundae. Their ice cream was a dream, and didn’t taste vegan at all. I loved it so much the next day I ordered a pint to my hotel via uber-eats.

One of the key ingredients in Van Leeuwen’s ice cream are cashews. Cashews have a neutral flavor so it is a great base for a variety of mixtures. Also, cashew milk offers more stability and ‘chew’ to vegan ice cream.

Inspired by the power of the cashew, I set out to make my own ice cream flavour. This recipe for cinnamon vanilla ice cream is perfect because it’s creamy, luscious, and sweetened naturally with maple syrup. I know the majority of people do not own an ice cream maker but I really think it’s a great appliance to invest in. Homemade ice cream is always impressive and fun to make.

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Vegan Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream with Cashew Milk
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder or vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil melted
Instructions
  1. Soak cashews in water for 6 hours or overnight.

  2. Strain the cashews and place in a high-powered blender with 10 tbsp of water. Blend until very smooth. Add all remaining ingredients except the coconut oil and blend until smooth. Add the coconut oil and be sure to blend as quickly as possible to avoid the oil solidifying. Refrigerate until very cold.

  3. Transfer mixture to an ice-cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions until churned and thick.

  4. Transfer to an airtight storage container with the capacity of 3 cups and freeze until set, at least 4 hours.

  5. Allow ice cream to thaw for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Ice cream will keep for 1 week.

 

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Pan-Fried Zata’ar Navy Beans

Beans have never been a staple in my diet. Canned beans can taste metallic and dry beans require too much advance notice to prepare. Truth be told,  I think all the cold bean salad recipes floating out there had tarnished my desire for beans. However, time and time again I read how wonderful beans are for your health. They’re complex carbs that keep you full, lower your cholesterol, and are packed with protein. So I finally gave in and started to make beans. I came up with a recipe that is so good,  that I’m excited to soak my beans in advance!

My recipe for Pan-Fried Zata’ar Navy Beans is so simple and inanely delicious. Zata’ar is a Middle Eastern spice commonly made up of dried herbs such as thyme, marjoram, and oregano, as well as toasted sesame seeds and sumac. I love the sour notes of sumac and it’s beautiful deep red colour. It can make any dish look and taste interesting, which is why I added a bit extra sumac alongside the zata’ar in this recipe. Sumac and zata’ar are available at Middle Eastern markets or if you’re lucky in the spice aisle of your grocery store.

 

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Pan-Fried Zata'ar Navy Beans
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried navy beans
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp zata'ar
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • pinch of crushed red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • chopped mint for garnish
Instructions
  1. Soak beans for at least four hours or overnight.

  2. Place beans in a large pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 30 minutes until tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside.

  3. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, zata’ar, sumac, red chili flakes and salt. Set aside.

  4. Heat a frying pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the beans and garlic. Fry for 4-6 minutes until hot and beginning to crisp.

  5. Remove from heat and toss with dressing. Garnish with mint and maldon salt. Serve immediately.

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Raw Mint Chocolate Spirulina Bonbons

Raw chocolate bonbons are my go to snack, dessert, or even breakfast. For those who are addicted to chocolate, like myself, they are the best to keep on hand for your chocolate cravings. The best part is they aren’t just incredibly delicious but they are also packed with powerful nutritious ingredients such as sprouted almonds, raw cacao and spirulina.

Incase you’ve never heard of sprouted almonds, they are almonds that have been soaked for 24 hours causing them to begin to sprout. The almonds are then dried at a very low temperature. This process destroys the enzyme inhibitors, which releases the full nutritional content of the nut and allows the body’s natural enzymes to easily digest the almonds. Overall, sprouting makes the almonds more easily digestible and gives them a greater nutritional value.

I purchased a dehydrator so I could sprout then dehydrate my own nuts. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can purchase sprouted almonds from health food stores or you can replace sprouted almonds with regular raw almonds.

I use raw cacao instead of regular roasted cacao for it’s superfood qualities.  Raw cacao is the purest form of chocolate. Because raw cacao is heated at a lower temperature than roasted chocolate the heat doesn’t degrade its nutrient content. It is suggested raw cacao is the highest source of antioxidants than any other food. If you can’t source raw chocolate for coating please feel free to use regular dark chocolate. Non-raw dark chocolate still is still nutritious and contains anti-oxidants.

Spirulina is the magical ingredient in this recipe. It is blue-green algae that is one of the most nutrient-rich foods on earth. It has been around for billions of years and is one of the earliest life forms on the planet! Spirulina is recognized to be the most complete food source known, no other food contains as many nutrients. Spirulina is a fantastic source of protein. It has the highest protein content than any other food, which is about 70%. 1 oz of spirulina is 4 times geater in protein than 1 oz of beef!

Spirulina may not have the best taste, but with the addition of chocolate and mint it is transformed into a delicious treat. I always keep these on hand to satisfy my sweet tooth.

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Raw Mint Chocolate Spirulina Bonbons

15 bonbons

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup sprouted raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup sprouted raw almond butter
  • 6 medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp organic spirulina powder
  • 1/4 tsp natural peppermint flavouring
  • pinch of Himalayam pink sea salt
  • 200 grams raw dark chocolate, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.

  2. Pulse almonds in a food processor until fine. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined.

  3. Take a tbsp at a time of the mixture and roll into balls or place into a silicone candy mold in your desired shape. I used a dome shape. Freeze for 20 minutes and remove once firm.

  4. Begin the chocolate coating, fill a pot with 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place the chocolate into a bowl that can sit on top of the pot, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the simmering water. Melt the chocolate using a candy or infrared thermometer to make sure the chocolate doesn’t heat above 115 ° F, so it remains raw. You may need to remove the bowl from the pot before all the chocolate has melted and coax it with a silicone spatula to ensure it doesn’t overheat.

  5. Once chocolate is melted and cooled a little bit, to ensure the chocolate isn’t too thin, dip the bonbons to coat. Place on lined baking sheet. Once you have coated all the bonbons, put the baking sheet in the fridge to set, about 30 minutes.

  6. Remove from fridge and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*Bonbons can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.

 

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Creamy Chaga Mushroom Soup

Mushrooms are known for their meatiness in the vegetable world, but they are not vegetables, they’re actually not even plants. In fact, mushrooms are a fungus, and they’re my favourite.

I absolutely love a good mushroom soup, but it’s important that the soup isn’t pureed because the best part of mushrooms is it’s meaty texture. Mushroom soup is often paired with cream. I wanted to make the perfect ‘creamy’ vegan mushroom soup. In place of cream I used cashews. Cashews are a great cream alternative because they are pretty neutral in flavour. This recipe turned out beautifully and is worth making before the winter is over!

You will notice that a bunch of my recipes use super food ingredients such as lucuma, turmeric, and chaga. These ingredients are medicinal plant-based ingredients packed with high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. I find the ancient uses and health benefits of these ingredients very interesting and I hope to include an array of power foods in my recipes moving foreword.

In this soup I incorporated chaga mushrooms. For centuries chaga has been consumed for it’s nourishing benefits. For instance, indigenous Siberians have been known to use it in their soups and stews to prevent degenerative diseases and boost their endurance. Today, research suggests that chaga mushrooms are powerful antioxidants, immune boosters, help with digestion and have anti-cancer properties.

The recipe calls for ‘tea-cut’ chaga mushrooms, which are mushrooms that are dried and cut down to small pieces. The chaga flavour in this soup is very subtle. If you can’t source chaga feel free to omit it altogether, the recipe is delicious without it.  However, you should be able to find chaga at many health food stores or you can order it online here.

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Creamy Chaga Mushroom Soup
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup 'tea cut' raw chaga mushrooms
  • 1 liter organic vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 700 grams mixed mushrooms, cleaned and sliced, such as cremini, oyster, shiitake
  • 2 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • maldon salt
Instructions
  1. To prepare the cashew cream, soak cashews in water overnight, or at least 6 hours. Drain cashews. In a high speed blender add the cashews and water. Blend until very smooth. Set aside.

  2. In a small pot, bring vegetable stock and chaga mushrooms to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. With a fine mesh sieve strain the liquid into a bowl and set aside. Chaga mushrooms can be saved for another time*.

  3. In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until golden. Add the mushrooms and cook until they have softened and most of the moisture has been released and evaporated, about 8-10 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic and cook for 2 additional minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.

  4. Add the soup to blender with the cashew cream. Blend for a few seconds until soup is chunky. Add lemon juice.

  5. To serve, garnish soup with lemon zest, maldon salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Recipe Notes

* You can re-use chaga mushrooms 2-3 times. Just rinse and store them in the freezer. 

 

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Strawberry Lucuma Rose Milk

I’ve been drinking almond milk in place of cow’s milk for the past 7 years. Or so I thought. I had been purchasing brand name almond milk from grocery stores out of convenience. It wasn’t until I started making my own milk that I realized what I was purchasing doesn’t come close to what almond milk should taste like. Almond milk requires two ingredients: water and almonds. It shouldn’t be any other way unless you want to add natural ingredients for flavour.

I recently went to Los Angeles on vacation and stumbled upon Moon Juice. Moon Juice is basically the holy grail for holistic enthusiasts. They sell organic pressed juices, nut milks, raw provisions, and various plant-based remedies.

I fell madly in love with their nut milks, which they refer to as ‘moon milks’. They come in  the most amazing flavour combinations.  I stopped by daily to drink something new. Deciding between flavours like vanilla fig hazelnut milk or sesame ginger matcha milk was not easy. It’s safe to say that this recipe is inspired by moon milk.

An ingredient you may not recognize in this recipe is lucuma powder. Native to Peru, lucuma fruit has been enjoyed for centuries and referred to as ‘Gold of the Incas’. Today lucuma is celebrated for it’s high amount of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and it’s low glycemic index. Some research suggest lucuma powder can reverse the effects of aging with it’s tissue regeneration abilities. With it’s maple like flavour, lucuma is a a great addition to this recipe.

I love drinking this milk plain for breakfast. However, I also recommend using it in place of milk in your favourite granola, oatmeal, or chia seed puddings.

 

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Strawberry Lucuma Rose Milk

Makes 4.5 cups

Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 lbs. ripe strawberries, hulled
  • 1 medjool date
  • 1 tbsp lucuma powder
  • 1/2 tsp rosewater
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of pink salt
Instructions
  1. Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with water. Allow to soak for 6-8 hours or overnight.

  2. Drain the nuts and transfer to a blender with strawberries and filtered water. Blend on high for 45 seconds until the liquid is milky. Be sure not to over blend.

  3. Place a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or a very fine sieve over a large bowl and strain as much milk mixture as possible. The almond strawberry pulp should be almost dry.

  4. Place the strained milk back in the blender. Add the medjool date, lucuma powder, rose water, vanilla extract and salt. Blend until frothy.

  5. Transfer milk to an airtight glass container for 3-4 days.

 

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Golden Goddess Spiced Rice with Toasted Coconut and Charred Red Onion

 

Rice is a wonderful ingredient because it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Plain rice can be a great accompaniment for a saucy meal, but add some ginger, garlic, and spices to your rice and it becomes the star!  This recipe for spiced rice is easy to make, and can be completed under 40 minutes.

This rice dish is not only delicious but it’s nourishing!  Nutritionists are praising turmeric for it’s powerful antioxidant qualities, however, turmeric has been a key medicinal ingredient in Ayurvedic cooking for centuries. Often referred to as the ‘Golden Goddess’, it is been used as a remedy for many ills, such as arthritis, cancer, anemia, diabetes, and indigestion. I especially love cooking rice with turmeric because it dyes the rice the most beautiful rich yellow hue. The more colourful my food is the better.

Cooking with spices is a great way to bring life to your meal. I recommend stocking your pantry with a variety of spices so you can experiment when cooking. The more you cook with spices the more comfortable you will be using them. Instead of spending a fortune on pre-packaged spices in fancy little glass jars at the grocery store, purchase from a busy (to ensure freshness) bulk food store.

 

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Golden Goddess Spiced Rice with Toasted Coconut and Charred Red Onion
Servings: 5
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of groudn cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup brown basmati rice
  • 2 3/4 cup water
  • 1 large red onion sliced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread shredded coconut evenly on a baking sheet and toast for about 5-7 minutes or until golden, stirring once or twice. Set aside.

  2. In a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, melt 1 tbsp. of the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and salt. Cook until fragrant 1-2 minutes. Mix in the rice and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of toasted coconut and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for about 25 minutes, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

  3. While the rice is cooking, melt remaining coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red onion and cook until softened and charred, about 15 minutes. set aside.

  4. Once rice is cooked, fluff with a fork and mix in the red onion and the lime juice.

  5. Top with cilantro and remaining toasted coconut.

 

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Toasted Coconut Banana Loaf

I’ve wanted to create a coconut banana loaf recipe for quite some time. The combination of coconut and bananas go together brilliantly, or rather the pairing  is like a mini Caribbean vacation in your mouth. It wasn’t until I read Anna Jones recipe for ‘Ultimate pecan banana breakfast bread’ in her book A Modern way to Cook that I got inspired to get on with it. Her recipe stood out to me for two reasons.

Firstly, Anna’s recipe happens to be vegan. I myself am not a vegan but I do get satisfaction out of knowing there was no animal involvement in my food. With that said, I haven’t been able to adopt a vegan or a vegetarian lifestyle. There are too many interesting things out there in the world to eat and I would feel like I was missing out by restricting my diet.

Secondly, I enjoyed how Anna’s recipe includes homemade oat flour, a clever and simple approach to introduce a healthy grain into baked goods rather than just using whole wheat flour.

I decided to greatly adapt her recipe, or rather borrow ideas from her recipe, to embrace the delicious flavours of coconut. This recipe can be enjoyed for breakfast, a snack, or even dessert. It is super moist and has become a staple in my home. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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Toasted Coconut Banana Loaf
Ingredients
Loaf
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil plus extra for greasing
  • 1 3/4 cups rolled oats (1/4 cup set aside for crumble)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup ½ cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup ½ cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Crumble
  • 4 tbsp oat flour
  • 4 tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp honey or agave nectar
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line the length of a 9" x 5" loaf pan with enough parchment paper to provide handles. 

  2. Spread shredded coconut evenly on a baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes or until golden, stirring once or twice. Set aside.

  3. Make the oat flour. Blend the rolled oats in a food processor just before it reaches a powder-like texture. Place 4 tbsp of oat flour in a bowl and reserve for the crumble. Place the remaining oat flour in a bowl along with baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and toasted coconut. Set the oat flour mixture aside. No need to clean the food processor.

  4. Begin the crumble. Stir together all of the crumble ingredients into a bowl and mix until small clumps are formed. Set aside.

  5. Return to the loaf. Place bananas, coconut milk, honey, vanilla extract, and melted coconut oil into the food processor. Blend until well combined. Return the oat flour mixture to the food processor and blend until just combined. Pour batter into loaf pan and smooth top. Sprinkle crumble evenly over loaf mixture. 

  6. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

 

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Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with a Preserved Lemon and Herb Dressing

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After two years of abandoning my blog, I am finally ready to get back to it. My Internet persona, The Passion-ate, can rise again.

I originally started my blog as an outlet for my passion of food. However, my obsession with food grew larger than my blog. I ended up changing careers paths from an account executive in the advertising world, to a full-time food styling and recipe development assistant. Let’s just say it was a big adjustment. My experience in the kitchen was limited and I did not know what I was in for.

In my first few weeks working for my boss I managed to break his mini-chop, spice blender, and lose a bunch of his styling tweezers. While making a hot sauce, I foolishly deseeded ancho chilli peppers without wearing gloves. I’ve never experienced more excruciating pain. I went to bed with my hands in bowls of milk in attempt to relieve myself from the burning. Lastly, I had to perfect making cheesecakes for a Philadelphia advertisement. Over baked and the cheesecake will crack, under baked and it will be wet in the center. The only way for me to tell if my cheesecake was perfectly set and not under baked was to cut into it, which has to occur on set…right before it would be photographed. I didn’t sleep that week and when I did I was dreaming of wet cheesecakes.

The workload made it very difficult to tend to my blog. When I had free time I wanted to mellow out on the couch. Also, working with super talented people who professionally style, photograph, and prop photo shoots gave me little confidence to continue what I was doing. I knew I had lots of learning to do before I put my own stuff out there for the world to see. With that said, I also came to the realization that if I don’t work at it I’ll never get better. So here I am blogging again. I know a bit more about the world of cookery and styling but I still have lots to learn but more importantly lots to share.

Similar to my last blog (well this blog, before I deleted all my posts) I continue to focus on recipes that are healthy, mostly vegetarian, and approachable.

I present to you Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with a Preserved Lemon and Herb Dressing. This recipe makes a great side dish or a healthy lunch. Cauliflower is the ‘it’ ingredient right now and for good reason. It’s versatile and it can take on any flavour. This recipe is packed with flavour. The preserved lemon adds a level of depth to the dish and the herbs leave it tasting fresh. You can purchase preserved lemons at specialty or Middle Eastern grocery stores.

 

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Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with a Preserved Lemon and Herb Dressing
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp mashed roasted garlic
  • 1 large head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped basil
  • 1 finely chopped preserved lemon peel
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange cauliflower and chickpeas on baking sheet, drizzle with 3 tbsp olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until cauliflower is tender and golden brown on top, about 30-35 minutes.

  2. Prepare the dressing. Combine the garlic, herbs, preserved lemon peel, white wine vinegar and remaining olive oil and whisk until blended. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Combine roasted cauliflower and chickpeas with dressing. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

roasted garlic recipe

 

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