Sweet Plantain Rolls (Paleo, Vegan)

Bread needs to be in my life. It’s a non-negotiable…because bread and carbs make me happy…and for me, life’s too short to deprive myself of things of things that make me happy 🙂 Although I can’t consume the standard loaf or French bread, I am always looking for substitutes to satisfy my carb cravings and need for a biscuit, bun, wrap, or a slice of sandwich bread.
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I love experimenting, such as when I used cooked rice as a flatbread or pizza crust, tinkered with variations of lentil bread, whipped up skillet bread with quinoa and buckwheat and mini flaxseed meal loafs, and now plantains. In the paleo and grain-free world, plantains are the perfect starch substitute and variations of plantain baked goods can be found all over on the web.

These rolls are slightly sweet but no added sugars are used since the hint of sweetness comes from the ripe plantains (which you can taste) plus these cute little bread balls are allergen-friendly. They are egg-free, nut-free, grain-free, soy-free, sugar-free, nightshade-free, vegan and paleo-friendly and can be prepared within 30 minutes — easy!
plantain-buns2You can serve them for breakfast alongside a fried egg or slathered with some chia fruit jam or your favorite spread (pictured is Nutiva’s buttery coconut oil). Enjoy these buns for lunch too; slice in half and serve with your favorite slider recipe, sliced protein or spread with hummus and top with sliced veggies. They are also a perfect addition for dinner or to dip into a steamy stew. If you’re looking for a sweeter option, slather with homemade nutella or a drizzle of maple syrup and melted coconut butter. Mmm…you have options, so many options!

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Sweet Plantain Buns (inspired by the Organic Dietitian’s recipe)
Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Egg-free, Nut-free, Grain-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free, Nightshade-free, Vegan, Paleo-friendly

Ingredients

1 medium-large ripe plantain, peeled and cut into several pieces (look for yellow with black spot)
1/2 cup tapioca starch or arrowroot starch
1/4 cup sunflower seed meal (or you could probably substitute 2 Tbsp coconut flour but I haven’t tried)
1 tbsp ground chia/chia meal
1/2 tsp baking powder (use corn-free for paleo)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil in solid state (not melted)
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

Directions
1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse plantain until in small pieces and slightly puree.
2. Add in the remaining ingredients and combine until a thick dough forms.
3. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
4. Break dough into four or five pieces and form into a ball and place on parchment paper (dough will be really sticky).
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Makes 4-5 small buns

plantain-buns

No-Bake Oat Fudge Bites or Bars (vegan)

Oatmeal has become my thing – savory, sweet, baked, raw, overnight oats, energy bites – I mean really, ALL things oatmeal are my current jam. I can’t get enough!
oat fudge bites1

These no-bake oat fudge bites are no exception…and it combines two of my all-time favorites — chocolate and peanut butter — along with my new oat obsession for an easy, quick and satisfying treat that’s healthy enough to eat for breakfast! Yes, chocolate for breakfast is way-ok in my book 🙂

You can make bars instead of the individual cups if you’d prefer to slice and serve. I tend to lean towards mini versions of everything – if you can’t tell from my Chunky Monkey Frozen “Cupcakes”, No Bake Mini Chocolate Pudding Tarts and Blackberry Banana Coconut Muffin Bites . The bar version is even quicker since you don’t have to divide up the crust/topping and chocolate layer into individual portions.
oat fudge bites2Funny story when I was making these…it was late…like real late at night. (Quick disclaimer: when it’s past midnight, I go on auto-pilot and I don’t always pay attention to little things.) I reached into the cabinet to get my vanilla bean sea salt flakes to crumble and sprinkle over these fudge bites…but I was only paying half attention to what I grabbed. It was a small bag, dark in color and I thought I read “vanilla bean salt” on the bag. Nope. it was Mexican dried oregano…hmmm, so a couple of these little dudes got a savory sprinkle, oopsi! I even tried to use my tweezers to remove the oregano, ha!

The sea salt isn’t required but it certainly adds that “wow factor” in my mind! Just don’t use oregano and I think you’ll love these filling and fudge oat treats! 🙂 If you can’t tolerate nuts, feel free to substitute coconut butter for an equally delicious option!

oat fudge bites bite

No-Bake Two-Bite Oat Fudge Bars
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Egg-free, No-Bake, Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-free option, Refined sugar-free

Ingredients
For the “Crust and Topping”
1 1/4 cup pitted dates
2 cups + 1/2 cup gluten-free quick oats
1/8 tsp vanilla bean powder
3 Tbsp (or more) non-dairy milk (or coconut oil for richer option)

For the Fudge layer
3 1/2 oz allergen-friendly dark chocolate chips or chopped bar (Enjoy life chips, homemade chocolate, Lily’s for sugar-free etc)*
3 Tbsp chunky or creamy peanut butter, nut butter or seed butter (for nut free, use coconut butter)
1 tsp coconut oil
1/8 tsp sea salt (I used vanilla bean sea salt flakes)

Directions

  1. In a food processor, add dates and process until a ball is formed.
  2. Add in 2 cups of oats and vanilla and process until powdery and combined. It will look dry. Drizzle in milk or oil and process until mixture forms a dough.
  3. Add in remaining 1/2 cup oats and pulse a few times (this will make the dough have a nice texture with the pulverized and whole rolled oats). Remove from food processor and refrigerate for atleast 30 minutes to firm up.
  4. Remove from fridge and either press all but heaping 1/2 cup of dough into a parchment lined loaf pan OR press roughly 1 1/2 Tbsp (large spoon) of dough into silicone mini muffin pans until forms a little flattened disc or crust.
  5. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine chocolate chips/chopped chocolate bar and coconut oil. Stir often until almost melted then add in peanut/nut/seed butter or coconut butter and stir until completely melted.
  6. For loaf pan/bar preparation, pour chocolate over date mixture. For mini-muffin pan preparation, pour about 1 1/2 Tbsp of chocolate mixture over each crust.
  7. Crumble the remaining 1/2 cup dough over the chocolate mixture evenly. Sprinkle with sea salt (if desired but I love how it brings out the chocolate flavor). Refrigerate until chocolate firms up, slice into bars (with loaf pan variation) or pop out the fudge bites and enjoy!!!

Makes 15-17 bites

If you cannot tolerate chocolate, carob chips or a chopped carob bar can be used as well! Just watch out for added dairy…so homemade carob bark is always a good allergen-friendly option (just omit the mint in my recipe)!

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ABC Cabbage Salad (Vegan)

ABC…easy as 1-2-3…that’s what this salad and dressing is! If you have these three ingredients on hand, you can whip a quick dressing up in less than a minute, and there’s no need for a blender, just a simple whisk (or a fork if you must!).

A for Almond butter (or your favorite nut or seed butter)
B for Braggs liquid aminos (or coconut aminos for Paleo, Whole30 and/or soy-free)
C for Apple Cider Vinegar
ABC cabbage salad1 For the salad itself, choose your favorite chopped greens along with some crunchy cabbage for the base. Toss in your preference of veggies, such a sliced grape tomatoes, diced bell pepper and chopped celery and there you have it! You can top it off with your favorite nuts and/or seeds, diced apple or coconut chips for some extra crunch and flavor.

This dressing is simple but SO good! For a touch of sweetness, either add a drizzle of maple syrup or agave or a spoonful of date paste. If you are looking for a quick lunch or light dinner, this is it! You can substitute the greens for chopped kale or swiss chard and keep it in the fridge for longer since it will hold up as opposed to wilt. ABC cabbage salad 1

Toss this dressing into a cup of cooked quinoa or brown rice to make it more filling or add your favorite protein for a hearty main course. I served this salad with grilled salmon burgers the other night, and it was a lovely combination or smoky, sweet, salty and tart. If you like sweeter dressings, dial down the amount of vinegar you use and use two drizzles of maple or agave. 

ABC Cabbage Salad 
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free Option, Vegetarian, Vegan, Sugar-free, Egg-free, Keto-friendly, Paleo-friendly option

Ingredients

For the Dressing:

2 Tbsp almond butter or your favorite nut or seed butter*
2-3 tsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (or coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari)
1 -2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
water to thin, if needed
Optional – for a sweeter dressing, drizzle in a teaspoon or so of agave, honey or maple syrup or date paste to taste. For a lower carb option, add a couple drops of liquid stevia

For the Salad:
1 handful of chopped purple cabbage
2 handfuls of chopped greens
5-6 grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/3 cup alfalfa sprouts
Or whichever salad ingredients you enjoy, this recipe is flexible!

Ideas for crunchy toppings
Diced apple
coconut chips
Chopped nuts or seeds

Makes 1 large salad or 2 smaller salads

Directions

  1. For the dressing: whisk almond butter/nut butter through vinegar in a small bowl until smooth. If it’s too thick, you can thin with a drizzle of water. I like my dressing on the acidic side so feel free to adjust to taste. Feel free to add in a
  2. For the salad: Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Toss with salad dressing until combined, if you like a lightly dressed salad drizzle a little at a time (leftover dressing can be saved). Sprinkle with topping options if desired and serve!

*The choice or nut or seed butter will determine the flavor or your dressing. I’ve tried this with peanut butter, sunflower seed butter and cashew butter along with the almond butter. A roasted nut/seed butter has a lovely depth of flavor that adds to the dressing. If you use a salted version, you may want to adjust the Bragg’s/aminos to your taste. If you use sunflower seed butter, it’s not as sweet as the almond/peanut/cashew options so adding a little sweetener will balance out the flavors nicely! This dressing is flexible so adapt it to suite your taste buds and your tummy!

ABC cabbage salad mixed

Salted Chocolate Turtle Candy (vegan, SRC)

Chocolate turtle candies take me back to my childhood, and they remind me of my parents and most definitely my Papa. These chocolate caramel goodies are packed with buttery pecans and they transport me to family memories and holidays. They are our family go-to for Christmas stockings and are often included in gifts…and when turtles are in a variety chocolate box, they are the first to be picked.

Vegan turtlesThis version of our family favorite is not only free of refined sugars, it’s dairy-free, vegan, paleo-friendly and dare I say even better than the classic? Gasp! My grandpa would roll over in his grave if he heard me say that. Maybe it’s due to the fact that these candies are packed with healthy ingredients (and a short list at that!), but these homemade treats are the perfect ending to a meal or a fabulous afternoon pick-me-up, and they will make my tummy happy as well!

Vegan turtles pecans

I found this recipe at Anne’s delightful blog, Simple and Savory while browsing her site for this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment. Anne is “my type of people”, she’s a holistic health coach, and is a huge advocate for making your own food as a key to health. You can find vegan, dairy free, gluten-free, and Paleo and all sorts of recipes on her site! I had a blast searching through her recipes and though I ultimately  chose her Chocolate Turtle Candy, I have tagged many for future experimentation including Anne’s Roasted Vegetables with Cashew Cheese Dip, Hasselback Pork Tenderloin and her Gluten-free Irish Soda Bread.

Vegan turtles no chocFor the turtles, I swapped out Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter) for the peanut butter since that’s what I had on hand, and opted for pecans as my nut choice. I prefer a contrast of bitter and sweet when it comes to chocolate so I used a 90% chocolate bar chopped up and it contrasted beautifully with the sweet dates. Lastly, I sprinkled a little sea salt flakes over the chocolate coating for that extra pow, and goodness these are scrumptious! No doubt that this recipe is a keeper, thanks Anne for the inspiration!

Vegan turtles1Salted Chocolate Turtle Candy (lightly adapted from Simple and Savory)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Vegan, Dairy-free, Peanut-free, Paleo-friendly, Egg-free, Refined sugar-free, Soy-free, No-bake

Ingredients

3/4 cup walnut or pecan halves
12 medjool dates
1/2 Tbsp nut or seed butter (I used sunflower seed butter)
8 oz dark chocolate, chopped (homemade, or your favorite chocolate bar, or can use unsweetened if you really like the contrast of bitter and sweet with dates)
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
sea salt flakes

Directions

  1. Place dates in the food processor and process for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes; until they form a ball (you may have to stop and scrap the sides down).
  2. Add the nut/seed butter to dates and process for 30 seconds until combined.
  3.  Remove date mixture from food processor and refrigerate atleast 30 minutes.
  4. Place pecan of walnut halves in a circle (about 3 pieces) on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  5. Remove date mixture from the fridge and roll into balls about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in diameter and slightly flatten (see photo above). Flatten on top of the nut halves and refrigerate while chocolate is melting.
  6. In a double broiler, heat chocolate and coconut oil over low, stirring until melted.
  7. Remove chocolate from heat and spoon over the date and nut clusters. Sprinkle with sea salt and place back in fridge to harden. Enjoy and devour!! 🙂

Vegan turtles biteFor other recipes from this month’s reveal, please click the link below!