No-Bake Fig Walnut Bars with Chocolate

Vegan Fig Walnut Squares

Fig, walnuts, and Maldon sea salt. I’ve been eating this combination as a snack for weeks!

I have no idea where the sea salt came in. I guess I was aware of the fact that salty and sweet make a heavenly combination. To take it to the next level of heaven, add chocolate. To really turn this into a crave-it-everyday snack, turn them into bars, drizzle chocolate on top, and finish with fat flakes of salt.

These no-bake bars do require you use a food processor. Don’t have one yet? Go and pick one up! Even the little Cuisinart chopper will do. I think my food processor is my most loved kitchen appliance. It makes my life so much easier, and allows me to make things like these bars, truffles, burgers, and sauces in minutes! Vegan Fig Walnut Squares

Vegan No-Bake Fig Walnut Bars
 
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Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 cup raw walnuts
  • 2 cup dried figs, chopped
  • ½ cup dates
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp Maldon sea salt (any large flakes will do)
Instructions
  1. Line a small baking dish (mine is 6-cup) with parchment paper.
  2. Place walnuts, figs, and dates in the food processor and blend until combined. Be careful not to over blend the mixture. You want to maintain some texture, and crunch.
  3. Press the mixture firmly into the baking dish.
  4. Melt the chocolate chips in a glass or metal bowl over boiling water, or in a glass bowl in the microwave.
  5. While the chocolate is melting, remove the bars from the baking dish, and cut into 12 squares.
  6. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the squares.
  7. Sprinkle sea salt over the bars.
  8. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.
  9. Break off, and enjoy!

Vegan Fig Walnut Squares

Fig Tahini Cookies

Vegan Fig Cookies

I’ve been having stressful days lately where I desperately crave the comfort of a cookie.

I’ll usually make those addictive tahini cookies from my cookbook, 5 Ingredient Vegan. But my September #IngredientOfTheMonth is figs, so they’ve inspired a reworking of my favorite tahini cookies. They are incredibly easy to make, and require less than 10 minutes in the oven.

Vegan  Tahini Fig Cookies

Though I’m not supposed to be drinking coffee (I have a hard time breaking my dependency these days), these are super nice with an espresso or soy cappuccino. I think a cup of tea would be delightful too.

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Q&A with Jenné: Having trouble digesting veggies?

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You and I know that fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds are super good for you. However, if you’re new to plant-based foods, these can be difficult to digest, and cause discomfort. Before you give up on plant-based eating, and say it isn’t for you, consider this: you need to change the way you’re consuming vegetables, and improve your digestive power! In this video I show you how to do just that. Give it a try, and in a month let me know how you feel!

How to make digesting vegetables easy:

1. Add plant-based foods into your diet gradually. Try adding one new thing a day. Especially focus on green vegetables!

2. Take a probiotic to improve your digestion, and fill your gut with healthy bacteria. This will help you break down your food comfortably.

3. Take a digestive enzyme. These assist your body in digesting, and assimilating food and nutrients.

Have you been eating plant-based for a while? Did you have any issues getting your system used to high amounts of fiber and plant foods? If so, how did you deal?

 

 

Pay It Forward Friday: Bideawee

BideaweeElyse

This week’s Pay It Forward Organization is one of the nation’s oldest animal welfare organizations, Bideawee! When you join my 21-Day Vegan Blueprint today, I will donate 20% of proceeds to Bideawee!

Here’s a clip from their website: “For more than 100 years, Bideawee has been the leading pet welfare organization serving metropolitan New York and Long Island.  Through a vast array of services Bideawee cultivates and supports the life-long relationships between pets and the people who love them.  Please explore the site and get to know more about how Bideawee can accompany you and your pet through your life-long journey together.”

Last night I cooked for a family who’s pets had been rescued from Bideawee. They had nothing but good things to say about this organization. I’m even happier to be donating to them today. Join the 21-Day Vegan Blueprint to improve your health, and save some animals!

And once you’ve joined the Vegan Blueprint, make sure to Like the Bideawee Facebook page :)

Black Bean Hemp Burgers {Video}

Black Bean Hemp Seed Burger

I recently rekindled my love of black bean burgers. Once you try this recipe you’ll understand how it happened.

I began making black bean burgers a few years ago when I discovered Sarah B.’s black bean beauty burgers on My New Roots. I must have made that recipe 100 times before giving them up for more complicated burger pursuits (like my beet burgers). Almost a year passed without me making them once, when one day, armed with a bag of brazil nuts and hemp seeds, I was hit with a craving. I made a couple of variations to Sarah B.’s original flawless recipe to give it my own yummy touch, and voila! Now I can’t get enough of these vegan patties.Vegan Black Bean Burgers

They’re perfect for lunch, dinner, snack, even breakfast. They’re also a perfect travel companion that will pack up easily and keep you full for hours, thanks to all that protein, fiber, and super nutritiousness. These bad boys also happen to be really easy to make, as long as  you have a food processor. Serve them with bread, in a leaf, or on their own.

Hemp Seeds in a bowlBefore we move onto the recipe, let’s talk a bit about the amazingly healthy ingredients!

First up, hemp seeds. Don’t let their petite size fool you. These guys are packed with protein, fiber, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. I often sprinkle them onto my DIY chocolate, salads, and raw bars. For this recipe I use hulled seeds. Hemp seeds still in the shell are also great, but I prefer to save them for snacking.

Brazil Nuts in a bowlI’m also really into brazil nuts these days. I first discovered this unique huge nut while working at Peacefood Cafe in 2010. At Peacefood they make the most divine brazil nut milk chai, so if you’re ever in NYC, make sure you order one. Brazil nut milk is also fantastic, and can be made at home the same way you would make almond milk.

And what about the health benefits? Brazil nuts are perhaps the world’s most abundant source of dietary selenium. Selenium is a trace mineral that has been studied for its role in decreasing risk of breast and prostate cancer. It also plays a role in regulating thyroid function, and acts as an antioxidant.

pumpkin seeds in a bowlPumpkin seeds and I are pretty tight. I add them to almost every salad I make, every snack I eat, and certainly every pesto I whip up. There are several varieties of pumpkin seeds each from a different kind of pumpkin. The ones pictured above seem to be the most common in the US. They’re certainly delicious in every form.

Pepitas (another name for pumpkin seeds) are also very mineral-dense. They are most well known for their zinc content, and are also great sources of manganese, copper, vitamin E, magnesium, and iron. Zinc isn’t readily available in many plant-based foods, but eating pumpkin seeds regularly (especially with the whole shell) is helpful….and chewy.

Black Bean Hemp Burgers
 
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This recipe makes 6 patties. Depending on what you serve them with, and how hungry you are, that is between 3-6 servings. Simply double the recipe for more. They freeze well too. I like serving these burgers with avocado (as pictured) or with a tahini sauce. They're super tasty with the green tahini sauce from my Sweet Potato Burgers :) One last thing: Brazil nuts, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds are pricey. If you want to be budget friendly, use almonds in place of brazil nuts, and sunflower seeds in place of hemp and pumpkin seeds. This is what is used in the original recipe.
Author:
Serves: 3-6
Ingredients
  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
  • ½ red onion, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup brazil nuts
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 14-oz can black beans
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup quick cooking oats or oat bran
  • 6 slices of toasted ciabatta bread, or your vessel of choice
  • 2 cups arugula, mixed greens, or butter lettuce
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ½ cucumber sliced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking dish with parchment paper. Also grab a large mixing bowl, and your food processor.
  2. Add the red pepper and onion to the food processor, and pulse until minced. Pour into the large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the brazil nuts, seeds, garlic cloves, chili powder, cumin, and sea salt to the food processor, and blend until it has combined into a grainy mixture. Pour into the mixing bowl with the onion and pepper.
  4. Add the beans and cilantro to the processor, and blend until almost smooth (a few chunks of bean is okay). Pour into the mixing bowl.
  5. Pour your oats into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients, and stir well to combine. The oats will expand and help hold the burgers together.
  6. Form into tight palm-sized patties, and place each onto the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and use a spatula to flip each burger. Continue baking for another 10 minutes.
  9. Serve with ciabatta, avocado, cucumber, and arugula.

 

Vegan Burgers with cucumber