Recipe Difficulty: Easy
Date Squares Recipe Notes
Date Squares are probably one of my favourite sweet treats ever, so after some trial and error, I'm glad I finally have a veganized recipe that I am happy with and can share with you! This is a classic date square with a twist. I added cardamom to the crumb mixture and the zest and juice of an orange into the date filling. These ingredients are totally optional, if you want to keep it plain just omit the cardamom and replace the orange juice with a bit more water. I happen to LOVE cardamom, of which orange is a good friend....though you could totally keep the cardamom in the recipe and ditch the orange part too.
I don't add sugar to my date filling. My feeling on this is that dates are already sweet, it's not that a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar wouldn't be a good addition to the filling, I just don't feel the need to add extra to an already sweet treat. But if you want to, just add a bit to the date filling while you are cooking it. It will be good.
I also use 100% whole wheat flour in my date squares. I haven't tested it with white flour, but I can't see how it wouldn't be delicious. My theory is if I can make a treat that uses 100% whole wheat flour and still taste great, why wouldn't I do that? At least it has some extra fiber, and honestly whole wheat flour has a delicious nutty flavour that works really well in these date squares. If you don't typically have whole wheat flour on hand and feel like picking some up, just keep any unused portion in the freezer. Whole wheat flour tends to turn rancid fairly quickly compared to white flour so storing it in the freezer will preserve it.
I buy a lot of "Elan" Brand dried fruit and nuts.
Vegan Date Squares Recipe
Crumble Base & Topping
Base & Assembly:
African Peanut Stew
Recipe Difficulty: Easy
What is African Peanut Stew?
African peanut stew, also known as maafe or maffé, is a West African dish that is popular in many countries in the region, including Senegal, Mali, and Guinea. It is made with a base of peanut butter or ground peanuts, which gives it a rich, nutty flavor and creamy texture. The stew is often made with meat, such as chicken or lamb, and vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions, and sweet potatoes. It is seasoned with a variety of spices, including cumin, coriander, and paprika, and is typically served over rice or with a side of bread.
The origins of African peanut stew are not well documented, but it is believed to have been influenced by a variety of cultural and culinary traditions. Peanut butter and peanuts have been grown and consumed in Africa for centuries, and the use of peanuts in savory dishes is common in many West African cuisines. The stew is also influenced by the culinary traditions of the many different cultures that have interacted with West Africa over the centuries, including Arabic, European, and American cultures.
My African Peanut Stew Recipe Notes
This African Sweet Potato Peanut Stew is an impressive dish made with humble ingredients. It's creamy, bright & slightly spicy. Sweet potatoes, chickpeas and tomatoes make up the bulk of the stew which is then flavoured with natural peanut butter, lime juice, cumin, coriander and chili. I like to serve this with brown rice, fresh cilantro & chopped toasted peanuts. Serve extra lime wedges on the side if you want to add a bit more brightness. I really really love this stew, I first made a version of it probably 8 years ago now. It's a tasty bowl of comfort you can make any time of the year. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!! Much love.
A note on Peanut Butter!
I really do like Kraft Peanut Butter. I only ever buy natural with no salt or sugar added. I will buy other brands if I can find a better price, but always natural no salt no sugar! Natural Peanut Butter does separate, but for me that isn't a downside. I find when I taste spreadable peanut butter after loving the natural stuff for so long, there is no comparison in taste. If I want to add salt or sweet, like say, on my peanut butter toast in the morning, I just sprinkle some sea salt and add a drizzle of maple syrup. I would rather control the salt and sugar that I add to my food myself.
African Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew Recipe
THESE!!!!! I have gone and impressed myself with this dish and am pumped to share it with y'all.
Involtini is an Italian word for small bites of food consisting of an outer layer wrapped around a filling. Traditionally the outer layer can be meat, seafood or vegetable based. Obviously I went the veg route, and chose zucchini, though eggplant or lasagna noodles would work here too.
For the filling, I made the most lovely vegan ricotta with soaked cashews, a bit of tofu, lemon, nutritional yeast and fresh basil. The zucchini is sliced on a mandolin and given a quick sear in a cast iron pan so they are pliable. You then just spoon some of the filling onto the end of each zucchini slice, roll em up and bake them on top of my easy & delicious marinara sauce. To finish the dish I garnish it with garlicky panko crumbs and extra basil. I served whole wheat aglio e olio on the side and greens dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. SO GOOD. Some crusty bread on the side would be a good addition...or even I could see serving the baked cheesy zucchini JUST with crusty bread. Really any combination would work. I would totally just smash the cheesy zucchini rolls onto my bread and dunk in marinara. yum. yum. yum.
I'm going to say this recipe serves 3-4 people. I usually make double the amount of ricotta because I like to have leftovers and smear it on toast for breakfast or lunch. Throw some sauteed mushrooms or roasted red peppers on there? Hell ya.
If you are feeding a family though, it probably wouldn't hurt to just double everything. (ricotta, sauce, number of zucchini needed.) Especially if, like me, leftovers are your jam. You could bake them in two small round or square pans like pictured, or just use a large rectangle/ lasagna pan.
Cashew Tofu Basil Ricotta
Zucchini & Assembly
Recipe Difficulty: Medium, Easier Option!
About My Rainbow Veg Salad
This salad has a rainbow of colourful healthy vegetables. Instead of straight up boiled or roasted beets, I made my beet, walnut and brown rice veggie burger mixture, and rolled them into little meatballs. I couldn't resist! Perhaps these little beat balls are the best way to utilize the mixture anyway. The texture isn't meaty, they are more soft, delicate, and the taste is of sweet beet with a bit of smoky earthiness from the paprika & cumin. Somehow I just really love them. I like veggie mixtures that taste like vegetables, I'm not a vegan that necessarily wants things to taste like meat. (I enjoy some veggie bacon and the occasional ground round, but it's not my go to at all.)
Immediately when I made these I thought about the chopped veg salads that are ubiquitous in Switzerland. A rainbow of colourful vegetables, (typically straight up cooked beets are part of the equation.) and a sweet creamy dressing. So this is my spin on that salad. I added horseradish to the dressing because I love horseradish and it is good friends with beets. If you aren't a fan you can absolutely omit it. I didn't have any fresh herbs to add to my dressing but I'm confident subbing the horseradish with fresh chopped dill and parsley would be a welcome addition to the flavour profile of this salad. (Or add along with horseradish in the dressing...whatever you prefer.) Whatever dressing you decide on I do think some sweetness somehow balances everything.
What you use in your salad is up to you. Anything goes. Just keep it bright and fresh and have a good variety. I really wanted to add fresh sprouts, I just didn't have any at the time. I really do like the addition of toasted walnuts.
The following ingredients went into my rainbow salad:
Easier Option: If you don't want to make the beet balls, go ahead and take inspiration from the rest of the salad and just roast up some beets instead! It will be similar to the ones I've had many times in Switzerland.
Beet, Brown Rice & Walnut Balls
Yield: 30 beetballs
Creamy Horseradish Dressing
Yield: 2 cups dressing
More Healthy Vegan Food Inspiration!
Vegan Bircher Muesli
Recipe Difficulty: Easy
What is Bircher Muesli?
Bircher Muesli is a traditional Swiss breakfast invented in the 1900 by Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Brenner. It is made by soaking rolled oats in a liquid (such as milk or yogurt) overnight, along with grated apple, nuts, and other ingredients like seeds, dried fruits, and sweeteners. The mixture is then topped with fresh fruit and served cold. Bircher muesli is often considered a healthy and nutritious breakfast option, as it is high in fiber and protein, and low in added sugars.
My Bircher Muesli Recipe Notes
I really love this breakfast. I feel like I am making a good choice that supports my health, but it also happens to be completely delicious. It requires just a bit of forethought the night before, then the rest comes together quickly. Just toss whole rolled oats into water to soak over night, then strain any remaining liquid the next morning. When you're up and ready to eat, stir the oats together with grated pear or apple, almond yogurt (I use Silk brand, but use your fav), maple syrup, toasted nuts & seeds and fresh berries. It's a nice change from cooked oatmeal!
I add maple syrup to this recipe to taste. I typically don't add too much as I actually enjoy things when they aren't overly sweet. Just do what makes you happy. Also, feel free to mix up the add ins to your overnight oats. Use grated pear instead of apple, add in your favourite dried fruit and different combinations of nuts and seeds. The possibilities are endless!
This recipe serves 1 hungry person or 2 people who are lighter eaters in the morning. You can easily make a double batch of Bircher Muesli and eat it over a few days!
Bircher Muesli Recipe
Hey! I'm Trisha