Basic Overnight Oats with Hemp & Chia Seeds

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As the weather is warming up these days I've been finding myself craving colder food again, so for now I've ditched the hot breakfast grains and started opting for overnight oats.

Overnight oats are similar to oatmeal, but instead of heating the oats to soften them, they soften on their own through the process of soaking overnight in the fridge. When I first heard about this idea a few years ago, I didn't find it all that appealing- I mean who wants to eat soggy cold oatmeal? Out of curiosity I eventually tried it for myself, and surprisingly it wasn't like eating soggy oatmeal at all. The texture was thick, creamy, and much more similar to a chia seed pudding than oatmeal. I've been hooked ever since!

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All you need is a mason jar or tupperware container with a lid, about 16 oz. size should be perfect. Mix together the rolled oats, hemp seeds, chia seeds, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon and give it a stir, then add in the plant milk. Close the jar and give it a good shake and let it sit overnight in the fridge, or for at least 4 hours. (The longer it sits the better, up to 24 hours.)

The next morning when you're ready for breakfast, add in some fresh berries or any chopped fruit you'd like. To make it even sweeter you can add a bit of maple syrup, or for a healthier, lower sugar option mix in a sliced or mashed banana. 

Overnight oats doesn't have to be limited to breakfast food. Sometimes I make a batch in the morning so I can let it soak all day and have "overnight" oats for dessert. It also makes a great portable meal to take on the go or to eat while traveling. 

While there are several variations and flavors you could add to change it up, I usually keep things simple, so for now here's my easiest, most basic overnight oats recipe. Enjoy!



Sweet Potato Breakfast Toast (SOS-free!)

 Violet attempting to steal a strawberry

Violet attempting to steal a strawberry


Have you ever heard of slicing a sweet potato into bread slice shaped pieces and toasting it? I know It doesn't sound like it would be all that life changing, but ever since I started doing this I eat so many more sweet potatoes and way less bread than ever before! 

I still love a nice toasted slice of whole grain bread, and while bread certainly isn't bad for you, especially when whole grains are involved, bread is still a processed food and processed foods are almost always less healthy than plant foods in their whole, unprocessed form.

I've noticed that I don't feel my best when I eat too much bread or any other processed food and I don't have quite as much energy as when I eat whole foods like sweet potatoes. So for the past couple of weeks I've switched out toast or oatmeal in the morning for baked sweet potato slices and I feel better than ever and stay full for longer as well. I love choosing different combinations of toppings and find myself looking forward to breakfast more than any other meal of the day. 

While sweet potato toast won't replace your sandwich bread and the natural sweetness of the potatoes is sometimes questionable with savory toppings, I find it to be the perfect vehicle for sweet toppings like nut butters, dairy-free yogurt, berries, and other fruits. 

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The sweet potato slices become perfectly crispy on the outside but the inside stays soft and gets super sweet.

With oatmeal, I always have to add a little maple syrup or coconut sugar, but I don't find that I need to add any sweetener to this breakfast besides fruit and it still tastes like a dessert. Actually this recipe is completely salt, oil, and sugar-free, aka SOS-free!

There are several ways in which you can make sweet potato toast, but however you make it, be sure to eat it right after it's been cooked. If it sits out for too long after you toast it, it will be a little soggy and floppy- not at all how the sweet potato toast experience is meant to be. They won't have that same quality that makes them so delicious unless you heat them back up again in the oven or toaster until crispy.

Luckily there are many options, even a make-ahead option, that will make sweet potato toast so quick and easy that it becomes your new favorite breakfast. 

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Tips & Tricks

  • When picking out sweet potatoes at the store, choose ones that are a bit wide and round. While long skinny potatoes will still work, I find that I can cram more toppings on a wider slice. 
  • When it comes time to slice the potato, make sure the large knife you are using is freshly sharpened. Then slice off a very small piece of the potato in the spot where you want it to be balanced while you cut. This will give it some stability so the potato doesn't roll while you're cutting into it.
  • Then, carefully slice it the long way into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. It's unlikely that all your pieces will be uniform in size and that's okay, just do your best and as long as they're somewhere near that size range you're good to go! 
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Cooking Options

Once you have your sweet potato sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices, there are a few different ways you can choose to make it into toast.

Here are a few that I've tried and tested-

Oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
  2. Place slices on a wire rack or on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes until the slices are lightly golden on the outside and the edges are just starting to brown. Flip them over halfway through cooking time for slightly more even crisping. Enjoy right away.

Air-fryer:

This is my favorite way to make sweet potato toast because there's no waiting for the oven to preheat and I don't even have to flip the slices over because the air fryer does such an amazingly even cooking job.

  1. Place the raw sweet potato slices in the air fryer basket and cook for 18-20 minutes 390℉ or whatever setting your air fryer has for potatoes/fries. 
  2. Add toppings and serve immediately after they come out of the air fryer. 

Toaster or Toaster Oven:

Yes, believe it or not you actually can put raw sweet potato in the toaster to make sweet potato toast, but it's probably not the most efficient way to do it. You would have to stand at the toaster for a long time while you keep checking on it to make sure it doesn't burn and end up putting it through a toast cycle several times before it's done.

This might not be the best thing for your toaster too as sweet potatoes can get a little sticky sometimes. So if you do want to try this method, it's best to cook the sweet potatoes in the oven first, then store them in the fridge and toss them in the toaster or toaster oven right before you eat them. 

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
  2. Place slices on a wire rack or on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender but not fully cooked.
  3. Remove pan from oven and allow potatoes to cool completely before transferring to storage container. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  4. When you want sweet potato toast, grab a precooked slice from the fridge and put it in your toaster or toaster oven until it's crispy and golden on the outside, then enjoy right away. 
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My Favorite Toppings

  • Nut or seed butter- (pecan, walnut, almond, cashew, sunflower etc.) I like to buy raw nuts in bulk and make nut butter myself in the food processor and always have a jar of it in the fridge. 
  • Dairy-free yogurt- ideally sugar-free, unsweetened, minimal ingredients. My favorite brand is Forager cashew yogurt, but coconut or almond yogurt can be great as well! 
  • Hemp seeds or ground flax seeds- I add these in for omega 3s when I'm using any nut butter that is high in omega 6, such as pecan, almond and cashew. When I make walnut butter which is super high in omega-3s I leave the omega-ratio-balancing seeds off.
  • Bananas- available all year & perfect for when other fruits are out of season
  • Berries- blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.
  • Other seasonal fruit- figs, plums, peaches, etc. 
  • Cinnamon- cloves and nutmeg also pair well with certain fruits like apples and pears

If you decide to try making sweet potato toast, let me know what you think of it and also what cooking method and toppings you chose to use! ☼

Tofu Benedict with Pumpkin Biscuits, Broccolini & Hollandaise Sauce [Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan]

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The first time I ever had a vegan tofu benedict was at Champs Diner in Brooklyn a few months after first going vegan. This was a time when I knew nothing about cooking and had no idea how amazing vegan food could potentially be. When I tried their tofu benedict I was amazed by how much it tasted just like the eggy vegetarian versions I remembered having before going vegan. It was the ultimate filling, comforting brunch food. Back then, I remember thinking that gourmet restaurant-style vegan food was something I'd only ever be able to enjoy at restaurants because it would be way too complicated to make from scratch. Over the years I've since learned just how easy it can be to recreate some of my old favorites and began experimenting with my own version of this classic brunch recipe. 

Traditional eggs benedict includes ham and this was also true of the vegan version at Champs, but I've always found faux meats unappealing and also not very healthy, so I chose to leave that out of the equation. I also decided to go with a less traditional almond flour and pumpkin biscuit instead of using regular white flour, which adds a nice autumnal twist and makes these biscuits much healthier- and they're also gluten-free! On top of the biscuits, I stacked smoky baked tofu, followed by a creamy, buttery cashew hollandaise sauce.

This recipe is a little nut-heavy with the almond biscuits and the cashew sauce, so it's not going to be the healthiest everyday kind of meal, but it's perfect for serving brunch guests or having a fancy sunday breakfast. While it is higher in fat than most of my recipes, it's still oil-free and contains plenty of fiber to keep your gut flora happy and thriving. 

My favorite topping for this recipe is usually pan-seared broccolini and fresh chives. The broccolini adds a great crunch and texture to the dish, but I have also had some success with using sauteed spinach and layering it underneath the tofu rather than on top. I'd still recommend trying this with broccolini if you can find it though! Regular broccoli won't work for this recipe as it's too thick, so if you can't find broccolini (the long skinny version of broccoli), spinach is the way to go. 

This is my favorite recipe to serve guests, not only because it looks so beautiful, it's also shows how delicious and filling vegan food can be. While there are many parts to the recipe, it's a lot easier to make than it seems at first. Make the biscuits, bake the tofu, blend the sauce, sear the broccolini, and then assemble & serve. I promise the time spent is well worth the effort! 


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Sweet Potato Leek & Kale Hash

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This nutritious breakfast hash is a perfectly wholesome way to start your day and get in those dark leafy greens. For a while I thought that blending greens into smoothies was the only way they'd ever make their way into my breakfast, but on those days when I'm craving a warm hearty breakfast that's not oatmeal, veggie hash has been my go-to meal. 

This savory breakfast is probably not for everyone. I'll admit, it's a little hardcore- the kind of breakfast that maybe you'd imagine your dreadlocked, buckwheat-sprouting, kundalini yoga teacher might be into. It's probably not the right dish to serve to hungry brunch guests who are skeptical about what vegan food is. But I promise, it's still really delicious, and so full of all of the important nutrients that your body needs to make you feel super healthy and strong. 

If it helps, think of this like a scramble or stir fry, except instead of eggs we're using sweet potato, and instead of oil, we're lightening things up using just a bit of water and lemon juice. Okay, maybe it's nothing like scrambled eggs, but it's going to make you feel fantastic! This is the kind of meal you'll want to make when you need all the nutrition you can get in one easy to assemble package. 

This week I've been having a little bit too much fun in the kitchen. I love cooking gourmet, fancy meals with complicated ingredients and that require a whole days work of rolling dough and folding things into fun shapes. Unfortunately, these recipes always have lots of flour, salt, and sugar, and tend to lack the fiber and nutrition you'd get from a much simpler meal. After a day or two of gourmet experimentation, I was more than ready for a big simple bowl of veggies. So I chopped up a whole head of kale and the biggest sweet potato I could find and this hash recipe was born. 

This dish gets most of the flavor from the herbs, leek, garlic, and lemon juice, so there's not a lot of complexity going on here, but these simple ingredients allow subtle sweet flavors of the veggies to shine. If you don't have a leek, you could definitely substitute a small onion instead, but the flavor will be a little bit stronger. 

I hope you enjoy this super healthy recipe!


Lemon & Pomegranate Chia Seed Pudding


Chia seed pudding is one of my favorite make-ahead breakfast recipes. I can't believe it's taken me this long to get a chia pudding recipe on my blog because it's something I've been making for years in various ways with all sorts of flavors from chocolate to matcha green tea, but the best chia pudding flavor in my opinion is lemon. I love tart fruits in sweet recipes, and fortunately it's pomegranate season here! I found the most beautiful pomegranate at the grocery store this weekend and knew right away that this week I'd be combining it with some creamy lemon pudding. 

Chia seeds are full of healthy omega 3 fats which are vital to our long term health. I try to make sure to eat at least a tablespoon of flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, or walnuts everyday as all of them are amazing sources of these important ALA fatty acid chains. A lot of people think they need to eat fish to get the long-chain EPA-DHA, and while fish will provide that, they also bioaccumulate heavy metals and carcinogens which accumulate in our bodies overtime and cause disease. Fish are also inflammatory and high in cholesterol which causes damage to our arteries.

Our own bodies are actually able to convert short-chain ALA, like that in chia seeds, into long chain EPA-DHA. While the conversion rate is small, it is enough and will still provide all of the protective benefits. Another fish-free option for getting those long chain fatty acids directly is by getting it from where the fish get it; via micro algae. There are vegan algae-based supplements, which you could take as a precaution, but I haven't had any issues getting in enough healthy seeds so the only supplement I take currently is a B12, which I think everyone should take, vegan or not. 

Chia seeds are best when they've had enough time to soak, over 8 hours is recommended, so I like to prepare it in the evening before I go to bed. Even if you just combine the chia seeds and plant milk and leave the rest of the ingredients for the morning, that's all you need to do. Then when you wake up you'll find the chia seeds have soaked up all the milk and become jelly-like. Add in the pomegranate seeds, vegan yogurt, maple syrup, lemon juice and zest and you have breakfast ready to go. I love making these in 16 oz mason jars as they keep well in the fridge for a couple days and are perfect for taking on the go. This recipe makes enough for two 16 oz jars.  

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think of it by leaving a comment down below!

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The Fluffiest Vegan Pancakes + Strawberry Shortcake Topping [Oil-Free, Low-Fat, Refined Sugar-Free]

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These are by far the best pancakes I've made yet. Light and extra fluffy thanks to the magical bean liquid that is chickpea brine, AKA: aquafaba. Aquafaba can be whipped to form meringues and other vegan treats that would normally need whipped egg whites to be so fluffy. In this recipe they make the texture of the pancakes much more traditional like the pancakes I remember eating growing up, minus the butter, oil, and refined sugar. 

To get aquafaba, the next time you open a can of low-sodium chickpeas, save the brine in a jar for later use.

The strawberry coconut yogurt sauce topping is so delicious and naturally sweet that I barely used any maple syrup in the recipe. While whole wheat flour is not an ideal healthy whole food (whole wheat in flour form is absorbed more quickly into the body than intact grains like cracked wheat or whole wheat farina), but this dish makes a great treat for breakfast on the weekends, and because it's low-fat and oil-free you'll still feel amazing after.