5-Ingredient Matcha Coconut Crispy Bars [Refined Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan]

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These crispy matcha coconut bars contain only FIVE ingredients and require almost no cooking! The only part of the recipe that comes close to cooking is softening the coconut butter, which can be done on the stovetop but it will also soften up in just 20-30 seconds in the microwave. 

Next you simply mix all of the remaining ingredients together in a bowl and then press the mixture into a dish. Let it cool in the fridge for at least an hour, then slice and serve. It doesn't get any easier than this!

Here are the 5 ingredients you'll need:

  • coconut butter
  • maple syrup
  • vanilla extract
  • matcha powder (optional)
  • brown crisped rice cereal, preferably one-ingredient and sugar free

While I wouldn't consider coconut butter to be a health food and it's definitely more of a special occasion sort of treat, I still consider it to be a healthier alternative to coconut oil. 

One tablespoon of coconut butter provides 2 grams of fiber as well as small amounts of potassium, magnesium, and iron. Meanwhile, coconut oil has had everything good removed including all of the fiber and micronutrients so you're left with 100% refined saturated fat. Coconut butter is much closer to being in its whole food form and still provides some nutrients, so I feel comfortable using it on rare occasions and especially when cooking for others who enjoy a rich dessert or are curious to try vegan food.

Recipe below!

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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 Mac and Cheese with Mushroom Bacon (Nut-Free, Vegan, Oil-Free, Gluten-Free)

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Since going vegan two years ago, I've spent a lot of time trying out all sorts of different mac and cheese recipes. I've tried cashew cheese, almond cheese, butternut squash cheese, and just about every type of sweet potato, or potato and carrot cheese sauce there is, but I keep coming back to this version. 

This recipe is inspired by the sweet potato mac at one of my favorite NYC restaurants, By Chloe. I've made this version nut-free (depending on which plant milk you use), flour-free, oil-free, and it can also be gluten free depending on the pasta you choose. It gets a tangy cheddar-like bite from the tahini and lemon juice and a classic cheesy flavor from the nutritional yeast. 

The smoky mushroom bacon is really the star of this recipe. For a while I never really sought out vegan versions of bacon because having been a vegetarian for most of my life, it wasn't something that I needed a replacement for, but after trying all different sorts of vegan bacon made from whole plants I've really grown fond of mushroom bacon in particular. It's smoky, salty, and just the perfect texture to add into mac and cheese. 

If you're looking for the most comforting vegan recipe that's still healthy and packed full of nutrients, this is it! For a truly nourishing whole food meal, use whole wheat or gluten-free pasta of choice and add in a handful of spinach. 

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think by leaving a like or a comment down below. I hope you enjoy this indulgent yet guilt-free mac and cheese recipe as much as I do!

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Tofu & Vegetable Pad Thai with Spicy Peanut Lime Sauce [Oil-Free, Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Pad thai is always one of my favorite meals to order out at vegan restaurants, but I for a while doubted my abilities to make an oil-free, lower-sodium, version that could taste just as amazing. After many attempts I've ended up with a recipe that's now only healthy and delicious, but also quick and easy to make. This dish comes together in under 30 minutes so it's ideal to add to your weeknight meal rotations. 

If you're not so into peanut butter, don't be afraid! My peanut butter disliking partner loved this meal. The peanut taste is balanced out with the zesty lime juice and spicy hot sauce, so it isn't too overpowering or thick. 


First, you'll need to press and cube a block of tofu. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Marinate the tofu for about 10 minutes. Then place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes or until outside is lightly golden. 

While tofu is baking, chop about 3 cups of vegetables. Most vegetables you have should work, but my favorites to use in a pad thai are ribboned carrot, broccoli, red bell pepper, and zuchini. 

Make the peanut sauce by combining the ingredients listed and set aside. Then heat a pan to medium and fry the garlic in 2 tablespoons of coconut milk until golden brown, about 6-7 minutes, add the rest of the vegetables and allow to cook through for another 6 minutes. If the pan starts to dry out add a few small splashes of water or vegetable broth as needed throughout the cooking process. 

After another 6 minutes have passed, pour in the peanut sauce mixture and the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut milk. Stir to coat the veggies, then add cooked rice noodles and the baked tofu. 

Serve with additional lime juice, sesame seeds, and/or cilantro. 



Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble [Vegan, Oil-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free]

Rhubarbs are in season here in Washington and while strawberries are not quite there yet, I decided to jump the gun and try experimenting with a strawberry-rhubarb crumble anyway... or is it a crisp? I'm going with crumble because crisp reminds me too much of apples and this tastes more like a crumble-pie than anything. 

I used half fresh, half frozen strawberries for this recipe, but I recommend using all fresh strawberries especially if you can find them organic and in season. If you're reading this in June that should be much easier, but until then frozen, thawed strawberries will definitely work. Just make sure to thaw them first and drain out the water. 

First, you make the strawberry rhubarb filling.

Then mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle it over the filling in an even layer.

It's not quite the most traditional strawberry rhubarb pie, but it's much healthier as it doesn't contain any refined flours or sugars and still makes a delicious pie-like treat!

 

Strawberry-rhubarb Crumble [vegan, Oil-free, Refined Sugar-free]