Vegan Pumpkin Spice Rice Crispie Treats

Pumpkin luvahs, do you feel me?!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Spice Rice Krispie Treats
Yield: 1 dozen (approximately 170 calories each)

I don’t think my newest recipe needs much of a preamble except to say, what are you waiting for?

4 tablespoons vegan butter
10 oz vegan marshmallows (I use Dandie brand)
6 cups rice cereal (I actually use Erewhon brown rice but you could use the Rice Krispies brand)
Pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
6 tablespoons pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling
Optional garnish: 12 pecan halves

Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake papers and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium to low heat, melt butter and marshmallows, stirring continually. Vegan marshmallows melt more slowly than regular marshmallows, so be patient and keep stirring with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, stir in remaining ingredients, except pecans, until completely combined, and divide evenly among cupcake cups, pressing down firmly. Garnish each with a pecan half if desired. Cool to room temperature and store in refrigerator In an airtight container.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfood #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfood #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn

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Vegan Reduced-Calorie Caramel-Cashew Popcorn with Chocolate Drizzle

Let’s be honest…this is an outrageously delicious occasional splurge, not health food, despite being vegan. I have reduced the calories by using Skinny Pop, Stevia Baking Blend and Smart Balance Light, but I am not going to share the calorie count because it is still alot. Make a batch and enjoy a little to satisy your craving, but then share small bags with friends, as I did.

4.4 ounce bag Skinny Pop popcorn
1 cup roasted and lightly salted cashew halves and pieces
1/2 cup roasted and lightly salted almonds
3/4 cup Smart Balance Light (made with Flaxseed Oil–other SB are not necessarily vegan)
1 cup Stevia Baking Blend
2 tablespoons molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Chocolate Drizzle
1 cup vegan dark chocolate chunks or chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with waxed paper, parchment paper, or Silpat and set aside on wire rack.  Combine popcorn and nuts in large roasting pan.

In medium saucepan, combine Smart Balance, Stevia, molasses, corn syrup, and sea salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Drizzle over popcorn and nuts, stir to combine, and bake for 50-60 minutes, stirring every 15.  Spoon onto prepared baking sheet and cool completely.

Melt cocolate with oil in microwave safe bowl in microwave in 30-second intervals, whisking after each. Transfer melted chocoalte to sandwich bag, seal, snip corner, and drizzle over caramel corn in a zig-zag motion. You may alternatively use a reusable pastry bag fitted with circular tip.

Let sit at room temperature about 3 hours or until chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container or sandwich bags.

#vegan#veganrecipes#veganfood#veganfoodshare#veganfoodporn#plantbased#plantbasedrecipes#plantbasedfood#plantbasedfoodshare#plantbasedfoodporn

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Cuban-Inspired Chex Mix

 

Recently, I heard an interview on NPR with Anya von Bremzen, the author of Paladares: Recipes Inspired by the Private Restaurants of Cuba, and I was completely captivated by the tales of resourcefulness, resilience, and innovation, not to mention the kinship the Russian author feels with her Cuban socialist brethren, especially in terms of hunger and deprivation.  I highly recommend.  The photos are stunning, the stories engaging, and the recipes, while not necessarily vegan, are easily veganized.

This isn’t one of them, but it is inspired by the flavors of Cuba, some of which we have learned to appreciate thanks to Juan and Barbara Gelpi.  I gifted them with this batch–though I kept a little stash (which instantly disappeared)–and Juan pronounced that it tasted “pretty Cuban,” which is quite a compliment coming from him, an accomplished vegan cook with Cuban roots.

After perusing the cookbook, I new I wanted to include the flavors of orange and cumin which featured prominently in one of the recipes.  But I also knew that I wanted to nod to their very simple staples of rice, black beans, corn, potatoes, onion, and plantains.  Granted, I ended up using an Asian black bean product, but I like some soy in my Chex Mixes and have never felt that that alone made them taste Asian, that is, unless I wanted them to and punched up the Chinese, Japanese, or Thai flavors with other ingredients.

I think you will love this addicting iteration.  It doesn’t have a lot of contrasting colors, but the flavor will more than make up for any lack of color.  For many others, just search “Chex Mix” here on The Blooming Platter.

1/2 cup vegan butter

Juice and zest of one large orange

2 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce (sold in the Asian section of the grocery store; make sure it is vegan)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

8 cups Rice Chex

6.5 oz toasted corn snacks

4.5 ounces plantain strips

4 ounces Potato Sticks

2.8 ounces crispy fried onions

1 cup roasted and salted cashews

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  While oven heats place vegan butter in a large roasting pan and place inside oven to melt butter.  Remove from oven and whisk in orange juice and zest, black bean garlic sauce, cumin, and garlic and onion powders.  Stir in remaining ingredients in order given.  Roast for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool, and package in an airtight container(s).

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Vegan Ro*tel “Velveeta” Dip or Sauce
The BEST Hot Vegan Cheese Dip or Sauce
Get Your Super Bowl Game On!

This is the old school recipe my way…

And hopefully I am not posting this too late for your Super Bowl festivities.

Recently, a local vegan bakery advertised their vegan “chick-un” nugget platter with “cheese” sauce for the Super Bowl.  I was curious about the sauce because, fairly recently in researching vegan cheese sauces online, there was a baffling array of sauces made with potatoes, eggplant, cashews and more.  But I was highly skeptical and  wondered to myself at the time, “Why not just melt some vegan cheese?”   And I shied away from experimenting.  But, Friday, I purchased some of the advertised sauce on the way to school to enjoy with my lunch at my desk.  It was a nice texture and lovely color, but it tasted oddly of garlic and mustard, ingredients I have used in vegan cheese spreads, but better camouflaged than that. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t taste convincingly like cheese.

So, I looked up the old recipe from my childhood–10 ounces of Ro*tel tomatoes and 1 pound of Velveeta–and purchased some Ro*tel yesterday on my grocery store run.  The cheese I had on hand.  Velveeta is so processed that it always reminded me of what would happen if orange vinyl were sold in blocks, so I figured that vegan cheese would be a shoe-in.  This morning I melted it in the microwave with the So Delicious vegan shredded cheeses I had on hand–both cheddar and cheddar-jack–and I was right!  I needed look no further for my go-to cheese sauce.  And, shamefully, I fantasized almost all the way through my yoga class, buying some jalapeno-lime corn chips on the way home and diving in.

Granted, this is not health food folks.  It is an occasional splurge.  And with the price of vegan cheese, it’s not cheap.  But it is super simple, lightening fast, and delicious.  It contains no nuts as some cheese sauces do, but it does contain soy.  However, soy is not even a whisper of a problem for me and hopefully not for you.

Plus, I can think of a million ways to use it.  It is hard to beat, plain, as a hot dip for chips.  But why not add corn, black beans, green chilies, vegan sausage, cooked diced potato, or some of all and enjoy it as a chunkier dip, as a sauce for nachos, a filling for enchiladas, or even as a base for a casserole, say potato and Poblano?  Or simply kick it up with some cumin, coriander, chili powder, or lime juice?

While your wheels are turning, why not make a batch and munch on it with some crispy chips?

Vegan Ro*tel “Velveeta” Dip

1 10-ounce can Ro*tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, mild or spicy

1 pound shredded vegan cheese (I like So Delicious cheddar and cheddar-jack sold in 8 ounce packages)

Optional garnish: chopped fresh garnish

Place in a microwave safe bowl or a double boiler and heat until melted, stirring frequently, approximately 8 minutes.  Whisk for a smoother finished product.  Serve warm with chips and a sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro.

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Vegan Chesapeake Bay Seafood Boil Chex Mix
Non-Vegan Mom and Teen Son Approved

I love the idea of a “seafood” boil…if it just weren’t for the seafood.

Give me a big sea salted pot of red potatoes and corn on the cob seasoned with Old Bay, steamed, drained, and dumped out onto newspaper- covered picnic tables in a sandy setting near sunset and I have would be perfectly happy.  Forget the shellfish.

And that is exactly what this iteration of my beloved global- and Americana-inspired Chex Mix evokes.  I use potato sticks–sold on the snack food aisle–as a nod in the direction of the small red potatoes and both corn nuts and Bugles to be reminiscent of corn on the cob.  But, if you can’t find corn nuts–I can find them at Whole Foods and sometimes Kroger–you can substitute more Bugles or some Corn Chex Cereal.  Oyster crackers remind me of every seafood restaurant I have ever dined in while adding texture and helping extend the mix, as do the Cheerios with their irresistible shape.  And I include pecans just because they seem so Southern, I love them, and every snack mix worth it’s, um, salt needs nuts.  Peanuts would be a less expensive and still very tasty and southern substitute.

From where, you may ask, does that kiss of the sea come?  Ah, that’s easy: roasted seaweed sheets.  I use Gimme brand sea salt or toasted sesame flavored organic sheets which I find at Whole Foods.  But a grocery store variety of Nori will work just great.  Gently crumbled and torn with your fingers, roasted seaweed is absolute perfection in this mix.  Plus, into the vegan butter base, I blend vegan tartar sauce–I use a tofu-based homemade variety, but a commercial brand would be just fine–lemon juice which I associate with seafood, and soy sauce which, for some reason, seems much more “seafoody” and less Asian in this mix.  I promise that the tartar sauce does not make the mix heavy. Quite the opposite: the end product emerges from the oven crispy and lightly toasted snack-worthy perfection.

My omnivorous friend and her seventeen year old omni son with whom I gifted it yesterday (she had agreed to let me feature her “Mom Cave” in a freelance story) thought it was outstanding and I hope you do.

Vegan Chesapeake Bay Seafood Boil Chex Mix

1/2 cup vegan butter

1/4 cup vegan tartar sauce (purchased or homemade; mine is homemade)

Juice of 1/2 medium lemon

1 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning (sometimes called Chesapeake Bay seasoning)

6 cups Cheerios

10 ounces oyster crackers

1/2 7.5 ounce bag Bugels

4 ounces Potato Sticks

2 cups corn nuts (or 2 additional cups Bugles or 2 cups Corn Chex Cereal)

6 ounces pecan halves

.35 ounces roasted seaweed sheets (I use Gimme brand sea salt or toasted sesame), crumbled and/or torn into coarse pieces

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place vegan butter in a large roasting pan and place pan in oven for a few minutes until butter is melted. Remove pan from oven and whisk in vegan tartar sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce, and Old Bay seasoning. Then, in the order listed, gently stir in the remaining ingredients. Place the pan back in the oven and bake mixture for 45 minutes, gently stirring every 15. Let cool completely and then package in airtight containers.

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Vegan (Outrageous!) Loaded Tater Tot Chex Mix
without the Chex

I guess you could call this “hunker down” food, as I seem to get a powerful urge to get my Chex on when temperatures drop and snow is in the forecast.  With snow predicted to start falling yesterday at around 4 p.m. and an early release from the high school where I teach art, I found myself in Whole Foods and Kroger buying “necessities.”

A few years back, I went on a Chex bender creating half a dozen or more delicious flavors, some with actual Chex cereal and some just inspired by that original Chex Mix recipe that my Texan mother always referred to as “Texas Trash.”  (You can find them all here–Tex-Mex, Indian, Thai, Italian, and more–just search “Chex mix.”)

That same craving was starting to play around the corners of my mind and belly again but, honestly, I have created so many of these recipes that there didn’t seem to be much uncharted territory left in the savory world that is.  Sweet Chex Mix just doesn’t do it for me, though I might create a Moroccan flavored one with dried apricots.  Stay tuned.

This cold weather–okay, pretty much any weather–ignites my appetite for Tater Tots: that crispy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside-ever-so-slightly-greasy goodness.  And, recently, on the Whole Foods “hot bar,” they were serving “Loaded Tater Tots,” which, of course, I couldn’t eat, as they were piled with bacon, cheddar cheese, and sour cream, along with fresh, bright green onions. But I could certainly fantasize; and, in the process, I realized I could easily translate all of those flavors to a Chex-less Mix.

The tots themselves became Potato Sticks (sold on most snack aisles) and fried onions in a can (you know, the kind used for green bean casserole topping) to capture the crispy fried goodness of the Tot exterior while also imparting the onion flavor.  The bacon became smoked almonds–and I threw in lots of pecan halves just because I love them–and the cheese Earth Balance Cheddar Flavored Squares.  (Here in Virginia, I find them at Whole Foods, where the cashier and I had a conversation about what a dead-ringer they are for Cheez-Its.)   To lend the tanginess of sour cream, I actually whisked some vegan sour cream into the melted vegan butter base.  It does not make the mix soggy–far from it.   And, finally, I included Cheerios because they are neutral in flavor, a cute shape, deliciously crunchy, extend the volume of the mix, and are one of my favorite ingredients in the original Chex Mix.

So, there you have it.  This ain’t no vegan health food, so don’t even start, but for the occasional splurge or gift from your kitchen?  Oh yea!  However, having second thoughts about being snowed in with all of this high-calorie goodness, I decided to gift it to neighbors.  After I walked the dogs late in the afternoon as the beautiful snow began to come down, I went for my own walk.  Before I set out into the deepening snow, I tucked a late gift for one of our dog walkers and a huge canister of mix into one plastic bag and a casserole dish that I needed to return to someone else filled with the rest of the mix into its own snow-proof bag.

I love bundling up and experiencing the world when it is hushed and still, wrapped ’round with a frozen white cloak.  It was even more satisfying for my muffled footsteps to be taking me on a solo mission that would bring a little tasty joy into the cozy homes of friends at opposite ends of our neighborhood.

Vegan Loaded Tater Tot Chex Mix

1/2 cup vegan butter
4 tablespoons vegan sour cream
1 tablespoon Liquid Aminos
1 tablespoon garlic powder
12 ounces pecan halves
6 ounces smoked almonds
6 cups Cheerios
6 ounces Earth Balance vegan cheddar flavor squares
4 ounces Potato Sticks
6 ounces fried onions in a can

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place vegan butter in a large roasting pan and place pan in oven for a few minutes until butter is melted. Remove pan from oven and whisk in vegan sour cream, Liquid Aminos, and garlic powder. Then, in the order listed, gently stir in the remaining ingredients. Place the pan back in the oven and bake mixture for 45 minutes, gently stirring every 15. Let cool completely and then package in airtight containers.

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Vegan Cheesy Garlic and Herb Snack Crackers
quick and easy perfection

Every year of my life, until my mother passed away, I was in my parents home for Christmas. And every night before I was due to fly home, my mother would be up late–me often with her, though I tended to give out earlier than her even more intrepid and tenacious self–in the kitchen making a treat for me to take on the plane. It was either Chex Mix, which she called Texas Trash, or her famous almond butter toffee.

After Mama died, my father and sister were supposed to come to Virginia to celebrate Christmas with me, and both times there plans fell through. The first year, which was 2 years ago, they both got sick. This year, they got snowed in.

But, Tammy Wells, my best friend since 3rd grade, who was, like me, also recently widowed, came on Christmas Day to attend Bob’s and my open house for 35 beloved people in our lives, and spend the week. It has been a glorious will we end up hiking in the freezing cold, happy hours and tea with friends, dinner with Bob’s family, yoga, and more.

She is leaving at 6 this evening, flying back to Mississippi, so I had to uphold the tradition of my dear Mama, whom one of my friends dubbed the Genius of Christmas, and make Tammy  a treat for the plane.

I love Chex Mix and almond butter toffee, but I needed something even quicker. So I devised this tecioe in my mind, whipped it up, and even Bob the Omni who, for the most part, does not care for my food, loved them.

I will be making this quick and easy treat over and I can throughout the holidays and beyond.  Feel free to experiment with different types of dry seasoning mixes and nuts.

Recipe

1 6-ounce box Earth Balance Cheddar Flavor Squares

1/4 chp roasted and sakted almonds

1/4 cup really good olive oil

.70 to .75 ounce package dried garlic and herb seasoning mix

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a 9 x 13 -nch metal baking pan, combine crackers and almonds. In a small cup or bowl, whisk together olive oil, seasoning mix, and paprika. Drizzle over crackers and almonds, stir gently to combine well, place in oven and bake for 7 minutes.  Stir and bake for 7 more minutes. Let cool and store in airtight containers.

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Vegan Roasted Za’atar Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

If, like me, you find yourself in need of quick, no-fuss holiday gifts from your kitchen, you and your recipients will love my twist on a classic. The Middle Eastern flavor of za’atar curls up next to a hint of smoked paprika, garlic, and tamarind syrup for an intoxicating savory and slightly sweet flavor combination that is tantalizingly exotic, but not odd.

Za’atar is an aromatic Middle Eastern herb blend of earthy-lemony sumac, oregano, thyme, savory, and sesame seeds.

Package these seeds in pretty canisters or jars…or enjoy them warm right off the baking sheet.

Note: adjust spices if necessary to suit your palate.

4 cups raw pumpkin seeds (I purchased sprouted seeds at Whole Foods)

Non-stick spray

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons za’tar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons tamarind syrup (sold at Middle Eastern markets)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray (so that less oil is needed).  Spread seeds out in an even layer. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with remaining ingredients except tamarind syrup, and roast for 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown, stirring half-way through. Remove from oven, drizzle with tamarind syrup, stir well to distribute evenly, cool on wire rack, and package in airtight containers.

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Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash and Cream Cheese Ricetini

Yield: 4 servings

When you need a meal that is more like a snack, you need my Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash and Cream Cheese Ricetini, a play on crostini (not a martini!).

It’s a little bit open-faced sandwich and a little bit pretty appetizer, so it seems special–and it is special enough for a party–but it is so quick and easy.  And it is low-fat and low-calorie but, shhh, don’t tell anyone.  Each serving is less than 200 calories!  (Ten ounces of spiralized butternut squash is only 128 calories.)

10 ounces spiralized butternut squash (spray roasting pan and squash with a little nonstick spray, sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and roast for 25 minutes at 450 degrees, tossing half way through)

4 rice cakes

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup roasted and lightly salted pumpkin seeds.

To make each ricetini, spread one rice cake with 2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese.  Mound 1/4 of the roasted butternut squash on top and garnish with 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds.  Serve immediately, perhaps with a small salad.

 

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