Amazing Banana Bread – dairy, egg, gluten and oil free!!

bananabread2Ok, so I’ve been attempting to create a vegan, oil-free, gluten-free banana bread for years with little success.

UNTIL NOW!

Everything I have come up with in the past was fine, edible of course, but wasn’t reminiscent of true banana bread. You know, the super moist, dense, fattening-tasting kind (though I will say I could always taste egg in traditional banana bread and it really grossed me out). This recipe has a special ingredient to give it those qualities it was missing before.  Wait for it……

Almond flour!

I know quite a few people are using almond flour these days (think Paleo. Ugh. Pulease). Most people using it are avoiding grains (again, pulease), and using way too much of the stuff, making the baked goods super fattening. I have created this quick-bread with a combination of flours which helps cut down the fat but still gives it that yummy, dense and moist texture of traditional banana bread. Of course, the other trick to amazing banana bread is overripe bananas. I’ve tested this recipe 5 times and it’s come out great every time using 1 2/3 heaping cups of banana, which is the equivalent of about 3 large or 4 medium-sized bananas.

One of the best things about this recipe, other than the texture and flavor, is how quick and easy it is to make. I have the batter ready to go before the oven is even preheated! You can dump all the ingredients in one bowl and mix!

Again, this banana bread is vegan, oil-free, gluten-free, egg-free and refined sugar-free, using only 1/3 cup maple syrup to sweeten. It’s not nut-free of course, so if you must avoid almonds I’m so sorry!! I haven’t spent time experimenting with a substitute but I could if there is interest out there. Anyway, I hope you try this and love it as much as we do. Add 1/3 cup chocolate chips for a special treat!

Lemony Coconut Clusters [vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, nut-free, soy-free)

LemonCoconutClusters1I threw these together one morning when I knew my green smoothie wasn’t going to be enough.  I just needed something to chew and help me feel satiated.  These little bundles did the trick. If you’re looking for light, airy and fluffy, run away.  They are dense, fiber-filled clusters of lemony, oaty goodness.  I love oats, and I adore lemon, especially during warm months, so the combo seemed like a good fit.  Just zesting lemons instantly elevates my mood so I especially love dishes that call for lemon.  This recipe is super easy and quick to make, and very healthy consisting of healthy, whole foods.  These are every bit as good without coconut so if you don’t care for it or can’t have it, feel free to omit.  Make sure your bananas are very ripe; if they aren’t you may need to add more than the called-for 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal [dairy, oil, egg, gluten and refined sugar-free]

bakedoatmeal1 In honor of National Oatmeal Day on 10/29/16 (tell me about it; they have a day for everything), I wanted to share this recipe for Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal.  I love it! The texture sort of reminds me of firm bread pudding. Better yet, it has no dairy, eggs, oil, gluten and is sweetened only with fruit! It’s really easy to make and great to serve for a brunch, your own breakfast or I often eat it as a snack.  I like to eat it cold with a little soy milk poured on top, but it’s also really good warm.  It’s mildly sweet so a little maple syrup drizzle wouldn’t be the worst idea.  🙂  One quarter of the pan is officially a serving but when eating it as a snack I generally slice up an eighth of the pan.

Baked Chickpeas

bakedchickpeas2I try to have a batch of these around as often as possible.  They are so flavorful and easy to make.  Great to have on hand to grab when you need something quick.  They don’t quite come out crunchy but they are firm, and the sauce hardens somewhat as the chickpeas cool.  If you want them crunchy, I would try cooking them longer, at a higher temp or use a dehydrator.

Lemon Blueberry Loaf [gluten-free + vegan + oil-free]

LemonLoaf2 This was one of those recipes in which I had a craving for flavor (in this case, lemon) and a new dish was born.  Yummy! I’ve been experimenting more and more with aquafaba, the juice from canned chickpeas, and really liking the results.

It looks like there are a lot of ingredients here but a lot of them are spices.  It really isn’t any more labor intensive than any other loaf, muffin or cookie recipe I’ve got.  The key is to put the blueberries in the bottom of the loaf pan so that when it cools and you flip it over, you have a yummy, dark purple blueberry topping.  Cool looking and even better tasting.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies || vegan | gluten-free | oil-free

IMG_9328Soft, chewy, gooey and chocolatey – that’s what these cookies are. Best part is they are a sinful tasting treat without the sin (maybe just a little bit).  Of course there is no oil or butter in these little gems, but I also tried to keep the flour, sugar and fat low.  You’ll notice the recipe calls for 2 med-large bananas.  As such there is a very small banana taste…very slight though.  If you aren’t a banana fan (I simply cannot imagine!), try using only one banana and replacing the other with 1/2 cup applesauce.  I haven’t tried this so I can’t say exactly what the end result would be, but it’s worth a try.

Enjoy your chocolatey goodness!

Sunflower Banana Muffins || gluten-free + oil-free + vegan + no sugar added

IMG_9303These muffins are an excellent way to use those overly ripe bananas sitting on your counter. The flavor of banana and sunflower seed butter is a delightful combination. The texture is dense and very similar to banana bread (yum!). In addition to being tasty and satisfying, they are also healthy, void of gluten, dairy, eggs, oil or sugar. What’s left, you ask? Healthy and delicious whole foods, including dates as a sweetener, which are chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Gooey Pumpkin-Oat Bars | vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, flour-free, low-sugar

IMG_9175I’ve said it many times – I.  Love.  Pumpkin.  All things pumpkin, whether it be savory or sweet.  I especially love the spices that are associated with pumpkin flavor – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice, etc.  These delicious bars have them all.  The bars are substantial and very moist (hence the name Gooey Pumpkin Bars).  I only used rolled oats so no need for flour here.  The only sugar in the batter is 1/3 cup and I used Sucanat which is minimally processed.  The chocolate chips add sugar, of course, and are optional (but, um, why would you leave them out?). Seriously, you may opt to leave them out if you plan on eating these for breakfast, or leave them in for more of a dessert item.  For gluten-free bars be sure to use certified gluten-free oats.

Chocolate Cran-Cherry Granola

There is no shortage of granola recipes on-line, though I’d never heard of a chocolate variety so when it popped into my head as I was working out, I jumped on it. Many of my recipes come to me during exercise – weird. Anyhow, I got the idea to use cacao nibs and cocoa powder to make the granola chocolatey.  Sure, I could use chocolate chips but this is granola, it’s supposed to be healthy!

For those not familiar with cacao nibs, they are basically raw chocolate, pieces of cacao beans that have been roasted, hulled and prepped to the point where all that there is left to do is process them into bars.  Like dark chocolate, they are somewhat bitter and they are very pure with no added sugar.  I like them in the granola however because there are plenty of other sweet elements.  The bitter, nutty flavor of the nibs with the cherries, cranberries and maple syrup and/or date paste is delicious.  Best part?  Your milk in the bowl ends up like chocolate milk!  Who doesn’t love that?

Cacao beans, and thus cacao nibs, are one of the best dietary sources of magnesium — a mineral needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies — with 272 milligrams per 100 grams.  Cacao nibs are very high in antioxidants, and have about 9 grams of fiber per 1 ounce!

Since they will melt like any other type of chocolate, you need to wait until the granola is cooled before adding the cacao nibs.

5’n’5 Apple Cookies – 5 Ingredients & 5 Minutes!

Yep! These nummy cookies only have 5 ingredients and take about 5 minutes to throw together.  They’re just about the healthiest cookie you could eat, and probably the easiest to make.  Since they don’t have added sweeteners they are only mildly sweet, but the raisins help with that.  I’m calling them a cookie because of their shape but classifying them as a snack since they’re so good for you (don’t panic – they’re good)! Granted, they are no Oreo cookie, but that’s not the goal here.  They are soft in texture but hold together just like a regular cookie.  I spread a little bit of peanut butter on one – what a delicious snack!!   *choose certified gluten-free oats