You know how Christmas smells like pine trees? Well in my house, autumn has a smell too. Apple crisp. Baking this recipe on a brisk, sunny day, burnt-orange leaves falling past the windows, the aroma of cinnamon and apples wafting from the oven, there is a fleeting moment when I feel just like Martha Stewart. Of course I have to take care to keep my eyes tightly closed so I can’t see the curtains that need hemming and the floors that need scrubbing, but the moment is lovely while it lasts. Try this easy recipe and you too can have a home that smells like Martha Stewart’s. When the feeling passes – it always does – you can indulge in a bowl of scrumptious apple crisp to ease your disappointment!
The recipe that follows is my clean, vegan version of a buttery old favorite. Your mouth won’t know the difference but your body will thank you. Brad had been eating the old version for years before I switched things up and he never even noticed a change. There’s still plenty of sugar and fat in this dessert, but it’s entirely plant-based and whole grain.
Autumn Apple Crisp (vegan)
- 4 heaping C sliced, peeled apples *use Gala, Macoun, or another variety that is firm and tart
- 1 tsp brown sugar plus 1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 C spelt flour *use whole wheat flour if you can’t find spelt flour
- 1 C old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/8 C chia seeds
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 1/3 C coconut oil
- 1/3 C non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
TIP: You will need 6-8 apples to produce 4 heaping cups of thin apple slices. Use an old-fashioned, hand-crank apple peeler/corer/slicer to make quick work of it.
- preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
- combine the apple slices with 1 tsp brown sugar and the lemon juice in the bottom of a 9×12 glass baking dish
- in a large bowl, mix together the rest of the brown sugar with all the dry ingredients
- add the coconut oil and margarine to the dry ingredients and mix it all together with your hands until it is completely combined and forms large crumbs
- spread the crumbly mixture all over the top of the apples in one thick layer
- bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees
Can be served warm or cold. My favorite way to enjoy it is warm with a scoop of non-diary vanilla ice cream.
Confession: I hate beets. To me they taste slightly sweet, somewhat slimy and very earthy. And by “earthy” I mean dirt-like. I do appreciate the nutritional value of the beetroot and I admire its beauty. It’s the taste and texture I can’t get past. For these reasons, I’ve been on a mission to come up with ways to consume, but not taste, beets.
We can all have a good laugh at my attempt at Candy Cane Beet Sundaes. That was a mess. But as promised, I have come up with a winner. Chocolate Beet Muffins probably sound a little strange but I swear they taste great.
Using the recipe analyzer at caloriecount.com, I found out that each one of these muffins provides a whopping 17% of your daily fiber recommendation and 9% of your daily iron (based on a 2000 calorie diet). Yay beets!
Chocolate Beet Muffins
- 4 medium-small beets
- 1/2 C dried, pitted dates
- 1 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 C raw sugar
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 4 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 C vegetable oil
- 1/2 C non-dairy milk – unsweetened (I used coconut milk)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 C chopped walnuts
- 3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (Trader Joe’s brand happens to be vegan)
- in a 350 degree oven, roast the beets (wrap whole, washed beets in tinfoil) until tender, about 1 hour
- once beets are cooled, peel and add to food processor
- add dates to food processor and process until mixture is completely smooth – you will have to scrape down the sides several times
- in a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and use a whisk to get rid of any clumps
- add the wet ingredients, including the beet and date puree and stir until combined
- fold the walnuts and chocolate chips into the batter
- line a 12-muffin pan with wrappers and spray each one with a little PAM
- divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin wrappers
- bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until a tooth pick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean
I’m really proud of this recipe. I’ve served these delicious lime bars to vegans, non-vegans, and people who don’t even know what “vegan” means. Everybody loves them. I’ve secretly smiled to myself as people who would never dream of eating tofu scarf down second and third bars. Healthy they are, but sinful they taste.
My first few batches were a bit anemic looking, so I started brainstorming ways to brighten up their color. Synthetic food coloring wouldn’t do…the chemicals in those dyes have been linked to too many scary health problems. It would have to be something natural.
When I saw the bright green dinosaur kale in our farm share this week I knew I had to try it. And that’s the secret ingredient in my vegan lime bars. Kale juice. It adds no detectable flavor to the scrumptious confections but it both brightens up the color and amps up the health factor. I imagine spinach juice would work well too.
Of course, moderation is key (couldn’t cut out the sugar or the calories), but sans butter, egg yolks and white flour, you can feel a little better about indulging in these vibrant tasting bars. The antioxidant boosting shot of kale juice is an added bonus!
These bars are dense and rich, so you can cut them pretty small – 2 inch squares should do it.
Secret Vegan Lime Bars
makes 16 small bars
1/2 C coconut oil (in solid or liquid state)
1/4 C raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 spelt flour
1/2 C nigari tofu (from Trader Joe’s in the antiseptic package) or silken tofu
3/4 C raw sugar
2 T lime zest
1/4 C fresh lime juice
1 tsp fresh kale juice
1/2 tsp agar powder (not flakes)
- preheat oven to 350 degrees
- spray an 8×8 glass baking dish with PAM. Line with parchment paper and then spray the parchment with PAM. Set aside.
- in a large bowl, stir together the crust ingredients. Mixture will be dry and crumbly but should hold together when squeezed.
- using your fingers, press the crust into the lined baking dish. Bake crust for 20 minutes.
- to extract the kale juice, you can use a juicer or you can pulverize the kale leaves in a food processor and then squeeze out the juice through a fine mesh sieve. (see photo above) Make sure to save the pulp – you can add it to pesto or use it in baking for extra nutrients and fiber.
- remove the excess liquid from the tofu by pressing it with your fingers into a paper towel lined sieve.
- in a food processor, blend all the filling ingredients together until smooth.
- pour the filling into the baked crust. Put it back in the oven for about 25 minutes. Bars are done when bubbly and just beginning to brown around the edges.
- allow the bars to cool FULLY before trying to cut them. They will not set until they have fully cooled. You can place them in the refrigerator or freezer to speed up the process.
- Once bars are completely cool, the filling should be firm and gel-like. Grasping the parchment paper, lift the whole slab out of the pan and set on a cutting board. Remove the parchment (it may be stuck at the corners). Using a large knife, cut into squares.