Herbed Spaetzle (GF, V) with Roasted Garlic and Beet Puree – Virtual Vegan Potluck 2013

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Winner of Best Side Dish at the November 2013 Virtual Vegan Potluck!

Welcome to your next side dish in this November’s Virtual Vegan Potluck! I am so excited about this potluck because I know I will gain such an abundant of new and delicious plant-based recipes for my upcoming holiday entertaining.

For the last potluck, I brought a Spring salad that contained a veggie that was fairly unique to many readers.  I am hoping, too, that this dish will elicit your curiousity, light fire to your taste buds and have you rushing like mad to your stove top.

However, I am betting you are already in your kitchen (or just crazy anxious to get there!) from reading all the previous potluck posts! (Grab a beverage and click here, if you need to go back to the beginning).

I am so excited about sharing this recipe with you! It’s been hard keeping it a secret for the past month.

Today, I am bringing to our table a savoury dish that is nutritious and satisfying, even for those carnivorous bellies. It was my Swiss and Austrian in-laws who first introduced me to this little noodle we call spaetzle.  It typically would be at our table on special occasions like New Year’s Eve and Thanksgiving. It’s such a treat that my husband and I served it our wedding reception nearly 17 years ago.

Traditionally, spaetzle consisted of flour, eggs, salt and water.  I enhanced the traditional recipe by not only eliminating the use of eggs, but by using a flour that is nutritionally superior to most.

For me, this recipe is another great example of how eliminating animal-based foods and gluten from your diet does not have you living without the dishes you so love.

Here is my side dish – an embellished, veganized and gluten-free version of the traditional “egg” noodle called spaetzle – topped with a roasted garlic and beet pureeHerbed Spaetzle

HERBED SPAETZLE

  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1/4 organic soft tofu
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum for corn free)
  • salt and pepper
  • filtered room temperature water (approximately 150 – 200 mL)
  • finely chopped chives or green onion and parsley

Dough: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend flax eggs with tofu. In a separate bowl, combine garlic powder, quinoa flakes, flours, tapioca starch, gums and salt and pepper.  Alternately, add water and dry ingredients (about a 1/2 cup at a time) to flax and tofu mixture. ***You will need a viscous dough, so adjust water accordingly. Mix slightly after each addition. Using a wooden spoon, mix in chopped herbs.  Let dough sit for 30 minutes or longer.

Now, this is where it really gets FUN! 🙂

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper.  Sit a colander in a large bowl and have it next to your pot of boiling water.

I prefer to use a spaetzle maker over a pot of boiling water to form the noodles. You can use a colander, but a spaetzle maker is so much easier and it really is an inexpensive kitchen gadget. (Great stocking stuffer, by the way!).

Using a soup ladle, scoop your viscous spaetzle dough in the “pot” of your spaetzle maker. Slowly, run the “pot” back and forth on the spaetzle maker’s track. The dough will drip down into the pot of boiling water and float to the top as spaetzle noodles. After a couple of minutes, scoop the spaetzle out of the pot with a slotted spoon and drain them in your colander. Once excess water has drained from the spaetzle, scatter them on your parchment lined cookie sheet.  Keep spaetzle in a low temperature oven, if planning to serve after all dough is cooked.

Spaetzle can be made a day or two in advance.  Once all noodles have been cooked, drained and brought to room temperature, they can be kept in glass containers in the fridge. To reheat spaetzle for serving, either drop noodles once again into a pot of boiling water then immediately scoop or fry in a non-stick frying pan. Spaetzle noodles are awesome fried with onions and garlic. 😉

Top plated spaetzle with warm beet puree and garnish with parsley.

ROASTED GARLIC AND BEET PUREE

  • 5 medium-sized beets, cooked and peeled(I used a pressure cooker)
  • 1 garlic head, roasted
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Bring beets and garlic to room temperature. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend well.

Thank you for joining our potluck! Enjoy the rest of your dishes!

Your next delicious side dish is brought to you by Lemongrass and Ginger.  Click here:

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If you missed the side dish from Robin Robertson’s Global Vegan Kitchen, then go back here:

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Banana-Chai, Chia and Sesame Seed Crackers

I am so excited to share these raw, vegan and gluten-free snacks with you! If you are like me and love a good cup of Chai tea on a chilly November morning, then you will love these slightly sweet and spicy crackers.

banana-chai crackers

BANANA-CHAI, CHIA AND SESAME SEED CRACKERS

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or agave syrup (optional)*
  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds, soaked for 4 hours and rinsed
  • sea salt and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper

Using a food processor, blend bananas, spices and syrup. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and add chia seeds, sesame seeds and salt and pepper. Mix well. Pour batter evenly on Paraflexx lined dehydrator trays. Set dehydrator to 112 degrees Celsius and dehydrate for approximately 12 hours.

I served these crackers to my kids this morning for breakfast.  You may want to try pairing a few with a pear and almond smoothie.  🙂

*If you have been following me for some time, you’ll know that I have a tendency to sweeten some of my dishes with pure maple syrup. Maple syrup is one of my choice sweeteners because it is full of vitamins and minerals. I also adore its distinct flavour. I live in the heart of Ontario’s Maple Sugar Capital, so I am very fortunate to have this heavenly sweetener at my fingertips.

However, if you are at all concerned with using maple syrup because of its high glycemic index then you can certainly leave it out. My previous attempts at these crackers did not contain maple syrup or any other sweetener. They were good, but I found that maple syrup highlighted the chai flavour of these crackers perfectly.

Easy Tex-Mex Brown Rice Salad

Planning your meals for the upcoming work week?  This dish is an easy and delicious make-ahead salad to take to school, work or any potluck gathering.

Easy Tex-Mex Brown Rice Salad

  • 3 cups cooked brown basmati rice
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil (omit for an oil-free dish)*
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 (14 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed (I use Eden beans)
  • good handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh organic corn kernels (frozen and thawed kernels work too)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • sea salt and tabasco sauce to taste

Place all of the above ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss to combine. Cover the salad and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Simple and so aromatic!

*More and more I am using less oil in my dishes and the outcome is just as delicious. If you are interested in reading more about olive oil and its use in recipes, I would like to direct you to a recent and excellent post by Paul at vegan food preparation.

An Awesome Allergy-Free Cookbook Giveaway

As we head into what is going to be a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend, I would like to offer all my readers a chance to win one of my favourite gluten-free and vegan cookbooks!  If you, or someone you know, suffers from food sensitivities or food allergies or you just love wholesome and mouth-watering treats then you absolutely need this cookbook.

The Allergen-Free Cookbook

Laurie Sadowski, The Allergy-Free Cook, has created recipes for the most decadent and delicious baked goods.  In The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies, you will find easy to follow recipes for sweet treats that are free of dairy, egg, gluten, nightshades, soy, sulfites and wheat.  Many of her other recipes, like Maple-Cinnamon Biscotti, are also free of legumes, nuts, peanuts, seeds and yeast.

As mentioned in a past post, Laurie’s recipes contain gluten-free flours that are nutritionally superior not only to wheat flours, but to many commercial gluten-free flour blends.  For instance, the Wild Blueberry Brunch Cake (pictured above) contains sorghum, millet or quinoa, and tapioca flours.

“A number of suppliers sell packaged gluten-free flour blends, but I prefer to make my own for a few reasons. First, I like to try a variety of flour combinations in different baked goods. Second, most commercial blends contain a large proportion of rice flour and an excessive amount of starch, a combination that lacks nutrition. Third, commercial blends often contain gelatin or powdered milk, both of which are animal derived.” (Laurie Sadowski in “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies”)

Here is your chance to win a signed copy of The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies. 🙂

This is what you need to do:

  1. Share uberdish with a friend or family member and get them to either ‘like’ my Facebook page or subscribe to my blog by email. Both you and your friend or family member will be entered into the draw.
  2. Please leave a comment below letting me know you and your friend or family member (include their name) have entered this cookbook giveaway contest.

***This contest will end October 17 at midnight (Eastern Time). I will draw a name at random and announce the winner the following morning.

If you are wishing to add Laurie’s first book, The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread, to your collection then you can contact Laurie here.  She is willing to offer my readers a discount on both of her books.  Laurie will also provide my readers with a generous discount on her gluten-free consulting service. 🙂

I will end this post with photos of a couple of goodies made from The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread.  

It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada and I plan to make a Cocoa-Pumpkin Loaf (from the same cookbook) to take to our family cottage. It will make a nice treat for when we finish pulling up the docks, closing up the boat, and raking some leaves.

Good luck with the giveaway! I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

Roasted Tomato Soup

roasted tomato and red pepper soup

This delicious tomato soup was inspired by last week’s Harvest Moon and all the vine ripened tomatoes gathered from my mom’s generous vegetable garden.  In mid September, we had a couple of good frosts so I had a number of tomatoes just begging to be transformed into a delicious and comforting meal.

For us folks living in the northern hemisphere, the autumnal equinox (or beginning of Fall) arrived this past Sunday afternoon.  Feeling a “little under the weather” (the cold and flu season is now upon us), the girls and I said goodbye to the end of the summer in our comfy pjs and welcomed the Fall with a warm bowl of soup.

Originally, my intention was to add some coconut milk to the roasted veggies and broth, but instead I opted for hulled millet to make each bowl uber-nutritious and filling.  When cooked and blended, millet can be creamy in texture. This makes it one of the most versatile grains.

As well, hulled millet is packed with fiber, B vitamins, essential amino acids and protein (that’s right – protein!), but don’t get too bogged down with the nutrients in foods.  Adding any whole grains to your diet will assist your body in creating or maintaining a healthy environment.  When choosing and consuming foods, just remember “whole” and try to vary it up.

This is my Harvest Moon Soup. 🙂  Easy and so comforting.

ROASTED TOMATO SOUP

  • 4 very ripe medium-sized tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups vegan and gluten-free broth
  • 1/2 cup hulled millet, rinsed
  • sea salt and ground pepper
  • dried basil or parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut tomatoes, onion, and red pepper into wedges.  Toss cut veggies, including the unpeeled garlic (nothing like roasted garlic!), with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and ground pepper.

Roast veggies on a baking sheet for about 45 minutes until lightly browned and tender. Once roasted and a little cooled, squeeze garlic cloves to release the peel. Transfer roasted veggies and peeled garlic to a soup pot.  Add soup stock and hulled millet; bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium, add salt, pepper, and dried basil to taste.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes. If you want a creamier soup with little or no texture, simmer the soup longer (about 30-40 minutes) until the millet is very soft.

Using an immersion blender, blend together all the ingredients. You may also cool the soup and transfer to a food processor for blending.

Serve soup topped with diced basil or parsley.

Banana-Apple Oatmeal Energy Chews

banana-apple oatmeal energy chews_edited-1

A few weeks ago, my daughter was feverishly pouring through my cookbooks looking for a healthy “granola bar-like” snack that she could take to the skating rink for her long evening practices.  In the end, she bookmarked a recipe from Lindsay Nixon’s book, Everyday Happy Herbivore,  with a sticky that read “Mom, please make for me”.  The recipe was for “Oatmeal Chews” – a no added sugars or fat cookie that was easy-to-make and looked delicious.

In our house, this cookie has evolved over the past two or three weeks.  After the first batch, we quickly decided that this recipe absolutely had to be doubled to make 30 cookies.  Thirty cookies should take us right through to the end of the school/work week.  It should, but we have yet to make that one happen.

Next, we decided to add some additional ingredients.  Our recipe now includes chia seeds, grated nutmeg and a chopped McIntosh apple.  On Tuesday morning, I thought I was brilliant when I mixed in a chopped Vega Maca Chocolate Bar  prior to baking.  (On this particular day, chocolate was absolutely necessary for survival). 😉

These chews make a perfect snack prior to any workout. They are also great for those mornings when you find yourself on-the-run.

BANANA-APPLE OATMEAL ENERGY CHEWS

  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup soaked raisins (try soaking overnight)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1 chopped McIntosh apple
  • 1 chopped Vega Maca Chocolate Bar (optional)

Combine bananas, soaked raisins, applesauce, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a blender and puree until smooth.  Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.  Add chia seeds, oatmeal, apple and chocolate (if desired) and mix with a spoon until well combined.

Let batter rest for 5 minutes. Grease or line your cookie sheet and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Drop by large spoonfuls onto your cookie sheet and then flatten slightly with the back of your spoon or with your hands.

Bake for about 14 minutes.  Let stand on your cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a rack.

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We had a beautiful Wednesday morning this past week and I took full advantage of it.  I packed up some of our banana-apple oatmeal energy chews and took my kayak out on the Mississippi River here in Almonte.  It was so peaceful!  Not a soul on the river.  Just me, some blue heron, turtles, geese, and ducks.  I love this!

Ottawa’s Veg Fest, The Allergy-Free Cook and a Wild Blueberry Bundt Cake

The kids are back in school and I am one happy camper.  (But don’t tell them this).  As much as I love the kids being home and all of Summer’s fun-filled moments, I am now looking forward to getting back into some sort of routine.  Especially the routine of doing what I absolutely love – and that is writing about all the delicious gluten-free and plant-based dishes that have made the voyage across our dining room table and into our much appreciated tummies.

This particular post is well overdue.

Back in June, I had the pleasure of attending Ottawa’s 5th Annual Veg Fest (and its 1st Annual Yoga Fest) with my extremely veg-curious sister.  I absolutely love hanging out with this girl!  She nearly always makes me laugh – not when we were kids, though 😉 – and she is so enthusiastic about trying new things.

We were super excited about our Veg Fest weekend.  This event had an excellent line up of speakers including a showing of the 2011 documentary film “Forks Over Knives”.

There was one lecture that particularly sparked our interest.  It was a lecture by Canada’s own Laurie Sadowski.   After grabbing a couple of Simply Raw’s black bean wraps and a bottle of Flexi Lexi’s green lemonade, we made our way into St. Paul’s University Amphitheater for an extremely informative lecture on “Gluten-Free Vegan Baking”.

I immediately liked Laurie, otherwise known as “the allergy-free cook”,  from the moment she told us that she was in love with her Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  Naturally, I hung on everything this girl had to say.   Let’s just say that Laurie is a wealth of information and, quite frankly,  a walking encyclopedia on gluten-free flours.

I was quick to buy Laurie’s cookbooks shortly after her presentation.  It’s no wonder her books were flying off her display table!  Laurie uses nutritionally superior flours in all her recipes such as, millet, quinoa, sorghum, and teff flours.  These flours contain more fiber and protein than rice flour – a flour which is prevalent in so many commercial blends.

Knowing that I am a freak for cookbook authors and culinary celebrities, my sister snapped a picture of me with Laurie.  Here I am proudly holding autographed copies of her two books 🙂

Laurie Sadowski

Laurie’s recipes are all gluten-free and contain no dairy or eggs.  Her latest book “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies” (2013) is also soy-free.   Laurie uses minimally processed sweeteners in all her recipes.  One cookie that is absolutely loved in our house is her “Chocolate Chunk-Tahini Cookies”.  These cookies are sweetened with maple syrup – one of my personal favourites. 🙂

gluten-free chocolate chunk-tahini cookies

My sister was loving her role as photographer this particular fine day.  Here, I am standing all giddy-like with Natasha Kyssa (you may recall my raw food cleanse posts) and Flexi Lexi (we loved her green lemonade!).

Both my sister and I are looking forward to next year’s Veg Fest.  As far as I know, the date has not been released, but we have it “penciled in” from mid to late June.  We are also looking forward to Laurie Sadowski’s new cookbook, “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Pies and Desserts” which is expected to be released later this year.

I will end this post with a dessert that I made last month.  The recipe is from “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies”.   I made it as a bundt cake and it turned out perfectly delicious.  Let’s be honest –  it’s addictive.  Seriously.  Try stopping at one piece.  (My daughters and I are guilty of polishing off half of this cake, within minutes,  while standing in the kitchen watching it cool).  Thankfully, I remembered to take a photo before we dug in.

Wild Blueberry Bundt Cake

WILD BLUEBERRY (BUNDT) CAKE

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup unrefined sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned coconut milk (I used lite)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 cups fresh (or frozen) wild blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil bundt pan.

Put the flours, baking powder, lemon zest, xanthan gum and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a dry whisk until combined.

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer,  beat the sugar and coconut oil on medium speed until creamy and well combined. Add 1/4 cup of the coconut milk, the vanilla extract, and vinegar. Beat until combined.

With your mixer on low-speed, alternately add the flour mixture (in 3 additions) and the remaining coconut milk (in 2 additions).  Beat well after each addition.  Turn off the mixer and stir in the blueberries using a baking spoon.

Scrape the batter into your prepared pan using a rubber spatula.  Smooth the top with the spatula.  Bake in the center of your oven for 40 to 55 minutes*, until golden brown.

* If using fresh blueberries, check your cake with a toothpick after 40 minutes.  Frozen and very juicy berries will require a longer baking time.

Enjoy!