Vegan Chocolate Pie

choc-pieThis recipe features a vegan chocolate pie! How exactly is a vegan pie possible, you may wonder? Are butter and eggs necessary?

In this no-bake pie, they are not. Sugar, chocolate, and tofu hold up the thick creamy texture. Silken tofu is used in many vegan-based recipes such as creamy soups, dips, cakes, and muffins. In this recipe, the high water and protein content allows the chocolate filling to retain its structure and rich taste.

Tofu is an excellent nutrient-dense food. Tofu is an awesome source of complete plant-protein, calcium, omega-3 fats, iron, manganese, and other minerals. Many people avoid tofu because they have not been exposed to it. However, incorporating a nutritious food into a decadent dessert is a win for vegans and non-vegans alike!

Whether you are looking for a new vegan dessert recipe or are willing to use tofu in your next baking adventure, this is a delicious pie you have to make!

This recipe is so simple, all the taste in no time. Try it out this Thanksgiving.

Ingredients (1 pie)

9” graham cracker or regular pie crust, purchased or baked according to recipe
12 oz. cacao nibs
1 lb. silken tofu
1 c. sugar
½ tsp. cayenne
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
Optional: shaved chocolate, sliced strawberries

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add sugar, and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add the sugar mixture along with all other ingredients to a blender. Blend until very smooth using a spatula to scrape the sides down.
  3. Pour pudding into cooled crust. Chill until firm at least 3 hours. Garnish with fresh fruit or chocolate bits.

Happy cooking!

 

Madeleine Wirth

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg.

 

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins (Vegan)

img_7430By Tiffany Wu – Makes 12 muffins
These pumpkin cornbread muffins are savory, sweet, and perfect for fall. The earthy flavors of pumpkin and cornmeal compliment each other nicely and put a new spin on this classic dish. Friendly City Food Coop carries local yellow cornmeal in their bulk bin section, which gives the muffins rich corn flavor and a pleasant chewy texture. I made my own mashed pumpkin by slicing a pie pumpkin I picked up from the Coop into 8 pieces and roasting it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. When it was done roasting I removed the pumpkin flesh from the skin and mashed it in a bowl with a fork. These muffins are so delicious when eaten warm with a little vegan butter spread on top!

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. ground flax mixed with 1/3 cup hot waterfullsizerender-11
1 cup pumpkin, mashed
1 cup unsweetened soymilk, warmed
1/3 cup agave
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 ¼ cups yellow cornmeal
¾ cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Mix ground flax seed and water mixture, mashed pumpkin, warmed soymilk, agave nectar, and melted coconut oil in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Next, add in cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well.
  4. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners and grease each muffin tin with a touch of coconut oil. Fill each muffin tin with batter until almost full.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Enjoy!

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

 

 

Roasted Romanesco

222Imagine a lime-green head of broccoli with mesmerizing spiral florets. The odd-looking vegetable you are thinking of is called Romanesco!

This exotic vegetable belongs to the same cruciferous vegetable family as broccoli and cauliflower. Nevertheless, when I spotted it in the produce section of Friendly City, I could not stop staring at it. The vegetable truly looks like it was left behind after an alien invasion!

Little did I know, Romanesco is just as nutrient-dense and delicious as it is aesthetically appealing. The vegetable is high in important vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, Vitamin K, fiber, and folate. You may be surprised to know that Romanesco has about 4 grams of protein per 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of florets.

You can eat chopped Romanesco florets raw with your favorite yogurt dip or hummus. The intriguing spiral shapes of the florets are a beautiful addition to any vegetable platter. You can also steam and season them as I do in this recipe. I tried roasting Romanesco with fresh thyme. Thyme has a dry aroma and an earthy, savory flavor. It complements root vegetables like beets and potatoes well. I knew it would taste equally as wonderful with a similarly starchy vegetable like Romanesco broccoli

Ingredients
2 T. olive oil
1 head Romanesco, cut (Romanesco can be cut in the same way as broccoli)
2 T. fresh thyme
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 T. Parmesan (grated) or nutritional yeast

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the head of Romanesco in half. Using a paring knife, cut the florets from the stem. Transfer the spiral florets to a sheet pan.

Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Strip thyme leaves and sprinkle about 1 ½ T. of thyme leaves over the florets. I placed the used lemon sliced on the sheet pan as well; the heat will release more lemon flavor during cooking.

Roast for about 20 minutes or until crisp. When the florets are done, sprinkle a bit of parmesan or nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor!

Romanesco may be the most unusual looking vegetable you’ve ever seen. Try it and experiment with this recipe.

Happy cooking!

 

Madeleine Wirth
Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg.

Butternut Squash Fries

img_5839Autumn is a beautiful time of year, and cooking inspiration in the fall absolutely finds itself deriving from pumpkins, gourds, and squashes.

I love this recipe because it is an easy way to cook up a butternut squash. Maybe you were planning on making butternut squash soup, but never got around to doing it? Well, this recipe is for you!

In under 15 minutes, you can have these sweet butternut squash fries in the oven. Butternut squash fries taste a lot like sweet potato fries. However, the squash has a lower carbohydrate content while still rich in many of the same vitamins like vitamin A, manganese, potassium, and vitamin C. Whether you choose to use sweet potatoes or butternut squash in this recipe, the result will be delicious.

Serve this as a yummy appetizer or snack.

 

Ingredients

1 butternut squash
2 T. olive oil
3 pinches of coarse sea salt
2 T. honey
2 tsp. cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Cut butternut squash in half horizontally to separate the neck from the spherical bottom. Cut the bottom in half again down the middle.
3. Using a paring knife or sharp peeler, skin the squash.
4. Cut the neck-half of the squash horizontally into thick round slices.
5. Using a crinkle cutter, chop the thick round slices into fry shaped rectangles. Cut the round bottom half into strips with the crinkle cutter. Shape however you would like.
6. Pour olive oil on a baking sheet, and toss the squash fries on the baking sheet until lightly coated. Sprinkle a few pinches of sea salt over the squash.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping the fries halfway through baking.
8. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.

I hope you enjoy making this recipe at home. Happy cooking!

 

Madeleine Wirth

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg.

 

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan)

img_7460Makes 24 cookies
These fall inspired sweet potato chocolate chip cookies are super scrumptious and easy to make. The addition of sweet potatoes gives the cookies a decadent, fudgy texture and also makes the cookies moist and chewy. I used Bob’s Red Mill Spelt flour, which is 100% whole grain and a good source of fiber. Spelt is related to wheat and has a unique nutty flavor that compliments the sweet potato nicely. If you have not baked with spelt flour before, I encourage you to try it out in this recipe. One of my favorite aspects of Friendly City Food Coop is their wonderful bulk bin section. The bulk bin offerings are so diverse and I was delighted to find Fair Trade Chocolate Chips in one of the bins. These Fair Trade Chocolate Chips give the cookies rich chocolate flavor in every bite and will leave you reaching for another!

Ingredients:
2 cups sweet potatoes, mashed
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups spelt flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Dash of Salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, mix together mashed sweet potato, brown sugar, melted coconut oil, and cinnamon until well combined. Next, add in flour, baking powder, and baking soda and mix until all ingredients are combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Lightly grease two baking sheets lined with coconut oil. Form cookie dough balls with hands that measure roughly two tablespoons each (the size of a ping pong ball). Place cookie dough balls on baking sheets and lightly press down to flatten the cookie dough. Bake for 14 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

 

Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger
Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

 

Vegan Mac and “Cheese”

img_5784“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

It’s a popular saying, and many people feel this way about the idea of vegan “cheese”. Cheese is perfect the way it is, right? Why should we cook up a substitute for cheese? How could a vegan cheese substitute ever compare to the real thing?

Well, don’t get me wrong; cheese is awesome. But so is vegan “cheese”!

Admittedly, I was also very skeptical that vegan “cheese” could be tasty. Now, I am a total fan of the thick, flavorful, and nutritious sauce. In fact, I fully believe that anyone who has yet to try it is missing out.

Vegan “cheese” is full of whole ingredients and naturally transforms macaroni and cheese into a nutrient-dense meal. Comparatively, other macaroni and cheese recipes made using cream, butter, and cheese are high in saturated fat and calories and low in vitamins. The difference is due to the use of nutritional yeast instead of the fatty dairy ingredients. Nutritional yeast is a flaky deactivated yeast made from sugar cane and beet molasses. It is full of protein and fiber and rich in vitamins like riboflavin, folate, and zinc. One of the biggest health benefits of nutritional yeast is that it is high in B12 which is a vitamin that many people are deficient in.

Nutritional yeast has a nutty, cheesy, and savory flavor. It tastes amazing sprinkled over roasted vegetables, salads, soups, stews, popcorn, scrambled eggs or tofu, and even on bread. It adds a phenomenal dimension to many different foods. In this recipe, nutritional yeast gives the sauce a cheesy taste while complementing the flavors of curry and cumin. You can find nutritional yeast in the bulk foods section of Friendly City.


Ingredients

1 16 oz. package of macaroni (or whatever pasta you’d like)
1 ½ c. carrots, chopped (about 2 large carrots)
½ c. sweet onion, chopped (approx. 1 med onion)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled & chopped
¾ c. cashews, chopped
¼ c. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. curry powder
garnish: pinch of paprika & parsley

  1. Chop sweet potato, sweet onion, and carrots. Add to 2 cups of boiling water in a pot. Cook until tender or about 10 minutes. Do not drain the veggies.
  2. Transfer soft veggies & liquid to a blender and pulse until smooth.
  3. Add chopped cashews, nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, vinegar, and spices. Pulse and swipe the sides with a spatula. Continue pulsing and swiping the walls of the blender until the sauce is smooth.
  4. Add water as needed if the sauce is too thick. I added about ¼ cup of water to the blender.
  5. Cook pasta, and mix with the “cheese” sauce. Serve with paprika & parsley as garnish.

May this recipe set aside skepticism of vegan “cheese” and showcase the surprises of nutritional yeast.

Happy cooking!

 

Madeleine Wirth
Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutrition ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg.

Cannellini Beans with Lemony Kale

Both kale and cannellini beans are highly nutrient dense foods. This dish is high in fiber, healthy fats, protein, and micronutrients that will fill your body with energy. I particularly appreciate how well the kale and cannellini beans absorb flavor. Red pepper flakes, garlic, and the reliable salt-and-pepper combo work flavorful wonders in this recipe. Take note of the addition of lemon juice and zest as well. Adding a bit of vitamin C to dark, leafy greens allows the plant-sourced iron of greens like kale to be readily absorbed by your body. The ingredients for this recipe are available at Friendly City Food Co-op.

Ingredients
1 bunch curly kale
15 oz. cannellini beans
½ medium lemon, juice & zest
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 T. olive oil
¼ c. parmesan cheese, grated

Strip kale from the stems, and set aside in a large bowl. Heat olive oil over high heat in a large sauce pan. Sauté minced garlic and red pepper for 2 minutes. Add kale and lemon juice. Stir until mostly wilted, then add the cannellini beans. Allow the beans to warm and absorb flavor for about a minute or two. Serve warm topped with grated parmesan.

Happy Cooking!

 

Madeleine Wirth
Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg!

Chickpea Dill Salad

IMG_5519Chickpeas are a fabulous legume used in all sorts of recipes. Used in vegetarian burgers, soups, dips, and salads, chickpeas could win an award for their versatility and nutrients. Chickpeas are high in fiber and a great source of plant-based protein. Incorporating fiber and protein-rich foods like chickpeas into your diet is a great way to give your body the nutrients it needs. Your body will feel the difference.

This chickpea-dill salad recipe is awesome because it is a more affordable and nutritious version of chicken salad. Substituting plant-based proteins like beans for animal proteins like chicken, is a great way to lower the cost without altering the nutrition. Fresh cucumber, onion, and dill give a cool refreshment to every bite.

The combination of lemon-dill dressing with cucumber and chickpeas mixes for a really special salad recipe.

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas (15oz.)
1 large cucumber, diced
¼ c. fresh dill, chopped
½ small red onion, diced

Lemon-Dill Dressing
¼ c. tahini
¼ c. water
1 tsp. black pepper
¼ c. fresh dill
2 tbsps. parsley
½ lemon, squeezed & zested (OR about 2.5 tbsps. of lemon juice)
2 large garlic cloves, minced (OR about 1.5 tbsp. garlic powder)
Pinch of salt and crushed red pepper

Combine chickpeas, diced cucumber, diced onion, and fresh dill in a large bowl. In a large food processor blend the dressing ingredients until smooth and saucy. Taste as you add ingredients, and add more of what you think the dressing needs. I liked the flavors of extra lemon and dill in this dressing. Add the lemon-dill dressing from the food processor to the chickpea mixture, and stir to combine with a large spoon.

I found that this chickpea salad is amazing stuffed in pita pockets with freshly diced tomatoes. It tastes great served in lettuce wraps too.

Happy Cooking!

 

Madeleine Wirth

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg

Chocolate Smoothie Bowl (Vegan)

Chocolate Smoothie BowlBy Tiffany Wu– Makes 1 Serving
On a hot summer day, this rich and creamy chocolate smoothie bowl is the perfect treat to cool down with. With only three wholesome ingredients, you can enjoy this smoothie for a healthy breakfast, snack, or dessert. I have found that using frozen bananas is the key to achieving a smooth and creamy ice cream like consistency. Cacao powder transforms this smoothie into a chocolate lover’s dream and unlike cocoa powder; cacao powder has been treated with low heat so most of its nutrients remain intact. One quarter cup of Cacao powder is loaded with magnesium, iron, antioxidants, 4 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.

Ingredients:

3 frozen Bananas
¼ cup Cacao Powder
½ cup Almond Milk

Toppings (Optional):

Granola
Cereal
Sliced Bananas
Sliced Strawberries

Directions:

  1. Place cacao powder, frozen bananas, and almond milk in a blender and blend until you get a thick smoothie consistency. Depending on how strong your blender is, you may need to add more almond milk to achieve the desired consistency.
  2. Transfer chocolate smoothie mixture into a bowl and place your favorite toppings on top.

 

By Tiffany Wu / Guest Blogger

Tiffany is a student at JMU, majoring in dietetics. Her family owned a Chinese restaurant when she was growing up, so her passion for food and cooking began at an early age. She especially likes creating delicious and healthy plant-based recipes.

Veggie Pasta

IMG_5437.croppedWith garden surpluses and beautiful vegetable picks at the Food Co-op, produce is abundant in late summer. Veggie Pasta is a resourceful way to make a highly nutritious meal using some of the sweetest vegetables out there.

I picked up a few vegetables of different colors for this recipe: green zucchini, purple onion, and red, orange, and dark crimson tomatoes. Depending on what you have available in your refrigerator, this recipe can incorporate a combination of different veggies like yellow squash, green zucchini, green peas, or sweet peppers! With a few simple herbs and rich creamy cheese, this meal is high in vitamins, fiber, and protein.

Ingredients
1 cup parmesan, grated
5.3 oz. Basil & Olive Oil Asiago cheese, grated (available at the coop)
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 small purple onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 handful fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 T. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 T. red pepper flakes, crushed
2 T. olive oil
1 lb. whole wheat pasta (farfalle, penne or rotini)

Boil pasta for approx. 11 minutes or until al dente. In a large sauté pan, sauté zucchini for about 3 minutes before adding onion, basil, pepper, salt, and parsley. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Turn heat to low, and add diced tomatoes. Allow tomatoes to absorb flavor for about 2 minutes, then turn stove off. Avoid simmering the tomatoes too long (tomatoes will turn soupy if cooked too long). Add the vegetables to the pot of pasta, but avoid adding much tomato juice to the pasta. Toss pasta with grated cheese and red pepper flakes.

I love this recipe. I prepare a big bowl of it, and pack up for lunch during the week! This dish is also great for potluck parties.

Happy cooking!

 

Madeleine Wirth

Madeleine is a senior at James Madison University, studying to be a registered dietitian. She loves exploring recipes with fresh and nutritious ingredients. As a native to the Shenandoah Valley, she passionately supports the local food economy in Harrisonburg!