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!

Asian Peanut Noodles (vegan and gluten-free)

Asian Peanut NoodlesBy Tiffany Wu–  Makes 4-6 Servings
Growing up, my mom always used to make her delicious peanut butter noodles when the weather got warmer. The creamy peanut sauce combined with crisp veggies always made for a satisfying meal. This dish reminds me of my childhood and is so simple and easy to make.

Bragg’s liquid aminos are a natural alternative to soy sauce and is gluten free with no added preservatives. If you’ve never tried liquid aminos before, I recommend trying them in this recipe. To give the noodles an additional protein boost, I added in some shelled edamame from Friendly City that is non-gmo and grown in the US.

 

Sauce Ingredients:

3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
2 tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tsp. salt
1 cup Water

Other Ingredients:

16 oz Brown Rice Spaghetti
1 ½ cups shredded Cucumber
¾ cup shredded Carrots
1 cup Fresh Spinach
¾ cup frozen, shelled Edamame, thawed

 

Directions:

  1. Place all sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a spoon until combined. The sauce consistency should be slightly thick. Set aside
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add in your brown rice spaghetti
  3. While the pasta is boiling, shred your cucumber and carrots
  4. When the pasta is done, combine all ingredients and make sure to coat the pasta and veggies evenly with sauce

 

 

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.

Peach and Kale Salad

IMG_4757Peaches are absolutely lovely fruits. As a child, I was always a little weirded out by the fuzzy skin, but the sweet juiciness of ripe peaches always persuaded me to nibble on them. Peaches are ripened by the heat of the sun, and their peak season is now. Friendly City has several crates waiting to meet you in the produce section. Peach cobbler with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or peach preserves over a slice of toast are delicious ways to enjoy peaches. In the hot summertime, nothing is as irresistible as a ripe peach!

For that reason, I am so happy to share this awesome recipe! My mom made a delicious Peach-Kale Salad for our family, and I must give her all the credit for such a brilliant idea. (Moms rock, right?) We all loved it, and I attribute that to the sweetness of the ripe peaches.

Ingredients
2 bunches kale
2 large peaches, sliced
¼ cup nuts, chopped

for vinaigrette
¼ c. olive oil
¼ c. apple cider vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
2 T. honey
1 lemon, juiced
1 T. ground Dijon mustard

First, prepare the vinaigrette by mixing the ingredients in a small bowl. Wisk lightly or mix gently with a spoon. Second, slice peaches thinly for arrangement. It is best to prepare the vinaigrette and peaches before cooking the kale because the greens will cook very quickly. Next, pick the kale leaves from the stems. Heat a large sauté pan with olive oil, enough to cover most of the pan surface. Add kale leaves to the pan on medium heat. Stir and flip the kale as it cooks. After about 2 minutes, the kale will be slightly wilted. This is the perfect for your salad! Place the wilted kale in a large serving bowl, and toss with the chopped nuts. The nuts give the salad a good crunch. I chose sliced almonds, but I believe that other nuts would taste great too. Add as much vinaigrette you like to your salad. I pour a few tablespoons overtop of the kale, and save the rest for other dishes and salads later in the week. The dressing goes great over raw salads, couscous, quinoa, and roasted veggies. Lastly, arrange the peaches over the kale. The final dish will be beautifully bright and so tasty.

Best of luck! I hope that you enjoy this wonderful summer salad!

 

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!

Bruschetta

IMG_4719Bruschetta is a light diced tomato topping served over cuts of bread grilled with olive oil, salt, and black pepper. This signature Italian appetizer combines a variety of authentic flavors that are absolutely heavenly. With a prep time of less than 20 minutes, preparing your own Bruschetta may be the easiest way to impress family and friends with a delicious and nutritious appetizer.

Bruschetta is the perfect way to serve up the fresh tomatoes available now at the Co-op, or in your home garden. Tomatoes are in peak season and the colorful varieties of heirloom tomatoes make for a bright and beautiful presentation. I picked up three large heirloom tomatoes that were crimson, yellow, and bright red.

Bruschetta recipes may vary in flavor profiles, however this recipe highlights the tomatoes with fresh basil and parsley. A crisp baguette is the perfect complementary vehicle for the delicious Bruschetta!

Ingredients

1 French Baguette
2 tbsps. Olive oil
2 t. Black Pepper
1 t. Salt
1/4 c. fresh parsley
1/4 c. fresh basil
2 lbs. fresh heirloom tomatoes, diced
4 oz. goat cheese, mozzarella, or your choice

IMG_4722Cut baguette into 3/4″ wide slices. Arrange on a cookie sheet, and baste with olive oil. Top each bread slice with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Broil the bread until slightly toasted or golden, approximately 2-3 minutes.

Finely dice tomatoes, and add to a large bowl. Chop fresh parsley and basil. Combine herbs with tomatoes and toss with olive oil, black pepper, and salt. Stir mixture to combine the flavorings.

To the toasted baguettes, add a layer of cheese. I chose goat cheese and mozzarella as the middle layer between the bread and bruschetta; both were delicious! Top each baguette with a spoonful of your bruschetta. Pop in the oven for about 30 seconds to melt up the cheese.

Serve this Bruschetta as an appetizer, snack, side dish, or a vegetarian entrée. My family and I enjoyed our Bruschetta outdoors, with a bottle of red wine – a relaxing way to enjoy the summer.

Happy cooking!

 

By Madeleine Wirth / Guest Blogger

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.

Blueberry Coconut Muffins

By Tiffany Wu – Makes 12 muffins

Friendly City Muffins Post-Oven 3These blueberry coconut muffins take full advantage of blueberry season and are bursting with flavor. The shredded coconut complements the blueberries nicely and adds a tropical twist to the muffins. In place of eggs, I used ground flax seed dissolved in hot water. The flax seed and water mixture is commonly used in vegan baking and binds the muffin batter nicely. I also made my own flour by blending oats on high speed for 30 seconds. You could easily make this recipe gluten free by using gluten free oats.

 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. ground flax seed dissolved in 5 tbsp. hot water

½ cup almond milk

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

1 cup applesauce

2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 ½ cups oat flour

½ cup shredded coconut, plus more for topping

1 ¼ cup blueberries (can use fresh or frozen)

Coconut Oil Spray

Friendly City Muffin Batter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place ground flax seed into a small bowl and mix with 5 tbsp. hot water.

Mixture should thicken after 5-10 minutes and have a gel like consistency.

  1. Blend oats in a blender until they turn into flour.
  2. Add melted coconut oil to a large bowl. Next, add in applesauce, brown sugar, and flax seed mixture. Mix thoroughly to combine all ingredients. Next, add oat flour, baking soda, shredded coconut, and almond milk and mix all ingredients together.
  3. Gently fold blueberries into the muffin batter.
  4. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners and spray each liner with a touch of coconut oil. Divide batter between the twelve muffin liners. Top each muffin with a bit more shredded coconut. Bake for 20-24 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  5. Once muffins are done baking, let them cool for 15 minutes before enjoying!

 

 

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.