Salted Peanut Butter Cup Brownies (Brownie Mix Shortcut)

The same says it all: salty sweet rich and decadent brownies swirled with luscious peanut butter and topped with peanut butter cups and crunchy sea salt. These salted peanut butter cup brownie mix brownies are tastebud heaven.

I made these a few weeks ago for Vegan Bites (which airs Thursday evenings on @spoonuniveristy Instagram stories) and wasn’t planning to put them on the blog, but the response to the episode was so positive I decided despite only having mediocre phone pics they deserved a place on kbaked.com.

You’ve probably noticed based on the title of the post that these brownies are made with a box mix. Now you may be saying “that’s cheating” or that “true bakers never use mixes.” To which I say your opinion is fair, however, I’ve come to find times and places for box mixes and like to keep them on hand for such occasions. They’re especially nice when you need to whip something up and find your baking pantry bare.

Making a cake for a special occasion is not, in my opinion, the place for a mix, but these brownies definitely are. All you have to do to make these is grab a box of brownie mix, some peanut butter cups, sea salt, oil/vegan butter, and an egg substitute, and you’re on your way to peanut butter cup brownie mix magic in a matter of minutes.

Now let’s talk brownie mix. Some are better than others. Look for an ingredient list that contains things you’d add at home and doesn’t contain too many things you wouldn’t (like DATEM and mono- and do-triglycerides, etc). I like Trader Joe’s, Annie’s, and Cherrybrook Kitchen mixes. Also check the ingredient list for animal ingredients. You’ll find many are accidentally vegan, making your life a wee bit easier.

You’re going to cook the brownie mix according to the package with a few modifications, swapping animal products for non-animal products. While many mixes call for oil, should yours call for butter, simply swap in vegan butter (like Earthbalance).

Now on to the milk. Should your box’s recipe call for milk, simply add your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk. I would go for the unsweetened, since box mixes tend to be far sweet enough already.

Lastly, the egg. This is the trickiest to swap but you can handle it. For quick breads, cookies, and muffins, swapping each egg with 1/4 cup applesauce or a flax or chia egg works fabulously. If you don’t mind a subtle banana taste, 1/2 a small ripe mashed banana will also work. For brownies, replacing an egg with a chia or flax eggs or 1/4 cup puréed silken tofu or canned pumpkin will do the trick. Cakes are a bit trickier and sometimes with delicate crumb, aquafaba is best, but know that chia and flax eggs will do just fine.

To make a chia or flax egg, simply combine 1 tablespoon flax or chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl and allow to thicken for at least 10 minutes. Fabulous.

Now back to brownies: despite this long and winding post these truly couldn’t be easier. Make the brownies according to the mix instructions with swaps mentioned above, swirl in 1/4 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter, and bake according to time listed on the package.

When there’s a minute or two left in the bake time, chop up vegan peanut butter cups (like Justin’s dark chocolate) and when you pull the brownies out of the oven to cool, sprinkle the cups over the top of the hot brownies. You’ll notice the cups will start to melt slightly; this is perfect. Sprinkle with flakey sea salt to finish, allow to cool, and enjoy, preferably crumbled atop your favorite non-dairy ice cream (I’m partial to Van Leeuwen or So Delicious Cashew Milk – particularly their Caramel Cashew Cluster ice cream myself).

I hope you make these or that this recipe has inspired you to use that box of brownie mix in your pantry that has been sitting there lonely for months.

Salted Peanut Butter Cup Brownies (Brownie Mix Shortcut)

Level: Easy
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 20-30 minutes
serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 box egg and dairy free brownie mix (just check labels, many brands are vegan)
  • oil / water that the mix calls for -1/4 cup apple sauce, silken tofu, mashed sweet potato or 1 tablespoon chia + 2 tablespoons water per egg called for on box.
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (optional)
  • 10-12 nondairy peanut butter cups (optional, I like Justin’s dark chocolate)
  • 1-2 tablespoons flakey sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven and prepare mix per box instructions, subbing your egg replacement for eggs.
  2. Pour into well-greased pan.
  3. Swirl in peanut butter evenly throughout batter.
  4. Bake per time called for on box.
  5. Remove from oven. Immediately too with sea salt + chopped pb cups.
  6. Enjoy! 🤗

Re-Sharing my Most Popular Recipe: Vegan Blueberry Flax Breakfast Muffins

Happy December 1st to you! And, happy Friday. Can you believe it’s December already? I feel like this year was an insane whirlwind and I cannot believe 2018 is around the corner.

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs this year. A lot of pain, growth, and struggle. But I’ve also seen a lot of kindness come out of friends old and new, and for that I am insanely thankful.

As I try to revive my blog after neglecting it time and time again, I thought I’d re-share a recipe that continues to be a top source of traffic to my site.

Behold, an old delicious favorite: vegan blueberry flax breakfast muffins.

These muffins are originally from my ebook, 40 Easy Vegan Desserts, and were published on the blog in March 2015. In case you weren’t following way back when, I thought I’d repost them because they are a true delight and make a wonderfully nourishing breakfast, snack, or dessert. I fancy them warmed up with a smudge of almond butter, or dunked in almond milk.

I hope you enjoy these! Bake a batch while watching Great British Bake Off (season 4 is now on Netflix!) and enjoy life. 🙂

Have a great weekend! I’ll be finally whipping out the DSLR and doing some new recipe development AND have a product review planned this weekend. Stay #blessed

Vegan Blueberry Flax Breakfast Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 25-35 minutes
Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oat flour (can make with 2 cups rolled oats processed in a food processor or blender until fine powder forms)
    • Note: I also made these with 1 cup oat flour and 1 cup spelt flour. This was also wonderful!
  • 1/4 cup ground flax (can sub chia seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (can sub canola)
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar, left to sit for at least 10 minutes
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce or 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup brown sugar (depending on level of desired sweetness); can also sup 1/3rd-1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In a cup or bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar and allow to curdle, at least 10 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix together well.

4. Add apple sauce, melted coconut oil, sugar and/or maple syrup, almond milk + vinegar mixture to bowl with flour. Mix gently until just combined. Fold in blueberries.

5. Grease or line a 12-tin muffin tray. Fill each spot about 3/4ths of the way full with muffin batter. Place into the oven for 25-35 minutes until puffed, golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean upon removal. Allow to cool (or don’t) and enjoy. Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 4 days, and/or freeze.

Quick and Easy Vegan Fruit Crisp

Yummy yummy yummy I have Fruit Crisp in my tummy!


….apparently I’m 5 years old. Anyways I thought I’d share the recipe for this easy vegan Fruit Crisp that I made on Vegan Bites this week, because it’s so incredibly simple. I usually eyeball these crisps because I’m lazy and because they are quite forgiving, but below you’ll find a general guideline for making your very own Fruit Crisp.

peach
This recipe serves 2. You can easily double, triple, or quadrupole it, depending on how many people you’re feeding or how hungry you are.

I used peaches, but you can use whatever tickles your pickle or whatever fruit happens to be spoiling around your house. Frozen fruit works well, too.

I suggest using almond or oat flour. This makes it gluten-free if you care and delicious regardless of if you care. If you don’t have these flours, you can use all purpose.

This tastes amaze with non-dairy or ice cream or whipped cream. DO IT.

Enjoy!

Easy Vegan Fruit Crisp

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes, but need at least 1 hour to freeze
Servings: 2, easily doubled

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fruit (I used peaches today, frozen berries are also fab)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar -1/2 tablespoon lemon juice -3/4 cup oats -1/4 cup flour (I recommend almond or oat, AP is fine too)
  • 1/4 cup brown or coconut sugar (regular will also be okay)
  • 1/4 cup softened non-dairy butter
  • cinnamon
  • dash salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Chop fruit into even pieces, add lemon juice, sugar, and toss. Place in well-greased baking pan.
  3. Combine oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Mix. Cube softened butter and mix in.
  4. Cover fruit with oat mixture and bake for 30-45 minutes until fruit is tender and top is crispy.
  5. Serve with non-dairy ice cream or coconut whipped cream!

Vegan Watermelon Feta Balsamic Salad With Tofu Feta + Mint

Watermelon goes surprisingly well in salads. I still remember the first time I had watermelon in a lettuce salad. It was at LPQ right when I moved to NYC to start at NYU. It was served with arugula + feta + mint and seriously good balsamic.

watermelon_feta_arugula_salad_vegan_kbaked

My mom and I adored this meal. To us, the flavor combo was new. Now, you see this stuff all over. But at the time, it seemed like a fun, wild treat to us. Something I totally would have Insta’d. But that was an age where people didn’t Insta their food. Strange to think about, I know.

Vegan_arugula_salad_watermelon_feta

Anyways, when watermelon is in season, I have thrown it into salads ever since that day. I love it.

Now I’m plant-based mostly, and rarely have feta around. Even when I wasn’t plant-based, I rarely bought cheese because it was rare I’d use cheese for more than just a garnish. I was never a huge cheese eater.

arugula

But it adds such a nice a lovely saltiness and a bit of staying power to the salad. So here we are. I used this homemade tofu feta, but you can totally use conventional feta or purchase a plant-based feta at the store.

Arugula provides a nice peppery green, but you can also use baby kale or whatever green you want.go together surprisingly well together. I also often add avocado to this salad. Because avocado. Duh.

watermelon salad ingredients

Also, it’s essential to use a good balsamic. I mean, really you don’t have to, but it will truly kick it up a notch. And if you haven’t experienced a really good balsamic yet in your life, you should. They are sweet and sticky and wonderful.

I used this one from Trader Joe’s, which I’d highly reccomend.

balsamic_arugula_salad_watermelon_vegan

Speaking of Trader Joe’s, I need to hit it up tomorrow. This week has been crazy busy. I started 2 new jobs, did a lot of freelance, and took a day trip to Chicago, which I’ll be sharing soon.

Stay tuned!

Tofu Feta

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Servings: 1 as entree or 2 as side, easily doubled or tripled

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups arugula, baby kale, or spinach
  • 1 cup watermelon, cubed
  • 3/4 cup tofu feta or conventional feta, or plant-based store-bought feta
  • 1/2 large avocado, sliced (optional)
  • roughly 1/4th cup fresh mint
  • 4 tablespoons high quality balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Assemble greens, avocado, watermelon, mint and tofu feta in a bowl. Drizzle with desired amount of balsamic and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy.

 

 

Salted Avocado Toast with Radishes and Sliced Lemon

I’m going to keep this quick because my life is an exploding hot mess of busy these days. More on this in tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned.

Avocado Iron Salt Toast

Now moving on to HAPPY THINGS. Like the fact that my dog is still cute. And the fact that salt exists. I love salt. Salt is arguably the greatest flavor enhancer of all times. It’s like the auto-tune of food.

iron salt avocado toast with lemons and radishes

Let’s also talk about iron, shall we? As a vegan, people always give me that annoying “BUT HOW DO YOU GET ANY PROTEIN?” stuff and I roll my eyes back into my head so far I can see my brain. Besides whole grains, nuts, vegetables (kale has 3 grams protein per cup!), tofu, etc etc, it’s truly not a concern. More concerning for vegans? B Vitamins and iron. At least according to my nutrition professors and to my opinion.

iron salt avocado toast with lemons & radishes

I actually do make an effort to get enough iron and B vitamins from foods. And so when my friend John approached me with this cool Iron Salt he’d created, I thought it was awesome. Each 1/4 teaspoon has 10% DV of salt. And as a bonus it’s pretty and pink and tastes great. COOL. I love it. And no I’m not just saying that. I’m a woman of honesty. And it’s also made in Brooklyn, which instantly makes it trendy and hip. #cool

iron salt avocado toast with lemons and radishes

Anyways, I made some recipes with the stuff and genuinely do love the product! You can order it here.Look out for some of my recipes that will be popping up on the Iron Salt Blog, which I’ll also share here. The first of which is this Salted Avocado Toast with Radishes and Sliced Lemon. It’s satisfying, tangy, creamy smooth, and totally rad (not just rad-ish ;-)). The radishes add a nice sharp flavor, and the lemon makes them sparkle. The Iron Salt brings it all together by highlighting each flavor, tying them all together, adding a nice crunch, and obviously, making it look really pretty.  It’s a nice way to mix up your avocado toast game. Enjoy! HAPPY SALT!

Avocado Iron Salt Toast 3

Salted Avocado Toast with Radishes and Lemon

This toast is refreshing, different, and filling, yet light. The Iron Salt highlights the earthy flavors of avocado, while the radishes and lemon provide an intriguing and fresh flavor contrast. An delightful dish for breakfast or as part of a light lunch, this toast is truly a nutritional powerhouse. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if desired. If you don’t have radishes or lemon on hand, sub fresh tomatoes and basil, or cilantro with red peppers and lime juice.

Serves one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice whole-grain bread or gluten-free bread
  • ⅓ avocado
  • 2 radishes
  • ¼ of a small lemon
  • ½ teaspoon Iron Salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Toast bread.
  2. In a small bowl, mash avocado and add ¼ teaspoon of Iron Salt. Spread on toast.
  3. Thinly slice radishes and lemon. Layer radishes and lemon on toast. Garnish with remaining iron salt. Drizzle with additional lemon juice and olive oil, if desired.
  4. Enjoy

3-Ingredient Tofu Tacos

Taco Tuesday is such a thing. Except that I rarely take part in Taco Tuesday because Tuesday is also half price sushi night so it’s usually sushi on Tuesdays and tacos on Wednesdays. At least in my world. And it works for me. I’m determined to get #tacowednesday trending.

Easy Veagn 3-Ingredient Tofu Tacos

But truly – tacos are good any #dayoftheweek. And although I absolutely DESPISE going out for American-ized Mexican food (the stuff covered in grease and cheese aka a fast track to spending the rest of the day on the potty), I do adore California style Mexican food, full of fresh flavors and colors. Like fresh non-Taco-Bell-esque Tacos. I actually adore these kinds of tacos. They’re the perfect meal – full of flavor, spicy and satiety, tacos are always a great option for any meal.

Tofu Tacos - Vegan

When you think about a taco, you hit almost every food group, and if done correctly, tacos make a darn healthy meal.. Think about it: protein (tofu in my case), fruits (tomato counts, right?) veggies (lettuce), healthy fat (avocado), legumes (black beans), and whole grains (corn tortilla). What a #win.

5-Minute Vegan Tofu Tacos

So I like to whip me up some tacos, not only because they are delicious, filling, and healthy, but because they are so gosh darn easy. This recipe literally takes 10 minutes, start to finish. To me, it feels like the equivalent of heating up a frozen pizza. It’s that simple and, arguably, faster.

Vegan 3-Ingredient Tofu Tacos

I love me all sorts of vegan fillings in my tacos. Black beans are always a favorite, but after having that as the only option for 5ever as a vegetarian option, I set out in search of something else.

Easy Vegan 3-Ingredient Tofu Tacos

And then I discovered tofu tacos. The texture of tofu adds a creamy yet satisfying element to a taco filling, and provides a lovely blank palate to pick up taco seasoning. Ps Trader Joe’s taco seasoning is incredible. It’s a product of South Africa and has a lovely spice to it. Probably the best on the market. TJs does it again.

Tofu Tacos

Make these tacos any day of the week for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. The best part is that it literally takes less than 10 minutes start-to-finish and only requires simple ingredients you probably have in your house. yay.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Level: easy

serves 4

Ingredients – Tofu Filling:

  • 1 14-ounce package firm tofu
  • 1 package taco seasoning (I love Trader Joe’s!)
  • 1/3 cup salsa of choice

Toppings / Extras:

  • 8 tortillas
  • sliced avocados
  • diced tomatoes
  • salsa
  • cilantro
  • vegan cheese sauce

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, warm salsa. Open tofu and pour off extra liquid if tofu is set in liquid.

2. Cut tofu into 4 pieces. Using fingers, crumble tofu into saucepan. Pieces can and will be uneven. Go with it. Add taco seasoning and stir until all tofu is evenly coated with salsa and taco seasoning.

3. Simmer over medium heat until tofu is evenly warmed, any excess liquid has evaporated, and all tofu is evenly coated with seasoning.

4. Fill tortillas with a heaping scoop of tofu filling. Top with beans, salsa, avocado, cilantro, and whatever else your heart desires. 🙂 Enjoy !

Black Bean + Butternut Squash Swiss Chard Wraps

On Friday night my mom brought home a bunch of reduced-cost vegetables from our local grocery store, Sendiks. When I saw all the goodies she brought home I was giddy inside. Love me some produce, and love me a deal.

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Sendiks is awesome in that they put all this perfectly beautiful produce on their large “Reduced Produce” table far before most grocery stores would. If there’s a single bruise or a bag of lettuce is like, a week away from expiring, to the Reduced table it goes.

I actually prefer to buy my bananas from the Reduced table. Because they’re just starting to speckle and get ripe and not green like regular store-bananas. I’m not into green bananas. I’m more into spotty browns.

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So in addition to a large bunch of dandelion greens for $0.56 and a batch of practically free potatoes, she snagged a large bunch of beautiful Swiss Chard for $0.46. Can you believe that?! Me either. What a #blessing.

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I forgot how much I like Swiss Chard. It’s such a lovely change of pace to the greens I eat regularly. I haven’t purchased it on my own in years because I tend to not like cooked greens, and typically associate Swiss Chard with being cooked. On Friday night, I had an epiphany: it can be eaten raw. This followed by realizing just how outstanding it is raw. It’s crunchy, tangy, and a bizarre mixture of earthy, sweet, and bitter.

Thus, I was inspired to make wraps with it, and this recipe was born. I used Target Brand’s Simply Balanced frozen Butternut Squash cubes that happened to be literally chillin’ in our freezer. This worked really well and saved a ton of time. Butternut squash cubes are one of the few vegetables I will eat frozen and not fresh. These would also be delightful with cubed sweet potatoes or any other winter squash you have on hand.

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Black beans add a nice heartiness and earthiness to the sweet squash. A blend of spicy, warm, umami flavors compliments both the squash and black beans, and really brings together the dish. I added a smudge of hummus for a creaming contrast, and some pomegranate seeds for a colorful pop of juicy tangy sweetness. It was blissful.

This makes a wonderful light and energizing lunch, or could work well as a server or side to dinner. Make these wraps and make them your own. I encourage you to also listen to rap music while assembling your rap. It helps set the tone for your tastebuds and the whole rest of your day.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
Level: Easy

makes 4 chard wraps, serves 2

Ingredients:

  • one 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cup cubed butternut squash or sweet potato (I used organic frozen pre-cubed butternut squash ~ but time saver and worked super well with this recipe!)
  • 4 large swiss chard leaves (or really any large leafy green will do)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 6-8 tablespoons hummus (optional)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate perils (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Cube butternut squash or sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch cubes. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven and roast until browned and crisp, about 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Transfer back to bowl.

2. Drain and rinse black beans. Add beans to bowl with squash cubes. Sprinkle cumin, turmeric, chili powder, curry powder, and toss until all black beans and squash are coated evenly.

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3. Wash and dry swiss chard leaves. Pat dry. Spread 1-2 tablespoons hummus on each. Add about 3/4 cup filling to each leaf.

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4. Add pomegranate seeds, hot sauce, or anything else you may desire. Roll up and enjoy! 🙂