Pasta with Charred Cherry Tomatoes, Broccolini and Vegan Parmesan

Pastaaaaa. I have been craving pasta for quite some time now. I don’t know why. Probably because carbs = love.

Vegan Pasta with Brocollini Charred & Tomatoes Parmesan

Pasta has always been one of my favorite foods. I grew up with an Italian grandma and her penne arrabiata with charred peppers was the best.thing.ever. It has ruined almost all other pastas I’ve had since. Nothing like what Oma cooked up. Somewhere I have her recipe for her sauce. I can never make it quite like she did though…must be that Italian grandma magic.

I decided to make some pasta with some leftover veggies I got to take home from an event. I roasted up some cauliflower, broccolini, and tomatoes on Friday, and while I was eating them, the deliciousness of the roasted tomatoes just called for pasta.

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I was too lazy and hungry to make it at the time, but today I cooked up some whole wheat noodles, paired it with steamed broccoli, a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, salt & pepper, a bunch of Vegan Hemp Parmesan, and the real MVP, the charred tomatoes.

Super simple, very flavorful, and far from over-complicated. The way Italian-inspired food should be, as far as I’m concerned.

Vegan Pasta Brocollini with Charred Tomatoes Parmesan

Let’s talk pasta for a minute, shall we? At some point society demonized the glorious stuff. The thing is, there is nothing inherently significantly worse about pasta than many other forms of carbohydrates, especially when it’s whole grain.

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Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars

Today I was craving some comfort. The past few weeks I’ve felt uneasy, and I can’ quite figure out why.

Easy Vegan Almond Butter Strawberry Seed Jam Bars with Crumb Topping

Perhaps it’s a combination of stress of an 18-credit graduate school load, figuring out my summer practicum, some pressing family issues, or the mundaneness I sometimes feel after working on something (whether it be school work, work work, projects, or applications for practicums) from morning til evening with little relief.

Once I cross one thing off my list, it seems, 6 more pop up.

VEGAN Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal crumb bars

Yesterday I took a break and got brunch at Mathew’s with my good friend Raag. The outing provided not only a delicious meal and good conversation, but a much needed break, some peace of mind, and a fleeting moment or two of comfort.

But today, I was back on the grind. And today, comfort came in the form of Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars.

Vegan Strawberry Chia Jam

I love a sweet but not-too-sweet breakfasty nibble, filled with oats, nut butters, and sometimes fruit to snack on in the afternoon with tea and to have to pack for snacks during the school week.

I wanted something with a soft bottom, a yummy fruity center, and a scrumptious oatmeal crumb topping. Crumb toppings are one life’s finest pleasures, as far as I’m concerned.

Almond Butter Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Bars Spread 2

I was trying to decide what to bake when I remembered the clearance frozen strawberries I purchased at the store yesterday, and the idea for a Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Bar with an oatmeal crumb topping came to me. And just like that, I knew I had to make some.

Easy Cegan Almond Butter Strawberry Seed Jam Bars + Crumb Topping

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What You Need To Know about Vitamin B-12, Especially if You’re Vegan

It’s funny. When people find out you’re vegan or vegetarian, suddenly everyone and their mother becomes your nutritionist, wondering if you get enough protein, if you take supplements and get enough Vitamin B-12, and if you’re malnourished and falling over yet, etc.

No one bats at eye or comments at people who sustain themselves off pizza, burgers, fries, and chips, but so many feel entitled to scrutinize the nutrient-content of plant-based diets.

But I digress. This post is about the main nutrient of concern for vegetarians and vegans. No, it’s not protein (which in fact, most people over-consume). It’s Vitamin B-12. If you’re vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, have chronic bowel issues, and/or are over the age of 50, you should assess and consider if you are getting enough vitamin B-12.

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I don’t very often flex my MS in nutrition muscles on the blog. I always intend to, but I find my brain so exhausted of academic/science writing from school that much of the time the blog is filled with recipe and lifestyle posts because those are fun and relaxing to write.

But I really do want to make an effort to communicate more nutrition info here on kbaked.com. Let me know if you like this kind of content and/or what other topics you’d like to see covered! Without further adieu…here’s what you need to know about Vitamin B-12.

What is Vitamin B-12?

Vitamin B-12 (also known as cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin and was the last vitamin discovered. It’s found in various forms, including cyanocobalamin (often found in supplements and fortified food), as well as methylcoablamin (a methylated form) found in animal products.

Cyanocobalamin needs to me methylated for your body to make use of it. Both are well-absorbed, and it’s currently unknown if there’s a “better” or more bioavailable form to consume.

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Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

Helloooo my favorite snack ever! If you’ve known me for any length of time you probably know that my favorite food on earth is the wonderful sweet potato. Regular. Japanese. Red. Purple. I’ll take ’em all. Carb me.Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

I am a sweet potato maniac. When I was a kid I would walk around with a baked sweet potato in my hand, eating it as if it were an apple. I was cool. Between that and being the only elementary school kid drinking soy milk (because milk did and does give me the worst gas ever) I had a lot of friends. I promise.

Easy Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

One of my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes is with almond butter. Something about the nuttiness of almond butter plays so well off the savory sweetness of sweet potatoes.

Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

Lately I’m very into making sweet potato wedges. For years, I pretty much exclusively made baked sweet potatoes and ate them whole. But lately I’m on a wedge kick. Bonus: sweet potato wedges are perfect for dipping, in my case in AB.

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Easy Homemade Chia Jam

I love me a PB&J. Or an almond butter and J. Both are wonderful. And something I feel I appreciate more as an adult than as a child. Anyone else? Okay, maybe just me.

Easy Homemade Chia Jam

While I’m a nut butter fiend, I also appreciate a scrumptious jam or jelly. The issue, I find, with many at the store is that they’re so darn sweet.

Chia Jam Recipe

I’m all about desserts, but when it comes to breakfast foods like yogurt, jams, and oatmeals, I’m very turned off but overly sweet things. Hence, I seek out sweetened-with-only-fruit jams (Crofter’s Organic is my favorite brand, and Trader Joe’s has some good options, as well) or I make my own homemade chia jam.

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Chia seed jam is the easiest thing ever. All you do is add chopped up fruit, chia seeds, and a hint of lemon juice if you’re feeling fancy. If you want to up the sweetness factor, go ahead and add a tablespoon or two of sugar, honey, or syrup.

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Roasted Spicy Sweet Potatoes and Plantains

Carbs, carbs carbs. We all know I love carbs. And potatoes (sweet potatoes in particular) have always been one of my favorite foods.

Last fall when I lived in Minnesota I was exposed to several varieties of sweet potatoes I’d never had before. I’m sure I walked by them in grocery stores in the past and overlooked them in search of regular, but now that I’ve discovered the likes of purple and Japanese sweet potatoes, I truly enjoy mixing up my potato game.

Then, a few months ago, the plantain obsession started, and now these babies have become a routine part of my starchy vegetable parties.

And the best part about these parties is that I can mix and match my starchy carbs to my liking.

A lot of people ask me how I eat potatoes and plantains since I eat them so frequently. This (along with plain baked with salt and almond butter) is one of my favorite ways.

Simple, spicy roasted sweet potatoes and plantains make a the perfect side dish to your meal (try alongside a tofu scramble!), or topped with avocado, beans, and/or pico, can easily become a meal.

All you need is a couple potatoes, a plantain and some spices, and you’ve got a yummy nutrient-packed starchy vegetable treat on its way.

I hope you try this dish, and if you do let me know! Comment below or tag me on Instagram.

Spicy Sweet Potatoes & Plantains

Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Servings: 1-3, depending on if you eat as an entree or side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 large purple sweet potato (can sub Japanese sweet potato, regular potato, or additional regular sweet potato)
  • 1 large very ripe (brown) plantain
  • 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • heafty sprinkle of salt
  • avocado, black beans, and/or cilantro for serving (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Cube sweet potatoes into equal sized cubes or coins. Place in a bowl. Microwave for 90 seconds – 2 minutes to soften slightly, as potatoes will cook more quickly than plantains otherwise. Slice plantain into 1/4 inch thick coins and add to bowl
  3. Drizzle oil on potato cubes and plantains. Add cumin, turmeric, and cayenne and toss until evenly coated.
  4. Spread potatoes/plantains onto a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes until potatoes are tender and browned. Remove from oven and serve with avocado, black beans, and/or cilantro.

11 Food and Health-Related New Year’s Resolutions That Are Way Better Than Losing Weight

It’s that time of year again: the time when everyone starts chattering about how this is going to be the year they finally lose weight. Diet talk starts flooding your ears and diet and fitness ads pop up all over the TV and social media. It’s unescapable.

But here’s a wild thought: if this stuff worked, and if these crazy cleanses and diets and fitness regimines were sustainable, then why does everyone pursue them year and year again? Oh, that’s right, because these are marketing gimmicks and money-makers from companies who have your wallet, not your health, in mind.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to live a healthy lifestyle. All I’m saying is that the diet industry has sort of distorted what it means to be healthy. And there are way more important and interesting things to pursue in life than talking about losing weight and doing juice cleanses all the time. Like, I don’t, perhaps realizing how privileged we are to be able to even not worry about where our next meal is coming from.

So here are 11 food and health-related resolution ideas if you want to make a resolution and are out of ideas since literally the only one you usually hear about is weight-loss related. Or don’t make one. That’s cool too. Eliminating extraneous and unnecessary self-placed pressure is totally something I can get behind.

Anyways, happy New Year! Hope you have a fun, tasty, and festive holiday.

1. Don’t diet

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They don’t work. They lead you to be miserable, sad and empty inside.

They also cause a great deal of stress, which leads to the stress hormone cortisol elevating in your body. Elevated cortisol is not only detrimental to overall health, but can actually make it harder to lose weight (which honestly, you probably don’t need to do anyway).

If you had a friend that made you sad, miserable, stressed, and left you feeling empty inside, would you continue to pursue a relationship with that person? Likely not. You’d probably distance yourself from them.

So you should do the same with diets. Kick that sh*t to the curb. Free yourself.

2. Let Go of Food Norms

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In the past few years, I’ve gone from being self-conscious, rigid, and weird about food norms to not giving a flipping fuck.

What do I mean exactly? Well, for example, for reasons that escape all present logic, I used to feel really weird eating lunch before noon. Like, the thought of enjoying a salad at 11am gave me anxiety. All of my friends in New York ate lunch at like, 2 or 3, so I perceived that as the normal or cool thing to do. If I ate lunch early, it’d make me different and weird and maybe cause me to miss out on eating with friends later.

This odd rigidity lasted after college, even when I would work from home. How silly is it that if I was hungry-for-a-meal at 10:30am, that I’d eat a small snack and let my stomach rumble for 90 minutes, starting at the clock and counting down the minutes until 12;00pm hit, rush to the kitchen, and rage on food.

In retrospect, it makes no sense to do this. At all. Obviously with various work and school schedules, I don’t always get to eat when I’m hungry, or eat what I feel like eating at the time. That’s okay. That’s life.

But I’ve let go of rules and regulations. Since I eat breakfast between 5-6, being hungry for lunch at 11 is totally acceptable.  I don’t judge myself for it. I eat my food, satisfy my hunger, and free up brain space to focus on other things.

There’s no right or wrong time to eat or correct meal to eat certain foods at.

So eat salad and sushi for breakfast (I have). Have lunch at 10:00am. Eat ice cream before bed when everyone else is talking about their new weight-loss plan. Do you. Live your best life.

3. Disassociate numbers and health

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Including calories, macros, and weight. Your body is not a calculator.

4. Unfollow anyone on Instagram promoting a cleanse or detox

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You can follow them again later, but free yourself from daily posts about ‘chic’ fast-tracks to health. Spoiler alert: there is no magic pill to good health. Juice cleanses are an example of a way company’s have found to make tons of money profiting off the vulnerability of those who simple want to be healthier or thinner and don’t know where to begin.

Juice cleanses don’t work. There is literally no scientific data to support them. Literally none of my nutrition professors at Columbia nor NYU ever said a single favorable thing about them.

Drinking juice is unsustainable and highly unsatisfying. Want to be healthier? Eat more plant-based foods, move when it feels good, and

5. Realize that food on Instagram isn’t real life

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I feel like the internet has set up this dream world where food always looks perfect and luscious and bountiful and full of health and wonder and it sometimes leads us to set oddly high or distorted expectations of what eating is.

The truth is, food doesn’t always have to look glamorous or even taste amazing all the time. Truly. It’s fuel. Sometimes you eat things that are boring and eh or maybe things you don’t like. That’s life. And sometimes there’s more to eating than picture perfect or gourmet meals. Sometimes it’s about the social element. Sometimes it’s going with the flow.

Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t really cook or style food or eat very boring food all of the time. In fact, I eat very boring food most of the time, I just don’t post all those meals and snacks to the internet.

There’s a lot more to life than food (which I know, is ironic to say on a food blog). But it’s true. Food is what gives you energy to do all the other things in life. So go ahead and eat boring food and make sh*t happen.

6. Waste less food

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Food waste is one of our nation’s tragic and hidden scandals.

40 million Americans are food insecure, meaning they don’t have enough to eat. Yet 40% of the food produced in this country goes in the trash, and often to landfills (which is also sad, since most food scraps are compostable).

Food waste wastes not only food itself, but also energy, water, and resources required to grow, package and transport it.

Even if you don’t giving a flying crap about the planet, there’s a selfish reason to care: wasting food wastes a ton of money, meaning there should be an incentive for everyone to stop buying or ordering more than we’ll realistically use, storing food more wisely (make friends with your freezers fam, seriously), and being more crafty with leftovers.

7. Take a few seconds a day to appreciate the fact that you have food

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Per reasons mentioned above. We live in a world of excess. Many of us walk around where food is everywhere, and in great abundance. Meanwhile, 40 million Americans don’t get enough to eat every year.

If you’re not food insecure, appreciate it. Truly. I firmly believe you can’t function at your maximum capacity when you are hungry.

8. Stop trying to ‘control your hormones’ with extreme diets and exercise habits

Vegan Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon Rolls via Kbaked

Lately, ‘mastering your hormones’ seems to be the fastest, easiest, and trendiest way to attract followers on social media.

It really makes me sad to see people with tons of power and influence promoting extreme regimes and unscientific potions to large audiences.

The truth is, nutrition is super complicated, as is the endocrine system. And an Instagramer with a shiny feed who appears to be a queen of ‘natural’ lifestyle knows nothing about your health or what your body needs.

While I have a background in nutrition, I am not your healthcare professional, nor are any of the references listed above. If you have a concern about your hormones and/or have lost your period, consider seeing a healthcare provider about it.

Many people suffer from hormonal imbalances and amenorrhea from under-eating, over-exercising, not sleeping enough, or being too stressed out. Robyn from the Real-Life RD writes some good stuff on this topic if you want to know more from someone who is actually educated  in the stuff unlike so many self-proclaimed ‘wellness and lifestyle experts’ out there who maybe read one trendy pop-nutrition book or two.

But seriously, free yourself from believing that potion-and-mushroom-filled lattes and eliminating grains is how to fix

10. Prioritize sleep and stress reduction

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For so many years, sleep and engaging in activities that lower my cortisol were the first things to go when I was busy or overwhelmed. But lately I’ve come to realize how crucial sleep + stress management are to physical and mental health.

11. Enjoy your food more

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Life is too short. Eat dat ice cream.

Easy Baked Plantains

Our department has a lunch meeting every Wednesday where first year students sit and eat while a faculty member tells us about their research how they got where they are, and sometimes their life story, etc. it’s a nice time / I’m all about free food.plantain_baked_kbaked_coined_

Delivery options are limited around the Columbia University Medical Center campus. Hence why every single week lunch ends up being one of 3 options: pizza that smells like burnt Chuck E Cheese kitchen grease and is paired with a salad cloaked in sad cold deli meat (and one plain salad, but that goes fast), Dominican food, or on a good day, sandwiches on really strangely delicious fluffy crusty white hoagie bread.plantain_baked_kbaked_coins_vertical

Dominican food days are frequent, and I don’t hate it. The buffet has enough veggie options (salad with avocado, rice, beans) that I can finagle a decent meal out of it.

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The star of every Dominican week is, of course, the fried plantains. Sticky sweet gooey goodness, the fried plantains have become a cherished and familiar treat.

It dawned upon me this week that I’ve never actually made plantains at home which considering bananas and potatoes are my favorite foods and plantains are essentially the potato of bananas (as in not sweet and rather starchy), is quite odd. So over the weekend I decided to change this. I picked up some plantains, 3/$1, at my local grocery store.

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A kind woman was also picking out plantains when I was sorting through them. I asked her if she had any advice for a new plantain cook, and she told me to wait until the plantains were “soft like sponges.” Noted.

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Now onto cooking. I don’t love frying things and my stomach doesn’t love eating large quantities of fried food. Hence why I after doing some googling to confirm it was possible, I opted to bake mine.

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I did mine skin-on because the method sounded intriguing to me. You can totally peel them and cube them, coat them in oil and seasonings, and bake them that way (just for a shorter duration, 20-25 minutes until tender rather than 40-45).

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If you are curious about the skin-on method as I was, I am happy to report that it totally works. Just take it out of the oven when the foil-wrapped plantain gives to a squeeze.

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Next comes topping. I played around with topping these babies. One I coined and ate with melted vegan butter and brown sugar.

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Another I drizzled with almond butter, cinnamon, and a dash of sugar. The last I ate with leftover black bean soup and cilantro. I decided they would also taste great with guacamole. All were solid options, and it was a very plantain-filled day.

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Speaking of filled, I found plantains quite filling. I plan to keep this in mind since they are a cheap starchy piece of produce aka something I desperately need to befriend.

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I hope you give these a try. If you do, please let me know, and let me know how you topped or are them.

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Happy plantaining!

Easy Baked Plantains

Prep Time:  2 minutes
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium very spotted ripe plantains

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a knife, draw a slit lengthwise down each plantain.
  3. Wrap each plantain (skin on) in aluminum foil, or lay out on a baking sheet with parchment paper underneath.
  4. Bake plantains for 35-50 minutes (depending on size/oven) until soft and squeezeable to the touch.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Top and eat as desired.

Topping Ideas:

  • non-dairy butter + 1 teaspoon brown sugar + dash cinnamon
  • drizzle of almond butter + cinnamon + sugar
  • black bean soup + salsa + cilantro
  • guacamole

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.

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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!