A classic comfort treat!
Prep & Baking Time: 1 hour
Makes: 9 x 13 pan, 20-25 squares - this recipe can easily be halved
Base & Topping
3 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
3 cups flour -use all purpose, whole wheat or a blend of the two - if you need or prefer gluten free substitute with a flour blend
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups coconut sugar or brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups plant-based butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 lbs or approximately 6 cups pitted dates chopped -no need to soak the dates ahead of time as you will be heating them up in water
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 1/2 cup water
2/3 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
Preheat your oven to 350°F
In a large mixing bowl combine the plant-based butter and sugar, cream together with a wooden spoon.
Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the consistency of wet sand.
Press half of the mixture into a 9x13 baking pan. If you do not have a 9x13 baking pan you can use any high-sided oven safe dish. Ideally you want to create a layer of filling and base approximately 1-1/2 inches thick before adding crumb topping to maintain the same baking time.
Over medium heat using a large saucepan, combine the pitted chopped dates, water and 2/3 cup sugar. Allow mixture to come to a boil, stirring occasionally. The dates will begin to breakdown the longer they are cooked. Continue to cook over medium heat until mixture is thick and the liquid had been absorbed, around 10-12 minutes. Add lemon juice and stir to combine.
Spread the date mixture over the prepared base in the pan; use the back of a metal spoon or rubber spatula if needed. Using a fork stir the remaining topping mixture to break up any large lumps and sprinkle evenly over the date filling layer.
Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Topping should be browned when squares are done.
Allow to cool for approximately 20 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
Cool completely before freezing.
Tips & Variations:
With a subtle apple cider flavour, these make a perfect comfort-food
start to any weekend (or weekday) morning
Prep & Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 6 medium pancakes
Pairs Well With: Coconut Whipped Topping
1 1/4 cup flour of your choice – if you are making gluten free pancakes, we suggest a GF flour blend
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp liquid sweetener
1 cup mulled apple cider
2 tbsp oil - vegetable or liquid coconut work best
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients, use a whisk or a fork to mix them together. Add the remaining wet ingredients and stir to combine thoroughly making sure to incorporate any pockets of flour until the mixture is smooth.
In a non-stick or lightly oiled pan over medium heat use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to spoon batter into pan. When bubbles form and pop on the surface (approximately 2 minutes) flip the pancakes over to cook other side for another 2 minutes. Pancakes should be golden and cooked through.
Tips & Variations:
A comforting & classic dish perfect for the Fall to Winter transition
Prep & Cooking: 1 hour
5-6 medium potatoes, peel if desired
1-2 medium sweet potatoes peeled
*You can use only white or only sweet potatoes if you’d like, you want to have around 4 cups of mashed potato when you are finished cooking
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp plant-based butter or oil of your choice (optional)
1 clove minced or ½ tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp fresh thyme (garnish)
Lentil and Vegetable Base:
1 (540ml/19fl.oz.) can of brown lentils or 2 cups cooked lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 cups total of additional bite diced vegetables – this is up to you, use what you like and what you have on hand. I used a bell pepper, celery, cremini mushrooms and green beans. If you want to keep things very simple, use 3 cups total of a frozen mixed vegetable medley
3-4 tbsp tomato paste, if you don’t have paste and you’re using tomato sauce add 4-6 tbsp
2-3 cloves of garlic or 1-1 ½ powdered garlic
2-3 tbsp liquid aminos (a soybean based sauce, usually found in a natural grocery department or health food store), tamari or soy sauce
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
Preheat your oven to 375°.
In a large, high sided pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and sauté onions until translucent; around 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, and additional 2 cups of diced vegetables to the pan and continue to sauté for an additional 10-15 minutes until carrots are softened. Remember, this dish will be baked after it is assembled and therefore the carrots do not need to be cooked through, just softened. Add lentils to the pan and stir to combine. Add tomato paste, liquid aminos, and optional balsamic vinegar and stir to incorporate. As you stir the mixture some of the lentils are likely to breakdown, this is ok and creates a smoother filling that stays together better.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook potatoes for around 10 minutes until soft enough to mash. Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain the water. Mash the potatoes and add garlic and butter or oil (optional), and stir to combine.
In a 9x9 baking dish or equivalent, create a base layer for the pie using the lentil and vegetable mixture. Smooth the mixture out to meet the corners and make it as even as possible. Top the vegetable and lentil base with the mashed potato mixture and smooth into an even layer. You can use a fork or butter knife to create ridges in the top of the potato or leave it smooth, however, ridges will create a crispier topping. Top with fresh thyme and bake for 30-40 minutes, and allow to cool for around 10 minutes before serving.
A bite-sized cookie with a tangy sweet filling
Prep & Cooking: 30 mins
Makes: 12-15 cookies
½ cup all purpose flour
½ whole wheat flour – you can substitute the full 1 cup of flour with a gluten free blend if needed
¼ cup + 1 tbsp tahini (sesame butter)
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3-4 tbsp raw sesame seeds
3-4 tbsp apple butter – apple butter is a thick, dark, concentrated spread and can be found in most grocery and bulk stores in the same section as jam and peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine tahini, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Stir until smooth and any lumps of tahini have been smoothed out. Add flour(s) and stir to combine. This dough is quite stiff and it may take some effort to incorporate the dry ingredients. When the dough is ready to roll, it should stay together when pinched. If the dough is too dry add water, a tsp at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Roll dough into 1 inch balls and dip or roll into the sesame seeds. The idea is to cover just the top half of the cookie ball in seeds, if you coat the entire dough ball the seeds on the bottom of the cookie may burn as the cookies bake.
Using your thumb or the end of a kitchen tool or small bottle, I used the end of a wooden vegetable peeler, press the centre of the cookie to create a well. You only want to press about ½ to ¾ of the way through the cookie or as the cookie bakes the apple butter will run through the bottom. Creating the indent in the centre of the cookie will sometimes create cracks on the edges, just pinch these together with your fingers if the cracks are wide enough to allow the apple butter to seep out.
Fill each cookie with a teaspoon or so of apple butter; being careful not to overfill. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes.
Allow the cookies to cool and store in an airtight container for up to one week. If the cookies will be stacked during storage, place some parchment or waxed paper in between the cookies to avoid sticky bottoms.
Like rays of golden sunshine in a bowl - perfect on a cool Fall day
Prep & Cooking: 1 hour to roast vegetables, 20 minutes to finish the soup
1 acorn squash – this is the dark green variety that is shaped, you guessed it…like an acorn (seen photo below)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
1 large orange carrot, diced into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, small dice
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or 1-1 ½ tsp powdered garlic powder
4 tbsp olive oil
3 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp ground turmeric
½ tsp yellow curry powder (optional)
¼ tsp cumin
Additional cumin, curry or turmeric and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the stringy flesh and seeds using a metal spoon. Score the flesh; cutting ¼ - ½ inch deep depending on the thickness of the squash. You do not want to cut all the way through. Drizzle both sides with 1 tbsp of olive oil and add salt and pepper to season. Place squash, cut side up on a prepared baking sheet or in a shallow baking dish.
Cut carrot and sweet potatoes into 1 inch pieces and drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Toss cut vegetables to coat and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the carrots and sweet potatoes to a prepared baking sheet or shallow baking dish and spread in a single layer. If you have a large enough tray or dish you may be able to fit all of the vegetables in together. Roast carrots, sweet potatoes and squash for 45-60 minutes, stirring the carrots and potatoes and turning the squash dish or pan (not the actual squash) at the halfway mark. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the cooked flesh and set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, sauté chopped onion and garlic in 1 tbsp of oil until translucent; about 5 minutes. Add squash, carrots, and potatoes to the pot and cover with 3 cups of vegetable stock. Bring contents to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to medium. Continue simmering for 10-15 minutes until all vegetable are soft enough to slice easily with a fork or knife.
Remove the soup from the heat and blend. You can do this using a hand-held immersion blender or using a traditional blender. Blend until smooth and no lumps remain. When the soup is blended, return to the pot and add turmeric, cumin, salt & pepper, and curry (optional). Warm through over medium heat.
Garnish by sprinkling with additional cumin, curry or turmeric and toasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
This soup keeps in a sealed container for up to a week in the refrigerator or for several months in the freezer.