Vegan & Gluten-Free Mini Quiches

Vegan and Gluten-Free Mini Quiches -- Epicurean VeganI’ve been wanting to figure out how to make vegan mini quiches for a while now, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Do I use tofu? Flour? Wave a magic wand? Well, when I came across this recipe, I knew my search was over. I only made one modification and that was to add the veggies to the batter instead of just topping the batter with them. Doing so, will give you about 4 more quiches (16 instead of 12). That works great as long as you have 2 muffin tins. Otherwise, you could add your veggies just to the tops. I was thoroughly impressed with these. They taste like a cross between an actual egg-y quiche and a biscuit. They’re packed with protein and make a great quick breakfast on the go—just zap in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and you’re good to go. (These are especially ideal for a post-workout snack).

INGREDIENTS:
2-1/2 C garbanzo/chickpea flour (I also had some garbanzo & flava flour mix that worked great, too)
3 C cold, filtered water
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt Cooking spray
Veggies/toppings: Use your favorites, but I like to use 1-1/2 to 2 cups of chopped . . . spinach tomato mushrooms green onion cilantro Other options: veggie bacon or ham, bell pepper, sauteed garlic, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, basil, Swiss chard, shredded (and squeezed dry) zucchini, peas, . . . the list is endless.
Note: I used sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil) in a batch and I recommend easing up on the oil in the batter by at least a tablespoon. Also, throw in some chia seeds. Pepitas or sunflower seeds would also be great additions.

 

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 500 and lightly spray the muffin tins. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, water, oil, and salt. Be sure to whisk until all the lumps are gone and  you have a smooth batter. You can then pour the batter evenly among 12 muffin cups and just add your veggies to the top, OR (as I would recommend) add the veggies to the batter.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Mini Quiches -- Epicurean Vegan

Fill the muffin tins . . . Vegan and Gluten-Free Mini Quiches -- Epicurean VeganBake for 14 minutes, then crack the oven door slightly, and cook another 11 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or so, and remove with a knife. Enjoy!

Vegan and Gluten-Free Mini Quiches -- Epicurean Vegan

Fruity Snack Balls

Fruity Snack Balls -- Epicurean Vegan

These are such a great snack and take minutes to make! I LOVE these (and so will kids). They come from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores and the only thing I added was about 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. I try to throw chia seeds in all kinds of dishes, especially breakfast/fruity/smoothie things. Check out these 10 reasons you should eat them. You can use just about any dried fruit or nuts for these, such as apricots, apples, raisins, even dried blueberries. I also think mixing in a tablespoon of almond butter or peanut butter would be dee-licious! The original recipe says it makes a great crumbled cereal topper as well. The recipe also says it makes 2-1/2 dozen, but I got exactly 2 dozen–just depends on how small you make them.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 C dried cherries
1 C dried mango
1/2 C dried cranberries
1 C sliced raw almonds
2 Tbs chia seeds

Fruity Snack Balls -- Epicurean Vegan

DIRECTIONS:

Toss the first four ingredients into the food processor and blend for a full minute.

Fruity Snack Balls -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the almonds and blend again for another full minute.

Fruity Snack Balls -- Epicurean Vegan

I then transferred the mixture to a bowl and stirred in the chia seeds.

Fruity Snack Balls -- Epicurean Vegan

Take small handfuls and squeeze, then shape into a ball. Repeat. Enjoy!

Fruity Snack Balls -- Epicurean Vegan

Soy Yogurt Covered Blueberries with an Unexpected Ending

I was very excited to try making yogurt-covered blueberries . . .

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So how did they go from this . . .

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. . . to this?!

DSC07245

Easily. Nondairy yogurt just doesn’t set up like regular yogurt. Either that, or there’s more to the ingredient list than just yogurt and blueberries that companies use to make them turn out like this . . .

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Has anyone had luck making these with nondairy yogurt? Do share!

Anyway, they certainly made great smoothies.

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket -- Epicurean Vegan

I can’t say I recall having pigs in a blanket much when I was a kid, although I’m sure many of you grew up on snacking on these. Even vegan, they’re  probably not the healthiest, but that’s ok–there’s nothing wrong with some Pillbury Crescent Rolls once in a great while. The Seventh-Grader really wanted to try these, so after a tiny bit of prep, we had a quick snack. I added a little Daiya cheese to one, just to see how it tasted and it was pretty darn good!

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg Pillbury Crescent Rolls (8)
4 Smart Dogs (or other veggie dog of your choice), cut in half
Daiya cheese, optional

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket -- Epicurean Vegan

Preheat oven to 350. Unroll the dough and separate each piece. Roll up one of the dogs, starting at the wide end.

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket -- Epicurean Vegan

Mine with cheese…

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket -- Epicurean Vegan

These are great served with ketchup, horseradish, mustard…you name it. Enjoy!

Baked Truffle Polenta Fries

Baked Truffle Polenta Fries -- Epicurean Vegan

This is a first for me. I’ve never eaten polenta at home, but I’ve ordered it in restaurants. I decided to try making polenta fries, but the easy way . . .

Baked Truffle Polenta Fries -- Epicurean Vegan

Ancient Harvest

This is certainly an ideal way to make fries: crack open a polenta log, slice, season, and bake!

INGREDIENTS:

 1 tube of polenta
1/8 C olive oil
2 Tbs truffle oil
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450. Combine the two oils in a small dish. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with some of the oil mixture. Slice the polenta into 1/2″ slices.

Baked Truffle Polenta Fries -- Epicurean Vegan

Then cut each slice into thirds.

Baked Truffle Polenta Fries -- Epicurean Vegan

Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet and brush with the oil mixture; season with salt and pepper.

Baked Truffle Polenta Fries -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning once halfway through. Enjoy!

Papaya Trail Mix

Papaya Trail Mix -- Epicurean VeganThe Seventh Grader is on a school hiking trip this week, so it gave me an opportunity to make some homemade trail mix that has everything he likes; nothing gets picked over. I also used butter-flavored olive oil that a friend gave me (it’s dairy-free) and works perfectly for trail mix. The subtle buttery taste is amazing. (It works great on pasta, too). Mine is from Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company in Fort Collins. After the family had some of the mix, I got, “This is all you made?” I’ll be making another batch today.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 C almonds, raw and unsalted
3/4 C walnuts, raw and unsalted
1/2 C pumpkin seeds (with the shell), unsalted
1/2 C dried papaya, cut into chunks
1/4 C chocolate chips
Butter-flavored olive oil
1/2 to 1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with a little cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the nuts. Drizzle with the olive oil—just enough to lightly coat the nuts. Do the same with the salt. Mix well. Layer onto the baking sheet.

Papaya Trail Mix -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through. Since most ovens tend to run different, check often—don’t let the nuts burn.

Papaya Trail Mix -- Epicurean Vegan

Let cool for just a minute or two and combine the nuts and papaya in a bowl.

Papaya Trail Mix -- Epicurean Vegan

Once the mix has cooled completely, stir in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Granola Bars

Gluten-Free Granola Bars -- Epicurean VeganThese are packed with nutty love! They’re also simple to make and grab while you’re on the go. You can sub in your favorite nuts, dried fruit, or even some chopped coconut. Go wild!

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 C quick oats
2 Tbs brown rice flour
2 Tbs quinoa flakes
1/2 C nuts, chopped (I used peanuts and pecans)
1/4 C sunflower seeds
1/4 C chia seeds
2 Tbs flaxseeds
1/2 C dried fruit, chopped (I used Craisins)
1/2 C dark chocolate chips
3 Tbs almond butter
1 small avocado, pitted
2 Tbs brown rice syrup
3 Tbs almond milk
1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, quinoa flakes, nuts, seeds, fruit, and chocolate chips.

Gluten-Free Granola Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

Using a fork, mash up the avocado. Add the almond butter, almond milk, syrup, and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients and thoroughly combine. Lightly oil an 8″ baking pan and press the mixture evenly in the dish.

Gluten-Free Granola Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.

Gluten-Free Granola Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

Cool the pan on a rack, then cut into squares. Enjoy!

Lemony Quinoa-Almond Granola

Lemony Quinoa-Almond Granola -- Epicurean VeganOkay, yes, this is from Big Vegan again. And no, I won’t be posting every single recipe from this fabulous cookbook. I just saw this and had to make it. I’ve been needing to get more creative with breakfast and this recipe jumped out at me. I made it last night so breakfast would be a snap this morning. It has a bit more oil and sugar than my granola recipe so I won’t be replacing it with it, but it’s certainly a nice change! The only thing I might add next time is some chopped coconut flakes, otherwise, it was perfect with some soy yogurt and fruit.

INGREDIENTS:

3 C rolled oats
2 C quinoa flakes (look in the cereal aisle)
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 C all-fruit lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 C almonds, chopped
1 C apricots, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300. In a large bowl, combine the oats, quinoa flakes, flour, cinnamon, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lemonade, sugar, oil, and extracts. Pour into the dry ingredients and using your hands, combine thoroughly. Let it sit for 10 minutes to absorb the liquid.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Since I don’t have rimmed baking sheets, I used foil to create small sides on the pan. Spread the granola on the baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, turning it over with a metal spatula every 15 minutes.

Lemony Quinoa-Almond Granola -- Epicurean Vegan

I added another 5 minutes to the last 15. Ovens temps vary, so check often.

Lemony Quinoa-Almond Granola -- Epicurean Vegan

Let the pan and granola cool on a rack, then stir in the apricots. Stored in a ziplock or airtight container, the granola will last for 2 weeks at room temperature. Enjoy!

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars -- Epicurean VeganI came across these all natural energy bars on Oh She Glows. I made a couple of alterations like using almonds and sunflower seeds instead of walnuts, and using brown rice flour instead of kamut flour. They are chewy, crunchy, a little bit sweet, and ideal for on-the-go. They’re also great for munching on while you’re hiking. The only thing I found was that they didn’t hold together very well for cutting them up. I think part of it, is that I used too small of a pan even though I went with the size recommended in the original recipe. I suggest using a shallow baking sheet, not a 8″ baking dish.

INGREDIENTS:
1/3 C brown rice flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 C brown sugar
1 C almonds, toasted
1/2 C sunflower seeds, toasted
1/2 C dried cherries or craisins
12 dates (about a cup), pitted and chopped
1 C apricots, chopped
1 flax egg: 1 Tbs flax meal + 3 Tbs warm water
1 Tbs almond milk
1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9″x13″ baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Toast the almonds and sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often until golden brown. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the nuts and fruit.

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

Combine the flax mixture with the vanilla and let it sit for 10 minutes. Add the flax meal and almond milk to the dry mix and combine well. Spread the mixture onto the prepared pan. You can press down pretty hard—I would say until the mixture is about a 1/2″ thick.

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 33-35 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool for 10 minutes.

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

Return it back into the pan and place in the freezer for another 10 minutes. Remove from the freezer, cool for 10 minutes and then cut into squares. I’m not sure what the rationale behind this cooling process is, especially since they still fell apart a little when I cut them, but that’s just what the recipe says to do . . .

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars -- Epicurean Vegan

No matter how they’re cut, they’re delicious. Enjoy!

Reboot Wrap-Up

So I did about 6.5 days of the reboot and I feel GREAT! I won’t lie . . . it wasn’t easy, but it was well-worth it. I’ve lost about 6 pounds, too. This reboot is a great way to jump start you into healthier eating habits. As much as I loved my vino, I actually didn’t miss it since there were so many other things I couldn’t eat. I discovered new foods and learned to love those green smoothies every morning. I also really loved this mango-strawberry-pineapple-avocado smoothie:

This morning, we headed over to one of our favorite restaurants, The Rainbow.


Restaurant breakfasts can be tough since most items have egg, milk and meat in them. But The Rainbow offers some great vegan items.

As you can see . . . about 98% of the vegan items on the breakfast menu are under “Light & Healthy.” Hmmm . . . what does that tell you? ;) Anyway, I usually get Dan’s Groatmeal. It’s amazing! It’s a bowl full of oatmeal, granola, fruit and you can order soy milk to go with it. I highly recommend it! Oh—and they also make a vegan coffeecake that is to die for!!

One thing this reboot taught me, was that I needed a new blender. Mine sucked. I had an old Hamilton Beach and the only good thing about it, was the pitcher was glass. That’s how old it was. Anyway, I went shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond and after talking with the electronics guy who went through all the specs of all the blenders, I settled on the Ninja.

This thing is amazing and highly satisfying to use. For $80 (I used one of their 20% off coupons), it comes with a 1000 watts and features a vertical 3-blade system. It crushes ice like nobody’s business. When I fired it up to make smoothies for a picnic this afternoon, The Husband remarked that it sounded like a jet plane taking off. The Seventh Grader joked, “I thought ninjas were supposed to be quiet.”

Mango-Strawberry-Cherry smoothies

For the picnic, I also made some hummus and crock cheez and instead of eating them with bread or crackers, we brought cucumber slices, celery, and yellow & red bell peppers with us.

We also picked up some noodles with sesame oil, cucumber, and cilantro from Whole Foods.

It’s been a delicious day . . . and Moe enjoyed the picnic, too.