Category Archives: vegan

Millet salad bento

This simple grain salad has made for a couple of great lunches this week.I roasted two sweet potatoes and an onion, which I tossed in powdered chipotle pepper, cumin, paprika, salt and a bit of oil,for about 20 minutes. I mixed that with some cooked millet (about 3/4 cup dry) and some black beans (the equivalent of about a can – the beans were home-cooked in the pressure cooker and had been frozen). I then squeezed in the juice of one lime. Good balance of flavours, and nice and filling!

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Effortless Apple Cake

A slightly different version of this cake has appeared in these pages before, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to redo it with these pretty pictures. This is a gluten-free and veganized version of one of my mother’s recipes, which is different from most apple cakes I have eaten in that it really mostly consists of just apples. The original recipe is flavored mainly with cardamom, but here I use our magic ingredient of the moment – apple pie spice. It contains cinnamon, fenugreek, lemon peel, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, and can take any oatmeal or apple dessert to a whole new level. Yum!

Gluten-free, vegan, effortless apple cake

  • 3 small/medium somewhat tart apples, chopped into smallish chunks (No need to peel, unless you really want to)
  • squish of lemon juice
  • 200 ml flour – I used half gluten-free flour blend and half sweet rice flour
  • 150 ml sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar (if using liquid, then mix it with the melted butter)
  • generous sprinkling of apple pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum (you can omit this if using a gluten-free flour blend which already contains some)
  • 60 ml melted butter/butter alternative
  • 3-4 tbsp unsweetened apple sauce, or as needed

Chop the apples into small-ish chunks. It should add up to approximately 1 liter of apple chunks. Squish some lemon over them to prevent browning.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add apples and stir to coat.

Melt “butter” and pour over the apples. Stir. Add apple sauce until you don’t see dry specks of flour anymore and you have a bowl full of apples coated in a relatively thin layer of smooth batter.

Spread into a square pan, flattening the apples into the pan with the back of the spoon. Bake for 45 min or so at 190C, until knife comes out clean and the cake is golden brown. Enjoy!

(sorry, by the time it was done the good natural light was gone..)

Pumpkin seed butter.

I used to envy people who weren’t allergic to nuts for being able to eat almond butter. It seemed so satisfying. Then, in Toronto, I discovered that I need not pine for almond butter – I could eat pumpkin seed butter instead! Canadian health food stores stock pumpkin seed butter from a company called “Nuts to you”. It had a somewhat odd brownish-green color, but is totally addictive. When I served it to out-of-town guests, they invariably ended up bringing a jar home, and personally I went through literally a jar of this stuff every week, eating it for breakfast on rye bread, with honey on top, and eating it by the spoonful out of the fridge as a snack.

I’ve missed it sorely here in Norway, now that I have gone through the stash I brought from Canada. But no more need for that – because pumpkin seeds + food processor = pumpkin seed butter 🙂

Pumpkin seed butter

  • 350 g pumpkin seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • <1 tsp sea salt

I find that raw pumpkin seeds have a slightly unpleasant bitterness to them, so I prefer to toast them first. (The Nuts to You version that I used to buy was also made from pre-toasted seeds.) Thus, the first step is to spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking dish and toast them for 15 minutes or so at 150C. Then, you let them cool.

Once they have cooled, you put them in your food processor, and just let it run for a LONG time. First, they will turn into an increasingly fine powder. Then, the powder will start to clump. Around this time, I would add the coconut oil, while the food processor is running. Throughout, you will need to stop the food processor at regular intervals to push the stuff back down, as it tends to get pushed to the side and out of reach of the spinning blades. Eventually (maybe 7-10 minutes? I didn’t keep track), you will have pumpkin seed butter, which you can scoop into a container. It will initially be quite runny, but it will set in the fridge to a relatively solid, but still spreadable, texture.

Eat on bread, with honey on top (this picture features my home-made gluten-free bread):

Potato and kale winter salad.

For dinner today I made this fabulous warm salad from Epicurious, with roasted potatoes and garlic and kale, and a tahini lemon sauce. I didn’t use cheese, as I am off dairy lately, bit I did sprinkle in some nutritional yeast. Not sure if it made much difference. Because I had thick curly kale, I figured it wouldn’t wilt like it said in the recipe, so I blended it with the potatoes towards the end of the cooking time and let the kale roast for a few minutes (not long enough to make kale chips..) Great sauce, great flavors, great way to eat lotsa veggies. Will make again!

Bean and pesto mini muffins (vegan, gluten-free)

I saw a food intolerance doctor this past week, and for the time being, I am eating gluten- and dairy free. Given that several important people in my life already do, the adjustments I am having to make are fairly minor – gluten-free oats for breakfast instead of rye bread, soy/rice milk cappuccino. (This is the worst part, honestly! I am finding that a mix of vanilla soy and unsweetened rice milk produces tolerable results). Communal meals were already gluten and dairy free anyway. The biggest challenge I foresee is snacking outside the house – I need to be careful about bringing snacks, since I can’t eat nuts. It seems to me to be the most readily available gluten-free snack, certainly my husband is always nibbling on nuts.

So I have been trying to cook up some food options for bringing to work and having in my bag this week, hence these little savory mini muffins. The base of these muffins are those white beans with lemon and rosemary I made a while back. You can definitely just replace with plain white beans from a can. Then you might think to add some other flavoring (herbs, onions), but you might not need to, since the sundried tomato pesto is quite overpowering. I had some beans left over in the freezer, so I just defrosted them.

This recipe is gluten free and vegan, and this little ones will work nicely as an accompaniment to soups. I think they would also make a great hors d’oeuvre if you are making a fancy dinner or cocktail party for gluten-free friends.

Bean and red pesto mini muffins

  • 1 cup white beans (mine were already seasoned with onion, garlic and spices, see this recipe)
  • replacement for 2 eggs (I used Orgran No-Egg, 2 tsp no-egg plus 4 tbsp water)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • scant cup of unsweetened rice milk or other unsweetened milk substitute
  • 2 tbsp nut-free and dairy-free sun-dried tomato pesto (or normal pesto, if you like, but they often have nuts in them. At any rate, check that it is without nuts and dairy! I use this one)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp guar gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

In a food processor, add the beans and the other wet ingredients (including pesto). Process until you have a fairly smooth mixture, with few lumps.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Stir well to disperse the guar gum in the mixture. Add to the food processor, and process on low speed just until the flour is entirely incorporated.

I baked them up in a mini muffin, at 180C for about 10-12 minutes. You could also make them normal-sized, adjusting the cooking time accordingly. A knife or pin should come out clean.

Lentil butternut squash soup.

There is nothing particularly groundbreaking about this soup. I make variations over this kind of red lentil soup quite a bit in the winter, with carrots or whatever veg I have lying around. It quick and simple – lentils do not require presoaking, and the split red ones, like these, are the quickest to cook. But it’s been a while since I have made one now, and it came to mind as a good solution to my current problem.

I seem to be allergic to something, but I can’t quite figure out what it could be. I’ve gotten quite  unwell from eating the food in the cafeteria at work several times in the past few weeks. Typical food intolerance symptoms – fatigue, brain fog, upset stomach. Simple solution, while waiting for a more comprehensive solution involving a doctor and some investigative work: stop eating the food from said cafeteria and bring my own lunch.

Enter the soup – a quick, low-effort way for me to make three proper lunches I can bring this week! I took some shortcuts, taking advantage of the fact that I had frozen caramelized onion and garlic.

  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 1 small butternut squash, diced
  • about 1 caramelized onion
  • 1 roasted elephant garlic
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or other oil
  • 1 tsp mild madras curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2oo ml coconut milk
  • water
  • 1 low-sodium stock cube
  • salt
  • pepper
  • some paprika

Defrost the pre-caramelized onion and garlic and add to pan with some coconut oil, or fry some fresh onion and garlic for several minutes. Add curry, paprika and garam masala and fry for a minute or two more.

Deglace the pan with the coconut milk and scrape off bits. Stir in the lentils and the butternut squash and the low sodium stock cube (crumbled). Add water to cover, approx. 2 cups. It should look like this:

Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer until all is tender, approx 20-25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Voila!


Lazy weekend.

This past week was just grueling. So this weekend I am making up for it by taking it very easy and hanging out with friends. Yesterday, the co-op where I live (maybe that’s not the right term) had its biannual “dugnad” – a very Norwegian thing which doesn’t translate well. It means everyone gets together to clean up the communal areas. So I raked a bunch of leaves in front of the building. Otherwise it’s been laundry time – slowly going through my delicates. The new laundry machine seems to have a good delicates program. As you can see – not the most interesting weekend.. But I have done some cooking too!

Chia breakfast cereal (gf)

In Toronto, my husband often eats this chia cereal from Ruth’s Hemp Foods. This is a homemade approximation. Gluten-free, good vegan source of omega-3, plenty of fiber.

I soaked 2 tbsp chia seeds with some goji berries in some lactose free milk, and then 5 minutes later I sprinkled in some pumpkin seeds, some buckwheaties and some coconut. Not bad! However, I do think for next time I will get some hemp seeds and cut down on the buckwheaties.

Homemade oat milk (gf, v)

So I have this feeling that maybe I am not handling lactose too well any more. These things can happen as we age, and given that I have consumed very little lactose for several years now, I am wondering if I have become more sensitive to it. I eat much more milk products here in Norway than i did in Canada.

So I have decided to cut out lactose for a few weeks and see what happens. In that context, I have been curious about homemade milk alternatives. Especially because oat milk is generally the one I prefer, but the storebought varieties are not gluten-free (which obviously is not an issue for me, but for other members of my household).

So yesterday I made gluten-free oat milk according to this recipe from Affairs of Living. I did not culture the milk, but still the results were really quite thick (and the milk has not separated, I guess because it was cooked). I think it would perhaps be better for cooking than drinking, so next time I won’t add stevia (I only added  a little bit, and it isn’t too sweet). A pretty fascinating process, actually. I got a nut milk bag recently, which I strained the milk through. It was more work than I expected, though.

Here, the oats and water are simmering away. After putting it through the blender and the nut milk bag, I poured it into this rather decorative bottle 🙂


My exciting grocery find of the week was this tamarind for cooking. I used some for a simple chickpea curry with coconut and tamarind.

And finally, this week’s latte art

I have to say it is rather hit or miss still whether I get this right, but anyway, I am starting to make rather decorative, though somewhat abstract, lactose free cappuccinos.. This is really one of the reasons I am cutting just lactose and not dairy altogether, because there is no way I can get cappuccinos right with milk alternatives….