For plant-based eaters who prefer a farmer’s market over an outdoor vegan fest, please know I get it. It’s not that vegan foods are bad, although there are certainly a lot of unhealthy ones out there, its that far too often these products contain oil, refined sugar, syrups, or other undesirable sweeteners, too much sodium, or ingredients that I can’t pronounce.
If most of your diet is whole food plant-based then very few commercially prepared foods are on your pantry’s shelf or in the refrigerator or freezer because finding really stellar products – foods made with top notch ingredients without all the additives, and that taste great – is tough (there is just no getting around being vigilant and reading labels).
Every once in a while, a truly great product is introduced (and it feels like a reward when you find it), which is the case with Granola Bites by the Organic Pantry Co. Granola Bites are tasty pieces of granola (almost like small cookies) with mulberries (Cashew, Date & Mulberry) or coconut and raisins (Coconut, Cacao, and Raisin) : Read more
The peanut butter cup is one of America’s fave treats for good reason: rich, creamy peanut butter enrobed in luscious chocolate is an unbeatable combination loved by adults and children alike. There’s really nothing quite like a peanut butter cup, especially one made by Eat Chic Chocolates of Brooklyn, New York.
The company’s classic peanut butter cup – the Peanut Butter Cup with Sea Salt (made with 71% dark chocolate) – is exquisite but its the Coconut Sugar Peanut Butter Cup that’s garnering lots of attention. Why you ask? Because this peanut butter cup has only 2 grams of sugar (unrefined coconut sugar) per peanut butter cup (compared to 8 grams in the same sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup).
The Coconut Sugar Peanut Butter Cup is a healthier and more delicious version of the quintessential peanut butter cup, especially if your passion is for dark chocolate and a peanut butter cup that isn’t overly sweet.
These peanut butter cups are made with 3 major ingredients:
One of the challenges of eating a plant-based diet is finding ways to make desserts with little or no oil and no refined sugar. But, the challenge is deeper than that because a truly nutritious treat is also about what is included. Ideally, ingredients that stand alone as nutritious and delicious.
I started with a recipe called Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars by Dreena Burton and adapted the ingredients to come up with a recipe for Oat Bars that contain whole grain oats, whole grain oat flour, seeds, nuts, spices, date syrup, dark chocolate chips, and non-dairy milk. Basically, these bars are whole-grain and plant-based with no dairy, no oil, no refined sugar, and no eggs.
Oat Bars have a base of rolled oats and oat flour whose flavor is enhanced with what I call “the big 3” – pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and dark chocolate chips. The big 3 are simply three wholesome ingredients that are super tasty together. But, if you find raisins, walnuts, and sunflower seeds more to your liking, make a substitution. Read more
One of the great benefits of following a plant-based diet is enjoying dark chocolate whose subtle differences in taste, texture, and aroma become more pronounced over time. Acquiring a taste for dark chocolate evolves but once you’ve come to appreciate the purity and intensity of dark chocolate, you’ll never want to eat milk chocolate ever again. The difference is really that striking.
Dr-Cow, a small storefront in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn is known for making organic, raw, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and soy-free food products, especially tree nut cheese, granola, biscotti, crackers, desserts, and chocolates. Read more
Simply the best cereal on the market.
Muesli is a breakfast cereal made up of raw rolled oats, grains, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds that is typically enjoyed with your favorite type of milk or yogurt (note: I find it especially delicious with unsweetened Milkadamia – a non-dairy nut milk).
Some people claim that muesli is just raw granola but that description doesn’t do the Swiss invention justice. While many of the ingredients are the same, muesli differs from granola in three ways: muesli is not baked, does not contain oil, and typically has no added sweeteners. Read more
Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and pasta are not two foods that people think about putting together but if you’re looking for a fresh delicious new take on a summer pasta salad, look no further. Chickpea pasta is delicious, has a slightly heavier texture and heartier flavor than white pasta, and is infinitely more nutritious with 12 grams of protein and 1 gram of natural sugar per serving.
Full of greens, vegetables, and beans, the Chickpea Pasta Salad doesn’t need any oil or sauce to bring it together. Instead, the addition of an avocado (chopped) and the juice from a fresh lemon add a creamy tangy texture to the salad. Read more
Right across the Williamsburg Bridge on a quiet street (South 6th) in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, is a tiny store called Dr-Cow that makes tree nut cheeses that taste just like cheese, only better (and unlike any of the commercial non-dairy cheese substitutes sold in grocery stores). These organic, dairy-free, raw, and plant-based cheeses are low in fat, sodium, and calories, have no cholesterol, and are high in iron and plant protein.
At Dr-Cow, tree nut cheeses are made the same way exceptional dairy cheeses are made: with three ingredients – milk, a culture, and salt – but instead of cow milk, Dr-Cow uses nuts (primarily cashews and macadamia nuts) which means, Dr-Cow cheeses contain no gluten, no casein, no soy and are lactose-free. And, yet, they taste incredible. Read more
It’s like eating cookie dough, only better.
Almond Butter Oat Chocolate Chip Crumble is a chewy, delicious, and nutritious topping that take minutes to make, a few hours to chill and seconds to devour. With only six ingredients: almond butter, whole grain oats, almonds, maple syrup, chocolate chips, and a touch of salt, Almond Butter Oat Chocolate Chip Crumble is the perfect topping for baked fruit, oatmeal, whole grain cereals, or ice cream because it satisfies a sweet craving while providing lots of nutrients and fiber without added refined sugar or flour. Read more
Millet is a mild-tasting grass although the texture is that of a grain which means millet goes well with all sorts of vegetables, especially greens and beans. Often referred to as pearl millet, the small grains look like little yellow pearls and cook in about 15 minutes.
The following recipe is a variation of a recipe (Millet Vegetable Fattoush) from the Purple Carrot. The low-sodium vegetable broth adds some flavor to the millet while the vegetables give the salad a delicious crunch. Beans add some depth to the salad along with the avocado and walnuts. I prefer a lemon vinaigrette sprinkled very lightly over the salad. Read more