Black Bean Brownies

I found my first bean brownie recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog years ago and they became my first introduction to brownies made from beans and without flour. I loved the flavor and ease of preparation. I’ve now made so many different variations, but this is an oldie but goodie, so I had to rework to recipe to ditch maple syrup and sugar. I hope you enjoy them.

[soy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free recipe]

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (one can, drained and rinsed or homemade, ideally in a pressure cooker for softness, rinsed; bonus points if you catch the beans while they are hot – they will help absorb the oats)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
10 Medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup canola, sunflower or safflower oil* (any neutral flavor oil is fine)
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract**
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (try Completely Cacao or Taza’s 100% chips for a no-sugar version)
1 cup walnuts or almonds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9×9″ baking pan with parchment paper or if you want to go the trash-free version, line a 9×12″ baker with a Silpat or similar silicone liner.

Grind all the ingredients, except the chocolate chips and nuts if using, until very smooth. Add in the chips and nuts and pulse, until the new additions are small chunks.

Bake in a preheated oven for 15-18 minutes.

* If you live close to VomFass, lucky you – they have a Canola oil that tastes like melted cow butter. Try it. You’ll never go back to ultra processed Canola.
** If you’re a lucky human who lives near a Trader Joe’s, try their glycerin vanilla. It’s much cheaper than other stores’ versions and has a great flavor.

Tahini Squares

When we thought that my children’s school did not allow nuts on premises and with humans who are doing sports and therefore starving all the time, I had to create seed-based snacks that were packed with good protein, carbs and the right kind of sugar. Here is my take on a snack bar: without nuts or cane sugar.

[soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free recipe]

For the base:
1/3 cup tahini (ground sesame paste)
15 medjool dates
2 tbsp maple syrup or date syrup
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
pinch of salt
zest from 1 organic orange
For the chocolate topping
1 cup dark chocolate chips*
1 tbsp coconut oil

Grind all the base ingredients until you have formed a sticky dough. Press into a 9×9″ pan lined with parchment or, if you want to go the trash-free way, line a 9×12″ baker with a Silpat silicone cookie sheet liner (the edges will come up the sides – that’s ok). Your base should form a relatively unform flat bottom.

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or using the microwave method. Mix in the coconut oil until uniform. Pour over the base and place in the refrigerator to set. The bars will be ready to cut or pull apart in about an hour or less. Store in an airtight container, in the fridge.

* If using either the Trader Joe’s Completely Cacao chips or Taza 100% (neither of which have added sugar), add 2-4 tbsp of agave into the melted chocolate mixture until it tastes to a level of sweetness that you like. Start with 2 tbsp, mix, taste, add up to 2 tbsp more as desired.

Strawberry Pecan Thumbprint cookies

The idea of this recipe comes from Sarah Britton’s My New Roots, which is still one of my favourite books. I’ve modified many recipes from her collection because not all are vegan. This one, though, I modified for allergies, plus a general preference to avoid sugar (maple syrup in this case).


2 bags of frozen strawberries, 10oz each
1 tsp agar powder


3 cups of rolled oats
9 dates
1/3 cup pecans
2 tsp arrowroot powder, tapioca flour or potato starch
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup vegan butter (I use Myoko’s oat) or coconut oil
1/2 cup non dairy milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Make the jam: Bring the strawberries to a boil over a gentle heat, sprinkle in the agar, mix to ensure that the agar has distributed throughout, and boil for another 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool. The mixture will slowly begin to gel.
Note: if you want a perfectly smooth jelly for the centers, you could stick blender the mixture. I have done it both ways and prefer chunks of strawberries in mine.

Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. Prepare a lined cookie sheet.

Make the cookies: Grind the oats, dates and pecans in the food processor until the mixture is the consistency of crumbs. DO NOT OVERMIX! You don’t want a paste.

Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until you get a uniform, thick mixture that comes together enough to be rolled out. With damp hands, take about 1 tbsp of the mixture, roll into a ball and place on the lined cookie sheet. Using your thumb, press into the cookie to make a well in the center. Continue with the rest of the batter. You don’t need to give the cookies more than about 1/4″ of space between each other.

Add the jam, about 1 tsp at a time, to the center well. You’ll want it to be towering on the cookie but not spilling over the sides.

Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes. They are done when the edges start getting golden brown.

Chocolate Pumpkin Custard

dairy-free, egg-free, soy free, gluten-free, flour-free

This time of year, I simply cannot walk past the farmers market or a farm stand without getting a sugar pumpkin. Soon enough, I am looking at a fridge overflowing with pumpkin puree and it’s at this point that I turn to this recipe to make a smooth delectable treat that comes together quickly.

You can make your own pumpkin puree by roasting a sugar pumpkin in the oven. Simply wash the outside of a sugar pumpkin, split it open, scoop out the seeds (you can roast them separately at 375F with olive oil and spices for about 10-15 minute until light brown and crispy). Scoop any slimy parts. Place the halves face down on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven, at 375 for about 30-45 minutes (depending on size). You’ll know the pumpkin is done when you can easily pierce it with a fork. Remove the outside skin (and add to your compost pile), add the inside to a food processor and process until smooth.

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cup unsweetened non dairy milk (I use oatmilk)
1/2 cup packed, pitted Medjool dates*
1/4 cup cacao powder
1 tsp agar powder
1 tsp arrowroot or tapioca powder or potato starch
1 tsp cinnamon**
1/4 tsp nutmeg**
1/4 tsp cloves**
1 tbsp vanilla, ideally the non-alcoholic variety (yes, tablespoon)
1.4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C and fill a tea kettle with water.

In a food processor or blender, add all the ingredients and blend until smooth. Very smooth – be sure the dates are well processed.

Prepare 6-10 ramekins (depending on the size you have) and a baker or two to fit them inside. They will need to rest flat inside the baker. You’ll need the baker for the Bain Marie. I won’t give detailed instructions on how to do a Bain Marie because there is no end to the tutorials to be found online and if you’ve watched a few episodes of the Great British Baking Show, you’ve seen someone lose their spot by doing it incorrectly, so now you know what not to do.

Bring the kettle to a boil.

Once the custard is smooth, pour or scoop into ramekins, filling about 2/3 of the way. Place the ramekins into the baker and then place into the oven on a rack you’ve pulled out just far enough that you can add water to the space inside the baker and outside the ramekins being very careful not to get water into the ramekins that are standing inside. Very gingerly move the baker into the oven and close the door.

Bake for 28-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the ramekins from the baker onto a cooling rack (I usually do this with a set of silicone lined tongues). Once the ramekins have cooled, place them in the fridge.

We’ve eaten these straight out of the oven, before they even set and the texture is soft. Once they’ve set, they will be closer to the texture of a pumpkin pie, which is where I think I first got the idea of combining pumpkin and chocolate and setting it as a custard.

* If you cannot find Medjool dates, you can use Deglet but you’ll have to soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes. Do this while you get the rest of the ingredients into the food processor.

** If you’ve never bought your spices in bulk, I highly recommend that you find a store near you. You’ll smell the difference once you open the jar and then taste it in the finished dessert.

Vegan waffles

[dairy free, egg free, soy free]

Waffles are a thing in my family: we eat them for breakfast, snack, lunch, we love them with my sweet potato caramel sauce, or cranberry and dates relish, maple syrup, the works. These go fast, but they don’t store well, so expect to use them with a day or two of cooking them.


Makes 3 large square waffles.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup nondairy, unsweetened milk
1/2 cup aquafaba
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl.  Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients.  Mix well – there should be no dry spots and the batter should look uniform.

Heat up your waffle iron, letting the batter rest while the waffle iron heats up.  Oil the grills if necessary, add the recommended amount of batter for your waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. If you do manage to cook these ahead of time without them disappearing into the bellies of hungry family members, you can keep them crisp in a 200F oven for <30 minutes of cooking time, else they will dry out.

Vegan crepes

[egg free, dairy free, soy free, corn free]

I’ve spent quite a lot of time looking for a good vegan crepe recipe, even at some point developing one on my own that had 13 ingredients.  Needless to say, it’s hard to get the perfect mixture of softness and pliability without the raw taste or burnt outside.  This recipe, which is a modification on the recipe in Aquafaba by Zhu Dever (and a book I recommend if you’re into playing with Aquafaba), uses whole wheat flour.


Makes 10 crepes.

2 1/2 cups non dairy unsweetened milk (almond is best)
3/4 cup aquafaba
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp molasses
oil for frying

Place all ingredients, except frying oil, in a food processor or blender.  Blend for 2 minutes, then let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes or make it the night before.

Heat up a flying pan (cast iron works well), to medium heat.  Grease the pan with a thin layer of canola or safflower oil. Pour in a ladle of batter and swirl to distribute.  Cook between 1-3 minutes on each side, depending on your stove and pan, until the edges just start to turn brown.  Flip, cook the other side.

Stack cooked crepes on a plate, under a clean kitchen towel.  I often have 2 flying pans working at the same time: a 10 inch cast iron and a crepe pan and I still have a hard time making these fast enough before my family starts to dive into the stack.  Enjoy!

Vegan Banana Pancakes

[vegan, no-dairy, no-eggs]

The other day, I stumbled on the Thug Kitchen recipe for banana pancakes and my family gobbled up the finished product in 3 minutes.   But I had made serious modifications to the recipe which I will share with you.  These pancakes are even more fluffy with a stronger banana flavor.

2 cups of soy milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 ripe bananas
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp molasses

In the measuring cup, add the vinegar to the soy milk and let rest (the milk will curdle).

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.

In a large bowl, combine the flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt, sifting in the baking soda and baking powder.  Whisk until uniform.

Add the molasses to the bananas and stir (some streaks may remain).  Add the banana mixture and the soymilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until uniform.

Preheat a frying pan over medium heat. Using a large spoon, place pancake batter on the skillet.  Turn when you see bubbles form on the edges and remain.

Oatmeal pancakes

vegan, soy free, flourless, with aquafaba

My kids love oatmeal, so I created these pancakes as my take on oatmeal in fried form.  Enjoy this wholesome goodness, which is made with my new favorite ingredient – aquafaba.

1 cup non-dairy vanilla milk
1 cup aquafaba (chickpea water*)
2 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla (2 tsp if using plain non-dairy milk)
5 dates, medjool if you can find them, pitted
1/2 cup pecans, optional (I love the taste of pecans, which add extra fiber and protein.  If you don’t, simply omit.)
1/2 cup raisins, optional
coconut or non-gmo canola oil for frying

Place all the ingredients except raisins in a food processor and grind for at least 2 minutes.   If you put things in the order above, the oats will have a chance to soften in the liquids while you measure out the rest of the ingredients.

Let the batter stand while you heat up your pan and at least 10 minutes.  Resist the urge to add more oats to your batter – it will firm up as it rests.

Add oil to your pan and fry the pancakes, adding one large tablespoon of batter per pancake, until bubbles form on the edges, then flip for another 1-2 minutes.

* Aquafaba is chickpea water – either from chickpeas you have boiled at home or from the can.  If boiling at home, consider adding a small square of dried kelp to help gelatenize the chickpea water and add the much needed iodine to your vegan diet.

The missing opportunity

I’ve been doing a lot of donating lately – mostly to organizations fighting climate chance, preserving natural wonders and the like.  I’ve completed a lot of donation forms and the one thing that’s always missing is the choice to make my donation recur quarterly or yearly.  In fact, only the Center for Biological Diversity had a quarterly donation option, which I happily clicked.

Monthly donations, which at first sound like a good idea, leave a lot of money in the hands of credit card companies that are taking a snip out every monthly gift I give.

Many organizations also spend an inordinate amount of effort and money re-enrolling their members on a yearly basis. The Museum of Science in Boston is the notable exception that has figured out that all they need to do is send us an email with a reminder that our membership renews in 30 days, then charge our card. We never object and it’s far easier for us to support their work and much easier for them to collect our membership fee.

For most non-profits, the cost in the software and process changes that would make the automatic yearly donations possible would be easily covered by the increased returns. This is the same strong force (some call it nudge) behind the Opt-Out systems that increase retirement savings rates, clean electricity participation, etc. It’s time for the non-profit sector to get on board.

Vegan cutout sugar cookies, whole wheat style

(dairy-free, egg-free, vegan)

I know I’m going to get a lot of flack for adding whole wheat flour to sugar cookies.  My kids ate them anyway – every single one – so I think they are a hit.  The original recipe came from Minimalist Baker.  I also don’t frost my cookies, but if you want to, look for raw frosting recipes: they are usually well sweetened but much easier on your waistline. Note that since you’re using whole wheat flour, vanilla and molasses, these will be the color of molasses cookies, rather than a typical white confection.  Skip the molasses and the baking soda if you want a cookie that’s lighter in color.

  • 1 stick vegan butter such as Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup sucanat or raw sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba (chickpea water)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  1. Add butter to a large mixing bowl and cream with a mixer.
  2. Add sugar, aquafaba, vanilla and molasses and beat for 1 minute.
  3. Add the dry ingredients, sifting in baking powder and baking soda.  Don’t skip the sifting – especially baking soda can clump and you only have to taste it once to see why I always sift.
  4. Refrigerate for at 30-60 minutes.
  5. Once you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Roll out the dough on rolling mat or on a floured surface.  Cut shapes and place on lined baking sheets.  If your shapes vary greatly in size, separate the small and large into different pans.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.   This is when, especially if you have children or hungry spouses cookies have a tendency to disappear into thin air.