{Recipe} Nut-free lunchbox snacks: chilli and parsley crackers; oaty carob bites

The following recipes are suitable for a nut-free lunchbox.

Many of the lunchbox snacks that I prepare at home contain nuts, as my school-aged tiny vegans are not restricted from bringing nuts to school. However, 4 year old Tiny Vegan began attending a ‘nut-free’ pre-school earlier this year. Consequently, this has inspired me to experiment with nut-free lunchbox snacks.

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These tasty crackers consist of dried chilli flakes, fresh parsley, nutritional yeast, ground flaxseeds, tahini, oats and brown rice flour.

This recipe was inspired by a gluten-free cracker that I featured during Vegan MoFo. I decided to experiment with a nut-free cracker recipe that consists of pantry staples – like dried chilli flakes and tahini – and fresh herbs. I chose parsley as it grows so abundantly in our little herb garden.

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Ingredients

(Quantity – approximately 40 small crackers)

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (savoury yeast flakes)

1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds (golden or brown)

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 – 1/4 tsp chilli flakes

1 tightly packed tsp of finely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp asofoetida (hing) or garlic powder

2 tsp tahini (sesame paste)

5 Tbsp water

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced/350F. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Use a food processor or coffee grinder to grind the oats to a fine flour. Add the oats to a mixing bowl.

3. Add the remaining dry ingredients, including the fresh parsley and chilli flakes.

4. Add the tahini and water. Mix well with a spatula or fork, then use your hands to form the mixture into a ball of dough.

5. Sprinkle brown rice flour onto a wooden board or kitchen counter. Knead the dough for several minutes on the floured surface, then divide the dough it into about 6 segments*. Use a rolling pin to roll each segment, one at a time, to a thickness of about 3mm. Use a pizza cutter (or knife) to cut the dough into small crackers, roughly 4cm x 4cm.

6. Transfer the crackers to the baking tray. Prick each cracker with the prongs of a fork a couple of times. Bake for approximately 15 -18 minutes, or until the crackers are a light golden brown colour.

7. The crackers will harden as they cool. Once cooled, store in an air tight container.

*I divide the dough into segments as I find it easier to ‘manage’ (ie. roll and cut) a smaller quantity of dough.

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The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

The tiny vegans are enthusiastic about spicy food, so I use the full 1/4 tsp in this recipe. If you – or your kids – are not keen on spicy crackers, use 1/8 tsp for a subtler ‘kick’.

The tiny vegans enjoy these crackers plain, or with dips like hummus.

***

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This recipe is a nut-free version of a recipe that I developed for Vegan MoFo, Nutty Cinnamon Bites.

Ingredients

1 cup oats

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup raw carob powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup dates

1/2 cup sultanas or pitted prunes

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

coconut sugar and/or shredded coconut for coating

Method

1. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor in the order that they are listed.

2. Process the mixture for about 2 minutes, until it clumps together and forms a large ball on the blade. The mixture will stick together when pressed between your fingers and thumb.

3. To form into balls: Scoop out a heaped tablespoon of the mixture, and roll it between the palms of your hands until it forms a ball. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Roll the balls in shredded coconut and/or coconut sugar. Can be eaten immediately, or refrigerated for half an hour before serving. Store leftovers in the fridge.

4. To form into bars: Transfer the mixture from the food processor to a loaf tin lined with baking paper. Press the mixture into the tin with your fingers or a spatula. Smooth the top. Place in the freezer for a couple of hours. Remove from the freezer and cut into bars. The bars can be topped with raw cacao nibs or shredded coconut.

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The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

This recipe is a popular lunchbox snack with the tiny vegans – in ball or bar form.

Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family. I hope your family enjoys it too.

Ally 🙂

{Vegan MoFo} A nut-free, gluten-free lunchbox for a vegan pre-schooler

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My kids are on school holidays at the moment, which means a reprieve from packing lunchboxes.

However, that does not mean you will have a reprieve from hearing about lunchboxes. 🙂

Recently, I featured the lunchboxes of my school-aged kids.

Today, I show you the lunch of 4-year-old Tiny Vegan, who attends a pre-school with a ‘nut-free’ policy.

On Friday, his packed lunch consisted of the following:

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A small bowl of pasta salad – gluten-free spirals, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, celery, red capsicum (bell pepper), freshly picked parsley leaves, and a smidgen of soy mayonnaise.

Strawberries; cucumber and carrot sticks; homemade hommus; chickpeas roasted in vegan worcestershire sauce; goji berries; coconut flakes; sunflower seeds and a bottle of water.

Each child also brings a separate container of cut-up fruit to share with the other children at morning tea. At this time of year, we usually pack orange segments, mandarin segments or strawberries.

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Tiny Vegan’s Verdict

So, what returned home in the afternoon?

A few chickpeas, a few sunflower seeds, a couple of goji berries, a coconut flake or two, a smidgen of hommus, and a segment of the parsley sprig.

I think that’s a ‘thumbs up’. 🙂

***

Check-out my other post on vegan lunchboxes here.

For more vegan pre-school lunchbox inspiration, visit my friend Sarah’s blog Play.Love.Vegan (click here). She is a mum of two tiny vegans, including a pre-schooler. Her lunchboxes are works of art.

Ally

{Vegan MoFo} A gluten-free, vegan lunchbox

Yesterday, I showed you what my kids ate for breakfast.

Today, I show you their lunchboxes.

More specifically, the lunches of my school-aged children.

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One of the valuable aspects of posting (almost) daily during Vegan MoFo, is the opportunity it provides to feature foods that we eat on a day-to-day basis.

I wouldn’t want regular readers to think that we live on cheesecake and cupcakes. 🙂

Although….

I don’t think these lunchboxes help alleviate that impression. Muffins make an appearance. Do they count as cake?

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lunchintroBasmati brown rice with broccoli florets, snowpeas, carrot, tatsoi leaves, tofu, coriander, and a maple-tamari sauce.

***

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I used a gluten-free recipe called banana scented vanilla cake to make the vanilla banana muffins. The recipe is available here.

I reduced the amount of sugar specified in the recipe by a quarter of a cup, and poured the batter into 15 silicone baking cups. I baked the muffins on 160C (fan forced oven) for 16 minutes.

I think this recipe will become my ‘go to’ gluten-free muffin. I anticipate experimenting with flavour combinations in the near future – chocolate chai sounds appealing. 🙂

The (biggest) Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

We can ascertain their ‘verdicts’ based on the remnants that returned home in the lunchboxes.

My daughter’s mandarin segments made the trip home. My son’s lunchbox still contained a few pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes. And all of the rockmelon chunks. But, I won’t hold that against him. During the morning rush (and the lunchbox photography session!), I forgot that he doesn’t like rockmelon.

Ally

{Recipe; Vegan MoFo} Rosemary Crackers

Each week, I prepare a batch of hommus (hummus) for my kids’ lunchboxes.

I also pack their lunchboxes with vegetables – like celery, carrot, red capsicum (bell pepper), snow peas, cucumber –  and crackers, for dipping.

Many store-bought crackers are loaded with sodium, and some contain palm oil (which I am actively trying to avoid). When I have the time, I prefer to make crackers at home.

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These gluten-free crackers are made with almonds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, and brown rice flour. They are delicious and simple to prepare.

The recipe is available at Oh She Glows (click here for the recipe).

I make a few small changes to the original recipe:

  • I use asafoetida (hing) powder instead of garlic powder.
  • I omit the thyme.
  • I use fresh rosemary from our herb garden instead of dried rosemary.
  • I add an additional 1/2 tablespoon of water.
  • I add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil.
  • My crackers cook in only 12 minutes.

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The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

These crackers are very popular with the Tiny Vegans (and their parents!). They all enjoy them plain, and my daughter particularly relishes eating her crackers with hommus.

Ally

{Recipe} Orange and Coconut Mini Muffins

The weather has cooled down in my neck of the woods. The arrival of Winter heralds an abundance of luscious citrus fruits. Friends have presented us with backyard-grown lemons and limes. Country road-side stalls are bursting with mandarins.

Last week, we had a glut of oranges. The Tiny Vegans enjoy eating oranges, cut into segments. Mat and I add a peeled orange to our green smoothies. I decided to incorporate them into some baked goods: orange and coconut muffins.

Regular readers won’t be surprised when I mention that these muffins are perfect for lunch boxes! Eat a few in their freshly baked state, store some in an airtight container, and freeze the rest.

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Ingredients

Quantity- 22 mini muffins

1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour

2 Tbsp dessicated coconut

1/3 cup raw sugar

3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (approx. 2 oranges)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Coconut chips for decoration

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F. Grease a mini muffin tray or line the tray with paper cups. Alternatively, use silicone cups.

2. To a large mixing bowl, add flour, coconut, and sugar. Mix to combine.

3. In a small mixing bowl, combine orange juice, applesauce, and vanilla extract. There is no need to strain the orange juice – some pulp is ok.

4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well to combine the ingredients. Refrain from over-stirring the mixture. You don’t want rubbery muffins!

5. Spoon a metric tablespoon of batter into each silicone cup (or paper cup). Top each muffin with coconut chips.

6. Bake for 7-9 minutes.

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We have been spending our Winter days playing in the sun:

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baking with friends:

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and enjoying warm bowls of porridge (oatmeal) on chilly mornings:

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***

Each Monday, I feature a scrumptious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family  – I hope your family enjoys it too.

Ally

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{Recipe} Vegan Lunchbox Snacks

After last week’s booze-soaked, caffeine-fueled decadence, it’s time to re-focus on child-friendly recipes. 🙂

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Last week, a friend was lamenting the relentlessness of the school lunchbox routine. I can relate!

So, for those that suffer from periodic (or chronic) lunchbox loathing, I am featuring three recipes that may provide some much-needed inspiration.

1. Baked Crackers – Spelt and Spicy Wheat

2. Cinnamon Cookie Dough Bars

3. Crispy Edamame

At the end of this post, I have included links to other ‘lunchbox-friendly’ recipes on Made of Stars.

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Most store-bought crackers are heavy on sodium. Many contain palm oil (for info on why palm oil is not a cruelty-free food, see this post). Some contain undesirable additives.

These crackers are tasty on their own or teamed with a dip, such as hummus. My daughter enjoys them with avocado. They are simple to prepare, and my kids are enthusiastic about helping to make them. They particularly enjoy rolling and cutting the dough, and sprinkling the seeds on top.

I have included recipes for two different varieties:

Spelt Crackers

(Adapted from this recipe)

Quantity- 26 small crackers

**Ingredients**

1 cup wholemeal spelt flour

4 Tbsp water

1/2 tsp salt

1.5 Tbsp coconut oil (in liquid form)

1/4 tsp ground cumin

poppy seeds

sesame seeds

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.

2. Add the flour to a large mixing bowl. Add the cumin. Mix well.

3. Add the water to a small jug. Add the salt to the jug and stir well until salt is dissolved.

4. Add the oil to the jug, and mix. Then pour the liquid into the mixing bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

5. As the flour begins to clump together, and becomes difficult to stir with the wooden spoon, use your hands to form the mixture into a dough. Work the dough until it becomes malleable.

6. Lightly flour the kitchen bench with additional flour, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a thin sheet.

7. It is preferable to have crackers that are roughly the same size (about 4.5 x 3cm). To achieve this, use a pizza cutter to cut the sheet of dough into a symmetrical rectangle. Retain the ‘off cuts’.  Cut the crackers with the pizza cutter, then place them onto a large, lined baking tray.

8. Repeat the process with the remaining dough (the ‘off cuts’). To obtain a consistent size, you can use a cut cracker as a guide.

9. Evenly space all of the crackers on the baking tray. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Use the rolling pin (or your fingers) to press the seeds onto the crackers.

10. Bake for 12 minutes.

11. Remove from oven and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.

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Spicy Wheat Crackers

(Adapted from this recipe)

Quantity – 11 large crackers

**Ingredients**

1 cup wholemeal wheat flour

1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp dried marjoram

4 Tbsp water

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp coconut oil (in liquid form)

Poppy seeds

Sesame seeds

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.

2. Add flour to a large mixing bowl. Add the cayenne pepper and marjoram. Mix well.

3. Follow steps 3-6 in the previous recipe.

4. If you want to make larger crackers (as we did), cut them into 7 x 5 cm rectangles, and bake for 14 minutes (otherwise follow steps 7-10 above).

5. Once cooled, store crackers in an air tight container.

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Cinnamon Cookie Dough Bars

These bars are rich and decadent, and free of oil and refined sugar. They are a simple, yet satisfying snack.

I’m sure that regular readers will not be surprised when I reveal the creator of these fabulous bars.

Yes, it’s one of Dreena’s recipes. 😉

The bars consist of cashews, hemp seeds, shredded coconut, rolled oats, dates, and cinnamon. Sunflowers seeds are a good substitution for the hemp seeds. I like to use a combination of cashews and macadamia nuts.

I store the bars in the freezer. I adore their consistency when devoured straight from the freezer. You can freeze the entire slice uncut, and use a sharp knife to cut a slice as desired. However, I prefer to store it pre-sliced.

The recipe is available here.

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Crispy Edamame

All of the Tiny Vegans enjoy steamed, unshelled edamame -the type that is available in Japanese restaurants. Recently, I purchased a bag of frozen, shelled edamame. I baked them with nutritional yeast, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. They were delicious!

Ingredients

2 cups frozen, and shelled edamame, thawed

1/2 – 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (ie. savoury yeast flakes)

Salt

Pepper

Method

1.Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.

2. Add thawed edamame to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with a small quantity of salt and pepper, then add 1/2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast. Mix well to coat the beans. Add another 1/2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast if desired.

3. Spread beans onto a lined baking tray. Bake for 20-25, until beans begin to brown and turn crispy.

4. Allow beans to cool, then store in an airtight container.

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Little Baker adored these beans! For toddlers, omit the salt and pepper.

We added the leftover beans to a tofu and vegetable stir fry.

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Check out these vegan lunchbox posts on Made of Stars:

Gluten-free lunchboxes for school kids

A gluten-free lunchbox for a pre-schooler

Nut-free lunchbox snacks

More ‘lunchbox friendly’ recipes:

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Banana Oat Bars

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cupslunchb

Cucumber and Nori Cups

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Nutty Veggie Burgers

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chickpeas

Tamari-roasted Chickpeas

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Pecan Date Nibblers

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Cinnamon Date Slice

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Wholemeal Spelt and Chia Pancakes

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What are your children’s favourite lunchbox snacks?  What are your favourite lunchbox snacks?

Ally

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe (or three!) that is enjoyed by my own family  – I hope your family enjoys it too.

{Recipe} Cucumber and Nori Cups

I was inspired to create Cucumber and Nori Cups after seeing a recipe called Cucumber Cups in the Veggieful e-book, Vegan Party Food. With beautiful photographs and scrumptious recipes, this e-book is a bargain at only $2.95.

I wanted to make an after school snack for my kids that fit the following criteria: healthy, visually appealing, simple to prepare, and not requiring cooking.

I was planning to make Cucumber and Nut Cheese Bites (using hommus instead of nut cheese) when I remembered the Cucumber Cups I had seen in Vegan Party Food. Veggieful’s Cucumber Cups are packed with satay tofu. I am yet to make them, but they look truly delectable.

I packed my cucumber cups with ingredients that were available in my kitchen. Then I wrapped them in strips of nori (seaweed).

Cucumbercups

Ingredients

Continental (telegraph) Cucumber

hommus

grated carrot

chopped pineapple

cubed beetroot

raw cashews 

sesame seeds

poppy seeds

raw cashews

nori sheet

Method

1. Cut the cucumber into 3 cm pieces (approximately). Obviously, the length of your cucumber will determine the number of cups. Use more than one cucumber if you want to make a larger quantity.

2. Scoop out some of the flesh using a teaspoon:

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3. Add a dollop of hommus to each cup. Add the grated carrot. Then add pineapple, beetroot, and cashews. Sprinkle some cups with poppy seeds, and some with sesame seeds.

4. Cut thin strips from a sheet of nori. Wrap each strip snuggly around the cups, then moisten the end with water to ‘stick’ it down.

5. Serve.

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This is a very ‘flexible’ recipe. You can use a different combination of vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Use nut cheese, nut butter, vegan cream cheese, or other dips instead of hommus. You can omit the nori.

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This recipe need never be the same each time you make it. Be guided by the ingredients in your kitchen.

A tip: If you don’t use hommus, use a ‘thick’ dip. A runny dip will spill over the sides when you add the rest of the ingredients. Yes, it happened to me. 🙂

What is your favourite party food? 

Each Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my family. I hope your family enjoys it too.

Sharing this recipe with Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Ally

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