{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.

***

oatbites1

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 🙂

{Recipe} Raspberry Jam Tea Cake

You know the saying about books and refraining from judging their covers? Well, today, I am asking you to extend this sentiment to cakes. Specifically, my cake.

In the spirit of upside-down cakes, I bring you Raspberry Jam Tea Cake. What it lacks in visual appeal, it well and truly makes up for in taste.  This cake would make a delicious accompaniment to a steaming cup of hot tea on a chilly day.

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I am not laying on the hyperbole when I tell you that this entire cake was eaten in under 10 minutes in my household!

Raspberry Jam Tea Cake consists of organic frozen raspberries, wholemeal spelt flour, freshly squeezed lemon juice, brown sugar, and desiccated coconut. I bestowed it with this name because the syrupy, berry topping is very reminiscent of a fine raspberry jam.

Ingredients

Quantity – 8-10 slices

1 cup organic frozen raspberries

1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup + 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar 

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour

3/4 cup desiccated coconut

1/2 cup caster sugar

3/4 tsp bicarbonate soda

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

5 Tbsp unsweetened apple sauce

additional desiccated coconut for decoration

Method

1. Line a 18 cm x 18 cm (7 in x 7 in) square cake pan with baking paper. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.

2. In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil. Add 1/4 cup of brown sugar and lemon juice. Stir until a syrup forms. Add raspberries, and stir well until coated with the sugar syrup.

3. Cook berries for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

4.  In a large mixing bowl, add flour, caster sugar, sifted bicarb soda, and coconut. Mix well to combine.

5. In a measuring jug, add almond milk and applesauce. Whisk with a fork.

6. Pour almond milk mixture into the mixing bowl. Mix well until just combined.

7. Sprinkle half a tablespoon of brown sugar across the base of the cake pan. Pour berry mixture into the pan, and spread evenly across the base.

8. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan on top of the berry mixture. Do not worry if some of the berry mixture seeps into the batter.

9. Bake for about 30 minutes. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.

10. Allow the cake pan to sit on a kitchen counter for 20 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. This is an important step. It allows the berry mixture to thicken as it cools.

11. Transfer the cake to a plate or cake stand, berry-side facing up. Use a knife to distribute the berry mixture evenly across the surface of the cake. Then sprinkle the top with desiccated coconut.

12. Slice immediately, and serve while the cake is still warm.

We ate it as is, but I imagine it would be delicious with vanilla (soy or coconut) ice cream or whipped coconut cream.

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The Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

Do I really need to make a point of mentioning that the Tiny Vegans were enamoured with this cake?

Master 6 sneaked back for a second piece, and boasted about how he had cut it all by himself. I heard Master 4 announce that he had eaten two slices. Well that partly explains why the cake disappeared so fast! I may or may not have consumed more than one piece. I suggested that we save some for ‘later’ but, clearly, my proposal was disregarded.

My daughter likened the experience to eating freshly baked bread with jam, and commented: ‘You have to make this again’.

If you refrain from judging this cake by its cover… um… appearance, you will be entranced by it’s flavour.

Humble tea cake, you may just become a regular treat in our home!

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

Ally

{Recipe} Wholemeal Spelt and Chia Pancakes

In my household, breakfast pancakes are whipped up on birthday mornings, usually by Mat (unless it is his birthday). The birthday boy or birthday girl is served first, and the rest of the family members gaze on greedily as the pancake is topped with fruit and drizzled with pure maple syrup.

A chorus: Hurry up daddy! Where’s mine? Is mine ready yet? Patience and manners are the first casualties of pancake mornings.

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Sometimes a double batch is prepared, and pancakes make a welcome appearance in school lunchboxes for a day or two. Pancakes also feature on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Sometimes they make an appearance on lazy Sunday mornings.

Our preferred pancake recipe is Banana Oat Pancakes.  This recipes uses oats and wholewheat flour, bananas and walnuts. It is nutritious and tasty.

I wanted to prepare a wheat-free pancake that maintained the nutrition and taste aspects of our favourite pancake recipe.

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I referred to a few cook books, and was ultimately inspired by Dreena Burton’s Whole-Grain Chia Pancakes (in Let Them Eat Vegan).

Consequently, Wholemeal Spelt and Chia Pancakes were born (whisked? 😉 ).

These pancakes are wheat free, sugar free, and oil free. Apple sauce is used as a sweetener. They are packed with chia seeds, providing essential fatty acids and a pleasant popping sensation as you munch on your pancake.

The kids haven’t had to wait until their birthdays for these pancakes! I’ve made them at least four times in the past fortnight. Maybe someone will make them for me on Mother’s Day on Sunday 😉

pancaked

Ingredients

(Quantity: 13- 14 pancakes)

1  3/4 cups wholemeal spelt flour

2 Tbsp whole chia seeds ( white or black, or a combination)

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 generous tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 Tbsp of flaked almonds OR chopped nuts (eg. walnuts, pecans)

2 cups protein-enriched rice milk (or other plant-based milk)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbsp apple sauce (unsweetened)

Method

1. Add  all of the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

2. Whisk the rice milk, vanilla extract, and apple sauce together in a small mixing bowl.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir well. Set the bowl aside as you prepare the fry pan (skillet). The batter will thicken a little during this time.

4. Optional: Smear the surface of a fry pan or skillet with a small amount of coconut oil. You can skip this step if you use non-stick cookware.

5. Heat the fry pan, then use a 1/4 metric cup to scoop the batter onto the fry pan. Cook each pancake until bubbles appear on the surface, then gently flip and cook for about a minute on the other side.

6. The batter will continue to thicken in the bowl as you are cooking the pancakes. Add additional rice milk to thin it out again. (I usually add an additional tablespoon of rice milk after making the 5th pancake.)

7. Serve pancakes with sliced banana, berries (frozen or fresh), and pure maple syrup. My four year old son enjoys his pancake smeared with apple sauce.

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***

pancakelunchbox

When making pancakes for the kids’ lunch boxes, I use a metric tablespoon to measure out the batter. This also makes a good toddler-sized pancake.

I am excited about participating in my first Virtual Vegan Potluck this weekend! The potluck will go live on Saturday at 12.01 am Eastern time in the USA (Saturday afternoon in Australia and NZ). About 150 blogs are participating! I’m bringing a main dish to the potluck.

What vegan meals do you like to take to potlucks?

Ally

* Due to the time that I will be dedicating to the VVP, I won’t be posting a recipe next Monday.

[edited on 7 May to update VVP info]

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