Category: gluten free

Chocolate Granola (Vegan, Nut-Free & Gluten-Free)

Ah, mornings. While many of you may groan at the thought of getting out of a warm cozy bed, mornings are actually my most productive time of day. My predicament? Mornings are just not long enough! No matter how early I set that alarm, I can never seem to find enough time to do all of the things that I’d like to get done before heading off to work. While I have good, healthy intentions, my breakfast ritual often involves me standing over the kitchen sink, scoffing down handfuls of Mini Wheats & drinking almond milk out of the jug. That is, until recently.

My Pinterest addiction inspired me to create grab-and-go breakfasts, packed into mason jars, prepared the night before. These often involve yoghurt or a smoothie, and a little bit of homemade granola. If you haven’t made your own granola yet, this is definitely the recipe to try. Sweet cherries, a hint of chocolate, and a tart, tangy cherries, with a wonderful buckwheat crunch.

I am a big fan of honey in my granola, but if you’re looking for a vegan alternative, maple syrup or agave both work equally well.

Chocolate Cherry Granola
gluten free, vegan

2 cups rolled oats*
1/2 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup unsulphured unsweetened shredded coconut**
2 tbsp brown sugar
70g agave nectar OR maple syrup OR honey
70g coconut oil
1/2 cup dried cherries

Combine all dry ingredients except cherries. Melt coconut oil and syrup/honey together in a microwave-safe bowl. Toss with dry ingredients. Lay out on parchment sheet and bake at 300F for about 15 minutes. Mix, add cherries, and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Let cool completely before breaking into pieces. Enjoy!

*If you’re in the U.S., most commercial oats are naturally GF. In Canada however, if you are cooking for someone with celiac and you need to be certain, look for the GF certification. Bob’s Red Mill sells certified GF oats, usually found in the organic section of most grocery chains.

** I get mine from Bulk Barn – the size of the shreds work perfectly for this recipe!

Overnight Breakfast (vegan & gluten-free!)

This breakfast is everything that you’ve been wanting in a meal: easy to make, delicious, healthy, hearty, and convenient! Mason jars help create a no-spill, grab-and-go breakfast for those mornings where you just don’t have the time to cook, a.k.a. every morning. Mason-jar meals have been quite the trend on Pinterest lately, I figured it was time that I hop on the bandwagon. A girl’s gotta stay on fleek! (Never let me say that again.) Oh, P.S., it’s naturally vegan and gluten free.

What’s extra-awesome about this recipe is it allows you to change the ingredients based on the season. Summer? Strawberries and peaches! Autumn? Plums and pears! Winter? Dried fruits! Cinnamon is delicious with all of the above, so I highly recommend using it.

Mason Jar Breakfast
an original recipe by allison sklar

ingredients

2 tbsp steel-cut oats
2 tbsp quinoa (or kaniwa)
2 tbsp buckwheat groats
1 tsp chia seeds
pinch cinnamon
pinch salt
3/4 cup boiling water

1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup chopped seasonal fruits or 2 tbsp dried fruits

Combine all dry ingredients in medium mason jar (if using dried fruits, add them now!) Pour boiling water over the top & stir lightly. (Do not shake, as the contents will stick to the sides!) Cover and let sit for about 30 minutes (until the jar comes to room temperature) then transfer to the fridge overnight. In the morning, add the milk and fresh fruits. Heat in the microwave in 30 second intervals if desired.

Stir, and serve!

Buckwheat Pancakes – Gluten Free!

I’d like to introduce to you a humble little superfood that may already be hiding in your pantry. It’s a little seed that is often mistaken as a grain, and goes by a few different names. Soba. Kasha. Groats. Yes, as you may have already guessed, I’m talking about buckwheat.

I call it a superfood, as it’s got quite an impressive nutritional profile. Low glycemic, high in protein, rich in amino acids, naturally gluten-free, this little seed is super versatile and can easily be prepared in many different ways. With a slightly nutty flavour that is enhanced when roasted, you can grind it into a flour and incorporate it into your desserts. You can sprinkle the raw groats over ice cream for a delicious little crunch. You can enjoy buckwheat in smoothies, as a breakfast cereal, as noodles (known as soba), or, my personal favourite, as a stack of delicious pancakes. Even Oprah praises buckwheat for it’s unique health-promoting properties. 
Buckwheat is the new quinoa. 
(People just don’t know it yet.)

I now present to you easy-peasy flourless buckwheat pancakes, made with few ingredients and a whole lot of love. I served them with a scoop of chai-chia pudding for an added protein and flavour boost, and garnished with some fieldberries for a little pop of colour. I used coconut oil in the pan (a little goes a long way), which added a touch of extra sweetness. All in all, these babies were absolutely delish, and the two of us ate every last bite!

Gluten-Free, Flourless, High Protein
Buckwheat Pancakes
an original recipe by allison sklar

Ingredients
3/4 cup buckwheat groats
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch fine sea salt
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp agave or real maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil

Method
In a high powered blender, food processor, or coffee grinder, grind groats into a fine flour.
Mix flour with baking powder & salt. Whisk in buttermilk, syrup & egg. Mixture will be bubbly!

Heat oil over medium heat in large frying pan.

Scoop about 2 tbsp of batter at a time into the pan, more or less depending on the size of the pancakes that you prefer. Flip when pancake starts to bubble – these cook quickly, so do not leave them unattended! You may have to lower the heat to med-low after a couple of batches.

Serve with fruit, maple syrup & chia pudding.

Find my chia pudding recipe here!

Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes



When a “Let’s empty out the fridge and cook all the things,” dish becomes a “Let’s definitely make this again, like, all the time,” kind of meal, I know it’s time to blog.

This is one of those amazingly delicious get-your-omnivore-friends-to-love-vegan-food recipes. Seriously, this stuff tastes like love and comfort. A hearty, healthy, nutritional powerhouse, stuffed into a cute little potato package! You don’t even have to mention to anyone that it’s vegan, because really, they don’t even need to know that no animals were harmed in the making of this meal. They don’t even need to know that this is good for them. They don’t even need to know that it contains complete protein and is full of vitamins. Nope, they just need to eat it. And then, when they’re all done, you can casually fill them in. Oh, what’s that? You loved it? You want more? You can’t get over how creamy the sauce was? Yeah. Oh, bee tee dubs, it was vegan and naturally gluten-free!

And now, for the love of sweet potatoes everywhere, I present to you my 100th recipe!

Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Quinoa & Swiss Chard
an original vegan recipe by allison sklar 

ingredients
2 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked to package directions
1 handful of chopped greens (I used swiss chard)
1 handful of chopped brussels sprouts (or cabbage)
4-5 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp of your favourite mixed all-purpose seasoning. (I like to use a Jamaican jerk seasoning because it’s tasty, but any spice mix that you have on hand will work!) 

Quick spicy vegan mayo: 2 tbsp Vegenaise Original + 1 tsp Sriracha

method
Roast your potatoes, wrapped in foil, in the oven for about 45 mins at 400F. When they’re ready, take them out, cut them in half and scoop out as much flesh as you can, trying not to break the skin. Sautée the greens and cabbage in some oil, once they are bright in colour, add in your quinoa and stir. Add your chopped potato. Add your spices. Scoop it all back into your potato. If they need to be re-warmed (mine did, because I made them in advance!) put them back in the oven at 350 for about 15 mins. Serve hot, drizzled with spicy vegan mayo.

Home Remedies (Sumac Lemonade)

Sumac! Fresh Sumac! You know, that zesty, unusual spice that gives Za’atar it’s tang and adds a middle eastern flair to roasted veggies? Excitement poured over me when I found out that I was going to be receiving some fresh sumac in my Lufa produce basket last week. I’ve never even seen fresh sumac before. I had no idea that it would arrive as a fluffy, barby, vividly red cluster of… stuff. My first thought upon examining the bright bouquet: how do I use this? Unsure of which part of the fuzzy berries could be turned into the sweet, lemony herb that I’ve only ever seen dried and crushed, I turned to my trusty friend, the internet. Internet, o internet, inform me, o wise one! 
During my search, I learned that Sumac has been used in ancient herbal medicine for centuries, aiding in the prevention and treatment of various ailments, from chest congestion to stomach upsets. Well, this is just perfect timing, I thought, as I just happen to be suffering from what seems to be the world’s longest bout of fever and joint aches. Also probably a good tonic to give the boy to sip on to prevent catching this dreadful flu. 
Influenza, be damned! I will sumac you right in the face!  
Now, let’s get back to the “how?”
Having only eaten sumac in savoury dishes, I would never have thought to use the spice in a beverage of any kind. That is, until I stumbled upon a blog that suggested that I make Sumac-aide! (Also known as cold sumac tea, sumac lemonade, or sumacaide… depending on who you ask!) This lemony fresh tonic is super easy, and super tasty! How to do it? Soak fresh berries in cold water. Strain. And drink. That’s it? That’s it! How perfect is that? Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and a few slices of ginger for some extra immune-boosting power, and extra tasty flavour. 
Sumac Lemonade
4 cups cool water
2-3 clusters fresh red sumac berries
juice from 1 lemon (optional)
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
Roughly break up sumac clusters. In a large bowl, combine water, sumac and ginger and let steep for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. Strain though very fine tea strainer or cheesecloth. Add freshly squeezed lemon and ice cubes just before serving. 

Raw! Raw! Raw! (Raw Vegan Chocolate Torte with Berries & Cashew Cream)


I received some delicious homework this week: 

Make a pie. 
Rules? Carte blanche. Do as you wish. Make it interesting.

Challenge accepted!

I decided to take this opportunity to make a raw, vegan, gluten-free dessert. I’ve seen the raw food movement really begin to shine in the past couple of years with the appearance of raw vegan restaurants, quite a few beautiful food blogs, and raw cookbooks. Though it hasn’t gone mainstream just yet (many of my peers had never heard of it), popularity has grown among the foodie community. Search #raw or #rawfood on Instagram or Pinterest, and you’ll see what I mean.

Why raw? Why not! The first thing that attracted me to raw food – the simple fact that it’s a new type of cuisine – which means a whole new world of meals and desserts to try. As an added bonus, the health benefits of adding raw plant-based foods to your diet are countless. The dishes themselves, when prepared properly, can satisfy any craving, from light to hearty, savory to sweet. The majority of the recipes that I’ve seen have been vegan – perfect for me – and are chock full of veggies and fruits. And, if you’re wondering, “what about protein?” Trust me, there is a ton of it. As with many vegan dishes, protein comes from nuts and seeds, and soaked and sprouted grains.

In many raw recipes, nuts and seeds are used in ways that I’d never thought of before, and this really intrigued me. For instance, I’ve seen recipes that involved fermenting wheatberries to create rejeuvelac, then combining them with blended raw cashews to make a savory cheese-type spread. Sunflower seeds and pepitas are ground and pressed together and then dried out to create crackers. My ultimate WOW moment? When I discovered that I could make a whipped cream out of cashews.

Sold.
I decided that I needed to try it out asap.

So I experimented, and then experimented some more. And I came up with the creamiest non-dairy cream I’ve ever had. My favorite part was that it didn’t have that dreaded soy-aftertaste, unlike most of the non-dairy “cream” products that I’ve tried in the past.

Oh, and the WOW factor of this pie is off the charts. 
Seriously. I brought this to my pastry student friends and it disappeared in seconds. In a room full of pies, the raw vegan one disappeared first.

You want to impress (insert name of anyone here)? Make this. 
Don’t tell them what it is right away. Just tell them it’s pie. 
Let them taste it.
Then tell them how there’s no processed sugar in it. 
Then tell them that it’s vegan.
Then tell them that it’s gluten-free. 
Then tell them that it’s raw. 
Then tell them yes, they can have seconds. 

Chocolate Torte
with Cashew Coconut Cream & Berries
raw, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need

crust
2 cups gluten-free oats
12 dates, chopped
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
filling
2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 tbsp raw agave nectar
how to do it
Pulse oats and cocoa powder in blender until flour consistency is reached. Add dates and coconut oil. Pulse until mixture comes together. Press into bottom of 10″ springform pan. Refrigerate.
Clean out blender.
Blend cashews and water. Add a little bit more water if cashews are too stiff to turn. Add oil, blend again for about a minute. Mixture will be warm from blades. Add vanilla and agave. Pulse until combined. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours. 
Note: if your cream is too watery to pipe, add more coconut oil and blend. 
Pipe cashew cream onto crust. Top with berries. 
Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
Enjoy. Every. Single. Bite. 



The Un-Burger (Roasted Portobello Burger with Sprouted Seeds & Avocado)

Summertime – a season that is synonymous with renewal and resetting. School is out, and, if you’re lucky, work has slowed down. The sun shines more often, casting an upbeat vibe that engulfs the entire city. The winter doldrums have passed, and it is time to come out of hibernation and dive into new ventures and discoveries. Days are longer, skirts are shorter, smiles are wider. Tucked away is the crock-pot, and rolled out is the Barbecue. Food is lighter, and refreshment is at the top of the priority list. What better way to refresh and renew than to eat live, raw vegan food? Now, I’m not talking about a 100% raw diet. While that might appeal to some, it is certainly not for all (for many different reasons that I won’t get into here.) However, incorporating more raw vegan components into your daily diet is almost certain to make you feel pretty darn good.

Eating live food is a stepping stone to hitting that refresh button on your body. Some benefits of eating raw: raw food is cool. Not hipster-cool, but literally cool – temperature wise! Eating cool foods more often is said to reduce inflammation in the body and reduce stomach irritations. Furthermore, many raw foods are known to contain certain good-for-you enzymes that are lost in cooking. There is a lot of conflicting information out there about raw diets, and a lot of bias, as there often is in the agricultural industry. However, as with anything, in moderation, there are definitely benefits to eating this way.

My first experience with full-out raw vegan was at a restaurant earlier this week called Crudessence. What intrigues and attracts me the most to this dietary choice is the incredible creativity that goes into preparing such meals. For example, I went in asking myself, what would a “wrap” possibly be made out of? Seaweed and rice paper! Well of COURSE that stuff is raw – but I never thought of it that way before. This experienced opened me up to trying even more new things. I started sprouting my own seeds. I tasted nutritional yeast (surprisingly delicious, slightly reminiscent of tempura flakes). And, I made quite a few rice paper and seaweed wraps.

And then, I made this: The Un-burger. Now, it is not completely raw, as I roasted the mushrooms. (Portobellos should not really be eaten raw due to possible carcinogens that are killed in the cooking process. Which brings me back to the point of how a 100% raw diet is not ideal.) In making this, I found a place to incorporate both my sprouted beans AND my nutritional yeast. Ok, and I added some Veganase. So I guess this isn’t REALLY all that raw at all… BUT it is vegan. And it is DE-LI-CIOUS.
Make it and see for yourself!

Roasted Portobello Burger with Sprouted Seeds & Avocado
note: I sprouted my own seeds for this. Very easy, and very tasty. So much fresher than the sprouts that come already packaged at the store! I use the hemp sprouting bag as I find it’s the quickest method, and it yields the best results. For more information about sprouting, visit Sproutman’s website, full of useful tips and tricks! 

what you’ll need
for the burgers:
2 portobello caps
2 tsp grapeseed or olive oil
pinch salt, freshly ground pepper
for the topping:
1 avocado, cubed
1 cup arugula (aka roquette/rocket)
2 tsp nutritional yeast (optional, but delicious!)
1/4 cup sprouted seeds/beans
2 tbsp Vegenaise or mayonaise

how to do it
Preheat oven to 350F. Rub portobellos with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in parchment (creating a papillote) and place in shallow baking dish. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until desired tenderness is reached. Toss beans, avocado and nutritional yeast together. Divide greens over two plates and place burgers on top. Spread each burger with Vegenaise/mayo and top with mixture.
Eat and enjoy!