Vegan Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread (with a special sugary crust)

Years and years ago before I went vegan, a lovely neighbor brought me the most delicious chocolate chip zucchini bread. The loaf had an extraordinary sugary crust that gave the slices a satisfying crunch on the edges.

Naturally, I begged her for the recipe. I’ve revamped it here to make it vegan, as well as significantly reducing the sugar and fat content, however I wouldn’t go as far as to classify this as “health food.” Regardless, it still tastes delightfully indulgent and it’s a wonderful way to use up any surplus of zucchini you may have.

Feel free to omit the chocolate chips or add nuts to make this recipe more to your personal liking. Don’t hesitate to fight for the end pieces.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

  • 3 cups organic unbleached all purpose flour. To make this loaf gluten-free, use a gluten-free cup for cup replacement flour plus 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup aquafaba
  • 1/2 cup safflower or other neutral vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup vegan fair trade chocolate chips

Method: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the cinnamon, baking powder, salt, sugar and brown sugar. Combine all the ingredients with a wire whisk. Add the zucchini to the bowl and toss in the flour mixture until evenly distributed. Add the aquafaba, safflower oil, applesauce and vanilla. Stir until everything is well incorporated but do not over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Take two 8×4 loaf tins and generously grease them with vegan butter. Add two heaped tablespoons of sugar to each loaf tin. Tilt the tins to evenly dust the sugar around to the entire interior of the tins. Gently tap out any excess sugar into the sink. Scoop batter into the sugared loaf tins, evenly distributing between the two loaves.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until loaves are deeply golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let loaves cool for a couple of minutes in their tins before running a butter knife along the edges to carefully loosen the loaves prior to turning out onto a wire rack to further cool prior to serving. If the bread feels like it might stick, use the knife as a lever gently along the bottom edges too.

Makes 2 loaves.

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Ultra Tasty Vegan Naan

I’ve been almost entirely gluten-free as of late due to autoimmune issues, but I had company over for dinner tonight and wanted to make something to impress with ingredients I had on hand. I made a lovely Chana Masala with some basmati rice and came up with this ultra tasty vegan naan. After several recipe requests through Instagram, I decided to put the recipe up on my site. Here you go!

Ultra Tasty Vegan Naan

(Makes 16 Naan, recipe can be halved)

• 1.5 cups warm water

• 1 heaped teaspoon sugar

• 2 teaspoons pink salt

• 1 tablespoon instant yeast

• 1.5 teaspoons baking powder

• 1/2 cup soymilk combined with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (let set for 5 minutes)

• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

• 4.5 – 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (scoop and level)

• Melted vegan butter, mixed with several cloves of fresh minced garlic. Plus black onion seeds (kalonji) for topping naan after cooking

Method: in a kneading apparatus (or use a large bowl and spoon and then your hands) add water, sugar, salt and yeast. Mix to combine. Then add baking powder, soymilk mixture, and olive oil. Mix again. Add the flour and mix until roughly combined. Add the additional 1/2 cup flour if dough is too wet and sticky. Then knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. This is a soft dough.

Cover and let dough rest for one hour. Then punch down and divide into 16 pieces. Use a floured surface to shape each piece into a teardrop shape with your hands.

Heat a cast iron or griddle type skillet over medium high heat. Once skillet is quite hot, brush with a bit of olive oil. Cook until naan is puffed and brown on one side, then flip and let brown on the other side. Repeat until all naan are cooked.

Brush warm naan with melted vegan garlic butter. Then sprinkle with the black onion seeds (if desired). Serve warm.

Microwave Coconut Bacon

I didn’t want to heat up my house today so I made my old standby coconut bacon recipe, but in the microwave. Thought you might like to try it too. It takes less than 3 minutes total to make.

Microwave Coconut Bacon

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, tamari (gluten-free) or coconut aminos (soy-free)
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup large coconut flakes

Method: Add the soy sauce (or substitute), maple syrup, vinegar, paprika, liquid smoke and pepper to a cereal sized bowl. Give the mixture a quick whisk. Add the coconut flakes and stir to coat evenly with the liquid marinade. Put in the microwave, cook for 30 seconds, remove and stir. Repeat, except at 15 second microwave intervals, stirring each time, until the coconut bacon is toasty. My coconut bacon took about 1 minute and 30 seconds total in a 1000 watt microwave. Use caution as bowl will be hot. Do not over-cook as it will definitely burn. Coconut bacon will crisp up as it cools. If you don’t have a microwave, you can double this recipe and cook in the oven at 375 on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, stirring at least once halfway through. Again, watch carefully so it doesn’t burn

Sprinkle on everything.

Love, Somer

Vegan and Gluten-Free Crusty Olive Oil Sourdough Peasant Bread

About a month ago, I made a gluten-free bread recipe by Dan Lepard that sort of blew my mind. I’d never made gluten-free bread that rose so well -IT DOUBLED! I’d also been used to baking gluten-free bread dough that looked more like quick bread batter. This dough was sturdy! Shapeable! Dare I say: “fairly similar to gluten dough?” The secret to this bread lies in the psyllium husks and ground flax, both have rad “binding” abilities which gives the bread amazing structure like the gluten proteins in regular flour do.

The bread also had such a delicious crispy crust without tasting like cardboard. However, due to some unknown cause, my first attempt had a slightly gummy interior, I suspect I didn’t bake it long enough or that altitude played a role there. I sent my mom the recipe and she made the loaf on the same day with better success than I had. Regardless, we both agreed on one thing: we needed a sourdough version and a stronger flavor profile.

My loaf:

My mom’s loaf:

We both kept playing with the recipe and last week during spring break at her house, we had a break through.

Sliced:

Toasted and half eaten:

Over the process of the last year, my mom had converted her positively ancient sourdough starter into a gluten-free starter. We made a seeded sourdough version of the bread and the results were brilliant, full bodied and full flavored. However her crust didn’t brown very well and the bread still didn’t contain any whole grains. So, when I got home I resolved to improve on the recipe even further.

Raised in a proofing basket:

I tested and tested and then tested again until I had a crusty brown sourdough loaf that crunched like artisan bread, was decidedly not of the cardboard variety and had some whole grain flour in it.

Many thanks to Dan Lepard for his original recipe that my mom and I used as a springboard. Our collaborative adaptation on his bread is printed below with his permission.

Vegan and Gluten-Free Crusty Olive Oil Sourdough Peasant Bread

Makes 1 very large delicious loaf

Adapted from Dan Lepard’s wonderful Gluten-Free Bread recipe here

Ingredients:

Method:

1- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a pizza stone or stoneware baking sheet in the oven and allow it to heat while the oven heats up. In a bread maker, stand mixer, or other kneading apparatus (maybe a big ol’ bowl if you’re going to be kneading with your hands) add the water, sugar, salt and yeast. Give the liquid a quick stir, then mix in the “proper” sourdough start or the “faker” sourdough start. In a separate large mixing bowl thoroughly whisk together the cornstarch, brown rice flour, psyllium husks and the ground golden flax seeds. Pour the flour mixture into the now bubbly yeast mixture. Immediately add the olive oil and mix well to make a smooth thick batter.

2- Knead for 5-10 minutes until dough is uniform and gluten bread dough like, then cover with a clean cloth and leave for 20-30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

3- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Sprinkle a small handful of cornmeal onto the paper. Place the dough on the cornmeal and carefully roll and shape the dough into a fat sausage, about the length of the tray, making sure the loaf is nicely and evenly covered with the cornmeal. Using a sharp serrated knife, make several diagonal slash marks across the top of the loaf. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes, or until nearly doubled again.

4- Carefully lift the loaf WITH parchment paper off the baking tray and transfer to the preheated clay baking sheet or pizza stone. Do not burn yourself! Bake for about 50-55 minutes, or until the loaf is a very deep golden-brown in color all over, indeed, it may even look slightly burnt. But I promise the crust will be super delicious. Brush with extra virgin olive oil (if desired, because it really makes it taste so good) and leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

p.s. Try not to eat the whole loaf by yourself at once: psyllium husks and flax seeds are necessary for the structure in this loaf, but they’re also known for their unparalleled ability to get the digestive system moving…

Mom’s French toast made with this bread:

To make your own gluten-free sourdough start, you can use the recipe below. To make my starter, I used 1 cup of “cup for cup gluten-free flour” with an equal amount of water. Then followed the rest of the ingredient list and directions in the link. I had brilliant results.

http://redstaryeast.com/gluten-free-sourdough-starter/

Truffled Macadamia Nut Brie

This recipe is an update to my

Macadamia Nut Brie En Croute

Method: blend the macadamia nuts, water, nutritional yeast, maple syrup, miso, tahini, rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, ground white pepper, vegan butter and truffle oil (or use truffled salt) on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the tapioca flour and kappa carrageenan. Blend again for 20-30 seconds more. If mixture has any grittiness, pour through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to remove any bigger particles.

Pour mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, while stirring constantly for 9 minutes (please time it!) Pour mixture into a 2 cup round mold lined with plastic wrap (for easy removal). Cheese should start to set immediately. Let set for 1-2 hours at room temperature, remove from mold, put on a small plate and transfer to the fridge uncovered (this helps it form a crust). After 2-3 hours of refrigeration, cheese can be dusted with tapioca flour (if desired) for a more “brie like” appearance.

Brie can be served on a cheese board with an assortment of accruements or topped with a cranberry sauce and wrapped in puff pastry for a baked brie en croute (instructions here). It melts beautifully and can be served on sandwiches, pizza, etc.

Note: this recipe is very rich and has a bold macadamia nut flavor. Cashews can be used for a milder taste.

Dad’s Wild Rice, Cranberry and Pine Nut Stuffing

Dad’s Wild Rice, Cranberry and Pine Nut Stuffing

  • 10 cups cubed and dried vegan bread (can be gluten free)
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 white or yellow onions chopped fine
  • 6 celery stalks cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice (instructions below)
  • 1 cup shelled pine nuts
  • 2 shots vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Method: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Boil wild rice with water according to package directions until tender (about 40 minutes). Sauté onions, mushrooms, celery and seasonings in the vegan butter. Sauté pine nuts separately in a little bit of vegan butter until golden brown. Mix all ingredients in a large pan adding vegetable broth as you stir it in. Test for consistency and add more broth if too dry. Fluff with a large fork. Bake on low heat for ½ for an hour or longer.

Makes 20 servings. Sure to please even the stuffing haters.

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

FYI, these are cakey-soft-glorious pumpkin cookies, so if you’re looking for chewy-crispy type cookies, look elsewhere.

Ingredients:

Method: preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, coconut oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, pumpkin spice blend, sea salt, baking soda and vanilla. Add the flour, stir until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Scoop cookies with a big cookie scoop onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. If you have two cookie sheets you’ll get about 9 cookies per sheet or 18 cookies total. Bake for 14-17 minutes, alternating the sheets halfway through) if baking both at once) or until puffed and golden. Let cookies cool slightly before eating.