Vegan Chocolate Espresso Mousse

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I couldn't let the year come to an end without a chocolate recipe.  So, here it is.  Vegan Chocolate Espresso Mousse with Goji Berries & Hemp Seeds.  This is by far THE simplest, creamiest recipe that you can put together.  Once you make it, you'll always make it AND it's healthy AND it will look awesome on your holiday dessert table.   

Enjoy your holiday's and Happy New Year!!!

 

 

 

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chocolate mousse
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup Cacao powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1/4 cup coconut nectar sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup plant-based milk (I used almond milk)

In a food processor or blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into individual serving bowls. Garnish with goji berries and hemp seeds. Serve immediately.

Vegan Pear & Cranberry Galette

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Christmas is by far my most favorite holiday.  It’s a holiday that gives you permission to indulge and dive right in to your favorite holiday cookies, cakes, and pies. Tis the season! No regrets! I decided for myself at least, to take a different approach.  So, I made this Vegan Pear & Cranberry Galette with a whole grain crust and sweetened with coconut sugar.

As much as I love sugar, these days I’ve been redefining what my sugar intake should be.  As I get older, I’m noticing my body is not processing/digesting sugar the way it used to.  And that’s fine!  Although I eat a largely plant based diet, I tend to over indulge in snacks that often contain refined sugars (store bought graham crackers, for example).   Excessive bloating occurs, even if I am getting it in at the gym.

So, I’m re-shifting starting with this delicious galette, that is faintly sweet, but bursting with flavor from the tangy cranberries and juicy pears.  It’s full of fiber, loaded with Vitamin C and will look awesome on your holiday table. 

Happy Holidays!!

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Vegan Pear & Cranberry Galette//1-9-inch galette, serves 8

dessert galette pastry
adapted from Fine Cooking
2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
½ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) vegan butter
2/3 cup ice water

filling
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 lbs. pears, ripe but not too soft, peeled, cored and sliced into wedges
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut sugar, maple syrup or sweetener of choice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup almond flour

In a large bowl or food processor, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the chilled butter until the butter is evenly distributed, but still large, visible pieces.  Add the ice water all at once to the flour and butter.  Mix the dough until it begins to come together.  Gather the dough with your hands and shape into two disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Roll out the dough into a circle approximately 12-inches in diameter.  The rolled-out dough does not have to be perfect.  Slide the dough into a baking sheet and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.  Combine the cranberries, pears, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and flour in a bowl.  Mix thoroughly.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon almond flour over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border.  Place the fruit filling over the almond flour.  Begin to fold the borders up around the fruit.  Dot the fruit filling with additional vegan butter. (This will give the galette filling a nice glossy sheen). 

Transfer the galette to the oven and bake until the crust is golden, and the fruit is tender and bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna

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With Thanksgiving in a mere 2 days, I decided to make my favorite go to dish, Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna, adapted from Martha Stewart Living.  I didn’t fiddle with the recipe (adding this, subtracting that) as the recipe is phenomenal as is. Creamy, decadent, and filling, this will add a nice addition to your Thanksgiving table if you’re vegetarian or you’re just not that into turkey.

This lasagna, like most lasagna recipes requires a bit of prep.  However, I really enjoy the prep as I tend to zone out so to speak.  I grab a glass of wine, turn on my fav tunes, and begin ceremoniously chopping, mashing, stirring, frying until I get to what all that was for.  The assembly line of noodles, squash, ricotta, repeat and so on.  The finale of it all of course, is a golden brown, cheesey, masterpiece that will look awesome on your holiday table, but also weekend dinners.

Once the lasagna is complete, serve alongside a nice crisp salad, and enjoy.  Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna//makes 8 servings
Adapted from Martha Stewart 

lasagna
3 ½ pounds butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-pound whole milk ricotta cheese
½ cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
½ pound fresh mozzarella, grated, about 2 cups
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1 ¼ cup vegetable stock
4-oz finely grated parmesan cheese
1 package lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash, oil, and 1 teaspoon salt on a baking sheet. Season with pepper. Bake until light gold and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.

While, squash is baking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8-10 minutes.  Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. 

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.  Combine ricotta, heave cream, egg yolks, mozzarella, and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl.  Season with salt.

Pour olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add sage and cook until gold and slightly crisp at edges, 3 to 4 minutes.

Place squash in a medium bowl, and mash ½ of it with the back of a wooden spoon until smooth, leaving the other ½ in whole pieces.  Alternatively, you can place ½ of the squash in your food processor and pulse until smooth.  Gently stir in the crispy sage and stock.  Season with salt and pepper.

For the assembly, spread ¾ cup of ricotta mixture into a 9-inch square baking dish or 9x13 inch rectangular baking dish.  Top with a layer of noodles.  Spread ½ of the butternut squash mixture over the noodles.  Top with a layer of noodles.  Spread 1 cup of ricotta mixture over noodles.  Repeat layering (noodles, squash, noodles, ricotta).  Sprinkle parmesan over ricotta mixture and top with additional mozzarella cheese. 

Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until cheese is golden and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes.  Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing.  Serve.