Fudgy almond butter zuchhini brownies with chocolate chips Featured

Almond Butter Zucchini Brownies (Gluten Free)

These zucchini brownies are super rich, chocolatey and fudgy. Even the staunchest vegetable hater will love these treats filled with good-for-you ingredients! This recipe is so easy and bakes up in less than 30 minutes.

Fudgy almond butter zuchhini brownies with chocolate chips

It’s been a while since I posted a dessert recipe, so these are long overdue! Is there anything better than freshly baked brownies? Cookies are definitely high on my list, but when you’re craving chocolate, brownies cannot be beat. Growing up, brownies were one dessert my mom didn’t usually make from scratch. Instead, we always had the Ghirardelli boxed brownie mix. This mix actually makes super fudgy and moist brownies, so that is what I have grown to love. Cakey brownies just don’t do it for me!

When I was making this recipe, I knew these brownies had to come out super fudgy, so I limited the almond flour to just ¼ cup. While I was in the process of creating a healthier brownie, I decided to add zucchini for extra nutrients! I love the texture and moisture that zucchini adds to baked goods, and knew it’s mild flavor would not take away from the chocolatey goodness I was looking for.

Fudgy almond butter zuchhini brownies with chocolate chips

A Few Recipe Notes

  • Your almond butter should be smooth and runny, with no other ingredients besides almonds. I used Coscto’s Kirkland Signature brand. You can also sub any other natural creamy nut butter for similar results.
  • If your almond butter contains salt, you may omit the salt in this recipe.
  • I used a microplane to grate the zucchini. This makes extremely light and fluffy shreds, which blend really nicely into the brownies.

These zucchini brownies are approved by multiple taste testers, so I am confident you can serve these to just about anyone and they will be asking for more!

Fudgy almond butter zuchhini brownies with chocolate chips

I prefer slightly underdone brownies, but if you prefer cakey, bake until toothpick comes out completely clean.

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Fudgy almond butter zuchhini brownies with chocolate chips

Almond Butter Zucchini Brownies (Gluten Free)

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 16 Brownies 1x
  • Category: Dessert

Description

Fudgy, moist, and chocolatey brownies pack a nutritious punch with shredded zucchini.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely grated zucchini
  • 1 cup creamy almond butter
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling on top


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. Use a clean towel to squeeze out as much moisture as possible from shredded zucchini.
  3. Whisk together almond butter, maple syrup, egg and vanilla extract in a medium bowl.
  4. Mix together cacao powder, almond flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine.
  6. Fold in shredded zucchini, then chocolate chips.
  7. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and top with extra chocolate chips if desired.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until brownies are glossy and a toothpick comes out mostly clean.

I prefer slightly underdone brownies, but if you prefer cakey, bake until toothpick comes out completely clean.


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chickpea and roasted vegetable salad Featured

Chickpea and Roasted Vegetable Salad (Vegan, Gluten Free)

This zippy salad is full of plant-based protein and fresh, contrasting flavors! It is the perfect side dish to serve with your favorite spring meals.

chickpea and roasted vegetable salad with golden raisins and fresh herbs

 

I’m currently munching on this salad for lunch as I write this blog post, and I’m definitely going to need seconds. The roasted vegetables, paired with a lemony dressing are transporting me to summertime. Something about the warmer weather makes me want to spend a little less time in the kitchen with less complicated recipes, and this one involves only a few simple steps. Roast vegetables, whisk together a simple dressing, chop fresh herbs and toss all together with canned chickpeas. Less time cooking = more time for enjoying this delicious meal outside!

Why I Love Chickpeas

Canned chickpeas are a pantry staple in my house. They are so versatile – I add them to soups, stews and salads, and love to make homemade hummus. They are an inexpensive source of plant-based protein, which will help make any meal more filling and satisfying. Chickpeas are also high in soluble fiber and act as a prebiotic. Prebiotic foods contain a certain type of fiber that our bodies no not digest, but the probiotics (aka the good bacteria) in our guts feed on! For that reason, the fiber in chickpeas and other foods may help support our gut microbiome. A healthy microbiome has been associated with weight control, better sleep, better mood, and less inflammation. I try to eat beans or legumes like chickpeas a few times per week to reap their many benefits.

chickpea and roasted vegetable salad with golden raisins and fresh herbs

This salad takes less than one hour to make, and the recipe is very hands off. It also keeps well in the fridge, so it is a wonderful recipe to meal prep. Serve it as a side with dinner, or add a big scoop to your lunch salads to bring to work.

chickpea and roasted vegetable salad with golden raisins and fresh herbs

Chickpea, Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Salad with Golden Raisins (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Serves 5-7

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cans low sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seed butter (or sub tahini)
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss eggplant with half the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 30-35 minutes, tossing halfway through, until tender.
  2. Toss remaining olive oil with cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves. Add to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through until tomatoes begin to wrinkle and blister.
  3. While vegetables roast, whisk together the dressing ingredients until smooth.
  4. Combine chickpeas, roasted vegetables, fresh herbs, raisins and dressing in a mixing bowl. Toss to combine.

This recipe keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.

If you make this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations!

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chickpea and roasted vegetable salad with golden raisins and fresh herbs

 

Featured

Spring Pasta with Lemon, Asparagus, Mushrooms and Peas

This pasta dish is spring in a bowl! It combines the fresh flavors of asparagus, dill and lemon for a light yet satisfying meal that comes together quickly.

I can’t believe this is my first pasta dish I am sharing on the blog! I can’t think of a better way to introduce this category than with this recipe. I’m so happy to see spring produce coming into season, and decided to combine some of my all-time favorites into a meal.

As a dietitian, I’ve picked up on so many people avoiding carbohydrates. Whereas fat was the frowned-upon macronutrient in the past, our mindsets have shifted to demonize carbohydrates. There have been many popular fad diets that perpetuate the belief that carbohydrates are the enemy, such as the Atkin’s diet, the South Beach diet, and now more recently, the Paleo and Ketogenic diets. While people may find weight loss success following these plans, just like any diets, they are highly restrictive and not sustainable for the long term.

Digestion of carbohydrates starts in our mouths thanks to enzymes in our saliva, and goes through our digestive systems, ultimately breaking down into glucose. Carbohydrate, in the form of glucose, is the body’s preferred source of energy. Carbs also provide us with important nutrients and fiber that protein and fat can’t give us. Ever wonder why you crave a bagel after a long run or intense workout? It’s your body’s way of asking you to replenish the carbohydrate stores (glycogen) it depleted by working so hard!

Besides providing us energy, nutrients and fiber, carbohydrates are just downright delicious. A life without rice, pizza and pasta just sounds so dull! Choosing 100% whole wheat/whole grain carbohydrates a majority of the time ensures you get the nutrients and fiber found in whole grains. Whole grains also have a lower glycemic index than processed ones, so they raise blood sugar levels more slowly in our bodies. But, it is also important to allow ourselves to have processed carbohydrates. Sometimes, we all just need a slice of pizza or a piece of crusty French bread. Remember that life is about balance, and eating should be a source of pleasure! Letting yourself enjoy these foods now and then without guilt will satisfy cravings and help you to live in the moment.

Spring Pasta with Lemon, Asparagus, Mushrooms and Peas

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 lb whole wheat farfalle pasta
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 box mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus ½ tbsp
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large clove garlic, grated or minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup fresh dill
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. In the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the frozen peas to the pot with the pasta. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta cooks, heat ½ tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and asparagus, along with a dash of salt and pepper until fork tender.
  3. Whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
  4. Toss pasta, peas, vegetables, and dill with the lemon olive oil sauce until combined and everything is well coated. Serve with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.

If you try this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations!

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whole grain pancake stack with maple syrup and strawberries Featured

Whole Grain Vanilla Pancakes

 A whole grain, higher protein pancake recipe made with 5 simple ingredients. Whip up a batch of these this morning for a healthy, filling and delicious breakfast!

 

2019 has been a year of pancakes for me. I’ve already had pancakes for breakfast this year more times than all of 2018, and I plan to keep this trend going. I’ve always loved pancakes, and I have had a blast creating some recipes using more nutritious ingredients without compromising on taste.

Typical pancake recipes are usually call for white flour and sugar, and often leave me feeling weighed down and bloated after eating them. Pancakes are also an unexpected source of high sodium! It’s a high priority of mine to eat a very filling and nutritious breakfast, because it has a direct effect on my energy levels for the day. I also usually exercise in the morning, so it is essential to refuel my body with a balanced meal afterwards. In my opinion, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day!

This recipe features spelt flour as a replacement for white flour. Spelt is whole grain, so it has a very similar nutrient content to whole wheat flour! It is a good source of fiber and is high in important nutrients like iron, magnesium and niacin. Spelt flour has a sweeter and lighter flavor than whole wheat, so it’s been one of my favorite flours to use recently. The pancakes are sweetened naturally with banana (and of course, a drizzle of pure maple syrup)!

This recipe makes 10 pancakes. You can easily store them in the fridge and reheat them for super fast breakfasts during the week!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 individual 5.3 oz cup of vanilla Greek style yogurt (I like Siggi’s)
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¾ cup spelt flour (I used this brand)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Avocado oil spray or butter for the pan
  • Pure maple syrup and fresh berries for serving

Instructions

  1. Whisk together mashed banana, eggs and almond milk in a mixing bowl. Add spelt flour and cinnamon and stir to combine. Add a little extra flour or almond milk to achieve thicker or thinner batter as desired.
  2. Heat oil spray or butter in nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to pour batter into heated skillet. Cook for a few minutes until edges begin to brown and a few bubbles appear before flipping and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Re-oil the skillet before cooking another batch.
  4. Serve with a drizzle of real maple syrup and fresh berries.

 

If you try this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations!

 

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Featured

Coconut Almond Sunshine Granola (Vegan, Gluten Free)

The dreamy smell of this coconut almond granola baking will transport you to a tropical island! Learn how to make granola with the biggest CLUSTERS here – because we all know clusters are the best part!

Granola is one of those things I almost always buy instead of make from scratch. There are some wonderful brands on the market today that are lower in sugar and use minimal ingredients that I love. However, there is something truly special about a freshly baked batch of homemade granola! I remember working as a waitress over the summers through high school and college. The restaurant I worked at made homemade granola every couple of days for their yogurt parfaits. I loved sneaking a handful from the fresh batch when passing through the kitchen. The cooks were always able to make the BIGGEST clusters, sometimes so big they were practically the size of a granola bar!

After creating this recipe, I now know the secret to those giant clusters – and it’s really quite simple! It involves minimal effort and just a little patience. Instead of mixing the granola around while it’s baking, don’t touch it! Just rotate the baking sheet once or twice to allow for even cooking. Here’s where the patience comes in – wait until the granola has cooled before attempting to break it into clusters. This allows for everything to set and harden up before you handle it. I also find that “stacking” your granola clusters in a shallow container keeps the clusters intact better than using a narrow container or a bag.

This granola will make your stomach growl as it bakes, because it smells incredible! The rich coconut, fragrant vanilla and sweet oats is seriously a dreamy combination. It takes less than one hour from start to finish, and will last you all week for healthy breakfast and snacking!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I used a mix of small and large shreds)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp pure almond extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup banana chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine oats, slivered almonds, cashews, coconut, cinnamon and ginger in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Mix together melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir to combine, thoroughly coating dry ingredients.
  5. Spread mixture in one even layer on prepared baking sheet, forming one large “sheet” of granola.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through to ensure even cooking. Granola should be a deep golden brown.
  7. Let granola cool before using your hands to gently break into large clusters. Toss in chocolate chips and banana chips.

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If you guys try this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations!

 

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Featured

Quinoa Enchilada Stuffed Peppers (Vegan, Gluten Free)

 

These stuffed peppers are a completely plant-based entrée that pack tons of delicious flavor! They take less than 1 hour to prepare and are easy to make ahead of time.

There’s something so satisfying about eating your food out of other food – bread bowls, papaya boats, and these stuffed peppers! This is such a fun and pretty way to serve an otherwise brown and lackluster looking (but delicious) quinoa enchilada salad!

 Grain salads are one of my go-to meal prep recipe suggestions. They require minimal cooking, come together quickly, and are versatile and customizable. While quinoa is technically not a grain, it behaves and tastes very much like one, and therefore it is one of my favorite grains to cook with. Unlike other grains, quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies must obtain from food because we cannot make them ourselves. This makes it a good, high quality source of plant based protein, which is great for those following a plant-based diet. Quinoa is also higher in fiber than most grains, so it is quite filling.

The quinoa salad featured in these stuffed peppers is one of my new favorites because it is so flavorful and so easy to prepare! It involves minimal chopping, and you just throw the ingredients into a big bowl and stir to combine. I couldn’t stop taking bites of it as I was stuffing the peppers! You could easily skip the stuffed peppers entirely and eat this over a bed of greens, but the peppers just look so colorful and pretty!

 Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup dry)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup red enchilada sauce
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 4 bell peppers, sliced in half lengthwise and deseeded
  • 1 avocado, sliced

Instructions

  1. Prepare dry quinoa and frozen corn according to package instructions.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large glass baking dish with parchment paper.
  3. Combine cooked quinoa, corn, black beans, enchilada sauce scallions, cilantro, lime juice and spices in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Arrange peppers, cut side up, in the baking dish (you may need to use two dishes, depending on the size of your peppers).
  5. Scoop about 1/3rd – ½ cup of quinoa stuffing into each pepper half.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until peppers are beginning to soften.
  7. Top with avocado slices and extra lime juice to serve.

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If you try this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations!

rice noodle bowls with peanut tofu and pickled vegetables Featured

Peanut Tofu Vermicelli Rice Noodle Bowls with Quick Pickled Vegetables (Vegan, Gluten Free)

 

What do you prefer, noodle bowls or rice bowls? I usually go for rice bowls (I love how rice soaks up sauces), but there’s one noodle bowl I absolutely love! I first had a Vietnamese Bun noodle bowl years ago, and instantly loved the fresh flavors and thin rice noodles. It’s a light meal, but still very filling. It doesn’t leave you feeling like you need a nap like some other noodle dishes.

The Vietnamese Bun noodle bowls I’ve had are served with nuoc cham, a sweet/salty/acidic sauce that really adds a delicious flavor. They are also served with fresh vegetables like carrots and cucumbers. I wanted to combine both of these elements by pickling my vegetables! The acidity plus a little sweetness of the apple cider vinegar shines though. I encourage you to prepare the pickled vegetables at least a day in advance to allow them to really pick up flavor. If you are unable to make the pickled vegetables, this meal would also be delicious with crunchy raw chopped vegetables!

You guys know I love peanut sauce, so peanut tofu was a natural choice for me to add to this bowl. With all these amazing flavors working together, I could eat this bowl every day! This meal was also boyfriend approved, so we’ll definitely keep this in our regular meal rotation. This meal serves 4-5.

 Ingredients

Pickled Vegetables

  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and thinly sliced I used a julienne peeler)
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Bowls

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • Avocado oil spray
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, thinly shredded
  • 1 package vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 1-2 Fresno chilis, sliced
  • ½ cup crushed peanuts
  • Fresh mint and/or cilantro

Peanut Sauce

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp low sodium tamari
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tsp chili paste
  • 1 tbsp mauka honey
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Pack sliced cucumbers and carrots into two jars. Heat the apple cider vinegar, water and maple syrup in a saucepan, stir and bring to a boil. Pour hot liquid into vegetable jars so that vegetables are fully covered. Cover and place in refrigerator. Prepare the pickled vegetables one day in advance if possible, or at least 30 minutes before eating.
  2. Preheat oven to 415 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Drain and press tofu to remove excess water.
  4. Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes, spray with avocado oil spray and bake for 25-30 minutes, until edges are golden brown and crispy.
  5. Prepare peanut sauce by whisking all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Toss tofu in peanut sauce to coat.
  6. Prepare vermicelli noodles according to package instructions.
  7. Arrange portions of lettuce, noodles and tofu in bowls. Top with mung bean sprouts, chilis, crushed peanuts, fresh herbs and pickled vegetables.

If you try this recipe, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations!