Tag Archive for easy vegan recipes

Vegan Date Squares

Grief is a weird animal. 

It’s been eleven years since I lost my mom… a lifetime, almost. Sometimes, when I tell people that I lost my mom to cancer, they say “oh, I’m sorry!” and I get it, that’s a natural reaction. 

I usually brush it off. It has been, after all, a long time. More than a decade. And I did a bunch of therapy, which was really good. 

And mostly, it’s okay. I’m happy, my life is good, and I don’t think about her too much. 

But Mother’s Day is one of those times that I do. How can you not? 

Vegan Date Squares Recipe

The weirdest thing is, I have discovered myself craving certain foods leading up to days that could be emotionally loaded. Like earlier this year, in February, I had the weirdest, obscure craving for pea soup. It’s not something I would normally crave, but crave it I did. I was halfway though making a pot of pea soup when I remembered that it was one of her faves. She made giant pots of it with hamhocks gently bubbling in a green sea. 

My inexplicable craving was actually a longing to be close to my mom, but it played itself out in food. 

More recently, just before Mother’s Day, I had a really strong craving for date squares. Another thing my mom made all the time, and loved. She called them “Matrimony Squares,” though. 

Nobody quite knows where the name came from, but they were popular on the Prairies, where my mom grew up. Supposedly the two layers “sandwiched” together represent marriage. 

Most people today just call them Date Squares, and honestly, they are a really simple and tasty treat. What I love about these is that they require very little processed sugar, a few simple ingredients, and almost no technique. 

They are a simple, rustic, comforting dessert. 

My mom, of course, made these with butter, but I’ve substituted coconut oil, which works great. 

Date Squares Recipe

Vegan Date Squares

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup oats (the quick cooking kind work better here)
  • ½ cup +2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups pitted dates, chopped
  • 3/4 cup water
  • ½ tsp baking soda

Method

  1. Mix together the flour, oats and brown sugar, then add in the melted coconut oil and mix everything together, using your hands if need be. 
  2. Line a square baking pan with parchment, or grease it well. Dump about half of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the pan, and then press it down firmly with your hands. 
  3. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, place the dates, water and baking soda. Stir well, and bring up to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low. Allow the dates to cook and soften, stirring occasionally, until they become a jam-like consistency. Turn off the heat and place to the side to cool a little. 
  4. Scrape the date mixture onto the bottom crumble layer in the pan, and then smooth overtop in an even layer. 
  5. Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over top and scatter it around so that it coats the date layer evenly. You don’t need to press it down. 
  6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden. 
  7. Allow to cool, then cut into squares. 

 

Rhubarb Tart {Vegan}

Well, it’s spring. I mean, officially, though it sure doesn’t feel much like spring these days in Vancouver. 

This is the time of the year when I eagerly start to look for the first signs of spring produce, and that usually means two things: rhubarb and asparagus. 

Vegan Rhubarb Tart

When I was a kid growing up on the east coast, it would have been fiddleheads, but they aren’t as popular here. 

We always grew rhubarb in our garden, so there’s something so nostalgic about it for me. My mom used to give me a stalk of it, and bowl of sugar, and let me go to town. She’d also make pie. 

I don’t grow my own, so I spent the past two weeks looking for it everywhere. Finally, on a tip from a FB friend, I tracked it down at Donald’s Market, but if you get to the farmer’s market this weekend, you’ll likely find it there. 

rhubarb

I was inspired this year to do something a little different. The idea of this dessert is that it’s more like a lemon meringue pie, but instead of the tartness of the lemon, you have the tartness of the rhubarb. 

Plus, you cannot go wrong with that beautiful pale pink colour that’s reminiscent of all of spring’s prettiest blossoms. 

This would be a great option to serve at your Easter brunch or dinner this weekend, or for Mother’s Day. 

Rhubarb Tart Vegan

Rhubarb Tart {Vegan}

Ingredients: 

  • 1 store-bought vegan pie crust or home-made
  • 2 cups rhubarb, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup non dairy milk (something neutral, like soy)
  • 1/4 vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Method: 

  1. Blind-bake the pie crust for about 10-15 minutes, until it is golden. Set aside to cool. 
  2. In a heavy-bottomed, medium saucepan, place the rhubarb, sugar, water and lemon juice. Place over medium heat, and allow to come to a boil. Turn down the heat, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft, thickened, and jammy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes. 
  3. In your blender, place the cooked rhubarb mixture, the dairy-free milk, and the cornstarch. Blend well until everything is smooth, then return to the pot. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, allowing the curd to thicken. Remove from the stove and allow to cool completely. 
  4. While the curd is cooling, place the aquafaba, 2 tbsp of sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar in the bowl of your mixer. Mix on low for about 2 minutes, then turn the speed up to high and whip until you get fairly stiff peaks. This may take up to 10 minutes, depending on your aquafaba, but you can’t overmix it, so keep going until it’s really light and fluffy. 
  5. Reserve a little of the aquafaba in a piping bag for garnish (about 1/2 cup)
  6. Carefully fold the rhubarb curd into the aquafaba, until it is all incorporated. Pour the finished curd/mousse mixture into the cooled pie or tart shell, and place in the fridge to set for at least a few hours, or overnight. 
  7. Decorate the tart with leftover aquafaba, and serve. 
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