Tag Archive for vegan gluten free recipes

Cookbook Review: Eat More Plants

I’ve known Desiree Nielsen for quite a few years, so I was pretty tickled to learn that she’d gotten a cookbook contract a while back. I’ve been looking forward to the publication of Eat More Plants, which happened in October of last year. 

It took me a while to get a copy (thanks, Cassandra!), and then Christmas got in the way of recipe testing, but better late than never, right? 

When I test a new cookbook, I like to make a minimum of 3-5 recipes, and try recipes from different parts of the book. 

I’ll talk more about the recipes I tried and how I liked them in a bit, but first I want to address the first third or so of the book, which is all reference material. 

Desiree is a registered dietician, and her knowledge is vast. I haven’t eaten meat since 2016, and there were plenty of patches in my life before that where I was vegetarian, so I think I know quite a bit about the plant-based lifestyle. The first 80 or so pages of this book are all information, and I learned stuff. If you are thinking of heading in a more plant-based direction with your diet, reading this first part of the book could be invaluable. Desiree talks about how to successfully be plant-based in a healthy, balanced way. She talks about protein, fibre, and how to get the essential vitamins and minerals you need, but on a plant-based diet. 

Tofu Mole Eat More Plants

Tofu Mole

It’s worthwhile to note that this book is 100% vegan and gluten free. I’m not gluten free (I’m not even 100% vegan), but I have quite a few friends who have multiple allergies, and the best way for me to feed them is by cooking gluten-free vegan. I find it hard. I find the gluten-free part harder than the vegan part, obviously (given that I wrote a vegan cookbook myself). So I’m always really impressed when gluten-free vegan recipes actually taste good. 

On to the recipes! 

Harissa Carrot Salad Eat More Plants

Harissa Carrot Salad

Here’s what I made: Chipotle Tofu Mole, Harissa Carrot Salad, Seedy Crackers, Avocado Panna Cotta, Healthy Breakfast Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Frosting, and Chickpea Panisse with Edamame and Lemon. 

Avocado Panna Cotta Eat More Plants

Avocado Panna Cotta

Generally speaking, I liked them all. The solid winners for me were the Panna Cotta (I’ve made quite a few vegan panna cottas, and it’s a challenge to get the texture just right). This dessert was the perfect, silky texture, but also had a citrusy punch. It was really good. I also was super impressed by the Breakfast Cupcakes (recipe below!), which, to be honest, I would not eat for breakfast. These were dessert for me. But I find, in general, that gluten free vegan baking is hard. The final result is either dry and chalky or falls apart because it’s got nothing to bind it. These cupcakes were moist and delicious. I’m unsure about the tahini frosting. A lot of people find tahini bitter. My friend that taste-tested these for me loved them, though, frosting included. 

Chickpea Panisse Eat More Plants

Chickpea Panisse with Edamame

The Tofu Mole was delicious, and I loved the Harissa Carrot Salad (I’m obsessed with harissa at the moment). The Chickpea Panisse was a new idea for me–it’s like making polenta, but with chickpea flour, which is better for you because it’s higher in protein–but for me, the dish didn’t come together. Maybe needed a sauce? 

Overall, I recommend this book highly, especially if you are, or are looking to be, gluten free vegan. It’s a very challenging diet, and Desiree’s expertise makes it much, much easier. 

There’s also a great section in the book where she meal plans for you for 21 days, if you want to do a reset now that it’s the new year. It’s kind of like having your own personal dietician. 

And now, a recipe! 

Healthy Breakfast Cupcakes Eat More Plants

Healthy Breakfast Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Frosting

Healthy Breakfast Cupcakes with Salted Chocolate Frosting

(Excerpted from Eat More Plants by Desiree Nielsen. Copyright © 2019 by Desiree Nielsen. Published by Penguin an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.)


  • 1½ cups (375mL) almond flour
  • ½ cup (125mL) gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup( 125mL) cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon (15mL) ground flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons (10mL) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2mL) ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon (2mL) cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon (2mL) salt
  • ¾ cup (175mL) unsweetened soy milk
  • ¼ cup (60mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup (75mL) pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (15mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15mL) liquid from canned chickpeas (Aquafaba)
  • 1 teaspoon (5mL) pure vanilla extract

Salted Chocolate Frosting

  • ½ cup (125mL) raw tahini, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60mL) pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup (60mL) cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1mL) salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon (0.5mL) cinnamon


1.      Preheat the oven to 350˚f (180˚C). Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or nonstick silicone muffin cups.

2.      Make the Healthy Breakfast Cupcakes in a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa, flaxseed, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt to combine.

3.      in a small bowl, whisk together the soy milk, olive oil, maple syrup, lemon juice, chickpea liquid, and vanilla.

4.      Add the soy milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until well blended.

5.      Scoop ¼ cup (60 mL) of batter into each muffin cup. Bake for 35 to 38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

6.      Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a rack to cool fully. The muffins will firm up as they cool.

7.      Make the Salted Chocolate Frosting in a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, maple syrup, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon until well blended. Spread on cooled cupcakes and serve immediately or refrigerate  until ready to serve.

8.      The cupcakes will keep in a resealable container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Bring iced cupcakes to room temperature before enjoying for best flavour.



Blueberry Coffee Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

I get asked all the time if cooking and baking vegan is hard. And truthfully? Once you figure out eggs, it’s not really.

There are great substitutes for butter like coconut oil or even any of the commercially available butter subs out there. There are a million different milk substitutes.

You know what’s really hard? Gluten-free. I’ll take a vegan challenge over a gluten-free one any day of the week.

Blueberry Coffee Cake Vegan Gluten Free

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about it too much in our house, but I do have several very good friends who are celiac, so I keep things like brown rice flour, chickpea flour, buckwheat flour and sorghum flour in my pantry. You could also use a cup-for-cup flour replacement blend if you like.

The challenge with doing gluten-free flours is that in order to get the consistency and binding right, you need to use flours with different properties in the right proportions. And that can take lot of time and experimentation to get right.

black forest brownie

Black Forest Brownies are just one example of Pikanik’s gluten-free decadence.

I recently interviewed Joanna Schultz, owner of Pikanik, which is an allergen-free bakery in Surrey. None of Joanna’s products include gluten, nuts, soy or dairy (which are the top food allergens). Joanna obviously knows a thing or two about gluten-free baking.

RC: What’s the deal with the rise in the gluten-free trend over the last few years? Are people more allergic in today’s world? Or are they just discovering these allergies, whereas in the past they would have just suffered through? 
JS: Great question! I am not sure what’s happening out there. I can remember as a kid not knowing any other kid with a food allergy – it was so uncommon. Now in every classroom there will no doubt be at least a  handful of kids with food allergies. My best guess is that’s a combination of factors – how food today is grown and processed, overloaded immune systems coping with all matter of environmental issues and yes, definitely diagnostic tools are more advanced.

RC: I do a ton of vegan baking and cooking, and I find vegan much easier than gluten-free. What’s the key to making gluten-free baked goods that don’t taste chalky?
 JC: I agree! But here’s the secret to your best GF baking — let your batters or doughs rest for 20 minutes before baking. This allows the wet ingredients to properly hydrate the flour(s). Hydrating the mix means that the gritty texture often found in GF baking virtually disappears.
Gluten-free Coconut Cream Pie

Gluten-free Coconut Cream Pie

RC: What’s your personal favorite recipe?
JS: Oh, so many to choose from! I love making homemade pizza at home. I use our dough from Pikanik and then have a variety of toppings and let the kids take the lead. It’s a fun activity and gets dinner on the table.
Thanks, Joanna! That tip about letting your batter rest is life-changing!
And now here’s a recipe from Joanna (or you could just order from them, they deliver).
egan, Gluten-Free Blueberry Coffee Cake

Blueberry Coffee Cake

{Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Ingredients for the strusel:

  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, cold, cut into small pieces

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 2 Cups brown rice flour
  • 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Potato Starch
  • 1/4Cup plus 2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Tapioca Starch
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (divided) Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup melted vegan butter
  • 1 cup non dairy milk
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon non dairy yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. First make the streusel: mix the dry streusel ingredients. Using a fork or a pastry blender, work in the vegan butter until it’s in pea-sized pieces. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the apple sauce and 1 teaspoon of the baking powder. Set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, remaining baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, and sugar. Add the apple sauce-baking powder mixture, margarine, yogurt, milk, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Allow to rest 20 minutes.
  5. Spread one-third of the batter into a greased, parchment-lined pan. Sprinkle half the streusel mixture on top. Spread the remaining two-thirds of the batter over the streusel mixture. Sprinkle the frozen blueberries and remaining streusel over the top. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool further. Slice and serve.