Archive for Gluten Free

Harissa Brownies {Vegan, Gluten-Free}

I mean, if there’s one thing I love, it’s mixing the savoury with the sweet. It’s fun to put ingredients in a dessert that you’d think have no right being there, and yet turn out to taste so good.

A few months ago, I stumbled across this vegan, gluten-free, four-ingredient brownie recipe. The four ingredients were: cooked sweet potatoes, maple syrup, nut butter and cocoa. I tried it, adding a few key ingredients, and it was…. good. Okay. Not amazing.

So I started to play with the recipe a little. I’d originally used peanut butter, because that’s what I had, but I wondered what a different kind of nut butter would bring to the party. What if I used pumpkin instead of sweet potato? What if I mixed in some different flavours? The end result? Harissa Brownies!

Harissa Brownies

So now the brownies are no longer just four ingredients, but they are still vegan and gluten-free!

This particular version took on a distinctly middle-eastern flair with the addition of tahini and harissa.

Harissa is a new discovery for me in just the last couple of years. It’s a spicy paste made from roasted peppers, and it’s used a lot in Persian cuisine. You can buy it in a tube from your local Persian market (if you’re in Vancouver, go to the Persia Foods, they have several locations around town). Tahini is also heavily used in middle-eastern food, so you can pick some of that up there, while you’re at it. Tahini is just nut butter or paste made from sesame seeds (so less chance someone will be allergic–bonus).

The only downside of this recipe is because it lacks flour and eggs, it is a pretty wet batter, and it takes a full hour to bake properly. But this is, hands-down, the best vegan, gluten-free brownie recipe I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a lot and been really, really disappointed every time).

I cooked my sweet potato by cutting it into 4 pieces and dropping it into the Instant Pot on top of the trivet with a bit of water in the bottom for 10 minutes, but honestly, just toss and extra one in the next time you’re cooking sweet potatoes for dinner. And use it make dessert.

The end result is something akin to Mexican hot chocolate, or a Mole; chocolate, sweet and spice. If you don’t like spice or can’t find the harissa, just leave it out.

Harissa Brownies

  • 1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (or try with canned pumpkin); about one medium sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Add the sweet potatoes to a large bowl and mash them well. I have also used a ricer or a food mill to ensure the silkiest quality, but mashing them with a fork is fine, too. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until combined.
  2. Line a 7″ square pan with parchment, and scrape the batter into it.
  3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes.

Chickpea Fries {Vegan}

What foods are you really missing in this pandemic? I miss Cartem’s donuts, of course. I miss the truffle fries at Lift or at Joey’s, which I usually share with my BFF and a side of gossip. I miss trying out new-to-me places.

One of my favourite vegan treats in the city are the Chickpea Fries from Chickpea. I actually think they are probably doing takeout so I could get some if I wanted, but I’m hardly leaving my neighbourhood these days. I’m pretty much restricting myself to what I can walk to (and Costco). Thankfully, my neighbourhood has lots of small places where I can stock up on produce and other perishables.

The Chickpea Fries from Chickpea

Besan or chickpea flour, has been a pantry staple for me for many years now. It’s high in protein, and has both sweet and savoury applications (as anyone of South Indian or Persian descent can attest). It’s also gluten free. In vegan cooking, it makes great, creamy sauces without butter or milk. So, yeah, it’s something that’s always in my cupboard.

I’ve made polenta fries before (I loved them so much I put them in my first cookbook), but I’d never even considered doing something similar with chickpea flour until I tried the chickpea fries from Chickpea. I was immediately hooked! Soft and creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside… these are so good.

Chickpea Fries

Of course, it was the kind of treat I could only have at a restaurant, since I don’t deep fry at home, but! Then I got the Breville Smart Oven Air with an air fryer setting, and now all my chickpea fry dreams are coming true, and yours can too!

The concept here is the same as polenta, you just sub out besan for cornmeal.

Chickpea Fries Airfyer

Chickpea Fries

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup besan or chickpea flour (sifted)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

Method:

  1. Prepare a 7″ square pan by brushing it with vegetable oil.
  2. In a small-medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the cumin and stir. Now slowly stream in the chickpea flour, using a whisk and whisking all the time.
  3. Once all the flour is added, reduce the heat and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and thick.
  4. Pour the hot mixture into the prepared pan, and smooth the top as best you can.
  5. Place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight to set.
  6. Remove from the fridge when set, and turn out onto a cutting board. Cut into “fries.”
  7. Preheat your airfryer to 400, and arrange the fries on the fryer basket. Spritz with oil the parts that don’t have any oil on them.
  8. Fry for 10 minutes, then shake/flip and cook for 5 minutes more.
  9. Remove from fryer, season while hot and serve with a drizzle of balsamic reduction or pomegranate molasses. I serve mine with vegan aioli for dipping.

 

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