Open-Face Pickle and Tomato Sandwich.

I hesitated to write this post. Veggie sandwiches seem to be pretty intuitive; you pick some veggies, slice ’em thin, and then carefully place them on a slice of bread or toast. Dress it up how you want it. Mayo? K! Cheese? Sounds good. Hummus?! Sure! How about some wasabi? Never tried it, but it’d probably be really awesome. I’m not sure if any of you have this issue, but the cookie does not always crumble in the most satisfying ways. I pile too many things, season one too few layers, let the tomatoes soak the bread too long, put mayo when I wanted spicy mustard…it just doesn’t always go well. When I have a veggie sandwich, I want crunch. Balance. Something that will mostly stay together when I take a bite. Briny tanginess mixed with cool freshness. It’s really hard to do well. This creation was borne out of a total obsession with tomato sandwiches lately and a drive for that briny/tangy/sweet/cool/crunchy combo that makes my day. Bust out your big slices of bread, toast ’em hard, and pile/lightly place away!

1 slice grainy bread, toasted and cooled

1 small tomato, sliced thin

2 tbsp hummus

1/2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese

1 dill pickle spear, sliced thin longways

Salt and pepper

Evenly spread hummus on the slice of toast. Sprinkle feta and press down to secure. Season lightly with salt. Gently place tomato slices to cover the toast. Top with dill pickle spears and a light sprinkling of pepper. Enjoy immediately!

Presto Vegan Lemon Basil Pesto.

All summer long, I’ve been growing a curious form of basil that has tiny leaves and chewy stems. It grows like a mofo, looks gorgeous, and the leaves are potently basil-y. My only issue is the stems. Usually basil is so tender and edible, but the stalks on which the itty-bitty delicate leaves grow are like chewing on twist-ties. Annoying. I assure you, I’ve been dealing with this monstrous inconvenience juuusssst fine and have been eating the shiznitty out of some basil, but I wish I wish I wish the stems were a little softer. It was partly out of leaf-plucking laziness and partly out of a desperate need for an adult condiment for baked potatoes that lead me to make this gem of a pesto. Ever notice how so many pesto recipes have cheese? I HATE that. I don’t want cheese in my pesto! Thankfully, I wasn’t missing flavor in this recipe. Lemon and basil basically make out and produce flavor babies and my mouth throws them a party. This shit goes on anything. We put it on potatoes, but then I got ornery and put it on my cole slaw just to see what happened (I ate it) (it was really good) (I recommend it). When I found myself licking the bowl it was in, I felt shame for a split second and then high-fived myself for making such a damn good recipe. So make this green goop and put it on everything! A few notes: pesto is all about throwing flavorful things together in a food processor and assuming it’ll taste good. When I say “bunch of basil,” you might be all, “how big is her bunch” and I’ll be all “none of your business” and you’ll be all “I meant basil you moron” and I’ll be all “oh right um I think it was a handful” and you’ll be all “smh I hate you and your stupid non-recipes” and I’ll be all “I feel you but you can use as much basil as you want man” and you’ll be all “ok thx.” So go with your gut and assume it’ll all turn out delicious.

1/4 c almonds

1 large bunch basil, lightly torn

1 tsp sea salt

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 c olive oil

In a small food processor, process almonds until they look like a cross between gravel and sand, about 1 minute. Add basil, salt, and lemon juice and process until mixture looks soft and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Drizzle in olive oil and process until mostly smooth, about 45 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning. Use immediately as a dip, dressing, condiment, or soup (no judgment here!).

Banana Pancakes for Two (Or One, if You’re Me).

I realize I have a pancake problem, and I’m not sorry. Pancakes are good any time of day, and they can be made paleo, gluten-free, whole grain, and with or without dairy. You can slip vegetables into any pancake batter, and you don’t have to turn on the oven to get cake. Without furthering this ode to pancakes, here’s how you can enjoy a batch all by yourself. Late dinner? Done. Sleep past breakfast? You got this. Not in the mood for leftovers? Banana pancakes. The banana is essential, as there is no other vegetable oil or butter in the batter, and I also skip any kind of sweetener. I make these dairy free using almond milk and smother them with coconut oil and maple syrup; you can use butter and a sprinkle of your favorite topping. It is essential these are cooked on a hot griddle and eaten immediately!!

1 scant c whole-grain white flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Dash ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 banana
3/4 c + 1 tbsp milk
1 tsp flax seeds
Dash vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add milk, eggs, and banana; smush and mash together until mostly homogenized. Sprinkle in flax and vanilla; stir to combine. Cook by 1/4 cupfuls on a hot, well-greased griddle until bubbles appear on top; flip and cook til both sides are beautifully browned. Serve hot with butter or coconut oil and a healthy portion of maple syrup.

Gluten- and Dairy-Free Pie Crust.

This pie crust does a few things: first, it’s an excellent vehicle for whatever filling your heart desires. Second, it’s got the ability to wear different pants. You can season it for a sweet pie, a savory pie, a breakfast feast, whatever. Last and most importantly, this pie crust offers the ability to justify eating pie at pretty much any time of day. The nuts and oats offer both fiber AND protein. If you’re anything like me, you’ll need this justification because pie tastes best in the mornings for breakfast. It’s pretty good at lunch, too. Having pie for second dessert is just normal, really, and if you wake up in the middle of the night, there should probably be pie on the counter so you have something to nibble.

You know what, don’t be like me.

This pie crust is hearty and has a great crunchy texture. I used it for both a dairy-free chocolate meringue pie and an apple cranberry pie, and it performed beautifully. It had the added benefit of countering the sugar rush from the filling with its other good-kid qualities. I used allspice to season it the first time I baked it which gave a graham cracker scent. I think it’d be really good for a frittata with a little bit of cayenne and cumin in it or cinnamon and cocoa for a sweet pie. This recipe makes enough for 1 9-inch pie crust and 4 ramekins. If you really stretched, you could probably do 2 9-inch crusts, but you could also make a little extra filling and pop the small ones in the freezer for late-night enjoyment.

1 c gluten-free flour blend (I use Namaste Foods GF flour blend)
3/4 c gluten-free oats
1/2 c walnuts
1/2 c almonds
1/2 c vegan margarine, melted
1/4 c honey
1/2 tsp salt
Seasonings to compliment the filling (opt.)

In a large food processor, pulse nuts, oats, flour, salt, and seasonings (if using) until it’s the texture of coarse sand. Evenly drizzle honey and margarine onto dry ingredients. Pulse until lightly combined and then process for 10-15 seconds until it starts to pull away from the sides of the processor. Press into a pie plate so that it is just over 1/4″ thick and prick all over with a fork. Bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Enjoy with your favorite filling.

Cranberry Orange Pancakes.

Where some people crave pumpkin everything in the fall, I simply adore the tartness of cranberry dishes. Cobbler, homemade sauce, muffins…I drool when I think of all my favorite cranberry dishes, partly because they’re awesome, and partly because they have that amazing sourness rarely achieved outside of a Sour Patch Kid. The gods of Thanksgiving hovered over me this morning while I worked some pancake batter magic, and as my husband and I “mmmm’d” our way through a pile of fragrant hot goodness, I thought, “Pumkin shmumpkin.”

2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1 c fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 orange
1 1/2 c milk (I used almond milk)
1/4 c oil
2 eggs

Pulse cranberries, 2 tbsp sugar, and zest of half the orange in a food processor until cranberries are in mostly uniform 1/4″ pieces. Set aside. Into a 4-cup glass measuring pitcher, juice orange until you have about 1/4 c juice. Add almond milk and allow mixture to rest about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift together flour, baking powder, 2 tbsp sugar, and salt. After 5 minutes, crack eggs and pour oil into milk mixture and whisk. Pour milk mixture into sifted flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in cranberries. Allow batter to rest about 5 minutes. Pour by 1/2-cup portions onto well-greased griddle over low heat; flip when bubbles appear and edges appear to be set. Serve hot with butter or coconut oil and a sprinkle of sugar.

Lentil Sloppy Joe’s.

Lentils: cheap, meaty (but not), vegetarian, kid-approved. Get on board!

1 c lentils (I used green)
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced lengthwise and chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1/2 c barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)
1/2 c ketchup
1 c canned tomato sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
2 heaping tsp ground mustard powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Olive oil

In a large skillet with a lid, combine lentils, bay leaf, and 4 c cold water. Bring to a boil; lightly cover with lid (allow steam to escape), reduce heat, and simmer until lentils are tender and no longer crunchy, about 20 minutes. Drain; remove and discard bay leaf, and set lentils aside. In same skillet, heat olive oil to a shimmer and add vegetables plus 1 tsp salt. Saute until vegetables are lightly tender, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, in a 2 c measuring pitcher, combine barbecue sauce, ketchup, tomato sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, mustard powder, garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, and black pepper. Add drained lentils to softened vegetables and toss to combine. Pour sauce over lentil and vegetable mixture and gently stir to coat. Simmer over low heat with lid cocked until lentils take on flavors of sauce and vegetables, about 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Serve over bread or vegetables. Eat with a fork and knife!

Coconut Pancakes.

2 bananas

3 eggs

3 tbsp coconut flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Dash salt

 

In a blender or food processor, process bananas until smooth. Add eggs; process until fully incorporated. Add coconut flour, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and fully combine. Pour in 1/4 c portions onto a hot greased skillet; turn when bubbles form. Serve with fruit or jam.