BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches with Homemade Avocado Slaw

To all you meat lovers who think that vegans or vegetarians are missing out, doubt no more and try these BBQ jackfruit sandwiches! Jackfruit, fresh or canned, can be found at pretty much any Asian store and I’ve seen them everywhere in Taiwan. They are an awesome meat alternative because of the texture and how well it absorbs flavors. You can also buy it on Amazon too! Just make sure you get the jackfruit that is in water, NOT brine or syrup. I got this recipe inspiration from Minimalist Baker and gave it a try. It is seriously SO SO good! My husband loves it…maybe because he loves BBQ sauce and chips? If you are looking for a good summer BBQ dinner idea, you HAVE to try this! It’s so easy to make too! Also, let’s not forget about this yummy avocado slaw. I love anything avocado and this just adds to the sandwiches perfectly. I can literally eat the whole bowl of slaw by itself. It’s so tasty. Oh yeah, the BBQ jackfruit and avocado slaw are great inside tacos as well! If you need a quick meal and want to impress those meat lover friends of yours, BBQ jackfruit is a winner!  BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches with Homemade Avocado Slaw
Serves about 4-5

BBQ JACKFRUIT
  • 2 20-ounce cans young green jackfruit in water (NOT in syrup or brine)
  • 1/4 cup BBQ seasoning (2 Tbsp brown sugar + 1 tsp paprika + 1 tsp garlic powder + 1/2 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp pepper + 1/2 tsp chili powder)
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (ensure it’s vegan) + more for topping
AVOCADO SLAW 
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1.5-2 Tbsps pure maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 lemon or lime, juiced
  • Salt + Pepper to taste
  • water to thin
FOR SERVING
  • 4-6 whole grain vegan buns (GF for gluten free eaters)

Rinse, drain and thoroughly dry jackfruit. Chop off the center “core” portion of the fruit and discard. Roughly chop the jackfruit. Place in a mixing bowl and set aside. (I personally don’t cut off too much of the core because I don’t want to waste all that jackfruit! If you thinly slice the core up, it softens as you cook it and you won’t even notice it.)

Mix together BBQ seasoning and add to jackfruit. Toss to coat.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1-2 Tbsp oil of choice and seasoned jackfruit. Toss to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes to achieve some color.

Add BBQ sauce and thin with enough water to make a sauce. I put in about 1/4 cup of water. Stir, cover, and reduce heat to low- medium and cook for about 20 minutes (up to 35 minutes on low for a deeper flavor).

Remove lid and stir occasionally. TIP: For finer texture, use two forks to shred the jackfruit as it cooks down.

In the meantime, make slaw by adding all ingredients except vegetables (avocado through salt + pepper) to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Thin with water until a thick sauce is made, then add veggies and toss to coat. Set in the refrigerator until serving.

Once the jackfruit has been properly simmered, turn up heat to medium-high and cook for 2-3 more minutes to get a little extra color/texture. Then remove from heat.

Toast buns and place generous portions of slaw on the bottom buns, top with generous serving of BBQ jackfruit. Serve with extra BBQ sauce if your heart desires! Or serve as tacos!

Leftover jackfruit keeps for up to a couple days in the fridge, though best when fresh.

(Recipe adapted from the Minimalist Baker)

Healthy Flax Peanut Butter Banana Bread (oil-free, refined sugar free, vegan)

Any type of bread, sweet or savory, is my weakness. Banana bread is one of those quick breads that I can never turn down. I’m always in the mood for it and often crave it. Bananas are seriously something I cannot live without. I eat one everyday without fail, so when it is in bread form, I am truly in heaven. Bread + bananas + peanut butter = PERFECTION. Now can you understand why I’m so obsessed with this banana bread?! Most banana breads are packed with sugar and high in fat. I wanted to make a banana bread recipe that I could feel good eating lots of, because really, I can’t just have one slice. 🙂 This banana bread is packed with ground flax seed, whole wheat flour, natural peanut butter, and is only slightly sweetened with a little bit of pure maple syrup. Let me just emphasize, this banana bread is NOT sweet like most banana breads. It is just barely sweetened and that’s why I love it so much. There are no refined sugars and oil too, which is an added plus! This banana bread paired with some extra peanut butter and freshly sliced bananas makes for the perfect breakfast, treat, dessert, or snack. Also, the added sesame seeds makes it even better! Let’s just say it did not last very long in my house. 

Healthy Flax Peanut Butter Banana Bread (oil-free, vegan) 

3 extra ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups mashed banana)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup all natural peanut butter (or any nut butter or tahini would be yummy too) 
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water, mixed and set aside for a few minutes)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk 
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp white or black sesame seeds (I love the crunch and texture it adds)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.In a large bowl combine the wet ingredients: mashed banana, maple syrup, peanut butter, flax egg, vanilla, and almond milk until smooth.

In a separate large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: whole wheat pastry flour, flaxseed meal, sesame seeds, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix!!! Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth top with a spatula.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until tester comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Remove from oven and allow pan cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove bread and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Bread is very good toasted and spread with extra nut butter of choice.

Tip: Make the bread the day before, cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and put it in a big ziploc bag. Slice and eat the next day. The bread will be SO SO moist and the flavors will have had more time to mix. SO good the next day!!! But of course, still slice yourself some the day of if you can’t wait like me. 

(Recipe adapted from the Ambitious Kitchen)

Dang Good Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan and gluten-free)

Sorry I’ve been MIA recently. This new baby of mine has kept me busy and tired! I’ve had this cookie recipe that I have wanted to share for quite some time. It might be my new favorite vegan chocolate chip cookie. It’s healthy, gluten-free, refined sugar free, and vegan. Best part is, you can’t even tell! I think I could eat all of them in one sitting if I let myself. They freeze well too and make for a great dessert when you are short on time. Not to mention, they can be made in ONE bowl. You can’t get easier than that! These cookies are SO dang good because they are perfectly nutty and sweet. Also, what can be better than biting into a cookie filled with ooey gooey dark chocolate?! Mother’s Day is just around the corner and these babies will definitely please those hard working mommas. 🙂 Dang Good Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 16-20 cookies

2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts
1/4 to 1/2 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
3-5 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk, as needed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine all dry ingredients and mix very well. Then add the wet ingredients, combine well, and form into a big ball. Now make little balls from the big one. For soft cookies, refrigerate until cold (otherwise, just bake right away). Bake 7-8 minutes, or until they’ve spread out and look just a little undercooked. Remove from oven when they’re still a little undercooked. It’s important to let cookies cool for at least 10 minutes before trying to remove from tray, as they’ll continue to cook while cooling. For soft cookies, store in a lidded plastic container. For crispy cookies, store in a lidded glass container. You can also freeze the dough balls for a quick dessert later. Enjoy!

(Recipe adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)

Oil-free Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Easter is right around the corner and these oil-free double chocolate zucchini muffins will make a great healthy treat for the kiddos and family. No one will even know they are oil-free and whole grain. The whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe makes these muffins light, while still being whole grain. It’s a winner. I love how these muffins are healthier because most chocolate muffins are loaded with sugar and fat. You can actually feel good after eating one or two. 🙂 The zucchini makes these muffins moist and who doesn’t love sneaking vegetables into a muffin! I got this recipe from Oh She Glows and tweaked it a little. I could eat these muffins all day! I think my favorite part when eating these muffins is when I get a bite filled with dark chocolate chips, especially when they are warm and gooey. Mmmm…go make these now! Oil-free Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Makes about 14 muffins

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water)
1 1/4 cup lightly packed shredded zucchini, skin left on
1 1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
scant 1/2 cup cane sugar or regular white sugar
1/3 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly spray muffin pan with oil or line with muffin liners.

Mix flax egg in a small bowl and set aside. Grate zucchini using a grater box (regular grate size). Set aside.

Mix almond milk and apple cider vinegar (or sub fresh lemon juice) in a glass measuring cup and set aside for 10 minutes. It will curdle, creating vegan buttermilk.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar).

Mix together the wet ingredients (flax egg, almond milk mixture, maple syrup, and vanilla) and then pour over dry ingredients. Stir until just combined, do NOT overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips, shredded zucchini, and walnuts if using…remembering not to overmix.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each tin 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 15-17 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until muffins slowly spring back when touched. A toothpick should come out mostly clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. With a knife, loosen around the muffin edge and transfer to a cooling rack until completely cool.

Store in a ziploc bag or airtight container. It gets more moist and flavorful the next day. 🙂 Enjoy!

(Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows)

Healthy Oil-free Cinnamon Applesauce Granola

This new granola recipe is my favorite and my go to breakfast and snack. I just can’t stop eating it! One thing I love about this granola is that it has puffed kamut in it. I like to change it up a bit so this was a great addition. Granola is already filled with good healthy fats from the nuts so I sometimes like to opt for oil-free granola or granola with little oil in it. This cinnamon applesauce granola is also not very sweet, unlike most store bought ones. I love the hint of cinnamon and peanut butter in this. I literally could eat this all day and be perfectly content. Pair it with some almond milk and you’ll be in granola heaven…at least that’s what it seems like for me! I would eat this for my late night snack or in place of dessert. It’s so easy to make and you’ll never want to get store bought granola again!  Healthy Oil-free Cinnamon Applesauce Granola
Makes about 4-5 cups

2 cups rolled oats
2 heaping cups puffed kamut
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup chopped almonds
2 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp all natural peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients together. Mix well.

In a small saucepan, combine the applesauce, maple syrup, and peanut butter on medium-low heat. Whisk continuously until heated through, just until it starts to simmer. Turn off the heat and whisk in the vanilla. 

Pour wet mixture into the large mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Combine and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

Place mixture onto the pan and spread it evenly throughout. Bake for 15 minutes, then take it out of the oven and give it a quick stir to ensure even baking. Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes. Check the granola and see if it has a golden color and is mostly dry. Don’t worry if it seems slightly wet and not perfectly crisp yet because it will crisp up even more when it cools. You don’t want burnt granola. Let it cool completely on the pan and enjoy! Store it in an airtight container.

Healthy Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Waffle Cookies

Sorry it’s been forever since I last posted, but I ended up having my baby boy 3 weeks early, so that was a great surprise! We are all doing well and baby Beckham is oh so cute! I can’t stop staring at him and I love him so much. However, staying home all day and supposedly “resting” can drive me a little crazy. I had to bake something! I’ve been craving anything peanut butter and chocolate so I decided to make these cute little gems. These waffle cookies turned out so good and make for the perfect treat. They are made with spelt flour, no refined sugars, and very little oil…definitely healthier than normal cookies or waffles. I love how they are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Also, what’s not to love when they are dipped in dark chocolate!?! Seriously, you have got to make these right now. They are so easy to make, but looks like you slaved over them. These are great for easter coming up too! Healthy Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Waffle Cookies
Makes about 20 waffle cookies

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp warm water)
2 cups spelt flour
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 rounded tsp ground cinnamon 
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (the natural drippy kind)
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk, room temperature 
Toppings: 1 cup dark chocolate chips, shredded coconut, hemp seeds, sprinkles

Heat the waffle iron to medium heat.

Prepare the flax egg by stirring together flax and water in a small bowl or cup. Let sit 5-10 minutes before using.

In a large bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon).

In a small bowl, stir the wet ingredients together until well combined (peanut butter, coconut oil, vanilla, non-dairy milk, flax egg). Make sure the non-dairy milk is at room temperature or warmed a little bit to prevent coconut oil from hardening.

Add the contents of the small bowl to the large and mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.

Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of batter and roll into a ball. Repeat until you have 4 balls and place each one on one quadrant of the waffle iron. Close the iron and let the cookies bake until golden brown. The time will vary depending on your waffle iron but for me it took about 1.5-2 minutes. Careful not to overcook them or burn them because they will be really crunchy and harden when cooled. Remove the cookies from the iron and repeat until all the batter is used.

For the chocolate coating, heat the chocolate chips in a small saucepan at low, stirring until melted or microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Dip the cookies halfway in the chocolate then place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. I also tried spooning the melted chocolate over half of the cookie and letting the excess chocolate drip off. Sprinkle your choice of topping over chocolate. Let the chocolate cool and harden before enjoying. Store in an airtight container or ziploc bag.

Enjoy!

(Recipe adapted from The Colorful Kitchen)

Easy Berry Pear Cake

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and this easy berry pear cake will definitely please your loved ones. It’s so simple to whip together, in fact, it only takes ONE bowl! You can use whatever berries you have on hand, frozen or fresh. This cake is light, slightly sweetened, moist, and so addicting! I can probably eat the whole thing by myself if I wanted to. Also, who knew it would turn out so beautiful! Such a pretty cake with not much effort. I love that! I’m a big fan of desserts with fruit in it so this one is definitely one of my favorites. Easy Berry Pear Cake Easy Berry Pear Cake Easy Berry Pear Cake Easy Berry Pear Cake Easy Berry Pear Cake Easy Berry Pear CakeEasy Berry Pear Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2-3/4 cup granulated sugar (I like mine less sweet so I used 1/2 cup)
2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk (or any nut milk)
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 pears, sliced thinly (I used Bartlett pears)
1 cup frozen berries (I used blueberries and blackberries)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and line with parchment paper a 9 inch round baking pan. I used a springform pan.

Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt) in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the wet ingredients (milk, melted oil, and vanilla) and mix until combined, being careful not to overmix. ***Make sure your milk is warmed a little bit so the coconut oil doesn’t harden. You can mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl first before adding it to the dry ingredients.

Pour into a round baking pan and cover with sliced pears and frozen berries. At first glance, it may look like there isn’t enough batter, but it rises beautifully during baking.

Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and baked through (toothpick test). Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Carefully grab the edges of the parchment paper and lift the cake out of the pan. Place on a wire wrack to cool completely.

Enjoy!!!