While thumbing through the latest Forks Over Knives magazine for ideas, I came across easy oil-free granola and one, Vegan Cherry-Chocolate Granola, caught my eye. I love granola a lot and I do have a go-to recipe that my family loves. But I’m always looking for new recipes to mix it up. And who doesn’t enjoy chocolate in the morning? I know I do. Especially in the morning. OK, I enjoy chocolate anytime.
Vegan Cherry-Chocolate Granola
With a whole food plant-based diet like what Forks Over Knives suggests, the ingredients are simple and fresh for this recipe. The granola is exactly that using old-fashioned oats, pitted dates, nuts, dried fruit, unsweetened cocoa powder, and flaxseed meal with some salt and vanilla extract.
I like this granola. It is not overly sweet. I like that as it has flavor without overwhelming sweetness. You taste the chocolate, nuts, and dried cherries. Every bite is different. Serve with non-dairy yogurt or plant-based milk with some fresh fruit making it a great way to start off the day. And a cup of tea, of course. At least in our house, tea is how we start our day.
Looking for other breakfast option? Go here.
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 cups thick-cut rolled oats
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 dried cherries
- 1. Preheat oven to 300F.
- 2. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- 3. Place dates, flaxseed meal, vanilla, salt, and cocoa powder in a food processor.
- 4. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the top.
- 5. Let stand for 15 minutes to soften the dates.
- 6. Blend until smooth.
- 7. Transfer blended date mixture to a large bowl containing oats and almonds
- 8. Spread mixture on the baking sheet and place in oven.
- 9. Bake 10 minutes and stir breaking up into pieces then bake another 10 minutes more. Bake another 10 minutes and turn off the oven allowing the granola cool.
- 10. Stir dried fruit.
A world without Nutella is a very sad one. At least for me anyway. As I moved to plant-based eating, I decided I needed to find a recipe for vegan Nutella. It is a creamy smooth chocolate hazelnut spread you can put on bread or pancakes or dip fruit into it usually has milk and processed sugar. A main part of plant-based eating is removing processed foods including sugar and grains.
Vegan Hazelnut Spread
After some searching, I found a recipe for vegan hazelnut spread. While it is only five ingredients, there is some work to take place. You’ll need raw unsalted hazelnuts, vanilla extract, sea salt, dairy-free dark chocolate or a cacao powder, and pure maple syrup. And a good blender or food processor to blend it all together.
There are some keys to making this yummy spread. One is to roast the hazelnuts. Even if you purchase roasted hazelnuts, re-roasting will warm the natural oils and loosen the skins. And a sturdy towel to remove as much of the skins as possible. That will make a creamy spread. Chocolate is another important element. Chose quality chocolate or cacao powder to make your spread. There will be a sticker shock when you purchase quality cacao powder. I use Trader Joe’s 72% Dark Chocolate bar.
In making this vegan Nutella, you can customize it to your taste. It is all natural without stabilizers so stirring is a must. It is perfect to put on homemade bread.
- - 3 cups raw unsalted hazelnuts
- - 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or paste
- - 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- - 2/3 cup dairy-free dark chocolate
- - 1 or 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350F or 176C.
- 2. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. For raw, roast for 12-15 minutes. If already roasted then roast for 8-10 minutes.
- 3. Remove tray from oven and cool slightly.
- 4. Transfer hazelnuts to towel and roll the nuts around getting as much skins off as possible.
- 5. Put the skinless hazelnuts in the food processor blending until a butter forms after 8-10 minutes.
- 6. While the butter is blending, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments.
- 7. When the butter is creamy and smooth then add the vanilla and salt blending well.
- 8. Based on taste, you can adjust the seasoning and add 1 or 2 tablespoon maple syrup.
- 9. Transfer to a clean jar and store at room temperature. It will keep for 2-3 weeks.
There is something wonderful about banana muffins. To me they are an anytime food not just for breakfast. Pass on store bought ones. Homemade are the best. Basic ingredients that most of us have in our pantry: flour, butter, bananas, eggs, yogurt. I’ve been using Cooking Light’s Classic Banana Bread recipe from 2003 since 2003. Love it.
This time around I used bread flour and Greek pineapple yogurt. Instead of using a loaf pan, I made muffins. It was so good. Thumbs up.
Going back to basics for a Sunday morning breakfast. We had hard boiled egg and toast. So very English… or in my case Irish. We added in some watermelon for something healthy.
What is your favorite Sunday breakfast?
Waffle House. A restaurant chain at the end of every off-ramp of America’s highway system. I’ve pasted them millions of times and never thought to stop in and eat. Either searching for a local diner and heading towards a McDonalds.
There are times you just want a simple Sunday breakfast: waffles, eggs, hashbrowns, bacon. And in Tarboro on a Sunday, that is not an option. Even on a weekday where I live the breakfast places aren’t numerous and the quality not great.
We wanted a Sunday-type breakfast and didn’t want to make the drive to Rocky Mount to the Highway Diner, which by the way is one of the best diners out there and is always worth the drive. We ate at our local Waffle House.
And it was good. For real. Honestly, I was really surprised by this. And the prices were reasonable. The wait staff were friendly and nice. The place was bright and clean. Fun music coming out of the juke box.
Loved getting a booth right by the grill to see all of the action. And it was hopping.
I went over the deep end and got the hashbrowns “all the way.” That meant the hashbrowns were covered in sautéed onions/mushrooms, tomatoes, ham, cheese, jalapeños, and chili. While it may look like a plate of sick, it didn’t taste that way. It was really, really, really good. (And there was no unpleasant aftereffects may I add.) I felt very manly eating it like I was a long haul trucker.
And of course, I had to have a waffle since it is called the Waffle House after all. I enjoyed that, too.
I ate so much at breakfast that I didn’t eat the rest of the day I was so full.
Lesson learned… order a smaller order of hashbrowns or just get a waffle.