Vegan Lettuce Wraps

I stumbled on this by accident. I had made vegan gyoza and ran out of the wrappers.  So I had gyoza filling left over.   And I make teriyaki sauce quite often for all sorts of things, so I had that on hand too.  This was ridiculously fast to put on the table since I had all the pieces as leftovers in the fridge. 

If you aren't worried about looking messy (and licking fingers) in front of friends, this would be a fun small party food.


Wash and spin dry lettuce leaves. You want to use the prettier more intact lettuce leaves for this (use the broken leaves to cut up for salad).  Butter lettuce makes nice small cup shaped leaves.

Reheat leftover rice or cook a fresh batch.

Heat up gyoza filling in a bowl.

Make teryaki sauce, or get it out of the fridge.

Arrange everything on the table. To serve, each person grabs a leaf, spoons rice and gyoza filling into the leaf and drizzles teriyaki sauce over. Eat immediately. It will be messy, but delicious. 

Quick sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Raisins

This is another example of good ingreidents and very simple cooking method.  I rather like these guys- they are like mini cabbages!  These are a great nutritious vegetable that is available in the winter.

As long as they were purchased fresh and not overcooked I think they have a lot of potential.  In fact, I even ate this for breakfast one day!!


Wash brussel sprouts. Slice them using food processor slicing disc.  This step can be done ahead and sliced brussel sprouts can be refrigerated.

Heat a saute pan over high heat. 

Add some good quality olive oil.  Now pour in the sliced brussel sprouts. Sprinkle sea salt. Optionally crush 1 clove garlic. Stir. 

As it is hot, the greens should wilt. Stir occasionally. They should cook in less than 4 minutes- you aren't looking for fully done, but rather to take the raw edge off and brown some of the parts. 

Add golden raisins and heat through (60 seconds or less). Then turn out onto a plate and serve hot. 

Gluten Free Snickerdoodle cookies

Was looking for a nutfree, chocolate-free, gluten-free cookie recipe and remembered snickerdoodles! I love this blog so I started with her recipe and reduced the sugar.  Actually the rice flour in these is very good- gives it a sandy texture. And who doesn't love browned butter?


Brown 13 TB butter. Pour into heatproof container and cool.

Mix up:
2.5 C gluten free flour (I use a mix that is predominantly brown rice flour, with some potato starch and tapioca starch)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Now combine with the wet:
2 eggs
vanilla extract
the browned butter from above

Shape into a log, roll in wax paper and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Prepare a plate with chunky turbinado sugar and/or regular sugar and cinnamon.

Slice the log into 1/3 - 1/2 inch thick slices.  Push each cookie dough disc into the sugar/cinnamon and flatten a bit to soften the cut edges. Place on cookie sheet.

Bake at 350F until firm- it took my oven 15-18 minutes with two cookie sheets baking at the same time. 

Thai Beef Salad

I'm a fan of finding a way to jazz up salads, and eating less meat and more veggies. This is a fun salad to add to my winter rotation. 

I used top round steak ($6 /lb) instead of fancy steak cuts and it turned out great. You'll be cutting it in thin strips so it doesn't have to be expensive.


Make marinade/dressing:
3 TB lime juice
2 tsp sugar
1 TB fish sauce
1 TB soy sauce
pinch of sriracha or chilies

Using a TB of the marinade, briefly marinate a pound or less of beef (less than 20 minutes). See notes at top.

Place marinated beef on broiler tray. Broil (i.e. 500F ) for 4-7 minutes each side until still rare but cooked through. Let rest to redistribute juices. Slice thinly and refrigerate.

Prep the veggies:
Clean, dry and roughly chop leafy lettuce
Shred cucumber (I use a julienne slicer to do this quickly- I really like the noodle-y texture it creates)
Slice avocado
Chop cilantro

Toss salad greens with reserved marinade (the liquid that never touched the meat). 

Assemble salad on a plate with the cucumber, avocado.  Add the cooked beef slices.

Sprinkle with the cilantro and some Thai basil. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Zucchini Cake

This is one of a trifecta of the hubby's favorite gluten free cakes.   Works for dessert, or good packed into a lunch.  I bet this would be good for a potluck too.

I made this older recipe into gluten free by substituting gluten free flour and using rice pulp leftover from making rice milk.

Grate 2-3 zucchini using grating disc of food processor. You should have approximately 2.5 C grated zucchini. Set aside.

Mix in a bowl:
2 eggs
<=1/3C coconut oil, melted (make sure coconut oil is melted, otherwise you get greasy muffins)
3/4 C plain Nancy's yogurt
1/3 C water or milk
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients:
1 C rice pulp (wet pieces of ground up rice leftover from making rice milk) 
2 C gluten free flour (I use a mixture that is brown rice flour, tapioca starch and potato starch)

1 tsp baking soda1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Now fold in the grated zucchini. If you have trouble getting it incorporated, put a small portion of the zucchini and the batter back into the food processor, this time with the S blade.  Blitz that up until incorporated, then pour back into the bowl with the rest of the batter and grated zucchini. Mix.

Bake in 8"x8" pyrex baking pan for 20 minutes at 350 F.


Cranberry Upside Down Cake

This looks more like tarte tatin than the traditional upside down cake, as it is a very thin shallow cake part, but I like it that way, so the cranberry topping really shines.  I saw it in a cookbook but with a ton of extra sugar and butter so this is a little bit healthier version-- and we didn't miss a thing (in fact any more sugar would be too sweet for my taste).

This was beautiful and I could imagine it at a breakfast table, or holiday dessert.  But for more than a couple people you might need to make several pans of it as you'd want to serve a couple slices each person.

My husband is slightly sensitive to gluten (but he may be really sensitive to nuts and nightshades- we're testing that theory), so I'm trying out "less gluten" versions of things. So instead of going gluten free (which often means almond flour, potato starch), I'm reducing the wheat flour and adding in brown rice flour.  In this recipe, the texture was great as the cake part has a little more spring and chew, so it was a hit.  In fact this goes on his favorites list.

I love having cranberries in the freezer, so I buy them up when they go on sale (usually after Thanksgiving) and stick them in the freezer. They freeze beautifully just in the package they came in.

Preheat cast iron pan in 350F oven.

Meanwhile, mix togehter:
1/4 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C brown rice flour (or your flour of choice, just not coconut as it's too absorbent)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1/8 C organic white sugar
1/2 C unsweetened applesauce (I use the applesauce I canned a few months ago)
2 eggs, beaten
1 - 2 TB rice milk (or use regular milk or water)

Once the pan is hot, add 1/4 C butter and melt.  Add 1/4 C brown sugar and stir to make a slurry.  Sprinkle a little fine sea salt over the top (unless you used very salty butter). Now add 1 C cranberries.

Spread the batter over the top of the cranberry butter mixture in the pan. It will be quite thin, this is ok, just do the best you can.

Put it back in the oven and bake 30 minutes at 350 F or until golden on top and bubbling at the edges.

Carefully invert over a cutting board or large plate.  I suggest you get a buddy and with both of you wearing oven mits.


Breakfast Beans Rice & Cilantro

I can't believe how delicious and easy this is for breakfast. It reminds me of gallo pinto from Costa Rica but a lot simpler.  I can whip this up faster than the hubby cooks eggs (which is also pretty fast!). This is a filling, warm and protein packed breakfast that will keep you going for a while. And it is cheap and vegan.

  • Boil, drain and freeze black beans (see this post on how to ditch the canned bean habit!)
  • Set up rice cooker. Either cook the rice and reheat from the fridge for breakfast, or set it up to cook the rice in the morning (I use an appliance/lamp timer on a cheap rice cooker)
  • Juice a lime or a lemon. I often do a few at a time and store the juice in a small half or quarter pint glass canning jar with plastic lid.
  • Wash cilantro to remove dirt. Spin dry in a salad spinner. Store in fridge.
At breakfast:
Reheat beans and rice (I use the microwave at 70% power). 
Meanwhile, chop the cilantro with a sharp knife.

Drizzle the hot beans and rice with:
1/2 - 1 tsp lime/lemon juice
1/2 tsp of olive oil

salt to taste

Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over and stir to combine. Eat hot.

Vegan Gyoza

A lot of vegan gyoza recipes use tempeh, seitan or tofu. I wanted a simple vegetable only filling.  I found this recipe and riffed on it a bit.

If you have a large steamer set up in your kitchen, you could make gyoza ahead and then steam at the last minute for a party.

First, cut all the veggies
The point here is to cut each thing pretty finely. You are imitating ground meat, so make it small. That also helps when filling them (big clumps don't fit that well in dumpling wrappers).

Dice 1 small white onion (or use Japanese negi or green onions)

Mince 3 cloves garlic
Grate 1 TB ginger using a microplane
Dice approx 1 C cleaned shiitake mushrooms
Shred then dice 1.5 - 2 C napa cabbage (or regular cabbage or a green like collards)

Finely dice approx 1 C carrot.  I used my julienne peeler, then chopped the strands.

Stir fry the veggies
In a hot pan, add TB oil. Then add the onion and ginger and garlic and stir.   Add salt, pinch black pepper, and 1/4 tsp white pepper.

Add incrementally each cut vegetable from above and stir a little bit. Cook until softened.
Turn off heat, then stir in 1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil.

Get a friend (or hubby) to help with this step.  One person keeps the wonton (square) or gyoza/dumpling (round) wrappers and places two out on a cutting board at a time. Then put a spoonful of filling in the center of each wrapper.

Pass to the next person. Next person has a small bowl of water. Dip the pointer finger of both hands into water. Dribble the water on two sides of the gyoza (from top right corner down and top right corner across to the left)-- you will use this to seal it to the other side.  Fold over diagonally and seal by pressing the edges. Now crimp and place on a rimmed cookie sheet.

Repeat for all the filling/wrappers, or until you run out.

This is optional. I like to make the gyoza and freeze so I can use them later. You can steam directly from frozen, which makes a super fast dinner!

Cook & enjoy
You can cook up gyoza from fresh or frozen.  Two methods:

1) Steam over hot water until soft and warm (5 minutes?). This is the simplest and cleanest method
2) Fry in oil until crispy/browned on the bottom. Then add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan (it will sizzle), cover and let steam in the liquid. This method gets good crispy/steamy-d texture but is more messy.

Serve with dipping sauce- usually it's a mixture of rice vinegar (komezu), soy sauce and something spicy like chili oil, sriracha or sambal.

To make it a meal: I like to serve with a salad (like daikon, cucumber and or spinach), pickled lotus root, miso soup and or soba noodles with dipping sauce. 

Monk Cookies (vegan almond oat thumbprint cookies)

I found the recipe on the Kitchn and have fallen in love-- now I've made these twice.   I really like them with marmalade- in the photo above I used homemade vanilla bean marmalade.  The only problem is the dough is a little bit fussy to shape into thumbprints. Another bonus of marmalde is it is quite stiff and won't run off the top of the cookie (so it reuqires less diligence in forming a thumbprint than with a runny jam).

You could make these gluten free by using a gluten free flour instead of the spelt. I would start by trying perhaps buckwheat or brown rice flour? 

These make perfect tea time cookies. I love them out of the freezer, so they make good work freezer snacks too.

1 C ground almonds
2 C ground oats
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 - 3/4 C spelt flour (or other flour)
1/2 C coconut oil (melted)

1/2 C maple syrup/agave

Let sit for 10 minutes - it will firm up and get easier to handle.

Form into thumbprint shapes. Fill with jam.

Bake 15 minutes at 350 F.

Nutty Chocolate Energy Bites (raw, vegan)

I've bought these from health food store bulk bins before- delicious and expensive! So when I saw a great looking photo on this blog and their cookbook I knew I had to try it.  I think I'll be making these for future airplane trips- they look sturdy and non liquidy enough to be a good plane food. They are great for sticking in a ziplock and stashing for an afternoon of errands too- they taste good cold out of the freezer or room temp.  And they are satisfying for such a small amount of space!

Blend just to combine in food processor:
1 C pumpkin seeds (and or sunflower seeds)

1 C hemp seeds
1/2 C chia seeds
2 TB poppy seeds

Then, process these in the food processor all by themselves:
20 medjool dates (pitted)
1/3 C melted coconut oil
1/4 C cacao powder
vanilla extract

Add back the dry mix and process one last time to combine wet and dry.

If it is too wet, add up to 1/3 C rolled oats.  I like mine a little wetter than the original recipe, so that it cuts into clean squares.

Pack into a wax-paper lined 11x8 " pan, pressing down to compact them.  Refrigerate for a while. Then cut.