3-Ingredient Za'atar Spice Mix

What is it like? 

- Lemony sumac flavor

- Aroma of fresh thyme and toasted sesame seeds
 

za'atar recipe
 

Recipe

In Palestine the herb that is used for the za’atar spice blend is known by the same name, za’atar, and it has a flavor most similar to oregano. However, like some other cooks, I prefer the mellower flavor of thyme. Below is my version of za'atar, but feel free to make it your own and substitute or add oregano, savory or marjoram.

2 tbsps toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp sumac, or to taste
salt, to taste (optional)

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Notes:
If you like, other spices can be added to this mix, like cumin or black pepper. Have fun with it. When testing it, keep in mind that it’s a topping so it will taste strong unless it is paired with food.

3-Ingredient Chocolate Pudding

What is it like?

- Silky smooth

- Rich & Chocolaty

3 ingredient chocolate pudding gluten free dairy free recipe
 

Recipe

This recipe is super simple and incredibly delicious. It’s the perfect dish to prepare when you don’t have time to cook/bake or when it’s too hot to turn the oven on.

About 6 servings, prep 5 minutes, set time: 2 hours

12 oz chocolate chips, 340g (be sure to use vegan chocolate if you are vegan)
1 cup coconut milk, 228g (see note)
15 oz silk tofu, 425g
1/8 tsp salt, optional

Smaller recipe, serves 2:
3 oz or 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 85g
1/4 cup coconut milk, 57g
4 oz silk tofu, 113g
Dash of salt, or to taste


Directions:

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a large bowl. Pour the coconut milk over the chocolate chips.

  2. Microwave for one minute. Stir the chocolate mixture. Microwave for another 30-seconds and stir afterward. Repeat if the chocolate is not melted.

  3. Put the milk tofu in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until warm, for about one minute. Blend the silk tofu in blender for 30 seconds. Then pour it into the chocolate mixture and whisk until the mixture is completely smooth. Put plastic wrap or a reusable waxed cloth over the bowl and refrigerate until the pudding is cold. If you need the pudding to firm up within an hour or two, pour it into individual serving dishes.

This pudding keeps in the fridge for three days. It is delicious as is or with fresh berries.

Note:
This pudding ends up tasting very creamy and rich with the lower fat part of the coconut milk. I pour out the runny part of the coconut milk and then reserve the harder cream that is on top for another use, like whipped coconut cream.

I also prefer to use to Thai Kitchen coconut milk. Coconut milk varies a lot across brands and at this point in time, I think it’s a decent product.

You can also use any kind of chocolate that you like. Just keep in mind that the type of chocolate will change the flavor and consistency some. I first tested this recipe with Trader Joe’s gluten free chocolate chips and it was excellent, but for a higher quality chocolate you may want to choose a different brand.


Chocolate Coconut Walnut Bread (Not too sweet)

What is it like?

- Wholesome & not too sweet

- Packed with goodies

- Filled with nutrient-dense amaranth flour

Walnut, Coconut, & Chocolate Amaranth Bread Muffin Recipe Gluten Free Dairy Free
 

Recipe

At the time of writing this, this recipe is my favorite quick bread (or muffin). It calls for amaranth which has a deliciously nutty flavor and I find that the more I bake with it, the more I develop a taste for it. Amaranth is especially good when paired with walnuts and chocolate.

1 loaf, 12 muffins (6 large muffins)

Wet
1/4 cup (44g) olive oil
2 medium eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (100g) apple sauce OR coconut milk
1/2 cup warm water, 100g
Scant 2/3 cup blueberries, 60g, frozen or fresh

Dry
1 cup gf flour mix, 128g
2/3 cup amaranth flour, 65g
2 tbsp sugar, 28g
1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 8g
1/8 tsp each: cloves and allspice
1/2 tsp salt, 3g

Additions (optional)
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 26g
1/3 cup walnut pieces, 30g
Scant 1/3 cup raisins, 45g
1/3 cup chocolate chips (any kind), 50g

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven o 350F/180C.

  2. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 bread pan or place 12 muffin liners in a muffin tin.

  3. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a large bowl.

  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

  5. Measure the chocolate chips, coconut flakes, walnuts, and raisins and set aside.

  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until there are just a couple streaks of flour in the batter. Then add the chocolate chips, coconut, walnuts and raisins and mix just until the chunks are mixed in.

  7. Pour into the greased bread pan or muffin tin and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. For best results, allow the bread to cool for 30-60 minutes before slicing. Store the loaf in the fridge and before eating briefly heat up a slice or muffin in the toaster or microwave. Enjoy!

Two Hikers on Horseback - Chocolate Amaranth Bars (vegan & paleo)

What are they like?

-deliciously chewy

-packed with cocoa, cinnamon, and pecans

This photo is a picture of traditional Alegria. The recipe below includes cocoa and pecans.

This photo is a picture of traditional Alegria. The recipe below includes cocoa and pecans.

 

Recipe

These bars are are 5-ingredient, vegan, paleo, dairy free, and of course gluten free. They are a variation on the Mexican candy Alegria which calls for popped amaranth. It can be made with different spices, nuts or seeds. It is also generally made with honey and sugar, but the coconut nectar pairs nicely with the chocolate.

Make ahead, 5-ingredient, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut free, Stove-top, No-bake

2/3 cup amaranth (see note)
1/3 cup chopped pecans (or substitute 1/4 cup sesame seeds for nut free)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut nectar or honey*
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Heat a large, deep pot over medium heat until it is quite hot, for about one and a half minutes. Sprinkle one tablespoon of amaranth into the pan and place the lid on the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl every few seconds to keep the amaranth from burning. You will hear the amaranth popping. Once the popping slows down, pour the amaranth into a medium bowl and repeat the process until you have 1 cup of amaranth. Not all of the amaranth will pop and that is okay.

  2. Stir the cinnamon into the amaranth.

  3. Add the coconut nectar (or honey) to a microwavable measuring cup. Heat for about twenty seconds until it is warm. Whisk in the cocoa powder and salt.

  4. Pour the mixture over the amaranth and stir to combine. Stir in the pecans.

  5. Spoon the mixture onto a 12x12 piece of parchment paper or reusable wax cloth. Using your hands and the parchment paper, press the mixture into a square shape about 1/2-inch thick. Allow it to rest two hour to one day. The longer you let the bars rest the better they will hold together. The bars can be stored in a sealed container for about three days.

Notes:
If you’ve never popped amaranth, you may want to have two bowls. The first time I made it, I burned a tablespoon or two and you can pour the burned batch into a separate bowl. You will most likely end up using about 1/2 cup of the amaranth to make 1 cup of popped amaranth.

If you serve these bars an hour after they are made they won’t hold their shape. If you need them to be ready to serve within an hour substitute 1/4 cup sugar for 1/4 cup of the honey. Heat the honey and the sugar in a small sauce pan to 250F/120C before adding the cocoa and pouring over the amaranth.

*Honey is not vegan

Amaranth "Polenta" Cakes (Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo, Dairy Free)

What are they like?

-Browned on the outside

-Rich and creamy on the inside

-Flavored with caramelized onions, paprika, and cumin

The Amaranth Cakes look slightly different than the photo above, but equally satisfying :)

The Amaranth Cakes look slightly different than the photo above, but equally satisfying :)

 

Recipe

This recipes is gluten free, vegan and can be made Paleo. They taste like real polenta cakes, but unlike polenta which is corn-based, these savory pancakes are packed with nutrients, whole grains, and fiber. If you like (like I do) you can also soak/sprout your amaranth prior to cooking.

Makes 9-12 cakes, prep 12 min, cook time 20 min

3 cups amaranth, cooked
1 cup chick peas (omit if paleo)
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs* (or for Paleo, substitute 1/3 cup coconut flour or two eggs)
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt or to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pan over medium heat, sauté the onion and bell pepper with 2 tsp olive oil until tender, about ten minutes. Stir occasionally and turn the burner down if necessary to prevent burning. (SEE NOTE)

  2. While the vegetables sauté, combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the peppers and onions when they are done and allow the mixture to rest for about 5 minutes.

  3. Heat the pan over medium heat. Add 1 tsp olive oil and then scoop pancake-sized spoonfuls of mixture into the pan and flatten into round pancakes with the back of a spoon. I usually cook three at a time in a 10” cast iron pan. You can even cook with two pans simultaneously to make cooking faster. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side, just until they brown on each side. Repeat with the rest of the mixture and serve immediately.

I love these pancakes with my homemade hummus recipe. They are also excellent with whole milk yogurt, sriracha sauce, or just on their own! I often make a yogurt sauce (dairy or vegan) by adding lime, salt, and an herb like cilantro or dill to the yogurt. It’s delightful with these savory cakes!

Notes:
Cooked amaranth is porridge-like, so breadcrumbs helps absorb liquid. You can try substituting 1/3 cup coconut flour for the oat flour, although I have not tested this substitution. Alternatively you can substitute two eggs for the oat flour and make slightly thinner pancakes. I have tested this recipe with eggs and it is delicious but not vegan!

*I tested this recipe substituting oat flour for the breadcrumbs. My porridge was fairly goopy and not dry enough so I added a lot of oat flour, 3/4 cup, and cooked them right away using two pans. However, using too much oat flour can make the texture sticky and you don’t want that! I recommend bread crumbs unless you don’t have any on hand!