Frosted Vegan Chocolate Donuts

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Baked vegan donuts
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Frosted vegan chocolate donut topped with chocolate covered chia seeds

I recently went on a trip to Berlin and was happily surprised that Berlin is known as “the vegan capital of the world”. I passed by several bakeries that all had vegan options and also had a 5 course, gourmet vegan meal at a fantastic restaurant called the The Lucky Leek. There were even late night vegan options like “tofu-wurst” instead of bratwurst at the local pub! Berlin is a great place to visit if you’re plant based and also a great place to shop and see historical sites such as the Berlin wall. I’m still waiting for Chicago to be as vegan friendly as Berlin. Until then, I’ll just have to be content with my usual local vegan spots. Vegan donuts are not always easy to find in town. They’re often deep fried too. I live next door to an amazing gourmet donut shop but they have no vegan donuts! This recipe is super easy and quick. It’s almost as easy as making brownies. The only slightly difficult part is pouring the batter evenly into the donut wells. The donuts go in the oven for less than 15 minutes and come out looking great! Once they’re cooled, they pop out of the pan pretty easily. Make sure you fill each well all the way to the top with batter. Since this recipe uses no eggs or milk, the batter doesn’t rise as much as the traditional kind. These turned out to be soft, cake-like, and full of rich chocolate flavor. I bought my donut pan on Amazon.com but I’ve seen them at lots of other stores as well. They’re inexpensive and, in my opinion, worth investing in. The frosting adds even more richness and chocolatey goodness to these donuts and the sprinkles make them extra cute! I found chocolate covered chia seeds in the grocery store recently and thought they would make a great topping for vegan donuts. I also used organic sprinkles (Sprinkelz brand) that are colorful, vegan, and gluten free. Now that I know how easy baked donuts are, I’ll be making them all the time! You will need aquafaba for this recipe as an egg substitute. In case you’ve never heard of it, it’s the liquid that’s in canned chickpeas. Simply save and refrigerate this liquid the next time you open a can of chickpeas. As always, take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean if you make them or Pin this recipe on Pinterest!

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Make sure to fill each well all the way to the top
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Donuts before frosting

Frosted Vegan Chocolate Donuts

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

    For the donuts:
  • 2 tbs vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (such as Chocolate Dream)
  • 1 tbs vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance)
  • 2 tbs almond milk
  • 2 tbs agave syrup
  • Toppings (optional):
  • Chocolate covered chia seeds
  • Vegan sprinkles (such as Sprinkelz brand)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease donut pan (1/2 dozen sized) with vegan butter or oil spray and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix butter, applesauce, aquafaba, almond milk, and vanilla extract for about 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Next add flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda and mix again on medium speed until batter is smooth and well combined. Carefully spoon batter evenly into donut pan wells, filling to the top of each well. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in doughnut comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. While donuts are cooling, prepare the frosting. Heat chocolate chips, butter, and almond milk in a small saucepan on low heat until chocolate is melted, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and stir in agave syrup. (Or microwave all frosting ingredients in a shallow bowl for 30 seconds and stir to combine). Dip one side of each donut in frosting and top with sprinkles. May store frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. May store donuts in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per doughnut plus 1/6 frosting: 282 cal

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Cheesy Vegan Nachos

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Septembers in Chicago are an ideal time to visit – the fall foliage is stunning and the weather is just perfect. It also marks the return of football season. Whether you’re into college football or the NFL, it’s an exciting time! If you’re a sports fan like me, vegan game day snacks are hard to come by. Whether I’m at a bar for Sunday Fun Day or at a friend’s place, I typically have few vegan options. Loaded nachos are my weakness and cheese fries are always on my mind – but the vegan versions are only available at a few spots in the Windy City. I usually end up ordering take out from my favorite vegan comfort food spot – Upton’s Breakroom. I’m not sure exactly what’s in their cheese sauce but my goal was to recreate something similar at home. The cheese sauce in this recipe is great because it’s relatively low in calorie and dairy free. It’s also cashew free, so say goodbye to soaking cashews overnight for this one. Of course vegan cheese sauce doesn’t taste exactly like traditional cheese sauce, but it has a delicious cheesy flavor and texture that won’t make you miss the dairy. It’s creamy, spicy, and thick enough to use as a stand alone dip. I always try to use fresh ingredients in all of my recipes. Many recipes for nacho cheese sauce call for onion powder and garlic powder but fresh onion and garlic make this sauce over-the-top good! You’ll need a high powered blender or food processor to get the smooth texture. Feel free to add more jalapenos if you like it extra spicy! You can also use seitan chorizo or refried beans instead of black beans. I didn’t top my nachos with avocado because they’re already very rich tasting but you really can’t go wrong by adding some diced avocado. This sauce is also great on broccoli, cauliflower, and baked potatoes. I also use the base of this sauce in my vegan macaroni and cheese recipe. I hope you make some vegan nachos this football season! If you do make them, be sure to tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Facebook and Instagram or Pin the recipe on Pinterest! And, of course, UMich Go Blue!

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Cheesy Vegan Nachos

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 large bag of organic tortilla chips
  • For the cheese sauce:
  • 1 small carrot, peeled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small white potato, peeled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (about 3 tbs)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs almond flour
  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 1 tbs vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • For the Pico de Gallo:
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (about 3 tbs)
  • 2-3 tbs lime juice (juice of half a lime)
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Toppings:
  • 1, 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Vegan sour cream ( find the recipe here or use store bought such as Tofutti brand)

Directions

First, make the Pico de Gallo. Combine diced tomatoes, onion, minced jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl and chill. Boil potato and carrot in a small saucepan until they are soft all the way through, drain water and set aside. In a small saute pan, sauté shallot in vegan butter for about 2 to 3 minutes. Next add garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add jalapeno, cumin, paprika, and chili powder and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add almond milk, almond flour, nutritional yeast, and salt and whisk until smooth. Heat mixture until just boiling. Remove from heat and carefully transfer to a food processor or blender. Add boiled carrot and potato and blend mixture in food processor until smooth. Makes about 1 1/4 cups of cheese sauce. Assemble nachos in a large bowl: top tortilla chips with vegan cheese sauce, black beans, pico de gallo, and vegan sour cream. Serve immediately. May store vegan cheese sauce in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1/4 cup cheese sauce: 103 cal

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Chana Masala with Cilantro Cauliflower Rice

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It’s the end of summer… September is one of my favorite months. I start to lay off on the grilling and switch to roasting instead. I also start to crave things like curry and soup this time of year. Chickpeas are a staple in my house. I usually use organic canned chickpeas to save on time. They’re so versatile and can be used to make so many delicious things. They’re also high in protein and fiber. Chana masala at Indian restaurants is always so good. That may be because they use a lot of oil and also serve it with a deep fried Indian bread known as Bhatura. At home, I prefer the low fat, healthier version with low carb cauliflower rice. I am pretty much obsessed with vegetable substitutes for pasta a rice these days. I love cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles and make them almost every day. Cauliflower rice does take some extra time but once you make it, it lasts for days in the fridge. It can be flavored anyway you like and it really does keep you full. You could also serve Chana with quinoa or brown rice as healthy alternatives to traditional white rice. The leftovers from this meal make an excellent desk lunch the next day! I always say that Chana is better the next day. It’s really hard to mess up Chana masala. It’s so quick and easy to make. Feel free to substitute fresh grated ginger instead of powdered if you have it. You can also kick up the spice level by adding 2-3 more chili peppers. The squeeze of lemon at the end adds a much needed bit of tartness. In Indian cooking, cilantro is often used as a garnish in lieu of parsley. After all, it is from the same plant that produces coriander seeds. The cumin and coriander are what make the “masala”. They pair together beautifully and give this classic dish it’s depth. They are essential in Indian cuisine and give off a signature aroma. The turmeric adds beautiful color and has anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re trying to save on groceries, canned tomatoes and cayenne pepper (instead of chili peppers) will work just as well. This dish is great for everyday because it’s relatively inexpensive to make. Make sure you take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram or Facebook if you make it or Pin this recipe!

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Chana Masala with Cilantro Cauliflower Rice

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

    For the Chana Masala:
  • 2 (15oz) cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeds removed and minced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
  • For the cauliflower rice:
  • 1 medium sized head of cauliflower, cut into florets (about 6 cups of cauliflower florets)
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent/golden brown – about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Next, reduce heat and add chili pepper, ginger, coriander, cumin, and turmeric and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer on low heat until tomatoes have released their juices and thickened – about 8-10 minutes. Add chickpeas, garam masala, lemon juice, and salt and stir well. Simmer on low heat for another 6-7 minutes. Top with fresh cilantro just before serving. Next, make the cauliflower rice. Cut cauliflower into florets and towel off any excess water. Place 1/2 of the florets in a high powered blender or food processor. Pulse until cauliflower is rice sized. Remove from food processor and place in a large mixing bowl. Pulse second half of cauliflower florets until rice sized then empty into mixing bowl. Toss with salt and chopped cilantro. Serve chana masala over raw cauliflower rice. May store both in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1/6 chana masala + 1/4 cauliflower rice: 243 cal

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