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Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Chickpea Slab Pie

March 16, 2018

This recipe has seen a few trials and errors (mostly errors) but I've landed on this super tasty and fun savoury vegan pie with sweet potato, mushrooms, chickpeas, and spinach, packed with curry flavour.  The original idea was a samosa pie made just with potatoes and peas but it was way too heavy. The pastry is a speedy spelt one made in the food processor because I got a little frustrated with hot water crust and this was easier. I've made this pie with a few different pastry types but this was my favourite, and it's all whole-grain, so you can feel good about eating that third piece of pie. Living life to the fullest over here! 

Here's the slightly tricky thing about this recipe. You have to cook a bit of the filling before baking it, but it doesn't take long. I tried making it without cooking off the onions and mushrooms and it was kind of awful - even Graham made a bit of a yuck face and he eats everything, so that step can't be skipped. Since you're frying a bit anyway, the spices get mixed in to improve their flavour before being added to sliced sweet potato, then layered with spinach or another leafy green. I'm a bit uninspired and sick of root vegetables so this is a way to liven up what's available at this time of year before spring stuff starts coming in. Just add a little curry, right? Curry and cookies to get through the next month of rain-induced grouchiness.

If you're looking for a different Easter main dish, this would be great, but it's also nice just as a weekend dinner. Hypothetically you could make this on a weeknight; it doesn't take that long to prep, but I can't see myself doing it after a full day of work. If you're not comfortable with making your own pastry, just buy some good stuff and use that instead. This is pretty forgiving even if you're not a pie master, which I'm obviously not, hah. It's rustic. The pastry is more crisp than flaky, typical of a pie made with coconut oil instead of butter.

The idea was to make this as a freeform pie without a baking-form, but my friend Svenny lent me a whole pile of beautiful pots and pans that she recently inherited. She also hand modelled for me for an afternoon and it was probably the best workday I've had in the past year. What an angel. I ended up making the pie in a rectangular form (around 8x6 / 20x15) as a slab pie, because who has pie pans? (You, probably.)

Let's connect! Tag me on instagram @occasionallyeggs and #occasionallyeggs so I can see what you're making, and stay in touch via Facebook, pinterest, and Bloglovin, or subscribe to receive weekly updates.

Sweet Potato, Spinach, and Chickpea Slab Pie
Serves 4-6

Sweet Potato Filling

1 tablespoon coconut oil
250 grams / 2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
60 grams / 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
5cm piece ginger, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
150 grams / 1 cup cooked chickpeas
400 grams / 1 medium sweet potato, sliced into rounds
70 grams / 3 cups baby spinach or other greens

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat with the coconut oil. Add the mushrooms and onions, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for another minute, followed by the spices. Cook for another 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir the apple cider vinegar into the pan and turn off the heat. Set aside.

Place the chickpeas and sliced sweet potato into a large bowl* and mix with the mushroom spice mixture until the sweet potatoes are coated in spices. Set this aside while you make the pastry.

Coconut Oil Spelt Pastry

250 grams / 2 cups spelt flour*
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
50 grams / 1/4 cup solid coconut oil
8-10 tablespoons cold water

Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F and grease an 8x6 / 20x15 rectangular pan with coconut oil.

Place the flour, salt, and coconut oil into the base of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.  Pulse until it looks like wet sand and the coconut oil is broken up into small pieces. Add the water a tablespoon at a time, pulsing between additions, until the pastry holds when pressed between your fingers.

Form a ball with the pastry and split into two pieces, 1/3 and 2/3. Flour a large surface space and roll out the larger piece to a half-centimetre thickness. Place into the prepared pan, gently pressing to make sure there are no gaps. Layer the filling into the pastry, starting with the sweet potato mixture followed by spinach, until all of the filling has been used. Roll out the remaining pastry and top the pie, using a fork to seal the edges and cutting off any excess with a sharp knife. 

Cut a vent in the top of the pie if you'd like, then bake in the centre rack of the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the pie pulls away from the edges of the pan slightly. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving hot. 

1. If you have an extra large pan, the chickpeas and sweet potatoes can be mixed right in it instead of using a bowl (and dirtying an extra dish).

• If you're not vegan, you can top the pie with an egg wash before baking for a more golden crust.

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies

March 15, 2018

I first made these a few years ago when I wanted something chocolatey but didn't have much in the house, and they've been in my regular rotation ever since. They're naturally gluten free, sugar free, and vegan flourless chocolate fudge cookies made with just peanut butter, cocoa, dates, and a couple extras for flavour. Even total sugar lovers have scarfed these down and everyone loves a classes chocolate and peanut butter combo. For the past couple of years I've been making my grain-free peanut butter cookies more often but I love that these chocolate cookies are made with dates instead of maple syrup, and every once in a while you just need LOTS of chocolate, you know? Best topped with even more chocolate. 

The term 'guilt-free' isn't my favourite, and I know a lot of people would describe these cookies that way, but I think it's healthier to thing of the good things you're getting from the foods you eat. These are very high in protein, magnesium, iron, and fibre, while quite low in sugar (only dates). If you get cravings, especially during your period, these are the types of sweets you should turn to. Magnesium helps to alleviate PMS symptoms - you won't have a sugar crash or headaches from these little cookies, they'll keep your energy levels high, and still satisfy a chocolate craving. It may also help to reduce depression along with a host of other health issues, like migraines. Personally speaking, my hormonally driven headaches and anxiety are significantly reduced when I'm getting enough magnesium in my diet. Good chocolate is a great source of magnesium, so go ahead and have some, it's good for you!

Try making these into energy balls or raw cookies instead of baking them (especially during the height of summer) for a chewy chocolate peanut butter ball, or bake them as instructed for a fudge-like, dark chocolate cookie. If you can't have peanut butter you can try another nut butter in its place (hazelnut? YES) or sunflower seed butter for a nut-free version. Really, these only have five ingredients, because salt doesn't count.

Let's connect! Tag me on instagram @occasionallyeggs and #occasionallyeggs so I can see what you're making, and stay in touch via Facebook, pinterest, and Bloglovin, or subscribe to receive weekly updates.

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies
Makes ~12 small cookies

100 grams / 1/2 cup soft dates, packed
160 grams / 1/2 cup natural peanut butter*
2 tablespoons nondairy milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil
20 grams / 1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt*

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add the dates, peanut butter, milk, and coconut oil to the base of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Mix on high for a minute or two, or until the dates have broken down. The dough will likely have seized up but that's good. Add the cocoa powder and salt, and mix again until fully combined.

Form small balls of dough, about a tablespoon each, using your hands. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet with some space in between and press with a fork to make a crosshatch pattern. Bake for 8-10 minutes, then remove and cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before removing and cooling fully on a wire rack. 

Drizzle or dip in melted dark chocolate if desired, and store the cookies in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

1. Make sure you use the peanut butter that's either 100% peanuts, or with a little bit of salt added. Extra oil or sugar in it will mess up the recipe.
2. If the variety of peanut butter you're using has added salt, reduce the salt in the recipe to 1/4 teaspoon. 

• I think you probably need a food processor for this recipe, but you might be able to get away with making them by hand if your dates are very soft. Just mash the dates with a fork and then very thoroughly mix the other ingredients in until the dough forms.
• If your dough is too wet, add a tablespoon or two of coconut flour. If your peanut butter is a particularly runny variety you might need to do this (I've never had to but I want to make sure this works for everyone).

Creamy Cauliflower Potato Soup

March 13, 2018

This creamy vegan cauliflower potato soup (with beans!) is all you need for that last push through until spring really starts. It's so creamy and luxe without any cream in sight, and you have to add a few croutons because you deserve it. Mostly because soup is nothing without toppings, but also because we all need a little extra comfort food while we wait for warmer weather to finally arrive. We're all familiar with potato soup, right? This is a lightened up version, with cauliflower for the creaminess and a little rosemary and lemon to add to otherwise simple ingredients. White beans or chickpeas act as the protein here but you won't notice in the final product, and neither will any picky eaters you're feeding. Sneaky. It's a bit of a shock that it does taste so good, because it doesn't seem like much is going into it, but it's impressed me every time I've made it. Simple but good.

I first made these rye croutons for this spring salad recipe - can't wait to make that again - but left the garlic off this time. You can use any kind of whole grain bread you have, even gluten-free seed bread, with good results, but rye has the best flavour for this. It just needs a little crunch and texture (you could try roasted chickpeas or crackers instead) to contrast the creamy soup a bit. Because the ingredient list is short, make sure you use a veggie broth that you like the taste of; this is a really great recipe if you want to make your own, or buy a good bouillon. Most of my soup recipes have the option to use water in place of broth but you really need it here.

On the not-food front, Graham and I booked our flights to Canada for the summer! It'll be almost two years since we've been home and we're staying for longer than we thought we'd be able to, so I'm pretty excited. My mom told me I can do all her preserving for her, hah. Otherwise I'm planning lots of camping, maybe a yoga workshop, and lots of visiting. I'm sure it'll fly by and I'm looking forward to a hot and sunny Manitoba summer. 

Let's connect! Tag me on instagram @occasionallyeggs and #occasionallyeggs so I can see what you're making, and stay in touch via Facebook, pinterest, and Bloglovin, or subscribe to receive weekly updates.

Creamy Cauliflower Potato Soup
Serves four

1 teaspoon oil (avocado, grape seed, sunflower)
1 medium yellow onion, diced (~70 grams)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs / 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves,  minced
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 litre / 4 cups vegetable stock
500 grams / 2 cups potatoes, roughly chopped
300 grams / 1/2 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
200 grams / 1 cup cooked chickpeas or white beans
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Heat a large pot over low-medium heat with the oil. Add the onion and cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rosemary and spices and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. 

Pour the vegetable stock into the pot, followed by the potatoes, cauliflower, and beans. Stir to mix, then increase the heat and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Simmer for 30-35 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Puree with a stick blender or carefully with a standing blender (make sure it's heat safe), then add the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as needed. Serve hot, topped with croutons.

Rye Croutons

2 thick slices rye bread, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F. Place the bread, oil, and salt onto a baking sheet and use your hands to mix until the bread is coated. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Serve immediately. This can also be done in a frying pan but there's a high risk of burning the bread. 

• The potatoes soak up a pile of salt, so you'll need to give this more salt than you usually might. If it seems bland, SALT. 
• I changed the method after a couple trials because the potatoes kept releasing too much starch and making the bottom of the pot burn. I think it tastes better this way as well as looking nicer. 
• Any leftover soup will freeze well, without the croutons (obviously).

Morning Glory Carrot Muffins

March 12, 2018

I've got some nice vegan carrot muffins for you today, sweetened only with dates and filled with lots of chewy, high energy seeds. It took about three of these before I was totally convinced that they're definitely good enough to share, but now I can't seem to stop eating them. They're not particularly sweet, but great for breakfast or a snack - not dessert muffins. I like to have one as soon as I get up in the morning for a little energy boost while I prep my real breakfast (I eat like a hobbit & it's great) but because you won't get a sugar crash, you can have one anytime. Dates are used as the sweetener here and the fibre from the dates, seeds, carrots, and whole grain flour help to metabolize the date sugars more slowly. These are surprisingly soft and avoid any dryness thanks to the carrots and dates.

I'm still trying to transition over to an even lower-sugar diet by switching to fruit sweeteners like dates and apples over here, and reducing the amount of honey and coconut sugar I'm using. You can read more about that at my oatmeal breakfast cookies recipe, which have become a weekly staple for us. I'm still seeing great results from cutting down on sugar. There is organic cane sugar in the house for kombucha and ginger beer making, but I'm hoping to switch that over to raw honey eventually, and I use apple juice to replace part of the added sugar. I know fruit sugar is still sugar and it's not ideal, but it's certainly less processed and I've personally seen improvement. I loosely adapted this recipe from my chocolate beet muffins, but removed the coconut sugar and cocoa. 

These carrot muffins along with my oatmeal cookies have become current favourites, both as a quick snack and a first or second breakfast. I haven't tried freezing them yet but I'm sure it would work well, and you're getting more veggies in!

Let's connect! Tag me on instagram @occasionallyeggs and #occasionallyeggs so I can see what you're making, and stay in touch via Facebook, pinterest, and Bloglovin, or subscribe to receive weekly updates.

Morning Glory Carrot Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

280 grams / 2 cups spelt flour*
40 grams / 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
30 grams / 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons chia
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
375 ml / 1 1/2 cups nondairy milk
120 grams / 1/2 cup soft dates, packed*
70 grams / 1/4 cup coconut oil, room temperature
130 grams / 1 cup carrots, shredded
Extra seeds, for topping

Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F and grease or line a standard muffin tin.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sunflower seeds, coconut, chia, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add the milk, dates, and coconut oil to a blender and mix on high until fully combined. Alternatively, add the dates and coconut oil to a food processor, and mix until broken down. Add 1/2 cup of the milk, blend again, then add the remaining milk and blend until mixed. 

Stir the shredded carrots into the date mixture, then add it to the flour mixture. Stir until just mixed and no streaks of flour remain. Measure out equal amounts into each muffin tin, and top each with about a tablespoon of mixed sunflower, pumpkin, and chia seeds (or any seeds). Bake for 25-30 minutes* or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Cool for a few minutes in the tin before removing and cooling fully on a wire rack.

Store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to three days, or longer in the refrigerator. 

1. I've tried this with purely whole spelt flour, and mixing in some light spelt and rye flour. Any blend of those flours will work well but I haven't tried making them gluten free yet.
2. If your dates are on the dry side, soak them in very hot water for half an hour beforehand.
3. I know this seems like a typo for the baking time, but they need a little longer to bake. If your oven runs hot it's good to check them at about 20 minutes.

• Now that we're moving into spring, it's worth noting that if your house is warm and humid, it's best to keep these in the fridge right off the bat. The high moisture content will make them spoil more quickly in a warm environment.

Sunday Favourites

March 11, 2018

Welcome to the sixth edition of Sunday favourites! I missed last week because we went on a mini-holiday with a friend who was visiting and to be quite honest it seems like a lot of other recipe bloggers are in the same seasonal recipe slump that I am right now. There's not piles of exciting content at the moment while we all wait for spring, but I have a few great recipes to share with you that inspired me this week. 

Coming this week, carrot muffins, an Easter bread, a creamy cream-free soup, and more.

Link love:

Hippie Pizza • I made this pizza yesterday and we scarfed the whole thing down between the two of us - serves four, my (now slightly larger) butt. The base is made with broccoli! 

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies • on the list for snacks this week, these are super healthy & oil free.

Almond Crostata with Ricotta & Jam • with cheese, obviously, but I'm thinking a cashew based cheese might work here and it looks so dreamy!

Curried Delicata Squash & Chickpeas • the only acceptable type of food at this time of year, really, and delicata is a lovely squash variety if you can get it.

Banana Bread Breakfast Cookies • packed with some wonderful ingredients, I'm just waiting until I have overripe bananas to try these soft breakfast cookies.

For dinner this week:

Tuesday: Carrot, Red Lentil, and Spinach Soup

Wednesday: Overnight Sourdough Spelt Waffles - breakfast for dinner! They can be mixed in the morning before work.

Thursday: Cauliflower Tacos with Refried Beans

Friday: Bombay Burgers

Thanks for reading! If you make any of the recipes, please tag me on instagram @occasionallyeggs and #occasionallyeggs so I can see what you're making, or stay in touch via Facebook, pinterest, and Bloglovin