Sweet Potato Dessert Tots

These sweet potato dessert tots are a sweet twist on the classic tater tot. Only 5 ingredients, they’re a vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and naturally sweetened dessert that’s easy to make and sure to please all the littles you’ll be entertaining this holiday season.

Child's hand reaching for sweet potato dessert tot.

Little fingers love little desserts. They also love tater tots. So when you combine the two you get an insanely easy, delicious, and kid-friendly holiday dessert. Naturally sweetened with maple syrup, vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and free of the Big 8 Allergens. All you need is 1 pot and about 20 minutes of prep to make this simple snack or dessert that anyone can enjoy.

Sweet Potatoes

Begin by bringing a medium pot of water to boil. Prepare your sweet potatoes by washing, peeling, and cubing them. Once the water is boiling add cubed sweet potatoes and cook for about 15 minutes depending on the size of your cubes. The sweet potatoes are finished when they are easily pierced by a fork. Drain and return the sweet potatoes to the hot pot. Allowing the sweet potatoes to rest in the pot will aid in drying them out.

Once the sweet potatoes have cooled a bit mash them using a potato masher or large fork to your desired creaminess level. I recommend making them pretty smooth just because some kids don’t enjoy highly textured foods.

Sweet Potato Mixture

To the mashed sweet potatoes, add the maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice. At this point, you can also add the vegan chocolate chips (I use these semi-sweet mini chips from EnjoyLife) if you don’t mind them melting into the mixture. If you want your chocolate chips to remain whole, wait until the sweet potato mixture has cooled before adding them.

Sweet potato dessert tot with a bite taken our of it with more tots in the background.

Forming the Tots

Before forming the tater tots, place vegan graham cracker crumbs into a small bowl. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375*F. To form the tots: roll 1 tbsp of sweet potato mixture into a ball; toss in the graham cracker crumbs coating evenly; and place on the papered baking sheet. Continue until all the sweet potato mixture is rolled and coated.

At this point you can either leave them as balls, or form them into a tater tot shape. Bake the sweet potato tots for 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet. They will continue to firm as they cool.

Serve them with vegan maple cinnamon butter or dip them in melted vegan chocolate for an added touch.

Remember to let me know what you, as well as your little Thanksgiving guests, think of these sweet potato dessert tots.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Sweet potato-vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, potassium, fiber

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Sweet Potato Dessert Tots

These sweet potato dessert tots are a sweet twist on the classic tater tot. Only 5 ingredients and 1 pot required, they're a vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and naturally sweetened dessert.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: 1 bowl, 5-ingredient, chocolate chips, dessert, easy, gluten-free, graham crackers, holiday baking, holiday dessert, kid-friendly, maple syrup, naturally-sweetened, oil-free, pumpkin pie spice, simple, snack, sweet potato, sweet potatoes, vegan, vegan chocolate chips, vegan dessert, vegan graham cracker, vegan thanksgiving
Servings: 15 tots
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled, cubed about 4 cups
  • ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp vegan chocolate chips
  • ½ cup vegan graham cracker crumbs

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Bring a medium pot of water to boil and add cubed sweet potatoes. Boil for 10-15 minutes until sweet potatoes are very soft and easily mashed. Drain sweet potatoes and return to the warm pot. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes then mash until smooth.
  • Add pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and vegan chocolate chips. Stir until incorporated.
  • Place vegan graham cracker crumbs in a shallow bowl. Roll a tbsp sized amount of sweet potato mixture into a ball and coat with crumbs. Place on lined cookie sheet. Continue until all the sweet potato mixture is rolled.
  • Shape sweet potato balls into logs resembling the shape of tater tots. Bake on center rack of oven for 20 minutes. Remove tray from oven and allow to cool for additional 15-20 minutes until firm.
  • Serve topped with soft vegan cinnamon butter or dip in vegan chocolate sauce.
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Vegan Walnut Spanakopita

Vegan, with gluten-free options, this walnut spanakopita has a crispy crust and a creamy filling. Traditionally filled with pine nuts, this Greek dish has a new twist with the addition of walnuts. Filled with spinach, herbs and vegan feta cheese sandwiched between layers of crispy fillo dough and breadcrumbs it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser on a busy weeknight.

Close up of vegan walnut spanakopita on a black plate.

Spinach Filling

This vegan walnut and spinach spanakopita filling is beyond simple to make! But don’t let the ease of making it fool you. It’s packed with flavor, texture, and satisfaction. Creamy vegan feta, crunchy walnuts, and a blend of sautéed spinach and fresh herbs create a wonderfully simple and delicious meal. All you have to do is sauté scallions, shallots, and spinach. Mix with vegan feta cheese (I love this recipe), fresh herbs, and chopped walnuts and you’re ready to assemble the spanakopita.

Fillo Dough Tips

Before we start layering the fillo dough, just a few tips…

  • Make sure that your fillo dough has completely thawed before use. If the dough is the slightest bit frozen, it will crack and ruin all the layers making it un-usable.
  • Grab two large, thin dish towels and get them wet. Wring out the excess water and lay one down on your kitchen counter. Gently place your fillo dough on the moist towel and quickly cover with the other moist dish towel.
  • Whenever you remove the top dish towel to grab a layer of fillo dough, replace the towel as quickly as possible making sure that the edges and corners of the fillo dough are covered.
  • In case you haven’t noticed, the trick to working with fillo dough is keeping it moist and cool.
Aerial view of vegan walnut spanakopita on a black plate with the rest of the spanakopita in a baking dish next to it.

Spanakopita Assembly

All you need to assemble this walnut spanakopita are 3 simple ingredients: olive oil, Italian breadcrumbs, and fillo dough. Although these ingredients are few, they are all going to be layered together to create the ultimate crispy, crunchy, and salty crust. Be prepared to put in a little bit of work here but trust me, it’s going to be so worth it!

First Layer of spanakopita

Now that you have your filling made and the fillo dough is ready to use, let’s begin layering the fillo dough. It really is very easy. The most time-consuming part is the number of layers required to create that flaky crust. Begin by placing a layer of fillo dough in the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Gently brush a thin layer of olive oil over the fillo dough then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Lay another fillo dough on top of the breadcrumb coating and gently brush with more olive oil. Sprinkle more breadcrumbs over the olive oil. Continue this pattern of fillo dough, olive oil, and breadcrumbs until you have used half of your fillo dough. End with a layer of fillo dough.

Second layer of spanakopita

Evenly and gently spread the spinach, walnut, cheese mixture directly onto the fillo dough.

Third Layer of spanakopita

Then continue layer the rest of your fillo dough as before: fillo dough, olive oil, breadcrumbs. Finish with a single layer of fillo dough and generously brush with olive oil. Sprinkle the top of your spanakopita with sea salt and bake at 400*F for 20 minutes watching close to prevent burning. You will know the spanakopita is finished when the fillo dough is golden brown and flakey.

Close up of vegan walnut spanakopita on a black plate being cut with a fork.

And that’s it! You’ve done it! You’ve successfully used fillo dough to make this incredibly delicious spinach-filled Greek dish. Remember to follow this fillo dough tips whenever using fillo dough. And now that you know how to use fillo dough the sky’s the limit! It’s uses go well beyond just spanakopita and baklava. Use it instead of a crust on top of your next pot pie. Cut it into thick strips, fill it with any sweet or savory mixture, and fold it into neat little triangles before baking.

I cannot wait to hear what you think of this vegan walnut spanakopita!

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Olive oil- Monounsaturated fats

Spinach- Fiber; vitamin K; calcium; iron; magnesium; manganese; folate; vitamin B; vitamin A; glycolipids (cancer cell growth suppressors)

Walnuts- Omega 3s, thaimine, B6, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, Vitamin E, polyphenols

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Vegan Walnut Spanakopita

Vegan, with gluten-free options, this walnut spanakopita has a crispy crust and a creamy filling. Spinach, herbs and vegan feta cheese are sandwiched between layers of crispy fillo dough and breadcrumbs.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Fillo Dough Layering20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean, Vegan
Keyword: greek, mediterranean, spanakopita, spinach, vegan, walnut butter
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Filling

  • 5 green onions, white and greens, diced
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 12 oz fresh spinach
  • cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup vegan feta cheese + more for crumbling
  • ½ cup fresh herbs parsley, dill, etc.

Spanakopita Assembly

  • 1 package fillo dough
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup Italian bread crumbs gluten-free if necessary
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

Filling

  • In a large skillet, heat a tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute scallions and shallots for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, combine shallot and spinach mixture with choped walnuts, vegan feta, and fresh herbs. Set aside and begin working with fillo dough.

Fillo Dough

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush the sides and bottom of an 8×8 inch baking dish with olive oil.
  • Cut fillo dough to size and place a single layer of fill dough in the bottom of the 8×8 inch dish. Lightly brush fillo dough with olive oil and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Repeat this for a total of 10-12 times.
  • Evenly and delicately spread spinach filling on the top layer of fillo dough.
  • Layer fillo dough, olive oil, and breadcrumbs for additional 10-12 layers. One the final top layer of fillo dough, brush generously with olive oil and sea salt to taste.
  • Bake for 20 minutes watching to prevent burning. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting and serving.
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Walnut Fudge with Walnut Caramel

This vegan walnut fudge topped with walnut caramel is just the dessert you should make for the upcoming holidays. The fudge is thick, chocolate-y, and perfectly chewy. And my vegan walnut caramel takes this (or any) dessert from ordinary to extraordinary.

Stack of walnut fudge with more walnut fudge in the background.

Walnut Fudge

This fudge is so simple there’s not much to talk about. Unless of course you want to know just how delicious it is. In that case, there’s plenty to discuss. Don’t let the fact that it’s only 5 ingredients fool you. This perfect holiday dessert packs a powerful punch. It’s sweet, chocolate-y, and chewy. With a slight crunch from walnuts to boot. Made in less 30 minutes, all you’ll need is a food processor and a loaf pan to prepare this ultimate holiday dessert. Make it ahead of time so you can spend your holiday doing what’s really important-hanging out with family and friends.

To make this incredibly easy dessert all you’ll need is: two firmly packed cups of soft, pitted medjool dates, 1/2 cup of walnut butter (for tips on making you own check out this post), some warm water, and a splash of vanilla extract.

Start by pulsing the dates in your food processor until a sticky ball forms. You want a pretty smooth date paste and once you have that, separate the ball so that it’s evenly distributed in the bowl of the processor. Then add the walnut butter, 1/2 cup warm water, and a splash of vanilla extract. Process until everything is incorporated. Continue adding warm water until the fudge is

At this point you can add walnut pieces and pulse to combine. Press the thick, sticky fudge into the prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350*F for 15-20 minutes until the edges of the fudge are just crispy. Allow the fudge to cool in the pan. The longer this fudge sits the firmer it will get. When you’re ready to serve, top it with walnut caramel, vegan ice cream, or whipped coconut cream. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Plated walnut fudge topped with walnut caramel sauce with walnut fudge in the background

Caramel Sauce

As if the fudge isn’t dreamy enough, I’m giving you the ultimate walnut caramel sauce to top it off with. This sauce is vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and naturally sweetened with dates. It requires only 4 ingredients and can be made in a food processor in about 5 minutes.

Use it not only to top off this fudge, but any other holiday dessert you wish. Try it on cheesecake, over brownies, or sandwiched between cookies. It’s also pretty amazing right off a spoon too.

Walnut Date Caramel

This 4-ingredient walnut caramel will take your holiday desserts from ordinary to extraordinary. Vegan, gluten-free, naturally sweetened, and oil-free. All you need is a strong food processor and 10 minutes.
Prep Time5 mins
Processing Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Dips and Sauces
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: 4-ingredients, caramel, date, dates, dessert, easy, food processor, gluten-free, medjool dates, naturally-sweetened, oil-free, quick, refined-sugar free, sauce, simple, topping, vegan, vegan topping, walnut butter
Servings: 1 cups
Author: Erin

Equipment

  • Food Processor

Ingredients

  • 6 pitted medjool dates
  • ¼ cup walnut butter
  • ⅓-½ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • Place fresh, pitted dates to food processor and process until a sticky ball forms. Break apart ball and evenly distribute in the bowl of the food processor.
  • Add walnut butter, vanilla and ⅓ cup warm water. Process until smooth. Add more warm water as needed to thin the caramel.
  • Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Let me know if you make this super simple dessert for your next holiday get-together. I promise, you guests won’t know they’re being served a vegan dessert (unless you tell them).

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Walnuts- Omega 3s, thaimine, B6, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, Vitamin E, polyphenols

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Walnut Fudge

This vegan walnut fudge is just the dessert you should make for the upcoming holidays. Thick, chocolate-y, and perfectly chewy, you won't believe it's made from only 5 wholesome ingredients.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Keyword: 5-ingredients, brownies, chocolate, cocao, dates, dessert, easy, food processor, gluten-free, quick, simple, vegan, walnut butter, walnuts
Servings: 8 pieces
Author: Erin

Equipment

  • Food Processor

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pitted, tightly packed dates*
  • ½ cup walnut butter
  • cup cocao powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a small loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • Add moist, sticky dates to the food processor and process until a ball forms. Break the ball apart and spread it evenly around the bowl of the food processor.
  • Add walnut butter, cocoa powder, and melted coconut oil and pulse until incorporated. The mixture will be very sticky and thick.
  • Add chopped walnuts and pulse to incorporate.
  • Dump fudge into prepared loaf pan. Press more chopped walnuts into the top of the fudge if dessired.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly crunchy around the edges. Allow to cool in the loaf pan. The longer it sits the firmer it will become. Cut into 8-10 pieces and serve with walnut caramel sauce, vegan ice cream, or whipped coconut cream.
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Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad

With Vegan Feta

This simple, healthy, delicious roasted beet and walnut salad makes for a fantastic holiday side dish. All you need is 1 dish, 4 ingredients, and 45 minutes. Loaded with nutritious beets and walnuts, fresh parsley, and tangy vegan feta, make this vibrant salad a part of your Thanksgiving table this year.

Roasted beet and walnut salad with feta and fresh parsley on a white plate with a bowl on walnuts and a wooden spoon.

Why I Love Beets

I love beets. I love their versatility. Their texture. The slight sweetness they have when they’re roasted. And in this salad the earthy and crunchy walnuts, salty and creamy feta, bright and fresh parsley work beautifully with roasted beets.

Thanksgiving Side

I also love Thanksgiving. And let me tell you, this dish is going to be perfect on your Thanksgiving table. It’s so incredibly easy to make and it will only take up about 30 minutes of that precious oven time you have allotted for the day.

Roasted beet and walnut salad with feta and fresh parsley on a white plate with a bowl on walnuts and a wooden spoon.

Preparation

I also love dishes that require virtually no preparation. (Are you sensing a theme here?) The prep time on my roasted beet and walnut salad is about 5-10 minutes. But if that is even too much to commit to on Thanksgiving morning, you can totally peel, dice, and bake your beets the day before. Just re-heat them gently in the microwave or a low-temperature oven and add the remaining ingredients before serving.

Make It A Meal

If you are finding this recipe any other time of the year other than November (or December), consider turning this dish into a meal. It’s so quick and simple that you could definitely throw it together on a busy weeknight. Or even make it over the weekend and have it prepped for weekday lunches.

Turn it into a meal by pairing it with pasta. Dice the beets into smaller bite-sized cubes and decrease the roasting time. When finished toss with your favorite pasta shape and some olive oil as well as the walnuts, vegan feta, and fresh parsley. You could also add garbanzo beans either while the beets are roasting or after they’ve been roasted.

I would love to hear what you think of this simple roasted beet and walnut salad. Let me know if you use it as a side at a holiday meal or for a quick weeknight meal.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Beets- folate, manganese

Parsley- vitamin C, iodine, iron, phytoestrogenetic properties (cancer-preventing properties)

Walnuts- Omega-3s, thaimine, B6, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, Vitamin E, polyphenols

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Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad

This simple, healthy, delicious roasted beet and walnut salad makes for a fantastic holiday side dish. All you need is 1 dish, 4 ingredients, and 45 minutes. Loaded with nutritious beets and walnuts, fresh parsley, and tangy vegan feta, make this vibrant salad a part of your Thanksgiving table this year.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: beet, easy, gluten-free, healthy, holiday sides, light, parsley, quick, salad, vegan, vegan feta, walnuts
Servings: 6 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 6 whole beets, peeled cubed
  • ¼ cup walnuts use more or less depending on preference
  • ¼ cup vegan feta, crumbled* use more or less depending on preference
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped use more or less depending on preference

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Peel and dice beets and place in an 9×13 baking dish. Roast beets for 30-40 minutes stirring half way. Beets are finished cooking when they are tender and slightly crispy on the outside.
  • Add walnut pieces, crumbled feta, and chopped parsley to beets.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

I use this recipe from Erin Ireland for the vegan feta. It’s absolutely amazing and so simple that there’s no way I could improve it.
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Steel-Cut Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

With pumpkin butter

Have dessert for breakfast with this simple and vegan steel-cut pumpkin pie oatmeal. All you need is 1 pot, 4 ingredients, and 15 minutes to make a wholesome, satisfying breakfast. Get ready to change the way you look at oatmeal.

We’ve all seen recipes for oatmeal. There’s not much to it. Oats, liquid, over heat, stir, eat. Simple. Quick. But I’ll admit (and I LOVE oatmeal), it can be boring and bland if you don’t know how to prepare it. Or, maybe you love oatmeal too but you’re stuck in an oatmeal rut. If either of these applies to you, allow me to alter your current state-of-mind about this incredibly filling, satisfying, and healthy breakfast.

Pumpkin Butter

The secret to intensifying the pumpkin flavor in this cozy and satisfying steel-cut pumpkin pie oatmeal recipe is pumpkin butter. Think of it as the next level of pumpkin puree. Which, funny enough, is what we will need to make the pumpkin butter.

Let’s give these oats a bit of an intense pumpkin flavor shall we? Well, thanks to this pumpkin butter we can give these oats a much more realistic pumpkin pie flavor as apposed to a watered-down mild pumpkin taste. This pumpkin butter is incredibly easy to make and is going to be your new best friend this fall and holiday season.

Pumpkin Butter

A 7-ingredient ramp up of pumpkin that is easily substituted into any recipe that calls for pumpkin puree. Intensify the flavor of your favorite pumpkin recipe by using this pumpkin butter. Or spread it onto your favorite toasted bread.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dips and Sauces
Cuisine: Sauce, Vegan
Keyword: easy, gluten-free, oil-free, pumpkin, pumpkin butter, pumpkin pie spice, vegan
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 2, 15oz can pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
  • cup apple cider
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions

  • Add all ingrients to a pot over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil and lower to medium-low heat. Stir regularaly, cooking for 30-40 minutes until thick but spreadable.
  • Use in any recipe that you would typically use pumpkin puree. Or smear it onto bread, muffins, or bagels. Drizzle into oatmeal or on top of french toast. Add it to smoothies.

Perfect Stove-Top Oatmeal Tips

Allow me to provide you with a few of my favorite tips for creating the absolute perfect stove-top oatmeal.

  • Determine your preferences. I encourage you to take a moment to think about your perfect bowl of oatmeal. Is it piping hot or lukewarm? Thick and creamy or thin and textured? Intensely or moderately sweet? Once you determine your preference you can alter this as well as other oatmeal recipes to fit your personal preferences.
  • Most people think about oatmeal being scalding hot. But you might also want to give overnight oats a try. They’re actually delicious especially on a hot summer morning. If you would like to give ONOs a try check out this recipe of mine for Raspberry Lemonade Overnight Oats.
  • To create a thick and creamy oatmeal you need to make sure that you don’t add too much liquid to your oats. Stirring them frequently while they cook and adding a small amount of oil will result in a creamy texture.
  • To make a thinner, more textured oatmeal you need to add more liquid than oats. You also will want to cook the oats for a slightly shorter period of time. This will ensure that the oats retain more of a bite and are less mushy.
  • Finally, sweetness preference is easily achieved by simply increasing or decreasing the amount of sugar added to the oats. Start with a small amount and add sweetener after the final taste test. It is also important to remember that sweetness can be achieved by adding fresh fruits to your oatmeal. Also, keep in mind that other toppings will add flavor. Don’t let sugar be your only flavor profile. Experiment with the flavors of other topping before assuming it’s more sugar that’s needed.

Be sure to give these oats a try. They’re a hit in my family with both kids and adults alike. Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Oats- vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, iron, fiber

Pecans- thaimine, vitamin E, magnesium, protein, fiber, antioxidants, oleic acid, phytochemicals

Pumpkin- fiber, potassium, selenium, vitamin A

Pumpkin seeds- omega-3 fats, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, fiber

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Steel Cut Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Have dessert for breakfast with this simple and vegan steel-cut pumpkin pie oatmeal. All you need is 1 pot, 4 ingredients, and 15 minutes to make a wholesome, satisfying breakfast. Get ready to change the way you look at oatmeal.
Prep Time1 min
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time16 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: easy, oatmeal, oats, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, quick, vegan
Servings: 1 person
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • ½ cup stell cut oats
  • cup pumpkin butter*
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Toppings

  • pumpkin seeds
  • dried cranberries
  • plant-based yogurt
  • pecan butter**
  • pecans

Instructions

  • Place plant-based milk in a small pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling add steel-cut oats and stir to incorporate.
  • Cover, turn heat to low, cooking for 10-15 minutes depending on desired thickness and creaminess level.
  • Once cooked, remove from heat and add pumpkin butter and coconut oil. Stir to combine.
  • Top with pecans, pecan butter, pumpkin seeds, plant-based yogurt, dried cranberries, more plant-based milk, and/or more pumpkin butter. Enjoy hot.

Notes

*Can sub pumpkin puree but add: 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice to the cooking oats.
**Check out this post for my tips on making the perfect pecan butter.

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Blender Pumpkin Muffins

Made entirely in the blender, these pumpkin muffins are quick, easy, and delicious. Loved my children and adults alike, they’re naturally sweetened with dates, are oil-free, and completely vegan. Line your muffin tin, grab your blender, and whip these up for a cozy fall breakfast.

A child's hand reaching or a blender pumpkin muffin in a muffin tin on paper surrounded by pumpkin seeds.

Everyone loves muffins! They’re like having cake for breakfast, right? No one can resist that moist crumb, sweet flavor, and satisfying feeling that only a warm carb can provide. I was inspired by my girls to make these amazing little breakfast cakes. I needed something easy, because even on the weekends breakfast can be a bit chaotic. But I also wanted to sneak some vegetables into the mix. Because, who doesn’t love tricking their kids this close to Halloween!

What I came up with was an amazingly moist, yet completely oil-free, muffin. They’re fluffy, slightly sweet, and 100% delicious. Oh, and of course, vegan. Ok, but you might be wondering just how I got a moist crumb without the oil. I’ll let you in on my secret (because we’re friends).

Blender pumpkin muffins in a muffin tin on paper surrounded by pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin & Applesauce

At first glance you’re probably thinking these two have absolutely nothing in common. One is a bland vegetable and the other is a mushy fruit. That’s where you’re wrong my friend (yes, we’re still friends even though you initially thought these things). What these two have in common is much more important than their differences. They’re both mild, slightly sweet, and amazingly MOIST! That’s right! THIS is where we get the moisture. Thanks to the pumpkin puree and applesauce we don’t have to add oil to get a moist muffin.

Now, I’m not against oil. But sometimes adding oil to a baked good can give it an overly greasy flavor. Not super appealing. And I know that there are many readers out there who prefer not to consume oil simply because they’re on more of a whole food diet. So these oil-free blender pumpkin muffins are perfect for everyone in between.

Dates

Not only are these blender pumpkin muffins oil-free, but they are also sweetened with dates. Just a few things about using fresh dates

  • First, make sure that your fresh dates are VERY fresh. You want them super soft and moist. If they have dried out a bit, simply let them sit in boiling hot water for about 10 minutes. Once they’ve softened up, be sure to squeeze out all the excess water.
  • Secondly, when using dates in this recipe be sure to pulse them in the blender alone. You want to blend them until they form a paste. This will make working them into the other ingredients much easier.
Blender pumpkin muffins in a muffin tin on paper surrounded by pumpkin seeds.

Blender

This recipe is meant to be made entirely in your blender. There is no need to dirty other bowls or kitchen appliances. Isn’t that awesome?! Because, who wants to sink full of dirty dishes first thing in the morning? Not me! If, however, you do not have a blender you can definitely use a food processor. Just make sure that it’s large enough to handle the volume of the ingredients.

Add-Ins

If you would like to jazz up this recipe even more here are a few ideas to make these blender pumpkin muffins uniquely yours. Add in or top your muffins with: dried raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips, walnuts, or, like I did, pumpkin seeds.

Blender pumpkin muffins in a muffin tin on paper surrounded by pumpkin seeds.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Apple- vitamin C, soluble and insoluble fiber

Flax- Omega-3 fats, soluble and insoluble fiber

Pumpkin- fiber, potassium, selenium, vitamin A

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Blender Pumpkin Muffins

Made entirely in the blender, these pumpkin muffins are quick, easy, and delicious. Loved my children and adults alike, they're naturally sweetened with dates, are oil-free, and completely vegan. Line your muffin tin, grab your blender, and whip these up for a cozy fall breakfast.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Oil-free, Vegan
Keyword: 30-minutes, applesauce, blender, dates, easy, gluten-free, muffin, nut-free, oil-free, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, vegan
Servings: 12 muffins
Author: Erin

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seeeds + 6 tbsp water)
  • 8 fresh dates

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
  • ¾ cup flaxmilk
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • cups whole-wheat flour sub gluten-free flour if necessary

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a muffin tin by lining with cupcake liners or spraying with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Prepare flax eggs by combining flaxseed meal and water. Whisk to combine and allow to sit for 5 minutes until thickened.
  • Remove pits from dates and pulse in blender until they form a paste. Add wet ingredients (including prepared flax egg) then dry ingredients except flour. Blend until combined.
  • Add in whole-wheat flour ½ cup at a time pulsing until combined and scraping down the sides between addition of flour. If using exrtas such as raisins, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds, fold them into the batter now. Batter will be thick.
  • Evenly pour batter into prepared muffin pan. Bang tin on the counter a few times to work out any air bubbles in the batter. Top with pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips, or walnuts.
  • Bake muffins for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool completely before removing cupcake liner.

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Baked Tofu and Cauliflower

This baked tofu and cauliflower florets entree is sure to become your next weeknight go-to. It’s simple, quick, and satisfying, requiring only 5 ingredients and 1 sheet pan. It’s vegan, gluten-free and has an oil-free option.

Baked tofu and cauliflower seasoned with sumac in a blue bowl with an orange napkin on the side.

There’s not really a whole lot to say about this dish other than that it’s way more delicious than you probably would think considering the scant ingredients required to prepare it. In fact, I’ll bet you’ve got almost everything you need to prepare it. The only thing you might not have in your pantry is sumac. But I’m going to tell you why you should considering adding sumac to your spice rack.

Sumac

Sumac is a spice gathered from a flowering plant that grows in temperate regions throughout the world. Although it has quite a few health benefits it’s best known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. If you don’t have sumac, you can use lemon zest and salt as a substitute. Although your meal will have a similar flavor, it will not have the health benefits associated with sumac. Sumac has a very strong smell before it’s cooked but don’t let that deter you. It’s actually sweet when cooked and has a mild lemony flavor. I look forward to using it more often. And don’t worry, I’ll be sharing more recipes for it here in the near future.

Cauliflower

Now is the time to use cauliflower! It’s in season in the United States September through November so stock up on it now. This vegetable is just begging to be used in holiday recipes (did I mention this dish would make an insanely easy and quick Thanksgiving side- just remove the tofu). It’s the star of the show in this baked tofu and cauliflower dish so make sure you get a really firm, perfectly white head of cauliflower. Or get creative and use purple or yellow cauliflower too. I’ve even seen (and love) baby cauliflower. Better yet, go crazy and use a mix of all those listed above.

Baked tofu and cauliflower seasoned with sumac in a blue bowl with an orange napkin on the side and a sheet tray of baked tofu and cauliflower in the background.

I hope that you give this insanely simple entree a try. If you do, be sure to tell me what you think down in the comments.

Enjoy friends.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Cauliflower- fiber, vitamin C, biotin, folate, sulforaphane to block cancer-causing chemicals

Garlic-phytochemicals

Sumac- anti-inflammatory

Tofu- calcium, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, isoflavones

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Baked Tofu and Cauliflower

This baked tofu and cauliflower florets entree is sure to become your next weeknight go-to. It's simple, quick, and satisfying, requiring only 5 ingredients and 1 sheet pan.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Keyword: cauliflower, sumac, tofu, vegan
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 14 oz extra firm tofu, pressed, cubed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil omit if oil-free
  • sumac

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place pressed and cubed tofu, and cauliflower florets on the prepared baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, minced garlic and sumac.
  • Evenly spread onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and shake. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve warm with freshly minced parsley.
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Roasted Apple and Butternut Squash

with caramelized onions

This roasted apple and butternut squash side is vegan, gluten-free, and has an oil-free option. Topped with caramelized onions, it’s a sweet and creamy dish that’s a perfect make-ahead side for the holidays. It requires fewer than 10 ingredients and less than 15 minutes of prep. All the best of autumn in a comforting side.

Roasted apple and butternut squash with caramelized onions on a wooden platter with plate, rosemary, and butternut squash in the background.

With the holiday season quickly approaching I have begun planning my Thanksgiving menu. Anyone else? Ok, I guess that perhaps it is a tad early. But just in case you’re a planner like I am here is a recipe that I would highly recommend considering as a side for the big day. It’s simple. It’s quick. And it can be prepared ahead of time. Oh, and it’s totally delicious. What more could you want out of a holiday side dish?

Roasted apple and butternut squash

Preparing a butternut squash for roasting can be intimidating if you’ve never skinned one before. But let me reassure you, that it actually is quite simple. First, using a fork, poke holes all over your squash. And I mean ALL OVER IT. I usually jab mine about 30 times. Next place it in your microwave for 3-5 minutes depending on the strength (wattage) of your microwave. Turn it over and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. It should be soft but not mushy or burned. Allow it to cool completely before handling. Finally, using a knife, or better yet a potato peeler, remove the skin from your squash. Cut it in half, remove the seeds, and cut into bit-sized cubes.

As for the apple…I recommend using a hearty apple for this recipe. I used a Fuji apple because they’re sturdy and sweet. A Sweet Tango would probably work too. If you would prefer a tart apple you could use a Honeycrisp or a Granny Smith. Once you’ve chosen your perfect apple, simply core, peel, and cut into bit-sized pieces. Make sure that both the apples and butternut squash pieces are similar in size so that they cook evenly.

Spray the apple and butternut squash with avocado oil and top with spices and herbs. Toss to coat and spread evenly on a prepared rimmed baking sheet. Bake them for roughly 30 minutes until they are fragrant, soft, and slightly browned around the edges. Perfection!

Roasted apple and butternut squash with caramelized onions on a wooden platter with plate, rosemary, and butternut squash in the background.
Caramelized onions

While the apples and butternut squash are roasting, prepare the caramelized onions. Begin my dicing or thinly slicing the yellow onions. You can even slice some while dicing the others just to add more visual interest and texture to your dish.

Heat a large skillet over high heat and add 1 tbsp of avocado oil. Once the oil is hot add the onions and reduce heat to medium-high. Now, the trick to perfectly caramelizing onions is TIME. You have to be patient. But trust me, your patience will pay off.

The onions will go from white, to clear, to brown, to caramelized. As they cook you will need to add water to the pan, a little at a time. Do not add more water to the pan until all the other liquid has cooked off.

Stir the onions occasionally. This gives them time to brown on the pan.

Resist the urge to pull the onions off the heat early. They are not done when they’re brown. They’re done when they are a deep, dark brown, caramelized color. You will know they’re done when they smell sweet.

Roasted apple and butternut squash with caramelized onions on a wooden platter with plate surrounded by rosemary and a blue napkin.

Suggested Pairings

This side would be excellent served with a vegan meat alternative such as “ham” or “turkey”. To fancy up this side even more top it with toasted walnuts for added crunch, pomegranate arils for tartness, or drizzle with a cashew cream sauce for creaminess.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Apple-vitamin C, soluble and insoluble fiber

Cinnamon- manganese, iron, calcium, and fiber

Onion-antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

Rosemary- polyphenolic compounds

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Roasted Apple and Butternut Squash

This roasted apple and butternut squash side is vegan, gluten-free, and has an oil-free option. Topped with caramelized onions, it's a sweet and creamy dish that's a perfect make-ahead side for the holidays. It requires fewer than 10 ingredients and less than 15 minutes of prep.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Baked Apple and Butternut Squash

  • 4 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 apple, peeled, cubed I used fuji
  • avocado spray omit if oil-free
  • ½ tsp sage
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, removed from stem

Caramalized Onions

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil sub water if oil-free
  • 4-5 medium yellow onions, diced or thinly sliced
  • ½ cup cold water*

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Evenly spread cubed apples and butternut squash and spray with avocado oil (omit if oil-free). Sprinkle with sage, cinnamin, and rosemary and evenly spread over baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring half way.
  • While apples and squash are baking, heat a large pan over high heat. Add avocado oil. When oil is hot, add diced or thinly sliced onions and stir to coat. Lower heat to medium-high and cook onions for about 40 minutes stirring occasionally*.
  • Assemble roasted apples and butternut squash on a plater and top with caramelized onions. Additionally, top wtih walnuts for crunch, pomegranate arils for tartness, or raisins for sweetness.

Notes

*Add cold water occasionally, 1 tbsp at a time, to onions to prevent sticking and to de-glaze the pan.  Allow water to completely cook off before adding more water.  Be patient with this process.  The onions will go from white, to clear, to brown, to caramelized.  
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Buckwheat Noodle and Tofu Stir-Fry

This vegan buckwheat noodle and tofu stir-fry is spicy, satisfying, and ready in just 30 minutes. Made with extra firm tofu, buckwheat soba noodles, baby bok choy, and stir-fried vegetables, this meal is sure to replace your favorite take-out restaurant. Grab your chopsticks and get ready for a delicious, home cooked, Asian-influenced dinner.

Buckwheat noodles topped with baked spicy tofu, baby bok chow, and stir-fried vegetables surrounded by chopsticks, green onions and a large cast iron skillet of stir-fried vegetables.

Although my chopstick skills are poor, I still love a good Asian-inspired meal. This dish is one of my favorite go-to dinner options because it’s ready in just 30 minutes and is customizable so everyone in the family can enjoy it.

Spicy Tofu Sauce

Made with a range of flavors from garlic and ginger to peanut butter and maple syrup, this sauce is amazing. You can use it to marinade not only tofu but tempeh and beans as well. Use less oil and more peanut butter to thicken it up for a spread on sandwiches. Use it as a sauce on vegetables.

Aside from being versatile, another thing to note about this marinade is it’s spice level. When prepared according to the recipe, this sauce is fairly spicy. That being said, it’s very easy to alter the level of heat in this dish. Simply decrease or eliminate the use of garlic chili sauce. Another note: I wouldn’t recommend marinating the tofu in this sauce if you’re going to be giving some to little tofu-lovers. My kids are totally cool with eating pain baked tofu.

Buckwheat noodles topped with baked spicy tofu, baby bok chow, and stir-fried vegetables on a plate with chopsticks and a white napkin.

Stir-Fried Vegetables

I love the vegetables in this dish! They’re sturdy and maintain a good amount of crunch even after being cooked (I’m not a fan of soggy vegetables). I would highly recommend using mung bean sprouts and shredded carrots as the base. After that you can use whatever you might have on hand: sugar snap peas (what is used here), bell peppers, mushrooms, water chestnuts…the possibilities are endless.

So how does this meal sound to you? Fantastic! Pretty straightforward right? Of course. Simple enough to throw together on a weeknight? Definitely. Perfect for meal prepping? Absolutely. What are you waiting for? Dust off those chopsticks and let’s make this spicy buckwheat noodle and tofu stir-fry. It’s a fantastic meal that you and the whole family will love.

Enjoy friends!

Buckwheat noodles topped with baked spicy tofu, baby bok chow, and stir-fried vegetables surrounded by chopsticks, green onions and a large cast iron skillet of stir-fried vegetables.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Buckwheat-fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, manganese, rutin, ligans, vitamin E, selenium

Carrot-vitamin A; fiber; manganese; B vitamins; potassium; vitamin C

Garlic-phytochemicals

Ginger-antioxidants

Peanuts-high in antioxidants (especially when roasted)

Sesame seeds-lignans, phytosterols

Tofu- calcium, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, isoflavones

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Buckwheat Noodle Stir Fry

Made with extra firm tofu, buckwheat soba noodles, baby bok choy, and stir-fried vegetables, this meal is sure to replace your favorite take-out restaurant. Grab your chopsticks, set your kitchen timer for 30 mintues and get ready for a delicious, home cooked, Asian-influenced dinner.
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Japanese, Vegan
Keyword: asian, bok choy, buckwheat, buckwheat soba noodles, carrots, green onions, mung bean sprouts, noodles, sesame seeds, soba noodles, spicy, stir fry, sugar snap peas, tofu
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 14 oz extra firm tofu, pressed & cut into cubes
  • 3-4 large baby bok choy, quartered
  • 10 oz sugar snap peas
  • 10 oz shredded carrots about 4 cups
  • 9 oz mung bean sprouts about 2 cups
  • oz vegan soba noodles
  • sesame seeds and green onions for garnish

Tofu Marinade

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp garlic chili sauce or to taste
  • 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a shallow dish, whisk together Tofu Marinade ingredients. Place pressed, cubed tofu into marinade and toss to coat. Let rest for 10 minutes. Bake tofu for 18 minutes then flip and bake for additonal 5 minutes. Reserve additonal marinade.
  • While tofu is baking, heat seseame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place baby bok choy cut side down and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook additional 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Add another tsp of sesame oil and saute sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, and mung bean sprouts until tender and not overcooked, about 5 minutes.
  • Cook soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with reserved tofu marinade.
  • Assemble bowls with noodles and top with sauteed vegetables and baked tofu. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
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Pumpkin Pie Hummus

Ready to go in 10 minutes and with only 6 ingredients this pumpkin pie hummus is sure to hit the spot the next time you’re craving a sweet snack. Vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, oil-free, nut-free, and seed-free but definitely not flavor-free. Grab your blender or food processor and let’s do this!

Pumpkin pie hummus in a bowl with pretzel crackers and cinnamon sticks.

I’ve been on a hummus kick lately. I’ve been making different varieties all week and although they’ve been amazing they’ve all been savory. And today, I needed something sweet. It’s the weekend after all! So here it is, my ode to the fall season: pumpkin pie hummus.

Pumpkin pie hummus in a bowl with pretzel crackers and cinnamon sticks.

There’s not much to say about this hummus except that it’s absolutely delicious. It’s super simple, ready quickly, and requires ingredients you probably already have (especially at this time of the year). I only have one note about the dates…

Dates

When it comes to dates you REALLY want to make sure they’re fresh. And by fresh I mean soft, moist, and gooey. It’s easier to remove the pits from them and your blender/food processor won’t have such a hard time combining them if the dates are soft. That being said, if your dates aren’t up to snuff, no worries. Simply place your dates in very hot water for 5-10 minutes. Once they’re soft, squeeze out the excess water from them and remove the pits. Now they should be soft enough to pulse in the blender or food processor.

Pretzel cracker being dipped into pumpkin pie hummus surrounded by pretzel crackers and cinnamon sticks.

Serve It

This pumpkin pie hummus is absolutely amazing with pretzels (can you say salty/sweet?), crackers, or your favorite bread. For a finishing touch, top the hummus with vegan graham cracker crumbs or some cinnamon. This hummus would also make a nice addition to a vegan cheese board. It’ll also make a perfectly quick and easy dessert for Thanksgiving. The possibilities for this hummus are endless.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Pumpkin

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Pumpkin Pie Granola

Pumpkin Pie Hummus

Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: 10-minutes, 6-ingredients, dates, gluten-free, hummus, naturally-sweetened, nut-free, oil-free, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, refined-sugar free, seed-free
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 8 soft dates, pitted make sure the dates are very soft*
  • cup plant-based milk I used flax milk
  • cup canned pumpkin not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1, 15oz can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  • Add pitted, soft dates* to the blender or food processor and pulse until they resemble a paste.
  • To the blender/food processor add plant-based milk, canned pumpkin, vanilla, garbanzo beans, and pumpkin pie spice in this order.
  • Blend until well combined stopping occasionally to scrap the sides of the container.
  • Garnish with vegan, gluten-free graham cracker crumbs or a sprinkling of cinnamon. Serve with pretzels, crackers, or bread.

Notes

*If your dates are rather dry place them in hot water for 5-10 minutes allowing them to soften.  Squeeze excess water from each date before adding to the blender.
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