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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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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Warm Autumn Vegetable Salad

With Pumpkin Tahini Dressing

Warm autumn vegetable salad drizzled with pumpkin tahini dressing. All you need are two sheet pans and a bowl for this amazingly satisfying lunch. Vegan, gluten-free with nut- and oil-free options this salad makes a fantastic side or meal and works great for meal prepping.

Warm winter vegetable salad on a bed of butter lettuce with purple and yellow flowers and a bowl of fresh cranberries.

Warm Autumn Vegetables

Ok, this has got to be why I love fall so much. There’s nothing like prepping a bunch of vegetables, seasoning them in some well-thought-out spices, tossing them in the oven, and enjoying the aroma that fills my house while they roast. This, to me, is what the autumn months are all about. So let’s discuss these vegetables a little bit shall we?

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are just amazing! They’re so versatile (baked, boiled, steamed, mashed…you know the different ways to prepare a potato!) and they really are very sweet. In this dish I remove the skins but if you would prefer the extra fiber (there’s already a lot of it in this salad) feel free to keep it on. It’ll give the sweet potato a nice crunchy, caramelized texture.

Multi-colored carrots

I love the additional colors from the multicolored carrot variety. You can totally use regular ol’ orange carrots if you cannot find the multis, it’s no big deal. Just remember that you want to eat the rainbow. The greater the color variety in your food, the more nutrients you’re consuming.

Delicata Squash

The delicata squash is by far my FAVORITE squash. Ever. I think I love it so much because you can eat the skin! Less prep time means more time enjoy the cool autumn days outside with my family and less time making meals. Plus, who doesn’t love the cute little half moon shapes of a delicata squash? Pro tip: save the seeds of your delicata squash and use them in this recipe for chili roasted squash seeds. Also, did you know that you can save the pulp (or scooped out portion) of the squash and put it to go use here.

Parsnips

And let’s not forget the parsnips! Now these are the secret star of the show. They are actually really sweet and are amazing when roasted. They’re also fantastic in soups and stews. Be on the lookout for more parsnips recipes from me as the season rolls into autumn, but for now, let’s just appreciate them in this delicious little salad.

Warm winter vegetable salad on a bed of butter lettuce with purple and yellow flowers, pumpkin tahini dressing, and a bowl of fresh cranberries.

Pumpkin Tahini Dressing

I love making my own dressings. Nothing beats the convenience of store bought but I also like to be in control of the amount and type of fats and sugars that are in my dressings. And most store-bought dressings contain gums. Ew. So let’s whip up this fun fall dressing together ok? It’s thick, lightly pumpkin-y, nut-free, and oil-free.

Toppings

This is where you get get to be creative. The salad toppings I have listened down in the recipe are just recommendations and ideas. Use what you have and whatever is in season. I recommend a nut or seed, something creamy such as avocado or vegan cheese, and a lightly sweet fruit such as figs or pomegranates. These additional flavors and textures aren’t required of course. The salad is fantastic as is. But adding these topping will create a more intricate flavor profile and visual appeal. Go crazy!

Meal Prep

Finally, did I mention that this salad is perfect for meal prepping? Move over boring salads and bland sandwiches…prepare this on Sunday instead to get you through the upcoming work week. Store the vegetables, salad, and salad dressing separately in your fridge and assemble everything the evening before. Super simple, flavorful, satisfying, (insert more wonderfully descriptive adjectives here). You get the idea. This warm autumn vegetable salad with pumpkin tahini dressing is a packed lunch that will definitely keep you going long into the afternoon.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Carrots-vitamin A, fiber, manganese, niacin, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C

Cranberries-vitamin C, fiber, phytonutrients

Garlic-phytochemicals

Pumpkin- fiber, potassium, selenium, vitamin A

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

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Warm Winter Vegetable Salad with Pumpkin Tahini Dressing

Warm winter vegetable salad drizzled with pumpkin tahini dressing. All you need are two sheet pans and a bowl for this amazingly satisfying lunch. Vegan, gluten-free with nut- and oil-free options this salad makes a fantastic side or meal and works great for meal prepping.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Assembly5 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: easy, gluten-free, meal prep, nut-free, oil-free, pumpkin, salad, tahini, vegan, vegetables
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Warm Winter Vegetables

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled, diced
  • 1 delicata sqush, de-seeded, diced
  • 2-3 parsnips, peeled, cored, diced
  • 4 mutlicolored carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1, 15oz can black beans drained and rinsed
  • avocado oil spray omit if oil-free
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • red chili pepper flakes, to taste

Salad Dressing

  • 3 tbsp runny tahini
  • 2 tbsp canned pumpkin not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • tsp onion powder
  • 5 tbsp water
  • salt & pepper to taste

Salad

  • 4 cups lettuce of choice (arugula, spinach, butter lettuce…)
  • chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • vegan feta cheese
  • avocado diced
  • pomegrante arils
  • fresh figs

Instructions

Warm Winter Vegetables

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl combine pumpkin pie spice, black pepper, and chili flakes (if using). Set aside.
  • Divide prepared sweet potatoes, delicata squash, parsnips, and carrots and place on prepared baking sheets. Spray with avocado oil cooking spray. Top with spice mixture and toss to coat.
  • Roast for 20 minutes then remove from oven and add cranberries and black beans to both baking sheets. Toss to coat and roast for additional 20 mintues.

Salad Dressing

  • In a small bowl whisk all salad dressing ingredients until well combined. If too thick, add water a tbsp at a time until desired consistancy is reached.

Salad

  • To assemble the salad: toss lettuce greens of choice with salad dressing. Divide between 3-4 plates. Top with warm winter vegetables and additional salad toppers. I suggest: chopped walnuts, pecans, or pumpkin seeds; vegan feta or diced avocado; pomegrante seeds or fresh figs.
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Vegan Caramel Apple Pancakes

These vegan caramel apple pancakes are perfect for a cozy autumn morning spent inside. Prepared in 30 minutes and made with wholesome ingredients, these pancakes are vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, oil-free, and nut-free. With a decadent 3-ingredient vegan caramel sauce you’ll feel like you’re having dessert for breakfast.

Apple pancakes on a plate with date caramel, apples and cotton in the background.

I wanted to create a breakfast recipe that EVERYONE can enjoy. And with these caramel apple pancakes I think I’ve hit the jackpot. There’s no need to order any crazy ingredients or go hunting in specialty grocery stores to prepare these perfectly fluffy and wholesome caramel apple pancakes.

Plated apple pancakes surrounded by caramel sauce, apples and cotton.

Apple Pie Spice

Before we get going on this recipe let’s just take a quick second to discuss something: apple pie spice. It’s pretty hard to come by in the grocery store unless you happen to be shopping for it during the autumn months. That being said, making your own spice blend is SUPER simple. Plus it tastes much better in my opinion. You can also customize it. Leave out a spice that perhaps you aren’t too fond of. Or substitute in another favorite that has the same flavor profiles as the others. So really quickly, let me just tell you how I make my apple pie spice blend.

  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp cardamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice

Mix these all up together and store them in a small, airtight jar. Add this spice to coffee, oatmeal, quick breads, homemade applesauce…go crazy!

Close up of caramel apple pancakes on a fork with apples and a cup of tea in the background.

Pancakes

Now that you’ve got your apple pie spice let’s talk about actually making these incredibly easy and completely satisfying caramel apple pancakes. First you’ll need oat flour. If you’ve checked out my pumpkin pancakes you’ll know that I love using oat flour. It’s so easy (and cheap) to make at home and is gluten-free (just make sure that you purchase confirmed gluten-free oats). If you have rolled oats, you essentially have oat flour. Just dump the whole rolled oats into your food processor or blender and pulse until you have, well, a flour. Done! The rest of the ingredients are pretty self-explanatory which is totally what I was going for: Simple!

The only thing that I really want to stress about these pancakes is that, once all the ingredients have been combined, please make sure that you let the batter rest for at least 5-10 minutes. This is going to result in super fluffy, tender pancakes. Who wants flat, tough pancakes? Not me! So while the batter is resting make yourself some of my amazing 3-ingredient caramel sauce…

Caramel Sauce

It was really important for me to up the sweetness factor of these pancakes without adding any cane sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup or *gasp* artificial sweeteners. Enter the incredible date. Simply pull the pits from 8 dates, toss them into a small food processor, and pulse until they’re very well chopped. Next add in the coconut milk and a splash of vanilla. Process until it’s well combined and creamy. If it’s too think simply add in more coconut milk a little at a time until it’s pourable.

The caramel color from the dates and vanilla isn’t the only thing that looks authentically caramel about this sauce: it’s just as sweet and satisfying as the dairy-containing original! This caramel sauce pairs perfectly with the apple pancakes but it could easily be used to top your favorite vegan ice cream, chocolate cake, brownies, cheesecake…you name it! You can even eat it right off a spoon. I won’t judge.

Caramel apple pancakes on a plate with date caramel sauce being poured on the pancakes.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Apple- vitamin C, soluble and insoluble fiber

Oats-vitamins A & B; calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese; soluble and insoluble fiber; phytochemicals

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Vegan Caramel Apple Pancakes

Prepared in 30 minutes and made with wholesome ingredients, these pancakes are vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, oil-free, and nut-free.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Resting Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: breakfast, gluten-free, naturally-sweetened, nut-free, oil-free, refined-sugar free, vegan
Servings: 10 pancakes
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Apple Pancakes

  • cups oat flour
  • ½ tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp apple pie seasoning
  • 1⅓ cup plant-based mylk
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Caramel Sauce

  • 8 medjool dates, pitted soak in hot water for 5-10 minutes if hard
  • 1 cup coconut milk can be either full or reduced-fat, from a can
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Apple Pancakes

  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the oat flour, baking powder, and apple pie spice.
  • Add the applesauce, plant-based mylk, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar.
  • Mix until just combined. Do not over-mix. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken.
  • Heat a griddle or skillet with vegan butter. Cook ⅓ cup of batter on griddle or skillet for 3-4 minutes (or until bubbles pop) and flip, cooking additional 3-4 minutes on the other side. Repeat using all the pancake batter.

Caramel Sauce

  • In a small food processor, pulse pitted dates until well chopped.
  • Add coconut milk and vanilla extract processing until smooth. Add more coconut milk, a little at a time, if caramel is too thick.
  • Serve pancakes warm and topped with caramel sauce.
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Apple Pie Bliss Bites

Only 7 ingredients and 30 minutes stand between you and these apple pie bliss bites. Packed with wholesome ingredients to power you through than afternoon slump these snacks are vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and refined-sugar free.

Apple pie bliss bites on a white plate, one of which is being picked up.

I’m going to be completely honest with you guys (because that’s what blogs are for right?). I had never made energy bits before creating this recipe. I know. Crazy right? But it’s true. Phew…I’m glad to have gotten that off my chest. Now…on to why you should give these apple pie bliss bites a try.

Apple pie bliss bites on a white plate one of which has a bite taken out of it.

Complex Carbohydrates

I’m gonna get a little nerdy with you guys right now. But not too much. Alright, carbohydrates ARE NOT BAD. Let me just say that again so it can sink in a bit: Carbohydrates are not bad. Carbohydrates are an important energy source for the human body. Our brain and muscles love carbohydrates and need them to function properly. Quick, easy energy. That’s what our body sees when it’s given carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are a slower form of energy which means that your body is still going to get the energy but the sugar will enter your bloodstream slowly, and be absorbed slowly. In the simplest terms, there’s not going to be an energy crash after eating complex carbs like there might be after eating straight sugar. And that’s a good thing! We want our food to give us long-lasting energy. No afternoon crashes wanted.

Apple pie bliss bites on a white plate with slivered almonds all around.

Healthy Fats

Fat is an as an important component of our food. It helps us stay full, longer. And that’s great because no one wants to be eating constantly right? We are busy people and we have other important things to do with our day besides eat. Fat is also an important component for brain function. Just like carbohydrates, your brain needs fat to work properly. All the fats in this recipe come from plants which means that they have positive health attributes. Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and almonds all provide healthy fats in this recipe.

Apple pie bliss bites on a white plate with apples and slivered almonds on the side.

Plant-Based Protein

We know that protein in important in building lean muscle. But did you also know that protein plays an important roll in cell formation and functionality, as well as the health and well-being of your immune system? It’s true, proteins are not a one-stop shop when it comes to their importance in the diet. And plant-based proteins are just as useful as animal-based ones. Thank the almonds, oats and chia seeds for their supply of plant-based proteins in this snack.

What do you guys think about gaining a little more nutritional background information about these apple pie bliss bites? Is this something you’d enjoy reading more of in the future? Or is it all just way too much information? Let me know in the comments below your thoughts on this information as well as any feedback you have on the bites themselves.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Almonds-protein, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, iron

Apple- vitamin C, soluble and insoluble fiber

Oats-vitamins A & B; calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, copper, zinc, iron, manganese; soluble and insoluble fiber; phytochemicals

Sunflower seeds- polyunsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, selenium, copper

you might also enjoy

Apple Pie Bliss Bites

Only 7 ingredients and 30 minutes stand between you and these apple pie bliss bites. These snacks are vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and refined-sugar free.
Prep Time5 mins
Freezing Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: apple, apple pie, energy ball, gluten-free, naturally-sweetened, oil-free, refined-sugar free, vegan
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 5-6 soft dates
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1-2 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seed butter

Instructions

  • Add rolled oats and slivered almonds to a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the oat and almond mixture and pulse until a ball forms.
  • Scoop out 1½ tbsp amounts of mixture and roll into a ball. Mixture will be sticky so wetting your hands may help keep it from sticking to your skin.
  • Place balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put into the freezer until firm. About 30-35 minutes.
  • Once firm, remove from freezer and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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