Favorite Banana Bread

Banana bread is generally a good idea; it’s easy to make, keeps well, and has the facade of health thanks to the bananas. Lots of people are stuck at home looking for things to bake and snacks to eat, but certain ingredients like yeast and flour are still scarce in many areas right now.

Enter banana bread! It requires no yeast and is flexible enough that the flour can easily be replaced with white whole wheat or gluten free blend. Plus, it’s delicious and will make the kitchen smell amazing.

Banana Bread

Yield: one loaf

Ingredients:

3-4 bananas, mashed

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

large pinch or crack of salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

grated nutmeg to taste (I use around 1/4 teaspoon)

Topping:

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º F.

In medium bowl, mash bananas. Combine with oil, vanilla, and sugar. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the wet mixture and stir to combine.

Lightly grease or spray a loaf pan, then pour batter into the prepared pan (the batter will be thick). Spread evenly.

Make to topping by mixing together the Tablespoon of sugar and teaspoon of nutmeg. Sprinkle on top of batter (you may decide to use less topping, which is completely fine).

Bake at 350º F for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Hopefully you enjoy! The topping is really what makes this incredible because it gives the top and extra sweetness, like a muffin top 🙂

Making Bagels

If you can make bagels you are bae goals (I know, I’m absolutely cringing and that warranted endless groans). However, these come highly requested from my husband these days, which is great because they are a decently simple recipe and don’t require fancy technique or ingredients.

Bagels

Ingredients:

1/2 Tablespoon yeast

1/2 Tablespoon brown sugar

2/3 cup warm water

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups AP flour

Water Bath:

6 cups water

1/2 Tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 Tablespoon sugar

Directions:

Combine the yeast, brown sugar, and water. Let sit a few minutes, until bubbling. Add the flour and salt and knead (either by hand or in a mixer) until smooth and elastic, about ten minutes.

Toward the end of kneading, add any desired mix-ins, such as dried fruit.

Let sit in a bowl, covered, about 1 1/2 hours, until puffy.

Once risen, remove from bowl and divide into 4 sections. Shape into rounds, poke hole in center, and stretch. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and let rest, covered, for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425º F and prepare water bath by combining water, sugar, and brown sugar. Bring water to a boil, then add the bagels and boil 1-2 minutes. Flip, then boil another minute.

Place the bagels back on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.

I’ve included a video to better show how the shaping and boiling process works, so hopefully that helps!

Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels are one of the best snacks to have around for football season, as they pair well with beer and are more substantial than many other game-day snacks. Plus, they are naturally dairy-free, pair great with beyond brats, and can be easily customized with seasonings and toppings (“everything” bagel seasoning, shredded cheese, caraway seeds, etc.). These are surprisingly easy to make and take considerably less time than many other yeasted doughs.

Soft Pretzels

Yields 8 pretzels

Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (about 30 minutes active, 1 hour inactive)

Ingredients:

1/2 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

2 1/2 cups AP flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (you can sub this with bread flour or AP flour)

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 Tablespoon salt

1.5 Tablespoons baking soda

4 cups water

2 Tablespoons butter or vegan butter, melted (for brushing tops of pretzels)

coarse sea salt, for tops of pretzels

Directions:

Combine sugar, warm water, and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let sit until bubbling.

Mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add yeast mixture and stir to combine, then knead well until smooth and elastic (by hand this will take 10 minutes, by mixer on medium speed around 7-8 minutes).

Place in bowl and cover. Let rise until puffy, about an hour.

Once risen, divide dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a pretzel.

Preheat oven to 450º F.

Prepare water bath by heating the 4 cups water and baking soda in a large pot (preferably a wide and shallow pot, such as a Dutch oven). Once the water is lightly boiling, drop pretzels in 2-3 at a time. The pretzels should stay in water bath for about 1 minute (30 seconds each side).

Remove pretzels from water bath and place onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until desired depth of color.

Enjoy! These go well with mustard (of course), cheese sauce, and herbed butter. Pair with beyond brats and braised cabbage for a hearty German meal.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu

Hosting holidays is something I enjoy. While some people find it stressful, I think for me it is laid-back and just plain fun. I try to not make anything too complicated or fussy and generally tend to have a balanced plate, snacks for peckish people, and a crowd-pleasing dessert. In my opinion, it is best to keep it simple and focus on doing just a few things, but doing them well.

Thanksgiving can be an especially difficult holiday for vegetarians and vegans, as many of the traditional offerings are heavy in animal products. The same flavors are definitely still possible without meat, so whether you are making a dish for a vegetarian guest, or plan on hosting a fully cruelty-free Thanksgiving, I’ve included a sample menu to get you started 🙂

I would include a red wine, IPA, and sparkling water for guests to drink (of course more options if you desire, but I try to keep it simple). Mixed salted nuts and dried cherries are a great snack to have out on tables, as well as soft cheese with baguette. For dessert, apple crisp is easy to make vegan by simply using vegan butter and pairing with vegan ice cream (SO Delicious Vanilla Cashewmilk is my personal recommendation for vegan vanilla). Of course most desserts are already vegetarian, so no need to plan too much for that ;p

Mixed Green Cranberry Walnut Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Large container spring greens (around 8 cups)

Brianna’s Blush Wine vinaigrette

3/4 cup red onion, very thinly sliced

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

4-6 oz. goat cheese crumbles (leave out if making vegan)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Toss all ingredients together!

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 6

Ingredients:

4 medium sweet potatoes, washed well

3/4 cup Maple Syrup

4 Tablespoons butter (or earth balance)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Slice potatoes lengthwise, then chop into pieces about 1/2 inch thick. In skillet melt butter on med-high heat. Add potatoes.

Add maple syrup, toss to coat, then bring to a boil. Place potatoes in oven, stirring every 5 minutes, until done (they should able to be pierced by a fork). This should take about 20 minutes.

Beyond Beef Pot Pies

Serves 6

Ingredients:

I lb. Beyond Beef (or other meatless ground)

1 medium yellow onion

4 cloves minced garlic

2 carrots, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 cups frozen peas

3 Tablespoons olive oil (1-2 additional Tablespoons to brown the Beyond Beef)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup AP flour

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup wine (I use a red wine to bring out a richer flavor, but white whine is fine if you prefer)

1 package puff pastry (if you prefer homemade, see my post Vegan Puff Pastry)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425º F.

In large skillet or saucepan, heat the 3 Tablespoons olive oil on med-high. Add onion and garlic and cook 4-5 minutes, until soft.

Add carrots, celery, and peas. Cook a few more minutes.

Add herbs, salt, and flour. Stir to disperse flour and avoid clumps. Add wine and broth slowly, stirring well. Turn heat down to low and let simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In separate pan, use a bit of olive oil to brown the beyond meat (this should only take a few minutes, so be careful not to over cook it).

Add the beyond meat to the rest of the filling and remove from heat. Assemble pot pies by filling in ideal ramekins with about 1 cup of filling each (if you don’t have ramekins, simply use a pie dish or a 9×9 baking dish). Top with puff pastry.

Bake until crust is done (about 20 minutes). Garnish with fresh parsley or rosemary sprigs.

Pumpkin Bread

I know we are bombarded with an abundance of “pumpkin spice” this time of year, yet many pumpkin treats seem to neglect the star ingredient! My absolute favorite way to enjoy pumpkin is via pumpkin bread and this recipe contains a healthy portion of pumpkin to ensure maximum pumpkin flavor 🙂

I also add some maple syrup to help bring out the flavor of the spices and pumpkin. Oh! And it’s vegan, so it is a great option to bring to Thanksgiving or other potlucks for a vegan option. The icing is optional, but makes it more decadent (although I may actually prefer it without as a hearty snack cake with some tea).

Pumpkin Bread

2 cups A.P. Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 pinches cloves

1 pinch salt

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1/3 cup canola oil

1/3 cup almond milk

1 can pumpkin purée

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger (for when you want some extra spice and zing)

Icing

Almond milk (a few Tablespoons, depending on preferred viscosity)

Confectioner’s sugar (1/2 – 3/4 cup)

Vanilla extract (about 1 teaspoon)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350º F.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together sugar, maple syrup, canola oil, almond milk, pumpkin purée, and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in 3 parts, whisking to combine. Use a spatula to scrape sides of bowl between additions.

Spray loaf pan (lining with parchment should also work). Fill with batter, smooth, and bake for about 55 minutes. You can test using a toothpick or cake tester and if it comes out clean, it’s done!

Hopefully you enjoy!

To see exactly how to make it, I’ve included a video:

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Since apple season is in full force, I decided to make my cinnamon roll recipe with an apple butter filling (to fully embrace autumnal vibes).

It turned out even better than anticipated (I immediately consumed two rolls), so I thought I’d share.

I used the same base recipe for cinnamon rolls found here but used a different filling.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Filling:

1/2 cup apple butter (the kind without added sweeteners or sugar)

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

I made the dough as usual, but spread this instead of the usual filling and it turned out well! These do seem to be a bit more gentle than typical cinnamon rolls when placing them into the dish for their proof, so treat them gently.

If you want to see the process of how to make these Apple Cinnamon Rolls, watch the video to see the steps in action.

Peach Crisp

Crisp is a great way to showcase summer fruits, so I truly love both making and eating it. Additionally, it is easy to transport and can be served either warm or room temp (preferably with ice cream), so it’s a great choice for summer cookouts, barbecues, and picnics.

To make things even better, this is a vegan version of the dessert! So if you are vegan or plant-based, this can be a great way to bring something that is both vegan and familiar.

Peach Crisp

Filling:

3 pounds peaches

Juice of 1 lemon

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons corn starch

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

Topping:

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup canola oil

Directions:

Core and slice peaches into 1/4 inch slices (about 8 slices per peach should be good).

In a large bowl, toss peaches in lemon juice, granulated sugar, corn starch, salt, and vanilla until well coated. Set aside.

For the topping, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the melted coconut oil and canola oil, then continue to mix using a fork, wooden spoon, or spatula. This mix should be sort of crumbly, yet moist.

Take the topping and chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This will help the oils firm up before baking.

While the topping is chilling, preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit.

Prepare an 8″ square baking dish by spraying it with nonstick spray (or lightly oiling the sides). Then fill with the peach mixture, pressing down firmly.

Add the topping, covering the peaches. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the topping begins to brown and the peach mixture is bubbling.

This recipe is simple, delicious, and great for summer. I made a video to show how to make it, so each step can be seen below.

Cinnamon Rolls

These cinnamon rolls are easy, delicious, and vegan. The nutmeg in the dough can easily be replaced with cardamom for a more Scandinavian flavor, as well. They can be iced or plain and are delicious either way.

Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: around 10 rolls

Prep Time: around 2 hours

Bake Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup AP flour

1/8 cup granulated sugar

Pinch salt

1 teaspoons grated nutmeg

1.75 ounces vegan butter

3/4 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon yeast

For the Filling:

1.75 ounces vegan butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Wash:

1/4 cup almond milk

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In medium saucepan heat butter and milk on medium heat, until butter is melted and mixture is warm to the touch. Remove from heat.

In small bowl, combine yeast and a few Tablespoons of the milk mixture. Stir and let sit until bubbling.

Once yeast is activated and bubbling, add to the flour mixture. Then add the remaining milk mixture and stir to combine.

Once it is too difficult to use the spoon or spatula, switch to using your hands to bring the dough together.

Turn out onto a clean surface and knead until smooth. You can test the dough by slicing with a sharp knife and, if it is full of air bubbles, it is ready and you can stop kneading.

Place the dough into a large bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let rise for one hour.

Towards the end of the rise time, begin making the filling by creaming together the butter, sugar, and cinnamon.

Once dough has risen, roll out into 11″ by 17″ rectangle. Spread filling evenly over rectangle.

Using the long end, begin rolling the dough to form a log.

Slice into equal pieces using a sharp knife or plain floss. Depending on how the dough roll is and the size of the pieces, this will yield 10-12 buns. Place the buns into a parchment-lined baking dish.

Cover with a clean towel and let rise again, for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 425º F. Brush rolls with wash mixture (almond milk and maple syrup).

Bake rolls at 425º F for about 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden all over the outside.

These rolls are super simple to make and taste so, so good. They are great for holiday brunches and cinnamon rolls are just the best.

*Optional Icing: whisk confectioner’s sugar, almond milk, and vanilla until desired consistency. Top cinnamon rolls for even more sugary goodness!

Wild Rice with Asparagus

This is a recipe I came up with recently because I got some asparagus from market. It’s a good time of year for asparagus, which pairs well with lemons (also abundant in the springtime).

Wild rice and lentils round it out as a meal that is high in protein.

Wild Rice with Asparagus

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: About 45 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 cup wild rice (+ 2 cups water)

1/2 cup green lentils (+ 1 1/2 – 2 cups water)

Juice of 1 lemon

2-3 teaspoons olive oil

2-3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Handful parsley, chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a medium lidded saucepan, bring wild rice and 2 cups water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook, covered, for about 40 minutes (or until water is completely absorbed).

In another pot, combine lentils and 1 1/2-2 cups water (this depends on whether you prefer softer or firmer lentils). I prefer firmer lentils, so I use closer to 1 1/2 cups water. Simmer the lentils and water for 30-40 minutes.

While the rice and lentils are cooking, heat a medium saute pan on high heat. Add the onions and garlic. Continue to cook on high, adding water to prevent sticking, for about 8-10 minutes. Add asparagus with a pinch of salt and continue to cook until asparagus is tender (about 15 minutes).

Once cooked, remove pan with asparagus from heat.

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Once rice and lentils are cooked, combine with the asparagus and chopped parsley. Toss with lemon vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.

This dish can be served warm or room temperature, so it is a great spring dish. The flavors of lemon, pepper, and asparagus combined with the texture of wild rice is really quite nice.

Almond Cookies

These simple cookies are both vegan and gluten free. They are also quick and easy to make, really only requiring one bowl.

These are basically an almond shortbread cookie, so they are not too sweet at all and pair well with spring and summer fruits such as berries and stone fruits.

Almond Cookies

Prep. Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12-15 minutes

Yield: 8 cookies

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

1 cup almond flour

Pinch salt

3 Tablespoons vegan butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º F.

In medium bowl, soften or lightly melt butter.

Add vanilla. Mix.

Add almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt. Mix until well-combined.

Roll dough into 8 balls, then place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Press down the centers to flatten somewhat.

Chill for 5 minutes, then place in oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until bottoms and edges are browned. Let cool on baking sheet.

Hopefully you enjoy these cookies! I like that they are not too sweet and this small and easy batch is perfect to throw together for a coffee or tea date. Plus, being vegan and gluten free, they are good for most people to eat (aside from those with almond allergies of course).

Lemon-Garlic Rice with Cannellini Beans

This is a really simple dinner that is great for Spring. The broccoli can easily be substituted with asparagus, as that also goes really well with the bright lemon and garlic flavor.

If I have them on hand, I may also throw a few diced tomatoes in the pot with the rice to deepen the flavor. Additionally, you can really use any herbs you like. I tend to just throw in my Tuscan seasoning because I always have it on hand, however fresh thyme or even rosemary would be a welcome addition.

Lemon-Garlic Rice with Cannellini Beans

Serves: 2

Time: about 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup long-grain brown rice (if using short-grain, cook time will be shorter)

1 cup water

Zest of 1 lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of 1/2 lemon (save the other half and serve the wedges as garnish)

1 teaspoon Tuscan seasoning (I use Penzey’s)

Large pinch salt

2 cups broccoli, chopped (asparagus also works)

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 onion, diced

Directions:

Place rice, water, lemon zest, garlic, lemon juice, and Tuscan seasoning (as well as any additional herbs) in a medium or large saucepan with lid. Bring to a boil, then once boiling, reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes with lid on.

While the rice begins to cook, prepare the broccoli by chopping it. Dice the 1/2 onion.

In a small saucepan or sauté pan, cook the onions on high heat until caramelized. To help achieve this, I use water to help the onions not stick (this also helps to sort of deglaze the pan).

Once the rice has been simmering for 15 minutes, add the broccoli along with a splash of extra water and a large pinch of salt. Return the lid and simmer for another 15 minutes, or until rice is cooked and broccoli is tender.

During this time, drain and rinse the cannellini beans. Add to cooked rice and broccoli until the beans are warmed through.

Serve with caramelized onions and lemon wedges. I also have extra salt on the table for my husband, as well. Fresh parsley or thyme would -also be excellent garnishes!

I find this is definitely a simple and healthy meal that is also an easy way to throw in spring vegetables. You can add more veggies and herbs, so it can be pretty different, but the base is nice and fresh. Can’t really go wrong with rice and beans!

Hot Cross Buns (vegan)

I don’t celebrate Easter much, but I do enjoy a little something to welcome in Spring. A weekend morning with some hot cross buns is a great way to do that, in my opinion. These are quite simple to make and don’t take nearly as much time as one would expect from an enriched, yeasted dough.

The dried fruit can be whatever you like (I use half raisins and half chopped apricots, but currants are more traditional).

Hot Cross Buns (makes a dozen servings)

Prep Time: 1 1/2-2 hours

Bake Time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup lukewarm water

3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (lukewarm or room temperature)

1/3 cup canola oil (plus a splash extra to coat the bowl)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons orange zest (about the zest of one large orange)

1/4 cup sugar

3 3/4 cups AP Flour

3/4 cup dried fruit of choice

Wash:

2 tablespoons almond milk

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Icing:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons almond milk

Directions:

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, stir together yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and lukewarm water. Let sit for a few minutes until bubbling.

While the yeast is activating, in a separate bowl stir together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, sugar, and dried fruit.

Once the yeast is quite bubbly and active, add the flour/spice mixture, almond milk, and canola oil. Stir until just combined with a spatula. Begin to “knead” the dough by using the dough hook of the stand mixer on low or medium-low speed.

After about 4-5 minutes, it should be thoroughly combined and somewhat elastic. Use a splash of canola oil to coat the sides of the mixing bowl. Turn the coat to allow the dough to become coated.

Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

Once risen, punch down the dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide evenly into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a round bun, then place into parchment- lined baking dish (10″ x 14″ or 11″ x 13″ both work well).

Cover again with dish towel and let rise for around 30 minutes (dough should mostly spring back when touched). While dough is rising, preheat oven to 375º F.

Make dough wash by mixing together almond milk and maple syrup. Brush onto rolls.

Bake buns for 25-30 minutes, or until golden-brown. This could vary considerably depending on the oven used, so I would recommend checking earlier to ensure they are baking well. The buns will touch while rising and baking, but that is completely normal.

Once the buns are golden-brown and cooked through, remove from oven. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and place on cooling rack, counter, or large cutting board to continue cooling.

Whisk together almond milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla to make icing.

Once the buns are cooled, top with icing using a piping bag or drizzling with a spoon.

Enjoy! These store well in a covered container for 1-2 days, though they will begin to dry out after that. They are best served the same day or the next day.