Spaghetti Squash Bake

We like to use spaghetti squash as a sort of healthy alternative to pasta. Not that pasta isn’t healthy, per se, but we always have a temptation to eat so dang much of it. This spaghetti squash bake functions kind of like a pasta casserole, with its tomato sauce and vegan parmesan topping, but it’s not too heavy. Most of all, it’s super tasty.

Spaghetti Squash Bake: A Healthy Dinner that Feels Indulgent

The nice thing about this is that it’s pretty hands off and easy to make. Nothing requires careful tending, just a little bit of work on the stove and in the oven and you’re set! It also reheats beautifully for work.

Now I know as well as the next guy that spaghetti squash isn’t the same as pasta. The consistency isn’t the same, the flavor isn’t the same, etc. That’s why I almost always insist on recipes that douse it in some kind of sauce. The squash soaks up that nice flavor, and baking it in the sauce softens it even a bit more, so you lose most of the crunch that can sometimes go along with spaghetti squash and distance it from bona fide pasta.

Spaghetti Squash Bake

Ingredients:

1 medium to large spaghetti squash
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp + 1 Tsp olive oil
2 15-oz cans tomatoes, whole or diced
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for a few hours
1 cup pecans
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tsp salt

Directions:

Roast or microwave the spaghetti squash. Which one you choose depends on how much time you’ve got and how much your kids are screaming.

To make the tomato sauce, cook the onion and garlic in 1 Tbsp of the olive oil on medium high heat in a medium saucepan until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until thickened. Once the tomato sauce is done, blend it with the soaked cashews. Mix the tomato-cashew blend with the cooked spaghetti squash in an oven safe baking dish.

To make the vegan parm topping, place the pecans, nutritional yeast, remaining olive oil, and salt in food processor. Blend until everything looks crumbly and delicious. Sprinkle the topping onto the squash in the baking dish and bake at 350° F for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Tahini Cookies

We had chocolate. We had tahini. Buckle up for some chocolate tahini cookies, y’all.

Chocolate Tahini Cookies are Very Good

We like to take the opportunity to make food with our kids, especially when it’s fun food. Watson and Vivi love to each get a bowl full of ingredients to mix. They make an ungodly mess, but it’s adorable and who cares? You don’t have to clean the floor.

Watson has been very into Halloween lately, so he wanted to use his ghost cookie cutter to make some ghostly cookies. That didn’t work very well, since these cookies are very crumbly and fall apart pretty easily. They’re really better in a lumpy mound configuration.

Let me go on a short digression about tahini, if you will: tahini is great, you guys. It makes great sauces, it’s great in these cookies, it’s great in hummus, etc. Get some. Use it. Love it.

These are not cookies for folks with an extreme sweet tooth. They’re way more on the savory side. But they’re super tasty, and since they’re pretty crumbly, they offer a lot of delicious crumb-collecting fun once you’re done with all of the bits that hold together.

Chocolate Tahini Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup tahini
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup almond meal
1 c flour of choice (we’ve used both spelt and rice flour with success, although the rice flour makes for a crumblier cookie)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. Place tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough on a lined baking sheet, and press them down flat (but not too flat) with the heel of your hand. You can try rolling them out and using cookie cutters, like Watson wanted to do, but these cookies are pretty crumbly. The thinner they are, the more easily they fall apart once they’re baked. Bake each batch for 10 minutes and let cool on a wire rack.

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

I don’t like to keep coming back to the same topic, but let’s be real: tacos are the bomb. It is less well-known, but no less true, that roasted cauliflower is also the bomb. You can probably guess that I believe roasted cauliflower tacos to therefore be the bomb. You would be right. I’m probably also making it clear that my grasp of post-nineties slang is not all that and a bag of chips, as it were. Sue me.

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos – A Delicious, Healthy Treat

We got ourselves some gorgeous purple cauliflower in our Hungry Harvest box this week, and we immediately knew we were going to make tacos with it. It turns out cauliflower is perfect for tacos. The nooks and crannies of the florets soak up cooking oil and spices, and they get nice and brown and crunchy in the oven. On top of a toasted corn tortilla, alongside an appropriate set of garnishes, there’s basically nothing better.

I wish I’d known earlier in life how delicious roasted vegetables were. I wish my kids were more receptive to my trying to teach them the lessons I wish I’d learned at their age. I wish that last sentence were easier to parse (but it makes sense, I promise!).

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

Ingredients:

Cauliflower:

Two small heads of cauliflower (we used a pretty purple kind)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp smoked paprika
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp chili powder

Slaw:

1 kohlrabi cut into matchsticks
1 carrot cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup mayo
Juice of 1 lime

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Cut cauliflower up into medium florets and toss with oil and spices. Roast on a lined baking sheet for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all of the ingredients of the slaw together in a medium bowl. Toast a few corn tortillas lightly on the stovetop. Serve the tacos with diced avocado.

Simple Peach Pie Energy Balls

We love energy balls. Seriously, we really love them. We make them as snacks all the time. They seem small and unassuming, but they’re little dense bites of deliciousness, and they help stave off the hunger that creeps up between breakfast and lunch. As filling snacks go, these peach pie energy balls fit the bill quite nicely.

It’s also the end of summer and the beginning of fall, even if the weather hasn’t quite gotten the memo. Peaches feel like a summer food, but peach pie is what you make in the fall from all the peaches you thought you were going to eat and didn’t. These energy balls are the perfect fusion of summer flavor and fall comfort.

Peach Pie Energy Balls

This recipe really couldn’t be simpler. If you’ve got some measuring cups, a food processor, and five minutes, you’ve got everything you need to make these. When you’re getting meals ready for the week and there are three kids underfoot, it’s a small blessing to have a recipe that’s so simple. And one that doesn’t involve opening a hot oven when the kids are running around and curious.

These are also the kind of thing that makes packing lunches at 5:15 am a breeze. The more we’ve got already packed, that we can just grab and go, the better.

Peach Pie Energy Balls

Ingredients:

1 cup dried peaches
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup coconut
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

Just dump all of the stuff into a food processor, blitz until it’s crumbly, and then make it into balls and refrigerate. Eat one for a quick, delicious pick-me-up when you’re feeling hungry in the midmorning. That way you won’t be tempted to run out for a coffee and a donut because Royal Farms has Krispy Kremes and they’re delicious. Not that I’ve ever done that. Of course not.

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls with Spiked Apple Cider Glaze

I don’t have to prove my autumn bona fides to you. I mean, I will, but I don’t have to. So what’s more fall than pumpkin spice? What’s more fall than cinnamon rolls? How about pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls, the diabolical fusion of the two?

These right here are some tasty cinnamon rolls. They came together wonderfully, the glaze and filling are delicious, and they taste like autumn wrapped up in a beautiful spiral bow. Go and make them and eat them. Please. I want this for you.

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

1 small squash
3/4 cup almond milk
2 Tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 sticks vegan butter (we used Earth’s Balance)
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 Tsp ginger
1 Tsp cinnamon
1 Tsp nutmeg
1 Tsp cloves
1 Tsp allspice
2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup spiced rum

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and roast until brown and soft. Scoop out and mash up the inside of the squash (it should make about 2/3 of a cup).

Warm up the almond milk to room temperature (we microwaved ours for about 30 seconds). Sprinkle yeast on top and mix. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Knead in flour, 1/2 stick of butter, honey, and salt. Let rest until doubled while you watch Inhumans because you’re curious, and looking through Netflix for something you can both agree to watch sounds exhausting.

Roll dough into a rectangle. In a food processor blend together stick of butter, spices, and 1/4 cup of the maple syrup. Spread the butter mixture on the dough and roll up. Cut into slices and place in a baking pan, spaced out so the rolls have room to grow. Let sit overnight. In the morning preheat the oven to 400° F and bake for about an hour, or until golden. While baking, place cider, rum, and remaining 1/4 cup of syrup in a pan and reduce until 1/2 cup or so is left. Poor over hot rolls and let sit for about 5 minutes to cool and soak up the syrup. Enjoy your amazing pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls.

Vegan Gluten-Free Pear Gingerbread Pancakes

We first made these gingerbread pancakes during the summer and we absolutely loved them. But we decided it’d be better to roll out the recipe sometime in the fall, since they had more of an autumnal flavor profile. And remember, we love the fall, and fall recipes. Thankfully this past week we got pears in our Hungry Harvest* box, so it was a great time to revisit them!

*Affiliate link. If you click and order and use code HERO5, you get $5 off!

Gingerbread Pancakes: A Seasonal Treat

It’s hard to overestimate just how much of a treat these gingerbread pancakes feel like. They feel like eating fresh-baked cookies for breakfast. It feels like putting on a warm sweater and jumping into a pile of leaves. They feel like going on a hayride at the local orchard. They feel like pure, distilled fall. They’re just spicy and homey and wonderful.

These pancakes also reheat really well. We took them to work for breakfast one day this week, and they’re almost as delicious as they were fresh off the griddle. The bits of diced pear have a nice slight crunch to them. The gingerbread aroma drifts, tantalizing, from the top of the plate. A lot of pancakes don’t reheat well, but these ones are a star in that department.

In short, there’s no reason for you to not be making these gingerbread pancakes right now. They’re easy, they’re vegan, they’re gluten-free, they’re delicious, they’re evocative of fall, and they reheat well. Go. Make them. Live your bliss.

Vegan Gluten-Free Pear Gingerbread Pancakes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp oil
3/4 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 3 Tbsp water for 5 minutes
1 pear, diced
2 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp candied ginger, finely chopped

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until combined in a thick batter. Heat a griddle on medium high heat. Once hot, drop dollops of batter about 1/3 cup each onto the griddle. Cook approximately 5 minutes per side, or until done on each side. Serve with maple syrup or whatever you prefer on your pancakes.

Baked Sweet Potato with Shiitake Bacon

We got ourselves a surfeit of sweet potatoes this week. We decided to dice and roast some for adding to grain bowls, but we were still left with a few big ones. Jocelyn had the brilliant idea for a baked sweet potato recipe, covered with toppings that feel decadent but are actually really healthy.

Baked Sweet Potato: A Sweeter Take on a Classic

Turns out a baked sweet potato is just like a baked potato! People probably already knew this, but I’m slow. Don’t judge me. Anyway, we all know that what makes a baked potato isn’t the potato itself, but the toppings. We were determined to find a combination of toppings that felt rich and delicious, but was also decently healthy. We settled on some “cheese” sauce, avocados, crispy fried onions, and some shiitake bacon.

Now I, like all right thinking people, was skeptical of this whole shiitake bacon idea. Before we started eating vegetarian, I was a fan of bacon. The internet’s extreme enthusiasm for bacon in everything ever blunted my appreciation, but I still had fond memories of it. I was skeptical that making something out of mushrooms and calling it bacon would be anything but a cruel joke.

Guys? This shiitake bacon is no joke.

For real, it’s meaty and salty and smoky and just really wonderful. Much more than I could ever have imagined. So run, don’t walk, to your nearest sweet potato monger and demand several of his or her finest sweet potatoes. You’ve got a meal to make.

Baked Sweet Potato

Ingredients:

Two big sweet potatoes
One batch nacho cheese sauce
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tsp smoked paprika
Avocado, cubed or mashed
As many crispy fried onions as you can handle

Directions:

Bake sweet potatoes (about an hour at 350° F, or you can microwave if you’re in hurry).

While the potatoes are baking, marinate mushrooms in soy sauce, olive oil, and paprika for about half an hour. Sautée until crisp (about ten minutes). This is the shiitake bacon.

Cover the sweet potatoes with all the toppings and shove in your face.

Carrot Cake Energy Balls

We eat a fairly restrictive diet, so it’s important to find ways to branch out and have fun. We’ve written about energy balls before, and they’re a great way to have a little bit of fun with our day. They always give us a boost, and if we make them right, they taste great. And brother, this week, we made them right.

Energy Balls – A Power-Packed Snack

The trick about energy balls is to make them these tiny, dense, delicious morsels. If they’re tiny, then they’re not going to overload you. If they’re dense, they’re still going to be substantial. And if they’re delicious, they just make you feel great.

Personally, even though I’m not very into sweets anymore, I like mine on the sweeter side. If they’re almost too sweet, then I find I’m satisfied by one and don’t have any temptation to go further. My sweet cravings have gone way down, and a well-made energy ball satisfies them completely.

Carrot cake energy balls

Ingredients:

1 medium carrot, grated
1 c dates, pitted
1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 c walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c raisins or craisins
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you’re good and satisfied, you maniac. Then scoop out the mixture and form it into, you know, balls. This amount made about 15 for us (obviously the picture above was taken after we’d been at them a little).

We like to bag them up individually and put them in the fridge so that we can grab one and go super easily for work. You may prefer to do it another way, which, whatever works for you works for me.

Gluten-Free Pasta Salad with Olives, Cauliflower, and Chickpea Pasta

We like to be inclusive here at Our Chaotic Kitchen, and in that spirit we’d like to extend a recipe for gluten-free pasta salad to our gluten-free friends. Over the weekend we saw dried chickpea pasta* at the store, and we had to give it a shot! We also tried making some homemade chickpea pasta ourselves, if you’re feeling adventurous.

*The link above is an associate link at Amazon; if you click and buy something, Amazon will kick a percentage of your purchase back our way.

Gluten-Free Pasta Salad – Delicious and Nutritious

This gluten-free pasta salad is packed with flavor and is healthy as all get-out. We were able to make use of the cauliflower and tomatoes that we got from Hungry Harvest, and topping it off with a nice olive tapenade gave it just the right amount of pizzazz. You could almost call this a deconstructed takeoff on our cauliflower veggie flatbread, if the concept of “deconstructed” dishes were something other than a cruel lie to make diners finish making their own food. But I digress.

Vegan gluten free pasta salad

Ingredients:

Roasted Veggies:

1 pkg chickpea pasta or 1/2 batch of our chickpea flour pasta
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 medium eggplant, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup olive oil

Olive Tapenade:

1 cup olives (green or kalamata, your choice)
1/2 cup nuts
Big handful of fresh herbs (we used parsley and basil)
1 clove of garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Toss vegetables in olive oil in a large bowl. Once coated, lay out on a lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile cook pasta and process tapenade in food processor. Toss hot veggies with pasta and tapenade.

Apple Vegan Donuts with Peanut Butter Glaze

We’ve featured vegan donuts on the blog before, because donuts are the most delicious. They’re beautiful and perfect. The donut, that glorious torus, reminds us that mornings can be joyful, and not just something we have to slog through on our way to quitting time.

Vegan Donuts: All the Flavor, No Regrets

I don’t know about you guys, but I always feel awful after I stop at a drive thru donut store on the way to work (note: this does not include the exquisite Duck Donuts, which just opened a location near us). Don’t get me wrong, the donut is always delicious while I’m eating it. Endorphins explode in my brain. For a collection of moments, there is only chocolate and glaze and all is right with the world. But mere seconds later, regret sets in. I didn’t really need that donut, did I? And even though it tasted good, I knew my stomach wouldn’t feel that good afterwards, didn’t I?

To solve that, we simply make some delicious donuts at home without the ingredients that make us regret them elsewhere. What you see below is a vegan, gluten free apple donut with peanut butter glaze. That’s right, I said peanut butter glaze. It’s an amazing miracle.

Apple Vegan Donuts with Peanut Butter Glaze

Ingredients:

Apple Donuts:

1/2 cup dried apples, finely chopped and soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup brown rice or spelt flour
1 Tbsp flaxseed
3 Tbsp water
1 Tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tsp cinnamon
Generous grating of nutmeg
1 Tsp vanilla

Peanut Butter Glaze:

1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Mix together all donut ingredients in a large bowl. Pour batter into a donut baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Take out and let cool in the pan for a bit and then transfer onto a wire baking rack to fully cool.

While the donuts are baking, combine glaze ingredients in a small saucepan until well combined. Allow glaze to cool. When everything is cool, pour glaze over donuts. Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge and serve within a few days. As though they’ll last that long.