Dessert has a different meaning in my world currently than it used to… though I ate a lot of raw and vegan desserts anyway, on the Wahls’ Diet (which I’ve been doing to heal from CO poisoning) there aren’t too many dessert-friendly ingredients allowed. I’m still square with avocado pudding, thank heavens, and have eaten that pretty damn regularly, as evidenced by previous blogs. However, before I also baked somewhat regularly, and even when I made gluten-free stuff there was usually some sort of grain SOMETHING involved. When I decided to do the diet I did so fully (I went free of everything suggested), meaning that for now, with the exception of one small serving of a cheat food every 1-2 weeks, I am pretty much all Wahls-compliant food all the time.
And that means that in order to switch things up with the avocados, I’ve been rethinking sweet potatoes. Though not normally allowed on a Paleo-based diet, Wahls allows both beets and sweet potatoes in the “brightly colored” category because of their high nutrient content. Rather than a side dish, I’ve been treating them as dessert, and they work very well as one. Inspired first by Erewhon’s deli-counter sweet potato puree with coconut milk and vanilla, then by a blog about using sweet potatoes as a basis for a peanut butter pie, I’ve come up with a pretty freaking tasty version of sweet potatoes. There’s no butter, no sugar, no soy, and no need for any of it. It’s rich, it’s decadent, and it will satisfy your dessert tooth, I promise. Amounts given are basic guidelines so that you can make as small or large a batch as desired.
Ridiculously Delicious Everything-Free Sweet Potatoes:
Garnet sweet potatoes, aka yams, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices then rough chopped into 3/4 inch squares and triangles. I do enough to fill a 9×13 baking dish, which is about half a dozen medium ones.
Put chopped sweet potatoes into a dish, and preheat oven to 375.
enough unsweetened coconut milk to go 1 inch up the pan– not so much that it will boil over.
Sprinkle liberally with:
a touch of cloves
Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, and adding more milk as needed– don’t let them dry out. They should take about an hour to bake.
Stir every few minutes as they cool, adding 1/2 cup coconut milk at a time until they stop absorbing it. I use at least 2 additional cups over what I used when they cooked.
Once cooled, throw the whole lot into a blender.
1-2 droppers each toffee and hazelnut stevia
1/3 cup (or more) almond butter
more salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and/or ginger to taste
Blend until mostly smooth, with some chunks remaining if you prefer (I do). Eat as is, or layer with additional almond butter, avo pudding, or anything else. The coconut milk is rich enough that you won’t even notice the lack of butter, but if you are used to super decadent sweet potatoes you could add some coconut oil, or more almond butter. The stevia alone makes them more than sweet enough, since they are very sweet to begin with.
Beans from the bulk section of a grocery store are a staple for me, both for sprouting (plain sprouted garbanzos are on of my favorite snacks) and for making the occasional pressure cooker stew. I have a strict no-cans policy for food; cooking your own beans is cheaper, chemical-free, and provided you take a moment in the morning to soak them in water, not nearly as time consuming as people fear.
Chili is one of my favorite things to make in the pressure cooker. It’s under an hour start-to-finish, easy to customize for veggies and non-veggies alike, and super tasty. My parents gave me a huge bag of Frontier chili powder blend last time we visited, and my father said it made some of the best chili he’s had. I’ve used it in small doses in dishes lately, but nothing where it really got to shine; now that I’ve made chili out of it, I have to agree that it is pretty much the tastiest chili powder blend I’ve ever used. It has a deep, dark, rich flavor, thanks to the addition of both allspice and cloves, with a mild heat. Its ingredients can be viewed here.
Beyond the chili powder, my ingredient list for this is pretty standard. I think what makes it so flavorful without any meat or fake meat is the method of cooking all aromatics first and the additions of cider vinegar and chipotle.
Super Tasty Vegan Chili:
1 1/2 cups each kidney and pinto beans OR
1 cup each kidney, pinto, and black beans
1 7 oz glass jar tomato paste like bionaturae organic (please don’t use cans! Canned tomatoes are the worst canned food of all, because the acid in tomatoes leeches all the chemicals from the can into the food.)
1 32 oz glass jar pureed tomatoes, also bionaturae organic or other organic, jarred brand (if it is spring or summer, you can puree enough tomatoes to make 32 oz.)
32 oz water or vegetable broth
1 medium onion, 1/4 separated
6 large cloves garlic, 2 cloves separated
3 jalapenos, 1 separated
1/3 cup chili blend
2 tbls oregano
2 tbls cumin
1 tbls garlic salt, or to taste
1 tsp chipotle powder
2 tbls apple cider vinegar
2 tbls grapeseed or other neutral oil
1. Soak beans in the morning in plenty of water. Drain, rinse.
2. Chop jalapenos, onion, and garlic into desired sizes; I do a moderately fine dice, and like to use both green and red chiles:
3. Saute chiles, onion, and garlic in grapeseed oil until lightly colored.
4. Add all spices, saute until fragrant.
5. Deglaze pot with cider vinegar.
6. Add tomato paste, cook until it darkens.
7. Add beans, water or broth, and pureed tomatoes.
8. Put top on pressure cooker and let cook for 35-45 minutes once pressurized. Alternately, cook in regular pot on medium-high for 50-70 minutes, until beans are tender.
You can use this as a side dish, add to chili afterwards to ensure that your veggies don’t get overcooked, or add it straight in to the pot. If adding directly into chili, add during last 10 minutes in pressure cooker, or last 20 minutes in a regular pot.
1 head broccoli
1 bunch arugula
1 bunch collard greens
reserved portions of garlic, jalapeno, onion
2 tbls chili powder
1 tbls grapeseed oil
1 tsp garlic salt
This is what I had on hand this week- you can change it up to any veggies of your choosing! I’ve made it with spinach, bell peppers, cauliflower, etc.
1. Chop veggies into large bite size pieces.
2. Cook jalapeno, garlic, onion, till fragrant.
3. Add chili powder, saute briefly.
4. Add veggies, and stir frequently until tender-crisp, about ten minutes.
If you choose to instead cook the veggies into the chili, don’t reserve the garlic/onion/jalapenos, and add veggies raw.
Top with any chili toppings you prefer; I used almond cheddar cheese for mine.
It is thoroughly worth an hour of your time to have food you can enjoy for days and feel guilt-free about, knowing that you made it without convenience foods and chemicals. The difference in taste alone makes it worth it!