In today’s technology driven, facebook likin’, twitter tweetin’ world, it’s become fairly normal to ‘meet’ people via the internet. But when I started blogging, I never expected to make any actual friends… the real, honest-to-goodness types you’d want to invite over for dinner and games.
Sure enough, though, that’s exactly what happened – and if we could all have a big foodie get together, that’s just what we’d do. Sadly, geography doesn’t allow for such a thing… but not even that’s going to stop us!
My friend Courtney over at The Fig Tree has gathered us ’round the virtual table for a Veggie Potluck, featuring dishes from vegetarian and vegan bloggers. Each contribution will be featured below, and you can click through to each blogger to find recipes and learn more about their dish.
I don’t know about you, but I’m terrible at deciding what to bring to a gathering. Because of my foodie reputation, I always feel a bit of pressure to make something extra special or exciting, when usually all I want to do is grab a bag of chips. Consequently, I end up scrambling last minute in a hap-hazard attempt to throw together something healthy, delicious, and unique.
Thankfully, I had a lot of time to plan (postpone), think about (procrastinate), and work on (dawdle) a dish to bring.
I love a good homemade granola. I mean, love. I can’t say for sure how much granola one batch produces, because I end up eating so much while I’m making it. Being such a granola junkie, can you believe it’s been nearly a year since I made any? How could I let this happen?
When I realized how much I missed grabbing a handful for breakfast, throwing some in my bag on the way to the gym, or serving with fruit and yogurt for dessert, I knew I had to find a way to incorporate it here. And when I saw the peaches, finally in season and perfectly ripe, everything fell into place.
Recipe note: Granola is such a versatile thing – some like it with very few ingredients, just the basics, while others (like myself) prefer it with anything and everything available. Feel free to play around with the nuts/seeds/add-ins to make this how you like it.
Also, this has been a go-to recipe for me in the past, but this time turned out less clumpy, and slightly less sweet, than usual. The results were still tasty, but I must have mis-measured some of the liquid ingredients. Whatever changes you make, I suggest trying to maintain the ratio of wet to dry.
(Adapted from Angela Liddon’s Favorite Granola)
Vegan, gluten-free, makes ~ 6 cups
2.5 cups rolled oats (certified gluten free)
1 1/2 cups raw nuts, roughly chopped (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc. – I like to mix)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds, or a mix)
1/2 cup Hemp Hearts (shelled hemp seeds)
2 TBSP ground flax seed
1 TBSP chia seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon (and/or chai, or other spice)
1/8th tsp. ginger (and/or nutmeg, cayenne, or other spice)
1/4-1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 TBSP brown rice syrup, or maple syrup (or honey, for non-vegans)*
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 TBSP agave, or maple syrup (or more honey)
2-3 TBSP ripe banana, mashed (or unsweetened applesauce)**
2 TBSP nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract (or orange, coconut, or other – or more vanilla)
1 cup of dried fruit or other mix-ins (cranberries, raisins, blueberries, chopped apricots, dates, cocoa nibs, chocolate chips, etc.)
*Note that the sweetener you use is up to you, but each will effect taste and crunchy/clumpiness differently. Play around to see what you like best
**Using banana does not make this a banana flavored granola – I just happen to have bananas on hand more often than applesauce.
Preheat oven to 275f., and line a half sheet pan (or other rimmed baking sheet) with parchment.
In a large bowl, add all of the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
In a small pot on the stove, or a microwave safe bowl, add all of the wet ingredients except the extracts. Stir over low heat, or microwave in 30sec. intervals, stirring in between, until melted and all of the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the extracts.
Pour the wet ingredients (while still warm) over the dry and mix with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be very thick, and hard to stir. Keep going until well combined.
Dump the mixture onto your prepared baking sheet, and spread into one even layer. Try to take it all the way to the edges of the pan, to ensure even cooking. Place on the middle rack of the oven, and cook for 50-60 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven ever 12-15 minutes to stir the granola, to keep it cooking evenly.
Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool 30-35 minutes. As it cools, it will begin to clump up, so don’t stir it during this time. Once cooled, break the granola into pieces and mix in whatever dried fruit or other add-ins you choose.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer indefinitely.
Peaches and Cream Parfaits
2 fresh peaches, or about 6oz. frozen, sliced (plus more for garnish)
2 cups Greek style soygurt (or yogurt, for non-vegans)
3-4 TBSP agave, maple syrup, or other sweetener (plus more for drizzling over top)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon (optional)
Granola, and fresh fruit or berries for layering
In a food processor, add the peaches and blend until smooth. Add the soygurt, 2-3 TBSP sweetener, the vanilla, and the cinnamon if using. Process until smooth, taste, and adjust the sweetness to your liking.
Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, until ready to use.
In glass cups, bowls, or parfait dishes, layer 1/4-1/2 cup granola, fresh fruit or berries, then peach cream. Repeat the layers to fill the dish, and garnish with slices of fresh peach and a drizzle of agave.
Let’s take a walk around the rest of the potluck table:
Courtney from The Fig Tree, who was gracious enough to host this wonderful potluck, brought this incredible Mango Avocado Salad with Pineapple Mint Dressing – how bright do those flavors sound? I’m a big fan of avocado in salads, and clearly I’m not alone. Are you sensing a theme to this potluck? Avocado is such a wonderful fruit, and this is just another great way to highlight it.
Last but not least, Natasha, over at VIMWAC (that’s, a Vegetarian in Manatoba Without A Clue) made these Chocolate and Banana Rolled Oat Bites. These ingredients were made for each other, and come together in the perfect one-bite dessert.