Sweet Potato, Tahini & Swiss Chard Gratin

I had originally wanted to start this post with a disclaimer that no fingers were harmed in the making of this gratin, but unfortunately at this point that is patently false. When I announced that I wanted to make a “lasagna but not” Ben agreed to help me mandoline sweet potatoes, which in hindsight was his first mistake. Mandolines are not for the faint of heart or slightly attention deficient. You know the rest: Ben chunked off about 2/3 of his left thumb and for a few minutes we were PRETTY SURE he was going to have 9.5 fingers forever. Spoiler alert: his thumb is fine, the ER waiting room is a weird place, and gingers need more Novocaine than regular human beings. No, seriously.

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After our little trip to the ER we regrouped at home on Sunday. I made this gratin and Ben stayed far, far away from sharp objects. This gratin is inspired by the America’s Test Kitchen Vegetarian BookSince that recipe has cream, butter, and parmesan, I decided to make it vegan and delicious by using tahini and coconut milk (good, plant-based richness) and threw on some vegan cheez. The result was delicious and the whole thing was devoured by the cripple in a matter of hours.

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Sweet Potato, Tahini & Swiss Chard Gratin

  • 2 pounds swiss chard, stems removed and sliced into thin strips
  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large ones), sliced very thinly (about 1/8 inch thick)
  • 2 shallots, peeled and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 15 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup grated vegan cheese (I used Daiya mozzarella)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350*

1. In a large skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, then add the shallots and garlic. Sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in chard and cook until just wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Combine the coconut milk and tahini in a small pot over high heat. Whisk together, stirring constantly, until the mixture is at a rolling boil. Reduce heat and whisk in nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.

3. Layer the bottom of a 13×9 casserole dish with half the shingled sweet potatoes. Spread the swiss chard mixture evenly on top of the potatoes. Layer on the remaining sweet potatoes and top with the coconut/tahini mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with cheese, then bake for another 45 minutes, uncovered, until bubbling and most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve warm.

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La Sanghita // Podcast episode 001

Hey everybody,

I have some exciting news—the Veganizzm podcast is here! In the first episode, I interview Monica Leitner-Laserna, founder of La Sanghita Cafe in East Boston. Monica and a crew of awesome people are working to counter the effects of gentrification, strengthen the community, and promote health through education in East Boston. La Sanghita Cafe, East Boston Meditation Center, and Eastie Farm are three of the organizations that have come out of this movement in East Boston. La Sanghita is entirely plant-based and exists with the creed that food is medicine. The mission at La Sanghita is to make healthy food choices easier and more accessible to everyone.

La Sanghita Podcast

La Sanghita Cafe founder, Monica, hanging out at Eastie Farm

La Sanghita Podcast 2

Organic pear coconut cream pie (vegan and GF)

Click here to listen to the podcast!

La Sanghita Podcast 3

Organic cauliflower tacos (vegan and GF)

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Making homemade bread at La Sanghita

Source for all images: La Sanghita Instagram

Episode 1 – Monica Leitner-Laserna

A huge thank you to Monica for the interview! There is some pretty inspirational stuff going on over in East Boston. If you live in the Boston area, be sure to check out the delicious offerings at La Sanghita Cafe, 389 Maverick St. Boston, MA.

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Vegan Grapefruit Cupcakes with Bourbon Vanilla Frosting

Look, I am not here to tell you that to do – that was your mom’s job at some point and she probably stopped doing it a long time ago. By now you’re a grown ass adult who can make grown ass decisions. My only job is to lightly suggest that you make the life choice to put bourbon in all of your food because a healthy dose of bourbon is scientifically proven to improve everything 100%* of the time always.
*survey size is just me.grapefruit cupcakes

Speaking of moms, this post is a joint PSA to tell you the bourbon thing and remind you that Mother’s Day is coming up next month. I hear that moms like baked goods and wine-flavored ice cream (and by moms I mean me. Feel free to send those things to me.). I’ve teamed up with Uncommon Goods to curate a list of recommended Mother’s Day gifts for the momlady in your life!  grapefruit cupcakes

Izzy’s 100% probably foolproof gifts your mom will most likely like (maybe)!

  • Bourbon-Vanilla Frosting [click here] – U da real MVP. This vegan coconut oil-based frosting is actual crack. I HEAR IT GOES PRETTY WELL WITH GRAPEFRUIT CUPCAKES, just saying.
  • Spicy honey [click here] – many vegans don’t eat honey, but I happen to be one that does (I know I’m not a level 5 vegan) and snow my god this stuff is good. I add it to avocado toast with a sprinkle of sea salt. It’s hot hot hot and the best combination of sweet and spicy (for adventurous moms only).
  • Butter crock and spreader [click here] – this is very hip but also practical. My mom is only one of these things, but I did teach her the term “YOLO” last week, so maybe she is hip. If you have a vegan mom, she can use it for margarine!
  • Silicone stemless wine classes [click here] – moms love wine and that’s a fact. You know what they love more than wine? Wine they can drink while on the go.
  • Ceramic pour over coffee cone [click here] – My mom is addicted to two things: coffee and my love. I am planning to show her I love and appreciate her by fueling both of these addictions this year.
  • Classy salt and pepper grinders [click here]  – I’ll speak for my own mom and say that she loves classy salt and pepper shakers. I had a pair of lemon and lime shapes salt and pepper shakers she gave me about 6 years ago but Ben just broke them. Mom, if you’re out there, I know this is your holiday and all, but this is also a cry for help that I need new shakers. Ma!
bourbon vanilla frosting

I used the Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla frosting I mentioned above on these cupcakes and it worked really well. Frosting isn’t that hard to make from scratch, but sometimes you can’t beat the ease of scooping it out of the jar after you’ve done ALL THAT WORK to make the cake. I added a few squeezes of grapefruit juice to the frosting to make the grapefruit flavor even more intense.

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grapefruit cupcakes
Vegan Grapefruit Cupcakes with Bourbon Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 1/4 cups soy or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) room-temperature vegan margarine
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 jar (8 oz) of Bourbon Vanilla Frosting
  • 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350*

  1. Cream together the margarine and sugar in a large bowl with a fork or the back of a spoon. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soy milk, vanilla, and grapefruit juice. In a third bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Slowly pour half of the flour into the sugar/margarine bowl, whisking the whole time. Add half the milk mixture in and whisk. Add the remaining flour and milk until the batter is completely incorporated.
  3. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and fill then with the batter. Place them in the oven and bake, 22-24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set them aside to cool. Once completely cooled, spread the frosting over the cupcakes. Sprinkle with grapefruit zest and serve.
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Chocolate Tahini Banana Bars

A quick rundown of my life: Wisconsin lost in the Sweet Sixteen last night so I am rightfully heartbroken and utterly devastated, I’m going to my grandma’s to explain to her (for the sixth year in a row) why I won’t be eating ham for Easter, and so far I have spent two hours today looking for a bobby pin and still haven’t found one. THIS REALLY IS MARCH MADNESS. With my bracket in shambles I am just waiting for this miserable month to end so I can do whatever it is we do in April. Remind me to tell you all about my brilliant idea for a blog called Back Bae, in which I post about all of the attractive people of Back Bay in Boston.

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Anyway, here is a recipe for Chocolate Tahini Banana bars I made several weeks ago and have been dreaming of ever since. They’re passable as either breakfast or dessert (my two favorite meals), so go wild. I recommend them dipped in a glass of almond milk or just shoved in your face with both hands.

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Chocolate Tahini Banana Bars

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons shaved dark chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 350* and line a baking dish with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. In a separate bowl, combine the mashed banana, tahini, peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla and mix well.

3. Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until fully combined. Spread the batter into the baking dish (note: it will be very thick). Place in the preheated oven and bake 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a knife inserted comes out clean.

4. Place on a cooling rack. Once cool, sprinkle shaved chocolate on top and slice into bars. Store in an airtight container.

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