Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Toffee Matzo Bark for Passover

Being dairy-free, I love when Passover comes around because the desserts are among my favorites. I created this gluten-free vegan Matzo Bark as an alternative to all the cakes and macaroons that I make this time of year. If you want to make it Kosher for Passover, then make sure to get Shmurah matzo. You can top this with any type of nut or even cherries or cranberries. Let me know what you think.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Servings: 12-16

Ingredients

5-6 gluten-free SALTED MATZO-Style boards 
If making for Passover use Shmurah matzo
1 cup DARK BROWN SUGAR, packed
1 stick VEGAN BUTTER (Soy-free Earth Balance)
2 cups VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIPS (Enjoy Life)
1/2 teaspoon pure VANILLA
Pinch of SEA SALT
1/2 cup SALTED PEANUTS, smashed/finely chopped
1/2 cup ROASTED ALMONDS, chopped
Non-stick COOKING SPRAY
PARCHMENT paper

Directions

  • PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F
  • LINE rimmed baking dish with parchment and SPRAY with non-stick spray
  • COVER the bottom of the baking dish with a single layer of matzo. Break the pieces if you need to make them fit.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, COMBINE sugar and butter, STIR frequently until it bubbles and boils. Be careful not to burn the syrup. BOIL for 1-minute stirring constantly.
  • ADD a big pinch of salt and the vanilla to the syrup
  • POUR the syrup over the matzo and SPREAD evenly with a heat-proof spatula
  • BAKE 7-10 minutes until toffee syrup is bubbling. Make sure to check frequently so that it does not burn.
  • REMOVE from the oven and immediately SPRINKLE the chocolate chips over the toffee and let it MELT for 1-3 minute from the heat of the syrup
  • SPREAD the melted chocolate chips evenly with a heat-proof spatula
  • SPRINKLE the nuts over the chocolate and PRESS gently so that they stick well
  • REFRIGERATE the sheet for 30 minutes to 1 hour until hard
  • BREAK the matzo boards into pieces and store in an air-tight container until ready to serve
  • STORE in the refrigerator for up to 5 days

Vegan Savory Sweet Potato Mash

Here’s a savory vegan alternative to the usual sweet sweet potato side dish that you find at many holiday meals. This 30-minute mash is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free and generally allergy free but it is well spiced and creamy, with coconut milk, vegan butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sage. Give it a try next time you are planning on serving potatoes.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

2 large SWEET POTATOES
4 tablespoons Vegan BUTTER, melted
1/2 cup COCONUT MILK, warmed
1/2 teaspoon CINNAMON
1/2 teaspoon SAGE
1/4 teaspoon NUTMEG
1/4 cup BROWN SUGAR
SALT and PEPPER to taste
Sprinkle of PARSLEY

Directions

  • SCRUB, PEEL, and CUT potatoes into big even sized chunks. Chunks of similar size will cook at a more consistent rate.
  • PLACE potatoes in a medium pot and cover with COLD water enough to cover potatoes by about 1 or 2 inches
  • ADD a pinch of salt and bring to a BOIL
  • When the water is boiling, REDUCE heat to a SIMMER for 15 minutes until potatoes are fork tender (soft)
  • While the potatoes are cooking, in a medium saucepan on medium heat, MELT the butter
  • ADD sage and saute
  • WARM the coconut milk
  • DRAIN the potatoes in a calendar and then RETURN to the still warm potato pot
  • ADD the sage, butter, milk, spices and brown sugar mixture to the potato pot
  • MASH gently. I like to leave my potatoes chunky. Don’t over mash or the potatoes can become pasty.
  • ADD salt and pepper to taste

Dairy-Free Pan Roasted Swordfish with Garlic Spinach & Rosemary Red Potatoes

If you like flavor, this 30-minute easy to prepare gluten and dairy free restaurant-style dinner is my new go-to favorite. If you want to impress someone but don’t have much time, this is the perfect seafood dinner to do it with. The secret for the swordfish is my dairy-free seasoned compound butter which was inspired by Chef Dennis. Paired with garlic spinach and rosemary potatoes, you can’t get much more flavorful in 30 minutes. Let me know what you think.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients

SWORDFISH
1 tablespoon EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
2 6-ounce SWORDFISH fillets
Pinch SEA SALT
2 tablespoons VEGAN BUTTER, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons dried PARSLEY
1 clove GARLIC, minced
1/2 teaspoon GINGER, ground
1/8 teaspoon crushed RED PEPPER
1/4 teaspoon LEMON JUICE
POTATOES
4 cups RED POTATOES, cubed
1 tablespoon VEGAN BUTTER, melted
1 clove GARLIC, minced
1 teaspoon dried ROSEMARY
SALT & PEPPER to taste
SPINACH
1 10-ounce bag of SPINACH (4 cups fresh)
1 tablespoon EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1/2 teaspoon GARLIC SALT
Sprinkle of VEGAN PARMESAN CHEESE

Directions

  • PREPARE SWORDFISH
    • PREHEAT over to 400 degrees F
    • SEASON the swordfish with sea salt to taste
    • HEAT the oil in an ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat
    • PLACE the swordfish in the frying pan and COOK for 3 minutes, until browned
    • FLIP the swordfish over and MOVE the frying pan to the oven
    • BAKE for 10 minutes until swordfish is done.
    • In a small bowl, prepare the compound butter by mashing the room temperature butter with the parsley, garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, and the lemon juice until well blended. Set aside.
    • While fish is in the oven prepare the spinach and the potatoes
    • When fish is cooked, CAREFULLY REMOVE the frying pan from the oven (use oven mitt because the handle will be very hot) and RETURN to the stove on medium-high heat
    • ADD the compound butter to the frying pan and MELT until bubbling, SPOONING butter on top of fish to flavor both sides
    • SERVE swordfish on a plate and SPOON more butter on top
  • PREPARE SPINACH
    • HEAT oil in a frying pan or wok
    • ADD spinach and COVER tightly for 5 minutes to steam spinach
    • SPRINKLE garlic salt on spinach, COVER and continue to COOK for 5 more minutes, or until spinach has wilted to the desired level
    • SERVE with a SPRINKLE of vegan parmesan cheese, if desired
  • PREPARE POTATOES
    • In a medium (8-inch) microwave-safe baking dish, MELT the butter (1 minute at 50% power usually works for me, but microwaves vary)
    • MIX to combine the garlic and rosemary into the melted butter
    • ADD the potatoes and TOSS well with butter mixture
    • COVER and MICROWAVE for 8 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender (it really depends on how small you cut them)
  • SERVE swordfish, spinach, and potatoes together and enjoy

Ratatouille & Quinoa – Gluten-Free & Vegan

It has been snowing for the last 24 hours and it’s really accumulating out there (already about 8 inches). I needed something hearty and warm for when the shovelers came inside. My answer was a large pot of colorful, aromatic French vegetable stew over hearty quinoa. I make my Ratatouille in one pot on the stove and it is naturally gluten-free and vegan. For bread eaters, this might pair really well with some crusty French bread.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

1 EGGPLANT, peeled and cut into bitesize cubes
1 tablespoon EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1 large ONION, diced
4 cloves GARLIC, minced
1/4 cup dry RED WINE
28 ounce can diced TOMATOES, with juice
1/2 cup WATER
1 BAY LEAF
1 teaspoon dried BASIL
1/2 teaspoon dried THYME
1/2 teaspoon dried OREGANO
1/2 teaspoon crushed RED PEPPER FLAKES
1/4 teaspoon ROSEMARY, ground
1 teaspoon SEA SALT, divided
1/2 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER, ground
2 medium ZUCCHINI, peeled and cut bitesize
1 YELLOW SQUASH, peeled and cut bitesize
1 RED BELL PEPPER, cut bitesize
1 YELLOW BELL PEPPER, cut bitesize
2 cups QUINOA, rinsed (plus 4 cups water to cook)
Pinch of PARSLEY

Directions

  • PREPARE EGGPLANT
    • PEEL eggplant
    • CUT off both ends and CUT the eggplant into bitesize cubes
    • PLACE the eggplant cubes into a colander and TOSS with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to express excess water. SET ASIDE for about 20 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.
    • RINSE before using
  • PREPARE QUINOA
    • RINSE 2 cups of quinoa in a mesh strainer under cold water
    • ADD rinsed quinoa to 4 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
    • REDUCE heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until there is no more water
    • Fluff before serving
  • HEAT olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat
  • SAUTE onion and garlic until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes
  • ADD red wine, can of tomatoes with all its juice, and the bay leaf. STIR until well blended.
  • ADD the basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and eggplant. MIX well and COVER tightly for 10 minutes over medium-low heat until eggplant is tender.
  • ADD zucchini, squash, bell peppers and STIR well. COVER again and simmer for another 8-10 minutes. Having a tight cover on your saucepan allows the liquid to recirculate back into the stew instead of getting lost through evaporation.
  • REDUCE HEAT and cook until vegetables are fork-tender. SEASON with additional salt to taste and STIR occasionally
    • The flavor will improve over time so you can REMOVE it from heat and let it sit for up to 3 hours on the counter
  • SERVE over quinoa with a pinch of parsley
  • STORE in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months

Roasted Maple Acorn Squash Delight

If winter had a taste, this quick, easy, and delicious side dish would be it. Who can resist maple syrup, brown sugar, and spices? Don’t be afraid of the acorn squash’s rugged exterior. With a sharp knife and a cutting board, you will master this veggie in no time. Leave the skin on, it’s soft and edible when roasted.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

2 ACORN SQUASH, cut in 1-inch slices
2 tablespoons VEGAN BUTTER, melted
1 tablespoon OLIVE OIL
1/4 cup pure MAPLE SYRUP
1/4 teaspoon CINNAMON, ground
1/8 teaspoon CLOVES, ground
1/2 teaspoon KOSHER SALT
1 tablespoons BROWN SUGAR, more to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • PREHEAT oven to 400 degrees F
  • WASH squash and pat dry
  • With a sharp knife, SLICE 1/4 inch off the stem and base ends of the squash
  • SET the squash down on the flat sliced stem end and CUT the squash in half from top to bottom
  • Using a large spoon, REMOVE the seeds and pulp from each half and discard/compost.
  • Lay each piece on its flat side and CUT 1-inch slices
  • In a medium-size microwave-safe bowl, COMBINE the butter, maple syrup, oil, cinnamon, salt and cloves and heat for 30-45 seconds, until the butter melts. STIR well.
  • On a rimmed baking sheet, ARRANGE the slices in a single layer.
  • BRUSH the maple mixture over all the slices
  • TURN the slices with a fork and BRUSH the other side
  • SPRINKLE brown sugar on each slice
  • BAKE for 15 minutes and then flip each slice and bake another 15 minutes. You know they are done when they are well carmelized and tender.
  • SERVE warm
  • STORE in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days

Vegetables, Kale, & Quinoa Bake

I am always looking for ways to add kale to things. In general, I find kale a hard vegetable to eat, so I need to “dice it and spice it” to make it work for me. This casserole works with or without vegan cheese and I add different vegetables depending on what I have available. I’ve made this in less than 30-minutes with a 20-ounce package of frozen veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots) and a 10-ounce package of chopped kale. I eat this as my dinner entree but it would work great as a healthy side dish for meat eaters too.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes (20 minutes if using frozen veggies)

Servings: 8

Ingredients

4 SWEET POTATOES, peeled and chopped small*
4 CARROTS, peeled and chopped small*
1 head BROCCOLI, chopped small*
2 teapoons of EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, divided
SALT and PEPPER to taste
1 cup QUINOA
2-1/4 cups WATER or VEGETABLE STOCK
4 cloves GARLIC, minced
1 ONION, chopped small
10 ounces KALE, ribbed and chopped
1 teaspoon CUMIN
2 teaspoons CHILI POWDER
1 cup VEGAN CHEDDAR CHEESE (optional)

*Or replace the vegetables to be roasted
with a 20-ounce bag of mixed frozen vegetables
(like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots).

Directions

  • ROAST FRESH vegetables
    • PREHEAT oven to 400 degrees F
    • LINE a baking sheet with aluminum foil
    • CHOP sweet potatoes, carrots, and broccoli into bitesize pieces
    • PLACE chopped veggies on the baking sheet and COAT with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. MIX well. (I use my hands to MIX the oil with the veggies to make sure they are well coated.)
    • COOK for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and golden
    • REMOVE vegetables from the oven but KEEP THE OVEN ON
  • If using FROZEN vegetables, ignore the roasting instructions above and cook them according to the package then set aside until later.
  • PREPARE quinoa
    • Follow the package directions.
      • If you don’t have directions, here is how I cook quinoa: I rinse it well in a mesh strainer then COMBINE 2 cups of vegetable stock or water in a medium saucepan with 1 cup of quinoa.
    • ADD another 1/4 cup of liquid to keep the quinoa moist for when you bake it.
    • Bring to a BOIL then reduce heat for 15 – 20 minutes. You want some liquid left for moisture.
    • When quinoa is done, turn off heat and set aside.
  • PREPARE KALE MIX
    • CHOP onions, MINCE garlic, and CHOP kale
    • HEAT a large skillet on medium heat
    • ADD 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • ADD onions and SAUTE for 3 minutes
    • ADD garlic and SAUTE for another 2 minutes
    • ADD kale in batches, as much as your pan will hold
    • ADD a tablespoon of water for STEAM
    • COOK down kale and keep adding more kale and water until the kale has wilted to about 1/2 its original size. SAUTE as you go.
  • In a large bowl, COMBINE kale mixture, cooked mushy quinoa, and roasted (or cooked frozen) vegetables. Add cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. STIR well.
  • SPRAY a large baking dish with cooking spray
    • NOTE on baking dishes: I use an 11 X 7 X 1-1/2 inch baking dish which holds 10 cups. Different size baking dishes require different amounts of time to cook. For example, if you use a 9 X 9 X 2, which is the same 10 cups as my 11 X7 X 1-1/2″, you should decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and increase the time to complete cooking to 40 or 45 minutes, This is because the set up in the 9 X 9 X 2″ is thicker so it will take longer. (This hint came from the simpleveganblog.com)
  • ADD the total mixture into the baking dish and spread evenly across
  • If you opt to use vegan cheese as a topping, sprinkle the vegan cheese across the whole mixture evenly
  • BAKE for 10 minutes minimum (until cheese has melted).

Green Bean Casserole – Vegan

This is my daughter’s all-time favorite and it disappears quickly. Nutritional yeast makes all the difference and you can get that at most health food stores (I get mine at the Amish Market). Don’t overfill the dish with too much sauce or it will be soupy. I undersize the casserole dish so that it sets up nicely.

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) vegan BUTTER
1/4 cup gluten-free FLOUR
1 1/2 cup vegetable BROTH
1 tablespoon gluten-free TAMARI (Soy Sauce)
1/2 teaspoon GARLIC POWDER
2 tablespoons Vegetable OIL
1/4 cup NUTRITIONAL YEAST
SALT and PEPPER, to taste
2 14.5-ounce cans French-style or Cut GREEN BEANS, drained
1 2.8-ounce can of gluten-free FRENCH FRIED ONIONS (hard to find but they do exist)

Directions

  • PREHEAT the oven to 350 degrees F
  • In a medium saucepan, MELT the butter over low heat
  • ADD the flour and WHISK continuously until gluey
  • ADD the broth, tamari, and garlic powder, whisking continuously for 1 or 2 minutes, until thick and bubbly
  • ADD the vegetable oil and nutritional yeast. Whisk until smooth
  • In a small casserole dish mix the GREEN BEANS and the SAUCE so that the beans are coated. Don’t use too much sauce or it won’t set nicely
  • BAKE for 10 minutes
  • Remove from oven and SPRINKLE the French-fried onions on top
  • BAKE another 10 minutes, until brown and bubbly

Oven Roasted Root Vegetables

Every year I try some different veggies (this year it was purple turnips and yellow beets) depending on what looks good in the market. The natural sweetness of beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes makes this an annual Thanksgiving favorite. This dish is a great alternative to the ever-present sugar and fat-laden sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows.

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Servings: About 12

Ingredients

2 cups CARROTS, peeled & sliced
1 pound BEETS, cut into 1" pieces
2 medium SWEET POTATOES, cut into 1" pieces
3 medium PARSNIPS, peeled & sliced
1 medium TURNIP, cut into 1" pieces
3 medium RED POTATOES, cut into 1" pieces
2 medium RED ONIONS, cut into wedges
5 cloves GARLIC, whole
1 tablespoon OLIVE OIL
1 tablespoon fresh ROSEMARY LEAVES, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh THYME LEAVES
1 cup VEGETABLE BROTH

Directions

  • HEAT the over to 425 degrees F
  • LINE a shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil. The size of the pan should match how many veggies you are using. I suggest a 17X11-inch
  • PLACE the veggies in the pan and mix with the herbs and the oil
  • ROAST the veggies for 30 minutes
  • POUR broth over the veggies and stir
  • ROAST another 20 minutes or until everything is tender