Fudgy Chickpea Tahini Brownies {Vegan}

Fudgy Tahini Brownies

I usually resist labeling a recipe as "best-ever", but I am tempted to say that these really are the best-ever fudgy brownies I have made to date — which is a tall order, considering how many tempting brownies recipes I have made over the years. And they take little time at all either — really a fuss-free fudge.

Sweetened only with dates and a small amount of maple syrup, the perhaps surprising ingredient is cooked chickpeas, but the blended chickpeas are what give these brownies a delightfully creamy texture that it just the right density — not too heavy and not too light, with just a little extra bite from dried cherries. And it doesn't hurt that the chickpeas give you an additional boost of protein too. Tahini is another ingredient that I have found works wonders in desserts not only to bind ingredients but also to add the distinctive earthy and nutty flavor of sesame. And the only flour used in these brownies is almond flour, making them gluten-free as well as vegan.

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Savory Chickpea Loaf with Barbecue Glaze

Savory Chickpea Loaf with Barbecue Glaze

Bean loaves are a great way to feed a large family, or a small family for a number of days. Loaded with beans and any assortment of grains, vegetables or seasonings you like, these loaves are a great template for a cook's creativity and can provide all the nourishment you need in a single dish. Additionally, slices of this loaf may be served up as burger patties. This delightful loaf also freezes well, and slices can be reheated in a lightly oiled skillet for a quick and easy meal solution.

This chickpea loaf is made with brown rice, mushrooms, and an assortment of healthy vegetables and warming spices, all topped with a glaze of barbecue sauce . Instead of using eggs to bind the ingredients, I've used aquafaba — the viscous water in which chickpeas have been cooked or the liquid found in a can of cooked chickpeas. This is the second time I've used aquafaba to bind ingredients in something to be baked or roasted — the first time was in a batch of lemon poppy seed muffins that came out perfectly.

Savory Chickpea Vegan Loaf with Barbecue Glaze

The use of aquafaba — from the Latin aqua (water) and faba (bean) — was only discovered by a vegan French musician in 2014, but it has turned out to be a marvelous discovery for vegans who are looking for a substitute for eggs for baking and binding. The starch and protein composition of aquafaba makes the liquid act so much like an egg in its abilities to foam, thicken, gelatinize, stabilize and bind that it can be even be whipped up to make meringues or marshmallows.

Many guides are available on the internet to help you make your own aquafaba — such as this one — but the easiest way to obtain it is to reserve the liquid found in a can of cooked chickpeas. If you don't want to use aquafaba, feel free to use two beaten eggs in this recipe or, if you want to keep it vegan, two flax eggs made by whisking 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 6 tablespoons water and letting the mixture sit for 15 minutes before using.

Savory Chickpea Loaf with Barbecue Glaze
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Quick and Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce

Quick and Easy Vegan BBQ Sauce

Time and energy permitting, I always prefer to make my sauces and dressings at home. Not only are they cheaper than store-bought versions, the taste is far superior and the cook gets to control the portions and seasonings. Usually homemade condiments last for a least a few weeks in a covered container in the fridge depending on what you are making up.

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Strawberry Chia Oat Bars

Strawberry Chia Oat Bars

I made these oat bars with a strawberry jam filling with easy breakfasts in mind, but they were so enjoyable that I found myself serving them for dessert as well. The cookie-like oat crust is made with sunflower seeds, pepitas and tahini for a good helping of protein and flavor that would make it a treat all by itself. But a strawberry chia seed jam filling and a light streusel-like topping of more of the oat, seed and pepita mixture makes these bars very much like a berry crisp.

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