One-Pot Caribbean Red Beans and Rice

This easy one-pot vegan Caribbean-inspired recipe is great as a side or as the main.  I love how creaminess of the coconut milk blends so well with the spice of the Creole seasoning. Its great recipe to change and spice things up in the kitchen! It is full of protein and definitely keeps you full.IMG_8343

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In all honestly I was down to the bare bones in my pantry. I hadn’t been grocery shopping in a while and I was too lazy to go. I dug in the back of the cabinet and found 2 cans of coconut milk. I used one for this recipe and the other for a Thai curry (recipe to come!).

This is such an easy recipe it can be made in one pot. You cook your rice, with your coconut milk, seasonings and toss in the beans and cook til tender.

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I have also made this recipe by cooking my beans in a Crockpot (16 oz of beans and 6 cups of water) and cooking the rice in a rice cooker (using the can of coconut milk then filling the rest of the required liquid with water). This ‘fix it and forget it’ version is easy because all you have to do is combine all of the cooked ingredients at the end.

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This dish is inspired by Caribbean/Jamacian and Creole styles. I know they are very different but I think in this recipe it works pretty well.

The prep and cook time for this recipe is so fast and east. If you use canned beans you can have this recipe done in 30 minutes or less. But If you prefer cooking with dried beans it will take longer.

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Ingredients:

This makes a fairly large batch for the week but you can definitely adjust this to your liking.

1.5 cups of rice

3 cans of red kidney beans

1 15 oz can coconut milk

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

1.5 cups of water

Seitan sausages (optional, but encouraged!)

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Add the water, the coconut milk and spices to a pot. Bring to a boil.

2. Once at a boil add the rice. Cover and turn down to low. Cook the rice until tender about 20 minutes.

3. Once rice is tender add the beans (This is where you add sliced seitan sausages if you’d like). Cook until everything is warmed through.

4. Serve as a side or as a main entree!

Let me know what you think and if you try this out!

Easy Fool-Proof baked French Fries

This is the easiest quickest french fry/potato wedge recipe ever and of course it’s vegan!

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I love having french fries as a snack or as a side to a large salad or burger. It’s easy to make in large batches to share with friends and you can have any seasoning and dipping sauces that you’d like.

The secret to these french fries is having a silicone mat. I tried making them on a bare baking sheet and I tried with aluminum foil and I burned them on several attempts. With the silicone baking mats they come out perfectly golden brown and crispy each time.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

Potatoes! Any kind and any amount

Seasoning of your choice to taste (garlic powder and salt is a great place to start)

Silicone mat*

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cut your potato into wedges. I usually cut my potato in half lengthwise and the halves into quarters lengthwise.

3. Place fries into a bowl (or Tupperware with lid!) season to taste. I like to place them in a Tupperware with a lid and shake for full seasoning coverage.

4. Place fries on silicone baking sheet keep separated so they crisp up. If they are too close they will steam.

5. Bake for 30 minutes flipping halfway.

6. Enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce(s). My favorites are barbecue, sriracha and mustard.

*parchment paper may work just as well but I haven’t tried it and the silicone mats are reusable!

Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think!!

Black Bean, Brown Rice and Sweet Potato Burgers

I was really craving burgers and fries this week. I’ve made burgers using TVP and vital wheat gluten before (recipe to come). But I was out of TVP (don’t let this happen to you) and thought I should try something new.

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Time to get creative! I cooked up a large pot of black beans (slow cooked in bulk), I had one lowly sweet potato left from my last spiralizing adventure and I had some brown rice that in all honesty I wouldn’t have eaten on its own.

I used my handy rice cooker with steamer attachment to cook a cup of brown rice and steam my pealed sweet potato. While that was going I gathered my seasonings, oatmeal, mustard, and barbecue sauce. I then cut up some russet potatoes to make fries.

Once my rice and potatoes were done I added a cup of black beans, my sweet potato and brown rice to my food processor. I processed it until it was a thick still kinda chunky consistency.

Placed this mixture into a bowl with my seasonings, sauces and oatmeal. I mixed this together well and formed patties. I placed these patties on a silicone mat lined tray (fantastic investment) sprayed them with a little oil and baked them for about 30 minutes.

Out came these thick beautiful burgers. They came out amazing. I was incredibly proud. These burgers were such a great combination of sweet and savory. They had a great texture and were very satisfying. I ate a couple of them before going on vacation. My sister graciously house sat but she ate the rest of the burgers…that’s okay I’ll just make more!

Prep Time: 15 minutes (not including cooking rice and sweet potato)

Cook time: 30 minutes (not including cooking rice and sweet potato)

Total time: 45 minutes

I think this is a great recipe for leftover or prepped ahead rice, beans and potatoes.

Ingredients:

1 medium-large peeled and cooked sweet potato

1 cup black beans or use a 15 oz can

2 cups cooked brown rice

1 cup oats

1 tablespoons barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon of mustard

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Add beans, sweet potato and brown rice to food processor and process until rice is broken down a bit and the beans and sweet potato are smooth and combined.

3. Add mixture to bowl. Add onion, garlic, mustard and barbecue sauce. Mix well.

4. Add oats 1/4 cup at a time until dough is sticky. You may need more than 1 cup depending on your sweet potato size.

5. Form dough into medium sized patties (you should have about 6) and place on lined or greased pan. Spray lightly with oil (optional)

6. Bake for 30 minutes flipping halfway.

7. Serve on a bun with fries and your favorite veggies!

Let me know what you think and if you try this out!

Homemade Almond Butter

I decided to make homemade almond butter as a gift this past Christmas. I had never made it before but I wanted a relatively inexpensive gift for someone that did not want a lot of things cluttering her home. I ventured to YouTube and the technique seemed easy enough and I own an (okay) food processor.

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For my first go-around I roasted a couple cups of almonds, tossed them in the food processor with a bit of coconut oil to help it along and processed it forever (20+ minutes) until it became a smooth butter.

Separated it into two bowls. In one bowl I added cocoa, vanilla, a tiny bit of maple syrup, and a little coffee. In the other bowl vanilla, maple syrup and cinnamon. I scooped them into clean mason jars. Sealed and put a bow on it. Beautiful.

The second time I decided to try using almond flour. Almond flour is just powdered (usually raw) almonds. I figured one, it would be easier because I’d already be halfway to a butter and two, it would be a little less expensive. It wasn’t by much but the bag of almond flour cost less than a bag of raw almonds. I did not do a cost analysis based on ounces of almonds but both batches filled my 2 small mason jars.

This second batch turned out great! I did not have to process it as long before it became smooth and creamy.

When I purchased the almond flour I also picked up a mixed nut flour (walnuts, almonds, coconuts). Once I’m finished with my almond butter I’ll try it out and let you know how it goes!

Ingredients

2-4 cups raw nuts (or one, 1 pound bag of nut flour)

1-2 tablespoons neutral oil (coconut)

Sweetener (maple syrup, agave, organic sugar to taste)

Coffee to taste (about a teaspoon)

Vanilla to taste (about a teaspoon)

1-2 tablespoons Cocoa

1-2 teaspoons Cinnamon

The amount of nuts will depend on the size/power of your food processor. I also recommend using the add-ins to taste careful to add a little, mix well, add a little more. This is key because oil and water don’t mix! So be light on the water based add-ins (coffee, maple syrup, vanilla). Your butter will seize up if you add too much!

1. This step is optional. Preheat oven to 350. Spread almonds out in single layer on a baking sheet. Bake almonds for 10 minutes. Let cool.

2. In a food processor or high powered blender, process the almonds. Stop and scrape down the sides processor as needed or to give them a stir. Add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil to help it along if needed. Continue to blend for 10-15 minutes until butter is smooth or to the consistency that you like.

3. Separate into bowls. Mix in add-ins to taste. Remember light on the water based add-ins!

Mocha

Cocoa, coffee, maple syrup

Maple cinnamon

Maple syrup and cinnamon

4. Store leftover almond butter in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

I hope this recipe helps inspire you to make a little creative homemade almond butter!

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cinnamon Maple Frosting

I’d like to begin this by saying I am not a baker. Boxed desserts are my friends. But I needed a simple, easy and inexpensive cake to make for a large group of omnivores. It was for Thanksgiving and my family was eating with my boyfriend’s entire family. They are a picky bunch but I was in cahoots with a sister-in-law and my mom. Together we made most of the sides secretly vegan. I now needed to make a vegan dessert. Something show stopping and something that could pass off as made from scratch.

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I’ve made the two ingredient muffins before using a can of pumpkin and a box of accidentally vegan spice cake (Duncan Hines). I had the brilliant idea to make it into a full blown layer cake. Why not double the recipe, add a splash of non-dairy milk and a couple tablespoons of vegan butter??

It was a risky endeavor baking an experimental cake at 10 pm Thanksgiving eve but it worked out perfectly. This method made 3 layers of moist and delicious cake. Full disclosure: I was pulling the final layer out of the oven and I dropped it. Yeah it was devastating and I cried nbd. 2 layers works too.

Oh my God amazing. The cake was flavorful, moist and not too sweet. Topped it off with some accidentally vegan buttercream frosting mixed with maple syrup and cinnamon.

People DEMANDED for the recipe. The entire cake was devoured in no time. Definitely an easy, inexpensive and impressive cake.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 45 minutes + 1 hr for cooling

Assemble time: 10 minutes

Total time: 2 hours and 5 minutes

Ingredients

This makes 3, 8 inch layers so feel free to cut in half

2 boxes Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix

1 29 oz can of Pumpkin purée

1 cup non-dairy Milk (I used almond)

1/4 cup vegan butter

3 containers of Duncan Hines vanilla frosting

1/2 Cup Maple Syrup

1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon (to taste)

Oil/more vegan butter and flour for cake pans.

I made this in 2 batches but feel free to toss everything together

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Prep cake pans by greasing and flouring them. (Coat with oil then dust with flour)

3.Empty the contents of one box of cake mix into a bowl.

4. Add half of the can about 15 oz of pumpkin purée, 2 tablespoons vegan butter, and half a cup of milk.

5. Mix well. I used a silicone spatula but a hand blender or stand mixer would work better. It should be a little thick and fluffy.

6. This should be enough for 1 and a half 8 inch cake pans. Filled 3/4 up.

7. Repeat steps 3-5 with the remainder of the ingredients. Use this batch to fill the remainder of the partially filled pan and the last pan.

8. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

9. While cakes are baking, empty frosting into bowl. Mix well with maple syrup and cinnamon. Set aside.

10. After cakes are done set in freezer until completely cool ( about an hour)

11. Remove cakes from freezer and from cake tins (you may need to run a butter knife around the rim)

12. Time to frost! Place a small amount of frosting on the bottom of your cake plate. Place first layer. Add half an inch of frosting to first layer and add second. Repeat and add third layer. Frost the remainder of the cake.

Top with cinnamon and or toasted nuts.

Please let me know if you try this recipe out and what you think!

Easy Seitan

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My boyfriend loves saying “heil seitan” every time I make it. It’s one of those things that just always cracks me up. Seitan is a vegan meat alternative that is customizable and has a great spongy, chewy texture reminiscent of meat.

Via Amazon

Learning how to make my own seitan was probably one of the most economical decisions I have made as a vegan. Purchasing pre-made and pre-sliced seitan deli ‘meat’ from the grocery store costs anywhere between $4 and $10 for a few slices. I purchase a bag of vital wheat gluten for $10 to $15 and can make 8 loaves of seitan lasting me 4-6 months.

Vital wheat gluten is essentially gluten, the protein part of wheat, in flour form. Regular wheat flour is washed until the starch granules are removed. Wheat gluten is missing lysine an essential amino acid so generally seitan is supplemented with lysine source (tofu, beans, chickpea flour) to make it a complete protein. A complete protein has an adequate portion of the nine essential amino acids (protein building blocks) that our body cannot make on its own.

Yeah science and stuff. Seitan is really simple to make. You mix your spices and flavors with a lysine source and the vital wheat gluten. You then steam it.

I most often keep it pretty simple to keep it customizable to how I want to use it later but other times I just throw in whatever I have on hand. BBQ or chipotle sauce, sriracha, maple syrup etc. It’s easy to make and I normally make enough to last a month (freezing half).

I use it in stir fries, soups, as bacon or sausage or whatever I want. Most of the time I use it to make sandwiches and wraps to meal prep for lunch.

With that said, heil seitan!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Total Time 1.25 hours

Ingredients

12oz firm or extra firm tofu (I normally cut about a vertical inch off of my 14 oz package

2 cups vegetable broth (Or bullion cubes and water)

1/4 cup oil

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tbsp paprika

2 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

2 tbsp poultry seasoning

1/4 tsp hickory liquid smoke

3 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten

 

1. Place all dry and liquid ingredients except the gluten flour in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl.

2. Add gluten flour and work into a dough. Knead for a few minutes to let gluten develop.

3. Split dough in 2 (or 3!). Shape dough into a log shape and wrap in aluminum foil like a tootsie roll. I normally wrap it at least twice.

4. Get water boiling in a pot with a steamer. Place baby seitan logs in. Steam for 1 hour. Check and add water as needed!!!

7. Let it cool and cut as needed. This seitan can be shaved pretty thin for sandwiches. A thick cut makes a great bacon. Cubes are great in soups, stews or curries.

Store in the fridge or freezer.

This recipe makes a lot, so you can cut the recipe in half, or place 1-2 logs in freezer for later. Defrost in fridge overnight before use.

This recipe was adapted from the Vegan Dad Blog Recipe.

Please let me know if you try this out and what you think!

Easy Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

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I did not grow up eating tomatoes because I disliked them. That might be an understatement. I really hated tomatoes. When my mom fixed spaghetti when we were kids I avoided the sauce at all costs and took my spaghetti noodles with oil and garlic instead (yum).

imageVia Food Lion

I have been trying to expand my food horizons. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the beauty of bolonese sauce. I fill my sauce with all of my favorite vegetables and it is so enjoyable.

In my mind I feel that bolognese is a wonderfully customizable sauce where you can add whatever veggies you like. For me I used carrots, kale, turnips, celery, mushrooms and TVP.

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What is TVP you ask? TVP or Textured vegetable protein is dehydrated and defatted soy. You can purchase it in all different shapes and sizes. Mine happens to be in a crumble. All you do is add equal parts TVP to water (or veggie broth) and it plumps right up and is ready to go. It has the look and texture of ground meat but obviously vegan. I normally purchase mine in bulk from Amazon. Prep your TVP in veggie broth while you prepare everything else.

I rough chopped a couple of carrots, half a turnip, a cup of mushrooms and a heaping handful of kale and threw it into my food processor to turn it into a mince. You can definitely do this by hand but if you have a food processor it’s easier. While you do this prepare a box of spaghetti according to package directions.

I then preheated a pot with a couple tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is warm toss in and sauté your veggies. While sautéing add garlic powder, onion powder and Italian seasoning. Add in your softened TVP and cook everything until vegetables are tender. Add in a large can of tomato sauce, some wine and simmer for about 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta.

This is a great recipe for a large group of people or a good way to get your vegetables in while eating a bowl of pasta.

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 Minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

1 29 oz can of tomato sauce

3 medium carrots

1.5 cups chopped mushrooms

1/2 of a turnip

2 ribs of celery

3 cups of kale

1 cup of dried TVP

1.5 cups of vegetable broth

1 tbs Garlic powder

1tbs onion powder

2 Tbs Italian seasoning

3 tbs of oil (vegetable, olive or coconut work well)

1/2 cup dry red wine (kinda optional, I’ve done without)

1 box of spaghetti or pasta of your choice.

1. Pour your TVP into a bowl cover with 1 -1.5 cups of vegetable broth.

2. Rough chop your vegetables, use a food processor to mince. (Or chop into small uniform pieces by hand)

3. Warm your oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add your minced vegetables and sauté until tender. Add garlic, onion and Italian seasoning.

4. Add the TVP and cook for 5 more minutes stirring occasionally.

5. Add in the tomato sauce and wine if you’re using. Stir and simmer on low for about 30 minutes.

6. Use this time to boil your pasta according to package directions. Don’t forget to salt your water! Drain, rinse and set aside.

7. Once your Bolognese is finished serve warm over pasta.

**Try throwing everything (minus the pasta) into a crock pot and cooking on high for 4 hours

Please let me know if you try this recipe out and what you think!

Vegan Sushi

I love sushi. I can’t remember when I first got into it but it’s been an important part of my life since. My boyfriend and I use to get sushi from our favorite restaurant in Raleigh twice a week. It was a part of my budget. We even visited Tokyo where we enjoyed sight seeing, visiting Mt Fuji and eating sushi. Sushi was the last non-vegan meal I ate.

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Fast forward a few weeks into my vegan journey. I had a hankering for sushi. I was determined to make a vegan version. I’ve never made sushi before and rolling sushi seemed super intimidating. I took to Amazon and purchased a “Sushi Bazooka” for $6. I’m not one to purchase gimmicky things like this but it was 6 bucks so why not. YouTube made it seem super easy to use and Amazon reviews were good and people were showering each other with homemade sushi.

Excited for my adventure, I then took to Food Lion where I purchased my ingredients. I had in mind to make 4 different rolls (quite the undertaking)
A teriyaki mushroom roll, a sweet potato roll, a beet roll and a spicy tofu roll. I also purchased avocado, spinach, pickled ginger, wasabi, sushi rice, nori (seaweed sheets), rice vinegar and extra soy sauce because you cannot run out of soy sauce.

** I did not use cucumber because I am allergic but would be a great low prep add in!**

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I’m not going to lie. 1. These ingredients were not cheap. 2. This was stressful and time consuming. 3. And I made a big mess. It was meant to be a surprise special dinner to christen our new home. I left work around 4 and we still did not eat until quarter to 8.

But my gosh was it worth it. I ate to my hearts content and was the happiest little vegan ever.

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Here’s how I did it.

Spicy tofu roll:
I mixed mashed half a block of extra firm tofu with a fork. I then mixed in 2 tablespoons of Just Mayo sriracha, garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper to taste.

Sweet potato roll:
Peal and julienne (cut into match sticks!) one medium sweet potato. Roast in oven with soy sauce for 15 minutes at 375 or until soft.

Teriyaki Mushroom Roll
Wash and rough chop half a cup of mushrooms. Sauté with a vegan teriyaki sauce or soy sauce.

Beet Roll:
I used half of a can of beets to cut down on mess. Like it would’ve made that much of a difference. Rinse beets cut into match sticks.

I cut the avocado and spinach into strips as well.

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I then refrigerated all of these ingredients while I made the rice.

I rinsed the sushi rice (2 cups) under cold water for a bit then cooked it according to package directions (2 cup water  1 cup rice generally). After it was done I added a little sugar (2 tablespoons ) and rice vinegar (2 tablespoons) mixed well and let it cool to the touch.

I then using my “Sushi Bazooka” made a channel of rice laid my different ingredients in mixing and matched as I saw fit. Used the plunger and out came a sushi roll. I let it cool in the fridge before rolling it in nori using a bit of water to seal the ends. I cut individual rolls in half then in half again and so on until I got 8-10 pieces making sure to wipe the knife in between cuts to keep it clean and ready.

Sushi Bazooka

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I served with pickled ginger, wasabi and a bottle of champagne.

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Prep: Varies on number of rolls/types of vegetables

Cook Time: N/A

Total Time: Varies on stamina in the kitchen

This is not really a recipe but more of inspiration of all that you can do to make a delicious vegan sushi spread.

Please let me know if you try this recipe out and what you think!

Maple Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls (Vegan!)

I grew up in a household where we loved sweets but hardly ever made anything from scratch. We found short cuts for everything. It wasn’t because my parents were lazy or because they didn’t know how. They found cooking with their kids to be more enjoyable if prep and clean up were much easier.

As an adult I definitely love trying to make things from scratch but it’s fun to find short cuts and hacks in the kitchen. That’s how I made these Maple Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls without covering my kitchen with flour and waiting for things to rise. I spent less time prepping and more time eating!

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For these quick and delicious treats you will need Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls (or store brand alternative). These childhood favorites are accidentally vegan! On top of that they are usually pretty inexpensive. I purchased mine from Food Lion where they are generally between $1 and $1.50 each. Alternatively you can use Pillsbury Original Dough sheets, they are normally the same price as the crescent rolls but can be a little harder to find.

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You will also need flour for dusting, brown sugar, cinnamon, powdered sugar, a small can of pumpkin puree, maple syrup (or maple syrup flavoring), vanilla, vegan butter or coconut oil and a bit of non-dairy milk. It sounds like a lot but just imagine making these from scratch.

It’s pretty simple. Flour your surface roll out your crescent roll dough in one large sheet and press perforated seams together. Melt a little vegan butter or coconut oil and pour over dough and spread it. Leave about an inch of un-greased dough on one short end of the rectangle for rolling. In a separate bowl mix together your pumpkin purée, brown sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon. Spread this mixture over the buttered/oiled parts of the dough.

Starting from the short un-greased end roll the dough up into a long log. Cut the dough in half then cut those halves in half until you get eight cinnamon rolls. Place them in a greased pan and bake at 350 until golden brown about 20 minutes.

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Remove them from the oven and while they are cooling down a bit. Mix your powdered sugar, vanilla and non-dairy milk to form your icing. I’m always amazed at how little liquid it takes to form the icing.

Ice your cinnamon rolls and top them with additional cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Or like I did I top them with chopped slivered almonds. Enjoy!

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Maple Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

1 can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

Flour for dusting

1/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark is fine)

1 tablespoon maple syrup (or 1 teaspoon maple syrup flavoring)

2 tablespoons vegan butter or coconut oil (softened)

1 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit  and grease a small pan. I used a cake pan.
  2. Unroll crescent roll dough into one large rectangle. Do not pull apart! Press perforations seal together.
  3. Spread the softened vegan butter or coconut oil on the dough leaving an inch or so on the short end of the rectangle un-greased.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cinnamon and maple syrup.
  5. Spread pumpkin  mixture over greased section of dough. Only spread enough to cover the dough. You may have extra, don’t use too much!
  6. Starting from the short un-greased end roll the dough into a log.
  7. Cut the log in half and cut those halves in half and so on until you have 8 cinnamon rolls.
  8. Place in baking pan. You can now add any left over pumpkin puree mixture to any dry pockets of dough.
  9. Bake for 20-22 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown.
  10. Let cool in the pan while you make the icing. Mix together powdered sugar, vanilla and non-dairy milk until icing is the consistency that you’d like. You may want or need more non-dairy milk.
  11. Top your cinnamon rolls with any toppings you’d like.  Drizzle the icing over top and serve cinnamon rolls warm.

Please let me know if you try this recipe out and what you think!