Fortifying Blackstrap Molasses Hot Chocolate

molasses hot chocolateAs part of my plan for a fortifying fall season, I’m examining the possibilities of using Blackstrap Molasses in more food and beverage options. Why? Well, blackstrap molasses is a huge nutritional powerhouse. It has an incredible number of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • iron (for building those red blood cells! 1 tablespoon has 15% of your daily requirements)
  • calcium (for healthy bones)
  • magnesium (for healthy muscles and heart)
  • copper (for healthy blood, skin, and hair)
  • Vitamin B6 (metabolic functions, possible links to hormones, nervous system);
  • Vitamin K (for healthy blood)
  • manganese (involved in many important enzyme reactions in the body)
  • potassium (for a healthy fluid balance)
  • selenium (an antioxidant – protective of cells))

Calgon, take me away!

It’s worth noting (before Calgon carries me TOO far away) that blackstrap molasses is still a sugar. Technically speaking, it’s a sugar manufacturing by-product (after conventional sugar is made, minerals and a dark syrup remain – this is blackstrap molasses), but it still has carbohydrates in it and still has an impact on blood sugar; so, if you have any blood sugar issues, this might not be the best way to boost your iron. For others, given it’s nutrient profile, blackstrap molasses is a worthwhile addition to a healthy diet, particularly for those who are looking to boost up in iron, calcium, and other essential vitamins and minerals.

molasses hot chocolate

If you’re wondering what else you can do with the giant bottle of blackstrap molasses you just purchased, consider the following:

  • Stir it into muffins or smoothies
  • Bake it into cookies (perhaps ginger molasses cookies?)
  • Drizzle it on pancakes or oatmeal in place of syrup
  • Try it on a slice of toast with some nut butter.

Fortifying Molasses Hot Chocolate

  • Author: Emily Joldersma, R.H.N.
  • Recipe Notes: gluten-free, soy-free (depending on milk); nut-free (depending on milk), naturally-sweetened (depending on milk variety), vegan


  • 1-2 cups non-dairy milk;
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses (look for organic and unsulfured)
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • sprinkle of cinnamon


  1. Heat milk in a saucepan until just simmering.
  2. Stir in molasses until fully blended;
  3. Whisk in cocoa powder;
  4. Pour into a mug and top with cinnamon

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly

Chewy One Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookies (with Chickpea Flour) – v, gf

chewy chocolate chip chickpea cookies - vegan & gluten-freeSo who here thinks chickpea flour tastes gross? Show of hands. That’s quite a few of you, but I’m betting it’s from when you tried some adventurous gluten-free chickpea flour recipe and tasted the batter and thought, dear god, what monster have I created? Chickpea flour – un-baked – is kind of bitter. It does not taste good. Let’s just get that out of the way right now.

BUT – chickpea flour baked INTO things has no taste, really. That is to say, it loses the offensive taste. And, it keeps the protein, chewiness, and gluten-free fabulousness.

chewy chocolate chip chickpea cookies - vegan & gluten-free

My eyes have been opened recently to the joys of chickpea flour. It makes a delicious cookie, for one, and it’s so versatile! Other cultures have been baking and cooking with chickpea flour for centuries, but North American culture is just catching up. In the last few days alone I’ve seen recipes for chickpea flour flatbreads, quiches made with chickpea flour, french toast with chickpea flour, and blondies with chickpea flour, among others.

And, compared to many gluten-free flours, it’s relatively inexpensive. And, though this may be entirely psychological, it seems a little more “from a whole food” than say, potato starch (how do they get just the starch out of the potato?)

So if you are looking for a healthy treat that is high in protein and fibre, I’d encourage you to try these cookies. You could add raisins, nut butter, or perhaps some sunflower or pumpkin seeds. If you don’t find the batter sweet enough (they are JUST on the edge), feel free to also add an additional tablespoon or two of maple syrup, or, sprinkle the tops with some organic cane sugar.

Welcome to the chickpea flour fan club! chewy chocolate chip chickpea cookies - vegan & gluten-free

Chewy One Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookies (with Chickpea Flour)

  • Author: Tweaks by Emily Joldersma, R.H.N.; original recipe inspired by Oatmeal with a Fork’s Incredible Protein Chocolate Chip Cookies.
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, gluten-free, source of fibre and protein, soy-free, nut-free, naturally-sweetened


  • 1 cup COLD/FROZEN chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ t. sea salt or himalayan pink salt
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted before measuring
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons (or as needed) almond milk
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Whisk together cold chickpea flour, rolled oats, sea salt, baking soda, and chocolate chips.
  • Melt coconut oil over low heat, and measure out.
  • Add melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla to dry ingredients and stir. If needed, add the almond milk.
  • Scoop and roll into balls of your desired size.
  • Bake for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden.
  • Remove from oven, and gently press down with a fork. This step squishes the cookies and improves their chewy factor.
  • Cool, and store in an airtight container.

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly

Back to School Cocoa Granola with Buckwheat and Cocoa Nibs – v, gf

cocoa granola with cocoa nibs and buckwheatFriends, I’m going back to school! Part-time, anyways. I’ve finally decided that now is the time, and I’ve enrolled at CSNN London to obtain my Registered Holistic Nutritionist designation. I’ve wanted to do this for years and I didn’t want to waste any more time – so now I’ll be working full-time and taking classes on a part-time basis. Hurrah!

To celebrate in style (and because, quite frankly, I kind of love school), I decided to make some back-to-school granola. This particular cocoa granola is indeed rather celebratory. And decadent. Deep and dark and chocolate-y, it has lots of crunchy pumpkin seeds, cocoa nibs, and buckwheat clusters. It also has lots of nutrition, in the form of, well, pumpkin seeds, cocoa nibs, and buckwheat clusters, not to mention hemp seeds, flaked coconut, raisins, pecans, coconut oil, and maple syrup.

passion for learning


If you aren’t much of a granola breakfast eater, fret not! You can use this as a topper for coconut or almond yogurt and fruit (that’s my new favourite!), or just by itself as a quick ‘boost’ snack. Perhaps you want to mix in some more nuts and seeds for a luxurious trail mix.

Enjoy, and if you too are heading back to school (in any form), I say: all the best! Learning is such a joy. I hope you have fun.

cocoa granola with cocoa nibs and buckwheat


Back to School Cocoa Granola with Buckwheat and Cocoa Nibs – v, gf

  • Author: Emily Joldersma, R.H.N.
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, naturally-sweetened


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (sifted, if clumpy)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (or other seeds of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup pecans (or other nuts of your choice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or himalayan pink salt)
    • PLUS
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (could go up to 1/2 cup if you taste and it isn’t sweet enough)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
    • PLUS
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together oats, buckwheat groats, flaked coconut, cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, pecans, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil and add maple syrup and vanilla.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients until all dry ingredients are coated.
  5. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the granola is becoming dry and toasty (hard to tell with this recipe, but you’ll see).
  6. Remove from oven, and if desired, clump together to cool (this helps form clusters); or, leave as is to cool. Add raisins and chocolate chips.
  7. Store in an airtight jar or container and enjoy!

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly

Mango Salad with Cilantro, Cashews, and Tempeh – v, gf

easy fresh mango saladI was in beautiful Kingston, Ontario a few weeks ago, and had dinner at a Thai Cambodian restaurant where I was reminded of the simple, tangy joy of mango salad – fresh mango, sweet and sour dressing, zippy red onion, toasted cashews, cilantro, and red pepper. Mango salad is light, refreshing, naturally vegan and gluten-free, and so, so easy to make.

And it’s perfect for the summer. I know some recipes call for less-than-perfectly-ripe mango, but I say go ahead and use ’em ripe. I did, and it was fabulous. It just makes the whole thing fruitier.

easy fresh mango salad

I also thought it best to add some tempeh for additional protein, so that the mango salad could become a filling lunch or supper. I went with plain, sliced up tempeh, but you could marinate it, if you prefer.

Other than that, basically prepare your mango and veggies, toss with the cilantro and lime juice dressing, top with tempeh, and you’re off to the races. And let me add that this recipe is VERY forgiving. You can make enough for one (just use one mango) or expand it exponentially to feed as many as you want.

Experiment with the dressing to make it what you want. You can add more lime juice, more salt, less maple syrup, more sesame oil. Whatever tastes right to your palate.

easy fresh mango salad

Top with tempeh, cashews, and some smoked paprika!

Mango Salad with Cilantro, Cashews, and Tempeh

  • Author: Emily Joldersma, R.H.N.
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, gluten-free, grain-free; contains fermented soy


  • 2 or 3 ripe to almost-ripe mangoes
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • juice of one lime
  • generous sprinkle of sea salt (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2 or 3 servings of tempeh, sliced
  • smoked paprika (optional), for finishing


  1. Lightly toast cashews and tempeh until your oven broiler (watching carefully, because the cashews will burn very quickly – usually around 4 minutes is good).
  2. Peel and thinly slice mango into a large bowl, and add sliced red pepper and chopped cilantro. Add red onion.
  3. Add sesame oil, maple syrup, salt, and lime juice, and toss well to mix.
  4. Scoop into bowls and top with cashews and tempeh. Sprinkle on some smoked paprika, if desired.
  5. Store any remaining salad in the fridge (it keeps well, thanks to the lime juice and salt).
  6. Enjoy!

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly

Summer Strawberry Sherbet with Lemon Zest – v, gf

creamy strawberry sherbetStrawberry season is upon us! The Farmer’s Market has row upon row of beautiful red strawberries, and given that we’re in a stretch of hot weather, a frozen dessert seemed really very advisable. I had some awesome sherbet last week from the ice cream shop in my neighbourhood, and inspired by that, I decided strawberry sherbet was my next enterprise.

Now, I always thought it was sherbert and turns out I’m not alone. If you Google sherbet versus sherbert, the number of results tell you a few other folks were confused as well. These pages have informed me that while sherbet is correct, sherbert is a common mispronunciation. Who knew?

creamy strawberry sherbetBut, ‘r’ debate aside, give sherbet a try. It’s a lovely cross between ice cream and sorbet (less rich than ice cream, but creamier than sorbet, if you catch my drift) and there is no cooking required – simply let the strawberries sit in a bowl with some sweetener and flavourings, and then mix with one can of coconut milk. Then, puree until smooth, and mix in your ice cream maker.

The sherbet is this gorgeous shade of pink, one of those colours that is just a marvellous natural wonder. The lemon juice and lemon zest add a bit of zing, the vanilla adds depth and a kind of creamsicle flavour, and the whiskey, while optional, does add a little je ne sais quois. If you wanted to really go nuts, you could even stir in a spoonful or two of strawberry jam while the mix is in your ice cream maker for a kind of ripple effect.

The possibilities are endless, actually, You could try with raspberries, blueberries, juicy peaches, or maybe even a mix of fruits. You might wish to substitute lime juice and zest for the lemon – and perhaps even orange zest.

creamy strawberry sherbet

Summer Strawberry Sherbet with Lemon Zest

  • Author: Emily Joldersma, R.H.N.
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free


  • 3 cups strawberries (sliced in half, or left whole if small)
  • 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon your favourite whisky/scotch (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from an organic lemon)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 can organic full-fat coconut milk


  1. Wash and measure out strawberries, placing into a large non-metal/non-reactive bowl.
  2. Add vanilla, whisky, lemon zest, lemon juice, cane sugar, and maple syrup and toss to combine.
  3. Let sit for about 1 hour, to allow flavours to mix and strawberries to macerate.
  4. Pour strawberry mix into a blender and add coconut milk, pureeing until smooth.
  5. Let the mix sit in the fridge until nice and cool, and then pour into your ice cream maker and prepare according to the instructions for your machine.
  6. Freeze and serve.

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly


Power Protein Salad with Quinoa, Mango, Cashews, and Chickpeas

power protein salad

A few weeks ago I enjoyed supper at The Root Cellar, a wonderful gem of a cafe and eatery in London, Ontario. They have such a wealth of delicious, inventive food options that include locally-sourced foods and plenty of vegan options (including the best vegan cinnamon buns around – a dream come true, let me say).

I ordered the Power Protein Salad and then knew I had to re-create it at home. This salad is an amazing blend of flavours and superfood nutrition: baby spinach, quinoa, chickpeas, pickled red onions, mangos, and toasted cashews, all drizzled in a tangy and savoury apple cider & curry vinaigrette.

That’s a lot of delicious business in one bowl.

power salad with chickpeas, quinoa, and curry dressing

And, the beauty of this salad is that one afternoon of cooking prep (making your quinoa, pickling a red onion, dicing up mango, opening a can of chickpeas, and whisking together the dressing) makes a whole swath of meals. I plan to eat this for lunch every day this week.

Can I also just say how much I love salads that cover all the different lunch needs in one bowl? I mean, should I list all the stuff again? Because I’ll do it…

Spinach, chickpeas, mangoes…okay, you get the point.

Try this salad. Really. It’s so unique and so healthy and so delicious – and once prepped, can make your lunch life easy for the week, which is an added bonus. Enjoy!

power salad with chickpeas, quinoa, and curry dressing

Power Protein Salad with Quinoa, Mango, Cashews, and Chickpeas

  • Author: Emily Joldersma, R.H.N. based on original menu item from The Root Cellar
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, high in fibre, good sources of protein & fibre, packed with deliciousness

What You’ll Need:

  • Mangoes – ripe and diced into cubes or slices
  • Quinoa – cook 1 cup (or as much or as little as you want) quinoa according to package directions (usually 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water) until light and fluffy.
  • Cashews – toast lightly, typically under a broiler in your oven (watch closely!) or in pan on the stovetop.
  • Chickpeas – basic regular ol’ garbanzos, rinsed and drained from the can juices
  • Baby spinach – washed and ready to go
  • Pickled Red Onions: in a glass jar, shake together 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon cane sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt. Add one cup water, and one thinly-sliced red onion. Marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or in theory, as long as you want.
  • Apple Cider Curry Vinaigrette – in a glass jar, whisk or shake together 3 tablespoons olive oil, 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or to taste; I like my salad zippy), 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon curry powder.

To Prepare Salad:

On a bed of baby spinach (2 cups or more), scoop 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup chickpeas, 1/4 cup diced mango, 2 to 3 tablespoons toasted cashews, and 2 to 3 tablespoons pickled red onions. Drizzle with curry dressing and dig in!

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly

Healthy Rhubarb Oat Bars with Crunchy Almond Crumble

spring rhubarb

It’s rhubarb time! Actually, it’s probably almost past rhubarb time, but never mind that.

Truthfully I typically have so much rhubarb in my freezer (that I’ve carefully hoarded from the rhubarb season the year before) that I don’t think I’ve actually ever run out, thereby ensuring that it is ALWAYS rhubarb time.

I’ve made fruit crisps before, but I wanted to make these more of a wholesome bar. What’s the difference between that and a crisp, you might ask? Well, mostly it’s that bars have delicious oat-y, nutty, crispy goodness on both the top AND the bottom. Simple as that.

rhubarb bars with almond crumble

These bars are something you might bring to a picnic, or serve after a casual (vegan) barbecue in the backyard. If you like, you can serve them with some whipped coconut cream, or just keep them as they are. Now get thee to a picnic, post-haste!

A few notes about the recipe:

  • Yes, you can taste the banana. I liked it though! It somehow compliments the rhubarb in this unusually delicious way. If your first instinct is “perish the thought!” then try substituting with 1/3 cup organic applesauce.
  • Yes, the topping is AMAZING. Nutty almonds baked up with rolled oats and maple syrup make for a super crunchy and addictive topping. Ground almonds are expensive, I know it, but they really work here.
  • Yes, you could throw in some strawberries, raspberries, or even cranberries, if you feel so inclined.
  • Yes, I will be keeping this base/topping recipe as a standard go-to for all future fruit bars. Can you imagine this with peaches? Or blueberries? Incredible.

Digging the fruit approach but want to try something else? Consider rhubarb strawberry crisp or cranberry pumpkin seed muffins or rhubarb cranberry crisp or lemon blueberry cranberry muffins.

rhubarb bars with almond crumble

Healthy Rhubarb Oat Bars with Crunchy Almond Crumble

  • Author: Choosing Raw, with tweaks by Backyard Owl
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, contains nuts



  • 1 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 large ripe banana (or 1/3 cup applesauce)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 4 cups rhubarb
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar

Crumble Topping:

  • 1 cup almond flour/ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil


  1. Prepare the base: stir together oats, oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and sea salt. In a separate bowl, mash banana, and then add almond milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients, and stir until all ingredients are incorporated.
  2. Scoop batter for base into a 9×13 glass pan, or other similarly sized pan. If you know your pan often sticks, grease with a little coconut oil.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F.
  4. While oven is preheating, prepare rhubarb filling. Stir together cornstarch and sugar. Measure out 4 cups of rhubarb, and then sprinkle sugar/cornstarch over top, tossing to ensure that the rhubarb is well-coated. Scoop the rhubarb onto the base filling.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until rhubarb is starting to release some juice.
  6. While rhubarb/base are baking, prepare topping: stir together oats and almond flour. Pour coconut oil and maple syrup over top, and mix well.
  7. Scoop topping onto partially-baked rhubarb mix (after the first 15 minutes in the oven), and bake entire extravaganza for another 30 to 60 minutes. Yes, it’s a wide range.
  8. Remove from oven when a) topping is browned and, more importantly, b) when the rhubarb filling is bubbling not just around the edges of the pan, but closer to the middle too.
  9. Cool, and enjoy!

© Backyard Owl 2015




Vegan Chocolate Maca Macaroons (gluten-free)

vegan chocolate maca macaroonsSometimes I write posts about a recipe before I’ve actually tested the recipe. It’s true. I admit it.

It’s risky, because sometimes it means I’ll test something, realize it’s not nearly as good as I’d hoped, and then remember I have an entire post already written that waxes eloquent about how delicious it is.

On the other hand, sometimes I wrote a post beforehand, whip up the recipe, and realize I’ve made something that is everything I’d hoped for and more.

vegan chocolate maca macaroons

Such is the case with these macaroons. Good consistency, excellent chocolatey-ness, and a perfect amount of chew. I’m no macaroon aficionado, but as far as treats go, these are just dandy. The macaroons have a tropical sweetness that feels really luxurious and special thanks to the coconut and coconut milk, and they also contain melted dark chocolate.

All in all, they’re perfect for an evening backyard party, a casual Sunday curled up with a book and some tea, or perhaps bringing to your workplace to share (if you like your work colleagues, that is).

Also, since there is no harm in mentioning it, coconut contains lots of fibre, beneficial medium-chain fatty acids, and natural sweetness, while dark chocolate has antioxidants, and a fair amount of iron. Oh, and did I mention the maca powder? Helpful for sustained energy levels, bringing hormone systems into balance, and improving libido, maca also has antioxidant capabilities, beneficial fatty acids, fibre, and amino acids.


vegan chocolate macaroons

vegan chocolate macaroons

Vegan Chocolate Maca Macaroons 

  • Author: Emily Joldersma, R.H.N. tweaks, but original recipe from Terry Walter’s fabulous cookbook “Clean Start
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, naturally sweetened, grain-free


  • 2 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 tbsps cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon maca powder (optional, but a nice superfood addition)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (full-fat)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt (or other sea salt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together coconut, maca powder, cocoa powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut milk, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  4. Melt dark chocolate chips over a double boiler (a heat-proof bowl sitting on top of a pot with simmering water).
  5. Add coconut milk mixture and dark chocolate to shredded coconut. Mix well.
  6. Once incorporated, scoop by tighly-packed, rounded tablespoon-fulls onto a baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops of the cookies are dry.

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly

Easy No-Bake Almond Butter Protein Bars with Chocolate and Coconut – v, gf

homemade chocolate almond butter protein barsI love a good vegan protein bar. Convenient, tasty, and portable, they can sometimes be the perfect answer to “me so hungry.”

But, it’s easy to start relying on them to fill in the gaps, well, just about everywhere. After the gym, as an afternoon snack, in place of supper, and so on.

It’s an expensive habit, and in the end, still a processed, manufactured product, meaning: not as good for you as real, whole foods. That said, if I can find a way to make a more “whole foods” version of a protein bar, I’m not going to say no.

homemade chocolate almond butter protein barsThese bars are made with almond butter, coconut oil, shredded coconut, chia seeds, almonds, cocoa powder, dates, raw vegan protein powder, and dark chocolate. Calgon, take me away.

As with most other bars (like my cookie dough protein bars or chia energy bites), the premise is simple. Whir a bunch of stuff in a food processor, mix some other stuff in a bowl, and then melt some dark chocolate as the finisher.

I’ve tried to include enough protein sources (nuts, seeds, protein powder) to make this a reasonable source of protein. If you’re noshing on it after a workout, you want it to provide the required amino acids.

So give these a try and see what you think. They have great flavour, hold together really nicely, and look really pretty.

homemade chocolate almond butter protein bars.3

Easy No-Bake Almond Butter Protein Bars with Chocolate and Coconut

  • Author: Emily Joldersma, R.H.N.
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, gluten-free, no-bake, soy-free (depending on protein powder), naturally-sweetened (also depends on protein powder)


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 10 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds, whole or ground
  • 2-4 scoops protein powder (I use a raw, rice-based protein powder that is sweetened with stevia)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons maca powder (optional)
  • pinch Himalayan pink salt (to balance the sweetness of the protein powder)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, soft
  • 1/3 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil


  1. In a food processor, whir together oats and cashews until finely ground. Add dates, and process until a moist paste forms.
  2. Press into an 8×8 square pan.
  3. In the same (now empty) food processor, process almond butter, coconut oil, shredded coconut, and cocoa powder. Whir in protein powder, salt, maca powder, and chia seeds. Mix until the paste is smooth and mostly uniform (pieces of coconut will remain).
  4. Pour this mix on top of the prepared crust. Sprinkle with flaked coconut.
  5. Put in the fridge to firm up.
  6. In the meantime, melt 1 teaspoon coconut oil and chocolate chips over a double boiler (a heat-proof bowl sitting over a pot of boiling water). Drizzle over top of firmed up bars.
  7. Cut into squares (whatever your desired size) and store in the fridge.

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly

Fudgy Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Brownie Cookies – v, gf

dark chocolate and raspberry cookies - vegan, gluten freeThese cookies are deep, dark, fruity, and delicious. Not exactly a health food, I’ll grant you, but read the recipe before you judge too harshly. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

And I figure, it’s April, there is a sniff of spring in the air, and before the rhubarb pokes its nose out of the warm earth and the new produce season begins, it’s time to squeeze in a cookie recipe or two.

Because, why not?

Life is short, chocolate makes me happy, and raspberries are delicious. Aren’t those reasons enough?

dark chocolate raspberry cookies - vegan & gluten free

And as far as indulgences go, these are pretty rich and amazing, but they also score a few health points. They are made with coconut oil, chickpea and brown rice flour (so they’re gluten-free), and high quality dark chocolate (72%!). They also contain raspberries, which are amazing little tangy health explosions, and they’re made with coconut palm sugar and coconut milk.

And they take all of these healthy ingredients, spin them around, and then come out like brownies. I couldn’t decide originally about making chocolate raspberry brownies or chocolate raspberry cookies. In a moment of genius, it occurred to me that I didn’t really have to labour over the decision. I’d just make really fudgy, chewy, rich brownie cookies.

And as Col. John Hannibal Smith from the A Team says: “I love it when a plan comes together.”

dark chocolate raspberry cookies - vegan & gluten free

Fudgy Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Brownie Cookies

  • Author: Emily Joldersma, R.H.N. (original cookie recipe from Veganonicom)
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, naturally-sweetened, gluten-free


  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon himalayan pink salt (or other sea salt)
  • 2/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 4 teaspoons ground chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Whisk in salt.
  3. Whisk together, vigorously, the melted coconut oil and the coconut palm sugar.
  4. Add the vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together chia seeds and almond milk, then add to sugar/oil mix.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until almost fully mixed. Add frozen raspberries and chocolate chips and stir just to incorporate.
  7. Scoop 1-2 tablespoon size balls of dough onto a baking sheet and gently press flat.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden on the bottom (hard to tell, I know. But luckily these cookies are okay a little under baked – makes them more brownie-like).
  9. When cool, pack in tupperware or glass containers. These also freeze beautifully.

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