I just realized over the past few weeks that I have developed a new obsession! I LOVE slipping fruits, vegetables and other unexpected ingredients into recipes you wouldn’t expect to find them in! Most “dieters” have heard of mixing cauliflower in with mashed potatoes or cooking pumpkin into cakes and muffins, but I like it when recipes call for really “weird” ingredients. It’s not really all that weird, it’s just unexpected.
I have been making green smoothies for a few months now and I have just recently started to expand my green smoothie repertoire. After Angela from Oh She Glows posted her Peppermint Patty smoothie last week for St. Patrick’s Day, I felt like I had to try my own version and I LOVE it. What a brilliant idea to use spinach as food coloring for minty foods! Then I noticed that Katie over at Chocolate Covered Katie posted a recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream that basically uses the same idea.
(Photo source: Chocolate Covered Katie)
(I plan to try the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream this weekend now that I have ice cream cones AND chocolate graham crackers!) I plan on posting my recipe for my “Grasshopper” with pictures in the next few days, but I LOVE it! It tastes like dessert! I haven’t had mint chocolate chip ice cream in so long and it used to be one of my favorites. I am very excited about the possibility of having healthy mint chocolate chip ice cream with spinach in it. Of course, I still love my kale smoothie. However, I have tweaked it again now that I have some protein powder that I mix in for an added boost.
I have also been obsessed with making chocolate zucchini muffins based off of this recipe from the Happy Herbivore.
(Photo source: Happy Herbivore)
I have tweaked a couple of things, but Lindsey’s recipe is still what I follow. For “frosting” I just mix up some peanut flour with Truvia, a bit of salt and water. It’s AMAZING! In this muffin/cupcake, you have zucchini, applesauce and banana! I made a variation last night that even had pureed strawberry in it with a strawberry yogurt cream cheese frosting (vegan, of course). I love eating food that seems decadent but it’s really just healthy!
Another strategy out in the healthy living blogosphere world is pureeing beans and “sneaking” them into recipes such as the famous Black Bean Brownie! I have tried and definitely dig the black bean brownie. I have made a few different versions but Lindsey over at Happy Herbivore has a pretty famous one on her blog!
(Photo source: Happy Herbivore)
The last time I made black bean brownies, I just tweaked the recipe from the cookbook, Vegan on the Cheap. I think what’s exciting about adding beans to baked goods is that you are just adding protein and fiber to what you are making. I have made some pumpkin bars with white beans and silken tofu although I have not mastered this recipe yet. I have just made it one time and I plan to work on it some more before I call it a true recipe. I made a batch for our flight to Hawaii to get us through 10 hours of air travel without much protein availability. They did the trick (along with some peanut flour and english muffins).
Isa Chandra Moskowitz has a few of these strategies up her sleeve in Appetite for Reduction too. She does the cauliflower mashed potato trick and calls it “Caulipots.” The way I like these best is to make a shepherd’s pie and make a version of the “Caulipots” instead of just straight up mashed potatoes on top. With all of the veggies in a shepherd’s pie, no one will even notice the cauliflower mixed in with the mashed potatoes. I highly recommend it! Isa also mixes cauliflower in with her tofu ricotta for the lasagna recipe. I had never thought of that before, but I bet it works great! I plan to try that sometime soon.
One recipe that is blowing my mind that I have yet to try is this one from Weight Watchers. Sauerkraut in a cake?! WTF??
(Photo source: weightwatchers.com)
I am super excited about this one. I will have to veganize it, but I can't wait to give it a try! When I saw this recipe and I got all excited, that’s when I knew I had an obsession with mixing “weird” ingredients into things. Weight Watchers is kind of known for putting recipes out like this. When I still ate processed foods and was not vegan, I used to make their diet soda cake all of the time. Now that I don’t drink diet soda, eat packaged cake mixes or Cool Whip, I have to figure out other ways to bake and cook healthy though.
Last but not least, there’s a book a checkout from the library. It’s not a vegan book or even vegetarian for that matter. It’s called Deceptively Delicious.
(Photo Source: Amazon.com)
It’s by Jessica Seinfeld and it’s the entire premise of the cookbook! She creates these purees to sneak into foods to feed her kids fruits and veggies without them complaining about it. It’s amazing all of the things that she comes up with and uses!
Do you have any recipes like this? Do you like the idea of "sneaking" unusual ingredients into things? If so, let me know what you are making!