Aloe Vera is well known for its topical application, but can you eat Aloe? YES! Most often it’s blended into smoothies and juices, but there’s so much more this medicinal plant can offer. The edible and superfood part of the Aloe Vera plant is the solid gel-like substance, almost like a tapioca and that gave us the idea of making a dessert topping with the Aloe plant.
Strengthens the Immune System
Aloe vera gel contains vitamins A, C, E, B-12 and folate.It has an array of essential minerals, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, chromium, sodium, copper, zinc and selenium. It also contains 20 amino acids, including 7 out of the 8 essential ones.
Aloe contains several anti-inflammatory compounds, including salicylic acid, C-glucosyl chromone and an enzyme called bradykinase. Aloe is also able to reduce the production of acid in the body, which also prevents inflammation.
Diabetes Prevention and Treatment
Phytosterols, found in aloe vera gel help to enhance insulin sensitivity, which reduces blood glucose and triglycerides levels.
Note: There are many species of Aloe, they are not all edible and they can be difficult to identify. We don’t recommend that you use your house plant in any recipes. Barbadensis Mill. Is the known as the best variety of aloe vera to eat. You can obtain edible aloe vera as a full plant or just purchase the leaves. We got our Aloe from Wholesome Choice.
Aloe-Lime Coconut Yogurt
1/2 cup Sugar
3 limes juiced
2 large Aloe leaves
Yogurt – we used So Delicious Coconut Yogurt
Here is a great post by marecipes.com about how to remove the edible part of aloe.
Once you have removed the skin, chop the meat of the aloe into small cubes.
Add the sugar, lime juice and aloe cubes to a small saucepan.
Cook over medium low heat.
Cool and serve as a topping over plain yogurt. This makes approximately about 3-5 servings. If you are new to eating aloe, start with about a 1/3 of the aloe as a topping.
Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook has been around for awhile, but it’s new to us. This cookbook makes vegan cooking more fun and less precious. All of the recipes use ingredients that are inexpensive and easy to find, but the outcome is healthy and tasty! Reading through the recipes can be funny and with all of the expletives, we had to make sure our kids weren’t nearby! Lol!
For this Recipe Friday, we chose Coconut-Lime Rice with Red Beans and Mango. We didn’t have brown rice and substituted barley instead. The barley made the dish really hearty and the brown rice would probably have made it lighter. The flavors were still really good with the creamy coconut and zesty lime. We paired our dish with a Vegan Cesar Salad, also from the Thug Kitchen.
COCONUT-LIME RICE WITH RED BEANS AND MANGO
Recipe from Thug Kitchen
2 cups short-grain brown rice
2 teaspoons neutral-tasting oil (we used light olive oil)
1 cup diced shallots or onion
1 1/2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 mango (We thawed out frozen mango from Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 cups cooked red beans
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
Chopped cilantro or green onions (for garnish)
Rinse the rice under cool water. Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the shallots or onion and saute until they start to brown in some spots, about 3 minutes. Add the ginger and saute for 30 seconds until everything smells choice. Add the rice and keep stirring until the rice starts to smell slightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, broth, salt, and cayenne pepper and bring to a simmer. Give the pot a quick stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. If your rice isn’t done by the time the liquid is absorbed, add a little more broth or water.
While the rice is cooking, chop up the mango into bite-size pieces.
When the rice is tender, fold in the beans, lime zest, lime juice, and mango. Let cook for another minute or so until everything is warm. Serve topped with cilantro or green onions.
VEGAN CAESAR SALAD
Recipe from Thug Kitchen
1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/3 cup hot water
1-2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp dijon
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp capers, drained
Place the almonds and the hot water in a small bowl, and set them aside to soften, about 15 minutes.
In the mean time, mince the garlic finely. Once the almonds are softened, throw them into a blender with the water they were soaked in. Add the garlic and the rest of the ingredients (except the capers), and blend well until nice and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings. If the dressing seems too thick, add a little more water and blend again. Finally, add the capers and blend for 5 seconds. Store in the fridge until ready to eat.
To make the salad: wash and spin dry your lettuce. Cut or tear into bite-sized pieces. Place in a big bowl, top with a couple tablespoons of dressing, and toss well. Top with croutons and serve.
Sweets are one of those guilty pleasures that we tell ourselves we can enjoy on special occasions – and let’s face it, those special occasions seem to pop up all the time! We know the negative effects that sugar has on the body but as we get busy and stressed sugar starts to creep in from all angles. This summer, we decided to do a 7-day no-sugar diet at the start of the summer vacation as a way of forcing ourselves to pay attention to our sugar intake. We will try to stay committed to eating nutrient dense foods throughout the summer and prevent our sugar cravings. However, a 7-day sugar detox is a great way to reset over and over throughout the year.
There are quite a few no-sugar detox diets plans out there. We chose to follow the one from foodbabe.com and today’s no sugar granola is just one of the many yummy recipes that she has. This granola turned out so crisp and flavorful! The sugar was not missed at all.
NO SUGAR GRANOLA
Ingredients (serves 4):
2 cups coconut flakes
1 cup chopped mixed nuts (almond, pecan, walnut, etc)
1⁄2 cup pumpkin seeds
1⁄4 cup sun ower seeds
2 tablespoons chia seeds or axseeds 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄4-1⁄2 cup coconut oil
Optional: 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the granola on a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool and store covered in a glass container.
4. To serve for breakfast, place 1 cup of yogurt in a bowl and top with 1⁄2 cup of the granola.
Summer is almost here! For us that means a lot more time with our kids who want sweet treats. This recipe is so easy to make and uses just 2 ingredients! It’s gluten free, vegan, and still satisfies that sweet tooth craving. Yep, you read that right…just 2 ingredients! Bananas and unsweetened organic coconut! So delicious with a crispy edge and chewy center! An easy sweet treat that pairs up well with vanilla nice-cream.
2 organic bananas
1-2 cups unsweetened organic coconut (shredded or flakes)
*Line baking sheet and spread out coconut flakes to bake. Bake at 350 degrees for about 6 min. Be careful to keep an eye on them, they brown pretty quickly.
*Mash up 2 bananas.
*Combine mixture together slowly adding in coconut flakes to your liking.
*Lightly grease a baking sheet with coconut oil spray.
*Drop combined mixture by spoonful on the baking sheet and slightly flatten (for crispy edges).
This week marks the beginning of a holiday season that lasts for about 6 weeks. We’ve been a little stressed thinking how to get through this season without completely abandoning our clean eating diets that we’ve worked so hard to follow. We decided that if we are going to indulge in a dessert, it should at least have fresh ingredients and be as healthy as possible. This recipe created by “natural girl modern world” is not only vegan and gluten free, but it is super rich, yummy, not too sweet and the perfect dessert that can be enjoyed by everyone! It’s not a simple recipe and does take some time to make it, but the effort is well worth it!
Raw Cacao Powder: The original recipe called for cocoa powder, but we exchanged this ingredient to a healthier raw cacao powder. Raw cacao powder is extremely high in antioxidants, which prevents premature aging. It is a great source of magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium. It also reduces blood pressure and insulin resistance, eases PMS issues and improves mood.
Hazelnuts: Aside from being a great source of fiber, they contain a large amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, which help to reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. They are full of antioxidants and brain boosting elements and contribute to healthy skin and hair due to high levels of Vitamin E.
Coconut: We’ve talked about the many health benefits of coconut before, but it’s always nice to revisit the amazing benefits of coconut. Coconut lowers cholesterol, improves digestion, wards off wrinkles, stabilizes glucose levels, fights viruses and infections, builds cells, regulates hormones, increases thyroid production, increases metabolism, and staves off memory loss.
We recommend that you read the instructions all the way through before you try to recreate this recipe. It takes a little bit of prep time; for example, the coconut cans need to be chilled in the refrigerator and the cashews need to be soaked ahead of time.
VEGAN CHOCOLATE COCONUT CREAM PIE
Chocolate hazelnut crust:
2/3 cup oats
2/3 cup hazelnuts, raw
1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
3 tablespoons cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
Chocolate cream filling:
1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz / 400 ml can), divided
1/4 – 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/3 cup arrowroot powder (1.3oz / 35 g)*
2/3 cup cashews (soaked 4-12 hours, rinsed well)
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup cacao powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Coconut whipped cream:
1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz / 400 ml can), refrigerated overnight or ideally ~24 hours
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional – Toasted coconut flakes, for garnish**
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a food processor, blend oats until the texture of coarse sand. Add hazelnuts and blend until the nuts are a crumb-like texture. Add coconut, cacao powder and salt. Pulse to mix. Pour in the melted coconut oil and maple syrup, then pulse until well incorporated.
Prepare a 9″ pie dish (use a non-stick pan or line bottom with parchment). Pour the mixture into the pie shell and form the crust with your fingers. Press the crust together very firmly so it holds together. Gently prick the bottom of the crust ~15 times with a fork to allow air to escape when baking. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
While the crust cooks, prepare the filling. Pour 1 cup of canned coconut milk into a medium sized bowl. Add arrowroot powder and whisk thoroughly to remove all lumps. Set aside for later.
Measure the remaining liquid in the coconut milk can (it should be ~1/2 cup – 3/4 cup). Use the non-dairy milk to top-up the balance to a total of 1 cup (meaning you would need to add 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup). Add the liquid to a blender with cashews, maple syrup, cacao powder, vanilla and salt. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Transfer the mixture to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, whisking as it heats. Once the mixture is simmering, reduce heat to low. Pour in the arrowroot and coconut milk slurry and whisk vigorously to combine. Continue whisking for 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Once it reaches a pudding-like texture, remove from heat. Add coconut oil and whisk it in until the mixture becomes glossy. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Refrigerate until firm (~4 hours).
To make the coconut whipped cream, open the chilled can of coconut milk. The thick coconut flesh/fat should have separated from the liquid. Scoop out the coconut solids and add to a large mixing bowl. The remaining liquid can be stored in the fridge for another use. Using electric beaters, beat the coconut on medium-high speed. It should take ~1-2 minutes to fluff up. Add the vanilla and maple syrup, to taste. Beat for another ~30 seconds to incorporate.
When ready to serve, spread whipped coconut cream over the prepared pie. Top with toasted coconut flakes (optional) and serve.
*Similar to measuring out flour, make sure you fluff out the arrowroot powder before scooping it into a measuring cup – then level it off with a knife. For most accurate measurements use a kitchen scale.
**Toasted coconut flakes add a nice touch but are completely optional. Bake 1/4 cup of large coconut flakes in the oven at 325°F for 5-10 minutes. Stir to encourage even browning.
Credits: Author: Jill Uechi // Recipe and Photography: Katelyn Guerrero