Soft and fluffy mini gluten-free pancakes – otherwise known as blinis. Perfect for topping with smoked salmon, cream cheese and a sprinkle of fresh chives
Banana, mango & coconut smoothie bowl This creamy smoothie bowl is stuffed with fresh mango, delicate banana and thick coconut cream. The best part – it’s dairy-free and has zero added sugar. Serve with fresh granola, blueberries and coconut shavings for a clean, easy breakfast.…
Chocolate orange granola (GF/VE)
Ever fancied eating a chocolate orange for breakfast? Well, now you can. This gluten-free granola is infused with fresh orange and cocoa powder to make delicious chocolatey orange oaty clusters, then tossed with toasted cashews and dark chocolate chunks.
PREP TIME: 10 MINS
COOK TIME: 20 MINS
COOLING TIME: 25 MINS
Buying supermarket granola is all very well until you take a look at the label, and realise just how many products are stuffed with processed sugar and empty calories.
Once you realise how easy is it to make a homemade version, there’s honestly no going back. Most recipes are really simple all-in-one-bowl mixtures, and literally take less than an hour from start to finish.
This one came from some playing about with my original pecan gluten-free granola recipe, with a chocolate orange spin. The orange isn’t too overpowering, and gives the clusters a satisfying, slightly chewy texture that goes perfectly with the crunch from the nuts and chocolate chunks.
It’s best served with unsweetened soya or coconut milk, and even better with fresh strawberries. And as always, it uses free-from, whole ingredients.
Is it healthy?
This granola has 5g added sugar per 45g serving. This is much lower than the majority of shop-bought brands out there, which have an average of 8-9g per 45g. The oats constitute the bulk ingredient, which provides slow-release complex carbohydrates, while only a few spoons of maple syrup are used to sweeten.
It will contain some added sugar from the chocolate chunks, but you can reduce this by buying quality 85% or higher dark chocolate, which will have a lower sugar content than milk or white versions.
This recipe also contains healthy fats from the coconut oil. I’m a huge advocate for not fearing to eat fat – sugar is highly inflammatory and negatively impacts a whole range of things, from heart disease and premature skin ageing, to joint inflammation and insulin resistance.
By contrast, many whole, plant-based fats are a clean and healthy way to sustain your body, build cells, improve brain function and actually reduce the risk of heart issues.
On the surface, coconut is high in saturated fat. However, it has been shown that it actually promotes the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, and may actually support fat loss.
For controlled portions, this granola recipe can definitely be enjoyed as part of a healthy, weight loss or maintenance diet – all the while still feeling like a treat.
Gluten-free jumbo rolled oats – jumbo oats are best used for a nice chunky texture. Feel free to try subbing for instant oats if that’s all you have on hand, although I haven’t trialled them so can’t speak for the results
Coconut oil – this is my go-to essential ingredient for most granola recipes that I make. It helps make those really chunky clusters, as well as slowing the absorption of the sugars from the oats and chocolate, meaning you’ll have less of a blood sugar spike. You can’t taste any coconut in the finished granola
Maple syrup – this adds a subtle sweetness to the chocolate orange coating. You could substitute for honey, or 3 tbsp granulated sugar (melted in a little warm water before adding to the mix)
Cocoa powder – I tend to go all in when I make recipes with chocolate, so this one has added chunks as well as cocoa powder to actually coat the granola. For a less chocolatey version you could omit this, but when doing so you’ll need to cut the orange juice right down to about 2 tsp, as otherwise your mixture will be far too soggy
Dark chocolate – you can either use chocolate chips, which don’t require any prep, or buy a solid bar of dark chocolate and manually chop it into larger, rougher chunks. I actually prefer the latter method, as it has more of a bite to it than the smaller shop-bought chocolate chips. You could even buy a quality bar of dark chocolate with orange pieces in it, for really zingy chocolate chunks
Fresh orange – this recipes uses the zest from the whole orange, but only the juice from 1/2 of it. This is because the mixture will become too runny if too much liquid is added. You can always play around with the quantities if you think the granola mix seems too soggy – e.g. add some more oats and cocoa powder
Cashews – cashews add a nice extra crunch to the granola and are super simple to roast, as they don’t have any skins to remove. For a more traditional pairing, you could swap them out for roasted hazlenuts instead – however, these are a bit of a hassle to prepare, what with having to remove the bitter skins after baking.
Vanilla essence & sea salt – extra flavourings to enhance the chocolate flavour
- Make the granola base: combine the melted coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla, orange zest and juice together in a bowl. Then add the oats and stir to coat them well in the chocolatey orange mixture
- Bake – spread the granola mix evenly on a tray so that it’s about 1cm thick, and bake for 20 minutes at 170°C or 340°F
- Leave to cool until clusters have formed – it’s very important that you don’t stir the granola once it’s out the oven, as clumps will gradually form as it cools (unless you don’t want chunky granola)
- Toast the cashews – lay them on a separate baking tray and sprinkle a little salt over the top. Roast for 15-20 minutes at the same temperature (you can cook alongside the granola to save time), stirring every 5 minutes so as to keep an eye on them. If they look or smell like they’re burning, remove straight away
- Combine the granola with the cashews and chocolate chunks and enjoy (make sure it is fully cool before adding the chocolate)
This granola should be stored in an airtight container for maximum storage life – you can buy nice BPA-free plastic jars with metal screw lids for a tenner on Amazon.
It will keep its freshness for up to 2 weeks. It’ll still be totally safe to eat for up to 4 weeks, but may be going slightly stale by that point.
Chocolate orange gluten-free granola
- Mixing bowl
- 2x baking trays
- 2 cups (175g) gluten-free rolled jumbo oats
- 1 large orange
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup (75g) hazlenuts
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- large pinch sea salt
- 100 g dark chocolate chips (or whole bar, broken up)
- Preheat the oven to 175°C or 340°F
- In a small bowl, heat the coconut oil on low power in the microwave until melted. Then, in a large mixing bowl, tip in the coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla essence and salt
- Grate the zest of 1 orange and add into the mixing bowl. Then juice ½ the orange and tip the juice into the bowl. Store the leftover half orange face-down on a small plate in the fridge
- Stir together the ingredients in the bowl until fully mixed together. Then tip in the oats and continue stirring until fully coated in the orange cocoa mixture
- Cover a large baking tray with greaseproof paper, then scoop the granola mixture out onto the tray and press down with a fork until evenly distributed. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes
- On a separate baking tray, arrange the cashews so that they sit fairly close together and sprinkle a pinch of salt over the top. Place in the oven below the granola and bake for 15-20 minutes, giving them a little stir every 5 minutes. They should go slightly golden brown. If they show signs of burning, remove straight away
- Remove the granola from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes before stirring, as clusters will only start to form as the granola cools
- Once fully cooled, add the cashews and dark chocolate chunks. Serve with alt-milk and fresh strawberries. Store leftover granola in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks
Raspberry yoghurt baked oats
Change up your usual morning porridge with a comforting dish of gluten-free baked oats, served warm from the oven. This recipe is stuffed with fresh raspberries and creamy dairy-free yoghurt for a filling, tangy breakfast.
PREP TIME: 10 MINS
COOK TIME: 15 MINS
TOTAL TIME: 25 MINS
What are baked oats like?
Most people are familiar with the concept of porridge or oatmeal, but baked oats don’t tend to be a common breakfast staple. Depending on how you make it, baked oats can range from a cake-like breakfast bar, to a gooey, creamy pot that feels quite similar to normal oatmeal.
For me, the biggest difference comes from whether you chose to add yoghurt or not. This recipe mixes yoghurt with oats and egg, which makes a gooey, creamy dish that you’ll need a spoon to eat.
However, my first recipe for baked oats without yoghurt produced a low-sugar breakfast cake bar that could be sliced into squares.
Are they healthy?
Baked oats are a fantastic healthy breakfast option. They’re made with whole, natural ingredients and are very low in sugar. Proportionally, they contain more protein and fewer carbs than standard oatmeal or porridge, due to the addition of egg and yoghurt, meaning you need less oats to bulk it out.
They’re also a great option as part of a sustainable weight loss diet. Thanks to their balance of healthy fats, protein, and slow release carbohydrates, they help keep you fuller for longer and ward off cravings for a mid-morning snack. In fact, this recipe yields one really large bowl for only 376 calories, and that’s even including some extra honey to sweeten it up.
Baked oats are a super simple, one-bowl recipe. All you need to do is mix together the oats, yoghurt and egg in a bowl, plus any fruit, spices, sweeteners or other flavourings. Then spoon the mixture into an oven-proof dish and bake for 15-20 minutes. Individual dishes work best for this recipe, but you could bulk bake in one larger roasting tray.
Oats – this recipe uses gluten free rolled jumbo oats for a nice chunky texture. Instant oats really don’t cut it, unless you like the thick pasty consistency they produce.
Milk – you might need to add a splash or two of alt-milk to loosen the mixture up, particularly if you’re adding protein powder. If you don’t want to use the yoghurt, then you’ll need to add about 100ml of milk. You can substitute for water if desired but it won’t be as creamy.
Egg – this helps to bind the mixture together, but you can choose to omit and make this vegan. Substitute with a mashed banana or try it with a flax egg instead.
Additions & extra flavourings
Add protein powder – To ramp up the protein even further, mix in a scoop of unflavoured or vanilla protein powder into the wet mixture. I like adding unflavoured soya isolate protein to this recipe, but any other vegan or whey-based powder should work fine too.
If you opt for this version, you’ll also need to add a couple of tablespoons of alt-milk to loosen the mixture up, then bake as normal.
Stir in fresh fruit – this recipe is great with almost any kind of fruit. I’ve made it with fresh apple chunks stirred into the raw mixture before baking, or mixed berries and mashed up banana. Adding banana is a great, fibre-rich way to sweeten this recipe up without adding extra sugar or honey.
Add a surprise filling – one of my favourite things to do is hide a large spoon of baked peanut butter in the middle of the oats. You can easily do this by spooning enough raw mix to cover the bottom of the dish, before adding a generous dessert-spoon of peanut butter on top. Then cover it up with the remaining mixture before putting in the oven.
(Try adding a spoon of Nutella or dairy-free chocolate spread if you want a really indulgent melting filling)
Prepare in advance – I wouldn’t recommend preparing the raw mixture ahead of time, as the oats will end up soaking up all the liquid. Instead, try baking it in advance and reheating later.
Reheating – you can reheat baked oats without any issues. Just zap them in the microwave for about 60 to 90 seconds until fully hot through. Alternately, reheat in the oven at 180°C or 350°F degrees for 10 minutes, or until fully heated. You might need to add a splash of alt-milk to loosen up the mixture a little bit.
Shelf life – cooked baked oats will last for up to 6 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Make sure to seal and refrigerate them within 2 hours after baking. I wouldn’t recommend leaving them out at room temperature for longer than 2-3 hours, as bacteria grows very quickly at these conditions.
Freezing – you can easily freeze and defrost baked oats at a later date. Just place in an airtight container in the freezer and store for up to 6 months. You can safely freeze them longer than this, but the quality may not be the same. To defrost, place in the microwave on medium-high for 60-90 seconds until defrosted.
Onwards to the recipe! Please do leave a rating if you end up trying this out!
Raspberry yoghurt baked oats
- Mixing bowl
- oven-proof ramkins
- 35 g (⅓ cup) gluten free jumbo rolled oats
- 120 g (½ cup) plain soya yoghurt
- 1 medium egg
- ¾ tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 100 g (¾ cup) raspberries
- splash dairy-free milk
- Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the oats, yoghurt, egg, honey and vanilla until well combined. If the mixture seems very thick, add a splash or two of milk to loosen it up. Finally, gently fold in the raspberries
- Divide the mixture across two ramkins or one larger oven-proof bowl, and bake for 15 minutes until slightly risen and a pale golden-brown colour on top
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Sweet potato & red pepper soup
This is everything a soup should be – rich, creamy (while still dairy-free) and thick enough to scoop up with a hunk of fresh bread. It’s also naturally vegan and gluten free! Serve in large bowls or mugs topped with a swirl of dairy-free yoghurt or a handful of pine nuts and spices.
PREP TIME: 10 MINS
COOK TIME: 15 MINS
TOTAL TIME: 25 MINS
I once tried to make this recipe about 4 years ago in my small university kitchen. Unfortunately – as things often do when you improvise a recipe with budget-grade equipment – it ended in disaster.
Things started going downhill as I hacked away at a mass of huge sweet potato with a totally inadequate blunt kitchen knife. Then it took a substantial turn for the worse when I tried to season the very bland soup with some ground pepper. The lid of the offending pot popped off after a particularly vigorous shake, dumping about 5 tablespoons of the stuff into the pan.
After scooping out as much as I could, the watery vegetable disaster still tasted like a dose of peppery tear gas, so I gave the project up for lost.
Good soup 101 – don’t skip the stock cubes
Despite this setback, I am happy to report that after 4 years of nursing my injured pride, my second attempt was a resounding success. So good, in fact, that this might possibly be the best soup I’ve ever made.
The key to this is adding a healthy serving of vegetable stock. This recipe uses 1.5 gluten-free stock cubes, crumbled up in 500ml hot water. The herbs and saltiness add a whole other layer on top of the mild sweetness of the potato and peppers.
It also means that you don’t have to risk dumping a whole jar of pepper in it – or overdoing any other spice while you’re at it. As far as my amateur culinary appreciation goes, a stock cube adds a perfect balance of extra flavouring, so that you don’t really need to add anything else.
Sweet potato soup is incredibly easy to make – just chop up your veg and cook it in some stock for 15 minutes, then blend it all together. Here’s a full breakdown:
Cut the vegetables up small – unless you don’t mind waiting around for 40 minutes while the mixture softens. Try to cut them up into very small chunks – particularly the sweet potato, as it takes the longest to cook.
Sauté in some oil first – before you add any liquid, gently fry the onion, peppers and potato in some olive oil for about 5 minutes. This gives them some extra flavour rather than just boiling them to death
Add the vegetable stock – as per the above, this is an essential ingredient for bringing out the flavour in this soup
Simmer for 10-15 minutes – the potato chunks should be soft when you scoop out a couple and prod them with a knife
Blend together – at this stage, you’ll have a slightly mushy vegetable stew. Take the pan off the heat and use an electric hand-held blender to carefully pulse the mix until you have a nice thick soup consistency
Serve with an optional garnish – I like sprinkling some pine nuts and a dollop of dairy-free yoghurt on top. Other options could include scattering over some fresh herbs and a few spoons of sour cream. If you’re not on a reduced-carb diet, serving it with some decent gluten-free bread is a must.
Is it healthy?
This sweet potato & pepper soup is pretty high on the scale of healthy eating. It’s very low in fat and is much less carbohydrate-dense than bread or pasta. It has some protein and fibre in it, thanks to the vegetables, as well as loads of vitamin A & C.
Sweet potato is also stuffed full of antioxidants, which combat inflammation caused by harmful free radicals in your body. While they do contain some sugars, they are a slow-release carbohydrate, making them a low-glycaemic food. All in all, they’re a filling superfood that boosts weight loss and maintenance diets alike.
Once cooled (within about 2 hours of removing from the heat), make sure to refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container. Leftover soup will last in the fridge for up to 6 days. Reheat by placing in a microwave-safe bowl and heating for around 60-90 seconds on medium-high power.
Unlike normal sweet potato soup, which doesn’t freeze well due to its cream & dairy content, you can freeze this version once it has cooled. Place in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 6 months.
To thaw out, place in the fridge overnight and then reheat in the microwave or stovetop as you would normally. While you can reheat from frozen, you will likely end up overcooking the vegetables due to the increased additional cooking time.
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! If you’ve tried it out and liked it, I would be so grateful if you could support me and my blog by giving it a quick rating!
Sweet potato & red pepper soup
- Large saucepan
- Food blender / hand blender
- 450 g (3 cups) sweet potato, peeled
- 2 large bell peppers
- 1 red onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 vegetable stock cubes
- Chop the onion, sweet potato and pepper into very fine chunks of approx. 1cm. Tip into a large saucepan, add the olive oil and fry for 5 minutes on a high heat, stirring continuously to make sure the vegetables don't burn
- Turn the heat down low and prepare the vegetable stock. Boil 500ml water in a kettle or on the hob and pour into a measuring jug. Break the stock cubes up into rough chunks and add them into the hot water, stirring until all the lumps have dissolved
- Pour the stock over the vegetables and put a lid over the pan. Turn up the heat to a medium level and let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potato chunks are soft when prodded with a knife
- Remove the pan from the heat and using an electric hand-blender, gently pulse the stew until it has formed a thick, smooth soup consistency. Alternately, pour the contents of the pan into a free-standing food mixer and pulse until smooth
- Serve in large bowls topped with pine nuts, a sprinkle of dried spices and a generous swirl of yoghurt, with thick slices of bread on the side (not included in calorie information)
Free-from Rhubarb Crumble A gluten-free, dairy-free take on the classic dessert. Serve topped with dairy-free custard to get through those cold winter evenings, or with fresh yoghurt or cream for a summertime twist. If you don’t have any rhubarb on hand, simply swap it out…