Catering to diet restrictions is always a bit of a challenge, and eating vegan is no exception. There are limited (though growing) options in terms of places to eat out, and food products marketed to the vegan eater are often expensive. While the pros of eating vegan far outweigh the cons, these cons can seem weightier if paired with another diet restriction – eating gluten free, for example. A bulk of the aforementioned vegan food products are loaded with wheat proteins and often more elusive forms of gluten. For an unwary vegan eater who’s gluten intolerant or celiac, this could mean a very painful and uncomfortable week to follow, as well as potentially permanent damage to the digestive system. The task of eating vegan and gluten free need not be so daunting, however, nor should it be so limited. Having the patience and resources to create at least some of your diet using whole foods will prove rewarding both financially and physically. Let’s start with an easy breakfast/snack recipe:
Don’t be fooled! Despite its tricky name, buckwheat does not contain gluten and is in fact entirely unrelated to grains. Buckwheat is technically a fruit, and more closely related to rhubarb. The great thing about buckwheat is that unlike with other gluten free flours, there’s no need to also use a gum (xanthan or guar) thanks to buckwheat’s natural viscosity when combined with moisture. It’s nearly comparable to what gluten does for baked goods, allowing buckwheat to serve as a safe and hearty replacement for wheat. Even for those who can tolerate gluten, it is an excellent addition to any diet. Amoung countless other benefits, buckwheat has been proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, is extremely high in fiber, and can also lower the risk of diabetes. This recipe is perfect for a hearty breakfast on the go or a filling snack, is 100% vegan, gluten free and grain free, and can be made using entirely whole food ingredients!
- 2 ½ cups buckwheat flour
- ½ cup tapioca flour
- ½ cup brown sugar, maple syrup or sucanat
- 2 tsps baking powder*
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch seasalt
- 2 tsps cinnamon
- 1 tblsp freshly grated ginger, or a tsp powdered ginger
- 1 tblsp ground flax seed
- 2 tblsp hot water
- 2 cups applesauce
- ¼ cup melted virgin coconut oil, or any other kind of non GMO vegetable oil
- 2 tsps vanilla
- 1 cup grated apple
- ½ cup raisins or walnuts, optional
Preheat the oven to 375 F, and line muffin tins with paper muffin cups. You can also omit the paper cups and simply oil the tins.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. If you’re choosing to use maple syrup instead of the dry sugars, I’d suggest adding it to the wet ingredients, and would recommend tasting the finished product to ensure it’s sweetened to your liking.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the hot water and ground flax seed. Let sit five minutes, then add the melted coconut oil. If melting your coconut oil seems too labor intensive, you could always do your best to measure out the firm oil and let it melt in the warm flax mixture. Add this flax/oil mixture to a large bowl with the applesauce, syrup (if you’re opting for that as a sweetener), vanilla, grated apple, and the raisins or walnuts. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine just enough to ensure the dry and wet ingredients are evenly dispersed amongst each other, but DO NOT OVERMIX!
Pour the batter into the muffin tins and bake for roughly 25 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Let sit for five minutes then transfer muffins to a wire rack.
* Make sure you’re using CERTIFIED GLUTEN FREE baking powder! Wheat starch is often hiding in regular baking powders.