Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with Pink Beet-Dyed Coconut Cream Frosting (Gluten-Free & Paleo-friendly)

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Beet Dyed Frosting

Vanilla cupcakes with pastel pink frosting are classically delicious and perfect for celebrating LOVE (which means every day, right?)! These I-Can’t-Stop-Eating cupcakes are vegan, gluten-free, paleo-friendly, low in sugar (but not at the expense of flavor), and healthy.

Thanks to no-sugar added applesauce, these vegan vanilla cupcakes are filled with perfect moisture and less processed sugar. With vegan coconut cream vanilla frosting, the cupcakes have more than enough delicious flavor and fluffy texture!

Baked with a combo of gluten-free all-purpose flour with coconut flour for extra coconut flavor (you can stick to gluten-free all-purpose flour if preferred) makes these cupcakes cake-like and moist but with enough healthy density. You can also use all coconut flour, but keep in mind that coconut flour is quite dense, so you may need to add a little more liquid to balance the texture. Coconut flour adds extra coconut flavor!

We have been on a quest to create a simple and healthy (low sugar and no processed butter) vegan frosting option. Like scientists experimenting with all different types of recipes, we’ve been crafting a variety of vegan frostings; this one is the winner! The frosting is whipped and fluffy and has just the right amount of firm texture to swirl on cupcakes. However, if kept out at room temperature for a while, the frosting will lose its firmness. For best results, keep cupcakes refrigerated until served. Our favorite part of this recipe? It requires only three ingredients: coconut cream, sweetener (your preference), and vanilla extract. Easy peasie.

Vegan Coconut Cream Frosting is simple and oh so yummy! Sidebar: You must be a fan of coconut because these cupcakes are COCONUT and vanilla flavored all the way. The frosting is made with full healthy-fat delightful coconut cream, so the flavor of coconut is fantastically prominent. We love it!

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Besides the fantastic vegan frosting texture, the natural perfectly pink beet-dyed food coloring is gorgeous and easy to make. The beautiful red beet is perfect for natural red/pink food coloring. Thanks, mother nature! Red food coloring is artificial and offers no nutritional value. Studies have even linked some allergies and other health issues to the intake of artificial dyes (Red40 and others). No thanks, artificial colors. We got the beet!

One of the great things about utilizing the extraordinary beet’s natural hues is that not only are you eliminating artificial ingredients (by eliminating synthetic red food coloring), you are ADDING nutritional value to your recipes. Beets are nutritiously rich in trace minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Add some beet puree, beet powder, or beet simple syrup to this recipe, and you will have a ton more reasons to eat these cupcakes every single day. Follow these Do-It-Yourself Red Beet Food Coloring directions.

Wishing you an un”beet”able year filled with endless love, deliciously healthy foods, and joyful laughter.



Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with Perfectly Pink Beet-Dyed Coconut Cream Frosting (Gluten-Free and Paleo Friendly) Recipe

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VANILLA CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS (Makes about 10-11 cupcakes)

  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup coconut flour*

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (ensure gluten-free if necessary)

  • 3/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond or other) or water

  • 1/2 cup preferred sweetener (honey, maple syrup, or sugar)

  • 2 tbsp vanilla

  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

  • 1/4 cup applesauce

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

*You can replace coconut flour with gluten-free all purpose flour to keep it simple; however, although coconut flour adds delicious flavor to this recipe, the flour is also quite dense. You may need to add extra non-dairy milk or applesauce to balance the hearty texture to avoid dry cupcakes.


DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray muffin tin with non-cooking spray (we prefer coconut oil cooking spray). You may also line your muffin tins with paper liners (lightly spray those too for good measure).

2. Combine all ingredients, starting with dry ingredients first. Mix well and then add wet ingredients, making sure to smooth out any lumps.

3. Pour batter into muffin tins, filling each tin about 3/4 full. These cupcakes do not contain much “rising” ingredients, so they won’t rise and spill over the tops of the tin.

4. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick or fork comes out clean.

5. Let cool, and then frost with Vegan Coconut Cream Naturally Beet-Dyed Frosting (see below).

6. If not eating immediately, save in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. These cupcakes are best eaten fresh!


HOW TO MAKE COCONUT CREAM FROSTING (Vegan and Paleo-Friendly)


Vegan coconut cream frosting is so easy and fluffy. I could eat an entire bowl of this AND lick the spoon! It’s vegan, paleo (friendly) and 100% delicious!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 13.5 - 14 oz can coconut cream (not milk) - our favorite is extra thick coconut cream from Trader Joe’s

  • 1/4-1/2 cup sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, honey, powdered sugar (if your diet allows), etc.)

  • 1-2 tsp vanilla

  • coconut shreds for toppings

  • 1-2 tsp beet puree or powder for natural red/pink beet food coloring (the amount you add depends on the color of pink you prefer)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make sure you use coconut cream not coconut milk.

  2. Refrigerate the thick coconut cream (we love Trader Joe’s Extra Thick and Rich Coconut Cream) overnight or up to 24 hours. Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream is 100% solid, so you don’t have to worry about discovering too much liquid when opening the can. If you use other brands of coconut cream, you may need 2 cans of coconut cream in order to combine the solid cream of both. Some cans of coconut cream contain liquid.

  3. After opening the can, drain any liquid and discard (or add to a smoothie, etc.).

  4. Add the solid cream into a bowl and whip with an electric mixer. Don’t over-mix as the cream will lose its fluffy texture.

  5. Gently mix in your toppings.

  6. Chill coconut cream frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use on cupcakes, cakes, or waffles.

  7. Enjoy!


STILL HUNGRY?

Beet Chocolate Mint Brownies (Gluten-Free)

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Beet Chocolate Mint Brownies offer the perfect blend of minty goodness, sweet beets, and dark chocolate along with a delightful "cake-like" texture. Cheers to veggie desserts! 

'Tis the season of joyful gatherings, holiday cheer, and signature flavors like cinnamon, gingerbread, and mint. These distinct seasonal flavors remind me of past holidays spent baking with family. I smile remembering my grandma Grace waltzing her way through the kitchen, and all of us uproariously laughing at gingerbread cookies missing limbs and sugar cookie cutouts appearing as unidentifiable blobs. Like many of you, holidays evoke beautiful memories, and it is not surprising that now as I am older, I still enjoy baking and cooking through the holiday season. 

To be candid, I am a sucker for baked goods. While trying to keep my sugar fiend sweet-tooth in check, I love inventing healthier versions of the decadent gooey goodness that my taste-buds crave. Beet Chocolate Mint Brownies provide a "healthier" dessert option during the holidays and also sneak vegetables into desserts for reluctant veggie eaters. Plus - these brownies are low in processed sugars and filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (Thanks to the nutritious beetroot and raw cacao powder!). If you want the healthiest option, eliminate the chocolate and mint melted chocolate topping. That contains the most sugar.

These brownies are best enjoyed fresh out of the oven or within a day or two. Gluten-free all purpose flour is quite dense, and the brownies may become dry after a few days. When they are fresh and warm, these brownies are divine. Top these brownies with your favorite ice cream or vegan ice cream for extra flair.

Wishing you a holiday season filled with joy, love, abundance, light, and gratitude! 



Beet Chocolate and Mint Brownies (Gluten-Free) Recipe

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 medium cooked beets*

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 tsp mint extract

  • 2 free-range large eggs or egg substitute

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (liquid)

  • 3 tbsp gluten-free all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 honey (or your preferred sweetener)

  • 1/2 tsp GF baking powder

  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate mint chips*** (optional)

*If pressed for time, use packaged ready-to-eat organic beets.

**As beets bring natural sweetness to desserts, this recipe doesn’t require unnecessary extra sugar, often found in brownies. If you want a traditional sugary flavor of brownies, add more sweetener to your preference.

***Dark chocolate mint chips are the most unhealthy ingredient, so include as you wish. Also, depending on the brand, some chocolate mint chips contain wheat and/or gluten, so for those with gluten allergies, choose gluten-free approved chocolate mint chips or avoid including in this recipe. All other recipe ingredients are gluten-free. 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray or coat lightly with coconut oil.  

2. Purée cooked beets in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Set aside. 

3. In large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Then, add in wet ingredients: vanilla extract, peppermint extract, coconut oil, and eggs. Mix well.  Stir in pureed beets.

4. Add a handful of dark chocolate mint chips into the batter (optional). Gently fold into mix. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle dark chocolate mint chips on top before baking. 

5. Bake for 15-19 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean. 

6. Serve warm and gooey.

7. (Optional) Melt dark chocolate mint chips in sauce pan over low hit, stirring continuously to avoid burning. Once melted, spread chocolate on brownies as a “frosting.” Dark chocolate mint chips are not “baking” chips, but they will melt and make a delicious frosting for mint brownies during the holidays. Enjoy!


STILL HUNGRY?

Beet and Blueberry Almond Oatmeal Cobbler

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With the chilly rain outside, I am obsessed with fleece blankets, knee-high socks, turmeric teas and hot spiced wines, and every type of baked good I can create in my oven! This Beet and Blueberry Almond Oatmeal Cobbler is brimming with warmth and flavor. Why beets and blueberries? Why not? Beets and blueberries are vibrant and healthy and pair beautifully with the sweet blueberry taste and smoky earthy flavor from beets. 

This scrumptious recipe is from one of my favorite food blogs: The Nourished Seedling, which features  the most uniquely stunning culinary creations (in our Tasty Tuesdays Interview, meet Sarah the brilliance behind this delicious dish). 

Beets, blueberries, and a hint of cinnamon with oats, Voila! . . . this cobbler is extremely delicious. Serve beet and blueberry cobbler for a breakfast treat or as a dessert with ice-cream a la mode.   



Beet and Blueberry Almond Oatmeal Cobbler Recipe

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INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups frozen blueberries

  • 1 cup finely peeled and shredded beets

  • 1/2 cup cane sugar

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 4 teaspoons arrowroot powder*

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats**

  • 5 tablespoons butter

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1 cup almond flour

  • 1/4 cup almond milk

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*Arrowroot powder contains a lot of health benefits and is used as a thickening agent. Although arrowroot powder is a healthier alternative to cornstarch, cornstarch may be used as a replacement.  

**I prefer to use gluten-free rolled oats. Additionally, I use almond milk in this recipe; however, the original recipe uses whole milk. Use whichever milk type you prefer. Keep me posted on any recipe adaptions. I love learning about new ways to create recipes. Cheers! 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine blueberries, beets, sugar, vanilla, butter, salt and maple syrup in a saucepan.  Bring to a low boil and cook for about 10 minutes on low heat.

3. Slowly mix in arrowroot powder.  If you’re concerned about clumping, you can take a few tablespoons of the berry/beet mixture and mix it in a small dish with the arrowroot powder to help it dissolve.

4. Let the berry/beet mixture cook and thicken on low heat for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

5. While the mixture is cooking, mix the remaining ingredients for the cobbler topping. 

6. In a large bowl, combine the oats, sugar, almond flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Mix well.

7. Dice the butter into cubes and cut into dry mixture with a pastry cutter (or a fork if needed).  Add in milk and mix together.

8. In a greased baking dish (I used a 10.5 x 7 inch Emile Henry Oval Baker ), pour the berry/beet mixture.  Break the topping into little pieces with your hands and crumble over the top.

9. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.  You may want to place a baking tray on the rack below the dish, so the bottom of the oven is protected from any bubbling over.  Remove from oven and let cool before serving.  

Photo and recipe adapted from The Nourished Seedling. 


STILL HUNGRY?

Beet Chocolate and Date Mousse / Breakfast Parfait (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

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Oh sweet chocolate, how I love thee! Chocolate, beetroot, and dates create one ode-worthy healthy dessert. Don't be surprised if you find yourself singing its praises while frantically ravaging every bite down to the last microscopic morsel on the spoon. 

Besides its delicious flavor, raw cacao contains many fantastic health benefits. Known for being a "happy food," studies have shown that cacao (chocolate), is a stellar mood enhancer, as it can increase certain neurotransmitters promoting a sense of well-being. "The same brain chemical that is released when we experience deep feelings of love – phenylethylamine – is found in chocolate" (Food Matters). Guess what? You can eat MORE cacao (chocolate) because it helps your mood!

Raw cacao is also high in antioxidants and trace minerals, protects nerve cells, improves circulation, and increases energy. There are so many amazing reasons (as if we NEED reasons) to eat more chocolate. Wahoo! 

Beet Chocolate and Date Mousse

What is the Difference Between Cacao and Cocoa?

Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cacao beans. Cocoa (like in hot chocolates and chocolate bars) may look like cacao, but it is not the same. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that has been roasted at high temperatures which can change the molecular structure of the cacao bean reducing its overall nutritional value. However, both are beneficial for health. 

Raw cacao combined with the superhero benefits of beetroot (antioxidants, minerals, and fiber) provides one deliciously nutritious dessert. Beets and Medjool dates are high in natural sugar (which is why I love using them in desserts), so this dessert is sweet enough without extra sugar. For a sweeter flavor, add sweetener of your choice. Grab a spoon and dig into this scrumptious treat! 



Beet Chocolate and Date Mousse Recipe (Gluten-Free / Vegan)

INGREDIENTS

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  • 1-2 small-medium beetroot, cooked and peeled (for easy prep, use ready-to-eat packaged baby beets)

  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder

  • 4 heaping tbsp coconut cream*

  • 4 soaked pitted Medjool dates and 1 tbsp soaked liquid

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger root

  • 1 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil

  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup (Optional) - This recipe is naturally sweet without added sweeteners.

*If using coconut or almond milk, use 2-3 tbsp. Coconut cream is a thicker consistency.

OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp Maca powder

  • 1/4 cup water (only as needed for processing)

  • 1 tbsp raw almond-butter

  • dash of cayenne or chili powder

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

  • cacao nibs, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, fresh mint, gluten-free oats, or gluten-free granola

DIRECTIONS

1. Soak 4 pitted Medjool dates for 1/2 to 1 hour. 

2. In a high-speed blender, add all the ingredients.

3. Blend well, stopping frequently to wipe down the sides with a spatula. Begin blending again, adding a little water, coconut water, or coconut milk as needed to create a light and smooth mousse consistency. 

4. Spoon equal amounts into dessert glasses. Top with preferred toppings, such as fruit, cacao nibs, or coconut shreds. Chill in fridge for at least 20 mins before serving. 

5. Serve in a glass layering with gluten-free oats, granola, or vegan yogurt or ice cream.


STILL HUNGRY?

Beet, Berry, and Coconut Smoothie Popsicles (Vegan / Gluten-Free)

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"Beet" the heat with delicious and nutritious Smoothie Popsicles. Trying to sneak more veggies and fruits into your children's diets or looking for healthy treats to beat the summer heat? Grab your blender and make refreshingly tasty fruit and veggie popsicles, perfect for a family/friend barbecue,  a snack break during play time for the kiddos, or sitting poolside with your favorite book. 

While visiting my adorable nephews (4-year-old and 18-month-old) in Oregon last week, two things were evident: 1) I absolutely love being an auntie. It is the best! 2) Sometimes it takes some finagling and disguising to get more veggies into children's diets. Smoothie popsicles are the perfect way to sneak some extra healthy ingredients into daily diets as smoothie popsicles are deliciously inviting and taste like dessert! 

Smoothie popsicles are quite simple. Blend a smoothie with your favorite fruits and veggies. Use your favorite fruits, greens, and veggies as the base of the smoothie. Start with about 1/2 - 1 cup fruits/veggies and 1/2 cup coconut water, orange juice, or milk of your choice (I LOVE almond milk). Add a couple tablespoons of Greek or vegan yogurt, more juice or liquid as needed, until the smoothie blends smoothly. For presentation or a dramatic design, layer or swirl colors. Popsicle molds are found in most grocery stores and Amazon.

Golden Beet Smoothie Popsicles

For my nephews, I made three types of popsicles:

  • Beet Berry, and Coconut Yogurt Smoothie Popsicles

  • Golden Beet, Mango, and Coconut Yogurt Smoothie Popsicles

  • Pineapple, Mango, and Coconut Milk Smoothie Popsicles.

All three were a hit! Making smoothie popsicles with children is also interactive. Nephew Gabriel loves helping by pushing the buttons on the blender. These popsicles were perfect for the really hot days (almost 90 degrees F) in Oregon. 

I was overjoyed when 4-year-old Gabriel loved the beet berry pops as he can normally sniff out beetroot in the sweetest of smoothies and will say, "No Thanks!" when offered. Nephew Gideon is at the stage where he will eat anything, and he currently adores fruits and veggies, often eating beets plain. We hope he never grows out of his love for healthy foods! 


Beet, Berry and Coconut Smoothie Popsicle Recipe (Vegan / Gluten-Free)

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INGREDIENTS

Beet, Berry, and Coconut Yogurt Smoothie Popsicles

  • 1 raw small red beet, peeled and quartered

  • 1/2 cup strawberries and raspberries

  • 1/3 cup blueberries

  • 1/2 cup coconut water

  • 1/4 cup coconut or vanilla vegan yogurt

  • honey (optional for added sweetness)

Golden Beet, Mango, and Coconut Yogurt Smoothie Popsicles

  • 1 golden beet

  • 1/2 cup mango

  • 1 orange

  • 1/2 cup orange juice

  • 1/2 cup coconut or vanilla vegan yogurt

  • honey (optional for added sweetness)

DIRECTIONS

Wash all ingredients. Peel raw beets and quarter. Add ingredients to blender. Swirl away! Add more liquid or fruits/veggies as needed. Pour smoothie ingredients into molds. Freeze overnight (some will freeze within 3-4 hours). After they are frozen, gently remove popsicles from the molds. You may need to run molds under warm water for a few minutes. Enjoy! 

Looking for more deliciously complete smoothie recipes? Try Beet, Berry, and Mint Smoothie or Golden Beet, Orange, and Mango Smoothie.


STILL HUNGRY?

Beet, Apple, and Walnut Breakfast Muffins

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Got the Blues? "Beet" 'Em! Beet, Apple, and Walnut Muffins are absolutely scrumptious and have many nutritional benefits that will keep the "blues" away.  Did you know that beets are great for uplifting your mind, body, and mood? 

The beetroot is your liver's friend. The beet helps reduce liver bile and clean out toxins, stress, and bile. This tremendously supports the liver and provides more energy for your body, but when the liver is healthy, it also has an anti-depressant effect on the brain. This means that a healthy liver positively impacts our mood too! Beets also contain significant amounts of magnesium, and this mineral is known for its superhero ability to soothe and relax nerves.

I'm currently visiting my family in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and these muffins were a baking project that my amazing mom and I tackled after the recent passing of my precious 100-year-YOUNG grandfather. We miss his presence in the house, and baking together while laughing and crying over memories is a beautifully cathartic mother and daughter activity. These muffins are magical, and gramps would have LOVED eating them with his morning coffee. 

Beet Apple Muffins and Tin

Lately, I have been in the baking mood (more than usual). My mom has a gorgeous big kitchen, and with cold Wisconsin winter weather outside, I am obsessed with heating the kitchen with toasty baked goods that I immediately stuff into my mouth. When there’s snow outside, it seems appropriate to wear cozy pjs and bake all day while watching the snow flurries, squirrel antics, and wildlife outside my mom’s big kitchen windows. 

When baking, I enjoy adding veggies and fruits to baked goods because they add natural sweetness, delicious moisture and delightful texture. These healthy muffins, however, are posers in the dessert category as they could be a hearty on-the-go breakfast muffin or a healthy dessert alternative.

For extra yumminess, devour Beet, Apple, and Walnut Muffins with a warm cinnamon latte or spiced tea.


Beet, Apple and Walnut Breakfast Muffins Recipe

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 egg white

  • 1/2 cup apple or peach butter

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

  • 1 small-medium raw beet, peeled and grated

  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

  • 1/2 cup craisins or raisins

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1 ½ cup gluten-free all purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup almond flour

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1tbsp wheat germ sprinkled on top (optional)

Just Beet It Tips

  • If on a vegan diet, use egg substitute in place of eggs.

  • Gluten-free all-purpose flour works well in place of regular flour. Trader Joe's has a fabulous inexpensive GF all-purpose flour.

  • For a sugar-free muffin eliminate brown sugar or add a dash of natural Stevia. These muffins still taste amazing with the natural sweetness from beets and apples.

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil 18 muffin cups or line with muffin papers.

2. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, apple/peach butter, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.

3. In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in beet, apple, walnuts, and craisins or raisins. Stir in apple butter wet mixture until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. 

4. Optional: In a small bowl, combine wheat germ and an extra tsp each of cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle over muffin tops. 

5. Bake about 14-15 minutes, or until tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed. Let cool about 5 minutes. 

Recipe inspired from allrecipes carrot muffins.


STILL HUNGRY?

Vegan Beet Fudge

Hot diggity! This vegan beet fudge is decadent. The combination of coconut, beets, and dark chocolate is absolutely stunning, especially if you are a lover of beets. Serve this fudge for a family dessert, for Valentine's Day to celebrate the beet's vibrant red and pink hues, or for a way to experience a totally new presentation of beets, just for the heck of it. 

In order to create the perfect texture for these vegan fudge bites, it is essential to use a Vitamix or incredibly awesome high-speed blender or food processor. However, if the texture is not stellar, the beet fudge yumminess factor trumps desired texture. Also, you definitely need to use coconut butter as the texture and flavor largely depend on that specific ingredient. 

Vegan Beet Fudge

Vegan Beet Fudge Recipe

INGREDIENTS

Beet Fudge Ingredients

  • one heaping cup of chopped steamed beets (about 8oz)

  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid Stevia (or your preferred sweetener)

  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup softened coconut butter* + 1 tablespoon (about 5 oz)

  • 1-2 tablespoons water (you could do 1 tablespoon maple syrup if more sweetness is desired)

*Coconut butter is different from coconut oil. Coconut oil is the oil extracted from coconut meat. Coconut butter is the whole meat of the coconut pureed into a butter. Artisana Organic Raw Coconut Butter is a favorite!

Dark Chocolate Sauce Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons raw cacao powder (1 oz) -could use regular cocoa powder

  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar, maples syrup, agave or honey (3oz)

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid (around 2 1/4oz)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

to make fudge

1. Cut beets into quarters and steam until tender (about 15-20 minutes). Leave skins on. Beets retain more vibrant color and nutrients when skins are left on during steaming or cooking (a beet is cooked when you can easily insert a fork into its center). Peel beets. 

2. Place all ingredients into a Vitamix or food processor.

3. Soften the coconut butter before measuring out 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon. The one tablespoon is added because the 1/2 cup made the consistency just a tad too soft; adding in that extra tablespoon should help.

4. Blend until smooth and creamy. This works best if all ingredients are at room temperature.

5. Pour into your pan of choice, like a small ceramic carafe. 

6. Set in freezer or fridge for 3-5 hours or until firm to touch.

7. Remove from pan, or if you used a knife-friendly pan, you can cut into slices and carefully remove.

to make chocolate sauce

1. Gather ingredients into a large bowl and stir well.

2. With a spoon, drizzle the chocolate sauce over your beet fudge pieces.

3. Coconut nectar makes the chocolate sauce really thick and sticky, but if you cannot locate coconut nectar, substitute maple syrup, agave, or honey to create a good texture. 

4. If you have any leftovers, store in refrigerator for 5-6 days. 

Photo Credit & Recipe adapted from Purely Twins.


STILL HUNGRY?

Beet Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

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This decadent dessert is chocolate and beet goodness all condensed into a vegan and gluten-free cupcake. Want to "sneak" some vegetables into dessert for the kiddos? Beets are heart healthy and filled with fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Your heart will "BEET" for these cupcakes! 

I was first introduced to these delightful cupcakes while attending a baby shower in Long Beach catered by Hilary Zuraspi, who baked brilliant vegan and gluten-free beet chocolate cupcakes along with a vast array of vegan dishes. Beet cupcakes, baby shower shenanigans, beautiful surroundings in nature with friends: it was the perfect afternoon for celebrating. Brenda and Robby, we are excited to meet your little one! 

Adapted from the Minimalist Baker's recipe, these cupcakes are light, moist, and super chocolaty. If vegan and gluten-free baking is your preference, these cupcakes are perfect for you; be prepared for shimmies and smiles!

For beet non-enthusiasts, I double-dog dare you to indulge and try this recipe. You may discover a new-found love affair with beets. Happy baking! 


Beet Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan and Gluten-Free) Recipe

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INGREDIENTS

for cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup beet puree (about one medium beet)

  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla or original almond milk

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or vegan butter (coconut butter is also an option)

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 heaping cup gluten-free all purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup cane sugar or sweetener of your choice, such as honey (if not vegan)

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 pinch salt

for vegan frosting

DIRECTIONS (adapted from Minimalist Baker)

1.  FOR BEETS: To roast beets, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle 2 large beets with oil of choice and wrap in foil. Bake for 50 minutes - 1 hour, or until a knife slides through easily. Peel away skins by rubbing foil around and it should shed off easily. Add beets to a food processor or blender and add 1/4 cup liquid of choice (water or orange juice). Blend until creamy, smooth and pourable, scraping down sides as needed. Otherwise, sub another fruit puree, such as applesauce, with varied results. 

If time and prep is an issue, use natural organic packaged beets. Love Beets provides fresh, prepared beets for a no-fuss way to eat beets. 

2. FOR CUPCAKES: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line 11 muffins with paper liners or lightly grease. Also measure out almond milk and add vinegar. Stir and let curdle while moving onto the next step.

4. Add baking soda to the almond milk vinegar mixture and stir. It should fizz.

5. Add the sugar and almond milk and beat to combine. Then add beet puree, melted coconut oil, salt and mix.

6. Add cocoa powder and gluten-free flour and beat to combine. If the batter appears too thick, add a touch more almond milk, but it should be perfect. If too thin, add a little more gluten-free flour blend + cocoa powder. It should resemble a thin batter that’s pourable.

7. Divide batter evenly between muffin tins (should be enough for between 11), filling 3/4 full.

8. Bake for 29-34 minutes or until puffy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

9. Let rest in the tin for 10-15 minutes, and then remove. Let cupcakes cool COMPLETELY on a cooling rack. Don’t try to sample early because they need to fully cool or they tend to stick to the wrappers.

10. FOR FROSTING: Add almond milk to your rinsed out mixing bowl from earlier and microwave for 1 minute. (Alternatively, heat in a saucepan until just simmering and then transfer back to mixing bowl.)

11. Immediately add chocolate to warm milk but don’t touch for 2 minutes so it can melt.

12. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate, and then add softened butter and cover. Let rest untouched for another 10 minutes to meddle.

13. Use your mixer to beat the mixture together. Then add 1 cup powdered sugar, mix again, and place in fridge to set for 20-30 minutes. You will know the frosting is ready when you tip it and the texture is slow to move.

14. Remove from fridge and beat again. If it’s still too thin, add another 1/4 - 1/2 cup powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Chilling for a total of 20 minutes and adding 1 3/4 cups total powdered sugar seems about perfect.

15. Frost cupcakes generously. You will likely have leftover frosting. Sprinkles, mint leaves, or fresh raspberries would make the perfect garnish.

16. Will keep well-covered at room temperature for several days, though best when fresh. 

Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker


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Red Velvet Beet Espresso Brownies

red velvet beet brownies

Beets, Espresso, and Chocolate . . . Oh My! These brownies will delight your soul. I discovered this recipe on gardenerd (founded by the fabulous Christy Wilhelmi) and fell in love with the scrumptious combination of beets, espresso, and chocolate, a dream come true! Although I prefer a low sugar diet, there are ways to include healthier ingredients if that is also your preference. 1) Replace sugar with sugar-free applesauce (brownie consistency will vary) or a dash of Stevia, and 2) Use a gluten-free flour (brownies may be more dense) if you are gluten sensitive. 

Experiment with ingredients and share your experiences with me. Cheers to beets and decadent desserts! 


Red Velvet Beet Espresso Brownies Recipe

INGREDIENTS (Makes 16 brownies)

  • 2 large cooked beets (Fresh is best; however, Love Beets and Trader Joe's both provide ready-to-eat beets as an easy, no-fuss alternative)

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (or 2 Tbsp coconut oil)

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs (or egg substitute)

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder or real espresso grounds (use decaf instant coffee as a substitute if avoiding caffeine)

  • ½ cup mini dark chocolate chips

Just Beet It Notes

Beets retain more of their vibrant color when cooked or steamed with their skins. 

Use raw cacao powder if you want a healthy chocolate flavor. Raw Cacao contains more nutrients than cocoa powder. 

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Purée beets in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary. Set aside.

3. Whisk together butter and sugar in bowl until smooth. Add vanilla, and then whisk in eggs one at a time. Stir in beets.

4. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in separate bowl. Fold flour mixture into beet mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan.

5. Bake 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean. Cool, then cut into 16 squares.

The natural moist texture of beets keeps these brownies tender.

Photo Credit: Vegetarian Times


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Beet Chocolate Cupcakes with Mascarpone and Orange Frosting (beet-dyed)

Beet Chocolate Cupcakes

Beets in a dessert? That may sound like crazy talk; however, beetroots contain natural sugar and a unique taste making them a wonderful vegetable to add to desserts. I am a dessert fiend, so I have to keep my composure and not devour an entire batch of these beet chocolate cupcakes. 

The beets and applesauce retain the cupcakes' moisture as gluten-free flour is often more dense than all-purpose flour. Fresh is best, but for the easy factor, using organic packagedbeets is also a great option. Top cupcakes with your favorite frosting. Mascarpone and citrus frosting (see below) is one of my favorites. Add a hint of orange-juice dyed pink with beet juice for flair.

Want to Create a Healthy, Natural Red Dye? Use beets! Beet dye is the perfect alternative to synthetic, artificial red food coloring. Cheers to your beet dessert adventures! 


Beet Chocolate Cupcakes with Mascarpone and Orange Frosting (beet-dyed) Recipe

INGREDIENTS

for beet chocolate cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cup cooked, mashed (or puree) red table beets

  • 1/2 cup unsalted grass-fed butter (use 1-2 tbsps of coconut oil as an alternative)

  • 2/3 cup raw cocoa

  • 1 1/8 cups unsweetened applesauce

  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • 1 cup sugar (or sweetener of your choice - I tend to avoid using added sugar when baking with beets as they are naturally sweet - sweeten to your preference)

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (Almond flour creates denser cupcakes, so use all-purpose flour if you prefer)

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • a dash of cinnamon

  • 3 eggs, beaten (or egg substitute)

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

for Mascarpone Orange Frosting (Beet Dyed) 

  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream (optional-coconut butter)

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (varies depending on your preference for sweetness)

  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 2-3 tbsp fresh orange juice (optional)

  • 1-4 tbsp beet dye (creating red dye.)

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Cook beets unless you are using prepared baby beets. Beets (with their skins) can be steamed for 15-20 minutes, roasted, or boiled. Beets need to be cooked with skins removed and mashed in order to blend. Mixing in a food processor works best to create a beet puree. 

3. In a bowl, combine cocoa, applesauce and vanilla, and mix well. In another medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar (if using), cinnamon, and salt. Mix well and add to cocoa mixture. 

4. Blend in eggs, butter (softened), and beets. Beat two-three minutes with an electric mixer. Stir in chocolate chips, if desired.

5. Spoon the batter into the paper-lined muffin cups until 3/4 full. Bake about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Cupcakes will continue cooking for a few minutes after removed from the oven. 

6. Let the cupcakes cool on rack. 

Directions for Mascarpone Orange Frosting (Beet Dyed)

1. In a medium bowl, use a handheld mixer and whip the chilled cream (or coconut butter) until texture becomes slightly stiff. If using coconut butter, texture will remain soft and less firm than heavy cream. Add vanilla extract and sugar and beat until mixed.

2. Slowly add mascarpone cheese by adding spoonfuls at a time, mixing on slow speed, just long enough so the mascarpone is mixed.

3. Lastly, add orange juice and beet dye (Beet dye measurement varies based on preferred color. Add a few drops at a time until desired color is achieved). Slowly incorporate both orange juice and beet dye.  

4. Place the icing in the fridge for about an hour to chill. The frosting becomes soft, so refrigerating is best until ready to be served.