Vegetarian Beet and Beet Green Onigiri Rice Ball Recipe

October 3rd, 2011 yum Posted in Japanese, Rice, Soy Free, beets 4 Comments »

The DH and I became addicted to Onigiri, or Japanese Rice Balls, when we lived in Japan. You could go into any convenience store at any time of night and pick up a delicious triangle of rice, usually wrapped in Nori Seaweed, with a wide variety of fillings. I liked umeboshi plum as a filling, and the DH’s favorite was tuna mayonnaise. Unfortunately I found that you did have to be careful with the ingredients, as many major chains brushed the nori with shoyu soy sauce, which contains wheat. I found out which companies had flavors without wheat and stuck to those, but I also started making them at home. The DH’s favorite is still probably tuna mayonnaise, but the other night I tried some fusion-type vegetable fillings from our garden and he loved it. We have been growing some gorgeous beets and multi-colored carrots in our garden. We aren’t swimming in them like we were drowning in pattypan squash, but there are enough to have beets and carrots for dinner whenever we want them. I was making Toddler Yum and the DH their favorite tuna-mayo onigiri and decided to make myself some fun veggie fillings with both parts of the beet- the beetroot and the beet greens! Somehow cheese seemed like just the right accompaniment for the beet root, and balsamic vinegar is a natural when talking beet-cheese salads. And I was reminded of one of my favorite vegan onigiri fillings, the spinach-tahini filling, that I made some time ago, so I decided to make an easy twist on the recipe and add some roasted carrot for texture. Both were smashing successes, and ever so tasty. If you have any leftover filling, they make great veggie side dishes too. Hope you enjoy!

Beet Cheese Onigiri Rice Ball Recipe
Ingredients
Enough Japanese short grain white Rice for three rice balls (around 1 cup uncooked rice cooker measure), cooked, fluffed and cooled slightly

2 medium sized beets or 3 small beets, cooked, peeled and diced small
Small amount of your favorite white, salty cheese (I used Laughing Cow), diced into the same size cubes as the beets
dash Balsamic Vinegar (I used a gourmet cherry balsamic but any you like is fine)

large grain salt like kosher or flaked
freshly grated black pepper

Directions
Combine your diced beets and diced cheese in a small bowl. Splash with balsamic vinegar and mix to evenly distribute. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

Place one large piece of saran wrap on your counter and place a triangle-shaped layer of rice on the saran wrap. My triangles are usually around 2 1/2 inches “tall”. The layer is around 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep, if that makes sense. Place a small spoonful of your beet-cheese filling in the center of the triangle. Try to drain off any excess liquid (vinegar) before adding the beets so you don’t get soggy rice balls. Cover your spoonful of filling with a layer of rice. Then wrap the triangle up tightly in your saran wrap and press to shape into a firm onigiri. You can shape it more as a circle or a triangle, depending on your mood.

Place onigiri on a serving plate and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Continue until all your rice has been used up and enjoy!

Beet Green Tahini Onigiri Rice Ball Recipe
Ingredients
Enough Japanese short grain white Rice for three rice balls (around 1 cup uncooked rice cooker measure), cooked, fluffed and cooled slightly

Tahini from middle-eastern market (in a glass jar)
water
1/2 tsp or more lime juice, or apple cider vinegar
drizzle of agave nectar or simple sugar syrup (I bet you could make this from coconut sugar if desired!)
salt

beet greens from 3 small beets or 2 medium beets, boiled, rinsed in cold water and drained
2 tbsp. leftover diced roasted Carrot fries [They were cut into thin "french fries", placed on a baking sheet and drizzled with olive oil and a little salt and roasted at 450 until you have yummy caramelized "fries" (turning as needed)]

Large grain salt
sesame seeds, preferably toasted, brown variety (I was out so had to use black)

Directions
Squeeze out any additional moisture from your beet greens and chop them finely. Pour 1/4 cup (or more) tahini into a small bowl. Add water to thin slighly, and whisk together. Add your lime juice and agave nectar and combine. Taste, and adjust sweetness-sour ratio to your preference. Add salt to taste. Add your beet greens and diced roasted carrot mix together.

Place one large piece of saran wrap on your counter and place a triangle-shaped layer of rice on the saran wrap. My triangles are usually around 2 1/2 inches tall. The layer is around 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep, if that makes sense. Place a small spoonful of your tahini-beet green filling in the center of the triangle. If your tahini dressing is very runny, drain some off before adding it to the rice. Cover your spoonful of filling with a layer of rice. Then wrap the triangle up tightly in your saran wrap and press to shape into a firm onigiri. You can shape it more as a circle or a triangle, depending on your mood.

Place onigiri on a serving plate and sprinkle with large grain salt and sesame seeds. Continue until all your rice has been used up and enjoy!

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A 4th of July Picnic Menu: Gluten free Vegan Sorghum Brownie Recipe

July 5th, 2010 yum Posted in 4th of July, Baked Goods, Chocolate, Dairy Free, Egg Free, JM friendly, Nut Free, Party Food, Rice Free, Sorghum, Soy Free, Sugar free, Vegan, beets, tapioca starch free 8 Comments »


Gluten-free Flax seed, Beet puree, and Agave sweetened brownies, from left to right.

This 4th of July I had one goal. I hadn’t had a good brownie since I went dairy, soy and egg-free after Baby Yum was born, and I was determined to make a vegan brownie that would pass a glutenoid taste test and satisfy pesky chocolate cravings. It is easy enough to make a good brownie with butter and eggs and lots of melty, milky chocolate, but how about without those things? How could you compensate for their absence? As I researched, I found that the real sticking point was the absence of egg. Luckily, vegan bakers are extraordinarily creative, and have come up with all kinds of substitutes, including flax seed, applesauce, and even beet puree. Another sticking point was the chocolate of course. I wanted these brownies to be safe for me and my highly soy-sensitive friend (who avoids even soy lecithin), so I had to find safe chocolate for us. I found baking chocolate (melt in the microwave and add agave or other sweetener to taste), Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, and cocoa powder (Penzey’s) to be my salvation. I knew a vegan brownie that would pass the glutenoid taste test would be a challenge. And when it comes to that, I’m not a huge brownie girl, either, so it would be tough to find one I liked myself. I like fudgey brownies, not cake-like or bread-like brownies. To find the perfect recipe, I decided to make three recipes, adapted from those above. I called the first recipe “F” for flax seed, the second “B” for beet puree, and the third “A” for agave. Note that except for the applesauce recipe, the recipes linked above are not gluten-free, but of course my versions were. Anyway. Then I lined up my testers. You all (may) know my friend JM, who has inspired many allergen-sensitive recipes here on the Book of Yum. She is free of gluten, potato, soy, avocado, and dairy. Her partner in crime, M, is an adventurous glutenoid who has patiently tried many gluten-free experiments over the years at gluten-free potlucks and the like. Then there was me, gluten, soy, corn, potato, etc. free. And finally, there was my glutenoid DH who loves chocolate and has also been the guinea pig for many recipe experiments over the years.

First: the flax seed recipe. I am a recent convert to this egg substitute, so I had high hopes for this recipe. However, I’m afraid I was disappointed. It had a heavy, vegan brownie feel and the DH condemned it as “Tasting gluten-free.” Darn it. Unexpectedly, our tester M chose it as his favorite, perhaps because he likes that type of texture in his brownie and felt it was closer to a traditional brownie. JM and I gave it a resolute thumbs down.

Second: the beet puree recipe. I had a sneaking fondness for this recipe because I liked the novel idea of adding beets to chocolate, AND it had coffee, which just makes me happy. JM said it had an “earthy” aftertaste and M said it was his least favorite. The DH shrugged and said “well, it’s chocolate” and ate it. I might make this recipe again, actually, perhaps with some modifications. The lack of sweet chips (its chocolate was provided by agave sweetened baker’s chocolate and cocoa powder) may have made this less popular than it would have been otherwise. -I liked its deep dark chocolate flavor and earthiness, personally, but it isn’t for milk-chocolate lovers.

Third: the agave sweetened brownie recipe. This was the only recipe that started out gluten-free, but I had to radically change the flours to accommodate our various intolerances. JM, I and the DH all chose this recipe as our favorite, making it a clear winner. It was the only recipe that wasn’t lowfat as it actually contained oil, which might have helped its cause. The texture was also nice, having an appealing fluffy lightness not often found in gluten-free, vegan recipes. It might not have screamed brownie, but that made me like it a little more, and it was sweet (without being too sweet) and nice and chocolate-rich thanks to the generous amount of chocolate chips it called for.

And so, our gluten-free vegan brownie taste off ended with success and an empty box of brownies. Even the brownies that we supposedly didn’t like vanished from our picnic basket. After all, they were all chocolate, and were all pretty tasty, judging aside. Here’s our favorite recipe to share with you, and a few more gluten-free recipes I found online that I would love to try when my diet includes things like nuts and eggs again. Have any favorite gluten-free brownie recipes? Share the link in the comments and I’ll add them to my list!

If you can have nuts and eggs, try Elana’s Almond Butter Brownies
No eggs, and prefer the raw foods approach? Try Elana’s Chocolate Espresso Power Bar Recipe
Eggs are Ok and you want dairy-free dark chocolate? Karina’s Rich Dark Chocolate Brownie Recipe may be the ticket!

Just for fun, here is a pictures of Baby Yum taken on her first 4th of July. We had a lovely family picnic with friends and were all set for her to see the fireworks- but literally minutes before the show began she decided to nurse and didn’t so much as peek at the show as she fell fast asleep mid-snack. Better luck next year. I can’t believe my baby is almost one!


Gluten Free Sorghum Vegan Brownie Recipes
Ingredients
Spectrum Palm Oil Shortening or mini cupcake liners

1/2 cup your favorite oil (I bet coconut oil would be really yummy, but I used canola)

3/4 cup plus 4 tablespoons sorghum flour

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Penzeys Dutch)

10 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons agave nectar

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons vanilla

1/2 cup brewed coffee or espresso (I use decaf)

2 cups dairy-free and soy-free chocolate chips (Enjoy Life)

Directions
Special equipment: 2 Mini muffin tins or mini donut molds, although they are a bit delicate for the latter.

Preheat oven to 325. Either line mini muffin tins with mini cupcake liners or baste with shortening.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl, mix, and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Gently fold in dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill each mini muffin cup (or mini donut mold etc) with 1 tbsp. batter. Put in oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into
the center comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes. Place muffin tin on a cooling rack and let cool. Don’t put warm muffins on a plate or moisture may make the bottom soggy.

Gently remove mini muffins or mini donuts (the latter is more challenging) and serve. Yummy!

Notes
A light and delicate chocolate feast, winner of our vegan brownie taste-off!
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