Thai-Inspired Green Bean and Mango Salad

With easy ingredients that takes seconds to prepare, this salad takes the four dominant Thai senses—sour, sweet, salty, bitter—into a simple, but flavorful, side dish.

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Thai Green Bean and Mango Salad

1 pound (454g) green beans, ends trims
1 unripe green mango, thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons (45mL) finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons (30mL) unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon (15mL) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5mL) toasted sesame oil (get the really good stuff. Trust me.)
1/8 teaspoon (1mL) garlic powder
Salt to taste
Red chili flakes
Toasted black sesame seeds, for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water ready. Add the green beans to the boiling water. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes, under tender crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the beans, putting them into the ice water. Drain and set aside.

Put the mango, red pepper, red onion, and cilantro in a large bowl. Add the green beans and toss to combine. Put the vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic powder, a few shakes of salt, and a sprinkle of chili flakes in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Toss with the green bean mixture, coating well. Let sit at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with sesame seeds, adjusting seasoning to taste before serving.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Pie with Brownie Crust

A rich, chocolate peanut butter pie riddled with goodness. You can’t go wrong here, folks. Don’t let all the steps deter you — it comes together quickly, but is best made the day before serving This recipe is super adaptable and versatile, so for a few tips and suggestions, check out the Notes below.

This is one of my two entries in the Lentil Recipe Revelations Challenge, put on by Canadian Lentils. The main criteria is to use at least 1/2 cup lentils, but don’t let that turn you off — you seriously aren’t getting a lentil pie here. Instead, they purée into a creamy mass that mingles with chocolate and peanut butter, to create a truffle-like interior that is similar to a New York-style cheesecake.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Pie with Brownie Crust

Brownie Crust
6 tablespoons sorghum flour
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably dark
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (see Notes)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons nondairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crunch Layer
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, preferably mini
1/2 cup dry roasted, salted peanuts

Truffle Filling
1/2 cup dried red lentils, picked over and rinsed well
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Additional dry roasted, salted peanuts, for topping

Chocolate Ganache
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil

Peanut Butter Ganache
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon coconut oil

To make the Brownie Crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan, then line with parchment paper.

Put the sorghum flour, sugar, cocoa powder, tapioca flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk well to combine. Put the coconut oil, maple syrup, nondairy milk, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine. Pour the oil mixture into the flour mixture. Stir to combine — it will seem really runny at first, but don’t worry, it thickens quickly and you’ve not gone wrong! Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing evenly. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the top is just firm to the touch. Like brownies, it should seem slightly underdone for the best texture. Let cool completely in the pan.

To start the Truffle Filling, cook the lentils in about 2 cups of water on the stovetop until they are very soft, about 35 minutes, rinsing and draining well at the end. Set aside to cool until the crust is ready.

To make the Crunch Layer, put the chocolate chips and peanuts in a food processor. Pulse about 10 times until the mixture is combined and chopped. Transfer to a bowl.

Once the crust and the lentils are ready, continue with the Truffle Filling. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave (see Notes). Put the lentils in the food processor. Process until smooth. Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, nondairy milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Process until completely smooth. Scrape the melted chocolate into the food processor, and process until well combined.

Scrape about half of the Truffle Filling onto the cooled Brownie Crust. Spread evenly. Top with the Crunch Layer, pressing down slightly. Scrape the remaining Truffle Filling onto the Crunch Layer, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with additional peanuts, if desired. Refrigerate until firm, preferably overnight to let the flavors meld together.

When ready to top with the ganaches, remove the pie from the springform pan and transfer to a serving plate. Put the chocolate chips and coconut oil for the Chocolate Ganache in a small bowl. Put the peanut butter and coconut oil for the Peanut Butter Ganache in a second small bowl. Using the microwave, melt both over medium heat in 20 second intervals, stirring between each one, until the chocolate chips are melted, and both are a drizzly consistency. Alternate drizzling each one over the pie. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to set the topping. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Notes:

  • If you don’t have a 9-inch springform pan, bake the Brownie Crust in a 9-inch round pan lined with parchment paper. Once it has cooled, remove it from the pan, then line the pan with aluminum foil, making sure it reaches up the sides (this will help you remove it from the pan. Put the Brownie Crust back into the pan (with the parchment still under it. After you do the Truffle Filling and it’s set, use the aluminum foil to help you lift the pie from the pan, then discard the foil and carefully remove the parchment before putting it onto the serving dish.
  • The lentils can easily be made in advance, so if you’re making a big batch, it yields about 1 cup cooked lentils. You want to be sure these are slightly overcooked, as opposed to a little al dente, so they’ll purée smoothly.
  • To melt chocolate on the stovetop, put about 1 inch of water in a small pot. Put a shatterproof bowl on top, making sure it doesn’t come in contact with the water. Put the chocolate in the bowl. Set to medium-low heat and let the water lightly boil. Stir the chocolate frequently until it melts. To melt the chocolate in the microwave, put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 20 second intervals, stirring between each one, until smooth.
  • I like using So Delicious brand unsweetened coconut beverage for my nondairy milk of choice. It’s safe for my celiac disease, has a neutral taste, and fantastic texture for baking. If you use dairy-based milk, then choose something on the thick side.
  • I don’t use natural peanut butter here; the creamy stuff adds a fantastic texture and flavor. And the Extra Creamy stuff is really, really fantastic.
  • For the coconut oil, I use the nonvirgin variety to avoid a coconutty flavor, especially in the toppings.
  • If you can’t do an ingredient because you don’t like it, can’t have it, or don’t have it on hand, let me know in the Comments below… I am always loaded with suggestions.

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Baked Rice Pudding with Bananas, Raisins, and Toasted Almonds

Originally written for a Hallowe’en article (in 2008…and titled “Creamed Maggot Pie with Bug Bits, Phlegm, and Fingernails), this sweet treat is as comforting as it is delicious. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo on hand.

Baked Rice Pudding with Bananas, Raisins, and Toasted Almonds

2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2/3 cup nondairy milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea or Himalayan salt
3 cups cooked, short-grain brown rice
1 cup banana chunks
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon unrefined cane sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 400°F . Lightly oil a 9-inch pie dish and set aside.

Whisk together tapioca starch and 2 tablespoons of the nondairy milk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining nondairy milk and the maple syrup. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Stir in rice, bananas, and raisins. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the mixture into prepared pie dish. Sprinkle with the sugar.

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, until bubbly. Let cool about 30 minutes. Top with sliced almonds. Serve with extra nondairy milk, coconut milk iced cream, or pure maple syrup, if desired.