walnuts

Energy carob and walnut raw vegan bars - Ωμοφαγικές μπάρες ενέργειας με χαρούπι και καρύδια - Vegan in Athens

Raw vegan walnut and carob energy bars

Carobs are well-known as some of the nutrient-rich gifts nature gave to us and fortunately carob trees are found everywhere in Greece. The great thing about carobs is their unique flavor which slightly reminds me of a naturally made caramel while carob products, namely the carob powder (or carob flour) and the carob syrup can be used in various vegan recipes.

One of the healthiest sweet recipes with which I am stuck this year are these raw vegan carob and walnut energy bars. Basically in the mornings I like to wrap one bar in parchment paper and put it in my bag before going to work. Around 11 am, ie the cravings time, this vegan bar is the most tasty, healthy and hearty solution that I could have. Moreover the walnuts and the flaxseeds they contain fulfill my daily requirement in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, while raisins and raw carob powder make them wonderfully sweet and fruity.

Energy carob and walnut raw vegan bars - Ωμοφαγικές μπάρες ενέργειας με χαρούπι και καρύδια - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (150 g) raisins
  • 1 cup (100 g) rolled oats (or rolled buckwheat)
  • 1/2 cup (55g) ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) carob powder
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts (60 g), divided (¼ + ¼)
  • 1-2 tbsp water (if necessary)

Energy carob and walnut raw vegan bars - Ωμοφαγικές μπάρες ενέργειας με χαρούπι και καρύδια - Vegan in Athens

Method

1. Soak the raisins in water for fifteen minutes and drain well.
2. Put the raisins in the food processor and process for 2-3 minutes until mashed. Add the oats, flaxseeds, ¼ cup walnuts and the carob powder and keep processing. If your mixture is not consistent enough, add a spoonful of water and process for one more minute.
3. Lay a medium-sized (21x11x6), rectangular cake tin with parchment paper. Transfer the mixture in the tin, press with your hands to the bottom and flatten the surface. Finely chop the remaining walnuts, sprinkle them on top and press them a little bit to stick. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
4. Remove the mixture from the tin and cut vertically. My cake tin is 21 cm long so I made three centimeters long cuts, ending up with seven bars. Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Energy carob and walnut raw vegan bars - Ωμοφαγικές μπάρες ενέργειας με χαρούπι και καρύδια - Vegan in Athens

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Vegan Christmas melomakarona with grape molasses - Βέγκαν μελομακάρονα με αλεύρι Ζέας και πετιμέζι - Veganinathens.com

Vegan melomakarona with petimezi (grape molasses)

Melomakarona (plural: melomakarona / singular: melomakarono) are traditional Greek cookies immersed in honey and together with kourambiedes (qurabiya) are prepared in nearly every Greek kitchen before Christmas. Their taste is fantastic and they used to be -and still are- one of my favorite baked sweets. Traditionally, they are made of flour and/or semolina, olive oil, sugar, orange, cognac and spices such as cinnamon and cloves, but in each household one can find variations.

Vegan Christmas melomakarona with grape molasses - Βέγκαν μελομακάρονα με αλεύρι Ζέας και πετιμέζι - Veganinathens.com

My favorite recipe, the one with which I grew up, contains only flour – not semolina – as well as all the other ingredients referred before but the proportions are adjusted in such a way that makes them super tasty. This means that they are evenly baked, they absorb the right amount of syrup but they don’ t become too soft, retaining an incredible sweet and subtly juicy taste and an interesting texture. Of course until nowadays I use the same recipe my grandmother and my mother used to make, but I have made some adjustments in order to convert it to vegan, without changing significantly the original taste. So instead of honey I use petimezi or grape syrup or grape molasses, which is a traditional sugar free sweetener made of grape juice boiled until a relatively thick syrup is formed. You don’ t need this to be as thick as honey to make melomakarona, as even in the original, non vegan recipe, honey is diluted with a sugar syrup in order to acquire a thinner consistency. In case you cannot find grape syrup, feel free to use the same amount of agave nectar or maple syrup.

Vegan Christmas melomakarona with grape molasses - Βέγκαν μελομακάρονα με αλεύρι Ζέας και πετιμέζι - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients
(About 50-55 melomakarona)

  • 6-7 cups whole-wheat or zea flour (about 1 kilo)
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup muscovado sugar or coconut sugar
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) fresh orange juice
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • ½ cup cognac or brandy
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder

For the syrup

  • 3 cups grape molasses or agave nectar
  • 1 cup muscovado sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • peel of 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4-5 cloves

for garnish

  • 1 ½ cups peeled walnuts, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • zest of one orange

Vegan Christmas melomakarona with grape molasses - Βέγκαν μελομακάρονα με αλεύρι Ζέας και πετιμέζι - Vegan in Athens

Method
1. In a bowl put olive oil, orange juice, sugar, cognac and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the baking soda and baking powder and mix well. Add the flour slowly, kneading with a wooden spoon or with hands. When a soft, oily dough is formed you can stop adding flour. Usually it takes 6 ½ -7 cups. Shape a ball with the dough, cover with a damp towel or a clear film and leave in a cool place to rest for at least 1 hour.
2. Take small pieces of dough (in the size of a small tangerine) and form the melomakarona with 1,5-2 cm thickness. Traditionally they have the shape of an egg or a disc. Put them on a baking pan lined with parchment paper, leaving 1,5-2 cm between each other, as they are going to increase in volume with baking. Bake at 175 oC for 30 minutes or until golden.
3. For the syrup: Meanwhile in a saucepan put together all the ingredients for the syrup and simmer for 5 minutes over low heat.
4. Once the melomakarona are baked, immerse in the boiling syrup 4-5 at a time, depending on the diameter of your saucepan. Let them sit 3-6 minutes on each side and invert with a fork. Using 2 forks, remove the melomakarona from the syrup and put them on a plate. Repeat the process until all the melomakarona are immersed in the syrup.
5. Mix walnuts with cinnamon, cloves and orange zest. Once the melomakarona are slightly cooled, dip them in the walnuts – spices mix and put on a platter. They can be eaten immediately, but they become even more delicious the day after! You can keep them in air tight container for more than a week.

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Raw vegan lemon pie - Ωμοφαγική λεμονόπιτα - Veganinathens.com

Raw vegan lemon pie

If you are one of those who like citrus fruits in desserts, this is probably one of the recipes you are going to stick with as it has the characteristic fragrance and taste of fresh lemons.

Since we are passionate with lemony desserts, I make this recipe whenever we want to taste an authentic lemon cream without sugar, gluten and baking.

Raw vegan lemon pie - Ωμοφαγική λεμονόπιτα - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients
(for a pie of 20-22 cm diameter)

For the crust

  • ½ cup raw almonds
  • ½ cup raw walnuts
  • ½ cup raisins

Raw vegan lemon pie - Ωμοφαγική λεμονόπιτα - Vegan in Athens

For the lemon cream

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours and drained
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup agave nectar or other raw liquid sweetener
  • ½ cup coconut oil or cocoa butter, melted
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • zest of 3 lemons

Raw vegan lemon pie - Ωμοφαγική λεμονόπιτα - Vegan in Athens

Method

  1. For the crust: Wash the raisins, drain them and put them in the food processor along with the nuts. Process for a few minutes until a soft dough is formed. If you do not like the small pieces of nuts in the base, process the nuts until they become powdered and add the raisins afterwards.
  2. For the lemon cream: Put in blender half of the cashews, the lemon juice, the agave nectar, the zest and the coconut oil and blend for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is creamy and uniform. Add the rest of the cashews and blend for few more minutes until they are incorporated in the mixture and the texture of the cream is smooth and homogeneous.
  3. Assembly: Line a cheesecake pan of 20-22 cm diameter with greaseproof paper and spread the crust mixture over the bottom. Press with your hands to distribute equally and form the crust. Pour the lemon cream on top of the crust and refrigerate for 8-12 hours to set.
  4. Before serving garnish with lemon zest, nuts or lemon slices.

Raw vegan lemon pie - Ωμοφαγική λεμονόπιτα - Vegan in Athens

Note: My secret for a mouthwatering lemon cream is the use of really fresh organic lemons.

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