While browsing through various blogs last week, I saw that SusanV is hosting another Vegetable Love competition in honour of Valentine’s Day. I’ve never entered a blog competition before; quite frankly, I’ve never felt creative enough. I nearly wrote off this one as well, as I read through the rules: entries must be healthy and low in fat, and must feature at least one vegetable. I thought that a large majority of the dinners we eat fit these criteria, and I just wasn’t inspired enough to come up with something competition-worthy.
But then I thought, why limit myself to dinner? We add fruit to savoury dishes—could I put veggies into a sweet? I thought through my options, and figured I’d be best with either carrot, pumpkin, or beetroot, or a combination. I narrowed it down to beetroot, because the colour seemed appropriate for Valentine’s Day. I googled some recipes, I thought about my substitutions. I chose four options and then let Andy decide which one I would ultimately make.
His choice: beetroot chocolate cake. I saw a few recipes for this, and I compiled them and veganised and fat-freeised and uniquised, and I think the recipe is pretty good—and definitely different enough to call my very own. A combination of beetroot, orange, cinnamon, and cocoa provides the flavour base for this cake. I expected a texture similar to carrot cake, but was pleasantly surprised to find that my recipe yielded a dense, rich torte.
I know, beetroot in cake sounds pretty weird. But, somehow, the healthy ingredients all combine to form a sinful-tasting treat. This is something to share with the one(s) you love without feeling bad about making them fat and unhealthy. Andy recommends serving it with some sort of cream or sauce or ice cream, because it’s so dense.
Here’s the recipe:
“I love veggies so much, I’m having them for dessert” Torte
What you need:
1 c. wholemeal flour
1 c. white flour
¾ c. cocoa powder
1 ½ T. baking powder
1 T. cinnamon
¾ c. raw sugar
2 T. orange zest
200 g. beetroot, peeled and grated (try to pick the smallest beets you can find as they are the sweetest)
2/3 c. apple sauce
¾ c. freshly squeezed orange juice
250 g. silken tofu (I used almond flavoured, which really just tastes slightly sweet. If you use plain, you might need to up the sugar.)
½ c. orange juice
¼ c. icing sugar
1 T. cinnamon
What you do:
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Spray your pan with cooking spray. I used an 8 inch springform, and then got 4 cupcakes as well. Or you could make just one in a slightly larger pan—say 9 or 10 inches. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir in sugar, beetroot and orange zest. In a separate bowl or a food processor, combine apple sauce, orange juice, and silken tofu. Blend (I used my handy stick blender) until smooth. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, and pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour and test with a skewer—if cake is still gooey inside, cook for up to 90 minutes total. We left ours a bit gooey, because Andy hates dry cake. While the cake is baking, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze. When the cake is removed from the oven, pour on the glaze and let cool for an hour before removing from the springform pan. Store in the refrigerator.
I didn’t want to leave Nacho out of the veggie-lovin’ fun, so I made her up some special cat treats. They combine her three most favourite foods—oats, pumpkin, and oil—with a bit of soy milk, wholemeal flour, and ground LSA for nutrition.
Pumpkin Oat Kitty Bickies
What you need:
1 ½ c. oats
½ c. whole meal flour
¼ c. vegetable oil
½ c. lowfat soymilk
1 T. ground LSA (that’s linseed/flax, sunflower, and almond)
2 T. mashed cooked pumpkin
Optional ingredients: nutritional yeast, catnip, veggie stock
What you do:
Combine all the ingredients. Form into kitty-sized biscuits and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 180/350 for 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in a cupboard or the freezer.
My first blog competition proved inspiring; I think I just may have to do this again. And I think I’ll play around more with beetroot for dessert…