The Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Dieter’s Fabulous Bean Bake!

Bean bakes are the best thing to come my way, foodwise, as a gluten-free, dairy-free dieter. Seriously. They’re delicious and, most amazingly, doesn’t have a hint of beans.

Interior: Banana-Coconut Bean Cake

Taste is important but it isn’t the best part of the story. A bean bake has a cake-like texture because it rises as it cooks. The result is that the bean bake tricks my body. I feel as if I’m eating carbs—thus satisfying my carb cravings—when what I’m actually eating is primarily protein, very nutritious, and filling, despite being low in calories.

Now, that’s fabulous!

And there’s more:

  • Bean bakes are versatile. First, they can be sweet (with a fruit) or savoury (with a vegetable), depending on what’s in your kitchen. Secondly, whether sweet or savoury, you can eat a slice at breakfast or as a snack, a side dish at lunch or dinner or, in the case of a sweet bean bake, a dessert.
  • Bean bakes are extremely easy to make. You put all the ingredients in a food processor, mix, and then bake.
  • Bean bakes are inexpensive. Two cups of white navy beans, three eggs, one cup of fruit or vegetable, maybe one-half cup of cheese, some spices—compare the price of that with eight servings of meat.
  • Bean bakes get along with my digestive tract. In addition to diagnosing gluten-sensitivity, my doctor told me I had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). While many foods/dishes can upset me—for example, a daily intake of too many flour-baked products (no matter how gluten-free). Bean bakes, on the other hand, leave the irritable beast slumbering away.
  • Bean bakes and the spouse are happy together. I consider my husband as the acid test of anything I make, particularly in this case because he’s far fussier eater than I am. My guarantee: if he likes bean bakes, other people will too.

To accommodate this new recipe and its numerous variations, I have created a new blog, The Bean Bake Blog.

And keep in mind…

1) White navy beans top the charts for fiber. For more information about these beans, check out:

2) Taste tip: Bean cakes are more flavourful the day after cooking. Also, savoury bean bakes taste best warm; sweet bean bakes taste best cold.

3) Calorie calculation: Cauliflower Bean Bake with Cheese, Dill, and Olive

Total calories:

  • Entire bean bake: 1,010
  • Per 1/8 serving: 126.25

Carob-Covered Pomegranate Seeds

Today the stars aligned!  Truly.  First, this dessert is a delicious and richly satisfying mixture of sweet and tart.  Secondly, the recipe is gluten-, dairy-, and egg-free.  And, thirdly, I made it—just by chance—on  “National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day” (according to Foodimentary who keeps track of these things).  Yep, the moon was definitely in the seventh house.

Alas, however, it isn’t calorie-free, but we can’t have everything, can we?  On the other hand, it isn’t so rich that my diet “pocketbook” can’t afford a serving.  So now I too can eat something wonderfully sweet during the holidays and not feel deprived as everyone else guzzles down egg nog and hogs down cheesecake.  So there, world!

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Pumpkin Cornbread Squares

I love pumpkin pie, but it doesn’t love my diet.  Think pie crust, and you’ll know what I mean.  The flour and shortening…or if you’re inclined to alternative pie crusts, the very nutritious nut meal flours which are, unfortunately, high in calories.  The day someone figures out a diet pie crust, that person should win a Nobel prize.  Seriously!

Now, I also love cornbread (e.g.,  Sweet Quinoa Cornbread), whose calorie count falls within my dietary ambit.  So why not combine pumpkin and all those pumpkin pie spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger—with the nubbly texture and rich taste of cornbread?  The result: a delicious, spiced bread, redolent of the best fall flavours.

Cooking update (April 10, 2012): I make this oil-free and it was still terrific. Just replace the 2 tbsp. of oil with 2 tbsp. of apple sauce.

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Crustless Strawberry/Raspberry Lime Chia Pie

Hot summer days just beg for cold, refreshing desserts that are both sweet and tart at the same time.  This pie not only delivers on taste, it’s also lovely, light, and very low-cal.  Oh, and it’s also a little crunchy, thanks to the chia seeds. 

I’ve made this pie with strawberries; then I made it with raspberries (in the photo).  I’m sure you could even mix them for a third delicious flavour!  And now that I think about it: what about blueberries…?

Many, many thanks to Susan at the Sugar & Spice blog for providing the inspiration for this pie with her delicious Strawberry Lime Chia Pudding.

Printer-friendly recipe

Servings: Divvy it up any way you want!

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. gelatin (1 tbsp.)
  • ¼ tepid water + ¼ boiling water
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cups strawberries or raspberries
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • ¼-½ cup erythritol sugar, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. almond extract

Directions:

  1. Prepare the gelatin by pouring the powder over the tepid water, adding the boiling water, and then mixing until completely dissolved.
  2. Prepare lime by juicing it.
  3. Put gelatin, lime, ¼ cup erythritol, and all other ingredients into a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
  4. Taste for sweetness and add remaining ¼ cup erythritol if necessary.
  5. Pour into an 8″ or 9″ pie plate.
  6. Refrigerate until set—about 4 hours.

For Weight Watchers: The total pie is worth:

  • With soy milk (80 calories/cup): 4 points on the Points plan and 3.5 points on the PointsPlus plan. 
  • With almond milk (60 calories/cup): 3.5 points on the Points plan and 3 points on the PointsPlus plan. 

Quinoa Pudding #4: Mango-Banana

I bought a box of 18 mangoes because the price was…well, so compelling.  I could just hear those mangoes calling out to me.  When I arrived home, my husband groaned at the sight…yes, I’ve done this before, but this time the price was even better!  This earned me a rolling of the eyes, which I completely disregarded as we’ve been married for 45 years, and a few mangoes can’t threaten that marital bond, can they?

Okay, so what to do with all this ripening fruit?  My solution was to make several iterations of Coconut-Mango Squares and to turn to my versatile quinoa pudding recipe.  Since I also had one small, overripe banana, I decided to throw that in with some mangoes (although I’m sure you could just use mangoes).  The result: a pudding so sweet that it required no additional sweetener.  And, as with the Summertime Banana Quinoa Pudding, I served this cold—a delicious, refreshing, and filling treat for my late-afternoon snack.

When varying this recipe: The trick, I find, is to make sure that you have a total of 3½ cups of liquid between the milk and the puréed fruit.  When I combined the banana with 2 small, yellow ataulfo mangoes, I ended up with 1½ cups and, therefore, reduced the original 2½ cups of almond milk down to 2 cups.  Two other differences from the banana pudding: I altered the spices to adapt to the mango flavour and had to cook the pudding longer.  I’m not sure why: perhaps because there is more fruit and less milk?

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Coconut Mango Bread or Squares

Do you love coconut?  And sweet, moist, rich squares?  And goodies you can eat without destroying your diet?  Voilà!  These squares fit the bill perfectly.

I’ve made this recipe both as a bread and squares but, following my desire for small portions, I think I’ll keep to squares.  I know, I know…I could cut a bread slice in half and get the same caloric intake, but not the same mental satisfaction.  The other half of the bread slice would sit there, just begging to be consumed.  A square, on the other hand, is an entity unto itself, happily eaten as a stand-alone.  (Such are the mental gymnastics of the dieter.)

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 8 bread slices or 16 squares

Ingredients

  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour/starch
  • ¼ cup quinoa flour
  • ½ cup sweetener (Note: Weight Watcher point values are based on the use of artificial sugar.)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. xanthan gum
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut, sweetened
  • 1 cup puréed mango (approximately 1 large or 2 small)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 2½ tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flours, sugar, spices, xanthan gum, and salt.
  2. Add coconut to dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: mango, egg, vanilla, applesauce, and oil.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mixing after each addition. (Final batter will be thick but will pour well.  I found this batter to be more liquid than many others that I make with gluten-free flours.)
  5. Spray 9″ x 9″ baking pan or 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray.
  6. Pour in batter and bake in 350º F oven, 25-30 minutes for squares or 55-60 minutes for bread, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

For Weight Watchers:

  • Squares: 1 square of 16 squares is 1.5 points on the Points plan and 1.75 points on the PointsPlus plan.
  • Bread: 1 slice of 8 slices is 3 points on the Points plan and 3.5 points on the PointsPlus plan.

(Altered from “Mango Coconut Bread” at http://www.briarrosebb.com/r/mango-coconut-bread.html)

Quinoa-Flax Sweet Potato Squares

Okay, I admit it—I’m having a lot of fun trying out non-gluten flours and meals made from seeds and nuts, primarily because I’ve given up worrying about failure. 

My parents grew up during the 1930s Depression and taught me that food should never, ever, be thrown out under any circumstances. “Think of all the starving children in the world,” my mother used to say.  I wasn’t sure that even a starving child would want to eat horrible canned spinach, but I managed to pick up a lot of food guilt from such admonitions.  And the trouble with recipe experimentation is that failure means stuff ends up in the garbage.  Guilty!

Well, I’ve stepped away from the guilt.  Yes, I have.  It’s still there, but it’s a shadow of its former self.   In fact, one of these days, I’m going to tell you about my first attempt at a gluten-free yeast bread.  Promise.

Today, however, I’m reporting on a success: tasty, moist, rich, dense, and very filling squares.  I made 12 squares because I was serving them as part of a lunch for a meeting.  Otherwise I would have made 16 to keep the portions small.  

Printer-friendly recipe

Makes 12 (or 16) squares

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup flaxseed meal (not flax seeds)
  • ½ cup quinoa flour
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • ½ cup artificial sugar
  • 2 tbsp. tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree
  • 3 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • 1 – 1½ cup unsweetened soy milk or other alternative milk, as needed
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: rice flour, flaxseed meal, quinoa flour, potato starch, artificial sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  2. In a large bowl, mix eggs, sweet potato puree, applesauce, oil, and 1 cup of the milk until smooth.
  3. Gradually mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  4. If batter begins to form a ball, add in additional milk, as needed. (I needed the full 1½ cups.) Batter will be thick.  
  5. Spray 9″ x 9″ pan with cooking spray.
  6. Scrape in batter, smoothing the top with a spatula.
  7. Bake in 400° F oven for 30 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

For Weight Watchers:

  • 12 squares: Each square is 4 points on the Points plan and 6 points on the PointsPlus plan.
  • 16 squares: Each square is 3 points on the Points plan and 4 points on the PointsPlus plan. (Why not 5? Beats me.)

Nutritional Information for 12 and 16 squares:

12 squares

  • Calories 221 (70 from fat)
  • Fat 8 g
  • Carbohydrate 29 g
  • Fiber 4 g
  • Protein 9 g
  • Cholesterol 171 mg
  • Sodium 351 mg

16 squares

  • Calories 161 (47 from fat)
  • Fat 5 g
  • Carbohydrate 22 g
  • Fiber 3 g
  • Protein 7 g
  • Cholesterol 128 mg
  • Sodium 263 mg

(Adapted from “Sweet Potato Flax Muffins” by The Dusty Baker.)

Cinnamony Stewed Plums

This easy-to-make, extremely low-calorie compote of plums, fragrant with cinnamon, is good warm or cold. 

I created this recipe when I bought a package of marked-down eggplants and discovered it also included six wrinkled plums. 

Just add some goat yogurt to it and have a delicious, low-cal dessert!

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Makes approximately 6 ½-cup servings

Ingredients

        • 6 medium plums, pitted and chopped (peeling is not necessary)
        • 1 cinnamon stick or ½ tsp. of cinnamon
        • 1-2 cups of water or just barely enough to cover (plums will soften and cook down)
        • Artificial sugar to taste

Directions

    1. Put plums in a medium saucepan.
    2. Add water and cinnamon stick.
    3. Bring to boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until plums are tender.
    4. Take out cinnamon stick, if using one.
    5. Add artificial sugar.  (I found 3 tbsp. worked, but how much you need depends on how tart the plums were to begin with.)

 

 

For Weight Watchers: Each ½-cup serving of fruit only (take out with slotted spoon to measure and then add juice afterwards) is .5 points on the Points plan and 1 point on the PointsPlus plan.