March is beauty month at Whole Foods Markets. In honor of the theme, I was asked if my vegan cooking class in Darien and tours this month could be tied into the events. I was also asked if it could also be a brunch item. An overwhelming yes came out of my mouth. I love to think about at the benefits of food before I decide what to eat each morning. Challenge accepted!
Now that the class is about beauty that meant that the food choices have to contribute to glowing skin and get you on your way to a gorgeous healthy self. I'm very strict with what I eat so I decided to formulate a crepe that was 100% whole foods plant-based with no oil, added sugars or refined grains and no guilt. AKA something I would eat. If I'm serving it to others it also has to be tasty.
I absolutely love crepes. They are so versatile because they can be both savory and sweet. While traditional crepes are quite yummy, they aren't particularly good for you. I spent the next few days formulating my perfect crepe, savory and sweet.
I decided to use buckwheat because it is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It's name is a little misleading as it isn't a grain It's a seed. It's beauty benefits include; glowing skin from relaxed blood vessels, essential nutrients to help hair growth, protection from premature aging and weight loss. This powerhouse also is protective against breast cancer, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and is a mood enhancer that aids in depression.
I then played around with adding some of my favorite nutrient packed ingredients; shiitake mushrooms, garlic, spinach, and garlic for the savory version and bananas and blackberries for the sweet. Both crepes would taste lovely with a cashew creme which makes a great substitute for dairy. It would also be a helpful demonstration for people new to exploring vegan foods.
The Savory Vegan Buckwheat Beauty Mushroom Crepes with Spinach and Creme provide a whopping 10g of protein and 4g of fiber per crepe. They are high in many of the B vitamins. They provide 100% RDA of Vitamin K, copper, 50% magnesium, 60% manganese, 45% phosphorus, 33% selenium and 35% of zinc for those eating 2000 calories per day. They are also loaded with antioxidants.
The Blackberry Banana Beauty Crepe provide 6g of protein and 5 grams of fiber. They provide 60% daily copper, 50% Manganese, 32% Magnesium, 24% Phosphorus and 20% of your vitamin E. High it antioxidants as well these are a zero guilt sweet treat.
The recipes follow. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Vegan Buckwheat Beauty Crepes
Makes 4 crepes
1/4 cup Bobs Red Mill Organic Buckwheat Flour
1/8 cup Bobs Red Mill Oat Flour
1/8 cup Bobs Red Mill ‘Sweet’ White Sorghum Flour
1/2 cup 365 Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
Combine the dry ingredients. Mix well. Add the almond milk and water to the dry ingredients. Whisk ingredients until combined and smooth.
Heat a nonstick crepe maker or a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. If using the cast iron skillet lightly coat with olive oil removing excess oil with a paper towel. Add between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of batter depending on the size of crepe desired to the center of the crepe maker or pan. Using a large nonstick basting spoon gently spread the batter in a circular motion starting from the center towards the outer edges to thin and expand the crepe. Wait approximately 30 seconds to a minute before flipping your crepe. The crepe is ready to flip when it loosens on the edges with a spatula and looks drier throughout. Go slow to not tear the crepe. Once you flip the crepe cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute. If you crepe still looks a little too moist you can flip it once again and let it cook for around 10 seconds more.
Savory Vegan Buckwheat Beauty Mushroom Crepes with Spinach and Creme
4 Buckwheat Beauty Crepes (recipe above)
3 cups organic shiitake mushrooms sliced thinly stems removed
1.5 cups organic portobello mushrooms sliced into 1” pieces stems removed
2 cups organic baby spinach
2 cloves garlic chopped
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp celtic sea salt (optional)
2 tbsps chopped fresh chives
ground pepper to taste
3/4 cups cashew creme (recipe follows)
Head a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Sauté the mushrooms in water by adding 1 tbsp of water at a time to keep the pan moist and the mushrooms from sticking. Cook for approximately 5 minutes until the mushrooms soften completely. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 additional minute. Meanwhile in a separate bowl add 1 tbsp nutritional yeast and salt if you are using it to the 3/4 cups of cashew creme. Add 1/4 cup of water and stir. Add the sauce to the mushrooms in the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach, stir and continue to cook until the spinach just wilts. If the sauce begins to thicken too much add 1 tbsp of water at a time to thin it a bit. Add pepper to taste.
To assemble the crepes place 1/4 of the mushroom mixture in the center lengthwise of the crepe. Sprinkle 1 tsp of chives. Fold the left side of the crepe at an angle over the mixture. Do the same with the right side. The finished crepe will be more open at the top and sealed at the bottom. Garnish with chopped chives. Serve promptly.
Blackberry and Banana Beauty Buckwheat Crepes
4 Buckwheat Crepes
3/4 cups organic blackberries
1/4 cup water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 ripe bananas thinly sliced
3/4 cups cashew creme- recipe follows
Make the blackberry sauce. Add the water, lemon juice, 1 tbsp cashew creme and blackberries to a high speed blender. Blend on medium for approximately 30 seconds. Turn off the blender and scrape down the edges with a spatula. Blend again until smooth. Set aside
Assemble the crepes. Take 1/4 of the sliced bananas and place into the center lengthwise of the crepe. Drizzle 1 to 2 tbsps of of the blackberry sauce over the bananas. Repeat with the creme sauce. Fold the edges of crepe closed at a slight angle leaving the top more open. Drizzle the top of the crepe with a little more blackberry sauce and creme for presentation.
Cashew Creme Sauce (Yields about 1 1/2 cups or a little less depending on soaking time)
1 cup organic raw cashews
3/4 cup purified water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Soak the cashews in purified water for 1-2 hours. Drain the cashews and add to a high speed blender like a Vitamix. Add 3/4 cup purified water and 1 tsp fresh lemon juice. Pulse on medium high for approximately 15 seconds. Turn off the blender. Using a spatula, push down the cashew pieces from the sides and top of the blender. Blend until smooth. You may add extra water 1 tbsp at a time if needed. Set aside