I’ve never been a morning person. Growing up, the few things that would get me out of bed voluntarily included Christmas morning, the first day of school, and my favorite breakfast dishes. One such dish was an apple-cinnamon eggy-pancake-like thing that my mom made in a pie dish, which of course made me feel like I was eating dessert for breakfast.
Now that it’s getting cooler, this kind of warm and cozy breakfast is all I want in life. My version is more of a crumble than a pancake, but the feeling it gives me is the same: it’s something worth rolling out of bed for. My grown-up version includes brain-boosting wild blueberries, whole grain oats, heart-healthy olive oil, and warm holiday spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Once you try it and you see how easy it is to make, it’ll be easy to swap in different season fruit and play around with the topping, too.
Start by getting your ingredients together. First, make the topping. Then, make the filling.
Bake for 30 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is browned.
- ½ cup organic rolled oats
- ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour
- ¼ cup Swerve granulated “sugar”
- ¼ cup almond slivers
- ¼ cup raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened organic coconut chips
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Generous pinch of salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 16-oz bag of frozen wild blueberries (about 3.5 cups)
- 2 oz dried mission figs (about ⅓ cup lightly packed, or 10-12 small and medium figs), coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
- 1 lemon, zest from the whole lemon, juice from half the lemon
- 1 tsp Watkins baking vanilla extract
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Make the topping. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the olive oil. Stir until evenly combined. Add in the olive oil and combine until moistened.
- Make the filling. In another medium mixing bowl, combine the blueberries, figs, arrowroot powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Stir until well combined.
- Lightly grease a 9-inch diameter baking dish with olive oil or butter. Add the filling. Add topping evenly over the filling.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Fruit should be bubbling and topping should be browned. If not, let cook another 5 minutes and check again. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
It’s tasty all on it’s own, but it’d be just as good with a side of yogurt like Siggi’s new lactose-free yogurt.
I pride myself on my omnivore status, and having a curious palate open to the world’s flavors. My take on a healthy balanced diet is quite inclusive. So when I tell you this is a vegan and dairy-free dessert, know that those qualities are mostly incidental. True, my body hasn’t had a decent relationship with dairy since I was a toddler, but I hold no grudge. Therefore, I give you a very simple and delicious “nice cream,” which is a vegan, dairy-free way to enjoy a creamy dessert that is 100-percent cream-free with no added sugars (none needed). There’s a good balance of fiber from the bananas, protein from the peanut butter powder, and natural sweetness from the bananas and vanilla extract.
I topped mine with freeze-dried blueberries I picked up on a whim from Trader Joe’s (brain-healthy berries!). I think a sprinkle of cinnamon and some dark chocolate nibs would also be delightful toppings. In our home, we’ve enjoyed this as breakfast, snack, and dessert. With a handful of wholesome ingredients, it is truly a guilt-free indulgence.
The one snafu could be the frozen bananas. Here are a few options:
- You can start with frozen bananas from the freezer aisle.
- If you eat bananas regularly, you know sometimes one or two can get too ripe before you can finish the bunch. These are great to break up into pieces and stash in the freezer until you have enough to make some nice cream.
- Or, you can buy a bunch of bananas for the singular purpose of making nice cream. If this is the case, you must wait for them to ripen (you can use the brown paper bag trick to speed up the process), then break into pieces and freeze.
Prep: 1 min | Cook: 3 min | Total: 4 min
2 medium-large ripe bananas, broken into 2″ pieces, frozen
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond milk, unsweetened
3 T peanut butter powder
Combine bananas, vanilla extract, and half of almond milk in blender or food processor. Pulse to start to combine, about 1 minute. Add peanut butter powder. Pulse again, slowly adding more almond milk as needed to reach desired consistency (somewhere between ice cream and soft-serve). Enjoy immediately or return to freezer until ready to enjoy.
First of all, I made this recipe with my septuagenarian parents in mind, as a naturally sweet and totally healthy dessert for the Thanksgiving table. However, my master taste-tester (aka my husband) also approves – he especially enjoyed eating a spoonful with a little bit of pudding, pistachio, and orange zest all together.
It Is So Easy
The prep is a snap, and most of this dish can be made well ahead of time. In fact, it’s advisable, since it is ideal to have the pudding chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This makes it pleasantly cool to the palate, and it also diminishes any latent banana aromas (which may seem strong right after blending ingredients).
The aromatic oils that arise from citrus zest are fragile, so it’s best to zest your orange just before serving. Bonus points if you zest directly into your dessert bowls at the table – since this helps get the most out of that magical spray that results from zesting, and is fun for your guests, too. If that’s not practical, it’s still nice to zest nearby your final product before serving.
Why it’s MDM-Approved
This recipe is MIND Diet Meals approved because it is bursting with healthy fats, antioxidants, and more fiber than you might expect (32% of the Daily Value in one serving of this smooth, creamy dessert!). There’s no need for any added sugars in this recipe because it gets its sweetness naturally from ripe bananas. There is no saturated-fat laden cream in this recipe either. It gets its creaminess from ripe avocados. While this dessert tastes great and looks beautiful, most of all it’s heart-healthy and brain-healthy, too. Healthy and delicious? That’s an MDM win.
- 3 ripe medium bananas, peeled
- 2 ripe medium California avocados, peeled and deseeded
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ½ cup pistachios
- Zest from 1 medium orange
- Prepare pudding: Blend all ingredients together until smooth, except pistachios and orange zest. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or until completely chilled.
- Prepare pistachios: Preheat oven to 350 F. Toast pistachios on baking sheet for 3 minutes. Toss, and bake for additional 3 minutes. Let cool and coarsely chop. Store in airtight container until ready to serve.
- Serve: Divide pudding into 8 dessert bowls, top with pistachios. Zest an entire medium orange (or two, if you love orange zest), and divide zest among bowls. Enjoy.