Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sweet Pototo Adventures and A Luscious Vegan Cake

Do you ever have one of those days when you open the fridge and there is just a scrap of this, a bit of that and big leftover baked sweet potato that you have no idea how you are going to use?  That happened to me tonight.

I had a different menu planned for dinner tonight but alas...I was out voted by my husband and my mother.  They were in cahoots...as usual.  How sad is it when your own mother sides with her son in law to keep from having to eat a completely delicious vegan meal??

I suppose I should cut them a break since they've been fed vegan dinners three times and vegan lunches 4 or 5 times already since my last trip to the grocery.  Frankly, I don't see either one of them wasting away and if memory serves me, they have BOTH been back for seconds on more than one occasion.

Anyway, I caved.  The scrumptious veggie curry with coconut kefir that I had planned for tonight will have to wait.  However, I did prepare an amazing Bing Cherry and Pineapple Upside Down Cake and it is 100% vegan...so take that you dirty co-conspiritorial carnivourous rats!

I had 3 very fresh, lovely organic zucchini that were just screaming to be stuffed.  I found a package of ground chicken breast in the freezer and a container of chopped red and green bell pepper that I froze awhile back.  Half a baseball sized vidalia onion was in the onion keeper and I found one large leftover baked sweet potato from two nights ago. 

Yes, it has occured to me that this is a strange list of ingredients but oh well!  In fact, there were actually no plans to post this recipe until after dinner when both husband and traitor mother declared it fantastic.  So, for better or worse...here it is!

Ground Chicken and Sweet Potato Zucchini Boats

  • 3 large (8-10 inch) organic zucchini, halved and hollowed out into boats

  • 1 lb organic ground chicken breast

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 cup diced  organic mixed color bell pepper

  • 1/2 cup vidalia onion, diced

  • 1 cup frozen white corn kernels

  • 1 large baked and cooled sweet potato, peeled

  • 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat colby jack cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Make zucchini boats by removing pulp from halved zucchini.  Cut each boat in half horizontally if desired.  Arrange zucchini boats in a 3 quart oiled casserole dish, set aside.

  2. Heat olive oil in in a large skillet.  Cook ground chicken in oil until no pink remains.  Make sure to break chicken up well.  Stir in chopped peppers, onion and corn.  Cook 2-3 minutes.  Add the cooked, peeled sweet potato and break up with wooden spoon.  The potato will blend and just become part of the filling as it cooks.  Add the water or vegetable broth and season to taste.  Stir until thickened and creamy.

  3. Spoon mixture into zucchini boats.  Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.  Remove foil and sprinkle shredded cheese over boats.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 5 minutes to melt cheese.
*Note:  Since there is no sauce on these, it is important to bake covered.  The steam will cook your raw zucchini boats.  If you prefer a tender crisp boat, you may reduce bake time.  There are no worries about the filling since it is already cooked.

Now on to my cake! The inspiration was simple...some cut, fresh pineapple in the fridge that needed a home and a bag of frozen bing cherries that I bought for no reason in particular. 

Everyone knows the look right?  Sticky pineapple rings with a cherry in the center plastered to the bottom/top of a cake with a glue of brown sugar and butter.  Ok, so my vegan version isn't wildly different except for ingredients and the ratio of cherries to pineapple.  In my cake, the cherries are the star of the show.  The pineapple is the supporting actress. 

My cake is made with raw coconut sugar but if you can't get it, feel free to use succanat or organic brown sugar.  I prefer to use the raw coconut sugar because it is not a processed sugar and has a significantly lower glycemic index.  Unlike sugar, raw coconut sugar also has nutrients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes.

Vegan Bing Cherry & Pineapple Upside Down Cake

  • 6 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan buttery spread, stick style

  • 3/4 cup raw coconut sugar or organic brown sugar, divided

  • 1/4 cup organic raw blue agave nectar

  • 1 bag Cascadian Farm Organic Bing Cherries, thawed and drained

  • 1/2 cup organic fresh pineapple thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon rum extract

  • 1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour (may use unbleached all purpose too)

  • 2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Grease a 9" round cake pan and set aside.  In a large stainless steel skillet, melt TWO tablespoons of the earth balance and add 1/4 cup of the coconut sugar or brown sugar and 1/4 cup agave nectar.  Bring mixture to a boil reduce heat and boil gently until thickened and reduced by about half.  Stir in the drained cherries and pineapple pieces.  Cook 5 minutes or until pineapple begins to get tender.  Spoon fruit and syrupy liquid into the bottom of prepared cake pan; set aside.

  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the remaining 4 tablespoons of earth balance with the remaining 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar) until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and rum extract; set aside.

  3. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and soda.  In another small bowl or measuring cup combine almond milk and vinegar.  Allow the almond milk mixture to stand 5 minutes.  It will look curdled.

  4. Beat flour mixture and almond milk mixture into sugar and butter mixture in three installments each,  beginning with flour.  The batter will be thick.  Spread batter over cherry and pineapple mixture in the pan.

  5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until cake is risen and browned. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Make sure to loosen the edges of the cake from the pan before flipping onto serving platter.  Serve warm or room temperature. 
*Cake is pictured with scoops of coconut vanilla bean vegan ice cream

(c)copyright Jill Anderson
The Homegrown Gourmet


  1. Oh wow! The the stuffed zucchini with the add of sweet potato,(I would have to skip the chicken, as I do not eat it), see I am on your side:) And the cake is oh so fantastic! Beautiful shots too...

  2. Thanks Alisa. I actually made mine with a crumbled veggies burger that I fried up and mixed with the veggies. It was very good too. The sweet potato was surprisingly wonderful...made it very creamy and rich.

    That cake was decadent..LOL

  3. That looks good, JillyAn. You have such great baked goods - love them!!

  4. Two wonderful recipes. Great idea for the sweet potato dish.

  5. JillyAn if you ever have problems getting people to eat your delicious vegan meals you can ALWAYS have me over for dinner! :)

  6. I will eat all of your vegan meals! I love vegan everything! And sweet potatoes and cake! By the way, i like the new layout.

  7. Hey Jilly! I can't believe this post escaped me. This cake is beautiful. I love the way the fruit is shiny and decadent looking on the cake-nice!
    Hmmm, funny you say that you thought Agar Agar is from seaweed. I did too. I read it's from Red Algae on a couple of web pages. Maybe algae is seaweed? I'll look it up...

  8. Wow, you did amazingly wonderfully greatly good with those ingredients. I love the cake too though I don't know that I'd go through the trouble of making since I'm not at all vegan. Can I just come and gaze at your picture once in a while? :)


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Fort Myers, Florida, United States