no-bake chocolate tart

No-Bake Chocolate Tart

Hello there! Today I share with you something completely improvised – no references of any kind were used – that worked out wonderfully.

Meet my vegan No-bake Chocolate Tart:

no-bake chocolate tart

No ovens were used, which means I had to create a flourless base. As you may know, a tart base needs to have texture, to hold itself together and to be moderately sweet.

So, I decided to use peanuts, walnuts, and dried coconut as solid ingredients – no particular reason for any of them, it’s just what I had available. For sweetening, I used golden syrup. Sugar is great for baked crusts, but in this case, the grains wouldn’t dissolve due to the lack of cooking. Finally, to bind everything my choice went to coconut oil – it’s plant-based and requires no melting (at least in our Mediterranean summer climate).

no-bake chocolate tart

And look at that fudgy filling! Without the usual butter and cream to enrich the chocolate, I’ve opted to use coconut again –  this time, in the form of both cream and oil.

no-bake chocolate tart

I must tell you this is probably the best dessert I’ve ever made (the peanut butter cookies are a close second). Don’t let the fact that you need to wait a few hours before eating the tart stop you from trying this recipe – it’s totally worth the wait!

No-Bake Chocolate Tart
Prep Time
20 mins
Cooling time
4 hrs
Total Time
20 mins
 

A delicious vegan tart that doesn’t require an oven. With a simple nutty base and a decadent chocolate filling.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 12 slices approx.
Calories (per serving): 384 kcal
Author: João Caseiro
Ingredients
Base
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 125 g peanuts
  • 125 g walnuts
  • 50 g dried coconut
Filling
  • 200 ml coconut cream
  • 200 g dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
Instructions
Base
  1. Blitz peanuts and walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Add dried coconut, coconut oil and golden syrup, and blitz until it forms a shapeable paste.

  2. Press the mixture into a 20cm/8″ tart tin, previously covered with baking paper. Use your fingertips to gently press the dough so it covers the entire tin.

Filling
  1. On a saucepan, melt chocolate with golden syrup and coconut oil. Then, add coconut cream slowly, whisking constantly.

  2. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes, then pour into onto the base.

  3. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving. Enjoy!

beetroot burgers

Beetroot Burgers

By now, my love for veggie burgers is probably well-known. The ones I bring you today are made with beetroot – yeah, not at all a common burger ingredient.

beetroot burgers

I must say I’m not the greatest fan of this purple veggie, although I appreciate eating it raw and grated in salads, just like we do sometimes with carrots.

Prepared in a similar fashion, here beetroot helps sustain the shape of the burger patties. It also adds a punch of vibrant, reddish-pink colour – surely a “wow factor” if you cook this for your friends!

We’ve added cooked quinoa as well, and an assortment of seeds (sesame and sunflower, but feel free to add your favourite), for a more filling dish.


If you haven’t done it already, check out our meat-free shopping list for tips on what ingredients to buy and their nutritional properties.

beetroot burgers

The bread you see in these pictures will soon have its own article. The sweet potato “french fries” were actually made in the oven. Just cut the potatoes into strips, spread them on a tray with olive oil, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper and roast them for 35 minutes at 190ºC.

We’ve chosen to cook these beetroot burgers in the oven, so they retain more moisture. However, if you plan on serving them without bread, you can toast them quickly on a pan afterwards, for an added crunch. Either way, they taste great.

Enjoy!

Beetroot Burgers
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 8 burgers
Calories (per serving): 199 kcal
Author: João Caseiro
Ingredients
  • 200 g raw beetroot
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
Instructions
  1. Using a mesh strainer, rinse the quinoa thoroughly under tap water (I don’t do this always, but it helps remove its natural bitterness).

  2. Add the quinoa, two cups of water and a pinch of salt to a small saucepan. Cook under medium heat for about 20 minutes.

  3. Grate the beetroot finely to a bowl. Add the sunflower and sesame seeds. Finely chop the onion and garlic and add them as well.

  4. Drain the quinoa and add it to the bowl. Mix thoroughly.

  5. Using your hands, shape the mixture into burgers. You should be able to make between 6 to 8 of them.

  6. Heat the oven at 180ºC.  Line up a tray with a baking sheet and place the burgers on it. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 15 minutes.

date energy bites

Date Energy Bites

The first time I’ve made these date energy bites was over a year ago. I was trying to replicate the consistency and taste of those raw fruit bars that started popping up in all major supermarkets here in Portugal.

So, I looked up their ingredients – they were mainly made of dates, with an assortment of nuts. I was quite surprised that such a minimalist combination could result in a firm bar, packed with flavour.

date energy bites

Intrigued, I bought dates and walnuts and went into the kitchen for a quick experiment. My main concern was whether our domestic-grade food processor would be powerful enough to form a shapeable paste with two relatively dry ingredients.

But it was, and everything turned out great in our first try!

With only two ingredients, virtually nothing can go wrong. What are you waiting to try these energy bites?

You can use this recipe as a starting point for many variations of your choosing. For example, feel free to add other nuts, such as pecans, almonds, pine nuts, dried coconut, etc. Keep a ratio of 250g dates to 125g nuts. The chocolate lovers out there can also add two tablespoons of cocoa/cacao powder.

Date Energy Bites
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

Raw vegan energy bites with just two ingredients – dates and walnuts! Give them a blitz, shape them into balls, pop them into the fridge for a few hours, and… that’s it!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 16 balls
Calories (per serving): 92 kcal
Author: João Caseiro
Ingredients
  • 250g dates, without pits
  • 125g walnuts
Instructions
  1. Blitz the dates in a food processor for a few seconds, until they break down into small bits.

  2. Add the walnuts and blitz again, until they form a malleable paste.

  3. Shape the paste into small balls, using your hands. Place them on a tray and store in your fridge for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!


Check our other recipes and articles in the index! If you decide to try one of them, tag us on Instagram or use the #criticaleating hashtag, and we’ll feature it in our stories!

vegan noodle soup

Vegan Noodle Soup

I’ve always loved the contrast between European and Asian soups. While ours are generally made by pureeing vegetables in a variable amount of water, theirs are usually clear broths with a number of solid ingredients such as mushrooms, noodles, rice, chicken, pork and tofu.

In many traditional recipes, the broth is made by cooking bones with water for several hours, or by mixing dried fish shavings and seaweed.

These preparations confer the soup a characteristic umami flavour, one of the five “basic tastes” alongside sweet, sour, bitter and salty. You may have not heard of it, but you sure taste it on a daily basis, as it is present in a wide array of foods such as tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, yeast or soy sauce, and added artificially to snacks like potato chips or “low-sodium” products in the form of the controversial monosodium glutamate. Check out this 2-minute video for more information on umami.

Today, I present you an entirely animal-free soup, suitable for vegans, where the main flavouring is miso, a fermented soybean paste – and a source of umami flavour.

vegan mushroom soup
Continue reading “Vegan Noodle Soup”
peanut butter cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

There are, in my opinion, four key plant-based fats that should form an important backbone of any vegan diet.

They are: olive oil, already widely used for cooking savory dishes; coconut oil, the perfect butter substitute when cooking desserts, almost neutral in flavor depending in its degree of refinement; avocados, a source of healthy fats, to be eaten as any other vegetable or as a structural component of smoothies and mousses; and peanut butter, with its strong nutty flavor, protagonist of an enormous amount of desserts, like the one I bring you today.

These peanut butter cookies are as any cookie should be – with a crunchy crust and a soft, almost creamy core.

peanut butter cookies
Continue reading “Peanut Butter Cookies”
aquafaba brownies

Aquafaba Brownies

Every time I opened a can of chickpeas, I wondered: couldn’t we do something with the brine? But time and time again it went down the drain.

Then, a few months ago, I came to know it actually had a name – aquafaba – and a passionate community of people using it in sweet and savoury dishes. Its appeal comes from the fact that it contains a very specific cocktail of carbohydrates and proteins giving it similar properties to egg whites. Yes, you can actually stop using eggs if you only rely on them for emulsifying (mayonnaise), binding (cakes and cookies) or structuring (meringues, mousses).

For those who think there can’t be any more innovation in cooking, behold – the properties of aquafaba were only discovered in 2014, by the French Joël Roessel, who was experimenting with making foam using vegetable ingredients! His findings were published on his blog back then.

If you’re doubting the special powers of aquafaba, this is how it becomes after a few minutes of whisking:

whisked aquafaba
Continue reading “Aquafaba Brownies”