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Emily Stokes
I'm a lady who loves cheese, sour cream, & ice cream, but I recently became lactose intolerant. My key focus in recreating dairy recipes is taste, but I try to be as health conscious as possible. Some of my recipes are low lactose rather than dairy free. I'm also a writer, teacher, nanny, dog mom, housewife, native Yinzer, current Californian, and social organizer extraordinaire.


Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta with Battered Sage Leaves

Butternut Squash Pasta with Batter Fried Sage Leaves from
Sage leaves frying in a pan of olive oil is one of the best smells in the WORLD.

Batter frying them is so simple, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it before! They are a perfect addition to anything with butternut squash or pumpkin, but they can also stand alone.

Batter fried sage leaves from

Dipping sage leaves in flour and water batter.

Batter fried sage leaves from

Frying battered sage leaves in olive oil.

I’m just going to warn you, fried sage leaves taste so incredible you’re going to be sad if you don’t make more than this recipe calls for, and you’re going to want to eat them before your pasta’s ready. I highly suggest making some extra to snack on.

Batter fried sage leaves from

I was so excited to make butternut squash pasta when the winter squashes started arriving in stores. Luckily they can sit on your counter for weeks and still be in great condition, because life has been so busy in November that I haven’t had many chances to cook or post.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Battered Sage Leaves from
I saw an amazing looking recipe in a magazine for butternut squash pasta made with bacon, but I wanted to keep this one healthy, vegan, and as simple as possible. I combined a few different recipes to get what I wanted, plus added my own touch.

One of my favorite pasta dishes in the world is Il Fornaio’s  Walnut Butternut Squash Ravioli. They pour on a brown butter and tomato sauce and add battered sage leaves. I wanted to replicate this without the added process of making fresh pasta–I groan at complicated recipes–and of course, I needed to make this dairy free. Instead of cream and tomato for that acidic touch, I used Moscato. It pairs perfectly with this pasta dish.

So here it is, a restaurant worthy dish made simple, healthy, and vegan. The recipe makes four servings of pasta, but you can easily double it for a family or dinner party. Just use the whole squash, the whole onion, a pound of pasta, an 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg, and double everything else.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Battered Sage Leaves
Serves 4
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Total Time
50 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 1/2 butternut squash
  2. 1/4 cup sweet white wine
  3. 1 tablespoon Smart Balance Light
  4. 1/2 yellow onion
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp pepper
  7. 1/2 lb pasta (I used gemelli)
  8. dash nutmeg
  9. 1/2 cup crumbled walnuts**
  10. Parmigiano reggiano*
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise, carefully. Scoop out seeds. Pour 1/4 cup water into a large glass casserole dish. Add squash to dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until squash is soft enough to be pierced with a fork.
  3. While the squash is baking, fry batter dipped sage leaves in oil.
  4. When squash is tender, allow to sit and cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, start to cook pasta according to directions.
  6. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook yellow onion in Smart Balance for 10 minutes or until translucent and beginning to brown.
  7. Scoop preferred amount of cooled squash from the skin and place into blender.
  8. Puree with 1/4 cup sweet white wine, such as Moscato, but don't over process to leave some texture.
  9. Add butternut squash puree to the saucepan of onions, along with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5-10minutes, until heated through. Wine or broth can be added to make a thinner consistency if needed.
  10. Add cooked, drained pasta to the saucepan and toss in butternut squash sauce until evenly coated.
  11. To serve, sprinkle with crumbled walnuts,* parmigiano reggiano,**and top with fried sage leaves.
  1. This recipe is halved for the convenience of cooking for two. If you are cooking for a family, it's very easy to double. Use the whole squash, the whole onion, and 1 lb. of pasta.
  2. *optional
  3. **To crumble place in Ziploc bag and run over with rolling pin.
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Fried Sage Leaves
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  1. 1/2 cup flour
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 10-15 big sage leaves
  4. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for frying
  5. sea salt
  1. Wash the leaves and dry them on a paper towel.
  2. Whisk the water and flour together until the batter becomes smooth.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat (not too hot or it will burn). Dip the leaves in the batter and let the extra batter drip off.
  4. Fry the sage leaves about 1 minute each side until crispy and a light golden color.
  5. Place them on a paper towel and sprinkle them with a dash of sea salt.
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Butternut Squash Pasta with Battered Sage Leaves from
Butternut Squash Pasta with Battered Sage Leaves from

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No-Bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites from
Want to try something amazing? Trust me when I say, there is nothing healthy tasting about these incredible and incredibly healthy pumpkin pie bites.

My go-to pumpkin pie recipes have undergone many changes over the years, adapting to my dietary restrictions and taste preferences. But this year I thought I’d go all out and make a dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan pumpkin pie. I did some research to see if this was possible.

It was very possible.

No-bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites from

The trick was what recipe to trust, choose, and how to adapt it. I found a lot of raw pie crust recipes made with dates, and, unfortunately, I am not the biggest fan of dates, so they are not a usual ingredient I buy. Not wanting to make a special trip to the store just for dates, I found a recipe on for no-bake pumpkin walnut pie—date free—and decided to adapt it to fit the ingredients in my kitchen.

During my research I saw so many complicated no-bake raw crusts. They called for all kinds of nuts and ingredients. I just kept thinking about how simple a raw crust should be. I mean, anything can be crumbled and made into a crust! (It just needs to taste awesome)

So I simplified the crust into three ingredients, an idea I found on walnuts, maple syrup, and vanilla. It’s a treat in itself! It’s technically not raw, but there is no baking involved. I was eating this before I could turn it into a crust. I thought this combination would be pretty sticky, but it’s actually not. It’s smooth and buttery. Nevertheless, I still greased the bottoms of my mini cheesecake pan for easier removal.

Making three ingredient walnut pie crust from

This is what the crust should look like after processing.

No-bake walnut pie crust from

Pressed walnut crust in mini cheesecake pan.

I made these bites to try something different, and to serve individually at a party. I think this would work very well as a whole pie, and the measurements should be the same.

If you are making pumpkin pie bites versus a whole pie, keep in mind that these are very soft and delicate. Like whipped cream, these delicious, fluffy pie bites will start to soften as soon as they are taken out of the cold.

I did not wrap the bites in paper while making because I wanted to see how pretty they were. But I recommend making these in cupcake liners or individual serving cups unless you are very patient. I made mine in a mini cheesecake pan. I used a butter knife to loosen the pumpkin pie filling from the edges, then pushed them out from underneath very carefully.

To serve them unwrapped, place pumpkin pie bites on a chilled tray or individual plates for immediate serving. Since I was transporting mine, I placed them in tulip parchment liners, which unfold and fold back easily. These could also be frozen for an hour so they become easier to serve, and should have the consistency of ice cream.  Keep them in the freezer longer in an airtight container for frozen pumpkin treats.

No-bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites from

This is my pumpkin pie bite wrapped in a tulip parchment paper liner. Easy to serve, easy to eat!

For a thick, solid filling, use coconut oil and full fat coconut cream, which stiffens and solidifies upon chilling. Also, make sure you use walnuts for this recipe. The walnuts act as a thickening agent to keep the filling solid. They are also heart healthy!

Maple syrup is apparently healthy for you as well—in moderation. This recipe calls for a small amount of maple syrup, but it goes a long way! These pumpkin pie bites are perfectly sweetened. I served them at a Halloween party, and they were a big hit.

I love creating as many recipes I can that adapt to different dietary restrictions because, hey, I know how it feels.

No-bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites from

No-Bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites
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For the Crust
  1. 2 cups raw walnuts
  2. 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  3. 1 tsp vanilla
For the Filling
  1. 1 can pumpkin (15oz)
  2. 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  3. 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  4. 1 cup full fat coconut cream (the solid part of the canned coconut milk that separates when chilled)
  5. 1/8 cup coconut oil, melted
  6. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  7. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  9. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  10. 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
For Crust
  1. Pulse walnuts in a food processor until finely crumbled. Add syrup and vanilla and pulse until ball forms.
For Filling
  1. Pulse 1/2 cup walnuts in food processor until finely crumbled. Add 4 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla, salt, and all spices then pulse until smooth.
  2. Add pumpkin 1/3 cup at a time to food processor and pulse until well combined.
  3. Transfer pumpkin mixture to medium bowl. Stir in 1 cup full fat coconut cream (leave the clear liquid behind in the can).
  4. At this time, taste and add more sweetener if desired.
  5. For the last step, add melted coconut oil and stir quickly. Once cool it will begin to solidify.
To Complete Pie Bites
  1. Brush 12 cup mini cheesecake pan bottoms with coconut oil or Smart Balance Light. Alternatively, use a 9 inch greased pie pan or paper lined cupcake tin.
  2. Press 3/4 tablespoon (about 2 teaspoons) of walnut mixture into bottom of mini pans to form crusts.
  3. Spoon filling evenly into crusts. There may be a tiny bit left over to snack on. Refrigerate for at least four hours to firm, then pop out of the tins and serve immediately. Filling will soften if not kept refrigerated.
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No-bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites from

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Pumpkin French Toast Bowls

Pumpkin French Toast in a bowl.

Did you ever make a recipe based on random ingredients you had in the fridge?

I rarely go out of my way to buy ingredients for a specific recipe. Usually I browse the ingredients I have in my kitchen and make something up. Sometimes for inspiration, I dig up a recipe from a cookbook or my Pinterest account.

This was one of those recipes.

Some days I just wake up wanting to cook something! Being eager to post recipes on my brand new blog is also highly motivational.

So on this particular morning when I checked my fridge, I found leftover pumpkin puree and half a loaf of French bread. I plunged into my endless collection of fall recipes on Pinterest and found one for pumpkin french toast by Minimalist Baker. This was a large recipe, but I only needed two servings—one for me, one for my husband. My new single serving size ceramic baking bowls inspired me to make individual servings. I also adapted it to be dairy free, of course.

Pumpkin French Toast Bowls

This French toast recipe is so yummy. I poured agave nectar on mine for a tasty syrup, but my husband ate his up without anything added.  He doesn’t usually use condiments, but this tells me it was pretty good.

You can play around with this recipe to make it your own. Let the bread soak up the liquid longer if you like. Try a different type of bread, like sweet cinnamon raisin bread. Add extra pumpkin, or add some powdered sugar on top after baking. Try using some different non-dairy milks as well.

While you can use any type of non-dairy milk in this recipe, I recommend one that contains vanilla and spices. I used Silk Very Vanilla Soy Milk, but some other good options would be Silk Vanilla Almondmilk, SoDelicious Coconut Nog, or Rice Dream Vanilla Rice Milk.

I just made an amazing homemade oat milk recipe from This oat milk would be great to use in any French toast recipe because of its vanilla and cinnamon flavors. I hope you use your favorite dairy-free ingredients and enjoy!

Pumpkin French Toast Bowls
Serves 4
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  1. 1/2 loaf French Bread (about 10 slices)
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  6. 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  7. 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  8. dash sea salt
  9. 1/8 cup pumpkin puree
  10. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  11. 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  12. 2 teaspoons vegan butter
  1. Cut bread into cubes. I made mine thin, about 1/2 an inch.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients except bread and butter alternative, and whisk until combined.
  3. Add bread cubes into bowl. Using a mixing spoon, gently fold bread into mixture until just coated and allow cubes to soak up liquid for 10 minutes or longer.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Add 1 teaspoon of melted butter alternative into each individual oven safe bowl, or 2 teaspoons into the bottom of a nonstick loaf pan. This is important so the French Toast doesn't stick.
  5. Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. Drizzle with melted butter alternative and your favorite syrup.
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Baked French Toast bowls

Cooked French Toast with agave nectar.

A bite of pumpkin french toast.

If you try this recipe, let me know! Did you try any variations, and how did it turn out?

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