Banana Far Breton


Another stab at taking a fatty and sweet dessert and replacing the fat and most of the sugar with bananas. Usually it’s made with full-fat milk plus heavy cream — instead, I use skim milk with banana blended in it to thicken it. Replacing some of the all-purpose white flour with whole grain oat flour provides extra fiber. Adding a pear and nectarine (or any 2 similar fruits) boiled in sherry is optional, but also adds fiber and natural unprocessed sugar (traditionally, you would use prunes soaked in rum, and you can certainly do that with this one — I didn’t have any on-hand, and I prefer fresh fruit anyway).


  • 1/4 cup of Sherry (optional)
  • 1 Pear (optional)
  • 1 Nectarine (optional)
  • 1 medium banana (about 100g without peel)
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 33g organic sugar
  • 70g all purpose flour
  • 50g whole grain oat flour (plus a bit for dusting pan)
  • 1 tbsp rum or vanilla


Preheat oven to 475F. Prepare a cake pan by buttering, lining bottom with parchment paper, buttering parchment paper, and then dusting with additional oat flour.

Optional fruit filling: Chop pear and nectarine in 1/2″ cubes. In a small saucepan, heat the fruit and sherry over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruits have absorbed most of the sherry. Drain the remaining sherry and set fruits aside to cool.

Put banana and milk in a blender (if all the milk doesn’t fit in the blender, just reserve the rest for later). Blend well.

Put flours and sugar in a bowl. Slowly stir in the banana-milk blend into the flour, then any remaining milk. Beat in the eggs and rum or vanilla.

If using, spread the fruits at the bottom of the pan. Carefully pour in the batter.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn off oven, and leave the pan in the oven to finish baking for 30 more minutes. Cool completely.

Makes 8 servings.

Spinach Cheesecake



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Slice of Spinach Cheesecake

I just threw this together to use ingredients I had on-hand, and it worked out well, so I’m taking notes for posterity. It doesn’t really have a cheesecake texture — it’s more somewhere between a quiche and a soufflé. To be more DASHy, the pie crust ought to have been homemade with whole grains, but I had a purchased pie crust that was approaching its best by date and I was feeling pretty lazy besides. If you’re feeling too lazy to make a pie crust, maybe line the bottom with crushed crackers, or skip it altogether?

I get many of my ingredients, including the chorizo, from Imperfect Foods. (If you use this link, you get $10 off your first order and I get a $10 credit.) I’m sure any low-sodium sausage will do. This chorizo is spicy enough that I didn’t feel the need to add any hot pepper. To keep the sodium really low, I used only 1/2 the chorizo, since the crust and cheese also bring sodium.

Makes 4 large servings (for a one-dish meal) or 8 servings (and complete your meal with a nice salad).


  • 1 pie crust (optional)
  • olive oil
  • 1 small to medium red onion, sliced in half at the equator, and slice each half longitudinally.
  • 5 to 10 oz No Evil Plant-Based Chorizo – El Zapatista, crumbled
  • 1 small crown of broccoli. Chop the florets in small pieces, and separately chop the stems, peel and chop the top part of the trunk.
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I used 1/2 gruyere, 1/4 mozzarella, and 1/4 sharp cheddar).
  • 2-3 leeks, white and light green portions, sliced (clean your leeks well)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 to 5 oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp Penzey’s Sunny Paris or Florida Seasoned Pepper (or any salt-free lemon-pepper spice blend)
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 4 eggs


  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan (or casserole dish, if not using pie crust).
  • If using pie crust, line the bottom of the springform pan with the pie crust and press the edges against the side. (The filling will be higher than the crust).
  • Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, add olive oil to just grease the bottom (2-3 tbsp depending on size of pan). When oil is hot, add the onions, chorizo, and broccoli stem/trunk pieces. Sauté until onions start to soften. Add the broccoli florets and sauté until the florets turn dark green.
  • Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese over the bottom of the crust. Put the onion-chorizo-broccoli mixture over that. Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese over the onion-chorizo-broccoli mixture. (If not using crust, don’t put any cheese on the bottom, and put the full 1/2 of the cheese on top of the mixture). (I used pre-shredded mozzarella and cheddar for this step).
  • If the frying pan is dry, add more oil. Sauté the leeks and mushrooms until they start getting soft. Add the spinach and sauté until spinach is wilted. Sprinkle with the seasoning and mix well. Set aside to cool (just enough so that it won’t cook the eggs).
  • Break the eggs into a large food processor and blend well. Add the ricotta and blend well. Add the rest of the grated cheese and blend (I used fresh grated gruyere). Add the cooled spinach mixture and blend well. Pour the egg-cheese-spinach mixture into the springform pan on top of the chorizo and cheese.
  • Put the pan into the preheated oven. Lower the oven temperature to 325 F. Bake for 1 hour.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan and cutting into slices.

No-Pasta Lasagna



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I just threw this together using the ingredients I had on hand. I mostly didn’t keep track of how much I used of any ingredient. I gave the leftovers to my daughter and she wanted the recipe, so here it is to the best of my recollection. Thing is, you can’t really go wrong, as long as you have the layers, and tasty ingredients in each. I only used one layer of potatoes at the bottom for a nice solid bottom, but it would be tastier (though more starchy) with several layers of potatoes. I tried to remember what I put into the tomato sauce, but really you’re fine as long as you end up with a thick, tasty, meaty sauce (the “meat” I used is vegan, so I use the term “meaty” to indicate texture, not necessarily flesh — I think this would work fine with crumbled tempeh as well as any ground meat or sausage).

I made my own ricotta, but you can get store-bought. I didn’t make enough, actually, so I only hade very scant layers of the ricotta mixture. I ended up with about 1 cup of ricotta. Two would have been better, so that’s what I’m putting down.

To keep low-sodium, I use cheeses that are generally low in sodium (but check the labels because some brands add more salt than others): swiss, gruyere, or emmentaler, fresh mozzerella, and homemade ricotta. The chorizo I used was 440mg sodium per serving, and 4 servings in the 10 oz package. Since this dish ends up making about 8 servings, that’s about 220mg per serving added by the sausage, which is pretty good as sausages go.

I get many of my ingredients, including the chorizo, from Imperfect Foods. (If you use this link, you get $10 off your first order and I get a $10 credit.) Again, I’m sure any sausage you enjoy will do. This chorizo is spicy enough that I didn’t feel the need to add any hot pepper.

I get most of my spices from Penzey’s. (I get nothing for this link, I’m just a fan). They have a lot of great salt-free seasoning mixes (my favorite is Justice, which would definitely have gone into at least the ricotta mixture and potato layer if I hadn’t run out).


1 large russet potato, peeled and sliced very thinly
6 oz swiss, gruyere, or emmentaler cheese, shredded
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 zucchinis, sliced very thinly in length (this is your “lasagna” noodle)
1 large onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, chopped (or other mild pepper)
olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
herbs and spices, to taste (I used fresh sage, fresh thyme, and Penzey’s Frozen Pizza Seasoning)
10 oz No Evil Plant-Based Chorizo – El Zapatista
14 oz canned whole cherry tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
2 cups ricotta cheese
3 eggs
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped with 1 clove garlic
8 oz fresh mozzerella sliced
Panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp butter


Butter or spray a 9″x13″x2″ glass dish.

Sauté the onion and pepper in olive oil for a few minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the chorizo and sauté a few minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and herbs and spices. Let simmer, stirring occasionally and crushing the tomatoes, until it makes a thick sauce.

In a bowl, mix the ricotta, eggs, and parsley+garlic.

Bottom layer is a thin layer of au gratin potatoes: spread out the potatoes to cover the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle with your choice of seasoning (I used the pizza seasoning). Sprinkle with 2 ounces of the shredded swiss/gruyere/emmentaler and the parmesan. Drizzle the heavy cream over the top.

Add a layer of one third of the tomato-meat mixture.

Repeat twice:

  • Layer of half the zucchini slices
  • Layer of half the ricotta mixture
  • Layer of half the remaining tomato-meat mixture
  • Layer of half the mozzarella slices

Sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded swiss/gruyere/emmentaler.

In the pan used for the tomato mixture (no need to wash first), melt the butter. Stir the panko crumbs in the melted butter so that they absorb the butter and any tomato sauce left behind in the pan. Sprinkle over the top of the lasagna.

Bake at 375F for 30 minutes.

Pear-topped carrot cake



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Ingredients (links are to the ones I used, I don’t get any payment)

1-2 pears, thinly sliced (peeling is optional)
2 tbsp golden syrup (or honey)
1 tsp ghee oil (or melted butter)
a few dashes of powdered ginger
optional: 1 tbsp sweet ginger bits

Wet ingredients:
1 1/2 cups grated carrots (can also include some grated parsnips for a bit of zing)
1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup craisins soaked in 1/4 cup rum (zap in microwave for 30 sec for instant plumping)
3 eggs
1/4 cup ghee oil
1/4 cup golden syrup (or honey)
1 tsp double-strength vanilla
optional: 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Dry ingredients:
1 3/4 cups almond flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground mace (or nutmeg)
1 tsp sodium-free baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Line a 9″ round cake pan with greased parchment paper (I used a bit of ghee)
  3. For the topping: Spread the 2 tbsp golden syrup on the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Arrange the pear slices over the golden syrup in whatever pattern you like (you can add a few thin slices of carrot if you want to add color to your design). Sprinkle the pears with ghee. Sprinkle powdered ginger and ginger bits.
  4. Put pan in 400F oven for 10 minutes or until the pears are starting to get golden. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the rest of the cake.
  5. Reduce oven to 325F.
  6. Mix together all the dry ingredients.
  7. Mix together all the wet ingredients.
  8. Mix the wet mixture into the dry mixture. The batter will be like a soft cookie dough, not a pourable cake batter.
  9. Carefully plop and spread the batter into the pan, being careful to disturb your pear pattern as little as possible.
  10. Bake at 325F for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes.
  12. Turn cake over onto serving platter and peel off the parchment paper carefully to maintain your pear pattern. If any pear slices stick to the paper, just peel them off and put them back where they came from. Cool completely.

Banana Flan


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It’s always nice to find new ways to use those mushy brown bananas. In this recipe, the banana takes the place of most of the sugar and most of the fat to make a creamy lightly sweetened flan. The vanilla and orange zest trick your tongue into thinking it’s sweeter than it is. Then we add a dash of cinnamon or any of several dessert spice mixes on top of the unmolded flan for another “sweet trick”. In addition, the high protein content from the eggs helps control the speed with which you absorb the sugar and leaves you feeling full. Whipped topping has a lot of air in it, so a tiny dollop adds negligeable amounts of sugar, fat, and calories while making the dessert feel extra special.

Banana flan with Pie Spice and a small dollop of whipped cream.


  • 1 cup lowfat (1%) or skim milk
  • 1 overripe banana, peeled (approx 116g)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tangerine (or small orange), zested, peeled, and separated into segments
  • Small amount of cinnamon, pie spice, cake spice, or baking spice (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325F and boil a pot of water.
  2. Spread 1/4 teaspoon of honey at the bottom of each of 4 ramekins. Place the ramekins in a deep pan.
  3. In a blender, liquify the banana with the milk, eggs, vanilla, orange zest, and the 2 remaining teaspoons of honey.
  4. Divide the liquid evenly among the 4 ramekins.
  5. Place the pan with the ramekins into the preheated oven and pour hot water to surround the ramekins, up to 1/2″ below the rim of the ramekins.
    Ramekins of flan in a bain marie
  6. Cook for 40 minutes or until the top of the flan has just a slight jiggle.
  7. Take the ramekins out of the hot bath. Let cool 15 minutes then refrigerate.
  8. To serve, turn the flan over onto a plate, sprinkle a little dessert spice on top if desired, and adorn with the orange segments.

Nutrition for 1 ramekin (1/4 of the recipe) with 1% milk, not including whipped cream:
Calories: 139; Sodium: 79mg; Fat: 4.6g; Carbs: 17g; Fiber: 1.1g; Sugar: 13.3g; Protein: 7g

DASH category servings:
Fruits: 1/2; Milk: 1/4; Meat: 3/4; Sweets: 1/4