Black Bean Stuffed Avocados

Great for a simple lunch or healthy snack, these stuffed avocados come together swiftly and are loaded with Tex-Mex flavour! Cumin and fresh veggies keep the avocados healthy and super tasty.
Black Bean Stuffed Avocados {with Vegan Option} | Swirls and Spice Avocados are not something I am fond of eating on their own.  But add some texture and Mexican fair and I love them!  Despite my daughter’s recent addiction to garlic salt on her morning toast, I found enough of it to shake on my stuffed avocado creation–and was it ever good!Black Bean Stuffed Avocados {with Vegan Option} | Swirls and Spice

Black Bean Stuffed Avocados


  • Avocado, cut in halves, seed removed
  • Lemon juice or lime juice
  • Sea salt
  • Mayonnaise (egg-based or vegan), optional
  • Black beans, cooked and mashed
  • Taco Seasoning or garlic salt and ground cumin, to taste
  • Sweet bell pepper, any colour, chopped
  • Shredded cabbage or fresh coleslaw mix
  • Olives, optional
  • Green onions, optional
  • Cilantro, optional


  1. Lightly coat the cut green surface of the avocado with lemon or lime juice to keep fresh.  Sprinkle with sea salt or garlic salt.
  2. Mix together black beans, mayonnaise (if using), and taco seasoning or cumin and salt to taste.
  3. Fill each half of the avocado with a heaping spoonful of seasoned black beans.  Top beans with sweet pepper, cabbage, and olives, onions, and cilantro (if using).

Black Bean Stuffed Avocados {with Vegan Option} | Swirls and SpiceI am bringing these avocados to Fiesta Friday this week and sharing them here.

Also shared at Allergy Free Wednesday and Gluten Free Wednesdays.


Raspberry Peach Crumble Cake

I’m still craving warm rays of sun that peaches sweetly suggest.  A crumble cake with peaches on top just had to happen, with red raspberries for tartness and added colour.  Never mind that our early spring weather has been cool and blustery, with another chance of flurries still to come.  We will taste sunshine, served on a plate, as we continue to celebrate the hope of new life.

Raspberry Peach Crumble Cake | Swirls and Spice

My three older children have been off from school since Good Friday, and my eldest daughter has been itching to bake something.  Crumble cakes are one of her favourite desserts.  I made the fruit filling, but otherwise the cake you see here was mostly done by her, with just a bit of instruction here and there from me.  While I chopped sweet potatoes for supper, she was busy finishing the cake.Raspberry Peach Crumble Cake | Swirls and Spice

When the cake was done and it had cooled somewhat, we pulled it out of the cake pan together (with four hands) to keep it intact.  Thankfully, with the help of baking parchment, we were able to extract a nice round crumble cake, even without the benefit of a springform pan.  Onto the cake stand it went, before eager smiles met each tender slice.

We’ve still got a few slices worth of sweet crumble cake left today.  Won’t you pull up a chair and join us?


Raspberry Peach Crumble Cake


For the cake batter and crumb topping:

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 cup golden yellow sugar (light brown sugar)
  • 3/4 cup salted butter or coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teasoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup dairy milk or almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or ginger
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

For the fruit filling:

  • 1 cup frozen peaches OR canned peaches, drained
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch or 2 Tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


  1. To make the fruit filling, stir together peaches with cornstarch or tapioca starch.  Add honey, maple syrup, and lemon juice and heat in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until starch dissolves.  Add raspberries and continue to cook and stir gently until the filling thickens.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Combine flours, butter or coconut oil, and sugar with a fork or pastry blender until fine crumbs form throughout. Take a generous 1/2 cup of this crumb mixture and set aside for the topping later.
  3. Add vinegar to the milk and then whisk in the vanilla and almond extracts.  Let stand for 5 minutes before beating in the egg.  Add the dry ingredient mixture (except for the reserved crumb topping) to the wet mixture, and stir until evenly combined.
  4. Into a greased 9-inch (23cm) cake pan lined with baking parchment or a greased round springform pan, pour the batter. Smooth out the batter with a rubber spatula. Add the raspberry peach filling, spreading to form an even layer, keeping the fruit filling about 2 cm away from the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the filling layer with the reserved crumb topping.  Bake for 45 minutes or until middle tests done, being careful not to over bake.  Let cake cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

I’m bringing this cake to Fiesta Friday this week.

I also share recipes here.


Garlic Potato Sloppy Joe Casserole

Garlic Potato Sloppy Joe Casserole | Swirls and Spice

Today I bring you more proof that my family and I do not subsist on salads and sweets alone.  We actually enjoy simple suppers that include beef, chicken, pork, or seafood.  I did plan our meals this week, but when I awoke yesterday to snow on the ground, I decided that Sweet Potato Skillet could be shifted to another night.  We would stay at home and use ingredients that were already in the house.

Garlic Potato Sloppy Joe Casserole | Swirls and Spice

After searching high and low for a sloppy joe casserole that was gluten and dairy free, I made my own version for supper last night.  My family loves it when I make garlic potatoes as a side dish.  Why not put them on top of a casserole?

Though I’m not against regular buns, I was still recovering from eating a few too many Resurrection rolls over Easter weekend.  Potatoes turned out to be a terrific topping!  I could have sprinkled on a little bit of cheese, but the potato slices are so flavourful with just garlic, salt, and olive oil, that we didn’t miss the dairy.  Go ahead and add cheese if you like though, and tell me what you think!

Garlic Potato Sloppy Joe Casserole | Swirls and Spice

Garlic Potato Sloppy Joe Casserole

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 60 min
  • Print

Ingredients:Garlic Potato Sloppy Joe Casserole | Swirls and Spice

  • 16 ounces (450 to 500g) ground beef and/or ground pork
  • 1/2 cup white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup Napa cabbage or other cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 3/4 cup (or more) tomato ketchup (I buy mine, or try homemade ketchup)
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Worchestershire sauce (gluten free if that is a requirement for you)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon steak seasoning, optional
  • 6 medium red potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
  • 2 to 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1.  In a large skillet, heat a small amount of oil over medium heat.  Saute onion for 2 minutes before adding meat.  Brown meat, stirring frequently.  Add cabbage and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Mix together ketchup, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce, and garlic salt.  Stir into browned meat and let simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavours.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Turn off heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).  Mix together olive oil, garlic, and sea salt in a medium bowl.  Add potato slices and toss to coat.  Into a 2-litre (2-quart) baking dish, pour seasoned sloppy joe meat.  Top with potato slices, overlapping them in circular rings.  Pour any remaining olive oil and garlic on top.
  3. Bake the assembled casserole for 35 to 45 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through.  Serve warm.

I share recipes here, at Allergy Free Wednesday, and Gluten Free Wednesday.


Healthier Samoa Coconut Cookies

If you have sweet potato haters in your midst, make these cookies.  Just don’t tell them what’s inside until after they take a bite.  The joke’s on them, because they’ll want to keep eating these chocolate-dipped coconut cookies with caramel topping no matter what you say. Healthier Samoa Coconut Cookies When it comes to boxed cookies, I thought my days of indulging in Girl Scout cookies were over as soon as I moved to Canada.  However, recipes for homemade versions of those famous cookies continue to infiltrate my Pinterest feed.  And many of the new recipes (like these Samoa bars from Life Made Sweeter) look even better than the original cookies that inspired them.

I got to taste genuine Samoas from a box again about a year ago.  After all the anticipation, I was disappointed.  It didn’t seem as tasty as I remembered.  So I thought I should try out my own gluten-free version, and see if homemade cookies really could taste better.

To make these cookies healthier, I included a genuine superfood–sweet potatoes. Though it’s not a typical cookie ingredient, the sweet potato complements the oats and coconut beautifully.  A touch of cinnamon ties it all together.  And even before adding chocolate and caramel, these cookies are crave-worthy. Healthier Samoa Coconut Cookies As you can imagine, coconut cookies smell incredible while they’re baking in the oven.  So save your scented candles for another day and bake these low-guilt cookies.  Heavenly aromas will waft through your kitchen and into the corridors of your house.  You will eagerly anticipate the delicious toasted coconut and oat goodness. That first bite will confirm that these caramel-drizzled cookies are absolutely worth making at home.

Will you like them better than the original boxed cookies?  There is but one way to find out.  Or maybe there’s more than one, since the caramel and chocolate can be customized to your liking. Healthier Samoa Coconut Cookies My preferred version of these coconut cookies is actually with extra caramel and without the chocolate dip.  But I am a little unusual in my take-it-or-leave-it attitude toward chocolate.  Perhaps you consider chocolate a necessary component.  If so, by all means, dip and enjoy!

Healthier Samoa Coconut Cookies

  • Servings: 24-28 cookies
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Ingredients for the cookies:

  • 1 + 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1 + 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup sweet potato, peeled and grated
  • 1 Tablespoon tapioca flour or cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil

Ingredients for the caramel sauce:

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons pure honey
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • almond milk, as needed


  1. To make cookies, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together coconut oil or butter, salt, egg whites, and sugar.  Add oats, coconut, sweet potato, tapioca/cornstarch, and ground cinnamon and mix well.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 C).  Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough, roll dough into balls, and place onto parchment-lined baking sheets.  Flatten each cookie with your hand or a fork.  Bake for 15 minutes, until tops of cookies turn golden brown and crisp.  If cookies seem too soft, turn up heat to 350 degrees F (180 C) and bake for 5 to 7 minutes longer.  Remove trays from oven and let cookies cool on warm baking sheets for 10 minutes.  Transfer cookies to cooling racks.
  2. Melt chocolate chips with coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.  Or microwave the chocolate and oil in 30-second increments, stirring each time, until just melted. Dip the bottom of each cooled cookie into melted chocolate.  Place onto a tray or flat plate lined with greased baking parchment and chill until chocolate hardens.
  3. To make the caramel sauce, combine almond butter, sugar, salt, honey, and maple syrup in a small sauce pan.  Heat over medium low heat and stir frequently.  Turn off heat and stir in vanilla.  Gradually add and stir in almond milk by teaspoons until the caramel reaches drizzling consistency.  Let cool slightly.  Drizzle caramel over cooled cookies.   Caramel can be gently reheated and/or thinned further as needed. Serve cookies after caramel has cooled completely.

I share recipes at Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays, and here.

I’m also sharing this at Natural Family Friday and Savoring Saturdays.


Sweet Potato Chicken Croquettes with Chimichurri Sauce

Colourful sweet potato croquettes, loaded with flavour and healthy nutrients, make a tasty light meal with a side of pasta, rice, or couscous.  Or serve them as a filling appetizer for your next event.

Sweet Potato Patties with Chimichurri Sauce | Swirls and Spice

Any time I have an extra sweet potato lurking about, croquettes have become one of my top picks to make.  Savoury sweet potato croquettes are an enticing way to get healthy superfoods onto our plates and into our lunch boxes. The sweet potato and chimichurri sauce can be prepared in a snap, thanks to my food processor.  Leftover croquettes make a great breakfast too, since they taste almost like sausage.

We had plenty of chimichurri sauce left, but found that the extra sauce adds a fantastic garlic punch to meats, sandwiches, and pasta as well. The sauce can also be frozen for next time.  And since there is no cilantro involved in this chimichurri, my whole family could enjoy it!

What are your favourite ways to eat sweet potatoes?

Sweet Potato Chicken Croquettes with Chimichurri Sauce | Swirls and Spice

Sweet Potato Chicken Croquettes with Chimichurri Sauce

  • Servings: about 16 to 18 small croquettes
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Ingredients for the Sweet Potato Croquettes:

  • 2 cups grated sweet potato or yam
  • 450 g (about 2 cups) ground chicken or lean ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 spring onions, minced
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon steak seasoning blend (dry)
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Worschestershire sauce, optional (look for gluten-free if on a restricted diet)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons almond flour (or other flour, such as rice flour)

Ingredients for the Chimichurri Sauce:

  • 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • black pepper to taste


  1. Mash together ground chicken and sweet potatoes with your hands or a potato masher.  Add remaining croquette ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Form the seasoned mixture into small patties.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and grease lightly with oil.  Fry the croquettes for several minutes on each side until cooked through, being careful not to let the sweet potato burn.  Cover and keep cooked croquettes warm.
  2. Toss all ingredients for the chimichurri sauce into a food processor or blender and pulse until a thick sauce forms.
  3. Serve croquettes warm with sauce on the side or top croquettes with the sauce just before serving.

Adapted from Dish by Dish and Humbled in a Heartbeat

Sweet Potato Patties with Chimichurri Sauce | Swirls and Spice

I share recipes here, at Allergy Free Wednesdays and at Gluten Free Wednesdays.

Also linked to Savoring Saturdays.


Moroccan Carrots with Apricots and Almonds

The warm spices of Morocco can take the most common of vegetables and elevate it to exotic new heights. As fitting as these spiced carrots might be for a special occasion like Easter dinner, they are still quick and simple enough for a weeknight side dish. The subtle sweetness of dried apricots compliments the spice blend exactly right–no honey or brown sugar needed.
Moroccan Carrots with Apricots and Almonds | Swirls and Spice

This side dish recipe was inspired by a lovely recipe for glazed carrots that employed apricot preserves.  Since my family prefers less sweetness, I took it in a different, spicier direction.  Top it all off with crunchy toasted almonds, and you have a side dish poised to become the main attraction.

Moroccan Carrots with Apricots and Almonds | Swirls and SpiceAs for an entrée, I recommend pairing these spiced carrots with lamb or chicken.  Cardamom-Scented Rice Pilaf with Lamb and Chickpeas would do nicely, as would Za’atar Chicken, which I am keen to try at home once I track down more za’atar.  You could also opt to round out the meal with some couscous or Kalonji Seed Bread if you are feeling particularly adventurous.

But honestly, even putting these Moroccan carrots alongside a simple rotisserie chicken will make your mouth quite happy.

Moroccan Carrots with Apricots and Almonds | Swirls and Spice

Moroccan Carrots with Apricots and Almonds

  • Servings: 4 to 6 as a side dish
  • Print


  • 4 to 5 cups thickly sliced carrots
  • 10 dried apricots (preferably unsulphured), chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted almond slivers


  1. In a small bowl, pour 2/3 cup hot water over chopped dried apricots and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes, until softened.
  2. Meawhile, in a saucepan, heat 6 cups of water to boil.  Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Whisk together spices, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar and add to apricot water mixture.  Add garlic and olive oil to empty saucepan and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.  Return carrots to pan and saute for 2 minutes.  Add spices, salt, and apricot mixture to the carrots and cook together for 2 minutes.  Turn off heat and keep warm until serving time.
  4. Just before serving, stir in chopped parsley.  Transfer cooked carrots to serving dish and sprinkle with toasted almond slivers.

Moroccan Carrots

I share recipes here and at Gluten Free Wednesdays and Allergy Free Wednesdays.

Also linked to Savoring Saturdays.


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