Gluten or Grain-Free “Think Pink” Donuts

Written by Bronwyn Cawker

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We’ve created a baked donut recipe with gluten-free and grain-free variations that we hope you will go nuts for. Forgive the pun; we are really excited to share these! We think these are the perfect sweet treat to bring along with you to Easter dinner. Our grain-free recipe is also Passover friendly.

These donuts are packed with fibre rich oat flour – almond flour in our grain-free version – sweetened with maple syrup and topped with a decadent coconut butter glaze coloured with beet juice. Beetroot's beautiful pink hue comes from a plant pigment called betalains, which is also present in prickly pears and red pitaya. In addition to betalains being studied for their antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory effects, they are a fantastic option for natural food colouring in lieu of artificial dyes (Gengatharan, A, 2015).

If you don’t have a donut pan, no problem! Feel free to bake these in a well-greased muffin tin and proceed as usual.

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Gluten or Grain-Free “Think Pink” Donuts

Gluten-Free Donut base:
1 1/4 cups oat flour
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted (plus extra for greasing pan)
½ cup organic apple sauce (or 2 eggs if you are non-vegan)
½ tsp vanilla extract

Grain-Free Donut base:
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup coconut milk
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (plus extra for greasing pan)
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract

Unbeetable Pink Icing:
1/4 cup coconut butter
1 ½ tbsp maple syrup
Water or non-dairy milk (as needed)
1 peeled beet, chopped into medium pieces (or 1 tsp beetroot powder)
1/4 tsp vanilla

Optional Toppings:
Cacao nibs
Toasted coconut flakes

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  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F / 176 C. Generously grease a 6 mold donut pan with coconut oil.

  2. Combine the dry ingredients – flour, chia, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, whisking to combine. Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients and add all of the remaining wet ingredients. Stir together until it is a smooth, uniform texture.

  3. Equally distribute the batter between the 6 donut molds using a spoon, making sure the top of each doughnut is smooth. Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes until cooked through. Allow to cool completely and gently remove from the pan using a knife.

  4. Place peeled, chopped beet into a small sauce pan over low heat with ¼ cup of water. Allow to cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Strain beets from the liquid, and set aside.

  5. Combine all ingredients for the glaze except for the vanilla extract and beet liquid in a small pot over medium-low heat until melted. Turn off heat and slowly incorporate beet liquid until desired colour is reached. Stir in vanilla extract. Adjust texture with water or non-dairy milk (if required).

  6. To assemble dip the donut in a generous amount of glaze. Top with a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes or cacao nibs if desired. Enjoy!


  1. You can use 1 tsp of beetroot powder to colour your icing if you have it on hand. Repurpose the cooked beet in a salad or smoothie recipe.

  2. You can make your own coconut butter by blending 2-3 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes in a high-powered blender or food processor until it resembles a smooth paste.

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We hope this recipe has you thinking pink. Drop us a line at @livingkitchenco if you try it out!


Gengatharan, A., Dykes, G. A., & Choo, W. S. (2015). Betalains: Natural plant pigments with potential application in functional foods. LWT - Food Science And Technology, 64645-649. doi:10.1016/j.lwt.2015.06.052

Cranberry Apple Sauce w/ Ginger and Cinnamon

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If this recipe had another name it would be "All the warm and fuzzy holiday feelings sauce!"  It's our warming, spiced, boost your immune system winter sauce that's the perfect combo of sweet and tart.  Cranberries, orange, and apples simmered with fresh ginger root, cinnamon and maple syrup will make your home smell so comforting and welcoming.  We love eating this sauce with breakfast, as a snack, as a healthy dessert or you can use it in any meal where you would use standard cranberry sauce.

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Cranberry Apple Sauce w/ Ginger and Cinnamon

1 bag of cranberries
1 apple, diced
1 orange, peeled and chopped roughly
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ginger root, grated or minced
1 cup water
1 Tbsp maple syrup


1. Rinse off the cranberries and apple, and peel the orange.

2. Dice the apple and cut the orange roughly in small pieces.

3. Grate or mince the ginger root.

4. Combine the cranberries, apple, orange, ginger root and cinnamon in a pot.  Pour in the water.

5. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cover and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes, until the fruit is soft and cooked well.

6. Stir in the maple syrup.  You can mash the fruit if you prefer that it is smooth.

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Pumpkin Buckwheat Mini Muffins

pumpkin muffins, gluten free, buckwheat

It's fall and that means pumpkin spice season! These little muffins have all the spices from pumpkin pie and are perfect for breakfast or as a snack.  Buckwheat is a gluten free grain that has an earthy taste that can be noticeable in some recipes, but pairing it with oat flour in these muffins helps to mellow out the strong flavour.  Pumpkin (and squash) is a wonderful seasonal vegetable to eat in the fall and winter because it's packed with vitamins and antioxidant strength.  

We recently learned that it's especially important to purchase organically grown squash (and pumpkin).   These veggies are particularly good at pulling contaminants and chemicals out of the soil they grow in (which means it's going right into the squash we eat as food).  So, stick to organic squash and pumpkin.

One more note for this recipe: You'll find that these muffins are not too sweet.  If you have a big sweet tooth, you could add an additional Tbsp of maple syrup to the recipe.


gluten free pumpkin muffins, buckwheat

Pumpkin Buckwheat Mini Muffins

1/2 cup oat flour (use certified gluten free oat flour if needed)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch sea salt

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds



1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

2. Mix together the wet ingredients and then fold into the dry ingredients.

3. Scoop out the muffin batter into a mini muffin tin (you can line with parchment paper muffin liners to make it easy to pop them out of the tray). Sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds on top of each muffin.  The batter will make 24 mini muffins.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until muffins are cooked in the center.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Pudding (peanut-free version too)

chocolate peanut butter chia pudding, vegan, dairy free, recipe

Chia pudding is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you eat a filling breakfast and have something prepped to start the day off.  If you haven't had chia pudding before, it's a bit different than normal pudding but still tastes delicious (and is so much healthier).  Chia seeds are high in soluble fiber and thicken liquids when mixed together because they absorb liquid and expand, becoming softer and more plump.  This is good for 2 reasons:

1. Chia seeds naturally create a pudding like texture when mixed with coconut milk, almond milk or other dairy free milk.  This is quite filling and can keep you satiated in the morning.  All without the use of thickeners, starches or flours.

2. The high soluble fiber content of chia seeds is good for your digestive system and helps your body remove toxins and waste properly in the bowel.  You can think of chia seeds as lending a helping hand in soaking up the toxins. 

This recipe adds in peanut butter for protein and fat to keep you fueled for longer.  We use cacao powder instead of regular cocoa powder because it is rich in minerals, such as iron and magnesium.  You can add maple syrup to your taste preference.  Or, if you are sugar free, you can actually use some stevia to sweeten this pudding instead.  And, if you can't eat peanuts than you can replace the peanut butter with almond butter (or any other type of nut/seed butter that you love).

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chia Pudding

1 1/4 cups coconut beverage (or use almond milk or other non dairy milk)
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 Tbsp organic peanut butter (or almond butter)
2 Tbsp cacao powder
Maple syrup to taste

1. Mix all of the ingredients together until smooth.
2. Store in a mason jar or other container in the fridge overnight.
3. In the morning you can serve in bowls.  Top with berries of choice, some cacao nibs and any other toppings that you like!

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Vegan Spelt Flour Apple Pie

written by Jessica Tilley

vegan spelt flour apple pie recipe, holistic nutrition, Toronto

We’ve created this recipe based on the traditional apple pie, with all the familiar flavours, but put a healthy twist on it!  Don’t worry though… unless you tell everyone it’s healthy, they’ll never guess. It’s delicious and sweet and the crust is super flakey. Our pie is naturally sweetened with maple syrup and the apples, instead of white processed sugar, so you'll support your blood sugar balance and immune system when eating this dessert.

In this recipe, we use spelt flour for the crust. Spelt flour is better tolerated than wheat flour for those with gluten sensitivities. Although we don't tend to count calories as holistic nutritionists, we think it's interesting that spelt flour is lower in calories (254 vs 728) than white flour, as wel as lower in carbs (52 vs 152) and higher in fiber (8 vs 6).

We also switched out traditional butter for coconut oil, to make this recipe vegan and dairy free. Coconut oil is a great source of healthy fat; it is actually considered saturated fat… but not the kind that is bad for your health. The saturated fat that is found in coconut oil consists of HDL’s (high-density lipoproteins), which convert the bad cholesterol (LDL) into the healthier form of cholesterol. There are also studies that show coconut oil might help to prevent inflammatory diseases such as heart disease and cancer.


Vegan Apple Pie

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

2 cups whole wheat spelt flour
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup coconut oil, cubed
3 tbsp cold water
1-2 tbsp maple syrup

9 apples, cored and thinly sliced (empires worked well for us)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp whole wheat spelt flour
¼ tsp sea salt
3 tbsp + 1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp coconut oil


1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and cinnamon. Add the cold, cubed coconut oil into the dry ingredients and combine until the mixture is a crumbly texture.

2. Combine together the water and maple syrup. Make a well in the flour and pour the wet into the dry. Mix until dough comes together.

3 Refrigerate dough while you make the filling

4. Wash the apples. Core and remove the skin from the apples. Using a mandolin, thinly slice the apples.

5. Toss the apples in the cinnamon, flour, salt and 3 tbsp of maple syrup. Set aside while you roll out the dough.

6. Sprinkle flour over your working surface, and the top of the dough.

7. Cut 1/3 of the dough off for the top of the pie. Roll both pieces of dough to be ¼ inch thick. Press the bigger piece into the pie pan and poke holes in the bottom.

8. Fill the crust with the apple-filling, making it as level as possible. Add little chunks of coconut oil and drizzle with 1 tsp of maple syrup. Top with excess dough in any design that is desired.

9. Bake for 25-30 minutes until dough is golden brown.

Axe, J., Dr. (2017, March). 20 Coconut Oil Benefits (#5 is Life-Saving). Retrieved April 06, 2017, from

D. (2014, November 26). Pumpkin Apple Pie | Minimalist Baker Recipes. Retrieved April 07, 2017, from

Nutritional info of: Spelt vs White flour. (2012). Retrieved April 06, 2017, from

Why do you crave sugar?

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Do you ever find yourself walking back and forth in your kitchen, scouring your cupboards and fridge for something sweet?  It's the bittersweet craving for sugar.  You know you don't need it, but your body is telling you that you have to have it!  

There are many reasons why we crave the sweet stuff.  Sometimes after eating a savoury meal, dessert is expected as the perfect complement to the main course.   Dessert is part of celebrating.  Sweet things are delicious and make us feel good.  And, sometimes it's important to enjoy this part of life.  But, sugar can become problematic when cravings begin to overtake us.  

Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are located at the top of each kidney and are responsible for producing hormones that help the body to regulate blood sugar levels, and support a healthy metabolism to burn carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The adrenals release a number of hormones such as the stress hormone, cortisol. This hormone is specifically linked to sugar cravings.  When the adrenal glands are overworked, the stress response is activated. In our culture, we are often stressed due to our demanding lifestyles, putting stress on the adrenals. In response, we produce too much cortisol for our body to handle. Producing too much cortisol for a long period of time can lead to many negative effects such as blood sugar imbalances, fatigue, and inflammation, increased abdominal fat and lowered immune function. This is also known as adrenal fatigue. When you suffer from adrenal fatigue, you tend to crave sugar as a quick source of energy just to keep you going. 


Candida Growth

Another reason for your sugar cravings may be Candida, a tiny yeast that lives in our gut and creates imbalance. There are good and bad types of bacteria throughout the digestive system. The gut relies on this balance between good and bad bacteria to maintain optimal health. Due to many of our everyday choices, we tend to destroy that balance from making poor food choices, stress, and harmful chemicals in the environment. All of which tilts the balance in the favour of bad bacteria in the gut.

When we eat large amounts of sugar and foods that act like sugar in the body, we tend to grow gut flora that also likes to thrive on sugar. The bacteria and yeast in the gut will eat most of the sugars you consume and leave you craving more because they have stolen and consumed them first!


Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips on how to deal with your sugar cravings.

  • Aim to consume low glycemic snacks such as: nuts and seeds, carrots with hummus, and fresh strawberries. These foods will not spike your blood sugar as quickly.
  • Chose sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
  • Aim for whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, oats) over processed white grain products. 
  • Increase your legume and bean intake, they help to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you full, longer.
  • Consume foods that contain probiotics for optimal gut health such as: kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh (we use soy-free tempeh in our Meal Delivery meals!!) and kombucha tea.
  • Incorporate healthy fats and protein such as avocados, hemp oil, extra virgin olive oil and fish into your diet to keep blood sugar levels stable.
  • Use natural sweeteners in moderation such as maple syrup, honey, dates and stevia.
  • Drink plenty of water, sometimes you’re just thirsty!
  • Wean off carbonated drinks by replacing them with sparkling water, maybe add a lemon wedge too. 
  • Eat mindfully and be mindful of portion sizes. It’s okay to splurge and treat yourself in moderation. 


We can help

We hope that you find these tips useful. Let us know how they work for you and share this post on Facebook or Twitter. 

Still struggling to kick sugar to the curb? We can help make it easier for you! Check out our Meal Delivery menu online or try our June Detox that begins June 6th 2016. You can do it, after all, it’s just sugar.


About the writer:
Celena Morgan, George brown nutrition student, passionate about feeding people delicious and nutritious foods.

Wilson, James L., DC, ND, PhD, Cortisol & Adrenal Function (2016)
Olson, Scott, ND, Sugar and Candida (2014)