I recently returned from a trip to Japan, and, inspired by the country’s affinity for matcha, have been cooking often with the finely milled green tea. I love matcha for its zippy green color, its sweet, grassy flavor, and its antioxidant-packed nature. Sometimes while cooking, I like to challenge myself by adding an ingredient that one would traditionally consume in a savory preparation, but flip it over to the sweet side.
For this recipe, I added a hefty amount of baby spinach leaves to the pronut batter. Since spinach, as a leaf, has a pretty mild flavor, its taste becomes diluted in the batter, and you really just taste the vanilla. Think of the donut base as an all-natural green vanilla bean.
To dress the pronuts up, I made a quick coconut cream-based top, to which I added a bit of matcha and cardamom for a final green-on-green snack.
SPINACH PRONUTS WITH MATCHA CARDAMOM CREAM INGREDIENTS
For the donuts:
2 cups Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves
½ cup Maple Syrup
¼ cup Melted Coconut Oil, plus extra for greasing donut molds
1 Vanilla Bean, split in half lengthwise, with seeds removed (or 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract)
2 Chia Eggs*
1½ cups Almond Flour
¼ cup Protein Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
½ teaspoon Salt
*To make one chia egg, in a small bowl combine one tablespoon chia seeds with three tablespoons water and stir. Let sit about five minutes to gel, stirring every few minutes.
For the topping:
¼ cup Cashews, soaked overnight
1 can Coconut Cream, chilled overnight
1 Vanilla Bean, split in half lengthwise, with seeds removed
1½ teaspoons Matcha Powder
2 tablespoons Maple Sugar
½ teaspoon Ground Cardamom
SPINACH PRONUTS WITH MATCHA CARDAMOM CREAM ASSEMBLY
1 | Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease donut molds with coconut oil.
To make the donuts:
2 | Add the spinach, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla seeds to a high powered blender.
3 | Blend until the mixture is smooth and green and the leaves are broken down (about 30 seconds).
4 | Pour the mixture from the blender into a medium bowl and stir in the chia eggs.
5 | Stir in the almond flour, protein powder, baking soda, and salt. The batter should be thick and sticky.
6 | Divide between the donut molds and bake until light brown and cooked through (about 25 minutes).
7 | Let the donuts cool in the molds, and then carefully remove from pan.
To make the topping:
8 | Add the cashews to a food processor and process until they are broken down and a paste forms (about one minute).
9 | Carefully open the coconut milk can and scoop out the solidified cream from the top (discard the rest of the milk or keep for another use). Add to a food processor along with the vanilla bean seeds, matcha powder, maple sugar, and cardamom.
10 | Blend together, stopping and scraping down the sides as needed, until all the ingredients are incorporated and the cream is green (about three minutes).
11 | Frost the donuts!
Make it magical: Want to up the healthy goodness? Add one teaspoon of reishi and one teaspoon of chaga when stirring in the other dry ingredients.
*Makes 6 small pronuts.
Kat Odell is the entrepreneur behind the plant-based food and drink brand, Unicorn Food, as well as a food and travel journalist. She was the inaugural editor of Eater Drinks, and was the Editor of Eater LA for five years. She has been published in Vogue, New York Times’ T magazine, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Bon Appetit, among others. She has also served as a judge and expert at a variety of food-related events. Kat Odell and Unicorn Food can be found at @kat_odell and @unicornfoods.