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Tag Archives: healthy

Vegan Nut-Free Granola

For those of us with food allergies, it can be really hard to find a nut-free granola. And if you’re avoiding animal products too, a vegan nut-free granola can be even tougher! Most anything on the store shelves, aside from a few “allergen free” brands is full of all sorts of tree nuts. Then again, when I look at the ingredient lists, I can’t help but think that maybe I’m better off not being able to have it at all. Although marketed as “health food”, granola is often chock full of sweeteners that hide in the labels. Things like brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, barley malt syrup, and agave are all refined sugars, not to mention straight up cane sugar, brown sugar, and molasses.

nut-free granola

When I set out to make this Vegan Nut-Free Granola, my top two criteria were no nuts and no refined sugar. Nuts are easily substituted with seeds and for sweeteners, I only use raw honey or pure maple syrup. (Of course if your goal is to avoid animal products, skip the honey and go with syrup instead.) Yes, these are still forms of sugar and should be used in moderation, but as far as sweeteners go, honey and maple syrup are natural and unrefined.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it is super adaptable! The ingredients I use are:

  • Rolled oats
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Shredded coconut
  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut oil
  • Raisins

That being said, there are so many ways to mix it up based on what you have in the pantry. Other seed options would be flax or chia seeds. For dried fruit, you could substitute cherries or blueberries, or anything else without added sugar. (That’s why I don’t recommend dried cranberries, but if you don’t mind the sugar or have some without, they’d work great too.) Spices can be adjusted or swapped according to your flavor preferences and once the granola is cool, you could even add in a few mini dark chocolate chips. So go ahead, make it your own, and enjoy!

A perfect breakfast of nut-free granola with plain Greek yogurt

Similar Recipes You May Like:

No-Bake Energy Bites

Nut-Free Granola Bars

Vegan Nut-Free Granola

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: breakfast, granola, low sugar, nut free, vegan
Servings: 5 Cups
Author: Rachel Alexandra

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp Penzeys ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Penzeys ground nutmeg
  • Pinch Penzeys ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¾ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • cup raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried fruit

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl mix the oats, spices, and salt. Then add the seeds and coconut. When the dry ingredients are well combined, add the honey or syrup and coconut oil.
  • Spread the granola evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Take out the pan and gently turn over the granola with a wooden spoon. At this time, you can add the dried fruit.
  • Bake for another 15 minutes, then remove from oven allow it cool and harden. Break up any big pieces and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Enjoy!
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Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Rolls

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying fall so far now that we’re finally getting into it. It’s the best time of year for us foodies who love pumpkin, apple, cranberry, squash, and all that other deliciousness. Even though today’s recipe doesn’t shout fall, the weather is cooling off, so a good time for recipes requiring some oven time. Especially these vegetarian Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Rolls!

There are three aspects to this recipe: homemade marinara sauce, the lasagna rolls themselves, and cheesy garlic bread. Of course if you’re really in a rush, you could skip the bread and use a store bought sauce. However, I think it’s a lot of fun to make the recipe in it’s entirety!

Vegetarian lasagna rolls full of spinach, mushrooms, and a variety of cheeses

I adapted the lasagna and sauce recipes from Skinny Taste and the garlic bread from Eazy Peazy Mealz. The Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Rolls below are actually a combination of Skinny Taste’s Mushroom Kale Lasagna Rolls and Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups. I also made some other changes like substituting egg and swapping out ricotta for cottage cheese. Just one last thing before you start: when making the bread, see my note below on how to avoid “flame-broiling”! 😉

Other recipes you might like:

Spaghetti Pie

Margherita Pizza

Baked Asparagus Risotto

Artisan Bread

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Rolls

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: garlic bread, lasagna, marinara, mushroom, spinach, vegetarian
Servings: 12
Author: Rachel Alexandra

Ingredients

Lasagna Rolls

  • 12 9 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles cooked
  • 2 ½ cups homemade marinara sauce recipe below
  • 5 cups fresh spinach
  • 8 oz mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 15 oz part skim cottage cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3 tbsp hot water
  • Salt, pepper, and sage to taste
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese

Marinara Sauce

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed
  • 28 oz San Marzano tomatoes crushed
  • Fresh basil, oregano, and thyme to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Garlic Bread

  • ¾ cup butter softened
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 loaf homemade french or artisan bread ½ inch slices
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese sliced

Instructions

Lasagna Rolls

  • Prepare the marinara sauce (below) and cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. In a small bowl, combine the ground flax with hot water. Whisk and let stand about 5-10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Using a large saucepan, sauté the garlic in the olive oil for about one minute. Add spinach and cook until wilted (about 5 minutes). Add the chopped mushrooms, salt, pepper, and sage. Continue to cook another 5-6 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.
  • In a large bowl, combine the spinach and mushrooms with the flax egg, cottage cheese, and Parmesan. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  • Scoop about one cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan and spread it around. Lay the lasagna noodles on a large cutting board or piece of freezer paper. Scoop about 1/3 cup of the filling onto each noodle and spread out. Roll each noodle and place in the pan (seam side down).
  • Scoop another cup of marinara sauce over the rolls and top each one with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Let cool for a few minutes before topping with extra sauce and serving.

Marinara Sauce

  • In a saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic. Saute for a few minutes, being sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  • Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients and turn the heat to low.
  • Let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When it is thickened, remove from heat and set aside until needed for the lasagna.

Garlic Bread

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with foil.
  • In a small bowl, cream the softened butter with the garlic, garlic powder, parsley, and freshly grated Parmesan. Spread some of the mixture over each slice of bread and sprinkle with paprika.
  • Place on baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. The butter will be melted and the bread lightly toasted.
  • Remove from oven and place a thin slice of fresh mozzarella on each piece of bread.
  • Set the oven to broil and place the bread back inside for 1-2 minutes. Remove when the cheese is melted and the bread is golden on the edges.

Notes

Unless you want flame-broiled garlic bread, I advise against using parchment paper on the pan…yes, I know from experience. If your broiler is on the top of the oven like mine, the parchment can curl up and touch the heating element. Resulting in an oven fire. It this occurs, don’t be like me and panic and also keep the door shut. (Don’t worry, the garlic bread was miraculously still okay 🙂 ) Be safe and enjoy!

Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread

Growing up, banana muffins were always one of my favorite treats, but with the rate at which we went through bananas, we hardly ever had any that lasted until they were overripe. (They called me “Monkey” for a reason!) However, now my husband and I always seem to have plenty of overripe bananas on hand, so this Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread is our go-to recipe.

The bread features warm fall spices, rich dark chocolate, and a splash of rum for good measure. I adapted the recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s Jacked-Up Banana Bread, but use coconut oil and a flax egg to make it vegan. I also reduce the sugar, use whole wheat pastry flour, substitute rum for bourbon, and add a generous dose of chocolate for good measure.

In addition, I just want to add a side note about freezing bananas. Previously frozen bananas work great in this recipe, but you’ll want them to get to room temperature first. The coconut oil with it’s high freezing point will start to solidify shortly after adding it to the bananas. However, if you aren’t concerned with making it a vegan recipe, you could always use melted butter and then it should be less of an issue.

I hope you give Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread a try and I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below! Happy fall baking!

Similar Recipes to Vegan Chocolate Banana Bread:

Eggless Bronco Bread

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins

Ingredients

1 Tbs. ground flaxseed

3 Tbs. hot water

3 large, ripe, mashed bananas

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup white sugar

1 Tbs. molasses

1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 Tbs. spiced rum (optional)

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk the flaxseed and hot water to make an “egg”. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix the mashed banana and coconut oil.* Then add the sugar, molasses, vanilla, and rum (if using).

Add the spices followed by the baking soda and salt. Finally, add the flour and mix until just combined, being sure not to over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Bake for about 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!

*Note: Make sure the bananas aren’t cold if they were previously frozen. Coconut oil has high freezing point and will start to solidify if the other ingredients aren’t at room temperature.

Couscous Salad with Kale and Blueberries

Even though it’s a week after Labor Day and the kids are back in school (myself included), there’ll still be plenty of nice weekends to cookout and have picnics. This couscous salad is light and fresh and is the perfect side dish to any meal. Not only that, but it’s super quick and easy for those rushed evenings you need something fast and preferably healthy. Go ahead and give it a try–I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below! Enjoy!

Ingredients

Salad

1 cup Israeli pearl couscous, dry

6 cups chopped kale (thick stems removed)

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)

4 oz queso fresco, crumbled

1 avocado, diced (optional)

Dressing

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 Tbs raw honey

1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Cook the couscous according to the package directions. Let cool and place it in a large bowl. Combine with the kale, blueberries, chickpeas, cheese, and avocado (if using).

In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Enjoy!

Adapted from the Kristine’s Kitchen recipe: Kale Quinoa Salad with Blueberries

Lemon Garlic Salmon with Roasted Asparagus

Today I want to share a new salmon recipe that’s perfect for this time of year when asparagus is in season! This is also a great option for Friday night if you’re craving fish, but want a heart-healthy option instead of beer-battered fish fry. It’s a very simple recipe, super quick, but loaded with flavor! If you want to work ahead and get even more flavor, you could try marinating the salmon with the lemon and garlic beforehand.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Asparagus

1 bunch fresh asparagus

1 clove garlic

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Salmon

2 large wild caught salmon fillets (or four small ones)

2 cloves garlic

1 small lemon

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Slice asparagus into 4 inch spears and arrange on a baking sheet. Mince one clove of garlic and sprinkle on the asparagus. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, rotating the pieces every 15 minutes. Cooking time varies based on the size of asparagus.

While the asparagus is roasting, prepare the salmon. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (if not non-stick) and lightly grease with olive oil. Mince two cloves of garlic and zest the lemon. Place salmon fillets in the pan skin down. Sprinkle with garlic and lemon zest. Then squeeze the lemon juice on the salmon and add salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Bake for 15-20 minutes. The fillets should be opaque and flaky when done. Enjoy!

Cappuccino Cheesecake

It’s finally here! Cappuccino cheesecake! I was hoping to get this brand new recipe published early this week, but finals got the best of me. Looking back, I think my biggest accomplishment this semester was not “procrasto-baking”…not too much anyway. But if you’re looking for an excuse to procrasto-bake, then this is your opportunity!

My fiancé and I baked this cheesecake a couple weeks ago and it was a huge hit (My mom even says it’s her favorite one yet!) It starts with a buttery graham cracker crust with a creamy, coffee infused filling and topped with chocolate ganache. 😋

As always with recipes involving coffee, I’m going to recommend Purity Coffee. You can learn more about why this is the only coffee I buy here and they also have tons of awesome, science-packed info on their website. Enjoy 10% off your first order with promo code ROOTS!

Crust

1 tsp. sugar

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup melted butter

Filling

1 cup white chocolate chips*

2 Tbs. butter

2 8-oz. packages of 1/3 fat cream cheese (room temperature)

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup coffee reduction

1/4 tsp. sea salt

Ganache

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 tsp. butter

Directions

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch spring-form pan with canola spray or melted coconut oil/butter.

Put the graham crackers in a food processor and grind until they are just small crumbs. Add the sugar and pulse a few more times.

In a small bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted coconut oil or butter. Then press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

Prepare the coffee reduction using this recipe. Set aside.

Add approximately an inch of water to the bottom of a double boiler and melt 1 cup of white chocolate chips on medium heat. Stir every few minutes and be sure not to get any water in the chocolate. When the chocolate chips are melted, remove from heat and stir in 2 Tbs. of melted butter. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large, deep bowl, combine the somewhat-cooled white chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sugar, coffee reduction, and salt. Use an electric mixture to mix all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides every so often to ensure that everything is well combined. Be sure not to use the slowest setting and do not over mix.

Put the filling in the spring form pan and using a small offset spatula, smooth out the filling until it is even across the pan.

Bake for 35 minutes, making sure to not open the oven! Any rapid change in temperature or humidity can lead to cracking and caving.

Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for another 30 minutes, still not opening the door. When the time is up, let the cheesecake cool for approximately 30 more minutes before letting it chill and set up in the refrigerator for at least three hours and up to overnight.

While the cheesecake is cooling, it’s time to start the ganache! Measure the chocolate and set aside in glass bowl. Over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Pour the cream and butter over the chocolate chips and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir the mixture until the ganache becomes homogeneous. Pour over cake and smooth with offset spatula. Allow ganache to cool before serving. Enjoy!

Tips

*When selecting white chocolate, make sure it actually contains cocoa butter and is free from hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors. (I get mine at Trader Joe’s.)

It’s important to make sure the base of of the spring-form pan is right side up. However, even if it is, it’s still possible for butter to leak out the bottom. To prevent a major mess, line a baking sheet with foil and place it under the cake pan.

Allow the cream cheese to reach room temperature before use so that it mixes smoothly. It will also help prevent the need to over-mix which can cause the cheesecake to cave in.

Whatever you do, do not open the oven until it is time to take it out. I know it’s tempting, but you just have to trust me on this one! This is also where it becomes imperative that the pan is put together correctly and a baking sheet is below the pan. If you have to open the oven to clean up burned butter as the house fills with haze, the cheesecake will surely cave in the middle. (Yes, I also learned this the hard way.)

But in the unfortunate event that the cake does cave in, all is not lost! The ganache will make it less noticeable and it will still taste great!

Don’t cover the cheesecake in the fridge until it is totally cool to prevent condensation from collecting on top. If this does happen, dab it off with a paper towel.

Baked Asparagus Risotto

You always know when it’s spring in my family because that’s when there’s fresh, wild asparagus incorporated into nearly every dish. Asparagus was never something we would buy at the store when I was growing up since we always had so much of it growing around our property. Because of that, we only ate it seasonally, but we sure made the most out of asparagus season!

Sometimes we would just have it grilled or steamed with melted butter on top. Other times it would be pureed in asparagus soup or added to my mom’s famous veggie lasagna (hopefully a post on this coming soon). But one of my favorite spring dishes has always been asparagus risotto.

During my time volunteering at Healthy Community Kitchens, I learned how to make authentic risotto. It was only then that I realized that this recipe isn’t true risotto. That being said, risotto is one of those dishes that has to be very precise and takes some time to master. So while I work on developing that skill, enjoy this simpler baked version!

Makes 4, 1 cup servings

Ingredients

1 Tbs olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup uncooked Arborio rice

8 cup spinach leaves (about 4 oz)

2 cup vegetable broth*

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)

1/2 cup fresh, grated Parmesan cheese, divided (2 oz)

1 1/2 cup diagonally sliced asparagus (about 1 inch pieces) **

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add rice and stir well. Stir in spinach, broth, salt, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Stir in asparagus and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed.

Notes

*Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth to make it vegetarian.

**Also try substituting half of the asparagus with peas (as pictured).

Purity Coffee

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone is having a great start to the week! Even though I don’t have any more exams for a couple weeks, I still find myself studying on Friday nights🤓. And when I’m not doing that, I like to find interesting research to apply to my own life and share with all of you! Today I want to fill you in on the latest info I’ve learned about coffee.

As it turns out, a lot of conventional coffee is contaminated with various molds, mycotoxins, pesticides, and carcinogens. Not to mention that most pre-ground coffee has been sitting on store shelves for months and often contains artificial flavors. But if you love coffee like I do, don’t worry! Coffee can actually be really good for you!

Purity coffee (which is recommended by dietitians and certified clinical nutritionists) has tons of health benefits without the dangers of conventional coffee. All the beans are carefully selected and roasted with the most precise techniques to make it safe and higher in antioxidants than most other coffees. The video below does a great job of explaining all the science behind the Purity process.

Click the here below to give Purity a try! Be sure to use promo code: ROOTS to get 10% off your first order!

Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins

One of my favorite flavors of winter is definitely citrus. I rarely use oranges in the summer, but come November and December, I’m all about it. As soon as I started zesting my orange this morning to make these Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins, it instantly felt like Christmastime. (I know it’s still way early, but I always start getting a little excited for it by this time in the fall!) Growing up, we often made these muffins into bread and it was one of my favorite treats to have around Christmas.

Vegan cranberry orange muffins

One of the best things about these muffins is how bright and fresh the flavors are. The sweet orange is the perfect compliment to the tart, cranberries. A key factor in this recipe is using fresh cranberries instead of dried. There’s no added sugar and the flavor is so much more prominent. Cranberry season in Wisconsin goes through September and October, and since they’re commonly grown here, I was able to get a fresh bag at the local farmer’s market from Wetherby Cranberry Co.

Another bonus is that the only major allergen this recipe contains is wheat. Other that that, it’s free of eggs, dairy, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts, making it safe for vegans too!

Vegan cranberry orange muffins

Just as one more note, like I mentioned before Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins can be easily made into a quick bread as well. The only adjustment is cooking time, which becomes 55 minutes instead of 20. It’ll be delicious either way! I hope you give these a try–I’d love to hear your thoughts. Enjoy!

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Eggless Bronco Bead

Cranberry Orange Scones

Harvest Apple Cranberry Crisp

Orange Raisin Irish Soda Bread

Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins

Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins are bright and fresh with a little tartness to compliment the sweet. These muffins are sure to brighten any cold, winter day!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry, muffin, orange, quick bread
Servings: 12
Author: Rachel Alexandra

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice about two oranges
  • 1 Tbs orange zest
  • 2 Tbs melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbs ground flax seed
  • 3 Tbs hot water
  • 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries coarsely chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners.
  • Place the cranberries in a food processor and chop for about 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides and chop again if needed. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the flax and hot water to make an "egg". Set aside.
  • Zest one of the oranges and when you have a tablespoon's worth, slice the orange to juice it. You will likely need to juice the second orange as well to have enough.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flax egg with the juice and melted coconut oil.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and zest. After it is well mixed, add the wet ingredients. Finally, fold in the cranberries.
  • Fill each of the muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Notes

The recipe can also be made into bread instead of muffins. The only difference is that the bake time for a loaf is 55 minutes instead of 20.

Artisan Bread

Today I want to share a super simple bread recipe from It’s Always Autumn. There are only four ingredients and no kneading is required. All you need is flour, yeast, salt, and water! It’s crisp and chewy on the outside, but soft and delightful on the inside. Enjoy a slice or two alongside your favorite winter soup or by itself with butter and raw honey.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough comes together into a cohesive ball. It will still be sticky, but that’s okay.

Cover the bowl and set aside for 8-24 hours at room temperature. When you’re ready to bake it, turn the dough onto a well floured surface, form it into a ball, and let rest for 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450° and place a baking dish with sides in the oven.

Remove the dish and grease with olive oil before placing the dough inside. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the cover and continue baking for 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!