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Dessert courtesy of Whole Foods

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I didn’t make dessert!

On Sunday evening, we headed over to an Easter party with family friends. My contribution to the party was a savory dish, chosen to ensure there’d be something I could eat for dinner while everyone else gobbled up their ham.


And so I brought my favorite Bug-a-Boo Pilaf.

Most people ate it as a side dish, but I took an extra-large portion for my main course. (I also ate hummus, steamed veggies, and salad brought by others.)


I must remember to use sesame oil more, as I said on Twitter.

Bug-A-Boo Bulgur Pilaf
(Makes four Katie-sized servings… in other words, “Four large servings”)

1 cup vegetable stock (I used Imagine No-Chicken Stock)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 zucchini, chopped
5 green onions, cut into about 1-inch pieces (don’t use the roots)
2 medium carrots, finely diced
3 cups bok choy or spinach (I’ve made this recipe twice now, once each way. Both work well.)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups cooked bulgur (it works best if you chill this in the fridge for a few hours before using)

In a bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Set aside. Preheat a pan or wok over medium-high heat and sauté the carrots and zucchini in your sauté-liquid of choice. Add in about 1/4 of the stock mixture. Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes.

Add the green onions, bok choy (or spinach), garlic, and another 1/4 of the stock mixture, and stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Add the bulgur and the rest of the stock mixture. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes.


Time for dessert!

Normally I don’t buy any of the prepared desserts from my local Whole Foods. In the past, they only offered three vegan items: chocolate chip cookies, chocolate pudding, and chocolate cake. None were made with whole grains, and the chocolate cake tasted dry and boring when I once tried it.

But I always look, just in case something fun and new decides to surprise me. And on my most-recent trip to the store, an item did just that!

Please excuse the ugly photo. It does not do the date-nut bread (or cake, for it tasted more like cake) justice at all. Not only is this loaf made with only whole-grain flour, it’s also completely free of added sugar in any form (even agave). Its sweetness comes from bananas and dates. Check out the ingredients.

It tastes delicious—so soft and moist and sweet. I definitely had more than one slice. Now I’m going to have to try and figure out how to replicate this bread… a google search yielded no results. Dear Whole Foods, please share your secret recipe!


I transported my contributions to the feast—the loaf and pilaf—in an Easter basket.

Speaking of which…

As usual, I’m overwhelmed by all the kind words on yesterday’s photos!

I’ve said it many times before, but I’ll say it again: You all are incredible, and you make a girl feel like a million bucks!  (For one thing, you certainly make me feel braver about posting photos of myself on my blog; that’s so nerve-wracking for me!) And for those of you with discerning eyes… yes, in yesterday’s photo, that is what you think it is, sitting in my basket. Get excited… I know I am! Winking smile

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Jennifer JCD says:

    Banana + dates = win win every time. I’ve made banana bread with dates instead of sugar before. If you have Veganomicon you can find a recipe in there and blend up some dates for the sugar and use whole grain flour instead of white. It turns out really yummy! I got the idea from the banana date scone recipe from the same book (I think). Yummy!!

    We usually steer clear of the prepared foods section, but sometimes it is nice to buy a treat once in a while. It’s pretty rare though, as I love cooking and baking too much.

    1. I might be the only vegan who DOESN’T have the book, but I’m sure I can find a copy at the library or bookstore. Do you know how much date “paste” you use in place of the sugar? And do you scale back on any other ingredients to make up for the volume the dates take up?
      No worries if you don’t remember how you made it… I can always experiment! :)

  2. Aaah Chocolate Covered Katie you are TOO DARN BEAUTIFUL you know that? Can I please have your face+hair, with a slice of that cake on the side? 😉

    YAAY a cookie recipe tomorrow?! I can’t WAIT! And I’m intrigued about what’s in this basket…I’m gonna go back and have a closer look! 😛

    1. Oh Emma, we have been over this: you give me your fun and curly hair, and I will be happy to send off my straight, boring hair ;). But no returns! hehehe love u!

  3. I love dates/nuts in a cake type dessert so I would have loved this dessert. I’m sure you’ll figure out the recipe at some point!

  4. OooOooOO Sugar free?! Yay! That caught my eye 😉 I gotta look for that gorgeous bread-or make some!

  5. mmm date bread sounds amazing!

  6. I love Whole Foods, love love love! Bread does look amazing and I can’t get enough of dates lately. They are super a good sweet treat packed with so much good nutrition! You look cute in your easter dress!

  7. Molly says:

    Mmm I wish I would have thought of a quinoa pilaf to take for Easter lunch. My cousin is so sweet and, knowing that i don’t eat meat, she made a delicious salad with romaine, strawberries and almonds. Then I brought a huge bowl of cantaloupe and my Moll-teser cookies that I had just invented that morning. It was great!

  8. I don’t ususally go to the hot bars in places.. but I did use to AWLAYS buy things like weight watchers and lean cuisine. Now I take one look at those things.and itm akes my stomach churn! So much sodium too! ugh

  9. McKella says:

    Banana date bread does sound good…so does pilaf…ok, so I’m hungry.
    I don’t usually buy prepared foods, but every time I go to Good Earth or Real Foods I’m tempted to buy a wrap or some soup. Yesterday I was out running errands and hunger hit, and the little snacky I always carry didn’t cut it. I still had a few errands to run and I managed not to buy out the deli section of Good Earth. I did eventually get a salad at Costco though.

  10. I HAVE SESAME OIL! I got sooo excited when I realize that my poor, almost-empty pantry has an ingredient that gets raved about on a blog…maybe I should bust it out for a stir-fry this week?

    1. Yes! Do it! But warning: sesame oil is more for drizzling/adding at the last-minute. Don’t try to cook with it, as it has a very low heat tolerance!

  11. Gen says:

    That cake looks really good! One more thing on my US grocery list! hahahaha
    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s recipe!

  12. I hardly ever buy prepared foods as they’re generally loaded with unecessary stuff. Plus it’s more fun making it on our own!

  13. Your salad and that date nut bread look delicious! I love date nut bread, it’s so sweet and tasty. Yum!

    I buy things from the prepared section now and then, depending on what it is. I love veggie sushi rolls!

  14. Lauren says:

    Yum, that date loaf sounds so good! You went to Bryn Mawr? I was just down the road at villanova for 2 years before transferring!

    1. Awww if only we’d known! I passed Villanova ALL the time!! (But I left a few years ago, so maybe we weren’t even there at the same time.)

  15. I need sesame oil too! I love it and I ran out last time I used it…thanks for the reminder! The salad and the loaf sound amazing. I need to know about that loaf too. I don’t buy prepared stuff normally. I’m just too cheap and I like baking. I’m glad you had a great Easter!

  16. that date cake SURE SOUNDS GOOD!! I saw something like that at my health foods store but when i picked it up it was MOLDY-EW EWEEWEWEEWEW!!.. now i better find one that is actually FRESH!

    1. Eww, that’s the worst! This summer, I was so excited to find Ricemellow Cream… but when I opened it and went to put it on top of a pizzert, it was green!!!

  17. Emilia says:

    I love bringing grain and legume dishes to parties when I know there’s going to be mainly meat and processed dishes. I brought the best herbed lentil- bulgar dish to the last party I went to– it was a hit! :)

  18. The only thing I buy for myself in the prepackagaed aisles are hummus and crackers. Otherwise, I’m strictly a make it on my own kind of girl!

  19. Kiersten says:

    I almost never buy things from the prepared food section, but that’s mainly because there’s never any vegan items at our store. If I had a Whole Foods or some other vegan-friendly store, I probably would. If you figure out how to recreate that cake, please share the recipe! I love your Easter dress, by the way, you look too cute!

    1. Yeah, ours used to not have many either… I was so jealous when I went to Austins’ Whole Foods! They had a ton… including the best chocolate mousse I’d ever eaten!

  20. Happy late Easter, Katie! I got plenty of chocolate in my basket and certainly thought of you :)

    Love your Easter dress, too!! So pretty.

  21. Mariah says:

    the date loaf looks scrumpious!
    i love the hot bar at whole foods but there so many yummy things that i tend to go overboard sometimes…oh well it happens:)

  22. Angela says:

    Mmmmmmm…the bread sounds delicious. I can’t wait until you figure out the recipe. I think that should be your next project.

    I never buy prepared foods because usually I can make it better myself. Plus, we have little in healthy prepared foods where I live.

    Looking forward to the cookie recipe too.

  23. can’t have DATE cake for one! :)

    1. haaaaaaaa!!!!!!! Girl, you’re hilarious!

      1. Oh I am so slow… at first, I didn’t even understand your joke, Katherine! Now I get it and agree with Allison 100%!

        1. Oh don’t worry Katie, I had to look twice at it, too!

  24. Stephanie says:

    I don’t have a Whole Foods in my hometown but we do have a Planet Organic, and they have the best kale salad ever. Actually all their vegan stuff is really delicious, like their vegan potato salad and moroccan couscous salad, and they even have stuff that I can’t ever find at Whole Foods, which is weird because it’s totally a bigger company than PO (or at least that’s what I think. I could be wrong, though). Other than that I usually just make all my own stuff. It’s cheaper, often healthier and more soothing and calming. Cooking/baking keeps me sane.

  25. I don’t normally buy processed sweets. When I do, though I have to recognize the ingredients in the list. Looks like you had a lovely Easter!!

  26. No I never buy prepared foods, ever. I am creeped out by the tongs! I have a small child and I know that little kids stick their fingers in the food and touch all over the tongs (and adult probably too)…just my own mental image of germs that I realized AFTER becoming a mom and realizing just how much kids touch things…lol.

    But hey, convenience is a beautiful thing, right!

    The 1st picture of the post..wonderful!

  27. Confession: I do eat prepared food more than I should. I’m working on it :-) Can’t wait for the recipe!

  28. Jess says:

    well, a lot…it’s just easier. Usually I can get enough for me, so I’m not cooking in the kitchen, worrying about leftovers, or having food rot in my fridge. I’m pretty careful of what I buy, but I do try for fresh when I can.

  29. Elle says:

    i don’t usually buy prepared foods except for hummus. it’s more fun to make it yourself and definitely healthier. i did buy a chocolate chip cookie with macadamia nuts and coconut from the health food store the other day though.. i was so excited that they had vegan cookies! :-p

  30. Katharina says:

    Ohh I love how you go about being vegan :) I do the same thing as a vegetarian. Since it is my choice, I don’t expect everyone to bow down to that so I bring a delicious main dish that everyone can enjoy!

    And that banana-date cake? That is soooo yummy sounding. Dates are my absolutely favorite.


    p.s. I’ve got a couple shout-outs to you in a post that’s coming up 😉 always inspiring, beautiful one!

    1. Aww I love your posts and am excited to read! I know I don’t always comment, but you’re still in my reader!! :) Love u!

  31. Katie says:

    This recipe, from their website, is similar! It’s with carrots, not bananas, and uses eggs (which could be replaced, of course) and does have maple syrup…but if anyone could tinker with it and make it perfect it would be you.

  32. Albizia says:

    I could never make bread like this so I would definitely buy it. Even when I had normal cooking conditions (an oven and everything) I preferred to buy things I cannot make taste the same. As for the foods I knew I could make much better than the store-bought version, I would never think twice before I put on the apron and start cooking.

  33. Samantha says:

    I definitely steer far away from the inside of the grocery stores… I barely ever buy anything pre-packaged unless I’m seriously craving something and don’t have time to make it… which is very, very rare… the last time I indulged in buying pre-packaged was probably… I don’t even know it’s been that long… I do miss the feeling of having food already made for you though, so much easier but unfortunately so bad for you.


  34. I prefer to bake my own treats, but sometimes I can’t resist something pre-made. Especially when I’m really hungry :)

  35. That pilaf looks like it would be an awesome side dish!! All the veggies in it looks amazing! I do buy prepared foods, but I’m always veer careful to study the ingredients. Sometimes prepared stuff is paved with ingredients that I can’t even pronounce…those items don’t make it into the cart :) that date bread looks sooo good though.

  36. Adam says:

    I love the Health Starts Here banana date bread! I work at Whole Foods, so I may be able to get the recipe :) there’s also a pumpkin bread made with the same base ingredients.. anytime you see that Health Starts Here logo, it means there’s no added sugars of any kind, only whole fruit, no extracted oils, no eggs, and no liquid dairy (but watch out in savory items, unfortunately they may contain some cheese.. but don’t get me started on that lol)

    1. Oh my gosh, Adam, if you could procure that recipe you would be my new best friend!!! !!! :) I even went to the WF website, but no luck.
      I don’t think I’d ever seen the “hsh” logo before… maybe it’s new at our Whole Foods in Texas. I’m super-excited to hear your news that there are other baked goods like the date loaf. You’d better believe I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for that pumpkin one!

      1. Adam says:

        Ok, got the recipe! :)

        Although it was formatted by weight to make 23 pounds of batter lol, so I had to try to scale it down to one 1.5 pound portion of batter, so these measurements are rough, but it should still work out ok.. I hope lol

        I’m anxious for you to try it, I’d like to see how close it comes to the store-bought version :)

        HSH Date Nut Loaf

        1/4 lb Dates, chopped, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
        1/4 lb (about 1/2 cup) Date Sugar (if you can’t get date sugar, you could probably substitute it for another 1/4 lb dates, soaked and pureed)
        1/3 lb (about 2 medium) Bananas, pureed or mashed well
        1 1/2 tsp Powdered Egg Replacer
        2 T Water
        1/4 lb (about 1 cup) Whole or Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour
        1/2 tsp Salt
        1/2 tsp Baking Soda
        1/2 tsp Baking Powder
        1 tsp Vanilla Extract
        1/2 cup Walnuts, coarsley chopped

        In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together date sugar (or soaked pureed dates), pureed banana, egg replacer, water, and beat at medium speed until well combined.

        Add in flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla. Mix just until combined.

        Fold in chopped dates and walnuts.

        Transfer batter to a loaf pan and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.

        1. Wow, Adam, thank you SO much!!! I will definitely be trying this! Hopefully soon :).
          Is it ok if I link back to this, to let all the readers know? If not, that’s completely ok too! I don’t want to get you in trouble with Whole Foods or anything, because I appreciate so much that you took the time to get the recipe for me!!! :)

          1. Adam says:

            sure, that would be fine :)

    2. Ellie says:

      Hi Adam!
      I’d love to know the recipe too!!! :)

  37. Costco sells the most AMAZING peanut butter cookies!
    Really anything cooked at Costco is yummy, but i try to eat mostly homemade stuff.

  38. Tara says:

    So I know it’s not healthy at ALL, but whole foods carrot cake owns my soul. It is seriously the most amazing thing ever. Actually, it’s just the one by us, because we got a slice at the one in San Diego while on vacation and it wasn’t nearly as good. I also love their hot bar and soups.
    I’m excited for more recipes, especially if it involves chocolate!!!

    1. That happened to me with their chocolate mousse! The one in Austin is DIVINE… but the one in Philly not so much :(.

  39. I usually don’t buy prepared stuff (mostly because of cost), but I occasionally give in to the food bar at WF. We have a super-sized whole foods in my town, and the selection of food bar items is rather impressive (a bit overwhelming too). After a few times of feeling sick to my stomach from eating too many of their goodies for dinner, I tend to only go to WF for bulk items. I find they have great prices on all different kinds of oats!!!

  40. BroccoliHut says:

    I don’t often buy prepared foods either, but I once tried some pea-guacamole from Whole Foods–it was SO good!

  41. Dalai Lina says:

    I have been known to purchase chicken nuggets for my carnivorous children. I bet that makes you want to ralph!

  42. Stephanie says:

    Just noticed that Elana Amsterdam mentioned you on her blog today, specifically mentioning Fudge Babies. Today’s post is a variation of your beautiful, tasty creations!

    1. I just went and looked… but she linked to someone else who stole my recipe and didn’t even link to me! :( :( That makes me so sad :(.

      1. Stephanie says:

        So sorry! Just to let you know, I have been trying to shanghai my hubby’s eating habits towards healthier options and your recipes are a huge hit not only in our house, but I’ve got most of my friends and coworkers hooked on your babies. For everyone who asks me for the recipes I email them your web address so they can putter around themselves. Thanks so much for helping make a healthy difference in our lives!

        1. Oh wow, Stephanie, this just made my morning so bright! I can’t tell you how much that means to me :).

          1. Stephanie says:

            Just check Elana’s website again and she’s now giving you full cred! Woo hoo!

          2. Elana is SUCH sweetheart! I didn’t know her at all until you mentioned the post, and I am so glad you did mention it– because she is such a gem :).

  43. I love your oatmeal bowls, and thought you might like this granola sandwich – apples are the centerpiece. Enjoy!

  44. Oh my goodness… date cake sounds just about perfect!!! 😀