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Pleasant Hill Grain Blog

Helping you achieve your culinary dreams.

Almond Butter Balls with Dried Fruit

These healthy almond butter balls will disappear in a flash when you bring them to holiday gatherings! They’re easy to make, easy to pack, and easy to eat. We hope you enjoy this guilt-free sweet treat as much as we do.

Almond Butter Balls with Dried Fruit
Posted: October 31, 2016
Recipe by: Granny Smith
Total Time
10 minutes


  • 1/2 c. peanut butter or almond butter
  • 2-1/2 tbsp. nonfat dried milk
  • 2 tbsp. dried fruit (we use dried cranberries, raisins, and dried sweet cherries)
  • 2 tbsp. agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 c. coconut
  • Sesame seeds


  1. 1. Combine peanut or almond butter, dried milk, dried fruit, agave or honey, and coconut in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  2. 2. Shape into balls.
  3. 3. Roll in sesame seeds.
  4. 4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Gluten Free Pecan Pie with Dark Chocolate Crust

Gluten Free Pecan Pie with Dark Chocolate Crust featured image

This recipe marked my first experience cooking with Eden agar agar flakes, which are a pure vegetable gelatin made of sea plants. Instead of using sulfuric acid and inorganic bleach to soften and dye the agar like some commercial manufacturers, the Eden brand simply boils and air dries it. Here, the flakes were used to create a healthier pecan pie filling.

Though delicious and decadent, this pecan pie was certainly less rich than its conventional counterpart. I think it would be the perfect option to file away for your Friendsgiving party this fall, especially if one of your guests is gluten-intolerant. Enjoy!


Dark Chocolate Pie Crust

  • 1-1/4 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate (73% cacao), melted over very low heat

Pie Filling

  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons agar flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-1/2 cups agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups whole pecans, toasted


Pie Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 35o° F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, sea salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, agave, and melted chocolate.
  4. Incorporate wet ingredients into the almond meal mixture, stirring until completely combined.
  5. Press dough into a 9-1/2″ pie pan.
  6. Bake 8-12 minutes, watching closely so that you don’t overcook. Bake just until the crust loses its shine and starts to look dry.
  7. Remove from oven, and let the crust cool completely before filling it.
Almond flour chocolate pie crust
Almond flour chocolate pie crust, before it’s baked
Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie
Gluten free pecan pie baked in chocolate pie crust

Pie Filling

  1. Bring water to a boil in a medium sauce pan, then add agar flakes and continue to cook over high heat, stirring often, for 10-12 minutes. Agar flakes should be completely dissolved.
  2. Lower heat to medium and stir in sea salt, agave, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Cook, stirring until all ingredients are fully incorporated, for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove agar mixture from heat and allow to fully cool to room temperature. *Note, it may take a few hours for your mixture to thicken.
  4. When agar mixture has thickened (texture should resemble gelatin), stir in the pecans.
  5. Pour filling into the cooled pie crust.
  6. Refrigerate for one hour, or until set.
  7. Serve with a bit of whipped cream, if desired.
Gluten free almond flour pecan pie
Gluten free almond flour pecan pie
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Rich Einkorn Risotto

Rich Einkorn Risotto featured image

Einkorn is thought to be the earliest form of cultivated wheat, and has been grown for thousands of years. Because it’s an unmodified food that our bodies can recognize, it’s easier to digest than modern wheat (especially when it’s soaked, as in this recipe). Those with gluten sensitivity can often tolerate einkorn better than modern wheat. This comforting risotto calls for einkorn instead of rice, and is full of nourishing super foods! Enjoy it as a vegetarian summer main dish, or as a side.


Kale & Red Pepper Risotto

Makes 1 quart

  • 1 cup whole einkorn berries
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups vegetable, beef, or chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/2 large red pepper, seeds removed and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 cups roughly chopped kale leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese


At least 4 hours ahead of time or overnight, soak einkorn berries in enough filtered water to cover, with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. When ready to use, drain and rinse.

In a saucepan, warm 4 cups of stock over medium heat and keep at a simmer.

In a large stockpot, warm 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add einkorn berries to the stockpot and toast them in the butter over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 1/2 cup of stock from the saucepan to the einkorn berries and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until stock is absorbed and liquid doesn’t immediately refill a section when you push at it with a spoon.

Repeat this process, adding 1/2 cup of stock at a time and stirring until it absorbs, until all the stock has been incorporated. This will take about an hour.

In the meantime, as the einkorn berries cook, set a large skillet on an adjacent burner and warm a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat.

Add onion, peppers, salt, and pepper and cook until softened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

When the einkorn berries have incorporated all of the stock, add kale-pepper-onion mixture and grated Pecorino cheese. Gently stir together; taste and adjust for salt. Serve in bowls, with freshly grated cheese.

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Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip: An Easy Appetizer

Need a quick appetizer for late summer get-togethers? America’s Test Kitchen understands a host’s need for convenience, and their take on this classic appetizer is not only easy but also irresistibly delicious. Preheat the oven, grab a bag of chips, and relax because this recipe is a no-fail staple!

Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip


  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 12 ounces mozzarella, shredded (4 cups)
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped coarse
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Adjust your oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400°F. Microwave the cream cheese in a large bowl until soft, 20 to 30 seconds. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  2. Transfer to a greased 1-quart baking dish. Bake until browned and bubbly, about 35 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  3. This can be made ahead of time. Simply mix the ingredients and put them into your greased dish, then tightly wrap with and refrigerate. When you’re ready to bake it, pull the dip out of the fridge and start in the microwave, stir, then bake until bubbly and browned.

Tools used in this recipe:


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Chicken & Rice Soup

Now that you’ve made your chicken stock it’s time to use it! Throw together this tasty soup from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook for a heartwarming meal this fall.

Chicken Rice Soup


  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 cup brown rice, preferably soaked for 7 hours
  • 1 cup finely diced chicken meat and/or chicken liver and heart
  • 1-1/2 cups finely diced vegetables such as carrot, celery, red pepper or string beans
  • Salt to taste, or fish sauce
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Bring stock and rice to a boil and skim off any foam that may rise to the top.
  2. Reduce heat and cook covered, about 1 hour until rice is tender.
  3. Add the vegetables, diced meats, season to taste and cook until just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.

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