I’m not sure when I actually bought Todd Caldecott’s lovely and informative book Food as Medicine, it might be about 5 years ago. Although I practise as a Western Herbalist, I have a long standing interest in Ayurveda, and Todd is a great herbalist, someone to be fully trusted. Almost as soon as I got the book, I made the cocoa/quinoa cake, and have basically never stopped making it, because I love it so much. I’ve brought it to my herb classes, topped it with strawberry/rose ice cream as he recommends, spread raspberry jam or elderberry jelly on it, or my favorite, topped with whipped cream and wild rose syrup. (We only live once). Now, I also have this problem, that whenever I have a treat, I feel like “they” should have a treat (and you know who I mean by “them”, right? THE DOGS). So last week I used Todd’s recipe as a template and made the dogs a carob version with a little lower fat. And they loved it. I mean they wanted to eat the whole thing at one sitting. (I didn’t let them). Because I know everyone here loves recipes too – and because carob is actually good for your dog; it was a superfood before that term was coined, for me it’s just a nice flavour and fun to work with, and has some health benefits..and quinoa is well tolerated in place of the flours we often think about using in cookie and cake recipes for dogs.
Before I write my recipe, here’s a little on carob and quinoa.
Energetics: warm, sweet, dry
One of my first books on holistic dog care, and one of the only ones around at that time, was Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog, by Wendy Volhard. In it, she shared a recipe for ”breakfast bars”, true to her philosophy of feeding carbs separately from proteins. I adapted that recipe, added carob – and used it for years. Nowadays, I don’t make it as much, it’s a little carby for my older dogs who don’t have *quite* the metabolisms they used to…. and, with people wanting to avoid flours/grain based products as much as possible these days, using straight quinoa in a treat recipe made more sense. And carob – well, it was popular back in the 70s as a substitute for chocolate, which it really isn’t, but it’s a nice flavour in its own right and offers some nutrition and even medicinal action….the half cup I used in this recipe offers 180 mgs calcium, 28 mgs magnesium, 425 mgs potassium, with a little iron, selenium and protein as well…this amount also provides 20 grams of fiber, and there is astringency here as well, meaning carob has long been used as a food for dogs suffering from diarrhea. Of course, in our treat recipe, we’re not looking at medicinal application, unless your dog is really, really sad from not having a carob cake, then let’s call this recipe a “Cheerative” (I just made that up). In all seriousness, the powder is handy to have on hand for use in some types of diarrhea, as well as in cooking. Juliet de Baraclai Levy was a huge fan of carob and used it extensively in her diets, adding the powder to puppyfood and encouraging her adult Afghan Hounds to consume the whole pods!
Energetics: Warm, sweet, dry
Most readers with a sensitive dog know about quinoa; if you’ve had to prepare a therapeutic diet and you are of the school of thought that some plant foods are important in a canine diet, you’ve likely heard about or tried using quinoa. Not a true grain, quinoa is the seed of the South American Chenopodium quinoa plant and is a highly nutritious food, with a more complete amino acid profile than most grains and seeds, and high levels of manganese, magnesium, some iron and zinc as well. Quinoa is usually well accepted, and very digestible – it does contain saponins, which are a group of plant constituents that are characterized by bitterness and by their foamy, soapy quality when mixed with water. If I use quinoa in a recipe, I have the client ferment it, which is a bit or a process but greatly reduces the anti-nutrient properties, but in this recipe, it’s not for everyday use, so a good rinsing is more than sufficient. Occasionally humans get some tummy upset from quinoa, but I haven’t seen this with dogs, although as with any food they can be intolerant of it. Many plants we use on a regular basis as herbs or food are rich in saponins – yarrow, dandelion, burdock, calendula, licorice, astragalus as well as chickpeas, oats, spinach, beets and asparagus, to name a few. Quinoa is a great carb source in a home made diet – prepared properly, and used in moderation.
Ok, so now to the recipe. 🙂
To make the carob/quinoa cake, you will need
½ cup carob powder
¾ cup quinoa
2 large eggs
3 Tbsps coconut oil
3 Tbsps good quality honey
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
To make, first rinse the quinoa a few times and cook in 1 ½ cups water. I simple add the rinsed quinoa and water to my pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered until done. Remove from heat and allow to stand 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork and use(cooled).
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, lightly grease a baking pan ( 9 x 5) with a little butter or coconut oil and line with parchment. Melt the 3 Tbsps coconut oil and set aside to cool a little, but not harden.
Next, beat the 2 eggs until foamy. Beat in the honey, and add the cooled, cooked quinoa. At this point you can either place in a blender and totally puree the mixture, or use as is. In a separate bowl, mix the carob powder with the baking soda and powder, and then add to the wet mixture, blending well. I add the coconut oil last, beating well into the batter.
Lastly, pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake about 40 minutes, until the centre feels firm and a knife comes out dry when inserted in the middle.
Cool, cut into squares and feed as a treat.
NOTE: when introducing any new food to your dog, it’s always best to start small. One little piece is plenty to start.
I consider this cakelike treat to be a “special occasion” food, but honestly it’s so high in protein and fat, and relatively lower in sugars for a sweet treat (you could make it lower by using only 2 Tbsps of honey, too), you could use it more often. The entire recipe provides 1800 calories, 80 grams of protein, 95 grams of fat, 520 mgs calcium, 16 mgs iron, 325 mgs magnesium, 1570 mgs phosphorus and 11 mgs of zinc.
Enjoy! and the human version can be found here: https://www.toddcaldecott.com/food-as-medicine/
Is it cooled yet, human??