Meatless Monday: Baked Tofu Meatballs [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Yields: 24 ‘Meatballs’
Serves: 8
Prep: 35 mins
Cooking Time: 30-35 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board(s), small dish, fork, sharp knife, food processor, mixing bowl, silicone spatula, baking tray, silicone mat (or parchment paper)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, omega 3, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar, salt* and sat fats*. (*Variable due to the brand of vegan cheese, puree and/or bread used.)

Yes, it’s more ‘meatballs’; but to be fair this is our third type of plant-based ‘meatball’! We actually made this variety last November- which is what got our cognitive gears in motion for our designing our baked tofu loaf. We love ‘meatballs’ and think they’re great for cosy family dinners, picnics or as a healthy snack!

These lovely ‘meatballs’ have about a half hour prep involved due to the nature of its main ingredient (sorry folks!). Tofu needs to pressed and its water expressed before it’s used. You might have a tofu gadget that will shorten this process by ten minutes, but it needs to be done. However, it’s worth the effort. We think they’re satisfying all round; moist, meaty and flavourful, with plenty of room for adapting them to your own personal spec. 

Some other good things to note include:

  • Yes they have vegan cream cheese (which isn’t something we would have a regular basis due to its saturated fat and salt content), but it works here. Paired with a healthy pasta sauce and pasta, this can be a balanced meal. Also, it might be interesting to try them with a DF garlic and herb cream cheese instead.
  • These meatballs are not dry and like a lot of freefrom ‘meatballs’, chunkier ingredients can stop them from sticking together properly. So if you are looking for a dish with more texture, serve them with a chunky tomato-based pasta sauce instead!
  • Perhaps with a little more bread or alternative grain, they can be adapted into small burgers.
  • Feel free to use fresh herbs (if you have them) as they always make a difference in the overall flavour of things! 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

 

Ingredients

++++++++++800g          Firm Tofu (=2 tetra paks )
++++++++++32g             Ground Flaxseed (about 4 tbsp)
++++++++++9 tbsp         DF Milk (or water)
++++++++++100g           Bread (GF if required)
++++++++++6g               Garlic clove (one fat one)
++++++++++130g            Spring onion (about 5)
++++++++++100g           Red bell pepper
++++++++++75g              Plain vegan cream cheese alternative
++++++++++4g                Dried Thyme
++++++++++6-8g           Dried Oregano
++++++++++¾-1 tsp       Salt
++++++++++                    Ground black pepper
++++++++++20g             Sun-dried tomato puree
++++++++++20g             Rice flour (or Plain GF Flour)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Drain and press the tofu between two heavy (or weighted) chopping boards or plates for 30 mins.

2. In the meantime, prepare some ‘flax eggs’! Place 32g ground flaxseed into a small dish with 9 tbsp DF milk or water. Whisk with a fork to combine. Leave it to set.

3. Heat the bread in a toaster or under a medium-low grill until lightly brown and crispy. Place the toasted bread into a food processor. Process the toast until breadcrumbs are achieved. Tip: Alternatively you can make some breadcrumbs by placing the toasted bread into a sealed kitchen bag; crush and press it into crumbs with a rolling pin or a heavy tin. Transfer into a large mixing bowl.

4. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or a sheet of parchment paper.

5. Prepare the vegetables. Peel the garlic. Wash, trim the tops and then roughly chop the spring onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then roughly chop the bell pepper. Whilst the food processor is running, drop the garlic down the pouring spout. Process until minced. Add the onion and bell pepper. Process until finely chopped. Tip: If you don’t have a food processor, just get out your ‘chefy-ist’ knife and show the vegetables who’s boss! Peel and mince the garlic and then finely chop and dice the spring onion and bell pepper (the smaller the pieces the better!). Transfer into the mixing bowl.

6. Drain the tofu. Pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Break it into smaller pieces and transfer them into the food processor. Process until it’s smooth-ish and completely broken down. Transfer into the mixing bowl. NB: Alternatively mash it in a large bowl with a fork or potato masher!

7. Add 75g vegan cream cheese, 4g dried thyme and 6-8g dried oregano, ¾ tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper into the mixing bowl. Mix and thoroughly combine the ingredients. Taste and season it as necessary. Add the ‘flax eggs’, 20g sun-dried tomato puree and 10g of flour. Mix and thoroughly combine (we used a silicone spatula for this).

8. Shape the mixture into ‘golf ball-sized meatballs’. Tip: If the mixture is a little tacky, use the remaining flour to lightly dust your hands first. Place the ‘meatballs’ onto the baking tray. Repeat until all the mixture has been used (we made twenty-four!). If desired, spray the ‘meatballs’ with a little low-fat cooking oil.

9. Place the tray onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 30-35 mins; turning once halfway through. Tip: They will be slightly firm to the touch and lightly golden at the end of baking!

10. Serve on top of with your favourite pasta and sauce! We served ours on a bed of courgette and carrot ribbons, gluten free spaghetti and our homemade marinara!

Enjoy!

TipRefrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

 

 

Homemade & FreeFrom Energy ‘Flapjacks’ (or ‘Bites’!) [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8-16
Prep & Cooking Time: 35-40mins
Cooling Time: 20mins

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, omega 3 & 6, phosphorus, zinc and per serving is low in salt and has a moderate quantity of added, sugar and fat!

We simply love oats! From a simple and tasty bowl of porridge to some delicious muffins or slightly more indulgent crumbles or flapjacks! With all of this cooler weather that has suddenly rolled in, we are definitely craving fuel, an oaty-based snack…which got us thinking; a while ago we tried a leading plant-based bar which had ‘peanut flour’- gorgeous to say the least but at 90p a bar you can forget it!

So last week we decided to prepare an ‘almost’ flapjack with two great food loves of ours (peanut butter and oats!). So, ‘almost’ because the texture is slightly spongy and not crispy and/or oily, simply because it does not contain a tonne of typical golden syrup and butter, in addition to the fact that ground peanuts and peanut butter do not make it very authentic either! 

As the bars are energy packed, we’d advise to halve them into ‘bites’ and enjoy them as a healthy snack on the go, for those colder winter days to come; whether you’re out Christmas shopping or enjoying a long wintery walk in the snow! However, enjoy them as an occasional bar and save yourself a few pennies!

Overall we were happy with the result! There is certainly a huge margin for adapting these lovelies- let the sky be your limit! In terms of alterations, there isn’t many. We have advised using a little more milk, a little less flax and that the dried cranberries are optional, but you could reduce the quantity and just keep a few for added texture! If you want to help reduce the fat, try using less peanut butter or adapting the recipe with almonds instead. We definitely recommend toasting the peanuts, or any nuts that you use before grinding them (we forgot to!); it’ll really help bring out their lovely nuttiness! 

We think that these bars were just sweet enough, but it you have a ‘sweeter tooth’ than us you could perhaps try:

  • using a sweetened protein powder or DF milk. 
  • adding some ripe and mashed banana (or your favourite fruit!). 
  • omitting some of the cranberries and/or dates for more fruit syrup or try using some fresh fruit juices (apple, pineapple etc.) instead! Of course you could always try omitting the syrup altogether and just use ripe bananas- they always make everything really (naturally) sweet!

Happy GF, DF and refined sugar free baking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients:

++++++++7                Pitted Dates (60g)
++++++++55g            Unsalted Peanuts (toasted)
++++++++2 tsp          Virgin Coconut Oil (20g)
++++++++¼ Cup       Natural Peanut Butter (80g)
++++++++30g           Soya Isolate Powder (unsweetened)
++++++++1¼ cup      Almond Milk (unsweetened & fortified)
++++++++2 cups       Porridge Oats (GF if required) (180g)
++++++++1½ Tbsp    Ground Flax Seed (30g)
++++++++1-2             Pinches Table Salt
++++++++1 tsp          Ground Cinnamon (3g)
++++++++¼ Cup       Fruit Sweetener (Your favourite: agave, carob, date, etc!) (55g)
++++++++1/3 cup     Dried Cranberries (Naturally sweetened)*Optional (50g)

 

Nutrition:

 

Directions:

1. Place the dates into a bowl. Pour in some freshly boiled water, enough to cover them. Cover the bowl with a large plate. Allow to soak for 8-10 mins.

 

2. In the meantime, heat a small, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the peanuts. Dry-fry until lightly toasted. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly. Transfer into a food processor. Pulse until a ‘fine-ish’ flour is achieved. Transfer the ground peanuts into a large mixing bowl. Tip: Fancy some added texture? Save some of the nuts, roughly chop and then add them into the raw flapjack mixture later on!

 

3. Remove the dates from the water with a slotted spoon. Transfer them into the food processor with 6-8 tbsp of its ‘soaking’ water. Pulse until mostly smooth. Add the coconut oil and peanut butter. Pulse until smooth and combined.

 

4. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease (or line with a liner) an 8X8″ baking tin.

 

5. Place the protein powder into a shaker bottle (or just use a large bowl if you do not own one). Add the milk. Shake (or whisk if applicable) until all of the powder has dissolved.

 

6.  …Time to work those biceps! 🙂

NB: Add the milk and the date mixture into the ‘well’ at the same time and mix together. Do not mix the milk and the date mixture separately (as we have shown here); it’s easier to do it all in one simultaneous step…but the choice is yours! 🙂

  • Place the oats, ground flaxseed, salt and cinnamon into the same bowl as the ground peanuts. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Make a well in the centre of the oaty mixture.
  • Pour the milk and date mixture into the ‘well’.
  • Using a silicone spatula or large spoon mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Add the dried cranberries and/or chopped pieces of peanuts (if applicable). Stir through. Tip: The mixture will be a bit ‘tacky’, but this is OK!

 

7. Place the mixture into the greased tin. Use the back of your spatula or a piece of parchment paper to help press it evenly down into the tin, making it as flat and as even as possible.

 

8. Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for about 16-19 mins or until just lightly browned and firm to touch. Remove and allow the mixture to cool in the tin for 20 mins before slicing (that’s just enough time to make and have a perfectly cooled cup of tea!).

Tip: Loosen the sides of the baked mixture with a dinner or palate knife before slicing. Also slice the mixture into rectangles/’bars’ and then remove and allow them to cool on a cooling rack before slicing into smaller ‘bites/squares’.

We baked ours for 18 mins in a fan-assisted oven.

Our ‘bites’ ready for the freezer!

Enjoy!

‘Souper Duper’ Green Soup w/ Grains [Vegan]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8-10
Prep & Cooking Time: 60-70 mins (*Dependent upon skill, desired portion size and/or the number of handy kitchen helpers present!)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, protein, fibre, omega 3, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats!

A few weeks ago a moment of hunger and convenience had us purchasing and trialling a new flavour of ‘Covent Garden’ soup; the taste was fantastic but the colour (and price) was left to be desired for! So with that in mind, we decided to have a go and make our own twist on their green soup. How many of you have tried doing this? Do you find it enjoyable and really satisfying too? 🙂

We were happy with our result! A soup with a creamy and sweet ‘under note’ (from the puréed swede and baking potatoes) with an all round satisfying and delicious taste of chunky little veggies and grains.

We cooked this soup in bulk and it created five tasty lunches! So adjust your ingredients accordingly. We have also used a variety of grains (it was time to use up some of our tiddley, cupboard leftovers!), but feel free to use just one grain and/or your favourite(s)! If you need a completely GF option, swap the bulgar wheat and pearl barley for millet, buckwheat, brown rice and/or even lentils instead!

Also don’t be shy when it comes to using frozen vegetables, they can be just as tasty and nutritious, sometimes even more so! We used some of our delicious frozen spinach that we had previously purchased at Tesco. Thanks to the Orchard at Tesco, we had a coupon that allowed us to receive a discount! The price is extremely favourable, £1.40 for 900g, which works out much cheaper than fresh; so there’s no spoilage and you can have spinach whenever you fancy it! If you shop at Tesco, you should also look into becoming an Orchard member too!

 

Quick Foodie Facts and Tips:

  • Per serving (based on 10 servings) there is about 3.5 servings of vegetables towards your 5-A-Day! That’s one and half more than the Covent Garden version! 😀
  • As we’ve previously mentioned, a swede is also known as a rutabaga (in America!) or ‘neeps’  (in Scotland!) and is similar to a turnip. It is also in season until early next year!
  • Fancy another swede orientated soup, check out last year’s recipe here!

Happy cooking and have a great weekend everyone!

 

The potatoes and grains are not shown here!

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++50g       Dried Quinoa
+++++++++++++++++++50g       Dried Bulgar Wheat
+++++++++++++++++++100g     Dried Pearl Barley
+++++++++++++++++++1.3kg      Swede
+++++++++++++++++++400g     Baking Potato
+++++++++++++++++++500g     Carrot
+++++++++++++++++++200g     Celery
+++++++++++++++++++200g     Yellow Bell Pepper
+++++++++++++++++++230g      White onion
+++++++++++++++++++2             Garlic clove
+++++++++++++++++++2 tbsp    Dried Thyme
+++++++++++++++++++               Ground Black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++3L           Vegetable Stock (low-salt/GF if required)
+++++++++++++++++++220g      Frozen Peas
+++++++++++++++++++160g      Tesco Frozen Spinach
+++++++++++++++++++3 tbsp    Ground flaxseed
+++++++++++++++++++               Salt

 

Directions:

Cook your grain(s) according to the packet instructions.

Our cooked grains! NB: We used all of the pearl barley shown here and 2/3 of the quinoa/bulgar wheat…but don’t worry, we have adjusted the ingredient list accordingly!

 

In the meantime…

1. Wash and halve the swede and potato.
2. Peel the swede and potato.
3. Cube the swede and potato.
4. Place them into a large pot and fill it with cold water. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Simmer and cook for 10-12 mins or until tender.
5. Drain.

 

 

Whilst the swede and potato are cooking…

1. Place another large pot full of 3 litres water over a medium heat (this will be for the soup). Bring to a boil.
2. Prepare the other veggies. Tip:Chop them as small or as large as desired! Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the carrot into small cubes. Wash, trim the ends and finely cube the celery. Wash, remove the stem and core and then finely chop the bell pepper. Peel and dice the onion and garlic.
3. Once boiling, place the stock into the pot of water. Whisk to dissolve. Add the carrot, celery, bell pepper, onion, garlic, peas, thyme and some black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid. Simmer and cook for 5-7 mins or until tender.
4. Meanwhile, dice the frozen spinach.
5. Add the spinach during the last 2 mins of cooking.
6. Remove the pot of soup from the heat. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

Feel free to complete this step with a hand-held stick blender instead!

1. Once the swede and potato have cooled, transfer them into a blender. Tip: You might have to add a little water to help purée it.
2. Purée until smooth and creamy. NB: You will have to complete this step in batches.
3. Transfer the soup into a container or pot (as appropriate).
4. Add a little of the soup into one of your batches (to help give the soup a vibrant green colour!). Blend until smooth and creamy.
5. Add the remaining puréed soup into the large plastic container or pot.

 

 

1. Add the remaining soup into the container or pot. Stir together.
2. Add the cooked grains. Stir through and thoroughly combine.
3. Add the ground flax seed. Stir through and thoroughly combine.
4. Taste and season the soup with some salt and ground black pepper as necessary.
Tip: This is important as the puréed swede and potato will slightly ‘neutralise’ the soup’s flavour. Reheat over a medium-low heat (if required).

 

 

Ladle the soup into a serving bowl. Garnish with some croutons, a drizzle of olive oil and/or fresh or dried parsley (if desired).

This shows one serving (based on ten servings) of reheated soup!

Enjoy! 😀