Meatless Monday: Tofu Pesto & Roasted Vegetable Lasagne [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 6
Prep: 50-60 mins
Cooking: 20-45mins
Cooling: 5-10 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: 2x Large baking trays, kitchen foil, colander, chopping board, sharp knife, large pot(s) w/lid, whisk, food processor, silicone spatula, large casserole dish

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, K  & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and per serving* is low in added sugar and contains a moderate quantity of added salt and saturated fats. *Dependent upon the type of tomato sauce, white sauce and pesto used. 

Who doesn’t love a good lasagne or pasta dish?! We absolutely love them. Especially a veganised recipe that can rival its rich meat and cheese filled equivalent! We made this classic dish back in January (which you can probably guess by some of our ill-lit photographs, sorry!), but definitely plan on making it again soon; particularly before we transition into warmer weather, but hey, that’s still a long way off!

For those that have been following along, you’ll know that this is actually our second lasagne recipe we have posted! Our latest lasagne recipe is crammed with roasted vegetables, our delicious (and protein packed) spinach and tofu pesto, which is all topped off with a ‘cheezy’ white sauce! Healthy comfort food doesn’t get any better than this! 

This recipe may require a little more organisation and prep than some, but it’s not complicated to make, especially if you are good at multitasking. However, this is another dish (like our moussaka) that can’t really be quickly whipped up mid-week (unless you have time to spare), but it can definitely be meal prepped on a Sunday and enjoyed during the week. You could even freeze and enjoy it as several quick dinners and/or lunches later on in the month! We promise it’s worth the effort; the rich pesto, creamy white sauce and chunky vegetables all help to make it a satisfying dish full of great flavours, textures and colours!

Overall we were really pleased with it! The only real hiccup was our casserole dish; we were using a new (larger) one and underestimated the quantity of veggies we needed (we would have loved to use more)! We have included a vegetable range in the ingredients list; just adjust the quantities to the size of your own dish. As for the pasta, well, we have tried using GF lasagne sheets before and to be perfectly honest, it sucks. Even after using varied prep methods, we just think that it’s a nightmare to use (if you don’t have to) but we have no idea as to why! If you are in need of a GF alternative, you can use GF lasagne sheets or adapt the recipe by using thin-ish slices of raw courgette and/or pre-salted and seasoned aubergine (ideally cut by a mandolin if possible) instead. We would have used wholemeal pasta sheets, but they are hard to come by in main stream supermarkets (well, at least around our neck of the woods). In the end we opted for a great Italian brand; delicate and thin sheets of durum wheat lasagne that required no precooking and only took about 20 mins in the oven! They were stress free and delicious! What more can you ask for? !

Some other goods things to note include:

  • The prep depends on skill, the number of kitchen helpers, the type of pasta and sauces you are using and/or any previous prep, e.g. making pesto the day before. You can use an organic/healthy store bought tomato sauce (we did!), easy cook pasta (we did!) and if preferred, omit the top layer of pasta sheets and white sauce and just add a thin layer of vegan cheeze and/or nutritional yeast instead!
  • If you do not fancy making our spinach and tofu pesto, you can try and make an impromptu one by using your favourite store bought pesto and some silken tofu. Just blend them together in a food processor or blender. However, it’s good to note that as ours contains spinach, the overall consistency is thick and chunky (which works perfectly in this lasagne). To save some time, you could also try and make your pesto a head of time and just refrigerate it in a sealed container until you are ready to use it. 
  • The overall quantity of vegetables, sauces and/or pasta sheets depends on the size of casserole dish you plan on using. Also, you do not need to use roasted veggies; try gently softening (and seasoning) some in a large frying pan instead. Tip: Do not add raw mushroom, bell peppers and/or onion as they will end up make the dish really watery!
  • To save some time on chopping (and because we love them) we ended up using some large Portobello mushrooms! If desired, feel free to use some smaller mushrooms and/or adjust (or adapt) any of the vegetable medley as you see fit! 
  • Although our lasagne assembly is just a guide, we’d still always recommend starting with a layer of tomato sauce! 

Happy cooking everyone! 😀

 

Ingredients

+++150-300g      Large portobello mushrooms (about 2-4)
+++200-300g     Red onion (2-3 small)
+++400-600g     Red bell pepper (about 2-3)
+++700-900g     Courgette (about 3-4)
+++1 tsp                Garlic infused oil
+++2 tbsp             Extra virgin olive oil (or some low-fat cooking oil spray)
+++1½ tsp             Dried Italian herbs
+++                        Salt & Ground black pepper
+++1L                     Basil tomato sauce (store bought or homemade)
+++670g               Spinach & Tofu Pesto
+++400g              Lasagne sheets (GF, wholemeal or plain wheat flour)
+++450ml             Vegan + GF herby white sauce
+++                        Nutritional yeast flakes (*optional garnish)
+++                        Fresh Basil (*optional garnish)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Heat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF. Line two baking trays with a sheet of kitchen foil.

2. Prepare the vegetables. Wash dry and chop the mushrooms in to large chunks. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell pepper into chunky strips. Wash the courgettes, trim off the tops and slice it (vertically) into about ½ cm strips. Place the mushrooms, onion and bell pepper into one baking tray and the courgette into the other one.

Drizzle 1 tsp garlic infused oil and 1 tbsp of olive oil and add ¾ tsp dried Italian herbs over the mushroom mixture. Tip: Alternatively use a low-fat cooking oil spray instead of the olive oil. Season it with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil (or use the spray) and add ¾ tsp dried Italian herbs over the courgette. Season it with a little salt and a few grinds of ground black pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Place the baking trays onto the middle and lower oven shelves. Roast for about 20mins or until tender and slightly browned; turn and toss the vegetables at least once. Remove.

3. If applicable make a tomato sauce or use an organic and/or healthy store bought variety instead. We’d recommend an onion and tomato or basil/tomato flavoured sauce. Tip: You can use our previous lasagne tomato sauce recipe, just omit the black olives, make sure to taste and season it to taste and make about one and half times the quantity shown.

4. If applicable, prepare the spinach and tofu pesto.

5. If applicable, precook the pasta sheets according to the packet instructions. Tip: We used a high quality brand; the sheets were quite thin and didn’t need to be precooked.

6. If applicable, make a bechamel-style white sauce; use our vegan and gluten free herby, white sauce with these seasoning adjustments: ¼-½ tsp of dried thyme, basil and oregano, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, ½ tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper. If desired, stir through 1 tbsp (5-6g) of nutritional yeast at the end of cooking for a cheezy sauce (we did)!

7. Assemble the lasagne! Pour and spread about 2 cups (or about half) of the tomato sauce on the base of a large casserole dish. Add of layer of lasagne sheets, enough to cover. Add and spread half of the pesto. Top the pesto with some of the courgette and roasted mushroom mixture. Pour and gently spread over 1 cup (about another ¼) of the tomato sauce. Add another layer of lasagne sheets. Add and evenly spread the remaining pesto. Add another and final layer of courgette and mushroom mixture. Pour and spread a final cup of sauce. Add a final layer of pasta sheets. Pour and evenly spread the white sauce over the top layer of pasta.

8. Bake the lasagne. Place the casserole dish onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 20-45 mins (depending on the type of pasta you are using) or until the pasta is cooked and the white sauce is lightly golden. Remove. If possible, allow it to cool for 10 mins. Tip: Allowing it to rest will help with serving ease and it will also be a better temperature to eat! 

9. If desired, serve with a small green salad or some steamed green beans and garnish with some fresh basil and some additional nutritional yeast.

Enjoy!

Tip: Cover and refrigerate any leftovers; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, store and freeze in one or several portions; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

 

Picture Step: 2

Picture Step: 4. Courtesy of our: Spinach and Tofu pesto post

Picture Step: 6. Courtesy of our Vegan & GF Herby White Sauce post.

Picture Step: 7. Lasagne assembly!

One cooled and garnished lasagne ready to eat!

 

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Spinach & Tofu Pesto [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Yields: about 670g
Serves: 12
Prep & Assembly: ≤10-15mins
Type: Sauce, Spread, Dip
Tools: Small dish, sieve, chopping board, sharp knife, frying pan(optional), food processor, air-tight storage container

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, potassium, zinc, contains no added sugar and per serving is low in added salt, has a moderate quantity of fat and is low in saturated fats!

We have always encouraged everyone to cook from scratch and over the past few months we have given you more sauces and dips, a new pizza crust and even some handy food, kitchen and ingredient conversions. Well here’s another basic recipe that we think everyone (not just us plant lovers!) should have access to. It’s easy-peasy and full of flavourful and bold ingredients! Yes, it’s another pesto recipe, but this one’s packed full of extra protein (and no, it’s not extra nuts, its tofu!); of course it comes with a multitude of uses…and it just may even become a new staple in your recipe box! 

We actually came across a DF & GF store bought pesto (insert brand name here!) last year, which funnily enough also contains tofu. It looks creamy and packed full of flavour; basil, nuts (cashew and pine), but its first ingredient is oil! So it’s no surprise that apart from being pricey it contains more calories, fat and even sugar (yes because it contains glucose!) per one-hundred grams than our recipe! Yet another example as to why we should make our own staples and basic recipes at home. 

We originally used our creamy, healthy and delicious pesto in a homemade lasagne (recipe pending!), but with spring looming, it could be used with so many other great things. With a dash of inspiration, curiosity and maybe courage, it has the potential could become a great and quick stir-through sauce for a pasta or potato-based salad or used as a tasty dip (just to name a few!).

It’s good to note that we have included all of our preparation photos, although some are slightly out of sync; our excitement and hunger had us bouncing around the kitchen and not sticking to our previously written directions. However as we’ve previously mentioned in another recent pesto post, there is no right or wrong way to make your own pesto! Please feel free to adapt it to your own personal tastes and maybe even get carried away dancing whilst you’re making it too! 🙂

A few other good things to note include

  • Forget avocado on toast, this pesto (spread) goes further! Use it as a lovely sandwich or wrap spread, as a tasty topping for rice cakes, crackers or jacket potatoes, or as mentioned above, a quick stir-through pasta sauce! However, we would suggest using fresh, spinach, rocket or kale.
  • Also, get experimenting! Use this as a tasty layer in a cooked or raw lasagne, in a savoury summer tart or stuff a little in some tender and delicious Portobello mushrooms and get roasting! 
  • When it comes to nuts (or seeds), use your favourite (although we recommend pine nuts, walnuts, cashews, toasted almonds or sunflower seeds)!
  • We used garlic puree for a slightly intense and (not raw) garlic taste, but just use whatever you prefer (or about one garlic clove).

Have a great weekend and happy cooking everyone! 😀

 

 

Ingredients

+++++++300g               Frozen spinach, defrosted (or 150g fresh)
+++++++2 tbsp             Lemon juice
+++++++80g                 Fresh basil
+++++++1                       Box Silken tofu (349g)
+++++++40g                 Pine nuts
+++++++⅓ Cup            Extra virgin olive oil
+++++++1½ tbsp           Nutritional yeast flakes
+++++++½ tsp               Garlic puree
+++++++¼ tsp               Salt

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Nutritional Info (approx. values)

 

Directions

1. If applicable, defrost the spinach in a microwave (or at room temperature for a couple hours); drain in a sieve and then roughly chop. If applicable, juice a lemon. Wash and then dry the basil with some kitchen paper; remove the leaves from the stems. Open and carefully drain any excess water out of the box of tofu.

2. If desired, toast the pine nuts (we skipped this step). Heat a dry frying pan. Add the nuts and dry-fry until lightly toasted. Remove from the heat.

3. Transfer 2 tbsp lemon juice, 40g pine nuts, ⅓ cup olive oil, 1½ tbsp nutritional yeast, ½ tsp garlic puree and ¼ tsp salt into a food processor. Blend until the nuts are smooth-ish and combined. Add the tofu. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add the spinach and basil. Blend until combined and broken down. Tip: The mixture will probably not be completely smooth, but this is OK. For a smoother pesto, you will have to add more oil and/or cold water. Taste and season the pesto as necessary.

4. Carefully remove the blade and transfer the pesto into an air-tight and resealable container or an air tight and sterilised jar.

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftover pesto in an air-tight and resealable jar (preferably sterilised) or container; consume within 5 days. 

 

Oh yes, spinach and tofu pesto lasagne- so delicious! 😀

 

What you tried a tofu-based pesto before? What’s your favourite way to use tofu? Well, if you love pesto (and tofu!) as much as we do, stayed tuned! Next week we’ll be providing you with our new and delicious recipe for a pesto (and tofu)-based lasagne! 

Basil & Walnut Pesto [Vegan]

Healthy Recipes

Yields: about 160ml
Serves: 8
Prep & Assembly: ≤10 mins
Type: Sauce, Dip, Spread
Tools: Colander, chopping board, sharp knife, grater, manual juicer (*optional) food processor, silicone spatula, resealable container

Notes

Pesto is another simple, go-to sauce that everyone can make at home! Don’t be put off by foodie’s dos and don’ts; it can suit ANY budget and/or palate. In fact we’d be very surprised if everyone loved our combination of pesto flavours! Nonetheless, whether you like it extra ‘cheezy’ or zesty, made with fresh basil or rocket, strictly plant-based or not, the choice is yours and the end result will be the same; a delicious and quick sauce that is always bursting with flavour and colour! Quite honestly, the colour is probably half the allure (at least for us)! 

Anything with a shade of green that vibrant surely has to be healthy, right? 

Yes and no. As we’ve previously mentioned, it can be healthful; containing nutrients including: protein, fibre, vitamins C & E, calcium, iron and a good source ‘good fats’ (mono and polyunsaturated!). However, by nature pesto recipes are also high in calories (particularly fat) and/or salt; especially if you make it using a higher ratio of cheese. So it’s not something we have very often, or in any great quantity, but that only makes it all the more special when we do decide to whip some up! 🙂

We have explored using different nuts and/or herbs or flavours; traditional pesto uses pine nuts, but generally almonds, walnuts and/or sunflower seeds suit our budget. If you have never tried it with nutritional yeast, we highly recommend it; it has as a lovely nutty and ‘cheezy’ element that help give your plant-based pesto a more true and authentic taste. We’re not food snobs, but we can offer one piece of advice to make sure that you have a great pesto experience- use fresh ingredients! Stale nuts and ten day old store-bought basil will not do, but those who love pesto are probably already aware of this! 

If you’re a pesto fiend, you might remember some of our other pesto’s we have tried: olive-based, zesty spinach and some adapted avocado and asparagus-based versions too!

Whatever flavour you chose, the process is always easy (well, mosty!)…

Especially if you utilise a quick and modern method like we have; food processors can save you a lot of time! If you do not have one, you can always apply oodles of cooking enthusiasm and try grinding up a batch in a pestle and mortar, or place all of the ingredients into an appropriate dish/cup and blend it with a stick blender instead. If you do plan on using a pestle and mortar, the oil should probably be the last ingredient that you add (otherwise things might get a bit messy)! 

We hope you that enjoy this batch as much as the others. We think it’s the perfect accompaniment to: a delicious pasta dish, as a tasty sandwich spread, thinly spread over a pizza base or dolloped on top of your pizza, drizzled over some steamed new potatoes or asparagus, or as tasty summer dip (but enjoy it mindfully of course!). 

Have a great weekend and happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Oh, if anyone has a minute to spare… it would be greatly appreciated if you could please check out this link! It’s a petition for a BBC ethical cooking show! It would the first of its kind; the idea is actually pretty exciting. It would be nice to tune into a Saturday cooking show that wasn’t about braising beef and sautéing vegetables in a half a block of butter… but one (as the campaign director Bridget Irving states) “that reflects the diversity of the UK” – where it can cater to the ever growing number of f/t vegans and over a million dedicated vegetarians! Hopefully it will gain enough signatures and interest and come to fruition. 

Ingredients

++++++++½                  Lemon (1 tsp zest & 15-30ml lemon juice)
++++++++2                   Garlic Clove (fat ones!)
++++++++80g              Fresh Basil
++++++++60ml            Extra Virgin Olive Oil
++++++++30g              Walnut pieces
++++++++¼ tsp            Asafoetida
++++++++                     Pinch of Salt & Ground Black pepper
++++++++2-2½ tbsp   Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Wash the lemon, grate 1 tsp of zest (or more if preferred) and then juice half of it. Tip: Store the other half of the lemon in your fridge; add a wedge of it into your morning tea, or squeeze some juice over a fresh salad or pasta dish! Peel the garlic. Wash the basil; remove the leaves from its stems.

2. Place the lemon zest and 1 tbsp of juice into a food processor. With the food processor running, drop the garlic down the pouring spout. Blend until it’s blitzed.

3. Add 4 tbsp oil, 30g walnuts and ¼ tsp asafoetida. Season the mixture with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Blend until the nuts are smoothish and creamy. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture off the sides and the lid, back down into the base. Add 2-2½ tbsp nutritional yeast (depending on your preference). Mix until combined. Tip: The mixture will still not be completely smooth, but this is OK.

4. Add the basil. Blend until completely processed. Taste and season as necessary; add more lemon juice, yeast, salt and/or seasonings if preferred. Tip: If you would like a slightly thinner consistency, add a little water (1 tbsp of water at a time) until your desired consistency is achieved.

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftover pesto in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively freeze in a container or ration and then freeze it in smaller portions; use several (small) resealable containers, baggies or an ice cube tray for easy pesto and cooking convenience!


 

Roasted Vegetable Terrine with Mock Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Diet & Weight Loss

What a fantastic recipe! So creative and nutritious- we can’t wait to try it! 🙂

The Calgary Beet

If you’re hosting over the holidays, you may have at least one friend or family member requesting a vegetarian or vegan meal option. This roasted vegetable terrine is festive and makes a rich and hearty vegan option for those on special diets. And it tastes divine – food from the Gods in my opinion! Don’t omit the smoked chipotle pepper – it adds such great flavour! 

There is nothing difficult about making this terrine but there are three separate components that come together to make this dish what it is – the tomato pesto, the nut cheese and the roasted vegetables. Each of the individual components can be made ahead, and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the terrine. Make the mock goat cheese first as it needs 24 hours to ripen. 

  IMG_6028

SERVES 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper
  • 1 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into 14”…

View original post 991 more words

Olive Pesto

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6-8
Prep & Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Notes:This recipe contains: Vitamins C, K & E, protein, fibre, iron, zinc, potassium, and (*per serving/based on six) is low in salt, sugar and has a moderate amount of fats!

Here’s a quick and delicious midweek recipe that will provide you with maximum taste satisfaction and minimal discomfort to make (#whohateswashingup)! 

We’ve come across lots of olive pesto recipes (that are more or less the same), but we decided to adapt our own using the ingredients (and quantities) that suited us. We felt that as the staple ingredient was olives, adding over 40 grams of pine nuts and 1/2 cup of oil would make it too rich! Pesto is ‘rich’ at the best of times and as much as we enjoy it, it’s not something we prepare every week, but it is a lovely thing to have in moderation! 

Adapt the recipe to suit your pesto needs; more garlic?… lemon?… basil?… another type of olive?… or less oil and no seeds/nuts to further reduce the fat content?? Experiment and enjoy!

  Oh and here’s wishing a very Happy Birthday to our dear friend Kelly!

 

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g       Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1          Lemon
+++++++++++++++++++++++++70g     Green olives (pitted/in brine)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g     Fresh basil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++12g      Fresh flat leaf parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++10g      Pumpkin seeds (*optional)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++60ml  Olive oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++            Salt & Ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++            Water

 

Directions:

Peel the garlic. Wash, zest and juice the lemon.

 

 

Drain and wash the olives. Wash and dry the basil and the parsley.

 

 

With a food processor running, drop the garlic in. Process until minced.

 

 

Add the lemon zest and juice, seeds and oil.

 

 

Process until puréed. Add the olives, basil and parsley. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Process until combined; the mixture will be a bit coarse. NB: With the machine still running, add a little water to thin the pesto out slightly.

 

 

Transfer the pesto into an air-tight and resealable container.

 

 

How to use the pesto:

Simply mix some into freshly cooked pasta (we recommend wholewheat or buckwheat!) or zoodles!; alternatively you can follow these simple steps…

1. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.
2. Add the pesto into a small bowl.
3  Add some cooking water into the pesto.
4. Stir and mix together.
5. Transfer the cooked pasta into a large mixing bowl.
6. Add the pesto mixture.
7. Toss and mix to coat.
8. Serve in a serving bowl; garnish as desired.

 

As it’s ‘British Tomato Week‘, try adding some to your dish!

 

Enjoy!

 

Keep refrigerated and use within 5 days. Alternatively store in individual air-tight containers and freeze; defrost and use within for 1-2 months.

**Not too long ago ‘My Vegan Kitchen’ posted a useful ‘pesto storage’ tip! It’s ideal for portion control and of course, saving yourself valuable time in the kitchen!

Gnocchi W/ A Zesty-Spinach Pesto Sauce! (Vegan)

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Yields: about 350ml pesto.
Prep & Cooking Time: 30-40 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, manual juicer, food processor, silicone spatula, resealable container, non-stick pot, colander, mixing bowl

Notes: This meal contains: Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, no added sugars and a moderate quantity of fat per serving.

This is a simple, stodgy and satisfying Italian-inspired meal. The pesto sauce is refreshing, creamy, nutritious and the perfect accompaniment for your gnocchi; you can even make it the night before if you are short on time!

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • Pesto is a lovely addition to many recipes, but it’s naturally high in fat (from the oil, nuts and traditionally added cheeses). It can contain some ‘good fats’ (mono and polyunsaturated) from the added nuts and/or oil, but unless you are making it with hard cheeses (and being mindful of your overall ingredients), high saturated fat contents start making an appearance. Nonetheless, it is something that can be enjoyed in moderation (just be mindful of your portion sizes)!
  • Gnocchi are small Italian dumplings, traditionally made with potato, flour, egg and seasoning. However, some store-bought gnocchi can contain lactose or milk proteins and most brands use ‘wheat flour’; if you have dietary requirements, make sure to check the label before throwing them into your supermarket basket!

They can be a great alternative to pasta and rice (be mindful though, as some brands contain a fair bit of added salt/serving)! …Which is why you should try making it yourself! We have tried to make it on a few occasions, but the final product still needs some perfecting! With any recipe, it can take practice, patience and perseverance! Luckily potatoes and flour are relatively inexpensive, so you won’t break the bank trying! 

Happy cooking everyone and buona cena!

 

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++65g        Baby Spinach Leaves
+++++++++++++++++60g        Fresh Basil
+++++++++++++++++12g          Garlic Clove
+++++++++++++++++1              Lemon (zest & juice)
+++++++++++++++++80ml      Extra Virgin Olive Oil
+++++++++++++++++                Salt & Ground Black Pepper
+++++++++++++++++40g         Pine Nuts
+++++++++++++++++160ml     Water
+++++++++++++++++200g       Plain Soya Yoghurt (unsweetened & fortified)
+++++++++++++++++200g       Gnocchi (Vegan; GF if preferred)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Wash and dry the spinach and basil. Peel the garlic. Wash the lemon, grate some zest and then juice it. Tip: We used all of the zest and juice from the lemon, but feel free to use less (or more!) if preferred.

 

 

Prepare The Pesto

  • Place 40ml olive oil into a food processor. Add the lemon zest and juice (as much as desired). Blend until blitzed! Whilst the food processor is still running, add the garlic. Blend until the garlic is minced.
  • Add the nuts and 160ml cold water.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy. Scrape the mixture off the sides into the bottom using a silicone spatula. Season it with some salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the spinach and basil. Tip: Use the basil leaves and stems! We gently ripped some of the basil prior to adding it to the food processor. Blend until creamy NB: there will still be a few bits present.
  • Add the remaining 40ml oil and an additional 2 tbsp of water.
  • Blend until combined. Tip: Add more water if a thinner pesto is preferred. Taste and season as you go.
  • Transfer the pesto into a resealable container (as you won’t be using all of it today!)

 

 

Decision time! You can simply just prepare the sauce and the gnocchi …or organise a few extra veggies to add to this meal!

Veggies rule so go on and fill your boots!

The veggies that we chose to use included: 160g Frozen green beans, 80g Chestnut mushrooms, 20g Sun-dried tomatoes, 40g Shallot, 10-20g Spinach leaves!

 

 

See our pot?? The gnocchi will initially sink to the bottom and then rise to the top!

  • Place a large saucepan full of cold water over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Tip: Our pot of water took about 10 mins to boil! It was just enough time to prep your veggies! Add the gnocchi. Cook according to the packet instructions (ours took 3 mins). Tip: Once gnocchi starts to rise to the surface of the pot, they’re done!. Drain.
  • In the meantime, prepare any veggies you plan on using! We gently fried some shallot and chestnut mushrooms, steamed some green beans, drained and diced some sun-dried tomatoes and shredded some baby spinach.

 

 

Assemble The ‘Pesto Sauce’

Place 200g yoghurt into a large measuring jug. Add about 100g of the pesto. Mix until combined.

 

 

Assemble The Dish

  • Place the cooked gnocchi into a large mixing bowl. NB: We added some spinach at this stage and mixed it through. If you are not adding ‘greens’, just add the sauce.  Tip: The hot gnocchi will allow the spinach to wilt slightly.
  • Add the sauce. Mix to coat.
  • If applicable, add any other prepared veggies. Mix together. Taste and season it as necessary.

 

 

Ladle the gnocchi mixture into a serving bowl. Garnish with some sun-dried tomatoes whatever else takes your fancy! Tip: For fewer calories (and a pop of colour!), try using some: diced red bell pepper, sweet paprika or some baby plum or cherry tomatoes.

Based on the amount of pesto, yoghurt and gnocchi we used, each serving contains approximately: <400kcal, (extra ingredients not included…although adding some cooked, fresh or frozen vegetables is negligible!).

 

Refrigerate the remaining pesto; consume within 3-5 days. Try using it on pasta, in a lasagne, wrap or sandwich, as a dip with some crudities or run a bit through some steamed vegetables.

 

If preferred…

  • Pesto is versatile! Try making it with different vegetables, herbs and/or nuts/seed combinations. Try experimenting with: kale, wild rocket, sun-dried tomato, cooked beetroot, roasted aubergine, fresh coriander or parsley or some ground almonds, walnuts or pistachios instead!
  • For a low-fat version, use less pesto/sauce or just drizzle your gnocchi with a little ‘herby’ oil and a top with a few veggies of choice! Alternatively use a basic (low fat/sugar) tomato-based sauce, ‘creamy-broccoli’, roasted red pepper, a roasted squash and sage sauce, or a ‘cheesy’, low-fat and DF white sauce made (with DF milk, nutritional yeast and flavourings of choice)!

Vegan & Gluten Free Asparagus Pesto Pasta

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8
Prep & Cooking Time: 35-45 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, grater, colander, large pot, food processor, silicone spatula, small bowl, measuring jug, mixing bowl and/or resealable container

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, E & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, no added sugars and per serving is low in salt and saturated fats!

This pesto offers a nice alternative to other vegan pesto salads that use avocado, spinach or roasted vegetables. It has a lovely, fresh and uniquely satisfying taste, not to mention it’s easy to prepare!  

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++++++++520g    Asparagus
+++++++++++++++++++++++16g       Garlic Clove
+++++++++++++++++++++++1           Lemon (30ml Juice, 1 tsp zest)
+++++++++++++++++++++++25g       Fresh Basil
+++++++++++++++++++++++400g    Fresh Tomatoes (your favourite!)
+++++++++++++++++++++++4g         Ground Almonds
+++++++++++++++++++++++40g      Pine Nuts
+++++++++++++++++++++++520g    GF Fusilli
+++++++++++++++++++++++40ml    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++2g         Dried Onion Powder
+++++++++++++++++++++++             Salt

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Nutritional Info

 

Directions

  • Wash the asparagus; trim and discard the ends.
  • Peel the garlic. Wash the lemon; grate the zest from half of it and then juice it. Wash and dry the basil; discard the stems and save the leaves. Wash, remove the stem and then roughly chop the tomatoes.
  • Meanwhile, place a large, non-stick saucepan full of cold water over a high heat. Bring to the boil. Add the asparagus. Simmer for 3-5 mins, or until tender. Tip: Ours took about 4½ mins to cook, but it’s finding a happy balance. Cook them too long and the tips disintegrate, not long enough and the ends do not blend very well into the pesto. 
  • Remove the asparagus from the pot, but do not empty the water from the pot. Transfer into a colander. Drain. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

  • Meanwhile, begin preparing the pesto. Whilst the food processor is running, add the garlic through the pouring spout. Blitz into small pieces.
  • Use a spatula and scrape the garlic from the slides and the lid into the base.
  • Add about ¾  of the quantity of the pine nuts and all of the almonds.
  • Blitz until the pine nuts are roughly chopped. Leave the mixture for the moment.

 

In the meantime, bring the saucepan of water back up to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook according to the packet instructions. Reserve some of the cooking liquid from the saucepan (approximately ½ cup) before draining. Tip: We removed some liquid about halfway through the cooking time; save more liquid if you want a really ‘loose pesto’. Drain. Allow to cool slightly.

 

  • Meanwhile, chop the asparagus stalks into halves. Separate the ‘top’ halves from the ‘bottoms’.
  • Chop the bottom halves into small pieces.
  • Chop the top halves into thirds.

 

 

  • Add 1 tsp lemon zest & 2 tbsp juice (or as much zest and juice as desired), basil, about 10 tbsp of the reserved cooking liquid (more if necessary), 40ml oil, about ¾ tsp onion powder and the ‘asparagus bottoms’ into the food processor.
  • Blend until smooth. Season it with some salt to taste. Tip: Your pesto is now complete!
  • Place the pasta into a large mixing bowl or resealable container. Add the pesto. Mix and thoroughly combine. NB: Ours went into this plastic tub (as it was going to be several lunches throughout the week!).
  • Add the tomatoes and asparagus ‘tops’. Mix to combine.
  • Season it with some salt to taste if necessary. Sprinkle over the remaining nuts.

 

 

Serve and enjoy!

NB: This bowl provides 1 portion (based on 8 servings!). This pasta has been refrigerated overnight. If desired, re-freshen your ‘next day’ pasta with a bit of lemon juice, ground black pepper and dried basil.

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 3-4 days.

 

If preferred…

  • Make the pesto sauce and serve it over gnocchi, spaghetti or in a lasagne instead.
  • If you are not concerned about gluten, give wholemeal or spelt pasta a try!
  • Add some fortified nutritional yeast (with vitamin B12!) to your pesto for a more authentic taste and of course added nutritional value!
  • Try making it with just ground almonds.
  • For an extra creamy pesto sauce (minus the guilty calories!), add some unsweetened soya yoghurt; add the yoghurt to the food processor when processing the final ingredients.
  • Use the pesto sauce as a dip for vegetables or multi-grain pita. If necessary or preferred, just add a little arrowroot powder to thicken it in a blender/food processor first.

 

This recipe was adapted from: fatfreevegan

Avocado & ‘Pesto’ Pasta (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking Time: 25-30 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Large pot, colander, chopping board, sharp knife, food processor, silicone spatula, small frying pan, mixing bowl, salad tongs

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamins C, E & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, omega 3, is low in added salt and sugars and (per serving) is low in saturated fats. 

Looking for a fresh, creamy and very satisfying pasta dish? Well we’re happy to say that this avocado pesto pasta ticks all the boxes! It’s tasty, nutritious and you can see from our list of ingredients, it’s also really easy to prepare!  For the super keen, make the pesto the night before and have dinner on the table in less than twenty-five minutes! 

Happy cooking everyone!

 

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++++++150g       Dried GF Spaghetti
+++++++++++++++++++++8g           Garlic Clove
+++++++++++++++++++++               Lemon Zest and Juice (1/2 a lemon)
+++++++++++++++++++++120g       Ripe Avocado Pear (small variety)
+++++++++++++++++++++40g        Fresh Basil
+++++++++++++++++++++60g        Cherry Tomatoes
+++++++++++++++++++++10ml       Extra Virgin Olive Oil
+++++++++++++++++++++125ml     Water
+++++++++++++++++++++1g            Garlic Powder
+++++++++++++++++++++2g           Dried Onion Powder
+++++++++++++++++++++                Salt and Ground Black Pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++20g         Walnuts

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.

In the meantime, prepare the other ingredients. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Wash the lemon, grate some zest and then juice it. Slice the avocado into two halves, remove and discard the stone and then peel it. Wash, dry and then chop the large stems off the basil. Wash, remove the stems and then chop the tomatoes into halves (or smaller if you prefer).

 

Assemble The Pesto!

1. Place the garlic, lemon juice, 2 tsp oil and ¼ cup water into a food processor. Blend until the garlic is ‘blitzed’.

2. Add the avocado, basil (save a few leaves for garnishing if you like), and the garlic and onion powder. Season it with some salt and ground black pepper to taste. Blend until smooth and creamy. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture from the sides and the lid.

Add half the quantity of the zest. Blend until combined. Taste and season it as necessary. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the container and lid again.

 

 

1. Heat a small non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the nuts. Dry-fry until lightly toasted.

2. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the nuts onto a chopping board. Allow to cool slightly. Roughly chop into small pieces.Tip: You can skip this step, but toasting the walnuts will really help to bring out their flavour!

 

 

Pasta Assembly


1. Place the pasta into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the avocado ‘pesto’ sauce.
3. Use salad tongs to gently mix and coat the pasta in the sauce.

 

 

Serve warm. Transfer the pasta into a lipped plate (use a spatula to scrape any sauce left in the bowl). Sprinkle over the remaining zest (as much as desired!). Garnish by scattering over the nuts, any reserved basil (if using) and the tomatoes.

Enjoy!

 

If preferred…

  • Substitute the spaghetti for another variety of pasta; try fettuccine or linguine.
  • Try making/using ‘courgetti pasta’ for another GF variety (if you have the time, resources and want to be creative of course)!
  • Try putting this sauce on wholemeal pasta or gnocchi perhaps (if you’re not concerned about gluten).
  • Experiment with your herbs; parsley or coriander would work well.
  • For an even more authentic ‘pesto’ taste, add some fortified nutritional yeast to the sauce for that ‘cheesy’ element and added nutritional value!
  • Try garnishing the dish with another type of tomato or maybe some grilled sweet red peppers or baby mushrooms instead!

 

Recipe adapted from: Crunchandchew