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! 

Lemon & Tahini Sauce w/Yoghurt [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Yields: about 200ml
Serves: 6
Prep & Assembly: ≤5mins
Type: Sauce, Dip, Dressing
Tools: Measuring jug, fork or large spoon, silicone spatula, air-tight jar

Notes: This recipe contains*: B-Vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid/B5), Vitamins C & D, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar, salt and sat fats. (*Dependent upon the type and quantity of yoghurt , preserved lemon paste and/or tahini used.) 

We are always looking for fun ways to incorporate more calcium into our diet. Healthy dips and sauces are on the top of our list, especially as we transition into spring and summer and particularly when we can add some unsweetened and natural yoghurt into the mix! Our ‘yoghurt-y’ sauces have worked out so far well; more recently with our avocado cream and previously with our M. Eastern tahini sauce , peanut satay sauce, red kidney bean and lentil dip, broad bean and spinach dip and our butter bean and red pepper dip

As we are always meal planning, we try to incorporate additions (aka homemade sauces and/or dips) that we can use in more meals than none and with the use of of some preserved lemon paste in a M.Eastern stew recently, it got us thinking that we wanted more, delicious lemony foods. This (lemony) sauce is delicious and will definitely come in handy during the next six to seven months! Plenty of salads and bowls or the addition of vegan burgers or bites come to mind! 

This new sauce only has three ingredients and takes less than five minutes to make… hmmm, is that even a recipe?!  o_O We’ve called this ‘recipe’ lemon and tahini sauce, but it could equally be tahini and lemon instead; just use more tahini than lemon and presto; two new sauces for the price of one! 😀

A few other good things to note include:

  • If you do not have any preserved lemon paste, try adding a pinch of salt and some fresh lemon juice and/or lemon zest (to taste) instead.
  • It might be great with the addition of fresh herbs too; try a little mint, coriander or parsley! 
  • We made this sauce a day in advance; the next day the lemon flavour was a bit more concentrated (not gross, just more lemony than what we had originally preferred). If you want a more subtle taste, use it on the day of preparation or reduce the quantity of preserve; adding more the next day if necessary. 
  • If you put it in a sterilised and air-tight jar, if will keep for about 4-5 days, but it will only really stay as fresh as the yoghurt you use in it. NB: Our soya yoghurt was brand new!
  • Annoyingly when we went shopping for natural soya yoghurt, the unsweetened brand was sold out. We would definitely prefer to make this with unsweetened yoghurt (take a hint Alpro!), as the overall flavour works better in savoury dishes. The sweetened version is tasty (don’t get us wrong), but because it was extra lemony, it tasted ‘almost dessert like’ (especially if you serve it with fruit), so really it just isn’t as versatile. But hey, try them both and see what you prefer!

We that hope you enjoy it and have a great weekend everyone!  🙂

 

 

Ingredients

++++++++165g      Natural soya yoghurt (unsweetened & fortified) (*about 2/3cup)
++++++++22g        Preserved lemon paste
++++++++20g       Tahini paste

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here.:)

 

Directions

1. Place the yoghurt, preserved lemon and tahini into a large measuring jug or bowl.

2. Mix with a fork or large smooth until thoroughly combined and uniform in colour. Taste and adjust the flavourings as necessary.

3. Use a silicone spatula and transfer the sauce into a sterilised and air-tight jar. Refrigerate and consume within 4-5 days.

Try serving this sauce with: salads, bowls, tasty wraps or pitta bread sandwiches, sweet potato wedges, with rice dishes, plant-based burgers, falafels, or with some tasty veggie or fruit crudities!

Enjoy!

 

Pomegranate Sauce [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 10
Yields: about 400ml
Prep & Cooking Time: ≤ 8mins
Type: Dip, Sauce, Dressing
Tools: Large measuring jug, whisk, small dish, non-stick pot

Like other ‘healthy’ and wholesome foods, pomegranate can play a great part in supporting a healthy diet and lifestyle! Originating from the Middle East, this lovely fruit is a good source of fibre but also contains vitamins C, E & K, iron and other antioxidants. Although there has been studies (1,2,3,4) that have indicated and helped support possible health benefits, such as protecting us against heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation and some cancers, the evidence is still inconclusive. Nonetheless we can still enjoy this delicious fruit as one 150ml serving of (pure) juice/day or by scattering these lovely, red jewels over our porridge, yoghurt, salads, rice dishes or any other delicious plant-based meal that we desire! It can be a wonderful way not only to brighten up our meals, but to add some additional nutritional value to them. 🙂

Today we are sharing a lovely pomegranate sauce (dressing or dip)! It’s easy to make and variable depending on what you want to use it for. In all honestly though, this sauce is a ‘treat’, simply because one being we don’t really drink juice and two, unless you can source cheap pomegranates or (100%) pomegranate juice (as ‘juice drinks’ tend to have added sugar, colourings and/or additives), it can be a bit pricey to make.

If you’re feeling rich or the change in your pocket is starting to weigh you down, then we recommend that you whip up a batch! You can adjust how much starch you use to create your prefect consistency and even experiment by adding a cheeky splash of red wine and/or your favourite spices or herbs for a delicious and unique fusion of flavours! We hope that you enjoy some as a dressing over salads or a plate of steamed veggies (mmm broccoli please!) or as a dip/sauce for your plant-based burgers (or bites) or tasty crudities! 

Have a great weekend everyone and happy cooking! 😀

 

Ingredients

+++400ml            100% Natural Pomegranate Juice (or 4 fresh pomegranates/juiced)
+++1 tbsp              Lemon Juice (fresh or concentrated)
+++½-1 tbsp         Fruit Sweetener (*optional)
+++4 tsp                Potato Starch (*variable)

Need and easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Pour the pomegranate and lemon juice into a large measuring jug. Add the sweetener (if using). Whisk together.

2. Place the starch into a small dish with equal parts water. Whisk with a fork to dissolve the flour and until combined; forming a ‘slurry’. Tip: you might want more or less potato starch depending on whether you are making a dip, sauce or thinner dressing.

3. Pour and whisk the slurry into the measuring jug.

4. Transfer the mixture into a non-stick pot. Place it over a medium-low heat. Keep whisking until the sauce starts to thicken (and/or your desired consistency is achieved); do not allow it to boil. Tip: start with a small volume of ‘thickener’. You can always add more of this ‘slurry’ mixture if you want a thicker sauce; just remove the pot from the heat and whisk through. Return to the heat and whisk until your desired thickness is achieved. Remove from the heat. Allow it to cool before storing.

5. Serve warm or cold as a dip, sauce or dressing!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Mmm, it’s delicious with our kidney bean burgers!

 

Refrigerate any leftover sauce in a sterilised, air tight and resealable jar; best consumed within 5-7 days.

 

Sources:
NHS Choices- Pomegranate: superfood or fad?
USDA

 

Have you tried making pomegranate sauce before? What’s your favourite (homemade) go-to sauce that you just can’t live without?!