Vegan & Gluten Free Herby White Sauce

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Yields: 500 ml (approx.)
Assembly & Cooking Time: ≤10mins
Type: Sauce
Tools: Non-stick pot, whisk, large wooden spoon

Notes:

After perusing through some FreeFrom products in a local supermarket last weekend, it’s come to our attention that not only has the variety grown overnight, but how cheekily the supermarkets still overprice them (sauces being one of them)!

Sometimes premade food items can be a life saver- just look at how many of us buy tinned legumes?! However, now all of them are healthful (or appropriate) and where possible we should learn to make our own.

We’re certainly not by any means ‘professional chefs’, but we think that sauces are one of the basic food items that anyone can learn to prepare, such as our delicious plant-based, herby white sauce. It’s mostly inspired by a more traditional white sauce, commonly known as ‘béchamel sauce’!

We have previously used variations of this recipe as a topping to our lasagne, pasta bakes and stuffed bell peppers! It’s so versatile. You could possibly even adapt it into a tasty ‘cheese’ sauce that would be the perfect addtion to some cauliflower maccaroni and cheese, as a pizza topping or in a veggie gratin! Just add some nutritional yeast or anything else that you fancy. Alternatively you could swap our herb blend for some Herbs De Provence, parsley, or more traditional ‘béchamel-style’ seasoning’s (bay leaf and cloves). 

Ours only takes a handful of ingredients and a few simple steps; whereas you’ll find that more traditional white sauces look at infusing your milk with your herbs or spices of choice first. We’ve always found that the time spent cooking our sauce was enough to thoroughly infuse it with the herbs, but if you have the time or a recipe that might benefit from this step, feel free to experiment! 

 

A few additional things to note include:

  • If you want a slightly thinner sauce, add about 10g less flour or little more milk! We think that the current consistency is great for layering between lasagne sheets or over the top of your pasta bake. 
  • Do not burn your margarine and flour (there’s no coming back from that!) and make sure to cook it (just ever so slightly) to help remove the floury taste from your sauce.
  • You can add slightly less herbs than we’ve used (we love ours extra herby!), especially if you are not baking the sauce after it’s cooked; some dried herbs will have a bitter after taste if not cooked sufficiently.
  • If you’re not using the sauce straight away, cover the pot with a lid or some cling flim.
  • The sauce can be made in advance. Once cooled, re-whisk and then transfer the sauce into a resealable container and refrigerate. Tip: It’s best to refrigerate sooner rather than later to prevent a skin forming on top of the sauce. Before using, just add a little bit of milk and whisk through (this will help to ‘relax’ it). 
  • Feel free to use another type of DF milk; we find soya milk to be ideal (it’s nice and creamy!). 
  • The serving size is an approximation; it’s based on the ideal that this will be added to a pasta dish that will serve six people!

We hope that you enjoy the simplicity and the flavours of this sauce and with any luck it will save you a few extra pennies too!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++30g               Vegan Margarine
+++++++++++30g               Plain GF Flour
+++++++++++450ml          Soya Milk (unsweetened & fortified)
+++++++++++¾- 1¼ tsp     Dried Herbs (¼ thyme & ½ of both basil, & oregano)
+++++++++++¼ tsp            Ground Nutmeg
+++++++++++                      Salt and Black Pepper

 

Directions

1. Place a non-stick pot over a medium-low heat. Add 30g margarine. Once the margarine has melted, add 30g flour.

2. Using a whisk, stir the flour into the margarine until fully combined. Keep whisking for about 30 seconds; this will help to get rid of the floury taste. Tip: You have just created a ‘roux’!

3. Whilst whisking, gradually pour in the 450ml DF milk. Add the herbs and ¼ tsp nutmeg. Whisk until combined. With a whisk or a large wooden spoon keep whisking/stirring until the sauce has just thickened or your desired consistency is achieved. Tip: It’s important to keep whisking to prevent the sauce from burning to the bottom of the pot and to prevent lumps from forming. Remove from the heat.

4. Season it with some salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste.

5. Serve with pasta or vegetable dishes.

Enjoy!

 

By this point the sauce had been sitting around a while; do you see the skin forming??

Avocado Cream

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 3- 4
Prep & Assembly: ≤ 8 mins
Type: Dip, Condiment
Tools: Food processor or blender, sharp knife, measuring cups, spoon, silicone spatula.

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

Over Christmas, haven bought numerous fruits and vegetables (a few things impromptu, naughty we know!) we had a few extra items to use before their expiration, including an avocado. 

As lovers of guacamole, avocado-based sauces and well let’s face it, all things avocado this wasn’t going to be a problem! Haven seen a few avocado recipes on our travels last year, we decided to make our take on ‘avocado cream’ (which is really just a smooth dressing, dip or sauce, depending on how you look at it). It was a great idea as it utilised some other ingredients we had on hand; anything to reduce food waste right?!

Potatoes check, Brussels sprouts check, soya yoghurt check… yes, we felt a delicious salad ‘bowl’ and a break from Christmas’s indulgences coming on! So we present to you today our avocado cream! A creamy, tangy and light dip (or dressing) that can be enjoyed with starchy wedges (try making some with your favourite potato, celeriac or parsnip varieties), in salads or ‘bowls’, in a tasty sandwich or wrap, over pasta, as a soup garnish or maybe as a delicious ‘burger’ sauce! It’s also a great way to consume some ‘good’ fats and a little added Vitamin E and calcium! Mmm yes, we feel many falafel or meat-free wraps with this tasty dressing coming on! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did! 

Have a great weekend and happy cooking everyone! 🙂

Avocado Cream

Ingredients

+++++++++++++1              Ripe Avocado Pear
+++++++++++++1 tbsp     Flat Leaf Parsley (*optional)
+++++++++++++½ Cup    Soya Yoghurt (fortified & unsweetened recommended)
+++++++++++++1 tbsp     Lemon juice (fresh or concentrated)
+++++++++++++1 tbsp     Apple Cider Vinegar
+++++++++++++20g        Tahini
+++++++++++++               Pinch of salt
+++++++++++++               Pinch of red chilli flakes (*optional)

Directions

1. Chop the avocado (vertically) into two halves. Remove and discard the stone and then peel away the skin. Place it into a blender or food processor. Tip: If you do not own a suitable kitchen gadget, mash and combine all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl instead! If using, wash the parsley (or your herb of choice!), remove its stem and then roughly shred them (we cut our parsley with a pair of kitchen scissors!).

2. Add 1/2 cup yoghurt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp vinegar, 20g tahini and a pinch of salt. Blend or process until smooth, creamy and uniform in colour. Taste and season as necessary.

3. Using a spatula or spoon, transfer the avocado cream into a serving dish or resealable container (whatever is applicable).

4. If using, garnish the avocado cream with fresh herbs, chilli flakes or anything else you desire! Serve promptly with your desired meal or snack of choice! 🙂

Enjoy!

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 1-3 days. Tip: If your avocado is really ripe, then ideally you should consume this cream on the same day that it’s made.

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

 

Decadent Cranberry & Orange Sauce

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 25-30
Prep: ≤8 mins
Cooking:15 mins
Tools: Non-stick pot, whisk, orange press or juicer and grater

Notes:

What types of sauces and/or condiments do you like to have around during the festive period?  Cranberry sauce is top of our list, particularly because of the seasonality of fresh cranberries!

This year we tried to replicate a store-bought variety, which is quite tasty, but couldn’t source any lingonberries! In retrospect, we could have bought some lignonberry jam and added this to the sauce instead of fruit sweetener! C’est le vie!

Our sauce has minimal added, unrefined sugar (per serving) and every spoonful has a lovely rich and deep seasonal flavour; you can’t go wrong with cranberries, orange and spice! 

We added a small glass of wine, but diet permitting you could add some port (generally not vegan!), brandy, mulled wine, prosecco or champagne instead- just adjust your other ingredients as appropriate! It’s good to note that the stronger the alcohol and/or the more spices that you use, the more aromatic your sauce will be! However, if you would prefer not to add alcohol, you could try substituting it for some fresh pomegranate or red grape juice instead! 

As we got to trial this before the festive season, we still have plenty in the fridge and more than enough for Christmas, Boxing Day and beyond. This is great because it will be one less thing to make on the day! In fact, if you can make it a day or two in advance, your sauce will be bursting with flavours that continue to grow by the day! Our top tip would be to make sure you downsize your ingredients (as appropriate) to meet your dinner party needs- unless you want to be eating this into the New Year! 😀

Happy cooking everyone!

 

 

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++300g        Cranberries (or a mixture of cranberries and lingonberries)
+++++++++++++3                Oranges (=200ml juice & 1 tbsp orange zest)
+++++++++++++125ml        Red wine (Merlot)
+++++++++++++60g           Unrefined Golden Caster Sugar
+++++++++++++2-3 tbsp   Fruit Sweetener (your favourite)
+++++++++++++½ tsp         Allspice
+++++++++++++                  Pinch of Salt
+++++++++++++2 tsp          Corn Flour

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Place the berries into a colander and wash under cold running water. Tip: Alternatively you can leave them to soak them in a large bowl of water.

2. Wash the oranges, grate some zest and then juice them.

3. Place a non-stick pot over a medium-low heat. Pour in the wine. Add the sugar. Stir together.

 

4. When the mixture starts to simmer (bubble), add the berries, orange juice, ¾ of the zest (save a little for a garnish later on), 2-3 tbsp of sweetener, ½ tsp allspice and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Cover with a lid.

 

5. When the mixture starts to simmer again and/or you hear the berries starting to burst, turn the heat down slightly. Allow it to simmer for 15 mins or until the berries have softened and the sauce has thickened slightly.

 

6. Meanwhile, create a ‘slurry’. Place the corn flour into a small dish with equal parts water. Whisk and stir until it’s dissolved.

 

7. When the sauce has finished cooking, pour in the slurry (whilst whisking at the same time). Keep whisking for about a minute or until the sauce thickens slightly and develops a lovely sheen! Remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Tip: The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools, so do not ‘overdo’ the corn flour! Serve in a dish garnished with the remaining orange zest (if desired)!

 

8. Enjoy cold, at room temperature or slightly heated!

 

 

Tip: If you have a spare pickle, olive or jam jar to spare, sterilise it, fill it with the leftover sauce and then keep it refrigerated and use within 2 weeks!