Chocolate & Coconut Pudding Cups [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Yields: 12 cups
Serves: 12
Prep & Cooking: 20-30 mins
Cooling:10 mins
Assembly: 5mins
Setting Time: 4hrs
Type: Dessert
Tools: Food processor, silicone spatula, standard muffin tin,12 muffin casings, measuring jug, small non-stick pot, whisk, dessert spoon

Notes

With no baking and minimal cooking, this little dessert can be enjoyed during the summer months without heating up your kitchen; it’s also a cheeky indulgence for those chocolate and coconut lovers alike!

If you’re like us and do not own an ice cream maker and cannot be bothered with the D.I.Y method, nor do you want to pay for overpriced dairy free desserts with high sugar contents, than look no further. This is a really simple recipe that produces a lovely (cold, yes from the fridge or freezer!) chocolate dessert with a moderate quantity of sugar and saturated fat per serving. 

Continuing from a working idea we shared with you all last December, our Vegan ‘Condensed Milk’ (which uses aquafaba!), we used this to make our lovely DF dessert we are presenting to you today. We noticed that when our ‘condensed milk’ set in the fridge it took on a pudding/custard like texture… and that was a light bulb moment that was not forgotten!

This March an opportunity arose through Foodies100Vita Coco was challenging UK Bloggers to create a recipe using their coconut oil.

Well, some of you might know that although we are not coconut mad, we are still known to use a little coconut oil in some of our baking, on our hair and skin (well, me at least!) and anecdotally for localised gingiva inflammation. However, if you are in any way concerned about your oral health, you should always contact your dental practitioner! 

Vita Coco’s Coconut Oil is 100% Raw and Organic; perfect for beauty and baking needs, including transforming dairy free desserts? Yes! Challenge accepted! So with that in mind, we knew exactly how we could expand on our ‘condensed milk’ recipe and make a delicious dessert. #vitacocoinspiration

 

 

This recipe is a little more indulgent than something we would normally make, but we are not condoning this as an everyday food item. Eating2Health means learning to moderate the frequency and portion sizes of healthy and indulgent foods that we eat, although sometimes it’s nice to have something a little rich and not too sweet to indulge in, like this chocolate dessert.

These chocolate pudding cups are dairy and gluten free, have a light coconut taste, delicious chocolate flavour and a great combination of textures. The pudding is creamy, light and smooth; the ‘raw’ base isn’t overly sweet and has a great texture from the combo of nuts and oat bran (not to mention a lovely dose of fibre!).

Some other good things to note include:

  • As recipe testing is a process, getting the right quantities of ingredients first time around sometimes just doesn’t happen; initially we did not make enough ‘base’ for our pudding, so we had to double the batch. The recipe was amended but our pictures will show half the amount of ‘raw base’ in our food processor. 
  • If twelve puddings cups are too many, simply halve the recipe for both the base and pudding! 
  • If you do not fancy using maple syrup in the pudding, you could substitute it with agave, coconut sugar, unrefined golden caster sugar or some Stevia (to taste).
  • If you do not have oat bran, just use some porridge oats instead. Just process the oats in a food processor until a rough flour consistency is achieved. 
  • The chocolate extract is optional (because it can be a bit pricey) but if you are in the market for trying it, it really amps up the overall chocolate flavour!
  • If you have an allergy or prefer not to use walnuts and almonds, you can substitute them for your favourite types of nuts! If preferred, you can also process 200g of almonds instead of buying already processed ground almonds.
  • We used some aquafaba from white beans, but feel free to use some chickpea liquid instead! 
  • If you want to enjoy this dessert frozen, you’ll have to freeze these lovelies overnight!

 

 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

‘Raw’ Cacao & Coconut Pudding Base

100g     Walnut pieces
200g    Ground Almond
30g       Cacao powder
80g       Oat bran
50g       Coconut oil
1 tsp      Chocolate extract (*optional)
7 tbsp    Maple syrup

Chocolate Pudding Filling

20g          Corn flour
3g            Arrowroot powder
60ml       Oat cream
80ml       Almond milk*
++++++++ (*unsweetened & fortified)
15g           Coconut oil
125ml       Aquafaba
3 tbsp      Maple Syrup
1 tsp         Chocolate extract (*optional)
15g           Cacao powder

Need an easy print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Prepare the ‘raw’ pudding base.

 

Place 120g walnuts into a food processor. Tip: If you are using whole almonds, add those too! Blend until a meal is achieved. If using, add 200g ground almonds, then 30g cacao powder, 80g oat bran, 50g coconut oil and 1 tsp chocolate extract (if using). Process the mixture, pouring in 7 tbsp maple syrup through the pouring spout as the machine is still running. Process until combined and the mixture forms a tacky and raw dough.

 

Line a twelve-hole muffin tin with twelve paper casings. Carefully remover the blade from the food processor. Use a silicone spatula to remove any dough stuck to the sides of the container. Roughly divide the raw dough into twelve pieces. Place one piece into each muffin casing. Press the dough (evenly) down into the base and outwards to form a little cup/saucer shape (don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect!). Tip: It won’t cover the entire muffin casing. Place the muffin tin into the fridge until you are ready to fill the casings with the pudding.

 

Prepare the pudding.

 

Place 20g corn flour, 3g arrowroot, 60ml oat cream and 40ml DF milk into a measuring jug. Using a fork, whisk together until combined and no lumps of flour are present. Tip: This liquid will be used to thicken the pudding!

 

  • Place 15g  coconut oil into a medium, non-stick pot over a medium-low heat. Pour in ½ cup aquafaba and the remaining 40ml DF milk. Whisk together.
  • When the coconut oil has melted, add 3 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tsp chocolate extract (if using). Whisk to combine.
  • Add 15g cacao powder. Whisk and keep whisking until it has combined with the liquid. Once the cacao is combined, keep whisking and pour in the flour and milk mixture. Keep whisking until combined and the mixture has thickened. This will take a few minutes, so be patient. Tip: The liquid should never come to a boil but will get quite hot. 
  • Once thickened remove from the heat. Use a silicone spatula to wipe around the sides of the pot, bringing all the pudding back down into the base.  Allow to cool for 10 mins before adding it into the muffin casings. Tip: The mixture will start to set and might form a skin, so whisk the pudding periodically to prevent this from happening; otherwise your pudding might get lumps! 

 

Remove the muffin tin from the fridge. Add the pudding evenly among the casings; about 1 dessert spoon of pudding into each muffin casing. Tip: Use a small spoon to help spread and push the mixture evenly into the casings. Repeat until all of the casings have all been filled. Place the muffin tin into the fridge for about 4hrs. Tip: This will allow the pudding to become cold and completely set into a thick, pudding texture.  **For an additional texture, appeal or flavour variation, try topping yours with: toasted coconut, dried fruits, toasted and chopped hazelnuts or peanuts or a slice of raw or roasted banana!

Tip: Refrigerate any spare puddings cups in an air tight and resealable container; consume within 5 days. Alternatively, insulate and store in an air tight and resealable container; freeze, defrost and consume within 2-4 wks (flavours may alter after this). 

 

 

Enjoy cold from the fridge….

 

 

…or straight from the freezer (well, once defrosted for 30mins first!).

#SwearByIt Recipe Challenge by VitaCoco and Foodies100
 This recipe is also an entry into the #Swearbyit challenge with Vita Coco. Find more great coconut oil recipes and tips on using coconut oil at www.swearbyit.comDisclaimer: This recipe uses a product we were sent for free.  All opinions (and this recipe) are our own.

 

What’s the best dessert or meal you’ve made using coconut oil? 

Meatless Monday- Battered & Baked Tofu: Revisited [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Yields: 48 pieces
Serves: 8
Prep: 30 mins + 6-12hrs (marination)
Tofu Assembly: 20-25mins
Cooking Time: 30-35mins
Cooling: 5 mins
Type: Main meal, snack
Tools: Heavy plates, kitchen paper, chopping board, sharp knife, small measuring jug, casserole dish, 2* bowls, 2* baking trays, silicone mat or parchment paper, cooling rack

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar, salt and saturated fats!

Well, as you might have guessed… tofu is always on the menu in our house, at least once a week! If you haven’t been keeping up with what we have been getting up to with this lovely plant-based food over the last year, then you should check out our recipe index here! We have been trying to inspire and improve the overall opinion of tofu; it’s not just a rubbery mass, it’s nutritious, awesome and its cooking possibilities are endless!  

So you might remember when we introduced our first batch of battered tofu to you in the form of a stir-fry last year (also known as our Battered tofu & Vegetable Stir-fry) or when we used this battered tofu in a tasty, healthy and oriental version of Sweet And Sour Battered Tofu w/Rice? Well if not, we decided to try and upgrade it with a marination step…as all tofu can benefit from this! It doesn’t necessary add that much time on to your overall prep either; once the tofu is drained and pressed, just marinade it whilst you sleep and you’re good to go!

The result: it has added some extra flavour and inspired us to use them in more than just stir-fries! A crispy, light and tasty batter makes this tofu easily enjoyed in a wrap with a tasty sauce or spread, for yourself or your little one as a snack (as you can always pretend it’s a new kind of ‘chicken nugget’!), used as some tasty finger foods in your upcoming picnics (just don’t forget your dips!), or as we have incorporated them previously, as part of a main meal in a sauce. A sauce or dip is the key, especially with reheating leftovers; the batter (although tasty) can go a bit dry, so the use of a sauce or a dip transforms these battered lovelies into a tasty meal or snack. 

Some other good things to note include

  • Any type of DF milk or starch should be fine. We used some unsweetened almond milk and potato starch for their neutral taste, low cost and seemingly effortless and versatile use and availability in our kitchen.
  • Adjust and adapt the dry seasoning (or tofu marinade) to taste or use your preferred ‘tried and true’ recipes.
  • Need a completely GF option? Use some tamari sauce instead of our recommended soya sauce.
  • The tofu marinade we used is actually one from a previous recipe: Marinated Tofu & Veggie Skewers w/ A Peanut Satay
  • If you’re halving the amount of tofu, you’ll save yourself 10mins!
  • There is enough marinade and batters for two firm blocks of tofu. 
  • Allow them to cool on the baking trays for at least 5 mins before serving and allow them to cool completely before storing in the fridge.
  • When reheating, use the oven where possible, as the batter can go a little soggy after it’s been in the fridge for a few days.

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients
800g Firm Tofu (= 2 tetrapaks)
Low-fat cooking oil
Tofu Marinade
3 tbsp     Sesame oil
3 tbsp     Walnut oil
2 tbsp     Rice vinegar
3 tbsp     Soya sauce (*reduced salt)
1½ tbsp   Maple syrup
1 tsp        Ground ginger
1/8 tsp    Asafoetida
Dry Batter
100g    Plain GF flour
20g      Corn flour
2-3g     Garlic salt
2g         Onion Powder
2g         Sweet Paprika
1/8 tsp  Salt & ground black pepper
Wet Batter
90g       Potato starch
120ml    Unsweetened DF Milk (8 tbsp)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂


Directions

1. Drain and press the tofu between two heavy and/or weighted plates (or chopping boards) to express any excess water. Leave for 30 mins. Tip: Try sandwiching the tofu between a few sheets of kitchen paper to help absorb some of the excess liquid. 

2. In the meantime, make the tofu marinade. Place 3 tbsp sesame oil, 3 tbsp walnut oil, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 3 tbsp soya sauce, 1½ tbsp maple syrup, 1 tsp ground ginger and 1/8 tsp asafoetida into a large measuring jug. Whisk until thoroughly combined.

3. When the tofu is ready, drain away any excess water. Place the tofu onto a chopping board and chop into ½ cm rectangular pieces. Tip: We made six cuts (width wise) and four cuts (lengthwise). Layer the tofu into the base of a large casserole dish. Pour over the marinade. Tip: To help evenly distribute the marinade, pour a little into the casserole dish first before layering the tofu. Cover with some kitchen film. Refrigerate for 6-12 hrs. Tip: If possible, turn the tofu over at least once whilst it’s marinating.

4. Prepare your dry batter. Place 100g GF flour, 20g corn starch, 2-3g garlic salt, 2g onion powder and 2g sweet paprika into a small bowl. Season with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Stir and whisk until combined. Prepare the wet batter. Place 90g potato starch and 120ml DF milk into a separate bowl. Whisk until combined.

5. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line two baking trays with silicone mats or a sheet of parchment paper. Spray each tray with some low-fat cooking oil. Dip a piece of marinated tofu into the wet batter, thoroughly coating it in the mixture. Tip: It’s just a quick dip; you do not need to soak it. Next, dip and gently press the tofu into the dry batter until all of its sides are covered. Tip: The faster you can complete these steps, the less ‘coagulated’ batter will form on your fingers!  Place the battered tofu onto the baking tray. Repeat until all tofu is battered.

6. Place the trays onto the middle and lower oven shelves. Bake for 15mins. Remove. Turn the tofu over. Place the trays back into the oven (switching the shelf positions of the trays). Bake for a further 15-20 mins or until cooked and the lightly golden. Remove. If possible, allow the tofu to cool on the tray for 5mins before serving.

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 5 days. 

 

Do you love tofu as much as we do?! What’s your favourite way to cook it? Do you make your own tofu? We’d love to hear all about it! 🙂

Meatless Monday: Lentil & Peach Salad w/ A Tarragon Dressing [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 4
Prep:15-20 mins
Cooking: 20-30 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Sieve, large non-stick pot w/lid, chopping board, sharp knife, resealable jar, small frying pan, pastry brush, grill tray, kitchen foil, mixing bowl

Hello everyone! Although this year’s Easter weekend has been a bit of a wash-out (particularly this morning!), we hope that you’ve all found some time to unwind, maybe go for a relaxing walk and enjoy some good food with family and friends. 🙂

The recipe that we are sharing with you today is a delicious salad we created weeks ago…when the weather felt more ‘spring like’ and everyone was still optimistic about a sunny Easter! However, we think that you’ll be happy to hear that this salad requires minimal prep (and cooking), of which the majority could be organised the night before, particularly if you plan on having this salad for lunch. 

We love adding fruit to salad, not only is it a great way to add some fibre, vitamins and minerals into your diet, such as vitamin C, potassium and potentially folate, but it’s the perfect solution for satisfying your sweet tooth in the evening. We’ve tried adding oranges, pineapple, mango, apples and even pears, but never peaches. So as you can probably gather, we’ve never grilled peaches before either. So when thinking about some new, exciting and delicious salad possibilities, this idea came to mind. The experience was not life changing, but we definitely feel like we have been missing out! Delicate and juicy peaches become creamy and tender (almost dessert like). A sure fire way to transform your salad and enjoy one of the many plants nature has to offer. We threw in a few juicy blueberries and dried cranberries for another pop of colour, but the peaches (and dressing!) were definitely the stars of the show. The delicate and peppery rocket works beautifully with the sweet and slightly tangy/’aniseed-y’ tarragon dressing and the toasted walnuts provide a delicious crunch. The inspiration for the dressing came from a well-known chef, which we adapted with much love and care into a format we can use happily throughout the summer months to come. 

 

 

The result: a salad full of bold flavours, great textures and the privilege to feel smug; eating2health has never been so easy (or tasty)! With hearty and nutritious lentils, plump and grilled peaches, toasted and crunchy walnuts, wild and peppery rocket and a sweet and vibrant tarragon dressing… it’s just a sensory overload waiting to happen!

Happy cooking everyone! 😀

 

If you are looking for some additional salad inspiration, please make sure to check out some of our other ideas from our recipe index!

 

Fancy this recipe?! Just contact us us for an easy-print PDF! 🙂

Healthy Nibbles: 4 Protein & Fibre-licious-Based Snacks [Vegan, No Added Sugars & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

With an early Easter looming around the next corner, we are probably all considering not only what sort of ‘treat’ we ‘might’ be giving as gifts when we make our holiday visits or are looking at buying or preparing for ourselves.

Well…with our permanent and healthy lifestyle changes now in full swing, we should all know that planning is everything, particularly when trying to eat healthily on more days than none. Meal prepping and planning healthy meals and snacks ahead of time can help us avoid temptations and overdoing it on sweet/salty/high calorie options.

Healthy snacks, especially ones that contain a good source of lean protein and/or fibre are great for filling us up and giving us that lovely dose of satiety; breeding the confidence that we need to fight off sugar cravings and reach our goals.

So as we love you all so much and always want to help assist you in living a healthy, happy and nutritious lifestyle, we’ve prepared four lovely snacks that you and your family and enjoy over this long weekend and even beyond Easter! We only hope that you enjoy them as much as we did.

Happy cooking (and snacking) everyone! 😀

 

4 Healthy Protein & Fibre-licious Based Snacks!

 

Roasted Chickpeas

Serves: 3-4
Prep: 10 mins-2 hrs (*Depends upon how long you want to marinate your legumes.)
Cooking: 30-40 mins

Now there are lots of roasted chickpea recipes floating about, so is not a new recipe, or even very original, but it’s definitely one that is effortless (really anyone can make it); it’s a tasty, filling, versatile and cheap snack! The types of things you can use to flavour chickpeas are endless but some ideas include: curry paste (or your favourite type of ethnic paste) or other condiments (tahini, horseradish, vinegar or tamari would work well!), ground spices mixed with oil, a little oil with some plain old salt and pepper or even fresh herbs. For this batch one of our key ingredients was some delicious harrisa paste (which is why the chickpeas look so dark!). If you have the time, marinate some chickpeas overnight for an extra flavour boost!

Keep them in a nut dish for family and friends to nibble on, swap them for your typical high calorie movie snacks, or even keep them in your purse (in an air-tight bag) for when you (or your family) get the munchies on the go. For the extra keen, try roasting a variety of cooked beans (or even nuts) for a tasty Easter ‘pick-a-mix’ that won’t cause cavities or fuel sugar cravings (well, we can hope)! 

 

Silken Tofu Caprese Salad

Serves: 4-8
Prep & Assembly:≤ 10-15 mins

So when some people may think of what constitutes a high protein snack, they may think about cheese, particularly those that do not exclusively follow a plant-based meal plan. Well, many, many, many years ago I used to enjoy the occasional bit of salad tomato with buffalo mozzarella. I think it was the way the combination of the fresh and juicy tomato (and basil) tasted with the ‘texture’ of the cheese; I can’t really remember but my tastes and preferences have moved on since then.

We had the idea of using silken tofu, because it’s kind of soft, delicate and squishy like cheese…. and then our silken tofu caprese salad recipe came to fruition! We‘ve seen recipes that salt ‘firm’ tofu to create a similar dish, but no one needs lots of added salt in their lives. This is an extremely simple salad recipe that requires no cooking, takes minutes to prepare and can be served as a snack option. It’s best when made using ripe and ready tomatoes, which unfortunately are not available on our doorsteps this time of year (so many apologies for increasing your carbon footprint!)… but you might have to make one exception in this case! Serve this alongside a plate of multi-grain crackers, oat or brown rice cakes or crisp breads for a light, tasty and filling snack.  

 

Carrot and Houmous Pots 

Serves: 4
Prep & Assembly: ≤10 mins

Ok so this recipe idea is actually courtesy of ASDA (thanks guys)! Everyone (well probably almost everyone!) has eaten houmous and crudities at some point in their lives… and why not?! Fresh vegetables are ace and when served with freshly made houmous, you couldn’t ask for very much more from a snack!

It’s a wonderful, quick and healthful convenience food that is packed with carbohydrates, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals; just perfect. The theme of this carrot and houmous pot is based around Easter and a cute little vegetable patch! If you’ve never tried houmous, it’s never too late and/or if you are looking for a recipe that requires no cooking… or need a darling idea to help your little ones to eat their veggies, this might do the trick. 😉

 

Protein Packed Blinis w/ Horseradish Sauce, Roasted Red Pepper and Dill

Yields: 66-68 Blinis
Serves: 16
Prep & Resting Time: 30-60 mins
Cooking: 20-25 mins

Some of you may know that we are not really pancake lovers, particularly sweet ones, but when it comes to blinis (aka little, savoury and bite-sized pancakes), well THAT is another story! This is not a traditional recipe, but it is delicious, full of protein (from soya milk, garam flour and flaxseed, just to name a few!) and ideal for those following alternative diets! 

These are perfect if you want to serve a variety of ‘tastes’ with something other than crackers to your guests and/or family. Our lightly ‘crisped on the outside and fluffy on the inside’ blinis have the right balance of seasoning, durability and flexibility. Make these bite-sized morsels in advance (because they freeze really well!) and serve with an endless amount of toppings. We used a delicious combination of spicy horseradish sauce, roasted red pepper and a tiny sprig of dill; the taste is wonderful and the colours are so inviting, don’t you think?! So get as creative as you like, the world is your oyster (although we wouldn’t personally recommend that as a topping!)

protein packed blinis_garnished_combined_wm_rs

 

Delicious! If you are looking for some further recipe inspiration to help get your snack on, check out these other ideas from our recipe index:

 

If you fancy any of the new (or old recipes), just contact us for an easy-print PDF! 🙂

Meatless Monday: Mexican Inspired Quinoa Bowl w/BBQ Tofu Croutons & Lime Avocado Cream [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Salad Serves: 2-3
Tofu Prep, Marinating & Cooking: 5hrs -12hrs
Salad Prep (Inc. of cooking): 30-40 mins
Assembly: ≤5 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Plates, kitchen paper, chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, baking tray, parchment paper, colander, mixing bowls, measuring jug, food processor, silicone spatula

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 contains a moderate quantity of added sugar, salt and saturated fats. *Dependent upon if you use the marinated tofu or not. 

It’s finally spring; which means warmer weather (well, our fingers are crossed!), a relaxing Easter holiday, increased sunshine…which always puts in the mood for plenty of bold and vibrant foods and flavours (including fun salad bowls)! In actual fact we made this recipe weeks ago (one sunny Sunday whilst wishing for warmer weather!)… but now seems like the perfect time to share it with everyone. 

Inspired by Mexican tastes, we added some fun and playful ingredients that have plenty of flavour, creating a delicious Mexican-inspired quinoa bowl! It’s a great combination of fluffy quinoa, fresh salad vegetables, juicy mango mixed with a fresh, vibrant and tangy lime salad dressing. Topped off all with some our meaty (and smoky) BBQ tofu croutons and ‘lime’ avocado cream (yup, it’s a new twist on our old favourite!) and you’re in for an ultimate salad bowl experience. 

Overall we were pleased with it. The only problem we incurred was that our mango wasn’t ripe so we didn’t add it to our salad; oops for not checking and ripening it ahead of time! However, we are thoroughly recommending that you do. 🙂

Some other good things to note include:  

  • For recipe ease, we have linked the other recipes you will require to help keep this recipe’s total ingredients (at least on this post!) down to a minimum. 
  • If you fancy preparing this quinoa salad without the mango, avocado cream and/or tofu croutons, you might want to using slightly more dressing or lime juice/zest to help give your quinoa salad some oomph!
  • If you would prefer to have the chilli tasting a little less ‘raw’, mix it into the salad dressing (before serving) and do not add it into the mixture of salad vegetables.
  • If you don’t fancy using our ‘lime avocado cream’ you can always slice up some fresh (and ripe) avocado and serve this over your salad instead. 
  • As we always want you to have your tofu tasting as tasty as possible, try marinating it overnight (it’s the perfect solution for cooking ease!) or for a minimum of 4hrs. If you prefer not to use our Smoky BBQ tofu croutons, you can always substitute them for your favourite type of baked tofu or some cooked black, pinto or your favourite type of bean! 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

Smoky BBQ Tofu Croutons
Avocado Cream

Quinoa Salad Bowl

1¼ cup     Dried quinoa (250g)
380g        Baby plum tomatoes
160g         Tinned sweet corn kernels*
++++++++ (*in unsalted water)
140g         Carrot (1 medium)
60g          Spring onion (about 4)
260g        Orange bell pepper
30g          Red chilli
10g           Fresh coriander
400g        Mango, ripe
++++++++ Salt & black pepper

Tangy Lime Salad Dressing

3 tbsp        Lime juice
1-2 tsp       Lime zest
2 tbsp        Rapeseed oil
1 tbsp         Cider vinegar
½ tsp          Ground cumin
½-1 tbsp    Fruit sweetener
++++++++   (or maple syrup

Need an easy print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. If using, prepare the Smoky BBQ Tofu Croutons in advance. Tip: Unless you are doubling the salad recipe, you can ‘halve’ the BBQ tofu croutons recipe. If desired, feel free to add a pinch of mild or hot chilli powder to spice things up!

2. Cook the quinoa. Place 1¼ cups dried quinoa into a large sieve and rinse it under cold running water for 30-60 seconds. Tip: This will help remove some of its bitter taste. Transfer the quinoa into a small non-stick pot. Add 2 ½ cups water. Stir together. Cover with a lid (without a steam vent). Place the pot over a med-high heat. Bring to a boil. Simmer and cook for about 6 mins or until the grains have absorbed the water. Remove from the heat and leave covered for 15-20 mins. Tip: Do not peak, not even a little! Leave the grains to steam and finish cooking off of the heat. Don’t worry if it remains covered for longer than 20 mins, it will still be OK!

3. Prepare the salad vegetables. Wash and then slice the tomatoes into halves (vertically). Open and drain the sweet corn in a colander. Wash, peel, trim off the top and then finely grate the carrot. Wash, trim the ends and then finely slice the spring onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell pepper into ½ cm pieces. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed (if preferred) and then finely dice the chilli. Wash and dry the coriander; remove the leaves from the stems and roughly chop them. Peel the mango; carefully slice the ripe flesh away from the stone and roughly chop it into cubes. Place all of these ingredients (but not the mango into a large mixing bowl). Toss together. Season it with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste.

4. Prepare the tangy lime salad dressing. If preferred, use a fresh lime; wash the lime, grate some zest and then juice it using a manual juicer. Pour 2 tbsp rapeseed oil into a large measuring jug. Add 2-3 tbsp lime juice, as much lime zest as desired, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, ½ tsp ground cumin and ½-1 tbsp fruit sweetener (or maple syrup). Use a fork and whisk together until combined. Taste and season as necessary.

5. Prepare the ‘Avocado Cream to transform it into ‘Lime Avocado Cream’ using the following amendments: add 1 tbsp fresh coriander (not parsley), 2-3 tbsp lime juice (not lemon juice) and the new addition of ¼ tsp lime zest and ¼ ground cumin. Place all of the prepared and requested ingredients into a food processor. Process the mixture until smooth, creamy and uniform in colour. Taste and season it as necessary.

6. Assemble the salad bowl. Fluff the cooked grains of quinoa with a fork. Transfer it into a large mixing bowl. Transfer the salad vegetables into the bowl of quinoa. Pour the salad dressing evenly over the salad. Gently and thoroughly toss together.

7. Serve. Spoon some of the quinoa salad into a large serving bowl. Toss over about 1/3 quantity of the BBQ tofu croutons and a little bit of mango (if preferred, toss together). Dollop a spoonful of the lime avocado cream onto the centre of the salad. If desired, garnish with some chopped coriander leaf, red chilli flakes and/or sliced spring onion.

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftover salad in an air-tight and resealable container; keep the mango, tofu croutons and lime avocado cream in separate and individual containers. Consume the salad within 2-3 days, tofu croutons within 4-5 days and the lime avocado cream within 1-3 days. NB: If your avocado is really ripe, then ideally you should consume this cream on the same day that it’s made.

 

A Simple & Delicious Salad Bowl: Roasted Vegetables & Grains [Vegan]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep: 15-20 mins (*Variable)
Cooking: 40-50mins
Assembly: ≤5 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Sieve, roasting tin, kitchen foil, non-stick pot w/lid, chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, colander, mixing bowl

Notes:

Here’s a quick and delicious Friday filler! We promise we have a lot more involved and tasty goodies lined up for you next week!

Salads, salad bowls, or even ones known as ‘Budda or Goddess Bowls’ are wonderful and you don’t have to be a veggie (or on a ‘diet’!) to enjoy them either! Maybe it’s because they have evolved beyond a few pieces of iceberg lettuce and some other token salad veggies; yes exactly, because you can adapt them into any delicious shape or form!

Enjoyed in any season, they can have style, great nutritional substance and a good degree of satiety! They’re an example of another meal that can easily be adjusted to suit your own diet, budget, cooking skills or time and/or taste preferences! We think that they are indeed super (but not a ‘superfood’!), but we’ve previously shared our thoughts on this matter. A salad, simple or not, is what you make of it. Although they might not always look sexy, substance should always win over beauty; with the right planning, they can be nutritionally complete (even without expensive foodie ingredients) and enjoyed every day, well only if you like (but we can never have too many greens)! 

This recipe is quite similar to one that we produced last year …

A Quick & Frugal Pasta Bowl

…but on this occasion we have excluded the pasta and kidney beans and used some hearty grains (pearl barley!) and a different variety of vegetables, including kale! After seeing that two of our local supermarkets were selling massive bags of shredded kale, it could only mean one thing- it’s still in season, but not for much longer! So we should all take advantage of this tasty vegetable. All hail the kale! 🙂

So feel free to ‘mass produce’ this salad, adapt its seasonality, flavour combinations, what’s left in your cupboards (you know those odd bits of mixed grains knocking about!) and/or to suit your purse strings! Really, feel free to adapt it as you see fit.

 

If you think this recipe could do with an upgrade, here are some additional adaptations (well don’t try them all at once!) that could also work quite well:

  • A few pan toasted cashews, almonds or pine nuts or natural pumpkin seeds.
  • Depending on your flavour combinations (or budget), some (pitted) kalamata olives would be ace!
  • Some cooked beans! We’d recommend: soya, black, butter or broad beans. 

 

Ingredients

++++++130-140g         Dried pearl barley (or your favourite grain!), cooked
++++++500-600g      Vegetables (butternut squash, red, green + yellow bell peppers)
++++++150-200g        Kale
++++++                         Rapeseed oil (or low-fat cooking oil spray)
++++++                         Salt and Ground black pepper
++++++2                       Spring Onions
++++++                         Fresh herbs (variable; we used flat leaf parsley)

 

Directions

1. Place the pearl parley into a large sieve. Rinse it under some running cold water. Transfer it into a non-stick pot. Fill the pot with cold water (about 3/4 full). Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Remove the lid and allow it to boil for 10 mins. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 25-30 mins or until tender. Drain it in the sieve. Allow to cool slightly.

2. In the meantime, heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. If required, line a roasting tin with some kitchen foil.

3. Prepare the vegetables. Peel the skin, trim the top and then remove the seeds from the squash with a sharp knife or spoon; chop it into ½-1″ cubes. Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell peppers into 1cm pieces. Transfer the vegetables into the roasting tin. Drizzle over a little rapeseed oil (or spray them with some low-fat cooking oil). Season it with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss to coat. Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Roast for about 35-40 mins or until the vegetables or lightly browned and tender; toss and stir halfway through cooking. Remove.

4. In the meantime. Wash the kale. If applicable slice (or shred) the kale into strips. Place the kale into a steamer pot with some water. Bring to a boil. Cook and simmer for 7-10 mins or until tender. Drain in a colander.

5. If applicable prepare your preferred dressing or dip. Wash, trim the ends and finely chop the spring onion. Wash, dry and then chop some herbs.

6. Place the cooked barley, roasted vegetables, kale, spring onion and herbs (if using) into a large mixing bowl. If applicable pour over your dressing or just season with a little salt, black pepper and fresh herbs to taste. Toss together and serve in a large serving bowl. Garnish with some toasted nuts, a dip or houmous (if using), or anything else that takes your fancy!

Enjoy!

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

 

Delicious vegetables and hearty carbohydrates- the frameworks to any great salad! 😀

 

How do you like to enjoy your salads? 🙂

Cream of Celeriac Soup [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 4 (med.) or 6 (small) portions
Prep: 10 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Assembly: 5 mins
Type: Main meal, starter dish
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, large non-stick pot w/lid, wooden spoon, blender, silicone spatula

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins (inclusive of B12*), Vitamins C, D* & E* carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving (based on 6 servings) has no added sugar, has a moderate quantity of added salt and is low in saturated fats! *Dependent upon the fortification of DF milk used.

We were wrong, this soup is officially our last new soup of the season (well, probably)! Simply because the UK weather is completely unpredictable; it’s still quite chilly, but it’s also great to have to some quick soup recipes to hand, even for early spring, autumn or an unexpected July cold virus! So with the cold weather lingering, we decided to experiment with a frugal and tasty soup idea; this delicate, simple and flavourful idea became our delicious cream of celeriac soup!

We would first like to thank our local supermarket for reducing the price of their almond milk (3 cartons for £3!) and for having a full bin of celeriac root with varied weights to choose from! You know that it’s going to be a good day when stuff like this happens. 😀

This soup is incredibly easy to prepare and not overly expensive (our veggies came to £1.60). In addition to some tasty celeriac, we added a humble potato (skin included) which provides additional fibre, vitamins and minerals, a natural thickener and a tasty under note to the soup. As we decided not to use any vegetable stock, we combined a tasty section of some of the dried herbs, seasonings and flavours that we found listed in our favourite brand of stock. Once it was cooked we added some almond milk, for some additional nutritional value and creamy touch (it’s all in the title after all!). The result was a delicious and easy go-to soup that you can add to your recipe box (particularly if you love creamy, comforting and cosy soups)!

We enjoyed this soup garnished with some tasty roasted chickpeas, fried spring onion and served it with a cheeky ‘cheeze’ toasty and cup of tea; it was indeed a great little lunch! 🙂

Some other good things to note include:

  • We have previously talked about how lovely celeriac is when we posted our Broccoli and Celeriac soup recipe last year! Our previous recipe also includes some lovely visual instruction on how to prepare it (just in case you are new to this lovely vegetable!).
  • Celeriac can be tricky to peel. After we peeled ours, we lost about eighty grams in weight; which is a huge improvement after our last couple of goes! If you still find preparing it tricky, just buy a slightly bigger portion.
  • We will be doubling the quantity next time (whilst being mindful of the salt) as it’s just too good and would love slightly larger portions that last longer than three days! 
  • We used almond milk, but you could also use an unsweetened soya or coconut milk if preferred. NB: we chose almond because its flavour is light enough not to overpower the other flavours of the soup.
  • Once refrigerated, the soup does ‘thicken’, just ever so slightly; once it’s reheated, it relaxes and is the perfect consistency once again. However, if you find our version a little thick, just add a little more milk to thin it out.
  •  Although it tastes good on the day, like any soup, sauce or marinade it tastes even better the following day(s)! We’d recommend reheating your leftovers on the stove top (if possible) as it doesn’t take long to reach a hot and almost boiling temperature; you can easily overcook it in a microwave (you can trust us on that one!) and this will impair the flavour.

Happy cooking everyone! 😀

 

 

Ingredients

++++++++++700g          Celeriac root
++++++++++440g          Baking potato
++++++++++½ tbsp       Rapeseed oil (or low-fat cooking oil spray)
++++++++++1g                Celery salt
++++++++++¼ tsp          Dried tarragon
++++++++++¼ tsp          Dried parsley
++++++++++½ tsp          Asafoetida (or sub w/ onion powder)
++++++++++¾-1 tsp       Salt
++++++++++¼ tsp          Ground black pepper
++++++++++800ml       Water
++++++++++½ tsp          Garlic infused oil
++++++++++50g            Spring onion, finely chopped (*an optional garnish)
++++++++++300ml       Almond milk (unsweetened + fortified)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Prepare the celeriac. Tip: For visual guidance you can refer to this recipe! Wash, trim the ends, peel and then chop the celeriac into cubes. Wash and then chop the potato into cubes.

2. Heat ½ tbsp rapeseed oil (or use some low-fat cooking oil spray) in a large, non-stick pot over a med-low heat. Add the celeriac and potato. Gently toss in the oil and stir together. Cover with a lid. Gently fry and stir the celeriac mixture occasionally for about 6 mins. Add 1g celery salt, ¼ tsp dried tarragon, ¼ tsp dried parsley, ½ tsp asafoetida, 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp ground black pepper. Stir to toss and coat. Gently fry for 30 seconds.

Add 800ml cold water and ½ tsp garlic infused oil. Stir together. Cover with the lid. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat. Simmer and cook for about 10 mins or until the vegetables are cooked (fork tender). Remove from the heat. Allow the soup to cool slightly. Tip: If you have a blender with a heat-vent lid, you can probably start processing the soup after 5 mins; just take care and do not overfill your blender and cover the heat vent with a kitchen towel to help release some excess steam/heat.

3. If desired, gently fry some spring onion in a little oil for 2-3 mins or until softened.

4.Transfer the soup into a blender. Process it until smooth and creamy. Tip: Depending upon the size of your blender, you might have to complete this step in batches. If you own a hand-held blender, just process the soup in the pot and then stir in the milk. Transfer the soup back into the pot or a resealable container (as applicable). Add the milk into the blender. Pulse to froth and help remove any residual soup stuck to the blender. Pour the milk into the pot or container. If necessary, use a spatula to help remove any remaining bits of soup. Stir together. Taste and season the soup as preferred.

5. If applicable, reheat the soup over a medium-low heat until hot, but do not allow it to boil. Remove.

6. Serve warm. Ladle into a small serving bowl; if desired, garnish with fried spring onions or some fresh chives, roasted chickpeas, small cubes of roasted potato, tofu croutons, some standard herby-bread croutons or whatever takes your fancy!

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months. NB: When reheating, do not allow it to boil. 

 

Baked Harissa Tofu [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2-4
Prep: 35 mins + overnight (8-12hrs)
Cooking: 30-35 mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Chopping board(s), small frying pan, frying spatula, small bowl, rolling pin or large spoon, sharp knife, fork, large measuring jug, kitchen paper, large bowl, kitchen film, baking tray, parchment paper

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin C & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and per serving (based on 4) contains a low quantity of added sugar*, saltand saturated fats*. *Depending upon the variety and quantity of paste (or preserve) or the quantity of oil, maple syrup and/or added salt used.

As we approach salad and tasty sandwich (aka picnic) season (although this still seems like a million miles away!), it’s still a good idea to have some new and tasty ideas up our sleeves; such as a new flavour of tofu to throw into the mix! 

Feeling inspired by our latest use of Middle Eastern, N. African and African flavours, we decided to make some baked harissa tofu! We created a marinade by trying to complement the existing ingredients/flavours in our brand of harissa paste. Feel free to do the same by using our ingredient list as a guide or just show some tofu love by giving our tasty recipe a try! The initial prep takes no time at all and the rest of the tofu magic is finished while you sleep or are away at work!

As always, tofu is a small labour of love. We cannot vouch for how the tofu will taste if you only marinade it for a short period of time (as we haven’t done this ourselves), but with all our other types of marinated tofu, a minimum of 4-6 hrs usually produces the best flavours; if possible, 8-12hrs is even is always recommended! 

A few other good things to note include:

  • Depending on what you are using your tofu for, chop it to your desired size before marinating. Tip: Larger and wider pieces could make a tasty layer in a sandwich! If you are making tofu ‘cubes’ and want them crunchier (because maybe you are using them in a soup or salad), try baking them for an additional 5 mins or so. NB: we baked our tofu in a fan-assisted oven. 
  • The harrisa tofu tastes delicious, but feel free to use more of the paste in the marinade (if you can afford to do so). Alternatively you could amp up the flavour by giving it a spicy kick! We might try this next time by adding a ‘hot paprika’ or a hot chilli powder into the marinade.
  • If you do not have preserved lemon, add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice and an extra pinch of salt instead.
  • We were not aware that there are actually two types of cumin seeds (white and dark)! It just goes to show how much we actually paid attention to them because coincidently, we had both types in our cupboard. The ‘white’ seeds aren’t really white, just a lot lighter than the darker ones; feel free to use whatever you have.

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++1                       Block firm tofu (=1 tetrapak)
+++++++++++½ tsp               White cumin Seeds
+++++++++++¼ tsp               Caraway Seeds
+++++++++++6 g                   Garlic clove (about 2)
+++++++++++40g                  Spring Onion (2 large)
+++++++++++2½ tbsp           Rapeseed oil
+++++++++++30g                  Harissa paste
+++++++++++10g                   Preserved lemon paste
+++++++++++1 tbsp               Lemon juice
+++++++++++1 tbsp               Maple syrup
+++++++++++2 tbsp              Balsamic vinegar
+++++++++++½ tsp                Mild paprika
+++++++++++½ tsp                Ground ginger
+++++++++++1/8-1/2 tsp      Mild or hot chilli Powder
+++++++++++                         Pinch of salt & ground black pepper

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Drain the tofu. Place and press it between two heavy chopping boards or weighted plates to express any excess water. Leave for 30 mins. Tip: You can also line the bottom board or plate with some kitchen paper to help absorb the excess liquid.

2. Meanwhile, heat a dry frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add ½ tsp cumin seeds and ¼ tsp caraway seeds. Dry fry until lighted toasted. Tip: They will become lightly golden, fragrant and some might even start popping as they are toasted. Transfer them into a small bowl. Grind them with the flat end of a rolling pin or the back of a large spoon until a coarse powder is achieved. Tip: If you own a pestle and mortar, use this instead! 

3. Peel, slice and then crush the garlic with the back of a fork. Tip: If you have a garlic press, use this instead! Wash, trim the ends and then finely slice and chop the spring onion.

4. Prepare the marinade. Place 2½ tbsp rapeseed oil, 30g harissa paste, 10g preserved lemon, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, ½ tsp mild paprika, ½ tsp ground ginger, 1/8-1/2 tsp chilli powder (if using) and the ground cumin and caraway seed mixture into a large measuring jug. Season it with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Taste and season the mixture as necessary. Add the garlic and spring onion. Whisk to combine.

5. Drain the tofu. Pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Place in onto the chopping board and chop into ½-¾ inch cubes or whatever size pieces you prefer. Gently transfer the tofu into a large bowl or baking dish. Pour over the marinade. Gently stir and toss the tofu in the marinade until all pieces are thoroughly coated. Cover the bowl (or dish) with a piece of kitchen film and refrigerate the tofu overnight (or as long as possible).

6. Heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper. Remove the tofu from the fridge and give it a good stir. Transfer it onto the tray in a single layer. Pour any remaining marinade over the tofu. When the oven is ready, place the tray onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 16mins. Remove, turn the pieces over. Place the tray back into the oven. Bake for a further 15-16mins. Remove and allow to cool.

7. Serve over a vegetable and grain-based salad, as a soup topper (aka tofu croutons!), in a wrap, or over a savoury rice or couscous dish.

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftover tofu in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 4-6wks. 

 


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!

 

Meatless Monday: Almost! Moussaka Bake W/Lentils [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 6-8
Prep: 10 mins
Cooking Time: (50 mins for the components + 30 mins in the oven)
Total Time: 1h 30 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Sieve, large baking tray, aluminium foil, chopping board, sharp knife, 2*non-stick pots (w/lids), colander, fork, whisk, wooden spoon, measuring jug, large casserole dish, serving spoon, cooling block (or rack)

Notes

We haven’t been to Greece (yet!), but it doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy some of their fantastic flavours and cuisine all in the comfort of our own home. In fact, we have been doing just that! Greek food is just one of many cuisines that we have been attempting to ‘veganise’ over the last year; you might remember our Almost! Dolma, Vegan Koftes, a fusion salad containing ‘crumbled feta‘ or our aubergine dip?! Well now we’ve finally gone and made our take on a vegan moussaka, an ‘almost! moussaka bake with lentils’!  😀

Our Almost! Moussaka bake integrates some traditional ingredients with some that are less-so because as you know, we love veggies!  In fact one serving (based on six servings)of this healthful and veganised moussaka provides you with about 6-7 servings of veggies towards your 5-A-Day! It’s fibre-licious! However, moussaka isn’t typically known for its veggies, but its rich meaty sauce and great flavours! So to help keep an authentic taste, this dish also uses:

-A Greek-style ragu that incorporates traditional moussaka seasonings, extra veggies and some lentils for a little added texture, protein and faux ‘meatiness’.  

-Some small baby potatoes instead of standard/floury baking potatoes; which contains a lower G.I index than the latter.

– An adapted white herby sauce. We added some nutritional yeast and fewer herbs to form a vegan and gluten free friendly ‘cheezy’ béchamel sauce.

Some other good things to note include:

  • Although we would normally recommend using dried pulses and legumes (at least where and when you can), this time you might want to take a short cut. We’ve used some dried lentils, but feel free to use a cooked and packaged or a tinned variety instead to save some time (it won’t affect the recipe)! 
  • You can always use slightly more aubergine (eggplant), perhaps 100-200g more, if you desire or can fit it into your budget! Also, make sure to properly season it before adding it into the moussaka (otherwise it might taste a bit bitter).
  • We recommend that you thoroughly cook the potatoes before adding them into the moussaka because otherwise it will take a lot longer to cook; about 45-60mins.
  • If your béchamel sauce is left sitting around (especially without a lid) it will start to form a skin and slightly congeal. However, you can always add a little more milk to help loosen and relax it; just whisk the milk through until the sauce is smooth and fluid. 
  • If you are using frozen spinach, make sure it’s thoroughly defrosted, drained and then roughly chopped before adding it into the Greek-style ragu; otherwise it won’t integrate into the sauce properly and/or make it a bit watery. 
  • We used quite a large casserole dish (a new one!). If yours is quite a bit smaller, you might need to reduce the ingredients (well, at least the ragu) by a third. 
  • Nutritional yeast is one of the few products we occasionally use that you can’t easily purchase in shops (sorry folks). If you do not have any or would prefer not to use it, you can try using some dairy free cheese as a substitute. We are guesstimating that 10-20 grams of grated DF hard or cream cheese (melted into the béchamel sauce) will suffice. However, DF cheese will also help to thicken’ sauces, so you might need to use a little extra milk to balance things out. Alternatively, you can always use a plain DF béchamel sauce or adapt it as preferred; perhaps with garlic and mustard powder, paprika and lemon for an alternative ‘cheezy’ taste!
  • Although this dish may look ‘heavy’ (it’s not), it’s just very deceiving! One portion, even accompanied with a light green salad or some green beans is just about right.
  • Feel free to move through this recipe at your own speed. E.g. if you have finished chopping the aubergine, but the oven isn’t up to temperature yet, just move on to the next step. You don’t have to necessarily wait (unless you want to) to move on to the next step(s).
  • Although this meal is slightly time consuming, it does last for more than one meal (unless you are actually serving six people)! However, it tastes great and hopefully you can appreciate that it has five different components to prepare (but don’t let this scare you, nothing is overcomplicated here)!
  • This may not be a typical mid-week meal that you can quickly whip up, it is one that you can cook when you have more time and/or as part of your weekend meal prep. The dish tastes great for 3-4 days; so try baking it over the weekend and enjoy it throughout the week! 

We hope that you enjoy it and happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. If applicable, cook your lentils. Place the lentils into a sieve. Remove any stones and/or seeds. Rinse under running water. Cook according to the packet instructions. Drain and rinse. Tip: Ours took about 15mins (they were tender, but not mushy!)

2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/430°F/ gas mark 7. Line a baking tray with some kitchen foil. Spray the foil with some low-fat cooking oil.

3. Prepare the aubergine. Wash the aubergine(s); trim off the top(s) and then slice it (width-wise) into ½ cm slices. Tip: if preferred (and depending on the size of your casserole dish), slice the aubergine lengthwise. Place the aubergine slices onto the tray in a single layer. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Thoroughly season it to taste; sprinkle and season it with a little salt, dried oregano and a few grinds of black pepper. When the oven is hot, place the tray onto the upper oven shelf. Bake for 25 mins, turning halfway through. Tip: Once turned, respray with oil and add a little more seasoning. Remove and leave on the tray until ready to use.

 

4. In the meantime, cook the potatoes. Wash the potatoes. Place them into a pot covered with some cold water. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Simmer and cook for about 8-10 mins or until just cooked (but not falling apart). Drain in a colander. Rinse under cold water and then allow to cool.

 

5. Meanwhile, prepare the Greek-style ragu with lentils. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel, roughly chop and then mince the garlic with the back of a fork. Tip: If you have a garlic press, use this handy gadget instead! Wash, remove the stem and core then chop the bell pepper into ½cm -1cm pieces.

 

Spray a large, non-stick pot it with some low-fat cooking oil and place it over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper. Gently fry for 2-3 mins or until softened. Add the Greek-inspired spice blend and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir to coat. Gently fry for a further 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the tin tomatoes, cooked lentils and 115g tomato puree. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Cook and simmer for 20 mins. Add your spinach during the last 5 minutes, allowing it to wilt. Tip: If you’re using fresh spinach, just throw it into the pot and stir it through once the sauce has finished cooking.  Remove from the heat. Stir through ½-1 tbsp (10-20g) of agave. Recover with the lid and leave for the moment.

 

 

6. Meanwhile, prepare the potatoes. Transfer the cooked potatoes onto a chopping board. Gently slice them (lengthways) into ¼- ½ cm slices. Leave for the moment.

 

7. Prepare the ‘cheezy béchamel sauce’. Pour the 550ml DF milk into a large measuring jug. Place 40g  DF margarine into a non-stick pot and place it over a medium-low heat. Tip: Save on dishes! Give your ‘lentil pot’ a quick wipe and use this to cook your sauce! When the margarine it melts, add 40g flour. Whisk until thoroughly combined and for about a further 20-30 seconds to help remove the floury taste. Whilst whisking, gradually pour in the milk. Keep whisking to help dissolve all of the flour. Add 1- 1¼ tsp oregano, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Keep whisking until the sauce just thickens. Remove from the heat. Tip: If the mixture is too thick, just whisk through a little more milk. Add 6g nutritional yeast or your vegan cheese. Stir through to combine (or if applicable) to melt the ‘cheese’. Leave covered until you are ready to use.

 

8. Assemble the moussaka! Tip: Depending on the size of your casserole dish, you can always free-style this type; if you would prefer to start with a potato layer, make sure to grease the dish first! Scoop about 2.5 cups of the Greek-style ragu evenly into the base of the casserole dish. Place a single layer of potatoes (do not overlap). Pour over ¼ cup of the cheezy-béchamel sauce. Roughly spread it with the back of a large spoon or spatula. Place a layer (or a few pieces) of aubergine. Tip: We used the minimum amount of aubergine, hence why we only placed a few pieces over the mixture at this point. Scoop a further 2.5 cups of the ragu, spreading evenly. Place a final, single layer of potatoes. Pour and spread over the remaining ragu. Place a final layer of aubergine. Pour and evenly spread over the remaining cheezy-béchamel sauce.

 

9. Place the dish onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for about 25-30 mins or until the surface is lightly tanned and the edges are bubbling. Tip: Allow it to cool and set for 5-10 mins (if you have the time) as this will allow for easier serving. Top it with some nutritional yeast, ground black pepper and some chopped chives (if desired) before serving!

Enjoy!

Tip: Cover and refrigerate any leftovers; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, store and freeze in air-tight and resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months. 

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

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!


 

Slow Cooker Red Wine, Tofu & Vegetable Stew [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep: 60-90 mins (*Dependent upon skill and/or if you are using tofu)
Marination: 12-14 hrs
Cooking Time: 3.5-4 hrs (*On a high SC heat setting)
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board(s), sharp knife,veggie peeler, large pot, large bowl, kitchen paper, casserole dish, kitchen film, large slotted spoon, sieve, large bowl, large/non-stick frying pan (with a lid), slow cooker

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc and per serving* has a moderate quantity of added salt and sugar and is low in saturated fats. (*Dependent upon products used).

Enjoy it while you can- delicious stews, soups, chillies, or even curries straight out of your slow cooker! We’re making the most of our stodgy, plant-based (and low-fat) dishes before Spring arrives… and what better way than with this delicious red wine stew!

As always, our dishes are healthy, but not authentic and most have been ‘veganised’. However on this occasion, we are not going to compare this dish to anything else. This recipe is what it is- a wonderful stew that contains tender (melt in your mouth) slow cooked vegetables, and tasty marinated tofu, all in which are served in a delicious red wine and herb/veggie-infused gravy! 

We have used some organic firm tofu (quite a bit actually) and if it’s not your thing or you do not wish to spend time marinating it, there’s always a plan B! You can opt for using a pre-marinated block of tofu or tempeh (there are some tasty ones about!) or use some hearty cooked beans or lentils instead. 

A few other good things to note include:

  • Like a lot of stews and sauce, it tastes better the next day- especially the tofu! The ideal would to be to marinate the tofu throughout the day, slow cook it overnight and then enjoy it for dinner the next day! 
  • If preferred, you can use balsamic vinegar instead of balsamic glaze.
  • If you don’t like the idea of using soya (or tamari) sauce, you can always try swapping it for a vegan Worcestershire sauce; just adjust the quantity appropriately. 
  • We were originally shopping for some meaty (baby) portobello mushrooms, but the chestnuts worked out just fine. Oh, if you are using tiny button-type mushrooms, you won’t need to chop them, probably saving yourself 5 minutes in the process! 
  • Yes the tofu is purple, but it’s not GROSS! 😀 If you are not using it, you still need to go ahead and make the ‘marinated’ veggies.
  • To help intensify the tofu marinade, we are recommending that you add an additional 100ml of (uncooked) wine to it (but we have adjusted the ingredients list for you).

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

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

2. In the meantime, peel and thinly slice the onion. Wash, peel, trim the ends, quarter and then thinly slice the carrot. Wash, trim the ends and then thinly slice the celery. Peel the garlic and finely chop two of them only (leaving one whole).

3. Place the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, 375ml wine, 1 bay leaf, 8 peppercorns, ½ tsp thyme and ¼ tsp vegetable stock powder into a large pot. Place it over a medium heat. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Simmer and cook for 5 mins. Remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl. Allow it to cool down.

4. Meanwhile, drain the excess water off the tofu. Pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Transfer onto a large chopping board. Slice into pieces about one inch long (but the preference is yours!). Transfer and arrange the tofu in a single layer in a large casserole dish.

5. Add the remaining 100ml wine, 1 tbsp balsamic glaze, 1 tbsp soya sauce and 2 tsp olive oil into the bowl that contains the red wine marinade mixture. Mix to combine. Carefully pour the red wine marinade over the tofu, allowing the vegetable mixture to rest on top. Cover with a sheet of kitchen film. Refrigerate for 12-14hrs. Tip: Even if you end up leaving this mixture for longer than 14hrs, it will be fine! 

6. The next day, remove the veggie mixture with a slotted spoon and transfer it into a slow cooker. (NB: For presentation purposes, our veggies are not shown in the slow cooker.). Remove and discard the whole garlic, bay leaf and 8 peppercorns. Rest a large sieve over a large bowl. Transfer the tofu into the sieve. Pour the remaining marinade over the tofu. Allow the tofu to drain and do not discard the reserved marinade.

7. In the meantime, wash and dry the mushrooms; leave whole, halve or quarter depending on the size. Peel the onions.

8. Heat 2 tbsp rapeseed oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat. Tip: Alternatively use some low-fat cooking oil or a spoonful of  water and ‘steam-fry’! Add the mushrooms and onions. Season it with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Cover with a lid. Gently fry 4-5 mins or until the vegetables are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove and transfer into the slow cooker.

9. Spray some low-fat cooking oil into the same frying pan. Add the tofu and gently fry 6-7 mins or until lightly browned. Transfer into the slow cooker. Tip: This step will have to be completed in 2-3 batches. Once finished, add one 1 tbsp of water. Swirl it around to help ‘deglaze’ the pan; add this liquid to the slow cooker.

10. In the meantime, boil 1L of water in a kettle. Prepare 500ml of vegetable stock.

11. Pour the reserved marinade into the slow cooker. Add 500ml vegetable stock, 500ml boiling water, 40ml soya sauce and 60ml balsamic glaze . Season it with a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Gently stir together. Add 1 pouch of bouquet garni. Gently submerge it into the stew. Cover with a lid. Cook on a high heat setting for 3.5-4hrs or on a low heat setting for 7-8 instead. Prepare a ‘slurry’ at the end of cooking; in a dish, mix 40g flour with equal parts water and whisk until the flour has dissolved. Whilst briskly stirring, pour the ‘slurry’ into the stew until lightly thickened.

12. Serve warm. Ladle into a large serving bowl. Garnish with a little fresh parsley (if preferred) and serve with a multi-grain or GF roll or even some steamed greens.

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftover stew in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 1 month.

 

 

Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Vegetable Marinara Sauce W/ Kidney Beans [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 6
Prep: 20 mins
Cooking Time: 7-8 hrs
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, colander, blender, slow cooker, large spoon

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

What better way to start the week, fight the cold weather and help keep your healthy lifestyle in check than with a delicious, Free From & simple pasta sauce!

We’d like to think that our sauce is suitable for any dinner guest (well, excluding anyone that might be allergic to vegetables! Sorry Emma!) and love that it’s really effortless to prepare! With minimal prep and the use of a slow cooker, you’ll have a delicious marinara sauce that is not only vegan and gluten free, but one that contains over six types of veggies…but we are willing to bet that your kids will never be the wiser! 

Our veggies and herbs are chopped, diced and blended before slow cooking into a great depth of flavours; we even threw in some added kidney beans for some added texture, carbohydrate, protein and soluble fibre! Keep the veggies seasonal, fresh, frozen or just some of your absolute favourites! If you’re not a fan of kidney beans, we’d recommend using some pinto, black or butter beans instead. 🙂

A few good things to note include:

  • If you prefer a slightly thicker sauce, just whisk through a ‘corn flour slurry’ at the end of cooking until your desired thickness is achieved.
  • If you’d prefer a chunkier sauce, just omit the ‘blender step’!
  • We added a spoonful of sweetener. This is optional, but as tinned tomatoes tend to have a slightly bitter taste, we’d recommend it. However, if you’re using fresh/ripe tomatoes instead of our basic tinned ones, you probably won’t need it!
  • If you don’t have a blender, you can always use a high-powered food processor instead.

If you fancy some further pasta sauce (or pasta meal) inspiration, check our some of our precious tomato-based sauces including: our Soya & Vegetable Spaghetti Bolognese, ‘5 Minute Thrifty Marinara Sauce’, Home-made Marinara (as featured with our Red Kidney Bean & Quinoa Meatballs!) and one included in our delicious  Vegan & Gluten Free Lasagne w/a Tofu & Spinach Filling!

 

Quick Foodie Fact:

  • Per serving, this sauce contains about 4.5 servings of vegetables towards your 5-A-Day! What an easy way to incorporate a variety of veggies into your diet! 

 

 Happy cooking and buona cena everyone! 😀

 

Ingredients

+++++++3              Garlic Cloves (fat ones!)
+++++++200g       Red Onion
+++++++160g        Red Bell Pepper
+++++++200g       Carrot
+++++++25g          Fresh Basil
+++++++480g       Cooked Red Kidney Beans (2 tins/no added salt or 250g dried/cooked)
+++++++4              Tins Plum Tomatoes (no added salt/ 1.6kg)
+++++++40g          Sun-Dried Tomato Puree
+++++++30ml        Balsamic Glaze
+++++++30ml        Lemon Juice
+++++++30ml        Extra Virgin Olive Oil
+++++++1-2 tbsp   Fruit Sweetener (*optional)
+++++++½ tsp        Asafoetida (or onion powder)
+++++++½-¾ tsp   Salt
+++++++                 Ground Black Pepper
+++++++160g         Frozen Spinach, defrosted (about 7 cubes)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

  • Peel the garlic. Peel and quarter the onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then roughly chop the bell pepper. Wash, trim the ends, peel and then quarter the carrot. Wash and then roughly chop the basil. If applicable, drain and wash the kidney beans in a colander.
  • Place the garlic, onion, bell pepper, carrot, basil, 1 tin of tomatoes, 40g sun-dried tomato puree, 2 tbsp balsamic glaze, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp asafoetida, ½ tsp salt (or to taste) and a few grind of black pepper into a blender. Tip: If your blender is large enough, add all of the tinned tomatoes during this step! Blend until puréed. Transfer the mixture into a slow cooker.
  • If applicable, open and place the remaining tinned tomatoes into the blender. Blend until smooth.Transfer into the slow cooker. Mix until thoroughly combined. Taste and season the sauce as necessary. Add the cooked kidney beans. Stir through. Cover with a lid. Cook for 7-8 hrs on a low-heat setting.
  • About 30 mins before the end of cooking, carefully dice some frozen spinach into smaller chunks. Add the spinach into the slow cooker. Stir through. Alternatively, dice and steam the spinach, and then stir it through the sauce at the end of cooking. Taste and season the sauce as necessary.

 

Serve warm. Ladle the sauce over your favourite pasta with additional veggies or a small multi-grain roll (if desired). If preferred, garnish the sauce with a few marinated olives, basil or oregano leaves and/or a spoonful of nutritional yeast!

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftover sauce in an air-tight and resealable container; gently reheat over a medium-low heat (do not allow it to boil) and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively store and freeze in one or several container(s) and then just simply defrost and reheat; best consumed within 1-2 months of freezing.

Vegetable Miso Soup W/Fusilli [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8
Prep & Cooking Time: ≤ 35 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Measuring jug, 2 *non-stick pots, chopping board, sharp knife, colander, measuring spoons, wooden spoon.

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and per serving is low in added sugar*, salt* and sat fats! *Variable due to brand and/or quantity of soya sauce, stock and/or miso used.

Firstly, I am going to vent (sorry). This has nothing to do with this post or food, but I just wish that WordPress would stop changing their formatting! Don’t be surprised if some of our older posts start looking ‘shabby’ because of it. 

Secondly, it’s been so cold lately that this has meant there has always been a pot of soup cooking away in our kitchen! Not that we’re complaining, we love soup we’re just not too keen on cold weather; me especially as I suffer from Primary Raynaud’s Phenomenon. It’s not physically deliberating, you can self manage and you’ll find that slightly more women suffer from it than men, it’s just not very nice. 

Anyways, back to the food! We love authentic miso soups, but we do not enjoy their excessive salt contents. However, it’s not all or nothing in our kitchen, we’ve come up with a suitable alternative (at least for our palates!). That being a delicious and savoury soup that we made a couple weeks ago- our vegetable miso soup with fusilli. It’s packed full of inspired Asian flavours, nutritious ingredients and some pasta to help keep you going throughout the day ! It’s also completely adaptable to the season, your own personal tastes and/or budget and definitely one not to miss! We only hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!

A few good things to note include:

  • We tried to keep most of our ingredients bite-sized, but feel free to adapt as you see fit. 
  • Only add your pasta before serving, especially if you are planning to eat this soup over several days (the pasta will lose some of its lovely texture if it’s left soaking in the soup). We refrigerated ours separately to the soup; just add a drop of rapeseed oil to the pasta before storing to help prevent it from clumping together. 
  • Only add the miso to the soup once it has been removed from the heat; adding it to boiling hot water will kill its beneficial probiotics. Traditionally, you can dissolve it in some warm water (creating a miso ‘slurry’) before adding it into the soup to prevent it from clumping. We skipped this step; ours was at room temperature and it didn’t ‘clump up’ when it was whisked through.
  • Rewhisk/stir your soup before serving as miso has a habit of settling to the bottom of the pot. 

 

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • Miso is a naturally aged fermented paste that is made from fermented soya beans, cultures, salt and grains, e.g. giving rise to various types of miso paste. Quite commonly it’s a staple food item used in East Asian cuisine, giving dishes a great depth of flavours! Savoury, salty, sweet and umami comes to mind! 
  • Soya beans (also known as edamame beans) are a legume native to East Asia but are now commonly seem/grown throughout others parts of the globe. They are highly nutritious and healthful; a great source of protein, insoluble fibre, iron, potassium, polyunsaturated fats, phytoesterols, isoflavones (just to name a few) and various other vitamins and minerals! They also give rise to many other soya products (such as milk, miso, tofu, tempeh, flour and oil) and can be a great alternative to meat! 

There are many potential health benefits from soya foods. For instance, they have been shown to actively lower cholesterol levels and therefore reduce your risk for heart disease (*when consuming 25g of soya protein/D as part of a healthy diet), e.g. two glasses (500ml) of soya milk, a 250ml glass of soya milk and 75g of silken hard tofu or 85g of soya (edamame) beans would be plenty.

Have a great weekend and happy cooking everyone! 

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++2                Garlic Clove (fat ones!)
+++++++++++100g          Spring Onion
+++++++++++100g          Root Ginger
+++++++++++400g         Carrot
+++++++++++420g          Bell Pepper (red & yellow)
+++++++++++2.5L            Water
+++++++++++400g         GF fusilli
+++++++++++                   Vegetable Stock Powder (low-salt/DF/GF)
+++++++++++300g          Frozen Soya Beans
+++++++++++200g          Bok Choi
+++++++++++10g             Fresh Coriander
+++++++++++2-3 tbsp    Soya Sauce (low-salt/ or Tamari Sauce for a GF alternative)
+++++++++++50-60g      White Miso Paste (about 3 tbsp)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Fill a large, non-stick pot with 2.5L cold water. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil.

2. Fill another pot with cold water. Bring to the boil. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.

3. In the meantime, peel and dice the garlic. Wash, trim the ends and then roughly slice the spring onion. Wash, peel and then chop the ginger into small cubes. Wash, peel, trim the ends and then chop the carrot into small, bite-sized pieces. Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell pepper into ½ cm pieces.

4. Once the water is boiling, add some vegetable stock (we kept ours to a minimum). Stir until dissolved. Add the garlic, spring onion, ginger, carrot, bell pepper and soya beans. Stir to combine. Cover with a lid, bring back to the boil. Cook and simmer for 6-7 mins or until the beans and vegetables are tender.

5. In the meantime, Remove the bok choi leaves from its stalk, wash and then roughly slice (as small or as large as preferred). Wash the coriander, remove its leaves from its stem and then roughly chop them.

6. Remove the pot of soup from the heat. Add 2-3 tbsp of soya sauce and 50-60g miso paste. Stir to dissolve.  Add the bok choi and coriander. Stir through. Taste and season the soup as necessary. Cover with a lid and allow the soup to sit for 10mins.

7. Add the cooked pasta just before serving. Stir through.

8. Give the soup a good stir before serving. Ladle the soup into a serving bowl. Garnish with coriander and sesame seeds.

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; gently reheat in a pot over a medium-low heat and consume within 4 days.

 

Sources:
BDA- Soya food and health
USDA

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??

Meatless Monday: Kidney Bean, Broccoli & Spinach Burgers [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Yields: 22 Small or 11 Large Burgers
Serves: 6-11 (*Dependant on meal type.)
Prep & Cooking Time: ≤60 mins (*Dependent upon skill and/or the number of kitchen helpers!)
Type: Main Meal, Snack
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, colander, steamer pot, food processor, baking trays, parchment paper, silicone spatula, cooling rack.

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, E & K carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar*, salt* and saturated fats*! * Depending upon type of bread/bread crumbs, beans and/or tahini used.

Hi everyone! We hope that you’ve all had another great weekend?! How many of you woke up to a ‘winter wonderland’ yesterday? It was a lovely surprise! Although the roof tops and trees were glistening with a beautiful light dusting of snow, the ground was a wet and horrible mess! Perhaps others had the opportunity to build a snowman or go for a relaxing winter walk? 🙂

So, today’s recipe is all about ‘meatless burgers’ and these ones are crammed full of flavour and fibre! Whether you are in the midst of Veganuary, enjoy Meatless Mondays or just follow a plant-based diet like us, we think that everyone will enjoy this lovely meatless ‘burger’ recipe.

We actually made this recipe last a couple of times last spring, but have only just recently revisited it… but we’re so glad that we did! Hearty, wholesome and versatile ingredients; it’s another delicious recipe that allows you to adjust the costs and seasoning’s to your own personal preferences!  Enjoy them as a meal or a couple as a snack. 🙂

A few good things to note include:

  • We made fourteen small burgers and four large ones; it was more to clarify cooking times than anything else! Little or large, the choice is yours.
  • These burgers make a bigger impression if you use fresh (finely chopped) herbs and perhaps your favourite spices too! We forgot to add our Dukkah this time around (doh!), but we used it last time and thoroughly recommend using it! 
  • If a strict GF adherence is required, make sure to double check the oat bran packaging before purchasing!
  • Ours are not overly seasoned! For the ‘salt-o-holics’ out there, you might say these are bland! We suggest using more herbs and/or spices and a tasty homemade sauce, coleslaw or your favourite vegetable(s) to accompany them instead of reaching for the salt.
  • They would make a tasty and healthful option in child’s lunch!
  • Overall we think that homemade ‘burgers’ rock and are of course a million times better than store bought varieties! We served ours with some delicious homemade pomegranate sauce and coleslaw (recipes pending, so watch this space!), but feel free to add your own medley of veggies and or sauces! 

 

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • We have previously talked about the health benefit of beans before, but now we will elaborate on specifically on kidney beans! Kidney beans in their raw state are very toxic*, but when properly prepared they can be a great source of nutrients including: complex carbohydrates, protein, soluble fibre, B-Vitamins (including folate!), Vitamin K, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium (just to name a few!). They are also naturally low in fat and can count towards helping you to meet your 5-A-Day!
  • We have talked about the benefits of porridge oats before and oat bran is no different! It is also a versatile, high fibre* and low-GI food that can provide you with a good source of insoluble and soluble fibre (in the form of beta-glucan). Beta-glucan has been shown to help reduce blood cholesterol levels and therefore help to reduce cardiovascular risks(**when consuming a minimum of 3g of beta-glucans/D as part of a healthy diet), e.g. about a 52g portion of oat bran porridge or about 5 tbsp used throughout the day would be suffice. Try adding it to soups, stews, bread, muffins, ‘flapjacks’ or other oat-bars, ‘meatballs’, cereal, smoothies or yoghurt! *A 52g serving would provide you with about 9.5g of fibre; that makes up nearly a third of your recommended fibre intake! 🙂

Happy cooking everyone!

 

Ingredients

++++++++++++420g      Broccoli Florets (500g Head)
++++++++++++130g       Baby Spinach (160g Frozen Spinach)
++++++++++++120g       Bread Crumbs (about 1 slice of bread)
++++++++++++130g       White Onion
++++++++++++180g       Red Bell Pepper
++++++++++++2             Garlic Clove (10g fresh or 1 tsp garlic puree)
++++++++++++480g      Cooked Kidney Beans (about 2 tins or 250g dried/cooked)
++++++++++++10g         Fresh Chives (1 tbsp Dried)
++++++++++++5g           Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (1 tbsp dried)
++++++++++++40g        Tahini
++++++++++++7-10g     Dukkah Spice Mix
++++++++++++3-5g       Mustard Powder
++++++++++++40g        Oat bran (about ½ cup)
++++++++++++½-¾ tsp Salt
++++++++++++               Ground Black Pepper
++++++++++++               Low-fat cooking oil spray

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

 

Directions

If you’re using a head of broccoli, remove the broccoli florets from its stem. Wash and then place broccoli into a steamer pot with a little water. Bring to the boil. Simmer and steam for 4-6 mins or until tender. Drain. Tip: Alternatively cook in a pot of water or try steaming the broccoli in a microwave instead.

 

 

In the meantime…

Boil a little water in a kettle. Place the spinach into a colander. Rinse. Pour over a little freshly boiled water to wilt the spinach. Allow to drain. Tip: Alternatively, carefully dice some frozen spinach and then defrost it in a microwave. Allow to drain in a colander or sieve. 

 

 

  • If applicable, make some bread crumbs. Place the bread into a toaster or under a grill and toast. Remove and break it up into a food processor. Process the bread until bread crumbs are achieved. Transfer into a mixing bowl. Tip: If you do not own a food processor, toast the bread as hard as possible (without burning it) and then place it into a resealable kitchen baggie. Using a rolling pin, gently crush the bread to create your breadcrumbs!
  • Peel and quarter the onion. Wash, remove the core and stem and then roughly quarter the bell pepper. Peel the garlic. Transfer the onion into a food processor. Turn on. Whilst it’s running, add the garlic. Process until the onion and garlic are finely chopped. Tip: If you don’t own a food processor then finely grate the onion, bell pepper and garlic using a cheese grater or finely chop instead. Transfer the mixture into the mixing bowl. Place the bell pepper into the food processor. Process until minced. Transfer into a sieve to drain any excess water (if applicable). Transfer into the mixing bowl.

 

 

Remember to check and drain your broccoli if you haven’t already! 

 

  • If applicable, drain and rinse the kidney beans in a colander. Transfer into the food processor. Process until they are mostly ‘broken down’. Transfer into the mixing bowl. Tip: If you do not own a food processor, transfer them into a separate mixing bowl and mash them using a potato masher or fork- it’s a great upper arm workout! 
  • Place the broccoli and spinach into the food processor. Process until finely minced. Transfer into the mixing bowl.

 

If applicable, wash and finely chop the chives. Tip: A pair of kitchen scissors works perfectly for quickly chopping them! Wash the parsley, remove the leaves from the stem and then finely chop. Add the herbs into the mixing bowl.

 

Add 40g  tahini, 7-10g Dukkah spice mix, 3-5g mustard powder, ½ cup oat bran, ½-¾ tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Using a spatula, thoroughly mix the ingredients together.

 

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF. Line one or two baking trays with a piece of parchment paper or some silicone mats. Spray a little low-fat cooking oil and grease each sheet of paper or mat.

 

Roll a bit of the mixture between your hands into a golf-sized ball (or larger if a larger burger is preferred). Tip: If the mixture is a bit too sticky, lightly four your hands. Place onto the baking tray. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used. Gently flatten them with a spatula. Place the tray(s) into the oven (use the middle and lower oven shelves only). Bake for 10 mins.

 

 

Remove. Increase the heat to 200ºC/400ºF. Spray the tops of the burgers with a little low-fat cooking oil. Carefully turn over the ‘burgers’ with a frying spatula or palette knife. Place the tray(s) back into the oven. Bake for a further 8-12 mins, or until lightly browned and slightly firm. Remove. Allow to cool for 5 mins on the tray(s) before serving. Tip: Our smaller burgers took an additional ten minutes whilst our larger one took twelve. If applicable, allow the burgers to cool completely before refrigerating. 

 

At last! Served with some tasty homemade wedges and rather messy homemade slaw; hunger always conquers photo ‘styling’!

 

If that doesn’t get your stomach rumbling, we don’t know what will!

 

If ‘burgers’ are not your thing, try adding them to salads, ‘bowls’ or turn them into meatballs instead…

 

…And for the little ones, make it a memorable and tasty adventure!

NB: This is one of last year’s trials (homemade burgers and oven chips); sometimes it’s fun to play with food! 🙂

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat (if preferred) and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, individually wrap in some kitchen film, store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within one month.

 

Sources
USDA
NHS Choices
Heart UK
*Nutrition. 2013 Jun;29(6):821-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2012.11.010. Epub 2013 Feb 12. 
**Recipe updated: 19/02/16

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

 

Lentils Meatballs [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Yields: 20 Meatballs
Serves: 5 (*One serving =4 ‘Meatballs’)
Prep & Cooking Time: ≤60 mins (*Dependent upon skill and/or kitchen helpers!)
Type: Main meal or Snack
Tools: Sieve, non-stick pot, non-stick frying pan, food processor, silicone spatula, small bowl, chopping board, sharp knife, baking tray, silicone mat, mixing bowl.

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

 

Hi everyone! Here are some easy and delicious lentil meatballs that we made last November! 

So, the question is whether to use legumes or pulses?! Both make great plant-based meatballs, burgers, sandwich fillingsfalafels, koftes, meatloaf (more meatloaf!) and sausages (just to name a few!); all of which are tasty, hearty and healthful in their own right. However, we are still undecided as to what we prefer!

Which do you prefer lentils or beans? 

Overall, these little lovelies are great! The lentils, nuts and seasoning’s all provide a great meaty and savoury delight. Enjoy ‘a couple’ as a lovely savoury snack (perhaps with houmous or another tasty dip of choice?!) or as part of a healthful meal; with pasta, as a meze or in a wrap! We enjoyed ours with a homemade spicy tomato sauce and an impromptu (almost!) patatas bravas- we highly recommend it! 

 

A few good things to note include:

  • Process or finely chop the ingredients as small as possible. Any whole lentils, or large pieces of veggies will prevent the ‘meatballs’ from forming- you’ll have to them pull out and discard the culprit ingredient(s)! We had to discard a few lentils, pieces of herbs and onion!
  • The lentils make for a great ‘blank canvas’! Just adjust or adapt the seasonings to taste.
  • You can opt out of cooking dry lentils and just use a tin variety instead however, as you have a few other pieces of prep to do before the actual assembly, you might as well just cook some lentils in the background. The choice is yours!
  • Do not be tempted to ‘over bake’ them. Plant-based ‘meatballs’ will be never as firm as standard ones and a dry ‘meatball’ if just not worth thinking about!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++160g     Dried Brown Lentils (approx. 1 tin cooked lentils)
+++++++++++50g       Walnut pieces
+++++++++++2-3g     Cumin seeds
+++++++++++40g       Slice of Bread (1 slice) or breadcrumbs
+++++++++++140g      Red Onion
+++++++++++100g     Red bell Pepper
+++++++++++180g      Carrot
+++++++++++5g          Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
+++++++++++5g          Fresh Lemon Thyme
+++++++++++2            Flax Eggs
+++++++++++1 tbsp    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
+++++++++++¾ tsp     Salt
+++++++++++              Ground Black pepper
+++++++++++ 2-3g     Garlic Salt
+++++++++++½ tsp     Asafoetida
+++++++++++2g          Mild paprika
+++++++++++20g        Plain GF Flour
+++++++++++12g         Sesame Seeds

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

 

Directions

Wash the lentils in a sieve, remove any seeds and stones and then cook them according to the packet instructions.

 

In the meantime, heat a small, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the walnuts and cumin seeds. Dry-fry until lightly toasted/browned. Remove from the heat and transfer into a small bowl. Allow to cool slightly. Transfer into a food processor. Process until a fine mixture is achieved. Transfer back into the bowl.

 

 

If applicable, place the bread into a toaster or until a grill and toast. Remove and break it up into the food processor. Process the bread until breadcrumbs are achieved. Tip: if you do not have a food processor, toast the bread as hard as possible (without burning it) and then place it into a resealable kitchen baggie. Using a rolling pin, gently crush the bread to create your breadcrumbs! Transfer the breadcrumbs into the same bowl as the walnut mixture.

 

 

Wash, remove the stem and core and then roughly chop the bell pepper. Peel and quarter the onion. Place the bell pepper and onion into the food processor. Process until minced. Tip: You could also finely chop your veggies on a standard chopping board or grate your veggies using a cheese grater!  Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl.

Larger pieces will have to be chopped or discarded!

 

 

Peel, trim the ends and finely grate the carrot. Wash the parsley and thyme, remove the leaves from the stems and finely chop them. Place the carrot, parsley and thyme into the mixing bowl.

 

 

Drain the lentils. Allow them to cool slightly. Meanwhile, create the ‘flax eggs’. Place 16g of ground flax seed and 6 tbsp of cold water into a small dish. Mix until combined. Leave for 5 mins to set.

 

 

Transfer the lentils into the food processor. Add 1 tbsp of oil. Season with a little salt and black pepper to taste. Pulse until the lentils are mostly broken down and a coarse mixture is achieved. Tip: Alternatively place the lentils into a separate mixing bowl with the oil and mash using a potato masher or large fork!

 

 

Transfer the lentils into the mixing bowl. Add the breadcrumbs and walnut mixture, ¾ tsp salt, a few grinds of black pepper, 2-3g garlic salt, ½ tsp asafoetida and 2g paprika. Mix with a spatula until thoroughly combined (forming one giant ‘meatball’!).

 

 

Heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or some parchment paper. Lightly spray it with a little low-fat cooking oil. Set aside a small dish with 20g GF flour and another one with 12g sesame seeds.

 

 

Gather some of the mixture between your hands. Tip: use a little flour to coat your hands if the mixture is a little tacky. Roll the mixture into a ‘golf ball sized’ ball. Dip and coat the ‘meatball’ into the sesame seeds. Place it onto the baking tray. Repeat until all the mixture has been used. NB: we created twenty! Place the tray onto the middle oven shelf and bake for 11 mins. Remove and carefully turn the ‘meatballs’ over. Place back into the oven and bake for a further 8 mins or until lightly browned and slightly firm.

 

 

 

Try serving them with some roasted veggies!

Baby new potatoes, celeriac and fresh thyme!

 

Remove from the oven. Allow them to rest on the tray for 5 mins before serving. Serve as desired. As mentioned, we went for a spicy tomato sauce and an (almost!) patatas bravas! Delicious! 😀

 

Leftover ‘bowls’ are great too!

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. As a guesstimate store, freeze, defrost and heat within one month; we didn’t freeze any of ours, these lovelies were ‘meal prepped’ and consumed within 3 days! If anyone freezes them, you’ll have to let us know how you get on. 🙂

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Sri Lankan Inspired Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 6
Prep: 40 mins (*Dependent upon skill and/or kitchen helpers!)
Cooking: 7-8hrs (*Over a low heat setting)
Tools: Small bowl, colander, chopping board, sharp knife, sieve, frying pan, measuring jug, slow cooker, non-stick pot.

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar and salt and has a moderate quantity of fats! 

The cold weather is setting in and decadent Christmas flavours are now packed away for another eleven months… this could only mean four simple things- the need for hearty, wholesome and quick foods that will ‘warm your cockles’ and taste buds!

Well, we have just the cure for that- here’s another tasty, ‘slow cooker curry’; those are actually starting to become our three favourite words! Perhaps that’s because slow cookers are magic devices; not only do they slowly cook our food in abundance, but they also help improve how we feel about even the most basic of meals!

What’s the best meal that you have prepared in yours?! 🙂

For those of you that may have tried some of our previous slow cooker curries or S.C meals, you’ll know just how tasty they are (well, you haven’t told us otherwise!). 😛 Curry prepared in a slow cooker (although not traditional, not even a little!) is by far one of the best methods to develop a huge depth of healthy and aromatic flavours- well, that’s our opinion anyways! 

This time our spicy/slow cooker urge unravelled with a packet of Sri Lankan spices that we still hadn’t gotten around to trying; ergo the birth of our curry! This one is pretty hearty, spicy (well, this is subjective) and of course packed full of tasty and healthful ingredients; its plant-based eating that is designed to help make this more than a ‘one day occasion’! 

The curry: sweet and creamy potatoes (that melt in your mouth), combined with hearty and robust chickpeas and an abundance of delicious flavours. All served over a bed of fluffy rice! We’ve filled you in on our spice mix below and hopefully you can all find something similar or just create your own (as spicy as you dare)! If you are not keen on sweet potato, try adapting it with cauliflower, butternut squash or aubergine; just remember to adapt the other flavours as you see fit. We have used some reduced fat coconut milk, but still be mindful as there is still a moderate quantity of fat per serving; ‘reduced fat’ foods are not free passes to eat more! 

Happy cooking everyone! 😀

 

Ingredients

NB: Use about 2 tins of chickpeas or 260g of a dried/cooked variety. Our Sri Lankan Spice Blend: Coriander Seeds, Whole, Fenugreek Seeds, Whole, Cumin Seeds White, Whole, Fennel Seeds, Whole, Cayenne Chillies, Ground, Cinnamon Bark, Whole, Cardamom Green, Whole Pods, Curry Leaves, Whole Clove Buds ‘Hand-Select’.

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

  • Peel and dice the garlic and shallots. Wash the chilli, remove the stem, deseed (if you prefer meals with less heat!) and then finely chop it. Wash, peel and then dice the ginger. Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell pepper into ½ cm pieces.
  • Wash the lemongrass, trim off the ends, peel away tough/ dried-out outer layer (and discard), bash the woody exterior with a rolling pin to soften and then finely chop it. Tip: Bashing or firmly pressing the lemongrass will help release some of its aromatic oils. Wash the lime, grate the zest (do not juice it just yet like we have shown here, you’ll do this later on!).
  • Wash the sweet potatoes, peel and then chop into approx. 1″ pieces (we kept ours chunky!)

 

  • Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat.
  • Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Add the garlic, shallot, chilli, ginger, bell pepper and lemongrass. Stir together. Gently fry for 2-3 mins or until softened.
  • Add the sweet potato. Spray a little more cooking oil. Stir together. Gently fry for 3 mins.
  • Add the lime zest, 1g fenugreek leaves and 6-8g Sri Lankan spice blend. Add a few grinds of black pepper. Stir together. Gently fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Remove from the heat.

 

In the meantime, prepare your stock according to the packet instructions.

 

  • Transfer the vegetable mixture into a slow cooker.
  • Add the chickpeas and coconut milk. Stir together.
  • Pour in the boiling hot stock. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Set to cook for 7-8 hrs over a low heat setting or over a high setting for 2-3.
  • Slightly defrost the spinach, chop it into smaller ‘chunks’. Add it to the slow cooker 30 mins before the end of cooking. Tip: If you’re using fresh leaves, roughly chop and then stir them through the curry once it has finished cooking. Let it stand (covered) for about 5 mins to allow the leaves to slightly wilt. 

 

Prepare the rice according to the packet instructions (if applicable).

Juice the lime. Stir the juice through the curry just before serving.

Spoon the rice into large serving bowls (If applicable). Ladle over the curry. Garnish with a wedge of lime, a small dollop of sweet & sour lime pickle or some fresh coriander leaves.

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftover curry in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively, store and freeze in an air-tight and resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Seasonal Vegetable Soup W/ White Beans & Sausages

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 6
Prep: 40 mins (*Dependent upon skill and/or kitchen helpers!)
Cooking Time: 4-8 hrs (*Dependent on S.C. setting)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and per serving* is low in added sugar, salt and saturated fats. (*Dependent upon the type and/or quantity of stock and/or vegan sausages used). 

Happy New year everyone! We would like to take a moment again to thank everyone that has supported us during the last fourteen months; you have truly made it a very productive and rewarding time indeed! It’s been a pleasure sharing, interacting and seeing our posts receive visits from over 80 countries! Thanks everyone, we really appreciate the support and hope that we have helped make your culinary journey and healthy lifestyle easier, tastier and well informed! 🙂

Today we would like to share another great (mostly!) seasonal recipe that’s plant-based and easy to execute! A tasty and seasonal stew that will not only warm your heart and soul, but will help to kick off the year on a fantastic note! #5Aday

It’s a delicious soup that has a lovely natural sweetness from the carrot, swede and fennel and is wholly satisfying! We have suggested the use of plant-based ‘sausages’, but these are completely optional. The soup is tasty and satisfying without them, but those embarking on Veganuary might be keen to sample some processed/ plant-based goodies to help ease their transition. It’s important to note that these types of faux meats are not the gold standard to plant-based eating and/or healthy eating in general; a lot of these products can contain a lot of oil and/or high levels of salt. However, they can be quite tasty and useful in moderation, but we would always recommend trying to make these plant-based goodies yourself.

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2016 and happy cooking everyone! 😀

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • Per serving this soup contains about 5 servings of vegetables towards your 5-A-Day! Now that is truly #eating2health!
  • Butter beans are a great source of nutrients including: Vitamins A, B1, B3, B6, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc (just to name a few!), are naturally low in fat and count towards your 5-A-Day!

 

Tip: If preferred, use a mixture of  ½ volume water, ½ volume stock with some additional fresh or dried herbs instead of using loads of stock!

 

Ingredients

+++++++++12g           Garlic Clove (2 fat ones!)
+++++++++140g        Brown Onion
+++++++++200g       Yellow Bell Pepper
+++++++++400g       Fennel Bulb
+++++++++360g       Carrot
+++++++++1kg           Swede
+++++++++10g          Fresh Rosemary
+++++++++440g       Cooked Butter Beans (approx. 2 tins or 220g dried/cooked variety)
+++++++++1 tbsp      Rapeseed Oil
+++++++++                Salt & Ground Black pepper
+++++++++187ml      White Wine
+++++++++1               Bay Leaf
+++++++++1.4L          Vegetable Stock (low-salt/GF if required)
+++++++++240g       Frozen Green beans, defrosted
+++++++++6-9          Vegan Sausages (*optional)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

 

Directions

Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then finely chop the bell pepper. Wash the fennel, trim the ends, slice it (horizontally) into two halves and then finely chop. Wash, peel, trim the bottom and then chop the swede into cubes. Drain and wash the beans (if applicable). Wash the rosemary, remove the leaves from its stem and then finely chop them. Tip: Check out a previous recipe for some help on preparing your fennel. 

 

 

Wash, peel, trim the ends and then quarter the carrot(s).

 

 

  • Heat 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil in a large, non-stick a frying pan or pot. Tip: Looking for a lower-fat option? Swap the oil for some low-fat cooking oil instead.
  • Add the garlic and onion. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened.
  • Add the bell pepper, fennel and carrot. Stir together. Gently fry for 3-4 mins or until slightly softened.
  • Add the swede.
  • Cover with a lid and gently fry/steam-fry for a final 3-4 mins. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Remove from the heat.
  • Transfer the vegetable mixture into a slow cooker.

 

Add the rosemary, butter beans, wine, bay leaf and stock (and/or water). Stir together. Season it with some black pepper to taste. Cover with a lid. Cook on a low heat setting for 7-8 hrs or on a high setting for 3-4 hrs instead.

 

In the meantime…

Snap the beans into halves and defrost them. Add them to the slow cooker during the last 30mins of cooking. Alternatively, steam and then add them to the slow cooker just before serving.

 

Cook the sausages according to the packet instructions. Allow them to cool and ‘set’. Add them into your soup just before serving (if applicable). Tip: Due to the ingredients in these types of sausages, they will quickly dissolve into your soup’s broth if you add them whilst the soup is still cooking!

 

Ladle the soup into large serving bowls. Add the cooked sausages (if desired); serve with bread if preferred (a friendly warning: this soup is super filling without!). Garnish with some fresh rosemary, parsley or chives if preferred.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftover soup in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively freeze in one or several containers; defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.

Mini Pumpkin Pies W/ Homemade Gluten Free Pastry & Vegan ‘Condensed Milk’!

Healthy Recipes

Yields: 26 mini pies
Serves: 26
Prep:10-15 mins
Chilling: 30-60 mins
Assembly: 30-40 mins (Dependent upon skill and the number of kitchen helpers!)
Baking: 20-23 mins
Type: Dessert
Tools: Food processor, spatula, kitchen film, mixing bowl, muffin tins, palate knife, cooling racks

Notes:

Delicious pumpkin pie! Yes, a sweet dessert pie with a spiced, pumpkin-based custard filling. Although not traditional to the UK, it still can be a great alternative to those that like traditional baked goods (mmm pies!) during the festive season because not everyone is keen on brandy butter, mince pies, Christmas cake, stollen or even chocolate desserts!

We fancied something different this year and saw the ‘always slightly over-priced tin of pumpkin pie filling’ at Tesco; unless you live near a farmers market, it can be tricky to source pumpkins past Halloween, at least in our parts (it’s ridiculous!). We’ve tried adding butternut squash to baked goods before, but feel that it’s just too sweet! By all means, use some freshly cooked pumpkin if you prefer!

Using the brand named tinned pumpkin puree as a ‘rough’ guide, we managed to create the perfect, plant-based ‘mini’ version, complete with homemade, gluten free pastry and vegan ‘condensed milk’. There was minimal added salt, no added eggs or dairy to the filling or pastry and we adjusted the spices and cooking times to suit our baking needs!

Our crust is not too sweet and has a lovely (slightly) flaky crust. The pie filling is only mildly sweetened’, we didn’t add ¾ cup sugar like the tin suggested; per serving each pie has about 3.5g of added sugar! We think that this actually makes them more user friendly, as no one needs and not very one enjoys sickly sweet baked goods. People can a dash of DF cream or vanilla yoghurt if they want a bit more sweetness!

A few good things to note:

  • After experimenting with the ‘condensed milk’, it weighed 420g, but in this case we only needed 340g. Ironically if we had just gone ahead and ‘used the lot’, we would have gotten 26 pies! Of course we have adjusted the recipe for you. 
  • As it was our first time experimenting with this condensed milk, we do not know all of it capabilities. Would it still have worked in the same manor if it wasn’t chilled? Perhaps. Would it have tasted the same and have gone further? More than likely, but unfortunately we don’t have the time, budget or desire to go up three trouser sizes to find out! haha! If someone wants to experiment with this, they can let us know! 🙂
  • If you’re planning on making a standard pie, you’ll need 1½ to 2 times the amount of dough (depending on the size of your dish and/or what type of topping you are creating). If you are using the entire quantity of pie filling, you will need to double the dough; one batch of dough makes a baker’s dozen.
  • The pie crust and filling it fairly easy to assemble. The mini pies will take a bit longer to assemble than a standard pie will, but you can take consolation in the fact that they will spend less time in the oven!
  • After baking, the filling was firm to the touch with a custard-y centre. If you want to try achieving a firmer centre, you could always refrigerate the pre-made pies for 30 mins prior to baking! 
  • It’s been taste tested by two people, both of which could have easily eaten more! 

We hope that everyone enjoys this recipe as much as we did, whether you make a full-on pie or these dainty miniature versions!

We’d also just like to take a moment to say that this is our last recipe before Christmas, but hope that everyone has a lovely holiday period- whatever you might be getting up to!

Eat, drink, be merry and stay safe everyone! 🙂

 

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Prepare the pie crust. If your food processor is only small (like ours!) you will have to create one batch of dough at a time. Place 150g margarine, 1 ½ tbsp fruit sweetener and 30g coconut oil into your food processor. Then add 300g GF flour, ¾ tsp xanthan gum and 1-2g ground cinnamon. Pulse and process until the mixture has combined and has come together.

 

 

2. Use a spatula to scrap down the sides of the processor’s bowl. Carefully remove the blade. Transfer the dough onto three pieces of kitchen film. Shape each portion into a ball. Wrap, seal and then press each ball into a flat disc.

 

 

3.Place the dough into a refrigerator for a minimum of 30 mins to ‘firm up’ and to help make the dough easier to work with. If necessary, repeat the first two steps until you have created another batch of dough. Tip: If you have the time, leave the dough in the fridge for 60 mins; thirty minutes is OK but sixty minutes is even better! 

 

 

4. In the meantime, prepare the pie filling. Clean out your food processor. Place the chilled ‘condensed milk’ into it. Process until it becomes ‘relaxed’ and smooth. Add the baby food pumpkin puree, 1-2 tbsp fruit sweetener (more or less depending on preference), a pinch of salt and 3-4g ground cinnamon, 1-2g ginger, ¼ tsp nutmeg and ¼ tsp cloves. Process until it’s thoroughly combined and uniform in colour. Tip: You might have to use a spatula to occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl to help make sure it’s thoroughly combined!

Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Cover with kitchen film and refrigerate it until you are ready to fill the pie cases.

 

 

5. Grease 1-2 standard muffin tins with a little margarine or rapeseed oil. Depending on your oven and how fast you think you’ll prepare the pie crust, you might want to start preheating the oven to 180ºC/350°F now.

 

 

6. Prepare a clean and floured work surface. Remove one disc of dough from the fridge. Remove and discard the kitchen film. Place it onto the floured surface; knead it a little to slightly ‘relax’ it. Roll it out to a ¼ cm thickness. Cut out a circle shape large enough to cover the top of your muffin tin casing. Place it into the centre of the muffin mould. Gently press it down into the base of the tin. Continue to press and shape it, forming a pie crust that takes up about ¾ of the depth of the muffin mould. Repeat until all of dough has been used. Tip: If the dough tears, just add a little more to patch it up- it’s very forgiving! 

 

 

7. Fill each casing with 1- 1½ (large ‘eating spoonful’s’) of the pie filling. Once you have filled all of the moulds, lift your muffin tin and then gently knock it against your table. Tip: This will help to smooth and release some of the air bubbles in the filling.

 

 

8.Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 10 mins. Increase the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F. Turn the tray around. Bake for a further 10-13 mins, or until the filling and pastry are firm to the touch and the pastry has turned a light, golden colour. Remove. Allow the pies to cool in the tin for 10mins. Remove and place them onto a cooling rack. Tip: We used a palate knife to help remove them. Allow to cool slightly before eating and/or completely before freezing (if applicable).

 

 

9.Serve slightly warmed or at room temperature with a dollop of chestnut, vanilla or cashew cream (or yoghurt), standard store-bought DF cream or a small scoop of a vanilla and cashew-based DF ice cream!

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate the pies in an air-tight and resealable container; serve warm or at room temperature and eat within 4-5 days. Alternatively, individually wrap each pie in kitchen film and/or foil; store in an air-tight and resealable container and freeze; defrost and reheat within 2-6 weeks.

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Healthier Baked & Roasted Christmas Tubers & Roots!

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep: 25-30 mins (Dependant upon skill and/or the number of kitchen helpers!)
Baking/Roasting: ≤45 mins
Type: Side Dish
Tools: 1 Large pot, vegetable peeler, sharp knife, 2 baking trays/tins, parchment paper/kitchen foil

Notes:

Would Christmas be the same without some tasty and easily prepared baked/roasted vege?! Nah! Where authentically roasted potatoes might make it to a lot of UK dining tables this Christmas, we have made some healthier ones that everyone can enjoy; ‘Free From’ with a flavourful twist- perfect!

Instead of roasting our potatoes in two inches of oil or goose fat (bleh- no way!), we have coated them in a delicious dressing of rapeseed oil, garlic salt and rosemary! I mean if you’re going to have some ‘baked’ potatoes on Christmas, they’re going to have to be super tasty; a lovely seasoning, slightly crispy skin and fluffy internal texture. 

As for our parsnips and carrots, they were seasoned with oil and maple syrup, but we are opting for some cheeky apricot and ginger (or perhaps spiced plum!) chutney on the big day! Yes, whole-roasted veggies that have with minimal prep, that can look quite ‘chefy’ on your plate when served and are absolutely sweet and delicious! 

Happy cooking and Happy Holidays everyone! 😀 

 

Ingredients

++++++++++++++1kg            Baby New Potatoes (or your favourite roasting potatoes!)
++++++++++++++600g        Parsnips
++++++++++++++600g        Carrots
++++++++++++++2                Sprigs Rosemary
++++++++++++++2-3 tbsp   Rapeseed Oil
++++++++++++++1 tsp          Garlic Salt
++++++++++++++                  Salt
++++++++++++++                  Ground Black Pepper
++++++++++++++1-2 tbsp    Maple Syrup or Apricot and Ginger or (Spiced Plum!) Chutney

 

Directions

1. Wash and scrub the potatoes. Chop any larger pieces into halves or quarters if necessary. Tip: Having your potatoes roughly the same time will help them cook at the same rate!

2. Place the potatoes into a large pot of cold water over a medium heat. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil. Allow them to cook for 6-8 mins or until just tender. Tip: This is par-boiling, great for cooking ease! 

3. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Line two baking trays/tins with some parchment paper or kitchen foil (if necessary).

4. Wash and peel the parsnips. Wash and scrub the carrots. Wash the rosemary, remove its leaves from its stem and roughly chop them. Tip: Save time and bake your root vegetables whole! 

5. Drain the potatoes in a colander. Allow them to dry (just slightly). Place them into a large mixing bowl. Pour over 1-2 tbsp of oil. Add 1 tsp of garlic salt. Add the rosemary. Season it with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss to coat. Tip: Looking for a really low-fat option? Spray them (and your root vegetables!) with some low-fat cooking oil instead! 

6. Place the potatoes into one of the baking trays/tins in a single layer. Try and leave as much space as possible between them. Tip: Overcrowding your pan will cause your vegetables to steam rather than roast! 

7. Place the parsnips and carrots onto the other baking tray/tin in a single layer. Pour over 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil and 1-2 tbsp of maple syrup (or chutney). Using your hands, rub and coat the vegetables in the oil and syrup (or chutney). Season it with a few grinds of black pepper.

8. Place the potatoes onto the middle oven shelf and the parsnips and carrots onto the shelf below. Bake/roast the potatoes for 30-40 mins, or until cooked through and lightly browned and crispy; turning/tossing at least once. Bake the parsnips and carrots for 40-45 mins or until tender and lightly browned; turn at least once. Remove.

 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftover veggies in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat (if preferred) and consume within 3-4 days.

Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Sambar [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep: ≤35 mins
Cooking Time: 2-3 hours (*On a high S.C setting)
Type: Main meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, two pots, measuring jug, food processor, slow cooker

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar and salt! 

Happy Monday everyone! We hope that you’ve all had a great weekend? We are feeling pretty prepared for the weekend ahead and are really looking forward to enjoying some great food and reconnecting with some faces we haven’t seen in a while! 🙂 

Today we have a delicious and nutritious South Indian lentil and vegetable-based slow cooker curry recipe for you. We’ve been playing with sambar recipes for quite a while now and think that this one is pretty tasty! It’s particularly good for those that love spicy (although not completely paralysing meals) and lighter curries! This is down to the fact that it doesn’t comprise of any heavy sauces (no cream or butter!) or large quantities of added oils; it relies on so many great spices (as hot as preferred), including some tasty tamarind! We’ve used a store-bought tamarind paste this time, but check out this previous curry recipe on how to prepare tamarind pulp! Authentic versions of this curry are prepared with yellow lentils, a sambar powder mix (which has a few varied ingredients than what we have included) and is usually finished off with a tempered spice mix which includes a little more oil (more than we have used) and some curry leaves!  

Quite honestly, this curry feels more like a ‘lentil stew’ than curry, especially if you do not serve it with rice or some type of bread- although we thoroughly recommend that you do! It’s also very versatile, so do not feel that you have to use the same vegetables; baby turnips would make a great, tasty and lower G.I substitute to white potatoes! It’s good to note that the desiccated coconut adds a fair bit of saturated fat to the dish, so please use less of it if you want to make this meal low in fat; to further this point we would also recommend serving this curry with some plain brown basmati or wholemeal rice instead of heavier/oily breads.

As we like to control the quantity of spice used in our cooking, we never really add really hot chillies (like a bird’s eye!) to our dishes, we would rather drizzle over some infused chilli oil or add some chilli flakes just before serving. However, if you are braver than us, try using a hotter chilli and/or chilli powder or more chilli flakes to the curry before cooking!

We hope that you find this to be a tasty and quick alternative to the your current festive dishes on offer and perhaps a great recipe to have on stand-by for any post-Christmas parties or delicious New Year meals ahead!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

 

Directions

Peel and dice the garlic and onion. Wash, remove the stem and dice the chilli. Wash the lentils in a sieve and then remove any seeds or stones.

 

 

Place a large non-stick pot with 450ml water over a medium heat. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil. Add the garlic, onion, chilli, lentils, 3g curry powder and ½ tsp salt. Stir together. Cover with the lid. Simmer and cook for 15-20 mins or until the lentils are tender. Remove from the heat.

 

 

In the meantime, heat a separate non-stick pot or frying pan over a medium heat and get your curry paste spices and desiccated coconut ready. When the pot becomes hot, add the spices and coconut. Dry fry this mixture for about 1-2 mins or until the coconut is lightly toasted.

 

 

Transfer the mixture into a food processor. Processor until the mixture becomes fine and grainy. Whilst the food processor is still running, add 1 tbsp of oil and 1 cup of water. Process until the ingredients are thoroughly combined, forming a paste. Leave for the moment. Tip: This is your curry paste!

 

 

Wash, peel, trim the ends and dice the carrot. Wash, remove the stem and core and then dice the bell pepper. Wash, peel and cube the potato. Wash, remove the stem (if applicable) and then quarter the tomatoes. Place 20-25g tamarind paste into a measuring jug with 5 tbsp of water. Mix to dissolve.

 

 

Place the carrot, bell pepper and potatoes into a slow cooker. Add the lentil mixture, curry paste and tamarind mixture. Stir and thoroughly combine. Top with the tomatoes. Slightly press and submerge them into the liquid. Cover with a lid. Cook on a high heat setting for 2-3 hours. NB: Ours took 2.5hrs to cook! 

 

 

Snap the beans into halves and then defrost them. Add the beans to the slow cooker during the last 30 mins of cooking. Alternatively, steam and stir them through the curry just before serving.

 

 

Serve with brown basmati rice, wholegrain pitta,  flatbread or a dosa. Garnish with a slice of lime, chilli infused oil (chilli flakes steeped in 1-2 tsp of rapeseed oil!) and/or fresh coriander leaves (if preferred!). 🙂

 

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

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! 

Vegan Bread Stuffing

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6-8
Prep: 20-30 mins (Dependent upon skill and/or the number of kitchen helpers!)
Cooking: 40 mins
Type: Side Dish
Tools: Pot, mixing bowl, a large baking tray/tin or casserole dish, aluminium foil

Notes:

We hope that all of your festive planning is finally coming together? If you’re still deciding on some simple, tasty or perhaps traditional Christmas side dishes, check out or Vegan Bread Stuffing! It’s a ‘healthier’ holiday ‘comfort food’- one that is modernised, easy, cheap, simple and that everyone can enjoy!

My original recipe came from my mother; I had no idea how ‘old fashioned’ and/or popular this recipe was until I did a cursory search! I took the original and made a few tweaks including: adding more vegetables and herbs, making sure it was completely plant-based and of course using less oil/fats! 

Typically this stuffing would end up stuffed inside a turkey, but not in this case! It’s a deliciously seasoned and toasted mixture of bread and veggies that goes great with a tofu loaf, mushroom gravy and roasted Brussels sprouts!  😛

If you are after a GF version, swap standard bread for some GF bread or bread rolls instead. Just bear in mind that as GF bread tends to be smaller, you might need to use a bit more of it and/or a little less stock or water in the preparation and baking stages.

If preferred (or if you have them to hand), use all fresh herbs instead! Also, we think that the addition of apple and/or toasted walnuts (or pecans) would also go down a treat! 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

++++++++++12                Slices Stale Bread
++++++++++1                  Garlic Clove (a fat one!)
++++++++++1                  Brown Onion (or 2 banana shallots)
++++++++++2                 Bell Peppers (Red & Yellow)
++++++++++5                 Sticks Celery
++++++++++3                 Medium Carrots
++++++++++1                  Sprig Fresh Rosemary
++++++++++5-6 tbsp    Rapeseed Oil
++++++++++                   Salt & Ground Black Pepper
++++++++++10 tbsp       Vegetable stock (low-salt) or Cold Water (approx. 3/4 cup)
++++++++++2g                Dried Sage
++++++++++2g                Dried Thyme
++++++++++¼ tsp          Asafoetida (or onion powder)
++++++++++5g               Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (*optional)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Chop the bread into 1″ cubes (or smaller if preferred) and set aside. Tip: If your bread isn’t quite stale enough, toast it in a toaster on the lowest heat setting for about one minute.

2. Peel and dice the garlic. Peel and finely chop the onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then finely chop the bell peppers. Wash, trim the ends and then finely chop the celery. Wash, peel, trim the ends and finely chop the carrot. Wash the rosemary, remove the leaves from its stem and roughly chop them.

3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Get out a large baking tray, tin or casserole dish; line with foil or parchment paper (if necessary). NB: We used a casserole dish!

4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil (or spray some low-fat cooking oil instead) in a large, non-stick pot over a medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened. Add the bell pepper, celery and carrot. Gently fry for a further 3-4 mins of until just softened. Remove from the heat. Season it with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Tip: If preferred, you could ‘steam-fry’ the vegetables instead at this stage!

5. If you are using vegetable stock, prepare it now.

6. Place the bread into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle over 2g dried sage, 2g dried thyme and ¼ tsp of asafoetida (or onion powder). Season it with ¼ tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss together (with your hands or salad tongs) to thoroughly coat. Pour over 7 tbsp of the stock (or water). Tip: If you are not using stock, make sure to season it with a little more salt and pepper instead and if you are using fresh herbs, the more the merrier!

7. Add the fried vegetable mixture into the mixing bowl. Drizzle over 3-4 tbsp of rapeseed oil. Toss to thoroughly coat and combine.

8. Transfer evenly into your baking tray, tin or casserole dish. Sprinkle over the rosemary. Cover with a sheet of aluminium foil. Place into the oven and bake for 25 mins.

9. Remove from the oven and discard the foil. Drizzle over the remaining stock (3 tbsp) and add an additional 1-2 tsp of oil (if preferred). Toss and coat. Place back into the oven. Bake the stuffing for an additional 15 mins or until the top is lightly browned and crispy. Remove. Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley leaves (if desired).

10. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container. Reheat and consume within 3 days. NB: Best reheated under a grill or on a low heat setting in the oven; microwaving it will make the bread soggy!

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Medley [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep: 10-15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Type: Side Dish
Tools: Sharp knife, chopping board, baking tray, colander, cheese grater

Notes:

Are you a Brussels sprouts lover or hater?!

For us, Christmas just wouldn’t feel the same without them! So if you’re looking to give them another try or are just in need of a different (and easy!) recipe this year, than look no further! Get your knives and forks ready for some roasted Brussels sprouts with a twist!

We took a lovely bunch of festive flavours and ingredients to produce a seriously tasty and wholesome mix of roasted veggies! Yes, delicious British sprouts, which, let’s be honest, always taste sensational when slow roasted with a little oil and seasoning anyways, become part of an infusion of great flavours in this vegetable medley; apples, chestnuts, shallots and stem ginger- the foundations of this delicious dish! 

The result is beautifully roasted veggies with flavours that work in perfect harmony; a caramelised and creamy vegetable medley that could easily convert anyone into a sprout lover!

We loved it; a great combination of flavours, textures and overall satisfaction! The only modifications we’ll make during the festive season is to add a little more ginger- not because we didn’t include enough the first time around, but simply because we cannot get enough of it! 

So if you need a tasty side dish, than we’d suggest you give our Brussels sprouts a try! Impress your family and non-vegan friends; let face it, who really needs a ‘festive bird’ on the table when even your side dishes are this tasty?!  #veganchristmasrecipes  

 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++500-600g   Brussels Sprouts
+++++++++++++++++400-500g   Braeburn (or cooking) Apples
+++++++++++++++++320g             Banana Shallots
+++++++++++++++++1                    Garlic Clove
+++++++++++++++++1                    Clementine (juice and zest)
+++++++++++++++++50g               Stem Ginger (in syrup)
+++++++++++++++++2-3 tbsp       Rapeseed Oil
+++++++++++++++++2 tsp             Ginger syrup
+++++++++++++++++                      Salt & Ground Black Pepper
+++++++++++++++++60g               Walnuts (*optional)
+++++++++++++++++200g             Roasted Chestnuts, peeled
+++++++++++++++++                      Flat Leaf Parsley (*optional)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºF/400ºF. Get out a large baking tray (or roasting tin).

2. Soak and wash the sprouts. If preferred, remove any soiled outer leaves.

3. Wash, remove the core and then chop the apples into wedges.

4. Peel and roughly chop the shallots into ‘chunky’ pieces.

5. Peel and finely dice the garlic.

6. Wash the clementine, grate some zest and then juice it.

7. Remove some ginger from its syrup and finely chop it. NB: We used two small pieces.

8. Place the sprouts, apple, shallot and garlic onto the baking tray. Drizzle over the oil. Toss to coat.

9. Pour over the juice and 2 tsp ginger syrup (from the bottle of ginger). Sprinkle over a little zest (if preferred). Season it with a little salt and a few grind of black pepper to taste. Place it into the oven and roast for 30 mins, tossing the mixture at least once. Remove.

10. In the meantime, toast some walnuts in a dry frying pan (until lightly golden) and then roughly chop them (if applicable). Roughly chop the roasted (and peeled) chestnuts. Wash the parsley, remove its leaves from the stems and roughly chop them (if using).

11. Before serving, garnish with the walnuts, parsley, zest (if using) and the chestnuts. Tip: If you have any spare ‘orange zest’, or dried cranberries, sprinkle them over (just before serving) to provide an extra pop of colour and festive finish! 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat (if preferred) and consume within 3 days.

Mushroom Gravy (Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2 or 4 (small servings)
Yields: 600ml
Prep: 35 mins
Cooking: ≤5 mins

Notes:

This delicious mushroom-based gravy comes from the Eat2Health kitchen just in time for Christmas, but it’s perfect for any holiday or meal that requires gravy! It’s plant-based, gluten free, takes minimum effort to prepare (yep, super easy folks!) and provides maximum taste satisfaction! 

The delicate porcini mushrooms give a lovely meaty texture, whilst the potato starch helps to make it velvety smooth! The combination of the mushroom stock, rosemary, garlic and soya sauce all goes towards producing a gravy that has many deep, savoury and wholesome flavours! It’s perfect for drowning your potatoes, or covering some delicious legume or pulse-based sausages, burgers, meatballs or ‘loaves’!

We found the ‘thickness’ of the gravy to be just right; even after spending a night in the refrigerator it was not too gelatinous! However, if you prefer a thinner gravy, just add a little less starch. Also, if you feel it is too thick the next day, just add a splash of water and then reheat; make sure to reheat this gravy in a non-stick pot over a low heat (or in a microwave for minimal time) until hot- but do not allow it to boil! 

For cooking ease, prepare this a day in advance! The flavours will be just as delicious (if not more so) the next day!

Happy cooking everyone and stayed tuned for more tasty, festive recipes! 😀

 

 

Ingredients

++++++++++++++++++++600ml    Cold Water
++++++++++++++++++++2 Sprigs  Fresh Rosemary (4g)
++++++++++++++++++++1               Vegetable Stock Pot or Vegetable Stock Powder
++++++++++++++++++++1 tbsp      Soya Sauce (low-salt or use Tamari for GF)
++++++++++++++++++++                Ground Black Pepper
++++++++++++++++++++20g         Dried Porcini Mushrooms
++++++++++++++++++++5g            Garlic Clove (1 fat one!)
++++++++++++++++++++3 tbsp     Potato Starch
++++++++++++++++++++1 Tbsp     Rapeseed Oil

 

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Boil 600ml water in a kettle.

2. Meanwhile, wash the rosemary, remove the leaves and then roughly chop them.

3. Place the rosemary, stock pot (or powder), soya (or tamari) sauce and freshly boiled water into a measuring jug. Add a few grinds of ground black pepper. Whisk to dissolve the stock. Add the mushrooms. Stir to combine. Allow the mixture to sit 30 mins so the mushrooms can rehydrate, the flavours meld and the rosemary can soften.

 

 

4. In the meantime, peel and finely dice the garlic. Place the starch into a small bowl (or dish) with equal parts cold water. Whisk with a fork to dissolve. Tip: You have just created a ‘slurry’!

 

5. Once the mushrooms have rehydrated, remove them with a slotted spoon, and transfer into a separate dish. Gently cut up the larger pieces with some kitchen scissors.

 

 

 

6. Re-whisk the ‘slurry’. Whilst stirring the broth, pour the slurry into the measuring jug. Whisk until combined.

 

As much as I like to multi-task, I cannot whisk whilst taking a photo! 😛

 

 

7. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a non-stick pot over a medium low heat. When hot, add the garlic and mushrooms. Gently fry the mixture for about 1 min. Pour in the broth whilst continuously whisking. Keep whisking until the gravy has thickened. Remove from the heat. Taste and season it as necessary. Tip: The gravy will not take long to thicken (only about a minute); at the end the gravy will have a gorgeous sheen! 🙂

 

 

 

8. Serve warm. Ladle over your roasted vegetables, mashed potato and many other plant-based goodies you intend to have during this festive period, and all of the delicious meals you have lined up in the New Year ahead!

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftover gravy in an airtight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 2-3 days. Alternatively pour the (cooled) gravy into an air-tight and releasable container or freezer baggie; defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months

 

Meatless Monday: Baked Tofu Loaf #VeganChristmasRecipes

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 6-8
Prep & Cooking Time: 70 mins
Cooling: 45-60 mins
Tools: Food Processor, 9″ Spring Form Tin, Mixing Bowl

Notes:

Hey everyone! Did you have a great weekend?? As we approach mid-December, doesn’t it just feel like one giant memory game of recalling all of the mundane errands, cleaning and end of year tasks you still have to do… including some seasonal meal prep?! :/

With only twelve days to Christmas, most people probably will have some idea of what they will be cooking. We had a chin scratch a few weeks back and knew that we wanted something a little ‘different’ from last year’s menu. We happened to come across the quirky ‘Tofurky’ that is making an appearance around cyberspace… have you seen it? It has a jaw-dropping effect, but not because it looks like the most delicious piece of faux meat you have ever laid your eyes on. No, it’s ridiculously expensive! Tofurky, No ‘fanky’! At £35 for a stuffed tofu log, (yeah that’s a lot of money for fermented beans and rice right?!), we never even gave it a second thought. I don’t even think that we’ve even paid that much money for meat (back in the day!) let alone tofu… but it did get our creative juices flowing!

We trialled a couple recipes, one being a pie (it was epic!), but have decided on this lovely and simple baked tofu loaf; our goal was to nestle it next to some tasty trimmings and then top it all off with a delicious gravy- which we did! The loaf is healthy (but that’s a given!), a little time consuming but not difficult… and we think that this is the most important thing here. Christmas dinner shouldn’t take you ten minutes to cook, but nor should it be overly expensive, contain five thousand calories or require the skills and planning of a Michelin star chef and his team! It should encompass great food and conversation, enjoyed with the people that you love… which won’t happen if you have to spend most of the day in the kitchen! In fact, for complete cooking ease, you could make this loaf a couple of days in advance and reheat it on Christmas day! The only negative point about this recipe is that you need a food processor or perhaps a hand-held stick blender as the tofu needs to be silky smooth!

It’s important to note that this recipe has fourteen staple ingredients, which may sound like a lot but it isn’t! We haven’t listed fourteen spices and/or ingredients that are only sourced at health food shops! These ingredients are not too obscure or expensive (relatively) and together they help to form the foundations of this round tofu loaf! Ultimately the additional seasonings and flavours are up to you! As tofu goes, it always needs seasoning and as you won’t be marinating it, you’ll need to decide on a few key flavours that you enjoy. We were happy with the ones that we used, but have highlighted (below) on how we will be adapting some of them on Christmas day! We have listed numerous suggestions for you to try- make it great! One suggestion is ‘just think big’; a half teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon of dried herbs won’t cut it! You need to increase your portions to carry the flavour all of the way through!

Continue to watch this space! Throughout the week we’ll be posting our tasty sides and sauces to help make a well-rounded and delicious plant-based Christmas that everyone can enjoy!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Tip: When frying, try adding a splash of white white to your veggies for another depth of flavour!

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions
  1. Drain and press the tofu between two heavy plates or chopping boards for 30 mins to express any excess water.

 

2. In the meantime, wash the quinoa in a sieve under cold running water for 30 seconds to help remove some of its bitterness and then cook it according to the packet instructions. NB: Ours took 15-20 mins to cook.

 

3. If applicable, create some breadcrumbs. Tip: We toasted some delicious chia and soya-based bread and then created some in our food processor!

 

4. Meanwhile, peel and dice the garlic. Wash, trim the ends and finely slice the spring onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then dice the bell pepper. Wash, peel, trim the ends and then finely grate the carrot. Wash, trim the ends and then dice the celery.

No celery pictured here- sorry!

 

 

5. Heat 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil a non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat (or spray it with some low-fat cooking oil). Add the garlic, spring onion, bell pepper, carrot and celery. Gently fry for 3 mins or until softened. Remove from the heat.

 

 

6. Heat oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Lightly grease a 9″ spring-form baking pan with some oil or margarine.

 

 

7. Prepare the ‘flax eggs’. Place 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed into a small bowl with 6 tbsp of water. Mix together. Leave for 5 mins to set. Next, wash the sage and thyme, remove the leaves from its stem and then roughly chop them. Wash and dice the chives.

 

 

8. Meanwhile, drain off the excess water from the tofu. Pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Crumble it into a food processor. Add 2 tbsp of DF milk. Process until the tofu becomes smooth and ‘mousse-y’.

 

 

9. Assemble the loaf!

Step 1: Transfer the tofu mixture into a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Add the flax eggs, fresh herbs, cream cheese and your desired seasoning & flavourings!
Step 3: Mix until thoroughly combined.
Step 4: Add the vegetable mixture. Fold it through with a spatula. Taste and season it as necessary.
Step 5: Add the breadcrumbs (flour or stuffing mixture!) and the cooked quinoa (or rice).
Step 6: Fold it through and thoroughly combine.

 

 

10. Transfer the tofu mixture into the greased tin. Use a spatula or some grease proof paper to help press the mixture snugly into the base of the tin and flatten the surface as much as possible. Tip: The mixture will be a bit sticky, but just lightly flour your hands if necessary!

 

 

11. Place it onto the middle oven shelf and bake for 40-45 mins or until it’s’ lightly browned, firm to touch and the edges are slightly coming away from the tin!

 

 

12. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool in the tin on a cooling rack for 45- 60 mins. It stays warm for a very long time so you have plenty of time to prepare your side dishes and/or gravy! NB: In our trial run we were able to roast some tasty sides and prepare a sauce in that time it took to cook and set. 🙂

 

 

…Whilst your waiting for your tofu to bake, check out our first ‘Christmas meal attempt’! Alex wanted me to to post it (haha)! It’s a shame I didn’t take a picture when Alex first laid eyes on it- priceless! It’s was a monster (12×9″); it certainly ain’t no ‘pixie pie’!

It reminds me of something that would be on the table if #AdamRichman ever came to our house! baha! This pie ended up in the reject pile, not because it tasted horrible (it had three layers of tasty ingredients!), but because it was a tad too fiddly…at least for Christmas dinner. The inspiration came from the combination of an encroute and coulibiac! It’s the perfect example of what you can accomplish when you set your mind to something! If anyone wants the recipe, just send us a message. If we get enough interest we might turn it into a post, not that we are condoning pie-eating on a regular basis (everything in moderation right?!), but we have a long winter ahead (wink, wink)! 

 

Now for the baked and cooled loaf…

 

Garnish it with anything and everything Christmassy and enjoy with numerous tasty sides!

 

Enjoy!

 

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

Mince Pies [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 16 -26 (*Dependant on the pastry.)
Prep & Chilling Time: 40-45 mins
Cooking:15-16 mins
Type: Dessert
Tools: Manual juicer, grater, food processor, kitchen scale, measuring jug, silicone spatula, kitchen film, pot w/lid, wooden spoon, rolling pin, muffin tins, cooling rack

Notes

Here’s another great Christmas recipe that you can make in advance- mince pies! Tick them off your holiday check-list early this year; bake, freeze, defrost and reheat them over the xmas holidays! In fact, they might even last a tad bit longer; they take about thirty minutes to defrost, so that may help to defer all the ‘little elves’ from munching through them so quickly!

When we make ours, we always create our own shortcrust pastry, especially with ground almonds and almond extract (so delicious!), but we’ve never taken the time to make the filling, silly eh? We always succumb to the convenience of prefabricated jars of mincemeat which are just far too sweet and always make you regret eating it! So this year we stopped being silly and made our own; if we only knew how easy it was we would have started this tradition ages ago! 

With the aim of reducing the overall ‘added sugar’ content in these beauties, we opted to omit the sugar from the pastry completely…and keeping with the Christmas theme, substituted it with an orange juice mixture. However, we have added sugar to the list of ingredients, so the choice is yours. Our pastry uses standard vegan margarine; if you are after a flakier/gluten free pastry, try using come vegetable shortening/fat (as you’ll need about twenty percent less than margarine), a mixture of both or even some odourless coconut oil, but just be mindful of the saturated fat!

Our filling, well it’s quite red, but that because there is a lot of cranberries! You can use less and/or substitute for another fruit(s) (cherries and red currents would be nice), or more dried fruit instead. The great thing about using cranberries is that they are relatively cheap and help to offset some of the sweetness of the dried fruit and sugars!

We have tried to mimic our favourite Christmas-y/brand name mince pie flavours; the wine was added on a whim as we were originally going to add juice (you can thank the supermarket sales for that gem!). If you don’t fancy wine, try substituting it for some fresh orange, apple  or pomegranate juice, plain water, or dietary preferences depending, mulled wine, brandy and/or port- just adjust the quantities to your own personal taste and potency! 

*One top thing to note is that our filling makes enough for about twenty-six pies (the cooked weight yields 700g!), but our pastry only stretches into sixteen! So you can: increase the pastry mixture, slightly reduce the filling mixture or save and bottle the remaining mince pie filling in a sterilised bottle. 

Overall these little pies were lovely and nothing quite beats making your homemade shortcrust pastry and filling! If you’re a fan of these delicious morsels, you should really try giving it a whirl! It’s time consuming (well a little), but not too difficult. Just crank up the festive tunes and imagine how good your house will smell with the aroma of fresh, buttery, hot out of the oven shortcrust pastry and wafts of spiced and boozy fruit! Delicious!

Make sure to keep watching this space for more delicious/festive recipes next week! 

Have a great weekend and happy baking everyone! 😀

 

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here 🙂

 

Directions

Wash the orange, grate the zest and then juice it (reserve the zest for the filling later on). Place the juice, almond extract, ¼ tsp salt and 2 tsp of unrefined cane sugar (if desired) into a large measuring jug. Mix together, dissolving the salt and sugar.

Place the margarine, flour, ground almonds and xanthan gum into a food processor (or large mixing bowl if you do not own one). Pulse until the texture is similar to fine breadcrumbs and comes together. Tip: Alternatively mix the mixture with your hands or a large fork until the same texture is produced. Pour the orange juice mixture into the food processor. Process until combined; the mixture will be quite chunky, but not dry (if yours is dry add 1-2 tsp of cold water). Tip: You will have to use a spatula to help remove some of the mixture from the sides of the container as you process it, back down into the centre as it has a tendency to ‘bunch up’.

 

 

Transfer the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide it into three portions. Roll into balls. Place each ball onto a sheet of kitchen film; wrap and seal. Flatten each ball into a disc. Transfer into the fridge and refrigerate for 30 mins. Tip: Refrigerating the dough will help make it ‘firmer’ and easier to work with. 

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the filling. Wash the cranberries in a colander. Wash, peel, remove the core and then dice the apple. Juice the satsuma.

 

Next, place a non-stick pot over a medium-low heat. Add the wine and sugar. Stir together. It will start to simmer quite quickly, when this happens add the cranberries, apple, satsuma juice, dried fruit, orange zest, spices, sweetener, vanilla paste and almond (or lemon) extract into the pot. Stir to thoroughly combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid. Cook for 20 mins, allowing the flavours to meld, the cranberries to burst and soften and the mixture to slightly thicken. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Leave the lid ajar and allow it to cool.

 

 

Meanwhile, grease or line a mince pie or standard muffin tin with a little oil or margarine or a liner. On a clean, floured surface place one disc of pastry (leave the remaining pastry in the fridge until you are ready to use it). Gently knead and soften it with your hands for a minute. Roll it out to a ¼ cm thickness. Use a small tumbler or something suitable for the size of your tin to stamp out 16 discs. Tip: Measure the top of your tin with a small glass to make sure it is not too big or too small; it should be roughly the same size as the tin.

Gently press each pastry disc between your fingers (slightly stretching it) before placing it into the base of the tin. Gently press and shape it into the base. Tip: Use a little pastry to patch up any tears of holes that might appear (this is OK!). Repeat until all sixteen discs have been placed.

 

Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Roll out the remaining dough to a 1/8cm thickness and then cut out the shapes to top your pies- we opted for modern stars!

 

Fill ease pie case with  about 1 heaped dessert teaspoon of pie filling. Place the top shape over the filling. Gently press and seal the edges. Tip: If you are completely covering the top of your pies, pierce it with a fork a few times to allow the steam to escape whilst it’s baking!

Some of these are overfilled! We had to scoop a little out to make sure the lids attached!

 

 

We baked the remainder in this silicone muffin case; we wouldn’t recommend it as they do not bake as well!

 

 

Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 12-16 mins or until lightly browned around the edges and firm. Remove and transfer onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly before eating. NB: We cooked ours for 18 mins- but this was too long (the pastry was a little hard… but it’s nothing that a little oat cream won’t fix)! We’ll try 13-15 mins next time and then leave the pies in the tins for 3-5 mins once they’re removed from the oven.

Enjoy!

 

Store in an air-tight and resealable container and consume within one week. Alternatively, wrap and store them in an air-tight and resealable container; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

 

Nutritional Info (approx. per pie w/o sugar added to the pastry):
175kcal, 1.7g protein, 24.5g CHO, 8g Sugar, 7.2g Fat, 1.3g S/fat, 1.2g Fibre, 0.3g Salt
**Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Gingerbread Men [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Yields: 36-38 cookies*
Serves: 30
Prep: 10 mins
Chilling Time: 45 mins- overnight
Cooking Time: 7-13 mins
Type: Dessert
Tools: Small dish and fork, food processor, silicone spatula, large mixing bowl, wooden spoon, kitchen film, baking trays, parchment paper, rolling pin, cookie cutters, cooling racks

Notes

Christmas doesn’t need to be complicated, especially when it comes to enjoying some free from goodies! So we’ve gone and created a simple and tasty gingerbread recipe (vegan & gluten free) that anyone can throw together with ease!

Perfectly ginger and fantastic for those that love a one-bowl recipe! Well, technically it’s two bowls (or one bowl and a food processor!); we’ve advised to premix the dry ingredients (separately) to ensure everything is thoroughly combined; no nasty lumps of baking soda please! 

The dough is great for ‘cookie-cutter cookies’ and is best suited for cookies ¼ cm thick; if you roll the dough out thicker or thinner, adjust the baking times accordingly! *We managed to roll and stamp out: two large cookies, seventeen medium cookies and fifteen small ones! 🙂

It’s good to note that a quarter of the dough makes about eight to ten cookies and you shouldn’t need more than three baking trays to bake them. We’d recommend baking them for slightly longer if you prefer a harder/crisper cookie (we baked ours for eight minutes) and to place a dish of water at the base of your oven to prevent the top surfaces of your cookies from extreme cracking! This is a tip that we acquired last year after producing some really ugly cookies (haha)! One last nugget of baking wisdom- everyone should listen to some Christmas music whilst making these! #neverbakeinabadmood (…Your cookies will taste terrible!) 

Watch this space as we’ll be providing you with a few more Christmas recipes over the next week!

Happy baking everyone! 😀

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Prepare the ‘flax eggs’! Place 16g flaxseed and 6 tbsp of water into a small dish or bowl. Stir to combine. Leave to rest for 5mins.

Very gelatinous after 5 mins!

 

 

  • Meanwhile, place the margarine and sugar into a food processor (or use a mixing bowl if you do not own one). Cream together; pulse the food processor or (if using the traditional method) use a large wooden spoon or spatula. Add the date syrup, cream and vanilla paste. Process (or mix) until combined. Tip: the mixture might look curdled, especially if your margarine is not as room temperature, but this is OK!
  • Add the flax eggs into the food processors pour spout whilst it’s still running. Process until combined.

 

 

Place the flour, ground almonds, baking soda and powder, xanthan gum, ground ginger, cinnamon cloves and nutmeg into a separate mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Mix until thoroughly combined.

 

 

  • Spoon in the flour mixture into the food processor’s pouring spout (with the machine still running), a little at a time until the mixture comes together and is thoroughly combined.
  • Carefully remove and transfer the dough onto a sheet of kitchen film. Wrap and seal. Place into the fridge and refrigerate for 45 mins (or overnight if preferred). Tip: the dough will ‘firm up’ and is easier to use once refrigerated. 

 

 

When you are ready to roll and cut out the cookies, preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.  Line 2-3 baking trays with a sheet of parchment paper.

 

On a clean, floured surface, place 1/4 of the dough. Re-wrap the remaining dough and place it back into the fridge to help stop it from drying out. Knead the dough slightly and then gently roll it out until its ¼ cm thick. Cut out your gingerbread men or any preferred shapes! Tip: use a palate or large knife to gently loosen any ‘stuck’ pieces of dough from your counter surface.

 

 

Transfer the shapes onto the baking trays leaving at least a 1 cm gap in between the cookies. Tip: If you have thick and thin cookies, try to keep them on two separate trays to have cooking ease! Place the trays onto the middle and lower oven shelves. Bake for 7- 13 mins, depending upon on how hard you want your cookies! Tip: Place a large-ish oven proof dish with water at the bottom of your oven just before baking to help prevent the top surface of your cookies from cracking!

 

 

Remove the trays from the oven. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking trays for 5 mins (they will continue to ‘firm up’). Transfer onto cooling racks. Allow to cool for further 10 mins before eating; they will continue to firm up as they cool.

 

Enjoy!

 

Store the cookies in an air-tight and resealable container and consume within 5-7 days. Alternatively wrap in some kitchen film and freeze in an air-tight and resealable kitchen ‘baggie’ or plastic container; defrost and consume within 4-6 wks.

 

Nutritional info/(approx. for 30 servings): 97 Kcal, 1.2g Protein, 15g CHO, 5.3g sugar, 3.6g Fat, 0.7g S/Fat, 0.1g Salt
NB: 1 Serving is approx: 2 small cookies, 1 medium or 1/2 a large.

 

**Recipe updated: 19/02/16