Tomato ‘Mascarpone’ Pasta

Before I turned plant based, I loved creamy pastas. On the top of my list was tomato & mascarpone and a spaghetti carbonara. YUM. Since turning plant based I’ve eaten a lot of brown rice pasta with vegetables or pesto but since it’s turned cold I’ve really been craving something creamy, a bit heavier and more filling.

I decided to try and create a ‘cheesy’ vegan pasta dish and I’m so happy with how this recipe turned out. Both my husband and son will eat it too, so it’s a winner all round really!

IMG_2347Tomato Mascarpone Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 butternut squash, chopped
  • 40 baby pomodorino tomatoes, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 chopped white onion
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 cup soaked cashew nuts (6 hours in cold water or 1 hour in boiled water)
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 cup plant mylk (unsweetened)
  • juice from 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon
  • your favourite pasta

Recipe:

  • Bake the butternut squash with half the chopped tomatoes in olive oil until soft. Roughly 30 minutes at 180c in a fan assisted oven. I recommend sprinkling mixed herbs on the vegetables before they go in to be backed for extra flavour.
  • Whilst this is in the oven make your cashew cream by blending the soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic granules, plant mylk and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Once the butternut squash and tomatoes are finished cooking, leave to cool and then blend to form a puree.
  • Sauté the chopped onion and garlic in some olive oil until translucent.
  • Add 20 baby chopped tomatoes and sauté until softened.
  • Add a cup of stock and tablespoon of tomato puree and simmer for five minutes.
  • Add the butternut & tomato puree and bring to the boil and simmer.
  • Add between 4-10 tablespoons of the cashew cream. Taste as you go along to see how creamy you’d like it to be.
  • The sauce is ready. Serve with pasta and stir in some greens, like cavolo nero or spinach.

 

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Sweet potato & spinach Dhal

Let me start by saying that if you’re not a big fan of Dhal I wouldn’t write this recipe off. It’s been a real winner in our family and seems to be a bit of a people pleaser. I had my Dad and brother over for dinner this week &, even as big meat eaters, they loved the Dhal too. I got this recipe from my coffee guy who raved about it – and I can see why.
This recipe is fab. It’s made using red lentils which don’t take long to cook so it is quick and easy. You make your own masala paste which I think gives this dish a real burst of flavour as opposed to buying a ready made sauce.

I’m also a fan because you can double the quantities of everything to batch cook if you need something to stick in the fridge. Wham, bam and you’ve got something ready to go and easy to heat up during the week if you don’t feel like cooking or are super busy.

Finally, it’s a real pleaser for me because it’s perfect to eat in a BOWL. I LOVE BOWL FOOD! Am I the only one?!

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Check out the recipe below & if you make it let me know what you think 🙂

Ingredients:

For the Masala paste:

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds

2 cm fresh ginger, cut into thin slices

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons garam masala

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

2 tablespoons tomato puree

For the dhal

Coconut oil for frying

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 tablespoons masala paste (see above)

3/4 cup of chopped tomatoes

600ml coconut milk

1/3 cup red lentils

1 sweet potato, chopped into small cubes

1 cup of spinach

Recipe:

To begin, start by making the masala paste. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a frying pan until they smell. Grind them down using a pestle and mortar.

Tip the seeds into a food processor adding the ginger, chilli flakes, paprika, garam masala, coconut oil and tomato puree. Pulse until a smooth paste forms. You may wish to add a couple of tablespoons of water to help this along. That’s your masala paste ready to go.

Next hear a large pot with the coconut oil. Add the onions and garlic, cooking them for about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the masala paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add the chopped tomatoes, sweet potato and coconut milk and stir everything together.

At this point you can taste the sauce and if you’d like to add more flavour add a little more masala paste if needed. Bring the pot to the boil. Add the lentils and then reduce the heat so that the mixture is gently simmering away.

Give the curry a stir every five minutes or so. Cook until the lentils are tender – this is normally about 25-30 minutes. Once they are ready remove them from the heat and fold in the spinach and you’re ready to go! Enjoy 🙂 xoxo

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Parsnip Fries with Red Pepper Hummus

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted. I haven’t had a chance to cook anything new & exciting with a poorly baby at home. But on Mothering Sunday, with my husband at home to help out a little, I managed to get into the kitchen and try something new. I LOVE being in the kitchen and cooking; I find it very relaxing and therapeutic.
This week I received a giant parsnip in my Abel & Cole box (it was almost 45cm long!) I wanted some inspiration as to how I could eat it. I have this great cookbook called The Love & Lemons Cookbook. It’s great for vegetable dish ideas; running from A through to Z. I turned to P for Parsnip and it certainly didn’t disappoint. One of the recipes for parsnip was for parsnip fries with red pepper hummus. I’ve never made my own hummus before – I eat half a pot almost daily – but I’ve always wanted to try make it. Here’s the recipe below (the images):

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Ingredients:

  • A few parsnips (roughly 0.5kgs)
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Chopped parsley for dressing
  • 1 & 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper for tasting

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 180c. Slice the parsnips into strips – similar shape to fries. Place on a try and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for roughly 40 minutes and turn half way through.

Whilst the parsnips are roasting chop the red pepper and place in the oven for 10 minutes to cook. Once the pepper is cooked place the chickpeas, garlic clove, lemon juice, red pepper, toasted almonds, paprika and olive oil into a blender and whizz up. Blend until it reaches a smooth consistency but if you would like it even smoother you can add up to 3 tablespoons of warm water. Pop it into the fridge to cool whilst you wait for the parsnips to finish.

Remove the parsnips from the oven and toss with the chopped parsley and a little salt for flavour, if you so wish. I recommend serving the parsnip fries whilst they are warm with the hummus.

This dish is a great for a healthy snack when entertaining or I have it as an accompaniment to a salad for lunch ❤

 

Vegan Coconut Banana Bread

This week has been chaotic. My little boy has had horrible gastroenteritis and when they’re sick it means there isn’t much time to do anything other than comfort and look after them. As I write this blog post, Phoenix’s head is fast asleep on my lap as he takes a nap.
I made this bread on Tuesday to snack on whilst at home but also because I thought it would be something fresh and easy to eat if Phoenix fancied a nibble on something. I’ve made this recipe before but previously I’ve used other ingredients such as eggs, cardamom and lemon rind. I wanted to make a coconut bread that was vegan but also without the strong flavours of cardamom and lemon so that Phoenix could enjoy it too.

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If you’re plant based or Vegan and looking to change a recipe to suit your diet then I really recommend this link for egg substitutions from Food Matters. For this bread I decided to use bananas instead of egg and so it kind of came out as a coconut banana bread rather than simply a coconut bread.

It is delicious and I can, guiltily, say that I’ve pretty much eaten almost the whole thing to myself over the last 48 hours. Oops!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 large bananas
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup coconut yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Pinch (grey pure) sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of natural vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Recipe

  • Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) and grace a small loaf tin I use coconut oil to do this.
  • Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the desiccated coconut and mix.
  • Mash up the bananas to a fine consistency and add to the dry mix. Add the coconut yoghurt and maple syrup too. Combine the mixture.
  • Add the salt, vanilla and bicarbonate of sofa and mix well.
  • Spoon the mixture into your prepared dish and bake uncovered for 35 minutes.
  • Cover the tin with foil and bake for another 25 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. It is delicious on it’s own warm or toasted with a little almond butter!

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Nutritional nugget: The coconut is full of nutritional value. Using coconut flour in baking provides a gluten free and low GI alternative to wheat flour in baking.

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Nice Cream

After I’ve had dinner I always crave something a little sweet. My go to is either dark chocolate or, recently, conference pears with almond butter. One thing you’ll learn about me is I have the most random cravings – this week it’s been brussel sprouts and chickpeas; last week it was chocolate and hummus.
Yesterday I made up a batch of banana nice cream to change up my evening treat. It requires 3 ingredients, is super quick and easy to make too. It’s also great as a treat for little kiddies too. My son loves it as an after dinner treat.

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Ingredients

  • 2 large or 3 small bananas
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons of nut butter – almond is my favourite!

Recipe

Peel the bananas and chop them up into slices. Pop them into the freezer for a few hours. I normally do this the night before or in the morning so they’re ready for when I want to eat the ice cream. Pop them into a blender along with the almond milk and butter and whizz into a smooth consistency. Depending on how you like it, you can either eat as is or freeze again to make it a little harder. Serve with any toppings you like; I particularly like coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, blueberries and maybe a drizzle of syrup.

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Nutritional nugget: Bananas have high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin; the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter. They act as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria in the bowel. Bananas also produce digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients.

Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

Who doesn’t love a smoothie bowl?! They taste delicious and they look pretty plus I love anything that you can eat out of a bowl (I’m a bit weird like that – bowl foods are my favourite!) This morning I had a busy morning getting my son ready for nursery, errands and completing a presentation for some apartments I’m working on. Before I knew it, it was 11.30am and I hadn’t eaten. I was starving! So I whipped up this smoothie bowl.

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Smoothie bowls are the perfect go to for a meal packed full of nutrients as well as being quick and simple to make. You can pretty much put anything in a smoothie bowl. I think the key is to get a good balance of fruit & veg, a splash of nut milk and maybe some supplements to give you that extra boost.

This morning I made this predominantly green smoothie but it was definitely nutritious and delicious. I got the recipe from a book called Bowls of Goodness by Nina Olsson and just amended the quantities slightly according to what I felt like I needed. If you also like bowl foods then I couldn’t recommend this cook book enough; it is full of nourishing vegetarian recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 a ripe avocado
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 teaspoon of Naturya organic greens blend (or any other supplement you may wish to add)
  • A handful of spinach
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Tiny pinch of grey sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 mango peeled, stoned and chopped up
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 75 ml of nut milk (I use Rude Health)

You can use anything for the toppings but this morning I used coconut shavings, blueberries, raspberries and pumpkin seeds.

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Recipe:

Whizz everything together in a blender or NutriBullet. Pour into a bowl. Top with your choice of fruit, nuts and seeds. Simple & quick!

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Nutritional Nugget: I love the Organic Green Blends from Naturya because it provides you with a boost of Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Iron and Zinc. All of these Vitamins and Minerals are key to your body working properly. Vitamin E & C both work as antioxidants. Vitamin B12 is key for energy and plays an important roll in cell metabolism. It is most acutely found in animal proteins so as a veggie its key to supplement this into your diet. Finally iron and zinc are essential micronutrients for growth, development and maintenance of the immune system.

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Veggie Lasagne

With the start of March in England I normally think I’m going to wake up to sunnier climes and warmer days. Unfortunately, it’s still pretty chilly and I find I’m still craving warm and nourishing meals; especially at night to leave me feeling full and content when I crawl into bed.

Not only does the beginning of March signal (what’s meant to be) the beginning of Spring, it also signals National Veggie Month! I didn’t realise that there was a national month for this – but I think it’s great. The idea behind this month is to encourage people to move away from eating meat. For me, I think you should eat what makes you happy and what works for your body. So instead I think this month is a great way for meat and non-meat eaters alike to explore veggies and their numerous health benefits.

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This veggie lasagna is made from purely vegetables … and the topping is made using cashew cheese to make it vegan too. I put this recipe together when I came across the wonder that is butternut squash lasagna sheets in Sainsbury’s one Sunday afternoon. I made this recipe and was so excited to eat it; as I was putting the dish back in the oven to crisp the cashew cheese topping I dropped it and sent it flying all over the kitchen floor. I was SO disappointed. Thankfully, the recipe is really easy to make and so I made it again the following Sunday and LOVED it.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe too – but would love to hear any suggestions you may have. Please share any links to other veggie lasagna recipes you have – I love exploring alternatives!

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Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 large leek
  • 6 tomatoes (normal tennis ball size)
  • 10 – 20 baby plum tomatoes
  • 1 large courgette
  • Lasagne sheets or vegetable sheets – for this recipe we’ll be using butternut squash lasagne sheets.

For the vegan parmesan cheese topping:

  • 3/4 cup of raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Recipe:

  • Finely slice the onion & garlic clove. Gently heat in olive oil until the onion has gone clear.
  • Finely slice the leek and add to the pot. Sauté the mixture on a low heat whilst you chop up the tomatoes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan and raise the heat until the contents start to simmer. I use a mixture of standard tomatoes and baby plum tomatoes to intensify the flavour. Baby plum tomatoes add a sweetness to the filling.
  • Add one finely sliced courgette to the pot
  • Sprinkle in herbs that you may like – for me I love to use a pot of mixed herbs which includes Thyme, Marjoram, Sage, Parsley and Oregano. These herbs are great for vegetables as they really help to bring out their flavour.
  • Cover the pot and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes. Give the veggies a stir every 5 – 10 minutes. What you’re looking to create is a ragu style veggie mix that can be used as the filling between the lasagne sheets.
  • Whilst the ragu is bubbling away, preheat your oven to around 180 degrees celsius. I have a fan oven and this temperature works perfectly. I would recommend 200 degrees celsius if you have an oven without a fan.
  • Cover the dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, covered in foil.
  • Once the ragu is ready; layer the butternut squash lasagna sheets followed by the ragu and repeat until it is all used up. Make sure the top layer is the ragu.
  • You can either use lasagne sheets or, in this instance, sheets of butternut squash. Sometimes you can find these precut in stores or you can just finely slice the neck of a butternut squash to create decent squash lasagna sheets.
  • Lightly grease a lasagne dish with a little olive or coconut oil.
  • Whilst the lasagna is baking away you can make your vegan parmesan cheese topping.
  • To make the topping whirl all of the ingredients together in a food processor or blender until a fine powder or meal has formed. Try not to over process this otherwise it will begin to get clumpy from the natural oils in the nuts.
  • The topping will keep covered in the fridge for about a month – so if you have any spare you can use it to sprinkle on other pasta or pizza dishes, for example.
  • After the dish has been in the oven for 30 minutes, take it out and sprinkle the cashew cheese on top. Pop the dish back in the oven uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • I serve this with roasted broccoli and it’s delicious. I roast the broccoli for 15 minutes covered in a little olive oil and left over sprinkled cashew cheese.

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Nutritional Nugget: Butternut Squash is a veggie powerhouse. One cup of butternut squash provides a huge 437% percent of your vitamin A needs for the day, as well as 52% of vitamin C and 10% or more of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and manganese. Wow! 😮