Roasted Butternut Squash & Avocado Taco

This vegan lunch is simply delicious. I enjoy it warm, straight out of the oven, or even cold. If you’re not vegan, you’ll still enjoy this taco with some cheese or bacon thrown in. This recipe makes enough for about 2-4 servings.

Ingredients:
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Baby spinach
  • 1-2 avocados
  • Balsamic vinegar dressing

Roasted Butternut Squash

Instructions:
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Peel butternut squash with a peeler. Then dice into 1 inch chunks, discarding the pulp and seeds. (If anyone has good uses for these, please let me know.)
  • Place squash, salt, cinnamon, pepper and coconut oil into a large shallow roasting pan and mix evenly.
  • Bake for about an hour. Keep an eye on your pan. Different ovens, sizes of chunks and type of pan can really vary the cooking time. Remove from oven to cool once the squash has started to brown.
  • Put a flour or corn tortilla on a naked flame to warm in. I like to use tongs to move it around so it toasts evenly. It should take less than a minute to toast.
  • Place roasted squash, spinach and avocado in tortilla and drizzle with balsamic dressing.
  • Enjoy!

Gluten-free Brown Betty

Brown Betty, Apple Crumble, Apple Crisp, whatever you want to call it, it’s a favorite of mine! This is a simple and easy to prepare recipe that I bake when guests come over. It’s sweet, delicious and no one can tell it is wheat and gluten free. When I add a vegan butter substitute, no one notices either! Try it out!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup gluten free rice flour (I’m using Pamela’s Gluten Free Products at the moment. Very pleased with them.)
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 cup organic hemp hearts (Manitoba brand are excellent)
  • 1 cup of organic raw sugar
  • 1 tspn of cinnamon powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4-6 organic apples
  • 1 stick of butter (or vegan butter)
Instructions:
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350c.
  • Mix salt, cinnamon, flour, oat bran and sugar together.
  • Cut or dice the stick of butter in to small pieces. Make sure your butter is still chilled, not room temperature.
  • Mix the butter into the flour mixture with your hands. Crumble the butter and flour mix through your fingers allowing it to clump. You’ll know when it is thoroughly mixed because the flour starts to easily form clumps when  you press it. Don’t over mix the crumble, you’ll start making a pastry instead. This should only take you a few minutes.
  • Slice the apples. Some people like to skin the apples first, but I like to include the skins.
  • Layer the apple slices in the bottom of an oven safe casserole dish. You can sprinkle cinnamon and sugar between the layers for extra sweetness and flavor if you wish. You can also add other fruits, like berries, or raisins to the mix. Nutmeg is also another nice addition.
  • Layer the apples at least an inch thick. 2 inches is preferable. Pack the apples tightly, as they will become soft and the crumble will collapse in the middle if there is too much air.
  • Pour the crumble mixture over the apples, making sure to fully cover all the apples.
  • Bake at 350c for about an hour. If you want to brown the top more, up to 1.5 hrs should so the trick.
  • Allow to cool for about 15 mins before serving either cold or warm.

Tip: When I’m baking this for just myself, not guests, I split the ingredients between 2-3 small oven safe dishes that have lids. Once the recipe has cooled down, I put them in the fridge to eat over the course of the week.

Wheat Free Brown Betty

Vegan Chilli

This chilli is vegan deliciousness! Spicy and filling. It’s great as is, or with dumplings or tortillas. Or if you are so inclined, pour it over chips or french fries to make a healthy version of Frito Chilli Pie. Whatever strikes your fancy! I just eat it as is. It has a full balanced meal in it already.

Ingredients:
Vegan Chilli Veggies
  • 1 lb Eggplant (aubergine)
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 red or yellow pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic (about 6 pieces)
  • Chilli powder or Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Coconut Oil
  • Half a block of firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup jasmine rice
Instruction
  • Dice all the vegetables.
  • Brown the garlic and onions in coconut on medium/high heat in a large saucepan.
  • Add the mushrooms gently browning.
  • Add chilli spice, salt and pepper to taste. I like hot spices, so I put 2 tsp in my mix. About 1/2 tsp should do if you’re not keen on extra spicy food.
  • Add the rest of the raw vegetables, gently stirring for a couple of minutes.
  • Pour about 3 cups of water into the saucepan and stir well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low/medium. Cook for about 30-60 minutes. I usually turn mine down very low and leave it cooking for a couple of hours while I do something else. Keep it covered with an air vent to release the steam pressure. Check on it frequently, adding more water as it evaporates.
  • When all the vegetables are cooked through the mix should start looking like a chunky soup. You could indeed just eat it like this, as a chunky spicy soup. But to bulk it up and add some protein, add the tofu and rice. It should take about 10 mins for the rice to cook through, soaking up all  the flavors of the vegetables. I like to use broken rice as it cooks faster and makes the mix thicker.
  • Serve. This recipe is great to store and eat next day too. You have to add more water to the mix though. The rice continues to soak up the liquid overnight and it gets very thick and goopy.

Banana, Hemp, Raisin Oat Bran Pancakes

This is a current favorite breakfast or evening treat for me. I enjoy them without adding butter or syrup, as they’re sweet and moist as is….but you go ahead and eat them your way! These pancakes are free from flour, gluten, and milk products. They’re full of anti-oxidants, potassium, fiber and protein. They do however contain egg. If I concoct a vegan version, I’ll post it. I promise.

Ingredients:
  • 1 banana (ripe)
  • 1/2 cup of oat bran
  • 1/3 cup of hemp hearts
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 organic egg
  • 1 tspn organic raw honey
  • 1 tspn coconut oil (can use other oil if allergic to coconut oil)
Instructions:
  • Mash banana with a fork
  • Combine it with the egg, hemp hearts, oat bran and honey
  • Add raisins
  • Heat coconut oil in skillet on medium
  • Pour batter on skillet in small patties. This mix makes 3-4 small rounds. (Don’t make them too big, as they will fall apart when you try to flip them.)
  • Cook until brown. Flip once.
  • Serve hot.

 

Poached Eggplant Stir-fry with Vegan Pesto Hummus

Eggplant can be quite difficult to prepare without soaking it in oil or some kind of sauce, which I don’t always want. I’ve developed this technique of cooking it quickly, without all the oil, but all the flavor of a stir-fry.

This is a quick and easy vegan meal that I like to cook myself when my boyfriend feels like a ham and cheese sandwich! He hates eggplant, so I always cook it when he fancies some dead animal for lunch.

Ingredients For Stir-fry:
  • 1 lb of eggplant (aubergine)
  • A handful of bean sprouts
  • A handful of snow peas (mange tu)
  • Italian spice mix
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Half a small onion finely chopped
  • Dried chilli peppers (optional for a spicier flavor)
  • Ghee or avocado oil
Ingredients For Vegan Pesto Hummus:
  • 1 lb of garbanzo beans, preferably sprouted
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • Large bunch of fresh basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Instructions:
  • To prepare the hummus in advance, you can either use raw sprouted garbanzo beans, cooked un-sprouted soaked beans, or sprouted cooked beans. To cook them, simply boil for 10-15 mins.
  • Put all the hummus ingredients in a blender and mix until it looks like hummus!
  • If you are not a vegan, add a couple of good spoonfuls of Parmesan cheese to make it a full on Pesto sauce.
  • To prepare the eggplant, chop into even slices.
  • Put a little avocado oil, onion and spices into a frying pan and brown the eggplant stirring frequently to avoid burning. Do this for about 5 mins.
  • When the oil has dried up, fill the pan with about 1cm of water, almost covering the eggplant. Allow to simmer uncovered until the water has evaporated, poaching the eggplant.
  • When all the water has dried up, add a little more avocado oil, along with the bean sprouts and snow peas. Stir-fry for about 3 mins, gently tossing the ingredients.
  • Serve with a fresh dollop of hummus on top!

How to Sprout Peas

Sprouting peas, beans or grains can improve the nutritional content of your food. Here are a few benefits in short:

  • Sprouting increases bio-available nutrients.
  • Sprouting decreases carbohydrate content from starches, therefore reduces calorie content.
  • Sprouting makes the legume/grain easier to digest and less likely in most cases to cause gas.
  • Sprouting grains can deactivate potent carcinogens.
  • Sprouting can reduce the amount of fat.

There are lots of articles highlighting how the biological processes that happen during sprouting lead to these facts. Rather than repeat the information, check out these articles from The Nourishing Gourmet and Kitchen Stewardship, where you can read about how phytase released in soaking and sprouting leads to the changes we can benefit from.

It is important to research which grains and legumes aren’t good for sprouting, and which should always be cooked thoroughly after sprouting to avoid stomach aches and gas. It’s also good to be aware of safety guidelines for sprouting, as it is very easy to create toxic mould in the damp, dark conditions of sprouting. Here’s more info. on Sprout Safety. Suffice to say, rinse often. Do not consume if your sprouts are slimy or smell weird, or have anything other than shoots growing out of them. Wash thoroughly and follow FDA safety guidelines.

Soaking PeasI prefer to sprout my peas quickly, as the benefits begin as soon as the shoots appear. A lot of articles recommend sprouting for a few days to maximise the benefits, but for me, the longer I wait, the more chance there is that I’ll ruin the batch with some kind of mould. So my sprouting process is about 1.5 days.

Here’s How I Sprout My Peas:
  • Rinse then soak a cup of dried peas in water for about 8 hrs.
  • Rinse the soaked peas and place in a clean linen/muslin bag. Hang the bag in a dry, dark cupboard for about 24 hrs.
  • During the 24 hrs, regularly check on the peas, rinsing the bag to avoid mould formation every few hours.
  • When shoots begin to form, you can remove the peas and wash thoroughly.
  • You can use the sprouts right away, allow them to sprout for longer, or put them in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Here’s a link to my Sprouted Pea Soup recipe. I hope you found this information concise and helpful. Enjoy!

Linen Sprouting Bag

Asian Sprouted Pea Soup

This recipe has a double dose of pea goodness, with sprouted peas and pea sprouts. Yes, they’re different things. I really enjoy this fresh and healthy twist on pea soup, mixed with an Asian porridge. It’s very filling, full of vitamins, antioxidants, protein and minerals.

If you’re not sure how to sprout your own peas, here’s a post I wrote about How To Sprout Peas. You can look up online how to do it from many online sources. But in short: Sprouted peas are dried peas that have been soaked and sprouted in darkness so that they have small roots sticking out of them. The process changes the nutritional value of the peas and makes them easier on your digestive system. Basically, if beans make you toot, you should be sprouting them.

Pea Sprouts are the larger shoots that start to produce leaves, opposed to the pea itself, like alfalfa sprouts or mustard cress.

Ingredients:
  • Half a cup of broken jasmine rice
  • A cup of dried organic peas (sprouted in advance)
  • Fresh pea sprouts (If you can’t get these, you can use mustard cress, water cress or even alfalfa sprouts.)
  • Half a chopped onion or dried onion flakes
  • Small piece of finally chopped ginger
  • Avocado Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cloves of finally chopped garlic or garlic powder
  • Sesame Oil
  • Soy Sauce
Instructions:
  • In a large saucepan, gently saute the garlic, onions and ginger in avocado oil, adding salt and pepper to taste. When browned, fill the saucepan with water.
  • Add the rice to the pan and bring to a boil. Then simmer for an hour, topping up the water as needed to keep the porridge from drying out. You can cover the saucepan if you leave about an inch or so open to vent the pan, to prevent it from boiling over.
  • After the rice has turned into porridge, add the sprouted peas and continue to simmer. I like to keep the sprouted peas crunchy, so about 5-10 mins cook time for the peas works for me. If you’d prefer softer peas, add them earlier and cook them through for about 30-45 mins. It will also make your soup greener.
  • Continue to add water as needed to keep the mixture at a soup consistency.
  • Once you’ve cooked the peas to your preference, you’re ready to serve.
  • But before taking the soup off heat, add a few large handfuls of pea sprouts and mix in. I like to serve immediately like this, so that the pea sprouts heat up but haven’t lost their raw, fresh crunchiness too much.
  • Garnish with more raw pea sprouts and drizzle sesame oil and soy sauce to taste.
  • A non-vegan addition for vegetarians is to add a couple of organic eggs a couple of minutes before you take the soup off the heat. Stir the eggs into the soup for a creamy, thick consistency.

 

Chocolate Oat Bites

I like to make my own naughty treats because at least I know that all the ingredients are real and I can adapt them to suit my needs. This recipe is diary and wheat free. You can eliminate the nuts and substitute almond milk for coconut milk to make it nut free. (see my Vegan Seed Bites recipe). This recipe makes about 24 pieces, at around 2×2″. Keep in the fridge.

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups of oats
  • 1 cup of sultanas or raisins
  • 1/2 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup of hazelnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 large bars of dark dairy free cooking chocolate (or regular dark cooking chocolate / or carob chocolate)
Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to about 200c/400F.
  • Mash 2 bananas in a mixing bowl.
  • Add oats, all nuts, seeds and fruit to bowl.
  • Melt coconut oil and golden syrup in a pan slowly until both are runny.
  • Poor mixture in bowl along with almond milk and mix thoroughly.
  • Place mixture in a large tin, lined with grease proof paper, or parchment paper.
  • Bake for 25 mins. Oat Bites without the chocolate
  • Let stand to cool for 30 mins.bain-marie
  • Prepare a bain marie. A bain marie is best for melting chocolate as it is easy to accidentally burn chocolate. To do this, boil some water in a saucepan. Put a heat safe bowl, like Pyrex over the top of the boiling water and place the pieces of chocolate into the bowl. It should take just a few minutes for the chocolate to melt completely.
  • Poor the melted chocolate over the cooled oat bites. Allow to chill in fridge for 30 mins, then cut into chunks and serve!Chocolate Oat Bites
  • These bites are really rich. The dark chocolate is very powerful. If you prefer, substitute the dark chocolate with milk chocolate, if you’re okay with dairy. I’ve used Green & Black’s Organic 70% Dark Chocolate to make this treat before, which turned out rather well too.

Vegan, Nut Free Seed Bites

A healthy, filling treat packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber and yumminess!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of Oats
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of sultanas
  • 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup of flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup of hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
Instructions:
  • Mash one banana in a bowl. Add oats, all the seeds and sultanas.
  • Heat golden syrup and coconut oil on low until runny.
  • Poor coconut milk, coconut oil and syrup over oats and seeds.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • If the mixture seems runny, add more oats.
  • Pack mixture tightly into a baking tin lined with grease proof paper, or parchment paper.
  • Bake at 180c for 30 mins. Let sit for 30 mins before cutting and serving.

Yellow Bean & Watercress Noodle Soup

This is a great, light meal that I often have for breakfast or lunch, sometimes dinner when I’m being lazy. It takes about 5 mins to make and is also pretty cheap to put together. You can easily make it vegan by removing the eggs from the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Organic Watercress
  • Yellow bean paste (available at most Asian markets)
  • Soy Sauce (for taste only)
  • Sesame Oil
  • Ground Pepper
  • 1-2 free range organic eggs
  • Rice noodles
  • Water

Instructions:

  • Boil at least 1 inch of water in a saucepan. Amount can vary based on how much soup you want, but you need at least enough to cover the noodles.
  • Add between a teaspoon and tablespoon of yellow bean paste, to taste. I like a lot of liquid, so I put about 2 inches of water in the saucepan and a heaping tablespoon of paste.
  • Let the paste dissolve, then add rice noodles. The noodles double in thickness, so don’t over estimate how many you need.
  • Simmer for 1 minute. Then turn down heat until the water is hardly bubbling. Crack eggs straight into the mix and let them poach for 1-2 minutes. If you like your eggs soft, only cook for 1 min and remove from heat before the eggs are fully cooked, as the heat from the soup will continue to cook them for a few minutes, while the soup is too hot to consume.
  • Break up the watercress loosely and place in the bottom of your serving bowl.
  • Carefully pour your noodle and soup mix over the watercress. The heat from the soup will cook the watercress perfectly in the bowl.
  • Add pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil to taste.