Vegan Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free Mac and Cheese

Processed with MOLDIV

‘Do something today, that your future self will thank you for’

This is one of my brother’s favourite recipes, which says something from his discerning palate. My brother has gone from someone who used to eat mainly chicken, rice and potatoes to someone that introduced me to the best Peruvian ceviche in London town. I love exploring new places and cuisines with him, and he is a pretty good cook too!

As we grow older not only our palate but also our perceptions, learning and understanding change. We can therefore be more than a product of our childhoods, learning and habits; we can choose who we want to be.

You don’t have to commit to being a vegan, or cutting things out of your diet, but it is our responsibility to think about what we are putting into our bodies and where that food comes from. In the age of free and prevalent information, we no longer have the excuse, I didn’t know.

This recipe is adapted from ‘oh she glows’, a blog dedicated to plant based foods who overcame her eating disorder and managed to change her families diet from processed junk food to a fully plant based diet, embracing health, change and life! The butternut squash gives a beautifully creamy texture and the sage breadcrumbs add a create complexity to the flavor as well as an additional textural element.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. herbs de Provence or other dried herbs
  • 12 ounces dried gluten free pasta
  • 5 unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup gluten free breadcrumbs/almond meal
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped sage leaves

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Place cubed butternut squash and garlic cloves on a baking tray lined with foil, after tossing with the coconut oil, 1 tsp. sale and ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • Bake until tender, 45-60 mins
  • Cook the pasta, drain and put to the side
  • Once the squash is ready, allow to cool then place in the blender with the nutritional yeast, herbs de Provence, ¼ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper and almond milk and blend till smooth
  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and place in a baking dish
  • Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil, add the almond meal and chopped sage
  • Evenly top over the mac and cheese and heat until the topping is crisp
  • Serve hot

Raw Vegan Matcha Cheesecake

IMG_6265

Raw Vegan Matcha Cheesecake

‘Dessert is like a feel-good song, the best ones make you dance’.

This is one of those life-changing recipes. It tastes beautifully decadent due to the silky texture but is gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. As you can see from the combination of ingredients, it is all natural and pretty similar to your granola, so you can eat cheesecake for breakfast and feel pretty good about it. Revolutionary.

I did a lot of taste testing with this recipe and no one could believe that the topping was made with cashews as the main ingredient and contained zero diary. I also did some live cooking to show how long it takes to make, my best time being 6 minutes 32 seconds!

If you don’t like Matcha, you can add raw cocoa and make a chocolate version or blueberries to make a fruity version. The options are endless.

Ingredients

Base

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 6 pitted dates

Filling

  • ¾ coconut milk/cream
  • ½ cup raw honey or maple syrup (vegan option)
  • 5 cups raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours minimum in water and then drained
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. matcha green tea powder

Method

  • Blend the hazelnuts, desiccated coconut and pitted dates until it reaches a crumb like consistency
  • Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of a cake tin or if you want to make mini versions distribute evenly into 15 cup cake holders
  • In a clean blender add the coconut milk, honey, cashews and coconut oil until silky smooth
  • Add the matcha powder and blend again until fully combined
  • Pour on top of the base and leave in the fridge/freezer to set

Chocolate Raw cheesecake

Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake (substitute raw cocoa powder for the matcha)

Thai Red Lentil Soup

Red curry lentil soup

Thai Red Lentil Soup

‘Good soup is one of the primary ingredients of good living’

Given our sedentary lifestyle due to our choice of profession, Mr. B and I try and eat vegan at home during the week to make sure we are as kind to our bodies and digestive systems and also stay calorie light, so I am always looking for new and inventive lentil and vegetable dishes

This recipe is adapted from Plenty More and is a playful combination of Indian and Asian flavours. It is a little like a red curry without the bulk and is good with a little rice or on it’s own.

I was pleasantly surprised with the depth of flavour that is developed here, helped by the red curry paste in addition to the vibrancy that comes from the additional squeeze of lime!

Good hot or cold, in the summer or the winter, at home or on the go!

Ingredients

  • 20 sugar snap peas
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 tbsp. vegan Thai red curry paste
  • 250g/1.5 cups red lentils
  • 1 cup/250ml coconut oil
  • 5 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. tamari
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large pot and add the onion
  • Cook over low heat with lid on for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice until the onion is completely sweet and soft
  • Stir in red curry paste and cook for 1 minute
  • Add the red lentils and 3 cups of stock or water
  • Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft
  • Remove from the heat, once cooled, process the soup in a blender until completely smooth
  • Add back to the pot and heat with the coconut milk, lime juice, tamari and salt
  • Serve with diagonally cut sugar snap peas

Vegan Pulled Pork (Soul-Food)

Vegan Pulled Pork is soul food and food for the soul.

Vegan pulled pork

‘Food for the body is not enough, there must be food for the soul’

When I first came across this dish I was so excited. I don’t actually like pork enough to order it, but it always looks and smells so good, so what better than an alternative that isn’t pork but smells and tastes just as good and is good for your body and soul

The first version I tried was from the Herbivorous Butcher, a company founded by a sister-brother duo (Dev….we have some work to do here…) and ‘dedicated to creating 100% vegan, meat and cheese alternatives that capture flavour, texture and nutrients without an negative affects to the environment, animals or your health’. Their products were a real eye opener for me, trying the pulled pork, shredded chicken, meat loaf, smoked gouda and cheddar and Mr. B loved it all

I decided if I was going to integrate this into our diet, I needed to make our own version, adapted for our palate (a little more umami for me and a little more spice for Mr. B). I noticed that all the meat products where made with jackfruit and so I decided to find some (fresh or tinned can be found in your local Chinese supermarket and is $1.50 a can), so a super healthy and cheap alternative. I tried the recipe using fresh jackfruit also, but there is a lot of waste of both jackfruit and time and energy and for me personally it wasn’t worth the energy to product ratio

Ingredients

  • 2, 20oz cans jackfruit in brine, drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bottle vegan BBQ sauce or home made vegan BBQ sauce

Vegan BBQ sauce

  • 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder (adapt to your spice tolerance)
  • 1 tsp. dried basil or oregano

Method

  • Make the vegan BBQ sauce by mixing all the ingredients together and leaving to sit for 1 hour to allow the flavors to infuse. You can of course use store bought to save time, just make sure it is vegan and gluten free
  • Place the drained jackfruit in a slow cooker and turn to high heat
  • Pour the sauce over the jackfruit and add the water
  • Place the lid on and cook for 4 hours on high
  • Open the lid and mush the jackfruit a bit until it resembled the look of pulled pork
  • Cook on low until the sauce reduces down and the mixture becomes sticky
  • If you don’t have a slow cooker, just put all the ingredients in a large pot and cook down until you have the right texture, 6-8 hours stirring every few hours, similar to a classic Italian ragout
  • Allow to cool a little and serve with Chinese bao, taco shells, tortilla, mashed sweet potato or lettuce as the wrap

Vegan Baked Oysters

Vegan Baked Oysters

‘The voice if the sea, speaks to my soul’…

I serve this in the summer, instead of real Oysters as Mr B isn’t so fond of the real things having been spoiled by spending so much of his childhood eating seafood in his parent home town in Italy

I do in fact love oysters, but am happy to save my feasting for when I am by the sea

It is a nice meaty substitute with the faux breadcrumbs providing a nice contrast in texture

I like to serve this with a dry white wine, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, works well and Kim Crawford is my favorite for choice

This is adapted from Fork and Beans.com, which has a whole faux seafood series

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. white wine (optional)
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp. almond meal, or gluten free panko if you have a nut allergy
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 350f/250c
  • On a medium heat, sauté the shallots and garlic with the coconut oil
  • Add the mushrooms, white wine, stir until the liquid absorbs
  • Squeeze in the lemon juice, sprinkle the parsley and stir in the almond meal until well combined
  • Season well with salt and pepper
  • If you are baking in the shells, place a heaping tablespoon of the filling into each shell, top with extra almond meal and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the tops are slightly brown
  • If you are placing these in spoons for serving, place into an oven safe dish, sprinkle extra almond meal and bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly browned. Take out of oven and once slightly cooled, place in spoons and serve

Summer corn custard with blackberries, sage and roasted hazelnuts

FullSizeRender-41

‘And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer’

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is an elegant vegan dessert bursting with summer flavours and combining the texture of silky corn custard, juicy tart blackberries and toasty crunchy hazelnuts

I am not one with a sweet tooth, like Mr. B. so this desert really suites me as it has a little salt in the custard base, making for a salty sweet combination that dances a tango on your tongue

The recipe is from Vedge, the exciting vegan cookbook out of Philadelphia using innovative techniques and flavour combinations to elevate the humble vegetable to its rightful place

Ingredients

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1/5 cups vegan cream (mayonnaise/aquafabba can be used)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. agave nectar or raw honey
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. agar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 2 sage leaves, cut into chiffonade (thin strips)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup shelled, skinned hazelnuts, chopped

Method

  • Shave the kernels off the cobs into a medium saucepan
  • Add the vegan cream, coconut milk, agave, vanilla, salt and the agar. Heat over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until it comes to a boil, about 10 minutes. Keep the mixture at a rolling boil for c. 5 minutes to allow the agar to fully dissolve, stirring occasionally.
  • Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender, add the cornstarch and blend for 30 seconds
  • Strain the contents through a sieve into a clean saucepan, bring just to a boil and immediately remove from the heat
  • Ladle the custard into six ramekins, or glasses if you don’t have any
  • Allow the custards to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator. Let them chill for at least 2 hours before serving
  • Toss the blackberries in a small bowl with the sage, lemon juice and remaining 1 tbsp. agave, cover and refrigerate until ready to use
  • Place the hazelnuts in a small sauté pan, sprinkle with the remaining ½ tsp. salt and dry roast over a medium heat until golden brown (the smell is amazing). Allow the nuts to cool
  • When the custards are ready to serve, toss the hazelnuts with the blackberries, then spoon some on top of the custard.
  • Serve immediately

Quinoa Granola Bar (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Granola Bar

‘Each day is a gift, don’t send it back unopened’

I like to eat every two hours or so, little and often is my motto, so it’s important to have healthy easy snacks with me at work and when I travel. I like this recipe as it can be used as a snack or a homemade granola and is another recipe to add to my love affair with quinoa collection, as Mr. B calls it. It is relatively easy and can be adapted to whatever you have in the cupboard. This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from the ambitious kitchen, a beautiful healthy food blog from an inspiring author who used healthy food and blogging to overcome her eating disorder.

A slight detour…

As I was writing the first sentence of this blog, ‘I like to eat every two hours’ I was struck with gratitude for being able to say that.

Some people don’t have the luxury of eating once a day, not only in developing countries due to poverty levels and famine but also in our own back yard.

Two organisations that are dedicated to this cause are Mary’s Meals, which supplies food at school in developing countries, to help lift children out of the cycle of poverty, www.marysmealsusa.org and the Woman’s Lunch Place in Boston, www.womenslunchplace.org, which aims to supply at least one good meal per day as well as helping to restore dignity and hope to vulnerable woman. I support these two charities and would urge you to read about they work they do. They certainly help me to be more mindful when I sit down for a meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • ½ cup uncooked Quinoa
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • ¼ cup vegan dark chocolate (can use non-vegan chocolate if preferred)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Add oats, Quinoa and pumpkin seeds to a large baking sheet, spreading evenly
  • Toast for 10 minutes
  • Once toasted pour into a glass bowl and add the chia seeds
  • Whilst baking, melt the almond butter in a shallow pan on a low heat, add the coconut oil, salt, honey and vanilla
  • Once melted, take off heat and allow to cool slightly
  • Add to the mixture and combine
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper and pour the mixture in, spreading out
  • Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the top
  • Place mixture into the freezer for 10-20 minutes or until hardened
  • Remove from the freezer and cut into 8 bars, use any that has crumbled as granola