Kale-Kopita  (Vegan)

Kale-Kopita  (Vegan)

Kale Kopita

This is a great recipe from the kitchen at Vedge in LA. It is a take on the classic spanakopita, (which means cheese filled) and uses tofu as the substitute.

As I talked to a few people about this recipe, it became clear that there is a version of this pie across the world including knishes, Bourikas, calzones, samosas and dim sum to name a few. This means I had some pretty tough tasters. The best comment I got back was from my Albanian taster who said this tasted like his mums back home. Score!! It was only then that I told him that there was no cheese only tofu. (I am not sure if he will mention that to his mum).

The key to a successful pie or layered pie isn’t whether you use tofu or cheese; it is about how you spice the filling. The onion, garlic, dill, salt and pepper all add to a delicious filling that you could stuff into anything, or quite frankly eat on its own. So make sure you are happy with the flavour and everything else will fall into place!

Mr B was a definite fan of this dish, given his love of all things Greek (apart from me, of course, he loves me despite of my non-Greekness)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for brushing the Phyllo
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
  • 1 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 5 cups of tofu cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Half a pack of organic vegan Phyllo, thawed

Method

  • Preheat the oven
  • Brush a casserole dish with olive oil
  • Bring a pot of water to the boil, add salt
  • Blanch the kale for 5 minutes, drain
  • Heat the olive oil in a deep pot, add the onions, garlic and cook for a few minutes until brown
  • Add the crumbled tofu, salt and pepper. Stir until browned and the moisture is gone, c. 10 minutes
  • Combine the kale and tofu mixture in a large bowl. Add the tofu cream cheese, dill and lemon juice
  • Layer 3 sheets of Phyllo on the bottom of the dish. Add one third of the mixture, layer another 3 layers on top, add the next third, add Phyllo, the next third and finally top with the remaining Phyllo. Brush the top layer with olive oil and bake until golden brown, c. 15 minutes.
  • Cut the dish into portions before baking, this will make it easier to serve
  • Serve warm

Processed with MOLDIV

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Chickpea Blondies (Vegan, DF, GF)

Chickpea Blondies (Vegan, DF, GF)

Blondie Brownies

Oh so gooey, tasty, yummy, fudgy brownie blondies..

This is an easy blend and bake recipe, so you can do it when whilst you are waiting for the kettle to boil or whilst you are making the kids lunches

The Japanese tend to use sweetened bean pastes, like red bean, in their pastries and this is a nice parallel. It has the texture of a fudge brownie and is sweet but not too sweet, making it great for a midmorning snack

This recipe is super high in protein from the chickpeas and triple use of almonds in the almond meal/flour, almond butter and almond milk. It is gluten free also with the almond flour the only flour used

Mr B has a prolific sweet tooth and he loved these and found them more satisfying in a way as they kept him fuller for longer, whilst still satisfying that sweet craving in a natural way

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2, 15oz cans of organic chickpeas
  • ¾ cup almond butter
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Method

  • Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until well combined
  • Pour into an oiled bread tin
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

 

Toffee Apples (Vegan, DF, GF)

Toffee Apples (Vegan, DF, GF)

Raw Toffee Apples

‘Here’s to the crazy one. The misfits, the rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They are not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. Some may see them as the crazy some genius. But it is only those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, that do’

Matthew Kenney was one such crazy person, who created a plant-based culinary nutrition education program. He is a true believer that food is our medicine and through his own personal experience has seen a plant based diet bring him back to life. His culinary school is dedicated to showing the world that healthy, plant-based foods can be delicious, sexy, vibrant, beautiful and can be consumed without compromise.

I am a true believer in this philosophy and whilst not 100% plant based, I am making my way down this path. My dream is that food is used to fuel our body, minds and souls and the more I learn about the nutrient content of our basic plant friends, the more I feel like our health care is easily accessible and available to all.

Of all the courses that the PlantLab Culinary school runs, the one I choose to start with was their raw desserts course. You can do it online over 6 months, so pacing it with your own schedule. Desserts have always been my weakest point; due to my body not reacting well to gluten and dairy, so this course is an eye and palate opener. Mr B who loves his desserts is super happy too as he can now eat dessert for breakfast.

This was the first recipe I used at my vegan dinner party and the guests where in love with it. The whole plate was dairy, gluten and nut free and they were super surprised that it was a possibility. I hope Chef Kenney is proud of the impact he is having, I believe this revolution and evolution has just begun!

Ingredients

Apples

  • 1 apple

Caramel

  • 10 medjool dates, pitted and soaked
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1/3. Cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. mesquite or maca powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. Water

Pumpkin seed crunch/raspberries

  • ½ cup, plus 2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • ½ vanilla pod, seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freeze dried raspberries

Method

  • Using a melon baller, make apple balls, place in a bowl with some lemon water to make sure it doesn’t brown. Place to the side
  • Blend all the caramel ingredients until smooth. Pour caramel to the side and move to the side
  • Grind all the pumpkin seed ingredients together, place in a bowl and move to the side
  • Crush the freeze dried raspberries, place in a bowl and move to the side
  • Take one of the apple balls, dry off, place a toothpick through the center, roll in the caramel, roll in topping of choice
  • Place in fridge to set (min 5 minutes)
  • Serve once set

 

Beetroot Chutney (Vegan, DF, GF)

Beetroot Chutney (Vegan, DF, GF)

Beetroot Chutney

‘A chef must think like a scientist, organize like an accountant, plate like an artist and cook like a grandma’

I am always looking for fun ways to add flavour and colour to my plate and this dish is really an expression of my soul, as it combines my core philosophies of what I want my food to be – Delicious, Nutritious and Beautiful

This chutney from Vineet Bhatia, a famous British Indian chef, he has an amazing way of combining new and old flavors and there are always many exciting elements to his stunning dishes. I tagged Chef Vineet on Instagram, with this dish and he replied asking about the taste – highlight of my year 🙂

I loved this so much I made two different versions, a yellow and a red to play off each other on the plate. You can serve it with anything you like as it is elegant and subtle, so won’t overpower the dish

Ingredients

  • 1 Beetroot
  • ¼ tsp. fennel
  • ½ tsp. ginger, chopped
  • ½ tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. vegan mayonnaise
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Place beetroot into a pot of boiling water and simmer for approximately 40 minutes, or until cooked through
  • Peel when cool enough, dice
  • Place the beetroot and all the other ingredients in a blender, blend until well combined
  • Sieve to form a smooth chutney

Easy Masala Sauce (DF, GF, Vegan)

Easy Masala Sauce (DF, GF, Vegan)

Masala Sauce

The classic ‘Indian’ dish, Chicken Tikka Masala, was apparently invented by a chef in Scotland as a hybrid dish for the English palate. This has since become a very popular dish both in the UK and US normally made with a decent amount of cream.

In Indian cooking, we call this cheating, anything that doesn’t take three days of you sitting next to the stove and gets it richness from dumping fat in at the end, would definitely not meet with generations of grandma’s who have passed these recipes down.

Needless to say therefore, this is not a grandma approved recipe, but since the last few weeks have been busy and Mr B loves masala, I decided to make a quick masala, which can be used for multiple dishes, vegetarian (e.g. served with charred cauliflower as above) or meat, used as a sauce for a breakfast bowl or a dip for some nachos. I make it in bulk and store it in the freezer. Coconut milk here is the vegan substitute for that added richness that my hubby loves so much!

Ingredients

Masala Base

  • 2 onions
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 inches grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tbsp. chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • A handful of cashews

Masala Sauce

  • 5 cups of tomato puree
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup water

Method

  • Pulse all the base ingredients in a blender until smooth
  • Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan and scoop ¼ of the mixture into the pan. Fry gently until fragrant
  • Add the puree and water and simmer for 5-10 minutes
  • Add the coconut milk, simmer for another 10 minutes
  • Serve over grilled vegetables, use as a sauce for a rice bowl, or even over pasta

 

Easy Peanut Butter Curry (GF,DF,Vegan)

Easy Peanut Butter Curry (GF, DF, Vegan)

Peanut Butter Curry

This is a lovely, tasty, protein dense vegan curry and takes no time at all

I have been spending my weekends learning and adapting complex multi layered recipes to get a better understanding of Indian cooking, how to temper and mix the spices, which ones are for savory versus sweets, smell versus taste. Sometimes however I need to cook something really quickly (in a jiffy, as the British would say!) and this curry is the perfect, in a jiffy dish!

The original recipe didn’t have peanut butter, but since I have an American husband who thinking anything with peanut butter is ‘the bomb’, I thought this was a good way to get him to eat an entire bag of spinach and peas. Sneaky wife!

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Pinch red chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp. organic peanut butter

Method

  • Mix the curry powder and two tablespoons of coconut milk, heat and then add the spinach
  • Let the spinach wilt and when reduced in size add the salt and chilli flakes
  • Add the rest of the coconut milk
  • Add the peas and peanut butter and mix in until it is merged into the sauce
  • Allow to reduce down a little
  • Serve with rice

Coconut-Lime Avocado Dressing on Kale  (GF, DF, Vegan, Raw)

Coconut-Lime Avocado Dressing on Kale  (GF, DF, Vegan, Raw)

Kale Lime Coconut

I adapted this recipe from Matthew Kenney’s PlantLab – creating the future of food book, which is centred on nutrient dense plant based recipes

It is a beautifully vibrant salad with the coconut and lime reminding you of the tropics as well as doing a good job at breaking down the kale

I had half of this for lunch and served the other half with my lentil tart over dinner to bring something bright and light to the dish

You can use this as a base and add anything your heart desires. I’d also recommend using the coconut-lime dressing on other salads and vegetables, as it really is sublime

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of Kale, de-stemmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 Avocados
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • Sea Salt

Method

  • Place the coconut oil, lime and sea salt in a blender and blend until well combined, taste and add salt
  • Place the kale and half an avocado in a bowl as well as the dressing, and massage for at least a minute until well combined, add the rest of the avocado and more salt if needed
  • Garnish with anything else you like for colour or texture, I added some California walnuts for crunch