avocado

Wholegrain Pumpkin Vegan Sushi Rolls

Pumpkin Vegan Sushi
These pumpkin sushi rolls have been something we’ve been just dying to try, not for the pumpkin necessarily (although this time of year is all about the root veg) but because:
a). they’re vegan (and everything vegan rocks!)
b). there’s a first time for all experienced sushi rollers and this was that time in our household. Of course, this now means we’re going to become ‘experts’…

Pumpkin Vegan Sushi

The pumpkin idea is simple, Halloween has been and gone and there’s a few leftover edible pumpkins left in the supermarkets (although not many) and as pumpkin is an autumn/winter seasonal veggie, why not put some in the sushi?

But, this isn’t just any kind of sushi – your standard white rice kind, these pumpkin vegan sushi rolls are made with uber-healthy organic brown short grain sticky rice. That’s what makes this extra special, knowing you’re getting all that organic wholegrain into your sushi life. When you’ve got the choice, go brown over white every time.

Pumpkin Vegan Sushi

Brown sticky rice notes:
One rinsing will do before cooking,
Allow more cooking time (according to packet, around 40mins),
Brown rice does not have to be drained (unlike white),
Works best with a handing rolling mat (rice on the inside of the nori seaweed too).

Some nutritional bits for you about brown rice:
*Easier to digest as it’s much ‘lighter’
*Low GI, reducing insulin spikes (slow-release sugar)
*High in Manganese
*High fibre – good for weight loss
*A ‘whole grain’
*Rich in antioxidants
*Perfect baby ‘first food’ as it’s nutrient rich (ideal as we’re new parents!)

Pumpkin Vegan Sushi

Armed with the raw ingredients including avocado, red pepper & green onion as well as a brand new rolling mat, it was time to get stuck in. It’s quite calming really once you’ve got the hang of spreading the rice thinly and evenly, as it’s something to keep a busy mind distracted as you gotta concentrate. It’s a situation whereby once you commit, you have to go the whole way much like walking into the (cold English) ocean up to your waist: 3, 2, 1 under! I found the trick was once you start rolling don’t be afraid, just carry on – who cares if it’s not perfect, that’s what the other 4 sheets of nori in the packet are for…to make more delicious sushi.

Pumpkin Vegan Sushi

These sushi rolls are gluten, dairy, egg, nut, and soy-free (as long as you leave out any tofu and no tamari for dipping). However, we jazzed the serving up with a generous squeeze of wasabi and some organic tamari…just yummy. This made a great weekend lunch, and yes we’ll be making again and using some more of our 10kg stash of brown sticky rice!

Pumpkin Vegan Sushi

Choose your fillings and enjoy!

Wholegrain Pumpkin Vegan Sushi Rolls

(makes 5 rolls)

1 cup of uncooked short grain brown rice, cooked according to packet instructions
5 nori sheets
1 cup roasted pumpkin, mashed
1 tablespoon wasabi
1/3 cucumber, sliced into strips
1/2 red pepper, sliced into strips
2 spring green onions, sliced into strips
1 avocado, sliced into strips
(any other filling that takes your fancy)
serve with the usual wasabi, pickled ginger + tamari

  1. Mash the roasted pumpkin + wasabi to a smooth consistency.
  2. Arrange all your prepared vegetables including your pumpkin paste, rice + nori sheets on a chopping board.
  3. Lay out your nori, spread rice thinly + evenly (rolls better that way) and lay filling on the top of the rice not quite half way up the nori sheet. Using your sushi mat start rolling your sushi according to the package instructions. Most packets have instructions, but this video was pretty useful.
  4. Slice up each roll + devour with condiments.

Polenta Taco Pizza (Gluten Free + Vegan)

Who doesn’t like pizza?

polenta GF pizza

I really like it but rarely eat it these days seeing as it is so hard to find gluten free or even healthier alternatives. I just don’t have the stomach for doughy, heavy, stretchy glutenous pizza bases. Which is why I love (am loving!) polenta based pizzas! Not only does it allow for a gluten free base but it really is so much tastier than wheat pizza – really.

I’m not sure I’ll bother with regular pizza again after this. Polenta is pretty magical stuff, like instant pizza dough but way more delicious and gluten free. Why are we not seeing more polenta pizza out there, c’mon Zizzi and Pizza Express – get with the program!

polenta pizza

Seriously, this is so quick, no yeast, no rising, no kneading, no resting but rather instant dough that you can form into the pizza of your dreams whether that be thin, fat, round, square or mighty irregular! This is a vibrant, nutrient dense easy peasy pizza crust! The smoked chipotle sauce and a little avocado later and you have a Mexican polenta pizza for one. Just double the recipe if you care to share. I didn’t feel much in the mood for sharing mine.

polenta GF vegan pizza

Don’t buy pre-made pizza – make polenta pizza because it really is that easy and have a personal polenta pizza party.

polenta GF vegan pizza

Polenta taco pizza

for the crust:
1 cup polenta
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil

for the sauce:
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons chipotle paste
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 garlic clove, crushed

toppings:
tomatoes, sliced
green bell pepper, sliced
sweetcorn
avocado
preferred vegan cheese

method:
1. Heat the water in a small pan until bubbling + slowly pour in the polenta, stirring continuously until smooth + thick. Turn off the heat + stir through seasoning + olive oil.
2. Preheat oven to 200º C. + line a baking pan with parchment paper (I used a round 8″ pan).  Pour the polenta mixture into the pan + flatten with the back of your spoon, allowing for a thicker crust. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Bake for 30 minutes. Prepare sauce + toppings whilst base is in the oven. Remove pizza + top with all toppings apart from avocado + bake for a further 10 minutes.
4. Remove + serve with copious amounts of avocado + wedges of lime for a taco inspired pizza.

Miso + Lime Rainbow Salad (Vegan)

miso saladBig deal, yeah I know it’s only a salad and that’s just it, a salad can be just a plain old salad or it can be a taste extravaganza with multiple layers crammed with texture, colour and a nutrient density through the roof. That’s this one here. A plant based salad in all it’s raw glory, bursting with goodness.

Why oh why is salad often so redundant on the dinner table, an afterthought or something that people feel they should have to add a little colour to the meal. Let’s put a little love and affection into our salads, each and every one.

I hate to see salad as a sad side lined side. This is wrong. And why oh why is salad often seen as freaky boring health food? This is wrong too. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Never. These two salads make a right. Two salads for me......

Salad must be pretty special as it’s the one thing I crave when I’ve been deprived of freshness for a few days, often when travelling. Times when I’ve felt a little sluggish and in need of fresh, raw and nutrient dense food. and it’s always salad I want and need to make me feel alive and healthy again. It’s a huge vibrant bowl of health I crave to offset the white and brown food induced coma that extended travel at times brings! What about a salad buffet…….who doesn’t love a salad buffet? I gotta say my salad building skills are pretty impressive, I’ve even had compliments on my salad engineering before! Well, where there’s salad love, there’s always a salad way. Four words for you: ‘Whole Foods’ salad bar…….enough said. DSC_8196

I do love a good dressing and there’s something about miso paste with it’s rich, salty, earthy flavours. I always roast my seeds, you should definitely too, you wont recognise them, honestly. I always add avocado because they are the best fruit in the world, end of. Let’s just take a minute to appreciate their amazingness……….j’adore. Yummy avocado

It’s so wise to make a huge bowl and keep it in the fridge, easy to dip into and the lime and miso combination will infuse and deepen the flavours further. This is super handy for a lunchtime meal or as a side to some delicious noodles or stir fried rice or stuffed into a soft tortilla wrap and drowned in cashew cream.. Yep, I’m the first to admit this could be neater, more symmetrical avocado pieces but you know what, it’s chopped and it’s really very delicious. Don’t be so superficial, wink wink. You just know that you’ll feel amazing after eating this, it’s bursting at the seems with pure plant giving energy. Yum. Miso + lime salad

Let this be a reminder to us all, never to sell salad short but rather put some love and affection into our next salad creation. It’s so easy, grab a handful of each ingredient, mix it up, pour over dressing, mix it up more, leave it alone for 5 and dress it up!

Salad rocks. A not so boring salad

Miso + lime rainbow salad

(serves 2)

1/2 white cabbage, sliced
1/2 lettuce, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced finely
1 red chili, deseeded + finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
3 inch piece of cucumber, cut into strips
small handfull fresh sweetcorn
coriander, chopped finely
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

dress it up:
1 avocado, chopped into squares
1 teaspoon miso paste
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Throw all the salad ingredients into a large bowl. Mix the miso, lime + sesame oil together + pour over the salad. Mix thoroughly + leave to infuse for 20-30 minutes.
2. Top with pumpkin seeds + avocado. Eat it all or share it with another.

 

Kale, Avocado, Mango + Pumpkin Seed Salad – Vegan

DSC_6751I was never the kid who hated greens, there was no need to twist my arm or bribe me to eat them ‘cos I really liked them, a lot. I still do but these days I love drinking them too, something a younger me may have turned her nose up at!  I love every vegetable and fruit out there, there’s not one I don’t like! So I’m not choosy or picky in the slightest aside from the meat part, but just being a vegetarian I’m seen as a little fussy by friends and family! It’s a shame because there’s so much I do eat and I’d never turn my nose up at fresh, whole, natural foods. I need some vegetarians in my life! I was talking to Russ the other day about how I don’t know any other veggies (aside from him) which is weird because when travelling it felt like every second person I met didn’t eat meat. I have my theories but anyway I’m currently on a mission to find fellow vegetarians!KAMPS Salad!

Greens have got to be one of the cheapest vegetables in town and in my opinion the most delicious and versatile too, what a bonus. They make a great alternative to regular salad leaves especially if you massage them with an oil/citrus dressing. There’s so much variety too so I think I’ll try some collards in the next salad bowl. In the meantime I’ll maintain my love affair with Kale with this winning combination of flavours. This raw salad is so simple, fresh, clean and nourishing, it’s definitely a feel good recipe. It’s great as a quick snack and would be perfect with some wholegrain rice or quinoa for a more substantial meal. I dressed mine up to the nines with some cashew cream, just because I’m adding this to everything these days!Kale, lemon & sa

I’m eating this combo a lot at the moment, so much so I’ve named it KAMPS – kale, avocado, mango, pumpkin seeds!Ingredients- KAMPS

The sweet mango with the creamy avocado mixed into the lemon flavoured kale is something special. We all know Kale is the king of greens but avocados are the queen of fruits and truly shine in terms of their health benefits too. They’re excellent for heart health and are full of healthy plant based fats which actually lower cholesterol. Avocados are superb for regulating blood sugar levels and high in fibre too, making them one of the healthiest foods in town. Gosh, kale, avocado and pumpkin seeds in the same dish is pretty nutritionally impressive.

Did you eat your greens as a kid? Are you surrounded by lots of other vegetarians?Kamps & cashew cream

KAMPPS

(serves 2 as a side or 1 as a meal)

3 large handfuls kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 avocado, chopped into cubes
1 small mango, chopped into cubes
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Method:

1. Wash the kale leaves & massage them with the oil, lemon & salt. Set aside.
2. Prepare the mango & avocado. Transfer kale to serving bowls and dress with remaining ingredients.
3. Eat alone or dress up with quinoa, brown rice, rye bread & plenty of cashew cream!

Quinoa Salad Bowl with Cumin & Lime dressing – GF & Vegan

Mexican quinoa salad ingredients

Lunchtime salad

Lunch is my least favourite meal of the day. It’s usually a sandwich on the run, occasionally second rate canteen food, it can be a second breakfast (I know, not necessarily a bad thing) or worse still, I have no time for lunch. That’s why I like working from home. I can make lunch, I can take the time to enjoy my lunch and I don’t pay inflated prices for a simple but healthy midday meal. Russ has the right idea, he buys a job lot of ingredients at the start of the week and makes lunch at the office.
DSC_5610My body will thank me for it. Our bodies will be thankful for it. This colourful quinoa salad is bursting with protein, healthy fats and antioxidants…wait a minute, this is really the perfect midday pick me up. I love quinoa and avocado (together is best) especially with a drizzle of this mexican inspired dressing.

Salad is so underrated, it has the ability to actually be one of my favourite meals. A huge, superfood laden, bulging, hearty dressed up salad. Oh, black beans, it’s too late but the next salad will have black beans, that will really complete it. Salad is a bit like lego, you can just keep building, using a variety of colours and the possibilities are endless. Of course salad tastes much better than lego!Avocado and quinoa salad

Now I’m thinking about holidays, Mexico specifically. Well it is my second favourite cuisine and I can’t believe I still haven’t been….and I have to go, to get truly inspired, to expand my mexican mealtime repertoire (it’s really very small) and of course hit the beach. Anyway, build this quinoa salad bowl on the day or the night before. I will be.

I always eat with chopsticks but that's another story!

I always eat with chopsticks but that’s another story!

Quinoa salad bowl with a cumin & lime dressing

(serves 2)

2 cups cooked quinoa
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 green pepper, sliced finely
1 avocado, sliced
2 heaped tablespoons sweetcorn
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 small red chilli, chopped & desseded if you wish
handful fresh parsley (or coriander), roughly chopped

for the dressing:

1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt & pepper twist

Method:

Assemble the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk the dressing ingredients thoroughly. Drizzle generously & enjoy.

Note: If, like me you will be making this the night before then I’d advise to keep the dressing in a separate container ready for when you plan to eat.