plant based

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Get your chocolate fix with no added nasties, as these are refined flour and sugar-free,   naturally sweetened with dates, black beans for binding and darkness, cocoa for chocolatey richness and hazelnuts for a nice nutty crunch. Add all this to a creamy base of oats and you’ve got one tasty chocolate hazelnut cookies recipe. A future cookie. The future of cookies and baked goods is going this way, you heard it here first. Recipes like this prove that gluten, refined flours, sugar, dairy and eggs are not quite cutting it these days. Choose these chocolate hazelnut cookies and you’ll be feeling pretty good after too. Protein rich, fibre packed and only minimal healthy fats mean these are the cookies that just keep giving, lol (seriously, when I hear myself I just sound like such a dweeb!).

chocolate hazelnut cookies

Like chocolate and hazelnuts, hello…..I’m thinking ferrero rocher but better. Yep, they were definitely better and way more filling too.

Did you know that cocao is the HIGHEST plant based source of iron? Just sayin’. It’s true. That’s why I have absolutely no shame in indulging in rich cocoa drinks and dark chocolate EVERY day. Iron is important to a girl. Ummmmm, 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries……well I’m impressed.

I recommend using a good quality cocao powder and the best place to purchase is no doubt online. I get a kilo bag of Peruvian organic raw cocao powder from Ebay for about £12 and it lasts ages and tastes soooooooo bloody good. Ummmmm, chocolate 🙂

chocolate hazelnut cookies

Anyway, give these a go and see how you get on. I reckon you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

(Makes 10)

1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
1 can black beans
1/2 cup date syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons cocoa

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC + grease a baking tray with coconut oil.
  2. Add the oats, salt, hazelnuts to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Throw everything else into a blender + blitz until smooth. Stir this runny chocolatey mix into the dry to form cookie dough.
  4. Roll into 10 balls + flatten into cookie shapes. Bake for 20-22 minutes.

Apple and Strawberry Breakfast Crumble (Dairy Free)

apple and strawberry breakfast crumble

So apparently there’s this rule that says a crumble is a dessert and is for ‘afters’? What I take from that is after you’re way too full to eat a sweet pile of something delicious, but you’ll devour anyway, causing the well-known food coma. We all have been there at some point, it simply cannot be denied!
apple and strawberry breakfast crumble

This recipe is one put together because it looks equally appetising before the day has started as opposed to at the end of the day, it’s made with healthy low gluten spelt flour and oats…so that is a good beginning to your day, right? Throw in some fruit and seeds and sprinkle on some cinnamon. And a yoghurt dollop or some banana nicecream!

apple and strawberry breakfast crumbleThis recipe is another idea for the weekend. What should we have for breakfast that isn’t something quick and convenient before it’s time to dash out the door. This is a simple recipe and can be put together easily without too much mess.apple and strawberry breakfast crumble
This is a real dessert for breakfast………enjoy 😉

Apple and strawberry breakfast crumble

Serves 2

4 apples, chopped into chunks
handful of strawberries, halved
100 grams spelt flour
80 grams oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons coconut oil
6 tablespoons maple/date syrup
2-4 tablespoons water

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Place the prepared apples + strawberries in an oven proof dish.
  2. In a separate bowl combine the flour, oats + cinnamon. Combine the remaining wet ingredients (you may need to melt the oil) + add to the dry to form a crumbly texture.
  3. Top the fruit with the crumble + bake for 20-25 minutes. Top with yoghurt or anything you fancy.

Wholegrain Coconut Raspberry Cake

You know we’re all about the health, the wellbeing and just straight to the point good food. Healthy doesn’t mean complicated and fancy – often it’s quite the opposite! So having been to our local greengrocers to get his fresh raspberries 2 punnets for £1, there had to be a cake somewhere down the line using these gorgeously soft beauties…I came up with this idea: a wholegrain coconut raspberry cake. What you think?

Wholegrain Raspberry Coconut Cake Vegan

On goodnessgreen we love using the humble coconut. There are so many reasons why – follow the tag as shows our variations of this amazing fruit (well drupe technically) so far…

Wholegrain Coconut Raspberry CakeThe breakdown of why you want me:
I’m a quick to make cake,
super delicious,
so adaptable,
healthy as hell,
crammed full of coconut,
hello wholegrain,
dairy free,
what more do you want?

wholegrain raspberry vegan cake

Wholegrain Coconut Raspberry Cake

2 cups wholewheat spelt flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or replace with sugar of choice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup coconut milk
1 egg replacer (chia, flax or NRG egg replacer powder)
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup dairy free yoghurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries + extra coconut + raspberries for sprinkling

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 ºC + grease an 8″ cake tin.
  2. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the remianing ingredients except raspberries to seperate bowl and whisk thoroughly.
  3. Combine the 2 mixtures to form a cake batter. Fold through the 1 cup of raspberries + transfer to the greased cake pan.
  4. Top with a sprinkle of raspberries + extra coconut.
  5. Bake for 60 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Wholegrain Coconut Raspberry Cake adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s Raspberry Vanilla Coffee Cake. 

Go Plant Based – Get Healthier, Happier + Richer!

Who doesn’t want to be healthy, happier, richer?
I do, and it’s too easy ‘cos all you gotta do is get involved with some plants. Plant based food rocks and you don’t have to be a full blown vegan to get stuck in. It’s all about the small steps and anyway, life’s a journey hey? By adding a few extra veggies into our daily diets we’d all get a bit happier, a little healthier and life would be good…..man. Seriously, eating less meat and more plants is easier than you think.

There really is no reason to miss meat when there are endless tasty and exciting ways to create truly amazing food entirely from plants and whole foods. This is not about recreating, substituting or missing meat but rather a way to enjoy a world of plant based nutrition and making any recipe work! Being a vegan shouldn’t (and doesn’t) mean you’re missing out – quite the opposite really. It’s an opportunity to try something completely different, discover new flavours, experiment and share new meals safe in the knowledge that you are doing yourself the world of good. If you are just starting out on a plant based diet it can be a struggle at first but here are a few of my suggestions to make life easier and to offer a little inspiration.

Going plant based:

  • Learn to love your beans and of course lentils too! I’m bean mad and urge you to experiment with them. Beans are amazing in casseroles, curry, bakes, lasagnes, dips and of course most veggie burgers are bean based. There’s such a variety out there, why not try a different bean each week until you find your favourite? My top two are haricot and black turtle beans. A mexican is never complete without black beans.
  • Red, green + yellow lentils = staple store cupboard ingredient. The humble lentil has a bad rep but they are deliciously creamy and carry taste better than anything else. They’re perfect for replacing minced meat in Italian and Greek dishes and a sturdy foundation for a veggie burger. You can easily replace meat ingredients with lentils. They work a treat in lasagnes, shepherds pie too and a marriage made in heaven in curry.
  • Fancy that pumpkin sausage casserole? Why not replace the sausages with the meaty texture of chestnuts, portobello mushrooms, butter beans or simply replace with use some veggie sausages.
  • Mushrooms not only have that all important umami flavour but have that ‘meaty’ texture. There’s such a variety in the supermarkets these days just waiting for some experimentation. Pulse them up or slice them to imitate slithers of meat in a casserole or pasta sauce for that deep, rich flavour.
  • Tofu. Drain and press (with a heavy weight) for several hours to minimise water content. Slice into quarter inch strips add a robust sauce and bake. This is a great way to utilise an otherwise tasteless product. Tofu is fantastic not only in stir fries, curries and baked versions but is brilliant for making sweet treats like cheesecakes and mousses. Tempeh, Seitan (gluten wheat powder) is great for making veggie sausages and equal protein to lean meat. I’m not a huge fan of faux meat products but they can be a good solution if you’re struggling every now and then.
  • Use FLAVOUR to enhance your meals! Strong and distinctive flavours are the best way to adapt your recipes and create deeply rich layered flavours. I find that smoked paprika is perfect for replacing chorizo and a great way to add a rich Spanish flavour. Liquid smoke gives a fabulously smokey tastes to salads, beans, burgers sausages, dips, well anything really. Try it! Also, dried fruit and preserved lemons are great for creating that authentic North African and Middle Eastern flavour in stews and tagines. Indian food utilises an array of rich, warm and healing spices that lend themselves fantastically to vegan food. Veggie friendly umami flavours, chipotle, smoked paprika, harissa, garam masala. Of course the vegan umami flavours; mushrooms, fermented foods, sea vegetables, tamari and tomatoes are key in creating that all key satisfying flavour.
  • Just leave the meat out and use more of an alternative ingredient. Don’t sweat the whole protein (most people actually get way over recommended daily amounts, even by eating JUST veggies) thing anyway but if you’re concerned about levels just add some nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, quinoa or dairy alternatives to cheese. Anyway, what about some scrambled tofu……
  • Get bang into blogs. There’s lots of easy veggie recipes for endless inspiration in the blogosphere.
  • Just let your creative side take over and get involved. Fill your plate with colourful produce and creative dishes. Some of my favourite meals have been on the spot, open the fridge and make it up as you go!

plant based
Converting to a plant based diet is a wonderful opportunity to experiment with flavours and get in touch with our creative sides whilst getting healthy and reducing harm to our environment and of course, the animals.

Can you believe I’d never even purchased smoked paprika, liquid smoke, chipotle chilis or nutritional yeast (the list is endless) before I went veggie. Gosh, I really was missing out! So if you haven’t already added a few meatless meals to your week, challenge yourself and see how easy, delicious and feel good it really is. Peace 😉

Being Pregnant + Vegan

healthy diet pregnancy
Pregnancy has been harder than I thought what with the weight gain, nausea and numerous other weird physical side effects (!) but I tell you something, it’s that much harder being pregnant AND vegan! Like really hard. Not in a diet and ‘oh geez, what can I eat?’ way but in a socially acceptable way. I truly wasn’t prepared for the amount of questioning I’d receive with regards to my diet, my baby and the absence of meat and dairy in my diet. It’s been a little like this:

‘So, now that you’re pregnant are you eating meat?’

‘What about milk, you need calcium for the baby?’

Are you still a vegan now you’re expecting?’

No, I know and Yes.

I admit, I’ve struggled the past few months with these questions and although I know people only mean well, I can’t help but feel annoyed and at times a little like public property! Of course I answer politely and tell them I get plenty of calcium from alternative sources etc but the look of uncertainty is all the proof I need that they just don’t get it.

The thing is, I know about food, about nutrition, I’m kinda sensible and I’m a bit of a research nerd so naturally I did my homework on a plant based pregnancy. I know what I’m doing, it’s everyone else that’s doubtful, and there lies the problem. The other day was a particularly busy one for questioning, like 3 people asked me straight out whether I was still a ‘veggie’ at a team meeting in between congratulations. I’m pretty steadfast, I have the necessary knowledge but there’s only so much you can take before you start to doubt yourself and go home to calculate your calcium intake for that day, your protein for the week and the iron content of your lunch. I’ll send a text to Russ relaying all of this, to be greeted by his response of reassurance followed by my own realisation that I really do know the facts and that I’m doing the best for my baby.

My recent scan showed everything is progressing nicely with baby being the perfect size for her weeks. I am not deficient in anything, have bundles of energy and my weight gain is bang on target!

I refuse to measure nutrient levels and weigh absolutely anything (well except when baking, lol!), believe it’s completely unnecessary and why should I anyway? My body isn’t lacking a single nutrient, I look and feel full of energy and my baby is happy and healthy. I believe this is because I eat REAL food. Nobody seems to comment or judge the mum to be who drinks diet coke, eats KFC and a large bag of haribo but rather they are reassured they are eating for two and to enjoy it whilst they can!

Diets, especially during pregnancy are pretty personal and very individual and the following is what works for me but everybody is different, thank goodness 😉 Above everything, knowledge sure is power.

Here’s what I’ve been doing since being pregnant:

1. I have gone ORGANIC. Or partly organic. I try to at least buy the dirty dozen all organic alongside staples such as bread, nuts and oats. This change will stick with me, less chemicals is never a bad thing.

2. I have increased my intake of healthy FATS at each meal particularly oiive oil, nut butters, avocados, nuts, seeds, tahini, vegan cheeses. I find this alone has helped me feel more satiated and given me a level energy throughout the day.

3. I make sure I eat CALCIUM rich foods daily and it’s really quite a breeze on a plant based diet. I personally maintain healthy levels by eating the following: green leafy veg such as broccoli, kale, spinach and cabbage (did you know there’s more calcium in a cup of collard greens than in 1 cup of milk), fortified nut milks such as almond or coconut that contain 30% RDA in 200 ml, tahini which provides 10% RDA in just 1 tablespoon, molasses to sweeten, fortified oatmeal (Ready Brek) provides an excellent source too with a large bowl containing a whopping 60% RDA, an orange a day because I just love them, a handful almonds whenever I’m peckish, chickpeas / any pulse really (20% RDA in 1 cup) in a stew/curry or hummus and fortified wholemeal breads.

4. I have upped my IRON intake a little too by making sure I eat a wide selection of iron rich foods throughout the day including sweet potatoes, raisins, dates, figs, prunes, molasses, peas, artichokes, dark leafy greens, spirulina in smoothies, pumpkin, all whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans, beans and more beans.  At least once a day I’ll try to have a food rich in vitamin C alongside iron rich foods such as baked beans and sweet potato to improve the iron absorption. Oh and chocolate too – a 3 oz. portion of cooked ground beef (70% lean meat, 30% fat) contains 2.11 mg of iron, while 3 oz. of dark chocolate boasts 10.12 mg.

5. I drink way more WATER. This has made a HUGE difference to my digestion and energy levels and I just know that 3 litres a day makes a big difference to my wellbeing and my baby’s too.

6. Dear old PROTEIN and where d’ya get it from!  Well I aim for a little more than before, about 70 grams per day. It’s easy as hell to get enough protein as a vegan if you cook real foods so I just keep a mindful eye on making sure I get some quality protein in at each meal from my favourite sources, including greens (most people don’t think of greens as punching much of a protein punch but they really do), nuts, seeds especially hemp, lentils, beans (15 grams in 1 cup!), nut milks, sprouted grain breads, oats, quinoa, cocoa (yeah really!) and occasionally Quorn. I don’t sweat this protein lark as other people do, that’s enough for me!

7. I have VICES. Beer and coffee. No more beer but I still drink coffee, just two cups in the morning and refrain from caffeine for the remainder of the day.

8. I take a general pregnancy SUPPLEMENT as advised by my midwife such as Pregnacare and also a B12 supplement.

So I pretty much eat the same foods I ate before, but at the start of my pregnancy I made sure to take a closer look to ensure I was covering all bases. I believe my body (and midwife!) will tell me if something’s up and I plan to continue eating a whole foods plant based diet for the reminder of my pregnancy and after that too.

Some light reading:

http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/veganpregnancy.php

http://www.vegansociety.com/lifestyle/parenting/vegan-babies-and-children/pregnancy.aspx

https://www.vegsoc.org/

http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/vegetarian-pregnancy/

Curried Lentil Soup with Carrot + Coriander Dumplings (Gluten Free + Vegan)

curried lentil & dumpling stew
We spent our entire saturday morning in 3 carpet/wood flooring superstores and it was sooooo bad. Bad because I hate these places at the best of times, bad because I feel I should take a greater interest and enthusiasm for the flooring that goes down in our home (especially considering the financial outlay) and bad bad bad because we just couldn’t make a choice – oh golly! Instead we left with several quotes and unfinished business but I’m never going back there, no way. I really do want some nice flooring but it’s the time (it’s a lot) and effort that goes into choosing whilst getting caught up in the maze of DIY-ers frantically filling their trolleys like they know exactly what they’re doing. I guess I just need to be one of those people, someone who loves everything DIY, but I’m not. I’m the person who likes the nice house but without ever entering a huge superstore, I’m more than happy to choose online, at home and in comfort! The thing is you just can’t choose flooring online, it just doesn’t feel right….oh I know, first world problems hey!

lentil dumpling stew

Anyway, it’s food like this that gets me through car crash mornings such as hanging out in DIY stores in a confused state!! A real good, homely, comforting, major silly healthy lentil stew with the best dumplings ever. Oh yes.

curried lentil & dumpling stew

I’m gonna put myself out there now and say this is probably one of my favourite meals just for how wonderfully feel good and delicious it is. This is a complete meal in itself with plenty of protein and four servings of veggies served with grain and dairy free dumplings. I just gotta say these dumplings are better than those dumplings you used to love…..you know the ones and with healing onion, garlic, chili, ginger and turmeric this stew is sure to warm and nourish you all winter long….spring and summer too.

Right, time to call the DIY superstore and finally make that decision!

curried lentil & dumpling stew

Curried lentil soup with carrot + coriander dumplings

(serves 2)

soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
small piece of ginger, chopped finely
2 sticks celery, chopped finely
2 large carrots, chopped into small pieces
1 cup red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, turmeric + cinnamon
1 heaped teaspoon curry powder
2 handfuls greens, shredded
chili + coriander for dressing

dumplings:
1 cup chick pea (gram) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 small carrot, grated
1 tablespoon coriander, chopped
2 tablespoons soya yoghurt
1/2 cup water

method:

1. Heat the olive oil over a low heat + add the first 6 ingredients, stirring until softened + aromatic.
2. Add the lentils, broth, spices + greens, keep on a low heat for 15 minutes. You may need to add more water if it over thickens, or add a teaspoon corn flour if it needs thickening.
3. Whilst the soup is simmering make your dumplings by combining the flour, salt + baking powder. Once combined add the carrot, coriander, soya yoghurt + water to form a sticky cookie dough mixture.
4. Form 6 dumplings by hand or alternatively spoon the mixture directly into the soup. The balls should sit on top without sinking. Cover the pan + simmer for a further 15 minutes.
5. Serve dressed with chopped chili + coriander.

Banana NiceCream – No Dairy, No Fat + No Sugar

Banana Nicecream – No Dairy, Fat or Sugar

banana ice cream

It’s that crazy time of year when everything just seems in excess; an obscenely huge selection of food, alcohol you would never usually drink (advocaat and Baileys anyone?), extravagant gifts we can’t afford, social expectations turning into obligations, shops packed to the brim with enthusiastic shoppers, television commercials telling us we need just one more thing and a minor meltdown when we realise we forgot the cranberry sauce. How could we possibly go ahead without this!? This stuff is tiring in a period of my life when I’m trying to detox in every sense of the word, embrace my inner minimalist, reduce everything, less is more as a mantra, de-clutter and simplify. Yes, simplify. Why make things more complicated than they need to be? It’s all very simple really and this ice cream is a celebration of less is more. But don’t be fooled, it’s pretty amazing stuff.

It’s free. Free from everything but wholesome goodness.

Liberated from unnecessary additives. simply banana ice cream

Completely unadulterated.

Happy to be just as it is and it doesn’t care what you think.  DSC_8905

Pure.

Raw.

You get the picture right?

1 beautiful ingredient. Bananas.just bananas, frozen bananas

Nature’s offering of whole food plant powered ice cream. It’s banana nicecream.

There’s no sugar, no dairy and no fat. Hallelujah!banana ice cream with caramel + nuts

It doesn’t get any simpler. It doesn’t get any better either.

Less is more. Most of the time anyway.

Banana Nicecream

Freeze your bananas for at least 4 hours + blend away until creamy. The Vitamix does a terrific job. Eat as soft serve or freeze for a harder consistency.

The Ultimate Raw + Vegan Butterscotch Caramel Sauce

raw caramel vegan sauceEveryone has a new favourite thing, like a latest obsession and this is mine. I am obsessed, fixated, pretty much stalking this raw vegan butterscotch caramel sauce. It really isn’t that bad for you either, there’s no dairy, no soy, no gluten and no processed sugars but rather unadulterated beautiful dates. No butter but rather a smidgen of coconut oil, no cream but rather a small handful of creamy cashews. The world would be a much nicer place if we all ate this.raw caramel butterscotch sauce

This is nature’s answer to a caramel sauce. This is a whole food, raw and plant powered caramel butterscotch extravaganza.

Are dates not the most impressive food in nature? Nature’s fudge. Nature’s caramel. Nature’s butterscotch. An obsession.Easy as 1,2,3

I cannot help but eat this by the spoonful right out of the jar but you know what….you know how it tastes best, like mouth drooling crazy tasty……….there’s banana and peanuts involved. Bananas, peanuts and caramel sauce, the happy threesome. Now that is what I’m talking about. Somebody please remove this from my reach, addictive, that’s what this is.Banana. peanuts + caramel sauce

I put some on my chia pudding, it just seemed like the right thing to do. That was good.Caramel sauce on chia pudding

I put in on my oats too, everyday until it’s gone. Damn I put it on anything. I even eat it straight up. Caramel sauce on oatmeal

Please make this. Everybody needs the ultimate raw and vegan caramel butterscotch sauce in their lives. Surely.Raw caramel butterscotch sauce

The ultimate raw + vegan butterscotch caramel sauce

1 cup dates
1/4 cup cashews
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Soak the dates + cashews in freshly boiled water + leave for 30 minutes. Add the soaked mix to a blender with the remaining ingredients + blend until smooth.
Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed + Herb Falafel (Gluten Free + Vegan)

Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed + Herb FalafelFor me falafel is a full on, fill me up, give it to me now crave food. It’s pure comfort food. When I want something filling, fresh, warming and healthy yet satisfying this is it. The thing is I rarely make falafel and it’s not like it’s easy to get in fast food joints around here either. Oh, what I would do to have a little local cafe nearby that baked me falafel when I needed it most, now that would be good. Until my make believe plant based Arab inspired fast food joint opens I’ll be making this myself and more often.

I am in love with North African flavours so naturally falafel is pretty high up there on the favourites list, I definitely ate my fair share (ok, more than is fair!) in Egypt. Were they better? Ummmm, not necesserily! The trouble is most falafel is deep fried as that’s in fact the traditional way of preparing it but it’s way toooo oily for me and so unnecessary as IMO they taste so much better baked. These pistachio, pumpkin seed + herb falafel are fragrant, lightly spiced, fresh, crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside and devastatingly good, in taste and for health! Yes, every recipe on this blog is healthy………

This here is falafel, just how it should be.Green falafel + yoghurt mint dressing

Baked not fried.Green falafel + yoghurt mint dressing

Russ was on ball making duty as it’s not my forte and his balls are so uniform, round and smooth (humour me). And green, nice and green thanks to the mint, coriander, pistachio and pumpkin seeds. Not only does this add a nice touch visually it really ramps up the nutritional density too. This pistachio, pumpkin seed + herb falafel is high in protein, contains only heart healthy fats, low in sodium and the herbs provide immense anti-inflammatory and ant-bacterial benefits. You just gotta love fresh green herbs. Russ making falafel

These little blighters are super easy to put together and can be whipped up in 15 minutes flat,  get somebody else to roll your balls and it’ll be quicker than that! I’ll send Russ round?Easy recipe....

Extra tasty served in fresh crisp lettuce leaves, the best way. Gone are the days when I felt self conscious eating from a lettuce or cabbage leaf, where others would sometimes make comments in confused wonder or assume I was just a weird eater. I’m not sure why either as it’s one of the most delicious ways to eat food minus the heavy carb and gluten load, just ask the Koreans. Since living in Korea for a year I soon learnt to love the leaf wrapping as they wrap everything in a fresh lettuce leaf, a crunchy wad of cabbage or a crisp sheet of seaweed. Oh I do miss that place and it’s food, but not the soups so much, particularly the ones where they sneak tiny bits of pork into it and tell you it’s vegetarian! Back to the leaf, Korean supermarkets have entire refrigerators dedicated to housing the most pristine, organised and colour coordinated lettuce leaves you have ever seen. Our local store even had a designated lettuce leaf handler (nice guy too), in charge of bagging, weighing and most importantly keeping the green, purple and red (yes, they put a lot of love and affection into their lettuce!) display looking beautiful. Tangent….yes falafel…..eating out of a lettuce leaf = good.

Falafel, lettuce wraps + salad

So, although I’m no longer leaf wrapping on a daily basis I always take up any opportunity to use fresh plant- powered wraps, especially if there’s falafel involved. I do wonder if I’ll ever be able to eat from a leaf again without thinking about Korea!! Good times.A whole lotta lettuce wrap

Falafel is a classic veggie staple and is delicious served with a big salad and if lettuce leaf wraps aren’t for you a wholewheat pitta would be amaze-balls (get it?) too. I like both, falafel wrapped in lettuce and stuffed in a pitta, finished off with generous dollops of minty dressing. Oh dear, now that is delicious.Falafel in hand

Pistachio, pumpkin seed + herb falafel

(10 balls)

1 can drained chickpeas (240 grams)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small onion, chopped
small handful fresh mint
small handful fresh coriander
1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
salt & pepper

mint dressing:
small handful mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons yoghurt + 1 of water

Method:

1. Rinse + drain chickpeas, set aside. Place garlic, onion + green herbs into a food processor or blender + pulse until roughly chopped. Add the nuts + seeds + pulse to a rough texture. Add the chickpeas, cumin + salt/pepper + blend until fully combined so that it retains a rough like texture. You may need to redistribute the mixture with a spoon in between blending.
2. Form 10-12 balls from the mixture + place on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Bake falafel in the oven for 20 minutes until firm + crispy on the outside. Combine the mint dressing ingredients in a small bowl or cup + set aside.
3. Serve in lettuce with a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds + a drizzle of mint yoghurt dressing.

Comforting Cheesy Pumpkin Sauce With Kale + Pasta (Gluten Free + Vegan)

cheesy kale pumpkin pastaI saw two ladies running in opposite directions today along the canal towpath so I nosily lingered and wondered as they fast approached each other whether they would say hello or not……..they didn’t and I wondered why. It disappointed me and made me a little sad. Two runners, a nice morning, literally elbow skimming each other, yet no acknowledgement or good morning from either. Sad times eh? Is this why I get that look of ‘are you mental’ when I strike up a conversation with a fellow strangers? I think it’s a shame. I always say hi, acknowledge others when out and about, it’s the done thing, right?DSC_8344

I have no way of introducing this recipe apart from it’s the kind of meal that puts a big crazy smile on my face. A deliciously smooth, creamy, cheesy, smokey pumpkin sauce for all your pasta needs. The kind of ‘go to’ comfort food you need when the temperature dips and the days get shorter.

Creamy, cheesy + delicious pumpkin sauce

I like to make a double batch + put it in the fridge ready and waiting for a couple of effortless mid week lunches. You can used canned pumpkin but if you wanna take the time roast your squash you’ll reap the reward of a sweeter flavour. I like rewards so I roast my pumpkin but canned is fantastic as a short cut.Cheesy pumpkin sauce with kale + pasta

Isn’t pumpkin pretty? I bloody love nature.Glorious pumpkin!

This sauce isn’t like your average pasta sauce but clearly this is in a good way. It’s low in sodium, has zero sugar and there’s no need to add a tonne of oil either. Almond milk, nutritional yeast + a touch of liquid smoke gives this pumpkin sauce a delicious creamy, cheesy + slightly smokey flavour. Nutritional yeast is mighty high in B vitamins and this sauce wouldn’t be what it is without it.

I’d definitely recommend an alternative pasta or at least whole grain as life’s too short to eat white sludge. I’m in love with buckwheat + brown rice pasta which are much better decisions, nutritionally + taste wise. They’re easily found in your local health food store or if you’re lucky in the gluten free section of your local supermarket. Winner. Oh, there’s kale in this too. Enough said.Cheesy pumpkin sauce

pumpkin + kale = happy times

kale + cheesy pumpkin sauce = very happy times

broccoli, spinach + other green things would be nice too

if you see me out running, say hello + make me smileCheesy pumpkin sauce with kale + pasta

Comforting Cheesy Pumpkin Sauce With Kale + Pasta

2 cups diced pumpkin or squash
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 cups almond milk (unsweetened)
salt & pepper
big handfuls of kale
100 grams of pasta per person

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven to 170ºC + place cubed pumpkin on a baking tray, sprinkle with salt + bake for 25 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to a blender with the roasted pumpkin and puree until smooth. Add more milk to loosen if needed.
3. Cook pasta per packet instructions, add kale 1 minute before the end. Drain the pasta/kale + stir through enough pumpkin sauce to coat the pasta.

Store leftover sauce in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freezes well.

Adapted from Oh She Glow’s ‘Smokey butternut squash sauce’. 

 

 

 

 

 

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