Vegan pasta with creamy mushroom sauce

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about adopting a vegan lifestyle is re-working some of my old favourite recipes to make them vegan-friendly.  I’m an absolute sucker for creamy pasta sauces but it’s tricky to find a way to make them without using cream. Although there are some vegan cream alternatives, the supermarket here doesn’t stock any of them.  So I had to get a bit creative when substituting cream from my recipes.

 

Last week I was craving something delicious and filling. What I really wanted was my mother’s mushroom and spinach pasta sauce.  So I put on my thinking cap, had a bit of a tinker in the kitchen and came up with this dairy-free version.  It’s lower in fat than the traditional recipe, and it’s perfect for vegans and lactose intolerant folk.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100g mushrooms, chopped
  • 100g baby spinach leaves
  • 200g block silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken style stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups pasta

 

 

  1. Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water until al dente
  2. Heat the oil in the pan and fry the onion until soft.
  3. Add the mushrooms to the pan with the onion and fry until soft.
  4. Chop the tofu into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until it is the consistency of pouring cream.  If the tofu is too thick, add water in small increments until the consistency is right.  Add a the turmeric to the tofu cream.
  5. Reduce the heat on the mushrooms and onions.  Add the tofu, the nutritional yeast flakes and the stock and stir to combine.
  6. Add the spinach and herbs to the sauce.  Stir on a medium heat until the spinach is wilted.  Remove from heat.
  7. Drain pasta and stir through sauce.

You can very easily adjust this recipe to your personal tastes.  I like adding a little more nutritional yeast because it gives the sauce a cheesier flavour.  You may also like to experiment with adding other herbs as well.

 

I love this technique of using blended silken tofu to replace cream in pasta sauces and casseroles.  It works a treat, producing a rich creamy texture without any animal content.

 

 

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Vegan Eggnog recipe

Eggnog is one of my favourite Yuletide treats.  The very first sip always leaves me with an overwhelming rush of Christmas spirit. Lately I’ve been experimenting with what I call a vegan-ish diet, in that I’m eating a mostly plant based diet with as few animal products as possible.  I’ve been attempting to convert some of my favourite recipes to make them vegan-friendly, and I couldn’t resist trying to create my own vegan eggnog.

The results were a delicious, creamy beverage that is like Christmas in a cup.  This recipe is really easy, and uses ingredients that are available in most supermarkets.  You don’t need any special equipment or appliances and it’s ready to drink in a matter of minutes.

 

This eggnog recipe is for you if you:

  • are vegan
  • are lactose intolerant
  • are watching your cholesterol
  • are grossed out by the idea of drinking raw egg

 

You will need:

  • 1 cup non dairy milk.  I love cashew milk for this recipe because it has a sweet flavour.  Almond milk also works really well.  But you could use soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, coconut milk or any other non-dairy alternative.
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream.
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 shot brandy (if you want to make this a boozy bevvy.  If not, leave the brandy out)

 

Method

Place ingredients in a jug and whisk with a fork until combined.  You can also put it in a cocktail shaker and give it a good shake if you want a frothier drink.   Top with a little cinnamon in a glass.

 

This recipe makes enough for 2 glasses.

 

Variations:

  • warm milk, spices, syrup and coconut cream in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring often.  Pour into a mug and add brandy if desired.
  • Add a teaspoon of drinking chocolate to make a chocolate version.

Happy nogging!

 

 

Sweet potato fritters recipe.

Wow, it’s been ages since I posted a recipe on my blog. I’m trying really hard to get back into cooking this year in a bid to eat a bigger range of foods.  I’m also trying out some different ways to cook some of my favourite vegetables, to include a bit more variety in my diet.

One of the most delicious vegies around is the humble sweet potato. Not only does it taste great, but it’s low in fat and sodium, it contains loads of vitamins (B6, A and C to name a couple) and is a rich source of potassium.  It is also low GI, which means that it will give you sustained energy and keep you feeling full longer.

I usually serve my sweet potatoes as chips or roast them in the oven for a delicious side dish.  But last week I decided to have a go at creating some pan-fried sweet potato parcels.  These yummy fritters are so easy to make, they are vegan and gluten free and they taste scrumptious.  I like to serve mine as a side with pan-fried tofu or some salmon.  They also go down a treat when slapped between a bun and layered with salad and a slice of cheese for a delicious burger.

You can make the mixture and keep it in the fridge for up to 48 hours until you are ready to cook it.  This recipe makes about 6 patties.  You might also like to adjust the spices and herbs used to suit your own tastes.

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Sweet potato fritters (makes 6)

Ingredients

2 cups sweet potato

4 spring onions

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

1 teaspoon parsley

1 tablespoon sesame or coconut oil.

Method.

– Peel and dice the sweet potato and cook in a pot of boiling water until soft.

– Using a fork, mash the sweet potato and set aside.

– Finely slice the spring onions and add to the mashed sweet potato, along with the spices.

– Heat the oil in a frying pan.

– Using your hands, roll the sweet potato mixture into balls.  Each ball should use about 1-2 tablespoons of mixture.  You can adjust the size of the fritters if you wish.

– Place the fritters in the frying pan over a medium heat.  Use a spatula to press the fritters flat in the pan.  Cook until browned, and then flip and cook on the other side.

– Serve and enjoy!

If you wish, you might like to add an egg to the mixture to help it to bind together a bit better.  You may also like to add some other vegetables, such as peas or diced carrot, to the mixture to change the flavour.

Let me know if you’d like to see more recipes on the blog.  I’d be happy to share my cooking exploits if you’re interested.

My bircher muesli recipe

Bircher muesli is hands-down my favourite breakfast food.  It’s delicious, it’s healthy and it’s filling enough to keep you going through to lunch time.  I don’t make it very often because it does require a bit of night-before planning.  But I like to whip this up as a special treat for myself from time-to-time

This recipe makes enough for two people (or enough for one person if you like a big breakfast).  It will keep in the fridge for about 48 hours.

Ingredients 

– 1 cup rolled oats

– 1 1/4 cup of apple or pear juice

– 1 grated apple or pear

– yogurt

– fresh berries or dried fruit to serve

What you do:

1. Roughly grate the apple or pear (you can use whichever you prefer)

2. Mix the grated fruit with the oats in a big bowl.

3. Pour the juice over the oats mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  This works best if you make it the night before and stick it in the fridge overnight.

4. Serve topped with yogurt and your choice of dried fruit or berries.  It’s also delicious topped with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

This recipe can easily be adapted for vegan diets.  Just leave out the yogurt and serve with a splash of soy or nut milk instead.

What is your favourite breakfast food?  Have you tried bircher muesli?

Chunky Vegetable Soup recipe

The days are getting mighty chilly in my corner of the world.  One of my favourite ways to warm up is with a big bowl of hearty soup.  This veggie soup is one of my all-time favourites.  I love it because it’s simple to make, it’s great for using up leftover vegetables and it freezes well.

DSCF8149

Ingredients

4 cups vegetable stock

3 medium potatoes

2 carrots

1 zucchini

1 medium brown onion

2 cloves garlic

1 parsnip

1 turnip

1 400g tin of chickpeas, butter beans or cannelini beans

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon parsley

salt and pepper to taste.

(You can also add in any other vegetables you like.  I’ll throw in anything I’ve got in the fridge that’s on it’s last legs).

Method.

-Put the stock into a large pot and bring to a brisk simmer on the stove

– Chop and peel all of your vegetables.

– Add the vegetables and herbs to the pot.

-Turn the temperature down low and simmer on low for at least 30 minutes.

– Serve with crusty bread, crackers or a sprinkling of cheddar cheese on top.

That’s it!  This is also a brilliant recipe for slow-cooking.  Just put all of your ingredients into your slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

This soup will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days after cooking.  It’s also suitable to freeze.  I usually make a big batch at the start of winter and freeze it in individual portions for lunches.

Also, if you prefer a smooth soup, you can always blend this to a puree with a stick blender.

Do you have a favourite winter-warmer recipe?

Nessbow’s Nachos recipe

Nachos are one of the most perfect lazy-night dinners.  They’re filling and delicious and you can whip them up in a flash.  I always used to make very basic nachos, which were basically corn chips with cheese and salsa sprinkled over them.  Then I created this recipe to make my nachos tastier and heartier.  These are also slightly healthier, because I use loads of vegies in them too. Enjoy!

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Nachos so tasty, you’ll eat half of them before your remember to take a picture!

 

You will need:

1 bag of corn chips or tortilla crisps.

1 jar of store-bought salsa (or approximately 1 cup of home-made salsa)

1 cup of grated tasty cheese

1/3 cup corn kernels

1/3 cup red kidney beans, soaked, rinsed and drained

1 small brown onion, finely sliced

150g beef mince

1 avocado, sliced into small pieces.

 

What you do:

– Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius

– Brown the onions and mince over a moderate heat in a saucepan or frying pan.  Make sure that beef is cooked through.

-Combine the beef and onions with the other vegetables in a bowl.

– In a deep, rectangular dish (I use a lasagne dish), make a layer of corn chips.

– Add a layer of the beef mixture over the top of the chips

– Add a layer of salsa

– Add a layer of cheese

– Repeat these steps again, creating another layer of chips, then meat and vegies, then salsa and finally top the whole thing off with a generous sprinkling of cheese.

– Pop the nachos in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese turns golden.

 

 

This recipe can easily be adapted for vegetarians by leaving out the beef mince.

 

One batch of nachos is usually enough to feed 3-4 people, depending on how hungry you are.  Ross and I often polish off a whole batch between us (but Ross has a pretty hearty appetite).

 

Enjoy!

Snickerdoodles: awesome name, awesome cookie.

Today I’ve got a scrumptious Christmas recipe for you.  Whether you’re huddled by the fire or the AC this Christmas, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a yummy cookie with a cup of tea.  Snickerdoodles are one of my favourite cookies to make for three reasons:

1. Their name sounds silly, which is always a plus in my book.

2.  They’re totally delicious and very more-ish

and

3. They’re super- simple to make.

This recipe is one that I’ve adapted from a recipe in the Australian Woman’s Weekly Cookie book.  The original recipe can be found on page 112 of this book.

Ingredients

250g butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup caster sugar

2 eggs

2 3/4 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Method

1. Beat butter, extract and sugars in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined

2. Stir in the sifted flour, soda, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes

3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius for a normal oven or 160 degrees for a fan-forced oven.  Grease an oven tray and line it with baking paper.

4. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls and place the balls about 7cm apart on the trays.

5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

These spiced cookies are ideal for enjoying with a cup of tea or a glass of milk.   They can also be wrapped in cellophane to make delicious gifts.

This recipe was also featured on Newfoundlander at Heart as part of Margot’s Christmas Cookie Countdown.  You should hop on over to her blog to check out all the other awesome recipes she’s sharing this month.