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Vegan tarka dal

Our home is coming along. The American walnut floating shelves are almost finished, which means my cookbooks will soon have their forever home and the next nook of our house will be complete.

I know I’ve already posted a dal recipe on here previously but stay with me on this one, because that was before this tarka dal was born. I thought my hidden veg dal was good but I don’t always have eggplant handy. If I’m going to make dal without much in the way of extra veg, I have to make sure it has lots of flavour. There’s no point having dal if it doesn’t have layers upon layers of flavour… that’s where my recipe for tarka dal comes in.

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Vegan tarka dal
Serves 4

1 tsp coconut oil
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3cm piece of ginger, finely grated
8 curry leaves
3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 cup red lentils, washed and soaked for 2 hours
1 cup yellow split peas, washed and soaked for 2 hours
3 cups filtered water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
Fresh coriander

Heat coconut oil in a saucepan then cook mustard and cumin seeds until fragrant. Add onions to the pan and let caramelise.

Add garlic, ginger and curry leaves to the pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Mix in tomatoes, cashews, turmeric and chilli powder, then add lentils, split peas, water and salt. Stir until combined.

Bring to the boil and reduce to simmer for approx. 30 minutes or until lentils and split peas have softened. Stir occasionally to avoid it catching on the bottom of the saucepan. Mix through garam masala and cook a further 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and use a hand blender to blitz the tomatoes and cashews.

Serve with fresh coriander and basmati rice.

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Vegan pulled ‘pork’ nachos

In my former life (the one where I ate meat), I never ate real pulled pork. I wasn’t big on the meat overall so when I saw people using jackfruit to replicate pulled pork, it took me a while to jump on the bandwagon. A whole year in fact. I wondered how I could truly veganise it if I didn’t know what the original was like.

I managed to come across some tinned jackfruit in an Asian supermarket and thought I’d give it a go, especially since my local supermarket had started stocking vegan Worcestershire sauce. With a bottle of that and some jackfruit in tow, I was ready.

I came across this fantastic hand-crafted Mexican spice mix from New Zealand a few years ago and have been addicted to it ever since. I stockpile packets of it because nothing I’ve come across comes close, and I have not been able to replicate it from a DIY spice mix. It definitely helps give the flavour a lot more dimension.

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Vegan pulled ‘pork’ nachos
Serves 4

For the pulled ‘pork’ jackfruit
1 can jackfruit, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Tio Pablo Mayan Gold Mexican spice mix
1/4 cup water

Use a potato masher to mash jackfruit into a bowl then add rest of ingredients and mix to combine.

Add ingredients to a saucepan over a medium heat. Cook for approx. 10 minutes until liquid reduces and jackfruit is soft.

For the beans
1 red onion, finely chopped
5 tbsp Tio Pablo Mayan Gold Mexican spice mix
6 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
White corn chips, to serve
Avocado, to serve
Lime, to serve

Heat onions with some coconut oil over a medium heat. Turn heat to low and cook onions until they start to caramelise.

Add the spice mix and tomatoes and stir to combine before adding the vegetable stock and beans.

Cook until liquid reduces and tomatoes soften, about 20 minutes.

To assemble, lay corn chips around the edges of a bowl. Add beans then pulled jackfruit. Top with avocado and a drizzle of lime juice.

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Allergy-friendly ice cream sandwiches {GF, vegan}

I had the house to myself this weekend and what did I do with my time? Cleaned the house from top to bottom. Here I am at the end of yet another weekend having only scratched the surface of my to-do list. I’m doing far less of what I want to do in my spare time and far more of what I need to do, which has me wondering if I even have spare time at all. Finding time to cook is about all I have time for but I shouldn’t complain – there are far worse things in life!

Let’s talk about nice cream (ice cream made from bananas). Every second person I follow is on that bandwagon but I’m not 100% sold because, well, bananas. My 2-ingredient raspberry sorbet is just as easy and doesn’t have a banana in sight. I was thinking about using it as the filling for ice cream sandwiches a few months ago but time got the best of me, as it usually does.

These almond meal cookies are my go-to… in fact, as I type this, I realise I need to flesh out my cookie repertoire – this is the only cookie recipe I know! Leave that with me, and in the meantime, give these ones a go. These cookies have just 7 ingredients and sorbet has just 2… gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar-free ice cream sandwiches with less than 10 ingredients!

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Ice cream sandwiches
Makes 3

For the cookies
1 1/2 cup almond meal
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C, and combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Roll out the cookie dough onto a lined baking tray and use a cookie cutter to evenly cut out the cookie shapes. (A cookie cutter helps keep each cookie uniform… an important tool for ice cream sandwiches!)

Cook in the oven for 10 minutes. When the cookies come out of the oven, they will be soft to touch so it’s best to leave them for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

For the sorbet
2 cups frozen raspberries
3/4 cup rice milk (stored in the freezer for 4 hours)

Add ingredients into a bowl and use a hand blender to combine the raspberries with the semi-frozen rice milk.

Evenly spread into a shallow baking dish and place in the freezer for approx. 2 hours, to freeze into shape.

Once set, use the same cookie cutter you used for the cookies to cut out rounds of the sorbet.

Add cookie on either side of the sorbet slices and enjoy.

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Vegan sushi burgers

We’ve gone from 14 degree days to 30 degree days all in the space of a week! Spring is well and truly here (hello hay fever!) noticed by the fact that I’m now wearing two layers when I leave the house instead of four. But beyond delayering, there is one thing that I’m really looking forward to: daylight savings time. I’m counting down the days until I get home from work and it’s still light outside.

I first made sushi burgers – or sushi sandwiches if you’d prefer to call them – about three months ago. Confession: I have never made real sushi before… only hand rolls. I loved hand rolls but my DIY attempt looked exactly that, DIY. What I love about sushi burgers is that they are incredibly simple to make, the end result looks somewhat professional and they taste good.

When I became vegan, vegetable sushi rolls really bored me. That was until pickled vegetables in sushi found me like a knight in shining armour. Now I’m not satisfied unless my sushi has a pickle in it.

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Sushi burgers
Makes 7 burgers

7 sheets of aluminium foil
7 sheets of nori seaweed
2 1/3 cups cooked sushi rice
1 avocado, halved and sliced
2 pickled carrots, julienned
4 baby cucumbers, thinly sliced lengthways
1/3 cup peanut tamarind sauce (see below)

Lay a sheet of foil on your surface then lay a sheet of nori on top, shiny side down, with one of the ends pointing towards you.

Spread a third of a cup of the rice into a square in the middle. Then add fillings and top with another third of a cup of rice into a square.

Fold in the sides of the nori, like you would wrapping paper and tightly fold the foil around it to hold it together. If you notice the nori tearing, you can lightly mist it with some water.

Repeat until all rice and fillings have been used.

After the foil-wrapped sushi burgers have rested for at least 10 minutes, unfold the foil and discard. Run a sharp knife under water and slice the sushi burgers in half.

Serve with soy sauce.

Peanut tamarind sauce

1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp tamarind concentrate

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Add water gradually until desired consistency is reached.

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Gluten-free vegan savoury galette

I spent the better part of the weekend in the kitchen. I had so much I wanted to work on: macadamia nut cheese (not a complete failure, but not perfect either), ice cream sandwiches (didn’t get to it but don’t worry, it’s going to be worth the wait), whole roasted cauliflower (not quite there, and I left it in the oven for slightly too long), gnocchi (tasty), raw cherry ripe (definitely healthy in ingredients and taste) and a savoury galette (success! We’re going to talk about this now).

Is your Instagram feed full of galettes right now? Every time I scroll through my feed I come across at least one. I knew that if I was going to join this party, I should at least bring something new to the table (pun intended). And indeed I did. This savoury galette is filled with butternut pumpkin ribbons and finely shaved brussels sprouts.

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Savoury brussels sprout and pumpkin galette {gluten-free, vegan}
Serves 4

For the dough
1 3/4 cup gluten-free plain flour
3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup glutinous rice flour
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 1/4 cup water
Pinch of salt

For the filling
75g butternut pumpkin, shaved into fine ribbons
200g brussels sprouts, finely shaved
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sumac
1 stem of fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.

Combine dough ingredients into a bowl then lay a sheet of baking paper on a round baking tray and wet your hands to scoop the dough out of your mixing bowl. Shape on the tray. If the dough starts to stick to your hands, simply wet your hands again. Once you have the dough evenly spread out, pop it in the oven for 5 mins.

While the base is in the oven, combine filling ingredients into a bowl and mix until everything is evenly coated.

Remove dough from oven and add filling ingredients on top, leaving a 2cm gap around the edges. Then, gently fold the edges in – overlapping the dough where you need to – and lightly brush the crust with olive oil.

Cook the galette in the oven for 30 mins, removing after 15 minutes to give the crust another brush of olive oil.

Let cool slightly before slicing into quarters.

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Quick Thai cashew stir-fry {vegan, gluten-free}

As it reaches Sunday evening, I again ask myself where the weekend went. I feel like I have hardly been at home yet I haven’t been grocery shopping nor have I done anything substantial. Where does the time go? I’m sitting on the couch listening to a Steely Dan vinyl and drinking a glass of red wine dreading tomorrow. I have a bad case of Mondayitis. 

I was saying to my sister-in-law (can I call her that yet?) today that I had no idea what to post this week. I mentioned I had this cashew stir-fry as a back-up but felt it wasn’t substantial or exciting enough to share with you. She told me to go for it and I’m glad she did.

Also, how cute are these Japanese bowls gifted to me by my brother- and sister-in-law? I LOVE them.

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Quick Thai cashew stir-fry {vegan, gluten-free}
Serves 4

250g organic, non-GMO tofu, cut into rectangular-sized pieces
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup vegan fish sauce (check your local Asian supermarket)
1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 lemongrass, trimmed and bruised
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 red capsicum, finely sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 bunch broccolini
Pepper, to taste
White rice, to serve

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Whisk lime juice, vegan fish sauce, soy sauce and coconut sugar in a small bowl, set aside.

Bake tofu for 15 minutes.

Add red onion and lemongrass to a wok over a high heat and stir-fry until onion softens. Add capsicum, carrot and broccolini, and add the sauce and baked tofu pieces.

Sprinkle with pepper and adjust sauce to taste. Serve in bowls with rice.

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6-ingredient green vegan balls with quick teriyaki sauce {gluten-free}

With so many dietary restrictions, the last thing I want on a plate is carrot sticks and lettuce leaves, but lately I’ve been craving more fresh, uncooked food. I’ve found myself swapping beds of white rice for beds of fresh baby spinach. Who am I?

These green vegan balls have been doing the rounds in my household. They’re very simple to make and only require six ingredients – ingredients that are staples in all kitchens let alone vegan kitchens: chickpeas, brown rice, baby spinach, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. It’s also another vegan airfryer recipe! But don’t worry if you don’t have one – you can cook them in the oven or on the stove, as you would normally cook vegan meatballs or patties.

This sauce definitely makes the dish. I often marinate some tofu in it or add it to a simple stir fry.

Lastly, how cute is this plate?! I made it in my first term of pottery.

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6-ingredient green vegan balls with quick teriyaki sauce
serves 4

For the balls
2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup baby spinach, washed and dried
2 tsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
1 tsp garlic powder

For the sauce
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup gluten-free soy sauce
1/2 cup filtered water
3 tbsp coconut sugar
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated

Blitz all the ingredients for the balls in a food processor until combined, being careful not to over-process (you still want some texture).

Put them in the airfryer for 15-20 minutes on 180 degrees C, turning after 8 minutes.

While the balls are in the airfryer, add all of the sauce ingredients to a shallow pan over a medium heat. Cook until coconut sugar has dissolved and sauce becomes slightly thicker.

Serve balls over a bed of fresh baby spinach and drizzle with the freshly made teriyaki sauce.

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6-ingredient vegan paleo brownie

It doesn’t feel like winter, not when the skies are blue and my skin is warm from an abundance of sun rays. I’m not even outside, I am writing this from my sunroom table with a brownie in hand. I haven’t made brownies in the longest time. I don’t know why, because this recipe is so easy and only takes six ingredients.

Our house is coming along. Our furniture shipment will soon arrive, and then it will start to feel more like home, rather than a big empty space with a few pieces of furniture. I guess that’s what happens when you move from a studio to a small townhouse to an actual house – you don’t have much to fill the space!

Plants have made the space feel more like home in the meantime. I have fiddle leaf figs lining the windows, avocado trees I’ve grown from seeds (now up to my hips!), cacti, ivy, succulents and my prized pilea peperomioides and monstera adansonii pants, which took months to source and acquire.

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6-ingredient vegan paleo brownie
Makes 9 slices

1 cup apple and pear puree (do this yourself using organic fruit, or look in the baby food aisle to find organic fruit puree without additives)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 raw cacao powder
3 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp beetroot powder
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well until combined. If mixture feels a bit dry, add 1-2 tbsp water to help it bind.

Transfer the ingredients into a greased and lined brownie tin and cook for 35-40 minutes.

Let cool in tin before slicing and serving.

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Fried cauliflower AKA vegan fried ‘chicken’ {gluten-free}

Guys, I bought an airfryer. It didn’t seem like an essential purchase, but I had a gift card to a store that sold them, and I figured I may as well since I love potatoes so much and my body can’t tolerate oil/fats very well.

My first attempt was fries. I moved onto hasselback potatoes, sweet potato and brussels sprouts – things were going well. I had mastered the basics and it was time to get serious.

So, I went all in and made fried cauliflower ‘chicken’. You’ll love this recipe because it looks like chicken, is super crispy, has tonnes of flavour, is gluten-free without tasting like it’s gluten-free, is good for you and is 100% cruelty free. There’s not much more left to say. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

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Fried cauliflower AKA vegan fried ‘chicken’ {gluten-free}
Serves 2

1/2 head of cauliflower
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax whisked with 6 tbsp water)
1/4 cup sriracha
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra, to coat battered cauliflower
1 cup GF all purpose flour
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/4 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Cut the cauliflower into medium-sized pieces. Set aside.

Place three similar-sized shallow bowls or dishes on your counter. In one, mix sriracha, dijon and olive oil with the flax eggs. In another, mix flour with nutritional yeast, salt, garlic, onion, thyme, paprika, celery seeds and cinnamon. Pour some olive oil in the third dish (I recommend starting with less and adding more as you need it to avoid wastage).

Dip the cauliflower in the wet mix, then into the dry mix, before dipping it again in the wet mix and dry mix again. Repeat the process for all cauliflower pieces. You will have two coats of batter on each piece.

Transfer half the cauliflower in the dish containing the olive oil and then place in the airfryer basket. Be careful not to overcrowd the basket.

Set the airfryer to 200 degrees C and cook for 14 minutes, rotating after 7 minutes.

Remove the cauliflower from the basket and repeat with the remaining half of the cauliflower pieces. Serve warm.

NOTE: Although I haven’t tried it, this recipe could be adapted to be deep fried. To cook without an airfryer, skip the step that involves coating the battered cauliflower in olive oil.

 

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White chocolate cookie dough bliss balls {raw, vegan, gluten-free}

My first foray into raw food was making bliss balls. I was after a sweet snack to combat 3pm-itis and this was the perfect thing for me to enjoy as I weaned myself off every food I loved in this world. Fast forward to now, I don’t make them very often at all. But I should. I always forget how easy they are to make.

So, here we are with some cookie dough bliss balls made from cashews, coated in a white chocolate shell made from cacao butter. This recipe is quick, easy and simple. The hardest part? Stopping yourself at just one.

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White chocolate cookie dough bliss balls {raw, vegan, gluten-free}
Makes 14 balls

For the balls:
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup almond meal
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the shell:
40g cacao butter
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp maple syrup

Put cashews, almond meal, maple syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil and salt in a food processor and process on high until mixture is sticking together and the oils from the nuts start to release. Transfer to a bowl and place mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Gently heat the cacao butter in a small saucepan. Once it has melted, add the coconut oil and maple syrup. Whisk and remove from the heat to cool.

Remove mixture from freezer and start shaping into 14 even-sized balls. Dip each one in the cacao liquid and once you have done all of them, repeat the process.

Return coated bliss balls to the freezer for at least 20 minutes. Eat straight from the freezer, or at room temp. Just be careful not to let them get too warm, or the chocolate shell will melt.