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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.

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The best Buddha bowl | Chickpea scramble breakfast bowl

I only started making chickpea scramble recently. I’m all for a good tofu scramble but lately I’ve been trying to cut down on my soy intake. Not that my intake is particularly high, just because I think tofu is an ‘easy’ option for a vegan – suddenly, you have had a lot of it over a week without even realising it.

When I first made this chickpea scramble, it was good, but something was missing. It needed something fresh, but fresh herbs and lemon juice weren’t the answer. Sure, it made it better, but it was still lacking. Then I picked up some lovely fresh pomegranates at a great little greengrocer in the lower Blue Mountains of Sydney.

Pomegranates were the answer indeed. And, while I’ve called this a breakfast bowl, it’s also a lunch bowl, and even an any-time-of-the-day bowl – also known as a Buddha bowl.

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Chickpea scramble breakfast bowl
Serves 2

3 tbsp aquafaba
1 can chickpeas
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 spring onions, roughly cut
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 lemon, juiced
2 cups baby spinach, roughly sliced
Seeds from 1 fresh pomegranate
1 small sweet potato, roughly chopped and roasted, to serve
1/2 avocado sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds, to serve
1/4 head leftover cooked cauliflower, to serve

Add aquafaba, chickpeas, turmeric, cumin, paprika, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper to a bowl and mash until only a small amount of chickpeas are still whole.

Heat some oil in a saute pan over a medium heat. Add spring onions and garlic cloves and cook until browning and fragrant. Add the chickpea mix and lemon juice, and let cook for 2 minutes.

Add the spinach and mix through. Cook for a further 5-8 minutes, until spinach has wilted.

Divide the chickpea mix into two bowls and add the pomegranate seeds. Add the leftover cauliflower, sweet potato and avocado, and serve.

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Gluten-free vegan + soy-free French toast

This weekend I’m babysitting the most beautiful Great Dane puppy. It’s strange to think of him as a puppy because at just four months old he is the size of a full-grown dog. He’s also deaf, but he is perfect, just the way he is. So far, he loves following me around the house. And, he loves the couch even though he’s not allowed on the couch. But, it’s hard to say no when all he wants to do is be close to you … especially when he looks as cute as he does.

I’ve been meaning to share my French toast recipe with you for months and thought that now might be the perfect time with Bastille Day approaching. I came up with the perfect recipe by accident, too. I had been testing ingredients that could replace miso paste in recipes and after having some luck with tahini, I started thinking of where else tahini could be used as an ingredient or a binding agent. Voilà – as the French say – the best gluten-free vegan and soy-free French toast was born.

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Gluten-free vegan + soy-free French toast
Serves 4-6

3 tbsp brown rice flour
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch turmeric powder
3/4 cup filtered water
Coconut oil, for pan frying
As many slices of your favourite gluten-free vegan bread
Maple syrup, to serve
Tahini, to serve

In a shallow dish mix brown rice flour with tahini, maple syrup, vanilla, turmeric and water until combined.

Add slices of bread and allow them to sit for a few minutes to absorb the liquid before turning the slices over to allow the other side to soak.

Heat coconut oil in a pan and add the soaked bread to your pan. Do this in batches to avoid overcrowding in the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes then flip and cook a further 2 minutes.

Serve with maple syrup and tahini.

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No-bake lemon tart | gluten-free vegan lemon slice

Lemons have always been my favourite. Mum said when I was little, I once bit into a lemon like an apple. Maybe that’s what started it all.

The humble lemon tart is something I never thought I would eat again with the eggs involved (not to mention the dairy and sugar) but then I discovered agar agar and wondered if it could just happen for me.

Turns out it could. I started experimenting and here we are with a delicious lemon tart. The lemon component was the easy part. What I really struggled with was a complimentary base that wouldn’t overpower the delicate lemon. It didn’t need a raw cake base, it needed more of a shortbread-type base.

This no-bake lemon tart is incredibly easy to make. It takes about 10 minutes to prep and needs 1-2 hours in the fridge to set. I don’t know why I don’t make it more frequently.

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No-bake lemon tart
Makes 9 large slices or 12 smaller slices

For the base
1 1/4 cup almond meal
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
3 tbsp coconut oil
Zest from 1 lemon

For the filling
2 2/3 cup filtered water
1 tbsp agar agar powder
1/3 cup arrowroot flour/starch
5 medium sized lemons, juiced
Pinch turmeric
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut milk

Mix all the base ingredients together in a bowl until coconut oil is evenly mixed through. Spread out in a lined tin or dish and refrigerate until needed.

Whisk arrowroot into lemon juice then add turmeric, maple and coconut milk and continue to whisk until combined. Set aside.

Add the agar agar to the filtered water and gently heat, stirring until agar is dissolved. Once you have reached this point, add the lemon-arrowroot mix and whisk continuously over a medium heat. After about 8 minutes, it should start to hold together. If it doesn’t, keep it over the heat a little longer.

Pour the lemon mix on top of the base and return the dish to the refrigerator for 1-2 hours until set. When set, slice and plate. Serve on its own or with a scoop of vanilla or coconut-flavoured ice cream.

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Vegan dal | Hidden veg red lentil dal

The sunroom is my favourite room in the house, especially in winter. Golden rays of sun filter through the windows and make me feel like I myself am a glowing beam of sun. I notice a difference in how I feel when I sit in this room, I feel really good. And then I look at my plant children around me and I feel really happy. If they’re thriving from living in the sunroom then I must be thriving, too. I’m pretty glad about that, because I am about to turn another year older. 

I’ve been on the hunt for the best dal recipe for years. I wanted one that had more depth to its flavour. The simple ones I had tried were too one dimensional in taste, while the complicated recipes were not worth my time. I was reading a recipe by J. Kenji López-Alt  recently where he recommended roasting eggplant, removing the skin and blitzing it up to add to ramen. I wondered if it would work for dal so I gave it a shot. I wanted this dal to be really flavoursome so I decided to pierce the skin of the eggplant before roasting and stuffed it with garlic cloves. 

Did it work? You bet it did. 

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Vegan dal | Hidden veg red lentil dal
Serves 4

1 1/2 cup red lentils, washed and soaked for 2 hours (if timing allows)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 litre filtered water
1 bay leaf
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 tbsp cumin seeds
6 curry leaves
1 eggplant, pierced and stuffed with 4-6 peeled garlic cloves then roasted for 1 to 1 1/2 hours
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp garam masala

Tip lentils into a medium saucepan. Cover with the water and add turmeric and bay leaf. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until the water has reduced and the lentils are soft.

After roasting the eggplant, remove its skin and mash the flesh in a bowl, ensuring the garlic is mashed and mixed well. Set aside.

Heat some oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and allow it to caramelise, about 10 minutes. Add the cumin seeds and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until fragrant then add curry leaves and stir for 1 minute.

Tip the onion mix into the saucepan of red lentils and stir. Add mashed eggplant, salt and garam masala and cook for a further 10 minutes. Season further if required.

Serve with brown rice, fresh herbs and tamarind chutney.

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Gluten-free vegan banana bread

It’s been seven months since we moved into our very own house. Seven months and I am finally getting my wardrobe. Now that there are shelves and rails to hang clothes, all that’s left to do is the sliding doors. And boy, will they be worth the wait.

If I’m honest, I thought it would take three … tops. The reason for me giving what I thought to be a very generous three months was because we both work five days a week and I’m hopeless at measuring things and carrying heavy or awkwardly sized items; sometimes me helping is worse than me not helping. Back to the point. There became an immediate need to address some drainage issues and that involved cutting up concrete – a very deep slab of concrete – to install drains so water would run away from the house instead of under it. Thankfully I didn’t have to deal with any of it so I couldn’t exactly complain that there was no wardrobe to house my clothes.

I have been due to make a dish on the sweeter side for a while but lately, I’ve lost a bit of the sweet tooth that has carried me through life for 20-something years. I settled on banana bread because it’s the perfect treat that a sweet tooth or non-sweet tooth can enjoy. I’m not huge on bananas but I’m challenging myself to diversify and find ways to enjoy foods I don’t like. Plus, when have I ever turned up my nose at a slice of Alannah-friendly banana bread? Never.

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Gluten-free vegan banana bread
Makes 1 loaf (28cm tin)

3 bananas, peeled and mashed
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 chia eggs (2 tbsp chia seeds with 6 tbsp water, mixed and left to sit for 10 mins)
1 1/2 cup gluten-free plain flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.

Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Mix the dry ingredients and ensure no lumps. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.

Pour into a lined loaf tin and cook in the oven for 60-70 minutes.

Remove from oven and stand for 20 mins before taking the loaf out of the tin. Rest on a cooling rack before slicing and serving.

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The best vegan san choy bau {gluten-free}

I can finally see. I had LASIK last week and it truly was the best thing I’ve ever done. A few people told me I shouldn’t get it done, not because they had or had known someone who had a bad experience, but because “you suit glasses”, and “glasses are part of who you are”. It kinda shocked me a bit. Glasses are a medical device, but they shouldn’t define a person or be their identity.

So now, here I am. No more glasses, and with that, I can now open the oven and not have my glasses steam up, I can go swimming, I can exercise … properly. I was nervous in the lead up. In fact, that’s a bit of an understatement. This recipe for san choy bau was the best reward for those nerves. For a few minutes while eating this, I forgot about the procedure completely and all was right in the world.

You’ll love this san choy bau. It’s actually mushroom-free. I toyed with the idea of adding mushrooms for some meatiness but I’m not the biggest fan, and I really want to show you that there’s so much more to vegan meals than mushrooms.

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Gluten-free vegan san choy bau
Serves 3-4

250g organic non-GMO firm tofu
80g pine nuts
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 tbsp gluten-free hoisin sauce (Ayam makes a good one)
1 tsp sriracha (more if you can handle heat)
1 tsp arrowroot flour
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 zucchinis, diced
100g green beans, diced
Gem lettuce, to serve
Thai basil, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Cut the tofu into 6-8 even-sized pieces and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

While tofu is in the oven, gently toast the pine nuts in a wide-based saucepan. Set aside.

Add dry sherry, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce and sriracha into a small bowl and whisk. Add arrowroot and mix until combined. Set aside.

Remove tofu from oven and let cool. Once cooled, use your hands to break up/crumble the tofu.

Heat some oil in a saucepan and add the onions. Saute for 10 minutes before adding the garlic and ginger. Once browned and fragrant, add carrot, zucchini and green beans and cook a further 5-8 minutes.

Add the tofu crumbles and pine nuts before adding the sauce ingredients to the pan. Cook until sauce thickens – approx. 5 minutes.

Serve in lettuce leaves with fresh Thai basil.