Vegan sausages — that happen to be gluten-free and soy-free

I’m not big on vegan sausages, but I’d put that down to the fact that almost all of the ones I’ve come across contain gluten/wheat and if they don’t, they contain another ingredient I react to.

This recipe came to be while I was working on a recipe for something else (which I will tell you all about in good time). While these don’t mimic sausages in the traditional sense of being juicy and tender – and wrapped in sausage skin – they’re a good non-meat alternative, with the chickpeas giving a good protein boost.

These bad boys are best enjoyed as part of a big vegan breakfast – with scrambled tofu, avocado, homemade baked beans and grilled tomato.

Vegan sausages — that happen to be gluten-free and soy-free
Makes 4-8 sausages

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 c raw cashews, blended well until almost dust
1/2 c brown rice flour
1/4 c nutritional yeast
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp ground flax
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
Salt and pepper

Mash the chickpeas in a medium-sized bowl. Then add remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.

Divide mixture into four pieces and roll each piece into sausage shapes. Be patient and keep the mixture as tight as possible while shaping, coating your hands with some olive oil if they’re getting a bit crumbly in parts. Wrap each ‘sausage’ in baking paper then foil, twisting the ends.

Steam the sausages for around 30 minutes, then let cool slightly before unwrapping.

When ready to eat, place sausages on a cast iron pan and cook on each side for 1-2 minutes over a low-medium heat.

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Baked sweet potato with white beans and parsley seaweed pesto butter

I’ve probably told you before that I don’t make new year’s resolutions. If I want to change something, I change it then and there rather than waiting for a new year to roll around.

In saying that, I’m not opposed to giving each year a theme. Telling you mine is going to help keep me accountable so I stick with it. My theme for this year is ‘fresh’. For as long as I can remember, I’ve focused on cooking and preparing the types of meals that warm me up from the inside out. They’re the types of meals that only need one pot, pan or tray like curry, stir-fry, stew, and sheet pans.

‘Fresh’ is about turning these meals upside down (figuratively, not literally). That means more fresh and raw ingredients in my bowl instead of featuring them as a garnish or side salad. It means more meals that marry different flavours on my plate instead of these flavours cooking harmoniously in a pot. It means turning to new ingredients or the ones I don’t use often instead of reaching for my favourites every meal.

This recipe for baked sweet potato with white beans and parsley seaweed pesto butter is about breathing new life into seaweed – to prove it can do a lot more than embrace rice in sushi. After trying this recipe, you’ll agree with me that it can.

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Baked sweet potato with white beans and parsley seaweed pesto butter
Serves 2

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, roasted with the skin on until flesh is soft
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 sheet nori seaweed
1 handful fresh parsley
1/2 avocado
10 baby capers, drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper

Cook the cannellini beans in a little bit of olive oil and dusted with a sprinkle of salt until the edges start to crisp up on some of them. Set aside.

To make the parsley seaweed pesto butter, add nori, parsley, avocado, capers, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, lemon, salt and pepper to a food processor and process until combined.

Cut a cross along the top of the cooked sweet potatoes and gently break them open. Add some spoonfuls of the cooked beans to the sweet potatoes and then some dollops of pesto butter.

Serve any leftover pesto butter on the side in a small bowl – it’s likely to be eaten in the one sitting!

Easiest-ever homemade baked beans {vegan, gluten-free}

One of my fondest childhood memories is having spaghetti bolognese on buttered crumpets for breakfast. And sometimes, when the homemade sort wasn’t on the menu, we’d have it with tinned spaghetti. Yep, I was a casual tinned spaghetti eater.

I always turned my nose up at tinned baked beans even though the sauce is probably the same as the one in tinned spaghetti. Now, I’m fully supportive of baked beans – only, the homemade variety. I can’t say when or how or why, only that I’m very glad to be at this party.

The secret to this recipe is all in the herbs. Thyme is one of them but sage really elevates the dish – not too much to overpower but not to little to get lost… just enough.

These homemade baked beans are great on gluten-free toast but they’re also great without, with some avocado and hasselback potatoes if you’re looking for a less processed option.

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Easiest-ever homemade baked beans {vegan, gluten-free}
Serves 2-3

1 brown onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp dried thyme
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 tsp salt
1 tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup vegetable stock
3-4 fresh sage leaves, chopped

Heat some oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add onion and let sauté a few minutes.

Once onion is soft and slightly browning, add garlic powder, tomato paste, thyme, tomatoes and salt. Mix until well combined. Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until tomatoes start to soften.

Add cannellini beans and mix through. Slowly add vegetable stock 1/4 cup at a time until all liquid is absorbed.

Add the chopped sage and turn off the heat. Serve with toast, avocado and/or hasselback potatoes.

Savoury breakfast waffles {gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, dairy-free}

I was in Melbourne last week for work. The only thing getting me through said trip, was indulging in some amazing Melbourne food. First stop: Gingerboy for dinner. There, I had the mapo tofu with okra, water chestnut, heirloom tomatoes and pickled thai chili, as well as the stir fried bamboo and fungus with hor fun noodles and korean black bean dressing. To top it off, I also ordered the coconut creamed rice. Of course, it was delicious and of course, I ordered too much food, but when in Rome…

When breakfast came around, I headed to Higher Ground and ordered the kale and cauliflower salad. To say it was delicious was an understatement. I wanted more. The only fault in the dish was the lack of carbs.

A week on, and I’m still thinking about how that cafe dish eclipsed a night of pure Asian delight (at Gingerboy). Because it’s unlikely I’ll be going down to Melbourne again anytime soon (and who knows if that means another visit to Higher Ground… I’ve heard weekend queues are long), I decided to recreate some of the flavours atop some savoury breakfast waffles. Hello carbs, hello happiness!

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Savoury breakfast waffles {gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, dairy-free}
Serves 4

For the waffles
2 cups chickpea flour
2 cups water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Small bunch of chives, finely chopped
Pinch of salt

For the toppings
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
5 kale leaves, roughly chopped
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 avocado, skin removed and sliced
2 cups hummus (hold the sumac and add 2 tbsp chickpea miso powder)

Add all waffle ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until combined. Let stand at least 10 minutes.

Heat your waffle iron and add a little coconut oil to the pan (this helps prevent the batter from sticking). Pour a ladle of batter into the iron and close it for five minutes. Repeat for remaining batter.

While the waffles are cooking, heat a small amount of olive oil in a cast iron pan and add cauliflower, kale and whole cherry tomatoes. Keep it on a medium heat for around 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and transfer contents into a heatproof bowl.

Add pumpkin seeds to the same cast iron pan and toast over a low-to-medium heat. Once browned, remove from heat.

To assemble, place two waffles and a couple of large dessert spoons of hummus on a plate. Top with kale, cauliflower and tomatoes, as well as avocado and pumpkin seeds.

 

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.

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.

Vegan quiche

I’ve been using chickpea flour ever since I discovered socca – a crispy flatbread. It gets crispy on the edges and retains moisture inside – with it sometimes having a scrambled egg-like consistency. I knew it would soon become the base of my quiche recipe.

Growing up, my mum’s quiche was the only one I would eat. It had flaky pastry but the vegetables were the real hero. Oh, and those little bits of bacon. Bacon has always been my achilles’ heel. I toyed with the idea of adding coconut bacon but things were starting to get complicated. I had to let the vegetables shine, just like mum’s.

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Vegan quiche
Serves 6-8

1 leek, cut down the middle then sliced
1 zucchini, cut down the middle then sliced
1 head broccoli, broken down into pieces
3 spring onions, cut into 2cm pieces
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 cups chickpea flour
2 1/4 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Gently cook the leek, zucchini, broccoli and spring onions until soft. While cooking, whisk chickpea flour with water, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Add the vegetables to the tart dish and add the cherry tomatoes. Evenly pour the chickpea flour mix over the top and then place the sliced roma tomatoes on top.

Cook in the oven for 25-30 mins. Let cool 10 mins before slicing. Serve.