Easy weeknight pasta bake cake {gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free}

I try to have pasta stocked in the pantry stocked at all times. I rarely experience pasta cravings but it’s simple and easy to make, especially when you’ve come home from work and haven’t given dinner a thought.

Pasta bake cake was my attempt at turning a simple bowl of pasta marinara into something a little more exciting. Needing a cheesy element, but trying not to overdo my soy intake, I pulled out my trusted recipe for cashew cheese – one of my earliest recipes – to complete the dish. Cashew cheese tastes like a hybrid of runny cheese and what I imagine queso dip to taste like (full disclosure, I’ve never had queso dip!).

You can add vegetables like spinach or kale to the pasta before you bake it, and you can make your own marinara sauce. In the interest of showing you just how easy living gluten-free and vegan can be, I’ve decided to keep this one as simple as possible. That means I’ve used store-bought sauce and left out the additions in the bake. Having said that, I do serve a slice of this with some fresh rocket or finely shredded kale (with a light drizzle of lemon juice) on the side.


Easy weeknight pasta bake cake {gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free}
Serves 6

500g gluten-free vegan penne pasta, cooked 2-3 mins less than packet directions
2 x 500g jars of vegan pasta sauce
Cashew cheese (recipe below)
Rocket or finely shredded kale, to serve

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Cook pasta 2-3 minutes less than the packet directions. Strain and set aside.

Grease an 8-inch/20cm cake tin. Put a tray under in in case the tomato sauce seeps through the tin during cooking.

Pour about 100g pasta sauce from one jar into the tin to cover the bottom. Fill cake tin with about half of the cooked pasta.

Add remaining 400g pasta sauce from the opened jar and pour about a quarter of your cashew cheese over the top. Add remaining pasta and pour contents of the second jar of sauce on top. Add remaining cashew cheese ensuring it is evenly spread over the top.

Place tin on tray in the oven and cook for around 20 minutes. Then, remove from oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes to set. Cut into slices and serve with rocket or kale.

Vegan cashew cheese

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp garlic granules
Pinch of salt

Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into a small bowl and set aside.


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!


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.


Miso glazed eggplant {soy-free, gluten-free, wheat-free}

Vegetarian or not, miso glazed eggplant is my go-to at Japanese restaurants. But – like most things – my body doesn’t love it as much as I would like it to. It always leaves me feeling sluggish and unwell.

If you have the same problem, read on, because I have the solution. I’ve been finessing this recipe for a while. I’ve had it for lunch, eaten it as leftovers and served it up to guests at a dinner party, and it went down a treat every time. It is the only way to eat eggplant.

This baked miso eggplant is best enjoyed with a quick pickle of cucumber and red onion, and some steamed basmati rice. That’s all you need. Let the eggplant shine.

Kale Mary Blog miso eggplant

Miso glazed eggplant
Serves 4

2 tbsp chickpea miso (I love meru miso)
2 tbsp mirin
1 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp filtered water
1 tsp sesame oil
6 baby eggplant, halved lengthways and scored
3 tsp water
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp coconut sugar
1 tsp Himalayan rock salt
1/2 Lebanese cucumber, finely diced
1/4 red onion, finely diced
Steamed basmati rice, to serve

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Add miso, mirin, coconut sugar, water and sesame oil to a small bowl and whisk until combined. Consistency should be more like a paste than runny.

Lay eggplant slices skin side down on a baking tray. Spoon paste over the flesh of the eggplant, reserving around 1/4 of the contents.

Place in oven for around 12 mins, before reglazing with the remaining glaze. Return to oven for a further 12 mins.

While eggplant is cooking, add rice wine vinegar, coconut sugar, water and salt into a small bowl and whisk until combined. Add cucumber and onion and ensure coated well. Let stand until serving.

Spoon rice into bowls and lay a couple of eggplant slices flesh side up on top. Then, pour over cucumber and red onion ‘pickle’ and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Vegan tuna salad

This fishless tuna (funa) is really simple to make and tastes like canned tuna in brine. A lot of people like to make vegan tuna out of sunflower seeds or chickpeas, but I get the best result using a combination of the two.

This vegan tuna salad is elevated with the addition of these marinated mixed chickpeas. Suddenly, eating a salad for lunch isn’t the worst thing in the world. So, file this recipe in your list of best vegetarian recipes for lunch or those nights when you just can’t be bothered to cook. It will simultaneously nourish and satisfy you.


Vegan tuna salad
Serves 4 

For the tuna
1/2 cup chickpeas (cooked or canned)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

For the salad
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 gem lettuces, stems removed
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, or 4-5 small vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
BA’s Marinated Mixed Beans (I use 1 cup of cooked chickpeas only in this recipe)
Radish, to serve
Dill, to serve

Add all tuna ingredients to a food processor and process on high until ingredients are combined. You want there to still be some texture, but overall, the tuna should be paste-like. Set aside.

Combine dijon, olive oil, nutritional yeast and lemon juice in a small bowl to make the dressing. Whisk until combined, then set aside.

In a large bowl, add lettuce, tomatoes, onion, marinated chickpeas, dressing and spoonfuls of tuna. Mix well to combine, before garnishing with radish and dill.

Tofu, mango + cashew sheet pan {gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free}

For me, the best thing about summer is mango season. We’ve had a lot more 40+ degree (Celcius!) days than I can ever remember having. It was virtually impossible to go anywhere near the kitchen when it was that hot. Cold mango and an ice pack on my forehead was the only cure.

You know how I mentioned there would be more gluten-free and vegan sheet pan meals coming up? Well, here’s your next one, and it’s best enjoyed with some basmati rice and a light drizzle of my mother-in-law’s (can I call her that?) homemade sweet chilli sauce – there’ll be more on that delightful sauce later.

While you’re here, I wanted to thank you for reading Kale Mary and following me on the journey so far. Can’t believe it’s been a year already. I can promise that there will be more to love like my fried cauliflower and sushi burgers (your fave recipes to date) in 2018 and beyond.

Tofu mango cashew sheet pan

Tofu, mango + cashew sheet pan {gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free}
Serves 3-4

2 tbsp + 4 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
150g organic, non-GMO tofu, cubed
1 cup raw cashews
1 brown onion (see note)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp curry powder
1 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
1 mango, skin removed and roughly chopped into large pieces
2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
6 tuscan kale leaves, finely sliced

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add 2 tbsp of orange juice, maple syrup, nigella seeds, turmeric powder and coconut oil and stir to combine.

Add tofu and cashews to coat with the marinade. Pour tofu, cashews and all the marinade sauce onto your baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

While the tofu is in the oven, gently saute the onion over a low heat on the stove. Set aside once starting to brown.

Remove tray from oven and add onion, garlic powder, curry powder, ginger, mango, soy sauce, remaining 4 tbsp of orange juice and kale. Return to oven for 10-15 more minutes, ensuring the cashews don’t get too burnt.

Serve with some rice and sweet chilli sauce, or eat it as is without the carbs, topped with some freshly chopped herbs.

NOTE: You can replace the onion with 1 tbsp onion powder if you’d like to skip the sauteeing step.

GF vegan nut loaf

I’ve been thinking about nut loaf for a while. I wanted to make one that was simple, didn’t involve too much pre-cooking, and didn’t involve too many ingredients. I think I’ve hit the nail on the head with this one. It’s perfect on its own, or with vegan gravy or tomato sauce. This, my friends, is a dish that makes good lunch leftovers.

Can you believe Christmas is next week? If I don’t write to you before then, happy holidays dear readers!

GF vegan nut loaf

GF vegan nut loaf
Makes 7-8 slices

200g brown mushrooms, blitzed in a food processor
1 brown onion, blitzed in a food processor
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1/2 cup curly parsley, roughly chopped
4 sprigs fresh sage, roughly chopped
1 cup brazil nuts, blitzed in a food processor
1/2 cup cashew nuts, blitzed in a food processor
3 chia eggs (3 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 9 tbsp water and left to sit 10 mins)
3 cups brown rice, cooked
1/2 cup gf bread crumbs or rice crumbs
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet. Add mushroom pieces and cook 5-8 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add onion to same skillet with a touch more olive oil if needed. Cook until onion starts to caramelise then set aside with the mushrooms.

Place all ingredients including cooked onion and mushrooms into a large bowl and mix until combined well.

Spoon mixture into a loaf tin and place in the oven for around 40 minutes or until top is browned.

Let sit 5-10 mins before taking a spatula around the edges and flipping onto a serving plate.

Easy vegan summer tostadas

Summer is here all right. In the furniture shipment for the house, a leather lounge was included. Of course, in the excitement to complete the puzzle of furnishing a unique living and lounge situation, I forgot that skin sticks to leather on 30 degree (Celsius) days. But hey, at least it looks good.

We’re up to the part of the year which I call the worst. Driving anywhere is not by any means pleasant and you can forget trying to get a car park at a shopping centre – unless you’re prepared to do three laps of the lot. Work is a nightmare. We close for two weeks and I’ll be taking an extra week off in January. Can’t wait. That’s if I make it to the 22nd. I need to do about six weeks’ worth of work in three. Thankfully a colleague has spared my ears the trauma of listing to the Christmas playlist she has enjoyed playing in the office for the last two Christmas seasons.

The one thing I like about this time of year? Summer fruit. There are mangoes everywhere, and I’ve been wanting to make these easy tostadas for the longest time. There’s no cooking time involved – only a short amount of prep-time. That’s what you want in summer.

Summer tostadas ingredientsSummer tostadasSummer tostadas 1

Easy vegan summer tostadas
Serves 3

4 limes, juiced
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp orange juice
1/4 cup coriander, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
1 mango, finely diced
200g grape tomatoes, quartered
2 green spring onions, finely sliced
½ red onion, finely diced
1 red capsicum, finely diced
1 avocado, halved and sliced
Tostadas (crispy tortilla chips), as many as you want to eat

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add lime and orange juice, coriander, olive oil and salt. Stir to combine and adjust flavourings to your preference.

Add mango, tomatoes, onions, and capsicum and mix to ensure ingredients are coated well. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Lay a couple of tostadas on a plate and top with marinated mixture. Add a slice of avocado and enjoy!