Oat-free Bircher Muesli {gluten-free, vegan}

On weekdays in the mornings, breakfast is all about speed. It should be something quick to pull together, something that doesn’t leave a lot of dishes, something I can take with me if I need to, and something that can be prepared the night before if needed. On the latter, prep needs to be so simple I can get it sorted for the next day even if I come home late and exhausted. And possibly above all else, this speedy breakfast needs to be nutritionally sound.

So I’ll figure something out and stick with it for a few months. Then I’ll switch it up for the next few months. The cycle continues.

Now, the time has come to shake things up. Here’s a recipe for Bircher Muesli – the original ‘overnight oats’ – but without oats. Trust me, you won’t even miss them.

Kale-Mary-oatless-overnight-oats

Oat-free Bircher Muesli {gluten-free, vegan}
Serves 2

1/2 cup coconut flakes

1/4 cup raw buckwheat

1/4 cup brown rice flakes

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

2 tbsp craisins or raisins

1 tbsp chia seeds

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lime

3/4 cup filtered water

Combine all ingredients in one bowl and mix to combine.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Divide into two bowls and top with freshly cut fruit.

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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.

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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.

Vegan fried ‘eggs’ {soy-free, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free}

I dream about eggs. There are a few variations of the dream, but the key elements are always the same: I’m frying up some eggs, and I’m happy – truly happy.

To remedy this, I’ve come up with something that comes a little close. It has stopped the egg dreams, which is both good and bad depending on which way you look at it. It sure as hell isn’t a fried egg, but it sure as hell is better than no egg. I reckon you should give it a go, this one might surprise you.

4 Vegan-egg-rEggs-r

Vegan fried ‘eggs’ {soy-free, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free}
Makes 2 ‘eggs’

For the egg white
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup filtered water
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt

For the egg yolk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tsp olive oil
4 tsp filtered water
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of salt

Whisk water and chickpea flour together to ensure no lumps then add olive oil and salt.

In a separate small bowl, add the yolk ingredients and mix to combine.

Pour half of the egg white ingredients onto a hot non-stick pan with a small amount of melted coconut oil. Let cook for 1 minute, then carefully spoon half of the yolk mixture into the centre of the batter that is cooking.

Let cook for 1 minute longer, then carefully transfer it to a plate.

Repeat with remaining batter and yolk, and serve with some toasted gluten-free and vegan bread.

Easy chana masala

If you couldn’t already tell, I’ve bitten off a little more than I can chew at the moment. Between work, appointments, ceramic classes, more ceramic classes, and seeing friends and family, I’m barely home at all. It’s also that time of year when you realise the new year starts in T minus 1.5 months.

I woke up not feeling motivated to do a post today, but after doing some spring cleaning and furniture rearranging (ok… more of pot plant rearranging), the motivation came to me.

Have I spoken here about my love for cast iron pans? I can’t believe it has taken me all these years of cooking to get onto the bandwagon. In the two months since my 12-inch skillet arrived, I’ve used my stainless saucepans all of three times, and that doesn’t include for cooking grains. Everything tastes better in it. Everything! How does that even happen? I don’t know, but I’m hooked.

Chana masala is one of my favourite Indian dishes. And I’ve been enjoying it even more with my trusted cast iron pan in tow. I know there are a lot of recipes for chana masala out there, so why does the interwebs need another one? Well, this one is the only one you’ll need and it’s so easy, you can whip it up on a weeknight after a long day. It’s a dish I’ve had on rotation every week lately for that very reason. It’s also harder for me to order this at an Indian restaurant now that I have making it at home down pat. I don’t feel heavy or lethargic after my home made version.

Chana masala

Easy chana masala
Serves 4

1 brown onion, diced
2-inch piece ginger, sliced into matchsticks
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp pink salt
1/2-1/4 tsp ground chilli powder
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp tomato paste (I use one that has no added salt)
4-5 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup water
2 BPA-free tins of organic chickpeas
1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder – you can use lemon juice in place of this)

Cook the diced onion in a pan over a medium heat. Once starting to caramelise, add ginger and garlic, and cook a further 3 minutes.

Add coriander, cumin, salt, chilli, turmeric and tomato paste, and cook until everything is mixed into the tomato paste and spices become fragrant.

Add tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water. Cook for 5 mins before adding the chickpeas.

Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add fenugreek, garam masala and amchoor, and cook a further 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve with cooked basmati rice and chutney.

Gluten-free vegan sticky date slice

It feels like it should only be May, but here we are, in November already. My ceramic work has been keeping me so busy that I only have one day at home on the weekends. The ‘one day’ weekend goes by so quick.

This is a case of when bad photos happen to good food. I am always in such a rush to eat this, that I forget about trying to get ~the~ shot. You’ll just have to trust me that this is good. I’ll come back and update the photos for this gluten-free and vegan sticky date slice later. In the meantime, I’m going to share this recipe with you so you’re not deprived of something so tasty any longer.

Sticky date slice

Gluten-free vegan sticky date slice
Makes 8 slices

For the slice
2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup dates, soaked and chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
6 tbsp aquafaba, whisked into soft peaks

For the sauce
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup dates, soaked and chopped

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Mix almond meal, coconut sugar and baking powder in a bowl. Add dates, water, coconut oil and aquafaba. The mixture will be quite wet, as it is essential for the slice to be moist.

Pour into a lined tray and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until top is golden and knife comes out clean.

To make the sauce, heat coconut milk, coconut sugar and chopped dates over a low-to-medium heat. Remove from heat when sauce thickens.

Pour sauce over slice. Best enjoyed warm.

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.

Gluten-free vegan zucchini noodle japchae

A few years ago I came across sweet potato noodles in an Asian grocer and I bought them because they were surprisingly gluten-free. The noodles sat on a shelf in my cupboard for a good six months before I finally settled on what I would do with them: make japchae, also known as Korean glass noodles.

My brief foray into Korean food started with japchae and ended with kimchi. And when I say japchae and kimchi, I mean that I really didn’t give much else a go (in my defense, Korean food isn’t well suited to both a gluten-free and vegan diet).

Finding sweet potato noodles can sometimes be like finding a needle in a haystack. Without them I could have gone for regular rice noodles, or even pasta but I decided to push myself towards something even healthier and landed on zucchini noodles.

Full disclosure, zucchini noodles really don’t do it for me. I’ll eat them from time to time, in the spirit of being healthy, and when I crave something light. Nothing is ever going to tear me away from my beloved carbs.

2 Spring onions r3 Zucchini r4 Jap chae 2 r1 Jap chae r HERO

Gluten-free vegan zucchini noodle japchae
Serves 2

1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 brown onion, sliced
2 spring onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp coconut sugar
1 cup spinach leaves
3 zucchinis, spiralised
1 tbsp white sesame seeds, to serve
Small handful of chives, to serve

Heat sesame oil over a medium heat and add onion, spring onion, garlic, carrot and mushrooms. Cook for five minutes.

Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and coconut sugar to the pan, followed by the spinach. Cook for one minute before adding the zucchini noodles, then cook a further two-three minutes until zucchini is heated through.

Divide into two bowls and sprinkle sesame seeds and chopped chives.