Vegan BLAT salad with green goddess ranch

I’m sure many vegetarians and vegans will agree that the thing they miss the most is bacon.

While nothing really comes close to the taste and texture of real bacon, homemade coconut bacon is my preferred option – and an option much lower in soy than tofu bacon or store-bought mock bacon.

Here, I’ve paired it with a classic BLAT (in salad form) – because a BLT is good, but what is life without avocado?

Vegan BLAT salad with green goddess ranch
Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a generous side

For the coconut bacon
3 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp liquid smoke (I prefer ‘hickory’ flavoured)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 c unsweetened coconut flakes

For the green goddess ranch
1/4 c raw cashews
1/4 c tahini
1/2 c filtered water
1/4 c flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste

To assemble
2 gem lettuces, stems trimmed and leaves hand torn
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, skin removed and flesh cut into strips

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

To make the coconut bacon, add all ingredients excluding coconut flakes in a bowl. Stir to combine then add the coconut flakes and mix to coat.

Line a baking tray with parchment and scoop out the coconut flakes from the bowl onto the paper. Spread them as evenly as possible, then pour the remaining marinade over the top.

Place in the oven for 8-10 mins. After around four minutes, remove from the oven and mix the flakes to ensure they cook evenly and avoid them burning.

Return to the oven and check every two minutes after that. Once browned, remove from oven and set aside in the tray to cool.

To make the green goddess ranch, add all ingredients into a high-speed blender and process until well combined and smooth. Add water to get your preferred consistency. Set aside.

To assemble the salad, place the lettuce leaves in a salad bowl, followed by tomatoes and avocado pieces. Spoon some green goddess ranch dressing in then sprinkle with coconut bacon bits.

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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.