Caramelised onion and zucchini pasta with roasted cauliflower

For a long time, I’ve been on the quest for a tomato-free vegetable pasta dish that is equally easy and delicious. It’s not that I have anything against tomato, more that I think there’s far more to vegetarian pasta recipes than marinara sauce – and to me that’s something worth exploring.

My pasta experiments proved successful more times than not, but they were often a little low on vegetables than I’d like. After perfecting a recipe for gluten-free zucchini fritters (more on that later), I realised that grated zucchini was the missing piece of the puzzle.

Caramelised onion and zucchini pasta with roasted cauliflower
(Serves 4)

1/2 cauliflower, florets removed from core and separated into small pieces
340g gluten-free pasta (Barilla gluten free elbows work well for this dish)
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
6-8 golden shallots, thinly sliced
3-4 medium-large zucchini, grated and excess moisture drained
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Sprinkle cauliflower with a little salt and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through.

Bring a pot of water to the boil and then add the pasta. Cook according to packet instructions then drain and set aside.

Cook the shallots in a cast iron pan with a little olive oil. When the start to brown, add a teaspoon of water and stir to prolong the caramelisation. Repeat until onions are nicely brown.

Add the zucchini to the pan and cook out some of the moisture until the zucchini lightly browns. Then add vegetable stock and cook until the stock has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer cooked pasta to a large bowl and gently mix through the onion and zucchini. Add 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to prevent the pasta from drying out then add roasted cauliflower, nutritional yeast and pine nuts. Give one final mix and serve among four bowls.

Indian nourish bowl with curried corn bread

This Indian nourish bowl has a very Western influence. It’s not heavy with curry and instead, borrows on classic Indian flavours we know and love.

It might look like a few steps are involved, but this one came to be by me finding and wanting to use up some random fridge leftovers. You can use these ingredients in different ways or just make one thing out of the list… I’m all for improvising.

If there’s one thing in the below recipe you should make, it’s the vegan cashew cream. Try keeping a small container of it on hand at all times. It keeps in the fridge for up to a week – unless it gets eaten first!

Indian nourish bowl with curried corn bread
Serves 4

For the curried corn bread
3/4 c polenta
1/4 c arrowroot starch
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c cooked quinoa, cooled
1/4 c corn kernels (optional)
2 tbsp chives, chopped
1 1/2 c coconut milk
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the cauliflower and chickpeas
2 c cauliflower florets
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp curry powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the pomegranate dressing
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp raw honey
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the vegan cashew cream
1 c raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/2 c filtered water
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp chickpea miso
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Salt, to taste

To serve
Leftover cumin rice
Leftover cooked greens
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted

To make the curried corn bread, preheat oven to 180 degrees C. In a large bowl, combine ingredients in the order listed and mix until combined. Let it rest for 10 minutes before putting in a loaf pan and cooking in the oven for approximately 40 minutes.

To make the cashew cream, add all ingredients to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and adjust flavourings to taste.

To make the pomegranate dressing, add all ingredients to a small-medium bowl and whisk until combined.

To assemble, put a spoonful or two of the chickpeas and cauliflower in a bowl. Next to it, add a spoonful of leftover cooked greens, then a spoonful of leftover cumin rice. Add a few slices of the curried corn bread, sprinkle the bowl with pumpkin seeds, add a dollop of cashew cream and drizzle everything with the pomegranate dressing.

Hot and sour soup {pressure cooker/Instant Pot}

I’m not the biggest fan of soups, but sometimes I’ll surprise myself and get a craving for a cleansing soup like hot and sour.

You can make this in a regular saucepan instead of a pressure cooker – it will take longer than five minutes to get the soup really flavoursome by going way of conventional cooking.

I was originally going to use bok choy in this soup, but I had a beautiful fresh bunch of gai lan (Chinese broccoli) and at the last minute, I decided to use it instead. While you could swap the gai lan out for another Asian green like pak choy or bok choy, gai lan really makes it special. It’s a seriously underrated vegetable that deserves some time in the spotlight.

Pressure cooker/Instant Pot hot and sour soup
Serves 4

1.5L vegetable stock
1 c dried shiitake mushrooms
3 garlic cloves
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
1/4 c gluten-free soy sauce
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp sesame oil
150g tofu, sliced into squares and baked for 15 minutes
50g firm tofu, roughly thickly grated
1/2 carrot, julienned
Bunch of gai lan (Chinese broccoli), stalks trimmed
1/2 c rinsed bamboo shoots (optional)
Pinch of salt
1/4 distilled white vinegar
3 spring onions, sliced

Put all ingredients excluding white vinegar and spring onions into pressure cooker. Bring to pressure and keep it at pressure for five minutes.

Release pressure then add white vinegar and spring onions. Stir and ladle soup into bowls.

30-minute one-pot dal with quick pickled onion

Another dal recipe I hear you say? Look, my tarka dal and hidden veg dal are both delicious, but this recipe is ‘the one’ for when you want something delicious but don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen.

So, before you open UberEats to order dinner tonight, check your pantry. Pretty much every ingredient in this dish is a kitchen pantry staple. And all you need to do is put everything in a saucepan, so it can do it’s thing.

I’ve also done this one in my pressure cooker and it worked a treat. I cooked it for about 4-5 minutes at pressure.

30-minute one-pot dal with quick pickled onion
Serves 4-6

For the dal
1 1/3 cups red split lentils
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp dried diced onion
1 tbsp dried garlic granules
1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
4 cups filtered water
400ml coconut milk
Basmati rice, to serve

For the pickled onion
1 large red onion, finely sliced
Zest and juice of 1 lime

To make the dal, add all ingredients to a large saucepan and turn on the heat. Bring to the boil then cook over a medium heat for 20-30 minutes until dal has broken down.

While the dal is cooking, place the onion, lime juice and lime zest in a large bowl. Massage the onion with your hands until the onion starts to soften from the acid in the lime juice, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

Serve dal with basmati rice and top with quick pickled onion.


Pressure cooker Thai red curry

Earlier this year I spent a few days with my parents on the South Coast of NSW. While I was there, I was introduced to the wonderful world of pressure cooking; they had recently bought one for themselves.

Naturally, it didn’t take long until I was the proud owner of a stovetop pressure cooker. The stovetop cooker appealed to me because I can also use it as a giant stock pot, start a pressure cooked meal by sauteing some spices or ingredients, or reduce a pressure cooked sauce after cooking if I have too much liquid leftover.

Since the purchase, I have been using my pressure cooker two to three times a week. It makes for easier and quicker meals and accentuates the flavour. In fact meals that can take over an hour by conventional means can be ready in 15 to 20 minutes. With my work schedule it has certainly made my life easier and provided more ‘me’ time…highly recommended for stews, curries and soups.

Pressure cooker Thai red curry
Serves 4-6

1 tin Maesri panang curry paste
400ml coconut milk
100g firm tofu, cubed
1/2-1 cup vegetable stock
2 large kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
2 carrots, sliced diagonally
1 red onion, chopped
1 bunch broccolini, ends trimmed
150g green beans, ends trimmed
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce, divided
1 tbsp + 1 tbsp coconut sugar, divided
Juice of 2 limes, divided

Add all ingredients into your pressure cooker excluding the 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce, 1 tbsp coconut sugar and juice of one lime. Stir to combine.

Turn on the heat and bring to pressure. Once at pressure, turn down the heat slightly and set a timer for one minute. After one minute, remove pot from the heat and release the pressure.

Add remaining 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce, 1 tbsp coconut sugar and juice of one lime. Stir through and adjust to taste. Then, serve with rice.

One-dish chocolate cake {gluten-free, vegan}

Gluten-free vegan baking really frustrates me.

I’m trying to bake more but it’s always hard to predict what the outcome will be when you’re making it up as you go along. Sometimes I feel you need a degree in Chemistry to get it right.

But I’ve made progress. I’ve created a light and airy chocolate cake that’s chocolatey but not too chocolatey. And if you have a decent-sized Pyrex dish, you can mix it and cook it in the same dish without needing to grease it.

One-dish chocolate cake {gluten-free, vegan}
Makes an 8 x 10 inch cake

2 c all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 c coconut sugar
1/2 c cacao powder
1 tbsp chickpea miso powder (I use Meru Miso)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
Pinch of salt
2 c filtered water
1/3 c coconut oil
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Add dry ingredients to an 8 x 10 inch Pyrex dish. Mix to evenly combine.

Then add water, coconut oil and vinegar. Mix to combine so no dry bits remain.

Place in the oven and cook for around 20-30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave cake to cool slightly in the Pyrex dish, then run a knife around the edge, to loosen. Flip it onto a wire rack to finish cooling and slice.

Warm brussels sprout, broccoli and grape salad

This warm salad is inspired by a side dish I ate at a restaurant while on holiday in New York. After all these years, I still think of it – and when I can go back to enjoy it again. Sure, this warm salad does a great job at reliving the memory, but it’s not the same as the OG.

Warm brussels sprout, broccoli and grape salad
Serves 4-6 as a side

200g brussels sprouts, halved
200g broccoli, roughly cut into pieces as large as brussels sprouts
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 c red grapes
1/4 c pistachio nuts, shelled
1/4 c pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
2 tbsp sultanas, blended with 1-2 tbsp water to make a paste
Zest of 1 lemon
Small handful fresh mint, roughly cut

Toss brussels and broccoli with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Air fry on an even layer for 5 minutes at 200 degrees C. Shake the contents of the tray and air fry for a further 3-5 minutes until browned well. You might have to air fry in two batches depending on the size of your airfryer.

Transfer brussels and broccoli to a large mixing bowl. Add rice wine vinegar and toss to evenly combine.

Add grapes, nuts and seeds. Then mix through sultana paste.

Garnish with mint leaves and lemon zest.