Whole roasted cauliflower

This is the whole roasted cauliflower to end all recipes for roast cauliflower. And the trick is to lightly pre-cook the cauliflower in a magic, white wine-based poaching liquid. Really, there’s not much more to say other than to read on and give it a go.

Whole roasted cauliflower
Serves 4-6 as a side

2 litres filtered water
2 c dry white wine (organic preferred)
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Himalayan rock salt
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coconut sugar
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of lemon thyme (optional)
1 head of cauliflower, outer leaves trimmed

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C.

Put all ingredients excluding the cauliflower in a stock pot and bring to a boil.

Add the cauliflower floret side-down into the pot and let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Flip the cauliflower and let simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Remove the cauliflower from the poaching liquid and place base side-down on an oven tray.

Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the surface starts to brown.

Remove from oven and serve in a salad or as a side to virtually anything!

NOTE: You can keep the poaching liquid to pre-cook other vegetables before roasting. Keep it in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3 days.

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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.

Lebanese socca {gluten-free, vegan}

Lebanese pizza was another favourite of mine growing up. I can remember mum made it for dinner one night and I loved it so much that I asked for ‘the lamb and pine nut pizza’ again, and again, and again. 

After 10 years without Lebanese pizza in my life and after perfecting a good ‘mince’ for my current favourite taco recipe, I knew it would be possible to recreate as vegan. 

While it was definitely a pizza in my memory, I’ve avoided a heavy gluten-free pizza base for this recipe and opted for socca (an ingenious chickpea flour-based flatbread that I’ve been making for years) as the base instead. I love socca for many reasons, but especially because it’s an easy way to add soy-free protein to your plate – and I’m all about that.

Lebanese socca {gluten-free, vegan}
Makes 1 large ‘pizza’

For the ‘mince’
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 packet tempeh
1/2 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
1/4 c pine nuts, lightly toasted
Small handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

For the socca
1 c chickpea flour
1 c filtered water
1 tbsp + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper

To make the socca, add chickpea flour, water, 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to a bowl. Whisk until combined and no lumps remain. Set aside for 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees C.

To make the ‘mince’, add pinto beans, tempeh, onion, garlic, cumin, cinnamon and salt and pepper to a food processor. Blitz until combined and resembling small crumbs.

Transfer mixture to a pan on a medium heat and cook a few minutes until it starts to brown and become fragrant. Set aside.

When ready to cook the socca, place cast iron skillet in the pre-heated oven for about 5 minutes.

Carefully remove skillet from oven and add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil to base of the pan to coat the surface. Then, pour the batter into the skillet and return it to the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden and crisp.

When the socca has cooked, remove it from the oven. Carefully transfer it to a cutting board and spoon the ‘mince’ over it. Then, scatter it with pine nuts and garnish with parsley. Slice as you see fit and serve with a side salad and hummus.

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.

Easy quinoa tabbouleh

Remember when I told you that there was a time in my life when I ate fried rice for lunch every single day? Well, there was also a time when I ate tabbouleh for lunch every single day.

I recently realised that since giving up wheat, I haven’t spent a lot of time revisiting my tabbouleh days. When I whipped up this test batch of wheat-free quinoa tabbouleh, it was clear that ignoring it for all these years was a huge mistake.

Not a fan of tabbouleh? I get it. But make sure you’ve really given it a go first. Sometimes, I cook some gluten-free penne pasta, drizzle it with a touch of red wine vinegar, sprinkle it with some nutritional yeast flakes and mix a couple of dessert-spoons of this tabbouleh through it. Some might call it carb overload. Others (myself included) would question whether that’s really such a thing.

Easy quinoa tabbouleh
Makes enough to feed four people as a generous side

1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
200g cherry tomatoes, quartered
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 c parsley, finely chopped
1/2 c mint, leaves torn
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp sumac
1/2-3/4 c cooked white quinoa
Salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk olive oil with lemon juice. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, add tomatoes, spring onions, parsley, mint and spices. Mix to combine.

Gently fold the quinoa through the salad ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Asian bean curd rolls {gluten-free, vegan}

There’s a small vegetarian Chinese restaurant in my hometown that made me fall head over heels for tofu skin (also known as yuba). You wouldn’t know it was anything special from the menu name ‘crispy bean curd skin’ but one day my mum ordered it on a whim and after that, a trip to this restaurant wasn’t complete without a plate – or two!

You can buy dried beancurd sheets from Asian supermarkets. For this recipe, you’ll need the sheets, not dried beancurd sticks, which are also available (and also delicious – but more on that later).

You can do a lot with tofu skin, like soaking it in flavourings and deep frying, or filling it with stuffing and pan frying. My love for eating trumps my love for cooking, so nine times out of 10, I’m looking for shortcuts to spend less time in the kitchen.

Which brings me to these seriously tasty tofu skin rolls that sound a lot more complicated than they actually are. Just think of it as a new way to enjoy tofu.

Once cooked, the rolls can be sliced up and added to a buddha bowl, stir fry or even used as a pho topping. Any leftover slices can be stored in the freezer. Just reheat them in a warm pan before eating.

Asian bean curd rolls {gluten-free, vegan}
Makes approx. 2 medium rolls

1 1/2 c filtered water
1/4 c gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp coconut sugar
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into 2-3 pieces
2 cloves
1 whole dried red chilli
1 star anise
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 packet of dried bean curd sheets

Add water, soy sauce, sherry, coconut sugar, ginger, cloves, chilli, star anise and cinnamon to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Let simmer for 10 minutes then strain and let the sauce cool.

Unfold the bean curd sheets. Leaving the sheets on top of each other, roughly cut about 5cm off the edge right around the sheets – try to do this in one go so you have a long offcut from each sheet.

Set aside all the sheets. Group the offcuts together and tie it in a rough knot. Submerge the knot in the sauce for about five minutes to soak.

Place one sheet onto a clean damp tea towel and using tongs, pick up the knot and use it as a brush to coat the entire sheet. Repeat with remaining sheets, returning the knot to the pan as needed to soak up more sauce.

Once all the sheets have been coated, place the knot in the middle of the sheets. Fold the sides in first, then move the knot towards you, to the edge of the sheets, so it can be the centre of the roll. Then, tightly roll the sheets up to form a log.

Cut the log into two pieces (three pieces if this won’t fit in your steamer) and steam for around 15 minutes. Then, remove from steamer and pan fry each roll for three minutes on one side, and three minutes on the other side.

Let cool slightly before slicing into thin pieces. Add to a cooked stir fry, buddha bowl or use as a pho topping.

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!

Kale_Mary_savoury_waffles

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.