BBQ Jackfruit

So you have a can/jar of jackfruit in the cupboard and you have no idea what to do with it. I’m here to help 🙂 What you don’t want to do with jackfruit is just eat it like it is – you have to spice and flavour that baby up, just like it’s a block of tofu, because it really is pretty tasteless on its own.

If you wanna keep your looks (who doesn’t…) apparently jackfruit is high in antioxidants, so get ON this stuff! Although it’s a fruit, and you can eat it as a fruit, most of us vegans use it as a meat substitute because of the texture, and it’s ability to take on savoury flavours. Have to admit, I tried raw jackfruit a year or so back, and I can’t say I enjoyed it… savoury cooked jackfruit though – GIMME.

BBQ jackfruit is probably the easiest and tastiest thing to do with a tin of jackfruit, and you can then use it in whatever dinner/lunch (or breafast?!) you like. I use mine in burgers, but you can also use as a baked potato topping, in tacos, on a pizza or as part of a warm buddah bowl. The choice is yours.

Jackfruit burgz

I like my jackfruit pretty spicy, but feel free to omit the chili powder if that’s not your bag. Jackfruit is much more soft and juicy if you cook it for a long time (and keep adding water as you go), but if you’re in a hurry you don’t need to cook the jackfruit for more than about ten minutes in the sauce. I’d suggest going for the long haul though, you won’t regret it.

Ingredients

1 x can/jar of jackfruit in water (approx 400g)

1 tsp oil for frying (e.g. sunflower oil)

1/2 small brown onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped finely

1 Tbsp hot smoked paprika (use less if you prefer non-spicy)

1 Tbsp agave (or sub with brown sugar or maple syrup)

1/2 tsp chili powder (omit if you don’t like spicy)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup premade BBQ sauce (check if vegan – a fair few of them include honey)

Instructions

Drain the jackfruit and separate into smaller parts. Chop up the hard ends if they aren’t coming apart easily.

Add the oil to a frypan/skillet and heat on medium. Add the onions and cook until translucent, around 8 minutes (be careful not to burn – turn down if they start to brown).

While the onions are cooking, combine the paprika, agave, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and salt and pepper into a small bowl.

Add the minced garlic to the onions and stir, cooking for a minute or so, and ensure the garlic does not burn.

Add the jackfruit and the spices, and stir to thoroughly combine. Cook on medium for around a minute, stirring every so often so the bottom doesn’t stick.

Turn the heat to low and add the BBQ sauce and 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine thoroughly. Leave to cook for around 30 minutes (up to an hour if you can stand the delicious smell!), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add more water if it starts to dry up. You want the sauce to be sloppy, but still sticking to the jackfruit when you serve it up.

Serve in buttered, toasted buns with lettuce, cheese and pickles and you have yourself a delicious pulled jackfruit burger!

Time to make: 10 minutes to prep the ingredients, 30 minutes to cook the jackfruit = 40 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 1.5, Pretty darn easy once you have all your spices mixed and jackfruit shredded.

#nowplaying : Idles – Mr Motivator

Butternut squash risotto

 

I’m a big fan of risotto, and there are so many variations on what you can make it with that my head spins sometimes.  Tomato based, creamy based, arborio rice, pearl barley, ALL the different veggies… the list of combinations are endless.

You need to follow the basics of risotto making to ensure it comes out with the right taste and texture.  By all means, mix it up a bit, but it will require your time and attention.  Don’t just leave that poor fella on the hob, cooking away, while you go have a shower – NO.  Give him the love he deserves, and you’ll get it back in a delicious dish that you’ll make over and over again.

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Praise be to the risotto gods

Make sure you use specialist “risotto” rice (e.g. arborio, carnaroli, baldo etc…) and not your standard white or brown rice – because it WILL make a difference.  White wine is also needed, although if you’re trying to cut down on the alcohol, then substitute with white grape juice (no, really!) or more stock.  With this recipe I substituted the wine for stock and a little bit of lemon juice, and the result was still excellent.

So set some time aside, give this recipe a try, pay attention (be mindful!), and you’ll get results, I promise 😉

Ingredients

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into 2cm cubes

4 TBsp oil

600ml vegetable stock

2 TBsp vegan butter/margarine

1/2 large or one small onion, chopped fairly fine

2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine/crushed

1 bay leaf

1 tsp mixed herbs (try including thyme, sage, rosemary and oregano, or a combination of them)

150g risotto rice (I used Arborio for this recipe)

100 ml white wine (substitute for veggie stock or white grape juice)

1 packed cup of fresh, roughly chopped spinach

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180C

Add 2/3 of the diced butternut squash to a bowl with 2 TBsp of the oil, and toss to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place the oiled squash on a baking tray, ensuring none of the squash is touching each other, and bake for around 30 minutes, turning over every so often to ensure all sides are cooked evenly.  Ensure they are fully cooked before removing from the oven.

Add the remaining squash to a saucepan with the 600ml vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, allowing the squash to poach in the stock.

Add the remaining oil and one TBsp of the butter to a frying pan on medium heat.  Add the chopped onions and allow to cook until translucent (don’t allow the onion to brown – so ensure the temperature is not too high), about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic, bay leaf and herbs, stir and cook for one further minute.  Stir in the rice, and keep stirring on and off for about five minutes, so the rice becomes coated in the butter and oil, and allow the rice to take on a toasty flavour.

Add the wine to the rice and stir to combine.  Increase the heat slightly and let the wine evaporate, about 1-2 minutes.  Start to ladle in the stock (leaving the squash in the saucepan to cook), but only ladle in around 1/2 a cup at a time.  Stir during each addition of stock, and then allow the stock to be almost completely absorbed into the rice before adding more.   Here is where you need to keep an eye on it, so be patient!  From start to finish of the stock, it should take around 15 minutes.

The squash in the stock should have now softened enough to mash.  Once the risotto is cooked, add the mashed squash and chopped spinach to the risotto and stir to combine.  Find the bay leaf and remove (unless you want to eat it?!).  Add the remaining TBsp of butter and season with salt and pepper.

Once the baked squash is ready, add that to the risotto and stir to combine.

Feel free to serve with some vegan parmesan (as I did), toasted seeds or nuts to the finished product!

Time to make: 10 minutes to prep the ingredients, 30 minutes to cook the squash in the oven, 10 minutes starting the risotto and 15 minutes cooking the risotto (while the squash is in the oven) = 55 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, there are a few moving parts to this, but nothing difficult if you know how to chop veggies and stir some rice!

#nowplaying : Omni – Delicacy

Comforting seitan “beef” and barley stew

Anyone else make big old batches of seitan and use it in every damn thing?!  I used to love me a peppery beef stew when I wasn’t vegan (I can’t believe I used to eat that stuff, ewwwww), so a substitute that’s earth-and-animal friendly was very much needed for when I moved over to the “green” side.

This recipe is brilliant to make on the weekend and take to work for lunches during the week (if it lasts that long), and also freezes really well.  Another recipe where the flavours seem to get better when you leave it stewing in its own juices for a couple of days.  You can also team this stew with a variety of carbs, as it would go well alongside mashed potatoes (potato overload!), quinoa, rice or just a thickly cut slice of fresh bread with vegan margarine.

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Of course, you will need to make the seitan pieces ahead of time, but just pop them in the fridge and let them sit for a day or so.  This will ensure they remain flavoursome and delicious when you add them to your stew.

Do play around with the recipe as well – no need to put both spuds and carrots in it if you don’t want to.  Add some beans for a super protein kick, pop in some courgettes, peppers or aubergine, or you could even make some dumplings to add to the stew while it’s still cooking (excuse me while I drool a little…).  The options for this recipe are endless, and it’s a good opportunity to add whatever is in the fridge that you need to use up.

Get onto this recipe when you can, and make sure you tag me on Instagram if you make it so I can see how awesome it is!  Enjoy.

Ingredients

2 TBsp oil

2 seitan steaks (see my recipe from previous blog here)

1/2 onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 small carrots (or one big one), sliced 1.5 cms thick

1 TBp dried mixed herbs (or a mix of thyme, rosemary, oregano)

salt and cracked pepper to taste

1/2 cup red wine (substitute for extra broth if you would prefer without)

1/2 tsp paprika

2 cups vegetable broth

1 TBsp tomato paste

400 grams potatoes, peeled and diced (about two large spuds, or 4-6 smaller spuds)

1 cup cooked pearl barley, per packet instructions (approx 1/2 cup uncooked – this should be made ahead of time, or while your stew is cooking)

2 TBsp plain flour

Method

Cut the seitan steaks into bite sized pieces.  Heat a non-stick frying pan and add one of the tablespoons of oil to the pan.  Once heated, add the seitan pieces and fry until sufficiently browned.  Remove from the pan and set aside

Add the remainder of the oil to a large, lidded saucepan.  Add the onions and fry on medium heat until translucent.  Add the minced garlic and stir.

After a minute or so, add the carrots, wine, herbs and paprika, and stir to combine.  Bring to the boil, then simmer for a couple of minutes, or until the wine has reduced by half.

Add the broth and potatoes and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are just tender (10 – 12 minutes, depending on the size of your diced potato).

Add the pearl barley, tomato paste and seitan, and stir to combine.

Mix the 2 tablespoons of flour with 1/4 cup of water to a smooth paste.  Add to the stew, while stirring continuously.

Leave to simmer for another 5 – 10 minutes, or until the stew has thickened to your desired consistency.

Serve with crusty bread or alongside some rice and tenderstem broccoli.

This stew also freezes well – ensure the stew has fully cooled before transferring to a container and freezing.

Time to make: 5 minutes to prep the ingredients, 5 minutes to sear the seitan steaks, 40 minutes on the hob = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2, an easy one if you have all the ingredients and some pre-made seitan!

#nowplaying : Thom Yorke – Suspirium

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa and sweet potato falafel

Confession time – I’ve never made a falafel myself at home that didn’t turn out terrible.  Not sure what it is exactly that I do to them but they seem to want to disintegrate whenever I deep fry them, and baking makes them taste too… healthy (you know [junk food] me).  But now folks, I have managed to make a falafel that didn’t fall apart and tasted boss.  BEHOLD.

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These quinoa and sweet potato falafel are a game changer.  I didn’t bother with the deep fryer and went the grilling route, instead of baking.  Oh yes, it works.  FINALLY.  Trying to get more chickpeas and quinoa into your life has never been easier.  Well, for some people it’s easy, but for me with my regular #FattyFriday’s and penchant for vegan burgers and Vego bars, it tends to be quite difficult getting the healthy stuff in me.

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Make these sexy balls as big or small as you like – they tend to stick together well with the  squishy-ness of the sweet potato.  Use whatever herbs and spices you fancy too – these ones are a touch spicy but feel free to tone the spice down and give it more of your own flavours.  Enjoy in pita, part of a salad or on their own as a snack.  SO yum.

Ingredients

1 x medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

60g uncooked quinoa

1/2 a 400g tin of chickpeas (reserve the juice to make some chocolate mousse!)

2 cloves minced garlic

1 TBsp minced ginger

1 TBsp sunflower oil (or other high smoke point oil)

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp rice vinegar

juice of 1/2 a lime

handful of coriander or parsley (optional)

 

Instructions

Peel, dice and boil the sweet potato on the hob for 15 minutes, or until tender

While the sweet potato is cooking, cook the quinoa according to packet instructions

When the sweet potato and quinoa are cooked, set aside.

Add the oil, garlic and ginger to a fry pan and cook on low-medium heat for around one minute, ensuring the garlic doesn’t brown

Add the remaining ingredients to the fry pan, including the quinoa and sweet potato, and mash with a potato masher (or a fork if you don’t have a masher) until the mix is well combined and there are barely any chunky bits

Set aside the mix for a few minutes until it is cool enough for you to handle

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and turn on your grill to medium high heat

Roll the mix into balls of the same size (however big/small you like) and place on the parchment paper with plenty of space between them

I use either a little bit of water or oil to wet my hands with when rolling the balls, as it makes the mix less sticky on the hands and comes away easier (#toptip!)

Once all the mix has been rolled into balls, place your tray of balls under the grill for around 25 minutes, turning every 7 minutes or so.  Keep an eye on them to ensure they brown but don’t burn.

Once ready, serve with salad, avocado, tahini or in a wrap.  Enjoy!

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 50 minutes cooking (including sweet potato/quinoa) = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, relatively simple but with a few moving parts.  Not the quickest of recipes, but you could cook the sweet potato/quinoa in advance and heat up the balls when you need them

#nowplaying : Cabbage – Arms of Pleonexia

 

 

Creamy vegan “chicken” pie

It’s nearly the end of winter guys, I can feel it!  Kinda.

Why has winter been dragging on so long this year?!  I know I was in Vietnam for three whole weeks recently, soaking up the 35C temperatures and eating all the delicious rice and noodles my heart desired, but that doesn’t mean embracing the winter back here in London should be a “thing”.

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SO PUFFY!!

HOWEVER.  Winter weather goes alongside one of my favourite things – stodgy cold weather food.  Creamy “chicken” and veggie pie is a winter dish of dreams, and you don’t need to miss out if you’re not eating meat (or eggs, or cow’s milk).  This really is so easy to make you can do it after work, or make a big pot of the stuff on the weekend and heat up throughout the week.  You can even cook the pastry separately, saving time and effort.

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Naked pie

Feel free to use whatever mock chicken you can get your hands on.  You could make it yourself out of seitan (now THERE’S a good idea!), pick up some Quorn pieces, or see what your local high street supermarket has in their own brand range.  Mix it up with extra spices or turn it into a creamy curry with a sprinkle of curry powder.  The choice is yours.

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*Drool face*

You can even make this recipe for four small individual pot pies if you like.  The pictures in this blog show half of the mix in quite a big single portion pot pie, but the recipe serves 4.  Plonk some green beans on the side and slop some gravy on the top.  Delicious

Let me know if you try the recipe and how it turns out. One of those quick and easy recipes that looks like it should take ages to make but doesn’t – and we love that!

Ingredients

1 x sheet puff pastry (I use Jus-Rol puff pastry as it’s accidently vegan)

1 x Tbsp vegan margarine/butter

1 x small white/yellow onion, diced

2 x cloves garlic, minced

1 x 280g pack of frozen Quorn “chicken” pieces (or whichever chicken substitute you’re using – you can play around with the amount as well, up to around 350g)

2 x cups frozen veggies (I used peas, corn and carrots – you can use whatever you like!)

¼ cup port or sherry

1 ½ cups plant milk

½ cup vegan cream (optional – if not using then make up to 2 cups of plant milk instead)

2 Tbsp flour

1 x teaspoon thyme (fresh or dried)

½ cup grated vegan cheese (optional – but I think it tastes amazing with it!)

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200C

Roll the pastry out on a flat surface and cut into four pieces.  If you’re planning on making a few small pot pies, place the dish you’ll be using upside down on the pastry and cut around the outside.

Place the pastry pieces carefully onto a parchment paper lined baking try (if using Jus-Rol you can use the parchment paper supplied with the pastry) and place in the centre of the oven.  Cook for around 15 minutes or until pastry has puffed up and turned a nice shade of brown.

Remove from the oven and leave aside.

While the pastry is cooking, get yourself started on the pie!

Place the butter in a frying pan on medium heat and melt.  Add the onions and cook on medium heat for five minutes or until they turn clear.  Stir occasionally to ensure they don’t burn.

Add the garlic and cook for one minute, stirring occasionally.

Add the “chicken” pieces, thyme and frozen veggies and stir to combine.

Slowly add the plant milk and cream and stir to combine.  Add the port slowly and mix through.

Bring to a simmer while sprinkling in the flour.  The mix with thicken after a few minutes, but keep stirring if it is sticking to the bottom.

Reduce the heat and add the cheese.  Stir until all the cheese is melted.

Check to see if the frozen “chicken” pieces are cooked through.  If not, keep on the hob for a bit longer, and add more milk if the sauce gets too thick.

Transfer the mix into a large pie dish or your individual pot pie dishes, and place the pastry carefully on top.

Serve with green beans or a leafy salad, and enjoy!

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking (including pastry in the oven for 15 minutes!) = 30 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 1.5, so quick and easy, although make sure you cut your pastry the right size…

#nowplaying : Sunflower Bean – TwentyTwo

Seitan steaks

So this is a recipe that I really HAVE to share with you all.  I make seitan once every couple weeks on the weekend, because it lasts ages, you can freeze it, it’s a brilliant source of protein and you can do so much with it.

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There are loads of seitan recipes knocking around the internet, and I’ve tried making plenty of them.  I prefer making this one as it’s one of the easiest and I always have the ingredients ready to go.  Vital Wheat Gluten can be hard to find, but check your local Whole Foods, Holland & Barrett or health food store and you should be able to pick up a pack.  Make sure you get vital wheat gluten – if that’s not what it says, it’s not what you want!  You can also order online in bulk if you plan on making a shedload of the stuff.

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This recipe is for seitan “steaks”, so whatever you would use a steak for (if you were a meat eater…), you can substitute this for it.  Steak burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, gyros, kebabs or stew – whatever your gorgeous vegan heart desires.

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Steak, cheese and fried onion baguette. SEXXY.

It’s not a quick recipe, but it’s well worth the effort!

Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten (I used Suma for this recipe)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 Tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder or granules

pinch of salt

3/4 cup of water (more if needed)

2 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, plus extra for marinating

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

5 cups of water

2-3 bay leaves

Instructions

Add the five cups of water and bay leaves to a large pot and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat until the water is only just simmering.  If the water is boiling too fast this will make the seitan expand more and become more sponge-like.  We don’t want that…

While waiting for the water to boil, add the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Add the 3/4 cup water, soy sauce and tomato paste to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.  Add a little bit more water here if needed (if all the wheat gluten hasn’t mixed in properly).

Knead the dough for about a minute and then let it rest for five minutes or so.

After five minutes, return to the dough and knead again for another minute.

Split the mixture into four or five steaks.  The seitan will expand a bit, so make sure your steaks aren’t too big to start with!  Try to flatten them as much as possible – use a floured rolling pin if that helps.

Add your steaks to the simmering pot of water and bay leaves, cover, and allow to simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.

While your steaks are simmering, add about a tablespoon of soy sauce or tamari to a bowl.

When the steaks are ready, allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.

Once cooled, dip the steaks into the soy sauce and press to allow the sauce to penetrate the steaks.  You can leave them in the fridge at this point, or cook straight away.

Heat a fry pan or grill pan on medium high heat and carefully place the steaks in the pan.  Cook for a few minutes on each side, until crispy edges start to form, or if using a grill pan, until you get those black lines along the steaks.

Use as you wish… try not to eat a whole one right after they come out of the pan 😉

Time to make: 5 minutes to mix the ingredients, 5 minutes to knead and let the dough breathe, 40 minutes simmering, 5 minutes dipping in soy sauce, 5 minutes in the frying pan = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, relatively easy to mix and assemble but there are a few different steps… and plenty of dishes!

#nowplaying : Hookworms – Static Resistance

 

 

Easy, healthy banana chia seed pancakes

Anyone else go through loads of bananas?!  I buy a bunch a week and wait patiently until they’re spotty enough to do stuff with – banana bread, frozen for smoothies and nice cream, and of course – pancakes.

You can make pancakes as “bad” or as “good” for you as you like.  These happen to be pretty good for you, consisting of bananas, chia seeds and oats, so I give you full permission to have as many as you want 😉 Of course, the toppings will determine how healthy you want to go.  You know me, can’t have a vegan treat without SOME kind of chocolate on it…

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This is an easy peasy recipe, and great if you want to impress that special someone before they head off to do the walk of shame (oi oi!).  Really high fibre content, and the protein ain’t that bad either (approximately 30 grams + in total).  But who cares about that stuff?  They’re bloody tasty, and that’s all that matters.

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Ingredients

1 cup oats

1 cup plant milk (I use Good Hemp in this recipe as it’s nice and sweet)

1/3 cup wholemeal flour (or plain if that’s all you have)

2 tsp baking powder

1 medium banana (ripe and spotty please!)

2 TBsp chia seeds

Oil for cooking

Instructions

Add all the ingredients (apart from the oil) to your food processor and blend until fully combined

Leave the mix to settle for about half an hour in the fridge (this isn’t necessary but it makes your pancakes less chewy)

Heat the oil in a non-stick fry pan on medium high heat

Add a couple of tablespoons of the batter to the heated pan and form into small pancakes

Once the batter starts to bubble and looks cooked through on the side facing you, it’s time to turn it over (or flip if you’re feeling confident!)

Cook until browned and keep warm in the oven on an oven safe dish while you’re waiting for the remaining pancakes to cook

Serve with strawberries, chocolate sauce (Sweet Freedom Choc Shot is THE ONE), blueberries, coconut chips, more banana, maple syrpup or whatever the hell you feel like… and enjoy!

Time to make: 5 minutes to mix the ingredients, 10 minutes to let the batter settle, 10 minutes to cook = 25 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 1.5, so simple to make, basically just mix, sit and cook/flip

#nowplaying : First Aid Kit – Fireworks

Spicy tofu & brussels sprout fried rice

Here’s a combo that you might not think goes together, but it really does.  Brussels sprouts and fried rice?  Nah.  Oh, but YEAH.

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Many people aren’t keen on that stinky little vegetable, but I’m a huge fan of sprouts.  They’re usually only found as part of a roast dinner (hidden under the gravy), but after trying this recipe it’s clear that they’re a lot more versatile than just being a side dish.  One cup of these little green machines gives you over 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K and C, as well as containing high amounts of folate and fibre.  Ugly vegetable, yet very good for you.

The combination of agave and sriracha on the crispy tofu gives it a sweet-but-spicy edge and I try to crisp up the tofu in the oven as much as possible without over cooking.  The tofu can be pan fried too if you prefer that method.  I like to just stick it in the oven and forget about it.

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Try not to overcook your sprouts also – I know it’s quite a British thing to do (sorry Brits!), but let’s leave some of the nutrients intact, shall we?!  Add some carrots and some seeds and you have a healthy as hell meal.  You’re welcome 😉

Enjoy!

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Ingredients

Sprout Fried Rice

2 cups of cooked, day old brown rice (white is fine if that’s all you have)

1.5 cups sliced Brussels sprouts (as thick or as thin as you want, just cook longer if you cut them quite thick)

1 large carrot, cut into half rounds

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of agave (or maple syrup)

1 tablespoon oil (any vegetable oil)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp ginger (I used the stuff in a tube – lasts forever and it works well!)

Optional – sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, chopped roasted cashews

Spicy Tofu

1 pack (280g) Tofoo tofu (I love this stuff – no need to press the water out, just pat dry with a couple of handy towels and you’re good to go)

1 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari)

1 tablespoon hot sauce (I use Sriracha, but you can use Frank’s or any other hot sauce)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon agave (can also use maple syrup)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method

Prepare your tofu first so you can put in the oven and work on the fried rice.

Preheat oven to 200C

Prepare a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix all of the tofu ingredients apart from the tofu in a small bowl to make a marinade.

Drain the tofu and dice evenly.

Place the tofu into the marinade bowl and stir to combine, ensuring all of the tofu is coated.

Carefully place your tofu pieces one by one onto the baking paper.  Keep the remaining marinade to coat the tofu halfway through.

Bake for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, turn over each piece of tofu individually and coat with the remaining marinade.

Bake for another 15 minutes or until browned, or as I like it, slightly burnt!

Now for the stir fry…

Add the vegetable oil and sesame oil to a cast iron skillet (or wok) and heat on medium high heat.

Add to the skillet the minced garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally for about a minute.  Be careful not to burn the garlic!

Add the sliced sprouts and carrots, and fry for around five minutes (longer if your sprouts are cut quite chunky), stirring occasionally.

Add the rice, soy sauce and agave to the skillet and stir to combine.  Stir fry for another five minutes or so, until everything is heated through and the rice becomes dry.

Serve immediately and top with the tofu.  Add some sesame seeds or crushed cashews.

Time to make: 20 minutes prep (because sprouts take AGES to prep!), 15 minutes to cook the rice and 30 minutes for the tofu = 55 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, the rice is really quick and easy but when you add the tofu it becomes more complicated.

Serves 2 (but honestly, keep some for leftovers as this is hella tasty the next day!)

#nowplaying Baxter Dury – Price of Tears

BBQ pulled tempeh sloppy Joes

In my quest to veganise anything and everything, I’ve given Sloppy Joes the positivelyjen vegan once over.  I missed out on the “joy” of Sloppy Joes before becoming vegan, because I was never really a fan of mincemeat (no surprises really considering what’s in the stuff…).  Now that tempeh is on the scene there’s no turning back.

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I remember the first time I tried tempeh… please don’t make my mistake and try it uncooked and not spiced – put me off the stuff for months.  I persisted however, and now I’m picking up a packet every time I pay Whole Foods a visit.  Not as versatile as tofu, but packed with more protein (19g per 100g – that’s EPIC) and more fibre than it’s more-processed cousin.

You can use vegan mince if you’re not a fan of tempeh (Fry’s do an awesome vegan mince), but in trying to keep things a bit healthy in the house, tempeh has slipped in there for the foreseeable.   If you’re anti-spice too then feel free to leave out the jalapeño and chilli powder. Top with some green stuff (for the health), pickles, coleslaw (try my recipe here!) or your favourite vegan cheese.

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Let the sloppiness begin.

Serves two people/four small burgers (or serves one if you’re really, really hungry)

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 Tbsp cup chopped jalapeños (I use ones from a jar – you can use fresh if you have them)

1/2 medium sized brown onion, finely chopped

200g packet of tempeh (I use Impulse Foods, which is organic and produced locally in the UK)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp BBQ sauce

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp sriracha

1 tsp chilli powder

½ tsp cumin

salt & pepper to tastse

1/3 cup water

4 small hamburger buns

Instructions

Heat the oil in a fry pan/skillet over medium heat and add jalapeños and onion.  Stir to combine and continue cooking and stirring occasionally for around five to eight minutes, or until onion is translucent.

Add the garlic to the pan and stir for one minute until garlic is heated through.

Add the tempeh and water to the pan and break up the tempeh with a wooden spoon.  Mix to combine with the onions and heat through (about five minutes – keep stirring every so often).

Add the remaining ingredients minus the buns, and stir to combine.  Add more water here if needed – you want a sloppy but not runny consistency!  Cook for a further five minutes or so, until everything is heated through.

Spoon onto your hamburger buns and add your favourite toppings.

Time to make: 5 minutes prep, 10 minutes cooking time = 25 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  1.5, quick and easy this one.  GET IN.

#nowplaying Radiohead – Man of War

Tofu “eggs” benedict

I think I’ve probably only ever had two or three eggs benedict meals ever before going vegan.  There was always the worry that when you order eggs at a café or restaurant they’re going to be too snotty and gross (EW), and that had forever put me off ordering them.  Plus being vegan, it’s now something that just isn’t on the wish list where brunch is concerned.

Have no fear – tofu is here.

It would be a pretty sad state of affairs if tofu wasn’t vegan, wouldn’t it just?!  Useful for so many things, and depending on what herbs and spices you throw at it, it can be super tasty as well.  Enter stage left – tofu benedict *audible gasps*

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JUICY

No snotty bits on these benny’s, and if you really wanna go crazy you can add some healthy stuff like asparagus or spinach into the mix.  I used a round drinking glass to cut out the tofu shapes, and used the leftover firm tofu to make the hollandaise sauce.  Using silken tofu for the sauce would be preferable, but if you’re out to save money and cut waste, then using the offcuts of the firm tofu still works well here.  Just have a good blender and you’re golden.

This brunch isn’t a quick and easy one, there is plenty of prep to do.  You can go without the bacon (SAVAGE), but if you want to whip some up for this, I would suggest using the always delicious Gaz Oakley of Avant Garde Vegan’s aubergine bacon recipe, found here.  Alternatively you could try my rice paper bacon recipe, found here.

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So much plant protein, so little time…

The tofu will also need a good hour or two marinating time, so add that into the equation.  I prefer to marinate the night before so the tofu is ready to grill in the morning.  You can also prep the hollandaise the night before and heat up in a small saucepan or carefully in a covered dish in the microwave.

Without further ado, behold, vegan tofu benedict *crowd cheers*

Serves two (or one hungry person)

Ingredients

Tofu “eggs”

1 x 280g pack Tofoo naked tofu, drained

¼ cup soy sauce (or tamari)

2 x TBsp oil

1 x TBsp agave

2 x cloves crushed garlic

¼ cup water

½ tsp cumin

¼ tsp cracked black pepper

Hollandaise sauce

1/2 cup tofu (I use the leftover from making the “eggs” – silken tofu works better but cutting down on food waste is the goal for me!)

1 TBsp lemon juice

1 TBsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt

dash of cayenne pepper

dash of turmeric

2 TBsp olive oil

Instructions

 

Tofu

Depending on the shape of your tofu block (they come in all shapes and sizes!) slice the block into 1.5cm thick slices.  I usually get three slices out of one block of Tofoo tofu

Grab a large drinking glass (around 10cm or so in diameter) and cut a circle out of each slice of tofu

Place the leftover tofu aside to use for the hollandaise sauce

Add the remaining ingredients to a shallow dish, big enough to lay the tofu circles in one flat layer

Mix the ingredients well, then dip the tofu into the mix and ensure the tofu is coated as much as possible

Cover the dish with cling film (or a lid if you have one that fits) and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours, minimum one hour

While you’re waiting for the tofu to marinade, get a start on the hollandaise!

Once suitably marinated, remove from the fridge and turn over again to coat more fully

Heat a non-stick grill pan (or just a fry pan if you don’t have a grill pan) to medium heat and add the tofu

Add any remaining marinate to the pan, or you can use a pastry brush to brush the remainder onto the top of the tofu

Once one side is sufficiently browned, turn over the tofu and repeat

 

Hollandaise

Microwave the tofu until just warm.  DO NOT over heat!

Add tofu and remaining ingredients apart from the oil, to a food processor.  Blend until combined.

While blending, slowly add the olive oil until all is combined.

If you need to re-heat you can do so in the microwave, but just keep an eye on it.

Assemble your toasted muffins with a tofu “egg”, steamed asparagus (or spinach) and a dollop of hollandaise sauce.

Serve alongside beans, tomato, vegan bacon, hash browns, or whatever vegan hot breakfast foods you like… and enjoy!

Time to cook: 15 minutes prep, one hour at least marinating, 10 minutes cooking = 1 hour and 25 minutes, (or 25 minutes not including marinating time)

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 3, fairly easy recipe but it has two parts and marinating takes aaaaaages.

#nowplaying Kane Strang – My Smile Is Extinct