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

 

 

Chocolate tofu cheesecake

How do you make a “healthy” dessert that doesn’t look or taste healthy?  Make this vegan chocolate cheesecake with silken tofu.  EASY.

Ok ok, there’s plenty of chocolate in here but when you hold that up against the silken tofu (all that protein!), the dates (so fibrous!), the almonds (hello vitamin E!) and the hemp milk (oh heyyyyyy calcium!) you’d be hard pressed to find a healthier cheesecake in a non-vegan recipe.  But we don’t do non-vegan around these parts, do we?

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*wipes drool off chin*

And the ridiculous thing is, it tastes delicious.  Don’t be put off by the tofu – it really doesn’t taste like it.  I had a mild panic attack when I put the the silken tofu in the blender without any of the other ingredients and gave it a whizz, as it smelled so much like tofu.  No one wants to eat cake that tastes and smells like tofu, unless you’re hardcore vegan level 5,890 or something.

Adding the melted chocolate, vanilla, cacao powder and agave ensured that the filling tasted not like tofu at all.  In fact, the urge to lick not only the food processor, but stick my finger in the filling itself was overwhelming.  You can even just make the filling without the base and have yourself a tofu mousse (SO GOOD).

And the best thing about this recipe?  No baking.  The joys!

Go nuts with the toppings – raspberries, cream, nuts, chocolate shavings etc. and create something you really want to eat.  I just popped some hazelnuts on the top and circled with some cacao nibs for this one.

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Sexy cross-section viewz

Here’s the recipe, go forth and veganize, folks.

Ingredients

Base

1 cup almonds (most other nuts (hazelnuts, pecans) can also be used)

1 cup medjool dates

Pinch of salt

Filling

200g dark chocolate

350g silken tofu (DO NOT use firm tofu! You will regret it…)

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tablespoons plant milk (I used hemp, but soy, almond or oat will also work)

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon agave

Instructions

Pulse the almonds with a pinch of salt in a food processor with a sharp blade until relatively fine. I kept mine a little chunky, but it’s personal choice!

Add the pitted dates and pulse/blend until well combined.  You want the mix to hold together when you press it in your hands.  It might look loose and not sticky when you’re blending, but give it a squash with your hands and you’ll know if it’s ready to go.

Line a 9 inch spring-form tin with clingfilm or baking paper.

Transfer the blended ingredients to the spring-form tin and press down firmly.  I use my fingers because it’s easier to get the base even around the sides.  Press, press, press and put aside.

Melt the chocolate using a bain marie method (see here) until smooth.

While the chocolate is melting, add the tofu to your (cleaned) food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients (cocoa powder, melted chocolate, vanilla extract, plant milk, agave and salt) and blend until smooth.

Taste (try not to eat the entire mix…) and adjust with more agave if needed.

Transfer the chocolate tofu mix to the cake base and smooth over the top, ensuring an even spread of chocolate mix across the cake.

Add your favourite toppings.

Place in the fridge and chill.  Best served straight from the fridge, but can be served at room temperature.

Time to make: 10 minutes base, 10 minutes melting chocolate, 10 minutes filling, 5 minutes putting together = 35 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2, relatively simple, just a faff making the two parts separately

#nowplaying: Isis Unveiled – …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

Vegan corn chowder

Finally the cold weather is upon us (in the northern hemisphere anyway) and we can all start making soup again *huzzah*

One of the easiest and most versatile meals to make in the winter is soup, and there are so many vegan soup options you’ll never be bored.  Do away with your tinned stuff, there’s absolutely no need.  Guarantee most vegan soups end up being a LOT cheaper than store bought tinned ones, plus you know what you’re getting will be fresher and tastier, as you can add or subtract any ingredients you want.

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I LOVE corn.  Love the stuff.  Could eat it every day.  Corn and potatoes.  I think I DO actually eat potatoes every day, in some way, shape or form.  Definitely not a bad thing (as Dr McDougall will tell you).  This soup is rich, creamy and chunky.  You can blitz all the soup if you like (might need to add some more water to thin it out), or leave some chunks to make it feel more filling.  I prefer the chunks, so only blitz around half of it.

This recipe serves 4 as a starter, or probably two as a main meal, accompanied with some fresh bread.  Super easy to make and great to freeze/refrigerate for leftovers.

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Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small white onion, diced

½ red pepper, diced

1 large potato, peeled and diced

3 Tbsp flour

1 cup plant milk (unsweetened)

2.5 cups of vegetable broth

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried parsley (or fresh if you have it)

2 cups frozen corn

Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Add the diced onion and red pepper and heat on medium-low heat until the veggies are soft (around 10 minutes). Stir occasionally – make sure the veggies don’t stick to the bottom or start to burn.

Stir in the diced potato.  Add the flour and stir to coat the veggies evenly.

Add the vegetable broth and plant milk and stir to combine.

Add the salt, pepper, smoked paprika and parsley and stir to combine.

Bring to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cover saucepan with a lid.

Simmer until the potatoes are tender, around 20 minutes, depending on the size of your potato chunks (longer for bigger chunks).

Add the frozen corn to the pot and stir to combine.  Simmer for another 10 minutes until the corn is cooked through.

Once cooked, transfer a third of the mix to a blender and blend until smooth.  Add the blended soup back to the saucepan and stir.

Serve immediately with buttered crusty bread and top with chives/parsley/more corn.

Time to cook: 10 minutes prep, 10 minutes for the onions, 20 minutes cooking, further 10 minutes with the corn – 50 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2 – a very simple soup

#nowplaying Spring King – Detroit

Berry baked oats

It’s that time of year when smoothies for breakfast every day just won’t cut it anymore.  TOO COLD mate.  I get bored of porridge every day too, so here’s a little twist on porridge, using most of the same ingredients.  Sneaky.

It’s a good idea to make this ahead of time if you’re wanting to eat it during the week and you’re not a homeworker/homemaker, as it takes a while in the oven.  Luckily you can freeze this into portions and stick them in the oven while you have your morning shower.  It’ll be ready to go when you’re all fresh and lovely out of the shower (after slopping some vegan vanilla yogurt on top, natch).

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Berries are brilliant for you, and there is very little difference between frozen and fresh as far as nutrient density goes.  I keep a pack of blueberries and one of raspberries in the freezer at all times – perfect for smoothies or these types of recipes.  The oats and chia seeds will give you a fiber kick (oooh-er!), the flax seeds your daily Omega 3 intake and the milk your B12/calcium needs.  SORTED guys.

Ingredients

1 cup oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

2 Tbsp chia seeds

2 Tbsp flax seeds

2 Tbsp agave

1 cup plant milk (I used hemp for this recipe, but feel free to use soy/oat/hazelnut etc.)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups frozen berries (I used one cup blueberries, one cup raspberries)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 190C/375F

Grease a baking dish with butter/oil – my baking dish was 30cm x 20cm

Grab a small bowl and add the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, chia and flax seeds and stir to combine

Grab another bowl and add the agave, milk and vanilla extract and stir to combine

Place one cup of the berries onto the greased baking dish and spread evenly

Add the oat mixture to the baking dish, being careful to distribute evenly

Pour the milk mixture into the baking dish

Add the remainder of the berries on top, distributing evenly

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until browned on top and cooked through

Serve with yogurt, cream or by itself!

 

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 45 minutes in the oven = 55 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2, not too difficult, just make sure you get an even spread of everything in your baking dish!

#nowplaying Angel Olsen – Shut Up, Kiss Me

 

Mexican corn and quinoa salad

Alright guys – it’s nearly not salad weather anymore, woop!  Not that I hate salad or anything, I just prefer my food cooked (I’d be a terrible raw til 4 participant).

THIS salad however, is a winner.  Don’t tell your non-vegan friends it has quinoa in it though, because you know what they get like when they hear KEEN-WAH.  All they need to know is it’s tasty and yum and shut up and eat it.  Good.

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Getting right into Mexican flavours lately, as you’ll see in some upcoming Instagram posts and posts on this here website.  Mexican food can be super vegan friendly, and something I rarely came across growing up, so excuse me while I get all “must. veganise. every. Mexican. dish.” on you.

This salad is awesome the next day so make a big batch and eat it when you need it.  Make the quinoa ahead of time and you’re laughing as well.

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Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup corn kernels (I cooked two ears of corn under the grill and sliced it off, but feel free to use canned corn, or thawed frozen corn)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper/capsicum, halved
1 jalapeños, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lime, juiced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
6 or 7 cherry tomatoes, chopped in half

Instructions

Cook quinoa according to the packet directions.  Set aside to cool.

Place the halved pepper under the grill and char on both sides on medium-high heat, approximately 10 minutes on each side.  Remove from the grill and set aside.

When the quinoa is cooled down, add the remaining ingredients, along with the peppers/capsicum, and stir to combine.

Serve alongside your favourite Mexican dishes – of course!

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes to cook quinoa/peppers, 5 minutes to combine = 35 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2, pretty simple stuff here.  Make it harder (but tastier) by grilling your corn before adding it to the rest of the ingredients

#nowplaying Modjo* – Lady (Hear Me Tonight)  (not my usual style but it reminds me of better times 🙂 )

Matcha bliss balls

Yup, officially obsessed with matcha.  When an ingredient makes food look this colour though, who WOULDN’T be obsessed?!  The flavour isn’t overpowering either, so there are loads of recipes you can add it to without making the finished product taste odd.

IMG_5965I’m currently on a quest for the perfect bliss ball, so thought try some using the green goodness of matcha.  Bliss balls are so easy to make, and you can pretty much put anything in there and they’ll taste awesome.  Use different nuts, add some dates, coat with chocolate – the variations are endless.

These were rolled separately in black sesame seeds and desiccated coconut, but feel free to leave plain. (OR dip in chocolate – everyone’s preferred option, surely!) An awesome, raw, sweet pick-me-up for your morning or afternoon snacking.

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Ingredients

3/4 cup macadamia nuts (you can use brazil nuts or almonds if you prefer)

1.5 cups of desiccated coconut

2.5 tsp matcha powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup rice malt syrup (or agave if you prefer)

2.5 tsp vanilla extract

Optional – black sesame seeds/desiccated coconut/dark chocolate for coating

Instructions

Grab your blender, chuck in all the ingredients, blend until all ingredients are combined and chopped sufficiently.

Transfer to a flat container and place in the freezer for around 15 minutes, or until just firm.  You don’t want to roll them into balls immediately as the mix will be too sloppy and go everywhere!

Remove from freezer and roll into small balls.

Roll in black sesame seeds or coconut and you’re all done.

Time to make: 5 minutes prep, 2 minutes in the blender, 15 minutes in the freezer, 5 minutes rolling in coating = around 30 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  1.5 – Easy peasy!

#nowplaying Glass Animals – Youth

Easy rainbow salad (vegan)

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Yeah yeah yeah, vegans eat salad all day and all night, don’t they?

Surely you can tell by now from this blog the above statement just isn’t true, because I love vegan junk.  Every once in a while though you need to get some greens into you.  And some purples.  And oranges.  And quinoa.

This salad is great for a protein and iron hit (quinoa, edamame, spinach and pumpkin seeds are all so damn good for you) and perfect when the weather is hot and sticky.  If you’re not a fan of purple cabbage you can get the same colour effect with some shredded beetroot instead.  Just make sure you add your beets at the very end or you’ll end up with a completely pink salad.

I dunno, some people might like that though 🙂

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You want some KEENWAH with them beets, brah?

Ingredients

Salad

1/2 cup cooked quinoa, cooled (preferably made the night before).  Tricolour quinoa looks ace in this recipe, but standard quinoa is also good.

1/2 cup edamame beans, fresh or defrosted from frozen

2 small carrots, grated

2 lightly packed cups of spinach, roughly chopped

1/2 large purple cabbage, grated (or two peeled and grated beets if you prefer)

handful of pepitas/pumpkin seeds (or sub for sunflower seeds if you prefer)

Dressing

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp lime juice (or lemon – doesn’t make a huge amount of difference but I prefer lime)

2 Tbsp agave nectar

1 tsp dijon mustard

sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Method

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl/ramekin and whisk to combine.

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl and mix carefully to combine, so as to not rip the spinach.

Drizzle the whisked dressing over the salad and mix carefully.  Serve immediately.

 

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 5 minutes assembling = 15 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  1.5, one of the easiest, healthiest salads you can make!

#nowplaying DZ Deathrays – Reflective Skull

Smoothie bowls

 

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Spirulina BABY

Summer is pretty much here (in the Northern Hemisphere in any case) so it’s time to use spotty bananas for smoothie bowls rather than banana bread.

You know how easy it is to make smoothie bowls?  SUPER easy.

The best thing about smoothie bowls is you can put in it whatever you want.  See a recipe you want to try but it has YUCKY spinach in it?  Don’t put it in.  See a recipe you want to try but you want to put raspberries in instead of blueberries? DO IT.

The base of any good smoothie bowl is frozen bananas.  When your ‘nanas get those brown spots on their skin – peel them, chop into bite sized pieces and freeze in a container.

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Blueberry BEHAVE

 

Don’t feel limited to what you can and can’t put in a smoothie bowl, because the possibilities really are endless.

Pack in as many fruit and veggies as you can, and add whatever toppings you like.

Ingredients

3 x frozen bananas, thawed for 20 minutes if you have time

1 x cup frozen blueberries (or fresh – I find frozen gives more of a purple colour to the smoothie)

1 x teaspoon ground flaxseed (a great source of Omega 3 for vegans)

1/2 cup leafy green veggies (try spinach, kale, lettuce or even avocado – mix it up)

1/2 cup hemp/soy/almond/hazelnut milk

Method

Add all of the ingredients to a blender/food processor and process until smooth.

Scrape down the sides as and when needed.

Add more milk if needed – don’t add too much as you don’t want it to go sloppy.  Be patient with the blending process as it might take a few pulses/stop starts to get it mixed thoroughly, and for the bananas to go creamy.

Transfer to a small bowl and add your favourite toppings.

Toppings

I’ve used a variety of the below toppings before, but use whatever you like:

  • Fruit – raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, mango, kiwifruit, oranges (all can be fresh or frozen), dried goji berries, cranberries or coconut (dessicated or fresh)
  • Seeds – sunflower, chia, hemp, pumpkin, sesame, poppy, buckwheat (seeds are also a great source of Omega 3, plus fiber and protein)
  • Other fun stuff – granola, cacao nibs, spirulina or matcha (SO green) or chocolate/chocolate sauce

 

Makes 1 smoothie bowl

Time to make: 5 minutes in the blender + 5 minutes assembly = 10 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 1, just blend and go!

#nowplaying The Family Rain – Every So Often EP