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Showing posts with label Mains and Sides. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mains and Sides. Show all posts

Monday, 18 November 2013

Crispy mung bean tofu casserole

Serves 4
Preparation time: 1hr

Perfect for a grey day, when you want something comforting and delicious – this nutritious meal is easy to prepare and packed full of protein and veggies. If you don’t have mung beans you can replace by coral lentils or even swap beans for grains and make this into a polenta or millet casserole instead.

1½ cups ming beans, soaked
1 medium size head of broccoli, cut into large pieces
1 package of firm tofu, sliced
1 small carrot, diced
kernels from 1 ear of corn
1 medium leek, sliced
2 bunches of asparagus, stalks discarded, chopped into 1 inch pieces
½ cup non-dairy milk
3 T shoyu or Bragg’s liquid aminos + 1extra tsp
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
1 T + 1 tsp of paprika
salt and pepper
2 T nutritional yeast
2 T wheat germ
2 tsp rice vinegar

Place the mung beans, brocoli, leak,  2 tablespoons of the shoyu or Braggs Liquid Aminos and 4 cups of water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove the froth from the top, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the mung beans are very tender. Mid-way through cooking the mung beans, add the carrot. Stir occasionally to prevent from sticking.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Arrange the sliced tofu at the bottom of a medium sized casserole or baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the oil, 1 T of paprika, garlic and an extra teaspoon of shoyu/Braggs Liquid Aminos, and pour over the tofu. Place the corn over the tofu, then add the layer of asparagus. 

Remove the bean mixture from the heat, add the milk, vinegar and remaining teaspoon of paprika. Mash together until it ressembles mashed potatoes. Spoon the mixture out into the casserole dish. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast and wheatgerm over the top and drizzle a little more shoyu/liquid aminos.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Delicious with some steamed greens. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Tandoori Tofu with Curried Asparagus Rice

Preparation time: 1hr (or 25min if using precooked rice)
Serves 2

Since I started working here in Myanmar (Burma) I haven't found much time to plan meals and go food shopping, so yesterday evening when I got home famished and opened the fridge I thought 'What on earth can I possibly make with .. let's see.. asparagus, tofu, left over black rice and half an onion?!' I was craving indian like food, so I decided to make my first ever tofu tandoori, and I got creative with the asparagus by blending it to make a creamy tasty sauce to go with the curried rice. I was surprisingly happy with the result! Had I had guests over for dinner I could have got them to believe that careful planning and trips to the market had gone into this dish ;)

The tandoori tofu on its own makes for a dangerously yummy finger snack! It's been added to my new favorites list.


Tandoori Tofu Marinade
400 grams tofu, cut in strips
1 Tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
½ Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp olive oil

Curried Asparagus Rice
1 cup uncooked black rice (or 2 cups leftover cooked rice)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp paprika
½ Tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
1 bunch of asparagus, chopped into one inch pieces, stalks removed
2 Tbsp coconut milk
1/2 tsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste


If you are using uncooked rice, cook it according to packet instructions.

While the rice is cooking mix together the marinade ingredients for the tandoori tofu and place the strips in the marinade, make sure all the strips are coated, cover and place in the fridge. If you have the chance, do this step a few hours before cooking to let the tofu marinade for longer. 

About 5 minutes before the rice is done, place the tofu strips on a baking sheet and grill for 10 minutes on each side, until they turn golden and slightly crispy. 

Once the rice is cooked heat the 1/2 tsp of oil in a large frying pan on low-medium heat, add the paprika and curry and stir the spices in well with the oil, cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently, to let the flavors release. Add the chopped onion and cook on a low-medium heat. Let the onion cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. 

Meanwhile place the chopped asparagus in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 7 minutes. Drain and place the asparagus in a blender together with the coconut milk and the Bragg's liquid aminos, blend until smooth. 

Add the cooked rice and the asparagus sauce to the frying pan and cook on medium-high heat for a few minutes, combining all the ingredients well.

Place the asparagus rice and the broiled tandoori tofu together on plates and serve hot. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Roasted Maple Lotus Roots & Life in Burma - part 1

Preparation time - 25 minutes
Serves 2

The stunning Shwedagon Pagoda

So it’s been aaaaaages since I last posted! To be fair life has been full of change recently – a month ago the boyfriend, the cat and I have moved all the way from London to Myanmar (previously known as Burma) and are now living in beautiful, hot,  colourful Yangon, the country’s capital city. For the past few weeks I’ve been settling in, exploring busy markets, admiring golden pagodas, meeting new people, getting accustomed to the heat and the monsoon rains and .. of course.. trying a number of Yangon’s many local vegan-friendly dishes: from the strange sounding but delicious pickled tea leaf salad to sticky coconut sweets sold by smiling women on every street corner.  

This place already feels like home, I love it, and it helps that Yangon is a wonderful place to be a vegan. There is even a Myanma word for it ‘Tatalo’! It’s a welcome change from most of the East and West African countries I have travelled to previously where conversations in restaurants often went something like this: me: ‘But.. this is chicken, I asked for vegetables?’ waiter, hand on hip and looking at me like with barely-concealed exasperation: ‘Chicken IS vegetarian, chicken is VE-GE-TA-BLE!!’ .. Oh.Ok then, back to plain rice for lunch and dinner I guess.

By marked contrast, here the market stalls offer row upon row of exotic fruits and vegetables, bursting with color, many that I had never seen before – bright pink dragon fruits that taste like kiwis, greens of all shapes and sizes, pomelos, which are like football sized grapefruits, lotus roots and so on. 

Enjoying a late afternoon wander around the Swedagon Pagoda. 

So now that I am settled, it's back to business! I intend to get busy cooking and blogging again. It’s only fitting that my first recipe post from Burma should be inspired by this beautiful country so I've made Roasted Maple Lotus Root with, served with a steaming bowl of soba veggie noodles. I actually found this recipe in Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet  book, which I highly recommend you buy if you're interested in yummy plant-based recipes and in learning more about the links between diet, health and the environment. 

Roasted maple lotus root is super easy to make and is so more-ish I ended up eating the whole lot in one go.. so much for thinking I was making enough for the week!

Raw lotus root

1 whole lotus root, sliced into thin rounds
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 medium-sized leek, chopped into thin half-moons
1 tsp of soy sauce
1 tsp of maple, you can use honey instead
1 T olive oil

Ready for the oven!
Easy Peasy! Preheat the oven to 160°C. Combine all the ingredients together, spread out on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes or until the lotus root is golden and tender. Serve hot.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Serves 2
Preparation time 20 minutes

This was my first attempt at making asparagus soup, and in just one try it has shot right up to my top 4 favorite ever soups, ranking alongside the great all-time winners leek and potato, Tom Kha and turkish red lentil. 

250g asparagus
1 1/2 T of margarine
1 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
600ml vegetable stock 
1 1/2 cups of fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste
nutritional yeast to garnish (optional)

Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Chop up the asparagus stalks into 1 inch pieces, discarding the woody ends and keeping the tips to one side for garnishing. Add the asparagus stalks to the pan, combine with the margarine, oil and onion and cover for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add the spinach and vegetable stock, bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Wait until slightly cooled and blend until smooth. 

Serve hot or chilled with the asparagus tips and nutritional yeast. Delicious with garlic bread!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Sweet and Spicy Summer Salad

Serves 4
Preparation time: 40 minutes

Summer is here! For real this time. For a whole week now London has been bathing in beautiful sunlight, no clouds in sight, not a drizzle of rain. Seriously this thing called summer is a rarity in the UK, this is a country where people reminisce about the last good summer like it was in 1953.. and it probably was.

On day 1 people everywhere emerged from offices and houses, blinking, blinded and rubbing their eyes as though they had just emerged from a dark cave after 9 months of hibernation! By day 3 the park by my office was full of girls lounging on the grass in bikini tops and mini shorts, and guys kicking footballs around. After day 7 of this amazing weather the forecast announced that the sunshine was well and truly here to stay (well.. for at least another week that is) and I swear I actually heard the whole country sigh a great big collective sigh of happy relief. 'Finally'. The time has come to dust off barbecues and pick nick hampers and head outside, gather with friends, and embrace the most wonderful time of the year. 

For me the last few days have been proof of how true it is that we adapt to our natural environments and that if we learn how to listen to our bodies (mainly by reducing the amount of addictive foods we eat like salt, fat and sugar) then we automatically crave seasonal local produce. My taste buds in the last week have gone from wanting warm creamy mushy comfort food to calling out for great big tantalisingly fresh, crunchy, juicy salads and fruits.

This salad is my 'celebration of summer salad' so grab your picnic rugs, sunglasses, and head to the park with this delicious sweet and spicy roasted vegetable and baby spinach salad!

2 large carrots, cut into strips
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 red onion, diced
4 baby potatoes, quartered
1 bag of baby spinach leaves, washed

For the marinade
1 T brown rice vinegar
1/2 T umeboshi vinegar
1-2 T liquid sweetener
1/2 T crushed red pepper flakes
1 T olive or sesame oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T fresh ginger
1 T soy sauce
salt & pepper to taste

For the topping and dressing
2 T nutritional yeast
1 t gomachio
1/2 apple, diced
1/2 T toasted sesame oil
1/2 T soy sauce
salt & pepper to taste

Even the veggies are ready to get a tan (in the oven)!


Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F.

Place the quartered potatoes in a medium pan, add enough water to cover them and bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, until potatoes are cooked but still firm. 

Chop up the vegetables and place them in a bowl with the potatoes, add all the marinade ingredients and toss together until all the vegetables are covered with the marinade. Spread out the vegetables on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, turning them half way through.

Remove from the oven and in a large bowl toss together the baby spinach, roasted vegetables, chopped apple, seeds (I used sunflower seeds and sesame seeds). Then add the toasted sesame oil and soy sauce for the dressing, toss the salad well and add the nutritional yeast and gomaschio last. 

And voila! You are ready for your picnic :) 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Cheezy Beetroot & Potato Mash

Serves 2-3 people
Preparation: 30 minutes

Courtesy of lovebeetroot.co.uk visa LoveBeetroot on Pinterest

This recipe transforms regular mashed potatoes into something that looks like it was whipped up in Pixar Studios kitchen! I am not much of a fan of beetroots, but blend them up with potatos and turn them into an antioxidant-packed bright fuchsia pink creamy mash and I suddenly love them, and so will your kids. The trick to make it cheesy (without the cheese obviously) is to add nutritional yeast, it tastes similar to parmesan and is a good way to charge up on vitamin B12, which is really important if you're on a plant-based diet. 

5 small to medium sized potatoes, washed and chopped into 1/4 inch slices
1 cooked beetroot, chopped
3 T nutritional yeast
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper to taste
1 T olive oil
1/4 cup dairy free milk 
2 scallions, chopped

Place the potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover them, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the chopped beetroot, cook about 5-10 more minutes or until the potatoes crumble when pierced with a fork. Remove from the heat and drain, add the remaining ingredients and either mash or blend until you reach the desired consistency. Serve hot. 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Griddle Tomatoes and Shallots on Toast, Kale salad & Black Bean Dip

Serves 2
Preparation time: 20 minutes

On the Menu

Griddle Tomatoes and Shallots on Toast
Kale Salad with Mirin Dressing
Black Bean Dip

Wow there's been a lot going on recently - friends staying over, holidays with Kevin, a trip to Romania for work... With all this running around I've eaten out a lot, and while I very much enjoyed the few too many glasses of wine and slices of cake, it's safe to say that I'm happy to have time to cook again and that my body is in proper need of some healthy nutritious food. So here it is, Ohlala's Healthy Come Back! Over the next few weeks I'm going to be posting a bunch of scrumptious healthy recipes so if you don't see any new posts up here soon it means I have been side tracked by work or most probably the pub, in which case I'm counting on you to message me with motivational shout outs to get cooking again! Honestly, I feel so much better when I do, it's my own form of meditation, a way to take time out, unwind and care for my self. 

So back to business! First up on this healthy come back is a colorful plate of griddle tomatoes and banana shallots on toast, served with kale salad with a mirin dressing and a black bean dip. A truly scrumptious warm and filling salad plate for this exceptionally unsummery summer day.

Before you scroll down any further promise me you'll forgive the poor quality of the photo, I've misplaced the battery charger for my good camera so this will have to make do for now, but believe me this dish tastes soooo much better than it looks here!

The black bean and mirin dressing recipes are from Rip Esseltyn's The Engine 2 Diet, a made-for-men recipe book full of useful information about a plant-based diet - including fitness tips and of course low fat nutritious vegan recipes. A great gift for the (hopefully or eventually kale loving) man in your life! 

For the Griddle Tomatos & Shallots on Toast
4 ripe vine tomatoes, cut lengthwise
2 large banana shallots, peeled and sliced lengthwise the root left untouched
2 slices of bread (I used rice bread)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 T olive oil
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp dried basil
pinch of salt & pepper

For the kale salad with mirin dressing
1 large bunch of kale, stalks removed and rinced
1 garlic clove
1 clove of garlic
1 t dijon mustard
1 T mirin (rice vinegar)

Black Bean Dip
1 can rinsed black beans
1 T lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 T dairy-free milk


For the grilled tomatoes and shallots on toast - Heat a barbecue or iron griddle pan until very hot. Toss the shallots, tomatoes and remaining ingredients together in a bowl then place the shallots and the tomatoes cut side down on the grill or griddle. Leave for at least 7 minutes, do not move the tomatoes so that they don't leak their juice. When slightly burnt turn the tomatoes and shallots over. Keep turning the shallots over every few minutes until they are grilled on all sides and cooked all the way through. Meanwhile rub the bread with any remaining marinade from the bowl and rub in with your fingers then place in the grill until toasted. 

For the kale salad and miring dressing - Steam the kale for a few minutes until tender. Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over the drained kale. 

For the black bean dip - process all the ingredients together and serve. 

And voila, bon appétit!

And random photo of the day - my attempt at being a tree.. why not?

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Cheesy Chard Gratin 'comme chez Grand Mere'

Serves 6
Preparation time: 50 minutes

Yep, to all those who think vegan food means no creamy cheesy crispy-on-top delicious dishes, here is my answer.

Chard gratin, or 'Gratin de Blettes', is a typical French dish, especially in rural and mountainous areas like the Alps where I grew up and where, until 50 years ago, people relied pretty much entirely on potatoes, chard and cheese to get through the long cold winters. That, and of course home distilled alcohol called 'gnole', which is strong enough to knock out an elephant. 'Who ever heard of elephants in the Alps?' I hear you say. Well, here is a fun fact for you - in about -200BC Hannibal, a Carthaginian military commander marched  an army, which included war elephants, from Iberia all the way over the Alps into northern Italy. As one does.

Enough about elephants, let's get back to our chards. This gratin reminds me of eating at my friend's grandmother's house in our village, I was 14 and she must have been about 90 years old back then, a beautiful tiny wrinkled lady from another time. She told us tales of daily life during the second world war, would get out a divination pendulum and use it to answer all our questions about life, our future and the boys we fancied. While we avidly listened to her she would potter around her kitchen and cook up sumptuous yet simple gratins, all made from scratch with vegetables from her garden.

I love food that carries memories, this gratin reminds me of her. 


For the Gratin
1 1/2 bunches of swiss chard, rinced and chopped into bite-size pieces
1kg of potatoes, halved and thinly sliced
2 large onions, diced
1 1/2 T vegan margarine
4 T vegan no-moo melty cheese, grated (optional - for the topping)

For the béchamel sauce
300 grams silken tofu
1 cup dairy-free milk (i used rice milk)
4 T cashew nuts
2 tsp of nutmeg
1 tsp salt
pinch of pepper


Place the sliced potatoes in a pot of water, so they are just covered, add a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 200C / 390F.

Steam the swiss chard for about 7 minutes. Meanwhile blend all the béchamel sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and set aside. 

Heat the margarine on medium heat in a frying pan, add the onions and let them cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the steamed swiss chard and cook for about 4 minutes with a pinch of salt and pepper. 

Place the onion and chard in a 8inch baking dish, add the potatoes on top and pour the sauce all over. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and the vegan melty cheese, if using. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbling and it just looks so good you can't wait a second longer to eat it (don't burn your tongue though) ! 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Destination 3: La France! Seitan Bourguignon & Garlic Mash

Serves 4
Preparation & Cooking time: 40 minutes (+ 3 hrs or overnight for the marinade)

Growing up in France I remember my dad would make a mean beef bourguignon and the house would be filled with the delicious aroma of red wine gravy. He still makes this once in a while, but he ends up eating it solo because the rest of the household have all gone veggie, poor dad! He looked a bit wistful last christmas sitting in front of a plate of nutroast, presumably reminiscing the days when my brother, mum and I were fellow meat eaters. I reckon this seitan/wheat meat bourguignon would make him proud though. I honestly wasn't sure how it would turn out - So what's the ruling? The texture of the seitan chunks was just right and the red wine sauce was like my dad's - it was scrumptious! 

This dish is real comfort food, and a definite win if you have people over and are looking for a meat-eater-friendly dish. I served it with garlic mashed potatoes (recipe below) and a glass of red wine, or three.

For the seitan bourguignon
100gr dehydrated seitan chunks or 400gr ready seitan, torn into bite sized chunks*
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium-sized carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 cups of chopped mushrooms
250ml red wine
2 T umeboshi vinegar (optional)
3 large garlic cloves, whole, squashed with a fork
2 T tomato purée
1/4 cup water
1 tsp brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1/2 T dried rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
2 T vegan margarine
2 T flour
1 T olive oil 

* For a homemade seitan recipe try Isa Chandra's easy recipe on PostPunkKitchen, click here.

For the Garlic Mashed Potatoes
 (from the Candle Café cookbook)
10 small new potatoes or 5 large potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 T olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup rice milk (optional)
generous amount of salt

The Seitan Bourguignon Marinade


In a large bowl combine all the Seitan Bourguignon ingredients except for the mushrooms, half of the onion, the flour and margarine. Cover and leave the seitan marinade in the fridge for several hours or overnight.

Place the potatoes in a pan of water, so they are just covered, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Lower the heat down to medium, cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, until the potatoes crumble easily when pierced with a fork. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Drain the potatoes once cooked, put back in the pot, add the seasoning mix and mash with a fork, then add the rice milk and mash until you reach the consistency you want.

While the potatoes are cooking, remove the seitan pieces from the marinade, keep the marinade on one side. In a large pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the other half of chopped onion. Cook the onion for a few minutes then add the seitan and fry until a it starts to brown slightly. Bring the heat down to medium and add the mushrooms, stir and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the rest of the red wine marinade, cover and heat on low-medium heat. Let it simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if you need to , adding wine or a little water depending on how strong you like it, you can also add a 1/2 tsp more of brown sugar if you find it too 'vinegary'. And don't let that bottle of wine just sit there, you're cooking, you deserve a glass! In a separate small pot combine the margarine, flour and a pinch of salt and pepper, heat over low heat and stir until it forms a gravy. Add to the seitan bourguignon and stir in. 

Your kitchen now smells heavenly, serve with the garlic mashed potatoes, the rest of the bottle of wine and good company!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Speed of Light Spinach & Black Bean Burrito

Serves 2
Preparation time: 10  minutes

Today was a lazy Saturday, I finally got my hair trimmed and decided to run to the hairdressers as I haven't done any for a few weeks now. When I got back I was staaaarving, I needed food that was filling, that would be ready at lightning speed and rewarding, something that said 'Well done you for getting off your backside at long last!' I perused around different recipe blogs and was inspired to make a baby spinach and black bean burrito. 

What I love about this burrito is that the ingredients don't need to be cooked (except for 2 minutes of heating the beans and wraps), the fresh ingredients makes it  really fresh and tangy - minimal hassle, minimal time,  this is good simple food that gets straight to where it's supposed to be - your taste buds, in no time at all.

You'll be eating these at the speed of light too!

For the wrap -
2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves, washed
2 soft whole wheat wraps
1 ripe avocado, sliced
pinch of salt
juice of 1/2 a lime
3/4 of a can of black beans
1 T of vegan mayonnaise or vegan sour cream (optional)

For the pico de gallo sauce -
10 baby tomatoes
1 spring onion, roughly chopped
1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
juice of 1/2 a lime
pinch of salt
a few drops of tabasco (optional - add according to taste)

Heat the beans with a pinch of salt in a small pan. Heat the wraps for a couple of minutes in the oven or grill. Meanwhile place all the pico de gallo ingredients in a  food processor and blend for a few seconds, not too much, you want the sauce to be chunky. 

Place the wraps on plates and add the beans, spinach leaves and avocado. Squeeze the 1/2 lime juice over the wraps, then add a generous amount of pico de galla sauce and a dollop of vegan mayonnaise or vegan sour cream if using.

Roll it, eat it, love it!