Pearl Couscous with Green Lentils, Kale and Caramelized Onions

After seeing my naturapath yesterday I realised I really have to amp up my bean intake and make more of an effort to combine plant-based proteins for the baby. As much as I love eating beans I always forget to put them to soak the night. Although I don’t enjoy lentils as much, they are really handy when you have limited time and are out of bpa free canned beans (which I have been relying on). I was also craving pearl couscous after that delicious dish I had from East Elevation a few days ago in Melbourne.

This dish was inspired by Mujaddara but with a few alterations. I used pearl couscous for a different texture and some kale and pepitas seeds for an extra nutritional boost. This dish usually calls for crispy fried onions on top, but I decided to not over cook the onions, to  leave as much nutrients as possible. It was a delicious combination. I hope my little one is enjoying some new flavours.


 Pearl Couscous with Green Lentils, Kale and Caramelized Onions (vegan, soy free, nut free)


1/2 cup green lentils (you only need 1 cup of cooked lentils, so cook 1 cup dry for leftovers)

2 cups diced brown onion (about 1.5 onions)

olive oil

3 garlic cloves, diced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon all spice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup pearl couscous

1.5 cup liquid vegetable stock (chicken or veg flavoured)

2 cups sliced kale, tightly packed (about 2 large kale leaves, large stems removed)

3 tablespoons pepitas seeds


1. Place the green lentils in a pot with enough water to cover and bring the boil. Then place on a simmer and cook until tender. Once cooked leave to the side.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and then add the onion. Cook on a low to medium heat until the onions have browned and caramelized. This should take about 20 minutes. Once they are browned remove from the skillet and place to the side.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pot and add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the ground cumin, ground cinnamon, all spice and sea salt. Cook for a future 30 seconds or until fragrant.

4. Add the couscous and vegetable stock to the pot. Bring to the boil, then place on a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the couscous is tender. Add more stock if it starts to stick to the pot.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and then add the kale. Lightly saute until the kale has wilted and is a vibrant green colour.

6. Toast the pepitas seeds in a dry pan until they start to pop a little then place to the side.

7. Make sure the couscous is off the heat and then add 1 cup of cooked green lentils, 2/3 of the caramelized brown onions and kale to the pot. Stir through.

8. Serve the couscous with extra carmelized onion and toasted pepitas seeds.

*Serve as a main for 3 or as a side for 4


Melbourne eats

I hope everyone is having a great start to the year. I spent my first week in Melbourne for my cousin’s big Italian wedding and spending time with family. I also managed to discover a few new vegan friendly places and had some amazing eats.

After Marco and I got off the plane in Melbourne we decided to head to Chapel Street, South Yarra. I really wasn’t happy with his funky pink tie that he intended wearing to the wedding. I really wanted him to find something new. But before we could find a new tie I needed to eat. It was lunch time and I was so hungry. The last place I expected to find a delicious vegan friendly place was in this shopping district. However, I came across Spudbar and was really impressed by their healthy take on the humble potato.

I ordered the Chickpea, Pumpkin and Lentil Dahl Spud. This had a legume and pumpkin curry, shredded cabbage, kasundi, carrot and hummus (instead of cucumber yoghurt) over half regular and half sweet potato. It was wholesome, delicious and made mama and baby feel really satisfied.


Later that evening  we decided to visit the Vietnamese restaurant Quan 88 at St Kilda. We have been going to this family restaurant for years. My uncle was one of their loyal customers at their Richmond location, but when they did the big move  to St Kilda he ended up helping them with their operations. So it was nice to see him and have some good quality Vietnamese.

For entree I ordered the Beancurd & Vegetable Soup which was really flavoursome. For main I order the Vegetarian Curry Hotpot, which had fried soft tofu, eggplant, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli bok choy and onions in a light curry sauce, with a side of jasmine rice. I don’t order hotpot  usually because I find it quite disappointing, but this one was really good and so filling that even in my pregnant hungry state I couldn’t finish it.



A couple of days later we were taken to a part of Melbourne that I’ve never been to before. Another uncle took us to East St Kilda, where many trendy cafes have popped up in recent times. He took us to one of his favourites Las Chicas. This place prides it’s self on serving local, fresh and sustainable wholesome foods, which is exactly what we found when we stepped in. I really loved their menu which had helpful symbols showing which dishes were vegan, vegetarian, dairy free and gluten free.

I ordered Vik’s Vegan Wrap, which had broccoli, organic silken tofu, mixed mushrooms, lettuce, red onions, vegan mayo, sundried tomato hummus, avocado and tomato & coriander salsa, wrapped in a toasted tortilla, with a decaf bonsoy flat white. This wrap was packed full of flavour and lots of healthy goodies. I usually don’t like silken tofu but it was cooked perfectly and the condiments in the wrap also complemented the other ingredients.


Marco had to go back go Brisbane, so the next day my cousins took me out to lunch in Brunswick East. They wanted to take me somewhere with vegan options and organic food for me and gluten free and dairy free options for them. One of my cousins has a few intolerances due to IBS, so she is always on the look out for cafes and restaurants that cater for her needs, which is why I love eating out with her while I’m in Melbourne.  East Elevation have a range of creative vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes on their menu. They use seasonal and local produce, as well as organic vegetables. They decor is also beautiful, making you feel like your in a garden courtyard (with aircon).

I ordered the Roasted Eggplant with Tahini, which was served over a pumpkin puree and topped with green beans, moghrabish (Lebanese couscous dish), watercress and toasted pumpkin seeds. This was probably one of the most creative and delicious vegan mains I’ve ever had. I’m now wishing I didn’t live two states away to go back for more.


I had a free day after that so I decided to have a shopping day in the city. My Nonna was very worried about me walking around by myself incase I could fall, so she accompanied me. Funnily enough, she is the one with the walking stick that nearly fell on me in the tram on the way there. When it came time to eat we looked around the lane ways for something I could eat and that didn’t serve pasta. Nonna doesn’t like ordering pasta out, since she can make it better. After no luck of finding a place in the couple of lanes we went down we ended up at Chinatown. I am not a big fan of chinese food, but I do love noodles and dumplings. So when we past Shanghai Street Dumplings, Wontons and Noodle  and I saw homemade dumplings and vegetarian dishes so I thought it was a good idea.

I ordered the Vegetable Stir fry Noodles, which had shiitake mushrooms, fungus and boy choy. I really missed noodles so I really enjoyed this dish. My Nonna considers noodles as pasta so she preferred to have a meat dumplings. I ordered her the Panfried Beef Dumplings. I didn’t realise until I saw her struggling to cut her dumpling in half that she was really out of her element. So although I felt at home in an authentic dumpling house, perhaps it wasn’t the best place to bring my 75 year old Nonna.

On my last day I decided to take myself out for an early breakfast before hitting the Melbourne Museum. I searched the net for some vegan friendly cafes in the area and came across Cafe Lua at Carlton. I wasn’t able to access the menu, but the website said they offered vegan and vegetarian options and where gluten free specialists. I was expecting to see a menu with heaps of vegan options but unfortunately I couldn’t see any when I was given the menu at the cafe. However the waitress was really helpful and told me about a couple of dishes that could be altered to be vegan.

I ordered the Smashed Avocado, which was served on sourdough. It was meant to be served with cherry tomatoes and basil but mine came out with chickpeas, which I didn’t mind since I need the extra protein. I also ordered a serve of Roasted Field Mushrooms and the House Smoothie, which had mango, strawberry, almond milk & basil. Everything tasted great, but I was probably expecting too much from this little cafe.


My last meal before I left was at Milkwood in Brunswick East. I have been here before with my cousins and being tight on time we decided to come back again. My cousin with the allergies loves this place as they really do cater well for those with allergies as well as vegans.

This time I ordered the daily special which was Soba Noodles with Panfried Tofu, Eggplant, Mango and a Chilli Vinaigrette and Lemon Ice Tea. On such a hot day this dish was so refreshing and exactly what I needed.


As happy as I am to be back in my own bed, I am a little sad that this is my last trip for a while. I’m not sure when I will travel with the baby but looking forward to sharing with her all my favourite eats when I return to Melbourne.

Happy New Year!!!!

I wish you all a Happy New Year and belated Merry Christmas!

Time has just flew since we had a our party on the 20th. After that I had Christmas to organise and family spend time with in the days following. I’m now over six and half months pregnant and exhausted from the busy season and the heat. It’s any wonder that I fell asleep by 11pm last night. The holidays are not over yet though. I fly tomorrow to Melbourne for my cousins wedding and won’t be back till mid next week. Hopefully going to get some good eats in Melbourne, especially now my appetite has become monstrous.

Over the past few of days my little one must have grown a lot. I got a shock when I saw my tummy and how much it had grown all of a sudden and I am eating like a bottomless pit. Here’s a snap we took last night.

26 weeks and 5 days

26 weeks and 5 days

For new years Marco and I decided to have a quiet one. It was our last new years as a couple before we become a triple. But the last thing I wanted to do was be around more people or crowd at Southbank for fireworks. We ended up being spontaneous thought and booking dinner at an exciting new restaurant that just opened up in Westend.

Vegerama West End Restaurant has finally opened their doors recently. They offer 100% Vegetarian Breakfast, lunch and Dinner, as well as many vegan options and gluten free. I have been a long time customer of Vegerama since I discovered their vegetarian store in the Myer Centre and then their vegan store on Adelaide Street (Brisbane CBD). I also ordered their food for our big party recently. Everyone who came to my party loved their food. I was so happy to showcase some of the best vegan food in Brisbane for my carnivorous friends.

So last night we booked in for their New Years Dinner, which was a set menu of sharing dishes, pizzas and desserts. Sorry didn’t get some nice shots of the restaurant, but even Marco intends coming back again very soon.



I was really hungry. Marco not so much. So we just ordered Veggie Burger Sliders with Rustic Mixed Fries & Chilli Mayo and Satay Pizza (satay sauce, roasted pineapple, crumbled tofu and hawaiian herb salad). They managed to make them both vegan for me as well.



We were both really impressed by the flavours. The little patties in the veggie sliders tasted really good and almost meaty. The fries were also really well cooked and not oily at all. The pizza was also really nice and a great tropical take for such a hot night.

I managed to finish most of the food on my own. Marco did suggest something about taking some of the pizza to work, since he had an 8 hour shift at 1am. But I didn’t seem to hear that. I told you my appetite has become monstrous!

I know I have been really slack lately with posting recipes. I have been cooking, but I have just become overwhelmed with getting everything onto the table and haven’t had chance to take many photos.

For Christmas I was more relaxed this year. Since we had twenty family members I decided I could not cook all that food myself again this year. So I let them bring their own meat and dairy desserts.



I still wanted to do a vegan main so I made this Lentil, Mushroom, Spinach Spicy Nut Roulade from Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes. Mine does not look anything like Miriam’s one. I ran out of baking trays so I had to try and fold it in a round dish, then it would roll so I had to add another piece of pastry. Despite all the issues everyone really liked it surprisingly. Well everyone except Marco. He really isn’t a fan of the silverbeet spinach that I used.


I also made this delicious vegan Caesar salad which is a mash up between Alicia Silverstone’s and Angela Liddon’s (Oh She Glows) Caesar salads. I did forget the croutons but everyone really liked it and didn’t realise it was vegan. I will post this recipe soon when I get a chance to make it again. I also made a hell lot of roasted vegetables to complement the mains.



For dessert I made Chef Chloe’s Lemon Squares from her cookbook Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. They were a big hit with everyone. Can’t wait to make them again or another flavour variant. Mum made this little fruit platter, similar to one a friend made for my party. I also made this Double Tiered Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting. This recipe is adapted from Chef Chloe’s Classic Coconut Layer Cake also from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. Sorry I don’t have a better photo. My mum already started hacking at the other side of  the cake before I got a chance to take a photo. I did include the recipe below since I don’t think I will be making this one for a while. My freezer is still full of desserts from the party. Poor Marco is going to get diabetes just trying to finish them.




 Double Tier Coconut Cake with Vanilla Coconut Frosting (vegan, soy free, nut free)


2 cups unbleached plain flour

2 cups pastry flour (or another cup of plain flour)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1.5 cups evaporated cane sugar (panela) or raw sugar

2 cups plant milk (soy, almond or coconut works best)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2/3 cup coconut oil or grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

1.5 cups shredded coconut

Vanilla Frosting to garnish (recipe below)

2 cups shredded coconut to garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Take two 9 inch round cake pans and grease with some vegan butter and then line the bottom with baking paper.

2. Take a medium bowl and combine the milk and apple cider vinegar to make a buttermilk. Leave for a couple of minutes so that it thickens.

3. Then add the sugar, oil and vanilla. Whisk or use a hand beater.

4. In a large bowl add the flour, baking soda and sea salt.

5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and use a hand beater to blend the batter till smooth.

6. Stir through the shredded coconut.

7. Place the batter in the cake pans. Make sure they are evenly distributed and smooth on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes. While baking rotate the pans half way through.

8. Once the cakes are cooked, leave the pans to cool on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Then carefully take them out and leave to cool for 30-45 minutes.

9. Place one of the cakes on the cake stand and top with about 2/3 cup of the frosting. Then add the second cake and frost the cake from the outside in, until it is completely covered.

10. Sprinkle the frosted cake with shredded coconut and serve when ready.

*Serves 14-20

Vanilla Frosting


3 cups powdered sugar

1 cup vegan butter (I used nutlex)

pinch sea salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4-5 tablespoons of plant milk


1. Use a hand beater to blend all the ingredients until smooth and fluffy.

*Enough for 1 double layered cake.

Again I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!

Week 20 to 25

The last few weeks have flown by. I can’t believe I’m already over 6 months pregnant. Most people can’t believe that I am already this far along.  But even with an extra 6kgs I’m starting to feel like a baby elephant.

Here’s some pictures from week 22 to 25. Since I last posted I have grown a lot.


22 weeks


23 weeks & 4 days

24 weeks and 5 days

I did expected to be more uncomfortable and tired at this point. However I have had so much more energy recently. I barely sleep some nights. The baby usually wakes me up anywhere between 4-7 am. This kind of early rising has really amazing Marco, who has never know me as a morning person or someone who doesn’t need 8-10 hours of sleep a day. I also feel less tense and more bendy after the last few week of prenatal pilates and yoga. I can’t believe that one class a week can really make such a difference. I usually feel like I’ve had a massage afterwards, which is really nice since my personal masseuse rarely does his job. The baby is also more active. She still likes to hang out on the right of my tummy, which causes me to be a bit unbalanced on that side. She also has started kicking at both ends of my stomach at once, which sometimes gives me a bit of a fright when I think that she’s sleeping.

The only issues I have had so far in my pregnancy is a couple leg cramps and my breast are a little red. They usually look a bit sunburnt and are quite warm. I ended up doing an ultrasound but they were all was clear. Apparently this must be normal for me during pregnancy, even though no one else I know has had the same symptom. It doesn’t hurt so it doesn’t bother me. I guess going from a 12B to a 14DD is going to cause some discomfort. I have just recently bought my 3rd lot of maternity bra’s so I am hoping this is it now. Fingers crossed!

This past month has been a really positive turnaround after the hard year I’ve had. In the first week of December I received a High Distinction on my post grad course, a few of my recipes were published in The Goodness Magazine and I won Therese Kerr’s competition and will soon receive one of her organic certified gift packs.

Another big event for Marco and I this month was our All in One Party Extravaganza to celebrate our Baby Shower, Marco’s 30th, our Engagement and our Housewarming. So last Saturday night we held a big party at our place, catering for about 55 family and friends.

The menu was vegan/vegetarian and surprisingly received positive reviews from all the guests. I don’t think I invited one vegetarian, but everyone loved the food. I had Vegerama cater the vegan main meals, which included Satay Vegetable Curry, Massaman Curry, Basmati Rice Lasagne, Mousakka, Chickpea Pesto Salad and Kofta balls (frebee). The food was excellent and I would definitely recommend them. I also catered the appetizers, most of the buffet, and some desserts.


For appetizers I made my Cheesy Brown Lentil Hummus, and Chef Chloe’s Mushroom Turnovers (recipe) and Sweet and Sour Party Meatballs (recipe). Unfortunately I was so busy cooking and answering the door I didn’t get a chance to take any photos. Probably the most popular of the three was the Mushroom Turnovers. Those took me an entire evening to prep a few days before but they were so worth it.

For the buffet I made a Cheesy Pasta bake, Eggplant salad with Tahini Sumac Dressing (recipe – I prefer to fry it), Chef Chloe’s Minted Couscous with Rocket, Butternut Squash and Raisins (recipe) ; and Foccaccia made from scratch topped with cherry tomatoes and black olives.I got the most complements for the Pasta bake, which no one could believe was dairy free and also for the Eggplant Salad, which always goes down well. Maria’s sister made Prebranac (Serbian baked beans) and Kifli filled with feta. This bread was probably more popular then my foccaccia on the night.


Eggplant salad with Tahini Sumac Dressing


Minted Couscous with Rocket, Butternut Squash and Raisins

DSC03261DSC03255For desserts I made two of Angela Liddon (Oh she glows) Double Layered Chocolate Fudge Cakes. I previously made a trial run the week before and everyone loved it so much that I knew my guests would love it too. Marco’s sister made this no bake vegan cake filled with layers of walnuts, coconut. She also designed this beautiful outer casing with a sugar baby on top. My mother bought a Torta Romana for Marco 30th, my friend Robyn made this adorable fruit platter, my friend Hanh made these beautiful macaroons and velvet cupcakes, another friend Azra made baklava and my neighbor Matilda brought these homemade Italian biscotti. So we had a pretty impressive dessert table as well. To be honest I did want to keep the desserts dairy free, but in the end it was nice for friends and family to bring something and everyone enjoyed trying a bit of everything.



Double Layered Chocolate Fudge Cakes

DSC03292DSC03291DSC03278DSC03277DSC03281DSC03283DSC03282All in all the party was a huge success. Everyone had a great time and mingled well. They all certainly ate well! We were also fortunately to receive many green baby gifts from a gift registry I set up with Biome Eco Store as well as many generous donations to our baby fund.


P1060913 DSC03315DSC03357DSC03379DSC03375Now I have to get ready for Christmas…




Early Christmas present for you!

Hi guys, the Goodness Magazine has been very generous by passing on a gift to all of my followers. They giving you a free mini copy of the current December issue, that a few of my recipes appeared in.

The Goodness Mag FREE - Instagram & Facebook

In this mini issue you will find some delicious Christmas recipe ideas, including the Vegan Christmas Plate, Banana Hemp Nice Cream and Christmas Special Carrot Cake!

The Goodness Mag FREE - Instagram & Facebook2 (2)Just press this link below and view your free copy of my new favorite magazine for healthy mamas.



Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms, Sundried Tomatoes and Peas

A couple of days ago I finally received my copy of Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen. I didn’t even know Chloe Coscarelli had written another book, but as soon as I found out I added it to my Amazon order. I have a been a long time fan of Chloe and have previously bought and cooked recipes from her other books, Chloe’s Kitchen and Chloe’s Vegan Desserts.

I am really excited about this new book because it combines my two favorite things, italian food and guilt free delicious vegan recipes. You probably noticed on my blog that I have many Italian inspired recipes that are recreations of the food I grew up with and other traditional dishes that I have eaten in Italy or always wanted to try. So I am so excited to get some ideas on how to better veganise my favourite recipes.

You can see a sneak peak of Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen on Amazon and Google Books.

Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: My Vegan MoFo Cookbook of the Week

This recipe below was adapted from Chloe’s White Wine Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms and Peas from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen. I used dried shiitake mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes in mine. Both have really strong flavours that really shone through. Marco was a bit scared when he saw the shiitake mushrooms, but he ended up being really happy with the taste of this risotto and wanted to have the leftovers for lunch the next day.

DSC03179Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Peas (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)


6 cups vegetable liquid stock

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (soak for 10 minutes and slice in strips if large pieces)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup chopped fresh italian parsley

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

ground black pepper to taste


1. Take medium pot and heat the liquid stock.  Leave it on a simmer while you start cooking the rest of the recipe.

2. Take a large skillet and heat olive oil on medium to high heat. Then add the onion and shiitake mushrooms. Saute until the onions have softened and are translucent.

3. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Saute for 1 minute so that the garlic is fragrant.

4. Add the rice and the white wine. Stir through and cook until the white wine has been absorb.

5. Begin to ladle about one cup at a time of liquid stock into the skillet. Stir frequently. Add another ladle of liquid stock once the first has been absorbed and continue until the rice is cooked and there is no more stock. This should take about 20-25 minutes.

6. Add the peas, italian parsley, sea salt and ground black pepper. Stir through until the peas are warmed through. Adjust seasoning if you need and then serve.

*Serves 4

DSC03183So far I have made a couple more dishes from my new favorite cook book. Last night I made Lemon Herb Cannellini Beans (Cannellini all erbe e limone) with Spinach and Mash Potatoes with Garlic and Sea Salt (Purè di patate con aglio e sale marino).  This was the most delicious creamy, cheezy bean dish I have ever had and was really simple and quick to make. The main ingredients are cannellini beans, garlic, nutritional yeast, plant milk and lemon juice. The Mash Potatoes were also really creamy and delicious thanks to the fresh garlic and plant milk.

For dessert I made Olive Oil Pancakes (Frittelle all’olio di oliva). I’ve never cooked pancakes with olive oil and I usually don’t use that much baking soda, but they came out so fluffy and delicious. For a recipe with only 5 ingredients I was really happy with the results and so was Marco. Usually he lathers his pancakes with nutella, but was content with natural maple syrup. Can’t wait to serve this the next time the mini-Marco’s come to visit.


The Goodness Magazine

Live Blissful has been featured in the December issue of The Goodness Magazine, #1 magazine for Healthy Mamas! Recipes from my blog have been shared by many other websites and blogs, but this is the first time I have been featured in a magazine. To say that I am happy is an understatement. I am so excited to be recognised by such a gorgeous upcoming online magazine, alongside other healthy foodies and nutritionists from around the world.

The Goodness Magazine was started by two creative individuals, Bamik and Nathan. This magazine is a testament to their journey, in which they learned about nutrition and the power of food,  overcame their struggle start a family, and connected with many inspirational people who shared their passion for healthy living. Their magazine won’t only entice you with delicious wholesome food, but also shares home ideas and connects the readers with like-minded families from around the world.

The Goodness Mag Issue 6 - Dec - Cover

The December issue features an interview with the beautiful Laurentine ten Bosch, director and producer of Food Matters and a recipe from the passionate paleo chef Pete Evans. As well as many more great Christmas recipe ideas and how to eat well over the holiday season.

I am also featured on two pages in the goodness bites and goodness treats sections. There is a small bio about me and few of my recipes including my Carrot Ginger Mojito, Raw Chocolate Banana Pudding and Mixed Berry Pudding with Ginger Snap Base.


Untitled 2

I would like to thank The Goodness Magazine so much for the opportunity to appear in their stunning magazine. After a hard year it was nice surprise, which has re-inspired me to get back to doing what I love and end the year an even better note.

If you would like to subscribe to this magazine you can do so at  the App Store or Google Play Store. You can also have a 7 day free trial via both of these stores. The magazine is available from any device including iPad, iPhone, computer, laptop or Andriod device.

Hope you like this magazine as much as I do!

Great Northern Bean Casserole with Sliced Potato Topping

Last night I really felt like a flavoursome, creamy beany casserole with potatoes. I knew exactly what I wanted but couldn’t find a similar recipe to get some ideas. I also needed to use the opened unsweetened soy milk that was on its last legs and some great northern beans I had cooked up that afternoon. So this is what I came up with. I probably shouldn’t of started cooking at 7pm but it was worth the wait. Marco loved this dish so much. He was even happy to eat it again for his next two home-made work lunches.

What’s your favourite vegan bean casserole?


Great Northern Bean Casserole with Sliced Potato Topping (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients for Casserole:

1 cup great northern beans, soak for 8 hours or overnight or 2.5-3 cups cooked beans

1 medium brown onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 celery sticks, diced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup white wine

1 teaspoon sweet hungarian paprika

1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs

sea salt

2 cups vegan chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup unsweetened soy milk

3 tablespoons arrowroot flour

Ingredients for Potato Topping:

4 medium potatoes, peeled

sea salt

olive oil

black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves


1. First place the soaked beans in 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then place on a simmer and cook for 40-60 minutes or until tender. While the beans are cooking skim the foam of the top of the water. Once the beans are cooked drain the water and leave to the side to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

3. Place the potatoes in a medium pot with water and a pinch of sea salt. Bring the water to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes. Afterwards drain the potatoes and leave to cool down.

4. Take a large oven safe skillet and heat the olive oil on medium heat. Then add onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

5. Add the carrots and celery. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

6. Add the white wine, tomatoes, hungarian paprika, mixed herbs and half teaspoon of sea salt. Stir through and allow the wine to absorb into the vegetables. This should take about 5 minutes.

7. Add vegan chicken stock, soy milk and great northern beans. Bring to the boil, then leave on a simmer for 20 minutes. While its cooking add the arrowroot flour and stir frequently while it thickens up.

8. In the meantime slice the potatoes into rounds and leave to the side.

9. Take the skillet off the heat and top with the sliced potatoes. Start from the outside and then work your way in.

10. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and season with sea salt, black pepper and thyme leaves.

11. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Then if place the oven on grill and brown the tops of the potatoes for 5 minutes before serving.

*Serves 6 as a main

*I recommend serving this casserole with steamed vegetables or a fresh salad



Delicious leftovers for a hungry pregnant woman…

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Kidney Bean and Vegetable Stew with Cheddar Dumplings Topping


Tempeh in a Tomato Red wine Sauce with Spaghetti

I have had the worse flu this past week. I haven’t been this sick in over a year. I never take medication for the flu or get the flu shot and and normally I’m only sick for a couple of days. This time however it has been  a lot harder for my body to spring back from. Perhaps because I’m pregnant. But slowly I’m getting better and less reliant on my tissue box.

So I haven’t been that inspired in the kitchen this past week. Today I was feeling a little better so I tried to create a delicious tempeh dish that Marco would actually eat. Marco hates tempeh with a passion. So I haven’t cook it in a while. Luckily I took a gamble today and he actually enjoyed lunch.

Tempeh Piccata from Chloe's Kitchen (Chloe Coscarelli)

I was inspired by Chef Chloe’s Tempeh Piccata that I made a while ago. I absolutely loved that dish. But haven’t made it again after the reaction I got from Marco and his mother. I assured them they would like it but they really didn’t. They aren’t big fans of capers or acidic flavors which I think made it a lot worse. I wanted to try making something similar but with a tomato based sauce with lots of flavor so that no one knew they were eating tempeh. Marco’s dad certainly didn’t know what he was eating. He asked what meat is this and then asked that I leave him some for dinner. So it was a tempeh success!


Tempeh in Tomato Red wine Sauce with Spaghetti (vegan, nut free)


olive oil

300g tempeh, sliced into thin triangular pieces (I used Nutrisoy Organic Tasty Tempeh)

1 small red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup red wine

2 tomatoes, diced

sea salt and black pepper to taste

250ml good quality tomato pasta sauce (I used Aldi’s Just Organic Basil and Garlic Pasta Sauce)

250ml filtered water

4 serves of spaghetti to serve


1. Take a large heavy based pan and heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium. In batches brown the tempeh on each side. Remove from the pan and leave to the side.

2. Add some more olive oil and then add red onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes and once it starts to brown add the sun-dried tomatoes and saute for a couple more minutes.

3. Add 1/4 cup of red wine to the pan. Once it has been absorbed, return the tempeh to the pan, add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and another 1/4 cup of red wine.

4. Once most of the wine has been absorbed add tomato pasta sauce and water. Allow it to come to a lite boil, then leave on a simmer for at least 10 minutes or until the pasta is ready. If it starts to dry out add some pasta water to the sauce.

5. Cook the pasta according to packet directions and serve with the sauce.

* Serves 4



Adzuki Bean and Pumpkin Stew

One of the first macrobiotic dishes I ever tried was Adzuki beans with Squash. I remember the first time I made this dish my family and our international students really didn’t like the look of this dish. They thought I was a bit crazy to put these ingredients together and refused to try it. I guess back then I thought it was a bit weird too, but we have all come along way since then. This time I decided to spice this dish up a bit with some additional ground spices and more veggies. It is a very hearty nourishing dish, which pairs well with steamed brown rice.


Adzuki Bean and Pumpkin Stew (vegan, gluten free, nut free)


filtered water

1 cup dry adzuki beans

1″ x 1″  dry kombu

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small brown onion, sliced thin

1 garlic, diced

1 medium carrot, sliced thin in half moons

1 leek, white parts only, sliced thin in half moons

1 celery, sliced thin

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon himalayan sea salt

4 cups pumpkin, remove skin (optional) and chopped into large chunks (I used kent, but you can use kabocha or butternut pumpkin if you prefer)

1 tablespoon tamari or shoyu


1. Soak the adzuki beans overnight with filtered water and kombu.

2. Drain the beans and place the adzuki beans and kombu in a pot with some fresh filtered water. Bring to the boil, then cover on a low heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until the beans are cooked. Then strain and leave to the side.

3. Heat olive oil in pot or large pan. Then add onion and garlic. Cook on a medium to low heat for 4-5 minutes until they have browned.

4. Add the carrot, leek and celery and cook for a further few minutes, until they begin to soften.

5. Add the ground cumin, ground sweet paprika, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and himalayan sea salt. Stir through the vegetables and cook for another minute or until the spices are fragrant.

6. Add pumpkin and a cup of water. Bring to the boil, then leave on a simmer for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked.

7. Add the aduki beans and tamari. Cook for a further 5 minutes and then serve.

*Serves 4