Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with a Creamy Turmeric Dressing

Turmeric is so good for you. It’s anti-inflammatory and is packed full of manganese, iron, vitamin B6, fiber and potassium. Scientists believe that Turmeric wards of Alzheimer’s disease, prevents cancer, reduces risk of heart attacks and strokes, flights colds and flu, helps digestion and weight loss and can help people with diabetes. But unless you eat Indian food regularly, you probably don’t include this ingredient in many of your daily meals. This little salad dressing is creamy, raw and can be paired with almost anything. Hope you like it!

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Roasted Sweet potato, Purple Carrot, Red Cabbage, Kale and Spinach Salad with a Creamy Turmeric (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

6 small sweet potatoes

olive oil

sea salt to taste

3-4 purple carrots

1/4 red cabbage

2 cups baby/other kale

2 cups baby spinach

1 cup Creamy Turmeric Dressing (below)

1-2 tablespoons roasted black sesame seeds.

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Chop sweet potatoes in round pieces and toss in a mixing bowl with olive oil and sea salt. Then bake for 30 mins or until cooked. Turn once while cooking.

3. Grate the purple carrots and cabbage. Massage the kale with sea salt and chop the baby spinach.

4. Combine all the salad ingredients in a mixing bowl.

5. Serve salad topped with roasted sweet potato, drizzle Creamy Turmeric Dressing and top with some black sesame seeds

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Creamy Turmeric Dressing (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 medium avocado

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon crushed ginger

2 tablespoons turmeric

couple pinches ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon agave (more to taste)

4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons filtered water

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Add in the ingredients in to a processor/mixer. Mix until you have a delicious creamy dressing.

2. Serve topped with black roasted sesame seeds and top on a fresh salad or roasted vegetables.

*About 1 cup

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Rolled Eggplant with Cannellini Pine nut Filling and Asparagus Green bean Salad with Caper Dressing

Now that we are so close to getting our new home, I have been trying to gather ideas for what to serve at our engagement/house warming party. Even though I got engaged back in January, we still haven’t had a formal celebration. I did want have it in a venue, but Marco has been pushing me to wait till we got a house. Although I don’t want to cater the whole thing, I think I will try make a few small things. All vegan of course. These are some of the ideas I came up with for an entree/main and a side salad. The filling for the Rolled Eggplant can also be made as a dip or spread. It was so delicious, I couldn’t stop eating it. I don’t think Marco is going to be a fan of the salad. He hates capers and green olives, but I’m hoping when he gets to try it later he will look past the salty ingredients and enjoys it as a whole. If he can’t, well then he won’t be invited to have any of my Coconana-Chia Cake that I just made! ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????

Rolled Eggplant with Cannellini bean Pine nut Filling (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients for Eggplant

1 medium eggplant

sea salt

olive oil

storebought/homemade tomato (pasta) sauce

Ingredients for Cannellini bean Pine nut Filling:

1 can cannellini beans

1/2 cup pine nuts (soaked/boil 10 mintues)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

sea salt to taste

20 basil leaves

Method:

1. To make the filling place all the ingredients for the filling, except the basil, in the processor. Blend until the nuts and beans break down and it becomes a puree.

2. Place the basil leaves in the process and blend so that they are finely cut but still a little chunky.

3. Slice the eggplant into thin strips (at least 12 with no skin on either side) and sprinkle generously with salt. Leave for 10 minutes, to remove the bitterness, then remove the salt and moist with a paper towel.

4. Heat a griddle pan on medium to high heat and brush with olive oil. Coat the eggplant with olive oil and cook on both sides (3 mintues per slice). While cooking apply more olive oil if the eggplant dries out. Place the eggplant in a warm place so that it doesn’t get cold while you cook all the slices.

5. Place the filling in the centre of the eggplant and then roll.

6. Serve on some warm tomato sauce. *Serves 4 ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? Asparagus Green bean Salad with Caper Dressing (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients for Salad:

30 green beans (topped & tailed)

2 bunches asparagus

2 large handfuls of baby kale/lettuce

small handful spanish green olives

2-3 tablespoons flaked almonds (toasted)

Ingredients for Dressing:

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1.5 teaspoons crushed garlic

2 tablespoons baby capers

2 teaspoons agave

1/2 teaspoon dry oregano

Method:

1. Chop the green beans and asparagus into 5 cm pieces.

2. Steam the green beans and asparagus for 5 minutes or until tender. Then place straight away into a bowl with cold water and ice for 10 minutes or until cold.

3. Strain the green beans and asparagus.

4. Massage the kale with sea salt, so that it breaks down. Slice the olives and toast the almonds.

5. Prepare the dressing by placing all the ingredients into a blender/processor and blend until creamy.

6. To assemble the salad first make a bed of baby kale, then top with green beans, asparagus, green olives and flaked almonds. Drizzle the caper dressing and serve.

Labor weekend recipe roundup

Happy Labor Day weekend fellow Queenslanders! The heat has finally arrived! This weekend has been hot and humid, but really breezy as well. I spent this long weekend with house hunting and spending time with the Mini Marco’s. Below are some of the meals I have prepared over the week.

I finally tried some recipes from Crazy Sexy Diet over the weekend. I adapted her Cornmeal Banana Walnut Pancakes. Since I didn’t have any banana or walnuts, I used dairy free choc chips, which of course the kids loved. I really loved the batter for this recipe. The polenta/cornmeal really gives the pancake a crunch. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to get any photos. Another recipe I tried was her Tofu Country Scramble. Marco and I really loved this. After a year on a plant based diet and I was yet to make a tofu scramble. This tasted really similar to a real egg scramble, but better.

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We also visited The Green Edge with our Living Social Lunch Vouchers. I got Spicy Seitan Burger and a Peanut Butter Milkshake. Marco got the Satay Tofu Burger and Chocolate Milkshake. It was all so good, but I ordered far to much.???????????????????????????????

While I was there I bought a couple of new vegan products. Sweet Freedom Natural Sweetener is made of apples, grapes and carob. Its a great substitute to maple syrup and much more cost effective. Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon powder is an organic dry vegan stock, which i really makes a really flavorsome stock and is the best one I have tried. It is also a lot more cost effective then buying liquid stock.

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Over the past couple of weeks when I haven’t felt like cooking I have been bring home takeaway from Vege Rama on my way home from work. For a less then $10 you can get the most delicious vegan thai, indian curries or even a lasagna, which is big enough  for two. Tonight I tried to recreate one of my favorite dishes from there.

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Easy Thai Pumpkin Curry (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon ginger, diced

1 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons thai red curry paste

1 small red capsicum, chopped

4 cups pumpkin, chopped

2 cups carrot, chopped

2 teaspoon vegan vegetable stock mixed with 2 cups of water

400ml coconut cream

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Method:???????????????????????????????

1. Heat coconut oil in a wok, then add onion, ginger, garlic and curry paste. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until the oil separates from the curry paste. Then add 1/4 cup coconut cream and heat for few more minutes.???????????????????????????????

2. Add capsicum, pumpkin and carrot and saute for a 5 minutes.

3. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add coconut cream and soy sauce and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is soften.

*Serve with brown rice or another other gluten free grain, or some wholemeal roti

Ever wondered how asparagus risotto gets that beautiful green color? I found this tip in an Italian cook book, to blend the stems of the asparagus spears with the liquid stock before cooking the risotto. I always find that I need more then a litre of stock, so added some of the steamer water to make use of the vitamins that get lost in the water. I haven’t made risotto in so long, so this was a nice treat.

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Green Spring Risotto (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 bunch asparagus

1 bunches of broccolini

1 litre vegan chicken liquid stock

1 tablespoon vegan butter (I used nutlex)

2 cups risotto rice

1/2 cup white wine

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 cup frozen peas

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Cashew Parmesan/vegan parmesan (optional)

Method:

1. Cut the woody ends off the asparagus and the broccolini. Then cut into each spear into 4 parts.

2. Place the asparagus and broccolini in the steamer, except for the tops of them. Leave them to the side for later. Steam for 5 mins or until tender.???????????????????????????????

3. Place steam asparagus and broccolini in the blender with the liquid stock and blend until smooth. Then place on the stock to boil, so that it is ready for the risotto.

4. Heat butter in a large pot, then once its melted add the risotto rice. Toast for a few minutes.

5. Add white wine, onion and garlic to the risotto and allow it the wine to absorb into the rice.???????????????????????????????

6. Now begin adding boiled liquid stock, a ladle at a time. Allow it to absorb into the rice, until adding more. Stir the risotto continuously.

7. About 5 minutes before the risotto is ready, steam the tops of the asparagus, broccolini and the peas. If you need more boiling water for the risotto, you can used this steam water once your finished with it.

8. Take the risotto off the heat and add in the steamed asparagus, broccolini and peas, and season with sea salt and black pepper.

9. Serve with some home-made vegan parmesan.

*Serves 4 main serves, or 6 entree serves

I love eggplant, but I find I don’t it as much as I like because I need to use so much oil to cook it. This recipe is a bit lighter on the oil, but is just as flavorsome. Its also really easy to prepare and is gluten free.

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Stuffed Eggplants with Sun dried Tomatoes & Pine nuts (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 Italian eggplant

olive oil

2 small red onions

3 garlic cloves

10 sun dried tomatoes

2 tablespoons pine nuts

small handful of basil

2 tablespoons quinoa crumbs (or gluten free bread crumbs)

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.???????????????????????????????

2. Slice eggplant in half, then use a pairing knife and a spoon to scoop out most of the flesh from the eggplant, just leave the shells.???????????????????????????????

3. Brush the eggplant shells with olive oil, then place in the oven for 20 minutes.

4. In the meantime chop the eggplant flesh into small pieces and dice the red onion, garlic, sun dried tomatoes and basil.

5. Heat a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes, until they start to soften.???????????????????????????????

6. Add the eggplant flesh to the pan and saute for 5 minutes, until its cooked. Add another tablespoon of olive or water if the eggplant is too dry.???????????????????????????????

7. Take off the heat and add the sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, basil, quinoa crumbs and sea salt. Stir through till combined well.

8. Take out the eggplant shells from the oven and fill with the eggplant stuffing.

9. Bake the eggplants for 20 minutes.

* Serves 2 to 4 depending on the size of the serve.

What to do when you have heaps of canned pineapple leftover from pizza night? I made this delicious dressing for my work salads. Well it only turned out to be one work salad, since I accidentally poured most of this dressing on my kitchen bench.

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Pineapple Poppy seed Dressing (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cup pineapple pieces

3/4 cup pineapple juice

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

3 tablespoon olive oil/other mild oil

sea salt to taste

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients, except the poppy seeds in a high speed blender.

2. Stir in the poppy seeds last and serve with salad.

*Makes 250 ml

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Sweet Potatoes and Kale: Two Ways

The last couple of nights meals have been quick easy meals using two of my favorite ingredients, sweet potato and kale. I also finally made use of the organic wild black rice that I bought from Fundies two months ago. I have a habit of collecting beans and grains and storing them for a rainy day. This was the first time I have tried wild black rice. I quite like it. Surprisingly Marco was a fan too, even though he hates brown rice. It is quite chewy, but it has a nice flavor. I combined the rice with sauteed onions, kale and spices and stuff it in a whole baked sweet potato. I topped it with the Lime Cashew Sour Cream that I made over the weekend and served it with some Baked Spicy Panko Crusted Tofu and Guacamole.

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Whole Sweet Potatoes with Wild Black Rice, Kale and Lime Cashew Sour Cream (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

4 sweet potatoes

1/2 cup wild black rice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 small onion, diced

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1.5 teaspoons garlic powder

1 bag baby kale, roughly chopped

sea salt to taste

Cashew Sour cream (recipe below)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

2. Wash and scrub any dirt of the skin of the sweet potatoes. Stab them a few times with a fork then bake for 40 mins or until the inside flesh is soft.

3. In the meantime cook the wild black rice in the rice cooker and leave on warm till ready to use.

4. Heat coconut oil in a pan, then add onion, cumin, cayenne and garlic powder. Cook for a few minutes or until onion has softened.

5. Add wild black rice and kale and saute until kale wilts. Season with sea salt.

6. Slice a slit across on side of the sweet potato, then stuff with the wild rice and kale. Serve with Lime Cashew Sour Cream.

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Lime Cashew Sour Cream (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews (soaked/raw)

1 cup water

2-3 tablespoons lime

1 teaspoon garlic powder

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. If you haven’t pre-soaked the cashews, then boil for 10 mins.

2. Place in a blender and grind until cashews break down.

3. Add water (little bit at a time), lime, garlic powder and sea salt. Process until smooth.

*Makes about one cup

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Tonight’s recipe was inspired by the last whole baked sweet potato that didn’t get eaten last night. I considered making sweet potato gnocchi, sweet potato pasta, sweet potato burger or even sweet potato pancakes. I was pretty tired so I just decided on Sweet Potato Hummus with kale and vegetables. Since I already had my Vitamix out I made a dressing using the hummus and peanut butter. That was the best part! I ended up drizzling a lot more then what you see below. Now I am so full and looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow for Ekka public holiday.

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Sweet Potato Hummus Salad Bowl with Peanut Sweet Potato Dressing (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Sweet Potato Hummus (recipe below)

2 handfuls baby kale

chopped salad and vegetables (cherry tomato, broccolini, avocado, capsicum)

sea salt to taste

2 tablespoons Peanut Sweet Potato Dressing (recipe below)

Method:

1.  Steam broccolini or other vegetables. Rinse with cold water to cool down.

2. Massage the baby kale with sea salt, until it breaks down.

3. Place baby kale on the bottom of a large bowl and top with chopped salad & vegetables, hummus and drizzle with the dressing.

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Sweet Potato Hummus  (vegan, gluten free, nut free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas

1 whole roasted sweet potato (about 1 cup)

2 large garlic cloves

1 tablespoon tahini

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Peel the Sweet potato, then place all the ingredients in the processor. Whiz until combined.

*Makes 2 cups

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Peanut Sweet Potato Hummus Dressing  (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons Sweet Potato Hummus (recipe above)

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon apple cinder vinegar

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender and whiz till combined.

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(Cookbook Project) Energise Your Life – Carrot and almond jacket potatoes with herb salad

Tonight I made another recipe from Energise Your Life. This is a really easy recipe to make and very filling. According to the book this recipe has Vitamin C & E, calcium, iron, essential fatty acids and is beneficial to the heart and circulatory system. I was quite liked the sweet carrots on top of the jacket potatoes. Marco thought that the potatoes needed a sauce. I served it with a the Herb salad and some steamed corn.

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For the carrot and almond jacket potatoes, I stuck to the recipe. To make the potatoes I first scrubbed the dirt off them and then covered them in olive oil. Then I baked them whole for over an hour. For the carrots, I cut them julienne and then sauteed them in olive oil for a few minutes, before adding chopped almonds. After sauteing them together for a few more minutes, I added orange zest, maple syrup and sea salt. I cooked these down till the carrots were soft then topped the baked potatoes.

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I had to adapt the Herb salad as I couldn’t get most of the ingredients from my local shops. The recipe called for red lettuces, sorrel leaves, coriander,  dandelion leaves and beetroot leaves. I only used some Red Oak Lettuce and Beetroot leaves. For the Tarragon dressing I couldn’t get the main ingredient, the tarragon. So I used parsley instead. I also used only extra virgin olive oil instead of safflower oil. With the help of my vitamix, this dressing came out really light and delicious.

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Parsley Dressing (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

4 sprouts of Italian parsley

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

1. Blend all the ingredients in a blender until combined.

*Makes about 100 ml

Linda McCartney Sausages

???????????????????????????????I have heard lots of other blogs and vegan cookbooks mention that their favorite vegan sausages are Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausages. I finally got around to trying them tonight and now I can see what everyone is raving about. These sausages are fantastic. They have a very similar texture and taste to real sausages, both on the outside and inside. Both mum and Marco also really liked them as well. ???????????????????????????????

These sausages don’t contain any soy, however they do contain gluten, wheat and sulphar dioxide. Sulphar dioxide often use in processed meats, like salami, sausages and hams.  This is definitely not healthy. I am not sure how much are in these sausages, but considering that I would not eat these regularly. In saying that, as a transitioning food these do hit the spot.

I made these sausages tonight with the leftover Onion Sauce from the Energise Your Life recipe, Spinach Parcels with Onion Sauce. On the side I made Sautéed Broccolini with Potatoes and a Spinach, Alfalfa and Cucumber Salad with Sweet Sesame Dressing.

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Sausages with Onion Sauce (vegan, nut free)

Ingredients:

Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausages/other brand

grapeseed oil/other oil

Ingredients for Onion Sauce (makes about 1 1/2 cups):

2 tablespoons olive oil

225 g onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons flour

400 ml liquid vegetable/vegan chicken liquid stock

100 ml soy milk

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

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1. Heat a griddle pan with oil. The cook sausages according to packet directions. These ones took 15 mins.

2. In the meantime,  heat olive oil  in a pot on medium heat, then add onions. Cook for 5 mins or until soften and browned.

3. Add soy sauce and flour, stir through.

4. Gradually add the stock, stiring constantly. Simmer for 3 mins.

5. Add soy milk and heat through.

6. Season with salt and pepper then serve on top of sausages.

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Sautéed Broccolini with Potatoes (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

4 small potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves

brunch of broccolini

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Place potatoes in a pot of water. Bring to the boil, then cook on medium heat for 20 mins or until cooked.

2. In the meantime, slice the garlic and cut the broccolini into thirds.

3. Peel the skin off the potatoes, then slice.

4. Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and sliced potato. Then cook for 5 mins or until the potato begins to brown.

5. Add the broccolini and cook for a further 5 mins or until its tender. Season with salt then serve.

*Serve 3 as a side

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Spinach, Alfalfa and Cucumber Salad with Sweet Sesame Dressing (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

50 g baby spinach

handful of alfalfa

1 small cucumber

2 tablespoons vegan soy mayo

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon toasted black/white  sesame seeds

agave to taste

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Slice the cucumber, roughly chop the spinach and combine together with alfalfa.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

3. Add the dressing to the salad then serve.

*Serves 3-4 as a side

Warm Buckwheat and Lentil Salad with Pumpkin and Broccolini

Hi guys hope you all had a good weekend. I can’t believe how fast its gone. I’ve been juicing away every day with my favorite new addition. I just love watching it do its magic  Here is a couple of the juices I prepared recently. The first one is Beetroot, Pear, Kale and Cucumber. I also made some Sushi with honey soy tofu, avocado and cucumber. The next one is rockmelon, lemon and ginger. That one was a bit tangy, but still very good.

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Last night we popped into the vegan restaurant Banana Lounge for some dessert. I also got a sticky beak at their new menu, which is the same for lunch and dinner. I have heard mixed reviews about their food, but I would like to check it out soon. I have only been to the vegan buffet breakfast. On their new menu they have nachos, burritos, mexican rice bowl and raw pizza etc. I was the only one that order dessert. I got the Raw Choc, Date & Pistachio Brownies and the Mexican Chili Hot Chocolate. Both were really delicious! They really know how to make a good vegan dessert.

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Tonight I wanted to make something healthy, but hearty. Its so cold here at the moment, so we need something a bit heavier. This dish just keep evolving till I got hungry enough to stop adding things. I brought a whole lot of sprouts today so I am going to try add them to more of my meals for extra nutrients. I am trying to get Marco into sprouts. He didn’t mind a sprinkle of these snow pea sprouts, but they aren’t his favorite thing.

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Warm Buckwheat & Lentil Salad with Pumpkin & Broccolini, Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing and Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dried brown lentils

1 cup raw buckwheat

900 g kent or butternut pumpkin

olive oil

2 bunches of broccolini

sea salt to taste

snow pea sprouts, washed, roughly chopped

Ingredients Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing:

1 whole garlic head

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon ground cumin

pinch ground cayenne pepper

1/4 cup italian parsley

1 tablespoon tahini (unhulled)

sea salt to taste

Ingredients Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Place lentils in pot with 2 cups of water and bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for 30-40 mins or until lentils are cooked. Then strain any water and leave to cool.

3. Place buckwheat in a pot with 3 cups of water and bring to the boi, then leave to simmer for 30 mins or until the buckwheat are cooked. Then leave to cool

4. In the meantime remove the seeds and skin from the pumpkin and slice into flat bite size pieces.

5. Place pumpkin pieces and a whole garlic in a bowl and toss through 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Then place all on a baking tray and cook for 30 mins or until the pumpkin is cooked, leave to cool.

6. Clean the pumpkin seeds then combine in a bowl with olive oil, cumin, cayenne and sea salt. Then place on a tray and roast for 5 mins or until cooked. Leave to the side for later.???????????????????????????????

7. Peel the whole roasted garlic and place in the processor.

8. Add olive oil, lemon juice, water, cumin and cayenne and whiz until combined.

9. Then add tahini, italian parsley and sea salt. Whiz until combined. Add more sea salt if you need.

10. Roughly chop the broccolini, then saute in a pan with olive oil until tender.

11. In the mean time, combine the lentils, buckwheat and pumpkin in a large bowl. Then top with the dress, stir through.

12. Add the broccolini to the salad and stir through.

13. Serve the warm salad, topped with snow pea sprouts and roasted spicy pumpkin seeds.

*Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side.

For dessert I made these Gluten free Yoga Chocolate Cupcakes from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. You can find the recipe here. Mum called them disgustingly delicious lol. She couldn’t believe how good this vegan cupcakes are. They are really crunchy on the top and soft and moist on the inside. Instead of making 34 mini cupcakes, I made 12. This also means I needed half the chocolate icing.

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Pomogranate and Avocado Quinoa Salad with Sweet Tahini Lime Dressing

I woke up really tired and late this morning, so I needed a power salad to prep me up. This salad is sweet, zesty, earthy and full of nutrients. Hope you guys like it!

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Pomogranate Quinoa Salad with Sweet Tahini Lime Dressing (vegan, gluten free option, soy free)

Ingredients for Salad:

1/2 cup quinoa

1 small stick of celery

1/2 carrot

1 small avocado

1 handful italian parsley

2 handfuls pomogranate seeds

1 handful almonds

extra lime and agave to garnish

Ingredients for Dressing

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon agave

1/2 tablespoon tahini

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Method:

1. Place quinoa in a small pot with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then place on a simmer and cook for 15 mins. Strain with cold water and place to the side.

2. In the meantime make the dressing. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing a small bowl and stir through.

3. Then prepare the ingredents for the salad. Slice the celery finely, grate the carrot, slice the avocado in cubes and roughly chop the italian parsley.

4. Roughly chop the almonds then dry toast in a pan till golden.

5. Combine the cooked quinoa, celery, carrot, avocado and italian parsley in a bowl and stir.

6. Then add the dressing to the bowl and stir through

7. Place the quinoa salad on a plate and top with pomogranate seeds, toasted almonds. Serve with extra agave and lime wedges.

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I also wanted to share with you guys another great food find in Carindale, Brisbane. Last night our friends took us to Grand Taj. It is a small Indian restaurant off the main road in a shopping complex. Before going their I checked out their website and they had plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. Some of the dishes I haven’t seen before so I was very excited to try this place.

I ordered the Pumpkin and Eggplant Curry (diced butternut pumpkin and eggplant steamed with onions and flavored with white mustard), which came with Saffron Rice. On the side Marco I shared two Indian Breads, these were Onion Kulcha (bread stuffed with finely chopped seasoned onions and garlic) and Aloo (Potato) Paratha (wholemeal bread stuffed with spiced mashed potatoes). These were also both dairy free. Normally when I go to Indian these stuffed breads are’t dairy free or wholemeal, so this was a nice treat. I especially liked the Onion Kulcha. The onion was all the way through and nicely spiced.

I was really impressed with Grand Taj and I definitely hope to visit them again soon.

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Calm after the storm

After torrential rain and gail force winds last night we finally got some calm weather today. So today we had to focus on cleaning the mess from the storm. Mum was drying the leaks  and sweeping the water away. Marco was vacuuming up Albie’s hair from all over the house, after his sleepover inside. And I tried to cook up all the left overs in our fridge and went shopping for  more supplies. I’m not so good at the cleaning, but I like to make sure we are eating well in this stressful time. We also got a student at 2 am  this morning. I am really surprised she made it here with the storm and the road closures. I’m even more surprised there were taxi’s working last night. Although the rain stopped this afternoon, we still have to worry about the  flood tonight, now the dam’s are being released. We are hoping that our suburb isn’t going to flood, since we are so close to the river. Our house will be safe, but I’m hoping we don’t loose power.

These are some of the things I made up today out of the leftovers:

Salad: red onion, tomato, grated carrot, baby spinach, rocket, chickpeas and a Sweet Garlic Mayo

Salad: red onion, tomato, grated carrot, baby spinach, rocket, chickpeas and a Sweet Garlic Mayo

For lunch I made salad  for everyone, as we had so many pre-cut ingredients, that my mum brought home from her work. I also had the tiniest bit of silken tofu leftover in the fridge, so I tried to make a homemade vegan mayo. This mayo only made enough dressing for 3 salads. So I will try to make up a bigger batch next time.

Sweet Garlic Mayo (vegan, gluten free)

Ingredients:

100g silken tofu

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon brown rice syrup

1 tablespoon parsley

1 tablespoon ground pecans (optional)

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Combine all the ingredients in the processor and pulse until all is combined.

*Makes about 1/2 cup.

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After lunch I made this pesto to keep in the fridge as a condiment or to dress pasta. We had so much basil in the fridge that was starting to go bad and a jar of artichokes that I had started and forgot about. These ingredients went really well together. I had it as an afternoon snack with the left over Spelt Buttery Biscuits. I kept offering it to Marco to have on toast, but he’s not to excited about it.

Basil & Artichoke Pesto (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pine nuts

1.5-2 cups basil leaves

3 garlic cloves

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

6-8 artichokes from jar

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

1/2-1 teaspoon herbamare/sea salt

Method:

1. Place pine nuts in the processor and whiz till they are broken down and start to form a paste.

2. Then add the rest of the ingredients, one by one, as the processor is whizzing, until it is all combined and creamy.

* Place in an airtight jar or container and top with a bit more olive oil so that it last longer.

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Even though we had the leftover the Spicy Peanut Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Eggplant with steamed rice and Achar de legumes (Ted’s Mauritian pickled vegetables) for dinner, I wanted to use up the rest of the ingredients that were on their last legs in my fridge. So I made this sauce so I can put together a quick meal tomorrow night.

Eggplant & Capsicum Pasta Sauce (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1.5 cup diced red onion, diced

5 garlic cloves, diced

1 medium eggplant, chopped

1 large red capsicum, chopped

1 cup grated/diced carrot

1 cup fresh diced tomato

2x 500ml jars passata sauce

500ml filtered water

sea salt, black pepper & raw sugar to taste

3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Method:

1. Take a large pot and heat olive oil, then add the red onion and garlic. Saute for 3 mins on medium heat.

2. Add the eggplant and red capscium and saute for a further 5 mins. Add more olive oil if the eggplant is too dry.

3. Add the carrot and tomato and cook for saute for 2 more mins.

4. Add the passata sauce and water and bring to the boil.

5. Then place on a simmer. Adjust seasoning, by adding salt, pepper and sugar to taste. Add basil and continue to cook for 1-2 hours (the longer the better).

* Serve with pasta or if not using today let the pot cool (so it doesn’t go bitter) then store in the fridge for later use.dsc02738

One last thing I prepared tonight, which I am looking forward to tomorrow is my Apple Pie Over Night Oats. This is my first time making them, so curious how they are going to turn out. I made a container each for me and Marco. It really is a convenient breakfast that you can prepare the night before if you are in a rush, like Marco will be, in the morning. I will post the recipe tomorrow and tell you how it turned out.