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I know, it’s been a while…But this was worth the wait, I promise! This recipe is founded on a dish my Mum used to make, which was a family staple in the house – Sausage Pasta Bake. She would use English Pork Sausages and crumble them into a Tomato sauce, baked with Macaroni and covered with melted Cheese. It was absolutely delicious and I’ve dreamt of it many times since I’ve become Vegan…and now I’ve finally attempted to make my own version & it came out really well! I’ve spent the last few months in LA (Vegan capital of the world!), and have therefore been taking advantage of the abundance of faux meat & dairy products. The Soy Chorizo I used in this recipe is one of my favourite finds, but you could easily use any other Vegan Sausage and just crumble it – the only difference is that this one adds a nice spice to the dish. This bake can be whipped up in about 30 minutes flat, but comes out tasting & looking like you’ve spent a good couple of hours slaving away in the kitchen

 

Ingredients:

1 large clove of Garlic, minced

1/2 small Red Onion, diced

1 cup Mushrooms, chopped

1/2 medium Red Pepper, diced

splash of Red Wine

1 cup crumbled Soy Chorizo, or other Veg Sausage/Mince (I use Trader Joes)

handful of chopped Black Olives

tin of Fire Roasted Tomatoes (optional: with green Chillies)

dash of dried Basil & Oregano

bag of Fusilli or Macaroni Pasta (I use Brown Rice Pasta)

1 cup of grated Vegan Cheddar Cheese of choice (I used Daiya)

 

Method:

– Boil a pot of water for the Pasta, and cook until al dente and rinse. Preheat oven to 430F.

– Heat Oil in a medium sized saucepan and sauté Onions until browned. Add Mushrooms, Garlic and Red Peppers and continue to sauté, adding a dash of Red Wine. Add minced Chorizo, Olives and Herbs and cook a few minutes more. Then add the tinned Tomatoes, with a little water if needed, and allow to simmer for a few minutes.

– Add bolognaise sauce to cooked Pasta, mix in a handful of the grated Cheese, then pour into a square baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Cheese to cover the whole dish, and place in the oven for about 10-15 mins. or until Cheese has melted.

*Serve with a Spinach Salad and dig in…


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On a recent quest to detoxify my body, and lacking the willpower for another 7 day liquid cleanse, I decided to stick to a Raw menu for a few weeks. This dish is just one of the many delicious & satisfying meals I have been feasting on, which I decided to recreate after having it at one of my favourite Veggie haunts. To be honest, the idea of eating Zucchini uncooked has never really appealed to me – along with Broccoli, Cauliflower and Mushrooms…And so, despite the hype around Zucchini ‘Pasta’, I hadn’t even considered trying it – until it was the only raw choice on the menu one night, and now I’m so glad I did! Julienning the Zucchini into long, thin strips creates mock noodles with just the right texture, and they’re packed with fibre & water unlike heavy, starchy pasta. But it’s the zesty Basil Pesto and juicy Cherry Tomatoes that make this dish so heavenly – nothing can beat homemade Pesto! I like mine with lots of garlic, so if you’re not a big fan then adjust accordingly. These noodles are topped with Gomasio (a mixture of Sesame Seeds & Salt) for some crunch, but you can just as easily replace it with finely chopped Almonds or Sunflower Seeds…You’ll be surprised by how filling this dish actually is!

Ingredients: (2 servings)

2 medium sized Zucchini

handful of Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1 Tblsp. Sundried Tomatoes, chopped

Gomasio to sprinkle on top (or finely chopped Almonds/Sunflower Seeds)

For the Basil Pesto: (from The 30-Minute Vegan: Over 175 Quick, Delicious, and Healthy Recipes for Everyday Cooking) – makes 1 cup

1 1/2 cups fresh Basil leaves, packed

1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp. Pine Nuts

1/2 cup plus 2 Tblsp. Olive Oil

2 Tblsp. freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

2-3 Garlic cloves (I used 3…)

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

1 tsp. Nutritional Yeast (optional)

 

Method:

– After washing the Zucchini, cut the tops & tails off and, using a Mandoline, julienne into long, thin strips (make sure they are not too thick). Place in a large bowl, along with the Cherry Tomatoes and Sundried Tomatoes.

– Combine all the ingredients for the Pesto in a food processor or high-speed blender, and blend until mostly smooth.

– Mix Pesto with Zucchini Noodles (you may only need half the batch), and top with Gomasio.

*Enjoy, guilt-free!

 

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Spaghetti Bolognaise & Lasagne were my two most requested dinners when I was young – I’m sure my Mum must have gotten tired of making them! They were also the first dishes I learnt to make when I moved out of home, before that my specialty was melted Cheese on Toast…To this day I still love a good Bolognaise, except now I make it without the smelly Mince-meat (which used to make me gag when I was cooking it!). This recipe is pretty basic as I just used what I had around that night, but feel free to add some other veggies if you like – Eggplant, Courgettes or Carrots would go well too. You could also roast your veg first, rather than pan-fry, and then add them to the Tomato Sauce before blending, mmm…The ultimate comfort food – tastes just like Mum’s Bolognaise!

Ingredients: (2-4 servings)

1 pkt. Gluten-free Spaghetti Pasta

1 clove Garlic, minced

1/2 Onion, diced

1/2 each of Red Bell Pepper & Yellow Bell Pepper, diced

1 Tomato, diced

1 tin crushed Tomatoes (Fire roasted is good)

handful of Kalamata Olives, halved

3-4 Sundried Tomatoes, rehydrated & chopped

pinch each of dried Basil & Oregano

a few leaves of Fresh Basil, chopped finely

Optional: 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (if you want it to have a bit of spice…)

 

Method:

– Boil water with a dash of Olive Oil & Salt, and cook Pasta according to instructions on packet.

– In a large Saucepan heat some Oil and sauté Onions until they begin to soften. Add Garlic and sauté until it begins to release its aroma, then add Bell Peppers and pan-fry until they begin to soften.

– Add Tomato, dried Herbs, optional Red Pepper Flakes, and Sundried Tomatoes,  and stir to combine. Pour in the tin of Tomatoes, bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer (add a little water if mixture looks too thick). Allow to cook on low until the vegetables are cooked & softened (about 15mins.), then add Olives & Basil and remove from heat.

– With a hand blender (or in a blender), purée the Sauce leaving about half of it chunky. Add drained Pasta, and serve in a big bowl…

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I served this dish at a Girl’s Dinner a few nights ago – it’s great to make if you’re feeding a crowd. Risotto usually has Parmesan in it, but you really don’t need it here as it’s definitely not lacking in flavour! The Sundried Tomatoes add a great taste, but you can also leave them out if you prefer. I decided to make this with Barley because I thought the firm chewiness of this wheat-free grain would work well (and it did), but if you don’t have any on hand then it can be substituted with traditional Arborio Rice, or even Short Grain Brown Rice. Switch it up by changing the veg according to your taste…This is not a difficult meal to make, but it does require a good 45 minutes stooped over the stove, so be prepared!

Ingredients: {adapted from Vegie Food (Chunky Food)}

7-8 cups Vegetable Stock

1 cup White Wine

Olive Oil

1/2 Onion, diced

2 cloves Garlic, minced

2 cups chopped Mushrooms (I used Brown, but you can mix and match with any you like)

2 cups Barley

2 tsp. dried Thyme

4-5 Sundried Tomatoes, chopped into small pieces (if dry, rehydrate before use)

2 cups fresh Baby Spinach

 

Method:

– Place the Stock in a large saucepan and bring to boil, then reduce heat and keep at a low simmer.

– Heat Oil in a large saucepan/frying pan, adding Onion and cook for a few minutes until soft and golden. Add Mushrooms, Garlic & Thyme, and saute a few minutes until Mushrooms begin to shrink in size and release water. Slowly add 1/3 cup White Wine, and cook until dissolved. Repeat with another 1/3 cup until dissolved again and Mushrooms are cooked but still firm. Remove half the Mushroom mixture and set aside to add later.

– Stir in the Barley, adding a litte more oil if neccessary, and cook 1-2 mins. with the Mushroom mixture in the pan. Slowly add the left over 1/3 cup White Wine & Sundried Tomatoes, and stir over medium heat until absorbed. Continue adding the stock a little at a time (about 1/2 cup), with a ladle, stirring constantly until absorbed and the Barley is cooked through and creamy. This will take about 40 minutes.

– Roughly shred the Spinach with your hands, and mix into the Risotto with the rest of the Mushroom mixture you set aside before. Cover with a lid and leave for a few minutes for the Spinach to wilt (with heat off).

– Garnish with fresh Parsley if you like.

*About 4 large servings…

 

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Guest Post by Maurizio

For my first Guest Post there was no doubt in my mind that I would ask my boyfriend, Maurizio – being half Italian, his Pasta creations are always out of this world! So here he is, to share one of my favourite recipes from his family:

I remember the first time Rebecca and I had this together was when my sister cooked for us. Rebecca wasn’t too excited about the combination of Broccoli & Pasta, and pulled a face when we told her what was for dinner. But since she tried this we have been having it nearly every month! The good thing about this dish is that it doesn’t take alot of effort or time to cook, but tastes really creamy & delicious. Enjoy 🙂
 
Ingredients: (4 Servings)
 
2-3 cloves of Garlic
1/2 Onion (Red or White), diced
handful of Pinenuts
2 heads of Broccoli, florets separated
500ml Soya Cream (for sauces, not Whipping)
1 packet Spelt Tagliatelle (or any other you prefer)
Olive Oil
dash of dried Basil
Salt & crushed Black Pepper
1 tsp. Mustard (Dijon or English)
grated Soy Cheese (optional)

Method:

– Cook Pasta accoding to directions (remember to add salt and olive oil to water). Additionally, boil water in a seperate saucepan for Broccoli. If you are feeling very lazy you can boil the Broccoli in the water for 3-4 minutes, or you can steam it for about 5-6 minutes in a colander over the pan, until bright green & very soft. Drain and set aside.

– Heat oil in a sauce pan add Garlic, Onions and Pine nuts, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until ingredients start to brown. Add Basil and give it a quick stir.
 

-Add Brocolli and try to crush with a fork or wooden spoon until mushy with some pieces intact, then add Cream and let it simmer for 2 minutes. (Alternatively, you can blitz half the mixture at the end)
 
– Stir in Mustard and let it simmer(don’t boil) for another two minutes. At this point you can add some grated soy cheese if you want, but it doesn’t really improve the flavour. Season with Salt, and a good helping of fresh Black Pepper.
 
– Combine Pasta and Sauce, serve immediately and dig in!

                                                                                                                                                                                             –Maurizio

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Since I can remember, Tiramisu has always been my all-time favourite dessert (apart from Ice cream, but that’s a whole other story!). I would order it whenever I was at a coffee shop with my Mum, I would beg for it to be made when there was a big occasion, and I would prepare it myself to impress my sweetheart…But since going Vegan I have hesitated to attempt making this wonderful dessert, as I just had a feeling it would never compare to the real deal. Well, I was wrong – this Tiramisu was everything I was hoping for, and it brought me back to the days when I used to eat trays of this stuff! It is based on the one from The Urban Vegan: 250 Simple, Sumptuous Recipes from Street Cart Favorites to Haute Cuisine–  I just used another recipe for the sponge cake, as I wanted a Wheat-free version, but once it’s soaked in all that Coffee & Rum you can’t even tell. The overall texture is perfect, the only change I have made is to add more alcohol – it just wasn’t as boozy as I like mine to be! This is pure indulgence…

Ingredients:

Sponge Cake (recipe from Simple Treats: A Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Guide to Scrumptious Baked Goods):

 1/4 cup Canola Oil

2 Tblsp. Maple Syrup

1 cup Soymilk

1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar (or white vinegar)

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/4 cup Brown Sugar OR 1/4 tsp. Stevia

1 3/4 cups Barley Flour

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Salt

Method:

– Preheat oven 180C/ 350F, and oil a square brownie pan.

– Mix Oil, Syrup, Soymilk, Vinegar & Vanilla in a small bowl.

– In a seperate bowl, sift Sugar/stevia, Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Salt. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until well incorporated.

– Pour into pan and bake about 30 mins. or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Let cool 10 mins., remove from pan and let cool completely. Cut horizontally & then into ‘fingers’ (long, thin rectangles).

Tiramisu Topping:

1 cup of Soya Too Soy Whip (or any other dairy-free whipping cream you like to use)

1 container Vegan Cream Cheese (80z) – I use Tofutti

5 Tblsp. Brandy, Rum, or Kahlua

1/2 cup Sugar OR 1/2 tsp. Stevia

1 cup freshly brewed Espresso/strong Coffee

2 Tblsp. good Cocoa powder

 

Method:

Whip up Cream according to package directions.

– In a large bowl or food proccessor, whip together Cream Cheese, 1 1/2 Tblsp. Liquor, and Sugar/Stevia until smooth. Fold in Cream.

– Have ready a glass rectangular dish. Mix remaining 3 1/2 Tblsp. Liquor with Coffee. Dip each cake ‘finger’ into the coffee mixture – should be soaked, but not dripping. Lay each piece into the dish, covering the the bottom.

– Using a spatula, cover the Sponge with the Cream filling, and smooth out. Sift the top with Cocoa Powder and allow to set in the fridge for atleast 6 hours, or overnight, before serving.

*Tastes even better the next day!

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Store-bought Pesto almost always contains Parmesan Cheese, so I resort to making my own – luckily, it’s extremely easy to make! You do, however, need a small food processor as a blender doesn’t work very well (unless you have a really snazzy one…), and a good quality Olive Oil helps too. For this pasta dish I mixed my Pesto with some Silken Tofu for a Cream Cheese-y affect, but you can also just keep as is. It’s so tasty you won’t miss the Parmesan, I promise! Add whatever vegetables you like to this, but I think Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes & Artichokes make a great addition to any Italian meal…This is simple, delicious & easy to make, and if you already have the Pesto pre-made you can whip this up in less than 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

3-4 generous Tblsp.  Creamy Pesto (recipe to follow)

1 pkt. fusilli Brown Rice Pasta (or any other pasta you prefer)

1/2 Red Onion, sliced

1 clove Garlic, minced

2 Portobello Mushrooms, chopped

1/2 Zucchini, julienned into long, thin strips and halved

1/2 Red Bellpepper, thinly sliced

a few re-hydrated Sun-dried Tomatoes, sliced

handful of Kalamata Olives, halved

3 Tblsp. chopped Artichokes, from jar in Olive Oil

1 Tblsp. Parsley

 

Method:

– Boil the Pasta according to packet instructions until Al dente. Drain, rinse and drizzle with a little bit of Olive Oil to prevent sticking.

– In a large Frying Pan, sauté Onions in Olive Oil until beginning to brown. Add Garlic & Mushrooms until Mushrooms begin to release moisture. Add Zucchini & Peppers and sauté until beginning to soften. Add Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes & Artichokes and mix well.

– Add drained Pasta to the pan and stir a few times until everything is combined, and Pasta is heated through. Mix in Pesto, stirring a few more times and then take off heat.

– Fold in Parsley and serve.

Basil-Parsley Pesto: (adapted from Nonna’s Italian Kitchen: Delicious Homestyle Vegan Cuisine (Healthy World Cuisine)

1 1/2 cups fresh Basil leaves

1/2 cup fresh Italian Parsley leaves

2 cloves Garlic

1 Tblsp. Pine Nuts, toasted

1 Tblsp. slivered Almonds/raw Almonds/Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 tsp Salt

squeeze Lemon Juice (1/4 Tblsp)

4 Tblsp. Olive Oil (1/4 cup)

* 1/2 asceptic box of Firm Silken Tofu

 

Place everything in a food processor, and let it run until a paste forms. Refrigerate if not using.

* For Creamy Pesto: Add Tofu once the Pesto is finished, and process again until smooth. Keep in the fridge to firm up until using

 

 

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