Vegan food and thoughts
Vegan food and thoughts
I wanted to make something along the lines of mac and cheese: macaroni, a nutty sauce and tomatoes, but it turned out even better! I used four large red bell peppers to make the bulk of the sauce, and together with the tomatoes and basil, it is a flavour powerhouse! This red pepper pasta bake is perfect for a cold night in, or to take to a large family gathering. The left overs make for a great work lunch too!
This dish takes little effort and few ingredients. I chose to go with a whole wheat macaroni pasta, but I am sure corn or legume pasta would work just as well. I love the taste of peppers, and roasted is even better as it brings out their sweetness and makes to sauce rich in flavour. You can use pre-roasted peppers if it’s easier for you, just make sure that it isn’t packaged in liquid containing oil.
The final sauce is creamy and coral in colour. The nutritional yeast adds a nuttiness to the dish that you would expect from a mac and cheese. To up the fibre and nutrients even more, I added black beans to this dish, and as weird as that may sound, it works SO well. Trust me and try it.
In the end you are left with a crispy topped red pepper pasta bake that makes for the perfect comfort food. Serve with a green salad and you are good to go!
This red pepper pasta bake is the perfect comfort food that is nutritious, vegan and oil free. You can easily make it gluten free too! Think sweet pepper, tomato and basil, and a crispy baked top,
- 4 large red peppers
- 500 mL plant based milk (without oil)
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour (or 1 large cooked mashed potato)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 + 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 400 g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 500 g whole wheat macaroni pasta
- 400 g black beans
- fresh basil
- salt and pepper
Prepare by pre-heating the oven to 220°C and roasting the peppers for about 15-20 minutes until the skin is black and blistered. Then half the cherry tomatoes and chop the fresh basil.
Remove the peppers from the oven and peel the charred skin. Place the peppers in a bowl and blend them with a stick blender until smooth. Turn the oven down to 200°C.
Now that everything is prepared, cook the whole wheat pasta as per packet instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, cook the tomatoes down and let the excess water evaporate. Set aside.
In a medium sized pot, slowly heat the plant based milk and add the flour or mashed potato. Do not boil. Whisk the mixture continuously until a thicker consistency is achieved. Add the blended peppers to the same pot and heat thoroughly without boiling. Add the garlic powder, 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper to taste.
Add the cooked macaroni to the sauce together with the fresh basil, black beans and about two thirds of the tomatoes and stir until the macaroni is completely covered in the sauce.
Transfer the pasta and sauce to an oven dish. Cover the pasta with the remaining tomatoes and sprinkle more black pepper over the top. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the top is crispy.
Sprinkle more fresh basil and the remaining nutritional yeast over the pasta once it comes out of the oven and serve!
Italian quiches. Crustless… Italian quiches. Can it even be a quiche without the crust? Yes. I’ve always found the crust on a quiche to be so dry that it’s difficult to swallow. So I made these quiches sans the crust and they are fricken amazing! Plus they are super healthy and only made from plant foods.
These quiches are made with chickpea flour. The chickpea flour acts as a great binder, so you can substitute or add whichever vegetables you would like to these. I chose to make them Italian inspired, because I was in the mood for salty olives, tangy sundried tomatoes and fresh basil. Flavouring the chickpea ‘batter’ with salt, herbs and nutritional yeast is also important as it delivers almost a cheesy flavour you would expect from a quiche. And I like to be generous with the fresh basil and pepper in these babies.
Having one or two of these mini crustless Italian quiches as snack is great for curbing a hunger between meals, or for when you need a grab-and-go style item. As for using them as a main dish, I would serve it with a large salad. These quiches can easily be brought to a party as well and served along with other finger food as they keep very well. For storage, they just go in the fridge or freezer, and reheat them in the oven or microwave before eating.
These Mini Crustless Italian Quiches are naturally gluten free and made from chickpea flour. They are packed with the delicious flavours of olives, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and basil. Perfect for a snack, as a meal with a salad, or to bring to a party.
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, diced
- 250 g mushrooms, diced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 2/3 cups water
- 1 handful fresh basil, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced
- 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, diced
Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C. Dice and prepare all the ingredients.
In a non stick pan, fry the onions until translucent. Then add the mushrooms and cook until all the water has evaporated. Then add the soy sauce, cook until no liquid remains in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.
Mix the chickpea flour, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast and dried oregano together in a bowl. Add the water and mix until all the lumps are gone. Then add the basil to the mixture. The mixture should be very runny.
Spray the muffin tin with a non stick spray, or use a silicone muffin tray. Scoop 1/4 cup of the wet mixture into each of the muffin wells and then add the mushrooms, olives and sundried tomatoes to each well. I like to do each filling individually so I know they are evenly distributed between all the quiches.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Allow them to cool in the muffin trays for about 5 to 10 minutes before taking them out to cool completely on a cooling rack, otherwise they will sweat.
A classic green smoothie is hard to beat. So this recipe really should be a staple in your home. It is creamy and delicious, packed with all the goodness you need to kick off a sunny day. Using bananas as the base for your smoothie adds bulk and guarantees creaminess. I really love the addition of barley grass juice powder to my smoothies because it gives it the obvious green colour, but more importantly it is absolutely packed with nutrients. Because it is a powder made from the juice of barley grass, the taste is very subtle. If you are struggling with the taste or fiber from baby spinach or kale in your smoothies I would highly recommend giving barley grass juice powder a try in you classic green smoothie. (I like this brand).
The addition of orange and kiwi just gives it a slight depth of flavour I enjoy very much and gives it an extra boost of vitamin C. And chia seeds are there for the much needed overt fats and omega 3. If you struggle to stay satiated from smoothies, try adding chia seeds or ground flax seeds to your smoothies.
Feel free to add or remove any ingredients. After all, smoothies are very versatile. Dates are great to add for extra sweetness if that is what you prefer.
This is a classic green smoothie that should be a staple in your home. It is creamy and delicious; an all round nutritious and satisfying meal.
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1 kiwi
- 1 fresh orange or juiced
- 1 tsp barley grass juice powder
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 250 mL water
Shove everything into a high speed blender and blend until smooth