Recipes.

All the recipes you will find here come from my own head, I am certainly not a chef of any sort so don't expect these to be Michelin star level, if you want that, look elsewhere, these are intended to be things anyone can make with no great effort.  I am also the first to admit that there could be a more healthy alternative to some of my ingredients, if you know one, why not reach out and e-mail me your suggestions which I will duly incorporate/ignore!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 jars (400 g) applesauce
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 2/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

FROSTING

  • 1 cup vegan butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) dairy-free semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened original Almond Milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and lightly spray 2 10/12-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray.  Dust with cocoa powder, shake out the excess and set aside.
  2. Mix the almond milk and vinegar in a large mixing bowl, and let set for a few minutes to activate, it will become thicker, almost like a buttermilk.  Add the oil, coffee, vanilla extract, and applesauce and beat until foamy.
  3. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a seperate bowl, once fully mixed, sift over the wet ingredients while mixing.  Beat until no large lumps remain, besides the apple sauce if it is a chunky one.  It should be creamy and pourable. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed, adding more sugar if desired, but be careful at this stage.
  4. Divide mixture evenly between your 2 cake pans.
  5. Bake for 20/25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
  6. While cooling, prepare frosting by mixing together all ingredients until combined, adding the powdered sugar in small amounts until you reach your desired consistency and sweetness.
  7. Once the cake is cooled, frost with buttercream frosting, adding a thick layer between the top and bottom layers.

Vegan Lasagna

So this is one I have wanted to make for some time now but was always both intimidated but translating such a deliciously cheese heavy dish into a vegan equivalent given I hate vegan cheese, and I was also very unsure about how to create a decent tasting bechamel sauce.  Anyway, I gave it a shot and low and behold, isn't it only savage!!

The bechamel:

  • Make a roux with butter substitute and flour - I advise white flour but it is up to you
  • Mix in soya milk stirring constantly to ensure no lumps - though I have actually found that once animal fat is removed, lumps aren't an issue in roux style sauces/gravy etc
  • Add in nutritional yeast, this gives it the cheesy flavour that will be missing
  • Add chopped garlic and also season it to taste
  • I did mix in some grated vegan cheese, not sure if it added anything, up to you really
  • Top tip here is you can add more milk to the mixture during cooking without it getting too runny, soya milk is good like that

Bolognese Mixture:

Now, to be fair, if you need me to tell you how to make this then you have problems, however, I did deviate from the norm here and my ingredients were:

  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Mixed bell peppers
  • Sweetcorn
  • Shallots / spring onions / white or red onion - whatever is to hand
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Mushrooms
  • Sun dried Tomatoes
  • Lentils - boiled in veg stock
  • Diced chillies
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste - gives a great dept of flavour
  • Garlic, basil and seasoning to taste

Gently fry the onions, garlic and chilli together, add in mushrooms and peppers, tip in the chopped tomatoes and after 10 minutes, mix in all the other ingredients.  You may ask what the hell I used lentils for, but I find them great to give that 'bite' you would expect from a traditional lasagna.  One little suggestion here, roast the bell peppers first if you can, it just adds a little sweetness, I also tend to leave the sauce simmer away for as long as I can as it allows the tomatoes to sweeten too.

Layer accordingly, cover in foil and stick it in the oven, it is as simple as that, what was I afraid of???

Vietnamese Pho

Having spent a month in Vietnam a number of years ago, the memories of Pho still run strong with me, at that time of course it was chicken and beef Pho but after hearing a friend say she makes it regularly, I decided I would give a vegan option a shot, it did not disappoint, it was absolutely amazing!

The broth:

  • 2 vegetable stock cubes (or your own stock if you have it)
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 medium onion - quartered
  • 1 large knuckle of ginger - sliced
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Off cuts of your other ingredients - tops of chillies, spring oinions etc

Other ingredients:

  • Bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 lime - wedge to be served with each portion
  • 1 fresh red chilli - sliced
  • Bunch of spring onions - sliced
  • Sliced mushrooms - I used shiitake and drained the juice into the broth
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Beansprouts
  • Noodles of choice - works best with a nest of rice noodles

Very simply, add all the broth ingredients together and get it on the boil, although this is the broth I used, you can vary it to your own preferences, I have no salt in this, maybe you want to use some soy sauce, anyway, boil it all together and prep your other ingredients, boil for at least half an hour and then strain it to remove all the bits.  The best part of this dish is that you can gather all your additional ingredients on a chopping board and once you pour the broth on the noodles, people can add their own amounts of the various additions.  The noodles need only be put in a bowl dry, hot broth poured over and leave for a couple minutes, they will cook in the residual heat, top as desired and serve while hot, simple, healthy, delicious!

Spicy Lentil Nut Roast

The first time for me doing something like this, but it was rewarding!  Prompted by an invite to dinner and games in a friends house, I decided to make this up so I wouldn't be drooling at their leg of lamb :)  I looked up some recipes and as always, bastardized them to my liking, here we go!

  • 1 tin of lentils - rinsed (or equivalent if you have them pre-cooked)
  • 250g mixed nuts - chopped (I went cashew heavy, then some walnuts and hazelnuts)
  • 150g button mushrooms - diced
  • 1 carrot - grated
  • 1 onion - diced
  • Wholemeal flour - see recipe for quantity
  • Breadcrumbs - see recipe for quantity
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp chipotle chilli sauce/paste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Glug of vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock

So, start by frying off the onion until golden in some olive oil, don't let it brown as it becomes too sweet, transfer to a mixing bowl and then fry off the mushrooms and carrot, be sure to drain excess water as these cook out, you don't want the finished product too soggy, tip these in with the onion.  Rinse your cooked lentils and tip them in, along with your chopped nuts. Mix it all together and at this point, add in your seasoning and a tbsp of the chipotle paste, depending on how spicy you want this, add more in, and also add the worcestershire sauce and stock.  Remember, the carrot and onion will add a sweetness so you can afford a bit more chilli or other preferenced falvourings.  Now you have a wet paste, mix in a good couple handfulls of breadcrumbs and stir in some wholemeal flour too, you are trying to bind everything together so aim for a wet dough, not a dry one as it will be too crumbly.

Transfer it to your baking dish and mix the tomato paste and remaining chipotle paste together and spread on top of the mixture.  Now, you have a few options here, cover in foil/greaseproof paper and bake in the oven for 50 minutes, removing the covering for the last 10 minutes / bake it in the oven without covering it but cover it for the last 10 minutes to keep the moisture in / bake without cover in a waterbath.  Now, for me, I baked without covering for 40 minutes, then covered for the last 10, I would do this the other way round next time.  Top tip here, allow it to cool before slicing, straight outta the oven it will still be crumbly.

With this I served a cabbage and spinach mixture, wilted in garlic and oil and some roasted baby potatoes.  Absolutely delicious!

Spicy Tofu Stir-fry

Another excellent choice in our house, and also the only dish I've incorporated Tofu into, I have yet to experiment much with this particular vegan staple.  By the way, I keep a jar of paste in my press I made myself and it is perfect for these recipes, it is made out of mixed fresh chillies, lots of them, finely diced, 4 cloves of garlic and a thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated, mix all the shiz together and transfer into a jar with some olive oil, it will keep for a long time and is super useful for stir fries or even a salad dressing!

So, Tofu, don't use silken for this, you need a firm tofu, and you need to press it.  So take your block of tofu, wrap it in a clean tea-towel and put pressure on it, not like demanding it to do some crazy arithmetic or something, but by putting several books or something on it, to force the water out, some people would say this should happen overnight, me, half an hour before use is sufficient I feel.  Once drained, cube it to size of preference, get some vegetable oil hot in a pan, enough to shallow fry the tofu, make sure it is hot, season the tofu with salt and pepper and fry it to a golden brown, as it approaches the desired colour, drain off the excess oil, throw in a handful of sesame seeds and a glug of soy sauce and continue to cook for a few more minutes, perfect!

Next, take your chilli paste as described above and stirfy any vegtables of choice, mine were corgette, peppers, peas, sweetcorn, onion and mushroom, once they are at desired level (this is deeply personal, I love al dente pasta, but cant stand undercooked veg, Katherine is the exact opposite to me, the joys!), mix back in the tofu and serve on some rice.

If you find this too dry, I often put in some soya sauce during last few minutes of frying and also some rice water, ideal!


Vegan Nachos

One of my most favourite dishes to have, nachos are delicious and go down a treat with herself.  What I love about these is that everything is super fresh, crisp and clean tasting, nothing is processed, well, unless you buy tortilla chips somewhere, but yet it feels bad, perfect for a fat vegan!

Salsa: Rough chop the tomatoes, finely dice everything else, make this first so the flavours can develop

  • 4 small tomatoes
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 a white onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic - a lot I know, but I love garlic, cut back if you want
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 tsp chopped coriander
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime

Guacamole: Just mash all this shit up together

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chopped coriander
  • some chilli flakes

Sour Cream: Make this with the salsa and allow the flavours to mix

  • 4 tbsp soya yoghurt
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • Juice of half a lemon

The key here is to make everything fresh, don't think this is going to take ages, we knocked this out in less than half an hour.  I chop by hand, you could use a food processor but I love a more rustic chop to the salsa and guac.  Basically, layer tortilla chips, sprinkling of cheese, more tortilla, more cheese, heat in the oven, vegan mozzarella doesn't melt as you'd expect so give it 5/7 minutes in a pre-heated oven, enough to warm the tortilla chips, then, pour on some sour cream, then guac and top with the salsa, serve immediately.  Absolutely amazing, and surprisingly healthy!

    Chocolate Oat Bars

    So sometimes you get tired of everything being so clean and you know what, that's ok too, these little bars are made to make you feel you've cheated with something really bad, while not actually being that bad at all, well, not as bad as shop bought crap!:

    • 2 cups of sugar (I normally go half and half here, brown and white, a lot of sugar yes, but read on)
    • 250g dates
    • Handful of almonds, chopped (or any nut you want, walnuts work great too)
    • 2 tablespoons chia seed, linseed, sunflower seeds - pretty much anything you want
    • 1 apple, shredded
    • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
    • juice of half a lemon
    • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
    • 4 cups oats - approx, could be more depending on mixture
    • Basically, outside of the syrup, dates and oats, you can add whatever the hell you want to this

    This could be any more easy, put the sugar in a pot with 4 cups of water, bring to the boil and allow to boil for some time.  Now, for the anti-sugar brigade, I have yet to try this recipe with something like Agave, the reason sugar works is it gives it the consistency to allow everything to bind AND set, which is important.  Normally, I chop the dates and add them to the sugar water after it has boiled for 10 minutes, I believe it helps the sugar syrup set better, add the lemon juice to the syrup too.  If you are subbing something else in, I'm guessing a mixture of Agave/Maple syrup and coconut oil would do the trick, same process with the dates though.

    Mix the peanut butter into the syrup and continue to reduce it, it does not need to become a sticky toffee consistency, as you don't want the bars to be solid, you want them to be soft.

    In a seperate bowl mix together all the other ingredients fully, pour the syrup into the mixture, combine until all has been mixed, if it seems too wet, add in more oats, roll out some cling film of use a baking tray, whatever is to hand, spread it out to desired thickness, allow to cool, portion it, freeze/refrigerate/eat/whatever you want, simples!

    With sugar, this recipe is approx 2500 calories, but will make a good 16 bars so perhaps 150+ calories a piece, heavy yes, but packed with a lot of protein and nutrients.

    Portobello Mushroom Burgers

    This one is new for us but was influenced by a vegan BBQ we went to last year where we were served these as burgers, at the time I remember thinking 'wtf is this shit, where is the beef', but I was pleasantly surprised.  We made these with a rustic avocado salsa, they were delish! Anyway, here goes:

    • Large flatcap/portobello mushrooms (1 per person)
    • Bun of choice, I went with a wholemeal bap, herself with a small round pitta
    • 2 tsp chili paste
    • 2 tsp Cajun spice mix
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • a good glug of olive oil - you want a wet rub consistency, not a dressing

    Wash the mushrooms and if you're one of those people, peel them, then pierce them a few times with a fork, to help the marinade get in.  Mix all the ingredients together and rub all over the mushrooms, really working it in, cover them and allow them to sit and absorb, you could easily do these the night before for the best flavour but honestly, while you're prepping will suffice.  I served mine with spinach, hummus, jalapenos and gherkins but the beauty of this is you can build it whatever way you want, the winner here is the mushroom.  When ready, fry/griddle/bake it until it begins to release its own water, reduce the heat and cover it for a couple minutes, and there you go, serve away!

    For the avocado salsa:

    • Half an avocado - diced
    • handful of cherry tomatoes - quartered
    • handful of diced onion
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

    It is that simple.  Usually what I do is mix the onion and tomato with the other ingredients and let it sit in the fridge, adding the avocado at the last minute before serving.

    Bean Chilli

    Chilli

    This one is a favourite in my gaff, and it is so easy, you gotta try it!

    • 2 fresh chillies, diced, seed in
    • 2 carrots - grated
    • 1 onion - diced
    • 1 tin chili kidney beans
    • 1 tin black eyed beans
    • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
    • Handful of chopped mushrooms
    • Cumin, Tumeric, salt, pepper and some extra chilli

    So, fry off the carrot, chili and onion in a pan with a little oil, I use extra virgin, but you could use coconut if you like it.  The idea of this is to remove the moisture and make the onions translucent, not brown!

    Next, add in all the other ingredients and immediately transfer to an oven dish, season to taste and pop into the oven, 200degrees for about 40minutes, cover in tinfoil for the first 30 minutes, then take it off for the last 10.

    Now, you have 2 choices here, you can add a cup full of un-soaked cous cous to the oven dish when putting it in, or you can boil some rice separately too.  I guess if you're not a fat vegan, you could just have it on its own!

    Salsa Verde

    Joannas Salsa Verde

    Joanna and I talk food pretty much all the time, so here is one of her recipes for salsa verde!

    • A bunch of flat leaf parsley
    • 4-5 leaves of rocket
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 1/2 a shallot
    • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
    • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 2 tsp capers

    Whizz (orfinely chop) all the ingredients together to a relatively rustic consistency, serve, SIMPLE!  Perfect with some roasted veg and rice.

    Vegan Muffins

    Joannas Vegan Muffins

    You are probably seeing a theme here, another one from Joanna!!

    • 3 cups of a/p flour
    • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
    • grated nutmeg - to personal taste
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 2 apples - grated
    • 1 carrot - grated
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 cup of almond milk
    • 1/2 cup of coconut oil

    Mix all the dry ingredients together, add the grated items into the mix and then your wet ingredients, mix it all together well, stick it into muffin cases or whatever and pop it in a 175degree oven for 35minutes.  Joannas top tip for baking, is keep the oven under 190 and bake until you smell it!!!!!

    Potato + Spinach Curry

    Kinda Curry

    I call this 'Kinda Curry' as that's just what it is, kind of a curry, but it is delish.

    • 1 kg baby potatos
    • 1 bag of spinach
    • 1 tin of chickpeas
    • 500mls vegtable stock
    • Knuckle of ginger - grated
    • 2 cloves of garlic - diced
    • 2 chilies - diced, seeds in of course!
    • soya sauce - to taste
    • garam masala - to taste (3 tsp in my case)
    • 1 onion - diced

    These are so easy, pop the spuds on to boil, I quarter them depending on size.  Separately in a pan, fry off the chilli, ginger and garlic with a little oil, add in everything else except spinach, cook off a little to colour the onion.  Add the vegetable stock, spinach and chickpeas, let it simmer away for a bit, then add in the potatoes, let it simmer only for a couple minutes.  This made us 6 portions, very cheap to make and very delicious, freezes well.

    Salad Selection

    Honey and Mustard Coleslaw:

    I have changed this from 'Slaw' to 'Coleslaw', following a colleague expressing just how much she hates people who use the word slaw.....and I simply couldn't have that!!  This one is nice and straightforward!

    • 1 1/4 head red cabbage
    • 2 carrots - grated
    • 1 onion - halved and finely sliced
    • 1 tsp agave syrup (or honey if you use it)
    • 2 tsp dijon mustard
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp soya yoghurt
    • 2 tsp dill
    • 1 pinch of salt
    • 1 pinch of pepper

    Whisk the dijon, mustard and oil together, mix in the soya and whisk, add in salt, pepper and dill, mix the shredded vegetables into it, simple as that!  Store in fridge for flavours to develop


    Sweet Potato and Balsamic Beetroot Salad

    Another simple one, this one really is best served warm but is delicious cold the following day too!

    • 1 large sweet potato
    • 1 similar sized beetroot (I use the vac packed pre cooked one, up to you really)
    • 3 shallots
    • Glug of balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp chilli powder
    • 1/8 cup pine nuts
    • 1/8 cup sesame seeds
    • 1 tsp dijon mustard
    • 1 lemon - juiced
    • Glug of olive oil

    Dice the sweet potato and beetroot, season to taste, coat in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and roast in the oven until golden.  In a bowl mix everything else together and whisk to incorporate (I crush the pine nuts rustically, haven't tried roasting the pine nuts but I imagine that would add nice depth), you are basically making a vinaigrette for the hot potato and beetroot.  Once the veg is cooked, allow to cool from oven temperature, but making sure it is still warm to hot, toss in the vinaigrette you've made, allow to develop for a few minutes and either serve now, warm, or cool fully and refrigerate.

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