Vegan meals: Vegan isn’t about being a healthy choice, or a diet, fad or trendy. It is a lifestyle choice individuals make, usually for humane and ecologically reasons. If you decide to adapt a vegan lifestyle there are a few things that need to be kept in mind.
- You can have an unhealthy vegan diet. I’m talking about buying processed, packaged ‘vegan’ alternatives at the shop
- Be mindful of protein-combining. Animal-based proteins contain all 9 essential Amino acids and are considered complete proteins. There are only a few plant proteins that contain all the essential AA. However, this does not mean you can’t get all your amino acids into your diet, you just have to be smart and combine different varieties of proteins into your diet throughout the day
- Iron and B12 deficiency are common in vegans, however, many people eating a diet full of animal foods also have deficiencies. It’s all about balance.
VEGETABLE NOODLES WITH COCONUT CURRIED SAUCE – SERVES 4
Delicious vegetable noodles with fresh herbs, gentle spices and coconut THREE ways! What’s not to love about this hearty vegan, gluten-free meal? Feels like a cheat meal, but without the processed carbohydrates.
2 green zucchini
2 yellow zucchini
1 large carrot
2 corn cobs (kernels only)
200 g fresh peas or snow peas
1 large handful of mixed herbs, such as coriander, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, oregano, thyme
CURRIED COCONUT SAUCE
1 small shallot
1 small clove of garlic
3 cm piece of ginger
½ a fresh green chili
5 cm piece of turmeric , or 2 tsp ground turmeric
1 lime , plus extra to serve
200 ml coconut milk
300 ml coconut water
100 g unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon medium-hot curry powder, optional*****
Step 1: First make the sauce. Peel and roughly chop the shallot, garlic and ginger, and roughly chop the chili. Juice the turmeric, if using fresh. Zest and juice the lime.
Step 2: Blitz all the sauce ingredients, except one tablespoon of desiccated coconut, in a food processor until combined. Season to taste – the sauce should be smooth and creamy.
Step 3: Using a julienne peeler or spiraliser, cut the zucchini’s and carrot into long noodles. Place in a bowl with the rest of the vegetables.
Step 4: Pour over the sauce and mix well. Pick, finely chop and sprinkle over the herbs and reserved tablespoon of desiccated coconut.
Step 5: Leave to marinate for 30 minutes, until the ‘noodles’ have softened slightly, then serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.
Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Hummus- Makes 3 Cups
Roasted garlic, fresh lemon juice and high-quality Olive Oil recreates the flavour of a traditional hummus. Serve with raw vegetable sticks, including carrot, celery, or cucumber or use as a spread on your homemade savoury loaf!.
1 head of garlic
½ tsp coconut oil
1 head of cauliflower, steamed
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp water
½ tsp sea salt
Fresh Parsley to serve
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Step 2: Cut the very top off of the head of garlic, making sure to expose the tip of every clove. Place the coconut oil on the top and wrap in foil. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until soft and lightly browned.
Step 3: When the garlic is finished roasting, remove the cloves and place in a food processor with the cauliflower, olive oil, lemon juice, water, and sea salt. Process for a minute or two, until a thick puree forms.
Step 4: Serve garnished with fresh parsley. Enjoy!
MUSHROOM AND LENTIL SALAD- serves 4
This healthy, light and easy mushroom and lentil salad recipe is perfect to bring along to your next bbq or summer picnic. Vegan and gluten free, and made from ingredients you are already likely to have in your fridge or pantry it’s sure to satisfy everyone!
- 1/2 cup French Green Lentils
- 2 cups vegetable stock or water
- 4 cups mix of button and swiss brown mushrooms sliced (300g or 10 1/2 oz)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 shallot or small onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes or more to taste
- 1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
- 3 tsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup rocket (arugula)
Begin by cooking the lentils. Place the lentils and vegetable stock in a saucepan and bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
Place a large ]frying pan over a high heat. When the pan has come to heat (don’t add oil) add 1/3 of the mushrooms. Leave for 2 minutes before then give the pan a shake to flip them over. The mushrooms should be lightly golden. Cook for a further minute before removing from the pan and repeating with the remaining mushrooms.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add 2 tsp of olive oil or vegan butter and add the shallot or onion. Cook until slightly golden on the edges and return the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant, but not browned as it will taste bitter. Set aside to cool.
Toss the lentils, mushroom and garlic together along with the lemon juice and the extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste and add the parsley and rocket just as you’re serving.
Don’t slice the mushrooms too thinly. You want them to have a bit of substance and also you don’t want them to dry out when they are cooked over a high heat.
HEARTY RATATOUILLE – SERVES 4
A hearty vegetable ratatouille made with healing herbs to support gut health and overall wellbeing. To add extra punch or some summer inspiration, serve with a scoop of the vibrant Salsa Verde. Another option is to serve with soaked brown rice or toasted sourdough and avocado. Enjoy!
5 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil
2 Red Onions
4 Cloves of Garlic
2 Red Capsicum , or mix it up with 1 x Red and 1x YellowCapsicum
1 Fennel, chopped
3 Large Zucchinis’
4 Large Ripe Tomatoes
2 tsp herbs de Provence* (mix of savory herbs such as marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano).
SALSA VERDE (OPTIONAL)
1 Small Handful of Basil
1 Small Handful of Flat-leaf Parsley
1 Small Handful of Coriander
1 Small Handful of Mint
1 Clove of Garlic
1 tsp Capers
4-5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Organic Lemon
Step 1: Preheat the grill to high.
Step 2: Cut the eggplants into 1cm slices, then place on a baking tray and brush with 1 tablespoon of oil.
Step 3: Grill for 10 to 12 minutes, till golden brown. Turn the slices over, brush with another tablespoon of oil and grill for 5 to 8 minutes, until golden.
Step 4: Peel and finely slice the onions width-ways, peel and finely slice the garlic, then deseed and slice the capsicums and fennel. Cut the zucchinis into 1cm rounds.
Step 5: In a large frying pan, heat the remaining oil over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, until they begin to soften and turn golden.
Step 6: Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, then add the capsicum, fennel and zucchinis, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes until they begin to soften.
Step 7: Use a knife to score a cross into the base of each tomato. Put them in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for a minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and peel the skin.
Step 8: Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to the pan, along with the eggplant and Herbes de Provence.
Step 9: Lower the heat, cover the pan with a tight lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes or so, until the vegetables are cooked through. Season to taste.
Step 1: To make the Salsa Verde, remove any tough herb stalks and peel the garlic, then use a pestle and mortar to grind the herbs and garlic to a paste, adding a little sea salt to help the process (or blitz in a food processor).
Step 2: Crush in the capers. Stir in the oil, finely grate in the lemon zest and squeeze in the juice, adding more oil or juice if necessary, to create a flavour and texture you like. Season to taste.
Step 3: Serve the ratatouille in bowls with a spoonful of Salsa Verde.
Fresh Basil Pesto- Makes 1 Cup
A delicious, creamy vegan-style basil pesto. Fresh herbs, anti-inflammatory healthy fats provide the body with essential healing nutrients, while nutritional yeast recreate a cheesy flavour of parmesan, keeping it dairy-free.
1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
½ Cup Pine Nuts
1 Clove of Garlic
¼ tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Step 1: In a food processor, pulse basil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt until finely chopped and evenly textured.
Step 2: Add nutritional yeast and avocado. Pulse until combined.
Step 3: While the processor is running, very slowly pour the olive oil in to combine.
Step 4: to prevent oxidation, spoon pesto into a small jar and top with a thin layer of olive oil. Store in fridge for up to 1 week.
Vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheese
A Simple vegan take on the traditional Mac ‘n’ Cheese that is so simple and delicious you’ll want to make it all the time! This recipe boosts a gluten-free and dairy-free option, along with providing hidden vegetables, proteins, and anti-inflammatory health-promoting fats!
1 C Gluten-free Pasta
For Cheese sauce:
1 C Sweet Pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1/2 C Carrots, peeled and chopped
3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/2 C Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 Tbsp Unhulled Tahini
1 Tbsp Oragnic Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cloves of Garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt, suit to taste
For the Crumb Topping:
1/3 C Sunflower Seeds
1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
Step 1: Cook pasta to instructions on packed.
Step 2: Steam the pumpkin and carrot until softened, around 10 minutes.
Step 3: While the pumpkin and carrots are cooking, prepare the crumb topping. Combine all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well-combined and resembling a crumbly mixture, then set aside in a small bowl.
Step 4: When pumpkin and carrots are cooked, combine in a food processor with the remaining ‘cheese sauce ingredients and blend on high-speed until a thick, velvety consistency. Add salt to taste.
Step 5: Drain pasta, but do not rinse. Stir through the cheese sauce until combined thoroughly. Top with crumb topping and serve immediately. Enjoy!
** Optional: Serve with a side of homemade salad for a balanced meal. This can also be baked, as per the picture, until the crumbing has lightly browned.
One-Pot Loaded Mexican Quinoa
Hearty quinoa, capsicum, and salsa combine to make a zesty, filling, and nourishing meal! This recipe will make enough for 4 to 5 dinners too, so after you cook it once, you can save even more time by just reheating it over the next few days. If you don’t like to repeat leftovers, you could put it in a freezer-safe bag and it will save well that way too. Personally, I like to enjoy this with a nice salad on the side for some extra greens!
1 C Dry Quinoa
2 C Vegetable stock
1 C diced Mixed Capsicum, (Red, Yellow and Green for Colour and flavour)
1 Large Zucchini, diced
1/2 C Corn kernels
1/2 C Cherry Tomatoes, diced
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 420g Tin of Black Beans
1 Fresh lime, juiced
1/3 C Fresh Coriander, chopped
1/2 C Salsa of choice to serve
Step 1: Chop and slice all vegetables.
Step 2: In a medium pot, sauté the diced capsicum and garlic, with a little extra Virgin Olive Oil for 2-5 minutes
Step 3: Add the diced zucchini, quinoa, salsa, corn and tomatoes and 2 C of Vegetable stock to the pot and bring to the boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Let cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 4: Turn off the heat, and stir through black beans. Re-cover and let sit for 5 minutes before uncovering the quinoa. Fluff with a fork and stir through coriander and finish off with a squeeze of lime juice. Enjoy!
Quick note: Remember when using canned Black Beans, be sure to rinse and drain them before adding them to the quinoa // If you are just using this recipe for Meal Prep and do not plan on eating it right away, you can just add the Black Beans with the cilantro at the end
Vegan Cheesy Cashew Sauce- Makes around 1 Cup of sauce
A vegan, cheese flavoured cream sauce made from cashews and nutritional yeast. This simple, healthy, and delicious cashew cream sauce can be made in 5 minutes!
2/3 C Raw Cashews, soaked in filtered water for at least 4 hours
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
4 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/2 C Filtered Water
1 Tbsp Fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 clove of garlic
Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt to taste
Step 1: Cover the raw cashews in a sealed jar, filled with filtered water, and let sit for at least 4 hours to soften.
Step 2: Drain cashews, then place in a blenders or food processor with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high, until a creamy sauce is formed
Step 3: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
**Use on your favourite pizza, stuffed sweet potato, in salad or homemade mexican dishes.