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Plant based

I am no dietitian or nutritionist but I live a plant based life (no meat or animal products except the odd egg from my own chickens) and I have never felt better. I feel strong and healthy and I guess it shows as I often get asked for recipes and inspiration to help others cut down on animal products or cut out meat from their lives. I could go into the environmental and ethical factors but instead I will just show you how you can have a plant based meal and enjoy it as much as if not more than your usual dinner.

These are honestly delicious. I am a real foodie so for me to recommend them means they're the real deal. Portion wise I don't know what the below are as I can happily eat a meal for four in one sitting and these all fill me up so they could easily be for 2 or a family of 20!


Here's a short list:


Jamie Oliver's Vegan Lasagna

Ingredients


20g dried porcini mushrooms

2 large red onions

6 cloves of garlic

2 carrots

2 celery sticks

2 fresh rosemary sprigs

olive oil

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

2 fresh bay leaves

100ml vegan chianti wine

1 tin 400g of green lentils

2 400g tins of plum tomatoes

750g wild mushrooms

1/2 bunch of fresh thyme

2 slives of sourdough

70g vegan cheese

1/2 bunch of fresh sage

PASTA:

400g durum wheat flour

WHITE SAUCE:

olive oil

plain flour

800ml almond milk



Method

Place the porcini in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.

Peel the onions, 2 cloves of garlic and the carrots, trim the celery and pick the rosemary leaves, then roughly chop.

Place a large casserole pan on a medium-low heat with 1 tablespoon of oil.

Add the chopped vegetables, chilli flakes and bay, and cook for 15 minutes, or until golden and soft, stirring regularly.

Remove the porcini from their soaking juices, finely chop and add to the pan.

Strain in the porcini soaking liquor.

Add the wine, then turn up the heat and let it bubble away for a minute or two.

Add the lentils (juice and all) and tomatoes, along with 1 tin's worth of cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour or until thick and delicious.

To make the pasta, pile the flour into a large bowl, make a well in the middle and gradually add 200ml of tepid water, mixing with a fork. When it becomes too hard to mix, get in there with your hands and bring it together into a ball of dough. Knead on a flour-dusted surface for 5 minutes or until smooth, then cover with clingfilm and leave to rest until you’re ready to roll it out.

To make the white sauce, heat a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat with 4 tablespoons of oil. Add the flour and stir well to coat, then gradually add the almond milk, stirring continuously. Leave to bubble away for 5 minutes or until thickened.

Meanwhile, place a large non-stick frying pan on a high heat. Tear in the mushrooms and dry-fry for 3 to 5 minutes, or until charred and nutty. Peel and finely slice the remaining garlic.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the mushroom pan, followed by the garlic. Strip in the thyme leaves and cook for a further 2 minutes, them remove from the heat.

Place a third of the cooked mushrooms into a liquidiser with the white sauce and blitz until smooth. Have a taste and season to perfection.

Cut your pasta dough into 6 pieces. One at a time, flatten each piece of dough by hand and roll it out to 2mm thick using a pasta machine (or a rolling pin), keeping the pieces long. Place on a flour-dusted surface.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Whiz the sourdough in a food processor to coarse breadcrumbs.

To assemble, line a 30cm ovenproof frying pan with a large piece of oiled baking paper.Line the base with pasta sheets until completely covered, leaving an overhang around the edge of the pan. Trim the remaining pasta sheets for your layers. Layer up the lentil sauce, followed by the white sauce, a scattering of mushrooms and a couple of pasta sheets.

Repeat until all the elements are used up, saving your final layer of white sauce and mushrooms for the topping. Bring up the overhanging pasta and let it fall over the filling until completely covered. Add the remaining sauce and mushrooms, then sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, grate over the cheese and pick over the sage leaves. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Bake in the bottom of the oven for 50 minute to 1 hour until golden and bubbling. Leave to stand for 15 to 20 minutes, then tuck in!

Delicious served with a simple salad.




Phad Thai

Ingredients


200 g wide rice noodles

2 tbsp peanut oil (or other high smoke point oil)

2 spring onions, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 hot red chilli, finely sliced

2 carrots, shaved into ribbons

large handful of green beans, cut diagonally

½ small broccoli, divided into florets

1 red pepper, finely sliced

¼ cup roasted & unsalted peanuts, pounded in a pestle & mortar

½ cup mung bean sprouts

fresh coriander, to garnish

I also add other veg - baby sweetcorn, mushrooms, anything!

SAUCE

5 tbsp tamarind sauce*

1 tbsp tamari / soy sauce

2 tbsp vegan fish sauce* or more tamari / soy sauce

2-3 tbsp maple syrup, adjust to taste


METHOD

Prepare rice noodles according to the instructions on the packet, but do not cook them fully as you’ll give them another minute or two in the wok after. After you immerse them in soaking water, lift the lid and give the noodles a good stir to prevent them from clumping together and sticking to the bottom of the pot. Give them another good stir half way through the soaking time.Once the time is up, drain the noodles and set aside. You may want to stir a little bit of oil through them to prevent them from sticking together but I do not find this necessary.

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. If you are using a shop-bought tamarind puree / paste, go easy on it at first as it is apparently more concentrated (and therefore more sour) than if you make your paste from a tamarind block (see notes) yourself.Heat up a wok or a large frying pan. Pour 1 tbsp of oil and heat it up until almost smoking. Add spring onions, garlic and chilli.Stir-fry (stirring constantly) until spring onions soften and garlic becomes fragrant. Transfer to a separate plate, leaving as much oil in the wok as you can.Heat up another tablespoon of oil in the same wok – no need to wash it. Start adding prepared veggies in the following order (leaving a minute or two between each addition): broccoli, peas, red pepper and carrot ribbons. Stir-fry until cooked yet still crunchy.Transfer all vegetables to a big plate and pour the sauce to the bottom of the wok. Add in noodles – they may have clumped together a little, but the sauce and heat of the work will separate them again.Add spring onions, chilli, garlic and stir-fried veg back to the wok. Mix everything well and let it warm up, stirring the whole time, for a minute or two.Divide between two plates, sprinkle with sprouts and crushed peanuts. Serve with lime wedges on the side.



Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients


600 g Maris Piper potatoes

600 g sweet potatoes

40 g dairy-free margarine

1 onion

2 carrots

3 cloves of garlic

2 sticks of celery

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

olive oil

½ a bunch of fresh thyme

350 g chestnut mushrooms

12 sun-dried tomatoes

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

vegan red wine

100 ml organic vegetable stock

1 x 400 g tin of lentils

1 x 400 g tin of chickpeas

5 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 lemon

30 g fresh breadcrumbs


Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.Peel and chop all the potatoes into rough 2cm chunks. Place the Maris Pipers into a large pan of cold salted water over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender, adding the sweet potatoes after 5 minutes.

Drain and leave to steam dry, then return to the pan with the margarine and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Mash until smooth, then set aside.

Peel and finely slice the onion, carrots and 2 garlic cloves, then trim and finely slice the celery.Bash the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar until fine, then add it all to a medium pan over a medium heat with a good splash of oil. Pick in the thyme leaves, then cook for around 10 minutes, or until softened.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, then add to the pan along with the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the sun-dried tomato oil from the jar.

Cook for a further 10 minutes, then add a splash of wine, turn up the heat, and allow it to bubble away. Stir in the stock, lentils and chickpeas (juice and all), then leave it to tick away for 5 to 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened and reduced.

Pick and roughly chop the parsley leaves, then stir into the pan. Season to taste, then transfer to a baking dish (roughly 25cm x 30cm).

Spread the mash over the top, scuffing it up with the back of a spoon. Finely slice the remaining garlic clove, then place into a bowl with the rosemary leaves, lemon zest, breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of oil. Mix well, sprinkle over the mash, then place in the hot oven for around 10 minutes, or until piping hot through.

Place under the grill for a further 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden, then serve with seasonal greens.





Coconut Red Lentil Dahl

Ingredients


1 tbsp coconut oil

2 small yellow onions (625 g), diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled, minced

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 cups (375 g) dry red lentils

1 can coconut milk (full-fat or light)

3 cups water or vegetable stock

fresh cilantro for serving


METHOD

Cook the onions, ginger and garlic in the coconut oil for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently until soft. Add the spices, coconut milk, lentils and water or vegetable stock. Cook for 25-30 minutes until lentils are soft and it’s thickened up. Remove from heat and serve topped with fresh cilantro over brown rice, quinoa, or on it’s own. My favourite is to oil and season a couple of wraps cut into triangles and roast them for 4 minutes then flip them and roast for 2 minutes - they are the perfect as spoons!




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