Spring Risotto

Spring is definitely in the air and I have been loving to finally enjoy some delicious seasonal produces. I absolutely love asparagus, they have a gorgeous fresh flavour with a subtle sweetness and Iove how versatile they are. I particularly like them paired with peas as they are both spring vegetables and they just work so well together. This risotto is the perfect celebration to the new season, it’s packed with lighter flavours but still creamy and decadent.

Serves 2-3 people 

Ingredients:

150 gr of brown rice 

2 shallots – finely sliced

1 garlic clove – crushed

100gr of frozen peas

50gr of frozen edamame beans 

About 200gr of asparagus 

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 litre of veggie stock 

2 tablespoon of nutritional yeast + extra for sprinkling on top 

1 teaspoon of olive oil 

Into a large pan add the oil and the finely chopped shallots. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the onion has soften and start to caramelise. Add in the crushed garlic and cook for another minute, be careful not to burn it! Wash and rinsed the brown rice and add it into the pan. Pour in the veggie stock. Put the lid on, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the risotto for 25-30 minutes. Make sure you stir it from time to time and add more water if it’s needed.

While the rice is cooking put the frozen peas and edamame beans into a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them sit for 5 minutes until they are soft. Place them in the ninja food processor and blitz until you have a chunky puree. Leave it onto one side.

Chop the asparagus into small pieces and add them to the rice about 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time. I like to keep my asparagus quite crunchy so I don’t want to cook them for too long. Just before the risotto is ready stir in the peas and edamame puree and the nutritional yeast. Give it a good mix and adjust with salt and pepper and add the lemon juice. Serve with some extra nutritional yeast and black pepper. Enjoy!

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Salted Caramel Energy Balls

When it comes to energy balls I really think the flavour combination are endless! This salted caramel version has been my latest obsession as I love the contrast between the sweetness of the dates, the sea salt and the biscuity flavour of the maca powder. I love making a big batch on a Sunday so I have got plenty of snack ready for the week ahead.

Makes about 10-12 balls 

Ingredients:

100gr of almonds 

1 tbsp of almond butter 

About 12-14 medjol dates 

1/2 teaspoon of maca powder ( it will give them a nice biscuity flavour)

A pinch of sea salt 

Optional: If you want to make this energy balls even more decadent you can drizzle them with some melted dark chocolate – about 40gr

This recipe really couldn’t be simpler. Just place all the ingredients into your food processor and blitz for 1 minute or so until the almond turn into coarse flour and you have a sticky mixture when pressed between your fingers. If you find the mixture too dry add another couple of dates.

Roll the mixture into balls and place them in the fridge to set for about 1 hour.

Once set drizzle them with some melted dark chocolate and let them set for another 30 minutes until the chocolate is solid. Enjoy! 

You can either store them in the fridge of freezer and they are perfectly fine to eat for few weeks in the fridge of few months in the freezer.

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Coconut Cauliflower Steaks with Quinoa Tabouleh and Aubergine Dip

The summer months are finally around the corner and nothing beat a good old feast al fresco. This vibrant plant based feast is perfect for when you have guests around or just for when you want to treat yourself to something super delicious and nutritious at the same time. The cauliflower steaks were definitely the star of the show and when rubbed in this coconuty indian inspired marinade they become so flavoursome and perfect to be saved with the fresh and fruity quinoa tabouleh salad. The aubergine and cannellini beans is just the icing on the cake. It adds creaminess to the dish and I absolutely love the gorgeous smoky flavour. 

 

Ingredients:

Serves 2 or 3 people 

For the roasted cauliflower:

1 head of cauliflower 

For the marinade;

3 tbsp of unsweetened coconut yogurt 

1/4 tsp of turmeric powder 

1/4 tsp of smoked paprika 

1/2 tsp of cumin powder 

1 tbsp of lemon juice 

1 tbsp of olive oil 

A pinch of salt and pepper 

For the quinoa tabouleh:

1/2 cup of quinoa

1 cup of water 

The juice of 1/2 lemon 

The seeds of 1/2 pomegranate 

Half of cucumber – diced in very small pieces

A generous handful of fresh parsley – finely chopped 

1 fresh red chilli – optional 

1 tbsp of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste 

For the cannellini bean & Aubergine dip:

1 large aubergine 

1/2 cup of cooked cannellini beans 

1  1/2 tbsp of tahini  

The juice of 1/2 lemon 

1 clove of garlic -crushed 

1/4 teaspoon of cumin power 

1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika 

Salt to taste 

Remove the leaves and stalks from the cauliflower. Slice it lengthways in thick slices (about 1cm thick). In a bowl mix together all the ingredients for the marinade until you have a creamy mixture. Using a kitchen brush coat the cauliflower steak with the marinade. If you have the time do this the night before and let the cauliflower marinate in the fridge overnight. If you don’t have the time try to leave it for at least 1-2 hours. 

Cook the quinoa. Simple place the quinoa and the water in a pan, bring it to boil. Turn the heat down to a low simmer and put the lid on. Cook until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is soft and looks like it has little tails 🙂 Leave the quinoa onto one side to cool down.

Cook the Aubergine. With a fork pierce the aubergine and place it on a baking tray. No need to slice or remove the stem. Roast the aubergine for 30-35 minutes until completely soft and squishy.

Peel off the skin and the stem and place the aubergine white flesh into a food processor. Add in all the other ingredients for the dip and blitz until you have a super creamy consistency. Leave it onto one side.

Cook the cauliflower. Place the cauliflower on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until soft and slightly golden brown. You can also cook the cauliflower on a griddle pan or even better on a barbecue for a lovely smoky flavour. 

While the cauliflower is cooking finish to dress the quinoa. Place the cooked quinoa in a bowl and add the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, pomegranate seeds, chilli (if using) and the finely diced cucumber. Adjust with salt and pepper.

Divide the quinoa tabouleh into 2 plates. Add a generous dollop of the aubergine dip  and place the cauliflower steaks on top. 

Any leftovers will be great the next day as well! Just stare everything in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Cauliflower and Kale Fritters

I have been slightly obsessed lately in making fritters or omelette with silken tofu and chickpea flour. In my opinion is really the best combination when it comes to recreate an “eggy” kind of texture. The result is a spongy, soft consistency which when combined with spices, seasoning and veggies taste absolutely delicious! 

Makes about 6-8 fritters depending on the size 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of chickpea flour (also called gram flour)

1/2 cup of water

1 block of silken tofu 

2 tbsp of nutritional yeast

1/2 tablespoon of corn/potato starch flour 

1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika 

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper 

1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder 

About 1 cup of cooked and chopped cauliflower – you can either use leftover roasted or steamed cauliflower 

1 cup of fresh kale – finely sliced

1tbsp of coconut oil for frying 

To serve: I love serving them with mashed avocado and fresh tomatoes 

Place the chickpea flour, water, silken tofu, nutritional yeast, corn flour and all the spices into a blender. Blend well until you a smooth and creamy mixture. Add in the chopped cauliflower and chopped kale. Let it sit onto one side to thicken up a bit. 

Heat up the coconut oil into a non stick pan. Once really hot pour the fritters batter into a pancake shape. About 2 tablespoons each fritter. Cover the pan with a lid and let cook the fitter onto one side for at least 4-5 minutes. As it’s quite a dense mixture it will take longer than regular pancakes. Once the top of the fritters look quite solid flip them onto the other side. Cook for another 5 minute still with the lid on.

Repeat the process until you have finished all the batter. Serve while still warm with some mashed avocado, fresh tomatoes or some salad.

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Chocolate Caramel Digestive Biscuits

 

I don’t know about you but digestive caramel biscuits used to be my absolute favourite treat especially with a cup of tea. So I couldn’t be happier to have remade one of my all time favourite in a much healthier version. The crunchy base goes perfectly with the creamy and rich caramel and the chocolate coating makes everything even more delicious! They are the perfect treat to serve to guests which I promise will never guess these biscuits are vegan and gluten free!


Makes 10-12 biscuits depending on the size

Ingredients:

For the base:

1/2 cup of plain gluten free flour – I have used Dove’s farm
1/4 cup of ground almond
2 tablespoons of Natvia Natural Sweetener
1 tablespoon of brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons of coconut oil – melted
2 tablespoons of almond milk
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
A dash of vanilla extract

For the caramel filling:

7-8 medjol dates ( I wouldn’t recommend to use regular date for this recipe as medal are particular gooey and soft plus they have a gorgeous caramel flavour)
3 tablespoon of runny and smooth almond butter (the runnier the better)
Dash of water to thin it out

For the chocolate coating:

70gr of good quality dark chocolate (or any chocolate of your choice)

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. In a bowl mix together all the ingredients for the base until you have a solid dough. Dust your working surface with some flour. With a rolling pin gently stretch your dough (about 1/2 cm thick). With a cookie cutter or a small glass ( I used a glass) cut out the biscuits. Keep repeating the process until you have used all up all the dough.
Place the biscuits on a baking tray covered with parchment paper.
Bake them in the oven for 10-12 minutes until they start to go brown around the edges. Make sure not to overtake them as they can burn quite quickly.

To make the caramel filling: place the pitted dates and almond butter into a food processor. Start blitzing. Stop and scrape the sides and blitz again. Gradually add about 1 tbsp of water. Keep blitzing until you have a relatively smooth and creamy consistency. If the caramel is too thick add another splash of water and blitz again.

On a double boiler melt the chocolate.

Once the biscuits are baked let them cool down completely adding the caramel on top. Spread each biscuit with about 1 teaspoon of the caramel. Dip them into the melted chocolate and place them on a cooling rack to set. Once the chocolate is hard enjoy!

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Roasted Pepper and Sweet Potato Falafels

Nothing beats a fully loaded Buddha bowl especially when it has got falafels in it 🙂 These red pepper and sweet potatoes falafels are such a winner and so easy to make. I love how the flavour and texture of the sweet potato goes so well with the roasted peppers, they are definitely a match made in heaven! They are very convenient for lunch boxes or for when you want something quick and easy. I would recommend to make quite a large batch (just double the ingredients) and freeze them so you always have something ready on hand for when you have no time to cook.

Makes about 8-10 falafels depending on the size

Ingredients:

1 can of chickpeas -drained and rinsed
1 pepper – deseeded and cut into pieces
1 small sweet potato- peeled and cut into chunks
1 garlic clove -minced
1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
Salt to taste

Serving suggestion:

I like to eat them in a big salad with some quinoa, cabbage, sliced avocado, baby spinach and cherry tomatoes.

Place the chopped up pepper on a baking tray and drzzle with some olive oil, add some salt and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until soft.
At the same time steam the roasted sweet potato until you can pierce through with a fork. Once cooked let it cool down for 10-15 minutes.
In a large bowl add the chickpeas. With a fork or even better a potato masher roughly mash them down. They don’t have to be completely a puree, a chunky texture is more what we are looking for. Add in all the remaining ingredients and keep mashing! 🙂 Once everything is well combined add salt according to your taste.

Line a baking tray with some parchment paper. Roll the mixture into balls ( to make your life easier wet your hands so it won’t stick as much) and place them on the baking tray. Bake the falafels for 20-25 minutes. Make sure to flip them on the other side halfway through the cooking.

These falafels are super versatile, I love using them in buddha bowls, wraps or lunch boxes.

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Thai Green Coconut Noodle Soup

This recipe just couldn’t be simpler, using a ready made paste definitely make the life so much easier and it makes this soup redact in under 20 minutes.
I have always been a massive fan of Thai food as I love how it’s super veggie friendly, great fresh flavours and rice with anything 🙂

I love making this soup when I don’t have too much to cook and I want something quick, delicious and satisfying.

Ingredients:

1 heaped tablespoon of green Thai curry paste
About 1 litre of veggie stock
1/2 can of full fat coconut milk
About 150gr of rice noodles
200gr of shiitake mushrooms -sliced
1 pakchoi
1/2 block of firm tofu – about 175gr – chopped into small cubes
1 red fresh chilli
1 tablespoon of Tamari sauce
The juice of 1/2 lime

To serve: a sprinkle sesame seeds and fresh chopped coriander

Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and cover them with boiling water to cook them. Put them on one side while you are making the rest.
In a large pan add the curry paste and let it heat up for few seconds, add the sliced mushrooms and the chopped tofu. Stir fry for few minutes until the mushrooms are soft. Pour in the veggie stock and the coconut milk. Bring to boil and add the tamari sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes. Check if needs more salt. Add in the finely sliced pakchoi and cook for another 2-3 minutes. I personally like my greens quite crunchy so I wouldn’t cook it for longer than that. Drain the noodles and divide them between two bowls. Cover them with the soup, mushrooms, tofu and pakchoi. Squeeze some lime into each bowl and serve with some fresh chill, coriander and sesame seeds.

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Gnocchi with Red Pepper Ragu

Comforting and packed with flavour – this Red Pepper Ragu Gnocchi recipe is now on the blog! I am so happy to be taking part in the EU Funded campaign #itspeppertime, which is all about celebrating the humble pepper. Not only are peppers high in vitamin C, but also contain numerous vitamins and minerals! I just love how incredibly versatile peppers are, chuck them into stir fries or chop them into salads, the possibilities are really endless! This super rich pasta sauce has been my latest obsession, packed with gorgeous summery flavour and that sweet note from the pepper is just a winner, with any pasta of your choice! It’s also a great way to sneak in some extra veggies into your diet 😉

The sauce will serve 2 people

For the ragu:

1 red pepper – deseeded and cut into quarters
1 small red onion – roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic – minced
1/2 cup of tomato Passata
1/4 cup of frozen soy mince – this is completely optional, you can leave it out and the sauce will still be delicious. The soy mince makes it more substantial and adds the “proper ragu” feel to the dish.
2 tablespoons of tomato puree
About 4-5 sundried tomatoes finely chopped
A generous handful of basil leaves roughly chopped + extra to sprinkle on top
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of olive oil for frying
Salt & pepper to taste

Gnocchi of your choice

Place the onion in a food processor and blitz until it’s has almost like a mince consistency. Transfer the onion to a large frying pan and add the olive oil. Cook the onion on a medium heat until has soften and start to caramelised. Add in the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
Place the peppers into the food processor (no need to wash it) and blitz for few seconds until they are finely chopped up. Add the pepper to the pan together with the soy mince (if using). Cook for 2-3 minutes until all the water from the pepper has evaporated. Add in the passata, tomato puree and sundried tomatoes. Cook the sauce for about 10-15 minutes with the lid on a low heat. If it becomes too dry add a dash of water or more tomato passata.
At last add in the chopped basil and the nutritional yeast.

Cook the gnocchi according to the cooking instructions. Once drained add them to the pan with sauce and a glug of extra virgin olive. Serve straight away with some extra basil and some black pepper.
If you have any leftover sauce you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for few days.

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Creamy Spring Pasta

Spring is finally in the air and this pasta is best dish to celebrate the warmer months finally arriving! Asparagus are now in season and I am obsessed with this gorgeous seasonal veggie! They are fragrant, almost sweet and with a gorgeous fresh note. I love them in pretty much anything or simple by themselves but with this pasta they are even more delicious!
The creamy cashew sauce is super rich and decadent and it works perfectly with the fresh flavours of the peas and asparagus. Since I am currently in Italy I went out this morning and I managed to find some super cute edible flowers to sprinkle on top, but other greta additions are finely chopped mint or an handful of baby spinach.

The sauce will be enough for 2-3 people

Ingredients:

1 cup of cashews – soaked in water for at least 3 hours or overnight
1 small white onion or 1/2 a regular one – finely sliced
1 clove of garlic – crushed
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
The juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1/2 teaspoon of yellow mustard
Salt & pepper
About 5-8 asparagus spears -chopped into pieces
1 cup of frozen peas

Pasta of your choice – I have used spelt penne

Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a pan and add the finely sliced onion. Sautee for few minutes until the onion soften and start to caramelise. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and set onto one side
To make the cream: Drain and rinse the cashew. Place them In a bender and add the cooked onion and garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, almond milk, salt and pepper. Blend until you have a completely smooth and creamy consistency. Add more almond milk if your blender is struggling.
Place the cream in the fridge while you are cooking the asparagus.

To cook the asparagus and peas I simply place a bit of water at the bottom of a pan and added the asparagus and l lightly cook them for 5 minutes until soft. I like to keep my asparagus white al dente and still bright green.

Cook the pasta according to the cooking instructions. Once cooked place it back to pan, add a dash of olive oil (to prevent from sticking), pour the cashew cream and add the cooked asparagus and peas and mix well.

Serve straight away with some extra nutritional yeast and black pepper on top.

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Chia Pudding Parfaits

These parfaits are the perfect breakfast, snack or treat! What I love the most abbot them is the contrast between different textures and flavours. I love the light sweetness of the chia pudding with the richness of the peanut butter and the sharp notes of the berry compote. These parfaits are also ideal to be made in advance for those rush mornings when you simply don’t have the time for breakfast or for keeping sweet snacks on hand.
To add extra goodness I have used Udo’s Choice Untimate Oil which is a blend of flax, sesame and sunflower seeds oils as well as oils from evening primrose, rice germ, oat germ and coconut. This oil is rich in omega 3-6-9 and is completely suitable for vegans.

Makes 2 jars

Ingredients:

For the chia pudding layer:

1/4 cup of chia seeds
1/2 cup of almond milk
1 teaspoon of Udo’s choice Ultimate Oil Blend
2 tablespoons of coconut yogurt or any yogurt of your choice
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla powder

For the berry compote:

2 cups of frozen blueberries or blackberries
A dash of water
Optional: 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or coconut sugar

For the yogurt layer:

About 3/4 cup of coconut yogurt or yogurt of your choice

About 3-4 tablespoon of peanut butter

Toppings:

I like to sprinkle some fresh berries and granola on top

Combine all the ingredients for the chia pudding into a bowl and using a whisk (helps to avoid lumps) mix everything together. Place a plate on top and leave it in the fridge for 1 hour to thicken up. You can also prepare it the night before.

To make the berry compote simply place the berries with a dash of water and the maple syrup (if using) into a pan and cook them a medium to low heat for 115-20 minutes. The berries sound start to fall apart and become like a jam kind of consistency. Don’t worry if it looks a bit runny it will thicken up during the cooling process.

Once the chia pudding is thick and creamy and the berry compote is cold assemble the parfaits.
Start with a thick layer of berry compote, then add about 2 tablespoons of the chia pudding, a layer of colony yogurt, the peanut butter, more berry compote and more chia pudding. Top with fresh berries and a sprinkle of granola and enjoy!

Store any leftovers in airtight container in the fridge for few days.

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