India Vegan Food Adventure

A beautiful mess and organised chaos, those are first things that come to my mind when I think about my incredible trip to India with Intrepid Travel.

It’s safe to say that I never considered myself a group tour kind of traveller. I have been lucky enough to have travelled in different countries and I always enjoyed the freedom of travelling by myself. Well, Intrepid Travel’s India Vegan Food Adventure has completely changed my mind. I always thought tours would take their guests to touristy restaurants or to those spots considered a “safe bet”.  Without our incredible guide Chetan, I would have never experienced four amazing home cooked dinners (which are by far some of the best meals I’ve ever had). I wouldn’t have felt safe to eat so many different delicious street foods (you’d normally be advised not to eat from street food stalls) and I would have probably struggled to avoid ghee (a clarified butter from northern India that is widely used to cook any dish, vegetarian or not). 

I am so excited that as of 2019 Intrepid Travel is launching three incredible Vegan Food Adventures to India (the one I went on!), Thailand and Italy. Whether you are vegan or not I cannot recommend this tour enough! The only way I can describe it is a full-on immersion in Indian culture and cuisine. I had some of the best food of my life and I feel like I have learned sooo much about India’s amazing culture in such a short space of time. I know it wouldn’t have been the same without Intrepid Travel! The tour is already available for bookings, check it out here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/trips/HHZV 

I was also lucky enough to travel with an incredible bunch of like-minded fellow foodies, read more about them here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/meet-team-behind-vegan-food-adventure/

Below you will find my travel diary, I really hope you enjoy it and I hope I can somehow transport you to all the incredible places I have been.

DELHI 

We started our epic Vegan Food Adventure in Delhi, by far one of the most overwhelming cities I have ever visited. Our super knowledgeable guide Chetan took us around the narrow streets of old Delhi to taste some typical Indian street food. The highlight was definitely the deep-fried chickpea samosas (Chetan made sure they were cooked in oil), which were full of fragrant flavours and with a lovely spicy kick at the end.

We continued our tour and we visited Jama Masjid, a local mosque, we then headed back into the chaotic streets of Delhi where we paid a visit to one of the many chai wallahs who has been selling the famous chai tea for over 35 years! Now, it’s basically impossible in north India to have dairy free chai, so our guide Chetan brought a carton of soy milk with him. Needless to say, it was utterly delicious and obviously the best chai I have ever had! We carried on through the intricate streets of Delhi to get to our lunch destination. It was a very small restaurant on the side of the road overflowing with locals (we were the only western people) and again Chetan made sure our food was cooked in oil not ghee. My favourite thing was cauliflower stuffed paratha dipped in a green chutney, so full of flavour! 

After lunch we headed to the Sikh temple and to the Sikh community kitchen, which offers up to 19,000 free vegetarian meals every single day! It was so fascinating to see this incredibly organised huge kitchen working so harmoniously to provide free delicious food. We had a go at making chapatis too (with various results) and it was definitely one of those memories which will stay with me forever.

After an hour long drive we arrived at Greenr, a California-inspired vegetarian café with all the food a vegan can dream of! We had delicious smoothies and juices, kombucha, sweet potato and cassava fries, hummus and raw desserts. Everything was utterly delicious, and we loved the chilled vibes so much! For dinner we were invited to one of Intrepid Travel tour guide’s homes where we had the chance to learn some cooking skills from her incredibly talented mum. We obviously had a real feast and I had a second go at making chapatis (better this time). After dinner they dressed us all in traditional Indian outfits (us ladies we all wore gorgeous saris) and they taught some Bollywood dance moves. It was so much fun, and it was so great to be part of the life of an Indian family for one night.

JAIPUR 

With a dedicated van we left Delhi and we headed to Jaipur, also known as the Pink City. Our first stop was a kachori restaurant where we had the chance to try some traditional Indian snacks. We had the famous kachori which is basically a veggie curry between two slices of bread dipped in a chickpea batter and deep fried. It was so delicious! Full of flavour but not too spicy. Chetan also brought some traditional Indian sweets made with cashew and almonds. The almond one tasted like marzipan and they were both dangerously addictive! 

We then headed into Jaipur Old Town and as in Delhi everywhere was buzzing with life.

For dinner we were guests of another lovely Indian family who showed us how to cook pakora and jeera potatoes. They were so simple to make but so delicious! I will definitely make them again (watch this space). We then had dinner together in their beautiful courtyard and we watched a puppet show with some music which they organised for us. Cannot thank this family enough for this incredible experience! 

Day 2 in Jaipur started at dawn, we went out around 5 o clock in the morning to catch the sunrise over the water palace. It was so lovely to see the city not quite as busy and buzzing as during the day. After the sunrise we went to the fruit and veggie market which was literally heaven! You guys know how much I love my fruit and I can honestly say Indian mangoes were just the best mangoes I’ve ever tasted!

 

After a quick breakfast at the hotel we headed to the majestic Amber Fort, a huge castle with incredible long walls stretching for kilometres. It really felt we were in the middle of a Game of Thrones episode! 

We went back to Jaipur of another stroll in the city and we also had the chance to visit the textile district, where everything can be made to measure and delivered to your hotel! That’s what I call first class service! 🙂

In the evening we caught a Bollywood movie and then it was bedtime as after such an early start I was exhausted.

KANOTA 

We left the beautiful Jaipur to make our way to Kanota, a small town between Jaipur and Agra. In Kanota we had an overnight stay at the beautiful Kanota Castle, home to Jaipur royalty. The castle was sprawled over a vast land with gorgeous gardens, trees and incredible silence which was a stark contrast to what we experienced so far. In the Kanota Castle they also filmed some of the Marigold Hotel movie scenes, it was utterly decadent and for 24 hours I definitely felt like an Indian princess! 

We had dinner with the family which still owns the castle and it was so interesting and fascinating to hear the tales about their great grandfather who built the castle in 1876. It was by far one of the most charming hotels I have ever stayed and that night I really slept like a queen.

Bright and early in the morning we left to reach Agra. For lunch we had take-out little boxes which a restaurant on the side of the road had made for us, it was by far the best packed lunch I have ever had! Pakoras, jeera potatoes, paratha and some lovely dipping sauce, my lunch box will never taste the same! 

AGRA

Agra was as buzzing and busy as Delhi, if not more! Our first activity was to visit the spice market which was intoxicating, literally! The smell of spices was so strong we just couldn’t help coughing or sneezing!

For dinner we got to enjoy another incredible homecooked meal from a family who taught us a little bit about Mughlai cuisine which is traditionally really rich in meat and dairy products. They made a lighter version for us focusing on vegetables instead. They taught us how make a fried potato dish which traditionally would have yogurt in it, but they substituted it with cashew cream instead, it was so delicious! (another dish I definitely want to remake at home). It was bed time again after dinner as we had to get up at 3.45 the next morning to visit the iconic Taj Mahal.

At 4.10 in the morning we were all ready to go. We got to the Taj Mahal just before 5 and I can proudly say we were the first in line and for about 10 minutes we had the palace all for ourselves! (it can get really crowded especially during the day time)The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan for his wife and mother of his 13 children. As she was dying he promised her to build something utterly unique, so she would have never been forgotten. It was without the shadow of a doubt an incredible experience especially visiting it at sunrise. The light was golden, and it felt so peaceful and magical.

Sadly, it was time to leave Agra but before starting our 5-hour drive back to Delhi we stopped for lunch at Sheroes Hangout, a cafe run by women survivors of acid attacks. Although the restaurant is vegetarian they prepared a full vegan lunch just for us. We also had the chance to watch a short documentary about the stories of these women, most of the acid attacks were actually performed by members of their families. Not surprisingly we were all in tears, it was so emotional to hear all the pain that these women had to go through in order to be where they are now. It made me appreciate even more what I have back home which most of the time I just take for granted. Thanks to this cafe and this charity these women now have a career, something they can be proud of and also a chance to spread awareness about acid attacks in India.

After such an emotional lunch we were back onto our minibus on the way to where we started, Delhi. When we got to Delhi we had our final dinner in a restaurant just on the side of the road, which once again I would have probably never gone to if I was by myself. The restaurant specialty was dosa which quickly become the group’s favourite dish. Dosa is a thin pancake traditionally made with rice flour (gluten free) and is stuffed with a variety of different things, we had it with potato, cauliflower, raisin and dipped into a coconut chutney. I just loved the crunchy pancake with the soft filling, another recipe I definitely have to remake at home! 

Sadly, the next day it was time to say goodbye to my amazing vegan family as the Vegan Food Adventure was officially over! You have no idea how sad I was to say bye to our wonderful team, to our invaluable guide Chetan and to Intrepid’s travel staff members which have definitely made our stay extra special. 

I have been back from India for just over 2 weeks now and I am already day dreaming of visiting this truly unique and beautiful country again. I have never felt so constantly fascinated by my surroundings, everything everywhere was mesmerising, exciting and stimulating. I don’t think anyone could ever get used to India, from constantly honking, stray dogs, holy cows peacefully strolling alongside the traffic, cheeky monkeys eating stolen mangoes on a scooter, incredibly pungent smells of street food, spices and open sewers, to impeccably ladies dressed in bright saris with ink black eyes, India is everything and more than your body and soul can ever take in.

India is also an extremely vegan-friendly country, the variety of fresh produce and veggie dishes was just incredible, you can find out about it more here: 

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/india-vegan-food-guide/

TOP 5 HIGHLIGHTS: 

1- Visiting the Sikh temple community kitchen in Delhi and making chapatis. It was so fascinating to see so many volunteers coming together and somehow managing a super organised kitchen which provides up to 19,000 free meals every day! 

2- Visiting Amber Fort in Jaipur. It was just so vast and magnificent, and it really felt like the time stopped.

3-  Trying street food. The buzzing and at times overwhelming streets of India will stay with me forever, I felt myself constantly looking at market and food stall vendors, so many different dishes and much fresh produce on offer! 

4- Home cooked dinners. I will be forever grateful to Intrepid Travel to have brought me to 4 different homes where I had the chance to learn how to cook from mothers and grandmothers, something absolutely priceless.

5-Taj Mahal. They say, “you haven’t seen India if you haven’t seen to the Taj Mahal”, although I am not sure I necessarily agree but the visit to the Taj was definitely one of those pinch-me moments. So majestic, jaw-dropping and beautiful especially when visited during the golden hour of sunrise.

WHY I WOULD RECOMMEND INTREPID TRAVEL:

1- Intrepid Travel is against any animal exploitation, so they don’t include any activities where wild or domestic animals are mistreated on their itineraries. This includes elephant rides, snake charming, zoos, aquariums and more. They also actively discourage their travellers from supporting or taking part in these activities. 

2- Intrepid Travel is committed to reducing single use plastic consumption on their trips where possible. For example, we were invited to bring our own reusable water bottles with us, so we could refill them with filtered water when we had the chance.

3- Intrepid Travel supports and gives back to the local communities they visit on their tours. The Sheroes Hangout, which we were lucky enough to visit, is an example of one of the charities they support as part of their Intrepid Foundation. https://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ 

Want to try out an Intrepid Vegan Tour for yourself? Check out their full range of vegan adventures here:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/vegan-food-adventures

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Courgette Yam Fritters

Summer is finally here and so it’s one of my favourite summer veggies, courgette! I seriously like them in any way, shape or form but this super simple fritter recipe might as well be my new favourite way of eating them! For this recipe I have used Tropical Sun Yum flour which is a great gluten free flour alternative as well as an excellent source of soluble fibre and complex carbohydrates.

These fritters make a great starter especially if served with the coconut yogurt sauce or they also ideal for outdoor picnics or packed lunches, the options are really endless! 

Ingredients:

4 cups of shredded courgette (about 4 medium size courgettes)

2 finely chopped spring onions

2 garlic cloves crushed 

1 tablespoon of flaxseeds + 2 tablespoons of water 

1/2 cup of Tropical Sun Yam Flour 

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs (use gluten free if needed) 

1 tablespoon of chopped parsley 

1 tablespoon of chopped dill 

2 teaspoons of sea salt + black pepper to taste 

2 tablespoons of coconut oil for frying 

To serve:

I love serving these fritter with a minty yogurt dip:

1 pot of unsweetened coconut yogurt (about 120gr)

1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh mint 

The juice of 1/2 lemon 

Salt and pepper to taste 

In a small bowl mix together the milled flaxseeds with the water. Leave it onto one side until it becomes thick and gloppy.

Place the grated courgettes into a cheese cloth or cotton napkin and start squeezing out all the water. Make sure you do this properly as you want to get out as much liquid as possible, otherwise the fritters will be quite soggy and not very nice. 

Once you are done with the courgette place them in a large mixing bowl and add the flaxseeds mixture, the Yam flour, breadcrumbs, spring onions, parsley, dill, salt and pepper.

Mix everything together until you have a kind of sticky mixture. If you find the mixture too wet add a bit more breadcrumbs + flour. Shape the mixture into round patties and place them in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes (this will help to firm them up).

To make the yogurt dip simply mix the yogurt with the finely chopped mint, lime juice and salt.

Heat up the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil into a large frying pan. Once very hot add in the fritters. Cook them onto each side for about 3 minutes until they are slight brown and crispy. Cook the fritters in batches and place them on some kitchen paper to get rid of the excess oil.

Serve the fritters while still warm (although they are great cold too) with the coconut yogurt and a simple salad.

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Sweet Potato Pizza

 

Nothing beats a fully loaded pizza! Although I love a traditional wheat crust this sweet potato version is equally delicious with the bonus of being filling without leaving you feel heavy and ultra nutritious. I used VitaCoco coconut oil in the base which makes it extra moist and fluffy. I love making my own 5 minutes tomato sauce but if you are short of time feel free to use a shop bought one. The toppings are obviously everything when it comes to pizza so the more the merrier! My favourite are artichoke hearts, juicy olives and vegan nut cheese.

Ingredients:

Make 1 large base

For the base:

1 and 1/2 large sweet potato – about 5 cups of sweet potato cubes – peeled

1 1/4 cup of spelt flour

1/4 cup of chickpea flour (also called gram flour)

1 teaspoon of chia seeds + teaspoons of water 

1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar 

1 teaspoon of salt 

1 tablespoon of melted VitaCoco Coconut Oil 

Optional: 1 tablespoon of mixed trued herbs 

For the tomato sauce:

1 small red onion – finely diced 

1 garlic clove – crushed 

1 cup of tomato passata

A generous handful of fresh basil 

Toppings (please feel free to change these according to your personal taste)

Artichoke hearts 

Red onion rings 

Olives

Rocket 

Cherry tomatoes 

Vegan nut cheese (or any cheese of your choice)

Place the sweet potato cubes in a pan and either steam or boil them. Cook them until they are tender when pierced with a fork.  Remove them from the pan and let them cool down for about 10 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together the chia seeds with the water. Let it sit for 5 minutes until you have a sort of gloopy gel. 

Once the potatoes have cooled down mash them with a fork until you have a smooth puree. Add the chia gel and give it another mix. Add the all the remaining ingredients and mix everything well together until you have a thick sightly sticky dough. It shouldn’t be too wet, you should be able to handle with your hands. If it’s too sticky add a bit more spelt flour,

 Line a large baking tray with some parchment paper and spread the mixture into a round pizza shape. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees celsius for 25-30 minutes until the edges are golden brown. 

While the pizza is cooking make the tomato sauce. Add the diced onion to a pan with a dash of olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften and slightly translucent. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomato passata, fresh basil and cook for 10-15 minutes on a low heat. Once the tomato sauce is thick and creamy blend it quickly by just using an hand blender. 

Remove the pizza base from the oven and spread the passata on top. Top with the cherry tomatoes, artichoke, olives and onion and place it back into the oven for another 5 minutes.

Finally top the pizza with the rocket and the vegan cheese and enjoy! 

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Chocolate Chips Blondies

These blondies have been my late obsession! They are super simple and take no time to make and they just hit the spot when you crave something chocolately and sweet. They are completely gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free and vegan! Yes, they are literally for everyone! 🙂 For this recipe I have used Tropical Sun Organic Coconut flour which combined with ground almonds creates the perfect fudgy and gooey consistency, perfect for blondies or brownies. 

Makes about 8-10 blondes depending on the size 

Ingredients:

1 cup of ground almond 

1/2 cup of Tropical Sun Organic coconut flour https://tropicalsunfoods.com/products/coconut-flour-organic

1/2 cup of coconut oil soft but not melted 

1/3 cup of coconut sugar

2 tablespoons of runny peanut butter (the runnier the better)

1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips + extra for sprinkling on top 

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder 

2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds + 4 tablespoons of water 

1 tablespoon of almond milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or powder 

A pinch of sea salt 

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. In a small bowl mix the flaxseeds with the water. Leave it into one side for 5 minutes until it thickens up and becomes gloopy.

In a large bowl mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. 

In a separate bowl mix together the coconut oil and the coconut sugar. Using a hand blender blitz it up until you have a buttery, creamy kind of consistency. Add the the flaxseeds mixture, vanilla extract and the almond milk. Give it a good mix.

Mix tougher the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until everything is well incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips. 

Spread the mixture in a baking tin covered with parchment paper. Use your fingers to spread the dough across the tin. Sprinkle with more chocolate chips.

Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until the edges are starting to turn golden brown. Remove the from the oven and leave it to cool down for 10 minutes in the tin before transfer it to a cooling rack. Make sure the blondies are 100% cold (very important otherwise they will fall apart) before cut them into squares. Enjoy! Store any leftover in an airtight container for few days.

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Veggie Green Balls

These are by far the best “meat free – meatballs” I have ever made! The consistency is really similar to regular meatballs, thanks to the combination between the cooked brown rice and mushrooms. To add that lovely cheesy flavour I have used nutritional yeast which works perfectly in this recipe. These “meatballs” are really versatile and they work really well with tomato sauce and pasta dishes of if you want a lighter and fresher recipe I love serving them with and tangy avocado creams on a bed of carrot and courgette noodles.

To add extra goodness I have used Udo’s Choice beyond Greens powder which is a blend of organic barley, oat wheat and alfalfa grassed combined with algae particularly rich in vimtamins K & B12, folic acid, iodine and iron.

Makes about 10-15 balls 

Ingredients:

100gr of ground almond

150gr of cooked brown rice 

5 chestnut mushrooms washed and sliced 

1 small carrot washed and peeled 

1/2 small onion peeled 

3 garlic cloves peeled 

2 tablespoons of Tamari sauce 

1 heaped tablespoon of runny tahini 

2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast 

A generous handful of fresh herbs finely chopped- I have used a mix of basil, oregano and thyme 

1 tablespoon of dried herbs de provence 

1/2 tablespoon of Udo’s Choice Beyond Greens powder 

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt 

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper 

About 100gr of breadcrumbs to coat the balls 

For the avocado cream:

1 avocado 

1 cup of fresh basil leaves 

The juice of 1/2 lemon 

1 clove of garlic crushed

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste 

About 1 tablespoon of water to thin it out 

     Place the mushroom, carrot, garlic and onion into a food

       processor. Pulse for few seconds until you have a crumbly mixture.Don’t over process it as you don’t want to end up with a puree! Heat up 1 teaspoon of oil in pan, add the mushroom mixture and cook it a medium heat stirring from time to time for about 6-8 minutes until the onion has soften and all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.

In a bowl mix together the ground almond, brown rice, nutritional yeast, dried & fresh herbs, salt and black pepper. Add the tamari sauce, tahini and the cooked mushroom mixture. Stir everything together until you should have a quite dense dough. If the mixture is too dry add a splash of water. If it’s too wet add more ground almond or breadcrumbs.

With your hands scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into small balls. Coat them with the breadcrumbs.To cook the “meatballs” you can either cook them on a frying pan for a couple of minutes each sides or you can bake them in oven for 20 minutes. Just make sure you bake them on a baking tray covered with parchment paper otherwise they will stick to the bottom.

    Once they are cooked let them cooled down. They hold the shape so much better if eaten the next day after being refrigerated overnight.

To make the sauce simply place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until everything is smooth and creamy. Add more a bit more water if your blender is struggling.

 I love serving them on a bed of carrot and courgette noodles with a generous dollop of the green sauce.

 

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Chocolate Chia & Peanut Butter Parfaits

These parfaits are just heaven in a jar! You certainly can go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter right? I love the creamy chai pudding layer in contrast with the richness of the peanut and the luscious avocado chocolate mousse. They are just the perfect dessert or the perfect snack/afternoon treat when you crave something sweet. To add extra goodness I have used Hifas De Terra Ganoderma mushroom powder which helps to support your immune system. It’s also famous to be the fountain of youth as it’s rich in skin loving antioxidants so it’s great as an anti-acing supplement.

Ingredients:

Makes 2 small jars/ pots 

For the chia pudding layer:

4 tablespoons of chia seeds 

1 1/2 cup of almond milk 

2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder 

1 tablespoon of maple syrup 

2 capsule of Hifas de Terra Bio Ganoderma Superfood: https://hifasdaterra.co.uk/product/bio-ganoderma/

A dash of vanilla extract 

For the peanut butter layer:

4 tablespoons of runny peanut butter 

For the chocolate mousse layer:

1 ripe avocado 

2 tablespoons of maple syrup 

1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder 

30gr of melted good quality dark chocolate 

To sprinkle:

An handful of toasted peanuts

In a bowl mix together all the ingredients for the chia pudding. I would recommend to use a whisk to avoid any lumps. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge overnight or for at least 3 hours.

Once the chia pudding is thick and gloopy you can either blend it if you want a proper chocolate mousse kind of consistency or you can leave it as it. I went for bending.

To make the chocolate mousse layer place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you have a creamy and smooth consistency. You might need to scrape the sides from time to time and blitz again.

To assemble the parfait place the chia pudding at the top of jar/glass. Add the peanut butter and top with a generous dollop of the avocado chocolate mousse. Sprinkle with the toasted peanuts and enjoy! 

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Potato Mac & Cheese

You wouldn’t believe how lusciously creamy this sauce is!! Made with mostly potato and other few ingredients this cheesy sauce is an absolute winner!

Ingredients:

1 cup of peeled and cooked (boiled is best) white potatoes 

1/2 cup of chopped cooked (boiled is best) carrots 

2 tablespoons of raw cashews soaked in water for at least 3 hours 

3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast 

1 teaspoon of garlic powder 

1 teaspoon of onion powder 

1/4 cup of unsweetened almond or soy milk 

2 tablespoon of lemon juice 

1/2 teaspoon of yellow mustard 

Salt and pepper to taste 

To serve: pasta of your choice 

This recipe really couldn’t be simpler. Simply place all the ingredients for the cheese sauce into a blender and blend until super smooth and creamy. Adjust with salt and add a bit more almond milk if needed.

Cook the pasta according to the cooking instructions, drain it and mix it with the cheesy sauce straight away. Sprinkle some extra nutritional yeast and black pepper and fresh cherry tomatoes (optional) on top and enjoy! 

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Kale & Walnut Pesto Courgetti with Aubergine Involtini

 

absolutely love this dish! It’s so summery and packed with gorgeous fresh flavours! The aubergine involtini with the tofu ricotta are winners and they are also great on their own with a simple salad on the side. The walnut and kale pesto is a favourite of mine, perfect with pasta or with courgetti as served in this recipe. 

This plant-based feast is perfect for dinners al fresco or a BBQ with friends and when it comes to finding a drink to pair to this dish, nothing says summer like an iced cold beer. If like me, you are not a big drinker, you may like to try one of the growing number of low or no alcoholic beers that are now available.  I have matched this meal with Krombacher Low Alcohol Pils which is from an independent, family run brewery in Germany.  The beer is brewed in accordance with the German Brewing Laws which means only four ingredients can be used (hops, barley, yeast, water) and no nasties, ensuring the beers are pure, natural and suitable for vegans.  The brewery uses a special two-step process to extract the alcohol resulting in a lager that retains a full flavour and crisp, refreshing finish but without the hit of alcohol. To find Krombacher’s award-winning array of low and no alcohol beers, visit www.drydrinker.com 

Ingredients:

Serves 2

For the Courgetti:

1 large courgette 

For the pesto:

1/3 cup of walnuts 

1 cup of lightly steamed kale 

A generous handful of basil leaves 

The juice of 1/2 lemon 

1 garlic clove -crushed 

2 tbsp of nutritional yeast 

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil + a dash of water to blitz

Salt and pepper to taste 

For the Aubergine involtini:

1 large aubergine 

1 teaspoon of miso paste 

The juice of 1/2 lemon 

1 teaspoon of olive oil 

For the tofu ricotta:

1 1/2 tablespoon tahini

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 1/2 teaspoon white miso

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 small shallot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon of turmeric (optional)

Start by making the tofu ricotta: in a bowl, combine tofu, tahini, garlic, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, miso, lemon juice, pepper, shallot and parsley. Mash together with the back of a spoon until ingredients are incorporated. Place in the fridge while you are preparing the rest.

Spiralize the courgette. To make the pesto simply place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you have a creamy and smooth consistency. Mix the pesto with the courgetti making sure everything is coated. Divide them between two plates and leave them to one side while you are cooking the aubergine.

Cut the aubergine into thin strips lengthways. Mix the miso paste, lemon juice and olive oil and brush the aubergine on both sides with the mixture. Heat up a griddle pan and cook the aubergine onto each side for about 2 minutes until they are slightly soft. 

Top each aubergine strip with about 1/2 tablespoon of the tofu ricotta. Roll them over and close them with a tooth pick. Serve them on top of the pesto courgette and enjoy! 

If you have any leftover aubergine or the tofu ricotta store them in an airtight container in the fridge for few days.

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Chickpea Chocolate Cookie Dough Truffles

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I am obsessed with these truffles! And if you are a bit puzzled by the fact that chickpeas are the main ingredient, please trust me, you will never know they are there! These little guys are super fudgy, gooey (thanks to the chickpeas) and lusciously decadent. They are super soft on the inside with a crunchy chocolate coating on the outside. 

To add extra goodness to this recipe I have used Hifas de Terra Hericium powder. In case you are not familiar with it , Hericium Digest Powder is made with Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), a powerful mushroom rich in fibre and bioactive substances recommended for mantain a healthy gut. This organic superfood help with gut bacteria and digestion, but also promote bowel regularity and support the brain-gut connection. 

If you want to find out more, click here: https://hifasdaterra.co.uk/product/hericium-digest-powder-superfood/

If you have been following for a while you know that lately I have been really loving finding out more about mushrooms and their properties. And you will also know how important gut health is for me as a healthy gut has been proven to be essential for a healthy skin. 

Ingredients:

Makes about 10-12 truffles depending on the size

For the truffles:

1 can of chickpeas – drained and rinsed 

3 heaped tablespoons of ground almond

2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder 

1 tablespoon of Hifas De Terra Hericium powder 

2 tablespoons of date syrup (you can also use maple syrup, I love date syrup as it has a lovely caramel flavour)

1/4 cup of almond butter 

A pinch of sea salt 

For the coating:

70gr of good quality dark chocolate 

An extra pinch of sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Place all the ingredients for the truffles into a blender and blend until you have a fairly smooth and thick paste.If needed scrape the sides from time to time and blitz again. Roll the mixture into balls. The paste is quite sticky so you want to wet your hands first to make this operation easier. Place the balls onto a flat tray covered with parchment paper. 

Place the balls in the freezer to set for about 1 hour. 

On a double bolier melt the chocolate. Remove the balls from the freezer and dip them in the melted chocolate. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.

Let the balls set in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Enjoy! They last in an airtight container in the fridge up to a week.

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Strawberry & Chocolate Raw Cheesecake

This cheesecake is juts the perfect summer dessert. Strawberries are now in season and I just can’t get enough of them! This gorgeous fruit is so versatile and it can be used in so many ways, from smoothies to porridge, cakes and even salad! I made this cheesecake for a family lunch and everybody loved it! It’s rich and indulgent bit still made with wholesome and nourishing ingredients and the contrast between the strawberry and the chocolate base is just to die for. 

For this recipe I have been using the amazing products from Vitacoco which I have been loving for years. The coconut oil works perfectly in any kind of raw or baked dessert and the Light coconut milk is ideal to create the creamy strawberry filling.

Ingredients:

For the base:

1 cup of almonds

1 cup of shredded coconut 

1 cup of pitted medjool dates

2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder 

For the filling:

2 cups of raw cashews soaked in water for at least 4 hours or overnight 

1/4 cup of  melted Vitacoco Coconut Oil 

1/2 cup of Vitacoco Coconut Milk 

3 tablespoons of maple syrup

1/2 cup of fresh or frozen strawberries 

A dash of vanilla extract 

Toppings/ Decoration (optional) :

Fresh strawberries

Flowers 

Chopped pistachios

Cacao nibs 

Start by making the base. Place the almonds and the shredded coconut into a food processor and blitz until you have a coarse kind of flour. Add the other ingredients and blitz again until you have a sticky mixture when pressed between your fingers. 

Lightly grease a cake mould with some coconut oil or line it with some baking paper. Transfer the mixture to the tin and press it down with you fingers until you have a compact base. Place the tin in the fridge to set while you are making the filling.

For the filling simply place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until you have a super creamy and smooth consistency. You might need to scrape the sides from time to time and blitz again. Pour the strawberry cream on top of the base and level it out with a spatula. Place the cheesecake to set in the freezer for at least 3 hours until the filling is completely solid.

Decorate with your favourite decoration and enjoy! 

Store any leftover in an airtight container in the freezer for 1 week.

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