Steamed silken tofu with caramalised onion and mushrooms (No Oil, No Refined Sugar, Gluten Free)

I’ve been missing my Dad of late and trying to recreate some of the dishes that he cooks, although it’s never quite as good as how he does it. I enjoy the delicate texture of the silken tofu with the salty and umami flavours of topping. Some people serve the tofu cold with the topping hot, but I prefer steaming it first.
Ingredients

1 silken tofu
1/4 onion, sliced
1 slice ginger
1 teaspoon fermented blackbeans
2 white button mushrooms, roughly grated
2 dried shitake mushroom, soaked then sliced (reserve soaking liquid)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Chopped spring onion or corriander
Method

  1. Place silken tofu in a bowl and drain it as much as you can then place into a steamer. This is the serving bowl as the silken tofu is delicate and cannot be moved around too much or it will break. Steam for 10-15 minutes.
  2. As the tofu is steaming, in a non-stick pan, sautee the onion, ginger, black beans and mushrooms. Add some of the mushroom liquid as the onion starts to brown to prevent it from sticking to the pan.
  3. As the onion and mushrooms start to caramalise, add 1/2 tablespoon of the soy sauce.
  4. Remove the tofu bowl from the steamer carefully as it will be hot. Drain as much of the liquid as you can.
  5. Place onion and mushroom topping on the tofu, pour remaining 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce over topping. Garnish with chopped spring onion or corriander. Ready to serve.

Alfredo (No Oil, No Refined Sugar)

This is a beautiful creamy pasta without the queasy feeling after eating a rich and greasy meal.
Ingredients

250 grams fettuccini
1 cup peas

Alfredo Sauce
1/4 cups cashews soaked for 6 hours and drained
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup cooked cauliflower
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon mustard
1/2 cup broth
Salt and pepper
Method

  1. Cook fettuccini following instructions on package.
  2. Whilst fettuccini is cooking, sautee onion in a non-stick pan. Add a small amount of water as onion starts to caramalise to prevent sticking. Add garlic.
  3. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until a smooth sauce.
  4. One minute before fettucini is cooked, add peas.
  5. Complete cooking pasta and drain pasta and peas.
  6. Return pasta and peas back into pot, toss alfredo sauce through pasta.
  7. Top with chopped chives. Ready to serve!

Pea, Celery and Potato Soup (No Oil, No Refined Sugar, Gluten Free)

I was so inspired by the pea, celery and potato soup I had at Table8 in Tokyo that I had to recreate this. This soup can be portioned and freezes well for a quick, healthy and heart warming meal.
Ingredients

1/2 onion, diced
1 garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cups peas
2 potatoes, cut into big cubes
5 cups broth
Small bunch of thyme and handful of parsley chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Method

  1. Sautee onion in a stock pot, add a little water as the onion start to caramalise to prevent sticking. Add garlic.
  2. Add celery, potatoes, stock and bring to boil. Then reduce to a simmer. Add herbs and seasoning.
  3. Simmer for half hour or until potatoes have soften.
  4. Add peas and simmer for a minute. Turn off heat.
  5. Using a handheld blender, puree the soup until it has a smooth consistency. Ready to serve!

Five Spice Tofu (No Oil, Gluten Free)

I love having friends who love to cook. Apart from admiring their delicious looking Instagram accounts, it has given me an appreciation at the accents of Asian inspired meals I create. This week, I was inspired to explore the use of 5-spice. It has a strong aroma, marked by the inclusion of ground star anise, and is used in Chinese and Taiwanese cooking. Traditionally, it has been used mostly to season meats. In the next few weeks, I will be inspired to create plant based meals that uses this spice mix creatively, starting with this 5-spice tofu. The marinated tofu brings a warm and comforting aroma, finished with a sticky and garlicky sauce. It’s a great addition in any buddha bowl.
Ingredients:

Marinate
1 block firm tofu, well drained
1/2 teaspoon ground 5-spice
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce

Sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Method:

  1. Cut tofu into large pieces and arrange in a container where they can all lie flat.
  2. Mix 5-spice, water and soy sauce and pour over tofu. Marinate for several hours. During this time, flip the tofu on its other side so both sides are marinated.
  3. Place tofu in a hot pan, then turn the heat down. If you use a ceramic pan, there is no need to use any oil.
  4. Brown tofu on all sides then remove from pan.
  5. Pour remaining marinate into the pan with the garlic and sugar and slowly reduce until it has a stickier consistency.
  6. Return tofu to the pan and coat with the sauce.
  7. Serve with sprinkles of sesame seeds.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Spicy Eggplant Tomato Sauce

With the weather turning cooler, I think of simmering tomato sauces and wholesome hearty comfort food. This home made sweet potato gnocchi with a slightly spicy eggplant tomato sauce is a wonderful weekend meal to prepare that will hit the spot.
Ingredients:

Gnocchi

1 sweet potato, peeled and steamed until soft
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon flaxseed
1/4 cup plant milk (soy, cashew, oat etc)
1 1/4 cups flour sifted

Sauce
1 eggplant
1 onion, diced
2 garlic, minced
1 chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 jar passata (approximately 500ml)
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cups fresh basil
Method:

Sauce

  1. Cut eggplant into cubes, salt and leave to rest for 20 minutes. Then rinse off salt and drain.
  2. Sautee onion in a saucepan until it starts to caramalise. Add garlic and chilli and sautee. Add eggplant.
  3. Add passata and remaining sauce ingredients, except for the fresh basil.
  4. Leave to simmer whilst you prepare the gnocchi.

Gnocchi

  1. Blend the sweet potato with all gnocchi ingredients except for the milk and flour until it is a smooth consistency.
  2. Add sweet potato mix to flour and start to knead. Add milk slowly until it becomes a dough like consistency.
  3. Divide dough into 2 portions and roll each portion into a long strip. From the strips, cut the gnocchi into 1/2 inch portions and roll into gnocchi shape. Here’s a YouTube demonstration of how to roll gnocchi.
  4. Boil a large saucepan of water and place half the portion of the gnocchi into boiling water. Once the gnocchi floats, they are cooked. Scoop out the gnocchi.

In a very hot pan with minimal oil, sear the cooked gnocchi. This only takes a few minutes to toss through the hot pan, to leave a caramlised brown coating to the gnocchi. Add the eggplant sauce into the pan, give it another quick toss through with the fresh basil then serve.

Israeli Cous Cous Salad (No Oil, No Refined Sugar)

Summer seem to have made a return to Melbourne today and I was inspired to make this salad with vibrant colours of summer and aroma of fresh herbs.
Ingredients:

Cous cous
1.5 cups wholewheat cous cous
1.5 cups water
1 bayleaf (optional)
Salt to taste (optional)

Dressing
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 cups raisins (blanched if oil free preferred)

Salad
1 red pepper/capsicum
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup mint, chopped
Rind of a lemon
Pepper
Method:

  1. Toast cous cous in a saucepan over moderate heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add water and bayleaf. Bring to boil. Then simmer at a very low heat covered. Cook for about 8 minutes. Turn off heat and leave cous cous to rest and cool.
  3. To make dressing, put lemon juice, mustard and raisins in a jar and shake. Pour dressing over cous cous, mix and leave to rest whilst you prepare the salad items.
  4. Mix cous cous and salad items and serve.

Easy Mapo Tofu (No Oil, No Refined Sugar, Gluten Free)

I was missing an Asian inspired tofu dish and decided to make an easy version of mapo tofu. The woody aroma and meaty texture of the shitake mince completes this spicy and salty dish that finishes with a sweet crunch from the spring onions.

Ingredients

1 block (300g) medium firm tofu cut into cubes
1 tablespoon fermented black beans
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 de-seeded chilli finely sliced
1/2 cup sliced spring onions
8 slices dried shitake mushrooms
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornflour
Sichuan pepper

Method

  1. Soak the shitake mushrooms in 1/4 cup of hot water for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Sautee onion in a non-stick pan until translucent. Add some of the mushroom water as needed. Add chilli.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and black beans and sautee for half a minute.
  4. Add tofu, soy sauce and remaining mushroom stock. Try not to move the tofu too much or it will break down too much by the end of the cooking process.
  5. Mince the mushroom finely and add.
  6. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes, moving the tofu as little as possible.
  7. In a separate dish, dissolve cornflour in 2 tablespoons of water. This ensures you will not get cornflour lumps in your dish. Add to pan, stirring through only a couple of times. This will help thicken the sauce.
  8. Add sliced spring onions.

Sundried Tomatoes Sweet Potato Burger (No Oil, No Refined Sugar)

We are still in summer even though people are back at work or school. These burgers are great for BBQs or quick lunches when you’re in between pool time. The sundried tomatoes, basil and chilli flavors brings a punch of flavor mellowed by the sweetness of the potato. And I love the crispy crunch of a burger that has been cooked with patience.

I often use these burgers in a buddha bowl (you know I love my buddha bowls). If you do use it in a bun, I suggest using an olive tapanade as a spread, then loading it up with crisp lettuce and sweet juicy tomatoes slices.

Ingredients:

1 garlic minced
1/4 onion chopped
2 button mushrooms diced
4 sundried tomatoes chopped
1 chilli chopped
1/2 cup oat flour
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked sweet poatoes
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4 cup spring onions, sliced
1/4 basil

Method:

  1. Sautee onion, garlic, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and chilli in a pan until onion is translucent and mushrooms cooked.
  2. Place all ingredients in a food processor, except for sauteed ingredients and spring onion. Process until a smooth paste.
  3. Add sauteed ingredients and spring onions and pulse several times.
  4. Shape mix into burger patties. Makes four.
  5. Pan fry on low heat until brown on each side.

Black Bean Burgers (No Oil, No Refined Sugar)

Happy New Year readers! It’s summertime here in Melbourne. And that means BBQs and burgers to me. I love these black bean burgers that are packed with flavors that remind me of a Mexican taqueria and they are full of protein! Pound for pound, black beans has a third more protein, almost eight times more iron and 30 times less saturated fat than beef. You are getting all the good stuff without the stuff that inflames your body in these burgers.

I usually make up a bunch of these and pop them in the freezer. Then when I’m ready, to eat them, they are defrosted and a quick crisp up in a pan on low heat.

Ingredients:

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 potato, cooked and roughly chopped
1/4 cup corriander
1 clove garlic
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 red onion
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup sweet corn

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients except the sweet corn in a food processor. Process until
  2. ingredients are well combined.
  3. Add sweet corn and pulse several times. You want to still be able to see some of the corn kernels.
  4. Shape into balls, then press down gently to make a patty. Makes approximately 6 patties.
  5. Cook on low heat in a non-stick pan until crispy. Approximately 10 minutes on each side.

Meatless Loaf (No Oil, No Refined Sugar)


The weather took a turn for the colder the last few days and I thought it the perfect time to cook up another holiday recipe for you. I have made my own whole food plant based glaze here which means there is no processed sugar. If this is too much effort for you, you can also use a ready made BBQ sauce but know that commercially made BBQ sauces frequently contains a large amount of sugar.

Ingredients

Loaf

1 onion, chopped
1 mushroom, chopped
2 garlic, minced
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained
2 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 2/3 cups oats
1/2 cup plant milk
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 handful parsley
1 tablespoon rosemary
Salt and pepper
2 carrots, grated

Glaze

1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons apple sauce
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Method

  1. Sautee onion, mushroom and garlic.
  2. Add sauteed ingredients and remaining ingredients for loaf except for carrot into food processor. Pulse until all ingredients chopped and well combined.
  3. Stir through grated carrots.
  4. Put ingredients in a lined loaf tin and bake at 190C/375F for 30 minutes.
  5. Mix all the ingredients for the glaze in a separate bowl. After loaf has been cooking for 30 minutes, add glaze to the top of the loaf and bake for another 20-25 minutes.