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.

Apricot Orange Bliss Balls (No Oil, No Refined Sugar, Gluten Free)

I am loving these bliss balls that makes a great snack and is a good lunch box addition. However, it’s versatile enough that with an added splash of bourbon, it gives it that added depth of flavor that makes it a great after dinner sweetie for grown ups.

Ingredients:

1 cup dried apricots
1 cup ground almonds
1/4 cups oats (or walnuts for gluten free option)
1/4 dates soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and drained
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Zest of one orange
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut plus extra to roll the bliss balls in
1 teaspoon bourbon (optional)

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a doughy consistency.
  2. Scoop dough into 1 heaped teaspoon sized portions and roll into a ball with hands.
  3. Roll ball in desiccate coconut.
  4. Place in fridge for an hour to hold its shape.

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.

Granola Bites (No Oil, No Refined Sugar)


When rushing around to get my Christmas errands done, I always get an uh-oh moment when I get the hunger pangs. What am I going to eat that is whole food plant based no oil without spending more time foraging for food (or succumbing to that vegan donut calling out to me)? These granola bites are my answer. They make a super handy snack, full of whole grains, dates, seeds and nuts to give you that energy to power through; without any of the stuff to cause inflammation to your insides and slow you down. We all know we need all the energy we have this time of year!

Ingredients:

2 cups dates (soaked for at least an hour and drained)
3 cups oats
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup water
1/2 cups nuts (I use pecans and pumpkin seeds)

Method:

  1. Put all ingredients except for nuts in a food processor. Process until it is a sticky consistency.
  2. Add nuts and pulse the food processor several times. You want your nuts still chunky.
  3. Mould the dough into little chunks, about teaspoon size, and place on a baking sheet. Chunks should not touch each other.
  4. Bake at 180C/350F for 15 minutes. Flip each granola bite over and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes until browned.
  5. Allow granola bites to cool.

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.

Coconut Mango Chia Pudding (No Oil, No Refined Sugar, Gluten Free)

I have just discovered chia. The look of it used to make me shudder until I tried this chia pudding. It’s amazing! This is coconut mango version that reminds of sipping pina coladas by the beach. Chia puddings are best started overnight and assembled the next day. Once assembled, they can be left in the fridge for a few hours until they are ready to serve. These can also assembled in small containers for a picnic or lunch treat.

Ingredients

1 cup coconut milk
3-4 soaked dates
2 tablespoons chia seed
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mangoes

Method

  1. Put the vanilla essence, cinnamon, soaked dates and coconut milk through a processor to pulp the dates.
  2. Add chia seeds and leave overnight.
  3. Spoon chia seeds into glasses and layer with mangoes. Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Lentil Soup (No Oil, No Refined Sugar, Gluten Free)


My friend’s Italian mama occasionally makes this soup and sends it to me through my friend via take out containers. I have never met her, but imagine her making this heart warming and nutritious broth with a lot of love in her kitchen. This is my whole food plant based no oil version of Italian mama’s soup. Happy Vegan Day everyone!

Ingredients

1 cup lentils (soaked overnight and drained)
6 cups stock
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1-2 carrots chopped or grated
1 stalk celery chopped or grated
1 teaspoon oregano
1 handful fresh parsley or dill chopped
Salt and pepper (optional)

Method

  1. Sautee onion in pot with 2 tablespoons of water until onion is soft.
  2. Add garlic and sautee for another minute.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except for oregano and parsley.
  4. Bring to boil then reduce heat to a simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Add herbs and seasoning, simmer for another 30 minutes. You can simmer for longer.

Orange Chilli Tofu (No Oil, No Refined Sugar, Gluten Free)

Many of you know that buddha bowls are my favourite. ┬áIt’s a great way to add a wide diversity of nutrients in one meal, and the ability to choose your own toppings makes it a great party option to cater to individuals with different food intolerances.

Today’s buddha bowl topping is orange chilli tofu, inspired by a friend who introduced me to Korean chilli paste.

Ingredients:

1 block of firm tofu
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1orange, juiced and zested
1 tablespoon Korean chilli paste (you can use another type of chilli if you like)
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup or sweetener of choice

Method:

  1. Wrap the tofu in clean towels and rest something heavy (e.g., chopping board, pot) on top of it for 15 minutes. This will drain the tofu of some of its water.
  2. In a bowl, mix the orange juice, chilli, tomato sauce and sweetener.
  3. Sautee onion in 2 tablespoons of water in a non-stick pan until it has softened.
  4. Add garlic and tofu and sautee for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the orange chilli mix you have prepared and cook the tofu some more until the sauce has reduced to a consistency you like.

Overnight Oats (No Oil, No Refined Sugar)

I often get asked for whole food plant based no oil breakfast ideas that is a grab-and-go option in the mornings. My response is always, overnight oats! This is a basic overnight oats recipe using my homemade muesli as a base. One you have that down pat, you can create variety with any fruit that you serve it up with.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup muesli
1/2 cup plant milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon flaxseed
1 cup of mixed fruit (e.g., berries, banana, citrus)

Method:

  1. Place muesli, plant milk and cinnamon in a jar and leave in fridge overnight.
  2. In the morning serve overnight oats with fruit. If you are really rushed for time, you can top the jar with fruit and just grab and go.