I am a huge fan of hazelnut chocolate anything. Naturally, I had to come up with a hazelnut chocolate recipe that is as whole food plant based as possible. This is a super delicious slice that I make for special people in my life. You will find it a winner to bring to parties or batch and freeze in small portions to add as a lunch box treat.
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup dates (soaked and drained to soften)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon flaxeed
3 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup raw hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups oats
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
3-4 tablespoons water
50g melted dark chocolate
Handful hazelnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon goji berries
- Toast hazelnuts in a pan until slightly browned. You can use roasted hazelnuts and skip this step, but I have found freshly toasted hazelnuts make the slice even more aromatic.
- Place dates in food processor and blend. Add remaining slice ingredients and continue to blend.
- Add the water teaspoon by teaspoon and stop once the ingredients come into a dough consistency.
- Line a square 20cm x 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
- Place slice ingredients into tray and press down with the back of a spoon until mostly level. Place in fridge for at least an hour.
- For the topping, melt the chocolate in a microwave oven for 30 seconds, or in a bowl placed over a saucepan of boiling water. If you are using the microwave, make sure you watch the chocolate so it doesn’t burn.
- Drizzle melted chocolate over slice. Sprinkle with nuts and goji berries.
Return to the fridge for another 30 minutes before slicing and serving. If you are observing a strict while food plant based diet, you can leave this step out.
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.
1 block firm tofu, well drained
1/2 teaspoon ground 5-spice
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
- Cut tofu into large pieces and arrange in a container where they can all lie flat.
- 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.
- 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.
- Brown tofu on all sides then remove from pan.
- Pour remaining marinate into the pan with the garlic and sugar and slowly reduce until it has a stickier consistency.
- Return tofu to the pan and coat with the sauce.
- Serve with sprinkles of sesame seeds.
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.
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
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
- Cut eggplant into cubes, salt and leave to rest for 20 minutes. Then rinse off salt and drain.
- Sautee onion in a saucepan until it starts to caramalise. Add garlic and chilli and sautee. Add eggplant.
- Add passata and remaining sauce ingredients, except for the fresh basil.
- Leave to simmer whilst you prepare the gnocchi.
- Blend the sweet potato with all gnocchi ingredients except for the milk and flour until it is a smooth consistency.
- Add sweet potato mix to flour and start to knead. Add milk slowly until it becomes a dough like consistency.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
1.5 cups wholewheat cous cous
1.5 cups water
1 bayleaf (optional)
Salt to taste (optional)
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 cups raisins (blanched if oil free preferred)
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
- Toast cous cous in a saucepan over moderate heat for 5 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mix cous cous and salad items and serve.
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.
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
- Soak the shitake mushrooms in 1/4 cup of hot water for at least 15 minutes.
- Sautee onion in a non-stick pan until translucent. Add some of the mushroom water as needed. Add chilli.
- Add garlic and ginger and black beans and sautee for half a minute.
- 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.
- Mince the mushroom finely and add.
- Leave to simmer for 15 minutes, moving the tofu as little as possible.
- 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.
- Add sliced spring onions.
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.
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
- Sautee onion, garlic, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and chilli in a pan until onion is translucent and mushrooms cooked.
- Place all ingredients in a food processor, except for sauteed ingredients and spring onion. Process until a smooth paste.
- Add sauteed ingredients and spring onions and pulse several times.
- Shape mix into burger patties. Makes four.
- Pan fry on low heat until brown on each side.
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.
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)
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a doughy consistency.
- Scoop dough into 1 heaped teaspoon sized portions and roll into a ball with hands.
- Roll ball in desiccate coconut.
- Place in fridge for an hour to hold its shape.
Picnic and house parties continue over summer and these sausage rolls are the perfect things to bring with you to share with friends. Make sure to eat a few before you put them out, these will get gobbled up very quickly by everybody!
1 onion chopped
2 garlic minced
1/2 cup roasted cashews
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
300g tofu drained
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 puff pastry sheets
Plant milk for brushing the sausage rolls
Sesame seeds for sprinkling on top of sausage rolls
- Wrap tofu in a tea towel and place a heavy saucepan on top for 15 minutes to press out excess liquid.
- Sautee onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of water until onion is translucent.
- Put oats in food processor until oats are chopped up.
- Add onion, garlic, cashews, tofu, herbs, spices and soy sauce and process until it resembles a paste.
- Divide paste in 2 and place in the centre of each pastry sheet. Alternatively you can also cut each pastry sheet into 4 squares and make smaller sausage rolls.
- Roll the pastry, brush with plant milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake in pre-heated oven 200C/400F for 20 minutes.
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.
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
- Place all ingredients except the sweet corn in a food processor. Process until
- ingredients are well combined.
- Add sweet corn and pulse several times. You want to still be able to see some of the corn kernels.
- Shape into balls, then press down gently to make a patty. Makes approximately 6 patties.
- Cook on low heat in a non-stick pan until crispy. Approximately 10 minutes on each side.
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!
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)
- Put all ingredients except for nuts in a food processor. Process until it is a sticky consistency.
- Add nuts and pulse the food processor several times. You want your nuts still chunky.
- Mould the dough into little chunks, about teaspoon size, and place on a baking sheet. Chunks should not touch each other.
- Bake at 180C/350F for 15 minutes. Flip each granola bite over and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes until browned.
- Allow granola bites to cool.