Vegan Lasagna with Alana

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Last night my friend Alana and I enjoyed a lovely Friday night in; complete with wine, lasagna cooking (and eating), and movies.
This is weird but I’ve never actually made a baked lasagna before. My mum used to make vegetarian lasagna all the time and it was one of my favourites but for some reason in the three years since I have lived out of home I’ve never made it myself. Also, Alana is a newly turned vegetarian (yipeee) and has been wanting to try a veg lasagna out. So that is why we set out on our lasagna making adventure…and it turned out so so well.
We didn’t have a recipe or anything when we set out for the ‘about life natural market place’ in Bondi, just a vision of a kick ass vegan lasagna. So we filled our baskets with random veggies and some other bits n pieces as we gawked at all the amazing looking food in that store.

lasagna ingredients:

-gluten free lasagna sheets (the ones you don’t have to pre-cook
-jar of tomato sauce with basil
-vegan tofutti sour cream
-cheesly vegan cheese
-rocket pesto
-spinach
-eggplant
-carrots
-zucchini’s
-sweet potatoes (orange and the purple ones)
-purple onion
-mushrooms

We began by pouring some wine (important part of lasagna making, not advised to omit), preheating the oven and then slicing up the carrots and sweet potatoes which we drizzled in olive oil, Himalayan rock salt and pepper and put in the oven while we prepared the rest which is as follows:

-slice the eggplant and onion and place in a covered fry pan on high heat with some oil and water and salt. Cook until eggplant is quite tender.

-mix about four big handfuls of spinach with tofutti sour cream and a few tablespoons of pesto in a big bowl. We also added some cilantro and salt and pepper.

-in a large baking tray pour some tomato sauce and then cover with lasagna sheets.

-layer 2: pre baked veggies and mushrooms

-layer 3: spinach layer

-layer 5: zucchini slices

-layer 4: more lasagna sheets

-layer 5: more tomato sauce, the eggplant and onion and crumbled vegan cheese

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The lasagna in progress!!

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All ready to bake!! It took about half an hour in a really toasty pre heated oven.

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The finished progress!!! Alana failed a bit on taking it of the pan nicely but presentation aside, sooooo tastyyyyyyyyyy!

I just had leftovers for breakfast and it was even better!!!!

Pasta times two

We went to our friend Georgia’s place on Friday night and she made us the yummiest pasta ever!!! So yummy I had to share it…here is the picture and recipe from the book Plenty by Ottolenghi:

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…and here is her amazing rendition

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It had the best creamy sort of texture, and the combo of the fried eggplant and fresh mango was epic. I highly recommend this if you want to impress people…She certainly impressed us!

Here is the recipe as I think the photo is too small to make out:

1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 crushed garlic
1/2 fresh red chilli chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Grated zest and juice of one lime
1 cup sunflower oil
2 eggplants cut into 3/4 inch dice
9 oz soba noodles
1 large ripe mango
1 2/3 cup chopped basil leaves
2 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 purple onion slices very thin

In a small saucepan warm vinegar, sugar and salt for one minute.
Remove from heat and add garlic, chilli, sesame oil. Allow to cool and then add lime juice and zest.

Heat sunflower oil in a large pan. Shallow fry the eggplant 3-4 batches at a time. Once golden brown remove to a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt and leave to drain.

Cook noodles in plenty of boiling salted water stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes until tender but al dente.

Drain and rinse under running cold water. Shake off excess water and then leave to dry on a dish towel.

In a large mixing bowl toss noodles with dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion.

Set aside for minimum thirty minutes. When ready to serve mix through the rest of the herbs and pile on plates or bowls.

While I’m on the subject of pasta, I made a HUGE pasta salad yesterday so that we could have dinner and leftovers for lunches for the week. It made just over five servings…I suppose if you’re feeding a family that is pretty standard, but for us that means a whole lotta pasta

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I used two cups of spelt pasta, about two cups of frozen peas, a cup of fresh corn, a red and a yellow capsicum, some olives, and a zucchini. We will have the pasta with rocket or lettuce as well but I couldn’t fit it in the bowl!

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For the dressing I just used the oil left in the olive container and mixed in about 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, paprika, dill, salt and pepper and some mustard powder.

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Yum!!

Ahmaaazing pizza

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I have been plotting this pizza in my head for a few days now and finally had a chance to put my pizza dream to reality last night!!
We used thepotato pizza crust using sweet potatoes, the yams with the purple skin and a couple of regular potatoes. I made a bigger batch then what is in the regular recipe. I did three cups of mashed potatoes and three cups of flour (brown rice flour, chickpea flour, buckwheat flour) any flour will work. It made a LOT so now we have enough for lunch today and dinner tomorrow!! About six servings total.

Spread your pizza dough onto a pan and pre-cook for about 15 minutes. Then take it out and do your toppings and continue cooking until it’s crisped to your liking.
The toppings…

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All prepped by my trusty sous chef!!

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The base was a broccoli kale pesto:

1 head of broccoli
A few kale leaves
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons of oil
Handful of walnuts
5 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (parmesan substitute)
Salt and pepper

Blend it up and spread it on. Add water as needed to facilitate blending.

Sweet and sour tempeh:

Cut up tempeh into bite size pieces and put in a baking dish with a tablespoon or so of honey, a tablespoon or so of ketchup, paprika and sesame seeds.
Bake while the crust is pre cooking.

Cashew cream:

About a cup and a half of cashews soaked
Juice from one lime or lemon
1 garlic clove
3 TBS or so of nutritional yeast
Salt and a decent amount of paprika

Blend and then transfer to a ziplock bag. This way you can snip the corner of the bag and squeeze the cashew cream on to ensure even and pretty distribution. Or if you want you could just dollop it right on there.

Veggies:

Baby tomatoes, corn, capsicum, kidney beans.

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I felt like fresh raw veggies so after I pre cooked the base I topped half and put it back in the oven until the veggies were cooked for Ali and then when that was done I quickly topped the other side (pesto, veggies and then cashew cream) and had it like that. It was really good both ways. The raw side on the left and the cooked on the right.

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The final touch…rocket, avo and a squirt of lime!!!

Cashew cream ETC!!

There has been a slight lack of interesting food happening here since I started my design course at Tafe two weeks ago…and even the interesting things I’ve been too busy/exhausted to do anything about.
Hopefully when I get more into the swing of things I’ll be able to get back into a more frequent cooking and sharing of said cooking, routine.
For now, here are a few pictures taken in the last couple weeks that I have neglected to share that will hopefully serve as some inspiration to cook up some healthy, scrumptious and cruelty free food!

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These bad boys were surprisingly good!! I had the flat kale which I don’t usually get. I was worried the leaves were going to be hard to chew and a bit sour but they were so tasty and tender!! I just lightly steamed them and then filled the rolls with some rice, grilled tempeh, black bean salsa, cashew cream and some alfalfa and rolled ’em up!

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Tasting plate with a few random things including kale chips which I have just discovered are so easy to make and amazingly tasty!! The trick is to make sure you dry the leaves really well after rinsing them so that they get crispy in the oven and not steamed. Once I have fully dried my bite size pieces of kale I massage a bit of sesame oil into the leaves and sprinkle with nutritional yeast, Himalayan rock salt and sesame seeds and then just bake for about ten minutes!!

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A nice fresh salad with lettuce, rocket, cuc, orange, avo, baby tomats, toasted almonds, hazelnut oil, lime juice and kamut cous cous. This is pretty weird but I have never cooked cous cous before…not that you can really call it cooking because you just pour hot water over it for a few minutes and then just like that it is ready to go in all its fluffy glory!!! Mind blown.

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I’ve been obsessed with cashew cheese/ cashew cream lately. Here we are having it on rice crackers with our mum’s delish home made red pepper jelly.
It’s such an amazing alternative and one of the biggest reasons why I feel like I haven’t missed cheese a la cow since I stopped eating it.
I never measure when I’m making mine. I just chuck stuff in the food processor and it always come out a different consistency and flavour which keeps it interesting!

Here is a basic recipe:

1 cup cashew nuts soaked
3 tbs nutritional/savoury yeast
1 clove of garlic, minced
juice & zest of 1 lemon juice
Himalayan sea salt to taste

Blend until smooth. It will be a sort of feta consistency. Add water if you want a thinner cream like situation.

Other ingredients I sometimes add are: tumeric, paprika, miso paste, parsley, basil, green onion, Dijon mustard.

Enjoy your cashew cream on crackers, in sandwiches, crumbled over pasta, on pizza etc!! Also you can make a sweet version by adding the cashews, cinnamon and some natural sweetener and have it as you would whipping cream.

I’ll leave now with a shout out to all the sweet, intelligent, adorable piggies out there ❤ and a promise that I will be posting a fricken legit pizza recipe in the next few days!

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“Scientists consider the humble pig to be one of the most intelligent species on the planet — believed to have the intelligence of a 3-year-old child. Yet, this is not reflected in the abysmal way in which pigs are kept in factory farms.

Despite advances overseas, in Australia, a pregnant pig can still be confined in a ‘sow crate’—a barren metal cage little bigger than her own body. She can barely move and is unable to turn around. Trapped in a cycle of suffering, she is forced to give birth on a hard concrete or metal floor; denied the ability to properly nurture her young; and will be continually impregnated until her body can no longer physically cope.”

-http://www.animalsaustralia.org/radio/old-macdonald/factory-farming.php

Polenta pizza bites

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I can’t remember the last time I ate polenta…I can’t even say for sure that I have ever eaten it. Ali says we have though so I guess I’ll take her word for it.
I randomly had some in the pantry and have been seeing lots of different recipes using polenta on Pinterest so I decided I may as well give it a whirl…and it was a great success!!!

Polenta pizza bites:

1 cup uncooked polenta
4 cups water (check package as apparently some have different water requirements)
Oregano or Italian mixed spice, paprika, salt, pepper, oil

Bring the water to a boil. Add the polenta and a generous amount of spices and a dash of oil. Whisk on low heat until thick and hard to stir.
Transfer to a 9 by 9 pan lined with parchment or tin foil and spread evenly. Allow to set in the fridge for about half an hour. Slice and bake for ten minutes. Flip and bake another ten minutes. I wanted them super crispy on the outside so I then placed them under the griller on high until nice and toasty.

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Once they are crispy, add your toppings and place back under the griller until the toppings are cooked. We burnt ours just a bit and it added extra flavour.
We had two different variations; one a roasted garlic and green onion spread, and the other a pizza sauce with vegan cheese that turned out tasting and feeling just like ricotta after being grilled!! I wish I could recall the recipe but it was one of those taste and add as you go mad experiments…

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The base of it was blended silken tofu and then I added the usual suspects; nutritional yeast, miso paste, Dijon, Himalayan rock salt, some cashews, paprika. I also added some chilli sauce and a few roasted garlics and some lime juice.

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So easy and yummy, we will definitely be eating this again!!! Polenta is also high in protein, vitamins and minerals and is gluten free and a complex carbohydrate.

Makes about 14 pizza bites.

Potato pizza crust

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Mashed potato pizza crust?!? Who thought of this glorious idea?! Unfortunately it wasn’t me. I stumbled upon it by chance last night and was so excited I was going to make it for breakfast. But I decided to be good and had my usual green smoothie in a bowl instead…

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Which was super tasty, energising, and I think my body appreciated it more than a 7am pizza sesh, so I’m glad I saved the pizza party for later.

In case you would like to recreate this smoothie in a bowl action; it was made up of some kale, a handful of romaine, 1/2 a small cucumber, 1/4 of an avo, 1/2 a banana, 1/2 an apple, 1/2 a pear, hemp protein powder, flaxmeal and soy lechithin granules (FYI soy lechithin supports brain health and helps detoxify your liver!! Bonus!) blended till creamy and delicious! Add some ice cubes to make it even thicker and nice and chilled. Topped with some oatmeal, coconut, passion fruit and cinnamon.

Anyways, back to the much anticipated pizza!!
We did a mix of regular potatoes and sweet potato and my goodness it was one of the best pizza dough’s I’ve ever had. The texture was out of this world. We decided it would be really good just baked as is and eaten as flat bread with some dips. So easy too!

Mashed potat pizza dough:

2 cups mashed potatoes/sweet potatoes (or you could do all regular or all sweet)
2 cups flour (I used a mix of half amaranth flour and half brown rice flour, any would work though)
2 tsp baking powder
Good sprinkle of garlic powder And dill

Method:

Boil your potatoes until tender. Drain and mash with a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil (or oil of choice) add garlic and dill.
Mix flours and baking soda together. Add the mash and mix with your hands until it forms a nice ball.

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Grease your pan and roll out your beautiful dough.

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See? Beautiful right?? All the pretty potato skin speckles and gorgeous orangey colour from the sweet potatoes.

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Pre-bake it in a moderate oven for about ten minutes and then top as you wish and finnish baking.
If you’re feeling like making a healthy and kind choice, you can copy ours which had: homemade tomato sauce, artichokes, green capsicum, purple onion, zucchini, olives, and TWO types of vegan cheese. The first is a home made cheese sauce that we drizzled over and the second is grated vegan cheesly.

There are lots of different recipes out there for vegan cheese sauce. I have tried MANY and invented many as well. They are all delicious but I am still on my quest to create the hands down perfect one. When I do, I will surely post about it.
Here is a basic one though to start with:

1 1/2 TBS coconut oil or vegan margarine
1 cup soy milk or other alternative
1/4 c brown rice flour or other flour
1 TBS corn starch
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 TBS lemon juice
4 TBS nutritional yeast
Paprika, pepper, Himalayan rock salt, miso paste or soy sauce to taste (optional)

Whack it all in a pan and whisk until thickened and creamy. Use on pasta for a scrumptious bowl of mac n cheese, over broccoli for a tasty side dish, as a dip for crackers or veggies, on nachos or on this pizza!!

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Besides being healthy and kind, it was also tasty as f$&@. You really can’t get any better than that. End of story!!
Get mashin.

A random and massive amount of meals

My oh my, we have been eating very very well around here, so well infact that even though I have been blogging regularly I have a whole heap of juicy photos/recipes/ideas to share.
I recently just got instagram and i’m loving it for the fact that I can take a quick pic and share it instantly rather than having to write a whole post about it!! If you want to see more of what we’re eating, follow me at henrileee (three e’s !!).
Anyhoo…onto the food.

1.

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Pizza!! Made on a super easy chickpea flour crust
And with some tantalising toppings

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The base was smothered in a homemade walnut basil rocket pesto. Toppings included Brussel sprouts drizzled in balsamic reduction and grilled. Roasted red pepperes, artichoke hearts, and asparagus and mushrooms (on my side only, Ali is a weirdo)…

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We then drizzled the whole thing in creamy homemade hummus that was given a “cheezy” kick with the addition of miso paste and nutritional yeast flakes.
“my god, why don’t people put hummus on pizza more often?!”-Ali

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Hyped.

2.

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Kick-ass open faced sandwiches! If you do make the pizza, which you should cause it’s crazy good, you may just have leftover toppings and be able to create this masterpiece the next day for lunch!! Check it:

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SO GOOD!!! I maybe almost liked it more then the pizza?? Maybe…

3.

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Some pretty rockin porridge bowls happen in our house. Def no boring old oatmeal and brown sugar that’s for sure!
This was a high protein bowl of cooked banana chia seed oatmeal complete with hemp protein powder, cacao, natural peanut butter, Walnuts, cinnamon and topped with fresh strawberries!
This takes all of ten minutes tops to cook, add in the delicious/nutritious extras and stir. I simply don’t think there is one good reason why anyone should be eating those Pre-flavoured oatmeal packets when you could be putting this bowl of superfoods into your body nearly just as easily!! Get into it!! The possibilities are endless with porridge!

3.

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This is a giant hash brown made with grated potatoes mixed with some chopped onion and garlic, flax meal, a bit of rice milk, nutritional yeast, paprika and salt and pepper. Scooped into a big pan and fried. Once it’s golden on the Underneath carefully flip. cook the other side and then cut in half and top with black beans, tomatoes, green onion, spices such as cumin and coriander, avo slices and a dollop ofcashew cream .

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4.

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Eggplant spaghetti. Another beautiful summery meal enjoyed in the evening sunlight!
Slice eggplant and marinate it in himalayan rock salt, lemon juice, pepper and paprika for as long as possible. It was marinating all day while we were at work and I think it really helped with the tenderness.
Drain any excess liquid and place in a fry pan with a bit of coconut oil, purple onion and garlic. Cook till slightly browned.
Add sliced zucchini and cook till zucchini is warmed.
Add to freshly cooked pasta: rocket, olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, walnuts or pumpkin seeds, the sautéed veggies and more garlic if you dig ze garlic as much as I do!

5.

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Still with me?! Hopefully because this little number is seriously off the charts good. I somehow managed to dream up and pull this off whilst being extremely hung over and sleep deprived. Sometimes miracles do happen.
I started by mixing up a marinade for the tempeh which was a bit of honey, a bit of tamari (soy) sauce, a bit of ketchup and paprika and pepper.
Slice the tempeh and place it in a bowl with the marinade covering all the surfaces.
Slice pumpkin very thinly and cook in a fry pan with water just covering it. Once the water is absorbed the pumpkin should be tender. Add coconut oil, cumin, coriander and paprika and fry. Once browned on both sides add sliced rounds of purple onion and continue to cook on low.
‘crumb’ the marinaded tempeh in a mixture of flaxmeal, nutritional yeast and sesame seeds and grill on low.

The first sauce is kind of a hummus sans chickpeas. Sorry, I didn’t measure at all but it was about three garlic cloves, a small handful of cashews, a tablespoon of tahini, juice of half a lemon, some green onion, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and water to thin.Blend until smooth.
The sauce on top is just a tomato chutney I made by blending fresh tomats with sundried tomats, some sweetener and some apple cider vinegar!!

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Once the tempeh is cooked on both sides and the pumpkin and purple onion are good to go and you have whipped up your sauces (sounds like a lot of work but it’s worth it!! And if I can do it hungover on five hours of sleep, you can too!) arrange the garlic sauce in a nice big puddle, I’m sure there is a better way to phrase that but puddle will have to do!! Put your crispy crumbed tempeh on top followed by purple onion, pumpkin, spinach and a dollop of tomato chutney. There is just one pictured, I def ate two stacks. I’m pretty sure I needed/deserved it!!

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“I think this is the best breakfast I’ve ever had.”-Ali, whom I dragged out of bed at ten am to join me in the deliciousness.

6.

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Alright, last one then I’m out. We had this very random lunch, if you can call it that, the same day as the tempeh breaky stack above. It included a cold banana smoothie and raw cookie dough balls. Awesome? Yeah, I know.
To make the smoothie, blend 2 big frozen bananas as well as cinnamon, a bit of honey, icecubes to make it even colder and non-dairy milk to thin. So refreshing!!
For the cookie dough balls:
In the blender combine 1/3 cup natural peanut butter, 2 TBS coconut oil, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup softened dates.
Empty blended ingredients into a bowl and add 1 1/4 cup flour of choice ( I used oat flour), a sprinkle of coconut flakes, raisins and sunflower seeds.
Roll into balls and chill before serving.

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Ali gives a big thumbs up for cookie dough lunch!

Hope this offers up some food inspiration!!! Kind, pure, healthy food=happy healthy body, mind and soul.

Pumpkin tacos with walnut ‘ground round’ and tofu ‘cheese’

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I’m usually pretty stoked with my kitchen creations, but sometimes i’m really really stoked and this is one of those times.
These vegan tacos were born out of the fact that I wanted to use my new tofu mock cheese method that I created for this super tasty rice dish. From there I just used what we had in the kitchen, not your typical taco fillings but man…taco heaven is all I can say.

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Serves two-three

Crispy Pumpkin and cauliflower:

About 1/4 of a small pumpkin chopped into little cubes
1 small ish head of cauliflower chopped
1/2 purple onion finely diced

In a large fry pan cook the cubed pumpkin first in about 1/2 inch of water with the lid on. Once the water in absorbed and the pumpkin is a bit tender add the cauliflower, onion and some coconut oil and fry until all tender and a bit crispy around the edges. Spices I used were cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and a dash of cinnamon. Don’t be shy with spices! Especially the paprika and cumin!

Walnut ground round:

1 cup of walnuts Soaked and drained
1/3 cup oatmeal (not necessary but stretches the expensive and high calorie content of the nuts a bit)
Cumin, coriander, paprika, salt, pepper, Cayenne

Pulse lightly for a quick second, add in 1/2 TBS lime juice and pulse again very quick and light! You want it to be nice and crumbly. if it’s not wet enough looking at a tiny bit more water.

Sweet and salty Tomato chutney:

1 cup ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/2 TBS apple cider vinegar
A good crack of himalayan rock salt
Sweetener (I used a couple dashes of stevia but anything else sweet will work)
Blend until combined but still a bit chunky

Tofu cheeze:

Firm tofu grated, (about two cups grated)
3 garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp mustard powder
2 TBS flax meal
Tumeric, paprika, Himalayan rock salt, pepper
Again, I didn’t measure spices, but don’t be shy!!

Mix all ingredients until well combined. Cook in a wok or fry pan with a bit of coconut oil until it’s a bit crispy.

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The pumpkin and cauliflower.

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Tomato chutney, ‘ground round’, crispy lettuce.

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Yummy Byron Bay green chilli sauce and bottled lime juice because we didn’t have any fresh.

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The best stuffing method we found was: pumpkin and cauli first, lettuce, walnut, tomato chutney, green chilli sauce (if you’re using) and then the cheeze last. It all stays nice and packed in if you do it like this and isn’t overly messy, as tacos tend to be.
We were pretty devastated when we realised we didn’t have an avocados, so devastated that we almost boycotted the whole taco idea…but i’m extremely happy we went through with it sans avo because they were amazing. If you’ve got a ripe avo tho, I wouldn’t hesitate to put it to good use in these!

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Bon appetite!

Ps. We ended up with leftovers that the next day for lunch, as well as some leftover black rice, was a very convenient and delish meal!

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Not too shabby right??

All the colours of the rainbow

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I don’t know if it makes me a bit of a weirdo…but I get really excited over a huge grocery shop overflowing with colourful fruits and vegetables…it almost makes me giddy. So, yeah I guess i’m a bit weird, but I’m ok with it and my body loves me for it 🙂
Ps. Note the BABY KALE!!! :O 😀 never seen this before!!! So awesome!!!

Obviously with all this luscious vibrancy of goodies going on an epic salad had to be made at once…

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Baby kale :D, purple cabbage, purple onion, baby tomats, red capsicum/pepper, cucumber, green snow peas, chick peas, dulse (seaweed) flakes, black sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sultanas/raisins…

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Dressing: cashews, garlic, nutritional yeast, fresh coriander, lemon juice, water to thin

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This salad was really, really enjoyable.

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Ali got a bit excited about it.

Tempeh burgers and then I will stop talking about tempeh…for awhile at least…

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My new fav food isn’t just Scrumptious and ridic nutritious…it’s also versatile!! I introduce you to the tempeh veggie burger….

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….crumbled on a wrap with an array of fresh veggies. Obviously these would also be delish in a burger bun or…..

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….crumbled on top of a giant salad, which is what we did with our leftovers 🙂

Back to the burgers tho, here is what you do:

1 package organic non genetically modified tempeh, Crumble with you hands (kinda gnarly but does the job) or in a food processor (less gnarly but then it’s one more thing to wash) predicaments!
1/2 large purple or white onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
1 zucchini shredded
1 carrot chopped quite small
1 free range organic egg
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
3 TBS balsamic vinegar
2 TBS Tamari or soy sauce
3 or so TBS paprika
1 TBS Dijon
Pepper and salt to taste
Chilli flakes
Handful of seeds (sunflower, pumpkin etc)
1/2 cup mix of oats, buckwheat flour, chickpea flour (or whatever flour etc you wanna use)

Mix it all up and form into patties. Bake in a moderate oven for about half an hour, flipping half way through.
Omit or add things to your liking!! That’s the beauty Of veggie burgers, you can get as creative as you want and they usually turn out pretty good. Extra veggies, different spices, fresh herbs, chopped nuts?! Go crazy!!

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And don’t forget some fresh toppings!!

“Do you want fries with that??”

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“the answer is always yes.”