Category: Mains, Soups & Stews

Creamy Mushroom Carbonara – Compassionate Kitchen Crew – cooking class review

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

Apologies for my long time absence on here. I am still alive, but I’ve not been too well and as a result I’m probably not going to be as regular updating this little space as I’d like to be. 

A couple of week’s ago, I was invited along to attend the Compassionate Kitchen Crew’s cookery class and what a great evening it was! The Compassionate Kitchen Crew are made up of Becky and Sarah, two beautiful ladies who are doing a great job of making plant-based cooking accessible to those who are either looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into their lives or who are thinking of making the transition to a fully vegan lifestyle.

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

As I drove up the road, I was on the look out for a village hall, but Sarah hosts the class in her beautiful home in Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire. With her family around her, and gorgeous spaniel, you’re soon made to feel very at welcome gathered around their kitchen island. Becky does a great job taking you through the process of cooking a couple of dishes, based around one ingredient. The class I went to focused on cashew nuts, and we were treated to a delicious Creamy Mushroom Carbonara (see recipe below) made with a cashew creamy sauce, and a beautiful Blueberry Cheesecake. Ingredients that might be a bit unusual are explained, and questions are totally encouraged! Class sizes are limited to six, so there is no hiding at the back, and you’ll come away having had a lovely evening, having spent it with some wonderful people, having eaten some delicious food – and got some new recipes up your sleeves to try out in your own kitchen! And a total winner was we were given an extra slice of cheesecake to take home!

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

If plant-based eating is all a bit new to you then this is perfect for you! Make sure you book early because classes get full quickly. October classes are looking at Chickpeas, November – Tofu and December – Cranberries. And I’m sure there will be plans for classes in 2018!

Here’s the recipe for the delicious mushroom carbonara. 

Vegan Creamy Mushroom Carbonara

Creamy Mushroom Carbonara
Serves 4 

Mushroom marinade:
1/3 cup tamari
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tspn liquid smoke
4 large flat mushrooms (sliced)

Cream sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 cup cashews (soaked)
1 cup plant milk
1 cup silken tofu
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 cup of frozen peas
400g pasta
Rocket
Vegan parmesan

  • Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl and coat the sliced mushrooms
  • Tip bowl contents into a wok and fry (no need for oil)
  • Take out and set aside for later
  • Blend soaked cashews, milk, tofu and nutritional yeast in a food processor
  • Heat the oil in the wok and add the crushed garlic, fry gently so as not to burn the garlic
  • Add the creamy mixture and stir in with the garlic oil
  • Add the cooked pasta and stir in well in coat the pasta in the sauce
  • Add in the peas and mushrooms and stir for 3-4 minutes until peas are cooked through
  • Serve with rocket leaves and grated vegan parmesan.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

 

Pasta alla Trapanese [vegan]

Pasata alla Trapanese

A couple of years ago my boyfriend and I went on holiday travelling around Italy for a couple of weeks – it was pretty awesome. We went to Rome, Naples, Sorrento and then took a night ferry over to Sicily. I ate A LOT of pizza and serious amounts of tomato pasta, there wasn’t too many vegan options, but it didn’t matter because pizza and pasta are fine by me! When we got to Sicily, their speciality took a seriously good turn – Pasta alla Trapanese. It’s basically tomato almond pesto and tastes so good.

Occasionally I buy the expensive pasta in the supermarket, because it reminds me of that holiday. 

Pasta alla Trapanese

Pasta alla Trapanese [vegan]
Serves 2

140g pasta
50g almonds
250g cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Handful of basil

  • Blanche the almonds in boiling water for a few minutes. Cool and peel as much of the skin off as you can.
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the pasta and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor, blitz the almonds, along with the garlic. Add the cherry tomatoes and blitz together for a few seconds, you don’t want it to go to watery. Stir through the olive oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water and add the tomato almond pesto and make sure the pasta is coated.
  • Serve with the basil leaves.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Vegan Pad Thai with Asparagus

Vegan Pad Thai with Asparagus

This Vegan Pad Thai is so quick and easy, you’ll definitely want to add this one to your weekday evening meal repertoire – trust me! In fact, I wasn’t planning on posting this recipe, this was just my Saturday night dinner creation. I took a few snaps for my Insta account, but it was too good not to share! Vegan Pad Thai, I think, is up there as my favourite meal at the moment (disclaimer, this changes A LOT!)

Asparagus has such a short season which if you’re a big time fan like me will crush your heart as it does mine, but if you’re quick there is still time to make the most of this awesome veg. If Asparagus is no longer in season when you’re reading this, don’t despair, some green beans, or purple sprouting broccoli will work just as well, just check what is in season!

Here are some more recipes for you to make the most of the Asparagus that comes your way:
Asparagus & Pea Soup
Vietnamese Vegan Pho with Grilled Asparagus

Lemon Artichoke Hearts and Asparagus

Vegan Pad Thai Vegan Pad Thai

Vegan Pad Thai with Asparagus
Serves two

1 tbsp sesame oil
Bunch of asparagus
1 carrot
1 bell pepper 
1/2 courgette
2 x bundles of noodles
Thumb sized piece of ginger
2 x cloves of garlic (crushed)
1 red chilli
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari
1/2 tbsp maple syrup
Handful of coriander (chopped)
2 x limes
1 tbsp pistachios or peanuts (chopped)

  • Heat the sesame oil in a wok or a large saucepan on a medium to high heat. Chop the carrot, pepper and courgette and add to the pan along with the asparagus and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
  • Boil the kettle, and start cooking the noodles as per your packet instructions (mine took 10 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, thinly slice the ginger and chilli, add to the wok along with the garlic and stir through the vegetables.
  • In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter, tamari, maple syrup and the juice of one of the limes, add a tablespoon of water and stir until smooth.
  • Once the noodles are cooked, drain using a colander and add to the wok. Pour in the peanut sauce and coriander, stir until everything is coated in the sauce.
  • Serve sprinkled with pistachios and a wedge of lime.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Vegan Lentil Lasagna

For as long as I can remember Lasagna has been my favourite dish. I love a good vegetable lasagna packed full of whatever the season has to offer, but lentils provide this beaut more of a meaty texture. This dish is packed full of flavour, and a tofu topping means you don’t need to faff about with a bechamel and worry about lumpy sauce = win! 


Vegan Lasagna with lentils and kale
Serves 4-6

1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
200g puy lentils (soaked overnight if possible)
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp thyme
1 tspn ground cinnamon
2 tbsp tomato puree
400ml vegetable stock
80g kale
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
6 – 8 lasagne sheets (depending on the size of your dish)

For the topping:
1 block of firm tofu (drained)
3 tbsp pine nuts (keep an extra few to sprinkle on top)
80g spinach (washed and dried)
Salt and pepper
A few cherry tomatoes
A few basil leaves

  • In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil on a medium heat.
  • Chop the onion and garlic and add to the pan and cook for five minutes.
  • Rinse the lentils and add to the pan, along with the chopped tomatoes, oregano, thyme, cinnamon and tomato puree. Cook for five minutes.
  • Gradually add the vegetable stock, along with the kale, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Cook for about 25 minutes until the lentils are cooks. Season with plenty of pepper and a little salt.
  • Meanwhile in food processor, add the drained block of tofu, the pine nuts and spinach and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large oven-proof dish add half of the lentil and kale filling and spread evenly. Lay the lasagne sheets covering the filling.
  • Spoon half the tofu mixture and spread evenly across the pasta sheet. 
  • Spread the remaining lentil mix over and top with more pasta sheets and the rest of the tofu mixture.
  • Top with sliced cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and a few basil leaves.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for thirty minutes.
  • Serve with some tasty salad leaves.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

 

Carrot and Swede Soup with Smoky Pumpkin Seed Croutons [vegan]

I’ve got the February blues and I feel grumpy. I’m in desperate need of Spring, but it’s grey, cold and miserable, and the promise of warmer days seem still too distant for my liking. This carrot and swede soup definitely brings a little sunshine to my bowl, so until Spring finally springs I’ll be staring into this bowl of goodness.

Carrot and Swede Soup with Smoky Pumpkin Seed Croutons
Makes 4 servings

For the soup:
1 tspn coconut oil
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
4 medium carrots
1/2 medium swede
1 litre of vegetable stock
1 tspn smoked paprika
1/2 tspn cinnamon
A handful of fresh coriander

For the pumpkin seeds:
25g pumpkin seeds
1 tspn smoked paprika
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
Salt and pepper

  • In a large saucepan melt the coconut oil.
  • Finely chop the onions and add to the pan and cook for a few minutes until they’ve softened.
  • Peel the garlic cloves and finely chop and add to the pan.
  • Peel and dice the carrots and swede and add to the pan along with the vegetable stock.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for thirty minutes on a low heat.
  • Add the paprika and cinnamon and stir through.
  • Remove from the heat, and using a stick blender blitz until the soup is smooth.

For the pumpkin seed croutons:

  • Line a baking tray with some greaseproof paper, spread the pumpkin seeds across the tray.
  • Sprinkle the seeds with the smoked paprika, chilli flakes, pinch of salt and pepper and make sure they’re coated well.
  • Toast in the oven for five to ten minutes until they start splitting and puffing up.
  • Sprinkle on top of the soup and serve with the fresh coriander and a little more smoked paprika.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Miso noodle soup with fried tofu

I’m having a miso revelation. I love the stuff and this miso noodle soup is not only super quick to make but also really tasty, and it’s really good for your tummy too. 

Miso is from Japan and is made from fermented soybeans, sounds a bit weird, but honestly it’s good. Fermented foods are a great natural probiotic. I’ve been doing a bit more reading into how to look after my gut and keep it happy, making sure I’m getting plenty of probiotics into my system, and eating more fermented foods is where I’m heading.

Miso noodle soup with fried tofu
Serves two

For the tofu:
1/2 block of firm tofu
1 tspn coconut oil
2 tbsp tamiri (soy sauce)

For the soup:
800 ml vegetable stock (I used vegan boullion)
2 garlic cloves (sliced)
1 red pepper (sliced)
1 carrot (sliced)
1/2 white cabbage (shredded)
2 bundles of rice noodles
2 tspn miso paste
1 tbsp tamari (soy sauce)
1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • First, drain the liquid off the tofu, using a sieve. Pop the tofu block on a plate and then pop another plate on top and leave for half an hour, with a heavy object of some sort on top.
  • Once the liquid has drained, slice half the tofu into centimetre slices. Keep the other half in a container in the fridge and use for another dish.
  • In a frying pan, melt the coconut oil and add the sliced tofu and sprinkle the tamari on the tofu, keep it on quite a high heat and it’ll start to crisp up, turning over every now and then.
  • Meanwhile, heat the vegetable stock on a medium heat, add the carrot, pepper, garlic and cabbage and bring to the boil.
  • Once boiling, bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes, add the miso paste, tamari and rice noodles.
  • Cook as per your rice noodle instructions. 
  • Once cooked, serve in bowls.
  • Top with the tofu and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Enjoy!
Veronica x

Pumpkin Risotto [vegan]

I’ve got another delicious pumpkin recipe this week. I still had half a pumpkin leftover from last week and hadn’t quite got round to using it up, but I don’t think you can ever get too much pumpkin at this time of year!

vegan-pumpkin-risotto

Pumpkin Risotto
Serves 4

300g risotto rice
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
300g pumpkin
5 or 6 stalks of cavolo nero 
1 litre vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

  • Peel and cube the pumpkin and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan on a medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Chop the onion and garlic and cook in the pan until softened.
  • Add the risotto rice to the pan and coat with the oil and onion.
  • Add a little of the vegetable stock, and stir continuously until the stock as soaked up, keep adding the stock a little at a time and repeat until nearly all the stock has gone.
  • Chop and wash the cavolo nero and add to the risotto, along with the roasted pumpkin.
  • Continue stirring and add the remaining stock. 
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Super tasty and warming autumnal dinner.

Enjoy

Veronica x

Spicy Pumpkin and Parsnip Soup [vegan]

Yes, now I can make soups for lunches! In the summer I’m all about salads, but now I’m all about staying warm, and soup is what I’m craving on these chillier autumnal days.

I’ve massively got into pumpkins and squashes over the last few years, especially with the different varieties you can now get in the shops and in your veg boxes. The one thing that I can simply not deal with is how difficult they are to cut up! I’ve got a good knife, and still I nearly give myself a hernia dealing with this nemesis veg! If you’ve not got a sharp knife, you seriously need to invest in one, because squash prepping life was definitely MUCH harder with a blunter cutting implement.

This is soup is filled with flavour; the perfect amount of sweetness and spiciness to warm your cockles.

Pumpkin

 

Pumpkin-and-parsnip-soup

 

400g pumpkin
2 parsnips
2 onions
1 leek
vegetable stock
1 tspn cumin
1 tspn dried chilli flakes
A bunch of fresh coriander

  • Cut the pumpkin and parsnip into smallish cubes. Pop into a roasting dish with a drizzle of olive oil, roast in the oven for 25 minutes at 180C.
  • In a large saucepan, gently soften the onions and leek. Add the roasted pumpkin and squash. 
  • Sprinkle the cumin and chilli flakes and coat the vegetables.
  • Add the vegetable stock. 
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Add the coriander, and then blend until smooth using a stick blender.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

Veronica x

Courgette Fritters with Thai Peanut Sauce [vegan and gluten-free]

I promise I’m not lying when I say these courgette fritters may just be my best creation so far! When I had my allotment my kitchen was overrun with courgettes. It turned out planting five courgette plants meant you had about 50 courgettes to consume, and if you didn’t tend to your plants regularly they would look more like marrows. So, 50 marrow sized courgettes meant we were eating a heck of a lot of the vegetable! We had to get inventive with our mealtimes. I made this delightful courgette loaf that used some up. We used to have these fritters at least once a week, but now i’ve upped the fritter game with this peanut sauce AND it’s definitely a game changer. So if you’ve found yourself in a courgette predicament right now, or you’re wondering what else can you do with courgette other than slicing them and boiling them, THIS recipe has definitely got your name on!

DSC_0464courgette fritters

Courgette Fritters with Thai Peanut Sauce
750g courgettes
1 red onion
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
100g rice flour (or alternate flour)
1 tspn ground coriander
1 tspn cumin
1 chilli (finely chopped)
180ml oat milk
1 tbsp flax seed
Handful of fresh coriander (chopped)
1 juice of lime
Salt and pepper

For the peanut sauce:
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tspn dried chilli flakes (or fresh chilli)
1/2 lime juice
1 spring onion
40ml water

  • Grate the courgette and onion. Leave to drain for 10 minutes in a sieve and then squeeze and remaining water out of the mixture -the drier the better.
  • In a pan, melt 1 tbsp of coconut oil and sauté the courgette, onion and garlic cloves for 5 – 10 minutes,
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, ground coriander and cumin and stir the spices through.
  • Once the courgette mix has cooled slightly, add to the flour mix, along with the chilli, milk, flax seed, lime juice and coriander. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Melt the other tablespoon of coconut oil and spoon the mixture into patties and cook on a medium high heat. Turn over once they have crisped up on the bottom. They will take about 10 – 15 minutes to cook through.
  • Meanwhile, to make the peanut sauce – add the peanut butter to a bowl, along with the soy sauce, sesame oil and maple sauce – stir until creamy and smooth.
  • Add the dried chilli flakes, lime juice and finely chopped spring onion, along with the water to make a runnier sauce, add more or less water depending on how thick you prefer the sauce.
  • I served it with courgette ribbons and the peanut sauce drizzled all over them – super tasty!

Peace and love
Veronica x

Basil Pesto Carrot Gnocchi [vegan and gluten-free]

This basil pesto carrot gnocchi may just be my favourite thing EVER! I mean, I’m not going to lie, this is not a weekday dinner – making your own gnocchi is a faff that’s for sure. This is definitely more of a weekend meal, one to take your time and not stress over. I promise, it is worth the effort though, for sure!

But, this delicious pesto you could make any day of the week. Mix it through some pasta for a quick simple weekday dinner, or stir it through some courgette ribbons and add it to your lunchtime salad. You’ll never want to buy another jar of pesto once you’ve made your own!

Vegan pesto gnocchi

Vegan pesto gnocchi

Basil Pesto Carrot Gnocchi
Serves 4

For the pesto:
120g pine nuts
1 1/2 tubs of basil (the pots you can buy in the supermarket)
70ml olive oil
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper

  • On a medium heat, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan for five minutes.
  • In a food processor, blitz the garlic clove and basil. Add the toasted pine nuts and olive oil and blend together until it’s as fine as you want it to be. 
  • Season with salt and pepper.

For the gnocchi:
6 medium carrots
400g potatoes
180g rice flour
Salt and pepper

  • Peel and boil the potatoes until cooked. In a separate saucepan, peel and boil the carrots until cooked.
  • Once they are both cooked, in a food processor, blend the cooked carrot until smooth, add the potatoes and mix until both are combined and no longer lumpy (use a potato masher if you don’t have a food processor).
  • Add the rice flour and season with plenty of salt and pepper and blend together until a doughy consistency is formed.
  • Shape into small balls using extra flour (this bit gets quite messy) and lay out on greaseproof. I used a fork to flatten them out a little and to give them an even shape.
  • In a pan of salted boiling water, lower to a simmer, then place the gnocchi into the water (you may need to cook half at a time so it doesn’t clump together).
  • The gnocchi will take two – four minutes to cook, once it has risen to the surface it is ready. Using a slotted spoon strain the excess water and place on a plate.
  • Heat the pesto in a pan on a medium heat, and add the cooked, strained gnocchi. Stir the pesto thoroughly through the gnocchi. Serve straight away.

Happy gnocchi days 🙂

Veronica x