Spinach Pesto Pasta

A budget, quick and easy dinner that serves 4.

Ingredients:
500g wholewheat fusilli
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1 can butterbeans, drained
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
5 cloves garlic
2 large handfuls spinach
Very large bunch basil
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp yellow miso
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

Directions:
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, in a blender, add half the artichoke hearts, the butterbeans, soy milk, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, spinach, basil, nutritional yeast and miso. Blend until smooth.
3. Drain the pasta, reserving about a quarter cup of the cooking water. Return to the pan with the pesto, the remaining artichoke hearts, and the tempeh.

Breakfast Muffins

A perfect grab-and-go breakfast that’s oil-free, lower in sugar than other muffins, and great to make in advance, keeping up to three days in a sealed container. This recipe makes 12 muffins and a small loaf or cake, or 18 muffins. They are not incredibly sweet, so if you like sweet muffins, add an extra 0.25 cups suitable-for-vegans sugar.

Ingredients
1 apple, grated (leave the skin on for its nutritional benefits)
1 carrot, grated
1 banana, mashed
1.25 cups wholemeal spelt flour
1 cup oat bran
8 dates, finely chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp ground flax
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1.25 cups soy milk
0.25 cups maple syrup
1 cup blueberries

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a muffin pan with silicone muffin cases. If making a small loaf or cake in addition, set a silicone loaf or cake dish on a baking tray, or spray a metal dish with a light mist of suitable-for-vegans spray oil.
2. Mix all ingredients.
3. Layer into the tins.
4. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin.

Macaroni and Bell Pepper Sauce

This is a deliciously umami yet sweet dish that’s got all of the flavour of comfort food with minimally processed ingredients and no oil! It’s incredibly quick to make the sauce–just blend and heat. Serves 2.

Ingredients
250g broccoli, steamed
200g macaroni, cooked according to package directions
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow pepper
3 large cloves garlic
1 tbsp miso paste
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp cornflour or corn starch
1/4 cup water

Directions
1. Blend all of the ingredients apart from the broccoli and macaroni.
2. Add the blended sauce to the cooked pasta and broccoli. Heat gently until the sauce has thickened.
3. Serve.

Mushroom Crostini

You don’t have to tell your guests how ridiculously simple these crostini are to prepare. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

Ingredients:
4 slices of suitable-for-vegan bread, preferably freshly baked baguette or similar
150g mushrooms, preferably a gourmet mix
1/4 cup Tofutti Creamy Smooth (or equivalent suitable-for-vegan creamy spread)
1/4 cup soy or other all-plant milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chives and/or parsley to garnish

Directions:
1. Lightly toast the bread.
2. Sauté the mushrooms until they have released their liquid and it is evaporated.
3. Lightly whisk the Tofutti, soy milk, nutritional yeast, onion salt, and garlic powder in a bowl with a whisk. Don’t worry about smaller lumps.
4. Pour the Tofutti mixture over the mushrooms and continue to cook on a low heat until the sauce has thickened slightly.
5. Serve the mushrooms over the toast.

Chestnut-Stuffed Squash

This is a surprisingly easy dish, perfect for a festive meal. It serves 2-4, depending on the size of the squash.

Ingredients:
2 squash of choice (I used a delicata squash and a patty pan squash)
1 red onion, finely chopped
100g mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 slices wholewheat bread, in crumbs
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 tsp dried sage, crumbled
150g chestnut purée
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
2 tbsp dried cranberries
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup suitable-for-vegans cranberry sauce

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy insides. Place cut-side down on the baking tray, and roast 20-40 minutes (depending on thickness of the squash) until tender. Turn the squash over and season the insides liberally.
2. Sauté the onion and mushrooms until tender.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the garlic, breadcrumbs, herbs, chestnut, walnuts, and cranberries. Fill the squash with the stuffing, and return to the oven 20 minutes.
4. Serve topped with cranberry sauce.

Red Pepper Sesame Kale

This umami side is so creamy and flavourful that you’d almost wish you could eat it on its own. Perfect for serving with mashed potatoes for a comforting meal.

Ingredients:
1 large pack of kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 tbsp sweet white miso paste
1 heaped tsp suitable-for-vegans Dijon mustard
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup sesame seeds, plus extra for serving

Directions:
1. Steam the kale. Drain, and press to remove the excess liquid.
2. Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
3. Toss the kale in the sauce, reheat gently, and serve with extra sesame seeds.

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

It’s sure to be a good morning with this Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, served here with a generous dollop of coconut whip to give you that dessert-for-breakfast flavour and to start your day on a sweet note. Serves 4.

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp suitable-for-vegans brown sugar
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch salt
2 tbsp chopped pecans, optional; extra for serving
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups soy milk

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 160C.
2. Mix all ingredients together. Add to a shallow baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the centre is set.

Creamy Polenta with Red Wine Mushrooms

A comforting and rich dish, this Creamy Polenta with Red Wine Mushrooms is great for entertaining, but easy enough for a decadent-tasting meal for two.

Ingredients:
For the Polenta:
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups soy milk
1 tbsp herbes de provence, crumbled
1 cup polenta (or cornmeal)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Mushrooms:
1 red onion, finely sliced
350g mushrooms, sliced (I used 250g chestnut and 100g shiitake)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup suitable-for-vegans red wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
1 heaped tsp cornflour (cornstarch) mixed to a smooth paste with a little cold water
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Add the vegetable broth and soy milk to a large saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the herbes de provence. Sprinkle in the polenta, whisking vigorously as you go (there’s no need for the water to be boiling or even warm to start polenta).
2. As soon as the polenta starts to spit, reduce the heat to low. Stir occasionally until the polenta starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Add the nutritional yeast, if using, and season to taste.
3. Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms and the onion until the liquid released from the mushrooms is reabsorbed. Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds before stirring in the wine. Mix in the tomato purée and thyme and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cornflour mixture and allow to thicken. Season with black pepper.
4. Serve the mushrooms on top of the polenta, garnished with a little parsley if desired.