Tofu Pesto Spread

Although this spread is ideal for crusty bread, it also makes a wonderful stuffing for pasta shells. It’s incredibly simple to make: just put all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor.

Ingredients

1/2 block extra-firm tofu (about 170g), crumbled
1 cup toasted pine nuts or raw macadamia nuts
1 cup spinach leaves, tightly packed
Large bunch basil
Juice 1/2 lemon
2 tsp white or yellow miso
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste

Method

Pulse all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides if necessary. Don’t overprocess; you want the finished product to have some depth of texture from the nuts.

Tofu Ranch Dip or Dressing

A creamy, cool dip that’s perfect with sticky BBQ cauliflower bites, or thinned out further and served as a salad dressing.

Ingredients

1 pack firm silken tofu
2 tsp garlic granules
2 tsp onion granules
1 tsp dried dill
1 tbsp cider or rice vinegar
1 tbsp pickle brine (optional)
2 tsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
Soy milk, or other all-plant milk, to thin as desired

Method

Whizz all of the ingredients in a food processor, scraping down the sides as necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings as required.

Mushroom-Walnut Spread

Totally retro, we’re taking you on a trip back in time with this tasty spread. You don’t need to serve it from a hostess trolley with Demis Roussos records playing in the background, but we won’t judge you if you do.

Ingredients

1 leek, sliced
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
300g button mushrooms, chopped
20g dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted; save the soaking water
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp chopped, fresh parsley
1 tbsp yellow miso
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

Method

1. Heat a nonstick pan over a medium low heat. Add the leeks and red onion, and sauté until just starting to colour.
2. Add both kinds of mushrooms and the soaking water, nutmeg, cloves, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook until the mushrooms are soft and the liquid has evaporated.
3. Transfer to a blender or food processor with the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.
4. Transfer to a ramekin and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until set.

Sushi Salad with Wasabi Dressing

This colourful salad balances the flavours of crisp, refreshing vegetables with the sweetness of pear and the unique flavour and health benefits of sea vegetables. It makes a perfect packed lunch; just carry the nori in a separate container and add it before serving. Serves 4.

Ingredients

For the salad

2 cups dried sushi rice, cooked and cooled
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 yellow pepper, finely diced
2 pears, finely diced
1/2 courgette, finely diced
1/2 cucumber, finely diced
4 sheets nori, shredded

For the dressing

2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp white or yellow miso paste
3 pea-sized blobs wasabi paste, or more to taste

1. Mix all salad ingredients. Add the nori just before serving.
2. Mix all dressing ingredients.
3. Serve the salad with the dressing.

Miso-Carrot Dipping Sauce

A simple, budget recipe that’s great fun for children, and very versatile. It can be used as a spread, or even a sauce for pasta or vegetables. This recipe makes a large batch, but it keeps in the fridge for up to a week in a sealed container.

Ingredients

2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 heaped tbsp yellow miso
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1-2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp yellow or Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic

Directions

1. Boil the potatoes and carrots together until the potatoes are tender. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.
2. Place all of the ingredients into a blender with 3/4-1 cup of the cooking liquid until you achieve the desired consistency.

Creamy Potato Dressing

This oil-free dressing is incredibly cheap and easy to make, and it’s a fantastic spread for sandwiches, dressing for potato salad or a dip for french fries, if you like potatoes with your potatoes. You can vary it by adding some sriracha for a spicy dip; 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley and 1 tsp garlic powder for a garlicky version; or even some smoked paprika for a smoky dip. This recipe makes 2 jars’ worth, so scale it down if desired. Because there is no oil, it will separate when stored, so just stir it back together again.

Ingredients

500g potatoes, peeled, boiled and cooled
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
3/4-1 cup water

Method

Blend all ingredients in the blender, adding the water a little at a time until you like the consistency. The dressing will thicken in the fridge.

Moroccan Chickpea Salad

This is a budget and speedy recipe that’s perfect for packed lunches; it makes enough for a large plate for four, or for a starter for eight.

Ingredients

For the salad

1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cucumber, finely diced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 small cooked beetroot, finely diced
5 cherry tomatoes, finely diced
1 spring onion, finely sliced
3 dried apricots, finely chopped
3 dates, finely chopped

For the dressing

1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp soy sauce
Small bunch fresh coriander, torn

Method

1. Sauté the onion over a medium low heat in a nonstick pan for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more.
2. Add the 1/4 cup vegetable broth to deglaze the pan, and add the chickpeas and spices. Cook over a low heat until the liquid is evaporated (5-7 minutes). Allow to cool.
3. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
4. In a smaller bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together to combine.
5. When the chickpeas are cooled, stir through the salad ingredients. Serve with dressing.

Serving suggestion:
Beetroot hummus
Toasted seeds
Pita bread or cooked grains (e.g. rice or couscous)

Rainbow Grainbowl with Balsamic Maple Mustard Dressing

A flavoursome and filling main dish that serves 2.

Ingredients

For the grainbowl

2 carrots, grated
1/4 red cabbage, grated
1 parsnip, grated
1 red onion, finely shredded
1/4 cucumber, finely sliced
1/2 red pepper, finely sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, finely sliced
1 avocado, sliced
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 cup cold leftover grains (e.g. spelt, buckwheat, rice, quinoa)
4 large handfuls salad greens (e.g. rocket, spinach, watercress)

For the dressing

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp suitable-for-vegans Dijon Mustard

Method

1. Layer the base of a bowl with salad greens.
2. Top with the shredded and sliced vegetables, with the avocado and seeds on top.
3. Sprinkle grains over.
4. Mix all dressing ingredients. Serve with salad as desired.

Miso-Ginger Salad Dressing

You may not have tried miso before, but its flavour is delicious, it’s incredibly rich, and it adds beautiful umami notes (with a hint of sweetness) to dishes. Because it’s fermented, it’s supportive of a healthy gut. You can find miso in the Japanese section of your supermarket, in your local Asian market, or in a health food store.

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced
3cm piece ginger, minced
1 shallot or 2 tsp red onion, minced
2 tbsp lime juice
2 cups cooked white beans, or one can, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp white miso paste
3 tbsp maple syrup or other suitable-for-vegan liquid sweetener
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2-1 cup water, or amount needed to thin to desired consistency

Method

Purée everything in in a blender or food processor. Cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

Beetroot Hummus

This beetroot hummus is incredibly inexpensive, and makes a large batch. Because it is oil-free, it will separate in the fridge; just stir it all back together again.

Ingredients

1 medium cooked beetroot, chopped
2 cups chickpeas, cooked
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tahini OR sesame seeds
1/2 cup water, or as much needed to purée ingredients
1/4-1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Directions

1. Blend the beetroot, chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, and tahini or sesame seeds. Add more water if necessary, and, if using a jug blender, stop occasionally to scrape down the sides.
2. Season and serve.