Banana-Pecan Cake

What do you do when your bananas are starting to brown? Make Banana and Pecan Cake, of course. This one is oil-free, relatively lower in sugar than other banana cakes or breads, and yet the flavour and texture don’t suffer as a result.

Ingredients:

2 overripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (also called bicarbonate of soda or bread soda)
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch cloves
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup pecans (1/4 cup chopped; the rest left whole)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease or line an 8″ loose-bottomed cake tin.
2. Add all of the ingredients apart from the pecans to a large bowl in the order listed above. Mix well. Stir in the chopped pecans.
3. Transfer the mix to the baking tin and top with the pecan halves.
4. Bake at 10 minutes for 200C. Reduce the heat to 180C and bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until the cake is cooked and a knife inserted comes out clean.
5. Because ovens can vary, if your cake is over-browning on the top, cover it with foil.

Sticky Sriracha-Lime Cauliflower

Delicious piled high on a wrap with all of your favourite vegetables, these cauliflower bites are intensely flavoursome. This uses a whole cauliflower, and serves 4. The recipe for the minty coconut yogurt dip is below.

Ingredients:

1 cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized florets

For the batter:
1 cup flour (I used wholemeal spelt)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp onion salt
Pinch allspice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soy (or other all-plant) milk

For the glaze:
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp lime pickle
1 tbsp mango chutney
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp maple syrup

For the Minty Coconut Yogurt:
250g all-plant coconut yogurt
1 bunch mint, finely chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 220C and line a baking tray with a silicone sheet.
2. Mix all of the batter ingredients together. Toss the cauliflower in the batter, spread on the baking tray, and bake 20 minutes, flipping once.
3. Meanwhile, make the glaze by mixing all ingredients together.
4. When the cauliflower has baked for 20 minutes, toss in the glaze. Return to the baking tray and bake for 5 minutes more.
5. Combine all of the minty coconut yogurt ingredients well.
5. Serving suggestion: suitable-for-vegans wholegrain tortilla wrap, Moroccan-Spiced Hummus, lightly sautéed mushrooms, bell peppers, and mangetout, steamed kale.

Sri Lankan-style Romano Bean Curry

This curry is moderately spicy (but can be easily adjusted) and very bright in flavour. It takes under 15 minutes to make and serves 2.

Romano beans are long, flat green beans, but you can substitute them for French green beans, sugar snap peas, mangetout, etc.

Ingredients

1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp black onion seeds
6 curry leaves
400ml can coconut milk
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch red chilli flakes
2 tsp hot or medium curry powder
Pinch ground cardamom
1 tsp lemon juice
Pinch suitable-for-vegans sugar
400g Romano beans, topped, tailed, and sliced on the diagonal into 2cm lengths

Directions

  1. In a large, stainless steel pan over a medium-low heat, sauté the onions until starting to soften. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the mustard seeds, black onion seeds, and curry powder. Cook until the seeds start to turn fragrant.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, covered for 8 minutes.
  4. Season with salt to taste. Serve with rice, if desired.

Creamy Red Curry Soup

This soup couldn’t possibly be any silkier. The beautiful texture is down to the quantity of coconut milk in the recipe, and the flavours are lively and bright. This serves six.

Ingredients

1 onion, roughly diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cauliflower, in florets
2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
2 tbsp soy sauce

Directions

1. In a large soup pot over a medium-low heat, sauté the onion until aromatic and starting to turn golden. Add the garlic cloves, and stir for 30 seconds.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Blend.
3. Season, taste, and serve.

Brinjal Bhaji (Aubergine Curry)

Pleasantly spicy, incredibly fragrant, and full of textural contrasts, this aubergine curry serves 4 with rice.

Ingredients

3 medium aubergines, cubed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black onion seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 red onions, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp soy sauce
3/4 cup vegetable broth
100g frozen peas
1 tsp garam masala

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with a silicone sheet or baking parchment, and spread the aubergine out in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, turning once.
2. Meanwhile, preheat a large pot, and add the seeds. When they start to move about, remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Dry-sauté the onion until softened, adding a splash of water if they start to stick. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli flakes, and turmeric for 30 seconds more. Stir the seeds back in.
4. Add the tomatoes, soy sauce, vegetable broth, peas, garam masala, and aubergine to the pot. Simmer until the liquid is mostly thick and evaporated and the aubergines are soft.

Sweet Potato Pizza with Barbecue Tempeh and Bean Béchamel

With a soft and dense base, this isn’t like traditional pizza dough, but it’s filling, satisfying, full of flavour, and probably too nice to share. But if you insist on sharing, this will serve 2.

Ingredients

For the Base

700g sweet potato, peeled, cooked, and cooled until tender
100g rolled oats
100g coarse wholemeal flour (or flour of your choice)
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

For the Béchamel

1 cup white beans (I used butter beans)
11/2 cup soy milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tbsp yellow miso
1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

For the Tempeh

150g tempeh, steamed for 15 minutes, and chopped small
2 tbsp barbecue sauce
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp soy sauce (or to taste)
1 tbsp maple syrup

To assemble

Steamed kale, as desired

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a 9″ dish with silicone or parchment (I used a loose-bottomed flan tin for easy removal).
2. In a food processor, blend the sweet potato. Add the oats, flour, flaxseeds, garlic powder, and salt until potatoes are smooth and all ingredients are well combined.
3. Place the potato mixture into the prepared dish and smooth out. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the top starts to turn golden.
4. Meanwhile, make the béchamel by blending all the ingredients.
5. Mix the barbecue sauce, water, soy sauce, and maple syrup in a shallow dish. Add the tempeh and toss.
6. When the potato is ready, invert onto a baking tray and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes more until what is now the top is lightly golden.
7. Remove from the oven, spread with béchamel, add kale, top with tempeh, and bake for 10 minutes more. Cut and serve.

Pear, Pea, and Parsnip Soup

Summery, refreshing, sweet, and delicate: a perfect soup for a hot day, and very easy to make.

Ingredients

1 onion, diced
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 pears, unpelled and diced
250g peas, fresh or frozen
1 litre vegetable stock
Salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper

Directions
1. Sauté the onions over a medium high heat until just starting to colour.
2. Add the parsnips, pears, peas, and stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 15 minutes until the parsnips are soft.
3. Blend, season, and serve.

Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Another easy and cheap recipe. Serve topped, if desired, with some roasted asparagus and croutons. Serves two.

Ingredients

4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper or sweet pointed pepper, small dice
1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp sweet paprika or smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
200g baby spinach
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
1. In a non-stick or stainless steel pan over a very low heat, sweat the garlic, adding a couple of drops of water if needed, until fragrant but not coloured.
2. Add the red pepper, chickpeas, vinegar, tomatoes, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne and stir for about 30 seconds.
3. Raise the heat to medium low and add the broth. Stir, and then add handfuls of spinach to wilt.
4. Season, and serve.

Cannellini Bean and Red Cabbage Stew

A simple, budget recipe, bursting with colour, and oil-free, this stew is bound to please. Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 leek, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
250g red cabbage, finely shredded
2 cans tomatoes (400g each)
1 l vegetable stock
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp hot paprika
200g cooked cannellini beans
To garnish, soured tofu

Directions
1. Sweat the leek, garlic, carrots, and celery in a large stock pot over the lowest heat possible for 10 minutes. If they start to stick, add a splash of water.
2. Add the red cabbage, tomatoes, vegetable stock, lemon juice (which serves the function of preventing the cabbage from losing its colour) and paprikas to the pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the carrots are fork tender.
3. Add the beans, and warm through.
4. Serve garnished with some soured tofu, if desired.

Soured Tofu Dip

Don’t be put off by the mention of “sour” in the title. This is adequately balanced by both sweet and salty notes. Perfect for tacos, nachos, wraps, in soups and stews, and it will show you just how versatile tofu can be.

Ingredients

1 block silken tofu (approx. 350g; more or less than this is fine)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
Generous pinch salt

Directions

Blend everything together. Season to taste, and enjoy.

Consider varying this recipe up with the addition of some herbs or garlic (or both!)