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.

Blueberry Bean Salad

One of the joys of salad is the possibility to get creative with them. This fruity, beany salad is certainly novel, and the recipe results in a large portion for one, or a medium-sized portion for two.

Ingredients
6 leaves romaine/cos lettuce, shredded
1 sweet apple, diced
1/4 cup blueberries
1 stalk celery, diced
1 cold baked potato (skin on), chopped
1/4 cup cooked black beans
1 scallion/green onion, chopped
2 tbsp vegan salad dressing (miso-ginger or tofu ranch)

Directions:
1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl.
2. Toss.
3. Enjoy

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.

Banana-Blueberry-Walnut Muffins

Perfect for breakfast or a sweet snack, these muffins are oil-free and quite easy to make.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups oat flour (I ground down 1 cup oats in the blender)
1/2 cup oat bran
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup unsweetened soy milk (or other all-plant milk of choice)
1/2 cup liquid sweetener (e.g. brown rice syrup, date syrup, agave nectar, maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a silicone muffin tin with paper or silicone cases.
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, bran, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and mixed spice.
3. In another large bowl, mix the bananas, plant milk, sweetener, vanilla, and vinegar.
4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well to combine.
5. Add the blueberries and the walnuts and fold in, being careful not to overmix.
6. Fill the muffin tins with the mixture, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the muffins comes out clean.

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.

Sweet and Crunchy Speedy Walnut Salad

Who says salads have to be boring? With lots of interesting, complementary textures, plenty of sweetness, and a hint of acidity to balance it all out, this one is most certainly not. This recipe serves four, and is perfect for those who insist that they can’t cook.

Ingredients

1/2 cup plain all-plant yoghurt
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
Zest and juice 1 small lemon
1 tsp maple syrup
2 apples, cored and chopped
4 stalks celery, diced
24 seedless grapes (any colour or a mix), halved
1/4 cup golden raisins
20 walnut halves, toasted and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

1. In a small bowl, mix the yoghurt, parsley, lemon zest, and maple syrup. Season to taste.
2. In a large bowl, toss the apples in the lemon juice. Add all other ingredients apart from the walnuts, and toss.
3. Mix the dressing through the salad. Top with walnuts and serve.

Five-Minute Oat Flatbread

Simple, quick, tasty, and extremely inexpensive: what more could you ask for in a flatbread? This uses aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chickpeas), which is a superb binder in cakes, and a lovely coating to help your spices stick to oil-free oven fries.

Ingredients

100g oats (blended to a flour if you have a blender; left whole if not)
1/4 cup aquafaba
1 tsp each garlic powder and smoked paprika

Directions

1. Mix the oats, spices, and aquafaba.
2. Add extra water if needed to make a sticky dough that you can form into a ball with a fork (the consistency doesn’t really matter here; you can make these very loose like pancakes, or very firm like patties).
3. Preheat a nonstick pan over a medium heat, divide the mix into two, and place in the pan. If you’ve got a firmer mix, you may need to flatten it out with the back of a spatula.
4. Fry for 2-3 minutes each side until the dough is set and lightly golden.

Sweet Potato Banana Bliss

A sweet and nutritious breakfast that’s well worth getting up for. Serves 2.

Ingredients

250g peeled and cooked sweet potatoes
1 banana
100ml soy (or other plant) milk
150g frozen berries, defrosted
50g oats

Method

1. Blend the sweet potato, banana, and soy milk.
2. Sprinkle the oats across the bottom of a small bowl. Pour over the sweet potato mixture. Leave to soak for 15 minutes.
3. Serve with frozen berries.

Mexican Beans and Rice

Ideal for packed lunches, this is a budget recipe that cooks up relatively quickly and serves 4.

Ingredients

250g rice, uncooked (produces 500g cooked rice)
2 x 400g cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 carrots, finely diced
100g frozen peas
100g frozen sweetcorn
80g cabbage (we used the tough outer leaves of our sweetheart cabbage), finely shredded
5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
150g salsa
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tsp garlic powder

Directions

1. Cook the rice according to the packet directions.
2. Meanwhile, steam or boil the carrots, cabbage, frozen peas, and sweetcorn, until done to your liking. We added the kidney beans too, because sometimes those in tins can be slightly undercooked.
3. Add the cooked vegetables, beans, and cherry tomatoes to a large frying pan or saucepan with the water/broth, salsa, and garlic powder. Cook until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened (about 5 minutes).
4. Serve the rice with the bean and vegetable mix.

Smoky Maple Jackfruit

This is a flavoursome side, and also makes for an interesting sandwich filling (try it with some rocket and sliced apple or pear). You can find young green jackfruit in brine or water (not syrup) in a can in your local Asian store.

Ingredients

2 x 280g cans (drained weight) young, green jackfruit in brine or water, drained and well rinsed
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp vegetable broth
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven for 220C. Steam or boil the jackfruit for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingredients in a shallow baking dish.
3. When the jackfruit is cooked, pull it apart with a fork, and set the seeds aside for eating on their own later.
4. Toss the jackfruit in the marinade.
5. Bake in the baking dish for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.