Sun-dried Tomato Pasta with Cheesy Garlicky Spinach Balls

I have made this dish several times in the last week, it’s THAT good.

It contains basically all my favourite things: tangy sun-dried tomato, balsamic vinegar, cheese and garlic…

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The spinach balls are adapted from Antonio Carluccio’s recipe with just a few tweaks to veganise it and swop the nutmeg for a more tomato-compatible flavour. It looks like a lot of ingredients but it’s all stuff you’re likely to have already, nothing fancy!

No photos of the assembly or cooking stages as my phone died and I had to let it charge, typical!

Sun-dried Tomato Pasta with Cheesy Garlicky Spinach Balls
Serves 2

For the Spinach Balls (adapted from Antonio Carluccio’s recipe):

2 bags / 400g of spinach
2 slices of wholemeal bread pulverised into breadcrumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 cup nutritional yeast powder (or more/less as you desire it)
1 vegan ‘egg’ = I used a mixture of 2 tbsp water, 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp baking powder.
Oil for frying

For the Pasta:

150g pasta (any type you fancy)
Healthy glug *technical term 😁* of extra virgin olive oil
4-5 tsp of balsamic vinegar (or more/less as you desire it)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato paste (or more/less as you desire it)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast powder (you get the idea 😉)
1/2 tsp garlic powder

  1. Pierce holes into each bag of spinach and microwave for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander then press between wads of kitchen roll to dry off as much as possible. Chop into small pieces.
  2. Combine the spinach with all the other ball ingredients except the ‘egg’. Add half of the ‘egg’ mixture at first and mix: if you are able to form balls at this stage discard the remaining ‘egg’, if not add the rest. We don’t want it too soggy!
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan on low-medium and add your spinach balls. Turn every now and then, they will go a lovely golden brown mmmmmmmm 💕
  4. Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and pop back in the pan. Add all pasta ingredients and stir until warmed through.
  5. Plate the pasta and arrange the spinach balls on top.

Guys if you try this let me know what you think! It is AMAZE. Fact.

15 Minute Carrot & Courgette Burgers!

Excuse the lack of food styling in my photo above but you will understand when I tell you that, once again, consuming wine before dinner has led to another fine creation 🙂

Stumbling in from the pub last night I was in no mood to cook anything lengthy or complicated but I don’t keep any ready meals in stock.

I remembered seeing on a food blog once that if you grated up some vegetables, squeezed out the moisture and added breadcrumbs, you’d have a veggie burger on your hands. So, armed only with a vague memory and a large dose of slightly squiffy abandon, I started throwing things randomly into my food processor.

I couldn’t be bothered to squeeze out the moisture and I didn’t have any bread, so I left those steps out and added a bit of flour instead.

IT WORKED! And it only took me 15 minutes! And what’s better, they’re healthy and the mixture was plentiful enough that I was able to have more today for lunch.

Note: the quantities below are only a rough guide as I was literally chucking things in 🙂

15 Minute Carrot & Courgette Burgers

Makes 6 patties – if you want to eat half now and half another time, refrigerate half the mixture prior to frying and fry when you’re ready to eat it

2 large carrots
1 large courgette
1/2 – 1 cup gluten-free plain flour
1 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-2 tbs oil of your choice for frying (I used garlic infused oil)

1. Heat your oil in a frying pan, on a high heat.

2. Peel the carrot, roughly chop and add to the food processor. Chop the courgette and also add this to the blender, and then blitz (if you don’t have a food processor, use a grater).

3. Transfer to a bowl and add all seasonings and half a cup of flour, and mix well. It will be a fairly wet mixture but you want to be able to pick it up and form patties so add a little more flour if it needs it.

4. Form 6 thin patties from the mixture and pop into the frying pan. Turn over gently with a spatula every few minutes, and fry altogether for about 10 minutes until both sides are golden brown.

The inside of these patties will not be crumbly like a normal beanburger or veggie burger. The inside will be soft. But the outside is crispy and golden, and frankly kind of awesome.

After I’d taken the photos I added some grated Violife cheese and Tofutti sour cream (both mentioned in my latest vlog) and the world’s laziest salad of cucumber, pepper and tomato. It was so good. And then I fell asleep 🙂

Let me know what you think if you give these a go! 

Tricolore salad with vegan mozzarella

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Given that we are 3 days overdue for a food shop, I wasn’t optimistic as I opened my fridge for lunch today. But to my delight as I pulled open the vegetable drawer I found that I still had a few treasures inside, namely all the ingredients for a tricolore salad!

This is one of my favourite salads – red ripe tomatoes, freshly torn basil, a drizzle of olive oil and a few cheeky slices of creamy mozzarella. Adding a soft, buttery avocado makes it even better I think.

I wrote last week about my discovery of a really gorgeous vegan smoked mozzarella by Mozzarisella. I went on to use it on a vegan bolognese and forgot I had somehow found enough self-discipline to save a bit for another day.

If you haven’t tried this salad before then I urge you to try it! It is very easy to make.

Tricolore salad
Serves 1

1 ripe avocado
12 cherry tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil
100g of Mozzarisella vegan smoked mozzarella
Drizzle of garlic-infused olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Simply chop your avocado, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella and toss with the oil and seasoning. For variation you could add some balsamic vinegar or a splash of lemon juice, and add any other salad vegetable you like. I think sweetcorn would be a good one to add next time.

As it is Bank Holiday Monday and a day off work, I am now going to snuggle up with Baxter and watch Laurel & Hardy movies on YouTube 🙂

Have a great day everyone!

Coconut raspberry smoothie (vegan)

So it’s a 3 day weekend here in the UK and after a night of Prosecco & Limoncello cocktails (amazing!) I felt the need to offer my body an apology so I whipped up this beautifully pink healthy fruit smoothie.

Before I get to the recipe though, how cool is this Day of the Dead-inspired mason jar??

I am so intrigued by Day of the Dead and I would LOVE to visit Mexico, in fact this week I started collecting travel tips and scouring Airbnb for holiday lets in Mexico City and Oaxaca… ok and Yucatan too 🙂 Those cenotes are too beautiful to miss.

OK so back to the smoothie. It actually has more ingredients than coconut and raspberry but you can omit or add other fruits depending how you like it.

Coconut raspberry smoothie
Serves 3

150g frozen raspberries
150g frozen blueberries
2 small bananas
50ml dairy-free coconut yoghurt (I used Alpro Plain with Coconut, delicious!)
1 heaped tbsp sugar-free smooth peanut butter
250ml unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp brown sugar syrup (optional)

Note: none of the above measurements are set in stone, you can add more or less if it seems too thick/runny.

All you gotta do is blend it all up! No defrosting required or other prep aside from peeling the bananas.

I poured myself a glass and stored the rest in the fridge for the next day: when I came back to it I just had to give it a quick whizz again in the blender to re-mix it.

I felt very redeemed drinking this after my night of cocktails, although limoncello is technically a fruit too right? 🙂

Epic Vegan Bolognese


I believe it was Dickens who said…

It started with an aubergine 🙂

I was intending to make Chloe Coscarelli’s Pasta alla Norma. However, having consumed a large glass of Shiraz I instead decided to put every vegetable I had in the fridge into my food processor, chop it up real teeny tiny and create some sort of epic pasta-y powerhouse of vegetable goodness.

Turns out, once those veggies have been added to chopped tomatoes and the moisture has reduced, it creates the exact consistency of Quorn Mince and weirdly enough it tastes quite similar too but it’s so much richer and tastier and more filling – and best of all you know it’s super good for you. It’s completely guilt free in my book!

Epic Vegan Bolognese
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 aubergine, diced (plus enough salt to coat)
1 bag/200g of kale
250g chestnut mushrooms
3 carrots, peeled
1 red pepper, deseeded
2 tins of chopped tomatoes (400g each)
1 tbsp of sun-dried tomato paste
Fresh basil
1 tsp of dried parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
200g of dried pasta, cooked according to package instructions
200g vegan mozzarella (I used this smoked mozzarella and it was absolutely delicious)

Instructions:

1. Place diced aubergine in a colander and salt generously. Leave to drain while you prepare the other veggies.
2. Add the oil to a frying pan. While it heats, using your food processor (or by hand) finely chop the onion and then gently fry until translucent.
3. Finely chop the garlic, mushroom, kale, carrot and pepper and add to the pan (I did each veggie separately as my food processor is quite small).
4. Rinse the aubergine, pat dry and add to the pan.
5. While that’s cooking through, blend the chopped tomatoes and sundried tomato paste until it is completely smooth. Add to the veg mixture and gently simmer for 45mins to an hour. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C.
6. By now the majority of the moisture will have evaporated from the mixture and it will have the consistency of Quorn Mince. How exciting!
7. Add the cooked pasta and thoroughly combine, then transfer to a ovenproof dish. Top with thin slices of vegan mozzarella and place in the oven for 15 mins.

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As it is only me eating this dish (the boyf has an aversion to vegetables!) I’ve divided it into portions and frozen it to devour next time I can’t be bothered to cook.

Guys, give this a try I am sure you won’t be disappointed! It’s one of the tastiest meals I have made in a very long time. xx

Sesame Tofu & Zingy Peanut Butter Dressing – Part 2

Back in January I posted a recipe for a rather delectable sesame tofu and peanut butter dish that I was LOVING.

After a little break I decided to make it again last night, but I kicked it up a notch and I just had to share the result because it was even better than the last one! You know when you eat something and you’re still thinking about it the next day and excitedly planning your next opportunity to make it? (and actually deliberating whether it’d be weird to make it at 8am?) 🙂

So just a brief recap: this dish is tofu coated with sesame seeds and breadcrumbs and gently fried until golden brown, and the dressing is peanut butter, lime (or lemon) juice, soy sauce and freshly grated ginger (click here for my original recipe).

See those pretty green flakes? That’s kale, blitzed in the blender and popped in the frying pan with the tofu. I’ve only experimented with kale a couple of times and never been particularly taken with the result, but THIS worked (which is fortunate as I still have 700g of kale to use up!).

I also added extra dollops of sesame seed/breadcrumb mixture to the frying pan and they gave the dish a delicious crunch.

To add even more nutritious goodness I tossed some carrots, onion, cherry tomatoes and pepper in garlic olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper and roasted them in the oven for about 20 mins at 200C.

All of this combined produced the little plate of heaven you see before you 🙂 I should’ve taken more care photographing it but I was just too ready to eat it!

I hope you guys enjoy; give it a go and let me know what you think!

Vegan Avocado Pestomole on toast

The more I google vegan recipes, the more I discover this hugely popular and diverse staple of the plant-based diet: avocados on toast.

It’s something I have never tried. To be honest it has never occurred to me to combine the two: I rarely eat bread and if I have avocados I tend to make guacamole to top a salad.

So I decided to buy some avocados and experiment using up some of the bits and pieces in my fridge. The result ended up a delicious mash-up of lovely fresh guacamole and basil pesto. Quick and fresh, it may not be revolutionary but it was hella good!

Vegan Avocado Pestomole on toast
Serves 1

1 avocado
4 cherry tomatoes
1 clove of garlic (raw if you can handle it, or gently fried first)
Handful of fresh basil
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp of onion (again, raw if you can handle it or gently fried first)
1 tsp of nutritional yeast flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
70g of Basil tofu (I used Taifun Basil Tofu)
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle (optional)

Peel and de-stone the avocado, and peel the garlic clove.

Place them into your blender alongside the tomatoes, basil, lemon juice, onion, nutritional yeast flakes, salt and pepper and roughly blend (or pulverise if you prefer it smooth).

Toast your bread for 3-4 minutes, and while it’s toasting thinly slice your basil tofu.

Plate your toast and arrange the tofu slices on top. Scoop the pestomole over the top and season again, adding a drizzle of olive oil if you like.

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If you don’t have a blender you can use a mortar and pestle, or use a fork to mash the ingredients together.

The tomatoes and lemon juice add enough moisture to bind the pestomole together so there isn’t a need for olive oil but it’s a tasty addition if you’re someone who drizzles it over everything like I do!

And all the fresh flavours make you feel like you’re eating something really healthy and nutritious, so it’s perfect! 🙂