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Vegetarian

Blueberry Banana Oat Muffins

Every now and then a recipe comes along and you say to yourself: “This is it. I’ve found it.”

And that’s what these muffins are! I’ve made many a muffin in my time and there’s a difficult balance to find between taste, health, moistness, and flavour. Some muffins are just too healthy. Some are a cupcake by another name. To me, a good muffin is one that sits pleasantly in the middle of the scale, with great flavour to boot.

The next time you have blueberries in your fridge/freezer just begging to be baked into something, pull up this recipe and enjoy.

Blueberry Banana Oat Muffins

Makes: 12-18 muffins
Cooking time: 20 min hands on

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup each plain flour and whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond meal (or wheat germ)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups mashed bananas (about 2 large)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (use vegan butter if desired)
  • 1 egg or your favourite egg replacer
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (many other berries would work great in this too, do not defrost berries before using)

Preheat oven to 375 F / 190 C. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease it well.

Combine all dry ingredients (including sugar) in one large bowl and toss until combined. In separate bowl, soften butter and mix well with mashed bananas (they can still be a little bit chunky), egg, and vanilla extract. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add berries and stir again just until they are dispersed through the batter.

Divide among muffin cups — these don’t rise a huge amount so you could do 12 muffins, but I opted to be on the safe side and reserved enough batter to make six more. Up to you! Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden on top. Cool on wire racks.

Enjoy! These keep well for several days in a sealed container, freeze if you want them to last longer (although you’ll probably want to eat them straight away!).

Easy Noodle Salad

This easy salad recipe will have you asking for more! Tangy but sweet, crunchy but soft—it’s everything a crisp noodle salad should be. The first time my now-husband made this I fell in love with it, and it’s a salad that I always wonder how I lived without. The crowning glory of this salad is the vinaigrette dressing, as it is so easy to make and tastes so good I’ve actually had to lick my bowl. Uh… you didn’t know that!

This also makes a great salad to bring to parties, as it’s not your ordinary green salad nor does it have any expensive ingredients. All ingredients are vegan/plant-based, and the noodles can be left to the side for a gluten free version.

Get out the knife and start chopping to make this easy & delicious noodle salad!

Easy Noodle Salad

Makes: 6-8 servings
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients:

  • Half a Chinese / Asian cabbage, chopped
  • 4 green (spring) onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts (or more sunflower seeds)
  • One bag of Chang’s Original Fried Noodles
  • For the dressing:
    • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tbsp maple syrup
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce

Mix together the dressing ingredients in a jar or container with a watertight lid, shake well to combine. Taste to make sure it’s to your liking, adjust ingredients as necessary (we always do it by eye, so you’ll have to forgive the approximate measurements).

Lightly toast the nuts while chopping your vegetables.

If serving immediately: Toss all ingredients together with a generous amount of the dressing.

If serving later: Add the nuts, noodles, and dressing immediately before serving, as noodles may get soggy otherwise.

Enjoy, and try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting!

Vegetarian Rissoles with Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)

I’ve fallen in love with TVP (textured vegetable protein) for a few reasons.

  1. It’s really easy to cook with
  2. At $10/kg of dried TVP it’s incredibly affordable (I have now made 3 substantial recipes with it and still have about 1/3 a bag left), and
  3. It’s dry, so it keeps fine in the cupboard and doesn’t take up precious fridge space

See what I mean? Win win!

Less meat, more veggies is good for everyone — so what are you waiting for, get this inya!

Vegetarian Rissoles with Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)

Makes: 16 rissoles
Time: 40 min hands on + 20-30 min baking

Ingredients:

  • 1 brown onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups TVP (textured vegetable protein, see below for shopping links)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 tsp each sweet paprika and smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes (optional but recommended)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tin (200mL or a scant cup) diced tomatoes, passata, or tomato juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg OR 1 heaped tbsp flaxmeal and 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Heat a large frying pan or wok to medium heat with a drizzle of sunflower oil. Finely chop onion and garlic and saute until just turning translucent. Add TVP and stir in well, and cook for about 3-4 minutes until it’s starting to look lightly toasted.

Meanwhile, mix the wet ingredients – stock, soy sauce, and Worcestershire. When TVP is lightly toasted, evenly pour the liquid over the TVP and mix well.

Sprinkle over paprikas, chilli flakes, and oregano, mix well. Add the 1/2 tin of tomatoes (or whatever you are using). Mash up the tomato chunks a little bit. Cook in frying pan for about another 8-10 minutes, letting the liquid get absorbed and steam off. You don’t want it to be dry, but there shouldn’t be much liquid at the bottom of the pan either.

Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes until it’s cool enough to put your hands in.

Stir through Dijon, flour, and breadcrumbs. Add egg and mix well again. I like to use my hands at this stage, it’s just a bit easier.

Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Divide mixture into eighths, then shape each eighth into 2 rissoles.

Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake for about 25 minutes, flipping them over half way. They should be lovely and golden and crisp (if they aren’t, cook for another 5-10 min).

Enjoy!

Where to get TVP:

Mom’s Cornbread

Mmm, there’s just nothing like fresh homemade cornbread, is there? I love how it combines the sweet with the savoury, and the cornmeal (polenta to you Aussies) adds such wonderful texture to a fluffy body. Once I left for uni and chili became a dietary staple, I tried several different cornbread recipes to accompany it—unfortunately, no cornbread recipe I’ve tried has ever really compared to this one. Either it’s just that this is what my mom always made and it is therefore what I know and love, or it really is as amazing as I thought it was.

One thing’s for sure—the rate at which it disappeared the last time I made it sure said something as to its deliciousness. I recommend slicing it into twelve squares instead of nine, else you’ll find yourself lacking cornbread all too quickly!

Mom’s Cornbread

Makes: 9-12 servings
Cooking time: 15 minutes hands-on, 45 minutes baking plus cooling

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal (polenta)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • optional: 1 tin (about 12-14 oz, 300-400 ml) corn kernels or creamed corn
  • optional: small jar of pickled jalapeno, coarsely chopped or laid out on top

Cream together sugar, butter, eggs, and salt until smooth and light in colour. Sift together dry ingredients, then add to the butter and sugar alternately with the milk. Stir until no lumps can be seen. If using, add the corn kernels or jalapenos.

Bake in a greased 9×13″ or 10×10″ ovenproof dish, for 35-45 minutes at 375 F / 190 C until the top of the bread is going golden-brown and a knife or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (My oven usually takes about 45 minutes.) The golden-brown might make it look overcooked, but I promise it will still be moist on the inside.

Healthy Tomato Soup

I love tomato soup. It’s just so wonderfully comforting and filling, and is a wonderful vehicle for consuming a large number of grilled cheese sandwiches. This tomato soup is, if I do say myself, a gorgeous and slightly more grown-up version of the traditional “from a can” stuff that you probably had as a kid. And it’s ever-so-satisfying to the tastebuds as well as the stomach—the addition of red lentils makes this soup heartier and more filling.

Another great thing about this soup is how quickly it can be made; I literally threw it together in fifteen minutes, then just had to let it simmer for a little while. If you have nothing but tinned goods in your pantry but need something warm and filling, this fits the ticket admirably! The soup would also be wonderful with a handful of fresh basil leaves as a garnish.

Tomato Soup

Makes: 8-10 servings
Cooking time: 15 minutes hands-on, 50 minutes total
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 6 14 oz / 400 mL cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups prepared veggie stock
  • 1/2 cup red lentils (optional but recommended)
  • 1 tbsp each dried oregano and basil
  • 2 tbsp each brown sugar and balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp each rosemary, marjoram, and smoked or sweet paprika
  • pinch cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Roughly chop your onions and get them frying over medium heat in a large pot with a few glugs of olive oil. Crush and roughly chop the garlic and add to the onions. Saute until they turn soft and a bit golden, about 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, add the dried spices, including salt and pepper, and stir through.

Add the tins of diced tomatoes and broth. Stir slowly until the mixture has heated through and begins to simmer. Add the lentils and stir again. Add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After this time, lentils should be quite soft.

Using your blender, food processor, or an immersion blender, puree the soup until very smooth in texture. Careful, it’s hot! Return to the large pot and taste for spices and salt; adjust as needed. Let simmer for about another 10-15 minutes so that flavours can blend completely.

Serve hot, with a dollop of sour cream and plenty of crackers for crumbling over top. Yum!

Gingersnap Cookies

Ahh… here in “sunny” Australia, things aren’t as balmy as they usually are. Winter is upon us, and while the days are starting to get longer, it’s still pretty chilly. Since Christmas falls during the middle of summer in Australia, I had basically no motivation to want to cook the rich, delicious foods associated with the holidays. Now that it’s cooled off, though, I’m craving hot tea and cookies and pie and a good roast turkey. The solution? Christmas in July! Not only are we having a dinner party this weekend to celebrate, but I’ve noticed a small uprising of fellow Christmas in July supporters… ‘Winterland’ markets and ice skating at our local venue (guess what I’m doing on the weekend too!), and festively decorated store windows. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and it feels surprisingly awesome to get into the Christmas spirit in July.

These ginger snap gems are a family recipe. So simple and sweet! There’ll be a few different Christmas-themed recipes up over the next few days, but why not start with these cookies to bring a little bit of holiday cheer to your tummy.

Ginger Snap Cookies

Makes: 2 dozen
Cooking time: 15 minutes hands-on

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter (best at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (and a bit extra for sprinkling)
  • 1/2 cup black molasses (you could substitute golden syrup or treacle syrup, which I had to do—but molasses is the best!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • optional: 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

Blend slightly softened butter and sugar together until no lumps remain. Add in molasses, egg, and vanilla. Measure in the flour, and form a well at the top to add the spices, soda, and salt—blend lightly with the flour, then with the rest of the batter. (This step saves you from having to get a whole extra bowl to blend the dry ingredients, which I find highly annoying and generally unnecessary for cookies.) Combine just until the flour disappears.

Forming the cookies works best if you refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours, but can be done straight away if you’re in a hurry. Using a tablespoon, form the dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with white sugar.

Bake at 350 F / 180 C for 12-15 minutes, until the tops of the cookies begin to crack. 12 minutes will give you a slightly soft cookie, and 15 minutes will give you a nice crisp one.

Pour yourself a nice big glass of milk and enjoy!