Vegan Lemon Coconut Cream Pie

I’ve been dying to try out a vegan dessert that isn’t based on soaked cashews and this is THE ONE.


When I was thinking about this one, I came across a couple of obstacles. #1 being how does one make pastry vegan? Figure that one out and all problems would magically disappear. Shortcrust pastry is basically flour, butter, salt and water; the only non-vegan ingredient in the equation being the butter. Well butter is desired here for it’s fatty content, right? So what else is rich in fats but does not come from an animal? Spoiler alert: vegetable oil. As it’s already liquid, this completely eliminates the need for us to include water.


The second thing I had to think about here was the filling. My traditional lemon curd recipe used egg yolks to thicken it, but that was not an option here. Next best thing was cornflour. I was a bit worried about the cornflour drastically altering the flavour but thankfully it remained just as lemon-coconutty as ever.


Despite my many fears when making this (Will it set? Will the pastry fall apart? Will it taste good?) this dessert turned out to be a delight. Now that I can add this notch to my belt, I’m ever more motivated to try out more vegan desserts!


Vegan Lemon Coconut Cream Pie

For the crust:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ¼ cup dessicated coconut
  • ¼ cup icing/powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup neutral vegetable oil e.g. sunflower, canola

For the filling: 

  • 1 and ½ cups lemon juice
  • 1× 14 oz can coconut milk
  • ½ cup castor (granulated) sugar
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ cup cornflour + ¾ cup water
  • 2 drops yellow food colouring (optional)

For the topping: 

  • 1 cup coconut cream (or 1 cup aquafaba)
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp dessicated coconut

Method

  1. Start by making the crust. Sift the flour, coconut, sugar and salt in a large bowl and shake to combine. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil. Use a wooden spoon to mix until it comes together. Shape into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a large saucepan on medium high heat, combine the lemon juice, coconut milk, sugar, lemon rind and vanilla. Whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Dissolve the cornflour in the water and stir well to ensure there are no lumps. Pour the cornflour into the lemon coconut mixture and whisk vigorously to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce the heat to low and stir continuously until the mixture has thickened considerably and coats the back of a spoon. If you find that the colour is too pale, add the food colouring drop by drop until you’re happy with the colour. Remove from heat and set aside
  3. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out into a 10 inch circle. Grease a non stick 9 inch springform pan. Line the bottom and sides of the pan evenly with the pastry, using any scraps to go around the sides. Top the pastry with some parchment paper and pastry weights (you can use dry unsoaked beans in this case) and blind bake the pastry for 25-30 minutes or until it is golden brown. Set aside to cool before filling.
  4. Spoon the lemon coconut filling into the baked pastry case and level off with a spoon. Refrigerate for about 2 hours to set.
  5. Add the coconut cream and icing sugar to a small bowl and whisk until thickened and fluffy. Use this to top the pie once set. Decorate with lemon rind and dessicated coconut. Serve chilled and enjoy! Will keep for 3 days in the fridge.
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Roasted Cauliflower BBQ Vegan Pizza

Boy am I mighty excited about this one. 


As you can tell, I’ve been eating a lot of pizza lately, and whilst this is probably not doing any favors for my diet, it’s doing all kinds of things for my tastebuds! Melting caramelised onions, sweet sweet barbecue sauce and a cool avocado dressing that takes it over the edge. I don’t know about you but I’m sold! 


The icing on the cake is that this pizza is 100% vegan! Is it really a pizza without cheese? The answer is YES in all sense of the word. The crust is still as soft as ever, the toppings are ever as delicious and the number of calories is a lot less. 


Roasted Cauliflower BBQ Vegan Pizza
Ingredients

  • 250g cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp each salt and black pepper
  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 pound pizza dough, homemade or storebought

For the barbecue sauce: 

  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp molasses (or honey if not vegan)
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

For the green sauce: (optional) 

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • a jalapeno pepper, deseeded
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup water

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine the cauliflower, olive oil, oregano, onion powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Toss well to ensure the cauliflower is coated evenly in spice. Lay the cauliflower in an single layer on the baking pan and roast for 20 minutes, or until lightly toasted.
  2. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a large saucepan on medium-high. Add the sliced red onion and fry for 2 minutes before reducing the heat to low. Cook until moderately caramelised, about 20 minutes. The onions should be very soft and starting to turn golden on the edges. A good indicator of their doneness should be the taste, if the onion is still too bitter, then return the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until palatable. Set aside once done.
  3. Whilst the onions are caramelising, prepare the barbecue sauce. Add all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce in a medium saucepan and whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Once the cauliflower has roasted, toss with the barbecue sauce to coat in sauce.
  4. Increase the heat in your oven to the highest it will go (this is about 250°C for me). Roll/stretch the pizza dough into a circle (or a rectangle if you’re me). Transfer the dough to a pizza stone or a baking pan lined with parchment. Cover the base with the barbecue cauliflower, leaving a border of about ½ inch. Make sure that the sauce completely covers the area within the border. Top with the caramelised onions and the yellow pepper. Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. To really amp up the crust, combine 1 tbsp of maple syrup with 1 tbsp of water and brush the crust with the runny maple syrup when done. Serve immediately with the green sauce if desired. Enjoy!

To make the green sauce:

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until combined. Drizzle over the pizza! Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Spicy Carrot Spinach Cakes with Avocado Dressing

Lets get down to business. 

You’ve heard me talk about the produce in my mother’s vegetable garden? Of course you have, I’ve only been talking about it for the ages. We’ve got spinach, carrots, tomatoes, leeks and onions! For previous posts about these groegiurs veggies, check out these Carrot Cake Pancakes and these Spinach Falafel. For today, we’re going to talk about how I used the spinach and carrots to prepare your next greatest lunch project.


I’m on a roll right now as far as meatballs and patties are concerned. Falafels, burgers, meatballs, I’m really taking advantage of all the vegan foods. Now it’s no fun to just throw a couple of vegetables in a food processor, pulse and throw it in the oven. No my friends, we have to make it interesting! That’s where the various spices I’ve thrown in here come in. Added bonus: they really bolster the nutritional value of this dish. Trust me when I tell you that you need to get into adding spices to your food. Take for example this Golden Spiced Pineapple Cooler I made a couple of weeks ago. It’s delicious, insanely healthy for you and has a gorgeous colour! So before you start to think twice about the number of spices involved in this dish, remember how every little ingredient contributes to the goodness of these cakes. 


These carrot cakes are delicious tucked into a pita or between 2 pieces of naan with a side of roasted vegetables. The avocado sauce is a must and helps take some of the heat off if you find that they’re too spicy for you. Make these in bulk and freeze just before baking so that you can defrost and cook as you need them! Enjoy! 


Spicy Carrot Spinach Cakes with Avocado Dressing

Ingredients

For the carrot spinach cakes:

  • 1 cup dried red or brown lentils
  • 4 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 cup rolled oats, divided in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup roughly chopped spinach 

For the avocado dressing:

  • 1 whole avocado, roughly mashed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice 
  • A handful of fresh parsley
  • A handful of sliced almonds 

Method 

Start with the carrot spinach cakes: 

  1. Add the lentils to a medium saucepan and cover with 2 cups of boiling water. Cook on medium heat for 12-15 minutes or until they have soaked up all the water and are soft. Remove and allow the cool. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the carrots, cooked lentils, 1/2 cup of the rolled oats, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Pulse a couple of times until the ingredients are well combined and you have a thick batter. 
  2. Remove the batter to a large bowl. Add the other half cup of oats, bicarbonate of soda, cumin, coriander, cayenne, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and spinach. Use a large wooden spoon to blend all the ingredients together, making sure that there are no pockets of dry spice. 
  3. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper/aluminium foil and preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Grab a heaping tablespoon of the carrot spinach mixture and shape into a patty with your hands. It’s much easier if your hands are damp. Add each patty to the baking sheet as you form them, making sure to leave some space in between them. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Serve hot with the avocado dressing, some naan and extra roasted veggies. Enjoy!

To make the avocado dressing:

Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Keep leftovers tightly sealed in the fridge for up to 10 days. 

Cosy One Pot Spinach Pesto Pasta Bake

Yes I know, this one is a mouthful.

But hear me out about this one: it will be one of the most, if not the most delicious dinner you will have this year. And for the amount of effort that goes into it, it’s almost unbelievable how delectable it is.  


Everything gets thrown in one pot and left to simmer and in 30 minutes you have a winning dinner. This was my first attempt at homemade vegan cheese, and it could not have gone better. I’ve linked the recipe that I used below, I really think that it’s worth the effort! It’s simple, cashews are soaked overnight and then blended with nutritional yeast, garlic and fresh herbs. The texture is similar to that of a cream cheese dip, and the flavour is simply outstanding. 


I paired this with a sweet white wine; one of the perks about vegetarianism is not having to rely on the meat dish for the choice of wine. I’m sure there are several other nuances that go into this decision such as the amount of spice in the dish and the richness of the sauce but I’m going to go with what feels good. Sometimes food doesn’t have to have restrictions, its all about what makes your tummy happy. This dish definitely makes my tummy happy!



Cosy One Pot Spinach Pesto Pasta Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1×14 oz can of tinned tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 400g farfalle pasta, uncooked (you can substitute any other short pasta like tortellini, rigatoni, macaroni or fusilli)
  • ¼ cup spinach pesto, homemade or storebought
  • ¼ cup vegan ricotta (this is a good recipe)
  • Optional for serving: fresh basil, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, glass of white wine, crusty bread

Method

  1. Heat some olive oil in a large, deep saucepan. Fry the onions and mushrooms until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock to the pot. Stir to combine, making sure the tomato paste has dissolved, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  2. Add the pasta to the pot and stir well to ensure that the pasta is submerged in liquid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked al dente. Stir the pot occasionally, if the pasta is not yet done and the sauce is close to burning then pour in ½ cup of vegetable stock or water. When the pasta is done, the sauce should be very thick.
  3. Drop tablespoons of spinach pesto and ricotta over the top of the pasta bake. Cover the pot and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve hot with some nutritional yeast and fresh basil. Leftovers will keep well if tightly sealed in the fridge for up to 4 days.

 

Hearty One Pot Vegetable Stew

It’s been a while since I’ve made a comfy, stay-at-home-and-put-your-feet-up kind of stew. That’s exactly what this is for.


It’s just a simple, no-fuss recipe, where everything on the ingredient list should already be in your pantry. This is really a clearing-the-fridge type of dinner, meant to get rid of all those unsavoury veggies sitting at the back of the pantry.


It’s the kind of dinner you make when you’re exhausted after work. Anything can go in here: potatoes, mushrooms, parsley even. If you’re feeling a bit sneaky then you could even add a glass of red wine to the pot (I won’t tell) or a cup of Guinness beer to really jazz it up.


Hearty Irish-Style Vegetable Stew 

Ingredients

  • 1 and ½ yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • ½ red onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped roughly
  • 100g tomato paste (about 4 tbsp)
  • 750ml vegetable stock (3 cups)
  • ¾ cup dry brown/red lentils
  • ¾ cup split green peas
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Method

  1. Heat some oil in the bottom of a large cast iron pot. Fry the onions until soft and are just starting to caramelise, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook for 3 minutes, or until darkened considerably, stirring frequently to ensure it doesn’t burn. Pour in the vegetable stock and add the lentils and split green peas. Stir to combine everything, the tomato paste should have dissolved in the stock and the lentils and peas should be completely submerged. Add the oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary and cayenne pepper. Season again with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil before reducing the heat and allowing to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add another cup of stock or water if the stew gets too thick and is at risk of burning.
  3. Once the pulses have cooked, taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Give the pot a good stir before serving. This is best served on top of some steaming mashed potatoes or rice. Enjoy!

 

 

Baked Spinach Quinoa Falafels

In other words: my latest obsession.


It’s taken me way too long to get a falafel recipe right. believe me, I’ve tried almost everything this year from lentils to mushrooms to wild rice. I just could not create a falafel recipe that

a) Didn’t fall apart in my sandwich

b) Wasn’t drier than the Sahara desert

c) Worked every single time

UNTIL this one happened.


Believe me, I’d long given up on the falafel dream, resigning myself to order from the Lebanese lady at the farmer’s market. If you’ve read my vegan carrot cake pancakes post then you’ll know about the abundance of home grown produce in my home. Among these vegetables, we have some leafy green spinach hanging around. To put it to good use, I blindly added it to my food processor with some chickpeas and quinoa. And whoa. And I mean WHOA. These beautiful things came around.


I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that this is all I ate for a week. I could not believe that they were this good and came from my own kitchen. And now, I’m posting the recipe here so that you too can experience heaven in a bite!


Falafels are traditionally eaten in a pita with cucumber and a yogurt sauce. Today we’re keeping it strictly vegan with an avocado sauce that I will also be posting soon. I didn’t have any pitas on hand, but there was some naan dough that I had frozen, so I whipped up a batch of fresh naan and can I just say, BEST LUNCH EVER. So I encourage you today, reader: go forth and make delicious falafel balls!

Baked Spinach Quinoa Falafels                                                              makes about 20 falafel

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups soaked chickpeas, rinsed
  • ½ cup fresh spinach
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Start by cooking the quinoa. Add the quinoa to a medium saucepan and cover with a cup of boiling water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the water has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove the cooked quinoa to a bowl and allow to cool.
  2. To a food processor, add the cooked quinoa, chickpeas, spinach and olive oil. Process until combined, about 5 minutes. Remove the vegetable mixture to a large bowl before adding the flour, baking powder, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the vegetable mixture, stirring carefully to ensure there are no pockets of flour.
  3. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking pan or line with parchment paper/aluminium foil. Dampen your hands to make it easier to shape the falafel. Use a tablespoon to portion out the falafel and use your hands to shape into a sphere before adding to the baking pan. Repeat until you’ve used up all the mixture. If the mixture fails to hold together, add flour 2 tbsp at a time until it does. Refrigerate the falafel for 20 minutes whilst you preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F.
  4. Bake the falafel for 15 minutes before gently turning over and baking for another 10 minutes. Serve warm in a pita with cucumber and tomatoes. Enjoy!

Thai Basil Cauliflower

Need an easy vegan dinner option? Look no further muchacho.

 It does not get easier with this one. Saute some veg, throw in a couple of spices, pour in the liquid and you’re done! Don’t let my meagre list of vegetables stop you, the sky is the limit! Throw in some mushrooms here, a leek there or some capiscum here. The only rule is to keep it colourful; that’s what makes this dish fun!

Whenever I’m feeling lazy or just having a bleh day, this dish comes to the rescue. My bed is only lonely for the 15 minutes that it takes to prepare this dish and come running back!

Thai Basil Cauliflower                                                                                    serves 2 

Ingredients

  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced thinly
  • 100g sugar snap peas
  • 200g cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp brown sugar (or honey if not vegan)
  • ¼ cup vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup Thai basil, chopped loosely
  • optional add ins: a squeeze of lime, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, crack of pepper

Method

  1. Heat a small saucepan on high heat and add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry until the onion is soft and the garlic and ginger are very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the garlic from burning.
  2. Add the carrots, peas and cauliflower and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the soy sauce and fish sauce before adding the brown sugar. Stir to coat the vegetables and cook until reduced to a syrup, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the vegetable stock and throw in the Thai basil. Bring to a boil before reducing the heat to low and covering the pot with a lid. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced. Serve immediately on top of rice or noodles.