Category Archives: Cooked Savory

Time Savers

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I get so many questions regarding how I maintain a plant based diet.  It seems a lot of people get deterred because they think it’s too time consuming or expensive but I’m here to tell you that it’s surprisingly not, which is great news :)

All you need to do is just set out some time once or twice a week to do some basic food prep and then  you’re done.  This probably isn’t as essential in the summer months when it’s nice and warm and eating fresh salads is something most of our bodies crave anyway and you know how easy it is to whip up a delicious salad right?  It only takes a few minutes if your fridge is stocked with natural plant foods and if you have some pantry staples to whip up a great and tasty dressing.

So, here are my top 2 tips for staying on top of your food game whilst maximising your time and still pumping out delicious, healthy food.

 

Tip 1:  USUAL SUSPECTS

Keep things in your fridge and pantry that you know you like and could eat every day.  Here are the vegetables that I buy every week:

  • mixed baby greens
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • capsicum
  • zucchini
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • red onion
  • brown onion
  • mushrooms
  • pumpkin
  • sweet potato
  • eggplant
  • baby spinach
  • avocado
  • celery

These veggies make the bulk of my meals, and I may buy some extra ones that are in season.

My other staples are:

  • hummus
  • tahini
  • vegan cheeze
  • tofu
  • vegan sausages
  • olives
  • oats
  • wholegrain wraps
  • sourdough bread
  • nut butter
  • vegan ice cream
  • cinnamon
  • curry powder
  • olive oil
  • himalayan pink salt and celtic sea salt

TIP 2:  FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL

If anything, planning some of your meals ahead saves you time!  The best advice I was ever given by a nutritionist was to imagine my perfect day food wise and replicate that day in day out when you know you’re going to be under the pump with work/family/life.

So set out a couple of days a week and just prep your favourite things and store them in containers so that you can organise a meal in minutes.

Now I’m going to share with you what I do, this is not to say that you have to do it this way obviously, but just to give you an idea.

So because my week starts on a Sunday, I do my meal prep on the Saturday.  This meal prep usually lasts me 3-4 days.

Here’s a typical menu:

Breakfast:  Apple and cinnamon oats with pumpkin butter

Morning snack:  Decaf almond flat white or matcha soy latte (I buy these and only on work days)

Lunch:  Wholegrain wrap with hummus, baby spinach, grilled tofu slices, vegan cheeze, tomato.  I normally put this under the sandwich press because it’s cold at the moment and I’m craving warm foods.

Afternoon snack: 2 TBS nut butter, 1 cup of celery sticks, 10 strawberries.

Dinner:  1 cup of grilled vegetables, 100 g of grilled tofu cubes, 1 1/2 cups of mixed baby greens with cucumber, capsicum and red onion, 2 tbs of hummus as a dressing, 1/2 cup of grains (I go between quinoa and brown rice)

Snack:  2 scoops of vegan ice cream (sometimes it’s home made, sometimes I buy the So Good brand, what can I say, I have a sweet tooth!)

This is how the prep for this goes down:

First I cook 5 days worth of oats in the slow cooker.  Each serving is 1/3 cup of oats, 2/3 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1/3 cup of water, 1/2 grated apple, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.  So I add all of this into the slow cooker, enough for 5 servings.  Once it’s cooked to my liking (not too runny, not super thick), I portion out 5 days worth of oats, put 2 in the freezer, and keep the other 3 in the fridge.  The pumpkin butter I make once a week so I just scoop that into the oats just before I eat it.

Whilst that’s cooking, I turn on the oven, chop up all of my veggies (mushrooms, capsicum, carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, sweet potato, eggplant), drizzle them with some olive oil, salt, pepper and some dried oregano, mix it all up and then bake them for about 40-45 or until the root veggies are done.

Now that the veggies and breakfast are cooking, I get the grains on.  I like to use the boil method because when I cook grains for myself I don’t like to season them so the boil method is fine for this.  Once they’re cooked, I just drain them in a colander and rinse under cold water to get rid of the starch.  I leave in the colander to drain again until every part of the prep is done and then I store.  I only make enough for 3 days because grains tend to go off pretty quickly.

Then I prepare the tofu.  I cut 60g serves lengthways and pan fry those on a non-stick pan without any oil until they are nice and golden.  These get stored when done and will be used in the wraps.  I normally make enough for 5 days.

I chop the rest of the tofu into cubes and repeat the above process.  These will be used to accompany dinner and normally last for 3-4 days, at 100 g serves for each meal.

That is all and it probably takes about 1 hour, including chopping and cooking time, but you’re probably in the kitchen for about 1 1/2-2 hours if you factor in washing and cleaning up afterwards.  I clean as I go so this cuts down the time too.

The night before work, I just have to put everything for dinner in containers, 1 for the hot food to be reheated, and 1 tub for the salad.  I make the wrap, and I pop the strawberries, celery and nut butter into a little container and off I go.

Here’s what lunch normally looks like:

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I only ever food prep for my working days or if I know my days off are going to be busy.  If I have nothing pressing to do on my off days, I don’t prep anything as I do love catching up with friends over a meal, or visiting our favourite cafe with my daughters.

I do like to change things up to prevent getting bored so for breakfast I like to alternate between cooked oats and overnight oats which can also be made ahead of time, I normally make up to 4 and just keep them in the fridge.  My daughter loves them too so they don’t last long.

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For dinner instead of tofu, sometimes I’ll have a vegan sausage instead or legumes, and a peanut butter and banana smoothie instead of the veggie sticks, nut butter and fruit for snack.  Here’s what my work meals usually look like (lunch, afternoon snack and dinner):

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The great thing with making the veggies in bulk is that you can use them for anything, you just need a little bit of imagination.  Here are some other ways I use them:

  • stirred through tomato sauce and on top of pasta
  • stuffed into a wholemeal roll with avocado and pesto
  • made into a vegan quiche using tofu as a binder
  • on top of pizzas
  • with chickpeas, cous cous and pine nuts
  • mixed with brown rice and black beans and stuffed into a burrito

There you have it, hope you got some ideas out of this post and that it makes your life easier and gives you more time to do the fun stuff!

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb

 

Carrot & Ginger Soup

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Whenever I feel under the weather, or even just a little bit down, I always crave soup.  It’s like medicine to me.  Something grounding and  nourishing to give my insides some much needed TLC.

This soup is really easy to make, just like all of the dishes I put up if you haven’t already noticed!

My aim when I’m cooking, is to make the tastiest of meals, in as little time as possible.  The actual preparing of the ingredients is what I like the most, the cooking is just a necessity some times.

You can find the purple sweet potato noodles used in this recipe in any good Asian grocery store, or you can also use kelp noodles.  If you don’t have anything against eating grains, rice noodles would work really nicely here too.  I love grains, but I know some people are sensitive to them.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Serves 1 as a main or 2 as entrees

Ingredients

2 large carrots chopped

2 cups of cubed pumpkin

2 garlic cloves, sliced

2 cm piece of fresh ginger

Celtic sea salt to taste

Toppings

Tofu

Pepitas

Coriander/Cilantro

Finely sliced red onion

Avocado

Purple sweet potato noodles

Cashew créme fráiche

 

Method

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan, and add enough water to just cover the vegetables.  Turn heat on to med-high and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer with lid on, until pumpkin is soft and carrot gives a little.

Ladle vegetables and liquid into a blender, and blend until smooth.  Start on lowest setting first and be mindful that hot liquid can sputter and burn you so have the lid on properly.  If you like your soup runny, you may need to add a little more hot water.  I prefer mine thick and creamy so this amount of liquid suits me fine.

To cook the noodles, just add the amount you want to a pan of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until soft.  Drain, rinse and add to your soup.  I find sweet potato noodles quiet starchy so even if you leave them in the water after you have turned of the heat, they won’t go gluggy.  This is a bonus, as I sometimes get caught up doing other stuff!  If you have left overs, they’re also great through stirfrys.

I had this soup for lunch and it definitely made me feel so much better.  Because of the toppings, it makes for a filling meal.

Peas, love and mungbeans

 

xxb

 

BBQ pulled jackfruit fajitas with all the trimmings!

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Not long ago, I shared my recipe for Smoky BBQ pulled jackfruit and if you haven’t yet tried it, I highly recommend that you do.

Today, I want to share how you can take that recipe to create this wonderful dish.

Mexican cuisine comes an equal third with Vietnamese as my favourite top three cuisines of the world (Peruvian and Middle Eastern food take the top 2 spots respectively).  I love the freshness and simplicity of most of the dishes and they are truly a party in your mouth.  In my household, we normally make all the accompaniments and put them in the middle of the table, and then everyone makes their own bespoke dish with what’s available.  It’s fun, and the kids love it.

Here’s the recipes for the accompaniments that go with our smoky BBQ pulled jackfruit fajitas.

Cabbage Salad 

1/4 purple cabbage

1/4 white cabbage

2 TBS evoo

juice from 1 lemon

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh coriander leaves

Freshly ground pepper and Celtic or Himalayan pink salt to taste

Method

Use a mandolin to finely shred the cabbage and place in a medium bowl with the finely chopped coriander.  Add the lemon, olive oil and seasoning and use hands to mix it thoroughly.  Taste and adjust seasoning if required.

Chunky Guacamole

2 ripe avocados

2 TBS finely diced red onion

Juice of 1/2-1 lemon/lime

Freshly ground pepper and Celtic or Himalayan pink salt to taste.

Method

Mash the avocado but leave a few lumps, stir in the onion, lemon juice and seasoning.  Taste and adjust seasoning if required.

Chipotle cashew sauce/mayo is also a staple that goes with this dish and you can find the recipe for it here.

The other accompaniments are chopped tomatoes, cos lettuce leaves, which I also use as wraps if I’m not feeling the corn tortillas, cucumber and red capsicum salsa, and steamed corn.

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I use gluten free corn tortillas which are easy to find, and have tried making them myself but I really need to get one of those amazing little tortilla machines next time I’m in the states, which will hopefully be next year for 4th of July, woot!!!

In the meantime, I’ll settle for the store bought tortillas.  I have to say, I do prefer making our own Mexican food as Australia really lacks any amazing Mexican eateries IMO.  But I would love to be proved wrong.

Anywho, I hope you love the recipe and if you do, let me know!  If you don’t love it, let me know too so that I can improve on what I’m doing.

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb

 

 

Smoky BBQ Pulled Jackfruit

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Keeping to the fast an easy recipes.  Here’s another one!

Probably the easiest and most laziest ever.  This is definitely not health food but it’s tasty and perhaps a healthier version and it’s ready in 30 minutes with minimal prep time.  All you need is 2 cans of jackfruit and 1 bottle of your favourite smoky bbq marinade.

Let’s go!

Smoky BBQ Pulled Jackfruit

Serves a party!

Ingredients

2 cans jackfruit in brine

1 bottle smoky bbq marinade.  I used Masterfoods.

1 TBS oil of choice.  I used coconut oil.

Method

Drain jackfruit and rinse well.  Shake off excess water.   Cut off hard core from jackfruit pieces.

Heat oil in pan on medium heat, add jackfruit and fry until it starts to turn golden.  Add 3/4 cup of the marinade and stir to combine and cover the jackfruit.  Turn heat down to low and cook for 30 minutes, lid on, stirring occasionally.

That is all.

Serve in a bun or with your favourite salads.

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Peas, love and mungbeans

 

xxb

Red Lentil and Veggie Soup

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If there’s one thing I need more of, it’s time.  I don’t really like to spend my time in the kitchen more than is necessary because there’s a million other things I prefer to do.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking and creating new dishes, but my goal is always to make recipes that are quick and fuss free but still delicious.  Here’s proof.

Red Lentil and Veggie Soup

makes 3x 500 mL serves

Ingredients

1/2 medium brown onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 medium zucchinis, chopped

3 cups chopped pumpkin

2/3 cup dried red lentils

1 tsp curry powder

1/4 cup coriander, roughly torn

Method

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan, add enough water to come two centimetres above the ingredients.  Turn heat on to low-med and cover.  Cook stirring occasionally until lentils and pumpkin are soft.  You may need to add more water if you prefer yours more soupy, I like mine thick.

When ready, season with freshly cracked pepper and a good quality salt (not table salt, that stuff is bad), and stir in coriander.

To serve, add some brown rice and a dollop of yoghurt.  I used coconut because it goes well with this soup.

See?  Quick, easy, tasty. Fuss free.

 

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb