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Dinner

PRODUCT REVIEW – MORNING STAR FARMS HICKORY SMOKED BBQ RIBLETS

I picked up a box of Morning Star Farms Hickory BBQ Riblets from the Cruelty Free Shop on the recommendation of a friend, Gareth, who posted a short but glowing comment on Facebook the other day.

I’m not a massive eater of these type of processed fake meat products these days but Gareth’s recommendation prompted me to give it a try anyway.


How hard is it to prepare/cook?

It couldn’t be any easier. Just remove one of the two rows of riblets from the box (four riblets), pierce the top of the bag in two places, place in the microwave for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes and you are done.


Taste?

Soft and tender with that sweet and smokey flavour it promises on the front of the box. It is certainly one of the better tasting processed fake meats to cook at home I have tried over the years. I served them up on a bed of Cajun seasoned low GI mashed potato, a piece of fresh BBQ’d corn, steamed green beans and starred-out carrot pieces in recognition of Texas, the Lone ‘Star’ State, where hickory smoked is the flavour of choice.

 

Key base ingredient?

Soy. It also contains wheat gluten so no good for coeliacs.

 

Cost?

I didn’t keep the receipt but for memory they were about $15 a box which is pretty standard for this type of product imported from the USA.


The verdict?

Absolutely delicious. I could see myself buying these again in the future.

These are so new here in Australia that at the time of this post they aren’t even up on the Cruelty Free Shop website yet so head into one of their four stores if you can’t wait to try them out.

If you try them let me know what you think in the comments section below. I would love to hear your feedback.

Dinner

POTATOLICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS – LOADED UP BLACK GARLIC ROASTED POTATO

If you talk to or read the words of Andrew Thompson (The Spud Fit guy) you would understand how good potatoes are for you.

Andrew ate nothing but potatoes for a year in 2016.

The reason he chose potatoes is because of their overall nutritional value. Yes they even have protein!

What better way to have potatoes than with even more nutrition and flavour added. No oil or fat added.

Check out my recipe below for this delicious, nutritious and filling meal.

LOADED UP BLACK GARLIC ROASTED POTATO

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: 30M

Ingredients

  • 1 large unwashed potato
  • 1 cup of diced onion
  • 2 large mushrooms roughly sliced
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1 cup of red kidney beans
  • 1/4 cup of sweet corn kernels
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of granulised black garlic
  • 1/2 cup of shredded purple and white cabbage

Instructions

1

Take the large potato and wash of excess dirt but do not peel.

2

Steam for 15 minutes on the stove.

3

Remove potato from the pot, place on a square piece of foil, cute it into quarters then grind black garlic granules all over.

4

Wrap the potato and place in an air fryer for 10-12 minutes on 190 degrees.

5

While the potato cooks, in a non-stick frypan, sweat off the diced onion until caramelised, cook the mushrooms with thyme. Also steam the spinach for a few minutes.

6

Once the potato is ready, place in on a plate and load up the ingredients on top in any order you wish.

7

I garnished with some spring onions but the idea only to me after I took the photos and by then I was hanging to tuck in.

Notes

If you don't have an air fryer, you could bake in the oven but it will take longer.

Dinner/ Lunch/ Salads

SALAD EXPLOSION – FLAVOURS OF THE WORLD VEGETABLE SALAD WITH SASSY DRESSING

A lot of salads can be fairly one dimensional when it comes to flavour.

Green leafy stuff and the main ingredient along with a dressing.

I decided to try to think outside the box with this one.

Roast a whole lot of different vegetables but add different herbs and spices to them.

The result…….an explosion of different flavours with every bite.

Add to that a fresh home made and oil free chilli, basil and cucumber dressing to take up to another level again.

Try it out by following my recipe below or substitute with your own fave flavours. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

FLAVOURS OF THE WORLD VEGETABLE SALAD WITH SASSY DRESSING

Print Recipe
Serves: 6-8 Cooking Time: 45M

Ingredients

  • SALAD
  • Potatoes cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • 4 carrots (washed but not peeled)
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1 large red capsicum cut into medium sized chunks
  • 1 large green capsicum cut into medium sized chunks
  • 1 bunch of asparagus sliced into one inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of Southern American spicy seasoning
  • 1 large zucchini cut in half then sliced into chunky pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of Middle Eastern spice mix
  • 1 small piece of pumpkin cut into small pieces with the skin on
  • 1 teaspoon of dry oregano
  • 1 small punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  • 1 large bag of pre-washed leafy greens lettuce mix
  • CHILLI BASIL CUCUMBER DRESSING
  • Leaves from 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 long red chilli
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 pinch of salt

Instructions

1

Prepare all of the vegetables as outlined above ready to cook.

2

Steam the potatoes, carrots and pumpkin pieces for 10 minutes.

3

Cover the following vegetables with the chosen herbs and spices.

4

Potato - rosemary

5

Carrot - cumin and orange juice

6

Pumpkin - oregano

7

Asparagus - Southern American spice mix

8

Zucchini - Middle Eastern spice mix

9

Cherry tomatoes - Cracked black pepper

10

Air fry each vegetable at 180 degrees until cooked. Potatoes take 10-12 minutes while tomatoes and asparagus only need 3-4 minutes.

11

Once all cooked layer on top of a bed of leafy greens lettuce mix. Can be served hot, warm or cold.

12

FOR THE DRESSING

13

Place the basil leaves, cucumber, chilli, salt and lemon juice into a blend.

14

Blend at a high speed for a few minutes until well combined adding a tablespoon of water twice during the process.

15

Pour into a serving dish and place on the table with the salad.

Notes

* The vegetables could alternatively be baked in the oven. * If the dressing is too wet place in a piece of paper towel and squeeze the excess liquid out before pouring out into a serving dish.

Dinner

SMOKEY CAULIFLOWER STEAK FOR DINNER – MIDDLE EASTERN CHICKPEA TOMATO SAUCE, ROAST VEGGIES, SPINACH AND KALE

What started out as a Smokey Cauliflower Steak for dinner turned into an epic wholefoods plant based feast.

Even better that the spinach and kale came from my own garden.

The chickpea tomato sauce was delicious and will now be a regular addition to my meals. I could eat it by itself.

Check out my recipe below.

CAULIFLOWER STEAK WITH MIDDLE EASTERN CHICKPEA TOMATO SAUCE, ROAST VEGGIES, SPINACH AND KALE

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: 25M

Ingredients

  • 2 x cauliflower steaks (one inch thickness)
  • 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 cup of small button mushrooms
  • 6 stems of kale
  • 6 large steams of spinach
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of Savannah's Middle Eastern Spice mix
  • 1 tin of peeled or diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Half a tin of chickpeas
  • Dry chilli flakes
  • Cracked black pepper

Instructions

1

CAULIFLOWER STEAKS

2

Rub the smoked paprika into both sides of the cauliflower steaks then drizzle with lemon juice. Set aside for as long as you can spare. Overnight and throughout the day if possible.

3

Cook on a hot non-stick griddle pan until the surface starts to soften. 7-10 minutes on each side.

4

ROAST VEGGIES

5

Place the cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and large chunky slices of zucchini in a bowl and sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of the Middle Eastern spice mix. Add some fresh thyme. Toss the mixture together so all the veggies are well coated with the spice mix and thyme.

6

Cook in an air fryer on 180 degrees celsius for 5 minutes.

7

SPINACH

8

Dice the garlic and place in a non-stick frypan and cook until the aroma is released. add in the rough chopped spinach. Add the other tablespoon of Middle Eastern spice mix and a dash of water. Stir regularly until the spinach has reduced by half.

9

KALE

10

Rinse kale under cold water then shake dry. Sprinkle lightly with cumin and chilli flakes. Place in the air fryer for just 3 minutes on 180 degrees celsius.

11

SAUCE

12

Place garlic and diced onion into the same non stick frypan you cooked the spinach in. Brown off then add the tin of tomatoes and chickpeas.

13

Add in the cumin and cinnamon then stir in well. Reduce to simmer until excess liquid has evaporated while continuing to stir regularly.

14

Plate up and enjoy.

Notes

* You can choose to cook the cauliflower steaks only briefly on each side if you prefer things on the raw side.

Dinner

GREAT BALLS OF FLAVOUR – ZUCCHINI SPAGHETTI WITH BLACK GARLIC MASHED POTATO BALLS

The idea for this dish came to me when I was eating mashed potatoes recently.

Take the traditional spaghetti and meatballs, which I ate my fair share of before going plant based and create a more nutritious version.

Replace the pasta with zucchini, add a homemade pasta sauce packed with red lentils and replace the meat with a mashed potato ball.

It’s not a quick and easy weeknight dish but well worth the effort.

So here it is….and yes it tasted magnificent even if I do say so myself.

Zucchini spaghetti with red lentil sauce topped with a black garlic mashed potato ball

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • SPAGHETTI
  • 1 large zucchini
  • MASHED POTATO BALLS
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of ground black garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of plant based butter
  • 2 fresh basil leaves finely chopped
  • 2 small cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • RED LENTIL SAUCE
  • 1 brown onion diced
  • 1 clove of garlic diced
  • 2 tins of tomatoes, diced or peeled
  • 2 large handfuls of red lentils, pre soaked or 1 standard sized tin from the supermarket
  • 2 cups of roughly chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon of Italian herb mix
  • GARNISH
  • 1 handful of grated plant based cheese

Instructions

1

Start by washing the potato and cutting up into small pieces. I leave the skins on for the extra nutrition.

2

Steam them until soft.

3

Place a non stick frypan on the stove and dry cook the diced onions and garlic, move around regularly. Once they start to brown add some water to the pan. This will combine the caramelised bits from the bottom of the pan with mix.

4

Place the tomatoes, red lentils, spinach and Italian herb mix into the pan. Cook until bubbling then turn heat down low to simmer for 30 minutes. Add a splash of water after 15 minutes.

5

Once the potatoes are cooked, place them in a bowl and add the black garlic, plant based butter and chopped basil. Season with lite salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until you have a smooth mixture.

6

Put the mashed potato in the freezer for 20 minutes to cool right down.

7

Remove from the freezer and with wet hands mould by hand into two large balls. Poke a cherry tomato into the centre of each ball then reshape.

8

Roll the balls in the breadcrumbs until fully coated. You can cover the balls in a plant based spread or plant based egg wash if you wish. I just chose not to.

9

Place on a plate and cover with cling wrap then put back into the freezer for at least 20-30 minutes.

10

While the sauce is simmering, take the mashed potato balls out of the freezer and place in the air fryer at 180 degrees for 10-12 minutes turning a few times.

11

Spiralise your zucchini into long spaghetti style strands. If you want to cook them place into a not stick frypan with two tablespoons of water and cook for two minutes. Season with lite salt and pepper.

12

Plate up. Garnish with your favourite grated plant based cheese.

13

Enjoy.

Notes

The red lentil tomato sauce can be made ahead of time and frozen in batches. Just grab it out when you need a red sauce.

Dinner/ Lunch/ Salads

LET THE BBQ’s BEGIN – CHAR GRILLED VEGETABLE SALAD

Spring has sprung at my place which means the start of BBQ time.

This is one of my favourite ways to eat delicious wholefoods. They cheap to buy or easy to grow, simple to prepare and super tasty. Best of all you are eating a bowl of nutrition.

I added a bit of spice with Naked Byron Foods vegan chipotle mayonnaise, which is made with aquafaba.

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 large Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 x large sweet potato
  • 2 x fresh corn cobs
  • 2 x eggplants
  • 5 x medium mushrooms
  • 2 x brown onions
  • 3 x tomatoes
  • Salad leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of Naked Byron Foods vegan chipotle mayonnaise

Instructions

1

Slice up the sweet potato into rough pieces. Place in the microwave on high for three minutes.

2

Prepare the other vegetables (cut, slice and season as desired)

3

Turn on the BBQ and allow to heat up for a few minutes.

4

Cook the vegetables in the following order:

5

- Sweet potato;

6

- Corn;

7

- Eggplant;

8

- Onion;

9

- Mushroom; and

10

- Tomato.

11

Layer two bowls with a generous amount of salad greens.

12

Add char-grilled vegetables.

13

Dress with vegan chipotle mayonnaise.

Dinner

QUICK AND EASY TANGY BBQ JACKFRUIT TACOS ANYONE?

I often get asked for suggestions about quick and easy tasty meals for those days when you get home late or just can’t be bothered going to much effort preparing dinner.

One answer is tacos.

They are so versatile and you can fill them with so many plant based ingredients.

For this version I have used a pre-flavoured packet of Tangy BBQ Jackfruit. Just heat and serve.

On this occasion I went for something pretty simple. Four ingredients plus the taco shells but you can certainly load them up with as many healthy options as you can imagine.

SPICY BBQ JACKFRUIT TACOS

Print Recipe
Serves: 8 tacos Cooking Time: 7 minutes

Ingredients

  • BBQ Jackfruit Tacos
  • 1 x 300 gram (10.6 ounces) Upton's Naturals Bar-B-Que Jackfruit
  • 8 x taco shells
  • 1 cup of your favourite plant based cheese (shredded). I used Oliana Chedder.
  • 2 cups of shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup of diced tomato

Instructions

1

Heat taco shells in the oven for 5 minutes at 180 degrees.

2

Place the jackfruit packet contents in a microwave proof bowl and heat for 60 to 90 seconds depending on how hot you like your food.

3

Remove the taco shells from the oven.

4

Fill them starting with the hot jackfruit, followed by the tomato, lettuce and cheese.

Dinner/ Soups

WARMING AND HEALTHY – MY HOMEGROWN INSPIRED ASIAN BROTH SOUP

As soon as I assembled these ingredients on my kitchen bench I knew I had to make an Asian broth style soup.

Not only warming for these cold winter nights but full of nutrition.

The small Nameko mushrooms and large Shimeji’s have been growing above my kitchen sink for weeks after picking starter kits up at the Old Kingston Bus Depot Markets with my friend Tracey.

The spinach, Swiss chard and kale all came from my back yard this afternoon.

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 20M

Ingredients

  • BASE
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon of vegan laksa paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of extra rich vegan fish sauce
  • 1 litre of home made vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • ADDED INGREDIENTS
  • Small Nameko mushrooms
  • Large Shimeji mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Beans
  • Carrot
  • Noodles
  • GARNISH
  • Fried onions
  • Fresh chilli

Instructions

1

In a non-stick pot, place the diced onion, garlic paste, ginger paste, vegan laksa paste and extra rich vegan fish sauce. Sauté until all of the ingredients start to become a light brown colour.

2

Add in the vegetable stock and water then bring to the boil. Let simmer for 15 minutes.

3

Place remaining vegetables into the pot and cook for 5 minutes.

4

Serve up with noodles of your choice (I used Slendier brand on this occasion).

5

Garnish with fried onions and fresh chilli pieces.

Dinner

MIDDLE EASTERN FEAST – WHOLE ROASTED CAULIFLOWER AND MORE

I love the flavours of the Middle East especially Morocco. It is one the places on my to ‘Go To For Food’ travel list.

I started off with the idea of roasting a whole cauliflower. Then I was wondering what flavours to use, one thing led to another and the end result is this Middle Eastern Feast.

A whole roasted Middle Eastern spiced cauliflower with chargrilled vegetables, Moroccan quinoa, black olives, pistachios and dairy-free crumbled feta.

Cauliflower garnished with hummus.

WHOLE ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH CHARGRILLED VEGGIES ON A BED OF MOROCCAN QUINOA

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 45M

Ingredients

  • 1 whole naked cauliflower 
  • 4 tablespoons of Middle Eastern spice mix
  • 700 gram bottle of plain tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 small red bell peppers
  • 2 small green bell peppers
  • 6 large cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large field mushroom
  • 1 handful of shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 handful of crumbled dairy free feta cheese
  • 1 handful of sultanas
  • 1 handful of black olives
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander 
  • 3 tablespoons of hummus
  • FOR THE MOROCCAN QUINOA
  • 260 grams of quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/3 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/3 teaspoon of tarragon
  • 1/3 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/3 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon of cinnamon

Instructions

1

Rinse naked cauliflower with warm water and pat dry.

2

Mix Middle Eastern spice mix in a bowl with the plain tomato pasta sauce and stir.

3

Place the cauliflower on a baking tray and coat all over with the sauce mix.

4

Cook at 180 degrees for 45 minutes, turning over once at the 25 minute mark.

5

While the cauliflower is cooking place the quinoa, spices and water into a non stick pan on the stove. Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer until most of the moisture has evaporated.

6

Once simmering prepare the carrot, eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes and mushroom to be grilled by covering them with the cumin and coriander powder.

7

Grill on a griddle pan until melted with black stripes and are cooked to your personal liking. Obviously the carrot will take longer than the eggplant and zucchini. 

8

When the quinoa has cooked, mixed in the sultanas and olives then spread out on a serving plate.

9

Place the cauliflower in the centre of the plate then add the chargrilled veggies to the plate.

10

Top with the pistachio nuts and crumbled dairy-free feta cheese.

11

Garnish the cauliflower with hummus.

 

Dinner

BAGEL WEEK – ASIAN PAPRIKA AND SALT DINNER BAGEL

Bagels are such a versatile food. You can load them up with different flavours and combinations for every meal of the day.

Tonight I took a Paprika and Salt bagel from Buddah’s Kitchen Co and gave it the spicy Asian treatment combined with satay. Some hipsters may refer to it as ‘fusion’ of flavours.

To me it’s just a great combination of flavours but hey that’s just my opinion…ha ha!

Here’s my recipe.

ASIAN PAPRIKA AND SALT DINNER BAGEL WITH GRILLED SATAY TOFU

Print Recipe
Serves: 1-2 Cooking Time: 15M

Ingredients

  • 1 Buddah's Kitchen Co Paprika and Salt Bagel
  • 3 tablespoons of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot chill sauce 
  • 1 cup of Asian vegetable mix
  • 1/2 packet of satay tofu 
  • 1 cup of different mushroom varieties 
  • 4 broccolini stems
  • 4 pieces of Pak Choy
  • 1/2 fresh red hot chilli
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 handful of cashew nuts

Instructions

1

Start by placing the Asian vegetable mix, mushrooms and pak choy in a steamer. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. You want the veggies to maintain their hardness. (You could give this step a miss if you prefer to have them raw).

2

Cut the tofu into bite size pieces then could on a griddle pan for 5-7 minutes.

3

In a cup or small bowl add the better than cream cheese and hot chilli sauce. Stir together with a fork or spoon until well mixed.

4

Slice the bagel in half and toast to your desired level (I like mine closer to the well toasted end of the scale).

5

Once your bagel is cooked start to place your ingredients on top. I followed this order. Chilli vegan creamed cheese, Asian veggie mix, pak choy, broccolini, tofu then mushrooms.

6

Drizzle your favourite peanut butter on top and garnish with fresh cut chilli and crushed cashew nuts.