Tomato and Aubergine “Cheesy” Lasagne

IMG_8478IMG_8482Is there such thing as too many lasagne posts? I hope not, this one is very different and has much more the consistency of a “regular” lasagne due to my discovery of Vegusto products. These appear to be a well kept secret amongst the vegan community, an online based company that offer meat and dairy vegan replacements, the only difference is that their ingredient list is much better than the average, so often these products are filled with confusing ingredients, weird numbers, soy, sugar things you can’t pronounce. Their ingredients include, wheat protein and spices and they are DELICIOUS. Suddenly so many things are on the menu, cheese toasties, pasta carbonara (no-moo melty cheese sauce), pitta with sandwich slices (hotsami sandwich slices are so tasty), and there’s variety for those who want things that taste like meat (Lyon style luncheon roll) or things that don’t (dill sandwich slices). Needless to say I’m working my way through all their products. With the arrival of my latest (no-moo melty cheese and Vegusto mince) I made a tasty lasagne.

Ingredients:

[Serves 2 hungry people or 3/4 regular appetised people]

For the tomato sauce:

  • 25g Pure Dairy Free Butter
  • 200g Chopped Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 400g Can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 190g roughly chopped tomatoes (2 large)
  • 15g Tomato Purée
  • 1 Vegetable Stock Cube (5g Marigold Swiss)
  • 160g Veggie Mince (such as 1 whole pack Vegusto mince)
  • 1/2 tsp Dried oregano
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 9g Cornflour
  • 30ml Water
  • 10g Fresh Basil, chopped

For the Aubergine Slices:

  • 580g Aubergine (regular aubergine is preferred- I only had baby aubergine which made for more easier chopping)
  • 4 Pinches of Salt
  • 4 Pinches of Pepper
  • 20ml Vegetable Oil

For the Cheese:

  • 25g “Cheesy” parmesan-esque powder such as Nutritional Yeast
  • 100g No-Moo Melty Cheese, or other melting “Cheese” alternative

Starting with the tomato sauce, add the butter to a heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and let it swear for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes and tomato purée and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Crumble in the vegetable stock cube, add the oregano, mince, salt and pepper and stir. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil.

Dilute the cornflour in the water and stir it all into the sauce (this is to thicken). Turn down the heat and leave it to gently simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in some of the freshly chopped basil (leaving some to sprinkle on the finished dish). Remove from the heat and set aside.

Slice the aubergines into around 4, lengthways. Season with slat and pepper.

Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan and fry the aubergines for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

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Preheat oven to 160°C. In a small sized casserole dish arrange a layer of aubergines on the bottom, sprinkle some cheesy powder and then pour on some tomato mixture, add the melting cheese on top and then repeat to make another layer of each.

Place in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove your bake from the oven and sprinkle with the reserved basil.

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Serve and enjoy -also makes great leftovers 🙂

Gina

xx

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Spinach Squash Lasagne with Cashew Ricotta

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I’ve been MIA for a little while longer than usual, I’m sorry, I’m in the middle of some major exams (please send me love and light), however to make it up to you I’ve got a good one; I felt myself getting a bit mundane with my dishes as I’ve wanted to focus on revision (and went through a phase where I was OBSESSED with looking at recipes and trying out new things) but I was neglecting my food and I wanted to return. This is my happy return.

Ingredients:

[Serves 2 – tastes even better as leftovers]

  • 100g Cashew Ricotta (See Recipe below)
  • 1/2 Kabocha Squash (these are GREAT delicious and very healthy but if they’re not available you can use butternut)
  • 2 Courgettes
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Small Onions, chopped
  • 1 Can/ Carton Chopped Tomatoes (Can also use some kind of tomato sauce)
  • 200-250g Spinach (depending on how much you like it, I went for the full 250g)
  • 250ml Vegetable Stock
  • Optional:Basil Leaves and a “cheese” of your choice (I used some delicious Vegusto) to decorate

Preheat oven to 220°C

Cut the squash into chunks and steam them until soft, meanwhile steam the spinach (I had to do this in quite a few batches and had a bit of a conveyor belt system going, once one batch is done, squeeze it out in a colander and add to a mixing bowl with the cashew ricotta).

Meanwhile add chopped tomatoes, garlic, onion and stock in a pot and leave simmering while some liquid evaporates.

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Once the squash is soft add to the spinach ricotta mixture and mash together.

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Prepare your “lasagne” sheets: slice the courgettes using a peeler with slices and wide as possible (I tried using a mandolin slicer it didn’t want to work). Line a baking dish with one layer of courgette, add half of the ricotta/spinach mixture, give it another layer of courgette then by this point the tomato sauce should be a nice consistency (I drained off some liquid).

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Add a layer of tomato, another layer of courgette (you see where this is going- we alternate) then remainder of ricotta/spinach mixture, followed by a final layer of courgette. Decorate with the remainder of the tomatoes, some “cheese” pieces (can use nutritional yeast) and place in the oven for around 15-20 minutes (doesn’t need long there’s nothing that needs cooking and I couldn’t wait!), at some point check on it and add the basil leaves as they dry out quickly.

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To Make the Cashew Nut Ricotta “Cheese”

(this makes more than the lasagne needs but it’s delicious and so versatile)

Ingredients:

  • 75g Cashew Nuts
  • 10g Pine Nuts
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast

Soak 75g Cashew Nuts for around 24 hours (I soaked them even longer, when they just begin to ferment you get that ricotta taste as opposed to a regular cream cheese).

When ready, roast pine nuts in a pan for a few minutes until golden

In a bullet (can use normal blender and pulse – you want it chunky) add all ingredients and blend/pulse until you get a chunky ricotta consistency – voila! Taste it – delicious ricotta! Also works well with jam in a toastie 🙂

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Enjoy!

Gina x x

Delicious Gnocchi (v)

GnocchiI wish you all could have been in my kitchen to try this. It was the most delicious consistency you could ever wish for in a gnocchi. So soft, so superior to any pasta or rice, it was honestly the perfect companion to my new healthy pesto.

Nobody should be denied something this delicious, especially when it has so few ingredients.

[Serves 2]

Ingredients:

  • 5 Medium Potatoes (was 430g when weighed, raw and peeled)
  • Flour (I used Spelt)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp Xanthan Gum (Can use starch)
  • Homemade Pesto

Cook the potatoes (I steamed, cutting them in small pieces to make it quicker) and mash them.

Mix with salt and Xantham Gum (or starch) add flour until it becomes a dough, roll-able consistency (for me this was around 170g).

Gnocchi Dough

Flour your surface, roll out the dough into a long snake as thin as you would like the gnocchi to be, then cut off your gnocchi from the end. Roll them into little balls and press a fork down on them to create a good gnocchi shape.

Gnocchi Balls

In a big saucepan bring some water (with a pinch of salt) to the boil, gradually add the gnocchi (don’t rush this part, I staggered the gnocchi in parts), the gnocchi will sink and after a few minutes rise to the top to tell you that they are ready. With a slotted utensil, scoop them out (you can get a bit of a conveyor belt system going as you take ready ones out and sink new ones in).

Your gnocchi are done, add some sauce (in photos shown with my pesto, which I recommend trying, can also use a tomato sauce).

Serve, be mind blown, enjoy.

GG

x

Chickpea Tomato Curry (v)

Chickpea Curry

This Chickpea meal was a wholesome spicy delight. Found from fellow blogger Nade in the Kitchen (and adapted ever so slightly) the spices on the hob will make your kitchen smell AMAZING (my housemate even messaged me from upstairs – lazy – to let me know this)

Chickpea Curry 2

[Serves 2]

Ingredients:

  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 1 Piece of Fresh Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp Red Curry Paste
  • A few Tomatoes (3 would be good, I only had 2)
  • Handful Frozen Kale
  • 1 Can Chickpeas
  • 1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
  • Optional: 1 Chili, chopped (if you like things hot), some Sweetcorn (I like sweetcorn)

Roast they cumin, curry powder, fenugreek, chili and curry paste for 2 minutes [SMELL those aromas]. Add garlic, onions and ginger and fry for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat.

Add the tomatoes and let simmer for 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Add spinach and chickpeas and let simmer for another 20 minutes, until it has the consistency you like. Season with salt and pepper and serve with whatever you like (naan bread, couscous, rice, quinoa etc.)

Enjoy

GG

x

Sweet Potato and Lentil Bake (v)

Sweet Potato Bake

Fancy eating a BIG plate of food? For under 500 calories that is.

(If you are trying to lose weight I do believe the secret is avoiding a lot of calorie dense foods such as oils and eating a LOT of low calorie foods, such as this meal, your stomach will feel full on a certain size/portion of food no matter what, so if you want to get slim and don’t want to feel hungry all the time- or ever, start by making little switches to your meals and eat lots and lots of tasty whole foods!)

I think I’m going to be feeling full for a really, really long time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Sweet Potato
  • 50g Dry Red Lentils (could use beans but I went with lentils for their higher level of protein)
  • 1 Courgette
  • Handful of Kale
  • 1 Spring Onion
  • 1/4 tsp Vegetable Stock (As always I use Marigold Swiss but I’ve started using low salt as I didn’t realise the sodium levels in the original)
  • 2 Tbsp Ketchup (Again, I use an organic low salt ketchup, your heart will thank you for it)
  • Optional: “Cheese” (I used 25g of Redwood Cheezly Dairy and Soy Free)

Prick the Sweet Potato a few times and bake it in the oven on around 170/180°C for about 50mins (check on it around halfway and turn- I also wrapped it in foil)

Once the sweet potato has around 20 minutes to go put the lentils in a saucepan, cover in cold water and bring it to the boil on high, lower the temp, add in the vegetable stock and cover for another 15 minutes.

Chop the vegetables (feel free to mix and match with these depending on what you have) and steam them until they are your desired softness.

Serve it all up! I cut open the sweet potato and put everything inside but I had a lot of excess veggies, you could chop it up and mix everything together for a big tasty tagine like dish.

Enjoy the fullness.

Gina

x

Courgette Basil Soup (v)

Courgette Soup2 Courgette Soup 3Courgette Soup

Good evening,

I felt like soup for dinner (probably craving something green and healthy after the um ice cream breakfast) this was really tasty with the added Basil it gave it a real pesto feel (which I’m a huge fan of). This recipe incorporates the Cashew Cream Cheese from the other day but feel free to use cashews on the off chance you’re not making everything with me as we go along.

The thing I really liked about this recipe is that it gives you enough time while things are going to completely clean everything up as you’re going along, leaving you with just the Vitamix (which cleans itself) and bowl.

Serves 2 (or 4 as a starter)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Courgettes
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped
  • 2/3 Cloves Garlic, minced (2 is fine but I like garlic)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup (375ml) Vegetable Stock (I use Marigold Swiss)
  • As much fresh Basil as you like I used a small handful (I realised I put the whole batch in the picture, I used a lot less than this, if it’s really fresh then too much would be overwhelming because courgettes taste very mild)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Cashew Cream Cheese (or just Cashews)
  • Optional: 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Realistically if you prefer your soup on the more raw end of things, there is nothing stopping you throwing all of this into the blender as it is (and take it to high on a Vitamix for a hot soup) but I kept things in a more habitual fashion and started on the hob.

Chop Courgettes, leave 1/4 of one courgette to the side. In a saucepan place onions on a low/medium heat for a few minutes until soft, add garlic for another minute. Stir in chopped courgettes, salt and pepper over medium heat, stirring occasionally for a few minutes. Add vegetable stock and simmer until the courgettes are soft (for me this was around 7 minutes).

Pour into blender along with Basil, Cashew Cream Cheese and Nutritional Yeast and blend on high. If you don’t have a Vitamix you may need to return this to the hob, try a taste test to be sure. Take the 1/4 remainder courgette and make it into strings using a mandolin slicer (my new favourite tool) or other slicing method, use this to garnish (I also grated some of the spare courgette on top).

Serve, Enjoy.

GG

x

“Cheesy” Pasta Bake

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Hola chicos,

This one is really tasty and the cheesy sauce is a variation of one by Detoxinista (http://detoxinista.com/2011/01/move-over-kraft/)

The vegetables are really not fixed and you can swap them out for what you have, my combo worked well but some kale/cabbage would always be welcome, I’d recommend keeping the sweetcorn because they are always a good sweet addition to a pasta bake.

Serves 4/5 (or 1 hungry hungry hippo in my case. I had leftovers for the next few days)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup cashews
  • 2 Cups mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon of Mustard of choice
  • 1/4 |Cup nutritional yeast
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Curry powder
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup sweetcorn
  • Few handfuls of spinach
  • Pasta of choice (I used wholewheat fusilli, but penne would work well)

Pre heat oven to 170° C

Get the pasta going because the “cheese” sauce takes a few seconds.

Combine Cashews, Dijon, Garlic, Water (around 1/2 cup) & Spices in Vitamix (or, as always, any blender/food processor)

When the pasta is done, combine in a dish with your sauce and vegetables for around 25 minutes in the oven (or until it looks too tasty to leave in there a second longer)

After I made this it was retweeted by Yoga Goddess Tara Stiles, which made my millennia, I hope you enjoy it!

GG

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