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

Coconut Miso Soup (v)

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TASTY GOODNESS.

I put all the things I like in a bowl and ended up in Japan and I like Japan so it was a good evening.

This was quick and easy and delicious and I’m still in a good mood from it.

This is also the debut of a cute bowl my parents gave me to feature soup on my blog.

You can (as always) mix and match the vegetables to what you have, this worked well but miso is always delicious with mushrooms for a different option.

[Serves 2/3 as a Main Dish, 4/5 as a Starter]

Ingredients:

  • 500ml Miso Stock
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Chunk Ginger, maybe 1 Tbsp
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 3 Carrots, thinly sliced
  • LOTS of Cabbage! (2/3 Cups, chopped)
  • Optional: chopped spring onion

Blend up the Miso Stock, Garlic, Ginger, Coconut Milk and Toasted Sesame Oil until it’s all smooth. Pour it out through a sieve to eradicate any foam and take it to the hob adding the carrot and cabbage (and optional spring onion).

I then left this on the hob on low, cleaned all my dishes and took it off so I suppose leaving it on low for 10 minutes does the job.

Serve and Enjoy!

Yumyum miso.

Gina

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

Spiced Parsnip Soup (v)

Parsnip Soup

Sometimes I forget how tasty parsnips are. They are so tasty that I was worried I was going to eat them all while they were steaming…

Luckily I didn’t (I did eat a few pieces) and this soup turned out great. I’m learning that the secret to a good soup is to keep it simple and focus on one or two vegetables, often you can think it’s better to max out on nutrients and put a bit of everything in there, or you worry you don’t have enough flavour but you just need to have faith that one or two is enough. Simple is delicious.

Also I learned a new Vitamix trick, I like my soups chunky, with varying degrees of chunkyness, and I know that if you whack the whole mixture into the Vitamix and throw it on high you’ll have a very smooth soup (and admittedly for some soups that works really well) but it’s fairly commonplace to transfer some if not most of the mix in, blend and then return it for some thick and some blended. This time I did that TWICE (see instructions) by making some of the soup smooth, transferring it back to the pot and then putting a second load in the Vitamix and pulsing, the results were great and I had three different thicknesses in there.

[Serves 2]

Ingredients:

  • 2 Parsnips, peeled and chopped into chunks (Around 180g)
  • 1 Shallot, chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 100g Cannellini Beans (soaked)
  • 1/2 Tbsp Fenugreek
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 500ml Vegetable Stock
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (or “Cheese” of your choice)
  • Optional: Fresh Rosemary

Steam the chunks of parsnip until soft (probably around 15-20 minutes), putting some sprigs of rosemary in there as well brings out a really nice flavour.

Roast the Cumin and Fenugreek in a frying pan for 2 minutes (tasty smell!) and then added the garlic and shallot and cover them in the spices for around 5 minutes.

In a saucepan add all the ingredients to the vegetable stock and cook for around 5-10 minutes. Here comes the Vitamix trick (can be done in any blender) transfer 3/4 mixture into Vitamix (try and leave some chunkiness especially the beans because they’re always nice whole in a soup), blend this on high until smooth, transfer back to the saucepan and stir. Optional (advised) extra: place a second load into the Vitamix (maybe half) and give it some quick pulses to loosen it up then put it back in for a super variety of thickness.

Serve, and always do enjoy.

Gina

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

Leek and Lentil Soup (v)

Leek and Lentil Soup

Happy Easter! Here’s a light (but very filling) lunch to make up for the chocolate.

I’m really into lentils at the moment and this soup is probably my favourite soup that I’ve made so far it was simple to make, extremely filling and tasty.

I am at this very moment looking into getting some new crockery to mix up the images a bit, I love the look of thai bowls or even some wooden just to really give your eyes their worth. I’m sorry the picture isn’t more exciting, it’s always difficult when you’re taking pictures in a state of hunger (this bowl was empty approx 35 seconds later).

Serves 2 [technically speaking it came to around two bowl-fuls but I did eat both]

Feel free to mix around the ingredients I imagine this would be delicious with kale or cabbage, also an important note if you like a thicker soup, it would be delicious with added potato, I added hemp protein powder (workin’ on my abs) so it was thickened considerably and would be great without it but a potato would be perfect for extra thickness.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium Leeks
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 500ml Vegetable Stock (Marigold Swiss you know me)
  • 60g Red Lentils
  • Optional: 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast, ground pepper

Start the lentils off by covering them in cold water in a saucepan and bringing them to the boil. Then reduce heat (I like to add 1/4 tsp vegetable stock) and cover for 15 minutes.

Chop onions, leek and garlic and fry them in a bigger pot (if you wanted to add the nutritional yeast, this is where that goes in for an added cheesy flavour). Stir vegetables until they have softened and pour in the vegetable stock. Leave to simmer for around 7-10 minutes then pour half to three quarters of the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth (this all depends on how chunky you would like it). Reunite the blended and unblended vegetables and serve with the lentils on top, perhaps adding some ground pepper.

Enjoy.

GG

x