Pitta Pizzas

This is barely even a recipe, more just an idea for a quick meal, and a great way to make a kid-size pizza!  It’s also great fun for kids because they can choose their own toppings for their pizza, and if they choose their toppings, they’re more likely to eat them, I find.  You can set up a make-your-own-pizza bar, with different ingredients chopped up in bowls, for example onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, pineapple, even things like broccoli, kale, chickpeas, anything really.  It doesn’t have to be traditional pizza toppings.

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You could use homemade sauce or try to find a store-bought pizza sauce with no added sugar or salt.  I love Janet’s Just Delicious sauces, which are really healthy!  And some grated vegan cheese if you like.  We love Violife for pizza!

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As you can see, the kids liked them!  They’re a bit messy for toddlers but so worth it.

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Ingredients:

Serves 4

A pack of 4 pitta breads

1 jar of pizza sauce (or homemade sauce)

A selection of chopped veggies (e.g. onion, mushroom, tomatoes, peppers, olives, etc.)

Grated vegan cheese (optional)

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Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Top each pitta with a few tablespoons of pizza sauce and spread it out to the edges.

Add your toppings and vegan cheese.

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Baked Potatoes (with a cheat ingredient)

You might have seen videos (vegan and non-vegan) of shepherd’s pie stuffed baked potatoes.  I love (vegan) shepherd’s pie so thought it was a great idea, but I’m also busy (and lazy) so don’t get around to making it much.  Recipes that have several different steps and use too many pots and dishes are a bit of a hassle, so I decided to make it with a cheat ingredient.

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I had a few of these Amy’s Kitchen tins of soup, that I had bought to have easy food in the house while I have a newborn, and thought they’d make a perfect shepherd’s pie filling.  I’ve tried it with the lentil vegetable soup and lentil soup and they both work great.  They’re pretty healthy and nice and thick so were delicious.  You could use other lentil and vegetable soups too if you like.

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So it makes the recipe really easy, simply a baked potato, with a lentil soup filling, and mashed potato on top.  The perfect comfort food and a good portion size for one person.

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Ingredients:

Serves 4

4 large potatoes (I used roosters)

Extra virgin olive oil (or any oil you like)

Sea salt (optional)

1 tin of vegan lentil soup

Black pepper

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Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Use a fork to poke about 10 holes in each potato.  Rub a little olive oil and salt on the potatoes (optional).

Bake the potatoes in the oven for about 50 minutes.

When the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and keep the oven turned on.  Let the potatoes cool slightly so you can handle them.

With the potatoes lying on their side, slice the top off and use a spoon to scoop out some of the potato.  Put this in a bowl and mash it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Fill the potatoes with the lentil soup, there should be enough for four potatoes.

Top the potatoes with the mashed potato.  You can drizzle on some olive oil, salt and pepper if you like.

Put the potatoes back into the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned on top.

Vegan Oven-Roasted Roots Frittata

This recipe is based on a recipe in the River Cottage Veg Everyday cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.  I have a few vegetarian cookbooks and love trying to veganise any of the recipes that aren’t vegan.  Some are really easy to veganise, just by leaving out an ingredient or using vegan cheese or something, and some are more challenging.  I’ve always wanted to try veganising some of the egg recipes and I’ve been making a lot of vegan frittatas lately so decided to try making a vegan version of this oven-roasted roots frittata.

I love this cookbook and even though not all of the recipes are vegan, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is not even close to being a vegan, it has lovely simple but delicious recipes (most of which are vegan or easily made vegan) and it’s one of my most used cookbooks.  I do prefer buying vegan cookbooks, but I have quite a few vegetarian cookbooks so might try to veganise a few more recipes soon!

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If you follow my Instagram or Facebook page then you might have seen that we’ve been eating a lot of things made with gram flour lately.  It’s a really useful and versatile ingredient, and makes a great replacement for eggs in omelettes and frittatas.  It’s pretty magical.  And it’s healthy too, and high in protein, so nutritionally replaces the eggs in a meal, and is actually much healthier I think (no cholesterol) and of course cruelty free.  And a bag of gram flour can make several meals, so it works out as really good value.

The kids love these omelettes and frittatas that I’ve been making, and I love seeing them eating something so nutritious.  You can add lots of veg to them so it’s a great way to get kids to eat them if they’re fussy eaters.

This recipe is really simple to make, cooked in the oven instead of fried, so you can get other stuff done while it’s in the oven, which is my favourite kind of meal.  It also tastes good cold, so is great for picnics or packed lunches or eating cold the next day for breakfast or lunch.

I used beetroot, butternut squash, onion and baby potatoes in this one.  But you could also use other root veg like carrots, parsnips, celeriac, swede, shallots, etc.  Or I think it’d be really nice with mediterranean veg like aubergine, courgette, red peppers and red onion, which I might try next time!

The cheese I used was a mixture of Violife Prosociano with Parmesan flavour and Violife Mature Cheddar, which are both really delicious.   But feel free to use any vegan cheese that you like.

Anyway, I hope you like it.  If you try it, let me know in the comments or on Instagram or Facebook!

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Ingredients:

About 600g root vegetables or squash, I used beetroot, butternut squash, onion and baby potatoes

1 large clove of garlic

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cups of gram flour

Fresh or dried herbs, I used thyme

1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

About 20g vegan hard cheese, such as Violife Prosociano or Cheddar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

A pinch of kala namak/black salt (optional)

How it’s made:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Peel the onion and any vegetables that need peeling, and chop them all into 2-3 cm pieces.  Peel the garlic and finely chop or crush.

Put all the vegetables in an ovenproof dish, about 23cm square.  Drizzle with the olive oil, garlic and some salt and pepper and toss the vegetables to coat them in oil.  Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, stirring them about halfway through cooking.

Meanwhile, put the gram flour in a large bowl with the herbs, some salt and pepper and the nutritional yeast and kala namak if using.  Whisk together with 2 cups of water until it makes a smooth batter.

When the vegetables are done, take the dish out of the oven but don’t turn off the oven.  Pour the gram flour mixture over the vegetables evenly.  Grate the vegan cheese and sprinkle on top.  Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until it’s cooked through, checking occasionally so that it isn’t burning.

Slice the frittata and serve warm or cold.

*Based on a recipe from River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

3 Vegan Pizza Recipes

Pizza is one of my kids’ favourite meals.  They’re pretty easy to make  They make a quick meal and pretty nutritious.  Sometimes I make my own dough or sometimes use store-bought pizza bases depending on how much time and energy I have.  Some store-bought pizza bases are accidentally vegan so it’s always worth checking.  I used gluten-free and vegan ones from Schär in these photos.  But you can use any vegan bases or make home made dough if you like.

I usually make my own pizza sauce, which is pretty quick and easy.  But if you want to make this even easier, then feel free to use store-bought pizza sauce or pasta sauce.  Or even just spread on some passata or tomato purée with dried herbs.

I love Violife vegan cheese for pizza.  Though you can use any brand of vegan cheese, homemade cheese or even leave the cheese out.  I often don’t even add cheese to pizzas and they are just as good!

Once you have the bases and sauce, pizzas are really quick and easy to prepare and the variations are limitless.  Add whatever toppings you like.  I included three of our recent favourite recipe ideas in this blog post, but you can vary them based on what you have and what you like.

 

BBQ Cauliflower Pizza

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This is a veganised version of a BBQ chicken pizza.  I’ve actually never had one and didn’t think I’d like BBQ sauce on a pizza but it’s really good.  Cauliflower works nicely as a replacement for chicken as it has a fairly neutral flavour.  It won’t really be much like chicken but is a good replacement when you don’t want to use more processed and expensive faux-meat.  It soaks up flavours well and works really nicely on pizza.  I think it would also be really good if you used tempeh instead of cauliflower or as well as cauliflower.  I might try that another day.  Or feel free to use vegan chicken-style faux meat if you want.  Most BBQ sauces that I’ve seen are suitable for vegans.  You can use whatever one you like or even make a homemade one if you feel like it.  The red onion and fresh coriander goes really well with this and gives it a more fresh taste.

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Ingredients

Makes 1 pizza

1 vegan pizza base (homemade or store bought)

1/3 cup + 2 tbsp. BBQ sauce (plus more for drizzling on top if you want)

1 small cauliflower or half a large cauliflower

A few handfuls of grated vegan cheese (I used half a block of Violife for Pizza)

1/2 a small red onion

Fresh coriander leaf (cilantro) as garnish

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How it’s made:

Chop the cauliflower into small florets.

Blanch the cauliflower for about two minutes, then drain completely.

Toss the blanched cauliflower with 2 tbsp. of the BBQ sauce to coat it.

 Spread 1/3 of a cup of BBQ sauce on the pizza base, or more if you have a bigger pizza base or like more (I used quite a small one).

Put the cauliflower florets on the pizza.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the cauliflower.

Peel and thinly slice 1/2 the red onion.  Put this on top (use as much as you like, I only added a little).

Cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the cauliflower is starting to go brown in places.

Sprinkle with chopped coriander (cilantro) before serving.

Drizzle with extra BBQ sauce if you like.

Vegan Hawaiian Pizza 

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This is based on a “Hawaiian” style ham and pineapple pizza.  I used to like these before I was vegan and wanted to recreate it.  Interesting fact when I was reading about pizza varieties, I learned that Hawaiian pizzas were actually invented in Canada.  Even so, it makes a delicious vegan pizza!  The pineapple is really good.  I veganised it by using marinated tempeh, thinly sliced and chopped up, but you could use vegan ham-style faux meat slices.  If you can’t get either of these or would prefer not to use them, I think thinly sliced mushroom would be really good on it too!

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Ingredients:

Makes 1 pizza

1 pizza base (store bought or home made)

For the sauce:

Olive oil

1 small onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp. tomato purée

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 heaped tsp. dried oregano

Sea salt and black pepper

Toppings:

Fresh pineapple (about two handfuls of diced pineapple or pineapple rings if you like)

A few handfuls of grated vegan cheese (I used half a block of Violife for Pizza)

For the tempeh (if using):

1 package of tempeh (you don’t need much of it for 1 pizza)

1 tbsp. olive oil

Smoked paprika

Sea salt

Alternatively use vegan ham-style slices or mushrooms instead of tempeh

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How it’s made:

Thinly slice and chop some tempeh, as much as you want for your pizza.

Finely slice the tempeh, if using.  Put it in a bowl and add 1 tbsp. olive oil, plenty of sea salt and a few sprinkles of smoked paprika.  Mix it up and leave to sit while you make the sauce and assemble the pizza.

Or if you’re using vegan ham slices, then chop them up small.  If you’re using mushrooms, then thinly slice them.

For the sauce, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil over a medium heat in a small saucepan.  Peel and finely chop the onion.  Add to the saucepan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Peel and mince or crush the garlic.  Add to the pan and cook for another minutes or two, stirring occasionally.  Add the tomato purée and stir and cook for another minutes.  Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, oregano, sea salt and black pepper to taste.  Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.  This should be enough sauce for about two pizzas, so if you’re only making one you can save the sauce for another dish like pasta.

Spread some sauce on the pizza base.  Sprinkle with the vegan cheese.  Then put the pineapple and tempeh (or vegan ham or mushrooms) on top of the pizza.

Cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling.

Vegan Margherita Pizza

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Margherita pizza is really simple but nice, with tomato, basil and mozzarella.  I use vegan mozzarella of course.  I love Violife mozzarella but homemade cashew mozzarella is also really nice.  I add slices of tomatoes and use a homemade sauce to add more goodness.  My three year old really likes it!

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Ingredients:

Makes 1 pizza

1 pizza base (home made or store-bought)

For the sauce:

Olive oil

1 small onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp. tomato purée

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 heaped tsp. dried oregano

Sea salt and black pepper

Toppings:

1 tomato, thinly sliced

A few handles of vegan mozzarella, grated or sliced

A few fresh basil leaves

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How it’s made:

For the sauce, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil over a medium heat in a small saucepan.  Peel and finely chop the onion.  Add to the saucepan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Peel and mince or crush the garlic.  Add to the pan and cook for another minutes or two, stirring occasionally.  Add the tomato purée and stir and cook for another minutes.  Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, oregano, sea salt and black pepper to taste.  Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.  This should be enough sauce for about two pizzas, so if you’re only making one you can save the sauce for another dish like pasta.

Put a layer of sauce on the pizza base.  Sprinkle the cheese on the top.  Add the tomato slices on top of this.

Cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling.

Scatter fresh basil leaves on top and serve.

Vegan Barbecue Ideas

I haven’t blogged in what seems like ages, and the main reason is that we’ve been enjoying the sunshine and having lots and lots of barbecues (that and I was being lazy).  It’s been such a fun way to spend time outdoors with the kids and they’ve loved it.  This post might be a little late for people here in Ireland as it’s raining now, but we’ll get more sun, I’m sure!  I really love vegan barbecues.  I think they’re actually much better than meaty barbecues.  There’s more variety, veggies are delicious barbecued, they’re healthier, and of course cruelty-free.

One of my favourite summers, 5 years ago, me and my friends from college had veggie barbecues all summer and I have such great memories from them.  We became even closer friends, had lots of fun, and had great food.  Well, there was one vegan cake we tried to make that tasted like vinegar, but other than that, great food!  Since then, I’ve really loved vegan barbecues.  And this week I’ve tried so many ideas and have more ideas to try soon!

So here are a few ideas of the kind of things we cook on barbecues.  They’re also useful dishes to bring with you if you’re invited to a non-vegan barbecue.  I think even meat eaters would like them.

 

 

Veggie Burgers, homemade or store bought, are always delicious.  Most store-bought burger buns are vegan, or try putting them in a pitta or wrap.  Serve with ketchup, vegan mayonnaise, vegan cheese, or houmous, guacamole or salsa are also really nice.  As well as salad leaves, pickles, tomatoes, or whatever you like.

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I love making bean burgers, in particular falafel burgers, made with chickpeas and lots of fresh herbs.  Just use any falafel recipe but flatten the falafels into burger shapes.  Cook for 5-10 minutes on each side.  They’re really good served with salad, vegan tzatziki, tahini sauce or houmous, and chilli sauce, in a pitta or wrap.

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Veggie Sausages are delicious cooked on a barbecue and quick and easy to cook.  You can make homemade ones but I like Dee’s Wholefoods vegan sausages.  They cook perfectly on a barbecue and are really handy to bring to family barbecues.

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Big Mushrooms make a simple burger alternative, which is cheaper and less processed than many store-bought veggie burgers, and are quite “meaty” tasting.  You can marinade them or simply brush them with oil and cook either side.  Serve in a burger bun with any toppings you want.  Delicious!

 

Corn on the Cob is quick and simple to barbecue.  I don’t parboil it, simply place on the barbecue, brush with some oil if you want, and cook until charred in places, turning occasionally to cook all sides.

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The kids really love it.  Oran (12 months) likes having a half a cob because it’s easier to hold and will eat lots of it, and Rian (3 years) likes having a whole one.

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Veggie Kebabs are another quick and easy idea.  Just chop up your favourite veggies into roughly the same size, put them on a skewer, brush with a little oil, and cook until charred at the edges.

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I like them with peppers, cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms, red onion, shallots, courgette, parboiled sweet potato or butternut squash, cooked baby potatoes or marinated tofu.  Yum!

 

Vegetables like aubergine, courgette, tomatoes and peppers are delicious barbecued.  It really brings out their flavour, making them sweet and charred.  Slice aubergine and courgette into thin slices or wedges, cut peppers into big pieces or use whole small peppers with seeds removed, slice big tomatoes in half and cook cut-side down, or put cherry tomatoes on the vine straight onto the barbecue.  Or put some whole asparagus, spring onions, baby courgettes halved lengthways, straight onto the barbecue to cook.  It couldn’t be easier and tastes great.

13340235_10154069293031014_7077703919467579406_o (1)You can marinate them first if you like, which is really nice for aubergine and courgette.  I like to marinate them with some olive oil, garlic, smoked paprika and tamari/soy sauce.  Or simply brush them with some oil and sprinkle with salt.

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Fruit can also be delicious barbecued.  I especially love barbecued pineapple.  I’m not normally a big pineapple fan but it’s so delicious barbecued.  It’s great on skewers, or cut into rings and used as a topping for veggie burgers.  Peaches and nectarines are also really good cooked on the barbecue, simply slice them in half, remove the stone, and cook cut-side down until charred.  They make a nice, healthy dessert, especially if served with some whipped coconut cream or vegan ice-cream.

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Sweet Potatoes are amazing cooked on the barbecued.  Simple poke a few holes in them with a fork, brush some oil on them if you like, double wrap them in aluminium foil and place on the barbecue for about half an hour (for smallish ones), turning occasionally, until a fork can easily pierce them.

13323289_10154070270541014_9142915496061300746_o (1)Then slice open the skin, put some toppings on if you want, and eat.  They’re delicious with mashed avocado or houmous on top.  I plan to try this soon with regular potatoes too, which should work well.

 

Stuffed Peppers or Mushrooms are one of my favourite foods to barbecue.  For the peppers, either cut off the top or slice in half length ways, remove the seeds and white bits, and fill with whatever you want really.  For mushrooms, use big, flat mushrooms, remove the stalk, and fill the mushroom.  Then cook on the barbecue.

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They’re really good with spicy rice or cous cous, chickpeas, even some vegan cheese.  These ones are filled with fried onion, garlic, tomato, and chickpeas with thyme, cumin, chilli and smoked paprika.  Stuffed mini peppers are a handy size for kids to eat.  My two love them.

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I hope you like these ideas and I hope we all get some good weather soon too!  If you try any of these, I’d love to see them or hear how you get on.

Potato & Chickpea Salad with Creamy Avocado & Dill Dressing

This is a really delicious salad that’s filling enough to be a main meal.  It’s also very healthy.  People sometimes think potatoes aren’t that good for us, but they actually contain lots of goodness.  I like making it with baby potatoes, which go really well with the dressing.

 

The dressing is creamy, lemony, fresh and full of healthy fats and vitamins.  Avocadoes are a great food for kids, especially babies.  Plain soya yoghurt makes it extra creamy and is really nice but if you don’t have it, then it works fine without it.  If your kids don’t like potato skins, feel free to peel them first, since the recipe will still have plenty of fibre (and if you’re vegan, you probably get lots anyway) but I like it with the potato skins on.

 

The chickpeas make this extra filling, add protein and other nutrients, and make it more interesting I think.  Potatoes and chickpeas go great together.  If you don’t have dill, or don’t like it, you can use coriander, mint, parsley, it’s really up to you.  It’s really good with dill though!

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Ingredients:

Serves 4-6

1 KG of baby potatoes

1 tin of chickpeas

4 avocadoes

Juice of half a lemon

2 peeled cloves of garlic

1 1/2 handfuls of fresh dill

A few spoonfuls of plain soya yoghurt (optional)

Sea salt (optional)

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How it’s made:

Halve or quarter any of the larger potatoes and place them in a large saucepan.  Cover with cold water, place on a high heat, bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until a fork can pierce them easily.

Once the potatoes are cooked, leave to cool completely.

Meanwhile, using a blender or food processor, blend together the avocado flesh, lemon juice, peeled garlic clothes, 1 handful of dill, soya yoghurt (if using) and some sea salt (if using).

Drain and rinse the tin of chickpeas.  Finely chop the remaining dill.  Mix the chickpeas, cooked potatoes, chopped dill and dressing together well.

Serve immediately as the avocado may become discoloured.  If you don’t want to eat it straight away, drizzle with a little lemon juice, and olive oil, cover and store in the fridge.

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Avocado, Mint and Tomato Pasta Salad

I know I promised to do other recipes than pasta, but here’s another one!  I don’t really plan what recipes to blog.  They’re just meals we really eat.  And we eat quite a lot of pasta.  It’s quick and easy to make so we often eat it for lunch.  I always make a healthy sauce to go with it to make sure the kids get lots of goodness.  This sauce takes only a few minutes to blend up, so is another really easy sauce.

IMG_6422This sauce is made of avocado, lemon juice, garlic, mint and chopped tomatoes, and is completely raw so contains loads of nutrients.  Avocadoes are really delicious (though an acquired taste maybe) and have lots of healthy fat.  The lemon juice in this adds a nice flavour and stops the avocado from discolouring.  I put in the juice of half a lemon but it’s up to you how lemony you like it.  You can definitely change up the recipe by using lime juice, or different herbs like coriander, basil, dill or parsley.  I like it with mint as it’s really fresh tasting.

4 avocadoes sounds like loads, but this makes a lot of pasta!

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I mix the sauce with cold pasta so that it stays raw and fresh, and serve it at room temperature or chilled for a really nice summery meal.  This time I served it with my Chilli Kale Chips but it’s also nice with a fresh green salad.  It’s still a bit sunny here so we ate it outside in the garden.  The kids loved the pasta and afterwards ran around playing while I got to relax for a bit!

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Ingredients:

Serves 4-6 people

500g pasta

4 avocados

Juice of 1/4-1/2 a lemon

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

Small handful of fresh mint leaves

Sea salt (optional)

3 ripe tomatoes, diced

IMG_6447How it’s made:

Put the pasta on to cook according to package instructions.

Using a food processor or blender, blend the avocado flesh, lemon juice, garlic, mint and sea salt if using.  I found a hand blender/stick blender useful for this.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse it well with cold water.  This will cool it down too.

Mix the pasta, avocado sauce, and diced tomatoes in a large bowl.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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