dinner, savoury, side or starter

CHEESE FILLED DOUGH BALLS (vegan)

cheese filled dough balls

Recently when making pizza I decided that I’d also like some dough balls à la Pizza Express. I doubled my pizza base recipe, planning to just make plain dough balls. However, when I laid eyes on the vegan cheese in my fridge, I decided cheese on only the pizza wasn’t enough – I needed cheese filled dough balls!

The cheese filled dough balls taste great dipped in vegan garlic butter (you can make your own by mixing vegan butter, crushed garlic and seasoning to taste) alongside pizza, pasta or even just a salad. Although they are best eaten hot to get that oozing cheese satisfaction, I can confirm they also taste great cold the next day if you have any leftovers!

dinner, savoury

VEGAN RICE BURGER (vegan, oil free)

healthy burger recipe

This recipe has taken months and many revisions to make happen. What started out as a way to use up some leftover rice in the fridge turned into multiple attempts (including one failed falling apart attempt when I was trying to impress some omnis at a dinner party!) to achieve a tasty vegan rice burger that actually stayed together after taking a bite. And I believe I’ve succeeded here!

Burgers are one of my favourite foods and if there’s a vegan one on the menu then it’s not often you’ll find me choosing something else (unless there’s pizza, then it’s a tough decision). I’ve already published one burger recipe (my soy and chickpea burger recipe) and as soon as I’d finalised this vegan rice burger recipe I immediately started work on another which I’m sure I’ll be sharing once it’s been tweaked and taste tested a few times!

Although this is a vegan rice burger recipe, the rice can be replaced with leftover quinoa if that’s what you have in the fridge, and it also doesn’t matter whether you’re using white or brown rice – the vital wheat gluten is what binds the mixture and the spices are what gives it the flavour, so either way you’ll end up with a similar taste and texture.

aquafaba, dinner, savoury, snacks

VEGAN POPCORN CHICKEN (vegan)

vegan popcorn chicken

I’ve used vital wheat gluten* to make seitan a few times before in recipes for the blog (see my ‘pork’ and apple sausage rolls recipe and my seitan and sundried tomato bites recipe) but this time round I decided to mix it with tofu to make a vegan ‘chicken’ based dish. The result was this vegan popcorn chicken recipe – the tofu and vital wheat gluten work well together in creating the perfect texture for the vegan chicken, and coated in the delicious breadcrumb mix it’s hard to distinguish from what I remember ‘real’ or non-vegan popcorn chicken tasting like.

If you’re not a fan of deep frying, you can always bake these in the oven instead – I’d recommend cooking them with a drizzle of oil for around 20 minutes at 200 degrees celcius.

dinner, savoury

LIME CORIANDER TOFU (vegan)

lime and coriander tofu recipe

I love tofu – as well as being a great alternative for meat in main dishes (see my beer battered tofish recipe and my vegan fishcake recipe) it’s also a great source of protein. However, I often see cries of help from new vegans who want to eat it but aren’t sure how to prepare or cook it. The first thing you need to make sure is that you buy the correct tofu for the dish you are making. In a main meal where you will be cutting the tofu up into chunks, you’re going to want firm or extra firm tofu. Next, you need to press the tofu to get rid of the excess water and make it easier to cut and handle. I’d recommend investing in a tofu press (I use and love this Tofuture one*) as it saves balancing books and cans on baking trays.

So that’s the preparation done. In terms of cooking, I always advise that baking is the easiest way to cook tofu – it gives it a great texture – firm on the outside but soft on the inside. You also want to make sure that you use ingredients with it that are full of flavour. Tofu doesn’t have much taste eaten as it is so the biggest worry is making a bland dish. By making a marinade or sauce with tasty ingredients, the tofu will soak up the flavour, as it does with this lime coriander tofu dish.

This dish uses just eight ingredients and requires minimal prep work, so it’s easy to chuck in the oven after 5 minutes and just leave it to bake while you get on with other things.

baking, dessert, sweet

COCONUT CARAMEL EASTER NESTS

vegan easter cake recipe

I’m sure some sort of colourful vegan mini eggs exist, but the first vegan eggs I found when I decided to do an easter recipe were standard dark chocolate ones. As I knew I wanted to make some easter nests, I decided to twist the traditional recipe slightly because although chocolate eggs on a chocolate nest would certainly taste good, it didn’t offer the contrast in colours that easter nests usually have (and I’m certainly a believer of the saying you ‘eat with your eyes’).

Instead of a chocolate easter nest, I’ve gone for coconut caramel. The use of coconut cream really thickens up the caramel and gives a smooth, creamy and rich sauce that pairs beautifully with the bitterness of the dark chocolate eggs. If you’re not able to get a carton of coconut cream, leave a can of coconut milk upside down in the fridge overnight. When you come to make the easter nests, scoop out the thick cream from the top of the can.

This recipe is definitely one of the simpler sweet recipes I’ve shared on my blog, and this plus the easter theme means it’s the perfect recipe to make with children during one of April’s showers!

aquafaba, baking, dessert, sweet

CHOCOLATE HONEYCOMB CUPCAKES (vegan)

vegan chocolate cupcakes

Every time I tweak my vegan cupcake recipe I think it’s my best one ever, so there have been quite  few declarations of “No, this is definitely my final cupcake recipe!” throughout the past few months. However, I feel quite confident saying that this chocolate cupcake recipe is now my go-to one, and I finally feel like it doesn’t need any further changes. It originally came about as a modified version of my mini three tier cherry chocolate cake recipe, and I’ve used it to make many a birthday cupcake since, so I thought it was about time it appeared on the blog. The addition of vanilla icing and vegan honeycomb pieces make these chocolate honeycomb cupcakes an extremely indulgent and tasty treat!

baking, dinner, savoury, snacks

VEGAN RICOTTA, BASIL AND SUNDRIED TOMATO PINWHEELS

vegan ricotta cheese pinwheels

Today’s recipe is another vegan ricotta and sundried tomato recipe (see my previous recipe for vegan ricotta and sundried tomato ravioli), but this time with the addition of my favourite herb, basil.  I’ve tested this recipe with both dried basil and fresh basil, and this time dried basil won due to the more intense flavour. If, however, you find yourself with no dried basil, you can sub the dried basil for a large handful of fresh basil (finely chopped). It still tastes great that way, I just preferred the flavour with the dried.

Pinwheels are a favourite snack of mine because I love puff pastry (although not enough to attempt making my own yet!). Pinwheels are also really quick and easy to make which is great, because when I want a snack I want it as soon as possible! As well as making a great snack on their own, these pinwheels are great paired with a salad for a light lunch, or as a side to a tomato soup if you fancy a change from bread.

dinner, quick meals

MEXICAN COUSCOUS SALAD (vegan)

spicy couscous recipe

On my recent lemon basil pasta recipe post I mentioned that I had been working on getting together some quick and easy recipes for work nights where I don’t feel like (or don’t have the time to) spend a long time in the kitchen making dinner. This mexican couscous salad is my latest 10 minute recipe – all that’s required is to cover the couscous and spices with boiling water, chop or gather together the remaining ingredients and then mix and serve!

Leftovers store well in a sealed container in the fridge for around five days – just omit the nutritional yeast and avocado and add these just before serving the mexican couscous salad. There’s only two of us at my house, so I like to make up this full batch for dinner and have the leftovers for lunch at work the next day – so as well as being a quick and easy dinner, the leftovers also serve as a quick and easy lunch the next day too!

savoury, side or starter

VEGAN BACON (vegan, gluten free)

vegan bacon recipe

So aside from hearing that people could never go vegan because of cheese, the other excuse we vegans hear often is “but…bacon…”! I don’t know about you, but I definitely didn’t give up meat because I don’t like the taste, and the smoky saltiness of bacon is one of the flavours I’ve been trying to recreate since (but without, you know, the animal cruelty).

I’ve tried store bought vegan bacon, I’ve tried making vegan bacon out of seitan and I’ve even tried making vegan bacon out of coconut flakes, but none of them came close until my first attempt with tofu. I got the texture right on the first go but I wasn’t quite there with the flavour, so I’ve refined this recipe again and again until I got what I think is the best vegan bacon I’ve eaten. And I’m not just saying that because it’s my recipe. Promise!

breakfast, dessert, sweet

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES (vegan)

peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes

I went vegan in April 2015, so tomorrow is only my second pancake day as a vegan. Last year, I played it safe and went for some traditional crepe style pancakes served with lemon and sugar. This year, however, I wanted to go for a slightly more exciting pancake, and so I started working on a pancake recipe ahead of the day so that I knew the recipe would be perfected in time for pancake day! I love any kind of sweet dish that oozes gooey chocolate, so chocolate chip pancakes were a given. However, when I went to make chocolate chip pancakes, I spied our 1 kg tub of peanut butter sitting on the side, and decided peanut butter needed to be added to the mix too! These peanut butter chocolate chip pancakes are easy to make, and taste great served with extra chocolate and peanut butter on top, as well as your favourite fruit.