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.
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.
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.
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!
Although I love spending time in the kitchen cooking, there’s always days where after a long day at work I just want to get home and get dinner on the table as quickly as possible. Recently, I’ve been trying to come up with some new recipes that are quick and easy but that don’t compromise on taste as a result. Pasta is often a go-to weeknight dish but I was growing slightly bored of the usual tomato sauce or pesto pasta, and so I came up with this lemon basil pasta dish instead. I’ve previously shared another 10 minute pasta recipe on the blog which can you take a look at here: one pot garlic harissa pasta recipe.
This lemon basil pasta takes just 10 minutes to make, and uses only 5 ingredients, so as well as being quick and easy, it’s also gentle on the purse strings! The lemon and basil make for a zesty and fresh base for the dish, and the nutritional yeast takes the dish from ‘good’ to ‘really good’ (although nutritional yeast seems to have this effect on most dishes!).
Vegan friendly pasta is readily available at supermarkets as long as you stick to dry pasta. However, for those wanting to branch out a bit from the standard fusilli or penne, finding vegan ravioli is a lot more challenging. Ravioli pasta is usually made with egg, and the vegetarian versions pretty much always contain cheese. With this in mind, once I’d perfected my vegan ricotta cheese recipe, the next recipe I began working on was a vegan ravioli recipe that would use the ricotta cheese. I used aquafaba to replace the egg and found that pasta is surprisingly easy to make – even without a pasta machine! The intense flavour of the sundried tomato in this ravioli means that you only need to serve the pasta with a bit of olive oil or vegan butter rather than loading on a flavour-heavy sauce.
This pesto came about as a result of an oversight when doing my grocery shopping. I’d originally planned to make a pea and mint dip but upon looking in the freezer I realised I had no frozen peas (I know – outrageous!). I did, however, have a bag of kale which I’d frozen for some unknown reason, so decided to improvise. The leading flavour here is the cooling mint, so if you don’t have kale available you can easily switch it up with some spinach instead.
I don’t know about you, but over the past two days I’ve eaten way more than I usually do, and my stomach is now definitely telling me to take a break! I find that when I’m bloated, soup helps to soothe my stomach and so the next few days I’m going to be making up and eating a lot of different batches of soup. As well as being easy on the stomach, this cauliflower and garlic soup is healthy and full of nutrients, which might not be something you’d usually associate with a creamy soup! Blended cauliflower paired with nutritional yeast make an excellent base for a creamy and indulgent tasting soup without having to pour in a load of expensive vegan cream or yoghurt.
This roasted cauliflower and garlic soup recipe only uses 8 ingredients (plus seasoning) so it’s also a fairly cheap recipe per serving, which is probably what we all need after the Christmas period!
For the filling:
1 white onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
150g mushrooms (chopped)
250ml vegetable stock
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon vegan worcester sauce
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 piece of bread (processed into breadcrumbs – approx. 7 tablespoons)
1 can green lentils (drained)
50g walnuts (chopped)
Salt and pepper
For the cranberry sauce:
150g frozen cranberries
1 pack puff pastry
1 tablespoon soy milk
1 cup risotto rice
Juice and zest of 2 oranges
1 white onion (chopped)
4 large beetroot (or 6 small-medium) (cooked and chopped)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons vegan butter
Salt and pepper