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!
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.
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.
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!
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 is my second seitan recipe (my first was my vegan ‘pork’ and apple sausage rolls recipe) and it was one that I knew would be a hit as soon as I took my first taste! I originally tested the seitan recipe by making ten bites, and once I’d tried one immediately went back into the kitchen to make another twenty to take to a birthday gathering the next day. They went down well with omnis, veggies and vegans alike, so all in all I’d say that’s a good measure of success! The creamy roasted garlic dip really complements the flavour of the sundried tomato in the bites, but if you don’t have any garlic to hand these would also pair beautifully with some vegan mayonnaise.
However long you’ve been vegan, I can guarantee that you’ve heard the words “I would go vegan, but I could never give up cheese!” escape at least one person’s mouth. These days there are so many cheese alternatives for vegans that everyone is bound to find at least one they like, and most can easily be bought at your local supermarket. However, the one cheese I’ve not found available to buy is vegan ricotta cheese.
This recipe for vegan ricotta cheese takes one vegan staple food – tofu – and turns it into a delicious vegan cheese ready for use in any recipe you want. As with ‘regular’ ricotta cheese, this vegan version is extremely versatile as it doesn’t have an overpowering flavour. This means that although it can be eaten on its own on top of crackers, it also tastes great paired with any number of other flavours. My favourite way to eat vegan ricotta cheese is in a big baguette, topped with vine ripened tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of black pepper.
The best thing about this recipe? It only takes 5 minutes and 5 ingredients (plus seasoning) to make!