Dairy-Free Frozen Chocolate-Flavoured Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

16D342DD-5171-499D-A90A-59CCFB55A00DI keep rescheduling this post because the weather insists on returning to winter temperatures!  Plus, I think the colour and the fact that it has spinach in it may put you off. If I hadn’t written ‘smoothie’ in the title, you would probably have thought it was soup!

However, I’m relegating porridge bowls for now, I need a change, and I have to hope that things will warm up sooner rather than later.

Admittedly, this smoothie doesn’t look very appealing, but appearances can be deceiving and it is chock full of the good stuff.  Using frozen instead of fresh banana makes the smoothie thicker and creamier. Slice over-ripe bananas and freeze them in the amounts you’ll want to use them. Bananas that start to have black spots on them are much easier to digest, fresh or frozen.

Use less milk than you would for a normal smoothie in a glass.

Vegan, Gluten-free and can be Nut-free.

All quantities approximate.


1 Banana (frozen)
½ cup of Blueberries, washed
1 small handful of Spinach, washed
2 Tbsp Peanut (or any nut or seed) Butter
1 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder*
½ cup of Tiger Nut Milk (or any plant milk, click link for how to make)
Optional: 1 Medjool Date, but as I’d put one in the milk, I didn’t add another
Optional: 1 Tbsp Moringa**, or a scoop of Vivolife ‘Thrive for Her’ Green Superfood, Wild Berry flavour*** or any other flavoured Protein Powder
Toppings: I went for a crunchy mix to offset the creamy texture of the smoothie. Chopped nuts (I used Walnuts here), Mixed Seeds, (I used Sunflower, Pumpkin & Chia*), Cacao Nibs*, Blueberries or other berries, Buckwheat

Blend until smooth, but don’t overdo it or it will become too thin.

Sprinkle with chosen toppings.

Nutrients include: antoxidants, b vitamins, iron, magnesium, prebiotics, probiotics, protein, calcium, zinc, potassium, healthy fats, dietary fibre. Great for breakfast, dessert or a healthy pick-me-up.

Here are some links to other smoothie recipes:

Frozen Mango, Banana & Passionfruit Protein Smoothie

Monday Meditation: Two Year Old Frank’s Berry Good Smoothie – Made With Love & Smiles

Almond, Chia & Spinach Super Smoothie

Heart-Healthy Carob, Walnut & Lucuma Smoothie

Monday Meditation: Indulgent No-Banana Cherry & Chocolate Smoothie

The Mood Booster: Raw Chocolate Mulberry, Banana & Walnut Smoothie

Kumquat & Cacao Protein Smoothie

*I buy from The Raw Chocolate Company, their products are Vegan, Organic, Fairtrade, Kosher, Gluten-free, high quality, ethically-sourced and made in the UK.

**Also Vegan, Organic, Gluten-free & Kosher Aduna support African small businesses, often run by women.

*** From Vivolife also Vegan, Organic, made in the UK and Carbon Neutral.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Kumquat & Cacao Protein Smoothie

28596160_UnknownNo, that’s not a slice of tomato on top, it’s a kumquat!

Kumquats have a two-tone flavour: sweet peel, tart juice and are so full of a variety of beneficial nutrients including essential oils.

We had some in our Abel & Cole veg box recently and have used them in salad, a juice and today a smoothie.

This delicately chocolate-orange flavoured smoothie is so yummy and is vegan, gluten-free, nutfree, organic and dairy-free.

It contains protein, potassium, magnesium, iron, B vitamins, Vitamin A and C, calcium, omega oils, probiotics and fibre. Cacao is nutrient-heavy, including iron and anti-oxidants, and is reputed to be mood-enhancing. What more could you ask for?

(You eat the whole fruit, but be sure to remove the pips first and give the skin a good rinse),


2 Kumquats

1 Small Ripe Banana

1 Heaped Tsp Raw Cacao Powder*

1 Heaped Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Heaped Tbsp Hemp Seeds*

2 Tbsps CoYo Live Plain Coconut Yogurt

1 Heaped Tbsp Buckwheat Flakes

Unsweetened Coconut Water, according to how thick or thin you like your smoothie

Deseed and rinse the kumquats, add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend on fast for approximately 40 seconds.

(We used the Retro Superblend, see here for my review).


The Raw Chocolate Company

See also Three Cheers for Chias! What Are Chia Seeds & How Do I Use Them? Recipes included

Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Mixed Beans with Avocado, Pomegranate & Wilted Spinach

img_2566We had a pomegranate and some spinach in our organic veg box that needed using, as well as some homegrown mung bean sprouts,* and this is what I came up with.

This is such a colourful, nutritious and satisfying salad, full of antioxidants, protein, fibre, B viamins, minerals and healthy fats.

Vegan, Gluten-free, Organic where possible.


Romaine lettuce leaves

Thinly Sliced Cucumber

Grated Carrot

Sliced ripe Avocado


Tinned Mixed Beans, drained and rinsed

Mung bean sprouts (or any other sprouted beans or seeds, but not the commercially packed long beansprouts)

(See * Sprouting for Health, Energy and the Environment!  For how to make homegrown sprouts and their benefits)

Pomegranate seeds*

Tamari and Virgin Olive Oil Dressing

Black Pepper


Arrange the torn Romaine leaves around the plate, leaving a space in the centre

Place the thin cucumber slices, then the grated carrot and avocado slices on top around the circle

Lightly warm the beans, stirring gently to prevent them sticking or over-heating, and gently wilt the spinach – this releases the iron in the spinach and makes it more bio-available.

Arrange them in the centre

A few twists of black pepper over the salad

Pour over some Tamari & Olive Oil Dressing

Scatter the Pomegranate Seeds around the beans**

Top with beansprouts

**To remove the seeds, gently roll the whole fruit between your hands, cut in half, invert over a bowl and whack the end with a wooden spoon. If it’s ripe, the seeds should fall out. Otherwise, scoop them out with a metal spoon. See The Healing Powers of Pomegranate + Recipes for the health benefits of this bejewelled fruit.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Crunchy & Satisfying Black Bean, Red Grape & Hemp Seed Salad

img_2921This is the salad I had for dinner the evening before I began a 3 week juice programme in what turned out to be a relatively mild January. Given that I’ve scheduled this post for March, it is probably snowing outside, but hopefully the sun has begun to appear and remember …

Salad isn’t just for Summer!

There is nothing wilted or boring about this salad, it has a satisfying crunch and crispness plus it takes no time to put together. It is nutrient-dense, fibre-rich and has a variety of colours, providing a wide range of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.

Black beans are a great vegan source of protein and they make this salad very filling. ( See Vegan Black Bean & Walnut Veggie Burger and Red Lettuce & Black Bean Protein Salad for more information on the health benefits of black beans plus recipes).

The grapes add some sweetness and the resveratrol which gives them their colour is reputed to be anti-ageing and heart-healthy. They also make a  nice contrast with the spring onions, which contain prebiotics – these promote a healthy gut environment in which beneficial probiotics can grow. (Tiger nuts are also good sources of prebiotics).

The Greens provide protein, iron, B vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and aid digestion.

Celery is a good source of potassium, needed for a healthy circulatory system, B vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin C , fibre and vitamin K, required for blood clotting and good bone health.

Hemp seeds are rich in protein, B vitamins and healthy fats. (See Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?! for the full lowdown on these nutrient-dense seeds).

You can add baby tomatoes too if you like, I omitted them because I don’t eat nightshade foods (reputed to increase inflammation and aggravate skin and joint conditions).

Vegan, Gluten-free, Nut-free and Organic where possible.


Half a tin Black Beans, rinsed

Mixed Rocket, Watercress and Spinach, washed

Celery, washed and chopped

Shaved Carrot (washed with peel left on)

Spring onions, chopped

A few Sugar Snap Peas, washed and trimmed

1 Tbsp Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds, sprinkled on

Broccoli, shredded and sprinkled on

Red Grapes, washed

Tamari and Organic Virgin Olive Oil Dressing

Black Pepper

Arrange as creatively as you can, digestion begins with the eyes.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Spiced Fruity Raw Vegan Gluten-Free Christmas Pudding & Christmas Truffles

imageThis raw vegan Christmas pudding was inspired by a recipe on The Raw Chocolate Company blog, but it doesn’t seem to be there anymore so I can’t credit the original (though there is a more luxurious – cooked – recipe).

We made the raw one the previous Christmas, which turned out a little bit tart as we’d used golden berries and orange juice (they also made it orange!), so this time I have swapped them for raisins, apple-infused cranberries and fresh apple juice.

So long as you keep to the overrall amounts, you can use whatever dried fruit you like, depending how sweet or citrusy you prefer it.

This pudding is rich and contains no refined sugar.

Amounts are approximate and you can play around with the different spices, dried fruit and nuts.

It will keep in the fridge for a few days, but we made ours in advance and put it in the freezer. It turned out really well.

This time, we made two small ones with this mixture, a large one is too much if there’s only two of you. You only need a small slice.

You can eat it as it is or with some whipped coconut cream (add whatever ‘flavouring’ you like ;-)), cashew nut cream or coconut yogurt.

You might also like my recipe for Christmas Truffles which are great as a gift or if you want to img_2880freeze small treats rather than make a whole pudding.

For the mould, you can use a pudding bowl, a cereal bowl or in our case, a Tupperware bowl! I’m not fond of plastic, but sometimes there is no other option and as we wanted to freeze the pud, that’s what we used, 2 small plastic bowls with lids. You could line the bowl(s) with parchment to make them easier to remove, although we found they it came out of the plastic bowl quite easily.



1 Cup chopped Medjool Dates, pitted & chopped

1/2 Cup Goji Berries

1/2 Cup Dried Mulberries

1/2 Cup Apple juice-infused Cranberries

1/2 Cup Raisins

1 Cup Sweet Apricot Kernels /Almonds, or a mixture of them and Walnuts, all lightly chopped (we forgot to chop ours this time!)

1 Cup Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds

 2/3 Cup fresh Apple Juice

Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Lemon and Orange Zest to taste


 Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and pour over the apple juice.

Stir well, cover and leave to soak. Give it a stir occasionally. We left ours an hour, if you want the nuts softer, leave it a bit longer.


Turn the mix out into the food processor, add the spices and zest.

Pulse and stir until you get the consistency you want, depending on whether you want a smooth or coarse texture.

Taste-test to see if the balance of spices/zest is right.

When you’re satisfied, spoon the mix into the bowl(s), pressing down with the back of the spoon.

Place in the fridge to set.


And Bob’s your uncle!

(I can’t show you a slice with all the trimmings as this was going straight back in the freezer).

Enjoy the video!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Lemony Avo Pine Nut Spread

This arose out of necessity: there was a mini avocado in the bowl with the bananas that had been there all week and I fancied avocado salad, surely it must be useable by now? The avocado had other ideas. It was so hard, we could have played cricket with it! So, not to be completely outwitted, it was peeled, stoned and chopped and placed in the Braun grinder/chopper with some chopped spring onion, a good squeeze of lemon, some pine nuts, a splash of virgin olive oil, some pink Himalayan salt and some ground black pepper. (All the ingredients were organic).

It was lush! It really worked. I had some with the salad and the rest on some Nairn’s Gluten-Free Oatcakes. Loved every bite.

Avocados are such a versatile fruit and it has been said that you could practically live off them (with water), they have so many essential nutrients for the human body. They are good for your skin, heart, and brain too, with Vitamin E, protein and essential fats. I have avocado in some form every day, often blended into a juice.

(If you want it a bit thinner just add a little more oil and lemon – or persuade your avocado to get a wriggle on with its ripening timetable!)


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Berry Chia Breakfast Jar

This is a pretty way of making chia porridge, so if you’re feeling arty and have the time, have a go! 

This is such a healthy breakfast and will keep you going (in both senses of the word!): it has protein, calcium, minerals, fibre, healthy fats, vitamins and antioxidants galore. Plus it looks pretty.

You can choose alternatives to the nuts – golden linseeds, pumpkin seeds – and vary the fruit according to what’s in season. I am making the most of organic raspberries at the moment. I always intend to put some in the freezer for during the winter, but usually end up eating them all!

Vegan, gluten-free (I used gluten-free oats) and if you substitute the cashews, nutfree too. Organic except for the maple syrup.

(Take a look at the video at the end – but you’ll have to click onto the blog if you’re reading this via email).


1 Heaped Tbsp Chia Seeds

3 Tbsps Oats

1 Medium Glass Chi Unsweetened Coconut Water

1 Tsp Maple Syrup (optional)

CoYo Coconut Yogurt (dairy and sugar-free)

Cashew Pieces (you can substitute with other seeds)

1 Ripe Pear or 1/3 of a Mango

Raspberries (or any other berries)


Desiccated or Shredded Coconut


Soak the chia seeds and oats in the coconut water in a jar overnight or for ar least an hour in the fridge, stir well.

You can soak the cashew pieces, too, if you prefer, but if you want to layer them, do them separately.

Soaking nuts deactivates the phytates (which bind to minerals in the body and remove them) and makes them more easily digested, softer too.

When ready to add other ingredients, either stir maple syrup into chia porridge or drizzle it over the layers.

Layer coconut (or other dairy-free) yogurt, cashews, pear and berries. Sprinkle desiccated or shredded coconut on top.


Hopefully, the sun will be shining and you’ll have the time to be able to sit back and enjoy at leisure, admiring the colours and  beauty of Nature.

(I know this is but a dream or wishful thinking for a lot of you, but maybe you can treat yourself on a weekend).


Ps I was looking for an appropriate video and came across this – I never knew such things existed! How do people think these things up? I am just adding it for amusement, not promoting it in any way. Enjoy.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Leslie Kenton’s Sandstone Loaf


I first had this in the summer of 1986 when my friend and I discovered ‘Raw Energy’, the book and the philosophy. It was a beautifully sunny summer (remember them?) and we spent many days eating our raw creations in her garden – with the occasional glass of white! I think this may well have been the first thing I made with my faithful Braun Multipractic Food Processor, bought that summer and still going strong.



I altered the amounts and some of the ingredients each time I had it, but this one is relatively faithful to the recipe, although I prefer more seeds to give it a bit more of a bite and we used coriander instead of parsley. Leslie often used to use vegetable bouillon powder in her raw savoury recipes, we didn’t have any so we improvised and used some dried King Soba instant organic miso soup! You could also use nutritional yeast.

You can make it as smooth or as coarse as you like, depending whether you would prefer it as a pâté or spread, or more like nut roast to have with salad.

(You could use almond butter instead of tahini for a slightly different flavour, but it would need to be fairly runny).

As always, the measurements are very approximate, you can never stipulate the size of a carrot for instance! So, go with what looks right and taste as you go along.

All ingredients are organic.

The recipe is Raw, Vegan and Gluten-Free.

Makes enough for 4 or 5 for a light lunch. Will keep about 3 days in the fridge and can be kept in the freezer too.


2 Chunky Medium Carrots, roughly chopped

1 + a half Celery Stalks (with leaves if they have any), roughly chopped

1/4 Cup Almonds + a few extra for serving*

1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds*

1/4 Cup Sunflower seeds*

1/4 Cup Mixed Sunflower + Sesame seeds*

Large Tbsp Tahini

1 Small Onion, finely chopped or a few Spring Onions

Handful of fresh Parsley or Coriander or herb of your choice

1 level Tbsp Organic Miso Soup powder or Nutritional Yeast or 2 Tsp Vegetable Bouillon Powder or 1 Tsp Chilli Flakes

2 Tbsps Grated Beetroot


Process the carrots and celery until well homogenised. Set aside in a mixing bowl.

Finely grind the almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Add to carrot mixture.

Coarsely grind the mixed sesame and sunflower seeds and add to mix with tahini, onion, fresh herbs, powder and beetroot.

Stir well, add seasoning to taste.

Spread in a square dish, press and smooth it down if you want a pâté or loosely roughen the mix if you want some texture.

Garnish with fresh herbs and almonds or toasted seeds.

Refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

I had it on a bed of mixed rocket salad with thinly-sliced cucumber and tahini/lemon juice/water dressing.



Copyright: Chris McGowan

Mixed Leaf Avocado Salad with Walnut & Raisin Slaw & Lemon Tahini Dressing

image OK. So I reckon we’ve had enough smoothies and sweet treats for a while, time we had some more green stuff on our plates.

It was an unusually hot and sunny Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK – we’re used to it raining cats and dogs when you’ve got a family camping/bbq /diy weekend planned. My husband had been painting the garage all day and was all hot and bothered. At 6 pm he downed tools and announced he wanted takeaway pizza and salad for dinner! I forewent the pizza part, but here is this evening’s salad:

Mixed leaves – I had lollo rosso, rocket, lamb’s lettuce and cos – with cucumber and celery

Walnut and Raisin Slaw – Grated Cabbage and Carrot with chopped spring onions, walnuts and raisins in a Lemon Tahini Dressing, and black pepper

Sliced Avocado


Drizzled with more Lemon Tahini Dressing, Pink Himalayan Salt and Black Pepper.

All the colours of the rainbow. Simple as.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Coco Banana Smoothie


This is a lovely, light smoothie – not like my usual everything-but-the-kitchen-sink experiments at all! I managed to exercise restraint with this one and it turned out a success.

Coconut water from young, green coconuts is wonderfully hydrating: it contains electrolytes, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and about half the sodium of so-called energy drinks. It is naturally sweet so doesn’t need the added sugar found in so many energy drinks, nor does it contain all the nasty colouring and additives.

All ingredients are organic except the coconut water, none was available, but this is unsweetened and no added flavours or citric acid.


1 Ripe Banana

1 Ripe Pear

2 Tbsp Gluten-Free Oats

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 glass chilled unsweetened Coconut Water – size depending on how thick or thin you like it, I used a small one

1 Tbsp CoYo Natural Yogurt

Blend well. Add ice if liked.

And our music for today? Only one choice really…

Coco Banana – get it? 😂

Ps If you’re reading this via email you’ll need to click onto the blog to see the video!

Copyright: Chris McGowan