Curried Squash & Leek Soup

FAE055D1-284B-457A-9C2B-29EAA17FEC71During the block of snowdays recently, we did a lot of baking and soup making (see Our Snow Days Became Baking Days – Is The Gym Open Yet?), the kitchen became a hive of activity, partly to keep warm and partly for something to do! I’m going to attempt to post some of the recipes; I hope I can remember, or at least decipher the brief notes we scribbled down at the time! I always think the photos will be enough, or my Instagram posts listing the ingredients, but then I forget the quantities. So bear this in mind and don’t take the recipes too literally if you try them.

This soup came about because we had a butternut squash from our organic veg box that had been waiting a while to be used, but it was small, and I had bought some much-reduced leeks that needed using, plus there were a couple of cauliflower florets left from Sunday, when we’d used the rest of it, and the middle bit of a bunch of celery. They turned into a lovely warming soup on a freezing, snowladen day. My husband also made bread rolls that morning, which you can see in the photo, but they weren’t gluten-free, so I’m not featuring them here.

This soup is full of healthy ingredients and is anti-inflammatory. (Butternut squash provides vitamins A and C, B6, potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium, as do leeks). No cream or butter, just a little coconut oil.

As always, the recipes are vegan and gluten-free, organic where possible.

Makes enough for 4 servings.

Ingredients

Coconut Oil for frying

1 Small Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 Leek, trimmed, washed and sliced (keep as much of the greenery as is usable)

2 Cauliflower Florets, chopped

3 Large Carrots, scrubbed and chopped (peeled if not organic)

The middle stalks of Celery with leaves, chopped

Approx. 1.5 Pints Vegetable Stock, with 1 Tsp Yeast Extract dissolved in it

Half a Tsp each of Cumin, Ginger, Turmeric & Curry Powder

 Black Pepper

Pink Himalayan Salt if required for taste when cooked

D3C44198-2988-4D9D-A048-C401850C4360Method

Melt the oil until hot but not smoking

Add the spices and all the veg, mix well, add black pepper, place the lid on and sweat for a few minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally

2B810F41-36DB-40BA-8413-01CC69A4E2C3Add the hot stock with the yeast extract, enough to cover the veg

Replace the lid, and cook on a low heat until the veggies are soft but not mushy, stirring occasionally.

Blend with a stick blender, leaving some texture to it, taste and adjust the seasoning

Serve with warm rolls or flat bread

 

Copyright: Chris McGowan

 

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Monday Meditation: Vegan Gluten-Free Mango & Raisin Crumble

F285BFFB-8C3A-4FB1-8B4F-3B9714EEC31BAn unusual topic for a Monday Meditation, but if left to my own devices, I find baking a very meditative occupation.

I don’t particularly enjoy the hustle and bustle of a crowded busy kitchen, needing to produce several different items in record time! I do however enjoy creating recipes using just what I find in my cupboards or fridge/freezer, often using up small amounts of this and that, so as not to let them go to waste.

I can let go. I can relax. I can enjoy the sun streaming through the kitchen window even on freezing cold snow days, as this one was. I can play my favourite music and sing along at the top of my voice or enjoy the quiet and let my mind wander where it will, with no demands made of it. I can be as creative as I like and no-one is going to pull a face or disapprove. I like experimenting and rarely make the same thing twice with exactly the same ingredients. I’m not one for following recipes, even my own!

I’ve been asked for recipes for the baking I did during our week of snowdays, so I’m gradually working my way through them (see Our Snow Days Became Baking Days – Is The Gym Open Yet?)I made only sketchy notes or sometimes asked my husband to write things down and his notes are usually only compehensible by himself alone! So I’ll do my best, but all quantities are approximate.

I love mangoes. The fragrance, the juiciness, the soft flesh. They are high in vitamins A and C, and also contain some B6, iron, calcium and magnesium. Great on their own, in smoothies or ice-cream.

However, I find mangoes as frustrating as avocados. You wait forever for them to ripen and just when you think it will be perfect, it’s gone. They are best kept out of the fridge to allow the ripening process to continue, which I did, but this one was defying all the laws. It appeared to be ripe on one side, unripe on the other and developing a black spot on the end. I decided to peel it and see.

It was too unripe to use straightaway and I didn’t want to waste it. I had never heard of mango being cooked before but I decided I had nothing to lose, so I chopped it up onto a pan, added a little apple juice and some raisins – I may have used a little maple syrup too – put on the lid and cooked it on a low heat.

I didn’t want to use it immediately and so I put it in the freezer – and forgot about it! I found it on a snow day and decided to try and make a fruit crumble with it.

86B02C47-8A7C-4C21-AEE2-2FB40AE6A223I let it thaw for a couple of hours – it doesn’t look very appetising, but it tasted good. I then devised the crumble topping.

Here’s what I came up with:

2oz Tiger Nut Powder*

4oz Self-Raising Gluten-free Flour

2oz Poridge Oats (I left them whole as they were quite small, but you could grind them to a flour if preferred)

2oz Vegan Spread (I used Pure)

2oz Coconut Sugar**

Method

7394C255-4B0D-49A2-9249-9C594B5DDD8DMix together the flours, sugar & oats, rub in the spread with the fingertips until it resemble thick breadcrumbs.

Place the mango and rasin mixture in an oven dish and top with the crumble.

Place in a medium hot oven and cook until golden and bubbly.

9D4DC69F-4FDA-467C-A5E2-65F1ED6E4392We had it first with coconut yogurt and then next morning, having got up late, we had it with homemade custard while we sat huddled in front of the woodburner!

Homemade custard:

This was made using cornflour, a little coconut sugar and a drop of vanilla extract, which was mixed to a paste with a little almond milk, then I poured in some warmed almond milk, stirred and returned it to the pan and heated, stirring until it thickened.

I used some leftover crumble mix to make scones, see next time!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Plum Crumble – Nice, But Not Too Naughty!

‘What Do You Eat If You Can’t Have Anything Naughty?’ – What Vegans Eat

*The Tiger Nut Company

*The Raw Chocolate Company

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Colourful Mixed Veg, Mushrooms & Puy Lentils with Spicy Caulifower Rice

547C7F73-757B-4E26-960F-CC4935551645Having spent all Sunday afternoon composing Monday Meditation: Relax with these Raw Tiger Nut, Cacao & Coconut Treats , I realised I hadn’t given a thought as to what I was going to have for dinner and my husband had pre-empted me by getting some of his frozen curry from the freezer. I stood in the kitchen gazing at the contents of the fridge, opening and closing cupboard doors. It was growing late, I was hungry and thought I’d end up making a salad. However, I knew that when I smelled my husband’s curry, I’d wish I had done something similar. I didn’t really want brown rice and there was a lovely caulifower calling out to me, so I decided on spicy cauliflower rice.

I put some puy lentils to soak while I got everything ready – you don’t have to soak them, but it makes them easier to digest.

I decided on cumin, which I love, to flavour the cauliflower ‘rice’, and turmeric, both for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and the lovely colour it would produce. Digestion begins with the eyes and I like to make food as colourful and appetising to the eyes as the mouth. The beetroot makes the carrot hold its colour and adding the frozen veg at the end makes this a bright, colourful dish.

This takes about an hour from start to finish – it sounds complicated written out, but if you pre-cook the lentils and process the cauli before you begin cooking, you don’t have to balance so many items at once. It really is easy.

It made enough for 2, with a little mixed veg and lentils left over for next day (see later).

  Vegan, Gluten-free and Dairy-free.

Ingredients

All quantities are very approximate

1/4 Cup Puy Lentils + reserved cooking water

Half a Cauliflower

Coconut Oil

Cumin

Turmeric

Optional: Dried Apricots

Mixed Veg – I used:

Small Beetroot

Large Carrot

Onion

2  Chestnut Mushrooms

Frozen Peas & Sweetcorn

Vegetable Bouillon Powder

Black Pepper

Optional:

Pine Nuts

Vegan ‘parmesan’: Almonds ground with Nutritional Yeast & a pinch of Cayenne Pepper

Method

Rinse and soak the lentils, then drain and cover with water, cook beforehand or while preparing the veg. Don’t overcook as they will be reheated in the veg mix. You want them to keep their shape and not become mushy.

Reserve the cooking water.

Process the cauliflower florets for a few seconds until it looks like rice and set aside.

Chop onion, beetroot, carrot, mushrooms.

Melt a little coconut oil in a frying pan, stirfry first the onions, then the other veg for a little while with some black pepper, add a few spoons of the lentil cooking water, cover and cook on a low heat. Make sure it doesn’t dry out.

3CBB91DD-1176-4FFD-AE9C-9148DFF29F59When almost done, sprinkle on a heaped teaspoon of  vegetable bouillon powder and mix in, adding the peas and sweetcorn and a little more lentil water. Cover.

Meanwhile, heat a little coconut oil in another frying pan, add the cumin and turmeric, stir round and add the cauliflower rice. Mix well, stirring and turning it over all the time. Add some black pepper and a couple of spoons of lentil water to keep moist.

On this occasion I didn’t add dried apricots to the rice as my husband doesn’t like apricots, but when he tried some ‘rice’, he surprised me with ‘it would be nice with apricots!’ 

When the ‘rice’ is ready, with as much or as little bite as you prefer, add several spoons of lentils to the veg and gently mix well, making sure they are heated through without overcooking everything. Spoon the ‘rice’ onto a plate with the mixed veg on top.

I forgot to add the pine nuts and ground almonds with nutritional yeast and cayenne before I took the photo of the cauliflower rice dish, but I added them when I had the leftovers next day accompanied with sweet potato mashed with almond butter, and some steamed broccoli.

A8C64AC9-EE34-4177-B62F-5E18927D6A43

The cauliflower rice dish was really good and tasty, even my sceptical husband had a small helping in addition to his own curry!

These meals have so many vitamins and minerals, different complementary proteins and healthy fats, and are very satisfying.

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

Easy Vegan, Gluten-Free Pink Pancakes!

img_3293We first made these 2 years ago when I discovered the basic recipe at Masala Vegan and although I’m not a big pancake-lover, my husband is and it’s Pancake Day, so we revisited these lovely Pink Ones.

We were better at cooking them this time, they were crisper and thinner.

Last time we had them with blueberries and Coyo coconut yogurt, this time we went with homegrown apples stewed with raisins and cinnamon, topped with Sojade soya yogurt and an optional small drizzle of organic maple syrup.

The original recipe calls for Xylitol as a sweetener, but I don’t like it and we prefer to add the sweetness via the fruit on top, and if you have a particularly sweet tooth, there’s always the maple syrup.

The recipe is very simple, all measurements are very approximate:

Ingredients

2 Cups of blended Watermelon Pulp

1 1/2 Cups Gluten-free Self-Raising Flour (last year we improvised with cornflour and gluten-free baking powder as we didn’t have the SR flour, it worked fine)

Coconut Oil for cooking

We added a pinch of salt

We also think they’re good with a pinch of spice, ground ginger or cinnamon, or baobab powder.

Method

In a large bowl, gradually whisk the flour into the watermelon pulp.

Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil until a drop of the batter sizzles.

Add 1/4 Cup of batter at a time and swirl around until it is thin. Cook until golden and crispy on the bottom, gently lifting the edges and turn over to cook the other side.

This amount made 8 small pancakes, we reneged after 3 each! Very filling and very tasty with the topping.

(See This Spicy Watermelon & Grapefruit Juice Will Help Stave Off Those Winter Bugs! for information on the many health benefits of watermelon – and grapefruit).

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

Frozen Mango, Banana & Passionfruit Protein Smoothie

E1AC46C3-BBEF-4EBA-952B-FBEDCC1F62C7It’s January, it’s freezing cold and blowing a gale that is shaking the rafters and here I am writing out a recipe for a frozen smoothie! Well, the reason is, we did an inventory of our freezer because we just couldn’t squeeze any more into it, and I was astonished at how much frozen fruit there was in there. No wonder there was no room! I have a habit of saving some of the summer fruits and freezing them for the winter when they’re not available or very expensive, but inevitably they get covered with other foods and I forget about them.

I found lots of frozen mango and frozen banana, I had a passionfruit in the bottom of the fridge that was too small to use on its own and in danger of going off before long, so in the blender they went.

The colours are uplifting in these grey January days of endless rain and winds and this smoothie is full of antioxidants to help ward off winter viruses. I love the smell of passionfruit, so delicately subtle but cheering. It has plenty of protein too for a post-workout drink, it’s quite thick though, so you may want to add more coconut water.

Ingredients

(Vegan, Gluten-free, can be Nut-free if you substitute with seeds)

Half a Frozen Mango

Small Frozen Banana

Passionfruit

2 Tbsps Buckwheat Flakes

Approx. 200mls Coconut Water

1 Tbsp Pulsin and Beond Pea Protein Powder*

Small handful Cashew Nut Pieces

Heaped Tbsp Live Soya Yogurt

Blend all ingredients except for half the passionfruit which is served on top of the smoothie along with any reserved juice.

Enjoy, then go and sit by the fire to thaw out! (With apologies to my readers in the southern hemisphere).

*I have recently begun using pea protein as an alternative to hemp protein powder, I ring the changes also with moringa powder and Vivolife Thrive for Her in Wild Berry flavour. Here is a £5 discount code for Vivolife products:  

http://vivolife.refr.cc/chrismcgowan

Apparently, your body can get used to the same brand and the same type of protein powder, so it’s best to alternate for optimum absorption.

(The candle burner was inspired by a mushroom and made by my 14 year old grandson).

E19D8D15-6D5F-4BB4-9DF7-D00803E1ED1C

*Aduna Moringa Powder

Pulsin Protein Powders

The Raw Chocolate Company Hemp Protein Powder

Vivolife Perform Protein Powder & Thrive Raw Green Superfood

Copyright: Chris McGowan

A Colourful Supersalad, A Supergreen Smoothie & A Discount Link

After all the cooked food and overindulgence of the Christmas/New Year period, it was time to get back on track. Despite continuing to have a daily juice, I felt bloated, heavy, overweight and lacking in energy. I am not used to having a big cooked meal midway through the day and I had been seduced by all the savoury snacks which had invaded our cupboards and are my one downfall.

By the time all our visitors had left, my body craved raw, healthy, crisp and colourful foods again, it was time for a supersalad!

479DE4D9-D20E-4175-BFE3-6B6DD51860D1

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this! It was so good to have fresh, nutritious plant foods and to eat at a time of my body’s choosing rather than fitting into a family timetable. I tend to work up to my main meal of the day, I’m more of a grazer, and this one was amazing and covered all the nutritional bases.

The salad was made of: purple chicory, little gem lettuce, spinach, rocket, watercress; cucumber, celery, baby plum tomatoes, avocado, homegrown mung beans, cress, homemade coleslaw with cashew mayo and some Heck Foods Bollywood veggie bites I’d bought for New Year’s Eve snacks and forgotten to use.* They have Indian spices and are delicious, I like them cold the day after. Now, don’t make me say where I get my protein from;-)

By now you know that practically every plant food contains some protein and no protein is superior to others, not dairy, not meat, protein is protein. Eat a wide variety of wholefoods and you will get all the protein you need (which isn’t as much as people often think).

Coincidentally, when I was about to schedule this post, Josh from Vivolife** sent an email with this easy to read graphic on the subject of protein on a vegan diet.

FF65FC84-2504-4B4B-9074-49D2637251A9

***

FDC31486-BFAE-4C72-83FA-07C32F91F82CNext up is the  Supergreen Smoothie I had next morning. I needed to boost my energy levels. I’ve just started trying a raw supergreen powder from Vivolife called Thrive for Her, in Wild Berry flavour. It contains powerful supergreens, minerals, vitamins, including B12, and Vitamin D (essential for mood boosting in the long grey January days) plus probiotics for a healthy gut. You take one scoop a day in water, juice or smoothie, it’s very pleasant and I already feel more alert and more energised. I like this company a lot. Their products are ethically and sustainably sourced, vegan, gluten-free and organic, and they donate 20p from each sale to the Streetgames Charity for disadvantage children. They also produce health information videos, and provide advice when needed. I bought the product, I wasn’t asked to review it, but when I asked permission to reproduce the graphic above, Josh kindly sent an exclusive £5 discount link for my friends and followers:

Get £5.00 off my favourite health and fitness brand Vivo Life with my referral code! You’ll love their PERFORM protein! Check it out: http://vivolife.refr.cc/chrismcgowan’

Ingredients for Supergreen Smoothie

Small Banana

Pear

Homemade Almond Milk***

Romaine leaves, chopped

Medjool Date

Heaped Tbsp Coyo Live Yogurt

1 Scoop Thrive Supergreen Powder

Blend and enjoy!

*Heck Foods

**Vivolife

***How To Make Almond Milk

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Almond Butter Sweet Potato Mash

29937744_UnknownMy husband is vegetarian, I am vegan. I like to eat early, he likes to eat late. He likes potatoes, I don’t eat them (except for a rare and indulgent packet of potato crisps). He likes pies and pastry and chips. I prefer quinoa, stirfries and soups. He often does bike rides during the day or in the evening which also creates a dissonance in our eating habits, as does my propensity for staying up late and getting up even later! So how on earth do we manage to co-ordinate our meals? Well, a lot of the time, we each do our own thing, but just occasionally we manage to be at the dinner table together and once in a blue moon we end up with something on our plates that almost resembles the other’s. This was one of those nights, no bike rides and the clocks had just gone back, so we both felt we wanted to eat earlier than the clock dictated. I don’t know about you, but my body takes ages to adjust when the clocks change.

HB loves Shepherd’s Pie and makes it often, but it’s been years since I had anything resembling it. Tonight, however, I felt inspired and made my own vegan version with mashed almond butter sweet potato on top.

I can’t give entirely accurate measurements as I didn’t think I was going to be blogging it. You’ll know how much to make for the ‘innards’ (as my dad would call the vegetables underneath).

Basically, this is it went:

Soak a good amount (sorry, that’s the best I can do!) of green lentils while preparing the vegetables – soaking aids digestion. Lentils are a good source of iron, B6 and magnesium as well as fibre.

Chop an onion, garlic, a large carrot, half a stick of celery, celery leaves, a small beetroot, 2 chestnut mushrooms, and sweat them in coconut oil, with the lid on, later adding some frozen peas.

Meanwhile, peel and chop 2 sweet potatoes and place them in the steamer, ready to switch on about 15 minutes after the vegetables have started simmering.

Next, mix half a mushroom stock cube with about 400mls hot water, 1 tsp of yeast extract and some dried thyme.

Add the lentils and stock to the vegetables. Replace the lid.

While they cook, put a dish to warm for mashing the sweet potato and a flat dish for the completed Shepherd’s Pie.

29937632_UnknownWhen all are cooked, add a little thickening to the vegetables, mash the sweet potatoes in a warm dish, then mix in a heaping teaspoon of almond butter, some pink Himalayan salt and black pepper and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast flakes.

Spread the vegetable filling (with not too much gravy) in the bottom of the dish, cover with the sweet potato mash, using a fork to even it out and give it a textured appearance.

Place under the grill until it starts to crisp a little and turn golden.

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I served mine with some steamed broccoli and a little of the left-over gravy.

This made enough for 3 servings for me, with extra green vegetables. It’s very filling. There was also some vegetable filling left in the pan which I’ll probably have with pasta tomorrow.

My husband made his with Quorn mince, left out the beetroot, celery and celery leaves and used mixed herbs, he topped it with mashed potato made with rice milk and a buttery spread. To be fair, he didn’t know his was going to be photographed, so please excuse his presentation :-))

 

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Vegan Chilli with Aduki Beans & Buckwheat

29401376_UnknownI know I’ve already posted a recipe for chilli (see 3 Vegan Meals with Chilli, Quinoa, Tacos & Steamed Veg (but no Quorn!) but this is a little different: it includes buckwheat rather than rice, which is cooked in the chilli rather than served separately, so most of the sauce is absorbed. I also used aduki beans instead of kidney beans.

BBuckwheat is one of my favourite alternatives to rice. It’s gluten-free, easy and quick to cook, you can toast it or leave it au naturel and add to trail mix or granola. It is rich in B vitamins, iron, protein, antioxidants and minerals and is reputed to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure whilst also controlling blood sugar levels.

Aduki beans are a good source of potassium, magnesium, iron, B6, protein and dietary fibre. They also contain many other essential nutrients like folate, calcium, manganese, copper and zinc.

Overall, this is a healthy, tasty and satisfying meal.

Ingredients

(Organic where possible, vegan and gluten-free, measurements very approximate.)

1 tsp Coconut Oil, melted but not smoking

2 Spring Onions, including greens, washed and chopped

1 Tsp Chilli Flakes (or according to taste, or fresh chilli, I’m a bit of a chilli wimp)

3/4 of a Courgette/ Zucchini, washed and chopped

2 medium Carrots, scrubbed and chopped

2 large Chestnut Mushrooms, washed and chopped

1 Cup Sweetcorn

Approx. 300mls Vegetable Stock + a good squirt of tomato purée

1/2 to 1 Tsp Raw Cacao Powder, mixed to a paste with a little water (not essential but it enhances the flavour)

1/2 Tin Aduki/Adzuki Beans, rinsed

1/2 Cup Buckwheat, rinsed

 Black Pepper & Pink Himalayan Salt, to taste

*

Heat the oil, add the onions and stirfry for a minute or two. Add all the other vegetables, stirfry, add chilli flakes and black pepper, cover and sweat for a couple of minutes.

Add stock and tomato purée, beans. Cacao powder and buckwheat.

Cover and simmer on a low heat until the vegetables and buckwheat are cooked and most of the liquid absorbed but not mushy.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve with a green salad and live plain yogurt of your choice.

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

Easy-Peasy Pasta, Pesto & Peas (& Sweetcorn & Carrot & Homegrown Tomatoes!)

29667840_UnknownAfter several hours of watching La Vuelta (that’s the Professional Cycling Tour of Spain to the uninitiated), it was time to refuel, it had been a stressful but exciting ride and I needed something quick and easy. Pasta is always good in this respect, there was a ripe avocado begging to be used and lots of spinach as well as a glut of homegrown cherry tomatoes, so pasta and pesto it was. I had asked for peas, but husband had forgotten to add them to the shopping list so frozen mixed veg it was. This is great for a midweek meal.

This meal is rich in minerals, B vitamins, Vitamin E, iron, potassium, omega oils, lycopene – a carotenoid said to protect from cancer – Vitamin C, protein, fibre, and much much more.

(Yes, this recipe has avocado and olive oil and walnuts in, but they all contain healthy fats, the ones your body, brain, skin etc. need, so don’t be saying it has too many calories or too much fat! See below for links to other avocado and pasta recipes)

Ingredients

Vegan, Gluten-free, Organic where possible. All measurements approximate.

Gluten-free Pasta, cooked in boiling water for required time, until al dente

Halfway through, add some Frozen Mixed Veg

Drain when cooked and tip into a warm bowl when the pesto is ready.

29667808_UnknownWhile the pasta is cooking, make the Pesto and chop the tomatoes – makes enough for 2-3, I froze what was left over.

In a chopper or blender, add:

Half a ripe Avocado, chopped

A Large Handful of Spinach (washed)

A good splash of Raw Virgin Olive Oil

A squeeze of Lemon Juice

A handful of Walnut Pieces

Black Pepper & Pink Himalayan Salt

Approx. 2 Tbsps Nutritional Yeast, (estimated, I actually tipped the container and it fell in unmeasured!)

Blend until smooth, adjusting seasoning to taste.

Mix required amount into the pasta and veg, serve with chopped cherry tomatoes, black pepper and a green salad.

See also:

Avocado: The Little Miracle Worker

Guacamole with Avocado, Coriander, Moringa & Chilli

Lemon Tahini Pasta with Pine Kernels

Midweek Vegan Bean & Vegetable Pasta

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Fruity Vegetable Curry with Lemony Almond Cauliflower ‘Rice’ or ‘Couscous’

29400128_UnknownOver the last couple of years, since I first became aware of the arsenic content of rice,* I have gradually cut down the amount I eat and swapped rice milk for homemade nut and seed milks**. I often use quinoa and buckwheat as gluten-free alternatives to rice. However, one option has taken some psyching up to try: cauliflower ‘rice’ or ‘couscous’. Recently, I decided to go for it and here’s how it turned out, plus the recipe (the hardest part was persuading my husband it was a good idea!).

We’ve been trying to have similar meals recently: my husband is vegetarian, I am vegan and gluten-free and we keep very different hours: he’s an early bird, I am a night owl, so our meals and mealtimes are often out of synch. But in an effort to cut down on bills and be more environmentally friendly, we are at least trying to make our evening meals at the same time either all in the oven or in the same pan on the stove. This time, my husband was going to have curry and rice but I presuaded him to have cauliflower couscous with me – I’m still not sure how that happened, because he’s not as adventurous as I am and has his rules about what goes with what – he was less than amused the other day when he defrosted what he thought was pasta sauce which turned out to be curry and he didn’t realise until the pasta was already on the boil!

Anyway, the cauli couscous turned out well and we both enjoyed it, my husband said he would have it again – success indeed! It was surprisingly filling, more so than rice, I think.

This recipe has all the essentials for a nutritious vegan meal: protein, b vitamins, healthy fats, antioxidants, fibre, minerals. It is vegan and gluten-free and can be made nut-free.

Makes enough for two large portions.

Here’s how we made it:

(All ingredients organic where possible, all amounts very approximate).

Ingredients

For the Cauliflower Rice/Couscous:

1 Heaped Tsp Coconut Oil, melted but not smoking

Half a Cauliflower, lightly processed until resembles breadcrumbs, add to oil

Half a Cup of Almonds, preferably pre-soaked but not esential, ground and added to cauliflower rice

Add Heaped Tsp Curry Powder

Stirfry, cover, stir frequently for a few minutes, may need to add 1 Tbsp Water

Check seasoning, add a light squeeze of lemon juice or lime and serve.

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For the Curried Vegetables:

1 Heaped Tsp Coconut Oil, melted but not smoking

Add:

1 Large Spring Onion, with greens, chopped; Half Courgette (zucchini), sliced; A few Green Beans, chopped; 2 Large Chestnut Mushrooms, sliced; Half a Carrot, chopped very small; some Sweetcorn

Together with:

Generous Tsp each of Curry Powder, Cumin, Ginger

Mix together, stirfry for a couple of minutes

Add:

Handful of Raisins or Sultanas, 1 Cox’s or Bramley Apple, chopped; 1 Tbsp Strawberry or Raspberry Fruit Spread (no sugar or artificial sweetener)

Squeeze of lemon juice

black pepper

Approx. 300mls Vegetable Stock, (mix 1 Heaped Tsp Cornflour with a little cold water to make a paste, add a little of the hot stock, then mix in with the rest of the stock), add a good Squeeze of Tomato Purée

Cover and cook for about 40 mins. until the veggies are cooked and flavours well-blended.

Adjust seasoning and serve with Cauliflower Rice.

Top with some toasted Sunflower Seeds or Pine Kernels and Desiccated Coconut, serve with some yogurt and chutney, if liked, and a small green salad.

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* See Dr Michael Greger’s excellent articles on this topic

Also:

**How to make Almond Milk

How to Make Cashew Nut Milk & Why You Should!

How to make Horchata (aka Tiger Nut Milk)

How to make Smooth and Creamy Hemp Milk

Copyright: Chris McGowan