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Vegan Ragu (Pasta Tomato Sauce)

In Dinners and Meals, Vegan, Vegetarian On September 7, 2017 0 Comments

This recipe is another impromptu invention that I came up with while not knowing what to cook. I must say that my best dishes come through when I don’t know what to cook. I love utilising my pantry to the optimum to create new dishes. I had bought zucchini and knew I wanted to make zucchini spaghetti, but I didn’t know about the sauce. I knew I wanted a vegan sauce, so I soaked some cashew nuts knowing that this cashew sauce would become handy. The result was an exquisite Italian style tomato sauce and a great companion to pasta!

We had plenty of tomatoes in the fridge, so I immediately thought of tomato sauce since I don’t often buy ready made tomato sauce. The recipe is very easy whilst and uses simple yet authentic ingredients. I loved the smell and taste of basil and oregano in this sauce. The sauce smelled so good and looked like traditional Bolognese or Italian ragu. It was also great served with normal pasta or with zucchini noodles made with this spiralizer.

This is happy food for me, it looked nice, smelled delicious, tasted great without using animal products in the process.

Here is a video that I posted on Instagram of the sauce cooking:
 

 

Making #vegan and #paleo ragu 🍅😋 #nomnom 😋🍅

A post shared by Rody (@rodysheartycorner) on

 

How to easily peel tomatoes?

To be able to peel the tomatoes easily I soaked them in hot boiling water for about five minutes. Then I rinsed the water, covered the tomatoes in some ice and added more water. This allowed me to peel the tomatoes with a knife easily.

 

 

Vegan Ragu
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
15 min

Total Time
35 min

Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
15 min

Total Time
35 min

Ingredients
  1. 8-10 tomatoes (I used Roma Tomatoes)
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 3 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 1 cup pre-soaked raw cashews (soak in water for at least one hour)
  6. 1 teaspoon oregano
  7. fresh basil leaves
  8. Salt & pepper
  9. ½ teaspoon Chilli flakes
  10. 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  11. 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional)
Instructions
  1. Soak the raw cashews in water in advance. This will allow them to soften up.
  2. Use the easy method suggested for peeling the tomatoes.
  3. Stir fry the onion in olive oil and add some pepper. Meanwhile, blend the tomatoes in a food processor.
  4. When the onion has softened, add in the garlic.
  5. Then add most of the pureed tomatoes reserving some in the food processor.
  6. Blend cashew nuts in the food processor together with the remaining tomatoes. You can puree completely or leave some chunks.
  7. Add this cashew mixture to the simmering tomato sauce.
  8. Add a good pinch of salt, oregano, chilli flakes, nutritional yeast and coconut sugar if using.
  9. Stir the mixture from time to time and let simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavours to soak in.
  10. Switch off the heat and add in pieces of fresh basil.
  11. Add in the cooked pasta or raw zucchini spaghetti and serve immediately. If you want warm pasta, you can switch on the heat, but I find zucchini to be best when raw as otherwise, they will become mushy.
  12. Enjoy!
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

 

Easy Homemade Paleo Ketchup

In Dinners and Meals, Healthier Alternatives, Vegan On August 24, 2017 0 Comments

Traditionally, I have never been a fan of ketchup. However, this was probably biased by my dislike to processed foods. I must admit that having this healthy, Paleo, homemade ketchup around was a great companion to some barbeque dishes this summer. We did not only use it to accompany barbeque dishes but I also find it convenient to serve in a gluten free wrap with some leftover roast beef. Well, I guess, unlike me, ketchup users will already have their use for this ketchup.

Use healthy ingredients

The recipe is quite simple. I looked for genuine ingredients since I was not doing the tomato puree from scratch. I bought organic products and checked that there were no nasty ingredients in the ingredient list. The tomato puree contained just tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients are one ingredient items :)

 


 

Easy Homemade Paloe Ketchup
Yields 1
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Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
30 min

Total Time
35 min

Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
30 min

Total Time
35 min

Ingredients
  1. 500g tomato puree (preferably organic or made with 100% tomatoes)
  2. 1/4 cup honey
  3. 2 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 tablespoon mustard
  5. 1 tablespoon onion powder
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil and then simmer for around 30 minutes.
  2. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to one month. Always use a clean teaspoon to have your serving. Otherwise, the contents are likely to rot or grow mould.
Notes
  1. You may wish to try this delicious Paleo and gluten free wraps to accompany this recipe http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/garlic-naan-bread/
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream

In Sweets and Treats, Vegan On July 29, 2017 0 Comments

Every year I come up with a new ice-cream idea. Last year I had made this peanut butter ice cream, however, my boyfriend is not a big fan of peanut butter and turned down the idea for making it again quickly. I had also enjoyed making these chocolate covered bananas as an ice-cream alternative and these were definitely a favourite. We find ourselves wanting something fresh during hot summer nights, so I like to stock up on some homemade wholesome goodies to keep us company.

Delicious!

This ice cream was divine and enjoyed by everyone, including my father who is not into healthy desserts. The compliments I received from people trying this ice cream are a guarantee of this recipe’s success. I truly suggest anyone try this out as the recipe is easy and delicious and will surely impress you and your guests.

Why vegan?

Unless you are vegan, you would question vegan ice creams. Whilst this ice creams can be enjoyed by vegans, it is also great for anyone including people suffering lactose or dairy intolerance. If you don’t have any special dietary requirement, it is also a great alternative to dairy or soy ice creams. Being milk-free it will be better processed by your gut leaving you happier. Another great thing about this is that normal ice-cream usually makes people bloated or flatulent, these things won’t happen with vegan ice creams!

 


 

 

Vegan chocolate hazelnut icecream
Serves 10
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Prep Time
10 min

Total Time
4 min

Prep Time
10 min

Total Time
4 min

Ingredients
  1. 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  2. 1/2 cup hazelnuts or 1/2 cup hazelnut butter
  3. 14 medjool dates (200g pitted)
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  5. 1 or 2 tablespoons cacao powder (depending on how strong you like it)
  6. small pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Blend the hazelnuts in a food processor until almost powdered. Alternatively you could use hazelnut butter.
  2. Add the medjool dates and 1/2 can coconut milk to the food processor and process until dates have almost dissolved completely. It is ok to leave some chunky ones.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and process well.
  4. If you have an ice cream machine use it to turn the mixture into ice cream.
  5. If you do not have an ice-cream machine, place the contents in a resealable bowl and store in freezer. Then mix well every 30 minutes for the first two hours. Leave in the freezer for a further two hours and serve.
  6. If you are storing the ice-cream for a longer time, make sure you pull it out of the freezer prior to serving as it will harden the longer you leave it in the freezer. Otherwise it is suggested to store in separate cups so that it would be easier to have a serving.
Notes
  1. Serves 9 to 10 normal portions.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

Sweet Potato Fries

In Savory Bites, Vegan, Vegetarian On December 9, 2016 0 Comments

This is a super easy sweet potato chips recipe that you can make any time instead of conventional chips. For this recipe I have used white sweet potatoes which are grown locally in Malta. They are cheaper than normal sweet potatoes and we prefer their taste better than the orange ones. They are less strong making them taste similar to normal potatoes but with less starch. Below is a picture of these white type of sweet potatoes. 

These white fleshed sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, a good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus (source). 

The final product was a quite satisfying experience. The same recipe however can be used with all type of sweet potatoes.

 

 

Sweet potato fries
Serves 2
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Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
25 min

Total Time
30 min

Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
25 min

Total Time
30 min

Ingredients
  1. 1 large sweet potato
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  4. 1 teaspoon paprika
  5. ½ teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)
  6. ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek (optional)
  7. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill or otherwise oven at 200°C.
  2. Cut the sweet potato in strips and place in a clean plastic bag.
  3. Add the olive oil, close the plastic bag and shake to evenly distribute the oil on the sweet potatoes.
  4. Add in the remaining spices and seasoning and mix well by shaking the bag.
  5. Place on oven tray, preferably onto baking paper and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes turning the potatoes half way through.
  6. Enjoy as a side or as a snack.
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

Vegan Paleo Cheese Cake

In Sweets and Treats, Vegan On October 29, 2016 0 Comments

This three layer cheesecake is quick to do and requires no baking. You would need to soak the cashews in advance, which is the only effort required :) For best results, soak the cashews in the morning if you wish to prepare the recipe in the evening, or overnight if you wish to make the recipe in the morning. Extra soaking time won’t effect the recipe outcome so don’t worry if your timing is not precise, but for the cashews to become creamy they need a good soak. You wouldn’t have the same outcome if you used dry cashews. If you have leftover soaked cashews you can also try this delicious vegan cheese to accompany savoury dishes.

cheesecake-4

 
This raw cake requires storage inside a refrigerator, making it a great summer treat. But not only, the weather in Malta is still hot right now, and I found this cake perfect for snacking or breakfast. It would also make a great Sunday dessert, if only it lasted that long! ;)
As for the top layer, you can be creative and use any favourite fruit of your choice. I have used mixed berries but you can use just strawberries, mango, blueberries etc.

cheesecake-1


Vegan Paleo Cheesecake
Serves 8
Print

Prep Time
20 min

Prep Time
20 min

For the base
  1. 1 ½ cup dates
  2. 1 cup freshly roasted almonds
For the cheese layer
  1. 2 cups soaked raw cashews (minimum 4 hours soaking, the longer the better)
  2. 1/3 cup coconut oil
  3. 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  4. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  5. some powdered vanilla
  6. pinch of salt
For the top berry layer
  1. 2 cups frozen berries
  2. 1 banana
  3. lemon zest (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-soak the cashews overnight or at least for four hours prior to starting the recipe.
  2. Soak the dates in plenty of hot water unless you are using soft medjool dates. The water will soften the dates making it easy to work with.
  3. Start preparing the base layer first by blending the almonds in a food processor. You can either finely grind or leave to a chunky consistency depending on your liking.
  4. Add the dates to the ground almonds and blend until well incorporated.
  5. Layer the base mixture at the bottom of a loose base tin (I used an 8 inch pan) and press with fingers to layer evenly. Place inside the freezer for the time required to finish the next process.
  6. Meanwhile blend the cashew cheese layer inside a clean food processor until smooth. Then layer on top of the date mixture and place inside freezer again.
  7. Without cleaning the food processor from the cashew mixture, add the berry layer ingredients and blend until pureed. Then layer this mixture on top of the cashew cheese.
  8. Freeze for at least one hour for the cake to set. Alternatively store in fridge for a couple of hours or until ready to serve. You can top with some lemon zest for added decoration and taste.
  9. It will keep fresh for 5 days if stored in the fridge.
  10. This recipe can also be frozen, which is especially good if you make a double batch and want to extend the consumption life. Always remove from the freezer at least one hour before serving.
Notes
  1. Recipe yields 8 good sized portions.
Adapted from prettypies.com
Adapted from prettypies.com
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

Cauliflower Hummus

In Healthier Alternatives, Savory Bites, Vegan On August 30, 2016 0 Comments

Cauliflower is such an amazing vegetable when it comes to Paleo aka grain free recipes. You can create so many alternatives out of cauliflower and this hummus recipe is yet another use which I have recently discovered.
 

 
Chickpeas are great, don’t get me wrong. I like their taste and absolutely love the traditional hummus. But being a grain, even though gluten free, I still feel it’s nasty effect. It does make me less energetic and slightly bloated. So I feel like I’d rather take a pizza instead and when I want to stay light, I indulge in Paleo food. In fact this is why I love paleo, grain and refined sugar free food. It just makes me feel better!

cauliflower hummus (2) (Medium)

Apparently cauliflower hummus is not something new for Paleo diet, as I found many different variations of this recipe online. The good thing about it is that you can season it to your own taste. You can add other ingredients and remove the ones you don’t like. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients you put in. Some popular flavours are fresh garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, fresh herbs like basil and mint, tahini paste, yogurt, paprika and olives.

Since I previously mentioned that cauliflower is a saviour in many paleo recipes and alternatives, I thought of reminding you about these recipes (click on links for recipe):

Cauliflower pizza base

Cauliflower rice

Cauliflower couscous

Cauliflower buffalo wings

Cauliflower veggie patties

Cauliflower tortillas

Mac & Cheese inspired vegetable bake

Pineapple surprise

Rice free sushi

 

 

Cauliflower Hummus
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Ingredients
  1. 1 head cauliflower
  2. 1 whole head of garlic
  3. 1 tablespoon tahini paste (optional)
  4. fresh parsley or any other fresh herbs
  5. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  6. 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  7. salt and pepper
  8. water (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cut the top of the garlic head so that all garlic cloves are exposed. Place it inside some thin foil and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes. This will soften the garlic and create a nice flavour of roasted garlic. Otherwise feel free to use around three cloves of fresh garlic instead for a potent garlic flavour.
  2. In the meantime steam the cauliflower.
  3. When both garlic and cauliflower are ready blend all the ingredients in a food processor. You will need to squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin. Add water depending on the consistency desired.
  4. Serve with raw vegetables or with homemade crackers (olive oil herb crackers or flax seed crackers).
Notes
  1. Don’t forget to experiment and add your own flavours to this dip. Other ideas of what you could add are: cumin, coriander, turmeric, fresh herbs like basil and mint, yogurt, paprika, olives
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

 

Vegan Peanut Butter Ice Cream

In I Scream No Ice Cream, Sweets and Treats, Vegan On August 12, 2016 1 Comment

This is a very easy vegan and Paleo ice cream recipe which I remember by heart. I have come across the recipe on a magazine which was distributed with Times of Malta around three weeks ago. Being vegan and paleo, such recipe is ideal for everyone and I can assure you this one is a crowd pleaser! It is also good for those tricky dinner guests who are either vegan, lactose intolerant, coeliac or gluten intolerant.
 

 
You don’t need an ice cream machine to make this, but if you do you can always use it to make the process faster. I didn’t use one in fact and the ice cream turned out creamy just the same. It got hard in our freezer after some time so I just get it out one hour or more before I need it. Last time I also placed it in the fridge around eight hours before I needed it and it was perfect by the time I got to serve it.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream (1) (Medium)

So storing depends on when you plan to use the ice cream. If you want to have a cup of ice cream every day, I would suggest to store it in separate cups and just take one out of the freezer some time before consuming. If on the other hand you will be serving it to four or more people at a time, you can just take out the whole container out of the freezer eight hours before and store in the fridge or one and a half hours before leaving it at room temperature. You could experiment and find your own method, the ice creamwon’t melt really quickly if it has been in the freezer for more than eight hours.

The method below explains how to make this ice cream without using an ice cream machine.

Vegan Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Serves 6
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Prep Time
40 min

Prep Time
40 min

Ingredients
  1. 2 cans organic full fat coconut milk
  2. 200g dates (preferably medjool)
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  4. ½ cup peanut butter
  5. dash of sea salt
Instructions
  1. If you are not using medjool dates, which are already soft, I suggest to soften your dates in some hot water for 30 mins before, discarding the water before using. This will allow them to blend easily.
  2. Blend the milk and dates in a food processor, or using an immersion blender until you get a slurry consistency.
  3. Blend in the remaining ingredients until you have an even consistency.
  4. If you have an ice cream machine you can use the mixture as is for around 20 minutes or as directed on the machine instructions.
  5. If you do not have an ice cream machine, place the mixture inside a sealable container and freeze for the next two hours, stir the mixture well with a spoon every half an hour.
  6. If storing the ice cream in separate cups, do this after the first two hours and allow to freeze again. The ice cream will be ready for immediate serving in two more hours.
  7. Remember to pull the ice cream out of the freezer some time before serving if stored for over 4 hours in total. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. You could replace the peanut butter with other nut butter of your choice.
  2. You can easily make your own nut butter by following this simple recipe.
  3. If you are allergic to nuts, make your own sun flower seed butter using this recipe.
Adapted from Times of Malta Magazine
Adapted from Times of Malta Magazine
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/

Homemade chocolate chips

In Healthier Alternatives, Sweets and Treats, Vegan On May 31, 2016 0 Comments

I have made homemade chocolate using coconut oil and cacao powder countless times and I always wished I could use this healthier, less processed chocolate in my other baking recipes. Since this type of chocolate needs to set inside a refrigerator I always questioned if there was a way to set it into chip size, since ideally this chocolate sets it’s shape in a mould directly. You could eventually chop out a homemade chocolate bar, but that sometimes just doesn’t work out as good. Having a mould would create an even and uniform chip. Trying to search for a chocolate chip silicon mould was futile so I had set aside this idea until I came across a cool tip on forestandfauna.com. The idea was to use a silicon pot holder also known as a trivet, to shape the chocolate chips. I thought this was way too cool of an idea and decided to give it a go.

chocolate chips trivet square

Making chocolate chips using the silicon criss-cross hollows on the trivet made this an easy job. Just prepare your chocolate, place it in the mould and then freeze until ready to serve.

As for the ingredients, you might want to use cacao butter instead of coconut oil, if you are using the chocolate chips for baking. This is because cacao butter has a higher melting point thus making the chocolate harder when it sets. If you are using the chocolate chips raw, you can just use the normal combo of coconut oil, cacao powder and honey.

Try raw chocolate chips with these recipes (click on links to open recipes):

–          Topped on overnight oats

–          Mixed with grain free granola

–          Topped on these easy pancakes

–          Topped on chia seed pudding

Try using chocolate chips in these baking recipes (click on links to open recipes):

–          Real deal paleo cookies

–          Banana bread with chocolate chips 
 
chocolate chips square

 
 

Homemade Chocolate Chips
Print

Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
5 min

Total Time
15 min

Prep Time
10 min

Cook Time
5 min

Total Time
15 min

Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons coconut oil or 3 tablespoons cacao butter (use butter if using chips for baking)
  2. 6 tablespoons cacao powder
  3. 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or maple syrup
  4. coarsely ground roasted almonds (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the coconut oil or cacao butter on top of a double boiler (banju marija) until just melted.
  2. Remove from heat and add cacao powder and coconut sugar and mix well. Stir well until you have a smooth consistency.
  3. Lay the silicon trivet on top of a chopping board or a flat plate. Spoon the melted chocolate over the trivet filling in the holes with chocolate.
  4. Transfer the plate inside a freezer for at least two hours. Keep the chips stored inside the trivet in the freezer, for optimum preservation. Otherwise you can remove the chips from the trivet once set and store them inside a zip lock bag or releasable container.
  5. Use as suggested above or to replace chocolate chips in any recipe. Enjoy!
Rody's Hearty Corner http://www.rodysheartycorner.com/