Best Ever Vegan Lasagne

If there is one thing I miss, it’s lasagne! Just the juicy creaminess of it; it’s such a satisfying, comforting meal! I’ve had some vegetarian lasagnes but they use a lot of dairy so how happy was I when I discovered a vegan bechamel sauce on offer at Ocado! It’s from Conserve Della Nonna and available at Ocado and free of dairy, eggs and soy! Couldn’t believe my eyes.

What with that and the amazing new vegan cheese I’ve discovered from Follow Your Heart, I was able to make the (genuinely) yummiest lasagne that could possibly be.

I added lentils to this to ensure enough plant-based protein is going into my diet, something you must watch out for when not eating animal proteins. (Plant-based proteins are way more bio-available anyway.)

Make it, it’s the best!

Ingredients

Filling:
2 courgettes, sliced
3 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 large aubergine, sliced
Fresh spinach
Half cup lentils
1 tsp bouillon
Drizzle olive oil
Pinch Himalayan salt

Marinara sauce:
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
Dried oregano
Dried parsley
Himalayan salt and black pepper

Wholewheat or gluten free lasagne sheets
Vegan bechamel sauce
Vegan grated cheese

Method

Preheat the grill and oven, both to 180.

Boil the lentils as per the packet instructions and add the bouillon.

Place the sliced vegetables, except the spinach, on a baking tray, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with some salt and put under the grill. When they look slightly browned, turn them over and grill until brown on both sides. Set aside.

Make the marinara sauce by browning the onion and garlic in olive oil on a low heat, slowly, until transparent. Then add the rest of the marinara ingredients and keep on a low heat, stirring often.

Once everything is ready, layer the vegetables at the bottom of a baking dish and put some spinach over the top. Add a layer of lentils on top of this, then a layer of marinara sauce. Layer the lasagne sheets over the top and put the bechamel sauce and cheese on top of that. Repeat this whole step once more, sprinkling with as much cheese as you like on top.

Bake for 40 mins and serve with a green salad.

Love & health,
Lauren

Puffed Rice Rocky Road Brownies

I wanted to make some yummy treats for my friend who has just had a baby, because breastfeeding mamas need fuel (and chocolate!) and I decided to try and make a healthier version of Rocky Roads.

Daniel used to make the yummiest Rocky Roads whenever we had people over back in the days when we were young and child-free and still ate refined sugar. He’d melt together every chocolate bar you can imagine, with nuts and marshmallows and freeze it and it was amazing.

But this is more amazing. Really, I’m not just saying that. It’s more amazing because your body is going to thank you after eating them, not hate you. You can give them to your children and not feel bad, and the ingredients are all natural, plant-based and high in protein and nutrients.

Give them a go – you just make and freeze!

Ingredients

1/2 cup cacao butter
1 cup organic rolled oats
1/2 cup pecans
About 18 medjool dates
2 generous tbsp. cashew butter (or any nut butter but cashew is creamier)
5 tbsp. maple syrup
5 tbsp. raw cacao powder
Half cup puffed brown rice (I use Rude Health)
Pinch of Himalayan salt

Method

Melt the cacao butter in a saucepan gently over a low heat.

Put the oats and pecans into a food processor and blitz until they make a meal. Add the dates, nut butter, maple, cacao and melted cacao butter and add a pinch of salt. Blitz to form a sticky mix.

Pour into a bowl and stir in the puffed rice.

Line a square silicone baking tray with baking paper and smooth the mixture into in and smooth down with your hands or a spatula. Make sure it’s in tight.

Leave in the freezer for an hour then cut into cubes and store in the freezer or fridge in a container.

Love & health,
Lauren

Mung Daal (Moong Dahl)

I got tips for this recipe from a few Indian friends (everyone seems to make it slightly differently), then put my own stance on it, but only a little bit because why change something that works? So thanks to Deepa, Roshni and Abigail!

Mung beans have been part of traditional Ayurvedic diets for thousands of years and are used for their amazing nutritional values.

Not only are they absolutely packed full of nutrients (manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc and various B vitamins), they are also very high in protein (a great option for a vegetarian diet) and fibre, and are a great anti-inflammatory food. When cooked with turmeric it is the perfect anti-inflammatory meal. They’re also great anti-oxidants.

One of the main reasons I made it this week is because more than anything, mung beans help digestion and after coming back from holiday and eating way too much, I needed something nutritious that aided digestion and was also filling and wholesome enough as a meal for Braxton.

It sounds like a lot of ingredients but just get all the spices out in front of you and add one by one. Just gives it the best flavour to have all the spices.

It’s such a delicious, wholesome, comforting meal and easy to make, which helps!

Ingredients – (NB: make sure to soak the beans at least overnight. You can soak them for days, changing the water each day.)

3/4 cup mung beans / moong beans
1 tsp turmeric
Choice of vegetables. I used: okra, baby corn, carrots, onion, courgette, sweet potato (could also add beetroot, pumpkin, peas, broccoli, green beans)
1 tbsp coconut oil (you can also use Ghee if not dairy free)
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
1 inch ginger, crushed
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp cumin
Black pepper and Himalayan salt to taste
Handful fresh coriander

Optional spices – use what you fancy:
Cardamom, chilli, hing, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, bay leaf

Method

Once the beans have soaked for long enough, cook them. If you have a pressure cooker use this, if not, cover with boiling water, turn down the heat and put on a lid, stirring often and adding more water if needed.

Add the turmeric to the beans as they cook.

Once 3/4 cooked, add all the vegetables and continue to cook.

Once nearly ready, get a small frying pan and heat the coconut oil (and add ghee if using). Turn down the heat and add the cumin seeds and stir continuously. Once cooked, turn off the heat and immediately add the garlic, ginger and the rest of the spices except for the salt and pepper and stir. If the heat disappears too much, turn it back on to a low heat then turn off again. You don’t want the spices to burn or the garlic to brown too much.

Once cooked, add this mix to the bean mix and stir, and add salt to taste, then stir in the coriander and serve with fresh coriander and brown rice..

Love & health,
Lauren

Cauliflower Bites With Tahini Dip

Don’t these just look as awesome as they tasted?! They were demolished almost instantly. Just such a tasty snack for before dinner or as a starter and really easy to make with relatively few ingredients. I used rice breadcrumbs but you can use any breadcrumbs you may have at home.

Ingredients

1 cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 eggs
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt & pepper

Tahini dip:
2 tbsp tahini paste
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
Sprinkle garlic salt
Himalayan salt to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 180° and cover a baking tray with silver foil (you don’t have to but it keeps you from having to wash the tray!)

Break the eggs into a bowl and beat with the mustard, oil and some salt and pepper.

In another bowl add the breadcrumbs and spices and again some salt and pepper.

Dip each floret into the egg mixture then in the breadcrumb mixture and place on the tray and repeat until you finish them all.

Put in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Take them out about 5 minutes before they’ve finished cooking and sprinkle the parsley over the top.

To make the tahini dip simply mix all the ingredients vigorously, adding more water if it’s too thick, seasoning to taste, and top with olive oil, paprika and parsley.

Love & health,
Lauren

Bounty Bars – The Healthy Way

My mum always makes coconut pyramids for Passover which are yummy but of course they use sugar so I thought I’d whip these beauties up as an alternative Passover (and any other time) treat.

They are gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, egg free and vegan.

Ingredients

2 cups desiccated coconut
¼ cup ground almonds
½ cup coconut oil
The cream from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk
¼ cup maple
1/4 tsp vanilla powder

Chocolate coating:
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp almond or cashew butter
1/2 cup coconut oil

Method

Melt the coconut oil then mix all the coconut ingredients in a bowl.

Line a baking tray (I use a square silicone one) with cling film, leaving enough hanging over the edges, then press the mixture into it. Remember, they need to be cut into fairly substantial bar sizes once set so keep the thickness and don’t fill the whole tray if it’s too big. Put this in the freezer for half an hour.

Make the chocolate coating while it’s in the freezer by melting all the ingredients in a saucepan over a gentle heat.

Take the coconut mix out the freezer and cut into bars, then dip them into the chocolate and place on a plate and put in the fridge to set for 30-60 minutes.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Love & health,
Lauren

Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup with Homemade GF Croutons

cauliflower-garlic-soup

I can’t take the credit for this one, I got the inspiration from Waitrose recipes! It looked so delicious that I thought I’d try it and put my own spin on it. Honestly guys, it’s so delicious and so moreish, you must give this one a go for these cold winter days.

Ingredients

1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
4 large garlic cloves
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.5L organic vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped in half
4 fresh bay leaves

For the croutons:
3 slices gluten free bread or sourdough, cut into cubes or strips
1 tbsp thyme leaves
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the cauliflower and garlic on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the stock to the boil in a large pan.

Add the onion and bay leaves, cover and turn down to a gentle simmer.

Now make the croutons by using a handheld blender or small blending jug to blend up the thyme leaves, garlic and olive oil.

Add this to a bowl and add the bread and mix it all in with your hands to cover the bread pieces with the mix.

Line another baking tray with parchment paper and put the croutons on the baking tray and put in the oven for 15 minutes or until browned.

When the garlic and cauliflower are cooked, remove from the oven and add to the stock. Cook for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and take out the bay leaves. Using the handheld blender again, (or a normal blender if you don’t have one) blend until smooth and season to taste.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, some thyme leaves and the croutons.

Love & health,
Lauren

Sweet Potato & Spinach Slow Cooker Curry

sweet-pot-spinach-curry

Mid-week meals are all about ease and convenience, without it being convenience food as such. Everything we have at home is fresh and cooked from scratch but that doesn’t mean it needs to take hours to cook; with a slow-cooker you just shove it all in and come back to it when you want to eat it. The only time-consuming thing that still stands is the peeling and chopping… sorry, I can’t change that for you (or for me, unfortunately!)

I apologise in advance to my Indian friends for what I am labelling as ‘curry’; I know this isn’t exactly an authentic curry, but let’s just call this a Jewish curry! It’s fast, easy, and filled with fresh ingredients and spices.

As those of you who have followed me for a while know, Braxton has had spices in his food since I started weaning him so he’s very used to these flavours.

Ingredients

1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 large white potatoes, peeled and diced
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 cup organic vegetable stock
Half tsp garam masala
Half tsp curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Half a bag of spinach

Method

The inside bit of my slow cooker is hob-safe which means I can brown the onions and garlic in coconut oil over the hob first without dirtying another pan, which is the whole point of using a slow cooker; ease. If yours doesn’t have this feature just brown the onion and garlic in a frying pan first, then add them to the slow cooker.

Now add the rest of the ingredients except for the spinach, give it a bit of a stir and turn the slow cooker on.

About an hour before you’re going to serve, add the spinach and mix it in. The heat will make it wilt into the mixture.

Love & health,
Lauren