Cooking a vegan pasta bake on the Afternoon Express Show

This week, I was at it again! Afternoon Express invited me back to the studio to show their viewers just how easy and delicious plant-based cooking can be.

The brief was simple – create something scrumptious using Clover’s soy milk as a dairy alternative. My initial idea was to dish up a dessert, however, I’d rather help South Africans replace their meat-heavy main meals than their sweet treats. Leaving meat, eggs and dairy off your plate one day (or even one meal) at a time can make a massive difference to our environment, and obviously our animals. One beef burger requires the same amount of water than 60 showers, and with the detrimental drought South Africa is facing, we can’t risk wasting one drop. So I encourage you to join the Green Monday SA movement and simply reduce the amount of animal products you consume. Vegifying your favourite food is easier and tastier than you think! My favourite food is pasta, so for this week’s show, I created a velvety pasta bake with roasted broccoli, butternut and sundried tomatoes. I usually use Happy Earth People‘s red lentil pasta for this dish to increase the protein content, but you can use any (egg-free) pasta of your choice. You can also swap the veggies with whatever you have available in your fridge – think peppers, mushrooms and sweet potato. It is a quick and easy dinner that the whole family will enjoy!

Pasta Bake with Broccoli, Butternut and Sundried Tomatoes

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 packet pasta screws (250 grams)
  • 1 head broccoli, washed and chopped
  • 1 packet butternut cubes (500 grams)
  • 1 cup Woolworths sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 3 cups unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 cup cake-wheat flour (all-purpose flour), sifted
  • 100ml sundried tomato oil (from the packet)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Fresh parsley
  • Sriracha (or another hot sauce)

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to packet instructions, drain and set aside.
  2. Place broccoli and butternut in an oven-proof dish. Sprinkle with olive oil. 3. salt and pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes until soft and caramelized.
  3. While veggies are grilling, make the white sauce: Sift flour into cold milk and whisk until combined. Transfer to a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, add the sundried tomatoes’ oil and whisk continuously over very low heat until thick and lump-free. Add salt and pepper to taste. If your white-sauce becomes lumpy, transfer it to a food processor and mix until smooth and velvety.
  4. Add the pasta and chopped sundried tomatoes to the dish with vegetables. Mix to evenly spread the ingredients.
  5. Pour over the white sauce and mix.
  6. Top with an even layer of breadcrumbs and bake for about 30 minutes.
  7. Cut into squares and serve with a squirt of Sriracha and fresh parsley.

Vegan Chilli con Corn-è – Version 2.0

Happy Green Monday everybody!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have read about the soy-based recipe collection I am working on for the Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL). They are launching a recipe database to support the growing number of small-scale food operations across Africa and sent a request through to HSI for submissions. The focus is on promoting soy as an economical, plant-based protein source and highlighting the versatility of it i.e. how to use soy in its many different forms. We are including recipes using whole soybeans, soy milk, soy yoghurts, soy flour, tofu, soy sauce, okra, and much more. This is the very first collection of international soy food recipes created and will be used for inclusion in institutional feeding programs like school lunch programs, day care and hospital catering – I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of it!

One of the dishes I want to submit is a Vegan Chilli con Corn-é recipe I blogged back in 2014. The original version contained a lot of sugar-loaded sauces and oil, so I decided to rework the recipe to make it even healthier. This is version 2.0 – protein packed with soy black beans and dehydrated soy mince (TVP). It makes five 250gram servings, each containing approximately 1102 kilojoules, 34grams carbs, 19.3grams protein and merely 3,7grams fat (all depending on the type of soy mince and brand of tinned veggies you are using). I can honestly say that even though this is the healthier con corn-e, it is also the yummiest version of the two. It is perfect to cook on a Sunday for your weekly meal prep, which is exactly what I did yesterday.

As soon as the SIL database is live, I promise to share the link with all of you.

Vegan Chilli con Corn-è - Version 2.0

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1x red onion, chopped
  • 1x teaspoon garlic, crushed
  • 2x teaspoons onion powder
  • 1x teaspoon turmeric
  • 1x teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1x tin chopped tomato
  • 1x tin black beans / 2 cups cooked black soya beans
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1x teaspoon chilli flakes (more if you want a harder kick)
  • 1x tin kettle corn
  • 1 cup dried soya mince or TVP (textured vegetable protein)
  • 100g (1/2 cup) tomato puree
  • 1x cup of veg stock

Directions

  1. Soak the soya mince in water for 20 minutes. Drain water and squeeze out excess water from the soya mince.
  2. In a large pot, fry the chopped red onion in a bit of the stock over very low heat until soft and sweet.
  3. Add garlic and spices: onion powder, paprika, and turmeric. Add a bit more of the stock and mix well to create a paste in the pot.
  4. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and the black beans and let it simmer on the stove over low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the tin kettle corn, chilli flakes and tomato puree and stir well.
  6. Add the soya mince and the rest of the stock and turn up the heat to medium.
  7. Stir occasionally until all the water is absorbed and the soya mince is soft -about 15 minutes. (Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. I like adding more onion powder and chilli flakes).
  8. Serve hot with starch (cooked rice, mash potato, couscous or samp corn) or with steamed veggies.

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Mousse

It’s been merely a week since my indulgent trip to Durban, and even though I can still taste the flavoursome falafels and abundantly stuffed roti’s, I’ve managed to shake off the two killer kg’s they caused.  A bit of exercise and a healthy vegan meal plan truly works miracles around your waistline! Since last Monday, I opted for whole foods: rolled oats with fresh fruit, homemade pesto on pasta or corn crackers, steamed veggies, fluffy buckwheat, starchy soups and superfood smoothies. Fine, I admit I also had a burger and two glasses of Chardonnay at a friend’s birthday braai 😛

Luckily for me, I really don’t have a sweet tooth – but every oh-so-often the sugar bug bites. Yesterday, after a big Sunday lunch with the family, I craved decadence. The vegan-friendly biscuits in our sweetie drawer called my name, but as I really didn’t want to mess up a week’s worth of hard work, I choose a healthier option instead. Avo-chocolate mousse may sound revolting, but I promise you it’s ridiculously delicious.  I’ve made it for fussy friends before and they truly loved it. Even a small serving will satisfy your desire for sweetness, but no-one will judge you for eating it all 😉 Made from 100% whole foods, this dessert is enjoyed guilt-free!

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Mousse

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons Soaring Free Superfood Raw Cacoa Powder
  • ½ cup Almond Breeze Original
  • 2 tablespoons Health Connection Organic Agave Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract / essence

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in your blender/food processor and purée until smooth (I prefer using the hand blender instead of my Omni Blend for this recipe, it just blends easier).


Add more Agave to make this mousse a tad bit sweeter

Vegan Omega-3 Blueberry Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup tofu
  • 2 cups frozen berries
  • 2 cups Almond Breeze original almond drink
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add flax seeds and walnuts to a blender. Blend together until they form a VERY FINE powder.
  2. Add the tofu, berries, agave and Almond Breeze to the blender and blend until all of the ingredients are combined.
  3. Top with frozen berries and serve immediately.