Aubergine & Mushroom Lentil Lasagne (Vegan + Pasta Free)

Aubergine & Mushroom Lentil Lasagne (Vegan + Pasta Free)

We’ve had this Aubergine & Mushroom Lentil Lasagne on repeat the last few weeks because it’s just so good! It has all the flavours and elements you’d expect from a classic lasagne, yet it doesn’t contain any pasta or refined grains/flours. There’s no cheese or dairy products, and of course no meat. Instead it’s made entirely from whole, plant foods!

The “mince” component is made from a combination of red onion, mushrooms and red lentils. If you like your “mince” layer to have a bite to it then you have the option to add brown lentils in too. To give the plant mince an authentic taste I use coconut aminos (or soy sauce), smoked paprika, salt, pepper and Italian style herbs. It honestly tastes so good you really won’t miss the meat. It’s also delicious on it’s own served with noodles, aka spaghetti bolognaise!

The pasta component in this lasagne is created with sliced aubergine. This is gently baked in the oven beforehand to ensure it’s lovely and soft by the end of the cook time. Which in turn ensures the lasagne is easy to slice and serve. I’ve also made this lasagne with zucchini strips instead of aubergine and this works really well too.

Of course, you can’t have a lasagne without a cheese sauce, and this is made from cashews. Simply soak to soften, then blend with nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

When the three components are ready, simply assemble the lasagne as usual. Layer up the plant mince, aubergine and cheese sauce, and repeat. Bake the lasagne in the oven until the top is golden and enjoy!

Aubergine & Mushroom Lentil Lasagne (Vegan + Pasta Free)

Aubergine & Mushroom Lentil Lasagne (Vegan + Pasta Free)

Serves: 8
Prep time: 40 minutes Cook time: 1 hour

Plant-Based “Mince”

1 Tbsp avocado or olive oil for cooking
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup/large handful mushrooms, chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp  tomato paste
1/2 cup red lentils, washed/drained
1 cup water
1 can brown lentils (optional)
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp vegetable bouillon (optional)
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1 Tbsp Italian herbs (or fresh if you have them)
salt + pepper
2 large handfuls spinach, washed/chopped

“Pasta” Sheets
1 aubergine, thinly sliced

Cashew Cheese Sauce
1/2 cup cashews, soaked 2-4 hours
1/4 cup filtered water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

 

Start by soaking the cashews. Place them in a bowl, cover with cold water and stand for 2 hours. Alternatively, if you’re short on time use boiling water and soak for 15 minutes.

Next make the plant mince. Heat a small amount of oil in a large pan, add the red onion and cook a couple minutes until it begins to soften. Add the red capsicum and garlic, continue cooking a few minutes then add the mushrooms. If anything starts to stick to the pan, add a little water to deglaze and continue cooking.

Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, followed by the lentils and water, and stir well.

Sprinkle in the herbs and spices, salt and pepper, stir well and turn down to a simmer.

Simmer for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the red lentils are cooked through. If the mixture starts to look dry or begins sticking to the pan, add a little more water.

When the plant mince is cooked, turn off the heat and stir in the spinach.

While the plant mince is cooking, preheat the oven to 180C. Slice the aubergine as thin as you can (ideally around 3mm), lay the slices on 2 lined baking trays and bake for approximately 10 minutes. You’re aiming for the aubergine to soften but not gain too much colour.

To make the cashew cheese sauce, simply drain the cashews and place all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth and check the taste. If you want it more cheesey add more yeast, and more tangy add a little more salt or lemon.

Assemble the lasagne in an oven-proof baking dish. Place a layer of plant mince in the bottom, top with aubergine slices and then a layer of cashew cheese sauce. Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients, ending with a layer of cashew cheese sauce on the top.

Place the lasagne in the centre of the oven to bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour. The longer you bake, the better the flavours.

To serve, slice the lasagne into squares and serve warm with a side of fresh salad greens.

Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Be sure to reheat well before serving.

 

Aubergine & Mushroom Lentil Lasagne (Vegan + Pasta Free)

Roast Fennel & Asparagus Salad with Easy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Roast Fennel & Asparagus Salad with Easy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

With summer just around the corner, the weather has been warming up nicely over the last few weeks so salads are finally back on the menu in our house!

I’ve been trying to get more creative with my salads lately because I’ve had this creamy avocado and kale salad with crispy chickpeas on repeat for most of the year! Although I still love it, there’s nothing like adding more variety to your repertoire – especially after 3 months of lockdown cooking.

What I love about this new roast fennel and asparagus salad is the beautiful, anise flavour of the fennel, combined with the nutty crunch of the asparagus. Add to that some creamy avocado, roasted sweet potato, and a tangy, apple cider and ginger dressing, and you have a salad worthy of it’s own dinner party.

If you’re not a huge fennel fan, lightly roasting it will mellow its flavour and texture. Likewise, by roasting or pan-frying the asparagus, you’ll bring out it’s unique, nutty flavour. Just be careful not to overcook your asparagus, as slightly crunchy asparagus is much more delicious than soggy, flaccid asparagus!

Serve this gluten-free, roast fennel salad on it’s own for a delicious, light meal. Throw in some plant-based protein such as toasted almonds, pine nuts or hemp seeds to turn it into a more substantial meal. Or serve it as a side alongside your favourite main dish.

Store any extra dressing in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, and is delicious over roasted vegetables or steamed broccolini.

Enjoy!

Roast Fennel & Asparagus Salad with Easy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Roast Fennel & Asparagus Salad with Easy Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes  Cook time: 1 hour

2-3 sweet potatoes (any colours)
1 fennel bulb
1 bunch of asparagus
1 avocado
4 large handfuls salad greens
drizzle of avocado/coconut/olive oil

Apple Cider & Ginger Vinaigrette
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp pure maple syrup or raw honey
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch Himalayan pink salt
ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 200ºC fan bake. Peel and chop the sweet potato into chunks and place on a lined oven tray. Drizzle sweet potato with a little oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together. Place the tray in the centre of the oven to bake for approximately 20-30 minutes. When sweet potato is cooked through, remove it from the oven and allow to cool.

Prepare the fennel by washing and cutting the bulb into slices. Arrange the slices on another lined oven tray, drizzle with a little oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the tray in the oven to bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the fennel is just starting to brown and soften. Remove the fennel from the oven and set aside to cool.

Save some of the fennel fronds, roughly chop and set aside.

Wash the asparagus and slice into bite size pieces. Either toss with a little oil and add to the fennel tray for 5 minutes. Or heat a little oil in a small pan over medium heat and pan-fry for about 5 minutes. Aim for the asparagus to be cooked but still crunchy. Set the cooked asparagus aside and allow to cool.

Make the vinaigrette by placing all the ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined.

Rinse the salad greens and place in a large serving bowl. Combine with the cooled sweet potato, fennel and asparagus. Top with sliced avocado and sprinkle with the fennel fronds.

Just before serving, drizzle the salad with apple cider vinaigrette. Any leftover dressing can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 

Roast Fennel, Asparagus & Sweet Potato Salad

Creamy Avocado & Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Creamy Avocado & Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Here is my favourite summer kale salad that I’ve had on high rotation over the past few months. It has a deliciously creamy dressing made from massaging avocado into the kale, which also softens the leaves making them easier to eat and digest. Add in cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumber, sauerkraut and crispy chickpeas and you have the most delicious salad.

This is an easily adaptable recipe so if you don’t have all the ingredients you can usually sub in something else and it will still work. That said, the one ingredient you can’t really sub is the avocado. This is because it forms the base of this salads creamy dressing and there isn’t really a good substitute for an avocado used in this way.

Of course, avocado provides a good dose of healthy fats, while kale brings a hefty dose of antioxidants and doubles down on the fibre, sauerkraut brings the probiotics and chickpeas provide a delicious plant based protein element. I think this might just be the perfect salad!

In terms of substitutions, if you don’t have any kale or are simply not a fan, then by all means swap it out for your favourite lettuce leaves. If you’re not a cucumber fan then swap it for any other crunchy salad vegetable such as sugar snap peas, celery or radish. Cherry tomatoes should be fairly easy to find, but if you need to sub these then you could use sun-dried tomatoes, fresh strawberries or even peach slices. And if you can’t be bothered making your own crispy chickpeas you can simply buy them or substitute for some crispy seed crackers.

 

Creamy Avocado & Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Creamy Avocado & Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Serves: 2
Prep time: 30 minutes Bake time: 10 minutes (optional)

2 extra large handfuls of curly kale or cavalo nero
1 ripe avocado
1 lemon, juiced (or 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
salt + pepper
1/4 cup sauerkraut
1/4 telegraph cucumber
1 handful of cherry or heirloom tomatoes
2 handfuls crispy chickpeas (store bought or see recipe below)
2 Tbsp hemp seeds (optional)

If making your own crispy chickpeas follow the instructions below.

Wash the kale well, break into bite sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.

Remove the skin and stone from the avocado and add to the bowl along with the lemon juice and nutritional yeast.

Season with salt and pepper, then use your hands to massge it all together. You’re aiming to create a creamy dressing by mixing the avocado, lemon juice and nutritional yeast, while massaging the kale to make it easier to eat.

Wash and cut the cucumber into bite sized chunks and wash and cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Fold both through the salad along with the crispy chickpeas.

Sprinkle with hemp seeds if desired and serve.

Salad will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days, but the chickpeas will lose their crunch so if possible only add them right before you wish to eat the salad.

 

Crispy Chickpeas
1 can chickpeas
2 tsp avocado, macadamia or coconut oil
1 tsp curry powder
pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan bake. Drain the chickpeas, rinse and pat dry with a clean tea towel.

Transfer the chickpeas to a small bowl and toss with oil, curry powder and salt. Place the chickpeas on a baking tray and cook in the centre of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until crispy.

 

Creamy Avocado & Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Kumara Chickpea Cakes with Dukkah Crusted Avocado (Vegan/GF/Sugar Free)

Kumara Chickpea Cakes with Dukkah Crusted Avocado (Vegan/GF/Sugar Free)

The inspiration for these Kumara Chickpea Cakes with Dukkah Crusted Avocado came from the same local deli that inspired me to recreate their amazing Moroccan Carrot & Kale Salad with Preserved Lemon & Sumac Dressing.

As well as amazing salads, this deli makes a variety of pies, pastries and hash cakes. But their vegan sweet potato and chickpea hash cakes are by far the best hash cakes I’ve ever eaten and inspired me to recreate my own version to share with you.

Unlike your average hash cake recipe, these are made with kumara (sweet potato) instead of regular potatoes. Sweet potatoes have been applauded for their nutritional benefits for years and it’s easy to see why. They’re very high in beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant important for maintaining eye sight, as well as anti-ageing and disease prevention. Beta-carotene also gives orange sweet potatoes their colour.

These humble root vegetables are also a great source of vitamin C (another powerful antioxidant), vitamins B3, B5 and B6, and minerals manganese, magnesium, potassium and copper. Despite their sweet flavour, sweet potatoes rate low on the glycemic scale due to their high fibre content which slows the absorption of any sugars present.

 

Kumara Chickpea Cakes with Dukkah Avocado (Vegan, Gluten + Sugar Free)

 

Sweet potato is such a versatile vegetable that’s easily used in savoury or sweet recipes.

For example, this Maple Roasted Kumara and Spinach Salad with Fresh Ginger and Seeds is an easy throw together salad that really packs a flavour punch and never fails to get compliments when I take it to gatherings.

These Spiced Sweet Potato Pancakes use the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes so that no added sugar is required. They make a great breakfast option if you’re on a sugar free diet or participating in my 10 Day Sugar Cleanse program.

If you like rich and decadent, these Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies definitely fit the bill. They’re super dense and fudgey with a rich chocolate flavour thanks to a full cup of raw cacao powder. Or for a completely sugar free treat try this Sweet Potato Chocolate Mousse that will satisfy chocolate cravings without leaving you on a sugar high.

 

Kumara Chickpea Cakes with Dukkah Avocado (Vegan, Gluten + Sugar Free)

 

Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are a great source of plant based protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre. Fibre is essential for digestive health, and because it leaves you feeling full for longer (as does protein), it can help curb cravings and prevent over eating. Complex carbohydrates are the ideal type of fuel for your body because they’re slow burning which means no unwanted blood sugar spikes and a sustained fuel source over a longer period.

Chickpeas are also high in betacarotene, vitamin A and zinc, which are beneficial for eyes and skin. They’re a fantastic plant based source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin K and manganese, which are all important for bone and cartilage health.

One of my all time favourite ways to cook chickpeas (which I do on a weekly basis) is to drain a can of chickpea, toss with spices and bake them in the oven until crisp. You can then eat them as a snack, sprinkle them over a salad or use them in these 2 hour baked Caramelised Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Chickpeas &  Creamy Cashew Sauce.

Some other great chickpea recipes are these fragrant Chickpea and Spinach Patties which are packed full of spinach, carrot, zucchini and parsley, or these Collard Greens Falafel Wraps which are filled with nutty green chickpea felafel, fresh vegetables and tahini sauce.

 

Kumara Chickpea Cakes with Dukkah Avocado (Vegan, Gluten + Sugar Free)
Kumara Chickpea Cakes with Dukkah Avocado (Vegan, Gluten + Sugar Free)

Whoever invented dukkah crusted avocado is genius. Crunchy, spiced dukkah combines so perfectly with the mellow, creamy flavours of avocado, it really is a match made in heaven. Of course, the avocado topper is completely optional. But if you have the ingredients on hand it only take a couple of extra minutes and really turns these chickpea cakes into something special.

To serve, top these chickpea cakes with a spoonful of your favourite kraut, kimchi or chutney, a couple of slices of dukkah crusted avocado and fresh greens for the ultimate whole food, plant based meal that’s completely gluten/grain and sugar free.

 

Kumara Chickpea Cakes with Dukkah Avocado (Vegan, Gluten + Sugar Free)

Makes: 6
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes

2 large sweet potato
1 red onion
1 brown onion
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp avocado/macadamia/coconut oil
1 bunch of rainbow chard/silverbeet or spinach
2 cans chickpeas (or 2 cups freshly cooked chickpeas)
2 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pink Himalayan salt & black pepper

Dukkah Crusted Avocado
1 ripe avocado
2 Tbsp dukkah (store bought or homemade)

To Serve
Green leaves (I used beetroot leaves)
Kraut/Kimchi/Chutney (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan bake. Place the sweet potatoes on a lined oven tray and spike a couple of holes over the top with a sharp knife. Place the tray into the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until you can easily pierce through the sweet potato with a small knife. 

While the sweet potato are baking, prep the onions and garlic. Peel the onions, chop in half then into thirds. Leave the skin on the garlic but remove excess. Toss the onion and garlic with 1 Tbsp of oil, place on a lined oven tray and bake for 30 minutes, or until the onion has softened and started to caramelise round the edges. You’re also aiming for the garlic to be roasted.

Drain and wash the chickpeas and set aside.

Wash the chard/silverbeet/spinach and finely slice. Wash the parsley and coriander and roughly chop.

Combine half the chickpeas, one sweet potato (skin removed), garlic (skin removed), curry powder, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until it just comes together but is still a bit lumpy.

Scoop the mix into a large mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients, breaking the second sweet potato into bite sized chunk. Stir well to combine.

Form the mixture into 6 cakes using a round cylinder if you have one, if not just use your hands .

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a fry pan and fry the chickpea cakes until the top and bottom turn a golden brown. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until fully heated through.

While the chickpea cakes are cooking make the avocado. Place the dukkah into a small bowl. Remove the skin and stone from the avocado and cut into slices. Dip the slices in the dukkah and toss until full coated.

Serve the chickpea cakes warm, topped with a spoonful of your favourite kraut, kimchi or chutney, a couple of slices of dukkah crusted avocado and fresh greens.

Store any leftover chickpea cakes in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Inspired Desserts E-Book

Whole Food Sweeteners Edition

F R E E   D O W N L O A D

Pumpkin & Kumara Soup with Spiced Cauliflower & Popped Lentils (Vegan/Gluten Free)

Pumpkin & Kumara Soup with Spiced Cauliflower & Popped Lentils (Vegan/Gluten Free)

Roast Pumpkin & Kumara Soup

 

How To Create A Really Thick, Creamy Soup

I created this Roast Pumpkin & Kumara Soup one evening after being inspired by a deliciously thick soup I’d had at a local cafe. The soup was so thick you could literally stand a spoon up in it, which got me thinking about how I could replicate it.

To create a really thick soup the obvious choice are vegetables such a pumpkin or squash (even though they’re technically a fruit) and kumara aka sweet potato.

Lately I’ve been enjoying these vegetables baked whole in the oven. I like this method of cooking because it doesn’t require any oil and all the vegetables nutrients are retained (not lost in cooking water). Best of all, they caramelise ever so slightly and develop a beautiful, rich flavour.

Using this cooking method seemed like the perfect way to create a really thick soup. Once the vegetables are baked simply blend them with a little liquid and some seasonings, and the soup is ready to eat!

 

Why Soup Is So Fantastic

Soup really is an allrounder meal that can be enjoyed any time of the year, but is especially delicious on a cold day as it warms you from the inside out!

Although soup is usually served for lunch or dinner, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy this soup at breakfast too, as you would Vietnamese pho or Japanese miso.

Soup is really easy to make (at least all my recipes are ;)) and you almost always end up with leftovers/rollovers, which means lunch and dinner is sorted for days. And while soups are very filling and nourishing, they’re also light enough that your digestion will love you for it.

 

Roast Pumpkin & Kumara Soup

 

My Favourite Soup Recipes

Some of my all time favourite soup recipes on here to date are: Creamy Spinach & Root Vegetable Soup which gets its creaminess from the vegetables without the addition of any coconut cream or plant milk. I love that this recipe can be adapted to any vegetables you have in your pantry or fridge or whatever’s in season.

Another favourite is this adapted Pho Ga recipe because it was inspired by our travels in Vietnam. I’d just completed my Sugar Cleanse Program when I created this recipe so I substituted the traditional rice noodles for zoodles. Now that I eat a plant based/vegan diet I would also use vegetable stock instead of chicken and sub out the chicken pieces for tofu, tempeh or toasted cashews for a soy free version.

One of the most popular soup recipes on here to date, also happens to be the first soup recipe I ever posted. This Carrot, Pumpkin & Turmeric Soup with Spicy Black Bean Topping has a real ginger kick to it and the black bean topping creates a delicious contrast in texture as well as a plant based protein element. The topping idea was inspired by the amazing Green Kitchen Stories who create some of the most amazing vegetarian soups around.

 

Full Of Anti-Inflammatory Spices

Which brings me to this recipe for this Roasted Pumpkin & Kumara Soup. This beautifully thick and creamy soup recipe is full of amazing spices such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and garlic. These flavourings mean this soup has very warming qualities, not to mention a heap of anti-inflammatory, calming and restorative properties.

Because it’s uber thick it feels very filling while you’re eating it, yet it’s still very light on the digestion because it’s simply blended vegetables.

 

Roast Pumpkin & Kumara Soup

 

Spiced Cauliflower & Popped Lentil Toppings

I’ve been loving roasted cauliflower florets with a spicy almond and chickpea flour coating which gives them a delicious crunch on the outside that yields to a soft, sweet cauliflower inside.

When thinking about what to top this super thick soup with, these little flavour morsels immediately popped into my head.

I also wanted to make sure there was a good plant based protein element in this soup so my other favourite topping is oven popped lentils! These couldn’t be easier to make. Simply drain a can of lentils, toss with spices and then bake in the oven until crunchy and just starting to “pop”. If you prefer to cook your lentils from scratch then even better!

Both these toppings are completely oil, sugar, gluten and grain free, and really pack a flavour punch!

 

Adaptable To Any Vegetables In Season Or Your Pantry

Like most of my soup recipes, this one is no exception and is another very adaptable recipe where you can swap in or out any vegetables of your choice according to what’s in season or in your pantry. Some other great root vegetable options are parsnip, carrot, beetroot (although your soup will turn red!) and potato.

This roasted pumpkin & kumara soup recipe is completely plant based/vegan, gluten/grain, dairy and sugar free, and also just happens to be another 10 Day Sugar Cleanse approved recipe.

 

Roast Pumpkin & Kumara Soup

 

I hope you love this nourishing Pumpkin & Kumara Soup recipe as much as I do, and if you make it be sure to leave me a comment down below and tell me what you think.

Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin & Kumara Soup with Spiced Cauliflower & Popped Lentils (Vegan/Gluten Free)

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 45 minutes

1 small pumpkin or squash
1 extra large kumara (sweet potato)
2 cloves garlic
5 cm piece fresh ginger (or 1 tsp powder)
5 cm piece fresh turmeric (or 1 tsp powder)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pink Himalayan salt & black pepper
400 ml can coconut milk

Crunchy Cauliflower
1/2 head cauliflower
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup chickpea flour
2 tsp spicy curry powder
1/4 cup water

Popped Lentils
400 ml can lentils (or 200g freshly cooked lentils)
2 tsp spice mix (I’m loving Jen’s Goan Xacuti curry powder from Farro, but you could equally use any savoury spice mix of your choice)

To Serve
Fresh parsley, roughly chopped

 

Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan bake. Cut the pumpkin or squash in half, and place the cut side down on a baking tray. Place the kumara on the same tray and spike a couple of holes over the top with a sharp knife. Place the tray of vegetables into the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until you can easily pierce through the vegetables with a small knife. 

While the root vegetables are baking, prep the toppings.

If using canned lentils, drain, then wash to remove any unwanted debris and drain well. If cooking your own lentils, soak for 2 to 3 hours then wash well. Add to a pot of boiling water and simmer 20-25 minutes, or as per the instructions on the packet. Drain well.

Toss the lentils in the spice mix and sprinkle over a lined baking tray. Bake at 180ºC fan bake for approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until the lentils start to crisp up and pop.

Wash the cauliflower and chop into small florets. Mix the cauliflower seasoning together in a bowl to form a thick paste. Toss the cauliflower florets in the paste until full coated and place on a lined baking tray. Bake at 180ºC fan bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower turns a light golden brown.

When the root vegetables are cool enough to handle, peel the skin off the kumara and place in a large high speed blender jug. Peel the skin off the pumpkin, scoop out the seeds and place in the blender jug. Peel and crush the garlic and add to the blender along with the rest of the spices and coconut milk. Blend on high until you have a smooth, thick soup.

At this point if the soup is a little cold and you’re serving it straight away, simply pour it into a pan and heat until you reach the desired temperature. Alternatively, transfer the soup to a sealed container and store in the fridge until required. To reheat simply place in a pot and bring to a simmer.

Serve the soup in bowls topped with a handful of crunchy cauliflower, a sprinkle of popped lentils and some freshly chopped parsley.

Store any leftover soup, cauliflower and lentils in separate sealed containers in the fridge for up to 5 days. The soup will also freeze well for up to 1 month.

 

Roast Pumpkin & Kumara Soup

Hemp, Flax & Basil Seed Porridge (Easy 10 Minute Recipe ~ Vegan/GF)

Hemp, Flax & Basil Seed Porridge (Easy 10 Minute Recipe ~ Vegan/GF)

 

An Oat Free Porridge Recipe

A steaming bowl of porridge with puddles of melting brown sugar is such a nostalgic breakfast, and it’s one that I really missed. Like many people these days, I can’t tolerate oats on a regular basis which is why I created this Hemp, Flax & Basil Seed Porridge. It’s the perfect recipe for anyone looking for an oat-free porridge that’s gluten/grain and sugar free, and full of plant-based goodness.

In wintertime when we were kids, Dad would always have a big pot of steaming porridge bubbling away on the stove without fail. He’d perfected his recipe over many years to make the smoothest, creamiest porridge around. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me sharing his secret with you now, which was to use a hand beater right at the end to whip out any remaining lumps. This would ensure there’d be no complaints of lumpiness or excuses not to finish our breakfast!

At the table we’d dig our spoons deep into the sugar jar and sprinkle our steaming bowls with a generous amount of brown sugar (so generous I now cringe at the thought haha), hoping to score some brown sugar lumps that would slowly melt into the creamy oats. But we didn’t dare add any cold milk to the mix as this would dilute the sweetness, and most importantly ruin the porridge’s sugar melting powers.

 

Soaking Grain Free Porridge

These days eating a gluten and mostly grain free diet means traditional oat porridge is no longer in my breakfast bowl, but I haven’t let that stop me from enjoying the porridge tradition.

I’ve created a couple of oat free porridges to date including this Buckwheat Basil Seed Porridge with Cardamom & Vanilla and this Activated Nutty Paleo Porridge.

Both these recipes require some preparation by way of a couple of hours of soaking time, followed by rinsing then blending, in order to activate the nuts, seeds and buckwheat and create a creamy porridge consistency. The aim of activating these nuts and seeds is to make them more easily digestible and the nutrients more readily available. Soaking also softens them and helps to create a lovely thick porridge consistency.

Of course, activated nuts and seeds don’t like heat so when using them in a warm porridge recipe it’s best to keep heat to a minimum to ensure you don’t destroy all the freshly activated enzymes.

 

 

The Quickest & Easiest Grain Free Porridge

What I love about this new recipe for Hemp, Flax & Basil Seed porridge is that you don’t have to soak it for hours or even overnight if you don’t have the time or inclination. There’s also no rinsing or blending required.

This new oat free porridge recipe also doesn’t contain any buckwheat or nuts. This means it doesn’t require a minimum of 2 hours soaking time in order to make them digestible and soft enough to be blended into a porridge.

 

Hydrophilic Seeds Are The Secret

Instead, this porridge is made up of three seeds, two of which (flax and basil) are hydrophilic which means they’re water loving and are able to rapidly absorb a large amount of water in a short time.

This means if you’re short on time or didn’t remember to prep ahead, you can throw this porridge together in 10 minutes and still enjoy a lovely thick, porridge consistency.

If you do have more time or want to reap the maximum benefits of these seeds, then feel free to soak them overnight. This allows the basil and flax seeds to fully absorb all the liquid, their inherent enzymes will become fully activated and their phytic acid levels will decrease, allowing their nutrients to be more bioavailable.

 

 

Packed With Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Protein & Fibre

Speaking of nutrients, flax, basil and hemp seeds are all considered to be super foods which means they deliver the maximum amount of nutrients with a minimum number of calories.

All three of these seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids which support heart health, healthy skin, hair, and nails. They’re high in fibre which is essential for healthy digestion and preventing blood sugar spikes, and are a great source of plant based protein.

 

Chew Your Porridge!

You’ll note I’ve specified ground flax seeds in this recipe. This is because in order to reap the maximum benefits of flax seeds they need to be cracked open before you ingest them, otherwise they’ll likely pass straight through you in their whole form.

As soon as flax seeds are ground, however, their fats start to oxidise and they can go rancid in a matter of weeks. So if you’re not grinding them fresh or you buy ready ground, be sure to store them in an airtight container in the fridge and use them as fast as possible.

Likewise, with basil and hemp seeds, in order to access their full nutritional value, be sure to chew them properly – or in other words, chew your porridge! This will also get your digestive juices flowing and make the whole process more efficient.

 

 

Porridge Toppings I Love

I like to top my porridge with a warm berry compote made by simply heating fresh or frozen berries with a little water. Berries are naturally very low in sugars so by adding them to this sugar free porridge you’ll create a very healthy, low GI breakfast.

If you’d like a more substantial fruit topping you could roast some pear or seasonal stone fruit such as peaches or nectarines. To do this simply cut them in half, remove any stones and roast in a preheated oven for around half an hour. Either keep the warm fruit half whole or chop it into bite sized pieces before placing on top of your porridge, then drizzle with pure maple syrup and sprinkle with extra hemp seeds.

Of course, toppings are only limited by your imagination so feel free to mix it up and top with whatever takes your fancy.

 

 

I hope you love this oat free porridge recipe, and if you make it let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

Hemp, Flax & Basil Seed Porridge with Roasted Pear & Raspberries (Oat Free)

Serves: 2
Prep time: 10 minutes  Soak time: 10 minutes  Cook time (for fruit): 5 to 30 minutes

1/2 cup plant milk
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
2 Tbsp basil (or chia) seeds
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

Topping Suggestions
1 roasted pear
1 cup raspberries
extra hemp seeds
extra plant milk
pure maple syrup drizzle

Heat the milk and water by placing in a small pan set over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Alternatively, use a kettle and milk frother. Add the seeds and spices to the warm liquid and stir to combine.

Leave the porridge mix to stand for 10 minutes (or overnight) until the seeds have swelled and absorbed the liquid. If it starts to look undesirably lumpy, add more warm liquid to get your desired porridge consistency. While the porridge is resting prepare your toppings (see recipes below).

Transfer the porridge to serving bowls and top with roasted pear and warm raspberry compote. Pour a little plant milk round the edges, drizzle with pure maple syrup and sprinkle with hemp seeds.

Any leftovers will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. This porridge can be enjoyed warm or chilled. To reheat, simply place a serving of the porridge in a small pan with a little liquid and gently heat while stirring until the desired temperature is reached.

Prep Ahead

Mix up a couple of servings of the seeds and spices and store in a jar. Simply heat your liquid and add the porridge mix. You can also make the porridge and leave in the fridge overnight to allow full activated of the seeds.

 

Roasted Pear

Cut 1 pear in half, place on a lined baking tray into the centre of a preheated 170°C oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, this will depend on how firm/ripe your pear is to start with. The pear is ready when it’s softened and juices start oozing out.

Quick Raspberry Compote

Place 1 cup of raspberries (fresh or frozen) in a small pan with a little water. Heat gently until the raspberries defrost/soften and come to a simmer. Your compote is then ready to use! Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.