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)

Vietnamese Cashew Noodle Salad with Chilli Lime Dressing

Vietnamese Cashew Noodle Salad with Chilli Lime Dressing

Even though it’s officially autumn here, this Vietnamese Cashew Noodle salad has been making a regular appearance on our table. I love it because it’s super easy to make, it’s deliciously fresh, and is bursting with exotic flavours that transport me to tropical locations far far away! It’s also completely plant-based, gluten and soy free.

The only equipment you need for this recipe is a peeler (ideally one that julienne’s but a regular grater would also work), a knife and a bowl of boiling water to soak the noodles. There’s absolutely no cooking required.

The flavours and textures are just amazing. Fresh ginger, lime, garlic and chilli form the base of the Vietnamese nuoc cham inspired dressing. I left out the traditional fish sauce element to keep this recipe completely plant-based, and instead substituted it with coconut aminos (aka coconut tamari sauce).

Bean thread noodles (aka glass noodles) form the base of this salad with their soft sparkly texture, and provide an element of protein. Add to that fresh carrot and cucumber strips for a some crunch, alongside bean sprouts and toasted cashews. Sping onions add a spike of green alongside fragrant coriander leaves.

This salad is so well rounded it’s perfect all by itself. But feel free to up the protein content by adding crispy tofu or tempeh or any other protein that takes your fancy. If you can’t find a particular vegetable, simply swap it for something similar, or just leave it out.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Vietnamese Cashew Noodle Salad

Vietnamese Cashew Noodle Salad with Chilli Lime Dressing

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes 

2 bundles (approx 125g) bean thread noodles (glass noodles)
2 carrots
1/2 cucumber
1 cup mung bean spouts
2 spring onions
1 cup coriander leaves
1/2 cup cashews, toasted

Chilli Lime Dressing
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup coconut aminos (coconut tamari sauce)
2 limes, juiced
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cm piece ginger, grated
1 tsp chilli flakes

 

To toast the cashews, preheat your oven to 160C fan bake. Place the cashews on a lined baking tray in the centre of the oven and toast for approximately 10 minutes, or until cashews have turned golden brown.

Place the noodles in a large heat proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Stand for approximately 10 minutes, or until noodles are soft. Drain, then use scissors to cut them into shorter, fork-friendly lengths.

While the noodles are soaking, peel the carrot and use a julienne peeler (or grater) to shred into strips. Place strips into a second mixing bowl.

Wash the cucumber and julienne into strips (including skin) until you reach the seeds which you’ll have to discard, then add to the bowl.

Wash and drain the bean sprouts and add to the bowl.

Wash the spring onions, finely chop and add to the mixing bowl.

Wash the coriander, pick the leaves off of the stems and add to the bowl, along with the toasted cashews and noodles.

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight lid. Shake until well combined, pour over the salad and toss well.

Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days, although the coriander will start to wilt. So if you’re making this salad ahead of time, leave the dressing off until just before serving.

 

Vietnamese Cashew Noodle Salad
The Best Crunchy Smashed Potatoes with Herbed Yoghurt

The Best Crunchy Smashed Potatoes with Herbed Yoghurt

These Crunchy Smashed Potatoes make an appearance at our dinner table at least once a week because they’re just so good, not to mention super easy to make! 

There’s something so moreish about a crunchy roasted potato that’s akin to a french fry, but luckily with this recipe you don’t need a deep fryer to achieve it.

Believe it or not, this also happens to be the first potato recipe I’ve ever posted here, so lucky it’s an epic one!

I have nothing against potatoes, but in the past if I had to choose I would always go for a sweet potato over the regular type. This is because sweet potatoes are higher in antioxidants (particularly beta carotene), vitamins and minerals, and my goal is always to pack in as many antioxidants as possible.

The secret to achieving that perfect crunch is the type of potato you choose, and the way you smash them. I’ve found the best potatoes for maximum fluffiness on the inside, and crispy crunch on the outside, are Jersey Bennes. Other potatoes will work too, but Jersey Bennes will guarantee a great result every time.

The trick to smashing them is to ensure the potatoes are cooked through, but not yet crunchy on the outside before you smash them. When the potato is properly cooked through, their insides will burst out the sides as you smash them, and little bits will break off which crunch up beautifully as they cook.

Some recipes say the secret to the best crunchy smashed potatoes is boiling the potatoes before you roast them. However, I’m all about efficient cooking with as little washing up as possible. So given you have to roast the potatoes anyway, why would you want to add another pot and lid to the wash up pile if you can get an amazing result without it.

Serve your crunchy smashed potatoes simply with a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. They’re also amazing when baked with crushed garlic and mixed herbs, and if you like your potatoes with a creamy sauce, serve them with dollops of herbed yoghurt and a scattering of fresh herbs.

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do, enjoy!

Crunchy Smashed Potatoes with Herbed Yoghurt

Crunchy Smashed Potatoes with Herbed Yoghurt

Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes  Cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes

1kg Jersey Benne potatoes, or similar
1 Tbsp avocado cooking oil, coconut oil or oil of choice
salt + pepper
3 cloved crushed garlic (optional)
1Tbsp dried mixed herbs (optional)

Herbed Yoghurt
1 cup unsweetened coconut yoghurt
1 Tbsp chopped herbs (chives, thyme, rosemary)

Preheat oven to 200ºC fan bake.

Wash any dirt off the potatoes then place on a lined baking tray. Ideally you want the potatoes to be no bigger than 5 to 6 cm. If any larger, cut them in half to ensure even baking.

Place a drop of oil on each potato then place in the centre of the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove potatoes from the oven and place the tray on a flat surface. Use a potato masher or a flat bottomed cup to smash the potatoes. You’re aiming for the potato skins to crack and the insides to splurge out the sides. If any get stuck in the masher simply shake back onto the tray as these will form the extra crunchy bits.

Drizzle the smashed potatoes with a little more oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and crushed garlic and herbs if using. 

Return the potatoes to the oven and bake for another 40 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking mix the yoghurt and herbs together and set aside.

The potatoes are ready when the edges have turned a golden brown and are looking crispy.

To serve, place the potatoes on a serving plate, dollop with herbed yoghurt and sprinkle with freshly chopped herbs. Serve potatoes warm, as a side to your favourite main.

 

Crunchy Smashed Potatoes

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 & Sweet Potato Salad

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
Roast Fennel, Asparagus & Sweet Potato Salad

How To Make Your Own Caffeine Free Spicy Chai Syrup

How To Make Your Own Caffeine Free Spicy Chai Syrup

After a couple of weeks in lockdown going through a couple of bottles of store bought chai syrup, I decided it was high time I made my own.

I previously posted this homemade spicy chai syrup recipe which has been popular over the years, but I wanted to see if I could make it even more delicious and a little healthier.

To start with, I swapped out the raw cane sugar for coconut sugar to make it completely refined sugar free. Next I swapped the black tea for caffeine free rooibos tea, and lastly I changed up the spices.

The resulting chai syrup has a deliciously rich flavour while not being too sweet or spicy. To serve it warm as a chai latte, simply add your favourite steamed milk. And to serve it cold either pour it over ice and add your favourite milk, or blend it up to make a chai frappé.

Enjoy!

Spicy Chai Syrup (Low sugar/caffeine free)

Spicy Chai Syrup (Low sugar/Caffeine free)

Serves: 20
Prep time: 10 minutes  Cook time: 1 hour

4 cups filtered water
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice e.g. raw honey/pure maple syrup)
10 cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
2 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
6 cardamon pods, cracked open
2 tsp whole cloves
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
pinch cayenne pepper
4 rooibos tea bags

Place all the ingredients except the tea bags into a medium sized pan and bring to a boil. If you’re using raw honey leave this out and add at the end when you take it off the heat.

When the mixture begins to boil, turn the heat down until it’s barely simmering and leave to infuse for 45 minutes to an hour.

Turn of the heat, add the tea bags and leave to infuse until the syrup is cool.

When cool, you can choose to strain the syrup through a piece of muslin, nut milk bag or fine sieve to remove the spices, or transfer the syrup including all the spices straight to a glass bottle so they continue to infuse. If you choose the second option, you’ll want to strain the syrup before you use it.

 

To make a chai latte: place 30ml of chai syrup into a mug and top with your favourite steamed milk.

To make an iced chai: place 40ml of chai syrup into a blender jug with a handful of ice and 1 cup of milk of your choice, blend until smooth.

To make a chai frappe: fill a glass with ice, pour in 40ml of chai syrup followed by your favourite milk.

 

Spicy Chai Syrup (Low sugar/caffeine free)
Spicy Chai Syrup (Low sugar/caffeine free)
Spicy Chai Syrup (Low sugar/caffeine free)
Spicy Chai Syrup (Low sugar/caffeine free)

Easy Weeknight Sweet Potato & Spinach Dhal

Easy Weeknight Sweet Potato & Spinach Dhal

This year I’ve been all about quick and easy recipes and this Easy Weeknight Sweet Potato & Spinach Dhal is exactly that. It’s so simple yet is packed full of flavour, is super nourishing and is one of my go-to weekday recipes.

We spent the first 5 months of this year renovating our house, so quick and easy recipes (ideally made in one pot/pan) became essential! We crazily tried to live through the renovation for the first few months, but eventually had to move out when we went into lockdown and a bunch of tradesmen showed up to install windows! While it was a great excuse to have takeout A LOT, it also meant creating and photographing new recipes was rather difficult.

As well as our house project, I’ve also been working on a secret project for some time now and we’re almost ready to reveal all the details!  In the meantime, if you want a sneak peek head to www.haloandswoon.com or @haloandswoon.

So with a lot less time on my hands this dhal (also spelt dal, daal and dahl) recipe has become a firm staple. The recipe calls for red split lentils because split lentils have had their skins removed which causes them to naturally split in two, and as a result cook very quickly. Lentils are a great source of fibre, plant based protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

You can easily adapt this recipe to ingredients you have on hand. Sweet potato can be swapped for regular potato or pumpkin, and spinach can be substituted for any dark leafy greens such a silverbeet, chard, kale or collard greens.

Hope you enjoy this recipe and stay tuned for our big announcement soon!

Enjoy!

 

 

Weeknight Sweet Potato & Spinach Dhal

Sweet Potato & Spinach Dhal

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes  Cook time: 30 minutes

1 brown onion
2 cloves garlic
1 large sweet potato
3 large handfuls spinach
1 handful mushrooms
1 cup red split lentils
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 to 2 cups water
1 can coconut milk
salt + pepper

Garnish (optional)
microgreens (I like coriander sprouts)
yoghurt (I like unsweetened coconut yoghurt)

 

Peel and cut onion into small pieces, peel and crush garlic. Heat 1 Tbsp avocado or coconut oil in a large pan or pot, add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until they begin to soften

While the onion is cooking, peel and cut sweet potato into cubes. Wash and slice mushrooms. Wash lentils and drain. Wash spinach.

Add the sweet potato to the pan and continue to cook another 5 minutes. If the onions are starting to stick, add a little water to release the caramelised  juices from the bottom of the pan.

Add the curry powder, coconut milk, mushrooms, lentils and 1 cup of water. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 20 minutes or until the lentils are well cooked and soft, adding extra water if needed.

Just before serving stir in the spinach. Serve dhal warm with a dollop of yoghurt and sprinkle of microgreens on top.

This dhal is delicious on it’s own, but is equally good with a side of rice or dosa. Keep dhal up to 5 days in a sealed container in the fridge, gently reheat in a pan before serving.

 

Weeknight Sweet Potato & Spinach Dhal
Weeknight Sweet Potato & Spinach Dhal