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Plant Based Box Recipes 12/11/2020

Who doesn’t love the simple yet full flavours of Mediterranean cuisine? Add al fresco dining to the mix and you have a Market Box of fresh and healthy ingredients with Italian Al Fresco inspired recipes to create light delicious flavourful dishes. Lets get cooking, Chef!

Papaya and Pear Smoothie Bowl

A creamy, nourishing and vibrant papaya smoothie bowl, layered up as you wish  

For the homemade blueberry jam:

  • Combine 1 cup of  roughly chopped  papaya, 2 Terra Madre pears, ½ an Avoland’s avocado, 125ml of yogurt, 15ml of lemon juice,  5ml of turmeric, and 4 ice cubes in a blender. Blend until smooth. 
  • Pour the smoothie into a bowl and top with some cherries, toasted coconut, cashew nuts, chia seeds, or any other toppings of your choice. It’s a smoothie heaven we’re creating!


Papayas are rich in fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants. These all assist in decreasing the buildup of cholesterol in arteries and can help to reduce the risk of heart-related illnesses..   

Sweet Potato Hash Browns with Mushies and Avo

This breakfast is simple and bursting with flavour – perfect for a shared weekend brunch. 

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.  
  • Peel and grate 2 sweet potatoes and 1 onion. Place the grated and chopped vegetables into a kitchen cloth or muslin and squeeze out the excess liquid. Once the liquid has been removed, put your potato and onion into a bowl and season with salt, pepper and chopped herbs of your choice.  
  • Then shape into little patties and place on a greased baking tray, drizzle with oil and bake until crispy and golden (approximately 10 minutes).  
  • Roughly chop some mushrooms and some fresh herbs (we like thyme and basil). 
  • In a medium sized pan, heat up some oil and plant based butter, on high heat,  add in the mushrooms, and pan-fry until golden and soft. Then add a clove of grated garlic and herbs for the final few minutes. On completion, add a dollop of coconut yoghurt or coconut cream and mix through.  
  • Slice an avo and squeeze some lemon juice or vinegar on top.  
  • Once everything is cooked, place 1 or 2 sweet potato hash browns on a plate with some mushies on top, then fan the avo on top of that. A great addition is a drizzle or sriracha or fresh chopped chilli on top. 
  • Enjoy with a strong cup of coffee (or tea) and the company of good friends.    


For extra flavour, you can grate in any hard vegan cheese of your choice into the potato mixture.

Sweet Basil Pasta Sauce

A scrumptious, quick and easy basil and tomato pasta adapted from Pasta Factory’s original recipe!

  • Place a pan over medium heat with some oil. Fry about 250g of chopped onion until softened and translucent.  
  • Then add 250g of grated carrot and cook until softened. Follow by adding 2-4 cloves of garlic and fry until aromatic 
  • Create a herb bundle of about 10g made up of sage, thyme and oregano – tye these herbs together. Add the bundle to the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes.  
  • Then add 50ml balsamic vinegar and stir. 
  • Add lots of fresh chopped tomatoes and tinned tomatoes making about 2kg, some salt, pepper and 10g sugar. 
  • Put the lid on and bring to boil. Once boiling, remove the lid, turn down heat and simmer for 1 hour – stirring occasionally. 
  • Remove the herb bundle. Add 10g of roughly chopped basil leaves. 
  • Blend sauce until smooth. Add 10g of roughly chopped basil leaves, stir through and season.  
  • Cover the Pasta Factory’s fusilli pasta in salted water and boil until al dente, about 2 minutes. 
  • Remove the pasta from the water once cooked and add it straight to the sauce. 
  • Add 2 ladles of pasta water along with some  grated parmesan-style cheese from Gay’s Dairy to the sauce and serve immediately.  Buon appetito, Chef!


Freeze leftover sweet basil sauce in portions – they’re great for a quick bite.  

Tuscan-style Lentil Bolognese

The Real Food Factory’s organic lentils turned into a classic, home-style bolognese sauce. Served with pasta and of course cheese from Gay’s Dairy! Si, mamma!

  • Bring a pot of water to boil, and cook the lentils until tender, then drain.  
  • Peel and dice up some onion and carrot. Grate some garlic, and roughly chop some fresh herbs. Place in a pan over low to medium heat with some oil, and cook until softened, stirring occasionally.  
  • Add the drained lentils once cooked and drained along with a tin of cooked tomato, a dash of balsamic vinegar and some stock. Simmer until thickened, seasoning as you go.  
  • Bring a pot of water to boil, and cook the pasta until al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain and toss through some olive oil to prevent sticking. 
  • Tip the pasta into the pan of sauce and give it a gentle stir. Scatter over some of your favourite plant-based parmesan-style cheese, and get that fork twirling!


For a more silky texture, reserve some pasta water, and add it to the sauce towards the end. 


Fusilli “Meatball” Pasta

Fresh Pasta Factory fusilli with garlic, chilli, capers, crumbled vegan meatball, fresh herbs, lemon zest, and olive oil – just delicious!

  • Mince 2 cloves of garlic, deseed and finely chop up a chilli. Roughly chop a large handful of fresh herbs, and zest one lemon. Crumble up the vegan meatballs.  
  • In a large frying pan over a medium heat, add a generous glug of olive oil. When hot, sauté the vegan mince crumble for 3-5 minutes, until golden and heated through. Add the minced garlic, some capers (optional), chilli, lemon zest and herbs and cook for another 2-3 minutes until fragrant.  
  • Boil a pot of salted water. Cook your fresh vegan pasta until al dente. Drain, toss through some oil, and set aside. 
  • Add the cooked pasta to the pan and mix to combine with your sauce – add a little extra olive oil if it needs it, and a spoon of Karen Dudley’s Al Fresco relish. Season to taste. Garnish with grated cheese. 
  • Serve in a bowl – or eat straight from the pan, why waste any time plating?


To take it to the next level, you could add some wilted spinach and/or pan-fried mushrooms to your pasta.. 


Homemade Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Crispy Sage Burnt Butter Sauce

Easy-peasy homemade, Patrysvlei sweet potato gnocchi with nuts, crispy Umthunzi sage and beurre noisette. 

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.  
  • Peel and roughly chop some sweet potato and place onto a roasting tray with a small drizzle of oil. Roast in the hot oven for 30-35 minutes, until soft.  
  • Place the cooked sweet potato into a bowl and mash well – really put your elbow into it. For a more luxurious gnocchi, add a drizzle of oil to the sweet potato and mix to combine before adding the flour.
  • Combine with some flour until it forms a rough dough (we recommend ‘00’ flour). Knead on a board gently until it comes together - be careful not to over knead it, it must be beautifully soft and pliable.  
  • Roll a long, thin cylinder and cut into 3-4cm little gnocchi’s. Cute! 
  • Bring a pot of heavily-salted water to the boil. Once boiling, drop the freshly made gnocchi into the water, when they start to float leave them for an extra few seconds then they will be ready. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into a colander to drain.  
  • Pick some sage leaves. 
  • Place a pan over a medium-high heat with a generous knob of plant based butter or drizzle of oil. When the butter is bubbling, add the sage leaves and cook until golden and crispy - get a whiff of that! Drain the leaves on some paper towel, leaving the butter sauce in the pan. Throw in your gnocchi, and toss until golden and crisping up a little 
  • Serve up your gnocchi in a bowl and don’t you dare forget to drizzle over that browned butter from the pan, grate over some cheese. Sprinkle over some crispy sage. Delicioso!


If you would prefer gluten-free gnocchi, use your favorite gluten-free flour for this recipe. 


Parmigiana di Melanzane

Cheesy Umthunzi aubergines – need we say more?

Aubergine preparation:

  • Thinly slice two aubergines, sprinkle them with salt and set them aside in a colander for about thirty minutes. 
  • Rinse the aubergine slices under cold water and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or paper. Lightly dust them with flour, shaking off any excess then fry them in sunflower oil for a few seconds each side, drain on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil. 

For the tomato sauce:

  • Finely chop 1 onion and fry  with a drizzle of  olive oil until soft and translucent. Add 700g of chunky skinless pureed tomatoes, and a small bunch of fresh basil roughly torn up. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir then let it simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. Set aside. 

Layer up:

  •  Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly oil a medium sized baking dish. 
  • Spoon a small amount of the tomato sauce into the bottom of the baking dish and spread it around - this will stop the aubergine from sticking. 
  • Next add one layer of aubergine to the dish followed by a sprinkling of your favourite vegan parmesan-style cheese, cubes of Le Coquin Mozzarella, a sprinkling of pepper and couple spoons of tomato sauce - save 1/3 of the sauce for the final layer.
  • Continue with the next layer until you have one top layer left. 
  • For the top layer, spoon over the remaining tomato sauce and top with parmesan and mozzarella. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes until golden and bubbling on top.  
  • Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


Salting the aubergines drains off any excess water and helps with crispness when frying.

Caprese Toastie

Toasted SCHOON sourdough crostini topped with chopped Umthunzi tomatoes, fresh basil and Le Coquin vegan mozzarella – now THAT’S amore.

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. 
  • Dice up some tomato, and place in a bowl with a drizzle of oil and salt. Toss to coat. Roughly chop some fresh basil, and grate some cheese.  
  • Slice the sourdough and rub one side of the slices with half a clove of garlic, drizzle over some oil, and sprinkle with some finely chopped basil.  
  • Toast under the grill, until golden and crispy.  
  • Top the toasted sourdough with the grated cheese and marinated tomato, then return them to the oven to get shmelty. Top off with fresh basil leaves, a grind of black pepper and a drizzle of Karen Dudley’s Italian Al Fresco relish, buonissimo!


These make great starters, or afternoon snacks with a refreshing lager.

Cheesy Lentil Mince-Stuffed Tomatoes

Baked tomatoes stuffed with lentil ragu and topped with oozy cheese – are you drooling yet? 

  • Preheat the oven 180°C.  
  • Bring a pot of water to boil, and cook the lentils until tender, then drain.  
  • Place a pan over a medium heat with a drizzle of oil. Fry some chopped onion,chopped carrot and chopped celery until soft. Add the cooked lentils, and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. In the final minute, add some grated garlic and thyme leaves, or a herb of your choice.  
  • Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Test and add salt, pepper and a sweetener of choice according to your taste.  
  • Cut the tops of two tomatoes off and hollow out the middle. Place on a baking tray with a drizzle of oil and season to taste. Bake for 5 minutes.  
  • Remove the tomatoes from the oven and fill with the lentil ragu. Top with grated cheese and put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the cheese has melted. Garnish with a spoon of Karen Dudley’s Al Fresco relish and serve with rice, quinoa or couscous!


    The potassium, folate, and iron in lentils provide lots of benefits; potassium counters the bad effects of sodium and lowers blood pressure. Folate protects your heart and supports your body in forming red blood cells..  

    A Simple Panzanella Salad
    A zesty salad that works as a side for any Al Fresco style meal!!

    • Tear about 200g of dried out SCHOON sourdough (or any stale bread will work here) into roughly bite-sized pieces and place on a tray. Leave aside in a warm place (or your oven at lowest temperature) for around 30 minutes – this helps to dry it out. 
    • Place about 300-500g of fresh diced Umthunzi tomatoes in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add 1-3 tablespoons of Karen Dudley’s Al Fresco relish to the bowl, along with 1 small, finely sliced onion, sourdough, and some chopped anchovies (if using).  
    • Toss the mixture together with your hands, then stir in 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar or reduction and about 3 times as much olive oil. Taste and add a little more salt, pepper, vinegar or oil, if needed. 
    • Tear in a handful of fresh  basil leaves, stir together and serve. Delicious with the sweet potato gnocchi dish – see above for the recipe

      CHEF’S TIP:

      Coat the bread in olive oil, season and toast in a 160oC oven to make it into crispy croutons before adding to the tomato.


      Limoncello is one of the most famous Italian liqueurs

      • Peel 4 lemons making sure to only peel the outer skin without getting the white pith. 
      • Place the lemon skins in a big jar and add 500ml of grain (or any 100% pure) alcohol. Seal the jar and let it infuse for approximately 20 days. 
      • Bring 750ml of water to a boil and add 350 grams of white sugar. When the water cools add the lemon-alcohol to the water using a strainer so the lemon skins don’t go into the mix. 
      • Swirl a glass of water into the jar with the lemon peels to get any residual flavour and add it to the mix. Stir the limoncello thoroughly for a couple of minutes. 
      • Fill up empty glass bottles with the limoncello. 
      • Put one bottle of limoncello in the fridge for immediate use  and store the other ones in a dry cool place until you want to use them. Enjoy!

      CHEF’S TIP: 

      The lemons need to soak in the alcohol liquid for 20 days in order for the limoncello to be bold yellow in colour and full of flavour.  


      So worth the effort – one bite of this and you’ll be speaking Italian!  

      For the shell dough:

      • In a medium bowl, sift together 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt. Work 1 ½ tablespoon of cold vegan butter pieces into the flour with your fingers until the mixture becomes coarse and sandy. Add 3 tablespoons of nut butter and ½ a cup of dry white wine and mix until it becomes a smooth dough.    
      • Spread a piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and place the dough in the center. Wrap the plastic loosely around it and press the dough to fill the gaps. (Flattening the dough will mean less rolling later). Let it rest in the fridge for a few minutes while you make the filling.  

      For the filling:

      • In a medium bowl, whisk 2 cups of  silken tofu  until smooth. Sift in ¾ of a cup of  icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of  cinnamon and a ¼ teaspoon of allspice. Mix to blend.  
      • In a separate bowl, beat  ¼ cup of coconut cream until fairly stiff. 
      • Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the cream into the tofu mixture. Stir in ¼ cup of vegan chocolate chips – shards or chunks. Lightly zest the exterior of 1 lemon  and stir it into the tofu. Refrigerate for thirty minutes to an hour.

      To roll and fry the shells: 

      • In a medium pot with a heavy bottom, heat 2,5l  canola oil to 180oC.
      • Meanwhile, sift an even layer of flour onto a flat surface and flour a rolling pin.. 
      • Roll the dough until it is very thin. Cut the dough into smaller pieces and work in batches. With a round cookie-cutter, cut out about 24 circles.  
      • Make moulds for your cannolis by taking some tinfoil, scrunching it up and rolling it into a tube like shape.  Wrap each circle around a homemade cannoli mold. Use a little of the egg wash on the edge of each round to stick it shut and to assure it won't slide or fall off the mold before pressing it closed. Flare the edges out slightly to create a lip – flaring will allow the oil to penetrate each cannoli shell as they fry..
      • Use a pair of tongs to hold the edge of the mold as you submerge and fry the shell in the oil until crispy and golden - 2 to 3 minutes..  
      • Remove from the oil, and holding the mold in one hand with your tongs, gently grip the shell in your other hand with a kitchen towel and carefully slide it off the mold. Set aside to cool. Repeat with all of the circles.

      To fill the cannolis: 

      • Once the shells are cooled, use a piping bag to pipe the spiced tofu into the shells. Fill them from both ends so the tofu goes through the whole shell.   
      • Dust with icing sugar, or drizzle with some melted chocolate. Serve immediately, and enjoy!

      CHEF’S TIP:

      You can flavour your filling with dark chocolate shards, orange zest, coffee infused ricotta or even some strawberry puree mixed into the ricotta filling. The combinations are endlessly scrumptious!. 


      Vegan Tiramisu

      Tiramisu is the ideal dessert for fuss-free entertaining - make it the day before and let those flavours really infuse overnight in the refrigerator. This plant-based version features vegan vanilla sponge layers dipped in strong coffee in between luscious layers of coconut-cashew cream..

      • Preheat your oven to 160oC and lightly grease two 20cm square cake tins

      Bake the Sponge: 

      • In a large bowl, whisk together 270ml of almond milk, 90ml of olive oil, 10ml of vanilla essence, 30ml of lemon juice, and 120g of sugar. Sift in 280g of cake flour, 5ml of baking powder, 5ml of bicarb, and 2.5ml of salt. Fold together gently to combine. Pour half of the batter into each prepared cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Once cooled, remove from the tins and cut into finger-shaped strips..

      Make the plant-based mascarpone cream: 

      • Cover 200g of raw cashews with boiling water and let soak for at least 15 minutes, then drain. In a blender, combine the soaked cashews with 120ml of almond milk, 115g of maple syrup (or other vegan sweetener), 65g of melted coconut oil, 2ml kosher salt, 2.5ml vanilla extract, and 5ml lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Scoop out the solids from 2 tins of coconut cream that have been chilled overnight into a large bowl. Add 30ml of icing sugar and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Carefully fold the blended cashew mixture into the whipped coconut cream..

      Assemble the Tiramisu:

      • In a shallow dish, combine 350ml of very strong coffee (chilled to room temp) with 30ml of coffee liqueur or dark rum. Dip the sponge fingers into the coffee and lay into a single layer in a 20-25cm serving dish. Spoon half of the coconut cashew 'mascarpone' over the sponge layer and smooth evenly. Dust with a light layer of cocoa powder. Dip more of the sponge fingers into the coffee and make a second layer in a dish. Scoop the remaining 'mascarpone' over top and smooth. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Before serving, dust the top with a generous amount of cocoa powder.

      CHEF’S TIP:

      To make individual servings, you can assemble the tiramisu into 6 to 8 ramekins (depending on size). Instead of cutting your sponge into ‘fingers,’ use a round cutter to cut our circles that fit perfectly into your ramekins.

      Vegan Yoghurt Panna Cotta

      A healthy take on panna cotta – with creamy coconut milk and vegan yoghurt, garnished with fresh papaya

      • In a pot: add 1 cup of coconut milk and 1 ¼ teaspoon of agar agar powder, whisking thoroughly. Set aside, off the heat, and allow the agar to bloom for ten minutes.  
      • Place another pot over a low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and ½ of the seeds from 1 vanilla pod, or a dash of vanilla essence. Heat slowly ,whisking occasionally. When simmering rapidly (do not boil), add 1 cup of vegan yoghurt and whisk until combined. 
      • Pour into individual glasses or ramekins and set aside to cool. Once cool, move to the fridge and leave until fully set.  
      • Garnish the top with chopped papaya and add a sprig of mint if you have. 

        CHEF’S TIP:  

        Agar-agar is a natural vegetable gelatin counterpart.