Plant Based Recipes 13/05/2020
Your body’s very own superhero – in a mug. Balance out your body's pH levels and ward off the corrosive effects of too much acidity. Kapow!
- Boil the kettle, and place your freshly boiled water into your favourite mug.
- Squeeze in the juice of a quarter/half a lemon per person – depending on how voluptuous your lemon is. Drink your powerful concoction on an empty stomach, and let it digest for about half an hour before you consume anything. We recommend laying in the sun with a book while you do.
- You can add in a squeeze of honey if you want to sweeten things up.
Great for the immune system and high in Vitamin C. Doing this first thing in the morning alkalizes and hydrates the body, and gets the metabolism going before starting your day.
Mango Smoothie Bliss Bowl
This is basically like having a healthy dessert, for breakfast. Any day started off with this is bound to be blissful.
- Blend up some juicy mango and yogurt to make a delectable mango smoothie. Maybe a touch of fresh ginger? Maybe some oats? Go on, you know you want to.
- Chop up some fresh fruit. Toast some coconut shards, nuts, seeds – whatever gets you out of bed, really.
- Layer up your bliss bowl, and start the day ahead on a deliciously healthy note.
For some added protein and fibre, add some activated chia seeds and hemp seeds. Activate your chia seeds by soaking them in oat milk or water for 20 minutes before using.
Smashed Banana on Toast with Honey
Anything on toast is generally delicious – smashed banana and honey on toast? Life changing.
- Toast up some bread slices – if you have some time on your hands, toast your bread slices in the pan with some butter.
- Smash up some banana with a fork (strangely satisfying) and add a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Spread your smashed banana onto your toasted bread and drizzle with some golden honey. Garnish with some chopped nuts, for that extra morning crunch.
Bananas are a good dietary source of potassium and magnesium — two nutrients that are essential for heart health.
Crispy Mushies on Cheesy Pesto Toast
This one’s for the morning people with a strong savoury tooth – is there anything better than garlicky mushrooms, mozzarella and some good, green pesto?
- Roughly chop some mushrooms.
- In a very hot pan (really turn up the vol), fry your chopped mushrooms in some oil. In the final 2 minutes, once the mushrooms are golden, add a knob of butter, some crushed garlic, and some chopped herbs – take a second to savour that smell.
- Toast some bread slices – if you have some time on your hands, toast them in the pan with some butter.
- Spread some good, green pesto over your toast. Scatter over some grated mozzarella and your garlicky mushies, and take a (big) bite.
Don't add the butter at the beginning of your mushroom frying, as the high heat will burn the butter.
The contents of this week’s box have been inspired by the cuisine of Italy – one of the most expressive and inspiring the world has on offer. Italian food is all about local flavours, elegant simplicity, and fresh, seasonal ingredients (just how eating should be).
Think: fresh, handmade pasta from Ciao Ciao (small-batch pasta makers in Hout Bay); Napoletana sauce made especially for your box; organic basil and tomatoes; pesto; silky olive oil from Olief farm; vegan mozzarella, and more – food fit for the gods, really.
You can keep it super simple and dive into a Napoletana pasta, or kick it up a notch and learn how to make butternut gnocchi with a crispy sage butter. Conquer the classics of melanzane and minestrone, and/or learn how to make midnight vegan meatball pasta.
Here are just some of our favourite Italian-inspired recipes, to bring out the Italian Nonna in all of us – buon appetito!
Classic Napoletana Pasta
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that Italians know how to do simple. Fresh pasta thrown through a tomato and basil pasta sauce – because why complicate perfection?
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. When boiling, cook your pasta until al dente. Taste to test, and drain on completion. Toss through some olive oil to prevent it from sticking, and to add some authentic Italian flavour.
- Heat the Napoletana sauce in a pan until hot. Add the drained pasta and stir to coat. Season well.
- Serve with some shredded basil and grated mozzarella – because cheese is always a good idea.
To add an extra nutritious layer to this dish, you could wilt some spinach into the sauce while heating it.
Midnight “Meatball” Pasta
Fresh pasta with garlic, chilli, capers, crumbled vegan meatball, parsley, lemon zest, olive oil – great for a late night meal to soak up those cheeky glasses of wine (if you have any left).
- Mince 2 cloves of garlic, deseed and finely chop up a chilli. Roughly chop a large handful of parsley, and zest one lemon. Crumble up the vegan meatballs.
- Boil a pot of salted water. Cook your fresh vegan pasta until al dente. Drain, toss through some oil, and set aside.
- In a large frying pan over a medium heat, add a generous glug of olive oil. When hot, sauté the vegan mince crumble for 2-3 minutes, until golden and heated through. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant. Finally, add some capers (optional), chilli, lemon zest and parsley and cook for another 30 seconds (this is where we make-a the flavour).
- Add the cooked pasta to the pan and mix to combine with your sauce – add a little extra olive oil if it needs it. Season to taste. Garnish with grated vegan mozzarella.
- Serve in a bowl – or eat straight from the pan, why waste any time plating?
Homemade Butternut Gnocchi
Easy-peasy homemade butternut gnocchi with nuts, crispy sage and beurre noisette – maximum flavour, minimum carbs.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Peel and roughly chop the butternut and place onto a roasting tray with a small drizzle of oil. Roast in the hot oven for 30-35 minutes, until super soft.
- Place the cooked butternut into a bowl and mash well (really put your elbow into it). Combine with some flour until it forms a rough dough (we recommend ‘00’ flour). Knead on a board roughly until it comes together (be careful not to over knead it, it must be beautifully soft and pliable). Form a long, thin cylinder and cut into 3-4cm little gnocchis. Cute.
- Bring a pot of heavily-salted water to the boil. Once boiling, drop the freshly made gnocchi into the water, when they float they are ready. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into a colander to drain.
- Peel and roughly chop a nut of your choice. Pick some sage leaves.
- Place a pan over a medium-high heat with a generous knob of butter. When the butter is bubbling, add the sage leaves and cook until golden and crispy (get a whiff of that smell). Drain on some paper towel, leaving the butter sauce in the pan. Throw in your gnocchi and nuts, and toss until golden.
- Serve up your gnocchi in a bowl (don’t forget a drizzle of the butter from the pan), grate over some cheese. Sprinkle over some crispy sage. Deliziosa!
If you would prefer gluten-free gnocchi, use your favorite gluten-free flour for this recipe.
A.K.A Guilt-free lasagna! Tuck into these moreish, scrumptious layers of slow-cooked tomato and aubergine.
- Degorge: slice your aubergines lengthwise, into 0.5cm thick slices. Lay them down on a large board or tray, and generously salt both sides. Then, set them aside to allow the brown, bitter juices to be drawn out (about 10 minutes). Under some fresh water, rinse the salt and bitter juices from the slices.
- Place a large pan over a medium heat with some oil. Fry the aubergine slices on each side, until soft and golden. Remove from the pan.
- Keep the pan on the heat with some more oil. Add some crushed garlic, and chopped herbs of choice (oregano and sage are great). Fry for 1-2 minutes. Then, add a tin of chopped tomatoes and season to taste. Adjust the flavour with balsamic vinegar or sugar/honey, to taste.
- Grate up some mozzarella, and ready some breadcrumbs from 1 slice of bread (simply dry it in the oven and crumble it into medium-fine crumbs).
- In a baking dish (large enough for all of the aubergines and sauce), spread a small amount of the tomato sauce over your base. Add a single layer of aubergine, a layer of sauce and a small sprinkle of mozzarella. Keep doing this until all ingredients have been used up. Mix the bread crumbs with some mozzarella and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the melanzane. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Bake your melanzane in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the top is crisp and golden, and the tomato sauce is bubbling. With that smell coming out of the oven, you’ll want to plate up as fast as you can.
‘Degorge’ is fancy cooking language for adding salt to a vegetable in order to extract any moisture before cooking.
Classic Italian veggie soup, brimming with goodness and so much flavour – hello soup season!
- Dice up some onion, celery, garlic and carrot. Sauté in a pot with some oil, until softening at the edges.
- Peel and dice some sweet potato and add it to the pot.
- Add some seasoning of choice, diced tomato, and some vegetable stock. Stir to combine and bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Simmer until the carrots and sweet potato are tender.
- In the final minute, add some spinach and season with lemon juice, salt, pepper and chilli (to warm you up from the inside out). Serve with a dollop of yogurt for some indulgent creaminess, and why not add a spoon of pesto for some punch?
Try keep your veggies a similar size when chopping, it will make for a more even cook.
HERE TODAY, GONE TOMATO
The Italians call it, ‘il pomodoro’ – the golden apple. The French call it, ‘pomme d’amour’ – the love apple. We call it, ‘this week’s Hero Veg’. It’s no surprise that this deliciously umami fruit has been loved and cherished for thousands of years, the world over.
On the health front, the tomato is a substantial source of the antioxidants – and will also give your system a boost of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Hello immunity!
Although this busty red bulb is actually a berry, the tomato is most often used as a vegetable. Eaten raw in salads or on sandwiches; cooked in a pasta sauce, risotto, or curry; used in pickles or relishes; or blitzed up for juice – this ingredient is as versatile as it is tasty. Aside from simply biting into it like an apple (tomato in one hand, salt shaker in the other), here are some of our most loved recipes that beautifully highlight this vital ingredient: the terrific tomato. Savour them, tomato season is coming to an end soon – so without any further ado, we present to you:
The Ultimate Bloody Mary
Use your own stash of vodka – this is the perfect excuse to bring it out of isolation – a Virgin Mary is also superb. Homemade tomato juice is what takes this recipe to gourmet level.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Dice up some tomatoes, and place them onto a baking tray. Coat in some oil, salt, and a sweetener of choice. Tear up some basil and toss through the tomatoes.
- Roast until soft and blistered. Blend, and season.
- Build your Virgin Mary (Bloody, if you’re one of the lucky ones) as you wish – go wild with the seasoning. Garnish with a sprig of celery and a crack of black pepper. Saluti!
Leave your tomatoes on the window sill to get nice and red – the redder the better.
Toasted Sourdough crostini topped with fresh chopped tomato, basil and mozzarella – THAT’S amore.
- Dice up some tomato and onion. Roughly shred some basil leaves, slice up some mozzarella. Mix all together in a bowl with a splash of olive oil, and some salt and pepper.
- Slice the sourdough and cut each slice in half (crostini size). Rub each with half a clove of garlic, a drizzle with oil and toast under the grill, until golden and crispy.
- Top the toasted sourdough with tomato/mozzarella/basil mix, return to the oven to get a bit melty, and garnish with some fresh basil leaves.
You can soak your onion in some boiling water, and drain before use, to take the sharp edge off.
Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Toastie
There is nothing like dunking a gooey, grilled cheese toastie into some hot and healthy soup when it’s chilly out – warms the belly and the soul.
- Preheat the oven 150˚C. Roughly dice some tomato and onion. Place on a tray with some chopped oregano, garlic cloves (skin on), salt and pepper. Toss with olive oil and spread out on the tray.
- Roast for about 30 minutes, until the tomatoes have wrinkled. Leave the oven on so it’s ready for making your grilled cheese toastie.
- Place your roasted goodness into a pot (peel the garlic and discard the skins). Add some veg stock and bring to a simmer for a few minutes, until well combined and heated through. Add some fresh basil at the end, blend until smooth and season.
- Butter one side of each slice of bread. Flip the slice so that the butter side is facing down. Layer the unbuttered side with some mozzarella slices and season with salt and pepper. Top each sandwich with a second piece of buttered bread.
- In a large pan over medium heat, toast each sandwich, buttered-side down, until golden brown (about 2 minutes). Flip, and repeat on the other side – then, transfer to a baking tray.
- Bake the grilled cheeses for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is gooey and fully melted.
- Cut in half on the diagonal and serve warm with some roasted tomato soup.
A dollop of pesto would take this dish to new heights.
Baked & Stuffed Tomatoes
A whole tomato in all her glory, stuffed with some herby cheesy rice. Quick, easy, and oh so delicious.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly oil a baking tray.
- Place some rice in a bowl. Submerge with some water and set aside to soak for 1 hour, then drain.
- Carefully cut off the tops of some tomatoes and set aside (be sure to keep their hats for later). Gently spoon out seeds and pulp from the tomatoes.
- Place the pulp in a bowl with some chopped herbs, salt, crushed garlic, grated mozzarella, olive oil and rice. Season to taste. Fill up your hollowed out tomatoes with the herby rice mixture. Put the tops back on tomatoes, place them on a lined tray, drizzle with some oil and season with salt on the outside too.
- Bake for about 45-60 minutes or until the rice is tender.
For an extra cheesy tomato, sprinkle some grated mozzarella on top of the tomato in the last 5 minutes of baking.
Tomato and Chilli Chutney
The perfect blend of sweet and spicy – enjoy on sandwiches, cheese boards, or even use it as a homemade gift.
- In a pot over a medium heat and with a drizzle of oil, add some chopped onion, grated garlic and chopped chilli. Sauté until softened.
- Add some diced tomatoes, red wine vinegar and sugar to the pot, stir to dissolve and season to taste.
- Simmer, uncovered for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened and reduced.
- Bottle your tasty tomato concoction in some sterilized jars – look at you go.
Keep refrigerated after opening the jar.
Asian Mango Salad
Just when you thought mango couldn’t get any better – add it to this baby spinach salad with a lemon, chilli, garlic, soy dressing (and thank us later).
- Grate a clove of garlic. Finely chop one chilli. Place into a small bowl and add the juice of 1 lemon, a tsp of honey and 3 tbsp soy sauce. Taste to test and add more honey, lemon, or soy (if needed).
- Peel, slice and deseed the mango. Rinse and shred the baby spinach.
- Make a bed of baby sinach, top with your sliced mango and drizzle over the dressing. Sprinkle over some chopped peanuts and garnish with fresh mint leaves, if you have.
Cashews and basil are a good replacement for peanuts and mint if you don't have any.
Fennel & Green Bean Salad
Eating your greens has never looked lovelier with this fresh, green, and wholesome salad – can be served cold or hot, it’s delicious both ways.
- Pop the oven on to 180°C. Roughly slice your fennel bulb and place the slices onto a roasting tray. Coat in olive oil and season. Roast your fennel until it starts to char – this should take about 20 minutes.
- Trim the ends of the green beans. Place your trimmed beans into a pot of boiling water and blanch for 3-4 minutes (or until cooked to your liking).
- In a blender or processor: add some olive oil, a handful of parsley, a clove of garlic, fresh chilli (to taste), lemon juice (lots) and zest, salt and pepper. If you have some capers, chuck them in too. Pulse until a pesto-like consistency forms. If you’re feeling a little lazy, just extend your pesto with some oil and water until it reaches a drizzling consistency.
- Remove the fennel from the oven and toss with the green beans. Coat in the parsley lemon dressing, and serve with some toasted nuts and seeds. Delish!
Fennel contains Vitamin K, phosphate and calcium, which are known to enhance bone health – these micronutrients also naturally decrease blood pressure.
Garlicky Aubergines on Sourdough Crostini
May the humble piece of toast never been downplayed again.
- Cut the aubergines into thick disks. Lay these out on a tray, or in a colander, and sprinkle with salt – leave to degorge (this naturally removes bitter juices) for at least 30 minutes. On completion, pat dry with some paper towel.
- Peel and grate some garlic (we encourage lots of garlic, always). Rinse and chop some parsley, zest and juice a lemon (all in one bowl is fine, less washing up to do).
- Place the aubergine slices into an ovenproof dish, and spread them out in a single layer. Evenly pour over the lemon, garlic and parsley drizzle, a good glug of olive oil and some salt and pepper, until all the slices are coated. Cover, and set aside to marinate for 1 hour (at least).
- After the marinating magic has occurred, pop the oven onto 200°C. When hot, bake the marinated aubergines for 45 minutes, until soft and starting to brown.
- Slice up some sourdough – rub the slices with some garlic and drizzle with oil. Bake in the oven until lightly golden and smelling like the heavens.
- Top the crostinis with your aubergine goodness, and garnish with some wild rocket. Take a bite!
The longer the marinating time, the better the flavour – besides, what’s the rush these days?
Banana (or Mango) & Yoghurt Lollipops
Blended banana (or mango – whichever is your fruit of choice) and yoghurt lollipops.
- Cut up some mango/banana, and mix in a food processor with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of yoghurt. Add as much (or as little) of each as you like, until you reach your desired taste. Blend until smooth.
- Pour your Frutti Tutti mixture into lollipop moulds, with lollipop sticks in each, and set in the freezer overnight.
- If you don't have lollipop moulds, don’t worry – just get a little creative with some DIY ones. Pour your mixture into a paper or plastic cup, and stick a lollipop stick (or skewer) in the middle vertically. Freeze upright in the freezer overnight.
- Remove from the mould or cup and keep one in each hand at all times.
Great for an afternoon treat on a warmer day, or to keep the kids entertained.
Light orange cake served with yoghurt and fresh orange slices – to enjoy with your afternoon cuppa.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease a large cake tin with oil (springform pans work well if you have any).
- Peel and blend 1-2 oranges in a food processor until you get 1 cup of orange juice.
- In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup of orange juice, 1½ cups of cake flour, 1 cup white sugar, ½ cup canola/vegetable oil, 1½ tsp baking soda and ¼ tsp salt together. Pour your batter into a cake tin.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Test to see if it’s cooked by sticking a toothpick, or a wooden skewer, into the middle of the cake – if it comes out clean, then hey presto, the cake is ready.
- Serve with a dollop of yoghurt, and garnish with some fresh orange slices and chopped nuts.
Fresh and easy afternoon tea delight, with a vitamin C boost for a healthier immune system.