VEGAN SPRING QUINOA SALAD

Here I am with yet another recipe!

As the weather is getting warmer, my meals are getting colder. I am back in Belgium for the summer now and we’ve had to deal with 30°C + weather for the past week. My mother ran out of ideas for meals acceptable in this heat, so I introduced her to my favourite spring/summer quinoa salad! An easy and nutritious meal I put together when I was too lazy to cook back in Edinburgh.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 salad tomatoes
  • half a cucumber
  • 1 red pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Salad mix (Iceberg lettuce, spinach, rocket,…)
  • 3 or 4 falafels (home-made or store bought, I used Cauldron Foods)
  • Hummus (I used Tesco’s Chilli Hummus)
  • 1 peeled and sliced apple or pomegranate seeds (if you enjoy the combination of sweet and savoury)
  • Pumpkin seeds

method

  • Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil, then add the cup of quinoa
  • Wash and cut all your veggies, then put them in a salad bowl
  • when the quinoa is ready mix it with the veggies

this is it! I’d recommend adding the seasoning, hummus, and falafel to your liking after serving. This recipe makes enough for two so I like to keep the leftovers in the fridge and eat it again later in the week. At that point there is nothing to cook or heat up so it’s super easy! It’s also great as a salad on the go. You could cook the quinoa the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight so making the salad the next day is super quick. I have made this on different occasions and still haven’t gotten tired of it!

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Enjoy!

Marion ★

 

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VEGAN CREAMY MUSHROOM PASTA

After Monday’s serious article I am here today to share something much lighter, a delicious and creamy pasta sauce that I tried yesterday and fell in love with!

My cooking has been very boring this past month. I was so busy with writing essays and our annual dance show that cooking food had become more of a chore than something I enjoyed. Even after my essays and the show was done I still found myself eating junk because I couldn’t be bothered putting much effort into cooking. However, food is fuel and I could feel that I wasn’t fuelling my body properly; I felt tired, unmotivated, and just unhealthy in general. So this week I have decided to fix this and retrieve my love for cooking and eating well. I looked up recipes, did a proper food shopping, and got to work.

For some reason I found myself craving a creamy pasta sauce yesterday and as I realised that since becoming vegan I had only once made a béchamel, I thought that it was time to make one again. So here is a recipe of a pasta sauce that is quick and easy, and most importantly very tasty!

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Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 8 to 12 oz. sliced mushrooms (I used closed cup white mushrooms)
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • chopped fresh parley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pasta of choice (I used spaghetti)

Method:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta (check packaging for time instructions).
  • Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms and minced garlic in a pan with olive oil until soft (4 to 5 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add a splash of olive oil and cook the flour for about one minute. Gradually add the milk and stir until smooth.
  • When you reach the desired consistency of your béchamel, add the mushroom and garlic mixture, salt and pepper, chopped parley, and lemon juice.
  • Drain the pasta and mix it with the sauce.

Voila! Easy, isn’t it? This is such a delicious and quick little recipe that I will definitely make and remake. Hope you like it!

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Marion ★

VEGAN GALETTE DES ROIS // THREE KINGS DAY CAKE

Bonjour!

I don’t often talk about my native land of Belgium on here anymore (at least not as much as I used to when I was in the US) but this little kingdom and its lovely traditions holds a very special place in my heart. This is one of them: the galette des rois (or king cake). It is a cake made with puff pastry and frangipane and is consumed on January 6th to celebrate the Epiphany.

The Epiphany or Three Kings Day is a Christian feast day which celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi. It is celebrated on the 12th day of Christmas and marks the end of the festive season. It is a holiday celebrated in Christian countries worldwide, however as most holidays go, the traditions of this day vary from place to place. This type of cake, the ‘galette des rois’, is consumed mostly in northern France and the Benelux. What is unique about this cake, is that it has a ‘fève’ hidden inside it (a porcelain figure, called a bean in English). The person who gets the bean, becomes the king or queen of that day and gets to wear a gold paper crown that comes with the cake.

The Epiphany was one of my favourite traditions growing up and I still remember the excitement when the first galettes started to appear in bakeries. I used to beg my mother to buy one before the 6th as I just loved the taste of it and couldn’t content myself with eating it just once a year. What was more exciting though, was the hidden bean. Every year I wanted to be the queen so badly, that I actually cheated some times (uh oh). See, part of the tradition is that the youngest child (and therefore the most innocent) has to cut the cake. As I was always the youngest, that was always my job. Sometimes I would accidentally cut on the bean, making me perfectly aware of where it was and then asking for that piece (I know, not very christian of me). Anyways, learning how to make a vegan version of this has been so nice and it’s actually a very simple recipe (once you find all the ingredients that is, some of them I had to look for in organic/vegan stores).

Ingredients:

– 2 rolls of vegan puff pastry
– 250g of almond meal
– 150g of sugar
– 1 small bag of vanilla sugar
– 3 tablespoons of vegan butter
– 40g of arrowroot
– 20 cl of almond butter
– 1 teaspoon of concentrated bitter almond flavour
– 1 bean (I just used an almond)
+ a little bit of vegan butter or cream for the for the ‘golden look’

method:

  • preheat oven at 200° C.
  • In a large bowl, mix the sugar, vanilla, and butter.
  • Add the arrow root and mix again.
  • Add the almond butter and the bitter almond flavour and mix again.
  • Finally, add the almond meal and mix everything until it becomes a homogenous mixture. (note: 250g is from the original recipe. I used  only about 150g, but my frangipane ended up being a bit dense, so if you want it to be lighter I’d recommend more almond meal, so just go with your guts with this one. If you feel like there’s too much powder, you can always add 2 teaspoons of almond milk).
  • Unroll one of the puff pastries on a baking tray, makes some holes in it with a fork, and spread an even layer of frangipane (about 2cm) on it. Leave a bit of space at the edge.
  • Hide the bean (or almond) somewhere in the frangipane.
  • Unroll the second puff pastry on top of the first one and the mixture. Roll the edges of both pastries until they reach the frangipane in order to make a crust.
  • Make some holes in the puff pastry and draw some lines (decorate it however you want).
  • Spread some butter or milk on top and put it in the oven.
  • Cook it for about 30min, depending on how golden you want it to be. Remember to check from time to time.

Voila! There you have it! Now you can turn this delicious tradition into a vegan version filled with just as much almond goodness as the original. Both my non-vegan parents absolutely adored it and we devoured it way too fast. Hope you like it as much as we did!

Marion

PS: I got the bean this year, and I promise I didn’t cheat.

SPICY QUINOA AND AVOCADO BOWL

Disclaimer: this is an article that I started writing in October but somehow was only able to finish today.  I just added some things but I did not rewrite it (which is why I thought it worth mentioning that this is technically an old article, the introduction wouldn’t make sense otherwise).

Hey guys!

Since moving back to uni I haven’t really been able to experiment much with new recipes because 1: we had some issues with our new flat (only one hob was working which was extremely inconvenient, everything would take up so much more time) and 2: I was too lazy to make the time and too busy to come up with ideas. So my first month here consisted of pasta, vegan burgers, chips, the occasional curry, and sushi bowls. However I realised this month how lazy and unhealthy I was becoming and decided to change that.

This is a recipe which is based on a dinner that was cooked for me on a date in late August. The guy that made it never told me where he got the recipe and as I broke things of with him not too long after that, I was never able to ask for it again. One day when I was determined to cook myself a nice dinner I did my best to remember his recipe, tried it out and was quite pleased with the result! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • canned chickpeas
  • canned kidney beans in a mild chilli sauce
  • 2 or 3 chillies (depending on how spicy you want it to be)
  • olive oil
  • curry powder
  • basil leaves
  • pumpkin seeds (or any of your preferred nuts/seeds. Cashews would be great in this as well)
  • 1 Avocado
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

In a saucepan, bring two cups of water to a boil and add one cup of quinoa, let it simmer until all the water is absorbed. Meanwhile, dice the onion and garlic and add it to a frypan with olive oil. Cut the chillies and add them to the pan when the onion and garlic are soft and golden. Add the salt, pepper, and chilli powder. When the quinoa is cooked, add the tin of kidney beans and the chickpeas (don’t forget to drain them though, the chilli sauce of the beans is all the liquid you need). When the chickpeas and beans are cooked (takes about four minutes), take the pan off the hob and add the sautéed onions, garlic and chillies. Cut the avocado and add it to the mixture. Sprinkle the seeds and basil leaves on top.

Voila! This recipe serves about two so it usually lasts me at least a couple of days. I have made this multiple times now and honestly love it! The avocado softens the hotness of this dish and goes extremely well with the flavours. If you do accidentally make it a bit too spicy though, just add a slice of bread on the side (God knows I needed it). Also, I know there is no basil on the photo, I had forgotten it that time but trust me, you are going to want it.

Hope you like it!

Marion★

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BERRIES AND BANANA ACAI BOWL RECIPE

Hi guys!

Since becoming vegan there is one thing that I kept seeing everywhere and really wanted to try: acai bowls.

Basically, an acai bowl is a thick smoothie topped with other fruits/granola/nuts/… that you eat with a spoon. It may sound strange if you have never tried it or have never heard of it before but believe me, if you do it well you will not want to eat anything else for breakfast (except maybe avocado on toast, cause that’s delicious).

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter (your choice)
  • 1/2 cups of almond milk
  • 3 teaspoons of Acai Berry Powder
  • Whatever toppings you want

 

HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT:

The night before, cut the strawberries in half and put them, along with the blueberries, in the freezer. Freezing these fruits will make the smoothie more consistent and obviously cold which is extremely refreshing in the summer (who wants a room temperature smoothie? Not me). The next morning, take them out of the freezer and put them in your blender, add the banana (cut, of course) and the rest of the ingredients (except your toppings). Mix it on medium high until there are no chunks left, when that is done put it in the bowl of your choice and then add your toppings! Strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, banana, chia seeds, flaked almonds, raspberries, granola… your choice!

Honestly I have fallen in love with this acai bowl recipe, and I can not wait to try different ones with avocados or mangos or whatever! As this is a smoothie, you can literally make it with any fruits you like, the possibilities are endless. For the acai powder, you will find it in heath food shops (Real Foods, Holland & Barret, etc.) If you do not live near one, you can also easily buy it online. I hesitated to buy a pack at first because it was €20, but I assure you that it is totally worth it (it is delicious and great for your health, plus it will last for a while).

Make sure to try this out this summer and I hope you love it!

Marion★

 

 

AVOCADO STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE

Hi guys!

My first year of uni is over which means that I’m back home, which means that I have a blender, which means that I can try out tons of new smoothie recipes!!

Being the cliché vegan that I am, I am obsessed with avocados to an extent that it sometimes annoys my friends, so of course I always want to try new recipes that include my favourite fruit. As today’s weather called for a smoothie, I looked up avocado smoothie recipes and found this one. As usual, I changed it up a bit to make it vegan and a bit more tasteful.

Here’s what I used:

  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 150g of strawberries
  • 1 small nectarine
  • 200ml unsweetened almond milk
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used half a lemon)
  • agave syrop to taste

Here’s what I did:

  • peel both the avocado and nectarine and chop them in small pieces
  • cut the strawberries in half
  • put all the ingredients in the blender
  • blend until desired consistency

There you go! This is a good and healthy breakfast smoothie (or an afternoon snack). In the original recipe they used honey, I used agave syrup but that completely depends on what kind of vegan you are (or what you have available). Oh and they also used yogurt which I personally do not eat so I did not have any vegan one in the house. Of course if you have some feel free to try it out!

BYEEEEE

Marion★

 

EASY VEGAN SANDWICHES

Hi guys!

This is day 5 of the Great Vegan University Challenge and I am here to tell you that yes, it is possible to live without cheese. I know this is still the beginning but it really hasn’t been hard to cut out milk/cheese/eggs out of my diet so I’m really happy about it!

Between uni and my dance rehearsals, I haven’t really had time to try any grand new recipe, so I’ve been making a lot of sandwiches. I know, it’s not the best because carbs, but hey, they are delicious and really easy on the go. So here are two types of sandwiches I made this week that were really good.

  1. This one is probably the easiest because you don’t need to cook anything. Here’s what’s in it: sun-dried tomato paste, red pepper, avocado and rocket. I made this one to go to uni on monday, you can make it fast and I promise, it is delicious!
  1. I was going to make a vegan pizza last night, but wasn’t able to find pizza dough (very, very disappointing). So when I came home from dance I decided to use some of my pizza ingredients and put them on a sandwich instead. Here’s what I used: baby button mushrooms, spinach, artichokes, rocket and sun dried tomato paste. For this one I first fried the mushrooms, artichokes and spinach in a pan and then added them to the sandwich with the tomato paste and added the rocket last.

So here you have it! If you’re ever too lazy to cook or don’t know what lunch to bring to school/work, just try these sandwiches!

BYEEE

Marion★