Sweet & Smoky Vegan BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

(makes just under 1.5 litres)

  • 3 green apples, diced
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 brown onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup raw or brown sugar
  • 1 Tbl nut or tea oil for frying
  • 3 cups diced fresh tomatoes + 1/4 cup of tomato paste OR 2 tins crushed tomatoes
  • 1 stem celery, fine diced (or 1.5 Tbls pre-diced frozen celery)
  • 2 Tbls soy sauce
  • 2 tsps liquid smoke
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt

Method

Add the diced apples, 1/4 cup of water and half the sugar to your slow cooker. Cook on high for 30 minutes.

While the apples start cooking caramelise the onions.

Once the onions are ready add them along with all other ingredients to the slow cooker.

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Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Stir occasionally.

When fully cooked use a hand blender (immersion blender) to purée the sauce. Cook for a further 1/2 hour blending again. Then turn off the slow cooker and allow to cool for at least 1 hour before bottling. Blend again before bottling or serving if required.

Foods_558That picture is very brightly lit and taken at night under a flash. However yes it is quite orange at first so don’t be alarmed.

 

How to caramelise onions

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Traditional Caramelised Onions

The traditional way to caramelise onions is to fry them in a small amount of butter or oil at a very low heat for at least 30 minutes. They go soft and golden and the caramel flavour is entirely made from their own natural sugars.

1) Use brown onions and slice them into thin rings or half rings. Heat the oil to a medium heat, add the onions, then lower the heat and stir occasionally. You may need to very lightly deglaze the pan a few times with a couple of teaspoons of water. This will give you the most traditional results.At the end once they are soft and golden brown you can turn up the heat again to darken the edges.

2) You can also use a cast iron skillet to heat the oil and brown the onions initially then put them in a warm oven (around 150ºc to 180ºc) for 10 to 30 minutes rather than using the stove top. You will still get a long slow sweet and soft result. This is a good option if you’re roasting garlic or cooking something else in the oven and don’t need the onions right away.

Lazy Caramel Onions

But you don’t have to do it this way. You can have caramelised onions in a few minutes if you’re willing to cut corners. You can use one or both of these tricks to cheat at caramelised onions. They’re not as good but most of the time this won’t really matter especially if you’re adding them to a cooked dish rather than serving as a topping or sandwich filling.

1) Microwave the onions first. Microwaving the onions for 1 or 2 minutes before adding them to a very hot pan will help them cook quicker once they’re in the pan.

2) Add a teaspoon of brown sugar once the onions are browning. This will both soften the onions and give you a sweet caramel texture but you only have to cook them for a few minutes to get them brown then a further 1 minute to melt the sugar.

Vegan Chilli Cheese Fries – without the chilli, cheese or fries!

In our house chilli cheese fries don’t actually involve any chilli, cheese, or fries!

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Being vegan we don’t eat cheese. I’m intolerant to capsaicin (not quite allergic but close) so I make everything – even chilli beans – with little to no chilli. And finally potato wedges are marginally more healthy than the traditional fry style chips (in general the larger the thing being fried or coated in oil the less fat it absorbs).

So these are made with mild ‘chilli’ beans, a vegan cheesy sauce and oven baked wedges. They’re still delicious and certainly not a health food!

Wedges

Cook wedges. If using frozen pre-prepared ones follow packet directions (normally around 20 minutes at 200ºc).

To make from scratch:

Put potatoes in a plastic or paper bag along with 1/4 cup of flour, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp paprika, and 1 tsp of arrowroot powder (tapioca flour). Shake to coat.

Cook in a baking tray or lasagne dish for 35 minutes at 195ºc.

Not-chilli Beans

  • 1 tin refried black beans (or 1.5 cups homemade)
  • 140g tomato paste
  • 1 Tblsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp taco seasoning

Mix in a microwave safe bowl (or just use a saucepan for stove top) then microwave (or heat on stove top) for 4 minutes. Mix again and set aside.

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Cheesy Sauce

I used the Angel Foods Cherub Cheesey Sauce mix made to directions with 2.5 cups of soy milk and 1/4 cup of hulled tahini.

Angel Foods Cheesey Sauce

Although if I was feeling less lazy I could have made some of my own cheesy bechamel.

Assemble!

Put wedges in a bowl or plate, add 2/3 cup of non-chilli beans, top with 3/4 cup of cheesey sauce. Devour.

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Mustard and Bean Pies

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Ingredients

(makes 6 half pies or 3 full sized pies)

  • 6 sheets of vegan pastry (or 1.5 batches of home made wholemeal pastry)
  • 2 tins of beans (or 4 cups of cooked beans) – e.g. kidney beans and/or mixed beans
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables – use the diced varieties, I use Coles ‘Australian Mix’ which is diced potato, peas, carrot, and broccoli.
  • 1 medium onion, sliced or diced
  • 2 stems of celery, diced
  • 2 Tbls of olive oil
  • 2 Tbl of flour
  • 2 to 3 cups soy or nut milk
  • 3 Tbl of mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 2 Tbls savoury yeast flakes (nutritional yeast)

Method

Defrost pastry. Pre-heat oven to 180ºc (355ºf) and line and grease two cookie sheets (or three pie dishes)

Add veggie mix and drained beans to a large bowl and leave to defrost while cooking the sauce.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion and fry until browning. Add celery and cook until bright.

Add flour and mix thoroughly. Then slowly add milk (in 1/2 cup amounts) and blend slowly allowing to thicken before adding a further amount of milk. Once the sauce has a thick consistency add the mustard, yeast flakes, and pepper. Turn off the heat and continue to stir until fully mixed.

Once cooked and while still warm, add the sauce to the bowl with the beans and vegetables and stir through.

Assemble pies according to your preferred method. To assemble half pies take a single sheet of pastry and place on greased cooking sheet. Add enough filling mixture to cover half of the sheet with a 2.5 cm (1 inch) border.

Mustard and bean pie filling

Fold over the other half to cover the filling. Seal the edges firmly ensuring that top and bottom are melded into each other. Then fold the edges to create a crust and press down again. Cut three or four small vents into the top of the pie with a sharp knife.

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Cook pies for 20 minutes at 180ºc until golden.

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Enjoy!

Meatless Bean and Gluten Balls (+ Creamy Med Pasta Sauce)

Meatless Bean and Gluten Balls

Ingredients

(makes 32 large bean balls – halve for smaller balls)

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  • 2 tins (or 4 cups) cooked beans (I use kidney and borlotti or three bean mix)
  • 2 cups greens (spinach or silverbeet etc) – optional
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (around 4 or 5 stems)
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped (grated if your food processor isn’t very powerful)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Egg replacer for 2 eggs
  • Mixed herbs, salt and pepper – to taste
  • 2 cups gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
  • Breadcrumbs to coat (about 1/2 cup at most)

Method

Blend beans, greens, onion, celery, carrot and egg replacer (and any spices or flavourings) in a food processor until smooth and paste like.

Add the paste to a large mixing bowl. Then slowly mix in the gluten flour (vital wheat gluten). This will become a very stiff dough-like mixture and will become hard to mix near the end so use a sturdy spoon or spatula.

Bean Ball Dough

Green Bean Ball Dough

 

Hand kneed dough lightly. Cut the dough into 32 even chunks with a knife – I usually slice it into about 4 to 6 strips/logs and then cut those into smaller chunks.

Roll into balls and coat in breadcrumbs.

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Rolled Green Bean Balls

Line and grease a cookie tray or large baking dish. Cover in foil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes at 180ºc then cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes to brown.

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Cooked Bean Balls

Can be served with pasta and sauce (e.g. Creamy Mediterranean Pasta Sauce below) OR with mashed veggies and gravy.

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Creamy Mediterranean Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 Tbl crushed garlic
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup whole kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, sliced
  • About 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, OR red wine, OR half-and-half balsamic vinegar and water or apple juice – to deglaze
  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes slightly puréed in a food processor or blender)
  • 140g, one tin or pottle, of tomato paste (or 2 Tbls of tomato powder)
  • 160g, one small tin, low fat coconut milk
  • Herbs and spices (I use mountain pepper, lemon myrtle, smoked salt, mixed herbs, and a pinch of cajun spice)

Method

Heat the oil in a heavy based sauce pan. Fry the onion and garlic until brown.

Deglaze the pan with some of the red wine vinegar. Cook until partially absorbed.

Add olives and sundried tomatoes. Mix through then add more vinegar or wine. Heat for a few minutes.

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Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Mix thoroughly and heat for 2 to 5 minutes.

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1 minute before serving mix through the coconut milk.

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Serve with cooked spaghetti with or without added bean balls.

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Vegan Dauphinoise Potatoes aux Purée Épinards et d’Olive

Vegan Potato DauphinoisePommes de Terre à la Dauphinoise aux Épinards Purée just translates to Potato Dauphinoise (baked in cream) with Spinach Purée. Potatoes Dauphinoise is a dish with a French origin – it is basically a potato bake made with cream and garlic. Veganising it was surprisingly easy. But this variation also uses a batch of spinach and olive purée to become something special in and of itself in addition to being a very good replica of the more traditional Gratin Dauphinoise.

 

Both the Spinach and Olive Purée and the Cheesy Cashew Cream can be made in advance. In this case I had almost a whole batch of the Spinach and Olive Purée left over from Calzone so the recipe is included but pictures will have to be coming soon (aka next time I make it).

Gratin Pommes de Terre à la Dauphinoise aux Purée Épinards et d’Olive (Vegan Potato Dauphinoise with Spinach and Olive Purée)

Ingredients

For the Cheesy Cashew Cream

  • 2.5 cups soaked and drained cashew nuts (soak in water for at least 12 hours 24 is better)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup almond, macadamia or cashew milk (for blending)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 Tbl nutritional yeast flakes (also called savoury yeast or gravy yeast)
  • 1 Tbl onion salt (OR onion stock OR 1/2 and 1/2 salt and onion powder)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cloves or 1 Tbl crushed garlic (optional)

For the Spinach and Olive Purée

  • 300g+ baby or fresh spinach (pretty much a blender full)
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1/4 cup olive brine (the salt water liquid olives are stored in – if your olives don’t have this then blend the oil or juice from the container with some water)
  • 120g tomato paste (one pottle)
  • 2 Tbl plain flour (OR use rice flour for gluten free)
  • 2 Tbls crushed garlic (optional)

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  • Thin sliced white potatoes (look for thin skinned ‘boil and bake’ varieties) – enough for at least two layers in your backing dish. I normally cut as I layer them. Around 15 to 20 small potatoes maybe only 6 medium to large ones.
  • 1 medium brown onion, sliced into half rings.
  • 1 batch Cheesy Cashew Cream
  • 1 batch Spinach and Olive Purée

Method

Pre-prepare Spinach and Olive Purée by blending all ingredients in a high speed blender and set aside the Spinach and Olive Purée then clean the blender.

Pre-heat oven to 190°c and oil a large lasagne dish.

Create a layer of sliced potatoes covering the whole dish – don’t be afraid to overlap. Spread half of the sliced onion on top of the potato layer.

Pour over the Spinach and Olive Purée and spread across the whole dish.

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Add another layer of potato and onions.

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Prepare Cheesy Cashew Cream by blending all ingredients in a high speed blender.

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Pour the Cheesy Cashew Cream over the final layer and spread across the dish. I also reserve about 2 Tbl of the Spinach and Olive Purée to decorate but that is optional.

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Cover the dish in tinfoil and cook at 190°c for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes uncover and cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Vegan Potato Dauphinoise

Serve and enjoy! Technically makes 6 to 8 servings but it is pretty moreish and tends to result in seconds.

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Easy Vegan Corn Fritters with Baby Spinach and Green Apple

Vegan Corn Fritters

Corn Fritters

Makes approximately 20 fritters

Ingredients

  • 2 tins of corn kernels (drained)
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1.5 cups of non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tsp arrowroot powder (tapioca flour)
  • 1 tsp  baking soda
  • 1 heaped Tbls of onion salt of similar OR other salt, pepper and spices to taste

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Add drained corn to a large mixing bowl. Add the flour and stir thoroughly to coat the corn in flour. Slowly mix in the milk.

Whisk the arrowroot and backing soda into the 1/3 cup of water then add the water to the batter and mix it thoroughly. Add any herbs or spices (I use a tablespoon of onion salt and a pinch of mixed herbs).

Heat a pan to a medium high heat (you may need to adjust as you cook – because we’re using little to no oil it is better to start off a little too cool than too hot). I use a high quality non-stick pancake pan. If you need to then lightly oil the pan but many non-stick pans won’t need any oil for these.

Measure even fritters of around 1.5 Tbls size into the pan – leave at least a 3cm space between each fritter. I use a sauce ladle for perfectly measured fritters.

Heat the fritters until they start to thicken (going tacky) and bubble a tiny bit at the edges (about 1 to 2 minutes).

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When the edges are cooked flip the fritters and cook for a similar amount of time on the other side.

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Serve with salad, lemon wedges and sweeter sweet chilly sauce.

Sweeter Sweet Chilli Sauce

I use a sweet native plum sweet chilli sauce which I blend with a Tbls of maple syrup if you’re using a standard sweet chilli sauce I suggest adding the maple and also a tsp of apple sauce, kiwifruit jam or other pureed fruit to really up the sweet flavour in your sauce.

Simple Spinach, Apple, and Lemon Salad

This is the best possible salad for corn fritters. Just like the maple in the sweet chilli sauce this is what made this a popular meal on our rotation.

Ingredients (per person)

  • 1 large handful of fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 a green apple (granny smith)
  • 1/2 a lemon

Method

Wash spinach and chop the apple. Add spinach to the plate. Sprinkle the apple slices on top. Juice the lemon and pour the juice of half a lemon over each salad. Ensure that you cover the apple slices completely to stop them browning.

Serve and enjoy!

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