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Walnut Lasagne

I discovered two things while making this lasagne.

1. Lasagne is really hard to take an appetising photo of. I got there in the end 🙂

2. You can make dairy-free gluten-free, vegan lasagne taste deliciously close to the real thing.

Recreating a healthier vegetarian version of Italian dishes is one of my favourite things to do. Basically so I can eat them all the time. I’ve had a few wins and a couple of disaster pasta but this walnut lasagne is one of my best experiments. The ground walnuts cook down in a delicious savoury tomato sauce amplified by the sundried tomatoes and dried herbs. The texture is very similar to beef mice so perfect for any veggie sceptic or transitioning vegetarian. Walnuts are also packed with omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fibre and are great for boosting brain health. The fats in walnuts will also help your body absorb and convert the antioxidant found in the tomatoes.

The cauliflower bechamel is another hit for me. I’ve tried making a vegan cheesy pasta sauce with a multitude of different veggies but cauliflower seems to work the best. It has a mildly sweet flavour and when blended with cashews creates a velvety creamy sauce. Perfect for pasta.

I’m gluten-free as you all know so I decided to use thinly sliced celeriac as my pasta sheets but you could use pasta if you like or thinly sliced potato or pumpkin. The celeriac does hold its shape well so the layers stay separate like a classic lasagne.

This is a great dish to make over the weekend for loved ones and the leftovers (if there is any) taste even better the next day.

Ciao xx


Walnut Lasagne

serves 4 – 6

Ingredients
Walnut Bolognese
2 cups of walnuts, ground
2 tins of tomatoes
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, Chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
2 Tablespoons of dried Herbs

Cauliflower Bechamel
1/2 a head of cauliflower
3/4 cup of soaked cashews
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon of white miso
3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper

Thinly sliced vegetables like celeriac, potato or pumpkin.

Method
Preheat your oven to 160c.
In a large Saucepan gently fry your onions and garlic until they start to soften. Add dried herbs and ground walnuts and cook for another 3 minutes to slightly brown the nuts. Add your canned & dried tomatoes, stir to combine. Allow to cook and reduce for 10 – 15 minutes.
To make your cauliflower bechamel. Roughly chop the cauliflower and steam until completely soft. Add a food processor with remaining ingredients and blend into a smooth sauce. Add a dash of water if it’s too thick.
To make your lasagne lay your sliced veggies on the bottom of your baking dish in a single layer, then add a layer of bolognese, then a layer of bechamel. Repeat the layering until you’ve used all the ingredients. Bake in the oven for 3o – 40 minutes until the veggies are cooked through and the top is golden.

Bangin Beetroot Falafel

 

Beetroots are one of my favourite vegetables to eat this time of year. Their earthy and sweet flavour makes them a perfect choice for winter meals. Beets are also remarkably versatile, you can serve them simply roasted with cumin and black pepper, grated raw and added to a slaw with a lemony dressing or blended into a thick chickpea hummus. For this recipe, I’ve created a bit of a beetroot love triangle combining all 3 of my favourite cooking techniques into one delicious magenta falafel. Raw beets are blended with chickpeas, fresh coriander and cumin, formed into patties, coated in sesame seeds and baked until crispy. Wrapped up in a warm flatbread and drizzled with a turmeric, tahini and yoghurt sauce. The earthy spicy flavours of the sauce taste amazing with the falafel and the colours look incredible together as well. These are great to make when you have friends coming round for dinner. You can lay them out mezze style and everyone can make their own veggie kebab. They are also a great recipe for meal prep. Make a double batch and store them in the fridge to add to veggie bowls or burgers later in the week.

 

Beetroot Falafel
Makes 12  falafels   Cook 30 min

Ingredients
2 medium beetroots, Grated
1 can of chickpeas, Drained
1 cup of coriander, stems and leaves
1/2 cup of chickpea flour
2 – 3 cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoons of cumin
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
Pinch of salt and pepper

Tahini Turmeric Sauce
1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
1 tablespoon of tahini
1 tablespoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of maple syrup or another sweetener
juice of one lemon

To serve
Cucumber
red onion
avocado
lettuce leaves
fresh herbs
flatbreads

Method
To make the falafel add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend to a thick hummus consistency. Shape the falafel into patties. The mix should make around 12 medium sized falafels. Place on a baking tray lined with paper. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake at 200c for 20 minutes until crisp on the outside.
To make the sauce mix all the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust any flavours. You may need a little more turmeric or sweetener depending on how strong your turmeric powder is.
Serve mezze style on a big plate so everyone can make their own veggie wrap.

 

 

A Grocery List for Blissful Sleep

sleep – it should come naturally but if your anything like me winding down for a restful nights sleep is a process that starts well before your head hits the pillow. Getting plenty of ZZZs is one of the most important aspects of self-care  – and it’s no secret that when our sleep suffers, our health suffers. A good night’s sleep is essential to regulating energy, hormones, hunger, digestion, memory recall and even our appearance. When we are well rested were more likely to make healthy choices throughout the day, in turn, helping us attain a blissful nights sleep. The food we choose to eat and when you eat it can have a huge impact on the quality and duration of your sleep. we all know to avoid sugar and caffeine before bedtime but some foods have the opposite effect and can ease us into sleep. If your sleep cycle is less than refreshing add some of these foods to your meals to help you drift off into dreamland.

Pumpkins – all orange foods are high in the vitamin aplha-carotene, pumpkins especially, which has been shown to promote quality sleep. They are also a great source of complex carbs that sustain energy levels throughout the day.

Avocado – These guys are high in healthy fats that help keep us fuller for longer. Add half an avo to your dinner to keep you satisfied and avoid late night snacking.

Walnuts – These nuts are high in melatonin, our sleep hormone. Enjoying a serve of walnuts each day can increase your melatonin levels helping you get to sleep easier.

Herbal Tea – Teas like chamomile, valerian root and passion flower all have relaxing effects, reducing anxiety and calming an overly active monkey mind. Best to enjoy them half an hour before bed because they can make you drowsy.

Dark Leafy Greens – My favourite food group! All dark leafy veggies like kale, broccoli and spinach are high in magnesium which helps regulate the body’s stress response, promotes muscle relaxation and sleep.

Pumpkin Seeds – This superfood snack is loaded with the amino acid tryptophan that our body uses to make serotonin & melatonin. When levels of these hormones are high experience better moods and better quality sleep.  Pumpkin seeds also contain zinc which can assist the brain in converting tryptophan into these our feel-good hormones.

Mushrooms – Just like humans mushrooms produce vitamin d in response to sun exposer making them a fantastic plant-based source of this vitamin. Low levels of vitamin D have been shown to affect the quality and quantity of sleep.