Tofu, avocado and tomato sandwich (The TAT!)

We’re back with another delicious tofu-based recipe. The TAT (as I like to call it!) is great for a quick and wholesome lunch. Tofu is wonderfully versatile, and works so well with creamy avocado, fresh tomato and some kind of mixed leaf. I’m using basil in this recipe, but you could substitute basil for rocket, spinach or mixed salad, whatever you fancy and have in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • One block of smoked Tofoo (280g) (or tofu of your choice). Plain also works well.
  • One ripe avocado halved
  • One medium tomato sliced
  • Fresh salad leaves
  • Two slices of wholegrain bread or bread of your choice
  • Two tablespoons of Tamari

Method

Get your frying pan on to heat up. I’m using a non-stick pan for this recipe so don’t use oil, but if you want to add a splash, do. Slice the block of tofu into roughly 1cm slices. Add to the frying pan and leave to brown.

Once browned, flip the tofu over to sear on the other side. Get your bread on to toast once the tofu is nearly ready. Halve your avocado and slice the tomato. At this stage, turn off the hob and add a couple of tablespoons of tamari to the fried tofu. I also like to add a tablespoon or so of water with the tamari, but that’s optional.

Now it’s time to build your sandwich. Scoop out the avocado and spread over the toast. Follow this by adding the sliced tomato. At this point you might also want to season to taste, although remember the tofu has been seasoned with tamari. Top with tofu slices and add your mixed salad. Best eaten while the tofu is still warm.

If you use plain tofu, adjust the amount of tamari you use, and add a sprinkle of garlic salt for a flavour boost.

Tip: This filling also works really well in a wrap. You can also sub out the tofu and use marinated tempeh slices instead.

 

Tofu egg-style mayo

You’d be forgiven for passing by tofu in a supermarket without so much as a second glance. It’s one of those foods that hardly jumps off the shelf. Having said that, this recipe will hopefully convert you to just how delicious and versatile tofu can be!

This ‘egg-style’ mayo is easy to make, and only takes a few minutes to whip up. Once prepared, it keeps well in the fridge if you want to store leftovers for another day.

There are different kinds of tofu available to buy. You’ll get the best results with this dish if you use firm tofu. The texture is very similar to cooked egg whites and makes for a convincing egg substitute in a sandwich or piled high on chunky toasted bread.

The star ingredient in this dish is definitely Kala Namak or black salt. You can purchase black salt at most Asian supermarkets, and it’s well worth seeking out for that authentic egg-like flavour.

Ingredients
  • One block of plain firm Tofoo (280g) (or tofu of your choice).
  • 3 – 4 tbsp of plain unsweetened plant yoghurt (I use Alpro for this recipe).
  • 1 – 2 tbsp of vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp of English mustard
  • Finely diced scallion (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of Turmeric
  • Onion salt to taste
  • Pinch of Kala Namak (Black salt)
  • Pepper to taste
Method

Roughly chop the tofu into bite-size chunks and set to one side. In a large bowl mix together the plain yoghurt, mayo, mustard and blend. Next, add the turmeric and combine well. Transfer the chopped tofu into the bowl and stir to coat the chunks in the mayo mix. Finally, season with onion salt, pepper and a pinch of Kala Namak to taste.

Tip: If you want to make this even creamier, add a bit more plain yoghurt or mayo until you get the desired consistency.

Cheesy Pasta Salad

This quick and easy dish makes a great lunch or dinner at any time of the year. It is very versatile and you can vary the quantities of the ingredients to taste and mix it up by adding in some fresh, chopped chilli, olives, sweetcorn, avocado, blanched tender stem broccoli etc.  The choice is endless! You can use any plant-based cream cheese, there are some great vegan versions available in most supermarkets and health food stores. I use spring onion and black pepper vegan cream cheese and it’s delicious. You can also vary the pasta that you use.

Ingredients
  • 300 grams pasta twists (you can use any form of pasta including wholemeal for added health!)
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 3 spring onions, chopped OR 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 250g of plant-based cream cheese
  • Sprig of parsley
  • Salt and pepper taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil
Method

Add the pasta to a pan of salted boiling water and simmer for around 12 minutes until soft. Wholemeal pasta will take longer, check the instructions on the packaging. While the pasta is cooking chop the vegetables into fairly small chunks and blanch the broccoli stems if you are including them in your dish. Drain the pasta when cooked and toss in a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Place in large bowl and add the chopped ingredients along with the cream cheese. Give it all a good stir and season to taste. Serve in pasta bowls and garnish with a sprig of parsley. Enjoy!

Serves 4

Loaded Jacket Spuds

This is one of my winter favourites and any excuse to have the oven on to make the kitchen warm and toasty is an added bonus! It is another versatile recipe that you can mix up by adding a fresh chilli to give it a bit of a kick and if you are feeling adventurous why not swap the courgette for some good ole brussels sprouts…You can use baked beans with no added sugar if you are counting the calories.

Ingredients
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 2 tins of baked beans 420g
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 1 leek
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms
  • 4 tsp curry powder (mild, medium or hot)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Method

Wash the potatoes, prick the skins and bake in a preheated oven at 220°C for 50 – 60 minutes. For extra skin crispiness rub the potatoes in olive oil before baking. While the potatoes are cooking wash and slice the veg and stir fry on a medium heat in olive oil. Add the curry powder and stir for a couple of minutes before adding the baked beans. Heat the beans through thoroughly. When the potatoes are ready cut the top in a cross shape and squeeze from the bottom to fluff out the inside. Add some vegan spread if you require then spoon out the bean mixture evenly on to the four potatoes and serve. If you want to be fancy garnish with coriander.

Tip: to save time partly cook the potatoes in the microwave for around 8 -10 minutes before placing in the oven and baking for around 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Serves 4

Strawberry and White Chocolate Cookies

These cookies are a must have comfort food – soft, chewy and bursting with deliciousness! Use a vegan butter block rather than from a tub as you want the texture to be firm. They are available from most major supermarkets or your local health food store. I recommend Flora plant based butter block. You may find freeze dried strawberries in the supermarket or you can buy online. Alternatively you could use vegan chocolate chips. If you can’t find vegan chips you can use a bar and break into small chunks.

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 level cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan baking butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp plant-based milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup freeze-dried strawberries, chopped
Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a large baking tray with grease proof paper. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, corn flour and salt. Blend the vegan butter with the granulated sugar, brown sugar and plant-based milk and vanilla until creamy and smooth. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, blending well until most of the flour is mixed in. Fold in the chopped strawberries and white chocolate chips, taking care not to over-mix. The dough should be thick and a bit sticky. Measure 2 tablespoons of mixture per cookie (40-50g) and roll into a ball. Place on the prepared baking tray, 2 inches apart. You should get 12-15 balls. Gently flatten each ball with the palm of your hand. If you need more than one baking tray, bake only one tray at a time, keeping the second tray in a cool area. Bake for 8-10 minutes, just until the edges start to become golden. The center will look soft. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray before moving to a cooling rack.

Tip: these cookies are best fresh but keep well for up to a week in an airtight container.

Plant-based cream cheese spread

This plant-based cream cheese recipe can be whipped up with minimal ingredients. It pairs really well with a toasted bagel, crackers or veggie sticks as a dip. You can also mix up the spread with different vegetables, depending on what you have in the fridge. We’ve used sweet red peppers in this version, but you can also try it with roasted garlic, scallion and herbs, the choice is yours.

Ingredients
  • 1 litre unsweetened soya milk
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • ½ tsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt to taste

Optional

  • Roasted peeled and chopped red pepper
  • Finely chopped spring onion
  • Black pepper
Method

Heat the soya milk in a pan until just before boiling point (80 degrees).  Remove pan from the heat and add the lemon juice or vinegar. Stir gently and slowly then leave for 10 minutes to allow the curds to form. Meanwhile, line a sieve with a cheese cloth and strain the curds. Squeeze really well to remove as much liquid as possible. Next, place in blender and mix with around ½ a cup of soya milk and the nutritional yeast. Add salt to taste along with the optional ingredients

Tip: to make a version for cheesecake leave out the nutritional yeast and salt.

Hummus chili fried mushrooms and walnut toast

Admittedly, this isn’t so much a recipe as an assembly of delicious foods bought together to make for a very satisfying lunch or snack. I’ve used homemade hummus, but you can just as easily skip that part if you don’t have the ingredients handy and just use your favourite brand instead. The advantage in making it yourself is that you can control the amount of salt, lemon, tahini etc to your taste. That, and it’s so quick to make at home.

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of your favourite bread lightly toasted (I used multigrain)
  • Homemade or store bought hummus
  • 4-5 closed cap mushrooms
  • Chili powder
  • 5 – 6 walnuts
  • Coriander to garnish

Method

Slice up the mushrooms and add to a hot frying pan with a small amount of oil. Leave to colour and meanwhile get your bread on to toast. Turn the mushrooms over and sear on the other side. Chop or break the walnuts up into small pieces. Once the mushrooms are ready, dust lightly with chili powder and toss to coat. Add a generous slather of hummus to your toast, top with the cooked mushrooms and walnuts, and garnish with fresh coriander.

Tip: Instead of using mushrooms, try the same toast/hummus base with freshly sliced radish, walnuts and parsley.

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