Bahn Mi Salad

 

vegan bahn mi salad bowl

I’ve had this idea of turning Classic Bahn Mi baguette filling flavours into a salad for quite a while, and now the weather has turned super hot (albeit briefly!) it’s the perfect opportunity for exciting salad eating.

In my day job, I work in two different locations, so I spend rather too much time walking the streets of the City or sitting on London buses. It does give a lot of looking out the window and contemplating opportunities, and time to draw inspiration for my recipes. Just off one of my regular bus route there are two Bahn Mi shops within meters of each other (crazy, huh!), hence my thoughts turned to recreating the classic Vietnamese hot spicy, pickled, herby flavours of  a Bahn Mi baguette into a salad.

free-from vietnamese salad, no milk, no nuts, no eggs

In this salad bowl I have marinated noodles which are topped with Sriracha roasted beans, quick pickled red cabbage, cucumber and carrot ribbons, tomatoes and plenty of coriander. It makes for a delicious and very moreish bowlful. The noodles are best prepared in advance and cope very nicely with a couple of days in the fridge if need be. Same with the red cabbage. Just make sure you put all the topping on at the last minute to retain freshness and crunch.

Bahn Mi Salad

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free vietnamese noodle salad

serves at least 4 (multiple the veg for more people as there will be plenty of noodles and cabbage)

 For the quick pickled red cabbage:

1/4 red cabbage

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp water

1/2 tbsp salt

  1. Massage the cabbage with the 1tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Set aside for at least half an hour. Pour away any juice which have seeped out.
  2. Combine the water, vinegar and rest of the salt. Pour over the cabbage. Cover and leave to pickle for at least half an hour.

For the Sriracha roasted beans:

1/2 tin white beans or chickpeas

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp olive oil

A few good squirts of Sriracha

  1. Toss the beans in the paprika,oil and chilli sauce and roast in a medium oven (180 degrees) for 15-20 minutes.

For the marinated noodles:

4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

5 tbsps soy sauce

3 tbsps balsamic vinegar

3 tbsps sugar

1 tsp salt

1 pack of wheat noodles (250g) or equal amount of spaghetti

6 spring onions, finely sliced

  1. Mix together the oil, balsamic, soy sauce, sugar and salt until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside
  2. Cook the noodles or spaghetti according to the pack instructions. Make sure they are slightly undercooked and then drain and run under cold water to halt the cooking process.
  3. Mix the noodles into the marinade. Add the spring onions and set aside. Marinate for as long as possible for really tasty noodles.

For the veg:

2 spring onions, sliced

1 carrot, shaved into ribbons

1/2 cucumber, shaved into ribbons

1/2 red pepper, finely sliced

Large handful cherry tomatoes, halved

Coriander

To assemble:

  1. In a bowl, cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of marinated noodles
  2. Top with strips of pickled cabbage, roasted Sriracha beans and veg
  3. Add carrot and cucumber ribbons around the edge
  4. Top with a scattering of coriander and a few squirts of Sriracha
  5. Eat straight away

vegetarian noodle salad, Bahn Mi style

Five Ingredient Vegetarian Caprese ‘meatballs’

vegan, dairy-free pasta and meatballs

 

Meatballs on spaghetti are a perennially popular dish – children always seem to wolf them down. This vegetarian version works really well with spaghetti in a spicy tomato sauce, and adds a good dose of beany protein to an otherwise carb heavy dish.

I had a tin of canellini beans lurking around – as D jokingly calls it ‘the by product from my use of Aquafaba!!’, and I thought I’d experiment with white bean based ‘meatballs’. Although necessarily softer than a meaty version, they do get a nice crisp exterior whilst baking in the oven and the bean and breadcrumb mix is the perfect carrier of robust flavours – on this occasion sundried tomato, basil and garlic as a nod to a classic caprese salad. Besides, a recipe of five healthy ingredients which can be whipped up in minutes, you can’t complain at that!

bean balls for pasta

Vegetarian Caprese Meatballs

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

serves 4

vegetarian spagetti and meatballs, egg-free

Makes 12 which serves 4

3/4 tin of canellini beans plus 2tbsp of the liquid in the tin (the aquafaba)

5 sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 slice of bread made into breadcrumbs

1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped

Small bunch basil, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Whizz together all the ingredients in a food processor
  2. Using wet hands, form into balls and place on a foil lined baking sheet which has been lightly oiled
  3. Bake for 15 minutes at 190 degrees centigrade until golden
  4. Serve on spaghetti and spicy tomato sauce

dairy-free veggie meatballs

Gorgeous Garden Burgers

veggie garden burger, dairy-free, egg-free

Late May Bank Holiday Monday is the perfect day for barbecues and nothing fits a barbecue better than a delicious veggie burger. These are what we’re going to enjoy today, wearing thick jumpers as it really isn’t that warm or sunny!

This is a recipe that has been evolving for many a year. I’ve been trying different combinations and methods to recreate a delicious garden burger I had in a motel on Highway 1 in California some years ago. D and I were doing a little tour of California – we hired a car from San Francisco and bumbled down Highway 1 then veered off to Yosemite before heading back to San Fransisco. It was a really great trip, but my, we stayed at some random places. Some really lovely, others rather spooky (I’m thinking of an ‘English style’ B and B in Monterey which was anything but English style, more Psycho style with no locks on the doors and a feeling of being watched from the lace doilies all the time!) One place which stuck in our minds was a motel near Hearst Castle where the room was just cavernous and the sea views were enormous – far more what we expected from America, and nothing like we were used to in Europe.

It was nothing fancy and we ordered room service to fit the vibe of the place – and lo behold the room service burgers were delicious and huge. I think we left half of them! Anyway, the taste of that burger stayed with me and here is my hazy recreation (probably totally different!) – a polenta based burger spiked with sweet corn, peas, spring onions, parsley and sundried tomatoes. A real garden experience. The polenta gives a lovely crisp exterior and thanks to a little addition of aquafaba there’s no fall apart factor – hooray, at last a non crumbly veggie burger and ideal for cooking on a barbecue!

polenta, sweetcorn and pea burgers

I served these with frazzled onions and in homemade salt and pepper bagel buns with a green slaw – a combination that is thoroughly recommend, especially the frazzled onions they’re well worth the frying faff!

polenta and sweetcorn burgers

Garden Burgers

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

vegan garden burgers, no nuts

serves 4

1 tin of sweetcorn

1/2 cup quick cook polenta

2 tbsp plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp aquafaba (the water found in a tin of beans or chickpeas)

1/2 tsp cornflour

4 sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp garlic powder

small handful parsley, roughly chopped

1/4 cup frozen peas, defrosted

1 spring onion, sliced

salt and pepper

large pinch cayenne pepper

  1. In a food processor, pulse half the sweetcorn to make a puree, add the polenta, flour, baking powder, aquafaba and cornflour and pulse to thoroughly combine
  2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and using wet hands, form into four even sized patties. Place in the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up
  3. Fry in hot sunflower oil until golden and crisp on both sides then place in a medium oven (180 degrees C) for 10-15 minutes to cook through. Or once fried, keep in the fridge for up to three days before heating through, or freeze and defrost thoroughly before placing in the oven.
  4. Or after frying finish cooking on the barbeque.

dairy-free garden burgers, vegetarian

 

Magic One Pot Pasta

magic one pot pasta, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan

I’ve seen various one pot pasta dishes on Pinterest for a while but I have to admit to having felt rather sceptical – surely it must be more of a gimmick than an actual ‘life changing hack’ as they call it? But, I had to give it a go! Surely it could be the most useful camping dish ever, especially for us with our inadequate camping set up  and one ring gas burner!!

This is my version, tweaked to our family tastes (passata so not ‘bits’ to please the children), rich sundried tomatoes for added flavour and plenty of herbs and chilli flakes for added oomph. It’s not going to change the world, but my, the results are mighty tasty. The starch in the pasta nicely thickens the sauce and since the pasta is cooked along with the flavouring ingredients it sucks up tons of flavour. The end results were really rather lovely – no, it’s not a replacement for normal pasta and sauce, but as a variation which saves on time (and washing up!) and gives yummy results it’s certainly one recipe to have up your sleeve!

Magic One Pot Pasta

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

rich tomato one pot pasta, vegan

Serves 4

350g dried pasta

500ml passata

500ml vegetable stock

Handful basil leaves

2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced

4sundried tomatoes,chopped

1 tbsp dried oregano

Chilli flakes, to taste

  1. Place the pasta in a saucepan, pour over the liquids.
  2. Place the other ingredients on top
  3. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce is rich. Make sure to stir ever few minutes so it doesn’t stick.
  4. Leave covered for a few minutes before serving

dairy-free egg-free one pot pasta

 

Marvellous Mac and ‘cheese’

 

dairy-free kale mac and cheese

Pasta can be quite dull when you’re dairy-free – beyond tomato or bolognaise style sauces so many include some form of dairy or egg. You do come across many vegan Mac and cheese recipes that rely on vegan cheese but I find it has an unpleasant overpowering flavour – like it’s trying too hard to be ‘cheesy’ without any of the salty umami flavour you get from real cheese. I eat cheese, in fact I love cheese, so most of these replacements just don’t pass muster – they’re just not very nice. Even my girls who have never touched real cheese can’t stand most dairy-free versions, and find the flavours unpleasantly overpowering. They like mild tofutti but don’t even try with a mature cheddar style!

In fact it’s probably a bit like fake meat as far as I’m concerned – why would you want to eat a fake version of something? If on the other hand you want to have the essence of a taste, to recreate a taste sensation, then it needs to evoke the taste buds into having a similar experience, not trying to recreate something rather badly! So that’s where this recipe comes from – it’s an entirely cheese free Mac and cheese which gets its rich umami flavours from marmite and mustard powder ( if you can tolerate it) which gives a deeply satisfying totally savoury flavour, one that evokes a taste of Mac and cheese without the weird stuff. Having made versions before with dairy free cheese or nutritional yeast ( both too cloying) to not much success I can safely say this is the first really delicious and successful dairy-free Mac and cheese we’ve come across.

It’s also a fantastic recipe for adding and altering – we’ve found it delicious with added shredded kale (just add fresh and it cooks whilst baking giving lovely soft bits and then crispy bits from the top too), cherry tomatoes tucked into the creamy sauce or Roquito pepper pearls.

mac and cheese with roquito peppers, vegan

 

Mac and ‘Cheese’

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

cheese-free mac and cheese

serves 4

250g macaroni

40g dairy-free margarine

40g plain flour

500ml dairy-free milk, I prefer Oatly

1 tsp English mustard powder

1-1.5 tbsp marmite

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

pinch cayenne pepper

optional: 2 handfuls shredded kale, a few cherry tomatoes, some Roquito pepper pearls

  1. Cook the macaroni according to the pack instructions
  2. Meanwhile, make the béchamel sauce – melt the margarine and then stir in the flour. Cook out for a minute or two until you get a honeycomb like texture, then add 1/4 of the milk. Whisk to form a smooth paste, then whisk in the rest of the milk. Continue to cook and stir to thicken the sauce.
  3. Add the marmite, mustard and seasoning. Taste and adjust as desired.
  4. Stir the macaroni into the sauce. Add additions if using.
  5. sprinkle with cayenne pepper before baking
  6. Pour into an ovenproof dish and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade

dairy-free egg-free marmite mac and cheese

 

 

Peanut-free Satay

 

vegan peanut-free, nut-free satay

My recipes so often tend to veer towards the sweet; I do love baking more than any other kind of cooking. So I’m on a drive to be more inventive and friendly in a savoury way, especially after the sweet excess of Easter weekend!

I’ve had in mind to create a peanut-free satay for quite some time, but as you might have noticed I shy away from Asian food – I think the reliance on fish sauce has put me off somewhat, and often when I’ve eaten veggie versions in restaurants there’s definitely been an unmistakeable fishy undertone. Not what I’m looking for!

Anyway, I thought satay skewers or brochettes with rice and chilli pickled cucumber salad would make a nice friendly family meal. The marinade and sauce works equally well on chicken or veggie skewers, keeping all members of our household happy in one go – by no means an easy task! The use of Wowbutter as a peanut butter replacement works perfectly, or you could use a seed better instead if you preferred.

The satay is deeply savoury with a ‘nutty’ dimension that pushes all the buttons of a South East Asian dish. We’ll definitely be repeating this one!

Peanut-free Satay

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, peanut-free, vegetarian and vegan. Warning: Wowbutter contains soya)

nut-free dairy-free satay

Serves 4

For the skewers: (per skewer -I served two or three per person)

3 mushroom halves

4 chunks of green pepper

4 chunks of spring onion

For the marinade:

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated

Zest and juice of one lime

1 tsp honey or syrup

2 tsp mild curry powder

1-2 tbsp Wowbutter

2 tsp soy sauce.

  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together.
  2. Use one third to marinate the vegetables and/or chicken ( obviously in separate bowls if doing both!!)
  3. After an hour or two, thread onto wooden skewers

For the sauce:

1/3 tin coconut milk

Left over 2/3rds of the marinade

  1. Combine the left over marinade with the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and thicken slightly.
  2. When you are ready to cook, paint a little of the sauce on the marinated veg skewers and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade

For the cucumber salad:

1/2 cucumber

2 tsp wine vinegar

2tsp caster sugar

1 or 2 tsp sweet chilli sauce

Small handful coriander leaves

  1. Shave the cucumber with a veg peeler into fine ribbons, combine with the other ingredients. chilli cucumber salad

To serve:

  1. Place the brochettes on a bed of rice, drizzle over a little sauce.
  2. Serve with an extra bowl of sauce and the cucumber salad on the side.

peanut-free satay