Vegan Pita Pockets

This is the perfect summer/autumn dish; light, fresh and punchy! It’s a fuss free meal that comes together really fast. Make it early in the day so that the vinaigrette has time to develop and mingle with the salad well be using for the filling.

To complete the dish, I usually just heat up a few store bought pita breads, but it’s just as good in a wrap or served with some fresh ciabatta bread. Saying that, this salad is bold enough to stand on its own if your looking to cut out those carbs. You might have realised I don’t like telling you guys what to do too much, so I’m giving you everything you need to recreate the dish, but I encourage you to make it your own, that’s always the fun part!

Vegan Pita Pockets (serves 4)

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 cup boiling water
  • 1 sachet vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1/4 cup pearl barley
  • Half a medium cucumber
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 yellow or red pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 packet JUICY sundried tomatoes
  • 12 olives pitted
  • 100 g packet slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup basil
  • 1/3 cup mint
  • A few hand fulls of rocket

Vinaigrette :

  • 3 cloves finely diced garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried organum
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp red vinegar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind

Vinaigrette :

1.Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake until well combined. Refrigerate and let flavours blend until needed.

Salad:

  1. Start by combining the lentils with 2 cups of boiling water and the sachet vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and then cover, reduce to simmer, and cook until done, this takes about 30 minutes (we want them cooked, but still firm and not sloppy)
  2.  Drain and set aside to cool, then stir in enough vinaigrette so the lentil and barley mixture is well moistened, about 2 tablespoons (save the rest to use on the salad.)
  3. Now lets get to chopping those veggies and herbs: Finely dice the red onion, basil and mint. Roughly dice all the rest of the vegetables into smaller bites!
  4. Combine the cooled barley and lentils with the veggies, olives and almonds and scatter over some rocket.Dress with the vinaigrette and toss thoroughly to combine.
  5. Fill pita bread, a wrap or simply enjoy as a salad, Serve cold or at room temperature

Vegan Baked Lemon Squares

I’ve said it once, but Im going to say it again, these vegan baked lemon squares taste like sunshine exploded in your mouth! They are the perfect tea time treat, and its almost impossible to have just one square!

When I make something with “lemon” in the title, you best believe it’s going to be pronounced enough that you will pull that sour lemon face after having a bite. The tangy citrus flavour is however not overpowering, between the sweetness of the coconut condense milk and the slight saltiness of the cashew and coconut crumb, everything is in perfect harmony. Texture-wise, these remind me of a kind of creme brullee cheesecake fusion ( just typing that out makes me want to go make another batch)

I’m trying to get this all done while I have a sleeping baby, so I’m not going to elaborate too much, but I hope you’ll give these a try! They are one of my favourite creations thus far, and I make them all the time. They also freeze well, so sometime I take a few blocks out to thaw as my little treat for the week!

Vegan Baked Lemon Squares

Base:

  • 200 g cashews (roasted and salted)
  • 70 g desiccated coconut
  • 1 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (honey if not vegan)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Coconut condense milk:

  • 150 g coconut milk powder
  • 150 g castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 30 g coconut oil melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Lemon layer:

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 400 g can coconut cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 batch coconut condense milk (ingrediens above, recipe below)
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water

Base:

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until you have a crumb like texture. The mixture should stick together when pressed, if it’s too dry, add some more melted coconut oil.
  2. Prepare baking tin with overhanging parchment paper, pour in crust and press down firmly until you have a level base. ( I used a 20cmx20cm square cake tin)
  3. Move to refrigerator.

Coconut condense milk: (equivalent to about 1 can condense milk)

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend for 2 minutes until combined and smooth.
  2. Set aside for later

Lemon layer:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 c.
  2. Add lemon juice, coconut cream, zest, salt and coconut condense milk to a pot, stir over medium heat until combined. Allow to simmer and infuse for 25 minutes, giving mixture a stir every now and then( don’t allow mixture to boil)
  3. In the meantime, make a slurry by combining the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, and mix until you have a smooth paste.
  4. Remove pot from heat and stir in the slurry mixture, whisking constantly until mixture has thickened (this happens very quickly, about 2 minutes)
  5. If there are some lumps, don’t worry, just pass the mixture through a sieve to discard those bits.
  6. Pour mixture over the base and give it a few taps so the top is nice and smooth. Bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, then move to the refrigerator to firm up and cool for at least 5 hours.
  8. Once set, lift parchment paper out of baking tin and slice into squares with a large sharp knife.
  9. Sift over icing sugar and serve with cream and extra toasted coconut shavings.

*Note: Keep stored in refrigerator in an airtight container.

( These squares also freeze well and can be thawed in the fridge)

Vegan Jackfruit Tacos

Tacos own a big piece of my heart, and Ive never met a taco I didn’t like! I was a bit worried I would be missing out on these guys when we stopped eating meat, but then I discovered a little something called jackfruit, and I just knew it would be the perfect match!

It’s basically cruelty free pulled pork with a whole load of health benefits since it’s packed with potassium, fibre and antioxidants. If your wondering where you can find this delectable “meaty” wonder, I buy mine from faithful to nature online, I’ll include the link below: https://www.faithful-to-nature.co.za/natures-charm-young-green-jackfruit-confiture

Jackfruit has a great texture, and takes on the taste of whatever you pair it with, so I start by making a barbecue sauce and then adding the jackfruit to the pot to simmer away and soak up all that flavour! What you’ll be left with is like barbecued pulled “meat” , and already very tasty. To take it to the next level, I then pop it into the oven for 20 minutes to get a slight char and to make the texture a less sloppy, which I think suits these tacos better. Don’t let the long list of ingredients in the filling put you off, all you’ll be doing is measuring them out and pouring them into a saucepan! If you don’t have time to make your own barbecue sauce, just sauté the onion and garlic together and add about 3/4 cup of your favourite store-bought brand.

You can really get creative with the garnish, and I never use exactly the same combination twice (our veggie selection can be limiting here in the countryside so I make due with whatever we have) Everybody’s taste varies, so do what works for you! As long as you add something crisp and fresh, something with a bit of tang, and something creamy, your good to go. I have however added my favourite garnish combo for you as a suggestion!

The homemade tortilla recipe isn’t my own, but why mess with something that is absolutely perfect to begin with! Trust me, once you make these, you will never buy store bought tortillas again, they are that delicious! They also happen to be freezer friendly, so if you’ve got the time, I suggest making a whole load so you can just reheat them for future use. I’ve changed the method a bit, as well as cutting down the measurements to accommodate my taco recipe, but I’m including the link to the original tortilla recipe with the step by step photos below (I’ve just summarised it for the blog)

https://thecafesucrefarine.com/best-ever-homemade-flour-tortillas/

Jackfruit tacos (makes 8-9)

Jackfruit filling:

  • 3 x 200g tins jackfruit
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (or reserve oil from jackfruit tins and use that)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 gloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tortillas:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, vegetable oil or other fairly neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Garnish suggestion:

  • Coriander
  • Coleslaw ( I buy ready made carrot and cabbage mix)
  • Avocado
  • Radish
  • Spring onion
  • Squirt of lime juice
  • Vegan sour cream

Jackfruit taco:

  1. Preheat oven to 200c and prepare baking tray with cooking spray.
  2. Shred jackfruit and set aside.
  3. Add olive oil to a warm sauce pan and sautee onion until soft and fragrant, then add garlic and stir for a few more minutes.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients, apart from the jackfruit, and let simmer away for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Now add the jackfruit and mix to incorporate, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 more minutes.
  6. Remove the sauce pan from the stove top and transfer the jackfruit mixture to the prepared baking tray, spreading it out as evenly as possible and set aside.
  7. Just before you are ready to assemble your tacos, Spread the jackfruit mixture out onto your prepared baking tray and bake for 20 minutes ( or until edges are charred, but not burned.

Tortillas:

  1. Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Make a well in the middle and pour in water and oil.
  3. Use a fork to make circular movements that will start bringing the mixture together. Now begin to knead until the mixture forms a ball and continue doing so until dough is smooth. Allow to rest in bowl, covered for about 30 minutes.
  4. After rest period, transfer dough to a lightly covered work surface and divide into 8 balls. Roll each ball into a thin disc (keep surface and rolling pin lightly dusted with flour)
  5. Heat large pan over medium heat and brush with small amount of oil. Once the pan is hot, add the first tortilla and allow to cook for 1 minute or until brown spots have appeared. Flip to other side and cook for about 40 seconds. The tortillas should be soft with a few brown spots.
  6. Remove tortilla from pan and stack in covered container to keep soft. Brush the pan with a little bit more olive oil as needed before starting on the next tortilla.

Garnish:

I’m not getting specific here, add as much as you like, spice it up with some extra chilli, do as your taco loving heart desires 🙂

Vegan Nutty Caramel Chocolate Tart

So I sort of invented this tart by accident, I was experimenting with making coconut caramel, and after about the third batch I had so much of the stuff standing around I had to start using it for something other than eating spoon fulls of it every time I walked past the fridge😅

One of the things I decided to do was to spice up my classic chocolate ganache tart from a few posts back. So I decided to go with a raw tart crust this time, because making the caramel does take some hands on time, so I wanted something you can just throw in a blender and squish into a tin ( it’s as easy as it sounds)

Next I added some almond butter and peanuts to the caramel layer to bulk it up a bit, and who doesn’t like a bit of a nutty crunch with their chocolate? To top it off, I just made that basic silky chocolate ganache,and its ! A few of my family and friends have tested this tart and it was a firm favourite, so I decided I simply had to share it with you guys!

Vegan Nutty Caramel Chocolate Tart

Base:

  • 150 g dried dates (soaked in hot water if they are very dry)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted vanilla
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • pinch salt
  • 140 g pecans
  • 90 g Gluten free rolled oats (processed into a fine meal)
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder

Nutty Caramel:

  • 400 g tin coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup roughly chopped salted peanuts

Chocolate ganache:

  • 300 g chocolate
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Base:

  1. Combine dates, coconut oil, vanilla essence and pinch of salt in a food processor. Blend until you have achieved a paste ( you can add a dash of water to help it along)
  2. Now add nuts, oats and cacao powder and pulse until combined. Blend until the mixture hold together, if it’s too dry it won’t stick together, in that case add a few more dates.
  3. Press mixture out over the base and sides of a loose bottomed tart tin and refrigerate while you are making the filling.

Nutty caramel:

  1. Add coconut milk and sugar to a pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil while constantly stirring mixture for about 5 minutes and then reduce to simmer.
  2. Continue to stir the mixture every now and again, you will see the colour changes from milky light brown to a beautiful thickened creamy caramel (this takes about 30 minutes)
  3. Take off the heat and whisk in almond butter, vanilla and coconut oil
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature and mix in the peanuts, smooth over the base and set in fridge while you prepare the chocolate ganache.

Chocolate ganache:

  1. Prepare a bain marie, and add all the ganache ingredients to the top bowl. Stir until you have a smooth, completely melted mixture.
  2. Pour the ganache over the nutty caramel layer and chill for 4 hours to set.
  3. Slice with a hot knife and enjoy! Keep leftovers stored in refrigerator.

Butternut & Lentil Salad

When you just don’t have the time or the energy to cook, this salad is there to save the day! It’s great as a main dish as well as a side.

Now let me start off by doing a little introduction to this salad, just so you guys can get familiar with each other 🙂 The butternut and red onion becomes deliciously caramelised while roasting away in the oven, and is then served on top of some hearty lentils that have been boiled in veggie stock. To bring it all together, I make a balsamic maple dressing with a bit of a kick, and top it off with fresh rocket,mixed seeds and feta!

(We were so hungry by the time we shot this, I completely forgot to add the reserved dressing, don’t make the same mistake i did, it really ties it all together)

This salad is the perfect balanced meal for your family, and as you can see in the steps below, it really is a quick meal to make and doesn’t require a lot of hands on time in the kitchen.

Butternut & Lentil Salad (serves 4 as a main, or 6 as a side)

Salad:

  • 400 g diced butternut
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 sachet vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup roasted mixed seeds
  • Rocket
  • Vegan feta

Dressing:

  • 3 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle or smoked paprika
  • Grind of salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190c. Chop butternut into cubes, and slice red onion into rings. Scatter onto baking tray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, toss to coat.
  2. Place vegetables in oven, and give pan a shake every 20 mins to ensure even browning. This should take about 45 minutes, but test with a fork for doneness and adjust time accordingly. Take out and allow to cool.
  3. While the vegetables are in the oven, bring the lentils to a boil with vegetable stock, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes covered, drain well and set aside.
  4. Once the lentils have cooled slightly, mix the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and pour half the mixture over the lentils (reserve leftover dressing for later) If you have time, let the lentils rest in the refrigerator covered for an hour, this just gives it extra time to absorb that dressing.

Assembly:

In a bowl or on a large platter, add lentils, butternut and red onion. Top with rocket, feta and seeds. Lastly drizzle over the remaining dressing and lightly toss salad.

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

Now of course I didn’t invent the peanut butter cup, but it is such a delicious flavour combination, I had to jump on the band wagon and create my own version of these little treats.

When it comes to the filling, you want a putty like mixture that can hold its shape, you don’t want it to be dry or crumbly. Every peanut butter is different, I always use OhMega’s nut butters, but if you are using a different brand, you may need to add a little less/more coconut flour to get the right consistency (start with less) I have added a photo below so you can see what we are aiming to achieve:

After plenty of research, this was the combination I liked best, the filling is firm, but still nice and soft, and the chocolate has a nice snap to it, while still being silky and smooth. Simply scatter over some ground sea salt and devour 😉

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups (makes about 15)

Filling:

  • 140 g peanut butter (I use OhMega)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp coconut flour
  • pinch of salt

Chocolate shell:

  • 400 g chopped chocolate (I used Afrikoa 55%)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil

Filling:

  1. Start by setting out 15 mini baking paper cups on a tray/plate (this is so the chocolate cups won’t change shape when handling later)
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together all the filling ingredients until combined.
  3. Roll mixture into a ball, and then flatten it slightly into a disk, like you would with a patty. We want about 15 cups, so keep this in mind as you are portioning the filling out.
  4. Set peanut butter disks aside.

Chocolate shell and assembly:

  1. Melt chocolate and coconut oil over a water bath.
  2. Add about 1 1/2 tbsp chocolate to every paper cup.
  3. Place a peanut butter disk in the centre of each cup, very lightly pressing down so that some of the chocolate rises up and around the disk.
  4. Spoon over leftover chocolate to completely cover the cups and grind over some sea salt.
  5. Place trays with peanut butter cups in refrigerator until set (about 1 hour)
  6. Keep covered in an airtight container and keep stored in the refrigerator or at a cool room temperature.

Mixed Mushroom Potstickers

I love potstickers! Now although they are a bit of work, they are so worth it. The filling itself is actually really quick and easy to make, it’s just the assembly that takes a while. If you want to save a bit of time, you can look for dim sum wrappers at any asian grocery store (they are usually in the freezer section)

Now if you do decide to make the dough yourself, its just as easy to throw together, and consists of only 3 ingredients: Flour, salt and water! I’ve tried a few different variations of wrappers, and I find this one to be the most consistent, it’s also super soft and elastic when rolling out. Don’t expect this dough to rise (as there is no yeast) It will simply become softer and smoother while it is resting.

I have kept the filling quite basic, all ingredients should be readily available from your local grocery store, but basic does not mean boring! Everyone that I have made these for have absolutely loved them, and they are a personal favourite! I really believe you don’t need a million ingredients to achieve good depth of flavour, and this recipe is one of those examples. Enjoy them just as they are, or serve with 50/50 soy sauce and rice vinegar for dipping.

I’m including a link with photos on how to fold these babies, it’s what I used to teach myself and is very easy to follow. You can find it in the notes section at the bottom of the post.

Mushroom potstickers (makes about 26)

Filling:

  • 1 cup cabbage
  • 2 large carrots
  • 250 g assorted/brown mushrooms
  • 50 g walnuts
  • Big hand full coriander
  • 4 spring onions
  • Glug olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic & ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice
  • half lemon,juiced

Dough:

  • 275 g flour
  • 150 ml boiled water
  • 1 tsp salt

Filling:

  1. Start by preparing the cabbage, Chop cabbage very fine and add to a bowl with a few pinches of salt. Allow to stand for 7 minutes, then squeeze out excess liquid and set aside.
  2. Chop carrots in food processor until finely diced. Next add mushrooms and walnuts, continue to process until you have a fine, but not mushy mixture. Now get out your chopping board and Chop up the coriander and spring onion.
  3. Pour a nice glug of olive oil into a warm pan, add the garlic and ginger paste and stir until fragrant. Next add the mushroom mixture along with all the remaining filling ingredients (minus the cabbage)
  4. Stir occasionally, allowing mixture to simmer until most of the released liquids have been re-absorbed by the mushrooms.

Dough:

  1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl to combine.
  2. Create a well in the middle and pour in the boiling water while mixing with a fork (clumpy bits will start to form)
  3. Knead dough until you have a soft ball, not sticky. If it feels too dry, add a dash more water, too sticky and add a bit more flour. Wrap in cling wrap and allow to rest in fridge for an hour ( if you’ll be leaving it for longer, take it out ahead of time so it is not too cold and hard before rolling)

Assembly:

  1. I use a pasta machine, but I will attach a link in the “notes” section with the steps to rolling these out by hand. If using a pasta machine, roll dough to thinnest setting you can manage (work in batches and keep the remaining dough wrapped)
  2. Cut circles in the dough, and place on a floured surface (I use our whiskey glasses, they are the perfect size).
  3. Put about 1 tbsp of filling in the middle of each wrapper, overfilling them will make them harder to wrap.
  4. Moisten half of the wrappers edge with water and fold over, pinch in the middle to seal.
  5. Now working from one side at a time, start pleating the edges inwards towards the middle so you will have a completely sealed potsticker.
  6. As you work, place the potstickers on a tray lined with parchment paper/tinfoil dusted with flour, and keep them covered until you are ready to cook them.

Cooking:

  1. Heat a non stick frying pan over medium heat, swirl with olive oil to coat and give the pan a few minutes to get hot.
  2. Place potstickers in hot pan, in one layer, for 1-2 minutes (check that bottoms are golden brown)
  3. Add 1/4 cup water, and immediately place a lid on top of the pan, let cook for 2 minutes, then a further 2 minutes with the lid off (until all water is evaporated)
  4. Serve while nice and hot!

*Notes: Heres the link to manually rolling, and folding these potstickers: https://steamykitchen.com/41178-best-chinese-potsticker-dumplings-recipe.html