Posts tagged light meal
Veggie pesto pine nut squares

This veggie pesto bake is a wonderful summer recipe, especially using fresh basil from the garden!

I wanted to make this recipe for my family at the weekend. I found the photos in my archives from when I first shot the recipe last year for realfoodsource using their new ingredient range, but I couldn't find the actual recipe anywhere!

veg pesto squares 2a.jpg

I have made variations on it - these sweet potato rostis in particular, so I knew the rough idea. I figured I'd have to wing it and hope for the best.... it turned out really well!

Instead of making it as squares as per the original photos, I cooked it in a square oven dish and served it up hot with a huge salad. The squares are still amazing though.

This is best made with spiralized veggies for a pretty ‘curly whirly’ effect but you could use a julienne peeler or a coarse grater. I used a mix of carrot, courgette and a little onion but you could use fewer or different ingredients such a sweet potato or parsnip if you prefer. You could also bake this mix into pre-portioned muffin cups.

To save time I used bought free-from pesto in a jar, but you could make your own, or use hummus with herbs added to it.

veg pesto squares 4a.jpg

Recipe: Veggie pesto pine nut squares

Makes approx 12 squares (a brownie sized pan)


  • 3 cups spiralized vegetables (I courgette, 2 medium carrots and 1 red onion)

  • ¼ cup almond or cashew paste (optional)

  • 1/2 cup vegan pesto (or regular pesto or hummus and fresh basil)

  • approx. ½ tsp salt (this may depend on the pesto etc used)

  • approx. 3 tbs water

  • A handful of extra fresh basil, roughly chopped

  • 1 cup chickpea (gram) flour

  • ¼ cup pine nuts (up to ½ cup more if preferred)


Spiralize or julienne the veggies, chop a little to avoid very long ribbons.  Set aside.

Mix together the wet ingredients and add to the coat the veggies (taste test and add salt and pepper as desired). Add the gram flour last and mix to coat well. Add an extra splash of water if the mix doesn’t appear quite wet enough to coat evenly. Mix through the pine nuts now or set aside to press into the top if preferred.

Press the mix firmly into a lightly greased brownie sized tin- the mix should be approx 2cm thick. Smooth the top and press in the pine nuts.  Bake at 180C for approx 25-30 mins until golden. Serve hot or allow to cool and cut into squares- great for lunchboxes or picnics when served cold. Will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

veg pesto squares 3a.jpg

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Vegan 'salmon' cream cheese bagels

I saw this recipe on my friend Lisa's nutrition focussed Instagram account recently (well actually quite a few weeks ago now as it's taken me a little while to publish this post!)

Vegan salmon cream cheese bagels

It looked delicious and I was intrigued as to how she'd made it. When she said it was simply marinaded carrot ribbons I was hooked and invited her to share the recipe here on my blog. It's just the kind of quirky recipe creation I love :-)

You can keep it simple by using pre-made ingredients as suggested below. Or go all the way and make your own 'cashew cheese' or try a savoury version this cheese style spread I made using yoghurt and coconut flour. The bagels could also be homemade and gluten-free if needed. Or simply use lettuce cups for a light bite.

Now, take it away Lisa!

Recipe: vegan 'salmon' cream cheese bagels

Makes 2 bagels


  • Bagels – I bought classic bagels from The Natural Bagel company (found in Sainsbury's) – worth checking labels to ensure no milk these had soya only.
  • Cream cheese – Again I went for convenience and bought the vegan original cream cheese from Sainsbury's free from range.  It’s a coconut base and a lot of my clients really like it as a dairy-free alternative. (There are also lots of recipes on-line for homemade cashew cheese or similar)
  • Salad – one of my staples is a bag of mixed watercress, rocket and spinach as these bitter greens are AMAZING for your digestion.

For the ‘Smoked salmon’

  • Liquid smoke (available on Ebay/Amazon and probably other places) quantity is personal preference but I put a good dessert spoonful in.
  • Carrots – I used two wide carrots.  Peeled the skin first and discard and then keep peeling.  I found a wide head peeler works best.  Peel the carrot so that it forms long ribbons.
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt
  • Some recipes add apple cider vinegar and/or tamari but I like to keep it as simple as possible!


‘Peel’ the carrots into long ribbons into a bowl. Add a twist or two of the salt. Add the liquid smoke. Mix everything together (see note below for marinading).

Transfer to a foil-lined baking tray – you need to be able to fully cover the carrot mix with the foil and seal it.

Bake in the oven 200˚C for about 20mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool.  

Lisa's note: when I made these I couldn’t wait and basically toasted the bagels, slapped the cream cheese on and put the carrot on and garnished with the salad – and they tasted amazing.   I left the remainder of the carrot with my vegan pal and she reported that left overnight and chilled the flavours were even better!

Vegan salmon cream cheese bagels

Want to know more about Lisa?

Lisa is 'The Nutritional Realist and has a holistic method of working, looking at every aspect of you and how it impacts your goal. Ultimately it's all about you. She’s the resource to enable you to get to your health goals and stay there! She’ll coach you to throw the pebble that will create positive ripples throughout your life.

Find more about Lisa and her work via her website, her Facebook page or on Instagram.

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Green beans, radishes... and Soul Circus!

Last weekend I had the privileged of working at Soul Circus, as taken from their website...

"Let your body dance and your soul run free. Soul Circus is about shedding the constraints of your adult life and rediscovering the world through the eyes of your inner child. Fun. Fantastical. Free. We invite you to participate in a weekend of celebrating and rediscovering your true self."

After a week of beautiful weather, it rained almost all weekend. I'm not going to lie... it would have been amazing if we could have enjoyed sunshine, chilling out on the hay bales, soaking up the sun, sipping green juices, chatting, jamming, playing... but instead we spend most of it ducking under cover! The sun did make an appearance in Sunday and so we all made the most of that!

Luckily, all the yoga sessions were held under cover the paver of beautiful tents, and I went to as many sessions as I could... plus a sound bath (cos I love them!) and a pineal light therapy session. My favourite by far was the handstand yogis session led by these guys. 

The attention to detail at this festival was incredible, maybe it's my years as an architect but I have an eye for that kind of thing and it did not go unappreciated. The bright colours of the ribbons and bunting brought such life, colour and beauty to the rainy greyness that prevailed.

On two evenings I helped out back of house in the kitchens, on the first night we prepared six course vegan dinner for 40 guests led by Jay Halford at The Core Cheltenham and then on the second evening I assisted a dinner for 12 VIP's in a makeshift back stage kitchen! Chris the chef, gifted me lots of lovely organic veg that was leftover... I received a bag of cobnuts, beautiful red and golden beets and a bunch of radishes and fresh herbs.

I have only even eaten radishes raw before and so I was intrigued to pan fry them. I had loads of green beans ready in the garden so this simply dish came together nice and easily.

If you haven't tried cooking radishes before, I highly recommend it... lovely mellow and almost buttery flavour. I used coconut oil but you could use an alternative favourite.

Recipe: Green beans and radishes

Recipe: Green beans and radishes


  • 2 handfuls green beans- ends trimmed and beans cut in half
  • 1 small red onion (or 2 shallots)- sliced thinly
  • 1 handful radishes- halved or quartered
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 garlic clives- crushed
  • 1 tsp mixed Italian herbs
  • small handful of fresh parsley or rosemary- chopped
  • red chilli pepper flakes to serve- optional


Boil the green beans for 5 mins.

Meanwhile prepare remaining ingredients and add to a large frying pan with the coconut oil.

Drain and add the green beans. Pan fry all together until the radishes are lightly golden. Add the fresh herbs and stir through to serve. Sprinkle a few red pepper flakes over the top if desired and add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe: Green beans and radishes

P.s There is an early bird rate coming soon for next years Soul Circus festival... so keep an eye their website for more details.

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Raw pomegranate and mint salad... with a pea dip!

I made this salad a few weeks back, took the photos... then promptly forgot about it! 

Even just looking at it now makes me feel light and refreshed.... I've had a heavy few days with sweet recipe experiments so this is a welcome change. I'm even very tempted to pop to the shop and buy a pomegranate right now.

I used my favourite bean and pea dip as the 'saucebut if you didn't want to whip that up (though it only take minutes, is very versatile and stores well in the fridge), you could try using simple hummus or guacamole.

To make it a little more substantial you could add some quinoa, cous-cous, tortilla wedges or some salad potatoes maybe.

It's a perfect quick light summer lunch as it is or double up the recipe to serve as a side dish at a BBQ maybe? 

I still haven't perfected an un-mesy way to bash out the seeds from the pomegranate hence the messy dressed dish. Ha ha though I think it looks pretty ;-)

Recipe: Pomegranate salad 

Recipe: Pomegranate salad 

Serves 2


  • 1 large courgette
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 cup bean and pea dip (using this recipe)
  • 2-3 handfuls of watercress
  • handful fresh mint leaves- roughly chopped
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate 


Spiralise the courgette (or use a julienne peeler) and slice the red onion very finely. Mix the courgette and onion with the dip to create a sauce.  

Pile the a watercress to the serving plate and dollop the courgette mixture on top. Generously sprinkle the pomegranate seeds as garnish. 

Recipe: Pomegranate salad 
Recipe: Pomegranate salad 
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Picnics... the plant-based way!

Schools out...and so is the sunshine, er kinda...

The sun might have hidden the last few days where I am but excusing the little blip in the weather  (I hope) it has been HOT HOT HOT as of late... and that means one thing, dining al fresco!

Even though the sun isn't out much today, I still sat outside to eat my lunch and that's when it occurred to me to write a picnic post for the holidays, so here you go!

It's funny really as sometimes blog posts take a while to come to fruition... beginning as a thought that might sit in my 'drafts' or 'to try' folders on Evernote for months. Yet sometimes they literally spring forth in a matter of minutes. Being the messy creative type you could probably guess that I don't have a lot of structure going on behind the scenes when it comes to blogging, it;s kind of whatever my head throws up in any given moment... hmmm, yeah I should probably get onto that ;-/

I was also sitting and dreaming about my retreat and all the food i'd love cook up- simple yet tantalising dishes that everyone (including kids and picky eaters) would enjoy and most importantly be able to recreate back home! This seemed to lend itself nicely to the picnic philosophy, so here's a little round up of ideas to get you going... if you make any off them please take a pic and tag me on Facebook or Instagram as it always bring a super shiny smile to my face!

The lunch I happened to be sitting and eating earlier was this one... a spin on my classic 'chickpea cauli quiche' (featured in the round up) and because it was a little different (with broccoli subbing some of the cauli) I figured it was deserving of a full recipe post of it's own.

Recipe: Cauli-Brocolli Mini Quiche

Makes 4 mini quiches


  • ½ heaped cup finely processed broccoli (approx. 4 florets or stalk)

  • ½ heaped cup finely processed cauliflower (approx. 4 florests or stalk)

  • 1 cup chickpea flour

  • 1 tbs flax

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 3 cloves crushed garlic

  • 1 heaped tsp dried mixed herbs

  • 1 scant tsp baking powder

  • ½ cup water (plus 1-3 tbs extra if needed)

  • ½ a red onion- chopped

  • ½ a courgette sliced into thin half moons or quarters


Add all ingredients to a food processor other than the water, red onion and courgette. process until the cauliflower and broccoli are a rice-like consistency (it should be a bit pasty due to the chickpea flower. 

Tip the sticky mix into a medium mixing bowl and add the chopped onion (courgette can be added now or at the end end). Add the water and mix through well until the mixture is very thick but easily spoonable and the top can be smoothed, add a little extra water if needed but not so that the batter is runny.

Spoon the mix into large muffin cups (or an 8" tin) I use silicone muffin cups/tin, but you could also use a metal one with removable bottom or line the cups to ensure easy removal.

Press the mixture firmly into the cups and smooth the tops, press the courgette into the tops. Bake at 180C for approx. 20 mins for muffins (longer for a single large quiche) until the tops are nice and a skewer comes out almost clean.

Serve either hot or cold. Perfect cold for picnics and because it freezes well it can also be made in advance.

Plant based picnic round up...

All the recipes are perfect for portioning, for serving cold and making in advance. Perfect for picnics ...or just whilst sitting on a blanket in the garden!

They appear a little randomly below as they are listed in chronological order in the summary window. P.s the cauli-cheese sauce makes the perfect dip alternative to hummus which is why I included it!

I'd love to hear your own picnic ideas too... let me know in the comments!

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Cauliflower 'Cheese'.... fat free!

This is the recipe that has got me most excited in recent weeks!!

…And this is why!’s quick to whip up, it uses two basic cheap ingredients, it freezes well, it’s so versatile as a sauce in so many recipes or even as a stand alone dip!

This would make a perfect ‘lightened up’ pasta bake or really anything that would use a regular cheese sauce. I made cauliflower cheese because to me that’s classic comfort food and it’s what I craved. You could add other vegetables or substitute the beans for the peas. I had some beans needing using up so I added them for extra protein and texture.

I can’t take full credit for the 'cheese' sauce as it has appeared in various guises around the Internet, and I tweaked this spices and removed the oil to make it my own.

I want to point out, that you could add some fat (see this recipe which was my main inspiration) and but I wanted to see what the texture was like without. Also, I prefer adding the fat component of a meal by way of ingredients such as nuts and avocados as opposed to adding unnecessary oils into sauces etc. That is simply my preference. 

Recipe: Cauliflower cheese

Serves 2

Ingredients- Sauce:

  • 2 small fist sized white potatoes- chopped on to smallish pieces (approx 350g)

  • 1 heaped cup chopped carrot (approx 150g)

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 tsp salt

  • juice of half a lemon

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast*

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard

Other ingredients: 

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • 1 courgette

  • 1 can white beans (or beans of choice or peas)


Boil the chopped carrots and the potato for 15 to 20 minutes until soft. (I used a food processor for the carrots and potatoes and then only cooked them for five minutes or so).

Meanwhile mix the rest of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Chop the cauliflower and courgette into smallish pieces and lay evenly in a medium sized glass oven dish.

Once the carrot and potato have cooked, transfer to a blender/food processor and add the remaining ingredients. I found the veg retained some cooking water, so add only a little extra water to start with as you do not want the sauce to be too runny, add extra if needed. 

Pour the sauce into the oven dish to fully coat the veggies. Bake at 180C for about 20 minutes until the top is golden and the veg cooked through.. Serve immediately with a side salad if desired.

*Do not skip or substitute the nutritional yeast, this is what gives the sauce it's cheesy flavour. I use this brand and it can be found in most whole food stores in the UK and online. It's a good store cupboard ingredient to have on hand for dairy free cooking!

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here you might like to check out my 'About' tab up top. To buy healthy nibbles you can also find me over at my sister site Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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The most versatile vegan quiche... four ways!

Wow... I owe you a recipe!!  Yeah this was once a recipe blog ;-)

I have so many recipes I want to share, and even more than I want to test out... but I have so many other things I ask want to share and only so many hours in the day to do it all!  Plus Wholeplus to manage on top of all that!

I hope this makes up for it! It was one of my favourites versatile creations during December. A spin off from this recipe that I knew at the time held so much more potential, and so it is that 'potential' I want to share with you today. I also featured festive variation using parsnip instead of cauliflower in my column in Definition Magazine in the November issue last year... yummy!

This recipe is also perfect for this time of year. Comforting yet light and tummy friendly, and perfect for a lunch or dinner. Packed with protein but without weighing you down... Winner!

When it comes to recipes, you surely know how high ease and versatility rate on my scale of importance by now! This does not disappoint... I promise! (even though the method looks longer than usual... it is really simple!!

I've called it a quiche, thought I guess it's not really in that it doesn't have a crust or use eggs, it's also lighter than a quiche with the chickpea/cauli infusion going on. It's definitely not a pie or fritatta what else would I call it? Quiche is definitely the closest.

I've provided the base recipe below and all the addition options beneath. These are my flavours...but try experimenting with whatever takes your fancy or you happen to have to hand. You'll see in these photos I made single serve size quiches in jumbo muffin cups. They worked really well. You could make a big batch to freeze!

Recipe: The most versatile vegan quiche

Make 1 x 8” pie dish or 3-4 single serve jumbo muffin sized

Basic ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour

  • 1 tbs flax

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp general mixed seasoning

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • ¼ tsp baking soda

  • half a head of a small-med cauliflower (equal to 1 cup grated)

  • ½ a onion sliced thinly

  • 1 cup water

Options- add one of these (or more than one if making mini quiches):

  • 1/2 cup black beans (I teamed this with a smoky chipotle sauce and nutritional yeast)

  • 1/2 cup corn and sliced red onion (I used frozen corn and added paprika)

  • 1/2 cup sliced red pepper and sun dried tomatoes (I teamed this with fresh basil)

  • 1/2 cup chopped spinach (I teamed this with garlic)

  • 1/2 cup sliced courgette (I teamed this with dried italian herbs and fresh rosemary)


Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside.  Chop the onion finely and grate/process the cauliflower (to a rice like consistency) and add both to the dry mix, then add the water and mix through well.

If you are making mini quiches, separate the batter now.

Stir through your chosen additions (add flavours at the same time as the other ingredients in previous steps if more appropriate to do so) 

The mixture should be thick and clumpy but easy to spoon into a tin. I used an 8” silicone cake tin, but you could also use a metal one with removable bottom, or large silicone muffin cups.

Press the mixture firmly into the pan but leave the top quite rough for some nice texture. Bake at 180C for approx 30 mins until the tops is nice and golden, or around 20 minutes for mini quiches (keep an eye on the colour).

Serve either hot or cold. This ‘quiche’ holds together really well when cold so would also be great for picnics/lunchboxes. It also freezes well and can be reheated in the oven.

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

I've entered this recipe into the Health Bay Recipe Challenge because I reckon this hits the spot for both health and taste!  What do you think?


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Fennel and beetroot noodle stir fry

Wow it's been a while since i've blogged a recipe within minutes of creating it (ok it was yesterday but i'd already posted for the day!)  But here you are... I couldn't wait to share this with you because of a number of things...

fennel beet 3a.jpg
  1. it was incredibly yummy
  2. it took 10 minutes start to finish!
  3. it was all pretty and red and that made me smile (did I really just say that?)
  4. I've been wanting to make a recipe with fennel for ages (thanks to Coconut and Berries for the inspiration!)

Grab your ingredients and get ready to rock the red.  I picked up some homemade beetroot & orange chutney at a craft fair a few days ago and so was keen to dollop a spoonful of this in my dish, I just used a scant tablespoon worth and it gives a little extra zing, but i'm sure it would have been just as yummy without. Feel free to add a little chutney if you desire.

You'd could also substitute other types of pasta or noodles. I went for fat brown rice noodles I had in the cupboard, it's a great gluten free option and they also cook so quickly. If you use an alternative simply follow the cooking instructions on the pack and briefly stir through the pan once cooked.

P.s it was actually hard to shoot this dish, the vibrancy of the red kept blowing the colour balance right off!

Recipe:  Fennel and beetroot noodle stir fry

Serves 2


  • 3 cloves garlic- crushed
  • 1-2 tsp coconut oil (or other)
  • 1 head of fennel- sliced (approx 2 cup worth once sliced)
  • 1 small beetroot- grated (approx 1/3 cup worth)
  • 1 tin tomatoes (approx 1 heaped cup worth)
  • two handfuls of baby tomatoes- halved
  • 1-2 tbs beetroot chutney (optional)
  • 2-3 tbs lemon juice (use juice of one lemon)
  • approx 2 cup brown rice noodles (or other noodles of choice)


Place the noodles in a bowl of boiling water and allow for soften for 5 minutes whilst preparing the rest of the dish.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the fennel and garlic. Fry for 3 minutes or so before adding the grated beetroot. Fry for a further 3 minutes before adding all remaining ingredients including the noodles (drain them first) and stir through for a final 3 minutes or so to heat through.

fennel beet 4a.jpg

Since it's all gone a bit red themed round here, I thought I just take this opportunity to post a quick follow-up on the 'Ramp up the Red' charity event for the British Heart Foundation that I assisted my friend with (I supplied Wholeplus goodies and took part as the role of second photographer for the shoot).

Here is my little section in the event brochure and I also supplied a hamper of my Wholeplus goodies for the raffle. The event was a great success and blasted past the donation target!

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