Posts tagged retreat
My favourite 'meat'ball and chunky tomato sauce recipe! (plus the Raw Retreat experience. no. 2)
Recipe: vegan Meat Balls

Last weekend saw the second Raw Retreat Experience take place... and it was just as epic as the first!  

The moment I walked through the front door of the hall, I breathed a sigh of relief and all my worries fell away. The weekend was ours. The energy of the simple unassuming village hall in the quirt Derbyshire countryside is incredible! Half of the participants had also been to the first retreat, and as they came through the door I heard a couple of them say "it feels like coming home". It did indeed.

As it says in the details, the Raw Retreat weekend is stripped back experience to remove luxury and create an environment for deeper connection with your inner spirit. As we arrived we each set up our beds and got cosy for the evening. There is a wonderful childlike sense of having a 'camp out' throughout the retreat, even when people have a little snooze during the day, or take time to zone out and meditate, there is a special energy about it all taking place in the same environment where someone maybe reading, eating or crafting just a few meters away. 

The focus throughout is on connecting with our senses... through food, movement, nature, crafting, conversation, space and stillness to go within.

Some of the tribe shared with wonderful words about the experience and it makes me heart smile, I can't wait to create more retreats for more deep connection...

"It felt like coming home, space to BE!"
I have learned loads about myself, I met wonderful people that feel the same as me inside. This is the closest I get outside 'recovery' in connection with feelings, emotions and understanding".
"Lovely vegan food, lots of walking, lots of talking and brilliant company." 

My friend Dionne at Manabika yoga led us through energising morning yoga practices and a yoga nidra bedtime session on the first evening.  Then there was the food.... wonderful food (if I do say so myself, ha!) Thought the focus was not on raw food (just healthy vegan food) Dionne also created a masterpiece of a raw cake... recipe to come soon.  One of my favourite recipes are my 'meatless meatballs'.... I can't believe I haven't shared them on my blog before (I even had to double check!) as they've been a favourite at both Lanzarote retreats and both Raw Retreats!

They are so versatile, can be rolled into balls or pressed into larger burger style patties, they can be made with beans or mushrooms or a combination. They also freeze well- so I always make a big batch!  Seriously- what's not to love?

The recipe for the 'no-meat' balls and my chunky tomato sauce is below, but first I want to share with you the energy of the retreat in photos. I plan to run 3 or 4 of these retreats a year so keep your eyes on the main info page for the latest dates!

The wonderful raw cake... mmmmmm!

The wonderful raw cake... mmmmmm!

Here we all are in our PJ's and onesies... having just woken up, drinking mugs of hot lemon and ginger water before morning yoga! ha ha

Here we all are in our PJ's and onesies... having just woken up, drinking mugs of hot lemon and ginger water before morning yoga! ha ha

Recipe: 'Meat' balls

Makes approx. 30 balls (they freeze well but you can halve the quantities if preferred)


  • 3 cups cooked beans* (mix of red and black or just one type)
  • 1 cups sunflower seeds (approx 350g) soaked and drained
  • 1 cup oats
  • ¼ cup flax seed
  • 2 small red onions
  • ¾ cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 heaped tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 lemon- juice
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Approx. ¼ cup soy sauce

* Note: I used beans as one of the participants on the retreat had a mushroom allergy, but I have also used mushrooms instead of beans (arguably even more authentic!) pulsed in a the food processor to get a 'mince' style texture. Pat with kitchen towel to take as much of the moisture out to prevent wet balls.


Pulse beans in a processor until you have a loosely blended mixture. Set aside.

Pulse remaining ingredients together until you have a smooth but still chunky mixture. In a large bowl add the mushrooms and mix through well.

Roll the mixture into meat ball size balls and place in a lined baking sheet. Bake at 180C for 25 - 30 minutes until crispy and golden. (also great eaten cold)

Serving options: spaghetti (or courgetti) and tomato sauce, pasta, quinoa, topping for a salad or in a wrap. Also make great burgers.

Recipe: vegan Meat Balls

Recipe: Chunky Tomato sauce

Makes approx. 3 cups worth


  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs (fresh basil optional)
  • 2 tbs cup tomato puree
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 carrot finely grated
  • approx. 4 dried apricots - chopped
  • 250ml vegetable stock


Heat oil, onion, garlic and spices for a few minutes, then add the puree and cook for another couple of minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.

Recipe: vegan Meat Balls

There photos above are of the 'bean' version as served on the retreat, below are a couple of photos I had taken previously when I made the 'mushroom' version as balls and burgers at home. The result is darker (and more meaty looking?) I love both options. Just be aware that the mushroom version can become a little too wet if the mushroom mix has a lot of moisture once chopped up and isn't pressed/patted dry.

Let me know if you make them and how you serve them... I'd love to hear!  Tag me @johodson on Instagram ;-)

Recipe: vegan burgers
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Exciting news... Lazarote...and two recipes!

Hellllloooooo.... it's been a while!

Forgive me...

I have recipes....

I can explain....

I have been back in Lanzarote and I can finally share with you the details as to why! I am creating a retreat holiday... yes an actual real life retreat experience!

An immersion of total wellness for spiritual, mental and physical development.

The energy and excitement is coursing through me..... ahhhh I can't wait.

Ok, time to calm down a little. More details to come in the next few days as I pull everything together but for now you can join the Facebook event so you don't miss anything. There are only 10 spaces!

Beautiful early morning walk at Playa Famara

Beautiful early morning walk at Playa Famara

lanz 3.jpg

For now, here's a little round up of my short trip. I made a lot of meals for everyone- my chickpea-cauli quiche was an absolute winner with and I experimented with a few new ones too. Namely a roasted veg ratatouille and tofu chard scramble (a twist on the classic) I've added the recipes below.

Note: Everything in this post is shot with my iPhone as with the hand baggage allowance I couldn't fit my DSLR this time. :-(

Oooh and I tweaked the chocolate banana brownie bread since it went down so well last time. I added walnut to the mixture and slightly undercooked it (to make it more dense and dessert like) then baked it in a round cake pan to slice up as wedges, then I served it hot topped it with a berry/prune sauce and some fresh mulberries and extra walnuts.


Mulberries are incredible!

I'd never eaten them before and I think they are now my new favourite fruit! Pity we don't have them fresh in England. Though I made the mistake of picking some fresh ones from a bush on the way back to the airport, but they stained my hands so badly I rocked up to the airport looking like i'd massacred someone… not the best look to get through security! Luckily I spied a washroom near the entrance. :-)

Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille  (based on this recipe by

Serves 3-4


  • 3 fist sizes aubergines (these were quite small home grown ones)
  • 4 tomatoes (or 1 can chopped tomatoes)
  • 3 courgettes
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 red peppers
  • 5 cloves garlic- chopped roughly
  • 1 scant tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley- chopped (or basil)
  • NOTE: I had intended to add two cans of chickpeas but at the last moment realised we didn't have any to hand!


Chop the veg into bite sizes chunks and coat with the oil and salt. Place in an even layer in a large roasting pan (or two) along wit the garlic pieces.

Roast for approx 20 mins at 180C until golden.

Meanwhile blitz the tomatoes in a food processor until just a little chunky. (I had planned to roast them first but had no room in the pan). Add to a large sauce pan, if you are using chickpeas you;d add them now and heat through for 5 minutes or so. Add the roasted veg and cook for a couple of minutes until everything is piping hot. Serve with a generous sprinkle of fresh parsley or basil.

I served this with a side of garlic and onion dressed pasta, but it would also work well with rice, potatoes or quinoa.

Alongside the tofu scramble I also served my sweet potato cakes (though I used carrot as well as sweet potato) and also avocado toasts dressed with lemon juice and salt.

Recipe: Tofu Chard Scramble

Serves 3-4


  • 500g block firm tofu (no need to press unless there is a lot of liquid) 
  • approx 3 packed cups chard (or other greens)
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (you could use any spices of choice)
  • 1 tbs tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tbs tahini 
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • generous shake of nutritional yeast (optional)
  • salt to taste (if needed)


In a large frying pan or wok, saute the garlic and onion in a little oil for approx 5 minutes until softening. Add the chard (if using spinach add it a little later) and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes until the stems are softening. 

Meanwhile mix all the spices with the tahini and water to form a paste. Using your hands, crumble the tofu in rough chunks into the pan and add the seasoned paste. Toss well to ensure an even coating. Add a little extra oil or water if necessary and cook for 5-6 minutes until the tofu is fully cooked through.

Serve immediately.

...mulberries on my breakfast too! Simply couldn't resist!

...mulberries on my breakfast too! Simply couldn't resist!

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