Posts tagged seeds
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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Seeded spelt crackers

I've had crackers on the mind in recent weeks, partly because i've been experimenting with my dehydrator (they'll be a cookie recipe on its way to you very soon!) and dehydrator crackers have been fun to test out.  But even thought these crackers are obviously not made in the dehydrator they still popped up in my head one day when doing some recipe brainstorming.

spelt crackers 2a.jpg

These crackers use spelt so are not gluten free, though they are wheat free. I enjoy using spelt as it has so many similar characteristics to regular wheat flour but without the common associated sensitivities. I also loved how flaky these crackers were with the addition of coconut oil, you'll see in the note below that I tried a peanut version which just didn't have the same flakiness at all!

You can use any seeds you fancy, but i will note that smaller seeds are easier to cut/slice though compared to larger seeds! Just saying ;-)

Perfect with a dollop of hummus or how about this raw red pepper ranch dip.... There are more dips and recipes on this page and i reckon you could easily turn these crackers into a sweet variety with a touch of syrup and a little cinnamon. Hmmm, might have to try that out myself!

spelt crackers 1.jpg

Recipe: Seeded spelt crackers

Makes approx 30-40 crackers 


  • 200g spelt flour (1 1/2) cups
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 50g coconut oil (1/4 cup)
  • 50g water (1/4 cup)
  • 60g seeds (e.g 2tbs each of 3 types)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Salt and pepper and other spices to taste
  • Glaze (optional) soy yoghurt*


Mix the spices and baking soda into the flour in a large bowl.

Mix the coconut oil into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs and then add the water slowly until a firm and slightly sticky dough forms. You can add the seeds add the same time as the water or roll them onto the dough afterwards as preferred.

Roll the dough onto 2 parchment lined baking sheets until approx 3-4mm thick. Slice or cut the dough into squares or shapes.

Bake at 180C for approx 15 minutes or until golden and ‘hollow’ sounding when tapped.

*I used a pastry brush to add a layer of soy yoghurt as a glaze, but this is optional or you could use non dairy milk or a light oil in a similar way.

Note: I also tried this with peanut butter instead of coconut oil and it wasn’t as light and flaky.

spelt crackers 4a.jpg
spelt crackers 3a.jpg
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Nutty Chocolate Chia Granola

I feel like i'm surrounded by a sea of chocolate....

You could say i've had a bit of a chocolate kick this last week, with new recipe trials and a few repeats of old favourites.

So far this week i've been munching on chocolate fudgechocolate orange smoosh barsmy newest chocolate frosting, some trials for an up and coming healthy chocolate bar, and last but not least....

chocolate granola!

This has become something of an obsession, with three batches made so far (although some of that was then given away to others). This follows my previous two granola recipes and, for me, is a winner by far (although my mum and sister who have tested out all the options preferred my regular granola for breakfast). This is the perfect 'indulgent' (but still super healthy) breakfast treat, the perfect alternative to pop corn or your finger-picky snack of choice, great as a dessert topping...the list goes on.

I do have to admit that a fair amount of the mixture didn't make it into the oven....oops!

I have used cacoa powder and cacoa nibs for a super healthy mix but you could easily substitute cocoa powder and semi-sweet dark chocolate drops if you prefer.  I've found that the bitterness of the cacoa nibs is an amazing compliment to the subtle sweetness of the granola coating and it gives such a depth of flavour. The other bonus is that the cacoa nibs don't melt and in the oven (although melty chocolate could be a good thing?)

Such a simple recipe, so if you haven’t tried making your own granola yet I really advise you gets to it right away. I promise you won’t regret it!

P.S I didn’t eat all that chocolate by myself!!

Recipe: Nutty Chocolate Chia Granola

Makes 3 bowls


  • 1 ¼ cup oats
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 cup mix of nuts (I used cashew, walnut and hazelnut)
  • 2tbs each of sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • 2tbs ground flax
  • 3 tbs raw cacoa powder
  • 2-3 tbs raw cacao chips
  • 3 tbs apple puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs coconut oil- melted
  • 2 tbs agave syrup
  • 1 tbs rapadura/palm sugar


Mix together dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Melt the coconut oil into other liquid ingredients then add to the dry.  Spoon onto 2 lightly greased baking sheets making sure you have a thin even layer with some clumpy bits. Bake at 170C for 10-12 minutes until almost beginning to brown- keep a close eye to avoid burning. Allow to cool fully before storing in an airtight container. Stores in the cupboard for a few weeks.

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Speedy Seedy Gluten-Free Crackers

I love to have something on hand to pick at… whether it be my home made ‘nakd’ bars or a bowl of chocolate frosting hiding away in the fridge waiting for a spoon to come a-dipping! But, sometimes  I just fancy a savoury kick to keep me going till tea time (particularly if I know there is dessert not far away). 

These crackers are perfect…. on their own, with this dipor a dollop of nut butter. The inspiration came from this post on Oh She Glows, so simple and quick to make and so many possible variations of flours, seeds and herbs to investigate now I know how good these crackers are.

The essence of the recipe also inspired an alternative twist that I just couldn’t wait to test out…but more on that tomorrow!

Recipe: Speedy seedy crackers

Makes approx. 20 crackers


  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds (if making your own do not over process so that oils are released)
  • 2 tbs tapioca flour
  • 2 tbs polenta (this just gives it extra crunchiness)
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp Italian herbs
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds
  • 2 tbs poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp olive oil


In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Knead dough with hands until it comes together. Place ball of dough on parchment paper or a non-stick mat. Roll out dough until it’s about 1/8th inch thick, or as thin as you can get it without ripping. With a  sharp knife slice into squares.

Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with parchment. Bake for 18-20 minutes until slightly golden in colour. Cool on baking sheet, then store in air-tight container once fully cool.

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