ZB's Vegan Recipes

Here's where you can find some fun, tasty and generally pretty easy-to-make vegan (and often low GI) recipes. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Beetroot Risotto

I love risotto. Love. Love. Love. I have about 25 different risotto recipes that I used to make all of the time - and then I'd change them and make new ones and risotto is so easy to make and has so much flavour and nomnomnom.

But I can't eat arborio rice any more *sob* and I've been having a really hard time getting the texture that I love and the flavours and the whole thing to come together with other grains. Risotto with risoni has been the best texture option, but I wanted to use something grainy and not pasta-y. I've tried quinoa based risotto before, and it didn't rock my world. However, a couple of nights ago I decided to make risotto, couldn't find risoni at the supermarket, and had some quinoa kicking about at home. So I decided to give it another go.

Oh yeah, it was a win!!

So here's the recipe....There's lots of prep (roasting the beetroot and garlic, cooking the quinoa, making beetroot stock, making a cashew paste) but it takes less than an hour and is really incredibly worth it.

Roasted Beetroot and Garlic Quinoa Risotto

  • 1 and 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 medium-large fresh beetroot, with stalks and leaves
  • 1 head of garlic + 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion flakes
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 vegan stock cube + 1 litre water
  • 2 tablespoons Nuttelex
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • dash hot sauce

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius.

Cut the stalks and leaves off the beetroot and set to one side. These will be used later. Scrub the beetroot and put onto a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 1 to 2 hours, until slightly blackened outside and cooked inside. Set aside to cool. When cool, peel and cube.

Cut the top off the head of garlic and drizzle with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake in the oven until soft and the top is golden. Remove from the oven and cool.

Cook quinoa is three cups of vegetable stock until tender - about 20 minutes in a rice cooker, 35 minutes on the stove. Set to one side.

Mince the 2 cloves of garlic. Wash and finely slice the beetroot stalks. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and saute the garlic and beetroot stalks. Add the stock cube and litre of water. Allow to come to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes. Strain the garlic and stalks out of the liquid. Return the liquid to a low heat and allow to simmer.

Grind the cashews, nutritional yeast, salt and onion flakes until a fine powder is formed. Squeeze in the roasted garlic and lemon juice and process until a paste is formed. Set to one side.

Wash and finely slice the beetroot leaves. Set 1/3 aside.

Melt the Nuttelex in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cooked quinoa and stir through. Pour in a third of the beetroot stock and stir through until absorbed. Add half of the cubed beetroot. Pour in another third of the beetroot stock and stir through until absorbed. Add the remaining beetroot and the cashew-garlic paste and stir through until well mixed. Add the 2/3 of the beetroot leaves and stir through. Finally, add the final 1/3 of the beetroot stock and stir until absorbed. Take off the heat.

Whisk together the 2 tablespoons olive oil, balsamic vinegar and hot sauce. Toss with the remaining 1/3 of the beetroot leaves.

Spoon the risotto onto a plate and top with the dressed beetroot leaves. Serve and consume!!

Tasmania, casserole, chickpea salad

This is a quick photo post to share some fun stuff I've been doing recently.

I went to Tasmania a few weeks ago - not the easiest place to be a vegan, though Hobart does offer Sirens, an awesomely fancypants vegetarian and vegan restaurant (though check the wines before ordering - I ended up with one that had been fined with egg, milk and fish - boo!) The food is fabulous, though. If you're in Hobart, find it and eat there. Okay?

For those folks who have watched Veronica Mars, and know my obsession with Logan Echolls, they may know that Logan is often referred to as a "wooby". Hobart not only contains my new favourite restaurant, but also my new favourite lane (not that I have a current favourite lane...)

A town in the middle of Tasmania had this beautiful mill in the middle of a town that was so Georgian that I kept expecting Jane Austen to pop her head out of a doorway.

I recently found some blue corn chips, and had a great time making nachos with them. I did a leftovers nachos casserole (as you do), with the chips, rice, tofu, Not!BBQ pork, asparagus, shiitake, refried beans, kidney beans, Veganomicon cheez sauce...ummm...I'm sure there was more stuff in there, as there always is in leftovers casseroles! None of the inside shots (I ate it smothered in guacamole) were really that attractive, but I liked the contrast of colours in this pre-slicing shot.

When the weather was getting warmer (right now it's pissing down and cold and I have a cold and it's all about the "where the hell is Spring/Summer now?" questions - though I do prefer this weather, I'm just a little seasonally confused), I made this chickpea "tuna" salad, with chickpeas, walnuts, capers, pickled cucumber, soy mayo, lemon juice, mustard, seaweed flakes, chilli flakes...and I'm sure many more ingredients - I did just end up throwing things in there! Tasted great, though, and is a refreshing warm weather meal. Served on cos lettuce here...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

New Adventures with Vegetables!

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut, and food is pasta/fake meat/curry/pasta/repeat the same damn recipes all of the time, and you forget what fresh vegetables taste like, look like and what wonders they are to cook with.

That's why I'm always thankful to have a fortnightly delivery of fruit and vegetables from a home delivery organic company, because I get the "surprise" box, which generally has something in it that I've never cooked with before.

This fortnight's box had broccolini and baby carrots in it, which I'd never really thought of buying or using, but have become more interested in due to them turning up on almost every dish in the last series of Great British Menu!

So I decided to make a fancy pants-esque dinner last night, using some tofu-tempeh balls I'd made on the weekend, steaming the carrots and broccolini, and making a lemon cheezy sauce using leeks and Cheezly Edam. I also had a little bit of pasta with it.

The lemon cheezy sauce was everything I had wanted it to be!! Leeks, garlic, capers, flour, water from the boiling pasta, lemon juice, nooch, Cheezly Edam and some white pepper. So creamy and tart. Mmmmm....

Unfortunately I overcooked the carrots and broccolini a little, but it was the first time cooking with them, so I was pretty happy with the outcome. Plus the tofu-tempeh balls make everything good!

Tonight I continued the cooking-something-I've-never-cooked-before theme, and made the most amazingly vegetable laden dish of numminess!!

I had two baby bok choy from the box o' surprise veges, and snow peas, beans, and two types of capsicum. I made a tofu gyoza filling that my friend Jen taught me - extra firm tofu, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, spring onion, ginger, cabbage (well, some sauerkraut, to be completely honest), Braggs and cayenne pepper - and used that to stuff in between each of the leaves of the bok choy. Check it out pre-steaming:

I decided to steam the stuffed baby bok choy, and serve it on a bed of soba noodles and sweet and sour BBQNot!Pork and vegetables. I made a sauce from tomato sauce, maple syrup, Braggs, powdered ginger, fresh ginger, juice of two oranges, hot sauce, soaking liquid from the shiitake mushrooms and chilli flakes, simmered for 2o minutes and then thickened with cornflour.

I stir-fried the onion, beans, snow peas, red and green capsicum and mushrooms, adding defrosted gluten BBQNot!Pork at the last minute and then adding most of the sauce and letting it come to a bubble.

All served up, ready to be eaten:

I'm really happy with this meal (or, more precisely, the two meals in one!), because it's the first time I've made a gorgeous sweet and sour sauce, and it's the first time I've stuffed bok choy - it's easier than it appears to be, though figuring out how to get rid of all of the grit needs to be done before I make this again!!

I've still got some veges in the crisper, and I'm looking forward to figuring out how to use them as scrummily as possible!!