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!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Savoury Mince on Toast

When I was a kid, we'd have savoury mince on toast as the leftover dinner towards the end of the pay week. It's a strangely addictive meal, especially when topped with cheap tomato sauce. I've tried various vegan iterations, usually using a bolognese sauce, but it's never been quite the same. Last night I decided that I would do it as I remembered it, full of chopped veges and cooked relatively quickly. Of course, I used a couple of flavourings that wouldn't have been in my childhood dish - Nutmeat and chipotle - but they worked really well and the end result was fan-fricking-tastic.

Savoury Mince

  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots (measure after chopping - about 1 1/2 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup chopped beans (measure after chopping)
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (about one corn cob)
  • 1/4 cup snowpeas, sliced thinly on the diagonal (measure after chopping)
  • 1 cup grated Nutmeat (about 2/3 tin)
  • 2 baby leeks, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup passata
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herbs
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon HP sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of water (may not be required)
  • oil

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, and heat the oil. Saute the baby leeks until softened, then add the beans and carrots and continue sauteing. Add the grated Nutmeat, Italian herbs, garlic, chipotle and corn kernels and stir together until it starts sticking a little. Add the tomato paste, barbecue sauce, HP sauce and vegan Worcestershire sauce and stir together thoroughly. Finally, add the passata and lemon juice and stir through. The mixture should be a little liquidy, so if it is too dry, add the 1/4 cup of water.

Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the liquid in the mixture has reduced to a thickened gravy consistency. Take off the heat and stir through the snowpeas.

Serve over toast, topped with nutritional yeast and tomato sauce.

Look ma, no hands! curry

The other day was incredibly warm, and I was feeling incredibly lazy. I wanted Indian style curry, but without the effort of standing over a hot stove and stirring and all of that other fun but enervating effort.

So I thought, "Self", I thought, "How about a hands free curry?" And thus the following so-called recipe was created...

Look ma, no hands! curry

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 small tomatoes
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 cup passata
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water (not all may be needed)
  • 1/4 cup Nuttelex


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.

Cube the eggplant (1cm x 1cm square). Lightly crush the garlic cloves, keeping them and the skins on. Put into a baking dish and toss with the tablespoon of oil.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the eggplant is starting to soften. Add the salt, spices and passata, and bake for another 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and enough of the water to moisten and create a gravy. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and the liquid is gravy like. Stir through the Nuttelex just before serving.

I served mine with quinoa that I cooked in the rice cooker and then tossed with a little Nuttelex. For some fresh crunch, I topped everything with finely chopped spring onions. And of course, one has to have mango chutney!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Garden update

Well, I hope everyone had a brilliant Xmas and are looking forward to an exciting and happy New Year!!

I went to a friend's mother's place for Xmas lunch - he's been vegan for about 13 years, and his mother is very very good at vegan Xmas foods (and other non-seasonal vegan foods), so I had a very lazy Xmas this year! Entree: roast onion, tomato and olive mini tarts. For mains, she made fabulous roasted potatoes, pumpkin and onions, steamed beans, and got tofu skin drumsticks which she also roasted and served with mustard sauce (but I ate them with lots of extra mustard!) Desserts were a berry and custard trifle thing, and a fantasmagorically good plum plait. I'm drooling just thinking about it. The irony of the plum plait is that the recipe was adapted from a "Dairy Foods" cookbook from the seventies!!

No photos, though. Too busy eating!!

My garden wanders along apace. Here's some photos tracking its' growth (and/or gnawed status):

The tomatoes have doubled in size. Two of the plants are going yellow, but they seem to be happy still!

All of the tomato plants have little flower buds appearing! Yay!

The marigold that was planted with the tomato plants has been gnawed severely by something, but is thriving enough for a flower bud to have formed:

It does look a little like Audrey, doesn't it? I'm slightly worried...

The spinach went to seed.... *sigh* The strawberry and lemongrass is going well, though

Onions = destroyed. Eggplants = struggling. Marigold = proud and upstanding

The capsicums are going batshit, so have left their crazed growth until last!

Check out the tiny capsicums!!

And the gorgeous marigold in flower:

Last but not least, my Lucie cat generally being a gorgeous girl

I've decided that one each of a viable tomato, capsicum and strawberry is going to make this iteration of the garden a win. So it's going well, methinks!!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

How does your garden grow?

I finally got my vege and herb garden up and running with much family and friend help a couple of weeks ago. There was a family outing to Bunnings to purchase additional seedlings (yes, not organic but about to be raised organic, so let's see how it goes...) and buy different types of soil. Then a couple of days later Phil and Neibi came over for dinner and a nice quiet meal of lasagne, garlic bread and salad gained the addition of seedling burial and branch removal. Awesome fun.

Everything seems to be surviving okay - some funny coloured and dying leaves, but new growth popping up everywhere. The only real casualty of the whole experience has been three strawberry plants. There's one left, and it has a new couple of leaves growing, so fingers crossed.

The garden makes my courtyard look so much more...useful...even though the garden beds are styrofoam boxes!! And I'm still minus a planter for the herbs, so they're still all in pots. But they'll be replanted prior to Xmas...

So! Pictures!

Even though I got the cats cat grass to distract them, Squeak still attempts to eat the lemongrass. *sigh* And isn't my red watering can fabulous?

Tomatoes, basil and marigold (go, companion planting, go!)

More tomatoes, basil and marigold, with a sneaky radicchio

Squash (with a mixture of unhappy looking and happy leaves), radicchio, coral lettuce and marigold

Mostly spinach, with a lone strawberry and marigold. There are a couple of strawberry plants that just aren't doing anything, so I think I might yoink them and put in the cucumber seedlings I have before they get completely destroyed by snails.

Okay, mostly herbs. Basil, sage, coriander, lemongrass, cucumber, parsley, mint and some worm wee in the wine bottle at the back.

Baby peas and capsicum and the ever-present marigold.

And as you can see by the tags, onions (gnawed upon by Squeak) and eggplant.

All the seedlings have pretty much doubled in size in the last 2 weeks, and my first crop should be sometime towards the end of December/beginning of January - which is really exciting!! I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens with the plants. I'm happy that the cats have chosen to ignore the boxes (this might be due to the sheer preponderance of plants and sticks and stuff we put into the boxes) and I hope that continues. I'm carefully saving water from rinsing veges, draining pasta etc, and using that for watering the plants.

If you haven't already, I heartily recommend starting a vege garden, even if it's one tomato plant and some chives and basil. You'll have the ingredients for a pasta sauce in no time!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Did I mention that I love Tex Mex?

Going back through my blog archives, as I do occasionally, I realised how often I blog about Tex Mex. And you know what? I'm good with that! Simple ingredients, ridiculously brilliant tastes, and so many different dishes. I love sharing Tex Mex with friends - I think it's a great dinner party experience - and so last night was well chuffed to have some of my favourite folks over for dinner...

Left and then clockwise: Stephen, Neibi, Phil and finally my mum. Neibi and my mum are holding up the home made blue corn tortillas that we all made together.

Did I say blue corn tortillas? Check it out:

I recently got three different types of masa harina (white, yellow and blue) from a great Aussie Tex Mex online delivery service, Fireworks Foods (the website is well dodgy, but they've got great products and great service!), as well as a tortilla press. So last night I made tortilla dough, my mum offered advice when the dough turned out waaaaaay too sticky, and Neibi exerted her personality on the tortilla press. After a few false starts, all went well, and we got about 14 great little tortillas out onto the frypan and then into a warm oven. Tortilla dough is pretty much equal amounts of masa harina to warm water - and it's amazing, the dough retains heat for so long!!

I offered a whole bunch o' dishes to go with the tortillas (which were, let's face it, the main reason for the dinner party):

Starting in the middle on the left, we've got onions and mushrooms fried with cumin; refried beans; great globs of guacamole; rockmelon salsa (rockmelon, chilli, spring onion, lemon juice, linseed oil); roasted beetroot and kidney beans stir fried with roasted garlic and chipotle; blue corn tortillas; pickled cactus; queso (cashews, corn flour, onion flakes, salt, chilli flakes, nutritional yeast) and finally salsa verde (tomatillos, garlic, chilli, lemon juice, coriander, vegetable stock). There was also a tomato salsa (tomatoes, olives, spring onion, chilli).

Way too much fun - but just enough food for the five of us, and for me to have leftovers for lunch! I gave Phil and Neibi a bottle of my salsa verde and I froze the remainders.

There was even a pseudo Mexican dessert. Chocolate icecream (from Vice Cream) with spiced cashews (cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt and maple syrup) which I made in my awesome icecream maker. I'm practicing for Xmas - I think everyone's going to get icecream, I've got so many ideas for flavours!!

An awesome feast, and I'm never going to buy tortillas from the supermarket ever again!!