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Vegan pesto

I'm sure you all know, at the very least more or less, how to make pesto. This is just to remind you that pesto is always a good idea: for a quick pasta dinner, as an addition to a sharing platter, on what to do with herbs from your garden.

Traditional Ligurian pesto is made with basil, but I went for a blend of different herbs: basil, thyme, oregano and a bit of rosemary and mint. I skipped parmesan, but kept pine nuts from the original recipe. Feel free to experiment with herbs and nuts - try almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds or walnuts.

Recipe: Vegan pesto

Ingredients
  • one cup fresh herbs: basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint
  • 1/2 small clove of garlic
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts, roasted on a dry pan
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp soli morskiej
Method
  • Blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste using pestle and mortar or a food processor.
  • Feel free to add more olive oil, depending on what kind of consistency you like.
  • If not using immediately, place the sauce in a jar, top with a layer of oil and refrigerate until needed..

Ombre tomato tart

This recipe doesn’t even deserve to be called a recipe - it’s more of an idea on how to make a quick and effective snack with summer heirloom tomatoes. The ombre tart is bound to get you some attention and compliments, so, in case you had no idea what to bring for the next potluck picnic/barbecue/garden party, I just solved this challenging problem. No need to thank me.

The to success is to get the right tomatoes. The more different shades you’ve got, the more spectacular the ombre effect. You could also use the ombre idea to prepare something else, like a salad patter.

Recipe: Ombre tomato tart

Ingredients
  • one sheet puff pastry
  • a handful heirloom tomatoes of various colours and shapes, thickly sliced
  • 50 g Greek feta cheese
  • 1-2 branches rosemary, chopped
  • one tsp olive oil
  • one tsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 tsp salt
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Roll out the pastry on a parchment paper, forming a rectangle.
  • Place tomato slices on the pastry - group the colours together and try to achieve a fluent transition from one shade to another.
  • Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and evenly sprinkle with sugar, salt and rosemary.
  • Top with crumble feta.
  • Place in the hot oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Chinese tofu pancakes

Traditionally served with crispy duck, this pancakes make a great vegan dish as well. Thick hoisin sauce and fresh cucumber and spring onions go great with fried tofu. Perfect snack for a small gathering.

Recipe: Chinese tofu pancakes

Ingredients
  • 200 g firm tofu
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, cut into matchsticks
  • a few branches fresh coriander
  • 1/4 red chilli pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 10 thin pancakes
Method
  • Slice tofu and combine with 3 tbsp of hoisin sauce.
  • Fry tofu slices on heated sesame oil, about one minute each side.
  • Steam the pancakes and keep them warm in a bamboo steamer or covered with foil.
  • Arrange fried tofu, cucumber and spring onion stick, coriander leaves, chilli and hoisin sauce on the table and allow everyone to help themselves.
  • Spread some sauce on each pancake and top with tofu, cucumber and spring onions. Sprinkle with coriander and chilli and roll up.

Recipe: Homemade hoisin sauce

Ingredients
  • 7-8 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tsp sesame oil
  • one tsp finely chopped chilli
  • one garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
Method
  • Combine all the ingredients in a small pot.
  • Simmer over low heat, stirring, until well combined.
  • Set aside to cool.

Vegan taco buffet

Perfect tacos: crispy, aromatic, colourful and vegan. Great for small or larger gatherings. All you have to do is prepare the toppings and ask your guests to compose their ideal snacks. I chose roasted sweet potatoes, black beans and corn, creamy cashew paste, pomegranate seeds, fresh chillies, aromatic coriander and lime juice. You can add your favourite fruit, vegetables and herbs.

Recipe: Vegan tacos

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 soft corn tortillas
  • a bunch coriander
  • one corn on a cob
  • one cup cooked black beans
  • rosted sweet potatoes (recipe below)
  • cashew paste (recipe below)
  • 2 green chilli peppers
  • 1 small pomegranate
  • 1 lime
Method
  • Roast the corn at 180C for about 30 minutes, until tender.
  • Kut off the kernels and combine with cooked beans.
  • Deseed the pomegranate, slice the chillies and cut the lime into quarters.
  • Heat the tortillas in the oven or on a pan and cover to keep them warm.
  • Serve all the ingredients together and let everyone compose their own tacos: roasted sweet potatoes with pomegranate and fresh coriander or corn and beans with cashew paste and fresh chillies. Or everything altogether :)

Recipe: Roasted sweet potatoes

Ingredients
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • one tbsp olive oil
  • one tsp smoked paprika powder
  • one tsp sweet paprika powder
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Peel and dice the potatoes.
  • Cut the onion into eitghts.
  • Mix diced potatoes with onion, olive and spices.
  • Transfer into a baking dish and roast at 180C for about 30 minutes.

Recipe: Cashew paste

Ingredients
  • 100 g cashews, soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp plant-based milk (I used coconut milk)
  • 1 lime (peel and juice)
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Blend soaked chashews with milk, to make a smooth paste.
  • Add lime juice and peel, combine. Season with salt
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Seared tuna chunks with sesame seeds

I love tuna! Especially when it's lightly seared outside and almost raw inside. You have to try out this recipe: seared tuna chunks with sesame seeds with amazing dipping sauce with tamarind paste, soy sauce and honey. Perfect for ligh lunch or with a bottle of wine and fine conversation. It's a kind of dish that I appreciate the most: minimal effort, maximum results. The preparation takes 20 minutes tops, looks lovely and is really delicious. Give it a try!

Recipe: Seared tuna chunks with sesame seeds

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 200 g thick tuna steak
  • 3-4 tbsp black and white sesame seeds
  • one tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 red chilli pepper
  • one spring onion
  • a few leaves of fresh mint
  • a few leaves of fresh coriander
Method
  • Slice tuna into smaller chunks and coat them in sesame seeds.
  • Heat sesame oil on a pan and sear four sides of each chunk for about 15 seconds per side.
  • Finely chop chilli and herbs.
  • Cut the tuna chunks into 3-4 cm slices.
  • Place tuna on the plate. Top with chilli, spring onion, mint and coriander.
  • Serve with a dipping sauce.

Recipe: Dipping sauce

Ingredients
  • 3 tbso tamarind paste
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • one tsp honey
  • one tsp sesame oil
Method
  • Whisk all the ingredients together.
  • Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
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