Recipe: Vegan Leek and Potato Soup

Vegan leek and potato soup

Another thick and creamy soup using cashews and soya milk – this time, the always popular leek and potato. I don’t know what it is, but my leek and potato soup never comes out as nice as the ones in the tins, but it’s probably the cream and additives and other unhealthy stuff, but I’m sure I’ll make the perfect vegan leek and potato soup one day – I’ll just have to keep experimenting.

Again, as with the vegan cream of mushroom soup I made the other day, I started this soup off in the frying pan, and finished it in the soup maker. If you haven’t got a soup maker, just add the stock and seasoning to the pan, simmer for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked, leave the milk out until the end, then blend.

Recipe: Vegan Leek and Potato Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 300g potatoes, cubed
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked for a few hours or in boiling water for 20 minutes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 750ml stock
  • ½ cup soya milk
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried dill
Instructions
  1. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes
  2. Add the leeks and fry for a few more minutes
  3. Add the potato and mix in with the onions and leeks
  4. If using a soup maker
  5. Put the onion, leek and potato mixture into the soup maker with the cashews, stock, seasoning and dill
  6. Put on the blend programme for 30 minutes
  7. Add the soya milk and blend again
  8. Check the consistency and, if needed, blend until smooth
  9. If using the hob
  10. Add the stock, salt and pepper and dill to the pan and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender
  11. Add the cashews and the soya milk and blend until smooth

 

 

 

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Recipe: Cheese, Onion and Jalapeno Pasty

Vegetarian cheese, onion and jalapeno pasty
Better than Asda

The worst cheese and onion pasty I ever had came from Asda. I’ll never forget it. I can’t remember where I’d been that night but I’d been out and decided to pick something up from Asda to eat when I got home. I went to the pasty section, saw one for 30p and thought I’d got myself a bargain. After all, it’s not possible to mess up a pasty is it?

Oh yes, Asda sure know how to mess up a pasty.

I took one bite, gagged and threw the rest away. It was so wet, I’m sure if I’d squeezed it, a gallon of liquid would have leaked out. Tesco’s pasties are hardly expensive (I think they’re about £1.50 for four) but are a perfectly decent pasty. I’m never getting an Asda one again. At least, not one that only costs 30p, anyway.

One year, on holiday in Cornwall, I went to a pasty shop and thought I’d be getting the best cheese and onion pasty ever. I mean, Cornwall’s famous for its pasties, isn’t it, so I was certain that meant any pasty I bought there would be the best ever. It wasn’t. It was nicer than the one from Asda but no better than a Tesco one.

Why am I wittering on about pasties? Is there a point to all of this? Well, yes, there is. Yesterday, on Facebook, a friend said she’d settled down to watch television with a cheese and onion pasty. Man, I wanted a pasty then too, but I had no pasties in the freezer and I couldn’t be bothered to walk up to Tesco and buy one. Then I realised I had some puff pastry in the freezer, cheese in the fridge and an onion in the cupboard and although I’d never made a pasty before, I reckoned that’s all I needed to make a pasty.

And, do you know what? I made the best cheese and onion pasty in the world, ever. It was so simple, I don’t know why I’ve been buying them when I can make one in less time than it would have taken me to go out and buy one.

The recipe I’m going to give you is just a rough guide as I just kind of bunged it all together. I had planned to add some sandwich pickle into the pasty but I forgot to put it in. Next time, I’m definitely going to make a cheese and pickle pasty and I might even give it a go in my Diablo Toasted Snack Maker.

Vegetarian cheese, onion and jalapeno pasty

Cheese, Onion and Jalapeno Pasty
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Pasty
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ⅓ roll ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 30g cheese, grated
  • 1 baby onion, sliced
  • 3 jalapenos
  • Soya milk for glazing
Instructions
  1. Spread the mustard on to the puff pastry, leaving a 1 cm gap round the edges
  2. Spread the cheese, onion and jalapenos on top of the mustard
  3. Fold over the pastry and squeeze the edges down so they're sealed
  4. Brush with a little soya milk, then cut a little hole in the top of the pastry
  5. Bake at 200C/180C fan for about 10-15 minutes, until golden

 

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Recipe: Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

Vegan cream of mushroom soup
Although my VonShef Soup Maker acts as a great blender, I’ve been lazy and have just chucked all my ingredients in, pressed the start button and buggered off to leave it to it. This method ends up with a smooth, creamy soup but slightly lacking in flavour with the onion and garlic not being fried first. This is only to be expected – after all, boiled onion doesn’t sound appetising, does it?

So, yesterday, I decided I’d had enough of creamy, yet bland, soup and took a bit more effort with the vegan cream of mushroom soup I’d decided to make. Yes, it meant more washing up but only one pan, so it’s not that much of a hassle and it was totally worth it.

I’ve made mushroom soup in the past (see here, here, here and here) but this one is definitely my favourite. I had a brainwave and wondered if cashews and soya milk would give it the creaminess some of my soups are lacking and yes, it certainly does. I usually use a potato to thicken my soups up but cashews are definitely the way to go in the future. Cashews will obviously add a lot of calories to a soup – if you’re bothered about that kind of thing – but they’re good calories and full of protein and apart from protein being good for you, it keeps you full up and this soup kept me full all afternoon.

Recipe: Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked overnight or soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500ml stock
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • ½ cup soya milk
Instructions
  1. If making in a soup maker:
  2. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, until soft.
  3. Add the mushrooms and fry for a few more minutes.
  4. Add the mushroom/onion mix and all the other ingredients to the soup maker except the soya milk.
  5. Cook on the blending programme for 20 minutes.
  6. Check the texture at the end, blend until smoother if necessary.
  7. Add the soya milk and blend again to mix through.
  8. If making on the hob:
  9. Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, until soft.
  10. Add the mushrooms and fry for a few more minutes.
  11. Add the rest of the ingredients except the cashews and milk and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  12. Add the cashews and milk and blend until smooth.

 

 

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Recipe: Spinach and Tomato Soup

Vegan spinach and tomato soup

This morning, I opened the freezer to get some frozen fruit to make myself a nice healthy smoothie. Then I saw the crumpets… but – get me and my steely resolve – I resisted them, telling myself I’d have the crumpets for lunch instead.

I don’t know what happened but, instead of toasting the crumpets at lunchtime, I made some spinach and tomato soup. Not really the same thing, is it? Ho hum.

I made this vegan soup in my soup maker but if you’re going to make it on the hob, then fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes, add the rest of the ingredients, simmer for 20 minutes or so, then blend.

You can use any stock you like but I made my own ‘instant chicken’less bouillon powder’ from the recipe on the Gentle Chef website.

Vegan spinach and tomato soup

Recipe: Spinach and Tomato Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 150g potato, chopped
  • 3 large handfuls of spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml stock
  • salt and pepper to season
  • Chilli flakes and cumin seeds to taste
Instructions
  1. Add everything to the soup maker, cook for about 20 minutes, then blend.
  2. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.

 

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Recipe: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Mushroom Risotto

Slow cooked vegetarian mushroom risotto

Slow cooked vegetarian mushroom risotto

I can’t make risotto. I know how to make it, I’m just missing some kind of key risotto-making gene which means whenever I try to make risotto, no matter how much time I take slowly pouring in the stock and patiently stirring for three weeks (or however long it is; it feels like three weeks, anyway), the rice ends up as nasty crunchy bullets. Maybe the rice knows I’m not patient by nature and can feel the hate and resentment when I’m standing there relentlessly stirring instead of doing something far more pleasurable such as, say, emptying the cat litter tray or hanging up my washing.

So, why I decided to give risotto another go, I don’t know but, instead of the stirring-for-three-weeks-on-the-hob method, I had a look for a slow cooker recipe (although, for someone who can’t be arsed to stand around stirring things, I certainly lift the slow cooker lid plenty of times to give the contents a good stir) and found this one.

Usually when I use my slow cooker, I don’t bother with any pre-cooking malarky and just chuck everything in but, given my history with risotto-making, I thought I’d better give it a decent shot at turning out okay and followed the instructions, only deviating by adding garlic as there was no garlic in the original recipe, which led to a ‘what do you mean there’s no garlic in this recipe?’ moment. I mean, how can you have onions and mushrooms in something but no garlic? Crazy.

I’d like to say this risotto turned out perfectly, but I’d be lying. It was certainly tasty and definitely un-bullet-like but it was a tad stodgy and ‘wallpaper paste’ and ‘sticks to your ribs’ wouldn’t be unfair descriptions. Don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t a disaster and I’d make it again and, if you give it a go, it’ll probably turn out perfectly. I just think risotto and I aren’t meant to be.

Slow cooked vegetarian mushroom risotto

Recipe: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Mushroom Risotto
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Slow cooker
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1.5 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 200g Arborio risotto rice
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 30g butter
  • 225g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 30g vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil and add the onion and cook for 4 - 5 mins until soft.
  2. Add the rice and stir through so all grains are coated and cook for 2 mins.
  3. Transfer the rice and onion to the slow cooker and cover with the stock.
  4. Melt the butter in a pan and cook the sliced mushrooms for about 10 mins or until they have browned.
  5. Add the garlic to the mushrooms and cook for another minute or so.
  6. Stir the mushrooms into the rice and cook for 2 - 3 hours on low.
  7. Stir in the vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese in the last 5 minutes.

 

 

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Recipe: Vegan Cheese and Onion Muffins

Vegan cheese and onion muffins

I’m not one to value myself on the number of ‘likes’ a photo of food gets on Facebook but I must admit to being rather pleased when the photo of these vegan cheese and onion muffins received almost 1,000 likes on the What Fat Vegans Eat Facebook page. I’m aware some of you may be thinking, ‘1,000 likes? Pah, that’s nothing – get over yourself!’ but I’m liking my likes so there.

Vegan cheese and onion muffins

I got the recipe from Kirsten’s Kitchen and, although Kirsten calls her creation ‘scoffins’, I’m sticking with ‘muffins’ because that’s what mine look like. Kirsten’s recipe also says it makes 12 muffins but I didn’t see that until after I’d squeezed all the batter into a six-hole tray.

Vegan cheese and onion muffins

Vegan cheese and onion muffins

Vegan cheese and onion muffins

After I posted my pic on Facebook, a few people who had commented on it went off and made their own versions; some following the recipe exactly and others substituting ingredients for ingredients they already had in, e.g. mushrooms instead of cheese, parsley instead of spinach and – a suggestion I loved – vegan sausage. Others suggested alternatives to apple sauce (which I used) as an egg replacer. Who’d have thought a batch of muffins would generate so much interest?

Don’t expect these muffins to be light and airy – they’re dense and doughy but, if dense and doughy is your thing, you’ll love these.

Recipe: Vegan Cheese and Onion Muffins
 
Prep time
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Adapted from a recipe at Kirsten's Kitchen
Author:
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1½ cups soya milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup sunflower oil
  • ¼ cup apple sauce (or other egg replacer)
  • 1 cup fresh chopped spinach
  • ½ cup vegan cheddar cheese (I used Violife)
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped spring onion
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl
  3. Whisk together wet ingredients and add the spinach, cheese and spring onion
  4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and stir well
  5. Pour into a greased muffin tin
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes or just turning golden

 




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Recipe: Dehydrated Vegan Cheese and Onion Kale Chips

Vegan cheese and onion kale crisps

I tried some of Inspiral’s Crispy Baobab & Onion Kale Chips the other day and loved them so much, I wanted to recreate my own, but without the baobab bit, as I have no idea what baobab is. According to the list of ingredients on the back of the packet, the chips seemed to mostly involve kale, cashew nuts and onion powder, and so I thought, ‘I can do that’ and I also thought, ‘I can do that for a lot cheaper than £2.19 for 30g’.

So I did. What I also did is make them cheesy, so they’re kind of like cheese and onion flavour crisps, kale-stylee. Oh yeah.

If you have a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix (and if you do have a Vitamix, I am green-eyed with jealousy), you might not need to add as much olive oil. I needed to add it though because my cashews refused to blend without some liquid added (this is because I only have a £20 blender and not a Vitamix, sniff).

I ended up dehydrating these kale chips for about 24 hours. Depending on how big your kale pieces are and also on how efficient your dehydrator is, you may need less time. Just keep checking until they’re crispy enough for you.

Recipe: Dehydrated Vegan Cheese and Onion Kale Chips
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dehydrator
Cuisine: Vegan
Ingredients
  • 3 large handfuls kale, thick stalks removed
  • 2 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for a few hours
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Chilli flakes
Instructions
  1. Blend the cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, chilli flakes and olive oil until smooth-ish.
  2. Mix well with the kale, spread evenly on the dehydrator trays and dehydrate on 45C for 15 hours or until crispy.

 

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Recipe: Soup Maker Spinach and Carrot Soup

Because my kitchen currently looks like this:

I keep telling myself it'll be worth it in the end
I keep telling myself it’ll be worth it in the end

I haven’t done any cooking in there for a week or so. Despite the novelty and convenience of having Papa John’s pizza on a Monday night, pre-packaged pasta and couscous salad on Tuesday night and leftover Papa John’s last night, today I craved something not out of a box or a packet, then remembered I had a soup maker somewhere (if you think the kitchen looks bad, you should see the state of the dining room where the floor is covered with the contents of the former kitchen) and looked in the fridge where I found some spinach and carrots.

I didn’t take much notice of how much spinach was in the bag or how much water I used, so all weights and measures are approximate.

Soup maker spinach and carrot soup

Spinach and carrot soup (serves 2-3)

200g spinach
2 carrots, chopped into chunks
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tsp stock powder
700ml water
30g Cheddar
1 onion, chopped
3 dried whole chillies
salt and pepper

Chuck everything into the soup maker and put on the setting that blends as it goes along.




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Recipe: Sweet Potato Burgers With Lentils And Spinach

Sweet potato burgers with lentils and spinach
Sweet potato burgers with lentils and spinach

What’s better than burgers? Yes, healthy burgers! There’s quite a lot of messing about with these burgers but the results are worth it. They’re also great cold for lunch or as a snack the next day.

Sweet potato burgers with lentils and spinach (makes 8 burgers)
(recipe adapted from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way)

175g green lentils
1 big bunch of spinach
225g sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 2.5cm pieces
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1½ tsp garam masala
1½ tsp curry powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
½ tsp salt
40g toasted breadcrumbs
25g plain flour

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5.
  2. Boil the lentils in 750ml water. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer lentils to a large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher.
  3. Meanwhile, place the spinach in a saucepan and sprinkle over a little water and heat until wilted.
  4. Steam the sweet potato for 8 to 10 minutes until tender. Add the potato to the lentils and mash thoroughly.
  5. In a frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of the oil. Add the onion, garam masala, curry powder and cayenne and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the spinach and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, tossing to combine.
  6. Mix the spinach-onion mixture into the lentil mixture. Stir in the eggs, coriander and salt. Fold in the breadcrumbs and flour. Adjust seasonings. Shape into 8 burgers.
  7. In an ovenproof frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil. When hot, add the burgers and cook until browned on each side, 6 to 10 minutes total. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the burgers are firm and cooked through.

Buy Veggie Burgers Every Which Way by Lukas Volger at Amazon.

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Recipe: Parsnip and Kale Soup

Vegan Parsnip and Kale Soup

I’ve reinstated my Riverford Veg Box delivery and last week I received a box containing – amongst other vegetables – kale and parsnips. Parsnips are usually something I only ever eat when they’re forced on me but they do make a delicious soup, especially when spiced up with a bit of chilli. This soup was a great way to use up some of the kale, too. I felt approximately three-hundred-and-thirty-six times healthier after eating it (until I had some hot chocolate and a couple of biscuits immediately after, that is).

I made this in my soup maker. If you’re making it on the hob, fry the onion and garlic in oil for a few minutes first, then add the rest of the ingredients, simmer for about 20 minutes or so until the parsnip is tender, then blend at the end.

Soup Machine Parsnip and Kale Soup (serves 3-4)

3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 large handfuls of chopped kale (minus the thick middle stalks)
1 green chilli, chopped
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1L vegetable stock
salt and pepper

Chuck it all in the soup machine and let your soup machine do its thing.




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