Almond Cacao Pear Delish – Meatless Monday

Which is better for you: Cacao or cocoa powder?

Cocoa powder is roasted which changes the molecular structure and reduces the enzyme content.

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Almond Cacao Pear Delish

GF. DF. EG. Vegan and Vegetarian


Beet and Lemon Layer

  • 2 cups plant milk
  • 2 Tablespoons agar agar flakes( 1 T. = ½ t powder)
  • few tablespoons of beet juice for colour*
  • 1/4 cup kudzu powder or chia
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or coconut syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • grated zest of ½ lemon
  • chopped toasted almonds or coconut for garnish
  • Mint leaves (optional)

Pear Chia Seed Layer

  • 2 cups juice
  • 2 tablespoons agar agar flakes
  • 1 cup chopped pears
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons maple, rice or coconut syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pomegranate (optional)

Chocolate Topping (optional)

  • ¼ cup raw, creamy almond or sesame butter
  • 1/3- ½  cup organic medjool dates, pitted
  • ¼ cup raw cacao powder
  • 1 ripe banana or 1/2 avocado
1 tablespoon pure coconut oil (can be solid)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch pink Himalayan sea salt or miso
  • 1/8 cup water (add in stages to get desired consistency)

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Beet and Lemon Layer

1. Place the milk in a saucepan. Add the agar agar flakes and bring to the boil. Lower heat and cook till the agar dissolves.

2. Chop up a beetroot, cover with water and bring to the boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain and reserve beets for another dish.

3. In a small bowl add a few tablespoons of milk. Then mix the kudzu or chia seeds in. Add the sweetener, vanilla beetroot juice and lemon zest.

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4. Stir the agar mixture into the chia seed and keep stirring so that the seeds don’t clump.

5. If using kudzu instead of the chia seeds, stir into agar mixture and bring to the boil.  Remove from heat and set into a mould.

Pear Chia Seed Layer

1. Chop fruit.

2. Combine juice and agar agar in saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook till agar dissolves.

3. Add the pears and simmer for a few minutes. Turn off and add the sweetener and the vanilla (if using chia seeds for this layer add here).

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4. Set on top of the first mixture when the first mixture has ALMOST set at room temperature or refrigerate for a quicker set.

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5.  Cut and decorate with coconut, pomegranate, almonds, etc. *  Spoon beetroot juice around on the plate for decoration.

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Chocolate Topping (optional)

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1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or suribachi and process until smooth adding more liquid till desired consistency is reached.

2. Serve under or with dessert.


Photography ©Paula Kimberley

Vegan Rice and Quinoa Pilaf – Meatless Monday

Move over, Kale. Take a backseat, Brussels sprouts. Enter Quinoa!

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Above: Rice and Quinoa Pilaf with Shiitake, Bean, Kale and Snow Pea dish.

Vegan Rice and Quinoa Pilaf

GF. DF, EF , Vegan, Vegetarian


    • ½ cup brown rice
    • ½ cup white or red quinoa
    • 1-2 teaspoon olive or coconut oil
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric
    • pepper to taste
    • 2 ¼-1/2 cups boiling stock or bone broth
    • ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt to taste or miso
    • ½ cup re-activated almonds, coarsely chopped
    • ½ cup goji berries (soaked)
    • 2 Tablespoon coriander, finely chopped
    • 2 shallots finely chopped

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1. Roast Rice.

2. Heat oil add the spices and cook 1-2 minutes, then add the boiling stock or broth, grains, salt.  Stir and bring to the boil.

3. Lower heat, cover and cook 30 minutes or bake in a preheated 175C oven until fluffy and all broth has bee absorbed.  Mix together.  

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4. Prepare the almonds, coriander, Goji berries and shallots.  Stir into pilaf just before serving.  Serve with Last weeks recipe Shiitake, Kale, bean and snow pea dish.

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Photography ©Paula Kimberley

Shiitake, Kale, Bean and Snow Peas – Meatless Monday

Which vegan food aids weight loss, supports cardiovascular health, fights cancer cells, improves energy levels and brain function, reduces inflammation, and supports the immune system?


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Shiitake, Kale, Bean and Snow Peas

GF, DF, EF, Vegetarian, Vegan


    • 6 tablespoons olive or unroasted sesame oil
    • 225 gr. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps thinly sliced
    • 2 shallots, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 250 gr. snow peas
    • ½ can white beans (drain liquid and save for soup )
    • 2 cups chopped kale or seasonal vegetable
    • 1/2 cup vegetable  stock
    • tamari to taste
    • pepper to taste
    • almonds to garnish

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1. Heat skillet, add 2 tablespoons oil. Add shiitake mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 5-10 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl.

2. Add another 2 tablespoons oil in same skillet. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes.

3. Add snow peas and toss to coat.  Pour broth over mixture. Cover and simmer until liquid evaporates and snow peas are crisp-tender, about 4- 5 minutes.

4. Add remaining 2 Tablespoons oil, and sauté the kale for a few minutes.

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5. Then combine with the snow peas and shiitake mushrooms

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6. Season to taste with tamari and pepper. Transfer to platter and serve warm.

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Photography ©Paula Kimberley

Tony’s Vegan Shepherd’s Pie – Meatless Monday

Our latest Meatless Monday recipe is a Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with a beautiful, crisp mash potato topping.

High in vitamin C, a good source of vitamin B6 and niacin (vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid) potatoes are also rich in minerals, including iron, copper, manganese and tryptophan. In fact, potatoes contain all twenty-one amino acids, which are the building blocks of a complete protein.

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Tony’s Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

GF, DF, EF, Vegan and Vegetarian


3 cups chopped white or sweet potato (skin on)

¼ cup ginger

2 Tablespoons garlic

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups chopped beetroot

2- 3 cups chopped cauliflower

1 cup chopped carrots

Sea or Himalayan salt to taste

miso or tamari to taste

2 cups plant milk (almond, rice, etc.)

3 tablespoon arrowroot, rice or tapioca flour

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1. Preheat the oven to 175 C/ 350°F.

2. Place the potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove the pot from the heat and drain off all but 2⁄3 cup of the cooking water. Use a masher to mash the potatoes well. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and set aside.

3. Heat skillet, add the oil and sauté the vegetables. Lower heat cover and cook till tender, stirring occasionally.

4. Add1-2 tablespoons water or stock at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Cook until almost tender.

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5. Meanwhile, combine the arrowroot, rice* or tapioca flour with the plant milk in a medium bowl, and whisk until well blended. Add the mixture to the vegetables and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with tamari and pepper to taste. 

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6. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a baking dish or casserole dish. Spoon the mashed potatoes over the top.

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7. Bake until lightly browned and set, about 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped shallots, if desired, and serve hot.

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* To increase the flavour of rice flour, toast it in a dry skillet moving it around till it smells nutty. Then add the plant milk and whisk quickly. Season with tamari, salt and pepper to taste and mix into vegetables.

Spicy Ginger Coconut Rice – Meatless Monday

The recipe I’m sharing with you this week is for my delicious Spicy Ginger Coconut Rice with Spinach, Lime and Tofu Sauce. Most frequently used to aid digestion, ginger is believed to increase saliva and other digestive fluids.

Reserve any extra sauce for pasta or use as a topping for a baked dish.

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Spicy Ginger Coconut Rice

GF, DF, vegan, vegetarian

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon sea or Himalayan salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced or gratedn ginger
  • Juice and zest from 1 lime
  • Pomegranate seeds

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Spinach Lime and Tofu Sauce

GF, DF, vegan, vegetarian

  • 1 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 65 grams fresh spinach leaves
  • 85 grams silken tofu
  • 3-4 Tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons lime or lemon juice (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • pepper to taste

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1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the rice, water, salt, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes or until fluffy and all the liquid is absorbed.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and sauté onions until translucent and tender; do not burn. Remove from heat.

4. When rice is finished cooking, add ginger, sautéed onions lemon or lime zest, and lemon or  lime juice, stir to combine.

To Make Sauce

1. Drop tofu into boiling water and simmer 5 minutes. Drain and press out excess water.

2. Put the spinach in a saucepan and cook till wilted. Drain and squeeze out excess water.

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3. Blend tofu, spinach, and shallots. Add lemon juice, tamari and drip in oil till creamy and smooth. Add pepper and taste.

4 Fold a few tablespoons of the sauce into the rice and mould to serve. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

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Plant Based Green Vegetable Pancakes – Meatless Monday

This week I’m sharing my recipe for Plant Based Green Vegetable Pancakes served with a Tahini sauce, which is equally delicious with grains or greens and is handy to keep in the fridge.

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Plant Based Green Vegetable Pancakes

GF, DF, Vegetarian



125 gr. spinach leaves, washed

1 cup (50 grm) buckwheat flour

½ tablespoon aluminium free baking powder

1 organic and free range egg

3 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea or Himalayan salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon cardamom

¼-1/2 cup plant based milk

1 cup thinly sliced spring onions

1 organic and free rang egg white

pomegranate seeds and juice

olive oil for frying

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Tahini sauce 

1/4 cup hulled tahini

1 1/2 tablespoons lime  juice

1 tablespoon tamari (wheat-free, naturally fermented soy sauce)

1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar  (if you don’t have umeboshi you can add an extra

1 tablespoon of lime juice and ½  tablespoon tamari

1/4 cup boiling water

Blend all the sauce ingredients together and set aside.


1. Wilt the spinach in a pan with a drop of water. Drain and when cool squeeze out moisture. Chop and set aside.

2. For the pancakes combine the flour, baking powder, 1 egg, oil, salt, cumin and milk in a large mixing bowl and whisk til smooth and creamy.

3. Add the spring onions, spices and spinach and mix together gently.

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4. Whisk the egg white until it forms soft peaks  and gently fold into the batter.

5. Heat pan, add oil and ladle two tablespoons of batter into the pan and gently press down.

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6. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden.

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7. To serve pile up pancakes and spoon tahini sauce over. Top with pomegranate seeds.

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Seasonal Beetroot and Carrot Muffins – Meatless Monday

One of the things I love to do at the pre-school where I volunteer is garden and then cook what we grow. For this recipe, the children grew the basil, hung it out to dry for a few weeks in the classroom and then we made yummy muffins with it.

A lunch-box favourite and perfect for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. Get out the muffin tray and explore different savoury, sweet and healthy muffin recipes.

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Seasonal Beetroot and Carrot Muffins

GF, DF, Vegetarian
Makes 6


  • 3-4 cups grated beetroot and carrot
  • 1/2-cup olive oil (or melted butter)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted and ground pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 3 organic free-range eggs
  • 1 cup buckwheat or spelt flour
  • 2-3 teaspoons dried basil, cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper (optional)
  • Extra seeds for topping

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  • Measure out dry ingredients
  • Help grate carrot, beetroot into bowl and watch your fingers!
  • Oil muffin tray and/or put muffins liners in tray
  • Put the wet ingredients into the processor
  • Help add the dry ingredients into the wet.
  • Help spoon mixture into muffin trays and sprinkle seeds on top.

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1. Preheat your oven to 180°C oil a muffin tray. You can line the tray with muffin cases if you want to.

2. Mix the dry ingredients together. (We dried the herbs and here the children rubbed them together to make the dried basil).

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3. Mix the grated beetroot, olive oil, seeds and eggs together in a large mixing bowl or food processor.

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4. Add the flour, baking powder and a good pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper. Stir well until everything is well combined.

5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases ¾ full, top with seeds and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until risen and firm.

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6.  Let them cool on a cooling rack before removing them from the muffin tins.

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7. Store the leftover cooled muffins in an airtight container in the fridge. They should last for 5 days in the fridge, or you can freeze them. You can re-heat them in the oven or steamer before serving.


Japanese Alka-Seltzer! Quick Pickles – Meatless Monday

Umeboshi are sometimes called the “Japanese Alka-Seltzer” because they are used in treating digestive upsets like constipation, diarrhoea, bad breath, motion sickness, morning sickness and lack of appetite. They’re also excellent at treating hangovers due to their ability to relieve symptoms of dizziness, nausea and fatigue, and because they’re so highly alkalising.

Umeboshi are a salty and sour plum from Japan that have been used for centuries to treat a wide variety of health complaints and are highly alkaline and antibiotic. In fact, in the 1950s, Dr Kyo Sato, a Japanese doctor, isolated a highly antibiotic extract from the humble plum, which could destroy dysentery (staphylococcus) germs. They are useful in inflammatory stomach conditions like ulcers too, but aren’t aggravating. Umeboshi contain high amounts of citric acid, making them beneficial in fatigue as the sour plums help to break down and excrete excess lactic acid, which may build up from eating too many acidic foods like sugar, refined dairy, refined wheat and other grains, alcohol, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Talking about how to make Umeboshi Pickles at our Plant Based workshop.

Above: Talking about how to make Umeboshi Pickles at our Plant Based workshop.

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Quick Pickles

Plant based, Vegan, Vegetarian


½ cup umeboshi vinegar
1-tablespoon mirin
¼ cup water
Red, white cabbage
½ cup sliced onion
2.5 cm. pieces thinly sliced ginger
½ cup toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

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1. Mix ingredients for the pickling brine together.

2. Cut the vegetables and mix with the brine in a bowl or pickle press.

3. Cover with a flat plate that fits inside the bowl and put a heavy weight on top or use a Japanese pickle press. (See photo)

4. Can be kept for 7-10 days in the fridge or a cool room. Ready in a few hours. Serve a small amount (about 1 tablespoon) with each meal to alkaline your blood, boost your immune system and seed your gut!

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Blue Mountains Autumn Tofu And Vegetable Balls – Meatless Mondays

This past weekend I had the delightful experience of teaching a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) food energetic cooking workshop in the Blue Mountains on a beautiful dry, warm sunny day. As we looked at the beautiful colours and setting sun. we ate lots of vegetarian and vegan dishes together.

One of the dishes that we enjoyed was Autumn Steamed Tofu and Vegetable Balls, an excellent vegetarian protein dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner, which can moisten our lungs.

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Plant Based Pizza with a Difference! – Meatless Monday

By the end of the week I sometimes find my vegetable bins sightly too full of sad looking vegetables and although they look a bit wilted I don’t want to throw them away. I thought I would share with you one of the ways I recycle them into something pleasing and delicious: my plant based pizza with a difference!

This week’s leftovers included: 1 beetroot, ¼ of a pumpkin, 2 sweet potatoes, ½ of the broccoli, some garlic, an opened jar of my Italian go to Tapenade, ½ of a tomato some leftover cashew nuts and of course my staples of miso, salt and pepper.

Note: I cooked all the vegetables the night before while I was cooking dinner. Then put them in the fridge overnight.

Plant Based Pizza

Plant Based Pizza with a difference!

Vegan, Vegetarian, EF, DF


Pizza base

2-3 cups thinly sliced pumpkin and or sweet potato mix

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 cups sliced broccoli

1 cup thinly sliced beetroot

2-3 cups thinly sliced cabbage

Few tablespoons Tapenade (Italian vegetables and olive oil mix)

½ tomato

2 cups raw cashews

8 cups boiling water

¼ cup hot water (as needed)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Lemon juice to taste

Miso to taste

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1. Soak cashews with 5-6 cups boiling water in large bowl. Cover with clean kitchen towel, and let stand 2-3 hours or longer.

2. Cut up all the vegetables Steam the broccoli for 4-5 minutes or until bright green.

3. Sauté the beetroot, cover and cook till tender.

4. Sauté the garlic for a few minutes to flavour the oil. Then add the pumpkin and/ or sweet potato a little water, cover and cook till tender.

5. Sauté the cabbage till slightly tender. Season with salt and pepper

6. Meanwhile drain cashews, then blend or process with 1/3 to 1/2 cup hot water until smooth and thick, like sour cream.

7. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again till almost creamy or until desired consistency is reached. This can be prepared 3-4 days in advance. Delicious as a dip or spread on bread, cover for baked vegetables or salad dressing.

Putting it all together

I used a prepared Organic pizza base that is made with spelt flour. I found gluten free options too, at the local Saturday market, courtesy of Matty’s Healthy Pizza Bases.

1. Pre heat the oven to 230 C.

2. Lay the pizza base on a pizza brick or metal pie base without sides.

3. Spread the pumpkin/sweet potato and garlic layer on.

4. Then top with cabbage and beetroot, broccoli and sprinkle some Tapenade around the whole pizza

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5. Spread the cashew cream over the whole pizza, chop up some tomatoes if you have one and sprinkle with Olive oil.

Plant Based Pizza

6. Bake 7-10 minutes. Serve hot.

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