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Creamy Mushroom Vegan Pasta

Because carbs make you happy, science says. And I’m all about happiness.

Last year on my short trip to Europe I had one of the best mushroom pastas I’ve ever had. It looks like what would have been a dieter’s nightmare – an enormous serving of spaghetti laced with sliced mushrooms, sitting on a glistening pool of olive oil and garlic.

It was delicious! (Insert lip-licking emoji here) I figured that life’s too short to think about calories, especially when you’re in Italy. Rome

This recipe is my attempt to re-create that memory, this time with a bit less oil and a bit more cream. Because who wouldn’t want a creamy mushroom pasta?

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This recipe is very simple to make. You just need mushrooms, zucchini and broccoli (you can also use broccolini, snow peas or asparagus).

The sauce is inspired by Minimalist Baker and is a delicious blend of almond milk, vegan cheese, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and dried chilli. I used a mixture of Miyoko Schinner and Sprout and Kernel vegan cheeses for optimum creaminess but you can use any of your favourite vegan cheeses. If you don’t have vegan cheese, you may be able to replace it with ½ cup of cashew cream.

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Creamy Mushroom Vegan Pasta
 
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A deliciously creamy pasta dish that's cheesy, satisfying and undetectably vegan.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 300 grams dried spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons exra virgin olive oil (I used Cobram Estate)
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced, divided into 2 portions
  • 1 cup sliced Swiss brown mushrooms
  • 1½ cups (200 g) roughly chopped asparagus
  • 150 g vegan cheese, grated (I used Miyoko's Kitchen's Cheese and Sprout and Kernel Monster Cheddar)
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) unsweetened almond milk or your favourite non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Method
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with sea salt. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions, then drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add olive oil, 1 portion of the chopped garlic, and broccoli.
  3. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently until the broccoli is almost tender.
  4. Lower heat on the skillet to medium and add mushroom, almond milk, vegan cheese, the remaining portion of chopped garlic, nutritional yeast, and dried chilli. Season with a generous pinch sea salt, black pepper and add lemon juice.
  5. Taste and adjust flavour as needed, adding more nutritional yeast for cheesiness, dried chilli for heat, or lemon juice for acidity.
  6. Add cooked drained pasta directly to the sauce along with sautéed broccoli and mushrooms. Toss to coat and enjoy immediately.
  7. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a bit of almond milk if it’s dried out.

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If you made this recipe please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below or share a picture and tag me on Instagram!

Love,

Keren x

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Vegan Bolognaise With Walnut And Mushroom

Spaghetti bolognaise is one of my favourite childhood comfort foods. It wasn’t something that our family would eat regularly so growing up, it would be a real treat for me whenever we went out to have spaghetti bolognaise!

I also owe my English language skills to this lovely dish. During my teens, I was studying English at an International College which ran classes on weeknights and on the weekend. It has a cafe that served spaghetti bolognaise amongst a list of Western dishes they had on their menu. There were times when I was tired and didn’t feel like going to class but I would go anyway as I didn’t want to miss out of having spaghetti bolognaise for lunch or dinner after class. It was a great motivator to study English!

Though this vegan bolognaise recipe is miles different to what I had then but it’s delicious just the same. It’s meaty, without having any actual meat in the ingredients, fragrant, mildly spicy and very, very comforting.

 

Vegan bolognaise sauce

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Why I love it:

This dish brings me back to my childhood. I love the aroma and the tast of fresh basil cutting through the richness of the sauce. I love the chewiness and the meatiness of the mushrooms and the walnuts.  And I especially love trying to gently slurp the spaghetti strands from the bowl and attempting to make as little mess all over the chair and the floor. It never works but hey, one can try.

It’s meatless but it’s full of flavour and satisfying . It’s simple to make, delicious and satisfying. It’s also healthy and nutritious.

  • Walnuts are rich in omega-3 which is essential for normal brain function. They are also rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is known to help lower “bad” cholesterol and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. A study has also found that walnuts contains melatonin, which helps with sleep regulation, circadian rhythms and light-dark adjustment.
  • Mushrooms are not only a great meat replacement it’s also great for weight management. They’re very low in saturated fat and cholesterol and also are a good source of protein and folate which supports your brain and nervous system. They are also critical for red blood cell production (folate, iron, copper, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, are necessary for the production of red blood cells) as well as supporting reproductive health in women.

Vegan bolognaise sauce

Vegan Bolognaise With Walnut And Mushroom
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 140 ml tomato paste
  • 4 vine ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 carrots, dice into small squares
  • 350 g Swiss Brown mushroom, sliced
  • 1 ½ cup walnut, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh chilli, chopped
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
Method
  1. Process walnut in a food processor or chop using a knife to a rough crumb
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pan under medium heat. Fry onion for about 2-3 minutes until fragrant and soft.
  3. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add tomato, tomato paste, carrot, walnut, water and chilli.
  5. Simmer for 1 hour until the sauce thick and rich
  6. Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  7. Add mushroom and cook for about 2 minutes,
  8. Turn the heat off, add basil leaves and pour over freshly cooked pasta.

Notes and Tips:

  • For low carb alternative, you can replace the pasta with zucchini noodles by slicing the zucchini into thin strips using a knife, a mandolin or a spiraliser. Toss the zucchini in a pan over a medium heat for 1 – 2  minutes to warm it up.
  • Add 1/2 cup of kalamata olives in place of salt
  • Replace 1 cup of water with 1 cup of red wine
  • Add a teaspoon of dried oregano or mixed dried Italian herbs instead of basil

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram and tag me so I can see your creation

 

Keren x

 

 

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Low Carb Stir Fry Cauliflower Rice

One day I was feeling a bit adventurous and created this recipe. I ran out of rice and I was craving something white, warm, comforting and filling. I had a huge cauliflower which I recently bought so I thought, why not make cauliflower rice.

Cauliflower rice

It is low carb, low calorie, nutritious and most importantly, delicious! I think I had twice the usual amount of cauliflower I normally have (or rice for that matter) because it was so yummy. Success!

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I used my Tefal Cuisine Companion to make this so it was pretty effortless. You can of course make it the normal (manual) way. It will take a bit more time but it will taste just as good.

The first thing you need to do is to process the cauliflower florets into fine crumbs, using the Cuisine Companion or a normal food processor. I wouldn’t recommend using a blender for this. If you don’t have a food processor, just use a cheese grater.

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I used lots of chopped garlic, ginger and cumin to flavour the ‘rice’. You can probably use spring onions or red onions as well for this. I’m a big ginger fan so I used 2 knobs of ginger to give it a bit of a ‘punch’. If you’re not a fan of ginger you might want to cut it down to one.

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Once you have all the ingredients ready, you can just ‘stir fry’ the cauliflower like you would with rice. It’s obviously a lot softer and mushier than rice so don’t expect the texture to be quite the same. It does taste like a cross between mashed potatoes and rice.

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Low Carb Stir Fry Cauliflower Rice
 
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A unique and healthy twist on the traditional asian stir fried rice
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Gluten Free
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 large knob of ginger (a knob would be one of the "arms" sticking out of the main body of ginger)
  • 1 whole cauliflower, cut into florets (around 5 cups)
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp salt
Method
  1. Using Superblade attachment in Cuisine Companion. Process cauliflower florets into crumb at speed 11 for 15 sec. Transfer into a big bowl.
  2. Switch to Chopping blade in Cuisine Companion, chop ginger and garlic at speed 11 for 30 sec.
  3. Switch to Stirring blade. Add cumin and coconut oil into the chopped ginger and garlic. Cook at 130C for 5 minutes at speed 4.
  4. Add cauliflower crumbs and peas. Reduce the speed to 2 and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately.
Notes
For cooking on the stove, use medium high heat and just follow the step in the recipe and stir constantly just as you would when you make stir fry.

 

 

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Fragrant Superhero Fried Rice

When I received a call that my recipe was selected to be part of the Superfoods Kitchen Cookbook, I was over the moon…

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I can’t help feeling proud to have my recipe being featured in this cookbook. Around 200 recipe entries were submitted and reviewed, a number of those were tested and judged by the judging panel of nutritionists and naturopaths for taste and nutritional value and then around 70 recipes made it to the cookbook. I chose quite a difficult category to “veganise” (dinner category) and my most favourite naughty meal to “healthivise” (fried rice). I thought, everyone can make a healthy and delicious salad but I wanted to show how plant-based dishes can be the star of a meal, not just as a side dish, and how comfort food can be made healthy. I really didn’t think I would make the cut but I did so here we are.

The Superfoods Kitchen cookbook, although it is not strictly a plant-based cookbook, it features lots of vegan recipes and recipes which can be easily ‘veganised’. It has over 70 great recipes from savoury to sweets and it caters for all dietary requirements including gluten free, dairy free, nut free and of course, vegan. 

Now on to this fried rice recipe that made it through to the final.

Fragrant Superhero Fried Rice

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I called it fragrant superhero fried rice because when ever I think of the word superfood, it reminds me of the word Superman . So I thought, if Superman was vegan and eats fried rice, what would it look like? So I created the recipe with that in mind. I thought, this fried rice will give all the energy and nutrients a superhero needs to fight the villains and save the day. It’s clean and fresh tasting, simple and easy to make, 100% vegan and delicious, if I may say so myself.

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The recipe features the amazing Brussel sprouts  for anti-cancer, bean curd for a hit of protein, coriander for digestion (and the fragrant aroma), carrots and bean sprouts for fiber, minerals and tasty crunch! It is also highly adjustable and almost foolproof. Use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge, the more the merrier.

Tips: Add the vegetables in order of their weight (heaviest first and lightest last) for even cooking. As long as you stir constantly, maintain the heat (high) and season well, you’ll end up with something tasty.

So here it is. Go and save the day :)

fragrant superhero friedrice

Superhero Fried Rice
 
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Fragrant and delicious supercharged fried rice to fuel the superhero in you.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Vegan, glutenfree
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Vegetables
  • 2 cups of baby Brussels Sprouts trimmed and cut into quarters
  • 1 cup of cooked Brown Rice
  • 1 cup of diced Extra Firm Bean Curd
  • 1 big handful of Bean Sprouts
  • 1 large Carrot, diced
Spices
  • 1 large Shallots, sliced
  • 1 knob of Ginger (about 2cm), grated
  • 2 Green Onions, sliced
  • 6 garlic Cloves, sliced
  • 1 small Red Chilli, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped Coriander
Seasonings
  • 3 tbsp of Coconut Oil
  • 2 tbsp of Light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Vegetarian Oyster sauce
  • 3 drops of Sesame oil
  • ¼ cup Bioglan Chia seeds + 1 tablespoon set aside
  • A sprinkle of ground white pepper
Method
  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok; add chopped onions, grated ginger, garlic and stir-fry until onions turn a nice brown color, about 5 minutes; remove from wok and set aside.
  2. Add 2 tbsp oil to wok, swirling to coat surfaces; add sliced bean curd and stir-fry for 2 minutes until brown.
  3. Add brussels sprouts, carrots, and cooked onion; stir-fry for 3 minutes.
  4. Add brown rice, green onions, and bean sprouts, tossing to mix well; stir-fry for 3 minutes. If the rice is sticking on the bottom of the wok, add a few tablespoon of water (up to ¼ cup) to release it.
  5. Add all the sauces (2 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tbsp oyster sauce and 3 drops of sesame sauce) and ¼ cup of chia seeds to rice mixture
  6. Fold in; add ground pepper and chopped chilli if preferred, stir-fry for 2 minutes more; taste.
  7. Adjust the flavour by adding more sauce or season to taste.
  8. Fold in chopped coriander to finish. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp chia seeds to garnish.
  9. Set out additional soy sauce on the table, if desired.

 

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If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

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Vegan Halloween Edition- Roasted Brain

vegan-brain-1 Halloween. The second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas. What should I say, some people are for it, others are against it. As for me, my last Halloween dress up party was years ago so no spooky costume for me this year. I’m not really into gory stuff so the whole spooky halloween theme doesn’t really appeal to me.  I do however, love pumpkin and themed food so I love the creativity aspect of this event. I remember my last proper Hallooween brunch at Mr.G which was pretty weird and spooky with animal blood, hearts, ants, and other strange stuff. Reading the post again I can’t believe how much I’ve changed, being vegan and all. Eating animal body parts is now history for me. But as is the case with anything, it’s just good to reflect on the past, to see how far we’ve come.

So this year I’m doing a much much kinder Halloween :) Still somewhat spooky but definitely not as scary and weird.

Alright, let’s get into this recipe. It looks like brain, it’s vegan, gluten-free, paleo and it’s easy to prepare. It’s also healthy, tasty and certainly Instagram-worthy. If it doesn’t look impressive on camera, then what’s the point, right?

And right now you’re probably wondering how to create a vegan brain, eh? Well, it’s easy! It’s already out there.

Read more

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Why Brussels Sprouts Are Good, Bitter and The Best Way To Cook them

Honestly, I used to hate Brussels sprouts. Yes I know. Hate is a strong word.

But it wasn’t because my mum used to force feed me with it when I was a child, I mean, we didn’t have Brussels sprouts back home. In fact my first taste of Brussels sprouts vegetarian was here in Sydney, when I was in my early twenties (feels like a long time ago).

Anyway, somewhere, sometime ago, I had it.

It was a bad tasting experience. The dish was bitter and awful. I didn’t like it at all. Since then, I never dared to order Brussels sprouts again. Let alone try to cook it at home.

But a few years ago I gave Brussels sprout a second try at Porteno. I ordered the Crispy fried Brussels sprouts with lentil and mint which was highly recommended by the wait staff. I was skeptical.

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It turned out to be amazing.

It was deliciously crispy, fresh and bursting with flavours. It wasn’t bitter at all. It changed my whole perception of Brussels sprouts.

Fast track to today, I am now a Brussels sprouts convert. I found the best way to cook Brussels sprout, reduce the bitterness and increase the awesomeness of this highly nutritious (and often misunderstood) vegetable.

Before I go on about cooking, please indulge me in taking a closer look at this vegetable and its amazing properties.

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Why Brussels Sprouts Is Good For You

Brussels sprout is a cruciferous vegetable, meaning it shares the same family as cauliflower, cabbage, or broccoli (Brassicaceae).

Brussels Sprouts Contain Anti-Cancer Properties

Cruciferous vegetables contain high sulfur compounds, including sulforaphane, which has powerful anti-cancer properties. It not only helps neutralise and eliminate damaging free radicals, but it is also able to activate the tumor-suppressor genes in cells which are turning cancerous, stopping the cancer cell from growing.

Bitter = Stress

Interestingly enough, the more stressed the plant is, the more sulforaphane is produced. When the weather is too hot or too dry, or when they’re getting chewed on by insects or infected by virus, bacteria or fungi, they produce more of these compounds to survive the unfavourable condition.

So, stressed sprouts are more likely to be bitter, as well as the ones harvested when they are too mature.

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How To Make Brussels Sprouts Less Bitter

Two words; Short and Sweet. Pick them young, cook them quickly and store them for a minimum amount of time. Stressed out sprouts mean bitter sprouts so keep them cold, keep the storage time short and don’t cook them for too long. Easy right?

Best Way To Cook Brussels Sprouts

It should probably read “The Tastiest Way to Eat Brussels Sprouts”

Stir frying – hands down – is the simplest, quickest, best way to cook Brussels sprouts without making it taste like ass. It’s true.

15 minutes to prep, 5-7 minutes to cook, 20 minutes from fridge to table. Take that Jamie!

Crunchy Brussels Sprouts with Ginger and Mushroom
 
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A quick and easy recipe to a delicious tasting Brussels Sprouts. This recipe guarantees to give you crunchy and tasty sprouts while preserving all the beneficial anti-cancer properties of the sprouts through rapid cooking method. Free-radicals be gone!
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 1 big handful of snow peas, string removed
  • ½ red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 chilli, chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy mushroom sauce
  • 1 large brown mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chia seed to sprinkle
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cm ginger
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt and pepper to season
Method
  1. Heat coconut oil in wok on high heat.
  2. Fry garlic and ginger until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  3. Add all chopped veggies except mushroom. Stir.
  4. Add mushroom sauce and water into the wok.
  5. Stir fry until all the veggies are nice and soft (about 5 minutes).
  6. Add sliced mushroom and mix through (the residual heat will cook the mushroom).
  7. Serve immediately with some brown or white rice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a picture on Instagram and tag me on the picture.

 

Keren x