This isn’t a meal you have to prepare in advance, but I do love to have coriander (cilantro) on hand in the freezer at all times. Whilst it’s available frozen in some big and speciality supermarkets, it’s very costly. You can grow your own coriander, […]
Category: sesame free
Tomato Vegetable Sauce The versatility of this tomato sauce is phenomenal. You can use it as the base of any tomato based dish like curry, ratatouille, bolognese sauce or as a pizza or bruschetta topping. You can add whatever vegetables you like, the ones in […]
This low carb bolognese is the cornerstone of our family meals. Pasta has always been a staple of my diet, and as a family we eat it two to three nights a week. Since becoming vegan three years ago, I’ve kept our family’s diet very similar, substituting vegan meat replacements where we would previously have eaten meat.
When I was pregnant with Hannah, I developed gestational diabetes that I struggled with a lot. I ate a meat-heavy, low carb diet that I thought was healthy, but still I gained a lot of weight and felt very unhealthy. I had to manage my blood sugars with Metformin and later, with insulin. I wasn’t able to have the VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) I wanted because of fears my baby was too big, and I was on insulin. I had a repeat caesarean and after she was born, my blood sugar control returned to normal but the consultants told me I was at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, especially if I don’t keep my blood sugar regulated.
I’m pregnant again now and at 16 weeks the midwives are allowing me to monitor my blood sugars at home to see if I have GD again. Even if the results show I haven’t got it, I’ll need to repeat the tests throughout the pregnancy. So I’ve decided to follow the diabetic diet anyway, especially as there’s a little evidence to show that a good diet and exercise can help prevent gestational diabetes from developing.
Vegan Meat Substitutes
For those of us who love the taste and texture of meat, but not the animal suffering, vegan meat substitutes are the way to go. There’s seitan (vital wheat gluten/VGG/wheat meat), tofu, beancurd skin, chickpea proteins (like gram seitan), lentil based proteins (like wadi dumplings), jackfruit, banana blossom and mushroom etc, and of course the good, old-fashioned TVP.
TVP stands for textured vegetable protein and can also be called soy mince or soy pieces. It can come in so many different forms like soy mince/flakes, chunks, nuggets or even “vegan pork slices” which we get from the Bristol Chinese supermarket, Wai Yee Hong – so much love for this place! It’s based on extruded soy protein and is very high in fibre, low in fat and high in protein.
This video by Sauce Stache on YouTube explains TVP really well.
You might find the idea of TVP mince a bit strange, but you’ve probably eaten it before in burgers, Sosmix and even Pot Noodles. It’s so much less expensive than meat and most other vegan meat replacers, and it’s a brilliant flavour carrier. So give this low carb bolognese recipe with TVP a go and see if you enjoy the taste and texture as much as we do!
Low Carb Pasta
A few years ago, it was all about spiralising your vegetables. I spent a fortune on all sorts of gadgets to get lovely long ribbons in all different sizes, machines that invariably were hard to use, fell apart and we lost the various bits of. The one that stuck with me was the julienne peeler, and my last one kept us going for about 7 years. I just replaced it with a slightly cheaper model (click here) which was about £6. You really can’t go wrong! Just be careful not to knick your knuckle, and pull it down the length of veggies such as courgette, carrots, butternut squash, marrow, parsnips, celeriac and swede. Use a regular peeler if you want pappardelle (wide strips) or you’re cutting cabbage.
If you’re not following a low carb/low GI diet, or you’re able to tolerate carbohydrates feel free to use linguini or any pasta instead. Gluten free and konjak pasta would work fine. We often cook wheat pasta for the kids and courgetti for ourselves.
Low Carb Bolognese
Low Carb Bolognese
A delicious recipe that's vegan, low carb, low GI and great for diabetic diets. A firm low-budget family favourite!
By: Nikki Kamminga
- 2tbsp vegetable oil (optional)
- 1 1/2 onions diced
- 3 small carrots peeled and very finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
- salt and pepper (optional)
- 2 handfuls TVP mince, available on Amazon with the link above
- 2 handfuls frozen chopped mixed peppers
- tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- tsp dried oregano
- 2 courgettes
- Step 1 1. Heat oil in a large saucepan – if you’re not using oil, keep some water next to the hob and dry fry on a lower heat, stirring often and adding water as needed. Gently fry the onions and carrots, adding the garlic (if using) once they start to soften, season well.
- Step 2 2. You can pre-soak and simmer the TVP/soy mince if you like but it’s not vital. If you’re in a hurry just add it dry, and a little bit of extra water along with the tinned tomatoes later. Add the frozen peppers and cook until they’re defrosted.
- Step 3 3. Add the tomato puree and cook until it’s well-combined, then add the chopped tomatoes, vinegar and oregano. Add a little water if needed, depending on how thick you like your bolognese sauce. Simmer for 20 minutes
- Step 4 4. For the courgetti, use a julienne peeler to slice the courgettes. Make sure they’re well-washed first, topped and tailed, there’s no need to peel. Place the courgetti in a microwave bowl and just before you’re ready to serve, microwave for one and a half minutes. Check they’re cooked and cook for another 30 seconds if needed.
- Step 5 5. To serve, gently fold the sauce into the courgetti and plate up. You can top with fresh basil, nutritional yeast or dairy free cheese or cracked black pepper. We like to add chilli flakes to ours and the kids love cheese.
- Step 6 6. If you’re not following a low carb/low GI diet, or you’re able to tolerate carbohydrates feel free to use linguini or any pasta instead. Gluten free and konjak pasta would work fine. You can also use spiralised carrot for your spaghetti substitute! We often cook wheat pasta for the kids and courgetti for ourselves.
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This vegan pancetta pizza is mouthwateringly delicious and would impress even meat-loving friends and family. It’s perfect for autumn/fall when the season conjures up romantic images of bonfires and smoky food, toffee apples and fireworks in crispy electric air. The “magic” ingredient is vegan pancetta, […]
Gluten-free vegan omelette which can eat to your heart’s content with this super easy recipe. I’ve been meaning to write out this recipe for ages now because it’s such a staple in my kitchen, it’s vegan, it’s budget friendly and it’s super quick to whip […]
After seeing a post on a vegan Facebook group for ideas for a nice smokey chilli for someone’s omni hubby, I posted the list of ingredients we use in the Smokiest Chilli Ever recipe.
My hubby is the infamous Viking from this video. The one in the green. No spoilers, watch till the end if you haven’t already seen it.
Not only does he love anything hot, he loves food to be really packed with tomatoes and onions. We sometimes put two huge Spanish onions in this recipe.
As for the tomato puree I buy huge catering size tins from the Indian restaurant wholesaler The Sweetmart then scoop it into silicone muffin trays and baby puree freezer containers and when they’re frozen I pop them out into a bag in the freezer. I just top up the bag every time we buy a tin and it works out cheaper than buying in Costco, as their tins are small. Seems like less waste to me and I haven’t got time to be opening tins all the time. I’d do the same with the tinned chopped toms but they’d take up too much room and take too long to defrost. So we buy chopped tomatoes when they’re 25p each in ASDA (KTC brand) at four for £1.
The Smokiest Chilli Ever
Scrummy and packed full of flavour for real chilli lovers
By: Nikki Kamminga
- 2tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1tsp whole coriander seeds
- 1 black cardamom pod
- 1/2 tsp smoky bacon flavour seasoning
- smoked naga (if you like it mega hot)
- 1tsp urfa biber chilli flakes
- 2tsp smoked black beans
- 2tsp oak smoked paprika
- 1tsp cacao powder
- 2tbsp mustard oil
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks celery
- 1/2 cup dry TVP mince
- 2tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- tin kidney beans
- boiling water or stock
- Step 1 Dry roast the spices in a pan and leave to cool. Take out the black cardamom pod and then grind the seeds.
- Step 2 Soak the spice powder and cardamom, chillis, smoked salted black beans, paprika and cacao or cocoa powder in some boiling water or stock while you prepare the rest.
- Step 3 Roughly chop the onions and slice the garlic and fry hard in mustard oil, so they get lots of colour but don’t burn. When they start to soften, finely chop the celery and carrot and add these. Continue to cook until they start to shrink and go softer then add the dry TVP mince and cook for a minute or two.
- Step 4 Add the tomato puree and cook until it starts to stick to the pan. Add a little water if you need to but when the puree is incorporated and has coated it all well add the tomatoes and the spice/chilli mix.
- Step 5 Add more water till it’s the consistency you like and any other veg like red peppers or courgette. Add a lid and cook slowly for as long as possible, stirring occasionally in a slow cooker or pressure cook for half an hour.
- Step 6 Sometimes we add chopped coriander at the end and serve with steamed brown basmati or mixed quinoa, griddled sweetcorn fritters and a ton of nooch.
This super thick greek style cashew yogurt has just two ingredients, is raw vegan, gluten-free, nut-free*, high in protein and low in carbohydrates and low GI. It’s thick and creamy without being super full of fat, plus you can rest assured the fat you’re getting […]
This literally couldn’t be easier and for the microwave-owning vegans out there this basmati rice hack will save you so much time and washing up. You simply get a microwavable glass dish like this Pyrex casserole dish, it doesn’t need a lid but they’re handy […]
Oat milk recipe that’s super easy and dairy-free. Vegan, gluten free, raw, paleo, low fat, low carb and full of yumminess. This no-cook recipe is super quick and gives you a plant milk that goes great on cereal and in cooking. It’s not ideal for hot drinks and needs a bit of a shake before use but it’s the best on budget for DIY milk recipes.
You can strain this through an old (clean) baby muslin but I find if you squeeze too hard the oats come through a bit. I remember my grandmum always used to strain fruit through a fine synthetic netting that she’d had for decades. You can ask around/Freecycle/Facebook selling groups if you like to see if anyone has some going spare or invest in a nut milk bag. They might be plastic, but these are meant to last a lifetime and you can use them for making tofu too. The reinforced stitching stops everything coming through the sides, which happens with muslin, they fall into the bowl meaning you have to strain it all again so the bags are so much easier.
You need a really strong blender for this. I don’t think you have to spend a fortune and we’re on our second generation of Hinari Genie. The first one we had for about four years and we use it at least twice a week, usually more.
cup* oats (any kind)
4 cups water
tbsp oil (flavourless, like rapeseed oil)
tsp agave syrup
Put all ingredients into a blender and blitz for about a minute. You can check it then to make sure you like the flavour, and add more water or oats if you like. Sometimes I end up adding a little more salt which gives it that “milk” flavour. You might want that if you’re transitioning then gradually reduce the amount. You might not need any syrup at all and don’t be afraid to leave out the oil, syrup and salt altogether if you prefer. They’re just for flavour.
NB this milk isn’t fortified so please be careful that you’re getting your calcium and iron and if in doubt talk to a nutritionist. This is NOT meant as a breastmilk substitute, although it’s lactogenic meaning that you might get a boost to your supply if you’re nursing.
*I’m using the term cup in a really loose sense. You can use any cup or mug, just to get the ratio right. Just adjust the oil and salt to taste.
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How do you make vegan “milk bread”? Substitute the milk with oat milk, which you can even make yourself. If you’re on a lupin free diet then carefully check the label of your breadmix and use a trusted brand (I love Carr’s for a simple white […]