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: garlic 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, […]
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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 is really good for you.
I know there are concerns about cashew pickers in India being paid a fair wage and sensationalist articles that will have you feeling guilty no matter what you eat (avocados being the latest in the firing line). When I was 19 I went to Goa in India where cashew trees were imported by the Portuguese in the 1560’s. where a big portion of their income comes from growing cashews. What I loved was that the outside of the cashew, the fruit, is used to make all sorts of things even though it doesn’t taste that great on its own and it can burn the hands of the workers. So by buying fairtrade you’re making sure the people are paid a fair wage. The rain there is enough to grow these gorgeous fruits, but each one only produces one cashew which is why they’re a little more expensive than peanuts, for example. But for taste, versatility and texture they win out for me as the best dairy replacement.
If you can get fairtrade cashews for under £20/kg you’ve got a good deal, standard ones are about £12/kg.
For this recipe you’ll need a stick blender and jug or a bullet blender and some warm water. As for the magic ingredient, it’s all down to the probiotics. You can, if you prefer, use a tablespoon of any other live yogurt such as coconut yogurt or even dairy, as a starter. If you’re a new vegan and are still using up the last of your diary you don’t need to go out and buy plant-based yogurt. It’s really expensive and that’s why I make it!
The most economical way to start any yogurt though is with a probiotic capsule. Once you’ve made it once you can keep back a tablespoon each time for your next batch (I have a little jar in my fridge for it and hubby is very good at not feeding it to the kids. You can get these capsules in most chemists and health food shops but many of them come in gelatin capsules, made from animal products. So be careful to get vegan ones to make sure they’re cruelty-free.
I like the Veganicity ones that are reasonably priced and say they’re made up of “1.25 Billion Beneficial Bacteria Vegan Megadophilus, which naturally helps us digest our food, plays a vital role in our immune system and impacts on our general health. Beneficial bacteria not only help to digest food, but also have a role to play in immune system function and the production of B vitamins and fatty acids“.
You need to keep yogurt warm for it to work and you can buy special yogurt makers but a cool box or insulated food container will work perfectly too and use zero electricity! We’re going to be using this method to make fresh vegan yogurt in Tanzania because everyone uses these ingenious containers. It means you can cook an entire meal on one charcoal burner and keep each dish hot while you make the rest.
1. Soak the cashews overnight in cold water and they’ll more than double in size. Drain and just cover with hot but not boiling water. Blend really well until you have a fine consistency. No need to strain
2. Add the probiotic or yogurt starter while it’s still warm. You can put in a pinch of salt and a squeeze of agave syrup for flavour if you like, which helps the flavour taste more “yogurty”.
3.Put your mixture in a yogurt maker or in a container floating in warm water in the cool box. The water should be slightly warmer than body temperature. Leave it for 4-6 hours and if necessary change the water so it’s still warm. Body temperature is perfect. You’ll notice it’s bubbling already and slightly sour.
4. After at least 8 hours or overnight (I’ve forgotton them for days and they’re still good) you can refridgerate the cashew yogurt. I like to strain it gently in muslin to thicken it and amplify the flavour.
We love this cashew yogurt in pudding bowls,
*cashews really aren’t nuts, but if you have a severe allergy check the may-contains as some will be packaged with peanuts. Give them a good check after soaking too
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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 […]
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 base that’s affordable and simple), and I’d stay away from gluten free personally if I had a lupin allergy
My trick to making bread, in my opinion, is a bread maker. We usually get a few bags whenever we go shopping and I pop a loaf on in the morning ready for when the kids get home. Usually it’s one of the supermarket bread mixes – and I know, I know, you can do them from scratch, and you can roll them by hand, but you can save that time and energy for other things with a bread maker. They’re more eco friendly than using the oven and hey, you can just be lazy.
I measure out the liquid it says on the pack with half boiling water and half cold oat milk, then it’s always the right temperature. I sometimes add a spoon full of vegan spread, some extra oats, or even mixed dried fruit and hot tea for something I can pass off as a cake.
Vegan Milk Bread
just dump it all in the breadmaker and leave it be!
By: Nikki Kamminga
- bread mix
- boiling water
- oat milk
- Step 1 Follow the instructions on the pack but substitute the water for half boiling water and half oat milk. Put the liquid in first then the mix and choose a regular programme. Stand back and feel proud of making fresh bread that people will think took hours.
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