When it comes to comfort food, especially during the winter months, nothing hits the spot quite like a good Mac n cheese, cheese toastie, shepherd’s pie, pasta carbonara or perhaps a tuna melt. The trouble for me, is all of these contain either dairy, meat or fish. So, I’ve used the time during lockdown to come up with vegan alternatives, and over the next couple of issues I’ll bring you re-worked recipes of all your favourite comfort classics. I hope you enjoy the flavours and, most of all, these dishes help to reduce your meat, fish and dairy intake. Let me know how you get on.

FAKIN’ BACON CARBONARA

WHAT YOU NEED

2 handfuls of cashews soaked overnight
2 onions
5 crushed garlic cloves
Fave vegan bacon
Nutritional flakes (add to taste as cheesy as you want)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Rosemary
Parsley
Malden sea salt and black pepper
Pasta of choice

WHAT TO DO

1. Cook pasta and use pasta water to blend cashews to a cream, adding a bit at a time.
2. Fry onion and garlic, add flakes, salt and pepper, herbs, mustard, vinegar and lemon juice.
3. Add cashew cream and more pasta water if needed.
4. Chop up your fave vegan bacon and add. Cook with pasta for a couple of minutes.


VEGAN MEATBALLS IN TOMATO SAUCE

WHAT YOU NEED

2 cups of oats
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 crushed garlic cloves
Juice and zest of 1 or 2 lemons
1 cup pecan nuts
2 big handfuls of your favourite mushrooms
Tin of black beans
Puy lentils
Herbs (I used parsley)
1 tsp each of smoked paprika, black sesame seeds, cumin, cayenne, coriander
Malden sea salt and white pepper

WHAT TO DO

1. Fry onion and garlic for a few minutes, add food processed mushrooms and herbs, add Puy lentils and mashed black beans.
2. Blitz oats and nuts in a food processor and add to onion and mushroom mix.
3. Add lemon zest, spices, salt and pepper to taste.
4. Mix thoroughly (I also added some chopped vegan pastrami from Sgaia Mheat) and shape into balls.
5. Lightly fry to add a bit of colour and place in a dish.
6. Add sauce and bake in the oven for one hour at 150ºC, but keep checking. Serve with spaghetti.

SIMPLE SAUCE

Passata or tinned plum tomatoes
Large onion
3 garlic cloves
Glug of olive oil
1 tbsp coconut sugar
Malden sea salt

Fry the onion and garlic, add all the other ingredients and cook slowly for a few hours if you have time, if not, ramp up the heat and cook quickly – it will still be good.


PLANT BASED EGG MAYO

WHAT YOU NEED

Vegan mayo
Firm tofu chopped into tiny pieces
Tahini
Dijon mustard
Chickpeas
Red onion
Turmeric, nutmeg, Malden sea salt and black pepper

WHAT TO DO

Add all the ingredients to the chopped tofu, season and serve. It’s that easy!

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