Vegan Ferrero Rochers

INGREDIENTS (Makes 12 truffles) 

  • 180g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 80ml vegan cream (Alpro or Oatly) 
  • 90g smooth almond butter 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup 
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of sea salt 
  • 12 whole hazelnuts, plus 60g hazelnuts for the coating, chopped
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

METHOD 

  1. Melt 80g of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) on a low heat. 
  2. Add the vegan cream, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla and pinch of salt and mix well until all combined into one smooth mixture. 
  3. Place this mixture in the freezer for a few hours until it hardens, or leave it in the fridge overnight. 
  4. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the hardened mixture and roll into a ball using your hands. 
  5. Place one whole hazelnut into the middle of the ball and roll in your hands again to make sure it’s completely covered. 
  6. Roll each truffle on a plate of finely chopped hazelnuts until it’s completely coated.
  7. Repeat until the mixture is finished and then place the truffles in the freezer for 15 minutes 
  8. Meanwhile, melt the other 100g of chocolate with the coconut oil (over a pan of water or in the microwave on a low heat), to use for the chocolate shell. 
  9. Remove the truffles from the freezer and use a toothpick or skewer to dip each ball into the melted chocolate. 
  10. Leave on a wire rack with a tray underneath to catch any chocolate drips until the chocolate has hardened. 
  11. Store in a sealed container in the fridge and enjoy!

Vegan Mince Pies

INGREDIENTS (Makes 12) 

  • 225g plain flour 
  • ¼ tsp salt 
  • 65g dairy free butter 
  • 60g coconut oil 
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp dairy free milk 
  • 1 jar of mincemeat (411g) 

METHOD 

  1. Mix together the flour and the salt in a medium bowl. Add in the dairy free butter and coconut oil in cubes/chunks and rub them in with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. 
  2. Mix in 1 tbsp of icing sugar and 1 tbsp of the dairy free milk and bring the dough together. 
  3. Knead the dough briefly in the bowl then cover and chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
  4. Lightly dust your surface with flour and roll out your dough until it’s only a few millimeters thick. Cut out 12 circles (using an 8cm cutter) and place them in a greased tin. 
  5. Spoon 1 heaped tsp of mincemeat into each pastry case. 
  6. Reroll the remaining dough and cut out 12 more (slightly smaller) shapes of your choosing for the pastry lids then place these on top. 
  7. Mix together 1 tbsp of maple syrup and the remaining 1 tbsp of dairy free milk and use this to glaze the pastry. 
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Leave them to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before removing them and letting them cool completely on a wire rack.

White Chocolate Cranberry Bread

INGREDIENTS 

  • 280g plain flour 
  • 1 ½ tsp of baking powder 
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • ¼ tsp salt 
  • 115 g thick yoghurt (or dairy free version) 
  • 2 tbsp oil 
  • 155g caster sugar 
  • 120 mL milk of choice 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 100g cranberries
  • 140g white chocolate, chopped

METHOD 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a loaf tin. Soak the cranberries in enough boiling water to cover them. 
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the yoghurt, oil and sugar together until it’s fully combined before adding in the milk and vanilla. Mix this well. 
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the same bowl and gently fold it into the wet ingredients using a spatula until just combined. The batter should be thick. 
  4. Finally, drain the cranberries and fold them into the batter along with almost all of the white chocolate (save some to sprinkle on top) 
  5. Pour the batter into a lined loaf tin, sprinkle with the remaining white chocolate and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Cover the loaf with foil and bake for a further 5 minutes before removing from the oven. Make sure a toothpick comes out clean. 
  6. Leave to cool before slicing. 

Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

These brownies are a slightly healthier alternative but still fudgy and delicious! They’re also vegan AND gluten free. 

INGREDIENTS (Makes 9) 

  • 100g chocolate (save 50g to fold in at the end) 
  • 35g smooth peanut butter 
  • 45g oats 
  • 15g cocoa powder 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • ¼ tsp salt 
  • 1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence 
  • 170 ml maple syrup 
  • 40g hazelnuts, chopped 

METHOD 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a small baking tin with baking paper 
  2. Melt together 50g of the chocolate and all of the peanut butter together in a microwave 
  3. In a high speed blender or a food processor, blend together the oats, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until the oats turn into a fine powder 
  4. Add in the beans, vanilla, maple syrup and the chocolate peanut butter mixture
  5. Once the mixture is smooth, chop the leftover 50g of chocolate into chunks and fold those in 
  6. Transfer the batter into the lined baking dish and bake in the oven for 18 minutes
  7. Leave to cool before slicing into squares

Blackberry Breakfast Cookies

INGREDIENTS (Makes 10) 

  • 55g coconut oil 
  • 170g honey or agave 
  • 1 egg or flax egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence 
  • 65g whole wheat flour 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • ½ tsp cinnamon 
  • ¼ tsp salt 
  • 180g rolled oats 
  • 115g fresh blackberries 

METHOD 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C 
  2. Whisk the coconut oil, honey, egg and vanilla in a medium sized bowl 
  3. Add in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sold and mix with a spatula until combined 
  4. Add the oats and mix well before folding in the blackberries 
  5. Use a ¼ cup or ice cream scoop to portion mounds of the dough onto a lined baking tray 
  6. Flatten the cookies out slightly as they will not spread 
  7. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the edges are nice and golden 
  8. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes before tucking in 
  9. Store in a sealed container either on the counter or in the fridge if you want them to last a bit longer

Vegan White Chocolate & Raspberry Blondies

INGREDIENTS (Makes 9) 

  • 170g vegan butter (or regular butter if not vegan) 
  • 120g light brown sugar
  • 90g caster sugar 
  • 2 flax eggs or eggs 
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 270g flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 120g raspberries
  • 140g dairy-free white chocolate, chopped into chunks

METHOD 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a 8 inch baking tin with greaseproof paper 
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture turns lighter in colour (make sure the butter is slightly soft before adding) 
  3. Add in flax eggs/eggs, maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix well. 
  4. Add in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix carefully until just combined, don’t overmix! 
  5. Fold in the raspberries and white chocolate, reserving a few for topping. 
  6. Pour the batter into the tin and add the leftover raspberries and white chocolate, slightly pressing them into the batter. 
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the edges turn golden brown and the centre is only just done (if you want them to be gooey!) 
  8. Make sure you leave them to cool entirely in the pan before attempting to cut them into slices. 
  9. Store in the fridge (if they last that long)

Veggie Burgers

You can’t beat a good veggie burger… I find them easy to make, super nutritious & totally satisfying! & this recipe doesn’t require a food processor!


Ingredients

  • 1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed (drained weight 230g)
  • 1 flaxseed egg (1 tbsp flax x 3tbsp water)
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 125g cooked quinoa
  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 garlic salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Method (serves 3)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.
  2. In a bowl, mash the black beans with a fork.
  3. Add the flaxseed egg and tomato purée, then the quinoa, flour and spices and mix with a spoon.
  4. Form the mix into 6 burgers and place on a baking tray.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium to high heat and fry each burger on each side for 1 minute.
  6. Place them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Serving this up with smashed avocado, tomato & lettuce – enjoy!

Are Vegan Diets Healthier?

An estimated 500,000 took part in Veganuary in the UK this year, mirroring the year-on-year rise of veganism. Although the main motivation to move towards plant-based diets is typically for ethical or environmental reasons, there are many reports and anecdotes on the health benefits of such a diet. News outlets often feature reports on how plant-based diets are linked to greater longevity, and reduced risk of conditions such as heart disease.

What constitutes a vegan diet can vary, and could be made of Oreos and oven chips, or exclusively fresh produce from an upmarket supermarket. As such, it is hard to say that a vegan diet is healthy simply for being vegan. But how does a well-balanced vegan diet match up against one that contains animal products?

A HEALTHY VEGAN DIET…

If featuring plenty of fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds, a vegan diet will likely contain a wide variety of micronutrients. These diets are high in fibre, which may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer; and low in saturated fats. In many cases, vegan diets can be nutrient dense without being high in calories.

NUTRIENTS TO CONSIDER

In 2017, a study by the National Osteoporosis Society found that many teenagers and young adults were at increased risk of osteoporosis in their lives due to reducing dairy in their diet. Calcium can be found in in plant-based foods such as leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and fortified dairy alternatives, but can be overlooked. Non-haem iron, found in plant foods, may be less bioavailable than haem iron, the type found in animal foods, such as red meat. Care is needed to include plant-based sources, which includes lentils and beans; hemp and pumpkin seeds and fortified cereals. Ability to absorb iron seems to vary between people quite widely, so some may have better iron levels on a vegan diet than others.

Another key nutrient to think about is omega 3 fatty acids. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are the main source of omega 3s; although walnuts, hemp, and rapeseed oil also contain some of this fatty acid. To get sufficient omega 3s, consuming a source like flaxseed is recommended. If this is too difficult, a supplement may be required, such as an algae capsule.

Vitamin B12 is also virtually absent from a vegan diet, with the exception of fortified foods. As low levels of B12 over a period of time can lead to serious health problems, it is important to either take a supplement, or to be consuming sufficient amounts of fortified foods consistently.

There appear to be many benefits to eating a plant-forward diet, that meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike can benefit from. And a well-planned vegan diet can absolutely be a healthy choice. However, care should be taken to include sources of certain micronutrients. Always speak to a Registered Nutritionist or Dietitan if you are doubtful in regards to how to transition to vegan diet and remember you do not have to label yourself ‘vegan’… You can simply benefit from prioritising more plant foods in your diet.

Remember, you cannot for wrong by simply adding more plant foods to your diet. You do not have to label yourself vegan or vegetarian but can make a conscious effort to include more plant proteins such as beans and legumes etc. as these are highly nutritious foods. Not only can you help support your health but switching out meat products for plants can help lower your carbon footprint too.

 

 

References

  1. https://gut.bmj.com/content/48/5/587
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5335887/
  3. https://www.bda.uk.com/uploads/assets/f2abf0e1-fa59-49db-a0afb1cb1bf9a878/Iron-food-fact-sheet.pdf

 

Contribution from Eleanor Coales ANutr

Veggie Fritters

These are the perfect lunch recipe and are a great way to get more veggies in!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 medium zucchini / courgette, grated
    1 egg (flaxseed if vegan)
  • 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

  1. Drain as much water from the zucchini as you can and mix all the ingredients in a bowl and yield 5-6 fritters.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan and cook on each side for a few mins. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 12-15 mins at 180 degrees celcius.