The Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Anda Mtshemla

Pre-vegan me enjoyed chocolate chip cookies so much that I  nearly considered not going vegan thinking that I would have to give up my favourite sweet treat. While I did, for a while, because no cookie was cutting close to the decadent, crunchy-outer-soft-centre biccies that I was used to, I gathered inspiration from all over the internet and poked and tweaked and I’ve found it.

They’re so simple, I almost always already have all these ingredients in my pantry so I’ve found myself making these regularly over the past couple of months, which has been quite naughty of me… But since Christmas is coming up and Santa is on his way, I’ve paired the cookies up with some cinnamon oat milk and I’m going to serve this combo up to Santa on Christmas Eve in the hopes that he’ll forgive me!

PREP TIME: 10mins  COOK TIME: 12-15mins  MAKES: 12

You will need:

1 cup dark chocolate chips/1 slab dark chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup soy milk

1 cup sugar

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

6 tablespoons refined coconut oil

1/2 tsp salt

For cinnamon oat milk:

1 cup rolled oats

2 cups water

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

Preheat oven to 180ºC/350°F

Lightly grease/line baking pan

Cream sugar and coconut oil together

Add milk and stir until well combined

 

Add salt to flour and gradually stir into the wet mix

Gently fold in chocolate chips/chunks

Roll a tablespoon’s worth of mixture into ball and place on tray

Pop into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes

While the cookies cool…

Pour rolled oats and cinnamon into a clean bowl and add water until covered

Leave to soak for 20 minutes or overnight

Once soaked, drain the excess water and pour oats into a blender with 1-2 cups of cold water

Blend for 1 minute

Pass blended mixture through a mesh strainer a few times until only smooth, milk remains

Voila!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Vegan chocolate chip cookies served with cinnamon oat milk

Advertisements

The Kale Chips w/ Creamy Avocado Aioli

by Anda Mtshemla

The kid in me is always looking for fun ways to enjoy vegetables so when I found out that these curly, leafy greens could be enjoyed as chips, I immediately counted myself in.Once baked, their delicate, crispy texture rivals every fried chip I’ve come across.

I had them with a quick avocado aioli drizzled over top and it came out so light and creamy, it didn’t weigh down the delicate crisps.

PREP TIME: 10mins  COOK TIME: 10-12mins  MAKES: 2 servings

You will need:

4-6 leaves of kale

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

For the aioli:

1 avocado

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon salt

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/356°F

Wash the kale leaves and gently separate them from the stalks

Pat the leaves dry with a clean kitchen towel

In a large bowl, add the olive oil to the kale and mix until leaves are well coated

Add the salt and pepper and mix until all the kale has been coated

Spread the seasoned kale onto a baking tray in a single layer

Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes

While that bakes…

Scoop the avocado into a food processor then add the lemon juice, salt and garlic

Blend until mixture is smooth

Add the olive oil and blend until light, and creamy

Generously spoon mixture over chips and serve

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Kale chips drizzled with a light avocado aioli

Check out the health benefits of kale and see why they make such a great alternative to regular chips!

The Carrot Cake Squares

by Anda Mtshemla

Making vegan desserts can be tough since eggs and dairy are usually the centres of most beloved sweet treats. However, from chia seeds and light oils to apple sauce, you’ll find that nature has provided a number of binders for us to use.

In this recipe for a moist, rich carrot cake, I’ve kept it simple and used ingredients that are within arms reach and it’s so easy, you won’t be able to wait to try it!

PREP TIME: Overnight/20mins  COOK TIME: 25-30mins  MAKES: 10-12 squares

You will need:

2 large carrots

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tablespoon of nutmeg

2 tablespoons of cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1 cup soya milk

1/2 cup canola oil/

For cream cheese frosting:

NOTE: This recipe requires you to chill 1 can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure your coconut milk is full fat and made with the fewest ingredients possible. This will ensure that the coconut milk separates and hardens as the recipe requires.

1 can coconut milk

3/4 cup icing sugar

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

pinch of salt

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/356°F

Grease 20cm x 15cm baking pan

Wash, peel and grate the carrots then set them aside

Whisk soy milk and canola oil until well combined

Add sugar and stir until dissolved

Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt mix to the wet mix and fold until well combined

Add the carrots and gently fold into mixture

Pour mixture into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes

Cream Cheese Frosting

Remove chilled coconut milk from fridge

Turn the can upside down when opening to allow easy separation of the coconut water and coconut meat

Add the thick, coconut meat to a mixing bowl and whisk until fluffy

Add the icing sugar and whisk again until well combined

Lastly, add the salt and lemon juice and give the mixture a final whisk.

Spread the frosting over the carrot cake once cooled and cut into squares

Sprinkle a mixture of chopped nuts over top if desired, and serve

ENJOY!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Vegan Carrot Cake Squares with a cream cheese frosting top with an exotic mix of nuts

The Vegan Shopping List

by Anda Mtshemla

When I decided to become vegan, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Despite having been vegetarian for eight years prior to converting to veganism, like many, I wasn’t sure what the difference between the two was. However, after months of trial and error, spending hours reading gibberish-like food labels in between Pick n Pay aisles– I think I may have figured out the formula. You can, of course, tweak this list to better suit your taste but these are a few good staples to have and some of the basics you’ll need to create my delicious recipes with me!

VEGGIES:

Carrots

Baby Spinach

Large-leaf Spinach

Sweet Potato

Butternut

Beetroot

Cauliflower

Mushrooms

Frozen Vegetable Mix (McCain has an awesome selection)

Garlic

Onion

Potatoes

Aubergines

Buying fresh vegetables is very stressful for me since they manage to spoil before I can eat them so I cheat and get what I can frozen. You won’t miss out too much on flavour if you steam your veggies and this way, they’re easy to add to almost anything.

TIP: Only buy vegetables which you know you eat frequently, fresh e.g. I use baby spinach as a base for my salads and smoothies and large leaf spinach in almost everything else, so I always opt for fresh spinach. Also, don’t play yourself when it comes to carbohydrate-rich veggies like potatoes and butternut. These help you feel satiated and manage your caloric intake since when you make the switch to a lower calorie plant-based diet so, stock up!

FRUIT BASKET:

Bananas (lots and lots)

Avocados

Tomatoes

Apples

Pineapples

Lemons

Dates

Frozen Berry Mix (this one from Woolies🙌 )

As with veggies, the same goes for fruit, since it too spoils. So, most of the fruit I buy, I eat very regularly and these fruits are all very versatile and great to have in your vegan pantry!

TIP: Buys fruits and veggies that are in season to keep your spending low and achieve fresh, flavourful!

GRAINS, LEGUMES, SEEDS, NUTS & BOLTS:

Rice

CousCous (great for lazy chefs)

Pasta

Oats

Chickpeas

Kidney Beans

Butter Beans

Lentils

Chia Seeds (great for “chia eggs” and topping smoothies)

Black Beans

Quinoa

Pumpkin Seeds

Dried Currants/Raisins

Nut Mix (I love these from Woolies)

Dried Goji Berries

Dried Dates

Bread (Albany Ultima in “Rooibos & Rye” is my fave)

Tortilla Wraps

Chickpea Flour

These are my favourite ingredients in my pantry because they all leave me feeling very satisfied and satiated after eating them. The legumes are great as you can use them in a variety of dishes and they’re high in protein!

The seeds, nuts and dried fruits are great in oats, smoothies and muesli, and are great for adding crunch and natural sweetness to different dishes.

Be mindful when selecting your pasta, however, as some variations do contain eggs.

SPREADS, SYRUPS & STUFF:

Agave Nectar/Maple Syrup (not to be confused with maple flavoured golden syrup)

Olive Oil

Coconut Oil

Nut Butter (peanut, almond, cashew– whichever you like)!

Tahini (awesome for dressings and adding to sauces)

Sugar

Hummus

I had no idea at first but not all sugars are created vegan! Luckily, South African sugar brands have confirmed that no animal products are used in their sugar making processes, so keep a little in your pantry for baking or adding to your tea.

CONDIMENTS & SEASONING:

B-Well/Taysti Mayonnaise

Tomato Sauce/Ketchup

Dijon Mustard

Soy Sauce

Salt

Black Pepper

Curry Powder

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Curry Powder

Vegetable Stock Powder

Paprika

Cayenne Pepper

Nutritional Yeast

Cinnamon

Nutmeg

Turmeric

Some of the most important items in your pantry. Vegan food, like any food, can be bland which is why I love to transform the flavour of different foods with these ingredients!

TIP: Get the Steers or Nature’s Choice seasoning! It’s a super versatile spice and great for lazy days in the kitchen.

SNACK CUPBOARD:

Popcorn (many microwave variations are vegan-friendly too)

Oreos

Jelly Tots

Skittles

Chocolate (Lindt 70% upwards and Beacon dark chocolate are both fine for vegans)

Gelatin-Free Gummies

Chips

My absolute favourite part of my pantry– and I thought I was going to have to let it go when I went vegan! There are a plethora of other vegan snacks that I have not included here that you can try out too, see them all on the Vegan SA blog.

FRIDGE:

 

Plant Milk of choice (Soy, Almond, Oat etc.)

Coconut Milk

Coconut Water

Sauerkraut

Iceberg Lettuce

Firm Tofu (get it here)