The Creamy Chicken-Style Spaghetti

by Anda Mtshemla

Anyone with tastebuds will agree that pasta is the greatest invention on this green earth. It’s simple to prepare and can be mixed with pretty much anything and still taste amazing. While pasta is easy to make, there are a few things to keep in mind if you really want to elevate your dish, like making sure to salt your water. And finishing your pasta in your sauce.

This recipe is perfect if you’re looking for a quick meal with very few ingredients. And I’ll show you a simple trick that’ll give you delicious, creamy pasta without having to add any complicated or expensive ingredients.

You Will Need:

250g spaghetti

1/3 cup salt

1 cup brown mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 cup vegetable broth

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups spinach

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Bring 4cups of water to a boil and add 1/3 cup of salt

Cook your spaghetti in boiling water for three quarters of the recommended cook time on the packaging, or until al dente

As the pasta cooks, add the oil to a saucepan then add your mushrooms and allow them to brown. Do not overcrowd the mushrooms

Once mushrooms have browned, add the garlic and stir it through

Sprinkle the flour evenly over the mushrooms and garlic then stir until everything is well coated

Add the broth slowly, making sure to continue stirring as you go

Add spinach to the sauce and stir until wilted

Lift your pasta noodles directly from the water and bring them to the sauce, making sure to add some of the pasta water into the sauce

Stir pasta through sauce and allow it to finish cooking in the sauce

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately

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Saucy Spaghetti ready to enjoy

 

 

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The Vegan Picnic

by Anda Mtshemla

While I would never describe myself as the “outdoorsy type,” I love the occasional hike to witness a magnificent view and most of all, a relaxing afternoon picnic. The best thing about picnics, of course, is the food. The trickiest part about picnics? Also, the food. The food needs to be packable, you should be mindful of it getting soggy or cold but it should still be enjoyable. I’ve packed a simple and delicious picnic basket to give you some ideas for your next al fresco meal.

Sarmies

Sandwiches never fail to make a great takeaway lunch and can be personalised to your taste. Be mindful, though, to skip the tomatoes or any other juicy ingredients that will threaten the moisture level of your sandwich. For this picnic, I packed a mock tuna mayo sandwich on toasted brown bread.

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Drinks

Drinks are the easiest thing to add to your picnic basket because whether they’re alcoholic or not, they’re pre-packed or can be easily transferred and ready to go. For this picnic, I chose a refreshing lemonade and some sparkling Pellegrino to wash down the sarmies.

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Salads

Another picnic basket must-have is a delicious salad. Salads are great on-the-go meals because you can enjoy them cold and if you’re in a rush, you can pop a few ready-made ones into your trolley rather than make your own. Luckily, my dad actually spotted a lovely vegan-friendly pasta salad at Woolies, which was the highlight of our picnic.

Treats

My sisters arrived back from school with an abundance of apples, for some reason, which were becoming a bit too ripe to eat so we bought ready-made puff pasty and turned our nearly spoiled apples into delicious apple pies. These were so easy to make, in fact we made them the morning of the picnic, and made the perfect, light sweet treat after the refreshing meal. I also packed along some fresh fruit I had on hand for anyone still feeling peckish.

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The Fried Falafel

by Anda Mtshemla

Chickpeas and Falafel are synonymous to me– it seems to be all I want to make when I have chickpeas on hand and thus, I’ve learned my way through the art of falafel-making.

My falafel fails have taught me that no matter how you prepare it be it baked, fried or seared, the true test is flavour and once you master that you can only go up from here, my friend.

You Will Need:

1 tin chickpeas drained

1 handful coriander, chopped

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour/chickpea flour

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

Method:

Add chickpeas, coriander, onion, garlic and spices to blender and blend until roughly combined, not entirely smooth

Transfer mix to bowl and add flour

Stir in flour until well combined

Use tablespoon-worth of mix to form balls and place them on a lined baking tray

Place tray in freezer and allow balls to set for at least 30 mins

Heat a deep pot with sunflower/canola oil

Once oil is medium/high heat, place falafel balls and fry until firm and golden

Place on paper towel to drain excess oil and cool

Once cooled, add to sandwiches, pitas or simply serve drizzled with tahini or your favourite sauce

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Vegan Falafel with fresh coriander

 

 

 

The Stuffed Gem Squash

by Anda Mtshemla

Like most people, I’m still working on improving my relationship with veggies. I could likely count on one hand the number of vegetables I actually eat for enjoyment rather than for nutritional value. Gem squash, I must say, is not on the “eating for enjoyment” list. In fact, I find it a little obscure and kind of an annoying vegetable. Okay, so you’re like, a tiny pumpkin? Congratulations on being the bland, underachieving member of the squash family.

Gem squash, I must say, is not on the “eating for enjoyment” list. In fact, I find it a little obscure and kind of an annoying vegetable. Like, okay, you’re a tiny pumpkin? Congratulations on being the bland, underachieving member of the squash family.

All squash comparisons aside though, even I have found a way to enjoy this veggie that always finds it’s way into my mom’s pantry and stares me in the face, practically daring me to love eating it.

You will need:

3 gem squash, halved

1 cup white quinoa

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1 red onion, diced

2 cups vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

nutritional yeast (optional)

Method:

Scoop out the seeds of each half of gem squash

Season each with salt and pepper

Place each half, face down, onto a baking tray

Place into 180°C oven for 15-20mins

while those bake away…

Over medium heat, cook your onions  in a saucepan until translucent

Add mushrooms and stir until all is cooked

Set the onion and mushrooms aside

Add quinoa to saucepan along with half of the vegetable stock

Stir quinoa until stock is absorbed then add the remainder of the stock, cover and leave to simmer until fully absorbed

Spoon quinoa into gem squash halves and top each one with the onion and mushroom mixture

Sprinkle nutritional yeast over top if desired and serve

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Quinoa stuffed gem squash, which I dared to make delicious

 

 

The 3-Ingredient Quinoa Risotto

by Anda Mtshemla

I know. You’re probably rolling your eyes wondering what kind of click-bait I’ve led you to now, but this is not a drill. You really do only need three essential ingredients to create this creamy and flavour packed risotto.

We’re using quinoa, so you’re not going to need to slave over the stove as you would with regular risotto, and you get to reap the health benefits of adding quinoa to your diet!

You will need:

1 cup white quinoa

450ml vegetable stock

1 cup chopped mushrooms

Method:

Place a large frying pan over medium-high heat

Pour the quinoa into pan and stir gently for 1 minute

Add a splash of stock and stir until combined

Pour half of the stock in the pan and stir until stock has absorbed

Add the mushrooms and combine well with quinoa

Pour in the remaining stock and allow mixture to simmer for 8-10minutes, or until stock has absorbed

Serve immediately as is, or add fresh thyme to garnish.

 

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Creamy mushroom and quinoa risotto served with fresh thyme

 

 

The Sweet Bean Chilli

by Anda Mtshemla

After a month of raw eating, I really craved something warm and hearty, and what better way to really get back into hot meals than making something spicy. This is one of my favourite meals to make because it’s flavourful and satiating but requires minimal effort—Perfect for the lazy chefs!

You will need:

1 can Red Kidney Beans

1 can Lentils

1 can Butter Beans

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon mustard

1 table spoon garlic

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

½ cup water

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

Another great thing about this recipe is that its packed with protein and you can use any beans you fancy, but I recommend you do not skip the lentils!

Method:

Place a large pot over medium heat

Add a splash of water along with the tomato paste and garlic then stir until combined

Pour in the diced tomatoes and add water until they have cooked down

Add the mustard, sugar and apple cider vinegar then stir until combined

Thoroughly rinse and drain all your beans and add them to the pot along with the cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste

Stir until well combined then add the remaining water

Leave to simmer very gently for 10 minutes

Serve with your grain of choice, fresh coriander and sliced jalapenos

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Sweet Bean Chilli served fresh coriander and sliced jalapenos

 

The Mushroom Ceviche

by Anda Mtshemla

On my very first evening eating a raw vegan diet, I tried to think of well-known recipes that are enjoyed raw anyway and popular South-American dish, ceviche, was amongst the first things that came to mind. Typically made with fish, onions, and tomatoes, ceviche is marinated in fresh lemon and lime juice which changes the proteins in the fish and essentially “cooking” it.

I’ve used the same technique, replacing the fish with mushrooms, making it vegan-friendly. On any other occasion, I may have eaten the ceviche with a tortilla but for 24Karrots’ Raw Vegan Month, I swapped those out for some crunchy cos lettuce and added a few toppings for extra flavour. The result was fresh, flavourful and delicious!

PREP TIME: 25mins  COOK TIME: 0mins  MAKES: 1 serving

You will need:

Juice of ½ lime

Juice of ½ lemon

½ teaspoon Himalayan rock salt

1 red onion, sliced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

toppings (optional):

cucumber

tomato

freshly chopped coriander

garlic, minced

Method:

Place the mushrooms and onions in a glass or ceramic bowl

Pour the lemon and lime juice over the mushroom and onion mixture and add salt

Allow to sit for 20 minutes

Once ready, scoop the mixture into the cos lettuce and add toppings if desired

 

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Mushroom ceviche served on a cos lettuce leaf

The ‘Tuna’ Mayo Sandwich

by Anda Mtshemla

By the time I can sit down to enjoy lunch, it’s usually too close to dinner to whip up anything fancy, but it’s too early for dinner but I’m too hungry to wait. This easy mock tuna mix is great for that in-between meals time (or anytime) and will keep you satiated until your next meal.

PREP TIME: 10mins  COOK TIME: 0mins MAKES: 3-4

You will need:

2 slices of bread

4 tablespoons vegan mayo 

1 can chickpeas

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 stalk of celery, chopped

1 tomato, diced

kelp/nori (optional)

Method:

Pop the bread into the toaster and mash your chickpeas while it toasts

Once your chickpeas are mashed (it doesn’t have to be perfect, a few whole chickpeas will give the mix some texture), add your mayo, kelp, salt, pepper and celery

Spread the mix onto a slice of the toasted bread and sprinkle the diced tomatoes over top

Crack on a bit of salt and pepper if desired

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This vegan tuna sandwich is great for a light, delicious lunch