IKEA Veggie Balls – gluten free & vegan

Plant based choices are really taking off and I’m delighted to be finding vegan and coeliac friendly foods in places I wouldn’t usually look for them.

Following a lead from a vegan friend I recently got myself to IKEA to sample their veggie take on the iconic Swedish meatballs.

I have not been dissaoppointed. In the food section before the exit (several packs of candles and mini cacti after I arrived) I found the frozen veggie balls called Allemansr√§tten. You can buy a quite frankly huge bag for only ¬£3.95 so it’s very affordable.

Also very easy, they cook from frozen and take less than 20 minutes. I’ve cooked these tasty gluten free goodies with kale, spinach garlic and green beans and served with hearty brown rice for a summery and delicious evening meal.

Happy IKEA-ing to all!

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Spinach and Courgette Balsamic Tart

I love a pastry based meal. Having just discovered the gluten free, vegan Jus Rol puff pastry I think it’s fair to expect and few simple pies and tarts coming your way from me!

This is one of my favourites. It’s incredibly easy to cook too.

Start by allowing the pastry to warm for 10 minutes when you take it out of the fridge. I’m not sure if this is specific to gluten free or dairy free pastry but is certainly the case on the instructions for this brand.

Whilst the pastry is coming to room temperature wilt down some spinach brining it to a low heat in a large pan. This is also a great time to slice the courgette finely. The thinner the better as they may need to overlap in places.

Roll out the pastry and spread a small amount of garlic paste across the top.

It’s really important to pat dry the wilted spinach. If you don’t get the excess moisture out the tart will be really claggy. Place the dry spinach across the pastry to form a base.

Once covered in spinach layer slices of courgette across the base and top with dairy free cheese. I’m living Daiya dairy free mozzarella for this recipe.

Pop into the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes. At the 15 minute mark I take out the tart and top with balsamic glaze before popping back into the oven for a final 10 minutes.

This is a great summer evening meal suitable for everyone.

The White Rabbit Pizza Co – Smokin Vegan GF

As a coeliac, vegan it’s not been often I’ve found ready made meals in the supermarket. Whilst I love cooking from scratch sometimes it is lovely to enjoy a dinner without any preparation.

Fortunately though as many more people are enjoying the benefits of a plant based lifestyle there are more vegan and gluten free brands emerging. One of those is The White Rabbit Pizza Co. I really enjoyed this pizza and wanted to share that enjoyment and recommendation with you all.

Spicy Parsnip and Coriander Carrot Soup

Two of my favourite winter soups are spicy parsnip and carrot and coriander. This soup combines those flavours and is perfect and enjoyable.

This is another easy dish to cook. Add chopped parsnips, carrots and onions to a large pan. To serve 6 I used 4 large parsnips, 4 large carrots and a white onion.

Add chopped garlic, red chilli and coriander. Then cover with stock and bring to the boil. Using gluten free vegan stock cubes like the Kallo brand means this meal is perfect for my coeliac needs and vegan dietary choices.

Once boiling turn down the heat and cook on a low setting for about an hour so the soup simmers slowly.

Once cooked blend and enjoy the heat of the chilli with the aromatic coriander. Soups like this make me happy to be a coeliac vegan.

Tamari Tofu and Aubergine

Tofu is such a perfect food. Loved by vegans it brings protein and nutrients as well as a tasty staple and focus of a meal.

This meal is so easy cook. Start by marinating sliced aubergine and tofu in tamari sauce. I’m using the Kikkoman gluten free tamari.

Then heat a large griddle pan. To reduce fat I use Fry Light Coconut spray rather than a full oil. Cook chopped tofu and aubergine on the hot griddle turning half way through. It will only take a few minutes to cook the tofu and aubergine.

Just before cooking is completed add chopped spring onions to fry lightly.

Serve with steamed mange tout for a tasty vegan treat.

Butternut and Spinach GF Pasta

An excellent and tasty vegan and gluten free meal packed with tasty and complementary flavours; this is a true treat.

As a vegan coeliac I often do a weekend batch cook to keep me in lunches and ready to go meals. Today I’m cooking up some healthy meals ready for the week.

I’m starting by roasting a large butternut squash. Skin and chop, add to a roasting pan with sage and a little olive oil. Roast for approximately 45 – 60 minutes.

Whilst the butternut squash is roasting it’s time to cook the pasta. As a coeliac is use gluten free pasta. I like the fusili pasta made from maize flour but it is key to have the water boiling before you add the pasta – as well as throughout. Follow instructions as cooking varies dependant on the flour used to form the pasta.

Once the squash is roasted mix with spinach whilst warm until wilted.

Serve the spinach, squash and pasta with vegan feta and cracked black pepper.

Delicious.

McVegan, Helsinki (GF & Vegan)

I had to do it. I had to put aside my reservations and try it. The McVegan soya burger that has made an addition to the menus offered by McDonald’s in Finland and Sweden.

Available with a gluten free bun on request this burger really could allow coeliac, vegans to access fast food and I have to say it is refreshing to find something in the mainstream that’s suitable and not an afterthought.

The hype around this in vegan circles has been huge and it really has been hailed as the best food ever. From my perspective it’s not all that. It’s tasty but personally I found it a bit too “meaty” possibly due to decades of bean and chickpea burgers.

It has a high level of protein (19g) but definitely can’t be confused with a healthy dish (coming in at 462 calories per meal). I’d say worth a try if you are in a one off situation, and I’d love to see more vegan options in the mainstream, but overall I prefer home cooking.