Gluten free, vegan Vietnamese rolls

Although I have a very restricted diet due to coeliac disease, allergies and veganism I always wonder why people think I can’t get variety in my food. I love trying new things and thanks to travel, the internet and of course immigration we have so many different cuisines available in the UK.

Today I have used Vietnamese roll rice papers to create beautiful gluten free, vegan rolls using crunchy fruit and vegetables. I found the rice paper rolls in the world food section, the ones I am using are produced and exported from Vietnam but looking online I see the Blue Dragon brand are gluten free and widely available.

They may look like a fancy or time consuming meal but really this is so simple. Start by prepping the vegetables and chopping into baton shapes. I used 2 large carrots, a large avocado, half a mango and half a cucumber in mine and this made 10 super filling rolls.

Then fill a large mixing bowl with warm water. Take one of the dried rice paper sheets and soak it in the warm water for 15 – 20 seconds. It’s important the sheet is submerged or only one side will start to dissolve. The rice paper should become really pliable and flexible once it’s been held in the water.

Spread it out on a dry surface and the. Stack your choice of raw vegetables into the middle of the roll in a rectangular shape. Now comes the folding! I’ve found that it’s best if you fold in the edges that would be the short sides of the rectangle first and really press them down tightly to the vegetables. Then fold in over the paper left on the longer sides and wrap them around.

Repeat these steps as many times as you need to for the perfect number of rolls.

Served with a little sweet chilli sauce or gluten free tamari for dipping these are a healthy, easy treat to help you increase your raw veg intake. So tasty!

Vegan Moussaka

This dish has been reimagined hundreds of times. I can see why. It is tasty, nutritional and warming in the cold weather. My gluten free, vegan interpretation has made me look forward to dinner time already.

Aubergine is key to any moussaka dish. Start by chopping 2 aubergines into slices approximately 1cm thick and cooking the slices on a griddle. I use a little Fry light olive oil, sea salt and chopped coriander to season the aubergine whilst it cooks.

I am going to substitute potato with sweet potato! Lower on carbohydrates and much higher in vitamins and fibre I really enjoy sweet potato and this moussaka is no exception. Peel and then slice 2 sweet potatoes similarly to the aubergine. Place in a saucepan, cover with water and then bring to the boil before simmering for 20 minutes. When the sweet potato slices are soft enough you could break them apart but firm enough to retain their shape you are all set.

Drain and leave to cool with the aubergine slices.

When cooled the fun begins – with layering. In addition to your sliced aubergine and sweet potato you will need tinned chopped tomatoes, chopped garlic and vegan cheese.

Start by pressing a layer of the griddled aubergine at the bottom of a baking dish. Cover with chopped tomatoes, then add chopped garlic followed by a layer of sweet potato and a topping of vegan cheese. I repeat this 3 times and then bake for approximately 30 minutes.

My moussaka is ideal winter comfort food. High in vitamins, vegan and gluten free. This makes a tasty meal anytime.

Spiced Kalette Soup

I love kale and was delighted to discover kalettes whilst shopping. Kalettes are a hybrid of kale and sprouts. They are high in vitamins C and K. In addition like all cruciferous vegetables they have high levels of folic acid and fibre. Perfect for a healthy diet.

Start this recipe with a roasting pan and a warm oven. Add 2 chopped red peppers and a chopped courgette to the roasting dish and spray with cooking oil. I’ve used Fry light sunflower as it reduces the fat content in the dish. Stir through paprika and cayenne pepper and pop into the oven to roast for about 45 minutes.

Whilst the vegetables roast chop white onion, and garlic and prepare stock. I’m a coeliac so I find Kallo reduced salt vegetable stock cubes are an ideal stock cheat as they are gluten free and vegan. At only 6 calories as well they are perfect for a healthy meal.

When the vegetables have roasted combine in a saucepan with the garlic, onion and kalettes. Cover with stock and bring to the boil.

Once the soup mix is boiling turn the heat down and simmer for about 30 mins. It is so hard to wait for this soup to cook because it smells beautiful. Use a hand blender to whizz the soup up and stir. My husband has topped his with a little parmesan but I don’t need it so I’m happy as it it. The paprika, cayenne pepper and garlic are so light it makes for a perfect lunch.

Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

A thick sweet soup with flavour and depth. Sweet potato and coconut is a perfect combination full of comfort, as well as vitamins. 

Sweet potato is a really healthy alternative to potato. Technically sweet potato is not a potato, rather a root vegetable. As such ot is lower in carbohydrate and healthier. Sweet potato is also rich in vitamins A, B and C so it is excellent for an immune boost. 

Start by chopping sweet potato. I actually leave the skin on as it gives texture to the soup when blended. To make enough soup for four people I use two large sweet potatoes. Chop white onion and cover in boiling stock – which I make up from Kallo Reduced Salt Vegetable stock cubes. Bring the pan up to heat and cook on high for approximately 20 minutes. 

By the 20 minute mark the sweet potatoes will be soft and beginning to break apart. Turn the temperature down to a low heat and add a can of coconut milk, or light coconut milk if prefered and continue to cook for a further 20 minutes. 

The next stage is blending. I use a hand blender and it is important to be careful with the sweet potato skin when you blend as it will put up more resistance. I hold the blender directly above the sweet potato skin to blend. 

Once the soup is smooth and blended dish up and enjoy. I’m certainly going to. 

Carrot, orange and chilli soup

Orange is such a happy colour. I’m channelling that happiness into this soup which is packed with vitamins as vitamins also make me happy. 


Carrots are high in vitamins A, K, many if the B vitamins and of course vitamin C. They also contain antioxidants which help to refresh and cleanse. Start by chopping carrots and place into a pan or slow cooker. Chop an onion and add this into the pan. 

Red chilli is recommended as a good to help reduce inflammation, pain and support cardiovascular health. Add chopped red chilli to the soup. Cover with boiling vegetable stock and add 100 ml of pure orange juice. 

Bring back to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer. Cook for approximately an hour or until the vegetables are soft and easy to blend. Blend the soup and serve. 

Vegan, gluten free Shepherd’s Pie (My Christmas dinner special)

It’s early December and as I am hosting Christmas at mine this year I am having a practise run of Christmas dinner. My husband is cooking for himself and the meat eaters and I am doing a special dish for myself and my vegan sister in law.

As a lactose intolerant coeliac it can feel hard at Christmas, you can definitely feel left out when it comes to advent calendars, mince pies and Yorkshire puddings. This dish will almost definitely have everyone feeling jealous of me though.

post-54-photo-1

Ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 cup dried brown lentils

1 cup dried red lentils

1 brown onion

3 cloves garlic

Chopped sage

2 Kallo French Onion Stock Cubes (gluten free and vegan)

1 tablespoon Pure Soya Bread

Start by chopping the onion and garlic cloves and adding to a large pan with the dried lentils and 2 Kallo French Onion stock cubes and cover the ingredients with boiling water. Kallo stock cubes are fantastic as they are gluten free so they tick all my coeliac boxes. The French Onion Stock cubes are excellent for soups and gravy which is why I’m using them in this dish.

Switch the hob to a medium heat and cook at a simmer the lentils and onion  in the stock for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. It’s important to monitor the levels of liquid during cooking. I have had to top up with additional water as the lentils absorb water.

Red lentils will breakdown and lose their shape but the brown lentils should retain their distinct has the consistency of gravy with cooked lentils and onion. It’s important the consistency is quite thick as this mixture is the base of the shepherd’s pie. (see photo below)

Whilst the base of the pie is cooking peel and chop the sweet potatoes and cover with boiling water. Cook for approximately 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft and ready for mashing. It’s important not to over cook the sweet potatoes as they do fall apart much more easily than potato and can lose their nutrients. Although you could use other potato I’m choosing to use sweet potato because they are higher vitamins including vitamin A, C and B6 as well as being full of minerals and potassium. Sweet potatoes are also lower in carbohydrate and one of your 5 a day. In addition they taste great.

Once cooked drain the sweet potato and pop back into the pan with the tablespoon of soya butter and the chopped sage. Mash using either a masher or a fork.

Line a baking dish with a thick layer of the lentil mix, even the mix and then top with a layer of the sweet potato / sage mash. When the layers are even use the fork to create smooth lines which will add crunch when cooked.

Cook in the oven at a temperature of 200 for 30 minutes.

Once cooked this shepherd’s pie is perfect as Christmas dinner. Sweet and festive with the sage and sweet potato topping and with a rich base and garlic. This is home made, vegan and gluten free comfort food at its best.

Truly cannot wait for Christmas now.

post-54-photo-2

 

 

 

 

Nectarine and Apricot, Honey Oat Crumble

As the weather gets slightly chillier I turn to comfort food to get me through. Nothing says comfort more than a hot fruity crumble.

A lot of gluten free crumble mixes and alternatives feel really heavy and gloopy so in this recipe I make my own with gluten free oats. 

I start by preparing my fruit. I’m using fresh apricots and nectarines so I can enjoy that last taste of summer. I chop 6 fresh apricots, first by chopping in half and removing the stone. Then I chop each half into 5 lengths. Apricots provide a great a vitamin boost which I’m counting on to make me feel tough as we move into flu season. They are high in vitamin C but also vitamin A and high in fibre and potassium. Making them a great healthy fruit. 

As with the apricots I chop 3 nectarines by first chopping in half and removing the stone and then slicing lengthways. Nectarines have a lower vitamin content than apricots but complement nicely as they are rich in B complex minerals. They also complement the apricots for taste too.

Then I make the honey oat crumble topping. Start by melting approximately 200g soya butter. I use the Pure soya butter as it is straightforward and doesn’t contain any unexpected ingredients. I melt the soya butter over a medium heat and when melted add 125g of honey. 

I’m in love with honey and so in awe of the many antioxidant and antibacterial properties it has. Eating local honey is said to protect against hayfever reactions and can be ussed in all kinds of healing. In this recipe I’m using a local Yorkshire forest honey and would like to say thanks to the Yorkshire forest bees for their hard work.

Once the honey and soya butter are melted slowly add gluten free oats. Neal’s Yard gluten free oats are a staple of my coeliac diet featuring in most of my mornings. I stir through 200g oats and mix thoroughly with the butter and honey. Place the fruit in an oven proof dish and then top with the oat mixture. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven at 200°.

Once cooked dish up and enjoy. I’m tucking into mine with a serving of soya cream. Perfect gluten free, lactose free comfort food.