Nutty Basil Pesto

I’m sure you’ve realised by now that I’m not one for strictly following recipes. Although I give you recipes with exact measurements here on the blog, I always encourage you to use your taste-bud-intuition, it knows best! While I might like an extra pinch of salt, you might prefer an extra pinch of pepper. This flexibility is particularly relevant for pestos. You can make a vegan pesto with a number of fresh herbs including mint, parsley or coriander. You can also choose the type of nuts you want to use for your pesto too, influencing the texture and flavour. I had intended making a traditional basil pesto but I ran out of pine nuts and used a half batch of walnuts instead. I think I’m kinda’ in love with walnuts at the moment but you could use hazelnuts if you have some.

If there is one rule to follow then it’s got to be that you use your best olive oil for a pesto!

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What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (taste-bud-intuition)
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil (use your judgement, you might need a little more for a looser texture)
  • 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Sea salt to taste

Method:

  1. Place all of the Fresh ingredients and the nutritional yeast into a food processor and mix until you’ve got a coarse paste.
  2. Slowly add in the olive oil until you’ve reached your required consistency.
  3. Season to taste.

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Share and enjoy!

If you try this dish at home please take a photo of it and tag @thetinyvegankitchen on Instagram or @thetinyVK on Twitter I’d love to see them xTx

Caramelised Red Onion Bites

These little savoury treats can be prepared ahead, making them the perfect party finger food that are certain to impress your friends.  And they’re gluten free!

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What you’ll need: serves 6 (2 bites each)

Method:

If you’ll be cooking straight away then preheat your oven to 180°C. Clean the mushrooms and remove the centre stem. Finely chop the stems and fry in a little oil. Put aside for later. Oil a large baking tray and place the mushrooms onto it, giving them plenty of space. Cook for 5mins.

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Remove from the oven, pour out any juice that may remain and start building by adding a little of the tomato basil sauce. Next add some cheese, just like layering a pizza. Then you can add some of the fried stems and finish with some sticky caramelised red onion jam.

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Return to the oven and cook for a further 5mins or until the cheese has melted. Place on a serving plate and garnish with some baby basil leaves.

Share and enjoy!

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If you try this dish at home please take a photo of it and tag @thetinyvegankitchen on Instagram or @thetinyVK on Twitter I’d love to see them xTx

Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Aubergine with Parmesan)

I love Italy, I love everything about it; the architecture, the language, the animated ways of communicating. But I especially love the rituals involved around eating in this stunning country.

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This naturally gluten free dish is one of the first that I cooked on a culinary trip to Lazio, a number of years ago. I guess you could call it a vegetarian lasagne that I’ve veganised. It’s hearty and meaty, its packed with flavour and it’s made in one pot!

I’ve made a few changes to the construction of this dish as I found the layering-lasagne-type method difficult to serve up without it looking like mush on a plate. This new way takes a little more time but it looks so much better served up now so it’s worth it. If you have kids, get them on board with the making, it’s easy and fun!

Now, instead of layering strips of aubergine, I create little rolls:

Involtini di Melanzane alla Parmigiana! Buonissima!

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What you’ll need: Serves 4-6

Method:

Preheat your oven to 160°C. Cut the aubergines length ways into 0.5cm strips. Brush a large oven tray with some olive oil and arrange the aubergine slices. Brush the tops of the aubergines with a little more olive oil and gently cook until they are soft.

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While the aubergines are cooking you can cut the tomatoes into 1cms lengths, dice the vegan pizza cheese and grate the vegan parmesan cheese so that you’re all set up for rolling.

Remove the aubergines and allow to cool. In the meantime spoon some of the basic tomato and basil sauce onto the bottom of a casserole dish.

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Now it’s time to make the rolls, gather up the kiddy troops and set each one a work station…or else you could just do it yourself. Lay each strip of aubergine down with the widest part closest to you. Place one basil leaf on top, followed by a slice of tomato, some cheese and season well with salt and pepper. Now roll the aubergine strip away from you encasing the ingredients inside.

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Arrange in the casserole dish leaving a little space between each one. When the dish is full cover with more of the tomato and basil sauce and finish with some grated cheese.

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Place in the oven and cook at 180°C for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden.

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Share and enjoy!

If you try this dish at home please take a photo of it and tag @thetinyvegankitchen on Instagram or @thetinyVK on Twitter I’d love to see them xTx

Basic Tomato and Basil Sauce

This simple sauce is packed with flavour and there are only three ingredients! I use this sauce in many of my recipes throughout the blog. It’s great as a base for pizza and it’s the sauce that’s traditionally used in Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Aubergine with Parmesan).

What you’ll need:

  • Tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • One onion, finely diced
  • About a handful of basil (1/3 of a shop bought plant)
  • Some Olive Oil for frying
  • Some sugar (optional)

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Method: 

Add a little oil to a large pan and gently heat over a low flame. Add the onions and cook until they become translucent. Add the tinned tomatoes and give it a good stir. Chop your basil and add to the pot. Have a little taste and add some sugar if needed. Simmer on a low heat until the sauce becomes a beautiful, deep orange colour (approx 20mins). Using a hand blender give the sauce a good whizz to smoothen (the large pan comes in handy here as it can get a tad messy). And that’s it! Yum! You can use straight away or freeze.

Top tip : divide the mixture into 6 freezer bags, each bag = sauce for one medium pizza!

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