Vegan Picadillo

Vegan Tempeh Picadillo | coconutandberries.com

Vegan Tempeh Picadillo | coconutandberries.com

I’m guessing that title is pretty mysterious to most of you since Picadillo isn’t all that common outside Latin America, and especially not a vegan picadillo. So here’s a bit of an explanation (courtesy of Wikipedia).

Picadillo (pronounced “Peek-ah-dee-yo”) is a traditional dish in many Latin American countries, usually served with rice or used as a filling for tacos and empanadas. It’s typically made from ground meat (mine obviously isn’t!), tomatoes, spices and other ingredients that vary according to region.

Vegan Tempeh Picadillo | coconutandberries.com

I’ve gone for a Cuban-style Picadillo that includes olives, raisins and cinnamon, which, to my taste buds, actually gives it an almost Middle-Eastern flavour. Though I brought back the Latin feel by serving it with brown rice, baked tortilla chips, guacamole and cashew sour cream. Plantains and black beans are more traditional side dishes.

I’m pretty excited about my recent homemade tortilla chip discovery! I do like the R.W.Garcia brand but they can still be a bit salty for me. To make my own, I just cut tortillas into triangles, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, brush lightly with oil, sprinkle with salt or spices (if desired) and bake at 180C/350F for 20 minutes, flipping halfway.

Vegan Tempeh Picadillo | coconutandberries.com

It’s definitely a weeknight-friendly dinner as it all comes together in less than 30 minutes. You can pull together your side dishes and lay the table while it simmers! 

Vegan Picadillo

Yield: 4 Servings

Vegan Picadillo

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 Small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Red pepper, diced
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, minced
  • 1 Green chili, de-seeded and minced**
  • 1-1/2 tsp Ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp Oregano
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 x 8oz/225g Pkg Tempeh*
  • 1 x 400g/14oz Can Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1/2 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C Raisins
  • 1/4 C Pitted green olives, halved

Instructions

  1. Warm the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper and sauté for approx 10 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Add the garlic, chili, spices and salt and continue to cook for a further couple of minutes. Crumble the tempeh into the pan using your hands (or pulse briefly in a food processor to crumble before adding to the pan).
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the olives, and stir well to combine.
  4. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until thick but still saucy. If you need to reduce the liquid, remove the lid and simmer uncovered.
  5. Stir through the olives and cook for another minute to warm through. Check seasoning. Serve.

Notes

*I used tempeh here and have done so in similar ways before as I really love how it absorbs flavours and retains its meaty texture, even after crumbling. You could also use tofu, though it wouldn’t be so firm, or even try ground mushrooms and walnuts like I did for my Vegan Turkish Pizza.

**I actually used a jalapeno and the resulting dish was very mild. If you’d prefer a little extra heat, I’d suggest using a hotter chili like a Serrano, or else just add chili powder or even cayenne to taste!

http://www.coconutandberries.com/2014/09/16/vegan-picadillo/

Vegan Tempeh Picadillo | coconutandberries.com

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Raw Chocolate-Maca Sandwich Cookies

Raw Chocolate-Maca Sandwich Cookies

Happy Monday everyone! Hope your week’s got off to a good start. However it’s begun, these decadent little cookies are sure to make it better!

Raw Chocolate-Maca Sandwich Cookies | coconutandberries.com
If you follow me on my various social media pages, you might well have seen the new toy I recently welcomed into my kitchen. A dehydrator!

There was a great deal on the Tribest Sedona and I snapped it up. The first thing I made was these easy blackberry fruit roll-ups. These are just blackberries and a few dates blended together in my super duper blender then spread thinly and dehydrated for approx 16 hours. I was so pleased with how they turned out and spurred on by my first success I delved right into raw cookie-making!

BUT, before those of you who don’t have a dehydrator click away, I made sure these cookies can also be made without a dehydrator (and will only be sharing recipes on Coconut and Berries that can be)!

Raw Blackberry Fruit Roll-Ups | coconutandberries.com

These chocolat-ey little cookies are pretty yummy all by themselves but I decided to take them up a notch and sandwich them together with a fudgy chocolate layer.

Maca powder is the special ingredient in this recipe and adds a really unique flavour, along with some health benefits!

Like many superfoods, maca hails from South America and it’s been around for a long time, even being used by the Incas to enhance strength and stamina before they headed into battle.  It’s also very rich in vitamins and minerals and is also supposed to be good for balancing hormones, anxiety and depression.

Raw Chocolate-Maca Sandwich Cookies | coconutandberries.com

As I say, the taste is quite unique but is often described as “malty” and “mildly nutty”. I usually use it in smoothies and especially love it with coconut, banana and obviously chocolate! 

Raw Chocolate-Maca Sandwich Cookies | coconutandberries.com

As with most raw desserts, these are pretty easy to make (especially if you’re making them without a dehydrator) and made with whole, healthful ingredients you can feel good about putting in your body!

Raw Chocolate-Maca Sandwich Cookies

Yield: 10 Sandwich Cookies

Ingredients

    For the Cookies:
  • 3/4 C Almond flour
  • 1/4 C Whole flax seed, ground
  • 1/3 C Raw cacao powder
  • 3 Tbsp Raw maca powder
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut flour
  • 3 Tbsp Agave nectar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 C (+ 1-2 Tbsp) Water
  • For the Chocolate-Maca Fudge Layer:
  • 1/4 C Almond butter
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp Raw maca powder
  • 2 Tbsp Raw cacao powder
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp Non-dairy milk OR water

Instructions

    For the cookies:
  1. In a food processor, or large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (almond flour, ground flax, cacao, maca, coconut flour and salt).
  2. Add the vanilla and agave and pulse to incorporate. Finally, add the water and process or stir well to combine. The flax and coconut flour are very absorbent and will soak up the liquid leaving your mixture very thick. If it looks a little dry, add 1-2 Tbsp more water. Remove to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Roll out cookie dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper/Teflex dehydrator sheets to 1/4" thickness. Using a small cookie cutter or glass, cut out circles from the dough. Gather scraps and repeat process until all the dough is used up.
  4. For dehydrator-free version, lay the parchment paper on a baking tray and place the whole thing in the freezer to firm up.
  5. If using a dehydrator, dehydrate at 115 F for 16 +/- hours, until they are firm but not hard.
  6. For the Chocolate-Maca Fudge Layer:
  7. Blend all ingredients until very smooth. You may need to add a little extra liquid, depending on your blender. I use a Tribest personal blender for small amounts like this.
  8. Refrigerate until cookies are ready.
  9. Pipe or spread fudge onto one cookie, place a second cookie on top and press down lightly.
  10. For the freezer version, return to the freezer until firm. Just leave them to soften for a few minutes on the counter before eating.
  11. For the dehydrator version, store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
http://www.coconutandberries.com/2014/09/15/raw-chocolate-maca-sandwich-cookies/

A big thank you to Creative Nature for providing me with  ingredients for these Raw Chocolate-Maca Sandwich Cookies. You may be familiar with their line of superfood snack bars which have been on the market for some time now.

They’ve recently started selling superfood ingredients so you too can make your own power-packed treats at home! As well as maca, you can get acai, barleygrass, spirulina, baobab, spirulina, hemp protein and more. 

Raw Chocolate-Maca Sandwich Cookies | coconutandberries.com

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Plum & Ginger Smoothie

Plum & Ginger Smoothie |coconutandberries.com

Plum & Ginger Smoothie |coconutandberries.com

Another smoothie today! I never used to be a smoothie person and always preferred chewing my food, but somewhere along the line that changed and smoothies are now an almost daily occurrence around these parts. Maybe that will change once the weather turns…but right now I’m happy to be enjoying smoothies and the first of autumn’s fruit all in one go!

Home-grown Plums

These are the lovely plums from our baby tree last year-almost all eaten by me I think. If you’re not a smoothie person, or even if you are, you should also try my Maple-Oat Plum Crumble recipe from back then.

I haven’t received any plums in my fruit and veg deliveries from home so I’m guessing I lucked out and they’re all finished. Fortunately, there are still plums at the farmers’ markets and shops around here (and I’m sure if you live in the countryside there are plenty of foraging opportunities to be had too) so I haven’t missed out altogether.

Farmers' Market Plums

The Victoria plums I used here are quite sweet and fairly mild in taste, but blended with banana, homemade almond milk, dates and a little ginger ( yes, again. I’m going though a ginger phase obviously…) you have a lovely creamy, just-fruity-enough smoothie which makes a great light breakfast or snack.

Plum & Ginger Smoothie |coconutandberries.com

I think the colour’s rather pretty too!

Homemade almond (or another neutral nut) milk is pretty essential here for the best taste as the creaminess really makes this smoothie. and you just don’t get that from the commercial kind. If you haven’t yet made your own nut milk, please please do try it! It’s not difficult or time-consuming at all- you just need to remember to soak the nuts overnight. Follow the instructions in my Healthy Mocha-Hazelnut Shake post, using almonds instead of hazelnuts.

Plum & Ginger Smoothie |coconutandberries.com

Plum & Ginger Smoothie

Yield: 1 Serving (or 2 small)

Ingredients

  • 1 Frozen banana, chopped
  • 1/2 C (heaping) Ripe pitted plums
  • 1 C Homemade almond milk (See note above)
  • 1" Pc Peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1-2 Medjool dates, pitted

Instructions

  1. Blend everything together in a high-powered blender until completely smooth.
  2. Serve immediately.
http://www.coconutandberries.com/2014/09/11/plum-ginger-smoothie/

Plum & Ginger Smoothie |coconutandberries.com

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Warm Lentil Salad with Sweet Potato & Olives

Warm Lentil Salad with Sweet Potato & Olives

Warm Lentil Salad with Sweet Potato & Olives | coconutandberries.com

Yes, it’s another lentil salad. And as it happens, there are already a few on Coconut and Berries (Butternut & Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing, Quick & Easy Lentil Yogurt Salad, Moroccan Puy Lentil Salad with Carrots & Mint….) But in my opinion, there’s always room for another one, especially when it’s this good! I hope you feel the same way. 

Sweet Potato

This lentil salad really is all the good things in one bowl!  So I’ve just declared my lentil love, but sweet potatoes and olives are other favourites to use in my cooking and it  turns out that they’re utterly wonderful together.

I tend to combine sweet potatoes with warm spices to bring out their sweetness but this time I went for contrasting flavours and paired them with salty marinated olives. The earthy lentils carry the strong flavours really well (I acually find olives a bit much on their own but I really enjoy them in things).

Sweet Potato

It’s all very simple to put together. Sweet potatoes roast pretty fast and lentils cook up pretty quickly. The salad is lovely warm too so it’s only a quick assembling job and you’re ready to dig in.

Warm Lentil Salad with Sweet Potato & Olives | coconutandberries.com

As always, I recommend Puy lentils for salads as they hold their shape better than other kinds, but I went to make this salad and realized I was out so I had to use regular green lentils here. If you use green, just make sure not to overcook them as they can quickly turn to mush!

Warm Lentil Salad with Sweet Potato & Olives

Yield: 4 Servings (6 as a side)

Warm Lentil Salad with Sweet Potato & Olives

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (into approx 1" pieces)
  • 3 Tbsp Olive oil, divided
  • 1 Medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 C Puy OR Green lentils
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme OR 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 C Water
  • 3 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • Heaping 1/2 C Marinated olives
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped parsley
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Toss the diced sweet potato in 1-1/2 Tbsp oil and a sprinkle of salt and spread on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, Stir, then roast another 10 minutes until golden brown and soft.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté the onions in 1/2 Tbsp oil over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the lentils, thyme and water. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered for 20-25 minutes (or 15-20 if using green lentils).
  3. Drain any remaining water and pour into a large bowl. Add the red wine vinegar, remaining Tbsp oil (+ more if you like), parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Add the roasted sweet potato and toss again gently to combine. Scatter with the olives and serve.
http://www.coconutandberries.com/2014/09/09/warm-lentil-salad-sweet-potato-olives/

Warm Lentil Salad with Sweet Potato & Olives | coconutandberries.com

 P.S. I ve just submitted my dissertation so hopefully I’ll be able to get back to my regular blogging schedule! Sorry it’s been a bit quiet lately.

If you’re new to Coconut and Berries, please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere!  I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram (@coconutandberries), Google + and Twitter! You can also follow Coconut and Berries with Bloglovin or Feedly.

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Almond-Oat Flatbread with Tomatoes & Basil Cream (GF, Vegan)

Almond-Oat Flatbread with Tomatoes & Basil Cream (GF, Vegan) | coconutandberries.com

Almond-Oat Flatbread with Tomatoes & Basil Cream (GF, Vegan) | coconutandberries.com

Let’s have one last hurrah for summer! Now we’re into September I fear we may have to accept that summer is pretty much over. Luckily we have tomatoes a good way into September so we can go on living the good life for a bit longer.

Not that autumn’s bad of course. There were some gorgeous apples and pears at the farmers’ market on Sunday (my new local!)…and kale is also coming back into season!

Home-grown Beefsteak Tomatoes

But let’s just take a moment to contemplate the beauty of the tomato. These stunners weren’t actually farmers’ market produce but were more home-grown! They were in the veg delivery from my Mum’s garden along with those carrots that got made into my Maple-Orange Roasted Chickpeas and Carrots. Not all of the tomatoes were hits this year. A couple of the new varieties we tried turned out a little lacklustre and mealy, but these big beefsteak tomatoes were really juicy and flavourful. They were the perfect topping for my flatbread.

Almond-Oat Flatbread with Tomatoes & Basil Cream (GF, Vegan) | coconutandberries.com

I’m calling this a flatbread but it’s pretty different to your typical “bread”. It’s ultra easy to make. No waiting around for rising or kneading dough involved, just a few simple, wholesome ingredients- almonds, oats, flax, salt and a touch of olive oil. I added some chopped herbs I had hanging around in the fridge but they’re entirely optional.

Almond-Oat Flatbread with Tomatoes & Basil Cream (GF, Vegan) | coconutandberries.com

It bakes up nice and crisp and, though it’s fairly delicate, it’s sturdy enough to be able to pick up a wedge and eat it with your hands. I’m absolutely in love with the nutty flavour and can see myself baking up a double or triple batch and turning it into a thick cracker of sorts to serve with hummus or nut butter. Yum.

Almond-Oat Flatbread with Tomatoes & Basil Cream (GF, Vegan) | coconutandberries.com

You really could top it with anything. The sweet sweet tomatoes and basil were a beautiful contrast though and this basil cream is unbelievably simple (just 3 ingredients, including salt!) and makes it all even more delicious.

It doesn’t look particularly large but it’s very filling so is perfect to serve two along with a big green salad.

Almond-Oat Flatbread with Tomatoes & Basil Cream (GF, Vegan) | coconutandberries.com

Almond-Oat Flatbread with Tomatoes & Basil Cream (GF, Vegan)

Yield: 2 Servings

Serving Size: 1/2 Flatbread

Ingredients

    For the Almond-Oat Flatbread
  • 3/4 C Almond meal (just grind whole almonds in your food processor or high-powered blender)
  • 3/4 C Oat flour (I also make my own, just grinding whole oats in my blender)
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Ground flax + 3 Tbsp Water + 1-2 Tbsp Water, if necessary
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp Chopped fresh herbs (optional)
  • For the Basil cream*
  • 1/2 C Cashews, soaked at least 30 minutes and drained
  • 1/2 C Water
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Handful of Fresh basil (I used 12 medium-large leaves)
  • Toppings
  • 1-2 Beefsteak or other Large slicing tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Handful of Fresh basil leaves
  • Basil Cream

Instructions

    For the flatbread:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the flax and water and set aside to thicken.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl (almond meal, oat flour, baking powder, salt and herbs if using).
  4. Add the flax mixture and olive oil and stir well to combine. I find it easiest to use my hands. If it is a little dry and crumbly add a little extra water, half a Tbsp at a time, until it comes together into a dough. It should be a tiny bit sticky.
  5. Roll out between two sheets of parchment paper until fairly thin (1/4cm-ish) and shape into an oblong (or whatever shape you like!).
  6. Remove top sheet of parchment paper and bake for 20-25 minutes, until just beginning to turn golden at the edges and firm to the touch.
  7. Prepare the basil cream while the flatbread is baking.
  8. Simply blend all the ingredients until completely smooth. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate to store.
  9. Once the flatbread has finished baking, arrange the sliced tomatoes on top, drizzle generously with the basil cream and scatter over the basil leaves

Notes

*You will not need all the basil cream but leftovers are great as a dip for crudités or a pasta sauce with a little nutritional yeast stirred in.

http://www.coconutandberries.com/2014/09/05/almond-oat-flatbread-tomatoes-basil-cream-gf-vegan/

Almond-Oat Flatbread with Tomatoes & Basil Cream (GF, Vegan) | coconutandberries.com

Make this Almond-Oat Flatbread over the weekend and don’t forget to share your pictures. I love seeing them. Just tag @coconutandberries and use the #coconutandberries so I don’t miss it!

Oh, and tell me, what fruit or vegetable are you most excited to see in autumn?

If you’re new to Coconut and Berries, please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere!  I’m on FacebookPinterestInstagram (@coconutandberries), Google + and Twitter! You can also follow Coconut and Berries with Bloglovin or Feedly.

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