Kabocha, Spinach, Brown Rice & Miso Broth


In case you didn’t see on Facebook or Twitter- the winner of “Super Healthy Snacks and Treats”, picked out of 101 entries using a Random Number Generator, was…number 7- Janet from The Taste Space! Congratulations to Janet and thank you to everyone for taking part. I’m sorry I couldn’t give you each a copy! If you want to buy yourself a copy or ask for it for Christmas, it’s available from Amazon.com, Amazon UK or through the author’s website.

Now on to today’s recipe!

Kabocha, Spinach, Brown Rice & Miso Broth

So my plan to try all the different varieties of squash out there this winter rather failed. I haven’t made it to the Saturday morning farmers’ market as much as I’d have liked, and when I have picked up squash I haven’t been able to identify them anyway! Recently I spied one I did recognize but hadn’t yet sampled- Kabocha!

Photo Credit: blog.cookingchanneltv.com

Photo Credit: blog.cookingchanneltv.com

Kabocha is an Asian variety of squash, commonly called Japanese pumpkin. I think they’re rather cute, all short and squat, and cutting through the dull green skin revealed a brilliant orange flesh.

As I said, this was my first time trying it, and much as I’d read it described it had a very sweet, almost chestnut-like flavour and was softer and more starchy than other squash- quite similar to sweet potato in texture.

Considering its Japanese roots I thought I’d go that direction with it. I had seen a recipe in The Asian Vegan Kitchen for a side-dish of kabocha simmered with tamari and mirin, and turned it into a complete meal with chewy short-grain brown rice and greens in a soupy miso broth. A bowl of pure, nourishing, comfort food.

Kabocha, Spinach, Brown Rice & Miso Broth

Kabocha, Spinach, Brown Rice & Miso Broth:

1/2C Short-grain Brown Rice
220g/1/2 lb Diced Kabocha Squash (approx 1 1/2” pieces)- Simply remove the seeds and stringy fibres from the squash and dice, leaving skin on.
1T Tamari
1” Fresh Ginger, finely minced/grated
1/2T Mirin
1T White Miso
2 1/2C Vegetable Broth OR Water
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
100g/4oz Spinach
Red Chili & Squeeze of Lime (optional)

Cook your brown rice first (You could also use other hearty grains like barley or farro) per package directions. Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together tamari, ginger, miso and mirin until smooth and gradually whisk into the broth in a large pot.

Add the kabocha and simmer for approx 10 minutes (don’t boil) until the squash is soft but not falling apart. Add the brown rice to warm through and the green onions and spinach to wilt.

Finish with a squeeze of lime, and a little sliced red chili (optional).

Serves 2

Other squash recipes I’ve made this season:

Butternut, Barley & Lentil Pilaf

Linguine with Pumpkin & Chard

Warm Butternut & Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing

Miso Curry Roasted Squash with Crispy Chickpeas & Kale

Chocolate Pumpkin & Cranberry Muffins

Pumpkin Pie

I’m keen to try spaghetti squash too but it sadly remains elusive…

Do you have a favourite variety of squash?

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Sweet Potato, Red Lentil & Sesame Patties with Asian-style Cabbage Slaw

Sweet Potato, Red Lentil & Sesame Patties

Sweet Potato, Red Lentil & Sesame Patties

It’s seemed as if I haven’t had much time on my hands lately and it makes me sad that I haven’t been creating nice things to share with you all! This weekend, today was a dedicated work day, leaving yesterday free for me to spend as I pleased. Clearly I took the chance to indulge in a little kitchen play-time!

I didn’t have any clear-cut ideas of what I wanted to make other than that sweet potatoes were to be involved, but a little experimenting actually produced a rather yummy result. Another lesson learnt from cooking: sometimes it’s better to go with the flow, forget the plans and trust your instincts Smile

Fortunately, I’m also getting better at this cooking note-taking thing so I can actually pass this recipe on to you and remind myself of how to make this meal again too.


I had also picked up a couple of rather lovely looking cabbages at the market yesterday morning, again with no plans for them, so decided to crack into them straight away and made a simple Asian-style slaw. You can’t go wrong with a crunchy, flavourful salad, whatever the season or occasion. Not in my opinion anyway.

Asian Cabbage Slaw:

1/2 Red Cabbage, shredded
1/2 White Cabbage, shredded (Approx 6-8C Shredded Vegetables)
2 Spring Onions, julienned
Pinch of Chili Flakes (optional)
Juice of 1 Lime (Approx 2T)
1” Fresh Ginger, Minced
3T Brown Rice Vinegar
1T Tamari
1/2t Coconut Sugar (or other sweetener)
1t Sesame Oil
1T Neutral Oil
1/2C Chopped Toasted Cashews (optional)

Combine the shredded cabbage and green onions in a large bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. This salad benefits from sitting at room temperature for a while to allow the flavours to mingle and the cabbage to slightly soften. I added some toasted cashews to the leftovers and would recommend it!

Sweet Potato, Red Lentil & Sesame Patties

Back to the main kitchen experiment, or Sweet Potato, Red Lentil & Sesame Patties as I’m naming the result. These are very straightforward but a little fancier and prettier than your average baked sweet potato. Some extra protein and sturdiness comes in the form of red lentils and chickpea flour and a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds and green onions adds more flavour. Served alongside a little lime spiked non-dairy yogurt you’ve got a fun appetizer, or with the cabbage slaw too, a full meal.

Sweet Potato, Red Lentil & Sesame Patties

Sweet Potato, Red Lentil & Sesame Patties:

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes, Baked in their Skins (to yield 1 1/2C Mashed)
1/2C Red Lentils
1/2C Chickpea Flour
2T Sesame Seeds, Toasted
3-4 Green Onions, Chopped
Salt & Pepper

Bake Sweet potatoes if you haven’t done so already. Simply prick them with a fork, place on a baking tray to catch any drips and cook in a preheated oven at 200C/400F for approx 45 minutes, or until soft. Set aside to cool.

Rinse the red lentils well then add to a pan with 1C water. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until water is all absorbed. Set aside to cool.

Remove sweet potatoes from their skins and mash well in a bowl with the red lentils. Add the chickpea flour, toasted sesame seeds, green onions and seasoning and stir well to combine.

Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up a little as the mixture will likely be very soft.

Preheat oven to 180C/350F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a large cookie scoop or 1/4C measuring cup scoop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheet. Using damp fingers flatten into patties and smooth the tops if necessary.

Bake for approx 25 minutes until the surfaces are dry. Leave to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheets as they are a little fragile straight out of the oven. They firm up further once cooled.

Serve with non-dairy yogurt with a squeeze of lime, or your favourite dip.

Makes 10-12

Wishing you all a happy December!

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Chili-Lime Crusted Tofu with Creamy Herbed Rice

Chli-Lime Crusted Tofu with Creamy, Herbed Rice

I typically rely on beans and lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds for the bulk of my protein needs and am more than happy eating this way most of the time. Every now and again though I get a hankering for a good chunk of tofu or tempeh- perhaps the vegan equivalent to an omnivore’s steak cravings?!

Chli-Lime Crusted Tofu with Creamy, Herbed Rice

If you’ve cooked with tofu before it’s almost inevitable that the first few times it was verging on inedible. Learning to cook tofu well is definitely something that took me some time. For the weekly @veganrecipehour chat on Twitter last week (Thursdays 8-9pm GMT #veganrecipehour) we were talking about all things tofu, sharing tips and recipes and so I dug out a few of my favourites from the archives:

Cauliflower Fried “Rice” with Grilled Asian Tofu

Nutty Crusted Tofu, Mediterranean Israeli Couscous Pilaf & Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Cheesy Tofu Scramble & Chipotle Sweet Potato Tacos

The key to good tofu almost always comes down to pressing and marinating. You need to first squeeze out the watery liquid in the tofu so it can soak up your marinade and give it the flavour it doesn’t have on its own.

Chili-Lime Crusted Tofu with Creamy, Herbed Rice

I used a recipe similar to my simple Asian grilled tofu, then added a crunchy cornflake topping spiked with lime zest, chili and herbs before putting it in the oven to get nice and chewy.  In the pictures It’s shown cut into two but I would actually recommend cutting the rectangles in half again to get thinner slices for a better texture.

The tofu is quite spicy but the creamy, herbed rice is a lovely cooling contrast and will soothe your tingling lips!

Chili-Lime Crusted Tofu with Creamy, Herbed Rice

Chiil-Lime Crusted Tofu with Creamy Herbed Rice:

1/2 400g/14oz pkg Firm Tofu, Pressed and sliced into 2 (or 4) rectangles
2T Mirin
3/4T Tamari
1/2T Lime Juice
1/2t Toasted Sesame Oil
1/3C Crushed Cornflakes OR Breadcrumbs
1 Small Chili, deseeded and minced
Zest of 1 Lime
1T Chopped Fresh Basil
1T Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

For the Rice:

1/2C Long-Grain Brown Rice
1/2T Olive Oil
1/4 Red Onion, diced small
1/2 Red Pepper, diced small
Large Handful of Spinach (approx 50g/2oz)
2T Chopped Fresh Basil
1/2C Unsweetened Non-dairy Yogurt
1T Lime Juice
Salt & Pepper

Combine mirin, tamari, lime juice and sesame oil, place tofu rectangles in a dish and pour over this mixture. Leave to marinade for a minimum of 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 180C/350F

Combine cornflakes ( use a food processor or a rolling pin to crush them), chili, lime zest, basil and oil and season well with salt and pepper.

Transfer tofu to an oven-proof dish and top with the cornflake mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Cook brown rice according to pkg instructions. I use the absorption method.

Sauté onion and pepper in the oil until soft (5-10 mins) then stir through the spinach just to wilt.

Add the vegetables to the rice along with the yogurt, basil and lime and again season well with salt and pepper.

Serve alongside the baked tofu.

Serves 2

I’m submitting this recipe to the weekly link-up, Wellness Weekends.

Chili-Lime Crusted Tofu with Creamy, Herbed Rice

If you liked the dish I brought along to the Virtual Vegan Potluck- Vegan Crepes with Date & Orange Compote & Cinnamon Ice-Cream-I’d really appreciate you voting for Coconut and Berries in the dessert category. You can select your favourite for each of the 8 course categories here. Thank you!

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Tofu, Miso, Udon Noodle Soup (for one)


U is for…Udon Noodles!

Tofu, Miso, Udon Noodle Soup (for one)

Udon Noodles are chewy, soft and silky-textured and tied with soba are my favourite noodles to use. You can find them in their dried form and boil them like pasta, and the pre-cooked type which can go straight into your wok or soup pot.

Either way, they’re a fabulous option for a whole variety of dishes, from piping hot noodles in broth to satisfyingly rich stir fries, and succulent salads. Tofu, Miso, Udon Noodle Soup (for one)

This hearty bowl of slurpy noodles was inspired by Wagamama, a Japanese restaurant and noodle bar, and one of the few restaurant chains over here that I really love.  I went a few weeks ago and had a delicious vegetable udon stir-fry but was very tempted by all the warming soups on the menu.

This recipe for Tofu, Miso, Udon Noodle Soup takes just minutes to put together and is great for cold-weather lunch option when salads and sandwiches are less appealing.

Don’t feel constrained by the listed ingredients either. It’s very much one of those dishes which works well with any number of vegetables. Don’t have spinach on hand? Try bok choy or broccoli. No shitake mushrooms? Use a different type. I sometimes also add seaweed for a different flavour profile.

Tofu, Miso, Udon Noodle Soup (for one)

Tofu, Miso, Udon Noodle Soup (for one):

3 Dried shitake mushrooms (or use fresh)
1 1/2-2C Water
1/2t Grated ginger
50g Dried udon noodles (or use fresh)
1/2 Large carrot, julienned
Large handful of spinach
1/2T White miso
1t Tamari
75g Silken tofu, cubed
1 Green Onion, thinly sliced
Drizzle of toasted sesame oil (optional)

If using dried mushrooms, soak in boiling water for at least 30 minutes to rehydrate. Drain (reserving water) and slice.

Cook noodles according to packet instructions, drain and set aside in a bowl

Boil 2C Water (including the reserved mushroom soaking water), add ginger, sliced mushrooms, carrot and spinach and cook for 1 minute to wilt the greens. Remove from heat and stir through miso and tamari.

Pour vegetables and the broth over the noodles. Top with silken tofu, green onions and sesame oil (if using)

Serves 1


pasta please (200x143)

I’m submitting this recipe to the Monthly Blog Challenge, Pasta Please

Tofu, Miso, Udon Noodle Soup (for one)

A few other Udon noodle recipe ideas from the web:

Udon Noodle Salad with Peanut-Lime Sauce

Gingered Sesame-Coconut Udon with Roasted Broccoli

Curried Udon Noodle Stir-Fry

What’s your favourite type of noodle?

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend, and that those who’ve finished their Vegan MoFo posts are having a good break!


Green Curry Tempeh Patties with Coconut-Lime Sauce

Thai Green Curry Tempeh Cakes

G is for…Green Curry Paste!

Thai Green Curry Tempeh Cakes

I ummed and ahed over what to choose for “G”. A rummage in my pantry had me pull out garam masala, ginger, green tea and goldenberries before I found this jar of green curry paste. It’s a bit of a giveaway as to how long I’ve had it that the label is in French. I lived in Paris from January to July 2012 so over a year has gone by since I bought this, and it was unopened! Ooops!

It might seem a rather strange thing to bring back with me but often curry pastes contain shellfish so when I stumbled across this one I excitedly snapped it up. It turns out it’s not actually difficult to find vegan curry paste here after all, but, as you can probably tell, I like to be prepared…

Thai Green Curry Tempeh Cakes

I of course could have just made a curry but I was feeling more creative than that and came up with these Thai Green Curry Tempeh Patties instead. They’re pretty easy to make, with just a few ingredients, including the curry paste. Topped with a zingy lime-coconut sauce I had the full curry experience in a different form.

Thai Green Curry Tempeh Cakes

I had half a package of tempeh to use up so just made a small batch of these. You could easily double the ingredients to use a whole package though.

Green Curry Tempeh Patties:

1/2 225g/8oz pkg Tempeh
1/2T Green Curry Paste
1/2C Shredded Courgette (squeeze out water and measure afterwards)
1 Small clove of garlic, minced
2 Green onions, minced (approx 2T)
2T Breadcrumbs (I make breadcrumbs with any leftover bread and freeze them so I always have them to hand, For GF use GF bread)
1/2T Ground flax seed + 1 1/2T Water
Salt + Pepper to taste

Whisk together ground flax and water and leave to thicken whilst you prepare the other ingredients.

Crumble tempeh into a bowl with your fingers, add shredded courgette, garlic and green onions, Stir in breadcrumbs and flax mixture and mix well, use your hands if you like. You may need another tablespoon of breacrumbs if it’s still very sticky.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat a medium-sized pan over medium heat and add a little drizzle of oil. Shape mixture into 4 patties and cook for a few minutes on each side, until lightly browned. (You could probably bake these for a drier texture but I  haven’t tried it)

Serve with the Lime-Coconut Sauce

Serves 2

Thai Green Curry Tempeh Cakes

Coconut-Lime Sauce:

1 Small clove of garlic
1/2 Chili, deseeded and minced
1/8t Salt
1/2C Coconut Milk
3/4T Lime juice
2 Green onions, finely chopped
2T Chopped fresh coriander

Using a pestle and mortar (or the flat of your knife on a chopping board) smash together the garlic, chili and salt. Stir in the coconut milk and lime juice and finally the fresh coriander and green onions.

Thai Green Curry Tempeh Cakes


I loved these over sautéed kale and quinoa, especially as the greens and grains soak up the tasty sauce.

Now, does anyone have a good Thai green curry recipe?! Or other dishes using green curry paste?

What unopened ingredients do you have in your pantry? It can’t just be me!

Hope everyone’s keeping up with Vegan MoFo now we’re into Week 2 Smile