April 21 2017

How to Make Vegan Sushi at Home

Sushi is a delicious and nutritious Japanese food. Many varieties of vegan sushi can be created using ingredients such as carrot, cucumber and beetroot matchsticks, beansprouts and dairy free cheese.

Vegan sushi rolls can be prepared at home. They can be customised with a variety of fillings to suit your tastes and require very little in the way or special equipment and ingredients. A sushi rolling mat can be bought cheaply online or from some supermarkets even if you do not have an Asian foods shop nearby. It is also possible to buy moulds for making sushi .Or you could have a try at making it without either as shown in this post from The Minimalist Baker (http://minimalistbaker.com/how-to-make-sushi-without-a-mat/).

There are several types of rolled sushi including:

• Hosomaki – “thin roll” – rice on inside, nori on the outside

• Chumaki – “medium roll” – rice on inside, nori on the outside

• Futomaki – “thick roll” – rice on inside, nori on the outside

• Uramaki – “inside-out roll” – rice on outside, nori on the inside

• Temaki – “hand roll” – cone-shaped roll)

 

vegan sushi

 

Vegan Sushi Recipes

I have included a selection of vegan sushi recipes. These can also be made gluten free by using tamari instead of soy sauce.

Nori Maki (Nori Rolled Sushi)

Su-meshi (vinegared rice) is used to make this tasty and increasing available food. It is essential to use sushi rice as other types of rice such as basmati and long grain are not sticky enough to properly hold the rolls together. Sushi rice can be purchased from specialist food stores and some supermarkets. It is often  in the world found isle or in the specialist ingredients section.

A bamboo sushi mat (Makisu) is used to roll the rice and filling covered nori (seaweed sheets) into tubes. It is then sliced into pieces. Fillings can essentially be anything you choose that can be sliced into sticks or strips.
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Temaki

These small sushi rolls are easy to make and are ideal for people unfamiliar with sushi making or for party food.

½ cup sushi rice
2 tbsp soy sauce
½ cucumber (1 cup) peeled, seeded and cut into matchsticks
3 tbsp sesame seeds
4 sheets of toasted nori
Small amount of water in a cup
1. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions. Allow the rice to cool, covered in the saucepan.

2. Toss the cucumber sticks in the soy sauce and set to one side.

3. Cut each of the sheets of nori into 3 strips.

4. Place one strip of nori in front of you on a flat dry surface. Place 1 tbsp of rice onto one end of the nori strip. Flatten the rice a little and add 5 or 6 cucumber matchsticks and sprinkle over a pinch of sesame seeds.

5. Pick up the corner of the nori underneath the rice. Roll the strip tighly until it has all been wrapped around the rice and cucumber. Use a little water to join the nori strip and hold the sushi together.

These rolls could also be made using other vegetables such as carrot matchsticks, beetroot, beansprouts, Enokitake mushrooms or sliced onion. A combination of vegetables could also be used. Vegan cheese spread can also be used as a filling, with or without vegetables.

 

vegan futomaki

Futomaki (Thick Rolled Sushi)

Futomaki are wider rolls made in the same way as Su-meshi. These generally contain more than one filling but can also be made using a larger amount of one filling if preferred.

Serves 4

4 cups of sushi rice, cooked according the packet instructions
4 nori sheets
8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, cut into matchsticks
Cucumber, cut into matchsticks
Carrot, cut into matchsticks

Soy sauce and/or wasabi, optional to use as a dipping sauce.

1) Lay the bamboo mat on a flat surface and then place one sheet of nori on top.

2) Spread a quarter of the rice evenly over the nori sheet, leaving a margin of approximately 1cm at the edge furthest from you. The rice should be about 1cm thick.

3) In the centre of the rice make a shallow indent all the way across horizontally.

4) Fill the indent with the sliced mushroom, carrot and cucumber matchsticks

5) Lift the bamboo mat at one end and use it to roll up the nori sheet around the rice and fillings. Gently roll the completed futomaki roll in order to firm it.

6) Slice the completed roll into 8 pieces with a sharp knife. This can be spaced easily by cutting the roll in half, then cutting each half into half and then half again.

 

Photo credits
Vegetable sushi – anokarina, [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr
Vegetable futomaki – Alpha [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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April 15 2017

Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Fridge Cake (Dairy Free No Bake Cake)

No bake cakes are quick and easy to make and this vegan and gluten free chocolate fridge cake is no exception. These are good activity for young children as they do not require an oven to be used. Fridge cakes can be varied in many ways to suit your individual or family’s taste. Other items such as dried fruits, vegan marshmallows, chopped or whole nuts and flavourings such as mint or orange essence could be added to the mixture.

The finished vegan and gluten free chocolate fridge cake can also be decorated in a variety of ways: for example with fresh or dried fruits, nuts, piped icing (made using icing sugar and water), grated vegan chocolate, vegan chocolate buttons or with any commercially available cake decorations that are vegan and gluten free such as sprinkles or edible glitter.

 

Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Fridge Cake

 

Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Fridge Cake

  • 200g (7oz) vegan and gluten free biscuits
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup or agave nectar
  • pinch salt
  • 100g (3.5oz) vegan dark chocolate, (or vegan milk chocolate if preferred)
  • Strawberries, halved, to decorate

 

  1. Line a container with foil or cling film.
  2. Put the biscuits into a mixing bowl and break into small pieces using the end of a rolling pin.
  3. Melt the margarine, syrup or agave and chocolate over a low heat, stirring.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture over the biscuits pieces and mix well so that they are all coated.
  5. Pour the mixture into the lined container and press down firmly. Place the halved strawberries on top.
  6. Cover and place in the fridge for 3 hours (or overnight is fine).
  7. When you are ready to serve, remove the container and foil/cling film and cut the cake into squares with a sharp knife.

If you have made my vegan and gluten free chocolate fridge cake it would be great to hear what you think or what variations you have given a try. I really like the cake made using mint dark chocolate as I am a big mint fan. My son loves marshmallows so is always happy when we have some to add. Honeycomb is also a really nice addition and makes the cake extra crunchy!

 

Ingredients Profiles For Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Fridge Cake

Cocoa

Cocoa is the substance that is left after cocoa butter is extracted from cacao beans and is also known as cocoa powder, cacao or cocoa solids. This brown powder contains several minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc as well as being rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are believed to be helpful in preventing illness such as heart disease and stroke. Cocoa contains phenethylamine which acts as a mood lifer and natural anti-depressant. Cocoa may also have the ability to boost endorphin and serotonin levels which both increase feelings of happiness.

The flavonoids in cocoa are part of a group of antioxidants called polyphenols. These are particularly high in minimally processed and raw cocoa powder as they have bitter taste and so are removed in some products. An article in Science Daily stated that drinking cocoa can help to fight cancer and heart disease. Cocoa may also be useful in lowering LDL cholesterol, reducing the risk of blood clots, lower high blood pressure and in boosting cognitive performance.

In contrast to all its potential health benefits cocoa does contain caffeine which can have a negative effect on the health of many people. Caffeine can cause insomnia, increase heart rate and blood sugar levels and can result in a physical dependence if used regularly, especially in sensitive individuals.

 

Dark Chocolate

When eaten in moderation dark chocolate has a number of health benefits. Studies have shown that eating a small amount of dark chocolate 2-3 times a week can help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and help to prevent the formation of blood clots. It may also help to protect against hardening of the arteries. The phenethylamine content of dark chocolate encourages your brain to release endorphins which increase feelings of happiness.

Dark chocolate has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain and so may aid cognitive functions. It does contain caffeine; however it is much less than is found in coffee. 1.5oz of dark chocolate contains approximately 27mg of caffeine compared to the 200mg of caffeine contained in an 8oz cup of coffee.

The mild stimulant, theobromine is found in dark chocolate and has been shown to lower the risk of dental cavities (as long as good dental hygiene is followed) as it hardens tooth enamel.

Dark chocolate contains several vitamins and minerals that are needed for good health. These include potassium, copper, magnesium and iron. Iron helps to prevent anaemia, magnesium helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease and copper and potassium are known to protect against stroke and heart ailments.

 

Strawberries

Strawberries are a commonly used and loved fruit, popular with children and adults alike. They are rich in vitamins and minerals including folate, potassium, manganese, fibre, magnesium and vitamin C as well as antioxidants.

Strawberries contain flavonoids, phenolic phytochemicals and elagic acid, all of which help to ensure good eye health and help prevent eye damage and problems caused by harmful oxidants. The potassium found in these berries can also help to correct any issues relating to the pressure within the eyes.

The vitamin C in strawberries is a great boost to the immune system and is a well-known cure for common coughs and colds as well as having a role in the healing of infections. Vitamin C helps the body to neutralise free radicals and prevent healthy cells from becoming diseased or cancerous. The flavonoids present in strawberries have excellent antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties.

Strawberries are a rich source of potassium and magnesium which are both good at lowering high blood pressure. Potassium eases the flow of blood around the body by relaxing the arteries and so helps to keep cells oxygenated and working to their full potential.

 

vegan and gluten free chocolate fridge cake
Photo source – AgelessVisionsPhoto, [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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November 16 2016

Download Gluten Free Vegan on a Budget eBook

Often when people hear gluten free and vegan together their first thoughts are either, it must be very expensive or must be a very restricted and boring diet to have. The good news is that neither of these are true and even when coupled with the need to be gluten free, vegan food can be delicious, healthy and varied. In June 2016 I finished and published my Kindle book Gluten Free and Vegan on a Budget, which is packed full of tasty recipes with are free from gluten and all animal products.

gluten free and vegan ebook

The 56 page ebook contains twenty one of my own gluten free vegan recipes. For each recipe I have avoided using expensive or difficult to obtain ingredients and have instead used foods that are easily available and naturally gluten free and vegan. A few of the recipes do include vegan cheese and gluten free pasta but these are now stock by many supermarkets and health food shops. The recipes also do not require any specialist equipment, although a food processor or blender of some kind is useful.

Most of the recipes serve two people but can easily be made for more by increasing the ingredients. From various groups and talking to others I have found it is common that only one person in a family or household will be vegan and/or gluten free, so it felt more practical to have recipes that could be made in smaller amounts with no adaptations.

Each recipe is accompanied by a full colour photograph of the dish and this book also contains a list of ideas for jacket potato fillings and seven delicious healthy smoothie recipes.

vegan fudge

Recipes featured in the ebook include:

Rice Patties with Stir Fry Veg

Pea Curry

Creamy Mushroom and Leek Pasta

Spicy Lentil Pakoras

Pear and Polenta Cake

and many more.

 

Gluten Free Vegan on a Budget was originally only available for Kindle devices and apps and from the Elderberry Tutorials Etsy shop but can now be bought and downloaded directly from this page. To purchase your copy simply click on the link below. Payments are handled securely by PayPal so you can be sure that your details and privacy are fully protected.

[powr-digital-download id=f345eed6_1479827994156]

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September 13 2015

Dairy and Gluten Free Chocolate Crispy Squares

These dairy and gluten free chocolate crispy squares are suitable for vegetarians and vegans and make a delicious treat at any time. the mini marshmallows melt easier but if you have trouble finding these, normal marshmallows can be cut into small pieces using scissors.

To vary the recipe different types of chocolate could be used including those that contain nuts or dried fruits, These dairy and gluten free chocolate crispy squares are great made using a milk dark chocolate.

Dairy and Gluten Free Chocolate Crispy Squares (Vegan/Vegetarian)

Ingredients

Crispy Cakes

3 cups of rice crispy cereal
5oz (140g) mini marshmallows
¼ cup dairy free spread
½ cup dairy free chocolate or chocolate nut spread
Chocolate Topping

1 cup dairy free chocolate or chocolate nut spread
1 ½ cups dark chocolate (or dairy free milk chocolate)

  1. Measure out the cereal into a bowl ready to use. Line a 15cm baking dish or pan with greaseproof paper or clingflim.
  2. Place the mini marshmallows and butter into a pan and heat gently. Keep the heat low so that they do not burn and stir often until almost completely melted.
  3. Keep the heat turned down low and add the chocolate spread to the marshmallow and butter mix. Stir well to combine.
  4. Stir in the crispy cereal and mix well so that they are all coated with the chocolate marshmallow mixture. At first it may seem like there isn’t enough but as you continue to stir it will cover the cereal fine.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish and allow to cool slightly. Press the mix down to firm up the crispy cakes.
  6. Put the chocolate topping ingredients into a pan and heat gently, stirring until melted and smooth.
  7. Pour the topping over the crispy cakes and spread with the back of a spoon. Allow to harden before cutting into pieces with a sharp knife to serve.

 

Super Easy Homemade Dairy and Gluten Free Chocolate Nut Spread
Ingredients

300g dark chocolate (or other dairy free chocolate)
454g jar of peanut butter

You will also need a lidded container large enough to hold approximately twice the amount of peanut butter.

  1. Empty the peanut butter into a large bowl.
  2. Break up the chocolate into small pieces and melt it, either slowly in a microwave or in a suitable dish over a pan of boiling water. Stir the chocolate every so often.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth pour it onto the peanut butter. Begin stirring the mixture straight away to combine the two.
  4. The spread can be used straight away but can sometimes be a little soft and even runny. Do not    worry about this as it will return to a soft peanut butter like texture.
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May 1 2015

Delicious Banana and Chocolate Wrap

This delicious and quick to prepare wrap is great for adults and children alike using simple ingredients. Many health food shops and supermarkets now sell gluten free wraps that can be used. Some of these are also suitable for vegans.

banana and chocolate wrap

To keep this recipe vegan you will need to chose a chocolate spread that is free of animal and dairy products. There are also several varieties of these available online, in health shop and supermarkets now. Instead of the chocolate spread you could also use a nut butter or a chocolate nut spread. There are several of these that can be bought including those made from almonds, cashew, peanuts and hazelnuts.

 Delicious Banana and Chocolate Wrap

1 wrap
1 small banana, sliced thinly
Chocolate spread
1 tbsp of rice crispy cereal

1. Spread the wrap with chocolate spread. You can use as little or as much as you wish.

2. Place the banana is the centre of the wrap and sprinkle the crispies over the top.

3. Fold over the bottom of the wrap and roll it up.

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October 10 2014

Vegan Protein Banana and Berry Smoothie

Vegan Protein Smoothie

A delicious smoothie with a bit of a vegan protein kick that could be great for a quick vegan breakfast or snack. The smoothie is gluten/wheat/soya and nut free and lasts well for a day or two in the fridge. Be sure to place it in a sealed container or bottle as the berries mean that it can stain if spilt.

Makes approximately 500ml/2 servings

Ingredients

1 cup water
1 average sized banana1 cup summer fruits
1 tbsp. vegan protein powder
1/2 cup spinach

In order, place the ingredients into a blender jug. If your blender has a setting for smoothies select that and blend. If not simply blend the vegan protein smoothie until smooth.

Strain through a muslin, jelly bag or fine sieve to remove the seeds, if desired and serve.

 

Hints and Tips

If you do not have a high powdered blender you may need to remove the spinach stalks before adding them to the jug.

If you like your smoothies thicker you can reduce the water to 1/2 cup. Using a larger banana will also produce a thicker smoothie though will also give it a more banana taste.

For a thinner smoothie simply add more water at the start or after blending. If you unsure how much extra water to add then it is best done after blending as you can stir in small amounts at a time and monitor the thickness easier. Make a note of the total water used for an easier smoothie next time you make this vegan protein smoothie.

If you have a high powered blender capable of crushing ice you can also add 2-3 ice cups to the recipe to thin it or make an ice cold smoothie.

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Vegan Protein Powders

There are several different protein powders available that are suitable for vegans. These include pea protein, soya, hemp and rice proteins. It is also possible to buy a mixed protein that is made from a variety of ingredients including lentils, beans and seeds. Each powder has a different nutritional profile and the protein content can vary, along with the amount of carbohydrates, fat and calories in each serving. Price also vary depending on type and brand. Some of the powders, such as hemp have a distinct taste of their own whereas pea protein for example is more neutral. In some cases vegan protein powders can be bought ready flavoured. These can be great for making quick shakes just buy mixing with water or dairy free milk or can add additional flavour to smoothies and green shakes.

Although not entirely vegan, this men’s fitness site has some more detailed information on many vegan and vegetarian protein powders.

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September 10 2014

Funky Food

Froggy bento
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