Ascension Kitchen https://ascensionkitchen.com Raw and plant-based whole foods Tue, 16 Jan 2018 02:28:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Rainbow Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce https://ascensionkitchen.com/rainbow-summer-rolls-with-spicy-peanut-lime-dipping-sauce/ https://ascensionkitchen.com/rainbow-summer-rolls-with-spicy-peanut-lime-dipping-sauce/#respond Fri, 12 Jan 2018 00:00:26 +0000 https://ascensionkitchen.com/?p=9981 | Beat the heat with these antioxidant-packed Rainbow Summer Rolls and one seriously delicious Spicy Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce. Things I’ve done this summer: narrowly avoided sunburn, taken almost daily walks, had far too many coffees, swung on the playground swings for a good half hour every other morning even though the seat hurt my […]

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Close up of summer rice paper rolls filled with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables on marble counter

Beat the heat with these antioxidant-packed Rainbow Summer Rolls and one seriously delicious Spicy Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce.

Things I’ve done this summer: narrowly avoided sunburn, taken almost daily walks, had far too many coffees, swung on the playground swings for a good half hour every other morning even though the seat hurt my butt, had never ending family dinners and picnics, watched the new Star Wars (with only two pee-breaks), planted some new passionfruit, harvested my chamomile, calendula and peppermint (and dried them ready for tea blends and cream-making), put on a few (whoops, damn you Christmas fruit cake), introduced my 14-month old neice to the art of drawing on oneself (soz, sis), dipped a toe in the ocean (water wimp right here), and made multiple summer rice paper rolls for dinner. A holiday well spent!

Today’s recipe may not be revolutionary – the classic summer roll – but the dipping sauce certainly is. And in my opinion, it’s always the sauces and dressings that take a meal from yum to HOLY YUM.

I’m also going to share the art of rolling said summer rolls, because let me tell you, there most certainly is a knack to it.

Before we begin, I’m sure I don’t have to extoll the virtues of this recipe, but I’m going to anyway – because mine are rainbow summer rolls and they are packed full of goodies.


Antioxidant-packed Rainbow Summer Rolls with a Spicy Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce - find them here!
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A rainbow of finely sliced fresh fruits and vegetables laid out decoratively on a marble counter, destined for summer rolls

Nutritional Highlights

  • Eat the rainbow! It is the phytonutrient content of brightly coloured raw fruits and vegetables that help protect us against disease (and cancer), fight oxidative stress and inflammation and promote longevity
  • The darker the colour the better – and where possible – leave the skin on. The skins of fresh raw fruits and vegetables are by far greater concentrated in these phytonutrients (for example, a cucumber is quite pale, yet the skin is dark, so you want to wash well and leave it on for maximum benefit)
  • Being packed full of raw goodness, these rolls are naturally fibre-rich
  • Vitamins: whilst minerals are heat stable (they come from the earth’s crust, after all), vitamins are not. Vitamin C is particularly sensitive to heat so consuming raw fruits and vegetables is the way to go to ensure you are meeting your daily quota
  • Plant protein: you don’t need to rely on chicken or prawns for your summer rolls, tofu and edamame beans are great alternatives

Ad for Lively Desserts A rice paper wrapper with freshly sliced vegetables and avocado ready to be rolled, on a wooden board

So how about that Spicy Peanut Lime dipping sauce?

The dipping sauce is a complex mix of flavours: olive oil, sesame oil, sesame seeds and peanut butter lend the creaminess. Tamari give it a bit of salty. Apple cider vinegar and fresh lime juice add the tanginess. Red chilli and ginger gives it kick. The absolute perfect match for these Rainbow Summer Rolls.

Overhead shot of 12 colourful rice paper rolls on a plate with a rich dipping sauce in a ceramic bowl next to them

How to Roll Rainbow Summer Rolls

  1. Fill a dinner plate with warm water and soak the rice paper wrapper for a couple of minutes until soft
  2. Transfer to a clean surface
  3. Place 2-3 tablespoons worth of filling just a little below centre
  4. Fold up the lower edge
  5. Fold the sides over
  6. Roll up like a cigar

Resist the urge to be greedy and stuff your roll to the brim – it will be a nightmare to roll! 

A step by step photo montage showing how to roll Vietnamese rice paper rolls

That’s all from me today my friends. I wish you all a magical year ahead. Thanks for reading, see you next week,

Lauren.

Close up of brightly coloured summer rice paper rolls filled with fruits and vegetables laid out in rows on a marble bench top

Rainbow Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Lime Sauce

Antioxidant-packed Vietnamese rice paper rolls and a tangy peanut sauce – the perfect summer fare! Makes 12 rice paper rolls (serves 3 people) and yields 1 cup sauce which should serve around 12 (4 teaspoons sauce per 4 rolls).
 

 

Rainbow Summer Rolls

  • 50 g rice vermicelli noodles
  • ¾ block firm tofu (about 200g)
  • 12 rice paper wrappers
  • 1 medium red capsicum
  • 5 strawberries
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 large mango cheek
  • 1 kiwifruit
  • ¼ cup shelled edamame
  • ½ medium cucumber (about 85g)
  • 1 ½ cups red cabbage (shredded)
  • 24 mint leaves
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 spring onion/green onion
  • Black sesame seeds to sprinkle

Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 4 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons ginger (peeled + minced)
  • Juice of two limes
  • 2 inch piece of red chilli (de-seeded)

Rainbow Summer Rolls

  1. Cut the tofu into thick slices, pat dry with a paper towel, and cook in a little oil on low-medium heat in a frying pan till done one both sides, about five minutes. Once cooked, cut into batons/matchsticks.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles in a pot of boiling water for two minutes, drain and set aside. Add fresh water to the pot, and boil edamame beans for five minutes, drain and set aside.
  3. Prep all fruits and vegetables – wash and slice thinly or use a mandolin to speed the process up (about 20 minutes prep here).

  4. One by one, take a rice paper wrapper and place on a dinner plate filled with water. Let soften. Transfer to a wooden board and add 2-3 tablespoons of filling in the centre.
  5. Fold over one edge, then wrap up the sides, and roll.

Spicy Peanut Sauce

  1. Peel and mince the ginger, then add all ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth. You may like to add a tablespoon of water for a thinner consistency. Enjoy!

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Beat the heat with these antioxidant-packed Rainbow Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce. A deliciously vegan recipe.

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Chocolate Grain-Free Granola https://ascensionkitchen.com/chocolate-grain-free-granola/ https://ascensionkitchen.com/chocolate-grain-free-granola/#comments Thu, 21 Dec 2017 21:19:49 +0000 https://ascensionkitchen.com/?p=9838 | An indulgent, rich chocolate granola that is gluten and grain free. Add homemade almond milk and you’ll be rewarded with pools of chocolatey goodness! This is my last recipe before Christmas. And this is not only totally yum (and good for you!), it makes a great gift for the person you can’t buy for. […]

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Chocolate Grain-Free Granola

An indulgent, rich chocolate granola that is gluten and grain free. Add homemade almond milk and youll be rewarded with pools of chocolatey goodness!

This is my last recipe before Christmas. And this is not only totally yum (and good for you!), it makes a great gift for the person you can’t buy for. There’s something quite special about gifting something homemade: it supersedes a bought present in my opinion – I love knowing that someone has held you in their thoughts and intentions while spending time to create something from scratch.   

I have a few ‘grawnola’ recipes here on the blog, which are lovely but involve the soaking and sprouting of the buckwheat before you can make it. This recipe is not raw, but it is quick, which is the vibe I’m after at this time of year.

It’s also grain free, a nice change from my regular oats!


Rich, Chocolate Grain-Free Granola - whip up the recipe here!
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Chocolate Grain-Free GranolaChocolate Grain-Free Granola

My beautiful niece enjoying the sweet stuff!

Chocolate Grain Free Granola

Ok so what have we got in here. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax, chia and hemp make up the base – so plenty of healthy fats and protein. To flavour, some crunchy cacao nibs, a handful of freeze dried berries or banana if you feel fancy, and the best part – a rich chocolate sauce that gets folded throughout the granola prior to baking.

The sauce is made from raw cacao powder, pure maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and nut butter. It’s pretty easy to whip up, but I’ll lend just one little tip – make sure the nut butter you choose is fairly soft, liquidy even – if it is firm and chunky you’ll have a hard time mixing it in. I went with a store-bought cashew-coconut butter blend, which was absolutely divine.

Raw Vegan Desserts - Lively Desserts!

Chocolate Grain-Free Granola

For those with sensitive or inflamed guts (and therefore, impaired absorption of nutrients), I would highly recommend soaking, rinsing and dehydrating the nuts and seeds (aka activating) before you use them. I like to do this in large batches once a month. This process somewhat neutralises the anti-nutrients in the skins of the nuts and seeds, which are problematic as they bind with minerals and prevent their absorption.

Chocolate Grain-Free Granola

This recipe makes around 6-7 generous cups, you’ll be able to fill a large jar or two slightly smaller ones – again, perfect Christmas gifts! Best served with fresh fruit and a homemade nut milk – I love this Macadamia & Hemp number here.

Big Christmas love to you all, I hope it’s filled with joy on the day. Look after each other, relax, breathe, let it all go, enjoy!

Lauren.

Raw Vegan Desserts - Lively Desserts!

Chocolate Grain-Free Granola

Nutrition highlights

  • Nuts and seeds contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats
  • Flax, chia and hemp standout as sources of quality plant protein
  • Because this is a grain free breakfast, it is suitable for those sensitive to starches
  • If using activated nuts and seeds, the bioavailability of the minerals they contain increases
  • Cacao powder and nibs are incredibly rich in magnesium – a nutrient most of need more of while under stress!

Chocolate Grain-Free Granola

A delicious chocolate grain-free granola. Super quick and easy to make. Makes about 7 cups (21 serves at 1/3 cup per).

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup coconut flakes/chips
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or just over) coarse sea salt

Wet ingredients

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 4 tablespoons cashew butter (I used a cashew-coconut blend)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional

  • 1 handful freeze dried raspberries/banana
  1. Pre-heat oven at 135˚C (275˚F).

  2. Add almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds and cacao nibs to a food processor. Pulse for around 10 seconds, then transfer 1/3 of the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Give it another quick pulse, then remove another third. Pulse the remainder quickly then add that to the bowl too. This gives a varied consistency to the granola.

  3. Add the remaining flax, chia, hemp and sea salt, set aside.

  4. In a small pot over a low heat, combine the wet ingredients and stir vigorously till the mixture is liquid without any lumps. Pour chocolate mixture over the granola and mix well to combine. If using freeze dried fruit, fold a handful or two through now.

  5. Spread granola evenly over a tray lined with baking paper. Place it in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for around 25 minutes, giving it a good stir after 10 minutes of bake time. Remove from oven and let cool – it will harden as it cools.

  6. Store in a glass jar, makes 6-7 cups.

 

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Chocolate Grain-Free Granola

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Nectarine Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette https://ascensionkitchen.com/nectarine-salad-with-raspberry-balsamic-vinaigrette/ https://ascensionkitchen.com/nectarine-salad-with-raspberry-balsamic-vinaigrette/#respond Fri, 15 Dec 2017 23:14:24 +0000 https://ascensionkitchen.com/?p=9812 | A beautiful summery stone fruit salad filled with juicy nectarines, beet greens, red quinoa, macadamia nuts and a tangy raspberry vinaigrette. Summer = stone fruit! I can absolutely gorge myself stupid on fresh nectarines and peaches. The sweeter, juicier and messier the better! It reminds me of my grandparent’s orchard back in the day. […]

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Nectarine Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

A beautiful summery stone fruit salad filled with juicy nectarines, beet greens, red quinoa, macadamia nuts and a tangy raspberry vinaigrette.

Summer = stone fruit! I can absolutely gorge myself stupid on fresh nectarines and peaches. The sweeter, juicier and messier the better! It reminds me of my grandparent’s orchard back in the day.

They were one of the first to bring organics to the market, and produced a beautiful range of organic juices – I think they were ahead of their time as they had to turn back to conventional growing methods after a time, but man it was good. I was allowed to put stickers on the glass bottles and they always ended up crooked.

This is the most visually pretty summer salad, it looks a bit like a sunset on the plate – with the beet leaves, red quinoa, golden nectarines and hot pink raspberry dressing.


Summer Nectarine Salad with a sweet + tangy Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette. Recipe here!
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Nectarine Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Nutrition Highlights

Nutritionally it is a phytonutrient powerhouse – purely from the richness of all that colour.

  • Spinach and beet leaves contain minerals (such as calcium, manganese, magnesium and potassium, with more iron in the beet leaves than spinach), fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K1 (for healthy bones and blood clotting), and carotenoids such as alpha and beta-carotene (for immune and skin health)
  • Red quinoa adds colour and is a complete source of plant protein
  • Red onions are a source of the flavonol quercetin – which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and helps stabilise mast cells preventing the release of histamine in response to an allergen
  • Macadamia nuts are a rich source of healthy mono-unsaturated fats
  • Raspberries are a low-sugar fruit super rich in antioxidants
  • Nectarines are also concentrated in antioxidants and vitamin C

Raw Vegan Desserts - Lively Desserts!Nectarine Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

The dressing is a twist on your classic raspberry vinaigrette. I started out trying to be a bit cool by using kombucha in there – fun idea but it lacks the punch you need to balance out the sweetness of the fruit.

Instead, I went with the classic olive oil and balsamic combo, adding raspberries and a handful of toasted macadamia nuts – this is next level you guys, like eat-it-by-the-spoon delicious. Sweet, tangy, crunchy, and a little salty.

Also – can anyone tell me why frozen and thawed raspberries taste so much sweeter than fresh?! That’s the only weird thing with this dressing – it worked far nicer using frozen over fresh, not that I mind – I always have a stash of berries in the freezer and those tiny punnets are so expensive.

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Nectarine Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Enjoy friends, thanks for reading and see you next week – hope you’re starting to wind down for the year!

Nectarine Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

A simple Summer Nectarine Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette. Naturally gluten free, plant-based. 

  • 120 grams mixed greens (baby beet leaves, baby spinach)
  • 2 small cucumbers (or 1 large avocado – just something green for contrasting colour)
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 3 nectarines
  • 1/4 red onion, finely sliced
  • 3/4 cup red quinoa
  • water/vegetable stock to cook quinoa
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, + salt and pepper to dress the quinoa

Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup frozen and thawed raspberries (heaped cup)
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts (heaped cup)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 small pinches of coarse sea salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon organic soy lecithin (optional, to emulsify)
  1. Start with the dressing – dry toast the macadamia nuts in a pan and add to a blender, reserving 1 tablespoon.

  2. Add all other ingredients and blend till smooth. Add the last tablespoon of macadamia nuts and blend again – the idea is to have some crunchy bits in there. If using lecithin, add this before you blend in the macadamia nuts.

  3. For the salad, wash and spin dry the greens, arrange on a platter and spoon a little dressing over the top.

  4. Rinse quinoa well under running water, then add to a pot and add a generous amount of water or vegetable stock for a richer flavour (I prefer the latter). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook till the spirals unravel. Drain, transfer to a medium bowl, dress with olive oil, salt and pepper, then spoon it over the salad greens.

  5. Dry toast the macadamia nuts. Cut the nectarines into slices or wedges, finely slice the red onion and cucumber or avocado, and scatter over the quinoa. 

  6. Drizzle over some more of the dressing and serve the remainder in a small bottle so people can add to their liking.

  • For some odd reason, the dressing tastes nicer with frozen and thawed raspberries rather than fresh – much sweeter!
  • I used natural, salted macadamia nuts, which were divine once toasted, I don’t think raw macadamia nuts would quite have the same effect
  • The soy lecithin is optional, it just helps emulsify and keep the dressing from seperating

Modern marble bench with summer salad platter containing quinoa, nectarine, greens and raspberry balsamic dressing

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Nectarine Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu 2017 https://ascensionkitchen.com/healthy-plant-based-christmas-menu-2017/ https://ascensionkitchen.com/healthy-plant-based-christmas-menu-2017/#respond Sun, 10 Dec 2017 00:24:30 +0000 https://ascensionkitchen.com/?p=9783 A done-for-you Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu that is nutrient dense and delicious. All recipes are gluten free. We are just over two weeks away from Christmas! Holy moly how did that happen. Less push, more flow has been my mantra as we slide into another year’s end. In the name of taking a little stress […]

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Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu {2017}

A done-for-you Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu that is nutrient dense and delicious. All recipes are gluten free.

We are just over two weeks away from Christmas! Holy moly how did that happen. Less push, more flow has been my mantra as we slide into another year’s end.

In the name of taking a little stress out of the equation, I have a done-for-you Christmas menu to share, and, I think I’ll make this an annual post, if you like?


Delicious & Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu for 2017: find it here!
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I’ve been sharing a few festive recipes over the past few weeks, so I’m going to do a bit of a round-up here, and add in a few other favourites that would make for a delicious Christmas Day. So, first up:

Rainbow Festive Platter

Entirely plant-based and gluten-free, this platter is packed full of fresh raw fruits and vegetables (beneficial phytonutrients galore!), a couple of flavoursome, contrasting dips, crackers and more. This is the centrepiece of good conversation and a great way to start your Christmas lunch or dinner.

Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu {2017}

Roasted Kabocha Squash with Maple Spiced Pecans

This salad is a feast for the eyes and is quick and easy to prepare. The rocket is a bitter green to stimulate digestion, the squash is packed full of carotenoids, and the pomegranate are rich in vitamin C and polyphenols.

Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu {2017}

Chickpea Vegetable Tagine

The main course! This Moroccan dish is soft and juicy and beautifully spiced. Chickpeas provide some plant-protein, the vegetables of course contribute to the 10 servings a day of fruit +vege that are optimal for disease prevention (yes, 10!), the lycopene in the tomato sauce is a potent antioxidant and the warming spices promote digestion.

Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu {2017}

Summer Berry Mousse Cups

Something light and sweet to cleanse the palate after that lush meal. These strawberry mousse cups are whipped up in no time and can be made the day before. Packed full of antioxidants.

Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu {2017}Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu {2017}

LIVELY™ Desserts

The ultimate dessert! Yes yes, we all know I’m being biased here, but really, these are perfect to share with the fam. And, of course – they’re ready made! No cooking! Just let them thaw for a good 20 minutes or more, slice them and arrange on a platter. If you haven’t tried them yet, these are a cross between an ice cream and a cake. They’re entirely vegan, made with organic ingredients. They’ve been designed to cater to those with food sensitives and intolerances – and are made without wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar, nuts or other nasties. You’ll find them in the freezer of select stores across New Zealand, Sydney and Melbourne (yes! We’ve launched in Aus!). Each dessert serves 7 – so you only need one to cater to a large family. Full list of LIVELY™ Desserts stockists here.

Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu {2017}Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu {2017}

Gluten Free Christmas Cake

Another Christmas classic. This recipe has been shamelessly pilfered from Nana – but don’t the oldies always have the best fruit cake recipes? Luckily for us – Nana has been tweaking this recipe over the years to accommodate our varied dietary needs. No gluten, no added sugar (and no nasty glacé cherries), no butter or eggs. Warning – it is a little boozy! A small slice with a cup of tea is the ideal way to finish the spread.

Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu {2017}

Kawakawa Tea

By now, you’ve probably acquired quite the food baby. How does a soothing cup of kawakawa and ginger tea sound? Kawakawa is a New Zealand native herb, you can harvest the leaves yourself or purchase the loose leaf tea. It is a highly regarded digestive tonic that may help relieve the bloating and spasms one can get after over-indulging. Add some ginger for extra digestive action, and, if you can’t access kawakawa, chamomile, fennel, licorice or lemon balm are all fabulous options.

Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu {2017}

So there you go! I hope that’s enough to get your creative cooking juices flowing. If you make any of these dishes on Christmas day, please snap a pic and share them with me (just tag me @ascensionkitchen) because I’d LOVE to admire your work!

Thanks for reading, enjoy and see you next week!

Healthy Plant-Based Christmas Menu {2017}

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Finally, you can share this recipe on facebook or via Instagram, or pin it for later. If you try it out, make sure you tag me @ascensionkitchen and #ascensionkitchen so I can see your creations. Thank you!

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How to Make a Vegan Platter https://ascensionkitchen.com/how-to-make-a-vegan-platter/ https://ascensionkitchen.com/how-to-make-a-vegan-platter/#respond Sat, 09 Dec 2017 22:16:31 +0000 https://ascensionkitchen.com/?p=9764 A simple guide on how to make a vegan platter – a colourful, lush and abundant one at that! Rainbow fruits and vegetables, olives, home-made dips, crackers and nut cheeses. This will be the last recipe in my latest series of posts which have all been healthy, plant-based Christmas themed. The round up post is […]

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How to make a vegan platter

A simple guide on how to make a vegan platter – a colourful, lush and abundant one at that! Rainbow fruits and vegetables, olives, home-made dips, crackers and nut cheeses.

This will be the last recipe in my latest series of posts which have all been healthy, plant-based Christmas themed. The round up post is coming next!

So, all things platters today. And Christmas day isn’t really Christmas day, without one, is it?!  I mean, they’re always at the heart of good conversation. Our family loves nothing more than to sip on Dad’s home brew, and pick leisurely at such a platter, lounging on comfy cushions in the shade. So dreamy!  

This post is a bit of how-to guide, and I’ll link to a bunch of recipes that have already been posted here on the blog. I’m keeping it plant-based, but feel free to add your favourites in there.


How to make a vegan platter! Colourful, lush and abundant. Find the how-to here.
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How to make a vegan platter

What you’ll need

  • A large wooden board (let’s segue for a moment so I can share a funny story. Many years ago, while we were living in Sydney, I stumbled across the coolest homeware store in Double Bay – if you know Sydney, you’ll already be thinking $$$! I found the most dreamy vintage Turkish bread board – almost a meter in length and with the perfect worn patina. I bought it on the spot, and laid it proudly over the dining table. When my partner got home, he wasn’t impressed with the ‘second hand bit of wood’ I’d just acquired, so I lied and said it was a bargain and only $30, to which he scoffed and said it was worth half that. He still doesn’t know how expensive it was – he thinks I’m frivolous enough as it is with all the random little props and ceramics I’ve collected over the years!)
  • Some cute, small ceramic bowls to hold the dips
  • 3 great tasting, colourful dips/spreads
  • 2 different types of crunchy crackers
  • A rainbow of fresh, crunchy vegetables
  • A rainbow of fresh fruits
  • Quality chocolate (although I’ve not used any here)
  • A plant-based cheese (again, have not used one here, but I’ll link to a recipe)
  • A handful of nuts and dried fruits
  • Olives! I love the large, green Sicilian olives
  • A few sprigs of rosemary or other interesting looking plants/edible flowers to decorate

How to make a vegan platter

Before you start

  • Plan a trip to your local Farmer’s Markets – you’ll get the best produce here, and have a better range to choose from. You’ll also likely be able to source quality olives (in my humble opinion, the cornerstone of any sharing platter worth its weight in goodies). You may even score a lovely wooden board there!
  • Choose dips that are contrasting in colour and flavour
  • If you’re making the dips or crackers from scratch, do that the day before to save you time

Raw Vegan Desserts - Lively Desserts!

How to make a vegan platter

Assembling the platter

  • Add the dips first, and place them haphazardly around the board
  • Lay the ingredients out in clusters – grouping colours together, moving in a circle to get a rainbow effect
  • Fill any gaps with nuts and dark chocolate pieces

And voila! Party platter done!

How to make a vegan platter

The recipes

I have a few fabulous recipes here now that will take your platter to the next level – you can totally buy ready-made dips, spreads, crackers and cheese, but if you’re on holiday with time to indulge in a bit of kitchen alchemy, then why not make them yourself?!

How to make a vegan platter

Dips/spreads

Radical Roasted Beet Hummus with Sumac and Lime  (pictured)
Chargrilled Capsicum Hummus with Cashews & Miso (pictured)
Greenilicious Hemp Seed Basil Pesto (pictured)

Crackers

Speedy Super Seed Crackers (pictured)
Sun Dried Tomato Flax Crackers (needs dehydrating)
Raw Rosemary and Thyme Flax Bread (needs dehydrating)

Plant-based Cheese

Macadamia ‘Mozzarella’
Raw Macadamia Cashew Cheese

(Both these require a few days to make as they are cultured)

Chocolate

Lip Smackin’ Raw Chocolate Base

Raw Vegan Desserts - Lively Desserts!

How to make a vegan platter

That’s it guys, hope you enjoy. I really wish I had chocolate on this platter – I didn’t realise I’d eaten my stash! Piggy! And figs – they’re nowhere to be found at the moment, but if you can get them, these are a must.

Thanks for reading, enjoy and see you next week!

How to make a vegan platter

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Summer Berry Mousse Cups {nut free, dairy free} https://ascensionkitchen.com/summer-berry-mousse-cups-nut-free-dairy-free/ https://ascensionkitchen.com/summer-berry-mousse-cups-nut-free-dairy-free/#respond Thu, 30 Nov 2017 20:03:47 +0000 https://ascensionkitchen.com/?p=9438 | Light and fluffy Summer Berry Mousse Cups – fresh strawberries, raspberries, coconut and lemon combine with agar agar (a plant-based alternative to gelatin) for a quick and simple dessert. Naturally nut and dairy free. If you’re after a dead easy dessert to impress then you’re in for a treat today my friends. Now, I […]

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Close up of strawberry mousse in tea glasses with berries and mint garnish

Light and fluffy Summer Berry Mousse Cups fresh strawberries, raspberries, coconut and lemon combine with agar agar (a plant-based alternative to gelatin) for a quick and simple dessert. Naturally nut and dairy free.

If you’re after a dead easy dessert to impress then you’re in for a treat today my friends.

Now, I have my beautiful Moroccan glass tumblers to thank for this recipe. I know it sounds a bit odd, but I was admiring them on the dining table the other day when they all but sung out to me demanding I make a summery strawberry mousse to fill them with!

Who was I to argue?! A strawberry mousse I most certainly would make! And pronto!

Six tea glasses on a white marble bench filled with strawberry mousse and berries

What I love about this recipe, is that you can very easily whip it up in about ten minutes flat, pour into glasses, and chill ready to be enjoyed. I think they’d be great for Christmas day – you can make them the day before to save time, then top with fresh berries and mint before you serve them. Too easy.

Tea glasses filled with berry mousse with flowers in the background

Your typical mousse relies on gelatin for the soft texture, however agar agar makes for a great plant-based alternative.

Agar agar is a type of red seaweed, it comes powdered, as flakes or as strips. It is the polysaccharide content of the seaweed that lends the jelly-like texture once it is rehydrated, boiled, simmered and cooled. Gelatin will dissolve at room temperature, whilst agar agar will hold its shape a lot longer.

The key to preparing it is to whisk the agar agar into cool water before you bring it to a boil. If you add it to hot water, it will clump and be impossible to dissolve.

Raw Vegan Desserts LIVELY™ Desserts

Close up birds eye view of tea glasses filled with berry mousse and fresh summer berries with fairy lights in background

To make the actual mousse, it is as simple as blending the ingredients, and adding the boiled and simmered agar agar at the end. As a rough guide, you use 1 teaspoon of agar agar flakes to one cup of liquid.

I decided on a combo of strawberries and raspberries, and used a mixture of fresh berries with mint leaves to decorate them. Super cute.

Overhead shot of tea glasses filled with berry mousse with eco spoons resting in cups to serveClose up of eco spoon with a dollop of mousse and a strawberry on top, resting on a glass

Thanks for reading – enjoy and see you next week!

Summer Berry Mousse Cups {nut free, V}

Light and fluffy Summer Berry Mousse Cups – fresh strawberries, raspberries, coconut and lemon combine with agar agar (a plant-based alternative to gelatin) for a quick and simple dessert. Naturally nut and dairy free.

Serves 10 (1/2 cup per).

  • 5 teaspoons agar agar flakes
  • 5 tablespoons cool water
  • 4 cups berries (3 of strawberries, 1 of raspberries)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (tinned, full fat)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy lecithin (choose organic, sunflower lecithin is an alternative)
  1. Wash berries, cut off green tops and add to blender (reserving half a cup of strawberries) with the coconut milk, maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and sea salt. Blend till smooth.

  2. In a small saucepan, whisk agar agar into cool water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for a couple of minutes – whisking the whole time to fully dissolve the agar agar and prevent clumping. 

  3. Pour agar agar mixture into the blender, add coconut oil and lecithin, and blend again till smooth. Add the remaining strawberries and blend till just broken down – the idea is to have some chunks in there.

  4. Pour into individual glasses – half a cup per (will yield 10 serves), and set in the fridge for 3-4 hours or more.

  5. To serve, add fresh mixed berries, a sprinkle of freeze dried raspberry powder and a mint leaf to each glass. Enjoy straight out of the fridge for the best consistency.

  • Serves 10. I served these in small tumblers, about 1/2 cup of mousse mixture per. You might like to use more to fill a larger glass.
  • Frozen and thawed berries will work fine if you can’t get fresh.
  • Organic soy lecithin is used to emulsify the fats with the water. Sunflower lecithin is an alternative but may darken the colour of the mousse. Lecithin is itself a type of fat, and does not contain protein. This means those who have a sensitivity to soy may still be fine with soy lecithin. Choosing organic lecithin means it is has been extracted from the plant without use of toxic solvents. 

Summer Berry Mousse Cups {nut free, V}

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Summer Berry Mousse Cups - dairy free, nut free, gluten free

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Roasted Kabocha Salad with Maple Spiced Pecans https://ascensionkitchen.com/roasted-kabocha-salad-with-maple-spiced-pecans/ https://ascensionkitchen.com/roasted-kabocha-salad-with-maple-spiced-pecans/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 22:30:14 +0000 https://ascensionkitchen.com/?p=9412 | The perfect Festive salad: Rocket and Roasted Kabocha with Maple Spiced Pecans – finished with an extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, lemon and maple dressing. Quick, healthy, delicious, and a feast for the eyes! Back with another festive recipe today. Speaking of which, we had a family dinner last night, and came up with […]

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Roasted Kabocha Salad with Maple Spiced Pecans

The perfect Festive salad: Rocket and Roasted Kabocha with Maple Spiced Pecans – finished with an extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, lemon and maple dressing. Quick, healthy, delicious, and a feast for the eyes!

Back with another festive recipe today. Speaking of which, we had a family dinner last night, and came up with a new tradition to start on Christmas day. Rather than buying a cheap present for the lucky dip we’ve been doing each year, we’ve decided to draw a name out of a hat and then draw a portrait of that person’s face.

Sounds simple enough, but if you knew the varied levels of creativity in the fam you’d know just how hilarious this could turn out (I’m betting Mum will break out the art easel and the charcoal, dad will grab a biro, Valentina (13 months) will no doubt add a scribble, my partner will probably sketch a caricature, and I’m going all in on a collage!). The idea is to guess who the portrait is of and who drew it, then collect them in a scrapbook over the years. A zero waste Christmas! Love it.


Roasted Kabocha Salad with Maple Spiced Pecans - find the recipe here!
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Roasted Kabocha Salad with Maple Spiced PecansRoasted Kabocha Salad with Maple Spiced Pecans

Kabocha Salad with Maple Spiced Pecans

Back to the salad. I love the combination of colours just as much as the flavours – the bright green and orange of the rocket and the kabocha squash with pops of red from the pomegranate arils.

My favourite part however is without a doubt the crunchy pecans. These are quick as a flash to make, using a bit of an unusual combo of spices. Pure maple syrup, cinnamon, turmeric powder, garlic and onion powder, sea salt and pepper. I’m not quite sure what made me add the onion and garlic powder to the mix, but they turned out delicious, so let’s just run with it.

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Roasted Kabocha Salad with Maple Spiced PecansRoasted Kabocha Salad with Maple Spiced Pecans

Nutrition highlights:

  • Rocket is a bitter green, stimulating digestive juices to help break down your meal. It is also incredibly alkalising, rich in vitamin C and folate, and, as a member of the cruciferous family (which include broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts), it contains sulphur compounds that help protect against cancer. Rocket is one of the top 20 most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet [1]
  • Kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin) is a great source of betacarotene, the precursor to vitamin A – think skin and immune health
  • Pomegranate is a rich source of vitamin C, and contains polyphenols that are potent antioxidants and exert prebiotic-like effects in the gut, selectively stimulating growth of beneficial bacteria

Roasted Kabocha Salad with Maple Spiced Pecans

Hope you enjoy this one! Lauren.

Roasted Kabocha Salad with Maple Spiced Pecans

A rocket and roasted kabocha salad with maple spiced pecans, and a light olive oil, balsamic + maple dressing. Perfect Christmas salad.

Maple Spiced Pecans

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 2.5 tablepsoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Roasted Kabocha Salad

  • 120 g rocket (arugula) or baby spinach
  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/2 large kabocha squash (or butternut)

Dressing

  • 3 tablepsoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about half a medium lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Maple Spiced Pecans

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and toss to coat. Spread evenly over a tray lined with baking paper, and bake for 8 minutes at 180˚C, tossing frequently. 

Roasted Kabocha Salad

  1. Cut the kabocha squash into half moons (10-12 slices), arrange on tray lined with baking paper, coat lightly in olive oil, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 180˚C.

  2. Whisk the salad dressing together. Wash the rocket/spinach and spin dry. Slice the fennel bulb and red onion thin on a mandolin, and slice avocado. Toss together with rocket and salad dressing (you’ll only need about 3 tablespoons of the dressing). 

  3. Sprinkle pomegranate tendrils over the top, add a good handful of maple spiced pecans, then arrange the kabocha slices over the top. Serve and enjoy!

 

Roasted Kabocha Salad with Maple Spiced PecansRoasted Kabocha Salad with Maple Spiced Pecans

I’d love you to follow me on Instagram
tag me @ascensionkitchen so I can see your creations! 
  1. DI NOIA, J. (2014). DEFINING POWERHOUSE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: A NUTRIENT DENSITY APPROACH. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11, 130390.

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Chocolate Beet Cake with Avocado Frosting https://ascensionkitchen.com/chocolate-beet-cake-with-avocado-frosting/ https://ascensionkitchen.com/chocolate-beet-cake-with-avocado-frosting/#comments Fri, 17 Nov 2017 21:44:16 +0000 https://ascensionkitchen.com/?p=9374 | Beets. Ginger. Organic extra virgin olive oil. Berries. Avocado. Raw Cacao. All of these everyday superfoods come together in a delicious gluten free and vegan Chocolate Beet Cake with Avocado Frosting. Last week I said I’d be sharing some simple, larger than life, healthy, plant-based recipes that could potentially feature on your Christmas menu. […]

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Close up of double layer chocolate cake with strawberries in between, thick coating of chocolate frosting and a pink flower on top

Beets. Ginger. Organic extra virgin olive oil. Berries. Avocado. Raw Cacao. All of these everyday superfoods come together in a delicious gluten free and vegan Chocolate Beet Cake with Avocado Frosting.

Last week I said I’d be sharing some simple, larger than life, healthy, plant-based recipes that could potentially feature on your Christmas menu.

This cake is a pimped up version of the classic chocolate cake shared some time ago here on the blog, and it certainly fits the above brief.

  • Easy to make
  • Full of everyday superfoods
  • Les sugar (and no refined sugar) than a conventional chocolate cake
  • Family sized (if you follow the suggestions to double the recipe, layer it with berries and frosting, then ice the whole thing)
  • Can be enjoyed by all, no matter their dietary preferences
  • De-licious!

The cake itself is softy and moist, made with a blend of buckwheat flour and almond meal. Your traditional chocolate cake will have between 1½ to 2 cups of refined sugar, whereas this recipe uses just over half a cup of pure maple syrup, and a ½ cup of Medjool dates. The dates of course are a whole food wrapped up in fibre, helping slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream. Both natural sweeteners contain some minerals as an added bonus.


Gluten free & V Chocolate Beet Cake with Avocado Frosting: delicious recipe here!
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Double layer frosted chocolate cake on a glass cake stand on the kitchen bench

The frosting is next level. It perfectly mimics the texture of your regular chocolate icing. And no need to chill this baby prior to using – it’s ready to spread thick and rustic over your cake as soon as it is made (and it will stay that way too!). A wee hint – soft but not overly ripe avocados are the best here.

Lauren using a spatula to frost the double layer vegan chocolate cakeLauren in the kitchen placing the top layer of the vegan chocolate cake over the first layer, with strawberries scattered on top

As for the everyday superfoods hidden inside:

  • Beetroot – also providing some natural sweetness here, it is a great food for cardiovascular health. It contains compounds called nitrates, which the body converts into nitric oxide – a potent vasodilator, meaning it helps to expand the blood vessels and consequently promote healthy blood pressure. Tip: don’t throw away the beet leaves – wash them, remove the tough inner stalk, and add them to your smoothies.
  • Ginger is perhaps my most favourite ingredient – this aromatic is warming and promotes circulation. It is a fantastic remedy for digestive ailments and promotes gut motility.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil is often overlooked but in my books it is an absolute superstar. It is rich in anti-inflammatory phenolic compounds that can down-regulate production of inflammatory cytokines, such as C-reactive protein and interleukin-6. There is also evidence to suggest that olive oil might exert beneficial effects on the lining of the blood vessels. It is possibly a key contributor to the cardio-protective effects of the Mediterranean Diet.
  • Raw cacao powder contains antioxidants that help neutralise free radical damage, is rich in minerals – particularly magnesium, and may even act as a prebiotic in the gut
  • Berries are another everyday superstar – low in sugar and packed full of antioxidants. I try and buy organic strawberries when budget allows as they tend to be highly sprayed and feature at the top of the Environmental Working Group’s ‘Dirty Dozen’
  • Avocado is a fantastic source of heart healthy mono-unsaturated fats and believe it or not is a good source of dietary fibre. Because avocados are a rich source of fat, eating them with plant foods that contain fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients (such as vitamin A, E, K and carotenoids) will help with their absorption. Try and scoop out the flesh as close to the skin as possible – this is where some of the nutrients in avocado are most concentrated.                                             

Pretty cool right? All hiding in one scrummy cake!

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Lauren in the kitchen with a cheesy smile! Frosting the chocolate cake

Before you go on to read the recipe – note that the cake in the photos is actually two batches of the same recipe made in a larger tin, with frosting and fresh berries in between layers, and a thick lick of frosting over the whole thing to finish.

The recipe itself is for one smaller (but taller) cake, which is enough to serve a family. But definitely go ahead and make two batches if it’s for a larger gathering – it looks super impressive!

Enjoy – and please share your creations with me I’d love to see how they turn out!

Lauren holding the finished chocolate cake on a glass cake stand outside under the balcony on a nice day

Chocolate Beet Cake with Avocado Frosting

Chocolate Beet Cake with a thick and creamy Chocolate Avocado Frosting.

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder (source a gluten free brand)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 200 g grated beetroot (about 2 cups – 2 medium beets)
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (peeled and finely minced)
  • ½ cup 100g Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 scant tablespoons psyllium husks
  • 1¾ cups coconut milk (canned – full fat)

CHOCOLATE AVOCADO FROSTING:

  • ½ cup avocado
  • ½ cup raw cacao powder
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pinches coarse sea salt
  1. Pre-heat oven at 180˚C, lightly grease a 7½ inch spring-form cake tin and give it a dusting of cacao powder to prevent sticking. Place baking paper over the bottom.
  2. Soak pitted dates in hot water for at least 15 minutes to soften, then drain ready for use. Grate beetroot and press between a paper towel to remove excess juice. Peel and mince the ginger.
  3. Sift the buckwheat flour, almond meal, cacao powder baking powder and baking soda directly into a food processor.
  4. Add sea salt, vanilla, olive oil, maple syrup, beet and ginger.
  5. In a blender, whiz the psyllium husks and coconut for ten seconds and no longer. Pour this mixture into the food processor.
  6. Blitz everything together – dropping the dates down the chute one at a time. The mixture won’t be completely smooth due to the beets.
  7. Pour into cake tin and bake for 40 minutes (skewer should come out clean), then remove and let cool in tin for 10 minutes, before turning onto a wire rack. Add frosting once 100% cooled.

CHOCOLATE AVOCADO FROSTING:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend till thick and creamy. No need to chill – use right away! Will keep in the fridge for a few days in an airtight container.

This recipe makes a small 7½ inch cake. To make it big enough to feed a large crowd, make two batches and bake them separately, in a larger, 9 inch cake tin. You will only need to cook the larger size for 35 minutes.

How to avoid a sinking cake:

– Use fresh baking powder and baking soda
– Once you have added the sweet stuff to the baking mix, mix it and get it in the oven quickly
– Avoid opening the over door until it is almost ready

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Beet Cake with Avocado Frosting

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Gluten Free Chocolate Beet Cake Avocado Frosting

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Chickpea Vegetable Tagine https://ascensionkitchen.com/chickpea-vegetable-tagine/ https://ascensionkitchen.com/chickpea-vegetable-tagine/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 23:15:34 +0000 https://ascensionkitchen.com/?p=9339 | One of my favourite family meals, a soft and juicy, beautifully spiced tagine. This is the ultimate plant-based dish – packed full of vegetables, fresh herbs and fragrant spices. As we’re heading into festive season now, I thought it fitting to start sharing some star dishes big enough to feed the fam on those […]

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Overhead shot of the Spiced Chickpea Vegetable Tagine on a marble bench top

One of my favourite family meals, a soft and juicy, beautifully spiced tagine. This is the ultimate plant-based dish – packed full of vegetables, fresh herbs and fragrant spices.

As we’re heading into festive season now, I thought it fitting to start sharing some star dishes big enough to feed the fam on those lazy summer days (not that we’re revelling in sunshine down here in NZ!).

Possibly one of my favourite family meals is a soft, juicy and beautifully spiced tagine. If you’re not familiar with a tagine – it is simply a dish named after the Moroccan clay or ceramic vessel in which it is slow-cooked, a bit like a stew. The conical shape of the vessel allows condensation to build and steam to rise and circulate – a super healthy way of cooking your food.

Although you can cook this dish in a regular pan with a lid, I highly recommend investing in a ceramic tagine as it just seems to turn out that much nicer. The tagine can be cooked stovetop if you have a gas cooktop, or in the oven – my method of choice since we have electric hobs.


Chickpea Vegetable Tagine - a delicious + healthy family meal. Find it here.
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The beauty of this dish is that it feels incredibly substantial on its own. Think soft and thick cut vegetables, chickpeas, sweet sultanas, umami olives, fresh herbs and fragrant spices. The ultimate plant-based meal – something everyone will enjoy no matter their dietary preferences!

Close up of large ceramic bowl filled with Spiced Chickpea Vegetable Tagine and a small cucumber salad to the side

So how to make this epic dish? Break it down into two easy steps – first you want to prepare a rich and hearty tomato based sauce, stove top. A generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, finely chopped shallots, loads of fresh ginger and garlic, a mixture of spices, chopped tomatoes, harissa paste and a squeeze of lemon.

The harissa paste is unreal: charred capsicum, red chilli, lemon, olive oil, garlic, herbs, salt and spices. It’s a North African condiment that can be folded through hummus, roasted vegetables, pasta, or even spread over a sandwich. So delicious. I don’t bother to make this myself, there are plenty of yummy store-bought harissa pastes to be enjoyed.

If you can’t find harissa paste, I suggest adding some finely chopped red chilli at the very least.

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Detail of the tagine up close wth peppers, almonds, herbs, vegetables and chickpeas in a rich sauce

Then, while the sauce bubbles away, you simply wash and chop (the chunkier the better) a myriad of fresh seasonal vegetables, then add them to the tagine with a can of chickpeas, a lemon cut into wedges, a good handful of sweet sultanas (or dried apricots, dates, prunes), and some olives for good measure.

Pour the sauce over the tagine, place the lid on top, then let it slow-cook for an hour in the oven. Too easy.

I served this recipe with a bowl of organic quinoa cooked in vegetable broth with fresh herbs mixed throughout, a simple chopped cucumber salad, and a dollop of coconut yoghurt.


Nutrition Highlights:

  • Olive oil is rich in anti-inflammatory phenolic compounds
  • Packed full of seasonal vegetables – we need to be aiming for 8 (or more) serves of vegetables a day (and two of fruit) as this is optimal when it comes to preventing disease and all-cause mortality (I know – it’s a lot right?! See this meta-analysis for more)
  • Chickpeas provide plant-protein and prebiotic fibre (gut for the gut!)
  • The lycopene in the tomato sauce is a potent antioxidant and particularly protective of the prostate
  • Warming spices promote both digestion and circulation

Vegan tagine on the kitchen bench ready to serve surrounded by hot pink flowers, tea glasses and salad

Chickpea Vegetable Tagine

One of my favourite family meals, a soft and juicy, beautifully spiced tagine. This is the ultimate plant-based dish – packed full of vegetables, fresh herbs and fragrant spices. Serves 4-6 people.

SAUCE:

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot (minced)
  • 5 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (peeled and minced)
  • 3 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3 heaped tablespoons harissa paste
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey or sweetener of choice
  • Juice of half a lemon

TAGINE:

  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas
  • 2-3 heaped cups cauliflower (large florets)
  • ½ -1 large sweet potato (large chunks)
  • 10 baby carrots (sliced in half)
  • 6 baby peppers or 1 large red capsicum
  • Handful green beans
  • 1/3 cup sultanas
  • 1 lemon (cut into wedges)
  • Handful of olives (though I forgot to add these!)

SAUCE:

  1. Heat oil in a pan (low-medium heat), fry the shallots till golden, add garlic and ginger, cook a few minutes, then add spices and cook till fragrant.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, honey and lemon. Let the sauce reduce down for about 10 minutes.

TAGINE:

  1. Add all ingredients to the tagine and toss to combine. Pour the sauce over the top once it is ready, and if needed, ½ cup water – you want all ingredients coated with sauce but it doesn’t have to be swimming in it – the steam the tagine creates will cook without needing too much liquid.
  2. Place lid over tagine and cook in an oven for 1 hour at 180˚C (356˚F).
  3. Serve with almonds and fresh herbs over the top (coriander, mint), fluffy quinoa, coconut yoghurt, and a simple cucumber salad.

Do not be put off by the number of spices! If you want to keep it simple – cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. I’m a bit of a spice fiend, so the more the merrier 🙂

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Moroccan Chickpea Vegetable Tagine

 

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Hemp & Macadamia Milk https://ascensionkitchen.com/hemp-macadamia-milk/ https://ascensionkitchen.com/hemp-macadamia-milk/#comments Sat, 04 Nov 2017 06:54:31 +0000 https://ascensionkitchen.com/?p=9315 | Hemp & macadamia nut combine to make the most beautifully creamy plant milk, rich in beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids. Simple and no fuss, with no need to soak the nuts prior, just blend, strain and serve.  Do you know what, many years ago I was a bit of food purist, and would find […]

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Over head shot of a glass jug of hemp and macadamia milk next to a creamy coffee, handful of nuts and hemps seeds

Hemp & macadamia nut combine to make the most beautifully creamy plant milk, rich in beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids. Simple and no fuss, with no need to soak the nuts prior, just blend, strain and serve. 

Do you know what, many years ago I was a bit of food purist, and would find great pleasure in making everything from scratch myself – using the best, most natural whole food ingredients I could source. I had a great routine going, and had a small forest of sprouts growing happily in the corner of the lounge, I had a kombucha SCOBY hotel, various nuts, seeds and crackers drying in the dehydrator, cashew cheese fermenting on the bench top, and jars of homemade grawnola stashed in the pantry. My partner and I were eating like kings! It was fantastic!

However. Life isn’t quite the same since launching a new business, and time preparing all of these goodies seems to be a bit of a luxury of late. So, before we fell into that trap of defaulting to store bought fare purely for the convenience of it all, I’ve begun to re-work or hack a few recipes and streamline my time in the kitchen. Busyness shouldn’t be an excuse for not cooking! (or un-cooking!).


Creamy Hemp & Macadamia Nut Milk - fuss free with no need to soak the nuts. Find it here.
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Ok, cue this lovely plant milk today. A good home made nut milk was always a staple for me, but the whole soaking of the nuts thing prior honestly became a little bit of a hassle. It’s just an extra thing on your to-do list, right?! 

This problem is easily solved by using a combination of hulled hemp seeds and raw macadamia nuts – both of which are deliciously creamy and truly don’t need any soaking at all. This means, you won’t be caught sans milk at breakfast, because as long as you have a stash of these on hand, you can whip up a batch in mere minutes. Winning!

What’s more, I really love that the hemp seeds are providing some anti-inflammatory, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, magnesium and the antioxidant vitamin E. 

Tall modern glass jug of hemp and macadamia milk on a marble platter with vase of flowers behind

Granted the two are more expensive than most other nuts/seeds, you can still get value for money by sourcing them from a bulk bin store. As an alternative, you could always sub out either of the hemp or macadamia nuts for desiccated coconut, which will also add a wee bit more sweetness.

The beauty of making your own milks at home of course, is that you can do away with all the extra things they sneak into those commercial milks – emulsifiers, gums, sugar, flavourings and the like.

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Ingredients used in the nut milk - macadamia nuts and hemp seeds

Hemp and Macadamia Milk

Hemp & macadamia nut combine to make the most beautifully creamy plant milk, rich in beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids. Simple and no fuss, with no need to soak the nuts prior, just blend, strain and serve.
Makes just over 1 litre/about 5 cups.

  • 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds/hearts
  • 1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Medjool date (pitted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large pinches coarse sea salt
  1. Add all ingredients to a high power blender and whizz for 2 minutes or till smooth.
  2. Strain through a nut milk bag, discarding the pulp.
  3. Store in a glass jug in the fridge for up to five days.

Desiccated coconut is an alternative for either of the hemp or macadamia nuts.

Hemp & Macadamia Milk

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Hemp Seed Macadamia Nut Milk - Vegan milk

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