How to make Idlis from scratch

Idlis are soft and fluffy steamed rice cakes, made from a fermented batter. Serve them hot with a nourishing sambhar and a tangy chutney.

Idlis - with homemade Idli batter

If you’ve never heard about idlis before, you are in for an absolute treat. They are little steamed savoury rice cakes that are made from a fermented batter and are relished with a piping hot sambhar (lentil and vegetable stew) and a tangy coconut chutney.

Back when I lived it Mumbai, these idlis, like a lot of other South Indian snacks were readily available in local South Indian restaurants as well as little street food stands that dot the city. It was really easy to pop in to one of these joints for a piping hot plate of them. So needless to say, while we really enjoyed South Indian food, back then, I never even thought of making them at home. Ofcourse if you’re ever overcome with a feeling of adventure and feel the urge to try making them at home, you could buy the batter from a lot of little local shops. I did buy the batter a few times, but only ever to make Dosa – another South Indian treat that I’ll share with you very soon.

That being said, most South Indian homes, make their batter from scratch. I somehow never got around to trying that out. Until I moved to Sydney, that is. Here, you can still go visit an Indian restaurant and most of them serve up some South Indian food. Some Indian grocery stores stock the fermented batter too. The only catch is, you may have to travel a bit to get to one such restaurant or store. Also, if you do find one, it can be quite pricey. I mean, I always knew what went into the batter. There was nothing stopping me from trying it out at home. So, a few years ago, that’s exactly what we did.

Making good Idlis from scratch is a fairly simple process. It is a little lengthy, but it’s mostly hands-off time to let the batter ferment and such. There is very little hands-on time involved.

There are three basic elements that make a great Idli plate –

  1. The Idlis – Today I’m going to share with you my tried and tested process for making the batter from scratch and how I make soft and fluffy Idlis using this batter.
  2. Sambhar – A Sambhar is a lentil and vegetable stew that’s really easy to make. I’ve shared my recipe in the past. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can check it out here – Vegetable Sambhar
  3. Tangy Coconut Chutney – This no cook recipe uses just a few ingredients and can be served alongside a variety of South Indian meals and snacks like Dosas, Vadas and so on. You can check out my go-to chutney recipe here.

The Idli batter –

Making the batter is a fairly simple process. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind to make sure you get the best results.

What type of rice can be used?

For best results, use Idli rice. Idli rice will be labelled as such and is quite easy to find in most Indian grocery stores. Idli rice is a short grain variety of rice that is par-boiled. Being par-boiled doesnt mean it will look soft or semi cooked. It will still look and feel like uncooked rice and you will find it stocked with other varieties of rice.

If you can’t find Idli rice, use another short or medium grain rice. I would not recommend Basmati rice for this.

The rice to lentil ratio –

I personally find that a 1:4 ratio works best. I’ve tried a few other variations but this gives me the best results. So for every 1 part of urad dal (hulled and split black lentils), I use 4 parts of rice.

Grinding the batter –

Ideally a wet grinder is used to grind the grains into a batter. I currently use my Vitamix blender to grind the grains and it works beautifully. You can also use any other high-speed blender.

If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you will still be able to make the batter in a regular blender. You will just need to grind it in smaller batches. I have successfully used my old Phillips blender in the past.

Fermenting the batter –

The fermentation process can be a little fickle from time to time. Also, depending on weather conditions, the time taken to ferment your batter can also differ. I’ve had to experiment with the process quite a few times to figure out what works best. These tips should give you an idea of what to expect.

The batter needs a warm environment to ferment. If it’s warm where you are, the batter can simply be left on your kitchen counter to ferment. But if it is cooler, leave the batter in a warm spot in your house.

For me, unless it’s a hot day here in Sydney, I usually place the batter in my unheated oven and leave it there to ferment for about 8 hours. During winter, I warm up my oven for a couple of minutes at 100ºC, just till the oven is at room temperature (or what a summertime room temperature would feel like), turn the oven off and leave the batter to ferment in there.

How to tell if you’re batter is fermented?

The batter will have increased in volume. This increase is fairly significant, so make sure you use a large vessel for this. You will also notice that the top layer of the batter is slightly frothy. Your batter will also have developed a slightly fermented aroma.

If you don’t notice these changes to your batter, leave it to ferment for another couple of hours or so. There are times where it has taken me upto 10-11 hours for the batter to ferment.

How to make Idlis from scratch

Recipe by Trisha VazCourse: BreakfastDifficulty: Medium
Yield

3

dozen
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Soaking Time

3

minutes
Fermenting Time

8

hours

Idlis are soft and fluffy steamed rice cakes, made from a fermented batter. Serve them hot with a nourishing sambhar and a tangy chutney.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Idli rice

  • 3/4 cup urad dal (hulled and split black lentils)

  • 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds

  • Salt, to taste

Directions

  • Wash the rice, dal and fenugreek seeds with cold running water about 3-4 times or until the water runs clear.
  • Place the washed grains and fenugreek in a large bow. Add some fresh water to the bowl. Use enough water to cover the grains by about 2 inches. Leave this to soak for 3 hours.
  • After 3 hours of soaking, grind it to a batter using a little of the soaking liquid as needed. You need a thick batter, almost like the consistency of a pancake batter. You may need to do this in batches.
  • Transfer the batter to a steel stockpot or large vessel. (The vessel should be large enough to hold about double the quantity of the batter, because the batter will expand as it ferments.) Cover the vessel and set aside in a warm spot for about 8 – 10 hours to ferment. (Please refer to the section on “Fermenting the batter” in the post above.)
  • Once the batter has fermented, remove as much batter as needed for immediate use in another bowl. Store the rest of the batter in the fridge for future use. You can store the batter for about 3-4 days.
  • To make the Idlis –
  • Work with the batter that you intend to use immediately. To this batter, add a little salt to taste.
  • Grease an Idli stand with a little oil.
  • Ladle the batter into the idli moulds till they are filled about 80%. The Idlis will rise and expand during cooking.
  • Steam the Idlis for about 15 minutes on medium heat till they have cooked through. Pierce the idlis through the centre with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the idlis are ready to serve. If it is still a little sticky, cook for a couple of minutes more or till done.
  • Take the stand out of the steamer and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. Demould idlis by running the blunt edge of a butter knife around the edges to loosen it from the mould. Serve hot!

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Please note, the number of Idlis will depend on the size of the mould you use.
  • Idlis are best eaten immediately after cooking, but any leftovers can be refrigerated and steamed till re-heated thoroughly and eaten the next day.

Vegan Moussaka recipe

This vegan Moussaka made with layers of eggplant, potato and a flavour-packed mushroom filling, topped with a luscious white sauce, is definitely a must-try.

Moussaka is a classic Greek baked dish thats typically made up of eggplant and lamb mince. Its a dish that I’ve made for years and every time I make it, I wonder why I don’t make it more often. It’s been ages since I last made it, so I decided it was time. The weather was perfect. With autumn rolling in, the days are a tiny bit cooler. And that means it’s finally ok to crank up the oven.

With the weather in my favour, now there was just one little hurdle. We no longer eat meat. I had to turn this into a really delicious Vegan Moussaka. It’s easy enough to simply sub in the lamb with TVP (textured vegetable protein) or a fake meat option from the supermarket, but we don’t really enjoy that stuff. I have used it in recipes a few times, but I much prefer using vegetables instead. So today, that’s the version I’m going to share with you.

Vegan Moussaka - Mushroom Filling

Let’s talk about the cheese. While I do use plant based cheese in my diet, I try and keep that to a minimum. This sauce is ideally made with some cheese and I have added it to the recipe. However, the sauce is just as good even without the cheese. The flavours and textures of all the elements of the casserole work really well together and the sauce brings everything together brilliantly. So if you’re trying to restrict your intake of processed food, feel free to leave the cheese out, like I’ve done in the recipe video.

Vegan Moussaka - Before baking

To make this recipe a little healthier and to reduce the hands on cooking time, I’ve roasted the potatoes and eggplant instead of pan frying it. This way you use less oil in the cooking process and I find that the flavours are much better.

Vegan Moussaka - Roasted Veggies

Overall, this is a relatively easy dish to make. There are a few elements that have to be prepped and then its just a matter of layering everything and baking it off. Just allow yourself a little extra time.

Vegan Moussaka - After Baking

Vegan Moussaka recipe

Recipe by Trisha VazCourse: Mains
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Baking Time

40

minutes
Total time

1

hour 

10

minutes

This vegan Moussaka made with layers of eggplant, potato and a flavour-packed mushroom filling and finally topped with a luscious white sauce.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 eggplants

  • 2 potatoes

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Salt, to taste

  • For the Mushroom filling
  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 stick of celery, diced

  • 1 carrot, diced

  • 8-10 cup mushrooms

  • 5 portabello mushrooms

  • 3 large cloves of garlic

  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree

  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

  • Red chilli flakes, to taste

  • For the white sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons flour

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups soy milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard

  • 1/4 cup grated cheese

  • Salt, to taste

  • A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. (You can also use nutmeg powder instead)

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 200ºC.
  • Peel and cut the potatoes into slices. Keep the slices on the thicker side.
  • Drizzle a little olive oil over the potato slices and sprinkle some salt, to taste. Toss them well and place them in a single layer on a lined baking sheet.
  • Slice the eggplant, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle some salt over the slices. Toss them well and place them in a single layer on a lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the potato and the eggplant slices for 15-20 minutes or till done. Do not overcook the vegetables.
  • For the Mushroom Filling –
  • Chop the mushrooms into a chunky dice.
  • Dice the onion, celery and carrots and mince the garlic.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium heat.
  • Add the onion and saute for a couple of minutes till it starts softening.
  • Add the celery and carrots and let these cook off on a medium heat for about 5-8 minutes or till they have softened a bit.
  • Add the minced garlic and stir through.
  • Add some red chilli flakes, to taste, the oregano and black pepper powder. Stir through.
  • Add the chopped mushrooms and stir through. Let it cook off for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes.
  • Season with some salt and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat and set aside.
  • For the White Sauce –
  • Add the oil and butter to a pan on medium heat.
  • Once the butter has melted, add the flour. Stir it through and let the flour cook off for a minute or two till it develops a nutty aroma. This means that the flour has cooked off. Do not let the colour change.
  • Add a splash of the soy milk and stir thoroughly and then add the rest of the milk. You can use a whisk to help get rid of any lumps in the sauce.
  • Add some salt, to taste.
  • Add mustard and stir through till the mustard dissolves.
  • Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Stir well.
  • Cook till the sauce thickens, stirring constantly.
  • Lastly, add the cheese (if using), stir through and take the pan off the heat.
  • To assemble the Moussaka –
  • In an 8×8 inch square baking dish, place the roasted potatoes in a layer at the bottom. Try and keep the layer even without too many gaps.
  • Next, layer the roasted eggplant slices over it.
  • Spoon the mushroom filling in an even layer over the eggplant.
  • Pour the sauce over the filling evenly.
  • Bake at 200ºC for 15-20 minutes or till the sauce is all hot and bubbly.
  • Take the moussaka out of the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve with a fresh garden salad and some garlic bread.
    Enjoy!

Recipe Video

Pav Bhaji (a Vegan version)

Pav Bhaji – A quintessential Mumbai Street Food delight that is chock full of veggies and made into an indulgent treat with generous lashings of butter. Today’s recipe is a vegan version of this treat.

Pav Bhaji

Today has me longing to get back to normal. Back to the days where we could travel freely, explore, meet up with loved ones and all that good stuff. It’s probably the weather, which is cold, wet and grey here in Sydney. It’s days like this that also have me longing for some comfort food. For me, personally, comfort food changes from time to time. Sometimes, its a big bowl of soup, other times its a big bowl of steamed broccoli. I know, right! Broccoli = comfort food? At times I wonder whether thats normal. Well that’s a mystery for another day, but on more normal days, comfort food is usually Indian food and more often than not, the Street Food kind.

Today, I’m going to treat you to one of my favourites – the good ol’ Mumbai style Pav Bhaji. Never heard of it before? Well, there’s 2 components to it Pav – bread (not any bread, but a dinner roll thats split in two, buttered and lightly toasted.) and Bhaji – a mixed vegetable mash that has been cooked in butter with some beautiful, mild, but warming spices and topped off with some more butter. Usually the bread is toasted on the same pan the veggies are cooked on and it absorbs some of the flavours of the veggie mix, but today we’re keeping things simple. I’m just going to use another pan.

Pav Bhaji - Pav
Buttered and lightly toasted Bread Rolls

If you’d like to try your hand at making some delicious Laadi Pav, try this recipe out. It works like a charm. In the spirit of keeping things simple, I’m just using some store-bought bread rolls today.

The Bhaji or vegetable mix is a really versatile component. Everyone that makes a Pav Bhaji, has their own version. A lot of recipes call for a Pav Bhaji Masala. You can find this at almost any Indian grocery store, but I usually refrain from buying something like this spice mix that has just one use. And seeing how Pav Bhaji is an indulgent treat, we don’t make it very often. So after some experimenting, I figured out a combination of simple spices that works really well. The best part is that these spices are really common and if you cook Indian food, you most likely already have them in your kitchen.

So let’s get cooking.

Pav Bhaji (a Vegan version)

Recipe by Trisha VazCourse: MainCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

5

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes

Pav Bhaji – A quintessential Mumbai Street Food delight that is chock full of veggies and made into an indulgent treat with generous lashings of butter. Today’s recipe is a vegan version of this treat.

Ingredients

  • 1 potato, peeled and cubed

  • 1 carrot, cubed

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets

  • 1 cup green peas

  • 1 teaspoon oil

  • 3 tablespoons of butter, plus more to butter the bread

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1/2 green capsicum, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 – 1 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder (or any other mild variety)

  • 1 teaspoon + 1/2 tsp garam masala powder

  • 1/4 cup Passata

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

  • Fresh coriander, chopped

  • 5-10 bread rolls (This depends on the size of the bread rolls as well as portion sizes, which on an average may be 1-2 rolls per person)

  • Toppings –
  • Butter

  • Onion, finely chopped

  • Fresh coriander finely chopped

  • Some lemon / lime wedges

    The amount of each of these toppings depends on how much you’d like to add to each portion.

Directions

  • Boil the potato, carrot, cauliflower and green peas in sufficient water and a little salt (I use about 1/2 teaspoon of salt) till tender.
    (I use a stovetop pressure cooker and this typically takes me 10 minutes. This will vary depending on your pressure cooker.)
  • Heat the oil in a large pan and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the onions for a couple of minutes till they start softening.
  • Add the chopped capsicum and cook till they soften a little.
  • Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute.
  • Next, add the turmeric, freshly cracked black pepper and chilly powder and 1 teaspoon of garam masala powder. Stir well and let the spices cook off for a minute, making sure they don’t burn.
  • Add the Passata and stir through. Cook this mix for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the boiled vegetables to the pan and stir through. Add a little cooking liquid (from the boiled vegetables) about 1/4 cup. Let this cook off for about 8-10 minutes. If needed, add small amounts of the vegetable stock to get the desired consistency. You don’t want it very runny, but you are looking for a loose consistency.
    (Please see the recipe video below.)
  • Using a potato masher, mash all the vegetables to a chunky mash consistency.
  • Check for seasoning and add more salt, as needed.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala powder and stir through.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter and stir through. Take the pan off the heat.
  • Split the bread rolls in two and butter both sides and toast off lightly. The bread is best buttered and toasted just before serving, so toast as many as you intend serving immediately.
  • To serve, spoon out a portion of the Bhaji, top with a knob of butter, some chopped onion and fresh coriander and some lime / lemon juice. Serve hot with the buttered and toasted bread.

    Enjoy!

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Cooking time will depend on how you boil your vegetables. It takes me about 10 minutes in my pressure cooker. Your pressure cooker may take longer or if you’re cooking it in a pot on the stove, it could take longer. Please consider this while calculating cooking time overall.
  • Leftover bhaji keeps well. Reserve some of the vegetable stock in a little jar and refrigerate along with the bhaji. The next day, heat the bhaji on the stovetop. If it is too thick, add a splash of the reserved vegetable stock to get the desired consistency.
  • The bread is best buttered and toasted just before serving. So toast only as many as you intend serving immediately.

How to make Vegan Basil Pesto

This Vegan Basil Pesto is packed with flavour and is great in salads, sandwiches and pasta. Use your abundant Basil Harvest to make it.

Summertime means an abundance of fresh Basil. If you don’t grow your own yet, you should consider it. Its a great way to have basil on hand all through summer to add to your pasta, pizzas and sandwiches. You can also make your very own Pesto at home.

Fresh Basil Harvest

If you follow a plant based diet, you’ve probably noticed that most of the Pesto options in stores are just not for you. They all have Parmesan cheese in it. And if you’re in Australia, another thing that you may have noticed is, if you can find a Vegan option, it is usually way more expensive. Tell me it’s not just me that feels that way.

Well the good news is, you can make your own Basil Pesto at home in literally under 5 minutes. And today, I’m going to show you how.

Typically, this pesto is made with pine nuts. However, pine nuts can be expensive. So to make this recipe accessible for all, today I’m using walnuts in the recipe. You can use either. Both options are equally delicious.

This Vegan Basil Pesto has bags of flavour and is a great little condiment to have on hand. I use it in sandwiches, salads and in Pasta recipes too.

If you’re making your own batch of Pesto at home, you should try my easy Homemade Vegan Parmesan recipe too. It’s another great little condiment to have on hand.

Vegan Basil Pesto

Recipe by Trisha VazDifficulty: Easy
Prep time

10

minutes

This Vegan Basil Pesto is packed with flavour and is great in salads, sandwiches and pasta. Use your abundant Basil Harvest to make it.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast

  • 1/4 cup Walnuts

  • Juice of 1/4 lime, or to taste

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

  • Place all the ingredients except the oil in the jar of your food processor and blitz.
  • With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil.
  • Scrape down the sides of the jar at the halfway mark and blitz again, till you’re left with a coarse paste.
  • Check for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  • Store in a clean, dry, airtight bottle in the fridge and use as needed.

Recipe Video

How to Make Vegan Mayonnaise

A must-have condiment, this Vegan mayonnaise recipe is simple and easy, and is perfect for sandwiches, burgers and salads.

As the days start to warm up, I start craving lighter food. Here in Australia, our summers can get pretty intense and on those hot days, I don’t really feel like cooking. I’m sure a lot of you feel the same. Thats where all the salads, sandwiches and grilling comes to the rescue. You’re probably wondering what salads, sandwiches and grilling does someone on a plant-based diet do. You’ll be very pleasantly surprised to know that there’s so much that can be done. And these recipes are beautiful, flavourful and you won’t even miss the meat / dairy etc. I’m going to share a few of those recipes with you in the days to come.

Vegan Mayo

Today, I’m going to start with the basics – a good Mayonnaise recipe. Most burgers, sandwiches and even some salads call for some Mayo. And while you can purchase a jar of vegan mayo in the shops, its usually around the $7-8 mark, which I find quite pricey. After you’ve made a batch at home, you can be sure you’ll never reach for a store-bought jar again.

My vegan Mayo recipe uses just a handful of pantry staples and comes together in about 30 seconds. Yup, you heard that correctly. In the time it takes me to type this post out, I would’ve probably whipped up a dozen batches of this mayo, if not more.

I use an immersion blender to whip up my Mayo and this makes the whole process super easy. Here’s another handy tip for you – if you can find a jar with a mouth wide enough to fit your immersion blender, you can make and store your mayo in the same jar. So there’s minimal washing too. I store my Mayo in an airtight glass jar in the fridge and it easily lasts for a couple of weeks.

Why Vegan Mayo?

For those on a plant-based diet, its the only way to go. But even if you’re not strictly plant-based, some folks are allergic to eggs and a lot of folks don’t like the idea of raw eggs in the mayo.

In any case, this mayonnaise has a much longer shelf life than the kind that uses eggs. You’ll be amazed at the taste and texture. If you personally didn’t make this stuff, you wouldn’t even be able to tell that it is vegan.

I really hope you try this recipe out.

Here are a few ways in which I use this Mayo –
Vegan Black Bean Burgers
Wasabi Mayonnaise in Vegan Sushi Bowls

How to Make Vegan Mayonnaise

Recipe by Trisha VazCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Prep time

5

minutes

A must-have condiment, this Vegan mayonnaise recipe is simple and easy, and is perfect for sandwiches, burgers and salads.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Soy milk

  • 1 cup sunflower oil

  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon mustard

  • 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • A little salt, to taste

Directions

  • Place all the ingredients in a clean, dry jar. Use an immersion blender and place the head at the bottom of the jar. Blitz everything together and slowly and gradually lift the immersion blender to the top. As you move the blender, the oil and milk will emulsify and in seconds you’ll be left with a gorgeous batch of Mayonnaise.
  • Store in a clean, dry, airtight container in the fridge and use as needed.

Recipe Video

How to make Vegan Parmesan Cheese

This Vegan Parmesan Cheese has a bold, complex flavour that makes it a fantastic plant-based replacement for Parmesan cheese.

It’s January 2021. I’m sure you know that perfectly well. What you probably may or may not know is that every January there is a movement called Veganuary that hundreds of thousands of people the world over participate in. Veganuary = Vegan + January.

There are a number of different reasons why people take part. Some take this as an opportunity to start their vegan journey. Others want to make a small commitment for a month to check and see how it works for them. Irrespective of the reason, I find it very heartening to see the number of people making the switch to a vegan life-style.

When I decided to go Vegan, I thought that I’d miss Cheese the most. See back then, I loved my cheese. And not just cheese, but butter, ghee and dairy as a whole. While we didn’t consume much meat even then, dairy and eggs were big in our household. But what I found very interesting is that as my body adapted to eating more plant based food, I never really missed the dairy or the eggs for that matter.

That being said, every once in a while, especially when a make a big pot of pasta, I find that there’s a little something missing. Yes, I’m talking about the last little grate of Parmesan Cheese. I started subbing everybody’s favourite nutritional yeast (aka Nooch) and now if I have pasta without it, I definitely feel that somethings missing. It’s amazing how the mind and body adapt. While Nutritional Yeast is a good substitute, when I was working on this recipe, I knew that this Vegan Parmesan Cheese would take my Vegan Pasta experience to the next level. It has these little salty pops much like Parmesan Cheese does and the nooch does its cheesy bit, making this the ultimate replacement for Parmesan Cheese.

Vegan-Parmesan-Cheese

While you can find a number of Vegan Cheese products in store, they cost a pretty penny. And not just that, sometimes they have a bunch of ingredients that I’m not very comfortable consuming. That where my vegan Parmesan recipe comes in. This recipe is a fantastic one, if I should say so myself. It uses just 4 ingredients (all basic vegan pantry staples – no funny business here) and takes a couple of minutes to make, at most.

This Vegan Parmesan Cheese has become a staple in my home and I hope this recipe helps you too.

How to make Vegan Parmesan Cheese at home

Recipe by Trisha VazCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
Prep time

5

minutes

This Vegan Parmesan Cheese has a bold, complex flavour that makes it a fantastic plant-based replacement for Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast

  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, or to taste

Directions

  • Add all the ingredients to your spice or dry grinder. Blitz it in short bursts till it reaches a coarse sand like consistency.
  • Store in a clean, dry glass jar in the refrigerator.

Recipe Video

Notes

  • You can use a food processor to blend all the ingredients too.

Kale Salad – perfect for the Holidays

A vibrant and colourful salad that’s so full of flavour, this light and refreshing Kale Salad makes a stunning addition to your Holiday menu.

In most parts of the Northern Hemisphere, the Holiday Menu consists of warm and hearty mains and sides. Not here. In Australia, we’re smack bang in the middle of summer at the moment. And while a lot of households will have a roast of some sort, a lot of the food made for the day is light and fresh. At this time of the year, the weather is beautiful and everyone wants to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with family. No one wants to spend the day slaving away in the kitchen.

And while most of the meal is usually meticulously planned, it sometimes happens that a salad in thrown together in a hurry. You don’t want to do that. A salad is light, refreshing and can be healthy, if you choose to make it that way. This Kale Salad that I’m going to share with you today ticks all those boxes.

Kale Salad

And while a lot of folks don’t often enjoy Kale in any form, let alone in a salad, wait till you see this one. There’s very little prep involved. However, with a little attention, the Kale leaves get tender and super delicious. And the dressing is light and simple but so flavourful. This is one of my all-time favourite salads.

Can this salad be made in advance?

Most of the prep for this salad can be done a day ahead, with just the final touches and assembly done on the day you intend to serve it up.

The process of de-stemming (is that even a word? Let’s pretend that it is) the Kale and tear the leaves is probably what takes the longest. And this bit can be done on the previous day. You can also make your dressing a day or two ahead. Just make sure you whisk it all together before you dress the salad.

The rest of the salad comes together in a few minutes.

So let’s take a look at the recipe now, shall we?

Kale Salad

Recipe by Trisha VazCourse: SaladsCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

20

minutes

A vibrant and colourful salad that’s so full of flavour, this light and refreshing Kale Salad makes a stunning addition to your Holiday menu.

Ingredients

  • For the salad –
  • 4-6 stalks of Kale

  • 1 large carrot (or 2 small carrots), grated

  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage

  • 1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

  • For the dressing –
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, finely chopped / grated

  • 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup

  • 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon Hot English mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Prep the kale by tearing away the thick stalk in the middle of each leaf and tearing the leafy greens into smaller pieces. Wash and drain well. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the salad dressing till well incorporated. Check for seasoning and adjust as needed.
  • Pour a tablespoon of the dressing over the prepped kale leaves and massage the leaves for 2-3 minutes. At the end of this 2-3 massage, all the leaves should appear a nice vibrant green and should be covered with all the dressing. If the leaves feel too dry while massaging, add another spoonful of the dressing and continue the process.
  • Now add all the other ingredients to the bowl. Drizzle a little more of the dressing over the salad as needed and toss well. Serve up.

Recipe Video

Vegan Jalapeno Cornbread

Speckled with little pieces of the jalapeno pepper, this easy, vegan Jalapeno Cornbread pairs perfectly with a big bowl of chilli.

In my previous post, I’d shared with you one of my all time favourite recipes for a chilli. And I’d served it up with some homemade cornbread. This post, is all about that Vegan Jalapeno Cornbread. I felt it deserved its very own post, because it’s that good.

Vegan Jalapeno Cornbread - cut

It’s a simple and easy recipe, and it comes together very quickly. It doesn’t need any time to rest or rise. Infact, I make this right when my chilli is set to simmer.

This cornbread is an absolute crowd-pleaser. Depending on the crowd, it’s really easy to dial the heat level up or down. With minimal prep required, it’s a great recipe to have on hand when entertaining too. This way you can focus on all the other elements of your meal. And let’s take a moment to talk about the taste. This cornbread turns out really delicious. No one is going to believe how easy it is to make. And you don’t need to tell them either. I’ll happily sit down and enjoy a warm piece of cornbread by itself, its that good.

Jalapeno Cornbread - Piece

I usually like to serve this Jalapeno Cornbread with a nice, hearty chilli. I’ve shared one of my favourite Chilli recipes in the past. If you haven’t seen that yet, you can check it out here – Vegan Chilli.

Vegan Jalapeno Cornbread

Recipe by Trisha VazCourse: SidesCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

9

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes
Total time

30

minutes

Speckled with little pieces of the jalapeno pepper, this easy, vegan Jalapeno Cornbread is a perfect pairing to a big bowl of chilli.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon flaxmeal
    *See notes.

  • 1 cup polenta

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 fresh jalapeño, chopped

  • 3/4 to 1 cup of plant based milk

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
  • In a bowl, place 1 tablespoon of flaxmeal and 3 tablespoons of water. Stir well to combine. Set aside in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. This is your flax egg.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients – polenta, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and chopped jalapeño. Stir to mix through.
  • In another bowl combine 3/4 cup of the milk and maple syrup. Stir well.
  • Add the maple – milk solution and flax egg to to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. If the mix is too dry, gradually add a little more milk and fold in with a spatula. You are looking for a cake batter like consistency. (See the recipe video for more information.)
  • Lightly grease the base and sides of an 8 inch square baking dish. Pour the cornbread mix into the baking dish and spread evenly.
  • Bake at 180ºC for 20 minutes or till a skewer pierced through the centre comes out clean.
  • Take out of the oven and leave in the baking dish to cool.
  • When it’s closer to room temperature but still warm, cut into portions and serve.

    Enjoy!

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Flaxmeal – You can either buy a packet of flaxmeal from the store. I make my own by simply grinding up some flax seeds in a dry grinder and store it in a jar and use it, as needed.

Vegan Chilli – A recipe that’s easy and hearty

Made using Kidney beans and corn, this recipe for a wholesome, vegan Chilli is always a flavour-packed, crowd-pleaser.

Easy & Hearty Vegan Chilli

To me, very few things are as comforting as a big bowl of this vegan chilli on a cold, wet day. If I’m being honest, I can devour a bowlful of this any time of the year.

If you’re someone like me, who enjoys a good chilli, you really should try this recipe. For a recipe that is as simple as this one is, it is packed with flavour the recipe makes a fairly big batch. That’s always a win in my book, because that means leftovers.

Let’s talk about the beans, shall we?

I’ve made this vegan chilli quite a few times and I’ve even tried it with a bunch of different beans. Today, I’ve kept it simple and used kidney beans, but in the past I have made this with black beans and even a mix of both. Every single time, this recipe turns out delicious. There is a slight change in the overall flavour when you use a different variety of beans, but the chilli still turns out really well.

I prefer cooking my beans from scratch. I use dried beans, soak it overnight and pressure cook it the next day. But you can just as easily use the tinned variety. I find that the flavour of dry beans cooking from scratch a lot better.

How “hot” is hot?

When you look at today’s recipe, you’ll see that I’ve used a bunch of different chilly options. That being said, this still doesn’t turn out too spicy. Each chilly element lends a different type of heat to the dish and it balances the flavours really well.

Obviously, you can adjust the amount of each of them to suit your taste and make it as hot as you’d like it, or not. ?

With all those details dealt with, this recipe is a super simple one. Even if you’ve never cooked before, you’ll easily pull off this recipe. You end up with a big batch of chilli that is packed with flavour and it’s so much better than anything you can find in the stores. Go ahead! Try it.

I served up my chilli with some homemade Jalapeño cornbread (recipe coming soon), coconut yogurt, some avocado, some freshly sliced jalapeño and some fresh coriander. And to taste, I sprinkle some red chilly flakes, salt and lemon juice. These toppings take this already amazing chilli up a notch. This is the kind of stuff I love with my chilli. What sort of toppings do you like? Leave me a comment and let me know.


If you’re looking for more recipe inspiration using beans, check out these recipes –
Black Bean and Corn Tacos
Black Bean Burgers

Easy & Hearty Vegan Chilli

Recipe by Trisha VazCourse: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes

Made using Kidney beans and corn, this recipe for a wholesome, vegan Chilli is always a flavour-packed, crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked Kidney beans (make sure they’re cooked till just about done)

  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped

  • 1/2 green capsicum, finely chopped

  • 1 carrot, finely chopped

  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped

  • 1 tbsp oil

  • 1 tsp garlic paste

  • 1 tsp chilly powder (a mild variety)

  • 1/8 tsp extra hot Cayenne pepper powder

  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 tsp cumin powder

  • 1 tsp oregano

  • 1 cup passata or 1 can diced tomatoes

  • 1 tsp Vegetable stock powder (or 1 litre of vegetable stock)

  • 1 tsp Vegemite

  • Salt, to taste

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 litre hot water (leave this out, if you’re using liquid stock)

  • 1 cup corn kernels

  • Chopped coriander, to garnish

  • Toppings –
  • Coconut yogurt

  • Sliced jalapeño

  • Sliced avocado

  • Jalapeño cornbread

  • Red chilly flakes, to taste

  • Salt, to season the avocado

  • Lemon juice, to taste

  • Fresh coriander, chopped

Directions

  • Heat a large pot on medium heat. To the pot add oil and onions and sauté till the onions have just started to soften.
  • Add the chopped capsicum, carrot and celery and stir well. Let the veggies cook on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes till they sweat and start to soften.
  • Add garlic paste and stir well. Fry it off for about 30 seconds.
  • Now, add the chilly powder, cayenne pepper powder, smoked paprika, cumin powder and oregano and stir to coat all the vegetables with the spices.
  • Add the passata and let it cook off for about another minute.
  • To this, add the vegetable stock powder, Vegemite and salt. Stir well. Add 1 litre of hot water from a recently boiled kettle. Stir through.
  • Now add the cooked beans and bring this to a boil. Cover the pot, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times in between.
  • Add the corn and sugar. Check for seasoning and add more salt, if needed. Stir well. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes or till the corn has cooked through.
  • Garnish with some chopped fresh coriander (leaves and stalks).

    Serve hot!
  • Serving suggestion –
  • Ladle some chilli into a bowl.
  • Dollop 1-2 tbsp coconut yogurt (You can also use vegan sour cream).
  • Sprinkle some red chilly flakes, to taste.
  • Top with some thinly sliced jalapeño, to taste.
  • Place some avocado slices on top.
  • Sprinkle some chopped fresh coriander.
  • Season the avocado with a little salt.
  • Squeeze some lemon juice over the avocado and the chilli.
    Serve up.

.Recipe Video

Vegan Banana Bread – the only recipe you’ll ever need

This Vegan Banana Bread recipe is a simple, one bowl recipe which results in a moist, spongy and delicious Banana Bread.

I’ve always had a fondness for baking and it’s been this way ever since I can remember. However, when I decided to embrace more of a plant-based diet, a lot of my go-to baking recipes couldn’t be used and needed to be altered. You may have noticed that I haven’t shared very many plant-based cake or cookie recipes yet. I’ve been working on my recipes to make sure that they are just as good as the more conventional recipes, if not better.

So for the first of many, I’m going to share my Vegan Banana Bread recipe with you today. This is one EPIC recipe. And I’m not just saying that. Everything comes together in one bowl, no fancy equipment or gadgets needed and you end up with a loaf of banana bread that is ‘to-die-for’. My husband and I were totally amazed by this recipe.

In the past, I’ve tried a number of banana bread recipes (remember this one or this one), but I think this one beats them all. For a recipe that is so simple, the rewards are pretty great.


Start of by mashing the bananas really well.

Next, add the sugar and oil and mix thoroughly.

Now, add the flax egg and vanilla and mix through.

Add the dry ingredients and fold through.

Lastly, fold in the walnuts.

Pour the batter into your prepped loaf tin and bake.

That’s it. Now you’ve arrived at the hardest part of the recipe, the waiting. You sit back, wait for your banana bread to bake and then wait for it to cool completely before cutting into it.

So if you have a bunch of bananas on your kitchen counter, that have passed their prime, don’t let them go to waste. Make this delicious banana bread. If you’re buying bananas especially for this recipe, make sure they’ve ripened well. They should have a few black spots on the skin, it means they’ll be sweeter and add better flavour to your banana bread. If they haven’t reached that stage yet, I would highly recommend leaving them on the counter for a couple of days before making this recipe.

I really hope you try this recipe out. If you’re not a fan of walnuts, you can leave them out. If you’d like to add a little decadence to your banana bread, add some chocolate chips to it. Either way, I promise you, this is the only banana bread recipe you’ll ever need.

Even if you don’t necessarily follow a plant-based diet, you will love it. You wont miss the eggs and the butter one bit.

Let’s head on over to the recipe now, shall we?

Vegan Banana Bread

Recipe by Trisha Vaz
Prep time

20

minutes
Baking time

40

minutes
Total time

1

hour 

10

minutes

This Vegan Banana Bread recipe is a simple, one bowl recipe which results in a moist, spongy and delicious Banana Bread.

Ingredients

  • 3 large ripe Bananas

  • 1 tbsp flax meal

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup oil

  • 1 tsp Vanilla

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions

  • To make the flax egg, in a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp flax meal with 3 tbsp water at room temperature. Stir well. Refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
  • Line a loaf with with baking paper and lightly grease it.
  • In a large mixing bowl, peel and mash the bananas.
  • Add the sugar and oil to the bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Add the flax egg and the vanilla and mix well.
  • Add the dry ingredients (the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder and nutmeg powder). Lightly mix the dry ingredients and then incorporate it with the wet ingredients using the cut and fold technique. (Refer to the recipe video for a demonstration.)
  • Lastly, add the chopped walnuts and gently fold through till they have distributed evenly, taking care to not over-mix the batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or till a skewer pierced through the centre of the loaf comes out clean.
  • Cool completely before slicing.

    Enjoy!!!

Recipe Video