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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Roasted Beet & Potato Soup and Zucchini Lasagne (vegan)

I’m always interested in eating new foods and learning about different food approaches. After eating a largely meat/protein based diet for years I’m enjoying exploring an alternative veggie-based world!

There’s so many great blogs out there to read up on vegan / vegetarian living but one of my favourites is Deliciously Ella. I really subscribe to her ethos of the importance of food on your well being and health.

I’ve cooked a few of her recipes before…for example a tasty quinoa and butternut squash salad.

This time we selected her ‘Roasted Beet & Potato Soup’ as I was drawn to the beautiful bright pink colour, especially after a recent pumpkin soup attempt (read about it here) ended up not resembling the warm orange colour of the recipe’s photos, but instead a sludgy green!

As I’m finding that quite a few vegan meals end up all with similar flavours and consistency, we then selected her ‘Raw Zucchini Lasagna’ as I thought it would add a different texture. Plus lasagne is such a comfort food - my mama often makes it when we all come back home!

First up we cooked the potatoes

And roasted the beetroot (as I’d found a beast of a beetroot we chopped it up to cook, rather than keeping it whole)


Then a third of the potatoes were chopped up into ‘croutons’, seasoned with salt, pepper, chilli flakes and olive oil and put into the oven to roast


While the root vegetables baked in the oven we set to work on the ‘brazil nut cheese’ for the lasagna. I’m not a fan of cheese and so was intrigued to try this alternative. The main ingredients are brazil nuts.

First I crushed these in the pestle and mortar

before adding to the mixer with lemon juice

once blended, we then added the rosemary, yeast, salt and water

and blended it all together to make the ‘cheese’.  Warning - it smells distinctly unappealing! The yeast had a strong, and in my opinion off-putting, odour.

Next up on the lasagna recipe was the pesto

Very simple - just blend together the avocado, basil leaves, spinach, pine nuts, lemon and salt

With our lasagna sauces complete, we switched back to the soup. Putting the roasted beetroot and boiled potatoes into the blender…

…along with coconut milk, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander leaves and salt & pepper



Wow!

Ella’s recipe says to add some water if the soup is too thick, but determined to achieve the bright colour, I swapped water for beetroot juice!


A beautiful smooth and hot pink result.

Our roasted potato croutons were ready…

…and so we heated up the beetroot soup…

…and served.

 Adding the roasties on top.

It was very tasty. Though the dominant flavour was coconut which surprised me as I was expecting more of the earthy beetroot taste to come through.  Next time I’d probably reduce the amount of potatoes in the soup to make it a bit lighter as it was still quite thick and heavy - it would easily be a main course and would also work cold.

 Yum yum!

Next up was main course. As my friend wasn’t keen on the idea of raw zucchini ‘sheets’ we baked the slices in the oven for a little while with oil, salt and pepper first.

Then it was time to assemble our lasagna layers.

Zucchini, followed by brazil nut cheese…


…then tomato slices.

Followed by the pesto…and repeat!

Ta-dah!  Not quite as clean looking as Ella’s - definitely more of a ‘homemade’ vibe from these.


But we could still admire the different colours from the layers.

We made two lasagnas but were pretty full from our thick soup earlier so decided to split one and share.

Easier said than done!


It was okay. Personally the yeasty cheese smell put me off a bit and it was all quite rich with the ‘cheese’ and avocado pesto. But also we weren’t that hungry after the soup so probably weren’t so in the mood for another course!

Analysing our lasagna we decided that it would perhaps work better as a small individual starter, prepped in ramekin dishes. And I’d probably swap the brazil nut cheese for chickpea hummus.

Check out more tasty vegan recipes on Deliciously Ella’s webpage and stay tuned for more cooking attempts by yours truly!

Ingredients - Roasted Beet & Potato Soup

  • 10 potatoes (1kg)
  • 2 beetroots (400g)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (400ml)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander powder* (we used fresh coriander leaves instead)
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of chilli flakes
  • salt, pepper and olive oil
  • water as needed * (we used beetroot juice instead)
Ingredients - (Raw) Zucchini Lasagna

  • 2 zucchini (courgettes)
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 cups of fresh basil
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1/3 of a cup of pine nuts
  • 2 lemons
  • salt
  • water as needed
  • 1/2 a cup of brazil nuts (about 40 nuts)
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 stick of fresh rosemary

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