We’ve teamed up with Joanne Wood of @the_balanced_kitchen to help ditch those dull classics, in favour of simple, yet crowd-pleasing, alternatives. They’re best served stretched out on the grass, or at the beach this coming Bank Holiday weekend, surrounded by loved ones.
“These three recipes contain light, fresh ingredients and can all be made in advance, so you are free to relax on the day. They are all vegan, refined-sugar and gluten-free, which means there’s no need to worry about catering for different dietary requirements, either. It’s a winning menu that will have your guests wanting to stay for seconds.”
“You may find the list of ingredients long but, rest assured, the majority will already be in your kitchen. And, the ones you haven’t heard of will give you reason to experiment with new tastes.”
Fresh, green leaf salad with sesame-crusted sweet potato, falafel And tahini dressing*
*Vegan, gluten-free if using gluten-free flour
Makes: 10 large falafels
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes to pre-steam sweet potatoes, plus 10-15 minutes oven time to cook the falafels
Sweet potato falafels
800g sweet potato – peeled and cut into small chunks
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli flakes – to desired taste
1 tin chickpeas – rinsed and drained
1 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
Pinch of sea salt
5 heaped tbsp plain flour – use gluten free if required
1-2 cups sesame seeds to coat
- Begin by steaming the prepared sweet potatoes for around 15 minutes, until soft enough to mash.
- Add a splash of oil to a frying pan and, on a low heat, soften the diced onion and garlic for around five to seven minutes while stirring to prevent burning. If they do start to burn, add a dash of water to the pan to enable you to cook for longer. It’s important the onions are soft to prevent getting any crunchy onion pieces in the falafel.
- Turn off the heat for the frying pan, then add the tomato paste, ground coriander, cumin, sweet smoked paprika and chilli flakes, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine everything.
- In a large bowl, add the steamed sweet potatoes, ingredients from the frying pan, drained chickpeas and lemon, or apple cider vinegar. It is at this point the mixture can be tasted for preferred heat level and seasoning – add a few more chilli flakes, spices or salt if desired.
- Now start to add the flour, tablespoon by tablespoon, to ensure it is well mixed in – you do not want to bite into any floury pockets.
- Add the sesame seeds to a bowl ready for the falafel to be dipped into.
- Using clean hands, form a large falafel (small burger shape). It will feel quite sticky, but do not worry as you will be coating them in sesame seeds and they will firm up in the oven.
- Coat each falafel with sesame seeds and then place on a baking tray, equal distance apart.
- The falafels can be stored in the fridge, covered, on the baking tray until you need them. They require 15 minutes cooking time in a preheated oven from chilled, or just 10 minutes if cooking straight away from room temperature.
- Once cooked, they can be eaten immediately, left to cool slightly or eaten cold.
1 tbsp tahini
½ lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 handful fresh coriander
½ ripe avocado
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
5 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 pinch of sea salt
1-2 cups of water for blending to desired consistency
- Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth.
- Store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
To present the dish
Create a bed of mixed green salad leaves or fresh herbs on the platter. Sprinkle with garlic chives and ultra-thin slices of vibrant yellow beets to add a visual wow-factor to your dish.
Remember that delicate salad leaves wilt easily in the warm sunshine so add them to the plate just before serving, as with the falafels. Keep the dressing to the side for guests to pour on as desired.
Brown rice miso, kale & walnut spread on toasted flatbread*
*Vegan, gluten-free if using gluten-free flatbread
Serves: will cover two to three 12” round flatbreads
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: N/A
3 cloves garlic
3 cups kale (can substitute for rocket, spinach or a mix of all three)
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp brown rice miso
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ juice lemon
3 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
60 ml olive oil
½ cup water for ease of blending – more if needed
Required quantity of flatbread depending on number of guests.
Extra toppings such as green salad leaves, radishes, green peas, spring onion
- Place all the ingredients – excluding the flatbread and extra toppings – into a food processor, pulse a few times, remove the lid and scrape down the sides to ensure everything is being processed. Return the lid and pulse a few more times to reach a thick, grainy texture.
- Remove the spread from the food-processing jug and place in a serving jar.
- Just before serving, quickly toast the flatbread and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the spread to the toasted flatbread, add a few toppings and arrange on the serving platter.
Present them on our Wooden Serving Platter to create a beautiful display.
Raspberries & cream muffins with thick coconut cream*
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
60ml olive oil
500ml coconut milk from a carton, or substitute with any nut milk
Juice of ½ lemon
1 small mashed, ripe banana
100g granulated xylitol/stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g ground almonds
150g coconut flour
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp xanthan gum – to help strengthen the structure for gluten free baking
2 tsp baking powder – use gluten-free if required
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Approximately 36 frozen raspberries
1 pot thick coconut yoghurt (optional – for spreading on top)
Freeze-dried berries (optional – for sprinkling on top)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4 and prepare a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cake cases.
- In a large bowl, add the olive oil, milk, lemon juice, mashed banana, granulated xylitol and vanilla extract, then give it a quick whisk together.
- Next, add the ground almonds, coconut flour, salt, xanthan gum, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and combine together using a wooden spoon. Don’t worry if you think the mixture looks too dry. It will not look like a traditional, pourable cake mixture, but it has ample moisture to keep the muffins a lovely texture during cooking and they will remain like this in the fridge after cooling, too.
- Spoon an equal measure of the mixture into each muffin case. Push the mixture down with the back of the spoon and ensure the muffins are level.
- Press three frozen raspberries into each muffin. Using frozen raspberries enables you to push them down without squishing them and letting all the juices spread.
- Place in the oven and bake for around 15 minutes, then turn the tray around to ensure they cook evenly for the remaining five minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes. Do not place in the container until fully cooled to avoid moisture forming from the condensation – the muffins will still be warm inside for longer.
- Serve with a dollop of fresh, coconut yoghurt cream and a sprinkling of freeze-dried berries, if using.