Autumn Food Edition #1

Autumn Food Edition #1

When the seasons change, it's always a good excuse to play around with different flavours, and I have been enjoying experimenting with some new plant-based recipes. Autumn definitely signals a shift to heartier fare, but it doesn't have to be stodgy and starchy. 

Roasted Kumara and Beetroot Quinoa Salad with Halloumi and Hazelnut Citrus Dressing

Once summer disappears, roast veggies are a frequent staple in our house, and this salad has a great combination of flavours. Most of the prep can be done in advance so it’s a good option for a busy weeknight meal. The dressing has almost a pesto-like consistency and it also goes well with chicken.

Salad Ingredients
1/2 C quinoa
1 T olive oil
pinch of sea salt
1 kumara, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
2 beetroot, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
2 T olive oil
200g halloumi (we love Whitestone Ferry Road Halloumi)
handful of chopped baby kale leaves, stalks removed

Boil the quinoa in water until the threads appear (about 10 minutes), drain and rinse. Return to pot, and stir through 1 T of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Set aside. Place the kumara and beetroot cubes on a baking tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with 2 T of olive oil and roast for about 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Slice the halloumi into 1 cm slices, and on a non-stick pan fry on medium heat until golden brown on each side. Make the dressing. Assemble salad - mix the vegetables through the quinoa, place the halloumi slices on top and drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with a few chopped hazelnuts for garnish. Serves 4.

Hazelnut Citrus Dressing Ingredients
1/4 C hazelnuts, roasted and skinned (we used Amazelnuts from The Taieri)
1/4 Extra Virgin Olive Oil (we used The Village Press Barnea)
handful of chopped parsley
juice of half a lemon
juice of one mandarin
a few chopped hazelnuts to garnish

Place all ingredients into a food processor, and process until the nuts are well chopped. 

Dukkah Falafel with Coconut Yoghurt and Pita Bread

I love falafel as a meatless meal option, and it is really easy to make your own for a fraction of the price of the ready-made version if you use dried chickpeas and soak them overnight. You can make the mixture in advance and fry as needed. If you don't like coconut yoghurt, use plain Greek yoghurt instead.

1 1/4 C dried chickpeas
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley and coriander
3 T dukkah
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 t baking powder
6 T flour
sea salt and pepper to season
rice bran oil for frying
coconut yoghurt, pita bread, hummus and extra dukkah to serve. 

Soak chickpeas in a large bowl of water overnight. Drain. Add all ingredients together in a food processor and process until finely chopped and the mixture forms a rough dough. Shape into balls. Heat rice bran oil in a small saucepan and fry balls in batches until golden brown on all sides. Serve with mesclun leaves, coconut yoghurt and hummus. Makes 16-18 balls. 

Black Bean Fudge Brownies

Perfect as a dessert or a lunchbox treat, we’re loving these Black Bean Fudge Brownies. Serve warm with some coconut yoghurt and berries for a delicious dessert. They are also gluten-free and if you use dairy-free chocolate, they can be dairy-free too.

1 400g tin of black beans, rinsed well and drained
3 x free-range eggs
1/3 C light olive oil
1 C brown sugar
3/4 C ground almonds
150g dark chocolate (72% cocoa is what I used), melted
1/4 C Dutch cocoa powder
1/4 C rice flour

Melt the chocolate over a low heat and leave for a few minutes to cool. Put the beans in a food processor and pulse until they are chopped. Add the eggs and olive oil and mix to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and process until combined well. Pour into a 20cm square tin, lined with baking paper. Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave in the tin to cool, then turn out and cut into squares. Makes 16. Keep in the fridge for up to a week.