Meat Free Monday: Beetroot & Cauliflower Kale Salad with Pesto Dressing [vegan] [gluten free]

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Bursting with wonderful flavours, this Beetroot & Cauliflower Kale Salad with Pesto Dressing is the perfect antidote to the grey weather. The seasonal Winter vegetables are tossed in a delicious pesto dressing made with SACLA’ Free From Basil Pesto and topped with crunchy almonds, juicy pomegranate and sweet raisins. So good!

Full recipe on The Flexitarian.

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Feast Your Eyes On Vegan . . . and the winner is

The winner of our Feast Your Eyes on Vegan Competition is the delicious

Vegan Rhubarb and custard cupcake recipe

Congratulations to Hannah Banana Bakery who will receive a £50 voucher to spend at By Nature.

Thank you to everyone who entered the competition and thank you to everyone who voted. 

You can view the full list of entries here on The Flexitarian website.

Our aim here was to show that vegan food is appealing, diverse and delicious even if you are not vegan.

As we all need to reduce our consumption of animal products we encourage everyone to try going vegan once in a while.

Feast Your Eyes On Vegan Competition

vegan

This World Vegan Month we are celebrating vegan food by sponsoring a competition on The Flexitarian.

“Feast Your Eyes on Vegan” aims to showcase the best looking vegan dishes, to spread the word about vegan food and show how good it can look (and hopefully get people to try it).

So if you are a vegan cook, blogger etc.. send your entries at hello@theflexitarian.co.uk. Your entry should include a high quality picture and web link to the recipe (see competition rules below for more details).

The entries will be displayed on The Flexitarian blog. During the last week of November voting will be open to select a winner and runners up!

Winner and runners up will be showcased on both The Flexitarian & By Nature blogs and social networks. The winner will receive a £50 voucher to spend at By Nature.

So if you are you ready to show the world what vegan food is about let’s get cooking.

Competition Rules:
Vegan Dishes only.
Please submit high quality pictures in jpeg of at least 500 x 500 pixels.
All images submitted should include a URL on where to find the recipe.
If there is no URL please send the picture and recipe to hello@theflexitarian.co.uk
Entries accepted until November 24th midnight (GMT).
Voting open from November 25th to November 29th midnight (GMT).
Winner to be announced on November 30th.

About The Flexitarian blog:
Eat less meat, be healthly & help the planet with The Flexitarian (aka The Flexible Vegetarian) Diet.

Share your favourite vegetarian, vegan and not-quite meatless recipes.

Let’s talk about Food, Health, Ethics and the Environment.

flexitarian

The Great Vegan Bake-Off – The Finalists

the great vegan bake off

So chuffed to learn The Flexitarian’s vegan Apricot Tart is a finalist of PETA’s The Great Vegan Bake-Off .

Vegan apricot tart - The Flexitarian

This was one of the first vegan dessert and it is facing stiff competition!

There are some great entries proving just how EASY and DELICIOUS vegan baking is, and that animal products aren’t needed in the kitchen.

You can see the list of contenders here and vote for your favourite!

There is one week of voting, which ends on 31 October. The entry with the most votes will be crowned the winner and announced on 6 November!

The Great Vegan Bake Off

the great vegan bake off

Reblogged from Peta – There are so many delicious vegan baked goods, such as doughnuts and apple strudel, on supermarket shelves, but sometimes homemade treats really take the cake.

So Peta are launching The Great Vegan Bake Off, a search for the most mouth-watering vegan baked goods in Britain and Ireland! Preheat your oven and start planning your pies, cakes, scones, biscuits or whatever else you bake best. If you are new to vegan baking, don’t worry – check out PETA US’ database of delicious recipes to inspire you.

Entering is easy – just bake something that looks delicious and is free of animal products and either post the recipe and pictures on your blog or website and send the URL to Contest@peta.org.uk or e-mail the picture and recipe directly to Peta. Please put “VEGAN BAKE-OFF” in the subject line and enter before 20 October at 12 midnight.

Peta will pick the baked goods they think look the tastiest and post a blog with all the finalists on 24 October. Then, there will be two weeks of voting, ending on 31 October. The entry with the most votes will be crowned the winner and announced on 6 November! The winner gets bragging rights for being Peta’s choice for greatest vegan baker, along with the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from sharing his or her delicious recipe with the world.

So get baking!

Win Tickets to VegFest London

VegfestUK London

Following its success in Brighton and Bristol, VegFest UK is making its London debut on October 5th and 6th 2013 at Kensington Olympia.

If you are interested in all things vegetarian and vegan, this is the show for you and we have 10 pairs of tickets up for grabs.

To win one of the 10 pairs of tickets we have available, simply sign up to our newsletter in the “Stay in Touch” box at the bottom of this Flexitarian’s post. Winners will be selected at random on September 9th and announced both on our sister site The Flexitarian‘s  Facebook page and Twitter page.

VegFest London brings under one roof up to 180 stalls all full of the latest vegetarian and vegan products plus cookery classes, a Living Raw prep zone, talks and presentations, yoga workshops, live comedy and music, kids’ activities, a celebrity quiz, all led by top entertainers and experts in healthy living and self-development.

There’s also a screening of award-winning documentary ‘Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days’, and a chance to meet your favourite experts in one-to-one sessions throughout the show. Everything at the event is 100% plant based – no animal products permitted.

vegetarian food VegFest London

Ensuring visitors to the event are spoiled for choice, many of the stalls will be providing free samples and tasters as well as produce at vastly reduced costs.

Comedian Dave Spikey (Phoenix Nights) is amongst the guests participating, which also include musician Macka B, comedian Andrew O’Neill, presenter Janey Lee Grace, athlete Fiona Oakes, chef Chad Sarno, actress Roxy Shahidi, raw food coach Karen Knowler, nutritionists Yvonne Bishop-Weston, Christine Bailey and Julie Silver and a number of other leading lights from within the healthy living sector, including top chefs, nutritionists, speakers, entertainers, celebrities and experts.

Dave Spikey VegFest London
For more information about VegfestUK events see the website www.vegfest.co.uk and www.london.vegfest.co.uk

Vegetarians, Vegans, Flexitarians, Pescatarians, Pollotarians Explained

Eating habits are changing and with new choices come new “labels”. Whichever diet you follow is a matter of personal choice and ethics. Yet our current eating habits are not sustainable and there is no doubt that our diet will need to become more plant based.

Let’s explore some of the options….

Vegetarian: a vegetarian has a plant based diet (ie not meat or fish) but does eat dairy and eggs. 

Vegan: a true vegan will not eat any animal product (no meat, fish or dairy). More restricting that vegetarianism but there are many plant based dairy substitutes.

Flexitarian: this is a semi-vegetarian diet which is becoming increasingly popular for people who still want to eat fish or meat from time to time. Followers of the “Meat Free Monday” campaign belong to this category.

Pescatarian: a pescatarian is a semi-vegetarian and  does not eat meat but eats fish, seafood and shelfish

Pollotarian: a pollotarian is also a a semi-vegetarian diet which excludes red meat but pretty much everything else.

A Vegetarian Valentines Menu

Here is simple (almost fuss-free) vegetarian Valentine’s menu. Enjoy!

Kale Salad with Pinenuts, Currants and Parmesan
Kale Salad with Pinenuts, Currants and Parmesan
(via Epicurious)

Serves 3-4
(requires soaking overnight)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons dried currants
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1/2 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Kale (about 1/2 pound), center ribs and stems removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Parmesan cheese shavings

Method

  1. Place currants in small bowl; add 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar. Let soak overnight. Drain currants.
  2. Whisk remaining 1 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, honey, oil, and salt in large bowl. Add kale, currants, and pine nuts; toss to coat. Let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature, tossing occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese shavings over salad and serve.

Melty mushroom Wellingtons
Melty Mushroom Wellingtons
(via BBC Good Food)
Serves 2
(Prep 30 mins – Cook 50mins)
(Freezes when assembled, before baking)
Ingredients
  • 2 large field mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove , chopped
  • about 200g/7oz spinach leaves
  • a dusting of flour
  • 1/2 tbsp picked thyme leaves
  • 250g block all-butter puff pastry
  • 70g Stilton , sliced
  • 1 egg , beaten

Method

  1. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan and sizzle the mushrooms for 3-4 mins on each side until golden and cooked through – add a drop more oil if needed. Lift the mushrooms out onto kitchen paper to drain.
  2. Place the same pan back on the heat with the rest of the oil. Fry the garlic for a moment, add the spinach to the pan, then cook for 2-3 mins over a high heat until completely wilted. Season with salt and pepper, then tip the spinach into a large sieve to drain thoroughly.
  3. On a lightly floured surface scattered with the thyme leaves, roll the pastry out to the thickness of a £1 coin. Using a saucer and a larger-size plate, cut out 2 circles about 5cm wider than the mushrooms (for the bottoms) and 2 circles about 10cm wider (for the tops), re-rolling the trimmings if you need to.
  4. Place the 2 smaller circles on a baking tray and top each with a quarter of the spinach, making sure the pile of spinach isn’t wider than the mushrooms. Top the spinach with a slice of cheese, then a mushroom, smooth-side up, and top the mushroom with another slice of cheese. Brush the border to each circle with egg, then gently stretch the larger circle over the mushroom, trying not to trap any air, then press the edges together with a fork. Trim the edges with a knife if you want, then brush each generously with egg. Bake for 40 mins until golden, then leave to cool for a few mins before serving.

XXXpresso-Chocolate-Cheesec
XXX-Presso Chocolate Cheesecake (vegan)
(via Vegetarian Society)

Makes 12 slim but intense slices, or 8 if you’re feeling outrageous!

Ingredients
  • 150g ginger biscuits, crushed
  • 40g vegetable margarine, melted
  • 200g 75% cocoa dark chocolate (Green & Blacks)
  • 500g plain soya yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 250g plain soya yoghurt
  • 6-8 tsp instant coffee, dissolved in a little hot water (optional)
  • 1 piece stem ginger, finely chopped and 4 tablespoons of stem ginger syrup (from the jar)
  • 250g fresh raspberries An 18cm cake tin, lightly oiled and lined with baking parchment
Method
  1. Mix biscuit crumbs with the melted margarine and press evenly into the cake tin.
  2. Bake 20 minutes. Remove the tin and allow to cool.
  3. Place chocolate in bowl and place over small pan of boiling water. Allow to melt slowly.
  4. Using a fork, whisk the cornflour into 500g of soya yoghurt in a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar, melted chocolate, half the coffee (if using) and 2tbsp ginger syrup. Mix well.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to Gas 3, 325F, 170C. Pour the mixture into the tin over the biscuit base and bake for 35-40 minutes or until just firm.
  6. Make the coffee or ginger ‘crème’ by beating the remaining coffee mixture (if using), the chopped stem ginger and remaining ginger syrup into the 250g soya yoghurt.
  7. Allow cheesecake to cool then slice and serve immediately with a generous dollop of the coffee or ginger ‘crème’ and a few raspberries.

Copyright The Vegetarian Society 2005

An Unnatural Life Span

An-Unnatural-Life-Span_edited

This is reblogged from The Compassionate Cook.

“I have yet to meet a non-vegan who doesn’t care about the treatment of animals bred and killed for human consumption. Even people who eat animal-based meat, aware on some level that the experience is unpleasant for the animals, will tell you they object to unnecessary abuse. Nobody wants to support cruelty, and nobody wants to believe they’re part of it. Instead, they declare that they buy only “humane” meat, “free-range” eggs and “organic” milk, perceiving themselves as ethical consumers and these products as the final frontier in the fight against animal cruelty.

We bring into this world (only to kill) over 10 billion land animals every year just to please our palates and honor the status quo, yet we never question the absurdity of this societal ritual. Instead, we absolve ourselves by making what we think are guilt-free choices, failing to recognize the paradoxical impossibility of “humane slaughter” and also ignoring huge steps in the cradle- (domestication)-to-grave (our bodies) process.

The unappetizing process of turning living animals into butchered body parts begins at birth and ends in youth – whatever they’re raised for and however they’re raised. Relative to their natural life span, most of the animals are slaughtered when they’re still babies, as illustrated in the graphic above. (And this graphic doesn’t even include the millions of male chicks killed upon hatching at egg hatcheries every year. Males, after all, don’t produce eggs and are thus worthless to the egg industry.)

When we tell ourselves we’re eating the flesh and secretions from “humanely raised animals,” we’re leaving out a huge part of the equation. The slaughtering of an animal is a bloody and violent act, and death does not come easy for those who want to live.

The fundamental problems we keep running into do not arise merely from how we raise animals but that we eat animals. Clearly we can survive—and in fact, thrive—on a plant-based diet; we don’t need to kill animals to be healthy, and in fact animal fat and protein are linked with many human diseases.

We know this. We know it instinctively, and the medical research supports it.

What does it say about us that when given the opportunity to prevent cruelty and violence, we choose to turn away—because of tradition, culture, habit, convenience, or pleasure? We are not finding the answers we are looking for because we are asking the wrong questions.

The movement toward “humanely raised food animals” simply assuages our guilt more than it actually reduces animal suffering. If we truly want our actions to reflect the compassion for animals we say we have, then the answer is very simple. We can stop eating them. How can this possibly be considered anything but a rational and merciful response to a violent and vacuous ritual?

Every animal born into this world for his or her flesh, eggs or milk—only to be killed for human pleasure—has the same desire for maternal comfort and protection, the same ability to feel pain, and the same impulse to live as any living creature. There’s nothing humane about breeding animals only to kill them, and there’s nothing humane about ending the life of a healthy animal in his or her youth.

(Moved by this? Please share this post or just the graphic to raise awareness and/or join The 30-Day Vegan Challenge to be part of the solution.)

Click here for the JPG version of the graphic.