basil

Vegan and gluten-free spaghetti meatballs - Μακαρόνια με κεφτεδάκια φακής χωρίς γλουτένη - Veganinathens.com

Vegan spaghetti and lentil-balls – gluten free recipe

…that actually look and taste just like the original Italian spaghetti and meatballs and yet they are 100% vegan! Although I don’t have an Italian grandmother or mom, I remember eating this dish at home when I was a kid, especially from spring to early autumn, when basil in our pots was abundant, since this aromatic herb together with garlic gives the characteristic touches.

Vegan and gluten-free spaghetti meatballs - Μακαρόνια με κεφτεδάκια φακής χωρίς γλουτένη - Vegan in Athens

In order to create the vegan version of this classic comfort food, we make delicious lentil-balls instead of meatballs and we dip them in an aromatic tomato sauce seasoned with basil, garlic and some spices, reformulating thus the original recipe, without compromising in taste, texture and convenience. Another thing I love about this dish is that it contains no gluten and so, it can be served with gluten-free spaghetti, in case we want to keep our meal 100% gluten-free.

Vegan and gluten-free spaghetti meatballs - Μακαρόνια με κεφτεδάκια φακής χωρίς γλουτένη - Veganinathens.com

Ingredients
(for 4-5 portions)

1 packet (500 g) spaghetti (we can choose a gluten-free brand)

for the lentil-balls

  • 1 cup (225 g) dried green lentils soaked in water for 7-8 hours or overnight
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats *, ground
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or apple-cider vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Vegan and gluten-free spaghetti meatballs - Μακαρόνια με κεφτεδάκια φακής χωρίς γλουτένη - Vegan in Athens

for the tomato-sauce

  • 2 packages (1 kg) slightly concentrated tomato juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

chopped basil leaves to serve

Vegan and gluten-free spaghetti meatballs - Μακαρόνια με κεφτεδάκια φακής χωρίς γλουτένη - Vegan in Athens

Method

  1. Put the lentils in a bowl and cover with water to soak overnight. Then drain, grind in a food-processor and put them in a bowl. Add the onion, parsley, garlic, carrot and spices and knead adding the oats gradually until you get a fairly firm mixture.
  2. Shape lentil-balls in size slightly larger than a walnut. In a saucepan put a generous amount of olive-oil and fry until golden brown. Alternatively, bake in the oven at 200 ° C for about 40 minutes.
  3. Prepare the sauce: In a large, deep pan add the olive oil together with the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add the wine, balsamic vinegar and the remaining ingredients. Stir, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and put the meatballs into the sauce carefully. Do not put too many, as they are going to absorb moisture from the sauce, gaining thus some additional volume.
  5. Turn on the heat and cook 10 more minutes over low heat. Turn of the heat and let for half an hour to set.
  6. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions and drain. Serve with the meatballs and generous spoonfuls of sauce. You can garnish with chopped fresh basil for extra flavor.

* You can use gluten-free certified rolled oats or rolled buckwheat or quinoa instead.

Vegan spaghetti and meatballs soy-free, gluten-free - Vegan in Athens

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pesto alla genovese - Vegan in Athens

Pesto alla genovese vegan

Basil is one of my favourite summer herbs, not only for its bright green colour but also for its tiny, beautiful flowers, its fragrance, the flavor that adds to my dishes and also by the fact that I can always have fresh basil in my pots, especially during spring and summer. Unfortunately, when the weather gets colder, my beautiful basils start to wilt, but in spring, their seeds grow and new basils appear! So in the summer days, when basils are on their best, I like to pick their leaves and use them in several dishes. Today I decided to make a tasty pesto alla Genovese, using the traditional Italian recipe, replacing though parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast flakes.

Something that I like to do when I have plenty of basil leaves, is to prepare larger quantities of this pesto sauce and keep it in glass jars in the fridge for long time. By this way, we can have “fresh” pesto sauce all year long.

pesto alla genovese - Vegan in Athens

Pesto sauce is ideal for spaghetti, but we can also use it over toasted bread for a tasty bruschetta.

Ingredients

  •    50 g or 2 cups of basil leaves
  •     100 ml olive oil (slightly less than half a cup)
  •     2 garlic cloves
  •     2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  •     2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar or lemon juice
  •     ½ -1 tsp salt
  •     ½ -1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  •     3 tbsp pine nuts or sunflower seeds

Method

  1. Wash the basil leaves and dry them with a towel or paper towel (or spin them in the salad spinner).
  2. Roast nuts in a frying pan or in the oven until golden brown (it only takes few minutes).
  3. Add to the blender all ingredients together and blend 2-3 minutes until homogenized.

pesto alla genovese - Vegan in Athens

Bruschetta with basil pesto
(5 persons)

Toast 10 small slices of bread of your choice on the grill or in a toaster. Spread on each slice 1 teaspoon pesto and serve.

Spaghetti with basil pesto
(5 persons)

  1. Boil 1 packet (500 gr) spaghetti of your choice according to the package directions.
  2. Drain the pasta and rinse with water under a tap (but not too much if you don’ t want them to become cold).
  3. Drain well and pour back into saucepan.
  4. Add the pesto, mix with the pasta and serve.

 

 

 

 

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Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

Zucchini, basil and almond tart

Tarts –sweet or savory- are some of my favorite dishes, as long as they combine a crunchy, taste crust with a rich, creamy filling, enriched with all the seasonal produce.

When I make tarts, I often try to experiment with many different ingredients instead of using “ready-to-bake” pie crusts or the classic “butter-flour- cold water” recipe, in order to explore healthier but yet tasty variations.

As far as it concerns the filling, the adventure begins right here! Depending on the season and the ingredients available, we can create small miracles, without any animal ingredient.

Zucchini, basil and almond tart - Veganinathens.com

So today, I decided to make this zucchini tart for our lunch, with the freshest, tender zucchini I got this morning from the farmers market. In order to highlight the summer character of this dish I decided to add fresh basil leaves.

For the pie crust I mixed ground almonds, white and whole wheat flour and olive oil instead of butter. To make things easier, I added some baking powder into the dough, so as to avoid the pre-cooking of the crust and save some time.

In a recipe like this, nothing could go wrong! It is simply delicious!

Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

Ingredients

For the crust

  • ¾ cups (115 gr) all purpose flour
  • ¾ cups (115 gr) whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup (100 gr) raw unblanched almonds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (80 ml) olive oil
  • ½ cup (100 ml) cold water
  • ¾ cup (100 gr) raw unblanched almonds blended into flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder

For the filling

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ kg fresh courgettes sliced
  • 1 medium sized onion diced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 clove of garlic pureed
  • 1 tsp carry powder
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

sunflower seed cream cheese

  • ½ cup skinned sunflower seeds soaked for 2-4 hours
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice or apple-cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup diced and skinned boiled potatoes
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves chopped

on top

  • 2 courgettes sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

Method

  1. For the crust, mix water with olive oil, salt, baking powder and add gradually almond flour, all purpose flour and whole-wheat flour while stirring spoon to make a soft, non-sticky dough. Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface until smooth.
  2. Form the dough into a ball, place in a bowl, cover with clear film or greaseproof paper and chill for half an hour or more.  Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens
  3. For the filling, put olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for 1 minute. Add the courgette slices and the garlic and cook for one more minute. Pour the wine, salt and pepper and carry powder, lower the heat and cook for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables soften a little bit. Turn of the heat and set aside. We will need the broth that is left in the pan later.
  4. For the sunflower seed cheese, drain the sunflower seeds and blend them with the salt, lemon juice and water in the blender for 2 minutes or until a thick paste is formed.
  5. In a bowl add the cooked potatoes with the broth that is left in the pan and with a fork puree the potatoes. Mix well with the sunflower seed cheese.
  6. Add in the mixture the chopped basil and the cooked zucchini. Mix well carefully, as we want the courgette slices to remain as intact as possible.
  7. Take the dough out of the fridge and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a lightly floured greaseproof paper to a thickness of 1 cm. If you want you can roll the dough between two parchment papers, but I find it easier to use only one. It depends on everyone’s personal technique. The thing is that there is no easier way to make a pie crust since after you’ ve rolled out the dough you can use the sheet to help you turn the dough over into the tart pan. I used a tart pan of about 22 cm diameter. Fit the dough against the bottom and sides of the pan and with a knife cut the dough even with the top of the pan.
  8. Add the filling carefully –to avoid breaking the underlying pie crust- and smooth the surface with a spatula.Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens
  9. For the cover, combine the zucchini slices with the olive oil, basil leaves, salt and pepper and put on top of the pie forming concentric circles until the top of the pie has been covered.
  10. Sprinkle the pie with a little bit water and cook in pre-heated oven at 200oC for 50 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Let it cool for 15 minutes and serve.

Τάρτα με φρέσκα κολοκυθάκια, βασιλικό και αμύγδαλα - Vegan in Athens

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