My American readers may be puzzling over this recipe. Mincemeat mini pies? Mincemeat contains no meat, but is a spiced, sweet mix of dried fruits and alcohol. It’s rich, it’s boozy and my mincemeat contains… pumpkin. See? You want to get in on this traditional British festive staple – vegetable style.
For my vegetable spin on mince pies, I’ve added vibrant beetroot to the pastry. Pastry is so easy to make in a food processor and now it even has veg – and a nice Christmassy colour. If you really want to go all out, you could also make my bright green mince pies with spinach pastry. Equally easy to make.
In the UK, mince pies are usually left out on Christmas Eve with a warming glass of brandy or whisky for Father Christmas, and a carrot for Rudolph. At least with these, Santa will get a little veg to help him deliver his pressies.
I feel that I should admit now that I’ve lost Christmas. We moved across the country to a temporary house a few months ago and put half of our belongings in storage until we buy our house (fingers crossed we’re in before Xmas!!). But, erm, well, we appear to have left our tree, decorations, elf on the shelf, stockings and all the other festive paraphernalia in storage containers a half day’s drive away. Oops. My kids are 4 and 2 so keep asking when the elf is coming. We’ve borrowed decorations from my mum and just keep hoping that we’ll find the elf box. Oh dear…
People always want to know where vegans get their protein. In brownies, baby, in brownies. In rich, decadent, fudgy bright pink brownies that are crammed with nuts, sticky medjool dates, beetroot and raw cacao powder (you can substitute good quality cocoa powder). With no added sugar and no cooking they are as easy as they are healthy.
In the run up to Christmas the temptation to unhealthily really ramps up. Tins of chocolates appear on desks at the office, the spicy smells of mince pies and gingerbread lattes waft out of every cafe door and suddenly there are a load of boozy parties to attend. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be partaking my fair share, but there also needs to be a place for healthy treats. The people at Rennie® challenged me to make a #healthytreat to show that it’s possible to make flavourful food with healthy ingredients – an easy challenge for a lover of vegetables! The result is these raw vegan brownies.
Some great words to remember, particularly at this time of year are: “If you eat well, you’ll feel good.” I firmly believe in eating fresh, home cooked, vegetable-heavy meals – including treats. So I’ve developed these brownies, crammed full of beets and nuts. They are dense and rich so I like to keep them in the freezer and just have one small brownie each day for energy and a sweet hit – without any sugar.
Pumpkin pie is an American classic. It’s starting to get more popular here in the UK and tins of Libby’s pumpkin puree are becoming more and more common in the supermarkets. Rightly so. Rich, concentrated pumpkin puree is fantastic livened up with autumnal spices. The traditional recipe calls for heavy ingredients like evaporated milk, but I thought I’d make mine healthier and vegan. This protein-packed dessert is really quick to make in a high-speed blender (I used my Froothie Optimum), but you can also try it in a standard blender or food processor. You just have to whiz each part up and assemble. No baking, no cooking. If you don’t have time to refrigerate it to firm up slightly (takes about 30 minutes), you could just line the muffin cups with paper liners and eat them right away.
I spiced up the hazelnut crust with chai spices – cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper… It tastes warming next to the earthy, lightly-spiced custardy pumpkin filling. A healthier take on pumpkin pie with loads more flavour.
I’m really struggling to type this post. It was my birthday recently and in a crisis of advancing years I thought I’d get all girly and sort my nails out. Iphones and laptop keyboards are not made for the ladylike life. Please excuse any spelling errors or rogue letters littered about this recipe post.
I really love autumnal flavours. The hot ginger, warm nutmeg and all of the other spices that suddenly find their way into my porridge, lattes and desserts.
Parsnip and nutmeg pair beautifully together in savoury parsnip purees and in soups, but here I’ve sweetened them up with maple syrup and put them into a vegetable cake (for my birthday, actually). Parsnip works just like carrot in cakes, adding moisture and sweetness with a mildly earthy flavour. This cake takes a huge 4 cups of grated raw parsnip so you’ll definitely be getting your vegetables in this cake – and it won’t dry out. I’ve also used maple syrup in place of refined sugar and replaced much of the fat with Greek yogurt.
I topped this cake with pureed sweet potato, subtly spiced with freshly grated ginger. It’s so easy to make – you just blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth (I used my Froothie Optimum high-speed blender, but you can try it in a mini chopper or food processor). The results are thick and frosting-like, but without any butter or oil. I only frosted the top, but the recipe below makes quite a lot of icing so you’ll be able to frost the sides and inside of the cake if you wish. Two parsnips, two sweet potatoes, one vegetable cake. My perfect birthday treat.
Parsnip, Maple and Nutmeg Cake with Sweet Potato and Ginger Frosting
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease a tall 9” cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
- Wash well and grate the parsnip. (You should have about 4 cups, grated). Set aside.
- Sift the flour, bicarb of soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the parsnip.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, maple syrup, oil, yogurt and vanilla together with an electric mixer.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry gently.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin and then remove and spread with the sweet potato frosting when completely cool.
For the Sweet Potato and Ginger Frosting
- Ensure the sweet potato flesh is cooled and pat dry in a clean tea towel. Place into a food processor or blender with all of the other ingredients (ginger to taste) and blitz until smooth. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
Still have some parsnips to use up? Don’t let them go to waste, try these recipes:
I’m definitely going to try Jac’s Home-baked Honey Parsnip Crisps
Camilla’s Curried Root Vegetable Soup sounds lovely
Helen’s Rainbow Vegetable Fritters sound amazing, too!
I’ve entered this vegetable cake recipe into a few linkies. Shop Local from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, Recipe of the Week from A Mummy Too, Extra Veg from Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy.
As I’m sure you can imagine, I love my vegetables. It can be hard to get your veg at breakfast and at the moment, with the days drawing in, the scarves coming out and the leaves on the ground, I don’t really fancy avocado on toast or a green smoothie for breakfast. Hot porridge oats are making a welcome return to my breakfast table and are an easy way to get that first portion of veg for the day: in carrot cake oatmeal. It’s amazing how porridge can really taste of carrot cake! The ginger, cinnamon and other spices. The warm, plump raisins, the carrots. Healthy bliss.
I made this warming, gently spiced oatmeal in a REDMOND Multicooker, but you can easily make it on the stove top. The benefit of the multicooker is that you can chuck all of the ingredients in the night before and set it to be cooked in the morning. When it has stopped cooking it, the gadget will even keep it warm until you’re ready to tuck in – for up to five hours should you be really disorganised!