The Kindly Vegan

vegan recipes - it's easy

Easy Apple Cake with olive oil

Apple & olive oil cake

Lately I’ve bought loads of gorgeous, fragrant apples from our local farmer’s market every Saturday and done justice to each and every beauty.  Best apples I have ever eaten, dripping with juice and so fragrant, every single variety distinct and each one a winner.   But I have also used them for an apple & date crumble, apple pie, Tarte Tatin and now this ever so easy apple cake with olive oil!  I readily admit that I am not a cake or dessert expert and am always surprised when I take the cake out of the oven and it actually looks and tastes like a cake! Whopeeee a success! Calls for a jig around the kitchen table and the cats look on. whiskers askance, ears perked,  baffled by this uncharacteristic behaviour…….. humans, what next?!?!

Keep going I tell myself, next project is to try different fruits, something with pineapple perhaps or even soft fruit….hmmmm, that one might be tricky but will definitely have a go – only way to learn I believe is to get your hands in the flour and add a large pinch of courage and away we go.  I hope you will do the same and pop an apple cake in the oven soon!

By the way, this is the first time I used flax to replace egg – I had flax seeds which I put through the coffee grinder.  1 tablespoon flax powder + 3 tablespoons water = 1 egg and it works beautifully, no problem at all and I think I will stick with flax as a substitute for egg in the future.  The other thing I learnt was that adding something slightly coarse like cornmeal to the cake mix enhances the texture and gives it a very slight crunch – scrumpilitious! 


3 small or 2 large eating apples (I used Russets, but Cox’s or Braeburns are good too; any apple with a bit of tart)
100 grams plain white flour
50 grams cornmeal (medium ground)
100 grams light brown sugar
Grated rind of half lemon
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon flax powder dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water (takes about 10 minutes to get a gel-like consistency)
50ml olive oil (about 4 level tablespoons)
50ml orange juice (about 4 level tablespoons)
50ml coconut or soya milk (about 4 level tablespoons)
Couple of tablespoons of sugar for sprinkling on cake

Apple & olive oil cake(2)
Looking good!

lApple & olive oil cake(3)


  1. Peel, core and cut the apples into small pieces
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
  3. Add apples and wet ingredients and mix thoroughly
  4. Pour into small cake tin (mine is a 6 inch round tin), oiled and lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar
  5. Bake in pre-heated oven at 190C, 375F or gas mark 5 for about 70-80 minutes (adjust temperature for fan-assisted oven).
  6. For the last 15 minutes cover the cake loosely with a sheet of baking paper to keep it from going too brown.
  7. Stick a skewer in the cake and if it comes out clean, which it should, the cake is ready!

Tip: This is a beautiful apple-rich moist cake and it can be eaten warm with vegan cream or ice cream too

PETA Vegan Snack List

I have copied and pasted the items on the PETA list of vegan snacks for convenience and ease of reference!  I mean to print this and carry it with me every time I go shopping – never knew I could eat Ritz crackers with impunity! Yaaaay

44 Accidentally Vegan Snack Foods – PETA Snack list!

Going vegan doesn’t mean completely abandoning the foods you enjoyed before making the transition. Many products on store shelves are unintentionally vegan. Check out some of our favourite “accidentally vegan” snacks.

Note: Please always be sure to double-check the ingredients before purchasing anything on this list, as manufacturers are at liberty to change their ingredients at any time.

Sweets and Chocolates

  1. Starbursts
  2. Millions
  3. Haribo – Rainbow Twists, Sour Rainbow Strips, Sour Rainbow Twists
  4. Flying Saucers
  5. Love Hearts
  6. Polo Fruits
  7. Sherbet Fountain
  8. Strawberry Laces
  9. Cadbury Bournville Plain Chocolate
  10. Green & Blacks – Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut & Currant, Ginger, Maya Gold, Espresso, Spiced Chilli, Lemon, Mint
  11. Elizabeth Shaw Mint Crisp Dark Chocolates
  12. Ritter Sport Marzipan


  1. Walkers – Salt & Vinegar, Ready Salted, Prawn Cocktail, Worcester Sauce, Crinkles Simply Sea Salted, Chipsticks Salt ‘n’ Vinegar Flavour
  2. Walkers Sensations – Thai Sweet Chilli, Lime & Coriander Chutney Poppadoms, Balsamic Vinegar & Caramalised Onion
  3. McCoy’s – Salt & Malt Vinegar, Ultimate Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Ultimate Sizzling BBQ Chicken, Ultimate Chargrilled Steak & Peri Peri
  4. Skips Tingly Prawn Cocktail
  5. Sunbites – Sweet Chilli, Original
  6. Pringles – Original, BBQ, Paprika, Chicken, Smokey Bacon
  7. Kettle Chips – Lightly Salted, Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar, Sea Salt & Crushed Black Peppercorns, Smoky Barbecue
  8. Kettle Tortilla Chips – Sweet Chili Salsa, Sea Salt
  9. Doritos – Lightly Salted, Chili Heatwave


  1. Lotus Original Caramelised Biscuits
  2. Mr Kipling Jam Tarts
  3. Fox’s Party Rings
  4. Jammie Dodgers
  5. Hobnob’s Choc Chip
  6. Bourbon Biscuits
  7. Oreo cookies
  8. Nairn’s Biscuits – Dark Chocolate Chip Oat, Stem Ginger Oat, Mixed Berries Oat, Fruit & Spice Wheat Free
  9. Crawford’s Pink Wafers
  10. McVitie’s – Ginger Nuts, Fruit Shortcake

Savoury Biscuits

  1. Duncan’s of Deeside Scottish Oatcakes – Family, Olive Oil, Wheat Free
  2. Ritz Crackers
  3. Nairn’s – Rough Oatcakes, Fine Milled Oatcakes, Organic Oatcakes, Cracked Black Pepper Oatcakes, Gluten Free Oatcakes, Organic Herb Oatcakes, Mini Oatcakes, Gluten Free Herb & Seed Oatcakes

Spreads and Toppings

  1. Lotus Smooth Caramelised Biscuit Spread
  2. Sun-Pat Choc-a-Nut Peanut Spread
  3. Hershey’s Reese’s Shell topping
  4. Marmite Yeast Extract

Snack and Protein Bars

  1. Clif Builder’s 20g Protein Bar – Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Peanut Butter
  2. Naked – Cocoa Delight, Cocoa Orange, Cocoa Loco Bar, Cocoa Crunch
  3. Trek – Peanut Power, Berry Burst, Original Oat Flapjack, Cocoa Chaos, Cocoa Coconut Flapjack
  4. 9bar Peanut


43.  Betty Crocker Cake Mix – Super Moist, Devil’s Food, Vanilla, Chocolate Swirl, Carrot Cake
44.  Jus-Rol Bake-It-Fresh Pain au chocolate (Most Jus-Rol pastries are vegan – just be sure to check the label.)

Mushroom & ale pie

Mushroom & ale pie(3)

Winter’s still with us and the prospect of snow on the doorstep for some of us ….. some have already got their snow shoes out or out adding the finishing touches to their snowman.  Hot, hearty, comfort foods are on the menu and pies with potatoes and greens are top of my list.  I served mine with roast potatoes, sweet potatoes and garlic with steamed greens…..yum!

For this mushroom and ale pie I used a mix of mushrooms, oysters being particularly good for this pie, but almost any vegetable, cooked in an appropriate but simple sauce, covered with puff pastry is very welcome.  So treat yourself and the family with this simple and delicious pie for Sunday lunch and they will come back for more, every time.

3-4 servings


1 sheet of ready rolled frozen puff pastry
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Approximately 350 grams mixed mushroom (I used button mushrooms and oysters)
1 pack of VegiDeli beef style pieces – see here (or any other substitute)
300ml light ale or similar
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sage
1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Amino – see here (or Tamari soya sauce – see here)
1 tablespoon Mushroom Ketchup (optional, but very good for flavouring, available in most large supermarkets – see here)
1 level tablespoon cornflour mixed with a little water

Mushroom & ale pie


  1. Fry onions and garlic in the oil on low heat for about 5 minutes – don’t brown
  2. Add mushrooms and fry for a further 5 minutes
  3. Add all the other ingredients except cornflour
  4. Cook for 5 minutes, check for taste, you shouldn’t need to add salt
  5. Mix cornflour with a little water and add to mushrooms to thicken the sauce – simmer for 2-3 minutes
  6. Pour into ovenproof dish and cover with sheet of pastry.  Cut a cross in the middle of the pie to let the steam out
  7. Bake in pre-heated oven at 200C, 400F, gas mark 6 for 30-35 minutes

Serve with roast potatoes, sweet potatoes & garlic and some steamed greens….

Mushroom & ale pie(2)

Tomato rice with roast vegetables & braised tofu

Tomato rice with roast veggies

Asian and Persian rice dishes almost always use white rice – in countries where rice is a staple, white, polished rice is the preferred choice.  The better the quality of rice, the longer the grain with a wonderful aroma – you can smell rice boiling in the kitchen throughout the house. Most people wouldn’t dream of replacing this long grain white Basmati with brown…despite the health advantages and I will admit I am one of those. One reason for this is that you get the best result with superior quality white Basmati if you are cooking pilau rice or biryani – the grains are long and fluffy and, cooked properly, stay separate.

However, brown rice has a lovely nutty flavour and texture and, moreover, is better for you – with that in mind, for this tomato rice I have opted for gorgeous, long grain, brown Basmati cooked in a simple fresh tomato sauce and served with simple roast vegetables and braised tofu…. perfect for the family or a simple dish to treat your friends to!  The tomato sauce is quite plain with just a little turmeric and flavoured with cinnamon; in contrast, the veggies are roasted with a sprinkling of spices.  Feel free to use whatever combination of herbs and spices for the veggies – no rules for this one!

Please don’t let the long list of ingredients intimidate you!  I’ve just listed all the veggies I used but in fact it is a very simple recipe.  Basically a tomato sauce with rice and veggies popped into the oven! Voila, feast ready to go!

Serves 4
3 level cups, about 300 grams, brown Basmati rice
1 medium onion, sliced or chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil (not your best olive oil!)
3 large tomatoes (about 450-500 grams), chopped (you could use a tin of chopped tomatoes)
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 inch cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh coriander for garnish
Roast vegetables & braised tofu – these are the veggies I used – you can take your pick or add any other
Half large aubergine
1 large courgette
1 small red pepper
1 small yellow pepper
1 small sweet potato
About 10-12 button mushrooms
1 tin Marigold Braised Tofu (available from Holland & Barrett in tins – see here)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
Sea salt to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil


  • Fry the onion in olive oil until golden
  • Add turmeric, tomatoes, cinnamon stick and salt

Tomato rice with roast veggies(4)
100ml water added to tomatoes – always use a large, wide pan to cook rice

  • Add 100ml water, cover and cook tomatoes for 20 minutes until soft
  • Rinse rice and add to tomatoes with 400ml water
  • Bring to boil, lower heat to lowest, cover and cook for about 22-25 minutes, gently stir the rice intermittently to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan
  • During this time the rice should be cooked and the liquid absorbed – if not, uncover and let it dry off
  • Roast the vegetables and tofu as below and serve with tomato rice, sprinkled with a little chopped fresh coriander

Tomato rice with roast veggies(5)
Veggies coated with spices and oil, ready to go in the oven

  • Cut all the vegetables into bite size pieces and coat with olive oil, spices and a little salt (save a small amount of spices for the tofu!)
  • Put in roasting tin and roast on 200C, 400F or gas mark 6 for about 25-30 minutes, turning the vegetables once during cooking time
  • Drain the liquid in the tin, cut braised tofu into bite size pieces and drizzle with a little olive oil (I didn’t use any spices for the tofu but please sprinkle a little if you wish). Roast in a separate dish for the same time as the vegetables, turning the tofu at least once during cooking time (the tofu may need a few minutes less in the oven)

Apple & Date Crumble

Apple & Date crumble

Come winter we crave warm, hearty, comfort food and that applies to desserts as well as savoury.   Good quality berries and soft fruit are hard to come by, but on the bright side, we are blessed with the most fragrant and juicy English apples.  I always try and get my apples from our local farmer’s market on Saturday – for one, I often find varieties you would never see in the supermarket (take a look at this link and feast your eyes on these beauties) and as you would expect, they are juicier and far more flavoursome than those available in the shops. This Saturday we came home with Cox’s, Braeburns and some beautiful Egremont Russets. In this recipe I have used a mix of Cox’s and Braeburns although Cox’s in my opinion are usually the best for pies provided they don’t cost the earth!

Apple & Date Crumble as the name suggests has the added sweetness of dates and dark unrefined molasses sugar with a little coconut to add a bit of crunch to the crumble.  You can use a lighter sugar if you prefer, but I love the richness of the molasses. Served with Oatley cream, nothing beats an apple crumble for simplicity and taste.

4-6 servings


4 large apples (mine weighed about 700 grams) – use slightly tart eating apples like Cox’s or Braeburns
10-12 dates, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon natural unrefined cane sugar (about 30 grams) (I used Billington’s molasses sugar)
Juice of ½ lemon
1 small stick cinnamon 

Crumble ingredients
5 heaped tablespoons wholemeal flour (about 120 grams)
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut (about 20 grams)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar (about 50 grams)
3 tablespoons vegan butter


  • Peel and roughly chop apples. Coat in lemon juice and set aside
  • Mix the sugar with 4 tablespoons of water and gently dissolve on low heat

Apple & Date crumble(2)
Dark, syrupy, unrefined cane sugar

  • Add apples, dates and cinnamon stick, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until apples are cooked – dry off excess liquid if any
  • For the crumble, mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and add butter
  • Rub with tips of fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs
  • Put apples in an ovenproof dish, remember to remove the cinnamon stick, and cover with crumble

Apple & Date crumble(3)
Cooked apples and dates in dish

  • Cook in pre-heated oven on 180C,  350F or gas mark 4 for 35 minutes (adjust temperature for fan-assisted oven)
  • Serve with cream or ice cream – warm is best!

Chickpeas with spinach

Chickpeas with spinach

Like most of my recipes, I try to keep things simple.  This is because I cook every day, one nice, hot, home-cooked meal, cooked with love for added flavour, for my hubby and myself (the cats don’t like my cooking!).

So tonight we are having chickpeas with spinach served with rice – a delicious combination of chickpeas and spinach cooked with simple curry spices! Chickpeas are full of vitamins and minerals (check link)  as for spinach, well, we all know how Popeye got his muscles in shape; he ate tons of spinach!  However, for those in doubt, here’s a link with some spinach facts! 

2  good servings (with rice or pitta/flat bread)


1 tin chickpeas (400 grams), drained and rinsed
100 grams fresh or frozen spinach (couple of large handfuls!)
1 medium onion, sliced
3 tablespoons oil
2 medium tomatoes OR 1 good tablespoon tomato puree (more like 1½ tblsp!)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1½ inch piece ginger, chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons curry powder (I use mild)
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek (Kasuri methi, optional – you can but it in Asian stores or online)


  1. Fry the onion in oil until golden
  2. Add all the spices and tomato or tomato puree and fry spices for a couple of minutes
  3. Add a small splash of water, cover and let spices cook for 10 minutes
  4. Add chickpeas and spinach, a little water (about 30ml), cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes
  5. The sauce should be reduced and thickish – how much sauce you end up with is entirely up to your taste and preference!

Dal palak – lentils with spinach

Dal palak(2)
Tarka with whole dried chillies and cumin

Dal palak(3)
Full tarka with dried chillies, garlic and cumin

Lentils are the mainstay of Asian cuisine – nutritious, easy to cook and versatile.  Lentils and spinach or dal palak as it is known more commonly, is a dish prepared with lentils and spinach, but nothing to stop you from adding carrots, marrow, green beans, sauteed shallots or leeks, green pepper, swede, turnips instead….the list is endless and it is a matter of imagination and preference what you pop into the pan once the lentils are cooked.  I sometimes add some seitan or braised tofu which you can buy in tins from Holland & Barrett or Oriental supermarkets.

One other thing to bear in mind is you don’t necessarily have to use orange lentils – green lentils or puy lentils also work very well with spinach. 


1 cup orange lentils (about 150 grams), rinsed
About 100-125 grams fresh or frozen whole leaf spinach
I teaspoon curry powder (I prefer mild)
½ teaspoon turmeric
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1½ inch piece ginger, finely chopped
Salt to taste
1-2 fresh green chillies (optional)
2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 whole dried chillies (optional)


  1. Rinse and cook the lentils with all the spices in about 450ml water – approximately 1 inch of water above the lentils (I just eye ball it!)
  2. When the lentils are soft and mushy, which takes about 30 minutes, you should end up with a not too thin, not too thick, soup
  3. Add the spinach and whole green chillies, if using, and cover and cook on medium heat for a further 15 minutes or until the dal is of the consistency you like (uncover the pot to dry off if too runny). Don’t forget to give it the occasional stir!
  4. Now make the tarka as below and pour on dal

Tip: Traditionally, dal is served with rice or chapatti, however, there is no reason why you can’t have this as soup with a piece of pitta bread. If you don’t wish to garnish it with the tarka, simply warm a little olive oil and drizzle on soup.


  • Heat the oil in a small frying pan and add the dry chillies, if using
  • Give it a minute and add garlic – let the garlic turn golden
  • Pop in the cumin seeds and give it 30 seconds to brown
  • Pour on the dal

Note. You can use just cumin seeds for tarka but garlic adds zest and loads of flavour to the dal


Easy Spicy Mash

Spicy Mash(3)

I have been meaning to post this easy spicy mash for a while simply because it makes a change from regular mash and spices up a plate of vegan sausages like no other!  Takes no time to prepare, boil and mash potatoes, fry onions and spices and add mash –  done!


500 grams floury potatoes (not waxy)
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon curry powder (I use mild)
½ teaspoon cumin powder
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons oil
Fresh coriander


  1. Boil and mash potatoes
  2. Fry the onion in oil until golden
  3. Remove from heat and add spices and a small splash of water. Fry spices for a couple of minutes – don’t let the spices burn
  4. Add potatoes and fry for a further 2-3 minutes
  5. Add chopped fresh coriander and give it a stir, serve with vegan sausages or burgers or wrap it and take to work for lunch!

Note: for a less spicy version, omit the curry powder and just use half teaspoon of turmeric and half teaspoon of cumin powder

Sag Aloo


Who has been to an Indian and not ordered Sag Aloo…?  It is one of my favourites and a regular on our weekly menu.  Very simple to prepare with either fresh spinach or frozen – don’t use chopped frozen spinach as that turns into a puree and the result is very sludgy!  If the fresh spinach leaves are large, just chop them roughly.

3-4 regular portions – I would usually do a dal to go with it and serve with rice although sag aloo is delicious with chapatti or nan too.


4 medium sized waxy potatoes, about 500 grams, peeled and diced (about 8 pieces each potato)
250 grams fresh leaf spinach or equivalent frozen spinach
1 medium onion, sliced
3 tablespoons oil
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1½ inch piece ginger, finely chopped
2 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri methi – this is available from all Asian stores and is very cheap – you can buy it online here)
1 good tablespoon tomato puree
Salt to taste

Sag Aloo(4)Spinach has wilted

Sag Aloo(5) Add potatoes with 100ml water


  1. Fry the onion in oil until golden (don’t use a small saucepan as that squashes up the potatoes)
  2. Take off heat and add all the spices, fenugreek leaves, garlic, ginger, tomato puree and salt with a little water.  On medium heat, fry for about 7-8 minutes adding small splashes of water to keep it from sticking to the pan
  3. Now add the spinach, cover and let it wilt (if frozen, until it has defrosted)
  4. Add the potatoes and about 100ml water
  5. Cover and cook on low for about 20 minutes – stir occasionally to keep it from sticking

Spinach & lentil burgers with fried potatoes

Spinach & lentil burgers(2)

There are many wonderful recipes out there for spinach & lentil burgers and everyone has their own take on it.  I like to create my own usually with the ingredients to hand rather than rush out and buy stuff which can be replaced with something in the larder.  So what did I have? I had green lentils, frozen spinach and the rest of the spices, however, I didn’t have any dry bread for breadcrumbs!  I could have dried a slice or two but that’s such a bore!  Do you find there are some very simple tasks you absolutely hate doing?  Well one of my most hated tasks is drying bread for crumbs and I never seem to have any dry bread lying around so, what to do?  Somewhere in a deep, dark corner was buried a memory of a recipe I had come across which used Pretzels and Pretzels I did have!  As a matter of fact they were almost past their sell-by date and desperate for consumption.   Something inside me said it was definitely worth a try so I ground them in the coffee grinder and got myself half a cup of ground Pretzel and was set to make spinach & lentil burgers with fried potatoes of course!  I am thrilled to report that Pretzels as a replacement for breadcrumbs were a huge success!  And the upside is that you can buy a bag of Pretzels and pop them in the cupboard to use at a moment’s notice and, moreover, they have a long shelf life and are easy to store.  I won’t be running out of Pretzels in a hurry from now on.  By the way, these are the dry, crunchy Pretzels and not the soft ones – check the ingredients, mine were knot shaped crusted with sea salt and definitely vegan!

My spinach burgers are heavy on the spinach but if you prefer you could always increase the lentils – try my recipe first then decide whether you would like more lentils, easy!  Needless to say the burgers would have not been complete served with anything other than fried potatoes!  A bit of naughty….and why not?

4-5 burgers


Generous half cup, about 80 grams of uncooked green lentils (cooked weight approx. 250 grams)
200 grams fresh or frozen spinach (1 full cup cooked)
Generous half cup of ground Pretzels (about 40 grams)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon tomato puree
¼ teaspoon kala namak, also known as black salt (optional)
Salt to taste (taste mixture if using kala namak you may not need it)
Oil for frying


  1. Cook the green lentils for about 30 minutes until cooked. Strain any leftover liquid and mash with fork or potato masher
  2. Cook spinach for a few minutes until wilted. Drain in colander and squeeze out all the water – should leave you with 1 full cup. Chop roughly
  3. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands – it should be quite stiff and easy to form into burgers
  4. Shallow fry for about 5 minutes on low heat
  5. Serve with fried potatoes!

 Fried Potatoes

  • Peel potatoes and slice thickly
  • Steam until cooked
  • Shallow fry until golden
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