I’ve been vegan for 20 years and I still manage to find fresh recipes that excite me. Over the years I’ve had a lot of fun turning my favourite dishes into vegan recipes. My pantry cupboard is my best friend. I have a lot of herbs, spices, sauces and oils that can make a meal out of the simplest ingredients. I always keep big jars of my favourite spices on hand so I can use a couple of tins to make a delicious soup, pasta sauce or stew if I’m running low on fresh ingredients.
One kitchen gadget I couldn’t live without is my Magimix food processor. It can make nut butters, pestos, energy balls, falafel, grated salads and raw desserts. It's so versatile and really speeds up a lot of recipes. A good quality knife is also a worthy investment – you definitely get what you pay for and there is nothing that makes cooking less enjoyable than having to use a blunt knife! I also love my Vitamix blender. It was pretty pricey, but nothing comes close to it when making creamy smoothies and soups. The power is amazing, and it can even blend ice which is perfect when I fancy a bowl of ‘nice’ cream (blended frozen bananas).
On date night, I usually cook Italian-inspired dishes. Something like my tomato heart tart or roasted red pepper pasta with crispy chickpeas. Both served with lots of bread and some fresh olive oil and balsamic vinager. Dessert would be raspberry cheesecake pots or an easy peach sorbet.
A night in with my besties would involve lots of grazing and sharing nibbles. I’d do a big spread of dips, hummus, falafel, veggie sticks, flatbreads and salsa, followed by my ‘bliss balls’ and chocolate dipped dates for pudding.
My favourite treat is tofu katsu curry. I could eat it every single day! Then, I’d tuck into a large warm chocolate brownie with a big dollop of vanilla ice-cream. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it…
Instagram is great for vegan inspiration. Some of my favourite accounts include @TheLittleBlogOfVegan, @RebelRecipes, @The_BananaDiaries, @SamanthaHadidi, @Lucy_And_Lentils, @BiancaZapatka, @AddictedToDates and @RainbowNourishments.
If I had to choose a favourite recipe from my new cookbook, it would be my rainbow chilli stuffed sweet potatoes. It’s a recipe I’ve used for years that never fails me. It’s so adaptable and easy, just throw everything in a pan and leave it to cook! The rainbow chilli is loaded with veggies and it’s delicious served with fluffy rice.
Ready to get cooking? Here are three of Harriet’s recipes to try at home…
Berry Breakfast Pizza
Say goodbye to boring breakfasts with a breakfast pizza. A no-bake, oaty crust topped with coconut yoghurt, fresh berries, pistachios and popped quinoa. It’s full of protein and healthy fats to keep you going into the afternoon. This pizza also works as a light dessert.
Put the oats, buckwheat and sunflower seeds in a blender or food processor and blend until crumbly. Add all the remaining ingredients and pulse to combine. Slowly add 60ml of water and process until the mixture starts to come together. It should stick together easily between your fingers.
Line a 23cm tart tin or pizza tray with baking parchment and press the dough in evenly to form the crust. Set aside in the freezer for 10 minutes to set.
Top with coconut yoghurt, berries, pistachios and popped quinoa.
Zesty Lemon Linguine With Kale Cashew Pesto
This comforting pasta dish is herby, fragrant, delicious and super easy to put together. The best thing is it makes enough pesto to fill a big jar, so you can freeze some to use later. I love it served with vegan parmesan on top, but it’s just as tasty on its own.
Heat a medium frying pan over a low heat and lightly toast the cashews for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until starting to brown at the edges. Set aside.
Heat a saucepan of water until simmering, then boil or steam the kale for a few minutes, until it’s starting to soften and become vibrant green.
Put the toasted cashews, cooked and drained kale, basil, lemon zest and juice from 1 of the lemons, garlic and salt in a food processor or blender and blend until combined. While the blade is still turning, pour in the olive oil and blend until everything comes together. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed – you want to be able to taste the tang of the lemon, so add a bit more juice if needed. Set aside in a clean jar.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil over a medium heat. Once boiling, add the linguine and cook for 7-8 minutes, or according to the packet instructions. Reserve a cupful of the pasta water, then drain the linguine. Tip the pasta back into the pan off the heat and add 2 heaped tablespoons of the pesto. Toss well with a splash of the reserved water to make a glossy sauce.
Season to taste. Serve with fresh basil leaves, more lemon zest and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan.
Tomato Heart Tart
For the ultimate no-fuss date night meal, this tomato heart tart is one of my most popular savoury recipes. Puff pastry topped with a spicy homemade red pesto, fresh tomatoes, vegan mozzarella, black olives and thyme. It’s so much easier than making pizza and, in my opinion, even more delicious.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 and line a 33cm pizza tray or large baking sheet with baking paper.
Remove the puff pastry from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.
Prepare the pesto by putting all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blending for 2-3 minutes.
Roll out the puff pastry and cut out a large heart using a butter knife. Brush the olive oil over the heart and place it on the pizza tray.
Spread the red pesto over the pastry, leaving a 2.5cm gap around the edge. Sprinkle over the mozzarella chunks, cherry tomatoes, olives and thyme and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until puffed up and starting to turn golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and serve hot.