Vegan Mediterranean Chickpea Roulade

A delicious vegan switch to the traditional European meat-based Roulade. Try this out!

What I like about cooking is that it’s quite a calming, creative process where you have to stay focused but relaxed at the same time if you wish to approach it with lightheartedness and joy. And regardless of the end result, if you have cooked it with love, the food will always taste amazing!

Tried and tested strategy. *wink*

THE BACKSTORY OF THIS RECIPE

For today’s recipe, I would like to introduce you to chickpea flour. Extremely versatile, it’s also naturally gluten free and high in protein. It’s great in sweet and savoury dishes and it is a powerhouse of nutrients!

This roulade has a lovely smokey flavour given by the smoked tofu and a Mediterranean echo, infused by the Italian herbs and grilled veggies.

This dish is perfect as an entrée or as a main dish, enjoyed both hot or cold. The cheese sauce is also to die for! I have used the recipe from the lovely Rocco from Vegan Viking Kitchen.

He created this recipe for me knowing I have a nut allergy. And honestly, this cheese sauce will want to make you give up cheese for good; it’s savoury and intense, also works great as a tasty dip for nachos or toasted bread. Who thought vegan could be this easy and delicious, right?

All that being said, are we ready to take a culinary trip to Italy together? Let’s go!

For 2 people you will need the following ingredients:

Chickpea crepes:

  • 50 gr of chickpea flour
  • 100 ml water
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Oregano
  • Smoked paprika

For the cheese sauce:

  • 1 cup of full fat coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • Salt 1/2 tsp
  • 2 tsp of arrowroot powder (can be substituted by cornflour or plain flour if you can’t find arrowroot)
  • 1 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • Smoked paprika
  • Black pepper optional

For the filling of the crepes:

  • 1 medium sized aubergine
  • 1 red pepper ( I have used mini peppers but any type will work)
  • 150gr smoked tofu
  • 4 slices of vegan cheese ( I have used Violife)
  • 10 leaves of fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

RECIPE PROCEDURE

  • We will start by grilling the vegetables. Slice the aubergine and the peppers quite thinly. Place them on a griddle pan with a little bit of salt. Wait for them to create that lovely chargrilled look and slightly press them with a fork while grilling them to remove any excess water. Set aside and let cool down.
  • Now let’s prepare the crepes. In a bowl, place all your dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, add the tomato purée and the water. Whisk until completely blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones. Whisk until there are no lumps and it is completely smooth. The texture we want to achieve is quite runny. So if you feel the need, add more water.
  • Place a non stick pan on the stove on medium-low heat, pour the batter into a thin layer making sure it covers the entire surface of the pan. When you start seeing bubbles on the crepe flip it and cook it on the other side.

    NOTE : Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly shaped. We will be folding it later and nobody will notice. Let’s be honest, a bit of messiness makes food tastes better!
My imperfectly perfect crepe! Look at that colour, though.
  • This batter should yield 3 medium-sized crepes. Set them aside and let them cool down.
  • In the mean time, pre-heat the oven at 190 degree and lets start making the cheese sauce.
  • Place all the ingredients in a pan and whisk. Put on medium heat and once it starts boiling, wait until it thickens. You should have a rich, creamy texture, easy to pour but that hold a bit of shape. If it looks too thick, just add a dash of water or of plant milk.
Now time to assemble!
  • Place your crepe on a plate and start layering with the aubergine, peppers, smoked tofu, cheese and basil leaves. Add some salt and pepper if you think it’s needed.
  • Roll into a tight burrito, cut the edges with a knife if needed, and slice vertically into small, thick rolls.
  • Assemble them standing upright onto a baking sheet with parchment paper, making sure they stand next to each other, not only for support but also to make sure they won’t open during cooking.
  • Place them in the oven and let them cook until the cheese has melted. Once ready, switch the oven into the grill function, turn your rolls horizontally and let them crisp up.
  • Once ready and crunchy, put them on a plate and drizzle abundantly with the cheese sauce and a few scattered basil leaves.
  • And….Bon appetit!

RECIPE NOTES

  • This recipe will go perfectly with a side salad or even with some potato wedges!
  • The crepes can be made in advance and frozen.
  • They can also be used instead of tortilla wraps and used as an alternative to bread.

This dish is ideal for summer dinners in the garden. It’s filling and delicious, bursting with flavour but keeping you light and satisfied! I hope you will enjoy this new recipe and that it will make you savour the flavours of my beautiful country.

Sending everyone love,

Annalisa x

Annalisa D’Agostino is a Reiki Master, also professionally pursuing holistic and spiritual counselling.

She enjoys cooking and making delicious vegan takes on everyday food.

So here you can find a little corner, TheVeganSense, where you will find recipes and Vegan insight to show love not only to your loved ones, but also the animals and the planet.

Follow her on Instagram @TheVeganSense

Vegan Pasta with Cream of Asparagus & Green Peas

Small changes go a long way in creating a delicious, guilt-free vegan pasta. Try this!

When people think of vegan food or vegan cooking, I am pretty sure they think of complicated procedures and ingredients really hard to find. Truth is, you are already eating most food that is accidentally vegan.

What I would like to do with my dishes is to show you how simple and easy vegan food can be. Not only that. I would like to show you how delicious and healthy it is too by using simple ingredients and the closest to their natural taste! Veganism doesn’t need to equal to restrictive.

Veganism simply means bringing consciousness into every day life through the food that we eat. Kind eating means being bringing gentleness into our body with all the emotional, physical and spiritual benefits.

As my first recipe, I would like to make this really appetising pasta, full of greens, high in protein and low fat. Packed with flavour and ready in 20 minutes!

To recreate this dish for 2 portions you will need:

  • 200gr of pasta
  • 200 gr of fresh asparagus
  • 150 gr of silken tofu
  • 100 gr of frozen peas
  • 30 gr of bread crumbs
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • Sea Salt and black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • OPTIONAL : Garlic clove and lemon zest

RECIPE PROCEDURE

  • Start by washing and peeling your asparagus. You need to peel the bottom part to avoid chewing on the stringy texture. Leave a few sprigs and tips on the side for decoration.
  • In a pan, add a teaspoon of olive oil and start cooking your asparagus chopped in small pieces together with the frozen peas.
  • NOTE : You can avoid oil altogether by simply using a little bit of water instead. Garlic, if used, should be put now in the pan, whole and skin on, to be removed when the veggies are ready.
  • Cook your greens until al dente (just cooked), around 10 mins on low setting.
  • When almost ready, add the silken tofu, salt, nutritional yeast and black pepper. And cook until combined.
  • Transfer the content of the pan in a food processor, add the basil leaves and blend until you have a thick and silky cream. Set aside.
  • Cook your pasta according to packet instructions.
  • While the pasta is boiling, cook the leftover veggies in a pan with a dash of olive oil. Leave them crunchy as they will create a nice texture once all the ingredients will be mixed together. Add salt and pepper and set aside.
  • In a small pan, add the breadcrumbs and let them become golden and crunchier. It should take only couple of minutes. Keep an eye on them as they can burn really quickly.
  • Now time to assemble: put the pasta in a pan, add the cream of asparagus and peas and let it coat all on a very low heat. If it needs a bit of water, add some pasta cooking water that you have set aside beforehand. This will help you create creaminess without needing to add any oil.
  • Add the peas and asparagus tips. Mix until combined.
  • Serve in a plate with the crunchy bread crumbs sprinkled on top, scattered fresh basil leaves and a few little dollops of the cream.

    NOTE : If you want, you can also grate some unwaxed lemon zest. It will create a soft citrusy kick that will compliment the sweetness of the veggies really well. Optional a drizzle of olive oil and voilà!

RECIPE VARIATIONS

  • You can substitute the pasta with some gluten free options or you can use a protein pasta made out of chickpeas or lentils.
  • The cream will also work amazingly well with courgette spaghetti.

I hope you have enjoyed my first recipe. Try vegan: for the animals, the planet and yourself. One small change, added to many small changes, can create a big, impactful, positive difference!

Sending love to all beings,

Annalisa

Annalisa D’Agostino is a Reiki Master, also professionally pursuing holistic and spiritual counselling.

She enjoys cooking and making delicious vegan takes on everyday food.

So here you can find a little corner, TheVeganSense, where you will find recipes and Vegan insight to show love not only to your loved ones, but also the animals and the planet.

Follow her on Instagram @TheVeganSense

The Purpose Matrix : How to Find Your Soul’s Creative Calling

This post is dedicated to the ones that wonder, “what is the purpose of my life?”

Even though I was stir ‘awoke’ in April 2017, it wasn’t until September 2018 that I really began to question if I wanted to live the life that I had been.

My job, though well-paying and respectable, was draining me. I was working tirelessly, but the sense of purpose was missing. It felt like I needed to do something more, something that helped other people on a more direct and compassionate level. But what? I couldn’t understand.

What was my soul craving to do, what would make me feel more satisfied, which I was too scared to admit?

Day after day, I spend hours talking to people that I look upto, seeking their advice.

Should I take up a job at some NGO? But what cause would I associate myself to, I wasn’t that passionate about anything yet…
Should I become an artist? I knew my paintings weren’t good, but I enjoyed the skill, so what if….
Should I take up writing as a career? But I would need to walk the path more professionally and seriously, such as journalism..

On and on, the ideas and questions, and doubts went on. It felt that beyond my education in Computer Science, I had failed myself. I knew nothing else.

It had been weeks thinking about all this, non-stop. I was beginning to feel that same air of helplessness I did before my first wake-up call. If you want to read that story, check this blog post out.

This time, meditation and burning essential oils wasn’t working either.

Until one day, an idea came to my mind.

The Purpose Matrix.

Broadly speaking, the idea is, to lay out all your talents, interests and hobbies, and analyse them critically, to see what is the best fit for you. Here’s what you can do, to make your own.

STEP #1 – CREATE THE BLUEPRINT

Make a table on a piece of paper, or pull out an Excel sheet. You should have 10 rows, and 5 columns.

STEP #2 – LAY DOWN THE INTERESTS

Your first column lists down everything you like to do. Trust me, write down everything. You should atleast have ten interests, no matter how vague.

I even wrote down going to the gym, and long-drives, and allowed myself to believe just for a few moments in the possibility that I could perhaps become a personal trainer or driver (neither of which I am remotely talented at, but I wrote it anyway).

STEP #3 – HOW TO MAKE IT A PROFESSION

Your second column should list WHAT you can do about this area of interest. For example, if you write down ‘working out’, you can consider training other people, creating YouTube videos of workouts or writing about working out. You can further consider becoming a dietitian.

NOTE : The key is to be as creative as possible, and NOT restrict yourself right away in any of the possibilities. The upcoming steps will help you refine this matrix anyway.

STEP #4 – EARN FROM YOUR PURPOSE, PROFESSIONALLY

Being able to earn from your passion and area of interest can be a mental barrier. But in today’s day and age, the message is clear – spiritual people can both be humble and live with affluence. So why live a deprived life? This column is a self-assessment of how well you can earn from each interest. Don’t be overly critical here, just practical.

For instance, you may earn better if you work for an agency, than as a freelancer. Rank your professions accordingly.

STEP #5 – THINK IT THROUGH

Time to evaluate the struggles and efforts you’ll be putting in as you pursue your path. This can take a while, so don’t rush the process. Sit with each profession and write down as thoroughly as you can.

STEP #6 – DECIDE

The last, and my favourite column is the one where you finally reach consensus with your heart and brain. The YES/NO/MAYBE column. Or in other words – do you want to pursue this professionally?

For the clear YES’, you know that it’s worth the effort. DO IT!

For the maybe’s, I would say, TRY. You never know where you get your breakthrough.

And for the NO’s, well, let’s just say that somethings are good for you, even though YOU are not good at them. Continue enjoying them in your own company. 🙂

My matrix had a lot of maybe’s and no’s, but there were only two clear YES’s. Hypnotherapy, and Writing.

I would encourage that you revisit this matrix a couple of times, let yourself brainstorm through each step, and allow yourself to think outside the ‘society-says’ box.

As silly as may this exercise sound, thankfully, today, there are jobs like Social Media Influencer or Food Critic, which pay off too, and quite well. They are a beautiful mixture of fame and fortune, which otherwise is left for the elite few.

There’s no need to confine yourself in the 9-6, 5 days a week cycle, unless you really want to. Either way – more power to you!

The only thing left now, is to act on this purpose, and to live more purposefully! 🙂

-*-*-*-

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