Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein have everything you could possibly want in a muffin: Crunchy, nutty pistachios, a soft and fluffy inside, studded with sweet-tart dried apricots and a crunchy brown sugar sprinkled top. All that with 7g protein per muffin and just 280cal. So you can have a yummy snack with your coffee and feel good about it!

    Why You Want to Make Them

     

    Are you going nuts for Pistachios too?

    I’m honestly hooked recently. I got a big jar of pistachio butter from Bulk and it’s utterly delicious on pretty much everything. I spread it on some rice cakes, topped with blueberries as my evening sweet snack, stirred it in oatmeal with cherries, made Pistachio-Protein Crème Brulee and now these Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein.

    Of course Pistachios aren’t technically nuts, but rather the stone of a fruit, very similar to almonds, which explains their affinity for very similar foods almonds go with. I added some almond essence to these muffins, which underlines the Pistachio flavour rather perfectly.

    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

    Speaking of Protein

    If you read a few of the sweet recipes on my blog, you probably noticed that I’m adding protein to many of them. Considering I’m not eating much meat and am not the biggest fan of legumes, so I don’t want to include them into every single meal. Yet, have an acute need to add more protein to my diet, to meet the target for muscle building and/or maintenance, which is at least around 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, I keep looking for ways to increase my intake, without drinking shakes. Why not shakes you ask? They simply bore me.

    I feel if I’m not eating or drinking something that is worth the calories, I’m wasting my time.
    Is it a weird way to see food? Maybe.
    But having lost 70lb taught me, that I’m working on an energy budget per day. Loving food and eating means, I want to spend it well. This does not include the same boring protein shake every day, but rather finding recipes to excite me and have me look forward to eating them.
    That’s where Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein come in: Something I really enjoy eating and am looking forward to, which also adds a nice portion of protein to my day.

    Easy to Make

    If you ever made muffins, you probably loved how easy they are. I know I do. The batter comes together in 10-15 minutes and that includes getting the ingredients out.
    Well…unless your store cupboards are way too full, like mine, and you have to rummage around in them to find stuff. I knew I had dried apricots somewhere! *Empties half her pantry before finding the bag*

    Lower calories than your average Muffin

    Eating an average muffin, according to Google, you are looking at 340-424 calories. That is a fairly big chunk out of your daily budget, if you are watching your weight like I do.
    Having gained a few pounds over Christmas (because I can’t be trusted around sweets), I’m currently trying to get rid of them again. But I really don’t want to go without a sweet treat per day! That would just leave me grumpy and missing something, which in turn means, once I lost the weight I’d go even more for sweets again. Not a good cycle.

    So my solution is, to develop recipes that are sweet, not compromising in flavour, yet lower in calories than the standard versions. This is one of them.
    Oh and I want them to have nutritional value too. High standards for sure.
    These Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein have only 280 calories per muffin, which is a nice bit of saving for one satisfying snack. Or even breakfast if you like.

     

    The Ingredients

    Looking at the typical Pistachio Muffin recipe, I noticed that most are using rather artificial pudding mix to accomplish taste and texture of them. I wanted natural taste though and not use some mix with barely any real pistachio in it.
    That means my muffins aren’t bright green, since they have no colouring either, but instead mostly natural and nutritious ingredients.
    Except the protein powder. Let’s be honest, it isn’t natural, but I feel the benefits outweigh that downside.

    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein_Ingredients

    Note, these are just some of the ingredients and why I use them, not all, as most are still those of a classic muffin.

    Let’s start with the obvious bit: Pistachio butter. I only replaced half of the butter with it, as nut butter has less fat than butter, which would have meant I needed to add more other fat back in, which wasn’t the idea.

    Keeping half and adding a mix of sour cream and 0% fat Greek yoghurt gave me the moisture content I lost, by swapping part of the butter into Pistachio butter.

    I also reduced both the flour and sugar by adding protein powder. Buttered Popcorn flavoured in this case, though you can easily use vanilla.
    I particularly love MyProtein (not sponsored or affiliated, though I wish it would be, I use it so much!), which adds lovely flavour and sweetness to my recipes, without any weird aftertaste.
    You can safely replace about ¼ of the flour in a recipe with it, without any negative impact. Use more, and the results might be drier than intended.

    I’m still using a mix of white and brown sugar, but less than usual, to keep the structure needed. The sugar mixed with the sweetener from the protein powder also means it still tastes just naturally sweet.

    While looking into the secrets of Pistachio muffins, I found the pudding powder not only adds flavour and sweetness, but also a bit of cornflour, which will thicken the pudding, but add a lovely softness to muffin batter. So I replaced some of the flour with cornflour to achieve the same effect.

    Nutrition and flavour wise, I prefer a mix of white flour for lightness and the typical muffin feel and whole wheat flour for some nutty flavour. If you can find it, use fine whole wheat flour, which is great for lighter pastry.

    For even more flavour, I’m using a bit of almond extract, which is in the same flavour family as pistachio, making it a natural choice. Unless you have natural pistachio extract, which would be a fantastic replacement. But I couldn’t find any in my local supermarkets and wasn’t keen on ordering just for this recipe. Though…it’s in my head now, I still might. Has anyone tried it? What were your thoughts?

    To reduce the sugar and up the fruit content, I swapped out 2 eggs for 2 bananas. You can choose to use just eggs for more protein but add a little more sugar.

    For the add-ins I’m using dried apricots, as they are not adding a lot of additional water, which I’d have to account for if I’d be using fresh ones. But, since I found some fresh apricots at Tesco, I decided to add half a fruit on top of each muffin, which gave them an amazing fruity-fresh kick I loved.
    They are purely optional though.

    Also some chopped pistachios for extra crunch and more pistachio flavour.

    Each muffin got a little sprinkling of demerara sugar on top, adding some sparkle, crunch, and sweetness, making the muffins extra special.

     

    The Process

    The one thing that makes all baking easier is, to have all the ingredients at room temperature. If you have fridge cold butter, it’s much harder to mix it with the sugar. Just melted however, will give you a greasy result.
    Similar for the eggs, which, when cold, can lead to a curdled result while mixing into the soft butter.
    So plan a little bit ahead by taking everything out of the fridge an hour or so before you plan to make your muffins.

    Preheat your oven to 425°F/220°C and line a muffin tin with muffin cases. Or grease it thoroughly if you prefer. Personally I find muffin cases much easier to remove and they leave less to clean, which is always a plus in my book.

    If you have 2 muffin tins, you’ll need both. Otherwise you might bake in 2 batches, as this recipe makes about 16 large muffins.

    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein_Process

    From there on it’s as easy as mixing the butter with the sugar until fluffy and white. Then, one by one, whisk the eggs and mashed bananas in until well incorporated.
    Add the protein powder with the remaining wet ingredients, to make sure you have no protein lumps in your Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein.

    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein_Process

    Now mix your dry ingredients, keeping back about 1-2 tbsp of the chopped pistachios for sprinkling on top, and add most of them to your batter. But not all. Keep a few tablespoons of the flour mix back, to coat the chopped apricots in. This is to prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

    Gently fold your dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. A few lumps are fine. Don’t overmix, or your muffins will be tough from the gluten you developed.
    Then add the flour coated apricots and fold them in too.

    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein_Process

    Divide the batter between the muffin molds, filling them all the way, so you get nice and high tops. I use an ice cream scoop for this, to make it very easy. Two tablespoons work too.

    Sprinkle with the remaining chopped pistachios, lay a sliced fresh apricot half on top, if using, then sprinkle lightly with demerara sugar.

    Now you might have looked at the high oven temperature and thought it might be a typo. It’s not. The high initial temperature is what gives you the beautiful high muffin tops, but it will be lowered after 5-7 minutes of baking, to the classic 350°F/175°C, to bake for another 15-17 minutes, depending on your oven.
    Just don’t open the oven door, except once, around half of the baking time, to turn your muffin tin, should your oven bake unevenly.

    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

    Your Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein are ready when the top is golden brown and toothpick comes out mostly clean, a few crumbs are ok.

    Let them cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then take them out onto a wire rack.

    Enjoy your fluffy, tangy, and crunchy Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein with a nice cup of coffee or tea. They are also really good for breakfast.

    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

    Storing your Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

    The muffins keep well in a tin or box for about 3 days.
    They also freeze very well. I usually place most in freezer proof containers or small freezer bags and just air fry them for about 7 minutes when I want one. They taste like fresh!

    If you liked this recipe, try my Sourdough Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Protein

    These delicious Sourdough Brownies with Protein

    Or a super easy Cherry Peach Clafoutis with Protein

     

    Please Comment

    Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
    Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
    What other recipes would you like to see?

    If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein

    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein have everything could possibly want in a muffin: Crunchy, nutty pistachios, a soft and fluffy inside, studded with sweet-tart dried apricots and a crunchy brown sugar sprinkled top. All that with 7g protein per muffin and just 280cal. So you can have a yummy snack with your coffee and feel good about it!
    No ratings yet
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 35 minutes
    Course Breakfast, Cake, Dessert, Snack
    Cuisine American
    Servings 16
    Calories 299 kcal

    Equipment

    • Muffin Tin

    Ingredients
      

    • ½ cup butter + 2 tbsp
    • ½ cup pistachio butter
    • 1/3 cup white sugar
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • ½ cup 0% fat Greek yoghurt
    • 2 tsp vanilla
    • 1 tbsp almond extract
    • ¾ cup protein powder
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 ripe bananas mashed
    • 1 cup white flour
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 4 tbsp cornflour
    • 4 tsp baking powder
    • 2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 cup dried apricots chopped roughly
    • ½ cup chopped pistachios 1-2 tbsp kept for sprinkling on top
    • 1 tbsp demerara sugar for sprinkling
    • 8 fresh apricots for topping optional but delicious

    Instructions
     

    • Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature for easier mixing. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Line a muffin tin with cases or grease it.
    • In a large bowl, cream together ½ cup + 2tbsp softened butter, pistachio butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy and white.
    • Whisk in the eggs and mashed bananas, one at a time, until well incorporated. Add sour cream, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Mix until smooth.
    • Combine the protein powder with the remaining wet ingredients to avoid lumps. Mix until well incorporated.
    • In a separate bowl, mix the white flour, whole wheat flour, cornflour, baking powder, and kosher salt. Reserve 1-2 tbsp of the flour mix to coat the chopped dried apricots and 1-2 tbsp chopped pistachios for topping the muffins.
    • Add most of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and gently fold until just combined.
    • Toss the chopped dried apricots in the reserved flour mixture to prevent sinking. Fold them into the batter.
    • Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cases, filling them to the top. Use an ice cream scoop or two tablespoons for ease. Sprinkle the remaining chopped pistachios on top. Optionally, place a fresh apricot half, cut in slices on each muffin and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes at 425°F/220°C, then reduce the temperature to 350°F/175°C and bake for an additional 15-17 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
    • Allow the muffins to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
    • Serve and enjoy your fluffy, tangy, and crunchy Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein with a cup of coffee or tea. They make a lovely breakfast treat too.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 299kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 10gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 467mgPotassium: 369mgFiber: 3gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 982IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 121mgIron: 2mg
    Nutrition Facts
    Pistachio Muffins with Apricots and Protein
    Amount per Serving
    Calories
    299
    % Daily Value*
    Fat
     
    13
    g
    20
    %
    Saturated Fat
     
    6
    g
    38
    %
    Trans Fat
     
    0.2
    g
    Polyunsaturated Fat
     
    2
    g
    Monounsaturated Fat
     
    4
    g
    Cholesterol
     
    53
    mg
    18
    %
    Sodium
     
    467
    mg
    20
    %
    Potassium
     
    369
    mg
    11
    %
    Carbohydrates
     
    37
    g
    12
    %
    Fiber
     
    3
    g
    13
    %
    Sugar
     
    20
    g
    22
    %
    Protein
     
    10
    g
    20
    %
    Vitamin A
     
    982
    IU
    20
    %
    Vitamin C
     
    4
    mg
    5
    %
    Calcium
     
    121
    mg
    12
    %
    Iron
     
    2
    mg
    11
    %
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    Keyword Easy, For Guests, Healthy, Protein, Vegetarian
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    Vegan Taco Casserole

    Vegan Taco Casserole

    It’s Veganuary, time for vegan comfort food, which is exactly the right time for Vegan Taco Casserole. All the flavour of an amazing Taco Casserole, none of the meat. Instead an alternative made from mushrooms to bring all the umami flavour, lentils and walnuts for protein and texture and a super creamy vegan queso topping you’ll want to pour over everything after making it the first time. Fantastic for meal prep for the whole week too, so you have less stress on workdays.

    The recipe makes a very large casserole with about 8-10 portions and freezes great. So you can make a large batch and freeze some for busy weeks. Or cook it for a crowd.

    Not sure about you, but I just could not resist the Christmas sweets, they are always my downfall. So, of course I gained a few pounds that I’d like to shed again. Recipes like this one, heavy on veggies, light on calories and super satisfying, help me to very easily get rid of the few extra pounds, without feeling I’m on a diet.

     

    Why You Want to Make This

     

    Vegan. Taco. Casserole.

    I mean, need I really say more? I do? Ok then:
    While I’m not a vegan as such, I do enjoy vegan food. Weird you think? Not after you try this Vegan Taco Casserole. I often find minced meat a bit odd texturally and am plain not a big fan of it. But making it vegan adds for me flavour and texture wise. The mushrooms together with lentils, walnuts and a few “secret” ingredients give you tons of very satisfying meatiness while sneakily adding all of their benefits to your favourite comfort food.

    Vegan Taco Casserole

    Essentially we have a layer of soft tortillas as a base, topped with a mix of the vegan mince meat mix together with beans, which of course belong into any Taco and also add more protein. Sweetcorn goes in too for me, as I love it in pretty much everything and it adds more veggie content. If you can’t stand it, just leave it out or add more beans. This mix is flavoured with your favourite Salsa and a few spices, then fried for even more flavour.

    Really Good for You

    All the deliciousness of it will give you 4 different legumes plus mushrooms in one go, which makes it incredibly good for you. The toppings of lettuce and cherry tomato add not just juiciness and crunch, but also to your daily veggie intake.

    Vegan Queso

    The fantastic Vegan Queso recipe is from “Rainbow Plant Life” and her incredible Crunchwrap Supreme video.
    I made it a little less spicy but add as much spice as you like. It’s utterly addictive and dare I say better than dairy queso? I honestly prefer the taste of the creamy blended cashews with all the spices and flavours to the texture of typical Queso any day.

    I have topped the casserole with vegan grated cheese too, but I think you could even leave it out and be more than satisfied.

    Optional but delicious Toppings

    For me, the toppings are the best thing about Tacos, so of course it’s the same for Vegan Taco Casserole.

    I top mine with homemade Guacamole https://forthepleasureofeating.com/easy-guacamole/, Vegan Greek Style Yoghurt mixed with some lime juice, zest and salt, making it similar to the crema you usually get with Tacos.

    For extra crunch I added some chopped romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, and, of course, tortilla chips. Most of them are incidentally vegan, but some have dairy in the seasoning. So if you are strictly vegan, check the ingredient list to be sure.

    The Ingredients

    Most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry or fridge. Just a few fresh veggies and you have the Vegan Taco Casserole of your dreams ready.

    Vegan Taco Casserole_Ingredients

    The Taco Mix

    Vegan Taco Casserole_Ingredients

    Mushrooms

    Mushrooms have a list of powerful health benefits according to studies. Decreasing the risk of cancer, lowering sodium intake and promoting lower cholesterol are just a few of them.
    To me, their amazing umami flavour is enough to add them. I hear some complaints from the backrow there about texture, to which I say: Fry them until browned and crispy and see how you feel about them like that.
    I quite enjoy the brown inexpensive button mushrooms I get at any supermarket here. But any will do. You can try a mix with Shiitake if you find it.

    Legumes

    Legumes, with again impressive health benefits containing B vitamins, folate and iron, and a great vegan source for protein, I’m adding them here for texture and flavour. Together with mushrooms and walnuts, they make a fantastic meat alternative. The colour doesn’t matter much. I just used the green ones I had in my store cupboard and cooked them according to packet instructions. You could use brown or black too, canned if you like. They will all be delicious.
    Add Kidney and Black beans to the filling gives even more protein and keeps you full until the next meal. For ease of preparation I’m using them from cans.

    Walnuts

    Walnuts add that slightly nubbly texture you usually find in ground meat to our Taco Casserole plus a range of health benefits and healthy fats.
    Anti-inflammatory benefits and improvement of cholesterol levels being just two of the impressive ones. You could use pecans instead if you prefer.

    Onion and garlic for flavour are the basics.
    But here are what makes this taste “meaty”: Miso paste. I used brown for its intense umami notes.
    Tomato puree and sundried tomatoes together with nutritional yeast and some coconut aminos give the mushroom-legume-walnut mix incredible depth of satisfying meat like flavour.

    Of course typical Taco spices like smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, chili, onion powder for extra punch and oregano.

    Vegan Taco Casserole_Spices

     

    The Queso

    Vegan Taco Casserole_Ingredients

    For the Queso I’m using soaked cashews, some vegan Greek yoghurt for tang. A bit of salsa (use your favourite, the rest will go into the mushroom-legume mix), nutritional yeast for cheesiness, salt, smoked paprika, chili powder and a bit of cumin. To add that original queso tang and a bit of fiery chili background, some pickled red jalapenos (are they still Jalapenos when red? Please correct me if that’s wrong…I’m just a German living in Ireland.) and a bit of the pickling liquid.

    The Guacamole is of course made from avocados, lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper and a hint of chilli powder. If you don’t feel like making your own, you can use shop bought here. But honestly, it’s made so quickly and tastes so much better, I don’t feel it’s worth saving the few minutes.

    Topping wise: fresh cherry tomatoes, spring onions, and crunchy romaine lettuce add that real taco feeling for me. They are optional though.
    And any tortilla chips you like, to use for dipping, crumbling over, eating on the side, however you enjoy your casserole.

     

    The Process

     

    While this looks like a lot of ingredients, the process is surprisingly simple.

    The Taco Mix

    Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

    Lentils

    First pre-cook your lentils according to package instructions if using dried as I did. They should have a tiny bit of bite left for that ground meat texture. I usually add some vegetable stock powder to my cooking water and maybe some herbs and garlic, to start flavouring them. Use whatever you have on hand. Bay leaf, thyme, rosemary or oregano all work well.

    Walnuts

    While your lentils are cooking, briefly toast your walnuts in a dry pan until fragrant. Set aside.

    Mushrooms

    Fry your finely chopped mushrooms in batches in a large pan with a bit of oil. Only stir occasionally, so they can brown beautifully for that lovely meaty flavour we are looking for. Season with salt and pepper and set aside too.

    Seasoning

    Gently fry onions and garlic until translucent in a bit more oil, then add all parts of the Mexican seasoning and toast until fragrant. Lastly the sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, miso paste, nutritional yeast and coconut aminos join the pan for a quick stir and heat through.

    Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

    Process

    Now add the garlic-onion-spice mix together with fried mushrooms, walnuts and cooked, drained lentils to your food processor and pulse until it resembles minced meat. It should stick together mostly, but fall apart when you try to crumble it, much like meat would.
    Taste it. It should be delicious. Add more salt to taste.

    Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

    Mix with beans and sweetcorn

    Tip the whole mix back into the pan and fry on medium-high heat until you have a bit of browning everywhere and it smells delicious. Tip in the drained and rinsed canned beans and sweetcorn, canned tomatoes, 1 1 ½ cups of your favourite salsa (the last ½ cup will be used for the queso), stir and heat through.
    Taste and add salt or any other spices you feel it might need. I don’t like mine very hot, but you might of course.

    Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

    Casserole assembly

    Lightly grease your casserole form. Cut the tortillas into quarters and lay them across the bottom with a little overlap, so you have one layer.

    Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

    Top with the mushroom-bean mix.

    Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

    Queso

    To make your queso, add all the ingredients for it into a high speed blender like the Nutribullet and blend until super smooth and creamy. Taste and add more salt or chili if needed.

    Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

    Bake

    Top your Vegan Taco Casserole with the vegan queso, sprinkle over some grated vegan cheese (or dairy if you are not vegan). Cover the casserole with kitchen foil and bake at 375°F/190°C for 15min, remove the foil and bake for another 15min uncovered until it is hot throughout and the cheese has melted.#

    Vegan Taco Casserole_Process

    Toppings

    While the casserole is in the oven, prepare your toppings. Mash the Avocados with lime juice, minced garlic, salt, pepper and chili.

    Mix the remaining vegan yoghurt with some lime juice, zest and salt to taste.

    Chop romaine, spring onions and cherry tomatoes and put in separate containers. Tip tortilla chips into a bowl.

    Vegan Taco Casserole

    Serve

    To serve, add a piece of your Vegan Taco Casserole to the plate and let everyone pick their own favourite toppings. Enjoy the satisfied munching sounds.

    Vegan Taco Casserole

    Meal Prep

     

    You can make everything the day before, but I would add the queso on top just before baking, so it doesn’t soak into the taco filling layer, but remains as cream, cheesy layer on top.
    After baking, the Vegan Taco Casserole stays fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat either in the microwave until piping hot or in oven or air fryer.

    The casserole also freezes really well. I always keep a few pieces in the freezer for emergency taco cravings.

     

    Looking for more vegan recipes?

    Try my Vegan Tom Kha Soup for a warming Thai soup full of veggies.
    Or the Asian Bowl with crispy Cauliflower and Tofu, for a nutritious and delicous meal.

    Please Comment

    Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
    Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
    What other recipes would you like to see?

    If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

    Vegan Taco Casserole

    Vegan Taco Casserole

    It’s Veganuary, time for vegan comfort food, which is exactly the right time for Vegan Taco Casserole. All the flavour of an amazing Taco Casserole, none of the meat. Instead an alternative made from mushrooms to bring all the umami flavour, lentils and walnuts for protein and texture and a super creamy vegan queso topping you’ll want to pour over everything after making it the first time. Fantastic for meal prep for the whole week too, so you have less stress on workdays.
    No ratings yet
    Prep Time 1 hour
    Cook Time 1 hour
    Total Time 2 hours
    Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course
    Cuisine American, Mexican
    Servings 8
    Calories 580 kcal

    Equipment

    • Food Processor, High speed blender like Nutribullet

    Ingredients
      

    Taco Mix:

    • 3 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 onion chopped
    • 2 cups lentils, cooked. About 1 cup dried. You can use cans instead.
    • 2 packs mushrooms finely chopped
    • ½ cup walnuts
    • 1 tbsp tomato puree
    • 5 sundried tomatoes
    • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
    • 1-2 tbsp brown miso paste use any colour, but brown has the most meat-like flavour
    • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
    • 1 can tomatoes
    • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
    • 1 can kidney beans drained and rinsed
    • 1 can sweetcorn drained and rinsed
    • 2 cups salsa use your favourite. Set ½ cup aside for the queso

    Seasoning:

    • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 2 tsp ground coriander
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 2 tsp oregano
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 3-4 corn or flour tortillas to cover the bottom of your casserole
    • 1 cup vegan shredded cheese of choice

    Queso:

    • 1 cup cashews soaked for 30min in hot water or overnight in cold
    • ½ cup vegan yoghurt I used Greek
    • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
    • 2 tbsp water
    • ½ cup salsa
    • ¼ -1/2 tsp chili powder I like ancho chili, but use whatever you have and enjoy
    • ½ tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tbsp pickled jalapenos
    • 2 tbsp pickled jalapeno brine
    • 1 tsp kosher salt

    Toppings (Optional):

    • Guacamole Ready made or, to make yourself:
    • 5 avocados mashed
    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • 3 limes juice
    • 1/2-1 tsp Chili powder
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 cup Vegan sour cream or Greek yoghurt
    • 1 Lime zested and juiced
    • 1 head Romaine lettuce chopped
    • 2 cups Cherry tomatoes halved
    • 3 tbsp Cilantro chopped
    • 1 bunch Spring onions chopped
    • 1 bag tortilla chips

    Instructions
     

    • Pre-cook lentils according to package instructions, leaving a bit of bite for texture.
    • Toast walnuts in a dry pan until fragrant. Set aside.
    • Fry mushrooms in batches until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
    • Sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add Mexican seasoning, sundried tomatoes, tomato paste, miso paste, nutritional yeast, and coconut aminos. Stir and heat through.
    • Combine garlic-onion-spice mix, fried mushrooms, walnuts, and cooked lentils in a food processor. Pulse until minced meat-like texture.
    • Transfer mix back to the pan and fry until browned. Add drained beans, sweetcorn, tomatoes from the can and 1 ½ cups salsa. Stir and heat through.
    • Lightly grease a casserole dish. Place quartered tortillas on the bottom, slightly overlapping.
    • Top with mushroom-bean mix.
    • For queso, blend all queso ingredients until smooth. Adjust seasoning.
    • Top casserole with vegan queso, sprinkle vegan cheese. Cover with foil, bake at 375°F/190°C for 15min, then uncover and bake for an additional 15min.
    • While baking, prepare toppings: guacamole, lime yogurt, romaine, spring onions, cherry tomatoes, and tortilla chips.
    • Serve casserole pieces with desired toppings. Enjoy the flavorsome vegan taco casserole!

    Notes

    Total for the Dish (excluding optional toppings) assuming 8 portions:
    Calories: Approximately 580 kcal
    Protein: Around 22g
    Carbohydrates: Roughly 73g
    Fat: About 25g
    Fiber: Around 17g
    Sugar: Approximately 11g
    Please note that these values are approximate and may vary based on the specific brands and types of ingredients you use. The queso portion is a rough estimate, and the optional toppings are not included in the total dish values.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 580kcal
    Nutrition Facts
    Vegan Taco Casserole
    Amount per Serving
    Calories
    580
    % Daily Value*
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    Keyword For Guests, Healthy, High Fibre, Low Calorie, meal prep, vegan, vegetables, Vegetarian
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

     

    Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu

    Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu

    The Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu is a great start for the Veganuary. Lots of colourful crunchy veggies in a flavourful fruity-hot Asian sauce topped with crispy air fried cauliflower and tofu. Meal prep a large batch and you are all set for your work week with a seriously delicious and nutritious meal.

     

    Why You Want to Make This

     

    All the Nutrition in One Bowl

    I’m often aiming to get all my veggies for the day in my main meal and this Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu is no exception. If you use the same vegetables as I do, you get a phenomenal 7 portions of veg, protein from the tofu and healthy carbs from the rice.

    Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu

    Versatile

    Of course you could swap the vegetables out for any you might enjoy. Courgettes, broccoli, asparagus, sugar snaps or kale would all fit nicely into this dish.
    Protein wise, if you are not a fan of tofu, you could use any meat you enjoy or even some fish. Though do try this way of preparing tofu. It’s super flavourful from the marinade, which doubles as sauce and crispy with tempura batter!

    The Sauce

    The Sauce is made with a delicious mix of Asian and Middle Eastern flavours, which may sound odd, but work wonderfully. It is both used to marinade the tofu and coat the vegetables, quick pickling the red cabbage in the process, making for a seriously flavourful bowl that you’ll want to keep eating.

     

    The Ingredients

     

    Vegetables

    Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu_Ingredients

    Cauliflower – I found a rather pretty orange cauliflower at my local Tesco and just couldn’t resist. You could just steam or roast it as is, after cutting into small florets, but I opted for coating it in crispy tempura batter and air frying it. If you are using a whole head, you can either fry it in batches or simply put it in the oven. I tried both and found the air fried pieces to be a bit crisper, so that would be my favourite method.

    For the remaining veggies, you could use anything in your veg drawer. I had spinach, carrots, mushrooms, red cabbage, mini sweetcorn, and a bag of soy sprouts for a nice Asian inspired mix.
    To top the bowl with bright green accents and more flavour, I used a bunch of spring onions and cilantro.

    Protein – I’m using tofu here, which gets marinated in part of the sauce, then dipped into tempura batter, same as the cauliflower, and air fried/oven roasted. The sauce imparts lots of flavour here, so no need to worry about bland tofu.

    The Sauce

    Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu_Sauce Ingredients
    A mix of low sodium soy sauce, orange juice, balsamic and rice vinegar, honey, pomegranate molasses, gochujang paste (or any chili sauce of your choice), nutty sesame oil, garlic and ginger make this a very more-ish dressing that you’ll want to drizzle on anything from salads to stir fry.
    The pomegranate molasses has a distinct fruity sweet and sour taste. Most healthfood shops have it these days. If you can’t find it, use a little more balsamic vinegar and a bit more honey.

    The Tempura Batter

    While you could roast both cauliflower and tofu just covered with the sauce and they will be delicious, the batter adds that extra crispy shell and makes this bowl irresistible. You only need flour (gluten free works too), cornstarch, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, pepper and ice cold sparkling water.

    Carbohydrates – I had rice as carb with this bowl, but you could use noodles or any other grain you enjoy. Frekkeh would be particularly good here due to its nutty flavour.

     

    The Process

     

    Pressing the tofu

    Start by pressing the tofu, so it’s easier to fry to that perfect chewie texture and can soak up the marinade. If you don’t have a tofu press as mine in the picture, you could wrap it in a clean kitchen towel, then top with something heavy, like a cast iron skillet, to push out the moisture. Be careful though, I had a heavy cast iron pot slide off it once and drop to the floor, leaving a chip in my tiles. Hence my tofu press. I figured it’s less expensive than having to get tiles re-done or buy a new cast iron pot. About 30 minutes should be enough, but you can leave it for longer if you have time.
    Once it has given up a good bit of moisture, cut it into bite sized cubes.

    Vegetable Preparation

    While the tofu is left to its devices, prepare the veggies. Cut the cauliflower into florets, half or quarter the mushrooms, depending on size, julienne or slice the carrots, shred the cabbage thinly, slice the mini sweetcorn in half lengthwise and wash and roughly chop your spinach. Slice the spring onions and roughly chop the cilantro if using.

    Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu_Process

    The Sauce

    Peel your ginger. This is easiest done by scraping the skin off with a teaspoon. Sounds weird, I know. But give it a try. I promise you won’t look back.
    Peel and mince your garlic.
    Mix all the sauce ingredients in a jar and shake well.

    Marinate

    Use ¼ of the sauce to marinate your tofu cubes. Keep in the fridge for at least 30minutes, so they can soak up all the delicious flavour.
    In a large bowl, coat the shredded cabbage with about 3-4 tbsp of the sauce and mix well. Let it marinate until ready to serve.

    Line either your air fryer basket with some baking parchment (after pre-heating, as the empty air fryer will pull the paper up and might cause burning) or 2 baking trays. If using the air fryer, you might have to fry in batches, but the results will be a little crispier.

    The Tempura Batter

    To mix the batter add all dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly add the water, whisking as you go, until you have a smooth batter that will coat tofu and cauliflower. Add the water slowly, you might not need it all.

    Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu_Process

    Bake

    Pre-heat your air fryer or oven to 400°F/200°C.

    Dredge your tofu and cauliflower pieces through the batter, shaking each lightly, to let excess batter drip off. Distribute between the trays or add to your hot air fryer basket. Spray lightly with some oil or cooking spray. Air fry for about 17-20min until golden brown and crispy, flipping the pieces halfway through.
    In the oven, they will need about 30-35 minutes.

     

    Cook rice, fry vegetables

    Cook your rice according to packet instructions and drain when done.

    Meanwhile, heat 2 frying pans. Coat both with some oil or cooking spray. Add the mushrooms to one pan and fry until nicely browned, stirring only occasionally, to not disturb the browning process.

    In the second pan, stir fry the mini sweetcorn, followed by the julienned carrots, then soy sprouts and lastly the spinach until wilted. Add the remaining sauce to the pan and let it bubble up briefly, to take the raw edge off the garlic and ginger.

    Serve

    Start by adding rice to your bowl, then top with the remaining ingredients, finishing with the crispy cauliflower and tofu. Drizzle some sauce over. Sprinkle with some spring onions, cilantro and sesame if you like. Enjoy your colourful and healthy Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu.

    Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu

    Meal Prep

     

    I made the ingredients for the Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu on my weekend and stored them in separate containers, to keep them fresh. While I fried each vegetable on its own to show them in the bowl, it makes more sense from a flavour perspective to stir fry them all in one pan and also store them that way. No need to go through all the trouble I did. Though if you want to keep them separate, you can just microwave them with the rice later, to heat them.

    For the tempura battered tofu and cauliflower, I lined a large container with kitchen towels, and stored them in layers, to stop them from sticking. I then re-heated them in portions in the air fryer for a few minutes, to crisp them up.

    Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu_Meal Prep

    The ingredients keep stored as above for about 4 days in the fridge. I wouldn’t necessarily advise to freeze them, especially the tofu and cauliflower, as they will go soggy.

    Looking for more ideas for Veganuary? Here are some of my favourites:
    Vegan Tom Kha Soup

    Vegetable Stew with Dumplings

    Sumac Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Black Garlic Mushroom Sauce

    Please Comment

    Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
    Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
    What other recipes would you like to see?

    If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.

    Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu

    Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu

    The Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu is a great start for the Veganuary. Lots of colourful crunchy veggies in a flavourful fruity-hot Asian sauce topped with crispy air fried cauliflower and tofu. Meal prep a large batch and you are all set for your work week with a seriously delicious and nutritious meal.
    No ratings yet
    Prep Time 1 hour 20 minutes
    Cook Time 40 minutes
    Total Time 2 hours
    Course Dinner, Main Course
    Cuisine Asian, Fusion
    Servings 6
    Calories 750 kcal

    Ingredients
      

    • 1 pack tofu
    • 1 head of cauliflower
    • ¼ red cabbage
    • 1 pack mini sweetcorn
    • 3 carrots
    • 1 pack mushrooms
    • 1 pack bean sprouts
    • 1 bag spinach
    • 1 cup rice
    • 1 bunch Spring onions - sliced
    • 1 cup fresh cilantro chopped, optional
    • sesame seeds for serving, optional

    Sauce

    • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil
    • 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1/3 cups honey
    • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon molasses or pomegranate molasses
    • 1 tsp gochujang paste
    • 2 tbsp sesame oil
    • 3 cloves garlic minced or grated
    • 1 inch fresh ginger grated

    Tempura Batter

    • 3 cups gluten free flour blend or brown rice flour
    • 4 tbsp cornstarch
    • 2 tbsp baking powder
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp garlic powder
    • ½ tsp black pepper
    • 3 cups sparkling water extra cold

    Instructions
     

    Pressing the Tofu:

    • Press the tofu for about 30 minutes to remove excess moisture, then cut it into bite-sized cubes.

    Vegetable Preparation:

    • Cut cauliflower into florets, mushrooms into halves or quarters, carrots into julienne strips, shred the cabbage thinly, slice mini sweetcorn in half lengthwise, and wash and roughly chop the spinach.
    • Slice spring onions and chop cilantro if using.

    The Sauce:

    • Peel and mince the garlic, and peel and grate the ginger.
    • Mix all sauce ingredients in a jar and shake well.

    Marinate:

    • Use ¼ of the sauce to marinate tofu cubes. Keep in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
    • In a large bowl, coat shredded cabbage with 3-4 tbsp of the sauce and let it marinate.

    The Tempura Batter:

    • Mix all dry tempura batter ingredients in a bowl. Slowly add sparkling water, whisking until a smooth batter forms.

    Bake:

    • Preheat air fryer or oven to 400°F/200°C.
    • Dredge tofu and cauliflower through the batter, shaking off excess. Air fry for 17-20 minutes or bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and crispy, flipping halfway.

    Cook Rice, Fry Vegetables:

    • Cook rice according to package instructions.
    • In separate pans, fry mushrooms until browned in one pan. Stir-fry mini sweetcorn, carrots, bean sprouts, and spinach in the second pan. Add remaining sauce to the stir fry and let it bubble briefly.

    Serve:

    • In a bowl, layer rice, vegetables, and crispy tofu and cauliflower. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with spring onions, cilantro, and sesame seeds if desired.

    Meal Prep:

    • Prepare ingredients and store separately for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave and crisp up tempura battered pieces in the air fryer.
    • Enjoy your colourful and healthy Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu!

    Notes

    Total for the Dish (including rice, excluding optional toppings):
    Calories: Approximately 750 kcal
    Protein: Around 19g
    Carbohydrates: Roughly 110g
    Fat: About 26g
    Fiber: Around 15g
    Sugar: Approximately 26g

    Nutrition

    Calories: 750kcal
    Nutrition Facts
    Asian Bowl with Cauliflower and Tofu
    Amount per Serving
    Calories
    750
    % Daily Value*
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    Keyword Healthy, High Fibre, Protein, vegan, vegetables, Vegetarian
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!