Plant based Munchies

A journey towards whole food, plant based, healthy eating….


Basil, potato and pumpkin salad

Basil, potato and pumpkin salad

Basil, potato and pumpkin salad

There are just some things that never change, I find, and one of them is the comforting nature of potato salad. I used to love it as a kid, and still do. I also happen to love basil aioli, so here is a vegan mash of the two. It is moorish so beware.


3 large white potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 cups pumpkin, peeled and cubed

1/2 spanish onion, sliced finely

1/4 cup fresh  basil leaves

1 serve of tofu mayonnaise with 2 cups basil leaves processed into it.


This is creamy, potatoey goodness. Beautiful to add fresh spinach and pine nuts for an added freshness and texture.




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Spiced buckwheat and sweet potato herbed salad


Spiced buckwheat, sweet potato and beetroot salad

Spiced buckwheat, sweet potato and beetroot salad

My sincere apologies for my extended absence from blogger land! I’ve missed you! It all began with a missing camera cord followed by a missing SD card… but that’s another story.

Today I bring to you a gem inspired by Gina, an amazing woman who catered for 25 of us at a non violent communication retreat in Byron recently. From Gina, I not only was reintroduced to the delightful dill but was introduced to whole buckwheat salads. Wow. Where have I been? Buckwheat is not wheat. It is gluten free and a whole food. It is not quite as protein rich as quinoa but nevertheless, an awesome food! And since Dave can’t do quinoa, stand by for more buckwheat in the future :). It is slightly nutty and holds it’s shape beautifully. And it does not go gluggy like rice can.

Because I’m out of practice I paid very little attention to quantities for this salad but you will get the idea. Make it to suit yourself. If my mother is reading this, for example, the cumin will be given a wide miss.


2 cups of whole buckwheat (cooked according to instructions. I, however, boiled mine in a spice mix of cumin, turmeric and ginger powder to give it a light spicing as well as a golden colour)

1 sweet potato, peeled, cubed and roasted

1 beetroot, peeled, cubed and roasted

1 spanish onion, peeled, cubed and roasted

Once these ingredients have cooled, toss together with:

cherry tomatoes, halved

brocollini, roughly chopped

Add 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill and 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves.

Season with salt and pepper and toss either juice of 1 lemon or equivalent vinegar through the salad.


NB I think this would be sensational with the tomatoes lightly roasted, and adding in fresh baby spinach leaves. You could also whip up a dressing that includes garlic, mustard, lemon juice and oil if that suits (especially if you leave out the cumin and spices, it will require more flavour).



Spiced buckwheat, sweet potato and beetroot salad


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Asian orange and sesame salad

Asian orange and sesame salad

Asian orange and sesame salad

One of the greatest things about living in a multicultural society is the cultural influences and diversity of food. As you know, I particularly love Asian food. I remember once travelling around the UK and absolutely craving Vietnamese or Thai food. Happily, it is so common for us that we use the basis of Asian cooking and make our own!

This salad is so refreshing, crunchy, fresh and delicious!


1/2 cabbage

2 cups shredded baby spinach (or kale)

3 spring onions, finely sliced

1 carrot, julienned/grated

1-2 radishes, julienned

1 cup cashews

1 cup mint leaves

2 oranges, peeled, de-seeded and cut into segments

plus juice of 1 orange

1 T tamari

1 T sesame oil

1 garlic clove

2 T sesame seeds

2 T fried shallots


Slice salad ingredients, toss salad together and top with a dressing mixture of the orange juice, sesame oil, tamari and garlic. Sprinkle sesame seeds and shallots over the top. Enjoy!

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Caramelized pumpkin, beetroot and hazelnut salad

Caramelized pumpkin, beetroot and hazelnut salad

Caramelized pumpkin, beetroot and hazelnut salad

Happy happy salady days in the warm weather (Australia)! Thankfully this is also a great salad for those snowed in at the moment because you can serve it as a warm salad which has that hearty feel as well.


3 cups baby spinach

1 cup rocket leaves

2 cups  pumpkin pieces

1 cup  beetroot pieces

2 spanish onions, chopped roughly

1 cup roasted hazelnuts

1/2 cup slithered mint leaves

1/2 cup oil

Balsamic vinegar

Firstly, mix 1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or coconut) and 1/4 cup balsamic to toss the pumpkin pieces in. Then place them on a baking tray and put them in a 200 deg C oven. Toss the beetroot pieces in the balsamic and oil mix, and place them on a separate tray and roast. Thirdly, toss the chopped purple (spanish) onion through the mix and put it on a 3rd tray into the oven. Roast each until cooked through – note, the onions will cook through and caramelise first, the pumpkin pieces second, and the beetroot generally takes a LONG time depending on how large your pieces are. Test them with a fork to check they are soft. Then they are ready.

Once roasted and cooled, add to a bed of spinach leaves and rocket. Sprinkle roasted hazelnuts on top and chopped mint leaves. Drizzle any remaining oil/balsamic mix that remains over the top and enjoy!

It looks festive, doesn’t it!


Crunchy broccoli salad with basil cashew cream

Crunchy broccoli salad

Crunchy broccoli salad

This is an absolute delicious mix of crunchy, fresh, zingy, creamy and filling ingredients. It packs a bunch of nutrients into one bowl as well! Wow, we were so impressed with this, it’s now on our staple list.

We used this to serve 2 but it was too much! You could easily use a whole broccoli head, double the celery and tomatoes  and serve 4. The cashew cream certainly makes enough for 4.


1/2 broccoli head, cut into florets

1 cup cooked brown rice

2 celery stalks, roughly chopped

1 cup baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped

1/2 cup dry roasted almonds, roughly chopped

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1/4 cup tamari pepitas

1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 spring onion, diced

Place salad ingredients on the brown rice as a bed. Use pine nuts and pepitas as a topping. Add a large dollop of basil cashew cream dressing  (below) and top with fresh basil leaves, if desired.

Cashew cream:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked (at least 2 hours)

1 garlic clove

1 tsp mustard

1 T apple cider vinegar

1 T oil

1/4 cup water

1 cup fresh basil leaves

Puree the cashews and garlic. Add other ingredients and blend into a sauce.

Absolutely deliciously crunchy, fresh, and full of basil-y goodness 🙂

Crunchy broccoli salad with cashew basil cream

Crunchy broccoli salad with cashew basil cream


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Cobb salad with creamy cilantro lime dressing

Plant-based Cobb salad

Plant-based Cobb salad

We are BACK from holidays and my, what an effort it is eating clean and plant based whilst travelling around the country. We basically had a huge tub of cut up veggies and hummus for lunch the majority of days. I am happy to be home and cooking our favourites again, and back into working up new fresh ideas.

It is supposed to be spring (you wouldn’t know it with the cooler weather at the moment) but the forecast is looking good so here’s a bright, fresh salad. Cobb salads are those ones usually filled with chicken and bacon and egg and cheese. It does seem odd but I guess it is all in the concept of lining up tasty little ingredients in pretty coloured lines – or layers – depending on how you make it 🙂 Work with whatever you have…colours, textures, taste. I had some beetroot ready to go and some black beans but they didn’t fit in the end and I decided the flavours didn’t blend with my dressing either so the above ingredients are the winners ;). Apple would work well, as would cucumber, spanish onion, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes etc. You could line up some rinsed and drained chickpeas or beans as well.


Red butter lettuce

yellow and red capsicum



bean sprouts

sun dried tomatoes


Crispy tofu (see below)

Chop all salad ingredients and line up in rows.

For the tofu, I bought organic firm tofu and pressed it to squeeze the water out. Toss in buckwheat flour with salt, pepper and onion powder. Lightly fry until golden and crispy and toss in some tamari before removing from the pan. De-licious!

For the dressing:

Juice of 2 limes

1/4 cup coriander (cilantro)

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 avocado

2 T  water

1 garlic clove

1-2 tsp rice malt syrup

pinch salt & pepper

Blend together in a mini food processor and serve over salad.


Healthy peanut noodle salad

Healthy peanut noodle salad

Healthy peanut noodle salad

SUCH a lovely, light healthy lunch. Or a main meal for dinner. Given that I have a love-hate relationship with lunchtimes, this one works well for me. It is quick, easy and healthy. And anything that has a peanuts/satay feel to it is a win for me. If you can’t do peanuts, you could always substitute in another nut butter and I’m sure it would be just as delicious.

There are so many substitute options to this salad it’s ridiculous so make it your own! You could make it with pasta noodles if you prefer or soba noodles. But here is what I did:


Rice vermicelli noodles, soaked in boiling water and drained


Carrot, finely sliced

Celery, finely sliced

Cucumber, sliced using a peeler to make slithers

Spanish onion, finely sliced


Handfuls of chopped fresh mint, coriander and spring onions.

Toss the noodles, salad ingredients and herbs together with the following sauce:

*NB. The water content in the sauce is important to keep, as tossing the sauce through the noodles will prevent them from sticking together.

Peanut sauce:

1 spanish (purple/sweet) onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger (or ground)
3 T peanut butter (100% peanuts. You could easily just process peanuts until smooth as an alternative)
2 T  soy sauce
2 T rice bran or coconut oil
1 tsp rice syrup
1 tsp sesame oil
juice of 1 lime

Whisk together.

Healthy peanut noodle salad