Veganuary ideas: vegan banana bread pancakes

Happy New Year to you! If, like me, you have decided to take on the Veganuary challenge, I’m sure you’re looking for vegan recipe inspiration all over the web. 

After a week back at work following Christmas, I wanted to treat myself to a tasty and rich breakfast at the weekend. 

I’ve found so far on my vegan journey that cooking involves a fair bit of planning. However, I put this recipe together with just a couple of vegan staples and otherwise usual storecupboard ingredients.


These pancakes accidentally taste like banana bread. I added mashed banana as an egg substitute, but unknowingly, it also adds extra natural sweetness which is a real treat. The banana is also a great energy booster.

I used coconut milk as I wanted my pancakes to be creamy and sweet, but you could use any dairy free milk depending on your preference. A lot of recipes recommend almond milk; I imagine its nutty, earthy flavour would contrast well against the sweet banana and sugar.

The self-raising flour and baking powder together make these pancakes so light and fluffy. Eating them made me feel like I was in the film, Matilda. Whenever I think about thick, American-style pancakes I think of that film. It’s one of my faves.

I adapted this from a non-vegan recipe, which says it should make 4-6 servings. But my version serves 2! 

Ingredients

  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 medium, ripe banana
  • 130ml coconut milk (or your preferred dairy-free alternative)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Dairy free spread for frying
  • A generous drizzle of Maple syrup and your favourite toppings to serve 

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Makes 7-8 pancakes (2 portions)

Method

  1.  Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
  2. Mash the banana in a jug or bowl and pour in the milk. Stir well with a metal spoon and then add the olive oil. Stir again until smooth. Don’t worry if there’s an occasional lump of banana.
  3. Tip the milk and banana mix into the dry ingredients and whisk well, until you have a thick batter.
  4. Put a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat and add a knob of dairy free spread. When it’s melted, pick the pan up and move the spread around so it covers the base of the pan.
  5. Add slightly less than a ladleful of pancake mixture at a time. You should be able to fit three pancakes in the pan. Cook until golden, roughly 3-5 minutes on each side. Flip them over with a fish slice. When they’re cooked, remove them from the pan and either put in the oven on a low heat to stay warm, or put to one side. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all the batter.
  6. Serve stacked on a plate with a drizzle of maple syrup and your favourite toppings. I recommend washing them down with a fresh cup of coffee.

This recipe was inspired by BBC Food.

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Feta, courgette and chickpea salad

Cooked courgette ribbons, soft and succulent mushrooms, firm and filling chickpeas, and crunchy red onion make a tasty and healthy base for this warm salad. Cooked with a touch of cumin and topped with crumbly feta cheese, this dish makes a perfect light lunch. And, you can have it on the table within 15 minutes.

Feta, courgette and chickpea saladThis salad is a bit of a melting pot of cuisines. It came about from bits and bobs I had left in the fridge and cupboard.

Courgettes and mushrooms are two of my favourite vegetables. Their flavours are subtle yet satisfying and they’re incredibly versatile. They can be used in everything from curries to salads, on top of pizzas or in dips. They work well in this salad as they are soft and juicy.

The chickpeas and cumin bring exotic, Middle Eastern flavours and the richness of the feta cheese finishes the dish off delightfully.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 4 mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • ½ red onion, roughly sliced
  • ½ courgette, thinly sliced lengthways
  • 150g chickpeas
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 30g feta
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves one

Method

1. Put a large frying pan on a medium to high heat and pour in the sunflower oil.

2. Add the mushrooms and courgette and fry for two to three minutes. Mix in the onion and fry for another couple of minutes, until the onion begins to soften (but not too much; it’s better with a bit of bite).

3. Pour in the chickpeas and scatter over the cumin. Cook for another three to five minutes, stirring throughout.

4. Serve the mixture in a pasta bowl or on a plate. Crumble over the feta and season well.

Goats’ cheese and squash savoury pancakes

I may be a day late, but these pancakes were worth the wait; the sweet and creamy savoury flavours in amongst the batter taste great.

I won’t attempt anymore poor poetry, but if you’ve not tried making savoury pancakes before, I would recommend giving these a go.

This recipe uses a traditional pancake batter with the addition of sweet and soft butternut squash, smooth and creamy goats’ cheese, and a hint of rosemary. The peppery rocket salad compliments the pancakes well and the pumpkin seeds add a bit of crunch.

You could serve them for brunch or a light evening meal.

Savoury pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 25g melted butter, plus a little extra
  • 1 egg
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 300ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 100g vegetarian goats’ cheese
  • 250g butternut squash
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • 100g rocket
  • A handful of pumpkin seeds
  • A dash of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sweet chilli sauce for dipping

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 2

Method

1. Peel, deseed and slice the butternut squash. Cut into small cubes, around 3cm.
2. Put a small frying pan on a medium heat and add a knob of butter, along with ½ tbsp oil. When the pan is hot, add the squash and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cubes start to brown up.
3. Meanwhile, put the flour, baking powder, rosemary and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl and stir together.
4. Pour the milk into a jug and beat in the egg.
5. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the milk and eggs, and the melted butter. Whisk together thoroughly until it forms a smooth batter.
6. When the squash is ready, tip it into the batter along with the goats’ cheese. Stir well until the fillings are evenly dispersed among the batter.
7. Place a large frying pan on a medium heat and pour in ½ tbsp oil. Add three ladlefuls of batter to separate parts of the pan, and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the batter begins to bubble. Flip the pancakes and do the same on the other side. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Do this in three batches, placing the cooked pancakes under the grill to stay warm if needed.
8. Serve with some rocket and pumpkin seeds drizzled with a touch of lemon juice and plenty of seasoning. The pancakes definitely need a sauce with them; I had mine with some sweet chilli sauce which was tasty.

This meal was inspired by James Martin’s BBC Good Food recipe.

Scrambled tofu with sautéed vegetables

Scrambled tofu, served with sautéed vegetables on an open bagel, makes a filling and flavoursome vegan brunch. It’s packed with protein and nutritious goodness, and injects plenty of colour onto your plate. It’s a great way to kickstart start your day.Scrambled tofu with sautéed vegetablesTofu, made from soy beans and water, is an ingredient I usually use at dinner time; in stir fries and curries. If you prepare it with patience by ensuring you press as much water out of it as possible, it’s very versatile and quite easy to use.

In this dish, the texture of the tofu is similar to scrambled egg, making it perfect for brunch-time eating. Its best quality is its ability to soak up and absorb strong flavours; which is demonstrated in this recipe as the taste of garlic, cumin and chilli tickle your tastebuds.

Teamed with the sweet flavouring of the red pepper and the juicy, succulent mushrooms, this is a really tasty dish that will get you well on your way to your five-a-day.

Ingredients

    • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 200g tofu (I used Cauldron’s original tofu)
    • 1 red pepper, sliced lengthways
    • 3-4 closed cup mushrooms, sliced
    • ½ red onion, roughly chopped
    • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
    • ½ tsp rock salt
    • ½ tsp ground cumin
    • ½ tsp turmeric
    • ½ tsp mild chilli powder
    • 2 bagels, sliced in half
    • olive spread for the bagels
    • an avocado on the side, if you fancy it
    • ½ tsp paprika

Preparation time: 30 minutes (allowing time for the tofu to firm)
Cooking time 15 minutes
Serves 2

Method

1. Put the tofu on a plate and balance a chopping board on top, or something sturdy and weighty. Leave the tofu for 20-30 minutes, until the majority of the water has been pressed out.

2. Meanwhile, put a large frying pan or wok on a medium heat and pour in the oil.

3. When the oil has heated through, add the onion, pepper and garlic and fry for five minutes, stirring frequently.

4. While the vegetables are cooking, tip the spices into a bowl with a tablespoon of water and stir into a paste.

5. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for a further five minutes, making sure the vegetables cook without browning. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan.

6. Pat the tofu dry with some kitchen roll and place on to a clean plate (or rinse the existing plate and re-use). Mash the tofu up with the back of the fork, so it breaks up into rough, bitesize chunks.

7. Add the tofu to the empty side of the pan and cook for two minutes, stirring often. Pour the paste over the tofu and mix it in well so it covers all of the tofu. Cook for another two to three minutes.

8. While the tofu is cooking, toast the bagels and spread generously with olive spread. Place on a large plate.

9. When the tofu is ready, divide it in two and place on one half of the bagel on each plate. Do the same with the sautéed vegetables on the other half of the bagel.

10. Serve with half an avocado on each plate and sprinkle over a little bit of lemon juice.

This recipe was inspired by the Minimalist Baker and prepared by my wonderful boyfriend.
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