Plant Based Mum Blog

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Back to School Recipes

With school summer holidays coming to an end in Australia, it’s time to start planning for the school year ahead! Whilst my little ones aren’t yet in “big school” (primary) we still like to have easy choices for snacks and lunches during the week.

I love to meal plan for the week ahead so that I won’t be stuck for ideas when it’s been a long and busy day. Some of our favourite snacks and meals are quick, super easy, allergy-friendly. Full of delicious organic fruits and vegetables to keep us healthy and full of energy for active days of play and learning.  

If you’re looking for some new lunch ideas or new snack inspiration, below are some of our go-to food choices: 

Sweet Potato, Zucchini and Black Bean Tortilla Wraps 

This can be a messy one but they are so delicious it is worth the risk! To make, simply fill a tortilla with pre-roasted sweet potato, zucchini and carrot cubes, some diced red capsicum (or ‘red bell peppers’), diced tomato, cooked black beans and diced avocado. Squeeze the juice of a fresh lime over the tortilla ingredients as your ‘dressing’. Add oragano on top, fold your tortilla ‘soft burrito style’, wrap a section of the tortilla around the bottom to hold it all in place and you’re in business!  

Vegetable Mini Pizzas  

We love homemade pizzas in our household. They are simple to make, the kids can help and it is a great way to get your little ones to enjoy their vegetables.

For the crust: Boil and mash up two large sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Now add to your bowl half a cup of oat flour (you can use almond flour instead if there are no nut allergies in your household), a good pinch of himalayan salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons egg replacer and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix all ingredients throughly until a ‘doughy’ ball of sweet potato goodness is formed. Divide sweet potato ‘dough’ into four smaller balls.

Roll out your sweet potato pizza ‘crusts’ to about 1/2 inch in thickness. Top them with organic tomato paste and vegetables of your choice - we change ours up often but usually favour a combination of thinly sliced asparagus, some kale, chopped red bell peppers (capsicum), diced tomato, some baby spinach leaves and thinly sliced zucchini - the best bit is getting to be creative! Bake at 200°C for 10 minutes (or until crust starts to brown). Serve your mini pizzas warm or cool. 

Apple, Carrot, Chia and Oat Muffins

These Apple, Carrot, Chia and Oat Muffins make for an easy snack, and they are a great way to get more vegetables into your little ones.

Combine a cup of oat flour, two teaspoons of baking powder, half a teaspoon baking soda, 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons apple sauce (or your chosen egg replacer), and 2 tablespoons maple syrup.

Once a smooth batter is formed, add to your mixture some finely chopped grated carrot, finely chopped apple, and two teaspoons of black chia seeds (or you could use white chia seeds if your little one is fussy). Mix until all ingredients are well combined.

Add mixture to a lined muffin tray (makes 6). Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180°C (until golden on top and you can pop a knife in one and pull it out clean). Let cool, then serve. 

Chickpea Burgers with Green Bean and Sweet Potato ‘Fries’ 

Who doesn’t love a good burger?! I usually purchase ready-made burger patties, and there are plenty of good healthy options out there  - such as these organic veggie patties from Bite Me Foods. Paired with sides, a good veggie burger is delicious, provides a good source of protein and is a quick and easy choice.

Cook your veggie burger patties according to packet directions. To make your ‘fries’, peel and cut a large sweet potato into batons and chop up some green beans until they are a good size for little hands. Par-boil your sweet potato batons for 3-4 minutes. Then, pop them in the oven at 190°C for around 5-10 minutes on one side (until browned ever so slightly), then flip them to crisp up the remaining side for around 5 minutes. Once out of the oven, sprinkle on some rosemary and/or a pinch of himalayan salt. Boil your green beans for 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry.

Your ‘fries’ are now all ready! Serve your veggie burgers on burger buns of your choice, with your green bean and sweet potato ‘fries’ as a side, and enjoy!

Homemade Sushi Rolls 

With some vegetables, brown rice and this handy sushi kit you can enjoy homemade sushi rolls for a healthy snack! There’s plenty of options for the filling too - from batons of carrot, cucumber and zucchini, to strips of eggplant, capsicum, tofu and avocado. Fun to make - and even better to eat! 

Animal Pasta Salad 

A pasta salad is one of our favourite lunch options as it is quick and easy. Prepare pasta of your choice according to packet directions (there are some great ‘animal’ shaped pasta options out there!), and let cool. Once pasta is cooled combine with vegetables of your choice (this is your chance to load in as many vegetables as you want! We like to make it as colourful as we can - with diced zucchini, diced carrot, diced yellow capsicum, green capsicum, red capsicum, lentils, chickpeas, quartered grape tomatoes, broccoli - the list could go on). To finish, add pesto or dressing of choice. This is an easy one to make the night before too - just store in an airtight container in the fridge and you are ready to go the following day.

Zucchini, Green Pea and Sweet Potato Fritters 

Fritters are a great addition to the lunch box, or a nice after school snack option. These fritters are so easy to prepare, which makes them prefect for back to school (or kindy!) time.

Combine in a large bowl 3 cups grated zucchini (ensuring all water content is squeezed out beforehand), 1 cup grated sweet potato, a generous handful of green peas and 1/2 a cup of chickpea flour (almond or coconut flour would also work well here).

Now add 1 clove minced garlic, 1 teaspoon egg replacer, 2 tablespoons water, 1/2 a teaspoon himalayan salt, a sprinkle of black pepper, juice from 1 lemon and a small handful of finely chopped parsley. Stir to roughly combine all ingredients.

Grab a large plate and using a teaspoon spoon out your mixture into balls, slightly flattening them on the plate. You will end up with 8-10 ‘fritter balls’, depending on how big you want to make them. Now heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large frypan over a medium heat. Add your fritter balls, cooking well on each side until they are nice and golden. Let cool and serve! 

Avocado, Banana and Kale Icy Treats 

These icy treats are a cool after school (or kindy!) treat on a hot summers day. The night before school (or kindy), simply blend up a small handful of kale until smooth, then add to your blender a whole avocado and two frozen bananas. Blend these additions until smooth and well combined with the kale. Place blended mixture in ice lolly molds, and pop them into your freezer. The ice lollies will be all ready to enjoy after school! 

Bon Appétit!  

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Morning SuperGreen Powerhouse Juice

One of my favourite simple pleasures in life is a yummy juice or smoothie. Full of good nutrients and flavour, it is such an easy way to nourish your body and nurture your health and wellbeing.

Lately, I’ve been loving green juices. My fave versions are packed with celery, apple, kale, spinach and lemon - sometimes with added deliciousness such as pineapple, cucumber or banana...or even some avocado depending on my mood.  

Here’s a quick and simple green juice recipe to brighten your morning:  

Add to your high-speed juicer (or blender) 4 sticks of celery, a small handful spinach leaves, 2 large kale leaves, 2 roughly chopped Granny Smith apples, 1 lemon (peeled and de-pipped), 1 cucumber and a cup of coconut water (tip: blend your spinach and kale leaves first until fully blended before adding other ingredients). 

Drink first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, to start your day right! 

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Veganuary

The month of January brings opportunity and excitement. It’s a new year, a fresh start, a chance to reassess and renew, a time to create new healthy habits. January is the perfect month to switch up those eating habits in particular. So I’m changing up my eating habits by trying to incorporate more vegan choices for the month of January...or “Veganuary”!

Opting for vegan (or even vegetarian) dishes in the month of January is easy, and there are plenty of nutritious recipes to try throughout the month. Rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, well balanced plant based whole-food choices are excellent for your overall health and wellbeing.

Here are some of my personal favourite plant based recipes to incorporate into the monthly food rotation for “Veganuary” - they are quick, easy and nutritious options. Some are fully vegan, some are vegetarian (but they can be easily modified to be fully vegan).

Breakfast Recipes 

Lunch Recipes

Snack Recipes 

Dinner Recipes 

Dessert Recipe

If you’re short on time (or meal ideas) during Veganuary, looking to take part, and based in Melbourne, My Goodness Organics offers delicious vegan meal plans that can get you started! 

I know I’m looking forward to incorporating a variety of different recipes into my month of Veganuary for better health and wellness! Are you thinking of taking part in Veganuary this year? Are you already vegan? What are some of your fave vegan dishes? 

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Recipe of the Quarter - Fully Loaded Summer Salad

There’s nothing better than a super nourishing bowl of goodness for lunch. This fully loaded salad* is nutrient dense and packed with good fats to keep you satisfied and full of energy. 

You will need:  

  • 1 tbs avocado or coconut oil

  • 1 whole avocado

  • 1 large sweet potato (diced)

  • 1 cup brown rice

  • 1 red capsicum (diced)

  • 2 generous handfuls spinach

  • 2 bunches of broccolini

  • Handful cherry tomatoes (halved)

  • Handful walnuts

  • Handful pumpkin seeds

  • 1 lemon (for dressing)

  • Pink Himalayan salt (for dressing)

To make:  

  • Pre-heat oven to 180.

  • Peel and dice sweet potato into small(ish) cubes and place on baking tray.

  • Splash a small amount of avocado oil over sweet potato and place tray into the oven to roast for around 20 minutes.

  • In the meantime, cook up your brown rice (rinse well, add to a large saucepan with 2 cups water, cover pan and let simmer for around 25 minutes - then turn off heat and let stand. Fluff rice up with a fork before serving).

  • Steam broccolini until softened slightly. Chop into smaller pieces before serving.

  • Grab a large bowl and add to it your cooked brown rice, broccolini and sweet potato.

  • Now add your diced red capsicum, cherry tomatoes, handful of spinach and your avocado.

  • Finish with walnuts and pumpkin seeds for crunch and texture, plus a generous squeeze of lemon and a pinch of pink himalayan salt for dressing.

* serves one, simply double your ingredients to make two salad servings. 

Bon Appétit! 

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Cafe of the Month - Cafe 435, Pascoe Vale

Any cafe with a little playspace out the back is a winner in our heart.

Cafe 435 boasts a 100% plant based menu, good coffee, delicious treats and a beautiful little playspace for your little ones to explore while you enjoy your meal nearby.

This is the place to be in the North! Click here to find out more!

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Cafe of the Month - The Alleyway, Heidelberg

The Alleyway is a great local cafe for those in Heidelberg, and a nice spot to stop for those travelling through the area. There are plenty of gluten free options on the menu, with some vegetarian and vegan choices too. Nearby is the amazing Possum Hollow Playground.

The Details:

The Alleyway - 138 Burgundy St, Heidelberg

Suitable for:

  • Vegetarian mummas

  • Gluten free mummas

  • Paleo mummas

Opening Hours*: 

  • Monday - Saturday: 7AM to 4PM

  • Sunday: 8AM to 4PM

* Hours subject to change, please refer to The Alleyway’s website for up to date details.

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