Show the magic of vegetables

Penelope Maguire puts a plant-based twist on a few winter classics.

Mushrooms and pumpkin are some of my favourite vegetables to use in the place of meat in plant-based dishes — they are unprocessed, versatile, full of flavour and nutrients and filling and are plentiful and inexpensive right now.

Feijoas, sadly, are coming to the end of the season but this cake is my favourite way to enjoy the less-than-perfect ones and can easily be frozen without losing quality, to enjoy that quintessential taste of autumn in the next few months.

To make the flavour of feijoa last even longer, add the skins to a large mason jar and top up with apple cider vinegar and infuse in a dark cupboard for a month or so. When you are ready, strain the mix into a clean bottle and make into a refreshing drink by mixing 1 part infused vinegar, 1 part maple syrup and top a tall glass with soda water, ice and fresh mint. Great for digestion and an interesting alternative to a glass of wine before dinner.

These recipes are all filling, wholesome and a pretty impressive way to show the magic of vegetables to your friends. Next time you have people over, how about revisiting these classics with a plant-based twist and turn the cosy up on those cold winter nights.

Mushroom, garlic and thyme galettes
with creamy cashew cheese

Serves as a starter or 2 as a main

2 sheets plant-based puff pastry

500g mushrooms, sliced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 Tbsp fresh thyme

1 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup cashews, soaked for 1-4 hours in boiling water and drained

1 Tbsp wholegrain mustard

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

½ cup nutritional yeast

juice ½ lemon

pinch turmeric

1 cup soy milk

salt and white pepper


Heat the oil in a pan. Add mushrooms, garlic and thyme and cook for 5 minutes. Add soy sauce and cook for another minute until soy sauce begins to evaporate. Taste and season with salt and white pepper.

Place the cashews, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, turmeric and soy milk in a blender. Add enough water to bring it together and blend until smooth and season with salt and white pepper.

Place the thawed puff pastry squares next to each other and press two ends together so it forms a rectangle of pastry. Fold all four edges inwards 2cm to create a crust. Spread the cashew cheese, then lay the mushrooms on top. Top with extra fresh thyme.

Bake at 190degC for 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden and cooked on the bottom. Top with fresh herbs.

Serve with salad, relish and lemon wedges.

Creamy miso pumpkin pasta bake
with smoky maple tempeh

This is a plant-based take on bacon mac ’n’ cheese

Serves 4

Gluten free

500g gluten-free pasta (love the 100% buckwheat spirals)

1 head broccoli, cut into florets.

500g pumpkin, cut into 1cm cubes

1 sprig rosemary

½ cup cashews, soaked for 1-4 hours in boiling water and drained

1 can cannellini beans

1 Tbsp miso paste (check the ingredients for fish and gluten)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp vegan chicken stock powder (I use Massels)

½ cup nutritional yeast

juice ½ lemon

1 cup plant milk

1 block tempeh

2 Tbsp tamari or gluten-free soy sauce

2 Tbsp maple syrup

¼ tsp liquid smoke

olive oil


1 cup grated vegan cheese


Heat the oven to 180degC and roast pumpkin with the rosemary in some olive oil for 15-20 minutes until soft and starting to caramelise.

While the pumpkin is cooking, cook the pasta as per packet instructions, adding the broccoli 2 minutes before the end of cooking time. Drain, toss with a little olive oil to prevent it sticking and set aside.

Once the pumpkin is cooked, place it in the blender with the drained cashews, beans, miso paste, stock powder, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder lemon juice and plant milk. Blend until smooth, adding just enough water to make it a white sauce consistency. Taste and season with salt and white pepper.

Stir the sauce through the pasta and broccoli and pop into an oven-proof dish. Top with some fresh rosemary and grated cheese, if using, and bake 20 minutes.

To make the smoky maple tempeh

Cut the tempeh into small cubes, about 0.5cm thick.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the tempeh. Fry, turning every now and then for at least 5 minutes — you want the tempeh to be crispy. Once browned on all sides, add the tamari and maple syrup and cook until the liquid evaporates and it starts to get sticky like candy.

Add the liquid smoke and then allow to cool.

To serve

Top with the maple tempeh.

Ginger and feijoa shortcake
with salted caramel butter cream

This is the perfect way to enjoy the last feijoas of the season.

Serves 12

1 cup soy milk

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

2¼ cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ginger

¾ cup sugar

½ cup neutral flavoured oil

10 medium feijoas, peeled and diced

Salted caramel butter cream

100g softened plant-based butter

100g soft brown sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

350g icing sugar

¼ tsp flaky sea salt


Heat the oven to 180degC.

Mix the milk and apple cider vinegar in a bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest, vanilla extract and oil.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger and sugar. Stir through feijoas then lightly fold in the wet ingredients.

Place in a lined 20cm cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool before icing.

For the butter cream

Using an electric whisk, mix the butter and brown sugar. Add the sugar, vanilla extract and salt and beat for about 5 minutes on high until light and fluffy. Add a little hot water if necessary to help bring it together.

Ice the cooled cake and enjoy.

Note: This keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days or can be frozen, iced or un-iced, for up to 3 months.

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