Delicious Dukkah: With and without nuts


(Dukkah without nuts)

I’ve been thinking about parties and party foods this week as it’s the first anniversary of our The Alternative Kitchen: A beginners guide to cooking without dairy, soy, gluten, egg or meat book launch party.  It’s been a pretty amazing year since that book was launched, and it’s nice to hear that that book and our show is helping to open up options for people who usually get left out at festive feasts. So to celebrate that I’ve put the kindle version of our book on special on Amazon this month.

So because I was thinking about parties and anniversaries when it came to writing a recipe to share this week I found myself thinking about  dukkah. You see, the  first time I ever opened a jar of dukkah and deeply breathed in the cumin I knew I was in love.  My hubby and I were on our honeymoon and he’d surprised me with a jar or it, some good olive oil and some soft bread and said ” I thought we could give this a go, there’s no dairy in it.”

Over the years we’ve tried many different brands and eaten it on many different occasions, but because of the powerful connection between smell and memories I can’t help but think of our honeymoon every time I open a jar. So for me dukkah = anniversaries and happy memories.

But because dukkah is a blend of nuts and seeds with some spices, people who can’t eat nuts tend to get left out. So I started playing around in the kitchen and came up with 2 recipes: one with nuts and one without nuts.

It’s easy to make and if you dip some freshly baked gluten-free bread, it’s a gluten-free treat too.

Delicious Dukkah without nuts


2/3 cup plain activated buckinis*
1/3 cup pepitas
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup sesame seeds
3/4 tsp salt (whichever suits your diet)
1 Tbsp ground corriander seeds
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin


(Dukkah with nuts)

Delicious Dukkah with nuts

1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt of your choice
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup raw almonds
2/3 cup raw hazelnuts


  1. Place all ingredients  which are suitable for your diet in a food processor (except half of the sesame seeds)and blend for 10-15 seconds (until the nuts are ground to a rough powder).
  2. Add the remaining sesame seeds and process for 2-3 seconds (or use a pulse option if you have one).
  3. Serve with olive oil and bread suitable for your diet.

What are activated buckinis?
Activated buckinis are basically buckinis (buckwheat groats) which have been soaked and then dehydrated to become “crispy” again. The main reason for soaking (grains, seeds, nuts and legumes) is  to help make the minerals within more available for your body. From a cooking perspective, I find the activated buckinis I buy tend to be more crisp than the plain buckwheat groats (which are dried but unactivated). You can buy buckinis already activated (or you can do it yourself by buying buckwheat groats, soaking and dehydrating if you have a dehydrator – obviously if you’re buying them plain or activated, check all labels to make sure they’re suitable for your particular dietary needs first!).

This is a pretty quick, simple and delicious snack to have on hand, you can make it up in bulk and bring it out as you need it. It’s also great for those end-of the week snacks when the pantry is running low on fresh food but you’ve got a couple of days before you go shopping. To check out some of our meal planning tips click here.

For more great dairy, gluten, soy or egg free party snack recipes check out our book.  The kindle version is on sale this month.

Avoiding the Top 8 Allergens for a Day: Recipes without dairy, soy, egg, wheat, peanut, tree nut, fish & shellfish

avoidtop8 for a day

Each year ausEE inc. host  the Top 8 Challenge on the 8th of August  during National EOS week to raise money and awareness for EGID (or eosiniphilic gastrointestinal disorders). The top 8 challenge invites individuals to take the challenge to avoid the Top 8 (dairy, soy, egg, wheat, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish) for one day.

To take part in the challenge, or donate to the cause click here.

Is it possible to avoid dairy, soy, wheat, egg, peanut, tree nut, shellfish and fish at each meal for a whole day that sounds like a lot of things to avoid?

It is possible but you can begin to imagine how challenging this can be. I’ve never liked the idea of people feeling left out and it’s part of the reason why Alternative Chef Kitchen was created and so when we were contacted by Sarah Gray from ausEE Inc. Asking us if we’d take on the challenge I said “Of course!”. We’re a cooking show for people who can’t eat what they make on other cooking shows, challenge accepted!

So we’ve put together a SPECIAL TOP 8 CHALLENGE episode ” Avoiding the top 8 for a day” covering:

  • Breakfast – porridge
  • Lunch – curried egg without egg including  egg free mayonnaise and a BBQ meatless sausage
  • Snacks – crunchy muesli bars without nus
  • Dinner – lasagne with dairy, soy and gluten free bechamel style sauce
  • Dessert – cheesecake without cheese, egg, wheat, soy or nuts.


If you loved that episode and you want more delicious top-8 friendly recipes you might be surprised to find that these are top 8 friendly too:

Chocolate spread without nuts (great on a top-8 friendly bread suitable for your diet) From our The Alternative Kitchen book:

choc tahini spread

Chocolate Brownie Slice (from our Tasty Alternatives book):

Lisa's everything free chocolate brownie

Or perhaps some coconut cream ice cream from our Tasty Alternatives book:


If you’re looking for more savoury recipes you could check out our Hoummus, Mayonnaise, and Curried Egg, Lasagne and BBQ episodes (these recipes are also in our Tasty Alternatives and The Alternative Kitchen Books).

(Glenys’ curried egg without egg from our Tasty Alternatives book)

curriedegg - Copy

 If you’re at all uncertain as to whether or not a recipe or ingredient is suitable for your dietary needs though, always check with your allergy specialist first (and always check the labels on packaging).

If you loved this episode and want to get cooking, all of the recipes from our SPECIAL TOP 8 CHALLENGE EPISODE, the chocolate spread, chocolate brownie slice, ice cream, hoummus and mayonnaise, BBQ and curried egg options are available in our recipe books:

You can get both books in an ebook bundle HERE.


We love to take the recipes that seem impossible and make them a variety of different ways (including top 8 friendly) so if you’re not on our newsletter list, make sure you enter your name below and we’ll let you know when our next episode is out.

Tips for Easy Healthy Meal Planning and 15 tasty, wholesome, classic dairy, soy, gluten, egg and meat-free family-friendly main meals

If you’re finding it hard to decide what to cook each night and you find yourself guiltily dipping out for some take away (guilty because you know the veggies are going mouldy in the fridge but you’ve had a long day and can’t think of anything to cook with them) or the question “What’s for dinner?” incites a feeling of dread then this list of 15 tasty real-life recipes teamed up with our Tips for Easy Healthy Meal Planning is going to help you reduce that overwhelm, over buying and money wasted in veggies going mouldy in the crisper! (by the way, by “real life” I mean, they taste great, and they don’t require a set of highly specialised knife or food styling skills or take a long time to prepare )

How to plan healthy meals easily

Alternative Chef Kitchen Meal Planner example

Download our meal planner template here.

Our Top Tips for Easy Healthy Meal Planning

  • Create a list of favourite recipes that everyone can eat . If you download the meal planner above, you can do this part on the back page. Aim to list 8-10 recipes from your repertoire that everyone in your house likes to eat and or are easily adjusted to suit different dietary needs. (If you need some more recipe ideas keep scrolling down or if you’d like even more help to do this check out our Your Alternative Kitchen ecourse where we take you through this step by step).
  • Create an inventory of the foods you have on hand. This doesn’t need to be a time consuming exercise, I’ve been known to take a photo of our crisper and fruit bowl with my phone because it’s quicker than writing it all out and I can see at a glance what we’ve got on hand and how much. But find a method that works for you.
  • Keep nutrition in mind. When you avoid one or more food groups you need to keep certain things in mind when it comes to nutrition, such as making sure you have enough variety in your diet and that you’re eating a range of foods from your can eat list to minimise the chances of developing nutrient deficiencies. (There’s an introductory exercise on doing this in our Cooking with Alternatives FREE mini ecourse which you get access to when you download the meal planner).
  • Putting it down on paper. Choose 3-4 main meals from your brainstorm of 8-10 favourites above and insert them into the weekly section of the planner and indicate when you’ll have the left overs too. Eg. Monday night might be Lasagne, but if Tuesday night you get home late or have sport, then it’ll be lasagne left overs etc. Also don’t forget to indicate when you’re eating out. Writing it down on paper like this helps to clarify the goal and make it more likely that you’ll follow through. It also helps you better connect with the cooking and eating habits you currently have (so you can make changes if you need to).
  • Refining your shopping list. Next list those 3-4 recipes in the relevant column below the planner and beneath each header list the ingredients in those recipes. This helps you to create your shopping list (so you can see what you need for the recipe and compare it against what you have on hand). It also helps you to get a closer look at the variety in your diet.
  • If you’re really busy aim to cook meals in large batches (eg. soups, stews, casseroles, bologneses sauces, curries or chilli etc. where you can pack a whole lot of different foods in to boost the nutrition) or make double the recipe (eg. with pies, lasagne etc.) so you have left overs to use for a second meal. This will save food prep and cooking time and it also helps you use up foods so you aren’t left with random half pieces of mouldy veggies in the crisper:-).
  • Top tips for using our planner: If you need more space use the back page but I tend to find people tend to have  1-2 breakfasts during the week and they tend to cook 3-5 different main recipes a week with 1-2 lunches (depending on whether or not they eat leftovers for lunch). So play with it and see what your cooking habits are once you start using it. I tend to put the planner on the fridge. You can take it with you when you go shopping, or take a photo so you don’t misplace the list.

To get started download the meal planner here
(you’ll also get access to the Cooking with Alternatives FREE ecourse and the exercise described above). 

So…What’s for dinner?

If you’re having trouble brainstorming 8-10 recipes, or you’re bored with your own recipes and want a few new ones I’ve filled this post with tasty traditional recipes which have nourished generations (and some new creations which are destined to become family favourites) from the following categories:

  • Pies
  • Casseroles & stews
  • Rice & Lentil dishes
  • Curries
  • Soups
  • Pasta
  • Veggie Roasts

They’re all easy to make, yummy to eat, fill you up and taste great as left overs.

Many of the recipes in this list below are free from dairy, soy, gluten, egg or meat ( some of the recipes are free from all of them and the remaining top 8 allergens and some of the recipes can be made food intolerance, food allergy or vegan friendly with really simple substitutions (usually included with the recipe link or in the recipe book but you can always ask us if you would like more ideas).

15 wholesome, nutrient-packed recipes – let’s get cooking!


1. Shepherds Pie by Lisa White from Alternative Chef Kitchen

potato pie

(Photo by Lisa White)

It’s a classic pastry-less pie. Our recipe in the Main Meals Episode is an evolution of my mum’s recipe which was one of my favourites growing up.

2. Left over pie by Tania Hubbard recipe in the “abundance” cookbook.


I am loving the besan flour pastry recipe in this book which makes a great pie crust for leftover casseroles and veggies. The besan pastry has egg in it, but there are pastry and tart crust options in the book which are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free and egg free too).

Casseroles & Stews

3. Mediterranean Chickpea Casserole by Glenys Falloon from Alternative Chef Kitchen

casserole low res

(Photo by Lisa White)

This delicious and quick to make chickpea casserole  from our Main Meals Episode can also be adapted to have a Middle-eastern flavour too.

4. Hearty Lentil Stew by Lisa White from Alternative Chef Kitchen


(Photo by Lisa White)

This is one of my favourites it’s a plant-based version of my mum’s goulash recipe with a couple of tweaks. Simple, quick to make and tasty! One of those recipes that tastes just as good the next day (and some times even better;-).

Rice & Lentils

5. Mjaddra (Rice and Lentils)By Brenda Janschek from


(Photo by Brenda Janschek)

Rice and lentils are a classic combination found in both Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. I love the simplicity of these traditional recipes.

6. Rice & Lentils by Lisa White published in From Our Kitchen To Yours Fundraiser Ebook

Rice and lentils square

(Photo by Kristin Cosgrove)

This simple dish is one of our favourite go-to recipes for busy days. It’s another recipe my mum made a lot as I was growing up. I’ve made a couple of tweaks so this is the recipe the way my kids love it it’s also a little quicker than my mum’s traditional method as I use basmati rice (because it cooks quickly) and canned lentils (but you can cook up your own if you have the time). You can use either a pre-made stock or stock cubes which are suitable for your diet to whip it up quickly.

Curries & Chillis

7. Pumpkin & Lentil Curry by Jen Shaw from

Pumpkin and lentil curry Jen Shaw

(Photo by Jen Shaw)

Curries are warming, filling and packed with flavour and spices. If you’re looking for a free-from friendly Naan bread to go with your home made curry check out the abundance cookbook by Tania Hubbard.

8. Chilli by Robyn Birkin from Modern Day Missus

veggie-chillli Modern Day Missus

(Photo by Robyn Birkin)

Chilli – another tasty, nourishing option which you can pack a lot of healthy foods in and is also great as left overs.


9. Pumpkin & Cauliflower Soup by Monique from The Nourished Pyshchologist

Nourished psychologist pumpkin cauliflower soup

(Photo by Monique Phipps)

Pumpkin soup is one of those go to recipes great for dinner after mid-week sports. For plant-based options replace the bone broth with veggie stock, the ghee with olive oil or coconut oil and sour cream with a coconut yoghurt that is suitable for your diet or keep a look out for our Sour cream alternative Episode.

10. Spinach, lentil and lemon soup by Brenda Janschek from


(Picture by Brenda Janschek)

Another great nourishing soup recipe with simple and nourishing flavours and ingredients.

11. Vegetable & Lentil Soup by Vanessa Vickery from Becomingness

vegetable-lentil-soup becomingness

This delicious soup can be made vegetarian and vegan friendly by using a vegetarian or vegan friendly stock.

Pasta recipes

12. Rustic Vegetable Pasta by Robyn Birkin from Modern Day Missus

Loaded-veggie-pasta Modern Day Missus

(Picture by Robyn Birkin)

Pasta is a classic, versatile and quick to make meal. Considering my cultural heritage, I grew up eating quite a bit of it! There are so many options available nowadays making it a great mid week meal for just about anyone, from organic, to whole grain and gluten-free varieties, including legume based pasta’s too. It’s amazing just how much variety there is nowadays.

13. Lasagne by Alternative Chef Kitchen

Lisa's bechemel lasagne

(Picture by Lisa White)

Lasagne was without out a doubt one of my favourite meals as a kid and I love it still as an adult. We’ve covered 4 different lasagne recipes in our Lasagne Episode and our The Alternative Kitchen cookbook and we’ve got a couple more recipes here on the blog (because we love it that much). What ever your dietary requirements are, there’s a lasagne that can work for you. Tomato free, dairy free, gluten free, meat free…

Veggie Roasts

14. Lentil & Walnut Loaf with Mushroom Gravy by Robyn Birkin from Modern Day Missus


(Picture by Robyn Birkin)

Veggie roasts cook in less than an hour and are packed with nourishing ingredients. They’re great served alone or with sauces like Mushroom Gravy (or something like Glenys Red Wine Reduction.

15. Sizzling Sausages (gluten and meat free)  by Glenys Falloon from Alternative Chef Kitchen

meatless gf sausages

(Picture by Lisa White)

These sausages from our BBQ Episode  take a little time to prepare but if you prepare a big batch and barbecue them on the weekend they make a great mid week leftover meal for lunch or dinner.

So how yummy do these recipes look? Which are you going to make first?

If you’d like more recipe ideas, recipes and help to make menu planning in your house a little easier,  enter your name and details below.

That’s all for today, until next time – Happy cooking!

Lisa’s Hearty Lentil Stew


This was one of my favourite meals growing up, my mum would make it with meat, and so I didn’t eat it for a number of years when we went plant-based until I was watching Glenys make her delicious Red wine reduction and I thought back to mums recipe and where the flavour was actually coming from. Turns out it wasn’t just the meat! So if you’d like a nourishing stew this is a very simple, very tasty recipe. If you use a vegan-friendly wine and stock it’s also gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free and meat-free.


  • 10-12 button mushrooms (or more if you like them)
  • two large handfuls of green beans (rinsed and strings removed)
  • 4 white potatoes (washed, skins left on if organic)
  • 2 cups brown lentils (if using canned aim for organic and BPA free)
  • 1 brown onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 400g can of crushed tomatoes
  • 400ml of stock (or boiling water with 1/2 stock cube that suits your diet)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup of red wine (organic, preservative free vegan friendly or which ever suits your diet)
  • 1 200g jar of Kalamatta olives in brine (pitted and drained)(choose a jar that is suitable for your dietary needs)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • Drizzle of olive oil


  1. Brown some onion in a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t stick.
  2. Chop the button mushrooms in quarters and the potato into sixths (if large) and add to the pan with the onion.
  3. Add the crushed tomato, wine, stock and herbs (rosemary, thyme and bay leaves) to the mushroom and onion, stir and then cover with a lid for ~20 minutes.
  4. Once the potato is cooked through add the canned lentils (or cooked lentils) and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Lastly add the olives and beans. Cover again and leave to cook until the beans are cooked (and ideally still a vibrant green) and then serve.

Top tip

If it is a little dry the next day when you are reheating you can add extra stock or water.

If you’d like some other Main Meal recipes and Meal Planning ideas check out out this post here.

Cooking with alternatives ecourse thumbnailIf you’d like to learn more about cooking with alternatives, check out our FREE mini ecourse here.

“Meaty” Meat-free bolognese & lasagne sauce (dairy, soy, gluten, egg and meat free)

Lisa's bechemel lasagne

Although I love cooking, I also love having free time between when the kids come home from school or sport and dinner because with the days so short in winter it’s not hard to get the feeling that there’s just no time especially if you’re spending an hour in the kitchen preparing things and then another hour cooking them.

Multi-purpose bases

I love the idea of recipes that you can make up  to use as a base in more than one recipe, that you can prepare in advance and or use in a couple of different ways (so you don’t get the “We’re having this a-gain!” complaints).

Bolognese sauce is one of those bases.

I created this recipe a couple of weeks ago and it’s become a go-to favourite (that my fussy son will actually eat!).

I generally make the sauce up on a Sunday (or Friday afternoon) along with some of my Bechamel style sauce from our Lasagne Episode (you can get the recipe here). I generally prepare 1 large lasagne or 2 smaller lasagnes (which roughly equate to one meal each) and then use the left over sauce later in the week (see the Alternative ideas below after the recipe).

Why 1 lasagne or 2 smaller ones?

Generally I prefer the taste and texture of foods cooked “fresh” rather than reheated (eg. in the oven or microwave). So if I know I’ll have the time to cook the lasangne fresh, I’ll make two smaller ones. If I know we’ll be eating it after the mid-week sports training and we won’t have a lot of time once we come home which generally means reheating then I’ll make it in a large oven dish and we’ll eat it on the Sunday night and then just reheat the left-overs later in the week.

Recipe for a “Meaty” Meatless Bolognese Sauce

  • 1 40g tomato paste (I use a salt reduced one)
  • 2 bottles (700ml) tomato passata
  • 1 cup steamed sweet potato (or roasted)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1-2 cloves of grated fresh garlic (you can omit this if you can’t tolerate garlic and instead add some herbs which you like eg. oregano, basil, marjoram)
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomato (fully sundried not semi – and I prefer the ones in oil, but you can use either)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 400g can brown lentils ( ideally organic BPA free)(rinsed and drained)
  • 1 stick of celery finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 carrot grated
  • optional: apple cider vinegar
  • optional: additional veggies eg. diced zucchini, mushroom, capsicum.




  1. Peel and roughly chop the sweet potato and steam it until it is cooked through. (Alternatively you could place a whole sweet potato in the oven for 1 hour (just pierce it with a fork first) until it is cooked through then once it’s cooked peel it, remove the flesh and mash it up with a fork or with the stick blender -see next step).
  2. Add the tomato passata to a large sauce pan and add the cooked sweet potato and puree with a stick blender. (Alternatively if you don’t have a deep enough saucepan to do this without getting splashed, you could transfer ~1 cup of tomato passata to a jug suitable for the stick blender with the steamed sweet potato and puree until smooth and then stir it into the remaining tomato passata).
  3. Add the water to the sauce pan and the garlic (or herbs) if it suits your diet and mix it until it’s smooth.
  4. To prepare the “meatless mince” add the walnuts, lentils and sundried tomato to a bench top food processor and blend until there are no large pieces of sundried tomato and walnut visible.
  5. Add the celery, carrot and nutritional yeast and blend again. It’ll begin to resemble a grainy paste.
  6. Stir the meatless mince through the sauce until it is well mixed in. Add any additional optional veggies to the sauce (diced as these will help to give more height when you use it in a lasagne).
  7. Bring the sauce to the boil then reduce it to simmer for 30 minutes before assembling your lasagne.


Other ways you could use this sauce:

  • On a pizza base
  • With pasta (eg. regular, gluten-free or legume based pastas eg. black bean or mung bean fettucini) (I usually add additional veggies in eg. broccoli if I do this)
  • With cannelloni
  • With rice and veggies


  • If you can’t tolerate nuts you could replace the walnuts with sunflower seeds and pepitas (if they suit your diet), and some other ideas listed in this post here.
  • If you can’t tolerate tomato you could make Glenys pasta sauce from the Lasagne Episode (get the recipe here).
  • You could also use the meatless mince as a base for a meatless meat patty. Check out our BBQ Episode for some ideas.

If you love this idea, check out our up-coming Main meals episode (released on July 11th)!

If you’re not on our mailing list, you can join here and get access to our FREE mini ecourse on cooking with alternatives, as well as our weekly newsletter and inspiration.


IndieLove Magazine: Alternative Chef Kitchen Feature

Earlier this year we were interviewed by Jessica Johnson for a feature story in the new IndieLove Magazine. Thanks to Editor Sarah Gai for allowing us to republish this interview. To check out the full magazine click here.
To check out their website click here.

Indie Love Issue 1 ACK interview pt1

Indie Love Issue 1 ACK interview pt 2

Do restricted diets have to hold you back in life?


(Rachael & Joshua on TV for Cupcake Wars Kids 2015 image supplied by Claire Guthrie)

If you’re concerned that your restricted diet will hold you back in life I’d like  you to meet Rachael Guthrie: The girl who won a TV baking competition – and she couldn’t eat any of the cupcakes she made.

If you’re a parent of a child or teen who has just been given a diagnosis which has changed the way you eat and other aspects of your lifestyle, then you’re going to want to check out this interview with Rachael.

About 18 months ago Rachael was diagnosed with crohns disease. With the help of her mother, and their doctors Rachael changed her diet as a way to mitigate some symptoms. Her diet is quite specific and restricted, yet when her younger brother Joshua applied to appear on a kids cooking competition TV show, Rachael didn’t want to miss out, so she applied too… and won!

Rachel cupcakes 2

(Rachel  cupcakes – Image supplied by Claire Guthrie)

This interview with Rachael and her mum Claire, have some gems for all of us, whether you’re a parent of a child with a restricted diet, your you’ve just had your own diet restricted, I think you’ll find this interview very inspirational.

If you’d love to follow Rachael’s journey check her out here on Instagram.

Claire discussed some of the things that make it hard when you’re first changing your diet and we’ve got a lot of resources in this blog post here for you: 7 solutions to the most common problems when you cook without dairy, soy, gluten, egg or meat

Rachael is also a special guest in our Your Alternative Kitchen ecourse where she shares her top tips for decorating award-winning cakes and cupcakes.


Dairy-free thickened “cream” to serve with fruit, pies, tarts and cakes

I’ve been craving stewed fruit and thickened cream for the last few weeks. So last night, thanks to getting some extra pears in our organic veggie delivery, I decided to whip up this simple thickened cream alternative.


(Stewed pears with a home-made dairy-free thickened cream alternative. Yum!)

Here’s how you make it:


  • 3/4 cup raw cashews soaked in water, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup-3/4 cup rice milk (or any milk alternative which suits your diet)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp rice malt syrup (or any sweetener that suits your diet)


  1. Add the cashews, 1/4 cup of milk, vanilla and sweetener to your food processor and blend for 30 sec – 1 minute.
  2. Scrape down the sides and add another 1/4 cup of the milk alternative (if you want a runnier thickened cream alternative you can pour the remaining milk in and blend one last time).
  3. Transfer to an airtight jar to chill in the fridge before serving.
  4. Store it in the fridge for up to 2 days – and discard it if you see any sign of pink developing.


Top tips:

Can I use vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract?

You could use the seeds of a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract, but if you don’t have a high powered blender like Glenys or Hayley use on the show then I’d recommend using liquids as they’ll blend in better and you won’t be left with “gritty” bits.

Can I use a different sweetener?

As above, if you don’t have a high-speed blender like Glenys or Hayley use on the show I’d recommend using syrup based sweeteners instead of granulated sweeteners (like coconut sugar) as they’ll blend in better. Although if you wanted to use coconut sugar, you could dissolve it  in the milk alternative first (you may need to heat it up to help it dissolve better). Also, you can add a little more sweetener if you prefer.

Other top tips:

To get a fine puree, you may need to scrape down the sides a few times between blending to ensure all the cashews are ground up. (Also check around the base near the blade with your spatula as this is a spot where “chunky pieces” can collect (obviously make sure everything is turned off!:-) NB. The blades are quite sharp and if you’re not careful you can lose a piece of your spatula (I’ve done this before – so it’s helpful to have a bright coloured spatula;-)

What about if I can’t have nuts?

If you can’t have cashews you might like to check out this thickened cream alternative recipe using coconut cream.

How can I learn more about cooking with alternatives?

Making alternatives that suit your diet involves a combination of understanding which foods you can substitute in recipes, the roles those foods play in recipes and the right tools and technique for the job (eg. You can’t make the cream above very well with a stick blender). We cover how to do all of this in our Your Alternative Kitchen ecourse if you’d like a sneak peek inside the course click here.


Simple spinach and homemade dairy-free ricotta cannelloni with a fussy kid friendly sauce


No fancy photography, just real food.
An Alternative Chef Kitchen Mother’s day fantasy:
cooking a meal that everyone can eat;-)

The ultimate Mother’s day fantasy food…

With Mother’s day coming up this week I’ve seen a lot of sweet recipes being posted (which are great). But I found myself thinking about  what the ultimate Mother’s day fantasy food is. I thought about my mum (and all the other mums I know) who all ask the same question “What to cook for dinner?” each night as they try to think of something they can cook that everyone will (or if there are food sensitivities involved) can eat.

So although we’ve been having some uncharacteristically warm Autumn weather here in Adelaide, the mornings and evenings are certainly getting that cold edge and there is no doubt that the weather is changing and #winteriscoming (couldn’t resist;-).  I’ve been finding myself drawn into the kitchen to make warmer meals, and because my son has been asking for lasagne, I’ve had a play with a few new lasagne and cannelloni recipes.

The realities of every day cooking

As I’ve been playing with the recipes, I’ve found myself yet again thinking about the realities of everyday cooking. A little while back I shared a blog post about the perfectionism in cooking  nowadays, from fancy knife skills to food styling and photography.  The thing is, as most parents with fussy kids will understand, you can’t always  make perfect recipes when you have a fussy (or food sensitive) child. Eg. it’s hard to “balance the flavours” when your child just doesn’t like one (or more) of them.

Lately all my son wants to eat is sushi, rice and lentils or roasted sweet potato wedges. And I hear often from parents whose children will only eat egg and cucumber, or fruit but no veggies, or pasta without sauce etc… and they’re frustrated by how restricted their options are (fussy kids with food sensitivities makes the whole process even more “fun”).

So when my son started asking for lasagne I was over joyed, then remembered that our favourite jar sauce had become impossibly hard to find and I’d have to create my own. I found myself staring at the fridge and the pantry and wondering how I was going to turn it into something exciting because he doesn’t like strong flavours at all. He’s not a fan of “tang”, he doesn’t like anything “too salty” and he’ll tolerate green – but not parsley (he’ll do his best to take every visible bit of parsley out of his food before he eats a mouthful).

So with all that in mind, here is what I came up with:

The Simple sauce


  • 1 cup of steamed sweet potato
  • 1 bottle (700g) of tomato passata
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 clove of garlic


  1. Transfer 1 cup of the passata and the sweet potato into a tall jug and puree with a stick blender until smooth.
  2. Transfer the puree and the remaining passata to a saucepan and add 1 cup of water and stir again until it is all mixed in.
  3.  Grate the garlic clove in to the sauce.
  4.  You can either use the sauce directly on the cannelloni or bring it to the boil, simmer for 30 minutes and then use on some pasta which is suitable for your diet.


Spinach and home made dairy-free ricotta filling


  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 can of butter beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar


  1. Transfer soaked cashews to a food processor and add water, butter beans, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar and garlic (I grate it first).
  2. Puree the mix until smooth, being sure to scrape down the sides between blending.
  3. Once the mix is smooth, add two handfuls of baby spinach and pulse until the spinach is mixed in.

Simple spinach and dairy-free ricotta cannelloni

  1. Drizzle a little of the simple sauce on the bottom of an oven dish.
  2. Use a little coffee spoon to tap the spinach and dairy-free ricotta mix into instant gluten-free cannelloni.
  3. Cover the cannelloni with more simple sauce and then top with a cheese that suits your diet. I’ve used the biocheese in this picture.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and cook on 180 degrees C for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and allow the cheese to turn golden (for a further 20 minutes or until the cannelloni are cooked through).


  • If you’re pressed for time, you could layer the spinach and dairy-free ricotta mix between sheets of lasagne instead of cannelloni.
  • Use the spinach and ricotta blend in other recipes (like sausage rolls, or filo pastry triangles – if your diet permits).
  • If you like a tangier sauce you can add some apple cider vinegar or some extra salt to taste.
  • You could mix and match this with some of the other ideas from our Lasagne episode.


Do you have a fussy eater?

Now I’d love to hear from you, do you have fussy eaters? What combinations of foods are you cooking with (or without?) What is the most frustrating thing you find? Is there a recipe that you love that you’d like to make fussy/ food intolerant /free-from and family friendly? Let me know in the comments below.

And if you’re beyond all of that and you just want someone to help you put it all together and show you how to create alternatives, make substitutions and transform recipes yourself, then check out the Your Alternative Kitchen ecourse.

Anzac biscuits and some alternatives!

ANZAC biscuits have always been one of my favourites and so it only seemed fitting to add an Anzac biscuit recipe and some Alternative Chef Kitchen style alternatives!


Lisa’s Anzac Biscuits


  • 1 cup of rolled oats if you can tolerate gluten – if not then use quinoa or rice flakes
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour (I use the Orgran Gluten-free All-Purpose Flour)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar (or rapadura if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup (or sweetener alternative of your choice. We show you a few different options in the Cheesecake Episode)
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 3 tbsp boiling water


  1.  Combine oats, gluten-free flour, coconut sugar and coconut and blend.
  2. In a small saucepan combine olive oil and golden syrup (they’ll combine better if you mix just as it’s coming to the boil).
  3.  Add the bicarb soda to boiling water and then add that mix to the olive oil/ golden syrup mix (it’ll froth).
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and stir in the warm liquid and mix thoroughly.
  5. Moisten your hands and then form small balls from the mix (about 1 tbsp) and then gently squash down the tops after placing them on a tray covered with baking paper. Be sure to leave space between the biscuits as they will spread during cooking.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150 degrees C for 15-17 minutes (if you like them soft – like I do, then check them at 15 minutes, if you like them crunchy, check them at 17 minutes).
  7. Technically you should allow them to cool so you don’t burn yourself;-)


  • There’s some confusion around about whether or not people with coeliac disease can tolerate oats or not. In order to know if you can tolerate uncontaminated oats you need to do a proper test with the supervision of your specialist get the info for that here. So generally speaking, if you have coeliac disease and you haven’t been tested to see if you can tolerate oats then use quinoa or rice flakes instead. It’s important to note that an absence of symptoms doesn’t mean that you can tolerate oats.
  • I’ve included gluten free flour in this recipe because some people have a problem with the wheat itself not the gluten.

Lisa Munro’s Anzac Slice

If instead of a biscuit, you’d prefer a slice, you could try this recipe by Lisa Munro from Happy Tummies.


Hayley’s Anzac Truffles
These aren’t raw – but they aren’t cooked either so they’re pretty quick to make and taste yummy.

Hayleys Anzac Trufles

Anzac “Cheese” cake By Lisa McInerny of Mummy Made It

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about how to get many different flavours in your cheesecake, by changing the flavours in the base like using different biscuits, and changing the flavours in the filling and the topping to create all kinds of alternatives (personally I’m working on a gingerbread one so watch this space;-) Until then though, imagine my excitement when I saw this Anzac cheesecake by Mummy Made It. Lisa’s used gelatine in her cheesecake, but if you recall from our Cheesecake Episode, you can use agar agar in place of gelatine if you’re following a plant based diet or consciously avoiding animal products.



So now it’s your turn to give them a go and let us know what you think! If you’d love more dairy-free desserts and would like even more dessert recipes, check out the dessert section in the Ultimate BBQ resource post and also our Dairy-free Ice Cream Episode.

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