Gluten-free Tabouli

Tabouli has to be one of my favourite green salads.

Last year I went about creating an alternative I could take to our large family functions that would suit all our needs (eg. no lemon for me, no gluten for my niece with coeliac disease) and I came up with this one.

Lemon and Gluten-free Tabouli

  • 1 large bunch English (curly) parsley chopped
  • 1 large bunch Italian (flat leaf) parsley chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves (I grate this as I can’t chop it small enough)
  • 1/4-1/2 red onion (or spring onion if you like) finely sliced
  • 1/ cup chick peas
  • 1 large red tomato diced
  • 4-5 sprigs of mint chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup Brazil nuts (chopped)(see note below if you can’t eat nuts)
  • 1/4 cup almonds (chopped)(see note below if you can’t eat nuts)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (chopped)(see note below if you can’t eat nuts)
  • olive oil (drizzle)
  • optional: drizzle of apple cider vinegar

Method

Just mix it all together and enjoy! I make an extra large batch up so I can use the left overs for lunches and to serve with dinner.

Options/ alternatives

  • If you cant have nuts then add extra chick peas and 1/3 cup of plain activated buckinis (if you like the crunchy texture)
  • If you can have lemon just squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon instead of vinegar.

This recipe is what I call a “meal salad”. It’s pretty nutritious to enjoy by itself, but it’s also nice as a side with left overs or BBQ food (eg. our veggie sausages).

Also, I’ll often serve this with takeaway (like special fried rice or hot chips) while it doesn’t make the take away healthier, it helps us not eat quite so much and it adds some green to the plate too:-)

 If you’d like more salad ideas you could check out this Ultimate BBQ Post.

Also, are you on our newsletter list? If not, just enter your name and email address below and we’ll let you know when we release more free-from friendly inspiration:-)

Our Family’s Favourite Four Bean Mix Salad

I don’t know anyone who enjoys standing over the stove in the summer…. especially the Australian summer (hello, 43 degrees C.. Personally I think it’s just wrong when the temperature outside our body is warmer than inside but that’s another whole discussion).

So today I thought I’d share one of our family’s favourite summer recipes.  I got the Four Bean Mix Salad recipe off my sister years ago. I’ve changed the way I make it recently (because of changing food sensitivities eg. I’ve started getting irritated skin from lemons which I’m not too happy about because I love lemons… so instead of making lemonade I’m making… salad;-).

Anyway, I love this recipe because it is super quick to make. Yes. I realised I didn’t have a photo, so I just whipped it up and it took less than 5 minutes (including taking the picture). It’s also pretty yummy. You really can’t go past simple healthy whole food. The added bonus is that its suitable for a range of dietary needs too!

So I think this recipe will be a winner with anyone who is busy and doesn’t have hours to spend in the kitchen.

This is what you need…

Simple Summer Four Bean Mix Salad

  • 1 can of organic 4 bean mix
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (quartered or dice 1-2 large red tomatoes)
  • 1/4 red onion finely chopped (or more if you like it)
  • Your favourite dried herbs, eg. I’m using an “Italian Herb Mix” (I’ve got a commercial blend at the moment which has oregano, basil, parsley and marjoram which is really nice).
  • Optional: olive oil, vinegar (eg. apple cider) or lemon or lime juice if it suits your diet. Though lately I’ve just been making it “plain” no oil or vinegar (or juice). I’m just adding more tomato and it’s lovely and refreshing.

Top tip

I’ve been making up a double batch and using the left overs for my lunch (I work at home and often forget lunch when I’m working so having something made up helps to save time during the day too). Also it’s great to have ready-to-go in the fridge for the nights when we come home late from sports and the kids are hungry and we don’t have time to cook something labor intensive.

Serving suggestion

You can just eat it plain, or alternatively, I like to serve it with roasted veggies, steamed greens and or fried rice.

The Ultimate Guide to Fun Free-from Themed Kids Birthday Cakes and Parties

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You might be wondering how you can make children’s parties fun when they’ve got food sensitivities?  I’ve been scouring the net and I’ve come up with a few great themed cakes which will suit almost any cake-decorating skill level (with an option at the end for how you can still achieve an “out of this world” party vibe even if your cake decorating skills are not your forte;-).
I hope you enjoy these great free-from cakes and party food ideas. The recipes and directions to make them are in the links provided.
Enjoy!
Lisa 🙂

Super hero cakes:

Spider Man by Lisa White from Alternative Chef Kitchen

happy birthday

Iron man by Mummy Made It

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Animal inspired cakes:

Dinosaur cakes by Rebecca Mugridge from Happy Healthy Lunchboxes

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There are some fantastic party ideas in this post by Bek. If you’ve got a dinosaur crazy kid check it out!!

Owl cake by Mummy Made It

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Star wars inspired cakes:

Star wars Light Sabre Cake by The Nourished Psychologist

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Disney  and fairy tale princess style inspired cakes:

Snow White Cake by Mummy Made It

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If you want to decorate and make a cake but decorating and baking just really isn’t your thing…

icing on the cake

To get some simple and elegant cake decorating tips
Check out this short interview with Rachael Guthrie winner of the USA based Cupcake Wars Kids TV show in 2015.

Rachel cupcakes 2

If you still want a fun vibe but don’t want to bake or decorate a cake then check out these ideas…

  • Decorate other stuff – I’m not a natural cake decorator (which is probably evident haha;-) but I am pretty creative, so Brenton and I decided to turn our left over IKEA boxes and trampoline into the Millenium Falcon for my Star wars obsessed son.  All we needed was some spray paint, a black texta and some gaffa tape. The other little elements (like the cockpit and the satellite dish were an old lampshade and our cat’s Shakespearean collar from the vet. We covered the back of the trampoline with an old sheet (the rest of it became my costume) and we used blue gaffa tape for the light. The staircase from a cubby house became the landing for the falcon. The whole thing cost us about $15 and took us a couple of hours to make. (And it was fun!)

white-family-millenium-falcon

  • Create some themed gameseg. For my daughters Frozen party we “froze” when the music stopped, kept the snowflakes (white and blue balloons with snowflakes drawn on them) from touching the ground and played pin the carrot on Olaf. For my son’s Star wars party we set up a Jedi training camp – by turning an old bike helmet some orange paper covered with cellophane, a tennis ball tied to a string  and a $2 light sabre from the shops into a “use the force” station. My son also came up with a  “pin the head on C3PO” game. For that we used the C3PO poster he had with some C3PO heads and blue tak.

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  • Dress up with your kids – If your child has a lot of sensitivities which makes themed food really really tricky, don’t underestimate how much your kids love it when you dress up with them. My daughter almost fainted with excitement when we surprised her by dressing up too for one of her birthday parties, and my son absolutely loved it when we dressed up for his Star wars party. The costumes were inexpensive and pretty easy to put together. My son wore his gi from Aikido, the boots are my husbands work socks and the “pack” on his belt was a phone holster. My daughter’s costume was an old sheet with a fancy (inexpensive) belt. My costume was an old sheet with some old belts tied together and an old top which we cut off the sleeves to for the “arm bands”. For the “staff” I used the handle from our Enjo broom. My husband wore his work pants, old work boots a shirt and a vest with a Han Solo-esque water pistol. The great thing about this is we’ve got costumes for down the track parties and when the kids want to play dress ups and to use for events like book week at school.

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Of course it’s not just the cake and decorations, you’ve usually got other snacks on offer at parties too. These are some of our free-from  snacky options:

Crackers  eg. Corn chips without corn.

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Dip. We’ve got a whole lot of  dip recipes in our The Alternative Kitchen book and our Hoummus Episode

Hoummuses

Plus for some other party food ideas you could always make Jelly, Chocolate or Ice lollies check out our Kid’s Party Food Episode here.

And if you’re wondering about how to make grown up parties fun then check out our Cheesecake episode and our Chocolate Cakes episode for a couple more ideas.

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If you love these ideas and want to check out more free-from friendly recipes enter your name and email address here and we’ll keep you up to date. We plan to bundle our Alternative Chef Kitchen recipes into a Sweet treats and cakes recipe book in 2017 so if you join our mailing list, we’ll let you know when that one is available too:-)

 

Dairy-free cheeses for pizza toppings

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When you’re diary, soy, gluten, egg or meat free you might think you have no options when it comes to cheesy pizza toppings.

Well, allow us to change your mind on this matter.

Over the years we’ve tried a few different products and home made/ whole food options and these are some of our favourite:

1. Tasty cheese alternatives:

We’ve listed a couple of options in this post here about cheese alternatives you can slice and this post here about cheese alternatives you can sprinkle. My personal favourite is the Vegusto No Muh Piquant (though the mild is nice too). You can buy these cheeses from vegan produce stores, some health food stores and some supermarkets and some online retailers. P.S The vegusto is also really nice sliced on crackers with tomato, in burgers and sprinkled on tacos or nachos if that suits your diet.

2. Melty cheese alternatives:

We’ve talked about few options for cheeses that melt in this post here. My personal favourite in terms of taste and texture is the Biocheese. I’ve found if you cover the recipe with foil for about 20 minutes or so it helps it to melt, and then if you remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes or so it allows the cheese alternative to brown and gives you that glorious melted cheese look. As with the tasty cheese alternative options, you can buy most of these commercial melty cheese alternatives from vegan produce stores, some health food stores, some supermarkets and some online retailers (see links above in part 1).(P.s. The sliced Biocheese also melts nicely on bread, in toasted cheese and vegemite sandwiches and on top of Lasagne or Cannelloni if it suits your diet).

3. Home made whole food options:

  • Cashew Cheese

Without a doubt cashew cheese is one of the easiest and tastiest options.

One of our favourite recipes is this one here based on Glenys’ cashew cheese from our Lasagne Episode. This one is great dolloped on the pizza (and it’s really nice as a dip too with crackers or veggies sticks or even used as a spread). If you’d like a more subtle cashew cheese then check out Glenys’ ricotta style cheese and for another creamy cashew cheese recipe you could check out Hayley’s cashew cheese from our The Alternative Kitchen book.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups soaked cashews
  • 1 tbs Nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 a Lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • Herbs of your choice
  • water for blending if required (aim to keep the amount added down to a minimum. Add a little at a time)

Method

Add all the ingredients into the food processor and puree until smooth. (For a better result, stop the processor routinely to scrape the sides down). Store in the fridge.

Use within 3 days (discard if there is any sign of discoloration, pinkness or spoiling).

  • Mayonnaise

Another way we get around having cheese on top of pizza’s is to use a few small dollops of mayonnaise around the edges of the pizza (this goes really nicely with mushroom and onion sauteed with a little porcini salt;-). If you’ve got issues with eggs then you might like to check out our egg -free mayonnaise recipes in our The Alternative Kitchen book for some recipe ideas.

  • Grated veggies

While it’s obviously not the same in flavour as a tasty cheese, grating carrot and or zucchini and sprinkling it over the top of pizza’s with a little nutritional yeast can also give a pretty and colourful effect (as well as adding a few more veggies on to your pizza).

So there you go! We hope this post gives you something new to sprinkle on your pizza.

By the way, if you’d like some easy ways to sneak some extra veggies into your pizza toppings, to make nutrient packed pizza bases or to make the quickest gluten, dairy, soy and egg free-pizza based you’ve ever made in your life, then check out our Pizza Episode.

To receive more updates, recipes, and info about cooking with alternatives and bonus tips on easy healthy meal planning then sign up for our updates here.

“Corn” chips without corn, gluten, dairy, soy, egg or nuts!

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We’ve been on a bit of a Mexican theme over here at the moment with our Taco Episode and last week in the newsletter I shared a recipe for Free-from Nachos. So when a viewer asked us a couple of months ago if we could come up with a corn chip which was:

  • corn free
  • gluten free
  • dairy free
  • egg free and
  • nut free

And it also had to be CRUNCHY.

We said “sure!”

So if you’re craving a crunchy corn chip alternative then give this recipe a go:

Crunchy corn-free corn chips (without dairy, soy, gluten, egg or nuts)

Ingredients

  • 1 400g can of Butter beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/3 + 1/6 cup of Brown rice flour (see note below)
  • 1/6 cup of tapioca
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds in 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp Nutritional yeast flakes
    1 tbs Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Salt

Method

  1. Soak 1/2 cup chia seeds in 1/2 cup of water for 10 minutes (while you’re preparing the rest of the recipe).
  2. Add butter beans, oil, nutritional yeast, garlic and salt to a food processor and process until smooth.
  3. Add the thickened chia and water mix to the food processor and process until the chia is mixed in with the bean puree (this could take a minute or so – you want to avoid having one big blob of chia).
  4. Add 1/3 a cup of brown rice flour to the food processor and process again (the mix will begin to dry out and start to take on the appearance of a dough – this is good this is what we are aiming for).
  5. Add the tapioca and half the 1/6 cup of brown rice flour  and process again. The mix should really begin to resemble a dough now.
  6. Transfer the mix to a bowl and sprinkle the remaining half of the 1/6 cup of brown rice flour over the dough and mix it in with your hands. The dough should be soft but not too sticky. If you need to dust the dough with a little more flour here you can.
  7. Break the dough into 3 portions and roll each into a ball.
  8. Tear off 2 large squares of grease proof paper, sprinkle a little brown rice flour over the paper and place one of the dough balls onto the centre of the square. Sprinkle a little more brown rice flour over the top of the dough ball and then place the other piece of grease proof paper on top (basically sandwich the dough with grease proof paper so you can roll it out flat with a rolling pin without it sticking.
  9. Roll the dough out to about 2 mm thick and then remove the top sheet of grease proof paper. Place the rest onto a tray and bake in a fan-forced pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes.
  10. After 20 minutes, take the tray out and turn the rolled out corn chip mix (without corn)  over to help the under side dry out too, and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes (or until they’re golden brown and crispy).
  11. Once they’re  cooked, leave them to cool and then store them in an air tight container to maintain their crispness.

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(This is how the dough should look)

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(This is how to score the mix so you end up with triangles)

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(This is how they come out!!)

These are so yummy and I think they’ll become a regular snack in our house. If you can’t tolerate beans or you’re looking for a commercial option check out this post here. That’s all for this week, if you’d like more recipes, and ideas for cooking with alternatives plus updates when we release new episodes then join our newsletter list here.

Happy cooking!

Corn chip alternatives (gluten and corn free)

Recently we were asked by a viewer if we could share some corn chip alternatives for people who can’t tolerate corn. So I put on my detective hat  and put together a couple of corn and gluten-free options.

1. Home made Corn-free corn chips (without corn, dairy, soy, gluten, egg or nuts).

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3. More home made corn chip alternatives (without corn or gluten)

You could try these Nocho chips (love the name) by Thermo foodie and the chef.

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4. Commercial corn free options

If you don’t mind a commercial option, I’ve got to say I do love the flavour of these Rice and bean “corn chips”. There are a couple of flavours and a few different brands of corn chips without corn available nowadays so make sure check out the gluten-free section in your local supermarket.

corn-chip-alternatives

 

So there you go!

If you’re looking for some recipe ideas to serve with your corn chip alternatives, check out our Taco Episode for some yummy salsa and guacamole ideas or our Alternative Nachos post for a recipe idea.

Did you like this post? If so, join our mailing list here so we can send you more recipes, episode notifications and creative ideas for cooking with alternatives.

Alternative Nachos

alternative-chef-kitchen-nachos

Free-from Nachos

Ingredients
1 300g jar of salsa (suitable for your diet) or you could try a recipe from the Taco Episode
250g of purple corn chips (or regular – suitable for your diet) If you can’t tolerate corn then check out our corn free corn chip post for some options
1 serve of sour cream alternative that is suitable for your diet (eg, from our Sour Cream Episode)
1 400g can black beans
1 400g can kidney beans
Cheese alternative that suits your diet, check these post for ideas for:
melty alternatives,
sprinkly alternatives and
tasty cheese alternatives

Method
1. Rinse and drain the black beans and kidney beans and then lightly mash with a potato masher and then stir the salsa through until it’s well combined (if you like it wet, add more salsa).
2. Spread out the corn chips on some baking paper and then spoon the salsa – bean mixture over the corn chips.
3. Dollop the sour cream alternative over the salsa bean mixture.
4. Sprinkle grated dairy free cheese or alternative that suits your diet (see links above).
5. Place in the oven at 180 degrees C or until the cheese melts and the corn chips become crispy.

If you can’t have corn, check out our corn chips without corn, dairy, soy, gluten, egg or nuts here.

For more recipes like this and info and creative ideas for cooking without dairy, soy, gluten, egg or meat join our newsletter list here.

Delicious Dukkah: With and without nuts

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(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

Ingredients

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

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(Dukkah with nuts)

Delicious Dukkah with nuts

Ingredients
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

Method

  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

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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.

Watch our TOP 8 CHALLENGE SPECIAL EPISODE: AVOIDING THE TOP 8 FOR A DAY now:

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 (RECIPE COMING SOON):

Lisa's everything free chocolate brownie

Or perhaps some coconut cream ice cream (RECIPE COMING SOON):

icecreampic

(Glenys’ curried egg without egg (RECIPE COMING SOON)

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 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).

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.

2017 UPDATE**

If you loved this episode and want to get cooking, we’re in the process of updating our cookbooks and releasing a whole lot of new free-from recipes.

Enter your email address below to find out when our new books are available (we’re releasing from late August, 2017:-)

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!

Pies:

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. Pie with pastry

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

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This besan pastry has egg in it, but there are pastry and tart crust options in the book too).

Another pastry  recipe:

If you can’t eat egg, gluten, dairy, soy or nuts check out this easy and yummy pastry recipe by Lisa White (from Alternative Chef Kitchen):

(This recipe is from The Little Book of Allergy-Friendly Homemade Basics). We’ve got 2 Pastry recipes which are great for pasties and pies in that book and 3 Tart (& Quiche) crust options.

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

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(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 brendajanschek.com

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(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 barefootkitchens.com.au

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.

Soups

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 brendajanschek.com

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(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

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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

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(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!