This blog is a celebration of the wonderful world of vegan cooking. Enjoy!

* The title of this blog refutes the dangerous idea that veganism is a weight-loss diet and that all vegans are skinny. Conversely, being a-not-so-skinny-vegan is also not the same as being overweight or unhealthy. All food intake must be part of a balanced lifestyle.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Roasted Beetroot and Caramelised Onion 'Quiche' on Gluten Free Grain Base

Last autumn we bought some recycled railway sleepers and set up some raised beds in our backyard. I gave up my allotment and focused my gardening energy into making a jungle in our backyard. And despite the fact that I'm a beginner gardener, it looks somewhat of an edible jungle out there. And the fruit and vegetables taste so much better than anything in store. I had no idea how much flavour carrots can have or how easy it was to grown kilos of blueberries.

Our garden looking unusually tidy. There must have been visitors on the way!

One of our raised beds, packed full of vegetables. 
Growing your own also gives you a much better perspective on seasonality. I don't think we think enough about where our food comes from, how it came to be on that shelf in the supermarket and whether or not we could substitute it with something in season, local and with a smaller carbon footprint.

Growing your own also means you need to come up with recipes that use up gluts. Potatoes and carrots are easy enough to store and you can grown spinach and lettuce that keeps growing back no matter how much you cut it. However, things like sprouting broccoli, beetroot, berries and peas taste best when you take them from garden to pan.

Freshly harvested beetroot from our garden.
Last weekend I was trying to find some room to plant my spring cabbages so I pulled up a couple of huge beetroot I spotted (brassicas are best to follow root vegetables). I wanted to make something for our lunch for the next couple of days and I wanted to use all of the beetroot (roots, stalks and leaves). So I came up with the following recipe for a Beetroot and Caramelised Onion 'Quiche' on a Gluten Free Grain Base.

You can easily replace the base with any shortcut pastry, I just don't like pastry and like to get a big mix of grains in my diet. I also realise that amaranth and quinoa aren't the cheapest of grains but they both have a huge range of nutritional value that I'm happy enough to give up something else in my life (like a trip to the movies, a cocktail, biscuits, a cup of coffee) for the price of the grains. However, you can just use brown rice for the whole base although the amaranth does help make everything stick together.

You can also completely skip the roasting of the vegetables if you don't have the time or energy. If you have bought pre-cooked beetroot (and sometimes that's all we can get a hold of) then just cut that up and layer it on top of some other greens like spinach or chard and then caramelise the onions in a pan.

Roasted Beetroot and Caramelised Onion 'Quiche' on Gluten Free Grain Base



1⁄3 cup amaranth
1⁄3 cup brown rice
1⁄3 cup of quinoa
2 cups waters

Filling (Beets)

2 large beetroots including stalks and leaves
1 tsp coriander seeds, roughly crushed
1 tbsp rice syrup
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1⁄8 cup olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1⁄2 red onion

Filling (Tofu)

500g silken tofu
1⁄4 cup plain soymilk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon cornstarch (may sub another thickener such as arrowroot or potato starch)
1 teaspoon tahini (preferred) or cashew butter
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3⁄4 teaspoon soy sauce
Black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of chopped thyme



The cooked grains hold together nicely as a base.
Preheat oven to 180C fan forced. Line pie tin with baker paper and lightly grease.


Put grains in a saucepan with water with the lid and bring to boil then simmer until liquid has evaporated and grains are soft. You may need more water.

Once cooked, spread the grains onto your prepared pie tin and set aside to cool.

Filling (beets)

Cut the tops off your beetroot but don't discard!

Cut beetroot into thin wedges (I don't peel my beets but you can!) and put rest of the ingredients (except red onion and beet tops) in a bowl with the cut beets. Mix well.

Roasted beets and onion.
Bake until just soft. You can do this by covering with foil and baking for 30-60 minutes but I don't like to use foil (bad for the environment!) so I just left them to cook uncovered in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. They get a little charred but it's tasty!

Meanwhile, detached the stalks of the beets from the leaves but keep both parts! Roughly chop the leaves and spread over the grain base into the pie tin.

Finely chop the stalks and thinly slice the red onion. Once the beets are just soft, add the onion and chopped stalks to the beet mix in the oven too. Let them cook for a few minutes until soft then remove from the oven. Leave the oven on.

Leave to cool for a few minutes but be careful to move the vegetables around as they will start to stick are the syrup begins to cool.

Once the beets are cool enough to handle, arrange them in two circles on top of the beet leaves in the pie tin and then spoon on the onion and stalk mix (and garlic, if you are brave enough!).

Filling (tofu)

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. You should just be able to pour the mixture. However, if you didn't use silken tofu you may need to add some more soy milk to get the right consistently.

Once all the ingredients are blended, pour the mixture on top of the beets in the pie tin. Tap the pie tin lightly on the bench to help the tofu mixture settle into the spaces and then very gently (otherwise everything turns purple!) smooth the mixture flat and to the edges. You may want to tap it and smooth it a few more times to make sure the mixture is filling the gaps.

Put the tart back in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes until the top starts to go a golden brown colour and it no longer wobbles when you shake it gently.

Once cooked, remove tart from oven and allow to cool. Serve warm or refrigerate to serve cold.

Serves 4.

Roasted Beetroot and Caramelised Onion on Gluten Free Grain Base

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