Home Alone Cooking 4: Vegan Carbonara

One of my main quibbles with Deliciously Ella is that it gives no idea on cooking and preparation times, or level of difficulty.  I’d been going to do this vegan version of a carbonara last night, until I discovered that I had to soak the cashew nuts for 3-4 hours first.

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So I popped them in a bowl overnight.

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The other main ingredient in the sauce is butternut squash.  Again I ran into problems with the quantities, given as   1/3 of a squash.  But how big of a squash? 200g it helpfully added – which is actually remarkably little actual squash.

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I was worried that my little stick blender would have difficulties in combining all the ingredients.  I didn’t have nutritional yeast, so I added a spoonful of Marmite.  And 3 teaspoons of tamari seemed like a lot of saltiness on top.

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Plus cayenne pepper?  I rarely use it these days in cooking – I did add some to petroleum jelly to make a deterrent paste for the dogs….

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But the stick blender coped well, the soaked nuts were easy to pulpify, and I soon ended with a rather tasty gloop.

I cooked some buckwheat noodles, and added some frozen peas 2 minutes before the end of cooking.

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In a frying pan I sauteed mushrooms and garlic, and added spinach to wilt down.

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Everything was combined together – the mushroom-garlic-spinach, the noodles-and-peas, and the cashew-squash sauce.  Once again, I felt this was a massive portion for one person, and I’ve kept some back for lunch tomorrow.

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I made the full 4 person version of the sauce, and put the leftovers in tubs to freeze.

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The end result was, well, delicious!  I’d never have thought about making a sauce this way, but it was rich and unctuous, with a real umami hit from the marmite and tamari. And look at the veg count snuck in there – peas, spinach, mushroom, squash.

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My Fitness Pal estimates the calories at 550, with a whopping 90 carbs (mostly the noodles, it has to be said), and a low-ish 23 g protein from the nuts.

I’ve been eating Ella’s recipes for a few days now, and I do have to admit I crave sugar much less.  My body seems to be performing well on the good fuel I’m giving it, and I’m excited to try more ideas.


Home Alone Cooking Day 3: Full of beans

The pomegranate seeds were next of the items to need using up, and I was intrigued at the idea of combining them with beans and pesto.

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It was a very simple and quick recipe, though I did cheat a little and use a ready made jigger of pesto.

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But…….a whole can of beans for one person? There are no calorie counts or nutritional info given in the book, and while it’s USP is it’s “healthiness”, I’d like to know this.  Another niggle is that some of the quantities given are imprecise – a handful of pumpkin seeds, for example.

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The combination of crunchy seeds, bursts of pomegranate, soft beans and rich pesto was really good, and I could see myself making this again.  I will plug the ingredients into My Fitness Pal to get a feel for how calorific it is, but the measurement of seeds would need to be more precise.

Using a full can of beans – it’s approximately 600 calories, 60g of carbohydrate (the beans and pomegranate), 25g fat (pesto and seeds), and 25g protein (the beans and seeds).  The book is gluten free and the recipes have no added sugar.