Jher hot pink spaghetti is a real winner,” says Ella Mills, food writer and founder of Deliciously Ella.
“The mixture of walnuts, pine nuts and white beans gives it a nice texture, the coconut milk makes it beautifully creamy. The beets provide the color, and the garlic and parsley really add flavor. The result is soft and sweet, almost like a korma sauce.
Creamy beet and walnut spaghetti
50g pine nuts
300 g cooked beets, drained, peeled and coarsely chopped
25 g flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 can (400 g) small white beans (cannellini or haricot), drained
200ml tinned coconut milk, shaken well to disperse the cream
Lemon juice, to taste
4 portions of spaghetti or other long pasta (75g per person)
Sea salt and black pepper
1. Toast the walnuts and pine nuts in a dry skillet over high heat until the pine nuts are golden, then transfer them to a food processor along with the beetroot, parsley, two tablespoons of olive oil and a good pinch of salt. Blend until you get a thick puree.
2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion for five to seven minutes, until soft. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another minute.
3. Transfer the beet puree to the pan with the beans and coconut milk and mix everything together. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes to warm through.
4. Check seasoning then stir in lemon juice to taste.
5. Cook spaghetti according to package directions, then drain well and return to pan.
6. Stir sauce into pasta and serve immediately.
Cooking on plate of cauliflower pilaf and cashew nuts
“The ginger, garlic, bay leaves and spices give this cauliflower and cashew pilaf a lot of depth, with a nice hint of color from the green beans,” says Mills.
“To vary this, you can replace the cauliflower with squash or sweet potato – just peel and cut into bite-sized pieces and add in the same way.”
She advises a slight change for children: “If you’re cooking for very young children, omit the cashews from the roasting pan and sprinkle them over the adult servings when serving.”
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cauliflower, tough outer leaves discarded, cut into florets
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1½ tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
50 g cashew nuts, coarsely chopped
250g white basmati rice, rinsed and drained
200g green beans, trimmed and cut into 4-5cm lengths
500ml hot vegetable stock
1 lemon, halved
Small handful of coarsely chopped cilantro
Harissa, for serving (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan.
2. Place the onion, cauliflower, ginger and garlic in a large roasting pan. Add coconut oil, cinnamon, bay leaves, cumin, turmeric, coriander and cashews. Mix everything until well blended and spread it in one even layer.
3. Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, until the onion and cauliflower have taken on a little color.
4. Take out the tray and add the raisins, rice and green beans. Toss them into the vegetables, then spread everything out in an even layer. Pour over the hot broth.
5. Cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cauliflower and rice are tender. Season and add a drizzle of lemon juice to taste, then serve with a generous sprinkle of cilantro and a drizzle of harissa, if desired.
Banana bread and olive oil
“I make this recipe all the time for the girls, it’s awesome and they love it,” Mills says.
“It’s soft and spongy and the prunes or dates make the bread lovely and sweet – you really don’t miss any sugar at all. It’s perfect on its own, but equally delicious as a pudding with coconut yogurt.
Makes: 1 loaf
200 g sifted self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 very ripe mashed bananas
4 tablespoons coconut yogurt
75ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
100 g prunes or medjool dates, chopped
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
75 g raisins or sultanas
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C fan.
2. Butter a 900 g cake tin and line it with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, combine flour and baking powder.
4. In another bowl, mix the banana, coconut yogurt, olive oil, vanilla, prunes and flax seeds. Stir in raisins.
5. Add the banana mixture to the flour and mix well – it will seem dry at first but it will come together.
6. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan, level the top and bake for 50-60 minutes, until puffed and golden. Test with a skewer – if it comes out clean, the bread is ready.
7. Leave to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before unmolding.
‘How To Go Plant-Based: A Definitive Guide For You And Your Family’ by Ella Mills (published by Yellow Kite, £26; photography by Clare Winfield), available August 18.