Core recipes | Viva! - The Vegan Charity

Core recipes

Useful basics

Cheesy Sauce
Cashew Cream - plain, sour or sweet
Gravy - simple or fancy
Ice cream
Mayonnaise - aquafaba, tofu OR cashew/macadamia 
Pancakes - savoury or sweet
Raw Cashew Cheese
Quick Tofu Scramble


Cheesy Sauce (tofu version)
Serves 4-6 | 20-30 minutes

 

Don't let the long list of ingredients put you off, it's very easy. works well on pasta and vegetable dishes and is also good mixed with a tomato sauce to make Aurora sauce. You can even make the dry mix in batches, ready to go then just add liquids etc.
For a cashew-based sauce, click here

 

  • 1 shallot OR ¼ small red onion – finely chopped 

  • 1 medium clove garlic, crushed

  • 1 tbsp oil

  • 225/8oz plain tofu, any type (silken or firm)

  • 600ml/21fl oz unsweetened almond or soya milk

  • Generous ½ cup/30g/1oz nutritional yeast flakes

  • 2 tbsp cornflour OR 1 tbsp arrowroot

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar

  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

  • ½-1 tsp salt, according to taste

  • ½ tsp paprika

  • ¼ tsp turmeric

  • Generous pinch of mild chilli powder

  • Black pepper

  • Optional: 1 tbsp pale miso

1. In a pan, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil spray until the onion is softened.

2. Meanwhile, blend the tofu until it is completely smooth – use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl or food processor and integrate any lumpy bits.

3. Add the cooked onion/garlic plus the rest of the ingredients and blend again until it is smooth. Heat gently before using. 


Cashew Cream
Makes about about 330ml/approx 1 cup |Time: 2-8 hours pre-soak; 5-10 minutes to make

A delicious alternative to dairy that can be made plain, sour or sweet. It's very easy to make but needs a good commercial grinder/blender to make it creamy and smooth.

Variations: replace cashews with macadamias - these are rich, buttery nuts that are absolutely delicious. Their high fat content makes for a lovely rich cream. Blanched, unsalted whole almonds would also work well.

 

 

 

Plain

  • 130g/1 cup raw cashews (unsalted and unroasted and preferably whole, not pieces) - soaked in a bowl of cold water and covered - for at least 2 hours but up to 8. Doing it overnight is the easiest way!

  • 120-180ml/½-¾ cup water

  • Fine salt to taste - just a pinch. Add gradually, mix in thoroughly after each addition and remember that sea salt is stronger than regular

Sour
As plain but add:

  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

  • 2-3 tsp lemon juice. Mix in well a little at a time and adjust to taste


Sweet

  • As plain but add cane sugar or agave syrup to taste, mixing in well with each addition

1. Soak the cashews if you haven't already done so.

2. Blend thoroughly, adding water a little at a time. The more you add the thinner the cream will be - although the cream will thicken when left to stand in its container. Keep blending and scraping down the sides until the mixture is very smooth and creamy and has lost its grainy texture.

3. Add flavourings depending on which variation you are making - a little at a time so you don't over salt, over sour or over sweeten. The cream will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5-6 days.


Gravy, simple or fancy
Serves 4 | 30 minutes - plus time to infuse if possible

 

 

  • 2 medium red or white onions

  • 1 large sprig of fresh rosemary or ½ tsp dried

  • 350ml/1½ cups vegan stock (or part stock, part wine*)

  • 2 tbsp soya sauce

  • 1 level tsp dark brown sugar

  • Salt (add last as the stock may be salty) and black pepper

  • Optional extras

  • A handful of dried mushrooms soaked in the stock then blended

  • For a thicker gravy, mix in 1 tbsp arrowroot with the soya sauce and a splash of water to make a paste

 

Method:

  1. Peel the onions and cut into thin wedges – or blitz in a food processor.

  2. Heat the oil in the saucepan and sauté the onions over a gentle heat. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes until soft and starting to caramelise.

  3. Add the rosemary, stock, soya sauce and brown sugar. Add any options from the list now.

  4. Simmer the gravy for a further 5-7 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

*Barnivore is the go-to source for all vegan booze


Ice Cream
Makes approximately 450ml | overnight freeze +15 minutes to make base + cooling time +10-20 minutes churning + freezing time

This is delicious and very simple if you have an ice cream maker - the coconut milk has a creamier mouth feel than other plant milks.

 

 

  • 2 tins full-fat coconut milk

  • 120ml/half a cup agave or cane sugar

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 2 tbsp cornflour or 1 tbsp arrowroot

  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract

  • Optional extras: nuts, vegan chocolate (or carob) chips, fruit puree, cacao nibs, etc.

Picture courtesy of Food52


1. Depending on your ice cream maker, put the base in the freezer ahead of time.

2. Pour/scrape the thick coconut milk and watery milk from the tins into a large bowl. Whisk until it’s all integrated. Remove 120ml/½ cup to another container and set aside. 

3. Pour the larger quantity of coconut milk into the saucepan. Add the syrup/sugar and salt to the coconut milk.

4. Warm the coconut milk on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sweetener has completely dissolved into the coconut milk, 1-2 minutes.

5. Whisk the cornflour/arrowroot into the reserved coconut milk until it is totally dissolved. Now add this mixture to the warm coconut milk in the saucepan while whisking gently.

6. Increase the heat to medium. Stirring occasionally, continue cooking the base until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, 6-8 minutes. Do not allow the base come to a boil. Remove the base from heat and stir in the vanilla.

7. Pour the base into a shallow container. Let the base cool slightly on the counter so it's not hot when you put it in the fridge. Before refrigerating, press a piece of clingfilm against the surface — this coconut milk base doesn't form a skin quite as badly as a milk-and-egg base, but the clingfilm helps to avoid it. Cover the container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

8. Remove the base from the fridge. It should be completely chilled and slightly pudding-like in texture. Switch on the machine to churn then carefully pour the liquid through the opening.

9. Churn the ice cream until it thickens considerably and is roughly the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Depending on your machine, this could take anywhere from 10-20 minutes - keep an eye on it! If you want to add any extras, add them now and churn a few more seconds until they are fully incorporated.

10. Scrape the ice cream into your freezer container. Press a piece of baking parchment against the surface to prevent ice crystals from forming.

12. Transfer the container of ice cream to the freezer and freeze for at least for hours to harden the ice cream.

13. Warm very or just dip the scoop in hot water. Coconut ice cream melts a little more quickly than dairy-based ice creams, so don't wait too long.


Mayonnaise, aquafaba 

 

 

Aquafaba is bean water, basically! The gloopy stuff from a tin of chickpeas, white beans such as haricot, butter or cannellini contains similar proteins to egg white - and indeed, it makes

excellent meringues and other dishes. (Use the leftover chickpeas or beans in another dish.)

The mayo is fantastic - cheap as chips, quick to make and very good. We use plain vegetable oil for its neutral taste but experiment with mild olive oil or a combination of the two. It can

also be used to make garlic mayo/aioli and other flavoured mayos. Similarly, we've also made this with just lemon juice - (all cider vinegar a little strong) - for a more citrus taste. Fridge it in

an air-tight container and it will keep for at least 3-4 days, as the vinegar/lemon juice act as a preservative. If you use a hand blender it can be made directly into a clean jar if it's wide

enough.  

     

 

 

 

  • ½ tbsp. cider vinegar

  • ½ tbsp. lemon juice

  • ½ tsp ground English mustard OR 1 tsp English mustard from a jar

  • ¼ tsp salt (add more at the end if needed but taste first as the mustard can be quite salty)

  • 3 tbsp aquafaba – see above

  • ¾ -1 cup neutral tasting oil

 

 

 

  1. Measure the aquafaba, cider vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and salt into the jug. Give a quick whizz with the handblender to mix everything up.

  2. Switch on the hand blender in the jug on low and start drizzling the oil slowly – about ¼ cup or 4 tbsp at a time – into the other ingredients.

  3. Keep the hand blender under the liquid to avoid spattering. Increase the speed on the blender.

  4. Keep drizzling and blending until the mixture is thick and looks like mayo. It will be thicker in some parts than other so move the blender around to make sure it’s all the same consistency. If necessary, switch off the blender, scrape down the sides of the jug and stir everything about quickly then start blending again. 

  5. Taste it and add more lemon juice/cider vinegar if you prefer a slightly sharper mayo. Similarly, add a bit more mustard and/or salt if preferred.

  6. Store it in the clean glass jar, screw on the lid and keep in the fridge.


Mayonnaise, creamy nut-based
Cashews are a great all-purpose nut. Macadamias are more expensive but make a wonderfully rich mayo - or even a simple ricotta if you don't over-blend.
Whichever you choose, use a high-powered blender to make the mayo, as you do for the cashew cream recipe above. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

 

  • 1 cup raw cashews or macadmia nuts, soaked for about 3 hours

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • ½ tsp English mustard powder

  • ¾-1 tsp sea salt

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


1. Place the nuts into a bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak in a cool place for about 3 hours or overnight. Then rinse and drain.

2. Add the soaked nuts, water, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard powder, and sea salt to a high-powered blender - you need this type to get rid of the grainy texture. Blend until thick and creamy. Then add the olive oil and blend until combined. You will want to keep blending until it is ultra smooth. You may need to stop the blender, stir it, and then blend again.

3. Use a small spatula or spoon to scoop the mayo into a jar. place into your refigerator to chill. It will thicken slightly once it chills.


Mayonnaise, creamy silken tofu-based
Makes over 400ml | 5-10 minutes

Simple and quick

  • 350g firm silken tofu - longlife or fresh 

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice OR cider vinegar

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp sugar OR 2 tsp agave syrup

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 60ml/4tbsp plain oil, such as rapeseed. Drizzle in a little more for a thicker mayo

 

1. Drain the tofu in a sieve or colander then blend it until it is completely smooth. Halfway through blending, use a spatula to scrape down the sides and integrate any lumps. Blend again, making sure the tofu has lost its grainy texture and is smooth and shiny. 

2. Add the lemon juice/cider vinegar, salt, sweetener and mustard. Blend again.

3. Drizzle in the oil slowly and blend. If using a food processor you can do this while the motor is running. If using a goblet or hand blender you will need to stop it then drizzle in a bit of oil and repeat until the oil is completely integrated. Taste and add more salt/sweetener/mustard if desired - then blend again.

4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for several days. Mix it up with a spoon if it starts to separate.


Pancakes

Makes 8 medium pancakes | 10 minutes to make batter plus cooking time
Gluten-free options

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These can be used for savoury or sweet dishes so are very versatile. They freeze well. Thin down for very thin pancakes or reduce liquid for thicker ones eg American-style or Scotch

  • 175ml/6 fl oz soya milk

  • 175ml/6 fl oz water

  • 175g (6oz) plain flour (use gluten-free flour if appropriate)

  • 2 tbsp gram (chickpea) flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil

  • Pinch of salt

  • Additional oil or oil spray for frying

  • Sweet or savoury options of your choice


1. Sieve the flour, especially the gram flour.

2. Blend all of the ingredients, except the oil for frying, until smooth. Alternatively, add the liquid a little at a time and whisk by hand until there are no lumps.

3.Heat a small amount of oil or oil spray in a non-stick frying pan until piping hot. Drain off any excess.

4.Using the ladle, pour enough of the batter mixture in to the frying pan to thinly cover the bottom. Gently swirl the batter to cover the base of the pan.

5. Fry on one side for about a minute. Loosen the edges with a non-scratch spatula or fish slice and flip the pancake.

6.Fry the flip side for another minute or until done – as the frying pan gets hotter, this will take less time.

7. Remove the pancake from pan and keep warm in the oven – you may want to cover the pancakes with a bit of tinfoil.

8.Add more oil to the pan if and when necessary.

9. Repeat steps 3-7 until all of the mixture is used up.


Easy Raw Cashew Cheese

This is very simple and tasty - but you do need to soak the cashews in advance. For a very smooth creamy cheese you'll need a high speed blender such as a Nutribullet or Nutrininja.

However, you can make a more textured, grainy cheese with a less speedy blender! 

Top Tip: using a vegan probiotic helps to add a more tangy, fermented flavour to raw vegan cheeses. See information below

 

Recipe adapted from the Minimalist Baker with thanks. 

 

Ingredients: 

  • Raw cashews, 300g/2 cups (raw just means unsalted and unroasted nuts. For a cheaper version use pieces rather than whole nuts)

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed OR 1 tbsp garlic puree

  • ½ tsp garlic powder plus more to taste if necessary

  • 1 lemon, zested 

  • Lemon juice, 60ml/ ¼ cup

  • Water, 120-180ml/½- ¾ cup - start with the minimum and add more only if necessary

  • Nutritional yeast flakes, 4 tbsp

  • Salt, ½-1tsp, to taste - add a little at a time

  • Olive oil, 30ml/2 Tbsp

  • Optional: for a more tangy, fermented taste, use 4 vegan probiotic capsules (3 billion count), eg Holland & Barrett etc, Twist open the cap and pour the powder into the cheese mix

  • FOR SERVING (optional): 2 tbsp finely minced fresh dill - use scissors for speed

 

Method: 

  1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with cold water. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours*. If you can't get to them right away, drain, store in an airtight container. They will keep refrigerated for 24-36 hours.

  2. Once soaked, drain cashews thoroughly and add to food processor. Add crushed garlic, garlic powder, lemon zest, lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast, salt and olive oil.

  3. Process until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for tartness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for zing, or salt for flavour and balance. When it is completely smooth, add the probiotic mixture if using - it needs to be added last as blender heat can destroy it. 

  4. Place cheese mixture into a container of your choice - preferably a non-stick container - and place in the freezer for about half an hour to firm up a little, then place it back in the fridge. Gently ease out - you might have to reform if you want to coat it with chopped herbs. Otherwise just spoon it out in portions as needed. 

  5. If you want a more fermented flavour and you've used the probiotics, cover the mixture and let it sit at room temperature for 48-72 hours. 

  6. The cheese will hold its form for 1-2 hours out of the refrigerator, but best when chilled. Leftovers keep well covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

 

 

Quick Tofu Scramble

Serves: 2-3 or more if part of a big breakfast | 15-20 minutes

 

 

One of our most popular recipes. If you want more of an eggy taste, add black salt or Vegg.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and crushed) OR ½ -1 tsp garlic puree

  • ½ packet of firm silken tofu (approximately 175g)

  • 1 tsp tahini

  • 1-2 tsp soya sauce or more to taste (for GF option use tamari)

  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • OPTIONAL EXTRAS: eg sliced avocado; sliced tomato; lightly cooked cherry tomatoes, super sprouts, chopped peppers or chilli; rocket or kale;m fresh basil; toasted seeds...

 

  1. Gently fry the garlic in the oil for about 30 seconds until lightly golden. Don't let it burn.

  2. Add the all other ingredients and mix together. Try not to break the tofu up too much but make sure it’s well stirred.

  3. Heat to warm through for approximately 3-5 minutes and serve immediately.