Cheesy Vegan Breakfast Casserole and Leek and Pumpkin Soup
Those of you who actually know me will know that I am a lover of unconventional breakfasts. Given half the chance, I will rant on for at least half an hour about the utter ridiculousness of eating carbohydrates with sugar on top for breakfast – just because it has been sold to us as the thing we are supposed to eat! Breakfast cereals were invented by a farmer who wanted to keep his workers docile and dampen their sexual drives . . . . and now they are simply big business. I don’t like sweet stuff in the morning, so I often opt for the next best thing – toast with marmite. Whilst I was in India last year I enjoyed an Indian breakfast every day, which included soup. It reinforced something I have practised for years, that of having real food for breakfast, with real nutrition. During the summer, when acting as ‘breakfast chef’ for a week long camp, I made savoury vegan sausages for everyone, trying to adhere to the conventions of a ‘fried breakfast’ that would suit everyone’s sensibilities. But really, if we all broke the habit of eating rubbish for breakfast (it has to be ‘fortified with vitamins’) then we might find that we stay fuller for longer, and have healthier lives.
So here is my recipe for what I had for breakfast today – a cheesy vegan breakfast casserole. It’s made using the ingredients from the organic veggie boxes I get each week. It’s great veg, but pushes me to find creative ways to use the seasonal vegetables. Lately I have had a LOT of leeks, so this morning, when I started getting hungry and contemplating breakfast, I decided to make something with them. This will make two generous portions or could feed four if you want to put it with some veggie sausages or tofu cakes and toast.
Cheesy Vegan Breakfast Casserole
2 large leeks
3 medium new potatoes
A double handful of black kale
A double handful of curly kale
1 teaspoon garlic powder (use a clove of fresh garlic if you have some)
1 tablespoon vegan cheese sauce powder
3 tablespoons vegan savoury yeast flakes
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and hot chilli sauce to taste
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Heat a large casserole dish with a lid, and put in the coconut oil.
Slice the leeks, soak and wash them, drain, and roughly chop, then drop into the pan with the oil and sautee for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Strip the kale off the woodiest parts of the stalks, and shred/chop finely, then add to the pan and keep frying. Wash the potatoes and slice/chop into pieces around inch round and half an inch thick. Add to the pan, along with about a pint of water. Turn down the heat, put on the lid, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat while you add the cheese sauce powder, yeast flakes, salt and pepper, stirring well, then return to the heat, cover, and simmer for another five minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. The sauce should thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning if you need to. If you like it hotter, add some hot chilli sauce.
Serve with some wholemeal toast or just as it is. In the pictures, you can see I served with toast and added some vegan Worcestershire sauce for extra flavour.
This is totally delicious and a lovely way to use leeks. Another way to use them is obviously in soup. Using lots of leeks in soup has two benefits. First, sautéed leeks give a delicious, sweetly savoury flavour to soups. Second, lots of leeks give soup a creamy texture when blended. The recipe below is a divergence from the traditional leek and potato soup to take advantage of another abundant seasonal ingredient at this time of year – pumpkin.
Leek and Pumpkin Soup
3 large leeks
1 small/medium pumpkin (or squash)
Fresh or dried chilli
1 garlic clove
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tsp tomato puree/tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Slice and soak the leeks, washing them well and then draining them.
Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan, and toss in the leeks, sauteeing them until soft. Finely chop the garlic and add to the leeks with around a teaspoon of dried ground coriander and some fresh or dried chilli (you decide how much you want). Core and chop the apple and add this. Deseed and peel the pumpkin, and chop roughly, also adding this to the pan to sautee for at least 10 minutes, stirring really frequently. Add around 2-3 pints of water (add gradually and check, you want the veggies covered) and the stock cube, then cover simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the tomato puree, stir well, then blend the soup using a hand blender. Return a low heat, taste, and then season accordingly. If too bitter, add some more tomato puree. If too sweet, add a little salt.
Serve with chunky fresh bread, and garnish with some freshly chopped coriander or some toasted pumpkin seeds. This is a real winter warmer and is great for lunch or dinner. Continue reading