food, Recipes

fresh take: plant-based recipes for light summer dining

Toby Murphy

Al fresco gatherings with friends call for light and easy plant-based dishes that celebrate beautiful – and delicious – vegetables.

layered green slaw with coconut and lime dressing

For the dressing 250ml coconut milk Juice and zest of 1 lime 1T soy sauce 2t honey 62.5ml good-quality coriander pesto ½t chilli flakes 1T shredded, peeled ginger

For the slaw ¾ Chinese or regular cabbage, finely sliced 1 fennel bulb, shaved 2 green apples, cut into matchsticks 2 cups micro whole radishes 1 cup finely shredded purple kale ½ cup mint leaves ½ cup coriander leaves 1 cup sprouts ½ cup roasted peanuts ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds Mix the dressing ingredients and pour into a large glass container. Layer the slaw components one on top of another, ending with the nuts and seeds. Toss to mix at the table.


For a more substantial meal, add a layer of glass noodles and cooked prawns or tofu. Experiment with a variety of dressings as well as seasonal vegetables and herbs.

creamy butternut pasta

Ingredients 500g peeled, cubed butternut 2 garlic cloves, peeled 1t chilli flakes, or to taste 4T olive oil 20 large sage leaves 400g mafaldine pasta* 250ml good-quality hot vegetable stock 250ml cream Salt and pepper, to taste Grated Parmesan and 80ml toasted pine nuts, to serve

Method Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Toss the butternut, garlic and chilli in 2T of olive oil, place on a baking tray and cover with foil. Roast for 30 minutes or until soft. In the meantime, heat 2T olive oil in a small pan and fry the sage leaves for about 30 seconds until crisp, but still green. Drain on paper towel.

Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions, drain and set aside, keeping hot.

Mix the stock with the cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and pour into a blender. Add the butternut and process until smooth, adding a little more water if needed. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Stir through the hot pasta and top with sage leaves, grated Parmesan and pine nuts. Serve immediately.


*Or any ribbon-shaped pasta.

cauliflower tahini with lavoush

ALSO READ: How to make crispy lavoush from scratch

For the cauliflower purée 1kg cauliflower florets 250ml cream 500ml good-quality vegetable stock 2T butter Salt, to taste

For the tahini dressing 2 garlic cloves 62.5ml lemon juice 125ml tahini ½t salt A pinch of ground cumin 6T water

For the cauliflower florets 250g each of cauliflower and fioretti tenderstems, broken into small florets Zest of 1 lemon 1T olive oil 1T sesame oil 1T sumac Salt and pepper, to taste 4T toasted sesame seeds, extra sumac and sesame oil, to serve

Method Preheat the oven to 180ºC. To make the cauliflower purée, place the florets, cream and vegetable stock in a pot and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain the cauliflower (reserving the cooking cream), place in a blender with the butter and process until smooth, adding a little of the reserved cooking cream if needed. Season to taste, set aside and keep warm.

For the tahini dressing, blend the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt and cumin with the water, and set aside.

Toss the cauliflower and fioretti with the lemon zest, olive and sesame oils, and sumac. Season and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

To assemble, spread the warm cauliflower puree on a large platter and drizzle the tahini dressing over it. Top with the florets, an extra sprinkling of sumac, sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil. Serve with crispy lavoush.


caramelised fennel wedges with goat’s cheese dressing

For the fennel wedges 2 large fennel bulbs 62.5ml olive oil Zest of 1 lemon 1t chilli flakes Salt and pepper, to taste 100g baby asparagus

For the goat’s cheese dressing 100g plain, soft goat’s cheese 2T organic plain yoghurt 1T honey 1T lemon juice 2T olive oil

Method Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Trim the tops and bottoms of the fennel bulbs and remove the fibrous outer skin. Cut each in half and then into wedges. In a large bowl, combine the fennel wedges with the olive oil, lemon zest and chilli flakes and toss to coat. Season to taste.

Place on a large, lined baking tray and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, or until soft and caramelised, turning halfway during the process. Add the asparagus during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

In the meantime, combine the dressing ingredients and process in a blender. Drizzle the dressing over the wedges and serve immediately.

SERVES 4 as a side dish

Perfect with pan-fried kingklip or any other firm white fish.

chia creams with avocado mousse

For the chia creams 125ml chia seeds 1T honey 1t vanilla paste 500ml coconut milk

For the avocado mousse 3 ripe avocados 3T honey 3T cocoa A pinch of salt ½t vanilla extract 125ml each of toasted coconut shavings and toasted flaked almonds, to serve

Method Combine the chia, honey and vanilla with the coconut milk and refrigerate overnight to allow the chia to swell. Spoon into each of four glasses or ramekins and set aside.

Mix the ingredients for the avocado mousse and blend until smooth. Spoon on top of the chia creams and allow to set in the fridge. Top with toasted coconut shavings and flaked almonds to serve.


cloudy apple green juice

Ingredients 4cm knob of ginger, peeled and sliced 12 lemon verbena leaves 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped 500ml cloudy apple juice

Method Muddle or bash the ginger, lemon verbena and celery together.

Pour in the apple juice and allow to infuse for 30 minutes.

Serve as is, with ice, or mixed with sparkling water.


For a cocktail kick, add gin and Indian tonic water to taste.