Chickpea Pasta by Peaz

Where From? Peaz
Available Via the Company’s Website

Any of you currently browsing on my website or following me on Instagram will know that I absolutely worship pasta. Thankfully, the transition from gluten full to gluten free was not a challenge in this respect, given there are so many different free from brands on the market. However, we all know pasta is carb heavy and too much of it definitely is not conducive to a healthy, balanced diet. I am thrilled therefore, to have been introduced to Peaz: a rather revolutionary protein-full pasta made from chickpeas. Developed by former London street food vendor Raphel Strauss, this pasta contains nearly half the carbs of regular pasta and is vegan, soy free and tastes delicious. One word of warning – it cooks a lot faster than the gluten free pasta many of you will be used to so beware of overcooking! Peaz only take 3 minutes and 30 seconds in boiling water to become al dente and 4 minutes to be well done. Order yours directly via the Peaz website, where you’ll find macaroni and fusilli versions too!

Sweet Potato Fries By Chloe

Where From? Eat by Chloe
Available in Locations Across the US and Soon London!

While I have always been a fan of all things potato-related, nothing really beats fries. Lately, I’ve been partial to the sweet potato variety which not only sit better with me but are an incredibly tasty side to any dish or a perfect snack on their own. Getting to sample By Chloe’s famous air baked sweet potato fries when recently back in Boston was a real treat and I was pleasantly surprised to see they taste as good in real life as the copious amount of Instagram posts flying around suggests. Available in the Los Angeles, New York and Boston locations of this vegan junk-food haven, these fries will soon be available to UK sweet potato enthusiasts. By Chloe are opening their first overseas branch this autumn in Central London’s Covent Garden area, with a 100% vegan menu featuring a number of gluten free options. Are you as excited as me?

Biscuits by Honest Bakery

Where From? Honest Bakery
Available across Ireland and Northern Ireland

Thanks to my massive sweet tooth, I get a daily pang at 4pm for a treat to accompany my cup of tea. I am therefore always on the hunt for a new gluten free biscuit or cake and so having the opportunity to try a range of products from Honest Bakery was a real pleasure. Honest Bakery is a family business based in Ireland which handmakes the crunchiest biscuits I have ever tried. I currently can’t choose between the Cranberry and White Chocolate and Chocolate Chip and Oat flavours – both are delicious. All made with love, these biscuits call for Irish Creamery Butter and that does not go amiss! You can find Honest Bakery products via a number of stockists in Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as in the bakery itself, which is located in Roscommon.

Kind State of Mind: A Vegan Supperclub for All Seasons

It is not often that meat eaters come across vegan cuisine they consider “enjoyable.” I’ve heard complaints of texture, lack of flavour, or even more simply: “it’s just not meat” or “that’s not really cheese.” I suppose for a long time too I was one of those sceptics, sticking to what I knew best – animal-sourced protein. What it boiled down to however, was simply that I had not found the right vegan food. After being lucky enough to attend a 100% plant based supperclub hosted by the wonderful Ellie – blogger and creator of Kind State of Mind – I can now say that fabulous vegan cuisine exists and I’ve tried it.

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Many of you reading this will have come across Kind State of Mind before, on Instagram and beyond. Ellie is known for her innovative sweet treats, healthy meal ideas and even vegan “junk food”- all of which are stunningly photographed for our viewing pleasure. More recently however, Ellie has ventured into the world of vegan cheese making. “As a previous cheese aficionado I wasn’t willing to accept that I would just have to go without one of my favourite foods so I began experimenting,” Ellie told me, adding that after receiving great feedback from vegan and non vegan friends alike, she began to make more.

IMG_9529Ellie has been so successful in her attempts to find a vegan’s answer to camembert, brie and other favourites, that she will soon be selling them to the public. “I realised there was a real opportunity, not just to provide vegans with a tasty food product, but to offer an alternative to my fellow omni buddies,” she said, explaining that cheese is too often quoted as the main “barrier” people have to switching to a vegan diet. Kindaco was launched this summer and was the star of the summer supper club, which was held at 10 Cable Street: a chic, vegan space tucked away in East London.

While most of Ellie’s dishes aren’t naturally gluten free, I was given the all-star treatment, and offered an entirely me-friendly version of the menu that night in East London. “Cooking food that is vegan and gluten free is not hard at all,” Ellie confirmed, pointing to the fact that many foods are now marketed as being both vegan and gluten free, which indicates there is a clear overlap in the two dietary needs.

To start the evening, we were greeted with welcome cocktails and a selection of cheese dips, crudites, tortillas and a helping or charred Padrón peppers for good measure. This is the moment at which I made a brand new friend: Vegan Nacho cheese. Particularly tangy and moreish, this potted dip is surprisingly made from cashews – an ingredient which I, in my ignorance, never suspected could be turned into something so reminiscent of that overly indulgent sauce, often dolloped on Doritos at cinema refreshment stands.

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The starter that evening was a homemade Italian Panzanella Salad – a Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes, particularly popular in the summer months. Ellie prepped mine with a gluten free loaf which was delicious, having soaked up the homemade tangy dressing. The salad was topped with a herbed feta cheese, which is almond-based and cultured, helping give it that cheesy tang that is usually associated with Greek feta.

Already starting to feel happily full, we moved on to the main. A real treat not only for the vegan diners that night but for me too – Brie en croute with cranberry and fig jam – enveloped by a perfectly crisp and flaky gluten free pastry. This was served alongside garlicky kale Caesar and a fresh, flavourful potato salad with caper and dill dressing – the main component of which is a homemade vegan mayonnaise that you can make yourself at home by following Ellie’s recipe.

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Now well and truly stuffed, I managed to find room for dessert immediately upon spotting Ellie’s beautiful array of meringues topped with coconut whipped cream and fresh berries. The meringues are made using aquafaba or chickpea water – an ingredient that has swept across the vegan nation like a storm. The meringues were perfectly crunchy on the outside, with a soft, chewy centre, set off perfectly by the lightly whipped cream and tangy fruit.

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The evening culminated in a smorgasbord of cheeses, served with gluten free crackers, which were not only picture perfect but unbelievably delicious.

My praise for Ellie is by no means halfhearted. The whole experience served as proof of just how great a cook and recipe designer she is, no matter what your dietary or lifestyle preference. I urge all of you to go and try the cheeses yourselves, which will soon be available to order online via the Kindaco Facebook Page. For any of you wanting to attend a supper club, follow Kind State of Mind on Instagram for updates and news about the autumn event, which is sure to be a highly enjoyable evening, for not only you and your friends, but your taste buds too.

Ellie will be teaching cheese making masterclasses at Made in Hackney this Autumn. 

Lasagne by Sainsbury’s

Where From? Sainsburys
Available in the Freezer Aisle at Larger Stores

It does not matter if it’s night or day – I am usually thinking about pasta and how I plan to give into my craving that week. Thanks to Sainsbury’s, lasagne is often the way I celebrate carb cheat day. After much taste testing, I’ve come to the conclusion that theirs is the most flavourful and satisfying ready made free from lasagne on the market. Their lasagne sheet to sauce ratio is unbeatable, while those available in other major supermarkets tend to short-change on the latter. Sainsbury’s now offer a dairy free version of their trusty gluten free lasagne too, so those of you who are milk free do not have to go without! Grab yours from Sainsbury’s today, either in-store or online and be sure to cook it until golden brown on top (or, certainly for longer than the instructions on the packaging suggest).

Protein Noodles by Oomi

Where From? Oomi
Available Online via Major Supermakets

Luckily for us non gluten eaters, rice noodles have always been a product we can enjoy when it comes to Asian cuisine. However, I’ve always pined for a more substantial noodle when prepping Chinese food at home, after years of indulging in the egg variety. Thanks to Oomi, my prayers have been answered in the form of a high protein, gluten free noodle. Not only is the consistency highly reminiscent of traditional egg noodles, they are jam packed full of protein and have 75% less carbs than regular noodles too. The secret to these is fish protein – but don’t be put off. These noodles have no fish taste whatsoever and are perfect in a stir fry or smothered in black bean sauce. Grab yours in a handy snap pack online via Tesco, Ocado or Morrisons.