Pesto Coated Cannellini Beans & Gluten Free Vegan Gravy - two simple sauces for when you're in a hurry
The pesto coated cannellini beans were made for a quick lunch, which I served alongside a simple bulgar wheat salad consisting of cubed cucumber, peeled broad beans, spring onions, raisins and chopped parsley. I squeezed in some lemon juice, olive oil and seasoned generously with salt and pepper. Oh, and I almost forgot, I added a little cumin, cinnamon and chilli powder to the bulgar wheat before soaking it in freshly boiled water - I find bulgar wheat can be a little bland if spices and herbs aren't added at this stage.
Right then. The pesto. I heart it.
Traditional pesto is, of course, made with the inclusion of parmesan cheese, so when I first became vegan I thought my pesto days were over and that was a difficult pill to swallow. As my knowledge of veganism grew I soon learned that pesto need not be off limits and really and truly the parmesan isn't as crucial as you might be led to believe.
Since then I've made a bucket load of the stuff and used it in all manner of dishes. It's such a great standby sauce that can be whipped up in seconds, so I use it frequently and liberally.
Ditto gravy. Love it, love it, love it.
Coming into these colder months (it's happening already - ugh) I plan on making a lot gravies and wholesome, hearty meals - perfect for warming those cockles on a blustery autumn evening.
This gluten free gravy was simply outrageous and so incredibly easy - I'm talking a few effortless minutes and et voila, you have a lusciously smooth flavourful sauce that is ideal for use in a multitude of meals. I just so happened to have a couple of vegan schnitzel's in the freezer and I thought some mashed tatties and boiled cabbage (I'm a sucker for boiled cabbage - don't judge!) would go nicely - and it did. Oh my goodness, was this tasty. Tas.ty.
Bonus that it happens to be a b12 fest! Nutritional yeast flakes and yeast extract - essential ingredients for your vegan cupboard and lifestyle. Don't be skimping on that b12 intake, ya hear?!
So, if you're stuck for time but still want something a bit special, both of these recipes are the perfect way to bring a little pizzazz to lunch or dinner.
pesto coated cannellini beans
2 tablespoons pine nuts (you could also use walnuts)
1/4 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove
juice 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups of cooked cannellini beans
Drain and rinse the cannellini beans and set aside.
Place all the pesto ingredients (pine nuts, basil leaves, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt & pepper) into a hand blender and blitz until fully combined - it shouldn't be completely smooth.
Transfer the cannellini beans to a bowl and season with a little salt and pepper - this will make a difference. Then stir through the pesto ensuring the beans are completely coated. Set in fridge to allow the flavours to amalgamate or eat immediately. I had enough for two lunches.
gluten free vegan gravy
1 heaped tsp vegan vegetable granules or 1 stock cube
2 tbsp gluten free flour (gluten free mix or rice flour)
1 tbsp soy sauce (or shoyu/tamari)
1 tbsp vegan Worcester sauce
1 tbsp marmite or other nutritional yeast extract
1 tbsp agave or other vegan sweetener (except maple syrup)
2/3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 cups water
Place everything into a shallow pan - I actually used a deep frying pan/skillet - and whisk all the ingredients together.
Bring to a gentle boil and keep whisking until there are no lumps. Turn down the heat and allow the sauce to simmer and thicken - this take between five to ten minutes. Stir frequently - whisking if it becomes to thick and clumpy.
The gravy should be ready to serve in 15-20 minutes. If it isn't thickening how you'd hope then add another tablespoon of flour and whisk vigorously to incorporate. Likewise, if it is too thick for your taste, thin it out with a little water.
Can be used in a range of dishes but especially good with mashed potato!