Vegan Bolognese Pasta Sauce

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You know those comfort foods you just can’t live without… I’m talking about that big bowl of pasta topped with a flavoursome homemade sauce. Well, my whole-foods plant-based friends, have I got the most delicious sauce for you! I’ve had my fair share of fairly plain, watery boring tomato pasta sauces to be honest. And as I was craving a huge bowl of pasta for dinner last night, I felt the need to reconstitute an old favourite of mine. Oh man, have I succeeded! It has the delicious flavour of a classic bolognese sauce whilst full of nourishing veggies and of course, free of meat.

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So what makes this sauce so special and different from your ordinary old thin, napolitana sauce? It’s super sweet and delightfully thick thanks to plenty of garlic caramelised onion and freshly grated carrot. The fresh, slightly crispy zucchini adds a new dimension to this sauce and adds to its nutritional benefits.

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I am actually so happy with this pasta sauce recipe, it is definitely going to become a new staple for me! Another bonus: it took me only around 20 minutes to whip up. Perfect for those busy week nights when you just need a comforting meal to sooth the soul and fuel you through to the next day whilst getting in those sneaky extra serves of veggies.

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I served mine with a huge serving of deliciously chewy spelt pasta, a good few dollops of this amazing sauce and some shavings of vegan cheese (YES! I am so glad I have recently discovered this, thanks to a new 100% vegan store opening round the corner!). I cannot recommend this sauce recipe enough! It’s time for a big bowl of carbs guys, and this sauce is it’s perfect match!


Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large brown onion, roughly diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 small zucchinis, chopped into small half-discs
  • 150g cherry tomatoes chopped into quarters
  • 2 small carrots, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups organic tomato puree (try go for the stuff that is just pure tomatoes and a little salt)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup artichoke hearts, roughly chopped (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy-based pot.
  2. Add onion and crush garlic into pan. Cook, stirring until onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add oregano and thyme and cook for another minute.
  4. Add zucchini, tomatoes and grated carrot and cook, occasionally stirring for another 3 minutes or so.
  5. Add the tomato puree and water. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to low.
  6. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally making sure it doesn’t stick to bottom of pot (add a little more water if it gets too thick).
  7. Stir through some artichoke hearts or olives for some extra flavour and serve with cooked pasta, grated vegan cheese or sprinkling of nutritional yeast and some more veggies on the side if you desire some extra wholesome veggies!

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Apple Pie Oatmeal

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This heavenly bowl of warming oatmeal is the perfect morning start for winter. Fruity, oaty, cinnamony and sweet with caramelly gooey dates. It takes me back to that good old comforting family dessert: apple pie. And now… you can have it for breakfast! This breakfast bowl is a nourishing and delicious start to any chilly morning.

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Oatmeal is an essential for me. I’d say I have oats of some form (either soaked overnight or cooked that morning) at least 4 times a week. This means that I’m always after ways to spruce it up! Often I go all out on the toppings and have the oatmeal plain underneath, but this baby is made ready to eat… just spoon it into a bowl and dig in (I do like to top mine with some nuts, banana, or crunchy granola though!) The oatmeal itself is filled with fudgey dates, the sweet spice of cinnamon, a subtle crispness and freshness from the apple with all the energy from your trusty old wholesome oats.

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And the best bit is: this simple breakfast only takes around 5 minutes! So instead of starting your day with sugary processed cereals, have a go at sprucing up some oatmeal… apple pie style! I have already been given some great feedback about this recipe and I’d love for everyone to see how simple it can be to create an interesting, delicious and nutritious breakfast with some staple ingredients.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small apple, chopped into 1-2cm cubes
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)

METHOD

  1. Place the apple pieces, maple syrup, cinnamon, water and dates in a small saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Bring to boil and cover for 3 mins or until apple is just soft.
  3. Add the oats and milk and cook uncovered, stirring on medium heat until thick or desired consistency (should take around 2 minutes).
  4. Top with walnuts, a little drizzle of maple syrup or some apple, banana and granola for a delicious breakfast bowl!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Nicecream

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This is literally one of my favourite breakfasts. Of all time. I feel like I’m eating dessert… but you know what? It’s all good for you! This stuff is seriously incredible. If you think this healthy, plant-based lifestyle is too restrictive… PLEASE… let me change your mind! Of course, this is also a perfectly good dish to whip out at dessert time. I just prefer to not wait the whole day for it.

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After standing in the kitchen this morning for about 10 minutes wondering what to eat (it’s a bit of problem when I have too much time on my hands) I decided to resort to a good old fave! I don’t know about you, but for me, chocolate and peanut butter is my most beloved flavour combination. Creamy banana, rich chocolate, nutty peanuts. So delicious as well as being super nourishing and satisfying for your body (and your tastebuds may I say).

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My favourite way to top this scrummy bowl of “ice-cream” is with homemade granola and raspberries. Mmmmmmmmm. All I can say.


INGREDIENTS

  • 3 frozen bananas (in smallish chunks)
  • 2 soft medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tbsp pure 100% peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 2 tsp cacao powder

METHOD

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse for about a minute, stopping to scrape down the sides, until you get a smooth consistency with no lumps.
  2. Scoop into a bowl and top with yummy goodies. Easy peasy! I love this with homemade granola and raspberries on top!

Nourishing Pumpkin, Quinoa, Walnut and Raisin Salad

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So… if you’ve scrolled through my Instagram feed you’ve probably seen a fair few “deconstructed salad bowls”. They are my staple during the week for school lunches and easy dinners. They are perfect because I just throw in a bowl a whole variety of mis-matched plant-based ingredients that I find in the kitchen and they always seem to taste incredible!

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It is about time I give to you all a salad recipe, with hopefully many, many more to come. After all, these “nourishment bowls” do take up a majority of my diet! So I thought I’d share with you this one, a filling, wintery yet refreshing salad full of paprika roasted pumpkin, fluffy quinoa, crunchy capsicum, cherry tomatoes, fennel, spring onion, fresh green rocket and walnuts with the occasional chew of a sweet raisin.

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All these beautiful, fresh and bright ingredients make a super delicious, unexpected combination. The pumpkin and the quinoa make this dish perfectly suitable as a lunch or dinner on its own (as I often eat it) or as a beautiful side salad to accompany something else. Feel free to switch up any of the ingredients in this recipe if you don’t happen to have them on hand. Any fresh, raw vegetables could replace the capsicum and fennel: whatever’s to your liking! It is almost impossible to taste bad when all the ingredients are that good.

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Now, why not go and make your next meal a simple and nutritious one. A meal your body (and tastebuds) will thank you for?! Enjoy lovelies xx


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup raw quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to packet directions (or find out how here)
  • 1/2 medium sized butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped into rough 2cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • pinch of himalayan salt
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red capsicum, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup rocket, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup raisins/sultanas

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Place pumpkin cubes, olive oil, paprika and salt into baking dish/tray and toss. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes, or until just golden and cooked through. Remove and set aside to cool whilst you chop up the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Simple – just assemble and toss! Put all of those lovely chopped ingredients in your favourite big serving bowl and toss around!
  3. You can make a simple dressing by drizzling with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and olive oil.

Almond and Orange Cake

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I think it’s time we ate cake. A sticky sweet orange one with a gorgeous roasted almond flavour. Topped with a glazed maple orange slice on top. Yep, it’s time. Let me prove to you that being healthy doesn’t mean cutting out those delicious treaties from your life, especially cake! And the best part is, this is vegan, refined sugar free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free and crazily delicious!

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These little cakes of fresh, citrusy, moist deliciousness only require 7 pretty basic ingredients. And once you’ve boiled the orange it is pretty simple: just blitz the ingredients, stir in the seeds and plonk in the oven! These cakes are also loaded with health benefits! Chia seeds, among the healthiest foods on the planet, are loaded with fibre, protein, antioxidants, omega-3 and loads of micronutrients. The whole orange incorporated into the mixture is loaded with vitamin C and those wonderfully healthy natural sugars found in whole fruits, making the gorgeous sweetness of the cake. Coconut oil and the almond flour also add a good amount of healthy-fats… yep, these cakes have it all!

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Sometimes just having a warm, baked sweet is what we need. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE raw desserts, but occasionally I just have a craving for something a little more comforting and old-fashioned (still healthy or course). These cakes definitely fit the criteria.

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These cakes taste equally delicious as the regular version I remember my mum making years ago. I’m so glad I can now enjoy this classic (minus the guilt) once again and share it with you! Make it for morning/afternoon tea with a good old cup’o’tea, or multiply the recipe and make a family dessert or a delicious birthday cake!


Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small orange
  • 100g almond meal
  • 3 tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (melted in microwave)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • Optional toppings: orange slices + maple syrup

METHOD:

  1. Place the whole orange in a small saucepan and cover with water. Put on a low heat with lid on and boil gently for about an hour or until orange is soft. Remove from saucepan and let it cool on a plate. (You can do this step the day before and leave orange in fridge overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line 2 small individual ramekins (or 1 larger one – note this may need more time in the oven) with baking paper on the bottom and grease the sides with some coconut oil.
  3. Place the whole orange, almond meal, milk, coconut sugar, coconut oil and baking powder in a food processor. Pulse until just combined and forms a sticky batter.
  4. Stir in the chia seeds. Scoop batter between the two ramekins and top with an orange slice and drizzle of maple syrup.
  5. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden and knife inserted comes out clean! And there you are: two perfect classic little cakes to enjoy with a loved one.

Vegan Cinnamon Banana Oat Pancakes

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Pancakes are my little saviour dish. Every now and then, I get a weekend where I’m not working, playing sport or meeting anyone and I get overly excited for my beautiful stack. And so, I will wander into the kitchen and conjure up a tower of perfect little warm, vegan pancakes and top them with whatever fruit, nuts, pure maple syrup, seeds, nut butters, coyo (the list goes on and on) that I can find. I then cradle my heavenly plate to my cosy, awaiting bed and dig in accompanied by a good TV show episode. That there, is a morning I always look forward to.

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Sometimes, my pancakes just involve chucking flours, bananas and liquid in a bowl until I get something that approximates a batter. This recipe – a relatively simple combination of banana, cinnamon and oats – creates the perfect base for all your wonderful toppings. Their sweetness is just right (only naturally sweetened with banana and a little coconut sugar – no nasties!) and it’s texture is fluffy with the subtle flavour of oaty goodness.

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Often people associate pancakes with an unhealthy, undeserved breakfast… only for special occasions. Well please, let me change your mind. These babies have all the goodness of a bowl of nourishing oatmeal; they are basically the same ingredients! Predominantly consisting of oats – a natural superfood that is so easy to incorporate into your diet – these pancakes will fill you up as a breakfast should. Unlike like those buttery, sugery, white refined flour packed pancakes you might remember from your childhood. So, If it’s been a while since your last pancake day… set aside your next free morning for some you time with your pancakes!


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup oat flour (I made myself by placing in food processor and pulsing till fine flour formed)
  • 1/2 cup rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 small banana, mashed with fork
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • coconut oil for cooking

METHOD:

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly until completely combined.
  2. In a large non-stick fry pan, heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil over medium heat.
  3. Place large dollops of the batter around the pan with a ladle/spoon, about 10cm in diameter.
  4. Do not try and loosen the edges of the pancakes while cooking. Leave for approximately 5 minutes, but keep a close eye on them! Little bubbles should form on the top before you flip. Lift the edges slightly when you think they are ready to flip and check that they are a darkish golden colour on the underside. Carefully flip with spatula and cook for approximately 2 more minutes (or they slide around the pan with ease).
  5. Stack ’em up high on a plate and top with fruit, coconut yoghurt, maple syrup, nut butters, seeds, dried berries, chocolatey sauce etc. Any combination of these wonderful goodies will create an amazing taste sensation I promise!

Caramel Banana Ice-cream

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Yes… Despite the words “caramel” and “icecream” in the title, I’m slotting this dish under breakfasts! Nana ice-cream, or nice-cream as it is commonly called, is one of my go-to breakfasts alongside oats and muesli. Despite its dessert-like name, it is incredibly healthy! You know why? Because it simply just frozen bananas, pulsed until super creamy and literally the texture of ice-cream. And what better way to start the day than a bowl full of nature’s energy food, bananas!

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When its time to prepare my breakfast and I pull out perfect chunks of frozen nana from the freezer, my mind starts buzzing with all the wonderful flavours I could create and indulge in! I’m always playing around with the flavours and topping them off with a mini-mountain of toppings (just go check out my Instagram feed and you’ll see for yourself). These bowls are my absolute ideal breakfast: so super delicious (just believe me and try it for yourself!), incredibly healthy, full of all natural energy, sugars and carbohydrates and… it’ll keep you full for hours (just don’t skimp on the number of nanas, there is absolutely no need!).

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So… As this is the first nice-cream recipe I’m posting on my blog I thought I’d share with you a pretty basic flavour, Caramel. The gooey, sticky, fresh dates and hint of cinnamon provide a delicious breakfast base, awaiting whatever fruity, seedy, crunchy, nutty, coconutty toppings you can imagine. If you haven’t jumped on the nicecream bandwagon yet, I suggest you do. Right now. If it isn’t breakfast time, make it for a dessert! It’s never a bad time for ice-cream, am I right?! Some more flavours I just LOVE include chocolate peanut butter, mango and spinach and plain raspberry. I’ll get around to posting those recipes some time soon!

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Now, go on. Enter the world of nicecream. You’ll love yourself for it!


INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 – 5 frozen bananas, in smallish chunks
  • 3 soft medjool dates, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maca powder (optional)
  • 2 tbsp rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)

METHOD:

  1. Place the frozen bananas in a food processor and pulse until a crumb forms.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse again for around 30 seconds, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides with a spoon, until a smooth, creamy mixture forms. If needed, add a little more milk to get an “icecream” consistency.
  3. Pour into a bowl or jar and top with whatever goodies you have around! I like topping mine with granola, berries, any other seasonal fruit and some seed sprinkle for extra nourishment.
  4. Grab a spoon, swirl around and dig in!

Vegan Mexican Nachos Plate

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This plate is just about everything I could wish for in a dinner. It almost tastes naughty because it is just that delicious! Obviously nachos are generally not a health food, but every now and then I just feel like a big plate of them. And because I’m me, this means an enormous stacked plate of healthy baked tortilla chips, “pumpkiny” beans, a fresh fried corn salsa and of course some avocado on top. A squeeze of lemon, some olives, cherry tomatoes and coriander leaves and you have a mouthwatering plate of Mexican inspired goodness ready for you to dive in to! No knives or forks please, this messy job calls for fingers only.

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The pumpkiny (I’ll give up on the quotation marks, this is now a word) beans are so delicious with the perfect mix of flavours from the added spices, herbs, pumpkin and tomato cooked through. If you’re anything like me, many, many taste tests will occur during the making. You know… just in case the flavour has changed in the last minute or two. I couldn’t stop myself, it is too yummy! This mixture is perfect in tacos too as a meat replacement. Keep reading for this baby’s recipe. You’ll want a Mexican night soon, I promise!

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The corn salsa is one of my mum’s specialities. Frying the fresh corn with the addition of some sesame oil on really high heat makes the corn incredibly tasty: super sweet with a slight crunch. Just mix it with some fresh cucumber and coriander for a perfect fresh and light salad to accompany the denser beans.

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This recipe will serve around 4 people, so make a batch for your family or friends, or keep in the fridge for a couple of days. You can use both the beans and the salad in hard taco shells, soft tortilla wraps or have them just on their own as a bit of a deconstructed Mexican bowl too if you want! They’re super versatile and more importantly, absolutely delectable!

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Hope you enjoy the recipe! Post a photo on Instagram and tag #naturallytesscreation so I can see your wonderful recreations.


INGREDIENTS FOR PUMPKINY BEANS

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried chilli
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 standard tin organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 standard tin organic kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 standard tin organic chopped tomatoes
  • 1 standard cup steamed, mashed pumpkin

METHOD FOR PUMPKINY BEANS

  1. Heat oil in pan over low-medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook stirring until translucent. Add all spices and herbs and stir.
  3. Add the beans, tomato and pumpkin.
  4. Cook on low heat for another 15 minutes until thick and combined.

INGREDIENTS FOR SWEET CORN SALSA

  • 4 cobs of fresh corn, cut from the cob
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 20cm piece of continental cucumber, washed, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander, washed and chopped

METHOD FOR SWEET CORN SALSA

  1. In large saucepan place corn and oil over high heat.
  2. Cook stirring until the corn is dark golden, around 4-5 minutes.
  3. Let it cool and stir through the cucumber and coriander.

ASSEMBLE YOUR PLATE:

Serve with healthy organic tortilla chips (you’ll find them at most healthy stores and some supermarkets), green olives, cherry tomatoes, avocado, a squeeze of lemon and some fresh coriander leaves.


Low-fat Greens Pesto Sauce

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I had the craving for an abundance of raw green veggies the other night. And carbs. Always carbs.

So I decided to invent a pesto sauce… to accompany a huge bowl of pasta! I jam packed it with all the good stuff without using any unnecessary fats or oils. It is deliciously tangy with lemon, provides sustenance through chickpeas whilst nourishing your body with an incredible amount of nutritional goodness from basil, broccoli, kale and parsley!

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I usually make my homemade pesto sauce including olive oil and avocado, but on this occasion I was craving something with less fat. This recipe turned out super creamy and moorish nonetheless! One day I’ll share with you my regular vegan pesto recipe. This one is great for those of you on a high-carb low-fat plant-based diet.

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Pesto is amazingly versatile too! This sauce is great mixed through salads as a thick dressing, on top of toast with some tomatoes for a savoury spread and of course delicious mixed through a big bowl of buckwheat pasta.

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A lot of you have been asking for the recipe, so I’ll spare you any further wait!


INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 standard can organic cooked chickpeas
  • 20g basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 50g broccoli head
  • juice of half a small lemon
  • 1/2 cup torn kale
  • 2 tbsp raw pinenuts
  • 1/2 tsp organic pink himalayan salt
  • a couple of grinds of pepper
  • 1/2 cup water

METHOD

  1. Easy peasy! Just chuck all those nourishing ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth! You may need to stop and scrape down the edges every now and then. Add more water if needed to get the desired consistency!
  2. Serve over the top of some freshly cooked pasta (buckwheat, whole-wheat, rice, etc. – the wholesome, least unprocessed kinds).

Pumpkin and Corn Pizza Crust

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Ahhh pizza. What a beautiful creation.

So my family is having a homemade pizza night, of which I always use as an opportunity to invent my own, healthy, plant-based pizza! I look in the crisper. Chunk of pumpkin and a corn cob. Hmm.. something to bind it with. Pantry. Almond meal and oats. That’ll do! And that is the story of how this marvellous crust came about.

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It is free of dairy, egg, refined flour, sugar and oil. What’s left you may be wondering? The good stuff. The pumpkin and corn load this crust with nutrients and vitamins, many more than a regular flour-based dough. Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, an anti-oxidant vitamin that is wonderful for you! The corn makes this crust gorgeously sweet and provides a lot of the sustenance for the dish. It’s also packed with vitamins and minerals!

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This is my new favourite pizza crust recipe because, A: it stays together (without any need for egg or replacement), B: it is basically the star of the dish (for pizza this is usually the toppings!) and C: it is completely healthy and nourishing for your body!

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This recipe makes two medium sized pizzas, which will serve around 2 people, possibly more! You can even make miniature ones to play around with your favourite topping combinations. Just make sure you load them delicious plant-based goodies… and try to avoid cheese! If you find that plain veggies are too bland, try adding some goodies like olives, capers, or marinated veggies like artichoke or eggplant to boost the intensity of the flavour! I didn’t have any on hand but some cashew “cheese” would taste amazing on top too.

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So glad to be able to share this recipe with you lovelies! If you make anything of mine, chuck it up on Instagram with #naturallytesscreation so I can have a squizz! It makes me unbelievably happy to know I am inspiring people with wholesome foods.


INGREDIENTS FOR CRUST

  • 1 cob of corn (preferably organic)
  • 350g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into rough 2cm chunks
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp pink himalayan sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • Can of organic diced tomatoes to use as pizza sauce

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 220ºC.
  2. Break corn cob in half and place in steamer saucepan with chopped pumpkin. Put water in the bottom and steam covered, on medium heat for 15 minutes or until pumpkin is soft and breaks apart easily.
  3. While veggies are steaming, place oats in food processor and pulse until a fine flour forms.
  4. Add the almond meal and pulse until combined. Remove mixture from food processor and set aside in bowl.
  5. Let the steamed veggies cool for 15 minutes. Cut the steamed corn off of the cob and place in food processor with steamed pumpkin. Don’t worry if it is still warm. Pulse to get a smooth, creamy mixture.
  6. Pour into the bowl with the almond meal/oat mix. Add salt, desired amount of pepper and parsley. Mix thoroughly with a spoon.
  7. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper and divide the mixture evenly between the two. Spread around to a circular shape, about 7mm thick, making the edges slightly thicker. They should be about 20cm in diameter.
  8. Place trays in oven for 25 minutes or until the edges are becoming crispy and golden.
  9. Take out and spread a thin layer of the tin of chopped tomatoes on each crust. Top with your favourite toppings. Mine had kale, cherry tomatoes, purple cabbage and zucchini slices.
  10. Place back in the oven for another 8 minutes to give the toppings warmth and a slight crispiness.
  11. Cut into slices and enjoy! I put some fresh baby spinach and avocado on after too for extra deliciousness and veggie goodness!