I really do love this time of the year. It’s officially my favourite month. Don’t get me wrong, I am a summer baby at heart, but there is something real bloody special about autumn. The weather is usually nicer, clearer skies but a cool breeze in the air, which I’m totally ok with. It’s also great because you can actually accept that you will need to leave the house with some sort of jacket, potentially even a scarf, but my oh my do I love my big burnt orange/brown scarf. It really is one of the greatest purchases I’ve made, I feel like it MAKES my autumn wardrobe. I feel like my head becomes clearer at this time of the year too, I feel less scatty. Almost like I can settle a bit and let time do its thaaaaang and just get on with a tad more calmness, if that makes any sense at all? Perhaps it’s post summer pressure. Weirdly, I feel like everyone tries to do everything in the summer, yet also holidaying as much as possible at the same time. The summer was weird for me, I didn’t holiday, I went through some big changes with the business and came to a lot of conclusions that I’d needed to for a while. Anywho, I won’t go into at the this time, this post is more about those gorgeous roasted veggies, Octobers finest produce, the cauliflower and parsnips (in particular) have been seriously good!

There is really something some hearty about roasted veggies, especially loaded with all the herbs, rosemary, thyme, they compliment each other so well. As for the greens, well we all know how important it is to eat them in abundance, so the addition of garlic really spruces them up. Every now and again, I get a real hankering for pesto. It doesn’t happen that frequently because I have basil almost everyday, but pesto, well hello. I really think it pays off to buy good quality basil when making your own, the flavour is very important. I wasn’t feeling like a heavy pesto/sauce this time round, not the kind you may pile onto some freshly cooked spelt pasta, but more of a drizzle, making the whole dish even more fun. Fun, can I describe a dish like that? Too late, I went there.This dish is a really great crowd pleaser, as well as for yourself. It’s very adaptable, simply use more of the veggies and greens, the sauce will go pretty far, so fear not. It’s got wholesome written all over it, leaving you feel nourished and just warm inside. With the weather getting a little colder, I think it’s important that we eat warmer foods. Don’t get me wrong, I love a fresh salad, but there’s something that really puts me off eating entirely cold meals at the time of the year.

I will note here that, if you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know I barely use oil, unless we’re talking baking where coconut oil is necessary, but other than that, I rarely use it. My tastebuds have certainly changed and I feel a whole lot better and, even thought I really despise this word, cleaner. There is a lot of research into avoiding oil, to which I have no become so used to, I wouldn’t look back. We don’t need it to cook at all, but by no means am I say that you have to do the same. This is a personal choice. Of course I’ll dine out and it can’t really be avoided, but when cooking at home, I like to keep it simple, natural etc etc…. just thought I’d mention, as you are more than welcome to roast your veggies in oil, however, I do not. There are very simply ways to cooking without or replacements in recipes, for example, water (with stock too) instead of oil, non stick pans, baking paper, subs such as tahini or soaked nuts, silken tofu, lemon. More than happy to write a post on this, perhaps I will, but for those interested, a few great links here and here. Otherwise, let’s get cracking shall we!

What you’ll need: Serves 2
Roasted veg:
1 sweet potato – wedges
1 large parsnip (or 2 small) – wedges
1/2 fennel bulb – large chunks
1/2 head cauliflower – chopped into florets
6 medium button mushrooms – quartered
1/2 large leek (or 1 whole small) – sliced thick
120g firm tofu – cubed
Fresh thyme
Fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

Greens:
1 head pak choy (or 2 depending on the size, it wilts down a lot once cooked)
4/5 large kale leaves – stems removed, roughly chopped
1/2 lemon – juiced
1 clove garlic

Pesto sauce:
35g fresh basil
1/2 lemon juiced
2 spring onions
2 tbsp coconut aminos
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 heaped tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4-1/3 cup plant based milk, I used oat
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp tahini
Pepper

What to do:
1. First of all, preheat your oven to about 190 degrees celsius. Chop your veggies ready to roast. Line a baking tray with some parchment paper, setting the sweet potato on here first. Roast on its own for about 10 minutes.
2. Add the rest of the vegetables, tofu and herbs. Season with salt and pepper and put back in the oven to roast for about 15/20 minutes. You could add the mushrooms and leeks a little later so they don’t shrink too much, but totally up to you. Be sure to check on these half way through and give them a little jiggle.
3. Now make the dressing. Simply place all of the ingredients into a blender and blitz. You may want to add a little more milk or lemon juice to make it runnier, or you could tahini to thicken it up a tad. Place to one side.
4. To make the greens, in a non stick pan, add a dash of water and place the chopped greens in. On a very low heat, allow to wilt a little before adding the minced garlic and lemon juice, mix well. Place a lid on the pan and allow the greens to cook through.
5. Your vegetables should now be nice and roasted, with a beeeeautiful aroma.
6. To serve, using spaghetti tongs or a slotted spoon, divide the greens, followed by the roasted vegetables. Drizzle the sauce over both, season with a little more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with a dollop of hummus (pinto bean hummus pictured) or coconut yoghurt.

Note* you could also add some additional nutritional yeast here or some toasted pine nuts. Fresh sourdough is also a real winner with this dish, helping to soak up some of the left over pesto sauce.

So there we have it gang.. omg I can’t believe I just typed that, but clearly I did and I’m clearly not going to remove it.. gang. Who am I?