Five or so years ago when I first transitioned to a plant-based diet for health reasons, Deliciously Ella Everyday became my cooking bible. I would say 85% of my meals came out of that book. I would spend hours batch cooking breakfasts, lunches, and dinners on a Sunday, to keep me going for the week ahead. So many of Deliciously Ella’s recipes are perfect for nutritious and tasty meal prepping, that even now four or so years on, with my lifestyle having changed a lot, I still find myself coming back to my favourites time and again.
In anticipation of the release of the new Deliciously Ella Quick and Easy cookbook, I revisited their most recently released book, The Plant-based Cookbook.
There are six sections in the recipe book:
- Falafel, burgers and dips
- Warming soups, stews and curries
- Gatherings and supper clubs
I have yet to cook anything from the last section of the book, but I love the idea – they share the menus from a handful of pop-ups they’ve held as part of festivals or events, and it definitely gives me inspiration for plant-based menus for a special occasion.
The other five sections I’ve tried numerous recipes from, so I thought I’d highlight some of those that I’ve visited recently during lockdown. I hope it gives you some homemade inspiration!
Cauliflower and butterbean falafel
It’s so fun trying out different flavour combinations for falafel. The same box of cheap ready made Cauldron falafel from Tesco can get old pretty quickly, and the box doesn’t last very long. These ones are a bit more involved, with roasting of cauliflower and some intense blending which seemed to take forever (probably just my dulling food processor blades) before having to bake the things, but after an enjoyable afternoon spent in the kitchen, I was left with a box full of freshly made falafels to top my lunch bowls with for the rest of the week. I was pleased to see a recipe that uses butterbeans considering there was no shortage of them in the supermarket, unlike some of the other more popular pulses. The hint of chilli is a great addition too.
I’m sure anyone who has made houmous at home has their go-to recipe, and will likely never go back to shop bought. I love the classic version that Ella shares, as well as the variety of interesting combinations she suggests that you could add into the blender to mix things up with the flavours. This houmous comes together in minutes, is just so healthy and delicious, and is really cheap to make in comparison to the inferior supermarket varieties! If you haven’t tried making your own yet I really recommend giving it a go.
Pea and mint quinoa salad
One of my favourite summery salad combinations. This recipe is pretty simple and you’ll have it memorised in no time as this is one I come back to time and again. The simple ingredients are tossed together with a zingy dressing that makes this a great lunch to make to enjoy fresh at home or take in a tupperware on the go. I’ve batch cooked this one and it keeps fine for a couple of days with the dressing separate and added in just before you eat. Goes great with some leafy greens and some of that homemade houmous!
Mixed bean chilli and cornbread
I’ve come back to this recipe more than once too. We make different versions of chilli on almost a weekly basis so we couldn’t refrain from adding our own personal touches – swapping out the pre-made cans of mixed beans for our own favourites, sneaking in some extra veggies and herbs – but as a staple recipe to start off from it is great. The star of the recipe is the cornbread, which I definitely didn’t make any tweaks to as it’s just right as it is, and elevates the meal from your standard weeknight dinner to something a bit special. The cornbread recipe says it serves 10 and is best served fresh, so we halved the quantities – and were still eating it three days later. It definitely was nicest on the first night so I’d probably quarter the recipe next time. Ultimate comfort food dish.
This was the recipe that I was most keen to come out right. They serve this brownie at the Deliciously Ella Deli in London, and it’s now in freezers in supermarkets across the UK, so we tried it when it was on offer (usually a bit pricey at £5 for two little squares of brownie). In fairness it was a really beautiful brownie and I had been craving more ever since, so I was crossing everything that this recipe would fare me well. And it did! It’s surprisingly straight-forward to follow and came together very easily with one mixing bowl. I subbed spelt flour for quinoa flour – no idea if that was a good idea but it was all I had to hand. I also came to understand why the frozen desserts were so expensive, as I bought a small sachet of coconut sugar at great expense. I really recommend that you do that though because it gives these brownies such a beautifully rich, deep caramel-like flavour. Absolute heaven on its own, or with lashings of vegan custard, or ice cream. I will be revisiting this recipe often!
I also really recommend the Deliciously Ella app, which I bought an annual subscription to for only £9.99 and use every week – you can stay up to date with their podcast, guided meditations, new recipes almost daily, and yoga classes, the library of which are being added to constantly too. So much more content to enjoy and keep you healthy and feeling inspired, particularly at a time when we may have to be cooking at home more often than we would usually!
Have you tried any of Deliciously Ella’s recipes before? Any favourites? Let me know in the comments!