Founder of Wildly Tasty Louisa’s speciality is plant-based family food. Here she debunks a lot of meat-free myths and shares her go-to green recipes.
With an extensive background in food – from manufacturing, PR, restaurants and then an exciting break working with the founders of Mindful Chef, heading up recipe development when the business was in its infancy; when Louisa created and launched their vegan recipe boxes, she knew she was onto something. “I’ve always been passionate about making mealtime delicious and it’s actually really easy to create tasty, flavoursome, healthy meals made from completely plant based ingredients.”
Experiment with flavours
“As a parent, I understand mealtimes need to be easy, healthy and that kids need to not just eat their greens but enjoy them. Introducing tasty veg at a young age is crucial; taste buds develop in the first two years. Take them food shopping, let them help you cook; involve them as much as possible to facilitate healthier habits into adulthood.”
“Struggling with teens? It’s all about flavour! Get clever using different veg and experiment with spices. Nut butters add richness to a sauce or curry and sundried tomatoes intensify flavours.”
Planning is key
“Plant-based need not be expensive. It’s cheaper! Meat is expensive and what you don’t spend you can use on better quality ingredients. I use Italian organic tomatoes because they just taste amazing! Add to your leftover roasted veg from Sunday and you’ve got a delicious stir-in pasta sauce. Batch cook and make extra for pack lunches – a flask, heated in the morning, will stay warm until lunchtime.”
PLANT-BASED SHOPPING LIST
Louisa’s essential ingredients to add to your cupboard
1: Sundried tomatoes
2: Nutritional yeast (Add or sprinkle in sauces. High in protein and B vitamins)
3: Soy Sauce
5: Smoked paprika (Adds a smoky flavour you might have got from meats)
6: Nut Butters
8: Spices (Don’t let them sit in the cupboard for too long!)
1 can rinsed, drained lentils
400g chopped tomatoes or passata
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
300g your choice mixed veggies (peppers, carrots, courgettes, aubergine, mushrooms)
2 tbsp tomato puree
5 sundried tomatoes
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Fresh basil, chopped
Spaghetti (cook as per instructions)
1. Finely chop the onion and garlic and thinly slice the veggies
and sundried tomatoes.
2. Cook the onion in a little olive oil until softened. Add the garlic, then stir through the other veggies and cook until starting to turn golden on a medium heat. Add tomato puree, chopped tomatoes
(or passata), lentils, sundried tomatoes, dried mixed herbs, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast (if using) and 200ml water. Simmer for
20 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Spoon the spaghetti into bowls, top with the bolognese and
a sprinkle of chopped basil leaves.
Chickpea Cookie Dough Balls
50g oats or oat flour
1 can drained, rinsed chickpeas
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp maple syrup
Handful of vegan chocolate chips or raisins (optional)
1. If using whole or rolled oats, blend into a flour first in a food processor. Add the chickpeas, coconut oil and maple syrup and blend for 30-60 seconds until smooth. Stir in (optional) chocolate chips or raisins.
2. Place in a bowl in the fridge to chill and firm up for 30 minutes.
3. Roll small handfuls of the chickpea cookie dough into balls then they’re ready to eat and will keep for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge.
Louisa Mitchell is the founder of Wildy Tasty, a planet-friendly business based in Surrey that makes plant-based meals for kids and families.