It’s meat free weekThis happens each year in Australia and the UK. My best friend Amel challenged me to attempt it together with her. My goal is to eat at least one meat free meal each day. In doing this we will:

  • be more considerate of the impact of meat in our diets and on the earth
  • support the cause for bowel cancer awareness (bowel cancer risk increases with amount of meat consumed)

Even though the kids and I regularly do meatless Mondays, doing meat free for a whole week would be a real challenge for us. My husband is a big meat lover. My kids too. It’s what we are used. Teaching the kids awareness of their actions and consumption is important. Even if we are not completely meat free, being mindful of what we eat and it’s impact on our earth is a positive step.

What has helped me be more mindful this week is all the interesting meat free (and vegan) meal inspiration on Instagram. One blogger in particular I follow, The Korean Vegan, is amazing. Her meals and bakes are modern veganisations of Korean food. I asked Joanne if she would be willing to share a post on Bakelife as part of my meat free inspiration for everyone out there. Unfortunately she has a super hectic schedule travelling this week so wouldn’t be able to post something. 

Instead, I browsed her blog for some inspiration and found this recipe for Kimchi Mac & Cheese. I won’t be able to try this until we get back, but here it is for you. Totally meat free, totally vegan. KIMCHI MAC & CHEESE. I don’t mind a good mac and cheese every now and then, and I love kimchi. These two things put together make for a very interesting meal. There’s a lot of new ingredients in this recipe, but do some googling and you’ll find it’s not as overwhelming as it looks.

Ingredients (I will adapt from The Korean Vegan)

For the cheese sauce

  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1/2 russet potato thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 a jalapeno sliced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (no idea where I will find this!)
  • 1 tbsp Gochujang
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Korean chilli powder (or paprika)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup cashews (soaked in water for 4 hours or overnight)
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pickled jalapeno juice (I think I’ll use the juice from a jar of jalapenos)
  • 2 tsp Kimchi juice

Toppings

  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tbsp + 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp agave (I’ll use brown rice syrup)
  • 1/2 tbsp Gochujan
  • 1/2 cup Kimchi
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Plus Macaroni pasta of your choice

Method

  1. In a small pot, heat oil and add onions and garlic. Cook until softened.
  2. Add potatoes, jalapeño, chipotle, gochujang, garlic powder, salt. Stir until potatoes start to soften and all vegetables are evenly coated.
  3. Deglaze the bottom of the pot with the 1/2 cup water and bring to boil. Cook until potatoes are tender.
  4. Empty contents of pot into high powered blender. Add remaining ingredients (cashews, nutritional yeast, almond milk, lemon juice, jalapeno juice, kimchi juice) and blend on high for a few minutes, until creamy and smooth.
  5. Now cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water. In the same pot that you cooked the pasta with, throw your cooked pasta back in together with your cheese sauce, as well as a little pasta water in case sauce gets too dry. Mix and then scoop pasta into a casserole tray or similar (cast iron pot also works).
  6. For the breadcrumb topping, combine breadcrumbs, salt, and 1/2 tbsp sesame oil until breadcrumbs are nicely coated. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta.
  7. Place in preheated oven at 230°C for 15-20 minutes until breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  8. Meanwhile, heat up 1 tbsp of sesame oil. Add kimchi, gochujang, agave (or substitute) and saute until the kimchi is caramelised.
  9. Add caramelized kimchi to baked pasta. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. 

Not too hard right?

Even if you’re not vegan or doing meat free week, give this a go and let me know what you think.

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