Kale & Tofu Vegan Filo Pie with a Bell Pepper Sauce

Kale & Tofu Filo Pie

We are LOVING kale at the moment as you may have gathered from recent recipes! It is a standard component of mine and hubby’s lunch stir fry when our LO is at nursery (i.e. not eating what we are). I will confidently state that my Little Miss K will not touch Kale with a barge pole. So much so, that it is not even worth the fight. In all honesty, if I were a kid her age, I would run a mile also; it is bitter, rough with fibre and very ‘salary’, which translates into ‘not fun’.

As an adult however, we have developed more of an appreciation for flavours, textures and health benefits. Kale is one of those, which sits at the top of the list.
Not to say this is a recipe for kids as it is great for us bog kids also but for me, we have hit the dreaded summer holiday period and my beloved daughter is around for every meal!

So, to Kale or not to Kale?!? That is the question! Or is it? Should it not be, how can we keep this awesome bit of green-ness in our diet throughout the summer?

I’m all for blending it up! Well, I am sure there are many many ideas out there to make leafy veggies like Kale, kid-friendly but here is just one I randomly tried and which worked (to my greatest surprise) and here are my top 3 reasons why:

  • Steam Steam Steam = Significantly reduced natural bitterness of the kale
  • Gotta love food processors = Mix it up by blending flavours so no taste is too overpowering
  • Homemade sauce = parental sugar control and lets be honest, the moment you mention the word ‘sauce’ to a kid, there is an association with ketchup and hence immediate excitement!


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Serves: 3 large pies
  • ½ pack tofu 250g
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 4-5 sundried tomato, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 heaped tspn ginger, chopped fine
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 sheets FILO pastry
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper (small)
  • 1 orange bell pepper (small)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp cornflour mixed in half cup water
Preparing The Filling
  1. Lightly press the tofu to remove the excess water. This can be done with a tofu press or wrapping the tofu several times in kitchen roll and placing on a wooden chopping board with a weight on top (eg a plate with some tinned cans on top). Leave like this for 10-15 minutes allowing the water to drain out
  2. Destalk, wash and steam the kale for 4-5 minutes
  3. Blend the Sundried tomatoes, garlic and ginger in a food processor
  4. Add the kale and blend again to form a paste
  5. Now roughly chop the pressed tofu and add into the food processor with salt and pepper to taste
  6. Blend again
  7. Meanwhile lightly toast the pine nuts in a fry pan over a low flame and stir into the tofu kale mixture
Preparing The Pies
  1. Place a sheet of FILO pastry on you work surface
  2. Place scoops of the mixture in a horizontal line about ⅓ of the way up the pastry sheet, leaving approximately 1.5 inches on either side.
  3. Brush some olive oil on the top ⅓rd and down each side before rolling, to ensure the pastry sticks. Roll the pastry bottom up and fold over, encasing the mixture, and press down each side.
  4. Place your rectangular shaped pie on a non stick baking tray and brush the top with olive oil. This will give it a golden finish once baked.
  5. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 180 degrees C.
For the tomato and bell pepper sauce
  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes and bell peppers.
  2. Blend together with the minced garlic, salt and sugar
  3. Add in the cornflour mixture and blend again
  4. Transfer to a pan, bring to the boil and summer and stir for 2 minutes.
  1. Remove the pies from the oven when golden and serve with the sauce.


Hotch-Potch Pasta Bake

A favourite from my own childhood and still a hit with my own little one. Quick and easy to make with great flavours from each of its components.

HotchPotch Pasta Bake

Hotch Potch Pasta Bake
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Serves: 4 servings
  • 3 cups Conchiglie (shell) pasta
  • 1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 20-25 mushrooms, destalked, skinned and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 can baked beans
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper (optional)
  • Grated cheese to sprinkle layer baking dish
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Place pasta in salted boiling water to cook, whilst you prepare the sauce as below.
  3. Heat a generous swig of olive oil in a non stick pan and salute the onions and green peppers for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add in the garlic and mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms soften.
  5. Now add in the chopped tomatoes and simmer for a further 5 minutes until the tomatoes create a paste-like sauce.
  6. Drain the pasta once cooked.
  7. Once the tomatoes are cooked and soft, add in the baked beans, ketchup, salt, pepper and cooked pasta and mix well.
  8. Set in a baking dish and sprinkle cheese on top and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until cheese has browned slightly.


Spinach & Kale Pesto Pizza Pie

Spinach and Kale Pesto Pizza Pie
It goes without saying that Kale is the ‘in thing’ in terms of healthy eating and fresh vegetables. In all honesty, it is hard enough to get kids to eat spinach these days and then when we now throw in Kale, which is all the more bitter in taste and tougher to chew through, we are asking for a challenge!

Why so popular? Kale is one of the most nutritious greens available in stores today and packed with vitamins A, K and C. To put it in perspective for you, a cup of steamed kale has over 1000% more vitamin C than a cup of steamed spinach.

So the question is, how to I pack these nutrients in a kid-friendly way? Answer, hide them and pizza-fy them.

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Serves: 1 (with extra pesto to spare)
  • 1 bunch kale (approximately 200g)
  • ½ bag spinach (approximately 100g)
  • 1 pack basil, chopped (30g)
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • Generous swig olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed (depending on strength preference)
  • Salt to taste
For the Puff Pastry Pizzas
  • I pack ready roll puff pastry (refrigerated not frozen)
  • 300-400g medium or mature cheddar cheese (or vegan cheese)
  • 100-150g cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Handful of black sliced olives
  1. Roughly chop and thoroughly wash the kale and spinach.
  2. Steam for 5-10 minutes until wilted down.
  3. Meanwhile, place the pine nuts and garlic in a food processor until the pine nuts are ground.
  4. Add in the steamed kale, spinach, olive oil, basil and salt and process once again until a smooth paste is formed.
  5. Taste and add any further salt or olive oil if required.
For Spinach and Kale Puff Pizzas
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Roll out puff pastry to fit a 12-14 inch non-stick pie or baking dish.
  3. Place the pastry in the oven for 5 minutes and remove.
  4. Spread a generous layer of Spinach and Kale Pesto on the puff pastry pastry
  5. Sprinkle between 300-400g of medium or mature cheddar cheese on top of the pesto.
  6. Then add chopped tomatoes (halved), fresh basil, olives and any other toppings you wish and bake in the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until the pastry has browned and become crisp.



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15-Minute One-Pot Ratatouille

I love how simple, quick and easy this is to make. It is one of the most versatile and healthy dishes i know of and goes with pretty much anything.

A medley of Mediterranean vegetables, which tastes great with jackets, rice, pasta or as a savoury pancake filling (my personal favourite). It can also be as kid friendly as you want as you can chop the veggies as big or as small as you like..

One-Pot Ratatouille
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Serves: 6
  • Ingredients
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 large coloured pepper (yellow / orange or red)
  • ½ can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ vegetable stock cube
  • 3 tbspn olive oil
  • 1 tbspn English yellow mustard
  • Salt to taste
  1. Chop the vegetables into medium sized chunks
  2. In a large pan, add the olive oil and sauté the chopped vegetables on a medium flame for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, blend the tin of chopped tomatoes with your vegetable stock cube.
  4. Once the vegetables have softened a little, add the pureed tomatoes, vegetable stock and mustard.
  5. Add salt to taste and allow the Ratatouille to cook for a further few minutes.
  6. Serve with jacket potato and cheese, rice, pasta or even savoury pancakes


Tofu Okra Curry

Tofu Okra CurryGreen veggies, protein and saucy; this tofu okra curry makes a great family meal when combined with a portion of rice or quinoa. The vegetables are all out there with this colourful concoction and there is no hiding from them but it’s mild and tasty so worth the try if your kids are ready for that next step.

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Serves: 6-8 portions
  • 5-6 large okras
  • 1 large pepper
  • 1 14oz pack of firm or extra firm tofu
  • 1 onion
For the Gravy
  • 125g / half box cherry tomato
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbspn ground cashew nut powder
  • 1 tbspn sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • cooking oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Prepare the tofu by draining out the water it is packaged within and then pressing it to remove the excess water. If you do not have a tofu press, you can do this by wrapping kitchen roll around the tofu 5-6 times and placing the slab on a chopping board with a weight on top (I use a frying pan). Leave for 10-15 minutes and prepare the remaining ingredients,
  2. Wash the okra with cool water and drain well. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel and cut off the stems.
  3. Chop crosswise into ½ inch slices and set aside
  4. Wash, deseed and cut the red pepper into bite-sized chunks and then peel and chop the onion into similar sized pieces.
  5. Now unwrap the tofu and cut into 1 inch rectangular pieces.
Cooking the Veggies
  1. In a large non-stick wok and using about 3 tablespoons of cooking oil, stir-fry the tofu pieces for about 5 minutes until they are crispy on all sides. Remove the tofu pieces from the pan.
  2. In the same pan, add in the pepper, onion and okra and cook for a further 5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and add the tofu back in.
The Gravy
  1. In a separate pan, make the gravy.
  2. Wash and dice the cherry tomatoes.
  3. In about 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, add in the coriander seeds. After 1 minute add in the tomatoes, turmeric powder, garam masala, salt and sugar.
  4. Allow to cook for 5 minutes on a low heat until the tomatoes have softened
  5. Add in the water and cashew powder and then blend with an electric blender to create a smooth gravy.
Final Touches
  1. Pour the gravy over the cooked vegetable, tofu mixture, simmer on a low heat and mix well.
  2. Serve hot with rice, quinoa or any Indian bread


Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Roasted Butternut RisottoK has loved butternut from the days of baby purees and its smooth and subtle taste is still a winner with her. The combination of roasted butternut squash with creme fraiche makes this risotto dish smooth and creamy. Now, although risotto is intended to be served al dente, my kid-friendly version allows for a little extra cooking to give a slightly softer feel.

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Serves: 6-8 portions
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • Fresh rosemary (bunch)
  • 1 tbsp crème fraiche
  • salt & pepper
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Chop the butternut into medium sized cubes and place in the oven with rosmary and olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, on a low-medium flame, sauté the onions in the butter for 2-3 minutes and then add the risotto rice and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetable stock, one ladleful at a time, stirring regularly until the rice is cooked to your preferred softness. If you run out of stock, continue to add boiled water. This should take 15-20 minutes.
  5. Once cooked, remove from the stove.
  6. Remove the butternut from the oven, mash with a fork and add into the risotto.
  7. Stir in the crème fraiche and add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve hot to your tot.


Eggless Spinach and Mushroom Pancakes

Eggless Spinach & Mushroom PancakesSavoury pancakes make a great meal and well received by kids, especially when a yummy dessert pancake often follows them. They are cunning way to pack in vegetables for your little one and serve them under the pretense of ‘fun food’. I like substantial, warm fillings like Spinach and Mushroom or Ratatouille and Cheese. The fresh spinach in this recipe does taste much better, however you could use frozen spinach if you have time pressure or it has just been one of those days.

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Serves: 6
For the pancake
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 tbspn sunflower oil (or any cooking oil)
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1 tspn herb paste (I use Bart Infusions Mixed Herbs paste)

For the filling
  • 1 bag fresh spinach (or 3 cups chopped spinach)
  • 1 small onion
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 3 tbspn double cream/ cooking cream
  • 1 tbspn ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbspn olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
For the pancakes
  1. Put all the ingredients together into a large bowl and whisk thoroughly until you have a smooth and lump-free batter.
  2. Place a large non-stick frying pan or crepe pan on a medium flame and wait for one to two minutes for the pan to heat up.
  3. For each pancake, spoon a ladle of pancake mixture onto the frying pan and swirl the pan around to distribute and thin out the pancake to an even, round layer.
  4. Once the bottom side is cooked, flip over and cook the other side.
  5. Remove from the pan and place on a plate.
  6. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Depending on your size of ladle, you should be able to make approximately 6 pancakes.
For the Spinach and Mushroom filling
  1. Wash and chop the spinach finely, dice the onion and slice the mushrooms. In a medium sized frying pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions. After about 2 minutes, add the mushrooms and spinach and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes until the spinach has wilted down. Then add in the cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Heat the mixture and keep aside.
Preparing the pancakes
  1. Fold the pancake in half and spread some butter on one side of the folded pancake. Place back on the frying pan, buttered side down and cook until the bottom side becomes crisp.
  2. Place on a plate and spoon some creamy spinach mixture on half of the semi-circular-shaped pancake. Fold in half again so it is now a quarter of the size of the original and serve hot.


Coconut & Chickpea Curry

This was a bit hit with K and hubby. It is mild, rich and full of flavour. The chickpeas cook in the tangy coconut broth, softening them so they become easy enough to eat for toddler teeth. I made it completely mild as we don’t eat spicy in our household, but some red chilli powder or chopped red chillies would heat it up.

We ate it with quinoa & potato patties but it goes just as well with steamed rice.

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Serves: 10 servings
  • 6 medium sized tomatoes
  • ¼ butternut squash
  • 2 tbspn sunflower/vegetable oil
  • ½ tspn turmeric powder
  • ¼ tspn asafoetida powder (optional)
  • ½ tspn cumin seeds
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 1 tspn minced ginger
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • ½ tspn cumin/coriander powder
  • ½ tspn garam masala
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ cup chopped coriander
  • Salt to taste
  • Serve with quinoa & potato patties or a portion of steamed rice.
  1. Finely chop & dice the tomatoes and butternut into small pieces.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the curry leaves, cumin seeds, turmeric and asafoedita.
  3. After about 1 minute, add the minced ginger, tomatoes and butternut squash. Cook on a high flame for 5 minutes.
  4. Now add the cumin/coriander powder, garam masala, salt and stir in.
  5. Pour in the cocounut milk and chickpeas and then cook for 15-20 minutes until the chickpeas are soft and tender. The butternut squash should also be soft by this point.
  6. Add the chopped coriander, cook for a further 2 minutes and serve.
Serve with quinoa & potato patties or a portion of steamed rice.