This is part of what we are about - bringing healthy, great tasting recipes to everyone.  Below is one of our favourites.


BLACK BEAN, QUINOA and SWEET POTATO CHILLI:  a super healthy recipe

2 400g packs of black beans, rinsed and drained

150g quinoa washed and drained

1 sweet potato cut into 1 cm cubes

1 large red onion, finely chopped

3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 large fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 400g pack of passata

1/4 litre bouillon vegetable stock (more if needed)

1/4 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp oregano


Avocado/coriander/lime for garnish

Serve with a green salad, flatbreads or tortilla chips




Heat 2 or 3 tbsp stock or water and gently fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes until soft.

Stir in the chilli, cumin and oregano.
Add the beans, quinoa, potatoes, stock and passata.

Raise the heat briefly, stirring to avoid burning, then turn down to a simmer.

Cook uncovered and stir occasionally, for 20 minutes.

(Recipe can be adapted eg using pinto beans, adding peppers, corn, courgettes or mushrooms etc.)


Benefits of Black Beans

Black beans were first domesticated thousands of years ago in Peru, and quickly became a staple of the South American diet. They first came to Europe when explorers came home with them in the 1500s.


They are very high in fiber, folate, protein, and antioxidants, along with numerous other vitamins and minerals. Black beans make a complete protein when paired with brown rice, which is often why they are so commonly included in a vegetarian diet.


Digestive Tract Benefits:
The high quantity of both protein and fiber in black beans help to move food through the stomach to the large intestine at a healthier pace. This keeps any one part of the digestive tract from having to work too hard and supports the ideal balance of chemicals and populations of microorganisms required for a healthy digestive system.


Blood Sugar Regulation:
The steady movement of protein and fiber through the digestive system allows for a measured breakdown of food into its component parts. This even breakdown of food helps to curtail extremes regarding simple sugar uptake from the digestive tract. An excess of simple sugar uptake all at once can produce an unwanted blood sugar spike. A lack of simple sugar uptake may produce a rapid blood sugar drop. Either extreme can upset blood sugar balance. The quantity of fiber and protein in black beans helps avoid both extremes.


Cardiovascular Health:
Black beans are abundant in soluble fiber, which is specifically the type of fiber that has been found very helpful in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Lowered risks of coronary heart disease and heart attack have both been associated with increased consumption of soluble fiber, particularly from legumes.


Black beans also contain a wide variety of both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which combat cardiovascular disease. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection is particularly important for the cardiovascular system. When blood vessels are exposed to excessive oxidative stress or inflammation, risk for disease development is considerably higher. The prevention of oxidative stress and inflammation lowers risk of acquiring most cardiovascular diseases.


Black beans are also high in folate and magnesium, both nutrients highly associated with preservation of cardiovascular health, and the antioxidant minerals zinc and manganese.


Cancer Prevention:

Considering that black beans contain at least 8 different flavonoids with enormous antioxidant potential, and their high content of phytochemicals, it's hardly surprising that studies have connected black bean consumption with reduced risk of certain cancers. Recent studies have suggested considerable effectiveness against colon adenoma, a non-cancerous tumor that can progress into colon cancer.


Nervous System Health:
Folate, or vitamin B6, is particularly abundant in black beans. The nervous system relies on folate to produce the amino acids it needs to function. For pregnant women a deficiency in folate can cause the improper development of the fetus's brain and spinal cord. The high iron content of black beans is also particularly beneficial to pregnant women.


Rich in Molybdenum
Black beans are an extremely rich source of the trace mineral molybdenum. Molybdenum serves the useful purpose of breaking down and detoxifying sulfites found in foods like salads and wines. Many people are sensitive to sulfites, and may they cause rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation when consumed. Studies also suggest that molybdenum deficiencies can result in impotence in older men.



Quinoa: its benefits

Quinoa dates back three to four thousand years ago when the Incas first realized that the quinoa seed was fit for human consumption. According to WHFoods quinoa “was the gold of the Incas” because the Incas believed it increased the stamina of their warriors. The Quinoa Corporation calls quinoa the “Supergrain of the Future. ”  Who would not want to reap the benefits of this amazing superfood?


Here are seven health benefits of quinoa:


1. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.


2. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber is most widely known to relieve constipation. It also helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and may help you to lose weight as it takes a longer time to chew than does other foods because it makes you feel fuller for longer and is less “energy dense” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food.


3. Quinoa contains Iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. Iron also increases brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. There are many benefits of iron some more of which include neurotransmitter synthesis, regulation of body temperature, aids enzyme activity and energy metabolism.


4. Quinoa contains lysine. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.


5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. Other health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.


6. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.


7. Quinoa has a high content of manganese. Manganese is an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.

Quick Black Bean Chilli

½ cup water

1 red onion finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 red pepper diced

1 small cob of corn kernels

1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes

2 cans of black beans

½ tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano


Heat the water in the pan. Add the onion, garlic and pepper and cook for 5 minuttes. Add the other ingredients and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Serve over rice and top with avocado, coriander and lime juice.


Easy banana-strawberry nice cream


2 frozen bananas

1 cup frozen strawberries

2 tbsp cashew butter

2 tbsp almond milk


Blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Place in a tub and freeze for 1 hour until firm. Serve with toppings of your choice.




The first Vegan Event of 2016 was a cookery demonstration  by local plant  based cook and recipe designer Kim Close.


Kim showed us how to make a vegan cheese using simple ingredients such as cashew nuts, a little soya yoghurt and water.  She then flavoured it with sun dried tomato and garlic.  The result was delicious.

As well as the cheese, Kim brought with her a vegan cheese cake which she had made earlier.  AMAZING....


For more information see

Leek and Smoked Tofu Pie

This recipe serves four


750 grams peeled sweet potatoes

1 tbsp vegan margarine

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper

1 onion finely chopped

2 large leeks sliced (about 300g)

Olive oil

1 clove garlic crushed

1tbsp nori flakes

200g smoked tofu chopped into small cubes

250 ml vegetable stock

100g frozen peas

10g chopped parsley

2 level tsp cornflour

250 ml plant milk

1  For the topping , cut peeled sweet potatoes into large chunks and cook until tender.  Drain and mash with margarine and pinch of ground nutmeg.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

2  While sweet potatoes are cooking, start making the filling. Saute the onion and leek in good sized saucepan in some olive oil until softened.  

Add the tofu pieces, garlic and nori flakes

Stir in the vegetable stock, parsley and peas and simmer for a few minutes

5 Take about three tbsp of the milk and blend with the cornflour in a separate bowl until smooth.  Pour this along with the rest of the milk into the pie filling. Stir continuously  over a medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken

 Transfer the filling into a large ovenproof dish  and top with the mashed sweet potato.  

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 20 minutes at 190 degrees C/gas mark 5

Plant Based Living


Plant Based Living: Tel : 07982 207558


Plant Based Living is run by John McKeever.

John has been a plant based and vegan advocate for over 30 years and is a graduate of the Stonebridge College Level Three Practitioner course in Vegetarian and Vegan Nutrition. 


He is also part of the team bringing plant based

cookery classes into schools and colleges on behalf of Animal Aid.




"The worst foods for calcium balance are those high in protein and low in calcium such as meat, fish and eggs." Stephen Ward, Plant Based Nutrition and Health


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