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Food for Free: Vegan Recipes with Seasonal Wild Medicinal Weeds, Gluten-Free & Refined Sugar-Free


by Simona Yovcheva June 6th, 2022

 

Content:

Wild Flowers Oatcakes

Banana, Walnut, Chia & Wild Herbs Loaf

Wild Greens Vegan Pesto

A PDF version is available to download here:

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The following vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free treats, are supper easy to make and are packed with medicinal plants and so much amazing wild flavours. The meadows and woodlands of Newcastle are literally the main ingredient here. I love using wild edibles in my cooking. We are surrounded by so much medicinal and nutritious native plants which are considered invasive weeds. There is so much effort to kill them with all sorts of toxic weedkillers which are so damaging for the soil, the wild life and for humans. If only we revived their use in our cooking, natural medicine and cosmetics making, perhaps the invasive weed issue would seize to exist. Not because we would have finally exterminated the plants but because our relationship to them would have shifted. I like to envision often a world where knowing and foraging for the herbs, the wild edibles - grains, seeds, roots, shrubs, trees, and the wild mushrooms of the land is a common practice. I am sure that our relationship to weeds, gardens, parks, mowing, supermarkets, mass farming.. etc. will be very different in such world.

Anyway, enjoy the recipes below and I hope they inspire you to go out, connect to your local wild edible plants and experiment with them in your kitchen.

Wild Flowers Oatcakes (Vegan & Gluten Free):


These are so much better than store bought oatcakes. They are super easy to make and take only 15 to 20 mins baking on 180C degrees in a preheated oven. The prep time is 15-20 mins max.

The dough turns out quite firm, thick and heavy. Therefore it requires some strength to roll out but the oatcakes on the other hand turn out crumbly, light and they melt in your mouth. Delicious!


The wild herbs I used this time were dried cleavers, nettles, chickweed, plantain, shepherd's purse, hen bit dead-nettle & Purple dead-nettle. They are wonderful spring and early summer tonic herbs with gentle but powerful overall cleansing effect on the entire body.


Ingredients you need:

  • 400g Ground Oats (Gluten-free optional)

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 2 tbsp linseed (ground) or chia (whole)

  • Wild edible weeds or flowers of your choice, dried or fresh (finely chopped)

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 1/2 cup cold water

  • A handful of sunflower seeds and/or pumpkin seeds (optional)


Method:

  • Mix the dry ingredients first.

  • Add the oil and then the water.

  • Work the dough - it will get quite sticky at first and will most likely need more water and/or oil.

  • Add just a splash of water to start with if the dough is too crumbly, if it needs more then add a bit more... and so on until all the dry ingredients have been absorbed into a firm dough.

  • Add a splash of oil if the dough is too sticky.


  • Make into a ball and roll out on a flat surface.

  • Cut into whatever shapes you want.

  • Slide a knife under each oatcake to get it off the surface you rolled the dough on.

  • Put them into a baking tray (no need to oil the tray).

  • Bake for 15 - 20 mins on 180C in preheated oven.

  • Turn them around half way through the baking process.

  • Take out of the oven and let them cool down before snaking on them.

  • When fully cool, store in an airtight container. They will last for up to 10 days (or more if you haven't eaten them by then).



 

Banana, Walnut, Chia & Wild Herbs Loaf (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free)


This is another super simple recipe. Unlike other cakes & Loafs, you don't even need baking powder for this one. It is optional.

I experiment with this recipe a lot and every time the loaf is slightly different. No matter what I add to it, it turns out delicious. What stays the same is the rich, moist texture and the sweet comforting banana aroma & flavour, combined with the roasted taste of cooked walnuts which give the loaf a bit of a crunch amongst all the banana squishiness.


Ingredients:


  • 200g buckwheat or brown rice flour

  • 200g ground walnuts or almonds (or both mixed)

  • pinch of salt

  • 3tbs chia seeds or sunflower seeds, or any seeds of your choice (optional)

  • A handful of any Wild Edible Flowers or any herbs you have on hand - nettle leaves and/or seeds, dandelion flowers, camomile, calendula are a good combo.

  • Another option could be to add 2 tbsp of cinnamon, 2 and a half tbsp ground ginger, 1 tsp cardamom and a pinch of nutmeg. The loaf doesn't really need any herbs or spices. It is so flavoursome on its own but if you feel creative then go for it.

  • 1 tsp baking powder (optional)

  • 5-6 ripe bananas (smashed)

  • 1/2 cup of date syrup or maple or agave or honey (any liquid sweetener will do)


Method:


  • Mix the dry ingredients first

  • add the bananas (smash them with your hands or with a fork- they shouldn't be smoothly mushed , there should be some chunky bits left)

  • Add the date syrup

  • Mix together with your hands

  • the mixture will be quite wet and sticky (not too liquid though)

  • Scoop into a pre-oiled loaf tin

  • Decorate with nuts and/or seeeds of your choice. press them with your hand slightly so they half sink in the mixture. This will bind them into the dough and you won't have to gather nuts and seeds from your kitchen surfaces every time you slice the loaf.

  • Bake for 40-45 mins on 180C in a preheated oven

  • Let cool down before consuming



 


Vegan Wild Green Pesto:


This pesto literally takes only 10 mins to prep and you can go wildly creative with the ingredients.

The wild Greens I used were nettles, plantain, chickweed, cleavers & basil. You can make this pesto with wild garlic too and experiment with any combination of fresh green herbs you have access to. Fresh is the magic word for pesto. The herbs need to be fresh (not dried) in order to give you the full vibrancy of their flavours and medicine. You'll need a blender for this one.


Ingredients:


  • Fresh wild green herbs (a few handfuls)

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tsp salt

  • A handful of sunflower seeds and a handful of pumpkin seeds (or pine KERNELS, or cashews)

  • 1 clove of garlic (no need if you have wild garlic in the mix)

  • A generous splash of olive oil and a splash of water

  • Blend and enjoy!

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