Award winning vegan blogger and health coach Niki Webster creates delicious plant-based recipes that taste as good as they look. I caught up with Niki for a chat as her first cookbook “Rebel Recipes: Maximum Flavour, Minimum Fuss” has just been published.
What inspired you to write this cookbook?
My cookbook and my recipes are inspired by my love and passion for healthy and delicious plant based food.
I started cooking and creating recipes from a young age and finally decided to share them nearly 5 years ago on my blog and social channels. Writing a cookbook has been a long term dream and I’m incredibly excited and proud of the results.
What can people expect from it?
My cookbook contains the food I love to eat – delicious, wholesome and vibrant plant based dishes which aren’t too complicated to make and will help you create tasty feasts without too much fuss. My recipes are unashamedly about taste whilst being intrinsically balanced and healthy.
Lots of my recipes have I’ve been inspired by my travels – by world flavours and plant centric cuisines. Using spices, herbs and slow cooking to maximise the flavour of the veg/pulses. So you’ll find; spicy curries, lots of pulses, flatbreads, salad, dips, pickles etc layering textures and flavours to create the perfect meal.
As I naturally steer towards comfort foods; big bowls of soup, curries, dals, bakes so you’ll find lots of those as well as fresh salads, brunch ideas and of course decadent desserts.
I’ve also included some of my old favourite recipes, the ones I’ve been making for years and have been tried, tested and loved by my readers.
My hope is that everyone from vegans and vegetarians through to people just wanting to reduce their meat consumption will find something they love.
What is your food philosophy?
My recipes are always a celebration of vegetables, their vibrancy, flavours, colour – they are at the heart and I build recipes around them. I believe that plant based food doesn’t need to be ordinary, you just need a little creativity and your meals can be bursting with unexpected flavour while still being healthy and uncomplicated. For me eating should be about pleasure – food that will feed your soul as well as your belly.
I love to use organic and seasonal ingredients. Eating organic seasonal vegetables is an amazing way to ensure you are getting a varied diet, you won’t ever get bored of eating the same products and you are getting them at the utmost nutritional best.
A seasonal veg box works really well and is cost effective and have to be creative with what’s in season.
What make you decide to be vegan?
It wasn’t really a decision for me as I’ve never liked meat and pretty much refused to eat it from a young age. I also have a dairy intolerance so I naturally eat a vegan diet.
So as soon as I could get into the kitchen as a teenager I started to experiment to try and create the vegetarian food I wanted to eat. Back then it was mostly adding curry paste to veggies but I loved it.
Through lots of trial and error I was soon making the food I loved and I’ve continued to experiment ever since.
What is your favourite way to kickback and relax?
Some of my favourite ways to relax are:
– Going back to Shropshire (where I’m from) and going for big country walks with my friends.
– Moving daily keeps me sane – I try to maintain a work life balance by making sure I do something everyday (yoga, running, walking, strength).
– And of course eating in my favourite restaurants.
Can you share one of your favourite recipes with us?
I love dishes you can make really quickly but still have maximum flavour. So curries, dals, stews, soups are perfect. Then combine them with some hummus, flatbread and some toasted nuts or seeds – heaven!
From my Rebel Recipes cookbook:
Coconut Channa Masala pizza with mint yogurt and these Chocolate, peanut butter and chickpea fridge bars below:
Chocolate, peanut butter and chickpea fridge bars
400g can of chickpeas, drained
250g medjool dates, pitted
4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
5 tablespoons raw cacao
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, plus extra to scatter
40g vegan chocolate sea salt flakes
– Put the chickpeas, dates, peanut butter, cacao, coconut oil, vanilla and a generous pinch of sea salt into a food processor or high-speed blender. Blitz until you get a smooth mix. Now add the cacao nibs and hazelnuts, and pulse once to mix.
– Line a 17 x 22cm baking tray with baking parchment then spoon the mix into the tray. Smooth out to the edges.
– Gently melt the chocolate in a small bowl suspended over a small saucepan of boiling water.
– Drizzle the melted chocolate over the mixture in the tray, then scatter with some chopped hazelnuts and sprinkle over a little salt. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to firm up.
Remove from the tray and cut into squares. The bars are best kept in the fridge where they will keep for 3–4 days, or store in the freezer for up to a few weeks.
Current favourites from my blog:
Charred Hispi Cabbage with Tomato, Pea and Coconut Curry
Roast Cauliflower, Baba Ganoush, Spiced Harissa Chickpeas & Dukka
What is your favourite restaurant?
Some of my favourite restaurants are in Barcelona. In my opinion they have some of the best vegan/vegetarian restaurants using fresh and natural ingredients. I love Flax & Kale for breakfast and The Green Spot for dinner.
Niki was kind enough to offer a copy of Rebel Recipes to one lucky reader. This competition is on Instagram only. Head to the link below to enter.
View this post on Instagram
#MeatFreeMonday Recipe + #Competition Looking for more Veganuary inspiration? I have the perfect cookbook for you! Award winning vegan blogger and health coach Niki Webster has just published her first cookbook, “Rebel Recipes: Maximum Flavour, Minimum Fuss” . Niki creates delicious plant-based recipes that taste as good as they look. She was kind enough to offer a copy of her book to one lucky winner and share her recipe for these delicious chocolate, peanut butter and chickpea fridge bars. To enter the competition: 1. Like this photo & follow @theflexitarianuk AND @rebelrecipes 2. Tag a friend in the Comment Box below using #rebelrecipescookbook 3. Competition ends January 26th 2020 (a winner will be picked on January 27th 2020) This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram. #veganuary #vegan #flexitarian #win #giveaway #cookbook