THE GREEN LIFE: nourish yourself with plant-based goodness

The plant-based food trend is still going strong, and as it continues to grow in popularity, it evolves to become more accessible to a larger market. And while it’s possible to eat a varied and delicious plant-based diet, it’s much more than a treat for the tastebuds. In fact, there are loads of health benefits associated with plant-based. A well-balanced plant-based diet is generally rich in nutrients because it’s made up of whole grains, vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds and fruits. A plant-based diet also tends to be high in fibre, which is great for digestive health. And besides the health benefits, plant-based food is also associated with reduced carbon emissions, less water usage, and the conservation of animal and plant habitats if produced sustainably. Local foodie Mira Weiner has put together some gorgeous recipes — whether you’re new to a plant-based diet or already in love with the lifestyle, we’re sure you’ll enjoy these tasty meals.

Meet Mira


Mira Weiner is an entrepreneur, foodie and advocate for the plant-based lifestyle. With a passion for conscious living, plant-based nourishment and holistic healing, Mira uses her work as a creative cook to inspire people to eat more plants — for the sake of the planet, animals and our bodies. She has used a combination of plant-based nourishment and holistic therapies to kick-start her own healing journey with adrenal fatigue, burn out and anxiety.

Mira’s recipes are based on natural whole food ingredients, free from refined sugars and preservatives. You can connect with her on her website at www.miraweiner.com or on Instagram @miraweiner.


Vegan cheese sauce

Makes: Approx. 1 litre
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

2 cups water
1 large orange sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped into large blocks
Half a large cauliflower, sliced into florets
1 white onion, halved lengthwise
2 small garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
¼ cup full fat coconut milk
¼ cup raw unsalted cashews
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried vegetable stock
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp jalapeno pickle brine and 1-2 pickled jalapeno slices
½ tsp dijon mustard
½ sweet white miso paste
¼ tsp smoked paprika
⅛ tsp turmeric
Pink Himalayan salt to taste

Waste-free hack:

Use the sweet potato peels to make crispy skins in the Air Fryer by combining the peels, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh thyme, salt and pepper together.  Mix well to combine so all the peels are evenly coated.  Place into the Air Fryer at 204C for 6-8 minutes.

To serve:

Can be served as a fondue
Used as a dip for nachos, wedges, crudites and freshly baked bread
A great pasta sauce or ‘cheese sauce’ for Mac & Cheese


  1. Place the sweet potato, cauliflower, cashew nuts, bay leaf, water, onion, garlic and vegetable stock into the Instant Pot Duo Crisp.  Press the pressure cooker function and cook for 4 minutes.  Once done, allow the steam to release. Reserve some of the cooking liquid for later.
  2. Remove the bay leaf. Place the cooked vegetables, cashew nuts, onion and garlic into a food processor or blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy.  If needed you can add some of the cooking liquid into the blender if the sauce is too thick.
  3. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy!


Chickpea fries with lemon & pea pesto

Ingredients for the Fries
2 + ¼ cup chickpea flour
2 + ¾ cup water
1,5 cups mixed grated veg (I used carrots and baby marrows with any excess water drained)
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried vegetable stock
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
Generous pinch of salt and pepper
Chili flakes (optional)

Ingredients for the pea pesto
1,5 cups McCain frozen peas, blanched
½ cup lemon juice (I like my pesto super lemony but if you aren’t a big fan of lemon reduce to 1/3 cup)
½ cup basil leaves
¼ cup mint leaves
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Generous pinch of sea salt or Pink Himalayan salt


  1. Grease a 20cmx30cm container (a glass Pyrex dish works well) with olive oil. Sift the chickpea flour into a pot, slowly add the water mixing continuously so the batter doesn’t lump together, you want a smooth light batter.  Then add the remaining ingredients and combine well.
  2. Place the pot on a low heat and continuously whisk the mixture while it thickens. It should become a stiff dry mix like polenta or pap.  Immediately pour into the greased dish, this needs to be done quickly or the mixture will set.  Smooth the surface of the mixture with a spatula and allow to cool.  Once cool, refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
  3. To make the pea pesto, combine all the ingredients in a food processor or Nutribullet and pulse. If you prefer a thick chunky pesto don’t over blend and if you want a creamy green sauce then blend for longer.
  4. Once the chickpea mix has set, remove from the fridge and gently slide out of the container. Slice into desired shapes and place into the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer.  Select Air Fry on high (204C) and cook for 12 minutes or until crispy.
  5. Serve the fries hot with the pea pesto dipping sauce and enjoy!


Rainbow almond butter noodles with tofu

Serves: 2 hungry humans or 4 starter bowls
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients for noodle bowl:
125g rice noodles, dried
1 litre water
350g organic plain tofu, sliced into triangles and scored with a knife so that it can absorb the flavours of the marinade
1 medium sized red onion, finely chopped
150g carrot noodles, raw
150g zucchini noodles, raw
4 radishes, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp dried vegetable stock 

Ingredients for tofu marinade:
3 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp brown rice vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup

Ingredients for almond butter sauce:
3 tbsp almond butter
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp water
1 tsp maple syrup
½ tsp grated ginger
Pinch of salt

To serve:
Spring onions, thinly sliced
Black sesame seeds, toasted 


  1. In a bowl mix together the marinade for the tofu and place the tofu slices into the marinade while you make the rest of the dish. This can also be made in advance and refrigerated overnight.
  2. Place the radishes into a bowl with a pinch of salt and a dash of apple cider vinegar to make a quick pickle.
  3. Make the sauce by blending all the ingredients together in a food processor or Nutribullet until smooth.
  4. Place the marinated tofu into the Air Fryer (I use the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air fryer combo – it’s my new husband and my favourite kitchen appliance).  Leave gaps in between each piece and cook for 6 minutes on high (204C).  The Air Fryer will beep half way through, at the 3 minute mark and you can turn the tofu over.
  5. Place the water, red onions, garlic and dried vegetable stock into the Instant Pot.  Then place the rice noodles into the pot so they’re on top of the onions and garlic but submerged in the liquid.  Press the pressure cooker function on the Instant Pot and select 1 minute (it only needs to cook for 30 seconds).
  6. Once the Instant Pot has completed 30 seconds of cooking, you can stop it and allow the steam to release. Immediately remove the lid.   Add the carrot and zucchini noodles on top of the rice noodles and place the lid back on for a few minutes, so the vegetable noodles are lightly steamed.
  7. Place the rice noodles and vegetable noodles into a bowl, top with the tofu steaks, pickled radish, spring onions, black sesame seeds and drizzle the almond butter sauce on top. Serve immediately!


Photography: Samantha Lowe