• Top 5 Food Swaps For A Totally Free-From Diet

    Vicky Hadley Guest Post Sundried Food Swaps

    A few years ago I was diagnosed with an intolerance to gluten, dairy, and nuts. Yes, that does mean a lot of food is off the table for me and it is something that means I had to totally re-look at my lifestyle.

    Studying at university meant I was surrounded by students wanting to party and living off the pizza and alcohol diet. However, this quickly became a distant memory for me – as some alcohol has gluten in it. So, while my friends were drinking their way from bottle to bottle I had to substitute the booze for soft drinks. People didn’t get it and that’s a very nice way of putting it. I was always put into the ‘fussy eater’ category. Gluten wasn’t as well known a few years ago as it is now, so trying to find some free-from bread was almost impossible. Dairy was just as problematic – everything seemed to have the hidden ingredient. I couldn’t go to a shop without picking something that held at least one of my allergens. Even a simple salad would have barley, rye or dairy within it (yes, there are multiple names for wheat, just to make a free-from diet that little bit harder). Just as I’d assumed I’d found something gluten-free I’d have a reaction and spend the next day or so googling each ingredient to find out where and what it had come from.

    Over the past couple of years, the amount of people with a gluten intolerance has dramatically risen with so many people claiming they genuinely feel better after cutting it out. With this increase, the gluten-free market has quickly evolved meaning it’s become quite a lot easier for those on a free-from diet. As my career revolves around fitness I am very conscious about the foods I eat – always ensuring I get my three macronutrients into my diet (fats, carbohydrates, and protein). Following a free-from diet is a lot harder as I can’t just pick up a ready meal at my local supermarket like most people can at lunch time. It does require a bit more preparation but it doesn’t have to be impossible or even that expensive if you know how.

    Here are my Top 5 Food Swaps for those on a free-from diet

    1. Breakfast Cereal swap for Gluten Free Oats

    Breakfast is probably the hardest change as a bowl of wheat-filled cereal or a couple of slices of toast are the typical go-to option. I now have 40 grams of gluten-free oats mixed with 40 grams of protein powder made from pea protein rather than whey (which contains dairy).

    2. Peanut Butter swap for Sunflower Seed Butter

    Who doesn't love peanut butter? I swear I hear people admitting they've eaten an entire jar in a day... Well, I have some great news for you - it's not totally off the table. Sunflower seed butter tastes just as good.

    3.Greek Yoghurt swap for  Soy Yoghurt

    Yogurt is a typical daily purchase for me, especially with its live cultures and probiotics. Luckily there is an easy swap for those with a dairy allergy; soy yogurt tastes absolutely amazing and has just as many live cultures within it so you really aren't missing out. 

    4. Pasta swap for Seaweed Pasta

    Another gluten favourite is pasta. Don't stress though as there are gluten-free options available including quinoa and chickpea pasta. One of my favourites is a pasta called, 'i-sea' which is made from seaweed! It's full of nutrients and fibre and has 80% fewer calories than traditional pasta so is a win-win.

    5. Chocolate swap for Protein Bar

    Chocolate bars are definitely a no-go with a dairy intolerance, plus they aren't good for your health due to the sugar content. A lot of protein bars come with whey or oats in them meaning again they are not suitable for gluten or dairy allergy sufferers. I love Trek Bars’ flapjack protein bars as they keep you fuller for longer and are totally free from all of my allergens.

    Bikini Girls Diary Vicky Sundried

    About the author: Vicky Hadley is one-half of Bikini Girls Diary and is a professional fitness model. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Vegan Buckwheat Pizza With Sundried Tomato & Pesto

    Vegan buckwheat pizza Veganuary recipe idea

    Our pan-cooked buckwheat flour and chia seed pizza base is topped with a garlic tomato sauce, balsamic mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, rocket and toasted walnuts. All drizzled with a creamy basil pesto. Recipe courtesy of Mindful Chef.

    Ingredients - Serves 2

    • 15 tbsp buckwheat flour
    • 180g chestnut mushrooms
    • 1 baby cucumber
    • 1 red onion
    • 1 tbsp vegan basil pesto
    • 20g walnuts
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tbsp chia seeds
    • 2 tsp oil
    • 400g chopped tomatoes
    • 40g rocket
    • 60g sundried tomatoes
    • Medium handful of fresh thyme


    1. Pre heat the oven to 220C / gas mark 7. Place the chia seeds into a mug with 50ml water cold water, stir and leave for 3 mins until the water has been soaked up and it has become sticky.
    2. Finely chop the garlic. Add 1tsp oil to a saucepan with just half the garlic, cook for 1 min over a medium heat then add the chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 20 mins to reduce.
    3. In a medium sized bowl add the buckwheat flour (reserve 1tbsp flour for later). Add a pinch of salt, 80g cold water and the soaked chai seeds from the mug. Mix well and knead with your hands into a dough. Dust a chopping board and you're hands with remaining flour. Divide the dough into two balls. Place one ball onto the floured chopping board and flatten with the palm of your hand into a pizza base shape. Repeat with the remaining dough ball.
    4. Pre-heat a frying pan with 1/2 tsp oil over a high heat. Add the pizza dough, fry for 2 mins on each side until taking on colour. Repeat. Place both pizza bases on a large baking tray.
    5. Thinly slice the mushrooms and red onion. Add 1/2tsp oil to the same pan used to cook the pizza bases. Over a medium heat cook the mushrooms and onions for 8 mins. Finely chop the thyme leaves and roughly chop the sundried tomatoes, add to the pan followed by half the balsamic vinegar. Cook all together for a further 3 mins.
    6. Spoon the tomato sauce over both pizzas bases, top the with mushrooms, mix sprinkle with the walnuts. Cook in the oven for 5 mins.
    7. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and thinly slice. Place the rocket leaves into a serving bowl, add the cucumber, mix. Drizzle with the remaining balsamic vinegar. Remove the pizza’s from the oven, drizzle with pesto then serve.

    vegan buckwheat pizza recipe


    637 calories • 82g carbs • 24g fat • 20g protein

    Not suitable for sufferers of nut, soya, or sulphite allrgies

    Want the ease and convenience of these ingredients being delivered to your door, already weighed out and ready to cook? Sign up to Mindful Chef today using code SUNDRIED for £10 off your first two boxes. This recipe is available to order now!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Sri Lankan Jackfruit Curry With Black Rice

    vegan jackfruit curry Veganuary recipe

    A common ingredient in Sri Lanka, a country known for outstanding veggie cooking, we add ‘meaty’ chunks of jackfruit to a coconut broth spiked with aromatics and a signature house blend of spices. Recipe courtesy of Mindful Chef.

    Ingredients - Serves 2

    • 100g black rice
    • 1/2 tbsp oil
    • 1 brown onion
    • 1 green chilli
    • 1 red pepper
    • 1 tbsp Mindful Chef Sri Lankan spice blend
    • 200ml coconut milk
    • 250g jackfruit (drained)
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 4cm fresh ginger
    • 4 tsp desiccated coconut
    • Large handful of fresh coriander


    1. Boil a kettle. Rinse the black rice and place in a saucepan with 500ml boiling water and a pinch of sea salt. Simmer for 25-30 mins, then drain.
    2. Dice the onion and cut the red pepper into bite-sized pieces. Finely chop the garlic and peel and grate the ginger. Roughly chop the coriander leaves and stalks, keeping separate.
    3. Drain and rinse the jackfruit.
    4. Heat a medium-sized pan with 1/2 tbsp oil on a medium heat and cook the onion for 5 mins, then add the Sri Lankan spice blend, garlic, ginger and coriander stalks and cook for 1 minute.
    5. Then add the red pepper, jackfruit, coconut milk, 50ml boiling water, coriander leaves and half of the desiccated coconut to the pan. Mash the jackfruit roughly with the back of a spoon. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Place a lid on the pan and simmer for 10 mins. Then remove the lid and simmer for a further 5 mins to reduce the sauce, add more water if needed.
    6. Finely slice the green chilli (remove the seeds for less heat).
    7. Serve the Sri Lankan jackfruit curry on two warm plates alongside the black rice and sprinkle over the green chilli slices and the remaining desiccated coconut.

    Veganuary vegan jackfruit recipe


    612 calories • 78g carbs • 30g fat • 8g protein

    Not suitable for those with a sulphite allergy

    Want the ease and convenience of these ingredients being delivered to your door, already weighed out and ready to cook? Sign up to Mindful Chef today using code SUNDRIED for £10 off your first two boxes. This recipe is available to order now!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Vegan Hot Chocolate With Candy Cane Spoons

    Vega UK vegan hot chocolate recipe candy canes festive Christmas

    Love hot chocolate? Looking for a homemade gift to give this Christmas? Then do we have the perfect recipe for you! Gift four people with their own DIY vegan hot chocolate sets presented in beautifully decorated mason jars. Delicious and thoughtful – is there a better combo? Thanks to the team at Vega UK for this exciting festive recipe.

    Serves: 4 | Prep time: 20 minutes


    For the hot chocolate:

    • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 4 teaspoons sugar
    • 8 tablespoons dairy-free chocolate chips
    • 4 tablespoons mini vegan marshmallows
    • 2 tablespoons Chocolate Vega® Essentials

    For the candy cane spoons:

    • 2-4 candy canes
    • 4 spoons


    1. Carefully and evenly layer the cocoa powder, sugar, chocolate chips and then mini marshmallows in a 400g mason jar. Top with lid.
    2. Unwrap the candy canes and place in a freezer bag.
    3. Using a rolling pin, crush the candy canes.
    4. Roll out a piece of baking paper.
    5. Remove a half of the crushed candy canes and melt in microwave-safe dish
    6. Dip a spoon into the melted candy canes, filling the spoon (act fast – it hardens quickly), and sprinkle with coarsely chopped candy pieces.
    7. Lay flat to dry on baking paper to cool and harden.
    8. Remove the marshmallows from the jar. Add 250ml of your favourite plant-based drink and the ingredients left in the jar to a pan over a medium heat until reached the desired temperature.
    9. Pour into a mug and top with the marshmallows.
    10. Add a Candy Cane spoon and stir
    Posted by Guest Account
  • Miso Aubergine Buddha Bowl With Tamari Nuts

    Mindful Chef healthy vegan recipe Buddha bowl

    We've baked soft cubes of aubergine in a sticky sweet miso marinade for this colourful, lavish vegan rice bowl. Served with crunchy carrot, mellow avocado and tamari-roasted cashew nuts. Thanks to Mindful Chef for this healthy vegan recipe.

    Ingredients - Serves 2

    • 1 aubergine
    • 1 avocado
    • 1 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1 tbsp sesame oil
    • 200g carrot
    • 20g cashew nuts
    • 2 spring onions
    • 2 tbsp sweet white miso paste
    • 2 tbsp tamari
    • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
    • 80g brown rice


    1. Preheat the oven to 200C / gas mark 6 and boil a kettle. Rinse the brown rice and add to a saucepan with 400ml boiling water and a pinch of sea salt. Simmer for 20-25 mins, then drain.
    2. Thinly slice the spring onions, removing the root ends. Cut the aubergine into 2cm pieces.
    3. Place the aubergine on a baking tray and drizzle with half of the sesame oil. Place in the oven for 10 mins.
    4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the miso paste with the maple syrup and remaining sesame oil. Add the spring onions and cooked aubergine to this bowl, mix well to coat and spread out onto the same baking tray. Place back in the oven for 10 mins.
    5. In a bowl, mix the tamari with the cashew nuts. Spread the cashew nuts out on a baking tray and place in the oven for 5 mins.
    6. Peel and de-stone the avocado and thinly slice. Using a vegetable peeler or julienne peeler, peel and slice the carrot into long thin strips.
    7. Spoon the brown rice into two warm bowls and top with the miso aubergine, the raw carrot, avocado slices and tamari nuts. Sprinkle the avocado with the sesame seeds.

    healthy vegan recipe Buddha bowl Mindful Chef


    557 calories • 68g carbs • 27g fat • 13g protein

    Not suitable for those allergic to nuts, sesame, soya

    Want the ease and convenience of these ingredients being delivered to your door, already weighed out and ready to cook? Sign up to Mindful Chef today using code SUNDRIED for £10 off your first two boxes. This recipe is available to order now!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren