Kale and Cashew Pesto (dairy free & vegan)

Vegan kale and cashew pesto
I'm totally addicted to kale!

I have to admit I mostly add it to smoothies, but lately I've started adding it to pesto, hummus, pasta, soups, stews and bubble and squeak. OK, so I'm actually using it quite a lot! Look in my fridge and you'll always find a big bag of it. Of course it helps that it keeps really well, much longer than other greens.

I thought this kale and cashew pesto would taste good, but I was blown away by the flavour. I was super tempted to just keep dipping in for another spoonful to make sure it was ok. You know the way you do. Of course it would have disappeared rather fast if I kept that up. I resisted temptation and popped it in the fridge.

We enjoyed this pesto stirred through pasta with roast vegetables, spread in wraps and drizzled on homemade veggie burgers. It was gone in a flash!

Of course I made my pesto in my faithful friend. My Optimum 9200 Next Generation power blender or should I say my other love affair!

I couldn't live without it now. I really couldn't.

He is used for everything. Daily smoothies, shakes, soups, pesto, hummus, custard, curd, burgers, falafel, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, chocolate mousse, cocktails...........

Worth every penny!

If you're looking for a new blender do consider this one, it's a powerful beast. It comes with 5 years warranty which can be boosted to 10 years and a 30 day money back guarantee, so you can try it and if you aren't happy with it you can return it.

In the meantime I'm giving away one of these handsome beasts. So do enter and good luck!

love kale why not try ...

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Kale and Cashew Pesto
A creamy pesto made with cashews instead of pine nuts and with no cheese, so it's dairy free, vegan and utterly delicious!
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 25g kale
  • 25g basil
  • 100g salted cashew nuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • a good grinding of black pepper
1. Rinse the kale and basil.2. Add all the ingredients to a power blender or food processor and whizz until quite smooth. I like there still to be a bit of texture.3. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. You won't taste the garlic strongly to begin with, but the flavour will develop.4. Enjoy!notes: This will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days. Once you have used some just top with a little olive oil and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Total time:
Yield: 290g pesto

Here are a few more kale recipes for you to try:

Kale and Asparagus Asian Broth with Spelt - Amuse Your Bouche
Quick and Easy Dal with Kale - Fuss Free Flavours
Superfood Orzo with Roasted Broccoli, Curly Kale and Almonds - The Veg Space
Kale, Butterbean and Coconut Soup - The Botanical Kitchen
Kale, Coriander and Hemp Hummus - Tinned Tomatoes
Kale, Pumpkin and Smoked Cheese Tart - Farmersgirl Kitchen
Kale Egg Cups - Rough Measures

Disclosure: I work for Froothie UK, but all opinions are my own and I do use my every day and completely recommend it. I've had a more expensive power blender and it just wasn't as powerful, it also required two jugs which was just plain annoying!

Taynuilt Hotel - A Family Post

Taynuilt Hotel near Oban 

We recently had a wee family holiday up in Oban and as I love my native Scotland and want you to love it too, I thought I'd share some highlights with you. Who knows, you may wish to plan a trip yourself.

We stayed in The Taynuilt Hotel, a traditional coaching inn in Taynuilt just outside of Oban. We arrived late on the Friday night. We knew we were getting close when the road signs started to tell us where we were in Gaelic. I'm sad to say I don't know a word of it, but it's still spoken up north in the Highlands of Scotland.

Taynuilt Hotel

We received a really warm welcome and were taken up tartan clad stairs to a door with a slate sign  proclaiming the Loch Sween room. We'll I'd never been to Loch Sween, but I loved the room. Cooper opened the guest book, found a map and started to plan our weekend, before he headed to bed.

Our room was clean and fresh with traditional dark wood furniture. There was king size bed for us, a single bed for Cooper, a wooden wardrobe and a built in one behind the door. There were two bedside cabinets and a dresser, so plenty of storage. The bathroom had a shower cubicle, but no bath. We also had a table and two chairs at one of the windows with our welcome pack and refreshments.

I was rather impressed with the little touches. It's the first hotel I've ever stayed in who offered hot chocolate as well as coffee and tea (which I hate) and a nice range of toiletries in the bathroom.

Guest toiletries in the Taynuilt Hotel

After a good night's sleep we headed down for breakfast and were looked after by Lauren, who was happy to stop and chat to us and give us ideas of places we could visit during our stay. This was excellent, as we were as unorganised as usual and turned up with no plans other than having a camera and walking boots. We do tend to wing it when we head off for a weekend break. We are always so busy until the moment we actually drive away from the house.

Oh and in case you are wondering Stuart aka Cakeyboi kindly looked after our pooch for the weekend.

Cooked Scottish breakfast in the Taynuilt Hotel near Oban
Cooper put away a fair amount of breakfast. He had cocoa pops (don't get used to that buddy), porridge and toast and was still looking for more. When we went back up to our room he sneaked some shortbread too. That boy can eat for an army in the morning.

I had a veggie Scottish breakfast and Graham had a vegan version with vegan black pudding. If anything needs to be veganised I have to say that is it. If you don't know what it is, well maybe that's for the best. He also had some fresh fruit salad.

We spent the morning in Oban, which is just beautiful. We wandered along the waterfront, visited a chocolate shop, chatted to a friendly couple with a little dog, Cooper put some Jehovah Witnesses straight (yes you can read the whole saga in my Ultimate Vegan Sandwich post), I went a bit crazy in the deli( also in the same post) and we had lunch sitting on the waterfront.

In the afternoon we headed to Inveraray Castle. We were lucky enough to arrive when there was a rally of classic cars. Cooper was in his element.

Once he'd finished inspecting them, we explored inside the castle and then had a walk around the grounds. When I say we walked round the grounds, I actually meant to say Graham and Cooper sword fought their way round the grounds with the swords Cooper picked out in the gift shop. I had a sword fight with him to but gave up pretty quickly after my poor hands were bashed a few times.


In the evening we headed back to the hotel, read our books for a while, then we freshened up and went down for dinner. Dining in the hotel is quite a relaxed affair with most of the tables in the bar area. Cooper took his notebook with him to do some drawing.

We all had tomato and vegetable soup to start, which was served with some fresh crusty bread.

I had an heirloom tomato salad topped with slithers of cheese and a side of fries. The salad was good, but I could have done with more dressing. The fries were lovely and crunchy and came in their own mini chip shop frier basket.

Cooper went for macaroni cheese (surprise, surprise) and Graham had a pistachio couscous salad with broccolini and white asparagus, which he really enjoyed. We were a bit full for dessert, but managed to share some vegan chocolate mousse with sorbet.

Oh and here is the masterpiece that Cooper and Graham designed.

On Sunday we had another hearty breakfast, then checked out. Unfortunately the gorgeous weather was at an end, so our hillwalking plans were cancelled. It was lashing down with rain. Instead we headed home, but stopped at Saint Conan's Kirk on the way back. The church looks medieval, but is a real mish-mash of styles. It's quite something to behold!


The architect Walter Douglas Campbell moved to the area in 1882 with his mother and sister. His mother found the journey to the local parish church too far to travel, so he decided to build his own church and kept adding to it until it was complete in 1930. He seemed to just choose all his favourite styles. There's even some pagan pieces in there. It's well worth stopping for a look.

The Robert the Bruce effigy is a bit spooky. The face and hands are done in alabaster and way too realistic looking! Freaked me right out! I can't even look at the photo for too long!

I'll leave with a photo of some gorgeous Scottish scenery.  We were driving to Inveraray Castle when we had to stop the car. The view was just breathtaking. The ruin is Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe. Pretty spectacular huh?

We had a great weekend and will definitely be returning to the Taynuilt Hotel and to the area. There's so much more to see and I'd really like to do some hillwalking next time.

Taynuilt Hotel
PA35 1JN
01866 822437

The Taynuilt Hotel is a 3-minute walk from the Taynuilt train station's West Highland Line service from Glasgow, but also has plenty of parking if you decide to drive.

Follow the hotel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Less than three years after it was acquired by chef John McNulty, the Taynuilt Hotel has been awarded its first AA Rosette for culinary excellence.

The AA inspector added that “service and hospitality were particular strengths” of the 10 bedroom historic coaching inn and praised its “passionate, enthusiastic and friendly team.”

Disclosure: The Taynuilt Hotel welcomed us for the weekend. They did not ask for a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own. We really did enjoy our stay there and will be visiting the hotel again. It's also a favourite of my friend Adam who took 50 people there the week before on one of his historic architecture tours. They coped admirably and everyone left happy.

ps if anyone is thinking of visiting the area. Do get in touch. Adam kindly sent me a list of interesting places to visit in the area with background stories. Some of which you wouldn't usually come across.

Meat Free Mondays - 7 Recipes for the Week Ahead

Sumac Tomato Sauce - Food to Glow

National Vegetarian Week has come to an end for another year, but I'm still promoting Meat Free Mondays. Hopefully it will have a few more participants after veggie week.

I have seven great recipes to tempt you for the week ahead and a sneaky wee extra photo. That jar of Sumac Tomato Sauce you've just been drooling over. It's courtesy of Kellie over at Food to Glow.


Halloumi Arancini with Roasted Vegetables 
We Don't Eat Anything with a Face


Only Crumbs Remain


Tinned Tomatoes


Green Gourmet Giraffe


Food to Glow


Jen's Food


Food to Glow

Also check out:

That's it for this week. Do visit some of these fabulous bloggers to check out their recipes. I hope you leave inspired. Visit again next week for another seven tasty recipes.


Top 10 Vegetarian and Vegan Cookbooks for National Vegetarian Week


I have them everywhere, except in my kitchen. It's very small.

I have a bookcase full of the blighters in the living room, which I weed from time to time. I have some in a bookcase in our bedroom and quite often one or two on my bedside table. They do make great bedtime reading after all.

In honour of National Vegetarian Week, I'd like to share my 10 favourite vegetarian and vegan cookbooks.

Simply Satisfying
Jeanne Lemlin 

Amazon UK:
£14.99 PBK
£14.24 Kindle

Amazon US:
$17.64 PBK
$22.19 Kindle

Who's it for:  Vegetarians and Vegans. Heavy on the vegetarian side.

  • Breakfast Favourites
  • Starters
  • Salads and Salad Dressings
  • Main-Course Salads
  • Soups and Stews
  • Frittatas, Eggs and Timbales
  • Savoury Pies, Tarts, Pizzas Etc
  • Pasta, Polentam, and Other Grains
  • Baked Dishes
  • Curries and Accompaniments
  • Tofu and Tempeh
  • Combination Dishes
  • Desserts
  • The Basics
  • Menus

Recipes I want to try:

Baked Chickpea Provencale; Baked Mexican-Style Beans with Sour Cream and Chiles; Deep-Fried Cheese-Filled Polenta Balls & Glazed Pear Cake.

What I think about it:

There are quite a few recipes I'd like to try, but many I have my own version of already. The recipes seem a little old fashioned when you compare it to say an Ottolenghi cookbook and that's because this is a re-working of the original book which was first published 25 years ago and it shows. It's been beautifull updated (maybe a few more photos would have been good) and would be a good book for a new cook or new vegetarian. It has lots of basic recipes for dressings, dips and sauces.


The Hungry Student Vegetarian Cookbook
Charlotte Pike

Amazon UK:
£6.39 PBK
£4.18 Kindle

Amazon US:
from $9.92 PBK
$6.51 Kindle

Who's it for: Vegetarians and vegans.

  • Pasta
  • Stir-Fries, Noodles and Rice
  • Soups, Stews and Curries
  • Salads, Veggies and Sides
  • Jacket Potatoes and Toppings
  • Easy Dinners
  • Feeding Friends
  • In Bread and on Toast
  • The Morning After
  • Sweets
Recipes I want to try:

Tempura Vegetables with Soy Dipping Sauce; Root Vegetable Frittata; Veggie Jambalaya; Spinach & Pine Nut Lasagne and Sticky Toffee Pudding.

What I think about it:

I wish I'd a copy of this when I started to teach myself to cook. I was a student and a basic book like this with simple instructions would have been perfect. This book is good for students, any fledgling cook or new vegetarian. I could confidently give this book to my husband (who isn't great in the kitchen) and he could produce a tasty meal. He wouldn't find it daunting at all. Very simply laid out with easy instructions.


Honestly Healthy

£13.60 HBK
£6.17 Kindle

(Eating Healthy the Alkaline Way)
$15.95 HBK
$9.66 Kindle

Who's it for: Vegetarian and Vegan

  • Breakfasts
  • Starters and Soups
  • Salads
  • Treats and Snacks
  • Desserts
Recipes I want to try:

Puy Lentil, Coconut and Goats Cheese Bake; Watercress, Roasted Onion and Pistachio Salad; Tomato & Mushroom Dhal and Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies.

What I think about it:

This book is about balancing the alkaline and acid foods in your diet to improve your health, but I pretty much enjoy it for the recipes. 

They are the kind of veggie and vegan recipes we enjoy, but a twist on what I do already and some really nice ideas. I could happily eat nearly all the recipes. I don't often say that about a cookbook.


LEON Fast Vegetarian
Henry Dimbley 

£17.00 HBK
£9.99 Kindle

$21.94 HBK
$15.64 Kindle
Who's it for: Vegetarian and Vegan

  • Breakfast & Brunch
  • Soup
  • Salads
  • Fritters and Pancakes
  • Pasta, Grains and Pulses
  • Children
  • Pies and Bakes
  • Rice & Curry
  • Grazing Dishes & Sides
  • Pickles & Chutneys
  • Puddings & Cakes
Recipes I want to Try:

Mushroom Mao Tofu; Pat's Broad Bean Burgers; Madeira Mushrooms on Toast; Green Bean & Cashew Curry and Pina Colada Pavlova.

What I think About it:

I love Leon cookbooks. I love all the personal little stories and the playful pictures and graphics. They're fun cookbooks to browse through and the recipes are always good. From simple snacks and family meals to food for friends.


Mildred's the Cookbook

£9.99 HBK
£9.49 Kindle

$29.99 HBK
$14.85 Kindle

Who's it for: Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten Free

  • Soups
  • Starters
  • Mezze
  • Salads
  • Mains
  • Pasta
  • Latin
  • Sides
  • Desserts
  • Dips, Sauces and Dressings
  • Gluten Free Menu Ideas
  • Vegan Menu Ideas

Recipes I want to Try:

Beetroot, Fennel, Apple & Dill Burgers; Roasted Portabello Mushroom, Pecan & Chestnut Wellington; Primavera Salad with Homemade Lemon Ricotta and Peanut Butter Brownies with Hot Chocolate Sauce.

What I think About it:

I don't like all the recipes in this book (I rarely do), but the ones I do like, I really love. There are some really special recipes in this book. I also like the fact there are lots of vegan and gluten free recipes too. This book is a really good buy!


The Vegetarian Pantry
Jane Montgomery

£14.88 HBK

$17.50 HBK

Who's it for: Mostly vegetarian but some vegan recipes

  • Breakfast and Brunch
  • Small Bites
  • Dips, Salsas and Sauces
  • Soups and Salads
  • Main Dishes
  • Sweet Treats
Recipes I want to Try:

Courgette Fritters with Minted Yogurt; Breadcrumbed Halloumi Goujons; Spicy Tomato Ketchup & Caramel Oranges with Honey Mascarpone and Toasted Pistachios.

What I think About it:

A good all round vegetarian cookbook with some great snacks and sweet treats. There's a good section at the beginning which discusses having a balanced vegetarian diet and some pantry tips.


At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen



Who's it for: Vegetarians and Vegans


Part One: The Pantry
  • My Pantry Essentials
  • Equipment
  • Cooking from the Pantry
  • Pantry Recipes

Part Two: The Recipes

  • Breakfast
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Snacks, Nibbles and Drinks
  • Whole Meals
  • Desserts
  • My Life with Tea
  • Cleansing
  • Organics

Recipes I want to Try:

Heirloom Bean Bourguignon; Puy Lentil Soup with Rosemary, Squash & Rainbow Chard; Wholewheat Fettuccine with Kale, Caramelised Onions & Marinated Goat's Cheese and Chocolate Hazelnut Layer Cake with Cherry Filling and Chocolate Ganache.

What I think About it:

Brand new, just of the press comes this gorgeous coffee table book from Amy Chaplin. Think of a superfood. Any! Go on! Yep, it's in here. Cooking with fruit and vegetables at it's very best. It has a really excellent pantry section focusing on ingredients at the start. Well worth the price tag. My only grumble is some of the text is quite small, which irritates me, if I'm reading in a low light, but the recipes and photos are divine.

To order At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen (published by Jacqui Smallat the discounted price of £20 including p&p* (RRP: £25), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG334. *UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.


Oh She Glows Cookbook

£11.89 PBK
£9.49 Kindle

$14.62 PBK

Who's it for: Vegans with allergy friendly, gluten-free and soy-free options.
  • My Natural Foods Pantry
  • My Favourite Kitchen Tools and Equipment
  • Breakfast
  • Smoothies, Juices & Tea
  • Appetizers
  • Salads
  • Soup
  • Entrees
  • Sides
  • Power Snacks
  • Desserts
  • Homemade Staples
  • Basic Cooking Chart

Recipes I want to Try:  

All of them!! Well not the sprouts! Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes with Easy Mushroom Gravy; Grilled Portobello Burger with Sun-Dried Tomato Kale-Hemp Pesto; Indian Lentil Cauliflower Soup & Double-Layer Chocolate Fudge Cake.

What I think About it:

I love this book! You have to buy it. Buy one for all your friends too. Yes it's vegan but the recipes are so delicious and packed with flavour you won't even notice the lack of dairy.  The photos are mouth-watering and so are the recipes. This girl rocks! Check out her blog too.


Plenty More
Yotam Ottolenghi

£12.00 HBK
£13.65 Kindle

$21.42 HBK
$21.15 Kindle

Who's it for: Vegetarians and Vegans

  • Tossed
  • Steamed
  • Blanched
  • Simmered
  • Braised
  • Grilled
  • Roasted
  • Fried
  • Mashed
  • Cracked
  • Baked
  • Sweetened

Recipes I want to Try: 

All of them and I'd like Yotam to personal cook them for me. Oh dreams! Mushroom and Tarragon Pithivier; Spiced Stuffed Potato Cakes; Crushed Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin; Aubergine Pahi and Ricotta Fritters with Orange and Honey.

What I think About it: 

You have to buy it!

I love Ottolenghi. I'm suffering with hero worship/crush. Last year I listened to him talk at a conference and I just love his reverence for vegetables. They're so often the last thought and they're worth so much more than that. Just think of all the flavours, texture and colour they can bring to a dish. Ottolenghi has collected the best techniques and recipes with vegetables from around the world and this is a seriously exciting book.


New Feast: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian
Greg & Lucy Malouf

£20.40 HBK

$30.00 HBK

Who's it for: Vegetarians and Vegans. Mostly vegetarian, there are lots of knobs of butter added. Easy to adjust most recipes.

  • Breakfasts
  • Breads
  • Butters and Preserves
  • Dips & Spreads
  • Pickles and Relishes
  • Soups
  • Stuffed Vegetables
  • Fritters
  • Savoury Pastries
  • Raw Vegetable Salads
  • Cooked Vegetable Salads
  • Hot Vegetable Dishes
  • Grains
  • Rice
  • Legumes
  • Pasta & Couscous
  • Ices
  • Desserts
  • Sweet Pastries
  • Cakes and Cookies
Recipes I want to Try:

Lebanese Spiced Chickpeas & Eggplant with Pita; Lebanese Dirty Rice;  Baby Carrot Tagine with Yoghurt and Honeyed Pine Nuts; Pumpkin Kibbeh Stuffed with Feta & Spinach and Blackberry Sour Cream Crumble Cake.

What I think About it:

A great collection of Middle Eastern recipes. Really authentic recipes with rich flavours. Stunning photos and exciting dishes. Another fab coffee table book. A bit big for bedtime reading though. It's a hefty tome!


Bonus Entry

Just out! 

A Girl and Her Greens by April Bloomfield.

Not fully vegetarian, but some great veggie recipes from this well known chef who loves her vegetables.

Slow Roasted Leeks with Walnut Breadcrumbs; Morels with Madeira Cream on Toast; Roasted Cauliflower and Grain Salad with Pistachio and Asparagus Quiches with Mint.

Would you like to win a copy?

Just follow @tinnedtoms on twitter and retweet this tweet.

Disclosure: Some of these titles were sent to me for review, some I bought and one was a gift. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
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