Dairy-free Soda Bread

Soda bread is so easy to make and a delicious Irish classic. You’ve got to try a fresh, homemade loaf for St Patrick’s Day! Perfect for breakfast with sweet or savoury toppings or for lunch with a bowl of soup. We make versions of this loaf at least once a week, sometimes with a handful or two of dried fruit in the mix for a sweet version, and it’s the perfect loaf to make with kids as it’s so quick and simple.

Traditional Irish soda bread contains buttermilk so it’s easy to make a dairy free version with oat milk and a little apple cider vinegar to make it acidic. The baking soda needs something acidic to react with otherwise it will not rise, so don’t be tempted to skip the vinegar. I promise, you can’t taste it in the bread. We choose creamy, Irish oat milk and raw apple cider vinegar from Clashganny organic farm. Here’s our easy recipe.

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 300ml oat milk
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 400g white flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • a handful of porridge oats (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • a handful of optional seeds or dried fruit

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 200C and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. In a mixing jug, mix the milk, vinegar and oil and let it sit for a few minutes while you prepare the dry ingredients. This is your vegan buttermilk.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, measure the flours, oats (if using), salt and baking soda and mix well with a wooden spoon. Make a well in the middle. You can also add dried fruit or seeds at this stage if you would like to.
  4. Then pour the ‘buttermilk’ into the well and stir with the wooden spoon until the ingredients come together into a rough, sticky dough.
  5. Now use one hand to turn and squash the dough together in the bowl. You may find it is too sticky to handle and needs an extra handful of flour. Careful not to add too much flour though, the dough should be slightly sticky otherwise the loaf will come out too dry and crumbly. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead briefly, just for a minute or two at the most.
  6. Shape the dough into a disc that is around 3 cm high and place it on the lined baking tray. Using a large knife or bread knife, cut a deep X into the top of the dough, around 1 cm deep. Dust with a little flour or an optional sprinkle of seeds or porridge oats.
  7. Bake in the oven until risen and golden – around 30-40 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow when you tap it. Enjoy warm or cold slathered in butter (we stock a really good vegan butter here if you need).

St Patrick’s Day Menu

Easily get 10 portions of fruit and veg into your day with this plant based St Patrick’s Day menu. No green food colouring in sight but lots of vibrant, fun, healthy ideas. Hope you have a fab day off everyone! Let us know what you are cooking to celebrate the day in the comments or over on our friendly facebook page.

Liz x

Breakfast

Green Smoothie Pancakes

Is it even St Patrick’s Day if you don’t eat something green? Avoid the food colouring and get out your blender for these sweet (but healthy) pancakes.

Ingredients (makes 10 pancakes)

Method

Put all the ingredients except the butter and maple syrup into a smoothie maker and blend until smooth.

Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium then melt some butter and fry the pancakes in small batches for a few minutes on each side until cooked through. It’s better to cook them low and slow so that they are cooked through and not too dark on the outside.

Stack them up and serve simply with butter and a generous drizzle of maple syrup or your favourite pancake toppings.

Lunch

Golden Boxty with Rainbow Slaw

Traditional Irish potato griddle cakes (but with very non-traditional grated courgette in the mashed potato batter instead of grated raw potato) are fried in butter until golden brown. Serve these ‘pots of gold’ with a rainbow slaw of fresh, raw, crunchy veg and a dollop of mayo for the perfect lunch.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

Method

Start with the slaw. Shred the cabbage, grate the carrot and thinly slice the peppers, spring onions and chives. Mix in a bowl with the juice of half a lemon to start with and the olive oil. Taste and add more lemon juice if you like.

Preheat a frying pan and mix up the boxty batter. Put the mashed potato, grated courgette (or raw potato), flour, milk, vinegar, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. You should end up with a batter that’s a dropping consistency. If not, add more milk.

Fry in melted butter on a medium heat for about 5 or so minutes on each side. You can fry them in little fritters or in large rounds the size of the pan. Carefully flip them over when the bottom is golden brown. Add more butter to the pan before flipping if it’s looking a bit dry.

Serve warm with the rainbow slaw and a dollop of mayonnaise.

Supper

Irish Stew with Soda Dread Dumplings

Meaty mushrooms and bitter Guinness makes this stew rich and delicious and what better way to mop up the juices than with some Irish soda bread? I steam it as dumplings on top here for a hearty one pot supper but you could bake it separately if you prefer and serve it alongside. Looking for a gluten free alternative? Why not make some colcannon (mashed potato with wilted green cabbage or kale and spring onion stirred through) to go with the stew instead and use a gluten free stout in place of the Guinness?

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • 400g mushrooms
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 mug of green lentils
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 can of Guinness
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar (optional – to counteract the bitterness of the Guinness)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped chives to serve
  • 500g flour (I like 250g plain and 250g wholemeal)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 300ml oat milk
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

Method

Get a large pot on the hob and heat it to the highest setting.

Roughly dice the onion and add it to the pot with 2 tbsp of sunflower oil.

Roughly dice the carrots, celery and mushrooms and add them to the pot next.

Stir occasionally and allow the vegetables to take on some colour and caramelised flavour for around 10 minutes. Then peel, chop and add the 4 cloves of garlic.

Rinse your mug of green lentils and add them to the pot with the can of Guinness, the stock cube and an additional mug of water. Season the stew with salt and lots of black pepper. Give the broth a taste and add some brown sugar to counteract the bitterness of the Guinness if needed.

Then let the stew come up to a simmer while you make the soda bread dough.

Measure the dry ingredients (the flour, salt and bicarb) into a large mixing bowl and mix well to evenly disperse the bicarbonate of soda and salt. Check for lumps and sort them out now before you add the wet ingredients.

Measure the wet ingredients (the oat milk, oil and vinegar) into a measuring jug and give it a stir. This is the plant based alternative for the traditional buttermilk in the recipe. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well with a wooden spoon to form a rough dough. No need to knead, just stir well to ensure there are no dry, floury bits in the dough.

Use wet hands to form 6-8 balls of dough and place them carefully in the top of the simmering stew. Put the lid on the pot, make sure it’s turned down ow and allow the stew to simmer an the soda bread to steam for about 20-30 minutes.

Check that the lentils are cooked through then serve the hot stew and dumplings with chopped chives on top.

Dessert

Mint Choc Chip Ice-Cream

This ice cream is vibrant green, creamy and sweet…but made with peas and bananas! Don’t be put off by the healthy ingredients, blended frozen banana is a creamy revelation and peas are naturally so sweet. It’s especially good if the banana is frozen when super-ripe. If you eat through your bananas from your weekly delivery then this recipe is a good way to use up those reduced over-ripe bananas at the shops. A win-win for you and for the epic food waste problem the planet is facing. I’ve used cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips because I love their bitter, dark chocolate flavour, but do feel free to substitute with real chocolate chips…especially if you are serving this to children.

Ingredients

  • for every frozen banana
  • you’ll need a handful or so of frozen peas
  • 3 sprigs of fresh mint
  • optional sweetener of your choice to taste (eg maple syrup)
  • and a tbsp or so of cacao nibs (or sub with chocolate chips)

Method

Peel and chop as many over-ripe bananas as you like. About one per person. Freeze them overnight on a tray until solid (with gaps between the pieces otherwise they’ll all freeze together and be very difficult to blend).

You’ll need a strong food processor with an S blade attachment. A food processor works better that a jug/smoothie blender for this.

Put the frozen banana chunks and frozen peas into your blender along with fresh mint leaves to taste.

Blend into a frozen, crumbly texture then stop the blender, scrape down the sides and blend again until vibrant green and creamy.

Taste the mixture and add a sweetener or more mint leaves if you like and blend again.

Scrape the nice cream out into a tub and stir through cacao nibs or chocolate chips. Scoop into balls and serve (they will be quite soft at this stage so for quickly) or move to the freezer to firm up until you are ready to serve.