As a vegan of two years, I’m constantly looking for new recipes, bloggers and Instagram accounts to fuel my plant-based food inspiration. I’ve followed @elsas_wholesomelife for years now and bought her cookbook last year when I came across it in a day spa on the Gold Coast. For the past six months or so, I’ve tried many of her magnificent dishes that she’s created and my non-vegan boyfriend has even loved them!

Travel blogger, plant-based foodie, nutritionist and author of best-selling cookbook, Elsa’s Wholesome Life, Ellie Watson (nee Bullen) has grown a plant-based empire with a following of over 600k on Instagram, known for its colourful photos and incredible scenery.

 

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Born and raised in Lennox Head, a little coastal town south of Byron Bay, Ellie and her husband just moved back from living in Bali for the past two years and bought their first home in Palm Beach on the Gold Coast.

In her cookbook, Ellie explains everything you need to know about adopting a plant-based diet to ensure you don’t miss out on important vitamins and minerals, as well as how to maximise your nutrients and overall, live a more wholesome life.

“I haven’t always followed a plant-based diet. Five years ago there weren’t many foods I didn’t eat, and although I’d always try to eat healthy foods, I was uneducated and ill-informed and tended to get drawn into trying fad diets and nutritional supplements. The first things to go were meat and dairy, though I continued to eat seafood. A year later I gave up seafood, too, as it didn’t feel right. I continued to eat eggs occasionally, but only when I could be 100 per cent sure that they were from an ethical source. This meant I didn’t eat any packaged food or restaurant meals that contained eggs, as I could never be sure that they had been produced humanely. Some of you may wonder if I miss the foods I have excluded, and the answer is a resounding ‘No!’ I love plant based foods.” Says Ellie in Elsas’s Wholesome Life cookbook.

 

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Benefits of a plant-based lifestyle:
Caring for animals (not supporting factory farming).
Ethical reasons (locally sourced foods).
Sustainability (less impact on the environment).
Better for your health (decreased risk of diseases and cancer).

Below, we share with you a delicious and nutritious recipe that will warm your soul whilst easing into autumn. Plus, a healthier alternative to classic mac and cheese, from an Aussie plant-based dietitian.

CREAMY MAC-NO-CHEESE

 

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Ingredients:
400g pumpkin, roughly diced
1 cup (150 g) cashews, pre-soaked
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon salt
300g gluten-free macaroni
2 cups baby spinach leaves 
(about 100g)
freshly ground black pepper
chilli flakes

Method:
Bring one litre of water to the boil in a saucepan over a high heat. Add the pumpkin, cover and boil for eight minutes, or until the pumpkin falls apart when pierced with a fork. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.

Place the pumpkin, cashews, yeast, garlic and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Add three-quarters of the reserved cooking liquid and pulse to combine. Set aside.

– Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
– When al dente, turn off the heat and add the spinach leaves.
– Drain immediately.
– Add the pumpkin sauce and stir until the pasta is well coated.
– Season to taste with the pepper and chilli flakes.
– Serve immediately.

Elsa’s Wholesome Life cookbook $35, 
for sale on thewholesome.store

 

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