Herby pasta, vegan meatballs and chocolate pud: Max La Manna’s vegan recipes for using up old bread – The Guardian

Put past-its-best bread centre-stage with battered baked broccoli with buffalo sauce, crumb-topped pasta, tomato ‘meatballs’ and a chocolatey, nutty bread-and-butter pudding
Store any excess breadcrumbs in the freezer for up to three months.
Prep 10 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4-8
1 large head broccoli, florets and stems cut into 3-5cm pieces
For the batter
35g gram or plain flour
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp chilli powder
½
tsp black pepper
125ml oat milk

For the breadcrumb mix
100g dry, day-old bread, roughly torn
2 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp black pepper
A generous pinch of salt
For the quick buffalo sauce
2 tbsp hot sauce
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp plant-based butter
2 tbsp oat milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tsp water

To serve
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1–2 spring onions
, trimmed and thinly sliced
1–2 tbsp fresh chives, roughly chopped
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4, and line a baking tin with greaseproof paper. Put the bread in a food processor and pulse to a fine crumb. Transfer to a bowl with all the other ingredients for the breadcrumb mix.
In another bowl, whisk all the batter ingredients until smooth and slightly thick. Add the broccoli and mix to coat evenly. Roll the battered broccoli in the breadcrumb mix, to coat evenly, then put in the lined tin. Bake for 18–20 minutes, flipping once halfway, until golden and crisp.
Meanwhile, make the buffalo sauce. In a pan on a medium–low heat, stir the hot sauce, ketchup, butter, oat milk and maple syrup, then simmer for two to three minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the cornflour and water, then reduce the heat under the sauce and stir in the cornflour mixture for two minutes, until smooth and silky. Take off the heat.
Put the baked broccoli in a large bowl, add a few spoonfuls of the buffalo sauce and mix to coat. Serve hot, topped with the sesame seeds, spring onions and chives.
The sauce can be made up to a day ahead; seal tightly and chill.
Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4- 6
80g dry, day-old bread
90ml extra-virgin olive oil
, plus 1 tbsp extra for frying
1 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted
3 tbsp fresh dill, fronds and stems chopped
1 unwaxed lemon, zested and juiced
Salt and pepper
360g linguine
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
75g pine nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
3 tbsp fresh parsley, leaves and stems chopped
3 tbsp fresh basil, leaves and stems chopped
100g pitted green olives
4 tbsp capers
50g vegan parmesan, grated
Put the bread in a food processor and blitz to fine crumbs. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, add the fennel seeds and breadcrumbs, and cook, stirring occasionally, for four to five minutes, until golden and fragrant. Leave to cool, then toss with the dill, the zest of half the lemon, salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, until al dente, then drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, mix the garlic, pine nuts, parsley, basil, half the olives and half the capers in a serving bowl. Finely chop the remaining olives and capers, add to the bowl with the lemon juice and the remaining oil and lemon zest, then toss and season to taste.
Add the pasta and a splash of the reserved cooking liquid, and toss again, adding one to two tablespoons of parmesan at a time until the sauce coats the pasta. Serve the pasta topped with the zesty, herby breadcrumbs.
Prep 15 min
Chill 30 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4
For the “meatball” mix
80g
dry, day-old bread
260g
plant-based mince – I use Beyond Meat Mince
2 garlic cloves
, peeled and minced
½ onion, diced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped, including stems
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
400g passata

For the herby garlic bread
4 tbsp plant-based butter
2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
½ lemon zest
Salt and
black pepper
1
baguette or sourdough, sliced diagonally
Blitz the old bread in a food processor to a rough crumb, tip into a large bowl and combine with the remaining meatball ingredients. With your hands, form the mixture into golfball-sized rounds and chill for about 30 minutes, to firm up.
Put two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, then fry the balls, turning them occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and lightly charred all over. Turn the heat down low, add the passata and warm through, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. In a bowl, mix the butter, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, salt and black pepper, spread evenly on one side of the bread slices and bake for five to eight minutes, until the butter has melted and the bread is browning at the edges. Serve the meatballs with your favourite pasta and the herby garlic bread on the side.
Prep 20 min
Rest 15 min+
Cook45 min
Serves 4
50g hazelnuts
5 tbsp cornflour
400ml oat milk
150ml plant-based whipping cream
1 tsp
vanilla extract
30g icing sugar, plus extra to serve
50g plant-based butter
3 tbsp cocoa powder
200g
vegan dark chocolate, roughly chopped
500g dry sliced bread, cut diagonally
Vegan ice-cream, to serve
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Roast the hazelnuts in a tray for 10 minutes, until golden, then leave to cool.
To make the custard, tip the cornflour into a bowl, whisk in splashes of oat milk until it forms a thin paste, then tip into a saucepan. Add the rest of the milk, the cream, vanilla and icing sugar, set over a medium heat, and cook, whisking, for five to eight minutes, until thickened.
Blitz the nuts, butter and cocoa powder until smooth and creamy. Put a quarter of the chocolate in a glass bowl, and melt in 10-second bursts in a microwave or over a pan of lightly simmering water. Pour the melted chocolate into the nut mix and blitz again to make a thick, creamy butter.
Spread the butter thickly on one side of each slice of old bread, then use to line a 27cm x 21cm (or thereabouts) baking dish, overlapping the slices so the corners are exposed above the rim. Scatter with half the remaining chocolate, then pour the custard over the top. Scatter with the last of the chocolate and set aside to soak for 15-30 minutes.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown, rest for five minutes, then dust with icing sugar and serve with ice-cream.
Max La Manna is a low-waste vegan cook and writer

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