Plant-based recipes for delicious and healthy new habits

Think of it as a small investment: the care you give your fruit after buying it and before you eat it will ensure the fruit can give you the most it possibly can. Picture RP Photography/Pexels.

Think of it as a small investment: the care you give your fruit after buying it and before you eat it will ensure the fruit can give you the most it possibly can. Picture RP Photography/Pexels.

Published Jan 23, 2023


We're all familiar with the phrase an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

There has never been a better opportunity to increase your consumption of apples and pears for improved health. A study published in the Atherosclerosis Journal claims that "those who routinely consume apples and pears were 11% less likely to suffer a stroke than those who do not."

According to Mira Weiner, an advocate of plant-based eating, commissioned by Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing to develop plant-based or vegan recipes with apples and pears, plant-based nutrition is the key to optimum health.

It’s disheartening to buy fresh produce only for it to spoil in a few days.

Henk Griessel, Quality Assurance Manager at Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, explains how to keep your fruit fresh.

“Keep your apples and pears cool. They soften ten times faster at room temperature than in the fridge. Ideally, store your apples and pears in a plastic bag in the fridge to keep them away from other foods. This will help to prevent the fruit from absorbing other tastes and odours and delay the impact of other ripening foods in your fridge”.

According to Griessel, properly cared for fruit will also give your body the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals, and fibres.

“Think of it as a small investment: the care you give your fruit after buying it and before you eat it will ensure the fruit can give you the most it possibly can. Other than the health benefits of fresh fruit, over-ripe fruit can easily be avoided.”

He adds that treating fruit as a living organism will help one remember to be gentle with it to avoid bruising. “A squeeze of lemon, a little vinegar diluted in water, or diluted honey will help prevent cut apples from going brown - a natural response to oxidisation.”

Other than the health benefits of fresh fruit, over-ripe fruit can easily be avoided. Picture by Asya Vlasova/Pexels.

Pear Tart with Cashew Cream Cheese & Garden Greens

Prep time: 15 minutes excluding soaking of cashew nuts

Baking time: 20 to 30 minutes.

Serves Four to six.

Ingredients for the tart

400g vegan puff pastry

2 pears, thinly sliced

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp lemon juice

Plant-based milk for brushing the pastry

Pinch of black pepper

Ingredients for the cashew cream cheese

1 cup cashews, soaked overnight or in hot water for 3-4 hours

½ cup water

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

¼ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp garlic powder

Pinch of sea salt

Serving suggestion:

Fresh rocket

Thyme sprigs

Toasted walnuts

Edible flowers


1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Make sure the puff pastry is defrosted and roll it out. Fold the edges in, on the sides and using a fork, make patterns across the edges as well as across the middle of the rolled-out pastry. Brush the pastry with plant milk and bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden.

3. To make the cashew cream cheese, rinse the soaked cashew nuts and place them into a high-speed blender along with the water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt. Blend until a beautifully rich and silky smooth consistency.

4. In a bowl, combine the pear slices with the lemon juice, maple syrup, and black pepper. Mix well.

5. Remove the pastry from the oven and place the pears on top. Bake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the pastry, as you want it to be nice and golden.

6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before decorating with generous dollops of cream cheese, fresh rocket, thyme sprigs, toasted walnuts, and edible flowers.

Apple Crumble

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Baking time: 20 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Serves: 10-12


10 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples, peeled and sliced into thick wedges

6 cardamom pods

Thumb-size piece of fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

2 tbsp coconut sugar

4 tbsp water and more if needed

Ingredients for the crumble

¾ cup gluten-free oats

½ cup gluten-free oat flour

½ cup almond flour

¼ cup chickpea flour

3 tbsp vegan butter or coconut oil

2 tbsp coconut sugar

2 tbsp maple syrup

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Serving suggestion:

Coconut cream


1. Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Place the apples, cardamom pods, fresh ginger, and cinnamon stick into a pot or saucepan. Simmer gently for five minutes, and then add the coconut sugar and water. Stew for 10-15 minutes until the apples caramelise and become sticky. Add a dash more water if needed.

3. To make the crumble, combine the oats, oat flour, almond flour, chickpea flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Mix altogether. Slowly crumble the vegan butter or coconut oil and the maple syrup into the bowl with your hands until you reach the desired consistency. You want the crumble to start sticking together.

4. You can use a pie dish or casserole and add the cooked apples to the bottom of the dish. Top with the crumble and bake at 180C for 20 minutes or until golden.

5. Serve hot with your favourite topping – works well with vegan custard, vegan ice cream, or vegan whipped cream. Enjoy!

Spring Apple Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 6

Ingredients for the salad

2 packs of mixed salad greens of choice (I used butter lettuce, radicchio, baby spinach, and rocket)

2 red apples, thinly sliced (Pink Lady/Fuji/Cripps Pink work well)

1 square of vegan feta, crumbled

80g pomegranate kernels

30g pecan nuts, toasted

Ingredients for the mustard and maple vinaigrette

1/3 cup good quality olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice

2 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp wholegrain mustard

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Sea salt and black pepper to taste


1. Start by toasting your pecan nuts in a dry pan for a few minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

2. In a large salad bowl, place all the salad greens and add the sliced apples, pomegranate kernels, and toasted pecan nuts to the bowl. Sprinkle over the crumbled feta.

3. To make the dressing, add all the ingredients into a glass jar and give it a good shake.

Spiced Pear Cake

Prep time: 10 minutes

Baking time: 50 minutes

Serves: 12


1.5 cups gluten-free flour

½ cup almond flour

½ cup coconut sugar

½ cup coconut oil, melted

½ cup plant-based milk

3 flaxseed ‘eggs’ (3 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbsp warm water)

1 pear, peeled and sliced into blocks

3 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

For the topping:

1 pear, sliced

2 tbsp maple syrup

Serving suggestion:

Toasted coconut flakes

Plant cream (I used whipped coconut)


1. Preheat the oven to 170C.

2. Make the flax ‘eggs’ by combing the ground flax seeds and water together in a small bowl or cup.

3. Sift the flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices into a bowl.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut oil, plant-based milk, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar. Mix well. Add the flaxseed mixture and stir to combine.

5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Don’t over-mix.

6. Add the blocks of pears.

7. Line a baking tin with grease-proof paper and smear lightly with coconut oil.

8. Pour in the mixture.

9. Place the sliced pears onto the cake in a circular motion around the middle and lightly brush them with maple syrup.

10. Bake for 50 minutes or slightly longer if needed depending on your oven. I like to test the centre of the cake by gently inserting a knife, and once it comes out dry, the cake can be removed from the oven and allowed to cool.

11. Serve with toasted coconut flakes and plant cream.