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Christmas dream treat: Gingerbread Coconut Bundt Cake

14.12.2017

Hello friends! I thought I’d share this oh-so delicious and christmassy Gingerbread Coconut Bundt Cake recipe that got popular on my Instagram also here on my site, so that many of you’d find it.

Gingerbread Coconut Bundt Cake - vegan, gluten free and naturally sweetened.

I created this vegan & gluten-free cake with warm notes of gingerbread and juicy chuncks of dates originally for Risenta and have been preparing it several times already, as it is just sooo good and rich and delish. I try not to think about it too much now so that the cravings won’t hit me again or else I’ll find myself baking it again and eating it tomorrow the whole day…

But you go and make this! And let me know how you liked it!

Enjoy & Have a cozy Christmas!

V

(vegan, gluten free, naturally sweetened)

Cake:

5 tbsp ground flaxseed
½ cup water
1 ½ cup Risenta almond meal
1 cup Risenta rice flour
⅓ cup coconut sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ceylon cinnamon
2 tsp gingerbread spice mix
½ tsp cardamom
tiny pinch of sea salt
1 can (400 ml) full fat coconut milk
½ cup coconut oil, melted
5 fresh dates, pitted
5 tbsp coconut syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
+ 5 fresh dates, pitted and cut to small pieces

Frosting:

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter or white tahini
1 tbsp coconut syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

On top:

Coconut flakes
hazelnuts

Cake mold:

0.4-0.5 gallons (1,5 – 1,8 liters)

Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (175 Celsius) degrees. Grease the bundt cake mold with coconut oil. Mix the ground flax and water in a small bowl and leave to thicken. In the meantime prepare the cake dough.

Mix the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Place coconut milk, coconut oil, 5 dates, coconut syrup and vanilla into a blender and blend until smooth. Mix with dry ingredients. Add also the flax mixture you made and mix well. Stir in the date cubes. Pour the dough into the cake mold. Bake for 55-60 minutes. The cake is ready when a toothpick comes out clean. Take out of the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes and remove from the mold. Let the cake cool down totally. Frost and serve! The cake is at its best after one night in the fridge.

Frosting:

Mix the coconut oil, nut butter and vanilla in a small bowl. If the mixture goes too runny, keep it in the fridge for about 15 minutes, mixing it couple of times. Frost the cake and decorate with coconut flakes and nuts.

More recipes on Vanelja’s Instagram!

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Colorful and cozy Dream Lattes

30.10.2017

Hello Love! I’m here to give you some new inspiration for warm drinks – something that makes you thrive during the cold months and something super fun to try out at your coffee or tea break, at your breakfast or as your good night drink.

Pink Latte make from beet and vegan milk

I call them Dream Lattes (Or Soul Lattes – Sweet child has many names, as we say in Finlandas they sooth the soul in such a dreamy way. The happy pastel colors and nourishing ingredients make such a beautiful winter surviving combo that your average cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate just starts to feel bo-ooring.

 

I’m a person who loves variation and I have been switching between these Dream Lattes during the last months and I love to come up with new modifications and color combos. I have never ever believed in the phrase “Don’t play with your food.” Of course you should play – Always, in every single situation you get a change! Playfulness in life is something that makes us vibrate in such a high and light level and that’s the path to true happiness and wellbeing. Through joy, you know.

Pink Latte make from beet and vegan milk

Well anyways, what I was saying about these Dream Lattes, is that few months ago I enjoyed my golden latte with different kinds of spices every evening. Then I started doing the Pink Latte, in which I incorporated beet powder (or blended cooked beet with the milk) and that was a true eye candy for me, because my color taste has stuck to what it was when I was 5, like “All pink everything”. Lately I have been doing my Smaragd Latte which is a combination Blue Latte and Green Latte, that includes matcha, chlorella and/or blue algae. And as you can see all these lattes look like some water coloring session would have just taken place – but they actually are quite potions, I tell you! Big powerful color & herb therapy session in one mug.

Then I have some news to tell!

  1. Last weekend Vanelja won the award for The Best Food Blog at The Blog Awards Finland! Yayyyyy! That was something so so miraculous, that I’m still astonished.  My updates and posts happen mainly on Vanelja’s Instagram account, and I had thought that this kind of an award is targeted mainly to more old school type of bloggers, so it was so heart-warming to notice that the jury had considered also other channels this time.  You can read my thoughts about the victory here from my Instagram post. Wanna send a HUGE warm hug to all my lovely followers for supporting me and being part of this journey.
  2. Vanelja.com is under a renovation and a new beautiful site is building up. This site functions normally until the launch, but I won’t be posting here before the new site opens. But my IG is as active as normal, so no actual radio silence happening.

Pink Latte, Golden Latte, Green Latte and Blue latte to sooth your soul

So stay tuned, my bunnies, and please do try out some of these Dream Lattes – or all of them! Tag your creations on Instagram #dreamlatte and @vanelja so I’ll see them! 

Be love and stay golden!

 

V

Pink Latte:

1 cup unsweetened vegan milk (such as almond milk, oat milk or hemp milk)

1 teaspoon beet powder (or a small cube of cooked beetroot)

½ teaspoon ceylon cinnamon

⅓ teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ow raw organic honey or maple syrup or agave

1 teaspoon coconut oil

 

Golden Latte:

1 cup unsweetened mylk (such as almond milk, oat milk or hemp milk)

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon cinnamon

⅓ teaspoon ground cardamom

pinch of ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ow raw organic honey or maple syrup or agave

1 teaspoon coconut oil

 

Green Latte:

1 cup unsweetened mylk (such as almond milk, oat milk or hemp milk)

1 teaspoon matcha powder

⅓ teaspoon chlorella

¼ teaspoon ashwagandha

⅓ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon peppermint extract or fresh mint leaves

1 teaspoon ow raw organic honey or maple syrup or agave

1 teaspoon coconut oil

 

Blue Latte:

1 cup unsweetened mylk (such as almond milk, oat milk or hemp milk)

¼ teaspoon blue algae powder (like Blue Majik)

¼ teaspoon ashwagandha

⅓ teaspoon ground ginger

juices of half a lemon

1 teaspoon ow raw organic honey or maple syrup or agave

1 teaspoon coconut oil

 

Pour the milk into a small saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat. Whisk in all the ingredients – except honey, if you’re using. Cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and add the sweetener, honey or syrup. Top with ceylon cinnamon or beet powder, if you like. Enjoy Warm!

Tip 1: You can also warm the milk and then pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and frothy.

Tip 2: If you want to play with colors, make different colors of lattes, scoop off some froth from the surface and mix the froths to different colors of lattes, like pink froth to golden latte, yellow froth to pink latte and so on.

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Gingerbread porridge

19.12.2016

And so has the week before Christmas started. The perfect time to start fueling up hard core with all the lovely christmas flavors, spices and Holiday treats and taking the Christmas in with all your cells and taste buds. Showering with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, anise and ginger. Living the Christmas to the fullest! Like they say. Or like I say, at least.

Although I have a strong tendency to flip into the Christmas insanity, my passion is mainly focused on the food & the mood, not so much on the material stuff. Well okay, I have installed a small set of fairy lights (aprox. 8 meters long) on the balcony and a humble (only a half meter big) star on the window, but otherwise I mainly believe in peace & love kind of Christmas. Because when you just stop, breathe deep and be present then you are in the very essence of Christmas.

And it is just so much more romantic just to burn candles and enjoy small dishes and treats with christmas flavors all around the christmas time than to go bonkers with decoration and to stress over huge Holiday dinners that take insanely long time to prepare. 

“You get the most beautiful Christmas by returning back to basics: To the simple and tasty food that makes you feel good and to small handmade ornaments and gifts that touch the heart.”  Like we say in our new Christmas book that I made with my ever-so-lovely friend Riikka Kantinkoski. The book is all about a low-key Christmas with easy, natural and rustic interior ideas and healthy (gluten-free, dairy-free, naturally sweetened and mainly vegan) recipes for the Holidays and for the whole winter time. The book, called Joulukirja (“The Christmas book”) came out a few weeks ago and I’m super proud of it. Go check it out, if you happen to be in Finland and hang around bookstores!

The Gingerbread Porridge in this post didn’t make it into the book, but it most certainly would have if I just would have came up with it a bit earlier than last week. But hey, luckily I can share it with you guys now!

I got to use lovely Gluten-free & Deluxe products of Lidl in it, for example Gluten-free Rolled Oats, Walnut oil, Dates and Clove & Cardamom Mills. Those spice mills are especially my favorites because you can just go ahead and grind lovely christmas flavors on just about everything with them! On your porridge, on stews and casseroles, on cakes and other treats – or even on your cranky neighbour that needs to get into Christmas mood.

…I bet Lidl wouldn’t sign the last recommendation for use, but you get my permission.

Or even better, go ahead and prepare this Gingerbread oatmeal to the Grinch of your life and I bet you’ll see a warm light start shining through his/her eyes. I mean, this stuff really brings the Christmas. 

Be good, my friend & eat a lot of porridge.

V

(In collaboration with LIDL)

Serves 4

2 cups oat milk

2 cups water

1 1⁄4 cups gluten-free oatmeal

1 ½ tsp gingerbread spice mix

pinch of sea salt

3 fresh dates

1 tbsp walnut oil (or almond butter)

Top with:

apple bites

crushed walnuts or almond flakes

ceylon cinnamon

crushed clove

crushed cardamom

ginger bread pieces

raw organic honey or maple syrup or coconut syrup

oat milk

Pour the oat milk and the water into a pan and bring to a boil. Add oatmeal, salt and spices. Chop the dates into small pieces and put on the pan. Cook in a medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the porridge is cooked. Stir in the walnut oil or almond butter.

Dose the porridge into serving bowls. Top with apple pieces, crushed ginger breads and almond flakes. Sprinkle on the spices and add a drop of honey or syrup. Pour some oat milk on, if you like. Serve and enjoy!

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It’s a Pleasure – Nut Caramel Candies

3.10.2016

Life has had quite hectic twists and turns lately. Sometimes I wonder how it is even possible for me as one human being to cope with all these projects I have managed to gather in my life. But in some weird way person kind of multiplies herself, expands time or makes other magic tricks when stuff just needs to be done. And there is no time to sit around when a revolution awaits! A food revolution, you know, in which I try to take part with my work.

A part of my revolution dream has now become reality as my very first cookbook about healthy sweet treats, that came out in Finland some time ago has now been released in the US and it goes by the name It’s a Pleasure. I’m so happy about the outcome – the book looks and feels super pretty and nice and I hope it can help to transform globally the way people feel about sweets with it’s over 80 recipes for cakes, candies, cookies, muffins, ice creams, chocolates and other sweet treats – all without guten, dairy and refined sugar. Because there is just no better way to indulge than to savor with treats that left you feeling light, healthy and satisfied!

Try for example these overwhelming pralines. I have prepared big batches of them lately and people have LOVED them. And no wonder. The best pralines combine many elements: a soft filling, a texture that snaps nicely and something crunchy. Also, a hint of saltiness is a big plus. These chocolates are all of the above and can be created with very simple and wholesome ingredients.

Please, just try them! And if you wish to have a copy of It’s a Pleasure, throw me a message here below before Oct 10th and I’ll pick two winners to whom I’ll post the book next week – in Finnish or in English, you choose!

Until then – Viva la revolucion!

V

NUT CARAMEL CHOCOLATES

Makes 15-20 pieces

Caramels:

  • 15 fresh dates
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 15-20 pecans
  • 4-5 tbsp unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter

Icing:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened dark or raw chocolate, or ½ cup Basic Chocolate from the It’s a Pleasure book.

On top:

  • flaky sea salt

Pit the dates. Put the dates, coconut oil, water vanilla extract and salt into the blender and purée. Caramel should be thick and smooth. Spoon the caramel in a freezer-safe container and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes so that it thickens a bit and is easier to handle.

Line a small baking sheet with a parchment paper. When the caramel sauce has thickened, take about teaspoon-sized dollops of the caramel and place onto the prepared baking sheet and mold the caramel into balls. Press a pecan into each ball. And then add about half a teaspoon of peanut butter on each pecan nut and place the tray into a freezer. Freeze for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime melt the chocolate on the top of a double boiler / in warm water bath. Take the pralines out of the freezer and dip each of them into the chocolate icing. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and return them to the freezer just to set. Bring out, serve and indluge. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Recipe from the book IT’S A PLEASURE by Virpi Mikkonen

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Gluten-free Vegan Semlas

5.2.2016

One of my favorite things in the world is problem solving and finding a solution. Give me an overhand knot and I’ll untangle it. Tell me something is impossible, I’ll find a way. Show me a problem, yo, I'll solve it.

Because in my world, there ain’t no problems, just solutions not yet found.

And that is exactly what a vegan semla (aka shrove bun, a traditional sweet bun filled with whipped cream and almond paste or raspberry jam and consumed for example in Finland, Sweden and in Estonia at Shrove Tuesday / Pancake day.) without gluten, dairy, yeast and refined sugar appeared at first.

Sure, I had made gluten free and yeast free semlas many times before, but they always included eggs. With eggs it is easy. With eggs everything is easy. And then, on the other hand all the vegan semla recipes they include usually white flour and yeast. With white flour and yeast it is easy. Even a baby can do it.

But to make a vegan semla, that has a nice and soft texture, that doesn’t crumble, that has a heavenly taste and none of those belly swelling ingredients – THAT was a tricky equation. That was something I just had to get involved.

So I made my math and baked the first batch. Disaster. The taste was good but the texture was horrible. Let’s modify the recipe and make another batch. Buns come out all flat. Ok, the third version usually always works. Not this time. The taste is great, the texture is better, but buns remain raw on the inside no matter how long I bake them. And finally when they are done, they look horrendous.

At this time a normal person would just say, oh well, let’s just eat pancakes then!
But a maniac like me – is just getting started.
So I roll my sleeves, take a deep breath and go to the mattresses.

I twist the recipe here and there, pour a little bit more of this and less of that. Change the baking temperature and add a new ingredient. In my head the buns should come out brilliant, but you can’t never be certain when it comes to baking. There is always a bit of magic involved, and a lot of chemical reactions happening that are hard to predict. But with high hopes I send my buns to the oven. And with a growing excitement I take them out, split them and fill them. …And with happy tears in my eyes I finally eat them.

I’m in love with these semlas. My family is in love with them too. Please do try them also. With the vanilla flavored coconut whipped cream and super easy homemade almond paste. They just belong together. This equation equals love.

V

Pst, Check out also my other shrove bun inspired recipes:

Creamy Raspberry Cardamom Smoothie & Creamy Raspberry Raw Cake

SEMLAS

(gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugarfree, vegan)

6-7 pieces

  • 3 tbsp chia seeds + 1 cup water
  • ½ cup coconut whipped cream (about one can of full-fat coconut milk kept in the fridge)
  • 1 cup full-fat almond meal
  • 4 tbsp full-fat coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp psyllium husk
  • ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar (or for example xylitol or erythritol)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

For greasing:

  • 2 tbsp water + 1 tbsp maple syrup

    TIP: If you don’t like almonds, ude can replase almond meal with 1/2 cup of coconut flour. In that case you can replace the chia-water mixture with 3 organic eggs. Whip the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy and then add to dry ingredients with whipped coconut cream. Always add enough flour or whipped coconut cream so that the dough is nice and fluffy, not crubly and dry or too sticky or loose.

Preheat the oven to 350 / 175 C F degrees.

Mix chia seeds and water in a small bowl and leave to thicken.

Take the coconut milk can from the fridge and scoop out the white thick paste into another bowl. Whip until fluffy.

Mix the dry ingredients in a third bowl. Add the chia mixture and the coconut whipped cream and apple cider vinegar. Mix. Leave the dough to thicken for about 10 minutes. The dough is ready when it’s easy to handle and you can mold buns from it and they’ll retain the ball shape without flattening. Add flour if needed. Mold small round buns from the dough on a baking tray covered with a baking paper. Grease with water-syrup mixture. Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until buns get nice golden color. Take from the oven and let cool totally. In the meantime prepare the fillings. When buns are cooled, cut off the hats and fill with almond paste slice and coconut whipped cream. Dust lightly some coconut flour on or sprinkle on some shredded coconut. Serve and enjoy! Store in the fridge.

COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM

  • 2 can full-fat coconut milk (keep in the fridge)
  • 1 tbsp coconut syrup (or for example maple syrup)
  • ½ tsp vanilla powder

Take the coconut milk cans from the fridge and scoop out the white thick paste into a bowl. Add syrup and vanilla. Whip until fluffy. If the mixture gets too warm and runny, keep in a fridge for awhile  so that it gets as thick as normal whipped cream. Use as a filling in semlas with almond paste.

ALMOND PASTE

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 3-5 tbsp coconut syrup or maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla powder or seeds from half vanilla bean.

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl with a spoon. The dough should be easily moldable, like playdough, not too dry or crumbly. Add more syrup or almond meal if needed. Roll the dough into a pole (about 5 cm / 2 inches thick) and roll it inside a parchment paper or plastic wrap. Put it in the fridge and leave to thicken for at least 1 hour, or overnight. Cut the pole into 1 cm/½ inch thick slices. Use slices inside semlas with coconut whipped cream.

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3 Ingredient Chocolate Cake

11.12.2015

After a long development I can proudly announce that I have captured the essence of a chocolate cake. And here comes the news: A delicious chocolate cake can be done with only just 3 ingredients!

And before you say anything, like "3 ingredient chocolate ain't no news, miss!, let me clarify: this ain’t one of those 3 ingredient cakes, that has been spreading in the internet, which includes store-brought chocolate, which actually contains a big bunch of different ingredients. No, no, no.

This cakes includes solely 3 basic NATURAL ingredients: Organic eggs, dates and raw cacao powder. Yep, that's all you need.

You can of course refine the recipe for example with vanilla powder, cinnamon or a tiny pinch of chili. And top with super easy chocolate mousse, or whipped coconut cream and berries!

The recipe is from my brand new cookbook, and I feel it is a good example of how simple you can make cooking, and still enojy nice flavors and clean ingredients.

And then to the muse of my cake! I have dedicated this cake to my friend’s amazing ethical fashion brand Lovia. Lovia’s clothes and accessories are produced in Helsinki, Finland and they use mainly recycled and organic materials in their clothes and accessories. I recommend to take a look at their beautiful and unique products, photos and films at their site.

Lovia’s pure, wild, clean and dark style made me think of deep chocolate flavors and pure basic ingredients used in a new and innovative way. And the outcome was truly somewhat magical!

As a christmas present Lovia wanted to offer 30 % discount to Vanelja’s followers during this weekend. With the code LoviaVanelja30 you can get the discount when shopping at their online store before the midnight of 13th of December.

So have some chocolate cake folks and make your weekend merry!

V

3 INGREDIENT CHOCOLATE CAKE

Preparing time: 25 minutes

Cake:

  • 4 organic eggs
  • 10-15 fresh sweet dates
  • 1,5 dl raw cacao powder

Cake tin diameter: about 17 cm / 6,5 inches

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 Fahrenheit degrees. Grease/oil the sides and the bottom of the cake tin. Cut pieces of parchment paper to cover the bottom and the sides. Remove the stones from the dates and add all the ingredients to the blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the dough into the cake tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until the surface looks dry. Watch out not to dry the cake too much (a tough job!). Let the cake cool completely before you remove the cake from the tin. Notice that the surface will come down quite a bit. Enjoy with chocolate mousse and nut crust or whipped coconut cream and berries!

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE FROSTING

  • 1 can (400 ml) full fat coconut milk (kept in the fridge)
  • 3-5 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp organic honey (or coconut syrup)

Take the coconut milk can from the fridge and scoop the white thick paste into a bowl. Add cacao powder and sweetener and whip with a mixer until mousse. Taste and add more cacao or sweetness if needed. Use as a frosting.

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Vegan meatballs and sweet potato pasta

26.11.2015

One year ago I dreamed about a cookbook that would save our family meals.

My dream book would have recipes that would take less than 30 minutes to make, preferably only 15 minutes, ingredients lists should be nice and short, they would not include gluten, dairy or refined-sugars and most of the recipes should be vegan. The book should offer wholesome recipes for breakfasts, dinners, lunches, snacks and for sweet treats. Kid-friendly recipes would be a big plus and also if the book could also offer better alternatives for pizzas and burgers, my man’s favorite meals. All in all, the recipes in the book should be healthy, super easy and super delicious.

Too sad there wasn’t any book like that on the market. I went through a big bunch of cookbooks and waited for a hero that would fly into my arms and save those moments where the stomach is empty and the mind goes blank at the same time. There were nice recipes here and there but a book that would fulfil ALL my needs just didn’t seem to exist.

So, I had to make it myself. And I did.

Two weeks from here my next cookbook about healthy fast food is going to be released in Finland. The Finnish name is Kiitos hyvää Pikaruokaa, and I’m proud to say that the book offers EXACTLY everything I just described above!

I am so thrilled and I can’t wait to get it in my hands – For one since I actually cook the recipes from the book everyday, and I can’t remember all my recipes in detail, and I don’t wanna go on searching for them from my computer all the time, so I really need to get the book in my kitchen and in my hands – ASAP!

Gonna let you know more about the book later, but I’m sure you guys are going to appreciate it as well. Who would not love healthy and tasty fast food!

But now, to today’s meal! This vegan meatballs and pasta recipe is not actually from my upcoming cookbook, because I created it after the book had already gone to print, but it makes an excellent and simple everyday meal also. I’m just loving this easy pasta made from sweet potato and the rich taste and great texture of these vegetarian meatballs! If you ask me it's quite an excellent mimic of the Italian classic meal, with a healthy and fun twist.

V

VEGAN MEATBALLS AND SWEET POTATO PASTA

Vegan meatballs:

( 8-10 pieces)

  • ½ heaping cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup chickpeas
  • 5 tbsp flax meal (or flax seeds)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbsp Tamarin soya
  • black pepper
  • a pinch sea salt

For frying:

  • 5 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil

Sweet potato pasta:

  • 1 big sweet potato
  • 2 cup marinara tomato sauce

On top:

  • vegan parmesan cheese (recipe in Kiitos hyvää Pikaruokaa cookbook!) or original organic parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 400 Fahrenheit/200 Celsius degrees. Measure sun-dried tomatoes into blender and blend until quite smooth. Add rest of the ingredients and blend. Pour the dough into a bowl and form small balls with your hands. If the dough feels too wet add a little bit of coconut flour or other flour. Pour generously oil onto a pan and fry the meatballs for about 5 minutes, until they get a nice brown color. Transfer the meatballs onto a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Bake for about 15 minutes. In the meantime prepare the sweet potato noodles.

Peel the sweet potato and prepare noodles with a spiral slicer or julienne peeler. Add 1 tbsp oil onto a pan and cook the nools for one minute. Add the marinara sauce and cook for about 10 minutes.
Take the meatballs out of the oven. Dose some noodles on plates, add meatballs on top. Grate some vegan cheese or parmesan cheese on top and sprinkle on some fresh basil leaves. Serve and enjoy!

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