Plant-based recipes for gut health

Start the day with banana and blueberry pancakes, snack on healthy carrot cake bites and slow cook a delicious plant-powered stew with these new vegan recipes.

Start the day with banana and blueberry pancakes, snack on healthy carrot cake bites and slow cook a delicious plant-powered stew with these new vegan recipes, by gut doctor Alan Desmond.

Quick Banana and Blueberry Pancakes

These American-style pancakes are a regular at our house. If you don’t use all the batter, it will keep in the fridge overnight. Just add an extra splash of oat milk and give it a good stir before using.


Makes 8 small pancakes

Prep & cook: 20 minutes

Plant score: 4

Fibre per serving: 5.9g

Protein per serving: 1.8g

Gluten-free: no


250ml (1 cup) oat milk or other plant milk

1 ripe banana

120g (¾ cup) wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp peanut butter

Olive oil, for frying (optional)

150g (¾ cup) blueberries

Maple syrup, to drizzle

1. Place the milk, banana, flour, baking powder and peanut butter in a food processor or blender and whizz together until there are no floury lumps.

2. Heat a non-stick frying pan. A rub of oil will help prevent sticking. Put 3 or 4 separate dollops of batter in the pan, depending how much room there is. Sprinkle some blueberries onto each one, then cook over a medium heat until you see little bubbles appearing across the surface. Flip them over and cook the other side for a couple of minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

3. Serve the pancakes as you go, or keep a stack warm in a hot oven. Offer them with any leftover blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Carrot Cake Bites

These healthy snacks take just ten minutes to make. You can experiment by changing the nuts and adding some dark chocolate, seeds or chopped dried fruit in place of the carrot.

Carrot cakes

Makes 12

Prep: 10 minutes

Plant score: 4

Fibre per serving: 3.1g

Protein per serving: 3.4g

Gluten-free: Yes, if using gluten-free oats


125g (1 cup) walnut halves

120g (1 ½ cups) porridge oats

10 pitted Medjool dates

1 carrot, grated

1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

1. Put the walnuts into a food processor or blender and pulse them a few times until coarsely chopped. Add all the remaining ingredients and whizz together until you have a thick, sticky dough.

2. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of baking parchment. Wet your hands and roll the dough into a sausage shape. If it feels too sticky to shape, return it to the processor and add more oats until it is easier to handle. Cut the sausage into 12 equal pieces, then roll each one into a ball. Store them in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week.

Plant-Powered Stew with Braised Chickpeas and Couscous

There are 12 different plants in this dish, but the real star is the aubergine. Baking it whole allows the inside to soften beautifully while the skin blisters in the heat of the oven. Enjoy.


Serves 2

Prep & cook: 45 minutes

Plant score: 12

Fibre per serving: 17g

Protein per serving: 20g

Gluten-free: Yes, if you omit the couscous


1 large aubergine

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)

1 red onion, sliced

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

50g (½ cup) green olives, roughly chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1½ tbsp harissa

1 x 400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes or passata

200ml (¾ cup) vegetable stock

100g (1 cup) baby spinach

1 lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the braised chickpeas

1 x 400g (14oz) can chickpeas

Pinch of saffron (optional)

½ cinnamon stick

60g ( cup) wholegrain couscous

About 100ml (½ cup) boiling water

Handful of parsley, chopped

Few fresh mint leaves, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 220oC/Fan 180oC/400oF/Gas 8. Put the aubergine on a baking tray and place in the oven for 30 minutes, turning once or twice, until it is soft and collapsing and the skin is blistered. Pinch it with a pair of tongs to check. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Warm the olive oil (if using) or a few tablespoons water in a large saucepan, then add the onion and red pepper. Fry over a medium heat for 15 minutes, until soft and starting to colour. Add a dash more water if the mixture looks like catching.

3. Meanwhile, tip the chickpeas and their liquid into a large saucepan. Add the saffron (if using) and cinnamon and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 20 minutes, until the chickpeas are very soft and starting to break down.

4. When the onion mixture is ready, stir in the garlic, olives, cumin, paprika and harissa. Fry for 1 minute before adding the tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or so.

5. When the chickpeas are ready, stir in the couscous and add the boiling water, just enough to cover everything. Cover the pan and set aside for 5–10 minutes, until the couscous has plumped up and become tender.

6. When the aubergines are cool enough to handle, peel away and discard the burnt skin; don’t be too fussy, the odd fleck adds a bit of smokiness. Roughly chop the flesh and stir it into the stew

along with the spinach. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and a squeeze or two of lemon juice.

7. Use a fork to fluff up the couscous and chickpeas. Stir in the parsley and mint just before serving with the stew.

Recipes taken from The Plant-Based Diet Revolution by Dr Alan Desmond, published in hardback and ebook by Yellow Kite. Photography Dan Jones, recipes Bob Andrew.


Leave a Reply

  1. Alan
    I cooked the Plant-powered stew with braised chickpeas and couscous .
    Absolutely delicious ,intense flavour . Its added to my favourites .
    Great recipe ! thankyou !

    1. Great to hear you enjoyed making it Ludd – do give the other recipes a try and let us know how you get on with them.


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