Plant-based recipes for a lighter winter

20th June 2022 | Eativity editors
Winter recipes

It’s set to be a cold, wet winter this year. And when it’s cold, we tend to eat more. But if you do find yourself craving fattier, carb-heavy foods at this time of year, you can blame your inner caveperson. Winter was once a time when humans had to struggle to survive. Food was harder to come by, there were no Snuggies or ugg boots, and Netflix hadn’t been invented yet. In order to keep warm, humans of yore had to try and put on more body fat to stay warm. So those cravings that hit at the first sign of chilly weather are part of an ancient survival system, deeply ingrained in your brain. Pretty cool, huh?

Your mood also plays a part. Bleak weather can make for a bleak mood to match, and fatty, high-carb foods can provide an instant dopamine hit that makes you feel better, if only for a short while. The longer nights that draw in early over winter also mean you’re often exposed to less sunlight, which can affect the balance of chemicals in your brain that control mood, sleep, metabolism and appetite. All of this can add up to feeling sluggish, hungry and totally unwilling to even entertain the concept of going to the gym.

Luckily, there are ways to enjoy the comfort foods you crave without the side effects of weight gain and high cholesterol. Like these plant-based winter recipes from some of Califia Farms’ favourite recipe creators. They’re tasty, satisfying and warming, but they’re also good for you, so you won’t have to worry about any side servings of guilt.

Winter recipes: savoury oatmeal

Savoury oatmeal with mushrooms & kale

Oatmeal, or porridge, is a winter breakfast staple. Not only does it stay your stomach until lunchtime; it’s also made from super-nutritious oats. These are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as being a top source of fibre. Oats are particularly high in a type of heart-healthy soluble fibre known as beta-glucan, which has been found to help lower “bad” cholesterol levels. But savoury oatmeal, you ask? While you might think it sounds like some kind of winter-induced madness on our part, savoury oatmeal is actually incredibly tasty and satisfying. Try it and see if you don’t agree.

Recipe by The Nourished Chef

You’ll need:

For the oats:

3 cups water
1 cup Califia Farms Original Oat Milk
1 cup steel-cut oats
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp nutritional yeast

For the mushrooms:

1½ tbsp olive oil
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
⅛ tsp black pepper

For the kale:

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups kale, de-stemmed
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt

To serve:

Pumpkin seeds
Black sesame seeds
Chilli flakes
Truffle oil


1. In a large saucepan, combine steel-cut oats, salt, water and oat milk over high heat. Once bubbling, reduce to medium-low, adjusting as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is velvety and smooth. Once the oats are cooked, stir in hemp seeds and nutritional yeast.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add tamari, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Remove from pan. In same pan, heat remaining oil. Add kale, lemon juice and salt. Sauté until kale is wilted.

3. Once ready to serve, spoon oatmeal into bowls and top with warm kale, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, black sesame seeds, chilli flakes and a dash of truffle oil.

Winter recipes: cauliflower soup

Roast cauliflower soup with crispy kale

Forget sandwiches. Warm up your winter lunchtimes with some hearty, healthy soup. This plant-based roast cauliflower soup with crispy kale is made extra creamy using Califia Farms’ original oat milk. Unlike most vegetable soups, it’s high in plant protein, which means it keeps you full for longer and maintains your energy levels throughout the day. It also offers a big whack of nutrients from the cauliflower and kale, both of which contain high levels of vitamin C, which you need for a strong immune system over flu season.

Recipe by The Vegetable Addict

You’ll need:

Clove of garlic
1 leek
1 cauliflower
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2½ cups vegetable stock
½ cup Califia Farms Original Oat Milk
½ cup chopped dill + more to serve
1 can cannellini beans
½ bunch kale 


1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Chop the top off the garlic clove, drizzle with olive oil and wrap it in aluminium foil. Chop cauliflower and leek. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and mix to combine.

2. Throw it all on a baking tray and roast in the oven for around 30 minutes, turning halfway, or until the vegies are soft and slightly brown on the edges.

3. While this is cooking, prep your crispy kale by slicing the leaves off the stems and chopping roughly. Mix with a little olive oil and place on a baking tray. Once the cauliflower is cooked, place the kale in the oven for 15 minutes or until crispy.

4. In a high-speed blender, add cauliflower and leek, squeeze the garlic out of its skin, add oat milk, vegetable stock and dill. Blitz until smooth.

5. Garnish with the crispy kale and more fresh dill to serve.

Winter recipes: zesty lemon loaf

Zesty lemon loaf with oat milk

The secret to getting this zesty loaf so soft and fluffy is the smooth and creamy texture of oat milk. It’s also low in sugar, so you can enjoy a slice or two without having to worry about a sugar crash later on, which is just what no one needs on a cold winter’s afternoon.

Recipe by Vegan By Eden

You’ll need:

1½ cup Califia Farms Original Oat Milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups plain flour
½ cup caster sugar
Pinch of salt
Zest from ½ lemon

For the icing:

½ cup icing sugar
1 tsp Califia Farms Original Oat milk


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. In a large bowl, combine milk, vinegar, vanilla, oil and lemon juice.

2. Add flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Mix very briefly until flour is no longer visible, but make sure not to overmix as this can ruin the texture.

3. Pour batter into a lined loaf pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

4. To make icing combine icing sugar and Califia Farms Original Oat milk and stir until creamy. Pour over the cooled loaf. Use less milk for a thicker icing, more for a thinner one.

Jaffa chocolate self-saucing pudding

Jaffa chocolate self-saucing pudding

Another low sugar treat that’s perfect for enjoying on a winter’s evening, this pudding is self-saucing, so all you have to do is add everything into a big bowl and bung it in the oven. Then grab a spoon and dig in! Or, you know, share it with your family and all that.

Recipe by chef Tom Walton

You’ll need:

1¼ cup self-raising flour
½ cup hazelnut meal
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup desiccated coconut
Zest 1 orange
1 cup Califia Farms Vanilla Oat Milk
⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
250g frozen raspberries

For the sauce:

⅔ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Juice ½ orange
¼ cup Califia Farms Vanilla Oat Milk
1 cup boiling water

To serve:

1 cup coconut yoghurt


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. In a bowl, combine the flour, hazelnut meal, brown sugar, cocoa powder, coconut and orange zest.

2. Add the oat milk and coconut oil and mix with a whisk until just combined.

3. Spoon into a 28cm oval or round bowl and scatter with a third of the raspberries.

4. For the sauce, in a separate bowl combine the brown sugar, cocoa, powder, orange juice, oat milk and boiling water and whisk to dissolve the sugar and cocoa powder.

5. Pour this over the pudding. Use the back of a large spoon to pour it so it won’t put a hole into the pudding. Carefully place the pudding into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.

6. Serve the pudding with the yoghurt and remaining raspberries.

For more winter meal inspiration, try these winter warming meals and these healthy, hearty recipes from Australian Beef. We’ve also got these immune-boosting papaya recipes, these healthy comfort food ideas and this recipe for pork wellingtons with marsala sauce.

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