Take a wander down Hippie Lane and you’ll find Taline Gabrielian, the creator of the app and recipes. We spoke to her about how it all got started…
You aren’t vegan but your recipes are vegan friendly. Was this important when you started Hippie Lane?
When I started, I was creating healthy treats that were mainly raw. The lingo to describe my offering in the wholesale market and when labelling the ingredients for recipe development was to call them ‘raw vegan’. As the business grew, and I began to include savoury, already having a strong vegan following, it felt respectful and right to keep the business plant-based.
What are your favourite ingredients?
I use organic olive oil in much of my cooking. I like the taste and find it goes well with my Mediterranean and Middle Eastern inspired dishes. Peanut butter and nut butters are a must for breakfast and treat recipes! They add a beautiful flavour and texture and are the perfect topper for smoothie bowls. I use coconut in all forms from breakfast through to savoury recipes and treats.
Tofu is a fabulous plant-based protein that adds beautifully to many meals, as do legumes and chickpeas. Chia seeds and quinoa have to be the most versatile ingredients. Naturally gluten-free, full of fibre and protein, they are so handy for savoury and sweet recipes.
How did your Armenian heritage influence your recipes?
Being from an Armenian background, food is everything. We gather around a table of food not just for special occasions, but just because that’s how it’s done. I have amazing cooks in my family, who have instilled a love for food in me, made with love and tradition. I’ve had a handwritten cookbook from when I lived in the family home where I’ve recorded all the classic Middle Eastern recipes that my mum cooked for us.
Middle Eastern food is essentially healthy, with plenty of legume and vegetarian dishes. Traditionally meals are often accompanied with refined carbs, such as bread, white rice, etc. I have tweaked the recipes to include more nutritious ingredients and offer a more modern take on the classics.
Why did you start Hippie Lane?
Growing up obsessed with Nutella and Milo (seriously), when I reached adulthood, I thought it was about time I grew up and got healthy. I got clean, ditched the processed, packaged food, and felt great.
I took it to the next level when I learnt I had sensitivities to everyday foods such as gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and refined sugar. In order to give my digestive system a break and to allow my gut a chance to heal, I needed to find alternatives to the problem foods. It was at this point that I became really serious about health food, nutrition and wellness. It felt limiting at the time, facing a long list of no-nos, but once I got into experimenting with alternatives, I fell in love with the process.
Creatively, coming up with unique recipes that tasted amazing, and helping others by offering recipe inspiration and motivation – it’s an addictive combination. Seven years on and I’m still as passionate now as I was then!
Tell us about the Hippie Lane app…
I developed the Hippie Lane app in 2015, a year into my Instagram journey, spurred on by my growing following who had a real interest in my recipes. It felt like the natural next step for my business. The app seemed like the right fit, straight to the point, visual and offered users what they are after – ultimately healthy plant-based recipes that look beautiful, are easy to make and delicious to taste.
It launched as a sweet treat app with 50 highly sought after recipes, which then evolved into more with in-app additions that include breakfast, savoury, and party recipes, and free additions that include the best of my Instagram posts and summer faves. App users made the recipes and shared with their followers and friends, and through word of mouth and media/online reviews, more health conscious people downloaded the app, placing it in the top ranks for food and drinks on the App Store.
It’s been truly amazing, inspiring people around the world to choose healthy and to see my recipes being shared by families around the world. It’s so special and I’m grateful for those who’ve supported my journey.
What are your top tips for getting a bit more creative in the kitchen?
Let go! There are no rules in the kitchen. It’s a creative space where anything goes and creativity runs free. I am inspired by colour and find that I am my most creative when I have a pre-thought idea/colour palette before entering the kitchen. If you’re new to it all, start with recipes from your favourite bloggers. Once you get a knack for it, try your own versions.
How did you decide which recipes to include in your first book?
The recipes are my firm favourites, delicious meals that I eat regularly and share with my family and besties. Inspired by my cultural roots, all-time childhood favourites and current health trends, the recipes have been regularly tried and tested in my home, with heaps of our family favourites included. I put a lot of thought into what I wanted to include in the book, experimented with perfecting the recipes and simplified the recipes method/process to help people create the recipes with ease and success.
Essentially the book is all things beautiful and healthy with plant based recipes that are free of gluten and refined sugar. There are 110+ triple-tested recipes, which includes all the necessities to live a balanced and healthy life. You’ve got vibrant fruit-based breakfasts, along with some warm nourishing options, my top five favourite smoothie recipes, easy and realish snacks, power lunches including bliss bowls and salads with amazing dressings, dinner for week nights and date nights, weekend food and the perfect sharing with friends type of food.
Which of your healthy treats do you think you’re best known for and why?
People in the industry will tell you that initially it was my creative recreations of popular chocolate bars that we all know and love. I had a knack for recreating the classics. It was new and exciting for people in the food scene and I was known for my healthy vegan recreations. Now it’s probably my food styling and presentation and my interest in shapes and colours. I’ve been onto fantasy foods lately and experimenting widely on how to use natural ingredients to create beautiful food that is not what we ordinarily see. Think vibrant colourful smoothies and fairy coloured breakfast toasties – I’ve been having heaps of fun!
Hippie Lane: The Cookbook by Taline Gabrielian is published by Murdoch Books (RRP £17.99.)