I can’t believe I’ve only got round to blogging this soup, as it’s definitely one of my favourite chunky broths. With spring bringing us giant leaves of seasonal spinach, I thought that I should get the recipe for this perfected and ready to post. This is vaguely based on a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall which was one of the first soups I ever started cooking when I turned vegan, but I’ve tweaked it quite a bit since then. In mine, Puy lentils and carrots are cooked in a rich tomato and thyme broth which is brightened up with lemon and parsley right at the end. Fresh spinach is thrown in at the end also, but not cooked with it so it just has the opportunity to wilt in to the hot soup and retain it’s bright green colour. Of course, it’s got a little kick from chilli too, making this warming and healthy bowl perfect for when you’re feeling under the weather.
The vegetables can be changed up too; I make this through the winter with shredded kale instead of spinach, or the carrots could be substituted with sweet potatoes (bear in mind that sweet potatoes take less time to soften than carrots so would need to go in 15 minutes after the lentils). Brown or green lentils will work too, although I love the elegance and the ‘bite’ of Puy lentils.
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 100g onion (1 medium), chopped
- 10g garlic (2 cloves), crushed
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 100g puy lentils
- 250g carrots, chopped in to 1/2 cm cubes
- 800ml vegetable stock
- 60g spinach, roughly chopped
- 6g parsley, stalks finely chopped but leaves roughly chopped
- 3/4 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- Heat the oil in a medium sized pan over medium heat and fry the onions for about 5-10 minutes, until soft.
- Add the garlic, thyme, salt, chilli flakes and black pepper and fry for a minute more.
- Add the tomatoes, lentils, carrots and stock, and bring to a boil. Then, turn down the heat and place the saucepan lid slightly ajar on the pan, and simmer until the lentils have softened: about 25-30 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and throw in the spinach, parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Allow to sit for a few minutes so that the spinach can wilt, and then serve!
I have to come to terms with the fact that most people aren’t as big of a fan of raw cabbage as I am… I mean, I could just eat it as is, undressed, uncooked. So crunchy. However, I hope that the dressing for this is enough to win over even the raw cabbage haters. The chickpeas are roasted with spices in a hot oven until crunchy, and taste like little salty croutons in the salad. I was inspired by this recipe that I LOVE from The Minimalist Baker, but I’ve simplified the chickpea ingredients, and cooked for a little longer to get them extra crunchy. The tahini dressing is a personal favourite: garlicky, herby and tangy, and can be used on a variety of different things. This salad is really good with some other mezze dishes: hummus; falafel; flatbread or pita, but can be eaten simply inside a tortilla wrap as it provides a good source of protein and veg. It’s also really nice instead of a grain as it feels really substantial, so it would pair nicely with a hot stew and then you don’t have to think about a side salad either!
One good thing about this salad is that it can be made ahead, even the day before, and doesn’t become watery like other raw ‘slaws.
- 480g chickpeas (2 cans, drained)
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 680g white cabbage
- 8g garlic (1 large clove)
- 40g tahini
- 12g green herbs (coriander, parsley, dill or a mix)
- 12g apple cider vinegar
- 70g water
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 tsp chilli flakes
- Drain the chickpeas, wash under cold water and dry them as best as you can.
- Combine the spices, oil and chickpeas in a baking tray and roll everything around until the chickpeas are evenly coated.
- Cook in a 200 degrees C oven for 40 minutes, until the chickpeas are slightly crispy.
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a mini food processor, or using a whisk and a bowl. If you are doing it by hand, crush the garlic and finely chop the herbs. If using a food processor, throw everything in whole and the machine will do the work.
- Using the grating attachment on your food processor, shred the white cabbage. Alternatively, slice the cabbage very finely in to thin strips.
- Combine the cabbage, dressing, and cooked chickpeas in a bowl. I use my hands to mix everything.
- For serving, everything should be mixed together, but I chose to keep the elements fairly separate for the sake of the picture. Also pictured, I have garnished with red onion which isn't essential. This ingredient is purely decorative and not stipulated in the recipe, although will taste good too if you want to use it!
I’m not really in to sweets, as you might have gathered with the overwhelming majority of savoury recipes on here, but I do love an energy ball and I eat one pretty much every day. These pecan ones are my favourite type: rich with vanilla and spicy with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. They follow the classic formula- half nuts and half fruits- and the pecan adds a touch of luxury to the usual almond or cashew base. If you don’t like as much ginger as I do, feel free to reduce it; it’s pretty damn spicy.
Perfect for snacks, perfect for dessert, perfect for breakfast on the go. Plus, they will keep for several weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.
Side note: these do work in a food processor (although they take a lot longer), but I’ve heard that it damages the blade in the long run so for the sake of your Magimix, you may wish not to. There’s your warning.
- 100g pecans
- 100g almonds
- 200g dates
- 2.5 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 50g flaked almonds
- Place all of the ingredients apart from the flaked almonds in a blender and process until fully combined and the mixture is sticky and malleable.
- Next, process the flaked almonds for a couple of seconds until they have broken up in to smaller pieces and place them on to a plate.
- Roll the mixture in to balls weighing about 30g each and roll them in the flaked almonds until the outside is covered.
- Place in the fridge to harden up for a couple of hours.
Without wishing to be too disparaging about other vegan chilli’s, I often find that I’m disappointed when following certain recipes for this dish. I find that flavour is regularly lacking, or is very one-dimensional and I can often just taste tomato, or cumin, and not a lot else! I think that the key to a good chilli is a balance of flavours: there should be spice, there should be richness, and there should be some sweetness (in my opinion). A dash of cocoa powder really adds depth to the dish (and doesn’t make it taste like chocolate), and a good quality vegetable stock is essential. I also like my vegetables chopped up really small (giving a texture more similar to mince) which is where a food processor really helps, but that’s just my preference. In this manner, the finely chopped celery, carrot and onion get fried off first, providing a strong flavour base, but also providing some of the bulk of the stew. Carrots and onions are available all year round in the UK, and celery just during the 4 or 5 coldest months (winter). Lentils and beans provide textural variety and a cheap, nutritious filler. My choice of beans are a mix of pinto and black beans, but use your favourites. If you prefer sugar/sweetener-free dishes, then you may leave out the agave- it’s still tasty without- but I think that it aids in balancing out the flavours, especially if the tinned tomatoes you use are slightly more acidic than usual. I find that this recipe can be quite variable and sometimes requires a slightly longer cooking time for the flavours to ‘come together’. Follow the instructions, but taste before serving: if the flavours are not ‘harmonising’ with one another, cook for a little longer. If possible, make in advance, as leaving it to sit for a while after cooking does nothing but improve the dish!
Extras: my favourite bit! I like to eat chilli with brown rice, some kind of crunchy vegetable and this cashew ‘sour cream’. Pictured, I have dressed some red cabbage with a simple balsamic vinaigrette containing extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Other great sides include: avocado, tomatoes, extra chillis, spring onions, fresh coriander, lime wedges, lettuce, tortilla wraps, corn bread, potato wedges. Of course, guacamole and salsa are great accompaniments to this kind of food and if you want to jazz up your rice, try this coriander and lime rice salad.
Final point! This recipe is cheap as chips, goes a long way and freezes wonderfully! What more reason do you need?
- 250g brown lentils
- 125g onion (1 medium)
- 125 celery (1 large stalk)
- 250g carrot (2 medium)
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1.5 tbsp ground cumin
- 1.5 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1.5 tsp extra hot chilli powder
- 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 100g tomato paste
- 625ml vegetable stock (I use Bouillon powder)
- 1 x 400g tinned tomatoes
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1.5 cans (360g drained weight) beans
- 250g frozen sweetcorn
- 50g agave or maple syrup
- In a medium saucepan, cook the lentils according to packet instructions. They should take around 20 minutes when cooked in boiling water. You want them cooked well rather than 'al dente'; mushiness is fine here as they will melt in to the chilli and blend with the other ingredients, so no worries about overcooking.
- Meanwhile, whiz up the onion, celery and carrot in a food processor until all the vegetables are finely chopped.
- In a large saucepan, fry the vegetable mixture in the oil for about 10 minutes on medium heat, until softened slightly.
- Then add the cumin, oregano, salt, garlic powder, chilli powder and black pepper and fry for a minute more.
- Now add the tomato paste, stock, chopped tomatoes and cocoa and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Now add the cooked and drained lentils, beans, sweetcorn and agave and cook for 5-10 more more minutes.
- If you have time, allow to sit for a bit to let the flavours develop even more but if not, enjoy right away!
I don’t particularly endeavor to keep my recipes low-fat or oil-free (as there’s really no need), but I do prefer to get my fat from healthy sources: nuts, seeds, avocado etc. Give me a jar of tahini and i’ll go in with a spoon, give a me a raw salad and I’ll apply olive oil liberally, but cooked vegetable oil really doesn’t contribute any amount of nutritious benefit for our bodies so is best minimised where possible. Chinese stir-fries (or at least the British imitations that are served here) are often characterised by their greasiness (and disconcerting gloopy-ness), so it seemed like a good opportunity for a few healthy tweaks. I often get the impression that most takeaway meals have started off with a pint or two of vegetable oil in the pan, or at least an amount that no-one would dream of using in their own home so I’ve done the opposite with this dish. This recipe doesn’t fry anything in oil, but rather the sauce ingredients get mixed in a bowl and then thickened in a wok, cooking the broccoli at the same time. I’ve also mastered a technique of crispy tofu without deep-frying so that’s exciting.
The sauce is hopefully reminiscent of Chinese hoisin sauce, except that it doesn’t come of a jar or contain e-numbers. If you don’t have plum vinegar, use rice vinegar and if you don’t have Chinese chives, use spring onions or coriander. There isn’t a substitute for miso here, they sell it in the supermarkets so add it your list! Once you stock up on these condiments- soy, vinegar, miso- you are prepared for future speedy rice and noodle dinners as they offer a really big flavour punch with minimal effort. In other words, I think it’s well worth the investment if your store-cupboard is lacking in these things. Serve with rice or noodles (I’ve chosen noodles) or on its own, whatever you want.
- 300g firm tofu
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp semolina
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 75g rice noodles
- 2 tsp corn flour
- 120ml hot water
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp agave
- 1 tbsp plum vinegar
- 1/4 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
- 150g broccoli, cut in to small pieces
- 20g Chinese chives (optional), finely chopped
- Cut the tofu in to 1 cm squares
- Mix the flour, semolina and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss the tofu in it, so that all sides of the cubes are covered. The wetness of the tofu will help the coating stick.
- Place the tofu on a foil sheet and place under the grill. Grill the tofu cubes on a high-heat for about 15 minutes so that the inside firms up a bit and the outside crisps up. Keep checking as it's cooking as all oven grills work differently; turn down the heat if it's too hot and turn up if it's not crisping up.
- Cook the noodles according to packet instructions. I used thin rice noodles which just have to be soaked (rather than boiled) in boiling hot water for about 10 minutes, and then drained.
- Mix the corn flour in a couple of tbsp of the hot water separately and then mix all of the sauce ingredients (garlic through to 5-spice), including the corn flour and all of the water and whisk to combine.
- Place the sauce in a wok with the broccoli pieces and bring to a boil. When bubbling, place a lid over the pan and turn the heat to low-medium. Cook, simmering, for about 5 minutes, until the broccoli is just tender.
- Add in the cooked tofu and mix. Serve over the rice noodles, and sprinkle with the Chinese chives.
Warmed pita is good, toasted pita is better, but baking it is something else. If you avoid crisps, you can make these instead and trick yourself in to thinking you are tucking in to a bag of Kettle Chips. This is also a great snack to whip up if friends unexpectedly pop round to watch a film (this has never actually happened to me personally, but it often says this kind of thing in recipe books so I’m left to assume that there are individuals out there who have the audacity to turn up to places uninvited).
The sauces are both winners too: tomato-chilli brings spicy and sweet, and cashew-garlic brings creamy and slightly tangy. You will require a powerful blender to get the smooth consistency, but if you only have a food processor I would recommend soaking the cashews in hot water (or boiling them for 10 minutes if short of time) for an hour to soften them slightly. These sauces are really great to have on hand to jazz up any meal, sandwich or snack and they are very quick to prepare. Here are a few suggestions as to how else you could use them, but don’t feel limited to just these; I assure you that these sauces are applicable to many a meal:
If you are gluten-free, why not make some home-made potato chips instead of pita?
They’re perfect additions to burger night
The cashew sauce in particular pairs wonderfully with this spinach and almond bake
Perfect with Mexican beans, when served with tortilla or rice
Why not combine with this Indian potato salad inside a savoury pancake?
Great with tofu scramble
Lovely on toast
And finally, I love to combine them both inside a tortilla wrap with these spiced chickpeas, loads of raw vegetables and a dollop of homous.
- 3 medium wholemeal pita breads
- 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 100g cashews
- 10g (2 cloves) garlic
- 25ml (1 tbsp + 2 tsp) cider vinegar
- 15ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
- 85ml water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 75g tomato puree
- 10g (2 cloves) garlic
- 6g (1 tbsp) chilli flakes
- 100ml water
- 25ml (1 tbsp + 2 tsp) extra virgin olive oil
- 25g (1 tbsp + 2 tsp) agave (or maple syrup)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
- Slice each pita pocket diagonally in to strips, about 2cm wide.
- Mix the rosemary, olive oil, garlic and salt in a bowl and pour in to a medium sized baking tray.
- Place the pita strips on to the tray and smear each around in the oil, on both sides. I've been frugal with the oil so it might seem like it won't stretch, but it will. You can add more oil if you wish.
- Bake for 12 minutes and remove from oven. They'll continue to crisp up as they cool.
- For each of the sauces, whizz up the ingredients in a high-powered blender until completely smooth.
I realised the other day that I hadn’t bought or eaten bean sprouts for years, despite very much liking the taste and eating them frequently when I was growing up. My mother would often use these guys as an ingredient in stir-fries or thrown in regular green salads, but when designing this recipe, I was keen to make a salad which allowed bean sprouts to be the star of the show. This salad is really easy to put together and the perfect accompaniment to any rich creamy curry, for example a Thai Panyang or Massaman, by virtue of it’s crunchiness, freshness and zesty-ness. Many of the ingredients are similar to that of a salsa: the citrus, onion, herbs and the fact that it too offers light, zingy relief to heavier, richer foods. The mango in it balances out the sour citrus dressing – forgoing any need for additional sugar- and even if the mango is under-ripe, it still fulfils it’s purpose. If this is the case, you might find it easier to peel off strips of mango with a vegetable peeler rather than trying to de-stone and chop in to chunks. I use toasted salted peanuts (which are the cheapest/easiest), but if you wanted something a little healthier you could roast your own peanuts; you might need to add a little more salt to the dressing, however. There’s a small amount of chilli but it’s not spicy, so feel free to add more if you like. If you don’t like mango, you could try with papaya or pineapple, and if you don’t like coriander or mint, you could experiment with Thai basil (although I’ve never cooked with it personally so cannot vouch for it’s efficacy).
Bean sprouts contain a lot of water so you’ll ideally want to make this salad soon before serving, as a lot of water begins to be released. It doesn’t keep well, so don’t make it a day in advance.
*Fun fact*- Bean sprouts are sprouted from mung bean and soy bean seeds and are more nutritious than eating the actual bean, providing good sources of protein, as well as vitamins C and B.
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp lime zest (zest from 1.5 limes)
- 2 tbsp lime juice (juice from 1.5 limes)
- 10g garlic (2 cloves), crushed
- 4g fresh chilli (half a red jalapeno chilli, de-seeded), finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 300g bean sprouts
- 260g mango, chopped (flesh of 1 mango)
- 50g spring onion (white and green parts), chopped
- 15g fresh fcoriander, chopped
- 5g fresh mint, chopped
- 50g roasted salted peanuts
- Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together. I juice the lime using a citrus juicer but then throw the pulp in to the dressing anyway; it's all good stuff!
- In a mixing bowl, combine the bean sprouts, mango, spring onion, coriander, mint and peanuts and add the dressing. Combine everything thoroughly (I use my hands) and it's ready to go when you are ready to eat it! As it sits, some liquid is released so just before serving, mix everything through again.
Everyone needs a reliable and foolproof curry recipe in their repertoire right? I’m excited to have perfected mine, and be able to share it with you. This is a fail-safe recipe which can welcome whatever vegetables you have in the fridge, meaning it is a great way to use up leftover produce. I love Indian food, and when I go out for this type of cuisine, I tend to order from the ‘sides’ menu, meaning I get a smaller taster of a few dishes (although let’s face it, the portions are never very small!) When left to recreate these dishes at home, however, it makes for a lot of culinary work! I used to pore over Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe books and attempt to recreate an authentic spread: dhal; sag aloo; gobi aloo and all the sides: poppadoms, chutneys, relishes, basmati rice and flatbreads. This was great, but would involve a start in the kitchen at around 4pm as I painstakingly followed every recipe down to it’s finest detail. I learnt that certain spices have to be added in particular orders, and that different cooking techniques applied to the onions would make for very different end results; some dishes called for a light fry until soft and ‘translucent’, whilst others demanded the onions to be ‘browned’. The result was always rewarding, but it definitely never instilled any confidence in my Indian cookery abilities, and I was reluctant to experiment on my own with these flavours. I didn’t understand the art of it, nor the intricacies of spice combinations and cooking techniques, and preferred to let someone else guide me (preferably an actual Indian chef). However, this four-hour, multiple-curry cooking spree was not sustainable, and hardly an ‘everyday option’. I finally stopped striving for authenticity, and accepted that I needed a recipe like this one: lentils, vegetables and loads of spices all thrown in to one big pot, and served with plain brown rice. Madhur Jaffrey might not be very proud, but it works for me.
Now, let us talk about veg. I always have frozen spinach and peas in my freezer (they’re much cheaper) and they’re great for throwing in last minute as they take only a few minutes to defrost. However, if it’s Spring, feel free to use fresh. As for the potatoes and carrots, there isn’t a month in the year where these two aren’t available to buy locally (in the UK), so it makes it both a seasonal and cheap meal. I have chopped up the carrots and potatoes in to fairly small pieces; this is to make it a ‘fork meal’ (one you can eat with just a fork; because there isn’t anything to chop up, the knife is banished in to redundancy). Although I think this combination is brilliant, and have accounted for the cooking time differences in the recipe timings and ingredient sizes, I will suggest a few substitutes if you don’t have these. Of course, cooking time will depend on the size you cut the vegetables, but here is an approximate guide:
Long cooking time (substitute for the carrots and potatoes): Turnip, swede, parsnip, celeriac, squash, beetroot
Medium cooking time: Sweet potato, cauliflower, aubergine, brocolli, green beans, cabbage, kale
Short cooking time (substitute for peas and spinach): Courgette, marrow, chard, sweetcorn
Credit where credit is due, I have to thank Rich for the assistance in developing this recipe. Whilst I tweaked the final quantities to my preference, the inspiration came from him. When we first moved in together, Rich had limited ideas surrounding what vegan food to cook for us and his go-to plan was always a curry. After many attempts, he discovered that an addition of red lentils gives a thick and hearty texture to any sauce (avoiding the feared thin, watery gravy) and that a hunk of creamed coconut thrown in the end adds richness and luxury. He also came up with this spice combination, and I hardly changed it, apart from to alter the amounts. Thanks man!
Finally, this freezes brilliantly, so cook in bulk and you’re set for a few more meals.
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 100g (1 medium) onion, chopped
- 7.5g (2 small cloves) garlic, chopped
- 1.5 tbsp ground cumin
- 1.5 tbsp medium curry powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 3/4 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tbsp chilli flakes
- 1/2 tbsp panch phoran seeds
- 1/4 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1.5 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 litre hot water
- 300g potato, cut in to 1-2 cm square chunks
- 250g carrots, cut in to 1 cm square chunks
- 200g red lentils
- 300g frozen peas
- 200g frozen spinach
- 150g block of creamed coconut, cut in to smaller chunks or grated
- In a big saucepan, heat the rapeseed oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and fry for 5-10 minutes, until soft.
- Add the cumin, curry powder, coriander, salt, turmeric, chilli flakes, panch phoran and pepper and fry for a further minute.
- Add the tomato puree, water, potatoes, carrots and lentils and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, cover with a lid (slightly ajar to let a little steam out) and turn down the heat, so it is simmering. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the lentils and have broken down and the vegetables are just tender.
- Add the peas, spinach, and creamed coconut and cook for a 5 more minutes, until the vegetables have defrosted and the coconut has melted in.
- The curry thickens up as it sits. If you are leaving to eat later, you may need to loosen up with a little water as you reheat.
- Optional garnishes: chopped coriander, chilli flakes or slices, toasted peanuts or cashews, roasted chickpeas
- This is a mild curry; if you wish for more heat, increase the amount of chilli flakes within it.
Although unconventional, I like my porridge with salt rather than sugar. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth (at the moment that is- my taste buds are very subject to change) and consequently, I’m currently all over the savoury breakfasts. This recipe was created out of the desire to create a high-protein breakfast option which didn’t involve a huge amount more effort than avocado and Marmite on toast (a winning combination; I’d encourage you to do try it), but was just as tasty and comforting. It does, admittedly, take a lot longer to cook than you would perhaps choose to spend on the first meal of the day (by virtue of it using quinoa rather than oats) but you could always cook up a large batch the night before, and reheat the required amount in the morning. This way, you only have to whip up the salsa and reheat the porridge and you’re there! Or, alternatively, you could reserve this dish for lazy brunches on your day off and keep the porridge simmering on the stove while you go back to bed..
If you don’t like turmeric, you don’t have to add it. The stock, rocket and pepper flavour the quinoa enough, but I added the turmeric for that distinctive peppery kick, as well as for the nutritional benefits. The salsa is also to die for, despite it’s ridiculously simple preparation method, and I love the contrast of hot creamy porridge with cold crunchy salsa. I am also fairly sure you could eat this for lunch or dinner, rather than confining it to breakfast or brunch-time.
An interesting take on standard oat-based porridge, this dish makes the most out of seasonal tomatoes and rocket leaves, and is perfect for a chilly Autumn day.
- 75g quinoa
- 700g vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 40g rocket leaves, chopped
- 25g pine nuts
- 100g tomato (1 medium), finely chopped
- 100g avocado (about 1/2 large one), finely chopped
- 5g garlic (1 clove), crushed
- 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Place the quinoa, stock, turmeric and black pepper in a small-medium sized saucepan over high heat, with the lid on. When the mixture has come to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently, with the lid on, but slightly ajar. After 15-20 minutes, the quinoa will looked cooked, but it needs more time to break down in to a porridge-y consistency. If you find that 40 minutes cooking is still not enough, cook it for longer. If you prefer more of a 'bite', cook for less time.
- For the last 5 minutes, cook with the rocket leaves stirred in, which gives them enough time to wilt.
- Toast the pine nuts in a 160 degree C oven for 10 minutes until golden and toasted. Careful not to burn them!
- Then, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Simple as that.
- Divide the porridge between two bowls and scoop a dollop of salsa on top of each one. Garnish with more rocket leaves if you wish.
There’s been a few vegan ‘parmesan’ recipes floating around for while and given my previous experience with cheese replicas, I was sceptical. However, after trying the Minimalist Baker’s version here, I was converted! Although, it is difficult to get hold of, the nutritional yeast is really essential here; while the cashews add bulk and texture, the nutritional yeast adds a lot of the flavour. As you can see from the quantities, a little goes a long way! My only alteration of the recipe that I followed was that I reduced the salt content from 3/4 tsp to 1/2.
In terms of the rest of the dish, it’s definitely one for ‘simple, quick and easy’ collection, although it’s definitely elegant enough for a dinner party. Put the pasta on at the start, and by the time it’s cooked, the vegetables AND the parmesan will be ready! The idea is that you can taste all of the elements: lemon, chilli, garlic, in generous quantities. And it’s definitely one to make right away; UK courgettes are just coming to an end of their season, and this dish is the perfect Autumn farewell dish. A tough of summery lightness with the citrus, lightly fried courgettes and olive oil, but an element of winter comfort with the hearty spelt pasta, sun-dried tomatoes and cashew ‘cheese’. If you fancy cooking this meal outside of courgette season, other green substitutes would work fine! Any leafy green, like chard, spinach or kale, would be lovely, or if you don’t have any fresh produce, frozen peas are always a winner. I use spelt pasta, but good old wheat pasta would work just fine!
- 250g dried spelt spaghetti
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 20g garlic (4 large cloves), finely chopped
- 1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Few twists of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp lemon zest (about the zest of 1 lemon)
- 100g sun-dried tomatoes (about 80g dried, and re-hydrated in hot water for 20 minutes), roughly chopped
- 1 large courgette (about 300g), in thin slices or semi-circles (like pictured)
- Rocket (for garnish- optional)
- 100g cashews
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Cook pasta according to packet instructions. I cook mine in a medium saucepan in salted, boiling water for about 10 minutes, until 'al dente'. Before I drain I add a dash of oil to the water and mix around, to prevent the spaghetti strands from sticking to each other after they're drained. When cooking rice and pasta, I always simmer with the lid on, but slightly ajar: this allows a small amount of the steam to be released, but is more energy efficient than cooking without the lid, as more heat is retained.
- Meanwhile, in a large wok or frying pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the garlic, chilli, salt, pepper, lemon zest and sun-dried tomatoes and fry for 30 seconds.
- Then, add the courgette slices and fry, stirring frequently, for 5-10 minutes, until tender, but still slightly crisp.
- Finally, add the drained pasta to the frying pan and mix everything together.
- Add all the ingredients to a small food processor and blitz until a fine consistency is achieved. It will look a little like cous cous. This will last for ages in the fridge (you won't use it all with this dish), and is a versatile condiment to have on hand for a flavour boost.
- At the table, sprinkle liberally on top of the pasta!
- If you want, garnish with rocket as well.