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.
For many reasons, this changeover period where summer becomes autumn is probably my favourite time of the year. Getting my coat back out of the cupboard, the crisp morning air and the trees possessing leaves with both of my favourite colours (green and red), and every colour in-between are all solid aspects, although second best (of course) to the vast food benefits that this time of year presents. When you try to eat seasonally, certain vegetables will appear in your cooking repertoire for several months, disappear for several more, and then re-appear again once they back in season, to extreme amounts of excitement if you’re anything like me (you’re probably not). I can’t express the delight I felt upon discovering that the first of the season’s celeriac was ready the other week, knowing that I would be eating celeriac ‘slaw right through until next spring. It’s swings and roundabouts though; with this revelation I knew that in a matter of weeks, it would be time to say goodbye to local courgettes until next June, and pretty much give up salad for the winter.
What’s great about this exact point in the year is that despite the weather taking a drastic turn for the chilly and wet, the beginning of the winter roots season has started, yet summer vegetables are still in their last few weeks of being harvested. This means that while turnips, celeriac and swede are just becoming available, tomatoes, summer salad leaves and courgettes are still around too! This wonderful selection of vegetables are rarely available together in the UK, and I plan to enjoy and appreciate this small crossover window. In the spirit of this juxtaposition, as well as acknowledging that cooler days beg for warming soups and stews, I present my Thai-spiced parsnip soup. The earthiness of this root vegetable contrasts wonderfully with the exotic, aromatic Thai spices like lemongrass, chilli and coconut, creating a strange, yet beautiful, pairing. The perfect transition soup to welcome the cold months, whilst the memory of warm summer still lingers.
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeno chilli (seeds removed)
- 1 lemongrass stalk
- 25g ginger
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 650g parsnips, chopped in to chunks
- 1.25 vegetable stock
- 100g creamed coconut
- Fry the onion in coconut oil until soft.
- To prepare the lemongrass, lie the stalk down on a chopping board and lay the side of a large knife on top of it. Press very firmly down on the knife several times to crush the stalk. This should loosen the outer layers which you can now remove, along with the top and bottom of the stalk, which you should chop off.
- Then, finely chop the garlic, chilli, lemongrass and ginger and add to the pan, and fry for a minute
- Add the cumin, salt and pepper and fry for another minute
- Add the parsnips and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until the parsnip is tender
- Turn off the heat, add the creamed coconut and let it melt in to the soup. Now, blitz the soup- I use a hand blender- until smooth.
- Garnish with dessicated coconut and chilli flakes.
I can’t remember the first time I discovered overnight oats, but I remember vividly the first time I tried it. It was love at first bite; I was both amazed by the sweet taste, and the cake batter-like consistency which just felt too naughty to be eating at breakfast. I have since moved away from such fruity breakfasts, opting for savoury delights instead but if I ever fancy anything on the sweet side, this is what I turn to. The concept behind this is a bit like making porridge, except just as you’re about to cook it, you don’t. Instead, you leave the oats to suck up all the liquid until you have a wet, stodgy, oat-y mixture that can be dressed up or down, depending on your preference. I have also discovered that it’s not essential to soak the oats overnight, and they will absorb all the liquid in just half an hour or so if left alone. However, preparing the night before means this is the quickest possible breakfast as it is literally sat waiting for you in the fridge when you wake up.
This method of whizzing up the banana and berries is a great way of sweetening up the dish without any refined sugars or syrups, especially as the coconut milk I use isn’t sweetened. It’s also a good way to insert loads of vitamins and minerals in to your diet, without having to have ripe fresh fruit on hand. I tend to buy mostly frozen fruit; it is inexpensive, great for smoothies, and frozen when ripe as well as soon after picking, thereby preserving it’s nutritional value. I top each bowl of this dish with a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds, knocking a bowl of these oats up to 17g of protein per serving (37% of RDA), but you can add any toppings you like. This dish is very flexible meaning that once you’ve got the general formula down, you can experiment with different flavour combinations; there are so many options!
Milks: soya, rice, oat, almond, hazelnut
Fruit: frozen or fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, apple, mango, pineapple, pear
Flavourings: ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, cacao, almond extract, citrus zest, nut and seed butters
Toppings: toasted or raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, ground flaxseed/linseed, cashews, walnuts, almonds whole or flaked, hazelnuts, cacao nibs, dried fruit, more berries or sliced banana, pomegranate seeds, dessicated coconut, super-food powders: spirulina, chlorella, maca, hemp protein
Instead of the coconut milk, berry and vanilla blend, other great flavour combinations include:
-Hazelnut milk, raw cacao, toasted hazelnuts, cacao nibs
-Almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, apple/pear/apricot, flaked almonds
-Any milk, peanut butter, ginger/cinnamon/nutmeg, banana
This is a really good opportunity to be creative and play around with different flavours and textures. Let me know of any good ones you try!
- 1 ripe banana (125g peeled weight)
- 100g frozen berries (I used cherries)
- 250ml plant milk (I used coconut)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 150g oats
- Blitz together the banana, berries, plant milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a blender or food processor as if you were making a smoothie. Alternatively, leave the berries aside and just mash everything else together with a fork, throwing in the berries whole with the oats.
- Mix the smoothie mixture with the oats in a mixing bowl, and place in fridge for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
- Divide between 2 bowls and load with toppings (if desired) and you're ready to go! See the notes above the recipe for ingredient alternatives and topping ideas.
VEGAN BARBECUE MINI SERIES- PART III OF III
The third and final part of this recipe series focuses on one of the most important parts: the burger relish. I find that many shop-bought relishes are fairly mediocre, and they are often engineered to last for months, and therefore don’t have that zingy ‘freshness’ of home-made ones. Salsa (and it’s many variations) is quick and easy to make, making it completely feasible to throw together last-minute.
My general formula for a salsa involves:
Main ingredient (tomatoes, sweetcorn, peppers, avocado, pineapple)
Onion (red onion, white onion, spring onion)
Herb (mint, parsley, coriander)
Citrus (lemon, lime)
Salt and pepper
And that’s usually it! I’ve been known to throw in some toasted cumin seeds or pumpkin seeds at times, and it might need a tsp or two of sugar if it’s too sour, but I generally keep it pretty simple. The best thing about salsa is that you can mix everything together and then tweak it: more chilli, more salt, and so on. There’s no need to cook it as the salsa benefits from the raw crunchy vegetables or fruit, and the raw garlic and lime hit.
This particular salsa uses pineapple, coriander and spring onions, and is sweet and refreshing, with a slight sourness from the lime. I’ve used frozen pineapple chunks as I always have some in the freezer for smoothies. It saves peeling time to do it this way and there’s no benefit to using fresh although if you’d prefer to, that’s absolutely fine. There is a small amount of chilli but if are looking to make a spicy salsa, add more. I used lime zest rather than juice as the mixture was already wet enough. Be warned, as the salt works the mixture, more and more moisture will be released, but it just needs to be stirred back in. It does last for quite a few days. Eat with burgers and potato salad and if there’s any left the next day, eat with Mexican beans and ‘slaw in a tortilla wrap or with this Indonesian peanut salad: gado-gado.
- 300g frozen pineapple chunks
- 50g spring onions, chopped
- 25g fresh coriander, chopped
- 5g fresh chilli, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp lime zest (about 1/2 a lime's worth of zest)
- 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- If using frozen pineapple, remove it from the freezer about an hour before making, to thaw. Then cut in to small cubes.
- Combine with the remaining ingredients and leave to sit for about 30 minutes (if you have time), for all the flavours to combine.
- Before serving, mix thoroughly to collect any liquid that has separated and you're good to go!
- If you don't like pineapple, this would work really well with mango!
I’ve added a new section to my recipe page. It is a category called ‘Simple, Quick and Easy’, and it’s where you can easily find all my recipes which are, well, simple, quick and easy! My mother pointed out to me this week that my recipes often involve many different steps and a huge long list of ingredients which is quite daunting and unappealing to many people. While I’m happiest when I’m letting hours slip away from me in the kitchen and the more ingredients, the more excited I get, it’s good to be reminded that this is fairly unusual! The majority of visitors to my site are probably just looking to find healthy, tasty vegan recipes which don’t take all night to prepare and don’t involve buying an extensive list of obscure products. So with that in mind, not only am I making it easier to identify which of my existing dishes are less complicated than the others, I am also focusing my efforts on developing a set of breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas which are more straightforward to prepare, but don’t compromise on taste. The criteria I have used for measuring whether they make the cut will be the amount of different cooking techniques used, how long the whole recipe takes to prepare and how many ingredients are used. Ideally, they will be one-pot meals, with 10 ingredients or less and that take less than 30 minutes to prepare.
This Chinese 5-spice stir-fry is a perfect one to start off the series. With rice, beans and vegetables all in the same pan, it needs nothing else other than a pair of chopsticks (or fork). It is also a great way to use up leftover rice, but it’s also fine to cook some from scratch if you don’t have any. I love the texture of the black beans here- and it also makes the recipe very store-cupboard-friendly- but if you prefer, chunks of tofu would work really well here too. If you wanted extra protein, you could serve this dish alongside some grilled tofu or cashew nuts and if you’re after extra veg, some more steamed greens by the side. I often say this but it’s extra true for this dish: it’s even better cold! Perfect to take in to work for lunch or nibble on from the fridge if you get hungry again before bed. If you were looking for even more reasons to cook this dish, it’s very cheap! In terms of the fresh elements, we received a large summer cabbage in our vegetable box which is why I chose it but if you’re making this at a different point of the year, use whatever greens are seasonal. It is very spicy (in the fragrant perfume-y sense rather than the hot), so if you aren’t a Chinese 5-spice lover (why are you making this dish?), you can reduce the 5-spice to 1/2 tsp. As you can see from the picture, a slice of lime is nice for a bit of sourness but it’s certainly not essential and it’s a matter of personal preference.
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 small onion (100g), sliced
- 150g cabbage, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 20g fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Few twists freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (I recommend Kikkoman)
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 drained can of black beans (230g)
- 250g cooked brown rice*
- In a Wok, or large frying pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cabbage and fry for 5 minutes, moving the vegetables around the pan with a wooden spoon to keep them from sticking.
- Add the garlic and ginger and fry for another 5 minutes, again moving everything around the pan so all the elements are evenly cooked.
- Now, add the salt, pepper, Chinese 5-spice and chilli flakes and fry for 1 more minute.
- Then, add the soy sauce, mirin, black beans and brown rice and cook for a couple more minutes, until everything is warmed through and everything is well mixed.
- *If you don't have leftover rice, you can cook some from scratch! For 250g cooked rice, you will need about 125g dried rice, and I would boil this in salted water for about 30-40 minutes, until cooked 'al dente'.
VEGAN BARBECUE MINI SERIES- PART II OF III
The next part of this recipe series focuses on a dish to make if you are hosting a barbecue with vegan friends coming along. More often than not, your vegan friend would offer to bring a veggie burger or sausage for themselves (as a meat substitute) and in this case, you might like to provide one or two sides that everyone in attendance can enjoy. It is regularly the case that one of the dishes already in your repertoire can be tweaked to become vegan, and it might end up being even tastier than the original!
Here, I’m talking about the potato salad; a well-known favourite of barbecues, picnics and the salad buffet. This recipe is certainly not anything like the traditional creamy potato salad, although if that was your bag, it is possible to both buy and make vegan mayonnaise. I, however, have never been a fan of mayonnaise and after realising the sheer amount of vegetable oil that is required to make it, I steer well clear. In this recipe, the potatoes are more lightly dressed with a vinaigrette spiked with Indian spices and fresh mint, and served with peas. Being reminiscent of a Samosa filling, this would work wonderfully inside a chickpea pancake, with a spiced tomato sauce and mango chutney. For barbecues, the potato salad is perfectly matched with burgers or sausages; a green salad; and a relish, salsa or dip.
If you prefer the taste and nutritional profile of sweet potatoes over regular white potatoes, you can make this salad with half sweet and half white, or with only sweet potatoes. This option might be preferable if you are living somewhere in which sweet potatoes can be grown locally (not the UK summer unfortunately!) The sweet potatoes will require a shorter cooking time to get tender so be sure to cook them separately.
- 1kg potatoes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2/3 tsp salt
- 1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- 2 tsp medium-spiced curry powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 45g lemon juice
- 10g agave nectar
- 40g rapeseed oil
- 100g spring onions (whites and greens), chopped
- 10g fresh mint, roughly chopped
- 150g frozen peas
- Handful of fresh coriander, for garnish (optional)
- Scrub and chop the potatoes in to 1-inch sized chunks and place in a pan of fresh water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are tender.
- Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by combining the garlic, salt, black pepper, curry powder, cumin, chilli flakes, mustard, lemon juice, agave and rapeseed oil.
- When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and allow them to cool slightly. Whilst they still have some warmth, however, it's time to dress.
- Combine the potatoes, the dressing, the spring onions and peas (they will defrost from the heat of the potatoes). I find it's easier to mix everything by hand.
- Serve warm or allow to cool, and then serve.
VEGAN BARBECUE MINI SERIES- PART I OF III
Barbecues have become synonymous with meat. Sausages, burgers, chicken.. it seems like an excuse to eat as much meat as humanly possible, often accompanied by little more than white bread rolls and a variety of sugary sauces. Obviously, a hostile environment for anyone who doesn’t want to eat meat or holds any concern over their general health and nutrition. However, barbecues to me are about sunshine, good company and alcohol, and there is no reason that plant-based lifestyles need be excluded from this fun. In this three-part recipe series, I am attempting to offer inspiration as to how to cater for vegan friends who are coming over, or even just what to take as a vegan to a barbecue. If you’re anything like me, plain vegetable kebabs or shop-bought sausages leave a lot to be desired, and you shouldn’t have to compromise on good, hearty food for fear of being labelled ‘difficult’.
As a sensible starting point, I’m tackling the veggie burger. The first recipe of this series focuses on what to take as a vegan to a barbecue with carnivorous friends. If your host is willing to do some vegan sides for everyone to enjoy, then everyone else can eat some beef burgers (or whatever) and you can whack a few of these bad boys on for yourself and you’re all good to go. Just in time for the last few barbecuing weeks of English summer, I think I’ve finally nailed the veggie burger. I’m often asked (mainly by Dad, a burger-making enthusiast): how do you bind burgers without eggs? I think there are various ways to do this, and one trick I’ve learnt is that leftover rice whizzed up in the food processor forms a sticky paste which holds everything together. One thing to consider with this, however, is that plain rice waters down the flavour of the burger somewhat, and you have to ensure that the rest of the burger is packed full of other tasty ingredients. As well as this, I often find it’s more about the cooking method than the ingredients which affects how well they achieve a burger-y consistency. For example, one of the biggest problems I’ve found with burgers, patties and falafel is that they require a certain amount of cooking so that they stick together, but they also are vulnerable to drying out, especially in the oven. Through trial and error, I’ve come up with two remedies to this: my burger mix is always fairly wet, and I always bake them in a very hot oven so that the outside crisps up and the middle stays moist.
I got the inspiration for these burgers from a blog called ‘Veggies on the Counter’, which uses the brown rice method. The recipe can be found here, but mine is quite different, with a larger range of ingredients, yet a simplified method of preparation. I have also added some courgette (discards from a spiralizing session in preparation for courgette noodles) and included the beetroot stalks so as not to waste them.
In terms of the reception of these burgers, Rich’s response was that they were the ‘meatiest’ non-meat burgers he’d every had. I think that’s a compliment (or a slightly backhanded one?), and possibly shows how they’re a good bet if you’re trying to impress/convert a meat-eating audience. I think they allow the beetroot to shine through and although there are some other big flavours- tamari, spring onions, garlic, chilli- it isn’t packed so full of spices that it detracts from the sweet, earthy leading role here.
Also, how pretty are they?!
- 100g pumpkin seeds
- 250g beetroot (bulbs)
- 100g beetroot stalks/leaves
- 180g courgette
- 300g leftover cooked rice (150g uncooked rice*)
- 100g tahini
- 100g gluten-free flour (or plain flour or rice flour..)
- 75g spring onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 30g parsley
- 2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp agave (or any liquid sweetener)
- 3/4 tsp chilli flakes
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
- Place the pumpkin seeds on a baking tray and put in a 160 degrees C oven for about 10 minutes, until nicely toasted.
- Prepare the beetroot by giving them a good scrub, and chopping off the top and bottom knobbly bits. Cut in to chunks (no need to peel) and throw in a food processor.
- Add all the remaining ingredients (including the pumpkin seeds), and process the mixture until everything is minced up and combined.
- Now form in to small-ish patties and place on a greased baking sheet.
- Cook at 200 degrees C for 30 minutes. The best thing about these burgers is that they're great reheated, so your best bet is to cook them in the oven after you make them, and then reheat them when required on the barbecue.
- *Leftover rice works best as it is drier than freshly boiled. If you don't have leftover rice, use uncooked and boil according to packet instructions. When it is cooked and drained, lay it out on a baking tray and place in a 160 degrees C oven for 10-15 minutes, until some of the moisture has been cooked off.
I really like canned baked beans. I used to eat beans on toast for lunch at least four times a week. We still always have a tin in our cupboard for emergency lazy dinners or hungover breakfasts. More commonly, however, I tend to make my own baked (well stewed, really) beans from scratch. Plus, I have also widened my food repertoire so that lunch isn’t so frequently bean-based..
This recipe was inspired by a recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s first recipe book, but I’ve added more chilli and taken out the molasses (definitely not one of my cupboard staples). I have also switched her choice of sweet paprika with the smoked variety, to give that, well, smokey taste. Anyway, this is my take on the classic baked beans, and I find it is perfect to eat with scrambled tofu, or on toast, of course. Or, try eating it in a tortilla wrap or savoury pancake with avocado and greens, or in a baked potato. You can also switch up the types of beans you used, depending on what you have in the cupboard, for example kidney beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans etc. It’s also suitable for any meal (can you think of a food that is as appropriate for all of breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner as baked beans?). Quick, store-cupboard friendly, inexpensive, and nutritious. Oh, and tasty.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp double concentrate tomato puree
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 cans of haricot beans + water from both cans (alternatively, use 530g cooked beans and 250ml water)
- 100ml water
- In a small or medium sized pan over medium heat, fry the onion in the olive oil until soft (about 5-10 minutes).
- Then, add the garlic and fry for a another minute.
- Add the smoked paprika, chilli flakes, salt and pepper and fry for a minute more.
- Then, add the tomato puree, mustard, maple syrup, beans and water from the can, and water. Bring everything to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer.
- Cook for 20 minutes with the lid off.
- As the beans sit, they will thicken up. In this case, just add a splash of water to loosen them up.
I’ve been making barley salad for ages, but only just managed to refine this recipe. Barley is very cheap, and has an interesting chewy texture which presents a nice change from traditional grain salads like cous cous and quinoa. Perhaps better known for it’s role in hearty soups and stews (or as a component of beer), I prefer to mix it with vegetables, throw a dressing over it and eat it cold. It can be served as part of a salad selection or just on it’s own, perhaps with some crunchy greens and a dollop of homous on the side. It also welcomes additions and substitutions: previous things I’ve included in this recipe are olives and capers (perhaps instead of the sun-dried tomatoes), raw tomatoes which add some juiciness or changing up the proportions or types of herbs used. This salad also keeps very well, without a deterioration of flavour or texture even after several days in the fridge.
- 250g pearl barley
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- 300g courgette, chopped in to chunks
- 300g squash, chopped in to small-ish chunks
- 50g pumpkin seeds
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 orange, zested and chopped (reserve the zest for the dressing)
- 1 avocado, chopped in to chunks
- 10g mint, roughly chopped
- 20g parsley, roughly chopped
- 20g basil, roughly chopped
- 50g sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 20g wholegrain mustard
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed
- 30g balsamic vinegar
- 20g extra virgin olive oil
- 10g agave nectar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Cook the barley according to packet instructions. I boil mine for about 40 minutes in salted water until 'al dente'. Now, pour the barley into a sieve and run cold water through it until it's cold.
- Add the squash and courgette to separate baking tins and cover with the olive oil and salt. Roast in a 220 degrees C oven until crisp, but tender. The courgette should take between 20-30 minutes, and the squash about 40 minutes.
- When these are done, turn the oven down to 160 degrees C and toast the pumpkin seeds in a baking tray for about 10 minutes.
- Prepare the red onion, orange chunks (not zest), avocado, mint, parsley, basil and sun-dried tomatoes for the salad.
- For the dressing, whisk up all the ingredients.
- When everything is ready, combine the dressing with the barley, roasted vegetables, pumpkin seeds and everything else in a big bowl.
When I first made these, I was aiming for Spanish-style chorizo sausages, packed with smoked paprika and chilli. In actual fact, the taste was more reminiscent of a frankfurter and in a way, I found this processed taste, homogeneous texture and ‘fake’ look strangely rather pleasing. Whatever you want to call them, the method for these involve whizzing up the ingredients, forming them in to sausage shapes and steaming them in hot water in a silver foil parcel. This method allows the sausages to remain moist, but doesn’t achieve a crispy exterior like frying or baking might.
They are very versatile, perhaps by virtue of me not being sure exactly how to serve them. We have eaten them with caponata and salad; in a rice casserole and as pictured: with mash, greens and a spicy tomato sauce. Of course, I have no doubt that they would be right at home inside a hot dog bun with a squirt of ketchup or mustard too. Once you’ve got the basic technique mastered, you can experiment with different beans, herbs and spices. For example, switching the smoked paprika for fennel, sage and thyme would create a more traditional ‘English’ tasting sausage which could be served alongside a good onion gravy.
- 460g cannellini beans (or 2 cans, drained)
- 130g wholemeal flour
- 100g sun-dried tomatoes
- 60g cashew nuts
- 10 dried apricots
- 20g parsley
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- First, bring a large pan of boiling water to a boil on the stove.
- Using a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Next, prepare the silver foil. Rip off 10 pieces, each measuring about 20 x 30 cm.
- The mixture will be quite wet here, but it will still be possible to roll them up. Take a handful (about 1/10) of the mixture and roll in to a rough sausage shape. Place this at one end of the foil, along one of the shorter sides. Wrap the foil over the sausage and roll all the way down to the other end, and twist the sides like a sweet wrapper. The recipe should make about 10 sausages.
- Place in the pot of boiling water for about 30 minutes to steam. Remove and unwrap, when they are cool enough to handle!