New Vegan Recipes
Like a lot of people, we have been cooking so much at home during lockdown. It has been a pleasure, but it has also put a lot of pressure on us to keep our meals varied and interesting! The last thing you want as a self-confessed foodie, is to eat the same things over and over again.
As we approach the end of July, and lockdown continues to ease I have brought together some tips and advice to help inspire you in the kitchen, together with three of my favourite recently tried recipes.
Make the most of your cupboard stores!
Tinned foods can be used to make nutritious and easy dishes. Try any tinned beans with tomatoes, chilli, garlic and olives with rice, for a quick jambalaya style dinner. Use tinned tomatoes as a base for sauces. Tinned soups are great for a lunch option and you can give them a little twist by adding some toasted cumin seeds. You can also make a soup more hearty by adding chickpeas or grains. Chickpeas of course can be used to make your own hummus. Simply blend with garlic, tahini and lemon juice.
I also love using grain and seed mix pouches, most supermarkets have their own and Merchant Gourmet and Jamie Oliver have a great range, with so many different flavours and combos. They are invaluable to take meals to the next level!
Experiment with alternatives
If you’re getting bored of rice and pasta, try other grains like couscous, bulgar wheat or pearl barley, and embrace lentils! Lentils are inexpensive and full of protein, and you can use dry or tinned, add them to salads, soup, lasagna or curry.
Try making your own coleslaw and dips. You can make a quick and healthy coleslaw by simply grating white and red cabbage with some carrot- even a small cabbage will make a lot and in a sealed container, it will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Vegan mayo can be made using the leftover oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes or olives- simply blend with salt, unsweetened soya milk and a teaspoon of cider vinegar.
Make the most of your veg!
Roasting a tray of vegetables is worth doing every week and you can then use them in a variety of dishes. Use whatever you have in – peppers, courgettes, tomatoes, onions and aubergine. Drizzle with oil, season and add herbs and spices for extra flavour. Store in the fridge (or freezer) and add them to salads, pasta, stews or soups.
Stuffed Peppers is another favourite – I often use a grain mix and combine with some garlic, tomatoes, spinach and sundried tomato paste and roast topped with a little vegan cheese.
In this blog I have shared a really easy flatbread recipe, which doesn’t require a lot of ingredients and is the perfect side to most dishes. I would share a banana bread recipe but I’m not sure there is anyone left who hasn’t made some banana bread over lockdown!
Make the most of the humble potato
We make our own wedges more often than not; it is healthier than buying frozen chips, and you can create your own flavour combos! Try making your own spiced fries by par-boiling sliced potatoes and baking them in a hot oven with a scattering of paprika or garam masala. Try stuffed or baked sweet potato, or sweet potato wedges as an alternative to white potato, and remember sweet potato is one of your five a day!
My Top Three (right now!)
Green Pesto Gnocchi with Crispy Kale and Vegan Flatbread
Green Pesto Gnocchi
350g or 1 packet of Gnocchi (we will make our own soon!)
150g Fresh Spinach
A good handful of Fresh Basil
30g Pine Nuts
½ Lemon (squeezed juice)
2/3 Cloves of Garlic
2/3 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1) Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees.
2) Chop spinach and basil roughly, including the stalks. Add most of your pine nuts, chopped spinach and basil to a food blender. Add 2/3 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of water, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
3) Blend until smooth, add and balance ingredients until the flavour is just right.
4) Meanwhile, heat a pan of water to a rolling boil. Once boiling add your gnocchi, with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, reduce the heat and cook for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and toss through the pesto.
5) Whilst cooking the gnocchi, spread out some kale on a pan and sprinkle with some salt and pepper, cook in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until crispy. Keep an eye on it, as it will turn quickly.
6) If you would like to serve with vegan flat bread, follow the recipe below- as the bread takes longer remember to start the bread well before the gnocchi.
7) Serve hot, with crispy kale and the remaining pine nuts on top!
250g/9oz Plain Flour
2 tsp Sugar
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Baking Powder
120ml/4fl oz Soya Milk
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil, plus extra for greasing
1) Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a bowl. In another bowl, mix together the milk and oil.
2) Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Slowly mix together the dough by working from the centre and incorporating the flour from the edges of the ‘well’, to make a smooth, soft dough.
3) Knead well for 8–10 minutes, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky.
4) Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea-towel and leave in a warm place for 10–15 minutes.
5) Form the dough into five balls.
6) Preheat the grill to medium and place a heavy baking sheet on the upper shelf of the grill to heat.
7) Roll the dough balls out quite thinly.
(optional… you can add toppings, like crushed garlic and press into the surface of the dough)
8) Place the flat breads onto the hot baking sheet and grill for 1–2 minutes, or until lightly browned. (optional… brush with butter) and serve hot.
2 Courgettes (thinly sliced)
1 Aubergine (thinly sliced)
4 Tomatoes (thinly sliced)
2 Cans of Chopped Tomatoes
2 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
1 Red Onion (diced)
Mixed Peppers (diced)
1 Lemon (just the zest)
2 tsp Dried Mixed Herbs
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil (to drizzle over the top)
1) Preheat your oven to 190 degrees and prepare all your vegetables so they are sliced/chopped and ready to go!
2) Fry onions and garlic on a medium heat, with a drizzle of oil (I used rapeseed) until just softened and the garlic is fragrant.
3) Add diced peppers and continue to soften.
4) Add 2 cans of chopped tomatoes, stir to combine and add balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, salt, pepper, mixed herbs and balance to suit your taste.
5) Allow to simmer, and reduce slightly… Once happy with the consistency, turn off the heat.
6) In a circular and repetitive pattern, lay a slice of tomato, courgette and aubergine upright on top of the sauce and swirl around the outside of the pan, and repeat to cover the middle.
7) Once complete, drizzle some olive oil over the top, season with a twist of salt & pepper and sprinkle some more dried herbs and nutritional yeast over the top.
8) Bake at 190 degrees, (ideally covered with foil) for 50-60 minutes (if using foil uncover for the final 20 minutes of the bake)
9) Serve with rice, orzo or some fresh bread!
Puff Pastry Pizza Swirls
Puff Pastry Sheet
Sundried Tomatoes (a handful)
1-2 tsp of Garlic Puree (to taste)
3-4 tbsp of Tomato Puree (to taste)
2 tsp Dried Oregano
Salt & Pepper
100g (roughly) Fresh Spinach
Vegan Grated Cheese (enough to cover the spinach layer)
1) Roll out a sheet of puff pastry, I used ‘accidently vegan’ Jus Rol Puff Pastry.
2) Finely chop the sundried tomatoes.
3) In a bowl combine the sundried tomato with garlic puree, tomato puree and dried oregano. Season with salt & pepper.
4) Spread the tomato sauce all over the puff pastry.
5) Finely chop some spinach, and spread all over the puff pastry
6) Sprinkle cheese on top of the spinach
7) Gently roll the pastry from right to left
8) Gently place on a baking tray and sprinkle a little oregano on each roll.
9) Oven bake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
‘Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon, or not at all’