Tag Archives: vegan recipes

Lentil and red pepper hummus.

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Initially I was unsure about whether to post this recipe. After all, I don’t want to perpetuate the stereotype of a vegan who eats nothing but hummus and lentils,never mind combining these two vegan staples. Next I’ll be posting nothing but tofu and salads!

Yes, the poor old lentil gets short shrift sometimes from vegans as we strive to prove that there’s so much more to a vegan diet than lentil loaf. No more though. I am happy to declare from the rooftops my love of the humble lentil. Versatile, nutritious and ever so handy for those days when the cupboards are pretty bare you can’t be bothered going to the supermarket, they are veritable shape shifters. Yesterday  they made a delightful daal, tomorrow they might disguise themselves in burger form, introduce them to some spinach and passata and you have the makings of a rather gorgeous vegan lasagne…

Today though, my little lentil friends are feeling all Middle Eastern.

 

So, here we go. Get your blender out and chuck in the following ingredients:

1 cup of cooked red lentils

1 tablespoon tahini

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 chopped, raw red pepper (you could try a marinated, roasted pepper instead if you like)

My blender is not that great so I have to add a little water to get the ball rolling.

So that’s the hummus base taken care of but it still lacks a little sparkle. Add the following ingredients gradually to work out your own preference. If you like the tart freshness of lemon juice, try adding a tablespoon. If that’s too much for you, tone it down a little.

lemon juice

salt and pepper

garlic granules (you could of course use fresh garlic cloves but I find this is too ‘spicy’ for the kids’ taste, granules over a more subtle flavour. Next time I will experiment with roasted garlic)

smoked paprika

Give it all another whizz in the blender, decant into a bowl, sprinkle with smoked paprika and garnish with fresh parsley.

 

You could serve this traditionally with pita bread or use it as a sandwich filling but I found that my boys quite liked it as a pasta sauce. Simply add a dash of olive oil to thin it out a little and stir it through some cooked pasta. For extra nutrients and flavour, add some sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and more fresh parsley.

Coconut dream ice cream.

Swedish Glace and other commercial brands of vegan ice cream can be pretty good but as you know, I do like to make my own versions of things!

Here’s my recipe for a super simple vegan ice cream. This has the added bonus of being soya free.

For the first attempt, I didn’t get too adventurous but I imagine you could add all sorts of yummy goodies to give you a new flavour for every day of the week although be wary of adding too much liquid as this could hamper the freezing process. Chocolate chips, mashed blueberries, a little lemon juice, chopped nuts…let me know if you try any variations of your own.

1 400ml can full fat coconut milk

3 tablespoons icing sugar (I have a major sweet tooth so you could probably put in less sugar than I did!)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put all ingredients into a blender and whiz it up. Pour the mixture into a freezer friendly tub and freeze for about 5 hours. Stir occasionally.

I found that after 5 hours it was perfect. Mostly frozen but still very creamy. Frozen for any longer and the texture changed and became very hard and difficult to serve (although it was still very creamy when eaten). I think next time I’ll put the ice cream back into the blender before serving to soften it up a bit.

My next experiment may well be a mint choc chip ice cream; that was always my favourite flavour and I’d love to find a great vegan version, whether from a store or whipped up in my own kitchen.

Root vegetable tagine with lemon infused cous cous.

I’ve gotten into a bit of a food rut recently; I tend to rotate the same few dishes each week. Without fail, I throw sweet potatoes into my trolley during the weekly supermarket trip but usually stick to making soup or curry with them so I fancied trying something different. My mum made me a delicious root vegetable tagine a few weeks ago so this was my attempt to recreate it.

For the tagine:

1 onion, finely chopped

3 sweet potatoes

1 cloves of crushed garlic

1/2 butternut squash

3 carrots

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 cup dried fruit

Dice the root veggies. Fry the onion in a little oil until softened, then add the cinnamon, ginger and cumin seeds and the crushed garlic. Cook gently for 5 minutes and then add the root veg. Stir in the tomato paste and lemon juice and then add some water. I didn’t measure the water but I would estimate that I put in around 300ml. You could use more or less depending on how ‘saucy’ you’d like the dish to be. (I actually put in a little too much water but just scooped some of the gravy out towards the end and used it to flavour the cous cous!) Throw in your dried fruit. I used apricots and dates but my mum’s version contained prunes; all work well with this dish so just use whatever you have kicking around your cupboards. Allow to simmer for around 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked all the way through.

For the cous cous:

Use 200g cous cous to serve 4.

Place the cous cous in a saucepan with a tablespoon lemon infused olive oil and a dash of cinnamon. Add 250ml of vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Once it has started to boil, remove the pan from the heat and allow the cous cous to absorb the water.

Fluff it up with a fork before serving,throw in a handful of raisins and mix. Serve with the tagine.

 

 

Cheesy Apricot Stuffed Loaf

Ok, so I’m a bit late in sharing the recipe for my Christmas Loaf; I’m guessing the diets have started and the last thing you want to get your chops round is a big juicy, flaky slice of pastry heaven. Are you sure?

This loaf was actually such a hit in the babysteps household that I couldn’t in good conscience consign it to the the list of Christmas time only dishes. It deserves more! So I think this will be baking in my oven any time we have a family occasion…or any day with a ‘y’ in it. Served with some roast spuds, veggies and redcurrant jelly, it’s an ideal replacement for the traditional Sunday roast.

My Mum made me this dish every Christmas Eve (well, the vegetarian version) when I was growing up. The whole family tucked in and then Mum saved a slice for me to have on Christmas day when the rest of the family began the traditional turkey massacre. It comprises an apricot and oatmeal stuffing, layered with creamed spinach and a mixture of carrot and ‘cheese’, all wrapped up in puff pastry. It has evolved over the years to reflect our family tastes – I actually have no idea what the original recipe was like or even where it came from. So, if you don’t like the sound of one of the layers, change it. Only let me know so that I can try your version too!

What you need:

1 packet of Jus Rol puff pastry. (Yes, I’m lazy, I’m the first to admit it)

Stuffing:

60g dairy free spread

1 chopped onion

60g oatmeal

125g white breadcrumbs

juice of half a lemon

90g chopped dried apricots

1 dessert spoon of apple sauce

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

salt and black pepper

Creamed spinach:

I used frozen because my fridge was stuffed full of parsnips and sprouts but of course you could use fresh spinach.

6 blocks of frozen spinach

pinch of nutmeg

1-2 dessert spoons of vegan cream cheese

black pepper

Carrot and cheese:

3 medium carrots, grated

1/3 of a block of vegan cheese (I used Sheese, strong cheddar style)

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 180c

Roll out the pastry and set aside. In a saucepan melt the ‘butter’ and then fry the onion very gently until soft. You don’t want it to brown, just soften. Add the breadcrumbs and oatmeal and stir thoroughly, add the lemon juice and cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the herbs, apricots and some seasoning. Add the apple sauce to bind together. Place the stuffing on the pastry and spread on to the pastry, leaving a little room around the side.

Heat the spinach until completely thawed. Drain the excess water and add the cream cheese. Mix thoroughly and then add the nutmeg and a little black pepper. Layer this on top of the stuffing and spread it evenly.

Grate the carrots and cheese, mix together and then place this over the spinach layer.

Bring up the sides of the pastry to form the loaf. If you are more talented in the kitchen than I am, play about with lattices and the like. Or, if you’re a tad more ‘rustic’, don’t worry about the shape but just make sure that all of the stuffing layers are encased in the pastry. Chuck it in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry has risen and is golden brown.

Leave to cool for a few minutes before slicing. And enjoy!

This is actually nice when eaten cold too, so wrap up any leftovers and take them with you to work for lunch the next day.Mmmm, serve with some roast spuds, sprouts and redcurrant jelly.

Mac ‘n’ cheese.

Oh it’s getting pretty chilly out there (here in Scotland at least!) – we’re definitely getting to that time of year when comfort food is called for on a frosty Sunday evening.

And what could be more comforting than a bowl of good ‘ol Mac ‘n’ cheese?

Except I didn’t have any ‘mac’ in the cupboard, so I used penne. Oh, and it goes without saying that there was no cheese anywhere near it. So I should really come up with a different name…suggestions on a postcard please!

Pasta, any shape. Allow about 80g per person

1 packet silken tofu

100 ml vegetable stock

1/2 packet vegan cheese (I used soy free Cheezly)

1 leek, finely chopped

10 cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 garlic cloves, crushed

Put the pasta on to cook as per the instructions on the packet. Put the tofu into a blender with the vegetable stock and liquidise then transfer to a saucepan and heat gently. Add some salt and pepper to season if required and melt in the ‘cheese’. If you required a stronger taste you could add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the sauce. Meanwhile put some olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the leek and garlic. Once soft, add the cherry tomatoes, cook for a couple of minutes and then add to the cheese sauce. Drain the cooked pasta and stir through the sauce. Serve in bowls and sprinkle on some ‘Parmezano’ or some chopped fresh parsley.

Variation:

This is also yummy with some peas and sweetcorn thrown in with the boiling pasta and some diced red pepper fried with the leek and tomato – let’s face it, you can never have too many veggies!

‘Orange’ curry

So-called because of the beautiful orange vegetables that make up the bulk of this wonderful curry  – no curried oranges thank goodness.

This is a bit of a rough recipe, you can play about with it until you find a combination of veggies you love, or just throw in whatever you have lying about the kitchen as I did!

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 finely chopped onion

1 diced sweet potato

1 chopped carrot

1/2 diced butternut squash

5 dried apricots

1 cup of red lentils

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 can of coconut milk

1 stock cube

1 desert spoon of nutritional yeast flakes

Fry the onion in the oil then add the veggies, lentils and spices and stir for around 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, one cup of water, the apricots and the crumbled stock cube and cook over a medium heat for around 40 minutes or at least until the vegetables are cooked through. Add the yeast flakes at the end, adding more or less depending on your preference, or even leave them out entirely if you prefer.

You should be left with a wonderfully creamy, mild curry. Serve with rice or pitta bread.

I cooked this for the kids, so I didn’t go too wild on the spices – if you are feeling a bit more adventurous you could add a chopped red chilli into the recipe while you are frying the onion.

For a more diet friendly variation, reduce the oil,  leave out the apricots and use light coconut milk instead.

Blackstrap beans

If you are worried about your iron intake as a new vegetarian or vegan – look no further than a jar of blackstrap molasses.

This is a natural sweetener which, unlike sugar, actually has a lot to offer in terms of health. Iron, calcium and potassium as just some of the happy minerals you’ll find in this amazing foodstuff.

How to use it though?

I’m still experimenting myself. So far, I’ve found that it’s pretty good in a bowl of porridge – the baby and I each have a teaspoonful of it in our oatmeal in the morning to start the day with an iron boost (to help with iron absorption I’d recommend a glass of orange juice to complement this healthy breakfast.)

Although it is a sweetener, blackstrap molasses has a somewhat bittersweet taste so is perfect for savoury dishes.

Here’s my take on the classic baked beans.

Blackstrap beans

a generous splash of olive oil

4 spring onions, finely chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1 can cannellini beans

1 can black eye beans

1 carton passata

1 teaspoon paprika

1 generously heaped tablespoon of blackstrap molasses

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the spring onions and pepper and fry for about 5 minutes until soft. Drain the beans and add these, cook for about 2 minutes. Add the passata, the paprika and the molasses and simmer for about half an hour (or longer if time allows). You could add salt and pepper to season but I find that it doesn’t really need any extra seasoning.

I like this served with rice or on the side of some vegan sausages.

To make it suitable for babies, simply mash the beans a little after cooking and make sure the spring onions and pepper are fried until really soft.

Simples

If you have any good blackstrap molasses recipes please share them in the comments – thanks!