Vegetable Gratin with Butterbeans 

  
I love a good cheese sauce gratin. I’ll smother anything tbh with a blanket of mustardy cheesy goodness. Perfect fuel for these dreary January days. Use any combo of beans and veggies you want. It’s a fab way to use up spare cooked vegetables so don’t feel you have to prep them from scratch. 
For 3-4 portions you need

  • 1 can drained Butterbeans
  • 600ml milk
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 150g grated strong cheddar
  • 50g grated Parmesan style veggie friendly cheese
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • 2 tsp French mustard (pref Maille)
  • Cooked vegetables eg 3 sliced carrots and 1 head broccoli 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Begin by steaming the veggies until tender. Leave to cool. 
  2. Make the cheese sauce by adding everything apart from the cheeses and beans to a pan and heating gently. Bring to the boil then simmer for 1-2 mins. Remove from the heat. 
  3. Add 2/3 of both cheese and mix until melted and the sauce is smooth. Season with freshly ground black pepper. 
  4. Tip the slightly cooled veggies into an ovenproof dish. Scatter over the beans and distribute vaguely evenly. Pour over the sauce then sprinkle with the remaining cheeses.
  5. Bake in a 200 degree oven for 20-25 mins until browned, bubbling and delicious. Serve with potatoes of your choice. 
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Vegetable Paella with Spicy Tomato Sauce (v)

I’m not sure this is authentically paella because it uses easy cook short grain rice. But it’s easy and quick to make and is the first recipe/rice combo I have found that actually works without producing a claggy sticky mess or under cooked rice. It’s also vegan and a brilliant way to boost your veg intake. It’s based on a Rose Elliott recipe for Red Beans with Brown Rice and Vegetables in her fabulous New Complete Vegetarian Cookbook (p246).

For 4 portions you need
Paella
2 onions, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
350g easy cook short grain rice
1 tsp tumeric
850ml veg stock
salt and pepper
A mix of vegetables e.g. we used 1 large carrot, diced, 2 sticks celery, sliced, and a pack of stir fry tenderstem broccoli, baby sweet corn, mange tout and pak choi.
1 can drained kidney beans

Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 can tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp dried chilli flakes

Start by sauteeing the onion, carrots and celery in the oil, covered. I like to use a large lidded non stick frying pan for this recipe.

After about 10 mins add the rice and garlic and stir well. Add the stock and beans and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 10 mins. Stir then add the broccoli and corn and cover again for a further 5 mins. Check the rice is done and if it is, add the remaining veg and take off the heat and leave covered to steam for a final 5 mins.

For the sauce put everything in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins. Puree in the pan with a stick blender and leave to one side.

Serve the finished rice with the tomato sauce. Leftovers are delicious cold or used as a stuffing for peppers etc.

Double Bean Burgers with Mango Chilli Salsa (v)

I really fancied a bean burger for dinner last night. Not like the horrid mushy ones you get in Burger King, but a nice, solid and healthy treat with a zingy salsa on the side. The recipe I came up with was inspired by this Jamie Oliver one. It’s a doddle to make with a food processor and we managed to get sat down and eating within 30 mins, a win for a working week day eve.

For 4-6 burgers you need
1 can drained black eyed beans
1 can drained chickpeas (tbh you can use whatever beans or lentils you have to hand)
1 onion
1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, oregano
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper
about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I always keep some in the freezer from the scrag ends of bread we haven’t eaten)
1 egg or 1/4 cup water with 2 tbsp veg oil if you’re vegan
Large handful of fresh coriander
Zest of a lemon
Oil for shallow frying
Barms for eating the burgers in and whatever condiments you fancy (ketchup, mustard, mayo etc)

Mango Chilli Salsa
1 ripe mango, diced
1 thai chilli finely sliced
2 tbsp each fresh mint and coriander, roughly chopped
Juice of a lemon
4 spring onions, finely sliced

Put everything apart from the breadcrumbs into a food processor and blitz until half pureed and half chunky. Tip into a bowl and mix in the breadcrumbs. You should have a mix that is able to be formed into burgers. if it’s too wet add a little flour. If it’s too dry add a little water. Form into 4-6 patties and leave in the fridge to chill for 5 mins.

Make the salsa by mixing everything together.

When you’re ready to cook the burgers, put a little oil into a pan and then fry the burgers on a medium heat for 10 mins on each side until nicely browned. Serve in a barm with some home made sweet potato wedges and the mango chilli salsa.

Mixed Vegetable Makhanawala (v)

I am slowly working my way through Rick Stein’s India, a very fine book on curries and Indian food. This recipe caught my eye as I was meal planning over the weekend, and Abel and Cole obliged by providing most of the ingredients for it in their weekly box this week. The curry is delicious, rich and creamy but not heavy. Spiced and fragrant with a little kick of heat but not searingly hot. It might look complicated but it’s not, it was very easy to make and was definitely worth the effort.

For 4-6 portions you need
800g mixed vegetables – I used potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and french beans
50g butter or oil
1 medium onion, sliced
5 large garlic cloves, finely minced
5cm stick of ginger, finely grated
400g fresh tomatoes pulverised to make passata (don’t use tinned or a jar, you want the lightness of fresh tomatoes)
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp each of ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, garam masala and tumeric
1 tsp desiccated coconut
1.5 tsp salt
25g cashew nuts
1/2 tsp sugar
75ml yogurt/soya yogurt
4 tbsp double cream/soya cream (or coconut cream)
Handful of fresh coriander leaves to finish

Begin by boiling the carrots and potatoes until just cooked. Drain and leave to one side.

Melt the butter in a large heavy based pan and add the onion. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the onions are soft and golden. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 5 mins. Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins. Add the spices, salt, coconut and 100ml of water and cook for a further 10 mins.

In a mini food processor blitz the cashew nuts with a little water until smooth. Add this to the pan along with all the vegetables apart from the potatoes. Add another 100ml of water and simmer for 10 minutes until the veggies are cooked. Add the yogurt, cream and potatoes and heat through for 2-3 mins. Serve garnished with the coriander. It’s truly delicious.

Kale and Smoked Paprika Stew with Butter Beans and Potatoes (v)

Yeah, another kale recipe! Again from the BBC Good Food website for initial inspiration… Tho, clearly this doesn’t have chorizo in it! But the echoes of the juicy flavours from chorizo are there in the sweet smoked paprika that is added. If you can get hold of Redwood Vegan Chorizo style chunks then add those to this for a delicious vegan alternative, but it works just as well without. Lex loved this as much as I did and it was the perfect dinner for a cold, dreary January evening.

For 3-4 portions you need
3-4 potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks, skin left on
2 leeks, sliced
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can butter beans in water
1 tsp vegan stock
2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper
pinch sugar
2-3 cups kale, stripped from the inner stalk and well washed
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 pepper, cut into bite sized chunks

Begin by sauteeing the leeks in the oil. After 2-3 mins add the garlic and smoked paprika powder. Add everything else apart from the kale and peppers and bring to the boil, adding a little more water if you want a thinner sauce. Simmer for 10 mins then add the kale and peppers. Continue to cook for a further 5 mins until the potatoes are done, then serve with crusty bread to soak up all the gorgeous juices. Delicious!

Cowboy Stew (v)

I don’t know where the name Cowboy Stew comes from I have to confess. I first made this as a student so I think it’s probably something to do with the fact that it contains beans and sausages and everyone knows that’s what cowboys eat. Whatever, the etymology of the name is less interesting than the recipe. It’s the perfect sort of dish for horrible weather like what we had today: wet, soggy, cold, blustery. This warms you from the inside and tastes lovely at the same time. Result.

For 4 portions you need
1 pack Linda McCartney sausages
1 tin baked beans
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin drained black eyed beans
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 punnett mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 red and 1 green pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
salt and pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp each of hendersons relish (veggie worcester sauce), soya sauce and mushroom ketchup

Begin by sautéing the onion in the oil for about 5 mins. Add the mushrooms and cook till the juices have come out. Add the peppers and garlic and fry for another 1-2 mins. Add everything else apart from the sausages and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 mins. Meanwhile fry the sausages until browned. Add the sausages to the pan of stew and cook for a further 10 mins till steaming hot. Serve with mounds of buttery mash, or whatever carb you feel like. Perfeck.

Salty and Spicy Green Beans (v)

I have been craving Thai food this week, and whilst what I wanted were tofu fish cakes, I didn’t have any paste so I had to be creative with what was available instead… This combo of salty soya sauce, fiery chilli and toasted sesame hit the spot. It’s lovely warm or cold and is a good quick and healthy side dish to make.

For two portions you need
1 pack green beans, topped and tailed as necessary
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce or mushroom soya sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp japanese rice vinegar
1 tbsp tabasco sauce (fresh chilli if nicer is you have some!)
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp sugar

Blanch the beans in boiling water for 1-2 mins. Drain and refresh in cold water to retain their colour and stop them cooking further. Place all the other ingredients in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Immerse the beans and then scoff. Nomtastic!

Butternut Squash & Kidney Bean Rogan Josh (v)

A quick and easy recipe perfect for filling yer belly after a long day driving…

For 4 people you need:
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 jar Minara Rogan Josh curry paste
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2/3 tin water
1 tin drained and rinsed kidney beans
1 tbsp oil
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes

Fry the onion in the oil for 5 mins till soft. Add the garlic, butternut squash and curry paste and cook out for a further 3 mins or so until everything is well coated in the curry paste. Add the tomatoes, water and kidney beans and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 20 mins or so until the squash is tender. Serve with rice. Yum.

Authentic Thai Green Curry with Butternut Squash and Green Beans (v)

Authentic as in made by my mum who was taught by my sister who lives in Thailand. Yum.

For 4-6 portions you need:
4 tbsp Thai green curry paste (Keow Wan is the recommended brand…)
2 tins coconut milk
1/2 pack baby sweetcorn, cut in half
1 cup green beans
1 butternut squash, cut into cubes
Fresh chopped coriander to serve

Heat the curry paste in a pan and add the butternut squash. Cook out for a few mins then add the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 mins till starting to get tender then add the corn and beans. Heat through for 2-3 mins till everything is cooked to perfection then serve with jasmine rice.

The Perfect Veggie Fry Up?

People will always disagree over what constitutes the best veggie fry up, but for me if it contains mushrooms, eggs, beans and some sort of veggie sausage and/or bacon I am a happy lass. Especially if someone else cooks it for me…

For 2 people you need:
1 can beans
2 eggs
4 rashers quorn bacon
2/3 punnet mushrooms, sliced
2 veggie sausages
2 soda farls, sliced
oil for frying

Heat the beans. Fry the mushrooms. Cook the sausages. Fry the bacon. Cut the soda farls and heat. Fry the eggs (over easy this time). Scoff with copious coffee or tea if you really must.