Rose Elliot’s Lentil Croquettes (v)

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After a week on holiday eating and drinking whatever we wanted, I thought it was about time to get back into the kitchen and prepare something vaguely nutritious… These hit the spot. I love red lentils but usually just lob them into a dhal. I forget how lovely they are in their own right.

Rose’s recipe is very simple to follow. I added 2 tsp of marigold stock powder to the lentil cooking water as I like to boost the flavour a little. The mixture was also a little sloppy after I added the lemon juice and onions so I added 100g fresh breadcrumbs to stiffen it a little before shaping into croquettes. They were delicious hot for our tea and also nice cold for my lunch the following day. Enjoy!

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Biriyani? Kichari? Kedgeree? Rice, Lentils and Vegetables! (v)

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I’m not sure what to call this. Is it a biriyani? A kedgeree? It’s rice and lentils and vegetables cooked in a spicy Indian base at any rate. And it’s utterly delicious, both hot straight from the pan and cold the next day for an easy work lunch. Add a hardboiled egg if you want to boost the protein and you aren’t vegan. Or leave it as is. You can choose what spices and veggies to use, the golden rule to follow is the rice + lentils to water ratio to ensure it all cooks properly without sticking or going gloopy. I served ours with minted almond yogurt and some lip puckeringly sour lime pickle 😀

For 3-4 portions you need

  • 225g rice – I use easy cook white as we still have 6kgs left from an over zealous Costco trip…
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 50g red lentils
  • 2 red chillies, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 6-8 cardamom pods
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1/2 pack fresh spinach
  • 650ml stock
  • handful cashew nuts, toasted in 1 tbsp oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 tsp mint sauce
  • 4 tbsp almond yogurt (or any yogurt)
  • lime pickle
  1. Begin by crushing the dry spices, apart from the turmeric and cinnamon, in a pestle and mortar until roughly ground.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and toast the spices until they sizzle and start to release their aromas. Add the turmeric.
  3. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and chillies. Saute, covered, for 3-4 mins until softened.
  4. Add the rice and lentils to the pan and cook for 1-2 mins over a moderate heat until they are toasted.
  5. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Stir well and cover, reducing the heat to low. Cook for 10 mins.
  6. Add the cauliflower to the pan, mixing well. You might need to add a little more water at this stage if things are looking dry. Cook for a further 5 mins until the rice and lentils are pretty much done.
  7. Once the rice, lentils and vegetables are nearly done, turn off the heat and stir through the fresh spinach leaves. Cover and leave to sit for 3-4 mins until the rice is fluffy, the spinach is wilted and everything else is cooked to perfection.
  8. Mix the mint sauce into the yogurt, toast the cashews until golden brown and serve.

 

Versatile Savoury Lentil Sauce (v)

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Yeah I know. It doesn’t look like much in the picture. A soggy jumble of bits in a wet sauce. If you could smell it though, it would smell GOOD! This sauce can form the basis of so many different things: bolognaise, lasagne, moussaka, savoury lentil bake, shepherd’s pie… I always make in a big batch as it freezes well and it’s a great work day staple to have stashed away for days when you have zero time or energy to cook from scratch.

Last time I made this, I made this quantity as I have a massive Le Creuset pan and it saves time in the long run. Obviously if you have smaller pans or no space in the freezer reduce quantities accordingly…

For 3 batches of sauce, each enough to feed 4-6 people you need:

  • 3 cups brown lentils (green also work, as do puy. Don’t use split red lentils!)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, washed and diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of marigold stock powder
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  1. Begin by cooking the lentils in plenty of water. How long will depend on the age and variety of lentils. My brown ones took 15 mins. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile saute the onion, leek, celery and garlic in the oil until softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes and seasonings to the sauce along with the lentils.
  4. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 5-10 mins.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning. Tis done. Serve like this over pasta for bolognaise or use as a base in numerous other recipes.

Thai Spiced Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup (v)

This quick but oh-so-tasty soup is based on this recipe. I had butternut squash to use up, along with some yellow thai curry paste and only 150ml coconut milk. The results were delicious and nicely filling for a working week day dinner. We had home made garlic bread along side to bulk it out a bit more. And poor old me gets to eat the leftovers for lunch today. It’s hard life 😉
For 4-6 portions you need
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 inch fresh ginger grated
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1cm chunks
½ cup red lentils
150ml coconut milk
1 litre vegan stock
2 tbsp thai yellow curry paste (this isn’t too spicy and uses turmeric to colour the paste yellow which also gives an earthy background note to the soup)
Sliced red chilli and chopped fresh coriander to serve
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice or fish sauce if not vegan
Begin by sweating the onion in the oil for 5 mins. Add the garlic, ginger, squash and curry paste and cook for a further 5 mins. Tip in the lentils then add the coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 mins until the lentils are cooked.
Blitz the soup until velvety and smooth. Add the soya sauce and lime juice or fish sauce. Serve in warmed bowls topped with the fresh zingy chilli slices and chopped coriander.

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.

Roasted Moroccan Vegetable Soup with Toasted Pine Nuts (v)

I had a glut of veggies that needed to be used so roasted a whole big batch of them and turned half into this soup and the other half into a yummy lunch of roasted veggies, cous cous and spinach. The soup is beyond easy to make but tastes like you’ve slaved over it for hours!

For 4 portions you need
1 sweet potato
2 beetroot
2 onions
2 parsnips
4 carrots
2 courgettes
1.5 litres of veg stock
Handful roughly chopped coriander
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp each of baharat, ras el halour and berber spice mixes (or whatever moroccan spices you fancy)
salt and pepper
1 tin drained cannelini beans
150g spinach, washed

Begin by chopping sweet potato, carrot, onion and parsnips into small chunks. Toss in the oil and spices and roast in a hot oven for 20-30 mins until tender and starting to catch a little.

Prepare the beetroot and courgette in the same way and roast on a separate tin.

Once the tray with the root veg has done, place the roasted veggies in a pan and cover with the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 mins.

Add the spinach to the pan and blitz to a puree. Return to the pan and add the beans. Heat through.

Serve in warmed bowls topped with a couple of spoonfuls of the roasted beetroot and courgette, pine nuts and coriander. Serve with copious bread.

Quorn ‘Chicken’ Pot Pie with Vegetables

Mmmmmm. Pie. Just as well I was already a dab hand at pie making before falling in love with a Wigan-er 😉 This pie works well with any sort of filling, and if you omit the quorn and use pulses or seitan or something instead for protein it is vegan. Result.

For 4 people you need
250g quorn chicken style chunks, or some other sort of protein for a vegan version
1 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 leeks, sliced
1/2 cup frozen sweetcorn
200ml veg stock
100ml soya milk
2 tsp cornflour slackened in a couple of tbsp of water
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
75ml white wine
1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
1 beaten egg or some soya milk to glaze

Gravy, mash and contrasting veggies to serve

Begin by frying the leek and carrot in the oil for 3-4 mins. Cover with the stock and cook out for a further 5 mins or so to ensure the carrot is tender in the finished pie.

Add the quorn/protein and sweetcorn, mustard and wine. Season to taste. Reduce the heat and add the soya milk. Stir through the cornflour mixture and stir over heat until the sauce is as thick as you want it to be (the longer you cook it for the thicker it will become).

Transfer into a pie dish and preferably leave to cool for an hour or so before topping with the pastry. It doesn’t matter if you can’t let it cool however.

Crimp the pastry and then brush with egg/milk and bake in a hot (200 degree) oven for 45 mins or so until piping hot and golden brown. Serve with veggies and mash and most importantly GRAVY! The fastest way to a pie eaters heart 🙂

Cheesy Carrot and Butterbean Burgers

I’m 21 days into my #vegpledge now and am really enjoying eating without meat. It’s made me go back and reassess the books on my shelf and rediscover forgotten recipes from my veggie past! This one was brilliant for hitting the “I NEED A BURGER NOWWWWWW!” spot when we only had 40 mins to cook tea and couldn’t go out to get any ingredients aside from burger buns cos it was 5pm on a Sunday… They took me 25 mins from start to finish and everyone loved them. Make double and freeze if you want to save even more time when the next burger craving hits!

For 4 burgers you need
For the burgers
1-2 carrots, coarsely grated
1 onion, grated
1 can drained butter beans
100g mature cheddar, grated
100g fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tsp dried mixed herbs

4 burger buns
Cucumber, red onion, tomato, mayo, mustard, ketchup etc to dress the burger
Chips and salad to serve
Oil for shallow frying

I use my food processor to make these and it makes them even speedier. Begin by using the blade to make the breadcrumbs, then place these in a large mixing bowl. Then puree the beans with the blade and add to the bowl. Switch to a grating disc and grate the carrot, onion and finally the cheese.

Mix everything you need for the burger together until combined and then shape into 4 patties. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook for 3-4 mins each side, flipping over once.

Load the burger into the dressed buns and scoff. Feel smug the craving has been sated sans dead animal.

Pasta with Cabbage and Chickpeas (v)

A really tasty and satisfying yet very quick supper dish, and one where the pasta doesn’t get cold even tho there’s no ‘wet’ sauce covering it. Everyone loved this, even the boy who porports to “hate cabbage”. I think the garlicky oil, flecked with spicy chilli heat, is what made him over come his cabbage consternation… This is another from River Cottage Veg Everyday.

For three portions you need
225g pasta, we used rigatoni 
1 can chickpeas, don’t bother to drain them
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 chilli, finely chopped
1 onion, finely sliced
5 tbsp olove oil
4-5 cavolo nero cabbage leaves, tough stems removed and finely shredded.
Cook the pasta. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion over a medium heat until lightly golden. Add the chilli and garlic and cook for a few mins longer.
3 mins before the pasta is done, lob in the chickpeas (juice an’ all) and the cabbage. Heat for 3 mins then drain. Toss into the onion pan and mix thoroughly. Serve in warmed bowls and add some cheese if you’re not vegan. Delicious.