Coconut Vegetable Dhal Soup (v)

We eat a lot of soup. It’s tasty, nourishing and you can hide all sorts in it. This used up some leftover sweet potatoes and some sad celery as well as delivering a nutritional hit from the red lentils. Freeze some if you have leftovers. It’s a warm and comforting hug in a bowl.

Coconut Vegetable Dhal Soup

For six portions you need:

  • 1 swede, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, washed and sliced
  • 3 sticks celery, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1-1.5 litres vegetable stock (more or less depending on how thick you want the soup)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp medium curry powder
  • Toasted mixed seeds
  • Fresh coriander
  1. Begin by sautΓ©ing the vegetables in the oil for 5-10 mins.
  2. Add the lentils and curry powder and mix well.
  3. Add the coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook gently for 20 mins.
  4. Blitz the soup with a stick blender, season to taste and serve garnished with the seeds and coriander.

Chocolate Peanut Smoothie (v)

Chocolate banana smoothie

In these uncertain and unsettling times I’m struggling to eat. I’m also hyper aware that I don’t want to waste any food at all. This smoothie delivers a healthy boost of fruit; is easy to drink if you’ve no appetite and uses up some bananas that are too ripe for me to enjoy as they are. You can use whatever ingredients you have to hand. These were in my freezer/cupboard.

For one portion you need

  • 1 ripe banana
  • Handful of frozen black cherries
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • ~200ml soya milk or whatever milk you have to hand.
  1. Put everything into a blender goblet. Blitz till smooth, adding more liquid if you need to. Enjoy.

If you have lots of ripe bananas, peel them and freeze them. If you use frozen banana you will need to add more liquid as it will thicken a lot.

Bangers and Mash with Red Wine Onion Gravy (v)

When it’s your birthday in our house, you can choose what’s for tea. This year I chose bangers and mash as it’s been a grey January so far and I wanted comfort food. But to make it that little bit extra special I made the gravy from scratch. It only takes 20 mins and the results are soooooooo worth it.

For three people you need

  • Vegan sausages (we used Shroomdogs and Linda McCartney sausages)
  • Potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Vegan spread – 2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetables of your choice
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (I used my mandolin for consistency)
  • 200ml red wine
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp each of soya sauce and mushroom ketchup
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp sugar
  1. Put the potatoes on to boil. Cook for 17 mins once boiling until tender. Drain and add 1 tbsp spread then mash thoroughly until smooth and creamy. Season to taste.
  2. Heat a large frying pan and add the other 1 tbsp spread. Add the onion and sugar and cook for 10 mins until lightly golden.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour and cook out for 2-3 mins. Add the stock, wine, soya sauce and mushroom ketchup and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to thicken. Stir every now and then to prevent lumps.
  4. Cook the sausages – I use my air fryer where they take about 16 mins.
  5. Steam the veg and then serve up and enjoy.

Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding with Mixed Berries (v)

I’m late to the chia seed party. I tried it once in a supermarket ready made version and it was VILE. But this, made with chocolate oatly, is delicious. Once you get the balance of seeds to liquid right, the possibilities are endless.

For one pudding you need

  • 15g chia seeds
  • 100ml chocolate Oatly
  • Handful each of blueberries, raspberries and chopped strawberries
  • Ground cinnamon and cardamom
  1. Place the seeds and milk in a glass. Mix. Leave for 20 mins then mix again. Leave for a couple of hours, or overnight if you have time. The seeds will swell and the pudding will set.
  2. Top with fresh berries and a dusting of cinnamon and cardamom before you serve.

Steamed Buns with Pickled Veg and Tofu (v)

We had steamed buns last week at the Man Behind the Curtain and I’ve been meaning to try a similar recipe for ages. Tonight was the night it appears! The bun recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals. I was dubious they would work but they did. They turned out like giant steamed dumplings and soaked up the soya sauce deliciously πŸ‘ŒπŸ»

For three people you need

Buns

  • 250g self raising flour
  • 200ml coconut milk

Tofu and Vegetables

  • 1 pack tofu, pressed for at least 30 mins and then cut into strips
  • Vegetables of your choice to steam, we had sprouts and cauliflower

Pickled Vegetables

  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3″ cucumber, de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Black sesame seeds
  1. Mix the sauce ingredients for the pickled veg in a bowl.
  2. Toss the cucumber, carrots and onions in and leave to pickle for 15 mins or so. Sprinkle over 1 tbsp black sesame seeds.

  1. Air fry the tofu for 12 mins until golden and crispy.
  2. Make the buns by mixing the coconut milk and flour together, kneading into a dough. Cut into six equal sized pieces and place each into a muffin case.

  1. Steam the buns for 5 mins, then add the veg to the steamer (in a separate tray) and steam for a further 5 mins.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

Chocolate Porridge with Banana and seeds (v)

Winter mornings call for internal central heating. The teen has been eating porridge for breakfast for months now and I thought I’d join him this morning.

For two steaming bowls you need

  • 3/4 cup porridge oats
  • 1 & 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • Toasted mixed seeds
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • A drizzle of agave nectar
  1. Place the oats, milk and cacao in a pan and leave to steep for 20 mins or so. Then heat gently until boiling and cook out for 2-3 mins. Serve topped with the banana and seeds and drizzled with the syrup. Feel warm from the inside as you glimpse a glorious winter sunrise on your way to work πŸ˜β˜€οΈβ„οΈ

Green Lentil Soup with Cumin and Coriander (v)

My son said this tasted “healthy” πŸ˜‚ he was right. It tasted like the inside of a 1980s health food shop would smell but in a warming and pleasant way.

For six portions you need

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 leek, washed and cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 sticks celery, ditto
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp each ground coriander and cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. Saute the leek and celery in the oil for 5 mins.
  2. Add the spices and lentils. Stir to coat then add the stock.
  3. Bring to the boil and cook for 20-30 mins until the lentils are tender.
  4. Blitz until smooth with a stick blender, season to taste and add the parsley. Enjoy with a side of alfalfa and a sprinkle of nostalgia πŸ˜‰

Chickpea, sweet potato and carrot tagine (v)

I needed a quick tea for tonight, and one which made use of the few veggies in the house. Vegetable tagines are quick affairs if you use tinned pulses. This one combines fresh ginger with deeper flavours of cumin and paprika for a flavourful but speedy supper.

For four portions you need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 sweet potato peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 carrots, likewise peeled and chopped
  • 1 leek, cut into 2cms slices
  • About 250ml veg stock
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin, paprika and tumeric
  • 1″ piece of ginger, grated
  • Fresh coriander, chopped
  • Cooked brown rice and quinoa to serve
  1. Add the oil to a large pan and saute the veggies, covered with a lid, for about 10 mins, stirring often.
  2. Add the spices and ginger and cook out for 2-3 mins.
  3. Add everything else apart from the coriander and cook, covered, for 10 mins until the veggies are tender.
  4. Serve with brown rice/quinoa and garnish with the coriander.

Thai Yellow Curry (v)

Quick. Easy. Delicious. Perfect after work fare on a cold and dark evening. Either find a vegan paste or make your own from ginger, garlic, chillies, lemongrass and tumeric blitzed together with an onion.

For a generous four portions you need:

  • 250g tofu, pressed over night. We prefer Cauldron. Cut into bite sized pieces.
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp curry paste or make your own (see above)
  • Whatever veg you fancy. We used 1 leek, 1/4 cauliflower, 1/3 head broccoli, 2 carrots
  • 1 tbsp oil
  1. Begin by sauteing the tofu in the oil in a hot pan.
  2. Add the paste and cook with 2 tbsp coconut milk for 2-3 mins.
  3. Add the veggies and remaining coconut milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins until the veggies are cooked.
  4. Serve with rice and soya sauce to season.

Lentil Roast (v)

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I love a good veggie roast. You can keep your soggy filo pastry wrapped monstrosities. Give me a nut or a lentil roast any day of the week, but especially so on a Sunday.

I’m in festive planning mode at the moment and have tweaked this recipe to deliver a tasty and satisfying addition to our planned festive platefuls on the big day. It’s also nice cold in sandwiches with cranberry sauce, leftover stuffing and chestnuts.

For 6-8 portions you need

  • 225g split red lentils
  • 425ml veg stock
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • garlic pepper
  • 1 tsp dried garlic granules
  • 2 slices brown bread processed into breadcrumbs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  1. Place everything apart from the lemon juice and breadcrumbs into a pan. A non stick one is best to prevent the lentils from sticking but it’s not essential.
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15-20 mins until the lentils have broken down and gone lovely and soft.
  3. Add the lemon juice and breadcrumbs and mix well. Leave to cool slightly.
  4. Scrape out into a lined 1lb loaf tin and smooth the surface. Bake in a hot (180 degree) oven for 20-25 mins until lightly golden on top. Serve at once with all the usual trimmings.