A Simple & Delicious Salad Bowl: Roasted Vegetables & Grains [Vegan]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep: 15-20 mins (*Variable)
Cooking: 40-50mins
Assembly: ≤5 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Sieve, roasting tin, kitchen foil, non-stick pot w/lid, chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, colander, mixing bowl

Notes:

Here’s a quick and delicious Friday filler! We promise we have a lot more involved and tasty goodies lined up for you next week!

Salads, salad bowls, or even ones known as ‘Budda or Goddess Bowls’ are wonderful and you don’t have to be a veggie (or on a ‘diet’!) to enjoy them either! Maybe it’s because they have evolved beyond a few pieces of iceberg lettuce and some other token salad veggies; yes exactly, because you can adapt them into any delicious shape or form!

Enjoyed in any season, they can have style, great nutritional substance and a good degree of satiety! They’re an example of another meal that can easily be adjusted to suit your own diet, budget, cooking skills or time and/or taste preferences! We think that they are indeed super (but not a ‘superfood’!), but we’ve previously shared our thoughts on this matter. A salad, simple or not, is what you make of it. Although they might not always look sexy, substance should always win over beauty; with the right planning, they can be nutritionally complete (even without expensive foodie ingredients) and enjoyed every day, well only if you like (but we can never have too many greens)! 

This recipe is quite similar to one that we produced last year …

A Quick & Frugal Pasta Bowl

…but on this occasion we have excluded the pasta and kidney beans and used some hearty grains (pearl barley!) and a different variety of vegetables, including kale! After seeing that two of our local supermarkets were selling massive bags of shredded kale, it could only mean one thing- it’s still in season, but not for much longer! So we should all take advantage of this tasty vegetable. All hail the kale! 🙂

So feel free to ‘mass produce’ this salad, adapt its seasonality, flavour combinations, what’s left in your cupboards (you know those odd bits of mixed grains knocking about!) and/or to suit your purse strings! Really, feel free to adapt it as you see fit.

 

If you think this recipe could do with an upgrade, here are some additional adaptations (well don’t try them all at once!) that could also work quite well:

  • A few pan toasted cashews, almonds or pine nuts or natural pumpkin seeds.
  • Depending on your flavour combinations (or budget), some (pitted) kalamata olives would be ace!
  • Some cooked beans! We’d recommend: soya, black, butter or broad beans. 

 

Ingredients

++++++130-140g         Dried pearl barley (or your favourite grain!), cooked
++++++500-600g      Vegetables (butternut squash, red, green + yellow bell peppers)
++++++150-200g        Kale
++++++                         Rapeseed oil (or low-fat cooking oil spray)
++++++                         Salt and Ground black pepper
++++++2                       Spring Onions
++++++                         Fresh herbs (variable; we used flat leaf parsley)

 

Directions

1. Place the pearl parley into a large sieve. Rinse it under some running cold water. Transfer it into a non-stick pot. Fill the pot with cold water (about 3/4 full). Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Remove the lid and allow it to boil for 10 mins. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 25-30 mins or until tender. Drain it in the sieve. Allow to cool slightly.

2. In the meantime, heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. If required, line a roasting tin with some kitchen foil.

3. Prepare the vegetables. Peel the skin, trim the top and then remove the seeds from the squash with a sharp knife or spoon; chop it into ½-1″ cubes. Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell peppers into 1cm pieces. Transfer the vegetables into the roasting tin. Drizzle over a little rapeseed oil (or spray them with some low-fat cooking oil). Season it with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss to coat. Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Roast for about 35-40 mins or until the vegetables or lightly browned and tender; toss and stir halfway through cooking. Remove.

4. In the meantime. Wash the kale. If applicable slice (or shred) the kale into strips. Place the kale into a steamer pot with some water. Bring to a boil. Cook and simmer for 7-10 mins or until tender. Drain in a colander.

5. If applicable prepare your preferred dressing or dip. Wash, trim the ends and finely chop the spring onion. Wash, dry and then chop some herbs.

6. Place the cooked barley, roasted vegetables, kale, spring onion and herbs (if using) into a large mixing bowl. If applicable pour over your dressing or just season with a little salt, black pepper and fresh herbs to taste. Toss together and serve in a large serving bowl. Garnish with some toasted nuts, a dip or houmous (if using), or anything else that takes your fancy!

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 3-4 days. 

 

Delicious vegetables and hearty carbohydrates- the frameworks to any great salad! 😀

 

How do you like to enjoy your salads? 🙂

Easy Pizza Crust [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 4
Prep: 15 mins
Proving: 45 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 75mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Large measuring jug, clean tea towel, mixing bowl, silicone spatula, rolling pin, baking tray, parchment paper, sharp knife

Notes

It’s been ages since we had any sort of pizza and there really wasn’t a better time than the present! Cold weather always make you crave denser foods… well that and the fact that we saw an increased volume of pizza recipes on WP; besides making us very hungry at the time, it also made us want to revisit our previous pizza recipe

Pizza dough can be quite personal. From the flour, to the thickness, to the toppings and even the overall taste… but we think that the one common attribute they should all share is to have an easy preparation!

Our newest dough is exactly that. The recipe, although it may take a little longer to whip up (well, longer to proof), the dough itself is easy to use, versatile and tasty! After proofing it’s quite soft and adaptable; after baking it’s slightly flexible with a nice and light crunch. Whilst we’re not professional bakers (or dough experts!), this one gets two thumbs up from us. 🙂

If you have the time you could probably bake more than one base and then freeze them; creating an impromptu (and healthy) D.I.Y pizza when you are short on time, are looking for  a fun, family cooking activity (because who doesn’t like decorating a pizza?!) and/or lack the desire to cook a healthy meal!

A few other good things to note include:

  • Although we have used varied ingredients to help flavour the dough, the taste is still quite neutral. We haven’t added that much salt or anything else that was too overpowering, because ours toppings were going to make up the difference (a rich pesto, salty olives and plenty of delicious/raw veggies)! You can obviously adapt it to suit your tastes and/or the toppings you plan on using. 
  • Yes we used plenty of raw-ish toppings. It’s perfect for when you avoiding ‘cheeze’  or those that LOVE to decorate their food (I do!). 😀
  • We recommend using an unsweetened soya, maybe hemp or coconut milk (if you don’t mind a faint coconut flavour).
  • Don’t omit the sugar! The yeast needs it grow. We’ve never tried activating the yeast with a sweetener, so we are not recommending it.
  • Our dough was fairly thin and our cooking time reflects this. If you are making a thicker dough, a smaller pizza and/or cooking it with toppings, you’ll need to adjust your times accordingly.

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

+++++++++250ml       Soya Milk (unsweetened & fortified)
+++++++++1 tsp          Unrefined Caster Sugar
+++++++++2 tsp         Quick Rise Yeast (7g)
+++++++++250g         Gluten Free Flour (self-rising)
+++++++++½ tsp        Xanthan Gum (1g)
+++++++++6g             Dried Italian Mixed Herbs
+++++++++6g             Nutritional Yeast Flakes (if possible, B12 fortified)
+++++++++½ tsp        Salt
+++++++++15g            Odourless Coconut Oil

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Pour 250ml soya milk into a large and microwavable measuring jug. Heat until warm (make sure it’s not boiling or too tepid). Tip: Alternatively, place the milk into a small, non-stick pot and warm over a medium heat.

2 . Add 1 tsp sugar into the measuring jug. Whisk to combine. Add 2 tsp yeast. Gently whisk to combine (or just leave sprinkled over the surface of the milk). Wet a tea towel with fairly warm water. Place it over the top of the jug. Leave the mixture to ferment for 10-15 mins (preferably in a warm place).

3. In the meantime, place 250g GF flour into a large mixing bowl. Add ½ tsp xanthan gum, 6g dried Italian herbs, 6g nutritional yeast and ½ tsp salt. Stir to thoroughly combine. Leave for the moment.

4. If necessary, gently melt your 15g coconut oil (it needs to be in a liquid state).

5. Remove the tea towel from the measuring jug. Tip: You should experience a fairly ‘yeasty’ aroma and see a lot of ‘froth’ and bubbles by this point! Make a ‘well’ (just a hole) in the centre of the flour mixture. Pour in the oil and the yeast/milk mixture. Gently stir with a large spoon or silicone spatula until thoroughly combined. Knead the dough for 4-5 mins. Tip: If the dough is a little tacky, just lightly flour your hands! Wet the tea towel again with some warm water and completely cover the top of the mixing bowl. Place the bowl somewhere warm for 45 mins and allow the dough to rise.  NB: Ours didn’t rise too much because our house wasn’t warm enough!

6. In the meantime, prepare any topping(s) you plan on using. We whipped up some of our basil and walnut pesto, fresh bell peppers, courgette, red onion, olives, baby plum tomatoes, avocado, salad cress and got some additional nooch to hand!

7. When the dough is almost done ‘proofing’, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper (allowing it to slightly overlap the edges). Tip: By having an over-sized piece of parchment paper, you can easy lift and transfer the whole pizza onto a chopping board, cut and then serve!

8. Lightly flour a clean work surface (not too much or the dough might become too dry). Place the dough onto the work surface. Flatten it with the palm of your hand. Using a rolling pin (or a long and circular bottle), roll it out large enough to fit your pan. Tip: Our baking tray was 13×10″ and we wouldn’t recommend rolling it any larger/thinner than that! Carefully roll the dough onto the rolling pin and transfer it onto the baking tray. Unroll and shape the dough to fit your tray.

9. We opted for a ‘rawish’ pizza (meaning we baked the crust first and then topped it afterwards)! As this was the case, our dough only took 15 mins to bake (in a fan-assisted oven/middle shelf) until it was lightly tanned and slightly crispy around the edges. If you are baking it with toppings, it might take a bit longer.

10. Lift and transfer the pizza onto a chopping board; slice from the centre outwards and serve!

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftover pizza in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 3 days. Alternatively, wrap, store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 1 month. 

 

 

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Basil & Walnut Pesto [Vegan]

Healthy Recipes

Yields: about 160ml
Serves: 8
Prep & Assembly: ≤10 mins
Type: Sauce, Dip, Spread
Tools: Colander, chopping board, sharp knife, grater, manual juicer (*optional) food processor, silicone spatula, resealable container

Notes

Pesto is another simple, go-to sauce that everyone can make at home! Don’t be put off by foodie’s dos and don’ts; it can suit ANY budget and/or palate. In fact we’d be very surprised if everyone loved our combination of pesto flavours! Nonetheless, whether you like it extra ‘cheezy’ or zesty, made with fresh basil or rocket, strictly plant-based or not, the choice is yours and the end result will be the same; a delicious and quick sauce that is always bursting with flavour and colour! Quite honestly, the colour is probably half the allure (at least for us)! 

Anything with a shade of green that vibrant surely has to be healthy, right? 

Yes and no. As we’ve previously mentioned, it can be healthful; containing nutrients including: protein, fibre, vitamins C & E, calcium, iron and a good source ‘good fats’ (mono and polyunsaturated!). However, by nature pesto recipes are also high in calories (particularly fat) and/or salt; especially if you make it using a higher ratio of cheese. So it’s not something we have very often, or in any great quantity, but that only makes it all the more special when we do decide to whip some up! 🙂

We have explored using different nuts and/or herbs or flavours; traditional pesto uses pine nuts, but generally almonds, walnuts and/or sunflower seeds suit our budget. If you have never tried it with nutritional yeast, we highly recommend it; it has as a lovely nutty and ‘cheezy’ element that help give your plant-based pesto a more true and authentic taste. We’re not food snobs, but we can offer one piece of advice to make sure that you have a great pesto experience- use fresh ingredients! Stale nuts and ten day old store-bought basil will not do, but those who love pesto are probably already aware of this! 

If you’re a pesto fiend, you might remember some of our other pesto’s we have tried: olive-based, zesty spinach and some adapted avocado and asparagus-based versions too!

Whatever flavour you chose, the process is always easy (well, mosty!)…

Especially if you utilise a quick and modern method like we have; food processors can save you a lot of time! If you do not have one, you can always apply oodles of cooking enthusiasm and try grinding up a batch in a pestle and mortar, or place all of the ingredients into an appropriate dish/cup and blend it with a stick blender instead. If you do plan on using a pestle and mortar, the oil should probably be the last ingredient that you add (otherwise things might get a bit messy)! 

We hope you that enjoy this batch as much as the others. We think it’s the perfect accompaniment to: a delicious pasta dish, as a tasty sandwich spread, thinly spread over a pizza base or dolloped on top of your pizza, drizzled over some steamed new potatoes or asparagus, or as tasty summer dip (but enjoy it mindfully of course!). 

Have a great weekend and happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Oh, if anyone has a minute to spare… it would be greatly appreciated if you could please check out this link! It’s a petition for a BBC ethical cooking show! It would the first of its kind; the idea is actually pretty exciting. It would be nice to tune into a Saturday cooking show that wasn’t about braising beef and sautéing vegetables in a half a block of butter… but one (as the campaign director Bridget Irving states) “that reflects the diversity of the UK” – where it can cater to the ever growing number of f/t vegans and over a million dedicated vegetarians! Hopefully it will gain enough signatures and interest and come to fruition. 

Ingredients

++++++++½                  Lemon (1 tsp zest & 15-30ml lemon juice)
++++++++2                   Garlic Clove (fat ones!)
++++++++80g              Fresh Basil
++++++++60ml            Extra Virgin Olive Oil
++++++++30g              Walnut pieces
++++++++¼ tsp            Asafoetida
++++++++                     Pinch of Salt & Ground Black pepper
++++++++2-2½ tbsp   Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Wash the lemon, grate 1 tsp of zest (or more if preferred) and then juice half of it. Tip: Store the other half of the lemon in your fridge; add a wedge of it into your morning tea, or squeeze some juice over a fresh salad or pasta dish! Peel the garlic. Wash the basil; remove the leaves from its stems.

2. Place the lemon zest and 1 tbsp of juice into a food processor. With the food processor running, drop the garlic down the pouring spout. Blend until it’s blitzed.

3. Add 4 tbsp oil, 30g walnuts and ¼ tsp asafoetida. Season the mixture with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste. Blend until the nuts are smoothish and creamy. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture off the sides and the lid, back down into the base. Add 2-2½ tbsp nutritional yeast (depending on your preference). Mix until combined. Tip: The mixture will still not be completely smooth, but this is OK.

4. Add the basil. Blend until completely processed. Taste and season as necessary; add more lemon juice, yeast, salt and/or seasonings if preferred. Tip: If you would like a slightly thinner consistency, add a little water (1 tbsp of water at a time) until your desired consistency is achieved.

Enjoy!

Tip: Refrigerate any leftover pesto in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 3-4 days. Alternatively freeze in a container or ration and then freeze it in smaller portions; use several (small) resealable containers, baggies or an ice cube tray for easy pesto and cooking convenience!


 

Crispy Baked Orange & Sesame Tofu [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2-4
Prep: 35-45-mins (*Dependent upon how long you press your tofu for.)
Marination: 5hrs- Overnight
Cooking: 30-35 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping boards, cheese grater, sharp knife, manual juicer, large measuring jug, kitchen paper, mixing bowl, baking sheet, parchment paper (or silicone mat)

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar, salt and saturated fats!

For those that have been following along, you’ll know that we have been experimenting with a lot with tofu flavours recently! BBQ, oriental, Asian, a pre-marinated seaweed flavour and now one with a delicious orange and sesame twist! Do you love it as much as we do? What’s your favourite flavour(s)?! 🙂

Tofu is so versatile, but as we have previously mentioned, it needs time to marinate in order to develop some truly mind-blowing flavours! Our newest flavour has a delicious oriental-flare which is packed full of fantastic flavours and has a great crispy coating! It would be a great addition to: salads, wraps, savoury grain and vegetable dishes or (as we have shown below) as part of a tasty stir-fry!

The only amendments we’ve made are to add a drop of agave (to balance out the sweet, sour and saltiness of the marinade) and to increase the amount of orange juice used. We added about three tablespoons, but would recommend doubling this amount to ensure a stronger depth of ‘orange flavour’ develops. 

So here’s to a great weekend (despite the rain!) and happy cooking everyone! 😀

 

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++400g         Firm Tofu (=1 tetra pak)
+++++++++++1                 Large Orange
+++++++++++2 tbsp       Olive Oil
+++++++++++2½ tsp       Soya Sauce (low-salt/ or use Tamari if GF is Required)
+++++++++++1 tbsp        Rice Vinegar
+++++++++++40g            Tahini
+++++++++++1 tsp           Agave Syrup
+++++++++++½ tsp         Ground Coriander (1.5g)
+++++++++++                   Asafoetida
+++++++++++                   Ground Black Pepper

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Drain and press the tofu between two heavy plates or chopping boards for 20-30 mins to express any excess water.

 

In the meantime, prepare the marinade!

NB: Our ramekin shows about 5-6 tbsp of OJ!

  • Wash, grate some zest and then juice the orange.
  • Place 2 tbsp oil, 2 ½ tsp soya (or tamari) sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp tahini, 1 tsp agave, ½ tsp ground coriander and a pinch of asafoetida into a large measuring jug. Season it with a few grinds of black pepper.
  • Whisk together with a fork until combined.
  • Add 1½-2 tsp of orange zest and all of the juice. Whisk together. Taste and season it as necessary.

 

 

  • Drain the excess water and pat the tofu dry with some kitchen paper. Place it onto a chopping board (if preferred) and slice it into 1″ pieces (or any size that you desire)!
  • Place the tofu into a large bowl. Pour over the marinade. Gently toss and stir to coat the tofu.
  • Cover the bowl with some kitchen film. Place it into the fridge to marinate; ideally over night or as long as possible (or 4-5 hrs minimum to achieve the best flavours!).

 

 

  • When you are ready to bake your tofu, heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or some parchment paper.
  • Place the tofu onto the tray in a single layer. Pour and brush over any leftover marinade.

 

 

Place the tray onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 30-35 mins, or until lightly browned and crispy around the edges. Tip: For even crispiness, turn the tofu once during baking!

Ours took 33 mins in a fan-assisted oven.

 

 

Serve the tofu with your favourite stir-fry veggies or as part of a great vegetable and rice dish!

We prepared some fresh veggies: Brussels sprouts, red bell pepper and root ginger to accompany a bag of Tesco’s Healthy Living (HL) Oriental Wholefood w/ Cashew Nuts!

As we had a £3 voucher (courtesy of The Orchard at Tesco) for their HL Beautifully Balanced range, it was definitely worth a try; how can you pass up on free vegetables?!  We were able to purchase two different plant-based bags for the price of one…one being this tasty stir-fry mix!

 

We think that this HL product is OK and we would probably buy it again, but our first choice would to always be to use fresh veggies (well, when possible), especially in our stir-fry’s! Has anyone else trialled their frozen HL bags? Here’s a breakdown of what we thought:

Pros: Tasty with great textures and colours; containing a five vegetable medley, cooked steel-cut oats and bulgur wheat, cashew nuts, a variety of spices, and was very well-seasoned and easy to prepare (we cooked the whole bag in about 6-7 mins)! You could probably even use this as a tasty sandwich filler, perhaps in a wrap?!

Cons: As all frozen veggies go, they release a lot of water, shrinking as the cook… so they will not look as vibrant or have a great ‘crunch factor’ as fresh varieties, but that’s to be expected!

Also, half the bag contains 250kcal (or one portion contains about 150kcal), so you’ll need to prepare something to accompany this with; luckily this bag contains such a great variety of versatile veggies and flavours, it’s quiet complementary…

…especially with our Crispy Baked Orange & Sesame Tofu!

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftover tofu in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze your leftovers on the day of cooking; defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.

Disclaimer: We have not been paid to promote this Tesco product and all thoughts and opinions are our own.
**Recipe updated: 19/02/16