Meatless Monday: Baked Tofu Meatballs [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Yields: 24 ‘Meatballs’
Serves: 8
Prep: 35 mins
Cooking Time: 30-35 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board(s), small dish, fork, sharp knife, food processor, mixing bowl, silicone spatula, baking tray, silicone mat (or parchment paper)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, omega 3, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar, salt* and sat fats*. (*Variable due to the brand of vegan cheese, puree and/or bread used.)

Yes, it’s more ‘meatballs’; but to be fair this is our third type of plant-based ‘meatball’! We actually made this variety last November- which is what got our cognitive gears in motion for our designing our baked tofu loaf. We love ‘meatballs’ and think they’re great for cosy family dinners, picnics or as a healthy snack!

These lovely ‘meatballs’ have about a half hour prep involved due to the nature of its main ingredient (sorry folks!). Tofu needs to pressed and its water expressed before it’s used. You might have a tofu gadget that will shorten this process by ten minutes, but it needs to be done. However, it’s worth the effort. We think they’re satisfying all round; moist, meaty and flavourful, with plenty of room for adapting them to your own personal spec. 

Some other good things to note include:

  • Yes they have vegan cream cheese (which isn’t something we would have a regular basis due to its saturated fat and salt content), but it works here. Paired with a healthy pasta sauce and pasta, this can be a balanced meal. Also, it might be interesting to try them with a DF garlic and herb cream cheese instead.
  • These meatballs are not dry and like a lot of freefrom ‘meatballs’, chunkier ingredients can stop them from sticking together properly. So if you are looking for a dish with more texture, serve them with a chunky tomato-based pasta sauce instead!
  • Perhaps with a little more bread or alternative grain, they can be adapted into small burgers.
  • Feel free to use fresh herbs (if you have them) as they always make a difference in the overall flavour of things! 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

 

Ingredients

++++++++++800g          Firm Tofu (=2 tetra paks )
++++++++++32g             Ground Flaxseed (about 4 tbsp)
++++++++++9 tbsp         DF Milk (or water)
++++++++++100g           Bread (GF if required)
++++++++++6g               Garlic clove (one fat one)
++++++++++130g            Spring onion (about 5)
++++++++++100g           Red bell pepper
++++++++++75g              Plain vegan cream cheese alternative
++++++++++4g                Dried Thyme
++++++++++6-8g           Dried Oregano
++++++++++¾-1 tsp       Salt
++++++++++                    Ground black pepper
++++++++++20g             Sun-dried tomato puree
++++++++++20g             Rice flour (or Plain GF Flour)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Drain and press the tofu between two heavy (or weighted) chopping boards or plates for 30 mins.

2. In the meantime, prepare some ‘flax eggs’! Place 32g ground flaxseed into a small dish with 9 tbsp DF milk or water. Whisk with a fork to combine. Leave it to set.

3. Heat the bread in a toaster or under a medium-low grill until lightly brown and crispy. Place the toasted bread into a food processor. Process the toast until breadcrumbs are achieved. Tip: Alternatively you can make some breadcrumbs by placing the toasted bread into a sealed kitchen bag; crush and press it into crumbs with a rolling pin or a heavy tin. Transfer into a large mixing bowl.

4. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or a sheet of parchment paper.

5. Prepare the vegetables. Peel the garlic. Wash, trim the tops and then roughly chop the spring onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then roughly chop the bell pepper. Whilst the food processor is running, drop the garlic down the pouring spout. Process until minced. Add the onion and bell pepper. Process until finely chopped. Tip: If you don’t have a food processor, just get out your ‘chefy-ist’ knife and show the vegetables who’s boss! Peel and mince the garlic and then finely chop and dice the spring onion and bell pepper (the smaller the pieces the better!). Transfer into the mixing bowl.

6. Drain the tofu. Pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Break it into smaller pieces and transfer them into the food processor. Process until it’s smooth-ish and completely broken down. Transfer into the mixing bowl. NB: Alternatively mash it in a large bowl with a fork or potato masher!

7. Add 75g vegan cream cheese, 4g dried thyme and 6-8g dried oregano, ¾ tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper into the mixing bowl. Mix and thoroughly combine the ingredients. Taste and season it as necessary. Add the ‘flax eggs’, 20g sun-dried tomato puree and 10g of flour. Mix and thoroughly combine (we used a silicone spatula for this).

8. Shape the mixture into ‘golf ball-sized meatballs’. Tip: If the mixture is a little tacky, use the remaining flour to lightly dust your hands first. Place the ‘meatballs’ onto the baking tray. Repeat until all the mixture has been used (we made twenty-four!). If desired, spray the ‘meatballs’ with a little low-fat cooking oil.

9. Place the tray onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 30-35 mins; turning once halfway through. Tip: They will be slightly firm to the touch and lightly golden at the end of baking!

10. Serve on top of with your favourite pasta and sauce! We served ours on a bed of courgette and carrot ribbons, gluten free spaghetti and our homemade marinara!

Enjoy!

TipRefrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

 

 

Food Conversions & Cooking Times: Grains, Legumes & Pulses

Handy Kitchen Cooking Tips & Info

We’ve always encouraged everyone to cook their own grains, legumes and pulses when and where they can. Firstly, because freshly cooked food always tastes great, secondly because (hopefully) you will save some money over time and thirdly, because it’s basic and easy cooking skills that everyone can and should develop.

Avid home cooks will develop their own tried and true methods of how to cook the perfect rice and other grains (us included), but it takes practice. Don’t let this discourage you because remember, everyone had the same starting point; typically quick advice from some family and friends!

You can use the cooking instructions from packets, but even those are variable and sometimes undesirable. However, until we can develop our own cooking styles and things become second nature, it’s best to have some sort of guide.

Many years ago (after thoroughly soaking some chickpeas) we tried cooking them for the first time. Thirty-five minutes later and those things were still rock hard! We thought “what the heck is going on?!” Little did we know at the time that these legumes actually needed well over an hour to cook! We just assumed that since most beans take about 45-60mins that these would too. Cooking 101: if you are new to cooking (or a new food item), always double check the basics before getting started and don’t assume anything. It’s better to get the basics down and then you can wing it… particularly if you don’t want to waste money or are trying to make the most of your time; standing next to a pot for 1-2 hrs can be a big ‘ask’!

Last year we mentioned of how to cook chickpeas in a slow cooker; now it’s our preferred method to cook our legumes! What a time saver. Like us, not everyone uses traditional methods to cook their beans (legumes or grains); for some, the use of a pressure cooker will significantly reduce their cooking times. However, not everyone uses (or has) kitchen gadgets, so it’s always great to know how to go back to basics; which is exactly why we have created this table. It includes a variety of grains, legumes and pulses (although not exhaustive) with a comparison of dried verses cooked weights and approx. cooking times; this is particularly helpful if you come across a new food item with no idea of how to cook it (as mentioned above)!

 

Tips & Info
  • Our table tries to look at the average cooking weights by standard cooking preparation (on your stove top!); some of them are averages and some of them are estimates. However, as you can appreciate, cooking beans etc. is not a perfect system. Cooked weights of grains, legumes and pulses can vary due to a number of reasons including:

-over soaking.
-soaking beans in too little water.
-over cooking pasta or cooking it to an al dente texture.
-cooking grains in too much water.

  • When we cook our own dried pulses and legumes, we always weigh them afterwards and give an approx. equivalent for using a tinned variety.
  • Cooking times shown here are not indicative of quantities used.
  • This table does not include complete cooking instructions, e.g. if the cooking time includes steaming off the heat, tempering grains in oil, under cooking (if you’re entering your pasta straight into a sauce) and/or rinsing the grains/beans/pulses before or after cooking etc.
  • Overnight soaking typical means a time span of 8-12 hours.

Hopefully this table will give everyone (who needs it) a rough idea and a head start of how to cook grains, legumes and pulses; with any luck it will also help to organise your meal planning and prep… so you’ll have more fresh and deliciously cooked meals as a result!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

 

Sources:
-McCance and Widdowson’s ‘The Composition of Foods’. 5th Edition B Holland, A A Welch, I D Unwin, D H Buss, A A Paul and D A T Southgate. The Royal Society of Chemistry, 1991
-Feature Image: Play with your food By: Sacha Pop-Farrell_Flickr

Vegetable Miso Soup W/Fusilli [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8
Prep & Cooking Time: ≤ 35 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Measuring jug, 2 *non-stick pots, chopping board, sharp knife, colander, measuring spoons, wooden spoon.

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and per serving is low in added sugar*, salt* and sat fats! *Variable due to brand and/or quantity of soya sauce, stock and/or miso used.

Firstly, I am going to vent (sorry). This has nothing to do with this post or food, but I just wish that WordPress would stop changing their formatting! Don’t be surprised if some of our older posts start looking ‘shabby’ because of it. 

Secondly, it’s been so cold lately that this has meant there has always been a pot of soup cooking away in our kitchen! Not that we’re complaining, we love soup we’re just not too keen on cold weather; me especially as I suffer from Primary Raynaud’s Phenomenon. It’s not physically deliberating, you can self manage and you’ll find that slightly more women suffer from it than men, it’s just not very nice. 

Anyways, back to the food! We love authentic miso soups, but we do not enjoy their excessive salt contents. However, it’s not all or nothing in our kitchen, we’ve come up with a suitable alternative (at least for our palates!). That being a delicious and savoury soup that we made a couple weeks ago- our vegetable miso soup with fusilli. It’s packed full of inspired Asian flavours, nutritious ingredients and some pasta to help keep you going throughout the day ! It’s also completely adaptable to the season, your own personal tastes and/or budget and definitely one not to miss! We only hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!

A few good things to note include:

  • We tried to keep most of our ingredients bite-sized, but feel free to adapt as you see fit. 
  • Only add your pasta before serving, especially if you are planning to eat this soup over several days (the pasta will lose some of its lovely texture if it’s left soaking in the soup). We refrigerated ours separately to the soup; just add a drop of rapeseed oil to the pasta before storing to help prevent it from clumping together. 
  • Only add the miso to the soup once it has been removed from the heat; adding it to boiling hot water will kill its beneficial probiotics. Traditionally, you can dissolve it in some warm water (creating a miso ‘slurry’) before adding it into the soup to prevent it from clumping. We skipped this step; ours was at room temperature and it didn’t ‘clump up’ when it was whisked through.
  • Rewhisk/stir your soup before serving as miso has a habit of settling to the bottom of the pot. 

 

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • Miso is a naturally aged fermented paste that is made from fermented soya beans, cultures, salt and grains, e.g. giving rise to various types of miso paste. Quite commonly it’s a staple food item used in East Asian cuisine, giving dishes a great depth of flavours! Savoury, salty, sweet and umami comes to mind! 
  • Soya beans (also known as edamame beans) are a legume native to East Asia but are now commonly seem/grown throughout others parts of the globe. They are highly nutritious and healthful; a great source of protein, insoluble fibre, iron, potassium, polyunsaturated fats, phytoesterols, isoflavones (just to name a few) and various other vitamins and minerals! They also give rise to many other soya products (such as milk, miso, tofu, tempeh, flour and oil) and can be a great alternative to meat! 

There are many potential health benefits from soya foods. For instance, they have been shown to actively lower cholesterol levels and therefore reduce your risk for heart disease (*when consuming 25g of soya protein/D as part of a healthy diet), e.g. two glasses (500ml) of soya milk, a 250ml glass of soya milk and 75g of silken hard tofu or 85g of soya (edamame) beans would be plenty.

Have a great weekend and happy cooking everyone! 

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++2                Garlic Clove (fat ones!)
+++++++++++100g          Spring Onion
+++++++++++100g          Root Ginger
+++++++++++400g         Carrot
+++++++++++420g          Bell Pepper (red & yellow)
+++++++++++2.5L            Water
+++++++++++400g         GF fusilli
+++++++++++                   Vegetable Stock Powder (low-salt/DF/GF)
+++++++++++300g          Frozen Soya Beans
+++++++++++200g          Bok Choi
+++++++++++10g             Fresh Coriander
+++++++++++2-3 tbsp    Soya Sauce (low-salt/ or Tamari Sauce for a GF alternative)
+++++++++++50-60g      White Miso Paste (about 3 tbsp)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Fill a large, non-stick pot with 2.5L cold water. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil.

2. Fill another pot with cold water. Bring to the boil. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.

3. In the meantime, peel and dice the garlic. Wash, trim the ends and then roughly slice the spring onion. Wash, peel and then chop the ginger into small cubes. Wash, peel, trim the ends and then chop the carrot into small, bite-sized pieces. Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell pepper into ½ cm pieces.

4. Once the water is boiling, add some vegetable stock (we kept ours to a minimum). Stir until dissolved. Add the garlic, spring onion, ginger, carrot, bell pepper and soya beans. Stir to combine. Cover with a lid, bring back to the boil. Cook and simmer for 6-7 mins or until the beans and vegetables are tender.

5. In the meantime, Remove the bok choi leaves from its stalk, wash and then roughly slice (as small or as large as preferred). Wash the coriander, remove its leaves from its stem and then roughly chop them.

6. Remove the pot of soup from the heat. Add 2-3 tbsp of soya sauce and 50-60g miso paste. Stir to dissolve.  Add the bok choi and coriander. Stir through. Taste and season the soup as necessary. Cover with a lid and allow the soup to sit for 10mins.

7. Add the cooked pasta just before serving. Stir through.

8. Give the soup a good stir before serving. Ladle the soup into a serving bowl. Garnish with coriander and sesame seeds.

Enjoy!

 

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; gently reheat in a pot over a medium-low heat and consume within 4 days.

 

Sources:
BDA- Soya food and health
USDA

Rainbow Stir-Fry w/ Tofu ‘Sea Cakes’ [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking Time: 30-35 mins
Type: Main meal
Tools, Chopping board, sharp knife, pot, non-stick wok, frying spatula, plate & cover, mixing bowl

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and (per serving) is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats.

One core tip to eating healthily: eat ALL the colours of the rainbow… and our rainbow stir-fry with tofu ‘sea cakes’ is a good place to start!

Lovely rainbow chard, delicate pak choi, vibrant bell peppers and really whatever else takes your fancy! Carrots, red cabbage, radish, broccoli, baby corn, could also make great additions or substitutions. We do however recommend that you do not opt out of using this delicious rainbow chard (a seasonal vegetable that is similar to spinach, but comes in a variety of colours and has a slightly stronger flavour)! 

We have combined this delicious and gorgeous bunch of veggies with some flavourful and hearty organic tofu ‘sea cakes’. Marinated and complete with seaweed, they are a tasty and alternative way to enjoy your tofu! If you’re in the market for something different, you should definitely give these ‘sea cakes‘ a try!

 

 

Ingredients

++++++++++++++5-6          Large Leaves of Rainbow Chard
++++++++++++++200g       Pak Choi
++++++++++++++2              Garlic clove
++++++++++++++2″             Ginger Root, raw
++++++++++++++200g       Bell Peppers
++++++++++++++3               Spring Onion
++++++++++++++5g             Fresh Coriander
++++++++++++++2               Sea Cakes
++++++++++++++150g         Wholemeal Spaghetti (or a GF variety if required)
++++++++++++++                 Low-fat cooking oil or Rapeseed Oil
++++++++++++++1-2 tbsp   Sesame Oil
++++++++++++++1-2 tbsp   Soya Sauce (low-salt/ or Tamari Sauce for GF)
++++++++++++++

 

Directions

  • Wash the rainbow chard and then carefully slice the leaves down the middle (through its stalk). Remove the pak choi leaves from its stalk, wash and then roughly slice the larger leaves into halves.
  • Peel and slice the garlic. Wash, peel and finely slice the ginger (as big or as small as desired). Wash, remove the stem and core and then chop the bell pepper into slices. Wash, trim the ends and then roughly chop the spring onion. Wash the coriander and then remove its leaves from its stem.

 

Bring a large saucepan full of cold water to the boil. Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain. Tip: If you are a kitchen maestro, have plenty of kitchen helpers, or have a slower electric hob, consider putting the pot of water over the burner prior to starting your vegetable prep.

 

In the meantime, heat a large wok or non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add 2 tsp of rapeseed oil or a few sprays of low-fat cooking oil. Add the tofu sea cakes or your favourite (prepared) tofu. Gently fry the tofu ‘sea cakes’ on one side for about 3 mins and until lightly browned. Carefully flip them over. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. NB: Refer to the packet instructions if you’re using favourite brand of tofu. Remove. Transfer onto a plate. Cover with a lid or some foil to keep warm.

 

  • Spray the (now empty) frying pan with a little more oil or add some rapeseed oil. Add the garlic, ginger, bell pepper and spring onion. Gently stir-fry for 2 mins.
  • Add the rainbow chard and a splash of soya sauce (if desired). Gently stir-fry for 4-7 mins, or until tender (larger leaves may take a bit longer to cook).
  • Add the pak choi 2 mins before the end of cooking. Add the coriander at the end of cooking. Toss through. Remove from the heat.

 

In the meantime, place the cooked pasta into a large mixing bowl. Pour over a 1-2 tbsp sesame oil and soya sauce. Toss to coat. Cover with a plate.

Transfer the pasta onto the middle of a large serving plate. Top with the vegetables, followed by a tofu ‘sea cake’.

 

Enjoy!

Fennel, Garlic & Lemon Pasta [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking Time: 35-40 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Roasting tin, silicone mat, chopping board, sharp knife, frying pan, mixing bowl, cheese grater, manual juicer, salad tongs

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc and (per serving) is low in salt, sugars and sat fats!

Fresh, simple and within forty minutes you’ll have a delicious pasta dish ready for the whole family to enjoy!

As we’ve mentioned before, we think that sometimes the best pasta dishes are the ones that contain only a few ingredients. This recipe comprises of some crisp, fresh and almost sweet and ‘licorice-y’, fennel (which is a cheap, tasty and nutritious addition to any meal!). We’ve also added some sweet and creamy roasted garlic, shallots, lemon and a little parsley for the perfect combination of flavours. Served on some hearty wholemeal pasta and topped with a tasty breadcrumb topping for some added crunch and additional depth of flavour! 

It’s good to note we have advised slightly more fennel and garlic than shown in our pictures! Also, if you’re someone who generally does not enjoy the taste of fennel, don’t be alarmed, we promise that you’ll love this one! Roasted fennel has a completely different taste to that of fennel tea or flavoured food items (if it didn’t, Alex would be the first one to leave the dinner table in protest!). 

Happy hump day and cooking everyone! 😀

 

Ingredients

++++++++++++++++++120g       Banana Shallots
++++++++++++++++++100g      Orange Bell Pepper
++++++++++++++++++400g      Fennel Bulb
++++++++++++++++++20g        Garlic Clove
++++++++++++++++++3 tbsp    Olive or Garlic Infused Oil
++++++++++++++++++               Salt & Ground Black Pepper
++++++++++++++++++20g        Panko Breadcrumbs (or GF version if required)
++++++++++++++++++220g      Wholemeal Spaghetti (or GF if required)
++++++++++++++++++20g        DF Cheese (or 1 tbsp of Nutritional Yeast)
++++++++++++++++++10g         Flat Leaf Parsley
++++++++++++++++++1              Lemon
++++++++++++++++++1/2 tsp    Asafoetida
++++++++++++++++++               Saffron

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line a roasting tin with a silicone mat or some kitchen foil (if necessary).

2. Trim the ends off the shallots. Wash, remove the stem and core and then thinly slice the bell pepper. Wash, trim the ends and then slice the fennel (thin or slightly chunky!)

3. Place the shallots, bell pepper, fennel and garlic into the roasting tin. Drizzle over 2-3 tbsp of olive oil (or spray with some low-cal cooking oil instead). Toss to coat. Season it with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper (or to taste). Place the tin onto the middle oven shelf. Roast for about 20-25 mins or until softened and lightly crispy. Remove. Allow to cool. Tip: The garlic might be finished at 15 mins (just remove it and set it aside)!

4. In the meantime, heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Spray a little low-fat cooking oil. Add the breadcrumbs. Gently fry until lightly browned and toasted. Remove from the heat. Transfer into a bowl.

5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.

6. Grate the cheese (if using). Wash and remove the parsley leaves from its stem; roughly chop them. Wash the lemon; grate some zest and then juice it.

7. Place the cheese (or nutritional yeast), ½ tsp asafoetida and about 8-10 strands (or a pinch) of saffron into the bowl of breadcrumbs. Season it with a few grinds of black pepper. Mix until combined. Tip: Your breadcrumb topping is now complete!

8. Remove the skin from the garlic and shallots and discard. Finely chop the garlic and then slice the shallot into strips. Tip: Use some kitchen scissors to quickly cut away and remove the shallot skin!

9. Place the pasta into a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables, parsley, lemon zest and juice (as much lemon juice and zest as desired) and some oil (we added garlic oil!). Season it a few grinds of  black pepper. Gently toss until thoroughly combined.

10. Transfer onto two serving plates. Top with the breadcrumb topping and garnish with additional parsley and/or lemon slices (if preferred).

Enjoy!

 

Tip: For some additional protein, calcium iron and zinc and crunch, add some toasted pine nuts!

 

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Olive Pesto

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6-8
Prep & Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Notes:This recipe contains: Vitamins C, K & E, protein, fibre, iron, zinc, potassium, and (*per serving/based on six) is low in salt, sugar and has a moderate amount of fats!

Here’s a quick and delicious midweek recipe that will provide you with maximum taste satisfaction and minimal discomfort to make (#whohateswashingup)! 

We’ve come across lots of olive pesto recipes (that are more or less the same), but we decided to adapt our own using the ingredients (and quantities) that suited us. We felt that as the staple ingredient was olives, adding over 40 grams of pine nuts and 1/2 cup of oil would make it too rich! Pesto is ‘rich’ at the best of times and as much as we enjoy it, it’s not something we prepare every week, but it is a lovely thing to have in moderation! 

Adapt the recipe to suit your pesto needs; more garlic?… lemon?… basil?… another type of olive?… or less oil and no seeds/nuts to further reduce the fat content?? Experiment and enjoy!

  Oh and here’s wishing a very Happy Birthday to our dear friend Kelly!

 

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g       Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1          Lemon
+++++++++++++++++++++++++70g     Green olives (pitted/in brine)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g     Fresh basil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++12g      Fresh flat leaf parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++10g      Pumpkin seeds (*optional)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++60ml  Olive oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++            Salt & Ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++            Water

 

Directions:

Peel the garlic. Wash, zest and juice the lemon.

 

 

Drain and wash the olives. Wash and dry the basil and the parsley.

 

 

With a food processor running, drop the garlic in. Process until minced.

 

 

Add the lemon zest and juice, seeds and oil.

 

 

Process until puréed. Add the olives, basil and parsley. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Process until combined; the mixture will be a bit coarse. NB: With the machine still running, add a little water to thin the pesto out slightly.

 

 

Transfer the pesto into an air-tight and resealable container.

 

 

How to use the pesto:

Simply mix some into freshly cooked pasta (we recommend wholewheat or buckwheat!) or zoodles!; alternatively you can follow these simple steps…

1. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.
2. Add the pesto into a small bowl.
3  Add some cooking water into the pesto.
4. Stir and mix together.
5. Transfer the cooked pasta into a large mixing bowl.
6. Add the pesto mixture.
7. Toss and mix to coat.
8. Serve in a serving bowl; garnish as desired.

 

As it’s ‘British Tomato Week‘, try adding some to your dish!

 

Enjoy!

 

Keep refrigerated and use within 5 days. Alternatively store in individual air-tight containers and freeze; defrost and use within for 1-2 months.

**Not too long ago ‘My Vegan Kitchen’ posted a useful ‘pesto storage’ tip! It’s ideal for portion control and of course, saving yourself valuable time in the kitchen!

Black Bean Stir-Fry

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking time: 35-45 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, iron, potassium, magnesium and it’s low in saturated fats. 

Here’s another quick stir-fry recipe for those of you that love healthy and quick food! Feel free to use any medley of vegetables you have (fresh, frozen and/or seasonal). In retrospect, we wished we had used more broccoli! 

Check out our other stir-fry recipes for some more great ideas and inspiration!

 

 

Ingredients:

 

 

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.

NB: If you want to make your finished dish more ‘manageable’, snap the pasta into half before cooking it- the choice is yours!

 

In the meantime, place the bell peppers, mushrooms and broccoli (or any other frozen vegetables you are using) into a microwavable dish. Defrost in the microwave. Drain.           NB: You can cook your vegetables from frozen however, they will produce a lot of water that will increase your cooking time and they won’t be as ‘crunchy’ as stir-fry vegetables should be.

 

 

Meanwhile, prepare your sauce. Wash, peel and grate the ginger. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and finely chop the chilli. Peel and dice the garlic. Wash, trim the ends and then chop the spring onion into half (tops & bottoms); finely slice the top half an save the remaining half for a garnish (if desired). Drain and wash the beans.

 

 

Place the water, soya sauce, sugar and flour into a large measuring jug. Whisk together until the sugar and flour has dissolved.

 

 

Place approximately 3/4 of the quantity of the beans into a food processor; save some to add to the stir-fry later on. Pulse until partially ‘broken down’.

 

 

Add the ginger, chilli, garlic, sliced spring onion and the contents of the measuring jug into the food processor.

 

 

Blend until blitzed; you should have a thick and ‘chunky’ sauce.

 

 

Transfer the sauce into the measuring jug. Taste and season/flavour it as necessary.

 

 

Peel and slice the white onion. Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the dakion (if using) and the carrot into ‘chunky match-stick’ pieces. Chop the remaining spring onion into slices (if applicable).

 

 

Heat the oil in a large non-stick wok over a medium heat.

 

 

Add the onion, dakion (if applicable) and carrot. Gently stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.

 

 

Add the bell peppers, mushrooms and broccoli. Stir-fry for approx. 2-4 minutes.

Yes, we forgot to add the broccoli! We had to quickly cook it in the microwave and add it towards the end.

NB: This is why we have advised you to defrost your vegetables first… look at the puddle of water in the middle! We had to tip this out, we didn’t want soggy vegetables. :/

 

Add the remaining beans. Stir through.

Our broccoli finally makes an appearance!

 

 

Pour in the sauce. Stir through. Gently stir for approximately 1 minute or until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove form the heat.

 

 

Serve warm. Transfer the pasta into a pasta bowl or lipped plate. Top with the stir-fry mixture. Garnish with the seeds and remaining spring onion (if applicable).

 

 

 

Dig in and enjoy!

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use a GF pasta or rice noodles if gluten is of concern.
  • Use a low-fat cooking oil instead if you want to reduce the fat content further.

Orzo Salad

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time: ≤20-30 minutes.

Notes:

We’ve never experimented with Orzo before, one because it costs more than typical pasta and two it’s a form of ‘white’ pasta. Generally, we prefer to have wholemeal varieties; they provide a good source of insoluble fibre, protein and a range of B-Vitamins!

Orzo (which means barley in Italian) is a small form of pasta that resembles large grains of rice. It can be used in soups, as a side dish or a main course. Typically, cooked orzo is low in fat and salt, has a suitable quantity of protein, but it is also low in dietary fibre.  With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to pair it with vegetables, beans and healthy forms of fat (as we have); this will help lower the meal’s glycaemic index (G.I.) and make it a balanced meal.

This recipe is extremely easy to prepare and of course, versatile. Make it as expensive or as frugal as you desire… by using any (or all!) of your favourite vegetables and beans to turn this recipe into a fibre-licious meal!  🙂

NB: If gluten is of concern, substitute the orzo for quinoa, millet, GF couscous or your favourite type of rice instead!

We used: frozen broad beans, parsley, courgette, garlic, red onion, chestnut mushrooms, salad tomatoes, artichoke(60g), green olives(20g) and one lemon.

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++300g     Dried Orzo
+++++++++++++++++++++++++800g     Vegetables (Fresh, frozen and/or seasonal!)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++260g     Beans (Fresh, frozen or a tinned variety!)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1             Lemon (Juice & Zest)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++8g          Fresh Parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g           Dried Oregano
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30ml     Olive oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Salt & Ground black pepper

 

 

Directions:

Cook the orzo according to the packet instructions. Drain. Allow it to cool slightly. Wash and drain (if applicable) and then cook the beans (if applicable). Drain.

NB: Our broad beans took 6 minutes to cook and the orzo took approx 7-9 minutes.

 

 

Prepare all of your wonderful veggies!

We lightly fried the mushrooms, courgette, garlic and onion (using low-fat cooking oil). The tomato, artichoke, olives and oregano where all placed into a small bowl and mixed together (*before being added to the salad).

 

 

Wash, finely grate the zest and then juice the lemon.

 

 

Wash, dry and roughly chop the parsley.

 

 

Place the orzo into a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest and juice and oil. Season it to taste with some salt and black pepper. Stir though. Add the vegetables, beans, parsley and oregano. Stir through.

 

 

Spoon into a serving bowl and serve. NB: Serve on more veggies (if desired!); try a bed of steamed kale or spring greens (collard greens) or some fresh rocket or spinach.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

NB: Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; consume within 3 days.

Tofu & Veggie Ravioli + 5 Minute Marinara Sauce [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6-8
Yields: about 24 ravioli
Prep: 60-90 mins
Cooking Time: 3-5 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Mixing bowl, silicone spatula, kitchen film, frying pan, food processor, bowl, rolling pin, large plate, large pot(s)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese,potassium, has no added sugars and per serving  is low in salt* and saturated fats*! 

Who loves pasta dishes?! We do! Apart from preparing pasta sauces, we’ve never attempted making our own pasta. It truly is a labour of love- one that needs to be respected; we’re sure we have broken the hearts of many Italian grandmothers’… as they look at our finished product in despair! Sorry! Maybe we should consult with L at Bubblesandbooyah  or Kiana at The Italian Vegan way of Life on this matter?!

Our ravioli does not look authentic, that’s for sure…more anaemic! This is because typical ravioli recipes use several eggs, which gives it its standard yellow/beige appearance; not ideal for us following plant-based diets! If this is a big issue for you, try using fresh herbs, spices (make sure it complements your filling) or perhaps some cooled, green vegetable water (from the drained spinach) instead of the plain water the recipe instructs to help colour your pasta.

For anyone that has attempted GF baking or has prepared GF pastry or dough…it’s not very straight forward! To say that it’s daunting might be a bit of an understatement! However, this feeling passes- it’s quite liberating preparing a whole meal from scratch (apart from growing your own foods of course!). We’re not going to lie though; this recipe can be quite time consuming, especially if you do not own any pasta gadgets, are new to the ‘pasta making world’ or using GF dough for that matter.

If you have the patience and the desire to make GF ravioli, then you’re in good hands! Ours was really tasty (we can’t stress that enough!) and the finished product was ‘respectable’…well, it definitely looked ‘homemade’, perhaps by people that doesn’t really know what they’re doing?! …Well, that might be partially true! 😛

We admit there is a science to it, one that we are still working on! If you are have stronger, GF pasta making skills than we do, or any advice or tips it would be greatly appreciated! We have also included another marinara sauce recipe. This one is slightly different from our other recipe that we supplied you with last week; it’s ultra-quick and thrifty! If you do decide to use a store bought brand instead, as always, be mindful of the salt, sugar and fat contents!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Ingredients

NB: If you have a ‘tried and true’ GF or standard dough recipe, feel free to use that instead!

 

 

Nutritional Info (Prepared Ravioli Only)

NB: To reduce the fat content further, omit the olives and the tahini from the filling.

*Low in salt and saturated fats based on eight servings.

 

 

Directions

Prepare the dough. Place 300g rice flour, 60g corn flour, 80g potato starch, 8g xanthan gum, 1g basil, 2g thyme and 2g salt into a large mixing bowl.

 

 

Mix until combined. Make a ‘well’ in the centre of the mixture.

 

 

Add 1 tbsp oil and 300ml cold water.

NB: Make sure you use cold water! Hot water will make the corn flour, potato starch and xanthan gum turn into a horrible mess.

 

 

Use a spatula; stir and combine the mixture until the dough is smooth and tacky.

 

 

Place the dough onto the middle of a piece of kitchen film.

 

 

Wrap and completely seal. Place it into the fridge for a minimum of 20 mins.

 

In the meantime, prepare the filling.

 

Place the spinach into a microwavable bowl; defrost in the microwave. Drain. Place the bread into a toaster. Gently heat until lightly brown and crispy. Place it into a food processor. Peel and dice the shallot and garlic. Wash, dry and finely dice the mushrooms. Wash, remove the stem and core and then finely chop the bell pepper. Wash, peel and finely grate the carrot. Drain, rinse and dice the olives. Wash and chop the basil leaves; discard most of the stems. Place the bread in the food processor. Process it until breadcrumbs are achieved; remove and transfer into a small bowl.

The amount of bell pepper we have advised is approx. half a pepper…so this is why we have suggested to use the other half in the marinara sauce.

 

Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Add the shallot and garlic. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened.

NB: We used four ‘sprays’.

 

 

Add the mushrooms, bell pepper and carrot. Gently fry for 3-5 mins, or until softened and most of the water has been removed. Remove from the heat.

NB: We used two more ‘sprays’.

 

 

Meanwhile, drain the tofu. Place it into in the food processor. Pulse until creamy.

 

 

Transfer it into a large mixing bowl.

 

 

Transfer the vegetable mixture into a separate bowl. Allow it to cool slightly.

 

 

Place the spinach and olives into the frying pan. Gently fry for 1-2 mins; allow the spinach to steam-dry slightly. Gently separate/shred some of the fibres with a fork. Remove from the heat.

 

 

Add the vegetable and separate spinach mixture, along with the basil, breadcrumbs, oregano, thyme and tahini into the large mixing bowl. Mix and thoroughly combine.

 

Add the flour. Mix to combine.

 

 

Let’s Assemble The Ravioli!

Disclaimer: We will be commentating on the best ‘working scenario’ (based on our previous failures and current mistakes); occasionally the pictures may not seem in sync or an accurate representation of each step. So please bare with us- we’ll get there in the end!

Tip: If you have a ravioli mould/tray or cutters- dig them our of your cupboards and use them! Otherwise let’s prepare these ravioli’s using this ‘freestyle’ method.

 

Prepare a clean and lightly floured work surface. Tip: have a large plate, a little dish of water and some spare flour nearby.

We were  ambitious and thought we could make the ravioli in 2 stages instead of four! Two words- fat chance!

 

Divide the dough into four pieces/balls. Place one piece onto the work surface and re-wrap the remaining dough. NB: This dough tends to dry out quickly, so always re-wrap it! Knead the dough into the flour until it is slightly ‘less’ tacky. Roll the dough into a long and narrow-ish strip (approx. 12″x4″).

We measured the dough and these were the approx. dimensions. Please feel free to experiment! NB: We feel that this is about as thin as this dough would allow without it falling apart!

 

 

Test and try to lift the dough slightly. Tip: you need to make sure it’s not sticking to the work surface (if it is, add a little more flour) and that it’s not going to completely fall apart when moved.

We tested our dough by re-rolling it onto the rolling pin. NB: The dough on this rolling pin represents half the quantity of dough. It wasn’t long after this picture that we divided the dough into four working pieces.

 

 

Roughly mark the dough into six equal squares.

 

 

Spoon and place the filling onto the centre of one side of the dough.

NB: This represents the maximum amount of filling you can use.

 

Cut the dough down the middle. Separate the dough into two strips. Tip: a quicker method would be to fold the half without the filling over the other half of the dough. Press, mould, shape and then cut out the individual ravioli’s. 

 

Gently re-roll the strip (without the filling), creating a slightly larger and thinner half. Tip: we have suggested this because GF dough is less forgiving/stretchy than normal wheat-dough (because of its wonderful powers it obtains from gluten) and you have to make sure it’s going to cover all of the ravioli! However, if you are using half of the amount of filling, you may be able to skip this step entirely.

 

 

If you’re brave enough, place and align the re-rolled strip over the top of the other strip (with the filling). Gently press down in-between each piece; helping to shape the ravioli. Gently cup and continue to shape each piece with your hands; allowing the dough to wrap around the filling. Cut and separate the six pieces. Pinch the edges of each ravioli together and then fold the edges up and over itself; crimp and press to seal the ravioli. NB: You might have to complete this step with the help of a wet fork.

If your a little clumsy with GF dough or with the ravioli-making process (like myself)….you can do what I did (explained below!)

 

 

After you have re-rolled the strip, cut it into six separate pieces. Cut the other strip (with the filling) into six separate pieces. Individually place each piece re-rolled piece of dough over a piece of the prepared dough (as shown).

i.e. prepared dough with filling.

 

Cup and shape the ravioli dough around the filling with your hands. Pinch the edges of the ravioli together and then fold the edges up and over itself; crimp and press to seal the ravioli (as we have previously mentioned, a wet fork is great for this step!).

We’re  sorry about the lack of pictures at this stage! Our hands were covered in flour and filling- neither of which you want smeared on your camera!

 

 

Place all of the prepared ravioli’s onto a clean plate. Cover and seal with a piece of kitchen film. Repeat these steps with the remaining three pieces/sections of dough and filling until all of it has been used.

To stop them drying out!

 

Now might be a good time to place two large pots over a medium heat and bring to the boil; it can take some time to heat the water. However, if you are slower at this process, just wait until you’re finished- there’s no need to add more potential stress into the equation!

You can use one large pot….if you have it…and/or if your brave enough to man-handle over ten ravioli’s cooking at once!

 

All twenty-four ravioli’s ready to go!

 

 

If you haven’t already, place two large saucepans over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, prepare our ‘5 minute thrifty marinara sauce’ (if applicable)! Just open the tinned tomatoes and then place all of the sauce ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a small pot. Place the pot over a medium-low heat. Gently heat the sauce to low-grade simmer and then reduce the heat. Cover with a lid; keep it over a low heat setting until served.

We  saved some for later in the week and some for now… 🙂

 

Cooking The Ravioli!

Once the water begins to boil, place about 4-5 pieces into each pot using a large, slotted spoon; reduce to a medium heat. Loosely cover with a lid. Once the ravioli’s start to rise to the top and/or the water comes to more of a rapid boil- remove the lid. Cook the ravioli’s for 3-5 mins or until tender.

NB: Ours took approx. 4 minutes to cook.

 

 

Remove them with the slotted spoon. Place them into a large colander (not onto a plate like we have in this picture!). Cover with some kitchen foil and allow them to drain.

NB: They don’t get a chance to drain properly on a plate…which means extra water added to your sauce! :/

 

 

Repeat these steps until all of the ravioli has been cooked.

All in all the cooking process was a success! There were a few that lost a corner on the way out of the pot but that’s trivial! Previously, we’ve had ravioli’s that have disintegrated whilst cooking because we allowed the water to boil too rapidly…lol (it wasn’t really that funny at the time)!  Cooking 101: DO NOT allow you ravioli’s to ride tidal waves in your saucepan!

 

 

Serve warm. Spoon the ravioli into a large bowl or pasta dish. Ladle over the sauce. Season it with some black pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh basil and/or chopped tomatoes (if desired).

NB: This picture represents 2 servings (*Based on the ravioli serving 8).

It might be advised to wear a red t-shirt; it depends on how ravenous you are! J/K! We are all ‘mindful’ eaters. 😀

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in an air-tight/resealable container; defrost, reheat and consume within 3 months.

NB: Do not store uncooked ravioli in the fridge overnight. We attempted this once (trying to save time with food prep for the next night), but the next day they were all a bit soggy…and cooking them didn’t improve matters! We’re not one-hundred percent sure as to why this occurred…and unless you do, we wouldn’t recommend it!

 

If preferred…

  • The world is your oyster! Make the filling your own! Just make sure to decrease/remove the water content of any vegetables used (by lightly frying/steam-frying) before preparing your ravioli.
  • If gluten is not of concern, try using wholemeal or grade ’00’ flour instead, along with salt, oil and water (and maybe some eggs if you’re not vegan!); adjust the quantities accordingly and omit the xanthan gum.
  • Use our marinara recipe, your own pasta sauce, or drizzle a little olive oil over the pasta (and garnish with herbs) just before serving!

 

 

 If anyone prepares this recipe- send us some pictures! We’d love to see how you got on and of course, your thoughts!

Red Kidney Bean & Quinoa ‘Meatballs’ [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6-8
Prep, Cooking & Assembly: 75 Mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Sieve, non-stick pots and lids, roasting tin, silicone mat, food processor, colander, silicone spatula, casserole dish, baking tray, parchment paper, ladle, blender

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

So we made this recipe a week ago. Al came home and asked if I had been ‘cooking meat’?! I burst out laughing and said, “Of course not!”…quickly followed by, “mission accomplished babe”!

This is a recipe that we have adapted from the days when we used to make turkey mince meatballs …so I guess I am not totally surprised that I received the reaction that I did; it’s funny how our minds perceive things…storing sounds and smells as triggers for certain memories, or in this case food! 

We’re very happy about how this recipe turned out. The meatballs are not dry and horrible ‘meat’ substitutes; they are lovely little ‘veggie balls’ that are packed full of protein, fibre, and plenty of vitamins and minerals! Obviously it’s another great recipe that can be adapted to your own personal taste and shared with your family and friends. 

I took the executive decision to use two tins of kidney beans instead of one… but other than that, the recipe went to plan and we are happy to be sharing it with you. We have also provided a recipe for a homemade marinara sauce, but feel free to use your favourite tomato-based sauce instead; if you plan on using a store bought variety, be mindful of the fat, sugar and salt contents! 🙂 

Quick Foodie Fact:

  • One serving of meatballs (based on 6 servings)* provides you with approx. 1 serving (of fruits/vegetables), towards your 5-A-Day; so make sure you have a veggie packed sauce (like ours) to help increase your servings!

 

‘Meatball’ ingredients; we used our homemade GF bread.

 

Ingredients

 Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Nutritional Info (‘Meatballs’ Only)

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line a roasting tin with a silicone mat or some aluminium foil.

 

In the meantime, cook the quinoa. Place the quinoa into a sieve; rinse under cold running water for 30 seconds to help remove some of its bitterness. Cook according to the packet instructions. Remove from the heat.

NB: Cooked quinoa! Ours took 15 mins.

 

 

  • Meanwhile, start preparing the marinara sauce (unless you are using another sauce; just start preparing the ‘meatballs’ instead!). Wash the tomatoes, remove the stems and then chop them into halves. Peel and quarter the onion.
  • Place the tomatoes (cut-side up), onion and the garlic into a roasting tin. Drizzle over 15ml olive oil and 10ml of the balsamic glaze. Tip: If you do not have any glaze, use balsamic vinegar instead. Sprinkle over 1g dried basil (if desired). Season it with some salt and ground black pepper to taste.
  • Place the tray into the middle oven shelf. Roast the vegetables for about 25-30 mins. Remove and allow to cool. Do not turn off the oven.

 

 

In the meantime, line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Prepare the ‘meatballs’. Get out a large casserole dish. Wash, trim the ends and finely grate the courgette. Wash, trim the ends, peel and finely grate the carrot. Place the courgette and carrot into a casserole dish (or large mixing bowl).

  • Peel and chop the onion into halves; place it into a food processor. Pulse until minced. Remove and transfer into the dish.
  • Lightly toast the bread. Place it into the food processor. Pulse and process until bread crumbs are achieved. Place them into the casserole dish.
  • Open, drain and rinse the beans. Transfer them into the food processor and pulse until almost smooth. Transfer it into the dish.
  • Wash, dry and finely chop the basil; add it into the casserole dish. Fluff the grains of quinoa with a fork and add it into the dish.

 

Here’s what our casserole dish looked like…

Add 20g tahini into the casserole dish and sprinkle over 2g Italian seasoning and 2g sweet paprika. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Using your hands, mix together the ingredients; until it’s fully combined-like a giant ‘meatball’! Divide the mixture into 8 pieces. Tip: We shaped three ‘meatballs’ out of each segment (so twenty-four in total). 

Dust your hands with a little bit of flour (if necessary) to shape them. Place the ‘meatballs’ onto the tray. Repeat this step until all of the mixture has been used. Lightly spray them with some low-fat cooking oil (if desired). Place them onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for approximately 15 mins. Remove.

 

 

In the meantime, cook the pasta according the packet instructions. Drain.

We recommend (and have used some) wholemeal pasta; if being GF is not of concern.

 

 

Meanwhile, finish preparing the marinara. Wash some basil. Remove the skins from the roasted garlic and discard them.

Garlic skins and a few bits of onion that were too crispy!

 

  • Place the roasting juices (if desired), tomatoes, onion, garlic, the remaining 10ml of balsamic glaze, basil, 20g tomato purée, 100ml water and 30ml lemon juice into a blender. Process until fairly smooth. Taste and season it with some salt and black pepper.
  • Transfer it into a small, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat and gently warm. Cover with a lid; keep it over a minimum heat until it’s served.

 

 

Once you have removed the meatballs after the initial 15 mins, increase the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F. Carefully turn the ‘meatballs’ over. Lightly spray them with some more low-fat cooking oil (if desired). Place them back onto the middle oven shelf and bake for a further 8 mins or until lightly browned. Remove. Allow to cool on the tray for 5 mins (if possible).

 

Serve warm. Transfer the pasta into a large serving bowl or lipped plate. Pour over the marinara (or sauce of choice!) and top with the ‘meatballs’. Garnish with some fresh basil or oregano (if desired) and enjoy!

See, it’s not dry and crumbly, just packed full of ‘goodness’!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable and air-tight container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in a resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.Tip: We covered ours with parchment paper and cling film before sealing it with its lid.

Recipe updated: 23/02/16 

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup (V, GF, Low-Fat!)

Healthy Recipes

Serves:10
Prep: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 5-8 hours

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, no added sugars and is low in fats!

This is a nutritious and hearty recipe. Soup is great for winter, perfect for keeping your food costs down (just use seasonal and/or frozen vegetables and/or dried pulses/legumes) and is ideal for those that do not have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen; leftovers can easily be stored and reheated!

Quick facts:

We’ve read that Minestrone means ‘the big soup’ in Italian. Its a substantial dish consisting of vegetables and beans (occasionally meat), with either rice or pasta; the recipe varies in most households but it’s loved all the same! 

It’s ideal to have recipes in a slow cooking format. Slow cooking is great for when you have to serve people in large quantities, saving on electricity costs and reclaiming some of your valuable time! Prep the vegetables the night before and store them in a container full of cold water (so they do not dry out); place your ingredients in the slow cooker before you go off to work! 

*Based on 10 servings, one serving provides you with approximately 4 of your 5-A-DAY! 

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++Step 1:
+++++++++++++++++++++++++180g     Dried Butter Beans (soaked overnight)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++300g     Celery
+++++++++++++++++++++++++250g     White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++450g     Baking potato
+++++++++++++++++++++++++280g      Carrot
+++++++++++++++++++++++++140g      Red Bell pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++16g        Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++200g     Frozen green beans
+++++++++++++++++++++++++20g        Fresh parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1600g   Tinned plum tomatoes (no added salt/sugar)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g          Herbs De Provence
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g          Dried Oregano
+++++++++++++++++++++++++              Salt & ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1.5L      Vegetable stock (low-sodium, DF, GF)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++Step 2:
+++++++++++++++++++++++++200g      GF Fusilli
+++++++++++++++++++++++++120g      Frozen sweet corn
+++++++++++++++++++++++++160g      Frozen spinach

 

 

Nutritional info:

  *This recipe provides approximately: 140% of your RDA for Vitamin C and 200% of your RDA for Vitamin A/ serving!

 

 

Directions:

Prepare the dried beans according to the packet instructions. Drain.

NB: Our beans were soaked overnight for 12 hours.

 

 

Wash, trim the ends and slice the celery. Peel and chop the onion. Wash, peel and dice the potato. Wash, peel, trim the ends and then dice the carrot. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and then finely chop the bell pepper. Peel and mince the garlic.

 

 

Snap the green beans into bite-sized pieces. Wash, dry and roughly chop the parsley.

We used parsley straight out of our freezer. 🙂

 

 

Place the tomatoes into the slow cooker…

NB: Go the frugal route and buy ‘whole’ tin tomatoes like us…then just quickly chop them up in the slow cooker. 🙂

 

 

then the dried beans…..

 

 

…followed by the celery, onion, potato, carrot, bell pepper, garlic and green beans.

 

 

Add the parsley, Herbs De Provence. Season it to taste with some salt and pepper.

 

 

Pour in the ‘boiling hot’ stock. Give it a stir.

 

 

Cover with a lid. Place on a medium or low heat setting; 5-6 hours or 7-8 hours respectively.

 

 

For the second phase of this recipe, cook your pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain.

NB: We cooked ours for slightly less than the packet asked for… to help keep its integrity when its added to the soup! We find that GF doesn’t always hold its shape in soups!

 

 

Defrost the corn and spinach before adding it to the soup.

Still frozen at this point!

 

 

Drain off any excess water.

 

 

Add the cooked pasta, corn and spinach 30 minutes before the end of cooking.

 

 

Stir through. Cover with the lid.

 

 

Alternatively, cook your remaining vegetables and pasta; add them to the soup when it has finished cooking.

 

 

When it was finished, ours went straight into this plastic container.

Ready for many delicious lunches!

 

 

Alternatively, ladle into a soup bowl and serve warm.

NB: This represents one, re-heated portion of  the soup! We garnished ours with a few pieces of fresh parsley. 🙂

 

 Place any leftovers into a resealable container and refrigerate; consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, place the container(s) into the freezer and use within 2-3 months; defrost before use.

Enjoy!

 

 

If preferred…

  • Stick with your favourite and/or seasonal veggies!
  • Adapt the herbs and choice of legumes to your taste. Non-vegans can try adding a little cheese and/or using a different stock/flavouring if desired.
  • Try using wild rice or lentils instead of pasta!
  • Use a spelt, wholemeal or spinach/wheat-based pasta if gluten is not a concern to you.

NB: If you prefer to add dried pasta to the recipe (at the start of the cooking process), adjust the liquid levels accordingly.

  • If you are not used to eating this quantity of fibre, reduce the quantities of vegetables slightly!

Vegan Sicilian Pasta With Chickpeas

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 2
Prep & Cooking time: 20 minutes

Recipe adapted from: fatfreevegan

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, potassium, iron, no added sugar and is low in saturated fats!

From what I’ve read, Sicilian pastas dishes include cheap, simple and tasty ingredients! This recipe is very fresh, light and it’s easy to execute! The orange and chilli flavours work beautifully together and it’s a nice change from dense tomato, pesto or creamy pastas.

Quick fact: The corn-based pasta and the chickpeas provide a nice bit of ‘protein combining’ action!

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++130g   GF Spaghetti
+++++++++++++++++++++++++400g   Tin Chickpeas (in water)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++16g     Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++140g   Red onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++             1 Large orange (zest and juice)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++220g   Baby plum tomatoes
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g     Black olives
+++++++++++++++++++++++++8g        Fresh basil leaves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++             1kcal Fry Spray (low-fat cooking oil)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++             Salt & ground black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g        Chilli flakes
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g        Dried oregano
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g        Dried basil

 

 *Based on this meal serving 2, this recipe provides approximately:

485Kcal, 18.2g Protein, 8.1g Fat, 1g Sat/fat, 1.12g Salt, 4.6mg Iron

(NB: To lower the calorie and fat content, reduce the quantity of the chickpeas.)

 

Directions:

Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions.

 

Meanwhile, drain and wash the chickpeas.

 

 Add the chickpeas to the saucepan just before the pasta is finished cooking. Save one cup of cooking water before you drain the pasta.

NB: The brand of GF pasta I used took 12 minutes to cook.

 

 In the meantime, peel and chop the garlic into slices. Peel and dice the onion.

 

Wash, zest and juice the orange.

 

Place a large non-stick frying pan or wok over a medium-low heat. Allow it to heat up.

 

Meanwhile, quarter the the tomatoes.

 

Rinse the olives (if they were in brine), de-stone(if necessary) and roughly chop them.

 

Wash, dry and remove some basil leaves from the stem. NB: I used some straight out of my freezer.

 

Spray some low-fat cooking oil into the pan/wok. Add the garlic. Gently fry for 1 minute or until fragrant.

NB: I used ‘3 sprays’.

 

Remove and transfer onto a small plate.

 

Spray a little more low-fat cooking oil. Add the onions. Gently fry for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Season it with some salt and pepper to tatse.

NB: I used ‘3 sprays’.

 

Add the zest. Fry for 30seconds.

 

Add the chilli flakes, the dried oregano and basil. Stir together. Fry for 20 seconds.

 

Remove from the heat; leave the burner on.

 

By this point you can probably add (or have added) the chickpeas to the pasta. Remove a cup of cooking liquid.

 

When the pasta has been drained, place the pan/wok back over a medium-low heat. Add the cooking liquid and juice. Stir together.

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Add the tomatoes, olives and fresh basil. Stir together. Simmer for 1-2 minutes or until the tomatoes are just softened.

 

Add the pasta mixture.

 

Stir together. Remove from the heat.

 

Serve warm. Serve in a pasta bowl or lipped plate. Garnish and season as desired.

 

 Enjoy!

 

If preferred… 

  • Use half the amount of zest if you do not like your meals too ‘zesty’.
  • Use wholemeal or spelt pasta if you are not concerned about gluten
  • Try adding a bit of spinach.
  • Use a dried variety of chickpea; soak/cook before use .
  • Try green lentils or broad beans instead of chickpeas, or oregano instead of basil.
  • Try some other Sicilian pasta ingredient combinations, e.g. fresh pasta, dried fruits (raisins, sultanas or apricots), nuts, seeds, shaved fennel, aubergine, mushrooms, fresh herbs, capers, toasted/garlic breadcrumbs or some oily fish, prawns or cheeses (if you are not vegan).

Vegan & Gluten Free Asparagus Pesto Pasta

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8
Prep & Cooking Time: 35-45 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, grater, colander, large pot, food processor, silicone spatula, small bowl, measuring jug, mixing bowl and/or resealable container

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, E & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, no added sugars and per serving is low in salt and saturated fats!

This pesto offers a nice alternative to other vegan pesto salads that use avocado, spinach or roasted vegetables. It has a lovely, fresh and uniquely satisfying taste, not to mention it’s easy to prepare!  

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++++++++520g    Asparagus
+++++++++++++++++++++++16g       Garlic Clove
+++++++++++++++++++++++1           Lemon (30ml Juice, 1 tsp zest)
+++++++++++++++++++++++25g       Fresh Basil
+++++++++++++++++++++++400g    Fresh Tomatoes (your favourite!)
+++++++++++++++++++++++4g         Ground Almonds
+++++++++++++++++++++++40g      Pine Nuts
+++++++++++++++++++++++520g    GF Fusilli
+++++++++++++++++++++++40ml    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++2g         Dried Onion Powder
+++++++++++++++++++++++             Salt

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Nutritional Info

 

Directions

  • Wash the asparagus; trim and discard the ends.
  • Peel the garlic. Wash the lemon; grate the zest from half of it and then juice it. Wash and dry the basil; discard the stems and save the leaves. Wash, remove the stem and then roughly chop the tomatoes.
  • Meanwhile, place a large, non-stick saucepan full of cold water over a high heat. Bring to the boil. Add the asparagus. Simmer for 3-5 mins, or until tender. Tip: Ours took about 4½ mins to cook, but it’s finding a happy balance. Cook them too long and the tips disintegrate, not long enough and the ends do not blend very well into the pesto. 
  • Remove the asparagus from the pot, but do not empty the water from the pot. Transfer into a colander. Drain. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

  • Meanwhile, begin preparing the pesto. Whilst the food processor is running, add the garlic through the pouring spout. Blitz into small pieces.
  • Use a spatula and scrape the garlic from the slides and the lid into the base.
  • Add about ¾  of the quantity of the pine nuts and all of the almonds.
  • Blitz until the pine nuts are roughly chopped. Leave the mixture for the moment.

 

In the meantime, bring the saucepan of water back up to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook according to the packet instructions. Reserve some of the cooking liquid from the saucepan (approximately ½ cup) before draining. Tip: We removed some liquid about halfway through the cooking time; save more liquid if you want a really ‘loose pesto’. Drain. Allow to cool slightly.

 

  • Meanwhile, chop the asparagus stalks into halves. Separate the ‘top’ halves from the ‘bottoms’.
  • Chop the bottom halves into small pieces.
  • Chop the top halves into thirds.

 

 

  • Add 1 tsp lemon zest & 2 tbsp juice (or as much zest and juice as desired), basil, about 10 tbsp of the reserved cooking liquid (more if necessary), 40ml oil, about ¾ tsp onion powder and the ‘asparagus bottoms’ into the food processor.
  • Blend until smooth. Season it with some salt to taste. Tip: Your pesto is now complete!
  • Place the pasta into a large mixing bowl or resealable container. Add the pesto. Mix and thoroughly combine. NB: Ours went into this plastic tub (as it was going to be several lunches throughout the week!).
  • Add the tomatoes and asparagus ‘tops’. Mix to combine.
  • Season it with some salt to taste if necessary. Sprinkle over the remaining nuts.

 

 

Serve and enjoy!

NB: This bowl provides 1 portion (based on 8 servings!). This pasta has been refrigerated overnight. If desired, re-freshen your ‘next day’ pasta with a bit of lemon juice, ground black pepper and dried basil.

 

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

 

If preferred…

  • Make the pesto sauce and serve it over gnocchi, spaghetti or in a lasagne instead.
  • If you are not concerned about gluten, give wholemeal or spelt pasta a try!
  • Add some fortified nutritional yeast (with vitamin B12!) to your pesto for a more authentic taste and of course added nutritional value!
  • Try making it with just ground almonds.
  • For an extra creamy pesto sauce (minus the guilty calories!), add some unsweetened soya yoghurt; add the yoghurt to the food processor when processing the final ingredients.
  • Use the pesto sauce as a dip for vegetables or multi-grain pita. If necessary or preferred, just add a little arrowroot powder to thicken it in a blender/food processor first.

 

This recipe was adapted from: fatfreevegan

Vegan & GF Spaghetti With ‘Cheesy’ Cauliflower Sauce

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time: 50 minutes

This recipe was adapted from: OhSheGlows

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, potassium, calcium, iron and is low in saturated fats! 

This recipe is great for pasta lovers and those that at this time of year love stodgy, creamy sauces but without the guilt of consuming high fat & salt contents! The cauliflower in this recipe provides a lovely velvety taste, whilst the mushrooms, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds provide a nice complementary texture. It’s straightforward to prepare and can be adapted in various ways (see below for ideas).

Based on 4 servings, this recipe provides approximately: 331kcal, 4.3g fat, 1.8g s/fat & 0.5g of salt. Authentic’ cheesy cauliflower dishes or cheesy pasta (i.e. ‘Alfredo’ or macaroni & cheese) recipes easily have a minimum of 10g of fat, 5g of saturated fat and a couple grams of salt/serving!  If you can source some fortified nutritional yeast and omit the vegan cheese, the fat content of this meal will be cut in half.

NB: I also adapted this recipe by using 1kcal fry spray (low-fat cooking oil) during the meal preparation instead of olive oil.

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++500g      Cauliflower florets
+++++++++++++++++++++++++6g           Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++90g         White mushrooms (large)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++40g        Cherry tomatoes
+++++++++++++++++++++++++30ml      Lemon juice
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g           Fresh parsley leaves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++600g      GF Spaghetti
+++++++++++++++++++++++++              1 kcal Fry spray (low-fat cooking oil)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g          Garlic powder
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2g          Dried onion powder
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g          Dried Parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++24g        Vegan cheddar cream cheese
+++++++++++++++++++++++++250ml   Unsweetened & fortified almond milk
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Salt
+++++++++++++++++++++++++               Pepper
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g          Pumpkin seeds

Directions:

Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and discard, break off the florets from the stem, discard the stem (if preferred) and wash the florets.

NB: You can cook both the stem and florets in the sauce if preferred; chop the stem into small pieces before cooking.

 

Peel and grate the garlic. Wash dry and finely slice the mushrooms. Wash, remove the stem and halve the tomatoes. Juice the lemon. Wash, dry and roughly chop the fresh parsley.

NB: I used some parsley straight from the freezer.

 

Place a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Add the cauliflower and cover. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 3-6 minutes, or until tender. Remove the cauliflower without draining the water. Transfer it into a colander. Allow to drain.

 

Meanwhile, bring the saucepan of water back to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions. Drain.

 

In the meantime, place a non-stick frying pan or wok over a medium-low heat. Spray some low-fat cooking oil. Add the garlic. Lightly fry for 30 seconds-1 minute, or until slightly softened but not browned.

 

Remove and transfer it onto a small plate.

 

Spray a little more low-fat cooking oil (2-3 sprays). Add the mushrooms. Lightly fry for 4-5 minutes, or until slightly golden.

 

Remove and transfer into a small dish.

 

Place the cauliflower into the blender.

 

Add the garlic, lemon juice, garlic & onion powder, dried parsley, vegan cheese and DF milk (start with 1/2 cup/125ml). Season it with some salt and pepper to taste.

 

Blend until smooth. Add more milk if desired to thin out the sauce.

NB: I used a full cup of DF milk (250ml).

 

Place the pasta back into the saucepan (if you want to refresh everything with heat) or place it into a large mixing bowl.

 

Pour over the sauce. Add the mushrooms.

 

Mix together gently with salad tongs.

 

Serve warm. Place into a pasta bowl or lipped plate. Season as necessary. Garnish with the tomatoes, parsley leaves and pumpkin seeds.

 

 Enjoy!

 

If preferred…

  • Instead of boiling your cauliflower, season and roast it in the oven; heat the oven to 230°C/450°F, place the cauliflower onto a baking tray, spray it with a little low-fat cooking oil, roast for 25-40 minutes, turning a couple of times. This will bring a ‘nutty’ flavour to your sauce.
  • Use nutritional yeast instead of faux cheese to keep the ‘cheesy’ taste and add some nutritional value (I only used vegan cheese because I haven’t sourced nutritional yeast yet).
  • Try adding some lightly fried red onion or red bell pepper for extra colour and taste!
  • Try varying the seasoning, e.g. sweet paprika, dill, chilli flakes, Dijon mustard or add some capers on top.
  • Try a medley of other vegetables, e.g. garden peas, broccoli, wilted spinach or swiss chard.
  • Use some fresh plum or sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Use frozen cauliflower and cook from frozen.
  • Try using chestnut or porcini mushrooms.
  • Use unsweetened & fortified soya milk instead of almond.
  • Swap the spaghetti for another type of pasta (especially if you are not concerned about gluten).