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? 🙂

‘Souper Duper’ Green Soup w/ Grains [Vegan]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8-10
Prep & Cooking Time: 60-70 mins (*Dependent upon skill, desired portion size and/or the number of handy kitchen helpers present!)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, K & E, protein, fibre, omega 3, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats!

A few weeks ago a moment of hunger and convenience had us purchasing and trialling a new flavour of ‘Covent Garden’ soup; the taste was fantastic but the colour (and price) was left to be desired for! So with that in mind, we decided to have a go and make our own twist on their green soup. How many of you have tried doing this? Do you find it enjoyable and really satisfying too? 🙂

We were happy with our result! A soup with a creamy and sweet ‘under note’ (from the puréed swede and baking potatoes) with an all round satisfying and delicious taste of chunky little veggies and grains.

We cooked this soup in bulk and it created five tasty lunches! So adjust your ingredients accordingly. We have also used a variety of grains (it was time to use up some of our tiddley, cupboard leftovers!), but feel free to use just one grain and/or your favourite(s)! If you need a completely GF option, swap the bulgar wheat and pearl barley for millet, buckwheat, brown rice and/or even lentils instead!

Also don’t be shy when it comes to using frozen vegetables, they can be just as tasty and nutritious, sometimes even more so! We used some of our delicious frozen spinach that we had previously purchased at Tesco. Thanks to the Orchard at Tesco, we had a coupon that allowed us to receive a discount! The price is extremely favourable, £1.40 for 900g, which works out much cheaper than fresh; so there’s no spoilage and you can have spinach whenever you fancy it! If you shop at Tesco, you should also look into becoming an Orchard member too!

 

Quick Foodie Facts and Tips:

  • Per serving (based on 10 servings) there is about 3.5 servings of vegetables towards your 5-A-Day! That’s one and half more than the Covent Garden version! 😀
  • As we’ve previously mentioned, a swede is also known as a rutabaga (in America!) or ‘neeps’  (in Scotland!) and is similar to a turnip. It is also in season until early next year!
  • Fancy another swede orientated soup, check out last year’s recipe here!

Happy cooking and have a great weekend everyone!

 

The potatoes and grains are not shown here!

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++50g       Dried Quinoa
+++++++++++++++++++50g       Dried Bulgar Wheat
+++++++++++++++++++100g     Dried Pearl Barley
+++++++++++++++++++1.3kg      Swede
+++++++++++++++++++400g     Baking Potato
+++++++++++++++++++500g     Carrot
+++++++++++++++++++200g     Celery
+++++++++++++++++++200g     Yellow Bell Pepper
+++++++++++++++++++230g      White onion
+++++++++++++++++++2             Garlic clove
+++++++++++++++++++2 tbsp    Dried Thyme
+++++++++++++++++++               Ground Black pepper
+++++++++++++++++++3L           Vegetable Stock (low-salt/GF if required)
+++++++++++++++++++220g      Frozen Peas
+++++++++++++++++++160g      Tesco Frozen Spinach
+++++++++++++++++++3 tbsp    Ground flaxseed
+++++++++++++++++++               Salt

 

Directions:

Cook your grain(s) according to the packet instructions.

Our cooked grains! NB: We used all of the pearl barley shown here and 2/3 of the quinoa/bulgar wheat…but don’t worry, we have adjusted the ingredient list accordingly!

 

In the meantime…

1. Wash and halve the swede and potato.
2. Peel the swede and potato.
3. Cube the swede and potato.
4. Place them into a large pot and fill it with cold water. Cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Simmer and cook for 10-12 mins or until tender.
5. Drain.

 

 

Whilst the swede and potato are cooking…

1. Place another large pot full of 3 litres water over a medium heat (this will be for the soup). Bring to a boil.
2. Prepare the other veggies. Tip:Chop them as small or as large as desired! Wash, peel, trim the ends and chop the carrot into small cubes. Wash, trim the ends and finely cube the celery. Wash, remove the stem and core and then finely chop the bell pepper. Peel and dice the onion and garlic.
3. Once boiling, place the stock into the pot of water. Whisk to dissolve. Add the carrot, celery, bell pepper, onion, garlic, peas, thyme and some black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid. Simmer and cook for 5-7 mins or until tender.
4. Meanwhile, dice the frozen spinach.
5. Add the spinach during the last 2 mins of cooking.
6. Remove the pot of soup from the heat. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

Feel free to complete this step with a hand-held stick blender instead!

1. Once the swede and potato have cooled, transfer them into a blender. Tip: You might have to add a little water to help purée it.
2. Purée until smooth and creamy. NB: You will have to complete this step in batches.
3. Transfer the soup into a container or pot (as appropriate).
4. Add a little of the soup into one of your batches (to help give the soup a vibrant green colour!). Blend until smooth and creamy.
5. Add the remaining puréed soup into the large plastic container or pot.

 

 

1. Add the remaining soup into the container or pot. Stir together.
2. Add the cooked grains. Stir through and thoroughly combine.
3. Add the ground flax seed. Stir through and thoroughly combine.
4. Taste and season the soup with some salt and ground black pepper as necessary.
Tip: This is important as the puréed swede and potato will slightly ‘neutralise’ the soup’s flavour. Reheat over a medium-low heat (if required).

 

 

Ladle the soup into a serving bowl. Garnish with some croutons, a drizzle of olive oil and/or fresh or dried parsley (if desired).

This shows one serving (based on ten servings) of reheated soup!

Enjoy! 😀

Pearl Barley Tabbouleh-Fattoush Fusion Salad w/ Crumbled ‘Feta’ [Vegan]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6
Prep,Cooking & Assembly: 40-45 mins (*Dependent upon skill and/or grain used).
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board(s), large bowl or casserole dish, large pot (with lid), colander, sharp knife, baking tray (or grill pan), small dish, pastry brush, resealable containers

Notes: This recipe contains: B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added salt and sugar and has a moderate quantity of fat!

We’re both fans of Middle Eastern (ME) foods, so when looking for something to add to our meal plan last Saturday, Tabbouleh sprang to mind! It’s a great recipe that enables you to still make use of some tasty, cheap and seasonal ingredients (tomatoes and cucumber!) or herbs from your garden before summer is officially gone. Yes, this salad can really put a spring in your step courtesy of its wonderful, healthful and fresh flavours; mint, parsley and lemon are delicious and they can really transform a dish!

For those that are unfamiliar with this recipe, Tabbouleh is a ME dish that offers big flavours, and beautiful colours that are all really satisfying to the last bite! It can be served with flatbreads, but we thought about taking that idea one step further and created this Tabbouleh-Fattoush fusion salad (with crumbled ‘feta’ aka marinated, silken tofu)!

Fattoush is another ME classic where flatbreads (that have become stale) are then seasoned, toasted or fried to create croutons. These delicious morsels of bread are then combined in a chunky, vegetable-based salad; mint, parsley and sumac (a tart and citrusy spice that comes from a flower) are typical flavours that give this salad a fresh and tangy taste.

So why the pearl barley?? We prefer larger grains in our salads, but unfortunately giant couscous (at least where we live) can be quite pricey in comparison to other grains. Luckily, pearl barley makes a tasty and cheap substitution… it just takes a little longer to cook (but we assure you it’s completely worth the wait)!

We kept our salad veggies slightly chunky and varied; radish is another great, seasonal vegetable that works well in this salad. We also added crushed sumac berries (aka ground sumac) to not only to season the croutons, but the salad and tofu. If you are not keen on pearl barley, you could use more traditional Tabbouleh grains such as Israeli couscous or bulgur wheat, or even experiment with orzo. If you need a gluten free option, be inventive! Try using cooked quinoa, millet, brown basmati or wild rice, or a GF couscous (if you don’t mind the taste of maize).

Please adjust the flavourings, grains and/or vegetables to your own personal taste and we hope that you enjoy this healthy salad as much as we did! 😀

Quick Foodie Facts & Tips:

  • Per serving, this salad provides you with approx. 3 servings of fruits/vegetables towards your 5-A-Day!
  • Pearl barley is naturally low in fat and sugar and is a great source of many nutrients including: protein, fibre, Vitamin B3, iron, zinc (just to name a few) among other vitamins and minerals.

 

Ingredients

NB: If using more than two pitta breads, increase the oil mixture accordingly. Also, if you’re using fresh lemon juice, use the juice from approx. three small lemons or two large ones.

Need an easy-print recipe?Print here. 🙂

 

Directions
  • Prepare the ‘crumbled feta’. Open, drain and place the tofu into a casserole (or large) dish. Sprinkle over 2g onion powder, 2g dried oregano and 1/2 tsp crushed sumac berries. Pour over 2 tbsp garlic-infused and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 3 tbsp lemon juice. Season to taste with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Leave it to marinade for about 40-45 mins (if possible). Tip: Prepare this the day before; the longer you allow for marinating, the better the ‘crumbled feta’ (aka tofu!) will taste.
  • In the meantime, cook the pearl barley according to the packet instructions. Drain. Rinse with tepid water (if necessary). Allow to cool. NB: Ours took about 30-35 mins to cook. We rinsed ours as it was a bit ‘starchy’ post-cooking.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the salad veggies. Wash and remove the mint and parsley leaves from its stem; coarsely chop them. Wash, trim the ends and roughly dice the cucumber. Wash, trim the ends and chop the spring onion into slices. Remove the stem, wash and then dice the tomatoes. Wash, trim the tops and finely slice the radishes Tip: a cheese grater works great for this!

 

 

Prepare The Croutons (The Fattoush!)

NB: Use 1/2 to 1 pitta bread/person. We recommend heating the bread in ‘larger pieces’; smaller pieces burn faster and you’ll have  an unnecessary amount to turn over!

  1. Heat the grill to a medium-high setting.

2. Place 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp of crushed sumac berries and a pinch of salt into a small dish. Mix with a fork to thoroughly combine.

3. Slice the pitta bread into halves. Lightly coat both sides with the oil mixture using a pastry brush or your fingers. Place under the hot grill for 2 mins, turn and heat for a further 2-3 mins or until lightly toasted. Remove.

4. Separate the pitta bread. Coat the inside of the bread with the remaining oil mixture. Place back under the grill for a further 1-2 mins or until lightly browned and slightly crispy. Remove. Allow to cool slightly.

5. Break into smaller pieces (if desired).

 

Assemble The Salad!

Note: (Step 1): Oops! We got one step ahead of ourselves and put it into this bowl instead of our tupperware for future lunches!

  1. Once cool, place the pearl barley into a large bowl or (resealable plastic container) with the mint and parsley. Stir with a fork to combine and ‘fluff’ the grains.

2. Add the cucumber, spring onion, tomatoes, radish, 2 tbsp garlic-infused  and 2- 2½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 3-4 tbsp lemon juice and ½-1 tsp crushed sumac berries. Season it to taste with a little salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

3. Stir with a fork to thoroughly combine. Taste and season as necessary.

4. Gently chop the tofu into rough pieces (as small or as large as desired) to form your ‘crumbled feta’.

5. If you are not serving this straight away, remove the tofu with a slotted spoon and transfer it into a separate resealable container with a little of its marinating liquid (if preferred).

 

Place the salad onto a serving place. Top with the ‘crumbled feta’ and croutons.

This shows one serving. We also added some crushed pistachios and sliced black olives! 🙂

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container; the salad is best consumed within 3 days. NB: The tofu is best consumed within 4-5 days. 

Recipe updated: 23/02/16

Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Soup w/ Pearl Barley

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8-10
Prep: 30-60 mins (*Dependant on skill and desired serving size.)
Cooking time: 4-7 hrs (*Dependent on SC setting.)
Type: Main meal
Tools: Colander, chopping board, sharp knife, slow cooker

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

This is a great autumnal or winter vegetable-based soup. It’s easy to execute and adapted not only to the season but your taste buds! Our variation contains a great blend of herbs and some delicious (chunky) veggies! 

The peas and pearl barley provide a great source of protein, but feel free to swap them for your favourite type of legume, pulse and/or grain; smoked seitan or tofu would also make a tasty addition! Diet permitting, you could add a little lean beef or chicken (we think that this could also work quite well!). 

We cooked the pearl barley separately and would recommend doing so, unless this is only going to be served as ‘one meal’. We have found in the past that the pearl barley keeps absorbing liquid… so your next day leftovers will be more barley than broth! :/

You’ll find that we initially kept the liquid to a minimum; we were waiting to see how much water was given off in the first 3 hours before adding any more! However, we have advised for everyone to add all of the liquid at start of the cooking process. 

Quick Food Fact: Per serving (based on 10 servings!), this soup provides you with about 3.3 servings of vegetables towards your 5-A-Day!

Happy cooking everyone! 😀

 

We used 1/2 the swede and 1/4 of the cabbage shown here; fresh thyme and rosemary not shown here.

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print version? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Wash and then chop the potato into chunks. Wash, trim the ends and quarter the parsnip. Transfer the potato and parsnip into a slow cooker.

 

 

Wash, peel and chop the swede into chunks. Wash, trim the ends and slice the carrot; transfer the vegetables into the slow cooker.

The only root vegetable we peeled was the swede; it’s time saving, but it also adds some extra nutrients to the soup (just remember to give your veggies a good scrub first)!

 

 

Peel and dice the onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then roughly chop the bell pepper. Peel and dice the garlic; transfer the vegetables into the slow cooker.

 

 

 

Wash and roughly slice (or shred) the cabbage leaves. Wash the parsley; remove the leaves from its stem and roughly chop them. Remove the rosemary sprigs from its stem and roughly chop them. Remove the thyme leaves from its stem.

 

 

Add the cabbage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, bay leaf, black pepper and 1/2 tsp of salt  into the slow cooker. Add the pearl barley (if applicable*).

*See above notes.

 

 

Prepare the stock. Pour in the hot stock and some (just boiled) water. Cover with a lid. Cook on a high heating setting for about 3.5 hrs or on a low heat setting for 7-8hrs instead.

 

 

When there is about 40 minutes of cooking time left, defrost the peas. Add the corn flour to a small dish with equal parts water; stir into a paste to form a ‘slurry’. Add the peas into slow cooker. Whilst stirring, pour in the slurry. Stir until dissolved and combined. Cover with the lid. Cook for a further 40 mins.

 

 

In the meantime, cook the pearl barley according to the packet instructions.

Ours took 30 mins to cook. NB: We lightly oiled and seasoned the leftover pearl barley to prevent it becoming one, big flavourless blob!

 

 

Stir and season the soup to taste before serving.

 

 

Serve warm. Place some pearl barley into a large serving bowl (if applicable). Ladle the soup over the barley. Stir together. Garnish with some parsley (if preferred).

We served ours with some tasty spirulina-based bread! 🙂

 

 

Enjoy!