Creamy Courgette Turmeric Pasta – VeganMoFo Day 15

It’s Day 15 of VeganMoFo 2017, which means we’re pretty much halfway through (already!). Today is the last day of “behind the scenes” week and it’s all about spices. What spices do we use, and do we have any favourites? Well, I like to use a huge variety of spices. I would take a photo of my spice cupboard, but to be honest it is not very organised and probably isn’t very interesting! So we’ll talk about one of my favourite spices instead: turmeric.

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Turmeric is actually really good for you. It’s not just “that yellow powder that dyes your counter when you spill it” (though it is that too). It contains curcumin, which is what makes it so yellow, and has anti-inflammatory effects, similar to those found in NSAIDs like ibuprofen, only without the whole stomach upset those can cause (BBC). It’s been shown to be useful in treating pain and swelling in people with arthritis too, and there are trials ongoing with regards to other conditions!

It also looks pretty cool. I feel like Delia Smith could easily serve this at a Norwich City club meal and nobody would bat an eyelid. Look at that bright yellow!

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You don’t want turmeric to be too raw as it can have a kind of powdery taste. So, when you put it into the mixture, you let it cook for thirty seconds before doing the next step. This cooks the turmeric and gives this dish a delicious savoury flavour!

I also have white beans in this pasta which add to the creaminess, and give a nice protein boost – making this really very good for you!

Courgette Turmeric Pasta


Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium courgettes, sliced into half moons
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (or 1 tbsp oil)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tin white kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 500ml unsweetened milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Cooked pasta

Directions

  1. Begin by melting the vegan butter in a large frying pan. Add the onion and garlic, and salt and pepper to taste, and fry until translucent.
  2. Add the courgette slices and fry for 5-10 minutes, until turning translucent.
  3. Add in the tin of beans, and stir.
  4. Next, add the flour and turmeric, and stir over a high heat for thirty seconds.
  5. Gradually add the milk, constantly stirring, until the sauce thickens.
  6. Stir in the mustard and lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Stir through the cooked pasta, and serve!

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Chickpea Spinach Pasta – VeganMoFo Day 7

Yesterday, I posted a recipe for cheesy sausage rolls, which are pretty obviously imitating a non-vegan counterpart. They are really delicious, as are a lot of vegan cheese and meat substitutes, but sometimes it’s nice to step away from that and make something that is tasty of its own accord, not because it’s imitating something else. That’s what today’s VeganMoFo prompt is about – making an original vegan meal, something that isn’t replicating a non-vegan food, but is great as it is.

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This dish is possibly my husband’s favourite meal. It’s one he always requests, which is great because it is so simple. Fry off onion and garlic, add some chickpeas, vegetable stock, and spinach, and cook it all down a little, then stir through hot cooked pasta! And that’s it.

This recipe also gives me a great opportunity to lament about how much spinach shrinks. Look at this!:

It’s the same amount of spinach in both pictures – just uncooked and then cooked!

Chickpea Spinach Pasta


Ingredients

  • Cooked pasta (enough for 2)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • 150g fresh spinach
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Begin by frying the onion and garlic in the oil until softened and translucent.
  2. Add the chickpeas, and fry for a few minutes more.
  3. Add the vegetable stock and the spinach, stir, and cook until the spinach has wilted.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Stir through cooked pasta, and serve!

 

 

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne – VeganMoFo Day 4

Today’s VeganMoFo prompt is all about the worst catered meal you’ve ever had.  When you’re vegan, often it seems that chefs just go “umm?” and throw a vegetable at a plate. In general, I prefer to eat out at places that specify vegan options – or even better, vegan only places – but that’s not always possible. Sometimes, you just have to grin and bear it.

I can’t seem to find a picture of what, in my opinion, was the worst catered meal I’ve had, but I’ll describe it to you. As you may have gathered from the title of this post, it was a lasagne. Lasagnes are usually great, right? Pasta with a nice creamy sauce…mmm. Except this lasagne had no pasta. In place of pasta, it had sheets of celeriac. I really don’t like celery, or celeriac and, yeah, it wasn’t ideal.

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So, I decided to make my own version. A better version. I kept with the theme of vegetables – including lots of vegetables roasted for this lasagne, but used actual pasta, and a version of my cheese sauce to go with it. As you can probably tell, I didn’t have the best luck with the photos for this post – the light was dark (oh, autumn…) and lasagne unfortunately just isn’t that pretty. It was tasty, though!

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The roasted veggies that go inside are pretty good looking though, don’t you think? I had a hard time not just eating them fresh out of the oven. They get roasted first, then cooked into a tomatoey sauce, which is used as the lasagne sauce. Then, you make the cheese sauce, arrange it all in a pan, and bake it in the oven!

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne


Ingredients

    For the vegetable sauce
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 large courgettes
  • 2 peppers (whichever colour you like!)
  • 250g cherry or baby plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt + Pepper
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • For the cheese sauce
  • 1 pack (350g) silken tofu
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 350ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 40g cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Also

  • 1 box lasagne sheets

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
  1. Begin by chopping all your vegetables (up to and including the cherry tomatoes) into bitesize pieces. Don’t worry too much about making them even – just make sure they’re roughly similar sizes.
  2. Place the vegetables on baking sheets (you’ll probably need two) and mix through the oregano, thyme, salt and pepper, and olive oil.
  3. Put the baking trays in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, stirring midway through, until all the vegetables are cooked. Leave the oven on.
  4. Once the vegetables are cooked, add them to a saucepan along with the 250ml stock, the tomato puree, and the chopped tomato tin. Stir, and heat through gently.
  5. Next, make the cheese sauce. In a saucepan, fry the minced garlic until it just starts to brown – keep an eye on it as it happens quickly!
  6. Remove from the heat, and add the remaining ingredients.
  7. Using either a stick blender, or a countertop blender, blend until smooth.
  8. Place the saucepan back on a low heat, and whisk until the sauce starts to thicken.
  9. Next, assemble the lasagne. Put a bit of the vegetable sauce on the bottom of your dish, followed by lasagne sheets, followed by cheese sauce. Repeat until you reach the top of your dish – making sure to end with cheese sauce.
  10. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, until the lasagne sheets are cooked (you can test this easily with a fork).

Thanksgiving Pasta – VeganMoFo Day 24

Happy thanksgiving to all the Americans out there! I’m not American, so I had to think a little when it came to finding a thanksgiving inspired meal for today’s VeganMoFo prompt.

It seems that many of the ingredients used in American thanksgiving meals are similar to what we Brits use in Christmas dinners. With a few exceptions like sweet potatoes (and marshmallows?), and nuts like pecans.

I decided to go with what I know – brussels sprouts and cranberries – and add in some American elements – sweet potatoes and pecans. I’m afraid I wasn’t quite brave enough to put marshmallows in my meal.

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Rather than doing a big roast, I made pasta! It may not be a traditional thanksgiving meal, but then as a Brit I am not a traditional thanksgiving celebrator. It tasted really good!

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The meal itself is pretty simple – just roast the veg, toast the pecans, and cook the pasta. Then stir together the vegetables and pasta, and top with the toasted pecans. So much easier than a full roast dinner!

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I also topped my pasta with some of the Sainsbury’s vegan Wensleydale & Cranberries, feeling that this was an appropriate usage of a cheese I wasn’t really sure what to do with. It worked well – so if you have any cheese like this, give it a go.

Thanksgiving Pasta with Sweet Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, Cranberries and Pecans


Ingredients

  • 3 sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 250g brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 30g cranberries
  • 250g dried pasta
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 60g pecans, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

    Preheat your oven to 200C/400F
  1. Toss the sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts in the salt and pepper and olive oil, and place on a baking tray (or two if needed).
  2. Place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, add the cranberries, stir, and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta.
  5. Next, in a frying pan, melt the vegan butter, and add the chopped pecans.
  6. Fry until the pecans are fragrant and crisp – 5-10 minutes.
  7. Once the pasta and vegetables are done, drain the pasta and return to the saucepan.
  8. Stir through the roasted vegetables until well mixed.
  9. Serve topped with the toasted pecans!

Chickpea Tahini Pasta – VeganMoFo Day 17

Okay, I cheated a little on this prompt. The prompt is to make food in “a colour you rarely eat” and I just couldn’t think of anything. So I flipped the prompt on its head and decided to go with a colour I always eat – beige. Beige food has a reputation. Fried, carby, bland food is often beige food and this means that beige food has a reputation for not being particularly good. Not so with this meal! It may be beige but it is healthy, packed with protein from the chickpeas, and tastes delicious!

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With the addition of tahini giving this dish a nice sharp flavour – tahini pairs so well with chickpeas (see: hummus) and parsley stirred though at the end to lighten it up, this is one of my favourite pasta dishes!

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Seen above served with my homemade garlic bread, this meal is so warming and comforting and creamy!

Chickpea Tahini Pasta


Ingredients

  • 180g pasta
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 15g parsley, chopped
  • salt + pepper

Directions

  1. Begin by frying the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the cumin, and cook for thirty seconds, stirring constantly.
  3. Next, add three quarters of the chickpeas (leave the rest aside for now), the nutritional yeast, tahini, vegetable stock, and lemon juice.
  4. Stir well, and simmer for ten minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta to your specifications!
  6. Either use a stick blender, or transfer the mixture to a stand-alone blender, and blend until smooth.
  7. Next, add the rest of the chickpeas and the parsley, and cook for a further five minutes.
  8. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, then stir through the pasta and serve!

Red Pasta – VeganMoFo Day 14

Today’s meal is all about one colour. The prompt is to make a meal that is all made up of a single colour. I could have gone the hard route, and chosen blue, or black, or something difficult like that, but I am lazy so I decided to make a meal that was all red.

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I have heard that in America, pasta can simply have a “red sauce” which is apparently some indistinguishable red coloured sauce. I can’t exactly complain – we have “brown sauce” in the UK, which isn’t a pasta sauce but a condiment much like ketchup.

My “red sauce” however is pretty simple, and nice and fresh – using red peppers, fresh tomatoes, some smoked paprika and some bright red sriracha to add some heat.

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I also found this red coloured pasta in the supermarket too, meaning that not only was the sauce red, the pasta itself was too! It added another element of heat to the dish which was really nice, although you could definitely use regular pasta if you like.

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This pasta would go really well with some vegan cheese grated on top, but I didn’t do that for the photo as it would somewhat ruin the “red” look!

Red Pasta


Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 red pepper, diced small
  • 400g tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 500ml passata
  • 180g pasta

Directions

  1. Begin by frying the onion and garlic in the oil until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the diced pepper, tomatoes, and chilli flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes soften.
  3. Add the paprika, sriracha, bouillon powder, basil, and passata, and stir well.
  4. Cook for 10 minutes (or longer if you like) until a thick sauce is formed.
  5. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in salted water until cooked.
  6. Once cooked, drain the pasta and stir through the red sauce.
  7. Serve (with vegan cheese if you like!)

Lentil Ragu – VeganMoFo Day 12

Today’s VeganMoFo prompt asks us about our Dream Holiday Destination. Well, there aren’t many places I wouldn’t want to travel to. I want to see the whole world! Of course, health, money, life…they all get in the way and I can’t, but a girl can dream right?

One place I have always wanted to visit is Italy – Naples would be a great visit, and as a history graduate, I would love to see Rome. So Italy is where I went with for my dish today.

I recently posted about my meal out at Zizzi’s where I had their lentil ragu and this inspired me to make a lentil ragu of my own. Warm and hearty, this dish is great as the nights draw in.

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A mixture of dried herbs – basil, oregano, and rosemary – give an Italian taste to this sauce, and a splash of balsamic vinegar provides a sweet, sharp addition.

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I use linguine for this but you could use any long pasta – tagliatelle would work great, or even just simple spaghetti!

You may experience variation in the time taken to cook your lentils, I’ve found depending on age and storage and just lentil variety they can take different times, so if you find the sauce dries out before your lentils are cooked just add a splash more water and continue!

Lentil Ragu


Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 50ml balsamic vinegar
  • 125g dried brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 250g linguine (or however much you like to use)
  • Salt + Pepper to season

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, fry the onion, garlic, and diced carrots in the olive oil until they begin to soften – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the herbs and salt and pepper, and pour in the balsamic vinegar.
  3. Let the balsamic vinegar cook off, and then add the lentils, chopped tomatoes, and vegetable stock.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 50 minutes – or until the lentils are cooked. Stir occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta to taste.
  6. Once the pasta and lentils are all cooked, drain the pasta and stir it through the ragu.
  7. Serve!

Indian Lentil Bolognese – VeganMoFo Day 10!

Today’s challenge is Fusion Food which is something I love, because honestly, most of what I cook is a mish-mash of whatever I think tastes good. I don’t see any problem with combining cuisines to make something tasty! Today’s meal is no difference – Indian bolognese may sound a bit strange, but really, it’s not! I already have a lentil bolognese recipe, which is lovely, and dhal is a common Indian lentil recipe…so why not combine the two? Make a dhal style bolognese!

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I use whole spices in this recipe as I think they add a great depth to the dish. Especially mustard seeds – fry them in hot oil till they start popping and jumping about and they are so delicious! Whole spices also keep much longer than ground ones without losing their flavour, so don’t be afraid to buy them.

You could totally add peas or any other vegetable in with this dish if you want to get some greenery in. But as it is it is still super tasty, and the lentils give a good protein hit too!

Indian Lentil Bolognese


Ingredients

  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes (sub for a chopped fresh chilli or two if you have any!)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 125g red lentils
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • 180g spaghetti

Directions

  1. In a large pan, heat up the sunflower oil. When hot, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and coriander seeds. Fry until fragrant and the mustard seeds start popping.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and chilli flakes, and fry until the onion softens – about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garam masala and turmeric and cook for thirty seconds, stirring constantly.
  4. Add in the lentils and vegetable stock, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
  5. While the lentils are simmering, cook the spaghetti.
  6. Once the lentils are tender, serve the bolognese over the spaghetti!

Bolognese Pasta Bake

It’s getting cold. Winter is well and truly on its way. I always say that once my birthday is over, Christmas can begin, and since that was earlier this week, I can now get into the winter/Christmas spirit!

So it’s time for nice, warming foods. Ones that don’t really take much effort. Lasagne is one of my favourite winter foods (and I have a great recipe for it!) but doing all that layering? Sauce, pasta, other sauce, etc…ugh. Sometimes you just can’t be bothered. And this recipe is kind of like a lasagne, only without all the fiddly bits. It has the pasta, the white sauce, and the bolognese sauce. And it’s just as delicious, for much less effort!

I used TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) for the mince in this, because I find it’s easy to use and you can make it take on whatever flavour you like! You have to pre-soak it for 15 minutes, and I did this in a mixture of marmite and hot water, leading to a super delicious mince mixture.

The rest of the sauce is just a basic tomato sauce with onions and garlic, and I mixed through the cooked pasta.

I made a very simple white sauce for the topping – melted Vitalite butter (use whatever you have, or even oil if you wish) with flour mixed in, then almond milk gradually stirred through to create a thick sauce. Spread the sauce over the pasta, pop it in the oven, and it comes out absolutely delicious!

Bolognese Pasta Bake


Ingredients

  • 180g pasta, cooked
  • 35g TVP flakes
  • 150ml boiling water
  • 1 tsp marmite (use vegetable stock powder if you don’t have marmite)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp butter substitute
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 250ml milk of choice
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

    PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 180C/355F
  1. First, soak the TVP. Dissolve the marmite in the boiling water, and pour it over the TVP flakes. Leave aside for 15 minutes.
  2. In a pan, fry the onion and garlic until softened. Season with salt and pepper, and add in the basil and oregano.
  3. Stir through the tomato puree and chopped tomatoes, and leave to cook for 5 minutes, adding extra water to thin if needed.
  4. Stir the soaked TVP through the tomato sauce mixture.
  5. Meanwhile, make the white sauce. In a saucepan, melt the butter, and stir through the flour. Cook for 30 seconds on the heat, stirring constantly, and then gradually pour in the milk, until you get a thick sauce.
  6. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, and stir through the teaspoon of mustard.
  7. Stir the pasta into the bolognese sauce, mix well, and then pour it into an ovenproof dish.
  8. Pour the white sauce over the pasta. Top with vegan cheese if you like, but I didn’t and it was still nice!
  9. Place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove, and serve! I like to serve with peas.

Lasagne! – Vegan MoFo Day 14

For day 14 of Vegan MoFo (has it been two weeks already?!) the prompt is to “share something vegan with a non-vegan”.

I may have cheated a little with this one. That’s becoming a common phrase, right? I couldn’t think of who to share with, so I shared with my husband! He is just vegetarian, so not vegan. Of course, he eats vegan every night when I cook…but it still counts, right?

I decided to make lasagne! Lasagne is one of those lovely comforting meals that not only tastes good, but also makes a load of leftovers to keep in the freezer! You can put whatever you like in it really, if you have vegetables to use up they can go in the filling.

I kept this one pretty simple and just did a tomato-y soya mince filling. Layered with pasta and a vegan bechamel sauce, it works out wonderfully!

It goes in the oven like this and comes out all lovely and crispy like the photo at the top!

My husband says he liked it very much, if you’re wondering.

Simple Vegan Lasagne


Ingredients

    for the filling:
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 200g frozen soya mince
  • 500ml passata
  • 1/2 tsp marmite
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt & Pepper
  • for the bechamel:

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • approx 500ml milk (I used almond milk)
  • Lasagne sheets

Directions

    Preheat the oven to 200C/390F
  1. First, make the bechamel. In a saucepan melt the butter.
  2. Add the flour to the butter and stir on the heat for a minute until it becomes slightly frothy.
  3. Gradually add the milk, constantly stirring so no lumps form.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, and let cook until a thick sauce is formed. Set aside.
  5. In a frying pan, fry the onion, carrot, and garlic until the onion is translucent.
  6. Add in the marmite and herbs and mix well.
  7. Add the mince and passata and cook for approx 10 minutes, adding more water if it starts to dry out.
  8. In your baking dish, spread a small layer of the mince mixture on the bottom. Cover this in lasagne sheets (try not to overlap them).
  9. On top of the lasagne sheets, spread a layer of the bechamel, then another layer of the mince.
  10. Cover the mince with lasagne sheets and repeat until the mince is used up. Make the final “top” layer be bechamel on top of the pasta.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden on top and the pasta sheets are done (stick a fork in to test).