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).

Borlotti Bean Soup – Vegan MoFo day 3

I suppose this recipe could have gone into yesterday’s category too, as we had it when I was a kid too. It’s originally based off a Delia Smith recipe – my mum, being a huge Norwich City FC fan, is also a huge Delia fan. But, I figured since it’s vegan already, and it really is very quick and easy (it’s our go to “I can’t be bothered” meal), it would fit in today’s a lot more.

So if you hadn’t already guessed, today’s category is “Quick, Easy & Delicious”.

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It may not be the most photogenic meal – soup rarely is, especially when, like me, you have chipped bowls to serve it in! One day, I will have a giant kitchen with pretty cutlery….let me dream eh?! But it is tasty, warming, and only takes half an hour max to make!

Now, you can make variations of this because I realise not everyone can get borlotti beans. Often, if we can’t find them, we replace them with white kidney beans (also called canellini beans) and it tastes just the same! Pasta wise, feel free to use what you have. Slightly smaller pasta does work better – so macaroni or similar would be good – but I’ve used penne and fusilli in the past too and it works great!

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I always serve mine with garlic bread because, who doesn’t love garlic bread? If I don’t have any in the freezer I just make my own – finely chop a garlic clove, mix in a bowl with a spoonful of butter of your choice, and spread over a slice or two of bread. Put it under the grill (broiler, I think, in America) for a few minutes until it goes golden and toasted!

Borlotti Bean Soup


Ingredients

  • 180g pasta
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 heaped tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp stock powder, or 1 stock cube
  • 1 can borlotti beans, drained
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Boiling water

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, fry the onion and garlic until softened.
  2. Add in the herbs, stock powder, salt and pepper & tomato puree and mix well.
  3. Stir through the beans, and, with a fork, mash about half of them.
  4. Stir in the pasta, and then pour over the boiling water until it just covers the pasta.
  5. Let cook until the pasta is done, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve with garlic bread!

Tomato, Basil, Garlic & (almond) Feta Pasta: Vegan MoFo Day 2!

The theme for day two of Vegan MoFo 2015 is: A Dish from Your Childhood.

This dish is one I remember eating in summer holidays at my Aunt’s house in France. Light and summery, it makes the most of good fresh ingredients and requires little cooking. Of course, the original wasn’t vegan because of the feta – but I found a wonderful recipe on the Maple Spice Blog for a “Baked Almond Feta”. Most nut “cheeses” I have seen are not really doable for me, because they need you to blend whole nuts and, well, my blender just isn’t up to that. This one, however, uses preground almonds you buy in packs (Almond Flour for you foreigners!). You mix it with lemon juice, water, olive oil, garlic, and salt, and then tie it in a funny contraption with either cheesecloth, muslin, or whatever fabric you have to hand, and let it drain overnight in the fridge.

You then turn it out into a dish and bake for 40 minutes or so until it dries out and, let it cool (if you can) and you have a wonderful “Feta” cheese! It’s not as solid as some feta can be – if you want a super solid feta try some of the tofu feta recipes bumbling about the net, but it’s creamy and salty and tangy, just like feta should be!

The finished feta, crumbled a little.

For the pasta recipe, I use cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, chopped garlic, and olive oil. Mix it all in a bowl and let marinate for at least half an hour. Resist the urge to eat it with a spoon.

Once it’s done marinating, just cook the pasta, add to the mixture, plate up and crumble the feta on top. Delicious!

Tomato, Basil, Garlic & Feta Pasta


Ingredients

  • 1 batch Almond Feta (or vegan feta of your choice)
  • 180g pasta
  • 350g cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large handful fresh basil, chopped,
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped,
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper for seasoning

Directions

  1. Put the tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil in a bowl, and mix well.
  2. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes (if longer, keep in the fridge).
  3. Cook the pasta until done, and add to the mixture.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, and spoon onto plates.
  5. Crumble the feta over the pasta and serve.

Creamy Leek Pasta Bake

The last day of Vegan Mofo! I’m not sure if it’s gone quickly or slowly. September has been a pretty long month in my book, and I certainly feel like I’ve done a lot of blogging. I didn’t quite manage every day, but I did a lot of posts and I’m proud of that. I never really blogged before and I now have so much appreciation for those who do do it full time, every day. How on earth do you find things to talk about? I’ve been finding myself a little lost for words in my blog posts recently! But I will continue after Mofo, not so regularly, not so often, but I won’t let this blog die. And I now have an awesome collection of blogs to follow, recipes to try…etc.

For my final Mofo Meal (probably, unless I’m ambitious and post tonight!) I made a creamy leek pasta bake. I had a giant leek that my Granny gave me at the weekend and needed to use it up, and I fancied something nice and creamy.

This meal does use several pots and pans but it’s very worth it! You have to make a bechamel sauce (which is a super useful talent to know – I can now make one without looking at any recipes!) and breadcrumbs, and cook the pasta, and saute the leeks, but it creates a super creamy meal. If you have any vegan cheese you could grate it into the sauce and I’m sure it’d be delicious!

A bechamel sauce is actually pretty easy to make. You need some form of vegan butter – this time I used Pure – and some milk – I used Oatly – and some plain (all purpose) flour. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and then stir in the flour, and keep stirring until the mixture seems to “froth” a little. Then stir in the milk, little by little, until you get a thick and creamy sauce. I like to add salt, pepper, and mustard to mine.

I sauteed the leeks with a bit of onion and garlic, cooked the pasta until nearly soft, and mixed it all together. Then just transferred it into an oven dish, poured breadcrumbs on top, and baked until golden brown on top!

Creamy Leek Pasta Bake

Ingredients

    For the Breadcrumbs

  • 2 slices bread
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • For the Bechamel

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • approx 400ml milk
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Everything Else

  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 180g pasta
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
  2. Begin by putting your pasta on to boil. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
  3. In a food processor, add the breadcrumbs ingredients and blitz until you get breadcrumbs. Set aside.
  4. Fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the leeks and seasoning and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan. When melted, add 2 tbsp flour and cook until it goes slightly frothy.
  6. Slowly add the milk until you get a smooth sauce. Add in the mustard and seasoning.
  7. When all steps are completed, combine the pasta, leeks, and bechamel and mix well.
  8. Pour into an oven dish, and cover in the breadcrumb mix.
  9. Cook in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown on top.