Get Your Healthy On: Vegetable Stir-fry

Sometimes to be healthy it’s all about taking it back to basics. Here’s one of my favourite and very basic recipes that is guaranteed to fill you up and not break the bank.

Ingredients:

A whole pack of mushrooms

2 carrots

2 sticks of celery

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

A mug of brown rice

A mug of red lentils

Method:

  • Place the lentils and brown rice in a pan of boiling water and cook for 30 minutes on a medium heat.
  • In the meantime, cut, chop and peel all of your vegetables.
  • Place in a hot pan without oil and stir constantly for 10 minutes so that they do not stick.
  • Turn the heat off and allow to cool, whilst you wait for the rice and lentils.
  • When the rice and lentils are nearly done, crank up the vegetable pan again.
  • Drain and rinse the rice and lentils and place at the bottom of a bowl. Top with your steaming hot vegetables.
  • Sprinkle with chilli flakes, fresh coriander and soy sauce for some epic flavour.

500 calories, low fat and high fibre – not that us vegans really worry about fibre! 😉

That recipe will serve two adults.

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Vegan Juicy Lucy Burger

Do you know what? Sometimes I’m flicking channels on my TV and I come across something ridiculous like, “Man Vs Food.” I often sit there and think, “well that would easily be veganised.” So that is exactly what I have done. 

I searched around for the perfect vegan burger patty when I suddenly realised that the most perfect were the cheapest ones available because they most resemble the cheap meat put into non-vegan burgers. The 99p pack of four Holland & Barrett burgers. 🙂

Ingredients:

4 vegan burger patties, defrosted

2 large burger buns

4 potatoes

1 block of Cheezley mozzarella style, sliced very thinly

Ketchup

Salt

Pepper

Vegetable oil

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Method:

CHIPS

  • Get your oven on and up to full whack.
  • Slice your potatoes into wedges and place in a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a dash of oil.
  • Place chips into the oven and cook for 35 minutes.

Chips

BURGERS

  • Get your four defrosted patties and lay them out on a chopping board.
  • Push down on them with the palm of your hand so that they stretch outwards, but not too thinly.
  • Place some thinly sliced cheez on one patty and then place the other patty on top.
  • Crimp the edges with your fingers so there are no gaps.
  • Do this so the four patties turn into two cheese stuffed burgers.
  • Heat some oil in a pan (there isn’t enough fat in the burgers and they will stick to the pan otherwise.)
  • Place burgers in pan for about ten minutes, flipping every couple of minutes so each side gets nice and brown and that the cheez melts all the way through.
  • Serve in a nice big burger bun with tons of ketchup and your home cooked chips! 

 

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Not healthy in the slightest, but it bloody well had to be done! 😀

 

Caramelised Red Onion Tarte Tatin

This recipe’s inspiration comes from a non-vegan. His name is Mat Follas. He has won Masterchef and also owns a restaurant down in Dorest.

Ingredients:

2 red onions, halved

4 tbsp caster sugar

2 cloves of garlic

250 g fresh puff pastry (in the UK we use Jus Roll)

Vegan butter alternative (I used Vitalite)

1 block of soft white Cheezley cheddar (by Vegideli)

1 carton of single soya cream (I used Alpro)

1 carton of plain soya yoghurt

1 tablespoon dried chives

Salt

Pepper

1 tablespoon corn flour

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 squirt of vegan mayonnaise

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Method:

  • Heat the oven to 160C.
  • Place your chopped onion halves in a pan, add enough water to cover and then simmer for three minutes. Leave to cool for ten minutes.
  • Cover the base of a frying pan with the sugar, warm until just melted, then add the onions and cook for a few minutes until everything is caramelised.
  • Add a strip of baking paper to each hole in a muffin tin and lightly oil.
  • Fill each whole with some caramelised onions and some chopped garlic before placing a cutting of a puff pastry sheet on top. (Make sure you tuck the sheet into the tin and around the onions.)
  • Glaze each one with a bit of “butter” and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
  • To make the sauce, pour the single cream into a non-stick pot and turn up the heat. Now add your block of cheese chopped into smaller pieces and stir whilst it melts.
  • Next add the yoghurt, chives, salt, pepper, Dijon mustard  corn flour and mayo. Now turn the heat off.
  • Pour into a food processor and pulse blend for a minute. Now is the time to add any extra salt, pepper or for extra creamyness, a dollop of “butter.”
  • Pulse blend for another minute.
  • Once the tarts are done, remove careful from the oven and place the right way up on your plate with a rocket salad and your cheese sauce.

I actually could not believe the flavours of this dish. I put the some tarte, some rocket and some sauce on my fork and it hit me in the face. Sweet, then peppery and then creamy. This dish is absolutely divine and whilst not the healthiest of easiest to make, it’s worth all of it just for that flavour.

Now check out the two styles of dish I did trying to be posh and shit!

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Enjoy! 🙂

Sourdough Toast & Home-made Pine Nut Pesto Salsa

I found a magazine stashed away under the sofa called, “Summer Vegetarian” recently. I had a look through and decided that pretty much everything could be veganised or was already vegan. I looked at the first recipe and instantly wanted to make it. It was called, “Ricotta toasts with rocket and pine nut salsa.” I’ve put my Queer hands all over it, veganed the shit out of it and below is the result:

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Ingredients:

* 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped.

* 50g bag of wild rocket.

* 20g of fresh basil.

* A whole small jar of capers, drained.

* Juice of half a fresh lemon.

* 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.

*  Half a small bag of pine nuts.

* 1 loaf of sourdough bread.

* Two fresh tomatoes, sliced.

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Method:

Put the garlic, rocket, basil leaves, capers, lemon juice and olive oil into a food processor and pulse blend until you have a chunky, bright green sauce.

Stir the pine nuts through the sauce and give another quick pulse blend.

Slice your sourdough loaf and toast under the grill or in the toaster.

Spread your pesto salsa on your toast and top with fresh sliced tomatoes. You can also add a dash of balsamic vinegar here for a little extra flavour.

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The original recipe suggests that per serving you’d be looking at 279 calories. Personally I’d guess that it was much less than that because I’ve not used any animal derived ingredients.

This took approximately ten minutes to make and it will use the entire loaf.

I’d serve this as a snack, a starter or a light lunch. It’s full of protein, vitamin C and vitamin E. Enjoy! 🙂

Red Lentil Dahl

This is a dish I have been making for years. It’s really simple and totally yummy! 🙂

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Firstly you’re gonna need some ingredients:

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* Two handfuls of red lentils

* 800 grams of chopped tomatoes

* 4 cloves of garlic, crushed

* 1 can of coconut milk

* 2 cubes of vegetable stock

* 2 white onions

* 1 tablespoon of garam masala, cayenne pepper and cumin (each)

 

1) Heat some oil in a large pan. I used a wok because this makes plenty.

2) Now add in your two chopped onions and garlic. Give it a good stir to cover everything in the oil.

3) Turn the heat off and place the red lentils in the pan. Mix through thoroughly adding all the spices as you go.

4) Now add the whole can of coconut milk and again mix and stir through. (Turn the heat back on now.)

5) Open and pour the chopped tomatoes into the pan.

6) Place your stock cubes in the pan, add half a pint of cold water and again mix through.

7) Turn the heat right down to it’s lowest and stir the pan every few minutes for about 20-30 minutes, or until a good chunk of the liquid has been absorbed.

8) Serve with garlic and parsley vegan buttered chapatis.

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Spaghetti & Meatballs – Not What You Think!

This can be made raw if you have a dehydrator, which I do, however for the interest of the general public I’ll do this the traditional way…..for a very untraditional take on this classic Italian dish.

Ingredients

1 pack of sun dried tomatoes

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 garlic cloves

2 tsp flax seed

1 tsp hemp seeds

A large handful of standard mushrooms

A good sprinkle of both oregano and basil

A small sprinkle of fennel seed

Half a small bag of walnuts

4 large tomatoes

Fresh basil leaves

Sea salt

2 large courgettes

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Method:

Get the oven on at full whack.

Place the sundried tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, 2 garlic cloves (peeled), flax, hemp seeds, herbs, walnuts and sea salt in the blender and pulse blend until it forms into a crumbly mixture.

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Shape the mixture into small balls using a soup spoon and place in a baking tray.

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Then place in the oven on a 15 minute timer. Make sure you turn the heat down to about 200 degrees otherwise they will burn.

In the meantime, make the tomato sauce.

Combine the fresh tomatoes, two garlic, basil and sea salt and blend until smooth. (Use the food processor again. No need to wash it out.)

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You can then place this in a pan to heat or you can serve it cold.

Next you need to cut or spiralise the courgettes into noodles.

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I also added a cheeky splash of soy sauce just for some extra flavour.

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Then remove the meatballs from the oven and place on top of your, “spaghetti.”

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Pour your tomato sauce either warmed or cold over the top and enjoy the marvellous mix of flavours in this healthy, low calorie dish.

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Butter Bean Soup

Yes I know I’m doing another soup recipe, but it’s cold and who doesn’t need warming up in this weather? By the way, I’m not looking forward to winter! 😦

First off, we need the ingredients. This is another cheap and healthy meal.

  • A tablespoon of vegetable stock
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 400 grams of butter beans (Mine are dried, so I soaked mine for a few hours before hand. Tinned are much quicker.)
  • Two medium sized potatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion
  • Sage, parsley and thyme (or whatever similar herbs you have.)

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Now get yourself a large sauce pan and fill with water. Place your butter beans in the pan and turn the heat on full.

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Now it’s time for the potatoes. Make sure you dice those bad boys first.

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Onion and celery are next. Again chopped up nice and small.

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The water will be warming up nicely now, so it’s time to add the peeled and chopped carrots.

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If you’re a fan of Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals like I am, you’ll have a garlic crusher. It is my number one time saving device because you don’t have to peel the garlic. 🙂 Add those crushed cloves in baby! (You can never have too much garlic!)

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Now sprinkle your mixture of herbs over the top, stir through. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for about 35 minutes.

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I actually put this yummy monster of a soup in a tub and took it to work.

You won’t need bread. This will fill you up with goodness from your head to your toes. Enjoy! 🙂

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(The recipe will make two very large portions.)

Creamy Carrot & Ginger Soup

I don’t know about where you live, but here in the South East of England Autumn is just starting and it’s getting chilly. What better way to start autumn than with a lovely, warming soup? This is so easy, cheap and ready within 25 minutes. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 10 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • A cube or large sprinkle of vegetable stock
  • Ginger paste
  • Coriander
  • Rapeseed oil

 

Method

Place a teaspoon of rapeseed oil into a hot pan and then place your chopped onions in.

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Laugh at a mutated carrot

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Add the rest of the carrots to the pan and mix well with a good sprinkle of dried coriander.

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Then add the vegetable stock in it’s dry form.

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Add a large squeeze of ginger paste, then pour in a pint of boiling water.

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Allow to cook on a low heat for 20 minutes, or when the carrots soften.

Now it’s time to blend. Be careful that your blender is tightened up properly because you don’t want hot water to spray out onto you. (Speaking from experience btw.)

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Pulse blend until you get a lovely thick paste.

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Serve straight away with some more coriander, perhaps some soy sauce and a good chunky roll if that’s your thing.

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This is literally the best soup I’ve ever made and it was really, really filling. 🙂

 

Creamy Chic Pea Salad

This is a leaner version of a creamy chicken salad, especially if you can get reduced fat vegan mayonnaise. I used to really enjoy creamy foods before I went vegan, so it was great news to me that this can be achieved with lower fat, high protein and by not harming any animals. What a result ay?

Ingredients:

* Two romaine lettuces.

* Fresh or tinned pineapple cut into triangles.

* Half a jar of reduced fat, egg free mayonnaise. (If you can get garlic mayo, even better.)

* Fresh or dried parsley, chopped finely.

* A large handful of walnuts

* A can of chic peas or 300g of sprouted chic peas.

Method:

Rinse the chic peas under the cold tap

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Add the mayonniase

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Combine together with a spoon or a fork and add in the parsley.

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Leave to stand for a few minutes to allow the flavours to mix. In the meantime chop your romaine lettuce using scissors if possible to trim the leaves down to a reasonable size.

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Place the lettuce on a plate, then spoon the creamy mixture on top. Now grab your pineapple and walnuts and sprinkle over the top. How easy was that? Dig in!

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Thai Green Curry

Thai green curry is a favourite in our household. It’s full of flavour, protein, greens and it can be served with rice or a salad depending on the time of day. (I try and get most of my carbohydrates in before lunch so I can burn them off at the gym in the evening.)

There are three elements to this dish. The curry itself, the sides and the paste. This recipe uses a paste which has been created from scratch. If you choose to buy a jar of ready-made green paste, be careful because some brands contain lots of extras like refined white sugar and even shellfish.

Paste Ingredients:

1 stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced, OR 3 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass

1/4 can coconut milk

1-3 Thai green chilies OR jalapeno

1 large bunch chopped coriander leaves & stems

1 shallot, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic

1 thumb-size piece ginger, sliced

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. ground white pepper (available in most supermarket spice aisles)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Side Ingredients:

A handful of alfalfa/radish sprouts

1 carrot

1 courgette

White rice

A sprinkle of fresh or dried coriander

Curry Ingredients:

1 + 1/2 cups medium-firm tofu, cubed, OR canned chickpeas (your choice)

1 green bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces

1 packet of chopped green beans

3/4 can coconut milk

250ml vegetable stock

A generous sprinkle of basil

Method:

1)      Place all ‘paste’ ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz to create a fragrant green curry paste.

2)      Place a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp. oil and swirl around, then add all the green curry paste you just made. Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.

3)      Add the tofu or chickpeas. Stir-fry until well saturated with sauce.

4)      Add the stock. Stir and reduce heat to medium-low. Gently simmer 5 minutes.

5)      Add the coconut milk, plus vegetables and continue simmering 5-7 minutes, or until softened. Then turn the heat to the lowest setting and allow the flavours to infuse.

6)      In the meantime, place your preferred amount of white rice into a pan of boiling water and follow the cooking instructions on the back of the pack. Drain and mix with some chopped coriander.

7)      Place your sprouts on the plate.

8)      Grate the carrot and courgette into strips. (I used the blender grater function for this to save time.)

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9)      To get them into nice balls, place them into a small bowl and place upside down on the plate. Remove and they will stay in place. The same applies to the rice if you wish.

10)   Now it’s time to plate up the curry and enjoy!

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