Super Food Quinoa Salad with Walnuts, Pomegranate and Cranberries

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All of the ingredients in this salad are highly nutritious and it is super tasty. I am impressed with the versatility of quinoa and it is so easy to prepare. Walnuts, pomegranates and cranberries are all great foods for the Autumn. This dish is a complete meal but and it could also be served with a casserole when you want to impress or inside a wrap with some baba ghanoush as a snack.

Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredients
Makes a large bowlful
100g of quinoa
A handful of toasted walnuts roughly chopped
Seeds and juice from half a pomegranate
A tablespoon of dried cranberries
2 spring onions chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Half a tablespoon of olive oil
A handful each of fresh coriander, fresh mint and fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the quinoa in cold water. Place in a pan with enough water to cover the quinoa plus 2cm. Bring to the boil and turn to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for about 7 minutes until the quinoa is half cooked. Turn off the heat and leave for another 5 minutes till all of the water has been absorbed. Leave to cool.

Place the cooled quinoa and all of the other ingredients in a large bowl and combine.

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Herby Lentil Koftas

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These lentil balls are made fresh tasting with the addition of loads of fresh mint and coriander. They go really well inside a wrap with hummus or romanescu sauce or served with the Immunity Booster Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate and Cranberries. As I have said before, the secret to making burgers or koftas that hold together without egg is to make a paste with a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds and water and add this to the mixture before forming the balls.

Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes if using cooked lentils

Ingredients
Makes 12 koftas

200g of dried red lentils cooked until just soft
A large onion cut into large pieces
A handful each of fresh mint and fresh coriander
2 teaspoons of paprika
Half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
A clove of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
A tablespoon of ground flaxseeds made into a paste with water
A tablespoon of gram flour
Olive oil to cook

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until it has formed a dough-like consistency. Shape into balls. Place on a baking sheet and lightly coat each ball with olive oil. Cook at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.

Black Bean and Red Pepper Chilli

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I love black beans. They have a soft, silky texture that you don’t get with other beans. I made my first chilli as a student back in the early 80s. Although I have moved away from con carne to sin carne, I still use the same recipe which uses blended tomatoes, oregano, cumin, coriander,sugar and vinegar. It gives a smooth, tangy and sweet sauce. I served this with the Roasted Tomato, Cucumber and Corn Salsa.

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes

Ingredients
Serves 3
A large, red pepper, sliced
A small onion finely chopped
A large clove of garlic blended with 4 medium tomatoes and a large green chilli
A teaspoon each of oregano, cumin and ground coriander
A teaspoon of sugar
A teaspoon of vinegar (any kind)
A tablespoon of olive oil
A tin of black beans
A handful, of fresh coriander

Heat the oil and gently soften the onion and pepper. Add all of the other ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer slowly for about 40 minutes until the sauce is thick and the peppers are melting. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with rice or tortillas.

Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pinenuts

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Swiss chard is incredibly good for you. It can be slighlty bitter if it is old when eaten so the best way to avoid this is to buy it very fresh or grow your own. It is traditional in Spain to add pinenuts and raisins to spinach but it works well with chard too. I serve this with a nut roast and potatoes for a hearty meal in the colder weather. It could be eaten on its own.

Serves 4 as a side dish
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients
300g of swiss chard leaves and stems sliced quite finely
Half a small onion finely chopped
A small palmful of pinenuts toasted
A small palmful of raisins
A small clove of garlic crushed
A tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion and garlic. Soften for a few minutes then add the remaining ingredients. Stir fry for 2-3 minuts and then cook slowly with a lid on for another 10 minutes until the chard stems are much softer. Season to taste.

Vegetable and Almond Soup

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This is a great soup for using up leftover raw vegetables at the end of the week. The addition of the ground almonds makes it rich and satisying. You can vary the veg you use depending on what you have but try to include some squash, sweet potato or parsnip as this adds to the flavour.

Makes a large pot
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking 75-90 minutes

Ingredients
Half a head of broccoli chopped
Half a small pumpkin chopped
6 small baby potatoes cut in half
2 handfuls of french beans chopped
2-3 handfuls of chopped carrots
A large onion chopped
1 courgette chopped
3 medium tomatoes blended with 2 cloves of garlic
A handful of pearl barley
a litre of boiling water
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme or other herbs
a teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 large vegetable stock cubes
2 tablespoons of ground almonds
Chilli flakes and toasted cumon seeds to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients except the almonds, garnish and seasoning in a large pan. Bring to the boil and simmer on a low light with the lid on for about 75-90 minutes until the vegetables are very soft and starting to break up a little. Take 4-5 ladles full of the soup and blend before returning back to the pan. Add the ground almonds and season.

White Bean and Vegetable Tagine

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I have a beautiful black tagine that I love using. I cook lots of things in it, not just Moroccan food. It makes everything cooked in it taste special. In Morocco, veggie tagines vary so much. They can be rich and oily or watery and tasteless. Generally, they are made only of veg though and we found it hard to find a tagine that used lentils or beans. This is a shame as the tagine is so ubiquitous, you end up eating one almost every day, as other vegan options are so limited in Morocco. A little extra nutrition in the way of pulses really helps to lift the dish.

I soaked and cooked my own beans here but tinned are almost as good.
Serves 6

Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 1 hour

Ingredients
A medium onion chopped
A large aubergine chopped
2 red peppers chopped
3 medium tomatoes blended with a large clove of garlic
A tin of white beans or equivalent in soaked and cooked beans
2 teaspoons of fresh thyme
A teaspoon of harissa
A teaspoon of ras al hanout paste or powder
A teaspoon of chermoulah paste if you can get it
Salt and pepper to taste
A tablespoon of olive oil

Warm the oil in the tagline and add the onion, aubergine and pepper. Cook gently until starting to soften. Then add the tomato mixture, beans, herbs and spices. Bring to the boil and turn the heat very low. Put the lid on the tagine or pan and simmer for about an hour until the vegetables are melting and the sauce is thick.

Serve with crusty whole wheat bread or couscous.

Mushroom and Red Pepper Quiche

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I love the smell of this baking in the oven. It is really delicious and equally good hot or cold.
This is only the second vegan quiche I have made and I was pleased with the progress I have made since the first one. Like last time, I used a packet mix for the pastry adding olive oil instead of margarine or butter. It works really well. I do not like vegan cheese much but it works well in this.

Serves 6
Preparation time 15-20 minutes cooking time 30 minutes

Ingredients
Enough vegan pastry to line a quiche dish
200ml of soya cream
A packet of firm tofu
125g of vegan cheddar cheese
5-6 chestnut mushrooms gently sauted
Half a red pepper roasted in the oven
A teaspoon of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Line the dish with the pastry. Spoon over the mushrooms so they cover the base of the quiche. Add the cream, tofu and cheese to a blender and blend till smooth. Add the thyme. Season to taste. If it is too thick, you can let it down with a little soya milk. Pour the mixture over the mushrooms. Slice the roasted pepper into finger and use to decorate the top of the quiche. Cook the oven at 180 degrees until the pastry is golden round the edges and the filling has risen and firmed.