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.

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.

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.

Raw Mushroom and Pine Nut Salad

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I stole this idea from Twelve Apostles restaurant in Berlin where I ate something similar last weekend. There it was made with rocket but I used a crispy Lollo Rossi lettuce instead. Pine nuts are expensive but they are really delicious and transform this salad to something quite special.

Serves 4
Total Preparation and Cooking Time 10 minutes

Ingredients
Three large handfuls of crispy lettuce leaves roughly chopped
A medium carrot very finely sliced
Five mushrooms shaved finely
A handful of pine nuts
A tablespoon of honey mustard dressing or another sweetest salad dressing
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a cast iron frying pan and toast the nuts evenly, shaking the pan to stop them from burning. When cool combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.

Spicy Carrot and Peanut Soup with Coconut Milk

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It started to feel a little autumnal this morning and it was slightly chilly indoors, making me want to eat something warming. This soup has Asian influences but also reminds me of Africa where lots of peanuts are grown. This could be made with pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato, all of which would be delicious. As this is a blended soup, you do not have the chop the ingredients small and this saves on preparation time. I used pearl barley to thicken this but you could add red split lentils instead.

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes

Ingredients
3 medium carrot coarsely chopped
Two large shallots coarsely chopped
A clove of garlic chopped
750ml of boiling water
Two vegetable stock cubes
A large handful of pearl barley
100ml coconut milk
A handful of toasted peanuts finely ground
A handful of fresh coriander chopped
Half a teaspoon of cumin seeds
Half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the carrots, shallots, garlic, cumin, chilli, water, barley and stock cubes into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes until the carrots are soft and the barley is cooked. Add the coconut milk, half of the coriander and a dessertspoonful of the ground nuts and cook for a further minute. Blend the soup. Serve in a bowl garnished with more coriander, ground nuts and chilli flakes.