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.

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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.

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.

Rich Lentil Bolognese with Wholewheat Pasta Twists

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This is my favourite pasta sauce. It also makes brilliant vegan lasagne. I remember the first time I experimented using lentils in this sauce, rather than fake meat, I could not believe the improvement and it is much better for you. The sauce is made rich with fresh tomatoes and purée plus red wine and plenty of fresh herbs. It needs to be cooked until all of the sauce has reduced and been absorbed into the lentils.

It should be served with a chunky pasta that will hold the sauce but I also really love spaghetti. I served this with the mushroom and pine nut salad.

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 50 minutes
Serves 4
Ingredients
A tin of cooked green lentils
3 medium fresh tomatoes, blended with a clove of garlic to make passatta
Two teaspoons of tomato purée
A slug of red wine
Two teaspoons of fresh thyme removed from the stalks
A small onion finely chopped
Half a medium carrot finely chopped
A tablespoon of olive oil
3 mushrooms finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
300g of whole wheat pasta

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion, carrot and mushrooms. Fry for five minutes until straying to soften. Add all of the other ingredients and bring to the boil. Cook with a lid on for about 50 minutes. Remove the lid for the last five minutes to reduce the sauce further, if needed.

Cook the pasta until al dente and drain. Combine the sauce and pasta and garnish with fresh basil

Tofu, Mushroom and Spinach Burritos with Raw Corn Salsa

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Burritos are a really quick midweek meal. I fry the filling in a cast iron pan which retains the heat evenly so you can cook your veg quickly without burning and while retaining their juiciness. You can use peppers, tempeh, other green veg like Pak Choy…just about anything will work. I used oyster mushrooms but any kind will work.

The fresh, corn salsa is my favourite part of this meal. I also love pineapple salsa.

Serves 2
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredients
For the filling
Half a packet of tofu cut into small chunks
A medium onion thickly sliced
A large handful of oyster mushrooms left chunky
A large handful of washed spinach leaves sliced
A crushed clove of garlic
Half a teaspoon of ground coriander
Half a teaspoon of ground cumin
Half a teaspoon of ground chilli
A tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the salsa
Two ears of raw, fresh corn
Two medium tomatoes
Two spring onions
Quarter clove of garlic
Two whole red chillies
A handful of fresh coriander
A teaspoon of lemon juice
Salt and per to taste

Heat the oil in a caste iron pan until it is hot. Add the onions and tofu with the garlic and spices. Stir continuously for a few minutes until onion are cooked but not soft. Add mushrooms and spinach. Stir for another two minutes and season.

Meanwhile place all salsa ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Season to taste.

Heat 4 tortillas. When warm fill with the burrito filling, fold and top with the salsa.

Malaysian Tofu Laksa

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Laksa is a spicy, coconutty, noodle soup. We travelled in Malaysia shortly after becoming vegan. Laksa was the best of Malaysian food and we were lucky to find a tiny vegan café in Malacca where they sold it in huge steaming bowls for less than a euro. It was some of the best vegan food we had eaten. Like many Asian soups, the secret is in the garnish which introduces bags of freshness to compliment the rich spiciness of the broth.

If you have pre-made curry paste as I did or you use shop bought, this takes only minutes to prepare. It is very messy to eat and you need a fork or chopsticks for the noodles and a spoon for the broth. Asian people are very adept at doing this without making a mess. I, on the other hand, usually end up wearing the noodles but it is fun to eat.

Serves 4
Preparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes

Ingredients

A tablespoon of homemade Malaysian or Thai curry paste or shop bought curry or laksa paste (see the recipe for Tempeh Penang for a good curry paste that would work well in this dish).

400ml of water
200ml of coconut milk
Two thumb size pieces of fresh ginger or galangal
A dessert spoonful of soya sauce
A teaspoon of sugar
A stick of lemon grass cut into three
300g tofu cut into cubes or slices
300g of brown rice noodles
Two large handfuls of fresh spinach roughly chopped
Two handfuls of fresh bean sprouts
A handful of fresh coriander chopped
A handful of toasted peanuts crushed roughly
4 spring onions chopped
Chopped fresh chilli for garnish

Place the water in a large pan and bring to the boil. Add the curry paste with the coconut milk, soya sauce, sugar, lemon grass and ginger/galangal. Simmer for a few minutes before adding the noodles. Cook until the noodles are al dente. Add the spinach, tofu and half of the coriander, onions and beansprouts. Ladle into large bowls and garnish with more coriander, beansprouts, onions, peanuts and chilli.