Veggie & Bean Chilli (no quorn!)

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If you’re looking for a veggie packed, delicious comfort food style dish, then this is for you. I’ve posted a quorn chilli on the blog before, but I personally prefer chilli made up of beans and veggies on their own.

The chilli you see in the picture is actually my mum’s recipe, which I occasionally let her cook for me, and the same one that I cook when I’m at uni. Mum had to adapt to cooking vegetable chilli when I went off of meat, and I’ve got to say: she’s adapted well. This version of the chilli is suitable for vegans, veggies, omnivores, and any carnivores wanting a change. Ideal sides are rice, bulgur wheat, potato wedges/jackets, wraps, guacamole, sour cream, quorn meatballs, chicken chunks, or canned tuna…so many endless possibilities. Even if you aren’t veggie and want to ease yourself into simply trying more veggie meals, you can. I’m pescetarian, and love this with bulgur wheat, avocado, and either quorn or tuna.

The basic idea behind this chilli is that whatever veggies we have go on in there. I’ve used courgette, celery, various different beans, olives, peppers, onions, spinach, tomatoes…anything you need to use up, whack it in there. In the recipe below we used only one can of kidney beans as that’s what happened to be in the cupboard, but feel free to mix up the beans, or add in two cans. Also, in my house (excluding my dad) we love spicy food. Which meant we added in a lot of chilli flakes- hot ones. If you aren’t a spice fan, then simply decrease the amount of chilli you add in. This is a completely adjustable recipe.

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Mustard- Balsamic Bean & Veggie Couscous (cheap & quick)

wp-1487931517876.jpgThis has been one of my favourite lunches for a while now. Last year my flatmate would make massive couscous, pesto, and veggie salads, and then divide them up, store them in tubs in the fridge- and have lunch ready for a couple of days. With practically no effort. You can see where the inspiration for this meal comes from.

Since I’ve been at uni I’ve gotten into the habit of always having a big bag of couscous in my cupboard- just the plain kind, so that I can add my own flavours. Currently, wholegrain mustard and balsamic vinegar is my go-to combination to flavour my couscous salads. The veg I add changes depending on how well-stocked my shelf in the fridge is, and whether I want to add in Quorn, tuna, tofu, mackerel, or kidney beans for my protein source. That’s the basic formula you want here: couscous + protein source + seasonings + vegetables. And you’re good to go. The great thing about this dish is that you can change up what you put in it according to what’s in the fridge- though the combination I’m showing you today is vegan and veggie suitable.

The ingredients I’ve given below then are just an example; use what you like and let me know what you add down in the comments. You can also easily double this, and then keep a second portion in the fridge for up to two days.

Ingredients

  • 50g dry couscous, left to soak for 5 minutes in 70ml freshly boiled water
  • 1/2-1 can kidney beans (depending how hungry you are), drained, and well rinsed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 handful close cup mushrooms, sliced and then microwaved for 1 minute (or have them raw- they’re equally delicious)
  • Cherry tomatoes, however many you want really, each chopped in half
  • 1/2 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 large handful spinach (again, you can wilt this or leave it raw- completely up to you, and how much time you have)
  • Balsamic vinegar, to taste (I use 1-2tbsp)
  • Wholegrain mustard, to taste (I use 2-3tsp)

 

Method

Whilst the couscous is soaking, simply place all of your veggies and beans into a large mixing bowl. Once the couscous has absorbed all of the water then throw that in too, followed by balsamic vinegar and mustard, to taste. Stir everything up together, and then dig in straight away, or transfer into a tub, allow to cool, and store in the fridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Aubergine, Greens & Tofu Rice Bowl

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I know that quite a few people who follow me on IG are involved in Veganuary this year, and though I personally didn’t opt to attempt it (this year), I have still cut down my fish consumption these last few weeks (I’m pescetarian, but mainly eat vegetarian food- I just have a weakness for seafood every few days). Having done so I’ve ended up trying several more vegetarian and vegan meals- including this delicious stir fry.

This meal is relatively cheap to make, the only expensive ingredient is the tender stem broccoli, but feel free to swap it for regular broccoli- I just felt like splashing out, and love the tender stem variety. It’s also a meal crammed with goodness in the colourful veggies, low GI brown rice, and the vegetarian/vegan source of protein that is the tofu. Baking the tofu is much easier than pan-frying, and much healthier than deep-frying; you’ll get the perfect tender, soft interior, but a crispy golden exterior.

Let’s go…

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1 baby aubergine, chopped
  • 5-6 Chinese leaves, sliced
  • 1 handful tenderstem broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 large red chilli, cut into small pieces
  • 150g firm tofu, sliced into 8-10 pieces
  • 1/2-1tbsp soy sauce, to taste
  • Chinese five spice, to taste
  • Salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 50g brown rice (this is the dry weight)

 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200*c, and place your tofu onto a baking tray sprayed with a little cooking oil. Season with salt and black pepper, and once the oven is up to temperature throw it in.
  • Meanwhile, boil some water, and place the rice into a small pan with enough of the freshly boiled water to cover. Set this re-boiling as you put the tofu into the oven, and set a timer for 25 minutes.
  • With 10 minutes left on the timer, place the onion, garlic, and chilli into a pan with non-stick spray. Cook over a low heat until the garlic and onion is softened, then add in the aubergine, soy sauce, and five spice, cooking for 3-4 minutes more. Finally, add in the broccoli and Chinese leaves, and cook until tender.
  • When the timer goes off, plate everything up, and dig in…

Mediterranean Chickpeas

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Chickpeas are an incredibly versatile ingredient. I have a sweet chickpea post soon to follow this amazing savoury one, just to prove that to you all. But for today, the focus is on these warming Mediterranean chickpeas. Even though we aren’t quite into autumn yet, these are going to be an autumn staple for me- especially seen as I’ll be back at uni, and so in search of a cheap and healthy meal…

The quantities below make a batch of Mediterranean chickpeas that will serve 3. It could make four smaller portions at a push- but trust me, you don’t want to scrimp on the portion sizes here. It tastes way too good. If you want to, you can freeze two portions, as the chickpeas seem to keep in the freezer very well. Alternatively, keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days, and use it as a packed lunch or super-fast tea.

Ingredients (serves 3)

  • 1 can chickpeas (400g net weight)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (ditto)
  • 1 large bell pepper, any colour
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small courgette, chopped into small chunks
  • 12 green olives, each chopped in half
  • 2tsp vegetable gravy granules
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • 1tsp Italian herbs
  • 1/2tsp smoked paprika
  • Generous pinch of each: thyme, oregano
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Non-stick pan spray

Continue reading “Mediterranean Chickpeas”

Cheat’s Chilli Ramen



Not so long ago now, I went to Wagamama’s for the first time. I know; the first time. And since then, ramen (which I have had before) has been something I crave frequently. But I don’t usually have the time to make fancy ramen like Wagamama’s. Which is where this cheat’s ramen comes in. So called as it only has a few ingredients- which you can play around with depending what’s in your fridge.

 I went for tofu, but feel free to add in prawns or shredded chicken. When it comes to adding the tofu, you can either add it all at once, or stir half into the soup, and then use the rest to top (my preference, as I like to see my tofu, and the stock helps to warm it slightly). Also, I used vegetable stock, but switch it up with beef or chicken if you have a preference.

Finally, this is perfect if you’re a student: the noodles are cheap, the stock is cheap, you can use up all of those leftovers- and it both tastes better,and is better for you, than a pot noodle. It’s comfort food at its finest. So, chopsticks at the ready…

Ingredients

  • 1 nest of wholemeal rice vermicelli noodles (I use the ‘Mama Instant Vermicelli Wholemeal Noodles’, and got mine at Morrison’s; you immerse them in hot water and, like healthy instant noodles, they are ready in 4 minutes)
  • 100g firm tofu
  • 1/2 vegetable stock cube, made up with 500ml freshly boiled water
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4-5 mushrooms. sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 large handful of curly kale
  • 1/2 large red chilli, sliced
  • 1 large pinch Chinese 5 spice
  • Black and white pepper to taste.



Method

  • Into a large pan throw your garlic, and your chilli- begin to lightly fry over a medium heat.
  • After a minute or so add in the carrot, before pouring in the stock and turning the heat down to medium-low. Add in the 5 spice, and stir, before allowing to simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  • Throw in the mushrooms and the kale, and continue cooking for 2 minutes, before adding in the noodles. Simmer for 4 minutes, and then add in half of the tofu.
  • Transfer everything into a bowl, being careful not to smush the tofu up, and then top with the rest of the tofu, and some black and white pepper…

Satay-Style Courgetti

Courgetti. Is it a suitable replacement for pasta/noodles in my opinion? Well, yes and no. It tastes amazing depending what you do with it, the novelty is fun, it’s super-quick, and its much lighter on the stomach- but I also don’t want you all to be cutting out carbs in place of courgetti for every meal.
 
However, with that out of the way, I am a fan. I bought a hand-held spiralizer about a week ago now, and it’s my new favourite gadget. So far I’ve spiralized courgettes, carrots, and my finger (accidently)- but I hear that sweet potatoes are also possible to spiralize.

This is my favourite recipe yet- anything with peanut butter is amazing, and having the peanut butter here means that there’s some added protein.

You can add in Quorn, chunks of tofu, prawns, and even some cooked chicken if you like- this is a versatile dish, so you have many options open to you. I do recommend adding in one of these meats/meat substitutes though, as you need this meal to fill you up. I opted for the Quorn, but prawns are next on the list.

Ingredients (serves one, but feel free to double it for an extra big bowlful)
  • 1 medium- large courgette
  • 1/2 medium carrot, sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 large Portobello mushroom, sliced
  • 1 small handful of mangetout, chopped in half
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1tbsp chunky peanut butter – I used Meridian
  • Chinese five spice, to taste
  • 2tbsp boiling water
  • 1tsp soy sauce

Method
  • Start by making the courgetti, according to your device’s instructions; set to one side.
  • Into a pan add your chilli, carrot, and bell pepper, stir frying for 1-2 minutes. After this, add in the mushrooms and mangetout, and allow to cook for 1 minute more, until softened.
  • Throw in your soy sauce, and your five spice, along with the courgetti. Toss together, and leave over a medium heat.
  • In a mug, whisk together the peanut butter and boiling water, adding a little at a time, until the consistency is smooth. Pour over the vegetables, and toss together so that the sauce coats the courgetti.
  • Leave over the heat until the courgetti has warmed through, and then serve. Top with black pepper and more slices of chilli, if desired.

How I Make Scrambled Tofu…


When I buy tofu I always seem to get to the end of the week and have a chunk or so left. Plus odds and ends of vegetables in the crisper. This is the single best way to use both up that I have found. Scrambled tofu has a similar texture to scrambled eggs; I tend to make my scrambled eggs quite sloppy, and this is much drier in comparison though. You cook it in the same way as scrambled eggs, its still a wonderful source of protein, and it still tastes amazing if you add in herbs and spices. In fact, this recipe is great for experimenting with herbs and spice, as tofu doesn’t have much of a flavour of its own (try it with baked with soy sauce and five spice too). This recipe takes minutes and is incredibly cheap- perfect if you’re a student…


Ingredients

  • 100g firm tofu
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • Veggies, whatever you have in, chopped up (I used pepper, courgette, and mushroom. Other great add-ins include: spring onion, broccoli, carrots, sugar snaps, peas)
  • Herbs and spices: here I’ve added a dash of each turmeric, mixed Italian herbs, smoked paprika, and chilli powder
  • 2 slices wholemeal sourdough toast to serve, or any kind of toast you like
  • OPTIONAL: fresh basil, torn up and added just before serving


Method

  • Add your garlic to a pan and cook for one minute over a medium heat
  • Add in all of the vegetables and cook until tender, before throwing in your desired spices.
  • Crumble the tofu into the pan and continue cooking until heated through. Whilst this is heating up, get that bread toasted and whack it onto a plate- we were out of butter, but if you aren’t – and also aren’t vegan (as this recipe is otherwise vegan-friendly)- then get spreading.
  • Once you’re satisfied that your tofu is hot, pile it on top of the toast, and dig in…