Spicy Balsamic Butternut Squash

1501160938928A simple and delicious recipe for you all today. Butternut squash is a massively under-used veggie, considering its something so delicious. It feels like it’s somewhere between a sweet potato and a pumpkin flavour-wise.

This butternut squash recipe requires minimal prep, and you can then just leave it to look after itself in the oven. Even though butternut squash may seem a bit autumnal, its great added to big salads in summer- which is why I’m giving it to you now. You can also use this root veg as a side in any meal where you would usually use sweet potato, and so make it all year long. I personally love it with omelettes and greens, or veggie burgers and a side salad topped with feta…

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • 1 medium butternut squash, end removed, seeds scooped out, and flesh cut into small chunks
  • Balsamic vinegar (NOT “balsamic dressing”), approx. 2tbsp
  • Chilli flakes, to taste (I went with about 2tsp)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Italian herbs 1tsp
  • 2 garlic cloves, VERY finely sliced

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Vegan Banoffee Cheesecakes (quick and easy!)

IMG_20170720_185805_776Since the last vegan cheesecake recipe I posted was such a success with you lot, I decided to make another flavour variation of this easy dessert. This particular flavour was actually made for my brother, who can never turn down a banoffee pie- and who told me that these cheesecakes were the first thing I’d made that didn’t “taste healthy” but tasted “like normal food”. Any other banoffee pie fans out there: you’re welcome.

 

Ingredients (Serves 9)

For the base

  • 8 medjool dates, soaked for 10 minutes in boiled water, then drained
  • 1 cup oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon – just a tiny one, omit if you don’t like cinnamon

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Raspberry & Vanilla “Cheesecakes” (Vegan-Friendly & Easy!)

1498728094582For so long I have wanted to have a go at making a vegan cheesecake. The only thing that has prompted me to do so is moving home to Bradford, where these kind of desserts are pretty much unheard of. Which means I have to try and perfect making my own.

What has always put me off it the super-long list of ingredients for these cheesecakes. Admittedly, this list is longer than my usual recipes, but you actually only need 10 ingredients in total. All of them can be bought in a supermarket, or if you have a small “Express Supermarket” between that and Holland & Barratt’s (I got my cashews from the H&B’s fruit and nut ‘Pick N Mix’ section as it worked out slightly cheaper). These cheesecakes also don’t take that long to make, and are not difficult in the slightest. The longest thing you have to do is wait for your nuts to soak, and then chill everything.

Ingredients (makes 10 cheesecake cups)

For the base

  • 8 dates, soaked for 10 minutes in freshly boiled water
  • 1 cup oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • OPTIONAL: pinch of cinnamon

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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

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