Easy Avocado Pasta Sauce (Avocado, chilli, basil & balsamic vinegar)

IMG_20170821_123410_482I’m having a bit of a love affair with pasta at the moment. I don’t know where it has come from, all I know is that if it contains pasta, I shall eat it. You know what goes really well with pasta? Fresh herbs. And chilli. And balsamic vinegar. And, surprisingly, avocado.

I usually opt for a spicy tomato, pesto, or even butter-based sauce, and am generally not a fan of creamy concoctions coating my fusilli. Avocado is just the right kind of creamy though. Its also a great substitute if you’re a vegan who misses creamy sauces, but obviously isn’t going to be pouring carbonara sauce over your pasta any time soon.

You can always add extra vegetables or some quorn, chicken, meat substitute, or fish into this pasta dish- but try it as it is at least once, because sometimes keeping it simple is best… Continue reading

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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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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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Quorn & Vegetable Chilli

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My flatmate tells me that chilli isn’t comfort food. Pizza, and burgers, and all that is “bad” is comfort food. I beg to differ.

For as long as I can remember I’ve classed comfort food as food that just…warms you up. It’s easy to make, easy to eat, and makes you feel good inside. Back when I still occasionally ate red meat and we wanted a comforting meal, my family used to have a lot of cottage pies, chilli con carne, and Toulouse sausage and lentil casserole with homemade herb bread. Or, comfort food was something quick like beans on toast, or a toastie, or poached eggs on toast.

This week just gone I decided that I needed some comfort food. And specifically I wanted chilli. Not mixed bean chilli, chilli with mince in it- and so this was actually the first time I have ever used Quorn mince.

It worked beautifully. One massive bonus of using the Quorn mince was that it cooked much more quickly than regular mince. These quantities make a substantial batch too- enough to feed 5 people, or to stock up your freezer.

Ingredients

  • 350g packet of Quorn mince
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 2 large handfuls mushrooms
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes + half a can of water
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 3tsp vegetable gravy granules
  • 1 small pinch turmeric
  • 1 large pinch Italian herbs, or just oregano
  • 1/4 tsp each cinnamon and cumin
  • 1/2-1tsp cayenne pepper (depending on spice preference. Even better: use half a hot red chilli)
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Cooking spray

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