Egyptian falafels

Try making falafel the traditional Egyptian way with split fava beans.  The secret is no pre-cooking!  Delicious!

  • 500g dried split fava beans, soaked overnight (or speed-soaked in boiling water)
  • 1 red onion
  • Big bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 red chilli pepper
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 3 pinches coarse salt
  • 3 pinches fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying

  • 8 mint leaves
  • 350g yoghurt (or vegan alternative)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Coarse salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

  1. For this recipe you need to soak the beans, but don’t boil them as all the cooking happens in the oil. The beans can be soaked overnight or speed-soaked by placing them in water that’s been brought to the boil, then taking it off the heat and leaving to stand for 1 hour.
  2. Coarsely chop the herbs, chilli and onion. Mix with the beans, spices and lemon zest, and pulse in a food processor until fairly smooth – though not to a paste.
  3. Roll ping pong ball size patties from the mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the yoghurt sauce. Finely chop the mint and stir with the yoghurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Refrigerate.
  5. Heat enough vegetable oil to cover a single layer of patties in a deep pan. When the oil is very hot, carefully place the patties in the oil and deep fry until dark golden brown – this will take a few minutes.
  6. Drain briefly on kitchen paper and sprinkle lightly with salt.
  7. Serve the falafel with the yoghurt sauce, a lightly dressed salad and some pitta bread.

Hummus

You can’t beat homemade hummus.  Top tip is to overcook the chickpeas so they blend to a really creamy consistency.

  1. 1 (400g) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  2. Juice of 1 lemon
  3. 1/3 cup (5 tbsp) tahini/sesame paste
  4. 1-2 garlic cloves (use more if you like!)
  5. 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
  6. A splash of water – if you want a thinner consistency
  1. Paprika
  2. Parsley
  3. Drizzle of olive oil
  1. Drain and rinse your chickpeas well – If you would prefer using dried chickpeas, soak them in a bowl of water overnight then cook them in a pan of simmering water for an hour the next day.
  2. Place your chickpeas along with the remainder of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If you think the hummus is too thick, you can add a little bit of water at a time and continue blending until you’re happy with the consistency

Haricot Bean Loaf

My comment for this recipe:  Try this as a tasty alternative to nut roast – you won’t regret it!

2 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, sliced
2.5 cm fresh root ginger, grated
half a tsp cumin
half a tsp ground coriander
1 onion quartered
3 carrots grated
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tbsp chopped parsley
50g sunflower seeds
24g oat bran
1 tbsp wheat free veg bouillion powder
410g can haricot beans rinsed
410g can red kidney beans rinsed

  • Preheat overn to 190C. Lightly oil a 900g tin loaf and line the base with greaseproof powder
  • put the remaining oil and the leek in a small saucepan and cook over a low heat for 5 mins
  • Add the ginger, cumin, and coriander and cook for a further minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool
  • place the onion, carrots, garlic, parsley, sunflower seeds, oat bran, bouillon powder and one of the cans of beans (either will do) in a food processor and blend for 20 seconds until semi-smooth. Transfer into a large bowl and stir in the second can of beans and the leek mixture.
  • Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown
  • Turn out of tin. Serve hot or cold.

Veg Spag Bol

Have you tried this fantastic alternative to meat?  Made from the protein of sunflowers it has a really good texture, not mushy like some other alternatives can be.  Simply make your sauce, add 15-19g per person plus extra water and cook for 5-10 mins and you are good to go.  A great way to enjoy those meat free dinners!

  • 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of chopped garlic
  • 1 onion peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots finely grated
  • 1 courgette trimmed and grated (you can keep the peel on later on)
  • Then add a tin of tomato and 2 tbsp of tomato puree and grape juice.  And leave to cook.
  • 800g or 2 tins of tinned tomato
  • 4 tbsp of tomato puree
  • 100ml grape juice (unsweetened) – Optional
  • Pinch of oregano – Optional
  • 2 packs of sunflower mince
  1. This sauce only has courgettes and carrots as added ingredients.  The carrot will add a slight sweetness to the sauce.  We peel the courgettes the first few times we make this to reduce the flavour/ colour from the skin.  But if your children are used to flavours keep the skin on as it is packed with nutrients.  Add the olive oil, chopped garlic and saute for 5 minutes on a low flame.  Then grate a carrot and peeled courgette and add to the saucepan.  Then add a tin of tomato and 2 tbsp of tomato puree and grape juice.  And leave to cook.
  2. For the mince, we use a meat alternative called sunflower mince.  It’s super easy to use and just requires that you add it to the sauce and cook for about 5 minutes.  We think it’s really child-friendly.  We have yet to meet a child that does not like it.  Especially in bolognese.  The mince is made from a single ingredient.  Organic sunflower seeds.  The sunflower mince original is free from all 14 UK allergens.
  3. 10 minutes before mealtime.  And cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions.  And reheat the bolognese.  You can steam some broccoli florets whilst waiting for the spaghetti to cook or slice up some cucumber sticks.  And here’s a child-friendly meal in minutes.

Lentil, Spinach and Ras El Hanout Soup

 I’ve been cooking this for years! My friend introduced it to me on a camping trip. It’s easy, quick and healthy and the Ras El Hanout spice is so warming.  Perfect for January!

Elise

Serves 4 – 6

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbs ras el hanout
1/2 tsp dried mint
200g red lentils
1.2 L veg stock
250g fresh/frozen spinach, chopped 
lemon juice
mint or parsley chopped
salt and black pepper

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onion.  Cook for a few minutes until the onion starts to soften, then add the garlic.
  • Sprinkle the spice over the onion and stir thoroughly.  Add mint, then stir in lentils making sure they are well covered with the oil and spices. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the stock into the pan and bring to the boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 25 – 30 mins until lentils have collapsed and thickened the soup.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle with herbs before serving.

Black Bean Soup

Another quick and easy soup!  I tend to precook black beans (and chickpeas, black eyed beans) in advance in batches which I then freeze so that I always have plenty in stock.  You can use tinned black beans if you prefer.

This soup is excellent with a sprinkling of red chillies on top at the end for a nice kick!

Elise

  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 red pepper deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 smoked paprika
  • 1/2 salt
  • 4 cups cooked black beans or 3 tins
  • 3 to 4 cups veg stock
  • Toppings – Optional. Chopped chillies, lime juice, chopped avocado, sliced onion.
  • In a soup pot over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in ¼ cup water until soft and translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Add the red bell pepper and sauté 2 to 3 minutes until starting to soften.
  • Add the cumin, oregano, smoked paprika and salt and sauté another minute or two until the spices are fragrant.
  • Add the black beans, tomatoes and vegetable broth. (Start with 3 cups of broth, you can add more later if you like a thinner soup). Increase heat to high to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender, purée as much as the soup as you like (I do about ½). Alternately, you can carefully transfer ½ of the soup to a blender, purée, and add back to the pot. Add the other cup of broth if you like a thinner soup.
  • Serve hot with the toppings of your choice.

Best Lentil soup

Vegan and the tastiest lentil soup I’ve ever made!  Easy way to get leafy greens into your diet too.

Susie

Serves 4 

 

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, lightly drained
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup chopped fresh collard greens or kale, tough ribs removed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice (½ to 1 medium lemon), to taste

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. One-fourth cup olive oil may seem like a lot, but it adds a lovely richness and heartiness to this nutritious soup.
  2. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion and carrot and cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often, in order to enhance their flavor.
  4. Pour in the lentils, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.
  5. Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender. Securely fasten the lid, protect your hand from steam with a tea towel placed over the lid, and purée the soup until smooth. Pour the puréed soup back into the pot. (Or, use an immersion blender to blend a portion of the soup.)
  6. Add the chopped greens and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the greens have softened to your liking. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice until the flavors really sing. For spicier soup, add another pinch or two of red pepper flakes.
  7. Serve while hot. Leftovers will keep well for about 4 days in the refrigerator, or can be frozen for several months (just defrost before serving).

Sweet potato and lentil Soup

This is a really good immune boosting soup full of fantastic fresh ingredients that will protect you during winter.

Susie

  • STEP 1

    Put the curry powder into a large saucepan, then toast over a medium heat for 2 mins. Add the olive oil, stirring as the spice sizzles in the pan. Tip in the onions, apple, garlic, coriander stalks and ginger, season, then gently cook for 5 mins, stirring every so often.

  • STEP 2

    Meanwhile, peel, then grate the sweet potatoes. Tip into the pan with the stock, lentils, milk and seasoning, then simmer, covered, for 20 mins. Blend until smooth using a stick blender. Stir in the lime juice, check the seasoning and serve, topped with roughly-chopped coriander leaves.