Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Two simple recipes

As I've mentioned before, since going vegetarian last June and vegan this new year I've taken a huge interest in food and what's in it. I think these days there are too many shortcuts that are full of unhealthy additives, salt and sugars that really just aren't necessary. Although I'm not a perfect advocate for healthy eating (crisps, biscuits, cake and sweets still feature in my diet!) I've been working hard at making healthier main meals that have a wide range of veggies or fruit, are tasty and challenge my growing skills as a cook. Nothing really beats the feeling of satisfaction of cooking a wholesome, healthy meal that others can enjoy. It's one of my favourite feelings, and I love the smell of food cooking or baking in kitchens, makes it seem so homely. 

I've been asked by people on instagram and tumblr to post some of my recipes and I did start once but now I have this blog I'll try and put in some of my successes more often. I probably should also start looking for some tips on taking good photos of my creations as well! I want to share today two simple recipes that I made yesterday and today for the evening meal shared with my Mum (though just me tonight cos she's out). These are great recipes for summertime and I can't wait to be introducing them more often into the weekly meal plan and also trying out some variations. 


Baked basil tofu pasta with mixed vegetables in a tomato sauce. 

This is a simply tasted summery pasta dish. I love how I was able to use the leftover veggies in the fridge and there are so many variations to this dish. You could also make it with a little chilli for the colder months. Other variations could include olives, feta cheese, spinach, chilli, various oils and different marinades. Instead of tofu you could instead have diced chicken or turkey breast. It really is a simple recipe that can suit whatever is in your fridge/cupboards. 

To serve 2. 

5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil infused with Basil (in the UK you can get this in Sainsburys)
200g firm or extra firm tofu
2 cups Pasta (I used gluten free)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Fresh or dried basil
1 cup mushrooms
Half cup of onions (I used spring onions this time as we had some in)
2 cloves of garlic
1 Pepper 
100g beansprouts (I had some that needed using up)
10 cherry tomatoes 

1. Either in the morning or an hour before cooking take your tofu and wrap in paper towels and then place between two plates to drain the water out for 15 minutes. Once the tofu is drained (it feels alot drier) cut into cubes and mix with whatever marinade you desire. For this version I placed the tofu in 4tbsp of the basil infused olive oil and left standing for 10 minutes (I would do this in the morning next time to allow more flavour absorption). 
2. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees centigrade or equivalent.  
3. Once oven is hot place the tofu onto a baking tray (foil is really useful to place underneath to protect your trays!) and place into the middle of the oven. The cubes take around 30-40 minutes to bake with turning them over after 20 minutes. 
4. Once the tofu is in the oven you can start chopping your veggies. I always do this in order of cooking and place them into bowls. The first bowl will have the chopped garlic cloves, mushrooms and onion in. The second bowl had the cherry tomatoes (halved) and sliced pepper. I find this just causes less stress as I'm prepared in advance. 
5. Heat the last tbsp of oil in a frying pan or wok and once hot stir fry the garlic, onion and mushrooms under a med-hot heat. Once they start to soften add the peppers, and tomatoes and continue to fry for about another 3 minutes before adding the beansprouts. 
6. Once everything is starting to brown in the pan add the chopped tomatoes and either the freshly sliced or dried basil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and allow to cook. Keep stirring now and again to prevent any sticking, if you find there is I find adding a little water helps.
7. Boil salted water in a saucepan and add your pasta when the water is boiling. Cook per instructions on packet.
8. Once your pasta is cooked, drain the water out and add directly to the vegetable mix. Mix together until the pasta is coated with the tomato sauce. 
9. Serve the pasta and vegetables, the tofu should be cooked by now so take out the oven and spoon onto the top of the mixture. 
10. Garnish with either fresh basil or watercress for a more summery look. 


Simple couscous salad with falafel. 

Middle Eastern cuisine is an oasis for vegans, there is limited meat and the only substitutions that usually need to be made is changing to soy instead of dairy ingredients. Last summer I had my first go at making a basic tabbouleh salad and I loved it so much, along with how quick and easy it is to make it's become a staple for when I fancy a lighter meal. This is also one of those times where I did cheat a little, the falafel balls in this recipe are bought frozen from Tesco's meatfree range. Making falafel does take some time and therefore isn't always time-friendly. Though if you do want to have a go at making your own there are lots of different recipes on the internet to try. Again, this is another meal with so many variations! Usually you'd have crushed garlic in with the tabbouleh but I have none at the moment and I like it with just lemon and mint. You could add different fruits for an exotic salad (raisons go really well!) and again, feta cheese, olives or any of your favourite salad ingredients can be utilised. You could also serve this with a yoghurt (soya or dairy) based dip or some houmous. This meal works great as a lunch as well as a main meal and the tabbouleh can be eaten cold and is still tasty. 

To serve 1. 

Half cup of wholewheat couscous
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp mint sauce (you can use fresh mint as well)
3 frozen falafel balls 
1 cup lettuce
1 tomato
Quarter cup cucumber
1 spring onion
2 celery sticks
1 pepper
3 baby beetroots

1. Preheat your oven to the temperature guided by the packet of falafel and bake for approx 20 minutes.
2. Mix the lemon juice, couscous and mint sauce in a saucepan and add enough boiling water to just cover the couscous. 
3. Heat the couscous over a medium heat until air bubbles appear, remove from the heat and let stand. 
4. Prepare and chop all your salad ingredients and place into a bowl. 
5. Add the tabbouleh mixture on top and then the falafel balls when they're cooked. Garnish with salad cress.  


Hope you all have fun cooking! If you'd like to see more of my meals please follow me on instagram. I'd love to know if you'd like to see more of my meals/baking feature on here and any questions pop in the comment box. 

Amy. x


Post a Comment