Tag Archives: vegetarian

Quinoa bake with spinach and ricotta

As we head in to the festive season, I find that I need to balance out the indulgences of this time of year, with home cooked, healthy (at least semi-healthy) meals.

Packed full of goodness, and also gluten-free (for any of you who are gluten intolerant), this baked quinoa “pie” with spinach and feta is as comforting as it looks. Hot from the oven, the quinoa are almost pillowed amongst the ingredients, adding a lightness that you wouldn’t get if I omitted them. I only need to cook for two, so I made enough for four, split the mixture in to two small pie tins, and will freeze the other portion for a time when I need something easy, quick and delicious. All I have to do is warm up and eat.

This recipe is really versatile – adding in ham or bacon would work too.

Ingredients (for one large pie to feed four or two smaller pies)

  1. 1 cup quinoa
  2. 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
  3. 200g feta (you can also substitute ricotta or even cottage cheese)
  4. 4 large eggs
  5. Splash of milk
  6. 1 cup of grated parmesan, divided in to two portion
  7. salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F
  2. Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until tender and the germ is visible
  3. Stir in the spinach leaves as you fluff the quinoa – the residual heat will wilt the leaves
  4. Crumble the feta in and mix
  5. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with a splash of milk and one portion of the parmesan
  6. Add a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper – don’t over-salt as the cheeses will already add some savouriness to the dish
  7. Loosely spoon the quinoa mixture into your pie dish, pour over the egg mixture and combine the two in the dish
  8. Flatten the top and sprinkle the second portion of parmesan over the top
  9. Bake for 30-35 mins until the top is golden
  10. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then enjoy hot !
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Garlic and brocolli pasta

In the middle of one of my twice annual detoxes, I was in the mood for a simple pasta dish. I’ve found some really good organic brown rice pastas and also buckwheat pastas, which are detox-friendly, as well as having the added bonus of being gluten-free.

This dish is so quick and simple – perfect weekday dinner or double the quantity and you can have the leftovers as a pasta salad for lunch the next day.

Ingredients for one serving – adjust accordingly for more

  1. 3/4 cup dry spiral organic brown rice pasta
  2. 1/2 cup broccoli florets – no stems
  3. 2-3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I love garlic so feel free to use less)
  4. good squeeze of lemon
  5. salt and pepper

Method

  1. Cook pasta according to packet directions in salted water
  2. When pasta is almost cooked, add the broccoli for a 30 seconds and drain – save about half a cup of the pasta water
  3. Sautée the garlic in a hot pan with some oil till soft
  4. Add the drained pasta and broccoli and toss in the garlic and oil – add a few spoons of the pasta water to help loosen the pasta up. The starchy water will help to give the pasta a nice silky texture
  5. Squeeze the lemon juice, and add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Serve hot for dinner
  7. If you want to keep the leftovers for lunch the next day, add a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and pop into the fridge for a yummy pasta salad

Chickpea and lentil curry

A really simple curry that you can get on the table in 20 minutes with the help of some pre-blended curry spices. You can get curry pastes in jars, or powders – I had Sharwood’s medium curry powder in my pantry which I used. Look for a spice mix with coriander, cumin, tumeric, paprika, cinnamon, fennel, cardamon – the usual Indian spices.

Ingredients makes 4-6 portions

  1. 3 tbs neutral oil, I use macadamia
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. thumb sized piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  4. 1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
  5. 5 tbl curry powder
  6. 400ml coconut cream
  7. 1 tbs concentrated chicken stock (or 1 stock cube if you don’t have access to the concentrated stuff)
  8. 6 kaffir lime leaves, sliced into thin strips
  9. 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  10. 200g cooked lentils (I used 100g brown lentils that I cooked to make 200g but you could also used tinned lentils – just drain and rinse them too)
  11. For garnish, big dollop of plain yoghurt, chopped fresh coriander and sliced red chilli

Method

  1. Fry the onions in the oil till translucent
  2. Add ginger and garlic and fry for 3 minutes
  3. Add the curry powder (or paste if you’re using this) and fry on high heat for 3 minutes
  4. Add the coconut cream, chicken stock and kaffir lime leaves, bring to boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes
  5. This next step may seem odd but I actually think it’s necessary with this type of vegetarian curry where you want to eat everything in the bowl – strain the curry
  6. Use the back of a spoon to push the ingredients through the sieve – you want to extract as much flavour from the cooked ingredients as possible
  7. Pour the strained curry back into the pot, season with salt to taste
  8. Add in the chickpeas and lentils and bring to a gentle simmer
  9. Serve hot with the yoghurt, coriander and chilli and you can either eat it on it’s own or over some basmati rice

Dolmades

Dolmades with tzatziki

After a week of eating out with my parents while they’ve been visiting, I felt like I needed to a) eat something home-cooked and b) spend some time fiddling around in the kitchen.  The answer: make dolmades.

Healthy and time consuming, it’s the perfect panacea for me, and adding that my office is closed between Christmas and New Year, meant that I had all the necessary ingredients to make them – food as well as time.

Dolmades – Greek stuffed vine leaves are delicious and adaptable to what you feel like on the day.  Tonight I felt like pork in the stuffing.  You can substitute that for any other kind of meat (it’s traditionally made with beef or lamb mince) or take it vegetarian and leave the meat out altogether.  Serve with a good dollop (or bowl!) of tangy tzatziki.

Ingredients (to make around a dozen average sized dolmades)

  • 1/2 cup of uncooked shortgrain rice – you can use white or brown (I used brown tonight)
  • 1 cup water for white rice, 1 1/2 cups water for brown rice
  • Handful pinenuts
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 150g pork mince (or more if you prefer a meatier version.  Leave out for a vegetarian option)
  • Handful dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vine leaves x 12 plus a few extra to line the bottom of the saucepan
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Tzatziki to serve (recipe below)

Method (for stuffing):

  1. Cook the rice by simmering the rice in the water for 10-15 mins for white rice, 40 mins for brown rice
  2. Toast the pinenuts in a frying pan.  Set aside
  3. Brown mince.  Set aside
  4. Gently sweat the onions
  5. Add the browned mince, rice, pinenuts and dill and season lightly

Method (for wrapping):

  1. Line a heavy-based saucepan with a few vine leaves
  2. Take a vine leaf and place on a large plate with the raised veins of the leaf underneath and the stalk away from you.
  3. Place a spoonful of the stuffing in the middle across the leaf
  4. Fold the bottom part of the leaf up first, then roll, wrapping the parcel with the left and right sides of the leaf, until you have a little parcel
  5. Place on top of the vine leaves in the saucepan.
  6. Continue to pack them snugly in the base of the saucepan as you make them
  7. Once you have wrapped them all, pour over the olive oil and lemon juice – you can also add some of the brine from the jar of vine leaves (which will add salt, hence seasoning the stuffing lightly)
  8. Weigh down with a plate
  9. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for an hour
  10. Once the hour is up, turn off the heat and let them cool in the saucepan with the lid on
  11. Store in the fridge with a generous drizzle of olive oil

Tzatziki – mix in a large bowl:

  1. 1 x 500g tub natural yoghurt – look for the ones which are naturally set in the tub as they are thicker – strain out excess liquid
  2. 3 medium lebanese cucumbers (or equivalent), skin and seeds removed and then grated – sprinkle salt over to draw excess liquid out and then squeeze the grated cucumber to get rid of as much liquid as possible
  3. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  4. Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon
  5. 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 2 – 4 tbs finely chopped mint or dill
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
  8. Cover and let sit in the fridge for a few hours for the flavours to develop