Vegetable tart with caramelised onions

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This is such a quick and easy supper and as we usually have a pack of pastry in the freezer (no, I don’t make my own – no judgment please!) plus plenty of veggies around it’s a great option for when you’re low on ingredients and short of inspiration.  It’s also great cold so a good option for picnics and packed lunches.

(Serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 pack of Jus-Rol puff pastry (ready-rolled for ultimate laziness)
  • 2-3 onions (peeled and sliced)
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Maple syrup
  • 2-3 zucchini (sliced)
  • 4-5 large vine tomatoes (sliced)
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Oregano
  • Salt and pepper to season
  1. Grease a baking tray
  2. Place the pastry on the tray and pinch around the edges
  3. Pour the oil into a pan and add the onions – gently heat through to soften and caramelise
  4. Add a generous drizzle of maple syrup to the onions for the final few minutes of cooking
  5. In another pan add olive oil and slowly shallow-fry the zucchini slices
  6. Spread the caramelised onions evenly over the pastry and then alternate the zucchini and tomato slices
  7. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts, oregano and salt and pepper over the vegetables
  8. Pop in the oven at 220° for 30-40 minutes
  9. Serve with new potatoes and a large green salad

Vegan kale pesto

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I use pesto a lot in different recipes and although I do sometimes buy ready-made (Zest and Suma both do some great vegan ones), I often make my own.  Pesto is traditionally made with rocket but for this one I used kale instead.  Once made it will keep in the fridge for a few days.

  • 3 large handfuls of organic kale
  • 1 small cup of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic – peeled and chopped
  • Large handful of pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper to season
  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl
  2. Blend using a hand-held blender
  3. Delicious with pasta, gnocchi, in soups or drizzled on salads

Creamy hazelnut pâté

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This is so easy to make that I’m a little embarrassed to call it a recipe but it’s so delicious that I thought it was well worth including!  It makes a great starter for a dinner-party (plus the super-quick preparation time means that you can spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen) or a nice tasty lunch or snack.

(Serves 4)

  • One tub of Tofutti vegan cream cheese
  • 3-4 large spoonfuls of hazelnut butter
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • Slices of fig to garnish
  1. Blend the cream cheese, hazelnut butter and sea salt together (you can do this really easily with a spoon)
  2. Serve with slices of fig and crusty bread

Vietnamese summer rolls with tofu

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First of all I feel I need to apologise to anyone reading this from Vietnam – I realise that in comparison to the little works of art that appear on the table in Vietnam and Vietnamese restaurants around the world these are a little slap-dash to say the least!  BUT they do taste amazing plus they’re really healthy and quick to prepare.  

They make a great starter at a dinner party  – you can just stick all the ingredients on the table and let everyone assemble their own – nothing like getting your guests to do the hard work!  Personally, I think these make a great TV dinner.

(Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a light meal)

  • 8 vietnamese rice paper wrappers/spring roll wrappers – You can buy these from Asian supermarkets, health food shops and some regular supermarkets
  • 2 organic carrots – sliced into thin batons
  • Half an organic cucumber  – sliced into thin batons
  • 3 organic spring onions – sliced lengthways 
  • Small pack of organic marinated firm tofu – thinly sliced
  • Handful of fresh mint
  • 1 portion of vermicelli rice noodles
  • Drizzle of toasted sesame oil
  • Splash of soy sauce – I use a low-sodium one
  • Hoisin sauce for dipping
  1. First of all pop the vermicelli rice noodles in a bowl with boiling water to soften
  2. Heat the toasted sesame oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the tofu
  3. Splash a few drops of soy sauce over the tofu and fry for a few moments each side until it turns a golden brown
  4. Pour some boiling water into a large, flat-bottomed plate – this is to soften the rice paper wrappers – they just need a couple of seconds immersed in the water
  5. Place the water-softened wrapper on a plate and fill with ingredients
  6. Fold opposite ends in and then roll up, lengthways, as tightly as you can – this does require some practise!
  7. Serve with a small bowl of hoisin dipping sauce

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Pesto and yoghurt dip

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OK, so calling this a ‘recipe’ is a little far-fetched as it contains precisely two ingredients and a teeny tiny amount of stirring but I make it a lot and it makes a great healthy dip.

Delicious as a traditional dip or on veggie burgers with tonnes of salad in a bun.

  • 2 small post of unsweetened soya yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons of vegan pesto (you can make your own but I just used a ready-made one here)
  1. Mix ingredients and serve!

Spinach and rocket salad with oven-roasted tomatoes, avocado, capers, red onion and pan-fried gnocchi

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We eat so many salads in the summer and despite what some people think they really, really don’t have to be boring!  To be honest we rarely eat the same salad twice as it normally depends on what is in the fridge at the time…

I usually pop gnocchi in boiling water for a couple of minutes but this time I pan-fried it for a slightly different taste and texture.

(Serves 2)

  • 2 large handfuls of organic rocket
  • 2 large handfuls of organic spinach
  • Punnet of slow-roasted tomatoes (see previous recipe)
  • 1 bag of gnocchi
  • 1 ripe organic avocado – peeled, stoned and sliced
  • 1/2 red onion – finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of capers
  • Handful of toasted almond flakes and pumpkin seeds
  • Generous drizzle of olive oil
  • Tablespoon of vegan pesto (I often make my own but Zest do a great one)
  1. Pan-fry the gnocchi in a little olive oil allowing to lightly brown on the outside
  2. Assemble the rocket, spinach, tomatoes, gnocchi, avocado, onion, capers, almond flakes and pumpkin seeds in a bowl
  3. Mix the olive oil with the pesto and drizzle over the salad
  4. Toss and serve

If taking this on a picnic then just take the pesto and olive oil separately and drizzle over at the last minute to avoid the salad leaves going soggy

 

Slow-roasted tomatoes

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I adore these tomatoes.  They’re really easy to prepare, will keep for a few days in the fridge and are great added to salads, served on toast with a drizzle of olive oil or thrown into a pasta sauce.

  • Punnet of organic, on-the-vine cherry tomatoes – Halved
  • 1 garlic clove – sliced
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Sprinkle of seasalt
  1. Assemble all the ingredients in an ovenproof dish and pop in the oven at 100°C and bake for about an hour
  2. If not eating immediately then they can be stored in the fridge in an airtight jar for a few days

 

Vegan Spanish tortilla

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I’m always on the lookout for ways to “veganize” foods that I enjoyed before I stopped eating animal products.  This is a recent discovery and I love it!  Tortilla is often served in tapas bars around Spain in small cubes but this is equally delicious served hot or cold with a big green salad.  It keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days and frequently pops up in our picnic hamper over the summer.

I’ve substituted the eggs for silken tofu flavoured with kala namak and nutritional yeast for a subtle “eggy” taste.  Although I adore the taste of turmeric I initially added it to this recipe for the colour as much as anything else.

(Serves 4)

  • 2 packs of silken tofu
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large potatoes (thinly sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons of dill (dried or fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground kala namak (black salt)
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • Sea salt and pepper to season
  1. Blend the tofu, turmeric, kala namak, nutritional yeast, dill, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil to a smooth consistency.
  2. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a non-stick frying pan and heat it up
  3. Add a layer of the tofu mix followed by a thin layer of potato
  4. Continue this process until all the ingredients are used up.  Make sure you finish with a layer of the tofu mix
  5. Put on a low heat for 40 minutes to cook through
  6. Finish off with a few minutes under a hot grill to brown off

Moroccan-spiced cous cous and apricot salad

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This is a really tasty side-dish, which goes really well with either a Moroccan tagine or as part of a BBQ or picnic.  It keeps well in the fridge too so can be made in advance.

(Serves 4)

  • Large mug of cous cous
  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 2 teaspoonfuls of cumin
  • 2 teaspoonfuls of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoonful of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoonful of cinnamon
  • Generous drizzle of olive oil
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Toasted almond flakes
  • Fresh mint (chopped)
  • Handful of dried apricots, chopped
  • Small cupful of orange juice
  1. Pop the chopped apricots in a cup with the orange juice to soak
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the spices, until they’re dissolved
  3. Add the red onion to the pan with the oil and spices and fry for a few minutes
  4. Add the apricots and orange juice to the pan and simmer
  5. Place the cous cous in a bowl and cover with boiling water, leave to stand for a few minutes
  6. Separate the cous cous with a fork and then add the contents of the pan
  7. Add the fresh mint, pine nuts and almond flakes and combine all the ingredients before serving

Warm new potato salad with mint and olive oil

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I absolutely love the taste of new potatoes.  The fresher and more locally grown, the better.  This makes a great side-dish for a BBQ or picnic (it’s delicious eaten cold too) and is really quick and simple to make and much lighter than the more traditional creamy potato salads.

(Serves 4)

  • Bag of new potatoes (organic)
  • Large handful of fresh mint
  • Generous drizzle of olive oil
  1. Boil the potatoes for around 10 minutes, until cooked
  2. Cool them under the cold water tap for a few moments (I tend to serve this dish warm, not hot to ensure that the mint stays crisp and doesn’t wilt)
  3. Serve with the olive oil, mint and salt and pepper
  • Sea salt and pepper to season