Lentil Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed or grated

350g red lentils

1.5 litres vegetable stock

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons crushed dried chillies

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 lemon, juiced

handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

 

Rinse the lentils until the water runs clear.

Heat oil over medium heat and fry onions until slightly browned and soft.  Add garlic and cumin, and fry for a minute.  Add lentils and stir fry a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.

Add stock and chilli flakes, and simmer covered until the lentils are very soft and breaking apart.  Add more stock or water if needed, it needs to end up soupy.

Add salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Puree it all together with a stick blender.

Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Falafel

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in 5 cups cold water for 24 HOURS

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup finely minced onion

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cloves garlic, mashed

ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Oil for frying

 

Drain the chickpeas and put in food processor with baking soda and salt.  Pulse until you have a texture similar to fine breadcrumbs or bulgur wheat – NOT a paste.

Put chickpeas in a bowl, and add the remaining ingredients.  Mix gently with a fork – do NOT pat down.

Put an inch of oil in a frying pan and set to medium temperature.

Make patties and slip into oil – I take a tablespoon of mixture onto a soup spoon and press down a little to remove some liquid and get it to hold together. then slide it off the spoon into the pan.  It can easily fall apart, so be patient – it is worth it!

Fry until brown then flip and do the other side.

Serve – with tahini sauce, hummous, tabouleh, chopped tomato and lettuce, etc in pita bread.

Spinach Lasagne

Makes a medium-sized lasagne (~30 x 18cm)

To assemble:

Fresh or dried lasagne sheets – if using dried lasagne, prepare as per directions to cook, then plunge in cold water and set aside

60g grated vegan cheese

2 tablespoons vegan parmesan

2 bunches fresh spinach – steamed, squeezed to get rid of moisture, and finely chopped (alternatively, use 2 boxes frozen chopped spinach – thaw and squeeze out excess moisture)

1/4 cup soy or almond milk – unsweetened

 

‘Meat’ Sauce

500g vegan mince

250g mushrooms, sliced

1 large chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, mashed or grated

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano (or tablespoon fresh)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 x cans tomatoes, crushed

4 tablespoons tomato paste

 

‘Cheese’ sauce

100g vegan butter – e.g. nuttelex

6 tablespoons flour

salt and pepper to taste

pinch of nutmeg

800 millilitres of soy or almond milk

200g vegan cheese, grated – e.g. Bio cheese or Daiya cheese

2 tablespoons grated vegan parmesan cheese

 

Make ‘meat’sauce: Fry vegan mince in heavy-based frying pan until brown, making sure that it is loosened and not stuck together in a big lump; remove and set aside.  Add onion, garlic and mushrooms – use a little olive oil if needed – and fry until onion is slightly browned.  Stir in herbs and spices and stir fry for a minute.  Add tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer covered for about an hour, then a further 15 minutes uncovered until the sauce is thick.

Make ‘cheese’ sauce: Melt butter over a low heat, then add flour and seasonings and blend until smooth.  Stir for a few minutes until flour is cooked and browning.  Remove from heat and gradually stir in the milk.  Return to heat, and stir constantly until it boils and thickens.  Cook a further minute, then remove from heat and stir in the cheeses, stirring until they melt into the sauce.

Assemble the lasagne:  Grease a lasagne or other flat ovenproof dish – roughly 30 x 18 cm.  Put in a layer of pasta sheets, trimming to fit.  Spread evenly with half the meat sauce, top with 1/2 the cheese sauce.  Cover with spinach (make sure you’ve squeezed out as much water as possible), then another layer of pasta.  Repeat meat and cheese layers, and top with pasta.  Sprinkle with the grated cheese and parmesan, then sprinkle half the soy or almond milk evenly over the top.

Backe at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes, then sprinkle over the remaining milk and cook for a further 15 minutes until browned on top.  If it is not brown, finish off under the grill.

Let it stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

 

Red Lentil Dahl

This is my favourite dahl recipe – nutty, spicy, creamy.  It is great with rice or naan or poppadums, or as part of an Indian meal with other dishes.  It also freezes really well, so I often make a double batch and freeze meal-sized portions for an easy week day meal option.

Lentils

2 cups red lentils

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

Boil 1 litre water in a pot. Add red lentils and cook for 10 minutes.  Add spices and cook another 15 minutes.  Add more water if needed.  Result should be very creamy.

 

Onion, tomato mixture

2 medium onions, chopped roughly

1/3 cup sunflower oil (or other oil)

6 cloves of garlic, chopped

3cm piece of ginger, chopped

2-4 chopped chillies to taste

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup chopped coriander

 

Heat oil and gently fry onions for about 15 minutes without browning.  Onions should be soft and translucent.  Add garlic, ginger and chillies.  Cook another 10-15 minutes.

Add spices and cook for a minute, stirring to prevent burning.

Add tomatoes and coriander, and cook about 5 minutes until tomatoes are soft, stirring.

Add lentils to onion/tomato mixture and cook gently about 5 minutes to meld all the flavours together.  Check to see if more salt is needed.

Serve.

IMG_0465

Eggplant Zalouk

This dish needs to be made the day before, to allow all the flavours to develop.  It is wonderful as part of a middle eastern meal, or just piled on top of some toasted turkish bread as a spread topped with some ground black pepper.  The key is to grill the eggplant until it is blackened and collapsing, and to use very good quality fresh or canned tomatoes.

2 medium sized eggplants

1/3 cup olive oil

can of tomatoes or 500g ripe tomatoes peeled, seeded and chooped

Tablespoon crushed galic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/t teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup finely sliced coriander leaves

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

salt to taste

 

If grilling in the oven: halve the eggplants and put cut side down on a foil lined tray.  Grill on high for about 30 minutes until the skin is black and the insides are collapsing.

Alternatively you can roast the whole eggplants on a barbeque, turning now and then, until blackened and collapsing.

Put eggplant in colander and remove the skin.  Allow to drain.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan and gently fry tomatoes, garlic and spices (salt to taste) for about 20 minutes.

 

Add the chopped skinned cooked eggplant and coriander.  Cook another 15 minutes until very soft.

 

Add lemon juice to taste, and more salt if needed.

Chill over night to allow flavours to develop.  Serve the following day cold.

 

IMG_0466

 

Chilli Beans – for tortillas, nachos or on rice

This freezes very well, so I often make extra and freeze in single meal portions for easy week day meals: wrap in a warmed tortilla (I use multigrain tortillas) with guacamole, or tip over some instant steamed rice (I like Tilda brown basmati & quinoa) and top with chopped avocado and tomatoes.

2 x 400g cans red kidney beans, drained

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

2-4 crushed cloves of garlic

1 habanero chilli, very finely chopped (or 2 small thai chillies – to taste)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons mixed dried herbs (thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, etc)

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce (this makes a difference from normal soy)

about 1 cup vegetable stock

 

 

Saute onion in olive oil over moderate heat about 10 minutes until transparent and slightly browned.  Add garlic and fry for couple of minutes.  Add cumin and coriander, stir thoroughly and fry another minute – watch it doesn’t burn.

Add all the other ingredients (use as much vegetable stock as you need to make it reasonably runny – as you cook it down you can add more).

Simmer for at least an hour until thick.

Serve with guacamole, salsa, (optional grated vegan cheese) over tortillas or nachos or rice.

 

Roast Vegetable Soup

The chilli flakes are optional in here – I like the deep flavour that comes from roasting the vegetables together with some heat.

3 medium eggplants or 2 large

2 red capsicums

6 plum tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 red onions, chopped

8 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)

1/2 cup (total) chopped fresh herbs – basil, oregano, &/or parsley

salt and pepper to taste

1 litre vegetable stock – I use Moredough or Stock Merchant

can of cooked Butter Beans

 

For the roasting of the vegetables:  I use an over tray, which I line with foil.  I then make little foil ‘nests’ for the eggplants and the capsicums to make it easy to lift them out, and to contain the juices that flow out.

Prick eggplants a few times, and place in oven tray under high heat grill for 30 minutes.  Turn the eggplants.  The skin will go black, which is fine because it will be discarded later.

Add capsicums to the oven tray, and grill eggplant and capsicum for 15 minutes under high heat grill.  Turn eggplant and capsicums.  Add the tomatoes to the oven tray (or put in separate dish below in the oven if there isn’t room).  Grill on high for a further 7 minutes, then turn everything again and grill for another 8 minutes.  You may need to take the eggplant out for these final 15 minutes if it has completely collapsed.

Remove vegetables from the oven.  Scoop eggplant out of skin and retain any moisture that has come out as well.  Remove skin from capsicums and tomatoes, and chop up and put with the eggplant.

WHILE THE VEGES ARE ROASTING:  Gently fry the onions over a low heat in the olive oil for 15 minutes until soft and brown.  Add the chopped garlic and cook for another 10 minutes.  Add chilli flakes if using, salt, pepper and herbs.  Stir and cook for another minute or two.  Add stock and roast vegetables.

Simmer for 20 minutes, then puree with a handheld blender.  Add the drained canned butter beans and warm through.

Serve with bread on the side.

 

IMG_0455