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.