Showing posts with label savory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label savory. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vegan lentil meatballs

An easy vegan lentil meatball recipe!

I can't believe the thought of making vegan meatballs had ever crossed my mind. It hadn't until I came across the following recipe for 'Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs' over on the Wholefoods Market Blog a couple of weeks ago. The recipe was so simple so I though I'd have a go at making my own meatballs. I didn't stick to Wholefoods's recipe as it called for a few ingredients I don't own. So my attempt at making meatballs, like most meals I cook was a 'bit of this and maybe a bit of that' type procedure. Therefore, I don't have an exact recipe with measurements to share but only the ingredients to easily make some vegan lentil meatballs!
Vegan and vegetarian lentil  spaghetti and meatballs
Vegan lentil meatballs served with spaghetti and tomato sauce - Spaghetti and vegan meatballs.
You can enjoy the lentil meatballs in a spaghetti dish or as a sandwich filler. Both work extremely well. The meatballs are extremely filling and packed with energy filled lentils so they make for a great meal at home or on the go. These meatballs do make for a healthy recipe as they are baked not fried and filled with lentils. However, there this recipe calls for  breadcrumbs. 

Vegan and vegetarian lentil   meatball recipe

Gather these ingredients for the meatballs:
Puy (green lentils)
Stock Cube
White onion
Courgette (optional)
Dried chilli, basil (any herb to your tasting)
Fresh coriander
Nutritional yeast/flax seeds (optional)

How to make the vegan lentil meatballs:

1. Preheat your oven.

2. Boil about 2 cups of puy lentils in stock until as much moisture is gone from them (without burning the pan)

3. Finely chop an onion,  chop half a courgette, a good handful of mushrooms into small chunks. Fry the onion until getting soft and then add the chopped courgette and mushrooms along with chopped garlic until the vegetables are cooked.

4. When the lentils are cooked and the vegetables are also cooked - transfer to a food processer or blender (or mash by hand) add your fresh coriander, chilli, dried herbs, seasoning and blend until the mixture is incorporated ( I like to leave a bit of chunk it). Add the mix to a bowl and add a couple of hand fulls of breadcrumbs and mix. Add breadcrumbs until the mixture is no longer wet and is thick enough to form balls.

5. Roll your mixture into small meatball size balls and place on a baking tray and bake for around 20 minutes or until crispy on the outside.

If you are going to add the vegan lentil meatballs to complete a 'spaghetti and meatball' dish, have your sauce and spaghetti ready to go when your meatballs are cooked.
Vegan and vegetarian lentil   meatball recipe

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The many questions and mysteries surrounding QUINOA!

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa....pronounced Keen-wah or kee noh ah? That is usually the first discussion I have with people regarding Quinoa. I always stick with pronouncing it KEEN WAH!

The second discussion is usually on the topic of what is Quinoa? 
Well a quick Google will tell you that Quinoa is in fact a grain like crop and member of the seed family. It is native to South America and appears to be increasing in popularity across the world due to its associated health benefits. It is a very popular food for vegans and vegetarians due to the high protein content along with other high levels of vitamins and minerals. Although its popularity in the western world has received some negative attention due to the demand pushing the prices up in south america, leaving locals who rely on the crop not being able to afford it. Read about it here. 

How do I cook Quinoa?

The second discussion I have with people on the topic of Quinoa is How do I cook Quinoa? It either just sticks to the pan or comes out soggy, is usually what they tell me!
I have previously posted a great set of easy and quick instructions on how to cook quinoa. I learned how to cook it at a Blazing Salads's cooking demonstration. You can read about it here.

It's equal parts Quinoa to water. So 250g Quinoa to 250ml water etc.

1. Put the Quinoa in the pan along with boiling water salt and vegetable stock (optional).

2. Put the lid on the pot and leave it on (this is very important). Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15
minutes. The trick is to leave the lid on as you are going to be steaming it.

3. After simmering  take it off the hob and just leave it to rest.

Tip!-I find that to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan or get too compressed, pick the pot up and shake the quinoa around the pot while holding the lid on.

Quinoa Recipe Ideas

Now onto Quinoa recipe ideas. I use Quinoa a lot across a wide range of dishes. I like to cook a large amount and keep it in a plastic container so it's ready to use with various meals.
You can add it to soups, stews, salads, burgers, sauces, dressings, cakes and more!

Quinoa Salads

My favourite use for it is using it for really tasty, fulfilling and healthy salads.

It's really easy to make a great quinoa salad using:
  • Roast vegetables  
  • Tofu/Roast Tofu
  • Toasted seeds
  • Green leaves
  • Chopped Salads
  • And whatever else you think tastes good!

Sweet chilled sweet potato quinoa and rocket salad

Flavouring Quinoa

Quinoa without any seasoning or dressing pretty bland and most people will agree! You can season it while cooking it but adding vegetable stock, salt or lightly frying garlic and onions before adding the quinoa to cook. 

My favourite dressings to use with Quinoa:
  • Soya Sauce
  • Happy Pear Sundried Tomatoe Pesto
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Beetroot Dressing
  • Chopped Parsley (any herb to your taste!)

Quinoa beyond Salads!

Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers and Falafel Bites

You can make a vegi burger even healthier and more wholesome by adding cooked quinoa to the burger
mixture. Roast sweet potato, chick pea, kidney bean and quinoa burgers go great together and make a nutrient packed and seriously colorful burger!

Sweet Potatoes
Tin of chickpeas
Tin of kidney beans
Olive Oil

1. Cook as much quinoa as you want to add to the mixture (Increase the amount in accordance to the amount of burgers you want to make). 200g is a good start of measurement.

2. Roast your sweet potato, again as much or as little as you want in the burgers. Too much can make the mixture quite wet though. I cut the sweet potato into chunks, cover in olive oil, salt and lots of paprika. I also bake the sweet potato alongside with garlic!

3.Blend a tin or chick peas and a tin of kidney beans in a food processor (or whatever combination you want). Add the baked sweet potato to the blender and fresh coriander (or any herb you want) and blend until smooth.

4. Place the sweet potato and bean mixture into a bowl, add your cooked quinoa, a good handful of breadcrumbs and mix.

5. Shape the mixture into flat burgers or into small bite size balls (perfect for salads). Place on a baking tray and place into a hot oven and cook for aprox 20-30 mins or until the burgers aren't soft and wet.

Additionally add quinoa to your soups and stews! 
Has anyone else tried some different quinoa recipes?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The best vegi breakfast in Dublin...?

If you’re looking for a great vegetarian or vegan breakfast while in Dublin, Cornucopia on Wicklow street ( just off Grafton st) is the place to go.

They do an array of options including their homemade baked beans and sausages, crepes, scrambled tofu, eggs, pancakes and more.

Served from 8.30 am to 12 pm.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Possibly the tastiest pesto covered roast veg pasta bake..

So I've named this (extremely addictive) dish 'Possibly the tastiest pesto covered roast veg past bake'. And it certainly lives up to it's name. I can shamefully admit to eating entire dishes of this to my self in one or two sittings. Please don't judge, I can explain why.  You have the pasta and who doesn't love carby pasta? You've got really sweet, soft and flavoursome roasted veg. You've got homemade subtle yet just the perfect amount of pesto and then you've got the baked bread crumbs. Who couldn't say not to that?
So there's a few steps to this heavenly dish: the homemade or (store bought) pesto, the roasting of the veg and the pasta. Here is what to do:

1. Making the Vegan Pesto

I make my own because it's impossibe to find vegan basil pesto in Dublin. It's really really easy to make and here is how I make it:

  •  2 standard packets of fresh basil ( as much as you would like really)
  • A good handful of pine nuts
  • Nutritional Yeast flakes (as much as you want to taste)
  • A good old glug of olive oil
  • A clove of garlic
  • Chilli (optional)
  • & Salt and Pepper
Throw all of that in a blender and there you have vegan basil pesto!
Pesto tip: Pesto is pretty pricey to make but you can get 2 packets of fresh basil in Tesco for 2 euro. Pine nuts are also majorly expensive BUT you can pick up packets for 1 euro in Tiger stores which are found around Dublin.

2. Making the Roasted Vegetables

This is the best part and the sweeter the veg, the better. Chop whatever vegetables you desire into small bite size pieces. The smaller they are, the quicker they cook and the quicker they cook, the quicker you get to tuck into some amazing pasta bake. So season them up and roast until they're soft and juicy.
I like to use peppers, garlic, courgette, mushrooms and butternut squash but anything goes. I do strongly recommend courgette though, you'll understand why if you go with it.

3. Boiling the boring, soon to be exciting Pasta!

I prefere to use wholegrain pasta but feel free to use normal. I don't have exact measurements for how much to cook but just go with how much you need to fill your dish of choice. Keep in mind that the more pasta you cook you less concentrated the pesto will get. 

4. The final steps towards a pesto pasta party

So once you're pasta is boiled and your veg is roasted and oozing flavour, throw it all in a bowl with the pesto and mix it around until you've got a nice even spread.

For a topping I mixed nutritional yeast and breadcrumbs and a small bit of oil! I also chop cherry tomatos into small pieces, squeeze all the moisture out of them and place on top of the pasta bake so they become crispy when being baked.

Friday, September 28, 2012


There isn't a dish more Irish and more suited to this time of year than Collcannon! For those of haven't heard of it before, Collcannon consists of mashed potato, ground up Kale and Onion with loads of butter. Seriously yum, satisfying for cold days and most importantly nutritious. Any vegan doesn't really need to be told of the nutritional benefits of Kale. Here is some information anyway:

If you have a food processor, blend the kale up with white onion and mash into mashed potatoes with loads of butter(I use Pure Sun Flower) , salt and pepper and you're done. Taste's great on buttered bread too.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Quinoa and soy sauce.. who knew!

Here is another tasty and nutritious Quinoa recipe!
It is really easy to make and is full of flavor. Between the Quinoa and Sesame seeds in this dish, you're sure to get a sufficient about of protein and calcium.

Depending on  how many people you're cooking for, the amount of Quiona varies. I usually go for 100g per person.
This recipe includes Quinoa, Sweet Potatoe, Pepper, Chilli, Garlic, Soy Sauce, Seeds, Salt and Veg stock/Bouillon, parsley.

This recipe serves around 2 people, depending on how hungry you are! You can add as much and as little veg as you like.

1. Start by chopping your peppers and sweet potatoes. Chop them into relatively small strips, so you don't have to spend ages cooking them. Also add chopped garlic and chilli and olive oil. Sprinkle with a little bit of dried basil.

2. Just before you put your veg into the oven, throw some seeds onto a tray and sprinkle with soy sauce. And then throw them all into the oven. Cook seeds for aprox 10mins and veg...until done!

3. Now for the Quinoa. Put 200g of Quinoa into a pot and boil 200ml of water. ( 200g =200ml water, 300g + 300ml water..etc)

How to successfully cook Quinoa: Add the boiling water to the Quinoa, put the lid on (important you do), bring to boil and simmer for 15 mins.
Still keeping the lid on, after 15 mins of simmering, turn the hob off and allow it to steam for another 15 mins. And Voila, light and fluffy Quinoa!

4. When Veg is done and Quinoa is done, mix it all together with the toasted seeds.
Chop a spoonful of 2 of parsley and throw that in there too.
Add salt to taste.
Add a couple splashings on Soy Sauce. 

The final product!
 The toasted seeds in soy sauce. Cook some extra and eat as a snack!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blazing Salads Cooking Demo

I've posted about Blazing Salads before, of course! Everything tastes great in there. For those who haven't heard about Blazing Salads, it is a Vegetarian /Vegan deli on Drury St, Dublin.
They have a seriously amazing vegan salad bar which contains a variety of different salads and toppings. You fill up a box with as much or as little as you want of the different salads. There is also hot food and soups which change daily, cakes, burgers, pizza and more!

Anyway, I got the opportunity to attend a Blazing Salads's cookery demonstration at the Dalkey Book Festival given by founders Pamela and Lorraine. They gave a very humble demonstation to a small crowd, provided great recipes, tips and most importantly, let everybody try the goods! They made a roasted vegetable quinoa salad and chocolate nut bars. The quinoa tasted amazing so I gave it a go this morning! They also gave great instructions for successfully cooking quinoa, see blow!

How to properly cook Quinoa:

I had never properly known how to cook quinoa before. Pamela and Lorraine gave a reliable method which works every time.This was great news for me because I like many people end up with wet and soggy quinoa!
It's equal parts quinoa to water. So 250g quinoa to 250ml water etc.

Cooking  Quinoa successfully: 1. Put the Quinoa in the pan along with boiling water salt and  vegetable stock (optional).
2. Put the lid on the pot and leave it on (this is very important). Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. The trick is to leave the lid on as you are going to be steaming it.
3. After 15 minutes of simmering just leave it to rest.

I find that to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan or get too compressed, pick the pot up and shake the quinoa around the pot while holding the lid on.

Roasted vegetable and Quinoa 

250g Quinoa
250ml Water
1 Aubergine
1 Courgette
1 Pepper
2 cloves Garlic
2 table spoons of chopped parsley
Basil leaves
Dried Basil
Olive Oil
1 tin of tomatoes

Cooking the Quinoa:
1. Put the Quinoa in the pan along with boiling water salt and  vegetable stock (optional).
2. Put the lid on the pot and leave it on (this is very important). Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. The trick is to leave the lid on as you are going to be steaming it.
3. After 15 minutes of simmering just leave it to rest.

While the quinoa is cooking prepare the veg. Chop the Aubergine, Courgette, Pepper into small chunks. Put the veg on a roasting pan along with the chopped garlic and olive oil. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and dried basil on top. Roast for about 20 minutes. Take the vegetables out and pour the tinned tomatoes over the veg and bake for a further 15 mins until soft.

Add the chopped parsley, basil to the quiona along with a few swigs of olive oil. Add salt to taste. When the veg has cooled, add it to the quiona. So yum and easy!

Toasted seeds

In the demo they talked about how great seeds are. I already knew this and always add them to my salads and hummous for extra nutrition. Sesame seeds in particular are very high in calcium. They introduced me to a delish new way to eat them, toasted with soya sauce! I always just eat mine raw but these cooked ones tasted amazing. Seeds are readily available and you can get packs like this in the whole foods section in Tesco. 
Anyway, if you simply pop them in the oven for about 5-10 mins and then pop some soy sauce on them, delish!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Vegan Garlic Mayonnaise

I had gone to Cornucopia a few weeks back and got their Vegan Garlic mayonnaise Potato salad and fell in love. I couldn't believe they were vegan.

I remember seeing the recipe in the cookbook so I took it out and made a crack at it.
The recipe made way too much so I would half the ingredients.
-88g cashew nuts (soaked over night)
-63ml olive oil
-63ml water
-Juice of half a lemon.
-2/3 cloves of garlic chopped roughly.
Then just pop all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
It didn't turn out as smooth as I thought it would. It didn't resemble the mayo from the restaurant but still tasted good. I added some chives, salt and pepper into the mayo too and made a potato salad.

The recipe also called for mustard and hazelnuts. I forgot the mustard... and i had no hazelnuts but they are for sure a good addition.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

So I'm going to write about a few things on this post. Once again, I regret that most of my photos are taken on my phone, so pretty bad quality!

Pesto Pasta Bake

I've posted about this many times before, but I can't get enough of it. I just made a big one for work lunches. I've started an internship and working smack in the middle of town on Suffolk Street. I have all the best food places right on my door step. I went a bit overboard on the first week and burnt a hole in my pocket. Blazing salads right around the corner, so expensive but so hard to resist. So from now on it's packed lunches.

Pesto pasta bake has been a favorite so far to bring in, so far. Roasting up lots of red peppers, sweet potato and whatever vegetable and stiring it in with whole grain pasta and home made pesto. The roasted vegetables are so tasty and sweet. I sprinkle a little brown sugar on top of them to bring out the sweet flavours more.

I bought some nutritional yeast during the week to add into my pesto and It tastes great. I had read about it's almost cheesy taste.
I sprinkle the top with Cheezly mozzarella after, along with bread crumbs. I have grown to love the cheese.

I want to use the pesto mix it up with baby potatoes and bulgar wheat too. Yum Yum.

Shepardless Pie

Here is a picture of a shepards pie I made. It had puy lentils and veg in a tomato sauce. It tasted alright but It needs work. At least it's full of goodness. The family liked it anyway. I'm thinking of adding cheese on top along with mashing some sweet potato into the mash.

New Alpro range

I came across Alpros new Hazelnut and Almond Milk. It was on special so I went with the Hazelnut. It tastes great and I way prefere it to soya. Tastes alot like normal milk, I find. It has a great nutty and kind of chocolaty taste. It tastes absolutely great with cereal. I plan on buying this from now on.

Blazing Salads

As I mentioned before, I have to stop myself going to Blazing Salads. Costing a good 6 euro to fill a box up. It tastes sooooo goood though.

Our orange lunch

I cooked a load of food for my friends 21st during the weekend. I made us a little birthday lunch involving sweet potato wedges and cous cous. :)

Same cookies I have posted about many times before because they are SO GOOD. These are triple chocolate ones. Dark chocolate, vegan white chocolate and the cookie it's self is chocolate. Delisssh.

And this! Orange chocolate spread. I love orange chocolate. It tastes just like terrys chocolate orange. I picked it up in Nourish on Wicklow street. Highly recommended!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recent food

I am constantly taking picture of food on my phone. Everything is a bit mixed up so instead of doing a load of separate posts I thought I'd throw them all into one.

I went out to the Happy Pear today for Lunch. I went for the pitta and salad. I didn't know the pitta had goats cheese in it though so I had to take it out and eat around the left over bit. I had a lovely coffee and vegan choc fruit and nut tiffin slice. I also love going to The Happy Pear.
I had another attempt at cupcakes but with another recipe. I used the Vegan cupcakes take over the world one. I didn't have all the ingredients really though. It required corn starch but I assumed that's corn flour. It made the cupcakes taste like corn flour though. They were alright though. Still not there yet. The icing was good though!

I came across these in Dunnes Stores and HAD to get them. Orange chocolate is a favourite. They tasted really good.
Here is a salad with a Good Life nut cutlet burger. I love them and they are so quick to cook under the grill.

Linda McCartney sausages. Last week people kept mentioning breakfast rolls and I was craving sausages and beans so bad. I made this for lunch a couple times and really hits the spot. It's a nice change from salad. The sausages are so tasty and only take a few minutes under the grill.

And this is my usual lunch while at home. I eat so many falafels but I don't know what I'd do with out them.

I made more cookies recently with the usual recipe. I guessed the measurements this time as my scales was broken. I added some chocolate powder into the mixture to make double chocolate cookies and oh my god they are dangerously tasty. I eat them all :/. The trick is to almost under cook them and then let them set and you get an extremely chewy cookie as the all the sugar sets but doesn't harden from being heated.
And another 'The Counter' post. As I've said before it's a great place to go for dinner when with non vegis and it's cheap and sooooooo tasty. This is the vegi burger in a bowl with various toppings such as avocado, roasted peppers and grilled pineapples. And you NEED to get the sweet potato fries.

And this is the falafel wrap from Gourmet Burger in Dun Loaghaire. It is very very tasty. It's vegan but you just have to ask for no Harisa. I get guac instead. It is so yummy when they grill the wrap after. It comes with rosemary chips!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Puff Pastry- Samosas and Jam puffs.

I have used puff pastry a few times this week. And it's vegan!

So first of all. I made samosas for dinner tonight and they turned out great. Usually they would be made with filo pastry but the puff pastry is a lot easier to use. They turned out extremely good. I had never made them before. To make the filling, what you need is ( I don't give any mesaurements really as you can have as little or as much as you want:
But aproxameltly:
-A good handful of diced butter nut squash
-A good handful of diced carrots
-'' '' '' red onion
I baked these together in olive oil until soft.
-Blanche a handful of chopped cauliflour, Peas and pea string things.. (?) hah
- Chop some chilli and a few mushrooms and spinach.
-In a sauce pan add oil, 2 teaspoons of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of coriander and cumin seeds.

When the carrots, onion and squash are finished cooking, add everything into the saucepan and stir for a while until everything is coated.
I had falafels and some left over veg curry so I broke up some falafel into it and added a couple teaspoons of the curry to moisten it up.

I cut out about 4 large diamond shape in the rolled out pastry placed some of the mixture to one half and then folded over. Then wet the pastry a little and popped into the oven for about 20 mins.

And for the left over pastry!! Squish it all together and roll it back out flat. Cut little triangle and circle shapes out and fill with jam or chocolate or jam and peanut butter. These tasted so good!