Vegan lentil loaf is not the most photogenic of dishes. Its brown whole-foody visage summons vegetarian magazines from the 1980s to mind, with their equally brown grainy photos.
But it’s delicious. And good for you. And pretty easy to make.
Ingredients, quantities serve six, adjust as required:
250g of green lentils (other types will work too)
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
a teaspoon of dried rosemary or sage
water for cooking
3 slices of wholemeal bread
a handful of porridge oats
salt and black pepper to taste (it really doesn’t need much salt)
sliced tomatoes for topping
Place the lentils in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn down to simmer for about 15 minutes then add the carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf and herbs. Cook until the lentils and vegetables are all tender, adding more water to keep covered if needed. Once the veg and lentils are ready, discard any excess water. You want it wet but not swimming in liquid else the loaf will be soggy. Transfer half the mixture (including the bay leaf) to a blender and give a quick blitz. It does not need to be smooth. Tip it back into the pan with the rest of the mix. Crumble the bread into it. Add the oats. Season and stir thoroughly.
Place it all in a greased baking dish. Top with sliced tomatoes and bake in an oven pre-heated to 200C/400F for half an hour.
Great in a roast dinner, or paired with macaroni cheese, or as part of a lighter meal with a baked potato, this lentil loaf also slices really well when cold for sandwiches and salads.
The book is a satisfyingly chunky hardback with lots of beautiful full page colour photos that reminded me of when my son was a toddler and used to like to look at recipe books. He would point at each picture and say ‘Nums!’ Well, there’s lots to say ‘nums’ about in this book… See our whole review here
Ingredients for the cream of tomato soup: 2 tins of plum tomatoes about a cup of water (rinse out tins with it) 1 onion 5 cloves of garlic 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped 1 or 2 handfuls of cashew nuts a few fresh sage leaves seasalt to taste
Place the tomatoes and water in a pan and bring to the boil, adding the onion, sweet potato, sage and garlic as it heats. Once it boils, turn down to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Place soup in a blender and add the cashew nuts. Blend and taste for seasoning, add salt as desired.
If your blender is not very strong, try soaking the cashews in water overnight to soften them before using.
We had the cream of tomato soup with a cheese and onion pasty made in a similar manner to the basic pasties on frugal but using Kamut flour in the pastry and filled with chopped red onion, cubed potatoes and vegan cheese all cooked in a little soya milk first, also very good 🙂
Gorgeous Choc Hotlate, a recipe for hot chocolate topped with ice cream, from the equally gorgeous book The Contented Vegan. What could be better on a snowy day?
The book is a satisfyingly chunky hardback with lots of beautiful full page colour photos that reminded me of when my son was a toddler and used to like to look at recipe books. He would point at each picture and say ‘Nums!’ Well, there’s lots to say ‘nums’ about in this book.
Written by a chef who has been vegan for over 30 years, the pages are bursting with great advice for people starting off on the vegan journey and those who’ve been on it a while.
I enjoyed the section on raising vegan children and it also brought back memories. The author advises trying to make the food to be eaten with other children as ‘normal’ as possible. I recall planning such a meal and getting my daughter to check that her friend liked spaghetti, thinking a nice Bolognese style sauce would go down well. Indeed, the initial report came back positive. But I will never forget the look of sheer horror on the child’s face when presented with a bowl of spaghetti and sauce.
‘What is this?’ she asked.
‘Spaghetti,’ said I.
‘But spaghetti comes in orange juice.’
Luckily I did have a tin at the back of a cupboard, so all was well!
Recipe sections include breakfast, snacks, lunch, suppers, family dinners and feasts and celebrations. We’ll be trying the Winter Solstice Pie and the Fennel and Pepper Presto has caught the eye too. In fact I can tell it’s a book of nums that will be dipped into often over many years.
It’s snowing again, may have to make more Choc Hotlate!
Soak beans overnight if using dried ones. For the mammoth pie above which did dinner and lunch next day for four, we used 250g of dried beans. Place in a large pan, cover well with water, bring to the boil and let simmer for a long time… (should be instructions on the bag). Throw in the rice (200g) about half way through cooking. Add more water if needed. Once it’s all nearly cooked add the vegetables. In this pie there were four carrots and one head of celery, all chopped. Onion is good too.
As that cooks up a bit, add a teaspoon of mixed herbs, a good squidge of tomato puree and a teaspoon of yeast extract. Taste and add salt if needed. Stir well. Top with mashed potatoes – especially easy if using cookware that does hob and oven like our favourite Le Creuset Cast Iron Round Casserole – and bake in a hot oven until nicely browned.
Teabread Ingredients: 250g of Doves Farm Gluten free Self Raising flour 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum (flour already contains some) 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 4 mashed bananas 2 generous tablespoons of coconut oil (melted) 300g of raisins juice of one lemon 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract unsweetened soya milk to mix (quite a lot, flour is very absorbent)
Mix dry ingredients and then beat in the wet ones and fruit. Bake at 200C/400F for at least half an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
Lovely with Booja Booja Vanilla ice cream or just with a bit of marg and a cup of tea.
Chocolate variation!! Add 50g of cocoa powder to the flour and liquidise 100g of pitted dates into some soya milk instead of raisins… delish 🙂
We’ve reached that Christmas frazzle time when, regardless of how simple your planned festivities are, everything becomes really hectic. So: frazzle style crisps on a plate. It is a festive plate though. And people are happily gobbling up their Tesco salt and vinegar twists as happily as they gobbled down the fancier snacks 🙂 Moral of the crisps on a plate? Don’t try too hard, don’t tire yourself out: enjoy Christmas.
Take a little walk on the beach. Breathe. Eat some crisps.
This festive soup is such a bright and flavourful recipe, it would make a good addition to any Christmas meal!
Ingredients (for four): a little olive oil 8 carrots, scraped and chopped 1 large onion, chopped a stick of celery, chopped 1 small potato, diced small 2 inch square of fresh ginger, peeled and cut up 1 tablespoon of dried coriander (you could use fresh but it will make the soup go a bit green/brown in colour) 6 or 7 cloves of garlic, crushed or sliced (or even thrown in whole) a handful of cashew nuts water as needed seasalt to taste
In a large pan, fry off the onion, carrot and celery until softened. Add the potato, ginger, coriander, garlic and nuts and cover with water. Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Add salt to taste and then blend it all up! Delicious 🙂