recipe

The ultimate rich vegan bolognese

vegan bolognese recipe vegetarian plant based healthy easy quick

This vegan bolognese recipe is unbelievably rich, deep flavoured, and 'meaty'. I’ve tried dozens of recipes in the pursuit of perfection, and this one is an amalgamation of many, taking the best parts from each recipe to make the ultimate vegan bolognese! Here's how I decided on each component:

The aubergine is as much for the texture as it is the flavour. Using the minced roasted pulp really helps to create a rich, silky texture (some recipes end up a bit watery), while also giving a subtle smoky, savoury flavour. I'm not usually a fan of shitake mushrooms as they're a little too pungent and chewy for me, but when chopped finely, amongst the other ingredients, they give the perfect bite to the bolognese, really making it feel and taste quite ‘meaty’. The process of reducing the red wine, plus the addition of a little soy and cocoa powder, really deepens the flavours and makes it incredibly rich. Some vegan bolognese recipes are based around too many beans and end up a bit uninteresting, but using a combination of puy lentils, quinoa, and black/kidney beans in this gives a great texture and they really absorb the depth of flavour of the dish. And of course they add a load of protein too! 

Although this bolognese recipe is easy, it is a little more involved than some others. But it is definitely worth the effort, and you can make a big batch to freeze some portions to save for a rainy day. In fact, as with many dishes, this tastes even better after being reheated as it gives the flavours even longer to infuse! It's really high in protein, and just a fraction of the saturated fat than a meat recipe too - check out the nutrition stats at the end. 

the best vegan bolognese recipe healthy tasty rich healthy quick easy

The Ultimate Rich Vegan Bolognese

Ingredients (makes 8 portions):

  • 1 medium aubergine (eggplant)

  • 6 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped

  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced

  • 2 large celery sticks, finely diced

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups red wine

  • 300g button mushrooms, roughly chopped

  • 150g shitake mushrooms, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup tomato puree

  • 1 can chopped tomatoes

  • 300g puy lentils

  • 100g quinoa

  • 1 400g tin black or kidney beans

  • 750ml vegan stock

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder

  • 3/4 cup almond milk

  • Pasta & homemade vegan parmesan to serve

Method:

Preheat oven to 190C (375F). Prick aubergine with a fork a couple of times, drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil, and roast until completely softened (up to 1 hour).

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large pan, and fry onion, carrots, and celery until softened but not brown (about 10 mins). Add the garlic, half the parsley, half the basil, and stir for a further 2 mins. Add the red wine and bay leaves, and simmer until the wine is reduced to nearly dry (about 10 mins). 

In a separate pan, add 3 Tbsp olive oil, add button and shitake mushrooms and fry over a medium-high heat until all the mushroom juice has evaporated and the mushrooms have browned nicely (about 15-20 mins). Add tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and stir well. 

Add the mushrooms to the vegetable and reduced wine mixture, and the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, soy sauce, cocoa, and almond milk.

Remove the aubergine from oven, and when cool enough to handle, slit open and scoop out the soft flesh. Chop the flesh finely with a sharp knife and continue mincing until it becomes a puree.

Add this to the pan, along with the lentils, quinoa, black beans, plus 1/2 litre of the vegan stock, a pinch of salt and a few pinches of pepper. Stir to thoroughly combine, then simmer on a low-medium heat until the sauce is rich, thick, and the flavours have fully developed (about 1 hour). Stir occasionally throughout and add the remaining stock if it needs more liquid. 

When ready to eat, cook the pasta as per the instructions on the packet, drain, and reserve a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Return to the pan with a ladle of the bolognese, the remaining fresh herbs, and stir over a high heat until the pasta is well coated. Sprinkle with homemade vegan parmesan and serve immediately! 

vegan bolognese recipe vegetarian healthy quick and easy
the ultimate rich vegan bolognese recipe vegetarian healthy quick easy spaghetti

Nutrition per portion (served with 80g wholegrain pasta and vegan parmesan):

  • Protein: 34.5g (Women - 69.0% / Men - 62.7%)

  • Iron: 10.8mg (Women - 73.0% / Men - 124.1%)

  • Calories: 827 (Women - 41.4% / Men - 33.1%)

  • Sugars: 16.4g (Women - 18.2% / Men - 13.7%)

  • Total Fats: 22.7g (Woman - 32.4% / Men - 23.9%)

  • Saturated Fats: 3.6g (Women - 18.0% / Men - 12.0%)

  • Salt: 1.7g (Women - 28.3% / Men - 28.3%)

  • Fibre: 30.3g (Women - 101% / Men - 101%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

 

 

the best tasty vegan spaghetti bolognese recipe vegetarian plant based healthy quick easy

Vegan Gemista Recipe (Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes)

vegan gemista recipe greek stuffed peppers and tomatoes - healthy quick and easy

Gemista (or yemista) is a traditional Greek recipe that’s bursting with fresh flavours and colours. It’s sometimes made with minced meat in Greece but in my opinion it’s perfectly suited to being meat-free because then the flavours of the wonderful vegetables and aromatic herbs shine through. There are hundreds of gemista recipes in Greece - almost every family has their own take on it. But this vegan version, with the addition of fragrant capers, the bite of the toasted almonds, and the hearty puy lentils, just takes it to another level.

This is by far my favourite gemista recipe because it’s also so easy. You don’t even need to boil the rice first, there’s plenty of moisture in the vegetables and filling mixture to cook the rice in the oven, plus that way it absorbs even more of the delicious flavours!

Don’t forget to check out the nutrition info at the end of the post too because this vegan gemista recipe packs over a third of your recommended protein intake and around half your daily iron. And that’s before you add any salad or other sides like this gigantes plaki (Greek giant butter beans in a rich tomato sauce).

vegan greek food gemista recipe stuffed peppers and tomatoes with rice and lentils

Vegan Gemista Recipe (Greek Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes)

Ingredients (serves 3):

  • 3 bell peppers

  • 3 large ripe tomatoes

  • 4 Tbsp almonds

  • 100g uncooked medium-grain rice

  • 1 x 250g pack pre-cooked puy lentils

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped

  • Handful fresh mint, chopped

  • Handful fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 2 Tbsp capers, roughly chopped

  • 2 tsp caster sugar

  • Pinch of salt and pepper to taste

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil

  • 4 Tbsp tomato puree

vegan greek stuffed peppers recipe tomatoes gemista rice healthy quick easy vegetarian
vegan gemista recipe greek stuffed peppers and tomatoes with rice lentils healthy quick and easy
vegan gemista recipe greek stuffed peppers and tomatoes vegetarian rice lentils easy quick healthy
vegan gemista recipe greek rice stuffed peppers and tomatoes vegetarian healthy quick easy

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C (360F)

Roughly chop your almonds then lightly toast them in a small frying pan for a few minutes without any oil, until they start to smell fragrant. Remove from the heat.

While the almonds are cooling, cut the tops off the peppers and tomatoes. De-seed the peppers and discard the seeds. Scoop out the inside of the tomatoes using a spoon, the chop up the tomato flesh and add to a large mixing bowl, with any juices.

Add the toasted almonds and all the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl, and stir thoroughly to combine.

Arrange the hollowed out peppers and tomatoes snugly on a baking tray or dish, then spoon the filling into the vegetables, until level with the cut. Put the tops back on the vegetables, place the tray / dish in the oven, and bake for 60-70 minutes until the rice is cooked through and the vegetables are soft and tender.

This vegan gemista is best served warm rather than hot, and goes brilliantly served with just a simple green salad and with these gigantes plaki (Greek tender butter beans stewed in a rich tomato sauce) for a Greek ‘mezze’ style dinner!

vegan gemista recipe greek stuffed peppers and tomatoes with rice and lentils quick healthy and easy

Nutrition (per serving):

  • Protein: 19.3g (Women: 38.6% / Men: 35.1%)

  • Iron: 6.5mg (Women: 43.9% / Men: 74.7%)

  • Calories: 556 (Women: 27.8% / Men:22.2%)

  • Sugars: 17.3g (Women: 19.2% / Men: 14.4%)

  • Total Fats: 24.1g (Women: 34.4% / Men: 25.4%)

  • Saturated Fat: 3.2g (Women: 16.0% / Men: 10.7%)

  • Salt: 0.5g (Women: 8.3% / Men: 8.3%)

  • Fibre: 16.3g (Women: 54.3% / Men: 54.3%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

The Best Beetroot and Quinoa Vegan Burgers

vegan beetroot and quinoa burger recipe veggie ‘beet burger’

Burgers should most definitely not be confined to the summer. Of course, they're an essential component of any decent barbecue or picnic, but they're also the perfect comfort food when the evenings start to get cold and dark. These beetroot and quinoa burgers are seriously good and will cheer you up no-end. The beetroots give them a brilliant vibrant colour, a kind of meaty texture, and a slightly earthy but not at all overpowering taste. And the addition of quinoa and oats ensure the burgers stay firm with a golden, crispy coating when cooked. You can feel really good about eating these beetroot burgers too - they’re packed with veggies and whole grains, and they’re a great source of protein, iron, fibre, folate, vitamin C, manganese, and omega-3 fats from the flax seeds.

Did you know that the red colour in beets comes from betalain pigments, which have been shown in numerous studies to have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects? See for yourself and check out the review of the studies on beetroots at the end of this recipe! This vegan burger recipe is one of the tastiest ways to get all those significant health benefits of beetroot into your diet!

vegan beetroot and quinoa burger recipe - veggie beet burger healthy quick and easy

Vegan Beetroot and Quinoa Burgers

Ingredients (makes 6 burgers):

  • 1 Aubergine (eggplant)

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • 5 Tbsp ground flax seeds

  • 6 Tbsp warm water

  • 2 cups raw beetroot, peeled and grated (about 3 large beets)

  • 1 cup rolled oats

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 cup humous

  • 3 Tbsp rapeseed oil, for cooking

  • Salt and pepper to taste

vegan beetroot and quinoa burgers recipe - vegetarian beet burger healthy veggie burger recipe
vegan beetroot burger recipe vegetarian veggie burger recipe healthy quick and easy
vegan beetroot burger recipe vegetarian veggie burger beet healthy quick easy

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 180C (360F). Cut your aubergine in half length-ways and cook for 20-30 minutes until roasted and tender, flipping pieces half way through.  

Meanwhile, cook your quinoa following packet instructions to make 1 cup of cooked quinoa, then rinse through a sieve with cold water to cool and push with back of a spoon to drain as much liquid as possible.

When the aubergine is ready, remove, allow to cool, then scoop out the flesh, and chop finely until a paste has formed. Now mix 2 Tbsp of the flax with 6 Tbsp warm water in a small bowl and leave to stand for 10 mins (this creates 2 'flax eggs').

Add the beetroot, quinoa, oats, remaining 3 Tbsp of flax seeds, and garlic to a food processor and blitz to combine the ingredients (this can be done by hand if preferred). Transfer mixture to a large bowl, then add the humous, aubergine paste, flax ‘eggs’, salt & pepper, and mix to thoroughly combine.

Shape the mixture into 6 patties, and place on baking paper on a plate to pop in the fridge for 1 hour (this helps the patties to firm up). When ready, heat oil in a frying pan to medium heat, and fry the beetroot burgers for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they are crispy on the outside and hot through. 

vegan beet burger recipe vegetarian veggie beetroot burger recipe healthy quick and easy

Nutrition (per beetroot burger, served in a bun, 1/4 avocado, red onion and greens):

  • Protein: 17.6g (Women - 35.2% / Men - 32.0%)

  • Iron: 5.8mg (Women - 39.2% / Men - 51.3%)

  • Calories: 562 (Women - 28.1% / Men - 22.5%)

  • Sugars: 8.1g (Women - 9.0% / Men - 6.8%)

  • Total Fats: 25g (Women - 35.7% / Men - 26.3%)

  • Saturated Fat: 2.9g (Women - 14.5% / Men - 9.7%)

  • Salt: 1.1g (Women - 18.3% / Men - 18.3%)

  • Fibre: 19.4g (Women - 64.7% / Men - 64.7%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Clifford, T., Howatson, G., West, D., & Stevenson, E. (2015). The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease. Nutrients, 7(4), 2801-2822.

The Ultimate Grillable Vegan Burger

This vegan grillable veggie burger bbq recipe is plant based and full of healthy protein

I've tried my fair share of vegan burger recipes over the last 4-5 years. I hope through my trial and error with some truly disastrous recipe attempts, I can help you avoid that heart-sinking moment when you realise your veggie burger is falling apart in the pan/grill and you end up using the mixture as more of a stuffing than a burger (we've done this a number of times - still tastes good, but looks gross)! I've shared the best of my tried-and-tested favourites here like my mean, lean, black bean burger and this amazing beetroot and quinoa burger - both of which definitely don't fall apart, and taste delicious! 

This vegan burger recipe really is grillable - they hold their shape perfectly and don't stick to the BBQ!

But now I wanted a vegan burger recipe that holds well enough to cook on the BBQ. With some inspiration from Minimalist Baker I've adapted / amalgamated a few different recipes to make a really healthy burger that's just perfect for grilling - it holds its shape wonderfully and doesn't stick to the BBQ at all. Best of all, by grilling on the BBQ, you get to add these blackened char lines, which as well as helping it look legit, creates an outer crust and a smokey depth of flavour that barbecues are all about. 

vegan bbq veggie burger recipe grillable healthy plant based barbecue
vegan bbq veggie burger grillable recipe healthy plant based nutrition barbecue

Not to mention, they taste amazing - they have a great firm texture, they're hearty, and they pack a flavour-punch with the addition of smokey spices, toasted walnuts, and barbecue sauce. 

vegan bbq veggie burger recipe grillable plant based healthy nutrition

You could make these in advance if you're going to a summer barbecue, and because the recipe makes eight you can even freeze a few of them ready for a quick healthy dinner when you haven't got the time (or energy) to cook! 

I made a "cheats" vegan burger sauce to go with the burgers - all that's required is mixing a few ingredients in a small bowl and you can dollop on top of your burgers for the ultimate finishing touch. 

vegan bbq veggie burger recipe grillable healthy plant based nutrition

The Ultimate Grillable Vegan Burger Recipe

Ingredients (serves 8):

  • 1.5 cups cooked quinoa*

  • 1.5 cups raw walnut halves

  • 1 Tbsp rapeseed oil

  • 1 white onion, finely diced

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1.5 Tbsp smoked paprika

  • 1 Tbsp chilli powder / flakes

  • 0.5 Tbsp cumin powder

  • 0.5 tsp tumeric

  • 2 x 400g tins of cooked black or mixed beans (drained and patted dry)

  • 0.5 cups golden or panko breadcrumbs

  • 4 Tbsp BBQ sauce

  • Pinch of salt and lots of ground pepper, to taste

For the vegan burger sauce (serves 8):

  • 4 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise

  • 4 Tbsp tomato ketchup

  • 2 tsp dijon mustard

  • 0.5 tsp garlic powder

  • pinch of salt and pepper

Method:

Start by toasting your walnuts - heat a frying pan over a medium heat and using no oil add the walnuts - shake and toss the pan from time to time to prevent burning and toast for 7-8 minutes until they smell fragrant and start to turn slightly darker. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, using the same pan, add the rapeseed oil over a medium heat and saute the onion for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes until the onion is softened.

Now the walnuts have cooled, add to a food processor along with the spices, and blitz until the texture of wet sand (see picture). 

In a large mixing bowl, add the drained beans. It's important to pat them dry as we want to avoid added moisture making the burgers too wet. Use the back of a fork or a masher to smash the beans up. 

Now add to the smashed beans the walnut-spice mix, sauteed onion/garlic, the cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, BBQ sauce, and salt and pepper, then use your hands to mix thoroughly until it becomes a consistency that you can mould into burger shapes. Use your hands to squeeze the mixture into eight burger patties. 

Heat your barbecue or griddle pan until smoking hot, then place your burger patties on and grill for 4-5 minutes on each side. Don't be tempted to move them around during cooking as it's nice to get neat grill char lines across the burgers. While they're cooking, prepare your buns and toppings. 

To make the burger sauce, simply mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, then dollop generously on top along with your favourite burger toppings!

*Note - this recipe calls for pre-cooked quinoa. Allow time for cooking if you don't have any to hand. The quinoa should be cooked but completely dry - press any moisture out through a sieve after cooking to ensure the burgers aren't too wet. 

vegan bbq veggie burger recipe grillable healthy plant based barbecue easy

Nutrition (per burger with sauce and bun):

  • Protein: 15.4g (Women: 30.8% / Men: 28.0%)

  • Iron: 4.6mg (Women: 31.1% / Men: 52.9%)

  • Calories: 505 (Women: 25.3% / Men: 20.2%)

  • Sugars: 9.6g (Women: 10.7% / Men: 8.0%)

  • Total Fats: 21.5g (Women: 30.7% / Men: 22.6%)

  • Saturated Fat: 2.5g (Women: 12.5% / Men: 8.3%)

  • Salt: 1.1g (Women: 18.3% / Men: 18.3%)

  • Fibre: 10.2g (Women: 34.0% / Men: 34.0%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Rich vegan Moroccan roasted vegetable tagine

Rich roasted vegetable vegan Moroccan tagine recipe - healthy and easy

This incredibly rich, full-flavoured vegan tagine starts life as a few humble ingredients. Other types of stews where similar ingredients are simply chucked in a pan are missing out on so much - it's the roasting of the vegetables, then the gentle simmering all together with the delicate spices in the oven that creates the richness of flavour and consistency that this tagine has in abundance (it's the same culinary chemistry principles that makes this roasted vegetable ratatouille so good). The addition of good quality Ras el Hanout is important to really make the dish stand out - it's a North African blend of spices available in most large supermarkets amongst the spices or world food sections, essential for any tagine recipe. This dish freezes really well so you can easily double-up on the ingredients and stock up some portions in your freezer for a healthy, vegan, warming pick-up on a rainy day!

Recipe note - I'm not the biggest fan of dried fruit in savoury dishes, so I've replaced dried apricots with some date syrup - this provides even more richness and a subtle touch of sweetness, without having chunks of chewy dried fruit. It's just a personal preference but feel free to use 2-3 Tbsp chopped dried apricots instead if you prefer. 

Rich Vegan Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Tagine Recipe

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 2 Tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed / olive oil

  • 1/2 a large butternut squash, cubed to 1-2cm pieces*

  • 1 small aubergine (eggplant), cubed to 1-2cm pieces

  • 4 Shallots, sliced

  • 5 tsp Ras el Hanout

  • 1 red onion, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 Tbsp Harissa paste

  • 250ml vegan stock (reduced salt)

  • 1 x 400g tin good quality chickpeas

  • 2 large good quality tomatoes, roughly chopped

  • 3 tsp date syrup / treacle

  • Handful fresh coriander (cilantro)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 packet Oumph! vegan chunks

  • To serve - cook 28g dried cous cous and 28g dried quinoa as per packet instructions then mix them together.

* I like to wash the squash and leave the skin on - it adds another texture to the dish and helps prevent the squash falling apart (which can happen if freezing and reheating)

Butternut squash ready for the vegan roasted vegetable and chickpea tagine

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C.

Rub the cubed butternut squash with 1 Tbsp of the oil plus 2 tsp of the Ras el Hanout, scatter on to a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. 

Add the cubed aubergine and sliced shallots to the roasting tray, mix everything around, and roast for a further 15 minutes, until the vegetables have browned a little and are tender.

Roasted vegetables for vegan moroccan tagine recipe - healthy and high protein

In your tagine (a casserole dish with a lid works fine), heat the other Tbsp of oil over a medium heat and fry the onion for 5 minutes, adding the garlic for the last 2 minutes. 

Add the remaining 3 tsp of Ras el Hanout and continue frying for a further 2 minutes to release the aromas of the spices. 

Stir in the harissa paste, then add the tomatoes, chickpeas, hot stock and seasoning. Stir in the roasted vegetables, the date syrup (or treacle), then cover with the lid and place in the oven for 20 minutes to simmer. 

Now remove the dish from the oven and add the Oumph! chunks, straight from the freezer. Stir, then cook in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes. 

Vegan roasted vegetable and chickpea moroccan tagine recipe - rich and healthy

This vegan tagine goes brilliantly with a 50/50 mix of couscous and quinoa. Simply cook 28g dried couscous and 28g dried quinoa as per packet instructions then mix them together. I also made some quick roasted pitta chips (simply cut up some wholewheat pittas, rub with a little olive oil and dried mixed herbs, then roast for about 10 minutes until crunchy)!

Rich and delicious vegan moroccan tagine - butternut squash, aubergine and chickpea recipe

Nutrition (per serving with a portion of couscous / quinoa mix):

  • Protein: 28.9g (Women: 57.8% / Men: 52.5%)

  • Iron: 7.4mg (Women: 50.0% / Men: 85.1%)

  • Calories: 552 (Women: 27.6% / Men: 22.1%)

  • Sugars: 16.2g (Women: 18.0% / Men: 13.5%)

  • Total Fats: 10.6g (Women: 15.1% / Men: 11.2%)

  • Saturated Fat: 0.9g (Women: 4.5% / Men: 3.0%)

  • Salt: 1.2g (Women: 20.0% / Men: 20.0%)

  • Fibre: 19.9g (Women: 66.3% / Men: 66.3%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Quick Vegan Tofu and Mushroom Pho

Quick Vietnamese vegan tofu and mushroom pho

This vegan take on a pho is all about creating the delicious, fragrant, broth. I'd quite happily just drink a bowl of this broth on its own, but pack it with rice noodles and amazing toppings and it turns into a hot bowl of slurpy, warming, goodness. 

Traditional pho takes up to 10 hours to prepare, but I'd rather take this healthier, mega-quick, flavour-packed vegan version any day! (Tip - if you're just making this for two people, still make the broth for four. Just strain the liquid through a sieve and freeze for a rainy day. Then defrost and serve with fresh toppings for a quick mid-week meal). 

Quick Vegan Tofu and Mushroom Pho

Ingredients (serves 4):

For the broth:

  • 2L vegetable stock (only use 1 stock cube)

  • 1 white onion, roughly chopped

  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

  • Thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped

  • 3 whole star anise

  • 5 whole cloves

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 2 Tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce

To serve:

  • 225g pack instant rice noodles

  • Handful coriander (cilantro)

  • Handful basil

  • Handful mint

  • 8 spring onions (scallions), sliced

  • 1 red chilli, sliced

  • 2 Tbsp rapeseed oil

  • 300g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

  • 300g pack tofu

  • 2 Tbsp cornflour

  • 1 fresh lime, cut into wedges

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C (360F).

Start by making the broth. Simply chuck the stock, onion, garlic, ginger, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and soy sauce to a large pot and simmer gently with the lid on for about 30 mins. 

Meanwhile, prepare your toppings. Cube the tofu and gently toss with 1 Tbsp rapeseed oil and the cornflour, then scatter onto a baking tray and bake for 20 mins until crispy. Sauté the mushrooms in 1 Tbsp rapeseed oil in a hot frying pan for 5-10 minutes or until browned. Wash and chop the fresh herbs, spring onion, chilli, and lime. Cook the rice noodles as per packet instructions.

Now to assemble the pho - divide the drained noodles into your serving bowls, then ladle in the hot stock (leaving the onion and spices behind). Now top with the crispy tofu, sautéed mushrooms, spring onions, chilli, fresh herbs, and lime wedges. 

Nutrition (per serving):

  • Protein: 21.9g (Women: 43.8% / Men: 39.8%)

  • Iron: 3.9mg (Women: 26.4% / Men: 44.8%)

  • Calories: 481 (Women: 24.1% / Men: 19.2%)

  • Sugars: 4.4g (Women: 4.9% / Men: 3.7%)

  • Total Fats: 15.3g (Women: 21.9% / Men: 16.1%)

  • Saturated Fats: 2.4g (Women: 12.0% / Men: 8.0%)

  • Salt: 1.7g (Women: 28.3% / Men: 28.3%)

  • Fibre: 5.5g (Women: 18.3% / Men: 18.3%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Vegan Carbonara with Tofu and Mushrooms

Vegan carbonara with tofu and mushrooms

There are some dishes that you'd imagine you could never have again after ditching meat, eggs, and dairy. Carbonara is one of them - traditionally made with lardons, eggs, cheese, and butter - surely this is a dish that's off the menu for vegans? Well, this vegan version takes on a slightly different (and in my opinion, better!) flavour, and it certainly provides a fix for any cravings you might have for a deliciously rich, creamy, comforting pasta dish. And swapping the traditional ingredients - laden with saturated fat and salt - with nutrient-packed plant foods, it's definitely better for your health too. 

Vegan Carbonara with Tofu and Mushrooms

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour

  • 3/4 cup low fat coconut milk

  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 400g dried linguine / spaghetti

  • 200g frozen peas

  • 1 Tbsp rapeseed oil

  • 5-6 chestnut mushrooms, sliced

  • 4 shallots, finely diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 160g marinated tofu pieces

Method:

To make the sauce, simply chuck the drained cashews, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and seasoning into a food processor and blitz until smooth (a high-speed blender, such as a Nutribullet or Vitamix, blitzes the ingredients into the smoothest, creamiest sauce). Set aside.

Now, cook the pasta as per packet instructions. Add the frozen peas to the pasta for the last few minutes of cooking. 

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, and fry the mushrooms for 5 mins until starting to brown. Add the diced shallots, garlic, and tofu pieces and continue to fry for a further 5 mins. 

Now mix the drained pasta, peas, mushroom / tofu mix, and sauce all together in the pan, and serve! 

vegan tofu carbonara recipe

Nutrition (per serving):

  • Protein: 31.3g(Women: 62.6% / Men: 56.9%)

  • Iron: 7.8mg(Women: 52% / Men: 89.7%)

  • Calories: 762(Women: 38.1% / Men: 30.5%)

  • Sugars: 9.9g(Women: 11.0% / Men: 8.3%)

  • Total Fats: 29.7g(Women: 42.4% / Men: 31.3%)

  • Saturated Fats: 7.2g(Women: 36.0% / Men: 24.0%)

  • Salt: 1.1g(Women: 18.3% / Men: 18.3%)

  • Fibre: 8.5g(Women: 28.3% / Men: 28.3%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Linguine With Vegan Parmesan

Vegan sun-dried tomato pesto linguine with vegan parmesan cheese

Sometimes you just need pasta in your life. And this is one of the best, most flavourful pastas I've had. It's also one of those great dishes that looks and sounds pretty impressive, but only takes 20 minutes to put together and so makes the perfect fall-back option if you're cooking for friends but find yourself tight for time. The key to this recipe is top quality sun-dried tomatoes - it's the star of the show here so splash out on some really top quality ones and this dish will go from good to freaking awesome. 

Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Linguine with Vegan Parmesan

Ingredients (makes 4 portions)

  • 1 cup top quality sundried tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (30g)

  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 3 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese (see below)

  • 3 Tbsp tomato puree

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 100g dried pasta per person

  • 50g cavolo nero or kale per person, chopped

For the vegan parmesan (makes 1 cup):

  • 3/4 cup cashews

  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder / garlic granules

Method:

First of all make the parmesan. Literally all you do is tip the ingredients into a food processor or chopping attachment of a stick blender (not a high speed blender like a Nutribullet as they're too powerful). Blitz for a minute or so until the consistency is like sand or, well, grated parmesan! This will make a cup so you'll have lots to store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks and also goes great on vegan risotto or the ultimate vegan bolognese

Now while making the pesto, cook your pasta as per packet instructions, adding the cavolo nero to the pasta for the last 5 minutes of cooking. To make the pesto, squeeze the sun-dried tomatoes to drain any excess oil. Add to the same food processor (no need to wash it after making the parmesan) and also chuck in the olive oil, basil, garlic, vegan parmesan, and tomato puree. Blitz this until it reaches a pesto-like consistency, although a few chunks of the sun-dried tomatoes left in there is nice in my opinion as it adds more texture. 

Once cooked al dente, drain the pasta and cavolo nero, return to the pan you cooked it in, and stir in the pesto. If you reserve some of the pasta water, you can add a little back now if you like the pesto a bit thinner. Serve into warm bowls and top with some extra vegan parmesan, torn basil leaves, and fresh ground black pepper. 

easy vegan sun-dried sun dried tomato pesto recipe

Nutrition (per serving with 100g - uncooked weight - pasta):

  • Protein: 15.6g (Women: 31.2% / Men: 28.4%)

  • Iron: 4.4mg (Women: 29.7% / Men: 50.6%)

  • Calories: 573 (Women: 28.7% / Men: 22.9%)

  • Sugars: 8.2g (Women: 9.1% / Men: 6.8%)

  • Total Fats: 22.4g (Women: 32.0% / Men: 23.6%)

  • Saturated Fats: 3.1g (Women: 15.5% / Men: 10.3%)

  • Salt: 0.6g (Women: 10.0% / Men: 10.0%)

  • Fibre: 8.1g (Women: 27.0% / Men: 27.0%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Soul-Warming Tuscan Bean Soup

Soul-warming vegan Tuscan bean soup

Sometimes the best things in life are just really simple. That's what I love about good Italian cuisine - it's most often very straightforward food, with a few simple ingredients, but cooked with real passion. And when you're cooking with just a few ingredients it's even more important to make sure they're top quality. This dish (as with most vegan dishes) is incredibly cheap, so you can afford to buy the best, and let each ingredient shine through. Oh, and as well as being delicious, this hearty, soul-warming soup is extremely low in saturated fat but high in protein, fibre, B-vitamins, and antioxidants. This recipe makes six portions so freeze some for a rainy day. 

Vegan Tuscan Bean Soup

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus extra to serve)

  • 1 medium-sized white onion, diced

  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

  • 3 stalks celery, diced

  • 1 medium courgette (zucchini), diced

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 400g can cannellini beans

  • 1 litre vegetable stock

  • 1 400g can chopped tomatoes

  • 2 large handfuls fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

In a large pot, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and gently fry the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, courgette, and herbs, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Add the stock and tinned tomatoes (with the juice) and bring to the boil. Add the beans and simmer for 10-15 minutes, then add the spinach leaves and cook for a further few minutes until wilted. 

Best served with warm, crusty bread to mop up the juices. 

Nutrition (per serving with 1 slice bread):

  • Protein: 10.2g (Women: 20.4% / Men: 18.5%)

  • Iron: 3.2mg (Women: 21.6% / Men: 36.8%)

  • Calories: 217 (Women: 10.9% / Men: 8.7%)

  • Sugars: 7.3g (Women: 8.1% / Men: 6.1%)

  • Total fats: 6.2g (Women: 8.9% / Men: 6.5%)

  • Saturated fats: 0.9g (Women: 4.5% / Men: 3.0%)

  • Salt: 0.9g (Women: 15.0% / Men: 15.0%)

  • Fibre: 7.7g (Women: 26.7% / Men: 25.7%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

The Ultimate Vegan Chilli

The best vegan chilli

I've been experimenting with vegan chillies for years now - making loads of little tweaks and improvements each time, taking inspiration from several other recipes - and I'm proud to say this is definitely the best one yet.... It's a rich, deep chilli with a good spicy kick and complex flavours that rivals any meat-based chilli. The quantities in this recipe makes 8 servings, so use your biggest pan and freeze any leftovers - as with many dishes, the flavours actually become even more infused once defrosted and reheated. And check out the nutrition info below - one serving of this chilli with rice gets you close to half your daily needs for protein and iron, and all with less than a gram of saturated fat! 

The Ultimate Vegan Chilli

Ingredients (serves 8):

  • 2 Tbsp rapeseed oil

  • 1 large (or 2 small) white onion, finely chopped

  • 1 red pepper, roughly chopped

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • Thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced

  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp chilli powder

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 heaped Tbsp chipotle paste

  • 2 tins good quality chopped tomatoes

  • 300g dried puy lentils

  • 100g quinoa

  • 100g bulgar wheat

  • 1 x 400g tin of black beans

  • 150ml red wine

  • 1-2 litres vegetable stock

  • 1 heaped Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 Tbsp date syrup / black treacle

  • A pinch of salt and loads of black pepper

Method:

Fry the onion and red pepper in the rapeseed oil over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic, ginger, and fresh chilli and continue frying for a further 2-3 minutes. Then add the dry spices and fry for a further 1-2 minutes to release their flavours, stirring continuously.

Now simply add all the remaining ingredients, but starting with just 1 litre of the stock, keeping the rest handy in case the chilli needs extra liquid. Simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are tender, most of the liquid has absorbed, and the chilli is deep and flavoursome.

The trick to take this chilli from a 9/10 to a 10/10 is to now remove just a couple of ladles of the chilli to blitz in a blender into a kind of sauce, then return this back to the pot - this gives the chilli a thick, rich consistency and helps to infuse the flavours even further. I like to serve with rice or just some warm crusty bread, any kind of dark green vegetable, and a dollop of avocado mashed with a squeeze of lime to help cool your mouth! 

Vegan chilli with kale, rice, and guacamole

Nutrition (per serving with 60g uncooked weight of rice):

  • Protein: 22.1g (Women: 44.2% / Men: 40.2%)

  • Iron: 6.1mg (Women: 41.2% / Men: 70.1%)

  • Calories: 555 (Women: 27.8% / Men: 22.2%)

  • Sugars: 9.7g (Women: 10.8% / Men: 8.1%)

  • Total Fats: 6.1g (Women: 8.7% / Men: 6.4%)

  • Saturated Fats: 0.9g (Women: 4.5% / Men: 3.0%)

  • Salt: 0.9g (Women: 15.0% / Men: 15.0%)

  • Fibre: 15.5g (Women: 51.7% / Men: 51.7%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

 

Jamaican Jerk Aubergine, Rice and Peas

Jamaican jerk aubergine (eggplant) with vegan rice and peas

The summer is upon us, and if you've dusted off your barbeque and are now looking for inspiration for something AWESOME to cook on it, then this jerk aubergine (eggplant) is one of my all-time favourites. Served up with coconut rice and peas (which I would happily just eat on its own) to help cool the fiery heat of the jerk sauce, and nutty barbequed corn.

Vegan Jamaican Jerk Aubergine, Rice and Peas

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 2 large aubergines (eggplants)

  • 8 Tbsp jerk marinade

  • 200g basmati rice

  • 1 can light coconut milk

  • Small bunch spring onions (scallions), chopped

  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp allspice

  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained

  • 4 corn on the cobs, or 300g baby corn

  • 1 lime

Jerk marinade:

  • 6 cloves garlic

  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar

  • 4 chillies (scotch bonnet ideally)

  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 tsp allspice

  • 1 bunch (around 10) spring onions (scallions)

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce

  • Juice of 1 lime

Method:

You can use shop-bought jerk marinade if tight for time, or to make your own, simply chuck all the ingredients above in a food processor and blitz until a rough paste has formed (you may need to scrape down the sides a few times). Now, chop your aubergines into 1cm-thick steaks, smother in the marinade, and leave to rest, ideally for a couple of hours. When ready to start cooking, preheat your oven to 180C and fire up your BBQ (or heat up a griddle pan if the weather's not so nice). Now, scrape most of the jerk marinade off the aubergines (otherwise the marinade will burn, but keep aside in a bowl). Lay the aubergines steaks on the hot BBQ / griddle - cook for about 3-5 mins on each side. Don't be tempted to move them around, so you get nice griddle lines across them. Once nicely charred, smother each steak with the jerk marinade again and pop in the oven while you do the rice and peas: rinse the rice under cold water, then tip into a pan with the coconut milk, spring onions, thyme leaves, garlic, and allspice. Add 300ml cold water and set over a high heat. Once it begins to boil, turn the heat to medium, cover with a lid, and simmer for 10 mins. Add the beans to the rice and put the lid back on for 5 mins, or until all the liquid is absorbed. While the rice is cooking, char your corn on the BBQ / griddle. Then serve the rice, aubergines and corn on plates, scatter fresh coriander over and serve with lime wedges. Reggae tunes obligatory!

Nutrition (per serving with rice and corn):

  • Protein: 18.5g(Women: 37.0% / Men: 33.6%)

  • Iron: 7.3mg(Women: 49.3% / Men: 83.9%)

  • Calories: 592(Women: 29.6% / men: 23.7%)

  • Sugar: 24.8g(Women: 27.6% / Men: 20.7%)

  • Total Fats: 8.7g(Women: 12.4% / Men: 9.2%)

  • Saturated Fats: 5.7g(Women: 28.5% / Men: 19.0%)

  • Salt: 1.3g(Women: 21.7% / Men: 21.7%)

  • Fibre: 19.3g(Women: 64.3% / Men 64.3%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

 

Mean, Lean, Black Bean Burgers

Vegan black bean burger recipe

Been searching for a killer vegan burger recipe? Well look no further, this one is awesome! It's really tasty, doesn't fall apart in the pan (like so many vegan burger recipes!), goes nice and crispy on the outside, and it's amazingly healthy. One of these burgers gives you 14g protein and 3.5mg of iron with just over 300 calories, including the bun! 

Vegan Mean, Lean, Black Bean Burgers

Ingredients (makes 6 burgers):

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1/2 cup dried quinoa)

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1 red onion

  • 1 red pepper

  • 1/2 cup canned black beans

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped (1-2 tsp)

  • pinch of salt & pepper

Method:

First cook your quinoa as per packet instructions (use a little less water than directed to keep your burgers firm, not sloppy). Meanwhile, in a food processor, blitz up the oats a little so they turn into a rough flour. Add the red onion and pepper, and blitz until they are roughly chopped. Now add the black beans (well drained to keep mixture drier), cooked quinoa, minced garlic, paprika, rosemary, and seasoning. Blitz until the mixture is completely combined - this may require scraping down the side of the bowls a couple of times. Now form the mixture into 6 burger patties, and fry in a non-stick pan, using 1 Tbsp oil per 2 burgers, for 3-4 minutes each side, or until the edges are nice and crispy and it's hot through. Best served in a warm bun, topped with tomatoes, avocado, and sriracha sauce! 

Nutrition (per 1 burger served with a wholewheat bun):

  • Protein: 13.8g (Women: 27.6% / Men: 25.1%)

  • Iron: 3.5mg (Women: 23.6% / Men: 40.2%)

  • Calories: 317 (Women: 15.9% / Men: 12.7%)

  • Sugars: 4.6g (Women: 5.4% / Men: 3.8%)

  • Fats: 4.5g (Women: 6.4% / Men: 4.7%)

  • Saturated fat: 1.8g (Women: 9.0% / Men: 6.0%)

  • Salt: 0.8g (Women: 13.3% / Men: 13.3%)

  • Fibre: 9.2g (Women: 30.7% / Men: 30.7%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Creamy Lentil and Nettle Dhal

Vegan lentil dhal recipe

If you love the idea of foraging for food, but are worried about accidentally picking a poisonous mushroom or toxic berry, then nettles are a great place to start. Everyone knows what nettles look (and feel!) like, and they grow in abundance across the UK, Europe, and Western North America. And don't worry - once cooked, all the sting is taken out. It's a really delicious plant that can be used pretty much interchangeably with spinach in cooking, and packs a nutritional punch with loads of vitamins A, C & K, calcium, magnesium, and iron. They say the best things in life are free, and nettles are definitely one of those things - organic, seasonal, and all with no plastic packaging in sight! 

Here's my top tips for nettle picking:

  • Find some nettles in a nice patch away from main roads / paths (no car soot or dog wee!)

  • Using gloves, aim for younger nettles, preferably below knee height to get young, tender leaves. March and April are the best months in the UK but you'll find younger crops throughout the summer too, in patches where freshly seeded nettles have settled.

  • Just pick the top four small leaves from each stalk as these will be the youngest / freshest, making sure just to pick the leaves and not the tough stalks.

  • Don't pick any that are flowering - these will be tougher and we also want to leave flowers for bees and butterflies to feed on.

The top four leaves from each plant are the youngest, freshest, and most tender

The top four leaves from each plant are the youngest, freshest, and most tender

And what better dish to add these delectable nutritious leaves to than my favourite lentil dhal dish, inspired by Anna Jones. This recipe produces one of the creamiet, richest, tastiest dhals I've ever tried, and as a plant-based curry lover I have tried a lot! 

Vegan Creamy Lentil and Nettle Dhal

Ingredients (makes 4 portions):

  • 1 Tbsp rapeseed oil

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • Thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped

  • 1-2 green chillies, finely chopped

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds

  • 200g dried red lentils, rinsed

  • 1 x 400ml tin light coconut milk

  • 250ml vegan stock

  • 4 cups fresh nettles (100-150g)

  • 1 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped

  • Juice of 1 lemon

Method:

First prepare your nettles. Keeping your gloves on, wash them in cold water, then drop them in a pan of salted boiling water and blanch them for 2-3 minutes, until completely wilted and resembling cooked spinach. Rinse them in cold water to prevent cooking them further and set aside. Now heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion on a high heat for 5 mins until softened. Then add the garlic, ginger, and chilli and fry for a further 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Now add the 4 spices and continue stirring for 1 more minute to release the oils and flavours. Add the coconut milk, lentils, and stock, and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the lentils are tender and the dhal is thick, creamy, and rich. Now add the nettles, then stir in the coriander and lemon juice just before serving. Goes brilliantly with steaming hot naan bread! 

Nutrition (per serving):

  • Protein: 13.4g (Women: 26.8% / Men: 24.4%)

  • Iron: 7.8mg (Women: 52.7% / Men: 89.7%)

  • Calories: 208(Women: 10.4% / Men: 8.3%)

  • Sugar: 4.8g (Women: 5.3% / Men: 4.0%)

  • Total fats: 7.7g(Women: 11.0% / Men: 8.1%)

  • Saturated fat: 5.8g (Women: 29.0% / Men: 19.3%)

  • Salt: 1.1g (Women: 18.3% / Men: 18.3%)

  • Fibre: 8.1g (Women: 27.0% / Men: 27.0%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Perfect Tofu Pad Thai

Vegan tofu pad Thai recipe

I haven't cooked with tofu for so long and I don't really know why! Having made this, I remembered how amazing it can be - crispy on the outside, with the inside soaking up the delicious flavours of this fragrant, slightly sweet and spicy pad Thai sauce. I am often asked whether tofu is good for us - see my article about that here (the short answer is yes!). This is a version of a takeaway classic that it is infinitely healthier but still has all the flavour. So if you're ever craving a Thai takeaway, make this instead - it will be ready in less time than a delivery and you won't be left with that post-takeaway-gorging guilt (we all know that feeling). 

Perfect Vegan Tofu Pad Thai

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 2 Tbsp rapeseed oil

  • 1 white onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, crushed

  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced

  • 225g pack dry rice noodles

  • 1 courgette, chopped

  • 1 red pepper, chopped

  • 100g green beans

  • 400g tofu

  • 4 spring onions, chopped

  • handful fresh coriander, chopped

For the Sauce:

  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce (reduced salt)

  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar

  • 4 Tbsp vegan stock (1/4 tsp stock powder mixed with 3 Tbsp hot water)

  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

  • 1-2 Tbsp sriracha / chilli sauce, to taste

Method:

Start by making your sauce - simply mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Now prepare your tofu. Take it out the pack and drain as much liquid as possible by gently pushing between your hands (being careful not to damage the block). Then slice into 2cm cubes. Prepare the rest of your vegetables now too, to save time during the quick frying process. Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a wok and fry the tofu until golden and crisp on both sides, about 10 minutes, then put the cooked tofu in a bowl to set aside. In the same wok, add the remaining oil and fry the onion for 5 minutes until beginning to brown. Add the garlic, ginger, and chilli for one minute before adding the rest of your vegetables, and continue to stir fry on a high heat for 5-6 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare your rice noodles as per the packet instructions (this usually involves standing in a bowl of boiling water for about 3 minutes, then draining). Now chuck the tofu back in the wok, along with the noodles and the sauce. Stir everything together until completely combined, cook for 1 more minute, then tip into bowls, top with chopped fresh coriander and spring onions, and tuck in! 

Nutrition per serving:

  • Protein: 20.6g (Women: 41.2% / Men: 37.5%)

  • Iron: 4.4mg (Women: 29.7% / Men: 50.6%)

  • Calories: 544 (Women: 27.2% / Men: 21.8%)

  • Sugar: 15.8g (Women: 17.6% / Men: 13.2%)

  • Total Fats: 18.7g (Women: 26.7% / Men: 19.7%)

  • Saturated Fat: 2.5g (Women: 12.5% / Men: 8.3%)

  • Salt: 1.6g (Women: 26.7% / Men: 26.7%)

  • Fibre: 6.3g (Women: 21.0% / Men: 21.0%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Hearty lentil, mushroom, spinach and tarragon soup

Vegan lentil, mushroom, spinach and tarragon soup recipe

This is one of my favourite soups and the perfect kind of food to be eating at this time of year - warming, hearty, and immensely nutritious! Tarragon is great addition; with its warming fennel-like flavours, it adds another delicious dimension to the flavour of the soup. This is a low calorie recipe that still packs loads of protein and iron. Plus it's just too quick and easy not to cook it!

Ingredients (makes 4 portions):

  • 1 Tbsp rapeseed oil

  • One large white onion, diced

  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed

  • 350g closed-cup / chestnut mushrooms, sliced

  • 260g fresh spinach

  • 2 x 400g tins green / puy lentils

  • 1 litre veg stock (vegan bouillon ideally)

  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Method:

Heat the oil in a large cooking pot, then sauté the onion for 5 minutes, until beginning to soften, then add the garlic and continue to fry for a further 2 minutes. Next, add add the mushrooms and lentils, and cook until the mushrooms begin to brown. Meanwhile, wash the spinach in a colander. I like to take a few snips through the spinach with a pair of scissors as this prevents it from clumping together too much. Add the stock to the pan (try half of it at first, and add more if you like your soup more 'brothy') and chuck the spinach in and stir through until wilted. Next add the herbs (use half the tarragon at first as it can be overpowering if too much added). And that's it - so simple and easy. Rip off some chunks of crusty wholemeal bread to dunk, and your set to go!

Nutrition (per serving with 2 slices wholemeal bread):

  • Protein: 23.2g (Women: 46.4% / Men: 42.1%)

  • Iron: 8.2mg (Women: 55.4% / Men: 72.6%)

  • Calories: 368 (Women: 18.4% / Men: 14.7%)

  • Sugar: 8.9g (Women: 9.9% / Men: 7.4%)

  • Total Fats: 6.3g (Women: 9.0% / Men: 6.6%)

  • Saturated Fat: 0.8g (Women: 4.0% / Men: 2.7%)

  • Salt: 1.6g (Women: 26.7% / Men: 26.7%)

  • Fibre: 17.5g (Women: 58.3% / Men: 58.3%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Curried sweet potato, chickpea and spinach filo pie

Vegan curried sweet potato, chickpea and spinach filo pie recipe

This is wholesome comfort food in its highest form. This pie has a flaky, crispy topping but a warming and hearty filling that's fragranced with a delicious blend of spices. Served with a really quick and easy sautéed okra side dish, it's the perfect winter warmer and is seriously nutritious. 

Ingredients (for a pie with 4 large servings):

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes

  • 260g bag of fresh spinach

  • 1 can chickpeas

  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 2 tsp garam masala

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, minced

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • Handful fresh coriander

  • 6 x 45g filo pastry sheets

  • 2 Tbsp rapeseed oil

For the sautéed okra (serves 4):

  • 350g fresh okra, trimmed and cut into 1-2cm pieces

  • 2 Tbsp rapeseed oil

  • 1 large white onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 2 fresh tomatoes, diced

  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

  • 2 tsp ground coriander seeds

  • Handful fresh coriander to serve

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C. Meanwhile, peel and chop the sweet potato into 2cm cubes, drop into a pan of boiling water, and boil for 8 minutes or until tender but slightly under-done. Then drain them and set aside. Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Then add the crushed garlic, fresh ginger, mustard seeds, ground coriander, cumin, garam masala, and turmeric, and cook gently to release the aromas for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Then add the spinach and continue to sauté until wilted. Roughly mash the sweet potato with a fork until just some chunks remain, then stir this in to the spinach mixture along with the drained chickpeas, lemon juice and fresh coriander. This is now your pie filling. 

Lightly brush a 9-inch pie dish with some of the remaining rapeseed oil, then layer one filo sheet in the dish. Lightly brush this sheet with some oil, then layer another sheet at a right angle to the first. Repeat with two more sheets, both at 45 degree angles to the first. Then tip in your pie filling and press down so it fills the dish evenly. Fold the overhanging filo sheets over the pie filling and scrunch up on the top. Also scrunch up the two remaining filo sheets and add to the top of the pie so the top is entirely covered with scrunched filo, and brush this with oil too. Cook the pie for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden and crispy. 

Meanwhile, to make the sautéed okra, heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Then add the garlic, okra, tomatoes, and chilli, and continue to fry, stirring gently. The okra will release a sticky substance initially but keep cooking and this will disappear and the tomatoes will begin to break down. After about 10 minutes, add the ground coriander and a splash of water and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes, until the okra is tender and the flavours have infused. 

Nutrition (per quarter pie with quarter of the okra):

  • Protein: 14.6g (Women: 29.2% / Men: 26.5%)

  • Iron: 4.4mg (Women: 29.7% / Men: 38.9%)

  • Calories: 542 (Women: 27.1% / Men: 21.7%)

  • Sugar: 12.2g (Women: 13.6% / Men: 10.2%)

  • Total Fat: 17.0g (Women: 24.3% / Men: 17.9%)

  • Saturated Fat: 1.3g (Women: 6.5% / Men: 4.3%)

  • Salt: 1.1g (Women: 18.3% / Men: 18.3%)

  • Fibre: 13.0g (Women: 43.3% / Men: 43.3%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

 

Festive Stuffed & Roasted Squash

Vegan stuffed squash christmas recipe

Christmas is only 5 days away, and if you're still deciding what to cook for your main event, look no further than this wonderful stuffed and roasted squash. It's packed with all things tasty and festive, and the flavours combine during roasting to develop this delicious, slightly sweet dish, that's got different textures and looks amazing sliced on your plates. 

Ingredients (makes 12 slices):

  • 1 large butternut squash (1-1.5kg)

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 red onion, finely diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 10g fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

  • 75g pre-cooked & peeled chestnuts, chopped

  • 75g quinoa

  • 50g dried cranberries

  • 50g pistachios

  • 1 pinch allspice

  • 75ml red wine

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C (390F). Cut the squash in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Then score and scoop out some flesh to create a hollow gully for the stuffing along the entire lengths of each of the squash halves. Discard around half of the flesh and half of the seeds. Finely chop the remaining flesh and seeds and fry with 2 Tbsp of olive oil for 5 mins. Add all of the remaining ingredients, stir thoroughly, and fry for about 10 minutes, until beginning to soften. Now, pack the mixture tightly into the hollows of the squash halves, then press the halves firmly back together and rub 1 Tbsp olive oil with some salt and pepper around the outside of the squash. Wrap the whole thing in tin foil, then place in the oven for about 90 minutes, or until tender and cooked through. To serve, open up the foil and carefully carve nice thick slices along with all the trimmings and gravy. 

Tip: It's personal preference whether to leave the skin of the squash on or not. The skin of most varieties of squash will become nice and tender after 90 minutes of roasting, is perfectly edible, and will help to hold the shape of the squash together. Peeling the squash however can look better and means the texture is more consistent... up to you! 

Nutrition (per 2 slices):

  • Protein: 6.9g (Women: 13.8% / Men: 12.5%)

  • Iron: 3.1mg (Women: 20.9% / Men: 27.4%)

  • Calories: 319 (Women: 16.0% / Men: 12.8%)

  • Sugar: 13.1g (Women: 14.6% / Men: 10.9%)

  • Total Fats: 12.9g (Women: 18.4% / Men: 13.6%)

  • Saturated Fat: 1.8g (Women: 9.0% / Men: 6.0%)

  • Salt: 0.6g (Women: 10.0% / Men: 10.0%)

  • Fibre: 7.4g (Women: 24.7% / Men: 24.7%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Fragrant Fried Rice

Vegan fried rice recipe

This has to be one of the easiest and healthiest meals to make for a quickly knocked together dinner. Ideal for this post-festive period when we just need some easy, simple, tasty, and healthy food. It's great for using up leftovers and most of the ingredients are store cupboard staples so it's perfect for when you run out of fresh food and can't be bothered to run to the shops. Plus, of course, it's mega tasty, and as with all of the recipes on Meat Free Fitness, packed with protein! 

Fragrant Vegan Fried Rice

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 Tbsp rapeseed oil

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • Thumb of fresh ginger, minced

  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped

  • 1 red pepper, finely choped

  • Handful frozen peas

  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

  • 250g pack of microwave brown rice (or 125g uncooked brown rice)

  • 2 spring onions (scallions), sliced

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil

  • Handful fresh coriander

Method:

Prepare all of the ingredients before you start cooking, as you need high heat and quick cooking times for this recipe, so you won't have time to do it as you go along. Heat the rapeseed oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat. Chuck in the red onion and fry for 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Then add the garlic, ginger, and chilli and stir constantly for another 1 minute. Now add the pepper, peas, and black beans. Meanwhile, prepare the brown rice as per packet instructions, usually just around 2 minutes on full power (if using dry rice, cook this before you start cooking as per packet instructions). Then add the rice to the wok along with the spring onions, and stir to mix everything. Now stir through the soy sauce, sesame oil, and fresh coriander, and that's it - ready to eat! 

Nutrition per serving:

  • Protein: 21.9g (Women: 43.8% / Men: 39.8%)

  • Iron: 5.2mg (Women: 35.1% / Men: 46.0%)

  • Calories: 585 (Women: 29.3% / Men: 23.4%)

  • Sugar: 10.2g (Women: 11.3% / Men: 8.5%)

  • Total Fats: 17.3g (Women: 24.7% / Men: 18.2%)

  • Saturated Fat: 1.8g (Women: 9.0% / Men: 6.0%)

  • Salt: 1.7g (Women: 28.3% / Men: 28.3%)

  • Fibre: 19.9g (Women: 66.3% / Men: 66.3%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Fresh Vegan Basil Pesto

Fresh vegan basil pesto recipe

You really don’t need Parmesan to make seriously tasty pesto! Flavoursome extra virgin olive oil, handfuls of fresh basil, nutty toasted pine nuts, and lots of powerful garlic make one of the best flavour combinations on earth. Tossed through some pasta with some simple veg like asparagus and cherry tomatoes, and you’re on to a winner every time. Such a simple recipe that keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks or even freezes well for a mega-quick slap up dinner any day of the week.

Fresh Vegan Basil Pesto

Ingredients (makes 4 servings):

  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

  • 2 cups fresh basil (tightly packed)

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

  • Good pinch salt and pepper

Method:

Ready for this? It’s pretty tricky so be prepared… Put all ingredients in a food processor, and blitz. That's it. Just whizz up until it's the consistency you like - I find it best when mixed until nearly smooth but still with some texture. 

Nutrition (per serving of pesto):

  • Protein: 6.1g (Women: 12.2% / Men: 11.1%)

  • Iron: 1.8mg (Women: 12.2% / Men: 20.7%)

  • Calories: 269 (Women: 13.5% / Men: 10.8%)

  • Sugars: 1.5g (Women: 1.7% / Men: 1.3%)

  • Total Fats: 26.1g (Women: 37.3% / Men: 27.5%)

  • Saturated Fat: 3.1g (Women: 15.5% / Men: 10.3%)

  • Salt: 0.3g (Women: 5.0% / Men: 5.0%)

  • Fibre: 2.6g (Women: 8.7% / Men: 8.7%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.

Hearty Vegan Beetroot and White Wine Risotto

Vegan beetroot an white wine risotto recipe

This risotto is an absolute winner - the vivid colours make it a real show-stopper, and this version is baked in the oven so it doesn't require as much fuss as typical risotto.

Hearty Vegan Beetroot and White Wine Risotto

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 500g raw beetroot

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped

  • 250g arborio risotto rice

  • 200ml vegan white wine

  • 650ml low salt vegetable stock

  • To serve: asparagus and homemade vegan parmesan

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C. Trim and peel the beetroots, cutting into large wedges. Toss with 1 Tbsp of olive oil, a good pinch of salt and pepper, space them apart on a baking tray, and bake for about 1 hour, until soft. 

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil over a medium heat in an ovenproof pan (which has a lid), and fry the onion, garlic, and celery for about 5 mins until soft and translucent. Then stir in the rice, covering with the oil, then add the white wine (reserving 2 Tbsps of it). Let this bubble away for 5 minutes, then add the stock. 

Stir everything, then put the lid on the pan and place in oven for 15 minutes. When the beetroots are done, remove from the oven, and put 1/3 of them in a blender with the remaining white wine to make a puree. Chop the other 2/3 into small pieces, and stir with the puree into the risotto. Top with blanched asparagus and homemade vegan parmesan cheese. Since you opened a bottle of white to make this, it would be rude not to serve with a nice glass! 

Nutrition per serving:

  • Protein: 11.6g (Women - 23.2% / Men - 21.1%)

  • Iron: 3.4mg (Women - 23.0% / Men - 30.1%)

  • Calories: 505 (Women - 25.3% / Men - 20.2%)

  • Sugar: 12.7g (Women - 14.1% / Men - 10.6%)

  • Total Fat: 17.2g (Women - 24.6% / Men - 18.1%)

  • Saturated Fat: 2.7g (Women - 13.5% / Men - 9.0%)

  • Salt: 0.9g (Women - 15.0% / Men - 15.0%)

  • Fibre: 7.4g (Women - 24.7% / Men - 24.7%)

See the Nutrition Info page for more details on % of Dietary Reference Values for men and women.