vegetarian

Vegan Wild Garlic Pesto

vegan wild garlic pesto recipe

It’s not too late to get out into the woods and pick some of your own wild garlic! In the UK and much of Europe, it grows prolifically in shaded, damp woodland areas and riverbanks from March, when the leaves are young and tender. Later in the spring and early summer the leaves grow larger and can become a little stringy, so just look for patches where the smaller, tender young leaves are growing.

This vegan wild garlic pesto is so deliciously fragrant, vibrant, and flavoursome. Just add a big dollop of it to cooked pasta and stir through some other nice greens or wilted spinach for a quick and delicious dinner. There’s nothing more satisfying than cooking and eating food that you’ve foraged yourself, especially when it tastes this good, I promise!

Wild garlic is a great place to start if you’re new to foraging, but always make sure you can 100% positively identify anything before you eat it. Here’s a great round up of wild garlic foraging tips by Countryfile to get you started.

If you don’t have access to wild garlic or you’ve left it a bit late in the year, you can still make delicious vegan pesto by substituting the wild garlic for more fresh basil, parsley, spinach, rocket )arugula) or cress. Just add a clove of garlic to replace that lovely garlicky hit that any good pesto needs.

If you like foraging, you’ll also love this vegan nettle dhal recipe with instructions on how to pick your own nettles!

vegan wild garlic pesto recipe pasta

Vegan wild garlic pesto recipe

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 80g pinenuts

  • 80g hazelnuts

  • 120ml olive oil

  • 80g wild garlic (thoroughly washed)

  • 80g fresh basil

  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp maple syrup

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Start by preparing your nuts (this step is optional but adds a beautiful depth of flavour to your pesto).

Roast the hazelnuts in your oven at 180C (360F) for 8-10 minutes until the skins begin to darken. You can then remove most of the skins by rubbing the roasted hazelnuts between a folded clean tea towel, this step ensures your pesto stays a vibrant green colour without the dark hazelnut skins. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, tossing them frequently for a few minutes until they are golden and fragrant.

Now blitz the hazelnuts and pine nuts in a food processor until they are coarsely ground. Then add all the other pesto ingredients to the processor, and whizz everything up, until you reach the desired consistency.

Taste a bit of the pesto and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, lemon, or maple syrup, depending on how the flavours are balancing.

Stir a big dollop of the pesto through some cooked pasta, and enjoy!

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Vegan wild garlic pesto recipe healthy quick and easy
homemade vegan wild garlic pesto recipe vegetarian
vegan wild garlic pesto recipe foraging healthy vegetarian

Nutrition (per serving):

  • Protein: 5.5g (Women: 11.0% / Men: 10.0%)

  • Iron: 2.9mg (Women: 19.6% / Men: 33.3%)

  • Calories: 355 (Women: 17.8% / Men: 14.2%)

  • Total Fats: 36.8g (Women: 40.9% / Men: 30.7%)

  • Saturated Fat: 3.9g (Women: 19.5% / Men: 13.0%)

  • Salt: 0.2g (Women: 3.3% / Men: 3.3%)

  • Fibre: 3.3g (Women: 11.0% / Men: 11.0%)

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

vegan wild garlic pesto recipe plant based

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.

Easy Vegan Shepherd's Pie

easy vegan shepherds pie recipe vegetarian shepherd’s pie recipe quick healthy

Shepherd’s pie is a classic British winter dish. This vegan version has all the best qualities - it’s warming, hearty, comfort food at it’s finest. Made with chunky tender vegetables and chickpeas in a thick, rich gravy, and topped with fluffy potatoes which turn golden and crispy on the top.

I’ve tried loads of vegan shepherd’s pie recipes in my time, and this version takes the best bits from each one to form the ultimate recipe. It’s packed with protein, is low-fat, and of course has a huge array of vitamins and minerals. But, most importantly, this vegan shepherd’s pie is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

easy vegan shepherd’s pie recipe vegetarian shepherds pie recipe vegan nutrition

Easy Vegan Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Ingredients (serves 8):

  • 1kg potatoes (floury varieties like Russet or King Edwards work best

  • 3 Tbsp rapeseed oil

  • 30g dried porcini mushrooms

  • 2 leeks, chopped

  • 2 onions, diced

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 4 sticks celery, chopped

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 5 Tbsp tomato puree

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 small butternut squash

  • 2 tsp dried oregano

  • A dozen sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

  • 250g cooked puy lentils

  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas

  • Vegan stock cube or 2 tsp vegan stock powder

  • 300g frozen peas

  • 300g frozen spinach

  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 cup plant-based milk

  • Handful fresh parsley

vegan shepherds pie recipe healthy quick easy vegetarian shepherd’s pie recipe vegan plant based

Method:

Start by preparing your potatoes. Peel them and roughly chop into large chunks, then boil for 30-40 minutes or until they are tender. Drain and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, soak the porcini mushrooms in 200ml hot water for 10-15 minutes, then lift out the mushrooms, reserve the liquid, and chop the soaked mushrooms into small chunks.

Heat the rapeseed oil in a large pan, then add the onions, leeks, carrots and celery, and saute for 5-10 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the porcini mushrooms, garlic, tomato puree, soy sauce, paprika, squash, oregano and thyme, then continue to saute for another 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Now add the chickpeas (along with the liquid from the can), the lentils, the reserved water from the porcini mushrooms, and add a vegan stock cube or powder. Add the frozen peas and spinach, season with lots of black pepper (there’s enough salt already in the stock and soy sauce) and simmer for another 10 minutes. Take 200g of the boiled potatoes, mash roughly with a fork, and stir through the vegetables (this helps to thicken and enrich the sauce).

Now prepare the mash topping by mashing the remaining boiled potatoes with the olive oil, plant-based milk and fresh parsley until smooth. Divide the filling between your pie dish (or dishes). Dollop the mashed potato on top and spread out evenly over the pie using the back of a fork.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180C (360F) and bake the pies for around 40 minutes, until the filling is piping hot and the potatoes have turned golden and crispy on the top. Serve with a fresh salad or mixed green veg.

vegan shepherds pie recipe vegetarian shepherd’s pie recipe cottage pie healthy quick easy

Nutrition (per serving):

  • Protein: 13.7g (Women: 27.4% / Men: 24.9%)

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

  • Calories: 378 (Women: 18.9% / Men: 15.1%)

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

  • Total Fats: 11.6g (Women: 16.6% / Men: 12.2%)

  • Saturated Fat: 1.2g (Women: 6.0% / Men: 4.0%)

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

  • Fibre: 11.1g (Women: 37.0% / Men: 37.0%)

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

vegan shepherds pie recipe easy vegetarian shepherd’s pie recipe quick healthy vegan nutrition

Quick Vegan Sweet Potato Quesadillas

vegan quesadillas recipe quick easy healthy sweet potato

Quesadillas are the perfect party food - you don’t need plates as they’re easy to grab with your hands, plus you can make them in advance and just warm them up in the oven when you’re ready to eat. Any leftovers make an awesome speedy dinner, served up with a simple salad. Don’t forget to make the quick guacamole to dip them into, as it really does complement these quesadillas really well.

Veganising this classic Mexican dish turns it from a grease-laden snack into an incredibly healthy, nutrient-packed meal. Using the sweet potato and white bean mash as the filling instead of cheese, plus using whole wheat tortillas and serving with a fresh avocado dip, means they’re high in protein, packed with fibre and antioxidants, but with a fraction of the saturated fat. And they have ALL the flavour you want - the chipotle paste, maple syrup, paprika and nutritional yeast provide the perfect blend of smokiness, heat and sweetness.

vegan quesadillas recipe sweet potato quesadilla healthy quick easy

QUICK VEGAN SWEET POTATO QUESADILLAS RECIPE

Ingredients (makes 24 slices - serves 10 as a snack or 5 as a main):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes

  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup

  • 3 tsp chipotle paste

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

  • 2 x 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained

  • 8 whole wheat tortillas

  • 2 avocados

  • 1 lime

  • 1 handful fresh coriander

vegan sweet potato quesadillas recipe quick easy healthy vegetarian

Method:

Firstly peel and grate the sweet potatoes. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat, and add the grated sweet potato, maple syrup, paprika, turmeric, and nutritional yeast. Stir frequently and cook for 7-8 minutes until the sweet potato has softened, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the beans. Use a potato masher to smash the mixture together. It’s fine to leave some bits of un-mashed sweet potato but the mixture should now be ‘spoonable’.

Now heat a frying pan and lay a tortilla flat in the pan. Spoon two heaped tablespoons of the mixture on to one half of it and spread out over half the tortilla, then fold the other half over and press down with a spatula. Dry fry on one side for about a minute or until it turns golden brown and beginning to char. Then flip over and repeat for the other side.

Keep the quesadillas warm in the oven while you cook the remaining tortillas in the same way. When ready to serve, cut each of the tortillas into three slices. Quickly mash the avocados using the back of a spoon with the lime juice and coriander, and serve with the warm quesadillas.

Nutrition (per 5 slices):

  • Protein: 18.8g (Women: 37.6% / Men: 34.2%)

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

  • Calories: 540 (Women: 27.0% / Men: 21.6%)

  • Sugar: 12.3g (Women: 13.7% / Men: 12.3%)

  • Total Fats: 12.4g (Women: 17.7% / Men: 13.1%)

  • Saturated Fats: 3.7g (Women: 18.5% / Men: 12.3%)

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

  • Fibre: 15.0g (Women: 50.0% / Men: 50.0%)

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

Vegan Pea and Mint Fritters

vegan pea and mint fritters fritter recipe

Every season has its perks - summer makes barbecues and picnics in the sun possible, autumn brings us the freshest seasonal fruit, and in spring the lengthening days and bursting flowers remind us that the sun does in fact still exist. But winter can be pretty magical too, and one of the best bits is enjoying good hearty pub grub (if you can find yourself a pub with an open fire and a resident dog, then you’re in luck)!

Luckily, most pubs nowadays serve vegan options with their Sunday roasts. These actually tend to be very healthy meals - plates loaded with colourful foods like vegetables, nut roasts, golden roast potatoes, and veggie gravy made with onions or mushrooms. All without any animal products so with just a fraction of the saturated fat than a roast dinner made with meat.

After eating copious amounts at a Sunday roast, it’s easy to think that the slightly-too-full feeling will last forever. But by the evening, that feeling usually starts to subside and you surprisingly find yourself ready to eat something again. While you still may not be able to manage a big dinner, something light, healthy and tasty is just what you need.

Vegan pea and mint fritters fritter recipe healthy quick and easy

These vegan pea and mint fritters are definitely the answer. They’re seriously delicious, with the perfect combination of fragrant sweet peas and subtle fresh mint. They go golden and crispy on the outside while staying soft and tender in the middle.

Plus they’re really quick and easy to make, and are really healthy, providing lots of protein, fibre, vitamins A, C, and K, B-vitamins, iron, and manganese, thanks to the green peas and whole grain flour. All while being pretty low in calories (check out the nutrition info at the bottom of the post).

They’re best eaten fresh and hot out of the pan, served with a simple salad and a yoghurt dip. But they’re also delicious cold used like a falafel in a pitta, or just on their own as a snack (they keep in the fridge for up to three days).

Vegan Pea and Mint Fritters Recipe

Ingredients (makes 8 fritters):

  • 2 cups frozen peas

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 white onion

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 cup whole grain flour

  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped mint

  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • Salt and pepper to taste

    For the yoghurt dip

  • 1/2 cup plain soy yoghurt

  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped mint

  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Method:

Start by cooking your frozen peas - just simmer in a pan of boiling water for around five minutes

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, finely dice your onion, and saute for 4-5 minutes. Mince your garlic and add to the pan and continue to saute for another 1-2 minutes, until the onion is softened.

Drain the peas and throw into a food processor. Also throw in the sauteed onion and garlic, flour, nutritional yeast, fresh mint, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Pulse until it becomes a thick paste, as in the picture below. You’ll need to scrape the sides of the blender down a few times to make sure everything is thoroughly combined (you can add a couple of Tbsps of water to loosen the mixture if it’s too thick).

Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan. Take a heaped Tbsp of the mixture and roll into a rough ball, then carefully press down into the frying pan using the back of a spoon to flatten into a fritter shape.

Fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden and crispy, then flip over to cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side.

Mix the yoghurt dip ingredients together in a ramekin and serve with a simple salad.

Vegan pea and mint fritters recipe healthy quick and easy
Vegan pea and mint fritters recipe vegetarian nutrition healthy quick and easy
Vegan healthy pea and mint fritters recipe healthy quick easy and vegetarian
Vegan pea and mint fritters fritter recipe with quick salad healthy easy vegetarian plant based

Nutrition (per two pea fritters):

  • Protein: 9.1g (Women: 18.2% / Men: 16.5%)

  • Iron: 2.6mg (Women: 17.6% / Men: 29.9%)

  • Calories: 235 (Women: 11.8% / Men: 9.4%)

  • Sugars: 5.0g (Women: 5.6% / Men: 4.2%)

  • Total Fats: 7.7g (Women: 10.6% / Men: 8.1%)

  • Saturated Fats: 1.1g (Women: 5.5% / Men: 3.7%)

  • Salt: 0.2g (Women: 3.3% / Men: 3.3%)

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

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

Vegan pea and mint fritters recipe in a bagel healthy lunch dinner quick easy vegetarian

Vegan Tofu Bacon BLT

Vegan tofu bacon BLT recipe

I’ve experimented with quite a few vegan tofu bacon recipes and so I wanted to share my favourite one with you. It’s such an easy recipe and quickly turns a humble block of tofu into a powerhouse of flavour that you can use in sandwiches, tear up in salads, or include as part of a healthy cooked breakfast.

I deliberated whether or not to actually call this ‘bacon’, because I’m in no way pretending that it replicates the texture or flavour of bacon made from pigs. But it’s definitely tasty enough to take the place of traditional bacon in many dishes, including this vegan BLT, because it has a delicious bite, and salty, smoky, slightly sweet flavours that make this great protein source so versatile. Also, I couldn’t come up with a better alternative name - ‘smoky baked tofu slices’ just doesn’t have the best ring to it.

Vegan tofu bacon BLT recipe

Vegan Tofu Bacon BLT Recipe

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 x 280g block extra firm tofu (such as this tofu by The Tofoo Co)

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup

  • 1 Tbsp liquid smoke

  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree

  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 2 tsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • good pinch of black pepper

To serve:

Note: this recipe makes approx 12 slices of tofu bacon, enough for four BLTs - keep any leftover tofu bacon in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Vegan tofu bacon BLT recipe healthy

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C (360F).

Quickly drain the tofu by pressing gently between your hands over the sink for about 30 seconds. Then thinly slice the tofu length-ways. Use a couple of pieces of kitchen roll to pat the tofu slices dry.

Now mix up the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Carefully dip the tofu slices in the marinade and arrange on a wire rack set over a baking tray.

Bake the tofu bacon slices for about 15-20 minutes, until the edges start to turn brown and the tofu feels firm. Keep an eye on the tofu, especially for the last 5 minutes, because the marinade can burn if left in the oven too long.

Remove the tofu bacon from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare your BLT sandwiches. Simply wash and slice the tomatoes and lettuce leaves, then add a few small dollops of the vegan mayonnaise. Then layer a few slices of the tofu bacon, and enjoy!

vegan tofu bacon BLT recipe vegetarian

Nutrition (per BLT):

  • Protein: 19.8g (Women: 39.6% / Men: 36.0%)

  • Iron: 5.9mg (Women: 39.9% / Men: 67.8%)

  • Calories: 443 (Women: 22.2% / Men: 17.7%)

  • Sugars: 11.2g (Women: 12.4% / Men: 9.3%)

  • Total Fats: 18.4g (Women: 26.3% / Men: 19.4%)

  • Saturated Fat: 1.9g (Women: 9.5% / Men: 6.3%)

  • Salt: 1.5g (Women: 25.0% / Men: 25.0%)

  • Fibre: 6.6g (Women: 22.0% / Men: 22.0%)

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

Imam Bayildi (Vegan Aubergine Recipe)

Vegan vegetarian imam bayildi recipe aubergine eggplant healthy turkish food

This aubergine dish, full of spices, rich tomatoes, and tender smokey aubergines is so tasty that, as legend has it, the Turkish Imam fainted with pleasure when he tried it (hence the name which translates as 'the Imam fainted'). There are hundreds of versions of this dish as it's eaten across the former Ottoman empire regions, from South East Europe to Western Asia, each region having its own influence. This recipe involves two stages of cooking your aubergine - the first step can be done however you like - in the oven, on the BBQ, or wrapped in foil among hot coals (the latter two options can create a delicious smoky flavour). For the second step, once stuffed, you just finish them off in the oven to let the flavours infuse and reduce to become thick and rich. 

This vegan Imam Bayildi recipe can take centre stage on your plate, served with some rice or fresh bread to mop up the juices, or works well as a side dish. I served mine up with some crispy sesame coated baked tofu and steamed asparagus. 

Vegan Imam Bayildi Aubergine Recipe 

Ingredients (serves two as a main or four as a side dish):

  • 2 aubergines

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 white onion, finely diced

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 8 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar

  • handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

  • pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper, to taste

Method:

Heat your oven to 180C (350F). Half your aubergines lengthways, score the flesh deeply in a diagonal pattern, then brush with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Pop them on a baking tray and roast (or arrange them on the BBQ) for 20-25 minutes until the flesh is browned and soft enough to scoop out. 

Now heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and saute the onion for around 5-10 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and spices, and cook for a further minute, stirring to release the oils from the spices. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper, then scoop out the flesh from the aubergines, roughly chop, and add it to the pan. Allow to simmer for around 10-15 minutes, then add the parsley.

Lay the empty aubergine halves on a baking tray, then stuff them with the tomato-onion mixture, filling them as much as you can (don't worry if some spills out). Then place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Remove, scatter with a little more parsley and enjoy warm or allow to cool and eat at room temperature.

Aubergine eggplant imam bayildi vegan recipe healthy turkish food
Vegan Imam bayildi recipe aubergine eggplant healthy turkish food
Vegan aubergine eggplant recipe imam bayildi healthy turkish food
Vegan imam bayildi recipe aubergine eggplant healthy turkish food
vegan and vegetarian aubergine eggplant imam bayildi recipe healthy turkish food

Nutrition (per two aubergine halves with one cup of brown rice):

  • Protein: 15.1g (Women: 30.2% / Men: 27.5%)

  • Iron: 4.2mg (Women: 28.4% / Men: 48.3%)

  • Calories: 569 (Women: 28.5% / Men: 22.8%)

  • Sugar: 26.6g (Women: 29.6% / Men: 22.2%)

  • Total Fats: 17.1g (Women: 24.4% / Men: 18.0%)

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

  • Salt: 0.4g (Women: 6.7% / Men: 6,7%)

  • Fibre: 28.0g (Women: 93.3% / Men: 93.3%)

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

healthy vegan aubergine eggplant recipe imam bayildi vegetarian turkish food

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.

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.

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.

 

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.