Four Simple Ways to use Tinned Tomatoes


Tinned chunks of tomato are a cupboard staple for me, the easy and inexpensive way of turning a pile of ingredients into a satisfying meal. Here are four simple ways of using them to create tasty vegetarian and wheat free meals.

Option 1- Quinoa, Courgette and Mushroom Lasagne:quinoa lasagne     

This recipe was inspired by the recipe Joanna Soh features in her video which can be seen here. As a side note, if you have not watched her videos I highly recommend them for fitness and diet advice.  I omitted the white sauce for my version of the recipe because I don’t think it’s necessary to maintain the taste.

For this dish which makes two portions I used one medium onion, a good handful of mushrooms and one courgette and sautéed these in olive oil before adding chilli powder. Meanwhile I boil a portion (I don’t tend to measure when I cook and just rely on guesswork) of quinoa in water. Once done, I put the vegetable mix in a deep dish and pour in half a tin of tomato chunks before layering on the quinoa and grating cheese on top, place in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, and that’s it!

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Option 2- Aubergine, Courgette, Chickpea Moroccan Tagine:

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Who needs meat in their tagine? For mine I chopped up half an aubergine, half a courgette, one sweet pepper and one medium red onion, let these cook in olive oil in the pan and sprinkled in some chilli powder. I then threw in a third of a large tin of chickpeas (which had been rinsed, boiled and drained), half a tin of tomato chunks and a small handful of chopped dried apricots and then let it simmer in the pan on low heat. Add in a spoonful of honey and squeeze in a slice of lemon and give it a quick mix. I serve it on its own but if you can eat wheat then cous cous would be a great accompaniment to this dish.





Option 3- Curry:WP_20140423 13

The great thing about curry is you can make it with pretty much any ingredients and it will always be satisfying, so a wonderful way to use those leftover vegetables or the remainder of the tin of beans from a previous dish. I’m going to talk through just two possible currys that I have made for myself recently, each one made two portions (yay for leftovers).

The first, as pictured above was a simple chickpea, lentil and spinach curry, I was a little restricted in ingredients at my parents house so it really is simple and easy to make. I used one medium onion, half a bell pepper, one courgette, a large handful of shredded spinach, a portion of red split lentils (soaked in water, boiled and drained) and half a tin of chickpeas (rinsed, boiled and drained). While the veg was cooking in the pan I added a good amount of chilli powder before adding the tomato chunks and lentils and letting the curry simmer on a low heat.

WP_20140502 32For the second curry (pictured above) I was able to add a few more ingredients from the comfort of my student kitchen. I cut up one courgette, half an aubergine, a handful of small mushrooms, one red onion, a large handful of shredded spinach and two cloves of garlic. I cooked the veg in a pan with olive oil with turmeric and chilli powder as well as some Thai green curry paste to add some great flavour and spices. I then added half a tin of tomato chunks, some red split lentils (soaked in water, boiled and drained) and a large spoonful of Greek yoghurt and a little bit of water. I let the curry simmer on a low heat before serving up half of the curry with some rice. The other half was stored in the fridge for some tasty and easy leftovers.

Option 4: Veggie Chilli:DSCF1271

Like curry chilli is a great dish for throwing together any leftovers you have. Normally I use courgette and aubergine (clearly my two favourite vegetables) but I wanted to mix it up this time and I was having a ‘mexican’ themed food week so I used: Chestnut mushrooms, chopped babycorn, black beans, yellow bell pepper, red onion and of course kidney beans. This is such a simple dish, just sautee the chopped veg with a clove or two of garlic and chilli powder before adding the chopped tomatoes (and any beans) and allowing to simmer. This is a great dish for making at the beginning of the week for easy heat up meals later in the week or storing leftovers in the fridge. I served my first portion over a baked sweet potato which was just delicious:


Hope this has given you some inspiration for kitchen experimentation!


Inspired by… Coconut Curry


In my Las Iguanas eating out review I raved about how delicious their coconut curry dish was, and I have to say I have recently become a little obsessed with coconut (I’m not only talking food but shower gels and perfumes). And so it wasn’t going to be long before I made my own inspired coconut curry.

The Ingredients (for three portions):

cocnut curry ingredients

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A large handful of washed and boiled kale
  • Three chopped chestnut mushrooms (or any type of mushroom)
  • Large handful of chopped green beans
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • A handful of chopped carrots (I used Chardonnay)
  • A handful of garden peas (frozen)
  • 1 chopped spring onion
  • Half a cup of cooked red split lentils
  • A dash of Turmeric
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • Half a can of coconut milk
  • Thai curry paste
  • A large spoonful of Greek yoghurt

Serving suggestion: Whole grain basmati rice

Pretty simple really, chop up the vegetables and then sautee  in a large pan in olive oil with the turmeric and curry paste. Then throw in the already washed, cooked and drained kale:

curry veg in panNext pour in the chopped tomatoes and the coconut milk and stir in. I also added in the peas at this point. Then add the lentils and then leave to simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes or so to thicken. Add the greek yoghurt during the simmering time and also prepare the rice:

Simmering away and making my kitchen smell oh so delicious:

curry in panAnd then ready to serve:

coconut curryTasty! And I love having leftovers, curry tastes even better the next day.


Eating Out Options: Las Iguanas


Yesterday I had a lovely day out with my parents after their return from holiday and before my return to University for the next few weeks (of final year stress). As the day of shopping and bargains came to a close we had a drive around in the hunt of somewhere nice to eat and of course at this point I become the problem. Is there anything on the menu I could eat? Likely not when the restaurant in question is Italian or a steak/ grill house. So we were going to stick with the safe bet of Wagamama but since that was the last place we had a meal out at we headed to Las Iguanas with me hoping my body would be strong enough to consume some wheat.

However, upon entering I was pleasantly surprised because not only do they have both vegetarian and wheat free alternatives (wheat free labelled as gluten free) they also had separate menus for people with special dietary requirements so that you didn’t need to search through all the food you have no intention of ordering in order to find what you want. They don’t have this menu online but here is the full menu with all the choices listed. Though, I will say that if you are both gluten free and vegetarian the choice is far more restrictive than if you are one or the other. I also wouldn’t recommend Las Iguanas if you suffer from a nut allergy (especially if you are also vegetarian/ gluten free)

So let’s start with the food, I ordered the gluten free and vegetarian ‘Bahia Moqueca’ (and ended up pointing at the menu after failing miserably trying to pronounce it) which is basically a coconut based Brazilian curry with squash, palm hearts and spinach and tasted like heaven! The gluten free alternative merely omitted the plantain which I probably could have ate since the issue was gluten and not wheat, however since my body had been feeling sensitive that day I decided to be safe. My parents laughed as I took out my phone and began photographing my meal but here it is:

There was a bowl of salsa dip which went perfectly with the salad (‘Ensalada mix’) which we ordered as a side, and a bowl of shredded coconut to sprinkle on the curry and a portion of garlic rice. The curry was served in a terracotta bowl over a lit candle, and the portions were unexpectedly very large.


Yumm! I really can’t give the taste justice, honestly if you like coconut at all you will adore this. The vegetables were cooked to perfection and I would most definitely order this dish again. It’s just great to be able to eat out without any worries of feeling dreadful the next day and yet still try something a bit different.

For those non-vegetarians out there my dad ordered ‘The Extradinary XinXim’ and really enjoyed it, a curry like mine but with chicken pieces and a peanut sauce and my mum went with the ‘Chilli con Carne’ and also equally enjoyed her food. We were all feeling very much satisfied. The service was excellent, the wait for food was short and the value for money was superb.

The cocktails menu also looked appealing and next time I decide to go I think I would definitely indulge in an alcohol beverage. Also to note the lunch menu, which has cheaper prices, lasts until far past lunch, I believe it ended at 6:30pm. And if you fancy trying more than one dish there is always the Tapas on the menu to share. There was also a good choice of desserts, though we were far too full to eat any more, three of the desserts on the menu were gluten/ wheat free so good news all round.

Overall I would definitely recommend Las Iguanas if you are looking for somewhere new to eat out.