Four Simple Ways to use Tinned Tomatoes

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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:

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Hope this has given you some inspiration for kitchen experimentation!

Experimenting with Homemade Veggie Burgers: Trial 2

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This post details my second encounter, read about the first here, with making my own veggie burgers- the cauliflower quinoa burger:

DSCF1270As can be seen above I served mine with a poached egg with a salad of spinach, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes. As always my recipe is rather vague but I believe that cooking is an art and not a science and I wish to inspire rather than instruct. And after that little piece of wisdom here goes:

Ingredients you need:

-One small red onion
-Two cloves of garlic (adjust to taste)
-Half of a red Bell Pepper
-Half a cup of Quinoa
-A handful of shredded spinach
-A few florets of Cauliflower

I actually originally intended to add butter beans but me being forgetful I didn’t remember this until the burgers were already done, but feel free to test out this addition to the recipe yourself. I think that cauliflower makes a superb ingredient in homemade veggie burgers as it really helps to hold the patties structure without the addition of binding ingredients like eggs, bread crumbs and flour.

So, first of all I cut up and sauteed the onion, garlic, pepper and spinach whilst the quinoa and cauliflower were being boiled. when the quinoa was done and the cauliflower was sufficiently soft (sliding off a sharp knife) I drained these and put all the ingredients in a pan before proceeding to mash these with a potato masher (again if you have a food processor feel free to use this instead though it’s rather a good arm workout to do it by hand). You should have something that looks a little like this:

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Now distribute the mixture into burger patties, ensuring to flatten and round them into shape. I made five burgers in total with this mixture but of course it depends on the size you wish. I cooked one in the oven immediately but saved the other four- sealed in cling film and a freezer bag, ensuring they were lying flat, in the freezer for future convenient veggie burger meals.

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The burgers take about 40-45 minutes to cook on 200 degrees Celsius in the oven. And so there you have it, a new way to use the ever adaptable cauliflower and to avoid the processed store bought veggie burgers. Have fun experimenting!

Experimenting with Homemade Veggie Burgers, Trial 1

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So I was originally going to put my trials with veggie burgers into one large post but have decided to break it up a little bit, so here is the first trial: the carrot and lentil burger (I know, catchy name right?). I showed this in my last post as a meal I had enjoyed recently and here’s the details on how to make your own. Of course, feel free to adjust the recipe however you see fit.

veggie burger

 

Ingredients for the burger:

  • 2 Carrots
  • A half cup of lentils
  • A large handful of spinach
  • 1 clove of garlic (adjust to taste)
  • A third can of chickpeas
  • 1 small red onion
  • Any spices/ flavourings eg. chilli powder, pepper, salt, herbs

Ingredients for serving suggestion:

  • 2 thick aubergine slices
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large pickled beetroot
  • a small handful of sliced mushrooms
  • Any salad extras: lettuce, cucumber etc…

First off I boiled my carrots and lentils in saucepans and meanwhile worked on chopping the onion and garlic before sauteeing these. Just before they were finished I added some shredded spinach to the frying pan and then, when wilted, took the pan off the heat. When the carrots and lentils were done I drained them off and then threw in all the ingredients into one pan along with a third of a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. I proceeded to mash up all the ingredients (the fun part) with a potato masher, if you have  a food processor this process will be easier but to be honest I like my veggie burgers to not be completely mashed anyway. I then took the mixture and carefully formed burger shapes with it, two on tin foil for eating that week and two on cling film for saving in the freezer:

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Ensure that the patties are tightly packed into the shape you like and then cook in the oven on 200 degrees Celsius for around 40 to 45 minutes, depending on the power of your oven. Also spray the foil with some cooking oil prior so the burger doesn’t stick. Though they take a while to cook they don’t really brown up that much, just expect them to go a little golden with a crisp. Be careful when moving the burger onto a plate or your bun of choice (more on that in a second) because they can crumble a little.

So how to serve? I personally went with grilled sliced aubergine as my wheat-free bread option. I simply sprayed the two aubergine slices with cooking oil and put under the grill, turning over halfway, they don’t take long at all. I also grilled some slice mushrooms for on the side and had sliced beetroot and tomato as my salad.

WP_20140505 4So there we have it, I am so pleased I finally had the time and courage to finally trial out my own homemade veggie burgers. I usually just pick up the veggie burgers in the supermarket freezer but I am trying to stay away from processed food and most veggie alternatives contain wheat/ gluten. I got a little carried away and tested out two more veggie burger combos shortly after this trial so expect posts on those soon.

FEOTW- 11/05/2014

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Here is a little summary of my favourite experiments in the kitchen over the past week. First trialling something new that I’ve been intending to try for a while:

Home-made Veggie Burger:

carrot and lentil burger

Expect to see a blog post coming soon detailing my experimenting with this one, for now here’s a tasty veggie burger serving suggestion. I served mine on grilled aubergine ‘burger baps’ and sliced tomatoes and beetroot with some grilled button mushrooms on the side.

Aubergine Pizza Slices:

aubergine pizza

Here’s another little experiment using aubergines. I have recently been searching for wheat free pizza recipes but being short on time (and having almost zero baking experience) I am still unmotivated to try and make a cauliflower crust pizza or any of the other magical alternatives. And so I found the lazy way, fairly thick slices of aubergine, grilled then topped with tomato purée, cheddar and feta cheese, grilled until melted deliciously. For now this will be my go to method when craving pizza as it definitely did the trick whilst being quick and using minimal ingredients. I served my pizza slices with a spinach, tomato, pepper and beetroot salad.

After a few experiments I decided to go back to some basics…

Creamy Banana Oatmeal:

banana oatmeal
Porridge never gets old for breakfast. Here, I first did the oats in the microwave for one minute with water and a dash of cinnamon then stirred in a small spoonful of peanut butter and a large spoonful of Greek yoghurt and put back in for an additional half a minute. Then I stirred in some honey and chopped some bananas into the bowl and finished off for a further half a minute. Of course, this could also be made in a saucepan on the hob but I’m afraid my student ways have made me lazy. Served with my morning cup of Twinings tea this is a sweet way to start the day.

Quinoa Stuffed Pepper:

stuffed pepper

Bell Peppers are a fridge staple for me and stuffed peppers are one of the many reasons why, as my go to dish when I have lost inspiration. Here I used a mixture of quinoa, onion, mushroom, feta cheese and garlic with some tomato purée for added flavour.

The Perfect Post-Workout Snack:

peanut butter pancakes

These wheat and gluten free pancakes have been in the recipe inventory for a while but I recently began to get a bit more creative than the simple one banana, two eggs and a dash of cinnamon by adding in pumpkin seeds and raisins into the mixture. And then I discovered a whole new use for this recipe and I will never look back. Simply make up a batch when you have some free time and store them in the fridge and you’ve got the perfect post workout snack. I simply spread on some peanut butter, pop them in the microwave and I’m ready for my protein.

Courgette and Broccoli Frittata:

broccoli and courgette frittata

I’ve never tried a courgette and egg combination before but I have to say it was a definite hit. I boiled some broccoli and fried some sliced courgette before throwing these in, alongside sliced cherry tomatoes, with three beaten large eggs and cooked in a pan on low-medium heat. I always finish off my frittatas under the grill, in this case after sprinkling on some grated cheddar. This is a classic that will never let me down (I’d say the same about most recipes using eggs as their base).

And that is it for this week. what foods have you been enjoying?

Homemade Falafels

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When I became a vegetarian I discovered the wonders of falafels, and then when I decided to go wheat free I faced the disappointment of these no longer being in my life. So I decided to overcome that and make my own wheat free alternative since these are the perfect little packages of protein to add to salads. An advance warning they do not look like the falafels you buy in the supermarket but they are tasty (and probably healthier).

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As above I served my falafels with spinach, tomato slices and beetroot slices. So how did I make them? First you want to boil the chickpeas to make them easy to mash. I used tinned chickpeas and approximately a third of large tin to make six falafels. I then drained them and put them into a bowl for mashing, I used a fork for this process but if you are lucky enough to own a processor feel free to use this instead. I then fried one small chopped onion, a handful of shredded spinach, two chopped cloves of garlic in some olive oil and added some salt and pepper. I put this mixture into the bowl of mashed chickpeas and squeezed in a lemon slice before adding in a beaten egg to the mixture. I then divided this up into 6 onto a foiled oven tray (to avoid making the same mistake as me and struggling to remove them from the foil spray the foil with some oil) Bake in the oven on 180 degrees Celsius for 20ish minutes or until they are browned to suit your liking. (As you can see like I don’t measure I also neglect to time my cooking). In summary:

Step one: Mash the boiled and drained chickpeas

Step one: Mash the boiled and drained chickpeas

Step two: fry the onion, spinach and garlic

Step two: fry the onion, spinach and garlic

Step three: mix the two together in a bowl

Step three: mix the two together in a bowl

Step four: Mix in the beaten to hold the mixture together

Step four: Mix in the beaten to hold the mixture together

Step five: divide up the mixture and place in oven

Step five: divide up the mixture and place in oven

Step six: take out of oven and serve in the way of your choice or store in the fridge for lunches

Step six: take out of oven and serve in the way of your choice or store in the fridge for lunches