Tuesday, 23 October 2012

"Proper" Veggie Dinners

In light of my frankly half-baked attempts to write a post about vegetarian dinner (I think the inclusion of bacon lardons makes a bit of a mockery of the whole thing!) The DinnerLadies have invited our good friend, fellow "Rollercoaster Mum" and proper, dedicated vegetarian to do some guest posts for us. She regularly has us drooling at the frankly amazing vegetarian meals she throws together (especially lunch - as I sit down to another unappealing limp ham sandwich, and make the mistake of asking "what's for lunch" to be met by some mouth watering list of fresh ingredients and complex flavours). So I'd like to introduce Abina to you all...

Here’s a quick & easy veggie curry put together from items most of us would have in the cupboard.  Some veggie recipes can have an endless list of vegetables but I like this one as it’s so quick & easy.  This is a well balanced meal with plenty of protein and fibre from the chickpeas and calcium and iron in the spinach.

PS - Coconut oil should be available from your local supermarket, I get mine locally, €5 for a 500ml jar of organic virgin coconut oil. I use it mainly for the flavour and health benefits, I find it's great for frying and really doesn't let food stick to the pan. Personally, I prefer not to use olive oil (although of course you can, if you wish) and would use rapeseed oil in general instead, when not using coconut oil. As a matter of interest, it is also a great moisturiser (I use it at night time) and great for your skin in general. I use it also as a nappy cream for the baby (a separate jar, of course!).

Chickpea and Spinach Curry, with Tortilla Crisps

Patak's paste, and coconut oil
  • Coconut oil (for frying)
  • 1 onion
  • 200g frozen spinach or a bag of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • ½ Jar of Patak's curry paste (I used tikka masala here, as you can see, but I use whatever is in stock)
  • A good squeeze of tomato purée
  1. Heat 1 tsp of coconut oil in pan & add chopped onion, then reduce heat, cover & allow to cook for 5 mins
  2. Add frozen spinach and cook until any water has been cooked off
  3. Add Patak's curry paste and cook for 3 mins
  4. Add chickpeas and stir
  5. Add in coconut milk, tomato puree, sprinkle of chopped coriander and leave to simmer for 20mins

Tortilla Crisps

  • Tortilla wraps
  • Hot paprika or chilli powder
  • A small bit of oil
  1. Cut tortilla wraps into 8 triangles, brush with oil and sprinkle with paprika or chilli powder
  2. Bake in the oven for a couple of minutes, until golden crisp.  Serve warm, with the curry & rice

I've also listed below some other useful recipes I use frequently; handy for lunch and / or dinner


Homemade Beans on Toast:  Mix a tin of haricot beans with equal amount of passata, 1 tsp of black strap molasses, bay leaf and some fresh thyme. Mix the ingredients in an oven proof dish, cover with tin foil and bake at 180C in the oven for 90 minutes.  Any leftovers can be frozen.  I served it with toasted crusty brown bread from the most delicious bakery, Boulangerie la Francais in Applewood, but any good crusty bread would work!


Chilli sin Carne:  
Recipe from Mexican Cooker, Chancellor Press 

  • 5 dried red chillies
  • 3 tablespoons of boiling water
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 3 onions (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tablespoons of white wine or cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • ½ pack of Quorn mince
  • 1 tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  1. Blitz the chillies and water in a blender
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and gently sauté 2 of the onions and the garlic with the tomatoes, tomato purée, spices, vinegar and sugar til soft
  3. Put into the blender and with the chillies and water, then blitz til smooth
  4. Sauté the 3rd onion in 1tbsp oil, add the quorn mine and sauté for a minute more, then stir in the kidney beans and the chilli-tomato mixture from the blender
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes on a gentle heat
  6. Serve with rice, or in wraps or tacos with avocado and creme fraiche / sour cream

Root Vegetable Bake:
I like this dish and usually have it during the winter, when the rest of the family are having a roast. They would usually have a small portion to accompany their meat. Any combination of root veg can be used; if you don't have a particular one either leave it out or substitute if for something you prefer - it's a very versatile dish. The recipe is from the BBC "Good Food" book 
  • 100g butter
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 3 oz gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 lb waxy potatoes, peeled
  • 8 oz celeriac, peeled
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled
  • 1lb parsnips. peeled
  • Veggie gravy to serve
  • Preheat oven to 190C
  1. Use 1 oz of the butter to grease an 8in tin
  2. Mash the remaining butter with the lemon zest, garlic, thyme and cheese
  3. Thinly slice the veg and layer one third of the spuds, then celeriac, then carrots, then parsnips in the tin and dot with some butter.  Repeat the layers, then season the whole thing with black pepper and dot with butter
  4. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 45 minutes  
  5. Remove foil and bake for further 45 minutes until veg are tender
  6. Serve with some veggie gravy poured over

Lentil Shepards Pie:

  • 1 tin of puy lentil, rinsed & drained
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • ½ courgette
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 carton passata
  • 1 veggie stock cube
  • 1lb potatoes, peeled

  1. Saute the onion in a little oil, then add a little water and the carrots, letting them cook for a few mins before adding the pepper and courgette, then cover and simmer for a few mins until tender
  2. Add the carton of passata and veggie stock cube and season to taste (I sometimes add some balsamic vinegar, fish free Worcestershire sauce and honey to flavour or a drop of soya sauce)
  3. Then blend it all until smooth (to hide the veg from fussy eaters, not always necessary if serving only to well-behaved adult types!)
  4. Add the puy lentils and leave to simmer
  5. Boil spuds and mash
  6. Pour lentil mix into an ovenproof dish and cover it with the mash and bake for 30 minutes at 180C
Please feel free to request any specific veggie requests you might have, and we'll do our best to accommodate! 

Abina, Sarah and Margaret

1 comment:

  1. We had the chick pea curry for dinner last night and it was such a big hit we had it again this evening, absolutely delicious....used the pataks Korma paste rather than tikka masala. For a weekday dinner I'd give it a 9/10, very tasty, extremely quick and easy to cook and cheap to boot!