Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese

Here’s my version of the the Italian classic. It’s a hot and tasty meal for this cold weather and is packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre and is low in fat and calories.

I made mine with Quorn mince, however it is just as good with just the green lentils and therefore can be vegan.

Prep: 10 mins     Cook: 40-70 mins    Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Small pack of mushrooms sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g green lentils
  • Optional: 500g Quorn Mince
  • 1tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 400g spaghetti or other long pasta

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in non-stick frying pan. Fry the onions and peppers for 10 minutes then add the mushrooms and balsamic vinegar. Fry until the mushrooms are soft. Tip in the carrot and cook for 5 mins more to soften.
  2. Add in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano and lentils and Quorn if you are using. Mix. Bring to the boil.img_0635
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-60 minutesimg_1173
  4. Cook the pasta according to pack instructions and serve.

I served ours with garlic tortillas. I made these by brushing the tortillas on both sides with olive oil and spread crushed garlic over one then covered with another tortilla. I put them in a hot oven for 10 minutes.

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Chocolate Oat Bars

These chocolate oat bars are really easy to make and an excellent alternative to commercial breakfast bars. They are a great and economical snack for on the go.

They contain soluble and insoluble fibre and are therefore low GI which means they will keep you fuller for longer. Therefore, although they have a few more calories than a small chocolate bar or a biscuit you won’t eat again as soon and won’t be tempted to get another. You could shave a few extra calories off by omitting the melted chocolate but I think it makes them much more appealing.

If you suffer with constipation then these bars would be an excellent addition to your diet, use the ground linseeds rather than the ground almonds. If you are increasing your fibre intake, don’t forget to increase your fluid intake too or it’ll have no benefit.

Nutritional Content per bar

Based on one with ground almonds

Energy: 142kcals
Protein: 2.5g
Total Carbs: 13.6g
Sugars: 5.3g

 

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 125g prunes
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 115ml vegetable oil
  • 50g honey
  • 125ml / 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 275g oats
  • 50g ground almonds/ground linseeds
  • 50g chocolate (any that you like)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan and line a baking tin with baking paper. My tin is 33cm by 23cm.

2. Place the prunes, banana and oil into the food processor and mix until the prunes are as finely chopped as you prefer.

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2. Add the honey, orange juice, cocoa and beaten egg and mix up again.

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3. Weigh out the oats and ground nuts or seeds into the bowl and mix in the wet ingredients.

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4. Spread into the baking tin.

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5. Bake for 35 minutes, when firm to the touch take out of the oven and gently score out the pieces into 24 pieces. Leave in the pan until cool. If you take it out when warm they’ll crumble.

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6. Drizzle with melted chocolate if desired.

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7. Store in a airtight container. You can wrap them in baking parchment to take for a snack at work.

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Feel free to tweak the ingredients to ones that you prefer. You could add whole dried fruit such as cranberries or swap the prunes for dates to make them sweeter.

Enjoy!

Cheese Scones

When I was pregnant with my second child I craved cheese scones, the hospital where I worked at the time made them fresh every day and they were delicious with lashings of butter! I have been trying to recreate those scones for a while now.

Cheese scones are very quick to make and make an excellent snack with butter, spread or chilli jam. There are also a great accompaniment to meals, they go particularly well with my Vegan Vegetable Stew and would also compliment soup.

As cheddar cheese and butter are very low in lactose, if you make these scones with a low lactose milk or a dairy free milk alternative such as oat or soya, they are suitable for people with lactose intolerance.

I got the recipe from BBC Good Food, click here for the link. I particularly like the recipe as you don’t have to faff about getting buttermilk! I used skimmed milk and dairy free margarine which reduced the calories overall. I did add a bit more cheese than it said (35g).

Ingredients:

  • 225g self raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 55g butter or margarine
  • 25-35g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 150ml milk – you can use skimmed, lactose free or a dairy-free alternative

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

  2. Mix together the flour and salt and rub in the butter.

  3. Stir in the cheese and then the milk to get a soft dough.

  4. Turn on to a floured work surface and knead very lightly. Pat out to a round 2cm/¾in thick. Use a 5cm/2in cutter to stamp out rounds and place on the baking sheet. Lightly knead together the rest of the dough and stamp out more scones to use it all up.

  5. Brush the tops of the scones with a little milk. Bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack.

You could also add paprika or chilli if you’re feeling adventurous! Next time I might try 1/2 wholemeal flour. I’ll let you know how it goes.

As you can see I made 13, it worked out as 95 kcals per scone which is 12.7g carbs and 2.8g protein.

Enjoy!

Vegan Vegetable Stew

If you’ve got a little bit of time to set aside for chopping vegetables, this stew is a wonderful and filling vegan option for a cold winter’s night.

It is full of fibre and pre-biotics, provides 3 of your 5 a day and is only 405 kcals per serving.

You can make it on the stove top or in the slow cooker. It is free from cow’s milk, soya, wheat, nuts, fish etc etc! Very good for people with allergies and intolerances and for children.

Prep: 20 minutes   Cook: 45mins-1 hour or 8 hours low in a slow cooker   Serves: 4 (huge portions!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp veg or olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 4 parsnips, peeled
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 leek
  • 1 cup of pearl barley
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 stock cube
  • optional – parsley to mix in at the end

Method:

  1. chop all the vegetables roughly into large chunks
  2. heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion to soften (switch your slow cooker onto high if using)
  3. add all the other vegetables and stir occasionally for 5 minutes
  4. Stove top – add the tinned tomatoes with around 1 cup of water (I fill one of the tomato cans and rinse them out and add it), the pearl barley and stock cube. bring to the boil then simmer for 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are to your liking and the pearl barley is cooked.
  5. Slow cooker – add the vegetables, the 2 cans of tomatoes, pearl barley and stock cube to the slow cooker, leave for 2-3 hours or turn down to low for 8 hours cooking. Serve when the vegetables are to your liking and the pearl barley is cooked. Some fresh parsley would be very nice.

You can serve it with dumplings or crusty bread. This recipe is very versatile, try out different herbs and spices or you could add meat or vegetarian sausages.

Granola

Very easy granola recipe for you today. I will warn you, it is very moreish! I really like it with soya yoghurt and fruit.

I didn’t have any mixed nuts so used lots of seeds and some pistachios that I found at the back of the cupboard. You can also add coconut towards the end of cooking which is really nice. The best thing about this recipe is that you can play around with it as much as you like, it is very adaptable and quite forgiving!.

Based on recipe from Good Food: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1315/crunchy-granola-with-berries-and-cherries

Prep: 10-20 mins Cook: 25 mins Make around 12 breakfast bowlfuls

Ingredients

  • 175g mixed nuts
  • 450g rolled oats
  • 110g seeds
  • 125ml sunflower oil
  • 100ml runny honey
  • 85g dried fruit

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5/fan oven 170C. Halve some of the larger nuts, leave some whole. Mix with all the nuts, oats, seeds in a large bowl. In a jug, measure the oil and pour into the mixture, then measure the honey – it will slide out easily. Stir together with a fork to break up any big clumps of oats.img_0484 Pour on to a large baking tray with sides, preferably non-stick, in a thin layer. I’d advise putting it on 2 baking trays as my layer was too thick so it took longer to go golden and I had to keep stirring it.
  2. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring well at least twice and bringing the mixture in from the edges, until it is golden. Transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool.
  3. Mix in the dried fruit.
  4. Store for up to 1 month in an airtight container.

            

Beetroot Houmous

Houmous or hummus is such a handy thing to have in the fridge and really quick to make. It is very healthy, very cheap, full of fibre and an excellent animal-free source of protein. It is also very handy as a weaning food for children with allergies.

Beetroot is a brilliant vegetable, bursting with antioxidants, fibre and vitamins. The vacuum packed ones are very convenient. If you want to buy it raw, just trim the ends, wrap in foil and roast for 45 minutes or until soft. The skin just falls away and it is delicious!

I’ve had some vacuum packed beetroot in my fridge for over a week and haven’t used it due to us having a lot of packed lunches. Not the ideal food on the go!!! Therefore I thought it could be transformed into a relatively un-messy sandwich or salad ingredient by adding it to houmous.

Ingredients

  • 1 400g can chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 small cooked beetroot, chopped

Method

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and whizz until you get the consistency you like, I prefer it quite smooth.

Do feel free to adjust the amounts to your taste. You can try any other roasted vegetables instead of beetroot. Alternatively, if you omit the beetroot you magically get normal houmous!