Chestnut-Stuffed Squash

This is a surprisingly easy dish, perfect for a festive meal. It serves 2-4, depending on the size of the squash.

Ingredients:
2 squash of choice (I used a delicata squash and a patty pan squash)
1 red onion, finely chopped
100g mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 slices wholewheat bread, in crumbs
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 tsp dried sage, crumbled
150g chestnut purée
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
2 tbsp dried cranberries
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup suitable-for-vegans cranberry sauce

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy insides. Place cut-side down on the baking tray, and roast 20-40 minutes (depending on thickness of the squash) until tender. Turn the squash over and season the insides liberally.
2. Sauté the onion and mushrooms until tender.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the garlic, breadcrumbs, herbs, chestnut, walnuts, and cranberries. Fill the squash with the stuffing, and return to the oven 20 minutes.
4. Serve topped with cranberry sauce.

Red Pepper Sesame Kale

This umami side is so creamy and flavourful that you’d almost wish you could eat it on its own. Perfect for serving with mashed potatoes for a comforting meal.

Ingredients:
1 large pack of kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 tbsp sweet white miso paste
1 heaped tsp suitable-for-vegans Dijon mustard
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup sesame seeds, plus extra for serving

Directions:
1. Steam the kale. Drain, and press to remove the excess liquid.
2. Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
3. Toss the kale in the sauce, reheat gently, and serve with extra sesame seeds.

Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

It’s sure to be a good morning with this Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, served here with a generous dollop of coconut whip to give you that dessert-for-breakfast flavour and to start your day on a sweet note. Serves 4.

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp suitable-for-vegans brown sugar
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch salt
2 tbsp chopped pecans, optional; extra for serving
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups soy milk

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 160C.
2. Mix all ingredients together. Add to a shallow baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the centre is set.

Creamy Polenta with Red Wine Mushrooms

A comforting and rich dish, this Creamy Polenta with Red Wine Mushrooms is great for entertaining, but easy enough for a decadent-tasting meal for two.

Ingredients:
For the Polenta:
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups soy milk
1 tbsp herbes de provence, crumbled
1 cup polenta (or cornmeal)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Mushrooms:
1 red onion, finely sliced
350g mushrooms, sliced (I used 250g chestnut and 100g shiitake)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup suitable-for-vegans red wine
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
1 heaped tsp cornflour (cornstarch) mixed to a smooth paste with a little cold water
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Add the vegetable broth and soy milk to a large saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the herbes de provence. Sprinkle in the polenta, whisking vigorously as you go (there’s no need for the water to be boiling or even warm to start polenta).
2. As soon as the polenta starts to spit, reduce the heat to low. Stir occasionally until the polenta starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Add the nutritional yeast, if using, and season to taste.
3. Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms and the onion until the liquid released from the mushrooms is reabsorbed. Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds before stirring in the wine. Mix in the tomato purée and thyme and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cornflour mixture and allow to thicken. Season with black pepper.
4. Serve the mushrooms on top of the polenta, garnished with a little parsley if desired.

Tofu Crumble with Curried Rice: Budget Recipe

This recipe costs €1.16 per portion and takes only as long to prepare as it takes the rice to cook. Every brand and type of rice is different, so cook according to package directions. There are three parts to this recipe: boiling the greens, cooking the rice, and making the scramble. Serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the greens:
100g frozen kale
125g (1/4 head) cabbage, chopped small

For the curried rice:
100g brown rice
Water as according to package directions
1 tsp curry powder

For the tofu:
250g tofu
½ onion, chopped
½ yellow pepper, diced
100g mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp soy sauce

Directions:

For the greens:
1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil.
2. Add the cabbage and kale and cook for 5 minutes.

For the rice:
1. Cook the rice according to package directions, adding the curry powder to the water.
2. When the rice is cooked, stir all but a handful of the greens through and keep warm.

For the tofu:
1. Drain the tofu, wrap in a kitchen towel, and place under a plate with some cans or other weights on top to press for about 20 minutes. Alternatively, squeeze as much water from the tofu as possible.
2. Crumble the tofu into small pieces between your finger and thumb, and add to a bowl with the turmeric, paprika, soy sauce, and garlic.
3. Heat a nonstick pan over a medium low heat. Add the onions, peppers, and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms start to release their juices. Add the tofu mixture and the reserved handful of greens, and cook until warmed through. Season to taste.

Serve the tofu with the green rice.

Carrot and Red Lentil Soup: Budget Recipe

This soup costs €0.18 per portion and takes about 20 minutes to prepare. The recipe is very easy, but we’ve written it out in lots of detail in case you’re new to cooking. We’ve used a blender to make it smooth, but it’s equally delicious chunky.

Ingredients (for 2 servings):
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 l vegetable broth*
2 carrots, washed, topped and tailed, and sliced (no need to peel!)
80g red lentils, picked over to make sure there’s no grit
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp smoked paprika

Directions:
1. Heat a stainless steel saucepan over a medium low heat until hot. Reduce the heat slightly, add the onions and keep stirring until the onions start to take on a little colour and release their aroma (about 2 minutes). Turn the heat right down to low before adding the garlic for about 30 seconds.
2. Add the broth, carrots, and red lentils. Crumble the herbs between your finger and thumb, if desired, so that they release more of their fragrance.
3. Raise the heat to high until bubbles start appearing around the sides of the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes to make sure the lentils aren’t sticking.
4. Add the smoked paprika, and stir.
5. At this point, you can blend the soup with an immersion (stick) blender or in a jug blender, following the instructions that came with your blender.
6. Serve, and enjoy.

Overnight Oats Bowl: Budget Recipe

This Overnight Oats Bowl cost €0.54 per serving at the time of posting, is very easy to put together, and is almost guaranteed to fill you up until lunchtime.

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
90g rolled oats
Large pinch cinnamon
100ml soy milk (or other all-plant milk)
100ml water
1/4 cup dried fruit
1 apple, chopped
1 banana, sliced
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp flaxseeds, ground

Directions:
1. Mix the oats with the cinnamon. Stir through the soy milk and water, and leave to soak overnight or for at least 15 minutes.
2. Divide between two bowls and serve topped with the rest of the ingredients.

Coconut-Molasses Chickpeas and Cauliflower

The flavour profile of this dish is inspired by Indonesian cuisine, where molasses or brown sugar are frequently used in ketjap manis. Molasses is quite high in iron and other minerals, which makes it a much healthier choice than many other sweeteners.

Ingredients

1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp red chilli paste
1 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp lime pickle
2 cups cauliflower, in small florets (mine were pre-roasted, but the recipe below is a quicker version)
1 head pak choy, chopped
1 can chickpeas
4 spring onions, chopped

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan over a low heat, whisk together the coconut milk, red chilli paste, garlic-ginger paste, molasses, turmeric, soy sauce, and lime pickle.
  2. Add the cauliflower, chickpeas, and the hard ends of the pak choy. Allow to simmer over a low heat for 7 minutes.
  3. Add the green leafy parts of the pak choy and the spring onions. Cover and simmer again for another 3 minutes, or until the cauliflower is the desired tenderness.
  4. Serve.

Coconut Cream of Mushroom Soup

Thick and full of umami notes, this recipe is incredibly quick and quite inexpensive to make.

Ingredients

2 small onions, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
650g brown mushrooms (I used chestnut and portobello), roughly chopped
10g dried mushrooms, ground fine in a blender or coffee grinder (optional)
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cups coconut milk
Fresh parsley, to garnish

Directions

1. In a large soup pan over a medium-low heat, cook the onions, garlic, and mushrooms until the mushrooms release their juices.
2. Add the mushroom powder, vegetable broth, soy sauce, and coconut milk, reserving a little of the coconut milk for garnish.
3. Cover, bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 7 minutes, or until the mushrooms are softened.
4. Garnish with the reserved coconut milk and parsley.

Celeriac and Chickpea Soup with Spinach-Miso Purée

This extremely thick, yet very creamy, soup  makes for a filling and delicious lunch.

Ingredients:

For the soup

1 onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 celeriac, peeled and diced roughly
1 can chickpeas
300g white cabbage, chopped roughly
1 can coconut milk
500ml vegetable broth
Pinch white pepper
2 tsp onion salt
2 tsp dried basil

For the purée

50g spinach
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp soy (or other all-plant) milk
1 tbsp white or yellow miso

To garnish

Suitable-for-vegans crispy salad onions, if desired

Directions:

1. Sauté the onion in a large soup pan over a medium-low heat until it starts to soften, but don’t let it take on much colour. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic for about a minute.
2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the celeriac is tender.
3. Meanwhile, make the spinach purée by blending all ingredients in a high-speed blender.
4. Rinse the blender, blend the soup in it, return to the pan, and season to taste.
5. Serve the soup topped with some of the spinach-miso purée, and garnish with crispy onions, if desired.